U.S. Filmmakers Lend Support To Iceland’s Film Industry
In early November, Iceland’s government announced plans to cut funding to the Icelandic Film Centre by about 40%. The news was met with upset within the industry, especially given that film production turnover has grown 248% since 2010, according to industry reports. That was driven by a number of Hollywood pics that shot locally including Oblivion, Prometheus and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty and HBO’s Games Of Thrones. Film trade orgs have said the effect of the cuts would hurt the local economy and result in 200 job losses. The country’s film bodies have now received a statement of support signed by filmmakers including Clint Eastwood, Darren Aronofsky and Terrence Malick. “We, the undersigned, have had the great pleasure of working on one or more film projects in Iceland,” the statement reads. “In our view, the Icelandic film professionals we’ve worked with are of the highest standard. The expertise that they bring to the table – not only as filmmakers but as invaluable advisors on Icelandic practices, customs and locations – has brought immeasurable benefits to the work that we do. We stand with them, and with the entire film community in Iceland, in their efforts to maintain the current levels of government support for filmmaking, and thus we urge the Icelandic government to reconsider their current plans to cut the budget of the Icelandic Film Fund.”
MTV Preps ‘Ex On The Beach’ For Spring UK Bow
MTV has commissioned reality series Ex On The Beach, which is set to premiere in the UK in the spring. It then will roll out across MTV’s international network, excluding the U.S. The series is produced for MTV UK by Whizz Kid Entertainment and was shot on location in southern Europe. It sees eight single men and women invited to enjoy a luxury vacation in the belief they are being set up for a holiday romance. Instead, as MTV cameras watch, ex-boyfriends and girlfriends of cast members arrive unexpectedly. Each ex will have a different motive for appearing, from winning their partner back to exacting revenge after a breakup. Ex On The Beach is exec produced by Steve Regan, Lisa Chapman and Suzanne Readwin. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE UPDATED: One of these women could follow in the footsteps of Maya Rudolph and become the first black female Saturday Night Live cast member in five years. No one is talking, but I have compiled the names of nine young performers rumored to potentially take the SNL stage on Monday to vie for a featured player spot on the venerable NBC sketch comedy show. SNL chief Lorne Michaels told The New York Times today that he plans to audition 7-8 women. The in-studio test follows preliminary auditions, including one held in Los Angeles, where some 25 hopefuls we seen. Here are the names I’m hearing as being on the short list for the Monday test: Bresha Webb, whose photo from the Los Angeles audition posted online brought to light SNL‘s casting plans; improv player Tanisha Long, cast member of MTV’s Girl Code; Misty Monroe, who comes out of Groundlings; Gabrielle Dennis, who recurred on BET’s The Game; and Amber Ruffin, member of Boom Chicago, an Amsterdam-based sketch group; actress-comedian Leslie Jones. Also possibly testing are UCB Theatre performers Sasheer Zamata, whose name had been floated as a suitable SNL candidate before, and Natasha Rothwell, who previously won an NBC Universal Diversity Scholarship; as well as Briana KC.
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You got to give lawyer Marc Toberoff points for perseverance. Just under three weeks after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed Warner Bros its seemingly final significant piece of the Superman copyright pie, the lawyer for the Man from Krypton co-creator’s heirs now wants a rehearing of the November 21 opinion by either the panel itself or the full court. “The Opinion warrants rehearing or rehearing en banc because it contravenes Congress’ clear objectives, and this Court’s carefully-circumscribed decisions,” says the 43-page petition (read it here) filed Tuesday, citing the 1976 Copyright Act. Last month’s 2-1 opinion reaffirmed a District Court decision supporting DC Comics and its corporate parent WB’s position that Mark Peary of Joe Shuster’s estate couldn’t file a copyright termination notice in 2003. WB claimed that a 1992 agreement with Shuster’s siblings, in which they were to be compensated $25,000 a year for life, already delivered all their Superman rights to the company. Leaning heavily on dissenting Judge Sidney Runyan Thomas’s opinion, Toberoff and fellow attorney Keith G. Adams say it isn’t that simple.
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Superman Birthday Present For Warner Bros As Court Ends Case
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Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond talks with host David Bloom about this week’s film nominations for the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, plus the American Film Institute’s picks for the year’s best, and what they all might portend for an increasingly complicated and competitive Oscar race. And though ’tis the season for film awards, they also take a look at the three organizations’ picks for best TV shows and performances of 2013.
Pete also gives his take on this week’s new movies, led by Peter Jackson’s eagerly awaited The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second installment in his J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy; the fine tale of Walt Disney’s prickly relationship with the Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks; and the cross-dressing Christmas comedy Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas.
Deadline Awards Watch episode 54 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Awards Watch episode 54 (.M4A version)
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2nd UPDATE 6:10 PM: Pantelion Films, the joint venture between Lionsgate and Grupo Televisa, said today that it will donate a portion of its box office take for Paul Walker-starring drama Hours to the late star’s charity, Reach Out Worldwide. The company, which will bow the movie Friday in 16 theaters and on VOD, did not specify what percentage of the gross it will donate nor exactly when that would happen. Walker died November 30 in a car crash near Los Angeles.
Related: Paul Walker’s ‘Fast & Furious’ Family Mourns His Death
UPDATED 1:55 PM Friday: Benjamin Wallfisch, who composed the music for the upcoming Paul Walker drama Hours, said today that he and Varèse Sarabande Records will donate a portion of the soundtrack’s sales and royalties to the late actor’s nonprofit, Reach Out WorldWide. The film, which stars Walker as a father struggling to keep his daughter alive in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, opens Friday.
Related: Photos: Paul Walker, 1973-2013
PREVIOUSLY: The studio hasn’t made any decisions about the future of Fast & Furious 7 yet in the wake of the death of Paul Walker on November 30. But Universal said today that it will donate some of the proceeds from the upcoming Fast & Furious 6 DVD, Blu-ray and digital release to Walker’s charity Reach Out WorldWide. Here’s the release:
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Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Last week, Inside Llewyn Davis opened to the year’s second biggest screen average among Specialty releases and was clearly the ‘big indie’ heading into the weekend. This week the film will expand into over a dozen locations on the heels of its Golden Globe nominations this morning. This week’s new Specialties will still have to contend with Llewyn and other popular holdovers like fellow nominee 12 Years A Slave, Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club as well as Philomena, which will likely dominate in the absence of a new star-boasting title that has built momentum out of the likes of Cannes or first tier fall festivals in North America. Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker should find some momentum among non-fiction fans for her latest feature The Crash Reel, which has picked up festival awards will begin its theatrical phase this weekend via Phase 4 Films. Magnolia’s thriller Here Comes The Devil will also begin in L.A. and New York, while Janus Films will begin a New York exclusive run of doc Liv & Ingmar. And Sweet Talk will open in downtown L.A. Friday, followed quickly by a VOD launch. Of note, Sony/Columbia’s American Hustle and Buena Vista’s Saving Mr. Banks begin their theatrical releases in limited engagement, but will expand to well over 2000 screens the following week.
The Crash Reel
Director-writer: Lucy Walker
Subjects: Kevin Pearce, Shaun White, Mason Aguirre, Jake Burton, Danny Davis, Scotty Lago
Distributor: Phase 4 Films
Twice Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker may possibly head down the red carpet a third time the Dolby Theater in March with The Crash Reel. The film, which made the doc short list, follows the epic rivalry between half-pipe legends Shaun White and Kevin Pearce, childhood friends who became the number one and two in the world leading up to the Vancouver Winter Olympics. “The [project] came from meeting Kevin at a retreat for extreme sports. [At times] you are smack hit with someone and know it has to be your next film,” said Walker about the film’s origin three-and-a-half years ago. “But on the other hand, I always wanted to do a film about people adapting to spinal injuries in addition to extreme sports.” After getting Pearce on board for the project Walker tapped Julian Cautherley to join her on the project. Read More »
Here’s the second new trailer in less than two weeks for Twilight alum Kellan Lutz‘s turn as the mythical Greek hero. Complete with harrowing battles and gladiator-arena death matches, director Renny Harlin’s The Legend Of Hercules tells the tale of the half-god, half-man who had been betrayed by his stepfather, the King, and exiled and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love. Hercules must use his extraordinary strength to gain his freedom and fight his way back to his rightful kingdom. Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins, Liam McIntyre, Liam Garrigan, Johnathon Schaech, Roxanne McKee and Rade Serbedzija also star. Summit Entertainment opens Millennium Films’ The Legend Of Hercules in theaters January 10:
UPDATED: 4:30 PM: Saturday Night Live exec producer Lorne Michaels says he’s bringing seven or eight female African-American comediennes to New York to audition for the show on Monday — one of whom will be added to the cast in January.
As many as two could “potentially be considered” but he does not want to add too many women at this time because the cast already has five of them, Michaels told The New York Times, in an interview given in the wake of a news report he’d tried out about a dozen black female comediennes in Los Angeles on December 1. Three paragraphs later, the reporter reminded readers that when criticism of the show’s new cast members broke out before the start of the new season, Michaels had said his process for selecting cast members “was driven purely by talent considerations.” Michaels this afternoon told the NYT he had seen two black women performers in Chicago when he was hiring for the show this fall, but they didn’t pan out when brought to New York for their final auditions. “Then when the deck got reshuffled and as we premiered we realized, it looks a different way.” (That would also be about the time the press started shellacking Michaels because the list included no black women and the late night program had not had a black female cast member for six years.)
A couple paragraphs later, the NYT reported Michaels “did not attribute the surge of interest in securing a black female directly to the criticism the show had faced,” but acknowledged that it was “100 percent good for the show to have an African-American woman” in the cast.
PREVIOUS: 11:58 AM: NBC‘s Saturday Night Live held a tryout for black comediennes this month at The Groundlings in Los Angele. SNL holds showcase/auditions for potential new talent with some regularity in various locations. But this one attracted more media attention than usual because it was set up for black female hopefuls — one of whom posted a photo on Instagram of the group of hopefuls backstage. And, of course, the auditions took place a few months after the NBC late night series announced its lineup of newbies, and TV critics began hammering the show because the list included no black women, again. Two black male cast members poured a little lighter fluid on the flame – Jay Pharoah, when he told website The Grio he hoped the show would add a black woman, “like they said they were going to do last year, ” and Kenan Thompson, when he told TV Guide the problem is “they never find ones [black comediennes] that are ready.”
Related: ‘SNL’ Camp’s On New Cast: Black Comediennes Aren’t “Ready”
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Back in April, Starz committed to Sky Atlantic’s upcoming drama series Fortitude to air on the U.S. pay cable network in Q4 next year. That is no longer the plan. “Due to changes in the Sky Atlantic production of Fortitude, Starz will not be licensing the series in the US,” the network said in a statement. “The series will now be a fully funded Sky project for Sky Atlantic.” I hear that with the new filming schedule, there was a possibility that Fortitude could not meet the delivery dates needed by Starz. The network still plans to launch a new original series in Q4 of 2014 but will fast-track projects from its own development slate with the goal to pick up one of them to series. The network’s projects now in development include ballet drama Fresh and Bone, which already has been casting and has hired a choreographer, Survivor’s Remorse, exec produced by LeBron James, and WonderWorld, set in Ronald Reagan’s America. “Starz and Sky continue to discuss other projects, and very much look forward to collaborating again in the future,” Starz added. The 13-episode Fortitude, from Fifty Fathoms and Tiger Aspect, was written by Simon Donald, creator of the 2006 British miniseries Low Winter Sun, which was remade by AMC, with Colin Callender exec producing for Starz through his deal at the network. Also executive producing Fortitude are Donald and Patrick Spence for Fifty Fathoms and Tiger Aspect. The … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has bought the rights to the yet-unpublished young-adult fantasy novel An Ember In The Ashes for veteran producer Mark Johnson, the force behind their hugely successful Chronicles Of Narnia film franchise. Johnson, whose has a stellar reputation for finding and developing literary material for the screen (The Notebook), had an inside track on An Ember In The Ashes. Haroon “Boon” Saleem, apparently mentioned to Johnson, whom he worked with while at Walden Media, that his sister — a former editor at The Washington Post – had written a book geared to the young-adult market and he thought Johnson should read it. The producer took it to the studio and they closed the deal.
Saleem, who oversaw the development of the third Narnia film, 2010′s The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, will receive a producing credit when the film makes it to the screen. The story, written under the pseudonym L.S. London, has been described as Romeo and Juliet meets Games of Thrones and set in its own world which is half ancient Rome and half Mecca. The project will go to publishers early next year with a big advantage of already having the screen rights sold.
Saleem was a former creative executive at Overbrook Entertainment who moved on to socially conscious pursuits. He produced the pre-show telecast for Stand Up for Cancer; founded of the grassroots political organization Generation for Change, which raised more than … Read More »
Childrens Hospital star Rob Huebel is set to topline American Storage, IFC’s comedy pilot based on the 2006 short film that starred Steve Carell and David Krumholtz. Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien (the upcoming Neighbors), who co-wrote the short, also co-penned the pilot, with the short’s director Cohen helming. American Storage follows the unlikely friendship between a straight-laced employee (newcomer John Karna) at a storage facility and Kurt (Huebel), the eccentric man he discovers living in one of the units like it was an apartment. Kurt steals Internet from next door, pays the lowest rent you could imagine, and basically thinks he’s got life figured out. He’s charming and interesting, and might be a genius or crazy. The pilot is produced by Troy Miller of Dakota Pictures. Huebel, repped by UTA, Principato-Young Entertainment and attorney Karl Austen., is shooting the independent feature Barely Lethal and has joined the cast of Horrible Bosses 2.
Thomas J. McLean is an AwardsLine contributor.
You gotta give Pixar credit — they never follow the easy path. Take Monsters University, the first prequel to come out of the Emeryville toon works. Prequels are still new territory for storytelling purposes and it was no small feat for first-time feature director Dan Scanlon to come up with a story that met Pixar’s high standards when everyone who had seen 2001’s hit Monsters, Inc. knows where cyclopean nice-guy Mike Wazowski, voiced by Billy Crystal, ends up.
“It was a good story to tell as a prequel, because the drama comes out of knowing things aren’t going to work out for him,” says Scanlon. “He’s so excited about his journey and yet the audience knows it’s not going to work out. We had to really think about telling the story in a different way and really own the fact that people know the end instead of trying to deny it, which I think we probably did at first.”
Related: Annie Awards Nominations Unveiled
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EXCLUSIVE: Bridesmaids and The Heat helmer Paul Feig is attached to produce and possibly direct an untitled pitch that Melissa Stack will write for Fox. She wrote The Other Woman, the Nick Cassavetes-directed pic that is in post at Fox, with Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann starring. They are keeping the logline to themselves, but it’s an original idea hatched by Feig and a vehicle for a group of ethnically diverse comic actresses. Feig and Jessie Henderson are producing under the Feigco banner that formed at Fox to make R-rated comedies.
“I’m always looking for an excuse to gather a bunch of funny women together, and Melissa’s amazing take on this idea really made me laugh,” said Feig. “I’m thrilled to be working with her and excited to really nail our Paso Doble on Dancing With The Stars.” Feig next reunites with Melissa McCarthy in Susan Cooper, a secret agent comedy that also stars Jason Statham and Rose Byrne. Feig’s repped by CAA, Stack by Paradigm and Kaplan/Perrone.
EXCLUSIVE: MGM has acquired Let’s Get Married, a comic pitch that will be fast tracked as a star vehicle for Jillian Bell. Bell, who stars in Comedy Central’s Workaholics and HBO’s Eastbound & Down, as well as Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master and Inherent Vice, is writing the script with Charlotte Newhouse, her scripting partner on Idiot Sitter at Comedy Central. Bell will play half a couple that finds itself in an arranged marriage. The hope is to get the film into production by next spring. Bell, who most recently wrapped 22 Jump Street, is repped by Innovative and 3 Arts, Newhouse by Gersh and Evolution.
He launched TriStar Productions with Sony Pictures in August, and today Tom Rothman has another new gig. President Obama nominated the former Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman and CEO to join the National Council on the Arts. “These dedicated and accomplished individuals will be valued additions to my administration as we tackle the important challenges facing America,” the President said today in nominating Rothman and several others to administration posts. “I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.” The National Council on the Arts’ main role is to advise the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts on agency policies and programs. It also reviews and makes recommendations to the Chairman on applications for grants, funding guidelines, and other similar initiatives. A contributor and bundler for Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, Rothman is the latest in a line of Hollywood supporters to get appointments from the President since his reelection.
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After almost 20 years at the News Corp company, Rothman was ousted from Fox in a studio shakeup in September 2012 and formally exited a month later. As well as being Chairman of the TriStar TV and Film venture with Sony, Rothman is also a member of the Board of Directors of … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sons Of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter has lined up his follow-up series to the hit FX drama, and it is as far from SOA‘s contemporary Central Valley biker community as they come (but probably just as violent). Sutter has teamed with Imagine’s Brian Grazer for The Bastard Executioner, a period drama project that has received a pilot greenlight from FX. Bastard Executioner tells the story of a warrior knight in King Edward III’s charge who is broken by the ravages of war and vows to lay down his sword. But when that violence finds him again he is forced to pick up the bloodiest sword of all. “I love the network. I love the world. I love the blood,” Sutter said. He will write the script and executive produce with Imagine’s Grazer and Francie Calfo for Fox 21 and FX Prods. through Sutter’s overall deal with Fox 21 parent 20th Century Fox TV, where Imagine TV also is based. Sutter is expected to start working on Bastard Executioner when he wraps the upcoming seventh and final season of SOA, with filming of the pilot slated to begin late next year.
“For 13 years at FX, starting as a writer and working his way up to an executive producer on The Shield, then as Creator/Executive Producer of Sons Of Anarchy, Kurt has interwoven literary and pulp storytelling within two of the most successful series in cable history,” said FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. “Now he has conceived a deep, provocative and historically precise narrative journey into our medieval past — and I have no doubt Bastard Executioner will be another remarkably original and gripping series. We’re also thrilled to be in business with Brian Grazer, one of the most gifted film and TV producers in the business.”
Related: FX’s ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Hits Finale High With Season 6 Ender
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EXCLUSIVE: New Line Cinema has acquired Fist Fight, a comic pitch based on an idea by New Girl star Max Greenfield. The actor brought the idea to 21 Laps and developed it with them and writers Evan Susser and Van Robichaux, the scribes behind the 2011 Black List script Chewi. Greenfield also will serve as a producer on the film. Shawn Levy will produce with Billy Rosenberg and Dan Cohen. New Line’s Richard Brener, Sam Brown and Dave Neustadter will referee.
The exact plot is being kept quiet, but the aspiration is a Horrible Bosses tone for a comedy that follows an epic fistfight between two high school teachers set against the backdrop of the broken-down school system. WME reps Levy, Greenfield, Susser, and Robichaux; Greenfield is managed by Greenlight Management. Levy and Greenfield are repped by Ziffren Brittenham, and the scribes by McKuin Frankel.