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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 film adaptation of Kimberly McCreight’s best-selling debut novel recently published by HarperCollins. Kidman is set to star and executive produce the project, now in development, through her Blossom Films. Reconstructing Amelia centers on a workaholic single mother (Kidman) who, after her teenage daughter’s apparent suicide at her tony Brooklyn private school, attempts to reconstruct the events leading up to the girl’s death, drawing her into the world of teenage social media and revealing the secrets mother and daughter were keeping from each other. CAA-repped Kidman is executive producing with Blossom Films’ Per Saari. McCreight is with Resolution and Marly Rusoff.

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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 Award winner Ang Lee – who competed against Spielberg in the category in February. Also aboard are double Oscar winner and Cannes Best Actor winner Christoph Waltz and Nicole Kidman, a Best Actress Oscar winner for The Hours. French actor Daniel Auteuil, is also a jury member. He won the Best Actor prize at the festival for The Eighth Day in 1996. Romanian director and Palme d’Or winner for Four Months, Three Weeks And Two Days, Cristian Mungiu, will return to Cannes after winning the screenwriting prize last year for Beyond The Hills. Rounding out the panel are Japanese director Naomi Kawase, a four time Cannes habituée who won the Camera d’Or for her first film Suzaku in 1997 and the Grand Prize for 2007′s The Mourning Forest; British director Lynne Ramsay, last in Cannes with We Need To Talk About Kevin in 2011 and there this year with a short in Directors’ Fortnight; and Indian actress Vidya Balan who also makes an appearance in the special gala screening Bombay Talkies as the festival celebrates 100 years of Bollywood cinema.

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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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Too Early To Talk 2014 Oscars? Harvey Weinstein Buying ‘Grace Of Monaco’ With Nicole Kidman As Grace Kelly

Mike Fleming

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.  Read More »

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OSCARS: Past Winners Berry, Bullock, Kidman & Witherspoon Set As Presenters

By | Wednesday February 13, 2013 @ 7:58am PST

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).

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OSCARS: Does ‘Amour’ Have A Shot To Make Academy History?

Pete Hammond

Only once has the winner of the top prize in Cannes ever matched the winner of the Oscar for Best Picture. 1955′s Marty won both, but no film has been able to duplicate that feat in the more than a half-century since.  But now Michael Haneke‘s Amour, nominated for five Oscars including Best Picture and also winner of the 2012 Cannes Festival’s Palme d’Or, has the chance to do it.  However it’s a clear long shot, this year’s Oscar wild card.

Related: OSCARS: Parsing The Foreign Language Nominees

No foreign-language film has ever won Oscar’s top prize, although several have been nominated such as Cries And Whispers, Il Postino  and others. A handful, only four before Amour, have been nominated in both the Best Foreign Language Film and Best Picture categories. Z (1969),  Life Is Beautiful (1998), and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)  all won in Foreign Language Film but lost Best Picture. The Swedish film, The Emigrants had the distinction of nominations in both categories over the course of two years when Academy rules for foreign language films eligibility in other categories was different. It lost both Foreign Language Film in 1971 and Best Picture in 1972.

Related: César Award Nominations: ‘Amour’ Scores 10

The problem seems to be Academy members generally think the Foreign Film prize is a kind of Best Picture award making the trick of … Read More »

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Sundance: Famous Behind & In Front Of The Camera

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.

Related: Sundance: Fleming Q&As Joseph Gordon-Levitt

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.

Related: Sundance: Dave Grohl’s ‘Sound City’ Concert Rocks Park City

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. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Fox Searchlight’s ‘Stoker’

By | Wednesday September 26, 2012 @ 11:54am PDT

Fox Searchlight has set a March 1, 2013 platform release for Stoker, from Oldboy director Park Chan-wook. Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode and Nicole Kidman star in the thriller about about a teen who is mourning the death of her father and must deal with an evil mom and an eccentric uncle who shows up unexpectedly. Here’s the pic’s first trailer, in which Kidman looks to be having a blast as the baddie in a movie of baddies:

Watch the video on YouTube

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2012 Emmys Fashion: Who Wore What

By | Sunday September 23, 2012 @ 9:21pm PDT

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.

Related: Nikki Finke: Live-Snarking The 64th Emmys

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?

Related: Emmys: Red Carpet Executive Arrivals Gallery

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. Read More »

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NYFF Adds ‘The Paperboy’, Nicole Kidman And Richard Pena To Fest Slate

By | Tuesday August 21, 2012 @ 10:04am PDT
Mike Fleming

NEW YORK, August 21, 2012 —The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today that Nicole Kidman and Richard Peña will be the subject of gala tributes to be presented by the festival for the first time during the historic 50th edition of NYFF. FSLC also announced the addition of Kidman’s upcoming film, Lee Daniels’s adaptation of Pete Dexter’s popular novel, THE PAPERBOY to NYFF’s main slate schedule. The Gala Tribute to Nicole Kidman will take place on Wednesday, October 3, and the Gala Tribute to Richard Peña will take place on Wednesday, October 10.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of NYFF, the Film Society of Lincoln Center has added two gala tributes to its programming schedule of films and events. These tributes celebrate the work of individuals working in film who have made significant artistic contributions to film culture in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

Richard Peña, Selection Committee Chair & Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. said, “Nicole Kidman is one of film’s finest contemporary actresses. Since her breakthrough performance in TO DIE FOR and her bold and provocative appearances in Lars Von Trier’s DOGVILLE, Stanley Kubrick’s EYES WIDE SHUT, as well as her awarding-winning portrayal of Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry’s THE HOURS, Kidman has insisted on finding roles that are complex, bold and demanding. We are excited to honor her with a tribute at the New York

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Fox Searchlight Dates Park Chan-Wook’s ‘Stoker’

By | Thursday July 19, 2012 @ 11:14am PDT

Stoker will receive a platform release on March 1, 2013, Fox Searchlight announced. Mia Wasikowsa, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver and Nicole Kidman star in the Park Chan-wook-directed thriller about about a teen who is mourning the death of her father and must deal with an eccentric uncle who shows up unexpectedly. Wentworth Miller wrote the script under the pseudonym Ted Foulke. Scott Free’s Ridley and Tony Scott and former Scott Free president Michael Costigan are producing.

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EMMYS: Nicole Kidman On ‘Hemingway And Gellhorn’

By | Sunday June 24, 2012 @ 1:59pm PDT
Pete Hammond

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 Emmys 2012 Nicole Kidmanportrayal 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. Read More »

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Nicole Kidman Speaks Out On Taking Risks, Roles And Taking Over Cannes: Interview

Pete Hammond

With two movies premiering in  the Official Selection on successive nights and big worldwide market pre-sales announced for an upcoming film in which she plays Grace Kelly, Nicole Kidman ruled the Croisette in the second half of the Cannes Film Festival this week, and though she looked every inch the glamorous movie star on those back-to-back jaunts up the steps of the Grand Theatre Lumiere, it’s hard work invading the world’s most famous film festival. Perhaps that is why when she arrived Friday morning for Deadline’s interview and entered the Majestic Hotel’s 6th floor suite with its sweeping views of the Cote d’Azur all she wanted to do was take off her shoes and relax for a few minutes. No such luck in the crux of this go-go-go festival.

Kidman has been working a lot lately but all she’s looking forward to next is finally getting back to her ”normal” life again before tackling Grace Kelly’s anything-but-normal life in late Fall  here in the South of France. Since making changes in her team a couple of years ago (she signed with Geyer Kosinski who also manages Angelina Jolie), the kinds of movies she’s doing are consistently more challenging and of a risk-taking nature, which is the way she likes it. The Oscar winner (The Hours) has often been drawn throughout her career to edgier material but now it seems to be her mantra. From her role as a Southern trollop in Lee Daniels’  The Paperboy which got Cannes twittering on Thursday to her first big … Read More »

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Cannes Podcast: Pete Hammond On ‘Lawless’, ‘Rust And Bone’ And More

Deadline’s Pete Hammond talks about hot festival movies such as (clockwise from top left) the superb Prohibition-era shoot-’em-up Lawless with Tom Hardy and Shia LeBeouf; Rust And Bone, with an awards-worthy star turn by Marion Cotillard, shown with Matthias Schoenaerts; Brad Pitt, pictured with Richard Jenkins, in the Mitchum-esque noir thriller Killing Them Softly; the crowd-pleasing Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; and Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, brought to the screen by Walter Salles with a star-making turn from Garrett Hedlund, shown with Kristen Stewart and Sam Riley in the back seat. Other hot movies include a pair of Nicole Kidman triumphs — (below from left) Lee Daniels’ over-the-top The Paperboy and Philip Kaufman’s HBO epic Hemingway And Gellhorn plus Michael Haneke’s brilliant but challenging Amour. You can listen to Pete’s podcast from Cannes here.

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Interview: Philip Kaufman At Cannes With ‘Hemingway And Gellhorn’ HBO Premiere

Pete Hammond

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.

Related: Cannes Biz Climate Shines Despite The Wind And Rain

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.”
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Cannes Conflicted Over ‘The Paperboy’ As All-Star Cast Hits Town For Premiere

By | Thursday May 24, 2012 @ 8:49am PDT
Pete Hammond

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 filmMatthew McConaughey Nicole Kidman Zac Efron 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. Read More »

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YRF’s Uday Chopra To Finance Nicole Kidman-Starrer ‘Grace Of Monaco’

By | Friday May 18, 2012 @ 7:46am PDT
Mike Fleming

Nicole Kidman Grace Of MonacoEXCLUSIVE: 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.

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