Southland alumna Regina King is set to recur on FX‘s new drama series The Strain, from Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan and Carlton Cuse. The Strain is a high-concept thriller that tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called on to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. King will play Ruby Wain, the smart and accomplished manager of philandering rock star Gabriel Bolivar (Jack Kesy). Also cast as a recurring on the series is Melanie Merkosky as Jim Kent’s (Sean Astin) wife Sylvia, who is suffering from cancer. She is repped by The Characters Talent Agency in Toronto. King, repped by ICM Partners, John Carrabino and Del Shaw, also is starring in Lifetime’s The Gabby Douglas Story.
Warner Bros has slotted its earthquake actioner San Andreas for June 5, 2015. The disaster pic will be released in 2D and 3D, the studio said today. Brad Peyton directs Dwayne Johnson in the New Line- and Village Roadshow-produced movie, which centers on a massive earthquake that hits California. The big-budget film was hatched by producer Beau Flynn and scribes Jeremy Passmore & Andre Fabrizio as a pitch. Allan Loeb as well as Carlton Cuse did polishes, and the most recent draft is from Chad and Carey Hayes. Flynn’s FlynnPictureCo is producing, as is Tripp Vinson. This one’s been in the works for a while — producers went out to directors on this in December 2011 before finding Peyton. Johnson, who worked with the helmer on Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, came aboard this October to star as a rescue-chopper pilot who treks across the earthquake-devastated state in search of his estranged daughter.
So far, that key summer weekend slot has Fox’s B.O.O.: Bureau Of Otherworldly Operations, with Universal’s Jurassic World staking out the next weekend.
BREAKING: Amanda Seyfried has been set to star in the Jake Szymanski-directed He’s F-ing Perfect, based on the script by Lauryn Kahn that will be produced by Gary Sanchez. Seyfried will play a social media-savvy girl who is pessimistic about love and vets her friends’ dates to find flaws. When that process leads her to uncover the perfect guy, she decides to use her Internet research skills to turn herself into his perfect match.
The script originally was bought by Fox 2000 in a $1 million-against-$1.5 million deal, at a time when Emma Stone was being eyed. The project stalled there, but Universal picked it up and gave it second life. Kahn is Adam McKay’s former assistant, and Szymanski got the job after helming some of the best comic spots for Gary Sanchez’s website Funny Or Die. The film will be produced by Gary Sanchez’s McKay and Will Ferrell and Kevin Messick. Good Universe is also producing.
The Innovative-repped Seyfried just shot A Million Ways To Die In The West for Seth MacFarlane and is booked to star with Russell Crowe in the Gabriele Muccino-directed Fathers And Daughters.
Former Breaking Bad writer Gennifer Hutchison has been hired to adapt the teen fantasy novel The Red Queen for Universal Pictures. HarperCollins will publish the book in winter 2015 as one of its top titles through its HarperTeen imprint. HarperCollins confirmed to Deadline that it expects a major marketing push in conjunction with the launch, which will segue well with Uni’s own marketing efforts in this young female-driven film.
The book has been sold into 16 different languages almost a year out from its domestic launch and is the first of a trilogy. Its publisher hopes it will become another Hunger Games. The Red Queen, written by Victoria Aveyard, centers on a 17-year-old who must save her family in a world “divided by the color of blood,” according to HarperTeen. She must pretend to be a long-lost princess while going undercover to secretly become part of a revolution that pits prince against prince. Hutchison is the former assistant of Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan.
After a sizable festival run including wins in Cannes, the Hamptons and a big Gotham prize this week, the Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis is easily the most anticipated Specialty release of the weekend. The Oscar hopeful will platform release via CBS Films. Tim’s Vermeer had good news ahead of its theatrical roll out this weekend, making the Oscar Documentary shortlist. A Telluride and New York Film Festival premiere, Sony Classics will open the unique film which illusionist/entertainer Teller (of Penn and Teller fame) directed. Producer Adam Shopkorn is self-distributing his doc Lenny Cooke which will make its rounds this month ahead of a hopeful television deal that will move the Tribeca film’s reach into high gear. And also opening is IFC Films’ comedy White Reindeer in limited release.
The Coens latest has made its rounds online with various trailer releases since its World Premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last May where it won the Jury Grand Prize. The film then headed to the Telluride and New York Film Festivals as well as festivals in Chicago, Austin and AFI Fest. The Gothams gave it its best awards push to date with a Best Film win for 2013, while the National Board of Review gave the Coens a Best Original Screenplay nod and the NY Film Critics Circle recognized Bruno Delbonnel for Best Cinematography. The drama follows the week in the life of a young singer against the backdrop of the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.
The only real surprise here is what took the studio so long. Warner Bros on Wednesday formally swung back at the plaintiffs in a lawsuit over the 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic Trouble With The Curve. To continue the ballgame lingo, the studio doesn’t think the court should even step up to the plate to claims by Ryan A. Brooks and Gold Glove Productions, first filed October 1, that the idea for the Randy Brown-written film was stolen — WB wants the case thrown out. “The Warner Defendants’ motion for summary judgment should be granted and this case should be brought to a halt before defendants have to incur any further costs in defending it,” says the motion (read it here) filed Wednesday in federal court. “The Warner Defendants appreciate that early summary judgment motions are not the norm, but this case calls out for it, especially given the salaciousness of the complaint and Plaintiffs’ abject refusal to face the reality — attested to by various third-party witnesses — that Mr. Brown wrote TWTC in the 1990s.” Brooks is seeking tens of millions in his case as well as all the profits for the film. Curve came out in September 2012 and was a middling success with $35.8 million grossed domestically and about $50 million worldwide.
Listen to (and share) episode 53 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch, With Pete Hammond.
Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about this week’s first batch of year-end film kudos, from the National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle and Film Independent’s Gotham Awards, as well as the Annie Award nominations for animation and the Oscar short list of candidates for documentary feature, and see if we can tease out trends or favorites that might impact the rest of awards season.
Pete also talks about the “rapturous” initial response at SAG screenings for The Wolf Of Wall Street, the on-again, off-again excessive tale of high-finance excess from Martin Scorsese that finally made it on screen this weekend for some awards voters.
Finally, we’ll get Pete’s take on Out Of The Furnace, Scott Cooper’s latest intense drama with a glittering cast chock full of prominent actors, and the only film debut opening wide in U.S. theaters this weekend.
Going on three months after the ballyhooed launch of Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports has solidified its management team. David Nathanson has been upped to the newly created post of General Manager and COO at Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2, and Bill Wanger has added Content Strategy to his title as EVP Programming and Research at Fox Sports. Three others also are moving up. Here’s the release:
Los Angeles – In a reorganization of FOX Sports’ executive management structure, veteran executives David Nathanson and Bill Wanger have assumed new responsibilities, effective immediately. Nathanson has been appointed General Manager & Chief Operating Officer, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2, a newly created position, while Wanger, FOX Sports’ Executive Vice President, Programming & Research is now Executive Vice President, Programming, Research & Content Strategy. The announcement was made today by FOX Sports President, Chief Operating Officer & Executive Producer Eric Shanks, to whom both Nathanson and Wanger report.
Reporting to Nathanson, as the senior management team guiding both national sports channels, are 19-year FOX Sports veterans Scott Ackerson, who becomes Executive Vice President, News; George Greenberg, whose title is now Executive Vice President, Content Integration & Presentation; and Michael Bloom, who remains FOX Sports’ Senior Vice President, Original Programming.
EXCLUSIVE: The case of Los Angeles’ notorious “Grim Sleeper” serial killer is getting a TV movie treatment with Lifetime‘s The Grim Sleeper starring Dreama Walker (Don’t Trust The B—-) and co-starring actress-singer Macy Gray (Training Day), Ernie Hudson (Call Me Crazy), and Michael O’Neill (Dallas Buyers Club). It will be directed by Stanley M. Brooks in the veteran TV movie producer’s return to the genre. In 2010, Brooks left the TV movie business after 21 years when he filed for bankruptcy as a result of a dispute with AFTRA, WGA and DGA over residuals from the Logo series Sordid Lives. Since then, he quietly took on a new career as a director with horror indie Perfect Sisters, which is awaiting release. It is fitting that Brooks’ return to the TV movie business is via Lifetime where he was a top telefilm supplier until severing ties with the network in 2010 amid his guild troubles. (Brooks is married to Lifetime’s head of TV movies Tanya Lopez.)
The Grim Sleeper, written by Robert Nathan (Law & Order) and Teena Booth (The Drew Peterson Story), is inspired by the true stories of the victims and survivor of the alleged serial killer dubbed the “Grim Sleeper” — referring to the apparent 14-year hiatus between his alleged murders. He targeted women in the Los Angeles area between 1985-2009. The plot will center on LA Weekly investigative reporter Christine Pelisek (Walker), who broke the story of the serial killer and coined the nickname.
Alec Baldwin is returning to TV hosting on January 6 — that was quick.
Baldwin will be seen taking over hosting duties on TCM’s Private Screenings to interview TCM’s Robert Osbourne . Osbourne, who usually hosts Private Screenings among his many duties on the network, is switching chairs that one night, to pick the night’s four movies — and be interviewed about his career by Baldwin. Baldwin’s a good choice — of the several actors who’ve co-host TCM’s The Essentials franchise with Osbourne over the years, he was by far the best. Baldwin co-hosted the 2009 and 2010 seasons of the film showcase, spotlighting a specific movie each week, with discussion before and after the film. After Baldwin left, Drew Barrymore took over. The Osbourne table-turning is part of TCM’s celebration of its 20th anniversary, Osbourne having been the face of the network since its launch.
Baldwin’s interview with Osbourne actually was taped late in the summer. Late last week, Baldwin stepped down as host of his own interview show, MSNBC’s Up Late, and the show was canceled, after he was taped using an anti-gay slur during a street confrontation with a press photographer.
EXCLUSIVE: Esai Morales is set to co-star in The Brink, HBO’s pilot directed by Jay Roach from a script by Roberto Benabib and Kim Benabib and exec produced by Jerry Weintraub. The Brink is an epic dark comedy focusing on a geopolitical crisis and its effect on three disparate and desperate men: U.S. Secretary of State Walter Hollander (Tim Robbins); Alex Coppins (Jack Black), a lowly Foreign Service officer; and Zeke Callahan (Pablo Schreiber), an ace Navy fighter pilot. Morales will play Julian Navarro, the President of the United States. While the U.S. is yet to elect a Hispanic president, that has been a popular trend on TV that has included Jimmy Smits’ Matt Santos on The West Wing and Blair Underwood’s Elias Martinez on The Event. Morales, who co-starred on Starz’s Magic City, recently wrapped a supporting role in the feature La Vida Robot and is recurring on the CBS’ Criminal Minds. He is with Innovative Artists and KLWGN.
The films are listed below in alphabetical order:
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”
“Iron Man 3”
“The Lone Ranger”
“Star Trek Into Darkness”
“Thor: The Dark World”
“Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures Pacific Rim”
“World War Z”
The Academy’s Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee determined the shortlist. All members of the Visual Effects Branch will now be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the shortlisted films on Thursday, January 9, 2014. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration. Oscars nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
EXCLUSIVE: This was a very competitive signing, with all major agencies pursuing the Downton Abbey star who didn’t have an U.S. agency representation. WME will represent Michelle Dockery in all areas. Dockery’s role as Lady Mary Crawley on Downton Abbey, which returns for Season 4 on PBS January 5, earned the British actress two Emmy nominations and a Golden Globes nom. Dockery will next be seen in Universal’s Non-Stop, and she was just tapped to play Sir Ben Kingsley’s daughter in Self/Less for Focus. On stage, Dockery earned a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for her role in the play Burnt By The Sun. She continues to be managed by Sandra Chang at Anonymous Content and by Christian Hodell at Hamilton Hodell in the UK.
Susan Levison has made her first new hire since taking the reins of VH1‘s development team in August as EVP, Original Programming & Production. Fernando Mills has been tapped as s VP, Production & Programming. He will focus on internal development and the launches of new VH1 series, working with both the West Coast Development teams and the Talent groups and reporting to Jill Holmes, SVP, West Coast Production & Development. Mills comes from Endemol-owned reality production company 51 Minds where he was SVP, Current Programming and oversaw such shows as VH1’s: T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle, La La’s Full Court Life, and Marrying The Game.
You’ll be seeing a lot more data like this over the next several months. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis wants to put a dollar amount on the contributions different industries make as it prepares to introduce a financial metric — Gross Output — designed to provide a more comprehensive picture of the economy than the familiar Gross Domestic Product. And it says its “prototype” model shows that the broad array of arts and cultural goods and services accounted for $915.9B in Gross Output in 2011 vs a $504B contribution to GDP (equal to 3.2% of the total). When you zero in, “motion picture and video goods and services” added $83.2B to Gross Output, behind “cable production and distribution” (at $100.2B) and ahead of “radio and television broadcasting” ($39.7B). When it comes to employment, arts and culture in 2011 accounted for 2M workers who were paid $289.5B. Motion pictures and video had 310,000 workers paid $25B. The MPAA, which is eager to show lawmakers that studios are economic powers, applauded the effort to quantify its members’ contribution. It’s the “latest acknowledgment from the government of the major impact our industry and other arts and cultural industries have on the U.S. economy,” MPAA chief Chris Dodd says. In July BEA began to include R&D investments for creative work in GDP. It said that Q2 investments in films, television shows, literature and music amounted to $75.3B.
— Bryan Singer (@BryanSinger) December 5, 2013
At the same time, Singer has shepherded production of The Taking, a Adam Robitel-directed thriller shot quietly in North Carolina this week. The film, written by Robitel (The Bloody Benders) and Gavin Heffernan (The Steaks), centers on the supernatural happenings in a small Southern community. Further plot details are being kept under wraps. Singer kept The Taking quiet. It’s Robitel’s feature directing debut, a character-driven project that Singer produced through his Bad Hat Harry shingle. Jeff Rice is also a producer, and executive producers are Jason Taylor and Jonathan Stein, Lati Grobman and Christa Campbell, Rene Besson, Luke Daniels, Alex Cutler and Dana Guerin. Nu Image/Millennium Films is handling worldwide sales.
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Hollywood is mourning the loss today of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela. Here are some of the thoughts on his passing:
Idris Elba, portrayed Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom:
“I am stunned at this very moment, in mourning with the rest of the world and Madiba’s family. We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this earth; I only feel honored to be associated with him. He is in a better place now. What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, U.S. distributor of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom:
“One of the privileges of making movies is having the opportunity to immortalize those who have made a profound impact on humanity. We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela’s story and legacy. It’s been an honor to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of history’s greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice. I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humor was as great as his optimism. We are deeply saddened by his loss; our hearts go out to his family and the entire South African nation.”
Morgan Freeman, portrayed Mandela in Invictus:
“Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century. Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve—a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind. As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we’ve come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us.”
Former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, who fought to end apartheid, served from 1994-99 as the first black president elected to office in his country and became a global popular hero, died today. He was 95. Mandela was hospitalized June 8 for a lung infection following a history of recurring health issues, and his family began gathering at his Johannesburg home earlier today. South Africa President Jacob Zuma made the announcement just now in a national address.
The passing comes as the Weinstein Co’s biopic Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom is having its UK premiere, with members of the royal family in attendance. The news broke during the premiere screening and was announced to the guests after the credits had rolled when a two minutes’ silence was held.
Jailed in 1962, Mandela spent 27 years as a political prisoner in his own country before his 1990 release and subsequently led the charge to end apartheid with the African National Congress. His fight made him an international symbol for peace and progress, earning him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Less than five months after his release from prison, Mandela embarked on a grueling, eight-city tour of the U.S., which included an address before Congress and a speech on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall. The visit helped cement his hero status, and he became a pop …