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PILOT SEASON: Which Actors Are Getting The Early Offers

By | Monday February 3, 2014 @ 6:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Pilot-Season-300x147We’re in the midst of the annual ritual of broadcast casting executives chasing their tails, also known as casting the leads of dozens of network pilots at the same time. As usual, many pilots go after the same names, resulting in a few actors holding a slew of offers thus bringing pilot season to a standstill.

Related: Primetime Pilot Panic Listings

jenconnellydianelaneLast year, Damages‘ Rose Byrne was the focus of attention with virtually every pilot vying for her, but she ended up passing on all. Actresses receiving multiple offers early on this season but not yet committing include Jennifer Connelly, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Diane Lane, Maria Bello, Hilary Swank, Octavia Spencer, Felicity Huffman, Kyra Sedgwick, Sarah Chalke and Elizabeth Banks. We already had a very elusive leading lady, Tea Leoni, locked in for a pilot, CBS drama Madam Secretary, with popular pilot targets Jack Davenport, Jennifer Carpenter (both on ABC’s Sea Of Fire) and David Schwimmer (ABC’s Irreversible) also spoken for. Several usual suspects, including Ellie Kemper and Natasha Lyonne, got an early jump by attaching themselves to projects (NBC’s Tina Fey/Robert Carlock series for Kemper, the Amy Poehler pilot for Lyonne).

Related: PILOT SEASON: Walls Of Vertical Integration Fall Down Read More »

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Hugh Laurie In Talks To Star In NBC Pirate Drama Series ‘Crossbones’

By | Tuesday November 20, 2012 @ 1:30pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

In what would be a major casting coup for NBC, the network is in talks with former House star Hugh Laurie to topline new action-adventure series Crossbones, from Luther creator Neil Cross and feature producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald. Unlike House, where Brit Laurie played an American, he would be able to use his normal British accent in Crossbones as he would play the notorious English pirate Blackbeard. Read More »

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Hot Red Band Trailer: ‘The Oranges’

By | Wednesday September 12, 2012 @ 9:22pm PDT

Hugh Laurie and Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt and Allison Janney play couples in the relationship dramedy directed by Julian Farino from a screenplay by Ian Helfer and Jay Reiss. The Oranges also features Leighton Meester, Adam Brody and Alia Shawkat. The ATO Pictures release is scheduled to open October 5th:

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Michael Keaton Joins ‘Robocop’ Remake

By | Wednesday August 29, 2012 @ 3:31pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Michael Keaton has been set to play the role of Raymond Sellars in the MGM/Columbia Pictures’ RoboCop remake. Sellars is the CEO of the corporation that builds RoboCop, a role that Hugh Laurie was expected to play until he dropped out before consummating a deal. The film, a re-imagining of the 1987 Paul Verhoeven cult classic, is scheduled to begin shooting next month. RoboCop will be released on August 9, 2013.

Keaton joins previously announced Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson and Abbie Cornish in the Jose Padilha-directed film.

“Michael is the final addition to the amazing cast we have assembled for this film and it is so great to have the last puzzle piece in place. It is thrilling that everything has come together to bring this innovative new vision of RoboCop to life. We’ve got a great script, a great cast, some killer ED-209’s and I can’t wait to get Alex Murphy back on the streets,” said Padilha.

It’s good to see Keaton back in a mainstream film. He’s repped by ICM Partners.

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No Hugh Laurie For ‘Robocop’ Remake

By | Friday August 24, 2012 @ 9:46am PDT
Mike Fleming

Though he was expected to play the head of the facility that made the title character, Hugh Laurie is no longer going to star in the Robocop remake at MGM. The film, which stars Joel Kinnaman in the role originated by Peter Weller, is being directed by Jose Padilha and also stars Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Jackie Earle Haley, Abbie Cornish and Jay Baruchel. I’ve heard MGM is talking with a small group of actors to fill the role that Laurie was to play, including Clive Owen.

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EMMY SNUBS: ‘The Good Wife’, ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Sons Of Anarchy’, John Slattery…

By | Thursday July 19, 2012 @ 10:00am PDT

Emmys voters are fickle fans and a bewildering bunch. They like a show one year, they don’t the next, or maybe they just don’t like the people who made it. And sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to who gets a nomination and who doesn’t. Here’s a look at the shows and the actors who didn’t make the cut this year but should have.

3RD UPDATE, 11:30 AM:

Sons Of Anarchy — Looks like a kinder, gentler Kurt Sutter took to Twitter today to comment on his series’ Emmy snub. The notoriously barbed showrunner offered congratulations to Anarchy‘s FX, Homeland‘s Howard Gordon and The Voice‘s Carson Daly and Adam Levine among others. Then he wrote, “and to all of you expecting a *-laced emmy diatribe…that’s so 2011. A calm, mature, rational @sutterink is much more dangerous.”

2ND UPDATE, 10 AM:

Michael PittBoardwalk Empire’s Jimmy Darmody might have taken one to the head but that doesn’t mean the actor who played him had to be left for dead by Emmy voters.

1ST UPDATE, 9 AM:

Kyra Sedgwick – It’s The Closer’s final season, so to leave out this 2010 Emmy winner seems just weird.

The Office – Its had a long run, but that’s no reason to completely leave the show out of the Comedy category.

Emmy Rossum — Besides Joan Cusack’s Best Guest Actress nod, Shameless got the shaft this year, and to overlook this Critics’ Choice winner seems another form of shamelessness. I mean her name is Emmy for Pete’s sake.

PREVIOUS, 7:49 AM: 

The Good Wife – The CBS series was overlooked for Best Drama, not a good sign for the broadcast networks, which lost their only representative in the category.

Glee One nomination in the Guest Acting category? That’s it?

Louie – Maybe Emmy voters have a thing with FX, what with Sons Of Anarchy totally snubbed and Justified shortshrifted this year, but how can you nominate the man who is the star and the mastermind behind a show and not his show?

Jeff Probst — The Survivor host has won the Reality Host category every year since it was created, and this year he didn’t even make the cut? Taking his spot — the ubiquitous Betty White.

Dexter No best series for one of Showtime’s best series.

The Walking Dead – Zombies are popular with viewers but obviously not Emmy voters.

Hugh Laurie — No love for his last turn as Dr. House.

Related: EMMYS: ‘The Voice’ Knocks ‘American Idol’ Off Best Reality Series List Read More »

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Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry Plot Reteaming, Fry Tweets

By | Monday May 14, 2012 @ 6:37pm PDT

Actor, comedian, raconteur and all around renaissance man Stephen Fry posted a tweet on his Twitter account earlier today teasing his followers with news that he and his once and future comedy partner Hugh Laurie are “cooking up a project together. We will be working again soon.” He apologized for having no other details, but said he would offer more when he can. Laurie is just coming off his epic run on Fox’s House, so it may surprise many people in the U.S. that Laurie is, in fact, British, and is still best known there for doing comedy, particularly with Fry. They starred together in the sketch comedy show A Bit of Fry & Laurie, which ran from 1989 to 1995 at various time on BBC1 and BBC2. The two men, along with Emma Thompson, met while all attended University of Cambridge. All three of them – and others from that generation of British actors – were part of the ensemble cast of Kenneth Branagh’s Peter’s Friends in 1992.

Related: Stephen Fry To Star In, Produce Art Heist Picture ‘Doors Open’ For ITV

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David Shore, Katie Jacobs And Hugh Laurie On The End Of ‘House’

By | Wednesday February 8, 2012 @ 3:02pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

‘House’ To End Run On Fox After 8 Seasons
Here is an open letter written by House creator/executive producer David Shore, executive producer Katie Jacobs and star/executive producer Hugh Laurie discussing the decision to end the medical drama after the end of this season, the show’s eighth.

After much deliberation, the producers of House M.D. have decided that this season of the show, the 8th, should be the last. By April this year they will have completed 177 episodes, which is about 175 more than anyone expected back in 2004.

The decision to end the show now, or ever, is a painful one, as it risks putting asunder hundreds of close friendships that have developed over the last eight years – but also because the show itself has been a source of great pride to everyone involved.

Since it began, House has aspired to offer a coherent and satisfying world in which everlasting human questions of ethics and emotion, logic and truth, could be examined, played out, and occasionally answered.  This sounds like fancy talk, but it really isn’t.  House has, in its time, intrigued audiences around the world in vast numbers, and has shown that there is a strong appetite for television drama that relies on more than prettiness or gun play.

But now that time is drawing to a close.  The

Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: UK, Africa, Australia

‘Arthur Christmas’ Slays ‘Em In The UK
Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman’s Arthur Christmas jumped to the top of the UK box office this weekend – in its fourth week of release. This bit of holiday magic came courtesy of a £1.9 million weekend take for a cume of £11.5 million. The film has been holding steady in second place since it bowed on November 11 and this weekend faced off against Happy Feet Two for the family audience. Largely positive notices and the British voice cast — including James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton — have no doubt been a local draw. Sony Pictures Releasing UK’s Peter Taylor said: “Opening a movie at No. 1 in such a competitive market as the UK is difficult enough, but to reach the top of the chart in the fourth week of release is almost unprecedented. We are all delighted.”

Tom Hooper Decides Against 3D For ‘Les Miserables’
Although director Tom Hooper flirted with the idea of filming the new movie version of the hit stage musical Les Miserables in 3D, the Oscar-winning helmer of The King’s Speech has decided to stick with 2D. Hooper told the BBC he had been “very tempted” to use 3D but worried that some audiences might “physically struggle” with the format. Not to worry, purists. “I can definitely announce it’s good old-fashioned 2D,” Hooper said at the British Independent Film Awards. “I wanted to make a film that would touch everyone. I believe the story is so strong, 3D is not essential.” Hooper added that the casting of Eponine and Cosette would be announced soon. “I’ve never done a film where big star actors are as obsessed with being in it as this.” Starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Javert, Read More »

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EMMYS: Lead Drama Actor Handicap

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2011 Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Lead Drama Series Actor race.

Jon Hamm, Mad Men
AMC
Why He Was Nominated: The question was never whether Hamm would be nominated. That’s a given. It’s his fourth in a row for his iconic Mad Men role of Don Draper but his first without three-time winner Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad in the race due to that AMC show’s lack of eligible episodes. Many assume that Hamm has already won a couple of these things. The mystifying truth is that no performer from Mad Men has yet taken home an Emmy.
Why He Has To Win: Mad Men creator/showrunner/control freak Matthew Weiner is said to have specifically penned the episode “The Suitcase” as a performance piece for Hamm and co-star Elisabeth Moss (also nominated). It featured the two of them exclusively and powerfully. With Cranston out of the picture, there should be no keeping Hamm from his rightful cruise down victory lane. As a fellow actor and TV academy voters noted to me, “Everyone I talk to thinks the Emmy belongs to Jon this time. It’s well deserved and frankly overdue.”
Why He Can’t Possibly Win: Hamm hasn’t earned one of these things yet, and he’s been nominated for Emmys six times in all (also twice as a guest on 30 Rock). Plus, he’s up against two guys (Hugh Laurie and Michael C. Hall) who also have been nominated multiple times without winning. Either could well pull an upset. Read More »

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EMMYS: Final Presenters Unveiled

Loretta Devine, Paul McCrane, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jimmy Fallon, Hugh Laurie, Drew Barrymore, Maria Bello, David Boreanaz, Katie Holmes, Annie Ilonzeh, Minka Kelly, Jimmy Kimmel, William H. Macy, Anna Paquin, David Spade, Rachael Taylor and Anna Torv were announced today as the final group of presenters for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, which are set for Sunday at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles. The awards show is being aired live on Fox. (Previous presenters were set here and here and here.)

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2011 Toronto: ‘Shame’ Will Start Dealmaking Flurry, But Buyers Wait To Be Blown Away

Mike Fleming

Last year’s Toronto Film Festival started slow for acquisitions, but finished with a flurry of modest distribution deals that served notice the specialty film business had finally pulled out of its nosedive. This year’s festival hasn’t started and already there are fireworks. Deadline broke news yesterday that Harvey Weinstein would start a VOD business, making the acquisitions market for fringe films more competitive; and last night, I heard that a bidding battle had already broken out for the Steve McQueen-directed Shame,  which should be sold by the time it screens Sunday. Fox Searchlight is the favorite, Sony Pictures Classics is in the mix and I’ve heard that The Weinstein Company is hovering. Bidding began right after its Telluride screening, and the mid-six figures thrown around yesterday will probably go higher. That’s huge, considering the movie is an unabashed NC-17, McQueen has final cut, and the sex-obsessed protagonist is unlikable. Oh, yeah, and the sellers want it released this year for Oscar consideration to capitalize on Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan’s Oscar-caliber performances.

Does this mean we’re in for a drunken buying frenzy? Hardly, buyers tell me. They are eager to see the films, but say there’s no title here that’s going to guarantee somebody will overpay. They are also mindful that many of last year’s deals turned out to be box office busts. More deals will be made than … Read More »

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FilmNation Grabs Mike Jones Spec ‘In The Event Of A Moon Disaster’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In competitive bidding, FilmNation Entertainment has acquired In the Event of a Moon Disaster, a Mike Jones spec script that re-imagines the first moon mission. In this version, disaster strikes and the astronauts find themselves up against insurmountable odds. Jones, a former colleague of mine at Variety, turned his attention to screenwriting and has been working steadily. Most recently, he has been collaborating with Henry Selick on an untitled Pixar project, and Jones also scripted a reboot of Popeye for Sony Pictures. FilmNation’s Aaron Ryder will produce the space mission film, and Glen Basner will handle international sales. It will be the largest-budget film so far for FilmNation, which has  aggressively put together its slate of projects.

FilmNation is in talks with Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon to star in Mud, the next film by Jeff Nichols, with whom FilmNation worked on Take Shelter. It also is fully financing Paranormal Activity helmer Oren Peli’s next untitled project, and recently completed the Jennifer Lawrence-starrer House at the End of the Street and The Raven, which stars John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe; Relativity Media releases that James McTeigue-directed film early next year. FilmNation will be bringing to Toronto Take Shelter; Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In; the Hugh Laurie-starrer The Oranges; and Midnight’s Children, an adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s novel. Jones is repped by CAA and The Gotham Group.

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Hugh Laurie: Lisa Edelstein Is Missed On ‘House’

By | Saturday July 30, 2011 @ 10:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

House star Hugh Laurie today commented on the departure of original cast member Lisa Edelstein. “We all miss Lisa very much,” Laurie said at TCA following a panel for his upcoming PBS special, Great Performances: Hugh Laurie: Let Them Talk — A Celebration of New Orleans Blues. More from TVLine.

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Andrew Adamson Directs Hugh Laurie In ‘Mister Pip’

By | Wednesday April 13, 2011 @ 11:09am PDT
Mike Fleming

Andrew Adamson is attached to direct House star Hugh Laurie in Mister Pip, an adaptation of the Lloyd Jones novel that Adamson has adapted for the screen. Shooting will begin in New Zealand next month, and Focus Features International has acquired international rights.

Laurie will play Mr. Watts, the last white man left on the war-torn island of Bougainville. Asked to open a school there, he reads the kids his favorite novel, Great Expectations. He bonds with the children over the book, which sheds some perspective on their own difficult lives. Adamson will produce with Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech and Robin Scholes. Eyeworks New Zealand and Agio Capital are co-financing with Olympus Pictures, and the New Zealand Film Commission, NZ on Air and TV3 are also investors. UTA Independent Film Group put together the pieces.

Adamson, who co-directed the first two installments of Shrek and directed the first two The Chronicles of Narnia films, is also aligned with James Cameron on a series of 3D Cirque du Soleil features, the first of which has already been shot.

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James McAvoy And Hugh Laurie Voice Aardman’s ‘Arthur Christmas’

They join Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton for Aardman’s first movie under its 3-year Sony Pictures Animation deal. The 3D CG film is slated for release on November 23 of next year. Set on Christmas night, the film’s story reveals the answer to every child’s question: “How does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?” McAvoy leads the cast as Arthur, Santa’s youngest son, while Laurie plays his older brother Steve, who runs Christmas night with military-style precision. Sony is also in production with Aardman on The Pirates!

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Emmy Scorecard: Lead Drama Actors

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2010 Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Lead Drama Series Actor race:

BRYAN CRANSTON, BREAKING BAD

Why He Got Nominated: He’s won two years running, and the TV Academy isn’t in the habit of failing to nominate guys who won the year before (except in rare instances). Plus, if anything, Cranston just enjoyed his best season onscreen.

Why He Has To Win: The episode Cranston submitted to voters, “Full Measure”, was the season-ending cliffhanger that shows his character  continuing a mindbending personality transformation. Voters like it that kind of risk, particularly when the judges are teams of acting contemporaries. Believes one of those voters: “This man isn’t merely acting. He’s creating art.” Also his performance is fresh in voters minds, since the show’s season finished in June.

Why He Can’t Possibly Win: The AMC show’s ratings are still comparatively miniscule, which could hurt Cranston’s bid to three-peat. There’s also tough competition from Jon Hamm and Michael C. Hall for their own breakthrough seasons.

JON HAMM, MAD MEN

Why He Got Nominated: No one in the Industry can overlook AMC’s Mad Men or Jon Hamm come Emmy-time. Plus, the actor has shown his range with guest appearances on 30 Rock and SNL. Now more than ever, the TV Academy knows he’s the real deal.

Why He Has To Win: After two earlier years as the heavy favorite, he’s not this year. That means a win would be unexpected, which is the TV Academy’s way of showing he was overdue. Plus, Hamm’s submitted episode “The Gypsy and the Hobo” is a whopper … Read More »

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