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Aaron Eckhart & Finn Wittrock Star In ‘My All American’, Seminal U Of Texas Gridiron Tale

Mike Fleming

steinmarkEXCLUSIVE: Aaron Eckhart will play University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal and Finn Wittrock will play UT football great Freddie Steinmark in My All American, a film that feels like a cross between Brian’s Song and Rudy, the latter of which was written by Angelo Pizzo, who’s making his directorial debut on My All American. Wittrock, coming off Noah and co-starring in the upcoming Angelina Jolie-directed Unbroken, plays Steinmark. A scrappy undersized defensive back, Steinmark was a standout player on the national-title-winning 1969 team, before his gridiron career was tragically cut short when he went to the hospital for a bone bruise and learned that he had a cancerous tumor that took his leg and ended his career. The film’s being largely financed by Bud Brigham, a gas and oil industry entrepreneur who is from Austin, where the movie will begin shooting on location next month.

Aaron_EckhartfinnEckhart plays Royal, who guided the Longhorns to three national titles in his 20-year tenure and never had a losing season. He developed a special bond with Steinmark, whose cancer was discovered just after the team beat the Arkansas Razorbacks to win the title.  Steinmark, who made an emotional appearance on crutches when UT played Notre Dame at the Cotton Bowl, coached the team’s freshman defense and became an inspiration to cancer sufferers before the cancer took his life. Read More »

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AFM: Aaron Eckhart To Topline Thriller ‘Fade Out’

By | Tuesday November 5, 2013 @ 5:50pm PST

Aaron Eckhart has signed on to star in Fade Out with producer turned director Robert Salerno. The psychological thriller is Salerno’s directorial debut and from an original screenplay by Pulizer Prize winner Michael Christofer. In the movie, Eckhart will play Jim Connelly,  screenwriter who’s recovering from a nervous breakdown. As he’s cared for by his wife Anne, he begins writing a new script about a jealous husband who kills his unfaithful spouse. As fact and fiction start to blur, Connelly soon  becomes a wanted man in his wife’s real life disappearance. Set to start filming in Febuary next year, Fade Out is produced by Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman and Artina Films’ Naomi Despres. The Solution Entertainment Group’s Lisa Wilson and Myles Nestel will executive produce with John Penotti and Tim Williams. The Solution is handling international rights at AFM. The producers are currently handling U.S. rights to the pic. Eckhart was seen earlier this year as the captured President of the United States in FilmDistrict’s Olympus Has Fallen opposite Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman. In fact Fade Out is his second pic at AFM this year. Last week, the actor signed on to the Olympus sequel London Has Fallen, which is also being sold at the market. Eckhart’s currently shooting the lead in Jason Blum-produced Incarnate and will next be seen in Lionsgate’s I, Frankenstein opposite Bill Nighy, set for release in January 2014. He is repped by CAA and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof + Fishman

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AFM: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman Back For ‘Olympus’ Sequel ‘London Has Fallen’

2013′s White House action hit Olympus Has Fallen will be sequelized as NuImage/Millennium Films bring returning stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman to London. This time around POTUS (Eckhart) and his trusted Secret Service bodyguard Mike Banning (Butler) plus an English MI6 agent are the only ones who can stop a plot to take down London during the Prime Minister’s funeral. Angela Bassett and Radha Mitchell also reprise their roles in London Has Fallen as the director of the Secret Service and Mike’s wife, respectively, while Freeman is back as Senator Allan Trumbull. The project is out to directors. Butler, Alan Siegel, Mark Gill, Matt O’Toole, and Danny Lerner are producing. Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, John Thompson, and Christine Crow are exec producing. Katrin Benedikt and Creighton Rothenberger, who scripted the first Fallen flick, will write the sequel. Filming begins in May in London, and the pic will be offered at AFM.

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Hot Trailer: ‘I, Frankenstein’

By | Friday October 4, 2013 @ 10:35am PDT

Aaron Eckhart stars as the stitched-together monster hero of Lionsgate’s I, Frankenstein, which finds the classic Mary Shelley character using his inhuman martial arts skills to take on warring immortal clans. The CG-heavy modern-day action pic is directed by Collateral scribe Stuart Beattie and adapted by Kevin Grevioux from his own graphic novel. Bill Nighy and Yvonne Strahovski co-star in the pic which hits theaters January 24. Here’s the first trailer:

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Fright Factory Blumhouse Sets ‘Insidious 2′ Follow-Up: Aaron Eckhart-Starrer ‘Incarnate’

By | Tuesday September 17, 2013 @ 2:32pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: After Insidious: Chapter 2 grossed eight times its $5 million budget on its opening last weekend, the film’s producer, Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum, has set the company’s next launch at another horror film franchise. Incarnate will go into production in November, with Aaron Eckhart starring and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island‘s Brad Peyton directing a script by Ronnie Christensen. The plot: an unconventional exorcist who can tap into the subconscious of the possessed meets his match when a 9-year-old boy is possessed by a demon from his past. Blumhouse and IM Global will co-finance the film. Blum is producing, and Couper Samuelson exec producing with Michael Seitzman and Trevor Engelson. Foreign sales will be overseen by Cynthia Kim, who recently joined Blumhouse International as senior veep of International Sales and Distribution. Peyton, Stuart Ford and Charles Layton are also exec producers.

Blum has put together an enviable track record in the low-cost horror game. Besides Insidious, he presides over the Paranormal Activity and Sinister franchises as well as The Purge, the latter a $3 million film which opened to a $34 million weekend in June, finishing with a $64 million domestic gross. Blumhouse has its first-look deal with Universal but Incarnate hasn’t yet been set for distribution. Hard to imagine the studio won’t jump on this because these low-cost genre films keep minting money … Read More »

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Theo James Cast As Four In ‘Divergent’; Kate Winslet, Aaron Eckhart, Ray Stevenson And Miles Teller Also Starring

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: The male lead in Summit‘s Neil Burger-directed adaptation of Divergent has gone to Theo James, currently the star of the CBS series Golden Boy and whose credits include Downton Abbey and Underworld: The Awakening. He will star opposite The Spectacular Now‘s Shailene Woodley. The film’s set in a futuristic world where people are herded into factions based on their personalities. Woodley plays Tris Prior, who is deemed a “divergent” who doesn’t fit into any group and who learns she and other divergents are going to be destroyed. She needs to find out what makes these divergents so dangerous. James’ character Four is her intense instructor and one of the leaders of the Dauntless faction. For James, it’s a potential star-making role.

Summit is also closing deals with Kate Winslet, Aaron Eckhart, Ray Stevenson and Miles Teller. They will join Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Ansel Elgort and Maggie Q in the cast. Erik Feig and Gillian Bohrer are overseeing for Lionsgate. The film is based on Veronica Roth’s bestselling novel, and Vanessa Taylor and Evan Daugherty wrote the script. Production begins April in Chicago.

Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher are producing the project via their Red Wagon Entertainment banner along with Pouya Shahbazian. Red Wagon’s Rachel Shane is executive producing. Summit will release the film theatrically in North America in The Hunger Games slot on Friday, March 21, 2014.

In a joint statement, Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger, co-chairmen of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said, “Theo is not only an incredibly talented actor, he is also who we envisioned as Four when reading Veronica’s novel which has taken the world by storm. As we continue to develop the film, the studio remains committed to providing fans with a movie adaptation that stays as true to the book as possible and we are confident that we have done so with our selection of Shailene and Theo in the leading roles.” Read More »

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‘Chuck’ Star Yvonne Strahovski Sews Up ‘I, Frankenstein’ Lead

By | Thursday November 17, 2011 @ 6:24pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Chuck star Yvonne Strahovski has been set for the female lead in I, Frankenstein. She’ll star opposite Aaron Eckhart, playing his love interest, a beautiful and gifted scientist. Stuart Beattie is directing and wrote the script based on the Kevin Grevioux graphic novel. The movie’s being produced by Hopscotch Features in partnership with Lakeshore Entertainment. Strahovski is repped by IFA, McKeon/Myones Entertainment and Sue Barnett & Associates.

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AFM: W2 Media To Sell International On Dennis Wilson Biopic ‘The Drummer’

By | Thursday November 3, 2011 @ 12:18pm PDT

W2 Media has made a seven-figure advance for international sales on The Drummer, a biopic about the Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson that stars Aaron Eckhart. The project, which is being shopped to buyers at AFM, looks at the final six years of Wilson’s life, which ended when he drowned in Marina del Rey in 1983. Randall Miller is directing from a screenplay by Miller and Jody Savin, the pair behind Bottle Shock. They are producing with Brad Rosenberger under the group’s Unclaimed Freight banner. James William Guercio of Caribou Records and Don Mandrik of Georgia Production Finance are executive producing; Wilson’s children Carl and Jennifer are on board as co-producers. Shooting is set to start after Eckhart finishes filming Lionsgate’s I Frankenstein, and the filmmakers expect to announce the rest of the cast soon.

Jonathan Gardner of Gardner/Cohen negotiated the sales deal on behalf of the producers, while CEO John Flock and Julie Sultan negotiated on behalf of W2 Media; Sultan brought the project to the company. W2′s sales slate includes Lucky McKee’s horror pic The Woman, the comedy Pete Smalls Is Dead, and the James Franco-starring drama William Vincent.

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Aaron Eckhart To Play Beach Boys Drummer Dennis Wilson

Mike Fleming

Aaron Eckhart has signed on to play Dennis Wilson, the legendary drummer, songwriter and heartthrob of The Beach Boys in Randall Miller & Jody Savin’s THE DRUMMER.

THE DRUMMER charts the last six years of Wilson’s life in which he created some of the finest music of his career. Eckhart is deep into training for the role, learning to play drums and piano as well as training vocally to sing on screen in the picture. The only Beach Boy who surfed, Dennis Wilson ironically drowned in 1983 in Marina Del Rey shortly after he finished and released Pacific Ocean Blue, his solo masterpiece. “Pacific Ocean Blue is an amazing album–beautiful and sweet, haunting and complex,” says Savin. The album was re-released in 2008 to rave reviews and was named the best re-release of the year by Rolling Stone. “Dennis was a pained and tortured soul, yet brilliant and loved dearly by so many who knew him.”

Eckhart has recently signed on as the lead in I, FRANKENSTIEN and he just finished the shooting the lead role in THE EXPATRIATE.

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Frankenstein Monster Movie Set At Lionsgate: Aaron Eckhart Stars, Stuart Beattie Directs

By | Friday October 7, 2011 @ 9:28am PDT

Los Angeles, CA, October 7, 2011 – Aaron Eckhart will play ADAM FRANKENSTEIN in the Lakeshore Entertainment, Hopscotch Features and Lionsgate production of I, FRANKENSTEIN, commencing in Australia in January. The film was written and is to be directed by Stuart Beattie (director of Australia’s breakout hit TOMORROW, WHEN THE WAR BEGAN, and writer of such films as PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, G.I. JOE, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and COLLATERAL), and is based on a graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux, co-creator of the UNDERWORLD franchise. Lionsgate will distribute the film in the United States, Lakeshore will handle international sales and E1/Hopscotch will distribute in Australia. U.S. release is slated for February 22, 2013.

I FRANKENSTEIN is a modern-day epic: Frankenstein’s creature, ADAM, has survived to present day due to a genetic quirk in his creation. Making his way to a dark, gothic metropolis, he finds himself caught in an all-out, centuries old war between two immortal clans. As writer/director, Stuart Beattie said, “Mary Shelly’s story is about the creation of the first human being. This is the story about that being becoming human.”

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Aaron Eckhart To Star In ‘The Expatriate’

By | Thursday November 4, 2010 @ 11:31am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Aaron Eckhart will star in The Expatriate, playing an ex-CIA agent in a drama that will begin production early next year in Belgium and Montreal. Philipp Stolzl (North Face) is directing a script by A.E. Amel. Informant Media’s Judy Cairo is producing with Smash Media’s Harry Winer and Michael A. Simpson and Howard Meltzer. Essential Entertainment is handling international sales at AFM, and will be executive producer. The film is being financed partly through the Informant Media Film Fund. In The Expatriate, Eckhart plays a former CIA agent who hopes to make a fresh start with his estranged 15-year old daughter. He takes a job in Belgium as a security expert for a multinational corporation and arrives one day to find the corporation no longer exists, his coworkers are gone, and his assistant is really a trained operative out to kill him and his daughter. Father and daughter go on the run and must learn to trust each other, something that becomes difficult once she learns the truth about his shadowy past. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Rabbit Hole’

By | Friday October 22, 2010 @ 1:34pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Lionsgate has just released a new trailer for Rabbit Hole, the adaptation of the acclaimed play which the mini-major acquired after its showing at the Toronto International Film Festival. Lionsgate launched it right into the Oscar race, to take advantage of the strong performances by Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, playing parents who grieve the loss of their child. The film opens December 17.

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TORONTO: Lionsgate Buying ‘Rabbit Hole’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate is wrapping up a deal to acquire North American distribution rights to Rabbit Hole, and the plan is to jump right into this year’s Oscar race by releasing  the picture  before year’s end. They will take advantage of a career performance by Nicole Kidman as a mother who loses her child. The John Cameron Mitchell-directed film stars Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as a married couple trying to keep the relationship alive after a devastating loss. David Lindsay-Abaire adapted his Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Dianne Wiest’s performance has also been singled out.

It is the second big deal in two days for Lionsgate, which partnered with Roadside Attractions for the U.S. rights on the Robert Redford-directed The Conspirator. While the decision was made for that pic to sit out this crowding Oscar field, Lionsgate needed a horse to ride in the race and Rabbit Hole is it. The buzz on the film has been strong here, both among critics and audiences, despite its dark subject matter. Kidman is credited with her best performance since her Oscar-winning turn in The Hours. On Rabbit Hole, she found and bought the stage play and receives her first producing credit since she was the catalyst for getting the movie made. The deal was negotiated between CAA and Lionsgate’s Jason Constantine, Eda Kowan and Wendy Jaffe.

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Toronto Oscar Talk Follows Kidman And Redford Preems: Will They Open In Time?

Pete Hammond

It’s an unusual year with lots of first class lead performances from women, including Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, Diane Lane, Tilda Swinton, Lesley Manville, Michelle Williams, Noomi Rapace, Sally Hawkins, Jennifer Lawrence, and Anne Hathaway. I think there is none better than Nicole Kidman making a major artistic comeback after a string of disappointments that include Australia, Nine, Margot At The Wedding, The Invasion, Fur, and Human Stain. She turns in a brilliant performance in Rabbit Hole, which had its gala world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival Monday night. (I saw it at a private screening in L.A. a few weeks ago.) As a mother dealing with the sudden death of her 4-year-old son, Kidman gets it all heartbreakingly right. She is matched by costars Aaron Eckhart as her husband and Dianne Wiest as her mother. This is easily her best work since winning an Oscar for 2002’s The Hours, and probably her most assured screen work, even though I confess to being a major To Die For groupie.

One thing the actress has always done is take creative leaps with scripts that aren’t obviously commercial (Dogville, anyone?).  Based on David Lindsay-Abaire’s Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play, the role Kidman plays won a Best Actress Tony for Cynthia Nixon. The film version, written by Lindsay-Abaire and directed by John Cameron Mitchell, is up for grabs at Toronto. Reps for the film tell me they not only … Read More »

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