Reports are surfacing that DreamWorks is ready to move forward with the authorized version of Martin Luther King‘s life story, the one that MLK’s family is behind and which has the rights to use his copyrighted speeches. They have Jamie Foxx and director Oliver Stone poised for an Any Given Sunday re-team on the project, which they want to do with Warner Bros. All I can think of as director Paul Greengrass and producer Scott Rudin prepare for tomorrow’s opening of Captain Phillips is, Paul, get busy on your MLK film Memphis, because your Oscar-caliber script is just way too good to get relegated to the scrap heap.
I’ve been writing for years about Memphis, Greengrass‘ script about a great man’s final days. It started out at Universal, which put it in turnaround right around the time that the director’s relationship with the studio soured over his unwillingness to do a fourth The Bourne Identity and after he clashed with the studio over the high-budget misfire Green Zone. It became a hot potato project then, when the King family and the activist’s close confidante, Ambassador Andrew Young, objected to it. Among their objections: King is depicted sharing a bed with a woman who was not his wife. The key has always been about opening the film on MLK weekend, and it stalled that first time because they couldn’t set it up again and make it fast enough. They tried again last year, with Veritas in talks to finance with Wild Bunch, but Greengrass instead took on Captain Phillips, the Sony drama about the Somali pirate heist that stars Tom Hanks as Captain Richard Phillips. Rudin joined his Social Network cohorts Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti to deliver a tense, excellent drama.
Related: Opposition To MLK Films Reveals Hard Truths About Biopic Biz
The Memphis script depicts King’s final days as he struggled to organize a protest march on behalf of striking black municipal sanitation workers in Memphis, TN, where he was slain. That storyline is juxtaposed with an intense manhunt for King’s assassin James Earl Ray, involving some of the federal authorities who, at Hoover’s direction, had dogged King’s every step with wiretaps and whispering campaigns before the civil rights leader’s death. The dual narrative is explosive and I don’t know what Kario Salem has written for DreamWorks, but the word biopic makes you worry that it will be reverential and looong. Memphis was a snapshot on parallel with Greengrass’s Bloody Sunday. It is a powerful testament to King’s struggle and his sacrifice, and even if he was portrayed as an imperfect human being, it did not define him. Let’s face it, all those ’60s icons including the Kennedys were not monogamous. READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures and Overbrook Entertainment have set Bobby Cannavale to star in Annie. He joins Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and Rose Byrne in the Will Gluck-directed film. Cannavale is coming off Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine and turned in an epic villain performance in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. He’s Emmy nominated for that and a stint in Showtime’s Nurse Jackie. He will play a bulldog political adviser to Foxx’s character as he makes a mayoral run in New York. The film is set for release Christmas Day 2014.
Gluck is producing with James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Will Smith through Overbrook Entertainment, and by Shawn “JAY Z” Carter, Jay Brown, and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith through Marcy Media. Gluck is currently revising the film’s screenplay, which was written by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna. It’s based on the comic strip and the musical stage play Annie, with book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, and lyrics by Martin Charnin. The film is being overseen at the studio by Andrea Giannetti and Devon Franklin. Read More »
Comic-Con 2013 hasn’t officially launched, but the annual mega-gathering has spawned its first teaser clip. Sony plastered an Amazing Spider-Man 2 ad atop the Nobu restaurant in San Diego, but this … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In the first major deal made by Greg Silverman since he was promoted to run Warner Bros‘ worldwide feature film production arm, the studio has acquired the upcoming S. Craig Zahler crime novel Mean Business On North Ganson Street as a reteam of Django Unchained stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx. Zahler will write the script and DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner Jennifer Davisson Killoran will be the producers. Sarah Schechter is steering it for the studio.
The book is in galleys and in the process of being shopped to publishers. The tale starts off with a bang: DiCaprio is a hardened detective who, after being told by a man that his beautiful wife is missing, tells him she is a hooker who obviously made off with his money. After the man commits a desperate tragic act right in the squad room, the disgraced detective is sent to a hellhole rust belt town called Victory, Missouri, where violent crime is skyrocketing. Partnered with an equally bad-assed detective who was demoted for publicly brutalizing a suspect (Foxx), the new partners get to do some real work. Police officers start showing up dead execution-style, and the cops think it might be open season on Victory’s police department. Read More »
In one of the highlights at Syfy‘s upfront in April, the cable network announced a five-episode horror anthology series executive produced, written and directed by Jamie Foxx. The show, in which the Oscar winner also was … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: At its upfront presentation this evening, Syfy will unveil a high-profile new scripted series from Jamie Foxx and his Foxxhole Prods. The Oscar winner will executive produce, write and direct the five-episode horror anthology series, which will debut during Syfy’s annual 31 Days Of Halloween programming marathon this October. Foxx might also appear on the yet-untitled series, which is produced by Universal Cable Prods.
In the vein of horror classics like Tales From The Crypt and The Twilight Zone, the contemporary series tells creepy morality tales with themes such as envy, jealousy and superficiality. “This is a project that I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I’m so happy to see it come to life,” Foxx said. “Get ready to lose it when some special friends and I bring the scares this October, and who knows… maybe I’ll make a guest appearance or two along the way!” Added Syfy/UCP’s Mark Stern, “Jamie Foxx’s passion and unique perspective will transform these universal insights on the human condition into emotionally potent and truly scary cautionary tales.” Read More »
Academy Awards show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today that Oscar-winning actors Michael Douglas and Jamie Foxx will join Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd as presenters on the Oscars telecast Sunday.
This Jamie Foxx send-up of Tyler Perry in the bomb Alex Cross is deliciously mean since it’s hard for Perry to escape his Madea alter ego:
Here’s the latest theatrical trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. With an all-star cast led by Jamie Fox, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington plus Christoph Waltz, Don Johnson and many others, The Weinstein Company release rolls out December 25th:
UPDATE, 12:50 PM: JFoxx might have given away his new role on his Twitter feed, posting, “Dressed up as Electro for Halloween last night. Costume fits well.”
PREVIOUS, 12:28 PM: Discussions are in the early stages for … Read More »
Sony Pictures’ White House Down has added Jason Clarke to its cast. The actor will play Stenz, the leader of the mercenaries who break into the Executive Mansion in the Roland Emmerich-directed thriller. Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in White House Down, as does Channing Tatum. The Magic Mike star plays the Secret Service agent who tries to stop the mercenaries’ takeover. Jamie Foxx plays the President. Sony bought the James Vanderbilt spec script for $3 million earlier this year. Read More »
Luke Y. Thompson is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of Comic-Con.
Django Unchained a Shaft prequel? Really? There’s one more week of shooting on Django, and they just did scenes with Jonah Hill as a member of the Regulators (the pre-Civil War version of the KKK). Quentin Tarantino said it turned into one of the funniest scenes he’s ever done, which he says is up there with the name-colors conversation in Reservoir Dogs. There is one character in the movie that ties into the larger Tarantino-verse which he’s keeping a surprise, but he says Kerry Washington‘s character Brunhilde von Shaft is, in his mind, an ancestor of John Shaft – this prompted QT to start singing the theme song out loud. The panel was moderated by Anthony Breznican from Entertainment Weekly, who said he needed a whole new level of grandiloquent profanity to describe Django, a “twisted, bloody fairy tale,” before introducing Jamie Foxx, Walton Goggins, Don Johnson (with Jeff Bridges-looking facial hair and gray ponytail), Christoph Waltz (long hair and a bushy white beard that almost looks false, like Santa Claus), Washington, and Tarantino (in a leather jacket, dorky felt fedora, and a T-shirt depicting many of his characters as kids playing in a sandbox).
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Straight off Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino and Jamie Foxx were announced today as presenters for Sunday’s BET Awards. The director and the star join Tyler Perry and Laz Alonzo, who … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company has set Jonah Hill to play a role in Django Unchained, which is in production. I’m trying to find out who he’ll be playing, but am told it won’t be Scotty Harmony, the kid who loses … Read More »
Here’s a first look at still photos from Quentin Tarantino‘s slave drama Django Unchained, which the Weinstein Co is releasing on Christmas Day. Above, Leonardo DiCaprio plays evil plantation owner Calvin Candie. … Read More »
UPDATE: Insiders on Django Unchained said that the talks with Michael Kenneth Williams just won’t work out because of his schedule on Boardwalk Empire. They are scrapping that role completely.
EXCLUSIVE: Michael Kenneth Williams, best known for his work … Read More »
This un-PC video was shown at the start of last month’s American Cinematheque tribute to Robert Downey Jr and features Mel Gibson, Jamie Foxx, and Garry Shandling brainstorming. It’s very inside Hollywood:
EXCLUSIVE: Anthony LaPaglia has joined Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained cast. LaPaglia will play the leader of a group of greedy Australians who encounter slave-turned-bounty hunter Django (Jamie Foxx) as they are escorting a group of slaves recently purchased as fighters. LaPaglia said he and Joseph Gordon-Levitt will play mean brothers, and LaPaglia said he was bowled over by the script. “It’s wildly ambitious and imaginative, deals with that subject matter in a way it hasn’t been dealt with before,” LaPaglia told me. “The way the cast has shaped up, it’s exciting to be involved.” It will be the second film in a row where LaPaglia can readopt the Australian accent he grew up with but dropped for many of his Hollywood roles and the series Without A Trace. He wrapped the PJ Hogan-directed Mental with Toni Collette and Liev Schreiber, a film that LaPaglia said is partly based on the filmmaker’s own experiences. “I play the father, who in real life had committed his mother to a mental institution, who had five kids, picked up a hitchhiker [Collette] on the way back and said, you’re taking care of the kids now.” LaPaglia said Hogan got rights to tunes from The Sound Of Music, and uses them in unexpected ways. “I absolutely assassinate “Edelweiss,” just tear it to shreds so badly that I’m sure Christopher Plummer would have a fit. It was meant to be terrible, and it is.” Read More »