CBS‘ Beverly Hills Cop reboot has gotten another step closer to a formal greenlight, with actor-comedian Brandon T. Jackson closing a deal for the lead. The films’ star Eddie Murphy and The Shield creator Shawn Ryan executive produce the Sony TV-produced project, which already has a pilot production commitment. Its pilot order is considered a formality once the script written by Ryan is delivered. READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: Don Mischer will get to produce a TV special starring Eddie Murphy after all. Mischer, who produced this year’s Academy Awards that had Murphy attached as host early on, will executive produce a televised tribute to the comedy actor, which will air on Spike TV. Titled Eddie Murphy: One Night Only, the event will tape on Saturday, November 3 at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles for a broadcast on Nov. 16 on Spike TV. The special will mark 30 years since the release of Murphy’s famous stand-up special Delirious! and the film 48 Hrs., which made him a movie star.
It will highlight Murphy’s career from a 15-year-old aspiring comedian to a Saturday Night Live breakout and a comedy feature superstar and will feature Murphy’s co-stars from many of his films including 48 Hrs., Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, Coming To America, The Nutty Professor, Shrek, and Dreamgirls. The two-hour show will include short films, musical performances and sketch comedy, culminating in an appearance by Murphy.
Despite a week of turbulence that saw his Oscarcast producer Brett Ratner resign over an inexplicable barrage of inappropriate public statements, followed shortly after by Ratner’s host Eddie Murphy, Academy president Tom Sherak wants the industry to know that the Oscars are going to be just fine.
“If this happened in January, I would be hiding under my desk,” Sherak told me. “Look what has happened. We have a new producer in Brian Grazer, who met last night with Don Mischer for an hour and a half, so that they can get going on finding a host. We are actually two and a half weeks ahead of where we were last year, in terms of naming a host.”
Sherak, who I’ve always known to be a glass-half-full kind of guy, said he saw some bright spots despite the turbulence. Said Sherak: “In all my time here, I’ve never gotten as many emails from the constituency, after Brett resigned, all saying, how can I help? What do you need me to do? If you need a producer, let me suggest this person. Or, I can go after that person for host. It’s like we woke up a sleeping giant.”
One of those who came forward was Grazer, Sherak said. “He said, ‘I want to help.’ So I said, ‘What if I asked you to become the producer.’ He said, ‘Ask me.’ I did, and he said, ‘I’m in.’ ”
WEDNESDAY 3:50 PM, 3RD UPDATE: The Academy Of Motion Pictures & Arts Sciences just made it official.
3:30 PM, 2ND UPDATE: Imagine Entertainment is confirming that Brian Grazer will produce the 84th Academy Awards with Don Mischer. Still no official AMPAS announcement, though. And there’s more news on this fast-breaking story: As much as the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hoped that Eddie Murphy would reconsider his exit as host, insiders tell me that Brian Grazer has moved on this afternoon. ”We are not going back to him. No way,” I’m told.
2 PM, UPDATE from Nikki Finke: I have just learned that Brian Grazer was offered and has accepted to produce the 84th Academy Awards. Nothing has been announced yet, but Grazer is telling Hollywood that he’s committed to the gig. The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences owes Brian big-time for stepping into the breach left when Brett Ratner exited because of the scandal which the director had created around himself. Immediately, Grazer began calling around town looking for the Oscar host (see HAMMOND: Eddie’s Exit Throws Oscars Into Further Chaos; So Who Should Host Now?) and speed-dialed the top agencies checking availabilities for big talent. But the Academy still wants Eddie Murphy to host, and Grazer is tasked with first trying to convince the actor to do it. Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment produced Tower Heist, which Ratner directed and co-stars Murphy. If anyone can get Eddie back in, it’s Brian. For Grazer to take on the Oscars demonstrates a dedication to the movie community that I hope the Academy won’t soon forget. Grazer’s name frequently comes up for the Irving G Thalberg Memorial Award, the most coveted Oscar honor for anyone in Hollywood, and almost received it for the 76th annual Oscars. So maybe sooner rather than later it should be Grazer’s turn for the Thalberg. I say give it to him next year.
11 AM, Mike Fleming reports: Right now, the Academy Awards are still in disarray, but a name that is making the rounds is Brian Grazer as a potential replacement for Brett Ratner. This is unconfirmed and might have made more sense when Eddie Murphy was still the host.
HAMMOND: Murphy Exit Throws Oscars Into Further Chaos
Will The Academy Consider Brian Grazer?
HAMMOND: Oscars Post-Ratner – What Now?
SHOCKER! Brett Ratner Out As Oscar Producer
Eddie Murphy Agrees To Host Oscars; Producers Tell Film Academy It’s Official
UPDATED: Only three months before the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and ABC are almost back to square one. Hours after Brett Ratner tendered his resignation as Oscar producer in the fallout of racy-bordering-on-vulgar public comments and the use of an anti-gay slur, Eddie Murphy has stepped down as host. The move is not entirely unexpected given that Ratner was the one who brought in his Tower Heist star Murphy, and Deadline noted that Ratner’s exit Tuesday gave Murphy the perfect chance to bow out. But it still gives the Academy a big headache having to replace a producer and now a host only three months before the February 26 Academy Awards ceremony. On the other hand, Murphy’s acceptance of the gig was abnormally early. With the two departures, the only key member of the creative team remaining in place is veteran TV producer Don Mischer, who had been originally paired with Ratner. As for potential replacements, Brian Grazer, who produced Tower Heist, is being rumored as a candidate to succeed Ratner. Here is AMPAS’ statement on Murphy’s departure:
Beverly Hills, CA – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announced that Eddie Murphy has withdrawn as host of the 84th Academy Awards. “I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well,” said Sherak.
Commented Murphy, “First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party’s decision with regard to a change of producers for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I’m sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job.”
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.
After Brett Ratner’s spectacular self-inflicted demise as Oscarcast producer, the Academy gets down to business finding a replacement to join Don Mischer in picking up the …
The Brett Ratner situation is a sad mess all around. Sad for Ratner, sad for the Oscar show that he was to co-produce, and sad for the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences. The Academy in the past has weathered its share of nightmares surrounding the show, but never something quite like this. In 1967, an AFTRA strike nearly KO’d the telecast until the walkout was settled just three hours before showtime. Similarly, a WGA strike in 2008 was threatening until it was settled a few days before the airdate. In 1968, the show was nearly cancelled after Martin Luther King’s assassination but postponed for two days instead. In 1981, the Oscars were delayed a day after President Reagan was shot. As for participants, actors have refused to accept the statuette for myriad reasons, and winners have gone to political extremes in their speeches, but the Ratner situation is a new one for AMPAS.
The interesting thing is that outcries for Ratner’s ouster targeted the Academy even though Ratner’s offensive remarks were made during appearances in support of his new film Tower Heist for Universal (Friday night’s Q&A at the Arclight, where he uttered the gay slur, and Monday morning’s radio phone interview with The Howard Stern Show, where he made derogatory comments about women.) His words had nothing directly to do with the Oscars, yet it points to the power of the Academy Awards as an iconic symbol.
Ratner was an unorthodox choice to produce the Oscars. But he was part of a movement begun by the Academy last year with the selection of hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco to make the show more young, hip, and different. Hathaway and Franco bombed. But I had the pleasure of moderating a panel with Ratner for this year’s TCM Classic Movie Film Festival in April and found him exceptionally bright, informed, and savvy. I think this real movie fan would have produced a great show. I know he had great ideas for it. Despite his terrible judgment and stupid actions this week, I am sorry we won’t get the chance to see what he might have done. Ratner already was shaking things up. He changed talent bookers by hiring Melissa Watkins Trueblood over 38-year Oscar booking veteran Danette Herman, who is now just a consultant. The writing staff also is all new, and many are Ratner cronies; I doubt they’ll stay on board. That’s not a huge problem since the Academy hasn’t officially announced the team yet.
On the other hand, host Eddie Murphy also has his writers attached and they will stay on board — if Eddie stays on. Murphy, co-starring in Ratner’s Tower Heist, has appeared on many talk shows lately saying how much he is looking forward to hosting the Oscars as well as giving props to Ratner, who talked him into taking the gig. There is some media speculation that, with Ratner gone, Eddie will follow him out the door. I see that as highly unlikely — and I also don’t think Ratner himself would let that happen. Granted, Ratner’s exit caused a big ripple inside Hollywood. But Murphy’s exit would be a high-profile PR nightmare inside and outside Hollywood, creating the impression to the general public that the Oscars is in complete chaos.
So what happens now?
UPDATE: The Academy is not commenting beyond the statement it issued about Brett Ratner’s resignation, but I’m told that a search will begin quickly for another producer to join Don Mischer in putting together the Oscarcast. The expectation is at the moment is that Eddie Murphy will hang in as Oscar host. It is also clear that while AMPAS president Tom Sherak pledged to back Ratner as long as he didn’t screw up again, a chorus of Academy members, actors and filmmakers were so upset by Ratner’s homophobic comment and his lewd comments on the Howard Stern radio show that the Academy was under extreme pressure to drop him.
EARLIER: Brett Ratner has stepped down as Oscar producer, after a slew of dumb public statements that put the Academy in a terrible situation. This comes hours after Academy president Tom Sherak said he was standing behind Ratner despite his using the word “fag” in a Q&A to promote Tower Heist, and speaking graphically about his sex life on the cable TV show Attack of the Show and also in a phone interview with the Howard Stern show. From what I’m told, the Academy board met and backed Sherak’s decision to stand behind Ratner, but the filmmakers finally threw in the towel. I doubt anybody tried to talk him out of it. Now, the biggest question is: Will Eddie Murphy stay on as Oscar host? I wouldn’t be surprised that after Tower Heist‘s lackluster box office and all this maelstrom, Murphy might wonder why he ever said yes in the first place, and he has a perfect out. The other question is, who will become the new Oscar producer? The Academy will make its list quickly. I’m told that they were looking closely at New York stage producer Scott Sanders before they made the surprising decision to give the job to Ratner. Maybe they will go back to him or one of the other producers who’ve done the show before, a list that includes Joe Roth and Laurence Mark.
Eddie Murphy has never been one to mince words — if you could get him to sit down for an interview. And he has plenty to say about himself on several fronts (but not on any of the questions that have been off-limits forever) in Rolling Stone. But it’s good. Beverly Hills Cop IV? “They’re not doing it,” he says. “What I’m trying to do now is produce a TV show starring Axel Foley’s son, and Axel is the chief of police now in Detroit. I’d do the pilot, show up here and there. None of the movie scripts were right. It was trying to force the premise. If you have to force something you shouldn’t be doing it.” Agreed. The Oscars and the impression that he left the ceremony in a huff when Alan Arkin won best supporting actor for Little Miss Sunshine over Murphy’s work in Dreamgirls? Arkin’s was “a great performance,” Murphy says. “That’s just the way the shit went. He’s been gigging for years and years, the guy’s in his seventies. I totally understood and was totally cool.” What was hard to take, he suggests, was other people suddenly coming over to him while “I’m just chilling” and ever so earnestly expressing their condolences. “I didn’t have sour grapes at all. That’s another reason I wanted to host the show – to show them that I’m down with it.”
Eddie Murphy was on Late Night With David Letterman last night to promote Tower Heist, giving Letterman a chance to ask about Murphy’s upcoming Oscar-hosting gig. “It aint all it’s cracked up to be,” said a semi-joking Letterman, a former Oscar host himself. Murphy then went on to talk about …