NEW YORK (November 7, 2013) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired US, German and Scandinavian rights to Paul Haggis’ THIRD PERSON. Written and directed by Haggis, the film had its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and features an all-star cast including Academy Award®-nominee Liam Neeson, Academy Award®-winner Kim Basinger, Academy Award®-winner Adrien Brody, Academy Award®-nominee James Franco, Olivia Wilde, Mila Kunis, and Maria Bello. Michael Nozik of Hwy61 and Haggis produced the film along with Paul Breuls of Corsan, who also provided the financing. THIRD PERSON wends its way through three cities and three tales. The various stories, situated in Paris, Rome, and New York, are, at first glance, all separate, but Haggis effortlessly makes connections among them as the film unwinds, concentrating on three men and their romantic entanglements. Gradually, each one of these stories unveils its secrets, testifying to the whims and complexities of life. Surfaces are deceptive in the Haggis universe, but as each story is explored we discover untold pleasures and pains. Life is never easy: it can be deceptive, inhabited by anger and jealousy, but it can also be surprisingly joyous. Sony Pictures Classics, CAA and Paradigm negotiated the deal.
EXCLUSIVE: Get ready for a third installment of Taken, the franchise launched by EuropaCorp’s Luc Besson and released by 20th Century Fox. I’m told that Liam Neeson is closing a deal in the vicinity of $20 million to reprise his role as Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent who used his brutal skills after his daughter was kidnapped in France to be sold into sex slavery. Neeson was a reluctant participant in the first sequel but got paid in the $15 million neighborhood. Now I hear he’s getting another raise, and that EuropaCorp is planning to start production in February.
Next will come the effort to make deals with Maggie Grace, who played his daughter in the first two films, and Famke Janssen, who played his ex-wife. They have a script well in the works from Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, who teamed for the first two films. No director has yet been set, but don’t be surprised if Olivier Megaton comes back. He’s the Besson protege who directed the last film, which cost around $45 million and grossed over $376 million. The first film cost around $25 million and grossed over $226 million, with Pierre Morel directing. I thought the original film was vastly better than the sequel. But when the sequel does better than the original at the box office, and doesn’t cost that much more, of course they will try for the trifecta. The key has been getting Neeson.
MRC, Universal Fund John Lee Hancock-Helmed ‘Highwaymen;’ Liam Neeson, Woody Harrelson Courted To Play Texas Rangers Who Killed Bonnie & Clyde
EXCLUSIVE: Media Rights Capital has teamed up with its Ted partner Universal Pictures to co-finance Highwaymen, a drama about the Texas Rangers that hunted and gunned down Depression Era bank robbers Bonnie & Clyde. The film is coming together for a first quarter 2014 production start. John Lee Hancock will direct and Liam Neeson and Woody Harrelson are being courted to star. The John Fusco-scripted drama focuses on legendary lawman Frank Hamer, who was coaxed by a consortium of banks to assemble a posse and end the robbery reign of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in the 1930s. Casey Silver is producing.
Hamer was an old style Texas Ranger who’d survived 100 gunfights and killed 53 people, and he focused on the duo after their gang organized a jail break and killed a guard. They’ve been talking about this feature for awhile, but they will most certainly come after a miniseries on the same subject by History and Lifetime that’s being directed by Bruce Beresford and has William Hurt playing Hamer.
Liam Neeson is already lending his voice to Warner Bros’ Lego: The Piece Of Resistance. Now the Oscar-nominated actor who brought Aslan to life in Disney and Fox’s Narnia pics is joining the voice cast of the indie animation The Nut Job, the first feature from Canadian-based ToonBox and Korea-based Redrover, in association with Warner Bros-based Gulfstream Pictures. Disney and Pixar veteran Peter Lepeniotis is directing the feature based on his own 1995 short Surly Squirrel from a script by Lorne Cameron (Brother Bear, Over The Hedge), about a mischievous squirrel who plots to rob a nut store with his rat friend Buddy.
Hayek Pinault earned an Oscar nomination for her leading performance in “Frida.” She will be seen next in “Grown Ups 2.”
McCarthy earned a nomination for her performance in a supporting role in the 2011 hit film “Bridesmaids.” She stars in the recently released film “Identity Thief” and will be seen next in “The Heat.”
BREAKING: Warner Bros has locked Liam Neeson to star in the Brad Ingelsby action film Run All Night, and they are negotiating with Jaume Collet-Sera to direct. The studio is aiming for a fall start. While Neeson is getting to the age where you don’t want to run much anymore, he’s thriving as an action star, after Taken and its sequel, and it doesn’t look like he’ll stop running and kicking ass anytime soon. He plays a mob hitman who, in a single night, is forced to take on his former boss. The guy has to protect his son and family, and winds up on the run from the mob and the authorities with his estranged son. Neeson and Collet-Sera are currently shooting Non-Stop for Silver Pictures, and they’ve been eyeing this as a return match. They also teamed for the thriller Unknown.
I’m reading a THR piece reporting that Liam Neeson‘s Taken 2 paycheck is $10 million, up from the $1 million he received for the original. They’ve shortchanged the strapping Irishman on both counts. He’ll make more than double that when the film is done in worldwide theaters. I’ve heard Neeson got paid $12 million upfront for Taken 2, (he got $2 million for the first). And since that $12 million sequel paycheck was an advance against a comparable percentage of gross, Neeson stands to make a heckuva lot more for the special set of skills he possesses. The $45 million-budget sequel grossed $49.5 million in its opening weekend, and has already hit $117 million worldwide, according to Rentrak.
EXCLUSIVE: Emmett/Furla Films co-founders Randall Emmett & George Furla have acquired Fair Trade, an action thriller that had been developed by Alcon Entertainment as a potential vehicle for Liam Neeson. They want Neeson, and while it isn’t immediately clear if the actor will star, Emmett/Furla will finance the film for a summer start in Pittsburgh. The film is based on the Serbian thriller The Trap. Ericson Core (Invincible) is directing a script by Matt Aldrich. Emmett/Furla is in final negotiations with Open Road Films for domestic distribution. The Open Road team is here in Toronto unveiling one of the fest’s hot titles, End Of Watch. That David Ayer-directed film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena.
Liam Neeson is back as Bryan Mills, the man with a special set of lethal skills in Taken 2, and a trailer has been released overseas that shows no shortage of action. The first film, which recast Neeson as an action superstar, had a smart script by Luc Besson and …
Open Road Films released a new 90-second spot for Joe Carnahan’s chilly thriller The Grey starring Liam Neeson. It opens January 27. The trailer first was cut for Harry Knowles’s Aint It Cool News website after the film killed at Harry’s Butt-Numb-A-Thon, the 24-hour movie fest that has become a …