After Dark Films and Chinese drama producer Shenghua Entertainment have established a five-year $50M co-financing pact that will fly under their new Cinelou Films DHJ banner. Under the deal, After Dark’s Courtney Solomon will produce five $7M-$10M pictures over the next 18 months. The first film will be Black List script Cake written by Patrick Tobin and starring Jennifer Aniston who will also exec produce with Shyam Madiraju and Mark Canton. Daniel Barnz is director and We’re Not Brothers’ Ben Barnz, Echo Films’ Kristin Hahn and Solomon are producing. Conquistador Entertainment is handling sales on Cake at the EFM. Click over for full details on Cinelou:
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions are nearing a deal for a tag-team release of Life Of Crime, Daniel Schechter’s black comic adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s book The Switch. The deal will be for U.S. rights and it will be worth several million dollars. I will try to get more specific when it closes. The film stars Jennifer Aniston, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Isla Fisher, Will Forte, Mark Boone Junior, Tim Robbins and John Hawkes. The picture’s World Premiere at Toronto doesn’t happen until Saturday night, when it plays as the closing-night film of the Toronto Film Festival. It has screened for buyers and press and industry.
The film features some of the characters from the Quentin Tarantino-directed Jackie Brown, which was based on the Leonard novel Rum Punch. This one takes place 15 years earlier when career criminals Ordell (Bey) and Louis (Hawkes) team up to kidnap the wife (Aniston) of a corrupt Detroit real estate developer (Robbins). The husband refuses to pay the ransom for his wife’s return and the ex-cons are forced to figure out a Plan B to get paid.
Lionsgate and Roadside have done several successful collaborations that include Margin Call and Arbitrage, and Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. Those are among the most successful multi-platform releases, but I’m hearing this will likely be a theatrical release. There is certainly a strong cast here. Schechter told me recently that he wrote the script on spec and then was invited by the author (his idol) to hunt down the rights to The Switch because he and Michael Siegel couldn’t remember where they were. Two years later, Schechter collared those rights and got Leonard’s blessing to move forward. Schechter was eager to show the film to Leonard but the author died at 87 a week before Schechter got the film finished. Leonard would have been in attendance at Saturday’s premiere as well.
As Adaptation Of Elmore Leonard Classic Heads For Toronto, Its Director Laments That His Idol Won’t Be There To See It
EXCLUSIVE: Like so many directors with Toronto-bound films, writer/director Daniel Schechter has been in a race to finish Life Of Crime, his adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel The Switch. Schechter was particularly in a hurry because the 87-year old Leonard’s health was shaky and he was eager to see the movie after giving a free option to a relative newcomer who was crazy enough to adapt the novel on spec and then clean up rights issues that led all the way to France. Sadly, Schechter didn’t get done in time to show his literary idol the film that will be the closing night Gala Premiere at Toronto, starring Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Mos Def, Tim Robbins, Isla Fisher and Will Forte.
“I would read his novels and to me it was like sheet music, where I would say, I know I can play that piece,” Schechter told me. “So I did a foolish thing. I adapted his book on spec, even though the only research I did was that I didn’t find it on IMDB. I transcribed a very good book into a script, felt I’d made some clever editorial decisions, and sent it in a Hail Mary pass to Elmore’s manager Michael Siegel. He took a shining to it, but didn’t know who owned the rights because it predated him.”
Monica Corcoran Harel is contributing to Deadline’s Oscar coverage.
As I like to say, you’re only as good as your last gown. And while no one really spilled blood on the red carpet at the Oscars, a few actresses missed the mark today. Mostly because they just didn’t seem to care enough or try very hard. Jennifer Aniston’s matronly tomato-red Valentino reminded me of a sad little bowl of vanilla ice cream when I’m on a PMS snack binge. Yawn. The classic silhouette also called for more effort with her hair and makeup. She looked like she came straight from Zuma Beach. Kristen Stewart’s cream strapless Reem Acra gown felt like a wishy-washy afterthought for the edgy, young star who fronts for Balenciaga. She appeared sullen, like she was heading for an arranged marriage.
Related: Oscars Fashion: Who Wore What?
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.
Berlin: K5 To Start Sales On Jennifer Aniston, Mark Duplass, Ben Kingsley Romantic Comedy ‘Convention’
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s another package that’s come together just ahead of the EFM. K5 International will start sales and CAA and ICM Partners will co-rep North American rights in Berlin on Convention, the second feature from A Many Splintered Thing director Justin Reardon. Jennifer Aniston, Mark Duplass and Ben Kingsley are attached to star in the romantic comedy that shoots this summer. A Charlie Kaufman-esque mind-bender, the premise finds mild-mannered Paul (Duplass) and his feisty sister Abby (Aniston) setting out to change the box storage world with Paul’s invention of the 5-sided box. Kingsley plays a maniacal box magnate who seeks to thwart Paul and Abby’s success. Meanwhile, the invention also risks ripping a giant hole in the fabric of the universe. When Paul realizes the damage he’s causing, he races against time to put the galaxy back in order and save the girl of his dreams.
Reardon is best known as the co-creator and art director for Budweiser’s Wassup! and Howyadoin’ campaigns. He’s just finished production on his feature debut, A Many Splintered Thing, with Chris Evans, Michelle Monaghan, Giovanni Ribisi, Topher Grace and Luke Wilson. Reardon will shoot Convention in the summer from a script by Christopher Painter who’s done TV work on toons like The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and Tom And Jerry Tales. Paul Schiff (Rushmore) and Tai Duncan (Red Machine, The Air I Breathe) are producing.
K5 Partners Oliver Simon and Daniel Baur say, “We have an absolute dream cast for this dream comedy concept. It brings to mind films like Being John Malkovich, and Eternal Sunshine, and in Justin Reardon we have a wildly talented and totally visionary director.”
Will Poulter has joined the cast of We’re The Millers. The actor joins Jennifer Aniston and SNL’s Jason Sudeikis in the film. Poulter, who starts shooting on the movie on July 18, plays “Kenny” a teen …
Summer In February
Speranza13 Media, the new sales company run by Camela Galano, has taken on international rights to Summer In February starring Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens along with Dominic Cooper and Emily Browning. Janette Day and Pippa Cross of CrossDay Productions are producing with Jeremy Cowdrey of Apart Films. Sales will start next week in Cannes on the period love triangle shot in Cornwall, England and directed by Christopher Menaul.
Richard Ayoade’s comedy will start principal photography May 20. The Submarine director’s second film is inspired by Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novella. Ayoade and Avi Korine wrote the script about an insignificant man driven to near breakdown by the appearance of his doppelganger. Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Yasmin Paige, Noah Taylor and James Fox star. Amina Dasmal and Robin Fox of Alcove Entertainment are producing. Protagonist is handling international sales. Studiocanal has already acquired UK rights. Mars has France, Golden Scene has Hong Kong, Rialto has Switzerland and Lusomundo has Portugal.
Has Jennifer Aniston found her Beaches? The actress is attached to star in Miss You Already, a comedy/drama that follows a pair of lifelong best friends whose relationship gets torn to bits when one becomes pregnant and the other sick. Paul Andrew Williams is directing and co-wrote the script with Morwenna Banks. The film will shoot in London in summer 2012. Samantha Horley, whose UK-based The Salt Company is exec producing and handling international sales, tells me “The idea is that it’s Beaches set in a glossy London, it’s a real old-fashioned tearjerker.” Discussions are underway to cast Aniston’s partner. Horley says the character will be British, although it’s not yet sure if the actress will be. Entertainment One has acquired UK, Canada and Australia rights.
Here’s the trailer out today for Universal’s Wanderlust, the comedy that stars Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd who end up in a commune. David Wain directed, and it’s from Apatow Prods. The movie due for release on February 24, 2012.
Robert Downey Jr. Asks Hollywood To ‘Forgive’ Mel Gibson While Accepting American Cinematheque Award
The American Cinematheque tribute to Robert Downey Jr last night held might have been unthinkable just a few years ago when the actor was hopelessly hooked on drugs, destroying his career and winding up in prison. But if there is anything Hollywood loves, it is redemption – and a second (or third or fourth) chance. That’s something Downey received and ran with largely thanks to his wife Susan who put him on the right course and hasn’t let him fall off since. With a hot career thanks to a second Oscar nomination for Tropic Thunder and blockbuster franchises like Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes, Downey not only turned around his career, he fixed his life and now he’s reaping the rewards as evidenced by the great turnout on Friday night at the Beverly Hilton. But the evening took a serious turn when Downey made an impassioned plea to Hollywood to “forgive” his friend Mel Gibson who was on hand to present him with the award. “Unless you are without sin – and if you are, you are in the wrong [expletive] industry, you should forgive him and let him work,” Downey said to much applause.
The undisputed highlight of the night came when previously unannounced guest Mel Gibson appeared. Gibson and Downey Jr co-starred in Air America and Gibson’s unwavering support of Downey during his darkest hours was well-documented at the time. Gibson brought up Downey to accept the award to a standing ovation and said, “He taught me many things and I will use the ‘C’ word, courage. There’s nothing so much wrong with him. Of course you have to worry about the guy making the judgement here. He’s a good dude with a good heart.”
“This is my fuckin’ time,” Downey said. “Mel and I have the same lawyer, same publicist and same shrink. I couldn’t get hired and he cast me. He said if I accepted responsibility – he called it hugging the cactus – long enough, my life would take meaning. And if he helped me, I would help the next guy. But it was not reasonable to assume the next guy would be him.” Downey then went to on to hug Gibson and urge people to let Mel continue his career without shame.
It was a star-studded event, to be sure. Jack Black called Downey a “stone cold stud muffin” while Michael Douglas (looking great) said working with Robert Downey Jr on The Wonder Boys was “something special.
When Horrible Bosses passed the $100 million worldwide gross mark recently, it became the eighth film in the last eight years to hit that milestone with Jennifer Aniston in a starring role. Right now, only a few actresses mean much at the box office, a list that includes Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon and Katherine Heigl. Has Aniston quietly joined that group?
While Aniston hasn’t had to carry all of those films, her worldwide gross track record compares favorably to the other actresses over the same eight-year period. Aside from Horrible Bosses, Just Go With It, The Bounty Hunter, He’s Just Not That Into You, Marley & Me, The Break-Up, Along Came Polly and Bruce Almighty all passed the $100 million mark worldwide. Over the same corresponding period, only Jolie had that many cross the $100 million WW mark. I didn’t count animated films, but for Jolie I did include Beowulf, because she gave a performance that was converted to performance capture format. Jolie’s other films that passed $100 million worldwide in the last eight years: The Tourist, Salt, Wanted, Changeling, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Alexander, and the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider sequel.
Roberts had six films cross $100 million worldwide in the last eight years: Eat Pray Love, Valentine’s Day, Charlie Wilson’s War, Ocean’s 12, Closer and Mona Lisa Smile. Earlier in her career, her films routinely became blockbusters, when she was clearly Hollywood’s top actress.
Streep, who’s in her 60s, has become as bankable as any female star this side of Jolie. She has had five films cross $100 million in worldwide grosses in the last eight years: It’s Complicated, Julie & Julia, Mamma Mia!, The Devil Wears Prada and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Heigl had four of her films cross $100 million worldwide, all since her movie career was launched by 2007′s Knocked Up. Since that movie crossed $100 million WW, 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth and Life As We Know It also passed the mark, and Killers barely missed.