Real-life husband and wife Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz in her Broadway debut will join Rafe Spall to star in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, to be directed by Mike Nichols and produced by Scott Rudin. Performances are set to begin October 1 at the Barrymore Theatre, with opening night November 3. The plan is to run the drama, which originally appeared in 1978 at London’s National Theatre, for 14 weeks through January 5, 2014. In the play, Emma (Weisz) is married to Robert (Craig), a publisher, but she has long had an affair with Jerry (Spall), a literary agent and Robert’s best friend. As time is regained, the full complexity of their relationships comes to light.
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: Chris Rock has set financing with Scott Rudin and Barry Diller for his third feature outing behind the camera. The film, which currently is untitled, is set to shoot in New York in June. Rock wrote it and will star in what I’m told is an edgy showbiz-themed comedy with romance. Rudin and Eli Bush will produce. Rock linked up with Rudin after he signed on to star on Broadway in The Motherfucker With The Hat, and this is their first screen collaboration together. Rudin and Diller are currently working together on Brightline, the e-publishing business formed with a big investment from Diller’s IAC/Interactive.
Rock, who previously directed the films Head Of State and I Think I Love My Wife, seems to be evolving into a nice little groove where he makes personal films he writes, directs and stars in, a la Woody Allen and Albert Brooks. That’s in between producing documentaries, starring in stand-up comedy tours and acting jobs. He has been rumored to possibly do some dates with Dave Chappelle, which could get pinched by the rigors of directing, prepping and starring in this feature, and he’ll next be seen starring in the Adam Sandler sequel Grown Ups 2. Rock is repped by ICM Partners.
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 Joel and Ethan Coen that takes place in the folk-music circuit in downtown New York’s Greenwich Village in the 1960s. Re-teaming with True Grit and No Country For Old Men cohort Scott Rudin, the Coens made Inside Llewyn Davis without a domestic distributor; their only alignment was with Studio Canal, which fully financed. Now, it’s apparently time to hook a distributor for an Oscar-season berth. I’m told that the screening was informal and held for a music crowd by T-Bone Burnett, reps from most of the studios were there, except Paramount and The Weinstein Company. They’ve been in no hurry so far to make a deal, but don’t be surprised if a distributor locks this one down very quickly.
Inside Llewyn Davis stars Oscar Isaac and the cast includes Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Adam Driver, and Garrett Hedlund. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, here’s the first trailer cut for the pic:
Christy Grosz is Editor of AwardsLine.
With a list of collaborators that includes some of the most sought-after writers and producers in the business, Scott Rudin is no stranger to awards season. He’s earned best picture nominations for the last two years running, for 2010′s The Social Network and True Grit and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close last year. He won his only Oscar in 2008 for No Country For Old Men — a year in which his other film, There Will Be Blood, also earned a nom for picture — and this year he earned the career distinction of having received all four major entertainment statuettes when he added a Grammy for The Book Of Mormon musical cast recording. In 2012, Rudin also saw the release of his fifth feature film with director Wes Anderson, the box office hit Moonrise Kingdom. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and has gone on to win a Gotham Award for best film and earn five Independent Spirit Award nominations. Their creatively and financially lucrative partnership continues for Anderson’s 2014 followup, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which reunites much of the same cast and crew from Moonrise, including star Bill Murray and financier Steven M. Rales of Indian Paintbrush. The very busy producer recently spoke with AwardsLine about the film’s success.
AwardsLine: You always have a fairly heavy workload for a producer. How do you maintain the quality and still give everything the attention it needs?
Scott Rudin: I have no idea other than there’s no alternative. Honestly.
EXCLUSIVE… UPDATE: Memphis, Paul Greengrass‘ film about the final days of Dr. Martin Luther King, is coming back around. Now, I hear that steps are underway to make Memphis Greengrass’ next directorial outing. I’ve heard that Veritas is in talks to finance with Wild Bunch. You might recall the picture was shelved after Universal Pictures dropped out, and Greengrass and producer Scott Rudin shelved it because it became too difficult to set up new financing and shoot the film so that it could be released during the MLK weekend holiday. Greengrass and Rudin moved on to make Captain Phillips, the Sony drama about the Somali pirate heist that stars Tom Hanks as Captain Richard Phillips.
The script depicts Dr. King’s final days as he struggled to organize a protest march on behalf of striking black municipal sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was slain. That storyline is juxtaposed with an intense manhunt for King’s assassin James Earl Ray, involving some of the federal authorities who, at Hoover’s direction, had dogged King’s every step with wiretaps and whispering campaigns before the civil rights leader’s death.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures is in negotiations to turn Little House On The Prairie into a feature film that David Gordon Green will direct with Abi Morgan writing the script. Scott Rudin will produce with Trip Friendly. The deal hasn’t happened yet, but they are working toward giving the pioneer family a big screen incarnation.
Little House On The Prairie is based on the semi-autobiographical classic children’s book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder written between 1932 and 1943 about farm life in the late 19th Century American West. The books formed the basis for a TV series that ran from 1974-1983 and starred Michael Landon, and Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls Wilder. Morgan, repped by CAA and Independent Talent Group, last scripted the Steve McQueen-directed Michael Fassbender-starrer Shame, and the Phyllida Lloyd-directed The Iron Lady, which starred Meryl Streep. As for Green, he’s been focusing on comedies with Pineapple Express, The Sitter, Your Highness and Eastbound & Down, and is repped by CAA and Gotham Group.
Deadline’s Mike Fleming first reported in July that Barry Diller and Scott Rudin were in exploratory talks for the e-book business and now it’s official. Rudin and publishing exec Frances Coady have formed a partnership with Diller in a venture called Brightline, the New York Times reports. It will publish e-books and eventually physical books in a partnership with Brooklyn-based publisher Atavist, which has expertise in producing electronic books and articles.
Atavist and Brightline will exchange an undetermined amount of minority equity interests in each other’s ventures, and Diller’s IAC/Interactive will provide $20 million in capital to build out Brightline as a publisher in addition to making investments in Atavist, according to the Times.
Brightline and Atavist will remain separate for the time being and the books will be published under the Atavist name. No author has yet been signed by Brightline.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has just closed a deal for an untitled love story that Cameron Crowe will direct in the spring, with Emma Stone starring. Crowe wrote the script, and Scott Rudin is producing. I’m told the project is a two-hander, and that the male lead hasn’t yet been set, and that the tone is reminiscent of past Crowe films Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire. Stone just starred for the studio in The Amazing Spider-Man and completed Gangster Squad. She’s repped by WME and Anonymous Content; Crowe is repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: I love meta-producer Scott Rudin because he always makes news. (And gives everyone around him heart palpitations every time I call.) So here’s the latest: HBO and Rudin have ended their exclusive deal. Rudin’s reps tell me the reason is so that Scott can have “more flexibility” during his first foray into television. ”You know how full they are. He wants to sell elsewhere.” But another source emails me this, which Rudin’s camp strenuously denies: “HBO is so tired of Scott Rudin’s antics that they terminated his overall deal yesterday.” The end follows such Rudin dissapointments as HBO in May deciding not to go forward with the Noah Baumbach/Rudin pilot The Corrections. Based on Jonathan Franzen’s acclaimed book, it boasted one of most star-studded casts ever assembled on television: Chris Cooper, Dianne Wiest, Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rhys Ifans and Greta Gerwig. Attempting to bring Franzen’s book to the screen — something that had been tried unsuccessfully on the feature side for a decade — was considered a big swing. Word is HBO brass liked the performances but the decision came down to adapting the book’s challenging narrative. Needless to say, Rudin was not pleased.
At this point it’s unclear how the severed deal will affect all of Rudin’s HBO projects, so many I can’t even keep them all straight. Of course there’s Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom now going into its second season, Ben …
EXCLUSIVE: Barry Diller and Scott Rudin are in exploratory talks to launch an e-book business for both fiction and non-fiction. I’m told they have had a lot of exploratory conversations and I expect an announcement of a venture launch shortly with major investment capital. The ramifications will be interesting. Both Diller and Rudin are big players in media. Diller’s track record includes the new Aereo TV streaming service, IAC/InterActive Corp., TicketMaster and before that Fox (where Rudin became his president of production) and Paramount Pictures. Rudin is a prolific veteran producer of book-to-film and stage adaptations that most recently have included Best Picture Oscar nominees True Grit, The Social Network and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, as well as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Other distinguished titles include Moneyball, No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood and The Hours. Rudin also had movie production deals at Paramount, Disney/Miramax and now has a deal at Sony. His recent stage productions include the Tony-winning Broadway hits The Book Of Mormon, Fences, and the Mike Nichols-directed revival of Death Of A Salesman. No comment from the principals.
Anderson is going right back into business with his collaborators on Moonrise Kingdom, which is heading toward a $40 million gross to be among this summer’s art house hits.
The Grand Budapest Hotel will be produced by Anderson along with Scott Rudin and Indian Paintbrush’s Steven Rales. UTA reps Depp and Anderson.
This comes as Depp continues to work on The Lone Ranger for Disney. He stars in that Gore Verbinski-directed film with Armie Hammer, and response was strong to scenes unveiled during Disney’s panel at Comic-Con over the weekend. Depp will likely make this next; plans for him to star in The Thin Man for Rob Marshall have been pushed for the time being.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and producers Walter Mirisch and Scott Rudin are planning a remake of the 1978 romantic comedy Same Time, Next Year. They are negotiating with Mark and Jay Duplass to write the script, with an eye toward directing the film. The Robert Mulligan-directed original starred Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn. She’s a housewife, he’s an accountant and they meet by chance at a romantic inn over a dinner. Even though they are married to others, they have a one night stand and then they get together once a year to rekindle the sparks. Over the course of time, the relationship becomes complex as they develop an intimate relationship as they discuss what is going on with their lives at home.
Jay and Mark Duplass most recently collaborated as writers and directors of the Jason Segel-Ed Helms comedy Jeff, Who Lives At Home, and before that Cyrus, Baghead and The Puffy Chair. Mark Duplass also stars in the FX series The League and just signed on for a role in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. He also stars in and exec produced Safety Not Guaranteed and the Alex Kurtzman-directed People Like Us. In addition, he stars in and co-produced Your Sister’s Sister, which opens Friday. They are repped by ICM Partners.
Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman added to Mike Nichols and Scott Rudin‘s previous Tony hauls, taking nods for best direction of a play for Nichols and best revival of a play for Rudin. Nichols and Rudin, who most recently won for last year’s best musical The Book of Mormon, now have won nine Tonys each. For his movie work Nichols was nominated five times for Oscars, winning best director for 1967′s The Graduate. Rudin has also been nominated for five Oscars, winning Best Picture for 2007′s No Country For Old Men. Once, a musical based on a 2006 Irish movie, took the award for best musical plus seven others out of 11 nominations. Newsies, based on the 1992 Disney movie musical of the same name, won awards for choreography and best original score written for the theatre.
Complete list of winners follows:
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures is making a deal to finance and distribute The Intern, which Nancy Meyers will direct from her script, with Tina Fey attached to star. Scott Rudin will produce. This follows Deadline’s revelation that Meyers also plans to direct The Chelsea, a dramedy that has Like Crazy‘s Felicity Jones attached to star in a script by Meyers’ daughter, Hallie Meyers-Shyer. It remains to be seen which film goes first, but The Intern will likely get started in the first quarter of 2013, after Fey completes work on another season of 30 Rock.
Fey will play the founder of an e-business with a fashion focus. As her company begins to thrive, she’s told that her company is importing seniors to be interns as a community outreach effort, and she’s getting one. While her first question is whether they are seniors in high school or college, she learns to her horror that she’s getting a real senior, as in senior citizen. The title character, an over-70 widower who is bored with retirement from a middle management career, initially seems like a fossil to his working mother boss, but grows more indispensable. While the boss and internship develop a platonic bond, Meyers tells me that to her this is a love story about the friendship they develop. She has an actor in mind …
John Schoenfelder is leaving Mulholland Books to be SVP for producer Scott Rudin. Schoenfelder spent 2 1/2 years at Mulholland, and the same amount of time at the St. Martin’s Press imprint Thomas Dunne. His choices as an editor have a certain cinematic bent to them, including a top-secret novel being written by Doug Dorst from a concept hatched by JJ Abrams; the Warren Ellis novel Gun Machine; and Exile, the novel that’s being written by Safe House scribe David Guggenheim and Nick Mennuti. Schoenfelder will report to Rudin and his top exec and producing partner Eli Bush. Schoenfelder said he always hoped to enter the film business, and was a film major at the University of Wisconsin and a rabid film follower. “I’ve always been inspired by Scott and his ability to turn literature into compelling films,” said Schoenfelder, who starts the new job May 1.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin have snapped up remake rights to Brooklyn Castle, the documentary that premiered at SXSW yesterday. The film, which got a rousing response after its Sunday bow, is about I.S. 318, an inner-city school where more than 65% of students are from homes with incomes below the federal poverty level. It also happens to have the winningest junior high school chess team in the country. While chess has transformed the school from one cited in 2003 as a “school in need of improvement” to one of New York City’s best, public school budget cuts put the program and its accomplishments in jeopardy. The remake deal was made by Cinetic Media, which is also shopping distribution rights on the film. Rudin also previously produced the chess-themed Searching For Bobby Fischer, which Steve Zaillian wrote and directed.
EXCLUSIVE: Hot producing duo Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy of Parts & Labor have entered an output and development deal with sales, finance and production company K5 Media. The Brooklyn-based pair most recently produced Mike Mills’ Beginners for which star Christopher Plummer has been scooping up awards this season. The first 2 films covered under the K5 pact are Adam Rapp’s Red Light Winter starring Kirsten Dunst and Mark Ruffalo and Gregg Araki’s The Womb. Knudsen and Van Hoy will produce Red Light Winter with Scott Rudin who has been the duo’s mentor for the past decade. Knudsen and Van Hoy met in 2000 while working for Rudin and in 2004 established Parts & Labor. In 2008, they entered a 3-year, first-look deal with Rudin’s company. “Jay and Lars have clearly learned from one of the best in being mentored by Scott Rudin and they are at the forefront of the new wave of important indie producers,” says K5’s Oliver Simon. The K5 pact covers all current projects being developed by Knudsen and Van Hoy whose credits also include Braden King’s Here, Cam Archer’s Shit Year, So Yong Kim’s Treeless Mountain and Kelly Reichardt’s Old Joy. Deal was negotiated on behalf of Parts & Labor by André des Rochers, of Gray, Krauss des Rochers and K5 co-founders Simon and Daniel Baur.