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Red Nose Day Charity Special Coming to NBC With Comic Relief, Funny Or Die

By | Sunday July 13, 2014 @ 11:19am PDT

Red Nose Day Charity Special Coming to NBC With Comic Relief, Funny Or DieIt’s become a billion-dollar fundraising fixture on British TV, but now NBC says it will collaborate with Comic Relief U.K. and Funny Or Die to bring Richard Curtis‘ Red Nose Day charity special to the United States. Curtis will serve as an executive producer for the NBC telecast, which will feature sketch comedy, standup, music and more from a variety of celebrities. Online humor site Funny or Die will create original content for the three-hour live show, which is set for next May and will be performed in front of a live audience.

“I am incredibly proud that NBCUniversal is broadcasting Red Nose Day,” Paul Telegdy, NBC’s President, Alternative and Late Night Programing, said in a release. “Once in a while in our jobs, we get to do things that can change lives and entertain at the same time.”

Other executive producers will be Hamish Hamilton and Ian Stewart of Done + Dusted Productions, which will produce. Hamilton will also direct. Red Nose Day in the U.K. has been going for a quarter century now, and has become one of the highest-rated Friday night shows on the BBC while raising more than $1 billion in donations. The NBC event will raise money for what the network called “established” charities working in both the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. Those charities and the show’s performers will be announced later.

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Rooney Mara & Martin Sheen Join Stephen Daldry-Helmed ‘Trash’

EXCLUSIVE: The hacker from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and the President from The West Wing have joined Working Title’s Trash. Martin Sheen and Rooney Mara are set for the Stephen Daldry-directed film that Richard Curtis adapted from Andy Mulligan’s 2010 novel. Sheen will play Father Juilliard, and Mara will play Olivia, an NGO worker, in the tale of three poverty-stricken boys (played by newcomers Rickson Tevez, Eduardo Luis and Gabriel Weinstein) who discover something unusual, mysterious and dangerous in a city dump in the Third World-set story. Elysium’s Wagner Moura and Os Maias’ Selton Mello have also been cast in the movie, from Working Title Films, PeaPie Films and 02 Filmes. It is scheduled to start production in Rio de Janeiro early next month. Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with PeaPie’s Kris Thykier. Universal will distribute the film globally when it comes out in May 2014. The studio is also bringing out Curtis’ About Time with Working Title on November 1 this year. Sheen is repped by ICM Partners; Mara is repped by WME and Management 360.

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Hot Trailer: Universal’s ‘About Time’

By | Tuesday May 14, 2013 @ 10:21am PDT

About Time stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander and Margot Robbie and was written and directed by Love Actually‘s Richard Curtis. The Universal/Working Title pic centers on a young man (Gleeson) who learns he can travel through time. But as he finds his true love (McAdams) and sets off on their life together, he discovers his gift has its complications too. The movie’s platform release date is November 1 before going wide the next weekend.

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Universal Moves Richard Curtis Pic ‘About Time’ To Fall Slot

By | Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 4:11pm PST
Mike Fleming

Universal Pictures has moved Richard Curtis‘s new film About Time from its May 10 slot to a limited engagement on November 1 and a nationwide release November 8. The film, labeled a comedy about love and time travel, stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams,Tom Hollander and Bill Nighy. It’s produced by Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, who are joined by Nicky Kentish Barnes.

It was also written by Curtis and I think of him as an autumn kind of guy, probably because his Love Actually is a film I watch every Christmas Eve. Leave the summer to the superheroes.

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Hugh Grant Takes On Animated Role In Aardman’s ‘The Pirates! Band Of Misfits’

Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman Animations announced they’ve set Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, David Tennant, Imelda Staunton, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, Brian Blessed, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey and Ashley Jenson to provide the voices in The Pirates! Band of Misfits, a stop-motion 3D animated pic that will be released March 30, 2012. Aardman’s Peter Lord is directing a script by Gideon Dafoe.

Grant’s character? A bearded pirate captain who is vying for the Pirate of the Year Award. When I got a missive about a Hugh Grant film, I got a little excited. Because he doesn’t work much and his last few films have been underwhelming Hollywood comedies like Did You Hear About the Morgans and Music and Lyrics. This is the guy who owns the British romantic comedy, from Four Weddings and a Funeral to Love Actually (his British prime minister character wears well even if you’ve seen the film 50 times), Notting Hill, About A Boy and those Bridget Jones films. So, great to see Grant working and who wouldn’t want to be a cartoon pirate? But can somebody please lock Grant and Richard Curtis in a room and not let them out until they’ve come up with something in the way of a live action British comedy?

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Working Title: Why UK’s Most Successful Film Production Company Is Back In Its Wheelhouse

Over the past 16 years, Working Title has made Britain’s biggest-ever movies including Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and Bean. The company headed by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner is responsible for 96 films grossing $4.8 billion worldwide, 60% of which came from Universal’s 46 Working Title releases. (Working Title started off indie until 1992 when it was acquired by Polygram until 1999 when Universal bought Polygram and with it, Working Title.) Its movies have won six Oscars, 26 Baftas and prizes at Cannes and Berlin. Forget Korda. Ignore Puttnam. Bevan and Fellner are easily Britain’s most successful cinema magnates. Yet something almost always goes wrong every time they veer away from Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, who are responsible for nine out of the top 10 highest-grossing Working Title films. There also has been a succession of political films and expensive thrillers. When it comes to deciding what to make, Bevan says everything starts with passion. So A Serious ManUnited 93, Elizabeth:The Golden Age, Burn After Reading, and The Interpreter put him in business with big stars or big directors or both. “These are A-list people that most producers would kill to work with. More than that, they feed your mind,” Bevan told me in a recent interview. It was Fellner and Bevan who gave Joe Wright a huge break and $28 million to direct Keira Knightley in 2005′s Pride and Prejudice, which made $121 million in worldwide box office gross and resulted in 4 Oscar nods for Focus Features/Universal. But Universal lost $50 million on Paul Greengrass directing Matt Damon in 2010′s underperforming Green Zone after its gross budget swelled from $80 million to $130 million (not including tax incentives).

“The last batch of movies represented them breaking free of the Working Title formula,” says one producer who’s worked with them. “In Hollywood, you’re judged by how you’ve just done, not what you’ve made over the years. So they’ve gone back to the formulaic stuff. It’s depressing.” Still, retreating “back in their wheelhouse”, as the American phrase goes, is also smart business. For now, Working Title is playing it safer. Indian Summer, a big budget movie about the last days of Britain’s colonial rule of India in 1947, has been dry-docked even though Joe Wright (Atonement) was set to direct Cate Blanchett as Lady Edwina Mountbatten. As Bevan says in an interview with me, “You don’t produce a misfire and then not take heed from it.” Fellner adds: “It’s a consolidation period for us. A retrenchment period.” To that end, Working Title made six staff redundant in July last year, reducing headcount to around 40, which is historically what it’s always been.

Working Title’s latest release is the sequel to Emma Thompson’s Nanny McPhee Returns which Universal releases August 20th. Upcoming projects include Johnny English Reborn starring Rowan Atkinson and Gillian Anderson, as well as the Richard Curtis comedy Lost For Words, and a third Bridget Jones movie. The first Johnny English, which cost $40 million to make, earned just $28 million in America but did enormous business internationally grossing $132 million overseas. That’s typical: Working Title movies routinely make 2/3s of their gross outside of North America. Bevan tells me, “The thing that always sets us apart is that we’ve always done so well in the international marketplace. If there’s going to be any growth in this business, it’s going to be outside of North America.” And yet, waiting for Bevan and Fellner in their office building, I realize that Working Title has always struck me as being intensely London — as much a part of the city as red double-decker buses, Trafalgar Square, and pigeons. Even its logo used to look like the symbol for London Underground.

When Bevan and Fellner first sat down with then Universal CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr in 1998, Read More »

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