Bloomberg reports that Al Pacino is receiving a minimum of $125,000 a week and also is entitled to 5% of profits for the 10-week run of David Mamet’s drama now in previews. Pacino’s profit participation is contingent on the roughly $2.3M production paying back investors, according to the operating agreement obtained by Bloomberg for Glengarry Broadway LLC, the limited liability company formed to mount the revival. Should weekly ticket sales exceed $1.25M after deducting for commissions, Bloomberg says Pacino enjoys another revenue stream: 10% of box office above $1.25M. Bloomberg says it’s one of the biggest-ever pay packages for a Broadway star. Pacino is playing washed-up huckster Shelly Levene on Broadway in David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Glengarry Glen Ross. (Ricky Roma was the role that earned Pacino an Academy Award nomination in the 1992 film version.) Pacino’s pay tops that of Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, who each were paid $100,000 a week plus a sliver of profits when they returned to The Producers for three months in 2004, Bloomberg says. While for 2009’s A Steady Rain, Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig each earned as much as $120,000 per week or 10% of the box office, Bloomberg adds.
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.
Lionsgate‘s new partner Summit Entertainment has had box office success with this genre of older actors movies aimed at older audiences (like Red). Now the studio has dated its assembly of three Academy Award winners for the action dramedy Stand Up Guys which will open on January 11, 2013 in moderate release after an awards-qualifying run in December. Fisher Stevens is directing Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin in Noah Haidle’s script about retired gangsters who reunite for one epic night. Lakeshore Entainment will produce with Tom Rosenberg, Sidney Kimmel, Jim Tauber, and Gary Lucchesi.
Al Pacino played hotshot salesman Ricky Roma in the killer 1992 film adaptation of David Mamet’s dark drama Glengarry Glen Ross, a role that earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. Now the New York Times reports Pacino is returning to the play for a Broadway revival eyed for next year, but this time to play the sad-sack Shelly Levene, the salesman portrayed in the movie by Jack Lemmon. The casting would reunite Pacino with his The Merchant Of Venice stage director Daniel Sullivan, who is directing the new version of Mamet’s play. The searing drama about a flailing real-estate sales office — and featuring Mamet’s meaty dialogue — always has attracted top names: the original 1984 play won a Tony for Joe Mantegna as Roma, and Alan Alda and Liev Schreiber were nominated for a 2005 revival that Schreiber won for playing Roma.
(Photo: Getty Images)
EXCLUSIVE: While Al Pacino has played his share of iconic live-action villains — from Michael Corleone to Tony Montana — he will make his animated film debut as the voice of the villain in Despicable Me 2, the Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment sequel to the 2010 hit film that launched Chris Meledandri’s family film shingle and grossed $543 million on a $69 million budget.
Pacino’s exact role is being kept under wraps, but he’s the nemesis of Gru, who’ll once again be voiced by Steve Carell. The film will be released by Universal on July 3, 2013. Pacino is repped by ICM.
EXCLUSIVE: Training Day scribe David Ayer has been hired to write the new version of Scarface for Universal Pictures. The film will put a contemporary spin on the outlaw tale first released in 1932 with Paul Muni playing an Italian who took over Chicago, and then turned into the spectacularly violent 1983 film that starred Al Pacino as Tony Montana, a Cuban who took over the cocaine trade in 1980s Miami. The new film is being produced by Marc Shmuger and his Global Produce banner along with Martin Bregman, who produced the Brian De Palma-directed version. When the studio set up the project in late September, the intention wasn’t to do a remake as much as to marry the common elements of the two films with a contemporary crime context. Basically, the focus is on an outsider, an immigrant who barges his way into the criminal establishment in pursuit of a twisted version of the American dream, becoming a kingpin through a campaign of ruthlessness and violent ambition.
Ayer tells me that he is not at all cowed by stepping into an iconic title. “This is a fantasy for me, I can still remember when I saw the film at 13 and it blew my mind,” he said. “I sought it out; I went after it hard. I see it as the story of the American dream, with a character whose moral compass points in a different direction. That puts it right in my wheelhouse. I studied both the original Ben Hecht-Howard Hawks movie and the DePalma-Pacino version and found some universal themes. I’m still under the hood figuring out the wiring that will translate, but both films had a specificity of place, there was unapologetic violence, and a main character who socially scared the shit out of people, but who had his own moral code. Each was faithful to the underworld of its time. There are enough opportunities in the real world today that provide an opportunity to do this right. If it was just an attempt to remake the 1983 film, that would never work.”
All the while that producer Marc Fiore was making pricey pay-or-play deals and holding press conferences in New York and Cannes to trumpet John Travolta, Al Pacino, Lindsay Lohan and Joe Pesci taking part in Gotti: In The Shadow Of My Father, there were big questions on whether Fiore really had the cash to make the movie. It has become clear in the last two weeks that he does not; I’m told that the film is in play and that without a new backer, the mob movie could sleep with the fishes. Conversations are going on right now to figure out new funding and to bring down the budget.
What happened? I’m told that Fiore’s major backer, a New York-based construction mogul named Fay Devlin, recently began questioning what he had gotten himself into after Fiore paid high prices to sign talent to pay-or-play deals. Already more than $10 million has been spent, and I’ve heard they’re on the hook to pay Travolta $10 million to play John Gotti Sr, Pacino $7 million, co-writer/director Barry Levinson more than $4 million, co-writer James Toback $1 million, and Ben Foster low seven figures to play Gotti Jr. Those are high prices for an indie film. A pay-or-play deal from an indie company isn’t the same as one at a studio, but talent and reps had no reason to be unduly concerned because Fiore made escrow payments on time and was so confident his …
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is developing a new version of Scarface, the title first released in 1932 and then turned into the iconic 1983 film that starred Al Pacino as Cuban gangster Tony Montana. I’d heard that the studio has been meeting writers to script a take for a film that will be produced by Marc Shmuger and his Global Produce banner along with Martin Bregman. Bregman produced the Pacino version.
The film is not intended to be a remake or a sequel. It will take the common elements of the first two films: An outsider, an immigrant, barges his way into the criminal establishment in pursuit of a twisted version of the American dream, becoming a kingpin through a campaign of ruthlessness and violent ambition. The studio is keeping the specifics of where the new Tony character comes from under wraps at the moment, but ethnicity and geography were important in the first two versions. In the 1932 Scarface, an Italian (Paul Muni) took over Chicago, and in the Brian De Palma-directed remake, a
Harvey Weinstein just set a new air, land and sea world record for attending movie premieres. The Weinstein Company mogul managed to show up at three, count ‘em, three different premiere events in two different countries all on Monday night. “Yeah, this was some fun wasn’t it?” he deadpanned when I asked him about his landmark photo-op achievement.
Although he has been in Toronto this week, Weinstein had to go back to New York City on Monday night to attend the premiere of his company’s romantic comedy I Don’t Know How She Does It, which stars Sarah Jessica Parker and opens nationwide Friday. Then it was right back to Canada and two more North American premieres: Madonna’s directorial outing W.E. and the Ralph Fiennes-directed Coriolanus – and he made ito to both post-parties at Soho House. On one floor he was dining with Madonna and her exclusive guest list, then he did a walk-through one floor down at the Coriolanus preem. Then it was back up to the third floor, where he huddled with Jennifer Garner and Olivia Wilde, the stars of yet another Weinstein Company movie, Butter, which premieres here on Tuesday (I saw it in Telluride). I am told they will open the film for a one-week Oscar-qualifying run October 28 and reopen it sometime in early 2012.
As for the Madonna film, which was critically lambasted in Venice, the spin I got from one of its international reps was that it’s really not all that bad. It’s just that it’s not all that good either. There are some nice visual touches, but the material about the romance between King Edward and Wallis Simpson (written by the Material Girl herself) just isn’t all that compelling. My overall impression is that she is to be commended for trying something different with this British period piece, but for someone normally so edgy, this film very much lacks edge. It is undoubtedly an older person’s movie and facing a daunting commercial climb.
Before the film started (a half hour late), Madonna told the hometown crowd, “As you know I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, so I almost feel Canadian. Even when I have been arrested here I had a heck of a time,” she said. At the earlier Monday morning press screening, a paltry crowd of less than 100 reportedly showed up for their first opportunity to see her directing and writing effort. By the time it was finished, less than half remained in the massive 555-seat Scotiabank Theatre. But following the evening screening at the Roy Thomson Hall, the crowd gave Madonna a brief standing ovation before heading for the exits. But it wasn’t the kind of enthusiastic standing applause heard at the Machine Gun Preacher screening just one night earlier.
EXCLUSIVE: Less than a week after filming of the HBO Films movie Phil Spector was suspended after co-star Bette Midler had to pull out for medical reasons, the producers of the David Mamet-written and directed movie have found a replacement. And boy did they deliver. Oscar winner Helen Mirren has been tapped to star opposite Al Pacino in the film, which explores the client-attorney relationship between legendary music producer Phil Spector (Pacino) and defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden (Mirren), who represented Spector during his first trial for murder. Mamet, Barry Levinson and Pacino are executive producing Phil Spector, which had done 6 days of shooting when it suspended production last Tuesday after Midler suffered from a herniated disk. Filming is now expected to resume next week. In addition to her Academy Award for The Queen, Mirren has won 4 Emmy Awards, including one for the HBO miniseries Elizabeth I.
EXCLUSIVE: Before Al Pacino and director Barry Levinson re-team for Gotti: Three Generations, the duo will first reunite on an adaptation of the Philip Roth novel The Humbling, which has been set for a fall start and will be financed by Avi Lerner’s Millennium Films/Nu Image. It is just the latest in a period of extreme productivity for Levinson, some of it directly attributable to the acclaim he got for directing Pacino’s Emmy-winning turn as Jack Kevorkian in HBO’s You Don’t Know Jack.
The Humbling revolves around Simon Axler (Pacino), a famous stage actor in decline who is revived when he retires to his upstate New York farmhouse and takes up with a much younger woman. It has a script by Buck Henry, Michal Zebede and Levinson. Levinson will be looking to quickly cast the young female lead, the actor’s agent, and several other eccentric characters you would expect in a Roth novel. Levinson committed to this movie after completing production on the low-budget eco-horror film The Bay, which he shot on hand-held cameras and which Lionsgate will release. He just spent time at the Cannes Film Festival to help stir interest in the offshore rights of the Gotti movie; and he’s right now in China, heading the jury at the Shanghai Film Festival.
I caught up with Levinson at Cannes, where he was uneasy about the idea of having to hawk a film (Gotti) that he and his Bugsy co-writer James Toback are giving a page one rewrite. He was completely sparked to be shooting a variety of films, from horror to documentaries (he helmed for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series The Band That Wouldn’t Die). But industry players who passed by us in the Majestic Hotel seemed intrigued at his chance to create a major new Mafia movie, and one prominent figure even volunteered to join a preliminary cast that includes John Travolta (Gotti Sr.), Joe Pesci and Pacino, whom Levinson recruited.
EXCLUSIVE: If you’re an Al Pacino fan and are attending the Venice International Film Festival, circle Sunday, Sept. 4 on your calendar. On that day, Pacino will be awarded the Jaeger-Le Coultre Glory to the Filmmaker 2011 Award, presented to an artist who has left an original mark on contemporary cinema. Right after Pacino receives the award, he will preside over the world premiere of the third film he has directed, Wilde Salome. The documentary explores the complexity and Pacino’s passion for the Oscar Wilde play Salome. The film, which will be released in the fall, stars Pacino as Herod, Jessica Chastain as Salome, and Kevin Anderson as John the Baptist. Barry Navidi and Robert Fox produce with Salome Productions. In its five-year history at Venice, the Glory to the Filmmaker Award has been awarded to Takeshi Kitano, Abbas Kiarostami, Agnes Varda, Sylvester Stallone and Mani Ratnam.
Kenneth Starr, who last May was arrested for running a Ponzi scheme on celebs that included Uma Thurman, Jim Wiatt, Martin Scorsese and Al Pacino, drew a 7.5 year sentence, the New York Daily News reports. He pleaded guilty last September. Starr was a nerdy accountant who changed his look after he hooked up with former Scores dancer Diane Passage and used money from clients to fund a lavish lifestyle. The 67-year old’s scheme was uncovered when clients like Thurman and Wiatt began comparing notes and discovered irregularities. It’s reminiscent of the money manager Dana Giacchetto, who became a preeminent investor of movie star money in the 1990s and was undone after he got caught up in the reflected glow of fame. For wealthy stars and Hollywood deal makers, it’s also a terrific reminder that when your investment adviser sheds the pocket pencil protector and begins dressing up in black outfits and encourages you to invest in a competitive pole dancing league start up (as Starr reportedly did), it’s time to get your money the heck out of there.
EXCLUSIVE: Anchor Bay has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the Dito Montiel-directed cop drama The Son Of No One, which was the 2011 Sundance Film Festival’s final premiere last Friday. I’m told the deal was in the $2 million minimum guarantee range and a P&A commitment for a theatrical release in at least 10 of the top 20 markets. The film stars Channing Tatum, Tracy Morgan, Katie Holmes, Ray Liotta, Juliette Binoche and Al Pacino and is a police thriller about a young cop assigned to the Queens neighborhood where he grew up. He’s forced to confront past troubles. The picture was financed by Millennium Films/Nu Image’s Avi Lerner and his partners Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short and Boaz Davidson. Before its premiere, the film had an early screening for buyers, and was forced to overcome a nasty trade article that claimed an “exodus” of walk outs, a story disputed in Deadline by sales agent and exec producer Cassian Elwes. Elwes had the last laugh as he and WME Global’s Graham Taylor closed what might be the last big sale of a festival full of them. Despite the one bad article, Elwes and Taylor had several bidders circling with offers in the $2 million range but Anchor Bay’s Kevin Kasha has sealed the deal.
SAG Awards TV: AFTRA Shows Pull Even With SAG; ‘Boardwalk Empire’, ‘Modern Family’, And Betty White Get First Wins
For the first time in a long time, both top TV series categories, best drama and comedy ensemble, featured first-time winners, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and ABC’s Modern Family. And for the first time, a winner in one the top categories, Modern Family, was an AFTRA-affiliated show.
Last year, Julianna Margulies’ win for best actress in a drama series marked the first time in recent history that a SAG award had gone to an actor on an AFTRA-represented series, CBS’ The Good Wife. The other 5 series categories were won by SAG shows. Fast-forward to tonight when 3 out of the 6 SAG Awards for series, or 50%, went to AFTRA-designated shows. That included best actress in a drama series, in which Margulies repeated for a second consecutive year, best comedy series ensemble (Modern Family) and best actress in a comedy series (Hot in Cleveland‘s Betty White) Backstage, Margulies supported the ongoing movement to merge the two actors unions, SAG and AFTRA. “I would like us all to be one,” she said. “We’re in an industry where power comes in numbers.” Onstage, Melissa Leo, winner in the best supporting actress in a movie category for The Fighter made an …
Cassian Elwes, who’s selling distribution rights to Dito Montiel’s The Son of No One, is crying foul over a barbed trade story about the film’s first Sundance screening. The piece reported that a multitude of buyers were in attendance, and described an “exodus” of walk outs before the film was over. The trade declared The Son of No One is Sundance’s first bomb, a crushing blow for a film with a great cast that includes Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Tracy Morgan, Katie Holmes, Ray Liotta, and Juliette Binoche.
Elwes blamed the exits on a mistake by a projectionist, and said the trade story painted an unfair picture by omitting that information. He said the slam piece has negatively impacted discussions with distributors. Elwes said he’s got three offers, but suitors are trying to use the report to get a discount.
I wasn’t at the screening, but I granted Elwes’ ask to explain what happened: “About a month ago, Dito decided to add a card, two scenes before the end of the film, that says, ‘Based on the book, Story of Milk.’ That is the character’s name in the film. Yesterday, the projectionist thought that meant the movie was over, and he turned the lights on. That’s when people got up. They thought movie had ended. Some left, but most stayed. This nasty little piece didn’t mention any of this. It’s not true …