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R.I.P. Paul Mazursky

By | Tuesday July 1, 2014 @ 12:03pm PDT

R.I.P. Paul MazurskyThe prolific Oscar-nominated screenwriter and director whose films include Harry And Tonto, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and Down And Out In Beverly Hills, died yesterday in Los Angeles of pulmonary cardiac arrest. Paul Mazursky was 84.

Born 1930 in Brooklyn as Irwin Mazursky, he was a graduate of Brooklyn College and made his cinema debut in Stanley Kubrick’s feature Fear And Desire.  When he wasn’t acting, Mazursky was a stand-up comic in New York and at the Gate of Horn in Chicago.  After befriending Pauls Sills and Barbara Harris, Marzursky appeared in the west coast company of Second City.  Writing gigs followed on The Danny Kaye Show among many others, before he co-wrote the pilot for The Monkees TV series, in which he had a cameo. In 1968, Mazursky made his screenwriting debut with the Peter Sellers comedy I Love You, Alice B. Toklas. The following year, he made his directorial debut with the breakout hit Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, which he also co-wrote. The comedy, which follows the extramarital exploits of two jaded California couples and starred Elliot Gould, Natalie Wood, Dyan Cannon and Robert Culp, earned four Oscar nominations: best original screenplay for Mazursky, supporting actor for Gould, supporting actress for Cannon, and best cinematography for DP Charles Lang. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice embraced the sexual revolution of the late ’60s and started a trend for films that dealt with spouse-swapping and infidelity in interpersonal relationships. Read More »

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`Hairspray’ Duo Marc Shaiman And Scott Wittman Sign With CAA

Veteran songsmiths Marc Shaimanhairspray1 and Scott Wittman have hooked up with Creative Artists Agency, which will will be looking for projects in theater, film and television. CAA will work with Kraft-Engel, Shaiman’s rep in film and TV, on projects in those domains.

Kraft-Engel Management continue to be an integral part of the Marc Shaiman team and will also manage him in his theatre business.

Duo won Tony, Grammy and Olivier prizes for their score to the 2002 Broadway and London blockbuster tuner Hairspray, which went on to become a Top Ten-grossing movie musical. The pro- and private team also scored the NBC backstage Broadway melodrama Smash, for which they received Emmy, Grammy and Golden Globe noms. They were Tony-nominated for their underrated score for the stage adaptation of  Catch Me If You Can, and Olivier nominated for Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, currently running on the West End.

On his own, Shaiman has Oscar nods for work on South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut; Patch Adams; Sleepless In Seattle and other work. He won an Emmy as co-writer of Billy Crystal‘s Oscar hosting and received the 2007 Henry Mancini Award.  Wittman’s credits include multiple collaborations with Bette Midler, Dame Edna and others. He was the creative force behind Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me. Shaiman and Wittman’s  attorney is Mark Sendroff of Sendroff & Baruch.

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OSCARS: Bette Midler To Perform On Telecast For First Time Ever

By | Wednesday February 19, 2014 @ 5:54am PST

bette midlerLast year, Oscars producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron lined up Shirley Bassey to make her first-ever appearance on the telecast, and also coaxed Barbra Streisand to perform for the first time in 36 years. This time around, they’ve lined up Bette Midler to make her performance debut on the show. No word yet on what she’ll be singing, but Zadan and Meron say her contribution will help make for an “especially moving evening.” Here’s the full release from the Academy:

oscarBEVERLY HILLS, CA – Two-time Oscar®-nominated actress and multiple Grammy Award®-winning singer Bette Midler will perform for the first time on the Oscars, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will air on Sunday, March 2, live on ABC.

“We are thrilled to have Bette perform on the Oscars for the very first time,” said Zadan and Meron. “We believe she will make our Oscar telecast an especially moving evening.”

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Bette Midler To Play Mae West In HBO Films Biopic From William Friedkin

By | Monday December 9, 2013 @ 3:21pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

bettemidlerMaeWestEXCLUSIVE: The Divine Miss M. is taking on the great Mae West. HBO Films has put in development Mae West, a movie about the true Hollywood original, with Bette Midler attached to star and executive produce. The project is the brainchild of William Friedkin (The Exorcist), who will direct and executive produce. Broadway heavyweight Harvey Fierstein, who recently penned the book for Tony-winning musical Kinky Boots, is writing the script. Also executive producing is Jerry Weintraub, who executive produced HBO Films’ Emmy-winning Behind The Candelabra. Mae West, based on West’s autobiography Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It, chronicles West’s rise friedkinto stardom when she takes New York by storm after writing and starring in her scandalous Broadway show Sex and battles authorities over obscenity charges. Instead of taking the road of a wide-eyed Hollywood ingenue, West forged her own path, writing and starring in her own risqué plays, including her breakthrough Sex, which had her prosecuted and sentenced to 10 days in prison for “corrupting the morals of youth.” The notoriety fueled her career and didn’t stop her from tackling taboo subjects in her next plays, including 1928 hit Diamond Lil, about a racy 1890s woman, which opened the doors to Hollywood for her. Read More »

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Sue Mengers Play Proves Good Bette For Investors; Why Doesn’t Hollywood Report When Movies Turn Profitable?

Mike Fleming

The producers of I’ll Eat You Last, the John Logan-penned play that stars Bette Midler as superagent Sue Mengers, has recouped its $2.4 million investment in just over eight weeks at the Booth Theatre. The show has another month in which to turn a profit, as the run ends June 30. It’s a Broadway tradition for shows to crow when they’ve recovered their costs and turn a profit. Why don’t movies do the same thing? Oh, I know why. When studio tentpoles cost up to $200 million with another $125 million-$150 million to launch them globally, a lot of these big-ticket items probably never cover costs and we only hear about them when the studio declares a writedown in earnings reports. It’s a slipperier slope when the movies do fantastically well. I was the guy who published the net profit statement on Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, the 2007 Warner Bros sequel that grossed $938.2 million worldwide. Despite that, the accounting statement below conveys that the film is still over $167 million in the red. So I guess we’ll forget about Hollywood following that Broadway tradition of reporting when movies recoup their costs and turn a profit. Even if studios do cover their ballooning costs and make some cash, they would be … Read More »

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‘Giant’, ‘Hands On A Hardbody’, Bette Midler Nab 2013 Drama Desk Nominations

By | Monday April 29, 2013 @ 8:30am PDT

Bette Midler Drama DeskMusicals Giant and Hands On A Hardbody led the field with 8 nominations apiece as the 2013 Drama Desk nominations were announced today. Meanwhile, Bette Midler earned a nod for Outstanding Solo Performance for her turn as Sue Mengers in I’ll Eat You Last and a special Drama Desk ensemble award this year went to the cast of Working: A Musical. The awards will unveil May 19 at NYC’s Town Hall. Here are the full nominations:
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Bette Midler Signs With New Management

By | Wednesday February 13, 2013 @ 3:26pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Bette Midler has managed her own career for years and hasn’t starred in a #1 hit film since 1996′s First Wives Club. Now she has enlisted Sam Feldman of Macklam Feldman Management, a division of A & F Music, to work in tandem with MBST Entertainment’s David Steinberg and Larry Brezner to manage her varied interests including film, stage and music. MBST Entertainment (a division of Core Media Group) also reps Billy Crystal, who starred with Midler in Fox’s Parental Guidance, which earned $111 million globally. Midler, who continues to be repped by Peter Levine at CAA, has two Oscar nominations, four Golden Globes, three Grammys, and a Tony to date and is gearing up for her spring Broadway return in the one-woman show I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers. After that she’s plotting a new album and tour for 2014 and will develop feature film projects to star in. On Thursday, Midler appears as a guest judge on Bravo’s Project Runway.

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Hot Trailer: ‘Parental Guidance’

By | Friday September 7, 2012 @ 2:35pm PDT

Christmas with Bette Midler and Billy Crystal. 20th Century Fox and Walden Media have released the first trailer for Parental Guidance, which has Midler and Crystal looking after a trio of grandchildren. Directed by Andy Fickman from a story by Crystal and screenplay by Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse, it also stars Marisa Tomei. Opening December 25.

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Fox Sets ‘Die Hard 5′ For February 14, 2013; Schedules Other Tentpole Release Dates Too

Mike Fleming

20th Century Fox has set A Good Day To Die Hard for a February 14, 2013 release, the highlight of several pictures the studio has just dated on its release calendar. Bruce Willis is set to reprise his role as John McClane in the John Moore-directed film, and casting is just getting underway for the role of his son, John McClane Jr, which has the agencies abuzz because of the opportunity for a young actor to make a mark.

Fox has dated the Liam Neeson-starrer Taken 2 to open Columbus Day weekend, on October 5, 2012; the Curtis Hanson-directed surfing film Of Men & Mavericks will open October 26, 2012 with Gerard Butler starring; the Billy Crystal/Bette Midler comedy Parental Guidance will bow November 21, 2012 for Thanksgiving; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters will open March 27, 2013, which is the Wednesday leading into Easter weekend; and Walking With Dinosaurs has moved to the Columbus Day weekend and will open October 11, 2013. The 3D film was originally scheduled to open December 20, 2013.

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Helen Mirren To Replace Bette Midler In HBO’s Phil Spector Biopic

By | Monday July 18, 2011 @ 3:09pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Less than a week after filming of the HBO Films movie Phil Spector was suspended after co-star Bette Midler had to pull out for medical reasons, the producers of the David Mamet-written and directed movie have found a replacement. And boy did they deliver. Oscar winner Helen Mirren has been tapped to star opposite Al Pacino in the film, which explores the client-attorney relationship between legendary music producer Phil Spector (Pacino) and defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden (Mirren), who represented Spector during his first trial for murder. Mamet, Barry Levinson and Pacino are executive producing Phil Spector, which had done 6 days of shooting when it suspended production last Tuesday after Midler suffered from a herniated disk. Filming is now expected to resume next week. In addition to her Academy Award for The Queen, Mirren has won 4 Emmy Awards, including one for the HBO miniseries Elizabeth I.

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Sharon Stone Set For ‘Sweet Baby Jesus’

SharonStoneEXCLUSIVE: The Basic Instinct star is set to play Pixie Lott’s mother in the 70s comedy. Adrien Brody is in final negotiations to play Joseph. Sweet Baby Jesus is due to start filming in September. The joke of the film is that pregnant hippie chick Mary wanders into 70a Bethlehem, Maryland with boyfriend Joseph. It doesn’t take long for townsfolk to expect the Second Coming. Bette Midler plays the innkeeper character. Sean Brosnan, son of 007 Pierce, rounds out the cast. Peter Hewitt is directing and the producer is Philippe Rebboah. Intandem, the London-based sales agent, is handling distribution.

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