Former Focus Features chief James Schamus will preside over the Berlin Film Festival jury next month; the group will select the Golden and Silver Bear winners of the main competition. Schamus has appeared in the Berlin competition before, notably with Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet which won the Golden Bear in 1993 and which Schamus wrote and produced. “James Schamus knows the balancing act between Hollywood’s studio system and art-house cinema better than anyone,” the festival said today. (The erudite writer/producer left prestige film label Focus back in October amid a reshuffle which ultimately led to the shuttering of Focus Features International, making this the first time the division will not be selling its movies at Berlin’s European Film Market.) The other members of the jury this year include James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli; Danish actress Trine Dyrholm; Iranian filmmaker Mitra Faharani, U.S. actress Greta Gerwig, French director Michel Gondry, Chinese actor Tony Leung and two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz. The festival runs from February 6-16 and opens with the in competition world premiere of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. A handful of other compeition pics have also been revealed.
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a bit of fun gossip surfacing in Golden Globes weekend. Whenever Quentin Tarantino completes a new script, it’s an event accompanied by great fanfare, partly because his scripts are so damned fun to read. The drums have begun beating on his next film. Here’s what I am hearing. None of it is entirely confirmed but I believe it. It is definitely a Western, and the working title I’m hearing is The Hateful Eight. Tarantino has finished a draft, and is in the process of showing it to a handful of actors he wants for the picture. He usually does this, gets feedback and goes back in and hones his work. I’m so far hearing he’s got two actors in mind.
One isn’t a surprise: Christoph Waltz, whom Tarantino helped transform from an Austrian character actor into a two-time Oscar winning star of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. The other name I’m hearing is Bruce Dern. I sure do hope the latter is true. Here is a guy who, at the age of 77 and after a career worth of distinguished mostly supporting performances, has emerged as a Best Actor frontrunner in Alexander Payne‘s Nebraska. I sat with Dern recently, and he is as razor sharp as ever and has an encyclopedic memory for …
UPDATE: Now it looks like Christoph Waltz will have room in his schedule for Horrible Bosses 2. New Line confirmed today that Waltz is in talks to play Chris Pine‘s father in the awful boss sequel. A deal is expected to close soon.
PREVIOUS, Oct. 9 PM: Colin Farrell was the most awful boss in Horrible Bosses, but New Line is trying hard to top him in the sequel. Word is they have courted Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz to play a father/son awful boss tandem for the next film. I’m now being told by insiders that Waltz won’t be available, but Pine might do it. It’s too bad they offed Farrell because, like more cowbell, I coulda used a little more Bobby, that bloated and insensitive boss’ son who fired the guy in the wheelchair and made sure to take his handicap parking pass. Sean Anders is directing the sequel, and Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman and Charlie Day reprise. New Line has dated it for Thanksgiving weekend 2014.
Nary a day went by at last month’s Cannes Film Festival without some sort of non-movie-related scandal erupting on the Croisette. Thieves who made off with millions in jewelry have yet to be apprehended, but a man now identified as Stéphane Cros has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for shooting blanks into the air during a live taping of Canal Plus‘ nightly news program Le Grand Journal. On May 17, Cros fired two shots from his perch in the audience of the show which broadcasts across from the Martinez Hotel throughout the festival. Daniel Auteuil and Christoph Waltz were being interviewed onstage at the time and were quickly evacuated. Cros was immediately immobilized by police after the incident. It’s now known that Cros purchased a replica Smith & Wesson the same day and was also carrying a fake grenade. In court on Monday, he read what was an incoherent statement, according to French daily Le Figaro, and then said he had wanted to get onto the Canal Plus set to “take myself hostage.” Ahead of the sentencing, the judge commented, “To use terror and violence as a way to impose one’s political ideals is the definition itself of terrorism. I’m not saying this was an act of terrorism, but intellectually the method is the same, only the degree of violence makes the difference.”
Canal Plus‘ nightly news program Le Grand Journal, which broadcasts live across from the Martinez Hotel here in Cannes, was interrupted tonight when gunshots were heard in the crowd. Jury members Christoph Waltz and Daniel Auteuil were being interviewed on the set when the incident occurred. The audience and talent on stage quickly evacuated. Grand Journal host Michel Denisot came back on air shortly after to say that Cannes police had taken the perpetrator into custody and that he had shot two blanks into the air as well as having a fake grenade in his possession. According to Le Figaro, the departmental head of public security for the Alpes-Maritimes region said the man was carrying an alarm pistol. There were no injuries. Here’s a video of the interruption:
Baz Luhrmann followed up his biggest opening day in America with his biggest opening day in France as The Great Gatsby took in $78K in partial-day results that still were bigger than his Moulin Rouge and Australia. Understandably in a party mood thanks to the overperformance of his U.S. box office last weekend, the director pronounced himself pleased with one of the most elaborate after-parties which Cannes has seen since Moulin Rouge premiered here in 2001. Warner Bros co-hosted the gala event with Gatsby‘s other key financier, Village Roadshow. “I love it. I think Jay Gatsby would have loved it too. ‘Screw the rain,’ he would have said,” Luhrmann laughed.
The Cannes celebration of its opening-night film continued into the early morning hours despite a monsoon-like downpour. When I left around 2 AM, though, the party showed no sign of winding down. Luhrmann was frequently out on the dance floor whooping it up with the likes of Warner Bros worldwide marketing czarina Sue Kroll (“When you open the festival, you have to spend a good amount of money on the party,” Kroll told me), his co-star Isla Fisher, and his WME agent Robert Newman. Also there was the festival guru Thierry Fremaux, who told me that the first film he ever programmed when he first snagged the prestigious Cannes gig was Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge.
Hammond On Cannes: Jury Takes Center Stage As Oscar Rivals Steven Spielberg And Ang Lee ”Worship” Each Other
Once rivals for Oscar in February and now fellow jurors in Cannes, Ang Lee called Steven Spielberg his “hero” as Spielberg praised Lee’s Life Of Pi, which won Best Director over Lincoln. This mutual lovefest took place as the jury for the 66th Cannes Film Festival was introduced to the world’s press this afternoon. Spielberg, who said he hasn’t served on any festival jury since 1974 (the beginning of his feature film career) is President and has been asked many times but said the timing was finally right. “I’ve been so consistently at work, especially in the spring months directing, that every time I’ve been approached to be on the jury I’ve been working so I suddenly found myself with an open year, and so that’s why this all came together this year. I am honored I was invited,” he said. Spielberg has been to Cannes many times before with films like E.T. and most recently, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull.
Asked about being on the Cannes panel with Spielberg after defeating him for the Oscar almost three months ago Lee said, “Steven and I are good friends. I worship him. I don’t know how he looks at me, but I worship him. I don’t think any result would change how I feel about him or even myself. He’s my hero.” Spielberg responding seemed at a loss for words. “I don’t know how to answer that, except to say Ang and I have been friends for a long time and we’ve never ever been competitors, we’ve always been colleagues and that will just contiinue. And certainly I worship Life Of Pi and therefore I worship Ang Lee as well.”
Los Angeles (May 14, 2013) – Two-time Academy Award®-winner Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds) is joining two-time Academy Award®-winner Robert De Niro (the upcoming Last Vegas, Silver Linings Playbook, Raging Bull, The Godfather: Part II), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and Omar Sy (The Intouchables, the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past) in Good Universe’s and Lionsgate’s THE CANDY STORE, a character-driven action thriller by Academy Award®-winning writer and director Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana).
Lionsgate will distribute in North America. Good Universe is handling international sales and presenting the film as part of their slate in Cannes.
Tim Burton To Direct ‘Big Eyes’; The Weinstein Company Putting Finishing Brush Strokes On Deal For Painting Saga
EXCLUSIVE: Tim Burton will direct Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams in Big Eyes, the film that Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski scripted. At the same time, The Weinstein Company is closing a deal to fund and distribute. This is a major development on a project that has followed a long development track. Of all the development projects I’ve written about over the years, this is my favorite that has not yet gotten made. And the casting seems so promising. The film will be produced by Alexander and Karaszewski and Burton, with Electric City Entertainment’s Lynette Howell. This will be Burton’s next film, and production will begin this summer.
Waltz, who’s coming off another Oscar turn in Django Unchained, and Adams, nominated for The Master, will play Margaret and Walter Keane, whose paintings of large eyed children became one of the first mass marketed art sensations in the 50s and 60s. Those prints sold in gas stations and every five and dime store across the country. While Walter was the marketing genius, he also took the bows for doing the brush work. He was a full fledged celebrity, a regular on the TV talk show circuit. His shy wife was the actual artist in the family. When they split and she tried to get …
Academy Award nominee Christoph Waltz got some extra exposure during the Oscar voting period with a hosting gig on NBC’s Saturday Night Live last night. But the Django Unchained star’s debut on the latenight sketch show pushed ratings down. SNL with host Waltz and musical guest Alabama Shakes averaged a 4.6/12 in the metered-market households, down 6% from last week when Justin Bieber was emcee. In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, last night’s SNL drew a 2.5/11 in adults 18-49, down 7%. NBC would not confirm but if my calculations are correct, this are SNL‘s second lowest results of the season in households and 18-49.
The Django Unchained actor is already in the thick of the Supporting Actor Oscar race after taking the Golden Globe earlier this month for his role as bounty hunter King Schultz in the Quentin Tarantino pic. Now Christoph Waltz will get some free “for your consideration” face time when he hosts Saturday Night Live for the first time February 16 — a week and a day before the February 24 Academy Awards. NBC made the announcement today about the gig, which puts Waltz in front of the country (and undecided Oscar voters?) three days before Academy members’ final ballots are due. Alabama Shakes will be the musical guest.
Christoph Waltz will play former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Mike Newell’s upcoming film about the 1986 meeting between Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan that signaled the end of the Cold War. Michael Douglas is playing Reagan. Headline Pictures, Scott Free Productions, Participant Media and Mark Sennet Productions are producing with a March 2013 start set in Iceland and at Germany’s Studio Babelsberg. Becoming Jane’s Kevin Hood wrote the screenplay. HanWay Films is handling international sales. Jere Sullivan, vice chairman of International Public Affairs for communications firm Edelman, and foreign policy expert Ken Adelman, who was part of the negotiating team for Reagan at the Reykjavik Summit, are on board as exec producers.
UPDATE, 4:22 PM: TOLDJA! Look what Terry Gilliam posted on his Facebook wall this afternoon:
Announcement! I’m heading of to Bucharest to start work on my new film, The Zero Theorem. It stars everybody’s favorite Nazi, the great Christoph Waltz. Very original script about a man waiting for a telephone call that will give meaning to his life. Some other things happen as well. It’s profound and funny in more or less equal measures. We’re going to have fun. I’ll keep you posted as the cast expands.
PREVIOUS, MONDAY, 12:34 PM: EXCLUSIVE: Christoph Waltz has been set to star in The Zero Theorem, the next film to be directed by Terry Gilliam. Waltz will play Qohen Leth, an eccentric and reclusive computer genius plagued with existential angst who works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence—or the lack thereof—once and for all.
It will be the next film for Waltz, who, after winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Inglourious Basterds, has been shooting Tarantino’s follow up, Django Unchained.
Here’s a first look at still photos from Quentin Tarantino‘s slave drama Django Unchained, which the Weinstein Co is releasing on Christmas Day. Above, Leonardo DiCaprio plays evil plantation owner Calvin Candie. Below, Christoph Waltz is the bounty hunter who frees Django (Jamie Foxx) and teaches him the tricks of the trade as they embark on a journey to save Django’s wife from Candie.
EXCLUSIVE: Kerry Washington has won the role of Broomhilda in Django Unchained. Director Quentin Tarantino made his choice and The Weinstein Company began exclusive negotiations with her CAA reps last night. She’ll play the long-suffering slave wife of Django (Jamie Foxx), who is freed by a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) and taught the tricks of that trade. Django’s real desire is to be reunited with his wife, who winds up in a variety of unsavory places and whose travails drive the plot. It leads to a confrontation in Candyland, a ranch owned by the notorious Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
Tarantino had his eye on Washington from the beginning, but he was also intrigued with making a discovery in the role, and that led to a long casting search before the director went back to Washington for the female lead. Washington will next be seen in The Details, and she stars with Eddie Murphy in A Thousand Words. She is managed by Katherine Atkinson of Washington Square Arts.
Django Unchained director Quentin Tarantino has offered the role of wealthy plantation owner Spencer Bennett to Don Johnson, and they are negotiating for Johnson to join a cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell. The picture shoots this fall with The Weinstein Company distributing domestically and Sony foreign. Tarantino is always good for a surprise or two when he goes beyond the obvious casting lists and taps talent from his memory banks, something he has done with the likes of John Travolta and the late David Carradine. Putting the former Miami Vice and Nash Bridges star into a villainous role here seems inspired. The liberated slave Django (Foxx) and his bounty hunter partner (Waltz) meet the evil plantation owner in pursuit of a bounty, and he turns the table on them. Tarantino has been talking to Johnson some time about the role. Johnson most recently played a character called Miles Deep in the recent comedy Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star, but soon his most recent credit will be a big Tarantino film.
EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Sony Pictures Classics is near a deal to distribute Hysteria, the Tanya Wexler-directed romantic comedy based on the surprising truth of how Mortimer Granville came up with the world’s first electro-mechanical vibrator as an advance in medical science. The film created a — wait for it — buzz when it premiered September 15 at Roy Thomson Hall. Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett and Felicity Jones star in the film. Samuel Goldwyn Films and Millennium also chased the title. Sony Pictures Classics partners Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have this evening’s opening-night film of the New York Film Festival with the premiere of Carnage, the Roman Polanski-directed feature adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning play. Polanski shot the film in Paris, with Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly starring. Hysteria was repped by Cassian Elwes and Elle Driver.
EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Costner has dropped out of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, an exit I’m told is due to a combination of scheduling and personal reasons. Costner had agreed to play the supporting role of Ace Woody in the Sergio Leone-style Spaghetti Western. The problem was it would have tied up about two months of his schedule even though he’s not in that many scenes. Costner is playing Pa Kent in the Superman reboot Man of Steel, and doing the miniseries The Hatfields and McCoys for History (which he’s also producing) and it was a bit much. It’s too bad, because the role would have been a real departure for an actor who has mostly played good guys. Costner was going to play Woody, a humorless and sadistic trainer of the male fighting slaves who entertain the white patrons of Candyland, a hellhole that also used female slaves as prostitutes. Candyland is the club and ranch owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), and Ace Woody is the one who pits the “mandingo” fighters against one another, and who has little qualms about mistreating and even killing the slaves who don’t measure up. Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson star, with Foxx playing the title character, a slave-turned-bounty hunter who must take on those villains to free his slave wife. Tarantino is still testing …
The Roman Polanski-directed Carnage is up with a new trailer. The drama, an adaptation of the hit Broadway play God of Carnage, stars Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz. The film opens the New York Film Festival and, obviously, Polanski won’t be there to take the bows.