EXCLUSIVE: Nicolas Winding Refn is in early talks to direct The Bringing, the horror movie spec by Brandon and Phillip Murphy that Sony Pictures acquired in a competitive bidding battle in February. Matt Tolmach is producing with First Born Films’ Daniela Cretu. This is the one that got the town whipped into a frenzy partly because its catalyst was a widely circulated video of a young woman who displayed erratic behavior in an elevator at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, the place where such killers as Richard Ramirez called home at one time or other, and where numerous suicides have occurred. The woman, Elisa Lam, was found dead in the water tanks at the roof of the hotel. The script has nothing really to do with that that tragedy but it created a germ of an idea focusing on a man investigating a death at the hotel, and the nightmare he stumbles into.
Refn must have seen the video, because while the director of Drive, Valhalla Rising and Bronson is usually courted for projects, he sought this one out. From his Copenhagen home, he is a horror connoisseur who badly wants to make a terrifying film. This sounds a bit like The Shining, where Stanley Kubrick has similar aspirations, and turned Stephen King’s novel in to the standard for movies about haunted hotels. If the deal making works out, Refn will get his chance to make one too. … Read More »
As celluloid gives way to the digital era, filmmakers Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master) and Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) are some of the names lending their support to a new crowdfunding campaign to save and restore 35mm film prints. The campaign was launched today by the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA), a non-profit org whose mission it is to undertake high-resolution 2K digital transfers to preserve film prints too fragile for active circulation. Older and rare prints are an increasingly endangered treat on the repertory/art house exhibition scene and unless restored or digitally archived, frequently deteriorate too far to be screened and can be lost forever. AGFA specializes in horror, sleaze, action, independent regional film, and international genre cinema and has over 3,200 film prints in its archive. Organizers are looking to raise $15K by May 30 to fund AGFA’s first digital restoration, of Craig Denney’s 1975 sci-fi pic The Astrologer, which real life psychic Denney self-financed and stars in as a fortune teller who discovers psychic abilities and rises to fame by advising the President of the United States. Refn and Anderson have recently joined the AGFA advisory board which also includes Alamo Drafthouse founders Tim and Karrie League. “By any means necessary, we need to watch movies on film, because that’s why God created cinema,” said Refn. “The American Genre Film Archive has begun a mission to preserve what I consider … Read More »
The second trailer for Nicolas Winding-Refn’s Only God Forgives dropped today, just hours after the film made the Cannes competition roster. The Bangkok-set crime pic stars Ryan Gosling as the scion of a drug-smuggling family who runs a Thai boxing club and is sent on a quest for vengeance by his mother (Kristin Scott Thomas). Check it out:
EXCLUSIVE: Black List alumni Matt Cook has come on board to adapt Button Man: The Killing Game for DreamWorks. The scribe joined the film last month. Previously, Insomnia scribe Hilary Seitz and Paranoia co-screenwriter Barry Levy had worked on the adaptation of the ultra-violent graphic novel created by John Wagner and Arthur Ranson. Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn is helming Button Man. The story centers on Harry Exton, a hired gun who decides to abandon the death match that gambling millionaires have set up to amuse themselves. In the process of opting out, he finds he might not only have to kill his fellow contestants but also the guys pulling the strings. The film is produced by Roger Kass, Josh Braun, Mark Sourian and Michael De Luca. Read More »
BREAKING: Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn has been selected to direct The Equalizer for Sony Pictures and Escape Artists. The film, loosely based on the 1980s TV series, has been a hot ticket for directors since Denzel Washington agreed to play the title role. A number of directors had been considered along the way. Negotiations toward a deal will begin immediately with Refn. Read More »
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
Danish producer Lene Børglum and her producing partner Nicolas Winding Refn plan to shoot Trafficker, an Australian movie set in the Vietnamese-run drug world, in Oz next year. The film will mark the feature directing debut of English cinematographer Larry Smith, who shot three of Refn’s films — thriller Fear X, Bronson which starred Tom Hardy as a notorious English criminal, and his latest Only God Forgives, a crime thriller set in Bangkok, which features Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas. The script is by Singaporean Ken Kwek, who wrote The Blue Mansion, a 2009 murder mystery directed by Glen Goei, about a wealthy Asian tycoon who dies suddenly, which Smith photographed. Read More »
After bringing Hannibal to the small screen with an upcoming NBC series, Gaumont International Television and producer Martha De Laurentiis are looking to do the same for another iconic character, Barbarella. GIT, the U.S.-based production and distribution arm of European feature studio Gaumont, is teaming with De Laurentiis and Drive director Nicolas Refn for a TV series that will be based on the character created by Jean-Claude Forest in a graphic novel and made famous in the 1968 sci-fi movie staring Jane Fonda as a sexpot tasked with finding and stopping the evil weapons inventor. Refn will direct and executive produce the series alongside De Laurentiis, whose late husband Dino produced the 1968 movie. Co-executive producers are Jean-Claude Forest’s son Julien Forest and Hollywood Comics principal Jean-Marc Lofficier. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Drive helmer Nicolas Winding Refn is in talks with DreamWorks to direct Button Man, an adaptation of the graphic novel Button Man: The Killing Game by John Wagner and Arthur Ranson. Wagner created Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog. The action revolves around Harry Exton, a hired gun who’s offered a fortune to take part in a game organized by bored millionaires that sets trained killers against one another in a fight to the death. The fat cats bet on the proceedings, and when Exton gets disgusted and opts out, his only exit strategy might be to off the millionaires funding the competition. The film is produced by Roger Kass, Josh Braun and Michael De Luca. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Radius-TWC, the upstart distribution company that The Weinstein Company started with Tom Quinn and Jason Janego at the helm, is in negotiations to acquire U.S. distribution rights to Only God Forgives, the re-team of Drive helmer Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling that is getting underway in Thailand. I’m hearing that the negotiation is in the range of a $2.5 million minimum guarantee.
It is the second recent deal that Quinn and Janego made that involved Refn, after Radius acquired a remake of Pusher, the first film that Refn directed. Only God Forgives was a surprise entry in the marketplace. It was all but acquired last summer by Drive distributor FilmDistrict, but the deal never closed. The distributor didn’t see eye to eye with the filmmakers, and it once again became available. CBS Films, which just turned the acquisition The Woman In Black into a hit, was among the other suitors, I’ve heard.
Radius’s multi-platform strategy seems ideal for this picture, a hard R drama which has way more explosive violence than Drive. Gosling plays the son of a Florida-based crime syndicate boss (Kristen Scott Thomas), who is plying the drug trade in Thailand with his brother. When his addicted sibling gets involved in a murder and gets tangled up with a cop who calls himself the Angel of Vengeance, Gosling’s character, who is proficient in mixed martial arts, … Read More »
This is the second deal for Tom Quinn and Jason Janego’s Radius after they acquired the Sundance comedy Bachelorette. Here they will release the remake of Pusher, the 1996 debut film by Drive helmer Nicolas Winding Refn. The film’s about a London drug pusher grows increasingly desperate over the course of a week after a botched deal leaves him with a large debt to a ruthless drug lord.
New York, NY, February 9, 2012 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that its new label, Radius-TWC, has acquired from Gaumont the U.S. and Caribbean basin distribution rights to PUSHER, an English-language remake of the 1996 cult hit directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (DRIVE) and written by Refn and Jens Dahl. Refn was closely involved in the production of the remake, which is directed by award-winning young filmmaker Luis Prieto (BAMBOLEHO) and written by Matthew Read. PUSHER is produced by Rupert Preston for Vertigo Films, and by Christopher Simon and Felix Vossen for Embargo Films. Nicolas Winding Refn is the executive producer. The announcement was made by Radius-TWC Co-Presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego.
Lionsgate UK today confirmed its new distribution pact with Icon UK, saying it will handle the release of all of the latter’s titles moving forward. The deal is for rights to all films to come, but, for the moment at least, the Icon library is not included. Speculation has been that Lionsgate would take over the library, which includes Precious, Man On Wire, A Single Man, Paranormal Activity and others. Lionsgate UK already handles the home entertainment rights for the Miramax and Nu Image libraries and recently entered a multi-year licensing deal with Netflix ahead of the streaming service’s 2012 UK launch. Icon’s releases in 2011 have included Jodie Foster’s The Beaver and Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Lionsgate will now handle the release of Winding Refn’s next picture, Only God Forgives, along with Walter Salles’ On The Road, Adam Wingard’s You’re Next and the very English Postman Pat: The Movie. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After a long search process, 20th Century Fox and Bruce Willis have just chosen John Moore to direct Die Hard 5. The film will shoot in Russia, and the hope is to make it before Willis moves on to shoot a Red sequel for Summit Entertainment. In fact, Willis has just begun going through the same director search with Summit on a sequel to the 2010 hit Red. Robert Schwentke is busy helming Universal’s R.I.P.D. with Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds. They’ve just begun casting the dragnet for directors on that film. Names like Breck Eisner are being floated, but other shooters are being considered.
As for Die Hard 5, Moore is in final negotiations and was in the running through the entire search as Fox tried to find a filmmaker that pleased Willis and the studio execs that have to shoot this movie in Russia and bring it in on a budget and a tight schedule. Fox has been looking for a new director since Noam Murro left the picture after he got the job helming 300: Battle Of Artemisia for Warner Bros. The studio started with a wish list of directors to helm the script by Skip Woods that included Joe Cornish (who directed Attack the Block), Fast Five helmer Justin Lin, Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn, and Moore. More recently, I’d heard Fox had conversations with helmers that included Gary Fleder, Paul McGuigan and 1408 helmer Mikael Hafstrom. Read More »
Hardly a big revelation, the report that Bruce Willis is negotiating to play the original G.I. Joe, Joe Colton, in Paramount’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation. This courtship has been going on for about six weeks or more, and Deadline was the first to tell you that Willis was the guy that Paramount was chasing for the Colton role way back on July 1. That was when we broke news that Friday Night Lights‘ Adrianne Palicki had been cast as the female lead by director Jon M. Chu. At the time the studio claimed that Willis wasn’t the only actor being eyed, but I’ve only heard his name for that role and I believe the conversation was always with Willis. He has time to squeeze this in before gearing up for another Die Hard, with the studio about to set a director from a short list of Attack the Block’s Joe Cornish, Fast Five helmer Justin Lin, Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn and Max Payne helmer John Moore. This positions Willis to have his third franchise, at age 56, as Summit develops a sequel to his 2010 sleeper hit Red.
20th Century Fox is turning up the heat on Die Hard 5, even though its attached director, Noam Murro, left the picture after he got the job helming 300: Battle Of Artemisia for Warner Bros. I’m told that the studio has come up with a short list of directors who’ll meet to potentially helm the film scripted by Skip Woods. They are: Joe Cornish (who directed Attack the Block), Fast Five helmer Justin Lin, Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn and Max Payne helmer John Moore. The film brings the always-in-the-wrong-place cop John McClane to Russia. Bruce Willis is ready to reprise his signature role as early as this fall.
The surprise on the list is Cornish. While his feature directorial debut Attack the Block had a budget probably less than the catering bill on last weekend’s other alien invasion film opener Cowboys & Aliens, the movie has become a critical darling as it opened to $130,000 in eight theaters (it has grossed $4.3 million overseas). It would be a big jump to Die Hard 5, but remember the studio had attached Murro, whose debut was the 2008 character comedy Smart People.
Lin is hot off Fast Five, and is expected to do another The Fast and the Furious installment and is attached to the package to finish The Terminator franchise that was acquired by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures.
Refn has much momentum for Drive, the drama that played Cannes and opens in September. Refn reteamed with Ryan Gosling for Only God Forgives, another action film that shoots late summer in Thailand, and which FilmDistrict acquired for U.S. distribution late last month. Refn is also booked to remake Logan’s Run with Gosling. Then there is Moore, the Irish helmer who has directed all of his features – Max Payne, The Omen, Flight of the Phoenix and Behind Enemy Lines — for Fox. A web report indicated that Moore already had the job, but I’m told that the filmmaker meetings haven’t started yet, so that might be jumping the gun. Read More »
Just in time for Comic-Con, FilmDistrict has unveiled a red band trailer for Drive, the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed drama that stars Ryan Gosling, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman and Carey Mulligan. Is it me, or does Gosling seem very much like Steve McQueen-esque in one of those 70s movies and Brooks like one of those heavies that McQueen bumped up against?
EXCLUSIVE: In a low-seven-figure minimum guarantee deal, FilmDistrict has acquired U.S. rights to Only God Forgives, a drama that will reteam Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn with Ryan Gosling. Several distributors were in the mix, but FilmDistrict’s Peter Schlessel had an edge because Refn was pleased with the way FilmDistrict’s Bob Berney has set up the marketing for Drive. That film, which stars Gosling as a stunt driver who moonlights as the wheel man for a heist crew, played the Cannes Film Festival and drew raves. It will be released Sept. 16. Funded by Wild Bunch, Only God Forgives will shoot in late summer in Thailand, with Gosling playing a guy on the run from British police. He runs a Thai boxing club in Bangkok that is a front for a drug-smuggling operation. He winds up getting in the ring for a shot at redemption. Buyers this week read a script and started making offers this week. Gosling is next starring for his Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance in A Place Beyond the Pines and he’s also starring with Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Anthony Mackie in the Ruben Fleischer-directed Gangster Squad for Warner Bros. He’s also set to star for Refn in a remake of Logan’s Run at Warner Bros, where he’ll next be seen starring with Steve Carell and Julianne Moore in Crazy, Stupid, Love.
CAA has signed Emmy-nominated Mad Men star Christina Hendricks. Hendricks, who plays Joan Holloway on AMC’s drama series, co-stars with Ryan Gosling in the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed Drive and the Weinstein Company’s I Don’t Know How She Does It. She had been with the Kohner Agency.
EXCLUSIVE: Bracing for its race against Relativity Media on rival Snow White films, Universal Pictures has hired Hossein Amini to do a rewrite of Snow White and the Huntsman, the Rupert Sanders-directed film that stars Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth. Evan Spiliotopoulos wrote the most recent draft. Amini scripted Drive, the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed film that just debuted in Cannes, and he also rewrote the Keanu Reeves-starrer 47 Ronin, which director Carl Rinsch is directing for Universal.
Universal and Relativity have been playing a game of can you top this in terms of release dates. Universal moved up its Snow White film from late 2012 to a June 1 date, which put it a month ahead of Relativity’s Snow White film, the one that stars Julia Roberts, Lily Collins and Armie Hammer, with Tarsem Singh directing. Then, Relativity Media trumped Universal by setting a March 16, 2012 release. It has created bad blood between the studio and Ryan Kavanaugh, but that is how it stands at the moment. Hossein is repped by WME.
Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life has won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, which just handed out its awards. The reclusive director did not attend the ceremony, and the award was picked up by producers Bill Pohlad and Dede Gardner. The meditative drama starring Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn received a mixed reaction when it had its world premiere in competition this week, a year after it was supposed to appear at the festival. Fox Searchlight opens the film in the U.S. on May 27. Here is the full list of winners, with an analysis coming later today:
Official Competition Palme d’Or:The Tree Of Life (dir: Terrence Malick) Grand Prix (Runner-up to main award): (tie) Kid With A Bike (dir: Dardenne brothers), Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) Best Actor: Jean Dujardin (The Artist) Mise en Scene (Best Director): Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) Best Actress: Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia) Prix du Scenario (Screenplay): Joseph Cedar, Footnote (Israel) Prix Du Jury:Poliss (dir: Maiwenn)
Also: Palme d’Or Court Metrage:Cross Country (dir: Maryna Vroda) Camera d’Or (Best First Film): Las Acasias (dir: Pablo Giorgelli)