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Warren Beatty, Mary J. Blige And MPTF Help The Beverly Hills Hotel Celebrate 100th Anniversary

By | Sunday June 17, 2012 @ 2:07am PDT
Pete Hammond

Birthday wishes are in store for the famous Beverly Hills Hotel celebrating its centennial this year and kicking it off with a two-day affair, just ended at the famous Los Angeles landmark. With all proceeds benefitting the Motion Picture & Television Fund (which also holds a major fundraiser ahead of the Oscars called The Night Before) high-rollers were treated on Friday to comedy and jazz by the pool hosted by Bill Cosby and Saturday night to cocktails, dinner and a mini-concert by Mary J. Blige who said it was her favorite hotel, where she married the love of her life. She definitely had the Crystal room rocking.

Earlier in the evening MPTF founding Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg welcomed guests including one of the evening’s hosts Brett Ratner, and the main attraction for many in the room, Warren Beatty who serves on the MPTF board. “Somehow or another this place is the center of the universe. There’s no one in this room who knows this hotel better than Warren Beatty. I mean no one,” he said to laughs as Beatty took the stage to lead a toast. Read More »

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E! Picks Up Nigel Lythgoe & Kevin Jonas Reality Series, Whitney Cummings Talk Show, Unveils New Logo, Tagline & Branding

By | Monday April 30, 2012 @ 5:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: E!, which is holding its upfront presentation today, has picked up Opening Act, a new talent competition headlined by American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, R&B singer Mary J. Blige and producer Antonina Armato from Rock Mafia. Additionally, the cable network has greenlighted a reality series starring Kevin Jonas for summer and has given the long-gestating Whitney Cummings talk show a pickup as a weekly half-hour series titled Love You, Mean It With Whitney Cummings. E! also is unveiling a new look, logo and tagline (Pop Of Culture). The new branding campaign, part of the transformation of the channel under the leadership of NBC Uni cable maven Bonnie Hammer, will kick off on July 9 with the premiere of Opening Act.

Related: E! Unveils First Scripted Development Slate

In Opening Act, Lythgoe, Blige and Armato will comb the Internet to find talented amateurs and give them a chance to open for an A-list music star. Music acts on board to take in aspiring musicians to open for one show on their current tours are Nicki Minaj, Rod Stewart, LMFAO, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Jason Mraz and Gym Class Heroes. The unsuspecting band or solo acts will get the news of their big break in person by TV personality Olivia Lee (The Tonight Show With Read More »

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Adam Shankman To Helm ‘The Nutcracker’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Adam Shankman will be set by New Line Cinema to direct The Nutcracker, a new take on the classic fairy tale that is being eyed as a tent pole family holiday film for late 2013. The script was written by Darren Lemke, who just worked with New Line on Jack the Giant Killer, and whose credits include Shrek Forever After. This version of The Nutcracker goes back to the original 1815 book by E.T.A. Hoffman, about a young girl and a wooden toy soldier who comes alive and leads her on an adventure. The take is a drama with action and a love story that aspires to be similar in tone to Alice in Wonderland. It is shaping up as Shankman’s next film.

The film is being produced by Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, who are coming off Twlight Saga: Breaking Dawn–Part 1. It’s likely that Shankman and his Offspring Entertainment partner Jennifer Gibgot will become involved as well by the time the deal is made. Shankman is just coming off Rock of Ages, the New Line adaptation of the stage musical that stars Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Mary J. Blige, Paul Giamatti and Bryan Cranston. The film opens June 1. It would be Shankman’s third film with New Line, after Hairspray. Shankman is repped by UTA as is Lemke.

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OSCARS: 2011 Governors Awards – Photos

HAMMOND: An Emotional Governors Awards

J.J. Abrams, Glenn Close, John Travolta, Alec Baldwin, Larry Gordon, Rick Baker, Mary J. Blige, and Maria Shriver were some of the names who helped the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences present Honorary Awards to actor James Earl Jones and makeup artist Dick Smith and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to philanthropist Oprah Winfrey. It was the Academy’s 3rd Annual Governors Awards dinner last night at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center. Photos on next page: Read More »

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‘Rock Of Ages’ Stage Star Constantine Maroulis Joins The Movie Version

Mike Fleming

Former American Idol contestant Constantine Maroulis originated the lead role of Drew Boley in Rock of Ages‘ off-Broadway and Broadway musical incarnations. He’s not playing that role in the movie version that Adam Shankman is directing for New Line (Diego Boneta got the screen role), but that doesn’t mean Maroulis has been left out completely. He just filmed the small role as a prototypical ’80s record executive. Here’s a shot of him with Shankman and one of the film’s producers, Matt Weaver. The film stars Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bryan Cranston, Alec Baldwin, Mary J. Blige, Russell Brand and Julianne Hough.

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In Or Out? Alec Baldwin Will Be On Hand For Today’s ‘Rock Of Ages’ Run-Through

Mike Fleming

Is Alec Baldwin in or out of New Line’s Rock of Ages? We might have a better idea today after Baldwin takes part in a full run-through of the ’80s-flavored rock musical being held in an hour or so on the Miami set where the picture will be shot. Except for Catherine Zeta-Jones (who’s shooting the Gerard Butler starrer Playing The Field that FilmDistrict acquired this morning), Baldwin will take part with the entire cast of Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Mary J. Blige, Paul Giamatti, Malin Akerman, Bryan Cranston, Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough. They’ll be trying out costumes and belting out 80s tunes as they prepare for a May 23 production start. Director Adam Shankman will be hoping that by the end of today, Baldwin will have a change of heart, which was prompted by personal reasons.

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Ealing Studios And ‘The King’s Speech’ Financier Prescience Merge Sales Arms

By | Wednesday April 20, 2011 @ 5:25am PDT

Ealing Studios and The King’s Speech financier Prescience has merged their respective sales arms. The companies previously worked together on both St. Trinian’s films, Dorian Gray and Easy Virtue. They say combining gives them “a unique advantage,” because of the money that Prescience brings to the table. They also said no jobs will be lost in the consolidation. “The beauty of this merger is that we now have access to Prescience’s money,” says Will Machin, Ealing’s head of distribution. Machin will run Ealing Metro. “There are very few companies in the indie marketplace that can offer what we can now.” Prescience has raised around $250 million to date through its Aegis Film Fund and Metropolis Media EIS tax fund. Ealing Metro will offer equity, gap financing and in some cases will put up minimum guarantee  advances against international sales, the money that gets films rolling. The plan is to handle 10-15 films a year,  with Machin working alongside with Natalie Brenner and James Scott.

Ealing Metro’s current slate includes upcoming productions Better Living Through Chemistry, which stars Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Garner and shoots in July; the Iain Softley-directed psychological thriller Trap For Cinderella, which stars Tuppence Middleton and Alexandra Roach; and the Nina Simone biopic Nina, which stars Mary J Blige and David Oyelowo, and starts production May 23. Read More »

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Alec Baldwin Commits To Woody Allen’s Next Pic

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Alec Baldwin has committed to star in Woody Allen’s next film. And where will the quintessential New York actor and Gotham’s arguably most famous director be filming? Try Rome. Allen has chosen that city as the site of his next comedy as he continues sampling countries around the globe after shooting most of his films exclusively in New York. Allen has said that shooting in NYC is just too expensive, but I’d argue that the change of scenery has creatively revived him in recent outings.

Baldwin will work with Allen for the first time since the 1990 comedy Alice. Allen has just begun putting this film together, and word is that The Social Network’s Jesse Eisenberg is also in line for a lead. Penelope Cruz was previously announced. Baldwin will first star in Rock Of Ages, the Adam Shankman-directed New Line musical that also stars Diego Gonzalez Boneta, Julianne Hough, Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige and Russell Brand. Amy Adams is being courted to play a journalist who falls into a bedroom romp with the rock star Stacee Jaxx (Cruise). After he finishes the two projects, Baldwin returns for what could be his final season of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. Could Jack Donaghy really be leaving after Baldwin’s contract ends and the show is still so good? Baldwin told me as much when we did the Playboy Interview awhile back. I argued that his sitcom momentum would … Read More »

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‘Rock Of Ages’ Sets Diego Boneta For Lead

Mike Fleming

New Line Cinema has set Diego Gonzalez Boneta to play the lead in Rock of Ages, the movie version of the Broadway musical.

He’ll play Drew Boley, a 22-year old who moves to Los Angeles with dreams of making it in the music industry. He works as a bus boy in the rock club The Bourbon Room. Word that he was director Adam Shankman’s choice circulated last week, but New Line just approved him today.

He stars alongside Julianne Hough, with a supporting cast that includes Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand. Amy Adams is being courted to play a journalist who falls into a bedroom romp with the rock star Stacee Jaxx (Cruise). Boley, a Latin American singing star, gets to belt out the Foreigner song Waiting For A Girl Like You, the Twisted Sister anthem I Wanna Rock, and he duets with Hough on the Journey hit Don’t Stop Believin.’ He was submitted by Gersh. Hundreds tested for the role.

“On top of his completely un-self conscious charm, he’s a movie star the same was as I felt when I auditioned Zac Efron, Channing Tatum and Liam Hemsworth,” Shankman told Deadline. “It comes down to being able to identity the ‘it’ factor, and Jen and I have been lucky enough to do it several times. He has it and is every inch a movie star.” Shankman was talking about his sister Jennifer Gibgot, his Offspring Entertainment … Read More »

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Amy Adams In Tune For Tom Cruise Duet In ‘Rock of Ages’?

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Adam Shankman is heavily courting Oscar-nominated The Fighter star Amy Adams to join Rock of Ages, playing the journalist who falls into a bedroom romp with Tom Cruise’s decadent rock star character, Stacee Jax. This is the role that Shankman offered to Anne Hathaway, but her schedule playing Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises got in the way. Adams was given a new draft of the script by Shankman. She would play an uptight journalist who intends to eviscerate Stacee Jax with an expose. A seduction ensues instead, and after they duet to the Foreigner song I Want To Know What Love Is, nature takes its course.

It might be an interesting opportunity for Adams to belt out 80s tune-age as she continues her quest to star in a biopic of iconic 60s singer Janis Joplin. Adams also sings in the upcoming Disney film The Muppets. For what started as a small off-Broadway stage musical, Rock of Ages has turned into a happening film to be part of, and one that Warner Bros just set for a June 1, 2012 summer release. Shankman and New Line have locked Cruise (who also belts out Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead Or Alive), Mary J. Blige, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand in key roles, and Julianne Hough in the young female lead. He has been testing male leads, with an open call set in Burbank on Saturday. We should … Read More »

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