Well, they are coming hot and heavy now. With Toronto International Film Festival announcing 13 Galas and 46 Special Presentations this morning in what is really just the first wave of their upcoming lineup, and on top on New York Film Festival’s confirmation of their Opening (Gone Girl), Centerpiece (Inherent Vice) and Closing (Birdman), BFI London’s opener of The Imitation Game and Venice Film Festival’s opener (also Birdman) the awards season landscape is starting to fill in a bit more significantly. Venice in fact will announce their entire lineup tomorrow but today’s TIFF list gives us some further clues as to how the Oscar game is being played on the fest circuit. Of course Telluride is another factor, but they won’t officially announce anything until their fest begins just before Labor Day weekend.
One player that I hear won’t be going to Telluride this year, or it seems Venice, is Warner Bros which has used both fests significantly in the past (Warners had Oscar winners Argo and Gravity at the past two Tellurides and Gravity opened Venice last year). But, as predicted here, they are going to Toronto in a BIG way with World Premieres of three of their Fall films, The Judge, This Is Where I Leave You and The Good Lie. Will TIFF mean the launch of an Oscar campaign for the trio, or is it just an effective way of getting the most media bang for your buck in releasing these early Fall titles? Certainly The Judge would seem to have acting potential for … Read More »
With the openings of Draft Day and Joe this weekend we suddenly re-discover two Oscar winners from the ’90s who have found their groove again after years of cinematic disappointments. I can’t remember the last time either Kevin Costner and especially Nicolas Cage delivered performances worthy of their prime as Costner does in Summit’s Draft Day and Cage does in Roadside Attractions’ Joe. Both come from companies associated with Lionsgate and hopefully both will find some sort of audience this weekend as they reaffirm the power of great actors in the right role.
Costner, who won Oscars for directing and producing Dances With Wolves in 1990, is right in his wheelhouse playing the general manager who has the opportunity to turn a hapless Cleveland Browns football team around with a No. 1 draft pick of a hot Heisman Trophy winner. It’s reminiscent not only of Moneyball but more importantly, of the kind of sports-oriented movies like Bull Durham and Field Of Dreams that made him a star in the first place. And Cage, is playing a combustible ex-con who becomes a surrogate father figure to a troubled teen (Tye Sheridan) in the Southern-set drama Joe. Cage turns down his usual volume of late to deliver a performance of power and poignancy in a film that has much in common with last April’s surprise indie hit Mud (also from Roadside and also co-starring Sheridan) but even more akin to the 1953 George Stevens classic Shane. It is perhaps his best screen acting since winning the Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas almost 20 years ago. And from what I can tell, both these stars clearly know they have again hit their mark. Read More »
In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom talk about the highlights in this year’s TCM Classic Film Fest, which opens tonight with a beautifully restored version of the 1955 musical Oklahoma, among many other treasures. David and Pete also mark the passing of Mickey Rooney, whose film career spanned nearly nine decades before his death this week.
Pete also gives his take on the weekend’s notable movie debuts, led by two films featuring the strongest performances in years from Oscar winners Kevin Costner (in Draft Day) and Nicolas Cage (in Joe). Pete and David also talk about the weekend’s likely box-office champ, the animated sequel Rio 2, and a thoughtful revenge drama, The Railway Man featuring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.
Listen to the podcast in your choice of formats here:
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 69 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 69 (.M4A version)
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Not much choice but to buy ad time during the Super Bowl for Summit Entertainment‘s Draft Day, the Ivan Reitman-directed pic about an NFL franchise and its beleaguered GM that risks it all during the draft in order to save football in Cleveland (no, this is not a documentary). Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella and Denis Leary lead the ensemble cast, and the ad capitalizes on its NFL connection to include clips of Super Bowl opponents Denver and Seattle. The movie is due out April 11. Check out the ad, which will air during the Fox pregame show:
Related: Super Bowl Ad: Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Noah’
As the NFL regular season heads into its final week, Summit has suited up the first trailer for its football flick. Kevin Costner stars in Draft Day as the employment-imperiled general manager of the Cleveland Browns, who tries to wheel and deal his way into the hearts of the team’s fans, new coach and owner. Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella and Denis Leary also star in the pic directed by Ivan Reitman from Rajiv Joseph & Scott Rothman’s script. Draft Day takes the field April 11. Watch the highlights here:
McG‘s darkly comic action thriller follows a Secret Service agent (Kevin Costner) who comes out of retirement for one last mission in exchange for access to an experimental drug –administered by Amber Heard — that could save his life. Hallucinatory action ensues as he tries to complete the mission while battling the drug’s side effects and, for good measure, trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) while his ex-wife (Connie Nielsen) is out of town. Got all that? Luc Besson and Adi Hasak wrote Relativity Media’s 3 Days To Kill, which Besson produced with Ryan Kavanaugh. Marc Libert and Tucker Tooley are executive producers. Here’s the new trailer:
The McG-directed action thriller starring Kevin Costner had been slated for the busy Valentine’s Day slot but now will open February 21. Three Days To Kill faces a much less crowded opening field led by Sony TriStar’s volcanic actioner Pompeii. The film from Relativity and Luc Besson’s Europacorp centers on an elite government hitman (Costner) who finds out he has a terminal disease and decides to give up his high-stakes life to build a relationship with his estranged wife and daughter, whom he’s kept at arm’s length to keep out of danger. But when his agency offers him an experimental, potentially life-saving drug in exchange for one last mission, it’s an offer he can’t refuse — even if he must go after the world’s most ruthless terrorist while babysitting his daughter. Three Days To Kill was written by Besson and Adi Hasak and co-stars Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld and Connie Nielsen.
Motion picture and television talent agent/manager J.J. Harris died of what is believed to be natural causes on Friday afternoon and was found today in her Beverly Hills home by her staff. She was 62. Always classy and funny but never a pushover, she at one time was among the top women talent agents and sole practitioner managers in Hollywood, representing such notable clients over the course of her decades-long career including Kevin Costner, Charlize Theron, Dakota and Elle Fanning, Kate Bosworth, Drew Barrymore, and Scott Bakula. After starting her career at the old William Morris Agency and jumping to UTA as a partner, she started her own management company more than a decade ago. Harris ran One Talent Management until recently deciding to wind down her business. Until her death, she was spending almost all her time on the career of her longtime confidante and client Costner. It was because of him that her office became worried. “She wasn’t returning my calls or texts. Then Kevin called her,” her assistant and co-manager Sharon Vitro tells me. “It’s one thing for her to ignore me. But she doesn’t ignore Kevin ever.” Her staff went to her home and discovered her body. Through the years, Harris was an outspoken feminist who challenged mano-a-mano the Hollywood men’s club that long ruled actor representation. Bluffing her way into the William Morris accounting department as a secretary, Harris rose through the ranks to become a young but … Read More »
Here’s a reason for some of us to feel old. Could it really be 30 years ago since The Big Chill, the saga of yuppies reconnecting, pouring out angst and bed hopping to Motown songs? The Toronto Film Festival will bring back the cast and crew of a film that debuted at the festival in 1983. It will happen September 5. Wonder if the returning stars will include Kevin Costner, who played the friend who committed suicide, and who was famously cut out of the movie by director Lawrence Kasdan (who made it up to Costner in Silverado, The Bodyguard and Wyatt Earp). Here’s the official word:
TORONTO — The guests of honour at this party, unlike the one thrown in the film, will definitely be in attendance. Thirty years after its world premiere at the 1983 Toronto International Film Festival®, The Big Chill—and members of its cast and crew—is back.
To celebrate the The Big Chill’s 30th anniversary, TIFF is hosting a reunion of its own for the cast and crew as part of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. In attendance at the film’s anniversary screening: actors Glenn Close, Tom Berenger, Meg Tilly, Mary Kay Place and JoBeth Williams; director/writer Lawrence Kasdan; screenwriter Barbara Benedek; executive producer Marcia Nasatir; and producers Meg Kasdan and Michael Shamberg. The screening of a newly restored 4K version of the film will be followed by an extended Q&A with the cast and crew, moderated by Variety’s chief film critic, Scott
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Following on the heels of his successful Hatfields & McCoys miniseries, Kevin Costner continues to expand his reach into television. Costner and his Treehouse Films have entered a first-look deal with Sea To Sky Entertainment, the TV production and distribution joint venture between Lionsgate and Frank Giustra’s Thunderbird Films, the two companies announced today. Under the pact, Costner, along with Treehouse creative exec Jasa McCall, will develop and produce scripted programming, which Costner may also direct and/or act in, depending on the project. “Hatfields & McCoys was an extraordinary achievement, and when we learned that Kevin wanted to expand his activities in television, we were immediately interested in meeting with him,” said Kevin Beggs, president of Lionsgate Television Group. “We’re excited about the ideas he wants to pursue and delighted to be in business together.” Read More »
BREAKING…Kevin Costner is in negotiations to star in Midnight Delivery for Universal Pictures. Neil Cross, who co-wrote Universal’s Mama and is creator of the BBC series Luther, has written the screenplay in his latest tie-up with Guillermo del Toro. The logline is being held tight to the vest, but it’s a thriller stemming from an original idea by del Toro, who is producing with David Linde for the latter’s Lava Bear Films. Gary Ungar, Tory Metzger and Russell Ackerman will serve as executive producers. Universal’s EVP Production Scott Bernstein and creative executive Sara Scott will oversee for the studio, which continues to fast-track this one. No director is attached. Costner, repped by WME and One Talent Management, has been busy on the film front. He currently stars in Man Of Steel and will next be seen in Jack Ryan, a revival of the Tom Clancy franchise. He is also set to appear in Three Days To Kill and just finished shooting Draft Day. He is now filming Black And White. Cross and del Toro collaborated on Mama, which was also produced by del Toro, and Cross helped polish the script for the del Toro-directed Pacific Rim.
Relativity said it will release the Kevin Costner pic currently titled Three Days To Kill on February 14th, 2014. McG directed the script by Luc Besson and Adi Hasak and Hailee Steinfeld, Amber Heard, and Connie Nielsen co-star. The action thriller centers on an elite government hit man (Costner) who finds out he has a terminal disease and decides to give up his high-stakes life to build a relationship with his estranged wife and daughter, whom he’s kept at arm’s length to keep out of danger. But when his agency offers him an experimental, potentially life-saving drug in exchange for one last mission, it’s an offer he can’t refuse – even if he must go after the world’s most ruthless terrorist while babysitting his daughter. EuropaCorp and Relativity are producing.
Deadline revealed last week that Kevin Costner was going to reteam with Upside Of Anger helmer Mike Binder on Black And White. IM Global has confirmed the scoop, adding that The Help‘s Octavia Spencer will also be in the cast. Here’s the official release:
IM Global founder and CEO Stuart Ford announced today that IM Global will launch the international sales in Cannes of BLACK AND WHITE, the project that re-teams two-time Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner (Man of Steel, The Upside of Anger, For Love of the Game, Open Range, Dances with Wolves) with acclaimed writer, director and actor Mike Binder (The Upside of Anger, Reign Over Me). The film, which also stars Academy Award® winner Octavia Spencer, is based on Binder’s own script, and is a co-production of Costner’s Treehouse Productions and Binder’s Sunlight Productions, along with Todd Lewis. Cassian Elwes is onboard as an executive producer. Principal photography begins this summer in New Orleans.
Binder’s engrossing drama focuses on attorney Elliot Anderson (Costner) who is widowed after the car crash death of his wife. Elliot has raised his bi-racial granddaughter Eloise since his daughter died in childbirth. As he struggles with his grief, Elliot’s world is turned upside-down when the child’s African American grandmother Rowena (Spencer) demands that Eloise be brought under the care of her father Reggie, a drug addict who Elliot blames for the negligence that led to the death of his own daughter. Elliot
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EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Costner has been set to re-team with Upside Of Anger helmer Mike Binder in Black And White, an indie that Costner will star in and produce through his Treehouse Productions banner. The film will be done in co-production with Binder’s Sunlight Productions, and Todd Lewis. Shooting begins in New Orleans this summer. In the Binder-scripted drama, Costner plays a grandfather, widowed after the car crash death of his wife, who has raised his own bi-racial granddaughter since his daughter died in childbirth. The child’s paternal grandmother surfaces to wage a custody battle over the little girl, and the thrust becomes about race and where she should grow up. Read More »
Summit and OddLot Entertainment’s dramedy Draft Day began filming today in New York, timed to the real NFL Draft that begins Thursday at Radio City Music Hall. Kevin Costner stars alongside Jennifer Garner, Ellen Burstyn, Denis Leary and Frank Langella as the GM of the Cleveland Browns who tries to trade up for the first pick and save football in the city. The pic is directed and produced by Ivan Reitman from a Black List script by Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman. 42 star Chadwick Boseman has a small role as former star college player, and Terry Crews, Sean Combs, Josh Pence, Rosanna Arquette, Timothy Simons, David Ramsey, Wade Williams, Chi McBride, W. Earl Brown, Brad Henke, Griffin Newman, Kevin Dunn, Patrick St. Esprit, Arian Foster, Christopher Cousins, Pat Healy, Laura Steinel and Wallace Langham are also aboard. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Hailee Steinfeld, who burst on the scene with an Oscar-nominated turn in True Grit, has landed the lead role opposite Kevin Costner in the untitled action film that McG will direct for Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp and Relativity Media. Scripted by Besson and Adi Hasak under the title Three Days To Kill, the film stars Costner as a Service agent who discovers he’s dying. Before he goes, he attempts to complete a final mission, and reconnect with his estranged daughter. He’s also taking an experimental drug that could prolong his life, and that adds complexity to the ticking clock because of the drug’s hallucinatory side effects. Besson and Virginie Besson-Silla are producing with Hasak and Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh. Tucker Tooley’s exec producer. Read More »
UPDATE: I am hearing now that Paramount Pictures is pursuing the Tom Cruise-attached Our Name Is Adam. My bet is that the studio makes the deal. The price tag is high, but Paramount brass is doing everything they can to make the numbers work before their first look expires and others get a shot at it. In fact, they are in an exclusive negotiation now so I expect this will result in another film for Paramount and Cruise, beyond the revived Mission:Impossible franchise, Jack Reacher and possibly Top Gun 2, those three a co-production between Paramount and Skydance. Stay tuned.
EARLIER, 8:32 pm EDT EXCLUSIVE: There has been some heavy decision-making going on lately at Paramount Pictures. After the studio added the Oscar-bait Martin Scorsese-Leonardo DiCaprio pic The Wolf Of Wall Street to its late 2013 slate, Paramount has just made a free agent out of its NFL-themed film Draft Day, putting in turnaround a film that has Kevin Costner attached to star and Ivan Reitman to direct. At the same time, the studio seems likely to take a pass on Our Name Is Adam, the T.S. Nowlin-scripted science fiction pic that our sister publication Daily Variety reported has Tom Cruise circling.
Let’s take each one separately. Reitman and partner Tom Pollock developed the Moneyball-esque Draft Day, the fictional account of the events that take place on a draft day for the perennial also-ran Buffalo Bills. Costner would play the team’s GM, but timing is a major challenge for this film.
Paramount chose not to make it in the small window that Reitman has before he is expected to finally get the long-gestating Ghostbusters reboot in front of the cameras next summer for Sony Pictures (sans Bill Murray). Costner–who has made more quality sports films than any active actor–Field of Dreams, Tin Cup, Bull Durham and For Love Of The Game–is also very busy. He’s filming the Jack Ryan relaunch, and after that he has the Luc Besson pic Three Days To Kill, about a dying assassin who has a short window to clean up professional and personal loose ends. It would be tough to find room to squeeze in the football film and finish before Reitman goes back to Ghostbusters duty. Read More »