Celluloid 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 »
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 »
UPDATE, 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.
“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 »
After 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).
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 of 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 »
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 set 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.
TNT 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 676,000 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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In 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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Just 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.”
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.
Pierre 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.
Olivia Wilde, Luke Wilson, Elisabeth 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.
Gus 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 »
Lionsgate 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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To a distributor launching a prestige film in the fall, a berth in the first weekend of the Toronto Film Festival is like finding a Golden Ticket in a Wonka Bar. Toronto organizers want to do just that for the Ted Melfi-directed comedy St Vincent before its October 24 bow, and they also want to turn the premiere into a celebration honoring the work of its star, Bill Murray. Here’s the challenge: Nobody has been able to get hold of him. He has no agent, he’s got an attorney who’ll try to reach Murray, but even that is a problem because he apparently doesn’t have a cell phone. If this sounds far fetched, remember that Sony held up its Ghostbusters relaunch plans for about two years, waiting and hoping Murray would read the script and sign on (it’s unclear if he ever read it, but the studio got the message that he wasn’t interested in ghost busting and finally moved on). This St. Vincent is an exceptional project, and it’s a tour de force for Murray.
Related: Weinstein Co. Lands Bill Murray’s Next Film, ‘St. Vincent De Van Nuys’
Melfi wrote it with input from Jack Nicholson, and when that iconic star said he just didn’t want to work anymore, he suggested Melfi chase Murray. I wrote in depth about how elusive Murray was, and then how spectacularly generous and engaged he became when he read Melfi’s script and sparked … Read More »
Emmy award-winner Lauren Sanchez, who is a frontrunner to join The View as a co-host, has formed Pursuit Productions with Dan Friedkin. Pursuit will focus on telling compelling real life stories from around the globe. The company already has its first documentary feature in the works, Found, and closed a deal with Mark Monroe (Sound City, The Tillman Story, The Cove) to write. Found follows the search for those pilots whose planes were lost in The Battle of Peleliu during World War II. Also joining the search for the missing pilots in the doc is former United States Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, whose memoir Lone Survivor was adapted into the 2013 Universal Studios film of the same name starring Mark Wahlberg. Friedkin and Sanchez, in conjunction with Imperative Entertainment, are also filming a pilot, On the Road, which follows the death-defying adventures of The Horsemen, the world’s only vintage P-51 aerobatic flight team. Sanchez guest-hosted on The View this morning. Pursuit Productions is repped by WME.
Telemundo and Billboard Magazine, along with dick clark prods have inked a four-year extension of the agreement to produce the Billboard Latin Music Awards show through 2020. In addition, Telemundo and dcp will team up in 2015 to produce a new Spanish-language music awards show modeled on the successful American Music Awards show.
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Zooey Deschanel just tweeted this photo from the set of Bill Murray-starrer, Barry Levinson-directed Rock The Kasbah. Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Scott Caan and Danny McBride also star in the pic about a a down-on-his-luck rock manager who takes his last remaining client on a USO tour of Afghanistan. After finding himself abandoned in Kabul, penniless and without his passport, he discovers a young village girl with an extraordinary voice and manages her through Afghanistan’s version of American Idol, the wildly popular Afghan Star. Do you recognize these dudes?
EXCLUSIVE: Country music star Miranda Lambert is collaborating on the female comedy script Something In The Water penned by celebrated country music video director Trey Fanjoy and screenwriter Cindy McCreery. The strong female-led project is a multi-generational ensemble piece set in the heartland; Lambert would take on one of the roles in the romp about five women challenging their men in a bass fishing competition. The project, which Fanjoy also hopes to direct, is said be in the vein of Bridesmaids meets Steel Magnolias.
Lambert and Fanjoy have long collaborated. In fact, for about a decade. Fanjoy directed Lambert’s first music video for the singer’s first single and has, subsequently, helmed the country artist’s videos on her game-changing hits — “Kerosene,” “The House That Built Me,” “Fastest Girl In Town,” “Over You,” “Mama’s Broken Heart” and the singer’s most recent hit video “Somethin’ Bad” with Carrie Underwood (which has been viewed over 10 million times since bowing last month and has pulled record-breaking view numbers for Viacom and its County Music Television). Together, Lambert and Fanjoy have racked up numerous awards, most recently this past June when Lambert won Female Video of the Year for the song “Automatic,” directed (once again) by Fanjoy.
“With over a dozen award-winning collaborations with Miranda, I’ve no doubt Trey’s transition into features will be equally successful,” said Lambert’s manager Marion Kraft of Shopkeeper Management.
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