The specialty film community was surprised today that, with only 8 days to go until release, Rentrak sent out a date change announcement that The Weinstein Co was moving John Wells’s The Company Men off December 10th and onto January 21st. Especially because the film Wells wrote and directed had been well-received at Sundance and mentioned for the Oscar race even if it was ignored this week by both the Indie Spirit Awards and the National Board Of Review. So here’s what I’ve confirmed: that The Weinstein Co still plans an Oscar qualifying run for one week in NYC’s AMC Lincoln Square and LA’s AMC Century City theaters. The premiere is this Wednesday at The Paris in NYC complete with after-party. But it won’t go wider the rest of the month as planned. “They feel December has gotten too crowded with True Grit, The Fighter, Black Swan, and King’s Speech [opening or expanding] all in the next few weeks and targeted for the same audience,” an insider explains to me. The King’s Speech, of course, is The Weinstein Co’s major push for awards this season.
UPDATE: For those who inquired about application rules: Because of Humanitas’ limited staff, there will be no open submission. Writers can submit scripts through their agents, Humanitas-affiliated film schools or any of the Humanitas board of directors or board of trustees members or other TV showrunners who want to pitch them. There is no age limit for the applicants.
PREVIOUS: Humanitas is launching a New Voices initiative designed to help up-and-coming writers trying to break into the business. It includes agreements with 20th Century FOX TV, NBC Universal, CBS, ABC Studios, Lionsgate and HBO Entertainment to develop a total of twelve TV pilots by emerging writers. Each company has made blind commitments to buy two scripts, each of which will be written under the supervision of a member of Humatitas’ Board of Trustees.
The WGA West just issued its first Contract Bulletin about the upcoming TV/Theatrical contract about to be negotiated with the AMPTP. Issues discussed include New Media and Pension & Health:
WGAW Member Meetings to Discuss Negotiations for the 2011 Contract
Please join President John Wells, Executive Director David Young, Negotiating Committee Co-Chairs John Bowman and Billy Ray, and members of the WGAW Board to discuss plans for the upcoming negotiations and potential priorities for contract demands. Members will have the chance to give input and pose questions to Guild leaders. Los Angeles area members can choose from three meeting opportunities:
Tuesday, November 9, 7:00 p.m. at the Sportsmen’s Lodge
4234 Coldwater Canyon Ave., Studio City
Tuesday, November 16, 7:00 p.m. at the Loews Santa Monica
Beach Hotel, 1700 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica
Thursday, Dec 2, 7:00 p.m. at the Writers Guild Theater
135 South Doheny Dr., Beverly Hills
Challenges for the Guild this Year
As hard as it may be to believe, we are now entering the final six months of the contract we negotiated to end our 2007 strike. With our contract expiring on May 1, 2011, your Board and staff have been working over the last year to identify the areas we believe will need to be addressed in our upcoming 2011 MBA negotiations. This process has involved months of staff effort, extensive surveys of our members in screen and television, and many hours of Board discussion.
EXCLUSIVE: In a power pairing, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep are in talks to star for The Weinstein Company in the bigscreen adaptation of the Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer and Tony-winning play August: Osage County. I hear Roberts and Streep have agreed to the project and they are now working out deals and locking a production start. John Wells will direct the film from a script written by the playwright. Production will start by next summer. Streep will play Violet, the drug-addicted matriarch of the working class Weston clan. Roberts will play Barbara Fordham, the oldest daughter in the family. While mom’s problems and her penchant for revealing family secrets is a big issue, Barbara is melting because her husband is cheating with a college student. They are brought together when Violet’s husband goes missing and all three of their daughters come home to rally around mom. In the process, a lot of family secrets get revealed. The film has been developed for several years by Harvey Weinstein, who was involved
Joan Cusack has joined the cast of Showtime’s new drama series Shameless and appear in all 12 episodes of the new series. She’ll play the role of Sheila, an agoraphobic Chicago housewife with a sexually active teenage daughter who strikes up a special friendship with William H. Macy’s character, Frank Gallagher. She replaces Allison Janney, who played the role in the pilot but had to pull out because of her commitment to ABC’s Mr. Sunshine after the producers of Shameless decided to make the character more prominent than originally planned. Production on the series begins in mid-September for a January 9 premiere.
The Company Men is the feature directing debut of John Wells, who not only wrote and produced, but gambled some of his E.R. money to finance the film as well. The Weinstein Company, which acquired the drama after its Sundance Film Festival debut, has just released a trailer that makes …
Showtime has announced January premiere dates for new drama series Shameless, new comedy series Episodes and the fourth season of Californication. Shameless, John Wells and Paul Abbott’s adaptation of Abbott’s British series, will debut on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 10 PM. It …