Millennium Films has acquired worldwide rights to the Barry Levinson-helmed The Humbling, based on the Philip Roth novel. Al Pacino, Diane Wiest and Greta Gerwig star in the story of an an aging actor who has an affair with a …
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Get ready for the Michael Douglas awards parade. First up: The Primetime Emmys. To be sure, he’s the overwhelming favorite for this year’s movie/miniseries lead actor for his universally acclaimed performance as Liberace in Behind The Candelabra. He was so good that it overshadowed even the work of a superstar like Matt Damon in the same film (where he played the pianist’s young lover Scott Thorson). Al Pacino also is nominated for his portrayal of convicted murderer Phil Spector in the biopic of the same name, along with Benedict Cumberbatch for the mini Parade’s End and Toby Jones for the Alfred Hitchcock drama The Girl. Notably, all five nominees are honored for HBO projects. On the actress side, Jessica Lange is up for lead (instead of last year’s supporting) in FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum, which puts her in the unusual position of having the opportunity to win Emmys in back-to-back years for the same series in different categories. However, Lange’s foes for movie/mini lead actress have a combined 25 nominations and 7 wins to their credit. Two of them are chasing their first victories: Elisabeth Moss for Sundance Channel’s Top Of The Lake and Sigourney Weaver for the since-canceled USA Network mini Political Animals. Then there’s Laura Linney, also switching categories for Showtime’s The Big C: Hereafter; and Helen Mirren as lawyer Linda Kenney-Baden in Phil Spector.
Deadline’s Mike Fleming revealed May 1 that Worldview Entertainment would finance and produce David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn with an offer going out to Al Pacino for the lead role. Pacino has now signed to play A.J. Manglehorn, an aging, ordinary guy in a small town who’s more than meets the eye. Here’s the official release on the title that’s likely to be a hot seller in Cannes:
May 14, 2013 (Cannes)—Academy Award winner Al Pacino has signed on to star in David Gordon Green’s drama, “Manglehorn,” financed and produced by Worldview Entertainment. Pacino will play the lead character of A.J. Manglehorn from a screenplay written by Paul Logan, based on an original story by Green and Logan. This is Worldview’s second collaboration with Green and his production team, following the drama, “Joe,” starring Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage. Worldview CEO, Christopher Woodrow, and COO, Molly Conners, will produce alongside Lisa Muskat and Green. Worldview’s Maria Cestone, Sarah Johnson Redlich and Hoyt David Morgan will executive produce alongside Todd Labrowski, Brad Coolidge and Melissa Coolidge for Dreambridge Films, which is making an investment in the film. Jody Hill and Danny McBride will executive produce for Rough House.
“Manglehorn” is the story of an eccentric man who tries to come to terms with a past crime that cost him the love of his life. Principal photography is scheduled to begin in the early fall in Los Angeles. London-based WestEnd Films will handle international sales and introduce the film to foreign buyers this week in Cannes while CAA, who arranged financing for the film, is repping domestic rights.
EXCLUSIVE: Here is a shocker. Al Pacino and Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment have parted company on Despicable Me 2. Pacino had long ago signed to provide the voice of the film’s villain, Eduardo, in the follow-up to the 2010 hit. The surprise here is timing: the film has a July 3 release date, and this occurred on the first weekend of summer film releases. Pacino had done a lot of the voice work, but ultimately his last-minute exit came down to creative difference. The studio and Chris Meledandri’s Illumination are in the process of landing someone to take over and I’m told there is time to get all this done and not imperil the film’s release date. Animation makes that much easier; no re-shoots.
The studio confirmed Pacino’s exit, and gave me this statement: “Over the production of Despicable Me 2, there were creative differences between us and Al Pacino, who had been cast as the voice of Eduardo in the film. We have mutually decided with Al to replace the voice of Eduardo with a new actor. Universal and Illumination thank Al for his many contributions to the process and look forward to a new actor bringing this memorable character to the screen upon its release this summer.”
EXCLUSIVE: Worldview Entertainment has committed to finance and produce Manglehorn, which David Gordon Green will direct from a script he wrote with Paul Logan. I hear they are going out to Al Pacino for the lead role of A.J. Manglehorn, an aging, ordinary guy in a small town who nurses his sick cat, squeezes out a conversation with the local bank teller every Friday, and eats at the same place every day. But there is more to Manglehorn than meets the eye: he’s an ex-con who, 40 years ago, gave up the woman of his dreams for a big “job”. He now obsesses daily over the choices he made. After a dramatic effort to start over, Manglehorn faces a terrifying moment and is unmasked as a guy with a very, very dark past.
This figures to be a hot sales title at Cannes, and in a pitch to potential buyers, Green describes Manglehorn “as the story of a guy who gave up the love of his life for a life of crime and now he regrets it as the world crumbles in front of him. His profession as a locksmith is symbolic of a guy who’s trying to find the key to put his life back together. It’s a love story, the choices you make in your youth and the situations you set up for yourself: you end up sitting alone at the dinner table talking to a cat! I do think there is a beautiful humor in this.”
Endemol Taps Former FremantleMedia Exec To Oversee Asian Operation
In the latest in a string of executive appointments, Big Brother producer Endemol has named Fotini Paraskakis managing director of its Asian operations to oversee creative, production and format sales activities across the region. The exec joins from FremantleMedia Asia where she was director of content for all of the company’s formats in the region including Idols, Got Talent and X Factor. As Endemol looks to expand in Asia, its recent projects there include a first series of Fear Factor and a second season of The Money Drop for Astro in Malaysia; a third season of Your Face Sounds Familiar on Hunan Satellite TV in China and the return of Deal Or No Deal and the launch of The Money Drop in the Philippines.
Christopher Walken’s ‘The Power Of Few’ Lands With Steelyard; Fleming Rants On How Impatient Icons Diminish Legacies Dropping Too Many Movie Turds
It intrigues me that Christopher Walken’s latest film — which just signed for North American release by Steelyard Pictures — is titled The Power Of Few. I’ve never heard of this distributor, and maybe the film is a cinematic treat, but I’m reasonably certain this movie will come and go with little fanfare. The title is memorable because it summarizes perfectly how I wish iconic actors like Walken would run their careers. I was thinking about this over the weekend, when I again watched Django Unchained and observed how the whole movie changed from the moment that Samuel L. Jackson first came into view as the awful plantation slave patriarch Stephen. I find it one of the most memorable performances I’ve seen in the last five years, a villain to rival any Spaghetti Western antagonist ever, and am amazed how Jackson disappeared into a fully fleshed character as completely as Daniel Day-Lewis did with Lincoln and Joaquin Phoenix did in The Master, and Denzel Washington did in Flight. All three of those guys got nominated for Oscars, and Sam did not, even though it’s his best performance since Pulp Fiction. It’s easy to say it came down to Christoph Waltz’s Best Supporting Actor nomination (Leo DiCaprio was also snubbed), but I think a factor is that Jackson works so often that Oscar voters discount his great performances because it’s just one of the seven films he did in that calender year. Contrast that to Day-Lewis. When he works, you know it’s a special event, there is high anticipation and he either wins or gets nominated almost each and every time out.
To me, Walken is in the same class as Jackson, and so is Robert De Niro and Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins, and so would Sean Connery and Gene Hackman if anybody could coax those guys out of retirement. Kevin Costner is knocking on the door as well.
De Niro got an Oscar nom for Silver Linings Playbook, and it seemed to work in reverse; it seemed to help that this was the first movie in a long time where the material wasn’t beneath his vast talent, and that he proved he still had it.
As for Walken, I was at the Toronto Film Festival premiere of the Martin McDonagh-directed Seven Psychopaths last fall, and observed something rare. Gifted with dialogue from In Bruges‘ McDonagh, Walken had people cheering to just about every line he delivered, in his singular style. I wish guys like him would save themselves for just the really good stuff (like De Niro and Pacino in Heat and De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook), instead of leaving a trail of cinematic turds along the way.
Martin Scorsese Tests Out Script For Mob Drama ‘The Irishman’ With De Niro, Pacino, Pesci; But ‘Silence’ Is Marty’s Next Pic
EXCLUSIVE: For my part, Martin Scorsese can’t make enough movies. But he’s trying. Scorsese, who is completing The Wolf Of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio, just held a reading of Steve Zaillian’s script at the Tribeca Film Center for …
EXCLUSIVE: The Scarface team of director Brian De Palma and Al Pacino are re-teaming for Happy Valley, the working title of a film that will tell the story of Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno. Paterno’s legend was undone by revelations he and others in the football program were aware that former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was molesting children, and did little to stop it, supposedly fearing bad publicity for the powerhouse gridiron program they presided over. Wall Street producer Edward R. Pressman has optioned the bestselling book Paterno by Joe Posnanski. Dave McKenna (American History X and Blow) is making a deal to write the script. The Edward R. Pressman Film Corporation is backing the project.
Pacino became attached to play Paterno when a package including the book was shopped by ICM last fall. Pressman will produce with Pacino’s manager, Rick Nicita, who was part of that original package. They are keeping a somewhat low profile on the focus of the film for now. “Happy Valley reunites the Scarface and Carlito’s Way team of De Palma & Pacino for the third time and I can’t think of a better duo to tell this story of a complex, intensely righteous man who was brought down by his own tragic flaw,” said Pressman in confirming the deal to Deadline.
Paterno’s fall from grace was Shakespearean and when he died shortly after his firing, many felt it was from a broken heart as much as cancer. He was in the twilight of a coaching career that left him the winningest coach in college football history, an iconic and beloved campus figure. Until his former defensive coordinator Sandusky was revealed to be a prolific pedophile, something that Paterno had been told about. While he informed an administrator, they did not call police, even after a graduate assistant and future assistant coach witnessed Sandusky in an encounter that looked like an act of sodomy with a child in the locker room showers.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Phil Spector is, in a sense, being retried in the court of artistic expression in the HBO biopic Phil Spector that debuts this spring featuring the typically impressive HBO pedigree: Al Pacino in the title role as Spector and Helen Mirren as his co-star. Oh, and David Mamet as writer-director. At the afternoon TCA panel promoting the film, defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden, who defended Spector in his first trial for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson and served as a consultant on the film, remains unconvinced that her client did in fact commit the crime. “It was not proven,” she believes, “and to some degree that’s what this movie explores. What does reasonable doubt mean in a jury trial? Mamet, too, remains unconvinced of Spector’s guilt. “All I knew when we started the project is that he was a freak who killed some girl,” he said. But by the time he finished watching a documentary about Spector, Mamet admits he had changed his tune, to the point where he was almost equally convinced that Spector was extremely bright, misunderstood — and quite possibly not guilty. But his marching orders were “don’t indict the victim,” so he worked to make sure that was the case.
The official opening of the Broadway revival of Glengarry Glen Ross has been pushed from November 11 to December 8, following canceled rehearsals as a result of Hurricane Sandy, Playbill reports. The review release date for the Al Pacino-starring production of David Mamet’s Pulitzer-winning play is December 10, although the show has been in previews since October 19. Bloomberg notes that in the week ending October 28, Glengarry was “by far Broadway’s top-selling play,” grossing $1.1M. Lead producer Jeffrey Richards told Bloomberg rehearsals were “truncated” when some of the actors couldn’t make it to the theater in the wake of the superstorm. He also said the show isn’t ready to be “frozen” (the point at which no more changes will be made). Producers are extending the limited run through January 20 and have added additional performances. Bloomberg recently reported that Al Pacino is receiving a minimum of $125,000 a week and also is entitled to 5% of profits for the run of the drama.
BREAKING: In what will be one of the hot packages at the upcoming AFM, Inimitable Pictures and Mister Smith Entertainment are teaming for Imagine. Dan Fogelman will direct his script and Al Pacino, Jeremy Renner and Julianne Moore will star. Denise DiNovi, who teamed with Fogelman on Crazy, Stupid, Love, will produce alongside Jessie Nelson and Nimitt Mankad, and Shivani Rawat exec producing.
This is the script that Fogelman originally sold for $3 million to Warner Bros with Steve Carell attached. It will instead be funded independently by Inimitable Pictures’ Mankad and Rawat through a film fund backed by Manoj Bhargava, founder of the 5 Hour Energy drink. Principal photography will commence late April/early May 2013.
David Garrett’s Mister Smith Entertainment will oversee international licensing and distribution for the film, starting at AFM. WME Global, which made the deal with the agreement with Mister Smith, will handle the domestic deal.
Pacino will play an aging 1970s rock star who is still packing arenas and living a decadent life with a girlfriend way too young for him. On his 64th birthday, he discovers an undelivered letter written to his 19-year-old self from his hero John Lennon. He decides to straighten out, stop making a living off by “selling out” and playing old anthems, and rediscover the music he originally set out to make. He also tries to reconnect with the 40-year-old son he’s never known (Renner). He moves into a small New Jersey hotel and befriends the hotel’s manager (Moore). The rocker’s hope: that despite the rough journey, Lennon’s message that love is all that matters will ring true at the end.
UPDATE: Rarely have I gotten so many emails on a story that has struck a nerve among former students of Penn State. Some claiming to have clout in Hollywood say they will try to squash this project, and others are critical of me and defensive of the beloved Paterno, claiming he got a raw deal. I can’t imagine these apologists have kids. The idea that nobody acted seriously on information given by grad assistant and later assistant coach Mike McQueary that could have stopped a predator convicted on dozens of counts of molesting vulnerable children is unconscionable. Paterno defenders say that McQueary was vague in describing what he saw, but I fall on the side of those who feel that Paterno was so powerful at Penn State that he could have stopped this in its tracks had he chosen to follow up, or even if he had dialed three numbers: 911. McQueary certainly wasn’t vague in his testimony at Sandusky’s trial, saying he was sure he had stumbled upon Sandusky engaging in a sexual act with an underage boy. When I think of great college coaches, I wonder: what would someone like Bobby Knight have done if given the same information?
The administration at Penn State chose to protect its cherished powerhouse and lucrative football program, and went against the contract that any institution of higher learning has, which is to protect the young and vulnerable. The idea that this just somehow happened, and nobody but Sandusky was to blame, is something I will never embrace. Had that been the case, I doubt the university would have fired Paterno and later torn down his statue, or that the NCAA would have leveled devastating sanctions against the football program at the expense of current players who had absolutely nothing to do with any of this and who didn’t deserve punishment that was delivered to send a clear message about prioritizing what is important. Regretfully, that is Paterno’s enduring legacy now. But keep the emails coming!
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, FRIDAY 5:30 PM: ICM Partners next week will be taking a package for a movie about former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, with Al Pacino attached to play the man called JoePa by most students at Happy Valley. The package will be built around Joe Posnanski’s biography Paterno, which is now atop The New York Times Bestseller List in its second week. Pacino’s manager, Rick Nicita, will produce.
The narrative arc of the movie that will be shopped is obvious. A man becomes the winningest coach in college football history and builds a powerhouse football program that turns him into a campus deity. When his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is revealed to be a pedophile and it comes out Paterno was told and helped hide the scandal, the coach was summarily fired. He died shortly after of cancer — and many feel of a broken heart — and the school had little choice but to raze a fabled statue of Paterno just as the NCAA dropped the hammer with sanctions against the school that included removal of Paterno’s wins going back to the cover-up. Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts of sexual abuse against young boys and is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.