EXCLUSIVE: Scott Rudin Productions’ Scott Rudin and Eli Bush and Point Grey’s Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver have together set up a trio of feature collaborations. Two of the films are based on documentaries and will …
Sony Sets ’50/50′ Team For Chess Drama ‘Brooklyn Castle; One Of Three Pics For Scott Rudin And Seth Rogen’s Point Grey
In Michael De Luca’s First Deal, Sony Pictures Acquires David Ignatius Novel ‘The Director’ For Paul Greengrass And Scott Rudin
BREAKING: Well, looks like former New Line production president Michael De Luca isn’t taking long to make that transition to the executive suites. I’m told that his first deal at Sony Pictures as production president is The Director, a novel by David Ignatius that reteams De Luca with his Captain Phillips producer Scott Rudin and director Paul Greengrass. De Luca, Rudin and Dana Brunetti produced Captain Phillips.
Greengrass will adapt the novel — will be published by W.W. Norton in June — and direct the film. This comes as Captain Phillips became a global hit and got four Golden Globe nominations. In The Director, Graham Weber has been director of the CIA for less than a week when a Swiss kid in a dirty T-shirt walks into the American consulate in Hamburg and says the agency has been hacked, and he has a list of agents’ names to prove it. This is the moment a CIA director most dreads.
OSCARS Q&A: ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ And ‘Captain Phillips’ Producer Scott Rudin On Making Prestige Pics Inside And Outside The Studio Fold
It has become common to find Scott Rudin with multiple films in the Oscar hunt. This time, the producer has the Joel and Ethan Coen-directed Inside Llewyn Davis, financed independently and distributed by CBS Films, and the Paul Greengrass-directed Captain Phillips, funded by Rudin’s home studio Sony Pictures. The prolific producer manages these Oscar campaigns while he presided over a record-breaking limited stage run of the Mike Nichols-directed Betrayal with Daniel Craig; as The Book Of Mormon continues to be Broadway’s biggest bread winner; preps for next month’s Berlin premiere of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel; is in post on the Chris Rock-directed Finally Famous and Jon Stewart’s helming debut Rosewater, about a mock journalist who spent nine frightening months detained in Iran after filing a comic field report on Stewart’s The Daily Show. There are big pics percolating, from one with Paul Thomas Anderson to the adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs, a Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sequel, and the adaptation of Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra book that got a new draft from Eric Roth and has everyone excited including Angelina Jolie, who seems destined to play the Egyptian queen. Rudin, who once had his projects bankrolled by whatever major studio he called home, has responded to a changing market for the challenging adult films he favors by becoming increasingly nimble in finding money to empower the auteurs that work with him over and over. There is reason for optimism in this race: his last two Coen collaborations were the Best Picture Oscar winning No Country For Old Men and the Best Picture nominee True Grit; his last film with Hanks, Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, was a Best Picture nominee. Rudin took time out to discuss Inside Llewyn Davis, Captain Phillips, and his continued evolution in a fast-changing business.
DEADLINE: Inside Llewyn Davis was probably the first Coen Brothers film made without a distributor in place. How did you benefit from doing it that way?
RUDIN: It gave us a huge advantage. It was not a particularly expensive movie, under $20 million, and we financed it completely out of Europe. StudioCanal was a fantastic partner and allowed the guys to go off and make the movie exactly the way they wanted to. They wrote a check, wished us luck, and loved it when we were done. To have a completed Coen Brothers movie, and own North America, was spectacular. We had four or five offers for it. We did a one night screening with a music component to it that people loved, and we took the CBS Films deal. That was a choice people were curious about when we made it because they didn’t have experience with this kind of movie. It worked out fantastically well.
DEADLINE: Is that because the usual suspects already had Oscar bait films?
RUDIN: A big part of the draw was Terry Press. We’ve worked together on a ton of movies; she was the head of publicity back when I did Sister Act at Disney. We go back 25 years. She worked on The Social Network and on Dragon Tattoo, and I knew she loved this kind of music and the Coens. As we fielded other offers, I frankly hoped it would end up there. We had a lot of input into how they distributed it and sold it. I liked working with Wolfgang Hammer and have always loved Les Moonves. He was running Fox Television while I was running feature production at Fox in the mid-1980s so we go back 30 years. They didn’t have another movie in this slot, and it felt they would do something bold and more aggressive with it. It felt like a perfect fit.
DEADLINE: You undersold that buyers screening. As I recall, there were wall to wall music stars milling with Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and every star in the constellation…
RUDIN: That became our selling screening. We had this idea to do a screening the night before Grammys because a ton of music people would be in town and we wanted to screen the movie for musicians. We sent invitations and the list came back so spectacularly that I said to Joel and Ethan, why don’t we just invite some buyers? It was such a great opportunity to screen the movie for an audience you could feel pretty confident would love it, because the movie was really about them. It was a great party full of people who really loved the movie and had a profound relationship to the subject. A lot of them had worked with the Coens or worked with me. We had 700 people in two screening rooms, followed by a concert with T Bone Burnett, The Punch Brothers played, so did Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac. It was pretty spectacular. Because there was this pure motive of, let’s screen the movie for musicians, and because no one had seen the film, it had a buzz in the room that existed because it was an authentic event.
DEADLINE: When did your offers come in?
RUDIN: The next day.
EXCLUSIVE: New Regency has become a co-financier on the untitled film that Cameron Crowe is directing for Sony Pictures, starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin and Bill Murray. Regency will share its 50% investment with RatPac, the company launched by James Packer and Brett Ratner that just recently teamed with Dune Entertainment for a $450 million slate financing deal with Warner Bros. That deal got off to a strong start as the studio brought them in on Gravity.
Crowe wrote the script and is producing the untitled film with Scott Rudin. They have been low key on the log line, but the film has romance and comedy and is said to in the spirit of past Crowe pics Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous. The film will be released domestically by Sony Pictures, and Fox International will release it overseas. New Regency principal Arnon Milchan had a long history with Kerry Packer, which made for an easy match with his son, RatPac partner James Packer.
EXCLUSIVE: After launching one fact-based film into Oscar season with Captain Phillips, producer Scott Rudin has used his own funds to set up another. He has acquired Five Days At Memorial, the book by Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink that was published by Crown last month. Rudin will produce with Eli Bush through Scott Rudin Productions.
Fink, a physician as well as a writer, takes an unflinching look at the decisions doctors made at Memorial Medical Center, a hospital in New Orleans that was overwhelmed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. The doctors, who lost electrical power and backup and were not supported by hospital owners who had no generator mechanic on staff or even an evacuation plan, were forced to make calculated decisions on which patients to save. Some of those who were not expected to make it were shot up with morphine and left to die. This was four days into a devastating hurricane where generators failed, the intensive care wing sweltered in darkness and chaos and gunshots rang out in the areas outside the hospital. The book focuses on an attempt to prosecute a doctor and two nurses for homicide after an investigation showed elevated levels of morphine and other drugs in 23 patients who died at the hospital. Of those, 20 were ruled homicides. Fink won the Pulitzer for a dispatch she wrote as an assignment for ProPublica and The New Times Magazine in 2009.
Listen to (and share) episode 44 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about the challenges facing new Los Angeles film czar Tom Sherak; producer Scott Rudin’s big weekend at the New York Film Festival, where his Inside Llewyn Davis and Captain Phillips debuted strongly ahead of the latter film’s wide sneak previews this weekend; the field of candidates for Oscar’s foreign-language film category, led by Iranian nominee The Past; and some of the movies that won’t be contending this year for Oscar after all. Finally, we’ll get Pete’s take on this week’s new movie releases, including Alfonso Cuaron’s “fantastic” space epic, Gravity, featuring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney; JFK assassination docudrama Parkland, with a sprawling cast featuring Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti, Jacqui Weaver and Marcia Gay Harden; and divorce comedy A.C.O.D., featuring Richard Jenkins, Amy Poehler, Jane Lynch and another large cast.
This weekend the New York Film Festival got rolling and if you mistook it for the Scott Rudin Film Festival you wouldn’t be far from wrong. Rudin’s October 11th Sony Pictures release Captain Phillips world premiered to a standing ovation on Opening Night Friday. On Saturday the much-awaited New York premiere of his December 6th CBS Films pic Inside Llewyn Davis made its local debut with stars Oscar Isaac, John Goodman and writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen among those on hand. But if that wasn’t enough of a Rudin takeover of the Fest (which runs a longish 18 days) there is an unprecedented sold out concert going on tonight at the Town Hall engineered by Rudin, the Coens and T-Bone Burnett called Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating The Music Of Inside Llewyn Davis. The concert featuring numerous folk singers of the early 1960s period in which the New York-based film is set also scheduled appearances from some of the movie’s stars including Isaac and Goodman. It’s clear Rudin, using the festival that also launched his The Social Network two years ago, doesn’t have to leave his hometown to make a mark in Hollywood’s nascent awards season. Game on.
In the case of Inside Llewyn Davis, the strategy seems particularly smart. Unlike Phillips or other upcoming Oscar-hopefuls like NYFF World Premieres for 20th Century Fox‘s The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty starring and directed by Ben Stiller and playing next weekend, and the October 13th closer, Spike Jonze‘s Her from Warner Bros, Davis has already been making the fest rounds since beginning in May at Cannes where it won the Grand Prize (second place), and then in a North American launch at Telluride on Labor Day weekend that included a tribute to the musical movie collaboration between the Coens and T- Bone Burnett.
UPDATE: I just started vacation but learned that Scott Rudin will produce Chicago 7.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, TUESDAY 2:40 PM: I’ve learned that DreamWorks is finally reviving a once hot project that has barely been touched since its director Steven Spielberg suspended it back in 2008. Conventional wisdom had it that this would be Spielberg’s next Oscar pic. Since then, “every two months it’s been revisited. The title would come up in conversation at production meetings. But it’s just been hanging,” a source tells me. No longer. I’ve learned the studio is moving forward with Paul Greengrass in final talks to direct Aaron Sorkin‘s script The Trial Of The Chicago 7. It’s based on the infamous 1969 federal conspiracy trial arising out of the protesters vs police violent rioting at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago that transfixed the nation because of its counter-culture and leftist mayhem intended to undermine the U.S. government.
The modestly budgeted $20M-$30M film will start production probably in January. DreamWorks is funding all development with its financial partners, and Disney will distribute. No casting is in discussion yet because the deal isn’t done for Greengrass (United 93, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, Green Zone). His upcoming Captain Phillips biopic starring Tom Hanks about a sea hijacking by Somali pirates has great advance buzz at Sony. Plus, as a former British journalist and filmmaker attracted to true stories, Greengrass sounds like the right director for Chicago 7 and was considered to helm it back in August 2008.
TORONTO, CANADA (May 16, 2013) – Mongrel Media announced today that the company
has acquired all Canadian rights to INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS. Written and directed
by Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen, and produced by Scott Rudin, and Joel and
Ethan Coen, the film stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John
Clearly there’s no keeping Scott Rudin happy. He’s shuttering his struggling Broadway play The Testament Of Mary after just 16 performances thanks to limp ticket sales. That’s despite it scoring three Tony nominations this week, including …
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and Scott Rudin Productions have optioned the Jeff VanderMeer novel Annihilation and the two subsequent books in what he is calling his Southern Reach trilogy. I’m told this was a sizable deal. Rudin and Eli Bush will produce.
World rights for the books were bought at auction by Sean McDonald at Farrar Straus & Giroux. The trilogy movie rights were optioned within hours in a deal negotiated by Joseph Veltre at Gersh, on behalf of Sally Harding at The Cooke Agency Inc.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin will turn the groundbreaking ’70s sitcom Good Times into a feature film. They’ve set a writer, Phil Johnston, whose most recent credits include Wreck-It Ralph and Cedar Rapids. Rudin will produce the family comedy with Eli Bush.
While Rudin is selective about the remakes with which he becomes involved – Manchurian Candidate, Shaft and Sabrina – I think this has a lot of potential. The series, which aired on CBS from 1974-79, was one in a series of socially aware Norman Lear-generated sitcoms that pushed the envelope by mixing comedy with topicality and hot-button issues. Others included All In The Family (bigot patriarch), One Day At A Time (struggling single mother) and Maude.
Good Times focused on working-class couple James and Florida Evans as they raised three kids while struggling with hard financial times, unemployment and keeping their kids away from temptations that came with living in a Chicago housing project. The movie will be set in the 1960s, which gives Johnston a rich and politically charged period to mine.
The first screening of Inside Llewyn Davis quietly took place last Saturday night in a screening room on the Sony lot. That’s the new film by …