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Global Showbiz Briefs: France, Australia, Korea, China

By | Friday September 9, 2011 @ 3:45am PDT

Canal Plus Eyes Vincent Bollore’s Channels In Free TV Push
Vivendi’s Canal Plus said today it is working to take a majority stake in channels owned by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, as part of a push into free TV. Its proposed deal would give Canal Plus 60% of Direct 8 and music-focused Direct Star in exchange for Vivendi shares. Canal Plus has an option to buy the remainder within the next three years, its head Bertrand Meheut told French daily Les Echos. The deal, subject to approval by the government and employee reps, values the Bollore assets at about $650M. Canal Plus wants to defend itself against new players in France such as Netflix, Google and Apple.

WB’s ‘Great Gatsby’ Adds Indian Icon Amitabh Bachchan
Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan is making his Hollywood debut in Warner Bros’ new adaptation of The Great Gatsby. He’ll play Meyer Wolfsheim, a Jewish man described as a gambler in F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel. The $126M film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Baz Luhrmann, has begun shooting in Australia. Bachchan, 68, has acted in more than 180 Indian films over a 40-year period. He remains Indian’s most popular actor and recently returned as the celebrity host of the Indian version of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. Read More »

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Tobey Maguire’s Material Pictures Taps Focus Exec Matthew Plouffe For SVP Post

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Tobey Maguire’s Material Pictures has hired Focus Features executive Matthew Plouffe to be its new SVP Production. Plouffe, who has spent the past six years in the New York headquarters of Focus, will move to Los Angeles and start the job Oct. 1. Plouffe is currently Focus’ Director of Production and has worked on such Focus films as the Sam Mendes-directed Away We Go, Shane Acker’s 9, the Ryan Fleck/Anna Boden-directed It’s Kind of A Funny Story and most recently on the Lone Scherfig-directed adaptation of One Day that stars Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. Plouffe wanted to move West, and the transition was done with the blessing of Focus Features chief James Schamus, who wrote and produced Maguire’s breakout film as an actor, The Ice Storm. “All of us at Focus have been blessed over the past six years to see Matt grow to become one of the smartest, hardest-working and kindest execs out there, and while we’re sad to see him go, he couldn’t have found a better opportunity than the one Tobey has offered. It’s great to see two of the smartest people in the business teaming up,” Schamus said. Read More »

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Leonardo DiCaprio Attached To ‘Gambler’ Remake At Paramount With Martin Scorsese

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In what shapes up as a reteam for the writer, director and star of the Oscar-winning The Departed, Leonardo DiCaprio is attached to star in The Gambler, a Paramount remake of the 1974 drama. James Caan starred in writer James Toback’s autobiographical original screenplay as an academic whose gambling addiction begins to get the best of him. William Monahan is writing the script as a potential directing vehicle for Martin Scorsese. Irwin Winkler and Bob Chartoff are attached as producers. DiCaprio recently completed the Clint Eastwood-directed J. Edgar, and he’s playing Jay Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann’s remake of The Great Gatsby for Warner Bros, based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic. DiCaprio then takes a villainous turn in the Quentin Tarantino-directed Django Unchained for The Weinstein Company.

The gambler was a gritty film which Caan did when he was one of the top stars in Hollywood. His gambling addiction got to the point where he convinces a student athlete to shave points so he can win a bet, and the high he experiences from risking everything takes him into even darker places. DiCaprio has so far starred for Scorsese in Shutter Island, The Departed, The Aviator and The Gangs of New York. DiCaprio is repped by Rick Yorn.

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Joel Edgerton Gets Tom Buchanan Role In ‘The Great Gatsby’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Joel Edgerton has been set by director Baz Luhrmann to play Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. He will join Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Isla Fisher as Myrtle (Tom’s mistress), and Australian newcomer Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker. Edgerton, the Australian actor who was on the short list to star in The Bourne Legacy spinoff at Universal and other plum roles, takes a part that was going to Ben Affleck until his schedule didn’t work when he committed to direct and star in Argo for Warner Bros. Luhrmann’s update of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic will be made for Warner Bros, which will release it in 3D. Edgerton next stars with Tom Hardy in Warrior, the Gavin O’Connor-directed drama about brothers who square off in the mixed martial arts arena. Edgerton has an imposing physicality that makes him an intriguing choice for the role of Tom, played by Bruce Dern in the 1974 film.

Luhrmann, who took the above photo of Edgerton as Buchanan, confirmed he’d found his man: “In casting Tom one had to find an actor who could credibly be (as Fitzgerald describes him) ‘one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven,’ had five-star acting chops and in the big dramatic showdown scenes between Gatsby and Tom, hold the screen against Leonardo DiCaprio, in the appropriate age group. Read More »

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Newcomer Elizabeth Debicki To Play Jordan Baker In ‘The Great Gatsby’

By | Wednesday May 11, 2011 @ 2:46pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Baz Luhrmann has found his Jordan Baker for The Great Gatsby, his 3D adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famed novel for Warner Bros. She’s newcomer and fellow Aussie Elizabeth Debicki, who’s coming straight from the Victorian College of the Arts. She will play the famed golfer and love interest of narrator Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) in the update, which already has set Maguire as Carraway, Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy. “It was a surprising result, but Elizabeth’s grasp of the material and her chemical connectivity to Tobey Maguire, in addition to her striking, athletic appearance, had us in a place where we were fully confident and ready to take the leap of giving the role of Jordan Baker to what, I guess, people would term ‘a discovery,’ ” Luhrmann said. “We are thrilled.”

As for the role of Daisy’s husband Tom Buchanan, producers are bearing down on their man. The part was originally offerd to Ben Affleck before he had to bow out due to a scheduling conflict with his next directing project, Argo.

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Ben Affleck Can’t Do ‘The Great Gatsby’

By | Tuesday April 19, 2011 @ 2:56pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Though director Baz Luhrmann wanted Ben Affleck to play Tom Buchanan in his 3D update of The Great Gatsby, the actor won’t be taking part in the movie adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic. Luhrmann offered Affleck the role in early April and courted him hard. The problem was, the film will shoot in Australia, and the scheduling just didn’t match up on Argo. Affleck is committed to direct that film, about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, in the Middle East. They tried to work it out but ultimately couldn’t.

So far, Luhrmann has commitments from Leonardo DiCaprio to play Jay Gatsby,  Carey Mulligan to play Daisy Buchanan, and Tobey Maguire to play Nick Carraway. Warner Bros is in talks with Isla Fisher to play Myrtle, the wife of a gas-station owner who is cheating with Buchanan. Luhrmann is looking for another actor to play him. Word is he’s trying to get Australian actors for some of the roles because it helps the film’s financial situation. Luhrmann, who wrote the script with Craig Pearce, is producing with his Luhrmann/Bazmark Films partners Catherine Martin and Catherine Knapman, and Red Wagon partners Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher.

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Ben Affleck Circling Big ‘Great Gatsby’ Role

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Ben Affleck is in talks to play the role of Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, the Baz Luhrmann-directed 3D adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic at Warner Bros. Now, Affleck will have to work to fit this in. After starring in and directing The Town, he’s prepping to direct Argo, a film about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. But signs point toward him making time in his schedule to join Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan in Gatsby. Both projects are at Warner Bros.

Tom Buchanan is the husband of Daisy (Mulligan), in a role originated by Bruce Dern in the 1974 film.  DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby (Robert Redford starred in the original) and Maguire plays Nick Carraway (Sam Waterston in the 1974 pic). Luhrmann, who wrote the script with Craig Pearce, is still in the process of setting the roles of Jordan Baker (originated by Lois Chiles), the gas station owner George Wilson (Scott Wilson) and his wife Myrtle (played by Karen Black in the original). Tom is having an affair with Myrtle, and they all play a role in a tragedy.

Luhrmann, Catherine Martin and Catherine Knapman of Luhrmann/Bazmark Films will produce with Red Wagon partners Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher. G Mac Brown will also produce. WME reps Affleck.

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Warner Bros Nearing Deal To Acquire Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: While James Bond has gotten the lion’s share of attention from studios this week, Jay Gatsby has also been making a stir around town. I’m told Warner Bros has emerged as the clear frontrunner to finance and take worldwide distribution on The Great Gatsby, the Baz Luhrmann-directed adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic.

The film will star Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan. The pieces are still coming together, but a deal could be done by Friday. Deals with the cast will follow, with DiCaprio furthest along in negotiations to play Gatsby. Red Wagon partners Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher have joined the project, and will produce with Luhrmann, Catherine Martin and Catherine Knapman of Luhrmann/Bazmark Films. G Mac Brown will also produce. Luhrmann wrote the script with Craig Pearce. Given what is happening, recent reports that Luhrmann might not do The Great Gatsby seem completely unfounded. Though Luhrmann also has an original musical project and is refashioning his breakout film Strictly Ballroom as a stage musical, he has been squarely focused on Gatsby. He spent weeks recently  reading top young actresses for the role of the manipulative Daisy Buchanan, before Luhrmann decided that Mulligan was the right fit to play alongside DiCaprio and Maguire (who’ll play narrator Nick Carraway). Warner Bros seems a good fit: the … Read More »

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Update: Relativity Confirms Julia Roberts In Snow White Pic

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Relativity confirmed they’ve signed Julia Roberts, and have set a June 29, 2012 release date. That puts The Brothers Grimm: Snow White six months ahead of the preliminary release plan for Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman. Relativity Media’s press release is at bottom of the story.

EARLIER 9:33 AM: Deadline revealed late last year that Julia Roberts was being courted by Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media to play the Evil Queen in the Tarsem Singh-directed The Brothers Grimm: Snow White. I’m told that the deal will close within two hours, with the talks basically down to “whether Julia gets a Town Car or an SUV.”

Committing to Roberts means that neither Relativity Media or Universal Pictures is blinking on the race to mount rival Snow White pictures for 2012 release. Universal has set a December 21, 2012 release date for the Rupert Sanders-directed Snow White and the Huntsman, which has come together strongly with Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen playing the title characters, and Charlize Theron playing the Evil Queen. Usually, rival picture races end when one project either lands a big star or makes it into production first. That’s happened on such films as the Oliver Stone-directed Alexander, which ended the Alexander the Great film Baz Luhrmann was prepping with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Relativity Media might get into production before Universal’s planned summer start, with pre-production underway and shooting to begin possibly as soon as next month, insiders said. … Read More »

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Baz Luhrmann Tells Deadline: Carey Mulligan Is My Daisy Buchanan

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann has found his Daisy Buchanan. He has officially given the starring role in The Great Gatsby to Carey Mulligan, the Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Never Let Me Go star who’ll play the manipulative heroine when Luhrmann starts production on his adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic.

Mulligan was on the reception line for The Fashion Council Awards in New York when she got the call on her cell phone from Luhrmann, just a few minutes ago. She burst into tears on the red carpet in front of Karl Lagerfield and Anna Wintour. This all occurred shortly after Luhrmann showed the audition footage to Sony Pictures Entertainment execs Amy Pascal and Doug Belgrad, who were impressed by Mulligan’s command of the character played in the 1974 film by Mia Farrow.

Mulligan was a late entrant to an elite list of actresses that Luhrmann met with while he conducted readings with Leonardo DiCaprio, who’ll play Jay Gatsby. Tobey Maguire is expected to play his friend, Nick Carraway, who narrates the tale. No word yet on who’ll play the other major roles, Daisy’s husband Tom, their social companion Jordan Baker, Tom’s mistress Myrtle Wilson and her gas station owner husband George.

Luhrmann delivered the message to Deadline, and gave me the above photo he took of Mulligan during rehearsals, when she was in Daisy Buchanan mode on … Read More »

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Cameron Crowe Eyes Actresses For ‘Zoo’

Mike Fleming

Baz Luhrmann isn’t the only director meeting with top young actresses for a project. Much the way that Luhrmann has a top group of  thesps he’ll read with to find Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, Crowe has a short list to play the female lead opposite Matt Damon in We Bought A Zoo, the Benjamin Mee memoir about an American who moves to England to operate a zoo.  I’m hearing that the top contender is Scarlett Johansson, but that Amy Adams, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rachel McAdams are also in the mix. Crowe and Aline Brosh McKenna wrote the script.

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Baz Casting Wider Daisy Net For ‘Gatsby’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Director Baz Luhrmann is expanding his search for Daisy Buchanan as he moves closer to committing to The Great Gatsby as his next film. Deadline revealed recently that Luhrmann did a workshop of the screenplay he wrote with Craig Pearce, with Leonardo DiCaprio reading Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire reading Nick Carraway, and The Town‘s Rebecca Hall reading Daisy Buchanan. Luhrmann wants those guys to star, but he’s casting a wider net on Daisy. I’m told that Hall is in the running, but that he’s got a bunch of actresses and wants to see how they read with DiCaprio. Luhrmann likes to work shop his scripts, and this should play out over the next two weeks, in New York. This might be hard for some of the actresses, who are shooting movies abroad. Among the names I’ve heard on Baz’s list: Keira Knightley, Amanda Seyfried, Blake Lively, Abbie Cornish, Michelle Williams and Scarlett Johansson. Aside from those names, I’ve heard that Luhrmann is also sweet on Natalie Portman, the … Read More »

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Baz Luhrmann Workshops ‘The Great Gatsby’ In New York

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: While Baz Luhrmann hasn’t settled on whether he’ll make The Great Gatsby his next film, he workshopped the adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel that he wrote with frequent collaborator Craig Pearce. I’m told that Leonardo DiCaprio read the role of Gatsby, Tobey Maguire read Nick Carraway, and that The Town star Rebecca Hall read the role of Daisy.

The picture is set up at Sony Pictures Entertainment and the reading went well, I’m told. Luhrmann workshops every script he’s considering and there’s no guarantee those actors will wind up starring in the film. Reports have mentioned Amanda Seyfried as a possible Daisy and I’ve heard Baz is sweet on Natalie Portman. Luhrmann and Catherine Martin are producing with Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher.

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Would Leo DiCaprio Make A Good Gatsby? What’s Real And Not About Baz’s Next…

Mike Fleming

The blogosphere was jumping late last week with a very speculative report that Baz Luhrmann had set Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Amanda Seyfried to play the leads in The Great Gatsby, a new adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Now let me tell you what’s real and what’s not: The truth is Luhrmann doesn’t know if he’ll do Gatsby next. He’s set up an original musical at Media Rights Capital that is also a candidate for his next directing slot. But Luhrmann does love DiCaprio after directing him in Romeo & Juliet and nearly getting to the starting line with him in an Alexander The Great film that got derailed because Oliver Stone got into production first with Colin Farrell. (And we know how that fared.) I’m told Baz has had a conversation with DiCaprio for the role of Jay Gatsby, played by Robert Redford in the 1974 film. This has been an obvious development, even mentioned by Deadline’s Nikki Finke when she broke the exclusive in late 2008 that Luhrmann was working on a new Gatsby.

The latest is that Leo hasn’t said yes. In fact, no offer has been made. Yes, Tobey Maguire is at the top of Luhrmann’s mind to do Nick Carraway, the narrator played by Sam Waterston in the 1974 bomb. Despite the speculation about Seyfried, I’m told that role is wide open in Luhrmann’s mind. Mia Farrow played the Daisy role in the 1974 film, and I found her so annoying that I couldn’t for a moment imagine why Redford’s Gatsby would have pined for her all those years.

Who doesn’t reimagine Fitzgerald’s enigmatic classic, so here are some casting suggestions for both a young and old interpretation. If Baz casts young, I’d like to see Chris Pine or Michael Pitt as Gatsby if Leo turns it down. We agree that Tobey would be a great Nick. Daisy is the key, but in the book she’s a much more manipulative and calculating socialite than the aging ingenue that Farrow portrayed last time around. Nikki likes Carey Mulligan for Daisy, but I’d go with Natalie Portman. Zachary Quinto has the edge with us to play Daisy’s dangerously jealous husband Tom because he has the sexual edge that Bruce Dern was missing. And Emma Stone or Michelle Monaghan could handle the sexpot Myrtle Wilson which Karen Black played in too ditzy fashion. Both actresses could bring an earthy knowingness to enhance the role. And I suggest Rachel McAdams as Jordan. Read More »

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Baz Bringing ‘Strictly Ballroom’ To Stage

By | Thursday September 23, 2010 @ 4:41pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING NEWS: Baz Luhrmann is refashioning his feature directing debut Strictly Ballroom into a stage musical. The original film was written and directed by Luhrmann based on a stage play he originally conceived and cowrote as a student at Sydney’s National Institute of Dramatic Art. It’s getting another go on the stage as Luhrmann will hold a creative workshop in December in Sydney, Australia. Sounds like this one will follow a fast track to the stage. Read More »

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Baz Luhrmann Named Honorary Chairman Of New York Musical Theatre Festival

By | Wednesday August 25, 2010 @ 5:47pm PDT

NEW YORK, NY. – The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) is proud to announce that Oscar and Tony nominee, writer/producer/director Baz Luhrmann has been named the honorary chairman of the 2010 festival beginning September 27th through October 17th.

In recognition of the upcoming Blu-ray release of Luhrmann’s culture-shifting films “Moulin Rouge!” and “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet”, Luhrmann will host NYMF’s opening night gala celebration and run an exclusive master class on the creation of musical works. Featuring clips from his films, this event will include a discussion about musical theatre performance for stage and screen, the challenges in making a “contemporary” adaptation, and other insights into Mr. Luhrmann’s creative process.

“In the crowded world of popular culture musical theatre needs to be, and is taking, leaps and bounds into an unchartered future,” said Baz Luhrmann. “The New York Musical Theatre Festival is more than just a good idea. It is essential to the future prospects of the next generation.”

“We are proud to have Baz as our honorary chairman,” said New York Musical Theatre Festival Executive Director and Producer Isaac Robert Hurwitz. “He is a director of great integrity who has worked at the highest level in several mediums. He is an expert on the intersection of musical theatre & contemporary pop culture, and we are very pleased that he has elected to participate in NYMF.”

Admission to the NYMF opening night gala celebration and the Baz Luhrmann master class is only available to NYMF Members and Patrons. Festival memberships are

Read More »

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