EXCLUSIVE: A day after Paradigm announced the addition of ex-CAA agent Manny Nunez, his longtime client Antonio Banderas is joining him. The actor-director-producer has been plenty busy, recently wrapping filming on The Expendables 3. He is now shooting The 33, co-starring Juliette Binoche and produced by Mike Medavoy, and is playing a pirate in SpongeBob SquarePants 2. Nunez started at Paradigm yesterday after two decades at CAA and in his new role will become a key member of the Film Finance Group, while also repping clients in talent and motion picture lit from the agency’s Beverly Hills headquarters.
I’ve confirmed that Mel Gibson and Antonio Banderas have joined The Expendables 3, the Millennium Entertainment pic that already picked up Harrison Ford to add to the cast that has begun to resemble the Old Timers Day game held annually at Yankee Stadium. Sylvester Stallone continues to bring in aging action muscle for the franchise he hatched back in 2010. Why Stallone and Millennium continue to ignore Jeff Speakman and Brian Bosworth is beyond me, and they seem to be about the only action heroes who haven’t joined the beefcake brigade. Is Sly saving them for a fourth movie?
Antonio Banderas will play Mario Sepulveda, aka Super Mario, in The 33, the feature version of the saga of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days in 2010. Martin Sheen and Rodrigo Santoro are also joining the ensemble. Mike Medavoy secured the miners’ exclusive life rights last year and developed the project in collaboration with the men, their rescuers and their families. Patricia Riggen (La Misma Luna) will direct with production scheduled to begin in the fall. Good Universe is handling international sales. Medavoy and Edward McGurn are producing with Carlos Eugenio Lavin and Leopoldo Enriquez exec producing.
Cari Lynn is an AwardsLine contributor
Puss in Boots has not yet acquired his ogre-killing ways (nor his hairballs) in his eponymous feature film debut — a “prequel” to Puss’ supporting role in 2004’s Shrek 2. Still, director Chris Miller’s affection for the swashbuckling feline, to say nothing of the vigorous marketing and awards-savvy support of DreamWorks Animation, has helped propel Puss In Boots to a Best Feature Animation Oscar nomination.
“I loved the character of Puss in Boots as soon as he appeared,” says Miller, who was head of story on Shrek 2 and went on to direct Shrek The Third. “I can’t take credit for its origin [in Shrek 2], but once the character appeared, everyone wanted to write for him. I’ve always loved his devilish sense of adventure — and Antonio Banderas’ persona coming out of this tiny, adorable package.”
EXCLUSIVE: 24 alum Jeffrey Nordling has been tapped to co-star opposite Melanie Griffith in Lifetime’s drama pilot American Housewife, which Griffith is executive producing with husband/producing partner Antonio Banderas. Young actress Kacey Rohl also has been cast in the pilot, written/executive produced by Erik Jendresen based on an idea by him and Banderas, and also executive produced by Ray Ricord. Directed by David Slade and produced by Fox TV Studios, American Housewife centers on Leila (Griffith), a seemingly perfect housewife living the American Dream in an affluent neighborhood, married to wealthy up-and-coming politician Stanford (Nordling) with whom she has three grown or almost-grown children. Rohl will play the youngest, Harper, 17, a high-school National Honor student who has a crush on one of her dad’s campaign aides. Leila’s life is filled with chaos, but lately even her quiet moments are not so quiet — she’s begun hearing a voice, and it’s telling her things she doesn’t want to know. Nordling, who is recurring on ABC’s Body Of Proof, is repped by APA which also reps Rohl, along with Red Management.
Almodóvar AFI Retrospective Adds ‘Eyes Without A Face,’ ‘Le Cercle Rouge,’ ‘Nightmare Alley,’ ‘The Killers’
LOS ANGELES, CA, October 25, 2011 – AFI Fest presented by Audi, a showcase of the most anticipated films and performances of the year, today announced the film retrospective curated by Guest Artistic Director Pedro Almodóvar for the 25th edition of the festival. In addition to the previously announced screening of his film Law of Desire as An Evening With Pedro Almodóvar Gala presentation on Monday, November 7, Almodóvar’s program of classic horror films and thrillers are Eyes Without a Face (Dir. Georges Franju, 1960), Le Cercle Rouge (Dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, 1970), Nightmare Alley (Dir. Edmund Goulding, 1947) and The Killers (Dir. Robert Siodmak, 1946).
2ND UPDATE, 12:25 AM: First there was the $35,800-per-person fundraising dinner tonight with Will Smith hosted by his Overbrook Entertainment producing partner and manager James Lassiter. Then President Obama headed over to the home of Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith for a somewhat lower-key event aimed at Latino supporters. He was introduced by Eva Longoria who said Obama “knows he’s the president of all Americans” and that “we thank you for everything you’re doing.” Obama leaves town after Tuesday’s Jay Leno taping.
UPDATE (correcting misidentification), 8:01 p.m.: This evening’s Los Angeles traffic snarl at rush hour was just that much worse because President Barack Obama arrived at LAX on board Air Force One at 4:30 PM. He’s attending two Hollywood political fundraisers for the Democratic Party tonight, first at producer James Lassiter’s mansion and then Melanie Griffith’s and Antonio Banderas’ home. Potus will be making a Tonight Show appearance with Jay Leno tomorrow before jetting out of town. According to the White House pool report, Obama first helicoptered to a landing zone in Brentwood and the motorcade made an “off-the-record” visit to Roscoe’s chicken and waffle house. The president ordered at the counter for himself (and nearby aides) the No. 9 “Country Boy” – 3 wings with choice of waffle, potato salad or French fries ($8.90). He then started chatting with diners. I say who cares if you like Obama’s politics or not: he’s got good taste when it comes to LA’s favorite eats.
Then the motorcade traveled to Hancock Park for the first fundraiser hosted by Lassiter, who is Will Smith’s production partner in Overbrook Entertainment which manages the entire Pinkett-Smith family. Here is the pool report written by the Los Angeles Times‘ Peter Nicholas:
Lifetime has greenlighted to pilot American Housewife, a drama that has Melanie Griffith is negotiations to star as well as executive produce with husband/producing partner Antonio Banderas. The pilot, which David Slade (Eclipse) is in negotiations to direct, was written by Erik Jendresen (Band Of Brothers) based on an idea by him and Banderas. American Housewife, produced by Fox TV Studios, centers on a mother of two children who has conversations with her inner voice while dealing with one of her kids leaving home for college and the other remaining at home. In addition to Griffith, Banderas and Jendresen, the pilot will be executive produced by Jendresen’s producing partner Ray Ricord. Banderas worked with Jendresen on the Tony Krantz-directed movie The Big Bang, which Jendresen wrote and produced and Banderas starred in. The two are now collaborating on a new feature project, Solo.
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that Oscar’s ever-growing Foreign-Language Film lineup has received shockers from Spain and Italy. Spain didn’t select the presumed favorite, two-time Oscar winner Pedro Almodovar with his The Skin I Live In starring frequent Almodovar collaborator Antonio Banderas. Instead, Spain chose the more obscure Pa Negre (Black Bread), an eerie mystery set in the years following the Spanish Civil War. It swept the Goya awards in February, winning 9 out of 14 nominations. (Almodovar’s film just opened in Spain this month and won’t be eligible until next year’s Goya contest.) It is true that Almodovar has been consistently snubbed by the Spanish Film Academy, which makes the selections. The renowned director was bypassed for Talk To Her and Broken Embraces after winning the Oscar for Spain for All About My Mother in 1999. The situation got so contentious for a while that Almodovar actually resigned from the Spanish Academy as a protest against what he perceived as unfair voting practices. However, letting bygones be bygones, he did rejoin in April of this year. It was expected that goodwill gesture would be enough to put him back in the driver’s seat when it came time to vote for the Academy submission. But once again Spain’s most famous director has been overlooked in favor of another: the talented Agusti Villaronga, who does not nearly enjoy the international reputation of Almodovar. Sony Pictures Classics picked up Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In and will release it stateside on October 21st. Pa Negre has played …
BREAKING: Relativity Media will distribute Haywire, the Steven Soderbergh-directed action film that will get a Jan. 20, 2012 release date. Though Relativity Media financed the pic, it was originally going to be released domestically by Lionsgate. I’m told it was a better fit for Relativity. The film will be released overseas by Lionsgate. It becomes the second film in two days to move from Lionsgate to Relativity Media. The other was Machine Gun Preacher, and that one moved because director Marc Forster wanted it released this year and Lionsgate was unable to accommodate it because of a busy fall schedule.
It’s all over but the verdict. Sunday night will bring the Cannes Film Festival to a close with the announcement of winners for the various awards given for the Official Competition of this 64th Cannes affair. And it looks like a wide-open race for the coveted Palme d’Or. No one film seems to have jumped clearly ahead as there is still lots of speculation about whether it could be the Malick (cineaests here refer to the movies by their directors’ last names, not the film title), the Dardennes for the third time, the Kaurismaki, the Winding Refn, the Hazanavicius, the Almodovar or, heaven forbid(!), the von Trier. Or maybe, as so often happens, it will go to the unexpected or something no one is really buzzing about on the Croisette.
Saturday night brought the final two films in the competition. Radu Mihaileanu’s French entry La Source Des Femmes (The Source) was rapturously received at its 7 PM Lumiere premiere with a prolonged standing ovation and much applause even during the film itself. The story, or fable, of a group of women in a small village (somewhere between North Africa and the Middle East) who decide to wage a controversial sex strike unless their men help them fetch the water is entertaining and enlightening and could figure as a last-minute contender (as well as a strong possibility to be France’s entry for the Oscars). I doubt that will be the case for the final film, which premiered at 10:30 PM: Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s two-hour-and-37-minute Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, which I think may still be going on. The longest in 20-film group of contenders feels twice that length, a contemplative minimalist art film with no music and no real plot beyond anything a typical episode of CSI covers in its first five minutes. It is one of those movies fest directors love where people stare a lot, ponder a lot and talk about being bored. At least it provided some much-needed nap time; maybe the jury will give Ceylan a prize for letting them catch up on their sleep. He won an award here in 2008 for the overrated Three Monkeys, so you never know, but Robert De Niro’s jury has a lot better choices than this. Can you tell I am not a fan?
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Anchor Bay Films will release the thriller The Big Bang, directed by Tony Krantz and starring Antonio Banderas. Under the terms of the agreement, Anchor Bay Films acquires all distribution rights in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand. The company anticipates releasing The Big Bang in the second quarter of 2011. The announcement was made today by Anchor Bay Entertainment president Bill Clark.
To all those agents who secretly dream of directing… I can’t think of a Hollywood journey like Tony Krantz’s. The son of Beverly Hills novelist Judith Krantz, he went from head of primetime packaging at CAA (where he helped put together ER, The West Wing, Twin Peaks, Beverly Hills 90210) and then CEO of Imagine Television (where he exec produced Felicity and 24 among other shows with JJ Abrams, Peter Berg, Aaron Sorkin, and David Lynch) to directing 3 1/2 years ago. Since then, he’s helmed 3 films. The first two, Sublime (a surreal horror flicks) and Otis (a horror comedy), were put out by Warner Bros Home Video under the Raw Feed genre label. Now he’s wrapped directing his first theatrical which has just landed distribution with Anchor Bay after a competitive bidding situation.
Titled The Big Bang, the stylish noir indie was produced by Richard Rionda’s Hannibal Pictures and Krantz’s own Flame Ventures and stars Antonio Banderas with a large supporting cast including Sam Elliott, William Fichtner, Thomas Kretschmann, Delroy Lindo, Sienna Guillory, and Snoop Dogg. It was written by Erik Jendresen (Band Of Brothers). WME’s Graham Taylor orchestrated the sale.
Krantz is keeping his hand in TV. His company just sold 4 dramas (the most of any indie) to NBC this year: The Fixer, written by Wayne Kramer (The Cooler) and co-produced with Colin Callender, the former head of HBO movies; Sideline Reporter, written by Ron Shelton (Bull Durham); Ritual Crime, written by Adam Simon (Haunting In Connecticut); and Untitled Dance Drama, written by Duane Adler …
Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communications has brought the Doha Film Institute aboard as a co-producer of Black Gold, the Jean-Jacques Annaud-directed feature that began production in Tunisia on October 18. DFI, making its first foray into a major international feature production, will provide a mix of equity, services and locations. Even though the $55 million picture is directed by a French helmer, Black Gold is shaping up to be groundbreaking for a film that is back by Arabs with subject matter about them. An adaptation of the Hans Reusch novel The Great Thirst, Black Gold stars Antonio Banderas, Tahar Rahim, Mark Strong, Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed and Liya Kebede. The drama is about the rivalry between two Emirs in Arabia in the 1930s, just as oil is being discovered, and the rise of a young dynamic leader who unites the various tribes of the desert kingdoms. The film is being earmarked for Christmas, 2011 release, and Warner Bros has signed on to distribute in France, UK, Latin America and the Middle East, while Universal Pictures International will release it in Germany and Spain and Quinta’s Eagle Pictures has Italy.
Warner Bros and Universal are sharing territories on Tunisian entrepreneur Tarak Ben Ammar’s next feature Black Gold. The story revolves around the rivalry between Arabian rulers in the 1930s just as oil is being discovered, and the rise of a young, dynamic leader who unites the various tribes of the desert kingdoms. Filming begins in Tunisia on October 18, with shooting taking place in Ben Ammar’s Empire Studios and on location in Tunisia. Tahar Rahim (A Prophet), Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes), Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Riz Ahmed and Liya Kebede star along with Banderas. Jean-Jacques Annaud (Enemy at the Gate, Seven Years In Tibet) will direct, based on the screenplay by Menno Meyjes (Empire of the Sun, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). Warner will distribute in France, the UK, Latin America and the Middle East. Universal Pictures International (UPI) is releasing the film in Germany and Spain. Quinta Communications’ Eagle Pictures is handling distribution in Italy. Quinta says remaining territories are being finalised for a worldwide Christmas 2011 release. Ben Ammar, who sits on the board of The Weinstein Company, most recently co-produced Rachid Bouchareb’s Outside the Law.
While there has been a high level of suspense over the acquisitions of pictures shown at Toronto, this wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger. Because it marks the 10th collaboration between Pedro Almodovar and Sony Pictures Classics’ Michael Barker and Tom Bernard who acquired North American rights to his new film The Skin That I Inhabit. The picture, which begins shooting in August, is a gothic tale about a father avenging his daughter’s death, inspired by the Thierry Jonquet novel Mygale. It stars Antonio Banderas, whose breakthrough came in the Almodovar-directed Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down. Banderas stars with Talk to Her stars Elena Anaya and Marisa Paredes.