EXCLUSIVE: 47 Ronin and The Wolverine star Hiroyuki Sanada has been tapped to join Ian McKellen in A Slight Trick of the Mind, the drama about an aging Sherlock Holmes that Bill Condon is directing this summer in London. Sanada will play Umezaki, a Prickly Ash plant enthusiast who Holmes (McKellen) visits in Japan. He joins McKellen and Laura Linney as Holmes’ housekeeper, who with her young son is regaled with the tale of the unsolved mystery that ended Holmes’ career.
Laura Linney is set to star for her Kinsey and The Fifth State director Bill Condon in A Slight Trick of the Mind, adapted from Mitch Cullin’s 2005 novel. The story follows an elderly Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) as he recalls his life and the unsolved case that forced him into retirement to his housekeeper and her young son. Linney will play housekeeper Mrs. Munro, with UK actress Hattie Morahan (PBS’ Bletchley Circle) also joining the cast. Jeffrey Hatcher (The Duchess, Casanova, Stage Beauty) scripted, and Anne Carey will produce for her Archer Gray Productions. See-Saw Films, Icon/AI Film’s Aviv Giladi, and Len Blavatnik are exec producing alongside Archer Gray’s Amy Nauiokas. Christine Langan is exec producing for BBC Films, which also is co-financing. FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales. Filming begins this summer in the UK. Linney is repped by ICM Partners and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Morahan by ICM Partners and Authentic Talent Management.
The Toronto Film Festival got off to a strong start with Bill Condon‘s penetrating and thought-provoking The Fifth Estate, the story of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. But it’s not a dry procedural or recital of recent headlines. This riveting drama is a character study of a narcissistic personality out of control, a man not afraid to leak everyone else’s secrets but his own. Benedict Cumberbatch, who can do no wrong lately, is brilliant as Assange. And Daniel Bruhl, who plays his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg, clearly is going to have a problem this awards season: He’s not only absolutely terrific in this role, he’s equally great in Ron Howard’s Rush which premieres here Sunday. When I told him right after the film he was going to be the breakout star of this festival, he just laughed. But take my word, this guy is the real deal and this is his year — if these two stirring supporting turns don’t cannibalize each other. As the film credits finished, Bruhl came up and hugged Condon, throwing superlatives his way. Bruhl had only previously seen a very rough cut of the film and was blown away by the final results.
He should be. This film is reminiscent of the great political thrillers of the 1970s. Most will probably compare it to the recent The Social Network, since it deals with the Internet and all its possibilities, but it is far more akin to the social dramas that defined ’70s Hollywood filmmaking. In fact, let me go out on a limb: This is the best film of its kind to hit the screen since All The President’s Men in 1976. Condon’s direction is reminiscent of the style employed by Alan Pakula in that film and others from the era like The Parallax View and Klute. And it moves like a freight train. Naysayers may quibble with the dense storyline but the acting is uniformly excellent (David Thewlis, Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney are other standouts). Where The Fifth Estate succeeds so strongly is in taking a fluid ripped-from-the-headlines story and making it timeless. Unlike last year’s Zero Dark Thirty, which had to completely rework its story when Osama bin Laden was suddenly captured and killed, this film is a complete character study and won’t be judged by ever-changing events. Some people may not care and that’s their problem but hopefully there’s an audience out there for a smart adult drama like this, but what you take away from it could depend what, from your own experience, you bring to it. I know this much: As a study of a person whose whole world view revolves only around themselves, this is as good as it gets. Assange has, sight unseen, already dismissed the film, but in a clever coda the movie even addresses that criticism. That’s how smart this thing is.
James McAvoy is deep in negotiations to join DreamWorks’ WikiLeaks film, Deadline has confirmed. “It’s close to being done,” an insider said today. McAvoy would play Daniel Domscheit-Berg, the right-hand man to WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange. Domscheit-Berg’s book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World’s Most Dangerous Website is partially the basis for the film. The Twilight Saga’s Bill Condon will direct. DreamWorks also acquired WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy, by David Leigh and Luke Harding, for the film. Josh Singer wrote the script. Benedict Cumberbatch will play Assange in the as-yet-untitled film. And there is no shortage of WikiLeaks and Assange films on the horizon: Universal and Marc Shmuger have an Alex Gibney-directed documentary, while HBO, Universal and Megan Ellison are also working on WikiLeaks films. McAvoy is repped by UTA and United Agents.
The conversations on DreamWorks‘ Julian Assange film that Twilight Saga’s Bill Condon will likely direct is now with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the WikiLeaks founder, and Robocop‘s Joel Kinnaman playing his former right hand man, Daniel Domscheit-Berg. The studio would not confirm this, but it seemed intriguing and dishy enough to discuss. DreamWorks acquired the books WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy, by David Leigh and Luke Harding, and Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World’s Most Dangerous Website, written by Domscheit-Berg. Josh Singer wrote the script.
Here’s something a bit dishy for a summer afternoon. I’ve heard that Jeremy Renner, about to open in The Bourne Legacy, is looking hard at playing Julian Assange in the WikiLeaks film being developed by DreamWorks. The studios is also having conversations with Twilight Saga‘s Bill Condon about directing, though nothing is set on either front. I had also heard that the WikiLeaks film might move toward independent financing. Word from the studio is that DreamWorks is keeping its project, but as usual won’t comment on development that has been ongoing since DreamWorks acquired the books WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy, by David Leigh and Luke Harding, and Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World’s Most Dangerous Website, by Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Josh Singer wrote the script.
Renner, coming off two Oscar-nominated performances in The Hurt Locker and The Town and moving toward stardom with Bourne Legacy, seems an inspired choice with the chops to play the prickly and complex Assange. Assange launched WikiLeaks in 2006 and established himself as a major thorn in the side of governments for leaking embarrassing diplomatic cables and secrets. He has been dealing with his own legal travails, as Sweden wants to try him for sexually assaulting two women and the U.S. wants to prosecute him for …
Beverly Hills, CA – Six first-time governors have been elected to the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – Dante Spinotti, representing the Cinematographers branch; Lisa Cholodenko, Directors branch; Dick Cook, Executives; John Knoll, Visual Effects; Scott Millan, Sound; and Bill Condon, Writers. In addition, seven incumbents were reelected and three other motion picture professionals will return to the Board after a time away.
Returning to the board after a hiatus are Michael Mann, Directors; Arthur Hamilton, Music; and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers. Mann previously served from 2000 to 2006. Hamilton most recently served from 2008 to 2011, he has served a total of 33 years. Kennedy was on the board from 1994 to 1997 and again from 2002 to 2011.
The reelected governors are Tom Hanks, Actors; Jim Bissell, Designers; Rob Epstein, Documentary; Mark Goldblatt, Film Editors; Leonard Engelman, Makeup and Hairstylists; Rob Friedman, Public Relations and Bill Kroyer; Short Films & Feature Animation.
Luke Y. Thompson is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of Comic-Con.
Today’s Twilight panel screened the first seven minutes of final installment and it looks as wildly over the top as director Bill Condon’s previous installment. As promised there was a first glimpse of The Host, based on another of Twilight author Stephenie Meyer‘s other bestseller. Comic-Con’s David Glanzer introduced the Twilight panel with a tribute to Gisella, the fan who was killed in traffic. Upon being reminded that it’s the final Twilight panel, crowd reaction was mixed with some cheers and some jeers.
Moderator Eric Moro of Wikia.com noted the panel featured the most Twilight talent ever: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Mackenzie Foy (Renesmee) plus Stephenie Meyer, Peter Facinelli, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone (his first Comic-Con), Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz. Director Bill Condon couldn’t be there in person but sent a pre-recorded message – then introduced the first seven minutes of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. With lots of sweeping zooms, exaggerated sound effects, Bella showing off her new strength and nearly choking Edward by accident plus wrestling a mountain lion and cliff climbing with her fingertips, this looks to be as refreshingly over-the-top as Breaking Dawn Part 1, from a franchise that previously been so …
Director Bill Condon whose next-to-final film Breaking Dawn Part 1 received the Twilight Saga’s worst reviews has posted on Facebook that Twilighters are heading back to Vancouver. They will grab some pickup shots for additional technical work on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. Condon goes out of his way to emphasize that there are no “new scenes or dialogue.” Here’s the post:
Greetings from Los Angeles, where we’re hard at work on BREAKING DAWN, PART TWO. It’s truly crazy to think that it’s been a year since we wrapped production in Vancouver, since for those of us in the editing room the work has never stopped.
A film is a lot like a puzzle, with each piece – each shot, no matter how brief – needing to fit exactly with the ones around it. Our Part Two puzzle is finally coming into full view, and in a few weeks we’ll be heading back north to pick up some additional shots – the last tiny missing pieces. We’re not shooting any new scenes or dialogue, just some technical work with some of our cast and stunt actors.
If Summit Entertainment is actually serious about a merger or a sale, the company has the benefit of wheeling and dealing while it is at a high-water mark. Summit announced today that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1, flew past $500 million in global box office in just 12 days. The film is at $508 million today. It was released November 18 and single-handedly has brightened the overall box office picture. The film has generated $223 million domestic, making it one of only 12 films to reach $220 million in 10 days. Creatively, I thought the movie would have been much better had director Bill Condon finished Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn book in one movie. Let’s face it, the Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) wedding and subsequent pregnancy were sooooo drawn out, and nothing much happened. But then again, I am not a teenage girl or a Summit executive looking at another half-billion dollar haul once the second installment comes out next November 16.
Another year, another shameless plug for Twilight fan traffic. Below is a sneak peek behind the scenes of the Edward-Bella wedding in Summit Entertainment’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part I which releases November 18th. There’s endless promotion of the 2nd-to-last movie in this ridiculously lucrative vampires and werewolves franchise, including a concert tour and stars meet-and-greet. The soundtrack will be released on November 8th with the new single “It Will Rain” by Grammy Award-winning Bruno Mars. I personally am curious to see how badly director Bill Condon effed up this Part 1 filmed back-to-back with Part 2: the buzz is that this film is chaotic at best:
Meanwhile, Summit is kicking off a nationwide Red Carpet event and concert tour for the movie. Fans can see stars including Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, and Ashley Greene, as well as attend performances of several bands featured in the latest film. The soundtrack includes Christina Perri, Aqualung, Lucy Schwartz, and Sleeping at Last. The event schedule is:
Los Angeles, CA August 1, 2011 – In an action that further communicates that those who steal images, video and other intellectual property will be identified and prosecuted globally, Summit Entertainment communicated today that it has identified the principal hacker who earlier this year stole unreleased materials from THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN which were then distributed on the internet. Civil actions in the United States and Argentina name Daiana Santia, along with others, as being involved in stealing photographs, unfinished images and video from both parts of the yet to be released THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN which first appeared on the internet of March 31 of this year. Criminal action in Argentina has also been filed.
The investigation, which utilized the services of Kroll Inc. and the law firm of Keats McFarland & Wilson LLP, spanned four continents (North America, South America, Europe and Australia) and has led to the town of Posadas in northern Argentina. It is believed that others may also be involved in the crime and thus the investigation is on-going.
Online leaking of premature footage and piracy has been the bane of filmmakers for years. The latest victims: Summit Entertainment and the creative team behind Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. They’ve issued a statement about leaked images that have been spreading across the web. The letter is from author Stephenie Meyer, director Bill Condon and producer Wyck Godfrey. Meyer is no stranger to this. She hadn’t finished a side novel she was writing about a Twilight character when it was leaked. Meyer understandably felt so violated she never finished the book. Eventually, she published the prose on her own website for Midnight Sun. Here is their statement:
As some of you may know, pictures and screen grabs of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn as a work in progress have leaked on the internet. We are extremely proud of this film and also extremely heartbroken to see it out there at this stage.
The film and these images are not yet ready or in their proper context. They were illegally obtained and their early dissemination is deeply upsetting to the actors, the filmmakers and Summit who are working so hard to bring these movies to fruition to you in November 2011 and November 2012.
Please, for those who are posting, stop. And please, though the temptation is high, don’t view or pass on these images. Wait for the film in its beautiful, finished entirety
HBO has passed on the comedy pilot Tilda, which starred Diane Keaton as a powerful and reclusive Hollywood blogger (not unlike Deadline’s Nikki Finke). The hot pilot had a great pedigree – co-written by Bill Condon and Cynthia Mort, directed by Condon, and starring Keaton, Ellen Page and Jason Patric. But a rift between Condon and Mort during the production of the pilot became messy and ultimately public. Then after the pilot was deep-sixed, HBO tried hard to make the show work by ordering additional scripts and hiring Six Feet Under alum Alan Poul, Alexa Junge and John Hoffman as executive producers. But the option on the actors was set to expire in mid-March, and HBO gave the thumbs down ”despite everyone’s best efforts”, the pay cable network said in a statement today. While Tilda was conceived and written and developed without Finke’s knowledge or involvement, word is HBO is still interested in a show about her, this time with her on board from the beginning.
HBO has yet to make a decision whether it will pick up comedy pilot Tilda to series but it has put in place a team in case it does. Six Feet Under alum Alan Poul has come on board as an executive producer. Writers Alexa Junge and John Hoffman have also been brought in as executive producers and to work with co-creator/executive producer Bill Condon on conceptualizing the potential series. Condon directed the pilot for Tilda from a script he co-wrote with Cynthia Mort. Tilda stars Diane Keaton as a powerful and reclusive Hollywood blogger (not unlike Nikki Finke) and boasts an A-list cast including Ellen Page and Jason Patric. The pilot was shot in June but the show has had a rocky production and post-production run marred by creative differences.
Summit Entertainment announced today that the following actors have been cast in supporting roles in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Shot back to back by director Bill Condon, the films will be released November 18, 2011 and the second comes to theatres on November 16, 2012. Summit isn’t revealing what these actors play, but here is the thesp lineup:
* Olga Fonda (Love Hurts)
* Janelle Froehlich (Hacienda Heights)
* Masami Kosaka (The Runaways)
* Sebastiao Lemos (Brazilian TV series Força-Tarefa)
* Amadou Ly (The Tested, The Bridge)
* Ty Olsson (2012)
* Wendell Pierce (Ray)
* Carolina Virguez (Spanish TV series Matalobos)
EXCLUSIVE: Maggie Grace will play a new vampire threat to Kristen Stewart’s Bella in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Grace, who played Liam Neeson’s in-distress daughter in Taken, will play the role of Irina in the final installments of the Stephenie Meyer novel, which director Bill Condon is directing in two separate films.
Irina is a member of the Denali coven, considered cousins to the Cullen clan as the only other “vegetarian” vampire group. When Irina blames the Cullens for the death of her lover, her actions set in motion a terrifying chain of events. The first of two pictures will be released by Summit Entertainment on November 18, 2011, followed by the finale on November 16, 2012. Melissa Rosenberg is writing both scripts, and Wyck Godfrey, Karen Rosenfelt and Meyer are producing. Grace just completed the Dwayne Johnson-starrer Faster for CBS Pictures and re-teamed with Taken producer Luc Besson in Lockout, the outer space saga that stars Guy Pearce as a wrongly convicted man offered his freedom if he can rescue the president’s daughter (Grace) from an outer space prison taken over by violent inmates. Grace is also waiting to reprise in Taken 2. She is repped by UTA and Global Creative.