FX has passed on Hoke, its drama pilot starring and executive produced by Paul Giamatti. Written, directed and executive produced by Scott Frank, the project told the story of midlife crisis and murder that features the hardboiled and possibly insane homicide detective Hoke Moseley (Gianatti) in pre-chic Miami circa 1985. Robert Wisdom, Tammy Blanchard and John Carroll Lynch co-starred. While FX picked up some nine comedy pilots over the past year as it is ramping up comedy-centric sibling FXX, the network only ordered three drama pilots, Hoke as well as Tyrant and The Strain, both of which went to series. On the drama side, FX also is making a push in limited/event series with such programs as Fargo.
EXClUSIVE: Tony-nominated actress Tammy Blanchard has landed a series regular role on FX series Hoke, the darkly comedic drama series adapted by Scott Frank (Get Shorty, Out Of Sight) from Charles Willeford’s detective novels Sideswipe, New Hope For The Dead and The Way We Die Now. Paul Giamatti stars as Hoke Moseley, the hardboiled homicide detective hero of Willeford’s novels who investigates crimes while wrestling with his own mid-life crisis in 1980s Miami. Blanchard will play Loretta Hickey, the striking mother of a murdered drug addict whose case Hoke investigates and a key character in Willeford’s second Hoke Moseley book, New Hope For The Dead. Blanchard recently filmed the role of Florinda in Disney’s Into the Woods musical film adaptation. She’s repped by Soffer/Namoff and the Gersh Agency.
Mild Spoiler Alert…
Although Downton Abbey‘s fourth season doesn’t begin airing in the U.S. for another few weeks, the regular UK season wrapped last month and the Christmas special is now nearly here. As is custom, the episode will air over two hours on Britain’s ITV on December 25th. It will air Stateside at the end of S4′s Masterpiece run which begins January 5th. The teaser below offers a glimpse of Shirley MacLaine in her return as Cora’s mother Martha Levinson, and of Paul Giamatti as Cora’s brother Harold. While not terribly spoilerish, those who’ve seen nothing of the fourth season may want to think twice before clicking play.
Hoke, a darkly comedic drama starring Paul Giamatti, has received a pilot order at FX. Based on Charles Willeford‘s series of novels Sideswipe, New Hope For The Dead and The Way We Die Now, the project was written by feature scribe Scott Frank, who will direct the pilot and he will be showrunner if Hoke goes to series. Hoke is a story of mid-life crisis and murder that features the hardboiled and possibly insane homicide detective Hoke Moseley (Giamatti) in pre-chic Miami circa 1985. Giamatti, Frank, Curtis Hanson, Carol Fenelon and Dan Carey executive produce for FX Prods. Filming is scheduled to begin later this year in Miami.
EXCLUSIVE: Paul Giamatti and FX are in the early stages of a limited series on the spark that started the fire of the Civil War. I’ve learned that Untitled John Brown Project, as it is currently being called, traces the true story of the abolitionist’s transformation from a lowly 50-year old farmer to a notorious anti-slavery freedom fighter in Kansas and his famed 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry. The project is based on Tony Horwitz’s 2011 book Midnight Rising which examines Brown’s attack on the Virginia arsenal. Though ultimately unsuccessful, the raid, which started as an attempt to launch an armed revolt against the forces of slavery in a politically fraught America, is widely acknowledged as being an emotional tipping point toward the South’s secession the following year. Defeated by Marines led by a certain Col. Robert E. Lee, Brown was convicted and killed by hanging for his part in the raid. Horwitz is a consultant on the project which is expected to be 6 to 8 hours in total.
As a follow-up to the casting of Shirley MacLaine, another top American actor is joining the British drama series Downton Abbey. Paul Giamatti will play Cora’s (Elizabeth McGovern) maverick and playboy brother Harold in the Season 4 finale. He joins new cast members Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Nigel Harman, Joanna David and Gary Carr. Season 4 of Downton Abbey premieres on Masterpiece on PBS on January 5, 2014.
Director Marc Webb’s Tweeting his way through production on Sony‘s Amazing Spider-Man 2. His latest reveal: A first look at Paul Giamatti as the Marvel villain known to comic book fans as Rhino. “Say hello to Aleksei Sytsevich”, Webb Tweeted today. Giamatti, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, and Shailene Woodley join Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in the May 2, 2014 superhero sequel.
Marc Webb‘s slinging more new additions to his Amazing Spider-Man 2 cast. Paul Giamatti is in talks to play comic book baddie The Rhino opposite returning stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in the Spidey sequel, which is slated to begin filming in February. Also in talks is Felicity Jones, whose role has not yet been revealed. Giamatti and Jones join previously announced cast additions Jamie Foxx as Electro, Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane, and Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn; Sally Field as Aunt May and Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben will also return for Columbia’s May 2, 2014 tentpole.
Here’s a trailer for the sci-fi/horror film John Dies At The End, which was directed, produced and written by cult legend Don Coscarelli. Paul Giamatti stars (and is exec producer) as a shadowy figure investigating a street drug known as Soy Sauce, which promises an out-of-body experience with each hit, causing users to drift across time and dimensions with sometimes unwanted side effects. Magnolia’s Magnet Releasing picked up the film in August and will release it via its Ultra VOD program in December.
Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton and Jacki Weaver have signed on for Parkland, a film about the John F. Kennedy assassination. Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are producing in association with Exclusive Media, which will also be financing. As part of the deal, Exclusive Media has optioned the rights to the book that the film is based on, Reclaiming History: The Assassination Of President John F. Kennedy, by Vincent Bugliosi. Peter Landesman penned the adapted screenplay and will direct Parkland in his directorial debut. Parkland tells the true story of the chaotic events that occurred at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. The film, to be shot in Austin, Texas is set for a 2013 release around the 50th anniversary of the assassination.
FX Prods has inked a two-year, first-look production deal with Paul Giamatti, Dan Carey and their production company Touchy Feely Films. Under the pact, the first TV agreement ever for Touchy Feely, the company will develop series for cable. Touchy Feely’s feature credits include Pretty Bird and Cold Souls. The deal was negotiated by UTA.
GLENDALE, Calif., Feb. 24, 2012 — DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced that Ryan Reynolds will lead an all-star cast including Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Kurtwood Smith, Snoop Dogg and Samuel L. Jackson in the Company’s upcoming original film Turbo, which tells the story of an ordinary garden snail with dreams of racing greatness. Turbo is scheduled to come to the big screen on July 19, 2013.
David Soren (Merry Madagascar), a DreamWorks Animation veteran as a story artist, voice actor and director, is set to direct the film based on his own original concept. Soren is co-writing the script with Robert Siegel (The Wrestler) and Darren Lemke (Shrek Forever After). Lisa Stewart (Monsters vs. Aliens, Almost Famous) is producing with Susan Rogers serving as co-producer.
Paul Giamatti, Paul Rudd and Sally Hawkins are teaming to star in Lucky Dog, a comedy to be directed by Junebug helmer Phil Morrison. Shooting starts next month in New York City. The story centers on a pair of French-Canadian conmen pals who, despite being on the outs with each other, hatch a get-rich-quick scheme to sell Christmas trees in NY. Melissa James Gibson penned the script. Dan Carey and Elizabeth Giamatti are producing via their Touchy Feely Films. Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, GreeneStreet Films and HanWay Films are financing. Sidney Kimmel and Greenstreet’s John Penotti will also produce, with Michael Hogan and Jim Tauber executive producing. London-based HanWay is handling international sales starting here at the EFM with UTA repping the US. Other films on HanWay’s current slate include Seven Psychopaths with Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson; Great Expectations starring Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes and Jeremy Irvine and the Dustin Hoffman-directed Quartet.
The Sundance Film Festival is infamously where relatively unknown filmmakers travel to Park City and maybe leave the mountain resort on the road to glory. But this year may have more well-known names swaggering down Main Street with projects than in recent years. Here’s a snapshot of the film famous you’ll be hearing about at Sundance and why:
SPIKE LEE, director/producer, Red Hook Summer - Spike has a long history going in and out of the studio system and hitting the pavement at Sundance where he returns with his latest. The director often laments how difficult it is to get money for projects despite making $300 million on Inside Man. Fast forward several documentaries later, and Lee picks up the feature filmmaking mantle again about an Atlanta boy who is sent to spend the summer in a Brooklyn NY housing project with the grandfather he’s never met. With all titles screening in the festival’s Premieres section headed to Sundance without a distributor in place, Lee is once again counting on his indie roots for this pic.
JULIE DELPY, writer/director/star, 2 Days In New York - Delpy opened the Sundance Film Festival with Before Sunrise way back in 1995. Now she returns with 2 Days In New York – a follow up to 2007′s 2 Days In Paris. Delpy took her recent films including 2 Days In Paris to Berlin for their debuts, but is headed to Sundance with the latest. The film has sold some international territories already and the feature’s American setting is ripe for a Sundance splash, according to the film’s sales company Rezo. In no small part due to star Chris Rock who plays opposite Delpy. In the film, Delpy reprises her 2 Days In Paris character Marion who lives with her new lover Mingus (Rock) and their two kids from previous relationships. The couple get an unexpected visit from her father (played by Delpy’s real-life dad), her oversexed sister, and her outrageous boyfriend.
STEPHEN FREARS, director Lay The Favorite - You would think two Oscar nominations for Best Director not to mention multiple Awards for 2006′s The Queen (including a win for actress Helen Mirren) would mean a golden ticket for future projects and a studio backer. But such is not the case anymore and Frears will join fellow filmmakers vying for distribution at Sundance. Pic has a well-known cast including Rebecca Hall, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bruce Willis, and Joshua Jackson. This latest follows a beautiful but ditzy gal who moves to Las Vegas and meets a pro sports gambler who hones in on her natural skills for numbers to his advantage.
MICHAEL STIPE, executive producer, Me@ The Zoo - The former R.E.M. front man has his hand in film for decades now, most prominently beginning in the late 1990s as executive producer of Velvet Goldmine and producer of multiple Oscar-nominee Being John Malkovich. Ubiquitous at Sundance in the early part of the 2000s, his last big project there was 2004′s Saved via his Single Cell Pictures. His other production company C-Hundred Film Corp (with filmmaker Jim McKay) is taking Me @ The Zoo to Sundance this year where it is screening in competition. The film follows video blogger Chris Crocker whose YouTube plea “Leave Britney Alone!” has been viewed gazillion times.
EXCLUSIVE: Adam Shankman will be set by New Line Cinema to direct The Nutcracker, a new take on the classic fairy tale that is being eyed as a tent pole family holiday film for late 2013. The script was written by Darren Lemke, who just worked with New Line on Jack the Giant Killer, and whose credits include Shrek Forever After. This version of The Nutcracker goes back to the original 1815 book by E.T.A. Hoffman, about a young girl and a wooden toy soldier who comes alive and leads her on an adventure. The take is a drama with action and a love story that aspires to be similar in tone to Alice in Wonderland. It is shaping up as Shankman’s next film.
The film is being produced by Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, who are coming off Twlight Saga: Breaking Dawn–Part 1. It’s likely that Shankman and his Offspring Entertainment partner Jennifer Gibgot will become involved as well by the time the deal is made. Shankman is just coming off Rock of Ages, the New Line adaptation of the stage musical that stars Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Mary J. Blige, Paul Giamatti and Bryan Cranston. The film opens June 1. It would be Shankman’s third film with New Line, after Hairspray. Shankman is repped by UTA as is Lemke.
Sony Pictures has released a new and pretty intense trailer for The Ides of March, the George Clooney-directed thriller about cutthroat presidential politics that originated in Beau Willimon’s play. Clooney stars with Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti. The film was just named to open the 2011 Venice Film Festival.
EXCLUSIVE: The George Clooney-directed The Ides of March will open the Venice Film Festival on Aug. 31, I’m told. The film, adapted from Beau Willimon’s play Farragut North, stars Clooney as a presidential candidate, Ryan Gosling as a head of media and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a campaign manager. Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood also star. The drama takes place during the Ohio primary for the Democratic nomination. It’s extremely topical, given the recent resignation of Congressman Anthony Weiner for sending photos of his package to online “sexting” partners. The Ides of March involves similar scandalous activities. Clooney, who retreats to a vacation home in Lake Como in Italy, has had several of his films play at the festival. They include Intolerable Cruelty, The Man Who Stared at Goats, and the Steven Soderbergh-directed Out of Sight. Sony Pictures will distribute the film in fall.
Is Alec Baldwin in or out of New Line’s Rock of Ages? We might have a better idea today after Baldwin takes part in a full run-through of the ’80s-flavored rock musical being held in an hour or so on the Miami set where the picture will be shot. Except for Catherine Zeta-Jones (who’s shooting the Gerard Butler starrer Playing The Field that FilmDistrict acquired this morning), Baldwin will take part with the entire cast of Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Mary J. Blige, Paul Giamatti, Malin Akerman, Bryan Cranston, Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough. They’ll be trying out costumes and belting out 80s tunes as they prepare for a May 23 production start. Director Adam Shankman will be hoping that by the end of today, Baldwin will have a change of heart, which was prompted by personal reasons.