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Hot Trailer: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

By | Thursday October 17, 2013 @ 7:48am PDT

Fox Searchlight yesterday set a March 7, 2014 release date for Wes Anderson‘s latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel. The film recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and his trusted friend, lobby boy Zero Moustafa. Central to the story are the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune. Ralph Fiennes is Gustave with a slew of Anderson regulars putting in appearances including Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson. Moonrise Kingdom‘s Tilda Swinton and Edward Norton are also aboard as are Saoirse Ronan, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, F Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Willem Dafoe, Lea Seydoux, Harvey Keitel, Tom Wilkinson and Tony Revolori as Zero.

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NYFF: ‘12 Years A Slave’ Star Chiwetel Ejiofor Hits Fest Circuit, Stirs More Oscar Talk (Video)

Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: Ever since its debut at the Telluride Film Festival over the Labor Day weekend, Fox Searchlight‘s 12 Years A Slave has been annointed, at least by some eager-to-call-the-race-early media members, as the movie that could take it all at the Oscars. Though it is far too early to say that with any conviction (it doesn’t open in theaters until next week and hasn’t even played its official Academy screening yet), it continues to register strongly on the Fest circuit. It hit the New York Film Festival Tuesday night where the cast led by Chiwetel Ejiofor, director Steve McQueen and other key creative players received a standing ovation, just as they did in Telluride and Toronto. Next week the film hits the BFI London Film Festival on October 18th, home turf for its British star and director,  but telling a very American story. Searchlight clearly would be more comfortable not to be shackled with the front-runner label before the movie is able to catch its boxoffice wind. It’s always a perilous position as there is nowhere to go but down (just ask Social Network about that), but the film has drawn critical raves wherever it’s played and early audiences are clearly moved. The subject matter however is not easy, often gut-wrenching to watch, and needs to be carefully nurtured by Fox Searchlight which plans a slow rollout beginning next Friday. Read More »

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Alexander Payne Teams With Searchlight, Conde Nast On ‘The Judge’s Will’

By | Tuesday October 8, 2013 @ 1:20pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: An intriguing package coming together quickly: Fox Searchlight and Alexander Payne are in talks to  next team on The Judge’s Will. Conde Nast Entertainment will produce the film, which is based on Ruth Prawer Jhabvala‘s final published work for The New Yorker before she died. CNE will produce with Ad Hominem Enterprises, the company that Payne runs with Jim Burke and Jim Taylor.

Jhabvala, who teamed with Ismael Merchant and James Ivory on so many great films, wrote this story about the final moments in the chess game relationship between an ailing Delhi judge and his beautiful younger Bombay wife. Each has separate lives even though they live under the same roof and as he nears death, the judge wants to be sure that his even younger, barely educated mistress is cared for and not cast out. The story was published in March.

As usually happens when he makes a film, Payne is in the thick of Oscar conversation for his latest film Nebraska, the black and white road trip which stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte, and which will be released under Paramount Vantage. CAA reps him.

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Hot Trailer: ‘Dom Hemingway’

By | Monday September 23, 2013 @ 8:27am PDT

Jude Law plays the eponymous larger-than-life safecracker in black comedy Dom Hemingway. Back on the streets of London after 12 years in prison, he’s eager to collect what he’s owed for keeping his mouth shut. But things take a turn when he and his partner (Richard E Grant) set off to visit his boss (Demian Bichir) in the south of France. Emilia Clarke also stars in the film that’s from The Matador writer-director Richard Shepard. Lionsgate UK is releasing November 15th in Britain and Fox Searchlight has North America where it will release next year. Jeremy Thomas produced through Recorded Picture Company.

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Searchlight Rounds Out ‘Madding’ Cast With Michael Sheen, Juno Temple

By | Monday September 16, 2013 @ 7:11am PDT
Mike Fleming

Deadline has told you already about Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts and Tom Sturridge starring in the Thomas Vinterberg-directed Far From The Madding Crowd, and Fox Searchlight has rounded the cast and started production. The announcement:

Fox Searchlight Pictures announced that Thomas Vinterberg’s Far From The Madding Crowd has begun principal photography in the UK today, September 16th. The film stars Carey Mulligan (THE GREAT GATSBY, DRIVE), Matthias Schoenaerts (RUST AND BONE, BULLHEAD), Michael Sheen (MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, FROST/NIXON), Tom Sturridge (ON THE ROAD, PIRATE RADIO) and Juno Temple (THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, KILLER JOE). The script was written by David Nicholls, author and screenwriter of “One Day” and “Starter for Ten.” Allon Reich and Andrew Macdonald of DNA Films are producing with Christine Langan of BBC Films executive producing. The film will shoot on location in Dorset, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and London.

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Toronto: Julia Louis-Dreyfus Gets Emotional Recalling Co-Star James Gandolfini At World Premiere Of ‘Enough Said’

Pete Hammond

As the end credits began to roll at this afternoon’s Toronto World Premiere of Fox Searchlight‘s romantic comedy Enough Said, two simple words came up in white on the all black background that caused an eruption of applause and cheers in the Elgin Theatre: “For Jim”. Director Nicole Holofcener‘s new film represents the next to last film the late James Gandolfini made before his untimely death earlier this year at the age of 51. And when you see such a different side of him as displayed in this comedic leading role opposite a wonderful Julia Louis-Dreyfus, you once again realize what a tragic loss his early death continues to be.

At a brief post-Q&A Louis-Dreyfus was asked what her fondest memory was of working with Gandofini, with whom she shares many intimate scenes in the film. She got emotional as she struggled to get just the right words out. “Well there are an endless number of fond memories. I have to say watching this right now (choking up) …the last scene was very joyful. There was debate as to how to end the film and when we nailed it we just fell into each other’s arms because we knew it just felt right. That was a great close moment that we all felt, cast and crew together, in that moment,” she … Read More »

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Fox Searchlight Granted Fast Appeal In ‘Black Swan’ Intern Lawsuit

By | Wednesday September 4, 2013 @ 3:28pm PDT

Fox Searchlight and the Fox Entertainment Group got some speedy justice today in the ongoing Black Swan intern case. Less than two weeks after requesting formal permission from a federal judge for an “immediate appeal” to his potentially industry game changing June 11 ruling that unpaid interns on the 2010 Darren Aronofsky-directed film were really employees, Fox got the green light Wednesday. Judge William Paley III made the certification decision in a case conference in federal court in NYC today. The matter now heads to the Second Circuit for “much-needed guidance”, as Fox said in its August 23 filing, on what the legal standard for determining if an intern is actually an employee and entitled to wages under the Federal Labor Standards Act. What the Appeals Court decides could potentially dampen the bubbling class action. Having said that, today’s decision is the second incremental win for Fox in as many weeks. On August 26, Judge Paley granted the Fox companies’ June 25 request to limit the time period in which potential class action participants can be considered qualified to join the suit.

Related: Searchlight Scores Partial Win In ‘Black Swan’ Intern Suit
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Fox Searchlight Shifts Release Date For James Gandolfini Pic ‘Enough Said’

By | Wednesday September 4, 2013 @ 8:50am PDT

Enough Said, the Nicole Holofcener-directed comedy starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini in his second-to-last film role before his death in July, will now kick off its platform release Wednesday, September 18. Fox Searchlight originally had set a September 20 date. The pic has its world premiere Saturday in Toronto. It centers on a divorced and single parent (Louis-Dreyfus) who spends her days enjoying work as a masseuse but dreading her daughter’s impending departure for college. She meets Albert (Gandolfini) — a sweet, funny and like-minded man also facing an empty nest. As their romance blossoms, Eva befriends Marianne (Catherine Keener), her new massage client who seems perfect except that she rags on her ex-husband way too much. Eva finds herself doubting her own relationship with Albert as she learns the truth about Marianne’s ex. Toni Collette, Tavi Gevinson, Ben Falcone, Tracey Fairaway and Eve Hewson co-star.

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‘12 Years A Slave’ To Get U.S. Premiere At New York Film Festival

By | Friday August 30, 2013 @ 9:16am PDT

Fox Searchlight is bringing Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave to the New York Film Festival where it will have its U.S. premiere October 8. The period drama and Oscar hopeful world premieres at Toronto as a special presentation on September 6. The NY fest just made the announcement, right after we found out officially that the pic starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch and Alfre Woodard had landed one of the “sneak peek” slots at the Telluride Filum Festival — that screening happens tonight. The film based on the memoir of freed slave Solomon Northup opens in the U.S. in limited release October 18. McQueen will be on hand in NY to present the film alongside stars Ejiofor, Fassbender, Dano, Woodard, Lupita Nyong’o and Adepero Oduye. Tickets will be available starting September 8.

Related: New York Film Festival Rounds Out Slate With Star-Studded Fare

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Fox Searchlight Scores Partial Win In ‘Black Swan’ Interns Lawsuit

Days after yet another round of filings in the Black Swan interns’ class action, Fox Searchlight and Fox Entertainment Group got some traction and some status quo out of the overseeing federal judge. The traction this week came out of Judge William Paley III granting (read the order here) the Fox companies’ June 25th request to limit the time period in which potential class action participants can be considered qualified to join the suit. Instead of stretching from September 28, 2008 to September 1, 2010 as originally granted on June 11, the qualifying period will now be from a much tighter January 18 to September 1, 2010. The case was modified down to less than nine months in range due to the three year statute of limitations and the fact that plaintiff Eden Antalik, didn’t join the initial September 2011 action by Black Swan interns Alex Footman and Eric Glatt until an amended complaint was filed in late 2012. While Glatt and Footman worked on the 2010 Darren Aronofsky-directed film, Antalik was an unpaid intern in Fox Searchlight’s NYC corporate office. This order on August 26 could now see the number of people who can actually join the class action cut quite severely – which is a carving up the case that works for Fox.

Related: Fox Searchlight Requests Fast Appeal In ‘Black Swan’ Lawsuit
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Fox Searchlight Requests Fast Appeal In ‘Black Swan’ Intern Lawsuit

Just under two months after they took their first swipe at getting the judgment against them and a class action in the Black Swan interns’ case reversed, Fox Searchlight and the Fox Entertainment Group have hit back again. In filings late last week, Fox asked a federal judge for formal permission for an “immediate appeal” to his potentially industry game changing June 11 ruling that unpaid interns on the 2010 Darren Aronofsky-directed film were really employees. “The Order meets all of the statutory requirements for certification, and the circumstances of this case are very much in keeping with other cases in which courts — including this Court — have granted certification for immediate, interlocutory appeal. The Court should therefore grant Defendants’ motion and allow the Second Circuit to provide much-needed guidance on the issues raised in the Order,” said the memo (read it here) filed on August 23 in U.S. District Court in New York. If certified by Judge William Paley III, the appeal would head to the Second Circuit. Primary plaintiffs Alex Footman and Eric Glatt first launched their civil action case back in September 2011 on behalf of themselves and more than 100 Fox Searchlight interns. Read More »

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Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

Missed them first time round? Check them out:

Squash Those Petitions! Why Ben Affleck As Batman Is Good Move For Warner Bros
By Mike Fleming Jr - OPINION: I was as surprised as anyone when Ben Affleck was named the new Batman by Warner Bros.

EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Naming New Film Marketing Team; Russell Schwartz And Dana Precious In, Terry Curtin Out
By Nikki Finke - EXCLUSIVE: I understand that New Line veteran Russell Schwartz is already signed to become President of Theatrical Marketing. And Marvel veteran Dana Precious is in final talks to assume the newly created position of President of Creative Advertising and Research.

Fox Makes Epic First-Look Deal With Online Venture For Film-Centric Journalism
By Mike Fleming Jr - EXCLUSIVE20th Century Fox has made a two-year first-look pact with Epic, a fledgling online platform designed to be a catalyst for film-centric investigative longform journalism that had formerly been the domain of national magazines.

EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Sets ‘Act Of Valor 2’: Scott Wiper To Write/Direct About SWATs
By Nikki Finke - EXCLUSIVE: Relativity and the Bandito Brothers scored a #1 domestic opening when they brought Act Of Valor about U.S. Navy SEALS to the big screen in February 2012 and grossed over $70M all in.

Clint Eastwood In Negotiations To Direct ‘American Sniper’ For Warner Bros
By Nikki Finke - I’ve learned that Warner Bros wants to fast-track production for the first quarter of 2014 and is in “tentative negotiations” with Clint Eastwood to direct.

‘The Butler’ #1 Again, ‘Mortal Instruments’ #3, ‘The World’s End’ #4, ‘You’re Next’ #6
By Nikki Finke - As Summer 2013 … Read More »

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‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Helmer Jean-Marc Vallée Goes ‘Wild’ With Reese Witherspoon

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Jean-Marc Vallée, who helmed the upcoming Matthew McConaughey-starrer Dallas Buyers Club, has been set by Fox Searchlight to helm Wild. Reese Witherspoon already is set to star in the Nick Hornby-scripted adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir. Witherspoon and her Pacific Standard partner Bruna Papandrea are producing with River Road Entertainment’s Bill Pohlad. Vallee’s producing partner, Nathan Ross, will be exec producer.

Witherspoon will play Strayed, who in the book recounted how the twin tragedies of her marriage cratering and her mother dying plunged her into a long spiral of reckless and destructive behavior. At the end of her rope, she made a rash decision: With no experience, she hiked more than 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. She experienced as much terror as pleasure in navigating the rough terrain but regained her mojo in the process. Searchlight execs Claudia Lewis and David Greenbaum are overseeing. Vallee is repped by Ross and attorney David Weber.

Related: Reese Witherspoon Set For Nick Hornby’s Book Adaptation ‘Wild’

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Fox Searchlight Acquires Pitch From ‘Drinking Buddies’ Helmer Joe Swanberg

By | Tuesday August 20, 2013 @ 6:32pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Fox Searchlight has picked up a high-concept feature comedy pitch that will be written and directed Joe Swanberg, who is coming off Drinking Buddies. Shawn Levy will produce through his 21 Laps banner with Alicia Van Couvering and 21 Laps executives Billy Rosenberg and Dan Cohen. They are keeping the logline under wraps, but it’s described to me as a thematic continuation of Swanberg’s films that tackle the complex romantic relationships between people struggling with commitment. Levy just produced The Spectacular Now, the James Ponsoldt-directed arthouse hit that premiered last Sundance. CAA reps Swanberg.

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Fox Searchlight Buys ‘Silver Linings’ Author Matthew Quick Novel ‘Sorta Like A Rock Star’

By | Tuesday August 20, 2013 @ 10:54am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Fox Searchlight has acquired screen rights to Sorta Like A Rock Star, the 2010 novel by Matthew Quick, who wrote Silver Linings Playbook. The film will be produced by Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen and Gotham Group’s Lee Stollman and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein.

None of Quick’s novels are easy adaptations (it took David O Russell’s understanding of bipolar subject matter to turn Silver Linings into an Oscar-nominated film), but just about all of his work is getting bought up. In Sorta Like A Rock Star, the protagonist is Amber Appleton, a high school senior who secretly lives in the back of a school bus, a situation that arose when her mother’s boyfriend kicked them out. The bus (they call it Hello Yellow) is the same one that her mother uses to drive kids to school, and despite the adversity, Amber is a self-proclaimed princess of hope and girl of unyielding optimism. A fatal tragedy puts her optimism to the test. The deal comes with a script that Laura Sandler and Amanda Harlib wrote on spec, but it’s likely the studio will seek out a director to guide how the project takes shape. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Enough Said’

By | Tuesday August 6, 2013 @ 1:13pm PDT

James Gandolfini appears in one of his final performances in Nicole Holofcener‘s Enough Said, which debuts next month at Toronto before Fox Searchlight gives it a September 20 release. Gandolfini stars opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Toni Collette, and Catherine Keener in the comedy about a divorced massage therapist (Louis-Dreyfus) who takes a chance on love with a new man (Gandolfini) who just happens to be the dreaded ex of her new client. Here’s the trailer:

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James Gandolfini Film ‘Enough Said’ Gets Release Date

By | Thursday July 25, 2013 @ 2:27pm PDT

Fox Searchlight has dated Enough Said for a platform release September 20, just after the film has its world premiere as a special presentation at the Toronto Film Festival. The comedy written and directed by Nicole Holofcener stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Catherine Keener as well as James Gandolfini as Louis-Dreyfus’ love interest. Gandolfini died June 19 of a heart attack while traveling in Italy. The pic centers on Eve (Louis-Dreyfus), a divorced soon-to-be empty-nester wondering about her next act. Then she meets Marianne (Keener), the embodiment of her perfect self. Armed with a restored outlook on being middle-aged and single, Eva decides to take a chance on her new love interest Albert (Gandolfini), a sweet, funny and like-minded man — who also happens to be Marianne’s dreaded ex–husband. Toni Collette, Ben Falcone, Eve Hewson, Tavi Gevinson and Tracey Fairaway co-star, and Anthony Bregman produced. Read More »

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Tom Sturridge Locks A Lead In Searchlight’s ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’

By | Thursday July 18, 2013 @ 1:27pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Tom Sturridge has been set alongside Matthias Schoenaerts and Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd, the Fox Searchlight adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel that will be directed by Thomas Vinterberg in the helmer’s English language debut. Based on the classic novel, the film concerns a young woman and the consequences of relationships she has with three separate men at the same time. Sturridge is coming off a Tony-nominated performance in Orphans opposite Alec Baldwin in his Broadway debut, and he was most recently seen onscreen in the Walter Salles-directed adaptation of On The Road. Sturridge is represented by CAA and Curtis Brown in the UK

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Oscars: ‘Fruitvale Station’ Kicks Off Strongest Group Of African-American Contenders In Years

Pete Hammond

Last month the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences took great strides in order to bring more diversity to its membership. Now will that effort affect the actual Oscar race itself? Certainly this year distributors, particularly The Weinstein Company and Fox Searchlight, are going to be giving the Academy every opportunity to put some diversity into that race, especially in terms of a major African- American presence. Beginning with this Friday’s platformed Weinstein release of the widely acclaimed Sundance and Cannes award winner, Fruitvale Station there is a highly promising lineup of films that seriously depict the Black experience to be released in the second half of 2013. And I am not talking about Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas.

This group of movies, which also includes the increasingly-controversial The Butler (8/16- Weinstein), 12 Years A Slave (10/18- Searchlight), Mandela: A Long Walk To Freedom (11/29 – Weinstein), Black Nativity (11/27 – Searchlight), Blue Caprice starring Isaiah Washington (IFC – 9/13), the recently -released documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom (Radius-TWC) and (far less likely) even the long-delayed Winnie Mandela  (Image Entertainment) starring Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard now being released in September,  provide a bountiful opportunity to let the Academy show off its new spirit of diversity, not that they have been completely dormant in that area in recent years. Of course 2012′s Beasts Of The Southern Wild made the most recent Best Picture cut and won its 9 year old star Quvenzhane Wallis a Best Actress nomination. And  Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar winning Original Screenplay for another 2012 Best Pic nominee, Django Unchained  had a unique take on slavery. Two years ago the box office success of The Help  propelled it towards a Best Picture nomination and acting nods for Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, the latter winning for Best Supporting Actress.  And just four years ago Precious won a couple of key Oscars for Supporting Actress Monique and screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher as well as Best Picture and Directing (for Lee Daniels) nominations. Read More »

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