Science Channel is tapping into a science-crazed social media phenomenon for multi-format series I F-ING LOVE SCIENCE, to be exec produced by Craig Ferguson. Show is inspired by the popular Facebook page I F*cking Love Science which has …
EXCLUSIVE: In the grand tradition of Borat and recent Paramount hit Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, prank comedy hybrid May The Best Man Win combines narrative storytelling with hidden camera stunts pulled on real folks, starring Drew Tarver of the upcoming …
2nd UPDATE, 5:42 PM: Trust The Simpsons to go for the big picture when they weighed in on Ellen DeGeneres‘ mega-retweeted Oscars selfie – literally. Today, Homer’s official Twitter feed threw up this perspective on the now famous pic (retweeted more than a record-breaking 3.209 million times so far) from the front row of the 86th Academy Awards. “The ugly true story of that Oscar® selfie can finally be told! Let’s break Twitter again. Look for Bart,” said the tweet. All we can say is Bradley Cooper, be kind. BTW – Ellen and fellow selfie star (and Oscar winner) Jared Leto are helping Homer in his goal: Both retweeted the pic.
UPDATE, SUNDAY PM: In less than an hour, Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres beat President Obama‘s Twitter record for Twitter retweets. Ellen’s on-the-fly pic with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey, and more is racking up the Twitter love with over 1M RTs and over 720K favorites and counting.
UPDATE, 4:33 PM: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon has done its part to contribute to the wild viral video run of Frozen‘s Best Song Oscar winner “Let It Go”. YouTube is hosting countless versions that are getting millions and millions of hits, and now there’s this one from last night that has Idina Menzel contributing to Fallon’s take featuring kids instruments like the kazoo and toy blocks courtesy of house band The Roots. Check it out:
EXCLUSIVE: English actor and writer Jim Piddock has been cast in the dark comedy Kill Your Friends, based on the novel by John Niven. BAFTA-nominated Owen Harris (Holy Flying Circus) directs the pic about an A&R man (X-Men‘s …
The industry asked, and the Academy listened. At the end of tonight’s In Memoriam tribute to notable Hollywood figures who passed away during the year, the Oscars telecast acknowledged the death of second camera assistant Sarah Jones, who died in a train accident on the set of Midnight Rider less than two weeks ago. Following Bette Midler’s performance of “The Wind Beneath My Wings” after the traditional In Memoriam reel, a graphic memorializing Jones flashed onscreen. Jones is also included in the fuller Oscars In Memoriam gallery online.
Here’s the full list of honorees included in this year’s Oscars In Memoriam tribute. Who else should’ve made the broadcast?
EXCLUSIVE: As she heads into Sunday’s Oscars with Best Picture contender The Wolf Of Wall Street, Oscar-nommed producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff has lined up her next project, Bad Hurt, a family drama starring Sons Of Anarchy‘s Theo Rossi and Raiders Of The Lost Ark‘s Karen Allen. Also cast in the indie now filming on location in Staten Island, NY are Michael Harney (Orange Is The New Black, True Detective), Johnny Whitworth (CSI: Miami), Ashley Williams (How I Met Your Mother), and newcomers Iris Gilad and Calvin Dutton. Mark Kemble directs the story about one family’s battle to stay together as dark secrets threaten to rip them apart, from a script he wrote with Jamieson Stern. Tillinger Koskoff, who’s had producing credits on every Martin Scorsese pic since 2006′s The Departed and worked her way up through his Sikelia Productions shingle to become President of Production, will produce Bad Hurt with husband Nicholas Koskoff.
Oscar-Winning DP Haskell Wexler Backs Sarah Jones In Memoriam Campaign, Calls For Safer Sets In Open Letter
EXCLUSIVE: Two time Academy Award-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler, ASC today threw his support behind the mounting movement calling for accountability in the on-set death of Midnight Rider crew member Sarah Jones. In a letter sent to fellow members of IATSE Local 600 and obtained by Deadline, Wexler supports efforts to include Jones’s name to Sunday’s Oscars In Memoriam tribute and called her death in Thursday’s train incident an act of “criminal negligence.” Wexler co-founded a group called 12on/12off which advocates a rehaul of current standards that allow for excessively long work hours and questionably safe working conditions on film and TV sets across the industry. In 2006 he directed the documentary Who Needs Sleep? about the dangers crews face in situations in which such health concerns are not prioritized. Read Wexler’s letter:
Dear Fellow Workers,
I am part of a group asking that Sarah Jones’ name be included in the Academy’s “In Memoriam” section of the Awards telecast this Sunday. Sarah and the three injured crew members were not victims of an “accident” but of criminal negligence. Something that would not have happened if proper safety rules were in place.
Here is a copy of an ad rejected by our Union magazine, ICG. I was told that the magazine is on, “high alert” on this subject of workplace safety, especially if it comes from me! In this case, the subject comes from the IATSE. They say the magazine doesn’t want to deal with this “political football” even though it is an official IATSE resolution.
OSCARS UPDATE: Production Community Rallying To Add ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew Member To In Memoriam Tribute
2ND UPDATE, 8:45 PM: The tributes to Sarah Jones continue to pour in. Below is a photo posted at WhoSay featuring Paul Wesley and Nina Dobrev of CW’s The Vampire Diaries, the CW drama on which Jones worked. And action continues at the Facebook group Slates for Sarah, which now is past 21,500 likes. Other below-the-line workers are getting in on the act as well; among the more recent pics posted to the site are tributes to the late camera assistant adorning a walkie-talkie and a large power tool.
UPDATE, 6:00 PM: The Facebook group Slates for Sarah, which is gathering tribute photos for fallen Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones from production crews around the world, has now passed 18K “likes.” The online petition to include Jones in Sunday’s Oscar In Memoriam segment eclipsed its goal of 10,000 signatures within 12 hours Tuesday and now is approaching 13K. It will be submitted to the Academy on Friday.
PREVIOUS, 11:35 AM: A campaign to include Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones in this weekend’s Oscars In Memoriam tribute is gaining traction online, but time will tell if the Academy will acknowledge the increasingly vocal outcry within the production community to her tragic death. Jones, 27, died Thursday in a train collision on the set of director Randall Miller‘s Gregg Allman biopic that left several others injured in Jesup, GA. Her death has raised growing concerns within the industry about set safety and culpability as investigations into the accident continue.
Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew Member Killed In On-Set Train Accident
UPDATED: Two politically-charged Oscar-nominated documentaries, Jehane Noujaim‘s The Square and Joshua Oppenheimer‘s The Act of Killing, have taken their awards push to the international stage as balloting closes today, both attempting to effect real world change by reaching the very audience they depict onscreen. Noujaim’s The Square tracks the ongoing Egyptian Revolution of 2011 through 2013 through the eyes of four Egyptians at ground zero and was released theatrically and on Netflix in October. The Sundance Audience Award-winner was blocked from release in Egypt and had been pirated so much internationally that the filmmakers opted to release an Arabic-language stream via Distrify earlier this month. Yesterday Noujaim & Co. went one step further, making The Square available in Egypt for free on YouTube, circumventing censors whose refusal to rule on the pic’s admissibility had prevented a proper release in the country.
“This is a film that was born in Tahrir Square, by 40 Egyptian filmmakers who all met in the square and quickly saw the dark story that was forming once the international news cameras left. We knew that we had to make sure our story would be told to the world by us,” said Noujaim via email.
“It was crucial to release the film before the Oscars,” she continued. “It is the first nomination for a film from Egypt, and is a voice for freedom and democracy when there have been almost 30,000 people arrested since July, and among them many journalists and activists. The police brutality and killings in Egypt reported by Amnesty in the last 6 months have been unprecedented. In a time when the power structure is trying to white wash history and squares around the world are rising up with people claiming their rights it is crucial to to show the many who continue to fight for basic freedoms that their voices will be heard.”
The filmmakers will continue to try to pass The Square through Egypt’s censors so the the film can be legally released in the country. “It was important for us to continue this effort because this will be a major step in the direction toward support of freedom of speech in Egypt, because it will be the first time the government allows a piece of work to exist whether or not they agree or disagree with what it says,” said Noujaim.
Drafthouse Films’ The Act of Killing similarly encountered obstacles in reaching its subject audience – the people of Indonesia, whose government has historically ignored the acts of death squads that murdered an estimated 1M people in the nation’s politically-motivated genocide of 1965-66. Director Oppenheimer worked for eight years with the families of victims and the perpetrators of the killings which were carried out decades ago but have never been publicly acknowledged by the current regime. Despite the fact that the film could not openly screen in Indonesia, the film’s Berlin, BAFTA, and numerous critics awards propelled the ongoing issue of impunity for these war crimes into the global conversation. The Act of Killing has been seen in thousands of underground screenings in the country and in September, Drafthouse teamed with VICE and VHX to offer a free download geotargeted for Indonesian users; offered on BitTorrent in December, the film was downloaded over 3.5 million times. After the film was nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar, the Jakarta Globe addressed the genocide on its January cover story in which a spokesman for the Indonesian president acknowledged “the issues of our bleak past.”
R.I.P. Harold Ramis — ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Groundhog Day’ Comedy Veteran Was 69; President Obama, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Ivan Reitman, Billy Crystal & More Remember Him
4TH UPDATE, 7:38 AM: Fellow Chicago native President Obama released a statement today in tribute to Ramis:
Michelle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Harold Ramis, one of America’s greatest satirists, and like so many other comedic geniuses, a proud product of Chicago’s Second City. When we watched his movies – from “Animal House” and “Caddyshack” to “Ghostbusters” and “Groundhog Day” – we didn’t just laugh until it hurt. We questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog. And through it all, we never lost our faith in happy endings. Our thoughts and prayers are with Harold’s wife, Erica, his children and grandchildren, and all those who loved him, who quote his work with abandon, and who hope that he received total consciousness.
3RD UPDATE, MONDAY, 3:25 PM: Reactions to the passing of influential comedy helmer and actor Harold Ramis continue to roll in.
Chevy Chase on Ramis, who directed him in the classic comedies Caddyshack and Vacation: “I’m shocked and heartbroken to hear of Harold’s passing. He was truly a great friend and a great man who shunned unnecessary Hollywood-type publicity and lived with a wonderful wife, Erica. I’m deeply saddened for Erica, Violet, Julian and Daniel. Harold directed me in Caddyshack and the first Vacation. It was Harold who acted out and gave me the inspiration for the character of Clark Griswold. I was really copying Harold’s impression of Clark. He was a truly funny and highly intelligent man with great honesty and a great appreciation for the best kind of comedy. It’s just awful to lose Harold, there is just no one like him, he was so kind, so caring and so smart. God Bless him and God Bless his family.”
“Harold Ramis and I together did The National Lampoon Show off-Broadway, Meatballs, Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him,” said Bill Murray in a statement via Reuters.
Thursday’s shocking train collision that left camera assistant Sarah Jones dead and several others injured on the set of Open Road’s Midnight Rider is still under investigation in Jesup, Georgia outside of Savannah. According to the …
UPDATE: Netflix Agrees To Pay Comcast For Broadband Access; Public Knowledge Calls For FCC, DOJ Action
UPDATE, 2:53 PM: DC-based public interest group Public Knowledge raised its concerns over the Netflix-Comcast deal in a statement Sunday. Said John Bergmayer, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:
“No one on the outside knows what is happening in this market.
Here’s the official trailer for Drafthouse Films‘ latest docu acquisition The Final Member, about an American, an aging Icelander, and the proprietor of the only “phallological museum” in the world, whose lives intertwine in a quest for immortality as one man attempts to complete his penis exhibit with …