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Global Showbiz Briefs: BAFTA TV Craft Prizes; BBC Renews ‘The Village’; ‘Oh Boy’ At German Lolas; Al Jazeera

By | Sunday April 28, 2013 @ 9:00pm PDT

Olympics Score BAFTA TV Craft Awards
The Olympics was a three-time winner in factual categories at Sunday night’s BAFTA TV Craft Awards with the opening ceremony taking honors for multi-camera directing. BBC’s Super Saturday grabbed a prize for sound and Channel 4′s Paralympics earned a nod for digital creativity. Among series winners, Neal Street Productions/BBC One’s Call The Midwife brought Philippa Lowthorpe a directing award and Christine Walmesley-Cotham was honored for make-up & hair. Sheena Napier won for her costume design work the BBC’s Parade’s End and Darryl Hammer won for production design on the BBC/HBO Hitchcock biopic The Girl. Tom Turnbull won in the visual & graphic effects category for ITV’s Julian Fellowes’ penned Titanic. A full list of winners is available here. Read More »

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‘Cloud Atlas’ Tops Nominations For Germany’s Lola Awards

By | Friday March 22, 2013 @ 7:34am PDT

The German Film Academy has announced the nominees for this year’s Lola Awards, the local equivalent to the Oscars. The largely German-financed Cloud Atlas leads the pack with nine nods including Best Film and Best Director(s). Andy and Lana Wachowski and local son Tom Tykwer helmed the sprawling and divisive fantasy that stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and a host of others. Oh Boy, a tragicomic portrait of a young man by Jan Ole Gerster, scored eight nominations and Margareth von Trotta’s biopic Hannah Arendt, which screened in Toronto, has six. Also figuring on the list is Australia’s entry for the foreign-language Oscar this year, Lore. Cate Shortland’s German-language drama has four mentions including Best Picture. The Lolas will be handed out April 26 in Berlin. Click over for a full list of nominees: Read More »

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China: ‘Skyfall’ Opens Strong As Bond Film Debut And ‘Cloud Atlas’ Premiere Raise More Questions About Censorship

By | Tuesday January 22, 2013 @ 1:24pm PST

Both Skyfall and Cloud Atlas have been making waves in the Chinese media during the past few days, turning a spotlight on the notorious censors at the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. They’ve also highlighted why, as my local contacts often refrain, doing business in China is never cut and dried.

James Bond juggernaut Skyfall opened to $5.1M in China on Monday, almost three times the debut of Quantum Of Solace. The film, which prominently features the Shanghai skyline and shows off Macau in what could pass for a travel brochure, is understood to nevertheless have had some scenes modified ahead of release, the BBC reported. The shooting of a Chinese security guard is said to have been excised, and a mention of torture by Chinese security services is said to have been subtitled to remove the reference. Mathew Alderson, a Beijing-based partner at law firm Harris & Moure who specializes in entertainment, tells me that although he has not seen the Chinese version of Skyfall, the reported cuts are “fairly typical examples of censorship. The Chinese are inclined to remove anything that portrays them in a negative light. It could be something as obvious and simple as having Chinese security guards appear ineffective, or because they wouldn’t want people to get the idea that you can walk into some building in Shanghai, kill the guard and walk up to the top of the building… It gets down to a bunch of censors who make decisions based on what they regard as better representing the national prestige of China and directly, or indirectly, the prestige of the Party.”

At the same time, a question hovers over Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer’s sci-fi epic Cloud Atlas which just had its Beijing premiere Read More »

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OSCARS Q&A: Wachowskis And Tykwer

By | Friday November 23, 2012 @ 6:06pm PST

Anthony D’Alessandro is Managing Editor of AwardsLine.

If there’s one memorable takeaway this awards season, it’s the day directors Andy and Lana Wachowski came to town. During the height of their success with The Matrix franchise, which propelled the entire sci-fi genre beyond its Star Wars standards, rumors abounded about the siblings’ private lives, in particular Lana’s. But the Chicago natives arrived in Hollywood last month, ready to hug us with their new $100-million-plus epic Cloud Atlas, tri-directed with their new BFF, German director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run). And the press hugged back: Lana boldly discussed her decision to become transgendered, while bloggers delighted in unpretentious conversations with the trio.

An adaptation of David Mitchell’s labyrinthine 2004 novel, Cloud Atlas follows the power of karma throughout various souls and eras, from the 19th century to a post-apocalyptic future. While the trio assembled an all-star cast that includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Hugh Grant, the major studios and indie financiers balked at the risky project, which employed a plethora of production crews throughout Germany, San Francisco, Scotland, and Majorca. But the Wachowskis and Tykwer were vying for something more than a mere tentpole. Much like their celluloid forefathers Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey), Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now), and Michael Cimino (Heaven’s Gate), who were labeled crazy with their epics and are now lauded as geniuses, the trio was set on blowing up the big-screen canvas with Cloud Atlas. Time likewise may be on Cloud Atlas’ side, and the film has potential for crafts awards, too. But this is the first time — and probably last — that three directors have banded together to mount a breathless epic.

Awardsline: After Natalie Portman referred the book to you during V for Vendetta, was there any kind of bidding war? Or were your agents like, “Oh, no don’t option that!”
Andy Wachowski: No. This was right before Speed Racer so we still had some pull with Warner Bros. Joel (Silver) swept in and bought the property for Warner Bros., and I think that somebody was trying to negotiate the price down at the time, and they came in and just paid full price, so there was no real bidding war. After we broke from Joel, it was more of our project, and he let us have it. Read More »

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Weak Pre-Sandy Box Office: ‘Argo’ #1, ‘Cloud Atlas’ Low Grossing #2, ‘Silent Hill’ #5, ‘Fun Size’ #11, ‘Chasing Mavericks’ #12

By | Sunday October 28, 2012 @ 12:24am PDT

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 5TH UPDATE: Abbreviated box office tonight because of tsunami evacuation for all islands of Hawaii where I’m vacationing.

But this was a lame weekend for newcomers at the domestic box office after a string of strong weekends - only $90M, which is -12% down from last year. The question mark is Hurricane Sandy’s impact on grosses even though it’s just beginning to move up the Eastern Seaboard. ”Nothing called Frankenstorm is inviting people to go out of their houses,” rued one movie executive predicting 25% less grosses than forecast for this weekend. “It looks like people are shopping for bottled water and putting up their storm shutters instead of going to the movies.” Final numbers depend on whether the storm hits the most populated areas Sunday or Monday. ”OK, people – let’s step away from The Weather Channel and go to a theater!!!” one studio exec implored by email. We’ll see soon enough.

Related: ‘Skyfall’ In UK Smashes Opening Records

Interestingly, 4 of the Top 5 films are all R-rated  Ben Affleck’s Oscar-buzzed holdover Argo (2,855 theaters) easily won the weekend with $12.5M. But that’s still the 2nd lowest #1 of the year.  The Wachowskis’ epic drama Cloud Atlas (2,008 theaters, including 105 IMAX screens) starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry received a mountain of pre-release press and was #2 this weekend even with only a … Read More »

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Tom Hanks Performs Sitcom Slam Poetry

By | Wednesday October 24, 2012 @ 7:04am PDT

He did it on Jimmy Fallon last night about the 20-year-old sitcom Full House. I’ll say this about Tom Hanks: he’ll do anything to promote his movies. His latest, the Wachowskis’ Cloud Atlas, opens on Friday:

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Will Tom Hanks’ F-Bomb On ‘Good Morning America’ Re-Open Fleeting Expletives Issue?

By | Friday October 19, 2012 @ 11:29am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the now-infamous 2002 Billboard Awards where an “f-bomb” in Cher’s acceptance speech triggered a long, drawn-out legal battle between the FCC and the broadcast networks. It reached all the way to the Supreme Court, which rendered a decision in May that didn’t strike down the FCC’s authority to go after so-called fleeting expletives (though it questioned to what extent the agency wants to crack down on racy content on broadcast television.) Will the FCC use its power again after actor Tom Hanks also uttered the f-word on live TV, during a segment this morning on Good Morning America.

In his defense, Hanks was prompted by host Elizabeth Vargas to show off the accent he uses in the sci-fi movie Cloud Atlas he was there to promote and was reluctant, noting that he mostly used the accent for curse words in the film. When Vargas persisted, he did a few lines and sure enough, an f-bomb slipped through, leading to profuse on-air apologies by him and Vargas. ABC News quickly issued a statement on the accident, calling Hanks’ use of expletive “accidental” and noting that “the show was corrected for all subsequent feeds”. With the Internet it’s hard to hide such blunders, though, with a clip featuring the unedited ‘f-bomb’ making the rounds this morning. (Check it out below.) Read More »

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Andy & Lana Renamed ‘Wachowski Starship’ & No Longer Press Shy To Plug ‘Cloud Atlas’

By | Saturday September 29, 2012 @ 5:54am PDT

Please don’t refer to them anymore as ‘elusive’ and ‘reclusive’. And instead of the ‘Wachowski Brothers’ or the ‘Wachowski  Siblings’, they now prefer to be called ’Wachowski Starship’. To promote their upcoming sci-fi fantasy epic Cloud Atlas, the writing and directing duo are plug, plug, plugging it everywhere. They eagerly gave media interviews this week after their pic received a standing ovation at Fantastic Fest. They’ve already starred in their own YouTube videos. [Related: Lana Wachowski Comes Out For New Film]They’ve made sure they were included in every magazine’s Fall Film Preview. And now WBEZ Chicago bills this as Andy and Lana Wachowskis’ first live radio interview. Cloud Atlas starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Hugh Grant releases on October 26th:

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Hot TV Spot: ‘Cloud Atlas’

By | Saturday September 22, 2012 @ 1:11pm PDT

Here’s a TV spot for Tom Twyker and Andy and Lana Wachowski’s Cloud Atlas. The centuries-spanning tale based on the novel by David Mitchell stars Tom Hanks, Jim Broadbent, Halle Berry, Ben Whishaw, Jim Sturgess, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant and many others. The Warner Bros movie opens October 26.

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Hot Toronto Trailer: ‘Cloud Atlas’

By | Friday September 7, 2012 @ 6:14pm PDT

Warner Bros just released a new version of the trailer for Tom Twyker and Andy and Lana Wachowski’s Cloud Atlas:

Watch the trailer on YouTube

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Hot Trailer: ‘Cloud Atlas’

By | Thursday September 6, 2012 @ 10:29am PDT

This is a slightly more digestible trailer than the 5 1/2-minute-plus monster in July that gave us a first look at Warner Bros‘ Cloud Atlas, the fantasy drama directed by Tom Tykwer and The Matrix makers Lana and Andy Wachowski. It is playing at the Toronto Film Festival that kicks off this week and opens in the U.S. on October 26.

Watch the video on YouTube

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Lana Wachowski Comes Out For New Film

By | Monday July 30, 2012 @ 9:23pm PDT

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Cloud Atlas’

We all know filmmakers will go to great lengths to publicize their movies. So The Advocate today pointed us to this recent video of a rare on-camera appearance by Lana Wachowski, who nearly a decade ago first announced her transition from Larry Wachowski. With Lana Wachowski’s brother  Andy and director Tom Tykwer, the trio are unusually promoting their new collaborative movie Cloud Atlas releasing October 26th. The filmmakers describe their multi-narrative adaptation of the much-lauded novel by British author David Mitchell:

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Hot Trailer: ‘Cloud Atlas’

By | Thursday July 26, 2012 @ 1:59pm PDT

A super-sized trailer of Warner BrosCloud Atlas, the fantasy drama directed by Tom Tykwer and The Matrix makers Lana and Andy Wachowski, hit the web today. It certainly is an ambitious-looking adaptation of David Mitchell’s epic story that spans centuries. Tom Hanks, Jim Broadbent, Halle Berry, Ben Whishaw, Jim Sturgess, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant star. The pic was just named to the Toronto fest lineup, and it could end up at Telluride too. It opens October 26.

Watch the trailer on YouTube

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Toronto Film Fest: What Looks Good For Oscar?

Pete Hammond

Okay let’s just cut to the chase.

What does today’s first announcement of galas and special presentations at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival mean for the Oscar race? Of course it is only still July but with this news out of Canada the lineup for awards season is starting to become a reality. Venice (which is opening with Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalistalso a Toronto Gala pick which bodes well), Toronto and Telluride have increasingly become key outposts for the official beginning of awards season and 2012 films the studios and indies are premiering at the trio of oh-so-important fests will be scrutinized for their pure-bred Oscar potential. Venice may be downsizing a bit this year according to early indications and Telluride, per tradition, keeps  its lineup fairly secret until August 30, the day before the Colorado Labor Day weekend fest begins but you can bet it will overlap heavily with the other two fests, particularly Toronto since Telluride doesn’t label any of its films as North American or World Premieres and can play many of the same films under the radar. Toronto gets the honor of official premieres and so it is Toronto that is giving us the most to work with — so far.

The September 6 Opening Night film is action thriller Looper which on the surface does not appear to be an awardsy-type film, just a solid genre piece. I don’t believe Film District plans any kind of major Oscar campaign here. Read More »

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Warner Bros Announces `Cloud Atlas’ Release Date

By | Tuesday June 19, 2012 @ 4:47pm PDT

Warner Bros. Pictures has announced a domestic release date of October 26 for Cloud Atlas. The film is directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer and stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Hugh Grant. It’s based on David Mitchell’s book that consists of six interconnected stories. The studio also announced it has acquired rights for the film in the major markets of the UK, France, Spain, Australia, and Japan, with plans to release it in those territories in early 2013.
Read More »

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‘Cloud Atlas’, ‘Dredd’, ‘Looper,’ ‘Magic Mike’ Screen Early For Distributors: Cannes

In the past few days, buyers at the Cannes Film Festival have had a first look at some high-profile pics they’ve already bought. Focus Features International screened Cloud Atlas on Tuesday for its distributors, and IM Global gave theirs a full showing of Dredd this afternoon. FilmNation also held screenings of three of its upcoming pics to get folks excited early.

Related: Hot Film Titles For U.S. Buyers: Cannes 2012

Cloud Atlas, directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Hugh Grant. It’s based on David Mitchell’s book that consists of six interconnected stories. Warner Bros will release domestically, but the studio did not finance the $100M film. Producer Grant Hill tells me when it became clear that Warner Bros couldn’t see how to make it within the studio system, the filmmakers chose a different route. That included a combination of equity from Asian sources and some rights deals. “We were lucky it went very well and got us the money we needed,” says Hill, adding, “When we had raised the amount we needed, we were feeling pretty good about it so we said why don’t we wait and hold back 3 or 4 territories.” The territories remaining are the UK, France, Japan and Spain. The screening could lead to deals closing soon. “There’s a lot of people talking to a lot of people… The nice part about having potential buyers in the screening is that they got to sit with people who had already bought the film and who were enthusiastic. But, you can’t control the situation, it could easily have gone the other way.” The financing structure “is a model I’d try again,” he says, “but it’s not a model that’s a fit for all situations.” Read More »

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