EXCLUSIVE: Felicity Jones is making a deal to star in A Monster Calls, the Juan Antonio Bayona-directed adaptation of the Patrick Ness children’s fantasy novel. I’ve heard that she will play the character of Mum, and that the filmmakers are courting Liam Neeson for the role of the Monster, though I am not sure that will result in a deal. The film tells the tale of a young boy who attempts to deal with his mother’s illness and the bullying of classmates by escaping into a fantastical world of monsters and fairy tales that deal with courage, loss and faith. Ness wrote the book based on an original idea by the late Siobhan Dowd, and Ness and illustrator Jim Kay won Britain’s Carnegie and Greenaway Medals for the book which Ness has turned into a script.
Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film starring and directed by Ralph Fiennes at Berlin in February. He plays Charles Dickens in The Invisible Woman, and the title character is Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), the young actress Dickens met at the height of his career and had a secret affair with until his death in 1870. Based on Claire Tomalin’s book and scripted by Abi Morgan, the film also stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander, Michelle Fairley and Joanna Scanlan. It opens on Christmas Day. Here’s the trailer:
‘Like Crazy’s Felicity Jones Lands Female Lead Opposite Jonah Hill And James Franco in New Regency’s ‘True Story’
EXCLUSIVE: Fast-rising British actress Felicity Jones will play the female lead opposite Jonah Hill and James Franco in True Story, the Rupert Goold-directed adaptation of the memoir by Michael Finkel. Finkel’s the disgraced New York Times journalist who resurrected some of his career after discovering that an accused murderer had stolen his identity, and that he would only talk to his namesake.
Hill is playing Finkel and Franco is playing Christian Longo, who was captured in Mexico after rising near the top of the FBI Ten Most Wanted List for allegedly killing his family. Dave Kajganich wrote the script. Hill’s coming off the small but pivotal role of Bag Head #2 in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and Franco next opens in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers.
Jones will play the journalist’s long-suffering girlfriend, who tries to stand by her guy even after his screwups cost them everything. Jones next stars in Amazing Spider-Man 2, and her latest with Like Crazy helmer Drake Doremus, Breathe In, premiered in Sundance. She’s still scheduled to play the female lead in the Howard Hughes pic that Warren Beatty wrote, stars in and will direct. Jones is repped by WME and Independent Talent Group.
Marc Webb‘s slinging more new additions to his Amazing Spider-Man 2 cast. Paul Giamatti is in talks to play comic book baddie The Rhino opposite returning stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in the Spidey sequel, which is slated to begin filming in February. Also in talks is Felicity Jones, whose role has not yet been revealed. Giamatti and Jones join previously announced cast additions Jamie Foxx as Electro, Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane, and Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn; Sally Field as Aunt May and Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben will also return for Columbia’s May 2, 2014 tentpole.
EXCLUSIVE: Felicity Jones has reunited with her agent, Warren Zavala, at WME. The young British actress, best known for Like Crazy, becomes the latest thesp to move from CAA with Zavala, who moved to WME last June. The actress just starred in director Drake Doremus’s latest film, Breathe In, which will debut at Sundance. She recently wrapped the lead in the Ralph Fiennes-directed The Invisible Woman. She continues to be represented by Claire Maroussas at Independent in London.
Zavala brought a strong list of thesps with him, as Jones rejoins a stable that includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tobey Maguire, Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan, David Giuntoli, Jackie Earle Haley, Johnny Galecki, Paul Dano, Shiloh Fernandez, Anna Faris, Kelli Garner, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Miranda Cosgrove, and Amber Heard.
Paramount is looking hard for the female lead for its Jack Ryan franchise relaunch that will star Chris Pine in the CIA analyst role made famous by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. Kenneth Branagh is directing and playing the villain. I’m hearing that the frontrunner is Keira Knightley, and that Like Crazy‘s Felicity Jones and Lost‘s Evangeline Lilly are also in the mix. Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel were initially approached but said no thanks. This is a high profile role — the future wife played by Anne Archer in the Harrison Ford films — and it should be sorted out soon. It involves options that would put the actress in potentially three pictures. Stay tuned.
EXCLUSIVE: Nancy Meyers is juggling a couple projects for her next directing slot. One she has committed to is The Chelsea, a script that was written by Hallie Meyers-Shyer. She is the daughter of Meyers and her ex, filmmaker Charles Shyer. Like Crazy star Felicity Jones is attached to star, and the film is being packaged by Meyers’ reps at WME. It’s described as an ensemble dramedy set in the Chelsea Apartments in New York City. Meyers-Shyer is an up and coming scribe who’s being signed to a blind deal by Universal Pictures. Meyers, who last directed the Meryl Streep comedy It’s Complicated with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, will put together cast on the film before it is set up with a distributor. WME reps Meyers and Meyers-Shyer, while CAA reps Jones. The British actress, who won a Gotham Award for her charming performance in Like Crazy, was selected by Warren Beatty to be the young female lead in his Howard Hughes movie, but Beatty is still putting that project together.
Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life and Mike Mills’ Beginners shared the best feature award at Monday night’s 21st Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards. Other nominees for Best Feature were nominees were The Descendants, Meek’s Cutoff and Take Shelter. Girlfriend won the audience award and Dee Rees was named breakthrough director for Pariah. Mike Mills’ Beginners took best ensemble performance, and the prize for Best Film Not Seen In A Theater Near You went to Scenes of A Crime. Those filmmakers win a week’s run at Cinema Village in New York City. The win by Beginners was a big surprise as the movie bested the higher profile The Descendants, Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter and Martha Marcy May Marlene. Best documentary was Better This World. Breakthrough Actor Award went to Felicity Jones for Like Crazy. Event took place at Cipriani on Wall Street.
Complete list of winners:
Best Feature / Tie
Directed by Mike Mills
Produced by Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech, Miranda de Pencier, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen
Released by Focus Features
TREE OF LIFE
Directed by Terrence Malick
Produced by Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Grant Hill
Released by Fox Searchlight
The Best Feature Jury included: Anne Carey, Jodie Foster, Nicole Kidman, Lee Percy, and Natalie Portman
BETTER THIS WORLD
Directed and produced by Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega
Produced by Mike Nicholson
The Best Documentary Jury included: Jonathan Caouette, Keiko Deguchi, Rachel Grady, Chris Hegedus and Stanley Nelson
Breakthrough Director Award
The longlist for BAFTA’s 2012 Orange Rising Star Award has been announced. The group is made up of 4 Brits, 2 Americans, an Irishman and an Aussie who are seen as the hottest up-and-comers of the year – though some of them are so high-profile already, it’s hard to think of them as newbies.
On the list are: Thor stars Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, Like Crazy‘s Felicity Jones, My Week With Marilyn‘s Eddie Redmayne, Bridesmaids‘ Chris O’Dowd, last year’s Best Actress Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence, Tree Of Life‘s Jessica Chastain and actor/rapper Adam Deacon, who’s mostly known to UK auds for pics like Kidulthood, Adulthood and Anuvahood. A judging panel that includes Sienna Miller, Simon Pegg and Harry Potter director David Yates came up with the initial group while the British public will vote to whittle the list down to 5 finalists who’ll be announced Jan 11. Another vote will follow with the winner announced at the BAFTA ceremony on Feb 12. The special prize has previously gone to the likes of Tom Hardy, Kristen Stewart, Shia LaBeouf and James McAvoy.
EXCLUSIVE: After a long search, Warren Beatty has chosen Like Crazy star Felicity Jones to play the female lead in the untitled film about reclusive industrialist Howard Hughes. The film is still mobilizing its financing, with New Regency in place as a co-financier after Paramount dropped out. Still, Beatty has begun casting, and he met with many young actresses before deciding on Jones. Her breakthrough came in the Drake Doremus-directed Like Crazy, which has been slowly rolling out in release through Paramount Vantage. The film was acquired by Paramount and Indian Paintbrush when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to high acclaim last January.
Jones will play a young woman who develops a relationship with Hughes’s young driver and confidante, before she falls in love with Hughes. Beatty, who’ll direct and who wrote the script, will play Hughes. He’s narrowing choices for the young male lead, and I’ve heard names ranging from Justin Timberlake to Alden Ehrenreich. Also in the mix for roles are Annette Bening, and potentially Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin and Owen Wilson. The film, which Beatty has been working on for years, is expected to start production sometime next year. CAA-repped Jones recently completed another movie directed by Like Crazy‘s Doremus. It shot last summer, and is currently untitled.
EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Sony Pictures Classics is near a deal to distribute Hysteria, the Tanya Wexler-directed romantic comedy based on the surprising truth of how Mortimer Granville came up with the world’s first electro-mechanical vibrator as an advance in medical science. The film created a — wait for it — buzz when it premiered September 15 at Roy Thomson Hall. Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett and Felicity Jones star in the film. Samuel Goldwyn Films and Millennium also chased the title. Sony Pictures Classics partners Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have this evening’s opening-night film of the New York Film Festival with the premiere of Carnage, the Roman Polanski-directed feature adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning play. Polanski shot the film in Paris, with Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly starring. Hysteria was repped by Cassian Elwes and Elle Driver.
EXCLUSIVE: WME has signed Tanya Wexler. She’s the director of Hysteria, the 2011 Toronto Film Festival drama about the invention of the vibrator. The buzz is that film is in hot pursuit by suitors that include Sony Pictures Classics, Samuel Goldwyn Films and Millennium. Wexler had met with the major agencies while in Toronto, where her film had its world premiere last Thursday. She previously directed the indies Finding North and Ball in the House, and continues to be managed by Circle of Confusion and repped by UK-based agency Curtis Brown. Hysteria stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Rupert Everett, Jonathan Pryce and Felicity Jones.
Hysteria is Tanya Wexler’s UK romantic comedy that revolves (among other things) around the invention of the vibrator during the Victorian age — apparently the device was used as a science-based antidote to certain mental maladies before it was discovered to have, well, ancillary value. Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal star along with Rupert Everett, Jonathan Pryce and Felicity Jones in the film, which will be looking for distribution at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it just won a Gala Presentation invite.
Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush have released a trailer for Like Crazy, one of the hot titles that came out of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The Drake Doremus-directed film stars Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones and Jennifer Lawrence, it won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and good things are happening for all the participants. We’ll soon discover whether that festival acclaim translates to box office when the film opens Oct. 28 in awards season.
EXCLUSIVE: Drake Doremus, who directed the Sundance sensation Like Crazy, has set Guy Pearce, Amy Ryan and Felicity Jones for his next film. Shooting on the untitled pic begins in a month and takes place in upstate New York. It’s about love, fidelity, marriage and music. Indian Paintbrush is fully financing. Jones made her breakthrough starring in Like Crazy, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Indian Paintbrush teamed with Paramount Pictures to acquire distribution rights on the picture, which will be released this fall.
Doremus wrote the script for the new film with Ben York Jones, his Like Crazy collaborator. The film will be produced by Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling of Super Crispy Entertainment, along with Steven Rales and Mark Roybal of Indian Paintbrush. Michael Pruss is co-producer. Doremus is repped by UTA, Pearce and Jones by CAA and Luber Roklin, while Ryan’s deal was made by Gersh.
2ND UPDATE 4 PM: Deadline is hearing that the ask for Like Crazy is a $2 million minimum guarantee, and a $2 million P&A commitment. Fox Searchlight, The Weinstein Company, and Summit Entertainment are circling. But nothing is easy these days; dealmakers say that the coming-of-age film would have had multi-million dollar bids on the table instantly three years ago. But distributors are circumspect these days, running models and looking hard at their release calendars to see if the picture fits. Insiders say 7-figure bidding is going on, and if that’s true, it won’t be long before a deal is made.
It is an embarrassment of riches for the UTA team of Rich Klubeck, Rena Ronson, Bec Smith, and David Flynn, who are repping or co-repping 14 titles here. Some of the most promising are front-loaded in the festival. They are moving to close a deal on The Guard (hearing Sony Pictures Classics one of those in the mix), as well as Margin Call. And they have a 6:15 PM premiere screening of the Paul Rudd-starrer My Idiot Brother, which many feel has the potential to be the festival’s biggest sale, and one that is likely to happen in a hurry if it’s got commercial breakout potential.
UPDATE, SATURDAY 3 PM: Sundance competition pic Like Crazy played strongly at the Eccles theater in Park City this afternoon. Summit’s Eric Feig went up to the film’s producer after it played, and the …