Rumors over the last week have David Fincher circling the Aaron Sorkin-scripted Steve Jobs biopic based on the Walter Isaacson book about the Apple genius at Sony. Fincher hasn’t even had a meeting on the project yet, but he certainly has a close relationship with producer …
After his successful TV debut with Netflix’s House Of Cards, David Fincher is spearheading the U.S. adaptation of another British series, this time at HBO. The pay cable network, which aggressively pursued House Of Cards when it was shopped, has teamed with Fincher for Utopia, a drama series project based on the Channel 4 series created by Dennis Kelly and produced by Kudos. Fincher is set to direct the adaptation, which will be written by Gillian Flynn, reteaming with Fincher whose upcoming feature Gone Girl is based on her novel. Both Gone Girl and Utopia are in the thriller genre. The series revolves around the die-hard fans of an iconic, underground graphic novel who are suddenly launched into their own pop-culture thriller when they learn that the author has secretly written a sequel. Unfortunately, the new manuscript is much more than just a book and those on the hunt for it suddenly find themselves in a game of shifting loyalties, conspiracy and shocking twists as the true meaning of the book is slowly revealed (watch a trailer for the original series below).
What do Kathy Griffin and Stephen Colbert have in common? They are now both Emmy and Grammy winners. Colbert, winner of four Emmys for his eponymous Comedy Central late-night program, added a second Grammy to his collection for the audio version of his book America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren’t. He previously won in 2010 in the comedy category where Griffin nabbed her first Grammy in her sixth nomination tonight to become only the third woman to do so. (Whoopi Goldberg and Lily Tomlin were the other two.) Griffin, who won two Emmys for her Bravo series My Life On The D-List, thanked recently arrested pop star Justin Bieber for giving her his “relax juice.”
The reigning Oscar winner for best song, Adele’s James Bond ballad “Skyfall,” and Tony winner for best musical, Kinky Boots, repeated at the Grammys as Best Song Written for Visual Media and Best Musical Theater Album (Skyfall also won for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.) After missing out on the DGA Award last night for directing the pilot of Netflix’s House Of Cards, David Fincher was triumphant in the Best Music Video category for helming Justin Timberlake’s black-and-white “Suit & Tie.” And Pharrell Williams, big winner tonight with the French electronic music duo Daft Punk, was named Producer of the Year for several songs, including ”Happy,” the Oscar-nominated track from Despicable Me 2.
Buried near the end of a lengthy Michael Fassbender profile in the November issue of GQ, writer Zach Baron gets the Oscar-buzzed actor to explain why he has no plans to do the campaign circuit this season for his supporting role as the vicious slave owner in 12 Years A Slave.
“I’m going to be busy working. I just don’t really have time. (Campaigning is) just not going to happen, because I’ll be in New Zealand. I’ll be on the other side of the world. You know, I get it. Everybody’s got to do their job. So you try and help and facilitate as best you can. But I won’t put myself through that kind of situation again. It’s just a grind. And I’m not a politician. I’m an actor,” Fassbender said of the whole Oscar process, which seems to grow every year and includes numerous Q&As, luncheons, meet-and-greets, private screenings, film festival tributes, presenting at endless awards shows, well-timed talk show appearances, etc etc. Many artists who suddenly find themselves the object of an all-out Oscar campaign find this part of the job even more grueling than making the actual film. And by the time the Oscars roll around they are spent.
Campaign or no campaign, in Fassbender’s case it may not matter. He’s very likely going to get nominated — and could win — for Best Supporting Actor and I think that’s a scenario whether he lifts a finger or not in doing the usual rounds. The film and the role are so strong it’s hard to imagine the actors branch ignoring him. Now after the nominations it could change, especially in a tight, competitive race where every vote counts.
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox, New Regency and director David Fincher are firming up Gone Girl, the Gillian Flynn novel that will star Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike and shoots this fall. Fincher has set Tyler Perry to play Tanner Bolt, the attorney who reps Affleck’s character after his wife disappears, and Neil Patrick Harris is near a deal to play Desi Collings, the wife’s former boyfriend. At the same time, Fincher has set Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit and Carrie Coon to round out the cast. Fincher is producing the pic with Pacific Standard’s Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea.
Perry’s deal is now closed. Fincher saw him playing the title role in Alex Cross and courted him for the lawyer role. WME and Ziffren repped Perry, who is busy generating his shows for the OWN network and will next be seen onscreen in A Made Christmas, another in his line of Madea films. Harris is starting to ramp up his post-How I Met Your Mother career and also is hosting the Primetime Emmys later this month. He is repped by CAA.
Cari Lynn is an AwardsLine contributor.
Although Oberlin and Tisch-grad Corey Stoll received accolades for his 2004 stage performance opposite Viola Davis in Intimate Apparel and was a series regular on Law And Order: LA, his breakout came in 2011 playing Ernest Hemingway in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris. But it’s his role as Peter Russo in David Fincher’s lauded House Of Cards that is now generating Emmy buzz. Stoll plays a well-meaning U.S. Representative from Philadelphia, whose dalliances with debauchery land him beholden to the Machiavellian congressman from South Carolina played by Kevin Spacey.
AwardsLine: Peter Russo is such a richly nuanced character. How did this role come to you?
Stoll: It happened before all the pilot season craziness. I read the script and fell in love instantly. I put [my audition] on tape, but then didn’t hear anything for months. When they did come back to me, it was to meet with David Fincher. The irony is that when I first auditioned, I thought it was a part that could go on for years. It’s a high bar when you’re looking at a pilot, and you want a character that you could play for a while, a character where you can see all the iterations. It was in this initial meeting when David gave me the basic character arc, and there was part of me that was holding some sort of hope they would change their mind [about the character’s demise]. But then I began to see it as more like doing a film role, and I could really dig in in that way.
AwardsLine: I had an overall eye-opening experience when I interned on Capitol Hill. Was there anything about politics and D.C. that you were surprised to learn?
Stoll: I was shocked at how young the city is! Interns and young staffers are the people who make the city function. I’m not the first person to point out the parallels between Hollywood and D.C.—the intersection of image-making, power and money. I saw that the reason some people originally went into politics and where they wind up can get mixed up very easily. The game can be so intoxicating.
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline scooped the news today that Safety Not Guaranteed helmer Colin Trevorrow landed the plum gig of Jurassic Park 4, a move which could catapult him to the director A-list. There is a lot of movement going on among directors that will reverberate depending on who takes what job.
First up, Steven Spielberg has ended his long flirtation with directing Gods And Kings, the epic-sized Warner Bros film about life of Moses based on the script by Michael Green and Stuart Hazeldine. That puts Warner Bros in a bind because of the rival Moses project, the Adam Cooper/Bill Collage-scripted Exodus, which is gathering steam at Fox, with Ridley Scott looking to mobilize that as soon as he completes The Counselor. But Warner Bros is now out to Ang Lee, who just won the Best Director Oscar for Life Of Pi. I’m told he’s intrigued with the project but hasn’t had a formal meeting on the script. Imagine what either director can do with that subject matter, and with the ratings on History Channel’s The Bible miniseries, the audience is certainly there. Spielberg hasn’t dropped the project for another; while he postponed his next film Robopocalypse, he hasn’t replaced it with anything as he continues to develop that robot pic. Spielberg also recently told French TV he’s developing a Napoleon miniseries for TV based on Stanley Kubrick’s screenplay and research. for
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
Arts Minister Simon Crean has told Disney executives he hopes to finalize a $12.2 million payment to persuade the studio to shoot David Fincher’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea …
Netflix just released first trailer for its first original series, the big-budget David Fincher-Kevin Spacey political drama House Of Cards. Based on the British miniseries, the MRC-produced House Of Cards centers on ruthless and cunning Rep. Francis Underwood (Spacey) and his wife Claire (Robin Wright), who …
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
Crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo so far have been only moderately useful for most independent filmmakers trying to finance their next movie, but that could change significantly under the federal JOBS Act passed earlier this year, said members of a panel at the Digital Hollywood conference, which wraps today in Marina del Rey.
Under previous rules, crowdsourcing sites couldn’t offer equity stakes to contributors. Instead they receive modest tokens of appreciation such as T-shirts or tickets to screenings — in other words, they get nothing more than the satisfaction of helping a movie get started. The new law will allow intermediaries such as crowdsourcing sites to sell members modest equity stakes in films, up to $10,000 or 10% of each user’s income. The project must set a fundraising goal and if it doesn’t raise at least 60% of that, no money would change hands. “There are many more opportunities to come and we’re just seeing the start of this,” said Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute, which has raised $3 million on behalf of 85 films through Kickstarter. The SEC is currently establishing regulations under the new law.
Here is one way to get a passion project financed. David Fincher and Blur Studios want to make an animated feature out of the the Eric Powell comic book series The Goon, and they have launched the “Let’s Kickstart This Fuckin’ Film” fundraising campaign. This seems like the kind of thing a studio would be all over, but they haven’t gotten that far since introducing the concept at 2010 Comic-Con and this is in intriguing way to get started, as they describe the plan to raise $400,000 over the next 29 days to generate a story reel that will make the film possible.
Powell wrote the script. Highlander’s Clancy Brown voices The Goon and Paul Giamatti voices his sidekick Franky in a comic that is described as containing “mobsters, zombies, killer robots, giant fish-men, and every outrageous thing in between.” Donors from $25 to up to $10,000 are enticed with everything from T-shirts to limited-edition signed art to private screenings.
OSCARS: Producer Scott Rudin Talks Critics Awards, Salander, His ‘Jeopardy’ Discovery And Why A Non-Baseball Fan Relates To ‘Moneyball’
EXCLUSIVE: We are in the thick of the awards season, a time of year when at least one film produced by Scott Rudin is usually in the conversation. Last year, he was producer of two Best Picture nominees, The Social Network and True Grit. This year, he’s got three in the mix. There’s Moneyball, the 9/11-themed Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. All this happened in a year when Rudin closed his Hollywood office and formally moved his producing deal to Sony Pictures (where he produced The Social Network and joined producers Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt in reconfiguring Moneyball). None of that impeded his output and when Rudin took time out for Deadline and what will likely be his only Oscar season Q&A, he pulled himself away from new films he’s making with the Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach. That is a lot of activity for any producer — and Rudin separately generates as many Broadway shows as he does films — but it’s a pace the New York-based producer is comfortable handling.
AWARDSLINE: Much was written about The New Yorker reviewer David Denby breaking an embargo that New York film critic voters agreed to abide by when they saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for the purposes of voting for their annual awards. Now, he wrote a positive review…
RUDIN: That wasn’t the issue.
AWARDSLINE: Why did it trouble you so much?
RUDIN: Because you want reviews timed to the release of the movie when they can sell tickets. Having reviews break earlier…I mean, our campaign is calibrated very carefully around closing the campaign with the release of the film. You want reviews to cume the week the movie’s opening and not a month before when they do you absolutely no good. What also concerned me was if he broke the embargo there was a decent chance other people would. It turned out that other people felt such scorn for him that nobody else did, which was kind of remarkable.
AWARDSLINE: Was it more about giving your word and not keeping it?
RUDIN: Keep your word or don’t come to the movie. It’s totally fine to say I’m not going to honor a review embargo, but you have to give me and the studio the right to say, don’t come see it. You don’t put in writing a commitment not to review until a certain date and then review it anyway because you don’t want to write about other movies that you don’t think are serious enough for you. It’s incredibly disingenuous.
AWARDSLINE: All this happened because the New York film critics moved up their deadline two weeks to be first. How valid are these lists when a late entry like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close aren’t even considered?
RUDIN: I can only answer in relation to my stuff. I mean, in the case of the New York critics, they set a deadline that was literally a day ahead of when we would be able to screen Dragon Tattoo. We were perfectly fine not screening for them, but they came to us and said they wanted to move the date by a day to include us. Because we had won it last year on Social Network, we felt we kind of owed it to them. It seemed churlish not to let them see the movie if they moved the date. We didn’t ask them to move the date; they came to us. And then I got a bunch of nasty emails from John Anderson saying, why didn’t you ask us to move the date on Extremely Loud? The whole thing seemed so ridiculous. They were all trying to get ahead of each other. Honestly, I don’t think it has hurt Extremely Loud one iota not to have been seen by the couple of groups that didn’t see it. In the end, it’s all opinion anyway. It’s great when you win those things but not great enough that you wouldn’t finish a movie well. Those critics awards come and go every year, but the finished movie is your work. I would love to have finished Extremely Loud two weeks earlier and screened it for everybody. It just wasn’t done. And the same was true with Dragon Tattoo. These were big ambitious movies that were on very very tight finishing schedules and we just couldn’t do it.
AWARDSLINE: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo deal seemed to take forever. It was obviously complicated by the fact that Stieg Larsson had passed away. What was the biggest challenge for you in pulling the rights together on the series?
RUDIN: The big issue on it was that the book was still growing in popularity, so it was hard to figure out, honestly, what a fair deal was. We’d start to make it a deal, you’d turn around and the book has sold 5 million more copies and suddenly it’s worth more. It just took a long time.
AWARDSLINE: How long?
RUDIN: Almost a year and a half. When we started to negotiate we didn’t know there were Swedish movies. Nobody told us, I had no idea. Honestly, we started out buying movie rights and it turned out we were buying remake rights. We got way down the road before anybody said, “Oh, by the way, these were made.”
AWARDSLINE: Did that make you think twice?
RUDIN: No. I think the first one especially was good and entertaining. But Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton and I felt like Lisbeth is such an astonishing character, she could go as long as you wanted her to go. So, making it a big superstar director version of it always felt like a great idea and that a Swedish language version wasn’t going to hurt it all. In fact, would probably help it.
With another major guild nomination following PGA and WGA recognition, this morning’s very significant DGA Awards nom for David Fincher’s direction of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was the only mild surprise on a list that included expected nominees Woody Allen for Midnight In Paris, Alexander Payne for The Descendants, Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist and Martin Scorsese for Hugo. The only December release of the five, Dragon Tattoo has had a slow build during awards season (just as it has had at the box office) and now appears to be reaching a crescendo. At one point things looked so bleak for serious awards prospects that Sony reportedly even began pulling back on some previously planned Oscar ad buys in various publications and sites. That has all changed now and the film has become a serious contender, earning Fincher his third DGA nom in four years following The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button and last year’s The Social Network.
The biggest snub on today’s list has to be Steven Spielberg, who was overlooked for DreamWorks’ War Horse, an expected Oscar power player that may be slipping back in the pack a bit during the crucial stretch run. After all, Spielberg is a DGA favorite with 10 previous nominations (most recently in 2005 for Munich) and three competition wins — including The Color Purple, which didn’t even earn him a nomination for an Oscar. A large part of the voting block at the DGA are TV directors, and Spielberg with his long list of television projects keeps many of them employed. A past DGA winner as well for lifetime achievement, Spielberg’s omission is a crushing blow for any Oscar prospects from the much smaller directors branch.
No director not at least nominated for a DGA Award has gone on to win the Best Director Oscar, and only a handful of past DGA winners have failed to go on and grab the Oscar. The last time there was a discrepancy came in 2002, when Chicago’s Rob Marshall won the DGA Award but lost to The Pianist’s Roman Polanski at the Oscars.
David Fincher talked about his future plans with MTV’s Josh Horowitz:
MTV: Was that a book that was important to you as a young man?
Fincher: No, not at all. I was alive when a man stepped on the moon. It was awe-inspiring, the notion of that much care that NASA took. I’m sure it was the same thing for the Manhattan Project. The idea of a post-Civil War version of science fiction and the notion of being able to breathe underwater was so radical in its thinking. That’s pretty cool. If you’re going to do big tent-pole teenage PG-13 summer movies, it’s kind of cool that it would be this.
MTV: Is Cleopatra something you’re currently developing?
Fincher: That’s something I would love to do with Angie [Jolie]. It’s something that was brought to me that you have to take seriously. [Producer] Scott [Rudin] has this wonderful book, and hopefully [screenwriter] Eric [Roth] can find a way in. I’m not interested in a giant sword-and-sandal epic. We’ve seen scope; everyone knows we can fake that. That stuff doesn’t impress in the way that it did even 10 years ago. We expect that from Starz [now]. So that’s not the reason to do that. What is it about this character that has purchased this place in our history and imagination that is relatable today?