Toronto: Festival Dives Into WikiLeaks Controversy With Powerful ‘Fifth Estate’ Opening Night

Pete Hammond

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.

Related: Toronto 2013: Will Deals Take Back Seat As Buyers Focus On Fest Oscar Hopefuls?

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 1976Condon’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. Read More »

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Toronto: Bill Condon To Direct Ian McKellen As A Retired Sherlock Holmes

Bill Condon‘s WikiLeaks movie The Fifth Estate debuts in Toronto which kicks off today. The helmer will next turn to A Slight Trick Of The Mind, reteaming with his Gods And Monsters star … Read More »

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James McAvoy “Close” To Joining DreamWorks’ WikiLeaks Movie

By | Friday November 9, 2012 @ 2:43pm PST

James McAvoy is deep in negotiations to join DreamWorksWikiLeaks 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 … Read More »

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DreamWorks Julian Assange Pic Talk Focusing On Benedict Cumberbatch And Joel Kinnaman?

By | Tuesday October 2, 2012 @ 1:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

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. Read More »

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Jeremy Renner, Bill Condon Eyeing WikiLeaks Film

Mike Fleming

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 … Read More »

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Academy Elects 2012-2013 Board Of Governors

Beverly Hills, CA – Six first-time governors have been elected to the Board of Oscar Academy Board Of GovernorsGovernors 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.

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Comic-Con: ‘Twilight’ Finale, ‘Host’ Footage, Star Power Panel Don’t Disappoint

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 … Read More »

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‘Breaking Dawn Part 2′ Reshoots Announced

By | Saturday April 14, 2012 @ 5:26pm PDT

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:

Hello Twihards!

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 Breaking Dawn Part 2 ReshootsVancouver, 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.

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‘Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part I’ Surpasses $500 Million In Global Box Office

Mike Fleming

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. Read More »

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Twilight ‘Breaking Dawn Part 1′ Sneak Peek

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: Read More »

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Summit Targets Alleged ‘Twilight Saga’ Hacker In Argentina

By | Monday August 1, 2011 @ 11:26am PDT
Mike Fleming

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.

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Anonymous Content Lands Management Trio To Bolster Talent Roster

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Management/production company Anonymous Content is about to make a major play in the talent game. I’m hearing that Doug Wald is leaving his partnership at Raw Talent, Sandra Chang is leaving as partner at Industry Entertainment, and Tony Lipp is leaving CAA. The trio will lead Anonymous Content’s talent division and create a major infusion of acting clients. It is all taking shape today.

Lipp announced internally on Tuesday that he would leave CAA to be a manager. Wald and Chang dropped the bombshells this morning at their respective management companies. Anonymous has a modest talent business that included four managers and clients like Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright, Katie Cassidy, Omar Epps and Adrianne Palicki (just cast as Wonder Woman). The newcomers will greatly expand that list, and a lot of it is emerging talent. Among the actors already set to join: Sam Worthington, Paul Dano, Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Anna Faris, Max Minghella, Jack Quaid, Patrick Wilson, Justin Chambers, Jessica Walter, Jaime King, Matt Bomer, John Cleese, Blythe Danner, Jonathan Groff, Mamie Gummer, Nathan Lane, Simon Russell Beale and Stanley Tucci. Read More »

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‘Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn’ Filmmakers Ask Online Leakers To Stop

Mike Fleming

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 … Read More »

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HBO Not Going Ahead With ‘Tilda’ Comedy

Nellie Andreeva

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 … Read More »

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Three Join HBO’s ‘Tilda’ As Exec Producers

Nellie Andreeva

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 … Read More »

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‘Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn’ Casts Secondary Roles

Mike Fleming

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 … Read More »

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‘Twilight Saga’: New Blood From ‘Taken’

Mike Fleming

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 … Read More »

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CAA Signs Marlon Wayans

By | Wednesday September 8, 2010 @ 4:32pm PDT
Mike Fleming

CAA has signed Marlon Wayans. Though Wayans spent the last six years at WME, the move amounts to a homecoming. Wayans had been a longtime client at CAA along with his brothers Keenen and Shawn, until they left as a … Read More »

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