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Cannes: Weinstein Co In Exclusive Talks For Russell Crowe-Helmed ‘The Water Diviner’

Mike Fleming

croweEXCLUSIVE: I’m back on my feet after an awful case of jet lag, in time to lob a couple end-of-day stories as the Cannes Film Festival continues supplying splashy deals into the waning days. The Weinstein Company tonight is now in exclusive negotiations to acquire The Water Diviner, and is in position to land the directorial debut of Russell Crowe. This comes after Crowe traveled to the Croisette and presented about 12 minutes of footage to an array of distributors at the Majestic. He then hung around and met with them. The distributors I spoke with all came away very impressed by what Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)Crowe had done. In the end, he and his WME Global reps felt that Harvey Weinstein would be the right man for the job of releasing the film. TWC has offered $4 million with the promised of a wide release. Crowe and Weinstein worked together years ago on Master And Commander.

Related: Russell Crowe Sets ‘The Water Diviner’ For Directing Debut

In the film, Crowe plays an Australian man who travels to Turkey to find his three sons, who went missing after the brutal Battle of Gallipoli during WWI. I am told that the-weinstein-company-logo-1__140502172505-275x153there is an epic quality to the subject matter in the script by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios, covering a war that absolutely decimated a generation of young Australian men. Anyone who saw Peter Weir’s Gallipoli knows the scale of carnage. I’ve heard The Water Diviner has a Braveheart quality to it. Read More »

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Jane Fonda, Bruce Greenwood Join Russell Crowe-Starrer ‘Fathers And Daughters’

Mike Fleming

janefondaEXCLUSIVE: Voltage Films has set Jane Fonda and Bruce Greenwood to join Fathers And Daughters, the Gabriele Muccino-directed film that stars Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Aaron Paul, Diane Kruger, Quvenzhané Wallis and Octavia Spencer. Production just got underway in Pittsburgh. The film is a love story between a troubled father and his daughter who lives in New York 25 years after him, Crowe plays a famous novelist suffering from depression as he tries to raise his 5-year-old daughter. Seyfried plays the girl as an adult, who has struggles of her own, shrapnel from that childhood. Fonda will play the novelist’s longtime friend and literary agent while Greenwood will play the writer’s brother-in-law, who with his wife (Kruger) wages a legal battle to forcibly adopt the young daughter (Kylie Rogers). Read More »

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Kylie Rogers Boards Gabriele Mucino’s ‘Fathers And Daughters’

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 9:37am PDT

kylierogersKylie Rogers has landed a role in Gabriele Muccino’s Fathers And Daughtersfrom Voltage Films. Starring Russell Crowe, Aaron Paul, Amanda Seyfried, Octavia Spencer, Quvenzhane Wallis and Diane Kruger, Fathers And Daughters is a love story detailing the bond between a father (Crowe) and daughter living in New York. The Brad Desch script moves back and forth between the 1980s where Jake Davis, a famous novelist and widower, struggles with mental illness as he tries to raise his 5-year-old daughter, Katie, and the life of 30-year-old Katie (Seyfried) in present-day Manhattan where she battles the demons that stem from her troubled childhood. Rogers will play the young Katie. Rogers also just landed a role in ABC pilot The Visitors, executive produced by Steven Spielberg. She is repped by Innovative, Principato-Young and law firm Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal Laviolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman.

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Can ‘Noah’ And ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Overcome Oscar’s Greatest Curse: A March Release Date?

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 3:33pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Academy members will get the chance this weekend to see Noah and The Grand Budapest Hotel when their official AcademyNoah-2014-Movie-Images screening program finally resumes after a break for Oscar. But while the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Academy’s Beverly Hills headquarters is undergoing major renovations, the screenings have moved to Hollywood at the Acad’s much smaller Linwood Dunn Theater at its Pickford Center For Motion Picture Study on Vine Street. That’s a loss of about 700 seats, so it could get dicey, especially since no extra screenings are added and RSVPs aren’t taken. For a lot of films the Academy screens, 300 seats is just fine, but these fall squarely in the hotter want-to-see category, and it’s still first-come-first-served, just as it is at the Wilshire Boulevard location. Could get nasty for members wanting a free screening. Better get there early, folks.

Grand Budapest Hotel.jpgOf course this is not exactly crunch time for serious 2014 Oscar contenders, so distributors need not worry too much about disgruntled voters getting turned away from their hot-button potential nominees. But recently I got an email from a veteran Oscar campaign consultant who asked the simple question, “Is NOAH a contender?” And it got me wondering if not only director Darren Aronofsky’s towering epic, which screens Sunday at 3 PM,  but also Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, which runs Saturday at 7:30 PM both might actually have a decent shot at racking up numerous nominations, including Best Picture, despite their first quarter release dates (Noah opened March 28 and Budapest has been playing since March 7th). Both are doing extremely well at the box office and riding high with critics too (Noah is 77% fresh and Budapest is 91% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) and have the kind of first-rate production values to which Oscar voters usually pay serious attention. Read More »

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‘Noah’ Vatican Mystery Solved! Russell Crowe And Darren Aronofsky Meet Pope Francis

By | Wednesday March 19, 2014 @ 4:51am PDT
Mike Fleming

noahmovieThe trades got into it this week with Variety floating the boat that Noah star Russell Crowe‘s attempt to meet Pope Francis was spurned by the Vatican, while THR refuted that was ever real because of the feeling Crowe’s stardom would attract too much attention. So what’s the truth? Deadline has learned that Noah star Crowe, director Darren Aronofsky and Paramount executive Rob Moore did in fact get to meet Pope Francis today, after the Vatican extended an olive branch and hosted the trio in the official VIP section of this morning’s Udienza.

popeI think the studio was a little coy earlier in the week. This was something that Aronofsky wanted to do after he’d just made this Biblical epic. He was going to be near Rome promoting it, and has been moved by the Pope’s message of tolerance, feeding the poor and preserving the planet. But they didn’t want it to seem they were after some cheesy photo op to promote a Biblical movie. I’d heard those same rumors and called Monday, but I guess I’m glad I waited to see what would actually happen. Aronofsky was certainly moved by the experience. Read More »

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Super Bowl Ad: Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Noah’

By | Wednesday January 29, 2014 @ 5:12pm PST

Russell Crowe stars as the biblical hero in Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah, which will make an appearance during the Super Bowl nearly two months before it hits theaters. Word is the pic from the Black Swan helmer isn’t your grandpa’s kind of Bible study (or even Mark Burnett’s) but a dark, existential take on the Ark saga. Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, and Ray Winstone co-star. Paramount releases the epic on March 28. Check out the 30-second Super Bowl spot:

Related: Super Bowl Ad: Summit’s ‘Draft Day’

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Jai Courtney Tapped For Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’, Russell Crowe’s ‘Water Diviner’

By | Thursday October 24, 2013 @ 1:55pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVEJai Courtney is in high demand with Oscar-winning actors-turned-directors; he has signed to co-star in the films directed by Angelina Jolie and Russell Crowe. He’ll start with Unbroken, the film Jolie is directing for Universal based on the unbreakable spirit of Louis Zamperini, the former Olympic track prodigy who endured unimaginable hardship as a WWII POW at the hands of Japanese prison guards. Courtney will play Hugh ‘Cup’ Cuppernell, a WWII veteran pilot who gets caught in tenacious midair gunfight alongside Zamperini, who’s played by Jack O’Connell.

Related: Exclusive: Angelina Jolie To Direct ‘Unbroken’

Courtney will then move to The Water Diviner, Crowe’s feature directorial debut about an Australian man who travels to Turkey to attempt to locate the bodies of his three sons, who were killed there during WWI. Courtney portrays Lt-Col Cecil Hilton, the smart, efficient soldier tasked with organizing the effort to identify the tens of thousands of soldiers killed at Gallipoli. He reluctantly allows Connors to stay and look for his sons’ bodies. Crowe and Olga Kurylenko are also starring.

Related: Exclusive: Russell Crowe Sets ‘Water Diviner’ For Directing Debut Read More »

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Olga Kurylenko To Co-Star In Russell Crowe’s Directorial Debut ‘The Water Diviner’

By | Friday October 18, 2013 @ 8:29am PDT

Olga Kurylenko has been cast opposite Russell Crowe in The Water Diviner, which will be Crowe’s helming debut. The story, which takes place four years after the battle of Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I, centers on Australian farmer Connor (Crowe), who travels to Istanbul to discover the fate of his sons, reported missing in action. He forges a relationship with the beautiful Turkish woman (Kurylenko) who owns the hotel he stays in. Andrew Mason and Troy Lum of Hopscotch Features and Keith Rodger of Crowe’s Fear of God Films are producing the pic, written by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastassios. Its a RatPac Entertainment film and is executive produced by Brett Ratner and James Packer. Kurylenko, whose recent credits include Oblivion, Terrence Malick’s To The Wonder and Starz’s recently ended mob drama Magic City, just finished filming Vampire Academy and November Man opposite Pierce Brosnan. She will start work on Water Diviner when it begins shooting in Australia on December 2, then move on to Momentum opposite Vincent Cassel and Shea Whigham early next year. Kurylenko is repped by CAA and Tavistock Wood.

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Amanda Seyfried To Join Russell Crowe In ‘Fathers And Daughters’

By | Thursday October 17, 2013 @ 9:46am PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Voltage Films has cast Amanda Seyfried to play the daughter role opposite Russell Crowe in the Gabriele Muccino-directed film Fathers And Daughters, which Brad Desch scripted. Pic is a love story detailing the bond between a father and daughter living in New York. The story moves back and forth between the 1980s where Jake Davis, a famous novelist and widower, struggles with mental illness as he tries to raise his 5-year-old daughter, Katie, and 30-year-old Katie’s life in present-day Manhattan where she battles the demons that stem from her troubled childhood. Seyfried most recently starred in Lovelace and Les Miserables, the latter with Crowe. Next up is Seth MacFarlane’s Western A Million Ways To Die In The West.

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Russell Crowe To Star In Gabriele Muccino-Helmed ‘Fathers And Daughters’ For Voltage

By | Monday October 14, 2013 @ 11:25am PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Voltage Films has set Russell Crowe to star in the Gabriele Muccino-directed Fathers And Daughters, which instantly establishes this film as a hot sales title for AFM. The film is a love story between a father and daughter who live in Manhattan 25 years apart. The story moves back and forth between the 1980s where a famous novelist and widower struggles with mental illness as he tries to raise his 5-year old daughter; then it shows that daughter as a 30-year old woman in contemporary Gotham who battles her own demons that stem from that turbulent childhood. The script was written by Brad Desch (Shotgun Lovesongs).

Fathers And Daughters will be produced by Voltage Productions’ Craig J. Flores and Nicolas Chartier, and Busted Shark Productions’ Sherryl Clark. Exec producing are Crowe and his Fear Of God Films partner Keith Rodger. Romilda De Luca is also exec producer. Voltage Pictures will handle foreign sales, which get underway at AFM. They are circling a major actress to play the daughter. The film preps in December. Read More »

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Russell Crowe Sets ‘The Water Diviner’ For Directing Debut

By | Tuesday June 18, 2013 @ 3:11pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Hot off the opening of the Superman reboot Man Of Steel in which he plays Jor-El, Russell Crowe has firmed his long-held plans to make his feature directorial debut. He is in talks to helm and star in The Water Diviner, a film scripted by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios that will shoot in Australia and Turkey later this year. It is set in 1919, and an Australian father travels to Turkey to find his two sons, who are missing after the battle of Gallipoli. The film will be produced by Troy Lum and Andrew Mason for Hopscotch Features and by Keith Rodger for Fear Of God Films.

Over the years, Crowe has considered several films for his directing debut, and they have all been Australian stories that have included The Long Green Shore and Bra Boys. He has been on quite a roll. After Les Miserables, he will star in the title role of the Darren Aronofsky-directed Biblical epic Noah. It seems like the right time for Crowe to get behind the camera. He is repped by WME.

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Aussie Box Office, Russell Crowe, Palace Cinemas, British Film Institute & More

By | Tuesday January 22, 2013 @ 9:42pm PST

Aussie 2012 B.O. Up But Below 2010 Record
Australian cinemas raked in $A1.125 billion ($1.188 billion) in 2012, up 2.8% on the previous year but a fraction below the industry 2010 record of $1.128 billion, the year of Avatar, according to the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia. The Aussie films’ B.O. share was 4.3%, slightly above the 10-year average of 3.8%. The MPDAA’s stats do not quantify ticket sales but Deadline estimates the admissions total was 85.8 million in 2012, based on an average ticket price of $13.10, compared with 85 million in 2011 and 92 million in 2010. The transition from 35mm film projection to digital continued apace an estimated 72% of the country’s 1,995 screens are now digital, including all major circuits; of those, 57% are 3D capable. The year’s top-grosser was The Avengers with $53.2 million; the best result for an Aussie film was The Sapphires with $14.4 million.- Don Groves Read More »

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Mike Fleming Interviews ‘Broken City’ Helmer Allen Hughes On His First Solo Film

By | Tuesday November 27, 2012 @ 3:13pm PST
Mike Fleming

Allen Hughes spent the past two decades as one-half of The Hughes Brothers. He makes his solo feature directing debut with Broken City, a political corruption drama that stars Mark Wahlberg as an ex-cop who does a favor for the mayor (Russell Crowe) by following the pol’s philandering wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). The results are murder and conspiracy, with Fox releasing the Emmett/Furla Films-financed drama January 18.

Allen and Albert Hughes burst on the feature scene with 1993’s Menace II Society, a wildly profitable slice of violent inner-city life. Together they’ve co-directed the Vietnam-era crime drama Dead Presidents, the Jack the Ripper thriller From Hell, the documentary American Pimp, and most recently the post-apocalyptic thriller The Book Of Eli. They also direct commercials and videos under their Underworld banner. I’ve known the siblings for about as long as they’ve been making features, and always found them to be strong individuals. I never quite understood the alchemy that goes into a two-man directing team, or what happens when one splits up. Who better than Allen Hughes to explain?

DEADLINE: After directing movies all these years as a team, what was the biggest challenge in not being able to rely on Albert?
ALLEN HUGHES: The biggest challenge had nothing to do with the movie-making process at all. When we took meetings, there were two of us. This is a crazy town and there are very cunning people. As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one. There was a certain amount of respect they paid us because there were two of us. And there was a shorthand we had in breaking things down to the last compound, and factoring in every angle. It made quite an impression to have two guys doing that. That’s what was missing this time around, but I felt comfortable with the moviemaking process. It’s naturally a one-man or -woman gig. Read More »

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Oscars: Universal Unveils ‘Les Miserables’ in NY And LA To Huge Reaction; First Hugh Jackman Interview: “A Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity”

Pete Hammond

Awards strategists for other horses in the ever-tightening race for Best Picture may not want to hear this but Universal Pictures today may have unleashedLes Miserables the 800-pound-gorilla in the Oscar race. That is, if initial reaction to today’s launch of the much-awaited movie version of the celebrated musical Les Miserables is any indication.  Screenings at Alice Tully Hall in New York along with a smaller invite-only unveiling for about 100 people at the 1000-seat Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills both elicited immediate Oscar talk. Les Mis, one of the few remaining unseen contenders, is now fully in the conversation for real, if not quickly vaunting near or to the top of Best Picture favorites (along with Argo, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Life Of Pi).

Related: ‘Life Of Pi’ Sales into Oscar Race; Ang Lee Interview, Featurette

Almost immediately after the Academy screening this afternoon I got on the phone with star Hugh Jackman in Australia. Shortly afterward its Oscar winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) called me as the second of the NY screenings was taking place (we could both hear the applause in the background). Both seemed relieved to have the film, which opens Christmas Day, finally in the race. Universal is wasting no time as Hooper heads to Los Angeles on Saturday to participate in six, count ‘em, six screenings for Guild and … Read More »

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Hot International Trailer: ‘Les Misérables’ + UK Sets Advance Ticket Sales Date

The international trailer for Universal‘s Les Misérables has hit the Web. This more comprehensive look at the film shows just about every castmember singing including Russell Crowe as Javert. In another first, it offers a glimpse — and an earful — of the musical’s set-piece anthems “One Day More” and “Do You Hear The People Sing?” I’ve also confirmed that tickets can be pre-booked from December 1 for the January 11 release in the UK. The film opens in North America on December 25.

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Hot Trailer: Russell Crowe In ‘The Man With The Iron Fists’

By | Thursday October 18, 2012 @ 11:06am PDT
Mike Fleming

Russell Crowe is going in all different directions as he reengages in film starring roles. He’s playing Noah for Darren Aronofsky, is a corrupt ruthless mayor in Broken City and sings as Javert in Les Miserables. Perhaps no Crowe choice left people scratching their heads more than The Man With The Iron Fists, a kung-fu flick for Universal that stars RZA. I’m always hoping to see Crowe play characters as memorable as Bud White in L.A. Confidential, or Maximus in Gladiator, or Jeffrey Wigand in The Insider or John Nash in A Beautiful Mind. His turn as Jack Knife in Iron Fists seems more in line with his role in The Quick And The Dead, but it is certainly good to see Crowe slimming down and going after it again. There are few actors who bring such intensity and testosterone to the screen.

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Red Band Trailer: ‘Man With The Iron Fists’

By | Friday August 17, 2012 @ 3:21pm PDT

Highly stylized The Man With The Iron Fists is directed by RZA who also stars and co-wrote with Eli Roth. “Presented by” Quentin Tarantino, the movie also features Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu as well as Rick Yune, Jamie Chung, Cung Le, Dave Bautista, Byron Mann, Daniel Wu and Pam Grier. Here’s the latest red-band trailer for the November 2 release from Universal:

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Russell Crowe As ‘Noah’: 1st Official Photo

By | Friday August 10, 2012 @ 12:29pm PDT

Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah revealed another tidbit today via social media — this photo posted on Reddit of Russell Crowe as the title character of the New Regency-Paramount Pictures biblical epic. Previous revelations on Twitter have included several castings and a photo of the ark under construction somewhere in what looks like rural New York and the director’s musings about the project being a childhood dream come true. Noah is slated to open in North America on March 28, 2014. (Photo by Niko Tavernise)

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Warner Bros Has ‘Dark Tower’ Decision Looming: And Russell Crowe Is In The Mix

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Warner Bros is getting a new script from Akiva Goldsman for the first installment of Stephen King’s mammoth Western The Dark Tower, and that within two weeks, the studio will be making a decision on whether to green light the first leg of one of the most daring and ambitious projects to come along since The Lord Of The Rings. And here is a new wrinkle to add to the mix. Javier Bardem is no longer in the mix as gunslinger Roland Deschain. I’m told that director Ron Howard and producers Brian Grazer and Goldsman have been talking with their A Beautiful Mind star Russell Crowe about playing Deschain. While there is no deal with Crowe, that is the star that Warner Bros will be evaluating as the studio decides on whether to take a leap on an eight-volume book that has a huge following, with Howard, King and their partners planning a multi-platform presentation that could be unforgettable. The story will be told through three films and two limited run TV series.

The Dark Tower is about the last living member of a knightly order of gunslingers, with Deschain becoming humanity’s last hope to save civilization as he hits the road to find the Dark Tower. Along the way, he encounters characters, good and bad, in a world that has an Old West feel. When I last wrote about this, Universal had dropped out and Warner Bros had sparked to the idea of taking on this franchise, possibly with HBO handling the TV component that would bridge the the first and second feature films, with another limited run TV series to follow. Given HBO’s adventurous forays into fantasy with Game of Thrones, it seems like the ideal venue. Read More »

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