Breaking Bad may have finished its run a year ago but, as far as Emmys are concerned, it has all the heat now – and then some. It recently won Best Drama Series from the Critics Choice Television Awards, Program Of The Year from the Television Critics Association and even finally the Golden Globe last January for the show and star Bryan Cranston after essentially being ignored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the length of its 6-year run. The show has really come into its own and continues to be talked about and debated, and has taken a kind of victory tour at all the Guild shows as well since finally winning its first Best Drama Series Emmy in 2013. And it is nominated again, for the last time, for those final eight episodes that ran last summer just as Emmy voting for the previous season was in full force. Some think voters gave it the Emmy then as much for the new shows, that were unspooling as they had ballots in hand, as much they did for the eligible 8 shows from the first half of the sixth and final season. It begs the question whether the Academy is ready to go there one more time even though BB long ago finished its first-run episodes on AMC. But despite three lead actor Emmys in 2008, 2009 and 2010 for Cranston as well as a pair for …
EMMYS: A Year After Its Finale Bryan Cranston Still Hopes ‘Breaking Bad’ Has Awards Mojo On Its Side
After spending the last couple of months locking in a director and lead cast, HBO has officially greenlighted for production Show Me A Hero, a six-hour miniseries from The Wire co-creator David Simon. Inside Llewyn Davis leading man Oscar Isaac is set to star and Catherine Keener to co-star in the mini, which will be directed by Paul Haggis (Crash).
Penned by Simon and Baltimore Sun journalist/The Wire writer William F. Zorzi, Show Me A Hero is based on the nonfiction book by Lisa Belkin. It tells the story of Nick Wasicsko (Isaac), the youngest big-city mayor in the nation who finds himself thrust into the center of a racial controversy when a federal court orders him to build a small number of low-income housing units in the white neighborhoods of his town, Yonkers, N.Y.. His attempt to do so tears the city apart, paralyzes the municipal government and, ultimately, destroys his political future. Keener, repped by Gersh, plays Mary Dorman, an East Yonkers homeowner who comes to a remarkable realization during the battle over where to build low-income housing.
Gus Van Sant‘s next directorial Sea Of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe and Naomi Watts is currently in production in rural Massachusetts and will be moving its production to Japan in September. Financier and producer Ken Kao and Alex Walton’s international sales, production and financing company, BLOOM, launched and introduced Sea Of Trees in Cannes, and by the end of the festival had sold out most of the world.
Van Sant has assembled a top-notch creative team to work on the film including Oscar-winning editor Pietro Scalia, Emmy nominated production designer Alex DiGerlando (HBO’s True Detective), cinematographer Kasper Tuxen (Beginners), Oscar-nominated costume designer Danny Glicker (Milk, Up In The Air) and make up department head Felicity Bowring (The Bourne Legacy, The Social Network).
So which films and TV shows got the biggest bump to their social-media accounts during Comic-Con? The Deadline Team already has delivered its verdict on Comic-Con’s big winners (and yawners) overall. And it’s a challenge to be definitive with social media given the dozens of participating properties and connected stars, behind-the-camera notables, superfans and the like.
That said, social-media consulting firm RelishMIX spotted five entertainment properties that hit social-media home runs over the long weekend, led by massively popular Comic-Con videos for Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Mad Max: Fury Road. The Simpsons and Family Guy jointly scored well too, according to RelishMIX’s compilation of who added the most followers/likes/views across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to their official and related accounts (see chart below).
HBO’s Thrones, already a social-media monster, commanded a truly royal 8.3 million views of its Comic-Con YouTube videos, led by a Season 4 blooper reel that RelishMIX CEO Marc Karzen called a “super video,” with nearly 7.4 million views since it posted just four days ago.
Girls co-star Allison Williams has been cast as the title character in NBC’s December 4 live staging of Peter Pan Live!. Williams, who has sung on her HBO show and in various other projects, is a classically trained singer whose online singing videos have logged millions of views. (watch below one of the most popular ones, which she uploaded shortly after graduating from Yale in 2010) She will star opposite Christopher Walken, who had been cast as Captain Hook. “We think she will bring the perfect blend of ‘boyish’ vulnerability and bravado to save the day against Christopher Walken’s powerful Captain Hook,” NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said. Williams, daughter of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, said that she’d wanted to play Peter Pan since she was about 3, “so this is a dream come true.” “I’m very excited to get to work with this extraordinarily talented team. And besides, what could go wrong in a live televised production with simultaneous flying, sword fighting and singing?” Craig Zadan and Neil Meron executive produce the special.
The casting of the lead proved crucial for the success of NBC’s live staging of The Sound of Music last year as Carrie Underwood’s broad fan base came out in droves, especially in the middle of the country where there were numerous viewing parties. Williams, who landed the role on Girls right out of college, is not yet a household name and doesn’t have a following of the size of Underwood, a country superstar. The …
The actress who went from reclining in King Kong’s hand to creeping us out on American Horror Story, picking up a pair of Oscars along the way, will be feted this fall by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Organizers said today that Jessica Lange will receive the ninth annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film during a black-tie gala on November 16 in Santa Barbara. Presenters will be revealed in the coming months. Here’s the release:
The fanboy Super Bowl is over. Who made the most of San Diego Comic-Con and who spit the bit? Here’s the view from Deadline staffers who endured endless movie and TV show presentations. We’ll start with features:
WARNER BROS: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Mad Max: Fury Road, Jupiter Ascending, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
The best Comic-Con panels show fans things they’ve never seen before. From that standpoint, Warner Bros changed the game by making the Hall H experience seem larger. It turned the dark curtains covering 450 feet down the sides of the auditorium into a wraparound multimedia visual experience that left jaded geeks looking left and right in wonder at images that complemented the onstage presentation. Expect others to rip this off. For star power: Zack Snyder introduced his Batman v Superman stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, and Gal Gadot and offered glimpses of the film. Warner Bros also wowed with explosive footage from Mad Max: Fury Road, a film that looks like it could be the answer someday to this Trivial Pursuit question: What movie transformed Tom Hardy from a great actor into a big fucking movie star? Warner Bros also brought Middle Earth excitement to Hall H with a lengthy Hobbit: The Five Armies panel and footage that had LOTR fans aflutter.
MARVEL: Ant-Man, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Marvel is always the must-see panel; not so much this year. Maybe it was DC Comics’ turn to shine, and maybe being a sequel factory imposes limits on the surprise front. They trotted out the superstar Avengers lineup — been there, done that! — with additions Josh Brolin, Aaron Johnson, and Elizabeth Olsen. No Black Widow Scarlett Johansson, who was busy bitch-slapping Hercules at the box office in the Luc Besson film Lucy. Footage was OK, but Kevin Feige set a high bar for himself in past Cons, and this year he couldn’t clear it. Ant-Man brought Corey Stoll and Evangeline Lilly (already knew they were in the movie), and plans for a Guardians Of The Galaxy sequel were greeted by a collective “Duh!’ Feige could have told us what movies will fill all those release dates he recently staked out. He didn’t. Better luck next year, Marvel Man.
Ron Livingston will play Paul Revere in AMC’s comedy pilot We Hate Paul Revere, which begins shooting next month in LA. The pilot received the network’s first green light to a half-hour project back in March. It centers on two brothers living in Colonial Boston who are not fans of local industrialist and activist Paul Revere. Now they have their “bad guy.” The project is written, executive produced and stars Ethan Sandler and Adrian Wenner. AMC Studios is producing, and Troy Miller is a non-writing executive producer through his Dakota Films.
Livingston is playing Elvis Presley in the Eddie OKeefe-directed drama Shangri-La Suite and also stars in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, which he joined for Season 4. His next pic is Fort Bliss opposite Michelle Monaghan. He is repped by UTA and Thruline Entertainment.
Toronto Adds Kevin Smith’s ‘Tusk’, Frederick Wiseman & Ethan Hawke Docus; Vanguard & Midnight Madness Lineups
UPDATED: The Toronto Film Festival announced several additions to the 2014 lineup this morning including the documentary pics and the lineups for The Masters, Vanguard and Midnight Madness. The docu lineup features pioneers of BASE jumping in Sunshine Superman; Los Angeles sex workers in Tales Of The Grim Sleeper; survivors of the Indonesian genocide in The Look Of Silence; and, in Red Army, a hockey captain’s transition from national hero to political enemy during the rise and fall of the Soviet game.
The Midnight Madness section includes the world premiere of Kevin Smith’s Tusk, the wacky horror thriller that dropped its first trailer during Comic-Con. Set in the Canadian wilderness, it stars Justin Long as a podcaster who’s assigned to interview a mysterious seafarer (Michael Parks) who happens to have a strange obsession with walruses. Haley Joel Osment and Genesis Rodriguez also star. The pic hits theaters just after the fest on September 19; the Toronto fest runs September 4-14.
Here are the sections announced today:
FINAL: Intl Box Office: ‘Apes’ Dawns Again; ‘Godzilla’ Stomps Japan; ‘Hercules’ Muscles In; ‘Transformers’ $300M+ In China; Asia Action Ramps Up; More
3RD UPDATE, MONDAY 3:10 PM PT: All studios have reported actuals for the international weekend with no major discrepancies between the cumulative estimates reported Sunday and what’s come across today. Across the top titles, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was up a tick to $54.84M from an estimated $54.4M; Transformers: Age Of Extinction was slightly lower at $36.9M versus $37.5M; Hercules was smack on with $28.7M; and How To Train Your Dragon 2 was up a whisker at $24.4M versus the $24M estimate.
One notable factoid is that for the 2nd weekend in a row, numbers on Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore comedy Blended are higher than expected. Yesterday, they were estimated at $3.8M in 47 markets. Today, Warner says the actuals are $4.25M. That takes the overseas cume to $66.6M – the domestic cume was $45.4M. In Brazil, the film has been especially strong, adding $1.7M this weekend for a local cume of $6.8M and a slight 18% drop from last frame. When I asked what the deal is with Sandler, Blended and Brazil, I was told that his films are roundly popular there where family fare is also big – and this one is now bigger than Grown Ups, 50 First Dates, Bedtime Stories, Don’t Mess With The Zohan and Chuck And Larry.
Along with the above films, all figures throughout the below have been updated on: Planes: Fire & Rescue, Godzilla, Step Up All In, Sex Tape, The Purge: Anarchy, Maleficent, The Fault In Our Stars, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’ Movie, 22 Jump Street, Deliver Us From Evil, Neighbors, Kick, Edge Of Tomorrow, and Boyhood.
First in a series
EXCLUSIVE: Downtown developer Tom Gilmore was irate. “What’s this goddamn thing here I had to pay for?” he fumed. It was noontime, June 16, and L.A.’s powerful downtown developer stood on the corner of 4th and Main Street accosting a FilmLA monitor as a crew arrived. The monitor tried to assure Gilmore that the commercial shoot would be fast and there’d be no disruption to his businesses, but Gilmore wasn’t buying it.
“I know what you’ve done for the neighborhood,” the monitor said as the crew set up to grab a quick shot outside Pete’s Café and Bar, one of Gilmore’s restaurants. “And I’m grateful. You know I’m grateful.”
“I appreciate that and I’m not mad at you,” Gilmore said, lowering his voice slightly amid the clamor of lunch-hour traffic. “I’m expressing my pissed-off-ness that this thing got OK’d today.”
“This thing” was a Just For Men TV spot in the Old Bank District, which is Gilmore’s turf. Almost singlehandedly, he’d turned it from Skid Row-adjacent to a thriving area of shops, restaurants and residential lofts. Gilmore Associates, widely credited with spearheading the residential boom in downtown Los Angeles, owns numerous properties down there: the stately old Farmers and Merchants Bank; the 12-story Continental and six-story Hellman buildings, which were converted into lofts; an elegant old Catholic church that he turned into a premiere events site; and the historic San Fernando building, with 70 loft-style apartments anchored by Pete’s Café and Bäco Mercat on the ground floor.
A city street runs through the district — a street Gilmore, to his unending irritation, doesn’t own and can’t control. It’s a popular spot for filmmakers, one of the few places in L.A. that can convincingly double for older cities like New York or Chicago. More than 150 days of filming are shot there every year. Gilmore can make any one of them tough on properly permitted filmmakers, and on that June day, that’s just what he was doing.
“I am gonna do what I gotta do to make this not such a pretty little place,” Gilmore told the monitor in a tape-recorded conversation obtained by Deadline, “because the only reason you’re using it is cuz we made it such a pretty little place.” Minutes later, Gilmore had his men lean ladders in the doorway of the San Fernando and hang yellow caution tape in the potted trees outside Pete’s Café, ruining the planned shots.
The producers had paid FilmLA more than $1,600 in permit fees, but Gilmore wanted them to pay him, too. His location agent, Richard Wynn, had sent the shoot’s location manager, Jeff McSpadden, a contract and a letter demanding $12,000 for the right to film in the street and on the sidewalk outside the café — both public spaces.
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes just won an indirect endorsement for his argument that his shareholders would be better off letting him lead the company instead of accepting a cash and stock offer from Rupert Murdoch. Without a deal, Time Warner shares should hit $95 within a year, and there’s “a credible stand-alone bull case valuation of $105,” Morgan Stanley Research’s Benjamin Swinburne says today. The numbers are important: Time Warner rejected Murdoch’s $85 a share bid, and many analysts say that he could go as high as $105 before choking on the cost. That probably wouldn’t impress shareholders if they believe that they’ll see that price without the risk that would come with such a big deal.
Swinburne’s analysis begins by accepting Bewkes’ forecast that cable and satellite company payments to Time Warner’s Turner networks will grow at double digit rates each year over the next five years. “Given 7 out of the top 10 distributors have already renewed (as of early ’14), we see limited downside risk to [the] guidance,” the analyst says. Those payments now account for 20% of Time Warner revenues.
HBO also could grow subscriptions and revenues by tinkering with its pricing and deals with pay TV distributors. It has about 30M domestic subscribers, but the below-average penetration rates at Time Warner Cable and Dish Network suggest that there are “key opportunities for HBO to drive further revenue-generating subscriber growth.” Along that line, Bloomberg reported today that HBO is considering expanding a test with Comcast, introduced last year, that offers broadband service, basic TV, and HBO …
UPDATES WITH VIDEO: True Blood may be into its final season, but the HBO show wasn’t treating its likely last Comic-Con appearance with anything but a ravenous appetite and a bit of bite. Specifically it was former GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin who got chomped. “She’ll weigh in on anything,” castmember Kristin Bauer van Straten said disdainfully of Palin revealing that she turned down the attempt HBO made to get the ex-Alaska governor on the show for its most recent broadcast. Besides a bloodbath at a fictional fundraiser for real-life Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the July 20 episode had several digs at the GOP including one character referring to herself as “a Republic**t.”
Needless to say, Palin wasn’t impressed.
“The brilliant minds of True Blood were brazen enough to ask me to do a cameo on their show, apparently so they could insult a conservative woman in person instead of just all conservative women in general,” Palin revealed to Breitbart earlier this week. “Their offer wasn’t presented in any negative way, perhaps to benefit from a surprise factor after the guest appearance. I turned them down anyway.” HBO confirmed that the offer in a statement that “casting directors for the show reached out to Ms. Palin’s representative but did not receive a response.”
Comic-Con: ‘Boxtrolls’ Producer Travis Knight Gives Shout-Out To Tracy Morgan; Urges DIY Attitude On Filmmaking
UPDATES THROUGHOUT: Boxtrolls producer Travis Knight gave an update on cast member Tracy Morgan during the Focus Features panel for the pic today at Comic-Con. Morgan was seriously injured in a June crash that killed his mentor, comedian James McNair, in New Jersey. “Thankfully he’s home with his family now and recovering… I’ve come down to Comic-Con for five years and not found a family as loving, kind and generous as the Comic-Con family,” he said. Knight and the cast and crew of Boxtrolls led the 6,500 strong Hall H audience in a round of “We love you Tracy” cheers, filming the moment to send to Morgan back home.
The Laika stop motion animation pic has been ten years in the making, but comes after the Portland-based studio’s first two feature hits. Development began before the studio’s Coraline (2009) and ParaNorman (2012) on the tale of a young boy named Eggs who’s raised by a family of underground-dwelling trash-collecting creatures known as the Boxtrolls.
Game Of Thrones‘ Isaac Hempstead-Wright voices Eggs, and got a huge response from fans as he took the stage just a day after the HBO series packed Hall H with its own panel. Elle Fanning and Ben Kingsley also “star” and joined Hempstead-Wright, Knight, and co-directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable to present charming footage from the September 26 release. Laika has created a richly detailed world inspired by works of “Roald Dahl, bits of Monty Python, and Charles Dickens,” according to Knight.
HBO’s blockbuster Game Of Thrones made its annual pilgrimage to Comic-Con‘s massive Hall H today, unveiling among other things a whooping 9 new cast members for the upcoming Season 5 including a geekfest double-shot: Keisha Castle-Hughes, who co-starred in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith, for the Force’s sake.
The Whale Rider Oscar nominee will play Obara Sand, a fearsome warrior and the eldest bastard daughter of the late Prince Oberyn Martell. Her mother was a Dornish peasant girl who caught the eye of the late Prince. Jonathan Pryce also has come aboard the fantasy drama playing the High Sparrow, a pious man whose fellow believers have swarmed King’s Landing, ministering to the lowest and decrying the corruption of the highest. Fellow new castmembers include Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell, Toby Sebastian as Trystane Martell, Nell Tiger Free as Myrcella Baratheon, DeObia Oparei as Areo Hotah, Enzo Cilenti as Yezzan, Jessica Henwick as Nymeria (“Nym”) Sand, and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers as Tyene Sand. Pryce’s appearance on the big screen got a huge roar from the thousands in Hall H as he said he was really excited to join the show.
Peter Sarsgaard has been cast as the lead in NBC’s The Slap. Also cast in a lead role in the 8-hour miniseries, based on the 2011 Australian short-run series, is Weeds‘ Mary-Louise Parker. The Slap is described as a complex family drama that explodes from one small incident where a man slaps another couple’s misbehaving child. The seemingly minor domestic dispute pulls the family apart, begins to expose long-held secrets, and ignites a lawsuit that challenges the core American values of all who are pulled into it.
Sarsgaard will play Hector, a husband and father who loves his wife and family but shows signs of weakness when he finds himself succumbing to the advances of his wife’s teenaged receptionist during his own party. Hector’s cousin is the one who slaps the child. Parker will play Anouk, a close friend of Hector’s who’s the head writer on a TV show and is now dating the younger leading man. Sarsgaard, repped by CAA, Jon Rubenstein at Authentic, and Jodi Peikoff, and Parker are the first actors cast in The Slap, written by Jon Robin Baitz and to be directed by Lisa Cholodenko (the first two hours) for Universal TV and Australia’s Matchbox Pictures, producer of the original series. Baitz, Cholodenko and Matchbox’s Tony Ayres executive produce with Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald as well as Ted Gold.
Looks like Mick Jagger has checked in from the set of HBO’s Untitled Rock ‘N’ Roll project. Martin Scorsese is directing and Jagger, Scorsese and Terence Winter are exec producing the drama set in 1970s New York. It explores the drug- and sex-fueled music business as punk and disco were breaking out, all through the eyes of record executive Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale), who is trying to resurrect his label and find the next new sound. Ray Romano also stars as Richie’s close confidant and right-hand man, Zak Yankovich. Jagger tweeted this earlier this morning:
San Diego is about to get a Gothic horror visit from Victorian England today and John Logan is about to let Penny Dreadful get truly uninhibited. “A lot of Season 1, for me, was actually putting the playing pieces on the board,” says the Oscar nominated scribe of the Showtime series of 19th century iconic supernatural misfits he created. “Now I feel we’ve had 8 hours to do that, to establish the landscape and so now I really get to play,” the first time showrunner adds with a laugh. “I can create more and more complex patterns of the relationships of the characters and of the supernatural element as well,” the Gladiator and Skyfall writer says. “In terms of the second season, I’ve written all but two of the episodes. So, the last two are yet to be written. So I’m well ahead of the game there, and the actors will all be getting it the end of this month.
In just over a month since Dreadful’s rather spectacularly blood soaked Season 1 finale, Logan will be taking the stage in Ballroom 20 of the San Diego Convention Center this evening with cast members Harry Treadaway, Reeve Carney and Josh Hartnett. If he returns next year, he may be bringing a few more people with him and not just absent leads Timothy Dalton and Eva Green. “I’m teasing out from the characters I really love …
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has a problem. Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch is preparing to sweeten his offer for the owner of Warner Bros, CNN, and HBO after it rejected an $80B cash-and-stock proposal last month. And Bewkes, who says he wants to keep Time Warner independent, has few takeover defenses. What can he do? Here are a few of the leading options that Time Warner execs and their advisors at Citigroup are weighing.
Combine with CBS: This would make Time Warner toxic for Fox: The FCC would not allow Murdoch to control two of the four biggest networks, and two of the largest TV station groups with overlaps in the nation’s largest markets.
And the business logic of a Time Warner-CBS combination is compelling. CBS chief Les Moonves would like to diversify his company to make it less dependent on domestic TV advertising. (He has already said that he’d like to buy CNN if Fox prevails with Time Warner and puts the news channel on the block.) Moonves also has made it clear that he’d like to play a bigger role in movies — his CBS Films appears to be struggling to figure out its identity. CBS could address these concerns by blending with Time Warner’s cable channels and movie studio.
The chief obstacle is that CBS is controlled by Sumner Redstone, who also owns Viacom. He hasn’t wanted to give up either property, and some bankers believe he’d prefer to …