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Global Showbiz Briefs: India’s Epic TV Gets Deep-Pocketed Backer; Portion Of France’s Tough Anti-Piracy Law Overturned; More

India’s Richest Man Backs Start-Up Channel Epic TV
India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, is backing Epic TV, a new Indian start-up channel. Due to start broadcasting next month, the high-def channel will have content based on the nation’s history, folklore and mythology in a contemporary format, Indian press reported. Former Walt Disney India managing director Mahesh Samat is leading the channel. Ambani, who is the chairman of Reliance Industries, has taken a more than 25% stake in the group via his Reliance Ports & Terminals. This is his second broadcasting venture; he already owns a stake in the Network18 Group. Ambani is the brother of Anil Ambani, who heads DreamWorks partner Reliance Entertainment.

Portion Of France’s Anti-Piracy Law Overturned
A section of anti-piracy law that France spent millions on developing has been overturned. The controversial Hadopi legislation was introduced in 2009 as a three-strikes program that would begin with warning letters sent to suspected online pirates and end with the suspension of their Internet access. But the Culture and Communications Ministry said today that the last leg has been overturned and French judges no longer will be able to impose suspensions. Rather, people who illegally download copyrighted content will be faced with fines that could increase gradually. This is the first measure adopted following a comprehensive report that was led by former Canal Plus chief Pierre Lescure. Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti tweeted her support, saying, “Cutting off Internet is over. Change is now. We will fight relentlessly against sites that make money on the backs of creators.”

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PILOTS: Brian Cox Joins ‘Gotham’, Nelson Franklin To Star In Mandy Moore Project, Anson Mount To Guest In ‘Penoza’

By | Monday March 19, 2012 @ 3:44pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Brian Cox is set to co-star in the ABC drama pilot Gotham. The 20th TV-produced project centers on Detective Annie Travers (Megan Ketch) who, while investigating the “impossible murder” of a nightclub owner, is stunned to learn that New York has a whole secret magical history of which she (and everyone else) was hitherto unaware. IFA-repped Cox will play Alderman Morrill, an intelligent, sharp-eyed gentleman and seemingly the owner of a clock shop who is actually entrusted to keep the secret magic world New York City running on an even keel. The pilot was written by Michael Green, with Francis Lawrence directing.

Nelson Franklin (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) has landed the male lead opposite Mandy Moore in Moore’s ABC comedy pilot directed by Shawn Levy. The single-camera project, written by Bob Fisher and Stacy Traub, centers on newlyweds Annie (Moore) and Ben (Franklin), who get the opportunity of a lifetime to run a hip, new restaurant in Annie’s hometown bringing her closer to her needy and high-maintenance family. Stockard Channing and Kurt Fuller play Annie’s parents. The casting reunites Franklin, repped by WME and Principato-Young, with 20th TV where he starred on the comedy series Traffic Light last season.

Hell On Wheels star Anson Mount has been tapped for a high-profile guest starring role in ABC’s drama pilot Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: UK, India, China

By | Friday September 9, 2011 @ 9:20pm PDT

Simon Cowell Tries To Deflect Flak From ‘Red Or Black?’
The music and TV mogul said today “human error” was to blame after a man who did time for domestic abuse, Nathan Hageman, won the £1M jackpot on the game show’s opening night. Producer Cowell said that ITV bosses were “delighted” with Red or Black? despite the cloud over the debut and predicted that the show would be in 30 territories –-including the US-– within 12 months. He described as “disgusting” the allegations of violence against a woman, but stopped short of urging Hageman to hand back his jackpot. “I know what I would do,” he said. “I would give away part of the money to the person he had the altercation with and a charity.” Also today, news emerged that ITV ordered a pilot episode of Red or Black? eight years ago, but decided the skill-free format wouldn’t work. “I didn’t believe people would like to see someone win a vast sum of money, with no skills at all involved. Second, gambling is not a spectator sport, you get an adrenaline rush from participating in it,’ said ITV’s Claudia Rosencrantz, who commissioned the pilot. Cowell, whose X Factor debuts in the U.S. on Fox on Sept. 21, was not involved with the show then.

Hollywood Going Beyond Bollywood With Indian Releases
It’s natural to think of Bollywood when the subject of Indian film comes up. But India’s film industry is among the world’s … Read More »

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Hot Unrated Trailer: ‘Ironclad’

A new unrated trailer has been issued for Ironclad, the Braveheart-style medieval action film that stars Paul Giamatti, Kate Mara, James Purefoy and Brian Cox. Jonathan English directed it. ARC Entertainment will release on VOD June 8 and in theaters July 8.

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Berlin: ARC Entertainment Acquires Medieval Actioner ‘Ironclad’

Mike Fleming

ARC Entertainment has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the ContentFilm International medieval action thriller Ironclad. ARC made the deal in collaboration with Barry Gordon’s XLrator Media, and will release the film theatrically in June. Directed by Jonathan English, the film is the true story of a motley crew of battle-hardened warriors who go to war to defend their country’s freedom.

Rome‘s James Purefoy, Brian Cox, Derek Jacobi, Kate Mara, Paul Giamatti and Jason Flemyng star with Jamie Foreman, Aneurin Barnar, Mackenzie Crook, Vladimir Kulich and Charles Dance. English wrote the script with Erick Kastel and Stephen McDool, and Mythic International Entertainment’s Rick Benattar, Andrew Curtis and English produced it.

“The partnership between ARC Entertainment and XLator is the perfect team to distribute Ironclad,” said ContentFilm’s Jamie Carmichael. ContentFilm most recently generated the Ian Palmer-directed documentary Knuckle that premiered at Sundance. The film, about a longstanding dispute between two clans in Ireland that gets periodically settled through bare knuckle brawls, came away with a remake rights deal CAA made at HBO for a potential series from the Eastbound & Down team of Danny McBride, Jody Hill and David Gordon Green of Rough House Pictures.

Here’s a trailer for Ironclad:

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Weinstein Co In Talks To Buy ‘Coriolanus’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company is negotiating with Icon to acquire U.S. distribution rights to Coriolanus, the Ralph Fiennes-directed John Logan-scripted contemporized adaptation of the Shakespeare play. Gerard Butler, Fiennes, Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave and Jessica Chastain lead the cast. The film will be part of the competition at the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival. It puts Harvey Weinstein back in business with Fiennes, who starred in the 1996 Best Picture winner The English Patient and most recently in The Reader. The plan being discussed involves platforming the picture later this year, in time for awards season. Fiennes plays the title character, a hero who is banished and plots his revenge by aligning with his sworn enemy, Tulles Aufidius (Butler) to return and sack his homeland. Political machinations and misgivings get in the way and place Coiolanus in grave danger. Gabrielle Tana of Magnolia Mae Films, Julia Taylor-Stanley of Artemis Films, and Colin Vaines produced it. Weinstein viewed the film a month ago in London. The pending deal follows an aggressive Sundance for Weinstein, who acquired the fest’s two highest priced films in the Paul Rudd-starrer My Idiot Brother and the Tobey Maguire-starrer The Details.

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Kiefer Sutherland In Broadway Stage Turn

By | Tuesday November 2, 2010 @ 6:15am PDT
Mike Fleming

UPDATE: The Shubert Organization has announced cast on this. Joining Kiefer Sutherland and Brian Cox will be Jim Gaffigan (playing George Sikowski), Chris Noth (playing Phil Romano), and Jason Patric (playing Tom Daley). They haven’t yet set a theater.

EARLIER: Last time Kiefer Sutherland was hanging around New York, he was here saving the world as Jack Bauer in the final season of the Fox series 24. Sutherland is coming back to town, this time to star in a revival of the Jason Miller play That Championship Season. He’ll star alongside Brian Cox, with Gregory Mosher directing. Rehearsals start in January for a February 10, 2011 opening. The play is about four guys who come for a reunion with their high school hoops coach 20 years after they won the state championship. The players have all stayed in touch the coach (Cox) but never really achieved their career goals in life. The reunion might be their last, and secrets spill. Sutherland will play the role of James Daley, a local junior high school principal. The original play debuted in 1972 and won both the Tony Award and Pulitizer Prize the following year. Read More »

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