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Quentin Tarantino’s Staged ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading Reveals Pic Not Dead Yet

hateful 8 Quentin Tarantino as director“We’ve been rehearsing this for the last three days and we’re not bad,” Quentin Tarantino told a packed crowd tonight at the live staged reading of his The Hateful Eight script. With alumni from his past pics such as Samuel L Jackson, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, James Parks, Amber Tamblyn Michael Madsen, Denis Menochet, James Remar and Walton Goggins plus Bruce Dern by his side onstage at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA, the director’s 3.5-hour performance of the five-chapter Western set in post-Civil War Wyoming revealed that Tarantino has a career in theater if he ever decided to chuck the whole moviemaking thing.

Related: Samuel L. Jackson Part Of Saturday’s ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading

Despite the controversy and legal action surrounding the leaked script, which Gawker put online in January, tonight’s Film Independent Presents the World Premiere of a Staged Reading by Quentin Tarantino: The Hateful Eight, as it was formally titled, also revealed that the big-screen version might not be as shelved as the director first told my colleague Mike Fleming Jr. on January 21. “I’m working on a second draft and I will do a third draft, but we’re reading from the first draft,” Tarantino, wearing a black Stetson and red ribbed cowboy shirt, said to the 1,200 patrons in the almost SRO theater before the performance started. (The well-heeled crowd included longtime Tarantino producers Harvey and Bob Weinstein.) “The Chapter 5 here will not be the Chapter 5 later, so this will be the only time it is seen ever.”

Hateful 8 Samuel L. Jackson as the majorRegardless of how Hateful Eight lives on, the crowd loved the show they saw tonight — especially the hands-on onstage narration and direction from Tarantino. “Guys, you are starting to drift away from the dialogue on the page,” the Oscar winner told the actors at one point around halfway through. “No more co-writing,” he added to a big laugh from the audience. “He’s directing,” said Jackson at another part when Tarantino ran across the stage to whisper something into his ear. That also got a big roar from the crowd. A couple of other times, the director asked the actors to start a particular scene over again. Near the end of the performance, Tarantino playfully told Goggins to just read the script and not worry about the imaginary guns in his hands. Also during the later part of the show, both Goggins and Madsen broke from the script and joked with Tarantino about a narration line where Madsen’s character was described as looking like “he’s cumming in his pants.” Madsen told the director that “it’s never happened before.” Tarantino shot back that he’d show him one day what it was like.

Besides several standing ovations, only a 20-minute intermission broke up the show. Tickets for tonight’s event went for $150-$200 a pop, with all proceeds going to Film Independent’s programming efforts at LACMA. Security was a top concern, with the crowd having to give up their cell phones and other electronics before entering the downtown theater. Read More »

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Samuel L. Jackson Part Of Saturday’s ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 10:59am PDT

samuel-l-jackson-quentin-tarantino-sliceOrganizers have treated Film Independent’s staged reading of Quentin Tarantino’s latest script The Hateful Eight like a national security matter, restricting things like cell phones and computers and staying mum on casting ahead of Saturday night’s event. But I have confirmed that Tarantino staple Samuel L Jackson will play a part at reading set for the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA. What role he might read remains unknown, but it begs the question what other Tarantino regulars might also participate in the event. (Any guesses, Deadline readers?) Tarantino is casting and directing the show, whose $200 tickets are the hottest in town. That’s no doubt because of the heat surrounding the Western screenplay, which was leaked prematurely and ended up on Gawker — much to the consternation of Tarantino, who then told Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr that because of the breaches he wasn’t going to turn the script into a movie. He later sued Gawker for posting it and a January 27, 2015 trial date has been set; the two sides are currently in court-ordered mediation. Film Independent first fueled the Jackson speculation with a tweet just now:

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Live-Action Anime Adaptation ‘Kite’ Starring Samuel L. Jackson Acquired By Anchor Bay

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 11:24am PDT

Kite live action movieAnchor Bay has taken U.S. and Canadian rights to Kite, the live-action adaptation of Yasuomi Umetsu’s cult Japanese anime about a schoolgirl assassin hunting down the human traffickers she believes are responsible for her parents’ death. India Eisley (Underworld: Awakening) stars as the young and lethal Sawa opposite Samuel L. Jackson as Inspector Karl Aker, a renegade cop and the ex-partner of Sawa’s father, who firmly believes to succeed he has to take the law into his own hands. Callan McAuliffe (Underworld, I am Number Four) co-stars as Oburi. South African director Ralph Ziman took over the helm from the late David R. Ellis last year and scripted the picture himself.

Related: Cannes: Weinstein Co. Flies With ‘Kite’

The original anime was known for its extreme violence, nudity, and sexuality, including controversial scenes of rape that got Umetsu’s Kite banned in some countries. The live-action Kite is produced by Anant Singh and Distant Horizon’s Brian Cox. Moises Cosio and Alberto Muffelmann of Detalle are exec producers. Anchor Bay’s deal covers theatrical, home entertainment, digital and VOD rights while Weinstein Co. took international last year out of Cannes. Singh negotiated the deal with Alan Grodin of Weintraub Tobin Chediak Coleman Grodin for Distant Horizon.

Here’s a Kite trailer with an intro by Jackson that hit the web in January: Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Reasonable Doubt’

By | Friday December 6, 2013 @ 1:34pm PST

A rising DA (Dominic Cooper) hits a guy with his car and leaves him in the street. Another guy (Samuel L. Jackson) is found with the body and faces a murder charge. The guilty prosecutor manipulates the trial to help the defendant go free. But did he just let a serial killer walk — one who now is targeting the DA’s family? Gloria Reuben also stars in Lionsgate‘s Reasonable Doubt, which was directed by Peter P. Croudins and penned by Peter A. Dowling (Flightplan). Here’s the trailer for the thriller that opens January 17 in theaters and VOD:

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UPDATE: Haim Saban Praises Obama’s Middle East Policy At Fundraiser

By | Monday November 25, 2013 @ 10:37pm PST

Power Rangers billionaire and staunch Israel supporter Haim Saban tonight offered strong support to President Obama for his efforts to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and his recent initiative in negotiations with Iran. “We’re out of Iraq, we’re out of Afghanistan and the military and intelligence cooperation with Israel — our staunchest ally in the Middle East, arguably in the world, has never been deeper and the president’s commitment to Israel’s security has never been stronger,” Saban said in his introduction to Obama’s remarks tonight at his Beverly Hills home, according to White House pool reports. “And “If Iran is at the negotiating table today, make no mistake about it, it is only because of President Obama’s resolve in striking them with the most crippling sanctions ever.” The event was the second fundraiser of the night for Obama and the first Saban has hosted for the President directly. (He’d hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton last month.) About 120 people attended tonight’s dinner — including Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson, Warner Bros’ Barry Meyer and wife Wendy, and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos — with tickets going for $16,200 each. (Read an edited and condensed version of the White House Pool report and official WH Press Office remarks from both of tonight’s fundraisers below.)

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Earlier in the evening, Obama was the headliner at a fundraiser at Magic Johnson’s Beverly Hills house. About 160 people including Samuel L. Jackson and Diane Keaton paid $2,500-$15,000 a ticket hear the commander-in-chief speak at the reception. Tomorrow morning the president will be attending a $32,400-per-guest breakfast event at the home of Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman (take a look at the original invite here). After that, he will visit and give a speech on the economy and the entertainment industry at big donor Jeffrey Katzenberg‘s DreamWorks Animation HQ, as well as meeting with studio bosses. Obama’s Southland visit, his first since August, is partially a makeup for a planned swing in September that was scrapped because of the Syria crisis.

Here are the pool reports: Read More »

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AFM Briefs: Samuel L. Jackson Anime Adaptation ‘Kite’ Sells Int’l; Soft-Core Bio ‘The Sarnos’ Goes To Film Movement; Image Springs For ‘Wolf Creek 2′; Brit Gangster Pic ‘Krays’ Sells Down Under; Origin Nabs ‘Truth About You’

By | Sunday November 10, 2013 @ 2:30pm PST

After making its AFM debut yesterday, Distant Horizon and The Weinstein Co.’s Samuel L. Jackson-fronted Kite has inked a batch of international sales. Adapted from the Japanese anime by Yasuomi Umetsu, the live-action revenge pic tracks Sawa, a young girl out for justice against the human traffickers she believes killed her parents. So far Kite’s inked deals with Rentrak for Japan, Tiberius in Germany, Ascot Elite in Switzerland, Noori in South Korea and Vietnam, SWEN for Latin America, Forum Film for Eastern Europe and Israel, Odeon in Greece, PT Amero in Indonesia, Soundspace in Malaysia, The Tanweer Group in Turkey, All Media for Russia and the CIS, the Dagur Group in Iceland, Lusomundo in Portugal, Golden Village in Singapore, Major Cinepictures in Thailand, Captive in the Philippines, Italia Film International for the Middle East, and Star TV for Pan-Asian television. India Eisley and Callan McAuliffe also star in the pic for helmer Ralph Ziman.

Swedish filmmaker Wiktor Ericsson makes his feature debut with The Sarnos – A Life In Dirty Movies, which has been picked up by Film Movement. The docu film, set to premiere this month at DOCNYC, profiles the soft-core filmmaker Joe Sarno and his wife Peggy as the man once known as the Ingmar Bergman of 42nd Street tries to get a new erotic pic off the ground at age 88. (Sarno died in 2010.) A theatrical debut is being eyed for Spring of 2014, followed by a Q3 VOD and home vid release. Film Movement’s Adley Gartenstein and Rebeca Conget negotiated the deal with The Yellow Affair’s Miira Paasilinna. Read More »

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AFM: Samuel L. Jackson Boards Stephen King ‘CELL’ Adaptation

By | Monday November 4, 2013 @ 11:23am PST

John Cusack has a new co-star for the almost end of the world. Benaroya Pictures and The Genre Company said today that Samuel L. Jackson has joined their adaptation of Stephen King’s novel CELL. Jackson plays Tom McCourt, an engineer and former soldier who with Cusack’s Clay Riddell character flees from Boston as the world turns mad thanks to the phones. The pic focuses on the fallout when a powerful signal is broadcast across cell phone networks worldwide. The signal re-programs the users’ minds and makes them murderous beasts. Tod “Kip” Williams is directing the thriller based on King’s 2006 apocalyptic horror bestseller with financing from Benaroya. Production is set to start early next year. King co-wrote the screenplay with Last House On The Left’s Adam Alleca. International Film Trust will be presenting the project to buyers at AFM starting this week. Richard Saperstein, Michael Benaroya, Brian Witten and Shara Kay are producing CELL, and Cusack is executive producing. Paradigm represents Stephen King, and is co-representing the film for the U.S. market with CAA, which represents Benaroya and Cusack. Williams is repped by ICM Partners. Jackson is repped by ICM Partners, Anonymous Content, and attorney Jeffrey Bernstein of Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein.

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Toronto: Samuel L. Jackson-Starrer ‘Big Game’ Adds Cast

Oscar winner Jim Broadbent and Ray Stevenson (Thor, GI Joe: Retaliation) have joined the cast of action adventure pic Big Game. Samuel L. Jackson is playing the president of the United States in the film that starts shooting today. It’s written and directed by Jalmari Helander, the Finnish helmer of 2010′s Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. The story centers on a shy 13-year-old boy (Onni Tommila) who undergoes a test of manhood by spending a day and night alone in the wilderness. On the same night, Air Force One is shot down by terrorists and the boy discovers the president in an escape pod in the forest where the pair team up in a struggle for survival. Also joining the cast is German actor Mehmet Kurtulus. Petri Jokiranta is producing for Subzero; Will Clarke and Andy Mayson for Altitude Film and Jens Meurer for Egoli Tossell. Alex Garland is executive producer. Altitude has worldwide sales and is jointly repping North America with WME.

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Cannes: Samuel L. Jackson Joins ‘Barely Lethal’

Samuel L. Jackson will star with Hailee Steinfeld in RKO Pictures’ Barely Lethal, the Brett Ratner-produced pic that’s being directed by Kyle Newman. From a script by John D’Arco, the action-comedy sees a 16-year old international assassin fake her own death in pursuit of a “normal” adolescence. Jackson will play the girl’s former employer who seeks her out in the small rural town where she’s trying to deal with high-school. Highland Film Group is handling international sales in Cannes with principal photography starting in the fall. RKO Pictures, Hopscotch Pictures and Rat Entertainment produce. Jackson and Steinfeld are repped by ICM Partners.

Related: Hailee Steinfeld To Star In Indie Pic ‘Barely Lethal’

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Cannes: Samuel L. Jackson Attached As U.S. President For Altitude’s ‘Big Game’

Will Clarke’s Altitude Film Entertainment is teaming with Subzero Film Entertainment to produce action adventure pic Big Game which has Samuel L. Jackson attached to play the president of the United States. Jalmari Helander, the Finnish director behind 2010′s Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, makes his English-language helming debut with the pic. The story centers on a shy 13-year old boy who undergoes a test of manhood by spending a day and night alone in the wilderness. On the same night, Air Force One is shot down by terrorists and the boy discovers the president in an escape pod in the forest where the pair team up in a struggle for survival. Clarke and Andy Mayson co-produce for Altitude along with Jens Meurer of Egoli Tossell Film. Alex Garland is executive producer. Production starts in late summer and Altitude Film Sales will start pitching to buyers in Cannes. It’s also starting sales on horror thriller The Loch, co-scripted by The Woman In Black director James Watkins. Simon Duric will direct with Peter Mullan attached to star. The new take on the Loch Ness myth is set to go into production later this year.

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Cannes: Weinstein Co. Flies With ‘Kite’

The Weinstein Co. has acquired worldwide rights to the live-action remake of Yasuomi Umetsu’s Japanese anime film Kite. Samuel L. Jackson stars with India Eisley (The Secret Life Of The American Teenager) and Callan McAuliffe (The Great Gatsby). South African director Ralph Ziman (Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema) stepped in for the late David R. Ellis back in February and filming had just wrapped. TWC is handling outside the U.S., South Africa and India. Read More »

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Spouse Scribe Team To Adapt ‘Go The F To Sleep’ For Fox 2000

By | Thursday April 11, 2013 @ 10:40am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Husband-wife scripting team Ken Marino & Erica Oyama have been hired to adapt the book Go The F To Sleep for Fox 2000 and Twilight Saga producer Karen Rosenfelt and All You Need Is Kill producer Erwin Stoff. The book, which was written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortes, is categorized as a children’s book for adults. Mansbach wrote it out of a father’s frustration with being unable to get his young daughter to nod off each night. It became a sensation when Django Unchained star Samuel L. Jackson did a reading of it that became a viral sensation (check it out below).

Erica Oyama created the Yahoo/Paramount Insurge/Red Hour Internet and now E! series Burning Love, which Ken Marino has starred in and directed for the first three seasons. Ken Marino also co-wrote Role Models and Wanderlust with David Wain. The couple just closed a blind script deal at Sony TV. They are repped by Paradigm and Principato Young, and attorney Rob Szymanski.

Here’s Jackson’s memorable interpretation of the story. He seems to have a real way with the “F” word.

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Christopher Walken’s ‘The Power Of Few’ Lands With Steelyard; Fleming Rants On How Impatient Icons Diminish Legacies Dropping Too Many Movie Turds

Mike Fleming

It intrigues me that Christopher Walken’s latest film — which just signed for North American release by Steelyard Pictures — is titled The Power Of Few. I’ve never heard of this distributor, and maybe the film is a cinematic treat, but I’m reasonably certain this movie will come and go with little fanfare. The title is memorable because it summarizes perfectly how I wish iconic actors like Walken would run their careers. I was thinking about this over the weekend, when I again watched Django Unchained and observed how the whole movie changed from the moment that Samuel L. Jackson first came into view as the awful plantation slave patriarch Stephen. I find it one of the most memorable performances I’ve seen in the last five years, a villain to rival any Spaghetti Western antagonist ever, and am amazed how Jackson disappeared into a fully fleshed character as completely as Daniel Day-Lewis did with  Lincoln and Joaquin Phoenix did in The Master, and Denzel Washington did in Flight. All three of those guys got nominated for Oscars, and Sam did not, even though it’s his best performance since Pulp Fiction. It’s easy to say it came down to Christoph Waltz’s Best Supporting Actor nomination (Leo DiCaprio was also snubbed), but I think a factor is that Jackson works so often that Oscar voters discount his great performances because it’s just one of the seven films he did in that calender year. Contrast that to Day-Lewis. When he works, you know it’s a special event, there is high anticipation and he either wins or gets nominated almost each and every time out.

To me, Walken is in the same class as Jackson, and so is Robert De Niro and Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins, and so would Sean Connery and Gene Hackman if anybody could coax those guys out of retirement. Kevin Costner is knocking on the door as well.

De Niro got an Oscar nom for Silver Linings Playbook, and it seemed to work in reverse; it seemed to help that this was the first movie in a long time where the material wasn’t beneath his vast talent, and that he proved he still had it.

As for Walken, I was at the Toronto Film Festival premiere of the Martin McDonagh-directed Seven Psychopaths last fall, and observed something rare. Gifted with dialogue from In Bruges‘ McDonagh, Walken had people cheering to just about every line he delivered, in his singular style. I wish guys like him would save themselves for just the really good stuff (like De Niro and Pacino in Heat and De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook), instead of leaving a trail of cinematic turds along the way. Read More »

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Samuel L. Jackson, India Eisley, Callan McAuliffe Fly With ‘Kite’ Remake

By | Sunday February 3, 2013 @ 5:54am PST

South African director Ralph Ziman has taken over helming Kite, a live action remake of Yasuomi Umetsu’s 1998 Japanese anime film that originally had the late David R. Ellis directing. Samuel L. Jackson is starring with India Eisley (The Secret Life Of The American Teenager) and Callan McAuliffe (Underground: The Julian Assange Story, The Great Gatsby) also now aboard. Ellis, whose credits included Snakes On A Plane and Shark Night 3D, died in January. Pre-production is underway in Johannesburg with principal photography to begin this month.

The original Kite was controversial for its graphic depictions of sex and violence involving an orphaned girl who’s taken under the wing of a pair of corrupt detectives investigating her parents’ murder. The new version is described as a character-driven action film that charts the story of Sawa (Eisley), a young woman living in a failed state after the financial collapse, where a corrupt security force profits on the trafficking of young women. When Sawa’s policeman father is killed, she vows to track the murderer down with the help of his ex-partner, Karl Aker (Jackson).

Jackson said, “The zest and enthusiasm David Ellis had for this project led to my commitment to do it. That same commitment to David leads me to fulfil my obligation to see his dedication fulfilled.” Ziman is best known for 2008′s crime actioner Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema.

Anant Singh and Distant Horizon’s Brian Cox will produce alongside co-producers Moises Cosio and Alberto Muffelmann of Detalle Films. Read More »

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R.I.P David R. Ellis

By | Monday January 7, 2013 @ 2:18pm PST

Director David R. Ellis has died in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Snakes On A Plane helmer passed away suddenly early this morning Los Angeles-time, Deadline has learned. Ellis was 60 years old. Cause of death is not yet known. Ellis was in South Africa preparing to direct the film KITE. The director’s live-action adaptation of the 1998 Japanese anime was set to reunite Ellis with his Snakes star Samuel L. Jackson. Born in Los Angeles on September 10, 1952, Ellis started out in Hollywood as an actor and then stuntman and stunt coordinator. In 1986, Ellis moved on to second unit directing, helming the action sequences on films such as Waterworld, The Matrix Reloaded and Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone. His first directing job was on the Disney film Homeward Bound 2: Lost In San Francisco in 1996. Final Destination 2 followed in 2003, with Cellular in 2004 and Snakes On A Plane in 2006. He went on to direct Asylum in 2008, The Final Destination in 2009 and Shark Night 3D in 2011. Ellis also did second unit directing on the upcoming Winter’s Tale starring Colin Farrell, Will Smith, Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe.

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Samuel L. Jackson Lets Loose On ‘Django’, Tarantino, Slavery, Oscars And Golden Globes – Interview

Pete Hammond

With a filmography that includes roles in some of the highest-grossing movies of all time including The Avengers, Iron Man and the Star Wars series Samuel L. Jackson clearly knows how to pick ‘em. And that is entirely intentional. His current film Django Unchainedin which he is reunited with frequent director Quentin Tarantino opened to strong grosses on Christmas Day and is already looking like another solid box office hit.

In the film he plays Stephen, the conniving house slave for Leonardo DiCaprio‘s despicable character Calvin Candie. As the manipulative slave, Jackson says he is playing perhaps the most hated negro in cinematic history. He’s fine with that. “At least he’s a memorable character. I mean Quentin writes interesting characters. I’ve been pretty despicable in most of his films. People loved Jules (Pulp Fiction) but he’s a murderer. People loved Ordell (Jackie Brown) but he’s a murderer. Stephen has an unusual take on slavery. He’s okay with it,” he says and is not worried about what African American audiences might think (Spike Lee has already chimed in to express his displeasure with the film’s depiction of slaves). “I hope he’s reviled, and people want to see him die. People enjoy him, but it’s strange. He’s a funny guy in a way, despicably funny. People laugh at Stephen and what he does, but you know they do want to see him dead.” But still slavery is a serious subject and Jackson … Read More »

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Samuel L. Jackson On ‘SNL’: Did He Or Didn’t He?

By | Sunday December 16, 2012 @ 10:36am PST

Playing himself during a skit parody of BET on a show titled “What Up With That?” the characteristically voluble Jackson appeared to utter the f-word and did say “bullshit”. Jackson later tweeted “I only said FUH not FUCK! K was sposed to cut off da BULLSHIT, blew it!!” Here is an unbleeped YouTube clip:

You can watch NBC’s full clip of the skit which has both utterances muted after the jump: Read More »

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Gloria Reuben Added To Thriller ‘Reasonable Doubt’

By | Tuesday November 20, 2012 @ 3:04pm PST

Gloria Reuben has joined Reasonable Doubt, teaming with Samuel L. Jackson and Dominic Cooper for the indie crime thriller. Reuben will play world-weary Detective Blake Kanon in the South Creek Pictures pic, which centers on an Assistant D.A. who becomes obsessed with a man found not guilty of a hit and run. Peter Howitt directed from a script by Peter Dowling. Reuben plays Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker and confidante, in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln; she was at the White House last week for a private screening. She also appears in the upcoming comedy Admission with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. The ER veteran also will appear in a five-episode arc on the third season of TNT’s Falling Skies, on which Spielberg is an executive producer. Reuben is repped by APA and manager Estelle Lasher.

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Samuel L. Jackson’s Wake-Up Call For Obama

By | Thursday September 27, 2012 @ 9:29am PDT
Mike Fleming

Never one for subtlety, Samuel L. Jackson is front and center in a pro-President Obama and anti-Mitt Romney spot that is a takeoff on Sam’s narration of the bedtime tale Go The F___ To Sleep, the one that became a big viral hit. According to the New York Post, the political spot was done in concert with a PAC called the Jewish Council for Research and Education, funded mostly by George Soros’ 25-year-old son Alexander. There are a lot of Hollywood heavyweights behind Obama, but I doubt anybody will make as much noise as Jackson does here, particularly if this spreads virally the way his last bedtime story did. Maybe Romney better get Clint Eastwood on the phone for a counter:

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