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HBO Gives Series Order To Comedy Pilot ‘The Brink’ Starring Jack Black & Tim Robbins, From Jay Roach & Jerry Weintraub

By | Tuesday February 11, 2014 @ 2:04pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

timrobbinsjackblackEXCLUSIVE: In a very quick turnaround, HBO has given a series order to The Brink, its comedy pilot starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins, directed by Jay Roach and executive produced by Jerry Weintraub. Written by former Weeds executive producer Roberto Benabib and his brother Kim Benabib, The Brink is an epic dark comedy focusing on a geopolitical crisis and its effect on three disparate and desperate men: U.S. Secretary of State Walter Hollander (Robbins); Alex Coppins (Black), a lowly Foreign Service officer; and Zeke Callahan (Pablo Schreiber), an ace Navy fighter pilot. These three compromised souls must pull through the chaos around them to save the planet from World War III. Aasif Mandvi, Maribeth Monroe, Geoff Pierson, Esai Morales and Eric Ladin co-star on the series, executive produced by Roberto Benabib, Weintraub and Roach. Kim Benabib and Susie Ekins co-executive produce.

jayroach25th Annual Producers Guild Of America Awards - ArrivalsThis marks the first HBO series for Weintraub and Roach, who both have deals with the pay cable network and established relationships there. Weintraub executive produced HBO Films’ Emmy-winning movie Behind The Candelabra, while Roach directed and exec produced the Emmy-winning HBO movies Game Change and Recount.

The Brink’s road to HBO’s primetime started with an email Weintraub received while in Europe, which contained the Benabibs’ script. “I read it and I fell in love with it,” he said. When he came back to Los Angeles, Weintraub had lunch with Roach about a movie project where hbo45__130924185923-275x112Roach mentioned that he had been looking to do a half-hour comedy. Weintraub ran to his office and brought Roach The Brink script. Joking that Roach “is famous for taking three years to make up his mind” on anything, Wentraub heard from the director the very next day. “He calls me and he says, ‘I’m in, the script is too good’.” Read More »

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Bette Midler To Play Mae West In HBO Films Biopic From William Friedkin

By | Monday December 9, 2013 @ 3:21pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

bettemidlerMaeWestEXCLUSIVE: The Divine Miss M. is taking on the great Mae West. HBO Films has put in development Mae West, a movie about the true Hollywood original, with Bette Midler attached to star and executive produce. The project is the brainchild of William Friedkin (The Exorcist), who will direct and executive produce. Broadway heavyweight Harvey Fierstein, who recently penned the book for Tony-winning musical Kinky Boots, is writing the script. Also executive producing is Jerry Weintraub, who executive produced HBO Films’ Emmy-winning Behind The Candelabra. Mae West, based on West’s autobiography Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It, chronicles West’s rise friedkinto stardom when she takes New York by storm after writing and starring in her scandalous Broadway show Sex and battles authorities over obscenity charges. Instead of taking the road of a wide-eyed Hollywood ingenue, West forged her own path, writing and starring in her own risqué plays, including her breakthrough Sex, which had her prosecuted and sentenced to 10 days in prison for “corrupting the morals of youth.” The notoriety fueled her career and didn’t stop her from tackling taboo subjects in her next plays, including 1928 hit Diamond Lil, about a racy 1890s woman, which opened the doors to Hollywood for her. Read More »

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Hollywood Film Awards: Oscar Hopefuls Turn Out In Force But Does It Have Any Impact?

Pete Hammond

Nancy O’Dell, host for the 17th annual Hollywood Film Awards on Monday night at the Beverly Hilton, looked across the impressive star-studded room and said, “This is just like the Oscars”. Uh, not exactly. It’s not just like the Golden Globes or The Critics Choice Awards either, but it’s become a pretty good warm-up act for all of them. ”We used to make fun of this show, but not so much anymore,” said one industry observer. In fact the cover of the slick program says it all: “First mandatory stop in the awards season”. And this brainchild of Carlos de Abreu, who is the arbiter and chief negotiator of who gets what, has really been growing. The studios seem to love it because they essentially get to dictate the winners and plant a flag for one film or another early in the season. No one takes the actual award too seriously, but getting the opportunity to be seen holding that award is another thing altogether.

In its early days, stars would come in the back of the Hilton, make an appearance onstage to accept an award and get a photo op, and then make a hasty retreat. Now, most of them stayed all night for the nearly three-and-a-half hour show, schmoozing, seeing old friends and subtly campaigning. One person at the Disney table where I was sitting (director Dan Scanlon won the Hollywood Animation Award for Pixar’s smash sequel Monsters University) put it succinctly, saying about the appeal of this show: “If they show up, it’s worth it. If they don’t show up, it’s not worth it”. They showed up.

And there was lots of high star-wattage in the room including various winners like Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Jake Gyllenhaal, Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford and Jared Leto, plus presenters like Sean Penn, Robert Downey Jr, Kanye West, Geoffrey Rush, Bruce Willis, Jennifer Garner, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jane Fonda, Forest Whitaker and others. Hollywood Song Award winner Chris Martin of Coldplay even performed his tune Atlas from the upcoming The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire, the first song the group has written for a film.

Studio heads like 20th Century Fox’s Jim Gianopulos, Warner Bros’ Kevin Tsujihara, Fox Searchlight’s Nancy Utley, Sony Pictures Classics’ Tom Bernard and Harvey Weinstein were also in the room for the show which has never been televised — but will be next year according to an announcement by O’Dell. Dick Clark Productions, which also produces the Globes,  has now got a stake in the event and plans to start exploiting it in 2014. Just how it will all play on TV is anybody’s guess when there are no nominees only winners, and most of the viewers will not have seen any of the movies rewarded on this very early mid-October Hollywood lovefest (hell, not many of the industry audience or even the presenters had seen most of the films yet). Read More »

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Comedy From Roberto Benabib, Jay Roach, Jerry Weintraub Gets HBO Pilot Order

By | Friday September 20, 2013 @ 6:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Former Weeds executive producer Roberto Benabib is taking on another dark comedy premium cable project. He has teamed with HBO-based producers Jay Roach and Jerry Weintraub for The Brink, a half-hour comedy, which has received a pilot order from the network. Directed by Roach and written by Benabib and his brother, Kim Benabib, The Brink is described as an epic dark comedy focusing on a  geopolitical crisis and its effect on three disparate and desperate men: U.S. Secretary of State Walter Hollander, lowly Foreign Service officer Alex Coppins and ace Navy fighter pilot Zeke Callahan. These three compromised souls must pull through the chaos around them to save the planet from World War III. Roberto Benabib, Weintraub and Roach are executive producing, with Kim Benabib serving as a co-executive producer. Roach won Emmys for directing and executive producing the HBO movies Recount and Game Change, both of which dealt with political events.

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Series Adaptation Of ‘Westworld’ From J.J. Abrams, Jonathan Nolan & Jerry Weintraub Gets Pilot Production Commitment At HBO

By | Friday August 30, 2013 @ 2:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

In one of the biggest commitments ever for HBO, the pay cable network has nabbed Westworld, a drama series inspired by Michael Crichton’s 1973 sci-fi movie. The project, from J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot, Person Of Interest creator Jonathan Nolan, producer Jerry Weintraub and Warner Bros TV, has received a pilot production commitment. It marks the first major cable sale for Bad Robot, which had been focused on broadcast TV for the past few years with such series as Fringe, Person Of Interest, Revolution and the upcoming Believe. Written by Nolan and Lisa Joy (Burn Notice), Westworld is described as a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin. WME-repped Nolan is set to direct the pilot, which he and UTA-repped Joy will executive produce with Abrams, Weintraub and Bryan Burk. Kathy Lingg is co-executive producing, while Athena Wickam serves as a producer. Warner Bros TV is producing with Bad Robot, Jerry Weintraub Prods. and Kilter Films. Read More »

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Hollywood Power Players Hosting April Fundraiser For Newark Mayor’s Undeclared Senate Race

Cory Booker hasn’t officially said he’s running to become New Jersey’s next Senator but Hollywood is planning to shovel money into his campaign treasure chest. Anointing Booker as Hollywood’s new favorite politician, invites went out this week for a “Special Evening In LA” April 25 fundraiser for the Newark Mayor at the Beverly Hills home of producer Jerry Weintraub and girlfriend, producer Susan Ekins. The event has a marquee host list that cuts across party lines and into deep wallets. It costs $5,000 a ticket to attend the fundraiser with the money going to Cory Booker For Senate. The event is one of eight the telegenic Democrat has lined up in the next two months in anticipation of a 2014 run to replace departing fellow Democrat Frank Lautenberg in the heavily Blue state. The Beverly Hills fundraiser certainly shows that backing a potential winner cuts across party lines. Republicans like Bush family confidante Weintraub and Bruce Willis are listed on the invite but so are avowed Democrats like Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was one of the largest single contributors to Barack Obama’s reelection, Steven Spielberg and new Star Wars director J.J. Abrams and their wives Kate Capshaw and Katie McGrath.

Related: President Obama Thanks Katzenbergs For “Tireless” Support
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Showtime Orders Climate Change Docu Series Produced By James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub And Arnold Schwarzenegger

By | Monday December 3, 2012 @ 10:53am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Showtime has ordered Years Of Living Dangerously, a documentary series which explores the human impact of climate change. It is executive produced by James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with Emmy-winning 60 Minutes producers Joel Bach and David Gelber, and climate expert Daniel Abbasi. Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Alec Baldwin will narrate the series, which will feature first-person accounts of those affected by — and seeking solutions to — global warming. Also expected to join the project is actor Edward Norton, with more names to be announced soon. Reporting from the field is a team of New York Times journalists including three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof, as well as columnist Mark Bittman, and MSNBC host and political commentator Chris Hayes, among others. Years Of Living Dangerously will air in 2013 as a six-to-eight-episode hourlong series. “The recent devastation on the East Coast is a tragic reminder of the direct link between our daily lives and climate change,” said Showtime entertainment president David Nevins. Added Cameron, “We’ll make it exciting. We’ll make it investigative. We’ll bring people the truth. And people are always hungry for the truth.” Additionally, the series is also executive produced by Maria Wilhelm (Avatar Alliance Foundation).

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Warner Bros Takes On Hugh Hefner Pic, Jerry Weintraub To Produce

By | Monday March 5, 2012 @ 5:33pm PST
Mike Fleming

Hugh Hefner MovieEXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is matching an iconic film subject with an iconic producer. The studio has taken over Playboy, a project about Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner, with Jerry Weintraub taking over the film as producer. The film originated at Universal with Imagine Entertainment, where the studio tried for several years to tell the story of how Hefner evolved from a puritanical upbringing to become the godfather of the sexual revolution. During that time, Hefner used the magazine to champion civil rights and free speech, putting James Brown on his show Playboy After Dark when no one put black performers on national television. While Universal had filmmakers like Brett Ratner attached at one time or another and actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Hugh Jackman mentioned as possibles to play Hef, the project languished.

Hugh Hefner FilmPlayboy FounderAt Warner Bros, this marks a meeting of a couple of old style iconic guys, Hefner and Weintraub. The Ocean’s Eleven producer, who cut his teeth promoting Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Bob Dylan, put his own colorful life story into the memoir When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man. HBO turned it into the HBO documentary His Way.

Wentraub would not disclose what part of Hefner’s life he will cover, and he … Read More »

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HBO Picks Up Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace Film Starring Michael Douglas & Matt Damon

By | Tuesday October 11, 2011 @ 10:06am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: Steven Soderbergh’s long-gestating Liberace feature is headed to HBO. HBO Films has greenlighted for production Behind The Candelabra, which will be directed by Soderbergh. It takes a behind-the-scenes look at the tempestuous relationship between legendary entertainer Liberace, played by Michel Douglas, and Scott Thorson, his younger limo driver and live-in lover, played by Matt Damon. The actors had been attached to the project when it was a feature, which also had Richard LaGravenese writing and Jerry Weintraub producing. Weintraub will now executive produce, with Gregory Jacobs and Susan Ekins producing. Soderbergh will direct from a script by LaGravenese. “This is a story that’s going to surprise a lot of people,” said HBO Films president Len Amato. “It’s funny, heartbreaking and always fascinating, and we are delighted that Jerry and Steven brought the film to HBO.”

Weintraub and Soderbergh began working on the project 3-4 years ago. They acquired Thorson’s memoir Behind The Candelabra (My Life With Liberace) and hired LaGravenese to write a script. Douglas and Damon then came on board to star but the project, set at Warner Bros., was dealt a setback when Douglas had to take time off for cancer treatment. Meanwhile, Weintraub spent time working with HBO on the documentary about his career His Way and got the idea of setting the film there. “It is a great place, … Read More »

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Tony Scott Boarding ‘The Wild Bunch’ While Revving ‘Hell’s Angels’ As Next Pic

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Deadline revealed this morning that Ridley Scott was returning to his sci-fi classic Blade Runner. His Scott Free partner and brother Tony Scott is also getting serious about a new version of a movie classic. Scott is in talks with Warner Bros to direct a reboot of the 1969 Sam Peckinpah-directed The Wild Bunch. This film becomes one of three or so that Scott is most eager to direct as his follow-up to the Denzel Washington-Chris Pine action film Unstoppable.

Scott’s next assignment will be Hell’s Angels, though its timing will depend on whether he gets the actor he wants to play gang leader Sonny Barger. I’m told that he wants Jeff Bridges. They’ve not met face to face yet, because Bridges is right now touring his self-titled musical album that he recorded after he won the Oscar playing Bad Blake in Crazy Heart. Once Bridges gets back to film work, he’s booked to star with Ryan Reynolds in Universal’s R.I.P.D. and Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures’ The Seventh Son. If Scott has his heart set on Bridges and the actor says yes, Hell’s Angels won’t get underway until next spring or later. Fox 2000′s Hell’s Angels is set around the Laughlin riots of 2001 when the Angels were caught up in a war with rival gang The Mongols. The drama revolves around a friendship that develops between … Read More »

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Craig Brewer Makes ‘Tarzan’ Deal, Writing Ape Man Saga As Trilogy

By | Thursday June 2, 2011 @ 9:48am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has locked Craig Brewer into a deal to write and direct a new installment of Tarzan. Brewer has come up with a take that tells the Tarzan story over three films. He hopes the first one will be his next directing assignment. Warner Bros, which has been stymied in watching several attempts to relaunch the  Edgar Rice Burroughs-created hero die on the vine, separately has screenwriter Adam Cozad working on a script that tells a different version of the man raised by apes in the jungles of Africa from infancy. Cozad’s recent work includes the Jack Ryan reboot and Archangel, the pic that has Tron: Legacy‘s Joseph Kosinski attached. How the studio decides which film to make remains to be seen, but clearly Warner Bros is determined to revive a live action Tarzan.  This is a passion project for Brewer, who is in demand after directing the remake of Footloose for Paramount, and chose this over other opportunities. Jerry Weintraub is producing with Alan Riche and Tony Ludwig. Tarzan has been a fixture of films since the Depression, most notably in the series of films that starred Olympic swimmer Johnny Weismuller.

Brewer, whose Footloose will be released October 14 with newcomers Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough starring, last directed Black Snake Moan and Hustle & Flow. He’s repped by WME.

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Jerry Weintraub Follows In Bob Evans’ Footsteps With HBO Documentary

By | Wednesday February 2, 2011 @ 3:58pm PST
Mike Fleming

NEW YORK, Feb. 2, 2011 – Legendary film producer and personal manager Jerry Weintraub steps out from behind the scenes as he takes his turn in the spotlight with the feature-length documentary HIS WAY, acquired by HBO Documentary Films from Polsky Films. Directed by Oscar® nominee Douglas McGrath, produced by Emmy®- and Peabody-winning documentary producer Graydon Carter, Alan Polsky and Gabe Polsky, and executive produced by Oscar® winner Steven Soderbergh and Audrey Rosenberg, HIS WAY chronicles the five-decade career of the trailblazing Hollywood entrepreneur, utilizing personal video, archival footage and one-on-one interviews with Weintraub, his friends, family and co-workers, and some of today’s brightest stars.

Debuting on HBO later this year, HIS WAY features interviews with Weintraub’s friends in political and Hollywood circles, including former president George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Ellen Barkin, James Caan, Elliott Gould, Andy Garcia and Ralph Macchio, among others.

“Jerry’s success as a producer is legendary and his prolific career is one that we have admired for years,” says Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. “He is also one heck of a storyteller, and it was this ability to narrate his life in the most compelling and entertaining way that drew us to HIS WAY. Seeing the caliber of talent that has come forth to participate in the documentary is a testament to his professional prowess and the obvious respect he has earned over the years. We are delighted that Jerry chose HBO to bring his story

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George Clooney Does Jerry Weintraub Impressions After Recovering From Malaria

By | Thursday January 20, 2011 @ 12:06pm PST

George Clooney’s PR informs that the actor/director “is completely over the Malaria he contracted while in the Sudan during the first week in January. This was his second bout with it.” According to Clooney, “This illustrates how with proper medication, the most lethal condition in Africa, can be reduced to a bad ten days instead of a death sentence.”  Clooney taped CNN’s Piers Morgan talk show on January 13th. George & Joe Scarborough did some dead-on impressions of Oceans 11-13 producer Jerry Weintraub on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show Wednesday.

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Betty White For ‘Oh God’ Film Remake?

By | Monday July 12, 2010 @ 1:25pm PDT
Mike Fleming

betty-white-10oh-godWarner Bros and producer Jerry Weintraub have tried long and hard to mount a remake of the 1977 George Burns comedy Oh, God! I’m told Weintraub just pitched the studio a new version of the film, with Hollywood’s hottest octogenarian–Betty White,–as the title character. Paul Rudd was pitched for the role of the hapless mortal played by John Denver in the Carl Reiner-directed original. Weintraub, who produced the original, has been trying for years on the remake, most recently with Ellen Degeneres attached for the lead. This incarnation is nascent–the studio doesn’t have a script it loves, and I’m not sure White and Rudd have been contacted. But keeping in mind how vociferously Deadline readers endorsed White to replace Megan Fox in Transformers 3 and to play the new Spider-Man, this made enough sense to note.

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