EXCLUSIVE: After two decades of agenting movie stars in a boutique shop and not getting crushed by the behemoths around her, Ilene Feldman has decided to fold her agency and become a manager. At year’s end, she will shutter Ilene Feldman Associates after 19 years. She and longtime IFA partner Wendy Murphey will join LBI as talent managers. Their colleagues David Lillard and Christy Hall plan to remain agents and will explore their options. They will keep the agency running for a two-month transition period, when issues like Lillard and Hall’s next moves will be sorted, as well as where their clients will go.
Feldman’s recent agency clients include Ryan Gosling, Angelina Jolie and Josh Hartnett. She has a refreshing aversion to publicity, but I was able to sketch out some of what I consider to be a remarkable survival story. Feldman began with Herb Tobias, who mostly repped cinematographers. While a receptionist there, she showed an eye for acting talent, and signed then-unknown actors like Nicolas Cage and Johnny Depp. Her list grew but wasn’t compatible to the core business, so she left Tobias. But she never really wanted to be at a major agency. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired the Don Winslow bestselling novel Satori and will develop it as a star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio to play a Westerner, raised in Japan and taught an assassin’s skills, who gets caught up in the chaos of post-WWII as the U.S., Soviet Union, France and China maneuver for power in Southeast Asia in the early 1950s. Shane Salerno will write the script with Winslow, and John Lesher’s Grisdi Productions and DiCaprio’s Appian Way partner Jennifer Killoran are producing. Salerno is executive producer.
DiCaprio will play Nicholai Hel, raised in Japan by a martial arts expert and genius at Go, the complex chess-like Japanese game. The master, a Japanese general, passes on all his secrets and the student repays him by murdering his mentor as an act of devotion; the military leader would have been disgraced and killed as a war criminal.
For that act, Hel is thrown in solitary confinement in a Tokyo prison and tortured for three years. He is finally sprung by the CIA after agreeing to assassinate the Soviet commissioner to China. Hel is trained for the task by a beautiful French woman he falls in love with. Though he now sees a happy ending to the dangerous assignment, Hel is betrayed by his backers and, using his Go skills for strategy, makes his way through Vietnam hunted by American, Chinese, Russian and French intelligence agencies as well as a Corsican mob and Vietnamese criminal syndicate. It’s a sophisticated thriller, and the studio sees potential for its own Jason Bourne-type action franchise. Read More »
Red Granite Pictures, which just formed an international sales division to be headed by ex-Nu Image execs Danny Dimbort and Christian Mercuri, has just bought into a big project. Red Granite chairman/CEO Riza Aziz and vice chairman Joey McFarland have acquired rights to Jordan Belfort’s memoir The Wolf of Wall Street and will produce with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Killoran’s Appian Way and Alexandra Milchan’s EMJAG Productions. DiCaprio has long wanted to play Belfort, with directors Martin Scorsese and Ridley Scott among those who’s sparked to directing the film. There were reports recently that Scorsese might resurface, but no director is set yet and there isn’t a start date. The project had been set at Warner Bros and nearly got made several years ago, but a tug of war between that studio and Paramount (where Scorsese has his overall deal) led them to instead collaborate on Shutter Island.
Script was written by Terence Winter, the exec producer of The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. The drama chronicles Belfort’s rise and fall on Wall Street, a run marked by a hard-partying lifestyle, drug addiction, a 1998 indictment for securities fraud and money laundering. And a 22-month federal prison stretch. Belfort has been sober 14 years and is a motivational speaker.
Red Granite’s intention is to produce four to five films each year and make negative pickups. Along with Dimbort and Mercuri, the company brought … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Benicio Del Toro is signing on to play a deadly drug cartel enforcer in Savages, joining Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch in the drama that Oliver Stone is directing, based on the Don Winslow bestseller. The project is moving toward a potential deal with Universal, though two other studios remain in discussions. Johnson and Kitsch are set to play Ben and Chon, two best friends who are growers of primo pot in Laguna. They share an unusual relationship with a trippy girl named O. Not only are they all best friends, she has a relationship with each. Their quiet lucrative life is interrupted by a visit from the drug enforcer Lado (Del Toro) who tells them they will have to work for his boss, a Mexican cartel matriarch. When they refuse, O is kidnapped, and they are forced to come up with a fortune in ransom. They plot to do it by hijacking the cartel’s drug supply, right under the nose of Lado, who is highly suspicious.
Stone is honing the script with Shane Salerno and Winslow. Jennifer Lawrence was going to play O, until she was set for the lead in the Gary Ross-directed The Hunger Games at Lionsgate. I’m told that Stone has cast a wide net for O, looking at established names and unknowns. Salma Hayek is also in the mix for the role of the Mexican … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is closing a deal to acquire Harker, a spec script by Lee Shipman & Brian McGreevy for a re-imagining of Bram Stoker’s Dracula that will be directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. The filmmaker’s latest is the Liam Neeson-starrer Unknown, which will be released February 18 by Warner Bros. Harker will be produced by Appian Way partners Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran, in a coproduction with Mad Hatter Entertainment. That label’s Michael Connolly will also be involved as a producer.
I’m told that the script focuses on Jonathan Harker as the Scotland Yard detective who is tracking Dracula, and the script sets up the sleuth as a potential new franchise character. DiCaprio isn’t planning to act in the film. Appian Way has a first look deal at Warner Bros, and the studio had the inside track even though other studios looked at the project over the weekend. The deal contains progress to production language and so the picture is expected to move quickly. Appian Way produced Collet-Serra’s last directorial outing, the fright film Orphan.
The writers are hot stuff. McGreevy wrote the supernatural mystery thriller novel Hemlock Grove, a book which just told to Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The novel teams an aristocratic vampire, a werewolf and Frankenstein’s monster, and places them in a Pennsylvania high school. As a team, the writers are scripting their pitch Pendragon for New Regency, … Read More »