EXCLUSIVE: The American Horror Story star has put her cards on the table for The Gambler. Jessica Lange will play the rich and ostentatious mother of Mark Wahlberg’s in-debt character in the Paramount remake of the 1974 pic. Wahlberg will reprise the role James Caan played in the original of a college professor whose gambling addiction takes over his life even after his debts lead to some nasty new friends. Talks for two-time Oscar winner Lange to get on board with the movie have been going on for a couple of months, as I reported back in October. Brie Lawson is also in the Rupert Wyatt-directed pic from a script from William Monahan. Joining The Gambler comes at the end of a high profile month for Lange. On a career second life rarely seen in Hollywood, the actress recently received both Golden Globes and the SAG Awards nominations for her role as the Supreme witch Fiona Goode on the current AHS: Coven season of the FX horror franchise. Lange, who also published her first children’s book It’s About A Little Bird in October, has previously won an Emmy plus GG and SAG awards for the performances on past seasons of the show. And there could be more – last month FX reupped AHS for a fourth season with Lange. The actress is repped by WME …
Rookie helmer Dean Israelite’s found-footage pic from Platinum Dunes has been rechristened Welcome To Yesterday and will keep its February 28 release date. Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller produced the sci-fi film formerly known as Almanac from a 2012 Black List script by Jason Pagan & Andrew Stark. Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec are exec producing.
Christopher Nolan‘s ambitious and much-anticipated Interstellar has dropped its first teaser, with voice over provided by Matthew McConaughey. The film – from Paramount and Warner Bros in a rare tie-up to co-produce and jointly distribute – will go out in the U.S. on November 7, 2014. The studios’ official logline says it “chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.” The story is from a script based on the combination of an original idea by Nolan and an existing script by Jonathan Nolan. The large cast includes McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie Foy, Topher Grace and David Gyasi. Paramount is releasing domestically and Warner Bros has international.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has set Jonathan W. Stokes to adapt Six Years, the Harlan Coben novel that was bought by the studio early this year as a potential star vehicle for Hugh Jackman. Mark Gordon is producing. The logline: a man watches his life love marry another man. The groom dies six years later and the guy can’t help but try to glimpse the widow at the funeral. She’s not the same woman. The book was published last March and became another bestseller for Coben, whose Tell No One was turned into the Guillaume Canet French film, with remake rights at Warner Bros where Argo scribe Chris Terrio is writing it.
Stokes wrote three scripts that made the Black List. They are Blood Mountain, which is being financed independently by Derby Street Films and Movie Package Co. with Lawrence Bender producing and Sergei Bodrov attached to direct, and Stokes executive producing; Murders & Acquisitions, which is set up at Warner Bros. with Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg producing; and Border Country. He recently scored a three-book deal, up starting with the debut novel Addison Cooke And The Treasure Of The Incas. for Penguin imprint Philomel Books. Stokes, who also scripted El Gringo, is repped by UTA, Management SGC and attorney Gregg Gellman.
Brad Pitt’s Plan B Move Unveiled: Moving To Deal With New Regency And RatPac Partners James Packer And Brett Ratner
EXCLUSIVE: So, what is happening with Paramount and Plan B, the production shingle run by Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner? We can report definitively that the company is moving to a new 3-year pact with New Regency and RatPac partners James Packer and Brett Ratner. This new marriage, which starts when the Plan B deal at Paramount expires at month’s end, comes after New Regency co-financed the Oscar contender 12 Years A Slave, and they are in postproduction on True Story, the film directed by Rupert Goold, with James Franco and Jonah Hill starring. Plan B has five projects percolating at New Regency, Arnon Milchan has a strong relationship with Pitt that goes all the way back to Fight Club, and Weston has a strong relationship with Pitt and Gardner from the New Regency business and when Weston ran production at Paramount. Those projects include Black Hole, The Operators and Big Bucks.
We’re told that this move is not acrimonious and that the relationship is fine between the Brads, as in Brad Pitt and Paramount chief Brad Grey. In fact, they completed their biggest film, World War Z — it was the highest-grossing film in Pitt’s career, though it’s unclear how profitable it was because of the high cost of re-shooting — and they are starting progress on a sequel that Juan Antonio Bayona directing. But the feeling was the Plan B label fit better with New Regency after the collaboration on 12 Years A Slave and so many other projects.
The move happens shortly after Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer took residence at Paramount in a first-look deal he moves to from Disney. He joins Lorenzo di Bonaventura and David Ellison’s Skydance and JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot at the studio. Paramount doesn’t make a ton of movies, and a lot of Plan B’s projects languished. There should be more opportunity to get movies made in this deal, where Regency and RatPac go 50/50 on Plan B-developed projects. New Regency had a distribution deal with Fox. The way it works is, New Regency and RatPac finance future films from Plan B, and RatPac has the opportunity to co-finance the projects that Plan B currently has with New Regency.
New Regency sees this as a coup, a next step for a financier/producer establishing itself with tastemaker fare.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions are moving ahead with a sequel to Jack Reacher, the 2012 film that starred Tom Cruise and is based on Lee Child’s bestselling novel series. A rumor went around that the studio might be trying to squeeze in a Reacher film before Mission: Impossible 5. Paramount has denied that, but I’ve learned it’s trying to fast track another installment. This one will be based on Never Go Back, which was published earlier this fall. In it, Reacher heads back to his old military base in Virginia to take a woman to dinner who is now the commanding officer. By the time he gets there, she has been arrested, and Reacher finds himself being charged with pummeling one guy and fathering a child with a woman. He can’t remember either transgression but gets to the bottom of it with cunning and sometimes brute force.
Related: Tom Cruise On ‘Jack Reacher’
The studio is out to writers; Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie adapted the first one, but is too busy prepping MI5 for a summer production start. Cruise and the studio hope McQuarrie will direct the sequel. Why are they making a sequel? The original cost around $57 million in production costs, grossed $218 million worldwide and has done well in ancillaries. Before studios got tentpole crazy, trying to …
EXCLUSIVE: Greg Mooradian is joining Fox 2000 as EVP Production. He reports to Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler. Mooradian joins from Paramount, where he was SVP Production and helped initiate Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters and helped reinvigorate the G.I. Joe franchise with G.I. Joe: Retaliation, a sequel reconstructed at a lower price point. Before joining Paramount in 2009, he ran his own production shingle making youth-driven pictures that included the Screen Gems remake Stepfather, the Percy Jackson films for Fox 2000, and the Twilight Saga films for Summit. Mooradian started as a development exec for producer Arnold Kopelson on films like The Fugitive and Falling Down before becoming production president for Wendy Finerman and working on such films as The Fan and Drumline, the latter for Fox 2000.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount and JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk’s Bad Robot are gearing up on their film about disgraced bike racer Lance Armstrong. I’m told that they are setting D.V. DeVincentis to write the script for a movie centering around the book Cycle Of Lies: The Fall Of Lance Armstrong by Juliet Macur. She’s the reporter who covered Armstrong for more than a decade at The New York Times. That period spanned his near-fatal bout with testicular cancer to his capturing glory with seven Tour de France titles. Those honors have been stripped after Armstrong finally copped to the swirl of rumors that he engaged in doping that upped his endurance and strength and made him unbeatable.
Paramount is in a three-bike race to make movies on Armstrong, and I’m not sure all three of these will happen, as compelling as the arrogant Armstrong’s downfall might be. Paramount was actually the first studio to declare it would make an Armstrong project, but since then, two other substantial film projects have cropped up. That includes the Studio Canal-funded, Working Title-produced pic that Stephen Frears is directing with Lone Survivor’s Ben Foster playing Armstrong and Chris O’Dowd playing journalist David Walsh, from a script by Trance‘s John Hodge. He adapted sportswriter Walsh’s book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit Of Lance Armstrong. That movie’s almost done shooting, and surely will be first to the screen.
The last shoe to drop in the 2013 awards race hit Saturday as Martin Scorsese‘s much-awaited The Wolf Of Wall Street was unveiled to SAG voters at a couple of screenings at the WGA theatre in Beverly Hills. I caught the film earlier at a small 10 AM screening for some of the cast members on the Paramount lot and then moderated the Q&A following the 6:30 PM screening of the 3 hour film. To say it was rapturously received would be an understatement. Leonardo DiCaprio received a standing ovation when I introduced him, and co-star Jonah Hill also won huge applause from the packed-to-the-rafters house who also enthusiastically cheered co-stars Rob Reiner (who plays DiCaprio’s dad and stole the show at the Q&A), Jon Favreau, P.J. Byrne, Ken Choi and Cristin Milioti. I heard the film also received the same kind of enthusiastic response at the earlier screening too. Paramount also threw a party to kick things off in style. Celebration was in order since Paramount at one time wasn’t even sure the film would be ready as Scorsese has been editing to make a 2013 date. Originally it was scheduled for a November 15 release but moved to Christmas bumping Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit into January to make room for Wolf‘s wide release awards run.
Formal reviews are embargoed but as an initial observation I would label the movie ”Scorsese’s Satyricon,” a wild ride full of contemporary debauchery to say the least (DiCaprio compared some of it to Caligula), with a fine ensemble and a frenetic pace that belies its three hour running time. Even at that length it never lags. It is the perfect companion piece to Goodfellas and puts Scorsese right back in the thick of the Oscar race, if Academy members, particularly older ones, can deal with the almost non-stop parade of sex, drugs, nudity and rock and roll. Violence, a Scorsese staple in this type of film, is missing but there are a number of remarkable set pieces including a storm-driven yacht voyage that has to be seen to be believed (Rob Legato supervised the special effects team). An NC-17 was avoided by some reported judicious cutting but it’s hard to imagine the stuff that didn’t make it in considering the edgy material that did.
‘Anchorman 2′ PR Blitz Rolls On: Ron Burgundy Lands Gig With Canada’s TSN, Ponders ‘Doctor Who’: Video
Paramount‘s marketing team must be working overtime brainstorming PR stunts for their Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; now they’ve landed Ron Burgundy (AKA Will Ferrell) a gig on Canada’s The Sports Network. “Legendary broadcaster Ron Burgundy will join the network’s team of broadcasters beginning in December,” TSN announced Friday, with details of Burgundy’s new post to be revealed live during Sunday’s Grey Cup. Paramount’s got just under a month to pack in the promo gags before Anchorman 2‘s December 20 bow. Earlier this week Burgundy stopped by Conan to riff on Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s recent headline-making news. Today Paramount released a brief Burgundy video to capitalize on this weekend’s Doctor Who 50th Anniversary mania:
Paramount will deliver a tentpole sequel to good little boys and girls a couple of Christmases from now. The studio said today that Mission: Impossible 5 — this one directed by Christopher McQuarrie — will hit megaplexes on December 25, 2015. It’ll go up against Ben Affleck’s Live By Night and DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3, which arrives two days earlier. There’s also a little picture known as Star Wars: Episode VII to contend with. Disney announced last week that its juggernaut will bow the weekend before. Tom Cruise is returning for another go-round as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible 5, and as producer, a job he’ll share with J.J. Abrams. Drew Pearce is scripting the pic for Paramount and Skydance Productions.
The state of the entertainment industry is strong overall, but the state of the industry in California is in serious trouble and our Film and TV Tax Credit program just isn’t cutting it, politicians and studio execs said today at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s second annual State of the Industry Conference. “We need a game changer; this is a very incremental approach,” Paramount Studio Group President Randy Baumberger said of the annual $100 million lottery system program. “Virtually no feature films are shot in LA anymore. What producers need are commitment and consistency. What producers are looking for is to be able to plan out 3 or 4 years,” he added during a panel on keeping jobs in California. “They can’t plan for a lottery on one single day. We need to be able to look out a year in advance and say what is the cost structure for that film. California is at a disadvantage by having all of the money gone in a few hours.”
The shortcomings of the state’s current program and the job losses the industry is experiencing in California were the primary topics this morning as speaker after speaker lamented rising runaway production, the ineligibility of tentpoles and network TV for the credit and the much heftier incentives of states such as Georgia, Louisiana and NY.
While he is under contract to Disney until next year, it looks like producer Jerry Bruckheimer‘s next home is going to be either Warner Bros or Paramount. Both studios are vying hard for the producer to come to their lot and ramp up tent poles, and a decision is coming soon. His exit from Disney came after the pricey disappointment The Lone Ranger. While that left a bitter taste, you can’t argue that Bruckheimer is one of the few brand names in the non-writing producer category. When he takes a big swing and connects, the result often leads to franchises that are such high commodities these days. At Disney, these included Pirates Of The Caribbean, and National Treasure. His deal is about the most expensive in the business, with generous overhead, 7-figure producing fees and gross. Bruckheimer already has his TV deal at Warner Bros, and that studio could use a guy like Bruckheimer as it carves out its new identity under Greg Silverman and Sue Kroll, in the wake of the exit of Jeff Robinov and Thomas Tull’s Legendary Pictures. Paramount has the prolific Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian, but could also use another event film generator. And of course, Bruckheimer and his late former partner Don Simpson had an illustrious run at that studio long ago. Stay tuned.
And with a signature and a date today, the more than $200 million copyright lawsuit by Hollywood against the file sharing site is over. A NYC-based federal judge today granted final approval to Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Viacom, Disney, Comedy Partners and Warner Bros’ request to dismiss their almost two year case against LimeWire and its founder Mark Gorton. Filed on October 30, the motion for a voluntary dismissal with prejudice was approved by U.S. District Judge Harold Baer Jr on Thursday (read it here). None of the plaintiffs gave any official reason for ending the case against the now-closed-down LimeWire. However, sources tell me that the studios received a hefty multimillion-dollar settlement.
Hollywood first took LimeWire and Gorton to court on back on February 1, 2012 over thousands of its films and TV shows that it claimed the file sharing provider fostered the illegal downloading by the site’s users. Just over a year ago the studios declared that they wanted LimeWire found liable before their lawsuit even went to trial because they claimed that their case against the online service was so similar to one LimeWire lost to the record labels in May 2010 that there just wasn’t even a need to …
Kate Winslet plays a reclusive single mom whose 13-year-old son struggles to be the man of the house. Their lives change when they meet a guy (Josh Brolin) who persuades them to take him in. Little do they know he’s an escaped convict. Writer-director Jason Reitman‘s film, which debuted at Telluride en route to Toronto, is adapted from Joyce Maynard’s novel. Paramount releases Labor Day wide January 31 after a limited run in December. Here’s the first trailer:
The latest teaming of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio will hit theaters just in time for an Oscar run. Paramount‘s The Wolf Of Wall Street is opening December 25. It originally was scheduled for November 15. The studio cleared the Christmas Day slot last week when it moved the Chris Pine starrer Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit to January 17. It’ll be a busy holiday at the megaplex, with Wall Street going up against openers including Universal’s Keanu Reeves actioner 47 Ronin, Warner Bros’ aging-boxer comedy Grudge Match, Ben Stiller’s take of The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty for Fox, Open Road’s Justin Bieber docu Believe and the Weinstein Company’s August: Osage County.
EXCLUSIVE: Just five months after shepherding the Star Trek video game to its epic fail of a release, Paramount SVP Brian Miller is on his way out, Deadline has learned. The Paramount veteran will continue in his post as SVP of Worldwide Marketing Partnerships and Consumer Products through the end of the year as part of a mutual exit decision reached with the studio. I’m told Miller is looking to pursue personal projects after 14 years at Paramount. But the timing comes conspicuously on the heels of May’s Star Trek video game debacle which Miller produced in-house and did heavy media promotion for. Developers Digital Extremes and Namco took much of the blame for the widely panned video game, notably from Trek director JJ Abrams who in September called it a “big disappointment” and suggested that the game’s poor quality and reviews hurt the release of his Star Trek Into Darkness. Unlike those developers, Miller had boldly gone front and center for Paramount as the face of the video game doing press left and right and, insiders say, tying his fate to the game’s. Miller declined a request for comment.
One day after Tom Clancy’s death, Paramount has released the first trailer for the new film based on his most famous character. Chris Pine takes over as the hero of such Cold War-era novels-turned-films as The Hunt For Red October and Patriot Games and brings him to the modern day. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit follows Ryan from 9/11 through Afghanistan and into the CIA, where he uncovers a Russian plot to undermine the U.S. economy. Directed by Kenneth Branagh and written by Adam Cozad and David Koepp, it co-stars Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner and Branagh. The action thriller opens Christmas Day:
Here’s the first clip from Paramount’s Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, in which Johnny Knoxville punks strangers while in character as senior citizen Irving Zisman. The previous three Jackass films grossed $79M, $84M, and $170M worldwide for Paramount – but they also kept to the show’s signature disconnected shocks and pranks vs. a Borat-esque hidden camera narrative. Bad Grandpa is scripted by Knoxville, director Jeff Tremaine, and Spike Jonze, and opens wide on October 25 against Fox and Ridley Scott’s The Counselor with no other major competition: