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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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Sony Titles Pic ‘The Amazing Spider-Man,’ Issues First Shot Of Andrew Garfield As Webslinger

Mike Fleming

CULVER CITY, Calif., February 14, 2011 – Columbia Pictures announced today that the title of the next Spider-Man film will be The Amazing Spider-Man.The studio simultaneously released a photo of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, the first shot of Garfield in the famous full mask and suit.

The film, which is now in production and is being shot entirely in 3D, will be released on July 3, 2012. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field. The film is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt and Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach are producing the Marvel Entertainment production for Columbia Pictures. The executive producers are Stan Lee, Kevin Feige, and Michael Grillo.

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‘The Kings Speech’ & ‘The Social Network’ Still Neck-&-Neck Before British BAFTAs

Sunday’s BAFTA awards — the British equivalent to America’s Oscars — will determine which film is ahead in the UK once and for all. But it’s still a virtual dead heat here between The King’s Speech with 3 honors and The Social Network with 4 even bigger honors at the 31st London Film Critics Circle Awards. The Social Network won Film of the Year; Director of the Year for David Fincher; Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Andrew Garfield; and Screenwriter of the Year for Aaron Sorkin. Colin Firth, who accepted his award in person, won Best Actor, while The King’s Speech also won British Director of the Year for Tom Hooper as well as British Film of the Year. Deadline will have full BAFTA coverage:

31st LONDON CRITIC’S CIRCLE FILM AWARDS
FILM OF THE YEAR

The Social Network (Sony)
Runner-up: The King’s Speech (Momentum)

TOP 10 FILMS of 2010
1. The Social Network (Sony)
2. The King’s Speech (Momentum)
3. Black Swan (Fox)
4. Toy Story 3 (Disney)
5. The Kids Are All Right (Universal)
6. Another Year (Momentum)
7. True Grit (Paramount)
8. Inception (Warner)
9. I Am Love (Metrodome)
10. Winter’s Bone (Artificial Eye)

THE ATTENBOROUGH AWARD: BRITISH FILM OF THE YEAR
The King’s Speech (Momentum)
Runner-up: Another Year (Momentum)

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
Of Gods and Men (Artificial Eye)
Runner-up: I Am Love (Metrodome)

DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
David Fincher – The Social Network (Sony)
Runner-up: Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan (Fox)

BRITISH DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech (Momentum)
Runner-up: Mike Leigh – Another Year (Momentum)

ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Colin Firth – The King’s Speech (Momentum)
Runner-up: Edgar Ramirez

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CAA Signs Director Mark Romanek

Mike Fleming

Feature and video director Mark Romanek has signed with CAA. Romanek, who just directed the Fox Searchlight adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go with Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley, had been repped by WME. Romanek previously directed One Hour Photo and Static, and has helmed music videos with the likes of David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, REM and Madonna.

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BREAKING! Sony Pictures Releases First Look At Andrew Garfield As ‘Spider-Man’



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Emma Stone,Tom Hardy, Andrew Garfield Among Nominees For BAFTA Rising Star

Today at BAFTA Headquarters, jury member, film director, actor, and award-winning singer-songwriter Ben Drew announced the hotly anticipated nominees for the newly named Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award 2011. The nominations recognise five international actors and actresses whose talent has captured the imagination of the British public. The nominees are:

• Gemma Arterton
• Andrew Garfield
• Tom Hardy
• Aaron Johnson
• Emma Stone

Orange’s accolade for up and coming talent is the only award at the Orange British Academy Film Awards that is voted for by the public and, for the first time this year, allowed Orange Wednesdays customers to be part of the selection process. The winner will be announced Sunday, February 13. Previous winners of the award include James McAvoy in 2006, Eva Green in 2007, Shia LaBeouf in 2008, Noel Clarke in 2009 and Kristen Stewart in 2010.

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OSCAR: No T-Day Slowdown For Contenders

Pete Hammond

Traditionally, most Hollywood businesses grind to a halt for the 5-day Thanksgiving holiday. But not this wide-open awards season. Tangled had its official Academy screening last Sunday morning but only drew about 200 people. Instead, the holidays actually seem like a good time to push an animated Disney musical. So Disney isn’t even taking Turkey Day off: instead, the studio has skedded screenings of Tangled at the DGA open to all Guild and Academy members. This isn’t actually a new practice. In the past, Oscar hopefuls like Dreamgirls, The Lord Of The Rings, and others have done the same thing at the DGA theater drawing surprisingly strong crowds of potential voters on a day most people are thought to stay at home. Disney also sent a note warning some early voting groups that they wouldn’t be able to send screeners of the film before deadlines for ballots (piracy concerns are part of that problem), so the T-Day screenings take on even greater import.

Tangled aside, distributors have been rushing to get screeners in as many voter hands as possible before Thanksgiving when they think people will have more time on their hands to pop a DVD in the player before the real crunch comes in December. Among those sent in the last few days are The Social Network, Made In Dagenham, Inside Job, Stone, Let Me In, 127 Hours, Black Swan, Conviction, Never Let Me Go, Toy Story 3, Winter’s Bone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1,  The Town, Inception, Hereafter, Legends Of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole, and The Ghost Writer.

Meanwhile, campaign season continues. Over the weekend, American Cinematheque also proved why it can be a very useful tool during awards season by hosting two sold-out events  for Oscar hopefuls. Saturday night, there was a tribute to Pierce Brosnan at the Aero in Santa Monica with a double feature of Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer and Matador. Inbetween, Pierce appeared for a nearly hour-long Q&A (I moderated) in which he discussed his career from TV’s Remington Steele to James Bond to an Roman Polanski’s Ghost Writer in which he plays ex-British Prime Minister (Tony Blair, anyone?) now writing his controversial memoir. Summit Entertainment is hoping the pic will land him in the Best Supporting Actor conversation. Its early February release is a hindrance but by having a toney organization like American Cinematheque create these little tribute evenings, studios believe they can get the “right” kind of association for their contenders.

It was completely sold out, as was the next night at the same venue which hosted a Q&A session with writer Aaron Sorkin and stars Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield and Armie Hammer following a special screening of Sony Pictures’ The Social Network. All were talking about the genius of Director David Fincher (away on location in Sweden shooting The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake) and the number of takes he would require of his actors. “Sometimes there would be 99 of them, but not 100, never 100,” Timberlake said. In an encouraging sign for writerly respect, most of the audience questions from the predominantly young crowd were surprisingly directed at Sorkin who said dialogue-heavy movie might have been written by Paddy Chayefsky in another era. Not bad company to be in since Paddy won no less than three screenwriting Oscars. Some are asking if there is any way Sorkin can lose the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar this year? Especially after The Social Network opened to near-unanimous acclaim and strong business for a drama.

Other Best Picture competitors were also active over the weekend Read More »

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Martin Sheen Lands ‘Spider-Man’ Role And Sally Field May Be Next

Martin Sheen is joining the Marc Webb-directed 3D Spider-Man movie, playing the role of Uncle Ben. He joins Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans, who were set earlier in the Sony Pictures Entertainment film that begins production in December. Meanwhile, Sally Field is in early talks to join the film as Aunt May. Uncle Ben, who raised Peter Parker along with May, doesn’t last long. That’s no surprise to fans of the comic or the original film series, who watched Uncle Ben get killed by a thief whom Parker could have stopped with his new-found superpowers, but let escape. Sheen has a longer run in The Way, the crowd-pleasing film directed by his son Emilio Estevez that made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival and is still in the process of being set up for distribution.

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Rhys Ifans Cast As The Next Spidey Villain

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Sony Pictures Entertainment has offered the villain role in the Spider-Man reboot to Rhys Ifans. Studio insiders wouldn’t say which villain he’s playing, and there’s been speculation about a bunch of baddies. He’s the next piece in the puzzle after SPE hired Marc Webb to direct, Andrew Garfield to play the wall crawler and Emma Stone to play his first love Gwen Stacy. The Goblin had been involved in the Gwen Stacy storyline from the comics, but there have also been rumors that Spidey will battle Venom. Will tell you when I know for sure. Read More »

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Emma Stone In Spidey — But With Switch!

Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures just confirmed Emma Stone for the female lead in Spider-Man. The surprise? While days ago both the studio and her reps expected her to take the role of Mary Jane Watson, she has instead closed to play Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s first love. Here’s the studio release:

CULVER CITY, Calif., October 5, 2010 – Emma Stone has been cast as the female lead in the upcoming Spider-Man film from Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios, it was announced today by Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Matt Tolmach, president of Columbia Pictures. Stone has been tapped for the role of Gwen Stacy opposite Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. The film, to be directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt and produced by Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin, will begin production in December and will be released in theaters nationwide in 3D on July 3, 2012. The casting continues an association between Sony Pictures Entertainment and the actress

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The Oscar Road Traveled By Toronto Films

Mike Fleming

The business story of the Toronto International Film Festival was a cautious resurgence of the specialty film market. But in my opinion the more compelling and even uplifting story surrounds those Toronto films now emerging as Best Picture Oscar candidates. The reason is that so many of them easily could have fallen apart in the struggle to get them to the big screen if not for the filmmakers’ admirable persistance:

127 Hours: After Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle could have taken a multi-million paycheck to direct James Bond or any of several other big budget studio films. Instead he chose to do on an indie level what Chris Nolan did on a studio level when he used his clout to direct his wholly original spec script Inception. Boyle took an upfront salary of just $666K and put all his Slumdog credibility chips on the table to make 127 Hours. The movie’s pitch — hiker amputates pinned arm with dull knife — is so preposterously non-commercial that even Boyle’s writing partner Simon Beaufoy didn’t get it until Boyle sketched out a first draft that showed the potential for a visceral and spiritually uplifting drama. “Sometimes, and this was the first time for me, you can’t explain it verbally, you have to write it down and test it on your collaborators,” Boyle said. Said producer Christian Colson: “While Slumdog was the classic underdog story — not enough money, nearly went straight to DVD, no stars, no power — … Read More »

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TELLURIDE FILM FESTIVAL KICKING OFF: First Stop Of Hollywood Awards Season

Pete Hammond

TELLURIDE: The Emmys may have just ended but that isn’t stopping the Hollywood film awards machine from kicking into gear already. First on Wednesday at the Venice Film Festival with a rapturous reception for opener Black Swan which received a resounding standing ovation for director Darren Aronofsky and stars Natalie Portman and Vincent Cassel. And then tomorrow at the 37th annual Telluride Film Festival, which is the first U.S. stop on the long freight train to the Oscars.

The Telluride fest officially begins Friday morning and runs through Labor Day in this remote and rustic Colorado town. This must-stop for cineastes known for its friendly, relaxed vibe and its esoteric mix of indie, foreign, and classics has also in recent years become an early, important cog in the awards industry engine. It’s where such Best Picture winners and nominees like Slumdog Millionaire, Juno and Up In The Air have launched their campaigns even before they hit the much bigger and more publicized Toronto Film Festival (beginning September 9th this year). Telluride’s lineup is always kept a secret until the last minute and was finally revealed today. In addition to such little known entries as Oka! Amerikee, and Pygmies In Paris, there will be a slew of Oscar hopefuls rolling into town jazzing things up. The festival is able to get these films because they don’t advertise them in advance and is happy to let Toronto claim North American or even World Premieres even though technically it’s all happening here this weekend.

Fox Searchlight officially has Never Let Me Go with Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield on the schedule. But it will be “sneaking” the aforementioned Black Swan with Aronofsky and Portman making the trek from Venice pre-Toronto, and Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours which will see the director coming back for a good-luck visit to the place that started his march to Oscar glory two years ago with Slumdog. Also here, The Weinstein Company’s period drama, The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush and directed by Tom Hooper (The Damned United), and the genuine “World Premiere” (it’s not even on the Toronto slate) of Peter Weir’s The Way Back, an epic adventure produced by National Geographic that even with this veteran director and a cast that includes Ed Harris and Colin Farrell is still angling for a good distribution deal. [Later Thursday, they announced that they secured a distributor, Newmarket, and plan to release in January.] Last year the Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer film, The Last Station came quietly into Telluride, landed a deal with Sony Pictures Classics and won a couple of major acting Oscar nominations just a few months later. Maybe Telluride will prove just as lucky for Weir, whose last movie was 2003’s Oscar-nominated Master And Commander. Weir is one of three veterans getting tributes here in addition to Firth and Italy’s legendary Claudia Cardinale.

Among Cannes premieres showing up in America for the first time here are  Mike Leigh’s Another Year, Stephen Frear’s British comedy Tamara Drewe, the acclaimed financial meltdown documentary Inside Job, and Sylvain Chomet’s animated gem, The Illusionist, all from Sony Pictures Classics which has a big presence as usual. That also includes Cannes Grand Prize winner Of Gods And Men, the stirring drama almost certain to be France’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language film Oscar this year. Other Cannes titles making the journey are France’s Princess Of Montpensier, Korea’s Poetry, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s stirring Biutiful that won Best Actor for Javier Bardem in Cannes and has been picked up domestically by Roadside Attractions, and IFC’s Carlos, the 3-part biopic of terrorist Carlos The Jackal that premieres stateside in October. Cannes Fest director Thierry Fremaux is here, too, justifiably proud that so many of his cinematic discoveries were chosen.

Coming in together on the one and only festival charter today was a spirited group including Fremaux, Firth, Rush, Hooper, Weir, Harris, Mulligan (who was here last year with An Education), Inarritu, and many others including a gaggle of producers, directors, agents, studio execs, media types (yes, including me) and publicists. Former Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences President Sid Ganis was on board (the Academy is a loyal sponsor) as was last year’s guest “curator”  Alexander Payne (Sideways) who told me he was coming back this time as a fan just to “see movies”. I told Firth I had just gotten an early look at his (terrific) King’s Speech last night in a Beverly Hills screening room, and he said it must have been hot off the presses as Hooper just finished it two days ago. He hasn’t even seen the finished product yet. Waiting at the Montrose airport for his suitcase to be unloaded, Geoffrey Rush spotted Ed Harris and told him he had a script the actor should look at. Read More »

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‘Never Let Me Go’ Opening London Festival

Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan are expected to make Red Carpet appearances on October 13th because their film Never Let Me Go is opening the London Film Festival. Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) has directed Alex Garland’s (Sunshine) adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel. Fox releases the film in the UK on January 14. Knightley, Mulligan, and Andrew Garfield (the new Spider-Man) play three schoolfriends who realise their idyllic English boarding school hides a dark secret…

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Hot Teaser Trailer: ‘The Social Network’

Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures has released another teaser trailer for the David Fincher-directed Facebook film The Social Network. This time, they’ve included the studio’s new Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield, who edged out a strong field of young actors because of his role as Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network.

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Facebook Film ‘The Social Network’ Opens New York Film Festival

Mike Fleming

THE WORLD PREMIERE OF DAVID FINCHER’S THE SOCIAL NETWORK SELECTED AS OPENING NIGHT FILM

NEW YORK, July 8, 2010 – The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today that David Fincher’s The Social Network has been selected as the Opening Night film for their upcoming 48th Annual New York Film Festival, kicking off at Alice Tully Hall on Friday September 24th. Directed by Fincher from a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network stars Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake. The film is set to be released by Sony Pictures Entertainment on October 1, 2010. The New York Film Festival runs September 24th – October 10th, 2010.

“It’s exceptionally rare to discover a film that so powerfully captures the spirit of its time; The Social Network is such a film. David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin are a director/writer team, like Lumet and Chayefsky before them, that make this movie not only of the moment, but reflective of larger cultural issues as well, and confirm their position at forefront of contemporary cinema,” says Richard Peña, Selection Committee Chair & Program Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center.

On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest

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Sony Pictures Selects New ‘Spider-Man’; He’s 26-Yr-Old Brit Actor Andrew Garfield

New ‘Spider-Man’ Latest Twist To Reboot Tired Franchise

Andrew GarfieldCULVER CITY, Calif., July 1, 2010 – After a comprehensive worldwide casting search, Andrew Garfield has been chosen to portray Peter Parker when Spider-Man swings back onto the screen in 3D on July 3, 2012.  The new film will begin production in early December directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt.  Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad will produce the film from Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios.

Today’s confirmation culminates what has been one of the most eagerly anticipated casting announcements in recent memory. Bloggers, pop culture speculators, and everyday fans have pored over and analyzed every conceivable online rumor in an attempt to discover the identity of the next actor to play Peter Parker. Garfield will immediately begin preparing for the coveted role.

The Spider-Man franchise is one of the most successful in film history and the three previous motion pictures have collectively grossed more than $2.5 billion in worldwide box office.

On selecting Garfield, director Marc Webb said, “Though his name may be new to many, those who know this young actor’s work understand his extraordinary talents. He has a rare combination of intelligence, wit, and humanity. Mark my words, you will love Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker.”

Commenting on the announcement, Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Matt Tolmach, President of Columbia Pictures said, “Spider-Man is a classic superhero

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Sony Views Screen Tests Of ‘Spider-Man’ Finalists; Decision Expected Shortly

Mike Fleming

spiderman21EXCLUSIVE: Sony’s Columbia Pictures is getting closer to finding its new Spider-Man. I On Friday, studio decision-makers viewed the screen tests of most of the young actors they are seriously considering to play Peter Parker in the Marc Webb-directed relaunch of Spider-Man.

I’m told that nobody has won the job yet. It is possible that more candidates will be added. But there is a strong list of actors who screen tested, and most likely the new Peter Parker is among them. I’m told that the candidates whose screen tests were viewed Friday are:  Jamie Bell (the Billy Elliot star who wrapped the Kevin Macdonald-directed The Eagle of the Ninth) , Star Trek’s Anton Yelchin, Kick-Ass’s Aaron Johnson, Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) and Alden Ehrenreich (Tetro). Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince) and Michael Angerano (Lords of Dogtown) are also in the final list that the studio is working from. I’m not sure if Angarano tested. I’ve heard Dillane decided not to because he is likely headed to attend drama school at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

The studio wants to lock in its superhero soon, so that supporting roles can be cast around him. Production will begin before the year ends and the film has locked a July 3, 2012 release. The script by Jamie Vanderbilt is still being worked on, and (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb … Read More »

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