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Lisa Cholodenko To Direct NBC Miniseries ‘The Slap’

By | Monday May 19, 2014 @ 6:12pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

cholodenkoEXCLUSIVE: On the heels of directing the upcoming HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge, filmmaker Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) has signed on to helm the first two and executive produce all eight episodes of NBC’s The Slap, a miniseries based on the 2011 Australian short-run series. The Slap is described as a complex family drama that explodes from one small incident where a man slaps another couple’s misbehaving child. This seemingly minor domestic dispute pulls the family apart, begins to expose long-held secrets, and ignites a lawsuit that challenges the core American values of all who are pulled into it. the-slap_wBrothers & Sisters creator Jon Robin Baitz wrote the adaptation, which is being produced by Universal TV and Australia’s Matchbox Pictures, producer of the original. Baitz and Matchbox’s Tony Ayres executive produce with Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald as well as Ted Gold. Cholodenko is with ICM Partners.

Related: NBC Gives Series Orders To ‘The Slap’ & ‘Emerald City’

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HBO & Playtone Set ‘Olive Kitteridge’ Miniseries With Lisa Cholodenko Helming Frances McDormand And Richard Jenkins

By | Wednesday May 1, 2013 @ 3:59pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: HBO has set The Kids Are All Right helmer Lisa Cholodenko to direct and Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins to star in a miniseries adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Elizabeth Strout novel Olive Kitteridge. Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman will be executive producers along with McDormand and her As Is banner and Jane Anderson. Anderson adapted the book into the four-hour mini. David Coatsworth is producing.

Olive Kitteridge tells the alternately poignantly sweet, acerbically funny, and devastatingly tragic story of a seemingly placid New England town wrought with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy, told through the lens of Olive, whose wicked wit and harsh demeanor mask a warm but troubled heart and a staunch moral center. McDormand plays the title character and Jenkins plays her husband, Henry.

Getting this cast, director and a four-hour commitment from HBO is a real testament for McDormand. I’ve been following this one for years, and it started when McDormand fell in love with the book before it won the Pulitzer. She bought it with her own money, and drafted Anderson to write the script. Her gamble has paid off in this being a nice star vehicle for the Oscar-winning Fargo star. She’s repped by WME and Circle Of Confusion, Jenkins by Gersh and Bill Treusch, and Cholodenko by … Read More »

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Lisa Cholodenko Exits ‘Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: It’s not a great day for Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at Disney. The Kids Are All Right helmer Lisa Cholodenko, who has long been working on the project, has stepped out and decided not to direct it. The good news is that Disney still has Steve Carell attached to play Alexander’s dad, and the studio is still gearing up to make the movie this fall. So it means a good job for a director and Disney has already started searching.

Steve CarellDisney signed on to the project last fall after Fox decided not to make the adaptation of the Judith Viorst children’s book. The film has a script by Cholodenko and Rob Lieber, with Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps producing with Lisa Henson.

This is one of the more entertaining and humorous of the yarns you read endlessly to your kids at night. Alexander starts a wretched day with the realization that the gum he fell asleep chewing is now hopelessly tangled in his hair, and things get worse from there, to the point he threatens to chuck it all and move to Australia. Here’s hoping it makes it to the screen.

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Disney Picks Up ‘Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’

By | Saturday October 20, 2012 @ 10:36am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Disney is stepping up to make Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, the adaptation of the Judith Viorst children’s book that has Steve Carell attached to star and The Kids Are All Right writer-director Lisa Cholodenko helming a script she wrote with Rob Lieber. The film will be produced by Shawn Levy and Dan Levine for 21 Laps along with Lisa Henson.

The project became a free agent when 20th Century Fox put it in turnaround last month. Carell boarded the project last April. There was interest from Universal, Sony, MGM and Walden but Disney grabbed the live action project. Disney gets one of the more entertaining and humorous of the yarns you read endlessly to your kids at night. Alexander starts a wretched day with the realization that the gum he fell asleep chewing is now hopelessly tangled in his hair, and things get worse from there, to the point he threatens to chuck it all and move to Australia. Carell will play his dad.

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Fox Puts In Turnaround Steve Carell-Starrer ‘Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’

By | Thursday September 27, 2012 @ 8:58am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE:  Here’s a hot little property hitting the market. 20th Century Fox has put in turnaround its adaptation of the Judith Viorst children’s book Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, the one that has Steve Carell attached to star and The Kids Are All Right writer-director Lisa Cholodenko helming a script she wrote with Rob Lieber. Carell boarded the project last April. Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps is producing.

The film is far along the development track, and it will be shopped immediately with those participants I hear. It is live-action, and I understand that Fox was uncomfortable with the budget. Carell is getting ready to star for Moneyball’s Bennett Miller in Foxcatcher, the story of paranoid schizophrenic heir John du Pont, who build a wrestling camp and wound up killing Olympic grappler Dave Schultz. In Alexander, Carell is aboard to play the boy’s father in a tale that is one of the more entertaining and humorous of the yarns you read endlessly to your kids at night. Alexander starts a wretched day with the realization that the gum he fell asleep chewing is now hopelessly tangled in his hair, and things get worse from there, to the point he threatens Read More »

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Academy Elects 2012-2013 Board Of Governors

Beverly Hills, CA – Six first-time governors have been elected to the Board of Oscar Academy Board Of GovernorsGovernors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – Dante Spinotti, representing the Cinematographers branch; Lisa Cholodenko, Directors branch; Dick Cook, Executives; John Knoll, Visual Effects; Scott Millan, Sound; and Bill Condon, Writers. In addition, seven incumbents were reelected and three other motion picture professionals will return to the Board after a time away.

Returning to the board after a hiatus are Michael Mann, Directors; Arthur Hamilton, Music; and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers. Mann previously served from 2000 to 2006. Hamilton most recently served from 2008 to 2011, he has served a total of 33 years. Kennedy was on the board from 1994 to 1997 and again from 2002 to 2011.

The reelected governors are Tom Hanks, Actors; Jim Bissell, Designers; Rob Epstein, Documentary; Mark Goldblatt, Film Editors; Leonard Engelman, Makeup and Hairstylists; Rob Friedman, Public Relations and Bill Kroyer; Short Films & Feature Animation.

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Steve Carell Circling ‘Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’

By | Monday April 9, 2012 @ 12:38pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Steve Carell and 20th Century Fox are in early discussions for him to star in the live action adaptation of the Judith Viorst children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. The Kids Are All Right writer/director Lisa Cholodenko is directing the film. The script was written by Rob Lieber & Cholodenko.

I’m told that the role is Ben, Alexander’s dad. The book, one of the more entertaining and humorous of the yarns you read endlessly to your kids at night, concerns young Alexander, who starts a wretched day with the realization that the gum he fell asleep chewing is now hopelessly tangled in his hair, and things get worse from there, to the point he threatens to chuck it all and move to Australia. Carell has done well in animated children’s films, starting with Horton Hears A Who and then Despicable Me, about which a sequel is being developed. Carell’s repped by WME and Media Four. He next stars in Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World and Burt Wonderstone.

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HBO Turning ‘The Kids Are All Right’ Into Series Pilot

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: HBO has made a deal to develop  the Oscar-nominated comedy The Kids Are All Right as an hour-long series. Lisa Cholodenko, who co-wrote and directed the Focus Features release, will write the pilot script. I’m told that it will continue the adventures of the five main characters. They were the same-sex partners (played in the film by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore), their son and daughter (played by Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska) and the biological father of the kids/sperm donor who surfaces and tears the family apart (played by Mark Ruffalo in the film). Deals are still being worked out, but Cholodenko will be exec producer alongside the film’s original producers, Antidote Films’ Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Gilbert Films’ Gary Gilbert and Maven Pictures’ Celine Rattray. Cholodenko is repped by Cinetic.

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OSCAR: Annette Bening Q&A

Pete Hammond

Few actresses have the chops to alternate between comedy and drama like 52-year-old Annette Bening. Hollywood really took notice of her in The Grifters which resulted in the first of what would be four career Oscar nominations including this year’s Best Actress nod for The Kids Are All Right, a dramedy contender for Best Picture. Deadline’s Awards columnist Pete Hammond interviewed her recently:

DEADLINE: Did you know right away you wanted to do The Kids Are All Right?
ANNETTE BENING: I responded immediately. I had met Lisa Cholodenko, the director, in our neighborhood, and I had also seen her work. So I had that context. I knew it was Julianne Moore playing the other part. There was some time before it got made, and they continued to work on the script. I ended up liking some of the stuff that was in the previous drafts. I thought it was very important that humor was really key. So there was a little bit of tweaking. But basically I just loved it.

DEADLINE: That delicate balance of drama and comedy is so hard to do right.
BENING: Yes, it is and the reason it isn’t done more is because it’s harder! It’s easier to be earnest and it’s harder to find a way to tell the truth and then also keep the sense of humor in a story. So when you can find something that walks that line, and still gets at the … Read More »

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Sundance: Focus Features Acquires ‘Pariah,’ Buys Filmmaker’s Next Project

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features has closed an acquisition deal for worldwide rights for Pariah, the Dee Rees-directed coming of age story of a 17-year old African American teen from Brooklyn trying to find her place in the world, and coming to terms with her identity as a lesbian. Besides the acquisition, Focus has also engaged Rees to write another script with an eye for her to direct. The deal was in the seven figure range.

The film, which stars Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Kim Wayans, Charles Parnell and Aasha Davis, created much buzz since its premiere last Thursday at the Eccles Theatre. It is a handle-with-care first film, but it showed enough promise that Rees has been courted by agents since the film’s premiere and many feel she will be an emerging artistic voice. The picture was exec produced by indie icon Spike Lee, and produced by Nekisa Cooper. John Sloss and Bart Walker at Cinetic Media and attorney Victoria Cook closed the deal with Focus’ Avy Eschenasy. At least two other suitors were also in the mix. It is the first deal at the festival for Focus, which last year acquired The Kids Are All Right, the Lisa Cholodenko-directed feature which became a breakout indie hit, grossing over $20 million domestic and nearing $30 million worldwide. The film this week received four Academy Award nominations including Best Picture.

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