EXCLUSIVE: Oscar winner Christopher Walken has signed on to star with Lenny Kravitz in Little Rootie Tootie, the next film from writer-director Dan Algrant. Walken will play a veteran jazz pianist who is mourning the death of his wife. His son (Kravitz), returns home with his own wife, disrupting the couple’s careers as musicians in Europe to deal with the brilliant Sonny as his behavior becomes manic and destructive. The trio tries to present the illusion of a functioning family, as the eccentricities inherent in being working musicians leads them tumbling toward a tragic but impactful conclusion.
The film will shoot in January in New York City and will be shopped at AFM. The producers are River Bend Pictures’ Stan Erdreich, A to Z’s Fred Zollo and Algrant, and Dalifey Ltd.’s Paul Condoleon. Executive producers are Bonnie Timmermann and Steven Ray. Grammy winner Terence Blanchard will be scoring and creating original music. Walken is repped by ICM Partners, Lenny Kravitz by CAA. ICM Partners is handling domestic rights while worldwide rights remain available.
EXCLUSIVE: Director Clint Eastwood has set Christopher Walken to star in Jersey Boys, the Warner Bros and GK Films feature adaptation of the hit stage musical. Walken will play the role of Angelo “Gyp” DeCarlo, the Jersey mobster who, in the show, served an unofficial consigliere role to the young singers as they tried to build their careers without falling into the grip of organized crime. The film was scripted by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and production begins mid-September in Los Angeles. Graham King and Rob Lorenz are producing and Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio are the exec producers. The Tony-winning stage musical has grossed more than $1 billion for all its incarnations. Deadline revealed that Eastwood was not going to cast major stars to play the young singers but rather select them from the various casts taking the stage nightly. Reports are that Eastwood chose Vincent Piazza, John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, and Michael Lomenda. Walken will be the first of several stars who’ll add some name recognition to the production.
As for Walken, he’s coming off A Late Quartet and Seven Psychopaths, the latter of which he starred in for Martin McDonagh, who directed Walken to a Tony nomination in A Behanding In Spokane. Walken is repped by ICM Partners.
Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films and BBC Two are partnering on the final two TV movies in writer/director David Hare’s The Worricker Trilogy. The first installment, Page Eight, aired in 2011 on BBC Two and PBS and starred Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon and Judy Davis. Nighy will reprise his role as British intelligence officer Johnny Worricker for parts two and three, respectively titled Turks & Caicos and Salting The Battlefield. Fiennes also returns for both. Turks & Caicos is adding Christopher Walken, Winona Ryder, Helena Bonham Carter, Ewen Bremner, James Naughton, Dylan Baker and Zach Grenier. Davis, who was nominated for a supporting actress Emmy for Page Eight, will return for Salting The Battlefield as will Bonham Carter and Bremner along with Saskia Reeves, Kate Burdette and Malcolm Sinclair.
Page Eight, which closed the Toronto Film Festival in 2011, saw Worricker uncover a plot to turn control of MI5 directly over to the prime minister after the head of the organization’s death. Part two will pick up after Worricker leaves his MI5 post and heads to Turks & Caicos where the CIA forces him to deal with a group of ambiguous Americans who are on the islands for a high-level conference. At the same time, an old girlfriend is being asked to betray her boss in London in order to establish an illicit connection between the prime minister and dark goings-on in the war on terror. Salting The Battlefield sees Worricker and the girlfriend on the run from MI5 until Worricker returns home to confront the prime minister in a duel of wits. Read More »
It intrigues me that Christopher Walken’s latest film — which just signed for North American release by Steelyard Pictures — is titled The Power Of Few. I’ve never heard of this distributor, and maybe the film is a cinematic treat, but I’m reasonably certain this movie will come and go with little fanfare. The title is memorable because it summarizes perfectly how I wish iconic actors like Walken would run their careers. I was thinking about this over the weekend, when I again watched Django Unchained and observed how the whole movie changed from the moment that Samuel L. Jackson first came into view as the awful plantation slave patriarch Stephen. I find it one of the most memorable performances I’ve seen in the last five years, a villain to rival any Spaghetti Western antagonist ever, and am amazed how Jackson disappeared into a fully fleshed character as completely as Daniel Day-Lewis did with Lincoln and Joaquin Phoenix did in The Master, and Denzel Washington did in Flight. All three of those guys got nominated for Oscars, and Sam did not, even though it’s his best performance since Pulp Fiction. It’s easy to say it came down to Christoph Waltz’s Best Supporting Actor nomination (Leo DiCaprio was also snubbed), but I think a factor is that Jackson works so often that Oscar voters discount his great performances because it’s just one of the seven films he did in that calender year. Contrast that to Day-Lewis. When he works, you know it’s a special event, there is high anticipation and he either wins or gets nominated almost each and every time out.
To me, Walken is in the same class as Jackson, and so is Robert De Niro and Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins, and so would Sean Connery and Gene Hackman if anybody could coax those guys out of retirement. Kevin Costner is knocking on the door as well.
De Niro got an Oscar nom for Silver Linings Playbook, and it seemed to work in reverse; it seemed to help that this was the first movie in a long time where the material wasn’t beneath his vast talent, and that he proved he still had it.
As for Walken, I was at the Toronto Film Festival premiere of the Martin McDonagh-directed Seven Psychopaths last fall, and observed something rare. Gifted with dialogue from In Bruges‘ McDonagh, Walken had people cheering to just about every line he delivered, in his singular style. I wish guys like him would save themselves for just the really good stuff (like De Niro and Pacino in Heat and De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook), instead of leaving a trail of cinematic turds along the way. Read More »
Lionsgate‘s new partner Summit Entertainment has had box office success with this genre of older actors movies aimed at older audiences (like Red). Now the studio has dated its assembly of three Academy Award winners for the action dramedy Stand Up Guys which will open on January 11, 2013 in moderate release after an awards-qualifying run in December. Fisher Stevens is directing Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin in Noah Haidle’s script about retired gangsters who reunite for one epic night. Lakeshore Entainment will produce with Tom Rosenberg, Sidney Kimmel, Jim Tauber, and Gary Lucchesi.
The sun is finally shining and U.S. deal announcements are starting to heat up on what’s essentially the last day of the Cannes Film Festival market. eOne and RKO Pictures just announced they’ve made a co-distribution agreement for drama A Late Quartet. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Cathering Keener and Christopher Walken star in Yaron Zilberman’s narrative feature debut about the members of a world-renowned string quartet who struggle to stay together on the eve of their 25th season. A Late Quartet will be co-released theatrically in the U.S. in the fall.
The deal was brokered by eOne’s David Reckziegel, Richard Rapkowski and Dylan Wiley and Andrew Matthews and Suzanne Rosencrans for RKO. The deal does not cover DVD and VOD. eOne says it’s “looking forward to announcing more acquisitions at the Cannes Film Festival and in the coming months.” Still no confirmation if one of those “acquisitions” will be Alliance, as rumors swirl that the two companies will not make offers on the same films in Cannes on territories where there is overlap — in Canada and the UK.
EXCLUSIVE: Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits and Olga Kurylenko have joined Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken in Seven Psychopaths. Directed and scripted by In Bruges’ Martin McDonagh, the film began production this week in Los Angeles. CBS Films is co-financing and distributing in the U.S.
Farrell plays a screenwriter who struggles to find the handle on his script, called Seven Psychopaths. He gets drawn into the dog-napping escapades of his friends (played by Rockwell and Walken). Once the beloved Shih Tzu owned by a psychopathic gangster (Harrelson) goes missing, the screenwriter finds himself fueled with all the drama he needs for his screenplay, if he can stay alive long enough to write it all down. The film’s produced by Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin, with Tessa Ross exec producing. It’s a production of Blueprint Pictures, and Film4 is co-financing with the BFI Film Fund and CBS Films. Hanway Films is handling foreign sales. Mickey Rourke, who had been in negotiations for a role, never closed a deal and will not be in the picture. Harrelson and Kurylenko are repped by CAA, Waits by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Mickey Rourke is negotiating to star with Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken in Seven Psychopaths, the next film by In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh. That means Rourke will not be reprising his role in the Simon West-directed The Expendables 2. Rourke did the first film as a favor to director Sylvester Stallone, but it doesn’t sound like there was a big financial incentive to return for a reprise on the surprise hit.
Rourke, who next stars alongside Henry Cavill in Relativity’s big ticket Tarsem Singh-directed Immortals, will instead spend the fall joining McDonagh and his In Bruges star Farrell, who plays a screenwriter in Los Angeles who struggles to find the handle on his script, called Seven Psychopaths. The screenwriter gets drawn into the dognapping escapades of his friends (played by Rockwell and Walken). Once the beloved Shih Tzu owned by a psychopathic gangster goes missing, the screenwriter finds himself fueled with all the drama he needs for his screenplay, if he can stay alive long enough to write it all down. The ICM-repped Rourke is trying to get back to the awards season form he found himself in a couple of years ago when he got Oscar-nominated for The Wrestler. McDonagh got nominated for his In Bruges script.
CBS Films acquired the rights to distribute Seven Psychopaths in … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films is negotiating to co-finance Seven Psychopaths, the next film by In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh. CBS Films will distribute the film in the United States. The film reunites McDonagh with his In Bruges star Colin Farrell, who plays a screenwriter who struggles to find the handle on his script, called Seven Psychopaths. He gets drawn into the dognapping escapades of his friends (played by Rockwell and Walken). Once the beloved Shih Tzu owned by a psychopathic gangster goes missing, the screenwriter finds himself fueled with all the drama he needs for his screenplay, if he can stay alive long enough to write it all down. The film’s produced by Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin, with Tessa Ross set as executive producer. CBS Films executive vice president Scott Shooman will oversee it when it shoots in Los Angeles this fall.
CBS Films, whose president/CEO Amy Baer just finalized her exit to produce for the company starting in late October, has made a strong effort under COO Wolfgang Hammer to supplement its home grown pictures with films that are acquired either finished or at script stage. CBS Films began its acquisitions uptick with The Mechanic, and recently made the big deal of the 2011 Toronto Film Festival acquiring Salmon Fishing in the Yemen for north of $5 million. CBS Films also made a script stage acquisition of the Colin Firth-Cameron … Read More »