Earlier today, the London Film Festival setThe Imitation Game as its opening-night gala. We now have a trailer courtesy of The Weinstein Co — which paid a whopping $7M for the Morten Tyldum-directed movie at the Berlin EFM in February. Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the story of Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win World War II. Winston Churchill said Turing’s was the single biggest contribution to Allied victory, but the brilliant scientist was later prosecuted by the UK government in 1952 for homosexual acts which the country deemed illegal. He died two years later and was just granted a posthumous pardon by the Queen in December last year. The film centers on Turing and his team’s race against time to break the Enigma code at Britain’s top-secret Bletchley Park facility. Graham Moore wrote the script. Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, Allen Leech and Matthew Beard also star. Weinstein will release in the awards-season corridor on November 21; Studiocanal releases a week earlier in the UK.
The trailer for ‘Laggies‘ has dropped, sloooowwwwly, of course. The Sundance selection from A24 stars Keira Knightley as a overeducated, underachieving woman lagging well behind her demographic cohort in life as she dodges responsibility and grown-up things like serious jobs and a marriage proposal. Chloë Grace Moretz plays the high schooler she befriends, then hides out with while dodging said marriage proposal, and Sam Rockwell plays Moretz’s initially bemused and then increasingly intrigued father. The film debuts Oct. 24, unless it lags a bit more, of course. Here it is. Let us know what you think.
Here’s the official trailer for the film that until last week was known as Can A Song Save Your Life?The Weinstein Company picked up the comedy after an epic bidding war following its Toronto premiere, and now it’s set to close the Tribeca Film Festival. The newly retitled Begin Again stars Mark Ruffalo as Dan, a fired music exec who stumbles upon his second chance in Gretta (Keira Knightley), who gets cut loose by her musician boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) after he signs a major-label deal. Hailee Steinfeld, James Corden, Catherine Keener and Levine’s former The Voice colleague CeeLo Green also star in the film from writer-director James Carney (Once). Begin Again‘s tour of theaters starts July 4. Have a look and a listen:
EXCLUSIVE: In what I am told will go down as the highest price paid ever for U.S. rights on a movie at the European Film Market, The Weinstein Company has locked a deal to pay $7 million for The Imitation Game, the Graham Moore Black List script that Morten Tyldum directed with Benedict Cumberbatch playing Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. Keira Knightley also stars in a film that will be shaped as a major release for the next awards season.
CAA brokered this deal based on a promo reel that had five bidders going after it hard before TWC just took it off the table, with the feeling that it has one of its major Oscar hopefuls for the next race. TWC currently has Philomena in the Best Picture race that will be decided next month.
Compared to the small sales of Sundance, this is a whopper. Harvey and Bob Weinstein and their team headed by COO David Glasser bested five competitors that sparked to a 15-minute compilation of scenes on a picture that has just gone into postproduction. The film also stars Mark Strong and Matthew Goode, and it’s produced by Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman. It was Schwarzman’s Black Bear Pictures label that took the risk on the film after Warner Bros let it go. The TWC acquisition team of Robert Walak, Negeen Yazdi and Dan Guando chased this script for a year. TWC’s Michal Steinberg closed the deal.
UPDATE: A24 has confirmed Deadline’s Laggies scoop. See official release below original story.
EXCLUSIVE: Another night and another big movie deal. A24 is near a deal to acquire domestic rights toLaggies, the Lynn Shelton-directed film that stars Chloe Moretz, Sam Rockwell and Keira Knightley. I’d heard since shortly after the film’s Friday night Eccles Theater premiere that A24 was going to buy this but kept being told that five bidders were in the mix. When I first heard it, the numbers were in the $2 million range. I’ll try to get a better number. A24′s deal calls for a theatrical release. Read More »
One day after Tom Clancy’s death, Paramount has released the first trailer for the new film based on his most famous character. Chris Pine takes over as the hero of such Cold War-era novels-turned-films as The Hunt For Red October and Patriot Games and brings him to the modern day. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit follows Ryan from 9/11 through Afghanistan and into the CIA, where he uncovers a Russian plot to undermine the U.S. economy. Directed by Kenneth Branagh and written by Adam Cozad and David Koepp, it co-stars Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner and Branagh. The action thriller opens Christmas Day:
2ND UPDATE, 2:25 AM PT: After an all night auction, The Weinstein Company is nearing a deal to acquire U.S. rights to the John Carney-directed Can A Song Save Your Life? TWC is now in exclusive negotiations and I’m told they are tying down a deal that will land at around a $7 million minimum guarantee for U.S. rights with a P&A commitment of at least $20 million. They are working on the final numbers in what is a very strong deal for the film backed by Exclusive Media and Sycamore, and Exclusive is nearly done auctioning off the remaining foreign countries. There are going to be a lot of tired deal makers roaming around Toronto Sunday, as CAA, UTA and WME were all in the mix making all of these deals, with several bidders in the mix until the wee hours. These kinds of auctions don’t happen that often anymore, but Carney made an exceptional movie with breakout potential if it is handled right and I’m not surprised so many distributors sparked to it the way they did. Coming in, it looked like Can A Song Save Your Life? and Bad Words would be the big money titles and they didn’t disappoint. Both went in … Read More »
Keira Knightley is in negotiations to step into the lead in Lynn Shelton‘s indie dark comedy. Laggies, written by Andrea Siegel, follows a woman who hides out for a week with a 16-year-old (Chloë Grace Moretz) under the pretense of going to a work retreat after her boyfriend proposes. Sam Rockwell is also lined up to co-star. Anne Hathaway was in negotiations to star just last month but scheduling conflicts with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar forced her to drop out. Steve Golin, Alix Madigan and Rosalie Swedlin will produce Laggies for Anonymous Content. Knightley and Hathaway are repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: CAA has just signed Keira Knightley. The actress is coming off the Joe Wright-directedAnna Karenina, and next stars opposite Chris Pine in the franchise reboot Jack Ryan, and in the John Carney-directed Can A Song Save Your Life?
Once director Joe Wright and London-based Working Title Productions selected Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to complete the literary adaptation trilogy begun with 2005’s Pride & Prejudice and 2007’s Atonement, the next step was easy: Wright’s Anna had to be Keira Knightley, 27, who had starred in both previous films and netted an Oscar nomination for portraying Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice.
The actress, who has also starred in sexy Wright-directed Chanel commercials, has been called Wright’s muse—and his comments in a recent AwardsLine interview support this notion. Wright said when the two reunited for last year’s Coco Mademoiselle commercial, “I was kind of blown away by how she had grown up. I mean that psychologically and emotionally and sexually. And she had a new kind of power to her, a new womanly power, and I wanted to bear witness to that on the screen.”
Whew. In a recent phone interview from “very rainy” London, where she was at work on Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan, Knightley shared her feelings about Wright’s breathless praise, mixed reviews, and her preference for the challenges of literary screen fare over Hollywood romcoms.
AwardsLine: Joe Wright waxed rhapsodic in his praise of what he called your new maturity as an actress. Are you feeling it? Keira Knightley: (Laughs). You don’t wake up the morning and say, “I am a … Read More »
Not to be outdone by aggressive campaigning from its rivals, Focus Features this week moved boldly ahead with an Oscar campaign plan on two fronts for Friday’s release of Anna Karenina, which had its L.A. premiere last night, and its late-breaking December 28th entry, Promised Land, which is launching its awards bid with some private screenings for some very big heavy hitters.
Regarding the latter film, what do you do when you are the very last major movie of the year? Director Gus Van Sant only delivered the final cut of the film in the past two weeks, and knowing they are under the gun in getting this one seen in time for the earlier Academy voting (now taking place ten days earlier than usual with ballots in the mail December 17 and due back January 3rd), Focus is trying to get the word out within the industry. So before even showing it to most of the press they began an early “influencer” campaign that has featured private screenings and receptions at the plush theatre inside L.A.’s Soho House. Tuesday night Cameron Crowe held one with guests including Meryl Streep, Sam Mendes, Colin Firth, Kate Hudson, Ben Affleck (coming over after getting his GQ man of the year award) and other academy voters who were able to mingle with star and co-writer (with John Krasinski) Matt Damon. Earlier in November Aaron Sorkin hosted a similar screening that drew Demi Moore, Jennifer Aniston and SAG President Ken Howard among others. Read More »
Tolstoy as re-imagined by Joe Wright and Tom Stoppard came to the Toronto International Film Festival in a big way Friday night as Focus Features’ adaptation of Anna Kareninamade its North American debut. “They gave us a nice little standing ovation,” said a modest Wright who told me at the Soho House after-party this film means so much to him that he doesn’t know how he is going to follow it. He had great success early in his directing career with Oscar nominees like Pride & Prejudice and Atonement (which both featured his Anna Karenina star Keira Knightley) but then detoured to different kinds of films like The Soloist and action flick Hanna. Now that he’s back in this literary space he can appreciate the success more, he says.
Wright came up with the concept of staging the story in a theatre and then moving it in and out of that setting. It’s a unique and risky idea but really pays off in the execution. As Focus Features chief James Schamus told me, “This film is ravishing to look at.” A couple of critics have been naysayers but Schamus isn’t concerned about them. He says most will get it. Schamus plans an aggressive platform release strategy after the November 16th opening and should be relatively wide by December. Focus hopes it will draw upscale audiences who flock to this sort of thing but also younger women who may relate to the plight of Anna and the young actors cast here. It premiered in England earlier in the week and opens there this weekend.
This Anna Karenina certainly is a lot different than the version MGM and Greta Garbo served up in the 1930s. Wright’s bold concept of losing some of the naturalism and putting it in a theatrical setting wasn’t in Stoppard’s script – and he had to convince the writer it was the way to go. But in the end it all worked out. He said the premiere at Toronto’s classic Elgin theatre was almost surreal since it looked like the theatre-in-the-film-in-a-theatre. It’s an instant contender for a Best Picture, Director and Screenplay slot. Knightley’s go-for-broke work is likely to land her in the Best Actress race again, and producers also hope Jude Law as her husband gets attention in the supporting category. Pic also can easily expect Oscar nominations in numerous categories including the cinematography of Seamus McGarvey, production design of Sarah Greenwood, costume design of Jacqueline Durran, and musical score of Dario Marianelli (who is already an Oscar winner for Atonement). Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline can now confirm the cast for this long gestating, highly anticipated action thriller that will be the first of an anticipated franchise trilogy. It resurrects the popular Tom Clancy character of CIA analyst Jack Ryan last seen on film in 2002 and now played by Chris Pine in the role already made famous by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck. After various starts and stops, bad luck and good fortune, Deadline also has learned that Jack Ryan finally has come together for a release in the 4th quarter of 2013.
Paramount chose to wait for Pine to complete the second installment of Star Trek in this contemporized original prequel story that picks up Ryan before he joined the CIA. (Paramount long ago locked in Pine after he played Captain Kirk.) His love interest and the female lead is Keira Knightley. Paramount was intensely searching because it’s a high profile role — an older version of the character was played by Anne Archer in the Harrison Ford films — and involves options that would potentially put the actress in three pictures.
As Deadline previously reported, Kevin Costner has an invented but key role as does the film’s director Kenneth Branagh who will play the Russian villain plotting to wreck the U.S. economy. Paramount began talks with the Thor helmer to replace the once-attached Jack Bender. Paramount courted Costner to become a linchpin in not only Jack Ryan but also the spinoff franchise Without Remorse based on Clancy’s 1993 novel. (The studio is now courting The Dark Knight Rises villain Tom Hardy to star, with Christopher McQuarrie rewriting to direct.) The deal that came together envisions Costner potentially headlining his own film as William Harper, a true blue American idealist who recruits and mentors both Ryan and John Kelly from Without Remorse. Kelly later becomes CIA operative Clark.
Paramount like every studio is looking to build tentpoles and has a good opportunity for more than one here by cross-pollinating characters Ryan and Clark like The Avengers successfully keeps doing.
Branagh recently described the movie as “an original story that allows us to understand how Jack Ryan develops into a CIA analyst, before joining, and perhaps even joining, the CIA. It’s a very contemporary action thriller set in the here and now.” its launching point is mentioned in Clancy’s The Hunt For Red October book and film: a terrifying helicopter crash that nearly killed Ryan when he was a 23-year-old Marines platoon leader and the only member to survive.
Paramount Pictures and co-financier Skydance Productions went top shelf to get the franchise relaunch to the starting line and hired David Koepp for 7-figures to redraft the script by Adam Cozad known as Moscow. Cozad was a screenwriter without a screen credit and yet now is in the middle of some of the bigger projects in town. Read More »
Keira Knightley and Joe Wright reteam for a third time on Anna Karenina, which Focus Features will release in select cities November 9. It’s got a pretty stellar team: adapted by Tom Stoppard and co-starring Aaron Johnson, Jude Law, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Ruth Wilson, Olivia Williams, and Emily Watson among others. Oh yeah, it’s from a novel by some guy named Tolstoy. It’s definitely got the look of Atonement, the last Knightley-Wright tie-up that earned an Oscar Best Picture nomination in 2008 (it has the same producers in Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and Paul Webster). But it seems more sweep-y, which the classic Russian novel certainly deserves.
EXCLUSIVE: Mark Romanek has emerged as frontrunner to direct The Lost Symbol, Sony Pictures’ third installment of the Dan Brown-penned thrillers focusing on symbologist Robert Langdon. After directing the global blockbusters The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Ron Howard this summer opted out of directing a third, preferring to produce with his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer. Grazer produced the first two films in the series with the late John Calley, who acquired the property before he left the Sony Pictures executive suite to become a producer.
Sony Pictures has been interviewing helmers for one of the more prominent open directing assignments. Romanek hasn’t got the job locked up yet, but I’ve heard negotiations should begin soon. Romanek, a top video director, made his feature helming debut on One Hour Photo, and most recently directed Never Let Me Go with Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield. Romanek has so far made mostly budget films. He nearly helmed a big one in The Wolfman but left weeks before production started in a dispute with Universal over budget and other creative disagreements. Read More »
It’s official: Atonement director Joe Wright and star Keira Knightley are reteaming for Anna Karenina, the Working Title films adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel that was written by Tom Stoppard. The film will be distributed by Focus Features in the U.S. and Universal Pictures International worldwide sometime in the second half of 2012. Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Paul Webster; the trio were 2008 Oscar nominees as producers of Atonement. Read More »
A new international trailer is up for A Dangerous Method, the drama involving psychiatrists Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Sony Pictures Classics releases the film later this year. It stars Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender and Vincent Cassel.
Focus Features acquired U.S. distribution rights to the Lorene Scafaria-directed Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, which is Steve Carell’s first project since leaving The Office. He stars with Keira Knightley and shooting begins this month in L.A. The premise: the world is ending, and a man heads cross country to reunite with his school age girlfriend for their final days. A friend (Knightley) accompanies him on the road trip and complicates things. Scafaria wrote the script and Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin and Joy Gorman produce with Indian Paintbrush’s Steven Rales and Mark Roybal. The film’s co-financed by Indian Paintbrush and Mandate Pictures, with Mandate’s Nathan Kahane and Nicole Brown exec producing. Lionsgate is handling international sales on the pic.
Graham King’s GK Films has hired Focus Features exec Kahli Small to be executive vice president of production and development. She will report directly to King and will work out of GK’s Santa Monica headquarters. Kahli is a seven-year vet of Focus Features and most recently held the title of executive vice president of production and development. Her projects have included the Oscar-nominated Harvey Milk biopic Milk, the David Cronenberg-directed Viggo Mortensen starrer Eastern Promises, and The American, which starred George Clooney. Before Focus, she was head of production at Key Entertainment, and was an exec at MGM.
“Her reputation in the industry and track record for success are exactly the qualities that we are looking for in executives as we expand our company,” King said in a statement. The appointment comes at a time when GK (run by King and partner Tim Headington) are gearing up on several major projects. They include a movie adaptation of the hit stage musical Jersey Boys, the untitled biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury that has a script by Peter Morgan and Sacha Baron Cohen starring, and a reboot of Tomb Raider. GK is about to start production on the Tim Burton-directed Johnny Depp starrer Dark Shadows at Warner Bros, and is in post production on the Martin Scorsese-directed 3D film Hugo Cabret, which Paramount releases Nov. 23. GK has also wrapped the William Monahan-directed London Boulevard with Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley and … Read More »