EXCLUSIVE: Haley Joel Osment is set to co-star opposite Will Ferrell, Tobey Maguire and Kristen Wiig in The Spoils Of Babylon, IFC’s six-episode miniseries produced by Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Funny Or Die. In the vein of The Thorn Birds and Winds Of War, the epic story of The Spoils Of Babylon chronicles the sexy and dramatic lives of the Morehouse family who made their fortune in the oil business.
IFC today announced a slate of 11 comedy projects, including three pilot orders. Here are details:
TIMMS INDUSTRIAL PIPING (Pilot; working title)
A scripted comedy set in the fictional town of Timms Valley, Wisconsin, where the lives and livelihoods of its citizens are intertwined with the fate of the town’s biggest employer, Timms Industrial Piping. When the company’s founder and CEO goes missing in a plane crash, the lives of the characters are turned upside down. Shot in stop-motion animation with baby dolls repurposed as an array of adult characters, and modeled on 1980s primetime soaps like Dynasty, the show is written by Steven Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Pursuit of Happyness), and created by Conrad, Jeff Dieter and Tom Glynn.
IFC has greenlit original scripted comedy series The Spoils Of Babylon, produced by Funny or Die, and The Birthday Boys, a sketch comedy series executive produced by Bob Odenkirk and Ben Stiller who first worked together on Saturday Night Live and The Ben Stiller Show.
The Spoils Of Babylon, which has received a six-episode order, is an adaptation of a best-selling novel by fictional famous author Eric Jonrosh (played by Ferrell). The blowsy century-spanning saga chronicles the sexy and dramatic lives of a family who made their fortune in the oil business. Andrew Steele (Saturday Night Live) co-wrote the script with Matt Piedmont (Casa de mi Padre) who is directing. The two executive produce with Ferrell and McKay. “This is a crazy and maybe even a stupid idea,” said Will Ferrell. “IFC is either really courageous or really stupid which makes them the perfect partner for us.”
EXCLUSIVE: In the second seven-figure deal so far today at the Toronto Film Festival, IFC is acquiring U.S. rights to Byzantium, the vampire film by Neil Jordan that has festgoers feeling the filmmaker has returned to the terrain of Interview With The Vampire. I’m told that the deal coming together is several million dollars in minimum guarantee and marketing commitment. While IFC has been heavy into multiplatform, this film has designs on a theatrical release broadening out to several hundred screens.
Scripted by Moira Buffini, Byzantium stars Gemma Arterton, Caleb Landry Jones, Daniel Mays, Jonny Lee Miller, Sam Riley and Saoirse Ronan. It is produced by Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen. The story focuses on two vampires who are on the run from the past and who are hiding a terrible secret.
New York, NY (August 9, 2012) – IFC Films announced today the company is acquiring all U.S. rights to director Bill Guttentag’s (SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION) political drama KNIFE FIGHT. Guttentag wrote the screenplay with political consultant Chris Lehane, who served as White House advisor to President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton andserved as Vice President Al Gore’s press secretary. The film stars Rob Lowe,Jaime Chung, Julie Bowen, Richard Schiff, Saffron Burrows, Jennifer Morrison, David Harbour, EricMcCormack, and Carrie-Anne Moss. Guerrino De Luca and Catherine and Daniel Davila produced the film, with Lowe and William Green executive producing. KNIFE FIGHT had its world premiere earlier this year at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.
If a political candidate is personally flawed, but stands to make a positive difference in millions of lives, would you help him win? That question looms over the life of “true believer” Paul Turner (Lowe), a savvy strategist sharply maneuvering politicians out of scandal and into public office in KNIFE FIGHT. With the help of a bright young assistant (Chung) and a seedy operative (Schiff), Turner spins every news cycle and a shrewd reporter (Bowen) on behalf of his clients: a philandering Kentucky governor (McCormack), a blackmailed California senator (Harbour), and an idealistic doctor turned gubernatorial candidate (Moss). When the ugly side of Turner’s work begins to haunt him, he learns that even in the bloodiest of battles, sometimes you have to fight clean.
IFC‘s bloody and unabashedly politically incorrect new half-hour drama Bullet In The Face allegedly made network execs shocked and nervous during a screening. Now comes our first peek at the series, about a German assassin-turned-cop who is without conscience or filter, shooting people indiscriminately and accompanying the …
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
When IFC and Sundance Channel president Evan Shapiro departed his post in April, the forthcoming IFC original comedy Bullet In The Face lost its biggest champion. And champions are exactly what a show like Bullet needs considering that the broad, over-the-top half-hour may be the most violent comedy in television history. According to sources, when IFC execs screened the six-episode series, there was shock and nervousness in the room. And now the controversial Bullet, which was not mentioned during IFC’s upfront presentation in March, is being scheduled in a very odd pattern: three episodes back-to-back on two consecutive nights, August 16 and August 17, from 10 PM-11:30 PM.
The uncertainty of what to do with Bullet In The Face is understandable. While its first three screened episodes show it to be uproarious and twisted, it’s also rife with cinematic-level violence and wildly politically incorrect imagery. It stars Canadian actor Max Williams as Gunter Vogler, a brutally psychopathic, deliriously misogynistic German assassin-turned-cop. The character is utterly without conscience or filter, shooting people indiscriminately and accompanying it with radically offensive invective. The blood spurts freely and often. Eric Roberts and Eddie Izzard co-star as wacko mob bosses. But here is the kind of stuff that may have spooked IFC into turning Bullet into a two-night event rather than a weekly series: We see Gunter in a church using a crucifix as a backscratcher and casually lumping former VP Dick Cheney with Hitler and Stalin in conversation. He mows down basketball players on a court as if taking target practice. It isn’t difficult to see watchdog groups taking offense at the material and using it to demonize IFC.
IFC has picked up a third season of breakout Portlandia, the cable network announced at its first ever upfront presentation today in New York on the heels of becoming an ad-supported network earlier this year. IFC also unveiled a programming slate that includes several new comedies. Among newcomers are the animated coming-of-age series Out There; the unscripted comedy/talk show Comedy Bang Bang, based on comedian Scott Aukerman’s podcasts; the comedy game show Bunk; and the tentatively titled Maron, inspired by the life of edgy comedian Marc Maron. In addition to Portlandia, other returning shows on the IFC slate include Whisker Wars, from Original Productions and a new installment of rapper R. Kelly’s “hip hopera” Trapped In The Closet (the original aired in 2007). Here is the release:
UPDATE, SATURDAY AM: IFC’s sister label Sundance Selects has acquired U.S. rights to Mungiu’s film, which now has a title: Beyond The Hills. The official announcement was made today. The release follows the original exclusive below.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, FRIDAY PM: IFC has acquired U.S. rights to Cristian Mungiu’s upcoming untitled film that’s expected to turn up as an official selection in Cannes. The Romanian director’s first feature since 2007′s Palme d’Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days centers on a young woman’s descent into madness at an Orthodox convent. Wild Bunch, which is co-producing and handling international sales, also concluded deals in Spain, France, Greece, Israel, Mexico and Colombia at the European Film Market. IFC has also acquired Wild Bunch’s Hélène Fillières-directed Tied, which stars Benoît Poelvoorde and Laetitia Casta as a banker and his mistress in a sadomasochistic relationship. That film sold in the UK to Momentum along with several other territories including Switzerland, Russia, Israel, South Korea, Singapore and Turkey.
PREVIOUS, BREAKING: We’re hearing that IFC has scored another picture, its third in 12 hours, acquiring rights to the lauded documentary How To Survive A Plague for its Sundance Selects label. The David France-written and -directed film charts the remarkable story of how ACT-UP and Treatment Action Group overcame a pattern of apathy by politicians toward an AIDS scourge that was ravaging the gay community. Their activism and inventiveness transformed a death sentence into a manageable and treatable disease by infiltrating the pharmaceutical industry and identifying new drugs and speeding them through the trial phase to AIDS sufferers in short order. The docu got a rousing response when premiering Sunday at Temple Theater. Submarine brokered the deal.
Park City, UT (January 26, 2012) – Sundance Selects announced today from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival that the company is acquiring North American rights to David France’s documentary HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE. The film, with a screenplay by France, T. Woody Richman, and Tyler H. Walk, wasproduced by France and Howard Gertler. Joy Tomchin and Dan Cogan executive produced the project, which was made in association with Ford Foundation/JustFilms, Impact Partners, and Little Punk.
IFC acquired North American rights to Liberal Arts, written and directed by Josh Radnor. The film also stars Elizabeth Olsen and Richard Jenkins. Radnor stars as a divorcee who returns to his alma mater and falls for a sophomore (Olsen). IFC will release later this year.