Halle Berry is set to executive produce Hannibal (working title), a miniseries about the great generals in antiquity — Hannibal Barca and his archrival Scipio Africanus — who went head-to-head in the Second Punic War. Oscar-nominated writer Jeffrey Caine (The Constant Gardener) is penning the script for the project, co-produced by A+E Studios and Red Arrow Entertainment. “Hannibal was not only the greatest African general to ever live, he may have been the greatest general, period,” said Berry. “His story is an intricate and captivating ride, and I’m thrilled to get this project off the ground with our partners at History.” READ MORE »
The fairytale ride of sci-fi spec Extant continues. After snagging one of the biggest commitments this season, a 13-episode straight to series order from CBS for next summer, the project has landed Oscar winner Halle Berry as the lead in her first series regular role in a quarter-century. Additionally, Berry and her producing partner, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, have entered into a two-year, first-look production deal with CBS TV Studios.
Extant, from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV and CBS Studios, centers on an astronaut (Berry) who returns home from a year-long solo mission in space and tries to reconnect with her husband and son in their everyday life. Her experiences in space and home lead to events that ultimately will change the course of human history. “There’s only one Halle Berry and we are incredibly honored that she has chosen Extant to expand her illustrious career,” Spielberg said. “As she does with everything she touches, she will bring a deep authenticity to her role and I very much look forward to working with her.” Added CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler, “Halle is the type of award-winning actress you dream of collaborating with for an event project such as Extant.”
Monica Corcoran Harel is contributing to Deadline’s Oscar coverage.
Never mind “Who are you wearing?” When the economy of the Red Carpet at the Oscars could rival the GNP of Zanzibar, the real question tonight should be: “Why are you wearing…?”
In certain cases, the answer is elementary. Jennifer Lawrence showed up in a voluminous pink confection by Dior because she’s the face of the brand’s Miss Dior handbags. (People magazine even predicted that she might wear this gown almost two weeks beforehand.) In fact, the notoriously raw Lawrence — who admitted to Ryan Seacrest that she couldn’t define “haute couture” at the recent Golden Globes — didn’t say that her dress was designed by some dude in Paris. Rather, she pronounced the French term for high fashion with staged aplomb. Someone at Dior probably said, “cut the merde” to her or we won’t cut another check.
Charlize Theron, the face of the house’s J’Adore perfume since 2004, arrived tonight in a Dior Haute Couture gown too, natch. She reportedly makes about $2 million per year to hawk the fragrance — and presumably, wear the pretty dresses too. Tough job.
Of course, stars have long been loyal to designers. Audrey Hepburn favored the frothy frocks of Hubert de Givenchy for 40 years; the couturier even served as a pallbearer for the spritely actress in 1993. Bob Mackie once called Cher his “big Barbie doll” — especially when he outfitted her in a two-foot feathered headdress for the 1986 Oscars. But back in those days, the relationships crested more on affinity than currency.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Academy Award® winners Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon will present on the Oscar telecast, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. All four have previously won the award for Best Actress.
Berry won the award for her performance in “Monster’s Ball” (2001), Bullock for “The Blind Side” (2009), Kidman for “The Hours” (2002) and Witherspoon for “Walk the Line” (2005).
Lionsgate and Wrekin Hill Entertainment will go for a VOD first release after acquiring the John Stockwell-directed Halle Berry-Olivier Martinez action thriller Dark Tide. Wrekin Hill acquired U.S. rights with Row 1 Productions. Lionsgate will release the film on VOD, electronic sell-through and packaged media. Wrekin Hill will do theatrical. The distribution plan leads off with a three-week Ultra VOD window on March 8th with a theatrical release on March 30th, culminating in a packaged media and Digital Download release. “The star power that Halle Berry brings to Dark Tide paired with a genre that hits VOD audiences make it a perfect addition to our Ultra VOD strategy.” said Jim Packer, Lionsgate President of Worldwide Television and Digital Distribution.
Garry Marshall’s romantic comedy New Year’s Eve from New Line has a new trailer showing its ensemble cast preparing for the big night. Ashton Kutcher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Sarah Jessica Parker and Halle Berry are seriously ready to get this party started on Dec. 9.
While there is currently uncertainty over the status of the Paul Greengrass-directed Martin Luther King Jr film Memphis and the Lee Daniels-directed MLK film Selma, Samuel L. Jackson has just committed to playing the civil rights leader on Broadway in The Mountaintop. The move was long-rumored, but he will not be joined by Halle Berry, whose child-custody issues will keep her from joining Jackson. He becomes the latest film star to take a stage turn, and Broadway has been the better for it. Here’s the official announcement:
New York, NY – It was announced today that Samuel L. Jackson will make his Broadway debut starring as Dr. Martin Luther King in the Broadway production of the new play, The Mountaintop, by Katori Hall directed by Tony Award Nominee Kenny Leon (Fences, A Raisin in the Sun). The Mountaintop will begin performances on September 22, 2011, at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (242 West 45th Street), with an official opening on Thursday, October 13, 2011. Tickets for The Mountaintop will go on sale at a later date.
The Mountaintop is produced by Jean Doumanian Productions, Sonia Friedman Productions, Ambassador Theatre Group, Jerry Frankel, Ted Snowdon, Bob Bartner, and Tom Wirtshafter.
In a joint statement, Ms. Doumanian and Ms. Friedman said, “The Mountaintop is a brilliantly conceived gem of a play. An ambitious work of fiction that is powerful, heartbreaking, humorous and exhilarating. We are thrilled to be bringing Katori Hall’s remarkable, Olivier-winning work to New York, and to present a singular new American voice to Broadway audiences. And we are honored to be presenting the Broadway debut of the great Samuel L. Jackson.”
Beverly Hills, CA — Past winners and/or nominees Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Marisa Tomei and Oprah Winfrey will present on the 83rd Academy Awards, telecast producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer announced today. Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on February 27.
Following a 3-part Best Picture rundown and a Best Actor roundup, I continue my occasional series highlighting Oscar contenders in various categories by turning to perhaps the most competitive one of all in a very competitive year:
2010 is one of those years when you almost wish the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences could have created 10 slots for Best Actress, just as they did for Best Picture. Usually it’s hard to even fill the Best Actress ballot with five legitimate contenders because of the normal sorry state of strong roles for women, particularly in studio films. But this year there’s clearly something in the water and some performances which, in another year might have actually won, likely will not even end up with a nomination this time around. That’s how fierce this competition is. One key reason could be that some of the top contenders like Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, and Tilda Swinton also took the reins of their projects and moonlighted as producers in order to shepherd difficult material that might never have made it to the screen otherwise. Here’s the alphabetical lineup of hopefuls and their Oscar chances as we head into Thanksgiving:
ANNETTE BENING in THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Focus Features) - Bening is a previous three-time nominee who has lost on two of those occasions to Hilary Swank who is also back in contention this year but hey, no pressure. Bening is a well-respected thesp and Academy insider who reps her fellow actors on the Board of Governors and serves as Secretary. The only thing that matters though is performance on the screen and she knocks it out of the park with a wise and knowing turn as a successful doctor going through a bad patch in her relationship with longtime partner Julianne Moore. OSCAR CHANCE: Blooming. It has seemed like it might finally be Bening’s year ever since the picture opened in early July and Focus is determined to campaign heartily for her. Only problem is she must compete with co-star Julianne Moore , also way overdue (see below).
HALLE BERRY in FRANKIE & ALICE (Freestyle Releasing) - As a woman with multiple personality disorder, Berry pulls out all the stops in the kind of role that screams Oscar! Oscar! On top of that she co-produced this passion project and has doggedly stuck with it even if its less-than-commercial nature made it a tough sell to distributors. Now after toying with getting into the race with this same film last year, Berry feels the time is ripe for a December stealth entry ala Jeff Bridges last season in Crazy Heart. And we all know what happened there. OSCAR CHANCE: There are precious few possibilities for anyone of color in this year’ s contest and Berry is out working it hard for her indie surprise but she’s already got one gold statuette and this film may just be too small to gain much of a following among her fellow actors this year.
ANNE HATHAWAY in LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS (20th Century Fox) - One of just a small handful of major studio contenders in the category , Hathaway goes for her second nomination in three years (Rachel Getting Married) and gets to be funny, sexy and poignant as a young woman with early-onset Parkinsons disease involved in a complicated new romance with Jake Gyllenhaal. OSCAR CHANCE: Comedy rarely carries the day here but Hathaway has a couple of killer dramatic scenes too. She’s well liked but so far the buzz level on her Academy chances is pretty quiet. If she gets out there in a big way she may be able to climb into the game. Her SNL stint last Saturday raised her profile but considering the killer competition she needs to move fast. Strong reviews this week and the inevitable babe factor male voters seem to consider in this category could help.
SALLY HAWKINS in MADE IN DAGENHAM (Sony Pictures Classics) - Although she won a Comedy or Musical Golden Globe for Happy Go Lucky she was overlooked for even an Oscar nomination two years ago. With this enormously likeable and determined factory worker who leads the fight for equal pay in late-60’s England she could get points for coming back with another winning performance so soon. OSCAR CHANCE: Sally is a bit far down the pack this year and hasn’t had a whole lot of time to campaign since she is also appearing in a Broadway play now in the thick of the season. A terrific actress but this probably isn’t her Academy year either.
EXCLUSIVE: Hoping to duplicate the feat Jeff Bridges pulled off last year when he became a surprise last minute entry into the Oscar race — and winner — with Crazy Heart, Halle Berry is launching an awards season qualifying run for her indie effort Frankie & Alice. It opens December 17 in New York and Los Angeles before its regular theatrical release set for February 4 in the top 20 markets (shortly after nominations are announced). Freestyle Releasing will handle distribution with P and A reportedly provided by private funding the producers raised. Berry is also a producer on the 1970s–set psychological drama, a true story in which she plays a woman suffering with multiple personality disorder, exactly the kind of meaty role (and Oscar bait) that actors covet. Berry, an Oscar winner for Monster’s Ball (2001) has shepherded this as a “passion project” and is said to feel this is her best work since Ball — hence the awards push. I’m told 10,000 DVD screeners will go out to the entire Academy, critics groups, SAG Nominating Committee and others. As one of the more visible aspects of the campaign, Berry will be a prominent part of this year’s AFI Fest on November 9 in ”A Conversation With Halle Berry.”
The Best Actress race is already overcrowded this year with a boatload of contenders all jockeying for attention including Jennifer Lawrence, Annette Bening, Tilda Swinton, Julianne Moore, Diane Lane, Hillary Swank, Sally Hawkins, Noomi Rapace, Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman, Lesley Manville and Michelle Williams – to name a few. Whether it might have been wiser to wait until next year remains to be seen but this is an especially tough field. The last minute stealth entry could be an effective strategy but she will also be vying for attention with Kidman’s Rabbit Hole opening on the same day, with Lionsgate employing a similar strategy for their well-reviewed Toronto Fest pickup. Like Berry, Kidman is also a producer on her film.
EXCLUSIVE: Halle Berry has committed to lead an ensemble cast in Shoe Addicts Anonymous, an adaptation of the bestselling St. Martin’s Press novel by Beth Harbison. Directing is Paul Weiland, the British helmer whose film credits include Made of Honour and …