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RatPac, Edward Norton’s Class 5 Options ‘American Hippopotamus’

Mike Fleming

hippoEXCLUSIVE: Brett Ratner and James Packer’s RatPac Entertainment have acquired the Jon Mooallem article American Hippopotamus for Class 5 Films and RatPac for a feature film. Class 5′s Edward Norton and William Migliore will produce with RatPac’s Ratner. They will frame a feature around a difficult-to-believe but true story.

Responding to a meat shortage in the U.S. in 1910, two bitter enemies joined forces to try and import hippopotamuses to the swamps of Louisiana and convince Americans to eat them. Even though Theodore Roosevelt and The New York Times endorsed the theratplan, the fact that you don’t find hippo on the menu shows how well their campaign fared. Key to the movie is the rivalry of the hippo duo, both of whom were spies. Frederick Russell Burnham was a frontiersman and freelance adventurer whose exploits were the inspiration for the Boy Scouts, and he teamed with Fritz Duquesne, aka the Black Panther, a virtuoso con man and cynical saboteur who believed only in his own glorification and revenge. Burnham and Duquesne only recently had been under orders to assassinate each other, and they would return to being bitter enemies. But they took a break to try and get American hungry for hippos. Read More »

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Edward Norton Will Helm Passion Project ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ With RatPac Funding

By | Thursday February 20, 2014 @ 2:47pm PST
Mike Fleming

ednoEXCLUSIVE: It may have taken him 15 years to get there, but Edward Norton will star in and direct Motherless Brooklyn, his scripted adaptation inspired by the Jonathan Lethem novel. Brett Ratner and James Packer’s RatPac Entertainment have stepped up to fully finance the film for a late 2014 production start in New York. Ratner will join Norton and his Class 5 Films’ cohort William Migliore as producers, and Packer will be executive producer with Class 5’s Stuart Blumberg.

motWhile Lethem’s novel is contemporary, Norton has set the story in New York in 1954, a time of great change in the city. He plays Lionel Essrog, a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette’s syndrome, who tries to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend. Armed only with few clues and an obsessive mind, Lionel slowly unravels closely guarded secrets that have major ramifications. It leads him through Harlem jazz clubs, Brooklyn slums and sets him against thugs and Gotham power brokers to honor his friend and save a woman who might his own salvation.

This will be Norton’s second time behind the camera after he made his debut on Keeping The Faith. He set this up at New Line as the book was published, right after Norton got an Oscar nomination there for his mesmerizing performance in American History X. Norton currently stars in the Wes Anderson-directed The Grand Budapest Hotel, and most recently wrapped the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed comedy Birdman, both for Fox Searchlight. He’s repped by UTA and attorney Robert Offer. Read More »

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‘SNL’s ‘12 Years A Slave’: 5 Minutes Not So Funny

By | Saturday October 26, 2013 @ 11:16pm PDT

Not even a twerking cameo by SNL ratings-booster Miley Cyrus could salvage Saturday night’s off the mark and overlong 12 Years A Slave spoof 12 Days Not A Slave, featuring guest host Ed Norton:

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‘SNL’: Ed Norton Spoofs Wes Anderson

By | Saturday October 26, 2013 @ 11:15pm PDT

Wes Anderson, horror maven? Here’s Edward Norton channeling his Grand Budapest Hotel co-star Owen Wilson and nailing Anderson’s twee trademarks in one of the night’s few bright spots:

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Edward Norton Joins Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Ensemble Comedy ‘Birdman’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Edward Norton has been set to star in Birdman, the dark comedy that will be directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu for Fox Searchlight and New Regency. Norton joins Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis in a film that will be shot in a Broadway theater in New York beginning mid-April. A former actor (Keaton) who once played a superhero puts together a play on Broadway that is based on a short story by Raymond Carver. Unfortunately, the ex-superhero’s plans to soar again are threatened by his egotistical lead stage actor. Norton will play that actor. Birdman is produced by Inarritu, John Lesher and Robert Graf. The director wrote the script with Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo. While Norton is as identified with serious dramas as much as Inarritu (who’s making his first comedy), this will be the actor’s third straight film with a comic sensibility. He was most recently seen in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and he just wrapped Anderson’s followup, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Norton is repped by WME.

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Edward Norton & Bennett Miller Make Obama Documentary: Video

By | Friday November 2, 2012 @ 9:00am PDT

Edward Norton produced a video for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and is back to do another this year with the help of Moneyball director Bennett Miller. To its credit, the seven-minute video We Hold These Truths doesn’t feature any Hollywood types.

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Oscilloscope Acquires Doc ‘The Apple Pushers’

By | Tuesday April 17, 2012 @ 3:20pm PDT

New York, New York (April 17, 2012)– Oscilloscope Laboratories announced today that it has acquired North American rights to Mary Mazzio’s documentary The Apple Pushers. Narrated by Academy Award® nominee Edward Norton, The Apple Pushers follows immigrant street vendors who are rolling fresh fruits and vegetables into poor neighborhoods of New York City, where finding a fresh red ripe apple can be a serious challenge. These pushcart vendors, who have immigrated from all parts of the world and have sacrificed so much to come to the United States, are now part of an experiment in New York to help solve the food desert crisis and skyrocketing obesity rates in urban communities.

Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Moonrise Kingdom’

By | Thursday January 12, 2012 @ 1:47pm PST

Moonrise Kingdom, which Focus Features is releasing May 25, 2012, definitely has that Wes Anderson feel and co-stars members of his usual troupe including Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. The film is set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, when a pair of 12-year-olds fall in love and run off together, setting off a manhunt to find them. Bruce Willis, Francis McDormand and Edward Norton in an awesome pair of scoutmaster shorts also star.

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Universal And Captivate Target Next Robert Ludlum Thriller: ‘The Janson Directive’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: After getting the spinoff film The Bourne Legacy into production with Tony Gilroy directing his script and Jeremy Renner starring, Universal Pictures, Captivate Entertainment and Ludlum Entertainment are moving forward with another feature adaptation of a Robert Ludlum thriller novel. The studio has hired John Hlavin to script The Janson Directive, one of the last novels Ludlum wrote before he died in 2001. Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner are producing through Captivate, which has a first look Universal deal. The production company just signed with UTA.

Published a year after Ludlum’s death, The Janson Directive focuses on Paul Janson, an ex-Navy SEAL and former member of the covert government agency Consular Operations. In the book, he is haunted by memories of the Vietnam War and his mentor and commanding officer, whose sadistic side prompted him to turn Janson over to the enemy to be tortured. Janson escaped and provided the evidence of war crimes that caused his CO’s execution. Years later, Janson is a corporate security consultant who takes a job rescuing an important man, but when the job goes awry, Janson is targeted for a “beyond salvage” termination order. He has no choice but to follow the clues that lead him to a massive scandal. Read More »

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Oscar Isaac Is ‘Bourne’ Again In Robert Ludlum Thriller Spinoff

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Not long ago, newcomer Oscar Isaac tested for Tony Gilroy and the lead role in Universal’s The Bourne Legacy and made such a strong impression that the director seriously considered giving the actor the lead role that went to Jeremy Renner. Well, Isaac has just landed the role of “Number 3,” another brainwashed assassin in the film, and it’s a major role in the movie that Gilroy will direct. Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton are also expected to star in The Bourne Identity spinoff. Isaac is about to wrap filming on Steel Town, the Walden Media drama that also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis. He was most recently seen in Sucker Punch and stars in the Nic Refn-directed Drive opposite Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. He also stars in the Madonna-directed W.E., and stars in Ten Year with Channing Tatum, Anthony Mackie, Justin Long and Rosario Dawson. He’s repped by UTA and Inspire Entertainment.

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Focus Features Acquires Worldwide Rights To Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’

Mike Fleming

Focus Features has acquired worldwide rights from Indian Paintbrush on Moonrise Kingdom, the Wes Anderson-directed film that stars Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Fran McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman. Anderson has begun filming, from a script he wrote with Roman Coppola. Focus Features International will sell international territories at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

Anderson, Scott Rudin, Indian Paintbrush’s Steven Rales and American Epirical’s Jeremy Dawson are producing. As Deadline has reported, the teamup with Anderson came after Indian Paintbrush exec produced and co-financed the Anderson-directed Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Darjeeling Limited, both of which were produced by Rudin. Moonrise Kingdom is set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960s. A young boy and girl fall in love and when they try to run away together, factions of the town mobilize to search for them and the town is turned upside down. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward play the young boy and girl.

Rales, who hired Rudin’s former president Mark Roybal to run the company, has become a prolific player in the prestige film space. Indian Paintbrush is in preproduction on Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, the Lorene Scafaria-directed drama that is Steve Carell’s rebound project after exiting The Office. Keira Knightley also stars. David Chase is currently shooting his period rock and roll project with James Gandolfini, and Indian Paintbrush just wrapped Jeff Who Lives At Home, written and … Read More »

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Wes Anderson Attracts Killer Cast For ‘Moon Rise Kingdom’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: When Wes Anderson is ready to make a movie, talent comes running. I’m told that Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton are all in talks to star in Moon Rise Kingdom, a script that Anderson wrote with Roman Coppola and which Anderson will direct late next spring. Scott Rudin is producing with Anderson. Indian Paintbrush, the financier/production company bankrolled by billionaire Steven Rales, is in early conversations to fund the film and come aboard as producer. Rales, who recently installed Rudin’s longtime president Mark Roybal to run the company and step up its output of auteur-driven prestige films, has a strong relationship with Anderson. Rales was involved as a producer in Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox as well as The Darjeeling Limited. Both films were produced by Rudin.

Moon Rise Kingdom is set in the 60s. Two young adults fall in love and run away. Leaders in their New England town are sticking the idea that they’ve disappeared and go in search of them. Norton will play a scout leader who brings his charges on a search. Willis is in talks to play the … Read More »

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Edward Norton: Marvel’s Decision To Recast Him In ‘Avengers’ About “Business”

By | Monday September 20, 2010 @ 6:09am PDT

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Toronto Fest Finds Mavericks In Bill Gates, Bruce Springsteen And Steve Nash

Mike Fleming

The Toronto International Film Festival has rounded out its film roster, which has swelled to nearly 250 films. The fest filled out its Discovery, Masters, Contemporary World Cinema and Visions and Vanguard programs, but the additions that jumped out to me were the naming of the Mavericks who’ll take part in discussions about their work. Top of that list is Bruce Springsteen, who’ll be interviewed by Edward Norton when The Boss comes to Toronto for the world premiere gala screening of The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town. Springsteen will discuss the film and the making of his seminal 1978 disc, as well as the relationship between his music and filmmaking. His songs are fused to memorable moments in films that include Jerry Maguire and Philadelphia.

Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash will discuss his directorial debut on Into the Wind, an hour-long documentary about Terry Fox, a Canadian icon who, after losing his leg to cancer, tried to run across Canada to raise funds and awareness to battle the disease. Nash, one of Canada’s most famous non-hockey sports exports, made the film for ESPN’s 30 for 30 Series.

Bill Gates is among the participants in a panel discussion being held by An Inconvenient Truth director David Guggenheim … Read More »

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TOLDJA! Marvel & Ruffalo Ink Hulk Deal


ruffalo

EXCLUSIVE: Back on July 14th, I scooped that Mark Ruffalo Is In Late-Stage Talks To Be Marvel’s New Hulk in ‘The Avengers’. Now I’ve just learned the ink is drying on the deal reached by Brillstein Entertainment Partners with Marvel. (There’s no official confirmation yet from Marvel whose reps aren’t available for their usual “No comment”.) So it looks like Marvel movie mastermind Kevin Feige may pull this off and bring Ruffalo along with other of The Avengers superheroes and director Joss Whedon to tomorrow night’s panel at Comic-Con. Read More »

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Mark Ruffalo In Late-Stage Talks To Be Marvel’s New Hulk in ‘The Avengers’


ruffalo

EXCLUSIVE: Imagine the Hollywood actor whom you’d least expect to play The Incredible Hulk in The Avengers, and maybe, just maybe, you’d come up with the name of Mark Ruffalo. He’s always been an actor’s actor and is getting critical raves in Focus Features’ The Kids Are All Right which opened last weekend. But I’ve learned that he’s now in late-stage discussions between Marvel and his brand-new agency United Talent to play this key member of The Avengers ensemble. Like Edward Norton, whom he’d be replacing, Ruffalo would bring real chops to the role. But, unlike Edward Norton, he wouldn’t an on-set asshole.

Meanwhile, let me get out of the way that Thor (May 6, 2011) and Captain America (July 22, 2011) will be in 3D. They were filmed in 2D but the plan has been for the visual effects to be rendered in 3D for Captain America while Thor will undergo more of a traditional conversion. Kevin Feige is going to great lengths to ensure this isn’t just a botched rush job. OK, enough with that.

Back to Hulk. Marvel made a pittance of an offer to Edward Norton to continue in the role. But it caught the actor by surprise that the studio decided to replace him altogether with no advance warning.

Seriously? After everything that went on in 2008 when Marvel and Norton were privately and publicly feuding over the remake of The Incredible Hulk. Eventually they settled their issues after clashing … Read More »

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Edward Norton vs Marvel, ‘Hulk’ Round 2

Since I broke the story of the feud inside the making of The Incredible Hulk, I thought I’d end the story, too. Edward Norton and Marvel Studios have “settled their issues” after clashing over how to cut the $150+ million pic, an insider tells me. “But what people will see is Marvel’s cut of the movie. This is not the Edward Norton cut by any means. His opinion is their cut is valid because probably it’s going to make a lot of money. And, he recognizes that, if you’re a businessman, that makes sense. But he would have released something a little longer, a little more character driven.”

Now remember that Norton was promised big involvement and access after Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel invited the actor into the core team to rewrite Zak Penn’s script. (See my previous, Ed Norton And Marvel In ‘Hulk’-ing Feud.) But, in the end, Marvel ignored Norton’s ideas about how to cut the film. theincrediblehulk_galleryposter.jpg(Even the film’s director, Louis Leterrier just told Entertainment Weekly that the duo campaigned for a longer, more detailed film while Marvel Studios wanted a faster, leaner one, and Marvel won. ”I regret that [Marvel and Norton] didn’t come to an agreement where we could’ve all worked together,” the helmer said.)

A Norton insider insists to me that, despite his difficult reputation, the actor is not going to cause a … Read More »

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