In this week’s podcast, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and host David Bloom do the Cannes can, previewing this week’s announcements in Paris of the lineup for the Cannes Film Festival, including likely entries from usual suspects such as Atom Egoyan and DreamWorks Animation and less likely prospects for slow-to-arrive new projects from Terrence Malick and Paul Thomas Anderson. Nancy and David also wrap up news out of last week’s Mip-TV market in Cannes, led by Keshet’s fast-selling reality formats and two hot programs out of Turkey. They finish up with their weekly peek at news and trends in the international box office, dominated abroad and in the United States by the debut of Rio 2 and the continued strength of fellow sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Meanwhile, Noah continues to sail along with another strong week.
“Precious Salem — caught up in the stinking witch panic.” Indeed. Here’s the loud and violent two-minute trailer for WGN America‘s first scripted series. The producers took some flak over the fuzzy math in its reinterpretation of the actual events of 1692, but what Salem imagines is simply this: The witches were real. And they were in charge. The series from Fox21 and creators Brannon Braga and Adam Simon premieres at 10 PM Sunday. Have a look — if you dare (evil laughter):
UPDATE: All-Clear Given At Manhattan Beach Studios Following Bomb Threat; Nothing Found After 6-Hour Search
UPDATED: A nearly daylong search of the MBS Media Campus following a telephoned bomb threat has turned up nothing suspicious, police say. The threat was called in at 9:56 AM and dozens of employees were evacuated from the sprawling 25,000-square-foot facility in Manhattan Beach. Bomb-sniffing dogs along with officers from the Inglewood, Beverly Hills, LA Airport, and Beverly Hills police departments searched building-by-building, but nothing was found, police say. The search was completed by 4 PM. Formerly known as Raleigh Studios, the facility was previously the home of Marvel Studios. James Cameron’s Avatar sequels will be shooting there this summer.
EXCLUSIVE: After cranking out two big hit comedies in Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, Sony Pictures is back in business with Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and John C. Reilly. The studio has closed a deal with Oscar-nominated In The Loop writer Jesse Armstrong to pen Border Guards. It’s a comedy that McKay is eyeing to direct, with Ferrell and Reilly playing two hapless but earnest friends who decide to give purpose to their lives by protecting America’s borders from illegal immigrants. In the process they find themselves accidentally stranded in Mexico without identification and must sneak back into the U.S. It’s only related to the previous films in that Ferrell and Reilly pair so well together.
Ferrell, McKay, and Kevin Messick are producing through Gary Sanchez Productions. Michael De Luca and Jonathan Kadin will oversee for Sony. The scribe, who’s repped by CAA, is a British comedy writer who with writing partner Sam Bain created the Channel 4 sitcoms Peep Show and Fresh Meat, and the Danny Boyle-directed series Babylon. Armstrong, who earned an Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination for co-writing In The Loop, also scripted a biopic on Republican strategist Lee Atwater for Gary Sanchez with McKay attached to direct. Ferrell is repped by CAA and Mosaic and John C. Reilly by WME and Framework.
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.
EXCLUSIVE: Who Is Dayani Cristal? opened the World Cinema Documentary section at last year’s Sundance Film Festival and won that year’s cinematography award. Focusing on the death of migrant workers in the Sonora desert, the film follows a team from the Pima County Morgue in Arizona as they try to identify a man who died trying to enter the U.S. through that dangerous path. Mexican actor and activist Gael Garcia Bernal investigates the life of the immigrant, known as Dayani Cristal, retracing the man’s harrowing journey along the migrant trail in Central America. Marc Silver directs. Bernal also produces with Lucas Ochoa and Thomas Benski. The pic is set to bow on April 25 in NYC and will expand nationwide in the following weeks. Check out the trailer:
EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of picking up single-camera pilots Jennifer Falls and Younger to series, TV Land is adding another single-camera project to its pilot slate. The cable network has given a cast-contingent pilot order to Impastor, from veteran comedy writer Christopher Vane (Brickleberry). It centers on a low-life on the run from his debts who hides away in a small town by conning them into thinking he’s their newly hired gay pastor. ICM Partners-repped Vane wrote the script and is executive producing alongside Eric and Kim Tannenbaum who exec produce through their CBS TV Studios-based Tannenbaum Co.
Related: 2014 TV Land Pilots
UPDATE, 3:15 PM: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was bullish on the sales gains and talked up the company’s results in four key investment businesses: mobile, video, native and social, with 98% ad growth year over year. (Mayer said mobile was the most important of those pillars, by the way.) Alibaba, meanwhile, remained a hot topic after the Chinese e-commerce company reported 66% sales growth — a major catalyst on the sales side but still a bit of a mystery to U.S. investors who will get more of a peek under the hood once it starts trading on the NYSE. An institutional investor asked what Yahoo expects to do with the potential $12B windfall from an Alibaba IPO, and Mayer answered that the company would remain a “good steward of our capital.” No word on further original content deals, other than Mayer saying expect more of the same mix of deals between tuck-in and outright acquisitions.
PREVIOUS, 1:55 PM: Yahoo shares bumped up in after-hours trading after the Web giant reported its first sales gains in more than a year. The news comes as the company reported revenue of $1.09B during the quarter, better than the $1.08B analysts expected and up from $1.07B a year ago. Net income was $311.6M, down from $390.3M year-over-year. Profit came in at 38 cents a share, a penny better than estimates. The big reason for optimism though were the sales gains: the company said it …
Liev Schreiber, Jaden Smith Set For Slavery Pic ‘The Good Lord Bird’ Adapted From James McBride Bestseller
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.
Jake Busey has been cast in History’s miniseries Texas Rising (working title) from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America. Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) is exec producing the project, which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Busey will play the older brother of “Big Foot Wallace”, Samuel Wallace, who recites the legendary admonition “Remember the Alamo.” Busey, repped by TalentWorks and manager Steven Jensen, also can be seen in Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn on El Rey Network.
The film’s official Facebook page unveiled that Paul Walker‘s brothers Caleb and Cody will help complete his action scenes on Universal’s Fast & Furious 7. The note says Walker had completed his dramatic work on the latest film in the lucrative franchise before he was killed in a car crash in November in Santa Clarita, CA. Universal postponed the original July 2014 release and pushed the sequel’s debut by nearly a year to April 10, 2015. Here’s the statement:
The FAST & FURIOUS saga is about family. The characters are connected by the bond of family, and it is how all of us who have worked together for more than thirteen years feel about each other. It certainly defines how we feel about our fans.
Our family experienced an unthinkable shock in November. We had to take time to grieve Paul, the brother we love and lost, and to figure out if we should move on with our film.
We came together and all felt the only choice was to continue. We believe our fans want that, and we believe Paul would want that too. Paul had already shot his dramatic scenes and most of his action for FAST & FURIOUS 7, and it’s among the strongest work of his career.
We have resumed shooting and now welcome Paul’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, into our FAST family. Caleb and Cody are helping us complete some remaining action for their brother and fill in small gaps left in production. Having them on set has made us all feel that Paul is with us too.
NBC set a date for its Maya Rudolph variety special/pilot. Revisiting the variety-show format, The Maya Rudolph Show special will air at 10 PM Monday, May 19. Andy Samberg, Kristen Bell, Fred Armisen, Chris Parnell, Craig Robinson, Sean Hayes and Janelle Monae will appear; Raphael Saadiq serves as bandleader. Rudolph, David Javerbaum, Erin David and Dave Becky will produce, with Lorne Michaels serving as executive producer. When the NBC comedy series Up All Night — in which Rudolph co-starred with Christina Applegate and Will Arnett, did not go forward with the planned multi-camera revamp in February — Rudolph informed studios and networks that she wanted to do a variety show. NBC was among several suitors that began pursuing the project, leading to the pilot order. This marks the latest collaboration between Rudolph and Michaels, who also produced Up All Night. Rudolph, daughter of the late soul singer Minnie Riperton, was one of SNL‘s most popular cast members of the past decade. Her seven-year stint produced a string of memorable impersonations and original characters that often included music performances, including her recurring gigs as Beyoncé, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston and Barbra Streisand.
UPDATED THROUGHOUT: CBS just announced that Stephen Colbert will pay a visit to the guy he’s replacing on Late Show With David Letterman a week from today, Tuesday, April 22. No word in re whether the two men will address the “covert assault on traditional American values” that CBS’ succession plans for its late-night franchise represents. That’s how Rush Limbaugh described it when CBS announced last week. Today, however, Limbaugh homed in on the “symbolic symbolism cover” that is Colbert’s Catholicism. “All these leftists, they fall back on their devout Catholicism, but it doesn’t mean anything,” he said, referencing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dick Durbin – and Comedy Central comic Colbert. Limbaugh said he wanted to address the situation “before this gets out of hand — and maybe it already is.”
“If Colbert’s a devout Catholic and has five kids, I suppose that he must believe in traditional marriage, right?” Limbaugh said. “And if he does, then he’s a hateful bigot, according to the current definitions of the left.” (Colbert has three children, at last report.)
After departing McKinley High to move to New York fulltime for the latter part of this season, the musical dramedy looked destined to end its run in the Big Apple. That won’t be the case, Glee co-creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy said in a press call yesterday. “The final season is its own story in its own location; it is not New York-centric at all,” Murphy said, as reported by TVLine. “It really is a lovely, fitting season that dwells on the original people on the show and what happens to them and how they give back. … We’ll revisit some of the new kids that came and went, there’s a return of [Jane Lynch's Sue Sylvester] and [Matthew Morrison's Will Schuester] in a big way.”
The sixth and final season of Fox‘s Glee will consist of 24 episodes, two of them carried over from this season, cut short by the sudden death of star Cory Monteith. The actor’s passing also changed Glee creators’ plans how to end the series, as their original ending featured Lea Michele’s Rachel returning to McKinley High and Monteith’s Finn. The new final scene idea “is about Rachel and Mr. Schue, and it returns them to their origins, their roots, how they felt about each other when they were much younger and everything …
LOS ANGELES, CA., APRIL 15, 2014—Alcon Entertainment and Sleeping Giant Media, LLC have formed ASG Music Group, a joint venture designed to integrate the combined companies’ music enterprises into a new music model for the modern business of film, television and commercial media production, it was announced by Alcon co-CEO’s and co-founders Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, and Sleeping Giant’s co-founders Ken Caillat, Michael Hodges and Kayla Morrison.
It isn’t the golden days of the 1990s, but FilmLA. reports today that feature film production is on the rise in Los Angeles while TV production slipped from last year. A Q1 2014 report released today by the nonprofit permitting group said on-location feature production in LA County jumped 24.2% over Q1 2013 and that the category had a big leap of 39.4% over its five-year quarterly average. Despite the small number of tentpole pics made in California and the lure of hefty incentives in other states like Louisiana and NY as well as Canada and the UK, the latest results build on similar advances in past quarters and shows increasing traction from the all-time lows of 2009.
It is no coincidence that 2009 was also the same year California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program was first introduced. With overall production steady with Q1 2013 and legislation presently moving ahead in Sacramento to expand and evolve the program, FilmLA today praised California’s incentives as helping to stem the tsunami of exiting production. “This quarter’s report hints at what would be possible if California were to truly step up and compete for new film projects and jobs,” said the organization’s President Paul Audley in a statement. “Just imagine where we could be five years from now if current efforts to expand the state’s incentive program are successful.”
The original video programming initiative will debut first on NBCUniversal’s various digital platforms, including channel websites, Hulu and VOD, NBCU said today in a statement. Promos for the digital series will appear during various programs on NBCU TV networks. In some cases, development of the digital series will be in collaboration with advertising partners. “This original, digital-first programming, scaled with the unmatched resources of our company and our production partners, underscores the unparalleled opportunities we can create,” said Linda Yaccarino, President, Advertising Sales, NBCUniversal. “The combination of digital video alongside television content is extremely powerful and becoming an increasingly important part of the connection advertisers make with consumers. We want to offer our partners the unique ability to harness the power of our creative assets along with our distribution capabilities including the video-on-demand platform like no other company can do.”’
Among the digital projects slated to come from Universal Cable Prods include new series Tesla And Twain and Last Single Girl. UCP is also developing additional original series in collaboration with 72 and Sunny Productions. Tesla And Twain is a comedic series loosely based on the real friendship between the great author and the great inventor… if they were suddenly transported to modern day Los Angeles. Last Single Girl tells the story of a single, over-educated and under-employed young woman who is coming to terms with being a grown-up while all of her best friends are getting married.
On Thursday, Thierry Frémaux will unveil the lineup for the 67th running of the Cannes Film Festival. Speculation, comme d’habitude, has been rife for at least the past month as to which titles may make the trip to the Croisette. While one exec with movies in contention says, “It’s going to the wire this year,” some contenders are coming into sharper focus. Although nothing is confirmed until Frémaux says so, among the titles I hear consistently cited as near faits-accomplis are DreamWorks Animation‘s How To Train Your Dragon 2; the Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night with Marion Cotillard; Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher; Mike Leigh‘s Mr Turner; Tommy Lee Jones‘ The Homesman; and David Cronenberg‘s Maps To The Stars. There are many, many more required to fill the Competition, Out-of-Competition, Un Certain Regard, Special Screenings and other sections. Here’s a primer for what’s looking likely, and what isn’t, to make the cut in an official category on Thursday:
We know that Nicole Kidman-starrer Grace Of Monaco is the opening-night film. French distributor Gaumont is planning a classic Cannes soirée which will follow the official screening and dinner on May 14. In other certainties, French debut feature Party Girl is opening the Un Certain Regard sidebar; a less showy title than 2013’s Bling Ring, but one that fits with UCR jury president Pablo Trapero’s take on the section this year. Jane Campion, the only woman ever to win a Palme d’Or (for The Piano in 1993), is president of the Competition jury whose other members will be revealed shortly.
Among the high-profile Hollywood titles expected is DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon sequel, which I hear is getting a special screening. The studio isn’t commenting, but DWA and Cannes have a long history – going back to when Frémaux took over the selection in 2001 and caused a stir by putting Shrek in the Competition. We’ve heard that Frémaux has put a full-court press on Paul Thomas Anderson to get Inherent Vice (Warner Bros) to the festival. But with a release date at the end of 2014, this could be a long shot, and some I’ve spoken with believe it won’t be ready for next month. Some wonder if Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys could make the trip. Eastwood has been to Cannes several times before and is esteemed by Frémaux who gave him the inaugural Lumière Prize in 2009 at the October festival he oversees in Lyon with Bertrand Tavernier. Although I’m told Jersey Boys isn’t a typical Cannes film, I wouldn’t fully rule it out — it’s also got a timely June release.