UPDATE, THURSDAY AM: As the Berlin Film Festival kicks off today, Sony Pictures Classics has confirmed its acquisition of all U.S. and Latin American rights to competition title, Aloft. This is Milk Of Sorrow helmer Claudia Llosa’s first English-language film. It screens next Wednesday. The deal was negotiated by executive producer Mark Johnson, Dreamcatchers’ Marina Fuentes and SPC.
PREVIOUS, WEDNESDAY PM, EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Classics is closing on a deal to release Aloft, the film that premieres in competition at the Berlin Film Festival. The picture is directed by Claudia Llosa, whose last film The Milk Of Sorrow won the Golden Bear Prize at Berlin. The picture stars Jennifer Connelly, Cillian Murphy and Melanie Laurent.
Told in two different periods, the film stars Connelly as a struggling mother of two young sons who becomes a renowned artist and healer. Years later, a journalist (Laurent) tracks down the son she abandoned, and sets up a meeting between them. Murphy plays the son as an adult. The film is produced by Iban Cormenzana, Mark Johnson, Phyllis Laing, Jose Maria Morales, and Jerome Vidal. Here’s a clip:
We’re in the midst of the annual ritual of broadcast casting executives chasing their tails, also known as casting the leads of dozens of network pilots at the same time. As usual, many pilots go after the same names, resulting in a few actors holding a slew of offers thus bringing pilot season to a standstill.
Related: Primetime Pilot Panic Listings
Last year, Damages‘ Rose Byrne was the focus of attention with virtually every pilot vying for her, but she ended up passing on all. Actresses receiving multiple offers early on this season but not yet committing include Jennifer Connelly, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Diane Lane, Maria Bello, Hilary Swank, Octavia Spencer, Felicity Huffman, Kyra Sedgwick, Sarah Chalke and Elizabeth Banks. We already had a very elusive leading lady, Tea Leoni, locked in for a pilot, CBS drama Madam Secretary, with popular pilot targets Jack Davenport, Jennifer Carpenter (both on ABC’s Sea Of Fire) and David Schwimmer (ABC’s Irreversible) also spoken for. Several usual suspects, including Ellie Kemper and Natasha Lyonne, got an early jump by attaching themselves to projects (NBC’s Tina Fey/Robert Carlock series for Kemper, the Amy Poehler pilot for Lyonne).
Related: PILOT SEASON: Walls Of Vertical Integration Fall Down … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Jennifer Connelly is in talks to reunite with A Beautiful Mind scribe Akiva Goldsman as she joins the cast of his directorial debut, Winter’s Tale. The Warner Bros film, based on the Mark Helprin novel, is about a dying young woman (Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay) who falls in love with a thief (Colin Farrell) who breaks into her palatial home on Manhattan’s West Side. Connelly will join her A Beautiful Mind and Noah co-star Russell Crowe, in a cast that features William Hurt, Will Smith, Matt Bomer, Lucy Griffiths and Eva Marie Saint. Connelly is repped by CAA and The Schiff Company.
Deadline three times has mentioned Jennifer Connelly as being the frontrunner to re-team with A Beautiful Mind‘s Russell Crowe and play his wife in Noah, the Darren Aronofsky-directed Biblical epic that also will star Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth. Sure enough, now reports are surfacing that she’ll play the role. I’m not sure how much competition she had since the first time Deadline reported it on June 4. She was the only name we heard being taken seriously.
Cari Ross, the New York-based publicist who just left ID-PR after eight years as senior vice president, has established her new company. It will be called Balance Public Relations, and her clients include Jennifer Connelly, Alyson Hannigan, Salma Hayek, Julianna Margulies, Dylan McDermott, Arian Moayed, Sarah Paulson, Paul Schneider and Save the Children.
EXCLUSIVE: Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas is joining 3 Arts as a manager/producer, returning to the rep business after 11 years. Once a high-powered dealmaker at ICM best known for guiding Julia Roberts from unknown to $20 million a picture as the world’s biggest female star, Goldsmith-Thomas left ICM in 2000 to run Revolution Studios East for Joe Roth and supervise films under Roberts’ production deal there. She has been a full-time producer since Revolution folded. An agent for more than 15 years at WMA and ICM, Goldsmith-Thomas also repped Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Connelly, Madonna and Darren Star.
The obvious question is whether she will be rejoined by Roberts, who went to CAA not long after Goldsmith-Thomas left. Goldsmith-Thomas said she comes to 3 Arts without any clients. While producing, she continued to give career advice when asked, but referred talent to agencies and management companies for years even as people asked why she wasn’t building a client list. She decided months ago to explore a return but was reticent to resurface as an agent. It would be hard returning to a job she left behind, and she never liked the poaching part of that game. She also didn’t want to give up producing, which agents can’t do. After meeting with 3 Arts’ Erwin Stoff, Goldsmith-Thomas felt she’d found the right fit. She will operate out of the management/production company’s New York base, where Richard Abate manages authors and runs the book department and Avi Gilbert manages stand-up comics.
“I’ve always loved the architecture of careers, and I missed working with colleagues in breaking down walls that have gotten thicker,” Goldsmith-Thomas told me. “I think it’s a mistake when people try to re-create the same career they had. I love what I’m doing now, and I see this as a complement.” Read More »