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Hollywood is mourning the loss today of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela. Here are some of the thoughts on his passing:
Idris Elba, portrayed Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom:
“I am stunned at this very moment, in mourning with the rest of the world and Madiba’s family. We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this earth; I only feel honored to be associated with him. He is in a better place now. What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Related: Mandela Death Brings News Schedule Changes
Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, U.S. distributor of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom:
“One of the privileges of making movies is having the opportunity to immortalize those who have made a profound impact on humanity. We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela’s story and legacy. It’s been an honor to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of history’s greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice. I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humor was as great as his optimism. We are deeply saddened by his loss; our hearts go out to his family and the entire South African nation.”
Morgan Freeman, portrayed Mandela in Invictus:
“Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century. Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve—a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind. As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we’ve come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us.”
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EXCLUSIVE: Just over 12 hours after tonight’s screening with President Obama of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom at the White House, Harvey Weinstein will be back at the Executive Mansion to talk film again. This time the Weinstein Company co-chairman will be with First Lady Michelle Obama at 10 AM PT for the Careers In Film symposium she is hosting Friday. Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler and One Chance director David Frankel will join Obama and Weinstein. Naomie Harris, who plays Winnie Mandela in Long Walk To Freedom, also will be participating. The filmmakers’ discussion will be moderated by Gayle King. Coogler also will be joining the Obamas, Harris, Weinstein and Mandela director Justin Chadwick and star Idris Elba at the screening tonight, I’ve learned. The Friday event is designed to teach high school students from Washington DC, NYC and Boston about the film industry. Read More »
Reporting from Lyon:
After tonight, the Lumière Festival taking place here in Lyon might adopt the subtitle, “The Quentin Tarantino Festival of Love.” Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Frémaux and Lumière Institute president Bertrand Tavernier created this festival five years ago in the city that is the birthplace of cinema. This year, the fest gave its big Lumière Prize to Tarantino. A ceremony that lasted more than 2.5 hours was rife with song, dance, montages, and a lot of laughter mixed in with tears. This prize is “an act of admiration,” Frémaux said. “A way to tell people that we love them and to talk about their films.” He also dreams of this award being considered the ‘Nobel of Cinema’. “When we suggested Quentin Tarantino for the prize, we knew people would say he’s very young. But Albert Camus was only 44 when he won the Nobel for literature.” When Tarantino shouted at the end of the night, “Vive le cinema!,” no one in the room thought the 50-year-old was undeserving.
Tarantino blew into town unexpectedly on Monday when the fest kicked off and has been soaking it up ever since. It’s his kind of festival, stuffed with retrospectives, tributes and restored versions of Hollywood and world classics. Tonight, it was his turn to be feted. He was surrounded by friends and collaborators including longtime producers Lawrence Bender and Harvey Weinstein as well as actors from his films like Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Mélanie Laurent and Uma Thurman, who presented the award to her Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill director.
Tarantino was nearly speechless when he accepted the prize at the end of the night, “I don’t really have words for how I feel right now. This may be one of the first few times that’s ever happened to me,” said the normally loquacious director. “This is just a very, very overwhelming experience,” he said.
The Amphitheater at the Lyon Palais de Congrès was packed to the rafters with 3,000 invitees – many of whom were locals who paid for the chance to celebrate Tarantino, and maybe pick up a QT-shirt specially designed for the event. Tarantino is almost god-like for French moviegoers, so it’s no surprise. I saw Pulp Fiction in a Paris movie theater on a random night in 1994 – after it had won the Palme d’Or – and have never seen an audience whoop and holler in such a way. Fast-forward to the first Kill Bill and I remember being at a premiere screening at the Grand Rex theater in Paris where the reception was just as rapturous. Tarantino had introduced the film but he also stuck around to watch. Read More »
Harvey Weinstein was a late addition to the official program of the Zurich International Film Festival which kicked off September 26th. He took part in the Masters series – and did not disappoint. He said Saturday that this year’s Oscars race is “the most competitive season … Read More »
Iran Reopens Its Film Industry Body After 20 Months
Iran has reopened the House of Cinema, its main film industry guild. The move comes nearly two years after it was closed, the BBC reported, citing state news agency Irna. Per the report, Deputy Culture Minister Hojatollah Ayoubi said the decision indicates new President Hassan Rouhani’s support for films. The January 2012 closure of the body was decried by prominent filmmakers, including Oscar nominee Asghar Farhadi (A Separation). At a reopening ceremony, Ayoubi reportedly said, “When a cultural issue — like the one about the House of Cinema — becomes a political one, that is (because) the situation was not managed properly.” Read More »
A little more than a year after he was arrested for threatening to kill members of the families of Harvey Weinstein and Ryan Kavanaugh unless he was paid millions, Vivek Shah today was given … Read More »
Just call it Weinstein Premiere-O-Rama. The company launched four movies with splashy galas at the Toronto International Film Festival in the span of 48 hours (is this some sort of weird record?). That included Saturday night’s Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom World Premiere, Sunday’s North American launch of Philomena and last night’s World Premieres of August: Osage County and One Chance directly against each other. When I saw Harvey Weinstein at the combined Soho House after-party for the Monday films I told him he obviously loves Toronto. He was moving fast between his movies showing up everywhere, including on stage for August before it began. ”Everything came together and we just thought this would be the perfect way to get these films out there,” he said clearly beaming at the reaction.
Related: Toronto: TWC’s Epic ‘Mandela’ Debuts To Standing Ovation
All the films won standing ovations, not uncommon in movie-friendly Toronto (people like getting up on their feet here) but even by those standards the raucous, prolonged standing O for August: Osage County was definitely the most enthusiastic I have encountered at this year’s fest. And the John Wells-directed movie adaptation of actor/writer Tracy Letts’ Tony-winning Midwestern-set Broadway play about a dysfunctional family to end all dysfunctional families played like gangbusters with much audible reaction throughout. Star Meryl Streep was a last-minute cancellation due to illness and co-producer George Clooney (with Grant Heslov) didn’t make the trek to Canada for this film or Gravity in which he co-stars with Sandra Bullock since he was back in L.A. still working on posting his latest directorial gig, Monuments Men as well as shooting Disney’s Tomorrowland. But most of the cast was there including Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper, Julianne Nicholson, Abigail Breslin, Dermot Mulroney and Julia Roberts, clearly the belle of this ball. When I spoke with her afterwards she was definitely on cloud nine over the reaction the film received and obviously excited to be working with this cast and opposite Streep who manages to do the impossible and tops Streep as the bitterly funny, bitingly caustic mother who lets it rip, particularly in the film’s (and the play’s ) signature dinner scene. Roberts is also at her best and both should be major Oscar contenders in the impossibly crowded lead actress category. This would make nomination #18 for Streep. Could anyone ever top her own record?
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UPDATE: The concert film played strongly at Toronto, with a standing ovation at its conclusion.
EARLIER: After burning the midnight oil collaring the music-themed John Carney film Can A Song Save Your Life?, … Read More »
Not everything goes smoothly, even at as efficiently organized an event as the Toronto International Film Festival. After this afternoon’s 3 PM press screening for Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom had to be cancelled when the film went down 40 minutes in, all eyes were on the 6 PM premiere at Roy Thomson Hall hoping another calamity would not follow and jinx the movie. No problems there and the press screening was rescheduled for 10:15 PM Saturday night. Still that’s a drag for critics who would now just have to start over. This is why publicists chew their fingernails off.
Nevertheless, the actual premiere screening went off without a hitch and earned a nice standing ovation at the end of the two-and-a-half hour biopic of Nelson Mandela. The filmmakers literally flew into Toronto just yesterday saying they hadn’t even seen this cut yet. Boasting another two performances to add to the list of Oscar-contending portrayals this year – Idris Elba as Mandela and Naomie Harris as his wife Winnie – this beautifully shot and realized epic takes us into the world of Mandela from 1942 at the beginning of his activism all the way to his election as president after being released from his Robben Island prison cell after 27 years. It is those prison scenes where the film really comes alive and Elba gets a chance to shine. That he does, in a towering portrayal of the man who stays in the headlines lately because of his frail health (he just went home from the hospital this week). Read More »
Sixty-plus years after The Catcher In The Rye began the public’s fascination with enigmatic author J.D. Salinger, a new documentary and book are ready to spill some secrets about him. Just keep them to yourselves, please. The … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Martin Scorsese is lending his support to the upcoming Weinstein Company release of The Grandmaster, the film directed by Wong Kar Wai. Scorsese will lend his name in presentation of the kung fu film, and above the line it will read Martin Scorsese Presents The Grandmaster when TWC releases the film theatrically in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto on August 23 and nationwide on August 30. Wong has directed such films as Chungking Express, 2046 and My Blueberry Nights, and The Grandmaster stars Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, and Chang Chen and is executive produced by Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison. The film opened the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. “Wong Kar Wai has turned martial arts into a modern dance,” Scorsese said.
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UPDATED: The Weinstein Co. and Electus‘ Marco Polo series is on the move. I’ve learned that Netflix has made an offer for a 9-episode order to the original drama about the 13th century explorer. According to sources close to the negotiations, there is no deal in place yet because Harvey Weinstein also is considering a feature version of the project, which is fully financed, and is deciding between the two options. Marco Polo originally was set up at Starz, which gave it a 10-episode straight-to-series order in January 2012. The series was supposed to film in China, something no other U.S. show has done, which proved a complex and difficult proposition. I hear the potential series will film in Malaysia. Seven scripts already have been written, with casting on track to begin right away for a production start in the first quarter. The Weinstein Co. and Electus took out the project after it was released to them by Starz, the pay cable network confirmed.With the delays caused by the efforts to film in China, Starz has built a full slate for 2014 with 50 hours of original programming, making it difficult to find space for another series. Read More »
UPDATE SATURDAY 2:30 AM: Ignore those media stories claiming Miramax and The Weinstein Co are in talks for a potential merger. Even while on vacation I can tell you definitively they’re overblown. I’ve learned a merger is impossible because of The Weinstein Co‘s structure. As I first reported Friday, what is true is that Colony Capital/Miramax chief Tom Barrack and Harvey Weinstein just spent time in St Tropez conferring about ways to work together because of lots of joint venture opportunities. Such co-productions would give Harvey access to his most coveted projects from his Miramax heyday which is why he wanted to buy it back from Disney in 2010. The Weinstein Co and others are courting Miramax because its cash flow will exceed $160 million this year. “So all of the production groups would like to plug into this free cash flow with their development pipeline,” my insider said Friday.
EXCLUSIVE … FRIDAY 1 PM: Hollywood needs more production and financing right now. So the good news is that Miramax is about to become a movie/TV player ”big time” under Colony Capital chief Tom Barrack’s direct oversight following Richard Nanula’s exit. “There will be some big announcements in the next 60 days of productions and joint ventures,” one of my sources says. I’ve learned that first up is this project: Miramax and Starz have agreed to develop and cofinance a one-hour TV series based on the critically well-received 1997 Miramax film Copland. The pic’s scripter-director James Mangold is executive producing the TV show with Cathy Konrad and Adam Fields. Mangold and Bryan Goluboff (The Basketball Diaries, 2008′s In Treatment) are writing the pilot. Read More »
BREAKING: Disney and Harvey Weinstein, who had an acrimonious parting of the ways several years ago, are back in business. Walt Disney Studios has announced that it is developing the Eoin Colfer fantasy novel Artemis Fowl, with Harvey … Read More »
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 »
UPDATE, 9:04 AM: CBS This Morning‘s hosts read part of Warner Bros‘ statement on the air but not all of it. Here it is in full:
The Weinstein Company, as the New York Times has noted, is
… Read More »
EXCLUSIVE DETAILS: Signing an exclusive first look deal with The Weinstein Company, Cary Woods is making his way back. Back to the features game, back with Harvey Weinstein, and back from a near death experience that took almost two years of recovery. In the 1990s, Woods was a charming dealmaker with relentless optimism who was one of the producers on Godzilla (the disappointing 1998 version), and who launched a lot of new talent with Weinstein at Disney-owned Miramax. His films there included launching the Wes Craven-directed and Kevin Williamson-scripted Scream franchise, the Larry Clark-directed Harmony Korine-scripted Kids, Korine’s directing debut Gummo, Doug Liman’s Swingers, James Mangold’s Cop Land and Alexander Payne’s Citizen Ruth. They fell out over a deal extension that was as bruising as feuds with Weinstein tended to be back then. Woods calls that water under the bridge. It’s understandable he would be more zen about life; he considers himself lucky to be alive after getting hit by a truck and taking about two years to find his way back.
Woods suffered the trauma when he was in London for his son’s sixth birthday party in late 2010. The 60 broken bones and shattered face wasn’t the worst part; he lapsed into a coma and was given a 30% chance to survive, he told me. Murderball helmer Henry Alex Rubin, whom Woods hired as a 19-year old PA on Cop Land, was invited to the party because he was shooting a commercial nearby. “He called my best friend, who is my ex-wife, who flew there immediately,” Woods said. “They told her I had 30% chance to live and that I was going to be out of it for about two years. And it turned out to be close to that. My ex let me hole up in her home, where I slept 18 hours a day.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: As the Cannes Film Festival announces the winners of the fest’s competing films, the big winner in the market portion of the festival is Harvey Weinstein, hands down. Weinstein has just closed two more acquisition deals, leaving Cannes with … Read More »
Would you pay €1.5 million ($1.94 million) to spend a weekend at Oscar parties? Or €1.8 million to fly to the moon on Virgin Galactic with Leonardo DiCaprio? Someone did — and more. That happened at amFAR’s annual Cinema Against AIDS Cannes Film Festival gala’s very special 20th anniversary Thursday night. Co-hosts Weinstein and Kenneth Cole announced to a roomful of very high rollers that the event, held of the Hotel Du Cap, raised €25 million ($32.3 million), smashing last year’s record total of over €10 million. The ultra-high style party is a two decades long staple of the Cannes festival, and Weinstein told me if it just made a dollar more than the previous year they’d be happy. But these multimillionaires and billionaires obviously came to play this year and really stepped up at the auction that featured numerous stars including jury members Nicole Kidman and Christoph Waltz, along with Jessica Chastain, Jeremy Renner, Rosario Dawson, Heidi Klum, Goldie Hawn, Janet Jackson, Adrien Brody and major fundraiser/auctioneer Sharon Stone.
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