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Kevin Spacey Continues His Disruptive Platform-Shifting Experiments By Self-Releasing ‘Now: In The Wings On A World Stage’: Q&A

Mike Fleming

When most leading men get preoccupied with messing with models, KevinSpaceyit usually means extracurricular activity. When it’s Kevin Spacey, it means taking bold risks to create disruptive opportunities to alter arcane platforms that have ranged from his own acting career to pioneering the first breakout multi-platform success in the J.C. Chandor-directed Margin Call and the first breakout Netflix series hit House Of Cards. Now, he has made an intriguing documentary, Now: In The Wings On A World Stage, and will test new waters by self-distributing the film.

Here’s the first trailer that was just unveiled for the docu, which he is releasing in limited theatres and simultaneously via download here on KevinSpacey.com.

Spacey, in the midst of a strong run in Hollywood and two Oscars, started this journey of self discovery back in 2003 when he left Hollywood to revive the Old Vic in London. That has limited his screen time, but Trigger Street, the company he runs with Dana Brunetti, has kept him enough in the mix with Best Picture nominee Captain Phillips, The Social Network, 21 and other films. Spacey has kept up the Old Vic’s storied traditions, starring in and producing plays year after year. Now, after quietly funding and producing and starring in Now, a documentary about the conception and the experience of performing Richard III across the world, Spacey is self-releasing a film he feels captures the exhilaration of live performances that reunited Spacey with Sam Mendes since both won Oscars in Mendes’ screen debut American Beauty. His Now passion project and its trailer debut offers a a great chance to catch up with an actor who, after winning Oscars and asserting himself as a bankable leading man, up and left town for a venture many felt was folly. But this film’s most compelling selling point also underscores that Spacey knew what he was doing. If the millions and millions of rabid House Of Cards binge viewers want to see where his Vice President Francis Underwood character came from, it turns out they can find it right in this movie.

House of Cards 2DEADLINE: I caught bronchitis this week and the only plus was tearing through the first season and one half of House Of Cards. Just a remarkable, game-changing way to absorb great drama.
SPACEY: I can’t say that I’m much of a binge watcher myself. People stop me on the street and tell me they are treating House Of Cards like a good novel, where they decide when to put it down on the bedside table, and when to pick it up again. What I love about that mind-set is that it puts the audience in complete control. Read More »

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Telluride: Robert Redford Tribute – “I Just Keep Going”

By | Friday August 30, 2013 @ 11:34am PDT
Pete Hammond

The undisputed star so far of the 40th Telluride Film Festival, Robert Redford received his second packed-to-the-rafters tribute this morning on top of the mountain at the Chuck Jones Cinema (each tributee must do two of these here — the Coen brothers and T Bone Burnett are up next tonight and Saturday morning). Considering he just went through the two-hour program 14 hours earlier and this one started at 9 AM, Redford was in great form and perhaps more introspective about his life and career than I have heard him in this kind of setting. At Friday night’s version of the tribute he was presented with the festival’s Silver Medallion (by surprise guest Ralph Fiennes, who starred in his Quiz Show). Of course Redford is being talked about in a big way for the Best Actor Oscar for his tour-de-force one-man starring role in J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost, so a look back at his remarkable career can’t hurt. Although it wasn’t mentioned this morning, Redford incredibly has only been Oscar-nominated once as an actor, for the light-hearted The Sting (1973). He does have Oscars for his 1980 directorial  debut, Ordinary People and an Honorary Oscar for his work with Sundance.

The first hour was devoted to a wide-ranging clip-by-clip look at his acting career beginning with the live TV production of The Iceman Cometh to such iconic film roles as Barefoot In The Park, The Candidate, Downhill Racer, Jeremiah Johnson, The Way We Were, The Sting, Three Days Of The Condor, All The President’s Men, The Electric Horseman, Brubaker, The Natural and Out Of Africa. Of his nine films as a director the only clip shown was for A River Runs Through It which starred a young Brad Pitt — the one actor along with George Clooney whose career trajectory seems closest to Redford’s consistently intelligent and high-wattage movie star course over the last half century. Read More »

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First Image: Robert Redford In J.C. Chandor-Directed ‘All Is Lost’

By | Tuesday August 7, 2012 @ 10:26am PDT
Mike Fleming

Here is a first look at Robert Redford battling the elements in All Is Lost, the film scripted and directed J.C. Chandor, who helmed the financial crisis thriller Margin Call.Chandor met Redford at the Sundance Film Festival, and was so taken by the indie film patriarch that he wrote a project specifically for him. And Redford, who can be elusive in committing, stepped up and put himself through quite an ordeal. Deadline was first to reveal this unusual project, which has just wrapped principal photography at Baja Studios in Rosarito, Mexico. It’s a man vs. nature drama, and it’s all Redford, all the time, as he goes Jeremiah Johnson after getting lost at sea and struggling against the elements to stay alive.

From the look of the photo, they put that giant water tank at Baja Studios to good use. Before The Door Pictures’ Neal Dodson and Washington Square Films’ Anna Gerb produced along with Justin Nappi and Teddy Schwarzman. The exec producers are Joshua Blum, Zachary Quinto, Corey Moosa, Cassian Elwes, Laura Rister, Robert Ogden Barnum, Glen Basner and Kevin Turen, a roster much longer than the cast list on this one. FilmNation is handling offshore sales and has already sold out the world, with Universal Pictures International distributing in a large part of the planet. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions will release stateside.

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‘Margin Call’ Producer Joe Jenckes Joins Benaroya Pictures As Head Of Production

By | Wednesday March 7, 2012 @ 4:01pm PST

March 7, 2012 (Los Angeles, CA)—Joe Jenckes, a producer of the award-winning and critically acclaimed financial thriller MARGIN CALL, has joined Benaroya Pictures as its Head of Production.

Jenckes, who had been partnered with MARGIN CALL writer-director J.C. Chandor for ten years, was one of the early supporters of the film, and through the course of production he developed ties with Michael Benaroya, CEO of Benaroya Pictures. He will work closely with Benaroya on all upcoming projects moving forward, serving as executive producer on the company’s upcoming production KILL YOUR DARLINGS starring Daniel Radcliffe, Elizabeth Olsen, Dane DeHaan, and Jack Huston. The film is currently in pre-production in New York City, with principal photography set to commence March 19. Jenckes is in New York overseeing prep on behalf of Benaroya.

“After seeing Joe’s great success as one of the first supporters of J.C. Chandor and ‘Margin Call’, we look forward to his continued track record of uncovering quality films,” said Benaroya. “He will be a valuable on-set presence with our future projects as we engage in additional productions.”

Benaroya Pictures’ romantic mystery THE WORDS starring Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, and Ben Barnes recently premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by CBS Films, who will release it later this year. The company’s financial thriller MARGIN CALL was recently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay

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OSCARS: ‘Margin Call’ — J.C. Chandor

By | Saturday February 18, 2012 @ 3:16pm PST

Cari Lynn is a contributor to AwardsLine

Early this autumn, as the Occupy Wall Street movement heated up, writer-director J.C. Chandor was getting nervous. Really nervous. It was only days before the release of his writing and directorial debut, Margin Call, set in 2008 and about a fictitious investment bank discovering it’s the linchpin of the financial crisis. “My fear was that the OWS movement would turn into the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle, where they were breaking windows and burning cars,” Chandor says. “And there’s the old adage about films, that when it’s that too close, no one wants to see it.” Of course, Chandor and his ensemble cast — including Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, and Demi Moore — were relieved that things went “in a Gandhian way,” which, Chandor says, Read More »

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OSCARS: ‘Margin Call’ Nomination Bolsters VOD Fest Push

By | Tuesday January 24, 2012 @ 8:14am PST
Mike Fleming

Can Actors Be Sold On The VOD Business Model? Sundance Buyers Ponder That…

One of the hot topics of discussion at Sundance has been how viable VOD-centric releases can be in the Oscar race. While independents received 60 nominations this morning, perhaps none will help the VOD cause more than the original screenplay one J.C. Chandor received for Margin Call, the Roadside Attactions release whose VOD performance has spurred a lot of action here in Park City.

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Can Actors Be Sold On The VOD Business Model? Sundance Buyers Ponder That…

By | Monday January 23, 2012 @ 9:35pm PST
Mike Fleming

The longer the 2012 Sundance Film Festival deal-making stalemate continues, the more VOD-centric deals will take center stage as they did in Toronto. A lot of the movies that came in with visions of theatrical releases are considering overtures from bidders who intend to emulate the Margin Call model where video-on-demand is equal to or more important than theatrical.

If VOD is to become a viable business that leads films on the margins to being widely seen, some obstacles have to be worked out of the system. The biggest: convincing actors accustomed to seeing their work play on 2,000 movie screens that the VOD model doesn’t mean their careers are on the downswing and that they’ve been relegated to pay-per-view. The only real equivalent actors have had for this was when they made a stinker that went straight to video obscurity. Will those actors spark to the potential of VOD riches and embrace the idea of promoting films to cable delivery systems instead of the ego-boosting traditional selling system of commercials and print ads? This is a psychological hurdle for stars. When Margin Call sold at Sundance last year with the Lionsgate/Roadside Attraction distribution VOD deal, veteran actors like Kevin Spacey had to be convinced this wasn’t necessarily a step down from a traditional theatrical release.
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Mike Fleming On 2012 Sundance: Deals Will Come But Film Buyers Wary Of Overpaying

By | Thursday January 19, 2012 @ 7:22pm PST
Mike Fleming

Redford Sees Opportunity In Alternative Distribution
Sundance: 10 Actors Catch Early Buzz
All Premieres Films For Sale In Sundance First

Sundance Film Festival 2012As the acquisitions crowd of buyers and sellers rolls into Park City tonight, there is heightened expectation that even more films will sell this time than at last year’s festival, when more than 40 films were bought. It is hardly a surprise to expect a brisk pace of dealmaking, but numerous buyers would be surprised if the numbers reach last year’s level.

Major distributors like Focus Features, The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics, Fox Searchlight, Open Road and CBS Films are looking to round out their already full 2012 schedules with a couple of films, and a lot of smaller distributors and newcomers like Mickey Liddell will use the festival to build their slates. Distributors like Magnolia and IFC need product to churn through their VOD-centric releasing platforms, and same with Village Roadshow, Roadside Attractions, Anchor Bay and smaller distributors.

There is a Sundance catalog full of titles that didn’t come in with distribution, and the festival did a better job than ever keeping bootleg copies of the films from being slipped to buyers like in past years (password-protected online viewing gets the credit). That means acquisition teams will be seeing the films at the same time, which should ramp up the competition. And Margin Call‘s impressive showing as a day-and-date VOD title has some feeling that VOD-centric deals will become a major part of the dealmaking, particularly with former Magnolia execs Tom Quinn and Jason Janego attending their first Sundance since starting a VOD division for Harvey Weinstein. The majority of deals made at Toronto last fall were VOD-centric, and there is no reason we won’t see smaller films get gobbled up here.

So films will sell. But will buyers spend drunkenly?

Here are the factors buyers and sellers mentioned to me that could help determine how good this festival marketplace will be:

The Harvey Factor: Last year’s Sundance kicked off a strong acquisition year for Harvey Weinstein, and many believe it fueled strong buying not only here but at Cannes and Toronto. The fact that Weinstein had more face time on the Golden Globes than host Ricky Gervais, and three of his four films feted there were acquisitions, gives buyers hope that he will keep buying. “If Harvey Weinstein comes to buy, this will be a great festival,” said one seller. “Last year’s pace was directly attributable to Harvey making a few big deals.” TWC COO David Glasser, like several other buyers, promised to be disciplined: “Harvey does set the tone, but we’re not coming here to overbid or to find five films,” he said. “We’re looking for the two or so gems, and if we find the right picture at the right price, we’ll make a deal. We’ve learned a lot over the last three years, seeing what worked and what didn’t. The margins in this business are very tight and that extra million you overpay could have gone to marketing. We’ll bid numbers that will allow us to be here five years from now.” Let’s see what happens if Harvey decides he has to have one of those Sundance films, like he did pre-Cannes when he acquired The Artist.

The Big Buyer Contraction Factor: Some sellers were concerned about the uncertainty over big buyers. Lionsgate’s acquisition of Summit Entertainment eliminated one buyer, though sellers note that Summit usually sniffed but didn’t buy that many Sundance films. Relativity Media is in an uncertain situation with its financing; and when Bob Berney exited, FilmDistrict head Peter Schlessel set most of his big-ticket films with Tom Ortenberg’s Open Road. Does that mean FilmDistrict won’t buy and that Open Road won’t have to fill many slots? Schlessel tells me he will be at Sundance and will buy if the right film comes along. It isn’t a priority, though, because the company has a strong slate this year. The priority is to hire marketing and distribution executives and have them in place by Cannes.
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Australian Academy Of Cinema Names First International Awards Nominees

Mike Fleming

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television, which previously honored Aussie productions, has launched five new award categories that will recognize international product in Best Film, Best Direction, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress. In other words, the Aussies are going Hollywood. The nominees were announced tonight by Jacki Weaver, the Aussie actress who was Oscar nominated for Animal Kingdom. I am not sure how these will factor into the Oscar conversation, but here are the nominees:

INAUGURAL AACTA INTERNATIONAL AWARDS NOMINEES

BEST FILM

The Artist – Thomas Langmann (The Weinstein Company)

The Descendants - Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Hugo – Graham King, Tim Headington, Martin Scorsese, Johnny Depp (Paramount Pictures)

The Ides of March – George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Brian Oliver (Columbia Pictures)

Margin Call - Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Neal Dodson, Joe Jenckes, Corey Moosa, Zachary Quinto (Roadside Attractions)

Melancholia – Meta Louise Foldager, Louise Vesth (Magnolia Pictures)

Midnight In Paris – Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum, Jaume Roures (Sony Pictures Classics)

Moneyball - Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt (Columbia Pictures)

The Tree of Life – Bill Pohlad, Dede Gardner, Sarah Green (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

We Need to Talk About Kevin – Jennifer Fox, Luc Roeg, Bob Salerno (Oscilloscope Pictures)
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Specialty Box Office: December 2-4

Specialty Box Office:

Shame (Fox Searchlight) NEW [10 Theaters]
Friday $110K, Saturday $139K, Weekend $361K, Per Screen $36,118

The Dirty Picture (FLM) NEW [48 Theaters]
Friday $76K, Saturday $120K, Weekend $268K, Per Screen $5,583, Cume $268K

Pastorela (Lionsgate) NEW [55 Theaters]
Friday $23K, Saturday $24K, Weekend $65K, Per Screen $1,191, Cume $65K

I Am Singh (Reliance Big Pictures) NEW [54 Theaters]
Friday $7K, Saturday $13K, Weekend $29K, Per Screen $539, Cume $29K

Kinyarwanda (Ind) NEW [9 Theaters]
Friday $8K, Saturday $7K, Weekend $21K, Per Screen $2,344

Answers To Nothing (Roadside Attractions) NEW [21 Theaters]
Friday $5K, Saturday $5K, Weekend $14K, Per Screen $712, Cume $15K

Sleeping Beauty (IFC) NEW [2 Theaters]
Friday $2K, Saturday $3K, Weekend $9K, Per Screen $4,770

Outrage (Magnolia) NEW [2 Theaters]
Friday $2K, Saturday $2K, Weekend $6K, Per Screen $3,080

My Week With Marilyn (The Weinstein Co) Week 2 [244 Theaters]
Friday $344K, Saturday $506K, Weekend $1.1M (-33%), Per Screen $4,836, Cume $3.8M

The Artist (The Weinstein Co) Week 2 (6 Theaters)
Friday $56K, Saturday $88K, Weekend $205K, Per Screen $34,263, Cume $495K

A Dangerous Method (Sony Classics) Week 2 [4 Theaters)
Friday $32K, Saturday $48K, Weekend $122K, Per Screen $30,629, Cume $415K,

Desi Boyz (ERO) Week 2 [103 Theaters]
Friday $55K, Saturday $82K, Weekend $182K, Per Screen $1,768, Cume $996K

Melancholia (Magnolia) Week 4 [110 Theaters]
Friday $72K, Saturday $101K, Weekend $238K, Per Screen $2,170, Cume $1.6M

Like Crazy (Paramount Vantage) Week 6 [152 Theaters]
Friday $84K, Saturday $108K, Weekend $251K, Per Screen $1,654, Cume $2.9M

Margin Call (Roadside Attractions) Week 7 [150 Theaters]
Friday $58K, Saturday $103K, Weekend $217K, Per Screen $1,451, Cume $4.7M

Martha Marcy May Marlene (Fox Searchlight) Week 7 [84 Theaters]
Friday $27K, … Read More »

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Sundance: ‘Margin Call’ To Roadside Attractions And Lionsgate

Mike Fleming

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.

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Sundance: Screenings Start Very Sloooow; Buyers Circle ‘The Guard’ With Don Cheadle

Mike Fleming

On the second day of Sundance, buyers were beginning to get antsy. The first screenings generated moderate interest, but buyers haven’t loved anything and only liked a few films. So far, the consensus is that the unveiled crop of films can’t be released on a high screen count. Deals will be made on these initial films, but not rich ones. The most promising reaction so far came opening day for John Michael McDonagh-directed Irish film The Guard, which stars Brendan Gleeson as a cranky village cop who’s mismatched with a visiting FBI agent (Don Cheadle) because the drug smuggling ring the fed was chasing had taken up residence in the Irish town. By Friday night, three buyers were circling the film. The director is the brother of In Bruges helmer Martin McDonagh. The Guard isn’t quite In Bruges (which also starred Gleeson) but it is a crowd-pleaser.

Several buyers said that Margin Call, the JC Chandor-directed drama about the financial meltdown of 2008, was compelling but long.

The pic Martha Marcy May Marlene has the buying crowd talking about its star, Elizabeth Olsen, who’s the younger sibling of the infamous Olsen Twins and also appears in Silent House, the thriller directed by Open Waters team Chris Kentis and Laura Lau. But respect for a performance doesn’t necessarily mean a buy. Silent House is a haunted house story told in one continuous shot, which meant the cast had to perform it all the way through, like a … Read More »

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Berlin Adds ‘Margin Call’ To Competition

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.

In Competition

A Torinói Ló (The Turin Horse) Hungary/France/Germany/Switzerland
By Béla Tarr (Satantango, Werckmeister Harmonies)
With János Derzsi, Erika Bók, Mihály Kormos
World premiere

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
World premiere

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
International premiere

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

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‘Margin Call’ Director J.C. Chandor Snags Big Warner Bros Writing Gig From DiCaprio

Mike Fleming

TORONTO: JC Chandor, who just wrapped writing and directing the indie financial crisis thriller Margin Call, has made a two-picture writing deal at Warner Bros. His first project: Portofino, an international thriller for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way that is a potential vehicle for the star. Meanwhile, Margin Call is creating buzz in Toronto — partly because Kevin Spacey is here, and also because Myriad Pictures is selling international rights. It stars Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, Stanley Tucci, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgely, Simon Backer, Demi Moore and Mary McDonnell, about how the 2008 financial meltdown impacted a variety of players at a Wall Street investment bank over 24 hours.

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Jeremy Irons Answers The ‘Margin Call’

Mike Fleming

jeremy-irons-20080715-436952Jeremy Irons is the final piece of an impressive cast for Margin Call, the indie film by director JC Chandor that is shooting in New York City. Irons is the chief executive of a financial firm in a 24-hour period during the first signs of the near collapse on Wall Street. Irons joins Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto, Paul Bettany, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Stanley Tucci and Mary McDonnell. Chandor wrote the script, and Quinto is producing with his Before The Door Pictures partners Neal Dodson and Corey Moosa, and Benaroya Pictures’ Michael Benaroya and Robert Ogden Barnum and Joe Jenckes. Myriad Pictures is selling international territories on the film, with Myriad CEO Kirk D’Amico exec producing. The film is three weeks into its shoot.

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