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Global Showbiz Briefs: Emily Watson Joins ‘Theory Of Everything’; BBC Expected To Unveil Found ‘Doctor Who’ Episodes; More

By | Tuesday October 8, 2013 @ 10:00pm PDT

Emily Watson, David Thewlis Join ‘The Theory Of Everything’
Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Charlie Cox, Simon McBurney, Maxine Peake and Harry Lloyd have joined the cast of Working Title’s The Theory Of Everything, which has begun shooting in the UK. The film follows the story of physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), the arts student he fell in love with while studying at Cambridge in the 1960s and later became his wife. James Marsh is directing the Anthony McCarten-scripted film, which is produced by Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten.

BBC Expected To Announce Discovery Of Lost ‘Doctor Who’ Episodes
The BBC is expected to end months of speculation by announcing this week that several early episodes of Doctor Who that were thought to be lost have been returned to the pubcaster. More than 100 early episodes featuring stars William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton are missing, and the BBC destroyed the original transmission tapes. But prints made for foreign broadcasters sometimes turn up, including all four installments of the Troughton adventure The Tomb of the Cybermen, which were found in Hong Kong in 1991. The latest discovery as Doctor Who is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Related: Doctor Who’ 50th Anni Special Set For Global Simulcast
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David Thewlis And Brendan Gleeson Join Millennium’s ‘Eliza Graves’

By | Monday June 17, 2013 @ 5:09pm PDT

BREAKING: The Brad Anderson-directed thriller Eliza Graves is based on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe and begins production next week. If it makes it, the Millennium Films project will mark the end of a long road for screenwriter Joseph Gangemi, who penned the script adapting “The System Of Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether” 15 years ago, with three studios taking a crack at it before Millennium acquired U.S. rights at the last American Film Market. Now David Thewlis and Brendan Gleeson have joined a cast that already includes Kate Beckinsale, Jim Sturgess, Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine in a thriller about a young doctor who comes to apprentice at a mental institution and meets a beautiful patient that he falls in love with amidst a set of difficult circumstances, which may be more complicated than they seem. Bruce Davey, Mel Gibson, Mark Amin and Cami Winikoff are producing. Executive producers are David Higgins, Christa Campbell, Lati Grobman and Mark Gill.

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Terry Gilliam Sets David Thewlis, Tilda Swinton For ‘The Zero Theorem’

By | Monday October 1, 2012 @ 10:31am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Terry Gilliam has set David Thewlis, Tilda Swinton, Moonrise Kingdom‘s Lucas Hedges and French actress Melanie Thierry (The Princess Of Montpensier) to join Christoph Waltz in The Zero Theorem.

Deadline told you in August that Gilliam was moving forward with the film, and that he’d cast Inglourious Basterds‘ Waltz to play an eccentric computer genius plagued with existential angst who aims to discover the purpose of life. The film begins production October 22 in Romania. Thewlis is repped by CAA and UK-based Ken McReddie Associates, Swinton by WME and Hamilton Hodell, Hedges by Abrams Artists and Anonymous Content, and Thierry by Hamilton Hodell and UBBA. Dean Zanuck is producing and Voltage Pictures is handling worldwide sales.

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Paul Walker In Talks For Luc Besson’s ‘District B 13′ Redo ‘Brick Mansions’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paul Walker is in talks to star in Brick Mansions, the Americanized remake of the Paris-set Banlieue 13. The film has a script by Luc Besson (who co-wrote the original) and Robert Mark Kamen, Besson’s collaborator on Taken. The idea is for Walker to star with David Belle. Belle starred in the original and the sequel District 13: Ultimatum and he is also credited with creating Parkour, a sport that involves agility and leaping and climbing around obstacles. There is a lot of that in these films.

The film will be set in American city, most likely Chicago. Walker will play an undercover detective chasing a weapon of mass destruction that was stolen by a drug dealer in the ghetto known as Brick Mansions. He seeks help from the incredibly agile Lino (Belle), who knows Brick Mansions better than anyone and is the only person not cowering in fear of the drug dealers. Besson’s Europa Corp is producing, and while a number of Hollywood actors wanted the Lino role, Besson would not make the movie unless Belle was in it.

The original Banlieue 13 was directed by Pierre Morel, who went on to direct Besson’s Taken and From Paris With Love. Besson is giving this directing job to another protégé, but the company would not reveal who he is. Europa Corp will soon make a domestic distribution deal, which never seems … Read More »

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Toronto Recap: No Drunken Spending A Good Sign For Indie Film Resurgence

Mike Fleming

Was the 2011 Toronto Film Festival a good one for dealmaking? Even after organizers announced a 20% uptick in film deals last Friday (the festival includes foreign territories in its count), the sales kept coming. A long-expected deal with Lionsgate on the Jennifer Westfeldt-directed comedy Friends With Kids finally got done (in partnership with Roadside Attractions, which will actually release the film), and Music Box announced overnight it had acquired the Rachel Weisz-starrer The Deep  Blue Sea. Lionsgate was hotly pursuing another film, the Midnight Madness sensation You’re Next, which of all the festival films seems to have the best chance of approaching the box office turned in by Toronto 2010’s breakout Insidious. There have been about 20 acquisitions so far and that many more could come in the next few weeks.

Still, can you call the Toronto acquisitions marketplace “solid” when no films have been bought so far by The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics, Focus Features, or Fox Searchlight (yeah, I revealed that they bought Shame during Toronto, but it was a deal all but sealed in Venice), or for that matter FilmDistrict, Open Road or Relativity Media, each of which jumped into the distribution business to release films that can play on upwards of 2000 screens? Buyers and sellers said it was a pretty good festival at least. One filled with mostly small deals and a show of distributor discipline that is a positive sign for an indie film sector that just started pulling out of a nosedive this time last year. Read More »

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Toronto: Distribution Deal For Luc Besson’s ‘The Lady’ Puts Michelle Yeoh And David Thewlis In Oscar Race

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The Oscar race just got a little more interesting. EuropaCorp has made a U.S. distribution deal with Cohen Media Group for the Luc Besson-directed The Lady, the story of Burmese pro-democracy activist and political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi. Upstart Cohen Media Group plans to release the film for an Oscar-qualifying platform release late this year to capitalize on strong performances by Michelle Yeoh, who plays Suu Kyi, and David Thewlis, who plays her Oxford professor husband Michael Aris. The film will get a wider release in early 2012. Suu Kyi has spent most of the last 20 years under house arrest by the repressive Burmese military-controlled government. Leaders cruelly barred her husband and two sons from visiting her, thinking that it would drive her to leave. Because she knew that once gone she would never be permitted re-entry, Suu Kyi sacrificed everything to stay and become an iconic symbol of democracy and human rights. Her husband and sons bolstered her spirit and campaigned for the Nobel Peace Prize, which she was awarded in 1991. The distribution deals came quickly after the film premiered Monday evening at Roy Thomson Hall, where Besson, Yeoh and Thewlis received a rousing standing ovation. The deal was brokered by EuropaCorp Group CEO Christophe Lambert and Cohen Media Group CEO Charles S. Cohen.

The Lady becomes the second Toronto title to become an instant entry into upcoming awards season, after Fox Searchlight acquired the NC-17 Steve McQueen-directed Shame with plans to campaign for Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan.

After establishing himself as France’s answer to Steven Spielberg directing hits like La Femme Nikita and The Professional and co-writing and producing action films like Taken, Besson has become very selective in the projects he directs. While he has always had a soft spot for strong female protagonists, it has always been in action settings. The Lady is a decided departure and certainly his most personal film to date. Besson made it to refocus the world’s attention on an activist whose continuing plight gets easily forgotten in a turbulent world, even though she won that Nobel Peace Prize and U2′s Bono and The Edge wrote the song Walk On about her sacrifice (which got U2′s album banned in Burma). Read More »

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