EXCLUSIVE: There are going to be plenty of film packages that spark buyers at Cannes, and here’s a fresh one that isn’t even waiting for the Croisette. Keanu Reeves has just committed to star for Eli Roth in Knock Knock, a psychological thriller that Roth wrote and will direct. Reeves will play a happily married family man who’s left alone for the weekend. Two beautiful girls show up at his house, and turn his life upside down. Those femme fatales will be played by Lorenza Izzo, who just starred for Roth in the September 5 release The Green Inferno, and Ana de Armas, who just played Robert Duran’s wife in Hands Of Stone opposite Edgar Ramirez and Robert De Niro. Ignacia Allamand, who also starred in Green Inferno, plays the man’s wife. Colleen Camp, a catalyst in assembling this film as producer, will also play a role, as will Aaron Burns, who also just worked with Roth in The Green Inferno.
EXCLUSIVE: Days after John Sloss began reporting real-time VOD grosses for the Disney-shot indie Escape From Tomorrow and challenged his peers to do the same, RADiUS-TWC co-heads Tom Quinn and Jason Janego have become the latest distributors to go the transparency route. Quinn and Janego have told me that their Keanu Reeves-directed martial arts film Man Of Tai Chi has grossed $1.5 million across digital, satellite and cable platforms ahead of today’s theatrical rollout.
The film began its Ultra-VOD window September 27, and Quinn and Janego were pleased with the results, while noting the film was not available on all satellite services or in hotels. “I’m pleased with that number out of the gate,” Quinn said. “I’m happy we’re able to make this film as widely available theatrically as possible and without VOD frankly we couldn’t do that. It just wouldn’t make sense financially.”
Universal has moved the release date twice for 47 Ronin, the 3D action-adventure pic set in mythical Japan about a half-breed slave (Keanu Reeves) who joins a band of 47 masterless samurai in a quest for vengeance. Storylines outside the movie are as numerous as those within the pic: as …
EXCLUSIVE: Rachel McAdams is in talks to join Keanu Reeves in Passengers, the science fiction film that The Weinstein Company bought in one of the biggest deals of the last Cannes. The film, scripted by Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts and to be directed early next year by Game Of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire helmer Brian Kirk, was sold with Reese Witherspoon as the female lead. Because they will shoot the movie in Germany, she was unable to work out the schedule, and that opened the door for McAdams, whose deal is in the process of being negotiated right now.
What a fortuitous time it is for this film, prepping for production in the wake of the grosses of the Alfonso Cuaron-directed Gravity. Like that film, this is set in space, and it is primarily the interaction between two lead characters. The plot: A spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant colony planet has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger (Reeves) is awakened 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger (McAdams), marking the beginning of what becomes a unique love story. I read the script back when buyers were bidding on it, and it was east to see why the bidding got heated among three distributors. TWC won it, committing to a multimillion-dollar minimum guarantee and a P&A commitment in the $25 million range, and at the time they were looking at a 2014 wide release late next year.
Keanu Reeves came to a Summer TV Press Tour Q&A session to talk — sometimes in French – about the workflow of digital versus the workflow of photochemical film. Yes, it was mind-numbing but, in fairness, it is the subject of the documentary he’s here to plug, Side By Side. Yes, it was released as a feature film about a year ago. But PBS is airing it on August 30. More accurately, PBS is airing parts of it – cut it down a bunch. Anyway, at some point, some brave TV critic screwed up the nerve to ask Reeves about the status of Bill & Ted 3. More than a year ago, Reeves told GQ the third iteration of the slacker sci-fi franchise would have B&T trying to write the world’s greatest song, and traveling, Ebenezer Scrooge-style, to see what they’ll be like in the future if they fail to finish this tune. Back then, the script was either coming along nicely or finished, depending on who you Google.
Keanu Reeves will trek to Austin’s Fantastic Fest for the US premiere of his directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi. The pic sold out of Cannes to Radius-TWC with designs on a late 2013 release. Reeves also stars in the pic opposite Tiger Chen, who plays a martial artist lured into an underground fighting circuit. Also in the initial lineup for the annual genre festival held September 19-26 are SXSW award winner Cheap Thrills and Erik Matti’s Filipino crime pic On The Job. As previously announced, Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills will open the fest. Scroll down for more just-announced titles.
EXCLUSIVE: In its second significant deal at Cannes, Radius-TWC acquired North American rights to Keanu Reeves‘ directorial debut Man Of Tai Chi in a low seven-figure minimum guarantee. The film is set in modern Beijing and follows the spiritual journey of a young martial artist (Tiger Hu Chen) whose unparalleled tai chi skills land him in a highly lucrative underworld fight club. As the fights grow tougher, he must compromise his own beliefs in order to survive. This is the second deal for Radius, which on Saturday acquired the Directors Fornight film Blue Ruin. TWC-Radius also has the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed Only God Forgives playing here at Cannes, with Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas starring.
Reeves, who also stars in the film, met Chen during The Matrix, where Chen was a stuntman and a trainer for Reeves. It’s Chen’s first lead role, and the film also stars international action fixtures like The Raid’s Iko Uwais and Jeremy Marinas. Michael G. Cooney wrote the script and Man Of Tai Chi is a co-production between China Film Group, Wanda Media, Village Roadshow Pictures Asia and Universal Pictures. Lemore Syvan is the producer. Radius will release the film in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Listen to (and share) the latest episode from the Cannes Film Festival of our audio podcast Deadline Festivals & Markets Watch, featuring Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione. She talks with host David Bloom about which distributors and projects are making a splash so far; whether Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut, with considerable Chinese backing, can move beyond China to a worldwide hit; how a film starring Sean Penn managed to sell its international rights even before it has been shot; and the crime wave hitting the Croisette.
EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company has won the bidding for the Keanu Reeves-Reese Witherspoon sci-fi romance movie Passengers. I’m hearing the distributor has committed to a multi-million dollar minimum guarantee and a P&A commitment in the $25 million range for a wide release in 2014. I understand FilmDistrict and Open Road were in the mix here in Cannes for the project, which was written by Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts and will be directed by Game Of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire helmer Brian Kirk in his major feature film debut. Wayfare Entertainment is financing and producing the pic. The plot: A spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant colony planet has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger (Reeves) is awakened 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger (Witherspoon), marking the beginning of what becomes a unique love story. The script was developed by Stephen Hamel and Reeves at their production shingle Company Films. Hamel is producing with Wayfare CEO Ben Browning. Start Media’s Michael Maher and Lynwood Spinks are executive producing. CAA repped domestic sales rights; Exclusive Media has international rights.
The Weinsteins have been major players at Cannes, having already won the first big bidding battle of the festival by acquiring the Judi Dench movie Philomena — directed by Stephen Frears and co-starring Steve Coogan — based on seven minutes of footage shown to buyers. In addition, TWC landed U.S. and other territories for Suite Française, based on Irene Nemirovsky’s novel about a young woman who lives with her controlling mother-in-law in Nazi-occupied France and ends up falling for a German officer. Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts and Kristin Scott Thomas star. The company’s alt-distribution label Radius-TWC meanwhile picked up North American rights to Blue Ruin, one of the few U.S. titles screening in the Directors’ Fortnight section.
A representative of China Film Group today called Keanu Reeves’ upcoming Man Of Tai Chi “the most important co-production” for the company this year. Reeves makes his directorial debut with the kung-fu film that is a co-production from CFG, Wanda Media, Village Roadshow Pictures Asia and Universal Pictures. At a gathering to introduce clips from the film, Reeves said he shot for more than 105 days in Beijing and Hong Kong, where the crew was at one point locked on a set because of a severe typhoon. He chose this movie to make his helming debut because it was “the story I felt I could tell and wanted to tell and didn’t want anybody else to tell.”
Man Of Tai Chi focuses on a young, innocent martial artist who struggles to maintain his values amid the pressures of contemporary society. Tiger Chen plays the man who is lured into the underground boxing world where Reeves plays the man out to manipulate him. Reeves and Chen worked together on the Matrix movies where Chen taught Reeves about “wires and kicks and punches.” The pair became friends and over five years developed the story. Reeves says it was just about “four or five years ago that I started to think about directing. But I always said I would only direct if I had a story to tell.”
Giving himself an extra challenge, the story is told in Mandarin, Cantonese and English. Reeves says, “I had to listen. The process was very collaborative. I had great support in terms of translators, casting or working on a scene… As an actor, you’re part of telling a story and as a director you’re responsible for it, but you can’t do it yourself so the collaboration was the gift.”
Cannes: Exclusive Media Acquires Sales Rights To ‘Passengers’ With Keanu Reeves And Reese Witherspoon Starring
EXCLUSIVE: Exclusive Media has picked up international rights to Passengers, the sci-fi romance starring Keanu Reeves and now Reese Witherspoon that Game Of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire director Brian Kirk is directing in his major feature film debut. Wayfare Entertainment is financing and producing the pic from a script by Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts. The story follows a spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant colony planet that has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger (Reeves) is awakened 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger (Witherspoon), marking the beginning of what becomes a unique love story. The script was developed by Stephen Hamel and Reeves at their production shingle Company Films. Hamel will produce the pic with Wayfare CEO Ben Browning. Start Media’s Michael Maher and Lynwood Spinks will executive produce. CAA is repping domestic rights to the pic.
Sci-Fi Pic ‘Passengers’ To Star Keanu Reeves, With Brian Kirk Directing And Wayfare Entertainment Producing
EXCLUSIVE: Game Of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire director Brian Kirk has just been set to helm Passengers in his major feature film debut. Wayfare Entertainment has come aboard to finance and produce the sci-fi pic that will star Keanu Reeves in a script by Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts. The story follows a spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant colony planet that has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger (Reeves) is awakened 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger, marking the beginning of what becomes a unique love story. That second passenger, a female, has yet to be cast.
‘Life Of Pi’, Keanu Reeves’ Doc At Plus CameraImage
Plus CameraImage, the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, kicks off its 20th anniversary edition this weekend in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Fest opener is Keanu Reeves’ filmmakers documentary Side by Side, followed by the Polish premiere of Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. Reeves and Life of Pi cinematographer Claudio Miranda are scheduled to attend the opening gala. Fest runs November 24 through December 1st. Other attendees include directors David Lynch, director Steven Okazaki, Michael Lindsay-Hogg and film editor Alan Heim. As preveiously reported, Gus Van Sant will accept the Director Duo Award on behalf of his late friend and collaborator Harris Savides.
Keanu Reeves And Longtime Manager Erwin Stoff Hit Bumpy Road: Actor Almost Left 3 Arts But Instead Others There Repping Him
EXCLUSIVE: This is a cautionary tale for every Hollywood manager who’s spending a lot of time producing. Such is the case with Erwin Stoff. The 3 Arts Entertainment president has repped Keanu Reeves for something like 32 years (ever since the actor was 16 years old). The Stoff-Reeves relationship has long been considered one of Hollywood’s most enduring. Until recently. I’ve learned it’s now very much on the rocks. ”Keanu Reeves very quietly left 3 Arts. Then he was recently convinced to stay at 3 Arts but with different reps,” says one of my sources. “Handling him now are Tom Lasally, Nick Frenkel, and David Miner. It’s an attempt to save the client.” I’ve confirmed this with several other insiders, too, even though Stoff denied any rift to me. I am told independently that ”there’s no rancor”.
Stoff of course has been a producer or executive producer on many of Reeves’ films dating back to 1991 — including Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Feeling Minnesota, The Devil’s Advocate, The Matrix, The Replacements, Sweet November, Constantine, A Scanner Darkly, The Lake House, Street Kings, The Day The Earth Stood Still, and most recently as exec producer of Universal’s troubled 47 Ronin. That Keanu starrer from first-time feature director Carl Rinsch has been plagued by a swelling budget, a reshoot, two release date delays, and bad publicity — prompting the studio to work side by side with Rinsch in the editing room which is highly unusual these days.
But increasingly Stoff is producing a lot of films not starring Reeves – credits and paychecks Stoff probably never would have enjoyed without Keanu as leverage over the years. Right now, for instance, he’s in London producing All You Need Is Kill and that’s where I reached the manager. I’m told that Reeves’ principal problem stemmed from Stoff’s producing time commitments. “Keanu for 20 years was so used to talking to Erwin all the time. But Erwin is very busy producing now,” one insider explains. But another source also tells me, “Keanu has been frustrated with Erwin for a while, with the massive 47 Ronin problems and lack of material for him. Also Reeves’ sister is now in the actor’s life in a big way, and she did not like Stoff.”
The result is that, according to one insider,