Crew around Los Angeles are getting word that pre-production on Midnight Rider is starting up in a few weeks back in L.A. with Randall Miller at the helm. Deadline broke the news earlier this week that Miller and his Unclaimed Freight banner were trying to resume filming on the Gregg Allman biopic following the tragic death of camera assistant Sarah Jones in Georgia. The decision to continue with the film has prompted a flurry of tweets to Allman and has given rise to a new Facebook page called “I REFUSE to work on Midnight Rider” which the daughter of director John Frankenheimer said everyone should join.
Jones, 27, was killed February 20 in Wayne County, GA in a train collision during filming on the pic. Seven other crew members were injured and multiple investigations are underway to determine the responsible parties.
Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia
“Morally how can he continue, knowing that his decision cost Sarah Jones her life? He had the ability to say no,” said Frankenheimer, who works as a location manager. “As the daughter of a director and I know that the director is the final voice. And if the director and producer allow it to happen, they have to accept responsibility.” She added: “It infuriates me. I find it an affront to all of us. “He doesn’t deserve a crew of any kind. No one should agree to work on this film. I find it shameful. I cannot believe that this man has the chutzpah to do this. If you don’t speak up then that’s just as bad.”
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Former Disney star and recording artist Selena Gomez has exited as a client of CAA and has signed with WME. The 21-year-old singer and ex-Wizards of Waverly Place actress has also signed with … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class, Antiviral) is in negotiations to join the cast of Roland Emmerich‘s Stonewall, about the 1969 Greenwich Village raid on the Stonewall Inn that became a flashpoint for the gay rights movement. War Horse‘s Jeremy Irvine was set earlier this month to lead the cast as Danny, a young man who experiences a political awakening during the riots. Jones will play an eccentric gay street hustler named Orphan Annie who at first resists then warms up to Danny and later participates in the Stonewall uprising. Jon Robin Baitz scripted the Centropolis Films production, which Michael Fossat, Marc Frydman, and Emmerich are producing. Kirstin Winkler and Adam Press are aboard as executive producers. Read More »
MPI Media Group’s Dark Sky Films banner is setting a fall 2014 theatrical release for LFO, a sci-fi comic thriller from Swedish helmer Antonio Tublen. MPI acquired all U.S. and international sales on the pic about a man … Read More »
Anchor Bay has taken U.S. and Canadian rights to Kite, the live-action adaptation of Yasuomi Umetsu’s cult Japanese anime about a schoolgirl assassin hunting down the human traffickers she believes are responsible for her parents’ death. India Eisley (Underworld: Awakening) stars as the young and lethal Sawa opposite Samuel L. Jackson as Inspector Karl Aker, a renegade cop and the ex-partner of Sawa’s father, who firmly believes to succeed he has to take the law into his own hands. Callan McAuliffe (Underworld, I am Number Four) co-stars as Oburi. South African director Ralph Ziman took over the helm from the late David R. Ellis last year and scripted the picture himself.
Related: Cannes: Weinstein Co. Flies With ‘Kite’
The original anime was known for its extreme violence, nudity, and sexuality, including controversial scenes of rape that got Umetsu’s Kite banned in some countries. The live-action Kite is produced by Anant Singh and Distant Horizon’s Brian Cox. Moises Cosio and Alberto Muffelmann of Detalle are exec producers. Anchor Bay’s deal covers theatrical, home entertainment, digital and VOD rights while Weinstein Co. took international last year out of Cannes. Singh negotiated the deal with Alan Grodin of Weintraub Tobin Chediak Coleman Grodin for Distant Horizon.
Here’s a Kite trailer with an intro by Jackson that hit the web in January: Read More »
Gravitas Ventures has acquired drama I Am I starring Jocelyn Towne, Big Bang Theory‘s Simon Helberg, Kevin Tighe, Jason Ritter, and James Morrison. Towne makes her directorial debut with the pic, … Read More »
Drafthouse Films‘ Evan Husney is stepping down from his post as Creative Director after nearly three years at the upstart distribution label. New York-based Husney, 27, will be shifting focus to producing and is working with directors Jason Eisener (Hobo With A Shotgun) and Todd Rohal (The Catechism Cataclysm) on their next features. Husney helped develop the specialty distro arm of Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas from the ground up when company founder Tim League tapped him to run creative ops in 2011. Shortly thereafter Drafthouse Films scored an Academy Award nomination with one of its first acquisitions, director Michaël R. Roskam’s Belgian drama Bullhead, which vied for Best Foreign Film at the 2012 Oscars. Last year Husney and the Drafthouse team mounted their second Oscar campaign in three years for Best Documentary nominee The Act of Killing, director Josh Oppenheimer’s critically-acclaimed documentary about Indonesian death squad leaders.
Related: Drafthouse Films Embracing Risks With Genocide Doc ‘Act Of Killing’
Since its inception the label has acquired a variety of specialty releases spanning genre, action, drama, comedy, foreign, and repertory titles, plucking often-challenging fare from the lineups of Austin’s Fantastic Fest (which League founded) and SXSW. “When [Drafthouse Films] started we wanted to acquire movies we loved and films we thought are great, utilize our backgrounds as programmers and approach distribution with a curatorial quality – a real cinephiles for cinephiles label,” Husney told me. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Tatiana Maslany, who earned a Golden Globe nod for her starring role on the BBC America sci-fi series Orphan Black, has been cast in indie feature The Paper Store. Maslany stars opposite Penn Badgley (Greetings From … Read More »
Elf screenwriter David Berenbaum has been tapped to write the sequel to the 1993 hit comedy Mrs. Doubtfire, which is in development at Fox 2000 and has star Robin Williams and director … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Now might be the perfect time for more faith-based features to get in on the box office hunger that’s propelled Christian-themed fare like Fox’s Son Of God and Freestyle Releasing’s God’s Not Dead into the Top 10. True-tale biopic Noble is one such film aiming to join the fray as it makes festival rounds and screens for buyers this month in LA and NY before heading to Cannes. Deirdre O’Kane (Moon Boy) stars as Christina Noble, a humanitarian and author who channeled her deprived and destitute childhood growing up on the streets of Dublin, Ireland into a lifelong mission to help children in need in Vietnam and Mongolia. Noble founded the Christina Noble Childrens Foundation in 1989 and wrote two books about her life’s work. Stephen Bradley wrote and directed the film, based on Noble’s life, which also stars Downton Abbey‘s Brendan Coyle, Game of Thrones‘ Liam Cunningham, and Sarah Greene. Melanie Gore-Grimes produced the UK/Irish pic, which was filmed in Vietnam, Liverpool, and Cumbria. Michael J. Hunt exec produced for his Ansty Productions. Noble won the Panavision Grand Prize at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Dallas International Film Festival, and next stops by the Nashville Film Festival and Newport Beach Film Fest. Continental Media is repping sales. Check out the trailer exclusively on Deadline: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: R&B singer John Legend and Step Up: All In scribe John Swetnam are teaming on coming-of-age dance drama Breaking Through, which has locked independent financing and is gearing up for a summer shoot. It’ll be the first feature of its kind to combine two subgenres — dance movies and found footage — in a plot described as a “documentary-style dance drama for the YouTube generation.” Casting starts soon on the pic, which is looking to discover new dance talent a la the Step Up films. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Punk rock journalist-turned-American Psycho director Mary Harron has signed with APA. Harron is attached to direct the Salvador Dali biopic Dali And I and is currently co-adapting the script from art dealer Stan Lauryssens’ book. Harron made her feature screenwriting and directorial debut with the award-winning 1996 Sundance and Cannes entry I Shot Andy Warhol, which nabbed her an Indie Spirit nomination. Her next film, the polarizing 2000 adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, went on to achieve cult status and garnered Harron a Director of the Year nod from the London Film Critics’ Circle. She reteamed with American Psycho co-scribe Guinevere Turner for 2005′s pinup biopic The Notorious Bettie Page, which she also produced, and adapted Rachel Klein’s novel The Moth Diaries in 2011 for her most recent feature of the same name. Read More »
New Line has added Colton Haynes (Teen Wolf) to the cast of San Andreas. Haynes, who plays Roy Harper on the CW superhero show Arrow, joins Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario in the quake … Read More »
Spike comedy series Blue Mountain State was cancelled in 2012 after three seasons, but a second life on Netflix and Hulu reinvigorated fan interest. Now the show’s creators are hoping to channel that demand into a big-screen film continuation with a Kickstarter campaign launched today. “We’ve seen fan activity on social media since the show ended and went on to Netflix, and we’ve seen the audience continue to grow through that platform,” said Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), who played high-strung All-American linebacker Thad Castle on the show and is aboard to produce the film project with co-creators Chris Romano and Eric Falconer. “When they find it on Netflix, they also find out it’s no longer airing on Spike or being made. A lot of them are asking for another season. We didn’t get our senior year and we want to do that.”
Ritchson, Romano and Falconer seek to raise a minimum of $1.5M to produce a Blue Mountain State movie based on the series, an idea that’s been brewing since Spike cancelled the show. Producer Lionsgate TV passed on doing a feature film but sold the rights back to Ritchson and company and retain a first-look option on the potential movie.
Taking a beloved TV series to the big screen through crowdfunding worked well for recent Kickstarter successes Veronica Mars, which raised $5.7M and opened day-and-date via Warner Bros last month, and Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here, which raised $3.1M and opens July 18 through Focus Features. Both high-profile films, however, also encountered their own high-profile snafus. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Writer-director Martha Stephens, whose road-trip comedy Land Ho! premiered at Sundance and was picked up by Sony Classics before the fest closed, has signed with UTA. Stephens (Pilgrim Song, Passenger Pigeons) collaborated with Aaron Katz (Cold Weather) to co-direct and co-write the film about two former brothers-in-law who go traveling on a youthful adventure through Iceland. Land Ho! is slated to be released July 11 and also screens at Tribeca this month and LA Film Fest in June. David Gordon Green is an exec producer alongside Julie Parker Benello, Dan Cogan, Geralyn Dreyfous, and Wendy Ettinger of Gamechanger Films on the pic, which was produced by Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy, and Christina Jennings. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) and Jaden Smith (The Karate Kid, After Earth) are set to star in The Good Lord Bird, a big-screen adaptation of the 2013 National Book Award winner by James McBride (Miracle At St. Anna, Red Hook Summer). McBride is aboard to produce the pic about Henry “Onion” Shackleford (Smith), a young slave who links up with radical abolitionist John Brown (Schreiber) in 1856 Kansas and travels the nation with Brown’s motley crew of freedom fighters. Story is told with a satirical bent through the eyes of Onion, who wears a dress and is at first mistaken for a girl, as he bears witness to Brown’s historic campaign and encounters the likes of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman en route to the bloody Harper’s Ferry raid that helped spark the Civil War. McBride’s NY Times bestseller made Publishers Weekly‘s Top 10 Books of the Year list and has drawn comparisons to Mark Twain’s classic novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Fifteen-year-old Smith is coming off a run of feature turns in Sony’s Karate Kid reboot with Jackie Chan and sci-fier After Earth, opposite dad Will Smith. He’s set to return for sequel Karate Kid 2, which hired Breck Eisner to helm last week. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Filming was suspended following the fatal February 20 train accident that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones on the Georgia set of Midnight Rider – but Deadline has learned that director/producer Randall Miller is hoping to move forward with the production as early as June.
A source close to Miller confirms that discussions are underway on proceeding with the Gregg Allman biopic, but not in the Savannah-Atlanta region where the Jones death occurred. According to sources with knowledge of the plans, Miller wants to instead resume filming in the Los Angeles area where he and his Unclaimed Freight banner are based. According to one source with knowledge of the production, Allman, who is the executive producer on Midnight Rider, has to sign off on it too but it’s not clear if he has yet. A rep for Allman did not return calls seeking comment. It appears that Miller and Unclaimed Freight believe they have a legal right to move forward to complete the film.
Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia
Atlanta-based Jones, 27, died when a train collided with equipment on active tracks in rural Doctortown, GA where the crew of Midnight Rider was set up for filming on a train trestle overlooking the Altamaha River. The film’s producers were reportedly still trying to rally crew to continue filming in the days immediately following the accident. Production was officially suspended six days later; Open Road Films still has a distribution agreement to release the film. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: For his latest project, documentary filmmaker Brent Hodge turned his lens on a cult subculture of My Little Pony fans known as “Bronies”: men ages 13 to 30 who are obsessed with the Hasbro animation and toy franchise … Read More »
Alastair Orr-directed Indigenous will make its world premiere in the Midnight section of the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival. In the ultimate vacation-gone-wrong scenario, the pic focuses on five friends who travel to Panama to rest and reconnect. Things take a turn when they befriend a local woman in their hotel … Read More »