Organizers have treated Film Independent’s staged reading of Quentin Tarantino’s latest script The Hateful Eight like a national security matter, restricting things like cell phones and computers and staying mum on casting ahead of Saturday night’s event. But I have …
Catch up on the top film stories you missed this week:
The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia
By Jen Yamato
Local, state, and federal investigations are underway to determine who from the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider is responsible for the February 20 train collision on location in rural Georgia that left 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones dead and seven others injured. As the production community rallies around the tragedy and calls for stronger guidelines to ensure that similar accidents never happen again, a Deadline investigation that included interviews with people on the ground in and around Savannah has revealed several troubling factors preceding the afternoon when the crew of the movie, directed and produced by Randall Miller through his Unclaimed Freight Productions banner, placed a metal hospital bed on the live train tracks overlooking Southern Georgia’s Altamaha River.
BOX OFFICE: ‘Rio 2′ Runs Afowl Of ‘Captain America 2′ Which Blasts To No. 1, ‘Oculus’ Runs Over Disappointing Opener ‘Draft Day’
By Anita Busch
Even with a 56% drop in its second weekend, Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier surprised all the distribs and trackers this weekend by clipping the wings of Fox’s Rio 2.
Lionsgate To Split Final ‘Divergent’ Sequel ‘Allegiant’ Into Two Films To Cap Sci-Fi Franchise
By Jen Yamato
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate/Summit will adapt Veronica Roth‘s Divergent novel trilogy into a total of not three, but four films starring Shailene Woodley as the dystopian sci-fi heroine Beatrice “Tris” Prior, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger revealed today.
Drew Goddard Near Helming Deal For Spider-Man Spinoff ‘Sinister Six’
By Mike Fleming Jr
BREAKING: Sony Pictures is nearing a deal with Drew Goddard to direct Sinister Six, the Amazing Spider-Man spinoff for the studio.
UPDATE, 4:47 PM: If you can’t wait for the live onstage reading of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight later this month, your prayers are answered. Today, “due to unforeseen scheduling issues,” the world premiere of the now-shelved script was moved up to April 19 from April 24. The reading, to be directed and cast by the Oscar winner, also is changing venues. Instead of taking place at the LA County Museum of Art as announced last week, the live Hateful Eight now is set for the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA. The $200 tickets will go on sale on April 11 at noon instead of today for members of Film Independent, the LACMA Film Club and the NYT Film Club. Any remaining tix will go on sale on April 16 as previously scheduled. All proceeds still are going to helping out Film Independent’s programming efforts at LACMA.
PREVIOUS, April 3 AM: Quentin Tarantino is still bringing The Hateful Eight to his fans — even though the Oscar winner put aside making the movie for the time being after the Oscar winner’s latest script leaked online. Film Independent said today that Tarantino is set to direct and cast a live on-stage reading of the Western-themed script on April 24 in LA.
Looks like it’s going to be a while before Quentin Tarantino and Gawker face off in court after all. Just less than two weeks before a motion to dismiss hearing, a federal judge today set a trial date of January 27, 2015 for the director’s copyright infringement lawsuit over the site’s promotion and dissemination of his leaked and now-shelved screenplay The Hateful Eight script. That’s a year to the day from when Tarantino filed his $1 million suit against the website. Of course, that estimated three-day jury trial may not happened at all as Judge John F. Walter also moved the matter to private mediation. The judge has given the two sides until September 8, 2014 to complete the mediation, during which the parties will be able to conduct discovery and prepare their cases as a scheduling and case management order (read it here) from the judge today outlines. Of course there’s no promise that Tarantino’s lawyers and Gawker’s attorneys will work anything out in their heated dispute by then, but it does take the April 14 hearing on Gawker’s motion to dismiss the case off the calendar, which certainly lowers the immediate temperature.
Today’s orders come a day after the parties presented a joint report to the court estimating a four- to seven-day trial, and two days after Gawker responded to Tarantino’s response to its March 10 motion to dismiss the case. Gawker basically said the director is going after the wrong party, that his argument “misconstrues, misunderstands, and misstates” the law and part of the reason he’s suing is because of the Oscar winner’s “displeasure with Gawker’s past and present reporting about him.” Bet that’s going to be a topic of some discussion in the mediation.
EXCLUSIVE: More than a month after Quentin Tarantino slapped Gawker with a copyright infringement lawsuit over its promotion and dissemination of his leaked and now-shelved The Hateful Eight script, the website today responded in court — and it wants the whole thing thrown out. “Because there was no primary infringement to which Gawker’s links contributed, plaintiff has failed to state a claim for contributory copyright Infringement,” said Gawker Media LLC’s lawyers in a 26-page motion for dismissal today (read it here). “Even if plaintiff had been able to establish the elements of such a claim, Gawker’s use of links to materials already posted to the Internet by third parties was privileged as a fair use.” Gawker has requested an April 14 hearing before federal district Judge John F. Walter on their motion.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘The X Factor’ Musical ‘I Can’t Sing’ Pushes Back Previews; Quentin Tarantino To Present Honorary Cesar To Scarlett Johansson; More
‘X Factor’ Musical ‘I Can’t Sing’ Delays Previews By Two Days
Previews of Simon Cowell‘s The X Factor musical, I Can’t Sing, have been postponed by two days at the London Palladium. Stage Entertainment and Syco Entertainment are producing the show and say they’ve decided to start previews on March 1 as opposed to February 27 due to “technical issues caused by the ambitious staging of the new musical comedy.” Rebecca Quigley, producer for Stage Entertainment, said, “As audiences will soon see, the production is hugely ambitious, and the volume of installation and scale of the set means that technical work has taken slightly longer than could have been anticipated to make the show audience-ready.” Nigel Harman (EastEnders, Downton Abbey) is playing a character based on Cowell in the musical that’s directed by Olivier Award-winner and Tony nominee Sean Foley. British comedian Harry Hill wrote the show.
Quentin Tarantino To Present Scarlett Johansson’s Honorary Cesar
Quentin Tarantino has been enlisted by France’s Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma to present Scarlett Johansson with this year’s honorary César Award. The director will hand the award to Johansson this Friday at the 39th César Awards ceremony in Paris. Tarantino himself received the prize in 2011.
OSCARS: Harvey Weinstein On His Dark Horse Best Picture Candidate ‘Philomena,’ And, Well, Everything Else
Each year, Harvey Weinstein has taken time out from his Sundance buying frenzies to do an Oscar-season interview that touches on his Academy hopefuls, all the films he bought in Park City, and politics. Well, January’s Sundance couldn’t have been duller — outside of his multiplatform arm RADiUS, The Weinstein Company made zero buys there for the first time in forever — but so much has happened since that we needed a catch-up call to get it all in. Here, Weinstein touches on everything from watching Philomena get the Best Picture Oscar nomination over higher-profile TWC films to Quentin Tarantino’s leaked The Hateful Eight script to his battle with Warner Bros over The Hobbit gross points, to the NRA. And, just as he came out of Toronto with the big acquisition in Can A Song Save Your Life?, Weinstein walked away from Berlin with The Imitation Game, the drama about genius British mathematician Alan Turing, whose work cracking the Nazi Enigma Code made him a bona fide WWII hero but who later was prosecuted for being homosexual, chemically castrated and eventually committed suicide.
DEADLINE: We started this interview at the tail end of Sundance and you uncharacteristically hadn’t bought a single movie. You went right to Berlin and paid a record $7 million for U.S. rights to The Imitation Game. What happened?
WEINSTEIN: One of the things I’ve never been great at is discipline, but we just didn’t feel like there was anything we had to have at Sundance. We decided that, like with Can A Song Save Your Life? at Toronto, we wanted the movie. Imitation Game was a project all of us followed, and those 20 minutes gave that zeitgeist feeling to me, David Glasser, everyone on our team. Negeen Yazdi, who runs our English office, tracked this one so hard that it was like she was trying to break the Enigma Code.
DEADLINE: How hard is it to make such a big commitment based on a 20 minute compilation of scenes?
WEINSTEIN: It was easier in that we all knew the script and could see the level of performance Morten Tyldum got in his first English language film. Alan Turing is not outwardly very sympathetic. He’s brilliant, but the way that Benedict Cumberbatch played him showed us these guys found the right level of vulnerability, genius and the arrogance of the character, too. We felt after reading the script that you could get this wrong, from the tone to the casting. The reason we didn’t make it ourselves was, it felt like a near impossible walk on a tightrope. Morten walked the tightrope. And Keira Knightley is so brilliant in Can A Song Save Your Life and she was helpful and loyal in pushing it our way that we wanted this huge run she is about to have to be with us.
UPDATE, 4:14 PM: Gawker has responded to Quentin Tarantino‘s legal complaint (read it here) on its website. Since writer John Cook invokes the original story by Deadline Hollywood in two places, I’d like to shed a little context to where Cook has gone wrong in a reply that seems to excuse Gawker’s brazen and cavalier behavior by lumping us into the mix. But he’s wrong. Writes Cook: “Last week—before the publication of the script online but after it had begun circulating in Hollywood—Tarantino loudly turned The Hateful Eight leak into a topic of intense news interest by speaking about it at length to Deadline Hollywood, which had itself obtained a copy. Tarantino’s very public complaints about the leak—which named the six parties (of varying degrees of celebrity and potential culpability) that he believes had access to it—were picked up and amplified afterward by dozens of news sites, including Defamer. It was Tarantino himself who turned his script into a news story, one that garnered him a great deal of attention.”
Cook is wrong. I did not obtain and still have not obtained The Hateful Eight. Why would I read a work that made Tarantino, the copyright holder, angry? It was a first draft, and his process is to show that work to select actors, get feedback and dig back in and do a draft that is closer to what he will shoot. The document that Gawker gleefully cites and invites its readers to help themselves to is nothing close to a finished version. In addition, the piece was published because Tarantino wanted the town to know he had changed plans on his next movie, hurt by what he considered a betrayal by a handful of people he gave a first script draft to.
More from Cook: “Quentin Tarantino wanted The Hateful Eight to be published on the internet. This is what he told Deadline, in the course of complaining about the then-small-scale leak to some unknown number of reporters and Hollywood types: “I do like the fact that everyone eventually posts it, gets it and reviews it on the net. Frankly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I like the fact that people like my shit, and that they go out of their way to find it and read it.”
Gawker is trying to let itself off the hook by taking Tarantino completely out of context. What the filmmaker told me was that he is not a hypocrite. When he is shooting his film and sees the final draft of the script online, he in the past has not been upset and likes that people seek it out. Seems to me that what Gawker is dismissing is the fact that this is Quentin Tarantino’s intellectual property creation. As he said, he owns the fucking thing, and therefore, if a website conveniently plays up an anonymous web address which Gawker readers were encouraged to use so they could “help themselves” to Tarantino’s copyrighted work, Tarantino and only Tarantino can decide whether or not he is incensed. And he alone can seek legal redress as he has done here.
I don’t cover the lawsuits here, but it feels like Gawker is on a slippery slope, and while it might well be difficult to prove whether the website got the script and put it online under an untraceable website–Tarantino’s lawyers say the site asked its audience if anyone had the script draft–there are lots of people in Hollywood who are salivating over the prospect of seeing this case move forward, possibly becoming a cautionary tale that might give bloggers and others on the web second thoughts before they traffic in stolen goods.
EARLIER, BREAKING, 8:19 am PST: Quentin Tarantino is taking Gawker Media to court after the snarky website brazenly posted a link to The Hateful Eight, the first draft screenplay whose leak prompted Tarantino to say he would shelve the film. Tarantino has filed a formal legal complaint this morning in U.S. District Court, Central District Of California Western Division (read it here). The legal complaint charges Gawker with copyright infringement and contributory copyright infringement. Tarantino’s case will be led by hard-nosed litigator Martin Singer.
Catch up on the stories you missed this week:
Quentin Tarantino Shelves ‘The Hateful Eight’ After Betrayal Results In Script Leak
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: Learning today that his script The Hateful Eight leaked after he gave it to a small circle of actors, Quentin Tarantino tells me that he’s so upset that he has decided that he will not direct that film next.
Rupert Sanders Set To Helm ‘Ghost In The Shell’ For DreamWorks
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks has made a deal with Snow White And The Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders to direct Ghost In The Shell, a live-action film based on the Japanese manga futuristic police thriller that has a new script from William Wheeler.
Sundance: ‘Whiplash’ & ‘Rich Hill’ Win Grand Jury Awards; Dramatic Directing Goes To Cutter Hodierne For ‘Fishing Without Nets’
By Dominic Patten and Jen Yamato – It was the first major deal of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and tonight Whiplash was the big winner at the fest’s Awards Ceremony. The Damien Chazelle-directed film about a young drummer, played by Miles Teller, and his demanding teacher, played by JK Simmons, took both the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury prize and the Audience Award.
In a move that screams “douchebag,” one of the muckraking websites has illegally published the first draft of Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight. I’m not going to say which one until Tarantino’s lawyers get into it, but that seems like a fairly bold thing to do, inviting everyone to link to an illegal copy of the script. A screenwriter friend informed that, given that this is Tarantino-owned material that he plans to publish as a book and make into a movie, it won’t be too hard to prove damages. Deadline revealed the other day that Tarantino was so incensed that the script leaked after he gave it to a handful of actors, he was going to shelve that script and work on a different one, publishing it in book form instead. Always curious to see how well-capitalized these websites are. Maybe we are about to find out.
In a related development, we got an email from the agents of Michael Madsen, one of the actors (along with Bruce Dern and Tim Roth) who got scripts. “Kismet Talent Agency is the exclusive talent agency for Michael Madsen. As we never received the Tarantino script in question, we therefore could not possibly be the source of the purported leak,” wrote agent Vicki Roberts. Since the script wasn’t watermarked, it will be next to impossible to solve this. But publishing Tarantino’s work online seems a new low.
EXCLUSIVE: Learning today that his script The Hateful Eight leaked after he gave it …
COMMENTARY: The Weinstein Company’s co-chairman Harvey Weinstein made some bold statements Friday on CNN to Piers Morgan about backing away from violent content. He spoke about his own children and how he no longer wanted to feel like a hypocrite. “The change starts here,” the man who produced Quentin Tarantino’s violent Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and D’jango Unchained told Morgan. “It has already. For me, I can’t do it. I can’t make one movie and say this is what I want for my kids and then just go out and be a hypocrite.” He added that he would still make a movie like Lone Survivor, which is a violent but accurate portrayal of our American military and their dedication to serving this country. “I’m not going to make some crazy action movie just to blow up people and exploit people just for the sake of making it,” he said. “I can’t do it.” Weinstein’s statements came only days after a fatal shooting of the father of a 3-year old in a Florida theater during a screening of Lone Survivor who was killed while texting his little girl by a supposed “good guy with a gun,” a 71 year-old former police captain.
“The insensitivity that the average person has now because of violence is because people have become so used to it. It’s an obsession as well as almost an addiction. It’s a cheap way of getting an audience, more people shot and more explosions, but it’s at the expense of the story,” said one entertainment marketer with 35 years of experience. “Abject violence has proven successful, and as long as it is, it will be produced because it’s profitable. It’s the accepted way of life rather than asking is this the right thing to do?”
The question is, of course, how Harvey is going to reconcile being in business with Tarantino. The filmmaker has made a lot of money for the company with violent fare. And therein lies the conundrum that all studio heads and TV executives face. I’ve interviewed several executives over the past few weeks and many have said privately that they think the gun violence — especially in video games — has gotten out of control. However, they also say they have an obligation to their shareholders to make a profit and violence sells. There will always be violence in movies, just as there is violence in the Bible and in the plays of William Shakespeare. But, Weinstein is trying to tip the scales; to shift Hollywood from glorifying violence in films, to showing the true human cost and destructiveness of it.
The Weinstein Company did just that when it released Fruitvale Station last year. The film does contain gun violence, but it’s told from the point of view of the victim of gun violence. And that, in itself, is unusual and powerful. When Weinstein said, “The change starts here. It has already for me,” I thought of Fruitvale. Produced by Forest Whitaker and directed by newcomer Ryan Coogler, you come to care about this boy, see him with his little girl, understand him as a father and a son before he is murdered. It was passed over by the Academy this past week for Oscar noms, but it shouldn’t have been. It did win the Producers Guild’s Stanley Kramer Award. Stanley Kramer, of course, was the patron saint of bringing social issues to the foreground with films such as Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. Fruitvale was the first film I saw in a theater (a large screening room) after the Aurora, CO shooting where my cousin’s daughter was among many murdered by a gunman at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, 2012. During the emergency room scene, I couldn’t bear it. I closed my eyes and sobbed. The film depicts the true face of violence — a very realistic depiction of how gun violence destroys a family. It was made for under $1M and brought in $16.7M at the box office is and still bringing in money in its ancillary markets.
Golden Globes: The Deadline Film Team’s Live Blog
By Anita Busch, Mike Fleming Jr., and Dominic Patten – The Golden Globes have largely been relevant primarily because of its proximity to Oscar season. You know the jokes, that this is the day you can’t find a waiter because they are all here to see if their votes lead to winners.
Oscars: Martin Scorsese Interviews ‘Grandmaster’s’ Wong Kar Wai
By Pete Hammond – EXCLUSIVE: It is hard to believe, at least from my point of view, that the great Wong Kar Wai, perhaps China’s greatest living filmmaker has never once been nominated for an Academy Award.
Box Office: ‘Lone Survivor’ Takes In $37.8M, Not $38.5M, ‘Hercules’ Edges ‘Wolf’ For Third Place, ‘American Hustle’ In Fifth Celebrating Its $100M
By Anita Busch – Lone Survivor still was stellar over the three-day frame. The Legend Of Hercules rose to third place, edging out Wolf, which took the No. 4 spot after Sunday numbers came in.
UPDATE, 12:45 PM: El Rey just officially announced the production start and main cast of From Dusk Till Dawn. Also joining the series as a recurring is Don Johnson who will take on the role of Sheriff Earl McGraw, played by Michael Parks in the movie.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 10:15 AM: DJ Cotrona, Zane Holtz and Jesse Garcia are set to star in English-language network El Rey’s first original series, the 10-episode From Dusk Til Dawn, based on the cult horror movie by El Rey’s Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Like the movie, the El Rey/FactoryMade-produced series centers on career criminal Seth Gecko (Cotrona) and his older, seriously unstable brother Richie (Holtz). The roles were played in the film by George Clooney and Tarantino, respectively. Garcia plays Freddie, a new character created for the series — a Texas Ranger who sets out in pursuit of the infamous Gecko brothers. Rodriguez wrote and is directing the first two episodes. He is exec producing with Carlos Coto, who serves as showrunner, and El Rey’s John Fogelman and Christina Patwa. Filming has started this week in Austin. Holtz, repped by Gersh, 3 Arts and SMGSB, just wrapped indie Seven Minutes. Garcia is with TalentWorks, Evolution and Mark Wetzstein.