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Keanu Reeves And Longtime Manager Erwin Stoff Hit Bumpy Road: Actor Almost Left 3 Arts But Instead Others There Repping Him

By | Thursday October 25, 2012 @ 10:43am PDT

Keanu Reeves Erwin Stoff ManagerEXCLUSIVE: 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.

Related: Despite Reports, Carl Rinsch Is Still Working On ’47 Ronin’

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, Read More »

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Phase 4 Acquires North American Rights To Keanu Reeves Pic ‘Generation Um…’

By | Friday September 28, 2012 @ 10:31am PDT
Mike Fleming

Phase 4 Films acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights to director Mark L Mann’s generation Um… Mann also wrote the screenplay for the film, with Alison Palmer, Caroline Kaplan, and Lemore Syvan producing. The film stars Keanu Reeves, Bojana Novakovic, and Adelaide Clemens and was executive produced by Nicolas Chartier, Cassian Elwes, Zev Foreman, and Jared Goldman. Phase 4 plans to release the film theatrically in spring 2013.

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Despite Reports, Carl Rinsch Is Still Working On ’47 Ronin’

By | Thursday September 27, 2012 @ 11:23am PDT
Mike Fleming

Despite reports that 47 Ronin was taken away from first-time feature director Carl Rinsch because of a budget that swelled to $225 million, I can tell you that Rinsch has been in the editing room all week, working side by side with the studio on the challenged Universal picture. And studio sources swear the budget will not cross the $200 million mark, despite a reshoot (that Rinsch himself directed) and despite the fact Universal has twice moved the release date of this Keanu Reeves-starrer.

At the risk of seeming like a studio apologist, I hate how difficulties in the process of putting together big-budget movies has been turned into bloodsport reporting, particularly when it is sort of accurate but exaggerated. Look, we all know that when stories crop up about films that do reshoots or extra shooting, it is not a good sign.

Sometimes, as was the case on Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, a rumored tough shoot and post-production process manifests itself into a remarkable film. Exaggerating the situation on a movie, when it is in production or in the editing room, seems unfair, almost like criticizing an artist’s painting before it is finished. I think that it encourages reviewers and audiences to discount the movie, even subliminally, and they evaluate it at least a little bit on the basis of perceived troubles.

Universal was not commenting but here’s what’s going on now: The studio has taken a more active hand in the editing process on the Universal lot, which is unusual for that particular studio but hardly unheard of with a first-time director who doesn’t have final cut. Rinsch, a respected commercials and short film helmer who had the job of directing the Alien prequel until Ridley Scott took it and turned it into Prometheus, has opinions as strong as his visual sense. That doesn’t endear one to the crew, which is probably how these rumors get started. He’s new to the game of mounting a huge film and the studio has every right to protect an investment that is at least a $175 million 3D film. But the reports he has been removed from the editing room and that he had 47 Ronin taken away from him are wrong, as far as I can see. And the studio is hardly trying to hide a bomb, not when it chose December 25, 2013 as the new release date. Read More »

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Hot Clip: Keanu Reeves, James Cameron Discuss Babies And 3D In ‘Side By Side’

By | Monday August 20, 2012 @ 3:17pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Here is a clip from a pretty heady discussion between Keanu Reeves and James Cameron on the science behind 3D. It’s from Side By Side, a documentary narrated and produced by Reeves of the past and the future of filmmaking and the evolution of film to cutting edge digital formats. Reeves spoke with the likes of David Fincher, David Lynch, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Steven Soderbergh and more, in a film that will be released via on-demand platforms and limited theatrical release on August 22 on VOD through Tribeca Film. It opened selectively in theaters August 17. What I’m wondering is, where did Cameron get the babies subjected to these experiments on 24 frames per second and 3D film making? He is off my list of potential baby sitters!

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Universal Moving ’47 Ronin’ Release To February 8, 2013

By | Wednesday April 25, 2012 @ 10:35am PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Universal Pictures has switched the Keanu Reeves-starrer 47 Ronin from its November 21 date to February 8, 2013. We’ve heard rumblings the film would move, and that the big-ticket film was undergoing reshoots. Studio insiders deny this, saying they need more time to perfect the 3D effects, and wanted to take advantage of advertising the film through trailers displayed during the holiday tentpole picture season. The 18th century tale about a group of samurai swordsmen who team to avenge the death of their master was helmed by first-time feature director and renowned commercials helmer Carl Rinsch.

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Tribeca Acquires Keanu Reeves Documentary ‘Side By Side’

By | Monday February 13, 2012 @ 5:31am PST
Mike Fleming

Berlin/New York, NY – February 13, 2012 – Tribeca Film announced today that it has acquired North American rights to Side by Side, a provocative and illuminating journey through the technical and aesthetic implications of the transition from traditional film to digital technology.

Produced and presented by Keanu Reeves and directed by Chris Kenneally, Reeves takes you on a tour of the past and the future of filmmaking in Side by Side. Since the invention of cinema, the standard format for recording moving images has been film. Over the past two decades, a new form of digital filmmaking has emerged, creating a groundbreaking evolution in the medium. Reeves explores the development of cinema and the impact of digital filmmaking via in-depth interviews with Hollywood’s masters, such as Danny Boyle, James Cameron, David Fincher, George Lucas, David Lynch, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, Lars Von Trier, The Wachowskis, and many more.

A summer release is planned for the film, which is having its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. In addition to Tribeca Film’s multi-platform rollout, the filmmakers plan a broadcast premiere early next year and will bring the film to college campuses and film schools to continue the conversation.

“Cinema is at a tipping point. Digital has challenged, and in some ways completely overturned, a process of making movies on photochemical film that has been a tradition for over one hundred years,” states Chris Kenneally, the director. “Side by

Read More »

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Berlin Fest Adds Special Screenings Of Jason Reitman’s ‘Young Adult,’ Keanu Reeves’ ‘Side By Side’

The upcoming Berlin Film Festival has added titles to its Berlinale Special 2012 program including Jason Reitman’s Young Adult and Barnaby Southcombe’s I, Anna. Restored versions of classics like Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1943 The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp will also screen. According to the festival, discussions will be held following some Special screenings including Werner Herzog’s documentary series Death Row and Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut In The Land Of Blood And Honey, which were previously announced as Special titles. A talk will also be held after the screening of the Keanu Reeves-produced documentary Side By Side that includes interviews with Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, the Wachowskis and Lars von Trier among others. In a European premiere, Mark Cousins will show his 900-minute-long documentary The Story Of Film: An Odyssey. Berlin runs Feb 9-19. A full list of the just-added titles follows:

Berlinale Special Gala screenings at the Friedrichstadt-Palast:
Young Adult
USA
By Jason Reitman
With Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Elisabeth Reaser
German premiere

Berlinale Special screenings at the Kino International:
Glück (Bliss)
Germany
By Doris Dörrie
With Alba Rohrwacher, Vinzenz Kiefer, Matthias Brandt, Oliver Nägele
World premiere
Read More »

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Village Roadshow Asia, Universal Among Backers For Keanu Reeves’ China-Set Directorial Debut ‘Man Of Tai Chi’

By | Wednesday December 14, 2011 @ 2:29pm PST

Village Roadshow Asia, China Film Group and Wanda Media Group are teaming to co-produce Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut, Man Of Tai Chi, which will be co-financed and distributed by the partners and Universal Studios. The action drama is set in modern Beijing and centers on the spiritual journey of a young martial artist (Tiger Chen) whose skills create both vast opportunities and painful choices; Reeves will co-star. Lemore Syvan is producing. The production will shoot in Beijing, Hong Kong and Macau beginning in February, and the plan is to make a film that targets the vast China market as well as the rest of the world. Village Roadshow will distribute the film in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore; China Film Group and Wanda in China; and Universal the rest of the world including the U.S. “The opportunity to get further involved in the Chinese market and to bring Chinese films to audiences around the world is important to Universal,” Universal’s President, International David Kosse said in the release announcing the project. “Man of Tai Chi has an amazing pedigree of filmmakers and we’re thrilled to be a part of Keanu’s directorial film debut.”

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Lana And Andy Wachowski Return To Sci-Fi Action Arena With ‘Jupiter Ascending’

By | Thursday October 20, 2011 @ 8:43am PDT
Mike Fleming

From the studio’s ongoing efforts to cast up big-ticket films like AkiraAll You Need Is Kill, Arthur & Lancelot, Man From UNCLE, Xerxes, Imitation Game and The Twilight Zone, Warner Bros continues to be a go-to place for actors looking for star-making parts in big commercial films. A new Warner Bros project now has the attention of actor reps: Jupiter Ascending, which I’m told will be the next film by Lana and Andy Wachowski, and their first major science fiction action franchise play since The Matrix. Like that trilogy, Jupiter Ascending is an original creation by the duo, and it’s on track to start production by the spring. The studio is now discussing which A-list star to lead the cast while keeping the script and logline under tight wraps. Read More »

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‘Fast 5′s Chris Morgan Masterminds ‘Crime Of The Century’ At Universal

By | Thursday October 13, 2011 @ 6:15pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has preemptively acquired Crime of the Century, a pitch that marks the first sale for Fast 5 scribe Chris Morgan since he signed a two-year first look deal at the studio. Dan Kunka will write the script and Dan Trachtenberg is attached to direct, with Morgan producing under his Chris Morgan Productions banner.

Trachtenberg created a stir recently when his short film Portal: No Escape was posted on YouTube and got close to 7 million hits. The seven-minute film is inspired by the video game series. Crime of the Century is an original idea hatched by Kunka and Trachtenberg, which revolves around a high-octane heist with a science fiction twist. Kunka notches his second big sale this year after his spec Agent Ox sold to Sony and produce Neal Moritz.

As for Morgan, he’s writing Fast & Furious 6 and is a go to guy for Universal on big films, with credits that include Wanted and 47 Ronin, the latter of which is in post production with Keanu Reeves starring. ICM repped Morgan, Kunka and Trachtenberg, and Trachtenberg’s managed by Oasis Media Group and Kunka by Madhouse Entertainment. Below is Trachtenberg’s short film:

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Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson Re-Upped Through 2014

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: NBCUniversal’s new owners at Comcast have given a vote of confidence to the studio’s feature film operation. They’ve exercised an option on Universal Pictures’ Chairman Adam Fogelson and extended his contract through 2014. I’m told that Fogelson is, in turn, in the process of exercising the option of Donna Langley and she will continue as the studio’s co-chairman. They will also keep their executive team intact. Fogelson will continue to have full day-to-day operating responsibility for the Motion Picture Group, reporting to Universal Studios President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Meyer (whose contract was recently re-upped through 2015) and will now also report to NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke.

While Universal has had its ups and downs, higher-ups are clearly convinced that Fogelson, Langley and their team are making progress. They’ve had recent hits –Bridesmaids, Hop! and Fast Five– but also had some recent misses that include The Dilemma, Change-Up and Cowboys & Aliens. In the latter case, the studio was on the hook for one-third of the film, and shared that third with Relativity Media. It has also been a year in which Fogelson and his team have made some painful decisions and let pricey productions go. That began with the Guillermo Del Toro-directed At the Mountains of Madness, which Universal developed for years and which was ready to go with Tom Cruise, until the studio made a late decision not to go forward because of the possibility the $150M film could carry an R-rating. Universal also dropped two projects that were in advanced  stages of development: The Dark Tower, the Akiva Goldsman-directed adaptation of the Stephen King novel series that was to be made into three feature films and two limited-run TV series, with the first film and TV segment directed by Ron Howard and produced by Brian Grazer and Goldsman; and Oiuja, the Hasbro board game that had McG directing and Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners producing with Hasbro. The moves were surprising because Howard and Grazer are cornerstone filmmakers for Universal; and Del Toro and Hasbro have overall deals there. Ouija is one of several Hasbro properties the studio dropped, the others being the Gore Verbinski-directed Clue, the Ridley Scott-directed Monopoly and Magic, The Gathering. These were part of a groundbreaking deal the studio made with the toymaker several years ago, but the studio and Hasbro have re-focused their attention solely on Battleship, Stretch Armstrong, and Candy Land. Read More »

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Alex Winter Spins Napster Tale As Docu

By | Tuesday August 23, 2011 @ 11:09am PDT
Mike Fleming

Alex Winter, who started his career as half of the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure tandem before transitioning to director of commercials and TV shows, is finally helming a movie about the formation of controversial music file-sharing service Napster. The surprise is that after 10 years of trying to make a narrative feature, Winter’s shooting it as a documentary backed by VH1, the same division that made 2008’s Anvil: The Story of Anvil. Winter originally made his deal with Paramount’s MTV Films and wrote a script, only to watch that division crater and see his birth of a technological revolution storyline drive The Social Network, which even had early Napster pioneer Shawn Parker in a key role. Rather than scrap Napster, Winter is going back to all the sources for his script, armed with a camera.

“The rise and fall of Napster and the birth of peer-to-peer file-sharing technology created by Shawn Fanning when he was a college student, changed music to movies, and made possible everything from Julian Assange, WikiLeaks to the iPod and Facebook,” Winter told me. “It became an expression of youth revolt, and contributed to a complete shift in how information, media and governments work. And it is a fascinating human story, where this 18-year-old kid invents a peer-to-peer file-sharing system, and brings it to the world six months later.” Read More »

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Sony Pictures Acquires Action Pitch Vehicle For ‘Thor’s Chris Hemsworth

Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures has acquired Shadow Runner, a pitch for an action thriller that will star Thor’s Chris Hemsworth. Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson will produce through the Contrafilm banner with ROAR’s Will Ward. Studio’s keeping the fictional project under wraps, but this deal has taken awhile to come together, and its original genesis was an idea by Drive scribe Hossein Amini. The inspiration was an incident in which an Israeli assassination team targeted a Hamas leader whom the Israelis believe murdered several soldiers and helped stockpile Iranian-made missiles. He was tracked to Dubai, and the Israelis managed to smuggle in an entire 17-person hit team to take him out in the corridor of a five-star hotel. The operatives were captured on a hotel security camera trailing after the victim, reemerging and getting on the elevator after he was killed. I’m told that the film won’t replicate those events, but Hemsworth will lead an elite team of operatives who take on impossible tasks. Amini will be exec producer. Read More »

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Hossein Amini Doing Rewrite On ‘Snow White And The Huntsman’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Bracing for its race against Relativity Media on rival Snow White films, Universal Pictures has hired Hossein Amini to do a rewrite of Snow White and the Huntsman, the Rupert Sanders-directed film that stars Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth. Evan Spiliotopoulos wrote the most recent draft. Amini scripted Drive, the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed film that just debuted in Cannes, and he also rewrote the Keanu Reeves-starrer 47 Ronin, which director Carl Rinsch is directing for Universal.

Universal and Relativity have been playing a game of can you top this in terms of release dates. Universal moved up its Snow White film from late 2012 to a June 1 date, which put it a month ahead of Relativity’s Snow White film, the one that stars Julia Roberts, Lily Collins and Armie Hammer, with Tarsem Singh directing. Then, Relativity Media trumped Universal by setting a March 16, 2012 release. It has created bad blood between the studio and Ryan Kavanaugh, but that is how it stands at the moment. Hossein is repped by WME.

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Albert Hughes Exiting ‘Akira’ At Warner Bros

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The twists and turns on the Warner Bros adaptation of anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s graphic novel Akira continue. Director Albert Hughes is exiting the movie, I’m told. Insiders say that it is an amicable creative differences  parting of the ways. Warner Bros will try to put him on another movie right away (Hughes and his brother Allen directed the hit The Book of Eli, and WB topper Jeff Robinov is their former agent and is very close with them). Hughes is coming to Hollywood next week to take meetings with his WME reps and look at scripts, hoping to find his next movie at Warner Bros.

As for Akira, the intention of the studio is to keep the picture on a fast track, which means they will find a director quickly. The studio has been wrestling with the approach on the film for the past year. Read More »

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Peter Stormare Is Crooked Lawman in ‘Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters’

Mike Fleming

Peter Stormare has joined Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, and Famke Janssen to star in Paramount/MGM’s Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters. He plays the villainous town sheriff ‘Berringer’.  Stormare recently wrapped the Luc Besson produced feature film Lock Out for Sony. Stormare also stars with Keanu Reeves and Vera Farmiga in Henry’s Crime, and opposite Mel Gibson in How I Spent My Summer Vacation, and in Ed Gass-Donnelly’s Small Town Murder Songs. He’s repped by ICM and The Collective. Stormare also recently had a memorable turn in a Super Bowl ad for Budweiser. It might have been the game’s best commercial, behind Volkswagen’s pint-sized Darth Vader. See below:


Budweiser – Wild West / Peter Stormare – (2011)

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With Arnold Back To Acting, Suitors Circle ‘Terminator’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Shortly after Arnold Schwarzenegger left the Governor’s Mansion and Tweeted his desire to  resume his acting career, there seems to finally be some action on his signature franchise, The Terminator. I’m told that interest is kicking back up. One interested party: Universal, which is looking for a directing vehicle for Justin Lin. He helmed the last three installments of The Fast and the Furious franchise, including the latest Fast Five, which Universal releases April 29. I’ve heard that the plan would be to possibly pair him with Chris Morgan, who aside from Fast Five has credits on big scale Universal films that include the upcoming Keanu Reeves actioner 47 Ronin and Wanted.

Since being acquired in bankruptcy court last February by Santa Monica-based hedge fund Pacificor for $29.5 million, The Terminator has maintained radio silence, surprising given the voracious studio appetite for branded tent pole projects that lend themselves to 3D technology. Part of the reason was the subpar results of the last film, but also the bankruptcy auction which left the two most likely distributors, Sony Pictures and Lionsgate, walking away in disgust. Pacificor, one of the debt holders that forced Halcyon partners Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson into bankruptcy, was the surprise winner, bidding close to the $30 million that Kubicek and Anderson paid to acquire the rights back in 2007 from producers Andy Vajna and Mario Kassar.

While the bankruptcy approval left open … Read More »

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Ryan Gosling Is Stepping Up To A Studio Tent Pole With ‘Logan’s Run’ Remake

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is finalizing a deal with Ryan Gosling to reunite with his Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn on Logan’s Run, the remake of the 1976 futuristic drama about a man who tries to outrun a mandatory death sentence that awaits  all 30-year old’s. After a distinguished run in mostly independent films, Gosling’s making the jump to a studio tent pole. Production starts in the fall.

Studios all over town have been offering roles to Gosling, who is eager to reunite with the director he just worked with on Drive,  in which Gosling plays a stunt driver who moonlights as  a heist wheel man. Warner Bros has been trying to get Logan’s Run off the ground for years. The project first became a priority when Bryan Singer wanted to direct it. Singer, who was drawn to the themes of the obsession with youth and mortality in as utopian society. Singer exited and the project languished until Carl Erik Rinsch signed on with a new take. While Warner Bros got a strong script from Alex Garland, Rinsch exited to direct the Keanu Reeves-starrer 47 Ronin for Universal Pictures. Silver Pictures’ Joel Silver and Andrew Rona are producing with Weed Road’s Akiva Goldsman, with Kerry Foster exec producing.

In Logan’s Run, Gosling will play Logan 5, a “Sandman” whose job it was to put to permanent sleep those who try to escape mandatory … Read More »

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Hollywood Publicist Exits R&C For PMK*BNC

By | Thursday December 9, 2010 @ 5:27pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Cheryl Maisel will be leaving Rogers and Cowan and coming back to PMK*BNC as an EVP in talent. She will be bringing long-standing clients like Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Craig Ferguson, and others.

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