EXCLUSIVE: In her second recent teaming with an Italian director, Jane Fonda has boarded Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino‘s men-reflecting-on-life tale, Youth. I’m told Fonda has a key role in the English-language film that starts shooting at the end of the month. This marks a reunion for the actress and the previously announced Michael Caine: The duo appeared in 1978 comedy classic California Suite, and Otto Preminger’s 1967 Hurry Sundown. Rachel Weisz, Harvey Keitel and Paul Dano are also among the main Youth cast, Pathé International said today. The company kicks off sales in Cannes next week. Sorrentino won the Foreign Language Oscar for The Great Beauty earlier this year and with Youth (aka La Giovinezza) is making a second foray into working with Hollywood stars after 2011′s Sean Penn-starrer This Must Be The Place.
Sorrentino penned the screenplay for Youth which centers on Fred and Mick, two old friends approaching 80, who are on vacation together in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. Fred, a composer and conductor, is retired, but film director Mick is still working. The friends contemplate their children’s lives, Mick’s enthusiastic young writers, and the other hotel guests as they face their future. While Mick scrambles to finish the screenplay for what he imagines will be his … Read More »
‘Gone With The Bullets’ Sets China Release Date Jiang Wen’s Gone With The Bullets has secured a December 18 release date in China. The film is the follow-up to Jiang’s blockbuster Let The Bullets Fly, which made $140M worldwide in 2010. Based on a true story, 3D comedy Gone With The Bullets is set in 1920s Shanghai. Ma Zouri (Jiang Wen) and Xiang Feitian (Ge You) establish a notorious beauty pageant called the Flowers Competition. All of the city’s elite attend the gala event, but when an unexpected winner is crowned, it sets into motion a series of tragic events that change their destinies. Per FilmBizAsia, Jiang’s Buyilehu Film told local media that it hopes the title will represent China at the Oscars next year. The film will be handled internationally by Sony Pictures Releasing International. December is a hot time locally for Chinese films with U.S. movies often out of the frame. FBA says other films believed to be eyeing a December release include Tsui Hark’s The Taking Of Tiger Mountain, Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem and Chen Kaige’s Taoist Mountain. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Fresh from his turn in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, David Oyelowo has been set to star in and produce A United Kingdom, a love story based on the true tale of Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams. The film is backed by UK-based Pathe, which is coming off Philomena and Mandela. They are out to directors and will film next year in London and Botswana. Oyelowo will play Seretse, heir to the African throne of Botswana, who created a sensation in 1948 by engaging in a whirlwind romance in London with Williams, a white English office worker he married. The interracial union was opposed by both their families, as well as the British government, the Tribal elders of Botswana and the apartheid government of South Africa. The couple would not be denied, overcoming huge obstacles to be together, including exile and the abdication of the throne. Their son, Ian Khama, is currently the freely elected president of Botswana.
Oyelowo will produce with Rick McCallum, Brunson Green, Justin Moore Lewy and Charlie Mason. They are out to directors on a script written by Guy Hibbert, whose credits include Omagh and Five Minutes Of Heaven. Hibbert is exec producing with Cameron McCraken.
The film’s being done with cooperation from the Khama family, which issued a statement from Botswana: “We are pleased that the story of Sir Seretse Khama and Lady Khama is … Read More »
The latest entry to Bertrand Tavernier‘s diverse canon is a political satire that’s inspired by a comic book. Quai D’Orsay opened on Wednesday in France, scoring the best first-screening numbers in Paris, but ended up second overall for the day, behind another French film, En Solitaire. Both widely outperformed other new entries Inside Llewyn Davis and Ender’s Game. Quai D’Orsay stars veteran actor Thierry Lhermitte as Foreign Affairs Minister Alexandre Taillard de Vorms, an extravagant aristocrat who’s constantly in motion. The film has made some noise in France since the lead character is based on former Foreign Affairs Minister (later Prime Minister) Dominique de Villepin, the silver-haired international emblem of France’s opposition to the invasion of Iraq. The film’s source comic, Quai D’Orsay – Chroniques Diplomatiques, is co-authored by Abel Lanzac, a pseudonym for Antonin Baudry, who worked as an advisor to de Villepin. In the farcical look at the inner workings of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, de Vorms hires a young speechwriter, played by Raphaël Personnaz, to be his head of language. Niels Arestrup also stars. Quai D’Orsay won the screenplay prize in San Sebastian and screened in Toronto. Pathé is handling international sales at the AFM.
European Film Academy Unveils European Documentary Nominees The Act Of Killing, Stop-Over and The Missing Picture are the European Film Academy‘s nominees for Best European Documentary. The Act of Killing is a Denmark-Norway co-production from director Joshua Oppenheimer about Indonesian death squad veterans re-enacting their deeds musical numbers, twisting arms in film noir gangster scenes, and galloping across prairies as yodeling cowboys. Stop-Over (L’Escale) is a Switzerland-France co-prod from Kaveh Bakhtiari that centers on Amir, an Iranian immigrant in Athens whose modest becomes a place of transit for migrants who, like him, have chosen to leave their country. In the France-Cambodia pic The Missing Picture (L’Image Manquante), which won the Un Certain Regard Prize at Cannes, writer-director Rithy Panh addresses his family’s horrifying experiences during the Pol Pot regime’s reign over Cambodia from 1975-79. The winner will be announced during the European Film Awards on December 7 in Berlin. Read More »
The Royal Film Performance is the major annual fundraising event for the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, the UK charity that cares for industry employees and their families who are suffering hardship. Last year, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was the gala pic. This year, the CTBF is going with Justin Chadwick’s Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. It will screen in London on December 5th for members of the Royal Family along with the cast and filmmakers. The biopic is a South African/British co-production and stars Idris Elba in the eponymous role with Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandela. Pathé releases it January 3rd in the UK. The Weinstein Co opens it Stateside in the heart of Awards Season on November 29th.
Veteran Exec François Ivernel Exits Pathé To Launch Production Company
Pathé said today that veteran top executive François Ivernel has resigned to launch Montebello Productions, a London-based film-production company that will open June 3. He most recently held several titles within the French company, serving as chairman of the board and managing director of Les Cinémas Gaumont Pathé, deputy managing director of Pathé, as a member of its executive board and as president of Pathe U.K. Ivernel’s executive producer credits include the Best Picture Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire and Palme d’Or-winning The Wind That Shakes The Barley.
Vivendi Agrees To Mediation With Lagardere Over Canal Plus France
Vivendi agreed Friday that a mediator should decide its legal spat with Lagardere over their pay-TV venture Canal Plus France. Lagardere had said in February it was suing Vivendi for 1.6 billion euros ($2 billion). Reuters reports that the media group wants Vivendi to return the sum to Canal+ France because it claims Vivendi – which owns 80% of the venture — is making permanent use of the business’s entire cash surplus under a disputed cash management agreement between the venture and its Vivendi-owned parent. Vivendi has in turn accused Lagardere of trying to destabilize it and force it to buy back Lagardere’s 20 percent stake in Canal+ France, a move Vivendi.
The Cannes Film Festival will wrap with Jérôme Salle’s noir thriller Zulu on May 26. The Pathé, Lobster Tree and M6 Films co-production stars Forest Whitaker and Orlando Bloom. Shot on location in South Africa, it’s based on the award-winning novel by French author Caryl Férey. Whitaker and Bloom play Cape Town cops investigating the murder of two women. Salle, whose credits include The Burma Conspiracy and Anthony Zimmer, the original basis for The Tourist, co-wrote Zulu with Julien Rappeneau, scripter of last year’s French hit Cloclo. Zulu was produced by Richard Grandpierre and will be released in France by Pathé, which is also handling international sales. The score is by Oscar nominee Alexandre Desplat. Last year’s closing film was the late Claude Miller’s Thérèse Desqueyroux. The festival opens May 15 with Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.
Sofia Coppola‘s The Bling Ring recently got a June 14 domestic release date from distributor A24, which acquired the film in January. Before that, Pathé releases in France on June 5 (there’s also buzz about a potential slot at May’s Cannes Film Festival). Emma Watson stars with Leslie Mann, Taissa Farmiga, Gavin Rossdale and Paris Hilton in the story about a group of young burglars who broke into the homes of celebrities including Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom and Hilton herself in 2008 and 2009. It’s based on the Vanity Fair article The Suspects Wore Louboutins, by Nancy Jo Sales. Here’s the teaser trailer:
As craftily built co-productions become increasingly attractive, Studiocanal executive Léonard Glowinski is moving on to launch Paris-based production structuring and financing group 22h22. Glowinski, who started out as a banker for BNP Media in the 90s, spent 10 years at Pathé before joining Studiocanal in 2009 as head of French and European productions. He tells me the new company will bring European backing to international producers on films with substantial budgets in order to best optimize financing and reduce risk. He intends to work with a small number of films from the outset, creating co-production packages that take advantage of the various mechanisms available throughout Europe including subsidies, local incentives and private equity. Films that Glowinski had a hand in structuring at Pathé include Oliver Stone’s Alexander, box office hit Asterix And Obelix At The Olympic Games and Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell And The Butterfly which he executive produced. At Studiocanal, he was involved in putting together Liam Neeson-starrer Unknown and Oscar nominee Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Read More »
What’s in a name? Well if the name is Adolph – and it’s what you plan to call your new baby – you can be sure there’s a hornet’s nest. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in Alexandre de la Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte’s hit Parisien play Le Prénom (The Name) which Pathé is bringing to the bigscreen. I’ve learned that the French major is co-producing and will begin international sales on the feature next week at the Rendez-Vous With French Cinema in Paris. The film stars Patrick Bruel, Valérie Benguigui, Charles Berling, Guillaume de Tonquédec and Judith El Zein. The premise is this: Expectant father Bruel is interrogated as to the baby’s name during a dinner at his sister and brother-in-law’s home. When he announces he’s chosen “Adolph,” the family is plunged into chaos. He defends the name on an intellectual basis – it is after all the title of a famous piece of 19th century literature by Benjamin Constant – but the family is having none of it. The bourgeois-bohemian living room satire extends to other discoveries about the family and was a hit at Paris’ Théâtre Edouard VII last year, drawing comparison to Harold Pinter. Read More »
Here’s a shot in the arm for French cinema: Gaumont’s award-winning crowd-pleaser Untouchable has catapulted to the top of the French box-office heap for 2011 in less than four weeks of release. The studio announced today that the film has now sold over 8.2 million tickets, making it the No. 1 film this year. Another French film, Pathé’s Rien A Declarer (Nothing To Declare), is sitting in the 2nd spot in France for the year with just over 8.13 million tickets sold. The two local pics are running ahead of such fare as the Harry Potter finale, Steven Spielberg’s Adventures Of Tintin and the latest Pirates Of The Caribbean 4.
Gaumont’s Cécile Gaget tells me that Untouchable is experiencing a “Titanic phenomenon” whereby moviegoers are returning to see it multiple times. From directors Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, pic stars François Cluzet as a wheelchair-bound aristocrat who hires an out-of-the-ordinary assistant played by Omar Sy. The film recently won the Grand Prize at the Tokyo Film Fest with the stars sharing acting kudos. Gaumont says the film is also doing brisk business in Switzerland and Belgium. The Weinstein Co acquired Untouchable in North America, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, South America and China and also took English-language remake rights.
Pathé’s Nothing To Declare, meanwhile, hails from director and star Dany Boon whose Welcome To The Sticks rode a juggernaut locally back in 2008 to become the highest-grossing French film ever and to … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Director Danny Boyle will follow his Oscar-nominated 127 Hours with Trance, a thriller that will shoot in London this September. I’m told it’s an art heist gone wrong, and it’s got the dark, sexy, hard-edged tone of Boyle films like Shallow Grave and Trainspotting. The film reunites Boyle with his 127 Hours and Slumdog Millionaire producing partner Christian Colson, and they are in talks with Fox Searchlight and Pathe for funding and worldwide distribution. It wasn’t clear whether Boyle would make a film before directing the opening ceremonies of next summer’s Olympics in London. Here’s how he’ll handle it. The film will be shot in September — Boyle and Colson have begun talking up British and U.S. talent — and after the film’s shooting is completed, Boyle will put it on a shelf. He’ll devote himself exclusively to the Olympics beginning next January. Next August, he’ll return to the film, and cut it with the anticipation that Trance will be ready for theatrical distribution in March 2013. The film will be in the mid-teen-budget range, which has proven to be Boyle’s wheelhouse. Slumdog Millionaire cost $15 million, while 127 Hours cost $18 million. Those films grossed $450 million or so between them. Boyle’s repped by WME and UK-based Independent Talent.
EXCLUSIVE: Guillermo del Toro, The Jim Henson Company and Pathe are ready to go on Pinocchio, a 3D stop motion animated adaptation of the Carlo Collodi fairy tale that will be edgier than the 1940 animated Disney classic. Gris Grimly will co-direct with Mark Gustafson, and production will begin later this year. Grimly illustrated a 2002 book of Collodi’s tale that formed the basis for a project that is years in the making.
The storyline was hatched by Del Toro and Matthew Robbins, and the script was written by the latter, who has collaborated with del Toro on scripts for Mimic, the remake Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, and del Toro’s next directing project At the Mountains of Madness. Del Toro will produce with Jim Henson Company’s Lisa Henson and Jason Lust, and Allison Abbate. Gary Ungar is exec producer along with Pathe’s Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken.
This version is aimed at an audience 10 years and up, and a bit scarier than the Disney film. Australian rock musician and film composer Nick Cave has signed on to be music consultant and the puppets and 3D elements will be developed with MacKinnon and Saunders, the UK-based facility that worked on The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, and the upcoming Frankenweenie. Del Toro supplied the accompanying photos to convey the feel of a film that shares a core theme from … Read More »