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‘SNL’: ‘50 Shades OF Grey’ Screentests

By | Sunday October 6, 2013 @ 8:09am PDT

Auditions for 50 Shades Of Grey by Seth Rogen, Emma Stone, Christoph Waltz, Scarlett Johannsen. You get the picture…

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‘50 Shades Of Grey’ In Red And White: EL James Expands Her Empire To Wines

By | Monday September 23, 2013 @ 8:47pm PDT

50 Shades of Grey wine50 Shades of Grey wineHere’s a way for breathless fans to pass some time as they wait for the movie. In what author EL James calls a “natural extension” of her trilogy, now you can uncork a bottle of wine inspired by the books. Yes, enjoy a refreshing glass of 50 Shades Of Grey Red Satin or White Silk as you re-read those dog-eared tomes about Anatasia and Christian and their storybook romance. Or while you enjoy the adventures of future 50 Shades star Charlie Hunnam on Sons of Anarchy. Plus, at a mere 18 bucks a pop, it makes a lovely holiday gift. For people you don’t care to hear from for a while.

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Shifting Gears, ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Scribe Kelly Marcel Tries ‘The Little Mermaid’

By | Monday June 10, 2013 @ 4:50pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Kelly Marcel, who got the job of adapting 50 Shades Of Grey off of the character work in her script Saving Mr. Banks, also is showing versatility. She is going from adapting that EL James best-seller’s steamy S&M love story to a whole different kettle of fish. Marcel is making a deal to rewrite The Little Mermaid for director Joe Wright and Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.

Several scribes have worked on the adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson fable, including Abi Morgan (Shame). There is some irony in Marcel being tapped for this gig. Recently it was widely reported that Wright had all but nailed down the job of directing 50 Shades Of Grey, but the studio denied it; for one thing, Wright has scheduling issues that will make it impossible. Now, the director gets to work with Fifty Shades scribe Marcel, only on a much less racy project. Read More »

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Cannes: Focus Features Re-Ups James Schamus, Promotes Andrew Karpen To Co-CEO Post

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Since forming 11 years ago, Focus Features has been a relative bastion of stability. That will remain so as CEO James Schamus has re-upped for a new term, and Andrew Karpen, president since 2006, has been promoted to co-CEO. Schamus will remain a creative catalyst for the company, while Karpen  oversees the global business strategy for the company and will continue to spearhead the company’s digital initiatives. Together, they run all aspects of the company, including acquisitions and worldwide production, marketing, and distribution. Karpen continues to report to Schamus, who hatched the label with David Linde in 2002. Schamus reports to Universal co-chairman Donna Langley.

These are stand-up guys who come to the Croisette with the hottest project in Hollywood, and one which they are not selling here, at least not yet. That’s 50 Shades Of Grey, the adaptation of the steamy novel that has sold 70 million copies worldwide, and which Langley won in a huge multi-million dollar bidding battle, and then placed it with taste-maker label Focus, to be produced by Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca. That project is still forming and while there might be some hot and bothered whispering here at the Croisette (it’s unclear whether its partner, Universal, will let any territories go), the focus here for International head of Distribution and Sales Alison Thompson is on Mike Leigh’s new film, which stars Timothy Spall as the painter J.M.W. Turner; the Asif Kapadia-directed docu on Amy Winehouse; and new Focus titles that the Michael Cuesta-directed fact-based thriller Kill The Messenger with Jeremy Renner, and the Andrew MacDonald-directed undersea adventure film Black Sea with Jude Law. FFI will also world premiere Ruairi Robinson’s thriller The Last Days On Mars, starring Liev Schreiber, Olivia Williams, and Romola Garai in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight section. Read More »

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Producer Nina Jacobson Denies Variety’s 50 Shades Of Bullshit

By | Sunday June 17, 2012 @ 2:39pm PDT

One of the main reasons Variety is currently for sale is that it’s no longer read by the Hollywood community. And one of the main reasons for that is because it’s no longer trusted by the Hollywood community. That’s what happens when a trade can’t report accurately by printing rumor as fact or spinning bullshit as news. So The Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson has come to me to set the record straight about what she called ‘Variety’s 50 Shades Of Bullshit’. Variety on Thursday claimed Jacobson and her banner Color Force were not just on a shortlist but the frontrunners in the 50 Shades Of Grey derby to produce the Universal/Focus Features movie of the bestselling book. Jacobson calls the Variety article “totally false. While it is flattering to read that I am a frontrunner for 50 Shades Of Grey, the truth is that I am not in the mix, have not met with anyone, nor do I have plans to pursue it. Color Force is in full swing on a number of projects but I wish great success to whomever lands what has become one of the most sought-after films in development.” FYI, this is yet another error from one Variety jackass whose reporting is regularly wrong and has generated myriad complaints from the Hollywood community. But the trade does nothing to rein him in. The result is that the reputation of the entire publication keeps getting more tarnished and less respected.

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Miss Out On 2012′s Hottest Book Buy ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey?’ The Parody ‘Fifty Shames Of Earl Grey’ Now Being Shopped

By | Wednesday March 28, 2012 @ 12:26pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Fifty Shames Of Earl GreyEver since Deadline broke the story that Universal Pictures and Focus Features won screen rights to the E.L. James novel Fifty Shades Of Grey for in the neighborhood of $4 million against 5% of first dollar gross, the line of suitors who didn’t get it are treating it like the Lord Voldemort of auction titles — it’s the missed opportunity whose name must not be spoken. While buyers have moved on to the possible book franchise of the moment — Lissa Price’s YA body-switching title Starters – there might be another bite at the forbidden fruit of that S&M romance novel, which started as Twilight fan fiction, was rewritten by the author as an erotic romance trilogy, and became an e-book sensation that sparked multiple millions in publishing and film deals.

Related: ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Has Hollywood Carpooling Read More »

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9 Suitors Trying To Get In Bed With ’50 Shades Of Grey’

By | Friday March 23, 2012 @ 1:02pm PDT
Mike Fleming

50 Shades Of Grey E.L. JamesEXCLUSIVE: The auction is underway for author E.L. James’ steam potboiler 50 Shades of Grey. I’m told that offer sheets went out this morning. They include a strong list of approvals that studios usually don’t like to grant, but it hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm to land a title that spread like wildfire as an e-book, and which is envisioned as a movie that won’t need a high budget to pull off. I’m told that right now, Warner Bros, Paramount, Fox Searchlight, Sony Pictures, Universal, Paramount, New Regency, Mandate and Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment have made it to the lightning round and were invited to bid.

Related:
Will Steamy Novel ’50 Shades Of Grey’ Climax In 7-Figure Deal?
’50 Shades Of Grey’ Has Hollywood Carpooling

This comes after the author, a TV exec from Britain, and her agent Valerie Hoskins met studios, monied production companies and producers over the past week before sending out their requests. While they listed a bunch of creative controls, they naturally did not set a price tag on the book. It’s the first of a trilogy and I’m confident that someone will be writing a seven-figure check for this one.

Yesterday, they holed up at Soho House to meet a parade of producers, but I’m not hearing that any of them are attached to the bidding at this point. It’s a fun development; the last time I’ve seen anything like this was when Dan Brown’s … Read More »

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No Problem, We’ll Come To You! ‘50 Shades Of Grey’ Has Hollywood Carpooling

By | Thursday March 22, 2012 @ 4:22pm PDT
Mike Fleming

With Foreplay Almost Over, Will Steamy Novel ’50 Shades Of Grey’ Climax In 7-Figure Deal?

50 Shades Of Grey E.L. JamesThe stampede of studios, monied production companies and producers that want to get a piece of 50 Shades of Grey grew so feverish today that author E.L. James and her British lit agent Valerie Hoskins holed up at Soho House as a parade of producers came to them — a rarity for a first-time author. There was little choice, considering so many producers are vying for the opportunity to get assigned the book and the author and her agent never would have gotten those meetings done if they’d spent the day driving all over town. The meetings end today, and studios that met earlier in the week will know tomorrow if they’ve been invited to bid. Not since the heyday of John Grisham and Michael Crichton have studios done something like this. I wrote about this unprecedented courtship Tuesday, and if I left the impression that you had to be a female to get the significance of the steamy potboiler and the opportunity here, I shouldn’t have. While Sony Pictures, Universal and Fox 2000 are all over it, a lot of male executives want it just as badly.

Everyone from Warner Bros’ Greg Silverman, Lionsgate/Summit’s Rob Friedman, Paramount’s Brad Grey, and such producers as Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Arnon Milchan, Neal Moritz, Brian Grazer, Todd Garner and Adam Shankman all are … Read More »

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With Foreplay Almost Over, Will Steamy Novel ’50 Shades Of Grey’ Climax In 7-Figure Movie Deal?

By | Tuesday March 20, 2012 @ 1:53pm PDT
Mike Fleming

By Thursday, author E.L. James and her British lit agent Valerie Hoskins will have completed a surreal round of meetings with the heads of studios, monied production companies and top producers for screen rights to 50 Shades of Grey. The steamy potboiler e-book is about a 21-year old soon to be college graduate named Anastasia Steele, who starts an S&M relationship with Christian Grey, a handsome entrepreneur in his late twenties. He dominates her sexually and emotionally and makes her his submissive partner, even though he withholds his emotions. Tomorrow, a number of producers will court James and Hoskins, hoping to be attached at one of the studios that will be bidding on the novel, the first of a trilogy. Actual bidding is expected to take place on Friday, and trusted sources tell me that seven-figure offers will fly and that this will be the biggest book rights auction in a long time, coming at a time when studios find every reason not to spend big on books.

Why is the town so hot and bothered about what started as a self published e-book that flew under the radar until a Today Show segment and New York Times article turned up the heat? Those who don’t get it are scratching their heads and dismissing it as “mommy porn” and say while it will be aimed at the female demo that embraced … Read More »

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