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Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘The Simpsons’ Getting the Lego Treatment; Locarno Fest Opens With ’2 Guns’ This Week

By | Tuesday August 6, 2013 @ 2:00am PDT

Woo-Hoo! ‘The Simpsons’ Lego Set Coming Next Year
Lego said Monday that it will launch its first set based on The Simpsons next year. A spokesman for the privately held Danish toymaker wouldn’t single out which characters will be Lego-ized, but he said the company hopes the set will “appeal to fans of the Simpsons family”. Fox’s The Simpsons, which starts its record 25th primetime season in the fall, joins such big-name Lego properties as Star Wars and The Hobbit.

Locarno Film Festival Kicks Off Wednesday With ’2 Guns’ International Premiere
The 66th Festival del film Locarno, the first edition with Carlo Chatrian as Artistic Director, begins Wednesday with the Piazza Grande Opening Ceremony. The evening will begin with the presentation of the official juries and preview extracts from films taking part in the Concorso internazionale. The Moët & Chandon Excellence Award then will be presented to Christopher Lee, followed by the international premiere of the Denzel Washington-Mark Wahlberg action-comedy 2 Guns — which topped the domestic box office this past weekend — introduced by director Baltasar Kormakur. The festival, which runs through August 17 in the Swiss city, will screen 250 films from 40-plus countries across 10 venues. Among the boldfaced names set to appear are Werner Herzog, Faye Dunaway, Jacqueline Bisset, Brie Larson and Moritz Bleibtreu. Special effects wizard Douglas Trumbull will … Read More »

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‘2 Guns’ To Have International Premiere As Locarno Film Festival Opener

Baltasar Kormákur‘s breakout film 101 Reykjavik debuted in competition at Locarno in 2000. The director returns to the fest this year with actioner 2 Guns. The Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg film will be released Stateside on August 2 and have its international premiere in Locarno on August 7. The story follows two undercover federal operatives from competing bureaus who are forced on the run together. Universal is releasing domestically. French documentary On The Way To School closes the fest August 17.

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Baltasar Kormakur Eyes Feature On Scandal That Inspired Cannes Pic ‘On The Job’

By | Thursday June 20, 2013 @ 11:28am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Baltasar Kormakur, who most recently helmed Contraband and The Deep, has got studios hot and bothered over a new film he’s putting together to produce and direct. It’s an English-language thriller based on a story he hatched from his own research that centers on a real-life corruption scandal involving the release of inmates for a day to serve as hired killers for crooked politicians. These same events inspired the Filipino movie On The Job, which recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Kormakur will produce through his Blueeyes Productions. XYZ Films, the production and sales company that represents the international rights to On the Job, will also produce. On The Job will be part of the package. Stay tuned. I think this will land at a studio quickly. Kormakur wrapped 2 Guns with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg starring.

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Baltasar Kormákur Adapting EVE Online MMORPG For TV

By | Sunday April 28, 2013 @ 1:41pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: 2 Guns helmer Baltasar Kormákur and his RVK shingle are flying into the world of massively multiplayer online role-playing gaming (MMORPG) with CCP Games, maker of the popular EVE Online game. The companies announced the pact this weekend in Kormákur’s native Iceland. The TV venture is an original concept set 20,000 in the future within the interstellar EVE Online universe in which rival societies are trapped in the same space by a collapsed wormhole and characters from five warring factions battle it out in space ships. Keeping with the player-driven nature of the game, the series will take inspiration from user-sourced stories submitted to the EVE website. Meanwhile Kormákur’s 2 Guns hits screens August 2 via Universal. He’s currently filming The Missionary in Hungary and also has his Christian Bale-starrer Everest in the works for Universal and Working Title. Kormákur is repped by WME, Management 360 and Peter Nelson.

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Christian Bale To Scale ‘Everest’ For Universal, Working Title And Helmer Baltasar Kormakur

By | Tuesday February 19, 2013 @ 8:07am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and Working Title are teaming with Emmett/Furla Films on Everest, a mountain climbing disaster film that The Deep helmer Baltasar Kormakur will direct, with Christian Bale in talks to star. Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce with WT’s Liza Chasin, along with Evan Hayes. Emmett/Furla’s Randall Emmett and George Furla are in discussions to co-finance the film and join in a producing capacity as well. Justin Isbell wrote the most recent script draft.

Bale is in early talks to star in a tale based on the 1996 disastrous expedition to scale Mount Everest. Three different expeditions were hit by a sudden blinding storm and by the time it was all over, eight climbers died. The tale was first made famous by Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, his first-person account of being among the lucky ones to make it back down the mountain. This film will be sourced from various books and interviews with survivors.

There is another studio film entitled Everest, the one at Sony Pictures that has Doug Liman attached to direct a Sheldon Turner adaptation of the Jeffrey Archer book. That film is same mountain, different tale, as Tom Hardy is attached to play Sir George Mallory in his quest to be the first to the top of Everest in the 1920s.

Kormakur seems a strong match for what will be a rugged shoot. He’s coming off The Deep, an Icelandic fact-based drama that was shortlisted for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and which told the story of one man’s unbelievable ordeal of being the lone survivor after a fishing vessel went down in icy waters. Everyone else perished from hypothermia and drowning, but one man swam for hours until he reached the shore, in temperatures no human should have been able to survive. Shooting the film was a cold and harrowing experience as well.

Related: Baltasar Kormakur On The Harrowing Experience Of Making ‘The Deep’ Read More »

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Director Baltasar Kormakur On The Harrowing Experience Of Making ‘The Deep’

By | Monday December 17, 2012 @ 10:38am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: While Baltasar Kormakur has become a prominent director in Hollywood (he just wrapped the Denzel Washington-Mark Wahlberg-starrer 2 Guns for Universal), the helmer hasn’t given up making films in his home country of Iceland. And believe me, it’s much harder there. Take a look at what Kormakur went through–and what his lead actor Olafur Darri Olafsson endured–to make The Deep, about a 1984 tragedy in which a fishing boat capsized, and everyone died but one man, who swam for hours in temperatures so cold just about nobody could have survived them. The film, which Focus World releases next year, is Iceland’s Oscar submission, and aspired to be among the nine Foreign language films left in the race, which gets announced at week’s end.

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Focus Features Gets In ‘The Deep’ With Baltasar Kormakur

By | Tuesday November 13, 2012 @ 10:45am PST
Mike Fleming

Focus Features has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the Baltasar Kormakur-directed The Deep and the film will be released by its alternative distribution initiative Focus World. The deal was just brokered by WME Global and Focus president Andrew Karpen and execs Avy Eschenasy and Ken Sanderson.

While Kormakur is making a name for himself in Hollywood after remaking his film Reykjavik-Rotterdam into the Mark Wahlberg-starrer Contraband and currently helming the Wahlberg-Denzel Washington-starrer 2 Guns, The Deep is a film he made back home in Iceland. It is the country’s submission for the foreign-language film Oscar and will be released next year. Read More »

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‘The Deep’ Helmer Baltasar Kormakur Keeps Iceland Close To Heart

By | Thursday September 27, 2012 @ 2:29pm PDT
Mike Fleming

When offshore directors make a breakthrough film and start getting those big Hollywood studio offers, too often they lose the perspective that made their early films so worth discovering. That’s not going to happen to Baltasar Kormakur, the Icelandic helmer who continues to split time between making Hollywood fare and mining Iceland for homegrown stories. Kormakur’s latest film, The Deep, was just selected by Iceland as its entry for 2013 Best Foreign Language film. A harrowing fact-based adventure tale about an Icelandic man who was the sole survivor of a fishing boat crew that sank in the dead of winter off the south coast of Iceland in 1984, the film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month.

Related: APA Signs ‘The Deep’ Star Olafur Darri Olafsson

While many came to that festival to see Oscar-bait films including Argo, The Master and Silver Linings Playbook, there was quite a lineup of films that played Toronto and went on to become Foreign Film nominees including the Norwegian film Kon-Tiki by directors Espen Sandberg-Joachim Ronning, and the Danish film A Royal Affair by Nikolaj Arcel. And of course Michael Haneke’s Amour, Austria’s selection and what has to be considered the Foreign Film frontrunner.

The directors of Kon-Tiki and A Royal Affair will get their Hollywood shots, while Haneke just flat-out disdains what he feels are predictable and formulaic Hollywood films and will stay where he is. Kormakur is going at it in his own way: Read More »

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Denzel Washington In Talks To Star In ’2 Guns’ With Mark Wahlberg For Universal

EXCLUSIVE: Denzel Washington, whose most recent action effort Safe House premieres in New York tonight, is in discussions to take on another action drama involving Universal Pictures. He’s in early talks to join Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns, a film that’s based on a Steven Grant graphic novel published by Boom! Studios. Baltasar Kormakur will direct the film. He’s coming off the Universal remake of his own film Contraband, which starred Wahlberg. The script was written by Blake Masters. The financing of the film is still coming together, though I’m told that Emmett/Furla Films the likely co-financier. Marc Platt is producing along with Boom!’s Andrew Cosby and Ross Richie. Randall Emmett and George Furla will likely join that roster.

My international colleague Nancy Tartaglione is covering Berlin this week and is already hearing that the film will be a hot sales title there. Universal will distribute and market in the U.S. Read More »

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Hot International Trailer: ‘Contraband’

Here’s the international market trailer Universal released Monday for Contraband. Directed by Icelander Baltasar Kormákur, it features Mark Wahlberg as a guy forced back into smuggling when a member of his family botches a drug deal. It co-stars Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Caleb Landry Jones, Lukas Haas, Diego Luna and J.K. Simmons. Slated to open January 13, 2012.

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Mark Wahlberg Sets Sights On ’2 Guns’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Mark Wahlberg is in negotiations to star in 2 Guns for Universal Pictures. The pic is based on a Steven Grant graphic novel, and has a script written by Blake Masters. The graphic novel is published by Boom! Studios. Marc Platt is producing along with Boom!’s Andrew Cosby and Ross Richie. The drama is about a DEA agent and an undercover naval intelligence officer who unwittingly investigate each other as each steals mob money. This has been a studio priority for some time. David O Russell had set his sights on writing a draft with the idea he might direct it with Vince Vaughn in one of the leads. Wahlberg’s repped by WME and Leverage.

Wahlberg is locked to star alongside Russell Crowe in Broken City, the Allen Hughes-directed noir drama that will shoot in November. Wahlberg is producing that Brian Tucker-scripted project with Stephen Levinson, Randall Emmett, George Furla and Hughes and Emmett/Furla Films is financing the $60 million film. Wahlberg just completed the Baltasar Kormakur-directed drama Contraband, which he and Levinson also produced with Working Title.

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Ben Foster In Universal ‘Contraband’ Deal

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Ben Foster will star alongside Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale for Universal Pictures in Contraband, the English language remake of the 2008 Icelandic film Reykjavic-Rotterdam. The film is being directed by Baltasar Kormakur, who starred in, produced and co-wrote the original. Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Kormakur.

Aaron Guzikowski wrote the script, and Wahlberg plays a former smuggler trying to go straight as a night guard. When his wife’s brother (who got him the job) botches a smuggling run, his life threatened and the night guard is dragged in for one more job. Foster plays the night guard’s best friend and right hand man, who helps him take on the dangerous job.

Foster next stars opposite Jason Statham in the CBS Films remake The Mechanic, and he’s just now shooting the Oren Moverman-directed police corruption drama Rampart in Los Angeles. He’s repped by WME and manager Ken Jacobson.

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Universal To Make ‘Contraband’ Run With Mark Wahlberg And Kate Beckinsale

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Universal has reemerged as the financier of Contraband, the English language remake of the 2008 Icelandic film Reykjavic-Rotterdam. Mark Wahlberg is set to star, Kate Beckinsale is negotiating, and Baltasar Kormakur is set to direct. Kormakur starred in, produced and co-wrote the original. Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Wahlberg (who’s next out in The Fighter), Stephen Levinson and Kormakur. Verve-repped Aaron Guzikowski is writing the script.

Oskar Jonasson directed the original, in which Kormakur played a former smuggler trying to go straight as a night guard. When his wife’s brother (who got him the job) botches a smuggling run, his life threatened and the protagonist is dragged in for one more job. WME, which reps the stars and Kormakur, set up the remake at Working Title. Bevan and Fellner’s deal is at Universal, and the studio originally intended to finance the film, then passed when the budget came in at $40 million. Relativity Media stepped in, but encouraged the filmmakers to try bringing down the cost. The filmmakers brought the budget down to around $30 million. A $30 million drama with Wahlberg and Beckinsale is a package any studio would jump at. When Relativity blinked, Universal swooped back in. Read More »

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