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Over The Cannes Transom: Emma Thompson, Daniel Bruhl ‘Alone In Berlin’; Nic Cage, Jack Huston In ‘The Trust’, More

emmThe big challenge for the journos on the Croisette is keeping up with the fusillade of film press releases for projects being sold at Cannes. Here are a couple: Emma Thompson, Daniel Bruhl, Mary Rylance to star in Vincent Perez’s Alone In Berlin, a fact-based WWII story about German parents who, after their son is killed on the front lines, begin anti-Hitler postcards hammering his evil regime. It becomes a cat and mouse game to stay a step ahead of the Gestapo. Alison Thompson’s Sunray Films is selling in Cannes.

Related: Cannes: Paramount Wins ‘Story Of Your Life’ Auction For Fest Record $20M

Cannes2014_badgeNicolas Cage and Jack Huston will star in The Trust, a crime thriller directed by Alex and Ben Brewer that will be sold at Cannes by Highland Film Group. Two evil cops discover a hidden and guarded safe and their greed leads them to a well of corruption and double crossing.

Bachelorette producers BCDF Pictures begins production on the high school comedy The Outskirts, described as Mean Girls meets Revenge Of The Nerds. Peter Hutchings directs and Red Granite International is selling.

Relativity said Gerard Butler is set to star in the heist drama now titled Den Of Thieves. Christian Gudegast is set to direct and write the film from a script written by Gudegast and Paul Scheuring. Mark … Read More »

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Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Bruhl Tapped For ‘Woman In Gold’

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 6:34pm PDT
Mike Fleming

bruhlreyEXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company has set Ryan Reynolds and is negotiating with Daniel Bruhl to join Helen Mirren in Woman In Gold, a fact-based story that Simon Curtis will direct in May. Mirren will play real-life heroine Maria Altmann, a Jewish WWII survivor who fought the Austrian government to get back several paintings by Gustav Klimt that were pilfered from her family during wartime. Reynolds will play the attorney who took his case despite knowing little about art, and Bruhl will play his adversary.

David Thompson and Kris Thykier are producing, while the executive producers are Harvey and Bob Weinstein for TWC, Christine Langan for BBC and Ed Rubin.

helenThe script was written by Alexi Kay Campbell. The film reunites Harvey Weinstein with Curtis, who most recently directed My Week With Marilyn for TWC. Reynolds just finished Mississippi Grind for directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, and he is the lead of Atom Egoyan’s The Captive and in the Tarsem-directed Selfless, the latter for Focus Features. He’s repped by WME and Darren Statt and his 1314 Management. Bruhl is coming off Rush and most recently wrapped the Anton Corbjin-directed A Most Wanted Man. He’s repped by WME and Anonymous Content.

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OSCARS Q&A: Daniel Bruhl Talks ‘Rush’ & ‘The Fifth Estate’

By | Thursday November 28, 2013 @ 3:00pm PST

AwardsLine.LogoBWAfter elevating his profile with the 2010 best picture nominee Inglourious Basterds, in which he played a loathsome Nazi soldier, Daniel Bruhl is back in the spotlight for portraying two real-life mavericks this year: Racing legend Niki Lauda in Ron Howard’s Rush, and former Julian Assange ally Daniel Domscheit-Berg in Bill Condon’s The Fifth Estate. Though he says “there’s always an awkward moment when you meet the characters for the first time,” Bruhl is pleased that both of his living subjects were happy with the way he interpreted their lives. Next up for the trilingual, Berlin-based actor? Tending to the tapas bar he owns and starring opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright in Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man.

AwardsLine: You were able to spend some time with Niki Lauda to research your role in Rush. RWhat was the most valuable information you learned about him in those meetings?
Daniel Bruhl: I was blown away by his bluntness—something that I still envy, and I love playing characters that I partly envy. To be so 100% honest and direct with certain people, and to be fearless when it comes to solving problems or facing conflict with people face to face, is striking. I don’t know anyone who is like that. And the nice thing about him is that underneath it all is that charm, that sense of humor. The more time I spent with him, and the more times he had seen the movie, the more emotional he got. So that surprised me a bit. I’m half-Spanish, so I love hugging people. I do that all the time with friends. And he didn’t like that at first, the contact with men, and he always kept his distance from me. The first few times I stood there like an idiot. Later on, he saw me, and he said, “Daniel! Come here!” And he had that smile on his face. It’s such a relief to know that he is proud of the movie. Read More »

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Kate Beckinsale Joins Michael Winterbottom’s ‘The Face Of An Angel’

By | Monday October 14, 2013 @ 5:40pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Kate Beckinsale is set to join Daniel Bruhl and Cara Delevingne in The Face Of An Angel, a drama that Michael Winterbottom will direct from a script by Paul Viragh. The film is based on the book Angel Face by Barbie Latza Nadeau, and the plot bears some resemblance to the travails of Amanda Knox. Knox is the American woman who, with a boyfriend, was convicted of killing her housemate in Italy, serving four years before her conviction was overturned. Here, Delevingne will play the suspect in a murder, and Beckinsale plays a journalist pursuing the case. Bruhl plays a documentary filmmaker who’s also trying to get to the bottom of things. The film begins production in Tuscany, Italy. BBC Films is backing the production and Melissa Parmenter is producing. Beckinsale, who’s repped by UTA and Media Talent Group’s Geyer Kosinski, most recently completed the Brad Anderson-directed Eliza Graves with Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley and Jim Sturgess.

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Toronto: Ron Howard’s ‘Rush’ Takes Victory Lap At Emotional Fest Debut Screening

Pete Hammond

And the hits just keep on coming.

You could tell from the smiles on the faces of Universal executives that Sunday night’s Toronto Film Festival premiere of the Formula 1 racing drama Rush was a smash hit at the Roy Thomson Hall. Not only did the filmmakers, including director Ron Howard, receive enthusiastic standing ovations, but the real-life subject of the film, Niki Lauda, received a rousing standing O when introduced after the film finished.

The story is a powerful one, revolving around the intense rivalry during one season in the 1970s between drivers Lauda and James Hunt, and what happens during the course of that year is the stuff of great human drama. Initially Universal passed on the film when first pitched, even with studio golden boy and Oscar-winner Ron Howard involved. But as circumstance would have it, it all came around again after the film was produced independently (Howard’s first indie since the start of his career with Grand Theft Auto) for a reported $45 million, and Universal is proudly releasing it after all. Universal chairman Adam Fogelson told me he is extremely excited to be launching the film and has great confidence in it. “We are going to make this work,” he said with certainty. The reaction here Sunday night can only increase his confidence.

At the Thompson Hotel post-screening party, everyone involved was getting great compliments on the finished film across the board. Especially Howard, who noted that not only men were responding but surprisingly women, too. “Women responded to the movie differently, but even with more emotion and intensity than men, both genders testing it super high,” he said of the film, which is not your typical Formula 1 racing movie, but a great character study that happens to be set in the world of auto racing. I first saw it early in the marketing process in May and thought then, and still now, that the pure  emotion of the story of the rivalry between these racing icons would have great appeal way beyond the partisans of the sport. I also think it has Academy potential with no-brainer nominations for Anthony Dod Mantle’s superb cinematography, the editing, sound, Hans Zimmer’s score and Daniel Bruhl‘s stunning supporting turn as Lauda, who endures a horrific accident on the track. That’s all in addition to possible directing, writing and picture considerations. Read More »

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Toronto: Festival Dives Into WikiLeaks Controversy With Powerful ‘Fifth Estate’ Opening Night

Pete Hammond

The Toronto Film Festival got off to a strong start with Bill Condon‘s penetrating and thought-provoking The Fifth Estate, the story of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. But it’s not a dry procedural or recital of recent headlines. This riveting drama is a character study of a narcissistic personality out of control, a man not afraid to leak everyone else’s secrets but his own. Benedict Cumberbatch, who can do no wrong lately, is brilliant as Assange. And Daniel Bruhl, who plays his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg, clearly is going to have a problem this awards season: He’s not only absolutely terrific in this role, he’s equally great in Ron Howard’s Rush which premieres here Sunday. When I told him right after the film he was going to be the breakout star of this festival, he just laughed. But take my word, this guy is the real deal and this is his year — if these two stirring supporting turns don’t cannibalize each other. As the film credits finished, Bruhl came up and hugged Condon, throwing superlatives his way. Bruhl had only previously seen a very rough cut of the film and was blown away by the final results.

Related: Toronto 2013: Will Deals Take Back Seat As Buyers Focus On Fest Oscar Hopefuls?

He should be. This film is reminiscent of the great political thrillers of the 1970s. Most will probably compare it to the recent The Social Network, since it deals with the Internet and all its possibilities, but it is far more akin to the social dramas that defined ’70s Hollywood filmmaking. In fact, let me go out on a limb: This is the best film of its kind to hit the screen since All The President’s Men in 1976Condon’s direction is reminiscent of the style employed by Alan Pakula in that film and others from the era like The Parallax View and Klute. And it moves like a freight train. Naysayers may quibble with the dense storyline but the acting is uniformly excellent (David Thewlis, Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney are other standouts). Where The Fifth Estate succeeds so strongly is in taking a fluid ripped-from-the-headlines story and making it timeless. Unlike last year’s Zero Dark Thirty, which had to completely rework its story when Osama bin Laden was suddenly captured and killed, this film is a complete character study and won’t be judged by ever-changing events. Some people may not care and that’s their problem but hopefully there’s an audience out there for a smart adult drama like this, but what you take away from it could depend what, from your own experience, you bring to it. I know this much: As a study of a person whose whole world view revolves only around themselves, this is as good as it gets. Assange has, sight unseen, already dismissed the film, but in a clever coda the movie even addresses that criticism. That’s how smart this thing is. Read More »

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Olivia Wilde Lands ‘Rush’ Role Of Suzy Miller; Russell Crowe For Richard Burton Cameo?

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: It’s a role that a lot of actresses wanted, but I’m told that Olivia Wilde will play 1970s supermodel Suzy Miller in Rush, the Ron Howard-directed Formula One drama about the rivalry between drivers Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth). Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver is producing with Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. Cross Creek funded the film with Exclusive Media Group.

Miller fell in love with and married Hunt, a handsome, womanizing driver, but the most interesting part of their relationship is how Miller soon fell in love with Hunt’s actor pal, Richard Burton. Hunt and Burton famously negotiated a “transfer” of assets, with Burton paying the $1 million divorce settlement that Hunt owed Miller. Burton and Miller were married shortly after.

I’m told that Howard hopes to recruit his A Beautiful Mind star Russell Crowe to play the small role of Burton in the Peter Morgan-scripted film. Wilde, who’ll next be seen starring in Butter, is repped by WME and Untitled along with UK-based Hamilton Hodell.

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Cross Creek Makes Three-Year Distribution Deal With Universal Pictures

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Universal Pictures has made a three-year deal to distribute at least six pictures produced and funded by Cross Creek Pictures. The first film in this deal will be Rush, the Ron Howard-directed Formula One drama. Cross Creek, run by president Brian Oliver and CEO Timmy Thompson,  has quickly emerged as a significant film financier. They got started with the Darren Aronofsky-directed Black Swan and continue with the upcoming George Clooney-directed The Ides of March and Daniel Radcliffe-starrer The Woman in Black, which will be distributed by CBS Films.

The deal was announced by Universal Pictures chairman Adam Fogelson and co-chairman Donna Langley, along with Oliver and Thompson.

Cross Creek is partnered with Exclusive Media Group as co-financier and co-producer of Rush, the Howard-directed drama about the battle between ’70s Formula One racers Niki Lauda and James Hunt that stars Thor‘s Chris Hemsworth and Inglourious Basterds‘ Daniel Bruhl. Peter Morgan wrote the script, and Howard and the actors shot some footage during Formula One races held at Nurburgring Race Track in Germany. It was there, in the 70s, that Lauda was almost killed in a fiery accident that is a major part of the drama. The film seems a natural fit for Universal, since Oliver’s fellow producers are Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. Both Imagine and Cross Creek have overall deals at the studio.

Aside from pictures that Cross Creek brings into the equation, the company will likely become a financier of existing Universal projects getting close to green lights. The budgets of the films will range from $15 million-$65 million, with the average film costing between $25 million-$35 million. Cross Creek is set up to generate up to four films per year, with Universal to distribute at least two of them with a wide-release commitment. Read More »

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Toronto: ‘Intruders’ Helmer Juan Carlos Fresnadillo Is ‘Highlander’ Frontrunner

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, here for today’s world premiere of his latest film The Intruders, is Summit Entertainment’s choice to direct Highlander. That is the reboot of the 1986 film about immortals who battle with swords, and live and die by the mantra that “there can be only one.” Fresnadillo is now in discussions to direct a film that Summit will co-finance with RCR Media Group. Fresnadillo is also attached to direct a reboot of The Crow, which has Bradley Cooper attached.

This is a coveted job that became an open directing slot when Justin Lin dropped out to make the sixth installment of The Fast and the Furious.

Fresnadillo, who first attracted Hollywood’s attention with the genre film Intacto, followed with the superb 28 Weeks Later. Today he unveils Intruders, an intense psychological drama that stars Clive Owen as a father who cannot protect his young daughter from faceless intruders. The film also stars Daniel Bruhl, who starred Inglourious Basterds and next stars as Formula One racer Niki Lauda in the Ron Howard-directed Rush. The film is an acquisition title that is high on many buyers’ lists, and the director’s UTA reps are selling it. Read More »

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Ron Howard-Directed ‘Rush’ Revving Up This Week On German Formula One Track

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Rush, the Peter Morgan-scripted drama about the battle between ’70s Formula One racers Niki Lauda and James Hunt, will rev up for action this week. The Ron Howard-directed film doesn’t really start principal photography until after Chris Hemsworth (he plays Hunt) completes Marvel’s The Avengers in a couple of months, but he and Inglourious Basterds‘ Daniel Bruhl (Lauda) will be around this weekend at Nurburgring Race Track in Germany. A race will be held there, featuring the Formula One classic cars that were driven during the 70s. Howard will be shooting 35mm all weekend with his cast.

This is more than just an opportunity for Howard to get generic footage on a race track; Nurburgring plays a pivotal part in the drama. That’s the track where Lauda, when he was reigning world champion and the only driver to ever complete a lap on that track in less than 7 minutes, tried to rally the other drivers to boycott the German Grand Prix race from being held there in 1976 because he felt safety arrangements weren’t up to snuff. When the other drivers voted against it, Lauda took the wheel and crashed his Ferrari on the second lap. Because it was so early in the race, Lauda’s car was full of fuel; his face was badly burned and he inhaled toxic hot gases that scorched his lungs before three rival drivers got out of their cars and pulled him from the wreckage. The film focuses on Lauda’s competitive spirit, which prompted him to get back behind the wheel despite being in severe pain six weeks later in Italy to stop Hunt from taking the world title. Read More »

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