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Universal Unwraps Alex Kurtzman As New ‘Mummy’ Man

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 3:52pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Universal Unwraps Alex Kurtzman As New ‘Mummy’ ManTwo weeks after Deadline revealed that Universal Pictures was putting its classic movie monster franchises in the hands of Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, the studio is setting Kurtzman to direct the resuscitation of The Mummy franchise. The studio tapped that duo to come up with a creative game plan and maybe take on some of these monster classics, and clearly The Mummy was the first one to go in production, so this is not a startling development.

mummm kurtzmUniversal has been trying to reopen the sarcophagus on this one for a while. The original trilogy, hatched by helmer Steve Sommers and starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, grossed north of $1.2 billion, but locking down the reboot has been all kinds of frustrating. The studio had Len Wiseman locked to do it, but then he bailed and it was Mama helmer Andy Muschietti, but those talks didn’t work out either.

Related: Fleming Rants On Why Studios Can’t Launch Franchises Anymore, Leaving Us With Retreads Like ‘The Mummy’

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EMMYS: A Year After Its Finale Bryan Cranston Still Hopes ‘Breaking Bad’ Has Awards Mojo On Its Side

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 3:44pm PDT
Pete Hammond

EMMYS:  A Year After Its Finale Bryan Cranston Still Hopes ‘Breaking Bad’ Has Awards Mojo On Its SideBreaking Bad may have finished its run a year ago but, as far as Emmys are concerned, it has all the heat now – and then some. It recently won Best Drama Series from the Critics Choice Television Awards, Program Of The Year  from the Television Critics Association and even finally the Golden Globe last January for the show and star Bryan Cranston after essentially being ignored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the length of its 6-year  run. The show has really come into its own and continues to be talked about and debated, and has taken a kind of victory tour at all the Guild shows as well since finally winning its first Best Drama Series Emmy in 2013. And it is nominated again, for the last time, for those final eight episodes that ran last summer just as Emmy voting for the previous season was in full force. Some think voters gave breaking-bad-beats-mad-men-and-homeland-to-win-best-drama-seriesit the Emmy then as much for the new shows, that were unspooling as they had ballots in hand, as much they did for the eligible 8 shows from  the first half of the sixth and final season. It begs the question whether the Academy is ready to go there one more time even though BB long ago finished its first-run episodes on AMC. But despite three lead actor Emmys in 2008, 2009 and 2010 for Cranston as well as a pair for … Read More »

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Warren Kole, Erik Stocklin Join CBS Drama ‘Stalker’

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 3:31pm PDT

Warren Kole, Erik Stocklin Join CBS Drama ‘Stalker’Warren Kole and Erik Stocklin have landed recurring roles in CBS drama Stalker. The Kevin Williamson series stars Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q as detectives from the Threat Assessment Unit who investigate cases of stalking. Kole, repped by The Kohner Agency, Silver Lining Entertainment and attorney Stuart Rosenthal, will play Detective Trent Wilkes, a lead detective in the Robbery Homicide Division of the LAPD who gets into a turf war with Jack (McDermott). Stocklin has been added as a recurring after appearing in the pilot. He will reprise his role of Perry, an introverted college sophomore. Kole appeared in the NBC pilot Salvation and recently recurred on USA’s White Collar and Fox’s The Following. Stocklin, repped by Domain and manager JC Robbins, appeared on ABC’s Mistresses.

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‘Maude’ About Norman, PEN USA Laurels Lear With Lifetime Achievement Award

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 3:06pm PDT

‘Maude’ About Norman, PEN USA Laurels Lear With Lifetime Achievement AwardEXCLUSIVE: Incomparable writer, producer, First Amendment apostle and funny guy Norman Lear will receive ths year’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the PEN Center USA, which works on global issues of freedom of speech and censorship. The nonprofit human rights group also said it is giving its First Amendment Award to journalist Glenn Greenwald and documentary director Laura Poitras for their work disseminating documents relating to NSA surveillance. Journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas will receive the Freedom to Write Award for his work on immigration issues.

Pen Center LOGOLear, who turned 92 on Sunday, made his name creating groundbreaking TV sitcoms in the 1970s, including All In The Family, Maude, Good Times, One Day At A Time, Sanford And Son and The Jeffersons. The shows couched controversy in humor, dealing with thorny societal issues including racism, bigotry, feminism, divorce, abortion and class. Lear, also the producer of films including Fried Green Tomatoes, was as politically active off-screen as on: He founded the advocacy group People for the American Way in 1981, led a consortium to purchase an original copy of the Constitution and toured it around the country, and remains at the forefront of Hollywood’s most active and influential political progressives.

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Hungry AMC Networks Angling For Major BBC America Stake

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 2:41pm PDT

Hungry AMC Networks Angling For Major BBC America StakeThe cable networks company known for its hits The Walking Dead and Mad Men could use the deal to further establish itself as a leading distributor of premium content — strengthening its ability to sell ads and negotiate high fees from cable and satellite companies. Bankers and executives are working on a cash and stock deal, I’m told — but with no dollar figures yet.

The arrangement would give AMC Networks just short of a majority stake in BBC America, unlike a previous representation arrangement with Discovery, which did not own equity. While BBC Worldwide would still control the channel and brand, AMC would be able to influence programming decisions and handle BBC America’s domestic ad sales and distribution. Talks have been ongoing for several months, but a deal isn’t complete. Bloomberg was first to report the negotiations.

AMC and BBC know each other well. They’re co-producers of The Honorable Woman, which premieres tomorrow on SundanceTV. Last year they partnered on Sundance’s Top Of the Lake, and they have an upcoming production, One Child.
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In Switcheroo, SAG-AFTRA, DGA Say ‘No Comment’ To FCC On Net Neutrality

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 2:24pm PDT

In Switcheroo, SAG-AFTRA, DGA Say ‘No Comment’ To FCC On Net NeutralityThe FCC received so many comments – more than a million – on proposed changes to its net neutrality rules that its website crashed. But don’t blame SAG-AFTRA or the DGA; neither weighed in before the deadline.

“We have not filed comments,” said an official for the actors union. Likewise, said a rep for the directors: “The DGA hasn’t made any filings regarding net neutrality in the latest round.”

Related: WGA Makes Last FCC Pitch On Latest Net Neutrality Rules

DGAlogoSAG-AFTRA hi-res logoThe WGA, on the other hand, has told the FCC that its proposed changes threaten our very democracy and “throws the concept of (net) neutrality directly under the bus.” Said a member of all three unions, “It’s kind of astonishing that SAG and the DGA have made no comment on this.”

Related: Netflix And AT&T Reach Interconnection Agreement

Four years ago, when the FCC solicited comments on another set of net neutrality rules, the WGA found itself at odds with SAG and the DGA; they sided with the MPAA, which called net neutrality “a clever name” for piracy. “No discussion of net neutrality can be complete without consideration of the effects of any form of Internet regulation on the illegal digital theft of copyrighted content and the resulting impact on jobs, creativity and innovation,” … Read More »

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Brownie Points To Tarantino, Apatow & Pals For New ‘Development’ Deal To Save Celluloid

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 2:21pm PDT

Brownie Points To Tarantino, Apatow & Pals For New ‘Development’ Deal To Save CelluloidCelluloid lives to film another day: “After extensive discussions with filmmakers, leading studios and others who recognize the unique artistic and archival qualities of film, we have in place a plan that will enable us to continue production” of film stock, Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke says. The company once famous for “Kodak moments” will make about 450M linear feet of film — about 1/28 its output in 2006 as Hollywood has shifted to digital recording and projection.

Kodak was about to go to zero — with plans to close the last remaining film production plant, in Rochester, NY — before directors including Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Judd Apatow, and J.J. Abrams and several studios lobbied for a reprieve. (Abrams is shooting Star Wars Episode VII on film.) Kodak relented after Warner Bros, Universal, Paramount, Disney, and Weinstein Co. committed to buy a set amount of film stock for several years, the company says, confirming a report in The Wall Street Journal. Read More »

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2020, Defiant Pics Pact On ‘Divorce Party’

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 2:08pm PDT

2020, Defiant Pics Pact On ‘Divorce Party’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). Read More »

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Penelope Cruz Clarifies Gaza Genocide Comments

Penelope Cruz Clarifies Gaza Genocide CommentsUPDATE, 1:35PM: Penelope Cruz has issued a statement to clarify the open letter that she, husband Javier Bardem and director Pedro Almodovar signed yesterday, which called for an end to “the genocide perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army in the Gaza strip against Palestinian civilians.” The comments were bound to be regarded as incendiary and polarizing, taking sides in a most controversial issue. Today, Cruz explains that her reaction was not motivated by politics as much as humanitarian concerns.

gaza“I don’t want to be misunderstood on this important subject,” she said. “I’m not an expert on the situation, and I’m aware of the complexity of it. My only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza. I am hopeful all parties can agree to a cease fire and there are no more innocent victims on either side of the border. I wish for unity, and peace. … I believe in a civilization that can be capable of bringing the courage to have a world where humans can live side by side.”

Related: Fear, Rockets And Anxiety Overshadowed Film At Jerusalem Festival

PREVIOUSLY, July 29: The Gaza conflict touched the film business this month when dealmakers and filmmakers ran for a bomb shelter as shelling got too close at the Jerusalem Film Festival, and when Israeli filmmakers Ronit Elkabetz, Keren Yedaya, and Shlomi Elkabetz urged their government to seek a truce with Hamas. The attention on the world stage spiked today when Spanish Oscar winners Pedro Almodovar, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz put signatures to a statement expressing outrage over “the genocide perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army in the Gaza Strip against Palestinian civilians.” Stars who take political positions on world issues do so at their own peril and at the risk of hurting their business by polarizing potential audiences. Read More »

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HBO Greenlights David Simon Miniseries Starring Oscar Isaac & Catherine Keener

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 12:45pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

HBO Greenlights David Simon Miniseries Starring Oscar Isaac & Catherine KeenerAfter spending the last couple of months locking in a director and lead cast, HBO has officially greenlighted for production Show Me A Hero, a six-hour miniseries from The Wire co-creator David Simon. Inside Llewyn Davis leading man Oscar Isaac is set to star and Catherine Keener to co-star in the mini, which will be directed by Paul Haggis (Crash).

oscarisaacCatherine Keener Penned by Simon and Baltimore Sun journalist/The Wire writer William F. Zorzi, Show Me A Hero is based on the nonfiction book by Lisa Belkin. It tells the story of Nick Wasicsko (Isaac), the youngest big-city mayor in the nation who finds himself thrust into the center showmeaheroof a racial controversy when a federal court orders him to build a small number of low-income housing units in the white neighborhoods of his town, Yonkers, N.Y.. His attempt to do so tears the city apart, paralyzes the municipal government and, ultimately, destroys his political future. Keener, repped by Gersh, plays Mary Dorman, an East Yonkers homeowner who comes to a remarkable realization during the battle over where to build low-income housing. Read More »

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Laura Benanti Joins ABC’s ‘Nashville’; Benjamin Ciaramello In ‘Secrets & Lies’

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 12:44pm PDT

Laura Benanti Joins ABC’s ‘Nashville’; Benjamin Ciaramello In ‘Secrets & Lies’Tony Award winner Laura Benanti (Gypsy, Into The Woods, Swing) has booked a multi-episode arc on the upcoming third season of ABC‘s country music drama Nashville. Benanti will play Sadie Stone, an up-and-coming country star who befriends Rayna (Connie Britton). Benanti, repped by CAA and Emily Gerson Saines at Brookside Artist Management, most recently appeared in NBC’s The Sound Of Music Live! She has starred in the NBC series Go On and The Playboy Club, as well as FX comedy series Starved. She also has recurred on Nurse Jackie, Royal Pains, The Big C, and Law & Order: SVU.

Benjamin Ciaramello is setBen Ciaramello 2 as a recurring on ABC mystery Secrets & Lies from producer Aaron Kaplan and director Charles McDougall. Based on an Australian series, Secrets & Lies stars Ryan Phillippe as a family man who finds the body of a young boy and quickly becomes the prime murder suspect. Ciaramello, repped by House of Representatives and Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein, will play Paul Murphy, Jess’ husband and Tom’s father who’s currently in the military and about to be deployed for the fifth time. He’s constantly battling inner demons resulting from extended periods in warring countries.

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TNT Renews ‘Cold Justice’ For Third Season

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 12:09pm PDT

TNT Renews ‘Cold Justice’ For Third SeasonTNT has ordered a 10-episode third season of real-life crime series Cold Justice, set for premiere in early 2015. The renewal comes as Cold Justice nears the middle of its second season, currently airing at 9 PM Fridays. Cold Justice has averaged 2.3 million viewers in Live+7 so far this summer, a 24% increase over the show’s winter episodes. In key demos, it’s averaging 912,000 adults 25-54 (+12% vs. winter) and Image (1) TNTLogoNew__140514001303.jpg for post 729833676,000 adults 18-49. The show has found a solid fan base in its Friday night slot, growing its Live+Same Day demo deliveries by 13% among adults 18-49 and 4% among adults 25-54 compared with Season 1.
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Paramount Digital Entertainment Sets New Comedy Series From Elizabeth Banks & Max Handelman

Paramount Digital Entertainment Sets New Comedy Series From Elizabeth Banks & Max HandelmanIn its first collaboration, Paramount Digital Entertainment is teaming with Pitch Perfect’s Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman’s Brownstone Productions banner on the workplace comedy Resident Advisors. Banks and Handelman will exec produce and Ira Ungerleider (Friends) has come aboard to shepherd the project as both exec producer and director. Natalia Anderson will produce based on a pilot script written by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Alex Reid. The ensemble cast includes Ryan Hansen (2Broke Girls, Burning Love), Jamie Chung (Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, The Hangover Part II & III), Alison Rich (College Humor Originals), Andrew Bachelor (House Of Lies), Graham Rogers (Revolution) and Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect). Series is set in the most hormonally overloaded, sexually active, out-of-control workplace in the world: a college dorm. It follows a group of resident advisors as they navigate sex, drugs, and midterms.
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Hot Trailer: Matthew McConaughey Heads To Space In ‘Interstellar’, Leaves Kids Behind

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 11:30am PDT

Hot Trailer: Matthew McConaughey Heads To Space In ‘Interstellar’, Leaves Kids BehindJust back from Comic-Con, Paramount has released a trailer for its upcoming November 7 Christopher Nolan sci-fi mystery Interstellar starring Matthew McConaughey as a haggard, ex-pilot father of two, who has to leave his kids behind while he heads to outer space. Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Cainealso star. It’s no secret that Nolan is making a number of homages to one of his fave films, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The director, who made his first Hall H appearance at the San Diego fanboy confab last week, told the crowd: “I grew up in a time when being an astronaut was the highest ambition of any child. The idea that we’d keep exploring space seemed an inevitability.”

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Lucy Fry Enrolls In Private School Drug-Trafficking Pic ‘The Preppie Connection’

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 11:28am PDT

Lucy Fry Enrolls In Private School Drug-Trafficking Pic ‘The Preppie Connection’Lucy Fry will play Alexis, the most popular girl in school who becomes the apple of a young drug dealer’s eye in Joe Castelo‘s film. The Preppie Connection follows a group of private school students who ran a drug ring during the early 1980s.  The ring is spearheaded by Toby, one of the lower-class scholarship candidates at the school, who uses his street cred and access to drugs to work his way into the popular-kid clique, which includes Alexis. Production began this week on Staten Island. Fry recently wrapped Blumhouse/Universal’s 6 Miranda Drive starring Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell and Matt Walsh.  She most recently was seen in the Weinstein Co.’s Vampire Academy. Fry is repped by ICM and Mollison Keightley Management (Australia), IAM Management and attorney Craig Emmanuel.

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UTA Signs ‘Yves Saint Laurent’ Star Pierre Niney

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 11:20am PDT

UTA Signs ‘Yves Saint Laurent’ Star Pierre NineyPierre Niney, who played the iconic French fashion designer in Yves Saint Laurent, has signed with UTA. The biopic debuted at Cannes and is distributed in the U.S. by The Weinstein Company. Niney was nominated for Cesar awards in 2012 and 2013 as most promising actor for his work in J’aime Regarder les Filles and Comme des Freres, the latter also earning him a Lumiere Award nomination as most promising young actor. Other acting credits include It Boy,  and the TV series Casting(s), which he also directed. Niney, repped in France by Brigitte Descormiers, has been announced to play Philippe Cousteau in the upcoming The Odyssey. 

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Olivia Wilde, Elisabeth Moss, Luke Wilson, Natasha Lyonne Head To ‘Meadowland’

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 11:01am PDT

Olivia Wilde, Elisabeth Moss, Luke Wilson, Natasha Lyonne Head To ‘Meadowland’Olivia Wilde, Luke WilsonElisabeth Moss and Natasha Lyonne will be headlining the psychological feature drama Meadowland, which marks the directorial debut of DP Reed Morano. Written by Chris Rossi, Meadowland follows a couple, Sarah (Wilde) and New York City cop David (Wilson), who are dealing with the crisis of their son’s disappearance. While David loses his way, Sarah also places herself in dangerous situations following the calamity. Meadowland will go before the cameras in NYC in mid-August.  British Columbia-based Bron Studios is producing the film in association with Creative Wealth Media Finance. Matt Tauber and Wilde also are producing, alongside Bron’s Aaron L. Gilbert and Margot Hand. Executive producers are Jennifer Levine and Jason Cloth. WME and Gersh are representing domestic rights on Meadowland.

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‘Sea Of Trees’ With Matthew McConaughey Begins Lensing In Massachusetts, Japan

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 10:36am PDT

‘Sea Of Trees’ With Matthew McConaughey Begins Lensing In Massachusetts, JapanGus Van Sant‘s next directorial Sea Of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe and Naomi Watts is currently in production in rural Massachusetts and will be moving its production to Japan in September.  Financier and producer Ken Kao and Alex Walton’s international sales, production and financing company, BLOOM, launched and introduced Sea Of Trees in Cannes, and by the end of the festival had sold out most of the world.

Van Sant has assembled a top-notch creative team to work on the film including Oscar-winning editor Pietro Scalia, Emmy nominated production designer Alex DiGerlando (HBO’s True Detective), cinematographer Kasper Tuxen (Beginners), Oscar-nominated costume designer Danny Glicker (Milk, Up In The Air) and make up department head Felicity Bowring (The Bourne Legacy, The Social Network). Read More »

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Lionsgate Acquires ‘Down A Dark Hall’ From ‘Twilight’ Producers & Temple Hill

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 10:19am PDT

Lionsgate Acquires ‘Down A Dark Hall’ From ‘Twilight’ Producers & Temple HillLionsgate has acquired rights to Down A Dark Hall based on the 1974 YA bestseller from Lois Duncan (I Know What You Did Last Summer) with Rodrigo Cortés attached to direct. Screenwriter Michael Goldbach wrote the original adaptation for the screen, and Chris Sparling (Sea of Trees, Buried) has come aboard to also write on the film. Twilight author Stephenie Meyer and Meghan Hibbett will produce via their Fickle Fish Films along with Temple Hill Entertainment’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen. Meyer optioned the book last year and brought on Goldbach to write the adaptation.
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