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‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Sweeps National Society Of Film Critics Top Awards

By | Saturday January 4, 2014 @ 2:15pm PST

Inside Llewyn DavisThe 56 member-strong National Society of Film Critics today helped CBS Films’ Inside Llewyn Davis bounce back from its PGA and WGA snubs, awarding the 1960s-set folk music drama Best Picture, Best Director for Joel and Ethan Coen, Best Actor for Oscar Isaac‘s turn as the eponymous singer-songwriter, and Best Cinematography. The boost came the same day CBS took out a full-page For Your Consideration ad in the New York Times pulling a select portion of this Dec. 30 Tweet by NYT critic A.O. Scott: “I’m gonna listen to the Llewyn Davis album again. Fare thee well, my honeys.” Whatever works? Scroll down for full NSFC awards: Read More »

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Hot Oscar Video: The Sound Of ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

By | Sunday December 29, 2013 @ 2:22pm PST
Mike Fleming

In this video, directors Joel and Ethan Coen explain how their collaboration with T Bone Burnett created a musical sound that was as important as dialogue in capturing the early ’60s folk music scene in Inside Llewyn Davis. Here, they explain how they and Oscar Isaac pulled it off in the CBS Films release. I had the opportunity to moderate a panel in Deadline’s Contenders Event last month. After Burnett and Isaac got done explaining the keys to recreating the sound of an emerging musical movement, Isaac got up with his six string and memorably performed Green, Green Rocky Road, a song from the film. It was certainly a highlight of an event full of them.

Related: The Contenders 2013: ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Star Oscar Isaac Sings (Video)

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Showtime To Telecast Benefit Concert Tagged to New Coen Brothers Movie ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

By | Wednesday September 25, 2013 @ 9:59am PDT

Showtime has acquired exclusive TV rights to film and air the one-night only benefit concert, Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis, inspired by music from the upcoming Coen Brothers’ film, Inside Llewyn Davis, set in the 1960’s Greenwich Village folk music scene.  Not coincidentally, the film will be distributed by CBS Films in the U.S.; it begins its theatrical run on December 6.

Today’s announcement:

Produced by the film’s writer and directors Joel and Ethan Coen, the film’s executive music producer T Bone Burnett and producer Scott Rudin, the star-studded concert reunites the trio behind O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? and the highly successful concert events launched in conjunction with that film. ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER TIME: CELEBRATING THE MUSIC OF “INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS” will feature live performances of the film’s music, as well as songs from the early 1960s that inspired the film.  A portion of the proceeds from the concert will benefit the National Recording Preservation Foundation.  The concert will take place at The Town Hall in New York City on Sunday, September 29, 2013, and SHOWTIME will air it nationally on Friday, December 13th at 9 PM ET/PT.

Artists performing at the concert include The Avett Brothers, Joan Baez, Rhiannon Giddens of Carolina Chocolate Drops, Lake Street Dive, Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, The Milk Carton Kids, Keb’ Mo’, Marcus Mumford, Bob Neuwirth, Conor Oberst, Punch Brothers, Dave Rawlings Machine, The Secret Sisters, Patti Smith, Gillian Welch, Willie Watson, and Jack White. Stars of the

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Coens’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ To Tour Canada With Mongrel Media

By | Thursday May 16, 2013 @ 2:35pm PDT

TORONTO, CANADA (May 16, 2013) – Mongrel Media announced today that the company
has acquired all Canadian rights to INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS.  Written and directed
by Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen, and produced by Scott Rudin, and Joel and
Ethan Coen, the film stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett
Hedlund, F. Murray Abraham and Justin Timberlake.

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he
navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.  Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac)
is at a crossroads.  Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York
winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly
insurmountable obstacles—some of them of his own making.  Living at the mercy of
both friends and strangers, scaring up what work he can find, Llewyn’s
misadventures take him from the basket houses of the Village to an empty Chicago
club—on an odyssey to audition for music mogul Bud Grossman—and back again.
Brimming with music performed by Isaac, Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan
(as Llewyn’s married Village friends), as well as Marcus Mumford and Punch
Brothers, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS —in the tradition of O Brother, Where Art Thou?—is
infused with the transportive sound of another time and place. An epic on an
intimate scale, it represents the Coen Brothers’ fourth collaboration with Oscar
and Grammy Award-winning music producer T Bone Burnett.

Previous collaborations between the Coen Brothers and Rudin include the
Oscar-winning Best Picture of 2007 No Country for Old Men and the multiple
Oscar-nominated True Grit.

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS makes its world premiere on Sunday, May 19,

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OSCARS: Nervous Anticipation To The End

Pete Hammond

There’s no question this was Hollywood’s biggest week of the year. But now it’s all coming to a close tonight — and not a moment too soon for a lot of nominees at the end of a looooong campaign trail. “Thank God,”  said The King’s Speech’s 73-year-old screenwriter David Seidler when I asked him Saturday night at The Weinstein Co bash at Soho House how he felt about nearing the end. After tonight, he plans to spend a month fishing. At the same party I caught up with the ultimate class act, Colin Firth, who between last year’s A Single Man and this year’s The King’s Speech has been on the awards circuit for the better part of two seasons. I asked him about being heavily favored to take Best Actor, and he replied, “I’m told I am”. He’s next making lighter fare: a Coen Brothers-penned version of the 1966 movie Gambit that starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. He said the film, to be directed by Michael Hoffman (The Last Station), is not a remake and that there’s barely a line of dialogue in common between the two films. Cameron Diaz will co-star. The Weinstein party filled up fast and brought out the entire King’s Speech crowd except for Geoffrey Rush who was on stage in New York for Diary Of A Madman but will be at tonight’s Oscars.

At a Society Of Lyricists And Composers reception Saturday afternoon, many-times nominated and Inception Best Music Score nominee Hans Zimmer told me he’s been too … Read More »

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‘True Grit’ Co-Financier Skydance Targets ‘Star Blazers’ For Christopher McQuarrie

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: David Ellison’s Skydance Productions is negotiating a rights deal to turn the 1970s animated science fiction TV series Star Blazers into a large scale live action feature. Ellison will hire Christopher McQuarrie to write the script, with Ellison and Josh C. Kline producing with McQuarrie. The series was based on the Japanese anime series Space Battleship Yamato. Both are described as “space opera,” involving alien invasions, the near extinction of the human race, and a last dash journey through space to save the planet.

Ellison started Skydance with hopes he could emulate the studio-aligned-producer-who-can-put-up-50% model that Thomas Tull’s Legendary Pictures has succeeded with at Warner Bros. Ellison made a deal with Paramount Pictures in late 2009 to co-finance four to six pictures per year, and then raised a reported $350 million in debt and equity funding. His Paramount deal has gotten off to a flying start: Skydance funded half of True Grit, the $30 million Joel and Ethan Coen-directed Western that is up for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture. More importantly to Ellison’s investors, True Grit has so far grossed $165 million domestic, with foreign still rolling out.

Ellison is the son of Oracle founder Larry Ellison and an accomplished acrobatic pilot who has a particular appetite for aviation projects (though his first foray as actor-producer, the Tony Bill-directed Flyboys, landed … Read More »

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Cameron Diaz Joins Colin Firth In ‘Gambit’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Cameron Diaz is attached to star with Colin Firth in Gambit, the Joel and Ethan Coen-scripted remake that will be directed by The Last Station’s Michael Hoffman. The 1966 original starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. Mike Lobell is producing with Crime Scene Pictures partners Adam Ripp and Rob Paris. Crime Scene is financing and FilmNation Entertainment will handle offshore sales at the European Film Market in Berlin. The film will shoot in London this May.

Firth plays a London art curator who plans to con a wealthy collector into buying a phony Monet painting. He enlists a Texas steer roper (Diaz) to pose as a woman whose grandfather liberated the painting at the end of WWII. Diaz is currently starring in The Green Hornet and recently wrapped Bad Teacher. Lobell has spent the better part of a decade trying to push this picture up the hill.  Adding Diaz to the fact Gambit will be Firth’s first project since all the awards hoopla surrounding The King’s Speech, the stars have certainly aligned for Lobell and his passion project.

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OSCAR: Joel And Ethan Coen Q&A On ‘True Grit’

Mike Fleming

Considering they’ve rubbed out characters memorably by feeding them through a wood chipper (Fargo) or with a pneumatic cattle slaughtering gun (No Country For Old Men), setting Joel and Ethan Coen loose with a revenge story in the Old West seems a recipe for mayhem. In fact, True Grit turns out to be the most mainstream audience-friendly film they have made in years. Sticking close to the 42-year Charles Portis novel and not even watching the first movie that won John Wayne his Oscar in 1969, the Coens have made a PG-13 adventure film that gives the starring role to teenager Hailee Steinfeld, and surrounds her with such seasoned actors as Jeff Bridges as salty U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn, Matt Damon as the blowhard Texas Ranger LaBeouf, and Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper as the ornery outlaws they are chasing. The film opens today, and could add intrigue to the Oscar race.

DEADLINE: How did you find your way to a 40 year old book you’d have been hard pressed to find in a bookstore?
ETHAN COEN: We both knew the book, and we’d both read it, amongst other Charles Portis novels. A few years ago I read it out loud to my son and that was the point we began talking about it, thinking this might be interesting to do.
JOEL COEN: Fully aware there of course there had been this previous movie. But we hadn’t seen that since it came out, and didn’t really remember it very well.

DEADLINE: The book focuses more squarely than the film did on young Mattie, the bright, headstrong teenager determined to see the man who shot her father swing from a rope. What potential did you see in that that overcame the inevitable comparison to a film considered somewhat iconic?
ETHAN COEN: That is what we liked about the book, that it was told in the first person narrative told by the 14-year old character, Mattie Ross. It’s just a very funny book. It has three really great, really vivid characters. Her, Rooster Cogburn and LaBeouf, the Texas Ranger. And it’s a simple pursuit revenge story. It all just seemed promising material for a movie. Which might sound funny because, as you say, there was this iconic movie. Which we were aware of but which we didn’t remember very well.
JOEL COEN: We didn’t revisit it, either.
ETHAN COEN: And in the course of remaking the movie, we didn’t watch the first one. We weren’t much worried about it, though. You say it’s iconic, and that’s very true. But on the other hand, I must say it’s probably iconic for people our age and older. And we’re not the moviegoing demographic anymore. I don’t think younger people have much of a connection to John Wayne, at all. So it didn’t feel like we were trespassing and we didn’t worry about it. We just had this enthusiasm for the novel.

DEADLINE: I should qualify iconic. It’s called that because John Wayne won an Oscar, but many feel that statue was a reward for a career and not that role.
JOEL COEN: That’s what I’ve read about it too, that it was a kind of valedictory thing.
ETHAN COEN: You’ve been around a long time, we love you, here’s an award.

DEADLINE: How did adapting a book like True Grit compare with adapting Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For Old Men?
ETHAN COEN: Not dissimilar, actually. In the Cormac book that we did, we had this similar issue. Read More »

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Colin Firth In Talks For ‘Gambit’ Redo

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Colin Firth is in talks to star in Gambit, the Joel and Ethan Coen-scripted remake of the 1966 British action comedy that starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. The Last Station’s Michael Hoffman is directing.

Firth is again in the thick of the Oscar race for his role in the Tom Hooper-directed The King’s Speech. While the Coens just wrote and directed a remake in True Grit (they based theirs more on the original Charles Portis novel than the first film) it has taken a lot longer to get their scripted remake of Gambit into production, but not for lack of trying by producer Mike Lobell.

Hoffman signed on recently along with Crime Scene Pictures partners Adam Ripp and Rob Paris, who’ll provide financing through their upstart company. Glen Basner signed on to sell foreign territories though FilmNation. Their hope is to get the picture shooting in London and Texas before summer.

Firth would play a cat burglar who attempts to rob a billionaire of his priceless statue. He enlists the help of a waitress who looks exactly like the victim’s dead wife. The burglar’s usual precision is clouded by his relationship with his accomplice. Firth is repped by CAA.

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OSCAR: Coen Bros ‘True Grit’ Enters Race

Pete Hammond

UPDATE: True Grit doesn’t open until December 22nd but started screenings this week just under the wire of critics groups and SAG nominating committee deadlines. It’s the last unseen film of this awards season thought to have a serious chance of cracking the Best Picture Oscar list, especially now that there are 10 nominees. Can Joel and Ethan Coen’s much anticipated new take on the John Wayne classic do what that 1969 Paramount film couldn’t? First, a little history. The first version of the Charles Portis novel landed just two Oscar nominations, for Best Song and Best Actor, winning the latter as a heartfelt career swan song for star John Wayne. But the fairly standard western was shut out of Best Picture, never a friendly territory for oaters. After all, other classics of the genre, like 1956’s The Searchers and 1959’s Rio Bravo (both also starring Wayne), couldn’t even manage a single nomination between them even though both are now included on lists of the greatest films of all time. Only Kevin Costner’s 1990 Dances With Wolves and Clint Eastwood’s 1992 Unforgiven changed the Oscar outlook because they were untraditional westerns and that won them Academy Awards for both Best Picture and Best Director. Since 1992, no western has  been nominated unless you count Brokeback Mountain — and I don’t. On the other hand, very few have even been made.

But a western coming from the Coens would seem to have a reasonable chance. They each won three Oscars for Best Pic winner No Country For Old Read More »

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‘Gambit’ Remake Gets Funding And Director

By | Thursday November 18, 2010 @ 12:22pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Things are finally looking up for Gambit, the Joel and Ethan Coen-scripted remake of the 1966 British caper comedy which originally starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. Upstart company Crime Scene Pictures has signed on to finance the picture, and The Last Station director Michael Hoffman has come aboard to direct. FilmNation’s Glen Basner will sell foreign territories and the picture is on track to shoot next May in London. Producer Mike Lobell has been trying to get the project made for years, and most recently had Doug Liman flirting with the job. Caine played a cat burglar who tries to rob a billionaire of his priceless statue and enlists the help of a waitress who is a dead ringer for the victim’s late wife. While the burglar has carefully planned the job in his head, the execution is complicated by his relationship with his pretty accomplice.

The filmmakers will go out to cast shortly. Crime Scene Pictures was started by Adam Ripp and Rob Paris. Backed by equity from Southeast Asia, they hope to fund 4-6 pictures over three years with budgets ranging from $2 million to $20 million. Hoffman is repped by UTA.

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