EXCLUSIVE: Hot Cannes seller Equals has been steadily casting up over the past several weeks as it preps for an August start in Japan and Singapore. Already on board are Nicholas Hoult, Kristen Stewart, Guy Pearce, Kate Lyn Sheil and Aurora Perrineau. I’ve learned that two-time Oscar-nominated Australian actress Jacki Weaver is also now in negotiations to join the futuristic love story that’s being helmed by Drake Doremus from a script by Moon‘s Nathan Parker. The picture is set in a future society where emotions have been eradicated and the new breed of humans is called Equals. When “Switched-On Syndrome” infects Silas (Hoult), he becomes an outcast. Nia (Stewart) suffers from the same condition, but is able to hide her emotions. The only way for them to ensure their survival is to escape. Weaver would play Bess, a powerful woman trained as a doctor. She meets Silas in a support group and ultimately helps both Silas and Nia. Producers are Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, Ann Ruark, and Jay Stern and Chip Diggins of Route One which is also financing. Weaver received her most recent Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for 2012′s Silver Linings Playbook and is next up in Woody Allen’s Magic In The Moonlight as well as Gracepoint, Fox’s adaptation of hit British drama Broadchurch. She’s repped by ICM Partners, Elevate Entertainment and Felker Toczek Suddelson.
EXCLUSIVE: Drake Doremus is casting up his next film Equals for an early 2014 start, and I hear he is courting The Twilight Saga‘s Kristen Stewart and Warm Bodies and X-Men: Days Of Future Past star Nicholas Hoult to be the young couple that anchors this science fiction tale penned by Nathan Parker (Moon). Doremus talked up the project while doing press for Breathe In, the most recent film he helmed that stars his Like Crazy heroine Felicity Jones, Guy Pearce and Amy Ryan. Indian Paintbrush, Steven Rales’ production/financing company that forged a relationship with Doremus on Like Crazy, is backing the film. Stewart is repped by Gersh and Hoult by UTA and 42.
Cohen Media Group acquired U.S. distribution rights to Breathe In, the Drake Doremus-scripted and -directed drama that stars Guy Pearce, Felicity Jones and Amy Ryan. The film was one of a couple Sundance pics about a teacher who enters into an illicit relationship with a student. Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling of Super Crispy Entertainment produced, along with Steven Rales and Mark Roybal of Indian Paintbrush, which also financed the film. QED International remains on board handling international distribution. The film premiered to rave reviews at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. CMG is gearing up for a full theatrical release in fourth-quarter 2013.
QED International announced today that it will handle non-North American distribution of Drake Doremus’ Sundance Film Festival title Breathe In. President of international sales Daniel Diamond negotiated the deal with UTA Independent Film Group, which represented the filmmakers. “We responded to Breathe In immediately, consider Drake to be one of the most talented new directors working, and look forward to including this exceptional film as part of the growing slate of films we’re bringing to market in Berlin,” Diamond said in a statement Wednesday. Directed and co-written by Doremus, the ensemble drama starring Felicity Jones and Guy Pearce premiered at this year’s Sundance. Ben York Jones co-wrote the screenplay. The director’s last film, Like Crazy, won the 2011 Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Breathe In was produced by Steven M. Rales and Mark Roybal of Indian Paintbrush, and Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling of Super Crispy Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: After a long search, Warren Beatty has chosen Like Crazy star Felicity Jones to play the female lead in the untitled film about reclusive industrialist Howard Hughes. The film is still mobilizing its financing, with New Regency in place as a co-financier after Paramount dropped out. Still, Beatty has begun casting, and he met with many young actresses before deciding on Jones. Her breakthrough came in the Drake Doremus-directed Like Crazy, which has been slowly rolling out in release through Paramount Vantage. The film was acquired by Paramount and Indian Paintbrush when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to high acclaim last January.
Jones will play a young woman who develops a relationship with Hughes’s young driver and confidante, before she falls in love with Hughes. Beatty, who’ll direct and who wrote the script, will play Hughes. He’s narrowing choices for the young male lead, and I’ve heard names ranging from Justin Timberlake to Alden Ehrenreich. Also in the mix for roles are Annette Bening, and potentially Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin and Owen Wilson. The film, which Beatty has been working on for years, is expected to start production sometime next year. CAA-repped Jones recently completed another movie directed by Like Crazy‘s Doremus. It shot last summer, and is currently untitled.
EXCLUSIVE: The 19th annual Hamptons International Film Festival has set the silent film sensation The Artist to be the closing-night film premiere on Oct. 16 and the Drake Doremus-directed drama Like Crazy to be the Centerpiece Film screening Oct. 15. That film won the Grand Jury Prize at 2011 Sundance, where it was acquired by Paramount and Indian Paintbrush.
The festival will honor its star, Anton Yelchin, as one of this year’s Breakthrough Performers. Other emerging stars will be added as the festival gets closer. HIFF already announced that its opening film will be the Jay and Mark Duplass-directed Jeff Who Lives at Home. The Michel Hazanavicius-directed The Artist, acquired by The Weinstein Company on the eve of Cannes, won Best Actor honors at the festival for Jean Dujardin, who plays a silent-movie superstar at the advent of talking pictures, a development that will ruin his career.
Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush have released a trailer for Like Crazy, one of the hot titles that came out of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The Drake Doremus-directed film stars Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones and Jennifer Lawrence, it won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and good things are happening for all the participants. We’ll soon discover whether that festival acclaim translates to box office when the film opens Oct. 28 in awards season.
EXCLUSIVE: Drake Doremus, who directed the Sundance sensation Like Crazy, has set Guy Pearce, Amy Ryan and Felicity Jones for his next film. Shooting on the untitled pic begins in a month and takes place in upstate New York. It’s about love, fidelity, marriage and music. Indian Paintbrush is fully financing. Jones made her breakthrough starring in Like Crazy, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Indian Paintbrush teamed with Paramount Pictures to acquire distribution rights on the picture, which will be released this fall.
Doremus wrote the script for the new film with Ben York Jones, his Like Crazy collaborator. The film will be produced by Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling of Super Crispy Entertainment, along with Steven Rales and Mark Roybal of Indian Paintbrush. Michael Pruss is co-producer. Doremus is repped by UTA, Pearce and Jones by CAA and Luber Roklin, while Ryan’s deal was made by Gersh.
Sundance: 2011 Winners: ‘Like Crazy’ Wins Grand Jury Dramatic Prize, ‘How To Die In Oregon’ Wins Documentary
The 2011 Sundance Film Festival Awards went down tonight in Park City. While the biggest surprise was the volume of films acquired by distributor, in the end, the story was about excellence in independent film making. The big winner of the evening was the Drake Doremus-directed love story Like Crazy, which took the Grand Jury Prize for Drama. The film was the first major deal of a festival full of them, with a $4 million acquisition by Paramount and Indian Paintbrush that started a flurry of transactions. The event was hosted by Tim Blake Nelson, who starred in the festival film Flypaper, and who materialized dressed as a snowflake. Festival director John Cooper did the same. No one held the silliness against them, because they launched right into proceedings that moves at such a swift pace, I wondered if they were double parked outside. Here’s the list of winners:
2011 Sundance Film Festival Award Winners:
The Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented to How to Die in Oregon, directed by Peter D. Richardson. In 1994 Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. How to Die in Oregon gently enters the lives of terminally ill Oregonians to illuminate the power of death with dignity.
The Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented to Like Crazy, directed by Drake Doremus; written by Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones. A young American guy …
UPDATE, 8:25 AM: As I tipped you yesterday, Paramount’s Adam Goodman and acquisitions exec Matt Brodie and Indian Paintbrush’s Peter McPartlin closed the deal with the UTA team today around 6 AM for the Super Crispy Entertainment production Like Crazy about young love from co-writer and director Drake Doremus (Douchebag). I’m told it was a $4 million minimum guarantee and a “substantial” 7-figure P&A commitment. Adam Goodman, President of Paramount’s Film Group, and Matt Brodlie, SVP of Productions and Acquisitions for Paramount, along with Indian Paintbrush’s President of Production Mark Roybal, negotiated for the rights with the film’s reps Rich Klubeck and David Flynn from UTA, along with producer Jonathan Schwartz and Doremus’ attorney Lawrence Kopeikin from Morris Yorn. Later Goodman said in a statement, “Along with our partners at Indian Paintbrush, we are extremely pleased to be a part of such a great movie, and look forward to working with Drake, Jonathan, Andrea and a tremendous cast of actors.” Starring Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, and Jennifer Lawrence, Like Crazy was written by Doremus and Ben York Jones about a British college student who falls for an American student, only to be separated from him when she’s banned from the U.S. after overstaying her visa.
EXCLUSIVE 3:09 AM: Into the wee hours of Sunday, the 2011 Sundance Film Festival was inching close to its first big deal. I’m …
2ND UPDATE 4 PM: Deadline is hearing that the ask for Like Crazy is a $2 million minimum guarantee, and a $2 million P&A commitment. Fox Searchlight, The Weinstein Company, and Summit Entertainment are circling. But nothing is easy these days; dealmakers say that the coming-of-age film would have had multi-million dollar bids on the table instantly three years ago. But distributors are circumspect these days, running models and looking hard at their release calendars to see if the picture fits. Insiders say 7-figure bidding is going on, and if that’s true, it won’t be long before a deal is made.
It is an embarrassment of riches for the UTA team of Rich Klubeck, Rena Ronson, Bec Smith, and David Flynn, who are repping or co-repping 14 titles here. Some of the most promising are front-loaded in the festival. They are moving to close a deal on The Guard (hearing Sony Pictures Classics one of those in the mix), as well as Margin Call. And they have a 6:15 PM premiere screening of the Paul Rudd-starrer My Idiot Brother, which many feel has the potential to be the festival’s biggest sale, and one that is likely to happen in a hurry if it’s got commercial breakout potential.
UPDATE, SATURDAY 3 PM: Sundance competition pic Like Crazy played strongly at the Eccles theater in Park City this afternoon. Summit’s Eric Feig went up to the film’s producer after it played, and the …