EXCLUSIVE: Fresh from her Oscar-nominated performance in American Hustle, Amy Adams is in early talks to team with Prisoners helmer Denis Villeneuve on Story Of Your Life, the sci-fi thriller based on a short story by Ted Chiang, a top contemporary author in the genre. Scripted by Eric Heisserer, the thriller takes place after alien crafts land around the world. An expert linguist is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. As she learns to communicate with the aliens, she begins experiencing vivid flashbacks that become the key to unlocking the greater mystery about the true purpose of their visit. It would be a departure for both Adams and Villeneuve, who broke through with Incendies.
Michael Wilkinson, who is nominated for Best Costume Design Oscar for Sony/Annapurna’s American Hustle , began working with costumes on theater productions in Sydney when he was 17. After dabbling behind the scenes on several productions, his interest as a costume designer took hold and he eventually found himself working with director Jim Sharman (best known to American audiences for directing/co-writing The Rocky Horror Picture Show). Together they worked on such theater productions as Jean Genet’s Splendid and The Tempest at the Sydney Opera House. It was the opening night of The Tempest when the director gave him a book about Italian costume designer Piero Tosi, who had worked with such legendary directors as Federico Fellini and Franco Zeffirelli and was nominated for an Oscar in 1972 for his work on director Luchino Visconti’s Death In Venice. “He showed me that costume design is an art form,” said Wilkinson. The Italian master used texture, fabric and design to wrap the essence of the character around an audience, whether it be working-class people or those of the social elite. And Tosi’s artistry in that kind of diversity inspired Wilkinson.
Berlin Briefs: Jake Gyllenhaal & Amy Adams Board ‘Ezekiel Moss’; Jessica Alba To Star In Atlas’ ‘The Wright Girls’ Directed By Kevin Connolly; More
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The Prohibition-era drama Ezekiel Moss is moving forward, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams set to star and Philip Seymour Hoffman set to direct the pic written by Keith Bunin, whose script made the 2011 Black List. A Likely Story and Mandalay Vision, which secured the project back then, are aboard, with Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman and Mandalay’s Cathy Schulman producing with PalmStar Media Capital’s Kevin Frakes and Merced Media Partners’ Raj Brinder Singh. The story follows Iris (Adams) who, emotionally fragile by the recent loss of her husband, manages to scrape by to provide for her spirited son by running a boarding house in a small town overrun by religious fervor. Their lives are forever changed when she begins to fall in love with Ezekiel Moss (Gyllenhaal), a mysterious drifter who has the divine ability to channel and physically inhabit the spirits of the dead. Exclusive Media and its president of international sales and distribution Alex Walton will handle overseas sales at the upcoming European Film Market in Berlin.
Jessica Alba has signed on to star and Kevin Connolly has signed on to direct The Wright Girls, based on the Japanese film 2LDK. Bert V Royal wrote the screenplay and production is set to begin in the second quarter of this year in LA. The story centers on Kate and Vanessa, co-stars on a past-its-prime sitcom and roommates in real life. When they realize they are both up for the same lead role in a big movie that could catapult their careers, they go from best friends to worst enemies in the course of one action-packed night. Atlas Independent’s William Green and Aaron Ginsberg will produce with Atlas Entertainment’s Alex Gartner. Highland Film Group will sell it at EFM. Alba and Connolly are repped by CAA and 3 Arts Entertainment. Royal is repped by Paradigm.
Diane Haithman and Cari Lynn are contributing to Deadline’s Oscar coverage.
On every film there’s someone who doesn’t get as much credit as they deserve. People in the background who fight for the movie, whose insight or work is crucial to the film, whose efforts start the ball rolling. For instance, for Gravity, it was Alfonso Cuaron‘s son (and writing partner, Jonas), who inspired him by saying, “Your films are all right, but you’ve got to get more entertaining,” Cuaron remembered backstage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel after the Golden Globes last Sunday. “It could be more fun. And that was the point of departure to do this film.” Also, if it weren’t for former Warner Bros. president of the Motion Picture Group Jeff Robinov, the film would not have gotten made. It got shoved aside by Universal after Angelina Jolie dropped out and Warner Bros. couldn’t get its co-financiers to step up to the plate. Enter Robinov who was the behind the scenes champion on the film which now has a worldwide gross of $675M. For 12 Years a Slave, it was Steve McQueen‘s wife Bianca Stigter who found the book and alerted her husband who had been wanting to make a film about slavery. Today, we asked some of the nominees who, if anyone, also deserved special recognition. These are some of the responses.
Amy Adams, Best Actress nominee, American Hustle:
“The unsung hero? That’s our Steadicam operator Geoff [Haley] – I’m not even kidding. Because David [O. Russell] works in 360 and you can plan what the shot is but the shot is pretty much what David O. Russell is yelling at the moment. Geoff is running around all day with a Steadicam on and I would look at him and go I don’t know how you’re doing this if I’m barely standing at the end of the day. He was amazing. He’s our dance partner. Any place we moves he’s moving – and sometimes it’s without planning… It’s an amazing thing to watch.”
Matthew McConaughey, Best Actor nominee, Dallas Buyers Club:
The under the radar person that’s not really been brought up out in the light as much as I would have liked is Jean-Marc [Valée], the director. He came out, he’s only been on couple of panels. Mind you was off making another film, which is priority one. But this guy brought the right sensitivity to the anarchy of Ron Woodruff’s story. He saw what it was from the beginning. His ideas for how to approach different scenes were wild but always very human. We know when you read this script, this could be one movies that’s an independent, that’s very important – but is it going to be entertaining? We got away with importance and entertainment. That’s a big coup for a movie like this.
Finally, an awards show for all those people who usually get played off the stage after 45 seconds. Actually last night’s event at the Ebell Theatre was the 7th Annual Hamilton Behind The Camera Awards, an honor for which actors need not apply except as a presenter. Production Designers, Casting Directors, Film Editors, Costume Designers, Cinematographers, even a Property Master got to be in the spotlight here. Yes, there were some “above the line” awards too including David O. Russell (American Hustle) for Directing, Brad Ingelsby and Scott Cooper (Out Of The Furnace) for writing, Saudi Arabia’s Haifaa Al Mansour (Wadja) for Foreign Film and Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter (Dallas Buyers Club) for Producing. I am not exactly sure who votes on these except to say the watchmaker bases the choice of honorees on “the knowledgeable advice of professionals” which I imagine is code for studio publicists who want to get their Oscar contenders out winning something on a November Sunday night. There were lots of PR people swarming the red carpet last night so Hamilton definitely has this on the Hollywood radar. Nevertheless it was a nice, well-organized event and any awards show devoted to the artists who make great movies happen behind the scenes is a worthwhile one.
Numerous actors did show up to make the presentations including Casey Affleck to his Out Of The Furnace writer/director Cooper who was excited about the early trade reviews from the intense film’s AFI Fest premiere the night before. After the Hamilton award he was heading to the DGA where he was thrilled William Friedkin would be doing the Q&A following their official screening. He told me the movie was a “very personal” one that is really about examining the “times in which we live” over the past five years in a country that he says is the “most violent” on earth. Cooper got laughs though in his acceptance when he talked about his very first watch, a Hamilton. “I cherished it until it stopped working. But it sure looked good,” he said which was not exactly the kind of ringing endorsement for which the evening’s sponsor might have been hoping.
Writer Sues Warner Bros And Others Claiming They Stole Idea For Clint Eastwood’s ‘Trouble With The Curve’
Ryan A. Brooks filed a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California claiming that Warner Bros’ Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic Trouble With The Curve came from three of his copyrighted scripts and a concept reel from Brooks’ production company. Among the defendants named in the 119-page suit (read it here) is Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions, several Warner Bros divisions and talent agencies UTA and Gersh. It alleges that the script of the 2012 movie credited to Randy Brown was actually penned by Don Handfield, whom Brooks had contracted on a work-for-hire basis along with his wife Tressa Difiglia Handfield to help him write Omaha, also a baseball movie with a father-daughter story at its center. “The copyrighted scripts and concept reel bear more than a striking resemblance to Trouble With The Curve“, said Gerard P. Fox, who is representing Brooks and his company Gold Glove Productions.
The final prerelease look at Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot starts with about a minute worth of Kal-El/Clark Kent’s rather unconventional youth and gives way into a quick-cut melange of explosions, outer-space action and general mayhem. But it also finds time for a brief tender moment between Our Hero (Henry …
The final trailer before the Superman reboot takes flight has hit the web. General Zod issues an ominous message for us Earthlings: “Your world has sheltered one of my citizens. … To those of you who know his location, the fate of your planet rests in your hands.” Legendary’s …
Monica Corcoran Harel is contributing to Deadline’s Golden Globes coverage.
Every year of awards shows, the meeting between the entertainment industry and the fashion industry keeps melding. The fashion houses depend on celebs to advertise the brands. The 70th Golden Globes was no exception. So what’s black and white and red all over? The aerial view of the entrance to the Beverly Hilton, with the majority of actresses opted for tried and true names like Chanel, Oscar De La Renta, Versace, and Dior. Besides black, there were varying shades of crimson from deep oxblood to candy apple. It all felt like an ultra chic Fellini funeral procession of widows in black and mistresses wearing scandalous red.
That speck of spectral white, of course, would be the night’s Best Supporting Actress – Comedy or Drama winner Anne Hathaway. The actress, looking like a young French bride with a few cigarettes tucked in her garter, wisely chose a beaded Chanel that made her stand alone in a sea of chic. This year, it was about 53 degrees on the red carpet during arrival time and fashion commentators made a big deal about brave actresses with bare shoulders. Bah. As Renoir once said, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”
The red brigade began early, with Zooey Deschanel in a lot of Oscar de la Renta worn with a set of pearls and a high pert ponytail. Thankfully, the snug sweetheart bodice contrasted with her excess of skirt. Claire Danes followed in a lipstick-bright but simple Versace halter gown that just about did the trick. (Danes, with a newborn at home and currently nursing, gets high marks for showing up sans spit-up on her train.) Next, Jennifer Lawrence and Marion Cotillard both sashayed down the carpet in Dior Haute Couture red with matching gold-mirrored belts. (The two are contracted to always wear the venerable design house, so no surprises there.) I particularly liked Lawrence’s retro-inspired bodice and Cotillard’s hip, asymmetrical hemline.
Anthony D’Alessandro is Managing Editor of AwardsLine.
When it comes to straddling comedy and drama, few performers possess range and commercial longevity. Count Amy Adams as one of those few. In the afterglow of her Oscar-nominated turn as the filter-less Southern-fried Ashley in 2005’s Junebug, Adams continues to rally Academy voters for her somber roles (her suspicious nun in 2008’s Doubt and her Gaelic gal in 2010’s The Fighter) as well as families for her Disney films (last winter’s The Muppets and 2007’s Enchanted). In her latest role as Peggy Dodd, the woman behind Philip Seymour Hoffman’s philosophical cult leader Lancaster Dodd in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, Adams brings a fierce gravitas to every scene she’s in, even when she isn’t speaking. When deconstructing her process, Adams is literally speechless: “The mystery of working with Paul is part of the wonderful experience. You have to invest in the moment and invest in the experience. Of course, you can ask questions. But I always find that living the experience is the answer.”
AwardsLine: You can play comedy and serious drama equally. Was achieving this dynamic something you and your talent reps planned or was it serendipity?
Amy Adams: It wasn’t so much that we sat there and had a strategy meeting. I finished The Muppets and was looking for what I would be doing next, and The Master presented itself. I do like to challenge myself and have it feel like different experiences in developing characters. Then I went from The Master to Superman. So it’s something I’m looking for from project to project rather than an overall strategy.
Here’s another trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, from The Weinstein Company. The first one focused on Joaquin Phoenix’s character’s restless and destructive nature, and now that character connects with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s The Master, who starts his own belief system. These are unorthodox vignettes, and …