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HBO, ‘Behind The Candelabra’ Lead Creative Arts Emmy Awards; Bob Newhart, Dan Bucatinsky, Melissa Leo, Carrie Preston, Heidi Klum & Tim Gunn, ‘Undercover Boss’, ‘South Park’ & Tony Awards Among Winners

By | Sunday September 15, 2013 @ 4:01pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Creative Arts Emmy Awards WinnersThe first 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards were handed out this afternoon at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles. HBO led with 20 Emmys, followed by CBS with 15 and NBC’s with 11. HBO’s Behind the Candelabra was the most awarded program with 8 Emmys. CBS’ Undercover Boss won best reality show, South Park was named best animated show, while Project Runway‘s Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn took best reality hosts. The Guest Actor/Actress categories were the highlight of the ceremony with emotional wins for comedy great Bob Newhart, who snagged his first Emmy for The Big Bang Theory, Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal), Melissa Leo (Louie) and Carrie Preston (The Good Wife). A new 45-second rule imposed on winners’ walk to the stage and acceptance speeches created quite a stir at the ceremony, which still ran for almost 4 hours, clocking in at 3 hr 49 min. A two-hour, edited version will air Saturday, September 21st on FXX.

Related: Creative Emmys’ 45-Second Rule Stirs Controversy

Diane Haithman, Ray Richmond and Anthony D’Alessandro were on the scene at the Nokia for Deadline: Balmier weather than last year’s 100-degree heat made for a livelier Red Carpet. Matt Weiner, whose Mad Men suffered a historic shutout last year with 17 nominations and no wins, was optimistic heading into the ceremony. “Ya know what, anything would be great,” he said. “I would love to see one of our (guest) actors recognized. Linda (Cardellini), Harry (Hamlin), Robert Morse. None of our actors have been recognized (with wins). We’ve never won an editing or cinematography award.” Asked whether Mad Men would possibly do a Season 8 if the price was right, Weiner said: “No, no, it’s not about the deal. I want to wrap the show up. I have a good vibe for what we’re doing in this last piece and that’s the way to go. Will there be more TV and film in my life? I hope so. I’ve written a play. I don’t expect this (the Emmy sensation) to happen again. That would be greedy.”

Some 88 awards were given away today. To try to get it done in a reasonable time, Creative Arts Emmys producer Spike Jones Jr. appeared onstage before show time to urge winners to keep it short, announcing a 45-seconds limit from the moment the winner’s name is announced. “You have 45 seconds to get from your seat all the way down the aisle, up the steps, and do your acceptance speech. I’m not kidding. Forty-five seconds. We’ve found that you can say a lot in a very short period of time. Everybody in this room will thank you for it.”

2013 Creative Arts Emmy Winners

The never-shy Community showrunner Dan Harmon and star Joel McHale set an outrageous tone at the outset as presenters of the first four awards, channeling infamous Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais. “Tonight we honor all of the people in primetime television who are contractually obligated not to make eye contact with me,” said McHale. Harmon, the combative fired and then reinstated boss of Community, then made a quip about how he’d soon be fired by FXX, the new network telecasting a truncated edition of the ceremony. “We’re going to show those frauds (in TV) that these people (here tonight) are the real celebrities,” he said.

Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series
House Of Cards • Netflix • Donen/Fincher/Roth and Trigger Street Productions, Inc. in association with Media Rights Capital for Netflix
Laray Mayfield, CSA, Casting Director
Julie Schubert, CSA, Casting Director

Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or Special
Behind The Candelabra • HBO • Jerry Weintraub Productions in association with HBO Films
Carmen Cuba, CSA, Casting Director

Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series
30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video and Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal Television
Jennifer McNamara-Shroff, Casting Director
Blichfeld + Daniels, Casting Directors Read More »

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Telluride: Surprise ‘Prisoners’ Rocks The Fest And Becomes Instant Oscar Contender

Pete Hammond

Hyperbole at film festivals is to be expected, BUT even with direct competition from Brad Pitt and the Coen brothers, the reaction to the first public screening Friday night anywhere of director Denis Villenueve’s thrilling and penetrating drama Prisoners at the 40th Telluride Film Festival was completely unexpected and significant. This was a “surprise” screening (although I predicted it) and filled the 650-seat Herzog Theatre. For weeks some I spoke to thought on the basis of the trailer and more mainstream elements of the film that it was probably an unworthy commercial film that somehow snuck into the more tony environ of Telluride. Uh, no. This is a first-class motion picture experience unlike any other that I, for one, have experienced in a long time. But it’s not an easy sell.

The applause was strong and early critical praise is over the moon. Pundits will have to add this Alcon production being released by Warner Bros on September 20 to the list of strong Oscar contenders. That is, if  audiences and Academy members can handle the intensity of this superbly directed and produced film that features career-best performances, for sure, from Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman (OK, I liked Les Miz too a lot), plus a brilliant supporting cast including Melissa Leo going for another supporting win; Terence Howard; the great Viola Davis; Maria Bello; and Paul Dano, who goes through the ringer for his art. You can easily compare this gem to critically acclaimed pictures like Zodiac, Seven, Mystic River and any number of films in the genre. Director Villeneuve doesn’t shy away from the comparisons. He says he is a great admirer of David Fincher and Clint Eastwood. In fact one of his editors, Joel Cox, is an Eastwood regular. Read More »

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EMMYS: FX Heats Up The Race, Going For Major ‘Louie’ Win

By | Friday August 9, 2013 @ 2:34pm PDT
Pete Hammond

FX is turning up the heat as Emmy voting kicks into high gear with a large campaign war chest designed to show off their prime contenders American Horror Story, which leads all shows with a whopping 17  nominations in the movie/miniseries categories,  and Louie which nabbed 6 nods including Best Comedy Series. Last Friday FX and Fox TV threw a summer barbeque and cast and crew conversation on the Fox lot for American Horror Story Asylum, and last night FX rented out the TV Academy’s Goldenson Theatre for a screening of Louie  and a rollicking on-stage conversation with Louis C.K. and moderator, comedian David Steinberg. The place was packed to the rafters, presumably with Emmy voters though in this phase of voting members sign up for specific panels and at-home viewing, so exactly how many of the 600 or so who crowded into the theatre can actually help the Emmy chances of Louie is questionable.

None of that seems to matter to FX President John Landgraf who told me at the lavish post-reception the hefty outlay of funds for billboards, trade and newspaper ads and events like this is worth it, not only because they might be hitting some of those relatively few mystery voters (he estimates there could be about 1000-plus who vote for Best Comedy Series) but also to make a public and industry statement that FX is indeed a major player now in the Emmys and proud of their shows. Certainly AHS which also nabbed 17 nominations last year too and Louie would seem to confirm that. Incidentally FXX, the brand new spinoff network is the broadcast partner for the Academy’s Creative Arts Primetime Emmy show this year and Landgraf is glad they landed it. Read More »

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Melissa Leo Joins Mark Webber’s ‘The Ever After’; Rosario Dawson In Talks

By | Thursday June 6, 2013 @ 12:27pm PDT

Oscar winner Melissa Leo has signed on for Mark Webber’s third directorial effort. A hard examination of a marriage, The Ever After also stars Webber and Warm Bodies’ Teresa Palmer in the lead roles from a script the duo wrote together. Rosario Dawson, rapper Kid Cudi, Phoebe Tonkin and Hart of Dixies’ Jaime King are also in talks to join the film. Webber’s sophomore directorial effort The End of Love was nominated for a Sundance 2012 Grand Jury Prize and the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World actors’ helming debut Explicit Ills won SXSW’s Audience Award back in 2008.  While details of Leo’s role in The Ever After are sketchy she is playing a mystical individual who has a profound impact on Webber and Palmer’s character’s relationship. The news of Leo joining The Ever After comes just a week after it was announced that The Fighter actress had joined Denzel Washington in The Equalizer. Leo is also set to star in After Earth director M. Night Shyamalan’s Fox event series Wayward Pines, which is scheduled for a fall 2014. Leo will be seen soon in the Lee Daniels-directed White House saga The Butler, and in the final season of HBO’s Treme, which is back in late October. Leo is represented by CAA and Untitled.

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Melissa Leo Joining Denzel Washington In ‘The Equalizer’

By | Thursday May 30, 2013 @ 3:33pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Melissa Leo is negotiating to join Denzel Washington in the Antoine Fuqua-directed The Equalizer for Sony Pictures. The film, based on the ’80s CBS TV series, is being produced by Escape Artists’ Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch. Leo, who won an Oscar for The Fighter, reunites with Fuqua, who directed her in Olympus Has Fallen. Washington plays McCall, a retired covert operative who, seeking redemption for his dark deeds, quits a CIA-like agency and puts an ad in the paper that reads simply: “Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer.” Leo will play McCall’s former handler when he worked counter-terrorism. She provides him with intelligence about who he is facing when he runs up against a new adversary. The film begins production mid-June in Boston. Read More »

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Melissa Leo To Co-Star In Fox’s M. Night Shyamalan Event Series ‘Wayward Pines’

By | Monday May 27, 2013 @ 7:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Oscar winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Treme) is set to co-star opposite Matt Dillon in M. Night Shyamalan‘s event series Wayward Pines, which is eyed for a fall 2014 premiere on Fox. Based on Blake Crouch’s novel Pines, the mind-bending thriller centers on Secret Service agent Ethan Burke (Dillon) who arrives in the bucolic town of Wayward Pines, ID, on a mission to find two missing federal agents. But instead of answers, Ethan’s investigation only turns up more questions. Leo will play Pam, the intense, unpredictable nurse who first takes care of Ethan when he wakes up in the Wayward Pines hospital. But it soon seems Pam may be more interested in harming than healing. Nurse Pam and Ethan grow into deadly rivals, and her role in the town of Wayward Pines proves much deeper than it first appears. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Why Stop Now’

By | Thursday July 5, 2012 @ 4:04pm PDT

Originally titled Predisposed when it was snapped up by IFC Films after its Sundance premiere, Why Stop Now is about a piano prodigy (Jessie Eisenberg) and his mother (Melissa Leo), who struggles with drug addiction. When she plans to enter rehab the day of her son’s audition for a prestigious music program, a glitch in the system forces them to enlist the help of her drug dealer (Tracy Morgan). Philip Dorling and Ron Nyswaner directed the comedy, which is getting a pre-theatrical run via on-demand outlets like SundanceNOW and iTunes starting today before its theatrical release August 17. New trailer:

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Melissa Leo Joins ‘Charlie Countryman’

Mike Fleming

Melissa Leo The Necessary Death Of Charlie CountrymanMelissa Leo has been joined the cast of The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman. She will play the mother of Shia LaBeouf, who plays the lead. Leo, who was awarded the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Fighter, is currently shooting Oblivion, which stars Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough and Olga Kurylenko; and Single Shot, with Sam Rockwell. Leo recently shot the third season of HBO’s Treme. She can be seen in the Robert Zemeckis-directed Flight with Denzel Washington; the IFC Films pic Predisposed; and Francine, which premiered at Berlin and SXSW. Leo is represented by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.

Related: Shia LaBeouf In Mandate Pictures `Death’ Deal

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Melissa Leo Joins Tom Cruise Pic ‘Oblivion’

By | Friday March 23, 2012 @ 12:26pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Melissa Leo OblivionEXCLUSIVE: Melissa Leo has been set for Oblivion, the Joseph Kosinski-directed futuristic Universal Pictures thriller that stars Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough and Olga Kurylenko. Production just got underway in Baton Rouge. Leo, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Fighter, will next be seen in the Robert Zemeckis-directed Denzel Washington-starrer Flight, and she’s currently shooting the third season of HBO’s Treme. Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark are producing Oblivion with Barry Levine and Kosinski. Michael Arndt rewrote drafts by William Monahan and Karl Gajdusek. Leo’s repped by CAA and Untitled.

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OSCARS: Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo To Present

By | Thursday February 23, 2012 @ 10:39am PST

Beverly Hills, CA – The four Oscar®-winning actors from the 83rd Academy Awards – Christian Bale, Colin Firth, Melissa Leo and Natalie Portman – will present at the 84th Academy Awards, telecast producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer announced today. Both Bale and Leo received Oscars® for their supporting roles in “The Fighter.” It was Bale’s first nomination and Leo’s second. Two-time nominees Firth and Portman took home Academy Awards for their lead performances in “The King’s Speech” and “Black Swan,” respectively.

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IFC Films Takes North American Rights To Sundance’s ‘Predisposed’

By | Friday February 17, 2012 @ 1:22pm PST

Predisposed is the bittersweet story of piano prodigy Eli Smith (Jessie Eisenberg) and his mother Penny (Melissa Leo), who despite her cheerful, loving disposition struggles with drug addiction. When Penny plans to enter rehab on the day of Eli’s audition for a prestigious music program, a glitch in the system forces them to enlist the help of an unlikely ally: her drug dealer (Tracy Morgan). Philip Dorling and Ron Nyswaner directed the film, which premiered this year at the Sundance Film Festival. Isiah Whitlock Jr, Sarah Ramos, and Emma Rayne Lyle co-star. IFC Films SVP Acquisitions & Productions Arianna Bocco negotiated the deal with ICM and UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers. ICM also represents Eisenberg and Ramos.

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Berlin Forum Lines Up 26 World Premieres, Films Starring Melissa Leo, Paul Dano

By | Thursday January 19, 2012 @ 5:01am PST

The Berlin Film Festival has announced titles for its Forum program next month including 26 world premieres and 8 international premieres. Among the group is the latest from La Zona director Rodrigo Plá, the Melissa Leo-starrer Francine and So Yong Kim’s For Ellen with Paul Dano. According to the festival, the sidebar will be marked by films showcasing differing life plans, generational conflicts and the ambivalence of so-called progress. The main program list follows:

Al Juma Al Akheira (The Last Friday)
By Yahya Alabdallah, Jordan/United Arab Emirates
International Premiere

Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank (The Woman in the Septic Tank)
By Marlon N. Rivera, The Philippines

By Axel Petersén, Sweden

Bagrut Lochamim (Soldier/Citizen)
By Silvina Landsmann, Israel
World Premiere

By Denis Côté, Canada/France

Beziehungsweisen (Negotiating Love)
By Calle Overweg, Germany
World Premiere

La Demora (The Wait)
By Rodrigo Plá, Uruguay/Mexico/France
World Premiere Read More »

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CAA Signs ‘The Fighter’s Melissa Leo

By | Thursday December 8, 2011 @ 4:54pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed Melissa Leo, the reigning Best Supporting Actress winner for The Fighter. Leo had been repped by ICM. Leo was best known for her work on the NBC drama Homicide until she caught feature momentum first with Frozen River, which won her the Best Actress Independent Spirit Award and got her an Oscar nomination, and then with The Fighter, which won her the Golden Globe and then the Oscar after Leo scrapped her way to attention by waging her own awards campaign and delivered the most animated acceptance speech of the evening. Leo most recently starred in the Kevin Smith-directed Red State and the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce.

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ARC Entertainment Spends ‘Seven Days In Utopia’

By | Wednesday October 5, 2011 @ 8:07am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: ARC Entertainment has acquired North American rights excluding theatrical to Seven Days In Utopia, the inspirational drama starring Robert Duvall and Melissa Leo. The film — about a down-and-out young pro golfer who becomes stranded in Utopia, Texas and befriends a rancher — was released in theaters in early September and grossed more than $4 million. Lucas Black, Deborah Ann Woll and Brian Geraghty co-star. ARC will release the movie on DVD and video-on-demand later this year. The company’s past titles include martial arts actioner Bunraku and the Sundance documentary Knuckle.

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Toronto: ‘Brooklyn Brothers’ Stars Become A Real Band With Rhino Record Deal

Mike Fleming

The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best premiered in Toronto last night, and while there’s no distribution deal to report yet, writer/director and star Ryan O’Nan and Michael Weston have scored a contract that turns their fictional band into a real thing. The duo plays The Brooklyn Brothers in the film, and now O’Nan and Weston have signed a record contract to record under that band name for Rhino Entertainment. It’s an extension of a deal Rhino made to release the soundtrack of a film that also stars Arielle Kebbel, Melissa Leo, Andrew McCarthy, Christopher McDonald, Jason Ritter, and Wilmer Valderrama.

O’Nan, who wrote most of the movie’s songs, plays a musician who is on the verge of quitting after a painful breakup with his girlfriend. Then he meets a self-appointed music revolutionary (Weston). After an initial violent clash, the guys form a band, work out their Read More »

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Eminem-Antoine Fuqua Boxing Drama ‘Southpaw’ Dropped By DreamWorks But Still Seeking To Answer Bell

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks has thrown in the towel on Southpaw, the boxing drama that has Eminem returning to the screen for the first time since 2002′s 8 Mile, and Antoine Fuqua directing a script by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter. The plan was to start in January. DreamWorks’ Stacey Snider, who worked closely with Eminem and his team on 8 Mile while she ran Universal, basically gave the project back to the filmmakers to set up elsewhere and that’s what they are trying to do. Maybe DreamWorks was concerned the market is crowded with  brawler films after The Fighter and the upcoming Gavin O’Connor-directed mixed martial arts drama Warrior, or maybe the studio’s cautious after its big bet on Cowboys & Aliens didn’t pay off. (I’m sure it’s coincidence that Snider once unplugged the Fuqua-directed version of American Gangster before putting the picture back together with Ridley Scott). But given the appetite of a crop of distributors looking for wide release product, I’d be surprised if this one, which is fully packaged, doesn’t get off the canvas quickly. Read More »

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Stars Turn Out For 9/11 Reading

By | Friday July 22, 2011 @ 7:20am PDT
Mike Fleming

To commemorate the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11, a highly distinguished cast of film, TV & stage actors will gather for a benefit reading of Sarah Tuft’s “110 Stories” on September 8th & 9th at The Skirball Center for the Performing Arts i n Manhattan. The illustrious cast – including, subject to availability: Lauren Ambrose, Andre Braugher, Billy Crudup, Edie Falco, Melissa Leo, Aasif Mandvi, Chris Noth, Vincent Piazza, Andre Royo, Susan Sarandon, Stelio Savante, Pablo Schreiber, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Michael Stuhlbarg, Kathleen Turner, Merritt Wever & others TBA – will share first person accounts of the tragedy.

According to 110 Stories’ Playwright/Creative Producer Sarah Tuft, “It’s the human side of history, without politics & agenda, giving voice to those who experienced 9.11 directly.” A love letter to New York City, the play was most recently performed by an esteemed cast at The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in 2010 with proceeds going to LA Red Cross for Haiti relief.

The Tenth Anniversary benefit reading of 110 Stories is Executive Produced by Ryan Heil/LIVEStyle Entertainment & Produced by Samira Qureshi, Stelio Savante & Cori Silberman. Proceeds from the event will go to the New York Says Thank You Foundation.



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EMMYS: Louis C.K. & Lonely Island Duo Top List Of Multiple Nominees, More Notes

Nellie Andreeva

His eponymous FX comedy may have been snubbed in the best comedy series category, but comedian Louis C.K. still managed to become the most nominated person at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards with four noms, sharing the honors with The Lonely Island’s Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Louis C.K. was nominated in the lead comedy actor category for his role on FX’s Louie, in the writing for comedy series category for penning the Poker/Divorce episode of the show, as well as in two Variety, Music or Comedy special categories for his Epix comedy special Louis C.K.: Hilarious — for writing and for editing. Three of Schaffer and Taccone’s four nominations were in the Original Music and Lyrics category, in which The Lonely Island’s Schaffer, Taccone and Andy Samberg have a regular presence, often in tandem with Justin Timberlake, having won an Emmy together for Dick In a Box. This year, Saturday Night Live is completely dominating the category with four of the six nominations: three for Schaffer, Taccone and Samberg’s digital music videos I Just Have Sex, Jack Sparrow and their latest collaboration with Timberlake, 3-Way, and one for the song from host Timberlake’s opening monologue. Schaffer and Taccone’s fourth Emmy nomination is in the writing for VMC series category for their staff-writing duties on SNL. Read More »

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EMMYS: Jimmy Kimmel Channels Melissa Leo In His Campaign Too

By | Friday June 3, 2011 @ 5:05pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It seems that comedy minds think alike. Like Pee-wee Herman, Jimmy Kimmel too is parodying Melissa Leo’s glam Oscar ads in the Emmy campaign for his ABC show Jimmy Kimmel Live. Luckily, a red carpet disaster is averted as the two funny men went for different gowns. And while Pee-wee opted for some good ol’ photoshopping in the Emmy ad for his HBO special, Kimmel went all out, recreating the look by modeling a low-cut black dress that closely resembles Leo’s. In February, Leo famously paid out of her pocket for the two glammed-up shots that she ran as trade ads supporting her Oscar bid for The Fighter, an award she ultimately won (along with all other major movie prizes this past awards season). If Kimmel or Pee-wee win, they better thank her in their acceptance speeches.







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