Oscars producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have completed their roster of presenters for Sunday’s show with a pair of Hollywood heavyweights. Three-time Academy Award winner Jack Nicholson last presented a montage of previous Best Picture winners at the 80th Academy Awards in 2008. He’ll be back on stage this Sunday as will two-time winner Dustin Hoffman, who last handed out a prize in 2006. The official release follows:
EXCLUSIVE: After a long search, Warren Beatty has chosen Like Crazy star Felicity Jones to play the female lead in the untitled film about reclusive industrialist Howard Hughes. The film is still mobilizing its financing, with New Regency in place as a co-financier after Paramount dropped out. Still, Beatty has begun casting, and he met with many young actresses before deciding on Jones. Her breakthrough came in the Drake Doremus-directed Like Crazy, which has been slowly rolling out in release through Paramount Vantage. The film was acquired by Paramount and Indian Paintbrush when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to high acclaim last January.
Jones will play a young woman who develops a relationship with Hughes’s young driver and confidante, before she falls in love with Hughes. Beatty, who’ll direct and who wrote the script, will play Hughes. He’s narrowing choices for the young male lead, and I’ve heard names ranging from Justin Timberlake to Alden Ehrenreich. Also in the mix for roles are Annette Bening, and potentially Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin and Owen Wilson. The film, which Beatty has been working on for years, is expected to start production sometime next year. CAA-repped Jones recently completed another movie directed by Like Crazy‘s Doremus. It shot last summer, and is currently untitled.
EXCLUSIVE: Twilight Saga star Peter Facinelli is producing an adaptation of Street Soldier: My Life as an Enforcer For Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob, an adaptation of the Edward MacKenzie and Phyllis Karas book. Facinelli Films is teamed with Brookstreet Pictures on an indie film that will tell the story of Bulger’s rise and disappearance from the Boston mob scene. While Bulger was said to have informed the character that Jack Nicholson played in The Departed, his tale has drawn film interest after he was apprehended in Santa Monica after vanishing in 1994 as federal agents were about to arrest him in connection with 21 killings, racketeering and other crimes perpetrated in the 70s and 80s involving his Winter Hill gang.
Fortunately for Facinelli, he got involved nine months ago and has a Nick Gordon script and funding commitment from Brookstreet Pictures. He wants to tell the story from the vantage point of MacKenzie, a boxer, drug dealer and feared enforcer. They will go out to filmmakers and a cast. “With the extraordinary capture of Whitey Bulger, there is no better time to tell this amazing story of the Boston Irish Mob from the gripping perspective of Eddie Mac,” said Brookstreet president/CEO Trevor Matthews, who’ll produce with Facinelli, Rob DeFranco and Alison Haskovec. Brookstreet previously produced Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer and The Shrine. Gersh’s Jay Cohen and the …
Deadline told you Monday that Warren Beatty was getting behind the camera for the first time since Bulworth. Paramount and Beatty are keeping details under wraps, but here’s what I’ve heard: He will play Howard Hughes, but it’s not really a biopic; part of the plot involves an affair he had with a young woman in the later years of his life. I’ve heard that he’s going top shelf for the ensemble cast he is putting together. Here is who he’s meeting with: Andrew Garfield, Alec Baldwin, Annette Bening, Shia La Beouf, Jack Nicholson, Evan Rachel Wood and Rooney Mara. Beatty has wanted to play Hughes forever. The courtship of Baldwin is particularly intriguing, since in Martin Scorsese’s superb Howard Hughes movie The Aviator, Baldwin played Hughes’ main adversary, Pan Am World Airways founder Juan Trippe. We’ll see which actors end up making the movie, but it certainly sounds like this project that Beatty wrote and has ruminated on for years is going to happen in a most ambitious way.
EXCLUSIVE: Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class writer/director/producer Matthew Vaughn tells me that a major Hollywood studio is very keen to fully fund his next big project: The Golden Age about a retirement home where superheroes end up. And the title is also a reference to early comic books of the 1930s when Superman and Batman first appeared. It’s based on the yet-to-be-published comic book written by Brit TV chat show host Jonathan Ross, who’s a huge comics buff. Vaughn is currently in LA editing X-Men: First Class for Fox, but tells me he wants to get actors attached to the new project before the script is written. His wish list is Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, and Warren Beatty to play the retired superheroes who help out their grandchildren when their middle-aged parent screw up the world.
Vaughn believes the success of The Expendables and Red shows that audiences are open to the idea of older action heroes. “You have these great star names and they’re mainly playing supporting roles now. I want to give them the lead again and let them have some fun.”
It’s not certain whether Vaughn’s partner Jane Goldman, who has co-written X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass for Vaughn to direct, will be penning this one, though. Vaughn says he may hire other writers. And he may not direct it himself either. He may produce The Golden Age. Vaughn started out in life as Guy Ritchie’s producer and then turned director.
Turf, Ross’s gangsters-versus-vampires comic book drawn by Tommy Lee Edwards, is up to issue 3 in its 5-part …
EXCLUSIVE: It’s almost like the Sundance Film Festival has started, with all the advance acquisition activity. A&E IndieFilm just acquired TV rights to Corman’s World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel, the documentary about low-budget independent icon Roger Corman. A&E becomes an investor in a film that will still be shopped for feature rights, much the way that A&E was a ground floor participant in The Tillman Story, the documentary acquired for theatrical release by The Weinstein Company after its Sundance premiere. Corman will be on hand for Friday night’s world premiere in Park City.
Directed by Alex Stapleton, Corman’s World focuses on Corman’s prolific film output, and also careers that launched in his low-budget factory that include James Cameron, Jack Nicholson, Ron Howard, Francis Coppola, Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jonathan Demme and Martin Scorsese. Many of them tell their stories in the documentary. Howard once told me that at the height of his American Graffiti and Happy Days fame, he went to Corman to horse trade for the chance to direct. He agreed to star in Corman’s Eat My Dust in exchange for the chance to be a second unit director or more, on a future project. Corman rejected a bunch of Howard’s ideas, but while testing titles for Eat My Dust, Corman told Howard that another title, Grand Theft Auto, was an audience pleaser. Howard rushed to fashion a car-crash comedy around it, turning in an outline the next day. …
Pete Segal has made a deal to direct Grudge Match, a Tim Kelleher-scripted comedy about two bitter rivals who are coaxed back into the ring for a grudge match — 50 years after they fought for the title. Billy Gerber and Mark Steven Johnson are producing. On the internet, they are trying to line up the fight card with the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro. Too obvious. I say, go back to the Bucket List tandem of Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Actually, insiders said that the characters are in their 60s. Segal last directed 2008′s Get Smart, and if this movie happens, I’m not sure when they will be sounding the bell for that sequel.
James L. Brooks is back with How Do You Know, a relationship comedy from Sony Pictures that reunites Brooks with Jack Nicholson. Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson also star. The film opens December 17.