EXCLUSIVE: Hot Cannes seller Equals has been steadily casting up over the past several weeks as it preps for an August start in Japan and Singapore. Already on board are Nicholas Hoult, Kristen Stewart, Guy Pearce, Kate Lyn Sheil and Aurora Perrineau. I’ve learned that two-time Oscar-nominated Australian actress Jacki Weaver is also now in negotiations to join the futuristic love story that’s being helmed by Drake Doremus from a script by Moon‘s Nathan Parker. The picture is set in a future society where emotions have been eradicated and the new breed of humans is called Equals. When “Switched-On Syndrome” infects Silas (Hoult), he becomes an outcast. Nia (Stewart) suffers from the same condition, but is able to hide her emotions. The only way for them to ensure their survival is to escape. Weaver would play Bess, a powerful woman trained as a doctor. She meets Silas in a support group and ultimately helps both Silas and Nia. Producers are Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, Ann Ruark, and Jay Stern and Chip Diggins of Route One which is also financing. Weaver received her most recent Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for 2012′s Silver Linings Playbook and is next up in Woody Allen’s Magic In The Moonlight as well as Gracepoint, Fox’s adaptation of hit British drama Broadchurch. She’s repped by ICM Partners, Elevate Entertainment and Felker Toczek Suddelson.
EXCLUSIVE: Actress Kate Lyn Sheil (House of Cards, You’re Next) has been cast in Equals, the futuristic love story from director Drake Doremus (Like Crazy, Breathe In) starring Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart and X-Men‘s Nicholas Hoult.
The hot Cannes 2014 sales project is set in a future society where emotions have been eradicated. A new breed of humans, called Equals, live peacefully until a disease begins activating emotions in its victims, who are sent away and never seen again. Hoult is set to star as Silas, who becomes infected and is outcast until he connects with Nia (Stewart), another “switched on” Equal who is able to hide her emotions. Sheil will play Kate, a fellow co-worker of Silas and Nia. Guy Pearce signed on last month to the pic, which is gearing up for an August shoot in Japan and Singapore and was scripted by Moon writer Nathan Parker.
EXCLUSIVE: The appetite for scripts and partially finished films is soaring. Lionsgate is tying up a deal today to pay $7 million to pre-buy U.S. distribution rights to American Ultra, the action comedy that begins shooting in New Orleans in five weeks with Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart starring for Project X director Nima Nourizadeh. In the script by Chronicle writer Max Landis, Eisenberg plays a stoner whose small-town life with his live-in girlfriend (Stewart) is upended when his past catches up with him, putting him the crosshairs of a government operation bent on wiping him out. It’s a co-production between A Likely Story and Circle Of Confusion, with Anthony Bregman, David Alpert and Britton Rizzio producing, and Kevin Scott Frakes of Palmstar Media Capital and Raj Brinder Singh of Merced Media Partners exec producing.
The buzz on this one has been building since Berlin, and I thought a deal might be made there. This rivals the record $7 million Berlin deal that The Weinstein Company paid for U.S. rights to the Morten Tyldum-directed The Imitation Game, the film that sold based on script and promo reel about WWII war hero Alan Turing, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley starring. The same team at CAA brokered this giant American Ultra deal with Lionsgate after the agency packaged the film and arranged the financing. While many felt that the results …
IFC Films took North American rights to Peter Sattler’s directorial debut film Camp X-Ray, which made its debut at Sundance. Pic stars Kristen Stewart, Payman Maadi and Lane Garrison, and was produced by Gina Kwon, and executive produced by Emmy Ellison, Lindsay Williams, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, David Gordon Green and Sophia Lin. Stewart plays a soldier who gets assigned guard duty at Guantanamo Bay, where she strikes up a friendship with a detainee.
The Drake Doremus-directed sci-fi pic Equals that we told you in the fall would star Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult is shaping up, and with financing in hand is now set to head to Berlin‘s European Film Market next month as a prime sales target. Scott Free has come aboard with Indian Paintbrush to back the film, and Exclusive Media will sell foreign rights at EFM. Nathan Parker (Moon) penned the script, and Doremus was talking up the project when he was doing press for his last pic Breathe In. Steven Rales’ producer/financier Indian Paintbrush has had a relationship with Doremus since his Like Crazy. Stay tuned.
Apsara Distribution has inked multi-territory rights to a pair of films out of AFM. The pan-Asian division of IM Global locked rights to Project X helmer Nima Nourizadeh’s American Ultra, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart as a small town stoner and his girlfriend who are targeted by a government operation. Apsara will release the pic in nine territories: Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, and India. The action comedy, scripted by Chronicle‘s Max Landis, is produced by Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman and Circle of Confusion. FilmNation’s Rob Carney negotiated the deal with Ben Rekhi of Apsara and Darius Kapfer of DK Media.
Apsara also nabbed multiple Asian rights to The Night Comes For Us, from VHS 2‘s Timo Tjahjanto and The Raid‘s Gareth Evans. Tjahjanto will direct the pic about a Triad enforcer who returns home to the Jakarta crime world, which Evans co-wrote and will produce for his own PT Merantau Films alongside XYZ Films. Earlier this year the pair co-wrote and co-directed the VHS 2 segment “Safe Haven” to critical acclaim. Evans, who is finishing post on his own action sequel The Raid 2 for Sony Classics, will work on Night next and will distribute it in Indonesia through his own distribution banner.
Tim Blake Nelson’s ‘Anesthesia’ Adds Glenn Close, Sam Waterston, Gretchen Mol, Michael K. Williams, Corey Stoll & More
EXCLUSIVE: Tim Blake Nelson is getting more company on his ensemble drama Anesthesia. The Lincoln actor wrote, stars in, and is directing the pic which follows the disparate stories of New Yorkers whose lives come together after the violent mugging of a Columbia University philosophy professor. Sam Waterston has been cast as said professor, Walter Zarrow. Oscar-nominated Glenn Close will play Zarrow’s wife Marcia, with Corey Stoll (Midnight In Paris) as an investment banker who witnesses the attack and Gretchen Mol as his wife, an alcoholic New Jersey homemaker. As I reported Sunday, Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart has taken a supporting role in the ensemble drama; she’ll play Zarrow’s troubled student Sophie. Nelson will step in front of the camera himself to play Zarrow’s son.
EXCLUSIVE: Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart has joined the ensemble cast of writer-director Tim Blake Nelson‘s Anesthesia in a small role. She’ll be shooting for a few days on the indie, about a group of New Yorkers whose lives are touched by the same philosophy professor. Pic is currently filming in NYC. Nelson’s last directorial effort was 2009′s Leaves Of Grass, which he also starred in and scripted. Stewart is repped by The Gersh Agency.
Miss Deadline’s best film stories this week? Catch up here:
Heard It Here First: Tom Hardy To Play Elton John In ‘Rocketman’
By Mike Fleming Jr. - As Deadline reported in June when FilmDistrict paid $10 million to acquire U.S. rights to the Elton John film Rocketman, Tom Hardy has been set to play Captain Fantastic himself in the Michael Gracey-directed biographical musical film.
Oscar-Buzzed ’12 Years A Slave’ In Top Ten, ‘Jackass: Bad Grandpa’ Opens #1 For $32M, All-Star ‘The Counselor’ Bombs With $8M
By Nikki Finke - The most interesting news of the weekend, at least to me, is that New Regency’s financed and produced Best Picture Oscar frontrunner 12 Years A Slave marketed and distributed by Fox Searchlight is only playing in 123 theaters (up from 19 last weekend) yet jumped into the Top Ten.
J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan Take Over As ‘Star Wars’ Scribes
By Dominic Patten - The new Star Wars movie has a new screenwriting team. It was announced online today that Episode VII director J.J. Abrams and Empire Strikes Back co-writer Lawrence Kasdan will take over as scribes for the upcoming Disney project which is set to be released in 2015.
EXCLUSIVE: Drake Doremus is casting up his next film Equals for an early 2014 start, and I hear he is courting The Twilight Saga‘s Kristen Stewart and Warm Bodies and X-Men: Days Of Future Past star Nicholas Hoult to be the young couple that anchors this science fiction tale penned by Nathan Parker (Moon). Doremus talked up the project while doing press for Breathe In, the most recent film he helmed that stars his Like Crazy heroine Felicity Jones, Guy Pearce and Amy Ryan. Indian Paintbrush, Steven Rales’ production/financing company that forged a relationship with Doremus on Like Crazy, is backing the film. Stewart is repped by Gersh and Hoult by UTA and 42.
EXCLUSIVE: Kristen Stewart has committed to star in back to back projects shooting this summer. She will star in Camp X-Ray, a politically charged drama written and directed by Peter Sattler, and she will also star in the Olivier Assayas-directed Sils Maria.
In Camp X-Ray, Stewart will play a young soldier who escapes her suffocating small town by joining the military, only to find that she isn’t going for a tour of duty in Iraq as she hoped. Instead, she’s sent to Guantanamo. Met with hatred and abuse from the Muslim men in her charge, she forges an odd friendship with a young man who has been imprisoned at Gitmo for eight years. The film’s being produced by Gina Kwon and Sophia Lin, and exec produced by David Gordon Green, Lindsay Williams and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein. Production begins late summer.
Stewart will join Juliette Binoche and Chloe Moretz in Sils Maria, the CG Cinema-produced English language film that Assayas wrote for his Summer Hours star Binoche. The film explores middle age and that introspective period where one questions how they’ve spent their life so far and what they’ve accomplished. The title refers to the Swiss setting, and Stewart plays the assistant to Binoche’s character, an actress who becomes obsessed with a young actress (Moretz) playing the role that made the older actress famous when she was young. The film shoots this summer in Europe. IFC acquired …
Monica Corcoran Harel is contributing to Deadline’s Oscar coverage.
As I like to say, you’re only as good as your last gown. And while no one really spilled blood on the red carpet at the Oscars, a few actresses missed the mark today. Mostly because they just didn’t seem to care enough or try very hard. Jennifer Aniston’s matronly tomato-red Valentino reminded me of a sad little bowl of vanilla ice cream when I’m on a PMS snack binge. Yawn. The classic silhouette also called for more effort with her hair and makeup. She looked like she came straight from Zuma Beach. Kristen Stewart’s cream strapless Reem Acra gown felt like a wishy-washy afterthought for the edgy, young star who fronts for Balenciaga. She appeared sullen, like she was heading for an arranged marriage.
Related: Oscars Fashion: Who Wore What?
Oscarcast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Maron have already enlisted Barbra Streisand and Shirley Bassey for show duties, and now have added another nod to that generation with seven-time nominee and two-time winner Jane Fonda. Here’s the release that just went out:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Academy Award® winner Jane Fonda will join Jennifer Garner, Kristen Stewart and Kerry Washington to present on the Oscar telecast, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today.
Fonda earned seven nominations and won Academy Awards for her roles in “Klute” and “Coming Home.” Garner was seen in this year’s “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” and will be seen next in “Dallas Buyers Club.” Stewart is best known for her role as Bella Swan in the “Twilight” saga and also starred in 2012′s “On the Road” and “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Washington starred in the Best Picture Nominee “Django Unchained” and was seen in “A Thousand Words.” Washington is also the star of ABC’s hit drama “Scandal.”
Kristen Stewart and Elizabeth Banks are joining Jim Sturgess in Steven Shainberg’s The Big Shoe. HanWay Films is handling international here at the EFM with CAA repping domestic. Secretary director Shainberg is helming from a script he wrote with Mickey Birnbaum. Sturgess plays a gifted shoe designer forced to break free from a family who wants to turn his designs into mass-produced knock-offs. The family hires psychotherapist Mary Kay (Banks) and muse Delphi (Stewart) to lure him back to work. Shainberg says the film will combine eroticism and humor in a similar way to dark comedy Secretary. Andrew Lazar’s Mad Chance produces and Richard Middleton and Christina Lurie are executive producing.
Twilight Saga star Kristen Stewart confirms that she’ll be joining Ben Affleck in the con-artist comedy Focus. The project starts filming in April, and Stewart plays an inexperienced con artist who hooks up with the more seasoned Affleck. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa are directing Focus from their screenplay. Stewart’s been touring to promote The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part II and costars in the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road that opens in limited release December 21st. Stewart is repped by Gersh.
The Twilight Saga star is in talks to join the Warner Bros con artists film, an insider confirms to Deadline. Kristen Stewart would star in Focus with Ben Affleck. Stewart’s role would be an inexperienced con artist who hooks up with the more seasoned Affleck. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who were behind the camera on Crazy, Stupid, Love, will direct Focus. The duo also wrote the screenplay. Denise DiNovi will produce. As this project develops, Stewart will be hitting a lot of screens in the next few weeks with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 out on November 16 and the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s One The Road out on limited release on December 16. Kristen Stewart is repped by the Gersh Agency.
EXCLUSIVE: The final installment of the 5-film Twilight Saga just came on tracking today. And my sources say Breaking Dawn Part 2 which opens November 16th is comping at Part 1‘s record-breaking levels. Plus advance ticket sales are running 16% ahead as well. Summit Entertainment like most studios uses several tracking services, and I’ve learned that Part 2‘s unaided is equal or ahead of Part 1 — so that make it higher than any of the other Twilight pics. Awareness also is the highest and, in fact, already in the 90s for females. Not only is Breaking Dawn Part 2 tracking better than any other film already or about to open in the domestic box office before mid-November, but it’s even better than James Bond — 72 awareness for Skyfall vs 88 for Breaking Dawn Part 2. (Skyfall opens November 9th.) Naturally, Summit, now part of Lionsgate, is hoping the finale grosses more than Part 1‘s $138.1M opening weekend and breaks even more records. It should — especially because of the on-again, off-again, now on-again real-life relationship between Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson. (Were those Summit execs born under a lucky star or what? The pair reunited just in time for all the worldwide promotion like personal appearances and press tours. And the studio denies their reunion is a publicity stunt. ”They’re kids. They break up. They get back together. They’re good,” one exec assures me.)
‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn Pt 2′ Sets Global Cast Tour: Rob Pattinson And Kristen Stewart Reunite For Joint Appearances
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that the final film in the Twilight Saga series Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is sending its cast on another major international promotional tour before the movie opens on November 16th. My sources say the countries are: Australia, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, Scotland, Ireland, England, Spain, Germany, Denmark, and Norway. The wildly successful vampire series’ studio Summit Entertainment has an added incentive setting such a big-ticket global tour: the reunion of their star-crossed lovers Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. After their separation was sensationalized around the world, the pair are back together and I hear they’re about to make some of the promotional appearances together. The fans will go nuts. I’m told the global tour mirrors the substance of the finale starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner because Bella, Edward, and Jacob must assemble vampire covens from across the globe to counter the new threat of the ruling Volturi. Film is based on the last half of the 4th novel by author Stephenie Meyer and was scripted by Melissa Rosenberg and directed by Bill Condon with Wyck Godfrey, Karen Rosenfelt and Stephenie Meyer producing.
Here’s the promotional tour schedule for Stewart, Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, and the rest of the cast which also will be doing a myriad of media appearances both on national U.S. talk shows and programs and similar appearances around the globe. Dates and cast appearances subject to change. Additional U.S. cities will be announced:
October 6 – Spain: Chaske Spencer to appear at Sitges Film Festival for fan event and press.
October 14 - United States: U.S. press tour in select regional markets to be announced.
October 21 – United States: U.S. press tour in select regional markets to be announced.
October 21 – October 28 - Australia, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, Scotland, Ireland: Robert Pattinson visits Australia, Kristen Stewart visits Japan, Taylor Lautner visits Brazil, Ashley Grene visits South Africa, Kellan Lutz and Nikki Reed visit Scotland and Ireland.
October 28 – November 3 – Los Angeles, California: Worldwide press junket in Los Angeles with Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Nikki Reed, Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Jackson Rathbone, Michael Sheen, director Bill Condon, author Stephenie Meyer, and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg.
November 3 – November 4 – Burbank, California: The Twilight Saga Official Convention in Burbank featuring Peter Facinelli, Gil Birmingham, Charlie Bewley, Alex Meraz, Booboo Stewart, Tinsel Korey, Casey LaBow, Julia Jones, and Bronson Pelletier. (Details here.)
November 4 – November 11 – Various Cities, U.S.: The cast will do national press and talk shows.
November 12 – Los Angeles, California: World Premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 at Nokia Theater at LA LIVE featuring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and the cast along with Bill Condon and Stephenie Meyer.
November 14 – November 16 – England, Spain, Germany: Premiere Tour in London, Madrid, and Berlin featuring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Bill Condon, and Wyck Godfrey
November 14 – November 16 – Denmark, Norway: Premiere Tour in Copenhagen and Oslo featuring Nikki Reed and Jackson Rathbone
The final movie poster will be revealed on Tuesday at 9 AM PT after a worldwide countdown at dawn across all of the Facebook pages of the Twilight Saga network. There will be 6 total portions revealed across 6 regional time zones, all on Tuesday morning local time, starting with New Zealand and ending with Los Angeles:
The Toronto International Film Festival officially kicked off tonight with gala screenings of FilmDistrict’s time-tripping sci-fi action flick Looper starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt, plus two Cannes premieres making their official North American bows. On The Road, the 1950s beat movie about Jack Keroauc, drew stars Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst and others, while French helmer Jacques Audiard’s Rust & Bone arrived with stars Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts in tow. Cotillard, as a killer whale trainer who loses her legs in a tragic accident, delivers another show-stopping performance that seems sure to earn her a shot at a second Best Actress Oscar. She looked great after travelling from her Telluride tribute last weekend to Toronto for the big opening tonight. I told her I felt like I have been stalking her, following her from Cannes to Telluride and now Toronto. “Yes, it’s has been quite a trip, hasn’t it?” she said as she entered Michael’s restaurant (also having a Grand Opening) for the pre-screening Moet and Chandon dinner.
Co-star Schoenaerts, who made a splash last year in Belgium’s surprise Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee Bullhead, has everything it takes to be a major star but told me he wants to take it slow. “When all this started happening I did have talks regarding the lead in …