Berlin: Radius-TWC Pays $2 Million For Pablo Escobar Pic ‘Paradise Lost’

Mike Fleming

escobaEXCLUSIVE: Radius-TWC has closed a deal to pay $2 million to Pathe for North American rights to Paradise Lost. The Andrea Di Stefano-directed film stars The Hunger GamesJosh Hutcherson as a young surfer who visits his brother in Colombia and falls in love with the country, especially when he meets and marries the gorgeous girl of his dreams. Then he finds himself sucked into the family business. She’s the niece of notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, who’s played by Benicio Del Toro. The film also stars Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene’s Brady Corbet and newcomer Claudia Traisac.

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The film has been slated for release later this year by Radius, whose presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego have now made three deals during an otherwise sluggish Berlin (not counting TWC’s $7 million acquisition of The Imitation Game). Radius also snapped up the Salma Hayek thriller Everly and the Danish horror pic When Animals Dream. The label’s got some momentum, with two Oscar nominations for the docus 20 Feet From Stardom and Cutie And The Boxer.

Paradise Lost is produced by Dimitri Rassam and and co-produced by Romain Le Grand on behalf of Pathe and Frédérique Dumas on behalf of Orange Studio. Miguel Angel Faura from Spain’s Roxbury and Belgium’s uMedia also co-produced.

traisQuinn and Janego confirmed the deal. “We have been tracking this project for months and could not be more energized by Benicio’s  outstanding performance, Josh’s extraordinary turn and Claudia Traisac’s star-making role,” the pair said. “Di Stefano has delivered the goods and we feel privileged to be working alongside him on this fantastic film.” Read More »

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IFC Acquires U.S. On Benicio Del Toro Pic ‘Jimmy P’

By | Tuesday October 22, 2013 @ 9:51am PDT
Mike Fleming

IFC Films has acquired from Worldview Entertainment the U.S. distribution rights to the Arnaud Desplechin-directed Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian. The film, which stars Benicio Del Toro and Mathieu Amalric, premiered at Cannes and just … Read More »

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Benicio Del Toro Takes Lead Role In Marvel’s ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’

Mike Fleming

Benicio Del Toro Guardians Of The GalaxyEXCLUSIVE: Benicio Del Toro has joined the killer cast of the James Gunn-directed Marvel Studios franchise launcher Guardians Of The Galaxy. They are keeping his role under wraps, but he’s playing … Read More »

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Hammond On Cannes: Wet Fest’s Official Competition Finally Heats Up With Coen Brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

Pete Hammond

The first purely American entry in the 2013 Cannes Film Festival competition (opening nighter The Great Gatsby was Out of Competition), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen‘s terrific Inside Llewyn Davis had its first press screening Saturday night to strong response and big buzz on the very rainy Croisette. This tale of a talented folk singer unable to balance art and commerce, and who never quite hits the big time in the late ’50s/early ’60s emerging folk scene, is pure Coen Brothers with a winning mixture of brilliantly observed comedy and darker moments that give it an edge most reminiscent of Coen movies like Barton Fink, which won the Palme d’Or on their first try at Cannes in 1991. Joel Coen also took the Director award that year and again for The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) among the seven previous times they have been in the Cannes competition. 1994′s The Hudsucker Proxy, 1996′s Fargo, 2000′s O Brother Where Art Thou, 2004′s The Ladykillers and 2007′s No Country For Old Men represent their other numerous chances to reap a second Palme d’Or since Barton Fink but none of them did the trick.

Judging from initial reaction, at least among the press, Inside Llewyn Davis probably makes them an early front-runner for that second Palme. We say early since the film doesn’t have its official black tie premiere at the Palais until Sunday night, only the fourth day of the competition. But with its superb acting including leading man Oscar Isaac as the morose but oddly engaging Llewyn and a great supporting cast including Carey Mulligan, John Goodman (just great), Justin Timberlake, Stark Sands and a scene-stealing cat (or cats? – you’ll see) among others, plus the Coens’ knack for catching this era in all its glory, I suspect this will remain a contender for the entire week of debuts to come. Read More »

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Cannes: Worldview Acquires Domestic Rights To Competition Title ‘Jimmy P’ With Benicio Del Toro

Mike Fleming

Worldview Entertainment has grabbed U.S. rights from Wild Bunch to the Arnaud Desplechin-directed drama Jimmy P, which stars Benicio Del Toro and makes its debut in competition at Cannes. CAA repped Worldview in the deal, … Read More »

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Benicio Del Toro Teams With Arnaud Desplechin For ‘Jimmy Picard’

By | Thursday June 14, 2012 @ 5:04pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Benicio Del Toro has been set to star in Jimmy Picard, a drama that will be directed by  Arnaud Desplechin. The project is adapted from Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian, by acclaimed ethnologist and psychologist Georges Devereux. It is … Read More »

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TMZ Didn’t Realize It Had A Showbiz Scoop

By | Wednesday June 13, 2012 @ 9:33pm PDT

Without realizing it until days later, TMZ managed to obtain an extremely rare commodity over the weekend — video of the notoriously publicity-averse director Terrence Malick. TMZ cameras cornered Benicio Del Toro to ask the actor what … Read More »

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Cameron Diaz & Benico Del Toro Team For ‘Agent: Century 21’

By | Thursday May 10, 2012 @ 12:38pm PDT

Cameron Diaz and Benico Del Toro have joined Agent: Century 21. The action comedy is being directed by Adam Hashemi, who is making his feature film debut. The script is written by Greg Brooker. The film follows a down-on-her-luck real estate agent who accidentally is caught up in a Mexican … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Oliver Stone’s ‘Savages’

Mike Fleming

Universal has released its first trailer for Savages, the Oliver Stone-directed adaptation of the bestselling Don Winslow novel about two pot growers from Laguna who are muscled by a Mexican drug cartel. When the cartel kidnaps the woman they share, … Read More »

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Original ‘Robocop’ Peter Weller Adds To Sci-Fi Resume With ‘Star Trek’ Sequel

Mike Fleming

Peter Weller’s reps confirm he’s joining the cast of JJ Abrams’ Star Trek sequel, in what is a principal role but one they would not specify. Weller, best known in feature sci-fi circles for his iconic role as Robocop, has … Read More »

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HAMMOND: Less Restrictive Rules, Food And Filmmakers Drawing More Academy Members To Screenings

Pete Hammond

Throw them a party and they will come.  Or at least a reception with good food and drink. That seems to be the case with the increasingly strong turnouts of Academy members at screenings this season. As with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and other groups studios are discovering a shrimp … Read More »

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Warner Bros Acquires Post-WWII Don Winslow Novel ‘Satori’ For Leonardo DiCaprio

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired the Don Winslow bestselling novel Satori and will develop it as a star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio to play a Westerner, raised in Japan and taught an assassin’s skills, who gets caught up in the chaos of post-WWII as the U.S., Soviet Union, France and China maneuver for power in Southeast Asia in the early 1950s. Shane Salerno will write the script with Winslow, and John Lesher’s Grisdi Productions and DiCaprio’s Appian Way partner Jennifer Killoran are producing. Salerno is executive producer.

DiCaprio will play Nicholai Hel, raised in Japan by a martial arts expert and genius at Go, the complex chess-like Japanese game. The master, a Japanese general, passes on all his secrets and the student repays him by murdering his mentor as an act of devotion; the military leader would have been disgraced and killed as a war criminal.

Leonardo DiCaprioFor that act, Hel is thrown in solitary confinement in a Tokyo prison and tortured for three years. He is finally sprung by the CIA after agreeing to assassinate the Soviet commissioner to China. Hel is trained for the task by a beautiful French woman he falls in love with. Though he now sees a happy ending to the dangerous assignment, Hel is betrayed by his backers and, using his Go skills for strategy, makes his way through Vietnam hunted by American, Chinese, Russian and French intelligence agencies as well as a Corsican mob and Vietnamese criminal syndicate. It’s a sophisticated thriller, and the studio sees potential for its own Jason Bourne-type action franchise. Read More »

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Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson Re-Upped Through 2014

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: NBCUniversal’s new owners at Comcast have given a vote of confidence to the studio’s feature film operation. They’ve exercised an option on Universal Pictures’ Chairman Adam Fogelson and extended his contract through 2014. I’m told that Fogelson is, in turn, in the process of exercising the option of Donna Langley and she will continue as the studio’s co-chairman. They will also keep their executive team intact. Fogelson will continue to have full day-to-day operating responsibility for the Motion Picture Group, reporting to Universal Studios President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Meyer (whose contract was recently re-upped through 2015) and will now also report to NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke.

While Universal has had its ups and downs, higher-ups are clearly convinced that Fogelson, Langley and their team are making progress. They’ve had recent hits –Bridesmaids, Hop! and Fast Five– but also had some recent misses that include The Dilemma, Change-Up and Cowboys & Aliens. In the latter case, the studio was on the hook for one-third of the film, and shared that third with Relativity Media. It has also been a year in which Fogelson and his team have made some painful decisions and let pricey productions go. That began with the Guillermo Del Toro-directed At the Mountains of Madness, which Universal developed for years and which was ready to go with Tom Cruise, until the studio made a late decision not to go forward because of the possibility the $150M film could carry an R-rating. Universal also dropped two projects that were in advanced  stages of development: The Dark Tower, the Akiva Goldsman-directed adaptation of the Stephen King novel series that was to be made into three feature films and two limited-run TV series, with the first film and TV segment directed by Ron Howard and produced by Brian Grazer and Goldsman; and Oiuja, the Hasbro board game that had McG directing and Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners producing with Hasbro. The moves were surprising because Howard and Grazer are cornerstone filmmakers for Universal; and Del Toro and Hasbro have overall deals there. Ouija is one of several Hasbro properties the studio dropped, the others being the Gore Verbinski-directed Clue, the Ridley Scott-directed Monopoly and Magic, The Gathering. These were part of a groundbreaking deal the studio made with the toymaker several years ago, but the studio and Hasbro have re-focused their attention solely on Battleship, Stretch Armstrong, and Candy Land. Read More »

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Q&A: Brian Grazer And Ron Howard On 25 Years Together As Imagine Partners

Mike Fleming

UPDATE EXCLUSIVE: Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard have reached a milestone unusual in Hollywood: partners for 25 years. When they first got together, Grazer was a TV producer. Howard, after growing up on the small screen in The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days, had only directed a couple of TV movies and the low budget Roger Corman-produced Grand Theft Auto. Grazer and Howard have been at it together ever since, building a company that over 25 years has been one of the most consistent generators of content. Their TV series output includes 24, Parenthood, Arrested Development and Friday Night Lights; their movies have grossed $13.5 billion worldwide. That includes A Beautiful Mind, which won Howard the Academy Award for Best Director. Grazer and Howard shared Best Picture Oscars that night as well. Not everything they’ve done has succeeded, of course. They they took their company public and repurchased the shares; they helped launched and fold the online venture Pop.com; their most recent film together, the adult comedy The Dilemma, was a misfire that created controversy over the inclusion of the word “gay” in a trailer. They’ve had way more hits than misses.

In honor of Imagine’s Silver Anniversary, Deadline invited Howard and Grazer to look back over their quarter century together, and into a future that includes something never tried before by anyone in Hollywood. They’re adapting Stephen King’s 7-novel series The Dark Tower into a film trilogy, and a limited run TV series in between. It has pushed the envelope enough that their longtime home studio, Universal  Pictures, postponed a planned late summer start until next year and asked the filmmakers to cut the budget. Some question the studio’s resolve on such a massive undertaking. The studio has to green light the film by next month or the rights revert to Imagine, Akiva Goldsman and King, who are determined to make it regardless.

DEADLINE: Not many marriages of any kind last 25 years in Hollywood. What is most important about the anniversary?
HOWARD: It’s such a challenging time to get movies made. And yet, look at all we have coming out. Tower Heist, the Gus Van Sant movie Restless, J Edgar with Clint Eastwood and Leo DiCaprio, Cowboys & Aliens, this big broad appeal four quadrant fantasy adventure story with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig. With The Playboy Club getting on the air, and Parenthood getting picked up, I’m proud we’re doing what we’ve always done. A wide variety of projects that got made because we care and put in the energy to get them done in light of how difficult it is these days.

DEADLINE: I’ve watched filmmaker partnerships fail because of jealousy, ego, greed, or lack of sustained success. Why have you avoided those pitfalls?
HOWARD: The bi-coastal relationship!

DEADLINE: Simple as that?
HOWARD: Because I’m in New York, we’re not forced to stare at each other’s faces 24/7. But I think that’s not really it. We love what we’re doing, we have fun doing it and our sensibilities are in sync. In a business that can create so many feelings of anxiety and self-doubt, I learned to trust in that. Brian is smart and cares about me doing well and feeling good about what I’m doing. It’s a partnership built on support. It has been that way since the beginning.
GRAZER: It works because we have similar tastes and not only gravitate toward the same material but also what lives inside the core of the movie it becomes. We’ve done, and Ron has directed, all kinds of genres. We have a common interest in the humanity aspect of a movie, regardless if it’s a comedy or a drama. We also share a similar work ethic.

DEADLINE: When you cover all genres, does Imagine have a wheelhouse? For a company looking to last, is it advisable to have one?
HOWARD: The process is what gets Brian and me excited, whatever the genre. Not specializing has given our company a sense of flexibility and adaptability to whatever the market or the zeitgeist is suggesting. We’ve always respected each other as creative people. If Brian loves something and I don’t quite get it, I’ll tell him that but I’ll never try to impede the progress. He’s the same with me. With Apollo 13, I  wasn’t sure the genre would work, because space films hadn’t done that well. Brian was instantly so excited about it, and made me realize we were onto something. 8 Mile, I don’t know anything about rap. This was something he understood. I didn’t know how to make that movie, but I recognized a great idea. Whenever the two of us get excited, on films like Splash, Night Shift and Parenthood, those have resulted in the building blocks of the company. I’ve always liked TV  but I phased it out for awhile and it was Brian’s perseverance that has made us strong in both TV and films. Independent companies are rarely strong in both.
GRAZER: What we’ve do is agree on the moral center of a project, but nobody’s better at finding the language of a particular movie than Ron. He’s got a grasp of understanding  new vocabularies, whether it’s the The Da Vinci Code, fantasy like Cocoon or Splash, or Backdraft and The Grinch. He is great at inhabiting a world and completely understanding and expressing its language. In A Beautiful Mind, he entered that world and understood the medical science of mental illness. So there have been times where he led the charge, and I was drawn in by his excitement.

DEADLINE: What was the last hard conversation or professional disagreement you can remember?
HOWARD: I can’t think of one offhand, but even when we have disagreements, I can’t think of a case where one of us ever said, ‘Oh, please don’t do this.’ If there’s a lot of passion from one or the other, then the support of the company is going to be there. Read More »

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CAA Signs Oscar-Winner Benicio Del Toro

By | Friday May 13, 2011 @ 2:01pm PDT

Benicio Del Toro didn’t have an agent and his career has been managed for a long time by Rick Yorn. Now the actor has signed with CAA in addition to continuing with Yorn. He will soon start shooting the thriller Savages with director Oliver Stone for Universal Pictures based on the … Read More »

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John Travolta, Uma Thurman And Blake Lively Join ‘Savages’ Cast

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Oliver Stone is putting together a killer cast for Savages, the drama based on Don Winslow’s bestselling novel.  Stone is arranging a Pulp Fiction reunion of John Travolta and Uma Thurman, as the two actors are in talks to … Read More »

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TOLDJA! Universal Nearing ‘Savages’ Deal

Mike Fleming

Despite the laughable claim of exclusivity just now by another outlet, I can report that Deadline’s March 19 scoop about Oliver Stone’s Savages heading to Universal is getting closer, but it’s not closed yet. They are now in exclusive … Read More »

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Benicio Del Toro In ‘Savages’ Talks

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Benicio Del Toro is signing on to play a deadly drug cartel enforcer in Savages, joining Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch in the drama that Oliver Stone is directing, based on the Don Winslow bestseller. The project is moving … Read More »

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Benicio Del Toro Makes Helming Debut On ’7 Days In Havana’

By | Thursday March 10, 2011 @ 1:37pm PST
Mike Fleming

Che star Benicio Del Toro is back in Havana, making his directing debut on one of seven segments that will make up the feature 7 Days in Havana. Seven directors each take on each day of the week with storylines … Read More »

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