EXCLUSIVE: Two months after star Daniel Craig unexpectedly dropped out of the project just days before filming was set to begin, Courtney Hunt’s courtroom drama The Whole Truth has reset with Keanu Reeves in the lead. Sources close to the project tell me Reeves will now play the role of a defense attorney who fights to get his teenage client acquitted of murdering his wealthy father. Previously cast Renee Zellweger, Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle), and Gabriel Basso (Super 8, Kings of Summer) are still in place opposite Reeves in what will mark Hunt’s follow-up to her Oscar-nominated debut Frozen River, directing from a script by Nicholas Kazan.
The casting shake-up left production scrambling in April when Craig, coming off a two-month stint in Betrayal on Broadway ahead of his commitment to the upcoming 24th James Bond pic, departed four days before filming. Now pre-production is back on for a July shoot in New Orleans to begin right after the Independence Day holiday weekend, with a slightly different line-up. Read More »
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. Read More »
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 our Mike Fleming Jr reported last fall, the studio took a more active hand in editing first-time director Karl Rinsch’s movie, there were reshoots, and the budget is being tethered at around $200 million despite reports it went much higher. Despite all that, Universal is releasing it Christmas Day — not a place to hide a poor movie. The latest trailer just dropped so decide for yourself if it was all worth it:
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. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Keanu Reeves has a new friend and an enemy in John Wick. Two-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe is set play a hitman in the Thunder Road pic. The thriller sees Dafoe’s Marcus character hired to take out the Reeves-portrayed title character, who is a former contract killer himself. Oh yeah, and Marcus also happens to be a close friend of the Wick character. He was the one who encouraged Wick to leave the life after his wife dies. Only later do things turn sour when Marcus gets the job to kill his friend. In the film, Reeves stars as the retired hitman who goes after the guy who stole his car and in the process killed Wick’s beloved dog — a present from his late wife. Turns out the thief’s dad is a crime boss in New York, who puts a contract out on Wick. Derek Kolstad wrote the script for John Wick. Dafoe recently joined The Fault In Our Stars and also will appear in Scott Cooper’s Out Of The Furnace, Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac and Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Kolstad is repped by APA and New Wave Entertainment. Willem Dafoe is repped by ICM Partners and Circle of Confusion.
Keanu Reeves makes his directorial debut with this drama set in modern Beijing. Man Of Tai Chi follows a young martial artist (Tiger Chen) who must compete in an underground fight club to protect his way of life. Reeves also stars along with Karen Mok in the Michael G. Cooney-penned pic. After its U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin later this month, Tai Chi goes to VOD on September 27 and hits theaters November 1 via Radius and The Weinstein Company. Check out the trailer:
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. Read More »
Keanu Reeves‘ directorial debut made a hot sale out of Cannes to Radius-TWC, which will release Man Of Tai Chi stateside later this year. Here’s the pic’s international trailer offering a peek at Reeves as the impresario of a Beijing underground fight club who taps a skilled tai chi practitioner (Tiger Hu Chen, Reeves’ Matrix stuntman and trainer) to battle on his deadly martial arts circuit:
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.
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.” Read More »
The latest tale of thievery to surface here in Cannes after last week’s $1M jewelry heist, involves China Film Group vice-president Zhang Qiang whose luggage was reportedly stolen from his hotel room. The incident caused him to cancel his participation in a press conference scheduled for tomorrow for Keanu Reeves’ directorial effort Man Of Tai Chi. I’m told the Man Of Tai Chi press conference will still be held with Reeves and producer Lemore Syvan in attendance, but that Zhang will not be there. The movie is a co-production between China Film Group, Wanda Media, Village Road Show Pictures, Universal Pictures and Company Films.
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.
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. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ericson Core, the cinematographer who made his feature directorial debut on Invincible, has been set by Alcon Entertainment partners Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove to direct Point Break, the remake of the 1991 action thriller that starred Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. Shooting begins at year’s end and Alcon will release through its Warner Bros output deal.
Any way you cut it, the director of this film is stepping into big shoes. The original was helmed by Kathryn Bigelow, who later won the Oscar with The Hurt Locker and who most recently helmed Zero Dark Thirty. Kosove and Johnson will produce the remake with Michael De Luca, John Baldecchi, Chris Taylor and Kurt Wimmer. The script was written by Wimmer, whose script work includes Salt and Law Abiding Citizen. RGM Media principal Devesh Chetty and investor John McMurrick, Chairman of Marloss Entertainment, will be exec producers.
They’re setting the remake in the world of international extreme sports, and an undercover FBI agent infiltrates a criminal ring. If done right, this one could work again. The original story was pretty far-fetched (I recall Reeves jumping out of a plane without a parachute to chase down Swazye, who had a parachute), but for me it is one of those movies where, if I am clicking channels and come across it, I’ll stop and watch at any point of the movie.
Core, who’s repped by Gersh Agency’s David … Read More »
‘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. Read More »