Following a lengthy casting process, Melissa Roxburgh has landed the female lead of Violet in the planted Supernatural spinoff, now titled Supernatural: Bloodlines (formerly Tribes). Like her new co-stars Nathaniel Buzolic, Sean Faris and Stephen Martines, who all previously recurred on The Vampire Diaries, Roxburgh too has appeared on hit CW series before. She has done an arc on Arrow and a guest stint on the mothership Supernatural series. Written by Andrew Dabb and directed by Robert Singer, Supernatural: Bloodlines revolves around the various mafia-esque monster families that unknowingly to humans “run” the underbelly of Chicago and are being tracked by a newly minted Hunter who’s trying to stop them and rid Chicago of anything or anyone supernatural. Roxburgh’s Violet is a member of the powerful werewolf pack who hides her true nature because of her forbidden love for family rival David (Bozulic). But when cornered, her inner wolf breaks free. The Bloodlines Supernatural episode airs on April 29. Roxburgh is with Gersh.
Stephen Colbert Visits ‘Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ To Plug ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ And ‘Colbert Report’
Late-night competitor Stephen Colbert stopped by Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, discussed playing Paul Peterson in Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and tried to get Fallon to plug his Comedy Central show during a round of Truth or Truth. Watch here:
Anger, Impassioned Pleas For Safety At Tribute For Sarah Jones: “No One Should Ever Die On A Television Or Movie Set. Period.”
“We are all Sarah Jones,” “Never Forget. Never Again,” and “Safety for Sarah” were the rallying cries tonight during the first of two tributes held this weekend by local unions for the 27 year-old assistant camerawoman killed on the set of Midnight Rider two weeks ago. The tribute began at 7 PM with candlelight walk and vigil that started at the DGA building and ended at the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 offices two blocks down Sunset Blvd.
The crowd of almost 1,000 members from across several unions participated in the memorial vigil held for Jones who was killed on a train track on the set in Georgia. Seven others were injured included two seriously — the 42 year-old hairstylist Joyce Gilliard and the make-up artist.
Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Suspends Filming Following Train Death
A scholarship fund has been set up in Sarah Jones’ name and donations can be made to the BCHS Foundation in c/o Sarah Jones, 1300 State St., Cayce, SC 29034.
The evening’s tribute began with a video slide presentation of Sarah Jones set to the music of Somewhere Over the Rainbow (the Brother Iz version) as her grieving (and very courageous) parents, Elizabeth and Richard Jones from South Carolina, along with members of the Local 600 — including a very emotional Bruce Doering, National Executive Director of the International Cinematographers Guild — spoke, but none so impassioned as Mike Miller, VP of the IATSE.
Malik Yoba is set to co-star opposite Terrence Howard in Fox’s hip-hop industry drama pilot Empire, from Lee Daniels, Danny Strong and Brian Grazer. It centers on Lucious Lyon (Howard), a charismatic, savvy music superstar who is about to take his company, Empire Entertainment, public. Yoba, repped by Innovative and the Arlook Group, will play Vernon Turner, Lucious’s longtime friend from the streets and business associate who is now the chairman of the board of Empire Entertainment.
Related: 2014 Fox Pilots
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Gone With The Bullets’ Gets China Release Date; ‘Samba’ Hitting French Theaters In October; More
‘Gone With The Bullets’ Sets China Release Date
Jiang Wen’s Gone With The Bullets has secured a December 18 release date in China. The film is the follow-up to Jiang’s blockbuster Let The Bullets Fly, which made $140M worldwide in 2010. Based on a true story, 3D comedy Gone With The Bullets is set in 1920s Shanghai. Ma Zouri (Jiang Wen) and Xiang Feitian (Ge You) establish a notorious beauty pageant called the Flowers Competition. All of the city’s elite attend the gala event, but when an unexpected winner is crowned, it sets into motion a series of tragic events that change their destinies. Per FilmBizAsia, Jiang’s Buyilehu Film told local media that it hopes the title will represent China at the Oscars next year. The film will be handled internationally by Sony Pictures Releasing International. December is a hot time locally for Chinese films with U.S. movies often out of the frame. FBA says other films believed to be eyeing a December release include Tsui Hark’s The Taking Of Tiger Mountain, Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem and Chen Kaige’s Taoist Mountain.
I’ve learned that NBC’s comedy pilot Fifth Wheel is not going forward, at least for now, after difficulties with casting. With the number of original scripted series on cable and digital platforms exploding, there were major concerns going into this broadcasting season that the depleted talent pool would put extra strain on casting, leading to a number of pilots folding over problems finding the right actors. So far, those concerns have not materialized, with Fifth Wheel the first pilot this season to be pushed. There will not be a noticeable void left as NBC already had ordered the most comedy pilots, 14, as well as two series, Tooken and Mr. Robinson, for next season. Fifth Wheel, from ABC Studios and the Mark Gordon Co., was written on spec by Heidi Niedermeyer & Elena Crevello. It an ensemble comedy of a tight-knit group of friends that centers around a young woman who confronts her new reality after her last single friend gets engaged. Gordon and Andrea Shay executive produce, with Niedermeyer and Crevello as supervising producers.
BREAKING: Even as Jeff Berg was locking down an investment in the agency this week from Beijing-based Bison Capital, rumors raced that other less desirable shakeups were about to happen. We are hearing that veteran motion picture agents Adam Kanter and Martin Spencer, longtime CAA agents who left to join Resolution last year, were escorted out of Resolution headquarters tonight and likely are on their way to Paradigm. Each of the agents brought key clients with them — Kanter brought Doug Liman and Pete Segal, only to see them leave. This is the hard part of trying to launch a talent agency in a most competitive climate, luring agents in as you build enough clientele to enable packaging. It tests client loyalties. I hear they were asked to take pay cuts and didn’t want to. More coming as I hear more about a developing situation.
Related: Director Doug Liman Returns To CAA
Scott Kalvert, who went from helming music videos to the features The Basketball Diaries and Deuces Wild, has died. He was 49. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said it is investigating his death as a suicide but provided no other details. Kalvert had a knack for working with unknown acts who would go on to become huge stars. He started in the music video business, hitting paydirt with his first project: “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” a 1988 pop hit by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince that launched the career of Will Smith. It was named Best Rap Video at the MTV Video Music Awards. The NYC native went on to direct videos for such acts as Snoop Doggy Dogg, Cyndi Lauper and, notably, “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, which featured a muscle-bound unknown named Mark Wahlberg. He also helmed the 1988 concert video Guns N’ Roses: Live At The Ritz, which aired on MTV. In 1995, Kalvert directed The Basketball Diaries, an adaptation of “People Who Died” singer Jim Carroll’s 1978 memoir. The film starred a teenage Leonardo DiCaprio as Carroll along with Wahlberg in one of his first film roles and featured three actors who go on to be regulars on The Sopranos: Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperoli and Vincent Pastore. Kalvert’s only other feature directing credit was the 2002 actioner Deuces Wild, starring Stephen Dorff and Brad Renfro.
Tony winner Harriet Harris (Desperate Housewives) has been cast in NBC’s multi-camera pilot Lifesaver. The odd couple comedy centers on the uptight, controlling and a bit neurotic Dr. Graham Permenter (Cgristian Borle) and loose cannon Leon (Jonathan Ryland), who become inextricably linked after Leon saves Graham’s life by giving him a kidney. Harris, repped by BRS/GAGE, plays Christian’s mother Liz Parmenter. She recently finished a run in the original cast of Cinderella on Broadway.
Related: 2014 NBC Pilots
Actor-comedian Paul F. Tompkins (Comedy Bang! Bang!) will star opposite Molly Shannon in ABC’s single-camera comedy pilot from creator Brian Gallivan, Sony TV and Olive Bridge Prods. It centers on an overworked father (Tompkins) dreaming of being “on vacation all year” who decides to uproot his family from the city and move them to New Hampshire, where they open a group of tourist cottages but rarely, if ever, feel like they’re on vacation. Shannon plays his wife. Also cast in the pilot is Tessa Albertson as the couple’s older daughter. Repped by Innovative/MKSD.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
Strangers With Candy‘s Amy Sedaris will co-star opposite Jane Krakowski in Fox‘s half-hour pilot Dead Boss, from WBTV and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment. An adaptation of the BBC3 series, Dead Boss is a comedic mystery that finds overachiever Helen Stephens (Krakowski) wrongfully convicted of murdering her boss and forced to rely on her train wreck of a sister to prove her innocence. Sedaris plays Mary, one of Helen’s nosy, fault-finding co-workers and the gatekeeper to their boss who secretly loved the man and openly hated Helen.
Related: 2014 Fox Pilots
Broadcasting veteran Ted Bergmann, who produced the first NFL and Grammy telecasts and was present to record the German surrender to the Allies for radio in 1945, has died. He was 93. Bergmann died March 2 following surgery at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. During the course of his 70-year broadcast career, Bergmann produced such shows as Three’s Company and its two spinoffs; The Arthur Godfrey Show; and Love Thy Neighbor, a 1973 ABC series about a black couple in a white neighborhood that was so controversial that Sears and Proctor & Gamble pulled their advertising. A Brooklyn native, Bergmann started his TV career as an NBC page. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Army, soon earning the rank of captain and covering stories in the European theater for the NBC radio program Army Hour. On May 6, 1945, the 24-year-old Bergmann took a recording crew to a schoolhouse Reims, France, to preserve the German surrender to the Allies for radio. He was the last surviving witness to the event. Returning to the U.S., Bergmann rejoined NBC. Within five years became president of the DuMont Network, where he was the first to broadcast NFL games and live boxing and launched such notable TV personalities as Jackie Gleason and Bishop Fulton Sheen. During the 1950s, Bergmann segued to TV advertising, working with such firms as McCann-Erickson and Parkson Advertisting Agency.
In New Michael De Luca Deal, Sony Acquires Rights To ‘Harlem Hellfighters’ From ‘World War Z’ Author Max Brooks
He’s only officially been a Sony exec for less than a week, but Michael De Luca‘s dance card is quickly filling up. Sony Pictures today acquired the rights to World War Z author Max Brooks‘ soon-to-be published graphic novel The Harlem Hellfighters. De Luca will oversee the project in one of his first projects with Sony as production president of Columbia Pictures. Caleeb Pinkett and James Lassiter will produce for Overbrook Entertainment and Brooks will adapt the script. Illustrated by Caanan White and set in 1918, Harlem Hellfighters tells the story of the U.S. Army’s 369th infantry regiment, an African-American unit fighting in Europe during World War I. The famed infantry regiment spent more time in direct combat than any other American unit during the war. The men returned Stateside as heroes but still faced the hard hand of racism from their fellow soldiers, citizens and the federal government. Harlem Hellfighters is set to be published on April 1 by Broadway Books. Representing Brooks and Overbrook, CAA brokered the deal with Sony. The World War Z scribe is also repped by Brillstein Entertainment Partners and UK-based lit agency Ed Victor Ltd.
The Honeymooners actress Sheila MacRae has died. The 93-year-old UK-born MacRae passed away March 6 , at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, NJ. She is best known to American audiences for her 4-year stint as Alice Kramden in the mid-’60s revival of The Honeymooners within The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS. In addition to her 1966-70 run as Ralph Kramden’s wife, MacRae was on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 with her then husband, singer Gordon MacRae, the night the Beatles debuted in America. The actress appeared on General Hospital in the 1960s and on NBC’s Parenthood TV series for the 1990-91 season. MacRae had a career on the stage as well in Guys and Dolls, Absurd Person Singular and other productions. One of her last acting appearance was in the one-women show An Evening With Sheila MacRae.
AUSTIN, TX –– Heading into the annual SXSW festival, Starz Digital Media has snagged the rights to the film, To Be Takei. The documentary about pop-culture icon George Takei premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was directed by Jennifer M. Kroot (It Came from Kuchar). The company has acquired all rights for U.S. and Canada. The company will distribute with a theatrical release planned for 2014. The announcement was made today by Kevin Kasha, Head of Acquisitions for Starz.
“George has become a true icon who gracefully moves from comic conventions to Congressional hearings,” commented Kasha. “To Be Takei takes us into George’s life in a witty, familiar and delightful way. Starz is pleased to share his inspiring story with audiences.”
Box Office UPDATED: ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’ Wields Powerful International Debut And $3.3M Late Night Thursday Strength For Warner Bros.; ‘Mr. Peabody and Sherman’ Is Yet Another Animated Film Playing In First Quarter 2014
UPDATE, Friday 4:15: Around the world, Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures‘ 300: Rise Of An Empire is grossing huge numbers. In 32 markets, it has taken in a hefty $12.1M over two days in international release, with $9.5M coming from Thursday alone. The film, playing on 1,083 screens, is roughly 20% ahead of the original 300, which took in $7.9M during the same time period in 2007 and grossed a whopping $245.4M internationally by the end of its run.
Driving the box office for Rise Of An Empire overseas was Germany, where it nabbed $1.4M and ended up with a 50% share of the top five films, and Russia with $1.3M on 1,441, taking 73% share of the top five. It also opened to stellar numbers in Korea (918K from 651 runs), Italy ($508K with 45% of the top five) and France for a two-day tally of $3M. In Singapore, it now stands as the biggest opening of an M18 film of all time with a total take of $203K, adding to its $1.4M gross from smaller Asian markets. Rise Of An Empire will open in 25 more markets today – the UK, Spain, Mexico and Brazil are the biggest ones yet to come.
BREAKING: Late-night showings of the second of the 300 films have grossed an estimated $3.3M for Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures, putting the actioner on track for a $40M to $45M weekend. The 3D 300: Rise Of An Empire, which is based on the graphic novel Xerxes from Frank Miller, bowed powerfully on 3,470 screens last night — 3,100 of them were 3D. Thursday night plays started at 8 p.m. and continued through midnight, and that $3.3M take is great for this time of year to boot. The bloody epic from screenwriter Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad stars Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green in a story about a general who is trying to unify Greece and must first battle an invasion from Persia, led by a vengeful mortal-turned-god named Xerxes. The first 300 opened on the same weekend in 2007 to $70.8M and went on to gross $210.6M domestically (worldwide was $456M). Its late night showings, however, tallied $2.5 mil. The distribution team at Warner Bros., led by Dan Fellman, is top notch and truly know how to book and play out their movies, allowing them a little time to breathe in a marketplace that is so dang competitive now.
This is gutsy. Fox has handed early renewals for next season to comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl and The Mindy Project and drama The Following. Golden Globe-winning freshman Brooklyn Nine-Nine is picked up for a second season, Mindy and The Following for a third and New Girl for a fourth. They join three other Fox scripted series that already have been picked up for next season: freshman drama Sleepy Hollow; veteran Bones, renewed for a 10th season; and Glee, which has a final sixth season as part of a two-year pickup. That is a lot of programming already locked in for next season though Fox has extra holes to fill following the cancellation of The X Factor. Networks are not required to make any renewal decisions until May, and most wait to see their pilots before making decisions. Fox, of course, declared in January that it was breaking away from the pilot cycle, so the network also may be going on its own timetable with renewals. But most of all, today’s pickups are about Fox brass giving a vote of confidence to series they feel strongly about creatively.
One Tree Hill alum Robert Buckley has been set as a series regular in Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero’s CW drama pilot iZombie, from Warner Bros. TV. iZombie is a supernatural crime procedural that centers on a med student-turned-zombie who takes a job in the coroner’s office to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat to maintain her humanity, but with each brain she consumes, she inherits the corpse’s memories. Buckley, repped by WME and Interlink Management, will play Major, Liz’s former fiance who is trying to make the transition to friend.
NBC’s ads for midseason drama series Believe feature front and center its mastermind, newly minted Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón, touting his best director statuette for Gravity. Meanwhile, the promos for another heavily marketed midseason drama that premieres within a day of Believe, ABC’s Resurrection, don’t even mention the fact that it comes from the producers of best picture Oscar winner 12 Years A Slave. Brad Pitt’s Plan B is behind Resurrection, with the company’s two other principals, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, who shared in the best picture Oscar with him, executive producing the series. Just like Plan B’s 12 Years A Slave managed to top Gravity and seven other movies to land the biggest prize, ABC probably hopes its show would spark some ratings magic. And boy, does the network need some of that.
ABC is on an unenviable streak of three consecutive new drama entries hitting a 0.6 rating in adults 18-49 — an all-time low on a Big 4 network: The Assets (which was billed as a limited series), Killer Women and Mind Games. That, coupled with the 0.7 low marks for the long-forgotten Lucky 7 and Betrayal and the 0.8 for Once Upon A Time In Wonderland makes for a very dismal freshman drama record this season.
Here’s a look at the latest from true independent director Henry Jaglom. The title, The M Word, refers to the change of life, but in this case it is a broad definition as the story also centers on big personnel changes at a local TV station that is threatened by economic downturn, possible in-house graft and massive job loss. The cast is led by frequent Jaglom co-star Tanna Frederick and includes Michael Imperioli and Frances Fisher among many others. It opens April 30 in LA and NY, followed by a wider national break.