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Judd Apatow Taps LeBron James For Universal Comedy ‘Trainwreck’

By | Wednesday May 7, 2014 @ 2:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

lebLeBron James, whose Miami Heat trounced the Brooklyn Nets in the opening game of the second round of the NBA playoffs last night, had time to tweet that he has closed a deal to join the cast of Trainwreck. That’s the Universal comedy that Judd Apatow will direct and also just also got Cliff (Method Man) Smith. Script is by the film’s star, rising comedienne Amy Schumer. James joins her, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, Vanessa Bayer, Tilda Swinton, John Cena and Mike Birbiglia.

Related: LeBron James High School Tale A Jump Ball With Four Studios Courting

This comes after Universal bought a pic about the formative years of James and his high school teammates that will be scripted by Frank E. Flowers, with Rachel Winter and Terence Winter producing with James and his manager, Maverick Carter. As if that wasn’t enough, James, who just moved from CAA to WME, had been expected to make his feature starring debut opposite Kevin Hart in the Universal/Imagine Entertainment film Ballers.

Related: Kevin Hart To Play LeBron James’ Brother In ‘Ballers’
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Universal Dates Judd Apatow-Amy Schumer Comedy ‘Trainwreck’ For July 2015

By | Wednesday January 8, 2014 @ 11:15am PST

Amy SchumerThe Judd Apatow-helmed comedy starring comedian Amy Schumer has been set for release on July 24, 2015. That’s a major summer date for Schumer’s feature film debut following her 2013 breakout on her eponymous Comedy Central sketch comedy show Inside Amy Schumer, which returns for a second season in April. In August, Deadline’s Mike Fleming broke news of the then-untitled project and Universal/Apatow’s bet on Schumer as the next female comedy star to follow in the footsteps of Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) and Lena Dunham (Girls). Schumer scripted Trainwreck for Universal and developed it with Apatow, who is also producing with Barry Mendel through his Apatow Productions.

Related: Universal, Judd Apatow Make Movie Bet On Comedian Amy Schumer

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Costume Designers Guild To Honor Judd Apatow; Lifetime Nod To April Ferry

By | Tuesday December 17, 2013 @ 11:58am PST

Costume Designers Guild Awards 2013LOS ANGELES—Dec. 17, 2013—Director, writer and producer Judd Apatow and veteran Costume Designer April Ferry will be recognized with honorary awards at the 16th Costume Designers Guild Awards with presenting sponsor LACOSTE on Feb. 22, 2014, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Apatow will receive the Distinguished Collaborator honor at the ceremony in recognition of his support of Costume Design across his many remarkable projects, in particular some of his more recent collaborations with Costume Designers Leesa Evans, Jennifer Rogien and Susan Matheson. Apatow recently returned to produce the eagerly anticipated sequel, “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.” Ferry will be this year’s recipient of the Career Achievement Award, an honor that recognizes her body of work in film and television. Ferry has earned an Oscar nomination for her work on “Maverick,” starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster. For her design work on the HBO television drama “Rome,” Ferry took home an Emmy Award and two consecutive Costume Designers Guild Awards. Nominations for the awards will be announced on January 9.

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‘Key & Peele’ Partners Team With Judd Apatow For Universal Pitch Deal

By | Wednesday November 13, 2013 @ 8:33am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has made a deal with Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele and Judd Apatow to write an untitled feature comedy vehicle for the two stars of the Comedy Central show Key & Peele. Apatow will produce for his Apatow Productions, and Key and Peele will be exec producers. Deal comes just after Key & Peele was picked up for a fourth season by Comedy Central.

Apatow was keeping the log line to himself, but said of his new writing partners, “I love these guys because they are riotously, make you sick because you can’t stop laughing, funny,” Apatow said. “I think Key and Peele are capable of making the movie that America desperately needs right now.” Apatow just produced Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which Paramount releases December 20. Key is repped by Principato-Young and UTA, Peele by Principato-Young and Apatow by Mosaic and UTA.

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Arrested Ex-‘Ray Donovan’ EP Gets Support From Judd Apatow, Mark Gordon, Jon Voight & Peter Berg Before Sentencing

By | Monday November 11, 2013 @ 4:40pm PST

Having copped a guilty plea for his involvement in an illegal gambling group, Bryan Zuriff is now hoping some words of recommendation from some powerful Hollywood friends will encourage a judge to spare him some time behind bars. “Bryan is prepared to take complete responsibility for his wrongdoing and complete whatever sentence you deem appropriate. With that said, I urge you to be lenient. Bryan is first and foremost a family man, dedicated to his wife and children. A harsh punishment will be a punishment, not just for Bryan, but for his entire family as well. They do not deserve that,” wrote Judd Apatow in a September 12, 2013 letter to federal judge Jesse Furman (read it and other letters of support for Zuriff here). “If there is good news here, it is that Bryan has taken the opportunity to face his demons and is coming out of this a better man in so many ways,” said Mark Gordon in a letter to Furman detailing what a good producer Zuriff is. The PGA chief’s company produces Showtime‘s hit Ray Donovan series, which is set to come back for another season next year. Lone Survivor director Peter Berg, Hangover producer Scott Budnick, producer Ann Biderman and, in his own handwriting, Ray Donovan star Jon Voight are among others who … Read More »

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Universal, Judd Apatow Make Movie Bet On Comedian Amy Schumer

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Always on the lookout for actresses with breakout potential for R-rated comedies, Judd Apatow thinks he has found a winner in Amy Schumer, and Universal Pictures agrees. The studio has optioned an untitled script that Schumer is writing as a star vehicle for herself. Apatow, who as producer guided early turns from Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids and Lena Dunham in HBO’s Girls, is producing through his Universal-based Apatow Productions. He is working with Schumer to develop the story and shape the script.

Related: Comedy Central Renews ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ For Second Season

Schumer first came on the radar with standout turns on Comedy Central roasts of Roseanne Barr and Charlie Sheen. That led the network to launch her as writer/star and exec producer of the series Inside Amy Schumer, which premiered to Comedy Central’s highest ratings this year. Before that, she starred in the hourlong special, Mostly Sex Stuff for Comedy Central. Schumer and Apatow are represented by UTA and manager Jimmy Miller of Mosaic.

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Friday Box Office: Tom Cruise’s ‘Jack Reacher’ #2, Judd Apatow’s ‘This Is 40′ #3, Behind Peter Jackson’s #1 ‘The Hobbit’

By | Friday December 21, 2012 @ 11:43pm PST

FRIDAY 11:30 PM UPDATE: Remember that all these pre-Christmas movie openings will be helped tremendously by the holiday multiple gift from Santa. Some of the newcomers opened on Wednesday, with others Friday. Domestic box office looks like this tonight which definitely isn’t a full reflection of what will be pre-Christmas weekend moviegoing. So this not-great-start is looking like only $100M total moviegoing, which is -19% from last year. See this as a quick glimpse until my refined numbers and full analysis Saturday and Sunday:

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (MGM/WB) Week 2 [Runs 4,100] PG13
Friday $10.5M (-73%), Weekend $31.5M, Cume $145.2M

The problem with blockbusters is they have giant openings and then giant falls.  But even with a -73% drop from a week ago, Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth epic is still the big #1 domestic and international. Going into the weekend, its huge domestic haul was already $113.1M and its international take was just shy of $189M. That makes for a worldwide cume of about $303M. Yikes! The pic now opens in Russia and the Ukraine as it continues to blanket the globe with new and old JR Tolkien faithful.

2. Jack Reacher (Skydance/Paramount) NEW [Runs 3,352] PG13
Friday $5.7M, Weekend $17.5M

Tom Cruise is currently not sitting quite as pretty as he was midday based on matinee trends. Yes, he’s still #2 today and should stay there all weekend now that audiences bestowed an ‘A-’ CinemaScore. That should help word of mouth, along with the expected holiday multiple. Still pic will debut less than the $20M which major stars like Cruise should gross to open movies. Frankly, Hollywood didn’t think this ammo actioner would make even this kind of money after tracking trouble. (There’s been snark from the film project’s get-go that Tom Thumb was miscast as Reacher, who’s a physically big guy in the novel.) But it only cost $60M, or so co-financiers Skydance and Paramount keep claiming. Remains to be seen if it’ll struggle to get to $100M total box office. If so then Oracle scion David Ellison may have to rethink steering movies towards Cruise even after Mission: Impossible 4 paid off.

3. This Is 40 (Universal) NEW [Runs 2,912] R
Friday $4.0M, Weekend $12.0M

Adult pictures don’t open big this time of year but then they go on to enjoy huge multiples. The studio wasn’t expecting the so-so reviews fgr This Is 40 but is expecting Judd Apatow fans to turn out over the weekend. Remains to be seen if tonight’s ‘B-’ CinemaScore from audiences hurts word of mouth. Universal knew tonight could swing anywhere between $3M to $4.5M depending on how the R-rated dramedy fared on Friday Date Night. I don’t agree with rival studios calling this openign “soft” just because This Is 40 had identical tracking to Jack Reacher. (“I’m surprised it’s so far behind. And for a movie that Universal sent out Academy screeners in November, it garnered only 49% positive reviews,” one rival studio exec snarked to me tonight.) It’s a way different genre though equally cheap. But let’s see if it has a better holiday multiple.

4. Rise Of The Guardians (DW Animation/Par) Week 5 [Runs 3,031] PG
Friday $1.5M, Weekend $7.2M, Cume $79.8M

This movie keeps taking advantage of Hollywood  shortsightedness in not skedding more December family pictures this season. Still, compared to other tentpole toons, this is still a disappointment.

5. Monsters Inc 3D (Pixar/Disney) Week 1 [Runs 2,618] G
Friday $1.4M, Weekend $5.0M, Cume $6.5M

Opened Wednesday and Disney now pumping up the publicity volume in preparation for the Christmas wannasee. Re-teched 2001 toon whose lifetime domestic gross was $257M should make a fat multiple while it also drums up interest for 2013′s prequel.

6. The Guilt Trip (Skydance/Paramount) Week 1 [Runs 2,431] PG13
Friday $1.4M, Weekend $4.7M, Cume $6.7M

Also opened Wednesday and Hollywood did a double-take tonight. ”It fell off the map,” one rival studio exec exclaimed to me. Co-financier David Ellison helped  foot the minor $40M bill to pair up Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand in a double-lame genre of road trip and mother movie. Stop, before you crap out another.
Read More »

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OSCARS Q&A: Judd Apatow & Leslie Mann

By | Wednesday December 19, 2012 @ 10:05pm PST

Paul Brownfield is an AwardsLine contributor.

The first scene in Judd Apatow’s dramatic comedy about marriage, This Is 40, is the only love scene. Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) are having birthday sex in the shower, but what Debbie doesn’t know is that Pete has popped a Viagra. Thrusting is soon followed by tumult.

First seen in Knocked Up, Pete and Debbie functioned in that film as “the ghosts of Christmas future” for the two main characters, played by Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl. But This Is 40 doesn’t pick up where Knocked Up left off, it starts afresh.

Let us assume the Viagra shower episode hasn’t happened in the real-life marriage of Apatow and Mann. But both the writer/director, edging into more mature terrain, and his actress wife, truly starring in a major Hollywood film for the first time, are aware that they’ve made something that feels, anyway, like an autobiographical film. In the time before making This Is 40, Apatow went back and watched, among others, Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes From A Marriage, “which had more humor in it than one would expect,” he says.

Related: OSCARS: The Directors Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘This Is 40′ Red Band

By | Monday December 10, 2012 @ 2:11pm PST

Judd Apatow wrote, directed and was a producer on the Universal comedy This Is 40, which is due out December 21. The restricted trailer officially confirms that Paul Rudd takes his pants off in another movie, extending an impressive streak (no puns intended).

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Is ‘Seinfeld’ The Greatest Sitcom Ever?

By | Monday December 3, 2012 @ 4:26pm PST

Let’s set aside that this 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll should be discounted completely because I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show weren’t offered up as choices.  But among TV shows that were, Seinfeld edged The Honeymooners as the greatest sitcom of all time in the just-released survey conducted by the CBS News Election and Survey Unit. It’s linked to Vanity Fair’s January comedy issue, guest-edited by Judd Apatow (Note: The poll question “Who is Judd Apatow?” drew a blank from all but 14% of responders, with all others either guessing wrong or saying they didn’t know — sorry Judd.) NBC’s Seinfeld, created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, was the funniest show for 22% of Americans and CBS’ Honeymooners was No. 2 with 20%. NBC’s Friends and Cheers follow with 16% and 14%, respectively. Arrested Development, whose devoted following will see their favorite sitcom resurrected with 10 new episodes on Netflix sometime next year, was the funniest show for 7%, while 6% said Mary Tyler Moore was funniest and 5% preferred 30 Rock.

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Judd Apatow Editing VF’s 1st Comedy Issue

By | Wednesday October 24, 2012 @ 5:45am PDT

Vanity Fair made the announcement this morning. But does this stunt-editing really increase sales? Sure it’s great free marketing for the magazne and for Judd Apatow’s Universal pic This Is 40 coming out December 21st. Because Vanity Fair‘s first ever comedy issue will hit newsstands and mailboxes and online by December 5th. Apatow becomes VF‘s 3rd guest editor since Graydon Carter took over 20 years ago — Bono did the Africa issue in 2007, and Tom Ford the Hollywood Portfolio in 2006 years ago. VF says its comedy issue will “feature a 20-page-plus portfolio featuring a Who’s Who of today’s comedy stars”. Says Apatow: “I proposed the idea of editing a comedy issue. I didn’t think Graydon would say yes, and then I didn’t think it would be that much work. And then I found out I don’t get paid.” Judd tweeted this morning: “Doing it right now. Sarah Silverman is right here!” Meanwhile, Steve Martin used the occasion to tweet a photo he calls “Judd Apatow and I on our third date” (photo right).

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Stars Line Up For Hollywood Awards As Oscar Season Kicks Into Gear

By | Tuesday October 23, 2012 @ 2:40pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Despite competition from big baseball and football games and the final Presidential debate, the 16th annual Hollywood Film Awards gala last night featured a nice starry turnout — especially considering all those stars were able to go onstage and accept an award for themselves. That always helps, doesn’t it?

As the ballroom announcer intoned, this event marks “the beginning of Hollywood’s awards season”. Well, actually it marks the beginning of the awards-season chicken dinner circuit for the Beverly Hilton. But  give ‘em an award this early in the game and they will come. It’s a way for awards strategists to get their hoped-for Oscar contenders in the winner’s circle right off the bat. These are negotiated honors, and Hollywood Awards co-founder (with wife Janice Pennington) and executive director Carlos de Abreu is the guy who decides who gets the “gold” (although he has a board that supposedly has input).

De Abreu, not unlike some other awards organizations, insists that in order to receive a Hollywood Film Award, recipients must be there in person to accept. He won’t even allow live satellite acceptances, the thinking being that it would open a can of worms, and strategists would try to find a way to get the award without delivering talent directly to the ceremony. It’s a formula that delivers an impressive turnout and it gets participation due to the early date, with many of the winners hailing from movies that haven’t been released. No one takes it seriously, but it serves its purpose as far as the studios are concerned. As Seth Rogen said in his hilarious intro for Comedy Award winner Judd Apatow: “Perhaps the most annoying thing is none of these movies have come out yet. I haven’t even heard of some of these movies. (Screenwriter winner) Quentin (Tarantino) is still shooting! Who voted for these things?” Read More »

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Photos: Hollywood Arrives At White House Correspondents’ Dinner

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Hot Trailer: Judd Apatow’s ‘This Is 40′

By | Friday April 27, 2012 @ 12:49pm PDT

Judd Apatow returns to the writer-director seat for the first time since 2009′s Funny People. Universal‘s This Is 40 stars Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann as a married couple who hit the milestone age and decide to reboot their family’s ways. It opens in the heart of the holiday season December 21, the same date as Ang Lee’s The Life Of Pi and the Tom Cruise-starrer One Shot among others.

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Judd Apatow, Charlize Theron, Michelle Pfeiffer Try To Jazz Up Finale: CinemaCon

Pete Hammond

Perhaps it was just because they come at the end of a long week and the exhibitors who come from around the country to Las Vegas for NATO’s CinemaCon convention are either tired or jaded at this point, but tonight’s closing Big Screen Achievement Awards were a pretty dry affair. Even mechanical by-the-numbers host Billy Bush (Access Hollywood) couldn’t pump much energy into the massive Colosseum theatre of Caesars Palace where these delegates have spent much of their time since Monday viewing studio presentations and seeing many of the same stars who were once again trotted out to get awards arranged by the studios and CinemaCon organizers. Of course these awards are geared to the industry’s big season and every single recipient has at least one — or more than one film coming out over the summer. So it may have been petty theft but producer/director Judd Apatow receiving the Award of Excellence in Filmmaking tried to get the crowd going and won big laughs in return for stealing the show. “You are a tough crowd,” he scolded the audience. “You always stop applauding just as the star reaches the top of the stairs. So let’s give me some more fucking applause please. This has been an exciting night but you don’t seem as excited as I am. C’mon people. Stallone was here for god’s sake!”  Apatow proceeded to thank … Read More »

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Mike Fleming Moderates Universal’s Centennial Panel With Robert De Niro And Judd Apatow At Tribeca Film Festival

By | Monday April 23, 2012 @ 9:01am PDT
Mike Fleming

Last Thursday, I drove into Lower Manhattan to moderate a panel for the Tribeca Film Festival to mark Universal’s 100th anniversary. I do not love doing these things, but who’s going to turn down the chance to interact with my panelists Robert De Niro and Judd Apatow (Meryl Streep was also booked but had a family situation that forced her to travel)? The organizers were kind enough to let Deadline show the back and forth between De Niro and Apatow. They told me going in that Bob doesn’t usually warm to these things, but when you’ve got Apatow as your wing man, good things are possible. Hope you like.

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TV TRAILER: Lena Dunham/Judd Apatow’s New HBO Comedy Series ‘Girls’

By | Tuesday February 21, 2012 @ 10:10am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Here is a trailer for HBO’s Girls, the series debut of feature prodigy Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture). Dunham wrote, directed and stars in the comedy series about twentysomething girls in New York that she executive produces with Judd Apatow and Jenni Konner.  At TCA last month, Dunham said she grew up on HBO’s Sex And The City. Facing the inevitable comparisons, she called her “girls” the generation who expected to move to New York and have a great boyfriend, great job and “an elegant shoe closet” like the Sex And The City women — but it didn’t happen. As her character says in the trailer, she thinks she may be “the voice of my generation, or at least a voice of a generation.” While Dunham made a name for herself with her $25,000 breakout feature Tiny Furniture, she is joined in the cast of Girls by two young actresses who are the offspring of famous fathers: Brian Williams’ daughter Allison Williams and David Mamet’s daughter Zosia Mamet. Girls premieres April 15.

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Fortissimo Acquires ‘Monsoon Shootout’, Mark Ruffalo & Scarlett Johansson Join ‘Can A Song Save Your Life?’: Berlin

IM Global Brings Katherine Heigl Film ‘The Happytime Murders’: Berlin

Just ahead of next week’s European Film Market in Berlin, Fortissimo Films has come aboard thriller Monsoon Shootout, handling international rights outside India/South Asia, France and Germany. The film, executive produced by Senna director Asif Kapadia, is the feature debut of Amit Kumar, who picked up a couple of awards for his short The Bypass. Shootout follows a rookie cop who has to decide whether or not to pull the trigger on his first assignment. Three different scenarios are explored based on the decision he makes. Currently in post, the film will be ready for a spring/summer delivery. A UK/India production, Shootout is produced by Trevor Ingman of Yaffle Films and co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Martijn de Grunt, Arun Rangachari and Shahnaab Alam in association with Arte France. Kapadia and Lee Stone are executive producing. …

Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson are set to star in the romance movie Can A Song Save Your Life?, which John Carney (Once) wrote and is directing. Judd Apatow is aboard as executive producer. Exclusive Media’s Tobin Armbrust will oversee production on the film, which will shoot in June. Exclusive is handling international sales and will unveil the film in Berlin. The plot centers on a woman (Johansson) who moves with her boyfriend to New York to pursue music careers. After he dumps her for … Read More »

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Judd Apatow To Receive WGA East Herb Sargent Comedy Award

By | Wednesday February 1, 2012 @ 11:30am PST


New York City – Kristen Wiig will present the Herb Sargent Award for Comedy Excellence to Judd Apatow at the Writers Guild of America Awards Ceremony in New York City.  Daytime television veteran Claire Labine will also be honored when she receives the Ian McLellan Hunter Award at the ceremony, which takes place at B.B. King Blues Club on Sunday, February 19, 2012. Boardwalk Empire creator, executive producer and writer Terence Winter joins writers Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini and CBS “Sunday Morning” contributor, writer and co-host Nancy Giles to present at the ceremony.

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