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Specialty B.O. Office Preview: ‘Calvary’, ‘Rich Hill’, ‘Child Of God’, ‘The Strange Little Cat’

By | Thursday July 31, 2014 @ 2:42pm PDT

Specialty B.O. Office Preview:  ‘Calvary’, ‘Rich Hill’, ‘Child Of God’, ‘The Strange Little Cat’Fox Searchlight has had two great box office wins with this year’s Grand Budapest Hotel and Belle, though some challenge with I Origins. Calvary from John Michael McDonagh with Brendan Gleeson and Chris O’Dowd will be the distributor’s next title opening this weekend in a summer season that has heated up in recent weeks among Specialties with films like Boyhood. Sundance documentary winner Rich Hill will also join this weekend’s newcomers with a New York bow via The Orchard, while writer-director-star James Franco‘s Child Of God will open in 10 locations courtesy of Well Go USA. KimStim will open German film The Strange Little Cat, a festival favorite that was made for about €13,000 in New York with a day and date release with Fandor.

CalvaryCalvary
Director-writer: John Michael McDonagh
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Isaach De Bankolé
Distributor: Fox Searchlight

Chris Clark and producing partner Flora Fernandez-Marengo first heard the idea for Calvary back when their company Reprisal Films produced filmmaker John Michael McDonagh’s previous project The Guard in 2011 (that film opened with a $19,209 PTA in four theaters in July 2011 in the U.S. via Sony Classics, going on to cume $5.36M domestically). “It came out of a conversation we were all having with Brendan Gleeson [who also starred in The Guard],” said Clark. “Nine months later, John [McDonagh] presented the script.” Read More »

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Hungry AMC Networks Angling For Major BBC America Stake

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 2:41pm PDT

Hungry AMC Networks Angling For Major BBC America StakeThe cable networks company known for its hits The Walking Dead and Mad Men could use the deal to further establish itself as a leading distributor of premium content — strengthening its ability to sell ads and negotiate high fees from cable and satellite companies. Bankers and executives are working on a cash and stock deal, I’m told — but with no dollar figures yet.

The arrangement would give AMC Networks just short of a majority stake in BBC America, unlike a previous representation arrangement with Discovery, which did not own equity. While BBC Worldwide would still control the channel and brand, AMC would be able to influence programming decisions and handle BBC America’s domestic ad sales and distribution. Talks have been ongoing for several months, but a deal isn’t complete. Bloomberg was first to report the negotiations.

AMC and BBC know each other well. They’re co-producers of The Honorable Woman, which premieres tomorrow on SundanceTV. Last year they partnered on Sundance’s Top Of the Lake, and they have an upcoming production, One Child.
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IFC Midnight Takes Possession Of ‘Inner Demons’

By | Tuesday July 29, 2014 @ 1:22pm PDT

IFC Midnight Takes Possession Of ‘Inner Demons’Genre label IFC Midnight has acquired U.S. rights to Inner Demons, a possession tale about an Intervention-style reality TV crew filming a 16-year-old (Lara Vosburgh) fighting addiction who actually might be possessed by a demon. Director Seth Grossman has some expertise in the area; he was a producer on A&E’s popular series Intervention. Morgan McClellan, Colleen McGrann, Kate Whitney and Brian Flaherty also star in the pic scripted by Glenn Gers and produced by Robin Schorr, which premiered at the LA Film Festival in June. Arianna Bocco and Sean Berney negotiated the deal for Sundance Selects/IFC Films with Josh Braun of Submarine and Linda Lichter of Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler and Feldman on behalf of the filmmakers.

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Nat Faxon & Jim Rash Ink Overall Deal With Sony Pictures TV

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 9:35am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Nat Faxon & Jim Rash Ink Overall Deal With Sony Pictures TVEXCLUSIVE: Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants) have signed a two-year overall deal with Sony Pictures TV. This marks the first overall TV pact for the Oscar-winning writing duo. Under the agreement, Faxon and Rash will develop and produce series projects with Kevin Walsh, their film and TV producing partner at the trio’s B Story banner. Faxon and Rash previously penned the 2005 ABC comedy pilot Adopted and made their TV directing debut this past season with Fox’s comedy pilot Fatrick, which they also executive produced. Additionally, both have series experience as actors. Rash has a relationship with Sony TV with his co-starring role on the studio’s cult comedy Community, which recently found a new home at Yahoo, while Faxon stars on FX’s freshman comedy series Married.

On the feature side, in addition to earning an Oscar for co-writing The Descendants with Alexander Payne, the duo helmed their script for The Way, Way Back, which starred Steve Carell and premiered at Sundance in 2013. Faxon and Rash were repped in the deal-making with Sony TV by CAA. The duo have since signed with WME. Faxon is managed by Principato-Young; Rash by Intellectual Artists. Both are with Stone, Meyer, Genow.

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Specialty B.O.: ‘Magic In The Moonlight,’ ‘A Most Wanted Man’ Find A Little Magic In Debuts

Specialty B.O.: ‘Magic In The Moonlight,’ ‘A Most Wanted Man’ Find A Little Magic In DebutsBold debuts from two of the weekend’s openers in a crowded specialty box office included yet another Woody Allen film as well as a last starring turn from the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight was another solid opener in a string of recent successes for the veteran writer-director, with a good per-screen average. That said, the numbers were less stratospheric than some of his recent summer films when comparing on a straight theater average, though this go-around did bow in substantially more locations.
Magic is Allen’s third consecutive summer release (and seventh if you count the ”shoulder” seasons).  The formula continues to be a lucrative one for Allen and his backers. In its opening weekend, Magic brought in nearly $426K in 17 theaters, for a solid $25K PTA. The film, starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone, bowed with 11 more runs than last year’s box-office and award-winning behemoth Blue Jasmine (the best performer of Allen’s very long career), which debuted to a $102K PTA in 6 theaters. That film also had a $612K opening weekend and went on to cume over $33.4M.
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Global Showbiz Briefs: Venice Film Festival To Expand Online Screenings; StudioCanal Sets Thriller ‘’71’ For October In UK; More

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 10:00pm PDT

Global Showbiz Briefs: Venice Film Festival To Expand Online Screenings; StudioCanal Sets Thriller ‘’71’ For October In UK; MoreThe Venice Film Festival, which announced its lineup this morning, is expanding its online screening offering this year. Sala Web, the initiative that acts as a parallel online showcase for films officially selected in the Horizons and Biennale College sidebars, this year will be available 24 hours a day over five days from anywhere in the world. The virtual screening room provides a limited viewing window during the festival with a capped allotment of tickets to be sold through a dedicated online box office. Films selected make their online world premieres in the Sala Web simultaneously with their official presentations on the Lido. Tickets priced at 4 each go on sale in mid-August at www.labiennale.org. The fest runs August 27-September 6.

Jack O'Connell in '71StudioCanal has set an October 10 UK release date for ’71, the Yann Demange-directed thriller that played to great reception in Berlin this year. Rising star Jack O’Connell plays a young British soldier accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the streets of Belfast. Unable to tell friend from foe, and increasingly wary of his own comrades, he must survive the night alone and find his way to safety through a disorientating, alien and deadly landscape. Sean Harris, Killian Scott, Martin McCann and Charlie Murphy also star. Gregory Burke wrote the screenplay. Roadside Attractions has U.S. distribution.

If ’71 is looking to bring in the male-skewing crowd, then … Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Magic In The Moonlight’, ‘The Fluffy Movie’, ‘A Most Wanted Man’, ‘The Kill Team’, ‘Happy Christmas’

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:27pm PDT

Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Magic In The Moonlight’, ‘The Fluffy Movie’, ‘A Most Wanted Man’, ‘The Kill Team’, ‘Happy Christmas’Looming in the wake of Boyhood‘s hot box office roll out earlier this month, some heavy-hitters will enter the Specialty fray this weekend which should shape up to be rather interesting come Sunday box office time. Woody Allen blitzed theaters last July with a smashing roll out of Blue Jasmine and he’s back, courtesy once again of Sony Classics with his latest Magic In The Moonlight. The distributor, however, is taking a somewhat different release track this time around. Lionsgate/Roadside is opening Philip Seymour Hoffman starrer A Most Wanted Man after delaying the title’s bow in the wake of its star’s death. The film will have a sizable theater count as it heads out to the box office Friday. But the weekend’s biggest Specialty opener in terms of location tally is Open Road’s The Fluffy Movie, which will hit several hundred locations nationwide though the bulk of its marketing has been targeted to a particular audience. On the other end of the scale is Oscilloscope’s Tribeca-winner The Kill Team which will bow at a single exclusive showing in NYC, while Magnolia’s Happy Christmas will have its theatrical launch in several locations after launching via ultra-VOD in late June.

Magic In The MoonlightMagic in the moonlight 3
Director-writer: Woody Allen
Cast: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Antonia Clarke, Natasha Andrews, Valérie Beaulieu, Jackie Weaver, Peter Wollasch
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

SPC has had a winning streak with Woody Allen summer releases and it’s sticking to that formula for the filmmaker’s latest. Last year’s Oscar winner Blue Jasmine launched as a Specialty behemoth July 26 in 6 theaters, with a dazzling $102K average, eventually grossing over $33.4 million domestically. To Rome With Love was a comparatively more “modest” release, with a $72,272 PTA in five theaters in June 2012 ($16.69M cume), while 2011′s Midnight In Paris rocketed a $99,834 launch weekend PTA with six runs — eventually grossing over $56.8 million. “His films really seem to work in summer time,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker whose company has released Allen’s most recent five movies (and others in the past). The only recent exception was 2010′s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger which opened in September of that year ($3.24M gross).” Read More »

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FilmBuff Falls For ‘The Heart Machine’

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 9:00am PDT

FilmBuff Falls For ‘The Heart Machine’EXCLUSIVE: FilmBuff has acquired newcomer Zach Wigon’s debut feature The Heart Machine, starring Newsroom‘s John Gallagher Jr. and House Of CardsKate Lyn Sheil. The digital-age romantic thriller stars Gallagher Jr. as Cody, a Brooklynite who begins to suspect that the woman he fell for online, Virginia, might not actually live in Berlin. Wigon wrote and helmed the pic, which debuted in competition earlier this year at SXSW. The Heart Machine is based on Wigon’s award-winning 2012 short Someone Else’s Heart and was completed with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Exec producers are Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Jordan Lewis, Abe Schwartz, Andrew Kelley, and Eric Schultz. Paradigm negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. FilmBuff will release The Heart Machine theatrically and on VOD this autumn. Gallagher most recently starred in SXSW-winning drama Short Term 12 and next appears in upcoming HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge. Sheil heads next month to the set of sci-fier Equals and will have Sundance pic Listen Up Philip in theaters in October.

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Global Showbiz Briefs: First Trailer For Fox’s Indian ‘Knight And Day’ Remake ‘Bang Bang’; Will Ferrell Getting Deauville Fest Tribute; More

Global Showbiz Briefs: First Trailer For Fox’s Indian ‘Knight And Day’ Remake ‘Bang Bang’; Will Ferrell Getting Deauville Fest Tribute; MoreBang Bang, Fox’s anticipated Indian remake of Knight And Day, has dropped a teaser in what is shaping up to be a hot week for Bollywood. The film stars Hrithik Roshan, who underwent brain surgery last year to remove a blood clot, causing a delay in production and moving the release date from May to October 2 this year — the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. It’s also the start of the four-day Dussehra Hindu festival weekend holiday. Siddharth Anand directs Bang Bang, which also stars Katrina Kaif. Roshan, who’s a bona fide star at home with a growing international profile (his wax likeness stands at Madame Tussaud’s in the UK), most recently starred in superhero pic Krrish 3. That film broke records in India in 2013. A special screening of the Bang Bang teaser was hosted in India this week and set social media abuzz. Here’s a look:

Will Ferrellwillferrell is set for a tribute at the 40th annual Deauville American Film Festival in September. The Saturday Night Live veteran’s recent credits include The Lego Movie, Anchorman 2 and the upcoming Get Hard, and his Gary Sanchez Productions this week announced a film adaptation on the 1980s TV series Manimal. “The Deauville American Film Festival is, as its name suggests, the festival of all kinds of cinema, of every genre, and therefore considers nothing as off-limits,” fest director Bruno Barde … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Dear White People’

Hot Trailer: ‘Dear White People’Written and directed by Justin Simien, Dear White People takes a satirical look at race relations in the age of Obama. Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon P. Bell, Kyle Gallner, Malcolm Barrett, Brittany Curran, Marque Richardson, and Dennis Haysbert star in the Sundance prize winner that follows a group of black students as they navigate campus life and racial politics at a predominantly white college. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions will release the film October 17. Check out the first official trailer:

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Toronto Film Fest Will Close With World Premiere of ‘A Little Chaos’; No Opener Yet; Jon Stewart, Chris Rock Get Perches

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 8:40am PDT

Toronto Film Fest Will Close With World Premiere of ‘A Little Chaos’; No Opener Yet; Jon Stewart, Chris Rock Get PerchesUPDATED, 8:40 AM: The 39th Toronto Film Festival, running September 4-14, will close with the world premiere of Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos with Kate Winslet, Rickman, Matthias Schoenaerts and Stanley Tucci. The opening-night film was not announced at this morning’s press conference.

Alan Rickman Kate WinsletA Little Chaos is the perfect closing-night film – it transports audiences to another time, another place, full of beauty, complexity, rivalry, politics and romance,” said Toronto artistic director Cameron Bailey. “Alan Rickman’s film will wind audiences up just as our festival is winding down.”

In this sumptuous historical drama Sabine De Barra (Winslet)  —  a landscaper with a taste for the unconventional — is invited to design one of the fountains at the Palace of Versailles. As she battles with the weather, the perilous rivalries at the court of Louis XIV and her own private demons, she finds herself drawn inescapably closer to the formality and enigma of the architect who hired her.

Of the 13 Galas and 46 Special Presentations announced, the initial lineup includes 37 world premieres from directors including Noah Baumbach, Susanne Bier, Peter Ho-Sun Chan, David Dobkin, Philippe Falardeau, Mia Hansen-Løve, Ning Hao, François Ozon, Christian Petzold, Lone Scherfig and Chris Rock. Here’s the list: Read More »

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Oscar-Nominated Film Now Aiming To WIN An Emmy For Netflix – How Is It Eligible For Both?

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 11:39am PDT
Pete Hammond

Oscar-Nominated Film Now Aiming To WIN An Emmy For Netflix – How Is It Eligible For Both?The Squarea harrowing documentary about the Egyptian revolution as seen through the eyes of six of its participants, was Oscar-nominated in the 2013 Best Feature Documentary race. So how come it is suddenly a major contender at the Emmys too? Inquiries have come to our attention, including one calling for its withdrawal from Emmy competition, so I decided to check it out.

Daytime Emmy Awards WinnersThe film, which accounts for four of the impressive 31 Emmy nominations Netflix received this year, was picked up by the streaming service and qualified last year for the Oscar race with a seven-day run, according to the Television Academy, which has assured me they thoroughly examined this one. “The Square was not in general release prior to it TV appearance; rather, it qualified for the Oscars under the ‘one week NY-LA limited screening rule’ which would not have affected Emmy eligibility. Please know that we and the documentary peer group vetted the hell out of this one, and it’s good to Emmy go,” according to John Leverence, SVP Awards for the TV Academy. Read More »

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Specialty B.O.: ‘Boyhood’s’ Big Shoulders Continue To Dominate In Second Week

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 11:05am PDT

Specialty B.O.: ‘Boyhood’s’ Big Shoulders Continue To Dominate In Second WeekBoyhood continued to muscle into the Specialty Box Office in its second frame amid an expansion, even while the weekend’s newcomers showed mixed numbers. Zach Braff‘s Wish I Was Here and Mike Cahill‘s I Origins, second films from both writer/directors, bowed with averages in the low $7K range. IFC FilmsBoyhood opened last week with the year’s second highest PTA among limited-release titles and only compounded its star status in expansion. The Richard Linklater-directed feature added 29 locations, grossing nearly $1.2 million in 34 theaters, a stellar $35,230 per-screen average and a $1,848,050 two-week cume.
Boyhood’s mid- to long-term momentum appears assured with a 99-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and what IFC Films says is “word of mouth… through the roof, as reflected by eye-popping exit polls this weekend and minimal drop at last weekend’s opening theaters.” IFC, which financed the film throughout its 12-year gestation, said the title played solidly across all demographics, with top scores from teens and from “those in their 60s and beyond.” Boyhood will expand to the top 25 markets next weekend and will continue to widen in coming weeks.
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Specialty Preview: Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ Plus ‘I Origins,’ ‘Mood Indigo,’ ‘Alive Inside’

By | Thursday July 17, 2014 @ 9:17pm PDT

Specialty Preview: Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ Plus ‘I Origins,’ ‘Mood Indigo,’ ‘Alive Inside’Last weekend Richard Linklater made a Specialty box office splash with the 2nd highest screen average of the year with Boyhood. This week, Focus will hope to grab some similarly outsized attention for Zach Braff‘s Wish I Was Here. His previous film, 2004′s Garden State, cumed more than $26.7 million at a time before crowd sourcing was an indie norm. Braff has since learned some new tricks, raising the seed money for his latest, which debuted at Sundance earlier this year. Fox Searchlight will open second-time feature filmmaker Mike Cahill‘s I Origins on both coasts, while Drafthouse will bow French filmmaker Michel Gondry‘s Mood Indigo in two locations in NYC and L.A. Bond/360 will open the weekend’s new doc, Alive Inside, in an initial exclusive New York run. The film won an audience prize at Sundance.
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Hot Trailer: ‘Laggies’ with Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell

By | Wednesday July 16, 2014 @ 2:29pm PDT

Hot Trailer: ‘Laggies’ with Keira Knightley, Sam RockwellThe trailer for ‘Laggies‘ has dropped, sloooowwwwly, of course. The Sundance selection from A24 stars Keira Knightley as a overeducated, underachieving woman lagging well behind her demographic cohort in life as she dodges responsibility and grown-up things like serious jobs and a marriage proposal. Chloë Grace Moretz plays the high schooler she befriends, then hides out with while dodging said marriage proposal, and Sam Rockwell plays Moretz’s initially bemused and then increasingly intrigued father. The film debuts Oct. 24, unless it lags a bit more, of course. Here it is. Let us know what you think.

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Karyn Kusama’s ‘The Invitation’ The Next Gamechanger Pic

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 1:38pm PDT

Karyn Kusama’s ‘The Invitation’ The Next Gamechanger PicEXCLUSIVE: Filming in the Hollywood Hills has wrapped on The Invitation, the latest feature from Girlfight‘s Sundance award-winner Karyn Kusama and the helmer’s first since 2009′s Jennifer’s Body. It’s also the second feature to be backed by femme-focused Gamechanger Films, the film fund established last year to finance narrative features helmed by women in an effort to equalize gender disparity in film. The first Gamechanger project, road tripper Land Ho! co-directed by Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz, sold out of Sundance in January. Sony Classics opened the pic on Friday. Read More »

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Specialty B.O.: ‘Boyhood’ Spectacular Bow While ‘Begin Again’ Strong In Expansion

By | Sunday July 13, 2014 @ 12:08pm PDT

Specialty B.O.: ‘Boyhood’ Spectacular Bow While ‘Begin Again’ Strong In ExpansionBoyhood bowed spectacularly this weekend, piling audiences into five theaters for the initial run of Richard Linklater‘s tour de force that was 12 years in the making. As we mentioned earlier this morning, the IFC Films title is coming in with a $360 – 385K weekend estimate for a stratospheric $72K to 77K PTA, depending on how the dust settles Sunday. Friday and Saturday numbers were buoyed by Q&As in both New York and LA, but none are scheduled today. IFC Films was actually conservative reporting their numbers Sunday morning, with an initial $359K gross ($71,800 PTA) though others tracking the numbers had estimates land a bit higher. Whatever the number, the final tally points in one direction — this is a tremendous opening for the Berlin and Sundance festival title (and award winner at both) that had audiences swooning ahead of this weekend’s opening. Boyhood is easily the year’s second-best opener in terms of screen average behind Fox Searchlight’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which opened in several locations back in March with a record-breaking $202,792 PTA.  ”We are thrilled with the opening numbers for Boyhood this weekend,” IFC noted in reporting their numbers. “The opening numbers have surpassed our highest expectations for the weekend, as audiences flocked to theatrers for the critically acclaimed film.”
IFC Films financed the film by doling out small amounts each year over its 12-year process of creation. The AMC Networks division has a long-standing relationship with Linklater, having financed Waking Life and Tape. The Austin-based filmmaker and producer John Sloss had approached IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring about what was then dubbed the “12-year project” and, together with his boss Josh Sapan at AMC Networks, committed about $200,000 a year to the film’s editing and shooting. Said Sehring and Sapan: “Back in 2002, we thought Rick’s idea was an extraordinary notion and we believed him to be a great filmmaker.  Putting our creative and commercial fates in the hands of people who are brilliant has proven to be a terrific strategy for the company and we couldn’t’ be happier to have supported Rick’s creative vision. The result is a film for the ages and we can’t wait to bring Boyhood to the rest of the country in the weeks to come.”
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TCA: SundanceTV’s ‘The Honorable Woman’ Shoots Down Conspiracy Theory, Sequel Hopes

TCA: SundanceTV’s ‘The Honorable Woman’ Shoots Down Conspiracy Theory, Sequel HopesDiscussion of SundanceTV‘s new miniseries The Honorable Woman a political thriller starring Maggie Gyllenhaal — began with a question about the girl who was cast as the young Nessa when she’s  “darker” than Gyllenhaal. Apparently in the UK, where the show’s already debuted on BBC Two, it’s sparked some conspiracy theories — child-switching may be involved.

BAFTA-winning writer/director/producer Hugo Blick appeared to be unaware of the kerfuffle overseas, and said that when the young actress was cast she was “very much paler” than when she returned from a holiday, which they tried to correct in post — “but apparently not enough.”
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SundanceTV Serves Up Four-Hour ‘One Child’ On Thanksgiving Weekend

By | Friday July 11, 2014 @ 5:27pm PDT

SundanceTV Serves Up Four-Hour ‘One Child’ On Thanksgiving WeekendThe original miniseries follows the story of Mei, a young woman born in China and raised by British parents who is called back to Guangzhou by her desperate birth mother after Mei’s brother is wrongly accused of murder. One Child stars Katie leung__140401135354-275x368Leung as the woman who struggles in the face of crisis to determine her family loyalties, true identity and the meaning of family. Elizabeth Perkins, Donald Sumpter play her UK parents. SundanceTV will air the four-hour mini, which it acquired in the spring, on November 28 & 29. One Child is a BBC Drama production for BBC Two, co-produced with SundanceTV and distributed by BBC Worldwide North America. Hilary Salmon is the executive producer. It marks the former Sundance Channel’s third consecutive collaboration with BBC Worldwide, following the mini Top Of The Lake, which won a Golden Globe for star Elisabeth Moss, and the upcoming The Honorable Woman, toplined by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

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