EXCLUSIVE: HBO’s Silicon Valley-set dark comedy pilot from the King Of The Hill trio of Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, producer Scott Rudin and 3 Arts has received a series order. The untitled single-camera project is set in the high-tech gold rush of modern Silicon Valley, where the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success. The pilot, written by Judge, Altschuler and Krinsky and directed by Judge, starred T.J. Miller, Thomas Middleditch, Josh Brener, Lindsey Broad, Christopher Evan Welch, Amanda Crew, Angela Trimbur, Zach Woods and Kumail Nanjiani. Judge, Altschuler and Krinsky executive produce the series with Rudin and 3 Arts’ Michael Rotenberg and Tom Lassally. The pickup comes on the heels of another HBO half-hour pilot getting a series order, Michael Lannan & Andrew Haigh’s untitled San Francisco project. The Judge show joins HBO’s praised current comedies Girls and Veep.
After two years in a row of heavily influencing the Oscar race, the 66th Cannes Film Festival lineup may make it three this year. Certainly I see very long and winding Croisette lines to pick up press or market credentials at the Palais, which is adorned with posters of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in a provocative still shot from their fluffy France-set 1963 comedy A New Kind Of Love. One early clue came when the jury was announced, beginning with President Steven Spielberg and including such Oscar winners as Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman and Christoph Waltz. And if it’s not enough to have those icons prominent at this year’s fest, add The Great Gatsby‘s Baz Lurhmann whose film is the opening night event with a gala after-party, and Martin Scorsese who will also be in town for a yacht party announcement of his longtime gestating directorial effort Silence on May 16th. Certainly many of the Cannes contenders both in and out of competition are from Academy Award winners and Cannes veterans back with intriguing films that make up a high profile and potent selection with advance buzz. Competing are the Coen Brothers, Steven Soderbergh, Roman Polanski and Alexander Payne plus a slew of famous names in front of the cameras both on screen and on the Red Carpet this year.
As for the competition and key sidebars, one perennial Cannes question os whether it’s a good idea to ready or even rush a film designed for year-end release in order to play at the Festival in May. Particularly of that means risking negative reviews which can be a real buzz killer. Take, for instance, Payne’s last minute entry Nebraska from Paramount, which almost didn’t appear here. In the initial forecast Deadline posted on March 13, we thought Payne’s film fit in with the auteurist nature of the fest, it’s in black and white, and its filmmaker is quite a favorite in Cannes. (He has had only one film previously in competition – 2002′s About Schmidt – and won no prize, but he not only headed the jury for Un Certain Regard in 2005 but also was a member of the main competition jury last year.) Yet shortly after this prediction I was told Cannes wasn’t in the cards due to Payne’s fondness for long post-production time. He didn’t want to be rushed. Then the studio saw the film about a week before the Cannes deadline and execs urged Payne to put it into the festival. He took Nebraska to Paris to show to Cannes programming honcho Thierry Fremaux with just two days to go before the press conference announcing the 2013 lineup. Now it is one of the most anticipated screenings even though it ooccurs towards the end of the Festival on May 23. Paramount claims it recently had a successful research screening in Pasadena and has dated the film for November 22nd, right in the heart of Oscar season (Payne is a two-time Screenwriting Oscar winner for Sideways and The Descendants).
Conversely there was absolutely no doubt Joel and Ethan Coen would be bringing their latest, the 1960′s-set Greenwich Village folk music tale Inside Llewyn Davis screening on May 19. It is their 8th time around this particular block so they are virtually Cannes regulars. CBS Films won’t release the movie stateside until December 6, another prime Oscar date.
Roman Polanski’s Venus In Fur screening on May 25 on the last day of competition is the adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway play. It brings Polanski back to Cannes for the first time since winning his only Palme d’Or (for 2003′s The Pianist, which resulted in a Best Director Oscar). It stars his wife Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Almarac and though audiences and critics weren’t too impressed with the last Polanski Broadway play adaptation God Of Carnage, this dramatic work could be more up his alley. There’s also strong interest in French director Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy P: Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian screening May 18 largely due to lead actor Benecio Del Toro’s role as a Blackfoot Indian WWII vet. (But someone’s gotta change that lumbering title.) Cannes watchers also are buzzing about new works from three directors who are no strangers on the Croisette: Nicolas Winding Refn who won Best Director in Cannes for 2011′s Drive and has re-teamed with star Ryan Gosling as a drug smuggler in the May 22nd entry Only God Forgives. (I am told Kristin Scott Thomas steals this one as his mother). And though his films don’t make much noise in theatres, James Gray is a Cannes favorite and back with his fourth competition entry, The Immigrant (formerly called Lowlife) screening May 24th with a starry cast of Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner. Jim Jarmusch brings his new Vampire story Only Lovers Left Alive which stars the always intriguing Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska . It has the distinction of being the last film to make the list and the last competition film to be screened: in the 10 PM slot on May 25th.
As always with Cannes there is just too damn much to see with many sidebar competitions like Un Certain Regard, Director’s Fortnight, Critics Week, Cannes Classics and so on. Certainly the opener for Un Certain Regard, Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring and Ryan Coogler’s Sundance sensation Fruitvale Station (summer releases stateside) are both screening on the sidebar’s first day of May 16th and are instant must-sees in addition to James Franco’s directorial outing, As I Lay Dying, on May 20th.
BAFTA handed out its TV prizes tonight in London with Olivia Colman taking two awards, one for supporting actress for BBC miniseries Accused and the other as actress in a comedy program for Olympics sitcom Twenty Twelve, which was also named best sitcom. Colman will soon be seen by U.S. audiences in ITV’s recent hit drama Broadchurch. Ben Whishaw was best actor for Neal Street Productions co-production with NBC Universal and WNET Thirteen/BBC Two, Richard II (Hollow Crown), and top comedy actor was Steve Coogan for Sky Atlantic‘s Welcome To The Places Of My Life. The best drama series was the BBC’s Last Tango In Halifax while HBO‘s Girls was named best international show. Coming into the evening, the BBC and HBO’s Hitchcock film The Girl was among the most nominated programs, but went home empty-handed. Downton Abbey had no nominations. A full list of winners follows:
NBC led the league at the Sports Emmy Awards, handed out tonight in New York. The Peacock scored 10 wins, including five for its coverage of last year’s London Olympics, and its NFL ratings beast Sunday Night Football won the outstanding live sports series trophy for the fifth consecutive year. HBO was next with six nods, including two for Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, bringing the veteran show’s career haul to 25. The nascent NBC Sports Network — which launched early last year with the rebranding of Versus — was third with four wins, followed by ESPN, MLB Network, TBS and TNT with three apiece. NATAS doled out its 34th Annual Sports Emmy Awards at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in Manhattan.
A list of winners appears after the jump:
Dwayne Johnson To Star In & Produce HBO Pilot About Athletes From Steve Levinson & Mark Wahlberg, Peter Berg To Direct
HBO has given a pilot order to a half-hour dramedy pilot starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. This marks the first TV-starring role for the movie actor/wrestler, who is executive producing the project with his Pain & Gain co-star Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson. Peter Berg is on board to direct the pilot and will executive produce, along with Johnson’s manager Dany Garcia who runs his production company. Written by Levinson, the untitled project chronicles the lives of athletes — some retired, some still active — living in Miami. Johnson will play one of them, with filming eyed for the fall.
Johnson’s collaboration with Wahlberg and his manager/ frequent producing partner Levinson on the project, based on an idea by Levinson, stems from Johnson and Wahlberg’s work together on Michael Bay’s action movie Pain & Gain, which opened at No. 1 this past weekend. The two actors also are repped by the same agency, WME.
HBO has renewed comedy series Veep for a 10-episode third season, which will air next year. The pickup comes on the heels of the Washington DC-set comedy hitting a season high in total viewers this past Sunday, drawing 1.3 million viewers, up from 1.1 million on April 21 and 1.2 million for the season debut April 14. Created by Armando Iannucci, Veep stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President Selina Meyer, a role which earned her an Emmy last year.
Jeff Bewkes doesn’t fear that his company will be squeezed by Netflix’s growing desire for exclusive programming — a potential issue at Viacom where Netflix says it won’t renew their broad licensing deal at the end of …
EXCLUSIVE: HBO and Guillermo del Toro are teaming on Monster, developing a potential series culled from a series of 18 volumes of Japanese Manga by author Naoki Urasawa published by Shogakukan Inc. Del Toro will co-write the story with Steven Thompson, best known for his work on Dr. Who and Sherlock. Thompson will write the pilot, which del Toro intends to direct. The thriller is about the worldwide search by a young doctor for the most evil sociopath that has ever lived. He is a 12-year-old boy, and the doctor’s decision to save his life has unwittingly unleashed a Pandora’s Box that leaves the doc battling to stop a plot of mass genocide. This is certainly a departure for HBO, entering the Manga game, but for del Toro and Thompson, it allows them an incredible sandbox to play in. Del Toro will be executive producer and Thompson co-executive producer, with Angry Films’ partners Don Murphy and Susan Montford executive producing with Exile’s Gary Ungar. Shogakukan will be consulting producer.
This project was originally set at New Line, but proved too sprawling to confined to a feature film. It took del Toro a long time to woo creator Urasawa into being comfortable with Hollywood again, which sounds a lot like the process that D.B. Weiss and David Benioff went through with George R.R. Martin before they could get Game Of Thrones off the ground at HBO.