Until now David O. Russell‘s American Hustle (12/13) has been largely unseen, and along with Paramount’s The Wolf Of Wall Street (12/25) is the last 2013 awards contender to be unveiled. (I’m told screenings start this weekend for Hustle and at the end of the month for Wolf.). So all we have are the trailers and the six-minute opening sequence Russell showed at his AFI tribute last week. But at Deadline’s THE CONTENDERS event, one of the film’s producers, Richard Suckle, offered the 411 on just how far the American Hustle actors would go for their art in this wild crime drama.
The Contenders 2013: ‘American Hustle’ Producer Tells Why Christian Bale Shaved His Head And Gained 40 Pounds (Video)
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Television has partnered with Georgeville Television and actor/producer Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) for Limitless, a scripted TV series based on Relativity’s hit 2011 movie starring and executive produced by Cooper. He will executive produce the drama, with the film’s producers Leslie Dixon and Scott Kroopf serving as co-executive producers. The announcement will be made at the upcoming MIPCOM market in Cannes, where Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh will give a keynote speech Tuesday. “Limitless is the perfect example of Relativity’s multiplatform approach to creating quality content,” he said. Added Georgeville TV CEO Marc Rosen, “The film has an organic natural extension into a compelling and sophisticated one-hour drama that is both a thrill-ride and a social commentary.”
The Limitless feature, which starred Cooper, Robert De Niro and Abbie Cornish, is a paranoia-fueled action thriller about an unsuccessful writer whose life is transformed by a top-secret “smart drug” that allows him to use 100% of his brain and become a perfect version of himself. His enhanced abilities soon attract shadowy forces that threaten his new life. (Watch the trailer after the jump.) The film opened at No. 1 at the domestic box office on its way to grossing more than $160 million worldwide and subsequently sold 2 million-plus home video units.
Missed them first time round? Check them out:
Squash Those Petitions! Why Ben Affleck As Batman Is Good Move For Warner Bros
By Mike Fleming Jr - OPINION: I was as surprised as anyone when Ben Affleck was named the new Batman by Warner Bros.
These are the top film stories that Deadline ran this week:
Bradley Cooper Boards Warner Bros’ Lance Armstrong Film As Producer And Potential Star As Race To Mount Bike Pic Heats Up
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros, Atlas Entertainment and director Jay Roach are making their move in the race to mount a feature on Lance Armstrong, the 7-time Tour de France champion who was defrocked and disgraced when he finally admitted he was doping. Bradley Cooper is in talks to come aboard as a producer, and he’s also looking to play one of the two major roles in Red Blooded American. One of those roles is Armstrong, and the other is Tyler Hamilton, the former Armstrong teammate who was part of Armstrong’s inner circle on the US Postal Service Team and who came forward and told what he saw Armstrong doing in a 60 Minutes segment. Hamilton was the recipient of blistering attacks from Armstrong for breaking what had been a closed circle. At the time, Armstrong had been accused of doping numerous times, but always had been steadfast in his denial.
If your movie was released in March or April, and has Oscar aspirations, it requires every trick in an Academy consultant’s publicity handbook to try to keep it alive against the massive onslaught of competition unleashed in the back eight months of the year. Very few films released before May at the earliest make the cut these days, at least in the major categories. Oscar voters tend to have short memories. It’s an uphill climb that requires money for big campaigns, a tall order for independent films with limited budgets.
One way to do it is get your Blu-ray out there in August with some fresh television advertising, well before screener season begins, and hope that voters have a chance to check it out before the tsunami of movies start bombarding them in the Fall. For Roadside Attractions‘ Mud which was released in theatres April 26th and Focus Features‘ The Place Beyond The Pines which debuted March 29th, their dueling road to Oscar continues this week with the release of their Blu-ray and DVD. The films have the current distinction of being the two top grossing independent films of 2013, both in the $21 million range, with Mud this week just slightly overtaking Pines for the lead but it remains a dead heat.
EXCLUSIVE: Steven Spielberg has taken American Sniper out of his crosshairs, after declaring in May that he would next helm the film about decorated Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, with Bradley Cooper playing the marksman. DreamWorks joined Warner …
How Jason Hall Went From Struggling Actor To Hot Screenwriter With ‘American Sniper’ And Two More Big Deals Coming
EXCLUSIVE: Jason Hall was marked an A-list screenwriter the moment DreamWorks and Warner Bros joined forces after Steven Spielberg agreed to direct Bradley Cooper in American Sniper, based on the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Not surprisingly, both studios want more from Hall. Warner Bros has just closed a blind script deal with him, and I’ve learned that DreamWorks is in early talks to have Hall adapt the upcoming David Finkel book Thank You For Your Service, about the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder syndrome that is becoming a major issue for vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s something Spielberg likes as a potential project down the line, though that is all early days.
I sought out Hall because I find it instructive to see how a guy with one screen credit (2009′s Spread) and another coming (an adaption of the Joseph Finder novel Paranoia) gets white-hot so quickly. Every writer’s trajectory is different, but there’s a common thread: there is no such thing as an overnight success screenwriter. It’s years of struggle to find a voice, and then maybe a lucky break. Hall came to Hollywood to be an actor, and only found his way to screenwriting because things were going so badly. “I did TV parts in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and other shows, playing the bad guy or the MacGuffin bad guy, with the half-baked mustache,” Hall told me. “I would read these terrible movie scripts, and I couldn’t get auditions. I thought, maybe I could write a terrible script for myself, but they wouldn’t even let me audition when I did that. My first script, I remember this funny lawyer telling me I was getting more than Ben and Matt did at the beginning. This producer says, I know you want to act in this, but what if I told you Milos Forman wanted to direct this, with someone else?” Still in full actor mode, Hall was direct: “I remember being in the lobby of The Four Seasons, and saying a little too loud, ‘Milos Forman can go fuck himself!’ So that went away, and then I wrote another script about a blind wrestler. I wrestled since I was a kid, and there are these great blind wrestlers who compete up to nationals. I’ve wrestled them, and you have to keep your hands on them at all times, and if you separate the ref blows the whistle and connects you again. Some of these guys are really good. So I’m ready to play this blind wrestler, and John Dahl is interested and says to me, this is perfect for Matt Damon. And I said, ‘Matt Damon can go fuck himself!’ And that went away.”
EXCLUSIVE: Bradley Cooper has now formally confirmed to star in the John Wells-directed Chef, making this one of the early projects stirring action from foreign buyers who can now visualize the Silver Linings Playbook star back in meltdown mode in this Shampoo-like drama. He plays a Paris chef named Adam Jones, who destroys his wunderkind status in a blaze of decadence and out of control behavior. He cleans up and returns to Paris sober, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant that can gain three Michelin stars. This has been in the works a bit, and recently Cooper saw Wells’ upcoming TWC Oscar-bait movie August: Osage County and then TWC set Wells to direct Chef. They are now looking to round out that cast, and I’m hearing Michelle Williams and Marion Cotillard as potential female leads, and Omar Sy for co-starring role. The film’s produced by Stacey Sher, Erwin Stoff and Michael Shamberg.
EXCLUSIVE: The resilient indie Western Jane Got A Gun finally has its bad guy. Ewan McGregor is negotiating to play the pivotal role of the leader of an outlaw gang in the film that Gavin O’Connor is now directing. Natalie Portman plays the wife of an outlaw (Noah Emmerich) who leaves that gang after he gets shot up, and returns home. Knowing his former outlaw mates will come to finish him off and destroy her farm, Jane is forced to rekindle a relationship with a past love (Joel Edgerton), a capable gunman who can help her. This is the role that Jude Law originally was going to play, but he exited when original director Lynne Ramsay abruptly left the night before production began. After O’Connor came on to replace Ramsay behind the camera, they got Bradley Cooper to play the part, but his schedule is so impossibly busy — particularly after shooting got postponed on the David O Russell-directed American Hustle because of the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent city lockdown — that Cooper had to drop out. This was OK because the villain wasn’t scheduled to shoot until later into the production.
EXCLUSIVE: Bradley Cooper is poised to join the cast of Jane Got A Gun, stepping in to play the bad guy role that Jude Law exited shortly after We Need To Talk About Kevin helmer Lynne Ramsay‘s abrupt exit. Cooper joins Natalie Portman and Joel Edgerton in the film that Warrior helmer Gavin O’Connor took over.
Despite a tough start, the film is now two weeks into production. The producers, including Scott Steindorff, Portman, Terry Dougas and Aleen Keshishian, have pulled off a minor miracle here. As Deadline revealed exclusively, the cast and crew found out the morning of the first day of shooting that Ramsay had withdrawn from the film. They managed to keep the crew and cast from scattering until they could set O’Connor. Then Law exited, because he wanted to work with Ramsay. I’ve seen independent films fall apart with less adversity, but these guys persevered. They got the film started, but needed to find a replacement with someone with comparable value to Law in the overseas marketplace. They’ve overachieved in landing Cooper.