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Mike Lobell Adds Cast To ‘Eisner,’ Plots Projects With Billy Crystal, Richard Gere

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Mike Lobell, the veteran producer whose 14-years of persistence helped make the remake Gambit happen, is getting close on three other projects with strong elements. He has re-teamed with former partner, writer-director Andrew Bergman, on A Film By Alan Stuart Eisner, an ensemble comedy which so far has Project X‘s Oliver Cooper, Shirley MacLaine and Robin Williams attached, with Rob Reiner making a cameo. Lobell reports that the film has added Sienna Miller, Isla Fisher and Audra MacDonald. Eisner is a comedy dealing with a young man making a documentary to learn what happened to his family during WWII. He is out looking for financing.

Gambit, by the way, ended up with Michael Hoffman directing a script by Joel and Ethan Coen. Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman star and CBS Films is releasing.

At the same time, Lobell is getting traction on This Man This Woman, the adult love story written by Frederic Raphael. The project has gotten a boost with the attachment of Richard Gere, who long ago sparked to a film which focuses on the trials and tribulations of a marriage. This was the picture that once nearly went into production with Meg Ryan and Sean Penn. Lobell and Gere will now look for a director and their female lead. Read More »

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Shirley MacLaine, Robin Williams And Oliver Cooper To Star In ‘A Film By Alan Stuart Eisner’

By | Wednesday June 6, 2012 @ 3:55pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Writer/director Andy Bergman has re-teamed with producer Mike Lobell on A Film By Alan Stuart Eisner, an ensemble comedy which so far has Project X‘s Oliver Cooper, Shirley MacLaine and Robin Williams attached, with Rob Reiner making a cameo, Lobell tells me.

The comedy follows a young documentary filmmaker with a burning desire to bring his family’s amazing and bizarre World War II history to the screen. Bergman wrote the script. He and Lobell made The Freshman, Honeymoon In Vegas, It Could Happen to You and Striptease together.

Lobell is in the process of pulling together the financing. This comes after he ended a 14-year odyssey to produce a remake of Gambit, which Michael Hoffman directed from a script by Joel and Ethan Coen. Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman star and CBS Films releases October 12.

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A 14-Year ‘Gambit’ Finally Provides a Big Payoff For Producer Mike Lobell

Mike Fleming

Production begins today on Gambit, a caper comedy that stars Colin Firth as a London art curator who plans to con England’s richest man into buying a phony Monet painting. To do it, he enlists a Texas steer roper (Cameron Diaz) to pose as a woman whose grandfather liberated the painting at the end of WWII. Michael Hoffman is directing, Alan Rickman and Tom Courtenay also star, and it’s Firth’s first big job since winning the Best Actor Oscar for The King’s Speech. And the script was written by Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen. Isn’t Hollywood great, the way these things just magically come together?

Gambit actually took a remarkable 14 years to get to this point, a case study on how impossible it is for producers to succeed without infinite patience and an inability to comprehend the word “no.” These Don Quixote types are the only ones in the moviemaking equation who don’t cash big paychecks through the development process, collecting serious fees only when their movies get made. They have a harder road than ever, because cost-cutting studios have made first-look producer deals an endangered species. After all, producers are bringing them projects anyway. In the case of Gambit, the driving force has been producer Mike Lobell. A seasoned vet who has gotten 14 pictures made — The Freshman, Honeymoon in Vegas and Striptease among them — Lobell … Read More »

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CBS Films Acquires Colin Firth-Cameron Diaz Redo ‘Gambit’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Gambit. The film has a script by Joel and Ethan Coen, and Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz are set to star for The Last Station helmer Michael Hoffman. Firth plays an art curator who enlists a Texas rodeo queen in a scam to con England’s richest man. Shooting begins in London this May. The film is based on the 1966 Michael Caine-Shirley MacLaine British caper film.

Mike Lobell is producing with Crime Scene Pictures partners Adam Ripp and Rob Paris, and Rizal Risjad is exec producer. I’ve been writing about this movie for going on a decade, with Lobell  a tireless advocate for a picture that got close several times over the years. Now, the movie seems charmed, with Firth coming off The King’s Speech and his Academy Award for Best Actor. Diaz just starred in Bad Teacher. The picture was funded by Crime Scene. Financing was arranged by CAA, which brokered the domestic distribution deal.

CBS Films is becoming an increasingly busy player in the acquisition circuit after the success of the remake The Mechanic. Those acquisitions are meant to bolster CBS’ slate of homegrown pictures that includes the recent release Beastly.

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Cameron Diaz Joins Colin Firth In ‘Gambit’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Cameron Diaz is attached to star with Colin Firth in Gambit, the Joel and Ethan Coen-scripted remake that will be directed by The Last Station’s Michael Hoffman. The 1966 original starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. Mike Lobell is producing with Crime Scene Pictures partners Adam Ripp and Rob Paris. Crime Scene is financing and FilmNation Entertainment will handle offshore sales at the European Film Market in Berlin. The film will shoot in London this May.

Firth plays a London art curator who plans to con a wealthy collector into buying a phony Monet painting. He enlists a Texas steer roper (Diaz) to pose as a woman whose grandfather liberated the painting at the end of WWII. Diaz is currently starring in The Green Hornet and recently wrapped Bad Teacher. Lobell has spent the better part of a decade trying to push this picture up the hill.  Adding Diaz to the fact Gambit will be Firth’s first project since all the awards hoopla surrounding The King’s Speech, the stars have certainly aligned for Lobell and his passion project.

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Colin Firth In Talks For ‘Gambit’ Redo

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Colin Firth is in talks to star in Gambit, the Joel and Ethan Coen-scripted remake of the 1966 British action comedy that starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. The Last Station’s Michael Hoffman is directing.

Firth is again in the thick of the Oscar race for his role in the Tom Hooper-directed The King’s Speech. While the Coens just wrote and directed a remake in True Grit (they based theirs more on the original Charles Portis novel than the first film) it has taken a lot longer to get their scripted remake of Gambit into production, but not for lack of trying by producer Mike Lobell.

Hoffman signed on recently along with Crime Scene Pictures partners Adam Ripp and Rob Paris, who’ll provide financing through their upstart company. Glen Basner signed on to sell foreign territories though FilmNation. Their hope is to get the picture shooting in London and Texas before summer.

Firth would play a cat burglar who attempts to rob a billionaire of his priceless statue. He enlists the help of a waitress who looks exactly like the victim’s dead wife. The burglar’s usual precision is clouded by his relationship with his accomplice. Firth is repped by CAA.

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‘Gambit’ Remake Gets Funding And Director

By | Thursday November 18, 2010 @ 12:22pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Things are finally looking up for Gambit, the Joel and Ethan Coen-scripted remake of the 1966 British caper comedy which originally starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. Upstart company Crime Scene Pictures has signed on to finance the picture, and The Last Station director Michael Hoffman has come aboard to direct. FilmNation’s Glen Basner will sell foreign territories and the picture is on track to shoot next May in London. Producer Mike Lobell has been trying to get the project made for years, and most recently had Doug Liman flirting with the job. Caine played a cat burglar who tries to rob a billionaire of his priceless statue and enlists the help of a waitress who is a dead ringer for the victim’s late wife. While the burglar has carefully planned the job in his head, the execution is complicated by his relationship with his pretty accomplice.

The filmmakers will go out to cast shortly. Crime Scene Pictures was started by Adam Ripp and Rob Paris. Backed by equity from Southeast Asia, they hope to fund 4-6 pictures over three years with budgets ranging from $2 million to $20 million. Hoffman is repped by UTA.

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