Robert Zemeckis Signs With WME

By | Tuesday March 25, 2014 @ 8:58pm PDT

FRobert-Zemeckis-212184-1-402ilmmaker Robert Zemeckis has signed with WME’s Ari Emanuel. The writer-director-producer had been without an agent since leaving CAA about a year ago after a 30-year affiliation. The filmmaker is readying an experiential 3D film To Walk the Read More »

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt To Play Aerial Artist Philippe Petit For Robert Zemeckis, TriStar

Mike Fleming

jglEXCLUSIVE: I went out on a limb in January reporting how badly director Robert Zemeckis and TriStar head Tom Rothman sought out Joseph Gordon-Levitt to play the role of Man On Wire subject Philippe Petit … Read More »

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‘Back To The Future’ Heads To London’s West End As A Musical

By | Friday January 31, 2014 @ 7:20am PST

 backtothefuture‘The Power of Love” and “Johnny B. Goode” are among the songs to be included in the new musical of Back To The Future scheduled for the London stage based on the 1985 film starring Michael Read More »

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Tom Rothman’s TriStar Plots Philippe Petit’s World Trade Center Tightrope Walk As First Project, With Robert Zemeckis At Helm

Mike Fleming

petitEXCLUSIVE: In what is shaping up to be the first project from Tom Rothman’s TriStar Productions, the Sony-based film company is in the process of acquiring To Reach The Clouds, the working title of the story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit’s walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974. Robert Zemeckis will direct the film, and he has co-written the script with Christopher Browne from Petit’s memoirs.

zThis is a most ambitious first project for Rothman, because it carries on the spirit of experiential 3D films made under his reign at Fox including James Cameron’s Avatar and Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi. I’m told that Rothman got the idea to do this right when he was exiting the theater after seeing Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, and he began to think about projects with similar possibilities. He knew that Zemeckis and his ImageMovers partners Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey have long been interested in doing a movie on Petit. Rothman worked with Zemeckis on Cast Away and What Lies Beneath, so there is a long relationship there. Rothman’s lieutenant, David Beaubaire, ran point as an exec on the Zemeckis-directed Flight when he was at Paramount.

Now, the pieces have just begun falling into place — maybe falling isn’t the right word here — and Zemeckis likes Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the role, word of which just leaked out. There is no deal for Gordon-Levitt at this time, but it sounds like a career role here and the hope is to pull together the pieces to shoot late this spring or early summer, with Gordon-Levitt or another actor. Zemeckis, Starkey and Rapke produce, and Cherylanne Martin will be line producer and exec producer. ImageMovers’ Jackie Levine will also be involved in a producing capacity. Read More »

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Robert Zemeckis To Helm Feature Based On 2010 Documentary ‘Marwencol’

By | Thursday October 24, 2013 @ 5:19pm PDT

The director’s next film will be Marwencol, an adaptation of the documentary about a man who battled memory loss by building an elaborate scale-model WWII-era town in his backyard. Universal has optioned the Spirit Award-nominated docu … Read More »

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Drama From Robert Zemeckis & ‘The Glades’ Creator Gets Fox Put Pilot Commitment

By | Tuesday September 24, 2013 @ 9:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis has teamed with the creator/executive producer of A&E’s drama The Glades, Clifton Campbell for Billy Ray, a drama series project that has landed a put pilot commitment at Read More »

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Robert Zemeckis Eyeing ‘Chaos Walking’

By | Tuesday September 10, 2013 @ 5:00pm PDT

Robert Zemeckis is in the process of negotiations to direct the Charlie Kaufman-penned YA adaptation Chaos Walking for Lionsgate. No deal has been officially made for what would mark Zemeckis’ next live-action pic following last year’s Flight. Patrick Ness authored the original YA lit … Read More »

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ImageMovers Acquires ‘The Execution Of Noa P. Singleton: A Novel’

By | Wednesday August 21, 2013 @ 4:22pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: ImageMovers has acquired film rights to The Execution of Noa P Singleton: A Novel, the best-seller by first-time author Elizabeth L. Silver. Crown published the book in June. Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke and Jackie Levine will produce … Read More »

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Focus Features Acquires ImageMovers-Produced Script ‘Rose’

By | Monday August 5, 2013 @ 2:55pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features has optioned Rose, a script by Nathaniel Halpern that has been developed by ImageMovers to be produced by Robert Zemeckis and Jack Rapke. The logline: A woman who volunteers to physically fashion herself after another woman loses all sense of identity and begins to … Read More »

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EXCLUSIVE: Robert Zemeckis Leaves CAA

UPDATE 7:50 PM: I’ve  just been given this exclusive statement from Paul Bloch at Rogers & Cowan: “After a 30-year association with Creative Artists Agency, Robert Zemeckis has decided to take a hiatus with the firm and step back for the time being. Mr. Zemeckis is very appreciative of the work they have accomplished together. He has no immediate plans for representation by a different agency.”

EXCLUSIVE 6:45 PM: My sources tell me the Academy Award-winning director of Forrest Gump exited the agency on Thursday. Robert Zemeckis has been a long-time CAA client dating back to Mike Ovitz when he and Jack Rapke, now Zemeckis’ producing partner, were the director’s agents. In more recent years Zemeckis was repped by Richard Lovett at the head of a team of agents. Zemeckis’ legendary career had cooled in recent years especially because of the uneven reception of his repeated use of motion capture technology. But he was considered back on top with the success of 2012′s Paramount actioner Flight which earned two Academy Award nominations including Best Actor (for Denzel Washington). And Zemeckis accomplished that and its $161M worldwide gross with only a $30 million budget. (Rapke brought Zemeckis the script and told the director that Washington was interested.) Since August 2011, Zemeckis has a two-year first-look producing deal with Universal Studios where he made his worldwide mega-hit Back To The Future threequel. I can tell you that, unlike many such situations involving major Hollywood talent contemplating an agency exit, there was no hint about this in the tenpercentery world where intel is currency. Needless to say, it’s always tough when an agency loses this caliber of prestigious and respected and visionary client (the USC School of Cinematic Arts houses the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts), and CAA doesn’t lose many – that’s for sure. So expect a feeding frenzy in the future to represent Zemeckis. In fact the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this month  Read More »

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Academy Celebrates 25th Anniversary Of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ With Robert Zemeckis And Cast

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a new digital restoration of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in celebration of the film’s 25th anniversary on Thursday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The evening will feature a post-screening onstage discussion with director Robert Zemeckis and members of the cast and crew, including actress Joanna Cassidy, voice actor Charles Fleischer, supervising animator Andreas Deja, screenwriter Peter S. Seaman and associate producers Don Hahn and Steve Starkey. The panel will be moderated by director Rich Moore, who received an Oscar® nomination for Animated Feature Film for “Wreck-It Ralph” this past year.

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OSCARS Q&A: ‘Flight’ Scribe John Gatins

By | Saturday December 22, 2012 @ 8:53am PST
Mike Fleming

FlightOne of the intriguing parts of the Oscar race for me is watching excellent movies, and then discovering how much adversity, disappointment and years go into them. Whether you’re even nominated, this part of awards season is a validation of the artists’ struggle, offering encouragement to others trying not to give up on their own passion projects. I’m not sure anyone in this race personifies that more than Flight scribe John Gatins. You can look at Flight and marvel at Denzel Washington’s performance or how much movie Robert Zemeckis put onscreen with only a $30 million budget. But the most compelling back story is Gatins, who wrote a script that fit no studio’s template of a make-able movie, particularly with Gatins’ insistence he direct it. Gatins became a successful writer after acting didn’t pan out. His only directing credit, Dreamer, was a family film about a broken race horse, the furthest thing from an R-rated drama about a coke-snorting drunk commercial airline pilot. It was inevitable that a decade of futility would leave Gatins feeling a bit like Ahab chasing the white whale. But here, Gatins bagged his white whale, even if the price was letting someone else be captain.

DEADLINE: Pulling a jet liner out of a dive by flying upside down seems crazy, but there is a knowing voice that informs the substance abuse struggles of Denzel Washington’s pilot. How long did you struggle with that?
GATINS: It was one of those things where you go to college, and get a mulligan for four years to go through stuff and sort things out. If after those four years the party doesn’t end, that’s when it becomes an issue. I was one of those guys who couldn’t leave the party. I moved to Los Angeles after I graduated from Vassar, and tried to sort it out for myself but just never really could. There were a few really dark years there, and some strained relationships with family and friends. I had lots of people worried about me, until I was able to…

DEADLINE: Pull out of the nosedive, so to speak.
GATINS: Yes.

DEADLINE: How did you come up with this movie?
GATINS: I was in Europe, working as a script doctor on Behind Enemy Lines. These naval pilots, very intense guys, told such great stories. Sobriety changed what had been a distaste for flying into a real fear, because I didn’t have a coping mechanism anymore when I was in the air. The Yankees and Mets were playing in the World Series, and I had to get back to see a game. I found myself in this plane sitting next to a pilot who just started telling me all these crazy stories and everything that was going wrong in his life. I’m pretty friendly, but sitting there on this plane, I didn’t want to know that the wife hates you and you’re going through an awful divorce and you’ve got a bad addiction, you’re an alcoholic. And then I had that “wait a second, what if?” moment. Let’s say you had this pilot with an addiction issue, and put him in a plane and there was one of those horrific perfect storm scenarios. Every pilot explained to me that in order for a plane to crash from pilot error, a really crazy series of things would have to happen because they have backup systems for every crisis. I thought, if I can put him in a situation like that, where he has to do some amazing feat of flying, and then later it’s revealed he was loaded, how would we feel about that guy and his heroic act? And what about his own self-appraisal when the media wants to hoist him up as a hero? I wanted to explore the life of this alcoholic faker, trying to convince himself he’s something that’s he’s not. Read More »

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OSCARS: How ‘Flight’ Got Off The Ground

By | Wednesday December 12, 2012 @ 8:00pm PST

Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor.

One thing’s for certain about Flight: The Robert Zemeckis-directed drama starring Denzel Washington as an alcoholic pilot will never be a popular in-flight film. “After this movie, people are going to be waiting out on the steps for the pilot with a Breathalyzer test,” Washington recently joked in an interview.

Flight screenwriter John Gatins also does not recommend his story for in-flight reading. “I’ve gotten emails from people saying:, ‘Man, I made the mistake of opening your screenplay on a plane’”, Gatins says with a laugh. His fictional concept is not too far from recent fact: In 2009, not one, but two pilots were arrested preflight at London’s Heathrow Airport after failing Breathalyzer tests. Both planes, one American Airlines and one United, were coincidentally headed for Chicago.

Related: OSCARS: Handicapping Lead Actor Race Read More »

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Robert Zemeckis To Receive Director Of The Year Award At Palm Springs Fest

By | Wednesday November 28, 2012 @ 9:57am PST

Palm Springs, CA (November 28, 2012) – The 24th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Academy Award® winning director Robert Zemeckis with the Director of the Year Award for Flight. Presented by Cartier, the Awards Gala

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Paramount Taking Box Office Success ‘Flight’ Directly To Academy Voters; Film Is Dedicated To Ed Limato

By | Sunday November 4, 2012 @ 11:54am PST
Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: With an estimated $25 million boxoffice haul on only 1900 screens (see Nikki’s boxoffice report) in its opening weekend, Paramount’s gamble on the $30 million adult drama Flight looks like it is paying off. That’s certainly sweet news for star Denzel Washington and director Robert Read More »

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‘Flight’ Crash Sequence Effects: Video

By | Saturday November 3, 2012 @ 5:48pm PDT

Visual effects supervisor Keith Baillie of Atomic Fiction explains how filmmakers created the Flight crash sequence. The Robert Zemeckis movie starring Denzel Washington as a troubled pilot opened Friday and is expected to bring in an estimated $23.6 million this weekend.

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TNT Developing Runaway Bride Drama Produced By Robert Zemeckis

By | Friday November 2, 2012 @ 4:55pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: TNT has put in development Cold Feet, a drama executive produced by Robert Zemeckis. The project, in the vein of It’s A Wonderful Life, centers on … Read More »

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Paramount’s Oscar Hopeful Takes ‘Flight’ With Bi-Coastal Interactive Launch — Minus Denzel Washington

By | Monday October 15, 2012 @ 9:26pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Paramount, expanding ways to reach awards voters, got interactive Monday with a bi-coastal launch of its Oscar-bait drama Flight, including a special screening and Q&A in New York beamed to four Arclight theaters in the Los Angeles area and another in San Francisco for invited guild members and press. Taking place the day after the film’s world premiere as the closing-night attraction of the 50th New York Film Festival, director Robert Zemeckis, writer John Gatins and several cast members including John Goodman, Don Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood, and Melissa Leo took part in the interactive post-screening Q&A that featured tweeted questions from the California venues and live queries from the NY crowd — many industry-voter types. Paramount clearly found a nice way to expand its Big Apple premiere, and it went off almost without a hitch. Almost.

The only downer for the studio was jettisoning the scheduled appearance of Flight star Denzel Washington, who was in attendance for the premiere Sunday night. He “was taken ill” according to the announcement at the outset of the Q&A, followed by audible groans from the audience. For the money being spent on this, as well as its awards launch, losing Denzel had to be a big disappointment for the studio. Still, the rest of this digital-age awards event went off without a hitch with premium network Epix teaming with Paramount to stage the interactive, multi-city event.

Other companies have begun doing this sort of thing including The Weinstein Company, which staged a couple of live interactive events like this last year with Meryl Streep among others. But the major studios, more bottom-line-oriented and not usually on the front lines of new Oscar campaign techniques, are suddenly jumping on board if recent activity is an indication. Last week, Disney/DreamWorks staged a “Conversation With Steven Spielberg And Daniel Day Lewis” following a nine-city screening of Lincoln at which audience members (mostly students) in those cities were able to text questions to the same AMC Lincoln (appropiate name) Plaza theatre that hosted today’s Flight screening. In the past, most awards-season guild screening Q&As (and they number in the hundreds) were simply for the audience that showed up and not usually even taped. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Flight’

Paramount‘s Flight stars Denzel Washington as a hero airline pilot with a secret and is Robert Zemeckis’ first live-action film in more than a decade. John Goodman, Melissa Leo and Don Cheadle co-star in the movie, written by John Gatins. The studio is positioning this one for an … Read More »

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