The story of a troubled 12-year-old Texas boy who ends up at an East Coast boychoir school began production today in Connecticut. The Red Violin director Francois Girard’s indie drama Boychoir has added Debra Winger, Josh Lucas, Eddie Izzard andKevin McHale, alongside star Dustin Hoffman. The Informant Media film features newcomer Garrett Wareing as the angry young boy who is completely out of his element in the new school and finds himself in a battle of wills with a demanding choir master Carvelle (Hoffman) who recognizes a unique talent in the kid and pushes him. Lucas will play the boy’s estranged father, with McHale as a young music teacher who champions the kid. Winger will play the principal at the boy’s Texas school, and Izzard is a teacher at the new school who is Carvelle’s right-hand. (Alfred Molina originally was set to play the role but withdrew because of scheduling conflicts.) Joe West and River Alexander also star as fellow choristers, and Kathy Bates has a supporting role as the school’s headmistress. Ben Ripley penned the script, and Judy Cairo, Carol Baum and Jane Goldenring will produce. Michael A. Simpson and Eric Brenner are exec producing with Ripley. Embankment Films is international sales on …
Eddie Izzard, who starred in NBC‘s Mockingbird Lane pilot last season and has been recurring on NBC’s Hannibal, is formalizing his relationship with the network via a talent holding deal. Under the one-year pact, he will receive an executive producer credit if cast in the lead of an NBC series. The Emmy winner is repped by APA and UK’s Conway van Gelder.
Eddie Izzard is in final negotiations to star in and produce NBC’s Munsters reboot Mockingbird Lane. Izzard is the first actor cast in the pilot, written by Bryan Fuller and to be directed by Bryan Singer. Mockingbird Lane is described as a reinvention of the 1960s sitcom about a family of “monsters” that has striking visuals in the vein of Fuller’s ABC dramedy Pushing Daisies. Izzard will play Grandpa, the Munster family patriarch, a powerful, ancient vampire with an irrepressible twinkle in his eye. He can shapeshift into rats, wolves, and other creatures at will, but he’s also dapper and charming in a fedora; he is a Don Juan-type womanizer with penchant for flashy, sexy outfits. Izzard was originally offered the role, played by Al Lewis on the original series, in January when he was tied to a drama project he had in development at FX. Facing casting difficulties, NBC rolled the pilot to June and spent the time developing the show’s visual style and settings. Meanwhile, Izzard, repped by UTA and The Collective, became available and, after fielding an offer for another pilot, he was approached again for Mockingbird Lane. Impressed by the Fuller and Singer’s vision for the Munsters world, he came on board the Universal TV-produced project as a star and a producer.
One of the UK’s most powerful talent agents has blasted British TV as an institution that’s run by “clever people making clever rubbish.” Peter Bennett-Jones, founder of Endemol-owned Tiger Aspect (Mr Bean, Billy Elliot), said last night at the annual BAFTA TV Lecture in London that “shaking things up needs to be a higher priority.” He added: “Original and polemical programming is in the casualty ward … My plea to writers is to pursue your passion, agitate away. We should be out there provoking and causing offence.” Bennett-Jones said that he disagrees with the priorities that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and News Corp Deputy COO James Murdoch laid out in their recent Edinburgh TV Festival speeches. Schmidt said that programming decisions should be based on statistical analysis of viewing habits and data while Murdoch said they should be based on profitability. “I’m not saying ignore the data,” Bennett-Jones said. ”I’m just saying don’t have so much faith in it. Stop asking Picasso and Michelangelo to paint by numbers.”
Bennett-Jones’ comments are important: With a client list that includes comedians Rowan Atkinson, Eddie Izzard and Armando Iannucci, BBC news anchor Kirsty Walk calls Bennett-Jones “the man too powerful to piss off.”
But U.S. broadcasters don’t seem to agree. Bennett-Jones says that he has been battling with HBO on behalf of Iannucci, executive producer of VEEP, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. “Anybody who’s made programming for American broadcasters realises that as a programme supplier you’re treated with less respect than you are here. …
ABC Studios will be jetting in Ashley Judd for the premiere screening of its thriller show Missing at next month’s MIPCOM TV market. This year’s event runs Oct. 3-6. Creator/exec producer Gregory Poirier, who wrote National Treasure: Book of Secrets, will also be on hand to unveil the show in Cannes. Co-stars Cliff Curtis and Adriano Giannini will be at the Palais des Festivals too. Meanwhile, Paul Verhoeven, cult director of Starship Troopers and Total Recall, will be in town to promote FCCE’s The Entertainment Experience — “the world’s first multi-platform format based on a user-generated movie” (whatever the heck that means). Eddie Izzard will be flying in to promote his turn as Long John Silver in RHI Entertainment’s Treasure Island, due to premiere on Syfy in the U.S. and Sky in the UK. And Stevie Van Zandt — who so memorably played mob consigliere Silvio Dante in The Sopranos — will promote Norwegian TV show Lilyhammer, being sold by Germany’s SevenOne International. This time Van Zandt plays a Mafioso who testified against his former Mafia boss in New York and winds up being relocated to the Norwegian countryside as part of the Witness Protection Program.
MIPCOM previously announced that Anne Sweeney, Disney/ABC Television Group president and Disney Media Networks co-chair, will be this year’s MIPCOM Personality of the Year. Here’s the official release:
EXCLUSIVE: The Riches star Eddie Izzard is returning to FX with a new drama project, now in development. Izzard is attached to star in the untitled drama, which he co-created with writer Doug Jung based on an idea Izzard had been developing for a couple of years. Dark Blue co-creator/exec producer Jung will write and serve as showrunner on the project, set in Washington D.C., which centers on Eddie Braun (Izzard), a disgraced ex-congressman who, after a sexual scandal, has become a new kind of political fixer for hire. Along with his insider knowledge of the Beltway, Eddie’s not above using blackmail, theft or even a gun to someone’s head in order to get results.
The show is executive produced by The Collective, which has focused on TV development over the past year and has recently set up several other projects, including Safe at FX, with Jason Isaacs attached to star and exec producing; I Gotcha Back at FX, with David Krumholtz exec producing, writing and starring; and Royally Mad at BBC America, with Cat Deeley starring and executive producing. British actor/standup comedian Izzard, who just wrapped the upcoming Syfy miniseries Treasure Island, has a major recurring role on the upcoming season of Showtime’s United States of Tara and will perform at the Hollywood Bowl on July 20. Jung, …
EXCLUSIVE: In his first US series gig since his starring role on FX’s The Riches, Eddie Izzard is joining the third season of the Showtime comedy United States of Tara in a major recurring role. United States of Tara stars Toni Collette as Tara Gregson, a wife and mother who struggles with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Izzard will play Tara’s brilliant psychology professor who starts as a DID skeptic, but becomes fascinated with Tara as a subject, leading him to explore the condition further. Collette won an Emmy for her role on the show, whose third season will begin production mid-September in Los Angeles for a 2011 premiere.
British actor and standup comedian Izzard, repped by UTA and the Collective, was recently featured in the documentary BELIEVE: The Eddie Izzard Story, which was nominated for an Emmy in the best nonfiction special category.