UPDATE, 10:24 AM PT: Here’s the deal on Mike Pavlic, who takes that top post as president of Worldwide Creative Advertising, the one beloved vet Tommy Gargotta relinquished yesterday. Pavlic had been EVP Creative Advertising, and he will report to Dwight Caines, President of Domestic Theatrical Marketing for Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group. Pavlic will oversee domestic and global creative advertising team in all films released under the Sony umbrella. “Mike is a talented and passionate creative executive whose instincts are as strong as his commitment to great work,” said Caines. “I am thrilled that he will be mentoring and leading the team as we rebuild for the future.”
Pavlic worked at Big Picture Entertainment as editor and producer after an early stint at Sony as manager of Creative Advertising. He rejoined Sony SPE in 2009, and Pavlic has worked on the campaigns for 22 Jump Street, American Hustle, Zero Dark Thirty, Grown Ups 2, Moneyball, Zombieland, Julie & Julia and a lot of other hits.
Read More »
UPDATE: Microsoft just released this first-look trailer of Halo: Nightfall, the live-action series coming in November from Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions and Microsoft’s 343 Industries. The story is set between the events in the fourth and fifth Halo video games (Halo 5: Guardians is coming next year).
The live-action five-part series follows a new character, Jameson Locke (played by Mike Colter (The Good Wife)), described as “a legendary manhunter and agent with the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), Earth’s most powerful and secretive military branch.” After a biological attack, Locke and his unit unravel a plot and track down an ancient artifact. The series will be part of The Master Chief Collection, the remastered set of the first four Halo games that Microsoft announced during E3 last month and set to debut in November.
Read More »
The Oscar organization has unveiled its annual invitees list for 2014. Check out the release below:
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 271 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures. Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2014. “This year’s class of invitees represents some of the most talented, creative and passionate filmmakers working in our industry today,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “Their contributions to film have entertained audiences around the world, and we are proud to welcome them to the Academy.”
The 2014 invitees are:
Read More »
UPDATE, 1:24 PM PT: Looks like there might be competing feature projects about recently freed POW Bowe Bergdahl. Just after breaking a story that Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal are working on a film about the Army private who left his base in Afghanistan and was captured, Deadline has learned that Fox Searchlight has acquired America’s Last Prisoner Of War, an investigative article on Bergdahl by Michael Hastings, the late Rolling Stone reporter who died at age 33 in a car accident in Los Angeles last year. I’m hearing that Todd Field, the director of In The Bedroom and Little Children, is also involved. I will tell you more when I know it. Hastings was a hard-charging journo whose profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal — who ran the war in Afghanistan and who was depicted in the article as openly mocking the White House— was brought home and resigned.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 12:39 PM PT: Director Kathryn Bigelow and writer/producer Mark Boal, the team behind the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker and Oscar-nominated Zero Dark Thirty, are in the early planning stage on another timely Middle East-set feature project. They are developing a feature based on the story of Bowe Bergdahl, the Army sergeant captured by the Taliban and held prisoner for five years after he left his base in Afghanistan. The project is taking root with Boal’s recently launched Page One shingle, which has backing from Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures. She produced Zero Dark Thirty with Boal and Bigelow and will get first look at the script that Boal will write.
I’m not exactly sure what form the movie will take, but I’ve heard that the filmmakers quietly have been tracking the story for several years with a possible movie in mind. Bigelow and Boal have proved very changeable and able to adapt to developments in real time. They were ready to shop a script about a futile search for Osama bin Laden when President Obama announced that SEAL Team Six had killed the Al-Qaeda leader. Boal, a well-connected journalist who was embedded with troops in the Middle East, went back to his sources, altered course and he and Bigelow told the story of the painstaking but ultimately successful hunt for the 9/11 mastermind. Read More »
Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated Sarah Paulson has joined Nicolas Cage in The Runner, about an idealistic but flawed New Orleans Congressman Colin Price whose dysfunctional life and career are destroyed by a sex scandal. Paulson, last seen in the Oscar-winner 12 Years A Slave, will play a PR consultant Price hires to help him get back into the political game. Paulson earned an Emmy nod for her turn in American Horror Story: Asylum and will return for the FX series’ next installment, American Horror Story: Freak Show. She’s repped by UTA and Kipperman Management.
Resurrection and Justified thesp Matt Craven has been cast in Roland Emmerich’s NYC period drama Stonewall. Jeremy Irvine, Caleb Landry Jones, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ron Perlman, and Joey King are also starring in the pic about the 1969 police raid at Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn that served as a flashpoint for the gay rights movement. Craven will play Deputy Seymour Pine, the leader of the raiding police force who sympathizes with the gay community but must carry out his duties. Craven previously starred in Emmerich’s White House Down. He’ll squeeze in his Stonewall shoot before heading to film the second season of ABC’s Resurrection. Craven is repped by Frontline Management, SDB Partners and Paul Hemrend in Toronto.
… Read More »
The Hollywood invasion of Cannes began in earnest this weekend and continues big time as the U.S.-set movies get their day in the sun on the Croisette — even as a little rain begins to fall for the first time since this movie smorgasboard got rolling last week. Yesterday, Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank hit the fest with a female-centric Western, The Homesman, that is looking for distribution and should find it with no problem. In fact, I just heard they have had at least three offers and a deal could be imminent. Stay tuned. Despite a mixed bag of reviews (but generally upbeat), there’s awards potential there, believe me (more on that one later).
But leading the pack is tonight’s premiere of Bennett Miller’s long-awaited Foxcatcher, which screened for press at 8:30 AM this morning to a wall-to-wall crowd at the Grand Theatre Lumiere (an overflow screening was quickly set up for those who couldn’t get in at the nearby Salle du Soixantieme). And at the press conference that followed, there were loud “bravos” from some journalists as Miller, stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, along with producers Megan Ellison and Jon Kilik, entered the room. That is not usually the case at these things — at least in my experience with the jaded press corps here. The accolades are well-deserved. This is 3-for-3 in the short filmography of Miller, whose two previous films – Capote and Moneyball – went on to Best Picture Oscar nominations. Foxcatcher will make it a third and continues to give distributor Sony Pictures Classics a very good Cannes outing so far following near universal praise for the first film seen in competition, Mr. Turner (it releases December 19). I’m also predicting some sort of prize here at Cannes when the Jury hands them out on Saturday. Certainly Carell is a solid Best Actor contender here for his mind-blowing , slow-burning and completely unexpected turn as wealthy heir John Du Pont, who in 1988 establishes his own stable of world-class American wrestlers at the mammoth DuPont estate engaging in a twisted relationship with two brothers that ended in murder. Sony Classics had intended to release this film last December and even had set an AFI Fest world premiere in early November, but it was abruptly cancelled when Miller decided he needed more time to shape the film, and SPC had to pull it from their 2013 awards-season plans.
Related: Hot Cannes Teaser: ‘Foxcatcher’
Read More »
While we’re out chasing news, the press releases keep coming. Deadline broke news last March that Mel Gibson would star in the Jean-Francois Richet-directed Blood Father, and the news today is that Worldview Entertainment will co-fi and produce the drama, which Peter Craig adapted from his novel. Gibson will play an ex-con who reunites with his estranged wayward 16-year old daughter to protect her from drug dealers who are trying to kill her. Filming just started. Wild Bunch will handle international sales here and CAA is repping domestic…
Kathryn Bigelow and Zero Dark Thirty backer Annapurna’s Megan Ellison are reteaming on an adaptation of The True American, a nonfiction book by journo Anand Giridharadas that has Tom Hardy is set to star. Bigelow will direct and produce the film through her production shingle, First Light. The deal was announced here at Cannes. Like Zero Dark Thirty, this has 9/11 overtones. In the volatile days following that terrorist attack in New York, a self styled American terrorist named Mark Stroman murdered two immigrants in Texas, nearly killing a third man he shot in the head. That victim, Raisuddin Bhuiyan, was a former Bangladesh Air Force vet who set up a new life as the owner of a Dallas convenience store.
Entertainment One announced that Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul are joining Colin Firth in Eye In The Sky, a drone warfare drama that Gavin Hood is directing.
Johnny Galecki, Chloë Sevigny and Anjelica Huston have been cast in The Master Clense, a fantasy horror comedy to be produced by Bron Studios and Gilbert Films that will be the feature debut of writer-director Bobby Miller. Production is set to begin in July in Vancouver. After holding onto heartbreak for several years, Paul (Galecki) decides to restart his life, joining a spiritual retreat designed to cleanse negative toxins from his body. But the cleanse releases something far greater than everyday toxins and traumatic experiences. XYZ Films is introducing the pic in Cannes, and WME Global arranged financing and is repping North American rights.
Glenn Close has boarded The Wife, committing to star in scribe Jane Anderson’s adaptation of the bestselling Meg Wolitzer novel. Swedish director Björn Runge will direct the pic. The book is a sharply observed drama about the unraveling of a marriage during a couple’s journey to the Nobel Award ceremony in Stockholm. The film will shoot primarily in Stockholm in both English and Swedish and production is planned for winter/spring 2015. Read More »
The Oscar-winning director will helm an adaptation of The True American starring Tom Hardy. Anand Giridharadas wrote the newly published nonfiction book, which is set in Texas in the days following the September 11 attacks. Self-styled “Arab slayer” Mark Stroman murdered two immigrants, but a third man survived being shot in the head during the spree: Rais Bhuiyan, a Muslim immigrant and Bangladesh Air Force veteran, who was working at a Dallas-area convenience store as he established himself in America and worked to have his attacker spared from execution. Annapurna’s Megan Ellison, who worked with Kathryn Bigelow on Best Picture Oscar nominee Zero Dark Thirty, acquired rights to the book and will produce, with Matthew Budman exec producing. W.W. Norton & Company published The True American: Murder And Mercy In Texas last week.
Hardy most recently starred in Locke and The Dark Knight Rises and has a number of projects in the works including Child 44, Mad Max: Fury Road, Splinter Cell and Elton John biopic Rocket Man. True American will be Bigelow’s first film since helming Zero Dark Thirty. She won a directing Oscar for 2008′s The Hurt Locker.
Bravo has put three more scripted series projects in development, including Rules Of Attraction, a high-concept adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis book, with Roger Avary, who wrote and directed the 2002 Lionsgate feature adaptation, writing. Lionsgate TV is producing. Also in the works is Shanghai, an ensemble drama centered on a group of ex-pats living in China written by M. Butterfly scribe David Henry Hwang. Amazon has a similar pilot, comedy Cosmopolitan, about the loves and adventures of a group of young expatriates in Paris. Bravo’s third project is Sweet Life, a family drama set in the Inkwell area of Martha’s Vineyard where affluent African Americans flock to vacation. Bravo recently greenlighted its first scripted series, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce and Odd Mom Out, and set for development All the Pretty Faces, executive produced by Jennifer Garner. Here are descriptions of the three new scripted projects in development: Read More »
Mark Boal, the journalist-turned-filmmaker who teamed with Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, has formed Page 1. The production company will hatch films and TV that will be backed by Megan Ellison‘s Annapurna Pictures. She financed Zero Dark Thirty, which Boal wrote and produced. Boal will be CEO and he has named as president Hugo Lindgren, a former editor of The New York Times Magazine and editorial director of New York Magazine. Matthew Budman will be the Annapurna executive overseeing Page 1; he worked closely with Boal on Zero Dark Thirty. Jonathan Leven will be a development/production exec. Read More »
UPDATE, 8:59 AM PT: Paramount just confirmed the casting. The release is below the original break.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 8:04 AM PT: Here is something that should create a geek frenzy. Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions are setting the final major piece of the final trilogy of Terminator films. I’m told they are casting Matt Smith, who has played The Doctor in Doctor Who, in a major role that will grow in the second and third films.
Smith will join Game Of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke (Sara Connor), Zero Dark Thirty’s Jason Clarke (John Connor), Jai Courtney (Kyle Reese), Dayo Okeniyi (Danny Dyson, son of the brainiac cyborg developer played by Joe Morton in Terminator: Judgment Day), and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who reprises his signature cyborg. The time-travel saga Terminator: Genesis is directed by Alan Taylor and has a July 1, 2015 released date. Smith is repped by UTA and Troika. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In what should be a star-making role, Dayo Okeniyi has been set to star in Terminator: Genesis, the franchise reboot for Skydance Productions and Paramount Pictures. And here is some more good news for fans: they have made first plans to shoot three installments to put this saga to rest. The second and third films will be done back to back over nine months. The first film gets underway shortly in Louisiana.
Okeniyi and John Boyega were the two top choices for this pivotal final role, and this came down to a tug of war between storied franchises The Terminator and JJ Abrams and Star Wars, which also wanted Okeniyi to test for one of the leads of that film. Paramount and Skydance’s David Ellison stepped up and the actor unpacked his bags. Okeniyi, who co-starred in The Hunger Games and The Spectacular Now, will play a Steve Jobs genius who figures heavily into the conclusion of the film. He is Danny Dyson, who is also the son of the brainiac cyborg developer Miles Dyson, played by Joe Morton in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The young man holds the key to technology development that makes Skynet possible. He’s repped by UTA, Sweeney Entertainment, and attorney Joel McKuin.
Read More »
The casting for one of the key characters in Paramount and Skydance Productions’ Terminator: Genesis is almost complete — but not finalized. What’s true is that Jai Courtney has been offered the role of Kyle Reese, a gig that figures to span at least two movies that will end the story of Skynet’s battle with the resistance that began with James Cameron’s two films and two more that followed. As we told you last week, it was down to Courtney and Boyd Holbrook to land the Reese role originated by Michael Beihn in the first pic. If the Courtney deal makes, he will join Arnold Schwarzenegger as the signature cyborg, Game Of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke as Sara Connor and Zero Dark Thirty’s Jason Clarke as her son John Connor in the time-travel saga that will be directed by Alan Taylor. The film has a July 1, 2015 released date.
Related: ‘Terminator Genesis’: Between Jai Courtney, Boyd Holbrook For Kyle Reese Role?
Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and Skydance are down to the wire on the final piece of iconic casting on Terminator: Genesis. I’m hearing that it’s between Jai Courtney and Boyd Holbrook to play Kyle Reese, the role originated by Michael Biehn in the James Cameron-directed original. Now, they could throw someone else into the mix, but it sounds like they are focused on these guys. The winner will join Arnold Schwarzenegger as the signature cyborg, Game Of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke as Sara Connor and Zero Dark Thirty’s Jason Clarke as her son John Connor in the time travel saga that will be directed by Thor: The Dark World helmer Alan Taylor. The film will be released July 1, 2015.
Related: Megan Ellison Won’t Fund ‘Terminator’ Revival; David Ellison, Paramount Paying
It’s a big job, as it figures to span at least two movies that will end the story of Skynet’s battle with the resistance that began with Cameron’s two films with two more that followed. The films are being financed one-third by Paramount, and two-thirds by David Ellison’s Skydance, who bought out the stake held by his sister, Annapurna’s Megan Ellison. She was the one who originally bought the rights to continue the franchise for about $20 million. She decided to focus on tastemaker fare but this movie is right in the wheelhouse of the popcorn pics made by Skydance, which partners with Paramount on Mission: Impossible, Star Trek and World War Z. Read More »
The Lobster is the first English-language film for Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose Dogtooth scored an Oscar nomination in 2009. Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz will lead the unconventional love story that’s set in a dystopian future where finding a partner is a matter of life and death. Shooting is set to kick off on March 24 in Ireland with Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux, Olivia Colman, Ariane Labed and Angeliki Papoulia also in the cast. (Zero Dark Thirty‘s Jason Clarke had previously been attached to a lead role but dropped out over scheduling conflicts with Everest.) Co-written by Lanthimos and longtime collaborator Efthimis Filippou, The Lobster is being sold by Protagonist Pictures, kicking off at this week’s EFM. Irish outfit Element Pictures is producing with Lanthimos’ Limp, and Ceci Dempsey’s Scarlet Films. Producers are Lanthimos, Lee Magiday, Ed Guiney and Dempsey, with Element’s Andrew Lowe as executive producer. Haut et Court (The Returned), is co-producing and distributing in France. Also partnering on the project are Christos V. Konstantakopoulos of Greece’s Faliro House, Haut et Court’s Carole Scotta and Derk-Jan Warrink, Joost de Vries and Leontine Petit of Lemming Films in Holland. Weisz is repped by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and the UK’s Independent Talent Group. Farrell is with CAA.
AwardsLine deputy editor Anna Lisa Raya contributed to this story.
Alexandre Desplat, the man behind the music of Best Picture Oscar winners The King’s Speech, Zero Dark Thirty and Argo, is also the talent behind the musical score for Best Picture nominee Philomena. His Oscar-nominated score, melancholy but also incredibly wishful, walks a razor-thin line between the two and works beautifully with a sparkle of hope punctuated with a recurring delicate ding of a percussion instrument, the triangle. The music never dominates a scene, and by making that decision, Desplat gives the story and the actors the respect they deserve. The composer is a master at his craft; he began playing piano at age 5 and later learned other instruments such as the trumpet and flute. With the music of Philomena, Desplat mirrored the emotions of the character — an elderly mother who is haunted by the fact that her son was taken away from her when she was a young woman. She has a fervent hope that she will locate her little boy, now a grown man – but always her little boy – one day.
Related OSCARS: From ‘Philomena’ To ‘Saving Mr. Banks’, Composers Show Creativity And Agility With This Year’s Scores
Judi Dench is nominated for Best Actress this year for her portrayal of Philomena Lee in The Weinstein Company pic directed by Stephen Frears. The actress, who has had a long career in theater, speaks through her eyes as much as in dialogue with her co-star Steve Coogan (who is nominated with Jeff Pope for Best Adapted screenplay). Carrying a deep grief and longing, the mother’s emotions break through her stoicism, giving audiences a peak into her troubled heart. Philomena feels the weight of sin of getting pregnant so young and having an illegitimate baby. With one bow of her head or glance away to hide her tears, Dench has captured the soul of the brave and persistent woman.
Related: OSCARS: ‘Philomena’ Puts Judi Dench Right Back In The Thick Of The Race
Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Although Megan Ellison and her Annapurna Pictures started the process on reviving the Terminator franchise, she has divested herself financially of involvement in the final two or three pictures that will now be solely financed by her brother David Ellison’s Skydance and Paramount Pictures. This has been confirmed to me, and I’m told she will retain an executive producer credit. No one was specific about how the funding of the films will be handled, but I’ve heard that Skydance will now fund 66%, and Paramount will pay for the rest. Others say this has not been determined, as the film is now being budgeted.
Coupled with a changeover at the top of her sales company Panorama yesterday, it might seem that Megan Ellison is tapering off. I don’t believe that’s the case. Even when she took control of The Terminator franchise when she paid $20 million or more to acquire the rights at auction around the time of Cannes 2011, this property was an anomaly for her. Her heart is in taste-maker auteur-driven fare, and she has become a patron saint of prestige films that might not otherwise get made. That is what she will focus on. Her efforts include recently named Best Picture nominees American Hustle and Her, last year’s Zero Dark Thirty and The Master, and the upcoming Bennett Miller-directed Foxcatcher.
For her brother David, Terminator: Genesis and possibly two other films to wrap up the storyline are right in his wheelhouse. He’s at home co-financing and producing large-scale popcorn pictures, and this one fits right in with his other franchises: Mission: Impossible, Star Trek and World War Z. Both of the Ellison siblings confirmed this has happened. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Marc Butan, who runs Megan Ellison’s foreign sales division Panorama Media, is leaving to join sales-finance-production outfit Sierra/Affinity as co-president. He will share the president role with Sierra/Affinity’s Marc Schaberg who will be co-president and COO. Sierra/Affinity’s Nick Meyer and Butan worked together previously at Lionsgate.
At Sierra/Affinity, Butan will oversee feature film development and production activities. The idea is to have him build a slate of wide-release, director-driven commercial films with domestic and global appeal that will complement the slates built by partners OddLot Entertainment and Bold Films. As part of that, Butan will bring with him films from Panorama’s production slate: his new company will rep international rights to James Gray’s Lost City Of Z, John Hillcoat’s Triple Nine, Angela Workman’s adaptation of The Zookeeper’s Wife and Pride, Prejudice And Zombies.
Butan and sales exec Kim Fox have run Panorama since its launch at Cannes in 2012 (among its first slate projects was an untitled Spike Jonze movie that ended up being Oscar Best Picture nominee Her and last year’s Zero Dark Thirty. Backed by Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, the unit’s goal was to ”produce, finance and arrange for worldwide distribution on a slate of filmmaker-driven projects with broad commercial appeal.” Fox will remain to run Panorama, which will handle sales of all of Annapurna’s titles as well as third-party titles but move away from production. ”As Panorama currently focuses on sales, we will continue to work closely with Marc … Read More »
UPDATE: A24 had just confirmed Deadline’s scoop. I’ll attach press release at the bottom of this post.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 8:48 am PST: Coming into Sundance, many expected big things for upstart distribution company A24, and the label hasn’t disappointed. A24 is closing the biggest deal so far for the company, acquiring domestic distribution rights from Participant Media to A Most Violent Year, the drama written and directed by All Is Lost and Margin Call helmer J.C. Chandor. The film stars Inside Llewyn Davis‘s Oscar Isaac and Zero Dark Thirty‘s Jessica Chastain. I’m told the plan is to release the film wide, late this year, giving A24 a likely horse in the next Oscar race. It starts shooting shortly. I’m told it will be 1200 screens, minimum.
This comes after A24 acquired two of the best liked films at this year’s Sundance: the Lynn Shelton-directed Laggies with Keira Knightley, Chloe Moretz and Sam Rockwell, and the Gillian Robespierre-directed comedy Obvious Child, which features a breakout performance by former Saturday Night Live cast member Jenny Slate. Laggies came after an all night auction, and it’s a smart buy because the film will likely be released after TWC unveils Toronto title Can A Song Save Your Life, a breakout film that will cast Knightley in a different career light once audiences see the John Carney-directed film.
… Read More »