Writer-director Eliza Hittman‘s debut feature It Felt Like Love debuted in the Next section at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The coming-of-age drama centers on Lila (Gina Piersanti), a 14-year-old spending a hot summer in a blue-collar Brooklyn neighborhood. Often playing the third wheel, Lila is determined to emulate the sexual exploits of her more experienced best friend. She fixates on Sammy, a tough older guy, when she hears that “he’ll sleep with anyone”, but in doing so she puts herself in a dangerously vulnerable situation when she tries to insert herself into his gritty world. Variance Films, whose recent releases include Dave Grohl’s music docu Sound City, is eyeing a 2014 theatrical release.
After just 18 days of negotiations, the Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers announced tonight that they have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year TV/theatrical contract. The deal will be reviewed Saturday at a special meeting of the DGA’s National Board; if the board approves it, the deal will be sent to the full membership for ratification soon afterward.
Neither side is commenting tonight. As they have through the negotiations, which began November 4 at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks, the DGA and the producers have imposed a blackout on details of the tentative agreement until it is approved by the DGA board. Meanwhile, neither the WGA nor the merged SAG-AFTRA has begun their negotiations with the AMPTP. Although the WGA announced its negotiating committee last week, it has yet to set a start date for talks. SAG-AFTRA is not expected to sit down with the producers until early in the new year.
Here’s the DGA release:
UPDATED, 1:50 PM: “We do very much have the ambition about creating a bigger universe around Spider-Man. There are a number of scripts in the works” involving characters and villains in the series, Sony Pictures Entertainment chief Michael Lynton told analysts in a Q&A session wrapping up his operation’s first meeting with investors. But he didn’t offer details, except that Sony is “working closely with Marvel and Disney.” But lest fans of the Marvel world take that to mean that Spider-Man could finally join his buddies in an upcoming The Avengers or other Marvel/Disney film — think again. Sony’s longtime rights deal with Marvel for Spider-Man allows them to exploit any character within the superhero’s universe — including villains, girlfriends or even Aunt May. But Disney, which acquired Marvel in 2009, owns merchandising rights to Spider-Man and those related characters, so any further exploitation would have to involve Disney.
While Sony today promised to hold down costs, especially for films, Lynton says that “we have in no way shape or form lost our commitment to the movie business. The movie business sits at the heart and soul of the company.” And he wouldn’t feel constrained from approving a major project. “We never once found ourselves lacking for capital” when it comes to a needed investment including an acquisition. That also was true when Disney snagged Marvel. With theme parks and several cable channels, Disney has “a few more channels to exploit” the properties. “You have to measure it against that backdrop.”
EXCLUSIVE: Scott Rothman, co-writer of the upcoming Kevin Costner-starring football pic Draft Day, has sold an R-rated comedy script to Gulfstream Pictures titled It’s On. Terms of the deal were not disclosed and details of the plot are under wraps, but Mike Karz and Bill Bindley of Warner Bros-based Gulfstream will produce, and Josie Rosen will oversee for the shingle. Rothman’s a hot commodity right now after his Draft Day co-written with Rajiv Joseph topped the 2012 Black List. It’s now a Summit/Oddlot feature co-starring Jennifer Garner and being directed by Ivan Reitman. The writer, repped by CAA and Kaplan/Perrone, already is in business with Gulfstream, which is currently producing his script Fratboy along with David Dobkin and Polly Johnson.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired worldwide distribution rights on The Intern, the north of $35 million budget comedy that Nancy Meyers wrote and will direct as her next film. This is the one that got shopped at last week’s AFM by Lotus. In this configuration, Worldview was out when the Warner Bros deal got done. Meyers will produce with Scott Rudin. In the film, Witherspoon will play the founder of a highly successful fashion website who is prompted to take part in her company’s Senior Intern Program. She is assigned a 70ish widower who shows up with a suit and a briefcase. Turns out he ran his own successful business before retiring. What starts initially as a clash between old-world and new-world business values grows into something more as the intern becomes a mentor to the young entrepreneur.
The prospect of Meyers making this movie at that budget level generated excitement among distributors, and The Weinstein Company and Universal also gave chase.
UPDATE, 11:08 AM: They are getting ready to truly hug it out in front of the cameras. “January 16 start date. Getting pumped,” tweeted Entourage director Doug Ellin today. He also posted a photo of the primary cast, including Jeremy “Ari Gold” Piven and Adrian “Vincent Chase” Grenier, all together. That January start date means that Vinnie Chase and his crew will still be keeping the 20% tax credit that movie of the HBO series got from the California Film Commission program earlier this year – something Warner Bros was very insistent on not losing if the $30 million-budget pic was to go forward.
EXCLUSIVE: Virgin Produced has partnered with Cinema Capital Venture Fund and Tantrik Group to launch Virgin Produced India, a venture that will create content for the fast-growing Hindi-speaking population. VPI will be Mumbai-based, and intends to be a full-service operation that will develop, produce and distribute Bollywood films and remake Hollywood content for Indian audiences. Jasbinger Mann, the Tantrik Group founder, will be VPI managing partner.
Virgin Produced launched in 2010 and has made such films as the Bradley Cooper-Robert De Niro-starrer Limitless, as well as the Gerard Butler-starrer Machine Gun Preacher and the comedy Movie 43. It also was behind the music-infused safety video for Virgin America that was directed by G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Step Up 2 helmer Jon M. Chu, which became a viral sensation with 5 million YouTube hits. VPI will be wired to be irreverent and o respond to a movie-hungry young audience in the Indian market, where over half the population is under 25.
Paul Feig Hatches ‘The Heat’ Spinoff, Focusing On Jamie Denbo And Jessica Chaffin’s Characters From Melissa McCarthy-Sandra Bullock Comedy
EXCLUSIVE: The Heat team of Fox, Chernin Entertainment and Paul Feig are developing a spinoff of last summer’s hit, creating a comic vehicle that will focus on the characters played by Jamie Denbo and Jessica Chaffin. That Feig-directed and Katie Dippold-scripted film, which starred Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock, grossed $230 million worldwide.
Denbo and Chaffin played Beth and Gina, who were part of McCarthy’s cop character’s extended family. That’s the clan that sat around a kitchen table and grilled Bullock’s character on subjects including whether she was a man and if so how was she able to get such a close shave, or whether she was a narc (they pronounced it nahhc, in that truly charming/excruciating Beantown parlance). Tricia McAlpin is writing the script. Feigco’s Feig and Jessie Henderson are producing with Chernin Entertainment. They are all working out the storyline, and sparked to the potential of a vehicle for the comic duo. This by no means precludes the possibility of a sequel to The Heat, which was successful and funny enough to justify an encore.
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate and Gigi Pritzker’s Odd Lot Entertainment has acquired Spitfire, a pitch by Grant Thompson to tell the fact-based story of Louise Smith, a rebellious firebrand who takes the stock car racing scene of the 1950s by storm with her steadfast driving skills and changes the fate of racing forever. Female drivers were surprisingly instrumental in the founding of NASCAR just after WWII. A forgotten forerunner of contemporary female drivers like Danica Patrick, Smith was the quintessential small-town girl with big dreams who smashed through the gender preconceptions of the time to ultimately race at the famed Daytona Beach road course and helped secure the initial funding for what would become the billion-dollar sports giant NASCAR.
Nicky Weinstock of Invention Films is producing. NASCAR is exec producing. NASCAR holds the key to a vast potential racing audience, but it is stingy about the films it gets involved in. The last big one was the Adam McKay-directed Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby, which starred Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Sacha Baron Cohen. Obviously the question is whether that largely male audience will turn out for a female-themed racing film, but the formula worked well for Sony and Penny Marshall in A League Of Their Own.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures is finalizing a deal for The Politician, the spec script I wrote about yesterday, written by Theodore Bressman and Matthew Bass and produced by Mark Gordon and Point Grey Pictures’ Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver. The deal landed in the mid- against high-six-figure range for the scribes, who were formerly the assistants of Rogen and Goldberg.
The film is an action comedy that follows a disgraced Governor and his accomplice on the run from the FBI and U.S. Marshals. Along the way, he is kidnapped by a disgruntled constituent, who is crazier than the pol. It’s Bad Santa meets Midnight Run, and the parallel would be Elliot Spitzer was busted for prostitutes, and when he feds discovered he was a white collar criminal, he fled custody. He’s not the only pol in trouble, as there is Toronto mayor Rob Ford hanging on after admitting to drug use, and Anthony Weiner, whose mayoral campaign went flaccid after it was revealed he had gone back to sexting under the moniker Carlos Danger. It is certainly a topical premise.