Francis Underwood is about to resume his fictional House of Cards climb up the greasy pole of political power in Washington D. C. “We start shooting Season 2 of #houseofcards in 2 weeks,” actress Constance Zimmer tweeted today to Ricky Gervais and the “Gareth Keenan” Twitter account of the fictional former UK Office character played by Mackenzie Crook. Zimmer plays reporter Janine Skorsky on the David Fincher-produced Netflix series. Lead Kevin Spacey plays the scheming Congressman Underwood in the streaming only show. The second season of House of Cards will be 13 episodes long like the first season. No official word if Season 2 will all be put up on Netflix simultaneously like the first season was. At least one thing is sure, with the show shooting in Maryland like it also did for Season 1, star Stacey won’t have far to travel to get to D.C. for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 27. Spacey, along with co-star Robin Wright and Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos is going as a guest of Bloomberg.
EXCLUSIVE: Netflix and MRC are beefing up the upper ranks of drama House Of Cards going into Season 2. David Manson has come on board as executive producer to work alongside showrunner Beau Willimon. The David Fincher drama starring Kevin Spacey received a straight two-season pickup by Netflix when the streaming service outbid HBO for the rights to the adaptation of the BBC miniseries. Season 1 premiered this past weekend, with Netflix making all 13 episodes available at the same time. Filming on Season 2 is expected to begin this spring. Manson recently served as executive producer/showrunner on AMC’s Richard LaGravenese/Tony Goldwyn legal thriller pilot. The project didn’t get a series pickup but was left in contention by the cable network. Manson’s credits also include New Amsterdam and Thief. Additionally, he created/exec produced the TNT series Saved.
Netflix just released first trailer for its first original series, the big-budget David Fincher-Kevin Spacey political drama House Of Cards. Based on the British miniseries, the MRC-produced House Of Cards centers on ruthless and cunning Rep. Francis Underwood (Spacey) and his wife Claire (Robin Wright), who stop at nothing to conquer everything. Kate Mara and Corey Stoll co-star. While Netflix has distributed acquired original series like Lillehammer, House Of Cards is the first show commissioned by the streaming giant when it last year outbid a host of cable networks for the property with a two-season, 26-episode order in a deal worth $100 million. The series premieres February 1, with all episodes from the first season available for streaming simultaneously.
The entire 13-episode first season of Netflix’s first original series produced by Media Rights Capital will be available for members to watch beginning February 1, 2013. Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Kate Mara star in the political drama based on the BBC miniseries of the same name that takes viewers through the back halls of greed, sex, love and corruption in modern Washington, D.C. Spacey plays Francis Underwood, the House Majority Whip, who’s described as masterful, beguiling, charismatic and ruthless. He and his equally ambitious wife Claire (Wright) stop at nothing to ensure their ascendancy. The series comes from director David Fincher (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network), screenwriter Beau Willimon (Farragut North, The Ides Of March) and Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, Munich). House Of Cards is executive produced by Fincher, Willimon, Joshua Donen, Eric Roth, Kevin Spacey, Dana Brunetti, Andrew Davies, Michael Dobbs and John Melfi. The one-hour drama is produced by Donen/Fincher/Roth and Trigger Street Prods. in association with Media Rights Capital for Netflix.
EXCLUSIVE: Broadway leading man Sebastian Arcelus has joined the cast of Netflix’s upcoming House Of Cards. Arcelus, who has had leading onstage roles in ELF as well as Jersey Boys and Wicked, will play newspaper editor Lucas Goodwin in the David Fincher-produced political drama starring Kevin Spacey. As well as produce, Fincher will direct the first two episodes of the series, which is scheduled to debut next year. Netflix has ordered 26 episodes to play over two seasons. The series, based on Michael Dobbs’ novel and the 1990 UK series of the same name, features Spacey as Rep. Frank Underwood, the House of Representatives Majority Whip who devises a scheme to bring down the new president and take the Oval Office for himself after being passed over for Secretary of State. Michael Gill plays President Garrett Walker. Robin Wright plays Underwood’s wife. Corey Stoll is also in the cast as is Sakina Jaffrey as the White House Chief of Staff, Kate Mara, Wass Stevens, Constance Zimmer as a journalist, Mahershala Ali, Jayne Atkinson and Sandrine Holt. Media Rights Capital is producing House of Cards. Arcelus is repped by Paradigm.
Freelance journalist Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
Australian sales agent Odin’s Eye Entertainment has nabbed worldwide sales rights excluding China and Taiwan to The Million Dollar Crocodile, a Chinese-produced CGI movie about crocodiles rampaging through Beijing. OEE founder Michael Favelle will launch the Li Sheng Lin-directed film, which is now in post, at the Cannes market. The firm has multiple Chinese co-productions after acquiring Inseparable, a drama directed by Dayyan Eng, which stars Kevin Spacey, Daniel Wu and Beibi Gong. Inseparable will be among the first titles released via VOD and digital sell-through in the US in June under a deal with Warner Bros Digital Distribution. The non-exclusive arrangement is expected to cover up to 20 titles a year. OEE is negotiating deals with other partners in the US for free and pay-TV, DVD and day-and-date theatrical, including with Viva Pictures for Inseparable. Favelle tells Deadline the crocodile movie won’t necessarily go through Warner Digital because he’s confident of clinching a a separate all-rights deal in the US.
Although there are some young Hollywood turks trying to break through in an ‘Extremely Large and Incredibly Close’ race for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, 2011 may eventually become known as the year of the veteran. Acting legends with decades of iconic screen performances and Oscar winners dominate the field of frontrunners in one of Oscar’s most crowded and intriguing categories. With names like Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow, Ben Kingsley, Nick Nolte, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Albert Brooks, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hanks and Robert Forster in the mix, the pedigree of contenders for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role is formidable indeed. But could a relative newcomer like Jonah Hill or Patton Oswalt swoop in and take the whole thing? Here are the major players.
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, BEGINNERS
Plummer turns 82 this month and is enjoying a major resurgence in a film acting career that goes back to 1958, when he made his debut in Stage Struck. Since then his fine screen roles have often been eclipsed by his own stage-struck ways with a number of memorable performances in the theater including a couple that won him Tony Awards. He only just received his first Oscar nomination two years ago for The Last Station, but with his touching role as a 75-year-old widower who finally decides to come out of the closet, he may grab the actual statuette this time. An effective, if small, supporting role in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo only adds to his chances.
MAX von SYDOW, EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE
With a life spent before the cameras for over 60 years, the 82-year-old von Sydow is an acting legend whose work ranges from several landmark Ingmar Bergman films to the harrowing Exorcist. Yet like Plummer (who is just eight months his junior), he incredibly has been Oscar-nominated only once, for 1987’s Pelle the Conqueror. But his touching and completely wordless performance as a distant grandfather in Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close could finally be his ticket to the Kodak stage.
KENNETH BRANAGH, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
Another acting icon, Laurence Olivier, is also part of this year’s supporting race — but in this case he is being channeled by none other than Olivier fan and student Kenneth Branagh, who portrays Olivier in 1956 as he was directing and starring with Marilyn Monroe in The Prince And The Showgirl. Branagh has tackled many Olivier screen roles like Henry V and Hamlet (he even directed the remake of Olivier’s Sleuth), but taking on the actual persona of the man himself was particularly challenging and puts him — and his mentor — right back in the Oscar race.
BEN KINGSLEY, HUGO
Already an Oscar winner for 1982’s Gandhi, Kingsley effectively takes on the role of film pioneer Georges Melies in Martin Scorsese’s valentine to the early days of movies. With a total of four nominations split evenly between lead and supporting categories, Kingsley is an Academy favorite who once again creates a memorable character, one with great meaning for the filmmakers who will be voting. Will being the only serious candidate in a 3D movie also separate him from the pack?
ALBERT BROOKS, DRIVE
Until now Brooks was only known for comedy — those he wrote and directed and those he starred in. He was even previously Oscar-nominated for his hilarious supporting turn in 1987’s Broadcast News. But none of his previous work prepared critics and audiences for his nasty, villainous Bernie Rose in the noirish thriller Drive. But his brilliant interpretation and cool new screen persona should deservedly win him a second Oscar nomination.
BRAD PITT, THE TREE OF LIFE
Pitt is a double threat this year. He’s already won the New York Film Critics award given for both Moneyball and The Tree Of Life, and ever since its debut in Cannes, Terrence Malick’s Palme d’Or winner has sparked Oscar buzz for Pitt’s effectively low-key change-of-pace and critically acclaimed work as a 1950s-era father. Could he become one of those rare thesps who score both supporting and lead actor nominations in the same year? Don’t bet against it.
JONAH HILL, MONEYBALL
Pitt’s co-star in Moneyball who was best known for his antics in movies like Superbad enjoyed his first taste of awards buzz for shedding several pounds and shrewdly underplaying the whiz-kid genius who comes up with an inexpensive formula to create a winning baseball team. Going head to head with Pitt, Hill proved he could hold his own just as he did in last year’s lesser-known Cyrus.
KEVIN SPACEY, MARGIN CALL
Although the film was well-received at its Sundance debut, Margin Call was not considered a major awards contender, even by its own distributor. That has changed with several early awards and Oscar talk for two-time winner Kevin Spacey, who has spent a lot more time in recent years running London’s Old Vic rather than on his own film career. A change-of-pace performance won raves and could put Spacey back in the front row at the Oscars.
PATTON OSWALT, YOUNG ADULT
Perhaps best known as a stand-up comedian and the voice of the lead rat in Pixar’s Ratatouille, Oswalt is quickly establishing his credentials as a serious actor, first in the critically acclaimed indie film The Big Fan and now on a larger scale as a lonely man whose life was defined by an unfortunate incident in high school. His scenes opposite Charlize Theron are awkward, funny, poignant and memorable.
Sony Pictures Television has come aboard as a distribution partner on House Of Cards, the Kevin Spacey-starring political drama series that Netflix landed in a high-profile deal back in March. Beau Willimon (The Ides Of March) wrote the pilot, which is being directed by David Fincher, who also is an executive producer; Willimon will be the showrunner on the series. Robin Wright co-stars. Sony TV will handle worldwide distribution on the Media Right Capital project, including in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and Spain after Netflix transmits the series in those areas.
This Funny Or Die video from writer-director Josh Greenbaum explains why non-liberal America hates Hollywood. Featuring Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Jack Black, and Kevin Spacey. Wait for the scene with Bill:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA — Anchor Bay Films announced today the pick up of the comedy Father of Invention starring Academy Award™ winning actor Kevin Spacey (Horrible Bosses, American Beauty), Camilla Belle (10,000 BC, When a Stranger Calls), Heather Graham (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, The Hangover) and Virginia Madsen (Sideways, The Number 23). The film was co-financed by Sunrise Films, LLC and debuted as an official selection at the Berlin International Film Festival. Anchor Bay Films has acquired all distribution rights in the U.S., U.K. as well as Australia and New Zealand. Bill Clark, President of Anchor Bay Entertainment, made the announcement.
EXCLUSIVE: MGM will reboot the 1983 thriller War Games, and the studio has set Seth Gordon to develop the film to direct. Gordon, who made his breakthrough with the gaming documentary The King of Kong, most recently directed the New Line comedy Horrible Bosses, with Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Jamie Foxx. The reconstituted MGM has been going to town with remakes — landing Jose Padilha to direct Robocop and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to script Carrie – but the John Badham-directed War Games is one that seems particularly reboot-able.
The original starred Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy as computer prodigies who finds a back door into a military computer program. They think they are playing games with the computer only to find they could trigger WWIII if the computer launches nuclear missiles at the Russians. In terms of computer games, kids were playing Pong back then; the level of sophistication with vidgames and the Internet in the digital age opens a wealth of possibilities, and Gordon will be given a wide berth to create a new take on the tale. The deal also reunites him with MGM toppers Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber and Jon Glickman, who were at Spyglass when Gordon directed Four Christmases there. Gordon’s repped by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
EARLIER: Director Paul Greengrass and Sony Pictures have moved a step closer to the filmmaker coming aboard to steer the Sony Pictures’ Somali pirate drama to star Tom Hanks as Captain Richard Phillips. Greengrass was among a short list of directors for the gig but I’m told Sony Pictures has just offered him the picture and talks are about to begin. Phillips was the skipper of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama who gave himself up as a hostage to Somali pirates to keep his crew from having to leave the ship with them. After three days of being held hostage alone with the armed pirates in a small lifeboat, Phillips was saved by Navy SEALs who staged a dramatic rescue that left the captain unharmed, three captors dead and another in custody. The film is based on Phillips’ memoir A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea, which was published last year by Hyperion. Sony Pictures’ The Social Network team of Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Kevin Spacey are producing. Hanks signed on in March after sparking to a script written by Billy Ray. Elizabeth Cantillon is supervising for Sony Pictures.
Netflix just announced that it has acquired House of Cards, a political thriller drama series from executive producer/director David Fincher starring Kevin Spacey, which will be distributed exclusively via the company’s Internet subscription service. This marks Netflix’s first foray into original programming.
Netflix, which has more than 20 million subscribers at the moment, has committed to 26 episodes of the drama, which is being produced by Media Rights Capital. Its premiere is scheduled for almost two years from now, in late 2012. Over the next year, the show will work on the 13 scripts for its first season. Fincher, who is now busy directing The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, will direct the first episode of House of Cards next spring. That episode will then be evaluated like a pilot, and adjustments will be made if needed before production on the remaining episodes commences. In the next 3-6 months, MRC is expected to assemble a team to support the big production. More from Netflix’s release:
A satirical tale of power, corruption and lies, “House of Cards” is based on the book and acclaimed BBC mini-series of the same name. “The gripping, serialized one hour drama has become a very important part of the Netflix experience,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “David Fincher’s unique vision, the indelible performances of Kevin Spacey and the original version of “House of Cards,” all have a big following among our members, giving the series a very good chance of becoming a fan favorite.”
Netflix To Enter Original Programming With Mega Deal For David Fincher-Kevin Spacey Series ‘House Of Cards’
EXCLUSIVE: Video streaming juggernaut Netflix is becoming an original programming player. In what is probably the biggest gamble in its 14-year history, I hear Netflix has outbid several major cable networks, including HBO and AMC, for Media Rights Capital’s drama series House of Cards, executive produced and directed by David Fincher and exec produced by and starring Kevin Spacey.
Negotiations are still going on, but I hear Netflix landed the drama project by offering a staggering commitment of two seasons, or 26 episodes. Given that the price tag for a high-end drama is in the $4 million-$6 million an episode range and that a launch of a big original series commands tens of millions of dollars for promotion, the deal is believed to be worth more than $100 million and could change the way people consume TV shows.
Ever since Liberty Media chairman John Malone in October drew a comparison between Netfix and HBO, industry experts have speculated whether Netflix would become the next HBO by venturing into originals. HBO, too, established itself as premium cable movie channel before hitting gold with original series that have now become its bread and butter. Netflix, which dominates the movie streaming market at 61%, had said in the past that it was not interested in branching into original programming. Until now.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Entertainment is attaching Tom Hanks to play Captain Richard Phillips, the leader of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama who gave himself up as a hostage to Somali pirates to keep his crew from having to leave the ship with them. After three days alone with the armed pirates in a small lifeboat, Phillips was saved by Navy SEALs who staged a raid that left three captors dead and another in custody. Shortly after Phillips got a hero’s homecoming and signed with CAA to make a book deal, Sony Pictures optioned A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea, Phillips’ memoir of the harrowing ordeal. Hyperion published the book last year. Sony Pictures’ The Social Network team of Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Kevin Spacey are producing the film. Hanks sparked to a draft recently turned in by The Hunger Games scribe Billy Ray. Elizabeth Cantillon is supervising for Sony Pictures.
Hanks is currently working with Rudin in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the Stephen Daldry-directed Warner Bros/Paramount adaptation of the Jonathan Safran Foer novel that also stars Sandra Bullock and is under way in New York. Hanks doesn’t attach to many projects, but he also made plans to star with Toy Story cohort Tim Allen in a live-action version of Jungle Cruise for Disney. CAA reps Hanks.
What’s cooking at AMC? It’s the cable network’s second annual pilot script showcase called “bake-off,” which took place from Monday to Thursday this week at a hotel in Los Angeles. In it, six scripts identified by AMC brass as finalists for a pilot order faced off in a series of elaborate presentations, with the producing team for each project showing a promo reel and each creator pitching in detail the series beyond the pilot, including mapping out the first season. In the next couple of weeks, AMC executives will mull over the presentations and are expected to announce one or two winners from the bake-off, whose scripts will go to pilot. I hear that the number of pilot pickups will depend on whether AMC lands the MRC-produced David Fincher-Kevin Spacey drama project House of Cards. AMC is one of several cable networks bidding on the project, with HBO and Starz also said to be in the running. If AMC lands House of Cards, it is expected to pick up one pilot developed internally; if not, two of the six scripts showcased this week will probably get green light.
This is the second year AMC is doing the bake-off. Among the projects competing in last year’s event was Hell on Wheels, which went to pilot and then to series.
Kevin Spacey has come on board to star in and executive produce David Fincher’s drama series project for indie producer Media Rights Capital, House of Cards, marking a reunion of The Social Network director Fincher and executive producer Spacey. In his TV directorial debut, Fincher will direct the pilot for the project, based on the book and British miniseries of the same name. He will executive produce with Eric Roth, writer of Fincher’s previous movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Joshua Donen as well as Spacey and his producing partner at Trigger Street Prods. Dana Brunetti.
The political-thriller novel House of Cards, written by Michael Dobbs, former Conservative Party chief of staff, is set at the end of Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as prime minister and follows a British politician with his eye on the top job. In 1990, it was adapted by the BBC as a miniseries written by Andrew Davies and starring Ian Richardson. It went on to win a BAFTA award for Richardson and an Emmy for Davies.
Fincher’s adaptation, set in the U.S., was written by playwright/screenwriter Beau Willimon (The Ides of March). The project is yet to be taken out to TV networks.
The JC Chandor-directed drama Margin Call sold to Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate after an all night bargaining session. The film stars Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Mary McDonnell and Stanley Tucci. That cast alone had buyers circling the modestly-budgeted film because of its ancillary prospects. Talk last night had the film in the low-seven figure range, and plans for a theatrical release that’s described as a joint release between the companies. I haven’t heard deal figures yet, but the film becomes the second Sundance sale, after Like Crazy sold to Paramount and Indian Paintbrush.
The Margin Call deal was brokered by Cassian Elwes and UTA’s Rena Ronson, with Roadside’s Howard Cohen and Lionsgate’s Steve Beeks. The film premieres Tuesday night at the Eccles. Chandor wrote the script, which takes place in a 24-hour period at the start of the financial collapse of 2008. A group of characters at a financial firm make decisions that have moral implications as the firm teeters on the brink of collapse. Myriad Pictures is selling international, and brokered many of those deals at AFM.
The Kevin Spacey/Jeremy Irons/Demi Moore financial drama joins 22 films in total, 16 of which will be competing for the Silver Bear. Unknown, the new Liam Neeson thriller with January Jones, will premiere Out of Competition at next month’s 61st Berlin Film Festival. That’s only fitting considering the Warner Bros movie was shot there. The 14 new films announced today join the 8 previously announced, including Opening Film True Grit and Coriolanus. Berlin Film Festival will run between February 10-20.
The festival will also be staging 2 special screenings. Jafar Panahi’s Offside will be shown on February 11 out of solidarity of the jailed Iranian director. And Werner Herzog will premiere his 3D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams about prehistoric cave painting.
A Torinói Ló (The Turin Horse) Hungary/France/Germany/Switzerland
By Béla Tarr (Satantango, Werckmeister Harmonies)
With János Derzsi, Erika Bók, Mihály Kormos
Almanya – Willkommen in Deutschland (Almanya) Germany
By Yasemin Samdereli – debut film
With Vedat Erincin, Fahri Yardin, Aylin Tezel,Lilay Huser, Demet Gül
World premiere / Out of Competition
El premio (The Prize) Mexico/France/Poland/Germany
By Paula Markovitch – debut film
With Paula Galinelli Hertzog, Sharon Herrera, Laura Agorreca, Viviana Suraniti, Uriel Lasillo
Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (Nader And Simin, A Separation) Iran
By Asghar Farhadi (About Elly, Fireworks Wednesday)
With Leila Hatami, Peyman Moadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat, Sarina Farhadi
Les contes de la nuit (Tales Of The Night) France
By Michel Ocelot
World premiere – animated film in 3D
Les femmes du 6ème étage (Service Entrance) France
By Philippe Le Guay (Le