Check Out Our New Look

‘Chef’ Re-Title Sent Back To Kitchen As Harvey Weinstein Cooks Up Something Tastier

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 4:48pm PDT
Mike Fleming

‘Chef’ Re-Title Sent Back To Kitchen As Harvey Weinstein Cooks Up Something TastierThe latest dish on the John Wells-directed cooking project with Bradley Cooper once called Chef: Harvey Weinstein has sent the just-announced title Adam Jones back to the kitchen. They’ll call it Untitled John Wells project until they whip up something tastier. All this arose when they were beaten to the table by Jon Favreau’s food truck film, and their plan to call the film Chef deflated like a bad souffle.

Lee-Daniels-The-Butler-poster__130723170234-275x308“Even though our writer Steven Knight claims we had the rights first, Jon Favreau killed us and made a great movie that we all love,” Weinstein told Deadline but wouldn’t say what potential titles were now on the menu. “And while our film deals with cooking it’s about different things… We tried to get Lee Daniels’ Chef Movie but Warner Brothers got there first and didn’t give it to us, so now we’re calling it the Untitled John Wells project.”

Weinstein was joking about last summer’s drama, when Warner Bros lawyers blocked TWC’s ask to use the title The Butler because WB had an early 20th century silent black and white short film in its library. It seemed like an apparent attempt to leverage  Weinstein into surrendering his claim to first dollar gross points on The Hobbit trilogy (like that would ever happen). Weinstein had the last laugh when he used the title Lee Daniels’ The Butler which, helped by the attention from the title fight, grossed $160 million worldwide on a $30 million production budget. Read More »

Comments (17)

UPDATE: Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Retreat – Recap

UPDATE: Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Retreat – RecapUPDATED, Monday, 4:56 PM: Saturday’s panel with Secretary of State John Kerry and interviewer Charlie Rose went off without a hitch after some technical problems the previous day, but listening about the conflicts in the Middle East was not as interesting to moguls (‘what else is new, it’s a mess over there’) as the panel that featured billionaire investor Warren Buffet and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, according to some in attendance. Bezos, whose company Amazon has become a powerhouse in publishing and is creating its own content now, told the group gathered that the Amazon business model in publishing and creating content is here to stay. While the panels are always greatly attended, some of those who sat through the first few said they were a bit dry and boring, but “Buffet is always interesting to listen to,” said one attendee. Jeffrey_Katzenberg_118299588Said another, “All the networking is really done in the first day … unless you’re Jeffrey Katzenberg lining up meetings every hour.” Added another, “He sits there and does one meeting after another … he must have had like 20 meetings.” Yes, DreamWorks Animation’s Katzenberg was doing his ‘speed-dating’ meetings near the duck pond as usual which had some entertainment moguls laughing and others rolling their eyes (‘He has like what? One movie in the marketplace?’ Does he know how silly it looks?).

On Saturday, too, were presentations from the younger entreprenuers of Lookout, Xapo and Lending Club, which another attendee said he thought was fantastic (‘The guy from Lookout looked like he was 16 years old’). Also interesting to one attendee was the education panel with Eva Sarah Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools and Kaya Henderson who is the D.C. school superintendent. “They were really good together and kept everyone’s interest.” That panel took place last Thursday.

The five-day Sun Valley retreat wrapped up last night with the annual dinner hosted by Herb Allen, whose aserbic wit and self-deprecating humor was enjoy by all. In reference to the panel earlier in the week that featured producer Brian Grazer and TWC’s Harvey Weinstein talking about the creative process, one attendee noted that “Brian really hit the mark on it. He was pitch perfect. If he did that same speech in showbiz circles it might not resonate but it did with most of people who were not in the business.’” One of the things that they both suggested was to listen to the voices in your head and get in touch with your instinct, which Allen use as a set up for a joke at the Sunday night dinner: “I have the voices in my head. I just don’t know what to do with them yet.” Until next year …

3RD UPDATE, FRIDAY, 2:50 PM: People actually enjoyed the Michael Bloomberg panel today at the H2013-07-11t154703z_2111664344_gm1e97b1tzw01_rtrmadp_3_sunvalley-conference_Fotorerb Allen Sun Valley conference as the 72-year-old answered questions from journalist Willow Bay, wife of Disney’s Robert Iger. The former mayor of New York whose fight for reasonable gun laws is well-documented, spoke about his philanthropy efforts and giving back to society. Through Bloomberg Philanthropies, the billionaire does just that in the areas of education, the arts, gun issues, governance and public health. He spoke about how dysfunctional the current U.S. system is politically and otherwise to get things done — no doubt as he personally saw what happened behind the scenes in Washington D.C. as politicians in the pocket of the NRA stymied efforts to get background checks on gun sales passed. Leave it to a politician — an orator and a former Eagle scout (hey, it’s no small task) — to wake up the moguls.

The second panel, which was supposed to feature Charlie Rose interviewing Secretary of State John Kerry piped in live from Afghanistan, went awry as the video feed didn’t work (they tried for about 15 minutes to get it up and running to no avail). That conversation, which was expected to be about how heavily the U.S. should be involved in the current explosive situation in the Middle East, will now take place tomorrow after journalist Becky Quick interviews Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos.

So they are attempting to fix the video feed for tomorrow, but let’s face it, if it doesn’t work, we doubt anyone will be upset as Kerry drones … on and on. Speaking of drones, there has been some attempt to make sure that drones don’t fly over the conference taking pictures, according to Bloomberg News. Ahhh, technology … the age of the paparazzi drone? If people are still awake after Kerry and Rose, a number of younger entrepreneurs will have their turn at bat.

Most all we spoke with don’t expect any major deals to go down at this conference. That Read More »

Comments 20

Not-So-Jolly Roger Bart Jumps Harvey Weinstein’s ‘Neverland’ Ship

By | Thursday June 12, 2014 @ 5:38pm PDT

New York Theatre Workshop 2014 Spring GalaI’m told by a company insider that Roger Bart, a Tony winner and star of Broadway’s The Producers and Young Frankenstein, has departed Finding Neverland, the Broadway-bound, Diane Paulus-staged show based on the 2004 Miramax film starring Johnny Depp. The film about Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie and his relationship with the family that became the Darlings of his books about the ageless boy, the fairy Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys, Captain Hook and his gang of pirates aboard the Jolly Roger. The musical is slated to begin performances July 23 at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, following a U.K. tryout and hefty revisions, and run through Sept. 28. If all goes well and audiences think lovely thoughts,  a Broadway run is planned for next spring. Harvey Weinstein is lead producer.

The good news for the production is that it will be swapping one Tony winner for another. Bart’s replacement in the role of American theatrical producer Charles Frohman (played in the film by Dustin Hoffman), I’m told, is Michael McGrath, who won a Tony in 2012 for Nice Work If You Can Get It. He was also a Tony nominee for his performance in Mike Nichols‘ "A Christmas Story: The Musical" Broadway Opening Night - Arrivals And Curtain Callproduction of … Read More »

Comments (3)

Tony Awards: Harvey Weinstein Takes on Pre-Tony Baloney Over Jennifer Hudson

By | Sunday June 8, 2014 @ 3:11pm PDT

TonyAwardsEXCLUSIVE: Harvey Weinstein has some choice words for the whiners who used the New York Post and the Daily News in recent days to complain about Jennifer Hudson‘s appearance on tonight’s Tony Awards broadcast. Unfortunately, he didn’t use any of them when he called me. Instead, he was downright diplomatic. “We are passionate about being involved on Broadway and being a part of tonight,” he said.

On the other hand, he was also passionate in his defense of Hudson’s appearance, responding to the anonymous assertions that he had “muscled” his way onto the CBS telecast to promote Finding Neverland, the musical he has been developing for Broadway next spring and in which Hudson will not appear. One story had him calling CBS chief Les Moonves and demanding a slot on the Hugh Jackman-hosted show. Another quoted Broadway sources complaining that the appearance of a star on the Tonys who isn’t connected to a show is “unprecedented.” Which is, of course, a lotta Tony baloney.

harvey_weinstein“I never called Les, and he never called me,” Weinstein said. Tony broadcast co-producer Ricky Kirshner attended a recent workshop of the show with music stars Alicia Keyes and Taylor Swift present. Weinstein says that the idea of a star doing a number from the show on the Tonys came out of that performance. Hudson, you may recall, played one of Broadway’s ultimate diva roles in the … Read More »

Comments (14)

Cannes: AMFAR’s 21st Cinema Against Aids Event Brings In Record $35 Million Along with Leo, Bieber, Fonda And An Executive Producer Credit For Sale To Highest Bidder

Pete Hammond

The wine and the money were flowing at Cinema Against AIDS 21, the annual fundraising event for amFAR timed to the Cannes Film Festival Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1) and largely hosted by Harvey Weinstein who announced a record-smashing take of $35 million this year. That’s far and away higher than the astronomical $25 million earned last year.  Weinstein told me he was just hoping to make a dollar more than last year, but really had no idea the total could go this big. High rollers from all over Europe made up much of the packed crowd that also included celebrities like Adrien Brody, Adrian Grenier, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, Marion Cotillard, Michelle Rodiguez, Rosario Dawnson, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Jane Fonda, Justin Bieber, Kellan Lutz, Jessica Chastain and Leonardo DiCaprio. The latter was part of the action as, just like last year, a seat for a trip to space on Virgin Galactic in 2015 with DiCaprio was being auctioned off and actually went for $700,000. Last year two others won the auction, but DiCaprio told me tonight that due to technical amfar_logo_tribute_thproblems there has been a 16-month delay in getting it space-bound. He seemed a little nervous about the whole idea but was game to play for the cause. Chief celebrity auctioneer and his The Quick And The Dead co-star Sharon Stone (who ran the auction as usual and took no prisoners in getting cash) effusively praised him for his unstinting support of the event and cause over the years. The lowest item to get a bid were the gloves of Karl Lagerfeld which took only $10,000 despite almost desperate pleas for more from Stone. She was really in her comfort zone in keeping this thing going at a fever clip. Read More »

Comments (3)

Deadline Awards Watch 75 — The Cannes Commander Podcast

By and | Thursday May 22, 2014 @ 9:02pm PDT

Deadline Awards Watch ep 75In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom catch up on the latest from the Cannes Film Festival. They discuss Sophia Loren’s new movie, directed by her son; the critical backlash against Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut; the fine performances by Marion Cotillard and Berenice Bejo that humanize their politically minded latest projects; Steve Carell’s “unrecognizable” performance in Bennett Miller’s fine Foxcatcher; Harvey Weinstein’s 2014 slate of would-be Oscar contenders; and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s commanding honor.

Listen to the podcast in your choice of formats here:
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 75 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 75 (.M4A version) 

Read More »

Comments (0)

Cannes: Harvey Weinstein Plans Big Oscar Push For ‘Eleanor Rigby’, Jessica Chastain And James McAvoy

Mike Fleming

After a 10-minute standing ovation at its Cannes premiere this week,elean Harvey Weinstein is going to make a big awards-season push on The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby, and in particular the performances of Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. Following that thunderous ovation and glowing reviews, Weinstein told his marketing team it has been a long time since he’d seen performances like these, and that they were to start working on the Oscar campaign strategy and go for it.

Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)The new strategy will be to release the Ned Benson-directed film on September 26 at the start of awards-season films. I mean Them, the version that played Cannes, the one that Benson cut to tell a straight narrative story. Some six weeks later into Oscar season, TWC will release Him and Her, the two versions of the love story that played to acclaim at Toronto last fall. I saw Them at its later premiere screening, and came away feeling that Weinstein has a lot to work with. It is a moving story of a married couple on the rocks which showed sides of Chastain and McAvoy I hadn’t seen before. I came away actually wanting to see the other two versions, something I never expected.

Related: Cannes: How New Version Of ‘Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby’ Found Its Way To Croisette

disapOne of the most interesting occurrences of the festival is how some of the best reviewed films here found their groove, something my colleague Pete Hammond has been chronicling all week. It’s clear that Bennett Miller was smart to avoid the last Oscar season so that he could take the time to make Foxcatcher as good as he could, a move done in concert with Sony Pictures Classics and producer/financier Megan Ellison. That movie also played like gangbusters here and will be right there in the Oscar mix.

Related: Cannes: Hollywood Arrives In Force As American Films And Stars Crash The Competition

Read More »

Comments (11)

Cannes: Weinstein Company Highlights 2014 Slate Including First Extended Footage From ‘Paddington’, ‘Macbeth’ And Tim Burton’s ‘Big Eyes’

Pete Hammond

Despite the whole Grace Of Monaco controversy that has 'The Immigrant' Premiere - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festivaloverwhelmed early coverage of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, The Weinstein Company showed off an impressive slate of their other films tonight. Harvey Weinstein hosted as usual and brought up stars Naomi Watts who co-stars with Bill Murray in the upcoming (and very funny, based on the footage shown) St. Vincent. And also Ryan Reynolds who is co-starring in Woman In Gold, a 2015 title.

Related: Harvey Weinstein Defends Actions On ‘Grace Of Monaco’

Cannes2014_badgeHe also gave a solo spot to debuting director Ned Benson whose The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby premieres in Cannes on Saturday night as a single film. It will be released that way in September after being picked up as “a work in progress” by TWC at last September’s Toronto Film Festival where it was actually shown as two different movies, each from the point of view of one of the main characters played by Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. All three versions – Him, Her and Them – will be seen in Cannes during the festival, but it’s the new combined and streamlined Them that will get the most commercial play and, in my opinion, real Oscar consideration. In fact, it is one of TWC’s strongest Academy Award prospects and highlights remarkably fine performances across the boar, especially Chastain, McAvoy and William Hurt, and marks the emergence of a real talent in Benson.

Related: Weinstein To Unspool Footage From Host Of Fall Films On Friday

Read More »

Comments (2)

Cannes: Harvey Weinstein Defends Actions On Grace Kelly Movie, Says Monaco Royal Family Has A “Legitimate Problem” With The Film

Pete Hammond

As previously exclusively reported on Deadline, The Weinstein Company had its annual product preview session for press and buyersCannes2014_badge tonight at the Majestic Hotel, and the packed crowd got first looks at several films including Paddington, Macbeth, Imitation Game, Big Eyes, Suite Francaise, St. Vincent, and the in-production-phase Jake Gyllenhaal boxing film Southpaw. Harvey Weinstein presided over the presentation, but only after the highlights reel ended was there even a mention from him of the controversy over Grace Of Monaco, the movie TWC (which has U.S. distribution rights ) reportedly threatened to back away from if director Olivier Dahan did not make desired changes to his cut. The director’s cut, and the version that opened Cannes to some derision from critics (to say the least), is being released this week in France by Gaumont. Just before its official press conference Wednesday, it was announced that TWC and Dahan had come to an agreement and TWC would be releasing the film after all. Weinstein, in Jordan for a “long-planned” humanitarian mission, missed the opening-night screening and still hasn’t seen the version shown here. At least that’s what he told reporters who cornered him after tonight’s presentation.

Related: ‘Grace Of Monaco’ Opens Fest As Critics & Royals Take Aim

Read More »

Comments (15)

Cannes: Controversial ‘Grace Of Monaco’ Opens Fest As Critics & Royals Take Aim And Star Nicole Kidman Defends Her Film

Pete Hammond

The Weinstein Company avoided any of the expected controversy at Grace Of Monaco Nicole Kidman Cannesthe Grace Of Monaco press conference after the first Cannes screening of the movie earlier today when it put the word out that a deal had been reached and they would be releasing the film in the U.S. (Gaumont is releasing in France later this week) after threatening to walk away. (At one point I heard they were even thinking about trying to sell it to Lifetime.) In fact the only reference to the distribution controversy came from a terse reply to a question posed to director Olivier Dahan, who now was pleased with the way it has all worked out. Speaking in French (for other questions he answered in English), he said, “Harvey will use this version of the film. If there are any changes we will do them together. There is no dispute. It is all resolved and I am happy with the whole situation,” he said.

Related: Cannes: Why Harvey Weinstein Will Miss ‘Grace Of Monaco’ Premiere

Cannes2014_badgeWhat he probably wasn’t happy with were some of the absolutely scathing reviews that appeared even before this morning’s first press screening. But critics seemed to be gunning for this one as soon as it was announced for the high-profile opening-night slot of the 67th Cannes Film Festival, which seems a little unfair. In addition to a terrific and credible turn from Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, Dahan’s portrait of a movie star-turned-princess caught up in a lifestyle change for which she was ill-prepared and now full of self-doubt is a good-looking film that doesn’t purport to be anything other than a piece of fiction based on real events (there’s a disclaimer right at the film’s start to that effect). “Almost everything is true though. I twisted reality just a little bit without really twisting it. It’s all based on historical fact. What I’ve tried to do is to detect the heart of things,” Dahan said. This may be more of an audience film than one aimed at critics. It certainly fulfilled the glamour requirements on the red carpet as tonight’s official kickoff to the festival.

For Kidman taking on a iconic public figure like this  is typical of her recent career moves. She likes to take risks. “It was such a great opportunity. I think in my whole career I have been looking for things that put me on a high wire. And this was one of those roles,” she said. No doubt about that. And she added she was not happy that Monaco’s royal family heirs have been so vocal about their displeasure with this portrayal of their mother. “Obviously I feel sad. I think the film has no malice towards the family or towards Grace or Rainier (played by Tim Roth). It’s fictionalized. We’ve said that. It’s not a biopic. It’s the essence of truth butOpening Ceremony & "Grace Of Monaco" Premiere - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival with a lot of things you take dramatic license at times. I understand also because of them being their mother and father. And I understand the protection of the privacy of their mother and father. It’s awkward. It is what it is. But I say that with respect and I want them to know that the performance was done with love. And ultimately if they ever did see it, they would see  there was an enormous amount of affection for both their parents and their love story,” she said. Read More »

Comments (7)

Harvey Weinstein Tells LA Film Czar California Is Still Competitive

Diane Haithman is a Deadline contributor.

panelProducer Harvey Weinstein told LA Film Czar Ken Ziffren today that he needs to do whatever it takes to increase California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit Program in order to keep production in the state. The remarks were made during Weinstein’s keynote address at today’s 38th annual UCLA Entertainment Symposium.

Related: LA Film Czar: Governor Not Yet “Committed” To Expanding Film & TV Tax Credit

Weinstein argued that California does not have to offer the same discounts as, say, New Orleans as long as the state can provide enough of an incentive when weighed against the added travel and production costs called for by out-of-state production.  He said producers can elevate the quality of production by tapping the superior Hollywood talent pool and prefer to avoid transportation hassles that “can turn scheduling into a nightmare.”

On February 19, legislation was introduced to expand the $100 million credit program, with nearly 60 co-sponsors from across the state. However, Gov. Jerry Brown has been weary about adding new expenditures to the state’s stable budget. “Please, whatever you can do with the governor…” Weinstein pleaded to Ziffren, who offered no immediate response. Ziffren, who was named the city’s Film Czar on February 10, mentioned in a conference call February 27 that he wants to see production in the state return to the lofty levels seen during the mid-1990s. Industry sources have said the the California program should aim for a target credit level of $400 million.

Related: Mike Fleming’s Q&A With Harvey Weinstein

Read More »

Comments 31

Matthew Morrison Set For Harvey Weinstein’s Musical ‘Finding Neverland’

By | Thursday February 27, 2014 @ 3:38pm PST

We’ve learned that Matthew MorrisonAudi Celebrates The 2014 Golden Globes Weekend - Arrivals has landed the lead role in Harvey Weinstein‘s musical theater project Finding Neverland. Based on the 2004 film that starred Johnnie Depp, Finding Neverland is the story of the growing bond between playwright J.M. Barrie and a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan. Morrison has been tapped to play Barrie. Weinstein has long invested in Broadway productions, but this is the first major theater project he will shepherd. A developmental workshop of the show is planned for March. If that goes well, it will be followed by the U.S. premiere in late summer at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA. Morrison, who appeared on Fox’s Glee, has numerous Broadway credits including the revival of South Pacific in 2008 and a Tony-nominated role in The Light In The Piazza in 2005.

Comments (0)

Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

By | Sunday February 23, 2014 @ 5:50pm PST

Check out Deadline’s top film stories of the week:

Ride Along #1 box office‘Ride Along 2′ Gets Rolling
By Anita Busch EXCLUSIVE: It was inevitable after the huge success of Ride Along that Universal Pictures executives would be salivating to get the sequel together. Tim Story will direct Ride Along 2 and Ice Cube and Kevin Hart are closing to reprise their roles as the quick-witted security guard (Hart) who has his eye on his partner’s (Cube’s) sister.

BOX OFFICE: ‘Lego’ Is Lord Of Business, Costner’s ’3 Days To Kill’ No. 2 Buries ‘Pompeii’; ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Now 10th Highest Domestic Grosser Ever
By Anita Busch – All pictures played out pretty much as expected as the dust cleared this morning with Warner Bros.’ The Lego Movie continuing to hold onto audiences to take in far and above any other offering with a $31.4M estimated gross.

Ebersols Aboard To Produce And Script Warner Bros’ ‘Space Jam 2′ As A Starring Vehicle For LeBron James
By Anita Busch – After he recovers from the injury suffered in last night’s game, NBA MVP LeBron James will be ready for his close-up — with Bugs Bunny.

Lego MovieWarner Bros Sets ‘Lego Movie’ Sequel For May 2017
By The Deadline TeamThe Lego Movie to date has made $151.7 domestically after two weeks in release and now it is getting a sequel.

UPDATE: Open Road Says It Will Still Release ‘Midnight Rider’; Female Crew Member Killed In On-Set Train Accident Identified

By Anita Busch – We were told that the distributor was close to announcing its plans to pull out before yesterday’s tragic accident during production in Wayne County, GA, in which a female crew member was killed and seven others were injured when they were hit by a train while filming. So time will tell. Read More »

Comments (0)

OSCARS: Harvey Weinstein On His Dark Horse Best Picture Candidate ‘Philomena,’ And, Well, Everything Else

By | Wednesday February 19, 2014 @ 5:51pm PST
Mike Fleming

harEach year, Harvey Weinstein has taken time out from his Sundance buying frenzies to do an Oscar-season interview that touches on his Academy hopefuls, all the films he bought in Park City, and politics. Well, January’s Sundance couldn’t have been duller — outside of his multiplatform arm RADiUS, The Weinstein Company made zero buys there for the first time in forever — but so much has happened since that we needed a catch-up call to get it all in. Here, Weinstein touches on everything from watching Philomena get the Best Picture Oscar nomination over higher-profile TWC films to Quentin Tarantino’s leaked The Hateful Eight script to his battle with Warner Bros over The Hobbit gross points, to the NRA. And, just as he came out of Toronto with the big acquisition in Can A Song Save Your Life?, Weinstein walked away from Berlin with The Imitation Game, the drama about genius British mathematician Alan Turing, whose work cracking the Nazi Enigma Code made him a bona fide WWII hero but who later was prosecuted for being homosexual, chemically castrated and eventually committed suicide.

DEADLINE: We started this interview at the tail end of Sundance and you uncharacteristically hadn’t bought a single movie. You went right to Berlin and paid a record $7 million for U.S. rights to The Imitation Game. What happened?
WEINSTEIN: One of the things I’ve never been great at is discipline, but we just didn’t feel like there was anything we had to have at Sundance. We decided that, like with Can A Song Save Your Life? at Toronto, we wanted the movie. Imitation Game was a project all of us followed, and those 20 minutes gave that zeitgeist feeling to me, David Glasser, everyone on our team. Negeen Yazdi, who runs our English office, tracked this one so hard that it was like she was trying to break the Enigma Code.

imDEADLINE: How hard is it to make such a big commitment based on a 20 minute compilation of scenes?
WEINSTEIN: It was easier in that we all knew the script and could see the level of performance Morten Tyldum got in his first English language film. Alan Turing is not outwardly very sympathetic. He’s brilliant, but the way that Benedict Cumberbatch played him showed us these guys found the right level of vulnerability, genius and the arrogance of the character, too. We felt after reading the script that you could get this wrong, from the tone to the casting. The reason we didn’t make it ourselves was, it felt like a near impossible walk on a tightrope. Morten walked the tightrope. And Keira Knightley is so brilliant in Can A Song Save Your Life and she was helpful and loyal in pushing it our way that we wanted this huge run she is about to have to be with us.

Related: Bong Joon-Ho And Harvey Weinstein Reach Truce On ‘Snowpiercer’
Read More »

Comments (16)

BAFTAs: Busy London Weekend Kicks Off For Film Awards Nominees

By | Friday February 14, 2014 @ 12:11pm PST

Joe Utichi is contributing to Deadline’s BAFTA Awards coverage

ee baftaGiven that so many Oscar contenders figure in the BAFTA races this year, expect London’s tony Mayfair neighborhood to turn into Hollywood-on-Thames this weekend. With the American Academy’s ballots officially going out today, and about a 500-member overlap between the two orgs, BAFTA is the place to be seen. There will be plenty of opportunity with an ever-grander roster of sideshow events.

Related: ‘Gravity’ Leads BAFTA Nominations With 11 Nods

helen mirrenInStyle and Esquire already kicked things off with parties celebrating the “Best of British Talent” and the EE Rising Star Award in the past two weeks. Local stars like Luke Evans and Jack O’Connell dominated the guest lists at both. (O’Connell was fresh in from Berlin where he received great buzz for his performance in competition film ’71.) BAFTA weekend proper kicks off tonight as Lancôme hosts its party and Harvey Weinstein puts on a private dinner for his nominees at the boutique Little House in Mayfair. He threw a similar event last year. As in 2013, menswear giant Hackett will host a lunch Saturday at the Savoy for BAFTA Fellowship honoree Helen Mirren. And the annual Nominees’ Party will play out Saturday night at Asprey’s Bond Street shop. From there, A-listers will head to the 15th Charles Finch-hosted dinner at Annabel’s…. Read More »

Comments (1)

Bong Joon-Ho And Harvey Weinstein Reach Truce On ‘Snowpiercer’

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 6:35pm PST
Mike Fleming

snowpEXCLUSIVE: A disagreement between filmmaker and distributor Harvey Weinstein over length and pacing of the Bong Joon-Ho helmed Snowpiercer has been resolved, I hear. Weinstein bought U.S. rights on the movie back in 2012 AFM on the basis of script and some sample footage. A wide release was in the contract, until the director turned in a cut of just beyond two and one-half hours. The truce is basically that the director keeps the length of his action film but instead of a wide release, it will be a platform release with a roll out. I am told the picture is not being dumped. The film, which stars Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and Octavia Spencer, has done well in Korea and France and has gotten strong reviews. This is the hard part about the kind of buying that is taking place right now in Berlin, where distributors are making decisions based on scripts and sizzle reels, if they’re lucky. When the movie doesn’t deliver what the agents promised, this kind of give and take is inevitable.

Here’s the trailer. Looks pretty crazy:

Comments (16)

Weinstein Company Braintrust On How Tom Sherak’s Mentorship Launched Miramax

By | Wednesday January 29, 2014 @ 4:18pm PST
Mike Fleming

FWho knew that Tom Sherak touched this many people? Here is a note that was penned by Harvey Weinstein for Deadline, describing what the former Fox exec and Academy president meant to him, his brother Bob Weinstein, and COO David Glasser and distribution chief Erik Lomis. Weinstein was moved to write in reaction to Bill Mechanic’s words.

Related:
Tom Sherak: Remembering A True Hollywood Star
Tom Sherak: “It’s About Love”

“Tommy We Hardly Knew Ye:

When I was a boy I read a beautiful memoir called Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye about JFK which his long term buddy Kenneth O’Donnell wrote. This is the best way to describe my, my brother, Erik Lomis and David Glasser’s feelings about a man named Tom Sherak. The first time Bob and I met Tom was over 30 years ago – we were just two rock promoters born in New York City hating every minute of the Rock n Roll existence. Fancying ourselves as movie producers, we came up with the novel idea of booking two movies, one called White Rock The Olympic Experience and the other, The Genesis Concert Movie and coming up with a marketing handle called Sensasia, the movie experience. Who the hell were we kidding and how the hell were we going to get theaters to play these two movies we put together and decided we would start distributing with no distributing background whatsoever? So we tried it out in our backyard and lo and behold it worked but there was an entire country to play and at that time the general cinema ruled the waves and ocean and the man in charge of booking theatres in general cinema was a warmhearted ebullient soul named Tom Sherak. He must have looked at us with complete and utter bafflement- just two shaggy guys with afros. We looked like we got off the Grateful Dead road bus and there we were with our dream of conquering the US distribution system with two 45 minute movies. Theater by theater, state by state, city by city, Tom Sherak took these 2 knuckle heads and helped them form a company called Miramax. That’s how it started: rock n’ roll movies with Sherak renting us theaters, booking us theaters, and guiding us. We knew nothing except we had an instinct and a flair for promotion and the movies weren’t half bad. Through the course of our lives he would always be there whether he was mentoring or mediating and trust me, David and Erik would testify we needed a mediator or two, but more importantly a mentor. Read More »

Comments (6)

Why Harvey Weinstein’s Comments On Movie Violence Matter

t100_weinsteinCOMMENTARY: The Weinstein Company’s co-chairman Harvey Weinstein made some bold statements Friday on CNN to Piers Morgan about backing away from violent content.  He spoke about his own children and how he no longer wanted to feel like a hypocrite. “The change starts here,” the man who produced Quentin Tarantino’s violent Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and D’jango Unchained told Morgan. “It has already. For me, I can’t do it. I can’t make one movie and say this is what I want for my kids and then just go out and be a hypocrite.” He added that he would still make a movie like Lone Survivor, which is a violent but accurate portrayal of our American military and their dedication to serving this country. “I’m not going to make some crazy action movie just to blow up people and exploit people just for the sake of making it,” he said. “I can’t do it.” Weinstein’s statements came only days after a fatal shooting of the father of a 3-year old in a Florida theater during a screening of Lone Survivor who was killed while texting his little girl by a supposed “good guy with a gun,” a 71 year-old former police captain.

“The insensitivity that the average person has now because of violence is because people have become so used to it. It’s an obsession as well as almost an addiction. It’s a cheap way of getting an audience, more people shot and more explosions, but it’s at the expense of the story,” said one entertainment marketer with 35 years of experience. “Abject violence has proven successful, and as long as it is, it will be produced because it’s profitable. It’s the accepted way of life rather than asking is this the right thing to do?”

Related: Harvey Weinstein Has Change of Heart On Violent Content In Films: “The Change Starts Here”

The question is, of course, how Harvey is going to reconcile being in business with Tarantino. The filmmaker has made a lot of money for the company with violent fare. And therein lies the conundrum that all studio heads and TV executives face. I’ve interviewed several executives over the past few weeks and many have said privately that they think the gun violence — especially in video games — has gotten out of control. However, they also say they have an obligation to their shareholders to make a profit and violence sells. There will always be violence in movies, just as there is violence in the Bible and in the plays of William Shakespeare. But, Weinstein is trying to tip the scales; to shift Hollywood from glorifying violence in films, to showing the true human cost and destructiveness of it.

fruitvale-station1-e1374069048695The Weinstein Company did just that when it released Fruitvale Station last year. The film does contain gun violence, but it’s told from the point of view of the victim of gun violence. And that, in itself, is unusual and powerful. When Weinstein said, “The change starts here. It has already for me,” I thought of Fruitvale. Produced by Forest Whitaker and directed by newcomer Ryan Coogler, you come to care about this boy, see him with his little girl, understand him as a father and a son before he is murdered. It was passed over by the Academy this past week for Oscar noms, but it shouldn’t have been. It did win the Producers Guild’s Stanley Kramer Award. Stanley Kramer, of course, was the patron saint of bringing social issues to the foreground with films such as Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. fruitvale2Fruitvale was the first film I saw in a theater (a large screening room) after the Aurora, CO shooting where my cousin’s daughter was among many murdered by a gunman at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, 2012. During the emergency room scene, I couldn’t bear it. I closed my eyes and sobbed. The film depicts the true face of violence — a very realistic depiction of how gun violence destroys a family. It was made for under $1M and brought in $16.7M at the box office is and still bringing in money in its ancillary markets. Read More »

Comments 198

Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

mlk_at_home_01On Eve Of MLK Day, Will Adultery Keep Epic Dr. King Movie Off The Big Screen?
By Mike Fleming Jr. – Oliver Stone has run smack into the same wall on a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr biopic that director Paul Greengrass hit when Universal kicked his MLK project Memphis to the curb two years back. Read More »

Comments (2)
More Deadline | Hollywood »