Séville International, the recently launched boutique sales arm of eOne Films International, will launch sales on Penélope Cruz-starrer Ma Ma at Cannes next month. The Spanish-language film will be distributed in Spain by eOne. Cruz plays a woman who reacts to a tragedy with a surge of life which leads her to experience the most unexpected situations “filled with humor and delicate happiness.” Luis Tosar and Asier Etxeandia also star. Cruz calls the film “an absolute passion project.” She’ll produce with director Julio Medem (Sex And Lucia) and Morena Films, in association with France’s Backup Media Group. Mare Nostrum is co-producing. The project fits with eOne Films International president Harold van Lier’s objective to source homegrown films for local distribution and world rights sold via Séville. The deal was negotiated by Alvaro Longoria of Morena Films and Joël Thibout of Backup with van Lier, and Jorge Vazquez and Igor Ibeas for eOne Films Spain.
Entertainment One Films has acquired North American distribution rights to Twice Born in a deal with Wild Bunch. The film, directed by Sergio Castellitto and starring Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. Pic is the story of a single mother who brings her teenage son to Sarajevo, where his father died in the Bosnian conflict years before. The plan is to release theatrically in the US and Canada next year.
Two U.S. documentaries and two European-set narratives are among this weekend’s roster of new specialty offerings. Of the latter, there’s Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love, for which Sony Pictures Classics anticipates a warm reception following the success of Allen’s last movie, Midnight In Paris. His latest turns to the eternal city with an all-star cast. Veteran documentarian Kirby Dick’s The Invisible War debuts following festival screenings at Sundance and Provincetown. The other doc, Kumaré, which opened Wednesday, has been compared to Catfish (2010) in terms of controversy. Tribeca Film is rolling out in limited release the other narrative feature Stella Days starring Martin Sheen.
After opening the 2011 Cannes Film Festival winning raves (and an eventual Oscar for Original Screenplay) for Midnight In Paris, Woody Allen and Sony Pictures Classics dialed it down a bit for the North American premiere of his latest, To Rome With Love. But in a coup for the Los Angeles Film Festival Woody and several female co-stars made the trek to LA for last night’s opening film, and if the movie divided critics there were definitely a few big laughs, some supplied on camera by Woody himself in his first screen role since 2006′s Scoop.
Now in its 18th year, the festival run by Film Independent is increasingly becoming a go-to place for summer movie premieres and interesting programming. On the down side it is once again taking place mostly at Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live in Downtown making it stressful for many Angelenos and Westsiders in particular — navigating rush hour traffic can be nightmarish (it certainly was for me yesterday). And with some street and freeway on and off ramp closures still in effect due to the King’s Stanley Cup hockey championship parade celebration earlier in the day (and other reasons) you can find yourself driving around aimlessly looking for any way in – or out – for that matter. Plus if you don’t manage to find the single West Garage parking entrance off Chick Hearn Court that offers the LAFF rate of $8 you may wind up paying …
EXCLUSIVE: As expected, Penelope Cruz has joined the stellar cast of the Ridley Scott-directed The Counselor, and I’m told that she is planning to team up again this summer with director Pedro Almodovar in Los Amantes Pasajeros, the comedy he will shoot this summer in Madrid. The title’s translation is The Brief Lovers, and reports say it’s about an affair on an airplane. It is what the actress considers a special collaboration between herself and Almodovar, whose films together include Broken Embraces, Volver, All About My Mother and Live Flesh. Cruz joins Paz Vega, Lola Dueñas, Javier Cámara, Cecelia Roth, Carlos Areces, Raúl Arévalo and José Maria Yazpik.
In The Counselor, Cruz will star with Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem and Cameron Diaz in a drama that has been called No Country For Old Men on steroids. Cruz is repped by CAA, Untitled and Spain-based Katrina Bayonas.
Monica Corcoran Harel is contributing to Deadline’s Oscar coverage.
Unlike monotonous years past when a color or style prevailed, tonight’s Academy Awards Red Carpet teemed with extremes. Actresses either went strapless and exposed chiseled clavicles or opted for demure long sleeves. Some coerced their hair into crazy Cinnabon updos, while others played it loose with windswept, just-got-lucky-in-the-limo waves. All in all, it was a good night for fashion. Meryl Streep channeled a female Oscar in gold lame Lanvin, Rooney Mara didn’t wear black and Sacha Baron Cohen claimed to be wearing “Galliano with socks from K-Mart.”
When it came to color, a majority went white — a hue the costume designer Edith Head once said “can be gay or somber.” In the case of 20-year-old Shailene Woodley in a mod Valentino Couture gown, the look was a bit matronly and Babe Paley circa 1960 for such a dewy star. Gwyneth Paltrow, whose bright white Tom Ford column gown with an architectural duster stood out like spilled milk, looked bright and awake. Rooney Mara, however, seemed more like a Tim Burton Goth bride in her Givenchy dress with a bondage-style back and transparent train.
Red, too, made a strong showing thanks to Natalie Portman, Emma Stone and Michelle Williams. Portman’s vintage polka-dotted Christian Dior gown was charming, though the hem was slightly wrinkled. (Shouldn’t limos come equipped with steamers?) Stone’s scarlet Giambattista Valli — embellished with a toaster-sized bow on the left shoulder — had critics hissing that it was too redolent of the Balenciaga dress Nicole Kidman wore to the 2007 Oscars. Oh, stop. Doesn’t Hollywood make the same movies every year? Williams, ever the gamine, looked great in that coral Louis Vuitton with a sweet peplum waist that gave her some curves.
Beverly Hills, CA – Academy Award® winner Penélope Cruz will present at the 84th Academy Awards® ceremony, telecast producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer announced today. Cruz won an Oscar in 2008 for her supporting role in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” She was also nominated for her lead performance in “Volver” (2006) and for her supporting role in “Nine” (2009).
BREAKING: Woody Allen has changed the title of his new Rome-set film from the confusing The Bop Decameron to the much catchier Nero Fiddled. Allen got tired of all the blank stares he received when telling people the title of his film, and found something that better conveys the locale. He shot the film this summer and starred in it with Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page. The film is a Gravier Productions comedy produced by Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum. It’s the first Allen film funded by the Italian production/distribution company Medusa Film. Nero Fiddled will be released next year. Allen’s most recent film, Midnight In Paris, crossed $50 million to become his career highest-grosser in North America.
It’s all over but the verdict. Sunday night will bring the Cannes Film Festival to a close with the announcement of winners for the various awards given for the Official Competition of this 64th Cannes affair. And it looks like a wide-open race for the coveted Palme d’Or. No one film seems to have jumped clearly ahead as there is still lots of speculation about whether it could be the Malick (cineaests here refer to the movies by their directors’ last names, not the film title), the Dardennes for the third time, the Kaurismaki, the Winding Refn, the Hazanavicius, the Almodovar or, heaven forbid(!), the von Trier. Or maybe, as so often happens, it will go to the unexpected or something no one is really buzzing about on the Croisette.
Saturday night brought the final two films in the competition. Radu Mihaileanu’s French entry La Source Des Femmes (The Source) was rapturously received at its 7 PM Lumiere premiere with a prolonged standing ovation and much applause even during the film itself. The story, or fable, of a group of women in a small village (somewhere between North Africa and the Middle East) who decide to wage a controversial sex strike unless their men help them fetch the water is entertaining and enlightening and could figure as a last-minute contender (as well as a strong possibility to be France’s entry for the Oscars). I doubt that will be the case for the final film, which premiered at 10:30 PM: Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s two-hour-and-37-minute Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, which I think may still be going on. The longest in 20-film group of contenders feels twice that length, a contemplative minimalist art film with no music and no real plot beyond anything a typical episode of CSI covers in its first five minutes. It is one of those movies fest directors love where people stare a lot, ponder a lot and talk about being bored. At least it provided some much-needed nap time; maybe the jury will give Ceylan a prize for letting them catch up on their sleep. He won an award here in 2008 for the overrated Three Monkeys, so you never know, but Robert De Niro’s jury has a lot better choices than this. Can you tell I am not a fan?
One thing missing so far from the upcoming film Woody Allen will shoot in Italy has been … Italian actors. Allen has so far set Jesse Eisenberg, Penelope Cruz, Ellen Page and Alec Baldwin. I’m hearing that Allen will land iconic Italian director/actor Roberto Benigni to join the ensemble cast. For the most part, Benigni hasn’t been seen in these parts since he was climbing over seated superstars to accept the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and then later bounding up and saying he wanted to make love to everyone after he was named Best Actor in the 1997 film Life is Beautiful. The last dull Oscarcast could certainly have used him. I believe he’ll be announced as part of Allen’s The Wrong Picture cast at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, where Allen premieres his latest film, Midnight in Paris.
Ellen Page has made a deal to join Woody Allen’s next film. Deadline told you Monday about Alec Baldwin and Jesse Eisenberg starring, and Penelope Cruz had been announced in early April. The pic shoots in Rome.
Page has been busy. She plays a psychopath superhero sidekick alongside Rainn Wilson in the James Gunn-directed Super, a film that is being rolled out by IFC after it acquired the film at Toronto last fall. Page is also attached to Freeheld, a Ron Nyswaner-scripted feature adaptation of the Oscar-winning documentary.
Adrien Brody-Penelope Cruz Pic ‘A Matador’s Mistress’ Bypasses Theatrical For VOD Release By Gravitas Ventures
Gravitas Ventures has made a deal with Viva Pictures that will allow A Matador’s Mistress to finally see the light of day, only not in darkened movie theaters. It’s a straight to VOD play for the Menno Meyjes-directed drama stars Adrien Brody as Spanish bullfighter Manolete, in a film that covers his late life love affair with actress Lupe Sino before he was gored to death in the bull ring. Penelope Cruz plays Sino, whose left wing politics turned their affair into a scandal in the early 1940s. Gravitas Ventures’ CEO Nolan A. Gallagher said that the film will be released this June through cable, telco and online, making it available to a potentially sizable audience.
Even though the film stars two Oscar winners, it never found any takers for a theatrical run. It was actually shot in 2005, four years before Cruz won her Oscar for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Back in the day when there was a vast number of small indie distributors, someone would have figured out a way to squeeze a buck out of theaters, but those days are gone. To Gravitas Ventures’ Gallagher, such opportunities now exist on VOD, with greater opportunities for titles with branded independent names like Brody and Cruz. “Film lovers will have the opportunity to appreciate the find performances of Adrien Brody and Penelope Cruz,” said Gallagher. “Video on Demand is increasingly allowing …
EXCLUSIVE: After Javier Bardem’s terrifying Oscar-winning turn as the assassin in No Country For Old Men, is there any doubt he’d fit as the gunslinger Roland Deschain in The Dark Tower, the mammoth adaptation of the Stephen King 7-novel series that’ll span three movies and a limited run TV series in between?
I’m told that Bardem has officially been offered the lead role by director Ron Howard and Universal Pictures. While formal negotiations haven’t yet begun, there’s a high level of enthusiasm internally that they’ve got their cowboy. Akiva Goldsman has scripted the first movie, and will write the TV component as well. Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer is producing with Goldsman and the author. Universal is financing and distributing the films, and NBC Universal Television Entertainment is backing the TV component, which will either be a limited run series or a miniseries.
It has been a heady week for Bardem. He received a Best Actor nomination for his performance as a terminally ill street hustler in the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed Biutiful, and Bardem and Penelope Cruz just welcomed their first son into the world. Since Deadline first revealed that King, Goldsman, Howard and Grazer were joining forces on the ambitious project that would tell the story on multiple platforms, speculation has been rampant over who’d play the lead role. Bardem has been mentioned, as has Viggo Mortensen and Christian Bale. Deschain …