Rachael Harris has signed with ICM Partners. She was with UTA. Harris most recently starred opposite David Spade in the ABC comedy pilot Bad Management, which remains in serious contention for a series pickup. She also recurs on USA drama Suits and did an arc on Fox comedy New Girl. On the feature side, Harris is probably best known for role as Ed Helms’ girlfriend in The Hangover. She also starred in the indie Natural Selection, earning an Independent Spirit Award nomination, as well as the Diary of A Wimpy Kid trilogy. She next will be seen in the Yahoo! comedy series We Need Help opposite Cheryl Hines. Harris is managed by Principato Young Entertainment.
Related: David Spade & Rachael Harris To Star In ABC Comedy Pilot ‘Bad Management’
EXCLUSIVE: Fox has snapped up life rights for the true crime project Narc, based on the actual story of an All-American college kid-turned-police informant. Zac Efron is attached to star as a student, frat president, and lacrosse team captain who’s busted for drugs intended for a party, then secretly turns narc and helps the cops bust criminals while carrying on his BMOC campus life. Efron’s manager and producing partner Jason Barrett will exec produce with Underground-repped Doug Banker. They’ve got a familiar friend in Fox exec Jason Young, who briefly departed the studio to help Efron establish Ninjas Runnin’ Wild in 2010 before returning as Fox’s VP of Production. Read More »
Disney Channel is not backlash intolerant. After catching flak over an episode of its sophomore comedy Jessie that made fun of a young character’s gluten intolerance in two scenes, the cable outlet has offered a mea culpa — apologizing and pulling the half-hour titled “Quitting Cold Koala.” “We are removing this particular episode from our regular programming schedule and will re-evaluate its references to gluten restrictions in the character’s diet,” Disney Channel said on Facebook. “Please accept our apologies for the upset this episode caused you and your family.”
Related: Disney Channel’s ‘Jessie’ Renewed For Third Season
Nashville became the only ABC freshman drama to get a renewal after spending most of the spring on the bubble. And now that Season 2 is a go, the show will undergo some changes. For now, they appear to be limited to the production/post-production areas. Line producer Loucas George, who ran the operation on the ground in Nashville, where the series is filmed, announced on Twitter shortly after the renewal 10 days ago that his contract had not been renewed. That also applies to his team, including production supervisor Don Bensko, as the new line producer is expected to bring in his/her crew.
Changes on Nashville were expected following a rocky freshman season, with the show going through growing pains and struggling with its creative direction as well as the ratings. I’ve reported accounts of tension between co-producers ABC Studios and Lionsgate and other behind-the-scene issues, including star Connie Britton being unhappy with the experience. In an editorial for The Santa Clarita News, Bensko’s wife Micaela, lamenting the decision not to pick up her husband’s option, spoke about “14-20 hour days with an unrelenting schedule due to issues beyond their control” and “a string of endless and exhausting shoot days” as “a string of delayed scripts and tripping storylines kept everyone on edge.” She also recounted an on-set accident, in which “one of our crew lost his footing while rigging for a huge arena … Read More »
Barry Levinson has come on board to direct a love story loosely based on the best-selling novel The Cursed Piano by Chinese author Bei La. It takes place across Leningrad and Shanghai over the course of 40 years. Shanghai Film Group is teaming with Mike Medavoy, Levinson and Oscar-winning scribe Ronald Harwood on the project. Hannah Shakespeare wrote the original screenplay. Producing with Medavoy are Raffaella De Laurentiis and Edward McGurn. Shanghai Film Group is fully financing the pic, which starts production in Shanghai in February.
Related: Mike Medavoy, Shanghai Film Group Team On Two China-Set Movies
Listen to (and share) the latest episode from the Cannes Film Festival of our audio podcast Deadline Festivals & Markets Watch, featuring Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione. She talks with host David Bloom about which distributors and projects are making a splash so far; whether Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut, with considerable Chinese backing, can move beyond China to a worldwide hit; how a film starring Sean Penn managed to sell its international rights even before it has been shot; and the crime wave hitting the Croisette.
Deadline Festivals & Markets Watch, Cannes 2013, (MP3 format)
Deadline Festivals & Markets Watch, Cannes 2013, (MP4a format) Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Mike Lobell, the veteran producer whose 14-years of persistence helped make the remake Gambit happen, is getting close on three other projects with strong elements. He has re-teamed with former partner, writer-director Andrew Bergman, on A Film By Alan Stuart Eisner, an ensemble comedy which so far has Project X‘s Oliver Cooper, Shirley MacLaine and Robin Williams attached, with Rob Reiner making a cameo. Lobell reports that the film has added Sienna Miller, Isla Fisher and Audra MacDonald. Eisner is a comedy dealing with a young man making a documentary to learn what happened to his family during WWII. He is out looking for financing.
Gambit, by the way, ended up with Michael Hoffman directing a script by Joel and Ethan Coen. Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman star and CBS Films is releasing.
At the same time, Lobell is getting traction on This Man This Woman, the adult love story written by Frederic Raphael. The project has gotten a boost with the attachment of Richard Gere, who long ago sparked to a film which focuses on the trials and tribulations of a marriage. This was the picture that once nearly went into production with Meg Ryan and Sean Penn. Lobell and Gere will now look for a director and their female lead. Read More »
Dennis Lehane will adapt Travis McGee for Fox and Appian Way, based on 1964′s The Deep Blue Good-By and 20 subsequent novels by John D. MacDonald. Chernin Entertainment and Leonardo DiCaprio are producing, with the latter eyeing to star. The project previously had Paul Greengrass and Oliver Stone circling to direct.
Spike Jonze wrote and directed Her, which stars Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Samantha Morton and Olivia Wilde. The film is about a guy who falls in love with the voice of a computer, a la the iPhone’s Siri. Warner Bros will open the pic November 20, 2013 in limited release, two days before fellow specialty pic Nebraska from Alexander Payne and Paramount, Disney’s Delivery Man and of course Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Her has been percolating for a while, with Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures coming aboard to finance it in March 2011. Jonze’s last feature was 2009′s Where The Wild Things Are. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has international rights. Joining Jonze as producers on the film are Vincent Landay and Megan Ellison. Daniel Lupi and Ted Schipper will serve as executive producers.
The company’s U.S. stock closed +9.3% today — at $22.91, the highest it’s been since late 2011 — in unusually heavy trading after Japan’s Nikkei news service reported that Sony‘s board will explore the proposal from billionaire Daniel Loeb‘s Third Point. Sony was noncommittal last week when the hedge fund disclosed that it had paid $1.1B for a 6.4% stake in the electronics giant, and wanted it to create a separate stock for the movie, television, and music production and distribution operations. Loeb proposed that Sony sell as much as 20% of the entertainment unit, and use the cash to shore up the core electronics businesses. Sony shares have appreciated about 16% since then. (Third Point partnered with Deadline’s parent Penske Media Corp in its acquisition last year of Variety.)
Related: Who Is Sony Investor Daniel Loeb And What Does He Want With It?
New Falling Skies showrunner David Eick has started to put together a strong writing staff for the hit TNT drama’s fourth season. Veteran showrunner Carol Barbee has joined the alien-invasion series as a consulting producer. She recently worked with Eick on Fox’s Touch where she was an executive producer and he was a consulting producer. Season 3 of Falling Skies, executive produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Noah Wyle, kicks off with a two-hour premiere June 9. It is yet to be renewed for a fourth season though that is considered a formality as Falling Skies is TNT’s #1 scripted series in the younger demos. WME-repped Barbee previously served as executive producer/showrunner on cult CBS drama Jericho which, similarly to Falling Skies, was set in a post-apocalyptic world.
The freewheeling head of FilmOn has to stop using names including Aereokiller and BarryDriller.com for his broadcast streaming service according a settlement overseen by U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins. The decision appears to end three lawsuits: Last year IAC chief Barry Diller — a major investor in Aereo — sued David for creating a site called BarryDriller.com. In February, David returned fire, suing Aereo for trademark infringement after he bought the naming rights to a product called Aero. And in March, Aereo sued David for creating a site called Aero.tv. Like Aereo, FilmOn streams programming taken from over-the-air signals — and has also incurred the wrath of broadcasters who say that it violates their copyrights. A New York court has allowed Aereo to expand while it weighs the broadcasters’ challenge. But in December a California court granted a temporary injunction that applies locally against David’s service. Even so, he says that with the trademark settlements FilmOn now “can continue rolling out our service nationwide. We are currently in 45 markets compared to Aereo’s two.” He adds in a statement: “So eat s*it Barry.”
JS Communications has finally settled for a reduced break-up fee in the drawn-out Rhythm & Hues bankruptcy saga. It’s been two months since troubled VFX house R&H sold out of bankruptcy to Prana Studios-led Holdings, LLC following a roller-coaster closed-door auction. At issue was the court-approved $425K fee promised to JS Communications as stalking horse bidder if a qualified rival beat them out for the Life Of Pi company, which JS was eyeing to buy. But in a hotly contested development, JS failed to meet a deadline to submit its bid (exec David Shim told me then that his dealings with Fox and Universal left him less than optimistic about buying R&H without future work assurances). Per a court document filed this week (read it here), JS will receive a $300K break-up fee. If approved in court June 4, that should put the R&H saga to bed for the time being; multiple class action lawsuits against R&H filed by former employees have yet to be settled.
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor
Microsoft finally unveiled the Xbox One, its next-generation successor to the Xbox 360 game console, with an impressive demonstration of a voice- and gesture-controlled device focused more on integrating and controlling all kinds of entertainment and social capabilities far beyond just playing videogames. The #XboxReveal event at Microsoft’s Seattle-area campus included the announcement by Xbox Entertainment Studios President Nancy Tellem that Steven Spielberg will create a new live-action TV show based on the “Halo” game franchise. In a video, Spielberg, a longtime game fan who also oversaw the launch of the DreamWorks Interactive game studio in the 1990s, briefly said “the Halo universe is an amazing opportunity to be at an intersection where technology and myth-making converge.”
Related: Nancy Tellem Talks Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios Read More »