Living on the East Coast, I got a jump on West Coast viewers and just finished watching the final episode of AMC‘s Breaking Bad. Feel free to make comments on the events of the episode here, after the final credits roll in the West Coast broadcast. But for now I’m not giving up spoilers. Suffice to say that the unfinished business of the hapless chemistry teacher Walter White, who becomes the ruthless meth magnate Heisenberg, get wrapped up tonight. And there are some stunning surprises thrown in on the score-settling tour. The episode plays like a roller coaster, and the uphill rise takes about 45 minutes. Then it’s all downhill for the next 30. Still seems remarkable given Vince Gilligan’s origins and Bryan Cranston‘s comedy background they would be able to generate a series this intense and dramatically compelling, but now they become another touchstone (the just wrapped Dexter is another) in what will go down as the most profound golden age of cable television series, wrought by a lot of quality feature writers who took their trade to the small screen when Hollywood turned its back on those middle-ground dramas in favor of global appeal movies that have a certain sameness to them. There is a sense of authorship in these cable series, from Homeland to Ray Donovan to Sons Of Anarchy to Game …
If you didn’t read some of Deadline’s Top Film stories this week, here’s your chance today:
‘Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston Will Next Play Blacklisted Scribe Dalton Trumbo
By Mike Fleming Jr – EXCLUSIVE: When he completes his tour de force run in Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston will play the title role in the Jay Roach-directed Trumbo, the fact-based feature of the man who broke the Hollywood blacklist.
‘Prisoners’ Breaks Out For #1 With $21.4M; ‘Battle Of The Year’ #5 For Bleak $4.1M
By Nikki Finke - SUNDAY 1 AM, 4TH UPDATE: With the 65th Emmys broadcasting this weekend, Hollywood is only talking television, television, television.
EXCLUSIVE: When he completes his tour de force run in Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston will play the title role in the Jay Roach-directed Trumbo, the fact-based feature of the man who broke the Hollywood blacklist. Michael London’s Groundswell Productions is putting the film together for a 2014 start and it will be Cranston’s first big job after the AMC series that has brought him three Emmys with a nomination for a fourth to be determined this weekend. John McNamara wrote the script.
Trumbo was the highest paid screenwriter in the world when, in 1950, he was sent to prison for refusing to answer the questions of Congress’ infamous House UnAmerican Activities Committee. Rebellious even after his release, Trumbo became the movies’ most prolific blacklisted writer, secretly writing such classics as Roman Holiday and winning two Academy Awards — under fake names.
It was no easy living though, as the blacklist remained unbreakable and destroyed careers, friendships and lives. Trumbo’s relationship with wife and children were tested almost to the breaking point, but nothing could stop his campaign to break the boycott. In the end, Trumbo helped ignite a battle against Hollywood and D.C., eventually clearing his name and ending the blacklist once and for all. McNamara adapted the book by Bruce Cook. London is producing with Janice Williams, Kevin Brown and McNamara. Kelly Mullen is executive producer. Groundswell is setting up the …
Breaking Bad writer and co-EP Peter Gould tweeted today that the last two episodes of the AMC drama will run “75 minutes each w/ commercials”. Meanwhile, as the countdown to the series finale reaches T-minus 10 days, the network is priming the buzz pump and thanking the show’s cast and crew with a new poster. It features a lonely shot of the RV where Bryan Cranston‘s Walter White and Aaron Paul‘s Jesse Pinkman cooked up that first batch of meth in the New Mexico desert, set off with the words, “It was all in the chemistry”:
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
In the rush to honor Showtime’s Homeland in 2012, the one Emmy nominee considered something of a sure thing was Claire Danes for drama actress. And she did win. What surprised many was that costar Damian Lewis—and the series itself—also won. This time, while a Homeland sweep is even less likely, Danes remains the safest bet to repeat on the lead drama actress side. But among the actors, the race is less clear: A pair of previous category winners (Bryan Cranston of AMC’s Breaking Bad and Lewis) face off against an Oscar winner (Kevin Spacey of Netflix’s House Of Cards). An intriguing question is whether a Netflix series will be honored in its maiden Emmy voyage. Also bidding for Emmy love are first-time nominee Jeff Daniels of HBO’s The Newsroom, 11-timer Jon Hamm of AMC’s Mad Men and two-timer Hugh Bonneville of the PBS soap Downton Abbey. And if lead actress Danes does repeat, she will have overcome a formidable field headed by first-time nominees Kerry Washington (ABC’s Scandal), Vera Farmiga (A&E’s Bates Motel) and Robin Wright (Netflix’s House Of Cards). But Washington does stand a chance to win.
Related: EMMYS: Drama Series Overview
Cranston already has won three Emmys for his performance as teacher-turned-drug lord Walter White, and his series has arguably never been hotter. If anything, his performance only grows even more dynamic in Season 5. He lost last year in something of an upset to Homeland’s Damian Lewis, and this time he’s got to beat a two-time Oscar winner in Kevin Spacey plus Lewis. Spacey’s going to be tough to defeat. Maybe too tough.
EXCLUSIVE: After a 16-year run as a TV literary agent at UTA, James Degus is leaving the agency to join client Bryan Cranston‘s recently launched production company Moon Shot Entertainment. Degus will serve as president of Moon Shot Entertainment, which has a two-year first-look development deal at Sony Pictures TV, the studio behind Cranston’s AMC series Breaking Bad. Degus will be responsible for ramping up and overseeing Moon Shot’s development and production slate in drama and comedy for both broadcast and cable. Emmy-winning actor Cranston is making his first official foray into TV producing with Moon Shot, which set up shot at Sony TV in June. “James brings a passion for finding great material and a determination that is infectious,” Cranston said. “He will make an excellent partner at Moon Shot.”
Degus began his career in UTA’s Agent Training Program, starting in the mailroom in 1994. He was promoted to agent in 1997. Degus’ clients will stay with UTA. “James is a great guy, a great agent and has been an integral part for UTA for many years,” UTA managing director Jay Sures said. “We’re sad he’s leaving but truly excited for him at this opportunity to join Bryan in building something special.”
Alice Eve, Bryan Cranston, and Logan Marshall-Green star in director Tze Chun’s Cold Comes The Night, which Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions picked up for domestic and international. Chun (Children of Invention) co-wrote and directed the pic about a motel owner (Eve) taken hostage by a nearly blind criminal (Cranston) as he attempts to retrieve a cash package from a dirty cop (Marshall-Green).
EXCLUSIVE: As production is wrapping on the final season of AMC’s Breaking Bad, the series’ star Bryan Cranston is extending his relationship with Breaking Bad producer Sony Pictures Television. The Emmy-winning actor has signed a first-look deal with the studio to develop and produce new series projects, including potential starring vehicles for him.
In addition to starring on Breaking Bad, a role that has earned him three Emmy Awards, Cranston serves as a producer on the series whose final eight episodes will air this summer. UTA-repped Cranston is coming off a rare double SAG Award victory Sunday, where he won as best actor in a drama series for Breaking Bad and as a member of the cast of Argo, which took the best performance by a cast in a motion picture award.
Christy Grosz is Editor of AwardsLine.
Although he’s better known to TV audiences as the meth-making teacher Walter White on Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston spends a good portion of his year working on plenty of other film and TV projects. “It’s like a drug to be able to tell stories—that’s (my) drug of choice,” says Cranston, who directed an episode of ABC’s Modern Family this season and is prepping his own feature to direct when Breaking Bad finishes shooting its final episodes early next year. He recently sat down with AwardsLine to talk about his latest role as CIA agent Jack O’Donnell in Argo, Ben Affleck’s story about how Hollywood and the CIA teamed up to rescue six stranded diplomats in 1970s-era Iran.
AwardsLine: When you read the script for Argo, did you know that you would be playing CIA agent Jack O’Donnell?
Bryan Cranston: The first time I read a script I don’t really want to know what character they’re thinking of. I just want to get a sense of the story by itself. I could even sometimes look at it and go, “There’s a good story here, but it’s kind of hidden with this muddled script.” If that’s the case, and I like the character, then I’ll talk about (working) on improving the script, which is mostly the case for me. When I heard this story and I read the script, and I was taken away by it. Not only is the story fantastic and real, but Chris Terrio’s screenplay was so supportive of that story and told it beautifully. I realized there’s no discussion here as far as “the script is lacking”. The role of Jack O’Donnell just popped off the page for me, because he’s an integral part of the story but also has his moment of heroism. He needs to rise to the occasion, damn the torpedos.
After extremely successful film festival launches in Telluride and Toronto, Warner Bros. thriller and big Oscar hopeful, Argo (10/12), finally hit Hollywood last night with a West Coast premiere at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theatre. And a big postparty bash at the Beverly Hills Hotel pool drew not only the cast and key creatives from the film but also the real people behind the 1979-set Iran hostage drama. They included Tony Mendez, the CIA operative who came up with a novel plan to rescue six American hostages stuck in the Canadian embassy in Tehran by creating a fake Hollywood movie for which they posed as members of the production team. Ben Affleck directs and stars as Mendez in the film which he also produced with Grant Heslov and George Clooney (who initially optioned the material and was originally planning to direct and star himself before he got busy on other projects and Affleck came aboard).
I talked to numerous Academy and HFPA members who were invited and reaction, in a word, was ecstatic. As he was leaving the party, Affleck, getting lots of praise from the crowd, said the reaction made him happy. It should. Warners was smart to specifically invite a big contingent of awards voters and bloggers for the launch. It’s a strategy Harvey Weinstein perfected with his premieres and it makes a statement, ‘we …
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage. (Note: This story was originally posted on Thursday.)
Several streaks will be tested at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards this Sunday. Will Mad Men win a record fifth Emmy in a row for Outstanding Drama Series? Will Bryan Cranston make it four consecutive lead acting wins for Breaking Bad and Jim Parsons three in a row for The Big Bang Theory? Can Modern Family pull a top comedy series three-peat? And can The Daily Show With Jon Stewart make it a decade as the Emmy winner for best variety series? At the Creative Emmy Awards last weekend, HBO’s fantasy drama Game Of Thrones‘ bagged the most Emmys, six. Will GOT be able to hold onto its lead Sunday? And will Mad Men finally win an acting trophy? While waiting for all those questions to be answered Sunday, here are some final predictions for how things might go down in some of the top categories.
The Nominees: Mad Men (AMC), Breaking Bad (AMC), Homeland (Showtime), Downton Abbey (PBS), Game of Thrones (HBO), Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Who’s Going to Win: Let’s go out on a limb and say Breaking Bad is going to get it done. It would be highly unusual for a drama to win its first Outstanding Drama Series Emmy in its fourth season, but Breaking Bad is a highly unusual show whose buzz has sailed off the charts of late. “What a lot of people might forget,” one producer told me, “is that this award is for Season 4, not Season 5, when Breaking Bad arguably peaked. Just personally, all my friends voted for it. Take from that what you will.” I’ll take it as an omen for a semi-upset.
Then Again: One can make the argument that Breaking Bad is simply too dark for the TV Academy mainstream. And if that turns out to be the case, a Mad Men triumph would surprise few. That would give it a record five statuettes in the category, an accomplishment that eluded four-timers Hill Street Blues, The West Wing and L.A. Law. But as one writer told me, “I don’t feel the love for Mad Men this time. The perception is that it’s time to honor someone else.” That could also mean Homeland, which has both the advantage and disadvantage of being a rookie.
If they don’t always get all the credit they deserve or a lot of time on the Emmy show itself, this year’s nominated writers in five different categories got a lot of love and all the time they wanted to make a speech while accepting official certificates of nomination at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Thursday night.
Writing Governors Kirk Ellis and Margaret Nagle along with The Writers branch Peer Group Executive Committee threw a lively and loose pre-Emmy celebration of all things written for TV this year with a very well-attended cocktail party (nicely coordinated by the Academy’s Barbara Chase) plus formal presentation in the Academy’s massive Leonard Goldenson Theatre hosted by Breaking Bad’s 3-time Emmy winner and 2012 nominee Bryan Cranston. Clips of all the nominated achievements were shown followed by a ceremony in which stars of those shows gave Emmy certificates to their writers.
“Everybody says it all starts with a script but in this hall we really believe that,” said Ellis in getting the evening rolling. Then in introducing Cranston, Nagle pointed out the close relationship between actors and their writers by saying, “In interview after interview he always states his admiration for writers and he means it”. Pointedly referencing Clint Eastwood’s rambling, improvised appearance at the GOP convention Cranston entered carrying an empty chair which he put beside the podium. “Was there ever …
Toronto’s film festival isn’t content to do just one, or even two, major gala premieres a night like, say, Cannes. No, it has about 10 of them and Friday night was really buzzing with at least four major ‘must-see’ events all coinciding. Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master premiered in North American to a sold-out crowd at the massive Princess Of Wales theatre and sparked lots of immediate Oscar talk just like in Venice. (The Master And Joaquin Phoenix Draw Raves.) The acting from Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, particularly in a killer scene near the end, doesn’t get much better than this. And controversy about whether it really is – or isn’t – about the beginnings of Scientology will only spark more interest. But with the Oscar season just getting going in earnest, a lot of contenders are finally emerging.
Just as it did in its sneak previews in Telluride, Ben Affleck’s Argo killed in Toronto at its official World Premiere Friday at the Roy Thomson Hall. And why not? After all, some of the plot revolves around the Canadians helping to shelter 6 Americans from the radical Iranians who held nearly 60 others hostage for well over a year in 1979. And the Warner Bros brass turned out in force seeing the film receive a highly enthusiastic standing ovation. That included Jeff Robinov, Sue Kroll, Dan Fellman who know they have a likely hit on their hands.
At the after-party, director/star Affleck told me this was one of the best screenings he has ever had for a movie. “They got every reference and recognized all the Canadian names we put in there,” he said. After the highs of the Fall festival circuit, Affleck is just hoping filmgoers turn out when it opens October 12th. “I am doing something I haven’t done for a movie in years and hitting many different cities to promote the film,” he told me.
Breaking Bad is heading to Germany in the second episode of the new season, showrunner Vince Gilligan said today. Gilligan also told the Comic-Con crowd that audiences should expect more German accents than Spanish accents this upcoming season based on some financial deals that Walter White has made. He also said the White character finally does something that removes all sympathy for the character. “This season is all about winning and staying on top,” he added. “As we wind down to 16 episodes, we’re cranking it up,” said star Bryan Cranston. He also noted that Sunday’s opener is “not violent but intellectual.” His onscreen partner in crime Aaron Paul, whose catchphrase of the opening episode “magnets, bitch” he revealed, described the new season as “eerie”. That wasn’t all the audience learned about the upcoming season. Two days before the Season 5 debut of AMC’s Breaking Bad, the crowd tonight at Comic-Con got a glimpse of what’s to come. If the gunplay in the short preview they showed in Ballroom 20 this evening is any indication, the opener might not be so violent but the new season of Breaking Bad is going to be very, very violent. Also new characters will be added, and the Skinny Pete character played by Charles Baker is coming back. The preview showed that Walter White’s cooking meth again and his wife Skylar is on board. And after an initial attempt at killing Walt for the death of Gus at the end of season four, Mike Ehrmantraut has joined him and Jesse Pinkman.
We’ve heard and read that Breaking Bad‘s Season 5 picks up right where Season 4 left off. That appears to be true. AMC’s hit drama returns July 15th:
LOS ANGELES – March 7, 2012 – CBS Films announced today that Bryan Cranston (Drive, TV’s Breaking Bad), Anna Kendrick (50/50, Up In The Air) and Miles Teller (Footloose, Project X) will star in the comedy tentatively titled Get A Job. Nick Braun (Prom, TV’s Poor Paul), Alison Brie (Scream 4, TV’s Community), Brandon T. Jackson (Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Tropic Thunder), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fright Night, Superbad) and Jay Pharoah (TV’s Saturday Night Live, Lola Versus) are set to co-star in the film. Dylan Kidd (Roger Dodger, TV’s Children’s Hospital) is attached to direct the film from a screenplay by Kyle Pennekamp and Scott Turpel. Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher (Django Unchained, Contagion) of Double Feature Films are attached to produce.
EXCLUSIVE: Adam Shankman will be set by New Line Cinema to direct The Nutcracker, a new take on the classic fairy tale that is being eyed as a tent pole family holiday film for late 2013. The script was written by Darren Lemke, who just worked with New Line on Jack the Giant Killer, and whose credits include Shrek Forever After. This version of The Nutcracker goes back to the original 1815 book by E.T.A. Hoffman, about a young girl and a wooden toy soldier who comes alive and leads her on an adventure. The take is a drama with action and a love story that aspires to be similar in tone to Alice in Wonderland. It is shaping up as Shankman’s next film.
The film is being produced by Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, who are coming off Twlight Saga: Breaking Dawn–Part 1. It’s likely that Shankman and his Offspring Entertainment partner Jennifer Gibgot will become involved as well by the time the deal is made. Shankman is just coming off Rock of Ages, the New Line adaptation of the stage musical that stars Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Mary J. Blige, Paul Giamatti and Bryan Cranston. The film opens June 1. It would be Shankman’s third film with New Line, after Hairspray. Shankman is repped by UTA as is Lemke.
(September 13, 2011) – Primetime Emmy Award nominee Jon Cryer along with Scott Caan, Bryan Cranston, Claire Danes, Jason O’Mara and Kerry Washington are announced as additional presenters for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards. The telecast will air live from the NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles on Sunday, September 18th, (8:00 PM EDT live / 5:00 PM PDT live) on FOX.