Bring on the parachuting Elvis imitators: Honeymoon in Vegas, the Jason Robert Brown musical starring Tony Danza that should have come to Broadway this season, will open this fall at the Nederander Organization-owned Brooks Atkinson Theatre, a source familiar with the negotiation confirmed Saturday.
A shortage of theaters prevented the show from coming in last fall after a critically acclaimed an SRO tryout during the summer at the Paper Mill Playhouse, a New Jersey nonprofit across the Hudson from Manhattan. The musical is an adaptation of the 1992 comedy starring Nicolas Cage and James Caan. Director and screenplay author Andrew Bergman also penned the script for the show. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel (The Right Stuff, The Natural, Passion of the Christ) has directed just two features to date. Now 25 years after his last helming effort, Deschanel is eyeing his third trip to the director’s chair with the Elvis Presley biopic Growing Up Graceland, for upstart studio BiteSize Entertainment. The based-on-a-true-story pic is told through the eyes of Elvis’s younger stepbrother David Stanley, who moves with his family into Elvis’s famed Graceland estate after the singer’s return from the Army in the fall of 1960. Graceland will chronicle the bond between Elvis and his little brother as both siblings deal with the loss of their parents amid Elvis’s growing success.
Related: BiteSize Entertainment To Launch As Vertically Integrated Studio Read More »
CORE Media Group is said to be testing the market to sell off Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion and rights to images of Presley and Muhammad Ali. The Financial Times reports the assets could fetch more than $200M. Citing people familiar with the matter, the FT says CORE, which co-produces American Idol, is eyeing bidders in Asia, Europe and the U.S. for Elvis Presley Enterprises and Muhammad Ali Enterprises. The Raine Group has been hired to advise. However, if it is not satisfied with offers, CORE could retain the properties. Combined, the assets generate about $60M a year in revenues.
From the makers of the virtual Tupac Shakur, who “appeared” at the Coachella Valley Music Festival, comes virtual Elvis Presley. CORE Media Group (formerly CKx), which owns the Presley brand, has signed a deal with digital production company Digital Domain Media Group to develop, produce and own a series of “virtual” Elvis Presley likenesses for entertainment projects – shows and appearances to film, TV and multi-platform productions throughout the world. “This is a new and exciting way to bring the magic and music of Elvis Presley to life,” said Elvis Presley Enterprises President and CEO, Jack Soden. The companies have already begun work on the virtual Elvis Presley likenesses.
It was a very funny, sometimes touching, but mostly uproarious tribute Sunday afternoon at the Writers Guild Theatre in Beverly Hills. The WGA West and the Writers Guild Foundation along with the Kanter family held a well produced and attended memorial for one of their most illustrious members, Hal Kanter, who passed away in November at age 92. The three-time Emmy winner (and seven time nominee) was also believed to be the only person ever to win all three of the Guild’s prestigious special honors – the Morgan Cox award for service to the WGA, the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award, the Valentine Davies Award.
And why not? As was very evident from this memorial, Kanter was one of the most versatile and productive comedy writers ever. He belonged to a golden era when that was possible. It’s hard to imagine a young writer today forging the same kind of long-lasting career Kanter, and others in his generation, were able to have over the course of seven decades in the business. Writing is tough and unforgiving – and most of its practitioners, particularly in television, are used up and tossed out after several years. It was clear from all the clips and personal anecdotes that the show business Kanter loved and lived in doesn’t exist anymore. Writers who want that kind of longevity in a career probably will have to try another profession. But keeping relevant was never a problem for Hal Kanter who it was noted was still preparing to write another screenplay, even in his 90s. He was also a producer, director, raconteur, master of ceremonies, playwright, author and all around wit. As Kanter said in a clip from one of his many appearances at a WGA awards show banquet, “I was born with a compulsion to amuse. And if my work has inspired anyone to become a comedy writer, I apologize.” Read More »
Until this year Dolores Hart had not made a movie since the fluffy 1963 romance Come Fly With Me when she was just a 23-year-old actress on the rise in Hollywood. She left a NYC press event for that MGM film and got a limo to drop her off at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut. She never left and is now known as its Mother Prioress, living a cloistered spiritual life behind those walls for 48 years. It’s a remarkable story and it is one that director Rebecca Cammisa and producer Julie Anderson recognized immediately, leading to the first film Mother Dolores has made since her 1963 show business exit. It’s called God Is The Bigger Elvis which will air on HBO April 5 and has been nominated for the Best Documentary Short Subject Oscar. Mother Dolores is flying to Hollywood to attend the Oscars for the first time in over half a century, and certainly the first time as a nun.
Often dubbed “the nun who kissed Elvis” Mother Dolores co-starred with Presley in 1957′s Loving You and 1958′s King Creole. She also appeared in films like Where The Boys Are, Lonelyhearts, Francis Of Assisi and others in her short but successful movie career. Before radically changing her life she was set to sign a million-dollar contract with producer Hal Wallis and her next two film co-starring roles … Read More »
Veteran screenwriter, producer and director Hal Kanter died Sunday of complications of pneumonia in Encino, his daughter Donna Kanter told the Los Angeles Times. He was 92. “He was considered one of the wits of the industry,” said Carl Reiner, upon learning of Kanter’s death. ”He was a funny elder statesman, and there’s nothing better.” In a career that spanned several decades, Kanter worked in radio, TV and movies. He wrote for Bob Hope and Bing Crosby and for Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Kanter directed Elvis Presley in Loving You which he co-wrote and he wrote the screenplaly for Blue Hawaii. He even collaborated with Tennessee Williams on the 1955 movie version of The Rose Tatoo. Among other movie credits were George Cukor’s Let’s Make Love, with Marilyn Monroe and Yves Montand and Frank Capra’s Pocketful of Miracles.
His numerous TV credits included creation of the landmark sitcom Julia, for which Diahann Carroll became the first black actress to star in her own sitcom whose character was a professional woman rather than a maid. He also worked briefly on All in the Family and was a writer and produceer on Chico and the Man. His association with the Oscars as a writer on the ceremony began in 1952 when it still on radio and continued for more than 30 years. In 1991 and ’92 he shared Emmys for writing duties on the Oscar show telecast. His other Emmy was for The George Gobel Show. Read More »
Eric Bana and Danny Huston will star in Elvis & Nixon, an indie that marks the directing debut of actor Cary Elwes, who wrote the script with Joey Sagal and Hanala Sagal. The film’s funded by Benaroya Pictures. The film is based on a 1970 powwow between Presley (Bana) and Nixon (Huston) when the former petitioned to be a Federal Agent at Large in the war against drugs, which in hindsight seems a bit odd. Presley brought a Colt .45 pistol as a gift to the president. Bana will be exec producer. He’ll next star in the Lakeshore thriller Brilliant and just wrapped Blackbird.
It’s official: Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management owns CKX, the company that billionaire Robert F. X. Sillerman created to capitalize on TV hits including American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, and the licensing rights to Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali. The final price came to about $510 million or $5.50 a share. In CKX’s heyday, in May 2005, the stock sold for close to $30. Apollo will have its hands full: CKX must negotiate a new Idol deal with Fox, and develop plans to fix up Graceland, Presley’s former home that’s now a tourist attraction. Sillerman, who amassed his fortune trading radio stations and concert venues, now is building Function (x), an investment firm that plans to focus on media and entertainment ventures with special attention to digital and mobile technologies.
Screenwriter John Fusco has taken on the job of adapting Peter Guralnick’s Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley, the book that Fox has been trying to pull together for more than a decade. Steve Bing is producing the film now for Fox 2000. The book covers the formative years of Presley up to his enlistment in the Army. Fusco has been busy writing the Starz series pilot Marco Polo for The Weinstein Company and Electus. On the feature front, John Lee Hancock has come attached to his script Highwaymen, the Casey Silver-produced film that takes a look at the Bonnie & Clyde story, from the vantage point of the lawmen who came out of retirement to end their robbery reign. That was the project that had been set up as a potential final pairing of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting tandem of Paul Newman and Robert Redford, but Newman’s health was failing and the project never got off the ground. Fusco’s repped by UTA and Anonymous Content.