In 1976, Nick Nolte burst into the scene with a starring role in a mini-series, ABC’s 12-hour saga Rich Man, Poor Man. Thirty seven year later, Nolte is returning to longform TV with a regular role in Fox’s 10-hour event series Gracepoint, a remake of the UK’s Broadchurch. The project, from Shine America and Kudos, centers on Detective Emmett Carver (David Tennant), the lead male investigator on the case of a shocking murder of 11-year-old Danny that puts a small town under scrutiny. CAA-repped Nolte will play Jack Reinhold, the stubborn, willful owner of the kayak rental on the beach as well as the local wildlife observation program, where the murdered boy was one of his volunteers. This marks only the second major TV gig for Nolte since Rich Man, Poor Man; he also starred on the HBO drama series Luck. Nolte has been focused on features, earning three Oscar nominations, most recently for Warrior.
EXCLUSIVE: Borat and Bruno helmer Larry Charles is set to direct the film adaptation of Bill Bryson’s best-selling memoir A Walk In The Woods, with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte starring. The script was written by Little Miss Sunshine‘s Michael Arndt, and it is aiming for a March start. Wildwood Enterprises’ Redford and Bill Holderman are producing with Route One Films’ Chip Diggins. The film is a road-trip comedy about an aging travel writer who decides to hike the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail, accompanied by a long-estranged high school buddy he’s been avoiding for years. Along the way, the duo face off with each other, nature and an eccentric assortment of characters only to discover that some roads are better left untraveled.
Nick Nolte and Glenn Close are about to get very rock’n’roll with Chris D’Arienzo. The multiple Oscar nominees have signed on to the Rock Of Ages creator’s Always On My Mind. D’Arienzo will direct the movie from his own script. Occupant Entertainment’s Joe Neurauter and Felipe Marino will produce. Nolte will play an aging rocker who is beginning to suffer from Alzheimer’s. Close will play the supportive spouse trying to take care of her husband after a hard-lived life. Close is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content. Nolte and D’Arienzo are repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: Sunrise Pictures and Pitbull Pictures are getting underway with The Trials of Cate McCall, with Kate Beckinsale, Nick Nolte and James Cromwell starring. Karen Moncrieff is directing her script and production has just started in Los Angeles with Sunrise Pictures’ Peter Schafer and Pitbull Pictures’ Moncrieff and Eric Karten producing and financing. Jim Klock and Joe Dain of Sunrise Pictures will act as executive producers. WME Global will be managing domestic sales.
“Cate McCall is a labor of love for us,” Karten said. “We’re thrilled to have partners who contribute not only their tremendous resources and expertise, but a level of passion that matches our own. Sunrise just plain rocks.”
Beckinsale plays a former hotshot prosecutor who threw her career away when she became an addict. Hoping to regain credibility and win custody of her estranged daughter, the lawyer takes on the appeal of a wrongly convicted murderess. She battles crooked cops, a broken system, and her own demons.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
HBO’s new series Luck is about horse racing, but at today’s TCA panel, the sport in question was prize-fighting — whether reported friction between the strong personalities involved in the show led to ego clashes behind the scenes. The contenders: Stars Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, pilot executive producer/director Michael Mann and pilot executive producer/writer David Milch. All four acknowledged their reputations for being difficult, but insisted that peace reigns on Luck. Concerning rumors of contention on the pilot set, Mann said: “It’s ridiculous.” He explained, “There’s a time when any director wants the set to himself” and said a request to have non-participants step away at one point “got contorted into something else.” After the session, Mann said testily, “We’re not four difficult people. People who are insecure don’t have strong egos. We’re good at what we do, so we don’t have insecurity.”
Although there are some young Hollywood turks trying to break through in an ‘Extremely Large and Incredibly Close’ race for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, 2011 may eventually become known as the year of the veteran. Acting legends with decades of iconic screen performances and Oscar winners dominate the field of frontrunners in one of Oscar’s most crowded and intriguing categories. With names like Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow, Ben Kingsley, Nick Nolte, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Albert Brooks, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hanks and Robert Forster in the mix, the pedigree of contenders for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role is formidable indeed. But could a relative newcomer like Jonah Hill or Patton Oswalt swoop in and take the whole thing? Here are the major players.
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, BEGINNERS
Plummer turns 82 this month and is enjoying a major resurgence in a film acting career that goes back to 1958, when he made his debut in Stage Struck. Since then his fine screen roles have often been eclipsed by his own stage-struck ways with a number of memorable performances in the theater including a couple that won him Tony Awards. He only just received his first Oscar nomination two years ago for The Last Station, but with his touching role as a 75-year-old widower who finally decides to come out of the closet, he may grab the actual statuette this time. An effective, if small, supporting role in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo only adds to his chances.
MAX von SYDOW, EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE
With a life spent before the cameras for over 60 years, the 82-year-old von Sydow is an acting legend whose work ranges from several landmark Ingmar Bergman films to the harrowing Exorcist. Yet like Plummer (who is just eight months his junior), he incredibly has been Oscar-nominated only once, for 1987’s Pelle the Conqueror. But his touching and completely wordless performance as a distant grandfather in Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close could finally be his ticket to the Kodak stage.
KENNETH BRANAGH, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
Another acting icon, Laurence Olivier, is also part of this year’s supporting race — but in this case he is being channeled by none other than Olivier fan and student Kenneth Branagh, who portrays Olivier in 1956 as he was directing and starring with Marilyn Monroe in The Prince And The Showgirl. Branagh has tackled many Olivier screen roles like Henry V and Hamlet (he even directed the remake of Olivier’s Sleuth), but taking on the actual persona of the man himself was particularly challenging and puts him — and his mentor — right back in the Oscar race.
BEN KINGSLEY, HUGO
Already an Oscar winner for 1982’s Gandhi, Kingsley effectively takes on the role of film pioneer Georges Melies in Martin Scorsese’s valentine to the early days of movies. With a total of four nominations split evenly between lead and supporting categories, Kingsley is an Academy favorite who once again creates a memorable character, one with great meaning for the filmmakers who will be voting. Will being the only serious candidate in a 3D movie also separate him from the pack?
ALBERT BROOKS, DRIVE
Until now Brooks was only known for comedy — those he wrote and directed and those he starred in. He was even previously Oscar-nominated for his hilarious supporting turn in 1987’s Broadcast News. But none of his previous work prepared critics and audiences for his nasty, villainous Bernie Rose in the noirish thriller Drive. But his brilliant interpretation and cool new screen persona should deservedly win him a second Oscar nomination.
BRAD PITT, THE TREE OF LIFE
Pitt is a double threat this year. He’s already won the New York Film Critics award given for both Moneyball and The Tree Of Life, and ever since its debut in Cannes, Terrence Malick’s Palme d’Or winner has sparked Oscar buzz for Pitt’s effectively low-key change-of-pace and critically acclaimed work as a 1950s-era father. Could he become one of those rare thesps who score both supporting and lead actor nominations in the same year? Don’t bet against it.
JONAH HILL, MONEYBALL
Pitt’s co-star in Moneyball who was best known for his antics in movies like Superbad enjoyed his first taste of awards buzz for shedding several pounds and shrewdly underplaying the whiz-kid genius who comes up with an inexpensive formula to create a winning baseball team. Going head to head with Pitt, Hill proved he could hold his own just as he did in last year’s lesser-known Cyrus.
KEVIN SPACEY, MARGIN CALL
Although the film was well-received at its Sundance debut, Margin Call was not considered a major awards contender, even by its own distributor. That has changed with several early awards and Oscar talk for two-time winner Kevin Spacey, who has spent a lot more time in recent years running London’s Old Vic rather than on his own film career. A change-of-pace performance won raves and could put Spacey back in the front row at the Oscars.
PATTON OSWALT, YOUNG ADULT
Perhaps best known as a stand-up comedian and the voice of the lead rat in Pixar’s Ratatouille, Oswalt is quickly establishing his credentials as a serious actor, first in the critically acclaimed indie film The Big Fan and now on a larger scale as a lonely man whose life was defined by an unfortunate incident in high school. His scenes opposite Charlize Theron are awkward, funny, poignant and memorable.
The Guard star Brendan Gleeson has joined Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Brit Marling and Anna Kendrick in the Redford-directed The Company You Keep. Gleeson will next be seen opposite Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs, in the John Cusack-starrer The Raven, and with Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds in the Daniel Espinosa-directed Safe House for Universal. He’s repped by Principal Entertainment and Ireland-based The Agency.
BREAKING: In a high-six-figure deal, Warner Bros has acquired The Samurai, a spec script that will be the next film directed by Warrior helmer Gavin O’Connor. The intention is to get it into production quickly, because O’Connor is also working on a stage play adaptation of The Hustler, the Walter Tevis novel that was turned into the 1961 pool hustler film that starred Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason. O’Connor secured the rights from the author’s estate and Fox and is writing the stage play with his Warrior co-writer Anthony Tambackis. They are deep into it, and while they’ve not yet taken the play out for financing, O’Connor is eyeing a Broadway bow and said he’s got a commitment from Renee Zellweger to play Sarah Packard, the companion of Fast Eddie Felson who was played in the film by Piper Laurie.
As for The Samurai, O’Connor wrote the spec with Michael J. Wilson. The action adventure is about a rogue assassin named Townes Joyce, who breaks out of a Texas jail that puts him on the run from an international manhunt. Along the way, he gets involved with a woman and her child, and they go along for a ride that spans Costa Rica, Colombia, Paris and back to the U.S. O’Connor intends to make this his film follow-up to Warrior, which stars Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte. I’m not …
EXCLUSIVE: Nick Nolte continues his recent career resurgence. He’s been set to join the cast of the Ruben Fleischer-directed Warner Bros drama Gangster Squad. Nolte will play Bill Parker, the new chief of police in Los Angeles, and the first in a awhile who hasn’t been corrupted by Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). The chief, a Purple Heart recipient at Normandy, is the one who starts the Gangster Squad, a crack team designed to bring down organized crime. Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, Mireille Enos and Anthony Mackie star.
Nolte stars in the Gavin O’Connor-directed Warrior, and he just wrapped the Taylor Hackford-directed action film Parker for FilmDistrict opposite Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez and Michael Chiklis. Nolte is about to begin work on the Robert Redford-directed The Company You Keep opposite Redford and Shia LaBeouf, and he also stars with Dustin Hoffman in the David Milch/Michael Mann HBO series Luck.
EXCLUSIVE: Robert Redford has set Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie and Richard Jenkins to star in The Company You Keep, the drama Redford is directing and starring in alongside Shia LaBeouf, Nick Nolte and Brit Marling. The film’s a co-production between Voltage Pictures and Wildwood Enterprises.
The film is an adaptation of the Neil Gordon novel, scripted by Lem Dobbs. It’s the story of an ex-Weather Underground militant wanted by the FBI for 30 years who must go on the run when his true identity is exposed by a young, ambitious reporter. Redford plays the former radical at the center of this nationwide manhunt, and LaBeouf is the determined journalist. Sarandon and Christie play former Weather Underground members who were accomplices in the bank robbery, and Jenkins plays a college professor who is a link to former radicals in hiding.
Redford, Bill Holderman and Nicolas Chartier are producing, and Craig J. Flores is the executive producer. Voltage Pictures is selling the picture internationally and the film begins production in Vancouver next month. Sarandon’s repped by ICM, Christie by WME, and Jenkins by Gersh.
EXCLUSIVE: Mimi Leder has signed on to direct All Quiet on the Western Front, an adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s WWI novel that was previously turned into the 1930 film that won a Best Picture Oscar and another for director Lewis Milestone. The novel is about the intense and terrifying action of 1918 trench warfare that traumatizes a young and idealistic German soldier on the Western front. The script is by Ian Stokell and Lesley Paterson. They will produce through their Sliding Down Rainbows Entertainment shingle. They have also come up with part of the funding, Leder told me.
Leder, whose feature credits include Deep Impact and The Peacemaker, just completed directing the season finale of Luck, the HBO series that stars Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, with Michael Mann and David Milch exec producing. She hadn’t read the novel or seen the original film when she was sent the WWI script by Stokell and Paterson, but was struck by how the themes of disillusion and loss of humanity during ferocious fighting hadn’t lost its relevance despite the period setting.
Lionsgate has issued a trailer for Warrior, a film written and directed by Miracle and Pride and Glory helmer Gavin O’Connor that seems to have a bit of familial spirit of The Fighter, transplanted to the world of mixed martial arts. It’s the story of battling brothers played by Tom Hardy (the Inception star who’s next starring in The Dark Knight Rises) and Joel Edgerton (the Animal Kingdom star who’s one of the thesps testing for Tony Gilroy’s The Bourne Legacy). Nick Nolte plays their father. The film opens Sept. 9.
In a pretty cool interview that Michael Mann gave to Financial Times’ Matthew Garrahan about his experience directing and exec producing the David Milch-created HBO series Luck, Mann dropped on Garrahan that he’s close on two features. Now, I’ve heard that the collision of alpha males Mann and Milch (not to mention Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte) on the set of Luck had the kinds of macho exchanges that could have been scripted by David Mamet, but hopefully the result will be another memorable HBO series. As for the features, FT reports that Mann is mulling a medieval European tale about the build-up to the 15th century battle of Agincourt between England and France. The other is a Chicago crime tale, Big Tuna, the story of Tony Accardo and his successor, Sam Giancana. I’ve spoken to Mann about the former project, which is based on Bernard Cornwell’s Agincourt, a bestselling novel that focuses on a young man with a death sentence on his head who is saved when his skills with the bow catch the attention of king Henry V. The archer develops into a warrior and falls in love with a young woman whose virtue he saved from a lecherous priest, and he becomes the portal to the bloody Battle of Agincourt, made famous by Shakespeare’s Henry V. Last time Mann tried this kind of historical stuff, the result was the classic The Last of the Mohicans. And …
HBO has ordered the Dustin Hoffman-starring pilot Luck to series. Luck, from Michael Mann and David Milch, takes a provocative look at horse racing – the owners, gamblers, jockeys and diverse gaming industry players. Production is set to begin this fall at Santa Anita Park and other Los Angeles locations.
“Michael Mann delivered a pilot from David Milch’s brilliant script that took our breath away,” said HBO’s programming president Michael Lombardo. “We are truly excited that these two artists, and our extraordinary cast headed by Dustin Hoffman, will be bringing Luck to life.”
The cast for the pilot, penned by Milch and directed by Mann, also includes Dennis Farina, John Ortiz, Kevin Dunn, Richard Kind, Jason Gedrick, Ritchie Coster, Ian Hart, Tom Payne, Kerry Condon, Gary Stevens and Nick Nolte. Jill Hennessy guest stars. Milch, Mann and Carolyn Strauss execitive produce, with Henry Bronchtein co-executive producing and Hoffman producing.
Luck joins another high-profile new HBO drama series from a big filmmaker and a top TV writer, Martin Scorsese/Terence Winter’s Boardwalk Empire, which stars Steve Buscemi. The network also has two pilots from A-listers, Bill Condon’s Tilda, starring Diane Keaton, Jason Patric and Ellen Page, and John Logan/Kathryn Bigelow’s Miraculous Year starring Norbert Leo Butz, Hope Davis and Frank Langella.