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EMMYS: Party Season In Full Force As Final Voting Gets Underway And Nominees Turn Out

By | Tuesday July 29, 2014 @ 11:04am PDT
Pete Hammond

EMMYS: Party Season In Full Force As Final Voting Gets Underway And Nominees Turn OutWith still exactly a month to go before the big (Monday) event, the Emmy party season kicked off in style last night on the 3rd floor outdoor deck of the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills with a bash for performer nominees. Showing up to meet and greet potential voters as well as press and other Academy members were Modern Family’s Ty Burrell and Jesse Tyler Ferguson; Minnie Driver, nominated for the Lifetime movie Return To Zero; Veep’s pair of 2013 winners and nominees again, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale; double nominee for Mom and Masters Of Sex, Allison Janney; Scandal’s bad guy Joe Morton;  House Of Cards‘ Kevin Spacey; and Fargo’s Billy Bob Thornton.  Presiding over it all were actors branch Governors Bob Bergen and Lily Tomlin. Academy chairman Bruce Rosenblum and new president Maury McIntyre also made the scene.

Emmy Party 2014Now this was just the first round. There will be an even bigger bash for performers two nights before the Emmys at the Pacific Design Center. Between now and then there will be another 21 of these peer group parties representing every branch of the Academy from Costume Designers (who actually were the first group to party a few days ago) to Make Up and Hairstylists to Writers (I am on the Board Of Governors repping that branch, which will celebrate its nominees August 21). That’s almost one a night. Putting all this together is the indefatigable Barbara Chase and the Academy staff.

Also happening during this period will be the Creative Arts Emmys and Ball on Saturday, August 16 where 94 categories will be presented (up from 80 last year). Just a measly 26 categories will be presented on the NBC telecast August 25th.Whew. August is usually the dog days for the TV industry, but this year it is where all the heat is — at least as far as Emmys go. Voting, which is done by individual volunteers from each peer group , also got underway this week with the first round of ballots due back August 6 (for Creative Arts)  and the final round the next week. Read More »

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TCA: FX’s ‘Fargo’ Coming Back As Prequel Set In ’79, With All-New Cast But Same Cold

TCA: FX’s ‘Fargo’ Coming Back As Prequel Set In ’79, With All-New Cast But Same ColdThe second season of FX’s Fargo will take place in Sioux Falls, S.D., in 1979, creator Noah Hawley said this afternoon at the TCA  Summer Press Tour. “If you were paying attention to Season 1, we made a lot of references to Sioux Falls,” he said told TV critics. Some of the second season also will take place in Luverne, Minn.

The season will be a prequel of sorts, in that the Lou Solverson character, played in Season 1 by Keith Carradine, will be back, only this time he’ll be just 33 years old and recently Fargo TCAback from Vietnam. “That time period is interesting — post-Vietnam, post-Watergate … the best of America versus worst,” Hawley said. “That sense, I think, that this war had come home with people, and the violence and brutality of it.”Lou Salverson went to Vietnam and came home, but now he’s come back and it’s here — it’s domestic.”

Related: TCA: FX Orders Second Installment Of ‘Fargo’, Fifth Season Of ‘Louie’

And while he said he would like nothing more than to see the continuing adventures of Molly and Gus, “I felt it would be disingenuous,” Hawly said of Deputy Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) and Officer Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks). Molly’s mom will be featured in Season 2 but will not be played by Tolman, despite urgings of several TV critics. “She should be in everything anybody ever made, as far as I’m concerned,” Hawley said. But he added that the idea of casting Tolman to play her character’s mother “seems a little gimmicky to me, and like cheating.” Using the same actors in different roles each season is “a brilliant turn on Ryan’s part, and he owns it — it would be imitative,” Hawley said of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story, with its practice of bringing back actors in different roles each season.

Related: FX’s ‘Tyrant’ To Stay In Turkey For Remainder Of Season 1 Shoot

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FX’s ‘Fargo’ Debuts With 2.65M Viewers

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 12:12pm PDT

Fargo Ratings FXThere was a lot of snow, a broken nose, some low temperatures and a few dead bodies on the debut of Fargo on FX last night. There were also a lot of eyeballs catching the action: The 10 PM premiere of the limited series based on the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning 1996 pic was watched by 2.65 million total viewers and 1.02 million among adults 18-49. The 97-minute debut was down 12% from the 3.04 million who tuned in for the 91-minute premiere of The Bridge on July 10 last year in the same time slot. That cross-cultural police drama about a serial killer on the U.S./Mexico border garnered 1.16 million among adults 18-49. Over its three plays last night, Fargo pulled in 4.15 million total viewers with 1.79 million adults 18-49. “We are incredibly proud of the towering creative achievement by Noah Hawley and everyone involved with Fargo,” John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions, said today in a statement.

Starring Billy Bob Thornton and Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman, Fargo was down 17% from the 3.22 million total viewers FX’s The Americans drew for its 98-minute Season 1 debut at 10 PM on January 30, 2013. The Cold War spy drama had 1.57 million viewers in the 18-49 demo for its launch.

Related: ‘Fargo’ Star Billy Bob Thornton Says TV Replacing Film For Interesting Drama

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TCA: FX’s ‘Fargo’ Star Billy Bob Thornton Says TV Replacing Film For Interesting Drama

By | Tuesday January 14, 2014 @ 2:00pm PST

UPDATED: The movie world has changed drastically, particularlyTCADeadline__140109155905 in the last five or six years,” Billy Bob Thornton said when asked why he’d signed to star, along with Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman, in FX’s first limited series Fargo.

2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 6“When I was coming up, if you went to television from film it meant something was wrong…Now it’s the opposite,” Thornton told TV critics at Winter TV Press Tour 2014 for FX’s series inspired by Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 film of same name. The kind of “mid-level movies and higher-budget independent films” Thornton said he and his peers came up in the business making, “that doesn’t exist any more. The motion picture studios make big event movies, and broad comedies, and action movies —  and movies where vampires are all models. Television has now taken that spot. For actors who want to do good dramatic work, with dark humor and drama, you have to do it on television. If you want to be a celebrity, then go to the dentist in Beverly Hills and punch somebody,” he quipped — a reference to a reported recent Kanye West encounter with a guy outside a Beverly Hills medical office.
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Specialty Box Office: ‘Mother Of George,’ ‘Blue Caprice’ Solid In Single Theaters; ‘Plush’ & ‘Jayne Mansfield’s Car’ Crash

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

Indie FilmsWhile the weekend’s higher profile directors tanked at the indie box office with new pics, several smaller films opened in one theater and the tactic appears to have mostly worked in their favor. Oscilloscope bowed Andrew Dosunmu’s Mother Of George in one theater, handily scoring the weekend’s top PSA with $22,456. The film about a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn lured packed crowds. “[Mother Of George] played to sold out shows throughout the weekend and drew an extremely diverse crowd on the heels of unanimously positive reviews,” said an O-scope spokesperson Sunday about the film which picked up a Cinematography prize at Sundance in January. “We look forward to expanding over the coming weeks.”

Sundance SelectsBlue Caprice, which bowed at Sundance and New Directors/New Films earlier this year and stars Isaiah Washington, opened IFC Center in New York, taking the weekend’s second highest PSA with $15,200. The distributor plans a slow roll out for the film which recalls the shooting spree in and around Washington, D.C. in 2002. Sundance Selects said it will expand Blue Caprice to the top 15 markets throughout September.

Also doing solid business in one run was Submarine Deluxe‘s documentary GMO OMG, reporting a $15,121 weekend gross. Read More »

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‘London Fields’ Gets Underway With Amber Heard, Billy Bob Thornton And Jim Sturgess

By | Monday September 9, 2013 @ 11:22am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Production is getting underway today in London on an adaptation of the Martin Amis novel London Fields. Mathew Cullen makes his feature directing debut on the adaptation of the futuristic murder mystery that Amis adapted with Roberta Hanley. Amber Heard, Billy Bob Thornton, Jim Sturgess, and Theo James are starring. Heard plays the ultimate eternal sexual femme fatale, possessed of unusual beauty and hypnotic magnetism. Mysterious and clairvoyant, she sets a plan in motion to fulfill the prophecy of her own murder. Caught up in Nicola’s plan are a terminally ill writer (Thornton), a lowly street hustler (Sturgess) and an unhappily married banker (James), who become intertwined in a love triangle that unfolds in the grimy underbelly of London. Samson convinces Nicola to let him document her manipulations in a book she says will be his literary masterpiece but only she knows who the tale will end and who her killer will be.

The film is produced by Chris Hanley of Muse Productions, Jordan Gertner of Hero Entertainment, and Geyer Kosinski of Media Talent Group. A co-production with Demarest Films, the film will be ready for release next year and IM Global is handling worldwide sales.
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Hot Trailer: ‘Jayne Mansfield’s Car’

By | Friday August 2, 2013 @ 11:50am PDT

Anchor Bay acquired the Billy Bob Thornton-directed Jayne Mansfield’s Car during last year’s Toronto Film Festival, where it had its North American premiere. Thornton stars with Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Katherine LaNasa, Ray Stevenson, and Robert Patrick. Thornton co-wrote it with Tom Epperson. Here’s the first trailer for the ensemble drama, which traces two sides of a 1960s family — one from the Old South, one from the UK — brought together by the death of their matriarch. It will be released on-demand August 20 and hit theaters September 13.

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TCA: Billy Bob Thornton Cast In FX’s ‘Fargo’

By | Friday August 2, 2013 @ 9:08am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: Billy Bob Thornton is set to star in FX’s first limited series Fargo, executive produced by Joel and Ethan Coen. A 10-episode limited series inspired by the Coens’ 1996 film, FX’s Fargo will feature an all-new true crime story, with the series following a new case and new characters, all entrenched in the trademark humor, murder and “Minnesota nice” that were the film’s trademark. Thornton will play Lorne Malvo, a rootless, manipulative man who meets a small town insurance salesman and sets him on a path of destruction. The character draws parallels to Peter Stormare’s Gaear in the movie. FX CEO John Landgraf confirmed that Fargo will end with its 10th episode and the characters won’t continue beyond the 10-episode run but a Fargo anthology franchise ala American Horror Story is “conceivable”. Produced by FX Prods and MGM TV, Fargo was written by Noah Hawley, who exec produces with the Coens and Warren Littlefield. MGM Television will be the lead studio and handle worldwide distribution of the series outside the U.S. and Canada.

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‘Entourage’s Doug Ellin Steps Into ‘Bad Santa 2′

By | Thursday May 30, 2013 @ 3:16pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Doug Ellin has signed to rewrite and possibly direct Bad Santa 2, the sequel to the 2003 R-rated classic black comedy that starred Billy Bob Thornton in the title role, along with the late Bernic Mac and John Ritter. Ellin rewrites a script by Johnny Rosenthal. The picture resides at Miramax, and Geyer Kosinski is producing it through his Media Talent Group banner. Some things need to fall into place for this one. Ellin, for one, has turned in his script for the movie version of the hit HBO series Entourage and is waiting to see when he will direct it. Ellin has started on Bad Santa 2, though.

Thornton wants to make the film in the fall after he completes London Fields, starring opposite Amber Heard. That Mathew Cullen-directed film is casting, with offers out to actors including Alexander Skarsgard. That film will begin production September 9, with Chris Hanley’s Muse producing with Media Talent, financed by Demarest Films. Bad Santa 2 will follow. Read More »

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AFM: Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton and Jacki Weaver Set For ‘Parkland’

By | Tuesday October 30, 2012 @ 3:22pm PDT

Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton and Jacki Weaver have signed on for Parkland, a film about the John F. Kennedy assassination. Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are producing in association with Exclusive Media, which will also be financing. As part of the deal, Exclusive Media has optioned the rights to the book that the film is based on, Reclaiming History: The Assassination Of President John F. Kennedy, by Vincent Bugliosi. Peter Landesman penned the adapted screenplay and will direct Parkland in his directorial debut. Parkland tells the true story of the chaotic events that occurred at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. The film, to be shot in Austin, Texas is set for a 2013 release around the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

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Toronto: Anchor Bay Acquires ‘Jayne Mansfield’s Car’

By | Saturday September 8, 2012 @ 6:02am PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Anchor Bay Films has acquired North American and UK rights to Jayne Mansfield’s Car, the Billy Bob Thornton-directed film which which makes its North American premiere on September 13th here at Toronto. Thornton stars with Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Katherine LaNasa, Jayne Mansfield's CarRay Stevenson, and Robert Patrick. Thornton co-wrote it with Tom Epperson. Alexander Rodnyansky produced with Geyer Kosinski.

An ensemble drama about families and the effects of combat on the complicated relationships between fathers and sons, Jayne Mansfield’s Car looks at two colorful clans in 1969. Brought together by the death of a woman who was married, first to the Alabaman Jim Caldwell (Duvall) and then to the British Kingsley Bedford (Hurt), her families meet for the first time at the Caldwells’ home with uneasy curiosity. The result is a culture clash of the Sixties, and of the Old World versus the Old South.

Related: Billy Bob Thornton Sets Cast, Funding For First Directing Effort In Decade

“The movie reflects some of my own experiences, but its ideas seem universal to me,” Thornton said in a statement. “It examines our fascination with and fear of both life and death, how war is viewed by different generations, and how its effects manifest themselves in families who experience it. It takes place at the height of the Love Generation and the Vietnam War – … Read More »

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Highland Film Group Boogies To ‘The Baytown Disco’ For Foreign Sales: Cannes

Los Angeles, Calif. May 9, 2012 – William O. Perkins, founder and President of LLeju Productions announced today that Highland Film Group (HFG) will handle international sales for THE BAYTOWN DISCO starring Academy Award Winner Billy Bob Thornton, Eva Longoria, Paul Wesley, Andre Braugher, Clayne Crawford, Travis Fimmel, Daniel Cudmore, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster beginning at the Cannes Film Festival.

Perkins, through his LLeju Productions banner, optioned the script, controls the rights, financed and produced. Robert Teitel from State Street Pictures is producing alongside LLeju Productions. Barry Battles directed the blacklisted script he co-wrote with Griffin Hood, which was shot on location in Louisiana. WME is representing the North American rights.

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Baytown Disco’

By | Tuesday April 17, 2012 @ 6:07pm PDT
Mike Fleming

There are buyer screenings tonight in LA and New York for The Baytown Disco, an action movie whose trailer found its way out today. Billy Bob Thornton and Eva Longoria star in the story about three infamously ruthless Alabama brothers who find themselves on the wrong side of a wild cast of characters when they finally try to do a single good deed. William O. Perkins optioned the script through his LLeju Productions banner and financed and produced alongside Robert Teitel of State Street Pictures. Barry Battles directed the Black List script he co-wrote with Griffin Hood. Here it is:

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Berlin Adds Billy Bob Thornton’s ‘Car’ To Competition, Angelina Jolie’s ‘Blood And Honey’ As Special Screening

The Berlin International Film Festival has added 10 world premieres to its competition lineup including Billy Bob Thornton’s drama Jayne Mansfield’s Car starring Kevin Bacon, John Hurt, Robert Duvall and Thornton. Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut In The Land Of Blood And Honey has also been added as a special screening in its German premiere. Mike Leigh is presiding over the jury in Berlin; the festival opens February 9 with Benoît Jacquot’s Farewell My Queen. Here’s the full list of new titles:


By Alain Gomis
With Saül Williams, Aïssa Maïga, Djolof M’bengue

By Christian Petzold
With Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld

Cesare Deve Morire (Caesar Must Die)
By Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
With Fabio Cavalli, Salvatore Striano

By Matthias Glasner
With Jürgen Vogel, Birgit Minichmayr, Henry Stange

Jayne Mansfield’s Car
Russian Federation/USA
By Billy Bob Thornton
With Billy Bob Thornton, Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon

L´Enfant D´En Haut (Sister)
By Ursula Meier
With Léa Seydoux, Kacey Mottet Klein, Gillian Anderson, Martin Compston

Metéora (Meteora)
By Spiros Stathoulopoulos
With Theo Alexander, Tamila Koulieva

By Miguel Gomes
With Teresa Madruga, Laura Soveral, Ana Moreira, Carloto Cotta

Csak A Szél (Just The Wind)
By Benedek Fliegauf
With Lajos Sárkány, Katalin Toldi, Gyöngyi Lendvai, Géza Jungwirth

Was Bleibt (Home For The Weekend)
By Hans-Christian Schmid
With Lars Eidinger, Corinna Harfouch, Sebastian Zimmler, Ernst Stötzner

Berlinale Special
In The Land Of Blood And Honey
By Angelina Jolie
With Zana Marjanović, Goran Kostić, Rade Šrbedžija, Vanesa Glodjo

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Billy Bob Thornton Sets Cast, Funding For First Directing Effort In Decade

Mike Fleming

Billy Bob Thornton has set Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Robert Patrick and Ray Stevenson to star with Thornton in Jayne Mansfield’s Car, the first dramatic feature that Thornton has directed since 2001′s Daddy and Them. The film is being funded by AR Films, whose principal, Alexander Rodnyansky, will produce with Media Talent Group’s Geyer Kosinski. Production begins June 22 in Georgia.

Thornton, who co-wrote the script with frequent collaborator Tom Epperson, has been mobilizing the picture for a while and just locked his final cast. He has also set John Patrick Amedori to play a lead in the film. A comedy with dramatic overtone, it revolves around the culture clash of two families, from different continents, in 1969.

Rodnyansky is the founder of the Ukrainian TV channel 1+1 and former CEO of CTC Media when it became the biggest independent publicly traded media conglomerate in Russia with five channels in three countries. He has produced over 20 TV series and 30 films including Elena, which received the Special Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes last month. “I’ve started to look for opportunities in America, and this is definitely not a single picture strategy,” he told me. “When I read that script, I fell in love with it. I was a fan of Sling Blade and Billy Bob’s other movies. No matter where you are making movies, it’s all about the script.” Read More »

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Eva Longoria Joins ‘Baytown Disco’

By | Thursday April 14, 2011 @ 11:22am PDT
Mike Fleming

Eva Longoria will star with Billy Bob Thornton in Baytown Disco, the Barry Battles-directed independent drama. Battles wrote the script with Griffin Hood and State Street Pictures is producing. The film is about three violent redneck brothers who are hired to return a kidnapped wheelchair-bound teen to his grandmother. They leave a lot of bloodshed behind to accomplish the task. The Desperate Housewives star will play the ex-wife of Thornton’s character. She’s repped by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment and attorney Brad Small.

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WME Signs Billy Bob Thornton From CAA

By | Tuesday March 22, 2011 @ 1:29pm PDT

He’s still managed by Media Talent Group and legal rep Bob Myman.

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SXSW Closes With Billy Bob Thornton’s Documentary On Willie Nelson

By | Wednesday March 2, 2011 @ 12:24pm PST
Mike Fleming

The South by Southwest Festival announced its closing night film will be the World Premiere of The King of Luck, a documentary about Willie Nelson that will be directed by Billy Bob Thornton. The film screens March 19. The fest will also show a work in progress screening of Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids, which was cowritten by Kristen Wiig and produced by Judd Apatow. (Deadline was not a fan of the movie’s first trailer.) Seeing Thornton back behind the camera is most intriguing. He hasn’t directed a film since 2001′s Daddy and Them, and before that helmed the underrated All the Pretty Horses. BBT has spent as much time singing as he has turning in performances in films like Bad Santa, but I’m sure he’s got another Sling Blade in him, so hopefully this signals the start of a trend with Thornton writing and directing features again. Mmmm, hmmm.

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