EXCLUSIVE: Jack Thorne has been set to script Sandman at Warner Bros based on the pitch that David Goyer made for his treatment for the Neil Gaiman comic book classic. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is producing …
EXCLUSIVE: Just after previewing the first three episodes of his TV series HITRECORD ON TV, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his HITRECORD exec producer Jared Geller have set a first-look deal with Participant Media and its youth-centric TV station Pivot. This comes after the show Gordon-Levitt created got an 8-episode order for a second season. The series debuted yesterday on the upstart Pivot cable channel, for which Gordon-Levitt also is a creative adviser.
Said Pivot President Evan Shapiro: “Joe is the kind of artist we envisioned when we created Pivot. He is a director, actor, writer and disruptor who understands how to use every form of media to engage our audience.”
It’s only the second time that a TV series was featured on the Sundance program, but this series is directly intertwined with the festival. I watched the first episode and noticed a stylistic symmetry to other anthology shows, most particularly Sesame Street, which Gordon-Levitt allowed was one of the references for how to string together disparate segments for a variety show that stresses global subject matter and involves a worldwide audience on the web. Perhaps that intention was best underscored with the musical number that closes the first episode, which was devoted to the word “one.” The song is grounded by Gordon-Levitt’s own musical chops — watch the trailer below and it’s understandable why he’s mentioned for Fox’s Guys and Dolls redo — but the song was a much bigger undertaking in that it features songwriting and singing from participants from all over the world. (Watch the song performance below).
If Aereo’s legal battles with the broadcasters were left up to Sundance Film Festival attendees, the streaming service would win in a landslide. “We’ve been sued by 17 media companies,” said Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia today on a Sundance panel on the subject of on creativity and change. The words were barely out of Kanojia’s mouth before the packed room broke out in cheers and applause. “You just won the Oscar, my friend!” bellowed moderator and former MySpace president Jason Hirschhorn as the more than 150 people in the Filmmaker’s Lounge continued clapping. “I don’t mean that as a trophy but as a fact,” the clearly surprised Kanojia added.
Related: Fleming Forecast On Sundance 2014
Just over a week after the Supreme Court decided to hear the industry’s claim that Aereo infringes on broadcasters’ copyrights, the CEO was joined on the panel by actor-director Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Twitter’s head of music Bob Moczydlowsky, and Atavist co-founder/editor Evan Ratliff. “We’ve always said HITRECORD is a production company not a platform,” Gordon-Levitt said of his collaborative hub website. “One thing about HITRECORD is that every time we do it, it’s different.” HITRECORD ON TV is set to debut tomorrow with back-to-back episodes on the Participant Media-owned cable channel Pivot. Six more episodes are to follow. For Kanojia, platforms were the key. “Given where the Internet is today, there is an opportunity to create new platforms for creators,” he said.
Fleming On 2014 Sundance Forecast: Thriving Indie Biz Makes Appetite Strong; Un-Commercial Slate Could Limit Big Deals
The Sundance Film Festival market gets underway tonight, and it could start with a bidding bang for Whiplash, seen here first as a short and now a feature starring Miles Teller as a drummer trying to survive his ruthless school band conductor (J.K. Simmons). Then again, buyers could find it’s not the second coming of Precious, Beasts Of The Southern Wild, or last year’s gem Fruitvale Station. It will still sell if that happens, it will just take longer, with its prospect for a meaningful theatrical release dimming with each passing day.
More than any recent year in memory, this Sundance program might well have been programmed by Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid screenwriter William Goldman, because of how the fest follows his famous adage about Hollywood that “Nobody knows anything.” It’s harder than usual to predict this fest’s breakout films because nothing jumps off the page as a can’t-miss. How does that make buyers feel? One buyer likened himself and his competitors as being like a bunch of old men on a beach, with shorts, black socks, and metal detectors, combing the sand for that diamond ring someone dropped amidst the beer can pull tops and other debris. “You’ve got to cover the whole beach or you’ll miss something,” he said. “On paper, a lot of these films have good casts and potential until you see them, get disappointed and find something in the little movie which has no stars, and is much harder to market,” the distributor said. “There are so many buyers here and so much competition, you really have to be on your toes and see everything.”
There is a sense of deja vu here for the number of past Sundance directors returning with projects (they include Zach Braff, Mike Cahill, Richard Linklater, Lynne Shelton, Gregg Araki and Jake Paltrow), but also because of programming decisions which seem to increasingly bring the fest back to its origins of prizing smaller left-of-center fare.
EXCLUSIVE: It seems a long time ago that Don Jon’s Addiction announced Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a writer/director to be reckoned with, after the film followed its January Sundance debut with a late night bidding battle that ended with Relativity paying a $4 million advance and a $25 million P&A commitment. That is a whopper for a film that was financed by Voltage Pictures’ Nicolas Chartier for around $3 million. Some eight months later, Relativity is releasing the film on 2400 screens under the title Don Jon. Gordon-Levitt plays the title character, a buff bartender who prefers internet porn to his many living and breathing bed partners. The film’s subject matter made it a hard R movie even though there is depth behind its provocative theme. It won’t be hard for this picture to be a financial win, especially if it catches a zeitgeist wave. Relativity production president Robbie Brenner said they held a buzz-building simultaneous screening in 100 cities last week and the crowds were as raucous as the one that first saw the film in Sundance. She and Tucker Tooley said they have done everything they promised Gordon-Levitt in Park City and they hope hard to serve as a home for a new film making voice. I interviewed Gordon-Levitt after his January premiere in Park City, and we did it again this week as he explains the process of going from festival sensation to mainstream ambitions.
DEADLINE: I am curious about what it’s like to see your film become a festival hit and then have to wait almost a year before the public sees it. How much has your movie changed since Sundance?
GORDON-LEVITT: We got a chance to finish the movie, basically. We got a version ready for Sundance, but really, it wasn’t finished. It didn’t have its opening credit sequence, I hadn’t had a chance to refine the voice over. There were a lot of tweaks needed in the editing. It is basically the same movie. No lines got cut, no story moments were lost and no real time was cut from the movie. The screws got tightened, and I think it is a lot better than it was at Sundance.
With 276 membership invitations going out today — exactly 100 more new members than were invited to join the elite 6000+ organization last year — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has clearly begun to live up to its goal of being more inclusive. And not only in increasing its numbers but also in the group’s stated goal of increasing diversity. One person I spoke with today who was involved in the selection of new members from their branch was worried that the Academy might be drifting into affirmative action territory and cutting out more deserving applicants. But outgoing Academy president Hawk Koch was thrilled with the results of the initiative, which was approved at a Board of Governors meeting last October. It’s one he personally lobbied for with every peer group as they considered applications for membership to their individual branches.
When we spoke this morning, Koch said it was “mission accomplished” but added that along with diversity he emphasized qualifications. “I did say along with that our criteria doesn’t change: They still have to be the best of the best, just be aware of diversity”, he said. “I am very excited that we have such a talented and diverse group of artists and filmmakers. It’s like everything else I have tried to do this year. We are moving forward. We are more inclusive and are cultivating the next generation, and that’s what we need to do”.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s directorial debut hits screens October 18 via Relativity Media, which snapped up the hot title (nee Don Jon’s Addiction) for $4M out of Sundance. Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly and Brie Larson star in the pic about a porn-addicted Jersey …
Fox Seals ‘Guys And Dolls’ Rights; Wants Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt To Fill Frank Sinatra And Marlon Brando Shoes
EXCLUSIVE: At long last, 20th Century Fox has closed movie rights to Guys And Dolls, and the studio will soon start the process of developing a remake of the stage and movie classic for what Fox hopes will be a killer pairing of Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the roles made famous by Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. There is no writer or director yet, but those guys are interested.
While we are all waiting for the eventual movie adaptation of stage hits like Wicked and The Book Of Mormon, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a musical adaptation get the kind of rise out of movie stars that Guys And Dolls has each time a movie deal was rumored. Years ago, it looked like Harvey Weinstein was getting the rights, with his Chicago exec producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron producing the film. Thesps from Russell Crowe to Vin Diesel, Hugh Jackman and others all tossed their hats into the ring to play the leads. Trouble was, Jo Loesser, the widow of songwriter Frank Loesser, never found a deal to her liking and declined to sign over the rights. Until just recently.
The musical was taken from Damon Runyon’s short stories that captured the rogue gangsters and gamblers of the 1920s and 1930s. Here, Nathan Detroit (Sinatra) has a town full of captive gamblers and wants to set up a floating crap game but needs money to do it. He bets his pal Sky Masterson (Brando) that Sky can’t get the wholesome Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons) — who runs a mission — to go with him to Havana. Frank Loesser wrote the music and lyrics, and Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows wrote the book. It won the Tony Award for Best Musical when it premiered in 1950, and won the 1951 Pulitzer for Drama, until the troubles Burrows was having with the House Un-American Activities Committee caused the Trustees of Columbia University to veto the selection. Guys And Dolls was then turned into the 1955 movie. The classic Loesser songs included Luck Be A Lady, and Sit Down, You’re Rocking The Boat.
OSCARS: Charlize Theron, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Radcliffe To Be “Special Guests” On Telecast
“We are quite excited to have Charlize, Chan, Joe and Dan join us on the show,” said telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “We are happy to feature them as special guests in our production.”
This will be Gordon-Levitt, Radcliffe and Tatum’s first time appearing on the Oscar show.
Sundance Deal Precedent: Relativity Media Pact For Joseph Gordon-Levitt-Helmed Comedy ‘Don Jon’s Addiction’: $4 Mill Upfront, $25 Million P&A For Summer Release
UPDATE: Relativity Media has confirmed the Don Jon’s Addiction deal, and I’ll run the announcement below the original break of the story. In terms of the precedent-setting amount, other buyers have helpfully reminded me of Sundance films like Happy Texas, Hustle & Flow, and The Spitfire Grill. There was also a rather large P&A commitment that went for the wide release genre film Splice. Several of those didn’t work out well and Relativity will have to gross $35 million or more on this film to make the numbers work here, but it’s a bold statement-making play, and maybe it will pay off.
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline told you first that Relativity Media had placed a bid that was blowing everybody out of the water on Don Jon’s Addiction, the directorial debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt that has had brisk buyer interest since it premiered. I’m hearing that Relativity Media is wrapping up what will be an historic, precedent-setting deal for a Sundance film, harkening to the days when distributors spent big big bucks here. Word I’m hearing is they are paying the $4 million minimum guarantee I’ve mentioned before, but that there is a whopping $25 million P&A for a summer release on 2000 screens. Yowza! That meets or surpasses marks for a biggest Sundance (non-genre film) total deal — and biggest domestic deal because this is not for the world. It is for U.S. only. I’m sure if that’s awry, my commenters will tell me and we’ll set the record straight if this didn’t beat the record.
On its fourth day, the Sundance Film Festival is wall to wall with some of Hollywood’s best known actors and actresses — and we don’t mean the ones who show up just to party hop. While the festival can be a great launching pad for emerging filmmakers, Park City has never been shy about letting the already well known show their wares there too. It was created by Robert Redford after all. This year sees a number of famous faces and names get behind the camera with new films. As buyers begin to dig in, expect to see these marquee names generating some serious interest as they play out of their regular position. And then there’s the plethora of Oscar winners and nominees, blockbuster and TV stars and indie superstars in front of the camera — check out our comprehensive list below.
James Franco – Executive Producer, kink; Co-director, Interior. Leather Bar. - Actor, director, conceptual artist, grad student and failed Oscar host, Franco wears many hats. This year, he’s adding producer and co-director for two separate films for Sundance. Franco produced kink, a documentary directed by Christina Voros about the Internet’s biggest producer of BDSM. Franco also co-directed Interior. Leather Bar with Travis Matthews. The film seeks to re-create the 40 minutes of Gay S&M footage rumored to be cut from 1980’s Cruising staring Al Pacino to avoid an X rating. Sure the sexual subject matter of both films is similar but Franco’s ambition is wide ranging. Franco also makes an appearance in front of the camera in Interior. Leather Bar and Lovelace.
Alicia Keys – Executive Producer, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete - The multi-platinum singer/songwriter is no stranger to cinema. More than a few films feature her tunes on their soundtracks and Keys was in front of the camera in 2006’s Smokin’ Aces. However, this Sundance is Keys’ debut as a producer. Directed George Tillman Jr. and starring Skylan Brooks, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson and Anthony Mackie, the coming of age film could be the start of a whole new career for Keys.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Director/Writer, Don Jon’s Addiction – He sings, he dances, he starred in The Dark Knight Rises and Looper last year, and now Gordon-Levitt slips into the director’s role on the comedy Don Jon’s Addiction. The actor’s directorial debut, which he also wrote the script for, stars Gordon-Levitt himself as a lady’s man who begins seeking a more fulfilling emotional life. Scarlett Jonansson, Julianne Moore, Brie Larson and Tony Danza co-star in the film.
Dave Grohl – Director/Producer, Sound City - No stranger to movie soundtracks, the Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer has now moved into the director’s chair with his debut documentary Sound City. Debuting early in the Festival, the film is about the famous Van Nuys studio where Nirvana, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Cheap Trick, Guns and Roses and others have recorded. Even before the Festival began, Gravitas Ventures acquired worldwide VOD to Grohl’s movie.
Julie Delpy/Ethan Hawke – Writers, Before Midnight - This one’s a bit of a cheat because the duo are actually on both sides of the camera at this year’s Sundance. Premiering tonight, the Richard Linklater directed Before Midnight sees Delpy and Hawke return to their roles as Jesse and Celine from 1995’s Before Sunrise and 2004’s Before Sunset. The onscreen duo also retuned to their off screen roles as writers. Like Before Sunset, which was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay, Delpy and Hawke crafted Before Midnight’s script with Linklater. This year marks the second time the trio have premiered their tale of the perpetually unfulfilled lovers to Sundance –Before Sunrise debuted at the Festival in 1995.