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Mike Fleming Interviews ‘Broken City’ Helmer Allen Hughes On His First Solo Film

By | Tuesday November 27, 2012 @ 3:13pm PST
Mike Fleming

Allen Hughes spent the past two decades as one-half of The Hughes Brothers. He makes his solo feature directing debut with Broken City, a political corruption drama that stars Mark Wahlberg as an ex-cop who does a favor for the mayor (Russell Crowe) by following the pol’s philandering wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). The results are murder and conspiracy, with Fox releasing the Emmett/Furla Films-financed drama January 18.

Allen and Albert Hughes burst on the feature scene with 1993’s Menace II Society, a wildly profitable slice of violent inner-city life. Together they’ve co-directed the Vietnam-era crime drama Dead Presidents, the Jack the Ripper thriller From Hell, the documentary American Pimp, and most recently the post-apocalyptic thriller The Book Of Eli. They also direct commercials and videos under their Underworld banner. I’ve known the siblings for about as long as they’ve been making features, and always found them to be strong individuals. I never quite understood the alchemy that goes into a two-man directing team, or what happens when one splits up. Who better than Allen Hughes to explain?

DEADLINE: After directing movies all these years as a team, what was the biggest challenge in not being able to rely on Albert?
ALLEN HUGHES: The biggest challenge had nothing to do with the movie-making process at all. When we took meetings, there were two of us. This is a crazy town and there are very cunning people. As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one. There was a certain amount of respect they paid us because there were two of us. And there was a shorthand we had in breaking things down to the last compound, and factoring in every angle. It made quite an impression to have two guys doing that. That’s what was missing this time around, but I felt comfortable with the moviemaking process. It’s naturally a one-man or -woman gig. Read More »

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Gerard Butler Drama ‘Motor City’ Stalls Before Reaching Start Line: Crew Sent Home

By | Saturday September 1, 2012 @ 10:05am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The plug was pulled this morning on Motor City, the revenge drama that was scheduled to start production late this month with Albert Hughes directing and Gerard Butler, Mickey Rourke and Adrien Brody starring. The film was in pre-production, and the crew was just told to go home. It is an abrupt and chaotic development. Insiders tell me that Motor City stalled after the film’s backers, Emmett/Furla Films, Envision Entertainment, and Mark Damon’s Foresight Entertainment, realized at the last moment that the release date given them by Warner Bros through its deal with Joel Silver’s Dark Castle turned out to be a drop dead date. Production was to start September 17th, meaning the film could only have 12 weeks of post production. It wasn’t enough time. They needed that studio release to justify all of the foreign distribution deals made for the film by Damon. As a result, they could not secure a bond and couldn’t move forward.

Related: Emmett/Furla Films Funding ’Motor City’ With Gerard Butler

Insiders tell me they still want to make the picture, but they have to do some work under the hood of Motor City to put it all back together again. Since the plug was just pulled, the backers are now dealing with the ramifications with cast, crew and filmmaker. It is unclear at present if Warner Bros will be involved down the line. In the film, Butler plays a man who gets out … Read More »

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Emmett / Furla Films Funding Silver Pictures Drama ‘Motor City’ With Gerard Butler

By | Monday April 23, 2012 @ 5:24pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Gerard Butler Motor CityEXCLUSIVE: Emmett/Furla Films has stepped up and committed to fully finance Motor City, the Albert Hughes-directed action film that stars Gerard Butler as a man who is double crossed, and seeks revenge on the guy who put him behind bars and took his woman. Gary Oldman is aboard to play the villain, and Amber Heard the woman. The film, which has a budget north of $40 million, is now set to begin production in September through EFF and Silver Pictures. Joel Silver and Andrew Rona are producing for Silver Pictures, while Randall Emmett and George Furla board as producers for EFF, along with their funding partners, Envision Entertainment’s Stepan Martirosyan and Remington Chase. Brandon Grimes is coproducer. Warner Bros will distribute domestically, while foreign rights will be sold at Cannes by Mark Damon and Foresight. CAA reps domestic rights. Read More »

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Jake Gyllenhaal In Driver’s Seat For Dark Castle’s ‘Motor City’

By | Wednesday March 7, 2012 @ 1:35pm PST
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Jake Gyllenhaal is in negotiations to star in Motor City, the Albert Hughes-directed drama for Dark Castle. Gyllenhaal, who most recently completed the David Ayer-directed drama End of Watch, will play an ex-Army Ranger named John Miller who is framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Now, he is going after the man who framed him and stole his true love. Oscar-nominated Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy star Gary Oldman plays the villain and Amber Heard is the female lead. Joel Silver and Andrew Rona will produce for Dark Castle with Ethan Erwin and Douglas Urbanski exec producing. Warner Bros will distribute, as the studio did with Dark Castle’s hit Unknown. The film will begin shooting late spring in Berlin. Gyllenhaal is repped by WME.

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Amber Heard Wins ‘Motor City’ Lead

By | Monday November 21, 2011 @ 12:36pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Amber Heard has been chosen for the female lead opposite Dominic Cooper in Motor City, the Chad St. John-scripted revenge tale that Albert Hughes will direct for Joel Silver’s Dark Castle. Heard tested among several young actresses and got the job. Cooper (The Devil’s Double) plays a man released from prison who goes on a revenge mission, hunting down the people who framed him. Heard, who just starred opposite Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary, is repped by CAA.

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Film Roundup: Steven Soderbergh Retires To Second Unit Work, Albert Hughes In ‘Motor City’

By | Thursday August 4, 2011 @ 6:48pm PDT

For a guy who is plotting his retirement after finishing a few films, Steven Soderbergh finds even more ways to be industrious. Sources confirm scattered web reports that Soderbergh has begun shooting second unit work for the Gary Ross-directed The Hunger Games. Actually, he did two days worth, on a lark. Soderbergh is preparing to promote the virus thriller Contagion and the Gina Carano spy thriller Haywire. The big question is, will he finish The Man From UNCLE and his Liberace movie with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in time to do second unit for the inevitable second and third Hunger Games films? …

When Albert Hughes dropped out of a long attachment to Akira, Warner Bros executives were determined to place him in another film distributed by the studio. They’ve done it on Motor City, the Chad St. John-scripted revenge tale. A report in Twitch.com said Chris Evans might star, but that’s not solid yet and they are looking at a number of actors at Dark Castle.

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Albert Hughes Exiting ‘Akira’ At Warner Bros

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The twists and turns on the Warner Bros adaptation of anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s graphic novel Akira continue. Director Albert Hughes is exiting the movie, I’m told. Insiders say that it is an amicable creative differences  parting of the ways. Warner Bros will try to put him on another movie right away (Hughes and his brother Allen directed the hit The Book of Eli, and WB topper Jeff Robinov is their former agent and is very close with them). Hughes is coming to Hollywood next week to take meetings with his WME reps and look at scripts, hoping to find his next movie at Warner Bros.

As for Akira, the intention of the studio is to keep the picture on a fast track, which means they will find a director quickly. The studio has been wrestling with the approach on the film for the past year. Read More »

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‘Akira’ Focuses On Short List Of Actors After Getting Steve Kloves Rewrite

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The script for the Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures live action adaptation of anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s 6-volume graphic novel Akira has been sent to a short list of actors. The picture is finally taking shape for an August start, following the delivery of a rewrite by Steve Kloves that has director Albert Hughes and the studio brass excited. The story takes place in the rebuilt New Manhattan where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment. There are two major roles, and I’m told that for Tetsuo, Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy have been given the new script. For the role of Kaneda, the script has been given to Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix. The two leads are expected to come from that group of actors.

Andrew Lazar is producing with Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran. Akira has been one of Warner Bros’ high priority projects since the studio with Legendary Pictures acquired it for a 7-figure sum 2 years ago from manga publisher Kodansha. The intention has been to make 2 films, each covering 3 books in the series. Akira was first adapted for the screen in 1988.

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