Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor
UPDATE, 12:25 PM: The protest just wrapped up around its scheduled 12:30 PM target. Among the speakers was writer Bryan Cook, who addressed the picketers that reached about 150 in number and generated notice from passersby on foot and in cars along Wilshire Boulevard. He touched on why the writers are seeking union representation. “We’ve worked hard to make Fashion Police one of E!’s top-rated shows, and we don’t even get health care benefits,” he said. “It can be hard to get how hard this work is. It’s not like were working in a coal mine — you can’t get black lung from writing jokes, but rest assured, E! will try to find a way.” Said fellow writer Ed Rice to Deadline as the event was breaking up: “I don’t know what’s specifically next on our part. To a certain extent, its a stand-off — the ball’s really in their court. What we want is a phone call from the network to our representative at the guild saying they accept them as representation and would like to offer us a guild contract. That’s the only next step from the network we will accept.”
PREVIOUS, 11:43 AM: Striking writers from the Joan Rivers-hosted series Fashion Police are protesting today in front of E!‘s headquarters on the Miracle Mile in LA. Among the chants overheard from the 100-plus on the scene holding signs: “We’re … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Entertainment One has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Diana, the Oliver Hirschbiegel-directed drama about a secret love affair that Princess Diana had shortly before her tragic death. With Naomi Watts as the princess, this was one of the higher-profile pictures shopped at the Cannes Film Festival and eOne bought the rights from Embankment Films and Ecosse Films. eOne will also distribute with major releases in the UK, Canada and Spain with the U.S. film coming in Oscar season later this year.
Hirschbiegel helmed the Oscar-nominated Downfall, and screenwriter Stephen Jeffreys wrote The Libertine. Watts, coming off an Oscar nom for The Impossible, stars with Naveen Andrews (best known for ABC’s Lost and The English Patient) in this drama about Diana’s covert love affair with Dr. Hasnat Khan, a Pakistani heart surgeon. This happened in the last two years of her life, before she met Dodi Fayed, and the need for privacy led to her meeting her lover in disguises. This gave her a sense of living an anonymous life, but her incredible worldwide fame became an issue. The film is produced by Ecosse Films’ Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae. Read More »
Alexander Payne says he only finished postproduction last Friday on his Cannes competition entry Nebraska, which had its press screening this morning and will premiere tonight. Reviews coming in so far are largely mixed to very good. Even though Paramount won’t release it until November 22, Payne likes to take awhile in post to get everything right. There was initial concern about even making the Cannes date, so that is why until just a week before this year’s official lineup was announced did Paramount and Payne even decide to take a shot. He brought the film to Paris, showed it to Thierry Fremaux with only two days to spare, and landed tonight’s slot. Payne is becoming somewhat of a Cannes regular — although other than 2002′s About Schmidt, this is only his second film in competition. He has served on the juries of both Un Certain Regard and, last year, the main selection.
Nebraska, which will be one of Paramount’s Oscar hopes this year, played well to nice but brief applause from the press at the screening and at the press conference that followed (especially when stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte were introduced). It’s pure Payne in its humanist, gently funny style and captures that Middle America folksy style in beautiful black and white, but it is definitely what I would call a small film that will need tender loving care from the studio (the only major studio film in competition). Read More »
With the market officially wrapped, the deal pace has slowed to a crawl and the focus turns back to the movies. That’s after a week of international sales on some key titles and a few high-profile domestic deals in an environment that nevertheless was marked by caution. Oftentimes as Cannes is about to start, there are splashy announcements of domestic pick-ups on fest-related movies and that helps set the pace. In 2011, The Weinstein Co. acquired The Artist before the curtain lifted. Last year, it grabbed The Sapphires and Sony Pictures Classics bought Susanne Bier’s Love Is All You Need on Day One. This year, there were no eve-of-the-fest acquisitions on titles that are in official selection (although Warner Bros. moved in on Ryan Gosling’s How To Catch A Monster which is currently shooting and Lionsgate arrived in town having taken the upcoming The Quiet Ones). Ultimately, U.S. buyers that I spoke with ahead of the fest said they would be opportunistic, but cautious. “Everyone goes in very carefully,” Sony Classics’ Tom Bernard told me. “There’s a lot of pushback in the ancillary areas so when you’re spending money, you have to spend it wisely.”
Foreign sellers say there’s a shift in the balance of key territories. China, Russia, Brazil, the Middle East and even India – which has such a massive local box office – are becoming “significant pieces of the puzzle.” Spain and Italy remain the places that make sellers misty given the economic crises there. Rai, however, did pick up The Gunman starring Sean Penn in what was a notable buy for the company. That movie virtually sold out for Studiocanal. Read More »
2013-14 Fox New Series
New Comedies — Fall
Brooklyn Nine-Nine — From Emmy Award-winning writer/producers Dan Goor and Michael Schur (“Parks and Recreation”), and starring Emmy Award winners Andy Samberg (“Saturday Night Live”) and Andre Braugher (“Men of a Certain Age,” “Homicide: Life on the Street”), BROOKLYN NINE-NINE is a new single-camera ensemble comedy about what happens when a talented, but carefree, detective gets a new captain with a lot to prove. Detective JAKE PERALTA (Samberg) is a good enough cop that he’s never had to work that hard or follow the rules too closely. Perhaps because he has the best arrest record among his colleagues, he’s been enabled – if not indulged – throughout his entire career. That is, until the precinct gets a new commanding officer, Captain RAY HOLT (Braugher), who reminds this hotshot cop to respect the badge. Jake may have collared more criminals, but Detective AMY SANTIAGO (Melissa Fumero, “One Life to Live,” “Gossip Girl”) is close behind, and she’s keenly aware of how many arrests she needs to close the gap. Amy grew up with seven brothers who were all cops. She’s the first girl in the family to put on a police uniform, and suffice it to say: she’s extremely competitive…about everything. Also working cases in Brooklyn’s 99th precinct is Sergeant TERRY JEFFORDS (Terry Crews, “Bridesmaids,” “Everybody Hates Chris”), a linebacker of a man who’s lost his nerve, not because he’s a wimp, but because a year ago, his wife … Read More »
UPDATE, 10:55 AM: Cinedigm has just acquired all North American distribution rights to Visitors, with a fall 2013 4K release planned after the Toronto bow.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 12:01 AM: : The Toronto Film Festival has set the Godfrey Reggio-directed Visitors to have its world premiere at the festival September 8, in a most splashy manner. The film has an original score by Philip Glass and it is being presented by Steven Soderbergh. While that filmmaker is stepping away from directing features, he’s not done backing them and has been a big supporter of Reggio’s work since Koyaanisqatsi 30 years ago. The Toronto premiere will be presented in 4K digital projection and live accompaniment by members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Michael Riesman. The premiere will be held that Sunday at 6 PM at the Visa Screening Room at the Elgin Theatre.
Said TIFF Director and CEO Piers Handling: “Reggio’s Visitors is a poignant, powerful film. Coupled with live performance by 65 Members of the TSO, this event is an opportunity for Toronto audiences to be moved and to experience film in a whole new way.”
Of his involvement, Soderbergh told me: “I was a producer on the last Qatsi film but had lost touch with Godfrey and out of the blue I emailed his producer, Lawrence Taub. He told me they were in the last stages of cutting his new movie. They brought me out to Red Hook in Brooklyn to show it to me. I loved it and said, ‘What can I do to help, what do you want?’ They asked if I would be presenter and help them navigate making a distribution deal and finding a foreign sales person and I said, ‘I’m in.’ ” Read More »
New Falling Skies showrunner David Eick has started to put together a strong writing staff for the hit TNT drama’s fourth season. Veteran showrunner Carol Barbee has joined the alien-invasion series as a consulting producer. She recently worked with Eick on Fox’s Touch where she was an executive producer and he was a consulting producer. Season 3 of Falling Skies, executive produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Noah Wyle, kicks off with a two-hour premiere June 9. It is yet to be renewed for a fourth season though that is considered a formality as Falling Skies is TNT’s #1 scripted series in the younger demos. WME-repped Barbee previously served as executive producer/showrunner on cult CBS drama Jericho which, similarly to Falling Skies, was set in a post-apocalyptic world.
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, groundbreaking fare. That began with sex, lies, and videotape. The movie won the Audience Award at Sundance and the Palme d’Or at Cannes before grossing nearly $25 million in 1989 and earning him an original screenplay Oscar nom. 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.” An Oscar (for directing 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 talks with Deadline about Behind The Candelabra, indie economics and more.
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 rollout. 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 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 book retail chain’s shares are up 8.1% in mid-afternoon trading, making it one of the day’s biggest gainers in the media pack. Barron’s appears to be largely responsible for the move after it seized this weekend on reports that Microsoft might be willing to pay $1B for Barnes & Noble‘s NOOK tablet and e-reader platform. “It’s possible Microsoft may bid for Nook or the whole company, and there could also be interest from Liberty [Media]” which already owns 17% of Barnes & Noble, Barron’s says. Deals could send shares up as much as 50% the magazine estimates. The Microsoft rumor took off two weeks ago after Techcrunch cited “internal documents” that confirmed an offer. That sent shares to a 52-week high of $23.71. But enthusiasm fizzled last week when website Insider Monkey reported that a “highly placed source inside Microsoft” said an acquisition “is not happening in the foreseeable future.” That hasn’t put speculation about a big deal to rest. Founder Leonard Riggio has said that he might make an offer for the retail stores, although he hasn’t made it yet. Meanwhile Techcrunch yesterday cited “a source close to the matter” who says that Barnes & Noble is preparing to add a web browser, email, and apps to the Nook Simple Touch e-readers — potentially a big boost in functionality for a $79 device. The company recently … Read More »
The first purely American entry in the 2013 Cannes Film Festival competition (opening nighter The Great Gatsby was Out of Competition), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen‘s terrific Inside Llewyn Davis had its first press screening Saturday night to strong response and big buzz on the very rainy Croisette. This tale of a talented folk singer unable to balance art and commerce, and who never quite hits the big time in the late ’50s/early ’60s emerging folk scene, is pure Coen Brothers with a winning mixture of brilliantly observed comedy and darker moments that give it an edge most reminiscent of Coen movies like Barton Fink, which won the Palme d’Or on their first try at Cannes in 1991. Joel Coen also took the Director award that year and again for The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) among the seven previous times they have been in the Cannes competition. 1994′s The Hudsucker Proxy, 1996′s Fargo, 2000′s O Brother Where Art Thou, 2004′s The Ladykillers and 2007′s No Country For Old Men represent their other numerous chances to reap a second Palme d’Or since Barton Fink but none of them did the trick.
Judging from initial reaction, at least among the press, Inside Llewyn Davis probably makes them an early front-runner for that second Palme. We say early since the film doesn’t have its official black tie premiere at the Palais until Sunday night, only the fourth day of the competition. But with its superb acting including leading man Oscar Isaac as the morose but oddly engaging Llewyn and a great supporting cast including Carey Mulligan, John Goodman (just great), Justin Timberlake, Stark Sands and a scene-stealing cat (or cats? – you’ll see) among others, plus the Coens’ knack for catching this era in all its glory, I suspect this will remain a contender for the entire week of debuts to come. Read More »
Diane Haithman is a contributor to Deadline.
SPOILER ALERT! UPDATE: Steve Carell reprised his role as former Dunder Mifflin manager Michael Scott after all — appearing about 45 minutes into The Office finale to be Dwight’s “bestest mensch” (read: best man) at his wedding to Angela. After Michael unexpectedly appears, Dwight (Rainn Wilson) says: “Michael, I can’t believe you came.” His former boss replies: “That’s what she said.” Later in the episode, he tells the documentary crew: “I feel like my kids all grew up and married each other — it’s every parent’s dream.” Carell earned six Emmy noms for the role but never won. He left the series after its seventh season.
PREVIOUSLY: No, Michael Scott is not going to turn up at Dunder Mifflin on Thursday. Really. Ken Kwapis swears to Deadline [and lied to us, the asswipe - NF] that longtime star Steve Carell does not appear in this week’s series finale of The Office. “I sure wish Steve had done a cameo. It would’ve been a wonderful touch,” said Kwapis, who also directed the pilot episode of the midseason-replacement comedy that aired in March 2005. “Sadly, he didn’t.” So why did NBC choose to sneak a peek of Carell into its finale promo after last week’s episode? A spokeswoman said the network would maintain its “no comment” stance but noted the footage of the erstwhile Office manager could be a clip from an old episode. Read More »
‘Rectify’ Season 2 Will Bow on Sundance Channels In Europe And Asia
ITV Studios Global Entertainment has commissioned the second series of Sundance Channel’s original prod Rectify for distribution on all Sundance Channel Global networks throughout Asia and Europe. The territories include Turkey, France, Iberia, Benelux and CEE. Rectify follows the life of Daniel Holden (Aden Young) after his release from prison after serving 19 years on Georgia’s Death Row. Abigail Spencer, Clayne Crawford, Adelaide Clemens, J. Smith Cameron and Luke Kirby also star. Rectify was created and written by Ray McKinnon (The Accountant, Deadwood, Sons Of Anarchy) and executive produced by Gran Via’s Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein (Breaking Bad). It debuted on April 22 on Sundance Channel US.
‘The Fall’ Is BBC Two’s Best Drama Launch In 8 Years
The Gillian Anderson-Jamie Dornan psychological drama The Fall became BBC Two’s biggest drama series launch since 2005, winning its slot with an average audience of 3.5M and 15.4 share, peaking at 3.6M. It was the channel biggest drama debut since Rome and also beat the BBC Two slot average of 1.79m (7.4%) for the past 12 months. Written by Allan Cubitt and produced by Artists Studio, The Fall follows a police investigation uncovering the intricate story of the lives touched by a series of murders — both the killer’s and the victims’ families.
Doing something he says he has never done in his entire career, director Martin Scorsese has come to Cannes to personally sell a film to foreign buyers. But it is not just any film but rather a passion project called Silence he has been hoping to bring to the screen for 23 years. The adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel about Jesuits and the dawn of Christianity in 17th Century Japan is not the kind of thing studios are rushing to make but Scorsese, who actually toyed with becoming a priest at one time, is determined to make it.
Related: Martin Scorsese To Make Noise On ‘Silence’ At Cannes
Today Emmett/Furla Productions threw a reception with Scorsese on the Johnny Walker And Sons Voyager Yacht where the Oscar-winning film icon basically pitched his wares. When I sat down to speak with him he said he was starting to lose his voice after two days in Cannes meeting buyers and convincing them that he was really going to finally roll cameras on the movie he has had in development longer than any other. “I think this is the first time I have done this, to sell a movie, but it’s a special picture. I have been working on it since 1989. Everytime it started to move away from me I went back to try to get it. It’s one I really want to make and I … Read More »
Spanish-language U.S. network MundoFox will announce 20 new original programs as part of its summer and fall schedules today during Fox Hispanic Media’s upfont presentation in NY. Among the highlights are the Spanish-language version of The X Factor, El Factor X, which will launch in the summer; Café Con Aroma De Mujer, a remake of the Colombian hit from Ugly Betty‘s original Betty La Fea creator Fernando Gaitán; FX’s series The Bridge starring Demian Bichir, part of the network’s weekend schedule; and the boxing docu-drama The Golden Boys from executive producers Mario Lopez and Oscar de la Hoya. Here’s the network’s full list of shows and specials: Read More »
After a year without an agency representation in television, Peter Chernin’s production company has landed at UTA. Chernin Entertainment was signed by UTA Managing Director Jay Sures and partner/head of the TV department Matt Rice who will represent it. Chernin Entertainment, which is behind Fox’s flagship comedy New Girl, is a very lucrative client, in part because of its very rich deal at 20th Century Fox TV. The pact, which has two more years on it, has big on-air commitments from Fox built into it as part of Chernin’s exit package from News Corp. Four-year-old Chernin Entertainment got off to a flying start in television and was previously repped by WME until the two sides parted ways last June. While there, Chernin had multiple shows on the air, most recently New Girl, Touch and Ben & Kate this past season. This year, the company has no new series picked up for next season but New Girl just landed the coveted post-Super Bowl slot. Chernin Entertainment’s TV division is run by Katherine Pope.