MPI Media Group’s Dark Sky Films banner is setting a fall 2014 theatrical release for LFO, a sci-fi comic thriller from Swedish helmer Antonio Tublen. MPI acquired all U.S. and international sales on the pic about a man (Patrik Karlson) who discovers he can hypnotize people with sound and starts experimenting on his neighbors (Izabella Jo Tschig, Per Löfberg) with his newfound analog power. Tublen wrote and directed the film which screened at Austin’s Fantastic Fest, where Elijah Wood and his SpectreVision partners caught it. They programmed it at their own L.A. festival and have come aboard to present LFO with Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller serving as exec producers. “One of the reasons we started this company was to get behind great new genre films that deserve to be discovered by broader audiences. This is a subversive, funny and deeply unnerving low-techno thriller we’re proud to present,” said Wood. MPI’s Nicola Goelzhaeuser negotiated the deal with Alexander Brøndsted, producer and president of PingPongFilm. MPI will also be presenting LFO in Cannes. Here’s the trailer with English subtitles:
The production company run by Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller is partnering with Chiller Films on The Boy, the first film in a planned trilogy tracking the childhood of a future serial killer. Spectrevision‘s plan is to make installments depicting the character at ages 9, 14 and 18, respectively, and ending with his full transformation to an iconic mass murderer. Shooting is set to start February 17 on location in Colombia. The pic is based on the Sundance short Henley, which premiered in competition in Park City last year. Craig McNeill, who directed the short, and Clay McLeod Chapman, who created the characters in his novel Miss Corpus and penned the script for the short, will reunite for the same duties on Boy. Wood, Noah and Waller are producing.
Jared Breeze, age 8, will play the lead Ted Henley, and Aiden Lovekamp, who starred in Paranormal Activity 4 and plays the young Bobby Fisher in Edward Zwick’s upcoming Pawn Sacrifice, also has been cast. Both are in Spectrevision’s Cooties, the prepubescent horror comedy written by Saw‘s Leigh Whannell and Glee co-creator Ian Brennan and starring Wood, Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson and Jack McBrayer. It screens tomorrow night in the Park City at Midnight section and is one of two films the production/music management outfit has premiering at Sundance. The other is A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, which debuts Sunday in the NEXT section.
Related: … Read More »
Elijah Wood stars as a concert pianist coerced into giving the performance of his life by an unseen sniper in Grand Piano, from Spanish director Eugenio Mira. Mira’s English language debut is written by Damien Chazelle (Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench) and also stars John Cusack and Kerry Bishé. Mira is an accomplished composer himself, having scored his own films Agnosia and The Birthday as well as 2007′s Timecrimes from fellow Spaniard Nacho Vigalondo. (Wood also stars in Vigalondo’s forthcoming first English-language film, Open Windows.) Magnet Releasing snapped up rights to the thriller in September when it premiered at Austin’s Fantastic Fest, and has set a March 7 release following a January 30 VOD debut. Watch the trailer:
FX Networks has picked up comedy series Wilfred for a fourth and final season of 10 episodes. The series, an adaptation of Jason Gann and Adam Zwar’s Australian comedy of same name, will move to FXX. The series, in which Elijah Wood stars, as a young man struggling to make his way in the world and Gann plays the neighbor’s irrepressibly brave, crude, and surly dog, averaged just under 1 million viewers in Season 3, and 655,000 Adults 18-49 per week on a first-run basis.
Originally adapted for FX by David Zuckerman (Family Guy, American Dad, King Of The Hill), it’s currently exec produced by Zuckerman along with Gann, Reed Agnew and Eli Jorné, Rich Frank, and Jeff Kwatinetz of Prospect Park, Randall Einhorn, and Joe Connor and Ken Connor of Renegade, producers of the Australian version of the series. Einhorn also serves as director. Around this time last year, when FX Networks was negotiating to bring the show back for a 13-episode Season 3, Zuckerman decided to step back from showrunning, and Agnew and Jorné, who’d been with the series since its start, were named showrunners for the most recent season of the comedy produced by FX Productions.
Magnet Releasing has acquired U.S. rights to the Eugenio Mira-helmed Grand Piano, which world premiered this afternoon at Fantastic Fest in Austin. Elijah Wood and John Cusack star in the psychological thriller from the producing team of Adrián Guerra and Rodrigo Cortés. Story sets Wood as a piano virtuoso forced into early retirement because of crippling stage fright. When he returns to the stage, the recital turns deadly and he is forced to literally play for his life. It’s slated for a 2014 release.
EXCLUSIVE: The director of 1981′s An American Werewolf In London is getting back into the shape-shifting genre. John Landis has come on board SpectreVision’s Bad Vibes pic as an executive producer. “Based on the impressive slate of genre films that Elijah Wood and SpectreVision are producing, I am very excited that Dave Gebroe’s clever and scary Bad Vibes has found the perfect home,” Landis said in a statement today. Produced by Wood, Daniel Noah, and Josh C. Waller’s newly renamed company, the 1960s psychedelic rock music scene-based werewolf film is being directed by Gebroe. The Zombie Honeymoon helmer also wrote Bad Vibes’ original screenplay. Indie musician Ariel Pink has also joined the film as composer. Landis served as EP on the 2011 comedy horror pic Some Guy Who Kills People. Known for directing Animal House, The Blues Brothers and Eddie Murphy’s Coming To America as well as Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, the last feature Landis directed was 2010’s UK comedy Burke And Hare. He also directed an episode of the Brit show Psychoville in 2011. Along with Bad Vibes, SpectreVision’s has the horror-comedy Cooties starring Wood, Alison Pill and Rainn Wilson; Toad Road; and the Iran-set vampire love story A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, which is in postproduction. Landis is repped by Resolution.
Related: Elijah Wood’s Woodshed Rebrands As SpectreVision
EXCLUSIVE: The genre-leaning production company founded as The Woodshed in 2010 by Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah, and Josh C. Waller has undergone an identity change. The outfit has been rebranded SpectreVision and has also added a music division, teaming with Redbird Music Management’s Tim Husom to form SpectreVision Management. The name change reflects a wider scope as SpectreVision expands into music while continuing to build a film production portfolio.
“As our company began to expand its horizons, the name SpectreVision served to exemplify more our broadened platform: technology capturing the ineffable,” said Elijah Wood. Among SpectreVision’s current slate are horror-comedy Cooties starring Alison Pill and Rainn Wilson; Toad Road, which is set for a theatrical/VOD release this year by Artsploitation; and Iran-set vampire love story A Girl Walks Home At Night which is in post-production. Read More »
The psychopath played by Elijah Wood in serial killer pic Maniac is no Frodo, and the Kiwi government has taken note, banning the movie from being released theatrically. New Zealand’s Office of Film and Literature Classification says Maniac can be shown only if it’s being used in a tertiary media, a film studies course or screened as part of a festival. And in each case, the audience must be over 18. Directed by Franck Khalfoun and produced by The Artist‘s Thomas Langmann, Maniac is a remake of William Lustig’s 1980 grindhouse classic. It premiered in Cannes in 2012 and was released last month in the U.S. by IFC Midnight. It’s shot entirely from the POV of Wood’s character and the OFLC decision says that may be injurious to the public good because the viewer is put in the position of the killer. The ruling also means the film cannot be released on DVD. The ban beyond festival screenings “is an insult to the intelligence of the adult population of New Zealand and does little more than to serve as an open invitation to illegally pirate the film. We are flabbergasted,” said Neil Foley of Melbourne, Australia-based distributor Monster Pictures. In a blog post, Monster said it will “explore every option” to have the ban revoked, “but at this stage it ain’t looking good.” Maniac is the first film … Read More »
Elijah Wood may have been physically absent from Comic-Con, but he made an appearance nonetheless via satellite from LA to front a lively Wilfred panel presentation moderated by Deadline’s own Dominic Patten. Wood, who’s currently filming the rabid kids horror comedy Cooties, joined a Wilfred crew including creator/star Jason Gann, exec producer David Zuckerman, writer Eli Jorne, and co-stars Fiona Gubelmann and Dorian Brown. Gann co-created the Australian original of the same name which ran for two seasons. The US version debuted in 2011 on FX and is currently in its third season with Wood starring as Ryan, a young man who attempts suicide before tending to his neighbor’s dog (Gann, who plays the eponymous Wilfred in a dog suit). Gann said he only now feels like they’ve finally broken through in Wilfred’s development. “The character now it feels like we found him and it doesn’t always have to be dog stuff,” he said. “It’s the subtleties in these dog-isms – and also, he’s just Wilfred. This is the first year when we were shooting that I thought this character could continue. It’s not just dog jokes.” Psychological questions were top of mind for fans in a Q&A session, where writer Jorne played coy with answers. “Is [Ryan] getting better or is he getting worse? We always want to … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: SpectreVision and Glacier Films have fleshed out the crew of teachers who’ll take on the ultimate school outbreak in prepubescent horror comedy Cooties. Pic, written by Leigh Whannell (Insidious, Saw) and Glee co-creator Ian Brennan, follows a zombie-like epidemic originating from an infected chicken nugget that turns elementary school students into rampaging savages. Joining Elijah Wood as a substitute teacher leading a ragtag band of educators in a fight for survival are Alison Pill as Lucy, an eternally optimistic 4th grade teacher, and Rainn Wilson as ex-athlete turned PE teacher Wade. Jack McBrayer (30 Rock), Jorgé Garcia (LOST), Nasim Pedrad (SNL), and Whannell also co-star. Filming is set to begin July 15 in LA with HONEST duo Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion directing. Wood is also producing the pic alongside SpectreVision partners Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller, with Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity) and Glacier Films’ Tove Christensen and Georgy Malkov also producing. Glacier’s Vladimir Poliakov, Sarik Andreasyan, Gevond Andreasyan and Hayden Christensen are exec producing. Paradigm arranged financing and is handling North American sales.
Cooties marks the latest genre project for Wood, who played the flip side of campus horror as an alien-battling teen in 1998′s The Faculty. It’s also one of multiple recent projects he’s come aboard as producer including Nacho Vigalondo’s Open Windows with Sasha Grey, which he stars in and exec produced. Read More »
The Solution Entertainment Group will help finance the horror pic Cooties starring Elijah Wood and the John Cusack thriller Due Process. The new genre film production and international sales label launched by Lisa Wilson and Myles Nestel’s The Solution Entertainment Group will introduce the films to buyers at the American Film Market set to get underway tomorrow in Santa Monica. Synchronicity also will shop the completed psychological thriller Smiley. Cooties was co-written by Leigh Whannell (Insidious) and Glee co-creator Ian Brennan and directed by Ace Norton. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The Lord Of The Rings star Elijah Wood has partnered with Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller to form The Woodshed, an indie company that will focus on genre fare. While I tend to associate Wood with the wholesome hobbit he reprises in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films, he played a pretty awful cannibal in Sin City, and he plays a full-on serial killer in the Franck Khalfoun-directed remake Maniac, which IFC Midnight acquired after it premiered at Cannes. Not surprisingly, Wood is a horror fanatic. “I’ve been a fan of horror and genre cinema in general since I was a child and have become increasingly passionate about the idea of there being a space in which horror films that take their subject matter and characters seriously could be produced,” he said. “What was born out of a conversation of our mutual love for the genre and what we felt was lacking in a broad sense, especially from the U.S. market, became The Woodshed.” Read More »
Say it ain’t so Frodo! IFC Midnight acquired North American rights to the Franck Khalfoun-directed thriller Maniac, with Elijah Wood playing the title role in the remake of the William Lustic 1980 slasher pic. Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur wrote the script for a film that made its debut out of competition at Cannes.
Frank (Wood) is the withdrawn owner of a mannequin store, but his life changes when young artist Anna appears asking for his help with her new exhibition. As their friendship develops and Frank’s obsession escalates, it becomes clear that she has unleashed his long-repressed compulsion to stalk and kill.
Ahead of the company’s first Cannes, Lisa Wilson and Myles Nestel’s The Solution Entertainment Group has acquired international rights to psychological thriller Grand Piano from the producing team of Adrian Guerra and Rodrigo Cortés. Elijah Wood will star in the project to be directed by Eugenio Mira from a script by Damien Chazelle. Shooting is scheduled to begin in July, under Guerra and Cortés’ Nostromo Pictures. Story sets Wood as a piano virtuoso forced into early retirement because of crippling stage fright. When he returns to the stage, the recital turns deadly and he is forced to literally play for his life. The Solution will commence sales at Cannes next week where Wilson tells me she’ll be aided by former Icon UK head of sales Anthony Buckner. Wood, who’s currently filming Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, also stars in the Cannes official selection midnight screening title Maniac. He’s repped by WME, Brillstein Entertainment and Stone Meyer.
As expected, the Cannes Film Festival has added a series of titles to the official selection. Two new midnight screenings are in the mix: Wayne Blair’s Australian film The Sapphires, starring Chris O’Dowd and Maniac, Frank Khalfoun’s reboot of the cult serial killer movie starring Elijah Wood. Candida Brady’s Trashed has been added as a special screening. The British film is a documentary about wastefulness. And, in Un Certain Regard, the fest has included Aida Begic’s Djeca from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Adam Leon’s buddy caper Gimme The Loot and Gilles Bourdos’ Renoir. The latter film, about the relationship between Auguste and Jean Renoir and a woman they both see as a muse, will close the UCR section. Final Cut by Hungary’s György Pálfi will close the Cannes Classics section.
Elijah Wood has been just set for the lead role in Maniac, and believe me, Frodo is a long way from the Shire in this one. In the indie that will be directed by Franck Khalfoun and produced by Alexandre Aja and Gregory Lavasseur, Wood plays the role of a serial killer who works at a shop that sells antique mannequins. He finds victims on the Internet and stalks them like prey, all the while suffering from hallucinations that throw him back into the past, when he was abused by his own mother. In his twisted mind, he gains a measure of revenge against his mother with each kill. It will shoot later this year.
This isn’t the first deranged killer role for Wood, who played the creepy cannibal Kevin in Sin City. Wood has been working up a storm, in the upcoming Happy Feet 2, the indie Celeste and Jesse, Sky TV’s Treasure Island, and, of course, he reprises his signature role in The Hobbit. Wood also reprises his starring role in the series Wilfred, which begins production early next year. He’s repped by Brillstein Partners and WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Along with everything else about the 2001 Toronto Film Festival, the launch of Magnolia Pictures was quickly forgotten on September 11, as co-founder Eamonn Bowles and other indie film execs scrambled to find ways to get home. Magnolia marked its 10th anniversary at 2011 Toronto. While the company still doesn’t carry the profile of some other indie distributors, Bowles and co-owner Todd Wagner said their model — mixing traditional indie theatrical distribution with emerging digital technology — has made them distinctive and profitable. VOD revenues now often outpace theatrical for Magnolia films, and they return profit to filmmakers because of low P&A spends. Bowles and Wagner have been honing the VOD model since they were branded charlatans by theater chains in 2005 when Steven Soderbergh’s micro-budget film Bubble was released simultaneously on movie screens, VOD and DVD. Wagner and partner Mark Cuban put Magnolia and other film assets under the 2929 Entertainment banner on the selling block earlier this year, but pulled them back when they didn’t get a high price. Wagner said he’s staying.
Magnolia releases 35-40 films each year now, with upcoming releases that include the 2011 Toronto title Melancholia (which got Lars von Trier banned by Cannes for making dumb pro-Nazi comments). Some Magnolia efforts follow a theatrical release cycle, others go direct to DVD. But VOD has increasingly become the distributor’s calling card and Wagner said proof of its viability came when Harvey Weinstein poached Magnolia execs Tom Quinn and Jason Janego to start a VOD venture for The Weinstein Company.
“Harvey’s been in the industry forever, and he thought it was a good enough model to hire some of our folks away,” Wagner told me. “I’m flattered. There are other people doing this now, from IFC to John Sloss. To me, it’s validation that we’ve hit on something. But we’ve got an advantage, a unique collection of assets in the Landmark Theater chain, a home video division, and HDNet. The big theater chains still absolutely won’t play Ultra VOD titles, so having a theater chain is helpful. As is having the television network for the relationships it has made us with all the MSO’s. These synergies allow us to be freewheeling in how we license content. And producers are coming back to us with films because we are cutting them checks. That rarely happens elsewhere because of all the P&A that stands in front of them.” Read More »