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TCA: The Most Awkward Questions

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 12:57am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

TCA: The Most Awkward QuestionsWith a marathon of sessions every day, some awkward situations during press tour are unavoidable. But I can’t remember a day in TCA history with two blunders of the magnitude we had today. These two questions should easily top the list of cringe-worthy moments at this summer’s TCA.

First, a critic addressed Morgan Freeman, executive producer of CBS’ upcoming drama series Madam Secretary. Here is the exchange, with props to the famous actor for keeping his cool and patiently answering the ridiculous line of questioning:

2014 Summer TCA Tour - Day 10QUESTION: This may be a senior moment but I don’t remember seeing Morgan in the pilot. What role is he going to have? I didn’t even know he was cast in the show.

LORI MCCREARY: He’s not.

MORGAN FREEMAN: I’m not.

QUESTION: What is your role, then? I’m sorry. I’m confused.

MORGAN FREEMAN: Executive, executive producer.

QUESTION: So you’re not going to actually have any on‑air role at all, then?

MORGAN FREEMAN: Well, we can’t say definitely no, but right now, no.

QUESTION: Right now at this point, none at all?

MORGAN FREEMAN: Right.

QUESTION: Okay. Thanks.

scorpion-cbs-02Later in the day, just as all of us were trying to make sense of the horrible news coming out of the Ukraine where a passenger jet went down, CBS held a panel for its new action procedural Scorpion. In the pilot, a group of geniuses race against the clock to help planes, stranded in the … Read More »

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TCA: CBS’ ‘Madam Secretary’ Sprang From Hillary Clinton And Benghazi, Exec Producer Says

TCA: CBS’ ‘Madam Secretary’ Sprang From Hillary Clinton And Benghazi, Exec Producer SaysCBS‘ new drama series Madam Secretary, in which Tea Leoni plays the Secretary of State, came about because of Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, exec producer Lori McCreary told TV critics today at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014.

McCreary said she and Morgan Freeman had lunch with CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler about producing a scripted series for the network, after which, McCreary says, they set about “trying to come up with a great character…And then, guess what happened — the Benghazi hearings,” McCreary said. They went back to Tassler with the idea of a series about what it’s like to be the female Secretary of State, “and how it translates overseas when rights for women are not what they are here,” she said. Tassler introduced them to Joan Of Arcadia creator Barbara Hall, who “took that kernel of an idea” and ran with it.
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Over The Cannes Transom: ‘Wolf Creek’ Director Greg McLean Heads To ‘Jungle’; ‘Gutshot Straight’ Sold To 12 Territories; Cargo Rides With ‘Beautiful Jim Key’; ‘House Of Last Things’ Sold In U.S., Canada, UK, & Germany; Daniel Radcliffe Says ‘You Shall Know Our Velocity’; More

Cannes2014_badgeGreg McLean (6 Miranda Drive, Wolf Creek) will direct Jungle, a thriller based on the international best-selling memoir written by Yossi Ghinsberg. Yossi is an enthusiastic young man with adventurous Greg McLeandreams who heads into the Bolivian jungle with two friends and a fraudulent guide. Their journey turns into a frightening psychological test of faith and human fortitude. Dana Lustig, Gary Hamilton and Mike Gabrawy are producing. Arclight Films has come on board to handle sales worldwide and will present the project to buyers in Cannes. CAA is packaging the film and represents the U.S. distribution rights. Shooting is set to begin toward the end of the year.

The crime action thriller Gutshot Straight has been sold to a dozen Gutshot_StraightPosterterritories. The film centers on a pro poker player (George Eads) who gets mixed up with the underworld when he takes a wager proposed by a mysterious gambler (Stephen Lang). The cast also includes AnnaLynne McCord, Tia Carrere and Steven Seagal as a loan shark. Archstone Distribution said today that it has closed deals for the pic in the UK (Solo), Japan (Prisidio), Middle East (Italia Film), Poland (Kino Swiat), Scandinavia (Lucky Dogs), Pan Latin America (Polarstar), Germany (Maritim Pictures), Thailand (Mono), Ex-Yugo (Stars Media), Czech Republic (Pa-Dora), Benelux (Premiere TV) and Africa (SQN).

Cargo Entertainment has boarded Beautiful Jim Key, an early 20th century period film that marks the directorial debut of Saving Private Ryan scribe Robert Rodat. Cargo will handle international sales and finance with Two Ton Films. The Mark Gordon Company and Revelations Entertainment will produce. Morgan Freeman stars in the true story of Dr. William Key and his brilliant trained horse, Beautiful Jim Key. Production starts early next year.

Double Dutch Internationalhouseoflastthings has sold distribution rights to thriller House Of Last Things in the U.S. and Canada (Revolver), UK (Signature Entertainment) and Germany (MiG), and is in the process of selling remaining territories at Cannes. The project marks the directorial debut of Michael Bartlett (The Little Girl Who Fell From The Tree), who also wrote the film. Lindsey Haun, Blake Berris, and RJ Mitte star. Set in Portland, OR, the film centers on an unspoken tragedy and its effects on a house, its temporary caretakers and the owners, a classical music critic and his wife on a recuperative trip to Italy. The Revolver deal was negotiated by Ron Moring for Double Dutch and Daniel Brandt for Revolver.
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Revelations Entertainment Ups Marcus Mucha To VP Biz Dev

By | Monday February 24, 2014 @ 4:29pm PST

Marcus MuchaMarcus Mucha is on the rise at Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary’s Revelations Entertainment, where he’s been serving as Director of Business Development. Now Mucha has been promoted to VP in the department where he helped put together financing on the upcoming Freeman and Diane Keaton comedy Life Itself, which he associate produced. He also raised funds for Revelations’ DigiRev digital startup incubator. Mucha will continue to grow Revelations’ biz dev opportunities and create a strategic roadmap for the company while overseeing day to day operations. Prior to joining the company he was manager of Business Development at the Mucha Foundation, dedicated to preserving the legacy of his great-grandfather the painter and artist Alphonse Mucha, and served as an agent trainee at ICM under Bob Broder, Doug MacLaren and Kevin Crotty.

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CBS’ Female Secretary Of State Drama From Barbara Hall & Morgan Freeman Gets Pilot Order

By | Monday January 27, 2014 @ 5:45pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

freemanbarbarahallCBS has given a pilot green light to Madam Secretary, from Joan Of Arcadia creator Barbara Hall and Oscar winner Morgan Freeman. The drama, written by Hall, explores the personal and professional life of a maverick female Secretary of State as she drives international diplomacy, wrangles office politics and balances a complex family life. CBS TV Studios is producing with Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment, with the company’s Freeman, Lori McCreary and Tracy Mercer executive producing alongside Hall. While NBC, ABC and Fox are pretty much done with their drama pilot orders, CBS is just starting. This marks the network’s first drama pilot pickup. CBS also has straight-to-series drama Battle Creek.

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Hot Trailer: ‘Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar’

By | Wednesday November 27, 2013 @ 3:56pm PST

No, this isn’t a spinoff of the toon trilogy. Morgan Freeman narrates Warner Bros‘ 3D IMAX documentary Island of Lemurs: Madagascar, which follows the endangered title creatures around the remote title republic. It features scientist Patricia Wright discussing her lifelong mission to help lemurs — of which there are hundreds of species — survive in the modern world. The docu was written and produced by Drew Fellman, and David Douglas is the director/DP. Island of Lemurs hits the really big screens April 4. Here’s the first trailer:

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The Day JFK Was Shot: 50 Years Later, Hollywood Remembers

(A version of this story first appeared Sunday.)

Today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It was a defining moment of the 20th century. That is even the case for someone like me, who was born after November 22, 1963, in the shadow of the president’s murder. Most of my generation can tell you where they were when they learned of the shooting of John Lennon and the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, but everyone of a certain age can tell you where they were that tragic day in Dallas. With the passing of the WWII generation and memories of Pearl Harbor, only 9/11 is as seared into our souls now as much as 11/22. In remembrance of the 35th president, I asked some of the industry’s most notable and insightful individuals — a few of whom had seen JFK just before his death — where they were when they heard the news of the shooting and what they experienced that day. Here’s what they told me:

Ron Meyer – Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal
I had just gotten out of the Marine Corps and I was living in LA. I was working at a men’s clothing store and we heard this news. You know, I was in the Marines during the Cuban missile crisis, during the blockade, so we really felt we knew him and that you had direct involvement with him because, at least during that time, everything that happened to him affected us. We could have gone to war if he’d ordered it. So when he was killed, you felt that someone who had been an integral part of your life, my life, was gone. I was young, 20 years old, but it was the most unexpected loss. You know, my family escaped from Nazi Germany – so to us, he represented the hope of the world. It was tragic.

Jeffrey Katzenberg – CEO, DreamWorks Animation 
I try to focus less on November 22nd and more on November 8th, the date in 1960 when Kennedy was elected president. I was only 9 at the time, but that election, with its down-to-the-wire finish, suddenly made me aware of the excitement and possibilities of politics. Three years later, Kennedy’s assassination was devastating beyond words. But, for me, it further heightened the impact of his 1,000 days. While I was still in middle school, I went to work for another dynamic young leader, New York Mayor John Lindsay. JFK’s example inspired me then, and it inspires me still.

Related: Dan Rather To Narrate ESPN Special Commemorating JFK

Bill O’Reilly – Host, The O’Reilly Factor; Author, Killing Kennedy
Back in November of 1963, I was a 14-year-old freshman at Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York. I was sitting in Brother Carmine Diodati’s religion class when the loud speaker crackled, and the school principal announced that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. He then put the CBS radio report on the loudspeakers all over the school. The students were stunned. Few of us said anything.

When I got home that afternoon, my mother was watching CBS on television. Her mother, my grandmother’s name was Winifred Kennedy. So the O’Reilly family had a direct emotional tie to the much more famous Kennedy clan. In the weeks that followed, life got back to normal for the teenagers on Long Island. But my friends and I will never forget the first time we heard of the treacherous assassination.

Related: ‘Killing Kennedy’ Draws Record Viewership For Nat Geo Read More »

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AFM: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman Back For ‘Olympus’ Sequel ‘London Has Fallen’

2013′s White House action hit Olympus Has Fallen will be sequelized as NuImage/Millennium Films bring returning stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman to London. This time around POTUS (Eckhart) and his trusted Secret Service bodyguard Mike Banning (Butler) plus an English MI6 agent are the only ones who can stop a plot to take down London during the Prime Minister’s funeral. Angela Bassett and Radha Mitchell also reprise their roles in London Has Fallen as the director of the Secret Service and Mike’s wife, respectively, while Freeman is back as Senator Allan Trumbull. The project is out to directors. Butler, Alan Siegel, Mark Gill, Matt O’Toole, and Danny Lerner are producing. Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, John Thompson, and Christine Crow are exec producing. Katrin Benedikt and Creighton Rothenberger, who scripted the first Fallen flick, will write the sequel. Filming begins in May in London, and the pic will be offered at AFM.

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Dorian Missick Cast In ‘Annie’; Morgan Freeman To Narrate IMAX Docu; Fran Kranz Joins ‘Mojave’; ‘Mortdecai’ Adds Guy Burnet

By | Wednesday October 2, 2013 @ 5:56pm PDT

Southland‘s Dorian Missick has been cast in Columbia’s Annie remake. He and Tracie Thoms will play Annie’s “fake parents” in the pic which stars Quvenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx. Will Smith and Jay-Z are producing the Christmas 2014 release which begins filming in NYC this Fall. Missick recently shot the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Beware the Night with Eric Bana and Joel McHale. He’s repped by Innovative Artists, MJ Management, and Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson and Binder.

WB has tapped Morgan Freeman to narrate Island of Lemurs: Madagascar. The IMAX 3D docu adventure features lemur expert Patricia Wright and tracks the species indigenous to the lands of Madagascar. The pic reunites Freeman with writer/producer Drew Fellman and director David Douglas (Born to Be Wild 3D). Island of Lemurs opens in select IMAX and IMAX 3D screens April 4. Freeman is repped by CAA and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.

Fran Kranz (Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing) is joining William Monahan‘s Mojave opposite Oscar Isaac, Garrett Hedlund, and Walton Goggins. The Atlas Independent indie follows a near-suicidal artist who escapes to the desert only to encounter his doppelganger-like antagonist, a homicidal drifter. Read More »

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CBS Developing Female Secretary Of State Drama From Barbara Hall & Morgan Freeman

By | Friday August 16, 2013 @ 2:14pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: While NBC is grappling with controversy triggered by its planned miniseries about Former Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton, CBS is putting in development a drama series about a fictional female Secretary of State. Madame Secretary, from Joan Of Arcadia creator Barbara Hall and Oscar winner Morgan Freeman, explores the personal and professional life of a maverick female Secretary of State as she drives international diplomacy, wrangles office politics and balances a complex family life. Hall is writing the project, from CBS TV Studios and Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment. She is executive producing with Revelations’ Freeman, Lori McCreary and Tracy Mercer. Hall is with UTA, Brillstein Entertainment and Ziffren Brittenham; Freeman is with CAA. NBC’s mini Hillary, which has led to the network’s exclusion from GOP primary presidential debates, recounts Clinton’s life as a wife, mother, politician and cabinet member from 1998 to the present, including her four-year stint as Secretary of State. The project is still looking for a studio after a deal with Fox TV Studios fell through.

Related:
NBC Says Hillary Clinton Miniseries Might Never Go To Production

RNC Votes To Block CNN, NBC From Primary Debates

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Cannes: Morgan Freeman And Diane Keaton To Star In Comedy ‘Life Itself’

Myriad Pictures has tapped Richard Loncraine to direct Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton in Life Itself, a comedy based on the Jill Ciment novel Heroic Measures. Charlie Peters wrote the screenplay, about a long-married NY couple who find themselves swept into an emotional and comical real estate bidding war when they put their beloved downtown apartment on the market — and must come to terms with the possibility of moving from the home where they have spent most of their adult lives. Freeman and Lori McCreary’s Revelations Entertainment will produce with Latitude Productions. McCreary, Curtis Burch, Peters and Tracy Mercer are producing, and Freeman will executive produce. Myriad’s Kirk D’Amico and David Ducar negotiated international sales rights to the film and the company is introducing the project at Cannes. Its slate here includes Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes starring Kaya Scodelario and Jessica Biel; The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Him And Her with Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy; Life Partners with Leighton Meester, Adam Brody, and Gillian Jacobs; and the Derek Martini-directed The Curse Of Downers Grove with Bella Heathcote, Lucas Till and Kevin Zegers. CAA and WME Global co-rep North American rights to Life Itself. Read More »

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First Photo: CBS Films’ ‘Last Vegas’

By | Monday November 5, 2012 @ 6:24am PST

The whole gang is in Sin City. The first photo from CBS Films and Good Universe‘s Last Vegas shows Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro and Kevin Kline in some fine threads for a good time in the town. The comedy about four friends who throw a bachelor party in Las Vegas for the last of the gang to remain single (played by Douglas) packs a lot of seasoned star power is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2013. Mary Steenburgen is in Last Vegas too, as is Jerry Ferrara, Romany Malco and Roger Bart. Jon Turteltaub directs from an original screenplay by Dan Fogelman. Last Vegas is shooting in Sin City and then moving on to Atlanta.

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Warner Bros Builds Morgan Freeman And Elizabeth Banks Into ‘Lego’ Feature

By | Monday August 27, 2012 @ 3:49pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Elizabeth Banks and Morgan Freeman will lend their voices to lead roles in Lego, Warner Bros tent pole animated 3D film that will be released February 28, 2014. Studio is keeping the specific character under wraps, but I’m told that Freeman will voice a character called Vitruvius and they will join Chris Pratt and Will Arnett in the film. Latter reportedly plays a Lego version of Batman. The plot: an ordinary Lego mini-figure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil Lego tyrant from gluing the universe together. The film will be directed by the 21 Jump Street team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who wrote the script and who share story credit with Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman. Dan Lin and Roy Lee are producing. Banks is repped by UTA and Untitled and Freeman by CAA. Australian animation house Animal Logic will do the CGI work.

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Morgan Freeman Gives $1 Million To Obama Super PAC

By | Thursday July 19, 2012 @ 11:13am PDT

Morgan Freeman Barack Obama DonationThe Dark Knight Rises star and Oscar winner has donated $1 million toward President Obama’s re-election campaign. Morgan Freeman’s donation wasn’t directly to the campaign’s Obama Victory Fund but to Priorities USA Action, a Super PAC formed by two former White House aides that targets contributions from wealthy donors. Freeman’s contribution matchs the $1 million that Bill Maher gave Priorities in February.

Barack Obama Political DonationsFreeman made his contribution in June as Priorities’ Federal Election Commission filing will show tomorrow. He joins a list of Hollywood elite giving money to Priorities, joining Maher, J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg and Chelsea Handler among donors. Jeffery Katzenberg, one of the biggest contributors to the president’s re-election campaign, has given Priorities $2 million. “President Obama has done a remarkable job in historically difficult circumstances”, Freeman said in a statement released via Priorities USA Action. “I am proud to lend my voice — and support — to those who defend him. Priorities USA Action is doing a great job of protecting the values I believe in. I am happy to help them and I hope others will join me”. In 2008, the actor donated $2,300 to Obama. Read More »

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It’s Official: Morgan Freeman Joins ‘Last Vegas’

By | Thursday May 17, 2012 @ 12:14pm PDT

Related: Morgan Freeman In Talks For ‘Last Vegas’

LOS ANGELES – May 17, 2012 – CBS Films and Good Universe announced today that Oscar®-winner Morgan Freeman will join fellow Oscar®-winners Michael Douglas and Robert De Niro in the comedy LAST VEGAS.

Directed by Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure, While You Were Sleeping) from a screenplay by Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love, Tangled), LAST VEGAS is a comedy about four old friends who decide to throw a Las Vegas bachelor party for the only one of them who has remained single.

Freeman is set to play Archie Clay, an army veteran, who looks to escape the watchful eyes of his son and daughter-in-law and accompany his best friends on a trip to Vegas.

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Morgan Freeman In Talks For ‘Last Vegas’

Morgan Freeman Last VegasEXCLUSIVE: Morgan Freeman is in negotiations to join the cast of Last Vegas. The film, which already has Michael Douglas and Robert De Niro on board, is about four friends of retirement age who reunite in Sin City for one last blowout at the bachelor party of the only one of the pals who has stayed single. Jon Turtletaub will direct. Laurence Mark and Amy Baer are producing with CBS Films and Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane’s newly announced Good Universe. Kahane and Nicole Brown will executive produce. Matt Leonetti is co-producing. Morgan Freeman is repped by CAA.

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Morgan Freeman Joins Tom Cruise In Post-Apocalyptic ‘Oblivion’ For Universal

By | Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 10:21am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Morgan Freeman will bring his regal presence to Oblivion, the Joseph Kosinski-directed film for Universal Pictures that stars Tom Cruise, Andrea Riseborough and Olga Kurylenko. Cruise plays the last man on a post-apocalyptic and nearly uninhabitable Earth, who stays behind to repair ships that hunt down and blast a virulent alien species. I haven’t yet been able to figure out what role Freeman will play, but I’m told it’s a critical part.

Michael Arndt is currently rewriting a script that had earlier drafts by William Monahan and Karl Gajdusek. Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark are producing through Chernin Entertainment along with Barry Levine and Kosinski. Jesse Berger and Dave Morrison are executive producers. Freeman’s last starring role in a Universal film was Wanted, and before that he twice played God in Bruce Almighty and the spinoff Evan Almighty. He’s repped by CAA and attorney Jason Sloane.

 

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Magnolia Takes Rights To Rob Reiner’s ‘Magic Of Belle Isle’

By | Wednesday February 8, 2012 @ 10:29am PST

U.S. rights to Rob Reiner’s The Magic Of Belle Isle have been picked up by Magnolia Pictures. Magnolia plans a theatrical and VOD release in its Ultra VOD program in the summer. Starring Morgan Freeman, Virginia Madsen, Madeline Carroll, Kenan Thompson, and Fred Willard, the film revolves around Monte Wildhorn (Freeman) a famous Western novelist whose struggle with alcoholism has sapped his passion for writing. He takes a lakeside cabin for the summer in picturesque Belle Isle, and befriends the family next door including a single mother (Madsen) and her young daughters who help him find inspiration again. Magnolia SVP of Acquisitions Dori Begley and Head of Business Affairs Chris Matson negotiated the deal with John Sloss and Dana O’Keefe for Cinetic Media, and Martin Shafer of Castle Rock.

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Morgan Freeman To Receive Golden Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille Award

By | Wednesday November 9, 2011 @ 10:01am PST

Morgan Freeman has been tapped to receive the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Cecil B. DeMille Award, which will be bestowed during the Golden Globes ceremony January 15. The honor is given for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment and is the organization’s lifetime achievement award. Previous winners include Warren Beatty, Anthony Hopkins, Steven Spielberg and Robert DeNiro, among others. The Oscar winner and five-time nominee won the best actor Globe in 1990 for Driving Miss Daisy.

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