Bill Murray, aka “The Murricane,” is blowing through Berlin this week on what’s become a sort of one-man comedy tour — and a fun distraction from a thus-far quiet market. Yesterday, he was out in support of Wes Anderson’s opening-night film The Grand Budapest Hotel, riffing that he worked for “low wages and stale bread,” and today he was tickling buyers’ funny bones at a brunch for Rock The Kasbah. Murray shared a stage this morning with QED International’s Bill Block and director Barry Levinson, who were clearly pleased that the movie sold to Open Road for the U.S. just last night. But busy Murray wanted to make something very clear, “I don’t like to leave my house. I am a lazy person and I don’t like to work. But when I work, I work very hard… Did I mention I don’t like to work? I don’t like to be here right now. I like you all very much, but this work thing is crap.”
Related: Berlin: Open Road Acquires ‘Rock The Kasbah’
Regardless, shooting starts June 2 in Marrakech on the pic that also stars Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Danny McBride, Shia LaBeouf and Zooey Deschanel. Murray plays a has-been rock manager who takes his last remaining client on a USO tour of Afghanistan. When he ends up abandoned in Kabul, penniless and without his passport, he discovers a young girl with an extraordinary voice and manages her through Afghanistan’s version of American Idol. The collaborators said this morning that an authentic Afghan singer is being sought for the part of the girl while there will be a lot of Cat Stevens songs and the classic eponymous Clash tune, natch. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The European Film Market has been a bit sparse, with things perking up with Open Road’s acquisition of Rock The Kasbah. I’ve heard that pre-buy deal amounted to a $2 million minimum guarantee, a 10% gross deal for Bill Murray and a 1200-screen release commitment. If there is going to be action in Berlin, it might well be through the sizzle reels or other pre-buys.
The script stage projects being introduced in Berlin that seem most promising are the Daniel Craig-starrer The Whole Truth, the Jonathan Jakubowicz-directed Roberto Duran biopic Hands Of Stone with Edgar Ramirez playing the legend, Robert De Niro his trainer and Usher his rival Sugar Ray Leonard; the Nima Nourizadeh-directed American Ultra with Jesse Eisenberg and Stewart; the Benedict Cumberbatch-starrer Blood Mountain, about an Army ranger who must bring a terrorist to custody after his unit is wiped out in Pakistan; the Oren Moverman-directed Time Out Of Mind with Richard Gere; the Natalie Portman-directed A Tale Of Love And Darkness; Selma, the Ava DuVerney drama that stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr; the David Gordon Green-directed The Line with Chris Pine; the Anton Corbjin-directed Life with Robert Pattinson; and the Paolo Sorrentino-directed In The Future with Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. A lot of these are being teased at Berlin, and will lead to sales at Cannes.
As for the sizzle reels, today is a big day with footage screenings of Imitation Game with Cumberbatch, and The Search, which is Michel Hazanavicius’ follow-up to The Artist. Here are the sizzle reels that have buyers hot and bothered: Read More »
Alex Cross and The Fast And The Furious director Rob Cohen is set to helm Umedia‘s action heist thriller Risk. A summer production start is eyed. The film follows a brilliant thief who’s sprung early from prison to execute a nearly impossible art heist. Reluctant to follow the same path that put him in jail in the first place, he’s drawn into a dangerous triangle with a crime boss and a beautiful and mysterious accomplice. Brussels-based Umedia’s Adrian Politowski and Karl Richards will produce with Tim Kwok, Ksana Golod and George Parra. The screenplay is by Eric Harlacher. Umedia International will handle sales.
In other Umedia news, the company’s international sales arm has boarded Spanish animation studio The Thinklab’s family feature Deep. From a script by former DreamWorks story consultant Mike de Seve of Baboon Animation, the film is directed by Julio Soto (Fluffs!). Umedia is showing a sizzle reel to buyers. The story is set in a deep-sea world of the future where humans have abandoned the earth and the oceans have risen. An adventurous octopus named Deep, and his two best friends, angler fish Evo, and neurotic shrimp Alice, must set off on a perilous journey when an earthquake destroys their home. Deep is produced by Adriana Malfatti and Jorge Bazaco, Character development is managed by Spa Studios, the original story creators of Despicable Me, and the company’s owner Sergio Pablos who has designed characters for Disney’s Tarzan, Blue Sky’s Rio, Hunchback Of Notre Dame and Hercules. Read More »
UPDATE, 4:25 AM: Exclusive Media co-chairman/CEO Nigel Sinclair has confirmed Deadline’s exclusive story last night that a reorganization is underway at the company, one that very well could leave the co-founders no longer running the label after some big bets didn’t pay off. Sinclair issued this statement: “Exclusive Media’s management is engaged in collaborative discussions with our partners from Dasym Investment Strategies BV regarding the forward plan for the company. We will make an announcement regarding the outcome of these discussions at the appropriate time.”
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, THURSDAY PM: The talk of Berlin is a shake-up that is going on right now at Exclusive Media, the production and foreign sales company that is headed by Nigel Sinclair and Guy East. I’m hearing that this will likely end with both of them either leaving those executive posts or transitioning into producing deals. Insiders acknowledge the turmoil, but denied that Sinclair or East could be fired because they are part owners of the company. Sinclair and East — well respected veterans who were behind Let Me In, The Ides Of March and Woman In Black as well as the music documentaries Last Play At Shea with Billy Joel and the Martin Scorsese-directed docu on George Harrison — formed Exclusive Media when they merged their Spitfire Pictures label into the venture, with an acquisition of Hammer Films coming after. The company is backed primarily by Netherlands-based investment company Dasym Investment Strategies. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Paradise City, the newly-minted production label of Paris-based Memento Films International, has tapped Bill Paxton to direct the adaptation of prolific author Joe Lansdale’s The Bottoms. The … Read More »
BREAKING: Open Road Films is loading its slate with strong pre-bought ensemble pics. Just a day after it pre-bought rights to the John Hillcoat heist thriller Triple Nine, … Read More »
In this week’s podcast, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione reports from the Berlin Film Festival opening today, previewing the Berlinale with host David Bloom. They also take a look at China’s new plan to crack down on box-office fraud and what it means for Hollywood’s products in the No. 2 film market; detail the UK’s big jump in film production from overseas; and plumb the surprising overlap of real-world political scandal and fictional drama that made the Cesar Award nomination announcements far more titillating than usual.
Berlin 2014: Competition Titles More Accessible
Berlin: Slow-Forming Packages, Timing & Talent Issues May Lead To Soft Market
Read More »
After a hard-core art house lineup last year, the Berlin Film Festival may just have gone user-friendly for 2014. “It feels a bit more commercial than previous years,” said a U.S. buyer ahead of tonight’s kick-off. Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel opened the festival to raves this evening in competition, lending glitz to the proceedings with a Euro caper populated by well-liked stars. While reviews are coming out strong, it will be interesting to see how the jury reacts to the film: President James Schamus was still at Focus Features when the company released Anderson’s last film, Moonrise Kingdom. Fox Searchlight has Grand Budapest and is releasing in the U.S. on March 7.
Related: Berlin: Wes Anderson & Cast Talk ‘Grand Budapest Hotel‘
There’s buzz, too, elsewhere in the lineup. One film I hear heavily talked about is Yann Demange’s Belfast-set action thriller 71, with a hot up-and-comer in Jack O’Connell and sold by Protagonist. Eyes are also on Rachid Bouchareb’s Two Men In Town with Forest Whitaker, Harvey Keitel, Brenda Blethyn and Luis Guzman. Whitaker plays an ex-con just out of prison who, despite his new-found faith, struggles with violent impulses. Keitel is the sheriff who wants to send him back to jail. Pathé has international sales. Another title, Aloft, was picked up today for the U.S. and Latin America by Sony Pictures Classics giving the film momentum. Director Claudia Llosa, whose The Milk Of Sorrow won the Golden Bear in 2009, makes her English-language debut with the drama that stars Jennifer Connelly, Cillian Murphy and Melanie Laurent. Dreamcatchers has sales.
Related: Hot Berlin Clip: Yann Demange’s ’71′ Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After Nazis-from-the-moon pic Iron Sky in 2012, and creature feature Big Ass Spider last year, could this be Berlin’s 2014 hot crossover “genre”? I’m a girl, and Deadline readers are not dupes, so I’m not going … Read More »
The Berlin fest’s European Film Market kicked off today under surprisingly sunny skies. That’s oddly apt for a market that a buyer referred to this week as “a desert.” The exec was lamenting … Read More »
Mads Mikkelsen has come aboard writer-director Diego Rafecas’ First Law, a drama set in the jungles of Argentina and based on a true story. The plot centers on two brothers — one under the wing of a shaman, the… Read More »
Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel screened for the press here in Berlin this afternoon before officially opening the event tonight in competition. Reactions were greatly positive — one journalist at the film’s press conference looked about to cry over its beauty — although official reviews won’t appear until later this evening. Stars Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan and Tilda Swinton attended the press conference to talk about the movie that follows the adventures of a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The nostalgic Euro caper involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune.
Related: Berlin Gets Strong Lead-In From ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Read More »
Vera Farmiga has signed on to star in relationship comedy Prima. Even Greenberg wrote the script and is directing the film that was previously known as Dance Of The Mirlitons. The film is prepping for a March start and … Read More »
The Berlin Film Festival has organized tribute screenings to mark the recent passing of two actors who had a long history with the event. On February 11, Philip Seymour Hoffman will be honored with a showing of … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Epic Pictures Group is introducing Louder Than Words at the EFM here in Berlin this week. The drama is from director Anthony Fabian and stars David Duchovny and Hope Davis in the true story of John and Brenda Fareri. The real-life … Read More »
K5 International has boarded international sales on futuristic actioner Vice, starring Bruce Willis. K5 Media Captial has also come aboard to finance with Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films. Shooting starts in Alabama next month on the … Read More »
Albert Nobbs helmer Rodrigo Garcia is set to direct Last Days In The Desert, a co-production from Mockingbird Pictures and Division Films. Ewan McGregor has boarded to play the dual roles of a holy man and a … Read More »
Amid last year’s shake-up at Focus Features, the group’s international sales arm was shuttered. Focus is now turning to Nick Meyer’s Sierra/Affinity to handle rights outside North America on select titles from the company. The formalized relationship will complement the activities of Universal Pictures International, which distributes Universal and Focus movies internationally. The new tie-up had been expected, notably after Sierra/Affinity took over Mike Flanagan’s Oculus and follow-up, Somnia, at the AFM, both of which were previously with Focus Features International. The relationship with Focus and Sierra/Affinity kicks off at this EFM where the latter will service existing licensing and distribution agreements on Kevin Macdonald’s Black Sea and Jeremy Renner-starrer Kill The Messenger, a hot property for FFI last Berlin. Click over for more details on the new pact: Read More »
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Writer-director Paco Cabezas’ heist thriller Men With No Fear is coming to Berlin’s European Film Market this month, with Nicolas Cage in negotiations to star and The Exchange setting a deal to finance and sell worldwide rights. Bryan Singer and Jason Taylor of Bad Hat Harry Productions are producing. The movie centers on Marty ‘The Mule,’ newly released from prison after being set up by his former boss Frank, a smalltime neighborhood crook. While Mule was locked up, Frank went big time and became a ruthless drug kingpin. But Frank also took Mule’s most precious item — his son, raising him like his own. But now Mule is back on the streets and ready for revenge. Read More »