Steven Soderbergh tonight unveils what he says is his final feature film Behind The Candelabra. The film explores the secret father/son/lover relationship between Liberace (Michael Douglas) and his valet Scott Thorson. It’s playing in competition here at Cannes, even though HBO will premiere it in the U.S. on Sunday before it gets a traditional overseas theatrical release. If that seems complex, it fits Soderbergh, a true maverick who has always been up for putting himself on the line for disruptive, ground breaking fare. That began with sex, lies and videotape. That movie won the Audience Award at Sundance and the Palm d’Or at Cannes before grossing nearly $25 million in 1989. It is viewed as the picture that turned indie film into a viable business. “He is the father of this movement,” said Harvey Weinstein, who distributed the film. “Before him, there was no independent movie that did more than $5 million. This was the one that went out, almost wide, in the summer where they said these films could not play, and broke the art house ghetto.” Two Oscars (for directing Erin Brockovich and Traffic) later, and a career that spanned every genre and enterprising release strategy (he aroused the ire of theater owners by road testing the day and date release platform that is now a Sundance deal staple), the 50-year old Soderbergh unveils his last feature film tonight with Behind The Candelabra.
Related: Steven Soderbergh’s State Of Cinema Talk
DEADLINE: All week, I’ve heard people here debate whether Michael Douglas and Matt Damon will lose possible Oscar nominations because the film plays first on HBO, before a more traditional international theatrical roll out. You intended it originally to be an indie feature. Explain the gyrations that ended up with this unusual release strategy.
SODERBERGH: We were trying to get the last $5 million to finish it off. The movie cost $22 million and change. We’d raised $18 million foreign and we just needed this piece. Superficially it would seem like a no-brainer but when you look at the realities of the economics of putting a movie into wide release, you have to gross $65 million-$75 million dollars just to get out. People just didn’t have that appetite for this kind of material.
DEADLINE: How different were things back when you conceived it as an indie and took several years to get to it and get a script by Richard LaGravanese?
SODERBERGH: There’s no question in my mind that if it had been five years earlier that we’d probably would have gotten it. But the pressure has gotten so extreme. I talk to people at the studios about it all the time. Somebody told me last week that they are doing a better job controlling movie costs, but that marketing costs keep moving at a trajectory faster than everything else. Another terrifying thing is, you used to be able to bank on stars. If you had certain elements in a certain kind of movie, you could bank on doing X. Now you are guaranteed nothing. Read More »
The sun finally came back to a windy and rainy Cannes but the weather clearly couldn’t slow the nonstop parties, premieres, deals and hype for which this festival is famous. And despite the rain on Saturday the turnout for Lionsgate’s big Catching Fire bash was wall-to-wall at Baoli Beach, with everyone including star Jennifer Lawrence crowded into the large tent. One exec there actually was happy with the monsoon-like conditions. “The rain probably kept 30% of our RSVPs away which is probably good because i don’t know how we could have squeezed them in,” he said.
With everyone drying out Sunday there seemed to be even more party-hopping than usual. At the crowded Participant Films party at the Carlton, Focus Features CEO James Schamus was accepting congratulations on his re-upping at the company. I have rarely heard him wax more eloquently about a film than Focus’ recent pickup of The Dallas Buyers Club, the movie where Matthew McConaughey lost about 50 pounds to play an early AIDS victim. It’s not dated yet according to Schamus but is planned for fall sometime. “It’s just a bloodbath trying to pick the right date in that period but this movie is extraordinary. I just so admire what Matthew has been doing with his career in the last couple of years between Magic Mike, Killer Joe, The Paperboy, Mud and now this. You know me, I don’t rave like this a lot, but he really knocks this one out of the park. It is the performance of a lifetime,” he says of the actor in a film that is sure to be a main focus of Focus’ awards-season plans. Read More »
First off, congratulations to all writers, producers, actors and agents who landed new series this week. I know it wasn’t easy. Here is Deadline’s annual list of those who excelled at the upfronts. I tried to be inclusive, but if I’ve missed anyone who’s had a banner week, let me know. I’ve also compiled a list of pods and independent producers with multiple broadcast series.
Cougar Town co-creator Bill Lawrence and his Doozer banner had three new series unveiled at the upfronts this week: comedies Undateable on NBC, Surviving Jack on Fox and Ground Floor on TBS. Also, TBS recently renewed Cougar Town for a fifth season.
Related: 2013-14 Schedule Grid & Top Face-Offs
J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot claimed one of the top new drama series last season with NBC’s Revolution and one of the hottest sophomore shows with CBS’ Person Of Interest. The company is keeping the momentum with two new series orders for next season: Almost Human at Fox and Believe at NBC.
Independent producer Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment received two new series orders from the broadcast networks: Back In The Game at ABC and Friends With Better Lives at CBS. Additionally, his freshman ABC comedy The Neighbors was renewed and his ABC pilot Bad Management is in serious contention for a series pickup. Kaplan also received two cable series orders in the past month, for Chasing Life on ABC Family and Instant Mom on NickMom, and also has comedy series Wendell & Vinnie on Nick at Nite and pilot HR at Lifetime.
Writer-producer Julie Plec also landed two new series this week, both at the CW: She wrote/executive produces the planted Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals and executive produces The Tomorrow People. Additionally, she executive produces TVD, giving her three series on the air next season. (Fellow Tomorrow People executive producer Greg Berlanti has two, including returning CW hit Arrow.)
Another drama writer-producer, former ER showrunner David Zabel, saw both of his pilots picked up. He is the writer/exec producer on ABC’s Betrayal and co-writer/exec producer on ABC’s Lucky 7. Read More »
UPDATED: Ahead of Adult Swim‘s upfront next Wednesday, which will feature a performance by Kanye West, the network has set a slate of new animated and live-action series, pilots and specials. It includes previously announced new half-hour animated comedy series Rick And Morty, from Community creator Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, which is set to premiere in primetime later this year; a Mike Tyson quarter-hour animated series featuring the former boxer as a mystery solver; and off-network acquisition Bob’s Burgers, which launches this summer. 2013 marks Adult Swim’s most-watched year to date among adults and males 18-24, 18-34, and 18-49. Here are details about the network’s new original series, specials and pilots:
Related: Adult Swim Acquires Off-Network Rights To ‘Bob’s Burgers’
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Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Following last week’s hefty rollout of new Specialty films, the coming weekend is also awash in a large number of diverse titles that will hit the limited release slate, including titles with stars, soon-to-be stars and big screen novices. Xan Cassavetes will open her drama/thriller Kiss Of The Damned via Magnolia this weekend with a cadre of French vampires. Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan and Alexander Skarsgard star in Millennium Entertainment’s What Maisie Knew. The distributor is doubling up this weekend, also bowing The Iceman with Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta and David Schwimmer, while Keanu Reeves stars in Phase 4′s Generation Um… Cinedigm will open indie Western Dead Man’s Burden from newcomer Jared Moshé, starring Barlow Jacobs, Clare Bowen and David Call, while First Run Features’ The Happy House will also be looking for its niche among the weekend’s new titles. IFC Films will bow veteran French filmmaker Olivier Assayas’ latest, Something In The Air, while doc Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s joins the weekend’s packed lineup.
Kiss Of The Damned
Director-writer: Xan Cassavetes
Cast: Joséphine de La Baume, Milo Ventimiglia, Roxane Mesquida, Anna Mouglalis, Michael Rapaport
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures/Magnet Releasing
Xan Cassavetes initially had the idea for Kiss Of The Damned after touring a house some years ago. The home eventually became the venue for the thriller/drama which revolves around a vampire, Djuna, who resists the advances of Paolo, but soon gives into their passion. “I went through the house and the nature of its setting felt so transitory — it’s a weekend house and it’s the setting for a transitory vampire,” said Cassavetes. “I looked at the house a year and a half before writing the screenplay.” After working on other projects, Cassavetes recalled the house and wrote the screenplay for Kiss Of The Damned in only three weeks. She and her team were able to put together the financing elements from previous films. “I wanted French actors because the movie has the flavor of a beautiful European flavor,” said Cassavetes. “I also wanted relatively unknown actors because I thought it was more powerful to buy into that.” Read More »
Here is the full transcript of director Steven Soderbergh‘s keynote at the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival delivered Saturday. At first he requested the festival ensure no still photographs, audio, or video of his talk at the Kabuki Theater. But instead it was tweeted, blogged, recorded, and put online. Soderbergh promised in advance to “drop some grenades” and he opined about studio executives, indie filmmaking, and cinema vs movies. He did not detail his own retirement:
A few months ago I was on this Jet Blue flight from New York to Burbank. And I like Jet Blue, not just because of the prices. They have this terminal at JFK that I think is really nice. I think it might be the nicest terminal in the country although if you want to see some good airports you’ve got to go to a major city in another part of the world like Europe or Asia. They’re amazing airports. They’re incredible and quiet. You’re not being assaulted by all this music. I don’t know when it was decided we all need a soundtrack everywhere we go. I was just in the bathroom upstairs and there was a soundtrack accompanying me at the urinal, I don’t understand. So I’m getting comfortable in my seat. I spent the extra $60 to get the extra leg room so I’m trying to get comfortable and we make altitude. And there’s a guy on the other side of the aisle in front of me and he pulls out his iPad to start watching stuff. I’m curious to see what he’s going to watch – he’s a white guy in his mid-30s. And I begin to realize what he’s done is he’s loaded in half a dozen action sort of extravaganzas and he’s watching each of the action sequences – he’s skipping over all the dialogue and the narrative. This guy’s flight is going to be five and a half hours of just mayhem porn.
I get this wave of – not panic, it’s not like my heart started fluttering – but I had this sense of, am I going insane? Or is the world going insane – or both? Now I start with the circular thinking again. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s generational and I’m getting old, I’m in the back nine professionally. And maybe my 22-year-old daughter doesn’t feel this way at all. I should ask her. But then I think, no: Something is going on – something that can be measured is happening, and there has to be. When people are more outraged by the ambiguous ending of The Sopranos than some young girl being stoned to death, then there’s something wrong. We have people walking around who think the government stages these terrorist attacks. And anybody with a brain bigger than a walnut knows that our government is not nearly competent enough to stage a terrorist attack and then keep it a secret because, as we know, in this day and age you cannot keep a secret.
So I think that life is sort of like a drumbeat. It has a rhythm and sometimes it’s fast and sometimes it’s slower, and maybe what’s happening is this drumbeat is just accelerating and it’s gotten to the point where I can’t hear between the beats anymore and it’s just a hum. Again, I thought maybe that’s my generation, every generation feels that way, maybe I should ask my daughter. But then I remember somebody did this experiment where if you’re in a car and you’re going more than 20 miles an hour it becomes impossible to distinguish individual features on a human being’s face. I thought that’s another good analogy for this sensation. It’s a very weird experiment for someone to come up with.
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HBO and Funny Or Die are teaming on Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles, the first HBO comedy special for Sarah Silverman. The stand-up concert will be shot next month in LA, with the premium network planning a fall premiere. Silverman made the feature film stand-up Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic was released in 2005, and she’s been plenty busy with a film career that most recently included voicing Vanellope in Wreck-It Ralph; she next is set for Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways To Die In The West. Funny Or Die and Black Gold Films are producing the special, which is exec produced by Heidi Herzon, Mike Farah, Anna Wenger, Betsy Koch, Amy Zvi and Silverman.
Travel Channel is embarking on its post-Anthony Bourdain life by adding four new series to its 2013 programming slate, which was unveiled today as part of Scripps Networks Interactive‘s upfront presentation today in NY. The lineup includes a new show from host Adam Richman, Adam Richman’s Fandemonium, which will premiere July 14. The other three greenlighted shows are the wilderness survival series Get Lost, the take-out food series Best Daym Takeout starring YouTube food critic Daymon Patterson, and the antique car restoration show Backroad Gold. Travel Channel also set premiere dates for Season 3 of Hotel Impossible (August 12) and Season 5 of Mysteries At The Museum (August 15).
Food Network is celebrating its 20th anniversary and along with sibling Cooking Channel will add more than 20 new series to its lineup, Scripps said today. HGTV unveiled nine new original series.
Here’s a look at the networks’ new and returning shows: Read More »
The Weinstein Co.’s Silver Linings Playbook and leading duo Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper came up big at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards, nabbing Best Female Performance, Best Male Performance, and Best Kiss at the annual fan-driven ceremony. Marvel’s The Avengers took home three awards including Movie Of The Year, while host Rebel Wilson and her breakout summer pic Pitch Perfect also garnered kudos. Meanwhile, Taylor Lautner of Summit’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 snagged a win out of the film’s lone nomination: Best Shirtless Performance. Here’s the full list of winners, highlighted in bold:
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EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Anne Hathaway is near a deal to star with Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar, the next film that Christopher Nolan will direct. This is a heckuva follow up to Les Miserables, for which Hathaway won the Academy Award. It also reunites her with Nolan, after she last year played the Selina/Catwoman role in Nolan’s Batfinale The Dark Knight Rises. McConaughey is also enjoying a resurgence fueled by his Independent Spirit Award-winning turn in Magic Mike, and several other pics.
Not much is known about the specific log line (Nolan and cohorts work under the cone of silence) and that includes casting. I was able to break the news about McConaughey (he confirmed it a week later), and I am sure Hathaway’s deal will make. The film is a co-production between Paramount and Warner Bros and was originally set up in 2006 by Steven Spielberg, when Paramount owned DreamWorks, and after Spielberg became intrigued by Caltech physicist and relativity expert Kip S. Thorne and his scientific theory that wormholes exist and can be used for time travel. Spielberg set Jonah Nolan to write the script, which made it easy for Christopher Nolan to come aboard after Spielberg left the project. After all, the Nolan siblings have a collaborative track record, with Jonah hatching the short story that became Christopher’s first hit Memento, and following that with two Batfilms and The Prestige. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Screen Gems has set Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez and Olivia Munn to star in Beware The Night, a film that re-teams Clint Culpepper’s Sony-based company with The Exorcism Of Emily Rose tandem of Scott Derrickson and Paul Boardman. The film is a paranormal thriller that will be produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Derrickson will direct a script he and Boardman wrote and shooting will begin May 20 in the Bronx.
The film reunites Bana with Bruckheimer; they previously worked together on Black Hawk Down, one of the films that sprung Bana’s movie career. Here, Bana plays an Irish Catholic cop working a case when he meets a renegade priest. Despite the cop’s beliefs, he’s convinced by the priest that there is a demonic element and together they work to solve the case and combat the paranormal forces working against them. Ramirez plays the priest. Munn plays the cop’s wife, who also has a tie to the case. Screen Gems is hoping this will blossom into a franchise. Chad Oman and Mike Stenson will be exec producers.
“Beware The Night is a project we’ve been developing for many years, confident that a story which combines the paranormal with a gritty New York City police story is both original and strongly appealing to audiences,” Bruckheimer said. “We’re … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s an intriguing casting possibility to chew on going into the holiday weekend. I’m told Christopher Nolan has offered the male lead of his next film, Interstellar, to Matthew McConaughey. The character’s name is Cooper and while there is no deal yet, who says no to Nolan? The project is a co-production between Paramount and Warner Bros. Interstellar was originally set up in 2006 by Steven Spielberg, when Paramount owned DreamWorks, and after Spielberg became intrigued by Caltech physicist and relativity expert Kip S. Thorne and his scientific theory that wormholes exist and can be used for time travel. It was Spielberg who set Jonah Nolan to write the script, which made it easy for Christopher Nolan to come aboard after Spielberg left the project. After all, the Nolan siblings have a collaborative track record, with Jonah hatching the short story that became Christopher’s first hit Memento, and following that with two Batfilms and The Prestige. Christopher Nolan signed on in January to write a script that merged an original idea of his with the script that Jonah wrote. The ambition is a film that will depict a heroic interstellar voyage to the farthest borders of our scientific understanding. Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas are producing with Lynda Obst. Jordan Goldberg is joining as exec producer alongside Thorne, who’ll remain on as technical consultant. Read More »
Columbia Pictures has snagged Seth Rogen for The Interview. The actor will not only star in the comedy but he will direct and produce it as well from a story he and Evan Goldberg came up with. Dan Sterling wrote teh screenplay. The Interview follows a talk show producer (Rogen) and his host as they get drawn into geopolitical intrigue with an attempt on the life of one of the leaders of rogue state North Korea. Rogen is repped by UTA and Principal Entertainment LA.
Magic Mike’s Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde will play the leads in Universal’s remake of 1981’s Endless Love. Starring Brooke Shields, the original film was based on the 1979 book by Scott Spencer. The new version will be directed by Shana Feste. Scott Stuber and Pamela Abdy of Bluegrass Films and Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage from Fake Empire are producing with Tracy Falco as executive produce. Soon to be seen in the White House saga The Butler, Pettyfer is repped by WME and attorney Steve Warren. Starring in the upcoming Carrie remake, Wilde is repped by ICM Partners and by Charles Collier in the U.K.
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EXCLUSIVE: CBS: Miami alum Adam Rodriguez is back at CBS with a co-starring role in the network’s drama pilot Reckless, from CSI: Miami producer CBS TV Studios. The Charleston, SC-set project centers on Jamie (Anna Wood), a gorgeous Yankee litigator, and Roy (Cam Gigandet), a Southern City Attorney, who struggle to hide their intense attraction while clashing over a police sex scandal. Rodriguez plays Preston, a well-respected police detective who works on the Charleston PD alongside Trey (Shawn Hatosy). Rodriguez is the second top alum of the CSI franchise to book a CBS pilot this year along with Marg Helgenberger of the mothership CSI series, who co-stars in Intelligence. Rodriguez, repped by Global Artists and A Management, was recently in Magic Mike and will next be seen in Lovesick.
Few consumers are welcoming the new Los Angeles Dodgers/Time Warner Cable TV deal because they’re going to get screwed out of more hard-earned money per month. They can thank Guggenheim Partners which bought the Dodgers with an ownership group including Magic Johnson and Peter Guber for $2.15 billion last year. Guggenheim plans to carry the games on a new regional sports network it’ll own called SportsNetLA. It’s got Time Warner Cable doing the heavy lifting as its charter distributor, exclusive advertising and affiliate sales agent, and channel operations manager. But now there’s a problem: the January deal has yet even to be submitted to Major League Baseball for approval. The reason is that MLB wants to know exactly what its cut of the $7 billion, 25-year television deal will be. And Guggenheim looks like it’s trying to pitch curveballs to the league. Trust me, if you think Hollywood studios are greedy, you’ve never seen sports team owners or their leagues. So this is greed vs greedier vs greediest.
To summarize what’s in dispute, the current collective bargaining agreement’s base portion of the revenue-sharing plan calls on MLB teams to contribute 34% of net local revenue. But the way that figure gets calculated is becoming increasingly blurred by stuff like these regional sports networks and who owns them. Guggenheim’s deal is even blurrier. So now everything from rights fees, naming rights, guaranteed carriage money, and other revenue expected to go into Guggenheim’s wallet can be picked by MLB’s revenue-sharing plan. That’s the crux … Read More »
Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained and Seth MacFarlane’s Ted lead the 2013 MTV Movie Awards nominations with seven each. Silver Linings Playbook follows with six nods and the final installment in the Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, nabbed five. The Avengers, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Pitch Perfect and Skyfall all have four noms each. Rebel Wilson, nominated for Best Female Performance and Breakthrough Performance for her role as Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect, hosts the annual celebration of movies, actors and music. She’ll be joined by Will Ferrell, who’ll receive MTV’s inaugural Comedic Genius Award. The show airs live on MTV at 9 PM ET on Sunday, April 14. The complete list of nominees follows:
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On-scene coverage by Deadline’s Pete Hammond and Dominic Patten, Awardsline’s Anthony D’Alessandro, and contributor Diane Haithman. Written by Nikki Finke:
Refresh For Latest… SANTA MONICA – The always fun (and usually comic) 28th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards from Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization, spread the wealth today at a daytime luncheon in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. (The broadcast will air at 10:00 pm ET/PT on IFC.) Many audience favorites won, as indicated by the cheering. The Weinstein Company scored the most marquee winners for Silver Linings Playbook including Best Feature, Best Female Lead Jennifer Lawrence, and Best Director and Best Screenplay for David O Russell. Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate’s The Perks Of Being A Wallflower took First Feature for Steve Chbosky, and Fox Searchlight’s The Sessions won Best Male Lead for John Hawkes and Best Female Supporting for Helen Hunt, while Warner Bros’ Magic Mike won Best Male Supporting for Matthew McConaughey. Sony Pictures Classics’ Amour won Best Foreign Language while Cinedigm’s The Invisible War took Best Documentary. (See below for all the winners)
This is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers who embody independence and originality. The host is Andy Samberg, in a bewildering green tuxedo, here flanked by Film Independent co-Presidents Sean … Read More »
Esai Morales is has joined the cast of CBS‘ legal drama pilot The Advocates. Written by Bruno Heller and directed by David Nutter, Advocates centers on lawyer Shannon Carter and ex-con Henry Bird who team up as “victim advocates,” going to the very edge of the law to right wrongs and fight for the underdog. Morales will play Rafael “Raffa” Cortez, an ambitious and somewhat Machiavellian district attorney. He joins recently cast CCH Pounder. Morales, repped by Innovative and KLWGN, is recurring on the upcoming second season of Starz’s Magic City.
Tyler Labine is set to co-star opposite Rupert Grint in Super Clyde, Greg Garcia’s single-camera pilot for CBS. The project, from CBS TV Studios, centers on Clyde (Grint), a meek, unassuming fast food worker who decides to become a super hero. Mike Fresco is directing. Labine, repped by CAA and manager Tyman Stewart, will play Duke, Clyde’s older brother. He most recently co-starred on NBC’s Animal Practice and before on CBS’ Mad Love, and he’ll be next seen in the feature Best Man Down.