The Gaza conflict touched the film business this month when dealmakers and filmmakers ran for a bomb shelter as shelling got too close at the Jerusalem Film Festival, and when Israeli filmmakers Ronit Elkabetz, Keren Yedaya, and Shlomi Elkabetz urged their government to seek a truce with Hamas. The attention on the world stage spiked today when Spanish Oscar winners Pedro Almodovar, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz put signatures to a statement expressing outrage over “the genocide perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army in the Gaza Strip against Palestinian civilians.” Stars who take political positions on world issues do so at their own peril and at the risk of hurting their business by polarizing potential audiences.
Related: Fear, Rockets And Anxiety Overshadowed Film At Jerusalem Festival
The strongly worded open letter (Spanish text here), is harsh, accusing Israel of practicing “State terrorism.” Others have chimed in about the Arab-Israeli tensions, like Miral director Julian Schnabel, who told Deadline he was shocked when traveling in Israel with that book’s writer (and his then-girlfriend) Rula Jebreal and how she was degraded as a matter of course in settlement areas. “It was an epiphany,” he said. “I was totally naïve, totally in the dark and I believe so many of the American Jewish population are totally in the dark. We cannot believe that a Jewish person would behave like that. It’s not the Jewish way. We have suffered so much that if anybody should understand the Palestinian problem, it should be Jewish people. It was so disappointing and ashamed at certain moments. I was at the airport one day, leaving with Rula. I respect the security, when they check your bags. But they took her bags and put them through an X-ray machine not once but three times. We went to a second checkpoint and they made her strip and, the last minute, let her come on the airplane Jon Kilik and I were taking. And it felt just like apartheid, there was absolutely no reason for it. It was pure racism and prejudice. It was cruel and I was ashamed of everybody in that airport.”
Related: Q&A: Julian Schnabel On Politics Of ‘Miral’
There is a tradition of stars speaking out on everything from the Hollywood Blacklist to Vietnam (Jane Fonda will never be known as anything but Hanoi Jane by a certain segment of the population), and the pros and cons of gun control. Some stars just don’t seem to care about polarizing audiences. Like Sean Penn, a patron saint of Haiti for his tireless humanitarian work there raised hackles when he defended Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and called on the U.S. government to end sanctions; or Jim Carrey, who has made bold appeals for gun control each time another school massacre occurs. Read More »
George Miller blazed through Hall H with footage from Mad Max: Fury Road, which isn’t exactly a sequel or a prequel but feels very Mad Max through and through. “I was able to make the movie I wanted to make,” he told the standing-room-only Comic-Con crowd. “WB allows the filmmakers their process.”
It’s been 35 years since the Aussie filmmaker started the franchise with Mel Gibson as the iconic post-apocalyptic road warrior, the cult fave who last hit screens in 1985′s threequel Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. (One big difference in shooting the first movie and shooting this one? “It took over a week before we saw our dailies – now you see it immediately.”) Fury Road is led by Tom Hardy as loner Mad Max Rockatansky and Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa, and Miller said it lies closer in spirit to the second film.
UPDATE: Miller also unveiled four new official posters for the pic featuring stars Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult and Hugh Keays-Byrne:
Read More »
James Garner died last night at the age of 86. The ruggedly handsome actor will be remembered always for the 1950s TV Western Maverick and for playing Jim Rockford in the 1970s series The Rockford Files. No cause of death was given but he had suffered from a stroke in 2008 after open-heart surgery. A war hero before he turned to acting, Garner received two Purple Hearts while serving in the Korean War.
Garner’s last screen appearance came in 2006′s The Ultimate Gift, but his last major role in a studio film came opposite Gena Rowlands in the love story The Notebook. He appeared in more than 50 films in a career that spanned 54 years. Among the highlights: an Academy Award nomination in 1985 for the romantic comedy Murphy’s Romance opposite Sally Field in 1985; starring alongside Mel Gibson in the movie version of his signature series Maverick; starring opposite Julie Andrews and Robert Preston in the 1982 Blake Edwards comedy Victor Victoria; and starring in 1990′s celebrated HBO telefilm Barbarians at the Gate, about the RJR-Nabisco merger and corporate greed. He also stepped up to take the lead in 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Daughter, after the death of the show’s star, John Ritter. Garner was a devoted fan of the football Raiders, as identifiable on the sidelines for many years as Jack Nicholson was at Lakers games.
… Read More »
Skye McCole Bartusiak, who was best known for her role portraying Mel Gibson‘s youngest daughter in The Patriot, died today at the age of 21. No cause of death was given.
Bartusiak was a stage, screen and TV actress. She had a recurring role as Megan Matheson in the show 24 and did guest star appearances in CSI, Lost, Touched by An Angel and George Lopez television shows. She started acting in 1999 with the ABC mini-series Storm of the Century. When she was 8 years old, she was in the movie Riding in Cars with Boys. She died in her Houston home at 9 AM Saturday.
Read More »
Jodie Foster is carving out a nice, new career as a TV director. Though she hit a bump with her last feature directorial, the Mel Gibson drama, The Beaver ($971K), she rebounded today with an Emmy nomination for her comedy series helming work on the third episode of Jenji Kohan’s Orange Is the New Black entitled “Lesbian Request Denied”. It’s actually Foster’s second Emmy nod overall, her first being for the Showtime 1999 movie she executive produced, The Baby Dance, starring Stockard Channing and Laura Dern. It would be an understatement to say that the word ‘bold’ is always associated with Foster’s oeuvre, whether it’s playing a child prostitute in Martin Scorsese’s 1976 iconic Taxi Driver to producing and acting in the 2007 femme vigilante film The Brave One. Orange Is the New Black is arguably the first time that Foster as a director has dealt with the subject of lesbianism on screen. She also returned to direct the second season premiere of Orange Is The New Black with the episode “Thirsty Bird” and also went behind the camera for Netflix‘s House of Cards episode ”Chapter 22″. Frequently, feature directors are finding creative redemption in TV, read Doomsday British helmer Neil Marshall who was behind two Games of Thrones episodes, this season’s being “The Watchers on the Wall”. Read More »
Warner Bros has emerged as the frontrunner for the hot project in town. The studio is in talks for U.S. and Canadian rights for The Nice Guys. Reps for the sellers say others are not out of the mix yet, but it sounds like this is how it will go down. It could be a big project. Shane Black will direct, and Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are circling the leads. This is a script that Black co-wrote with Anthony Bagarozzi, and Joel Silver is producing. It would reunite the writer and producer with the studio that made Lethal Weapon, one of Warner Bros’ most lucrative franchises. In The Nice Guys, a private eye investigates the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles and uncovers a conspiracy. Read More »
Jennifer Love Hewitt is returning to CBS as a series regular — this time among the cast of Criminal Minds. She will play seasoned undercover agent Katie Callahan – joining Joe Mantegna, Thomas Gibson, Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, AJ Cook and Kirsten Vangsness; her character will be introduced in the series’ 10th season premiere, Wednesday, October 1.
“We’re thrilled to introduce a new special agent by adding the very talented Jennifer Love Hewitt to our amazing cast,” said executive producer and showrunner Erica Messer. “Many of us on the show have enjoyed working with her over the years and look forward to again. We have exciting storylines planned for her character and the entire BAU team as we head into our 10th season.”
For five seasons, Hewitt starred as Melinda Gordon in CBS’ Ghost Whisperer. After that, she starred in Lifetime’s The Client List, which that network, and Sony Pictures TV, canceled in lieu of a third season — reportedly not owing so much to its ratings, though they had slipped, as because of a creative standoff with Hewitt over storylines for a third season. Hewitt, who was an executive producer on the show, wanted Brian Hallisay, her real-life fiance at the time, and father of her baby, also play her character Riley’s baby daddy on the show, Deadline reported back then, adding that the issues eventually became too much for Lifetime and Sony TV, leading to the cancellation.
Read More »
Fox Television Stations will test three programs this summer, Hollywood Today Live, The Daily Help Line and Laughs. Each will air on select Fox-owned stations in several markets, including New York and Los Angeles. One-hour daytime strips Hollywood Today Live and The Daily Help Line, will debut July 14 and Laughs, a half-hour weekly program, will premiere August 2.
Read More »
I took the photograph that leads this column a little over a year ago, when my summer vacation was turned upside down by a revolution called Taksim Square. It sits near my desk and caught my eye when I was thinking today about the force of nature that is Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, someone I deeply admire even though he hasn’t always been a friend of open discourse. He managed to stir the pot on both sides of the continent in recent days.
My wife and I had come to Istanbul for R&R after a trip she takes each spring with college students, mostly non-Jewish, along with Holocaust survivors, to experience firsthand sites of mass murder, torture, violence, starvation and cremation in Germany and Poland.
But it turned out to be the weekend that Taksim Square erupted in alternating waves of tear-gas suffused violence and placard-wielding protest as students, workers, shop keepers and just-folks joined ranks against the increasingly right-leaning government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and, specifically, his plan to bulldoze one of the last green spaces in the crowded city and put up a shopping mall. Propped against a young woman camping out among the hundreds was her sign, carefully lettered in Turkish and English: Ifade Ozcurlugum Icin Buradayim: I Am Here for My Freedom of Expression.
Writing about Taksim Square, like the other human rights stories I covered during eight years at Bloomberg News, was a humbling counterpoint to my work as a critic and reporter of art forms in which love, loss, risk, sacrifice, even death are generally metaphors and the greatest thing at stake is the cost of a ticket. In Taksim Square I encountered people willing to risk everything for their freedom of expression. Read More »
TV news industry navel lint gazing broke out today as ABC News announced that Diane Sawyer was stepping down as anchor of its evening newscast. Some highlights:
1) Diane Sawyer likes to go out on top. ABC World News won the May sweep in the news demo – the newscast’s first sweep demo win in more than six years. Last time ABC’s newscast won a sweep was February of ’08, with Sawyer’s predecessor, Charles Gibson. Sawyer took over the show in December of ’09. “Look at Diane’s career – she always likes to go out on top,” said one industry observer. “She won the May book, why not go out on top – that’s very typical of her,” said another.
2) ABC News is trying to split the baby. Giving to David Muir the World News chair, while naming Chief Anchor title and giving him Sawyer’s chair during breaking news events and specials (presidential election coverage, etc.) had navel lint gazers trying to figure out “who won.” Some say Stephanopoulos got “passed over,” but others dismiss that as old school, noting Stephanopoulos co-anchors the news division’s morning show, which is more important these days. (Matt Lauer, the reigning king of morning infotainment TV recently re-signed at NBC’s Today for more than $20 million a year, which eclipses the reported $12 mil a year Sawyer has been making). George Stephanopoulos to the new … Read More »
Diane Sawyer will lead “new programming,” the network said, “tackling big issues and extraordinary interviews.” George Stephanopoulos, who anchors Good Morning America and This Week, will add the title Chief Anchor of ABC News — he will be the chief anchor during all special reports and breaking news. David Muir, who has anchored newsmag 20/20 since 2013 as well as the weekend newscast, will become anchor and managing editor of World News starting September 2.
Read More »
Karlovy Vary Fest To Present Its Highest Award To Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson will receive the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival‘s top award for his “many years of artistic engagement in international cinema”. The actor-helmer-producer will present a screening of the 2006 film Apocalypto, his most recent directorial effort. Gibson’s next acting gig is in action-comedy sequel The Expendables 3, and he is filming the lead role in Blood Father. The 49th Karlovy Vary fest is set for July 4-12 in the Czech Republic resort town west of Prague.
Lionsgate Hires Pair Of Sales Directors In UK
Lionsgate said today that it has tapped Mark James as Director of Sales, Central & Eastern Europe, and Fabio-Etienne Tinchant as Director of Sales for Greece, Turkey, Africa, Middle-East, Spain and Portugal. The pair will be based in the mini-major’s London office, reporting to Roberta Ibba-Hartog. James was Sales Manager CEE & Middle East at CBS and before that served as NBC Universal Channels Acquisitions Manager for CEE. Tinchant was ITV Global Entertainment’s Sales Director for South East EMEA.
EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: Gary Oldman has sent an explanation to the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Weisenthal Center, in response to the ADL’s charge he propagated anti-Semitic stereotypes in his Playboy Interview. He’s the response:
Dear Gentlemen of the ADL:
I am deeply remorseful that comments I recently made in the Playboy Interview were offensive to many Jewish people. Upon reading my comments in print—I see how insensitive they may be, and how they may indeed contribute to the furtherance of a false stereotype. Anything that contributes to this stereotype is unacceptable, including my own words on the matter. If, during the interview, I had been asked to elaborate on this point I would have pointed out that I had just finished reading Neal Gabler’s superb book about the Jews and Hollywood, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews invented Hollywood. The fact is that our business, and my own career specifically, owes an enormous debt to that contribution.
I hope you will know that this apology is heartfelt, genuine, and that I have an enormous personal affinity for the Jewish people in general, and those specifically in my life. The Jewish People, persecuted thorough the ages, are the first to hear God’s voice, and surely are the chosen people.
I would like to sign off with “Shalom Aleichem”—but under the circumstances, perhaps today I lose the right to use that phrase, so I will wish you all peace–Gary Oldman.
EARLIER: As one who has been fortunate enough to have done a couple dozen Playboy Interviews of stars and directors, I reflexively cringed this morning as I watch the knee-jerk condemnations of Gary Oldman because of excerpts from a Playboy Interview he did to promote Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. Today, I’ve got my younger staffers wondering and speculating if Fox will stifle Oldman (who is more quiet and thoughtful than the characters he plays onscreen) from promoting the movie. I laugh and only partly because he’s the only internationally recognizable actor in the movie, unless Fox wants to unleash a phalanx of actors dressed in ape costumes for Kimmel, Fallon and Conan. Read More »
Last month, we saw a big swath of the Expendables 3 crew yukking it up during a massive stunt in Cannes. Today, they’re back with the first full-length trailer for the Millennium Films threequel. This episode reunites key cast members including Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture. It also adds Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Kelsey Grammer, Antonio Banderas, Kellan Lutz and others. Director Patrick Hughes plants the band on a quest for revenge after one of their men is murdered on what should have been an easy job. Deep in enemy territory, they face an unexpected threat. The film starts its international rollout on August 13 and Lionsgate releases in the States on August 15. It’s going out with a PG-13 which Stallone said in Cannes was “to reach as many people as possible. It’s very close to an R, believe me, it’s right there. But I think we owe it to the next generation. We thought we’d join that club for a while.”
Leah Gibson (DirecTV’s Rogue) and Rhys Ward (The 100, The Strain) have been cast as recurrings in Carlton Cuse’s 10-episode A&E Network drama series The Returned. An adaptation of the acclaimed French series, Returned, from A+E Studios and FremantleMedia, focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear, bringing with them both positive and detrimental consequences. Gibson, repped by Industry Entertainment and Play Management in Vancouver, will play Lucy, a sexy, free-spirited traveler who works as a waitress at the local bar, The Dog Star Tavern. Ward plays Adam, an expert hunter with a dark nature and a complicated family history that he’s struggling to overcome.
William H. Macy revealed on Twitter today that he’s playing opposite Mel Gibson in Jean-Francois Richet‘s Blood Father. Macy tweeted a photo with Gibson on the set. Blood Father is a Taken-style action thriller about an ex-con who reunites with his estranged 16-year old daughter, who has been targeted by drug dealers. Macy is repped by WME. In April, Paramount Home Video and Samuel Goldwyn acquired U.S. rights to Rudderless, Macy’s directorial debut which made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. That film stars Billy Crudup, Felicity Huffman, Anton Yelchin, Selena Gomez and Laurence Fishburne. Rudderless follows a man (Crudup), who after experiencing the death of his son, forms a band.
Related: Mel Gibson In Talks to Team With ‘Mesrine’ Helmer In ‘Blood Father’
Kaitlyn Dever has been cast in director Peer Pedersen’s drama The Greens Are Gone. Catherine Keener stars as the matriarch of a dysfunctional family who’s pushed to her limits by the disappearance of her son (Anton Yelchin). Dever will play a bipolar teenager. Her credits include TV’s Last Man Standing and Justified and features The Spectacular Now and Short Term 12. She next appears in Men, Women & Children. Dever is repped by UTA and Felker Toczek Gellman Suddleson.
Miguel Gomez has booked a role in director Antoine Fuqua’s boxing feature Southpaw. Written by Kurt Sutter, the pic stars Jake Gyllenhaal as an up-and-coming fighter who loses everything in a moment of rage and has to start from the bottom to get his life back. Gomez will play his ring rival Miguel “Magic” Cantu. His credits include Louie and The Domino Effect, and he next will be seen in FX’s upcoming drama The Strain and the feature Pacific Standard Time. Gomez is repped by Greene & Associates, manager Eli Selden and Jackoway Tyerman.
Richard Cabral has joined the cast of Blood Father for director Jean-Francois Richet. Mel Gibson stars as an ex-con who reunites with his estranged daughter to protect her from Mexican mobsters. Cabral will play Joker, a tough enforcer for the Mexican Mafia. … Read More »
The NBCUniversal cable net’s latest shows in development focus on obsession, ski instructors, beauty and fashion investors and matchmaking. Bravo today announced four reality projects that Bravo Media SVP Development said are “all about connecting Bravo viewers with who they definitely must know and what they absolutely cannot live without.” Michael Davies is among the producers of #obsessed, a roundup of the latest trends featuring Danielle Gibson and Alexandra Fiber. Apres Ski follows ski instructors vying for top jobs and “seeking thrills both on and off the mountain.” High Stakes Style centers on Shannon Mattingly as she and her team look to invest in one-of-a-kind beauty and style solutions. And Family Love revolves around Lisa Galos and her unconventional family of matchmakers. Here is the network’s descriptions of the shows, along with production info:
Related: Warner Horizon Teams With Andy Cohen For Unscripted Series About People Who Have Slept With Celebrities
Read More »
In this week’s podcast, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and host David Bloom recap some of Nancy’s most notable stories out of the Cannes Film Festival, including the first prizes to be announced; where all the hot deals are percolating both domestic and international; that big reunion marking Pulp Fiction at 20; and another reunion, this time of self-proclaimed “children with arthritis,” a batch of aging action heroes promoting the latest Expendables movie. They also take a quick peek at the BAFTA TV Awards, where Broadchurch proved a broad winner.
Global Showbiz Watch podcast 38 (.MP3 version)
Global Showbiz Watch podcast 38 (.M4A version)
Read More »