Oscars producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have completed their roster of presenters for Sunday’s show with a pair of Hollywood heavyweights. Three-time Academy Award winner Jack Nicholson last presented a montage of previous Best Picture winners at the 80th Academy Awards in 2008. He’ll be back on stage this Sunday as will two-time winner Dustin Hoffman, who last handed out a prize in 2006. The official release follows: READ MORE »
They famously co-starred as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in the 1976 classic All The President’s Men. And Sunday at the Toronto International Film Festival they were together again – sort of. In an odd coincidence, both Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman unveiled their latest directing efforts in back to back North American premieres. At 10 PM in another theatre nearby, Redford with little fanfare and no other cast members present presided over the North American premiere of his new all-star drama The Company You Keep which Sony Pictures Classics will release next year. While Hoffman hosted the world premiere of the senior comedy Quartet and then conducted with the cast a post-screening Q&A filled with laughs and behind-the-scenes intel.
Quartet about a retirement home for opera stars features Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly as seniors who refuse to go gently into that good night. They were all in Toronto for the debut at the Elgin Theatre, and the crowd-pleasing film will be released by The Weinstein Company in December in time to qualify for Oscars.
“I’m here to get nominated,” laughed Dustin Hoffman (who is making his directorial debut at age 75 with the 2012 Weinstein release, Quartet) as he took the stage at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual lunch to present grants to non-profit entertainment related organizations and scholarship programs. It was meant as a joke but clearly there is some truth to it, as this luncheon, held today at the Beverly Hills Hotel, often draws a lot of awards hopefuls to accept the generous grants in front of virtually the entire HFPA membership. If you’re a film or TV contender it certainly doesn’t hurt to be seen in this room. Awards consultants and PR Execs eagerly cooperate with the HFPA to get a strong turnout of contenders at this early pre-season kickoff to yet another awards race. Among the many PR types present you heard the same phrase over and over, “well here we go again”.
Among those presenting the total of more than $1.2 million to some 40 organizations today in addition to Hoffman were Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), John Travolta (Savages), Don Johnson and Kerry Washington (Django Unchained), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, The Hunger Games), Jack Black (Bernie), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Kelsey Grammer (Boss) and Carla Gugino (Political Animals). Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) opened the proceedings for the Foreign Press group by joking that ”the 40 grants are as diverse as the people sitting in this audience today”.
On Wednesday, Deadline revealed that The Weinstein Company was acquiring the Dustin Hoffman-directed comedy Quartet. TWC just confirmed it with this release.
New York, NY – May 4, 2012 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that they have acquired U.S. and Latin American rights to Dustin Hoffman’s QUARTET from HanWay Films. The comedy stars Maggie Smith (HARRY POTTER franchise, GNOMEO AND JULIET), Billy Connolly (GULLIVER’S TRAVELS, THE LAST SAMURAI), Michael Gambon (HARY POTTER franchise, THE KING’S SPEECH) and Pauline Collins (ALBERT NOBBS, FROM TIME TO TIME). QUARTET, written by Sir Ronald Harwood, marks the directorial debut of Hoffman. QUARTET tells the story of Reggie (Courtenay), Wilf (Connolly) and Cissy (Collins) who reside in Beecham House, a home for retired opera singers. Each year they stage a concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday, which also raises funds for the home. Reggie’s ex-wife Jean (Smith) arrives at the home and creates tension, playing the diva part but refusing to sing in the concert.
Multi-territory distributor Alliance Films has announced the acquisition of 16 titles to go out via Alliance Films in Canada, Aurum Producciones in Spain and Momentum Pictures in the UK and Ireland. Last week, I exclusively reported from the EFM on Momentum’s acquisition of François Ozon’s In The House and Regis Roisnard’s Populaire for the UK and Ireland. Included in that report were pick-ups of other buzz titles like Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man and Steven Soderbergh’s Bitter Pill in what Alliance SVP of acquisitions and production Robert Walak told me was a better than expected market. Among the additional films Alliance has now confirmed acquiring are Jean Dujardin’s infidelity comedy The Players and Catherine Hardwicke’s erotic thriller Plush with Evan Rachel Wood for the UK and Ireland and Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut Quartet with Maggie Smith,
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
HBO’s new series Luck is about horse racing, but at today’s TCA panel, the sport in question was prize-fighting — whether reported friction between the strong personalities involved in the show led to ego clashes behind the scenes. The contenders: Stars Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, pilot executive producer/director Michael Mann and pilot executive producer/writer David Milch. All four acknowledged their reputations for being difficult, but insisted that peace reigns on Luck. Concerning rumors of contention on the pilot set, Mann said: “It’s ridiculous.” He explained, “There’s a time when any director wants the set to himself” and said a request to have non-participants step away at one point “got contorted into something else.” After the session, Mann said testily, “We’re not four difficult people. People who are insecure don’t have strong egos. We’re good at what we do, so we don’t have insecurity.”
Toronto Briefs: Grosvenor Park Lends Again, Morgan Creek Co-Fi’s ‘The Thing’ And Dustin Hoffman Sets ‘Quartet’
* Grosvenor Park will once again lend money to film productions, forming UK-based EIS Film Fund to disperse $100 million each year for productions. Grosvenor Park fled from the film-financing scene in 2008, when the economy and the independent film business hit the rocks. The target is films with budgets ranging from $10 million to $30 million. Grosvenor Park will also produce senior, gap and tax lending collateralized by territorial distribution sales and production tax incentives, which was how the company lended to films in the past. “Now is an optimal time to re-enter the film-lending space given the strength of the marketplace and the current industry dynamics as evidenced by a resurgence of sales activity at the most recent film markets,” said GP’s Don Starr.
* Morgan Creek has become a co-financier on Universal’s remake of The Thing. The studio releases Morgan Creek’s films in the U.S. including the upcoming Jim Sheridan-directed Dream House, which stars Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz. The Thing is a prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 classic and it’s directed by Matthijs van Heijningen and produced by Strike Entertainment partners Marc Abraham and Eric Newman.
EXCLUSIVE: Mimi Leder has signed on to direct All Quiet on the Western Front, an adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s WWI novel that was previously turned into the 1930 film that won a Best Picture Oscar and another for director Lewis Milestone. The novel is about the intense and terrifying action of 1918 trench warfare that traumatizes a young and idealistic German soldier on the Western front. The script is by Ian Stokell and Lesley Paterson. They will produce through their Sliding Down Rainbows Entertainment shingle. They have also come up with part of the funding, Leder told me.
Leder, whose feature credits include Deep Impact and The Peacemaker, just completed directing the season finale of Luck, the HBO series that stars Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, with Michael Mann and David Milch exec producing. She hadn’t read the novel or seen the original film when she was sent the WWI script by Stokell and Paterson, but was struck by how the themes of disillusion and loss of humanity during ferocious fighting hadn’t lost its relevance despite the period setting.
Here is a first look at HBO’s upcoming horse racing drama series Luck from Michael Mann and David Milch. Set to premiere in the fall, it stars Dustin Hoffman and co-stars Dennis Farina, John Ortiz and Nick Nolte. Joan Allen and Michael Gambon are recurring.
In a pretty cool interview that Michael Mann gave to Financial Times’ Matthew Garrahan about his experience directing and exec producing the David Milch-created HBO series Luck, Mann dropped on Garrahan that he’s close on two features. Now, I’ve …