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Cannes: Summit Sets Cast For ‘Red’ Sequel; Catherine Zeta-Jones Joins The Gang

By | Thursday May 10, 2012 @ 3:24pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Summit Entertainment has set Catherine Zeta-Jones G.I. Joe: Retaliation’s Byung-Hun Lee for Red 2, a sequel to the geriatric action comedy. Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker and Helen Mirren are back. Lionsgate International will sell the film at the upcoming Cannes film market. Dean Parisot is the new director, and the script is by Erich and Jon Hoeber, who wrote the first one. Lorenzo DiBonaventura and Mark Vahradian will produce the film via their DiBonaventura Pictures banner.

The sequel re-teams the retired CIA operatives as they use their old-school style to take on a new set of enemies all across Europe. The film is scheduled to be released on August 2, 2013.

Malkovich, Parker, and Zeta-Jones are represented by WME. Willis, Mirren, and Lee are represented by CAA. Malkovich is represented by Principato-Young Entertainment.

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Catherine Zeta-Jones Joins Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Side Effects’

By | Tuesday January 24, 2012 @ 4:13pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Catherine Zeta-Jones has been set to star in Side Effects, the thriller that Steven Soderbergh will direct. She joins Blake Lively, Jude Law and Channing Tatum, who are also negotiating. The Scott Z. Burns scripted film is being financed by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, with production to start in April in New York on a thriller that has a budget in the $30 million range. Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing with Greg Jacobs and Burns. Open Road recently signed on to distribute in the U.S.

The film is a potboiler in the Jagged Edge-Basic Instinct mold, and Zeta-Jones will play Dr. Erica Siebert. Lively plays a troubled and depressed woman who is taking serious amounts of prescription drugs, which leads her into a relationship with another doctor (Law). Her intake is ostensibly designed to help her deal with the anxiety surrounding the pending release of her husband (Tatum) from prison. Burns wrote it several years ago and set it up at Miramax under the title The Side Effects, intending to direct it but never getting there because of his busy scripting schedule that included the Soderbergh projects Contagion, The Informant! and Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Zeta-Jones and Soderbergh previously worked together on Traffic and Ocean’s Twelve, and he developed a musical version of Cleopatra for her that probably isn’t going to be part of his retirement tour. Her latest film, the Stephen Frears-directed Lay the Favorite, premiered this week at the Sundance … Read More »

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Catherine Zeta-Jones Heads To ‘Broken City’

Mike Fleming

Catherine Zeta-Jones has closed her deal to star in Broken City, joining Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe in the Allen Hughes-directed drama. Zeta-Jones will play the philandering wife of the mayor of New York (Crowe).  When a Brooklyn detective (Wahlberg) is hired by the mayor to identify his wife’s lover, and the lover turns up dead, the detective takes it personally and uncovers a wider conspiracy involving his employer. Brian Tucker wrote the script and  Randall Emmett, Stephen Levinson, Wahlberg and George Furla will produce. The $50 million film is being fully funded by Emmett/Furla Films and New Regency recently came on as producer, with Fox distributing. Shooting begins November in New York. Zeta-Jones recently completed three big films. She’s coming off the Adam Shankman-directed Rock Of Ages with Tom Cruise, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin, starred with Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel and Dennis Quaid in Playing The Field, and starred in the Stephen Frears-directed Lay The Favorite with Bruce Willis and Vince Vaughn. She’s repped by WME.

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Toronto: Emmett-Furla And Envision Set $250 Million Film Fund

Mike Fleming

Emmett/Furla Films, a company that has been growing more ambitious in the film financing and production arena, has teamed with Stepan Martirosyan and Remington Chase’s Envision Entertainment to establish a new $250 million revolving equity and debt fund to finance a new slate of star-driven commercial films. The fund was announced as EFF principal Randall Emmett comes to Toronto to make deals on films that include the Allen Hughes-directed political corruption drama Broken City, which stars Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, and Frozen Ground, the fact-based thriller about a serial killer in Alaska that will star Nicolas Cage and John Cusack. Martirosyan and Chase are executive producers on the latter.

The fund carries no set restrictions on how and where capital is allocated, but it will continue EFF’s momentum. The company recently financed the Stephen Frears-directed Lay The Favorite — with a cast that includes Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall, Vince Vaughn and Catherine Zeta-Jones — with films in the works that include the David Ayer-directed crime drama End of Watch with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Kendrick; Fire with Josh Duhamel, Willis and Rosario Dawson; and Freelancers, a drama that stars Robert De Niro, Forest Whitaker and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. EFF’s Emmett continues to be Jackson’s partner in Cheetah Vision Films, which has a deal at Lionsgate. EFF will make nine films this year. Read More »

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2011 Toronto: ‘Shame’ Will Start Dealmaking Flurry, But Buyers Wait To Be Blown Away

Mike Fleming

Last year’s Toronto Film Festival started slow for acquisitions, but finished with a flurry of modest distribution deals that served notice the specialty film business had finally pulled out of its nosedive. This year’s festival hasn’t started and already there are fireworks. Deadline broke news yesterday that Harvey Weinstein would start a VOD business, making the acquisitions market for fringe films more competitive; and last night, I heard that a bidding battle had already broken out for the Steve McQueen-directed Shame,  which should be sold by the time it screens Sunday. Fox Searchlight is the favorite, Sony Pictures Classics is in the mix and I’ve heard that The Weinstein Company is hovering. Bidding began right after its Telluride screening, and the mid-six figures thrown around yesterday will probably go higher. That’s huge, considering the movie is an unabashed NC-17, McQueen has final cut, and the sex-obsessed protagonist is unlikable. Oh, yeah, and the sellers want it released this year for Oscar consideration to capitalize on Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan’s Oscar-caliber performances.

Does this mean we’re in for a drunken buying frenzy? Hardly, buyers tell me. They are eager to see the films, but say there’s no title here that’s going to guarantee somebody will overpay. They are also mindful that many of last year’s deals turned out to be box office busts. More deals will be made than … Read More »

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Russell Crowe Signs On For Mayoral Run In ‘Broken City’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Russell Crowe is set to star alongside Mark Wahlberg in the Allen Hughes-directed independently financed noir drama Broken City. Production begins in November. Wahlberg plays an ex-cop-turned-private detective who is hired by the mayor (the role Crowe will play) to see if his wife is cheating on him. The private eye confirms those suspicions, and when the mayor’s wife’s cheating partner ends up dead, the private eye immerses himself in the mayor’s business and uncovers a real estate scandal that involves the pol dealing himself choice city-owned properties. The script by Brian Tucker made the 2008 Black List. The $60 million film will be financed by Emmett/Furla Films.

Wahlberg is producing through his Closest to the Hole banner; Stephen Levinson through Leverage; and Randall Emmett, George Furla and Hughes are also producing. Wahlberg and Levinson, partners on Entourage and Boardwalk Empire, just wrapped the drama Contraband. Crowe is costarring as Jor-El in the Superman reboot Man of Steel and just wrapped The Man With The Iron Fists. Read More »

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‘Rock Of Ages’ Stage Star Constantine Maroulis Joins The Movie Version

Mike Fleming

Former American Idol contestant Constantine Maroulis originated the lead role of Drew Boley in Rock of Ages‘ off-Broadway and Broadway musical incarnations. He’s not playing that role in the movie version that Adam Shankman is directing for New Line (Diego Boneta got the screen role), but that doesn’t mean Maroulis has been left out completely. He just filmed the small role as a prototypical ’80s record executive. Here’s a shot of him with Shankman and one of the film’s producers, Matt Weaver. The film stars Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bryan Cranston, Alec Baldwin, Mary J. Blige, Russell Brand and Julianne Hough.

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Mark Wahlberg, Allen Hughes Plot Trip To ‘Broken City’

Mike Fleming

Mark Wahlberg and Allen Hughes are in early talks to team on Broken City, a noir-style drama about an ex-cop-turned-private detective who is hired by the mayor to see if his wife is cheating on him. When the mayor’s wife’s cheating partner ends up dead, the private eye immerses himself in the mayor’s business and uncovers a real estate scandal that involves dealing himself choice city-owned properties. Reps for Wahlberg and Hughes (who usually directs films with brother Albert, but each has been taking on solo projects as of late) caution that this is early going (the script had formerly been set up at Mandate), but the 2008 Black List script by Brian Tucker has now been set up to be financed by Emmett/Furla Films at a $60 million budget. Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Randall Emmett, George Furla and Hughes will be the producers.

Emmett/Furla Films just financed with Wild Bunch the Stephen Fears-directed Lay The Favorite, starring Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rebecca Hall and Vince Vaughn, is about to begin production on the $25 million Fire With Fire with Willis and Josh Duhamel, will partner with Groundswell Productions to fund Captive and is in pre-production with Exclusive Media to co-finance the David Ayer-directed Jake Gyllenhaal-starrer End of Watch. Emmett is also partnered with Curtis Jackson in Cheetah Vision, which is in the middle of Fire With Fire. Wahlberg’s repped by WME and Leverage and Hughes by WME.

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In Or Out? Alec Baldwin Will Be On Hand For Today’s ‘Rock Of Ages’ Run-Through

Mike Fleming

Is Alec Baldwin in or out of New Line’s Rock of Ages? We might have a better idea today after Baldwin takes part in a full run-through of the ’80s-flavored rock musical being held in an hour or so on the Miami set where the picture will be shot. Except for Catherine Zeta-Jones (who’s shooting the Gerard Butler starrer Playing The Field that FilmDistrict acquired this morning), Baldwin will take part with the entire cast of Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Mary J. Blige, Paul Giamatti, Malin Akerman, Bryan Cranston, Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough. They’ll be trying out costumes and belting out 80s tunes as they prepare for a May 23 production start. Director Adam Shankman will be hoping that by the end of today, Baldwin will have a change of heart, which was prompted by personal reasons.

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CANNES: FilmDistrict Buys Gerard Butler Soccer Comedy ‘Playing The Field’

Mike Fleming

FilmDistrict bought U.S. rights to Playing the Field, the Nu Image/Millennium Films Gabriele Muccino-directed comedy that stars Gerard Butler as a retired soccer star. His penchant for scoring off the field ruined his marriage and his relationship with his son. He returns to Virginia to win them back by coaching the kid’s soccer team, but that goal is imperiled by his wandering eye and the beautiful soccer moms that are all over the place. Jessica Biel, Judy Greer, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones also star, with Noah Lomax playing the son. Butler and Alan Siegel produce with Kevin Misher, Jonathan Mostow, Heidi Jo Markel and John Thompson. Robbie Fox wrote the script.

FilmDistrict, run by Peter Schlessel and Bob Berney to launch films that can play in wide release, came right out of the gate with the hit film Insidious.

“We are very pleased to have closed this deal with Peter Schlessel and FilmDistrict for Playing The Field and hope it will be the first of many to come. I am confident they will do a great job bringing this picture to market”, says Avi Lerner, Co-Chairman of Nu Image/Millennium Films.

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Bryan Cranston Added To ‘Rock Of Ages’

By | Saturday April 30, 2011 @ 9:20pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston will play the mayor in Rock of Ages, the Adam Shankman-directed adaptation of the Broadway musical. He’s the husband of an Anita Bryant-like advocate who wants to ban rock and roll. That role’s played by Catherine Zeta-Jones and both were created specifically for the movie. He joins a cast that includes Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Mary J. Blige, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough.

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Catherine Zeta-Jones Takes On ‘Rock Of Ages’

By | Wednesday April 20, 2011 @ 9:54am PDT
Mike Fleming

Catherine Zeta-Jones has been set to play a new role that has been created especially for the movie version of the Adam Shankman-directed Rock of Ages for New Line. She’ll play the wife of the mayor of Los Angeles, a conservative character out to do away with rock and roll. “There are so many plotlines in the piece, we thought it would be fun to create a villain, and a cultural discussion point,” Shankman told Deadline. “She’s the moral majority person, kind of like if Tipper Gore and Anita Bryant had a love child in that era. To have a great actress who won an actress in this genre with Chicago is wonderful.” Prudishness aside, Zeta-Jones gets to take part in the 80s rock anthems. She will sing Pat Benatar’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot and Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It. Shankman will finish casting shortly. He needs the journalist who beds down with Tom Cruise’s decadent rocker Stacee Jaxx (Amy Adams couldn’t do it because of Man of Steel) and now he needs an actor to play the mayor.

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Pathe And Emmett Furla Replace Focus On ‘Lay The Favorite,’ With Catherine Zeta-Jones Joining The Gambling Film

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features has been scratched before getting to the start gate on Lay The Favorite, but I’m told that Pathe and Emmett Furla Films have come to the rescue as co-financiers. Not only that, but Catherine Zeta-Jones is in talks to join a film now set to begin production in April. The movie adaptation of the Beth Raymer gambling memoir already had Stephen Frears ready to direct Bruce Willis and The Town‘s Rebecca Hall.

As Deadline originally revealed, that cast was set by Focus Features through its co-financing joint venture with Random House Films. But the film came in at a $20 million budget, which didn’t make sense for Focus. Random House, … Read More »

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