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HAMMOND: Could Rachel Weisz Be Back In The Oscar Game?

Pete Hammond

With the recent announcement of selections for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Rachel Weisz discovered she is going to be there with two films: The Deep Blue Sea and Fernando Meirelles’ ensembler 360. But it was her acclaimed performance in another Toronto film — from the 2010 fest — that she most wanted to discuss when I recently caught up with her.

After its 2010 Toronto premiere, buzz started on awards prospects for The Whistleblower star Weisz’s intense and emotional performance. But after the fest, filmmakers went back into editing and toned down the harrowing rape scenes and further shaped the movie, which finally gets released today through the Samuel Goldwyn Company, which hopes the awards buzz will pick up again, especially if the distributor can get any box office traction in a crowded marketplace for small movies like this one.

Although it received mixed reviews after its Toronto unveiling, there was near-unanimous praise for Weisz’s portrayal of real-life Nebraska cop Kathryn Bolkovac, who took a job as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia only to uncover a web of corruption, sex trafficking and United Nations cover-ups when she arrived there in 1999. The real story turned out to be too intense to show the way it really was. “In fact the rape scene was cut down after the Toronto screening by the studio, which I completely understand,” she says. “It would be just too harrowing for people to watch. What actually happened was so much worse. I mean the stories I could tell you from the first person who encountered these young women. That was the ‘light’ version if you can believe that. But it isn’t a documentary, you don’t want to destroy people. You just want to illuminate something that actually happened that was a hundred times worse.” Read More »

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Oscar Isaac Is ‘Bourne’ Again In Robert Ludlum Thriller Spinoff

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Not long ago, newcomer Oscar Isaac tested for Tony Gilroy and the lead role in Universal’s The Bourne Legacy and made such a strong impression that the director seriously considered giving the actor the lead role that went to Jeremy Renner. Well, Isaac has just landed the role of “Number 3,” another brainwashed assassin in the film, and it’s a major role in the movie that Gilroy will direct. Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton are also expected to star in The Bourne Identity spinoff. Isaac is about to wrap filming on Steel Town, the Walden Media drama that also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis. He was most recently seen in Sucker Punch and stars in the Nic Refn-directed Drive opposite Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. He also stars in the Madonna-directed W.E., and stars in Ten Year with Channing Tatum, Anthony Mackie, Justin Long and Rosario Dawson. He’s repped by UTA and Inspire Entertainment.

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Hot Trailer: ‘Dream House’

Mike Fleming

Universal and Morgan Creek have put up a trailer for Dream House, the thriller that stars Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts. The Jim Sheridan-directed film will be released September 30. The trailer certainly lays out a lot of the plot and is it me, or is some of the imagery reminiscent of The Shining?

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MPAA Upholds R Rating for ‘Dream House’

The film from Universal stars Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz and will be released in September. Here’s the MPAA release:

LOS ANGELES — The Classification and Rating Appeals Board today upheld the R rating given to the movie Dream House. The Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) had assigned the movie the R rating for “some violence.”

In the appeal brought by Morgan Creek Productions, the Appeals Board heard statements on behalf of Dream House from Andy Fraser, Vice President, Physical & Post Production for Morgan Creek Productions, and Greig McRitchie, Executive Vice President Feature Post Production for Universal City Studios. The Classification and Rating Administration was represented by Chairman Joan Graves.

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Whistleblower’

By | Thursday June 2, 2011 @ 2:07pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Samuel Goldwyn Films has released a trailer for the Larysa Kondracki-directed The Whistleblower, with Rachel Weisz starring as an American police officer who becomes a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia. Her hopes of helping rebuild the country are dashed when she sees rampant sex-trafficking activity, and apathy or worse among government officials who turn a blind eye to what is going on. Script was written by Ellis Kirwan & Kondracki, and it’s inspired by a true story. Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci and David Strathairn also star. The film begins rolling out Aug. 5.

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Zach Braff Joins ‘Oz: The Great & Powerful’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Zach Braff is in final talks to join Disney’s Oz: The Great and Powerful, the Sam Raimi-directed film for Disney. Braff will play the role of Frank, the loyal but under-appreciated assistant to Oz (James Franco), a charismatic circus magician who is treated as a powerful wizard after his balloon blows off course into Oz and the townsfolk want him to eradicate a Wicked Witch and bring peace. Mila Kunis will play the witch Theodora, Michelle Williams will play Glinda and Rachel Weisz will play Evanora. The pic starts shooting in July in Michigan, with Joe Roth, Josh Donen and Grant Curtis producing and Palek Patel exec producing. Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire wrote the script, with Disney releasing the 3D film March 8, 2013.

Braff takes the role after writing his first play, All New People, which opens off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre with opening night July 25. Braff is also starring in the Tribeca Films feature High Cost of Living. He’s repped by CAA and Management 360.

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Disney Sets ‘Oz: The Great And Powerful’ For March 8, 2013

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Disney has staked out the weekend of March 8, 2013 to release the Sam Raimi-directed 3D Oz: The Great and Powerful. The film is still casting, but James Franco stars as the title character, with Mila Kunis playing Theodora, Michelle Williams in talks to play Glinda and Rachel Weisz in talks to play Evanora. The film begins production late July in Michigan. Franco plays the charlatan circus magician whose balloon is blown off course. It lands in Oz, where he’s treated as a real wizard by the colorful citizens who see him as the man to rid the lands of a wicked witch. Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire wrote the script, and Joe Roth is producing. Josh Donen and Grant Curtis are also producing and Palak Patel is exec producer.

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Rachel Weisz In Deep Talks For Bourne Gal

By | Tuesday May 10, 2011 @ 4:27pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: What a nice dilemma to have. Just last week, Deadline reported that Rachel Weisz was in talks with Walt Disney Studios for Oz: The Great And Powerful, to be directed by Sam Raimi. But now I’ve learned that Rachel is in even deeper talks to star opposite Jeremy Renner in Universal Pictures’ latest in the Bourne franchise. I hope she can do both pics, but she may not be able to: the Tony Gilroy-directed The Bourne Legacy starts shooting in September, and Oz is planned to go into production this summer. In the Bourne spinoff, two-time Oscar nominee Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Town) will play a new character: an operative from a covert government program that is even more dangerous than the Treadstone brainwashing program that hatched Bourne. Renner is not a kid, and Weisz would be a compatible co-star. In Oz, she would join James Franco and Mila Kunis and play Evanora, the meaner older witch sister of Theodora (Kunis). Weisz is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

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Rachel Weisz In Talks For Disney’s ‘Oz: The Great And Powerful’

By | Tuesday May 3, 2011 @ 4:52pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Disney is in talks with Rachel Weisz to join James Franco and Mila Kunis in the Sam Raimi-directed Oz: The Great And Powerful. I’m told the Oscar winner will play Evanora, the meaner older witch sister of Theodora (Kunis). Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire wrote the script, and Joe Roth is producing. Production starts in the summer. Weisz is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

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Thriller ‘The Whistleblower’ Finds A Home

Mike Fleming

Samuel Goldwyn Films closed U.S. rights to The Whistleblower, the Rachel Weisz-starrer that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Larysa Kondracki directed the drama, which also stars Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci and David Strathairn. Weisz plays a cop who takes a peacekeeper job in post-war Bosnia and uncovers a sex trafficking scandal. Pic will be released in August. UTA Independent Film Group’s Rena Ronson  brokered the deal. Here is a scene from the film that Deadline previewed at Toronto:

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Nicole Kidman, Rachel Weisz Films At AFM

By | Wednesday October 13, 2010 @ 1:20pm PDT


Los Angeles, CA, Oct. 13, 2010 – The 31st American Film Market (AFM) from Nov. 3-10 will screen 409 motion pictures, including 49 world premieres and 287 market premieres, for thousands of film buyers and industry professionals from 70-plus countries. Jonathan Wolf, AFM Managing Director and Executive Vice President of the Independent Film & Television Alliance, made the announcement today. Films making their world premieres include Age of Heroes starring Sean Bean, Danny Dyer, Izabella Miko and James D’Arcy (ContentFilm International); Love, Wedding, Marriage starring James Brolin, Mandy Moore, Kellan Lutz and Jane Seymour (Echo Bridge Entertainment); Dirty Girl starring Juno Temple, Milla Jovovich, William H. Macy, Mary Steenburgen and Dwight Yoakam (The Salt Company); Little Murder starring Josh Lucas, Terrence Howard and Lake Bell (Parlay Films); The Warrior’s Way starring Geoffrey Rush, Kate Bosworth and Jang Dong Gun (Kathy Morgan International); and Yamada The Samurai of Ayothaya starring Seigi Ozeki and Kanokkorn Jaichuen (Golden Network Asia Limited).

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Emily Blunt & Rachel Weisz To Play Sisters

By | Thursday October 7, 2010 @ 1:54am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: They’re about to work together in Lynn Shelton’s new semi-improvised and as-yet-untitled project. Production starts later this month in Seattle. Steven Schardt, co-producer on Shelton’s bromantic comedy Humpday, will produce. The whole movie’s only taking a couple of weeks to shoot, which is how Rachel Weisz can squeeze it in after spending one week on Terrence Malick’s untitled new film, and before Terence Davies starts shooting The Deep Blue Sea in November. Blimey, Weisz must be the busiest actress working in Britain. She’s repped by Independent in London and CAA in the US. Not that Blunt’s any slouch. She recently signed to headline Rian Johnson’s Looper, opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. In March 2011 she’ll star opposite Matt Damon in sci-fi mystery The Adjustment Bureau opposite Matt Damon. Blunt is repped by CAA in the U.S. and Ken McReddie Associates in London. Shelton, meanwhile, recently directed an episode of Mad Men, and has signed on with Focus Features to direct Then We Came To The End, an adaptation of the Joshua Ferris novel to be produced by Ted Hope and Anne Carey’s This Is That. It’s the story of copy writers at a Chicago ad agency when the dot com bubble bursts in 2001. Shelton is repped by UTA and Industry Entertainment.

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Tony Hopkins Joins Meirelles Drama ’360′

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Anthony Hopkins is joining the cast of ’360,’ the Fernando Meirelles-directed drama that stars Rachel Weisz. The Peter Morgan-scripted drama is a series of intersecting storylines that deal with love and infidelity. Morgan wrote the project on spec, and then brought on David Linde, who’ll be exec producer. Andrew Eaton is producing. The financing is being finalized, with Linde and Eaton working with UTA to square funding through a combination of sources including Austrian financiers and BBC Films. Production will begin early next year in Europe. Read More »

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‘King’s Speech’ Producer Putting Money Into Terence Davies’ ‘Deep Blue Sea’

EXCLUSIVE: Fulcrum Media Finance, the London- and Sydney-based film and TV financier, has closed its first wholly British deal. Rachel Weisz stars in Davies’ new screen version of Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea. Shooting on the UK Film Council and Film4 backed project begins in November. Tom Hiddleston will play Weisz’s reprobate RAF pilot lover and Simon Russell Beale her stolid husband. Fulcrum is cash-flowing the UK tax credit, worth 20% of the budget. In the movie business, that’s as risk free as you can get.

The financier hopes to finance 24 UK projects a year. Fulcrum is co-owned by Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, producers of Oscar-tipped The King’s Speech. Fulcrum offers to lend up to 95% of the value of the tax credit. Until now the financier has been financing either wholly Australian films or Australian/UK co-productions such as Oranges and Sunshine and Triangle. Canning tells me that UK producers should welcome working with a financier who’s a filmmaker too. Fulcrum says it will undercut banks such as Barclays and Coutts that offer this kind of finance. “As producers ourselves, we know filmmakers just want financiers to be straightforward with them and just get the job done,” Canning tells me. Read More »

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Hot Toronto Footage: ‘The Whistleblower’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE FROM TORONTO: The Whistleblower makes its Toronto premiere tomorrow. Deadline is providing a sneak peek at some of the footage. The film stars Rachel Weisz as Nebraska police officer who takes a job as a United Nations peackeeper assigned to post-war Bosnia. She uncovers a massive scandal and cover-up. Larysa Kondracki directs and Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci and David Straitharn co-star. UTA is selling domestic and Nicolas Chartier is handling foreign.

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Rachel Weisz Plunges Into Deep Blue Sea

By | Friday July 30, 2010 @ 2:58am PDT

She’s in advanced talks to play the wife in British director Terence Davies’ adaptation of the 1952 play The Deep Blue Sea, says the Daily Mail. Even today, Terrance Rattigan’s script feels like wrenching stuff. Weisz would play a woman who leaves her companionable husband when she becomes sexually enslaved by an alcoholic ex-fighter pilot. Although she’s 40, it’s the first time she’s ever had an orgasm. Having smashed up her marriage, she then sticks her head in a gas oven when her booze-addled boyfriend walks out on her.

Greta Scacchi played the part in a London stage revival a couple of years ago. Peggy Ashcroft, who originally played Hester Collyer opposite Kenneth More as her lover, complained the role made her feel as if she was walking around on stage naked. Rattigan wrote the play after an old boyfriend of his committed suicide. Weisz won an Olivier in March for her portrayal of another emotionally-damaged woman, Blanche DuBois, in A Streetcar Named Desire.

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SOLT Picks Julian Bird As CEO

By | Tuesday June 22, 2010 @ 7:40am PDT

Theatre CurtainsThe Tate’s current chief operating officer will replace Richard Pulford as chief executive of the Society of London Theatre in November. Right at the top of Bird’s in-box will be trying to get the Olivier theatre awards on TV. This year’s awards had Keira Knightley and Rachel Weisz preening on the red carpet – not that you’d have known about it. Sunday opening and tax breaks for theatre investment will also be on his to-do list – although anything which costs the government money is going to be Julian_Birddifficult sell in this climate. The incoming CEO will also have a difficult juggling act trying to ensure SOLT is not just the plaything of theatre owners but represents producers too. Bird, who has been with Tate for the past three years, has also served on the board of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford.

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