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Universal Moves Justin Lin’s ‘Bourne’ Sequel To 2016

By | Wednesday June 18, 2014 @ 11:12am PDT

Universal Moves Justin Lin’s ‘Bourne’ Sequel To 2016Justin Lin (Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6) is still directing the fifth installment of Universal’s Bourne franchise, but it won’t be hitting theaters next summer after all. The studio has pushed back the untitled Bourne sequel nearly a year from August 14, 2015 to July 15, 2016.  In its place on the schedule Universal today also slated the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton.

Universal100thanniversary2012logoSo far Uni’s only competition that weekend is another blockbuster five-quel: Fox’s Ice Age 5. Jeremy Renner is set to return as super spy Aaron Cross, with Frank Marshall producing again alongside Jeffrey Weiner and Ben Smith for Captivate Entertainment. Lin is also producing for Perfect Storm Entertainment. He was hired last November to helm the film. Bourne Legacy grossed $276 million worldwide in 2012 and introduced Renner’s new protagonist to the franchise based on Robert Ludlum’s novels.

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Hot Trailer: Jeremy Renner In ‘Kill The Messenger’

By | Friday May 30, 2014 @ 1:55pm PDT

Here’s our first look at Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb, the real-life journalist who wound up on the business end of an ugly CIA smear campaign. The Pulitzer winner reported on the agency’s alleged involvement in launching America’s crack epidemic, reporting that it was aware of major dealers who were smuggling cocaine into the U.S., and using the profits to arm Nicaraguan rebels. Director Michael Cuesta‘s Kill The Messenger also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Tim Blake Nelson, Barry Pepper, Oliver Platt, Michael Sheen, Paz Vega, Michael Kenneth Williams, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Andy Garcia. Peter Landesman wrote the script for the thriller, which Focus Features will release October 10. Check it out:

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Cannes: Demarest Films, Kilburn Media Partner With Jeremy Renner’s The Combine

jeremy rennerIn what Demarest Films and Kilburn Media say is the first of several new joint ventures, the pair has entered an overall deal with Jeremy Renner and Don Handfield’s The Combine. The pact will cover the film and TV production company’s overhead costs and provide it with a fund for acquisition and development of new projects. In exchange, Demarest and Kilburn get first look at producing and financing the shingle’s projects. The Combine produced Kill The Messenger with Bluegrass Films; Focus is releasing the anticipated Michael Cuesta-directed drama Cannes2014_badgein October. The Combine is also developing Slingshot with FilmNation and Endgame Entertainment as a starring vehicle for Renner, and King Of Heists with Black Bear Pictures. On the TV and digital side, it recently sold feature The Throwaways to multi-platform network Crackle. Demarest principals Sam Englebardt and William D Johnson, and Mark Manuel and Ted O’Neal of Kilburn will work side-by-side with Renner and Handfield who founded The Combine in 2011 and previously had a first-look deal with Indian Paintbrush. CAA brokered the deal with Demarest Films and Kilburn Media on behalf of The Combine.

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Ray Liotta Joins ‘Kill The Messenger’

By | Thursday August 15, 2013 @ 10:34am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Ray Liotta has signed on to play a pivotal role in Kill The Messenger, the Michael Cuesta-directed drama about Gary Webb, the journalist who bared a CIA link to coke trafficking in the US as a way to funnel money to the Nicaraguan Contras. Webb was subsequently discredited by a smear campaign which ruined him and he eventually committed suicide. Jeremy Renner plays Webb, and Liotta will play a retired CIA agent who is secretly interviewed by the journalist and who corroborates the CIA’s involvement. Liotta most recently starred in The Iceman and The Place Beyond The Pines. He’ll next be seen in The Identical with Ashley Judd, Muppets Most Wanted and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. He is repped by UTA and Untitled.

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New ‘Bourne’ Chapter In Works At Universal For Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross Character

By | Friday August 2, 2013 @ 11:53am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is getting the wheels moving on a fifth installment of The Bourne Identity franchise. I’ve heard that studio has hired Anthony Peckham to script a film that is designed to continue the storyline of Aaron Cross, the character that Jeremy Renner played in the 2012 Tony Gilroy-directed Bourne Legacy. Cross was among a group of agents who took part in Operation Outcome. Medically enhanced to be smarter and physically superior, the agents were targeted for termination. Renner starred with Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton. Frank Marshall and Captivate Entertainment’s Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner are producing the new one.

This is all early days, but the studio wants to continue to build the spinoff character and storyline hatched by Tony Gilroy, who was so important in establishing Matt Damon‘s Jason Bourne character in those early films from the books by the late Robert Ludlum. It doesn’t sound like they’ve made headway with Damon about a reprise (he has said he won’t do it without Paul Greengrass, and doesn’t know where the character goes after regaining the memory loss that came back by the end of the third film). Universal, which has a seventh installment of all time top grossing The Fast And The Furious in the works as well as new installments of The Mummy and Jurassic Park, counts Bourne as … Read More »

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Oliver Platt, Andy Garcia, Tim Blake Nelson Round Out Cast Of Scott Stuber-Produced ‘Kill The Messenger’

Mike Fleming

Production has begun in Atlanta, Georgia on Kill the Messenger. Focus Features holds worldwide theatrical rights to the true-life dramatic thriller, which will be released in 2014. Focus CEO James Schamus and co-CEO Andrew Karpen made the announcement today.

Two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner stars as Gary Webb, the real-life dedicated reporter for The San Jose Mercury-News. In the 1990s, Webb uncovered the Central Intelligence Agency’s role in importing cocaine into California that was sold to raise money for the Nicaraguan Contras rebel army. Supported by his wife and children, Webb pursued the story and went public with his evidence. When targeted for a vicious smear campaign by the CIA and rival journalists, Webb found himself fighting for his reputation and his family.

Joining Mr. Renner in the cast are Josh Close (of The Master), Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married), Academy Award nominee Andy Garcia, Lucas Hedges (Focus’ Moonrise Kingdom), Tim Blake Nelson (Lincoln), Robert Patrick (True Blood), Emmy Award winner Barry Pepper, Screen Actors Guild Award nominee Oliver Platt, Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon), Paz Vega (I’m So Excited!), Michael Kenneth Williams (Boardwalk Empire), and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The Spectacular Now).

Read More »

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Mary Elizabeth Winstead Joins ‘Kill The Messenger’

EXCLUSIVE: Having just signed on to two new indie roles earlier this month, Mary Elizabeth Winstead has further added to her dance card and joined the Michael Cuesta-helmed Kill The Messenger. The actress will play Dawn Garcia in the true-story thriller about journalist Gary Webb and his suicide after being smeared for stories he wrote linking the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California. Winstead’s character is the editor of the San Jose Mercury News, where Webb worked. The Avengers’ Jeremy Renner plays Webb. Rosemarie DeWitt is also in the film as is Barry Pepper. Peter Landesman wrote the screenplay for the pic, to which Focus Features picked up worldwide rights ahead of Berlin.  Scott Stuber’s Bluegrass Films is producing with Landesman, Renner and Naomi Despres. Winstead is repped by WME, Anonymous Content, and Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein.

Related: Barry Pepper Joins Jeremy Renner Pic ‘Kill The Messenger’

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Barry Pepper Joins Jeremy Renner Pic ‘Kill The Messenger’

By | Friday July 12, 2013 @ 7:59pm PDT

Fresh off roles in The Lone Ranger and Snitch, Barry Pepper has signed for Michael Cuesta’s fact-based pic about a CIA smear campaign that led to a Pulitzer-winning journalist’s downfall. In Kill The Messenger, Pepper will play federal prosecutor Russell Dodson, who is tasked with keeping a lid on the agency’s connection to the massive influx of cocaine into the U.S. by Nicaraguan contras. He tries to prevent investigative reporter Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) from running a series of newspaper articles about the case. Focus Features picked up worldwide rights to the pic ahead of Berlin. Production starts Monday in Atlanta. Pepper, whose credits range from Saving Private Ryan to playing Dale Earnhardt in a TV biopic to True Grit, is repped by the Kohner Agency and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.

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Rosemarie DeWitt To Star Opposite Jeremy Renner In ‘Kill The Messenger’

By | Friday June 28, 2013 @ 2:25pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Rosemarie DeWitt is in final negotiations to play the female lead in Kill The Messenger, the true-story thriller about journalist Gary Webb, a San Jose Mercury News reporter who committed suicide after being the target of a smear campaign when he linked the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California. Jeremy Renner will play Webb, and Michael Cuesta is directing the Peter Landesman script. Focus Features acquired the pic in February and is releasing it worldwide. Rehearsals start next month. Landesman, Renner’s shingle The Combine, Scott Stuber’s Bluegrass Films and Naomi Despres are producing. On the film side, DeWitt recently starred opposite Matt Damon and John Krasinski in Focus’ Promised Land and in the Sundance pic Touch Feely from writer-director Lynn Shelton, starring as a massage therapist who suddenly develops an aversion to human touch. DeWitt is repped by CAA and Wishlab Inc.

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UPDATE: Jeremy Renner’s ‘Kill The Messenger’ Acquired By Focus Features For WW Distribution On Journo Gary Webb Saga

By | Tuesday February 5, 2013 @ 9:30am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE UPDATE, 9:30 AM: Just after Jeremy Renner and Homeland exec producer/director Michael Cuesta came aboard Kill The Messenger, the film has formalized a deal for Focus Features to take worldwide rights. Focus will distribute in the U.S., and Focus Features International’s Allison Thompson will sell foreign in Berlin this week. This development isn’t a shock, considering that Scott Stuber set it up years ago at his home studio Universal, and it is an excellent fit at Focus. The film is about journalist Gary Webb and how his mostly accurate investigative report on how the CIA helped introduce crack to California got the journalist smeared and fired. He eventually committed suicide.

EARLIER, JANUARY 31 PM: The movie packages are coming together on the eve of next week’s Berlin film market. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters star Jeremy Renner has been set to star in Kill The Messenger, a thriller that Michael Cuesta will direct that is based on the tragic tale of a journalist who committed suicide after being smeared by the CIA. The script was written by Peter Landesman. Cuesta seems perfect for this; he’s an exec producer and has directed numerous episodes of Homeland and has been integral in establishing the visual look of that show. He also helmed the pilots for Dexter and Elementary.

Scott Stuber, who set up this project eight years ago as producer at Universal, will be joined by Renner and Don Handfield, and it will be a co-production between Stuber’s Bluegrass and Renner’s The Combine. Naomi Despres is also producing. The film begins production in the summer. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’ Red Band

The latest trailer for Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters dropped today. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star in this dark, new twist on the classic Grimm tale. The pic opens January 25 from Paramount via MGM.

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Salma Hayek, Jeremy Renner Named Spirit Awards Co-Chairs

By | Friday January 4, 2013 @ 10:41am PST

Film Independent announced today that Salma Hayek and Jeremy Renner will serve as honorary co-chairs for the 2013 Spirit Awards. The honor is bestowed on those who exemplify outstanding artistic achievement and embody Film Independent’s mission to nurture and support independent filmmaking. Hayek and Renner will attend the Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch on January 12 at BOA restaurant in West Hollywood where they will announce Film Independent’s grant winners for 2013. The 28th Film Independent Spirit Awards will be handed out at a daytime luncheon in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica on Saturday, February 23 with the premiere broadcast airing later that evening at 10 PM on IFC.

Related: Andy Samberg To Host Spirit Awards

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AFM: Al Pacino, Jeremy Renner, Julianne Moore Star In Dan Fogelman-Helmed ‘Imagine’

By | Tuesday October 23, 2012 @ 10:58am PDT
Mike Fleming

Al Pacino Imagine MovieBREAKING: In what will be one of the hot packages at the upcoming AFM, Inimitable Pictures and Mister Smith Entertainment are teaming for Imagine. Dan Fogelman will direct his script and Al Pacino, Jeremy Renner and Julianne Moore will star. Denise DiNovi, who teamed with Fogelman on Crazy, Stupid, Love, will produce alongside Jessie Nelson and Nimitt Mankad, and Shivani Rawat exec producing.

Jeremy Renner Imagine MovieThis is the script that Fogelman originally sold for $3 million to Warner Bros with Steve Carell attached. It will instead be funded independently by Inimitable Pictures’ Mankad and Rawat through a film fund backed by Manoj Bhargava, founder of the 5 Hour Energy drink. Principal photography will commence late April/early May 2013.

Julianne Moore Imagine MovieDavid Garrett’s Mister Smith Entertainment will oversee international licensing and distribution for the film, starting at AFM. WME Global, which made the deal with the agreement with Mister Smith, will handle the domestic deal.

Pacino will play an aging 1970s rock star who is still packing arenas and living a decadent life with a girlfriend way too young for him. On his 64th birthday, he discovers an undelivered letter written to his 19-year-old self from his hero John Lennon. He decides to straighten out, stop making a living off by “selling out” and playing old anthems, and rediscover the music he originally set out to make. He also tries to reconnect with the 40-year-old son he’s never known (Renner). He moves into a small New Jersey hotel and befriends the hotel’s manager (Moore). The rocker’s hope: that despite the rough journey, Lennon’s message that love is all that matters will ring true at the end. Read More »

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‘Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters’ Moves To January 25, 2013

By | Thursday October 11, 2012 @ 6:05pm PDT

Paramount Pictures and MGM’s Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters has shifted to January 25, 2013 from January 11. The movie will also be released in 3D and IMAX. It’s directed by directed by Tommy Wirkola and stars Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton and Famke Janssen. Hansel And Gretel shares its new date with Relativity’s Movie 43 and FilmDistrict’s Parker and steers clear of Warner Bros’ Gangster Squad and Lionsgate’s Stand Up Guys on January 11.

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Mike Fleming’s Q&A With ‘Bourne Legacy’ Helmer Tony Gilroy

By | Monday August 6, 2012 @ 2:14pm PDT
Mike Fleming

The Bourne Identity is the rare tent pole trilogy. It generated three films that set the high bar for the espionage genre, despite rampant creative clashes that go back to the first film, which was started by Doug Liman (who didn’t return). Key to the construction of Bourne’s complex mythology all along has been Tony Gilroy, who stripped away most of Robert Ludlum dense original book and boiled it down to an amnesiac assassin’s challenge to rediscover his identity and humanity. While that narrative arc propelled the film through three installments, Gilroy along the way stopped talking to director Paul Greengrass. And while Gilroy has screen credit on all three Bourne films, Matt Damon very uncharacteristically went out of his way to diss Gilroy’s script for The Bourne Ultimatum. At present, neither Greengrass nor Damon want anything more to do with Bourne.

This week, Gilroy returns as writer/director of the spinoff The Bourne Legacy. Focusing on an illicit CIA Treadstone offshoot that genetically enhances the killing skills of a small group of operatives, Gilroy introduces Jeremy Renner as new protagonist Aaron Cross. That character’s arc is woven into several plot lines from the last movie, something that expands Bourne’s universe to the point where another Bourne film could certainly be possible. In a wide ranging interview, Gilroy talks about that challenge, why the mid-budget thriller game that built his career is facing extinction, why screenwriters are so slighted, and how all Hollywood processes the Aurora, Colorado massacre, wondering if movies should be less violent.

DEADLINE: The Bourne Ultimatum ended with Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass bowing out, and then Damon disparaged your Bourne Ultimatum script. And here you’ve come back with a spinoff film that expands the universe and makes a Jason Bourne return more plausible. Given all the past acrimony, what drew you back?

GILROY: I didn’t feel that acrimony. I turned in a draft of Ultimatum and it got green lit, and then I went off and directed Michael Clayton. I was really out of it. But the last thing I ever thought I would do would come back and write one, much less ever direct it. It was just so not on my radar at all. When all that other stuff happened, I read about it, probably through you. Long after, the guys from the Ludlum estate came to New York and wanted to have a cup of coffee. My brother was working for them at the time; I didn’t want to be rude. It was pretty much a courtesy meeting. I went in and they expressed all their frustrations with how to go forward. It was like, what do they do? Where could they go? You can imagine all the wacky ideas that everybody had been banging around. Read More »

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Jeremy Renner, Bill Condon Eyeing WikiLeaks Film

Mike Fleming

Here’s something a bit dishy for a summer afternoon. I’ve heard that Jeremy Renner, about to open in The Bourne Legacy, is looking hard at playing Julian Assange in the WikiLeaks film being developed by DreamWorks. The studios is also having conversations with Twilight Saga‘s Bill Condon about directing, though nothing is set on either front. I had also heard that the WikiLeaks film might move toward independent financing. Word from the studio is that DreamWorks is keeping its project, but as usual won’t comment on development that has been ongoing since DreamWorks acquired the books WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy, by David Leigh and Luke Harding, and Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World’s Most Dangerous Website, by Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Josh Singer wrote the script.

Renner, coming off two Oscar-nominated performances in The Hurt Locker and The Town and moving toward stardom with Bourne Legacy, seems an inspired choice with the chops to play the prickly and complex Assange. Assange launched WikiLeaks in 2006 and established himself as a major thorn in the side of governments for leaking embarrassing diplomatic cables and secrets. He has been dealing with his own legal travails, as Sweden wants to try him for sexually assaulting two women and the U.S. wants to prosecute him for … Read More »

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TWC Acquiring U.S. On James Gray Pic; Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner Star

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE:The Weinstein Company is near a deal to acquire U.S. rights to an untitled period drama that James Gray wrote and directed, with Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner starring. Gray has completed the film, and The Weinstein Company will release it next year. The project was one of the juicier packages shopped at the recent Cannes Film Festival by CAA and Wild Bunch. Greg Shapiro, Anthony Katagas, Gray and Worldview CEO Christopher Woodrow are producers. CAA and Worldview made the deal with TWC execs David Glasser, Dan Guando and Negeen Yazdi.

Gray wrote the script with Richard Menello. Early on it was called Low Life and American Dream, but Gray’s camp says it is currently untitled. The film takes place in 1920, as two sisters immigrate to New York from Poland, and when one falls deathly ill, things turn nightmarish for the other sister, played by Cotillard. She is forced to trade sexual favors for medicine and food to keep her sister alive. Once they land, she is warned to keep quiet about what happened. Though she does, she walks away with immigration papers that deem her a woman with bad morals.

With no place to go, she falls prey to a charming sleazebag (Phoenix), who persuades her to turn tricks in New York. Renner plays the parasite’s cousin, a magician … Read More »

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Indian Paintbrush Makes First-Look Deal With Jeremy Renner’s The Combine

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 12:02pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Steven Rales’ Indian Paintbrush has made a two-year first-look deal with Jeremy Renner and writer-director Don Handfield, partners in the upstart production company The Combine. The financier/producer has deals with its Moonrise Kingdom helmer Wes Anderson and also with Jason Reitman, who is about to start Labor Day for Indian Paintbrush. This marks its first overall deal with an actor-producer.

The deal comes at a time when Renner is soaring. After successive Oscar nominations for The Hurt Locker and The Town, he starred alongside Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible –Ghost Protocol and played Hawkeye in The Avengers. Renner next stars in The Bourne Legacy, which Universal releases in August. Despite his growing bankability, the focus of the deal is to utilize Renner as producer and not necessarily as an actor. Indian Paintbrush’s Rales and Mark Roybal met with Renner and his partner and were impressed by their strong business plan and creative aspirations. They’ve already fixed on the first project, but were keeping it under wraps for the moment. It is likely their sensibility will be closer to The Hurt Locker than The Avengers.

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘The Bourne Legacy’ With Jeremy Renner Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Bourne Legacy’ With Jeremy Renner

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 10:25am PDT
Mike Fleming

Universal Pictures has just released a new trailer for The Bourne Legacy, the Tony Gilroy-directed spinoff film that stars Jeremy Renner as a Treadstone assassin, same as Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne in the Robert Ludlum novels. The surprise in this trailer is how much Jason Bourne there is in the trailer. You’ll recall that Damon wasn’t ready to make another installment of The Bourne Identity franchise when director Paul Greengrass said no. Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac also star while Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn are back. Damon has left the door open to reprising Jason Bourne, and it looks here like they’ve allotted him ample room to do that while giving stage to the rising Renner. Frank Marshall produced with Captivate’s Jeffrey Weiner and Ben Smith. The film opens August 3.

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