BREAKING: Madonna will get back behind the camera to direct an adaptation of the Rebecca Walker novel Adé: A Love Story. The novel is based on Walker’s experience. It revolves around a young college student who falls in love with the title character, a young Swahili man, and they plan to marry and live a simple life in Kenya. All of that comes in jeopardy when they are caught in the middle of a civil war that threatens to tear them apart.
The film will be produced by Bruce Cohen, who shared a Best Picture Oscar on American Beauty and more recently produced Milk and Silver Linings Playbook. He’ll produce through his Bruce Cohen Productions shingle with his director of development Jessica Leventhal, and the author. The book was released last fall by Amazon’s Little A imprint.
This is early days, and Madonna and the producers will attach a screenwriter as CAA puts together financing for the film. Madonna made her narrative feature directing debut on 2011′s W.E., which chronicled the relationship between British King Edward VIII and American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
EXCLUSIVE: The new WGN America is barely 8 months old, but it already has ordered two original scripted series — Salem and Manhattan — and has made a major off-network acquisition with Person Of Interest. Now the scripted newcomer is adding an ambitious event series to its programming roster. I’ve learned that WGN has teamed with the Weinstein Company for a Ten Commandments 10-part event series, which is being executive produced by Oscar-winning producer Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook, American Beauty). I hear the plan is for each episode to be helmed by a different A-list director, focusing on one commandment and its evolving significance. I hear the project is eying a March start. This would be one of Hollywood’s highest-profile takes on one of the most studied and sacred texts in Christianity and Judaism since the 1956 movie directed by Cecil B. DeMille starring Charlton Heston as Moses. With its structure, the event series is reminiscent of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s acclaimed 1989 Polish 10-part series Decalogue, where each part also focused on one commandment. The Ten Commandments, or the Decalogue, feature a set of biblical principles delivered by God to Moses that include prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, murder, theft, dishonesty, and adultery. On the comedy side, the commandments were famously tackled by Mel Brooks in History of The World, as well as by the 2007 movie The Ten. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Academy Award-winning producer Bruce Cohen (American Beauty, Milk, Silver Linings Playbook) is set to produce The Fifth Beatle, about the life of Beatles manager Brian Epstein. The English entrepreneur Paul McCartney dubbed “the fifth Beatle” helped launch the career of the Fab Five and managed them until his death by accidental overdose in 1967. He was also a closeted gay man whose close relationship with John Lennon was the subject of the 1991 Sundance entry The Hours and Times. Pic is scripted by Tony-winning producer Vivek J. Tiwary (Green Day’s American Idiot, Mel Brooks’ The Producers) from his own forthcoming graphic novel with art by Andrew C. Robinson and cartoonist Kyle Baker, which Dark Horse releases November 19. Tiwary will produce alongside Cohen, who won the Oscar in 2000 for American Beauty. Production is set to begin in 2014.
EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that Dexter star Michael C. Hall is negotiating to play the lead in Big Fish on Broadway next year. Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks, who produced the Tim Burton-directed film, are producing the musical stage adaptation. Susan Stroman (The Scottsboro Boys) is directing and Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family) wrote the music. John August wrote the book for the musical, based on his movie script from the novel by Daniel Wallace. It is expected to be quite the stage event. The part was originally written for Hugh Jackman, but his movie schedule got in the way and the producers turned to Hall. Before he became TV’s best-known serial killer by merit of the Showtime series, Hall performed in numerous musicals that include Cabaret and Chicago, so he’s certainly got the chops to play Edward Bloom, the man who filled his son’s head with so many unbelievable adventures that occurred during the course of his life. Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney played that role in the movie.
Hugh Jackman was the first to be offered the hosting job at the upcoming Oscarcast by producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer, an offer he turned down because he’s preparing to shoot Wolverine with Oscar-nominated Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky. But Jackman–who in my view did an excellent job in his year as host two years ago–was just announced as a presenter in the upcoming Academy Awards hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway. I’m sure Jackman will be back as host one of these years.
EXCLUSIVE: Oscarcast executive producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer have been searching for the host or hosts of the 83rd Academy Awards. I’m told that the first person they approached just in the past couple weeks was Hugh Jackman who turned down the offer. Jackman successfully hosted two years ago, and nixed the overture last year because he didn’t want to host two years in a row. This time, Jackman is too busy preparing the sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine which 20th Century Fox is mobilizing to begin shooting in late February or early March. Problem is that the Oscars will be held February 27th. (I’m told that Darren Aronofsky was locked in late Friday to direct Wolverine 2. Scripted by Christopher McQuarrie, the picture will shoot in New York and Japan.)
Last year’s Oscar’s host selection was the returning Steve Martin sharing duties with Alec Baldwin. The approach to Jackman is understandable, given his versatility as a song and dance man, his likability, and his international appeal. But where will Cohen and Mischer go from here? Will they end the parade of middle-aged white guys and set a female host, or a minority? And what about a younger host? We should know the answer soon: last year, the Academy announced its host on November 3rd.
Academy Awards telecast producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer have set 62nd Emmys production designer Steve Bass to do the same for the 83rd Academy Awards. The big surprise is that their choice isn’t David Rockwell, who has been the production designer for the past two Oscarcasts and won an Emmy for last year’s. I’m told he was offered the job but decided to sit out this year:
Beverly Hills, CA — Steve Bass will serve as production designer for the 83rd Academy Awards® presentation, Oscar telecast producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer announced today. This will be the first time the Emmy®-winning production designer has worked on the Oscar telecast.
“I have collaborated with Steve several times, and he’s the perfect person for this year’s Oscars,” said Mischer. “He’s an innovative, creative talent who I know will do justice to the tradition and glamour of the Academy Awards.”
“Don and I knew right away that Steve would be the absolute best partner to bring our vision to life in terms of the production design of the Oscar show,” said Cohen. “He is truly a master at designing for high-profile, grand-scale events.”
Bass most recently worked with Mischer on the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards. Other collaborations include “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial,” “Movies Rock,” on which Cohen also served as an executive producer, and the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Bass has won two Emmys, in 1997 as art director of
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This is surprisingly early for such a big decision to be made. In fact, the earliest that the producers and director of the Academy Awards telecast have been chosen in recent years. But Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences President Tom Sherak just told me that he made up his mind last year to fill the two positions early before any of his candidates were already committed to other gig. Sherak did have a conversation with last year’s producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman but “they wanted time off… that show is tough,” Sherak noted. As for the reasons behind his selections, well, Don Mischer has won 15 Emmys, and Bruce Cohen “knows what he wants to do, and wants to do it badly,” Sherak told me. So now the producing pair will put together a list of hosts they want for the Oscars and get that set as soon as possible. As long as they include a woman this year! (We were up first with this but our Deadline email alerts were not working…):
Beverly Hills, CA (June 22, 2010) — Academy Award®-winning producer Bruce Cohen and acclaimed television producer/director Don Mischer will produce the 83rd Academy Awards telecast, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announced this evening. Mischer will also serve as the telecast’s director. This will be the first involvement with the Oscar® telecast for both men, though the two worked together on the Academy’s inaugural Governors Awards event in November of 2010.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic that Bruce and Don have accepted my invitation to produce and direct the 83rd Academy Awards telecast,” said Sherak. “Their work in producing the Academy’s inaugural Governors Awards was exceptional and I am confident they will bring their creative vision and extraordinary talent to produce/direct a most memorable Oscar show.”
“I fell in love with the Oscars as an eight-year-old kid, the night my grandmothers let me stay up to watch for the first time,” said Cohen. “It is a dream come true for me to now be producing the show with the phenomenal Don Mischer, whom I’ve had an incredible time working with in the past. We hope to create a show that celebrates what people around the world love about the Academy Awards year after year – the excitement, glamour and tradition of Oscar Night itself.”
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