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Bryan Greenberg And Stephanie Sigman To Star In USA’s Cheryl Heuton/Nick Falacci Pilot, Lifting Contingency

By | Wednesday November 14, 2012 @ 2:30pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

USA has cast former How To Make It In America star Bryan Greenberg and newcomer Stephanie Sigman, the breakout star of acclaimed Mexican movie Miss Bala, as the two leads of its untitled hourlong pilot from Numbers creators Nicolas Falacci & Cheryl Heuton, Universal Cable Prods. and Doug Liman and Dave Bartis’ Hypnotic. Like most USA pilots, the project based on an Elmore Leonard short story was originally picked up as cast-contingent. Greenberg and Sigman are lifting the contingency. Filming on the pilot will likely begin in January in Miami with Kevin Bray (Walking Tall, USA’s Suits) set to direct. Read More »

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OSCAR: Analyzing Foreign Language Race

This season, 63 countries have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 84th Academy Awards. The 2011 submissions are vying to be among the 9 long-listed by the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences before the 5 finalists are announced with Oscar nominations on January 24. Here are the films that AwardsLine London Contributor Tim Adler believes will make the semifinal round:

Declaration Of War (France)
Sundance Selects, U.S. release date: January 27
Valérie Donzelli’s Declaration Of War has been a huge hit with critics and the public alike. The movie, which opened Cannes Critics’ Week this  year, has sold to more than 30 territories and has already generated over 810,000 admissions in France for distributor-sales agent Wild Bunch. Declaration Of War is based on Donzelli’s own life story. She and her former partner Jérémie Elkaïm play themselves in the film, which charts their fight to save the baby they had together after he is diagnosed with a brain tumor. The film’s success with audiences is largely attributed to its happy ending: the baby survives. Donzelli tells me, “The audience is confronted with the worst thing you can imagine, and yet they see people overcoming the situation. It’s not about the anguish of death but passion for life.”

The Flowers Of War (China)
Wrekin Hill, U.S. Release: 2012

Flowers marks a return to high drama for China’s favorite director Zhang Yimou and represents his fourth attempt at an Academy Award,
following defeats for Hero (2003), Raise the Red Lantern (1992) and Ju Dou (1991). With a budget of nearly $100 million, The Flowers of War – starring Christian Bale – is Zhang’s most expensive film ever. Zhang’s problem: Judges of the Best Foreign-Language Film category don’t really go for blockbusters. The film is based on events in the former Chinese capital of Nanjing when the Japanese occupied it during the Second World War. Bale plays a mortician who goes to collect the body of an American priest from Nanjing Cathedral, where he discovers local schoolgirls hiding from the carnage outside. Pledging to protect them, he dresses up as a priest and also shelters a group of prostitutes who have arrived at the cathedral. The Flowers of War ran for seven days in a 22-seat Beijing cinema to meet entry standards for the Oscars, which requires films to be  shown in domestic theatres for at least a week. (It’s reportedly 40% English-language and 60% Mandarin, which lets it squeak by one of the Academy’s rules.) Despite little promotion and tickets costing 200 yuan ($30), double the normal price, Zhang’s latest sold out within 40 minutes of its box office opening. Chinese producer New Pictures Films  handled U.S. rights with exec producers Chaoying Deng and David Linde and Stephen Saltzman of Loeb & Loeb. Wrekin Hill has acquired for U.S. distribution and releases on December 23.
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Toronto: CAA Signs ‘Miss Bala’ Helmer Gerardo Naranjo

By | Sunday September 11, 2011 @ 12:38pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed Gerardo Naranjo, the Mexican writer and director of Miss Bala that plays today at Toronto after making its international premiere at Cannes in May. It will also play at The New York Film Festival October 1. Fox releases the film in the U.S. in January. The drama deals with drug violence through an unlikely prism: the Tijuana beauty pageant contestant (Stephanie Sigman) who stumbles into the path of ruthless cartel operatives and corrupt officials. It is inspired by a true story. Here is a trailer for the film:

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