Box Office Preview: ‘Boyhood’ Playing Strong As ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Grabs $4.1M In Thursday Late Nights
J.C. Chandor To Helm ‘Deepwater Horizon’, Gulf Oil Rig Explosion Survival Tale
Comic-Con: San Diego Airport White Zone For Loading, Unloading And TNT’s ‘Legends’ Only
DeadlineNow Morning Report: ‘Apes’ Sequel Box Office, ‘Deepwater Horizon’ Movie, ‘Legends’ Takes Over Comic-Con Airport (Video)
Margin Call writer-director J.C. Chandor is in talks to next helm Deepwater Horizon, the big-scale drama being mobilized by Lionsgate, Summit Entertainment and Participant Media for a winter shoot. The drama focuses on the April 20, 2010 explosion of the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that caused a massive offshore oil spill that created the second-largest U.S. environmental disaster. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian are producing. Matthew Michael Carnahan wrote the most recent draft.
The film took root at Summit and Participant two years ago, when they acquired feature rights to The New York Times article titled “Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hour,” published on December 25, 2010 and written by David Barstow, David Rohde, and Stephanie Saul. There was a heavy bidding battle for the property. Summit and Participant Media teamed on the deal and Matthew Sand wrote the first draft. The rig was owned and operated by Transocean and drilling for BP in the Macondo Prospect oil field about 40 miles southeast of the Louisiana coast. The movie isn’t a morality tale as much as it is the survival story and the courage shown by those who worked on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. More than 100 were on the rig when things turned bad. Despite their attempts to prevent disaster, the rig blew, and the explosion killed 11 workers and injured 16 others.
EXCLUSIVE: Alessandro Nivola will join Jessica Chastain, Oscar Issac and Albert Brooks in J.C. Chandor’s thriller A Most Violent Year for Participant Films and Image Nation Abu Dhabi. Nivola is most recently remembered for playing the FBI agent with the slicked-back hair whose ambition was as grand as his sideburns in David O. Russell’s American Hustle, the ensemble film that has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Newly formed distribution company A24 acquired domestic distribution rights to A Most Violent Year at Sundance this year. Written and directed by Chandor, the thriller is set during the winter of 1981 in New York — one of the most violent years on record in the city’s history. The story, according to the distributor, “follows the lives of an immigrant and his family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities as the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built.” Nivola will play Peter Forente, a heating oil distributor who is a competitor to Isaac’s character. A24 is looking at the dark drama as a possible Oscar contender for next year and with that cast and writer-director, it seems destined to deliver.
EXCLUSIVE: Albert Brooks has been set to star with Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year, the J.C. Chandor-directed drama that was just acquired for domestic distribution by A24 at the Sundance Film Festival. Shooting on the film is just getting underway. Co-financed by Participant Media and Image Nation Abu Dhabi, the drama takes place in New York in 1981, a year in which the city had one of its highest tallies of violent crime. An immigrant and his family are trying to grow their heating oil business and their ambition collides with the crime element.
Brooks will play Isaacs’ character’s attorney. The film is produced by Before The Door’s Neal Dodson and Washington Square Films’ Anna Gerb and Chandor, the filmmaker’s partners on All Is Lost and Margin Call. Participant’s Jeff Skoll is involved in producing capacities as well.
Sundance: A24 Acquiring J.C. Chandor-Helmed ‘A Most Violent Year’ With Oscar Isaac And Jessica Chastain
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 8:48 am PST: Coming into Sundance, many expected big things for upstart distribution company A24, and the label hasn’t disappointed. A24 is closing the biggest deal so far for the company, acquiring domestic distribution rights from Participant Media to A Most Violent Year, the drama written and directed by All Is Lost and Margin Call helmer J.C. Chandor. The film stars Inside Llewyn Davis‘s Oscar Isaac and Zero Dark Thirty‘s Jessica Chastain. I’m told the plan is to release the film wide, late this year, giving A24 a likely horse in the next Oscar race. It starts shooting shortly. I’m told it will be 1200 screens, minimum.
This comes after A24 acquired two of the best liked films at this year’s Sundance: the Lynn Shelton-directed Laggies with Keira Knightley, Chloe Moretz and Sam Rockwell, and the Gillian Robespierre-directed comedy Obvious Child, which features a breakout performance by former Saturday Night Live cast member Jenny Slate. Laggies came after an all night auction, and it’s a smart buy because the film will likely be released after TWC unveils Toronto title Can A Song Save Your Life, a breakout film that will cast Knightley in a different career light once audiences see the John Carney-directed film.
EXCLUSIVE: After turning the Jackie Robinson-Branch Rickey story 42 into a hit, Legendary Pictures is now targeting Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi for a feature film. Legendary has made a deal with All Is Lost and Margin Call writer-director J.C. Chandor to write with an eye to direct a feature about the coaching legend who led Green Bay to five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowl titles. Legendary, whose principal Thomas Tull is a part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a passionate pigskin fan, will produce the film with Mary Parent. She produced Pacific Rim and Godzilla for Legendary. Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser will be exec producers.
Chandor, who made his feature directing debut on his Oscar-nominated script Margin Call, is once again in the awards season conversation for his follow-up All Is Lost, which stars Robert Redford as a man struggling to survive on the open seas. Chandor is casting up his next directorial outing, A Most Violent Year, which will star Jessica Chastain with production to begin early next year.
He has already begun writing the new film, and Legendary has assembled a rights package that includes a deal with the Lombardi estate, as well as the Broadway play written by Eric Simonson that starred Dan Lauria and Judith Light. That play was based on the David Marannis book When Pride Still Mattered, and that is also part of the package.
For more than 50 years, Robert Redford has been at the top of his game, whether as an actor, Oscar-winning director (Ordinary People), producer or at Sundance, the festival and institute he founded. He won an honorary Oscar for his work with Sundance in promoting independent film, and that is where he met director J.C. Chandor, whose first film, Margin Call, premiered at the festival. But none of the many young directors whose films got big breaks at Sundance actually ever dared to ask Redford to be in a movie. That is, until Chandor brought him All Is Lost. The result is an extraordinary tour de force performance in which Redford is the only actor on screen, playing a man trying to survive after his sailboat springs a leak. Incredibly, Redford has only been nominated for an acting Oscar once in his career, 40 years ago for the lighthearted The Sting. Betting odds are that All Is Lost is going to bring him his second best actor nom.
AwardsLine: What attracted you to such a physically and mentally challenging role?
Robert Redford: It was an opportunity for me to go back to my roots as an actor. That was how I began in this business, and it brought me great joy. As you move through your life, you create opportunities, and if you see new opportunities, you take them. Directing and producing, or creating opportunities for other filmmakers, feels great, but you’re not aware of how it’s taking you further and further away from what your basic joy is—to act. This gave me that in a very big way because of the kind of role it was. Then there is that other thing that happens when you just go in—and it’s impulse—where you say, “I’m going to trust this.” That happened for me with J.C. We met, and very quickly, I thought, “Let’s just do it.”
Javier Bardem Pacts Pair: He’ll Star In J.C. Chandor’s ‘A Most Violent Year’ And Opposite Sean Penn In ‘The Gunman’
EXCLUSIVE: Javier Bardem has found a couple of killer roles. He will star as the good guy (for a change) in J.C. Chandor’s next film, A Most Violent Year, which will shoot in Manhattan this fall. Chandor, who made a splash in Cannes unveiling the Robert Redford-starrer survival tale All Is Lost, wrote A Most Violent Year, which Before The Door’s Neal Dodson and Anna Gerb will produce, with FilmNation handling global sales. Bardem is also locking in to go mano a mano with Sean Penn in The Gunman, another project that made waves at Cannes by selling out its foreign territorial allotment. The film is being directed by Pierre Morel and financed by Studio Canal, with Joel Silver and Andrew Rona producing. Bardem excels in these kinds of movies, winning the Oscar for No Country For Old Men, and most recently playing the existentially tortured villain who squared off against 007 in Skyfall. He’s repped by WME and will next be seen in the stellar cast of the Ridley Scott-directed The Counselor, opposite Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz.
Robert Redford may not be eligible for any awards at Cannes this year where his new film, All Is Lost premiered to strong response out of competition on Wednesday night, but if the reaction on the Croisette was any indication, he could be headed for the Oscars. The film, in which Redford is the only actor playing a man stranded at sea when his sailboat springs a huge leak, is a tour de force for the star and it won a 9-minute standing ovation at its debut tonight. Even the return of the rain that has plagued this festival could not put a damper on the mood of the filmmakers, Universal International (releasing overseas) and Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions (releasing domestically on October 18th). It is clearly an awards season play, not only for Redford in a role unlike any he has played but also Oscar nominated writer/director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) who proves his first film was no fluke and shows a remarkable ability to pull off this one-man show with real filmmaking skill.
Here is a first look at Robert Redford battling the elements in All Is Lost, the film scripted and directed J.C. Chandor, who helmed the financial crisis thriller Margin Call.Chandor met Redford at the Sundance Film Festival, and was so taken by the indie film patriarch that he wrote a project specifically for him. And Redford, who can be elusive in committing, stepped up and put himself through quite an ordeal. Deadline was first to reveal this unusual project, which has just wrapped principal photography at Baja Studios in Rosarito, Mexico. It’s a man vs. nature drama, and it’s all Redford, all the time, as he goes Jeremiah Johnson after getting lost at sea and struggling against the elements to stay alive.
From the look of the photo, they put that giant water tank at Baja Studios to good use. Before The Door Pictures’ Neal Dodson and Washington Square Films’ Anna Gerb produced along with Justin Nappi and Teddy Schwarzman. The exec producers are Joshua Blum, Zachary Quinto, Corey Moosa, Cassian Elwes, Laura Rister, Robert Ogden Barnum, Glen Basner and Kevin Turen, a roster much longer than the cast list on this one. FilmNation is handling offshore sales and has already sold out the world, with Universal Pictures International distributing in a large part of the planet. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions will release stateside.
Cari Lynn is a contributor to AwardsLine
Early this autumn, as the Occupy Wall Street movement heated up, writer-director J.C. Chandor was getting nervous. Really nervous. It was only days before the release of his writing and directorial debut, Margin Call, set in 2008 and about a fictitious investment bank discovering it’s the linchpin of the financial crisis. “My fear was that the OWS movement would turn into the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle, where they were breaking windows and burning cars,” Chandor says. “And there’s the old adage about films, that when it’s that too close, no one wants to see it.” Of course, Chandor and his ensemble cast — including Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, and Demi Moore — were relieved that things went “in a Gandhian way,” which, Chandor says,
FilmNation is confirming what Deadline told you last year, that Robert Redford will star as the sole castmember in Margin Call writer and director J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost. FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales starting at the EFM with Lionsgate releasing in the US. Story follows one man’s journey to survive at sea. The film is to begin shooting this summer at Baja Studios in Rosarita Beach, Mexico. Margin Call‘s Neal Dodson will produce under the Before The Door Pictures banner alongside Teddy Schwarzman through his Black Bear Pictures shingle and Justin Nappi from Treehouse Pictures, who are fully financing the project. Before The Door will produce with Anna Gerb and Joshua Blum from Washington Square Films, who were partners on Margin Call. Before The Door’s Zachary Quinto and Corey Moosa, Cassian Elwes, Laura Rister, and Treehouse’s Kevin Turen will executive produce. Elwes and Rister negotiated the financing deals on behalf of the film, along with Alexis Garcia from WME. Redford is repped by lawyer Barry Tyerman and CAA. Chandor is repped by Rob Carlson and Simon Faber at WME.
One of the hot topics of discussion at Sundance has been how viable VOD-centric releases can be in the Oscar race. While independents received 60 nominations this morning, perhaps none will help the VOD cause more than the original screenplay one J.C. Chandor received for Margin Call, the Roadside Attactions release whose VOD performance has spurred a lot of action here in Park City.
EXCLUSIVE: After making his feature directorial debut on the timely financial crisis drama Margin Call, J.C. Chandor is setting up his followup. It’s called All Is Lost, a drama that is described as a man vs. nature drama that takes place on the water. Considering that one of the touchstones used to describe its single character focus is Jeremiah Johnson, it seems appropriate that Robert Redford is in talks to star in the film.
I’ve heard they have scouted Baja Film Studios in Mexico, the place with the giant water tank where James Cameron shot Titanic and where Michael Bay shot much of Pearl Harbor. The hope is to start production by next May. Chandor met Redford at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and was so taken by him that he wrote the movie around him. It’s really a one man show, a heroic character who braves the elements to survive. Like Margin Call, the film will be produced by Zachary Quinto’s Before the Door banner. Glen Basner’s FilmNation has begun making approaches to distributors, as have Cassian Elwes and Laura Lister. Elwes and UTA sold Margin Call at Sundance. Chandor’s repped by WME, Redford by CAA.