UK-based financier Cascade Pictures, which launched at Toronto in September, has boarded its first feature, The Lady Who Went Too Far. Oscar-winning King’s Speech writer David Seidler is adapting the screenplay from Kristen Ellis’ biography, Star Of The Morning. The King’s Speech‘s Gareth Unwin, of Bedlam Productions, is producing. Story follows the true tale of Britain’s Lady Hester Stanhope, who rejected London society in the early 1800s to travel across the Mediterranean and into the Middle East, where she played a major role in stifling Napoleon’s advances towards India. The pioneering Stanhope was a controversial figure in her time and the film will mix elements of romance, espionage and adventure. A production start is being eyed for later this year. Bedlam is producing with support from Cascade, the BFI Film Fund, British Film Company, HW Buffalo & RPTVA. Cascade CEO Mark Fisher says, “Working with Gareth and David to bring this enthralling story to screen is the best opening scene for Cascade as a company.”
BREAKING: David Seidler, who won the Oscar for his The King’s Speech script, has signed with WME. Seidler famously waited 28 years for the Queen Mother to die after she asked him not to make a movie out of King George VI’s story because memories of WWII was too upsetting for her. He turned his work into a play, which is how the project got to director Tom Hooper. That play will be opening on March 27th at London’s West End Theatre. Seidler, who’d been at UTA, also wrote Games of 1940 and The Lady Who Went Too Far, both of which are out to directors. Seidler continues to be managed by Jeff Aghassi and represented in the UK by Greg Hunt.
Beverly Hills, CA – Oscar-winning writer David Seidler will deliver the keynote address at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 26th annual Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting presentation on Thursday, November 3, at the Beverly Wilshire hotel. Seidler became a first-time Academy Award® nominee and winner with his original screenplay for the 2010 Best Picture winner “The King’s Speech.” He is currently working on “The Lady Who Went Too Far” and “Games of 1940.” The Academy annually awards up to five Nicholl fellowships of $30,000 each. This year’s recipients are:
- Chris Bessounian & Tianna Langham, Los Angeles, Calif., “Guns and Saris”
- Dion Cook, Altus, Okla., “Cutter”
- John MacInnes, Los Angeles, Calif., “Outside the Wire”
- Matthew Murphy, Culver City, Calif., “Unicorn”
- Abel Vang & Burlee Vang, Fresno, Calif., “The Tiger’s Child”
David Seidler’s The King’s Speech and an episode of Friday Night Lights penned by Jason Katims were among the winners of the Humanitas Prize, which were unveiled today during a ceremony at Montage Beverly Hills. A total of 11 winners received took home a total of $85,000 in prize money for films and TV shows that “entertain, engage and enrich the viewing public.” The organization also bestowed its Kieser Award to Gary David Goldberg. Here’s the full list of winners:
Director Adrian Noble has confirmed a rumor kicking around stage circles for weeks: that he is turning the Best Picture Oscar-winning The King’s Speech into a stage play. This is not going to be a difficult transition. As Seidler told Deadline right after last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, he turned his long-gestating script into a play as an exercise to help him finish and get it noticed. A reading was held, and that is where director Tom Hooper’s parents heard it, then told Hooper they’d found his next project. It took Hooper some time to get around to reading it because he was working on the HBO miniseries John Adams. But they were right.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures is finalizing a deal to develop a feature about the romance between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as a directing vehicle for Martin Scorsese. The film will be produced by Julie Yorn, Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff of Krasnoff Foster Productions, and Scorsese through his Paramount-based Sikelia banner. They are assembling the resources to tell Hollywood’s most famous star-crossed love story.
They’ve optioned Furious Love, the book by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger that was published by HarperCollins last year. At the same time, the producers have a rights agreement with Burton’s estate, and a pledge of cooperation from his widow, Sally Hay Burton, to make his library available as a resource. The filmmakers have also reached out to the estate of Taylor with the same hopes. A screenwriter will be hired shortly.
I’m told that Paramount made the book deal as other parties pursued the book, with other suitors including Oscar-winning Black Swan star Natalie Portman and The King’s Speech Oscar-winning scribe David Seidler. All this for a book that got 100 passes when initially shopped for a movie deal by the author’s reps, Justin Manask and David Kuhn. Film interest in the book — for which Taylor made available many of the love letters Burton wrote to her over the years — grew when Taylor passed away in March and reports focused on the relationship between Taylor and Burton.
EXCLUSIVE: After winning the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for The King’s Speech, David Seidler has committed to another WWII-era inspirational story. He will team with Italian writer Luca Manzi to script Games of 1940 for producers Kennedy/Marshall Company and RT Features.
The drama is based on the true tale of a group of multinational POWs in a Nazi prison camp who decide to compete against each other in their own version of the Olympics after the 1940 games were canceled due to the escalating war. They risked their lives to stage the games under the noses of the guards. Seidler and Manzi have collaborated in the past, and they came across the event while touring a Polish sports museum.
Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy will produce for Kennedy/Marshall Company along with RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira and Fernando Loureiro. Brazil-based RT Features is funding development. The company, which produced the Jose Henrique Fonseca-directed Heleno and the Karim Ainouz-directed Violet, is stepping up its output in Hollywood. Other Brazilian films include Drained, The Marriage of Romeo and Juliet, and Stillborn. Jeff Aghassi will be executive producer.
UTA and manager Aghassi rep Seidler, and the agency reps RT Films.
It is nice to see Seidler getting to capitalize on his Academy Award. After all, he was 73 when he began getting acclaim for his The King’s Speech script, which he planned to write after finishing the 1988 film Tucker for Francis Coppola. He waited 28 years …
So tonight’s Academy Awards scorecard for independent films were 7 major Oscars, including the 19th Best Picture of the past 30 years for non-studio movies. The Independent Film & Television Alliance compiled this list: Best Picture: The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co); Best Director: Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co), Best Actor: Colin Firth – The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co), Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale – The Fighter (The Weinstein Co distributing internationally), Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo – The Fighter (The Weinstein Co), Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler – The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co), Best Foreign Language Film: In A Better World, Denmark (Nordisk Film).
There’s no question this was Hollywood’s biggest week of the year. But now it’s all coming to a close tonight — and not a moment too soon for a lot of nominees at the end of a looooong campaign trail. “Thank God,” said The King’s Speech’s 73-year-old screenwriter David Seidler when I asked him Saturday night at The Weinstein Co bash at Soho House how he felt about nearing the end. After tonight, he plans to spend a month fishing. At the same party I caught up with the ultimate class act, Colin Firth, who between last year’s A Single Man and this year’s The King’s Speech has been on the awards circuit for the better part of two seasons. I asked him about being heavily favored to take Best Actor, and he replied, “I’m told I am”. He’s next making lighter fare: a Coen Brothers-penned version of the 1966 movie Gambit that starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. He said the film, to be directed by Michael Hoffman (The Last Station), is not a remake and that there’s barely a line of dialogue in common between the two films. Cameron Diaz will co-star. The Weinstein party filled up fast and brought out the entire King’s Speech crowd except for Geoffrey Rush who was on stage in New York for Diary Of A Madman but will be at tonight’s Oscars.
At a Society Of Lyricists And Composers reception Saturday afternoon, many-times nominated and Inception Best Music Score nominee Hans Zimmer told me he’s been too …
Ever since the British Academy of Film and Television Arts several years ago moved their honors ceremony to coincide with Hollywood’s awards season, it’s been hit and miss as a predictor of the Oscars. Even though there is probably a crossover of about 600 members in both organizations. This year’s results giving a near-sweep, but very significantly not complete sweep, to hometown favorite The King’s Speech did little to change the status of that film’s Oscar chances in certain key categories. It already is the frontrunner for Best Picture, and for Colin Firth as Best Actor, and for David Seidler’s Best Original Screenplay. So tonight’s BAFTA wins just add to the pile of its big Hollywood Guild wins here.
In the Supporting categories winner, Helena Bonham Carter did not have to contend with Oscar frontrunners Melissa Leo and Hailee Steinfeld who weren’t nominated by BAFTA. (Steinfeld was competing in lead while Leo was snubbed.) And the absent Geoffrey Rush’s triumph over Oscar frontrunner Christian Bale also was not surprising since The Fighter found little support in overall BAFTA nominations.
But DGA winner Tom Hooper’s loss here to The Social Network’s David Fincher is intriguing. It could mean voters may be thinking about a split ballot. The facebook origins film also won Adapted Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin as well as defeated The King’s Speech in the ever-significant Film Editing category, too. That means both films collected exactly half of their BAFTA nomination total with TKS garnering 7 out …
Overall, tonight’s BAFTA awards show — known as “the British Oscars” – was marred by human errors and technical flubs. But the winners didn’t care. I counted 7 name-checks for Harvey Weinstein during the evening. In fact, pretty much every time one of The King’s Speech’s 7 award winners thanked the British academy, they thanked The Weinstein Company brother. A visibly emotional Colin Firth, accepting his second straight Best Actor statuette, referred to “the unstoppable Harvey”. Winning The King’s Speech screenwriter David Seidler said: “Harvey, I guess you’re not British but you’ve made and distributed so many British films we owe you an honorary tally-ho.” Presenter Jessica Alba, referring to Geoffrey Rush not being on hand to accept his Best Supporting Actor award, said that Harvey would give it to him. Helena Bonham Carter, accepting her Best Supporting Actress award, called Harvey her “nominations godfather”. Even emcee TV chat show host Jonathan Ross, admonishing everyone to turn off their cell phones, worked in a reference to the man: “I can see that Harvey Weinstein is gagging for a tweet.”
In Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House tonight, Inception won 3 technical awards for Sound, Production Design, and Special Visual Effects which prompted one VFX designer to pay homage to the film’s writer/director Christopher Nolan: “I spent 3 weeks in Chris Nolan’s garage visualising this film, which wasn’t hard because Chris had done all the work.” The Social Network also received 3 BAFTAs, including a surprise Best Director for David Fincher. But …
After the Tom Hooper-directed Colin Firth-Geoffrey Rush film The King’s Speech came out of Toronto with strong Oscar buzz, United Talent Agency swooped in to sign the pic’s writer, David Seidler. It’s not unusual for the scribes of Oscar-bait film to get snapped up by major agencies. But Seidler is no flash in the pan. He’s 73 years old, and the effort to make the film dates back to before many of today’s top screenwriters were born. His script –covering King George VI’s race to overcome a stutter so he could rally his subjects in radio broadcasts as England fought Hitler’s invading forces in WWII–was subject matter that is woven through Seidler’s own life. While an eloquent speaker now, Seidler developed a debilitating childhood stutter he attributes to the shock of those early days of WWII. “I was a profound stutterer as a kid, and though we relocated to the US after the Battle of Dunkirk, it was the trauma of hearing the guns and bombs from that battle that triggered it. I could barely talk at times, but as the war progressed, we were allowed to listen to the radio and the King of England. He spoke badly, but I thought my goodness, if a king can be brave enough to speak like that on the radio, maybe there’s hope for me. He was always a hero to me.”
Years later, after Seidler finished the 1988 Francis Coppola-directed Tucker: The …
Bedlam Productions, co-producer of The King’s Speech which had its world premiere last night at Toronto, is developing The Lady Who Went Too Far with that film’s screenwriter David Seidler. The project will mark the second collaboration between Seidler (who wrote Tucker for Coppola) and King’s Speech producer Gareth Unwin. Bedlam’s pitching the project, based on Kirsten Ellis’ biography of Lady Hester Stanhope, as a female Lawrence of Arabia set during the Napoleonic Wars. Seidler says that Stanhope “came to exactly the same conclusion that Lawrence did, that we had no place in the Middle East and should keep away politically”.