EXCLUSIVE: Defiant Pictures and 2020 Entertainment have joined together in fiscal union to back The Divorce Party, an original comedy feature written by actors Lane Garrison (Camp X-Ray, Bonnie & Clyde) and Mark Famiglietti (Premonition, The Greens Are Gone). Story tracks a newly dumped divorcee who hires his sexy former wedding planner to throw a “divorce party” celebrating his new singledom. Garrison and Famiglietti were inspired by the increasing popularity of fetes thrown to mark the end of wedded unions, a trend that’s grown its own cottage industry in recent years. They teamed with Salt producer Sunil Perkash to develop the project, which is now gearing up for a fall shoot with director Matthew Bissonnette (Passenger Side, Who Loves The Sun).
Giancarlo Esposito has joined the cast of NYC-set musical drama Stuck, about six strangers trapped on a stalled subway train. Filming is underway with a cast that includes Amy Madigan and singer-actress Ashanti. Esposito will play Lloyd, a mysterious homeless man who might offer more wisdom than expected.
Stuck is adapted from the stage play by Riley Thomas, who co-scripted with director Michael Berry; the helmer is set to release his drama Frontera, also co-starring Madigan alongside Ed Harris, Eva Longoria, and Michael Peña, this month. Esposito starred on the recent NBC series Revolution and was just announced as joining the cast of Disney’s The Jungle Book. He’s also in pre-production on his own project Patriotic Treason which he’ll direct, produce, and co-star opposite Ed Harris in the period retelling of the saga of abolitionist John Brown.
EXCLUSIVE: Eleven-year-old actress Oona Laurence, who received a special Tony honor last year for her Broadway run in Matilda, has joined indie drama Lamb. Ross Partridge (The Off Hours, Baghead) writes, directs, and stars in the film as David Lamb, a man on a mission of self-discovery after the disintegration of his marriage and the death of his father. He road trips from Chicago to the Rockies with awkward and unpopular 11-year-old Tommie (Laurence), determined to help her avoid a destiny of apathy and emptiness. Jess Weixler (The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby) also stars in the adaptation of Bonnie Nadzam’s debut novel.
Lamb is the sophomore feature from Partridge, whose web series Wedlock starring Rob Corddry was co-created with EP Mark Duplass and screened at SXSW. Mel Eslyn (The One I Love) is producing with Taylor Williams (Of All The Things). Wedlock‘s Jennifer Lafleur is co-producer. Shooting is scheduled for this summer in Wyoming.
Genre label IFC Midnight has acquired U.S. rights to Inner Demons, a possession tale about an Intervention-style reality TV crew filming a 16-year-old (Lara Vosburgh) fighting addiction who actually might be possessed by a demon. Director Seth Grossman has some expertise in the area; he was a producer on A&E’s popular series Intervention. Morgan McClellan, Colleen McGrann, Kate Whitney and Brian Flaherty also star in the pic scripted by Glenn Gers and produced by Robin Schorr, which premiered at the LA Film Festival in June. Arianna Bocco and Sean Berney negotiated the deal for Sundance Selects/IFC Films with Josh Braun of Submarine and Linda Lichter of Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler and Feldman on behalf of the filmmakers.
Universal and director F. Gary Gray have found their MC Ren and DJ Yella, adding two more thesps who’ll portray core members of rising 1980s gangsta rap group N.W.A in biopic Straight Outta Compton. Turn‘s Aldis Hodge will play MC Ren aka Lorenzo Jerald Patterson, and The Walking Dead‘s Neil Brown Jr will play DJ Yella aka Antoine Carraby alongside O’Shea Jackson Jr, Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell as Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E.
Straight Outta Compton chronicles the meteoric rise and fall of the seminal group, which burst from the streets of Compton, CA, with aggressive beats and tales of hood life. O.G. N.W.A members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre are directly involved as producers, alongside Matt Alvarez and Tomica Woods-Wright. Will Packer and Gray are exec producing the August 14, 2015, release.
Cube, Dre, and Eazy-E are the pic’s lead characters, but the formative years of N.W.A saw a deep lineup of hip-hop talent joining the group. DJ Yella, a colleague of Dre’s from their early electro DJ days in the World Class Wreckin’ Cru, would become a co-producer on Eazy-E’s solo debut Eazy-Duz-It and co-produced all of N.W.A’s albums including its 1988 debut Straight Outta Compton. MC Ren joined the group in the same year and co-wrote the majority of the first album with Ice Cube.
EXCLUSIVE: In her first new gig after leaving ABC’s The View, Sherri Shepherd is joining the cast of Universal’s Ride Along 2. The stand-up comic and actress has inked a role opposite Ice Cube and Kevin Hart in the sequel to this year’s $153M hit comedy Ride Along, which returning helmer Tim Story (Think Like A Man) will direct. Ken Jeong and Olivia Munn also are set for the January 15, 2016, release produced by Ice Cube, Matt Alvarez, Will Packer, and Larry Brezner and exec producer Scott Bernstein.
In addition to her seven-year run on talk show The View, Shepherd recently had a recurring role on CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Her TV comedy credits include Everybody Loves Raymond, 30 Rock, Hot In Cleveland, and her own Lifetime sitcom Sherri. “I’ve been blessed to interview Barack Obama; Bill Clinton is a big fan of mine – he loved that I played a hooker in One For The Money,” Shepherd told The View watchers earlier this month. She bids farewell to the show tomorrow. Post-The View, Shepherd’s ramping up her presence in features: She’ll next be seen in Chris Rock’s upcoming Toronto Film Fest dramedy Top Five. She’s repped by ICM Partners and Darris Hatch Management.
Harry Potter is the devil, or something like it, in Alexandre Aja’s dark fantasy Horns, adapted from Joe Hill’s novel. Daniel Radcliffe made his first trip to Comic-Con over the weekend in support of the Halloween Radius-TWC release. Check out the first trailer, in which Radcliffe’s Ig Perrish awakens after the murder of his girlfriend with demonic horns on his head and the power to manipulate the base impulses of the people around him:
Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit trilogy wraps with the final chapter The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, which he gave fans a sneak peek at over the weekend at Comic-Con. WB has now unleashed the teaser trailer seen first in Hall H, in which the heroes of Middle Earth must contend with the ferocious dragon Smaug and the fast-mobilizing forces of Sauron, the latter of which took center stage in The Lord Of The Rings. Here’s the new look at the December 17 release set to hit theaters in 3D, 2D, IMAX, and High Frame Rate 3D:
Fresh off unveiling a Sin City: A Dame To Kill For‘s opening sequence and red band at Comic-Con this weekend, Dimension Films dropped the new girls ‘n’ guns-packed trailer this morning. The original Sin City opened 2005, and in the nine years since Rodriguez and Miller have added more crispness to the series’ black-and-white comic book aesthetic. The hyper-stylized and ultra-violent footage for the second one, which bows August 22, more than perked up Comic-Con attendees. Check out the trailer:
Lionsgate has released the minute-long teaser trailer for its Hunger Games and Catching Fire sequel Mockingjay – Part 1, which it tantalized Comic-Con fans with this weekend in San Diego. In the third installment of the dystopian action franchise, Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) plot the next move for their rebellion and its iconic new poster girl, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).
Lionsgate built an impressive off-site fan experience at Comic-Con this year. Rather than unveil its latest look at Mockingjay in Hall H, the studio partnered with Samsung on a slickly-outfitted space designed like the Capitol, located inside the Hard Rock Hotel, where fans walked through interactive Hunger Games and Samsung co-branded activities and got the first look at the below teaser. The film hits theaters November 21. Watch now:
EXCLUSIVE: Five-year-old Miles Scott touched hearts all over the world last November when he donned a cape and cowl to “save” Gotham City – aka, San Francisco – as “Batkid.” Now award-winning filmmaker Dana Nachman (Witch Hunt) is taking his story to the screen in a feature-length crowdfunded documentary (watch the trailer exclusively on Deadline).
The Batkid phenomenon went viral after the Make-a-Wish Foundation staged its most elaborate wish to date: The charity, with the help of The City, President Obama, and thousands of supporters, turned the streets of San Francisco into Gotham City on Nov. 15, 2013. Scott, a leukemia patient now in remission, got to live every superhero-loving child’s fantasy as he played sidekick to the Caped Crusader in a series of staged missions as onlookers cheered him on. It all culminated with Scott receiving the key to the city from Mayor Ed Lee. The entire event sparked more than 400K tweets in 117 countries, among much else social-media attention, and received a Digital Visionary Award from the Producers Guild.
Comic-Con: Marvel Sets ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy 2′ For 2017; ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Footage Draws Standing Ovation
We finally know the first of the Marvel films that Disney has been setting aside dates for: Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 will arrive July 28, 2017. That leaves five unidentified superhero flicks between November 2017 and May 2019. The announcement came during Marvel’s Comic-Con panel tonight. Guardians star Chris Pratt and director James Gunn appeared via video from London, where they are promoting the first movie’s release overseas.
The panel also included the Avengers cast, who were introduced one by one and asked what it’s like to be in the third-highest-grossing film of all time. Throwing roses out to the Hall H crowd, Robert Downey Jr introduced all those in Avengers: Age of Ultron sans Scarlett Johansson: Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver), Paul Bettany (The Vision), James Spader (voice of Ultron) and Elizabeth Olsen (as Scarlet Witch).
Whedon couldn’t be here because of an injury. Feige said, “Scarlett couldn’t be here because she’s pregnant.” Then she introduced a clip via video from Age of Ultron in which the team, in a penthouse, play a round of trying to pick up Thor’s hammer. Tony Stark puts his Iron Man hand on, Captain America makes a go. Then Ultron crashes the party. Iron Man gets in a big super suit as apocalypse dawns again. A lot of crash-bang-boom, like the finale of the first film. Playing throughout the trailer is a child singing, “I Got No Strings” from Disney’s Pinocchio. Last shot in the clip shows all the Avengers lying dead in a massive heap against a black sky, with Tony Stark the only one standing alive. The audience gave the clip a standing ovation. Amplifying the room’s mood was Josh Brolin walking in as Thanos.
At Comic-Con on Saturday, Marvel officially introduced Evangeline Lilly and Corey Stoll onstage alongside the central cast of Ant-Man, the stand-alone superhero flick that director Peyton Reed took over from the recently exited Edgar Wright. Marvel honcho Kevin Feige revealed that Lilly, already in town for Warner Bros’ Hobbit panel earlier in the day, will play Hope Pym, daughter of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who is looking to pass the Ant-Man mantle on to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) in the pic. Stoll will play Darren Cross, a colleague of Pym’s who obtains Pym particles and dons the villainous mantle of Yellowjacket.
There’s just one hitch: Lilly said she hasn’t even seen a script yet. ”I can’t tell you anything else about her because I don’t know,” she said. “I’ve been evading the press over the last two days at Comic-Con about who I’ll be playing.”
She’s not the only one who may not have the latest Ant-Man info. Lilly was at first introduced as playing the role of “Hope Van Dyne” instead of Hope Pym, causing confusion for some fans.
Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller returned to Comic-Con with Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, the next month’s sequel to their 2005 graphic novel-based groundbreaker — and already began stumping for a threequel. “Robert and I are already talking about Sin City 3. so you’d better show up to 2,” Miller told the Hall H crowd, with most fans waiting for today’s late-afternoon Marvel presentation.
Not that Comic-Con doesn’t love Sin City. Con-goers first glimpsed the pair’s first film a decade ago. By now they’ve been hearing Rodriguez and Miller talk up their DIY greenscreen process for years. While nobody lost their geek marbles over Saturday’s subdued panel conversation with Rodriguez, Miller, and stars Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, and Rosario Dawson, it wasn’t until they screened new dazzling footage from the film’s opening sequence and a “montage” teaser reel that Hall H-ers woke up.
The original Sin City won the Technical Grand Prize from Cannes when it screened there in 2005, and in the nine years since Rodriguez and Miller have added more crispness to the series’ black-and-white comic book aesthetic. They screened an opening sequence tracking the bloody shenanigans of returning character Marv (Mickey Rourke) …
Comic-Con: Guillermo Del Toro Unveils ‘Crimson Peak’, Campaigns For ‘Mountains Of Madness’ & ‘Hellboy 3′
With Legendary’s Thomas Tull on hand, fanboy fave Guillermo del Toro didn’t waste his SRO Saturday audience in Hall H. After premiering electric and ambitious first-look footage from his gothic romance Crimson Peak, del Toro unabashedly polled the enthusiastic Comic-Con crowd asking if they’d like to see another sequel to his Hellboy films. “Hellboy 3? They’re listening! At The Mountains of Madness?” Both passion pics are in hot demand with the filmmaker’s fans, who unleashed deafening screams of support.
Hellboy 3 would be a Comic-Con no-brainer, but you could make a movie about del Toro’s aggressive pursuit of converting the H.P. Lovecraft novella At The Mountains Of Madness into a feature film. The saga stalled when — with Universal getting very close to production with del Toro directing and Tom Cruise ready to star — it called a halt because del Toro would not budge on the possibility that the film might come in with an R rating. That was in spring 2011, and he moved on at the time to helm Pacific Rim.
The question is, will an R rating still be a sticking point if Tull decides to jump in after that “talk” to fund what at the time was a $150M-budgeted 3D pic with an R rating. It would be nice to see such a creative filmmaker get to make his passion project.
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.
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:
There are tears ahead in Peter Jackson‘s third and final Hobbit flick, The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. “There’s a lot of sadness and tragedy,” he told the Comic-Con crowd. “It’s always great when you can kill off some main characters.” The good news for Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit fans? There’s more footage Jackson might pack into a new extended version of his LOTR franchise.
“There are a few scenes that haven’t been seen from Lord Of The Rings, but not many. We might try to put them back in,” he said, although he said obstacles will make it difficult to get to his seven million feet of footage locked away in a WB vault. “It’s a big logistical thing which haven’t wrapped our heads around. But if there’s enough interest…”
Jackson and his Hobbit cast return this December with Battle Of The Five Armies, which sees the Hobbit films move toward more somber territory in alignment with the LOTR pics. “It’s not as comical as the first Hobbit movie and they’re progressively getting to tone of Fellowship Of The Ring,” said Jackson. He’s still in production on the pic’s CG-heavy war action sequences but brought a stirring, battle-heavy teaser that played twice for the Comic-Con crowd.