Laura Linney is set to star for her Kinsey and The Fifth State director Bill Condon in A Slight Trick of the Mind, adapted from Mitch Cullin’s 2005 novel. The story follows an elderly Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) as he recalls his life and the unsolved case that forced him into retirement to his housekeeper and her young son. Linney will play housekeeper Mrs. Munro, with UK actress Hattie Morahan (PBS’ Bletchley Circle) also joining the cast. Jeffrey Hatcher (The Duchess, Casanova, Stage Beauty) scripted, and Anne Carey will produce for her Archer Gray Productions. See-Saw Films, Icon/AI Film’s Aviv Giladi, and Len Blavatnik are exec producing alongside Archer Gray’s Amy Nauiokas. Christine Langan is exec producing for BBC Films, which also is co-financing. FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales. Filming begins this summer in the UK. Linney is repped by ICM Partners and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Morahan by ICM Partners and Authentic Talent Management.
Laura Linney last night received the The Crystal Award for Excellence in Film at Women in Film LA’s annual Crystal+Lucy awards gala at the Beverly Hilton. A three-time Oscar nominee and three-time Emmy winner, she was introduced by producer-director Alan Poul and gave an acceptance speech that one Deadline insider at the event called “the best I’ve heard in years”. Said Linney: “Rarely do you have a scene with other women, very few women are on the crew, and what few female executives arrive tend to keep to themselves. … This is a problem”. Here’s the full transcript:
Thank you Alan for that exceedingly kind introduction. And thank you to the board of trustees of Woman in Film, not only for this honor, but for all of the work that you do to encourage and improve the landscape for women in our pursuit of both art and commerce within this entertainment industry.
My relationship to film and television started, by Hollywood standards, relatively late in my life. I was born into the theatre which claimed my heart since childhood. I loved film, I loved going to films, I loved SEEING people think and react: I marveled at the acting skills and choices that were made and cinematic storytelling, but it was a world that intimated me greatly and one which felt foreign and very far away.
But life is full of many surprises, and after my days at Juilliard, my very wise agent, the late Brian Riordan, ever so slowly encouraged me to dip my toe in the film waters. I resisted, but he prevailed. I was a day player on a few films which was fun, did a commercial or two, and then was cast in Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, which changed my connection to camera work and indeed, changed my life. I will never forget the day that the penny dropped. We were filming in a grocery store, and Parker Posey and I were traveling with our grocery carts, with great energy, from the frozen food aisle to the vegetables. I rarely had had so much fun, and it was on that day that I realized that there would have to be room in my life for two loves…..and I gave myself permission to be a film/theatre bigamist.
As I spent more and more time on sets, a few surprising and alien patterns began to emerge. An enormous amount of time and energy went into conversations about the color of my hair. Producers, all male, would shake their heads in dismay, and send me back to the colorist with some idea of what they wanted with their very specific and helpful straight man vocabulary of “MORE” blonde or “LESS” blonde. ( I always thought they were trying to re-create a color from some old flame). It became absurd and predicable and a complete waste of time…..I have been more shades of blonde then you can possibly imagine. And it is a miracle that I have a strand left in my head.
Unlike in the theatre, I soon realized that for the most part I was surrounded by men. A lot of really wonderful men as well as some not so wonderful ones. As an actress in film, it is very easy to become isolated just due to the ratio of gender inequality that exists. Rarely do you have a scene with other women, very few women are on the crew, and what few female executives arrive tend to keep to themselves. You have fewer and fewer women to turn to for help or advice, and information is not easily shared.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Showtime and the producers of The Big C end Cathy Jamison’s personal cancer saga in hospice care tonight with its fourth and Hereafter season finale. Executive producer and showrunner Jenny Bicks naturally declined to divulge whether Cathy (Laura Linney) dies tonight, though she and fellow exec producer Darlene Hunt co-wrote. The mini-series’ four last episodes span a year in the life of the lead character, each separated by roughly three months. The finale follows Angelina Jolie’s shocking May 14 announcement that she had undergone a preventive double mastectomy, which spurred a slew of press calls to Showtime and the Big C team. Bicks, herself an early-stage breast cancer survivor, told Deadline. “It has really drawn attention to us in a way we couldn’t have anticipated,” she said. “I hope we’ve done something to help more people recognize that cancer isn’t any longer this thing you whisper about behind a closed door. And it isn’t necessarily a disease you necessarily have to die from.”
Women In Film has announced recipients of the 2013 Crystal + Lucy Awards honoring exemplary women in the entertainment industry. Laura Linney will receive the 2013 Crystal Award for Excellence in Film. The Lucy Award for Excellence in Television goes to The Women of Mad Men: Christina Hendricks, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, Jessica Pare, and Kiernan Shipka; Hailee Steinfeld will receive the Women In Film Max Mara Face of the Future Award; Sofia Coppola will be honored with the 2013 Dorothy Arzner Directors Award and Rachel Morrison will receive the 2013 Kodak Vision Award. George Lucas has been named winner of the 2013 Norma Zarky Humanitarian Award. The Crystal + Lucy Awards will be presented on Wednesday, June 12 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Showrunners of the Showtime cancer comedy The Big C were split originally in their relative level of optimism over whether they thought the show would be renewed to wrap up the story, as they related this afternoon during a TCA panel promoting The Big C: Hereafter. The new title reflects the show’s new format in its fourth and final season. Showtime is sending it off with four hour-long installments, miniseries-style, after it existed previously as a half-hour. The opportunity to give Big C a conclusion of any sort was appreciated by exec producers Jenny Bicks and Darlene Hunt, who offered differing views on whether this day would ever come. Bicks believed that it would. “I felt optimistic that we’d be able to finish it”, she said. Hunt admitted she was less positive. “I felt certain that it wasn’t coming back,” she said. “I kept hearing we were on the cusp and they weren’t sure” about bringing the show back. Happily, she was wrong and Bicks right.
Bicks recalled during the session how the idea for the conclusion came about. “The ending came out of a lovely conversation with (Showtime entertainment chief) David Nevins. We spoke specifically about how important it was …
Awards buzz has grown around Bill Murray ever since it was announced he would be playing FDR in Focus Features‘ Hyde Park On Hudson. His is not the first name that comes to mind when you think of serious portrayals of U.S. Presidents. But he pulls it off without a hitch, and early reaction at its first-ever public screening Friday night at the 39th Telluride Film Festival was very good. Maybe we’ll have a Presidential shoot-out at the Oscars between Murray’s FDR and Daniel Day Lewis’ Abe Lincoln?
I have always thought Murray got robbed of a much deserved Best Actor Oscar in 2003 for Lost In Translation when Sean Penn swooped in and stole it for Mystic River. The problem this year is that the category is overloaded with so many genuine contenders that Academy voters easily could find 10 deserving performances to fill only the 5 slots. Murray’s is a subtle but engaging portrait. And Oscar voters are suckers for performances which not only show an actor can play against type but also take on well-known historical figures. Murray’s FDR fits the bill as definite Oscar bait. Hyde Park On Hudson also has another plus that gives it plenty of Academy potential. It is the second film in three years to deal in some way with England’s King George VI. This plot, set in 1939, involves an invitation for the new King to visit President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. So the stuttering monarch, this time played by Samuel West, is back in Telluride where the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech debuted on its first stop to Best Picture glory in 2010.
Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Hyde Park On Hudson’
Ray Richmond is a contributor to AwardsLine
It was in 2010 that Edie Falco caused something of a stir at the Emmy Awards when – after winning the lead comedy actress Emmy for Showtime’s Nurse Jackie – she began her acceptance speech, “Oh this is just the most ridiculous thing that has ever happened in the history of this lovely awards show. Thank you so much. I’m not funny!”
No one seemed to think that Falco was ungrateful so much as genuinely flabbergasted. And those who were regular watchers of her show may have agreed with her, underscoring how the definition of an Emmy-worthy comedic actress had so changed since the days of Mary Tyler Moore (a six-time winner in the category divided between The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Candice Bergen (who won for Murphy Brown five times) and even Helen Hunt (a four-time victor for Mad About You).
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
Bill Murray as FDR! Need we say more? Focus Features put up the theatrical trailer for Hyde Park On The Hudson, which depicts England’s King George VI spending a weekend at President Roosevelt’s estate in upstate New York. Directed by Roger Michell from Richard Nelson’s script, it also stars Olivia Williams as Eleanor Roosevelt, Laura Linney as Margaret Stuckey plus Samuel West and Oliva Colman as the king and queen.
Laura Linney, The Big C
Why She Was Nominated: Because, well, the TV academy couldn’t very well not nominate her. Her role as the cancer-stricken Cathy Jamison in The Big C showcases Linney’s mesmerizing acting range and depth. And she’s also a three-time Oscar nominee. That fact alone earns Linney significant brownie points and makes her Emmy nomination a foregone conclusion no matter the project or role. Having a past cinematic pedigree remains plenty huge.
Why She Has To Win: Simply stated, Linney never loses. She’s been nominated for Emmys three times: lead actress in a movie/miniseries twice (2002 for Showtime’s Wild Iris, 2008 for HBO’s John Adams) and as guest comedy actress once (2004 for Frasier). She’s won every time. Moreover, Linney’s The Big C submission is the pilot episode that finds her shifting effortlessly between high emotion and dark humor. Oh, plus the past pair of winners in the category — Toni Collette and Edie Falco — hailed from similar Showtime dramedies.
Why She Can’t Possibly Win: Someday, somebody will figure out that if you’re doing a seriocomic turn in a half-hour series, it’s likely more serio than comic. Falco said it herself onstage after winning last year for Nurse Jackie: “Oh this is just the most ridiculous thing that has ever happened in the history of this lovely awards show. Thank you so much. I’m not funny.” Linney isn’t as purely funny in her role as are her competitors here — and, well, this is supposed to be a comedy award. If that matters.
Showtime has renewed The Big C for a third season ahead of the dark comedy series’ second season finale on Sept. 26. Ten new episodes will go into production starting early next year for debut in the second quarter of 2012. The Big C is created and written by Darlene Hunt, who serves as executive producer, along with showrunner Jenny Bicks, Laura Linney, Neal …
EXCLUSIVE: Olivia Williams has emerged as the front runner to play Eleanor Roosevelt the Roger Michell-directed Hyde Park on the Hudson for Focus Features. She is in talks to join her Rushmore co-star Bill Murray, who plays Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Laura Linney, who’ll play FDR’s distant cousin and mistress. The Richard Nelson-scripted film is about a visit by King George VI to Hyde Park, the upstate New York home of the Roosevelt family in 1939. While the stakes are high—momentum was building toward WWII—the trip also happened as FDR’s wife discovered his affair with his cousin. Williams, most recently seen onscreen in Hanna, is repped by ICM.
UPDATE: I was slightly misinformed on Laura Linney. Am told by her camp she will play Daisy, the distant cousin of FDR (Bill Murray), whose affair with the president is revealed during the visit of the Royal Couple to the Roosevelt estate. I thought she wasn’t a good physical match for Eleanor Roosevelt and there you go. They are still casting the First Lady.
EXCLUSIVE: We’ve known since late March that Bill Murray was likely to play Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Roger Michell-directed Hyde Park on the Hudson. Now, I’m hearing that Laura Linney is making a deal to play his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt. What a cast to provide some high drama during a visit by King George VI to Hyde Park, the upstate New York home of the Roosevelt duo. The visit took place in 1939, as momentum toward WWII was building, and also as it was becoming clear that FDR was having an affair with his cousin Daisy. The Richard Nelson script will be a hot sales title next week for Focus Features at the Cannes Film Festival. Besides her acclaimed Showtime series The Big C, Linney will next be seen in The Details, starring with Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Banks in the Jacob Aaron Estes-directed film that premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, where it was acquired by The Weinstein Company. Linney is repped by ICM and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
UPDATE: The Weinstein Company indeed closed this deal, and here are the details. I’m told the minimum guarantee was $7.5 million, with a P&A commitment upwards of $10 million. That makes The Details the largest minimum guarantee of the festival so far, though TWC’s deal for My Idiot Brother (between $6 million-$7 million m.g.) had a larger P&A commitment, around $15 million. Summit’s bid for domestic rights was between $4 million and $5 million. TWC’s acquisition team of Peter Lawson, Laine Kline and David Glasser made the deal with CAA and UTA, which co-repped the picture.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 6:48 PM: A marathon bargaining session is near a close, and it appears The Weinstein Company will acquire worldwide distribution rights to The Details, the Jacob Aaron Estes-directed dark comedy that stars Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney, Ray Liotta, Dennis Haysbert and Kerry Washington. TWC and Summit Entertainment have been battling vigorously all night, and I’m told this could end up the Sundance Film Festival’s largest deal. The film, repped by CAA and UTA, began attracting suitors right after its Monday premiere at Eccles Theater. It quickly got down to TWC and Summit Entertainment, the latter of which has focused on acquiring domestic distribution rights.
The Big C executive producer and cancer survivor Jenny Bicks bought a Porsche when she was diagnosed with cancer. “Don’t wait to get cancer to make yourself happy,” she said at the TCA panel for the upcoming Showtime dark comedy series starring Laura Linney as a woman diagnosed with cancer.
Creator/executive producer Darlene Hunt dismissed suggestions that terminal cancer would be an off-putting subject for TV. “My favorite series ever is MASH… And who likes a war? Not me. A lot of people watched that show.”
Co-star Oliver Platt was very poetic. “The show asks an incredibly beautiful question: Why do we start to live beautifully only when we get a death sentence,” he said before turning to executive producer Vivian Cannon: “It’s time for a cancer comedy?”
After the session, Deadline contributor Diane Haithman asked series regular Gabourey Sidibe to comment on Howard Stern’s tirade about her on his radio show. “Everyone makes rude comments, it’s not the first rude comment I’ve heard it my life,” she said. “People outside of my life, it doesn’t matter what they say because they have no idea what’s in my life.”
At the panel, The Precious star reflected on what she called “a strange year,” in which the showbiz novice landed an Oscar nomination for her film debut.
“Geez, I thought I’d be a receptionist. I’m always middle of the main, I’ve always led a very normal life…, I ride the subway, I ride the bus… It just shows that whatever plan you have for your life, …
While his My Boys co-stars Jordana Spiro and Kyle Howard had to pull out of their regular roles on new NBC series Love Bites and Perfect Couples because of their commitment to the TBS comedy, Reid Scott quietly booked a heavily recurring role on Showtime’s upcoming dark comedy series The Big C. The Sony/Original Film-produced show stars Linney as Cathy, a repressed suburban wife and mother who reclaims her life after a terminal cancer diagnosis. Scott, repped by Gersh and Impression, plays Cathy’s oncologist Dr. Todd who has lots of training and intellect but lacks life or professional experience. Scott is doing The Big C with TBS’ blessing. What also helped him do the series while still under contract on My Boys is that his role on The Big C is technically recurring. Additionally, the smaller size of The Big C‘s order – 13 episodes – and its production schedule – it is now filming for an Aug. 16 premiere – would make Scott available in the unlikely event that My Boys is renewed for another season.
EXCLUSIVE: Laura Linney’s Cathy is getting Miranda as a friend. Cynthia Nixon, who played Miranda on the hit HBO comedy series Sex and the City and in the 2 features the show spawned, is joining the cast of Linney’s upcoming Showtime dark comedy series The Big C as a recurring. The Sony/Original Film-produced show stars Linney as Cathy, a repressed suburban wife and mother who reclaims her life after a terminal cancer diagnosis. Nixon will play her friend. Other recurring guest stars on Big C’s upcoming first season are Gabourey Sidibe and Idris Elba.