The Tribeca Film Festival continues to roll out its lineup for this year’s 13th edition, which kicks off April 16. Here is the program slates for the Spotlight, Midnight, Special Screenings and Storyscapes sections. The fest’s shorts program will be unveiled Tuesday. Here are today’s films, which include Spotlight spots for Roman Polanksi’s Venus In Fur, the Robin Williams-starrer Boulevard from Dito Montiel, world premieres of films directed by actors Chris Messina and Courteney Cox, and of course the horror comedy Zombeavers:
Related: Tribeca Film Festival Unveils Competition Slate
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It’s a banner year for Oscar newcomers in the uber-competitive acting races. Outside of the veteran-heavy lead actress contest, 13 of the 20 nominees in lead and supporting are receiving either their first or second nominations. Considering how often the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tends to play favorites, it is good to see new blood. As voters enter the final balloting period before the March 2 ceremony, the guilds and other precursor awards have provided two fairly solid lead-category frontrunners—one of whom is a first-time nominee.
Related: SAG Awards: American Hustle Gets A Big Boost
With wins at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Movie Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Dallas Buyers Club’s Matthew McConaughey has leapt to the front of the pack in the incredibly tight best actor race, which has see-sawed all season. But storm warning ahead, Matthew: The all-important British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards are still to come on Sunday, and you didn’t even snag a nomination there, leaving an opening for your chief rivals: The Wolf Of Wall Street’s Leonardo DiCaprio, a four-time acting nominee looking for his first win; 12 Years A Slave’s Chiwetel Ejiofor (who is British and a first-time Oscar nominee); and Nebraska’s Bruce Dern, enjoying his second nom. American Hustle’s Christian Bale, who won a supporting Oscar in 2011 for The Fighter, rounds out the category.
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The weekend is offering a bounty of Specialty newcomers, though most will likely see out their releases in a niche capacity. Tribeca Film is bowing Bryan Poyser’s Love & Air Sex, combining a contest with a not quite real simulation to accompany its roll out. SenArt and Paladin are teaming for a unique release for Kids For Cash in Pennsylvania, while fellow doc Afternoon Of A Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq will go a more traditional route. Well Go USA is doubling up with Cavemen and The Attorney, though there should be very little audience overlap, while Dada will open The Pretty One in limited release. Also opening this weekend is Drafthouse Films’ Field In England. The specialty distributor will open the film in select cities theatrically as well as on VOD/digital platforms.
Love & Air Sex
Director-writer: Bryan Poyser
Writers: David DeGrow Shotwell, Steven Walters
Cast: Ashley Bell, Zach Cregger, Sara Paxton, Michael Stahl-David, Addison Timlin, Marshall Allman, Justin Arnold
Distributor: Tribeca Film
Director-co-writer Bryan Poyser debuted his latest film in his hometown, Austin, at last year’s SXSW Film Festival. The comedy centers on Stan who attempts to alleviate his broken heart by flying to Austin for the weekend, hoping to “accidentally” run into his ex-girlfriend Cathy. When he arrives, he finds his best friends Jeff and Kara in the middle of their own vicious breakup. “It’s a script that came to me through Preferred Content and optioned through a couple of writers,” said Poyser. Read More »
Lifetime has given a series order to Un-Real, its hourlong pilot starring Shiri Appleby and co-written/executive produced by Marti Noxon. I hear another Lifetime pilot, dystopian-future drama The Lottery, is in negotiations for a series pickup. Meanwhile, the network’s third traditional pilot, HR, is not going forward, with the project starring Alicia Silverstone currently being shopped to other networks. (Lifetime also has movie/backdoor pilot Deliverance Creek, which is yet to air.)
Lifetime has picked up 10 episodes of Un-Real, which will be produced by A+E Studios, making it the first scripted series fully owned by the recently launched in-house production arm of Lifetime parent A+E Networks. The dark comedy, inspired by Sarah Gertrude Shapiro’s award-winning independent short Sequin Raze, was written by Shapiro and Noxon and gives a behind-the-scenes look at the chaos surrounding the production of a dating competition program. “Un-Real is unlike anything that exists on television today,” Lifetime GM Rob Sharenow said. “It’s premium and original on every level, and we’re thrilled that Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro’s unique series will be Lifetime’s first program produced by A+E Studios.” Un-Real centers on Rachel (Appleby), a young staffer whose sole job is to manipulate her relationships with and … Read More »
Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has died. He was 46. According to NYPD, Hoffman was discovered Sunday morning in his Manhattan home after suffering an apparent drug overdose. Police were called to the scene around 11:30 AM by Hoffman’s friend who found the actor non-responsive in the bathroom of the apartment this morning, according to NYPD, which said that a hypodermic needle and two glassine envelopes containing what appeared to be heroin were found in the fourth-floor apartment. Police would not confirm the name of the friend who found Hoffman. An autopsy will be performed and results could take some time for toxicology reports to become available.
Related: PHOTOS: Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)
The industry well knows Hoffman’s films credits, but his real role in life was as father of three young children with costume designer Mimi O’Donnell: Cooper, 11, Tallulah who is seven and Willa who is six years old. O’Donnell and he met in 1999 when Hoffman directed the play In Arabia We’d All Be Kings. His family just issued the following statement: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone. This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers.”
Hoffman, who audiences will most recently remember for his turn … Read More »
PBS‘ Britcom Vicious is retro in form, contemporary in subject matter and could not have been made on a U.S. network owing to the age of its actors, the creator and stars said today at TCA. Vicious stars Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as Freddie and Stuart, a gay couple who have been together for nearly 5 decades. The comedy, which already has aired its first season in the UK on ITV, would not have been done in the U.S. at this time, because both stars are in their 70s, all parties discussing the show at the Winter TV Press Tour agreed. This came the morning after NBC announced it was developing a sort of Golden Girls update — because, NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt said, it’s something he’s not seeing on the primetime TV landscape. While TV critics marveled at the show getting made at all — and PBS’ courage in broadcasting it, starting in July — McKellen, appearing via satellite, insisted it’s still much easier for actors in their 70s to get work than for actresses. Jacobi, also via satellite, said the public is clamoring for programming about older characters, without elaborating. He did say how good it is to be in his 70s and still be asked to perform (he also stars in the British series Last Tango In Halifax, also airing on PBS, which earlier today made official its second-season pickup). Read More »
PBS has announced the premiere date of the Britcom Vicious, starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as a gay couple who have been together nearly half a century. The six-part series, which PBS acquired from Shine International in October, will air on Sundays and premiere July 6 at 10:30 PM. Meanwhile, Jacobi’s drama Last Tango In Halifax has been ordered for a second season, returning June 29, PBS chief Paula Kerger announced this morning at TCA. Also unveiled: Ken Burns is working on a a documentary series about country music — though it won’t air until 2018, Kerger said this morning. Country Music will follow its evolution of over the course of the 20th century as it “eventually emerged to become America’s music,” PBS claimed in its announcement.
And, PBS will never, ever air Downton Abbey seasons closer to its UK run, Kerger indicated — hopefully putting a stake in that debate for press tours ever after. Kerger cited this month’s Season 4 debut audience – 10.2 million viewers, which was a 22% jump compared to the Season 3 opener (7.9 million), which itself had been a leap from the series Season 2 launch crowd of 4.2 mil. Downton is PBS’ highest rated drama ever. ”It’s become a bit of tradition after the holidays to come together to watch Downton,” Kerger said happily. “The audience build over the years…argues to keep the January time frame,” she said. And, of course, a fall launch coinciding with the UK’s Downton season would put it in the teeth of the commercial broadcast network’s fall-season rollout, which, she noted, TV critics in the room had criticized PBS for doing in the past. Not to mention that the series’ UK broadcaster determines its debut date not terribly long before it actually happens — no weeks and weeks of promotions, as is the norm in the U.S. PBS cannot upstage the show in the UK. Read More »
Anthony D’Alessandro is an AwardsLine contributor.
In the 1970s, Columbia Pictures then-president Peter Guber was given a script for a film starring Woody Allen. “I called my boss David Begelman and said, ‘There has to be a mistake,’ ” Guber recalls. “There’s not a laugh in it!” The film was The Front (1977), and it was a stark departure from Allen’s comedy writing and standup days, preceding Annie Hall by a year. In the film, directed by Martin Ritt, Allen stars as a New York deli clerk who ghost writes for blacklisted scribes. The poster featured Allen throwing up his hands in a “What me, worry?” pose with the tag line, “America’s Most Unlikely Hero.”
“After seven minutes, the preview audience wasn’t laughing anymore,” Guber recalls. “The film didn’t associate with Woody Allen’s brand of comedy. The audience had an expectation going into the theater.” Critics were divided over The Front, and the film’s box office didn’t hit the $20 million to $30 million take of Allen’s other films, considered big by ’70s standards.
Fast-forward several years, when Bill Murray followed up his role in the 1984 blockbuster Ghostbusters with a dramatic turn in The Razor’s Edge, based on W. Somerset Maugham’s novel about a World War I vet who goes off the grid to India. The film was slaughtered at the box office and also by critics, such as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Roger Ebert, who blamed Murray for the movie’s dullness. Read More »
That is how I would describe the consummate PR pro, Julian Myers, who passed away Saturday morning at the age of 95. I tweeted out news of his death Saturday afternoon saying he would be missed. It’s the end of an era to be sure. As long as I have been in, and around this business Myers has been there – a friendly , encouraging face at just about every major showbiz event. He lived for this stuff and could always be counted on to send along a letter highlighting an article in which I might have been mentioned, or offering an outstretched hand whenever I would see him. This man was the dean of Hollywood publicists who still toil in their profession. Hell, he wasn’t a publicist, he was a press agent. Even in his 90′s, very few others had a more unabashed and total enthusiasm for the business as it once was than Myers, while evolving with the times effortlessly.
He started off as nearly a charter member of USC’s Film School in 1937 and then worked in Columbia’s story department, but things really got cooking for him when he landed the job in the Fox publicity department in 1949. That was about the same time as when the career of Fox’s most famous star, Marilyn Monroe, also took off. Julian would often tell me about those days when he would have to go try to get the famously difficult actress out of bed and on to … Read More »
The Library of Congress has unveiled its annual list of 25 films that will join the National Film Registry. The movies are culled from the period 1919-2002 and include classics like Rita Hayworth-starrer Gilda; sci-fi pic Forbidden Planet; western The Magnificent Seven; war drama Judgment At Nuremberg; Mary Poppins (fitting in a year where Saving Mr Banks, the story of that film’s genesis, is playing in movie theaters); astronaut epic The Right Stuff; Michael Moore’s Roger & Me; and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Each of the 25 films will be preserved as cinematic treasures for generations to come. “The National Film Registry stands among the finest summations of more than a century of extraordinary American cinema,” said Librarian of Congress, James H Billington. “This key component of American cultural history, however, is endangered, so we must protect the nation’s matchless film heritage and cinematic creativity.” There are also some silent films on the list including Daughter Of Dawn, featuring an all-Native-American cast; 1919′s A Virtuous Vamp, starring Constance Talmadge; and 1926′s Ella Cinders. Earlier this month, the Library of Congress released a survey that found that 70% of American silent movies have been lost. In all, this year’s additions bring the number of films in the registry to 625. The complete 2013 list is below:
Bless Their Little Hearts (1984)
Part of the vibrant New Wave of independent African-American filmmakers to emerge in the 1970s and 1980s, Billy Woodberry became a key figure in the movement known as the L.A. Renaissance. Woodberry crafted his UCLA thesis film, “Bless Their Little Hearts,” which was theatrically released in 1984. The film features a script and cinematography by Charles Burnett. This spare, emotionally resonant portrait of family life during times of struggle blends grinding, daily-life sadness with scenes of deft humor. Jim Ridley of the “Village Voice” aptly summed up the film’s understated-but- real virtues: “Its poetry lies in the exaltation of ordinary detail.”
Brandy in the Wilderness (1969)
This introspective “contrived diary” film by Stanton Kaye features vignettes from the relationship of a real-life couple, in this case the director and his girlfriend. An evocative 1960s time capsule—reminiscent of Jim McBride’s “David Holzman’s Diary”—this simulated autobiography, as in many experimental films, often blurs the lines between reality and illusion, moving in non-linear arcs through the ever-evolving and unpredictable interactions of relationships, time and place. As Paul Schrader notes, “it is probably quite impossible (and useless) to make a distinction between the point at which the film reflects their lives, and the point at which their lives reflect the film.” “Brandy in the Wilderness” remains a little-known yet key work of American indie filmmaking.
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EXCLUSIVE: Upstart producer/financier Story Mining & Supply Co has teamed with Scott Free to acquire rights to the V.E. Schwab novel Vicious. SM&SC’s Jeffrey Sharp and production president Evan Hayes will produce with Ridley Scott and Michael Schaefer, along with Allison Gillogly. She brought in the book, which was published in September by Tor Books. The acquisition was made through the development fund of SM&SC, which was formed this fall by Sharp and writer-director-financier Jim Kohlberg. Kohlberg and Sharp are behind Starz’s Outlander and The Yellow Birds, scripted and directed by David Lowery.
Vicious is about two ambitious pre-med students who discover that under the right conditions, a person can develop extraordinary supernatural abilities. Once they move from theoretical to experimental, things go horribly wrong. Their friendship becomes corrupted by terrible power on both sides, setting the stage for an epic rivalry fueled by ambition, jealousy and revenge — a toxic mix when fueled by superpowers. CAA repped the book with Waxman Leavell Literary’s Holly Root.
Daniel Bernhardt (The Matrix Reloaded) has been added to the cast of revenge action thriller John Wick. Directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, the film stars Keanu Reeves as the title character, a former hitman. After a thug named Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), and his friends steal John’s car and in the process kill the dog given to him by his late wife, he tracks the thieves to New York. But Tarasov’s father Viggo (Michael Nyqvist), a wealthy and vicious Russian crime boss, puts a large bounty on John’s head, which Marcus (Willem Dafoe), an old “friend” of Wick’s, is determined to collect. Bernhardt, currently seen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, plays Kirill, a formal Russian military commander who is Viggo’s henchman.
Dan Fogler and Steve-O have joined the cast of RKO’s Barely Lethal. The Kyle Newman-directed action comedy produced by Brett Ratner stars Hailee Steinfeld as a 16-year old international assassin who fakes her own death in pursuit of a “normal” adolescence. Fogler plays Mr. Drumm, a popular high school teacher who takes a special interest in his students’ lives. His credits include Fanboys, Hannibal and voice roles in Free Birds, Kung Fu Panda and Mars Needs Moms. Fogler next will be seen in the Anne Hathaway drama Don Peyote, which he also co-wrote and co-directed. Jackass veteran … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Golden Boys? Three decades after Golden Girls‘ successful 173-episode run on NBC, ABC is developing an ensemble comedy about people in retirement age, this time on the male side. The project, from The Neighbors creator Dan Fogelman and The George Lopez Show co-creator Robert Borden, revolves around three long-lost basketball teammates who reconnect in their 60s and discover they still have a lot to learn about love and friendship. Borden is writing and will executive produce with Fogelman through Fogelman’s Rhode Island Ave. Prods and ABC Studios.
It is good timing for the project, coming on the heels of a weekend where three opening movies featured stars over 60: Fogelman-penned comedy Last Vegas (Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline) and dramas Ender’s Game (Harrison Ford) and All Is Lost (Robert Redford). With the baby boomers entering retirement, there is a growing audience for entertainment featuring more mature stars, with such movies showing far stronger legs, like 2007′s The Bucket List, headlined by Freeman and Jack Nicholson, which stayed in theaters for more than months, growing its domestic tally to $93.5 million. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Shine International has closed a deal with PBS on Will & Grace exec producer Gary Janetti’s British sitcom Vicious. The public broadcaster will air Vicious in the U.S. next year. The initial six-part series premiered on ITV in April and at the time was the highest-rated comedy launch on any UK channel in 2013. It went on to hold an average of about 3.4M viewers. Veteran British thesps Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi play a constantly bickering couple who’ve lived together in a small Covent Garden flat for nearly 50 years. But underneath all their vicious co-dependent fighting, they deeply love each other. Harry Potter‘s Frances de la Tour and Game Of Thrones‘ Iwan Rheon also star. The show was given a second-season order by ITV in August and Shine America has been exploring a U.S. version. Vicious is a Brown Eyed Boy production in association with Shine’s Kudos and Nickelby Inc. The deal was brokered by Matt Vassallo, Bill Gardner, and Jack Dougherty on behalf of PBS.
EXCLUSIVE: The romantic drama The Age Of Adaline has been through a couple of incarnations, but it is now set to go into production in March as a co-production between Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Lakeshore Entertainment. The Town‘s Blake Lively is set to star with Ellen Burstyn, with Lee Toland Krieger directing. Lionsgate is set to release the film domestically.
Scripted by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz, with revisions by Allison Burnett, Age Of Adaline follows the miraculous life of the 29-year-old title character, who stops aging after recovering from a near-fatal accident. Over the 20th century she embarks on an epic but isolated worldwide journey, keeping her secret, until she meets a man who forever alters her life. Sidney Kimmel is producing with Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi. Jim Tauber and Eric Reid will be executive producers. Read More »
Alcatraz alum David Hoflin and Yasmine Al Massri have been cast as regulars in the NBC pirate drama Crossbones, from Luther creator Neil Cross. The series is set in 1715 on the Bahamian island of New Providence where the diabolical pirate Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard (John Malkovich), reigns over a rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and miscreant sailors. Aussie Hoflin, repped by Resolution and Genesis, will play Vane, a pirate captain known for being a vicious, villainous and murderous predator. Al Massri will play Selma, a poised and elegant Arabian woman who is Blackbeard’s one confidante. Filming is set to begin right away in Puerto Rico.
Nora Kirkpatrick (The Office), Joel David Moore (Avatar) and Jessica Walter (Arrested Development) will co-star opposite Jaime Pressly in the TV Land single-camera comedy pilot Jennifer Falls. It centers on Jennifer Doyle (Pressly), a hot-tempered, high-flying businesswoman who gets fired from her job and is forced to move back with her mom (Walter), bringing along her teenage daughter. Moore will play Jennifer’s brother, who had lived in her shadow, and now she works for him in his bar. Kirkpatrick, repped by Innovative and the Burstein Co., will play Jennifer’s sister-in-law. Jennifer used to babysit her and … Read More »
Buried near the end of a lengthy Michael Fassbender profile in the November issue of GQ, writer Zach Baron gets the Oscar-buzzed actor to explain why he has no plans to do the campaign circuit this season for his supporting role as the vicious slave owner in 12 Years A Slave.
“I’m going to be busy working. I just don’t really have time. (Campaigning is) just not going to happen, because I’ll be in New Zealand. I’ll be on the other side of the world. You know, I get it. Everybody’s got to do their job. So you try and help and facilitate as best you can. But I won’t put myself through that kind of situation again. It’s just a grind. And I’m not a politician. I’m an actor,” Fassbender said of the whole Oscar process, which seems to grow every year and includes numerous Q&As, luncheons, meet-and-greets, private screenings, film festival tributes, presenting at endless awards shows, well-timed talk show appearances, etc etc. Many artists who suddenly find themselves the object of an all-out Oscar campaign find this part of the job even more grueling than making the actual film. And by the time the Oscars roll around they are spent.
Campaign or no campaign, in Fassbender’s case it may not matter. He’s very likely going to get nominated — and could win — for Best Supporting Actor and I think that’s a scenario whether he lifts a finger or not in doing the usual rounds. The film and the role are so strong it’s hard to imagine the actors branch ignoring him. Now after the nominations it could change, especially in a tight, competitive race where every vote counts. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Shiri Appleby is set as the lead in Lifetime’s drama pilot Unreal, inspired by Sarah Gertrude Shapiro’s award-winning independent short Sequin Raze. Marti Noxon and Shapiro wrote Unreal, which goes behind the scenes of a hit competition dating show to follow the experiences of a young staffer (Appleby) whose sole job is to manipulate her relationships with (and among) the contestants to get the vital dramatic and outrageous footage the program’s producers demand. What ensues is a humorous yet vexing look at what happens in the world of unscripted television, where being a contestant can be vicious and producing it is a whole other reality. Appleby, repped by Gersh and manager John Carrabino, has recurring roles on HBO comedy Girls and NBC drama Chicago Fire.
Related: Lifetime Orders Marti Noxon Drama Pilot Based On ‘Sequin Raze’