I’ve always found the Tribeca Film Festival’s program to be a bit dull, but one section the fest smartly programs each year is the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival. This year, they open with what to this long suffering Knicks fan sounds like the greatest film of all time. They open April 17 with the gala premiere of the docu When The Garden Was Eden, a film about the Knicks championship teams of the early 70’s, the days of Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, Cazzie Russell, Dick Barnett, and yeah, Phil Jackson. While Jackson is now the polished Zen Master who coached the LA Lakers and Chicago Bulls to 11 titles and expected to come in and overhaul the Knicks roster, you should have seen him back then, long haired and gangly, when it was an adventure watching Jackson race down court trying to make a simple layup. The team battled classic rivals like the hated Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, and, honestly with the exception of Jeremy Lin’s short stint as point guard and the vintage playoff battles led by Patrick Ewing and John Starks, Knicks hoops were never as much fun as when Frazier was the point guard steering the Knicks attack. Pic is directed by Michael Rapaport, who’s currently making a strong impression as a redneck bad guy in the FX series Justified.
EXCLUSIVE: After a lengthy stint on broadcast starting with his breakout role on Friends, Michael Rapaport has found a strong second act on cable. On the heels of a showy seasonlong arc on the upcoming season of FX’s Justified, Rapaport has signed on to co-star opposite Ed Burns in another cable drama project, TNT pilot Public Morals, executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Written, executive produced, to be directed by and starring Burns, whose father worked for the NYPD during the late 1960s, Public Morals is set in 1967 in New York City’s Public Morals Division, where cops walk the line between morality and criminality as the temptations that come from dealing with all kinds of vice can get the better of them. It centers on cop Terry Muldoon (Burns), who knows the line between the good guys and bad guys is thin, and he is determined to raise his sons to be honest and hardworking as he deals with the dark underbelly of the vice world. Rapaport will play Muldoon’s partner Charlie Bullman, the muscle of the operation. Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey and Aaron Lubin also executive produce. In features, Rapaport, repped by Resolution and Brillstein Entertainment, was recently seen in hit comedy The Heat.
Two roles on CBS‘ new comedy series The Millers will be recast. I’ve learned that Michael Rapaport and Mary Elizabeth Ellis are leaving Greg Garcia’s multi-camera show starring Will Arnett as Nathan Miller, a recently divorced local roving news reporter looking forward to living the singles’ life until his parents’ marital problems unexpectedly derail his plans. After Nathan finally breaks the news of his divorce to his parents, Carol (Margo Martindale) and Tom (Beau Bridges), his father is inspired to follow suit and stuns the family when he leaves his wife of 43 years. Carol moves in with Will, while Tom moves in with Will’s sister Debbie and her husband — roles that were played in the James Burrows-directed pilot by Ellis and Rapaport and will now be recast. CBS TV Studios is producing. Interestingly, all recastings on new shows so far this year have been on comedy series, including NBC‘s The Family Guide (Parker Posey) and Sean Saves The World (Lindsay Sloane), and Fox’s Surviving Jack (Alex Kapp Horner).
Related: CBS 2013-14 Schedule
Michael Rapaport is getting some Tough Luck. He has been set to direct the Brooklyn-based noir thriller, an adaption of Jason Starr’s 2003 novel. Starr is writing the screenplay. Rival Pictures is producing, and shooting is scheduled to start in New York next year. Known for his roles in front of the camera in TV series like Prison Break and movies like Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite, Rapaport directed Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest, which was released last year. The hip-hop documentary won the PGA’s Producer of the Year Award. Rapaport is repped by Paradigm and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
EXCLUSIVE: With his HBO comedy series Entourage recently wrapping production on its final season, Doug Ellin is shifting attention to his next project for the pay cable network, half-hour pilot 40. Michael Rapaport has been tapped to star opposite Ed Burns in the ensemble comedy, which revolves around four lifelong friends who help each other navigate life at 40, which isn’t all they expected it to be. Burns plays one of them, a married guy and a father who used to work at Bear Stearns making over $2 million a year but has now been out of work for almost a year. Rapaport, repped by Paradigm and Brillstein Entertainment, will play another friend, also married, who is described as a neurotic everyman. Rapaport’s series credits include comedies The War at Home and My Name Is Earl and drama Prison Break.
Sony Pictures Classics closed a deal for domestic rights to Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest. The film was in the documentary competition at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. It marks the feature directorial debut of actor Michael Rapaport and documents the progression of the seminal alternative hip-hop group. A Tribe Called Quest released three platinum albums – Midnight Marauders, The Low End Theory and Beats, Rhymes & Life — but its members went through a tumultuous breakup 1998. The film covers their attempt to reunite and capture their old magic. Rival Pictures and State Street Pictures produced the film. Paradigm reps Rapaport, and the Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group brokered the deal. Rapaport is developing a cable TV series version of The White Shadow with producer John Davis.
“Michael Rapaport proves himself a major new director and in doing so gives the audience an inside look at one of hip-hop’s most fascinating and influential groups,” SPC partners Michael Barker and Tom Bernard said in a statement. “A Tribe Called Quest has a fan base spanning generations, and this film will only serve to solidify that audience while opening doors for entirely new fans of both the band and Michael.”
Said Rapaport: “As a first-time filmmaker, to have the support of SPC is like being signed by the New York Yankees. Telling this story was not only a …