EXCLUSIVE: Taissa Farmiga is getting Violent with The Sacrament director Ti West. She’s joined the cast of the filmmaker’s 1890′s-set Western In A Valley Of Violence, led by Ethan Hawke and John Travolta. Story follows Paul (Hawke), a drifter with nothing to lose who seeks revenge on the thugs who killed his best friend. Farmiga will play a young woman who runs the town’s hotel with her older sister and helps Paul in his quest for vengeance. Blumhouse’s Jason Blum is producing. West’s longtime producer Peter Phok and Sacrament producer Jacob Jaffke are exec producers.
West (House of the Devil, The Innkeepers) world-premiered his latest film The Sacrament in Venice and opens the Jonestown-esque cult thriller on June 6 via Magnolia Pictures. He’s moving fast on Valley, which he wrote and is directing with filming set to begin late next month in New Mexico. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman are confirmed to attend a special celebration of Pulp Fiction here in Cannes tomorrow night. Now I’m hearing word that Vincent Vega himself will join his director and co-star in the festivities. John Travolta is not yet set in stone, but he’s been in town this week and I’m told the festival is hoping to confirm his attendance tonight with the actor keen to take part. The plan as it stands thus far is for the Pulp Fiction posse to walk the red carpet at the Palais at 6:30 PM on Friday night, then head off to a cocktail ahead of the film’s special beach screening which the director will introduce. Miramax is presenting and hosting all the Pulp Fiction activities.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or. But that was not the first film Tarantino ever had in Cannes — two years earlier in 1992 his Reservoir Dogs was an Official Selection title that ran out of competition. Since then, movies he’s directed that have appeared at the Palais include Kill Bill Vol 2, Death Proof and Inglourious Basterds. Tarantino is already in Cannes this week and will host the closing-night screening of Sergio Leone’s 1964 Spaghetti Western A … Read More »
John Travolta has had his good moments in front of a crowd, but his mispronunciation of Idina Menzel‘s name at the Oscars wasn’t his best moment. He gets it and is only too happy to pile on along with everyone else. ”I’ve been beating myself up all day,” Travolta says. “Then I thought…what would Idina Menzel say, She’d say, Let it go, let it go! Idina is incredibly talented and I am so happy Frozen took home two Oscars Sunday night!”
No worry, John. People will have a hard time remembering who won in a couple weeks. At least the memory of you, Idina, and Liza Minnelli, will linger.
Earlier today, Radius-TWC plunked down for upcoming Salma Hayek Pinault thriller Everly. The actress is now lining up A Three Dog Life, opposite John Travolta. The drama is based on the best-selling memoir by Abigail Thomas. Nick Guthe penned the adaptation of the book about Thomas’ life in the aftermath of her husbandd’s devastating car accident. Guthe also directs. Producers are J. Todd Harris and Clark Peterson. The Solution is handling international rights with CAA and WME Global co-representing the U.S. Travolta is up next in The Forger, opposite Christopher Plummer and Tye Sheridan. It emerged today that he’ll voice Gummy Bear in an upcoming pic. Hayek Pinault will be seen in Everly later this year, and also has How To Make Love Like An Englishman opposite Pierce Brosnan and Jessica Alba. She was recently cast in Matteo Garrone’s next, The Tale Of Tales. The pair co-starred in 2006′s Lonely Hearts and more recently in Oliver Stone’s 2012 pic Savages. Travolta is repped by WME and Principato Young Entertainment and Hayek Pinault by CAA and Management 360. Guthe is with APA and Echo Lake Management.
Up-and-comer Frank Dillane (Heart Of The Sea, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince) has been set to star in Maestro, the adaptation of Peter Goldsworthy’s 1989 bibildungsroman. Catherine Jarvis is directing the pic that starts shooting in the spring in Northern Australia and Vienna. Daniel Harvey and Bow Street Films partners Joe Jenckes and David Dickson are producers. The story centers on a talented pianist who moves to an exotic outpost of 1960s Oz and is forced to learn from the only piano teacher his father can find – an eccentric, enigmatic Viennese refugee with a shadowed past. The piano becomes a battle ground with volleys of Wagner and Hendrix alike thrown between the pair as the young man tries to make sense of his own identity and ambition to become a concert pianist while coming closer to the truth about the Maestro’s past. Casting is underway for the part of the Maestro. Craig Leon is producing original music for the film that will play alongside recordings by Chinese pianist Lang Lang, whose work was highlighted during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony. The soundtrack will be released internationally by Deutsche Grammophon/Universal. Dillane, who was recently cast in writer/director Gerardo Naranjo’s untitled new drama alongside Dakota Fanning, is repped by Michelle Braidman of Braidman Associates and WME. Read More »
In a rare TV appearance, John Travolta is set to guest star on TV Land’s new original sitcom Kirstie, reuniting with his Look Who’s Talking co-star Kirstie Alley. Set to shoot early next month, Travolta will play a stagehand on Maddie’s (Alley) Broadway show. After a one-night stand together, Maddie is surprised to find that her fling refuses to be flung. Kirstie, which debuts Dec. 4, centers around Broadway star Madison Banks (Alley) whose life turns upside down when Arlo (Eric Petersen), the son she gave up at birth, suddenly appears, hoping to connect after his adoptive parents have died. Rhea Perlman stars as Maddie’s assistant and best friend alongside Michael Richards as Maddie’s outlandish driver. “I’m excited about working with Kirstie again, in addition to such terrific talent on the show,” Travolta said. “It’s always a treat to be surrounded by people you respect so much both personally and professionally.”
At Least Four UK Nets Lining Up To Bid For FA Cup Rights A bidding war reportedly is gearing up in the UK for TV rights to soccer tournament the FA Cup for the three seasons to 2017-18. Financial Timesreports that BT, ITV, BSkyB and the BBC are entering bids. BT and ITV currently share rights to the FA Cup until the end of the 2013-14 season. FT says analysts predict that having all four in the ring could significantly push up the cost of the rights. In January 2012, ITV acquired free-to-air broadcast rights for 16 FA Cup games per season, along with some of England’s home qualifying games, for an annual cost of £43M. But the BBC is understood to be concerned about its lack of live soccer during the regular season. BT and BSkyB are still expected to be the most aggressive bidders.
Shanghai Now Second-Biggest Box Office Among Chinese Cities
Shanghai box office has become the second biggest of all mainland Chinese cities and is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the next few years, spurred on by investment from U.S. studios Disney and DreamWorks, according to a study by Artisan Gateway. In 2012, Shanghai’s box office was $214.2 million, a 22.2% year-on-year growth. The city, regarded as the birthplace of Chinese cinema, has 122 movie theaters, just two more than the No. 1 Beijing market. The U.S. Consulate, which sponsored the study, said it plans to contribute more to protecting IP rights, Shanghai Dailyreported. Read More »
Two- time Academy® Award Nominee John Travolta (SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, PULP FICTION) is set to star in BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning director Philip Martin’s THE FORGER produced and co-financed by Code Entertainment (Code) alongside The Solution Entertainment Group (The Solution), it was announced by Code’s Al Corley and Bart Rosenblatt and Lisa Wilson and Myles Nestel, co-founders and partners of The Solution.
Plans are being made to shoot later this year, in between festival honors for his work in his upcoming release Killing Season. Code’s Al Corley, Bart Rosenblatt, and Eugene Musso will produce THE FORGER, along with Prospect Park’s Rob Carliner. Jonathan Dana and Randi Michel are executive producers with The Solution’s Myles Nestel and Lisa Wilson who will handle all international rights to the film and introduce it to buyers at the upcoming Cannes Film Market. Anson Downes and Linda Favila will serve as Co-Executive Producers. Siren Studio’s Craig Chapman, Kyle Jackson and Brandon Nutt are also executive producing the film.
EXCLUSIVE: Longtime WME agent and partner Randi Michel is leaving the agency to head the New York office of Principato-Young Entertainment. They are still working out the particulars regarding clients as she transitions from agent to manager, but it is expected that Sean Hayes, Queen Latifah and John Travolta will join her and remain WME clients.
Michel has been at WMA and then WME for 21 years. Aside from the clients I mentioned above, she repped Hank Azaria, Steve Buscemi, Chris Diamantopoulos, David Duchovny, Jenna Elfman, Dan Fogler, Latifah’s production company Flavor Unit Entertainment, Hayden Panettierre, Odeya Rush, Ella Travolta, and Rufus Wainwright. Michel began in the Beverly Hills office of WMA before moving to its New York office seven years ago.
“We have long admired Randi,” said Peter Principato and Paul Young. “She represents a diverse client base with originality and creativity. She’ll be an excellent leader to head our New York office.”
“I’m here to get nominated,” laughed Dustin Hoffman (who is making his directorial debut at age 75 with the 2012 Weinstein release, Quartet) as he took the stage at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual lunch to present grants to non-profit entertainment related organizations and scholarship programs. It was meant as a joke but clearly there is some truth to it, as this luncheon, held today at the Beverly Hills Hotel, often draws a lot of awards hopefuls to accept the generous grants in front of virtually the entire HFPA membership. If you’re a film or TV contender it certainly doesn’t hurt to be seen in this room. Awards consultants and PR Execs eagerly cooperate with the HFPA to get a strong turnout of contenders at this early pre-season kickoff to yet another awards race. Among the many PR types present you heard the same phrase over and over, “well here we go again”.
Among those presenting the total of more than $1.2 million to some 40 organizations today in addition to Hoffman were Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), John Travolta (Savages), Don Johnson and Kerry Washington (Django Unchained), Jennifer Lawrence(Silver Linings Playbook, The Hunger Games), Jack Black (Bernie), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Kelsey Grammer (Boss) and Carla Gugino (Political Animals). Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) opened the proceedings for the Foreign Press group by joking that ”the 40 grants are as diverse as the people sitting in this audience today”. Read More »
Universal has released its first trailer for Savages, the Oliver Stone-directed adaptation of the bestselling Don Winslow novel about two pot growers from Laguna who are muscled by a Mexican drug cartel. When the cartel kidnaps the woman they share, the growers come up with a novel but dangerous way to pay the ransom. The film stars Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Benecio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch and Demian Bichir. The script was written by Shane Salerno & Winslow & Stone. Universal was impressed enough to move the film from fall into the July 6 slot. The trailer will play in front of American Reunion.
At Saturday night’s third annual Governors Awards, Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno) was seated next to me and before the show unexpectedly said of being in the room with Oprah: “This is extreme for me. I am an Oprah worshipper.” After this year’s recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award earned a trio of standing ovations and ended her emotional acceptance speech to bring the big night to a close, Cody concluded, “I feel like I have just freebased Oprah”. Indeed it was Oprah’s night in this room. But it also belonged to the other honorary Oscar winners, too – makeup legend Dick Smith and actor James Earl Jones, who accepted his award from London’s Wyndham stage in a segment taped earlier in the day after a matinee performance of Driving Miss Daisy in which he is appearing alongside Vanessa Redgrave.
So far I have been to all three Governors Awards ceremonies and I would say this seemed the most emotional of them all with both Winfrey and Jones referencing their long journey from Mississippi to this Hollywood moment. One attendee told me afterwards, “I was really moved by this more than any other year”. If only the speeches could be this good on the Oscar show itself. Then the Academy wouldn’t have to worry about who hosts or produces the show.
Academy President Tom Sherak made his entrance in a Darth Vader uniform (in tribute to Jones) and opened with the same line he used to introduce a screening of the Jones film, The Great White Hope on Friday night: “How was your week?” It was an obvious reference to the tumultuous events surrounding this year’s Oscar show. But that was the only time the week’s events came up all evening. This was a night for the honorees and they all made the most of it. Before dinner a stirring reel was shown highlighting the entire 84-year history of honorary Oscar winners, followed by a touching tribute to past Oscar show producers Laura Ziskin and Gil Cates who both died this year.
Alec Baldwin got the show rolling after dinner by honoring his The Hunt For Red October co-star Jones saying, “Unlike many actors, James Earl Jones never had to get his career back because he never lost it. He is one of the greatest actors in history”. Glenn Close came out to praise him by referencing his Broadway triumph Fences. “He is the only actor who has broken me apart and transformed me until I was a screaming slobbering mess. James Earl Jones is indeed a world treasure.” Redgrave via tape surprised her co-star by bringing on Sir Ben Kingsley with an Oscar to present to Jones. ”You achieve what every actor is striving for. You are always so damn good,” Kingsley praised.
Jones was genuinely taken aback. “If an actor’s nightmare is being onstage butt-naked and not knowing his lines, then what the hell is this?” he laughed. ”This is an actor’s wet dream. I am gobsmacked at this improbable moment in my life. You cannot be an actor like I am and not have been in some of the worst movies like I have. But I stand before you deeply honored, mighty grateful, and just plain godsmacked.” Read More »
J.J. Abrams, Glenn Close, John Travolta, Alec Baldwin, Larry Gordon, Rick Baker, Mary J. Blige, and Maria Shriver were some of the names who helped the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences present Honorary Awards to actor James Earl Jones and makeup artist Dick Smith and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to philanthropist Oprah Winfrey. It was the Academy’s 3rd Annual Governors Awards dinner last night at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center. Photos on next page: Read More »
LOS ANGELES, CA – Millennium Films, Corsan Pictures and FilmEngine will begin production January 16 on “Killing Season,” starring Robert De Niro and John Travolta. Mark Steven Johnson (“Ghost Rider,” “Daredevil”) will direct from a script by Evan Daugherty (“Snow White and the Huntsman”).
“Killing Season” is an action movie set in the Appalachian Mountains about an American military veteran (De Niro) who has retreated to a remote cabin in the woods. When a rare visitor, a European tourist (Travolta), appears on the scene, the two men strike up an unlikely friendship. But in fact the visitor is a former Serbian soldier bent on revenge. What follows is a tense, action packed battle across some of America’s most forbidding landscape that proves the old adage: the purest form of war is one-on-one.
Nu Image/Millennium is taking the lead on international sales at the American Film Market this week, in consultation with Corsan. For FilmEngine, Anthony Rhulen is producing and Jake Wagner is exec producer.
“I’ve loved this project from the moment I read Evan Daughterty’s remarkable script,” said Corsan CEO Paul Breuls. “It’s thrilling, imaginative, unexpected and dominated by two extraordinary characters on a collision course. I’m very pleased this film is moving into production and to be partnered with Avi Lerner and his team at Millennium.”
“We’re excited to be co-financing and co-producing this film with Corsan, and to be working again
All the while that producer Marc Fiore was making pricey pay-or-play deals and holding press conferences in New York and Cannes to trumpet John Travolta, Al Pacino, Lindsay Lohan and Joe Pesci taking part in Gotti: In The Shadow Of My Father, there were big questions on whether Fiore really had the cash to make the movie. It has become clear in the last two weeks that he does not; I’m told that the film is in play and that without a new backer, the mob movie could sleep with the fishes. Conversations are going on right now to figure out new funding and to bring down the budget.
What happened? I’m told that Fiore’s major backer, a New York-based construction mogul named Fay Devlin, recently began questioning what he had gotten himself into after Fiore paid high prices to sign talent to pay-or-play deals. Already more than $10 million has been spent, and I’ve heard they’re on the hook to pay Travolta $10 million to play John Gotti Sr, Pacino $7 million, co-writer/director Barry Levinson more than $4 million, co-writer James Toback $1 million, and Ben Foster low seven figures to play Gotti Jr. Those are high prices for an indie film. A pay-or-play deal from an indie company isn’t the same as one at a studio, but talent and reps had no reason to be unduly concerned because Fiore made escrow payments on time and was so confident his … Read More »
Django Unchained director Quentin Tarantino has offered the role of wealthy plantation owner Spencer Bennett to Don Johnson, and they are negotiating for Johnson to join a cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell. The picture shoots this fall with The Weinstein Company distributing domestically and Sony foreign. Tarantino is always good for a surprise or two when he goes beyond the obvious casting lists and taps talent from his memory banks, something he has done with the likes of John Travolta and the late David Carradine. Putting the former Miami Vice and Nash Bridges star into a villainous role here seems inspired. The liberated slave Django (Foxx) and his bounty hunter partner (Waltz) meet the evil plantation owner in pursuit of a bounty, and he turns the table on them. Tarantino has been talking to Johnson some time about the role. Johnson most recently played a character called Miles Deep in the recent comedy Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star, but soon his most recent credit will be a big Tarantino film.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired the Don Winslow bestselling novel Satori and will develop it as a star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio to play a Westerner, raised in Japan and taught an assassin’s skills, who gets caught up in the chaos of post-WWII as the U.S., Soviet Union, France and China maneuver for power in Southeast Asia in the early 1950s. Shane Salerno will write the script with Winslow, and John Lesher’s Grisdi Productions and DiCaprio’s Appian Way partner Jennifer Killoran are producing. Salerno is executive producer.
DiCaprio will play Nicholai Hel, raised in Japan by a martial arts expert and genius at Go, the complex chess-like Japanese game. The master, a Japanese general, passes on all his secrets and the student repays him by murdering his mentor as an act of devotion; the military leader would have been disgraced and killed as a war criminal.
For that act, Hel is thrown in solitary confinement in a Tokyo prison and tortured for three years. He is finally sprung by the CIA after agreeing to assassinate the Soviet commissioner to China. Hel is trained for the task by a beautiful French woman he falls in love with. Though he now sees a happy ending to the dangerous assignment, Hel is betrayed by his backers and, using his Go skills for strategy, makes his way through Vietnam hunted by American, Chinese, Russian and French intelligence agencies as well as a Corsican mob and Vietnamese criminal syndicate. It’s a sophisticated thriller, and the studio sees potential for its own Jason Bourne-type action franchise. Read More »