Chosen from thousands of auditions, 10-year old Neel Sethi will be playing the part of Mowgli in Jon Favreau‘s version of Disney‘s The Jungle Book. Sethi was discovered after an extensive search ranging from New York to New Zealand, London to Canada, and India. It’s Sethi’s first time up on the bigscreen and he’ll be the only actor up there as the new Disney take on The Jungle Book is a combo of live-action and animation. Pic is slated for release on October 9, 2015 in 3D.
“Casting is the most important element of any film and finding the right kid to play Mowgli was imperative,” said Favreau in a statement, “Neel has tremendous talent and charisma. There is a lot riding on his little shoulders and I’m confident he can handle it.”
“Neel embodies the heart, humor, and daring of the character,” added casting director Sarah Finn. “He’s warm and accessible, yet also has an intelligence well beyond his years and impressed us all with his ability to hold his own in any situation. Even though he has no professional acting experience, his natural charisma and instincts jumped out at us.” Sethi is repped by DBA.
Newcomers bowed with muted to mixed results this weekend, while some holdovers including Jon Favreau‘s Chef held some sway in a box office stomped by Godzilla. The Weinstein Company opened James Gray’s Cannes 2013 debut The Immigrant with Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix in a trio of theaters in New York and L.A. Friday, grossing $45,430 for a $15,143 average. That theatrical result bests Gray’s previous opener, Two Lovers (also starring Phoenix as well as Gwyneth Paltrow), though only slightly in terms of PTA. Magnolia Pictures opened Lovers in 7 runs in February 2009, grossing almost $95K for a $13,569 PTA. It went on to cume nearly $3.15M in the U.S. Gray’s highest grossing pic remains the studio release We Own The Night in 2007 via Sony/Columbia. That feature racked up over $28.56 million in the U.S.
“We’re fairly pleased with The Immigrant [opening],” said TWC’s president of Theatrical Distribution Erik Lomis Sunday. “There’s a dedicated art house crowd which it appeals to. There were sell-outs at the Royal in L.A. and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center in New York (a venue that has limited capacity). We’re not Godzilla, this is for a sophisticated audience and we expect that that [crowd] will discover the film as it [continues to head out].” The Immigrant will head out to the top 50 markets in the coming weeks. Read More »
2014 SXSW Film Festival opener Chef by writer-director-star Jon Favreau had audiences salivating this weekend in limited release. It cooked up a good showing in 6 theaters with a solid $204K opening and landing in the top tier of this year’s releases in terms of theater average. The feature, also starring Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, and Dustin Hoffman no less, came in just over $34K in its PTA. Only a few other titles landed higher in their openings in the averages game. Grand Budapest Hotel is way out in front — and likely will be for sometime — with a $202K average, while Fading Gigolo opened in April with a $39,860 average in an initial five runs. Under The Skin (which incidentally also featured Johansson) came in with a $35K PTA in four theaters.
“We’re excited, Chef played great this weekend,” said Open Road’s Jason Cassidy. “Exit polls are stellar and we think the film has a nice long life ahead of it. Kudos go to Favreau for making a great, very playable movie and his work in promotion.” Cassidy said that the audience leaned female “as expected.” It will hit the top 10 markets next week and will expand beyond that based on performance.
Related: DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: ‘Neighbors’ A Raucous No. 1 As ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ Hits A Wall; ‘The Other Woman’ On Strong Legs
After a premiere long ago in Telluride, Venice and Toronto (and recently at the San Francisco and Montclair film festivals), another Coppola enters the box office with her debut feature. Read More »
Filmmaker Jon Favreau takes a break from comic books and cowboys to return to his comedic roots with Chef. And while it’s easy to align Chef next to such Favreau faves as Swingers and Made, the title is more prime for the comfort food subgenre of chef-in-crisis cinema that includes such films as Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott’s Big Night, James L. Brooks’ Spanglish and Sandra Nettlebeck’s Mostly Martha. Favreau plays Los Angeles Master Chef Carl Casper, who locks horns with his restaurant boss (Dustin Hoffman) after a blogger (Oliver Platt) slams their menu. Casper makes lemonade out of lemons by launching his own food truck in the city with the help of his co-worker (John Leguizamo). Also along for the ride are Favreau’s Marvel theater company duo of Robert Downey Jr and Scarlett Johansson, as well as Sofia Vergara, Bobby Cannavale and Amy Sedaris. Open Road acquired rights to Chef in June and will release the film stateside on May 9, Mother’s Day weekend. Reviews coming out of SXSW were largely upbeat. Sample for yourself:
EXCLUSIVE: Hot off the debut of his most recent film at SXSW, the multihyphenate has booked his next acting gig. Jon Favreau will co-star in Universal‘s crime thriller Term Life, which stars Vince Vaughn as a thief who plans and sells heists to the highest bidder. He takes his estranged daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) on the lam when a job goes bad. Hunted by mob bosses, contract killers and dirty cops, he takes out a life insurance policy on himself to leave something for his kid. One problem: It doesn’t take effect for 21 days. Production began March 1 on the pic, which Vaughn, Micah Mason Victoria Vaughn and Kevin Frakes are producing with Raj Brinder Singh exec producing. Peter Billingsley will direct from a screenplay by A.J. Lieberman, who created the original graphic novel with Nick Thornborrow. PalmStar Media Capital and Merced Media financed Term Life. Favreau most recently directed and stars in Chef, which bowed Friday at the Austin fest. His recent onscreen credits include The Wolf Of Wall Street, Iron Man 3, Identity Thief and People Like Us. He is repped by CAA and attorney Geoffrey Oblath.
Related: Universal’s ‘Term Life’ Adds Mike Epps, Jordi Molla, William Levy
Look’s like something’s really going to be cooking in Austin this spring and we don’t mean BBQ. The SXSW Film Conference and Festival said today that Jon Favreau’s Chef will open the confab this year on March 7. It also announced six additional premieres including Rob Thomas’ crowdfunded big-screen continuation of TV series Veronica Mars, which Amazon Prime made available for streaming today; Fox’s re-launched COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson in person; and the addition of a conversation with filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky and an acting workshop with Jeffrey Tambor.
Related: Lena Dunham, Jason Blum Set For Inaugural SXSW Film Keynotes
The full SXSW lineup is scheduled to be revealed January 30, but here are the films unveiled today:
Break Point (World Premiere / SXsports screening)
Director: Jay Karas, Screenwriters: Gene Hong, Jeremy Sisto
Two estranged brothers reunite to make an improbable run at a grand slam tennis tournament. The mismatched pair, with some unlikely help from a precocious 11-year-old boy, re-discover their game and their brotherhood.
Cast: Jeremy Sisto, David Walton, Joshua Rush, J.K. Simmons, Amy Smart
Chef (World Premiere)
Director: Jon Favreau, Screenplay & Story: Jon Favreau
When Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman), he is left to figure out what’s next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), his friend (John
… Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Disney is in negotiations with Jon Favreau to helm The Jungle Book, a new adaptation of the 1894 Rudyard Kipling novel that is a priority project for the studio. Justin Marks, scripter of The Raven, will turn in a draft shortly, and the studio hopes to get into production next year. Favreau — who wrote, directed, produced and stars in the modestly budgeted indie Chef – has a strong history with Disney, and this will put him back into the event film game. He helmed the first two Iron Man films and had been attached to direct Magic Kingdom, the pic where the theme park comes to life. Disney previously turned The Jungle Book into the classic 1967 animated film and a 1994 live-action feature helmed by Stephen Sommers. The book is public domain, and Disney has not yet set producers. Bet a few of them on the lot are going to be picking up the phone momentarily.
Related: Open Road Acquires U.S. Rights To Jon Favreau’s ‘Chef’
Read More »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s conference coverage.
The 5th Annual Produced By Conference, sponsored by the PGA, kicked off this morning on the 20th Century Fox lot with a panel discussion entitled “The Real Deal: Producers Who Direct? or Directors Who Produce?”. Producer Mark Gordon of Grey’s Anatomy fame moderated the discussion in the packed Zanuck Theater, peppering panelists Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1, 2 and 3) and Roland Emmerich (White House Down, Independence Day) with questions about how producers can effectively navigate the directorial waters and vice-versa. Of course, working with filmmakers at the level of Favreau and Emmerich who have abundant experience is rarely a problem, Gordon repeatedly acknowledged.
“There is a comfort level with directors who have a body of work,” said Gordon, who doesn’t direct. “It’s more difficult now because everybody specializes. In the old days of the Hollywood studio system, guys like John Ford and Billy Wilder did it all. They directed comedies. They directed dramas. They directed musicals. Today, you hear, ‘This guy is an action director, this guy directs comedy.’ I don’t believe in that. If you direct, you should be able to direct everything.” But Favreau pointed out that inexperienced directors are becoming less of a dice roll for producers and studios, what with the cost of admission to the club dropping to relative pennies. “There are tremendous filmmakers doing strong pieces of content online,” he said. “Those content walls are coming down. It’s becoming less and less of a guess. It isn’t like picking the new Dalai Lama. You can see what’s being done and say, ‘This kid’s got some vision’.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Bradley Cooper has now formally confirmed to star in the John Wells-directed Chef, making this one of the early projects stirring action from foreign buyers who can now visualize the Silver Linings Playbook star back in meltdown mode in this Shampoo-like drama. He plays a Paris chef named Adam Jones, who destroys his wunderkind status in a blaze of decadence and out of control behavior. He cleans up and returns to Paris sober, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant that can gain three Michelin stars. This has been in the works a bit, and recently Cooper saw Wells’ upcoming TWC Oscar-bait movie August: Osage County and then TWC set Wells to direct Chef. They are now looking to round out that cast, and I’m hearing Michelle Williams and Marion Cotillard as potential female leads, and Omar Sy for co-starring role. The film’s produced by Stacey Sher, Erwin Stoff and Michael Shamberg. Read More »
Robert Downey Jr. has joined ensemble comedy Chef, reteaming with his Iron Man and Iron Man II director and co-star Jon Favreau. Favreau wrote and is helming the film. Also on board are Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo and Bobby Cannavale. Aldamisa International will start pre-sales in Cannes on the movie that’s based on an original idea from Favreau about a man who loses his job as a chef and starts a food truck to reclaim his artistic promise. Production starts July 8 in LA. Karen Gilchrist and Aldamisa co-chair Sergei Bespalov are producing. Aldamisa is financing with partner Kilburn Media and Mark Manuel. CAA packaged and is repping U.S. rights. The deal was negotiated by Jere Hausfater and Philip Elway on behalf of Aldamisa.
Related: ‘Avengers’ Cast And Stingy Marvel Ready To Rumble Over Sequel Cash & Strong-Arming
Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor.
With an average of 8.4 million viewers per episode, the apocalyptic sci-fi series Revolution has been a relative hit for NBC in a humiliating turn of events that recently saw the network finish fifth — behind Univision — for the first time in its history. Despite that success, Revolution was put on a 4-month hiatus after 10 episodes. In advance of the series’ March 25 return, Night 2 of PaleyFest 2013 featured a Revolution panel with series creator and executive producer Eric Kripke, co-creator and executive producer J.J. Abrams, and executive producer Jon Favreau. Also along for the ride were cast members Billy Burke (Miles Matheson), Tracy Spiridakos (Charlie Matheson), Giancarlo Esposito (Major Tom Neville), David Lyons (Sebastian Monroe), Daniella Alonso (Nora Clayton). and J.D. Pardo (Jason Neville). The discussion centered heavily on the show’s return and based on what the executive producers said, fans can expect a much more fast-paced experience.
Set 15 years after an unspecified event caused all electrical devices to stop working, Revolution hangs on a heavy myth arc, but as revealed during the panel the series is bucking the tradition of genre TV shows by refusing to draw things out. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Hot off directing the pilot for the highest-rated new fall series, drama Revolution, Jon Favreau is set to direct another NBC pilot, comedy About A Boy. The single-camera comedy, from Friday Night Lights and Parenthood executive producer Jason Katims, is based on the Nick Hornby book and the 2002 movie. Written and executive produced by Emmy-winner Katims, About A Boy follows the relationship between a bachelor man-child and the young boy who moves in next door with his kooky single mother. Katims’ head of development, Michelle Lee, serves as producer on the pilot, which is from Katims’ True Jack Prods; Universal TV; and Working Title and Tribeca Prods, the companies that produced the Hugh Grant-starring feature. Favreau serves as co-executive producer on the JJ Abrams/Eric Kripke NBC drama Revolution. On the feature side, the Iron Man director recently executive produced The Avengers and is now exec producing the upcoming Iron Man 3.
Related: Jason Katims’ ‘About A Boy’ Comedy Get Pilot Order At NBC
EXCLUSIVE: New Regency is in final negotiations to acquire Battle For Bonneville, a package that comes with Ryan Reynolds attached to star and Jon Favreau to direct the story of Art and Walt Arfons. The half-brothers were rivals on the race track until they put aside their differences and teamed to set the world land speed record three times. This was accomplished in the salt flats of Utah in a jet-powered race car.
The script was written by Dan Gilroy, who most recently teamed with Tony Gilroy to script The Bourne Legacy and is completing Pursuit for Universal and Captivate. Favreau, the Iron Man helmer who has always held a fascination with muscle car lore, is developing this to direct. Favreau also is prepping Jersey Boys, and the hope is that the racing film will follow. Battle For Bonneville will be produced by Mayhem partners Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray, Dark Trick’s Reynolds and Jonathan Komack Martin, Favreau, Jennifer Fox and New Regency. CAA repped all the elements and handled the package.
Reynolds, who starred with Denzel Washington in Safe House and next stars with Jeff Bridges in R.I.P.D., is in talks to star in The Voices, a psychological thriller that will be directed by Marjane Satrapi from a script by Paranormal Activity’s Michael R. Perry.
Iron Man director Jon Favreau is set to executive produce a single-camera comedy written and executive produced by The Office co-executive producers Warren Lieberstein and Halsted Sullivan. The untitled project, produced by Universal TV, centers on a divorced father with shared custody of his 5-year-old daughter who moves into a building full of singles and must balance his re-entry into the dating world with being a solo parent. Favreau, repped by CAA, Shepard & Associates and Bob Getman, also has a relationship with NBC having directed the pilot for the network’s high-profile new drama Revolution. Lieberstein and Sullivan are with CAA and Jared Levine. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Before he gets started directing the movie transfer of the Broadway hit musical Jersey Boys, Jon Favreau has joined the cast of the Martin Scorsese-directed The Wolf of Wall Street. He plays a securities lawyer in the drama that stars Leonardo DiCaprio. Favreau also reprises his role as Happy Hogan in Iron Man 3, the first film in the series he didn’t direct. He is executive producing the film. Favreau joined Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Kevin Feige and Iron Man 3 helmer Shane Black for Marvel’s Comic-Con panel and Favreau was welcomed like an old friend. He’s got a strong rapport with the Comic-Con set, and the big question is whether he can get them into the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons as he gears up for that next directing gig. Favreau also stars with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy in Identity Theft. He is represented by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: While Disney is at Comic-Con today to unveil some details on its Sam Raimi-directed Oz: The Great And Powerful, Universal is finally moving forward with its screen adaptation of the cash cow musical Wicked. I’m told that the studio is courting Stephen Daldry to direct the film, and I’m optimistic that he’ll make a deal. At the same time, Jon Favreau is in negotiations to direct Jersey Boys. Both Wicked and Jersey Boys are among the top-grossing Broadway musicals on a weekly basis.
Related: ‘Wicked’ To Cast Movie Spell For Universal: Creators Meeting With Hollywood Directors
Favreau has been the rumored front runner for some time to helm Jersey Boys, but Daldry is a surprise. Universal and the musical’s producer Marc Platt have been meeting with helmers since last year, as this was one of the most coveted gigs to come along in a long time. Wicked, a Wizard of Oz prequel, is based on the Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life And Times Of The Wicked Witch Of The West and focuses on the early relationship between Glinda the Good and Elphaba, a green-skinned beauty before she ended up flying on a broomstick. Wicked began as a movie development project with Platt and Universal, before they changed course and took it … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Jon Favreau has been tapped to direct Eric Kripke/JJ Abrams’ high-concept NBC drama pilot Revolution. The project, written by Supernatural creator Kripke, is being described as a high-octane action drama following a group of characters struggling to survive and reunite with loved ones in a world where all forms of energy have mysteriously ceased to exist. Abrams, Kripke and Bryan Burk are executive producing. This marks the first drama pilot directing gig for Favreau, who has helmed a few comedy pilots in the past, including that for the ABC series In Case Of Emergency starring David Arquette. In addition to Revolution, Favreau has Tweaked, a comedy pilot at CBS. The project, which Favreau wrote on spec and is attached to direct, was greenlighted in October but has not been cast yet and may shoot outside of the regular pilot season. CAA-repped Favreau’s recent feature directing credits include the two Iron Man movies and Cowboys & Aliens.
EXCLUSIVE: This is a writing team configuration that is sure to get people’s attention: Jon Favreau, Roberto Orci, Seth Green and Michael Dougherty. It certainly got ABC’s — the network has handed out a put pilot commitment to Ex-Comm, a sci-fi drama with humor, which will be written by the quartet. Iron Man helmer Favreau is set to direct the potential pilot, with 20th Century Fox TV and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci’s studio-based K/O Paper Products producing. Ex-Comm is described as a present-day “presidential procedural” and a cross between the paranormal suspense of The X-Files and the political intrigue of The West Wing. It follows a newly-elected President and his top secret “Executive Committee” (a.k.a. Ex-Comm), the government’s covert team of America’s most elite minds who investigate and protect our nation from the strangest occurrences and “conspiracy theory truths” out there. Tonally, the show aims to be fun but grounded, with everything in it operating within the realm of possibility. Favreau, Orci, Green and Dougherty are executive producing with Kurtzman, K/O’s Heather Kadin and Green’s producing partner at Stoopid Monkey Matthew Senreich.
How did the writing team on Ex-Comm get assembled? Robot Chicken co-creator Green and Superman Returns/X Men 2 co-writer Dougherty hatched the idea and took it to Kurtzman and Orci’s company. Meanwhile, Kurtzman and Orci co-wrote this past summer’s Cowboys & Aliens movie, which Favreau directed. While abroad doing press for the film with the rest of the cast and crew, Orci was working on the Ex-Comm pitch, and that’s how Favreau heard about it and came on board. Read More »