Joseph Fiennes Replacing Guy Pearce In ‘Strangerland’

By | Thursday March 13, 2014 @ 3:57pm PDT
Mike Fleming

joefEXCLUSIVE: Joseph Fiennes has been set to star with Nicole Kidman and Hugo Weaving in Strangerland, the Kim Farrant-directed film that shoots in Australia. He replaces Guy Pearce, who dropped from the project. The mystery revolves around … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Grace Of Monaco’

Here’s a much more revealing look at Nicole Kidman-starrer Grace Of Monaco than any we’ve had before. The film, directed by Olivier Dahan, takes place during the early 1960s when Grace Kelly (Kidman) was married to Monaco’s Prince Rainier III (Tim Roth), and during a political … Read More »

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‘Grace Of Monaco’ To Open Cannes Film Festival In World Premiere

cannes film festivalOlivier Dahan’s Grace Of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman will kick off the Cannes Film Festival on May 14, out of competition. There was some confusion yesterday when The Weinstein Co moved … Read More »

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TWC-Dimension Sets ‘Paddington’ For December 2014 Release

By | Friday November 15, 2013 @ 11:29am PST

That duffle coat wearing bear found in a train station is coming Stateside in time for Christmas 2014. New Weinstein Co label TWC-Dimension announced today that the live-action version of Paddington will be released on December 12 of … Read More »

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Jason Bateman Set To Direct And Star With Nicole Kidman In ‘The Family Fang’

By | Friday November 1, 2013 @ 6:10pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Jason Bateman, who made an auspicious feature directorial debut with the Toronto festival smash Bad Words, next will direct Nicole Kidman in The Family Fang, the adaptation of the Kevin Wilson bestseller. Bateman will also star in the film. The script is by David Lindsay-Abaire, who adapted his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Rabbit Hole as a vehicle that got Kidman an Oscar nomination. Olympus Pictures’ Leslie Urdang and Dean Vanech will produce with Blossom Films partners Kidman and Per Saari, Aggregate Films partners Bateman and Jim Garavente, and QED International’s Bill Block.

QED will finance, and principal photography will begin next year.

The Family Fang is about a couple of performance artists who routinely sucked their kids into taking part in a variety of bizarre events. When the full-grown children return home in a state of crisis, they are unwittingly enlisted to help in the execution of a daring and mysterious final performance by their parents, who are hellbent on achieving the act of a lifetime. Their kids harbor more than a little resentment and blame the performance art for how badly their own lives have turned out.

Related: ‘Rabbit Hole’s Nicole Kidman And David Lindsay-Abaire Re-Team On ‘Family Fang’
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‘Homeland’s Damian Lewis To Star With Nicole Kidman In ‘Queen Of The Desert’

By | Monday October 21, 2013 @ 1:57pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Damian Lewis, who has won Golden Globes and Emmys for his work as POW-turned-terrorist Nicolas Brody in Showtime’s Homeland, is near a deal to star opposite Nicole Kidman in director Werner Herzog’s … Read More »

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Nicole Kidman To Star In ‘The Silent Wife’

By | Thursday October 10, 2013 @ 3:53pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Nicole Kidman will star in and produce an adaptation of The Silent Wife, the summer literary breakout novel by A.S.A. Harrison. Mazur/Kaplan partners Paula Mazur and Mitchell Kaplan have teamed with Kidman and Per Saari’s Blossom Films to option the psychological thriller and produce. Mazur/Kaplan will fund development.

The novel focuses on an affluent Chicago couple who’ve been together 20 years and seem very stable. Trouble is, while her priority is taking care of him and living an ordered life, his is screwing around behind her back. The novel cleverly alternates viewpoint from chapter to chapter, one told from his vantage point, the next from hers, and the tale builds toward catastrophe. It was the first work of fiction by the author, who died a few months before her book became such a literary sensation. The movie deal was made with Harrison’s estate, which was repped by Paradigm on behalf of Samantha Haywood and The Transatlantic Agency. Read More »

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OSCARS: ‘Foxcatcher’ Becomes Latest Film To Drop Out Of This Year’s Race

Pete Hammond

Scratch off another potential Oscar contender. Sony Pictures Classics has announced the planned December release of the Bennett Miller-directed drama Foxcatcher has been moved out of this year’s awards race and into 2014 so filmmakers “can have more time to finish the film”. The announcement is a bit startling since AFI Fest, a prime showcase for major Oscar contenders, recently had announced it for a major world premiere berth on November 8. Obviously that will have to be replaced.

Related: SPC Moves Bennett Miller’s ‘Foxcatcher’ To 2014

The film becomes the latest casualty this week in what is turning out to be a very competitive awards season. Earlier this week The Weinstein Company announced their expected contender Grace Of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman was being moved from November (after previously being scheduled for December) and on to its spring 2014 slate, effectively removing Kidman’s portrayal of Grace Kelly from the Best Actress race.
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China’s Wanda & Hollywood: How Much Is Real? How Much Is Real Estate?

By | Wednesday September 25, 2013 @ 12:43pm PDT

There’s a saying I often hear when it comes to big business in China: The bigger the announcement, the less real the deal. So it’s no wonder that when Dalian Wanda Group‘s Wang Jianlin said he was going to buy AMC in 2012, folks were skeptical. And then, $2.6B later, he became the world’s largest movie theater owner last September. Now, the Wanda boss has unveiled even more ambitious plans to bring Hollywood closer to China when, surrounded by a Hollywood’s who’s who, he broke ground on the $8.2B Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis complex this weekend. Wanda separately unveiled plans to build a $4.9B Cultural Tourism City in Wuxi with theme park and movie elements. Now, it’s important to balance the hoopla with the understanding that Wang Jianlin’s core business is real estate. In China, access to prime property is overseen by a government which wants to see development. That’s why some see this as a land grab wrapped in a Hollywood story.

Hollywood turned out in force for the unveiling of the Movie Metropolis complex, with moguls like Harvey Weinsten and Patrick Wachsberger, and stars from Nicole Kidman to Leonardo DiCaprio and John Travolta rubbing elbows with China’s richest man (rumors that talent was paid 7-figure appearance fees were refuted). Even AMPAS president Cheryl Boone-Isaacs was there, on the heels of a $20M donation from Wanda. The Movie Metropolis complex will create 10,000 square meters of studios, a film museum, movie theaters, resort hotels and other “cultural tourism projects.” It will open in June 2016 and be fully operational in 2017. Wanda also announced plans to bring in over 50 domestic production companies to make 100 films and TV shows per year, with another 30 foreign movies expected to be made in China, which was a reason that some talent agency honchos made the long trip; as well as to support talent and see the level of Wanda’s commitment. Among those present was UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Grace Of Monaco’

Here’s a first look at Olivier Dahan’s Grace Of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman as legendary actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly. The film takes place during the early 1960s when Kelly was married to Monaco’s Prince Rainier III (Tim Roth), and during a political dispute between the principality and … Read More »

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Weinsteins Acquire ‘Paddington’ For New TWC-Dimension; Colin Firth & Nicole Kidman To Lead Cast Of CGI Live-Action Pic

The Weinstein Co has taken North American rights to the upcoming big-screen transfer of Michael Bond’s classic kids character Paddington Bear. Paddington will be the first release under a new label for the company, TWC-Dimension, which will see Harvey and Bob Weinstein team on films for which they share a common passion. The Harry Potter franchise’s David Heyman is producing Paddington which is fully financed by Studiocanal. Colin Firth has been set to voice the CGI bear and, in a reteam with his Railway Man co-star, Nicole Kidman will play an evil taxidermist out for revenge. Also joining the cast are Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent.

This is the first-ever live action film inspired by the books which Bond began in 1958. The story follows a curious young Peruvian bear with a passion for all things British who travels to London in search of a home. Lost and alone at Paddington Station, he meets the kindly Brown family who offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed, until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist.

Principal photography starts this month with Paul King (Come Fly With Me, The Might Boosh) directing. Shooting is set to take place in the UK with Framestore handling VFX. Studiocanal has set a November 28, 2014 event release in the UK and will go day-and-date in its other territories that include France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. TWC-Dimension will release in North America in the first quarter of 2015. Studiocanal has international sales.

The project was initially announced in Cannes in 2012 and Studiocanal chairman Olivier Courson tells me the idea was to take time developing a script that would be a “real family comedy” that’s not just for kids. Read More »

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TORONTO UPDATE: Weinstein Co In $2M U.S. Deal For Colin Firth-Nicole Kidman Pic ‘The Railway Man’

Mike Fleming

UPDATE, 2:40 PM: The Weinstein Company just made this deal official (see the release below the original break).

PREVIOUS BREAKING, 10:37 AM: Harvey Weinstein has done it again. The Weinstein Company is acquiring U.S. distribution rights for around $2 million to The Railway Man, director Jonathan Teplitzky’s drama that stars Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. It’s the true story about a British Army officer who is tormented at a Japanese POW camp. Decades later, he discovers the Japanese interpreter responsible for the brutality is alive. He sets out to confront him and his haunting past. The deal for the film, which premiered Friday at Roy Thompson Hall, was brokered by CAA. Andy Paterson and Chris Brown produced. It’s the third buy for TWC after the John Carney-directed Can A Song Save Your Life? and The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: His/Hers. All of them will be released in 2014. Read More »

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Toronto: Sands Shift In ‘Queen Of The Desert;’ Nicole Kidman Eyed To Replace Naomi Watts As Gertrude Bell

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Looks like director Werner Herzog is going to get a new Queen Of The Desert. I’m hearing that Naomi Watts is exiting the film about the early 20th Century explorer Gertrude Bell, and … Read More »

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Toronto: ‘Parkland’ Premieres As Hot Kidman, Firth & Bateman Films Seek Distributors

Pete Hammond

After receiving mixed critical response in its Venice world premiere, the Kennedy assassination docudrama Parkland took on the Toronto International Film Festival and received a good response for a movie that looks at the events of that fateful day 50 years ago from several different perspectives. Those include a young surgeon operating on the fallen President in the emergency room, Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother and mother, the FBI, Abraham Zapruder and others. Nicely directed by first-timer Peter Landesman, a former New York Times reporter, the film has the sensibility of a journalist and stays close to the known facts while still illuminating. At the premiere’s afterparty at Soho House he told me, “I wanted to create a visual language in the beginning that would allow the audience to feel like what they were seeing was happening and real… I did want to take the audience by hand and bring them into an idea that what they are watching happening is actually unfolding in front of them,” said the veteran who’s covered many international wars. He dismissed potential complaints that the filmmaker might be exploiting the Kennedy tragedy, particularly on the cusp on the 50th anniversary, by explaining that the emergency room scenes were carefully thought out:”I feel like we cut a very dignified movie. To not have any sense of the violence would be to betray what the movie is about. I actually feel that the cut’s dignified. We actually had cuts in the movie that were a lot bloodier. At the end of the day we didn’t want to alienate our audience.”

Landesman said it came about when he originally wrote a screenplay about Watergate for producer Tom Hanks (who produced this film with Playtone partner Gary Goetzman and actor Bill Paxton). That script has yet to be produced. But it led to Hanks handing Landesman a Vincent Bugliosi book written about those four days in November 1963. So he worked on it and researched it for nearly five years and decided there was a movie there that nobody had ever seen. Although Hanks was busy acting on Broadway, he was very involved. “Gary was there for every frame. And Tom was intimately involved with the development of the screenplay and the casting. You know Tom. His integrity is so important, not only as a brand and a producer but Tom’s sensibilities and instincts are so important,” Landesman said. Read More »

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Hammond On Cannes: Weinstein Brings Out Stars For 2013 Oscar Contenders

Pete Hammond

Following a relatively new tradition they started a few years ago, The Weinstein Company on Friday night brought together a group of buyers, partners and press to preview its 2013 slate and meet filmmakers and stars. Although Harvey Weinstein never once mentioned the word “Oscar”, you can tell that’s definitely what he is thinking with a diverse mix of prestige projects that should give the awards-happy company lots of campaign fodder for 2013. He said after a rocky start the company has had a very good last four years and for 2012 made more than they ever did at Miramax. He also made a plea to the international audience gathered for the presentation at the Majestic Hotel for the continued independence of European filmmaking, especially in light of problems with the European Cultural Initiative. “We can’t let Europe be the same like the United States. What’s great about European movies is they are different and as long as they reflect their culture there will always be special movies like Amour, which we didn’t release last year, and so many movies like that. So keep your eye on the newspaper when this stuff comes up for votes or things we can do to influence it,  I think it’s very important,” he said.

Related: Cannes: Weinstein Eyes ‘Philomena’ In First Big Bidding Battle Of Festival

After the 40-minute reel led by the August 16th release The Butler and ending with the long-gestating Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Weinstein told me, “It’s a very eclectic, hard-hitting lineup that I am really proud of. What am I going to say? I feel very confident about this year”. Though he may not have been directly making an Oscar-season pitch (thankfully that’s still many months off even for Harvey — well, maybe not), he did make an overt plea for his official competition entries Only God Forgives and The Immigrant when introducing Cannes jury member Nicole Kidman, star of the December 27th release Grace Of Monaco. “We have a member of the jury with us tonight and she has to go for a jury meeting to hopefully decide which movie of mine wins the Palme d’Or. I have certainly given Steven (jury president Spielberg) enough money over the years,” he said to big laughs. Read More »

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Hammond On Cannes: Jury Takes Center Stage As Oscar Rivals Steven Spielberg And Ang Lee ”Worship” Each Other

Pete Hammond

Once rivals for Oscar in February and now fellow jurors in Cannes, Ang Lee called Steven Spielberg his “hero” as Spielberg praised Lee’s Life Of Pi, which won Best Director over Lincoln. This mutual lovefest took place as the jury for the 66th Cannes Film Festival was introduced to the world’s press this afternoon. Spielberg, who said he hasn’t served on any festival jury since 1974 (the beginning of his feature film career) is President and has been asked many times but said the timing was finally right. “I’ve been so consistently at work, especially in the spring months directing, that every time I’ve been approached to be on the jury I’ve been working so I suddenly found myself with an open year, and so that’s why this all came together this year. I am honored I was invited,” he said. Spielberg has been to Cannes many times before with films like E.T. and most recently, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull.

Asked about being on the Cannes panel with Spielberg after defeating him for the Oscar almost three months ago Lee said, “Steven and I are good friends. I worship him. I don’t know how he looks at me, but I worship him. I don’t think any result would change how I feel about him or even myself. He’s my hero.” Spielberg responding seemed at a loss for words. “I don’t know how to answer that, except to say Ang and I have been friends for a long time and we’ve never ever been competitors, we’ve always been colleagues and that will just contiinue. And certainly I worship Life Of Pi and therefore I worship Ang Lee as well.” Read More »

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Nicole Kidman To Star In And Produce ‘Reconstructing Amelia’ Film For HBO

By | Friday May 10, 2013 @ 3:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of her starring role in Hemingway & Gellhorn, which earned her Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG nominations, Nicole Kidman is back in business with HBO Films on Reconstructing Amelia, a … Read More »

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Cannes: Jury Members Include Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee, Christoph Waltz

The jury for the 66th Cannes Film Festival is heavy on owners of various little gold statues. Previously announced as president is Oscar winner Steven Spielberg. Joining him will be this year’s Best Director Academy … Read More »

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TOLDJA! The Weinstein Company Finds Oscar Candidate In ‘Grace Of Monaco’; December 27 Limited Release Set

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: The Weinstein Company has confirmed the scoop Deadline Hollywood broke on Oscar morning, that while most people were getting dressed for the Oscars, Harvey Weinstein was wrapping up one of two deals that could give him Oscar contenders for the next race, sewing up distribution rights to Grace Of Monaco. Later, Deadline reported Weinstein closed a deal for the Shane Salerno-directed Salinger, after getting an exclusive first look at that docu on J.D. Salinger the same weekend his team closed the Grace Of Monaco deal. TWC has set a December 27 limited release for Grace Of Monaco, and Salinger will be released September 6. 

I reported that TWC wrapped up a deal to acquire domestic rights to Grace Of Monaco, the Olivier Dahan-directed drama that stars Nicole Kidman as actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly, and Tim Roth as Monaco’s Prince Rainier III. I’m hearing that TWC has made a big bet, paying a $5 million minimum guarantee and a P&A commitment around $10 million for a minimum 800-screen run. CAA shopped domestic rights and established the film as a hot buzz title by showing sizzle reel footage at Berlin. TWC’s Weinstein and David Glasser made the deal Friday night here in Hollywood with CAA on behalf of Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, who produced the film with Uday Chopra and Arash Amel. Amel wrote the script. Here is the official announcement: Read More »

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