EXCLUSIVE: After turning the Jackie Robinson-Branch Rickey story 42 into a hit, Legendary Pictures is now targeting Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi for a feature film. Legendary has made a deal with All Is Lost and Margin Call writer-director J.C. Chandor to write with an eye to direct a feature about the coaching legend who led Green Bay to five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowl titles. Legendary, whose principal Thomas Tull is a part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a passionate pigskin fan, will produce the film with Mary Parent. She produced Pacific Rim and Godzilla for Legendary. Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser will be exec producers.
Chandor, who made his feature directing debut on his Oscar-nominated script Margin Call, is once again in the awards season conversation for his follow-up All Is Lost, which stars Robert Redford as a man struggling to survive on the open seas. Chandor is casting up his next directorial outing, A Most Violent Year, which will star Jessica Chastain with production to begin early next year.
He has already begun writing the new film, and Legendary has assembled a rights package that includes a deal with the Lombardi estate, as well as the Broadway play written by Eric Simonson that starred Dan Lauria and Judith Light. That play was based on the David Marannis book When Pride Still Mattered, and that is also part of the package. Read More »
For more than 50 years, Robert Redford has been at the top of his game, whether as an actor, Oscar-winning director (Ordinary People), producer or at Sundance, the festival and institute he founded. He won an honorary Oscar for his work with Sundance in promoting independent film, and that is where he met director J.C. Chandor, whose first film, Margin Call, premiered at the festival. But none of the many young directors whose films got big breaks at Sundance actually ever dared to ask Redford to be in a movie. That is, until Chandor brought him All Is Lost. The result is an extraordinary tour de force performance in which Redford is the only actor on screen, playing a man trying to survive after his sailboat springs a leak. Incredibly, Redford has only been nominated for an acting Oscar once in his career, 40 years ago for the lighthearted The Sting. Betting odds are that All Is Lost is going to bring him his second best actor nom.
AwardsLine: What attracted you to such a physically and mentally challenging role?
Robert Redford: It was an opportunity for me to go back to my roots as an actor. That was how I began in this business, and it brought me great joy. As you move through your life, you create opportunities, and if you see new opportunities, you take them. Directing and producing, or creating opportunities for other filmmakers, feels great, but you’re not aware of how it’s taking you further and further away from what your basic joy is—to act. This gave me that in a very big way because of the kind of role it was. Then there is that other thing that happens when you just go in—and it’s impulse—where you say, “I’m going to trust this.” That happened for me with J.C. We met, and very quickly, I thought, “Let’s just do it.” Read More »
Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years A Slave, Lionsgate’s All Is Lost, IFC’s Frances Ha, CBS Films’ Inside Llewyn Davis and Paramount Vantage’s Nebraska will vie for Best Feature at the 2014 Spirit Awards. 12 Years A Slave leads the field with 7 nominations. The Robert Altman Award honoring a film’s director, casting director, and ensemble cast will be awarded to Jeff Nichols’ Mud. Film Independent’s 29th Spirit Awards will be held March 1 in Santa Monica with Patton Oswalt hosting. Here is the full list of 2014 nominees announced today:
12 Years A Slave
All Is Lost
Inside Llewyn Davis
Shane Carruth, Upstream Color
J.C. Chandor, All Is Lost
Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
Jeff Nichols, Mud
Alexander Payne, Nebraska Read More »
A recent, and unsolicited, email from a producer friend of mine demonstrates what a lot of people are saying about this year’s best picture race: “Now this is a year for film! Tremendous. Going to be a fun one, my friend.” It is going to be a fun one. Nearly every Academy member to whom I have spoken seems excited about the level of quality in this year’s race, which is a strong indication that this could be the first year 10 films are nominated since the rules changed to allow a variable number. Just consider what’s already out there in theaters or on Blu-Ray: 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, Captain Phillips, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Dallas Buyers Club, Blue Jasmine, All Is Lost, Fruitvale Station, Prisoners, Rush, Blue Is The Warmest Color, Before Midnight, Mud and The Place Beyond The Pines.
The fact is, this is a year in which there could be room for 20 films. Consider those yet to open or just opening: Philomena, Saving Mr. Banks, Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis, August: Osage County, The Book Thief, Her, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Lone Survivor, Labor Day and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. All of those films have played the fest circuit, and most pundits—including this one—already have seen them and can say definitively that it’s a formidable list. Of those yet to be seen by just about anyone outside of rarefied circles are The Wolf Of Wall Street and American Hustle, both December releases expected to be major players in several races.
Related: OSCARS: Fest Circuit A Must For Majors Chasing Award Season Gold
With this kind of lineup, it is no wonder some movies once thought to have awards aspiration—such as Foxcatcher, Grace Of Monaco, The Immigrant and George Clooney’s The Monuments Men—have all opted out. And why not? Read More »
Christy Grosz is Editor of AwardsLine.
A film with no dialogue about a man adrift at sea doesn’t sound like a slam dunk of a project, but All Is Lost producers Neal Dodson and Anna Gerb say J.C. Chandor’s pitch piqued their interest immediately. The project also had two key elements giving it momentum: First, Robert Redford agreed to play the lead. (“Bob was the only person J.C. wanted to try to make the film with,” Dodson explains.) And second, Chandor’s first feature, Margin Call, earned an original screenplay Oscar nom close to the time All Is Lost needed financing. Despite production challenges, Dodson and Gerb say intense preparation and storyboarding paid off in the end.
AwardsLine: You also worked with J.C. Chandor on Margin Call — how did All Is Lost come to you?
Neal Dodson: Basically, J.C. had been writing secretly — he’s not a big sharer of stuff until he knows what he wants to do. He had been writing before the Sundance Film Festival (in 2011) and then right after Sundance, once he had first come in contact with (Robert Redford). At (the) Berlin (International Film Festival), when we were there for Margin Call, he pitched the movie to me, (Before the Door Pictures producer) Zach Quinto and (FilmNation Entertainment CEO) Glen Basner. (He wanted Basner’s) perspective on if he thought this was an insane idea or if he thought there was a place in the international world to get something like this financed.
Anna Gerb: Not even a month later, (Chandor) handed each of us a 31-page document for us to read.
Dodson: It was one of those things where you go, “OK, this is a great outline for what you’re looking to do, but let us know when you’ve written the script,” and it turns out that was the script.
Gerb: It was very detailed so you felt a feature-length, action-packed, adventure-filled film within it, even though it was a lot leaner than most of the scripts we traditionally see. Read More »
High profile awards contenders had big expansions over the weekend, easily dwarfing the roll outs of lower profile new comers this weekend. Fox Searchlight’s big Oscar hopeful 12 Years A Slave, Roadside/Lionsgate’s All Is Lost and Focus Features’ Dallas Buyers Club headed into more theaters and markets with mostly strong results. Searchlight moved 12 Years A Slave into 1,144 theaters, an increase of 734 from the previous week. It grossed $6.6 million in its 4th week of release, averaging $5,769 and placing 7th in the overall box office.
Roadside/Lionsgate’s All Is Lost, which had its U.S. debut earlier this month at the New York Film Festival, headed into 401 runs grossing over $1.2 million and averaging $3K. Last week, it grossed nearly $600K in 131 locations. Focus added 26 theaters for Dallas Buyers Club‘s second frame. The film starring Matthew McConaughey held nicely, grossing $629K, averaging almost $18K. Focus noted the film had a 61% increase from Friday to Saturday, which the company touted Sunday morning. “This bump far exceeds the 45% to 50% bump which is the norm for a roll-out,” said a Focus spokesperson. “This big bump on Saturday shows momentum with Saturday’s habitual adult – Boomer, Gen X and sophisticated younger patrons. For the second week in a row, the film over performed on Saturday. Clearly it is connecting with the core adult audience.” Focus added that increases also took place in last week’s theaters as well.
Among newcomers, Sony Classics’ The Armstrong Lie took the weekend’s highest PSA, though from a slight threshold. The Venice and Toronto documentary grossed $30,904, averaging $6,181. This is the second film to head to theaters this year from veteran filmmaker Alex Gibney, whose late May release We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks averaged $6,922 when it bowed in 4 theaters. That film went on to gross over $166K in the U.S. SPC will expand The Armstrong Lie into several additional markets next weekend, while also adding runs in Los Angeles. Read More »
With half hour presentations for awards voters from 12 studios, Deadline’s 3rd Annual THE CONTENDERS all day event Saturday at the brand new Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts in Beverly Hills was a sold out smash hit that drew 500 industry figures from AMPAS and key guilds. It was … Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
The upcoming weekend will host a number of anticipated films from the recent festival circuit, some of which are likely eyeing an Oscar nomination or two. Robert Redford-starrer All Is Lost hits theaters after crowd-pleasing runs in Cannes and the recent New York Film Festival. Word of mouth helped propel the film when it debuted back in May in Cannes, despite its limited dialog. 12 Years A Slave has practically won the race according to some prognosticators. A debut at Telluride, Toronto and NYFF, the film should continue to see positive word of mouth, though may prove tough viewing for some. Daniel Radcliffe stars in Sundance and Venice debut Kill Your Darlings. The Harry Potter thespian breaks out from the franchise that made him huge in a leading role that launches him squarely into adulthood. Doc filmmaker Jehane Noujaim takes her latest onto the streets of Cairo during the country’s series of uprisings in The Square. The filmmaker and her team experienced arrest, interrogation and more creating the film which had standing ovations at TIFF and NYFF. The doc is part of a trio of non-fiction films utilizing various forms of DIY releases including Blood Brother and “Fantastical doc” Peaches Does Herself. And The Film Collective and Dada will bow drama Torn in a targeted roll out.
All Is Lost
Director-writer: J.C. Chandor
Cast: Robert Redford
Robert Redford won praises for his portrayal of a skipper aboard a pleasure craft sailing alone on the open sea. The film unfolds with little dialog, with Redford playing the only cast member “Our Man,” whose boat collides with a shipping container at sea, damaging his boat, forcing him to face mortality and the elements. “It’s a big weekend for us, it’s the first movie Roadside has been involved with as a production,” Roadside co-president Howard Cohen said. “J.C. handed us the script as [his previous film] Margin Call opened. We had released that film [with success] and liked the material.” They also liked Redford who was attached at that point. Margin Call had debuted at Sundance, but Chandor had already reached out to Redford for the “Our Man” part. The two met in Redford’s office in L.A. “When we met, I was already inclined. I just had to make sure he wasn’t nuts,” said Redford at the recent New York Film Festival. Read More »
The undisputed star so far of the 40th Telluride Film Festival, Robert Redford received his second packed-to-the-rafters tribute this morning on top of the mountain at the Chuck Jones Cinema (each tributee must do two of these here — the Coen brothers and T Bone Burnett are up next tonight and Saturday morning). Considering he just went through the two-hour program 14 hours earlier and this one started at 9 AM, Redford was in great form and perhaps more introspective about his life and career than I have heard him in this kind of setting. At Friday night’s version of the tribute he was presented with the festival’s Silver Medallion (by surprise guest Ralph Fiennes, who starred in his Quiz Show). Of course Redford is being talked about in a big way for the Best Actor Oscar for his tour-de-force one-man starring role in J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost, so a look back at his remarkable career can’t hurt. Although it wasn’t mentioned this morning, Redford incredibly has only been Oscar-nominated once as an actor, for the light-hearted The Sting (1973). He does have Oscars for his 1980 directorial debut, Ordinary People and an Honorary Oscar for his work with Sundance.
The first hour was devoted to a wide-ranging clip-by-clip look at his acting career beginning with the live TV production of The Iceman Cometh to such iconic film roles as Barefoot In The Park, The Candidate, Downhill Racer, Jeremiah Johnson, The Way We Were, The Sting, Three Days Of The Condor, All The President’s Men, The Electric Horseman, Brubaker, The Natural and Out Of Africa. Of his nine films as a director the only clip shown was for A River Runs Through It which starred a young Brad Pitt — the one actor along with George Clooney whose career trajectory seems closest to Redford’s consistently intelligent and high-wattage movie star course over the last half century. Read More »
Robert Redford stars as a man trying to survive solo while adrift at sea in the sophomore feature from Margin Call helmer JC Chandor. After premiering to strong reviews out of Cannes, All Is Lost is conspicuously skipping September’s … Read More »