EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that five well-known Hollywood Democrats — David Geffen, Bob Iger, Peter Chernin, Haim Saban, and Ari Emanuel — are hosting a November 4th fundraiser for Ari’s brother Rahm Emanuel in his bid to become Chicago’s next mayor. Rahm, a former Democratic U.S. Representative from Illinois’ 5th Congressional District (2003-2009), resigned as President Obama’s White House Chief Of Staff on October 1st to throw his hat into the mayoral race following the retirement of Richard M. Daley whose last name more or less owned that political office the way most families would takeover the dining table. The Hollywood fundraiser will be held at Saban’s palatial Beverly Hills home.
For those keeping score, Geffen is the former DreamWorks SKG partner and longtime music and film mogul. Iger is the CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Chernin is the former No. 2 of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and now a busy Fox TV and film producer. Saban is a private equity investor and entertainment producer best known for making the Power rangers into a worldwide hit and co-owner of the largest Spanish language media company in the U.S., Univision, as well as one of the Democratic party’s single largest donors. And Ari is the co-CEO of WME Entertainment, one of the largest Hollywood talent and literary agencies and now expanding into marketing and investment banking. All the men are Democratic Party donors, with Geffen, Chernin, Ari Emanuel, and Saban the most … Read More »
The Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire composer will write the score for Paani, Shekhar Kapur’s science-fiction movie. Swarovski Entertainment, the jeweler’s new entertainment company, has also boarded the long-gestating project.
From Michelle Obama’s remarks today: ”There’s also more to the dinner than just the food, even though that’s going to be exciting. Dinners like these also need great entertainment. So who do we have tonight? We’ve got someone you guys probably know a lot about: Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson is going to sing tonight — yay! But also have A.R. Rahman. He’s also an Oscar winner and he helped create some of the music for the film “Slumdog Millionaire.” I don’t know if you guys got to see that movie — incredible movie. We’re also going to have Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, who’s a Chicago hometown guy and we’re pleased to have him. And we’re also going to have the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Marvin Hamlisch, who’s one of the greatest composers in this country.” Mistakenly left off the list was the Bay Area Empire Bhangra dance group.
Tonight, the Brothers Emanuel sit down with Charlie Rose. And already Ari is telling pals, “It was just like I was a kid. I got the shit beat out me by my older brothers…” The occasion is the publication of Ezekiel’s book on health care (Healthcare, Guaranteed: A Simple, Secure Solution for America), but the show focuses on what it was like growing up in the Emanuel household. Ari, of course, is co-founding partner of Endeavor talent agency and the model for Ari Gold on Entourage; Rahm Emanuel is a U.S. Congressman from Illinois who helped win back the House of Representatives for the Democrats and is now its 4th-ranking member, and Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is Director of the Clinical Bioethics Department at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. (See my previous, Does Ari’s Mom Have A Secret Recipe?)
EXCLUSIVE: Departing Parks And Recreation co-star Rob Lowe is on track to return to NBC‘s primetime with another single-camera workplace comedy series. The network has given a production commitment to The Pro, starring and executive produced by Lowe. Comedy veterans Pete Huyck and Alex Gregory (The Larry Sanders Show, Frasier) will write the script and serve as showrunners, with Todd Holland set to direct. The project stems from a development deal NBC inked with Lowe in the summer when he was finalizing his upcoming exit from Parks And Recreation after the first 13 episodes of the current sixth season. It will be co-produced by ABC Studios, which has a deal with Huyck and Gregory, and Universal TV, with ABC Studios taking lead. The Pro stars Lowe as former tennis doubles champion “Big Ben” Bertrahm, whose career flame-out and misguided investments have left him working as the pro at a tennis and golf club, where he tries to hustle and charm his way back into America’s 1%. WME-repped Huyck and Gregory are executive producing with Holland and Karey Burke through their Uni TV-based Dark Toy banner, and Brillstein Entertainment’s Marc Gurvitz. This marks the latest big commitment from an outside network for ABC Studios in its first season actively selling on the open marketplace. It has two put pilot commitments at CBS for comedies from Jonathan Groff and Lee Eisenberg, … Read More »
About Time, Director: Richard Curtis, UK
Richard Curtis adds a touch of time-travel to this hilarious romantic comedy, a perfect vehicle for the comic talents of Bill Nighy, Rachel McAdams, Lindsay Duncan, and emerging star Domhnall Gleeson. A Universal Pictures release.
Abuse Of Weakness (Abus de Faiblesse), Director: Catherine Breillat, France
Catherine Breillat’s haunting film about her 2004 stroke and subsequent self-destructive relationship with star swindler Christophe Rocancourt, starring Isabelle Huppert.
Alan Patridge, Director: Declan Lowney, UK/France
In the long-awaited big-screen debut of Steve Coogan’s singular comic creation, the vain and obliviously tactless Alan Partridge must serve as an intermediary when North Norfolk Digital is seized at gunpoint by a down-sized DJ. Read More »
The New York Film Festival has begun unveiling films for its 2013 program, and it begins with Captain Phillips, the Sony Pictures film that Paul Greengrass directed and Tom Hanks starred in as the captain who put himself in the hands of Somali pirates instead of his crew after the cargo ship he captained was hijacked in 2009. He was rescued in a dangerous mission by a Navy SEAL team. It seemed a good candidate to grace Gotham’s prestigious festival as the opening-night film. One of the film’s producers, Scott Rudin, is a New Yorker who brought The Social Network to the festival. And the film was conspicuously absent from the Toronto and Venice lineups. Here is the official word:
New York, NY, July 29, 2013 – The Film Society of LincoOoln Center announced today that Paul Greengrass’s CAPTAIN PHILLIPS will make its World Premiere as the Opening Night Gala presentation for the upcoming 51st New York Film Festival (September 27 – October 13). Starring two-time Academy Award® winner and 2009 Film Society Chaplin Award honoree Tom Hanks in the title role, the film is Academy Award®-nominated director Paul Greengrass’s multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates.
NYFF’s Director of Programming and Selection Committee Chair, Kent Jones said, “CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is a riveting experience. At this point in his working life, Paul Greengrass has become a master of immersive reality-based narratives set along geopolitical fault lines – in this case, the 2009 seizure of the Maersk Alabama cargo ship by four Somali pirates. I’m excited that this tough, tense, real-life thriller, capped by the remarkable performances of Tom Hanks and four brilliant first-time Somali actors (Barkhad Abdi, Faysal Ahmed, Barkhad Abdirahman and Mahat M. Ali), is opening the 51st edition of the festival.”
Not surprisingly, Discovery Channel announced this morning it will roll out its documentary from the Naudet brothers, in which they interviewed every living White House Chiefs of Staff, on Sept. 11. The two hour special will air for one hour that night and one hour the next night, at 9 PM ET/PT. Gedeon and Jules Naudet, you’ll recall, are the young documentary filmmakers who happened to be at the right/wrong place at just the right/wrong time when Jules accompanied members of the Engine 7, Ladder 1 firehouse in Lower Manhattan to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 and shot footage of American Airlines Flight 11 hitting the north tower of the center and the complex’s collapse. (He and Gedeon were working on a docu about the firehouse at the time.) That footage became the 2002 documentary 9/11 which was aired to acclaim by CBS. Read More »
UPDATE, 1:40 PM: Mad Men‘s sixth-season finale posted 2.7 million viewers — on par with last season’s finale. The AMC period drama in its sixth season added an average of 2.1 million viewers within three days and an average of 2.4 million additional viewers within seven days of the live telecast through the first 10 episodes this season, the network said today. Over the season, the Mad Avenue drama averaged 2.5 million viewers and continues to rank as cable’s most upscale drama. Read More »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Tonight’s event honoring AMC’s Mad Men at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences headquarters in North Hollywood – organized by AMC and designed to generate some Emmy season heat for a drama perceived to be past its awards prime – was perhaps most noteworthy for who wasn’t in attendance rather than who was. First, the list of those castmates who couldn’t make it: Jon Hamm (shooting a movie in India), Alison Brie (shooting a film in Toronto), Vincent Kartheiser (rehearsing a play in Minnesota), Christina Hendricks (shooting a movie in Detroit), John Slattery (prepping a film in New York), Aaron Staton (shooting a film “out of town”) and Rich Sommer (featured in a play in New York). While they still have air travel in every area where the seven no-shows were stationed, it’s perhaps understandable that they wouldn’t rush back to stump for more Emmy attention. Read More »
It may be blockbuster season, but the Specialties are parading a number of new titles into theaters this weekend. After ruling the box office last year, Joss Whedon‘s modern take on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing will open in limited release. Similar to many of this weekend’s new offerings, the title does not have high-named stars. Sundance and Tribeca docs Dirty Wars and Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie join the fray Friday along with Precious writer Geoffrey Fletcher’s Violet & Daisy. Joel Edgerton stars in Australian film, Wish You Were Here, opening Stateside via eOne, while Freestyle Releasing will bow two features, Hello Herman and Tiger Eyes. And SXSW doc competition film Hey Bartender will also straddle up for a shot at the box office.
Much Ado About Nothing
Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: William Shakespeare (play), Joss Whedon (screenplay)
Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond
Distributor: Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate
Roadside’s Howard Cohen is returning to a Shakespeare he knows well, having been involved with Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 version two decades ago. The latest, which debuted at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival is a black and white re-telling of the story with a modern edge. “It has a great combination of upscale art house appeal and fun modern, hipster vibe,” noted Cohen. “The actors are Americans doing Shakespeare. Joss breathes a fresh air into Shakespeare. People love Shakespeare, but you have to breathe new air to re-invent 400-year-old plays.” Shot over 12 days at Whedon’s Santa Monica home while taking a short break filming The Avengers, the undertaking was something of a passion project for Whedon who used actors that have participated in Shakespeare readings at his home. “There’s a real purist aspect to it. It’s not like he randomly decided to do a prestige movie. It’s aspirational because it’s Shakespeare, but it’s with actors he works with,” added Cohen. Read More »
Showtime was the only network to land two shows on 3rd annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards‘ list of The Most Exciting New Series. Both of Showtime’s upcoming series, dramas Ray Donovan and Masters Of Sex, made the cut, along with CBS’ summer series Under The Dome, which was developed at Showtime before moving to sibling CBS. FX’s The Bridge also was honored, as well as two fall broadcast series: ABC’s drama Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and NBC comedy The Michael J. Fox Show. The most excited new series are voted based on pilots and early episodes, if available. Additionally, Bob Newhart was announced as the recipient of the 2013 Critics’ Choice Television Icon Award at the ceremony, slated for June 10 at The Beverly Hilton. It will be webcast live at 8pm PT on UStream. Celebrity presenters include Malin Akerman, Angela Bassett, Miranda Cosgrove, Hugh Dancy, Cat Deeley, Josh Gad, Johnny Galecki, Seth Green, Allison Janney, Tatiana Maslany, Maria Menounos, Elisabeth Moss, Kunal Nayyar, Jack Osbourne, Adam Pally, Sarah Paulson, Aubrey Plaza, Kevin Rahm, John Ratzenberger, Emmy Rossum, Jimmy Smits, Eric Stonestreet and Sam Trammell.
The Chicago way is coming to Jeff Zucker’s CNN in 2014. The cable news network has picked up Chicagoland, executive produced by Robert Redford with his Sundance Productions partner Laura Michalchyshyn and filmmakers Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin of BCTV. The eight-part unscripted series examines the challenges the Windy City faces as it tries to rebuild from the consequences of the recent economic crisis. Praising “tough, visionary” Windy City mayor (and brother of Redford’s WME agency chief Ari Emanuel) Rahm Emanuel, Redford said today in a statement that “Chicago has always had a rhythm all its own. It’s a city that wears its heart on its sleeve and I am honored to be a part of telling this story.” The series is set to debut on CNN early next year. “We’re very pleased to bring this unique long-form series to the network”, said Amy Entelis, CNN Worldwide’s SVP Talent and Content Development. “Chicagoland is a creative exploration of stories relevant to every city and every American”. Sundance Productions’ debut documentary All The President’s Men Revisited premiered on Discovery last month.
3RD UPDATE – FINAL: (See Conan and Obama videos here and here.) We warned you not to expect much from tonight’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. And true to form it failed to deliver. Bland to a fault Conan O’Brien didn’t lay a glove on celebrity-in-chief Barack Obama. (Bring back Seth Meyers…) But the President got an easy laugh with a showbiz joke that couldn’t have made Comcast too happy. (He noted that, of 22 recent basketball shots, he had 2 hits and 20 misses. “The executives at NBC asked, ‘What’s your secret?’” POTUS said.) O’Brien’s best line of the night was comparing the relationship between Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner to a blind date between Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow. (“In theory they understand each other’s positions. But deep down you know nothing’s ever going to happen.”) Obama got in the nastiest media dig. Noting that CNN has “taken some knocks” – because of errors during reporting on the Boston Marathon bombings - he said, “Fact is I admire their commitment to cover all sides of a story – just in case one of them happens to be accurate.” Obama even stabbed his liberal media cronies. He said saying seeing David Axelrod going to work for MSNBC was “a nice change of pace since MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod”.
Steven Spielberg – whom Obama called “my wonderful friend” - played a pivotal role in a video claiming the … Read More »
UPDATE: Ari Emanuel clearly doesn’t know when to leave well enough alone. NBC’s Rock Center With Brian Williams featured a mostly lighthearted profile of him and his two bros Friday night timed to the publication of Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir Of An American Family. Williams assembled Ari, the WME talent agency chief; Rahm, current mayor of Chicago and former Obama Chief of Staff; and Zeke, bioethicist doctor and the book’s author. But Ari followed up with a legal letter to the network complaining about “contentious” nature of Williams’ questioning. You be the judge if Ari needs to develop a thicker skin:
Friday night saw the season finales of ABC comedies Last Man Standing (1.6/6) and Malibu Country (1.4/5). Wrapping up its second cycle, the Tim Allen starring Last Man rose 14% from last week’s show. Having moved from its first season Tuesday slot to Fridays for Season 2, the series was up 18% in total viewers from its May 8, 2012 Season 1 finale and dipped just 6% from last year’s closer. Last Man Standing was the number 1 show of the night in both the Adult 18-49 demo and in total viewers (7.85 million). In fact, Last Man matched its November 2, 2012 season opening number among 18-49 for its highest result in the key demographic. Bringing its freshman season to a conclusion, Malibu Country, starring Reba McEntire, saw a sometimes-rocky first run end 27% up from last week’s season low. It was also up 25% in viewers over its March 15 show to 7 million watching. That made Friday’s episode the third most watched Malibu Country since its November 2 premiere and its second week November 9 show. After a Shark Tank (1.4/4) repeat, which rated higher or equal to originals on other networks, ABC closed the night with a new 20/20 which was up 14% from last week. For the … Read More »
Anthony D’Alessandro is Managing Editor of AwardsLine. Paul Brownfield and David Mermelstein are AwardsLine contributors.
Auteurs wouldn’t be auteurs if they weren’t enigmatic, especially when it comes to deconstructing details of their oeuvre. “Let the film speak for itself” is often the motto, and for Amourdirector and screenwriter Michael Haneke, that’s not too far from his own credo. However, he’s not completely inaccessible when responding to the audience’s fervor for his work.
“It’s very difficult for me to say, it was so long ago, I can’t remember”, Haneke told AwardsLine when asked if there were one particularly challenging scene to write for Amour. “Generally, when it comes to screenwriting, I can say that if it’s flowing, you enjoy it. If not, it’s far less pleasant. But there’s always ambivalence—the struggle to put something there on a blank page when there was nothing there before. If it’s successful, you’re happy; if not, you’re depressed”.
In writing the story of 80-year-old husband Georges who contends with his dying wife Anne’s debilitated state, Haneke was spurred by a beloved aunt’s long and painful battle with a degenerative condition. For the director, the story of the elderly couple’s struggle was a universal tragedy versus a tragic drama “about a 40-year-old couple who is coping with a child dying of cancer”.
In researching the script, Haneke met extensively with medical specialists who work with stroke victims. … Read More »
Leaving artistic issues aside, you could—at first glance—say that the competition for best original score isn’t a fair fight this year. Three of the nominees—Mychael Danna (Life Of Pi), Alexandre Desplat (Argo), and Thomas Newman (Skyfall)—have never won an Oscar, and one of them (Danna) is enjoying his first nomination. Dario Marianelli won once before, but his nom for Anna Karenina is only his third. So who’s the heavyweight in the ring? None other than John Williams (Lincoln), who has won five Oscars for original score, as well as one for adapted score.
Williams is basking in his 39th nomination for original score. His first was for The Reivers (1969), starring Steve McQueen. His closest competitor within this group is Newman, who is savoring his ninth nom since 1994, when he earned two—for Little Women and The Shawshank Redemption. Desplat is suiting up for his fifth round since 2006, when The Queen first brought him close to Oscar gold. Read More »
Though his films might lead you to believe otherwise, Michael Haneke is surprisingly good-humored in conversation. His latest film, Amour, is nominated for five Oscars: best picture, foreign-language film, director, original screenplay, and actress. It soberly and precisely charts the decline of an aged French couple, played to a fare-thee-well by Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva. The film might be the writer-director’s most personal to date, for though it retains the intense focus and absence of sentimentality present in his other work, its plainly expressed—and inevitably touching—humanity was inspired by a chapter from Haneke’s own life. Until Amour, Haneke was best known in America for the Oscar-nominated The White Ribbon (2009), which chillingly depicts village life in pre-World War I Germany and hints at the foundations of Nazism, and Cache (2005), which plumbs issues of memory, guilt, and identity. Speaking from Madrid, during rehearsals for a production of Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, the filmmaker discussed with AwardsLine various issues connected with his recent film work.
AwardsLine:What compelled you to make Amour? Michael Haneke: Nothing forced me [to make the film], but what motivated me was a case in my family. I was forced to look on as someone very close to me suffered—but not specifically as depicted in the film—someone for whom I cared for very much. And that led me to make … Read More »