EXCLUSIVE: Cary Fukunaga directs Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom Golden Globe nominee Idris Elba in the child-soldier drama Beasts Of No Nation, adapted by Fukunaga from Uzodinma Iweala’s novel. Elba, who also is producing, stars as Commandant, whose guerrilla group young Agu is forced to join when civil war tears his family apart and militants kill his father. Fukunaga is coming off his acclaimed HBO drama series True Detective, which he’ll return to exec produce for a second season. He wrote Beasts and is directing and shooting it in Ghana. Producers are Amy Kaufman for Primary Productions, Daniela Taplin Lundberg & Riva Marker for Red Crown Productions, Cary Fukunaga for his Parliament of Owls, Idris Elba and Daniel Crown. Executive Producers are Participant Media and New Balloon Investments. Scroll down for Deadline’s full exclusive look:
Global Showbiz Briefs: Idris Elba, Shine North Ink Co-Production Deal; Charlotte Rampling Joins ‘Broadchurch’; More
Idris Elba’s Green Door Inks Co-Production Deal With Shine North
After collaborating on BBC Two racing documentary King Of Speed, Idris Elba’s Green Door production shingle and Shine North have pacted to develop more factual programming. The exclusive co-production deal will see the two companies work together to develop and produce shows for the UK and international markets. Elba will produce and host. King Of Speed aired in the UK in December and then sold to more than 100 territories. Elba has honed his hosting skills on other UK specials including Channel 4’s How Hip Hop Changed The World and How Clubbing Changed The World. He launched Green Door last year, and the shop is in development on scripted projects for various UK broadcasters. The nonscripted collaboration will be creatively managed by Shine North’s Rick Murray who exec produced King Of Speed with Elba. Shine International will handle world sales.
Cannes: Open Road Acquiring StudioCanal’s ‘The Gunman’ With Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba And Ray Winstone
EXCLUSIVE: In its latest aggressive pre-buy to line its slate with star-driven pictures, Open Road Films has on the eve of the Cannes Film Festival closed a deal to acquire U.S. rights to The Gunman, the action thriller that stars Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance and Jasmine Trinca. It was directed by Taken helmer Pierre Morel. The film was expected to be one of the hot titles for domestic distribution at the market that starts next week. The deal was made by Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg and Studiocanal chairman/CEO Olivier Courson. It is a commitment for a big wide release.
Based on the Jean-Patrick Manchette novel The Prone Gunman, the film stars Penn as a former Special Forces soldier and military contractor suffering from PTSD. He tries to reconnect with his longtime love, but first must go on the run from London to Barcelona and across Europe in order to clear his name. Joel Silver, Andrew Rona and Sean Penn are the producers. Adrian Guerra and Peter McAleese are exec producers. It is one of Studiocanal’s biggest productions to date.
EXCLUSIVE: Idris Elba is in final negotiations to perform the role and provide the voice of the killer tiger Shere Khan in Disney’s live-action take on The Jungle Book. Directed by Jon Favreau, the film is a mix of live action and VFX that is being overseen by Rob Legato, whose VFX credits include Avatar, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Hugo and Titanic, the latter two of which won him Oscars. The studio has bolstered its creative team by setting as its production designers Alex McDowell (Man Of Steel, Rise Of The Guardians) and Chris Glass heading a team of concept artists that includes Michael Kutsche (Alice, Oz, Maleficent), Iain McCaig (Star Wars), and Justin Sweet (Chronicles Of Narnia). The story team is headed by Iron Man‘s David Lowery, who’s working around the clock with seven full-time illustrators, with Legacy Effects participating in creature design and rigging.
Disney is moving very quickly as it is in a race with Warner Bros on versions of Rudyard Kipling’s public domain title. The rival project is still looking for a director after Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu dropped from the project.
Alive Alone, the Thunder Road produced drama that Protagonist Pictures is selling, was originally announced in Cannes with Noomi Rapace and Matthias Schoenaerts starring. Schoenaerts has had to pull out for personal reasons, and now boarding are Idris Elba and Sam Worthington for a March start. The New York-set drama marks the feature helming debut of Khurram Longi. He’ll direct form his own script which featured on both the Black List and the UK Brit List. Elba stars as an ex-detainee of Guantanamo Bay working as a taxi driver, and Rapace plays a prostitute on the run from a feared crime boss (Worthington). When their worlds collide, they unexpectedly find salvation in one another. Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk is producing with Rapace acting as executive producer. Michael Benaroya’s Benaroya Pictures is financing and Protagonist is selling here in Berlin. Elba is repped by WME; Longi, Rapace and Worthington by CAA.
NBC announced this morning Matt Lauer will host Going For Gold — and yet, it’s not a Sochi Olympics walk-up. It’s a celebrity-studded walk-up to the network’s broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards, is an NBC News production, and will air Friday at 8 PM. If it’s Sochi Olympics walk-up you’re looking for, NBC will broadcast Shaun White: Russia Calling on January 25 — an hour-long program examining how the two-time gold medal winner balances work and play while prepping for the Games. It is not produced by NBC News, instead by Shaun White Enterprises, with Shaun White exec producing, and promises, modestly, to be “a rare inside look into the challenges and sacrifices that are made in order to be the best in the world.”
From NBC’s Going For Gold announcement:
Refresh for latest …
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.”
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.”
Listen to (and share) episode 52 of our audio podcast “Deadline Awards Watch, with Pete Hammond.”
Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about the Independent Spirit Awards nominations, which feature plenty of Oscar contenders, and perhaps not enough truly spirited indie films; a Q&A with Oscar Isaac of Inside Llewyn Davis, which picked up several of those Spirit Award nods; and a splashy first public screening for David O. Russell’s latest awards season entry, American Hustle, featuring top-notch performances — particularly by Jennifer Lawrence.
They also talk about Oscar rules changes that could make a difference for better known films in the foreign-language and animation categories, and a Golden Globes rule decision that leaves one fantastic disembodied voice just plain dissed.
Finally, we’ll get Pete’s take on this week’s new movies, including old-school crime drama Homefront, with horror film Oldboy. They also discuss Black Nativity, a holiday musical with yet another fine ensemble cast of African-American actors led this time by Oscar winners Forrest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson, part of an unusually large spate of successful, often critically lauded films targeting black audiences over the past few months.
The Royal Film Performance is the major annual fundraising event for the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, the UK charity that cares for industry employees and their families who are suffering hardship. Last year, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was the gala pic. This year, the CTBF is going with Justin Chadwick’s Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. It will screen in London on December 5th for members of the Royal Family along with the cast and filmmakers. The biopic is a South African/British co-production and stars Idris Elba in the eponymous role with Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandela. Pathé releases it January 3rd in the UK. The Weinstein Co opens it Stateside in the heart of Awards Season on November 29th.
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).
Luther creator Neil Cross confirmed prequel movie plans for the BBC series starring Idris Elba, saying he’d finish a screenplay and hopes to film next year. The film will follow Luther’s early career when he is still married to Zoe; the film’s final scene is the opening scene of the TV series first season, Cross said at the Edinburgh TV Festival, according to multiple press reports. “Idris is a brilliant leading man, and we’ve hoped to turn Luther into a movie for a long time,” Cross said.
Related: WME Signs Idris Elba
Elba is on board to play John Luther, as are Warren Brown, Indira Varma and Steve Mackintosh. Cross said he went with a prequel, rather than a follow-up to the series, so he could bring back popular supporting characters — including some who let’s say maybe don’t fare so well in the final season. Ruth Wilson’s Alice Morgan character, who doesn’t fit in, chronologically, with the prequel plans, is being mulled as a spinoff series, Cross told Variety last year.
Idris Elba is heading out on an international driving tour in two-part documentary King Of Speed. The Shine North/Shine TV production is a look at the origins of the car racing scene. The two hours will air on BBC Two; Elba’s detective series Luther airs on BBC One. Elba will visit racetracks in the U.S., Scotland and Finland among other locales to trace the political, social and historical evolution of racing from prohibition to today. The shows will include elements of NASCAR, vintage police chases and Japanese drifting. Among his co-pilots will be Cannonball Run creator Brock Yates. Rick Murray is exec producing with Tim Whitwell; Southan Morris is producing and directing. Production is currently underway, but no airdate has been set.
EXCLUSIVE: Red Crown Productions has set Idris Elba to star and Cary Fukunaga to direct Beasts of No Nation, an adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s bestselling novel. The story follows the journey of a young boy, Agu, who, when civil war engulfs his West African country is forced to join a unit of mercenary fighters. Not only must Agu face the death of his father and disappearance of his mother and sister, but must also join a life of violence and brutality. Agu befriends a mute boy named Strika and together they face the crimes and hardships of war. Elba will play the lead role of Commander and he will serve in a producing capacity as well.
Elba joins Red Crown Productions’ Daniela Taplin Lundberg and Riva Marker, Parliament Of Owls’ Cary Fukunaga and Primary Productions principal Amy Kaufman as producers on the film. Daniel Crown and Bill Benenson will serve as executive producers. Red Crown is funding the film.
Beasts Of No Nation was packaged by WME Global, which arranged the financing and will make the domestic deal. IM Global’s specialty label Acclaim will make international sales at the Toronto Film Festival. Fukunaga has helmed Jane Eyre and Sin Nombre and is currently helming the HBO series True Detective. Elba is really hitting stride. He reprises his title role in a new season of Neil Cross’s celebrated detective series Luther, which premieres …
Just in time for Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday today, we get the first trailer for his biopic starring Idris Elba. Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom tells the story of the South African prisoner-turned-president from his formative years through his long incarceration to the end of apartheid and his ascension to power. The Weinstein Company opens Justin Chadwick’s film November 29 — in the heart of awards season, natch:
The Justin Chadwick-directed Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom stars Idris Elba as the South African icon. Naomie Harris plays his former wife, Winnie. The Weinstein Co. screened footage of the film in Cannes where Harvey Weinstein promised it is not an ordinary biopic. It tells the story of Mandela’s life, from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected President of South Africa. (Mandela was recently admitted to a Pretoria hospital and remains there in critical, but stable condition, the government said this week.) The film goes out in limited release in the U.S. on November 29. Below is the first teaser for the film; it’s a UK version so it’s tagged with a January 3 date:
While Idris Elba will soon be cancelling the apocalypse in Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, his cop drama Luther has just kicked off its third series on the UK’s BBC One. The first of four hourlong episodes topped Tuesday night in the ratings with 5M viewers for a 21.7% share. But according to overnight data, it was the lowest series debut in the show’s history and 600,000 viewers off from the last Luther episode which aired in 2011. Still, the return of the BBC/BBC America co-production has been well-reviewed by local critics. Stateside, the third season runs on BBC America on consecutive nights from September 3-6. Sienna Guillory features as Luther’s new love interest in this go-around. Returning cast members include Warren Brown, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Dermot Crowley and Michael Smiley. Here’s a trailer for the new episodes:
EXCLUSIVE: Idris Elba, the talented star of Luther and The Wire who has been in play for the past couple months, has just signed with WME for all areas. This comes at a great time for Elba, who is finally poised to get his due as a movie star, I think. He reprises his role as the existentially tortured British detective John Luther in the final season of Luther, which premieres September in the U.S. He’s also starring in the Guillermo del Toro-directed Pacific Rim for Legendary and Warner Bros, which opens July 12. Then, he reprises his role as Heimdall in Thor 2: The Dark World, which Marvel and Disney release in November. He finishes the year playing Nelson Mandela in Mandela: The Long Walk To Freedom, which is released in the heat of Oscar season by The Weinstein Company. Elba continues to be managed by Nicole Romano and Michael Sugar at Anonymous Content, Headshell Management and he is repped by Roger Charteris at Ken McReddie in the UK. Fred Toczek is his attorney.
EXCLUSIVE: Looks like the sides have been chosen for the shoot-out film The Gunman, which Taken helmer Pierre Morel will direct for Silver Pictures and Studio Canal. Ray Winstone has just joined the film. He’ll play the mentor of the hitman played by Sean Penn, who is betrayed and then hunted by the organization he worked for. On the opposite side of this twosome are Javier Bardem and Idris Elba, and they run all over Europe in a fatal game of cat and mouse. Jasmine Trinca (Miele) is the female lead. Winstone’s tough guy cred includes The Departed, Sexy Beast, 44 Inch Chest and the upcoming Darren Aronofsky-directed Noah, where he goes mano a mano against Russell Crowe in that Biblical epic. I hope this movie is as good as it sounds here, because I’d follow these four actors anywhere. The Gunman is based on the Jean-Patrick Manchette novel Prone Gunman, scripted by Pete Travis. Joel Silver and Andrew Rona are producing. Resolution reps Winstone.