EXCLUSIVE: With their long-running vampire series coming to an end this summer, True Blood stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer are staying in business with HBO. The duo’s production company CASM has signed a two-year, first-look deal with HBO to develop series, films and miniseries. That may include new starring vehicles for Paquin or Moyer as, in addition to producing, the pact includes options for the two to act and direct. This marks the first foray into television for CASM Films, which Paquin and Moyer launched in 2012 with producing partners Cerise Hallam Larkin and Mark Larkin, who, like the True Blood duo, are a married couple.
Phase 4 Films acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights to writer-director Shana Betz’s feature directorial debut Free Ride. The film stars Anna Paquin, Cam Gigandet, Drea De Matteo, Liana Liberato, Jeff Hephner, Brit Morgan and Ava Acres. Scripted by Betz, the film is produced by Susan Dynner, Cerise Hallam Larkin, Chris Swinney and Paquin, and executive produced by Mark Larkin and Stephen Moyer. This is the first film production from Paquin and Moyer’s new production company CASM. Phase 4 will release the film later this year in theaters and on demand. Paquin and Moyer star together in HBO’s True Blood. Set in the 1970s and based on her life story, Betz’s accomplished directorial debut is a provocative crime thriller: Paquin plays a single mother who moves to Florida with her daughters in search of a better life but gets pulled into the high-stakes drug-trade business.
BREAKING: Cargo Entertainment has acquired international rights to Free Ride, a Shana Betz-directed crime drama that stars Anna Paquin and Twilight Saga‘s Cam Gigandet. True Blood star Paquin plays a single mom who moves to Florida with her daughters to try and make a better life but gets caught up in the drug-trade business in the late 1970s. Gigandet plays Paquin’s love interest. Betz, who’s making her directorial debut, wrote the script based on her own life story. The film also stars Liana Liberato, Ava Acres, Drea De Matteo, Jeff Hephner and Paquin’s True Blood cohort Brit Morgan. Cerise Hallam Larkin, Susan Dynner, and Paquin are producing and Mark Larkin and Stephen Moyer are exec producers.
Lindsay called Betz’s story “riveting and awe-inspiring.” Paradigm’s Nick LoPiccolo brokered the deal with Ronald J. Levin and Cargo’s Mark Lindsay and Marina Grasic, and Featured Artists Agency’s Brian Dreyfuss reps Betz and was heavily involved in packaging the project.
This bolsters a Cargo slate at Cannes that includes an adaptation of the Stephen King novel Cell that will star John Cusack, the Thomas Jane-helmed A Magnificent Death From A Shattered Hand, and Andy Garcia’s Hemingway & Fuentes. Paradigm will broker the domestic distribution deal on Free Ride.
The YouTube channel has started production on the web series, a 12-episode scripted drama written and directed by WIGS co-founder Jon Avnet that is slated to premiere later this spring. Anna Paquin and Maggie Grace star in Susanna as two sisters, Katie (Paquin), the mother of a newborn, and her younger sister, Susanna (Grace), an investment banker on the rise who has no interest in becoming a mother. When Katie develops acute postpartum depression and is hospitalized, Susanna must take care of her sister and her sister’s child while trying to keep the biggest business opportunity of her life from being derailed by her sister’s illness. Virginia Madsen and Rob Benedict co-star.
The female-targeted WIGS in February formed a programming, marketing and distribution partnership with Fox, which aims at expanding WIGS’ offerings as well as testing and nurturing dramatic concepts and talent in the digital realm. The idea is to build content that can be programmed on the network and/or other channels. WIGS has more than 130,000 subs and its content has been viewed more than 30 million times. Its offerings include the Julia Stiles-starrer Blue, which premiered its season 2 on March 15; Serena, starring Jennifer Garner and Alfred Molina; and Jan, about a young woman who’s first job goes away starring Madsen, Paquin’s True Blood co-star Stephen Moyer and Caitlin Gerard.
Loretta Devine, Paul McCrane, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jimmy Fallon, Hugh Laurie, Drew Barrymore, Maria Bello, David Boreanaz, Katie Holmes, Annie Ilonzeh, Minka Kelly, Jimmy Kimmel, William H. Macy, Anna Paquin, David Spade, Rachael Taylor and Anna Torv were announced today as the final group of presenters for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, which are set for Sunday at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles. The awards show is being aired live on Fox. (Previous presenters were set here and here and here.)
FILM ROUNDUP: Steve McQueen & Chiwetel Ejiofor Join ‘Twelve Years A Slave’, Film Movement Buys ‘Corpo Celeste’, ‘Straight A’s Lands Leads
Steve McQueen and Chiwetel Ejiofor are going to be seeing a lot of each other. McQueen has come aboard to direct Twelve Years a Slave, which will star Ejiofor in a true story about a New York man who was kidnapped in the mid-1800s and forced to become a slave on a Louisiana cotton plantation. Brad Pitt’s Plan B is producing. The news comes more than a year after Deadline told you that McQueen and Ejiofor are teaming on a Focus Features film based on the Broadway musical Fela!, about African musician-activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Ejiofor has learned to play piano and saxophone for that role. It’s unclear which of these movies will be made first. McQueen — who made waves with his debut film Hunger, about the Irish hunger strike that starred Michael Fassbender and earned the helmer the Camera d’Or at Cannes in 2008 — will premiere his latest feature, Shame, this fall in Venice. …
Film Movement has acquired North American rights to the Cannes Film Festival drama Corpo Celeste, the Italian-language feature that played in the Directors Fortnight sidebar. Alice Rohrwacher’s debut feature follows a 13-year-old girl’s coming-of-age in the poor southern Italian province of Calabria. The company plans a first-quarter 2012 theatrical launch day and date with VOD, with a national rollout to follow.