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James Schamus To Lead Star-Studded Berlin Film Festival Jury

james schamusFormer Focus Features chief James Schamus will preside over the Berlin Film Festival jury next month; the group will select the Golden and Silver Bear winners of the main competition. Schamus has berlinaleofficialposterappeared in the Berlin competition before, notably with Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet which won the Golden Bear in 1993 and which Schamus wrote and produced. “James Schamus knows the balancing act between Hollywood’s studio system and art-house cinema better than anyone,” the festival said today. (The erudite writer/producer left prestige film label Focus back in October amid a reshuffle which ultimately led to the shuttering of Focus Features International, making this the first time the division will not be selling its movies at Berlin’s European Film Market.) The other members of the jury this year include James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli; Danish actress Trine Dyrholm; Iranian filmmaker Mitra Faharani, U.S. actress Greta Gerwig, French director Michel Gondry, Chinese actor Tony Leung and two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz. The festival runs from February 6-16 and opens with the in competition world premiere of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. A handful of other compeition pics have also been revealed.

Related: Berlin Film Festival Reveals First Competition Titles & Berlinale Special Pics
George Clooney’s ‘The Monuments Men’ Gets Berth At Read More »

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James Bond Team Of Michael G. Wilson And Barbara Broccoli Set For Producers Guild Honor

By | Wednesday October 30, 2013 @ 10:00am PDT

LOS ANGELES, CA (October 30, 2013) – The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced today that Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions will receive the 2014 David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures. The award will be presented to Wilson and Broccoli at the 25th Annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony on Sunday, January 19th at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

“We’re honored to be associated with the legendary David O. Selznick and delighted to be receiving this award along with its previous recipients,” said Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.

The Producers Guild of America’s David O. Selznick Achievement Award recognizes a producer’s outstanding body of work in motion pictures. The honor has a rich and distinguished history with past recipients including such legendary producers as Stanley Kramer, Saul Zaentz, Clint Eastwood, Billy Wilder, Brian Grazer, Jerry Bruckheimer, Roger Corman, Laura Ziskin, Kathleen Kennedy & Frank Marshall, Steven Spielberg and last year’s recipients Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.

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‘Fatal Attraction’, ‘Strangers On A Train’ To Be Adapted For London’s West End

By | Friday September 20, 2013 @ 7:58am PDT

Two classic films are on their way to the London stage. Veteran helmer Trevor Nunn will trade Cats for bunny rabbits with an update of Fatal Attraction. James Dearden penned the new take on the 1987 hit film about a one-night stand that turns deadly. Glenn Close and Michael Douglas starred in the movie; there’s no cast yet for the stage version which is expected to have a 15-week limited run after it opens in March at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Robert Fox and Patrick Ryecart are producers.

Also on deck is Strangers On A Train, which will be produced by the James Bond franchise’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. The original 1951 film, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, was based on the Patricia Highsmith novel. It centers on Guy Haines, a man whose life takes a dangerous turn after a seemingly innocent conversation with a fellow train passenger. Per the show, “Ahead lies a lethal nightmare of blackmail and psychological torment that threatens to cost Guy his career, his marriage and his sanity. His choice: to kill, or to be framed for a murder he didn’t commit.” Laurence Fox (Inspector Lewis, W.E.), Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire), Christian McKay (Rush), Miranda Raison (My Week With Marilyn), Imogen Stubbs (Sense And Sensibility) and MyAnna Buring (Downton Abbey) star. Craig Warner wrote the … Read More »

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Damian Lewis & Andrea Riseborough-Starrer ‘The Silent Storm’ Adds Cast As Shoot Nears

James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are exec producing Neon Films’ The Silent Storm. Homeland‘s Damian Lewis stars with Oblivion‘s Andrea Riseborough in the love story that’s set on Scotland’s Isle of Mull. Corinna Villari-McFarlane is making her feature directing debut with the picture. She also wrote the script about an enigmatic outsider living on a remote Scottish island who’s caught between her commanding minister husband and the vitality of a 17 year-old delinquent who is sent to live with them. Newcomer Ross Anderson plays the younger man. John Sessions and Kate Dickie, both recently of James McAvoy-starrer Filth, round out the cast. Shooting starts June 23rd. West End Films is handling international sales. The vast list of exec producers also includes Marc Samuelson, Steve Milne, Hani Farsi, Christian Eisenbeiss, Goran Lazovich, Milan Markovic, Jerome Booth and Peter Scarf. Nicky Bentham is producer for Neon with financing coming from Corniche Pictures, Eon Productions, British Film Company, HW Buffalo and New Sparta.

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James Bond (Daniel Craig) In Drag: Bad Idea

By | Monday March 7, 2011 @ 8:17pm PST

The James Bond franchise has put Daniel Craig in drag to endorse the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. Produced by Barbara Broccoli, directed by Sam Taylor-Wood (Nowhere Boy), and written by Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass), this is the very definition of ill-advised:

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Sony About To Recapture James Bond #23; UPDATE: MGM Leverages 007 For Deal On Sony’s ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’

2ND UPDATE:  The new MGM brass, Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum managed to leverage the James Bond #23 film for a piece of Sony’s in-the-works big movie based on the Stieg Larsson bestseller, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which has already been shooting in Sweden under director David Fincher and starring Rooney Mara. Deadline has learned that Sony Pictures bosses Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton agreed to give MGM a co-financing deal for the big title and possibly other films already shooting, too, to help the reconstituted studio generate quick cash flow. This allows MGM to have revenue which it hasn’t had in a long time, so the books look better, and more funds for production could be forthcoming. (That’s exactly how Birnbaum and Barber built their Spyglass Entertainment in the first place: by investing in films it didn’t make, like the recently rebooted Star Trek.)

UPDATE: We’re told Paramount dropped out of the Bond bidding when MGM insisted on bringing the distribution fee under 8% and when MGM got “grabby” in wanting a piece of a Paramount established franchise that studio didn’t want to give up.

EXCLUSIVE 5 PM: Deadline hears that Sony Pictures is close to landing distribution rights to MGM’s James Bond franchise again, and specifically for the next untitled Bond #23, even though several studios are still very much in the hunt. Sony Pictures chiefs Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton distributed both Daniel Craig 007 pics, Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace, and now have moved into first position to recapture 007. That’s because Sony is agreeing to allow MGM’s new leadership to leverage the next Bond pic, and indeed the Bond franchise, to create more cash flow for the reconstituted studio post-bankruptcy. The new brass, Spyglass Entertainment co-owners Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum who are now the Co-Chairmen andCEOs of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, are finishing negotiations to co-finance a number of films with Sony. Deadline has learned that Pascal and Lynton have already found a title on the Sony slate for MGM to co-finance. That’s exactly how Birnbaum and Barber built Spyglass in the first place: by investing in films it didn’t make, such as The Sixth Sense and the recently rebooted Star Trek.

There’s no doubt this is a shrewd move by MGM, but Deadline also learned it wasn’t sitting well with the majors. Top execs at Sony and Fox and Paramount and Warner Bros were increasingly frustrated with the way that the Spyglass duo were playing one studio off another — “and enjoying it,” in the words of one exec involved. Sony at the time even described its strategy to win Bond #23 as ”pleading”. Now it looks like that worked along with agreeing to much of MGM’s negotiating terms.

Even though MGM holds sway on where Bond #23 lands, a 007 return to the Sony fold would please EON partners Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson. Amy Pascal in particular has developed a strong personal and professional relationship with Broccoli when they were making the transition from Pierce Brosnan to Daniel Craig. Broccoli  and Wilson found Craig among a list of possible 007s, and the choice wasn’t popular at first. But Pascal supported Craig. Also Sony has a reputation for spending big to market Bond: for Casino Royale, Sony spent a humongous sum worldwide to introduce the new Bond. MGM was supposed to distribute the 23rd Bond film itself, until the studio was pushed into bankruptcy. Read More »

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BOND IS BACK! Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes Set For Nov. 9, 2012 Release Date

EXCLUSIVE: MGM is announcing that “BOND 23″ is set to go into production in late 2011. Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions, together with Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, the Co-Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., today announced that the 23rd James Bond film will have a worldwide release on November 9, 2012 — just as Deadline last month reported it would. Daniel Craig will be returning as the legendary British secret agent, with Sam Mendes directing a screenplay written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan. That script is being kept under wraps but the story begins after Quantum Of Solace leaves off. The reason for the 007 delay is this: Broccoli and Wilson had been in pre-production on Bond #23 for release in 2011 but then it took almost a year for MGM’s future to sort itself out what with the failed auction sale of the studio, then the pre-packaged bankruptcy getting approval, and eventually Spyglass taking over studio filmmaking.

Meanwhile star Daniel Craig filled in the time with various film commitments which he had to finish. The actor began work on the Hollywood remake of the Swedish original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo as soon as he completed shooting Cowboys and Aliens in a nifty bit of schedule coordination between two studios and James Bond rights holders Broccoli and Wilson. 

Mendes at first was brought on as a “consultant” because of the delays, and is now officially the director. He responded to the Bond delay by setting a feature adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel On Chesil Beach and directing the Broadway-bound musical adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Yet another James Bond videogame, which also had been held up because of the uncertainty, recently got the go-ahead. Meanwhile, the latest 007 vidgame was for sale this Christmas.

It’s still not clear who will distribute the next Bond. Deadline’s Mike Fleming reported in November that, if MGM isn’t the distributor, the next installment of James Bond will be “a jump ball”. Expect Sony (which distributed Casino Royale) to battle it out with Warner Bros and Fox, but Paramount could emerge in the thick of it because of its close relationship with Spyglass over the film reboot of Star Trek and sequel.

Teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and at the mercy of its creditors, MGM was in the news for more than a year because of its financial woes. While the studio’s beleaguered backers unwisely allowed MGM and its library to languish by not making new movies and benching MGM’s creative and marketing/distribution executives while it staged a futile sales auction that attracted bottom-fishing bids, MGM made sure to meets the minimum obligations to its two gems, James Bond and The Hobbit

As you know, the James Bond filmmakers operate with great autonomy and watching the MGM situation unfold with a mixture of dismay and curiosity. Dismay because Bond’s longtime studio home was a mess. And curiosity because Broccoli and Wilson hoped to move Bond to a fully functioning studio. Like Sony, where Amy Pascal was dying to keep the famous franchise. Or Fox, which handled Bond’s DVD distribution. Broccoli and Wilson very deliberately made certain they didn’t do anything on Bond #23 which tied the movie further to MGM. (That’s why Mendes was hired as a consulting, not the director. Because once EON hires a director on their Bond films, it triggers a first payment from MGM.) Once the MGM auction apparently busted, EON Productions wanted to keep all its options open.

Meanwhile, Bond 23 may now be casting.  Read More »

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