Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur, who segues between Hollywood and home-based projects, is set to direct and produce serialized crime series Trapped in his native country. From Kormakur’s RVK Studios, it’s based on his original idea and written by Sigurjon Kjartansson and Clive Bradley. Trapped follows the investigation of the grisly murder of an unidentifiable man found in the water after an international ferry arrives in a small town at the bottom of a fjord. Soon after, a powerful blizzard hits the town with deadly force, making the only road in or out impassable. The 10-part series, the most ambitious Icelandic commission ever ordered, will air locally on public broadcaster RUV. RVK’s Magnus Vidar Sigurdsson is also producing and RVX, the effects arm of RVK, will design the VFX. Dynamic Television’s Daniel March and Klaus Zimmermann are executive producers and are handling worldwide distribution. Kormakur, whose The Deep was shortlisted for the Foreign Language Oscar in 2012, is currently directing Everest for Universal, Cross Creek Pictures and Working Title Films.
MIPTV Briefs: Baltasar Kormakur To Direct & Produce Icelandic Series ‘Trapped’; ‘Boom!’ Goes To Spain; Japan’s Wowow Boards Scorsese Doc; More
“You must be sick of me by now — what the hell do you want to hear me say?” Leonardo DiCaprio laughed as we began a phone conversation late last week. He was joking, but it’s not an uncommon thing to hear an actor say that after they’ve been through the promotional ringer of an exhaustive awards season. He was in New York, where he had just participated in a retrospective of his work with Martin Scorsese (he did something similar the week before at the Santa Barbara Film Festival), and would be shortly heading to London for the BAFTA awards, where he was nominated for Best Actor (he lost to 12 Years A Slave‘s Chiwetel Ejiofor). But the fact is since early December and the first screenings of The Wolf Of Wall Street DiCaprio has been very visible — much more than the norm when he’s had a new movie to promote or an Oscar campaign to deal with.
But this one, for which he has already won a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Movie Award (both in comedy) is special to him. He not only stars in Wolf but also was a producer. He has received his fourth and fifth Oscar nominations as a result for the movie that is up for five Academy Awards including Best Picture and the fiercely competitive Best Actor category. He worked for six years to figure out a way to bring to the screen Jordan Belfort’s candid autobiography of his spectacular rise and fall on Wall Street. He wouldn’t give up until Martin Scorsese said yes to directing and until he was convinced they could make the movie their way. It became controversial but it also has now become Scorsese’s most successful movie ever.
DiCaprio previously did a detailed interview with my colleague Mike Fleming for Deadline, and he’s also encountered me a lot on the trail this season. But, with just two weeks to go until the Oscars, he’s still on that trail and very pleased — particularly for Scorsese’s box office milestone. “I am incredibly proud of that. I knew this movie would have to be framed in the right context for the public because, like I’ve said before, it’s punk rock, a major Hollywood epic about hedonism and debauchery and putting this culture up on screen. So I’ve been trying to support it as much as possible, in large part because I want to make movies that take chances like this. I want studios eventually to say ‘Hey, look at what Wolf Of Wall Street was able to do’. Maybe they’ll take a chance on this kind of material in the future even if it doesn’t fit the sort of criteria studios feel is bankable. I really hope if I bring something to a studio or want to develop it in a certain way they will use this as a reference point at the very least,” he said.
EXCLUSIVE: Liam Neeson will star with Andrew Garfield and Ken Watanabe in Silence, the Martin Scorsese-directed adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel about 17th century Jesuits who to try bring Christianity to isolated Japan. The film is being financed by Emmett/Furla/Oasis, Corsan and A1. Emmett/Furla/Oasis just funded Lone Survivor. The script is by Jay Cocks and Scorsese and production will begin in Taiwan later this year.
Neeson is scheduled to reprise in Taken 3, but while Neeson has remade himself as an action star, Silence brings him back to the kind of work he did in Schindler’s List and in the Scorsese-directed Gangs Of New York. The film is produced by Irwin Winkler, Randall Emmett and George Furla, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Checchi Gori, Barbara DeFina and Paul Breuls, with Niels Juul exec producing. Neeson, who next stars in the action film Non-Stop, voices a role in The Lego Movie, and stars in the Seth MacFarlane-directed A Million Ways To Die In The West and A Walk Among The Tombstones, is repped by CAA.
More than a year and a half after Martin Scorsese was sued by producer Cecchi Gori for not directing Silence, the two sides have worked out a deal. “The matter has been settled in its entirety,” said a 1-page order from LA Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis. The January 17 order (read it here) offered no details of the settlement. On August 22, 2012, Gori Pictures went after Scorsese and his Sikelia Productions for breach of written contract for allegedly constantly pushing back his commitment to direct an adaptation of Shusako Endo’s novel about Portuguese Jesuit missionaries who travel Japan to investigate reports of Christians persecuted and tortured by the Emperor of Japan. Claiming that they had invested more than $750,000 in the project, Cecchi Gori wanted millions in producer fees plus credits and 20% of Scorsese/Sikelia’s backend participation on “each feature film that Scorsese should direct after Hugo and before Silence (including without limitation Wolf of Wall Street),” said their complaint. In response, the director said the “meritless action” suit had “all the earmarks of a media stunt.” The two sides kept grinding away and after various filings put a stop on the court clock to work on a settlement.
Berlin Briefs: Altitude Catches ‘Fishing Without Nets’; Christopher Denham Horror Pic To XYZ; ‘Sly Cooper’ At CMG; ‘House Of Cards’ & Scorsese In Berlinale Special
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Along with Benedict Cumberbatch-starrer Blood Mountain, Altitude Film Sales has added two other titles to its slate for next week’s European Film Market at the Berlin Film Festival. It’s come aboard Fishing Without Nets, Cutter Hodierne’s winner of the Sundance U.S. Dramatic Directing Award that tells the story of an oil tanker hijacking from the perspective of impoverished Somalis. Also new to Altitude’s slate is documentary Bolshoi Babylon, a behind-the-scenes look at the famed Russian ballet company. Nick Read (The Condemned) directs, with Mark Franchetti (Terror In Moscow) producing and Simon Chinn (Searching For Sugar Man, Man On Wire) exec producing.
OSCARS: Academy Finalizes ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ Producers Credits – Leo And Marty Back In, Riza Aziz Out
In a rare move since the Producers Guild has been vetting eligible producers for the Oscars, the Producers Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has taken a different path than the PGA recommendation and awarded director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio additional Oscar nominations as producers of the film along with Emma Tillinger Koskoff (Scorsese’s partner) and Red Granite’s Joey McFarland. The latter two had been nominees for the PGA Award along with McFarland’s partner at Red Granite Riza Aziz. As previously reported on Deadline, Scorsese and DiCaprio were denied nominations by the PGA. Now the tables have been turned somewhat and it is Aziz who is odd man out and Scorsese and DiCaprio back in. DiCaprio, in his capacity as a producer, has worked for six years to bring it to the screen and got Red Granite — which fully financed the $100 million film — involved. Aziz won’t be contesting the Academy’s decision and Red Granite just released a statement to Deadline: “We are thrilled that the Academy has recognized the invaluable contributions of Marty, Leo, Joey and Emma on behalf of The Wolf Of Wall Street. Riza Aziz and Red Granite remain honored to be part of the production.”
OSCARS: Best Actor Nominee Leonardo DiCaprio On Scorsese, ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’: “I Knew It Would Be Polarizing”
A Best Actor nomination is just one award-season reward this year for Leonardo DiCaprio, who not only stars in Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf Of Wall Street but produced the passion project alongside his mentor and five-time collaborator. The dark biopic based on ex-Wall Streeter Jordan Belfort‘s memoirs has sparked debate among audiences — and DiCaprio, speaking with Deadline after Wolf scored four more noms this morning (including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Jonah Hill), says that was his and Scorsese’s goal from the start. “I knew that this film was going to be polarizing in some respect,” he said. “We knew that Jordan’s life was written as a cautionary tale but displayed the hedonistic, flagrant world of Wall Street at that time. We wanted for there to be a dialogue about this attitude — his is a very destructive attitude, and what some people don’t get is that is ultimately not a cautionary tale but an indictment of this world.”
DiCaprio won the rights to Belfort’s story in 2007 and began developing it with Scorsese, with whom he’d by then made Gangs Of New York, The Aviator, and The Departed. “I became obsessed with putting it up on screen, certainly after 2008,” he said. “But what Marty does is he doesn’t judge his characters. He ultimately puts these people onscreen as authentically as he possibly can and lets the audience extract what they can from it.”
EXCLUSIVE: Longtime WME partner and senior motion picture literary agent Christopher Donnelly is leaving the agency to become a manager at LBI. This transition has been in the works for a few weeks and he will make the move immediately. It is being announced at the WME morning staff meeting as we speak. At LBI, Donnelly will continue to rep clients as manager and help build out the company’s production arm. He joins Rick Yorn. Donnelly has been working with Yorn and WME chief Ari Emanuel on the career of The Wolf Of Wall Street director Martin Scorsese since The Aviator.
Donnelly becomes the second partner on the feature side to exit in recent weeks, after Brian Swardstrom left to become a partner at UTA.
Nominees and celebs hit the 71st Golden Globe Awards, underway now at the Beverly Hilton. Hit the jump for full images from tonight’s fete and refresh for latest:
“Storytellers, welcome,” said AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale as he opened the AFI Awards 2013 luncheon today. “We open each AFI gathering with a single word: ‘Relax’. You have won. Each of you, and more importantly, all of you, because here you are one community of artists gathered in this room for what we hope to be a bit of respite from your job, but not from your work. Gone from this moment are the ratings, and red carpets and box office and all that you have to endure to sell art. Our goal is nothing short of epiphany, that you feel proud when you consider the compendium and see your place in it”. Gazzale’s welcome came before what appeared to be all of the heavy hitters currently running Hollywood as well as 20 tables full of artists repping AFI’s choices for the year’s Top Ten movies (12 Years A Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Fruitvale Station, Gravity, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks, The Wolf Of Wall Street) and Top Ten TV programs (The Americans, Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones, The Good Wife, House Of Cards, Mad Men, Masters Of Sex, Orange Is The New Black, Scandal, Veep).
For my money , this is the most relaxing and fun awards event of the year. There are no losers, no acceptance speeches, only good vibes. And if you want to network, this is the A-list networking opportunity of the season. Where else are you going to find just about every studio head in the same room including Sony’s Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton, Warner Bros’ Kevin Tsujihara, Fox’s Jim Gianopulos, Disney’s Alan Horn, Paramount’s Brad Grey, and Fox Searchlight’s Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula? They were mixing it it up with the TV side including CBS’ Les Moonves (who also was there for CBS Films’ Inside Llewyn Davis), Fox’s Peter Rice and FX’s John Landgraf, and AMC’s Charlie Collier among many others including new kid on the block Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, who had two shows among the Top Ten, House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black. It was his first time to this party and he was impressed. Oh, and did I mention both directing icons Martin Scorsese (with Wolf Of Wall Street) and Steven Spielberg (repping FX’s The Americans) were there, but quite frankly just about everyone in this room at the Four Seasons Hotel was someone. Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs was also taking it all in and told me how she’s suddenly getting lots of calls after it was announced earlier today she would be delivering news of Oscar nominations next Thursday with Thor aka Chris Hemsworth. She’s excited to say the least.
Today’s eagerly awaited DGA nominations are out and there are no surprises in the bunch. Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron, Captain Phillips’ Paul Greengrass, 12 Years A Slave’s Steve McQueen, American Hustle’s David O. Russell and The Wolf Of Wall Street‘s Martin Scorsese were all odds-on favorites to make the five — and they did. Some might have questioned Scorsese’s chances since the film has become a lightning rod for controversy and was the last major release of the year, meaning the 15,000-member guild voters would have to see it in time to cast their ballot. But c’mon, he’s Martin Scorsese. There would be no denying this achievement among his fellow directors. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the guild and 10 other nominations with 3 wins in 3 different categories (The Departed in film, Boardwalk Empire in TV and George Harrison: Living In The Material World in documentary). He’s a god to this guild. Greengrass, McQueen and Cuaron are all first-timers here, while Russell was nominated for 2010′s The Fighter. However, Russell was passed over for a nomination last year for Silver Linings Playbook but went on to receive an Oscar nod for that film anyway.
Generally there is a strong correlation between the DGA and the Oscars. Only seven times has the winner of the DGA Award not gone on to win the Oscar . But the most recent time, last year, was also among the most infamous: Ben Affleck still went on to win the DGA Best Director award for Argo even after the Academy’s much smaller — and quirkier — Directors Branch threw a monkey wrench into the proceedings and snubbed Affleck in its nominations. Life Of Pi’s Ang Lee went on to win the Oscar after losing to Affleck at the DGA, while Argo took Best Picture. In addition to Lee the only agreement the Academy’s Directors Branch had with the DGA was Steven Spielberg’s nomination for Lincoln. It was one of the worst years ever since the DGA Awards were founded in 1948 in terms of a match-up between the guild’s list and Oscar (which also nominated Behn Zeitlin of Beasts Of The Southern Wild and Amour’s Michael Haneke in addition to Russell). I don’t expect the same thing to happen this year. This is a very strong lineup that includes all the likely frontrunners to grab an Academy Directorial nod as well. But as we all learned last year Oscar often has surprises up its sleeve. We’ll see.
Martin Scorsese On ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’: A Happy, Moral Ending To Scandalous Stockbroker Expose Would Have Turned It Into A TV Movie
Until Hugo, I never emerged from a Martin Scorsese film with anything close to the sense of satisfaction that comes from a nice, happy ending. I’ve seen everything he’s done, and movies like Cape Fear and Casino left me feeling fearful such people existed; The King Of Comedy left me laughing nervously after an aspiring comedian gets a TV special after kidnapping his idol, whether it existed in his imagination or not; Taxi Driver left me feeling all kinds of uneasy; and After Hours left me feeling paranoid for days. Every one of his films left me feeling some emotion way short of peaceful — clearly how Scorsese wanted it. By comparison, The Wolf Of Wall Street was a decadent frat house comedy, Goodfellas without the chilling violent undercurrent that made you check your laughter. I laughed loud and often (and felt bad later) at the depiction of an ordinary guy who loses his soul to get rich on Wall Street and indulge every hedonistic urge at the expense of the people who trusted him with money he didn’t care if he lost. I was surprised at the outcry that Scorsese didn’t punish his sinner onscreen. At least Jordan Belfort’s ’90s run of decadence ended with him losing his family and wealth before landing in a minimum security prison. There seemed to be no shortage of guys like him who ran rampant before Wall Street collapsed in 2008 due to unbridled greed; those scoundrels got a government bailout and kept going, even though retirement funds across America might never recover. Here, Scorsese explains why what I just mentioned made it impossible for him to pacify Wolf viewers and critics who wanted to see justice served and charged him with glorifying misdeeds.
DEADLINE: I spoke days ago about the Wolf criticism with Leonardo, who never faced this before. It isn’t your first time at the rodeo, is it?
SCORSESE: Oh, I’ve been through it with Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull where people were repelled by the character. It happened with Rupert Pupkin in The King Of Comedy, and then all the way through the years and particularly with Goodfellas. Taxi Driver had elements that made it something else, but Goodfellas became a rallying cry against this kind of depiction of characters who do terrible things but enjoy themselves.
Santa Barbara, CA- The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will honor director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio with the Cinema Vanguard Award at the 29th edition of the Fest, which runs January 30 -February 9, 2014, it was announced today by SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. The award presentation and evening tribute, sponsored by lynda.com, will take place on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at the historic Arlington Theatre.
Scorsese and DiCaprio will be celebrated for their extraordinary film collaboration which has produced five exemplary films including Gangs of New York, The Aviator, Shutter Island, The Departed and their latest, the critically acclaimed hit film The Wolf of Wall Street, which has taken their fearless and uncompromising work together to an even deeper level.
Oscar Mischief? Video Circulates With Leonardo DiCaprio Touting ‘Wolf’ Jordan Belfort’s Motivational Speaking Prowess
It’s that time of year — when awards-season schadenfreude begins to swirl, and rivals begin whispering in our ears about the flaws in everybody else’s offerings. Against that backdrop, a video for a lecture bureau by Leonardo DiCaprio posted last summer has conveniently begun re-circulating on the web just days after the Oscar polls opened (watch it below). It’s a short testimonial extolling the motivational speaking skills of The Wolf Of Wall Street subject Jordan Belfort, whom DiCaprio plays in the movie in all the unapologetic decadence that caused his downfall. DiCaprio qualifies his praise for his screen alter ego by mentioning Belfort’s lawbreaking past, but backing even a reformed bad guy could be a slippery slope during Oscar season; there has been heavy scrutiny over whether Belfort has profited from his book and movie (he claims the money has gone to repay victims), and just days ago the daughter of one of Belfort’s stock-hawking cronies spoke out about the lasting damage created by their collective misdeeds. Critics and audiences already are debating whether Martin Scorsese‘s Oscar contender makes Belfort’s reckless behavior seem too seductive.
‘Wolf Of Wall Street’s Leonardo DiCaprio On Creating Fact-Based Black Comedy Without Glorifying Crooks
When I emerged from watching The Wolf Of Wall Street, I came away thinking the movie had done for stock brokers what Marathon Man did for dentists. The Martin Scorsese-directed film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as hedonistic drug-addicted stockbroker conman Jordan Belfort, who with dimwitted cohorts plunders his way to such decadence and immorality it’s a wonder he survived long enough to be arrested and sent to prison. The three hours of darkly comic debauchery has in some quarters been met with a “how dare you” reaction, a polarizing response that could be an issue during awards season for the $100 million film financed by indie Red Granite and released domestically by Paramount Pictures. The 71-year old Scorsese has provoked that kind of reaction several times in his career with films ranging from The Last Temptation Of Christ to Goodfellas and Casino, the latter two of which, like Wolf, left behind bitter victims of the mayhem perpetrated by the film’s main characters. The shrapnel is new to DiCaprio, who both starred in and produced the film through his increasingly prolific Appian Way shingle. Here, DiCaprio discusses that fallout and the challenge of trying to uncompromisingly depict bad guys without judging them.
DEADLINE: Appian Way was just building steam when you got involved in producing Jordan Belfort’s memoir Wolf Of Wall Street. Why did Belfort’s story fit into the profile of movies you wanted to make as producer, while sparking you as an actor as well?
DICAPRIO: Coming into it as an actor, I set my entire production company up in order to find material that not only was interesting and out of the box from an actor’s perspective, but that could be developed that way from the original source material. A lot of times, I’d gone through the process of getting a great book or finding a great story, and then too many people get their hands on it and it turns into something entirely different. It is very difficult to reverse that process. When I first picked this up, I found it a cautionary tale written by Jordan. His life is much different now, but he’s looking back and reflecting on a very hedonistic time period where he gave into every possible temptation. Greed was the main motivating factor, and he was unapologetic. He realized he’d completely lost his way, but there was an honesty to it that you rarely find. You rarely find someone willing to vilify themselves so completely and not trying to create false enemies to blame so they don’t have to look inward. Everything Jordan wrote in this book was so raw. The crash of 2008 was a huge motivator for me as well to want to really see what’s going on in our culture that creates people like this. Greed is a timeless virtue. I’ve been talking about greed a lot in interviews, and you can’t pinpoint it to any specific time period, or any civilization or even just human beings. It’s a fundamental characteristic of survival. As we are progressing into the future, things are moving faster and we are way more destructive than we’ve ever been. We have not evolved at all.
In what now looks like a prescient move, silent screen legend Mary Pickford paid for the preservation of her films, ensuring that most of them endured. The effort spared 40 of her movies from being among the casualties of time and neglect that are represented in a new survey by the Library of Congress. The report, The Survivial Of American Silent Films: 1912-1929, has found that 70% of feature-length silent films made in America have been completely lost. During the period the study covers, 10,919 silent feature films of U.S. origin were released and only 14% of those still exist in their original 35mm format. Of those, 5% are incomplete and 11% are only available in foreign versions or lower-quality formats. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington called the state of America’s silent film heritage an “alarming and irretrievable loss to our nation’s cultural record.” Martin Scorsese weighed in about the findings, saying the report was “invaluable because the artistry of silent film is essential to our culture.” Scorsese’s Hugo was a tribute to the silent era, incorporating Georges Méliès’ Le Voyage Dans La Lune, which the Cannes Film Festival screened in an impressively restored version a few years back. It was also at Cannes that eventual Best Picture Oscar winner The Artist began its career, a throwback to the time before the talkies.
Contributing factors to the staggering loss of silent films are the vulnerability of nitrate film stock to fire and deterioration, and the industry’s practice of neglecting or destroying prints and negatives, the Library of Congress says. Among some of the notable films considered lost in their complete form are Lon Chaney’s London After Midnight (1927); The Patriot (1928); Cleopatra (1917); The Great Gatsby (1926), and all four of Clara Bow’s feature films produced in 1928, including Ladies Of The Mob. Meanwhile, only five of Will Rogers’ 16 silent features survive and 85% of films by Hollywood’s first cowboy star, Tom Mix, are lost.