This is a project that stirred a lot of excitement when it was initially announced in 2010. Writer-director Andrew Dominik was coming off of The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford at the time and then went on to make Killing Them Softly. He is still aboard to direct Blonde, which Worldview Entertainment has now optioned. The fictional biopic of Marilyn Monroe is based on a 700-page imagined memoir written by Joyce Carol Oates. Fans of the book are legion. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 2001, and the prolific Oates has said she thinks it may be the book for which she will be most remembered. Dominik wrote the adaptation. The filmmakers are currently casting (Naomi Watts was originally attached to play Monroe). CAA arranged financing and is packaging. The agency reps Dominik and will handle domestic rights. Wild Bunch is selling internationally. READ MORE »
Following a relatively new tradition they started a few years ago, The Weinstein Company on Friday night brought together a group of buyers, partners and press to preview its 2013 slate and meet filmmakers and stars. Although Harvey Weinstein never once mentioned the word “Oscar”, you can tell that’s definitely what he is thinking with a diverse mix of prestige projects that should give the awards-happy company lots of campaign fodder for 2013. He said after a rocky start the company has had a very good last four years and for 2012 made more than they ever did at Miramax. He also made a plea to the international audience gathered for the presentation at the Majestic Hotel for the continued independence of European filmmaking, especially in light of problems with the European Cultural Initiative. “We can’t let Europe be the same like the United States. What’s great about European movies is they are different and as long as they reflect their culture there will always be special movies like Amour, which we didn’t release last year, and so many movies like that. So keep your eye on the newspaper when this stuff comes up for votes or things we can do to influence it, I think it’s very important,” he said.
After the 40-minute reel led by the August 16th release The Butler and ending with the long-gestating Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Weinstein told me, “It’s a very eclectic, hard-hitting lineup that I am really proud of. What am I going to say? I feel very confident about this year”. Though he may not have been directly making an Oscar-season pitch (thankfully that’s still many months off even for Harvey — well, maybe not), he did make an overt plea for his official competition entries Only God Forgives and The Immigrant when introducing Cannes jury member Nicole Kidman, star of the December 27th release Grace Of Monaco. “We have a member of the jury with us tonight and she has to go for a jury meeting to hopefully decide which movie of mine wins the Palme d’Or. I have certainly given Steven (jury president Spielberg) enough money over the years,” he said to big laughs.
Cannes Briefs: Radiant Films Goes ‘Wild’; Image Acquires ‘ ZoZo’; ‘November Man’ Firms Cast; ‘Heat’ Sales Hot; ‘Oh Boy’ & ‘Child’s Pose’; Spike Lee Finds ‘Gold;’ Image Feels Domestic ‘Shiver’; More
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Radiant Films International has acquired international rights to the comedy drama Wild. Written and directed by Vivienne DeCourcy, the movie stars Ella Greenwell and Tom Hughes. It tells the story of Mary Reynolds, a visionary young garden designer who puts everything on the line in order to compete in the Chelsea Flower show. Hughes stars as Christy, an idealistic environmentalist, whom Mary enlists to help her compete at the Chelsea, the Olympics of gardening. Wild is funded by Green Earth, the Irish Film Board, RTE and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. It will shoot in Ireland and Ethiopia over the coming months. Pic is produced by Treasure Entertainment and Crowe’s Nest in Ireland, together with Green Earth in the US. Rebecca O’Flanagan and Rob Walpole will produce from Treasure, with Sarah Johnson and Chloe Kassis Crowe exec-producing. Jay Cohen from the Gersh Agency is handling U.S. rights.
Over the course of a busy 15 months, Chinese media mogul Bruno Wu has announced a series of joint ventures and projects with Hollywood and UK partners. His latest announcement is a tie-up with French producer Pierre-Ange Le Pogam (Grace Of Monaco). The pair’s Angel Storm will look to make action-based Euro-Chinese co-productions and franchises. Here’s the release:
Cannes – May 17, 2013 – Bruno Wu’s Seven Stars Entertainment has formed a joint venture with French film mogul and producer Pierre-Ange Le Pogam (Grace of Monaco, Hitman) and his company Stone Angels to form Angel Storm, which will develop and produce action-based European-Chinese co-productions and franchises. The first two projects identified are SHANGHAI, which will start production early next year and TRIANGLE.
London and LA-based Cutting Edge Group invests cash in film music budgets and provides or brokers services for scoring, clearances and music supervision. In exchange, it acquires the music rights and recoups from performance royalties and secondary exploitation sources. Under a new deal with Basil Iwanyk’s Thunder Road, they’re putting a twist on slate financing. Rather than guaranteeing funds as part of a bank closing or acquiring the music rights after a film is complete, CEG is advancing development funds upfront to Thunder Road. Those funds will be secured against the producer’s forthcoming film music slate.
The first film that’s part of the deal is Keanu Reeves action-thriller John Wick, which shoots in September. The slate also includes the Daniel Espinosa-directed Gang Story starring Liam Neeson. CEG has previously invested in such films as The King’s Speech, Drive, Looper and End Of Watch.
EXCLUSIVE: It didn’t take long for Vertical Entertainment to score at Cannes. The newbie indie distributor snapped up U.S. rights to Scenic Route, starring Josh Duhamel (Safe Haven, Transformers) and Dan Fogler (Balls Of Fury, Kung Fu Panda) as road-tripping buddies whose friendship is tested when they’re stranded in the desert. Co-helmers Kevin and Michael Goetz directed from a screenplay by Kyle Killen (The Beaver). The pic first premiered at SXSW. Vertical is planning an August theatrical bow, supplemented by digital/VOD and home video releases. The pick-up aligns with Vertical’s strategy to acquire and release a yearly slate of two dozen $5M-10M genre and family films anchored by name stars.
Anchor Bay Films has acquired U.S., Australia and New Zealand rights to the sci-fi action film Battle Of The Damned from Bleiberg Entertainment’s Compound B. The Expendables‘ Dolph Lundgren stars with David Field (The Rover), Matt Doran and newcomer Melanie Zanetti. Anchor Bay Entertainment’s president Bill Clark and acquisitions EVP Kevin Kasha made the deal. “There truly is no other film like this on the market, it’s got zombies and robots and spectacle. The visual effects are fantastic and this is one of the best roles Dolph has ever had.”
The Cannes Film Festival is known the world over as a showcase for movies, celebrities and swanky parties. …
Primeridian Entertainment has hired Cyrus Nowrasteh to write and direct a film on Soviet dissident and Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Producing will be Primeridian’s Arcadiy Golubovich and Tim O’Hair, who’ll provide equity financing for their first feature under the banner. They’ve optioned D.M. Thomas’ Orwell Prize-winning biography Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century In His Life. Nowrasteh, who last helmed The Stoning Of Soriah M and whose TV work includes The Day Reagan Was Shot and the controversial Path to 9/11, will write the script with wife Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh. They just adapted Anne Rice’s Christ The Lord.
“It’s a privilege to tell the courageous story of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,” said the director. “Millions suffered and died in the Soviet labor camps. As a survivor, he resolved to tell the world about it. The power of his pen, despite the suppression of his work and every effort to silence his voice, helped bring about the downfall of one of the greatest tyrannies mankind has ever known.”
LOS ANGELES, CA (May 17, 2013) – It was announced today that independent film producers Cassian Elwes and Robert Ogden Barnum have launched e2b Capital, a new entertainment company for independent filmmakers and financiers seeking financing and global distribution expertise.
Elwes and Barnum will serve as co-heads of the Los Angeles-based operation. Backed by a growing group of financiers, e2b will arrange financing for commercially viable, fiscally responsible independent films. Working collaboratively with producers, talent agencies and foreign sales companies, e2b offers equity, gap and debt solutions through strategic partnerships, in addition to bringing strong relationships in the global marketplace. e2b expects to work on 10-12 films annually.
Listen to (and share) episode 26 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond featuring our awards columnist speaking from the Cannes Film Festival with host David Bloom. They discuss the festival’s opening days, including an exuberant Warner Bros. party worthy of Jay Gatsby; hanging out with Martin Scorsese as he seeks support for some Silence; a surprisingly candid Chinese competition entry and other films to watch for in this Fortnight.