EXCLUSIVE: Al Pacino has returned to ICM Partners, rejoining the agency almost exactly a year after he left to join CAA. Pacino’s exit came right after the agency restructured and longtime head Jeff Berg left to start the agency Resolution. Berg had been part of the team that repped Pacino, along with John Burnham and Adam Schweitzer. They signed the iconic actor after his agent Rick Nicita left to join Morgan Creek, prompting Pacino to end a 22-year run at CAA. ICM Partners has settled down under its new structure and Burnham and Schweitzer have gotten Pacino back. Nicita is his manager. Pacino is involved in many of the same projects, including a date to play the late Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno in the Edward R. Pressman-produced Brian DePalma-directed Happy Valley, a film about how Paterno’s rep as college’s winningest coach was tarnished by a scandal in which his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was accused of and eventually convicted of child molestation perpetrated under the noses of athletic department heads that included Paterno. Pacino also stars as a decadent rocker in the Dan Fogelman-directed Imagine, and plays the title character in the David Gordon Green-directed Manglehorn.
RELATED: Al Pacino Returns To CAA
EXCLUSIVE: After setting a Thanksgiving Weekend record with Jennifer Lawrence’s female protagonist Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Lionsgate is eyeing another film with a strong female heroine. The mini-major is in early talks … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After turning the Jackie Robinson-Branch Rickey story 42 into a hit, Legendary Pictures is now targeting Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi for a feature film. Legendary has made a deal with All Is Lost and Margin Call writer-director J.C. Chandor to write with an eye to direct a feature about the coaching legend who led Green Bay to five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowl titles. Legendary, whose principal Thomas Tull is a part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a passionate pigskin fan, will produce the film with Mary Parent. She produced Pacific Rim and Godzilla for Legendary. Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser will be exec producers.
Chandor, who made his feature directing debut on his Oscar-nominated script Margin Call, is once again in the awards season conversation for his follow-up All Is Lost, which stars Robert Redford as a man struggling to survive on the open seas. Chandor is casting up his next directorial outing, A Most Violent Year, which will star Jessica Chastain with production to begin early next year.
He has already begun writing the new film, and Legendary has assembled a rights package that includes a deal with the Lombardi estate, as well as the Broadway play written by Eric Simonson that starred Dan Lauria and Judith Light. That play was based on the David Marannis book When Pride Still Mattered, and that is also part of the package. Read More »
The roadshow for Anchorman 2 rolled into North Dakota this weekend, where Will Ferrell, in Ron Burgundy garb, hosted a local newscast. Here’s the broadcast, if you’ve got half an hour. You’ve really got to give Ferrell credit for commitment to promoting this film. It doesn’t get … Read More »
6TH UPDATE: The staggering grosses turned in this weekend by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen, and the collective strong box office that will likely result in a record five-day Thanksgiving weekend come along at a fortuitous time for the movie business. Why? Because fear has ruled the roost lately, and these numbers on a diversity of mostly smart films shows clearly that if you give an audience a story well told, they will show up.
The performance of Catching Fire and Frozen are all the more remarkable if you consider that both of these films are squarely driven by female heroines. Conventional wisdom is that the marketplace could never support more than one female-driven film, because while gals will see guy movies, it doesn’t work the other way. Well, it worked big time — both films crushed the 5-day Thanksgiving domestic gross record – and it happened shortly after another female driven film, Gravity, crossed the $600 million mark in global gross this weekend. That movie would not have been made if not for a maverick advocate and you could make the same argument for a drama about Somali pirates, Captain Phillips, which has passed the $100 million mark domestically and will crack $200 million worldwide on a $55 million budget. You can look at The Best Man Holiday and Last Vegas (CBS Films’ biggest grossing film ever) and find similarly encouraging signs; good movies made for a price, finding crossover audiences.
This is important, coming just on the heels of that Sony investors meeting held on the Culver City lot. It was a powwow that on the surface seemed to be a capitulation to cranky shareholders like Daniel Loeb, who, as George Clooney said, whined about two summer flops but betrayed a complete lack of understanding of how the movie business works. This weekend was a good reminder that, few legal businesses are capable of creating cash as quickly as blockbusters do. The people who make those bets are like shrewd riverboat gamblers, and if the current climate makes them fearful, they will not make good films. They are only good if they’ve got swagger and cockiness, and it would be nice to imagine a weekend like this serves as a reminder of what happens when smart risks are taken and good movies are the result.
Related: George Clooney To Hedge Fund Honcho Daniel Loeb: Stop Spreading Fear At Sony
When Sony responded to Loeb’s criticism by announcing plans to shed $100 million in overhead and trimming back its film slates to instead put more chips on TV projects, some in town wondered if Japan was planning to sell its showbiz division. Nonsense, say insiders I trust. Read More »
Sad holiday weekend news today. Peter W. Kaplan, the longtime editor of The New York Observer, has died at age 59 of cancer, The New York Times confirmed. Kaplan’s accomplishment was this: he took a salmon-colored weekly and made it a … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: It sure isn’t easy being a Catholic these days, especially on a movie screen. Philomena Lee, subject of the just-released Oscar season film Philomena, has taken the unusual step of directly answering a New York Post critic who slammed the Stephen Frears-directed adaptation of her story as an attack on the Catholic faith, as well as Republicans.
Lee is played in the film by Judi Dench, and her story is a crusher: She was sent to a Catholic abbey in Ireland as a teen after she got pregnant and, as was the custom then, was compelled to sign away her rights to the child. She still cared for him for the first three years of his life while she worked as an indentured laundry lady, and then saw her son given up for adoption. The movie is about how, after keeping this a shameful secret for 50 years, she teamed with a disgraced journalist named Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) to find that son. Since it’s an exceptionally personal story, she has chosen to speak out about a particularly nasty review by Kyle Smith of The New York Post that has become a Twitter hot-button topic. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Boaz Yakin has been set to direct Max, an original family adventure film that will begin production March 1. Yakin is writing the script with Sheldon Lettich and he will be exec producer. It’s Yakin’s first family … Read More »
BREAKING: Long a staple of the Imagine Entertainment brain trust, Michael Rosenberg has been promoted to Co-Chairman of Imagine Entertainment by company Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Rosenberg came to Imagine in 1988 as vice … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Big Time Rush’s lead singer Kendall Schmidt is taking a solo sabbatical, and the results will be turned into a feature documentary he’ll make with producer Garret Grant. Grant — whose credits include Hairspray, Rock of … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Fox Searchlight has picked up Zak Olkewicz‘s Elimination, a horror pitch to be produced by Shawn Levy through his 21 Laps banner. This marks the second studio sale this year for Olkewicz, who made a Dimension … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Back when he was in France to head the Cannes Film Festival jury, Steven Spielberg dropped a bombshell when he announced that he would turn an un-produced Stanley Kubrick screenplay about Napoleon Bonaparte into a miniseries. Well, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Catfish host Nev Schulman has signed with Grand Central Publishing for his first book In Real Life, which the Hachette imprint will publish in fall, 2014. Schulman will write about his continuing exploration of relationships … Read More »
Max Martini has joined the cast of Universal Pictures and Focus Features adaptation of E L James’ best-selling novel Fifty Shades Of Grey. He would play the role of Jason Taylor, Christian Grey’s bodyguard and head of … Read More »
Magnolia Pictures acquired North American rights to Filth, the adaptation of Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh’s equally unsettling and rude black comedy that stars James McAvoy as a copper looking for a promotion and willing to go to … Read More »
Fox is out with a new trailer for the Ben Stiller-directed The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, and who wouldn’t have wanted to be a fly on the wall when the studio reached out to Warner Bros for permission to use its signature iconic Life Magazine? I’m told it came down to a couple of phone calls directly from the amiable Fox film chief Jim Gianopulos, as the magazine division was under the same roof when rights cleared. It sounds like Warner Bros was much more accommodating to its fellow major studio than it was to The Weinstein Company when the latter tried to release The Butler and was halted in its tracks because Warner Bros protected its stake in an equally defunct property, the black-and-white, silent short film from 1916. Now even though Fox sued Warner Bros and won a big settlement over a rights dispute on Watchmen, they still managed to come together here to give Stiller a nostalgic context for the redo of the daydreaming wannabe hero. Here’s the newest Mitty trailer:
I think The Butler brawl had a lot to do with the Warner Bros lawyers being sore about having to pay Weinstein that 5% first-dollar gross on two more installments of The Hobbit, after giving him the same extravagant payday on all three The Lord Of The Rings installments. But maybe I’m daydreaming and the studio really needed to protect its 1916 gem. Harvey was never going to give away those gross points, and it turned out that Warner Bros lawyers did him a favor. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: John Krokidas, who made his feature directing debut with the Beat Generation poets mystery Kill Your Darlings at Sundance, has signed a pair of deals that will put him to work on the Fox lot. Krokidas … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and producer Scott Stuber have set Sarah Treem to adapt Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year Of Living With Joy, the memoir by Susan Spencer-Wendel and Bret Witter that the studio bought in a seven-figure deal in June 2012. This was after the book landed a $2.3 million publishing deal from HarperCollins, back when the working title was Breathe Deeply. This is the memoir by Spencer-Wendel of facing her mortality as ALS begins to take a toll on her. Treem’s recent credits include HBO’s In Treatment, Netflix’s House Of Cards and the Showtime pilot The Affair.
Spencer-Wendel is a longtime court reporter for the Palm Beach Post who, at age 44, was diagnosed with ALS, the degenerative ailment most commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease that destroys the nerves that power muscles including the lungs. The book and movie action came from a Wall Street Journal article written about her illness. The book and movie crowds sparked to her race against time to create a record of her life before her illness overcame her. Read More »