EXCLUSIVE: With two Best Picture candidates in the hunt, Harvey Weinstein has begun putting together the Oscar season slate for next year. I’m told that The Weinstein Company is wrapping 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, 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. I was unable to get comment from TWC or CAA, which shopped the domestic rights and established the film as a hot buzz title by showing a 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. The film will be released in December, smack in the middle of next awards season, a release pattern that will be similar to the one TWC used for The Iron Lady. Inferno and Silver Reel were also in the deal. A $2 million deal for Canada is also in the offing.
Too Early To Talk 2014 Oscars? Harvey Weinstein Buying ‘Grace Of Monaco’ With Nicole Kidman As Grace Kelly
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Academy Award® winners Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon will present on the Oscar telecast, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. All four have previously won the award for Best Actress.
Berry won the award for her performance in “Monster’s Ball” (2001), Bullock for “The Blind Side” (2009), Kidman for “The Hours” (2002) and Witherspoon for “Walk the Line” (2005).
On its fourth day, the Sundance Film Festival is wall to wall with some of Hollywood’s best known actors and actresses — and we don’t mean the ones who show up just to party hop. While the festival can be a great launching pad for emerging filmmakers, Park City has never been shy about letting the already well known show their wares there too. It was created by Robert Redford after all. This year sees a number of famous faces and names get behind the camera with new films. As buyers begin to dig in, expect to see these marquee names generating some serious interest as they play out of their regular position. And then there’s the plethora of Oscar winners and nominees, blockbuster and TV stars and indie superstars in front of the camera — check out our comprehensive list below.
James Franco – Executive Producer, kink; Co-director, Interior. Leather Bar. - Actor, director, conceptual artist, grad student and failed Oscar host, Franco wears many hats. This year, he’s adding producer and co-director for two separate films for Sundance. Franco produced kink, a documentary directed by Christina Voros about the Internet’s biggest producer of BDSM. Franco also co-directed Interior. Leather Bar with Travis Matthews. The film seeks to re-create the 40 minutes of Gay S&M footage rumored to be cut from 1980’s Cruising staring Al Pacino to avoid an X rating. Sure the sexual subject matter of both films is similar but Franco’s ambition is wide ranging. Franco also makes an appearance in front of the camera in Interior. Leather Bar and Lovelace.
Alicia Keys – Executive Producer, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete - The multi-platinum singer/songwriter is no stranger to cinema. More than a few films feature her tunes on their soundtracks and Keys was in front of the camera in 2006’s Smokin’ Aces. However, this Sundance is Keys’ debut as a producer. Directed George Tillman Jr. and starring Skylan Brooks, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson and Anthony Mackie, the coming of age film could be the start of a whole new career for Keys.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Director/Writer, Don Jon’s Addiction – He sings, he dances, he starred in The Dark Knight Rises and Looper last year, and now Gordon-Levitt slips into the director’s role on the comedy Don Jon’s Addiction. The actor’s directorial debut, which he also wrote the script for, stars Gordon-Levitt himself as a lady’s man who begins seeking a more fulfilling emotional life. Scarlett Jonansson, Julianne Moore, Brie Larson and Tony Danza co-star in the film.
Dave Grohl – Director/Producer, Sound City - No stranger to movie soundtracks, the Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer has now moved into the director’s chair with his debut documentary Sound City. Debuting early in the Festival, the film is about the famous Van Nuys studio where Nirvana, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Cheap Trick, Guns and Roses and others have recorded. Even before the Festival began, Gravitas Ventures acquired worldwide VOD to Grohl’s movie.
Julie Delpy/Ethan Hawke – Writers, Before Midnight - This one’s a bit of a cheat because the duo are actually on both sides of the camera at this year’s Sundance. Premiering tonight, the Richard Linklater directed Before Midnight sees Delpy and Hawke return to their roles as Jesse and Celine from 1995’s Before Sunrise and 2004’s Before Sunset. The onscreen duo also retuned to their off screen roles as writers. Like Before Sunset, which was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay, Delpy and Hawke crafted Before Midnight’s script with Linklater. This year marks the second time the trio have premiered their tale of the perpetually unfulfilled lovers to Sundance –Before Sunrise debuted at the Festival in 1995.
Monica Corcoran Harel is contributing to Deadline’s Emmy coverage
Movie stars are not like you and me. But TV actresses? Not so far off. What always makes the red carpet at the Emmys so very appealing is the fact that some of these show ponies are short and maybe even a little stubby — in a good way. Seeing our favorite near mortals is actually enlightening and not just intimidating.
Take the nominated funny ladies. Tina Fey went regal and looked stunning in a deep burgundy strapless Vivienne Westwood column gown with an architectural bodice. Her tastefully teased upswept hairstyle lent a few inches to her frame and rendered her someone you wouldn’t dare disrespect. Amy Poehler — fresh off a break-up from her husband Will Arnett — smartly opted for sexy in a sequined Stella McCartney halter gown that proved she hasn’t been hibernating with vats of Haagen-Dazs. Kristen Wiig, bedecked in a creamy, diaphanous Balenciaga that contrasted with her newly raven hair, paired her dress with sandy suede pumps that made me wonder if she said, “Screw the pedicure” this morning and slept in. Um, who can’t relate to that eleventh-hour decision?
When it came to color trends, red, silver and blue easily won out. Nominee Mayim Bailik in Pamella Roland (looking like your favorite cousin at a wedding), voluptuous Kat Dennings in J. Mendel (looking more like your husband’s favorite cousin) and Gretchen Mol all chose variations on the hue. Lucy Liu, outfitted in a deco-inspired and armor-like metal Versace, claimed that her dress was “heavy.” I suspect her gown also reflected the merciless sun on anyone nearby with the intensity of a hair removal laser. Nominee Connie Britton — wearing a fabulous Andrew Gn gown with a halter trimmed in crystals and a chic belt — shone like a beacon of glamour for fortysomething women. Ditto for Jane Krakowski.
The ladies in blue category swept the farthest and widest though. Among them, the nominated Sofia Vergara, in a deep turquoise sequined Zuhair Murad gown with a back that showed off the dimples above her posterior, came out on top. That woman works a dress like a farmer works an ox! Hayden Panettiere’s sari-like blue tulle and embroidered gold brocade Marchesa gown felt like a bit too much fabric for such a young star, though it still stood out.
When I caught up with Nicole Kidman in May near the end of the Cannes Film Festival she just wanted to take off her shoes and relax. It was a grueling schedule as she had two films on successive nights in the official selection doing press conferences and walking up the Palais’ fabeled red carpeted steps two nights in a row. With her powerhouse portrayal of journalist Martha Gellhorn who also engaged in a tumultuous marriage as Ernest Hemingway’s third wife, Kidman had the rare opportunity of premiering a movie in Cannes that would debut on HBO just four nights later. And before this Oscar winning star (The Hours) showed there is practically nothing she won’t do for her art as the trampy Southern trollop in Precious director Lee Daniel’s first film since that triumph, The Paperboy, in which she stars opposite Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron and John Cusack. The movie divided critics but everyone seemed to agree Kidman nailed it. Clearly this major movie star is on a roll and as she told me she goes where the interesting parts are now whether it’s the movies, theatre or even television, which in Gellhorn gave her one of the roles of a lifetime.
AWARDSLINE: Were you familiar with Martha Gellhorn?
NICOLE KIDMAN: I didn’t even know who she was. Then I started researching her and called [director] Phil [Kaufman] and said ‘I have got to play her.’ And to play her old and looking back. She had that perspective. And the final images of the film are her looking back and on the phone and saying ‘I will pay my own way.’ I had to tell that story: I’m going, throwing that backpack on and going out that door … She is such a great woman in the hands of Phil because he loves women. And I think it’s great that he’s told her story. She trail-blazed a lot of female journalists, but also she was a role model for women.
Unlike last year when three entries in the Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival went on to grab Oscar nominations for Best Picture (and The Artist even won) this year it’s different, at least going into the final weekend. Cannes doesn’t seem to have even one sure candidate for Oscar’s big prize. But in a real twist the world’s most famous film fest is launching a surefire Emmy contender: HBO’s Hemingway And Gellhorn which premieres here tonight with a Red Carpet gala at the Grand Theatre Lumiere three days before debuting on HBO May 28. Movie stars Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen will be giving the paparazzi lots to shoot and 75-year-old director Philip Kaufman – whose career includes such acclaimed works as The Right Stuff, The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, The Wanderers, The White Dawn, Henry And June and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers in addition to writing Raiders Of The Lost Ark - will be ascending those famous stairs for the first time. And how ironic this quintessential filmmaker is doing it for a TV movie, albeit one on HBO. But this movie about the tempestuous marriage of Ernest Hemingway and his third wife, war correspondent Martha Gellhorn has the look and feel of an epic spanning the Spanish Civil War, the conflict between the Soviets and Finland, the Japanese occupation of China and World War II.
Kaufman knows people will see it on TV but he’s hoping critics watch it first on a big screen. I watched it on my 61-inch set at home before heading here as it was sent out a few weeks ago in HBO’s Emmy For Your Consideration box. He wanted them to hold it back but HBO was intent on getting it to the voters. He is very excited to see how it will look on the giant Grand Theatre Lumiere screen.
Despite making the kinds of films Cannes seems to love, Kaufman has had very little contact with the Festival. 48 years ago he was here and awarded the Prix de la Nouvelle Critique (the Young Critics award) for his first film, Goldstein (tying with a very young Bernardo Bertolucci who is also back in Cannes with his new film Me And You). When we talked this week at an outdoor cafe overlooking the beach Kaufman told me he has only been back a couple of times to raise money for films he was trying to make. TV movie or not, Cannes was anxious to give him the full treatment (although the film is out of competition). “I don’t think they have ever done this with an American movie before. There was Carlos which was a miniseries made for French TV but Olivier Assayas is Cahiers Du Cinema and this is a French film festival. What an honor for me for a movie made for television to be selected here. I know HBO is thrilled.”
Some press and critics at the Cannes Film Festival are already having a field day hurling invectives (a favorite pastime here) against The Paperboy, director Lee Daniels’ first film since his Oscar-nominated work on Precious. This one is based on a well-regarded book by Pete Dexter, who wrote the screenplay with Daniels. It’s about a man (Zac Efron) who tries to help his journalist brother (Matthew McConaughey) investigate the possible wrongful conviction of a man on death row (John Cusack). Nicole Kidman co-stars as a Southern tart who likes her men behind bars and singer Macy Gray is the maid in this 1960′s civil rights era-set wallow that takes place mostly in Florida swamp country (but shot in Louisiana).
At Tuesday morning’s buyers screening and today after the first press screening, reactions seem to be vivid. One critic said “it could be so bad it’s good”. Another compared it to the kind of exploitation pictures Roger Corman regularly turned out. For me, it’s one of those movies that is just dripping with Southern sweat and sleaze — you can smell the place. If it’s an over-the-top wallow into the Deep Deep South of the period, it’s a fun one. You either go with it or you don’t. Tennessee Williams this is not, but it’s fascinating material on many levels and all these actors took a kind of risk and just jumped in without a life preserver; they didn’t do this indie for the money. Avi Lerner’s Millennium and Nu Image produced and the film is up for distribution, as Deadline previously reported, although Lerner could decide to distribute it himself if the deal isn’t right. One top distrib who was at Tuesday’s screening told me they didn’t care for Paperboy, while at least two others said the complete opposite. With a starry cast, exploitable subject matter and scenes already being tweeted all over the place — Kidman peeing on Efron to relieve his jellyfish stings is getting lots of action on the net and the Croisette — in the end it may not matter what any of the auteur-mad critics here have to say. Unlike Precious this is not really a critics kind of movie. It is in fact the commercially oriented Millennium’s first competition entry ever.
EXCLUSIVE: YRF Entertainment CEO Uday Chopra has joined with Pierre-Ange Le Pogam and his Stone Angels to produce and finance Grace Of Monaco, the Olivier Dahan-directed film that will star Nicole Kidman. The film begins production in the fall and Inferno is selling foreign rights in Cannes. YRF’s Jonathan Reiman becomes exec producer with Arash Amel, who wrote the script. In the film, the former actress Grace Kelly (Kidman) asserts herself as the Princess of Monaco when she brokers peace between her adopted country and France, maneuvering a political minefield to do it. YRF Entertainment is the Beverly Hills-based production and financing company that is a subsidiary of Indian studio Yash Raj Films, and its focus is English-language films with global appeal.
EXCLUSIVE: Nicole Kidman will reunite with her Rabbit Hole scribe David Lindsay-Abaire on The Family Fang, the adaptation of the Kevin Wilson bestseller that Kidman will star in and produce. Kidman won a Best Actress Oscar nomination for Rabbit Hole, which Lindsay-Abaire adapted from his Pulitzer-winning play about a husband and wife grieving the loss of their child.
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.
Kidman and her Blossom Films partner Per Saari optioned the book last fall, along with Rabbit Hole co-producers Olympus Pictures’ Leslie Urdang and Dean Vanech (Beginners).
EXCLUSIVE: Blossom Films partners Nicole Kidman and Per Saari are reuniting with their Rabbit Hole co-producers at Olympus Films to option screen rights to the bestselling Kevin Wilson novel The Family Fang. They will develop the project as a starring vehicle for Kidman, who got a Best Actress nomination for Rabbit Hole. Olympus partners Leslie Urdang and Dean Vanech will produce with Kidman and Saari.
The book 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. Wilson is a first-time novelist, but he previously published the short story collection Tunneling To The Center Of The Earth, and Alan Ball optioned Grand Stand-In from that collection. Besides Rabbit Hole, Kidman’s Blossom produced Monte Carlo for Fox, and is developing the Simon Kinberg-scripted The Eighth Wonder at Fox, Little Bee for BBC Films and separately working on a biography of singer Dusty Springfield and remakes of the Colombian thriller Spectre and Love Pain and the Whole Damn Thing.
The 2011 Toronto Film Festival has selected David Hare’s spy drama Page Eight, starring Bill Nighy, Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, as its closing-night film and added a slew of Gala premieres and Special Presentations that boost the star wattage with the likes of Robert De Niro, Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, James Gandolfini and Gerard Butler. The additions to the previously announced film slate includes a Future Projects lineup that features James Franco and Gus Van Sant reminiscing about My Own Private Idaho, a documentary about Exit through the Gift Shop‘s Mr. Brainwash (Thierry Guetta), and Peter Lynch’s Buffalo Days; and a Wavelengths program of international experimental films. Here is the release about the additional Galas and Special Presentations:
Toronto – The Toronto International Film Festival® announces the addition of 8 Galas and 17 Special Presentations to the high-calibre selection of crowd-pleasers premiering in September. Today’s announcement includes 14 World Premieres and reveals that Festival-goers will be treated to a programming lineup featuring world premieres from directors including Nick Murphy, Gary McKendry, Joel Schumacher, Gianni Amelio, Agnieszka Holland, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Pankaj Kapur, Anne Fontaine, Mathieu Kassovitz and Geoffrey Fletcher. The films unveiled today feature onscreen appearances by Jason Statham, Robert De Niro, Clive Owen, Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Gerard Butler, Ralph Fiennes, Imelda Staunton, Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman, Catherine Deneuve, Shahid Kapur, Isabelle Huppert, Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledel and James Gandolfini, among others.
This announcement brings the final number of Galas to 20, and the final number of Special Presentations to 67.
Closing Night Film
David Hare, United Kingdom International Premiere
Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) is a long-serving M15 officer. His boss and best friend Benedict Baron (Michael Gambon) dies suddenly, leaving behind him an inexplicable file, threatening the stability of the organization. Meanwhile, a seemingly chance encounter with Johnny’s striking next-door neighbour and political activist Nancy Pierpan (Rachel Weisz) seems too good to be true. Set in London and Cambridge, Page Eight is a contemporary spy film which addresses intelligence issues and moral dilemmas peculiar to the new century. Also stars Ralph Fiennes and Judy Davis.