Sharon Stone is the latest to snag a role in the Jesse Eisenberg-Kristen Stewart starrer American Ultra. Production began yesterday in New Orleans. The action comedy that Lionsgate ponied up $7M for in March focuses on Mike (Eisenberg), a stoner whose small-town life with his live-in girlfriend (Stewart) is upended when his past catches up with him, putting him in the crosshairs of a government operation bent on wiping him out. Stone joins recently cast Bill Pullman Tony Hale, along with Topher Grace, John Leguizamo, and Walton Goggins in the pic directed by Project X‘s Nima Nourizadeh and penned by Chronicle writer Max Landis. Stone, repped by Gersh and manager Chuck Binder, will play Victoria Lasseter. The PalmStar, Likely Story, and Circle of Confusion co-production is produced by Anthony Bregman, Kevin Frakes, Raj Brinder Singh, David Alpert, and Britton Rizzio. Ray Angelic is exec producing with Lionsgate’s Jason Constantine and Eda Kowan overseeing. FilmNation is repping international sales. Stone recently wrapped the TNT pilot Agent X and can currently be seen in Fading Gigolo with Woody Allen and Jon Turturro.
The actress claims the director-producer wanted her to falsify documents and turn down other jobs to shoot Papa in Cuba in late 2012. Sharon Stone names Bob Yari and his production companies Magenta Light Productions and Sixth Floor Literary Properties as defendants in a lawsuit filed today in LA Superior Court. The suit claims that Yari and his companies “lied to [Stone] and attempted to lure her into being a participant in their fraudulent scheme to avoid the legal licensing requirements of the United States government.” It also alleges that she was induced “to forego other projects and commit to making [Papa] based on Yari’s false representation that Defendants had obtained the necessary documentation to shoot the Picture in Cuba and to enable Ms. Stone to travel to Cuba to render acting services.”
Selina Meyer, meet Natalie Maccabee. After a long courtship, Sharon Stone has signed on to star in TNT‘s action-drama pilot Agent X (working title). Penned by The Bourne Identity scribe William Blake Herron, Agent X centers on America’s first female Vice President, Maccabee (Stone), a woman with brains, beauty, and a cool composure that belies a restless mind. After the death of her husband, a Senate candidate, Natalie opted to run in his place, and after a rapid political rise, she now finds herself the newly elected Vice President of the United States. Initially apprehensive that her job will be ceremonial in nature, she soon learns that it comes with a top secret duty: protecting the Constitution in times of great crisis with the aid of her Chief Steward and a secret operative designated “Agent X.” The pilot is produced by Beacon Pictures, with Armyan Bernstein executive producing. Agent X joins HBO comedy Veep, which also centers on the U.S.’ first female Vice President, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Lawsuits aside, can Lovelace become the latest high profile theatrical/VOD release to also get Oscar attention? I was thinking about that after attending the splashy Monday night Hollywood premiere of the Radius/TWC – Millennium film at the Egyptian. The movie has a name ensemble cast all delivering terrific performances, but two are true standouts. Amanda Seyfried as notorious Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace and a de-glammed supporting turn by Sharon Stone as her mother could have strong appeal to the Academy’s actors branch. The film is not the type to gain traction in the Best Picture race but the actors might go for it if they see it. Radius (the VOD arm of The Weinstein Company) co-President Tom Quinn tells me the company quietly opened the film in Encino for a week in order to make sure it qualifies before the big simultaneous theatrical/VOD run starts Friday. However Academy rules, as I read them, seem to indicate the film would be eligible anyway so long as the VOD premiere does not precede the opening day of the theatrical run.
In any event with the Video On Demand component for increasingly high profile movies such as Lovelace or the Ryan Gosling starrer, Only God Forgives which Radius opened day and date with VOD in July after playing in competition in Cannes, awards talk would seem to be a natural. The Academy’s rules only seem to punish a film that first plays VOD or other non-theatrical formats and arrives in theaters later. Nevertheless most distributors still play it safe and qualify these movies in traditional ways. With the Academy, you don’t want to take a chance. Quinn says they also did a week-long qualifying run for Only God Forgives in Encino and grossed $7000 without anyone really even knowing it was playing there.
Must be a case of spring fever this weekend after both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter posted head-scratcher stories that prompted extreme reactions. First, Variety, under the guise of something called “Hollywood and Swine,” labels Sharon Stone the prime suspect in the recent rash of jewel thievery that got so much press during the Cannes Film Festival. It was meant to be a silly parody: the report said that Stone reenacted her famous interrogation scene from Basic Instinct, only to be told by authorities that nobody has wanted to see that since in the 1990s. But it was picked up straight-faced by Yahoo and the Chicago Tribune, among other outlets that took Variety’s good name as reason to trust a report that Sharon Stone is a suspect in a robbery. Yikes. (Stone has been a longtime ardent supporter of AMFAR, so there was every legitimate reason she would be at Cannes.) This dispatch wasn’t funny and it’s clear that media around the globe expect Variety to be a seed bed for accurate entertainment news – and not knee-slapping guffaws at the expense of an actress with a good name and a clean record. That’s the danger of combining parody news with legitimate news: people can’t tell the difference.
THR went in an even stranger direction, hiring a former Scientologist named Marc Headley to review the Will …
Would you pay €1.5 million ($1.94 million) to spend a weekend at Oscar parties? Or €1.8 million to fly to the moon on Virgin Galactic with Leonardo DiCaprio? Someone did — and more. That happened at amFAR’s annual Cinema Against AIDS Cannes Film Festival gala’s very special 20th anniversary Thursday night. Co-hosts Weinstein and Kenneth Cole announced to a roomful of very high rollers that the event, held of the Hotel Du Cap, raised €25 million ($32.3 million), smashing last year’s record total of over €10 million. The ultra-high style party is a two decades long staple of the Cannes festival, and Weinstein told me if it just made a dollar more than the previous year they’d be happy. But these multimillionaires and billionaires obviously came to play this year and really stepped up at the auction that featured numerous stars including jury members Nicole Kidman and Christoph Waltz, along with Jessica Chastain, Jeremy Renner, Rosario Dawson, Heidi Klum, Goldie Hawn, Janet Jackson, Adrien Brody and major fundraiser/auctioneer Sharon Stone.
Worldwide rights to director Emmanuel Itier’s inspirational documentary Femme have gone to Vision Films ahead of Cannes, where executive producer and narrator Sharon Stone will be promoting the film this week. The female-driven documentary features interviews with 100 influential women filmed in over 20 countries across five continents, including Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Mairead Maguire and Marianne Williamson, Jean Houston, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Vandana Shiva, Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, Jean Shinoda Bolen, and actresses Sharon Stone, Maria Bello, Maria Conchita Alonso and Traci Lords. The pic’s soundtrack includes songs by Annie Lennox, Yoko Ono and Rickie Lee Jones.
Lorraine Nicholson has signed on to Attachment. The daughter of one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Lorraine will play Sharon Stone’s daughter onscreen in the Tony Kaye-directed film. Attachment tells the tale of a good girl gone bad after be set up by her mother’s rotten lover. Christopher Denham wrote the script for Attachment. Panther Films’ Brad Epstein is producing. Adam Krentzman and W2 Media will executive produce. Nicholson, who recently starred in Soul Surfer, is repped by ICM Partners and managed by Trilogy Talent.
Sharon Stone is celebrating Mother’s Day. She joins Andie MacDowell and her real-life daughter Rainey Qualley, who were announced yesterday, in the indie drama about the relationship between 12 mothers and their daughters. Previously announced cast members include Susan Sarandon and her real-life daughter Evan Amurri Martino as well as Christina Ricci. Mother’s Day will be directed by Paul Duddridge, who also wrote the screenplay. Danielle James is producing. Stone is repped by Paradigm and Binder & Associates.
Sharon Stone is set to star in the thriller Attachment, directed by Tony Kaye (American History X) from a script by Chris Denham. L.A.- and Vancouver-based film distribution, financing and international sales company W2 Media will fully fund the project and handle worldwide sales. It will take the title to the European Film Market in Berlin next week. Stone will play a married woman who has a one-night stand with a college student who returns to stalk her and her family. Panther Films’ Brad Epstein will produce and Adam Krentzman will executive produce with W2. W2 is currently handling international sales for The Drummer with Aaron Eckhart and Vera Farmiga, horror title The Theatre Bizarre 2 and the English remake of the Finnish feature Princess. Stone is repped by Paradigm and Binder & Associates.
Sharon Stone confirmed that she is set to play the mother of Linda Lovelace in Lovelace, a biopic about the porn star from Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Amanda Seyfried is already aboard to play Lovelace, one of the most famous adult film stars whose Deep Throat is the genre’s most iconic movie and one of the all-time highest-grossing indie films. The script centers on Lovelace’s relationship with her husband Chuck Traynor, who steered her into the business; she subsequently quit porn and divorced Traynor. Peter Sarsgaard is in negotiations for the husband. The script is by Andy Bellin and W. Merritt Johnson, based on the book The Complete Linda Lovelace by Eric Danville. Partners on the project are Millennium Films, Eclectic Pictures and Untitled Entertainment. Stone told the Associated Press that she is shooting the Voltage Pictures thriller The Mule before starting work on the Lovelace film, which is expected to begin production in January.
UPDATE: Insiders are telling me I jumped the gun on this, but I’m sticking with my story about Kate Beckinsale being asked to join the film. I am persuaded that she will be starring alongside Jessica Biel when all is said and done. Stay tuned.
EXCLUSIVE: Kate Beckinsale has been offered one of the female lead roles alongside Colin Farrell in the Sony Pictures remake Total Recall. I’m told she’s been offered to play Lori, who was portrayed in the 1990 Paul Verhoeven-directed actioner by Sharon Stone. In fact, that role really launched Stone’s star after she transformed from the happy spouse of Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) into someone completely different.
Both that role and the role of Melina (played in the original by Rachel Ticotin) has drawn high interest from actresses. I’ve heard that Eva Mendes and Rosario Dawson are the serious contenders for the latter role. Beckinsale wasn’t among the names most often mentioned among actresses who read for Lori. But she certainly has a track record with the film’s director, Len Wiseman. They’re married, and before that, worked together on the Underworld films. Beckinsale, who just wrapped Contraband with Mark Wahlberg, is also attached to star in The Trials of Kate McCullough, to be directed by Karen Moncrieff. She is currently shooting Underworld 4: New Dawn, so we’ll have to wait a beat to see if …
Sony Pictures is casting up its Total Recall remake, which Len Wiseman will direct with Colin Farrell starring in the role originated by Arnold Schwarzenegger. There are two major female roles in the film, and several top actresses are vying for them. First, there is the role of Lori, who started out the 1990 Paul Verhoeven-directed original as the happy homemaker wife of Douglas Quaid, only to transform into the bride from hell. That’s the role that really launched the star of Sharon Stone (who would star in Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct) and I’m told that Kate Bosworth and Inglourious Basterds‘ Diane Kruger [UPDATE: Kruger's reps said she opted out of the reading] are reading this week for that role. Those readings began yesterday.
There is also the role of Melina, which was originated by Rachel Ticotin, playing the woman who helps the protagonist get to the bottom of the futuristic scandal on Mars. I’m told that Eva Mendes and Paula Patton are reading for that role. Studio insiders warn me that list is not inclusive, and I’ve heard that Jessica Biel could be in contention for Melina, Eva Green too, and that Mendes is also being considered for the Lori role. Neal Moritz is producing.
EXCLUSIVE: The Basic Instinct star is set to play Pixie Lott’s mother in the 70s comedy. Adrien Brody is in final negotiations to play Joseph. Sweet Baby Jesus is due to start filming in September. The joke of the film is that pregnant hippie chick Mary wanders into 70a Bethlehem, Maryland with boyfriend Joseph. It doesn’t take long for townsfolk to expect the Second Coming. Bette Midler plays the innkeeper character. Sean Brosnan, son of 007 Pierce, rounds out the cast. Peter Hewitt is directing and the producer is Philippe Rebboah. Intandem, the London-based sales agent, is handling distribution.