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Post-’Office,’ Steve Carell Ponders Doomsday With Keira Knightley

By | Thursday March 31, 2011 @ 3:43pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In what shapes up as his first feature project after leaving The Office, Steve Carell will star in Seeking A Friend For The End of The World. The film marks the directorial debut of its screenwriter, Lorene Scafaria. Keira Knightley is in negotiations for the female lead. Mandate Pictures and Indian Paintbrush will co-finance and production begins in May. The film takes place at a time when mankind is forced to absorb the fact that an incoming asteroid will end humanity. Carell plays a man suddenly alone when his wife leaves in a panic. His high school sweetheart writes him saying she wants to be with him when the world stops. His neighbor (Knightley) accompanies him on the road trip as love blooms at the worst possible time. Despite the doomsday climax, the film has a somewhat comic and romantic tone.

Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin and Joy Gorman will produce with Steven Rales and Mark Roybal from Indian Paintbrush. Mandate’s Nathan Kahane and Nicole Brown will be exec producers. It is the second collaboration between Mandate and Indian Paintbrush: they recently wrapped the Jason Reitman-directed Young Adult, which was scripted by Diablo Cody and stars Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt. Paramount will release the film. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Last Night’

By | Monday March 28, 2011 @ 7:21am PDT
Mike Fleming

There’s a new trailer for Last Night, the Massy Tadjedin-directed relationship drama about what happens when a married couple is separated, and tempted by others. The film stars Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet. Last Night made its debut at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.

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Aaron Johnson Offered Leads In ‘Savages’ And ‘Anna Karenina’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: At a time when the Hollywood movie star landscape is being made over with new faces, Kick-Ass star Aaron Johnson is cementing his place in this new order. He has been offered two lead roles in high profile films with strong scripts and A-list directors, in parts that have been pursued by all the young guys. I believe he’ll do both films.

I’m told that Johnson has been offered one of the two male leads in Savages, the Oliver Stone-directed drama about two best friend pot growers who share a gorgeous lady and a huge problem: their pot is so good that a Mexican drug cartel has kidnapped their gal and will kill her if the growers don’t go to work for the cartel. That pic, which has a script by Shane Salerno and Don Winslow (who wrote the novel on which the movie is based) will shoot in June. Jennifer Lawrence is Stone’s first choice to play O, the kidnapped free spirited sexpot, but her commitment to The Hunger Games (Deadline told you last Friday that was happening) has made her participation uncertain at the moment.

Johnson has also been offered the romantic lead role alongside Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina, the adaptation of the Tolstoy classic tragic love story that has a script by Tom Stoppard and will be directed by Atonement helmer Joe Wright for Working Title. That film will likely shoot in the fall, so Johnson … Read More »

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Keira Knightley Joins Syfy’s Mini ‘Neverland’

By | Wednesday March 9, 2011 @ 11:45pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In her U.S. television debut, Keira Knightley has joined the cast of Syfy’s four-hour miniseries Neverland as the voice of Tinker Bell.

On live-action project, a prequel to J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan, the Oscar-nominated actress joins Rhys Ifans, Anna Friel, Bob Hoskins, Charles Dance, Raoul Trujillo and Charlie Rowe. Written and directed by Nick Willing, Neverland centers on Peter (Rowe) who, along with his pals of young pickpockets, have been rounded up by their mentor Jimmy Hook (Ifans) to snatch a magical orb that transports them to another world – Neverland.  Filled with white jungles and imposing cities formed out of trees created by Dr. Fludd (Dance) and inhabited by a colony of tree spirits led by Tinker Bell (Knightley), this mysterious realm welcomes unknown friends and enemies snatched from time. These include power-mad Elizabeth Bonny (Friel) and her band of 18th century pirates who search for the answer to eternal youth, a secret guarded by a Holy Man (Trujillo). As the fight to save this strange and beautiful world escalates, Peter and his crew consider that growing old somewhere in time could be less important than growing up — right here in their new home called Neverland.

Knightley will record her role this spring. Neverland, produced by Dublin-based Parallel Films, Syfy and … Read More »

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CAA Signs Director Mark Romanek

Mike Fleming

Feature and video director Mark Romanek has signed with CAA. Romanek, who just directed the Fox Searchlight adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go with Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley, had been repped by WME. Romanek previously directed One Hour Photo and Static, and has helmed music videos with the likes of David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, REM and Madonna.

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Chris Nolan To Meet Actresses For Batman 3

Mike Fleming

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE: Chris Nolan is lining up actresses he’ll meet for two female lead roles in The Dark Knight Rises, the third installment of the Batfranchise which Warner Bros has dated release on July 20, 2012. I’m told one of the roles is a love interest for Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne, and the other is a villain. The actresses are: Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway and Keira Knightley. Nolan is keeping the roles under wraps, just the way that he did when he drafted his Inception star Tom Hardy to come aboard to likely play a villain. Deadline broke that story October 13. I’m still not sure what the role is and I believe Hardy took the job without knowing or reading a script that’s still being tweaked.

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Baz Casting Wider Daisy Net For ‘Gatsby’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Director Baz Luhrmann is expanding his search for Daisy Buchanan as he moves closer to committing to The Great Gatsby as his next film. Deadline revealed recently that Luhrmann did a workshop of the screenplay he wrote with Craig Pearce, with Leonardo DiCaprio reading Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire reading Nick Carraway, and The Town‘s Rebecca Hall reading Daisy Buchanan. Luhrmann wants those guys to star, but he’s casting a wider net on Daisy. I’m told that Hall is in the running, but that he’s got a bunch of actresses and wants to see how they read with DiCaprio. Luhrmann likes to work shop his scripts, and this should play out over the next two weeks, in New York. This might be hard for some of the actresses, who are shooting movies abroad. Among the names I’ve heard on Baz’s list: Keira Knightley, Amanda Seyfried, Blake Lively, Abbie Cornish, Michelle Williams and Scarlett Johansson. Aside from those names, I’ve heard that Luhrmann is also sweet on Natalie Portman, the … Read More »

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Why So Few British Stars Have Vanity Deals

EXCLUSIVE: It does seem strange. Ralph and Joseph Fiennes, James McAvoy, Daniel Day-Lewis, Emily Watson, Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet, and many other famous UK thesps don’t run their own production companies or have cushy vanity deals at homegrown studios like their U.S. counterparts. “Since Britain doesn’t have a studio system, we don’t have room for vanity shingles. And when they do get set up, they tend to languish because actors then go to Hollywood for the big money,” says London-based United Agents’ Lindy King. That, in a nutshell, is why so many famous UK stars are still only actors for hire.

By contrast, Hollywood studios have lots of vanity deals with actors, though few with British talent behind them. Out of the roughly 150+ total first-look deals which the major Hollywood studios maintain, only 7 are with UK-based production companies and none are run by British stars  – Working Title (Universal Picture), Sam Mendes’s Neal Street Productions (Focus Features), Harry Potter-producer Heyday (Warner Bros), Wallace and Gromit-maker Aardman Animations (Sony Pictures Entertainment), Elton John’s Rocket Pictures (Walt Disney Studios), Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free (Twentieth Century Fox), and James Bond factory Danjaq Productions (what’s left of MGM). British producers such as Harbour Pictures (Calendar Girls), DNA Films (Never Let Me Go) and Marv Films (Kick-Ass) once had first-look deals with Disney/Miramax, Fox Searchlight, and Sony respectively but no longer. “A lot of these U.S. vanity deals are expiring or not being renewed. [But] Hollywood [should] look at the UK in terms of it’s being a sweet spot. I mean, we punch above our weight in terms of talent.” Thykier used to run the Marv Films production company with Matthew Vaughn — but their deal foundered after Sony passed on many of their projects like Kick-Ass, The Debt, and Harry Brown. Read More »

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TORONTO: Closing Night Film Needs Home

Mike Fleming

The films that have played the Toronto International Film Festival either came in with a distributor, or hoped to leave with one. The festival’s closing night film, Last Night, is the exception.  The drama, written and directed by Massy Tadjedin, arrived as a Disney film, but might very well leave the festival with someone else. How appropriate for a drama about infidelity! The picture was dealt to Miramax by producer Nick Wechsler and Gaumont two weeks after production began. After the deal closed, Daniel Battsek’s specialty shingle imploded. The Mouse has spared the film from being part of the assets in the never-ending sale of the Miramax library. (It did the same for The Switch, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, and the John Madden-directed The Debt, which also stars Worthington.) While The Debt made its debut at Toronto with distribution set, family-friendly Disney has been non-committal about releasing Last Night because of its infidelity theme. I’m told the picture has been quietly shopped during the festival by CAA, and there are three offers on the table. It will be up to Disney whether the studio wants to let it go to a specialty distributor more excited about releasing an edgy drama with a strong cast. Read More »

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‘Never Let Me Go’ Opening London Festival

Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan are expected to make Red Carpet appearances on October 13th because their film Never Let Me Go is opening the London Film Festival. Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) has directed Alex Garland’s (Sunshine) adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel. Fox releases the film in the UK on January 14. Knightley, Mulligan, and Andrew Garfield (the new Spider-Man) play three schoolfriends who realise their idyllic English boarding school hides a dark secret…

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William Monahan To Anonymous Content

Mike Fleming

monahan_williamWilliam Monahan, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Departed, has signed with management firm Anonymous Content’s Michael Sugar. Sugar joins WME’s Chris Donnelly and attorney David Fox on Monahan’s rep team. Monahan is in post-production on London Boulevard, making his directing debut on a script he wrote, with Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley starring for GK Films. He’s also adapted the John Grisham novel The Associate, and The Falcon’s Tale, for Paramount, but it seems clear he wants to continue to make directing a priority. Sugar’s filmmaker list includes Steven Soderbergh, Spider-Man’s Marc Webb, Tron Legacy’s Joe Kosinski and Wolverine helmer Gavin Hood.

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SOLT Picks Julian Bird As CEO

By | Tuesday June 22, 2010 @ 7:40am PDT

Theatre CurtainsThe Tate’s current chief operating officer will replace Richard Pulford as chief executive of the Society of London Theatre in November. Right at the top of Bird’s in-box will be trying to get the Olivier theatre awards on TV. This year’s awards had Keira Knightley and Rachel Weisz preening on the red carpet – not that you’d have known about it. Sunday opening and tax breaks for theatre investment will also be on his to-do list – although anything which costs the government money is going to be Julian_Birddifficult sell in this climate. The incoming CEO will also have a difficult juggling act trying to ensure SOLT is not just the plaything of theatre owners but represents producers too. Bird, who has been with Tate for the past three years, has also served on the board of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford.

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