Christopher Abbott has signed with WME. Abbott made headlines recently with his decision to abruptly leave HBO‘s comedy series Girls, on which he played Allison Williams’ boyfriend Charlie for the first two seasons. Abbott, who continues to be repped by Parseghian Planco, co-stars in Burma, which debuted at this year’s SXSW where it received jury recognition for Best Ensemble. He will next be seen in Mona Fastvold’s The Sleepwalker.
EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks is firming up a January production start for Glimmer, and a big reason for that is so that it will allow some scheduling room for Dylan O’Brien to play the lead. O’Brien is busy starring in Maze Runner for Fox, but he’s in talks for the lead, I hear. He’s repped by WME. He’s also in the TV series Teen Wolf, and the schedule was moved so he could complete the season of that show before going off to do feature work. Ringan Ledwidge directs the sci-fi thriller about a group of teenagers who discover a portal to the past. When one of them changes history, the effects start to snowball with tragic consequences. Josh Schwartz and Carter Blanchard wrote the script. Madhouse’s Adam Kolbrenner and Ryan Cunningham produce with Mark Sourian.
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Media has set The Hunger Games‘ Liam Hemsworth to star in Aurora Rising. Scripted by A Man Apart‘s Christian Gudegast, the film is produced by Emjag Productions’ Alexandra Milchan and Film 360’s Scott Lambert and Guymon Casady along with Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh. Antonio Moura Santos Jr. will executive produce.
Hemsworth will play a Southern California surfer turned military fighter pilot who, after acing a complicated and messy first combat mission, gets recruited to be part of an elite team to test the next generation of aircraft. This happens just as an international conflict begins to escalate. ROAR, WME and Morris And Yorn rep Hemsworth. Gudegast is repped by WME and Management 360. This is his second project with Relativity where he will also script and direct the bank heist drama Den Of Thieves. Relativity’s Jason Barhydt will oversee the project for the studio.
On August 16, Relativity releases the corporate espionage thriller Paranoia, the Luc Besson action film Malavita on September 20 with Robert De Niro with EuropaCorp, Scott Cooper’s Out Of The Furnace on October 4, the Joseph Gordon-Levitt-directed Don Jon on October 18, and the Jimmy Hayward-directed Free Birds on November 1. Relativity is in production on the Kevin Costner-starrer Three Days To Kill with Europacorp.
EXCLUSIVE: Silver Reel and Lotus Entertainment have partnered with di Bonaventura Pictures and CJ Entertainment for an English-language remake of Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance. The script is written by Broken City scribe Brian Tucker, based on the first film in Park Chan-wook‘s Vengeance Trilogy. The film centers on two men who are bound by their common sense of loss and headed on a collision course of revenge. The other installments in that trilogy are Oldboy and Lady Vengeance. A remake of Oldboy will be released in October by FilmDistrict, directed by Spike Lee and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Brolin and Sharlto Copley.
Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian are producing and Claudia Bluemhuber, Bill Johnson, Jim Seibel, Jacob Pechenik and Gero Bauknecht are executive producers. D.J. Gugenheim is co-producer and will oversee for the financiers while Ed Fee does the same for di Bonaventura Pictures. CJ’s Miky Lee and Joon Choi are executive producing, with Jiwon Park producing and Min Young Hong co-producing. This is the first acquisition in Silver Reel and Lotus’ newly formed partnership, one that is focused on developing and acquiring commercial and high-caliber projects. They are now looking for a director. Repping di Bonaventura, CAA brokered the deal and will represent the film’s domestic distribution rights. Tucker is repped by WME and Management 360.
EXCLUSIVE: Paris-based Backup Media has teamed up with Memento Films International to finance Cold In July, an adaptation of the Joe Lansdale cult novel that will be director Jim Mickle‘s next film. Mickle’s We Are What We Are is playing in Directors’ Fortnight section here at Cannes. Shooting on Cold In July begins in late July with an early 2014 delivery. Adapted by Nick Damici and Mickle, the film is being produced by Belladonna Productions’ Rene Bastian, Adam Folk, and Linda Moran — frequent Mickle collaborators.
The plot: Richard Dane shoots and kills an armed burglar in his living room. It’s a clear-cut case of self defense to everyone but the burglar’s father, who vows Old Testament-style eye-for-an-eye justice. Here, that means son for son. The cops, the feds, and the Dixie mafia all play a part in the ensuing mayhem. “It was important to us to find partners on the movie who would help us create an environment for Jim, where he would be protected and be able to excel as a filmmaker,” Linda Moran and Rene Bastian from Belladonna said. “We are very happy to have found the full support of the Backup/MFI team.”
EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company‘s Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters has added the final pieces to its casting puzzle. Modern Family‘s Sarah Hyland and Vikings’ Gabriel Byrne will now also be sinking their teeth into the movie based on the books by Richelle Mead. Byrne will play Victor, one of the leaders of the Academy while Hyland will play Natalie, Victor’s daughter and the best friend of the lead Rose and Lissa characters. Lucy Fry and Zoey Deutch have already been announced as Lissa and Rose. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’s Joely Richardson and Dominic Sherwood have also joined the film. Richardson will play Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi Vampires. Sherwood will be playing Christian, Lissa’s love interest. These latest cast additions come on the heels of the announcement last week that Sami Gayle (Blue Bloods), Cameron Monaghan (Shameless), Ashley Charles (White Buffalo) and Claire Foy (White Heat) had joined the ensemble cast. The film also stars …
Myriad Pictures has tapped Richard Loncraine to direct Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton in Life Itself, a comedy based on the Jill Ciment novel Heroic Measures. Charlie Peters wrote the screenplay, about a long-married NY couple who find themselves swept into an emotional and comical real estate bidding war when they put their beloved downtown apartment on the market — and must come to terms with the possibility of moving from the home where they have spent most of their adult lives. Freeman and Lori McCreary’s Revelations Entertainment will produce with Latitude Productions. McCreary, Curtis Burch, Peters and Tracy Mercer are producing, and Freeman will executive produce. Myriad’s Kirk D’Amico and David Ducar negotiated international sales rights to the film and the company is introducing the project at Cannes. Its slate here includes Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes starring Kaya Scodelario and Jessica Biel; The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Him And Her with Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy; Life Partners with Leighton Meester, Adam Brody, and Gillian Jacobs; and the Derek Martini-directed The Curse Of Downers Grove with Bella Heathcote, Lucas Till and Kevin Zegers. CAA and WME Global co-rep North American rights to Life Itself.
Previous: Magnolia Client Rachel McAdams Fires UTA
UPDATE: Magnolia Entertainment manager Shelley Browning’s inexplicable and one-sided battle against UTA co-owner Tracey Jacobs rages on. Last month, Browning was behind Rachel McAdams firing UTA after a seven-year stint with Jacobs. Now two Swedish actors who are both Magnolia clients follow McAdams out the door for no reason: Joel Kinnaman and Noomi Rapace. Since becoming Browning’s client, Rapace has bounced between Hollywood agencies: first UTA, then WME, then back to UTA, and now out of UTA. Among the only Magnolia clients left at UTA is Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) who is directing Kinnaman and Rapace with Tom Hardy in Child 44.
LOS ANGELES, CA (May 17, 2013) – It was announced today that independent film producers Cassian Elwes and Robert Ogden Barnum have launched e2b Capital, a new entertainment company for independent filmmakers and financiers seeking financing and global distribution expertise.
Elwes and Barnum will serve as co-heads of the Los Angeles-based operation. Backed by a growing group of financiers, e2b will arrange financing for commercially viable, fiscally responsible independent films. Working collaboratively with producers, talent agencies and foreign sales companies, e2b offers equity, gap and debt solutions through strategic partnerships, in addition to bringing strong relationships in the global marketplace. e2b expects to work on 10-12 films annually.
EXCLUSIVE: Former Battlestar Galactica executive producer and Caprica co-creator/exec producer David Eick has come on board TNT’s hit alien-invasion drama Falling Skies as executive producer/showrunner. On the show, executive produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Noah Wyle, he replaces fellow Caprica co-creator/exec producer Remi Aubuchon, who is leaving after serving as showrunner for the past two seasons. Season 3 of Falling Skies kicks off with a two-hour premiere June 9. Eick is expected to begin assembling a writing staff to start working on Season 4 in anticipation of pickup. (Because of Falling Skies‘ complicated shoot and laborious post-production process due to elaborate special effects, the writers on the show normally get a head start before an official green light so the gap between seasons is not too big.)
EXCLUSIVE: Frasier and Desperate Housewives alum Bob Daily has signed an overall deal with CBS TV Studios. Under the pact, he will join the studio’s new CBS single-camera comedy series We Are Men as an executive producer. The project, created/executive produced by Rob Greenberg, stars Kal Penn, Tony Shalhoub, Jerry O’Connell and Chris Smith as four single guys living in a short-term apartment complex who unexpectedly find camaraderie over their many missteps in love. (Check out the trailer here.) We Are Men is assembling a very strong group of writer-producers. In addition to Daily, Tad Quill was just signed on as a consulting producer. Daily, repped by WME, most recently executive produced/ran NBC’s Robert Padnick comedy pilot.
The Indian icon, known at home as Big B, may seem like an odd choice for a “to watch” piece, but the series of vignettes I’m doing this week is about keeping an eye on interesting people here in Cannes, not solely newcomers. And, Amitabh Bachchan, who has made more than 180 films at home, has only just made his Hollywood debut with a cameo in Baz Luhrmann’s Cannes opening night film The Great Gatsby. Bachchan has said that the short scene in which he appears with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire was a “friendly gesture” towards Lurhmann whom he had met a few years back. He also says he did not take any compensation: “What commerce can one consider for work for a single day!” he recently wrote on the blog he updates religiously. Luhrmann called him “one of the best actors” he’s ever worked with at the Gatsby press conference yesterday. (He also got a shoutout during a scene on Fox’s New Girl last week.) Bachchan has said he would consider other Hollywood roles if they were offered. Here in Cannes, he also stars in a section of Bombay Talkies, which is screening in honor of the 100th anniversary of Hindi cinema. An Indian producer says, “We’ve grown up watching his versatility and there’s nothing he cannot do. An absolute all-rounder. He’s our Al Pacino, Daniel Day-Lewis and Robin Williams all rolled into one.”
Related: Cannes: Producers To Watch
BREAKING: Uma Thurman will star as controversial Anita Bryant in Anita, produced by Sex And the City creator Darren Star, Howard Rosenman, Jeffrey Schwarz and Dennis Erdman. Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman will direct from a screenplay by Chad Hodge. Those filmmakers, who most recently helmed Lovelace, won Oscars for Common Threads: Stories From The Quilt and The Times Of Harvey Milk. The film will be shopped here at Cannes. It follows the singer and orange juice spokeswoman who, after allowing a gay screenwriter into her home, confronts her past and her politics which included successfully campaigning to overturn a gay rights law in Florida. Thurman next stars in Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, and the next film by the directors is The Battle Of AmFAR, which HBO broadcasts in December. UTA Independent and WME are co-repping domestic.
Garrett Hedlund will star alongside Oscar Isaac in the William Monahan thriller Mojave. The pic, from Monahan’s original script, is a classical two-hander about a near-suicidal artist (Hedlund) who escapes into the desert to take an existential crisis head-on, only to encounter a doppelganger-like antagonist in the form of a brilliant, homicidal drifter (Isaac). Atlas Independent is behind it. Relativity International will handle international sales at Cannes while CAA is co-repping domestic with WME.
BREAKING: IFC Films acquired U.S. rights to the Arie Posin-directed The Face Of Love, which stars Annette Bening, Ed Harris, Robin Williams, Jess Weixler and Amy Brenneman. Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn at Mockingbird Pictures produced the project. The company is planning a September 2013 release. Exclusive Media is handling international rights. The plot: Five years after losing the love her life, Nikki (Bening) falls in love at first sight. Tom (Harris) is an art teacher with a kind heart and a zest for life. Unbeknownst to him, he’s also practically an exact lookalike of her dead husband. “I was incredibly fortunate to have Annette Bening and Ed Harris in front of the camera; their brilliance and unflinching search for the truth was a constant inspiration,” Posin said. IFC’s Arianna Bocco made the deal with WME and CAA repping the filmmakers.
Baz Luhrmann followed up his biggest opening day in America with his biggest opening day in France as The Great Gatsby took in $78K in partial-day results that still were bigger than his Moulin Rouge and Australia. Understandably in a party mood thanks to the overperformance of his U.S. box office last weekend, the director pronounced himself pleased with one of the most elaborate after-parties which Cannes has seen since Moulin Rouge premiered here in 2001. Warner Bros co-hosted the gala event with Gatsby‘s other key financier, Village Roadshow. “I love it. I think Jay Gatsby would have loved it too. ‘Screw the rain,’ he would have said,” Luhrmann laughed.
The Cannes celebration of its opening-night film continued into the early morning hours despite a monsoon-like downpour. When I left around 2 AM, though, the party showed no sign of winding down. Luhrmann was frequently out on the dance floor whooping it up with the likes of Warner Bros worldwide marketing czarina Sue Kroll (“When you open the festival, you have to spend a good amount of money on the party,” Kroll told me), his co-star Isla Fisher, and his WME agent Robert Newman. Also there was the festival guru Thierry Fremaux, who told me that the first film he ever programmed when he first snagged the prestigious Cannes gig was Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge.
Cannes: Tobey Maguire’s Material Pictures Sets Chris Pine, Amanda Seyfried, Chiwetel Ejiofor For ‘Z For Zachariah’
Material Pictures and Zik Zak Filmworks are pleased to announce Chris Pine, Amanda Seyfried, and Chewitel Ejiofor have joined the cast of Z FOR ZACHARIAH. The film will be directed by Craig Zobel (The Great World of Sound, Compliance) from a script penned by Nissar Modi. Material Pictures’ Tobey Maguire and Matthew Plouffe will produce alongside Zik Zak Filmworks’ Skúli Malmquist, Thor Sigurjonsson and Palomar Pictures’ Joni Sighvatsson. Gary Ross and Lucky Hat Entertainment’s Stephen Bannatyne will executive produce, along with Silver Reel’s Claudia Bluemhuber and Lotus Entertainment’s Jim Seibel and Bill Johnson. Lotus will commence international sales at Cannes. CAA arranged financing for the project, and CAA and WME will co-represent domestic rights.
An adaptation of Robert C. O’Brien’s classic science fiction novel of the same name, Z FOR ZACHARIAH is a psychological thriller about a girl who believes she is the only survivor after a devastating nuclear event, but comes to learn she is not alone.
The project will begin shooting in August.
May 15, 2013 – Cannes/Santa Monica- Myriad Pictures and Depth of Field, in association with Culmination Productions announced today that Seann William Scott (Role Models, American Reunion, Goon) will star in the comedy Guidance. Written by Matteson Perry (Cops & Robots) and directed by Ira Rosensweig (Think Tank), the film tells the story of a down-on-his-luck high school counselor who begins to alter transcripts to help a student that reminds him of himself. Guidance will also star Leslie Bibb, as the new teacher who is the object of Scott’s affection, and who ultimately inspires him to become the best version of himself. Myriad has acquired worldwide distribution rights, and will be selling the film at this week’s Cannes Marche du Film.
BREAKING: Michelle Williams and Joel Edgerton are set to star in The Double Hour, a remake of the 2009 Italian film of the same title. Joshua Marston, helmer of Maria Full Of Grace, is writing and will direct. Silver Reel Entertainment and Lotus Entertainment have partnered to finance and sell in Cannes. It’s a psychological thriller that tells the story of two lovers who find themselves victims in the midst of a dangerous and well planned robbery. Indigo Films’ Nicola Giuliano, Vertigo Entertainment’s Roy Lee and Journeyman Pictures’ Paul Mezey are producing.
The original, directed by Giuseppe Capotondi and produced by Giuliano, premiered in competition to critical praise and awards at the 2009 Venice International Film Festival. Silver Reel’s Claudia Blumhuber, Lotus Entertainment’s Bill Johnson and Jim Seibel, Giulio Marantonio, John Powers Middleton, Jacob Pechenik and Florian Dargel will executive produce. UTA Independent Film Group and CAA are co-repping domestic rights. Marston is represented by WME and Anonymous Content, Williams by CAA, Edgerton by CAA and Shanahan Mgmt.