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Toronto: What Oscar Clues Are Wrapped In Today’s Massive Announcement Of TIFF Films?

Pete Hammond

Toronto: What Oscar Clues Are Wrapped In Today’s Massive Announcement Of TIFF Films?Well, they are coming hot and heavy now. With Toronto International Film Festival announcing 13 Galas and 46 Special Presentations this morning in what is really just the first wave of their upcoming lineup, and  on top on New York Film Festival’s confirmation of their Opening (Gone Girl), Centerpiece (Inherent Viceand Closing (Birdman), BFI London’s opener of The Imitation Game and Venice Film Festival’s opener (also Birdman)  the awards season landscape is starting to fill in a bit more significantly. Venice in fact will announce their entire lineup tomorrow but today’s TIFF list gives us some further clues as to how the Oscar game is being played on the fest circuit. Of course Telluride is another factor, but they won’t officially announce anything until their fest begins just before Labor Day weekend.

Robert-Downey-Jr_-and-Robert-Duvall-in-The-Judge-2014-Movie-Image-2-750x499One player that I hear won’t be going to Telluride this year,  or it seems Venice, is Warner Bros which has used both fests significantly in the past (Warners had Oscar winners Argo and Gravity at the past two Tellurides and Gravity opened Venice last year). But, as predicted here, they are going to Toronto in a BIG way with World Premieres of three of their Fall films, The JudgeThis Is Where I Leave You and The Good Lie. Will TIFF mean the launch of an Oscar campaign for the trio, or is it just an effective way of getting the most media bang for your buck in releasing these early Fall titles? Certainly The Judge would seem to have acting potential for … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Reese Witherspoon In Jean-Marc Vallee’s ‘Wild’

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 1:11pm PDT

Hot Trailer: Reese Witherspoon In Jean-Marc Vallee’s ‘Wild’Here’s the first trailer for Jean-Marc Vallee’s follow-up to Dallas Buyers Club. It’s an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir about her 1,100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Reese Witherspoon stars as Strayed, an inexperienced hiker who embarked on the trek after her marriage tanked and her mother died. Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Gaby Hoffman, Kevin Rankin and Michiel Huisman co-star in the pic written by Nick Hornby. Fox Searchlight opens Wild on December 5. Have a look:

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Hot Trailer: Reese Witherspoon In ‘The Good Lie’

By | Friday June 20, 2014 @ 6:50pm PDT

Hot Trailer: Reese Witherspoon In ‘The Good Lie’Reese Witherspoon anchors the cast of true-story drama The Good Lie, about three Sudanese orphans who attempt to start new lives in the U.S. with the help of a brash American woman. Real-life Sudanese “Lost Boys” Ger Duany and Emmanuel Jal and Brit Arnold Oceng star opposite Witherspoon and Corey Stoll in director Philippe Falardeau’s pic from Alcon Entertainment, Imagine Entertainment and Black Label Media. Margaret Nagle wrote the screenplay beginning work on it ten years ago , seeing it hit the Blacklist, sit at Paramount for five years before finding life at Imagine and further financing at Alcon/ Black Label Media. Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Karen Kehela Sherwood, Molly Mickler Smith, Thad Luckinbill, and Trent Luckinbill are producers. Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Kim Roth, Ellen H. Schwartz, Deepak Nayar, and Bobby and Deb Newmyer are exec producers. Warner Bros releases The Good Lie on October 3:

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WB Moves Reese Witherspoon Refugee Drama ‘The Good Lie’ To October

By | Tuesday May 27, 2014 @ 12:16pm PDT

reese-witherspoon-good-lieThe Warner Bros limited release now will open on October 3, more than three weeks after its original September 10 date. That pits the Reese Witherspoon-fronted The Good Lie against WB’s untitled New Line horror flick and David Fincher’s dark lit adaptation Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck as a man suspected of offing his missing wife. On the sunnier side, Witherspoon stars in The Good Lie as a straight-talking American woman who takes in a Sudanese refugee. Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar) directs from a script by Margaret Nagle.

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New Line Cinema / Warner Bros Partner With MGM On Reese Witherspoon Action Comedy ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’, Which Takes ‘Mean Moms’ Date

By | Thursday May 8, 2014 @ 3:10pm PDT

reese witherspoonSofiaVergaraNew Line Cinema/Warner Bros have stepped in to co-produce the Reese Witherspoon-Sofia Vergara buddy comedy known under its previous working title as Don’t Mess With Texas. The comedy originally was set up at Universal but ended up at MGM, where Witherspoon has had a long relationship. Her first film The Man In The Moon was produced by MGM, and she became a breakout comedy star with its Legally Blonde series. The new film, which will be retitled, will roll before the cameras this month in New Orleans for a Mother’s Day (May 8) 2015 release with Anne Fletcher (The Guilt Trip, The Proposal) at the helm. By putting the movie into that date, it pushes the Jennifer Aniston comedy Mean Moms off the date. Aniston is currently shooting the indie drama Cake and needs to wrap that before heading into her next feature. Mean Moms is getting a script polish in the meantime. NL and Warner Bros. have not scheduled a date for Moms yet. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Devil’s Knot’

By | Tuesday March 11, 2014 @ 8:27am PDT

Devil’s Knot is the story of three teenagers accused of the brutal 1993 murder of three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Ark. — two of them sentenced to life imprisonment and one to death even though there was not a shred of physical evidence. The film explores the lives of deeply misunderstood outsiders, their families and communities, and the hysterics that drove the trial. Reese Witherspoon stars as the mother of one of the murdered boys, and Colin Firth plays a lawyer who takes on the the unpopular case. Cast also includes Amy Ryan, Mireille Enos, Stephen Moyer, Alessandro Nivola and Dane DeHaan, Atom Egoyan directs from a script by Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson. Devil’s Knot hits U.S. theaters on May 9. Check out the trailer:

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Anne Fletcher In Talks To Helm Reese Witherspoon And Sofia Vergara In ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’ For MGM

By | Monday February 10, 2014 @ 10:19am PST
Mike Fleming

sofiav reesewEXCLUSIVE: Anne Fletcher is in talks to direct Don’t Mess With Texas, a female-driven Midnight Run-style comedy that stars Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara. MGM is fully financing the David Feeney & John Quaintance-scripted action comedy. Witherspoon will play a police officer and Vergara a prisoner forced to go on the run together. Both Witherspoon and Vergara have circled this project for some time, but these deals are coming together quickly so that the film can be shot during Vergara’s hiatus from the ABC hit Modern Family this spring. The comedy was originally bought by Universal but it shook loose and MGM put it together.

The film is being produced by Witherspoon and Pacific Standard partner Bruna Papandrea, and Dana Fox. Fletcher, whose comedy credits include 27 Dresses and The Proposal, last directed The Guilt Trip. She’s repped by UTA, and both actresses are repped by CAA. Witherspoon’s managed by LBI, Vergara by Latin World Entertainment.

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Warner Bros Lands Nancy Meyers Comedy ‘The Intern’ With Reese Witherspoon & Robert De Niro

By | Wednesday November 20, 2013 @ 5:26pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired worldwide distribution rights on The Intern, the north of $35 million budget comedy that Nancy Meyers wrote and will direct as her next film. This is the one that got shopped at last week’s AFM by Lotus. In this configuration, Worldview was out when the Warner Bros deal got done. Meyers will produce with Scott Rudin. In the film, Witherspoon will play the founder of a highly successful fashion website who is prompted to take part in her company’s Senior Intern Program. She is assigned a 70ish widower who shows up with a suit and a briefcase. Turns out he ran his own successful business before retiring. What starts initially as a clash between old-world and new-world business values grows into something more as the intern becomes a mentor to the young entrepreneur.

Related: AFM: Worldview To Finance Hot Spec Package ‘The Intern’

The prospect of Meyers making this movie at that budget level generated excitement among distributors, and The Weinstein Company and Universal also gave chase. Read More »

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AFM: Worldview To Finance Hot Spec Package: Nancy Meyers To Helm ‘The Intern’; Robert De Niro, Reese Witherspoon To Star

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In a fast-mobilizing package at AFM, Worldview Entertainment has signed on to finance and produced The Intern, a new original comedy scripted and to be directed by Nancy Meyers. Robert De Niro and Reese Witherspoon are in talks to star. Meyers will produce with Scott Rudin and Worldview CEO Christopher Woodrow and COO Molly Conners. Lotus is selling offshore territories on the $35 million budget film, and CAA is brokering the domestic deal. I hear that three studios are vying for it, with Universal, The Weinstein Company and Warner Bros all in the mix.

Witherspoon will play the founder of a highly successful fashion website who is prompted to take part in her company’s Senior Intern Program. She is assigned a 70ish widower who shows up with a suit and a briefcase. Turns out he ran his own successful business before retiring. What starts initially as a clash between old world and new world business values grows into something more as the intern becomes a mentor to the young entrepreneur. Meyers has shown a generational zeitgeist touch with scripts that include What Women Want, Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated. I’ve heard from some who’ve read it that this one really hits the mark and the modest budget is making it catnip to suitors. Meyers also writes great parts for actors, and this one seems strongly suited to Oscar winners De Niro and Witherspoon, both of whom Meyers hand-picked for the lead roles. Read More »

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Keene McRae Goes ‘Wild’; John Heard, Sheila Vand Join ‘Jimmy Vestvood’

By | Monday November 4, 2013 @ 7:39pm PST

CBGB actor Keene McRae has been cast opposite Reese Witherspoon in Fox Searchlight‘s Wild. Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club) is directing the drama which Nick Hornby adapted from the bestseller written by Cheryl Strayed. Witherspoon stars in the pic as Strayed, who walks the 1,000-mile Pacific Crest Trail alone in a search for meaning in her life. McRae will play Cheryl’s troubled younger brother Leif, who has a drug addiction and has trouble coping with his mother’s worsening cancer. McRae is repped by Untitled Entertainment.

Indie comedy Jimmy Vestvood: AmeriKan Hero has added a quintet to its cast. John Heard (Runner Runner), Argo‘s Sheila Vand, Deanna Russo (Being Human, Burning Love), Matt Glave (Argo), and Navid Negahban (Homeland) will join Maz Jobrani in the pic. The stand-up comic stars as a wannabe private investigator who wins a green card and moves to America only to find himself embroiled in a conspiracy to start the next world war. Jimmy Vestvood is filming in L.A. Vand is repped by Paradigm and Untitled. Heard is repped by Greene & Associates and Forster Entertainment. Russo is repped by Paradigm. Glave is repped by Greene & Associates and Sanders Armstrong Caserta Management. Negahban is repped by House of Reps and Michael Mann Management. Jobrani is a client of UTA, … Read More »

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Laura Dern Joins Reese Witherspoon In ‘Wild’

By | Friday October 18, 2013 @ 10:06am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Maybe the Oscar nominated actress has a thing for movies with “wild” in the title. Laura Dern was in Wild At Heart back in 1990 and now she’s joining Wild with Reese WitherspoonDern has been added to the cast of the Nick Hornby-scripted adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling 2012 memoir. The actress will play the mother to Witherspoon’s lead. Still dealing with the death of her mother years before, drug use and a collapsed marriage, Witherspoon’s character decides to walk the 1000-mile Pacific Crest Trail alone in a search for meaning in her life. Jean-Marc Vallée, who also helmed the upcoming Matthew McConaughey-starrer Dallas Buyers Club, is directing the Fox Searchlight pic. Wild started filming last week in Oregon. Laura Dern is repped by CAA, Untitled Entertainment and attorney Kevin Marks with Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.

Related: Laura Dern Joins Indie Drama ‘Strings’

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Toronto: Image Lands West Memphis 3 Pic ‘Devil’s Knot’ With Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon

Mike Fleming

Image Entertainment has acquired the Toronto title Devil’s Knot and will release it in second-quarter 2014. The Atom Egoyan-directed film stars Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Amy Ryan, Mireille Enos, and Stephen Moyer. Image’s Chief Acquisition Officer Bill Bromiley made the deal with CAA and WME on behalf of financier Worldview Entertainment. The film is the story of three teenagers accused of the brutal 1993 murder of three 8-year-old boys in Memphis, Ark. — two of them sentenced to life imprisonment and one to death even though there was not a shred of physical evidence. The film explores the lives of deeply misunderstood outsiders, their families and communities, and the hysterics that drove the trial. The conviction of the West Memphis 3 — Damien Echols, Jesse Misskelley Jr, and Jason Baldwin — riled the American justice system, shocked a tightly knit religious town and outraged the nation. Pic is based on the Mara Leveritt book Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three. Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson wrote the script and Boardman produced with Elizabeth Fowler, Richard Saperstein, Clark Peterson and Christopher Woodrow of Worldview Entertainment.

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‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Helmer Jean-Marc Vallée Goes ‘Wild’ With Reese Witherspoon

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Jean-Marc Vallée, who helmed the upcoming Matthew McConaughey-starrer Dallas Buyers Club, has been set by Fox Searchlight to helm Wild. Reese Witherspoon already is set to star in the Nick Hornby-scripted adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir. Witherspoon and her Pacific Standard partner Bruna Papandrea are producing with River Road Entertainment’s Bill Pohlad. Vallee’s producing partner, Nathan Ross, will be exec producer.

Witherspoon will play Strayed, who in the book recounted how the twin tragedies of her marriage cratering and her mother dying plunged her into a long spiral of reckless and destructive behavior. At the end of her rope, she made a rash decision: With no experience, she hiked more than 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. She experienced as much terror as pleasure in navigating the rough terrain but regained her mojo in the process. Searchlight execs Claudia Lewis and David Greenbaum are overseeing. Vallee is repped by Ross and attorney David Weber.

Related: Reese Witherspoon Set For Nick Hornby’s Book Adaptation ‘Wild’

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Reese Witherspoon Ends 19-Year Run With Manager Evelyn O’Neill

By | Monday July 29, 2013 @ 3:08pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: One of the longest-running relationships between an actress and her manager has just come to an end. I’ve confirmed that Reese Witherspoon has exited Management 360. That ends the 19-year long run between the Oscar-winning actress and her manager Evelyn O’Neill. I haven’t heard a specific reason for the exit, but it has to be a tough day for the founding partner of Management 360, who guided Witherspoon’s career since she was a teenager. The split is amicable, per both sides. Witherspoon’s star power was at its highest when she headlined comedies like Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama and won her Oscar for 2005′s Walk The Line, but she has been doing fine as an actress and producer. She most recently starred in the Jeff Nichols-directed Mud and has the Atom Egoyan-directed Devil’s Knot opening in Toronto. She next stars in The Good Lie and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice. She’s also a producer on numerous projects including Gone Girl, which is David Fincher’s next film with Ben Affleck starring.

Witherspoon remains with CAA. Said O’Neill: “The time has come for us to go our separate ways after 19 years. I am so proud of her career and everything we accomplished together.” O’Neill continues to rep clients that include Julianne Moore, Salma Hayek, 42‘s Chadwick Boseman, Zach Braff, Bryce Dallas Howard, Greta Gerwig, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bartha and Michael Chiklis.

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Reese Witherspoon Set For Nick Hornby’s Book Adaptation ‘Wild’ For Fox Searchlight

By | Tuesday July 16, 2013 @ 7:38pm PDT

Fox Searchlight Pictures announced today it has acquired worldwide rights to screenwriter Nick Hornby’s adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling book Wild. The female-led drama will star Reese Witherspoon and will be produced by her shingle Pacific Standard with Bruna Papandrea and River Road Entertainment’s Bill Pohlad. Fox Searchlight President Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley said production is slated to begin in late fall once a director is chosen. An Oprah book selection, the memoir focuses on the 26-year-old woman, dismayed by the dissolution of her marriage and the death of her mother, who decides to hike the 1,000-mile Pacific Crest Trail alone. Oscar-nominated Hornby’s credits include An Education and High Fidelity while Witherspoon received Best Actress for Walk The Line. The deal was made with Fox Searchlight by CAA and Management 360 and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman.

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Universal Wins Auction For ‘Don’t Mess With Texas;’ Spec Teams Reese Witherspoon And Sofia Vergara

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: After a spirited bidding battle, Universal has just closed a deal for Don’t Mess With Texas, a comedy spec by John Quaintance & David Feeney that will make for an onscreen pairing of Reese Witherspoon and Modern Family‘s Sophia Vergara. Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea will produce through their Pacific Standard banner along with Dana Fox. Vergara will be co-producer. Fox is the scripter of such features as What Happens In Vegas, and also the exec producer of the Ben And Kate, the just-canceled Fox series where Quaintance & Feeney were writers. Don’t Mess With Texas is on a fast track, with plans to begin production March, 2014.

Pic is a female driven comedy about a cop and a prisoner on the run in Texas, with crooked cops in hot pursuit. Witherspoon is coming off the Jeff Nichols-directed Mud, and she will star alongside Keanu Reeves in Passengers, the sci-fi film that was bought by The Weinstein Company at Cannes. She will next be seen starring in the Atom Egoyan-directed drama Devil’s Knot about the West Memphis 3 case, and she’ll next star for Paul Thomas Anderson in Inherent Vice. She’s repped by CAA and Management 360. Besides the hit ABC series Modern Family, Vergara most recently starred in The Three Stooges, with Machete Kills upcoming. She’s repped by CAA, Latin World … Read More »

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Cannes: Weinstein Co Acquires Keanu-Reese Sci-Fi Pic ‘Passengers’ In Splashy Deal

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company has won the bidding for the Keanu Reeves-Reese Witherspoon sci-fi romance movie Passengers. I’m hearing the distributor has committed to a multi-million dollar minimum guarantee and a P&A commitment in the $25 million range for a wide release in 2014. I understand FilmDistrict and Open Road were in the mix here in Cannes for the project, which was written by Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts and will be directed by Game Of Thrones and Reese Witherspoon ArrestBoardwalk Empire helmer Brian Kirk in his major feature film debut. Wayfare Entertainment is financing and producing the pic. The plot: A spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant colony planet has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger (Reeves) is awakened 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger (Witherspoon), marking the beginning of what becomes a unique love story. The script was developed by Stephen Hamel and Reeves at their production shingle Company Films. Hamel is producing with Wayfare CEO Ben Browning. Start Media’s Michael Maher and Lynwood Spinks are executive producing. CAA repped domestic sales rights; Exclusive Media has international rights.

Related: Hammond: Weinstein Shows Off 2013 Oscar Contenders

The Weinsteins have been major players at Cannes, having already won the first big bidding battle of the festival by acquiring the Judi Dench movie Philomena — directed by Stephen Frears and co-starring Steve Coogan — based on seven minutes of footage shown to buyers. In addition, TWC landed U.S. and other territories for Suite Française, based on Irene Nemirovsky’s novel about a young woman who lives with her controlling mother-in-law in Nazi-occupied France and ends up falling for a German officer. Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts and Kristin Scott Thomas star. The company’s alt-distribution label Radius-TWC meanwhile picked up North American rights to Blue Ruin, one of the few U.S. titles screening in the Directors’ Fortnight section. Read More »

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Cannes: Reese Witherspoon Joining Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: All actors want to work with Paul Thomas Anderson and it’s no surprise he’s lining up a killer cast for his adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel Inherent Vice. I hear Reese Witherspoon is the latest marquee name to join Joaquin Phoenix, Owen Wilson and Benicio Del Toro in the film. Book takes place in Los Angeles at the turn of the 1970s, as drug-fueled detective Larry “Doc” Sportello investigates the disappearance of an ex-girlfriend. Witherspoon re-teams with Phoenix, with whom she had a triumphant pairing in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line. Witherspoon won the Oscar for her portrayal of June Carter and Phoenix got an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Johnny Cash. Warner Bros will distribute Inherent Vice. She’s repped by CAA and Management 360.

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Cannes: Exclusive Media Acquires Sales Rights To ‘Passengers’ With Keanu Reeves And Reese Witherspoon Starring

Reese Witherspoon ArrestEXCLUSIVE: Exclusive Media has picked up international rights to Passengers, the sci-fi romance starring Keanu Reeves and now Reese Witherspoon that Game Of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire director Brian Kirk is directing in his major feature film debut. Wayfare Entertainment is financing and producing the pic from a script by Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts. The story follows a spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant colony planet that has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger (Reeves) is awakened 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger (Witherspoon), marking the beginning of what becomes a unique love story. The script was developed by Stephen Hamel and Reeves at their production shingle Company Films. Hamel will produce the pic with Wayfare CEO Ben Browning. Start Media’s Michael Maher and Lynwood Spinks will executive produce. CAA is repping domestic rights to the pic.

Related: ‘Passengers’ To Star Keanu Reeves, With Brian Kirk Directing Read More »

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