UPDATES with more casting news, below: The New Group, an off-Broadway standard bearer, heads into its 20th season in a new home further west on 42nd Street with a lineup that will feature Cynthia Nixon (Sex And The City) in her directing debut and the world premiere of a new play by and starring Jesse Eisenberg (Social Network). The season also includes the return to the stage of Dianne Weist and Holly Hunter.
The company leaves 42nd Street’s Theatre Row to take up residence a block west in the Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center complex, which has in a short time become one of the city’s premiere theater destinations, noted for its $25 ticket policy, live-jazz-accompanied cafe and open space bookstore. The season will kick off in October with a revival of David Rabe’s seminal Vietnam-era drama Sticks And Bones, with Holly Hunter and Bill Pullman playing a black-comedy riff on iconic American TV couple Ozzie and Harriet. Their world is turned inside out when son David returns home from the war. New Group artistic director Scott Elliott will direct. Joseph Papp’s original 1971 production moved to broadway and won the Tony Award for best play of 1972.
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EXCLUSIVE: Three years after the end of Ugly Betty, America Ferrera is ready to return to television full-time as the star of another hourlong project. Titled Damascus, the drama pitch sparked a heated bidding, landing at CBS with a put pilot commitment. In addition to starring, Ferrera also will executive produce alongside her Ugly Betty executive producer Teri Weinberg, with CBS TV Studios coming on board as studio. Written by producer Nick Osborne, Damascus is the story of a crusading nun (Ferrera) who practices law on behalf of the least fortunate, and has her beliefs tested when her life collides with an elitist corporate lawyer. As the two set out to help those in need of justice, they come up against a secretive and powerful organization that is determined to destroy them. The project expands Ferrera’s relationship with CBS and CBS Studios as her only major post-Ugly Betty TV gig has been an arc on their drama The Good Wife. (She is set to reprise her role this season.)
Ferrera, repped by ICM Partners, Authentic and Peikoff Mahan, had been sought after for pilots in the past three seasons but was focused on features and finishing college as her USC studies were interrupted by her casting in Ugly Betty, a role that earned her an Emmy award. She recently wrapped features Chavez and … Read More »
Julia Stiles and America Ferrera have signed on to star in writer-director Todd Berger’s It’s a Disaster, a Vacationeer Productions comedy about four couples who meet for Sunday brunch but get stranded in a house as the world may be about to end. Kevin M. Brennan, Jeff Grace, Blaise Miller and Berger of comedy troupe The Vacationeers also will star in the film, which will shoot in Los Angeles in the fall. Berger penned the Lionsgate/Jim Henson Co film Happytime Murders and wrote and directed The Scenesters, an indie film that played at the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival. Stiles, repped by ICM and Untitled Entertainment, was just nominated for an outstanding guest actress in a drama series Emmy for her turn on Showtime’s Dexter, her first TV work. Ferrera, repped by ICM and Authentic, next appears on the big screen in David Ayer’s End of Watch opposite Jake Gyllenhaal.
EXCLUSIVE: Former Ugly Betty star America Ferrera has signed with ICM. The Emmy-winning actress had been without an agent for the past few months since leaving WME, where she was a long-time client from the Endeavor side of the company. She signed with ICM after meeting with several other agencies. Following her breakthrough performance in the indie Real Women Have Curves, Ferrera hit stardom on TV as the lead of the ABC dramedy Ugly Betty, which earned her an Emmy and a Golden Globe. She recently did an arc on CBS’ drama The Good Wife. Ferrera’s feature credits include The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and How To Train Your Dragon franchises. She continues to be represented by UK agent Christian Hodell, manager Jon Rubinstein and attorney Jodi Peikoff.
In her first TV series gig since the end of Ugly Betty, the ABC dramedy’s star America Ferrera is set to do an arc on CBS’ legal drama The Good Wife, TVLine reports. The WME-repped actress will play Natalie, a graduate student in whom Eli (Alan Cumming) develops a romantic interest. “We’ve been watching and loving America for years now on Ugly Betty, and it’ll be fantastic to see her take on a completely different role: especially one that puts her across from Alan Cumming,” Good Wife creator-executive producer Robert King said. Read More »
DreamWorks Animation is giving some details surrounding the 2013 3D sequel to How to Train Your Dragon. Most of the the voice cast – including Jay Baruchel, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill and Kristin Wiig — will be back. Dean Deblois will be the lone writer and director, while the first film’s co-director, Chris Sanders, will serve as executive producer. The first entry into the series based on Cressida Cowell’s books grossed almost $500 million worldwide.
MONDAY 11:30 PM: Tonight I’ve been informed by a reliable source that “Capitol Films just had another movie shut down” — identified as An Invisible Sign Of My Own starring America Ferrera, the star of ABC’s Ugly Betty.
So add her name to the star actors and directors like John Cusack, Helen Mirren, Gina Gershon, Joe Pesci, Jan de Bont, and Taylor Hackford whom I’ve learned have been, and Jennifer Lopez with writer-helmer Don Roos, may soon be, impacted by Capitol Films’ cash crunch. “This is a big story that involves many projects,” one of my sources informs. All weekend I reported on the on-set drama surrounding Friday’s shutdown of the David O. Russell film Nailed shooting in South Carolina, sidelining stars Jessica Biel and Jake Gyllenhaal. SAG ordered the actors to leave because insufficient funds were on deposit with the guild. Other unions are looking into the situation. For instance, some Teamsters and IATSE union members left the production because of payroll problems. The film is back shooting today after a Friday-Saturday-Sunday hiatus. But other media sources are now reporting what I revealed on Saturday: that the South Carolina Film Commission may withhold its incentive monies. (A decision will be made when an audit is completed by the panel within 30 days of the end of production.) Now I’ve learned that Nailed was not the only indie film shut down Friday because of Capitol Films’ financing problems: other indie movies have been affected as well. I’m told that “a shitload of people are owed a lot of money,” in the words of one … Read More »