Universal has released an early trailer for Lone Survivor, the Peter Berg-directed adaptation of the memoir by Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell about the harrowing firefight that resulted when a group of commandos out to kill a terrorist leader were ambushed by Taliban forces in 2005. The film …
EXCLUSIVE: Sensing it could have a strong year-end awards season contender, Universal has decided to platform its January 10th wide release of its Afghanistan war drama Lone Survivor with a 12/27 limited (LA/NY) debut. The shift will qualify the film for Oscars and other awards and get critical and audience word-of-mouth out there before the broader previously announced early 2014 release. Having seen the Peter Berg-directed true story in unfinished form, the move makes sense for a film that, despite unrelenting graphic violence that is hard to watch at times, really packs the kind of emotional punch that should play well with awards voters.
Coming off the box office disaster of Battleship, the movie represents a strong return to form for Berg that is more in line with what he did on 2004′s Friday Night Lights than the aforementioned 2012 bloated blockbuster. The film, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana and Taylor Kitsch (who also finds redemption after facing critical brickbats for both John Carter and Battleship), is a riveting story of four Navy SEALs involved in an ill-fated covert mission to thwart a high-level Taliban operative when they are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. Notwithstanding some of the most intense and realistic battle scenes in recent memory, it goes beyond the average war film in fleshing out real three-dimensional human beings caught up in the moral consequences of war, and in that way is more reminiscent of past Best Picture Oscar winners like Platoon (1986) and Universal’s own The Deer Hunter (1978). One scene in particular is riveting to watch in which the SEALS, weighing their own chances of survival, collectively must decide if a small group of locals should live or die. Certainly the film presents moral dilemmas that will cause strong debate. It is based on the New York Times bestseller, Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account Of Operation Redwing And The Lost Heroes Of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell (with Patrick Robinson), the Navy SEAL portrayed in the film by Wahlberg.
EXCLUSIVE: A&E has given a six-episode order to an untitled docu-reality series executive produced by Mark Wahlberg, which is set in his native Boston. This marks the first unscripted series for Wahlberg, who is executive producing through his Closest to the Hole Prods along with frequent collaborator Stephen Levinson of Leverage, Bill Thompson of Bill Thompson Prods. and veteran reality producer Stephanie Drachkovitch of 44 Blue Prods as well as Jennifer Colbert who serves as showrunner.
The initial impetus for the project, which was first ordered as a pilot by A&E in November, came from the tough, hard-as-nails female characters in Wahlberg‘s Oscar-nominated feature The Fighter. Wahlberg and Thompson were inspired by the women’s spirit and set out to find a group of those types of Boston girls going through challenging times and tell their story.
Dwayne Johnson To Star In & Produce HBO Pilot About Athletes From Steve Levinson & Mark Wahlberg, Peter Berg To Direct
HBO has given a pilot order to a half-hour dramedy pilot starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. This marks the first TV-starring role for the movie actor/wrestler, who is executive producing the project with his Pain & Gain co-star Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson. Peter Berg is on board to direct the pilot and will executive produce, along with Johnson’s manager Dany Garcia who runs his production company. Written by Levinson, the untitled project chronicles the lives of athletes — some retired, some still active — living in Miami. Johnson will play one of them, with filming eyed for the fall.
Johnson’s collaboration with Wahlberg and his manager/ frequent producing partner Levinson on the project, based on an idea by Levinson, stems from Johnson and Wahlberg’s work together on Michael Bay’s action movie Pain & Gain, which opened at No. 1 this past weekend. The two actors also are repped by the same agency, WME.
Universal’s 2 Guns is directed by Baltasar Kormákur from a script by Blake Masters. The action thriller stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as two undercover federal operatives from competing bureaus who are forced on the run together. Pic opens in theaters August 2nd:
Michael Bay‘s $25M true crime comedy stars Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Anthony Mackie as 1990s Florida bodybuilders whose plot to get rich via kidnapping and extortion goes horribly wrong. Rebel Wilson, Ken Jeong, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris, and Rob Corddry round out the supporting cast. …
“We are happy to make it possible for Mark and Ted to make their debut appearance on the Oscar stage,” said Zadan and Meron. “And we won’t deny that Ted used his pull with our host to get himself the booking.”
Wahlberg and Ted starred in the hit summer comedy “Ted,” which is now the highest-grossing R-rated original comedy of all time.
“I’m excited to present an Oscar with Mark Wahlberg,” said Ted. “I’m spending the next month learning to pronounce ‘Quvenzhané.’“
How hard are Mark Wahlberg and director Allen Hughes working to promote their new film Broken City? Doing TV interviews in Philadelphia, the duo jumped right in and handled the broadcast’s traffic and weather report. They acquitted themselves nicely, but it seemed surprising that Wahlberg didn’t tell the newscasters to …
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount has set Oscar-winning The Departed scribe William Monahan to rewrite American Desperado, the film that is being shaped as a star vehicle for Mark Wahlberg. The film, based on the book American Desperado: My Life As A Cocaine Cowboy, focuses on the criminal exploits of Jon Roberts, who made a fortune smuggling cocaine into the U.S. for the Medellin Cartel. Roberts wrote the book with Generation Kill author Evan Wright, the latter of whom wrote the most recent draft of the script. Monahan will go back to the book for his script. Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson are producing with Film 44′s Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey. Leverage’s Michael Garnett has been overseeing the project.
The exploits of Roberts and Mickey Munday were first chronicled in the 2006 Billy Corben documentary Cocaine Cowboys, which is in the process of being developed at HBO as a series that’s exec produced by Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer.
Wahlberg has been developing the film since 2008 with the intention to play Roberts, who died of cancer last December. After returning from Vietnam, Roberts headed to Miami and fell in with the Medellin drug cartel when it was moving billions of dollars of blow into the U.S. That led to excess and danger right out of the series Miami Vice, until he was caught by the DEA. Berg originally intended to direct the film but is only attached as producer. He and Wahlberg just shot Lone Survivor and they’ll figure it out when they get the script from Monahan, who worked with Wahlberg on The Departed.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Mark Wahlberg On Canadian Film Tax Incentives, Shine Group & Adrian Steirn, Australia’s Ten Network, Prime TV New Zealand
Mark Wahlberg Calls On Canada To Restore Film Tax Incentives
Mark Wahlberg is urging the Canadian government to restore federal tax incentives for film production. “We are really trying to encourage the government to reinstate these tax incentives to bring film and cinema back to Canada,” Wahlberg told The Globe And Mail in Toronto. Wahlberg, who has made seven movies in Canada, says a steady reduction in government tax subsidies means fewer Hollywood projects will be made there. Wahlberg’s Canadian-shot films include Fear, Shooter, The Big Hit, and Max Payne.
Allen Hughes spent the past two decades as one-half of The Hughes Brothers. He makes his solo feature directing debut with Broken City, a political corruption drama that stars Mark Wahlberg as an ex-cop who does a favor for the mayor (Russell Crowe) by following the pol’s philandering wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). The results are murder and conspiracy, with Fox releasing the Emmett/Furla Films-financed drama January 18.
Allen and Albert Hughes burst on the feature scene with 1993’s Menace II Society, a wildly profitable slice of violent inner-city life. Together they’ve co-directed the Vietnam-era crime drama Dead Presidents, the Jack the Ripper thriller From Hell, the documentary American Pimp, and most recently the post-apocalyptic thriller The Book Of Eli. They also direct commercials and videos under their Underworld banner. I’ve known the siblings for about as long as they’ve been making features, and always found them to be strong individuals. I never quite understood the alchemy that goes into a two-man directing team, or what happens when one splits up. Who better than Allen Hughes to explain?
DEADLINE: After directing movies all these years as a team, what was the biggest challenge in not being able to rely on Albert?
ALLEN HUGHES: The biggest challenge had nothing to do with the movie-making process at all. When we took meetings, there were two of us. This is a crazy town and there are very cunning people. As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one. There was a certain amount of respect they paid us because there were two of us. And there was a shorthand we had in breaking things down to the last compound, and factoring in every angle. It made quite an impression to have two guys doing that. That’s what was missing this time around, but I felt comfortable with the moviemaking process. It’s naturally a one-man or -woman gig.
EXCLUSIVE: Mark Wahlberg‘s Oscar-nominated feature The Fighter is the inspiration for a docu reality series. Wahlberg executive produces the half-hour project, which has received a pilot order from A&E. Inspired by the scene-stealing, big-haired, loud-talking, punch-throwing sisters of Wahlberg’s Micky Ward and Christian Bale’s Dicky Eklund in Fighter, the untitled Mark Wahlberg Boston Women Project showcases the real women of Boston, featuring the day-to-day life of four of these tough, hard-as-nails women who juggle family, work, and relationships all while remaining true to their way of life. Wahlberg is executive producing through his Closest to the Hole Prods, along with frequent collaborator Stephen Levinson of Leverage, Bill Thompson of Bill Thompson Prods Inc and veteran reality producer Stephanie Drachkovitch of 44 Blue Prods. Filming is slated to begin in a few weeks.