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 …
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.
OSCARS: Producer Scott Rudin Talks Critics Awards, Salander, His ‘Jeopardy’ Discovery And Why A Non-Baseball Fan Relates To ‘Moneyball’
EXCLUSIVE: We are in the thick of the awards season, a time of year when at least one film produced by Scott Rudin is usually in the conversation. Last year, he was producer of two Best Picture nominees, The Social Network and True Grit. This year, he’s got three in the mix. There’s Moneyball, the 9/11-themed Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. All this happened in a year when Rudin closed his Hollywood office and formally moved his producing deal to Sony Pictures (where he produced The Social Network and joined producers Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt in reconfiguring Moneyball). None of that impeded his output and when Rudin took time out for Deadline and what will likely be his only Oscar season Q&A, he pulled himself away from new films he’s making with the Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach. That is a lot of activity for any producer — and Rudin separately generates as many Broadway shows as he does films — but it’s a pace the New York-based producer is comfortable handling.
AWARDSLINE: Much was written about The New Yorker reviewer David Denby breaking an embargo that New York film critic voters agreed to abide by when they saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for the purposes of voting for their annual awards. Now, he wrote a positive review…
RUDIN: That wasn’t the issue.
AWARDSLINE: Why did it trouble you so much?
RUDIN: Because you want reviews timed to the release of the movie when they can sell tickets. Having reviews break earlier…I mean, our campaign is calibrated very carefully around closing the campaign with the release of the film. You want reviews to cume the week the movie’s opening and not a month before when they do you absolutely no good. What also concerned me was if he broke the embargo there was a decent chance other people would. It turned out that other people felt such scorn for him that nobody else did, which was kind of remarkable.
AWARDSLINE: Was it more about giving your word and not keeping it?
RUDIN: Keep your word or don’t come to the movie. It’s totally fine to say I’m not going to honor a review embargo, but you have to give me and the studio the right to say, don’t come see it. You don’t put in writing a commitment not to review until a certain date and then review it anyway because you don’t want to write about other movies that you don’t think are serious enough for you. It’s incredibly disingenuous.
AWARDSLINE: All this happened because the New York film critics moved up their deadline two weeks to be first. How valid are these lists when a late entry like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close aren’t even considered?
RUDIN: I can only answer in relation to my stuff. I mean, in the case of the New York critics, they set a deadline that was literally a day ahead of when we would be able to screen Dragon Tattoo. We were perfectly fine not screening for them, but they came to us and said they wanted to move the date by a day to include us. Because we had won it last year on Social Network, we felt we kind of owed it to them. It seemed churlish not to let them see the movie if they moved the date. We didn’t ask them to move the date; they came to us. And then I got a bunch of nasty emails from John Anderson saying, why didn’t you ask us to move the date on Extremely Loud? The whole thing seemed so ridiculous. They were all trying to get ahead of each other. Honestly, I don’t think it has hurt Extremely Loud one iota not to have been seen by the couple of groups that didn’t see it. In the end, it’s all opinion anyway. It’s great when you win those things but not great enough that you wouldn’t finish a movie well. Those critics awards come and go every year, but the finished movie is your work. I would love to have finished Extremely Loud two weeks earlier and screened it for everybody. It just wasn’t done. And the same was true with Dragon Tattoo. These were big ambitious movies that were on very very tight finishing schedules and we just couldn’t do it.
AWARDSLINE: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo deal seemed to take forever. It was obviously complicated by the fact that Stieg Larsson had passed away. What was the biggest challenge for you in pulling the rights together on the series?
RUDIN: The big issue on it was that the book was still growing in popularity, so it was hard to figure out, honestly, what a fair deal was. We’d start to make it a deal, you’d turn around and the book has sold 5 million more copies and suddenly it’s worth more. It just took a long time.
AWARDSLINE: How long?
RUDIN: Almost a year and a half. When we started to negotiate we didn’t know there were Swedish movies. Nobody told us, I had no idea. Honestly, we started out buying movie rights and it turned out we were buying remake rights. We got way down the road before anybody said, “Oh, by the way, these were made.”
AWARDSLINE: Did that make you think twice?
RUDIN: No. I think the first one especially was good and entertaining. But Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton and I felt like Lisbeth is such an astonishing character, she could go as long as you wanted her to go. So, making it a big superstar director version of it always felt like a great idea and that a Swedish language version wasn’t going to hurt it all. In fact, would probably help it.
Coming into December Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, producer Scott Rudin’s third Oscar hopeful this Fall (after Moneyball and December 21 release The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), was expected to become an immediate major player in the Oscar game, but several problems crept up including some last-minute…
After lengthy negotiations, Oscar winner Chris Cooper has closed his deal to star in HBO’s Noah Baumbach/Scott Rudin drama pilot The Corrections. Cooper and fellow Oscar winner Dianne Wiest will play the leads in the project based on …
If there is one thing that buyers at the Toronto Film Festival have lamented so far, it’s that many of the strongest titles were bought by distributors at script stage. Imagine the bidding that would occur if a Coen Brothers film would bring if it came to a festival without a partner? It could happen. Joel and Ethan Coen have their next film, and while the project has been on the rumor mill, the surprise is that Inside Llewyn Davis will be made without a domestic distribution partner. The film’s focus is the early folk music scene in Greenwich Village in the 60s, and the Coens and their producing partner Scott Rudin are making it with only an alignment with Studio Canal, which will distribute in France and some other territories, and look to sell the rest of foreign down the line.
The Coens wrote the script, and they have the usual number of stars lining up to play characters loosely based on folk singers like Dave Van Ronk and Tom Paxton. The brothers are also back in business with Rudin, their producing partner on the Oscar-winning No Country For Old Men and their last film, True Grit. Shooting will start early next year in New York.
It’s official: HBO has picked up Aaron Sorkin’s hourlong cable news network pilot to series. The now untitled drama (formerly More As This Story Develops), which has been a virtual lock for a series order, centers …
EXCLUSIVE: Next spring, there will be two Spider-Mans on Broadway. When Mike Nichols directs Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play revival of Death of a Salesman, The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield will be making his Broadway debut. Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman will play the traveling salesman Willy Loman; Linda Emond will play his wife, Linda; and Garfield will play Loman’s underachieving son, Biff. Scott Rudin will produce the revival, which will open next March at the Barrymore Theatre. The other stage Spidey, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, you know all about.
The original play opened in 1949 with Lee J. Cobb in the role of Loman, and subsequent revivals featured Dustin Hoffman and Brian Dennehy. Hoffman had been expected to take the Loman role, but the surprise is Garfield. He worked with Rudin in the David Fincher-directed The Social Network, before emerging in a wide search with the role of young Peter Parker in the 3D reboot The Amazing Spider-Man, which is being directed by Marc Webb. Garfield started his career in the theater in the UK. His stage credits there include The Laramie Project and Romeo & Juliet.