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‘Veep’s Matt Walsh Joins Shirley MacLaine, Jessica Lange In ‘Wild Oats’

By | Saturday June 21, 2014 @ 5:54pm PDT

‘Veep’s Matt Walsh Joins Shirley MacLaine, Jessica Lange In ‘Wild Oats’EXCLUSIVE: Matt Walsh will join Shirley MacLaine, Jessica Lange, Demi Moore and Billy Connolly in Andy Tennant’s feature comedy Wild Oats which has been lensing in Spain over the past few weeks.  Wild Oats centers on a widow (MacLaine) who receives an unexpected windfall check because of a computer glitch and goes on the run from the law. Walsh will play a con man named Forbes, who partners with Connolly’s character.  The Weinstein Company is handling domestic while Sony will distribute abroad. Walsh, who is one of the co-founders of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, is having a busy year: On August 8, he takes on his first action lead role in Warner Bros./New Line’s Into the Storm as an obsessed tornado chaser.  Walsh is also starring in the Blumhouse thriller Miranda 6 Drive with Kevin Bacon and is currently putting the final touches on his second directorial comedy film A Better You starring Brian Huskey (who also co-wrote), Horatio Sanz, Joe Lo Truglio, Morgan Walsh, Mo Gaffney and Rob Huebel. This fall, he returns to production on the fourth season of HBO’s Veep as the deadpan press secretary Mike McLintock to Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ commander-in-chief.  Walsh is repped by CAA, Principato Young and attorney Lev Ginsburg.
Related: Shirley MacLaine Joins ‘Wild Oats’

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Shirley MacLaine Joins ‘Wild Oats’

By | Wednesday June 11, 2014 @ 4:22pm PDT
Mike Fleming

maclShirley MacLaine is now set to join Jessica Lange, Demi Moore, Judd Hirsch and Billy Connolly in Wild Oats, the Andy Tennant-directed comedy that just got underway in Spain. Blythe Frank is producing and Michael Mailer and Re’Shaun Frear are executive producer.

Written by Claudia Myers and Gary Knew, with revisions by Kenneth Lonergan, the film is about a widow (MacLaine) who receives an unexpected windfall check because of a computer glitch and goes on the run from the law, in a cross between The Bucket List and Thelma And Louise. The Weinstein Company is distributing domestically and Sony overseas. MacLaine was most recently seen in The Secret life Of Walter Mitty, Glee and Downton Abbey. She’s repped by ICM Partners.

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Shirley MacLaine Negotiating To Star In ‘Men Of Granite’

By | Tuesday May 27, 2014 @ 10:51am PDT

"Dreamgirls" Los Angeles Premiere - ArrivalsEXCLUSIVE: Oscar winning actress Shirley MacLaine is negotiating to star in Men Of Granite. The project, based on the book of the same name, is the true story of how a group of poor, immigrant high school boys rose above bigotry in a small town in Illinois by proving themselves on the basketball court to become the 1940 state champions.

MacLaine would play the role of Sophia Prather, a schoolteacher who watches over her “boys of Lincoln Place” (the name of the poor area) with a steely eye, takes no guff and prods the boys into getting out of their broken-down neighborhood gymnasium and onto the high school court. By mentoring, encouraging and helping to pave the way for these downtrodden boys, she firmly believes that she is doing God’s work. Prather stands up for the boys against the bigotry of the time as most of them were Slavic and Eastern European. She was a true champion in making these kids rise above their circumstances.

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Cannes: Millennium Entertainment Lands Michael Radford’s ‘Elsa & Fred’ With Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer

Mike Fleming

plumm macMillennium Entertainment closed a U.S. rights deal on the Michael Radford-directed Elsa & Fred, starring Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer. Radford wrote it with Anna Pavigano, and Marcia Gay Harden, Chris Noth, Jared Gilman and Scott Bakula also star. Matthias Ehrenberg, Nicolas Veinberg, Jose Levy, Ricardo Kleinbaum from Cuatro Plus Films and Edward Saxon produce. Pic is a remake of the 2005 Spanish/Argentinian film the story of two people in the twilight of their lives who discover that it’s never too late to find love and make their dreams come true. After losing his wife, straight-laced Fred (Plummer) is forced by his daughter (Harden) to move into a small apartment where he meets Elsa. From that moment on, everything changes.

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AFI Awards Lunch Brings Out Hollywood’s Heavy Hitters And Contenders For Season’s Ultra-Cool Event

By | Friday January 10, 2014 @ 5:14pm PST
Pete Hammond

AFI Awards 2013“Storytellers, welcome,”  said AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale as he opened the AFI Awards 2013 luncheon today. “We open each AFI gathering with a single word: ‘Relax’. You have won. Each of you, and more importantly, all of you, because here you are one community of artists gathered in this room for what we hope to be a bit of respite from your job, but not from your work. Gone from this moment are the ratings, and red carpets and box office and all that you have to endure to sell art. Our goal is nothing short of epiphany, that you feel proud when you consider the compendium and see your place in it”. Gazzale’s welcome came before what appeared to be all of the heavy hitters currently running Hollywood as well as 20 tables full of artists repping AFI’s choices for the year’s Top Ten movies (12 Years A Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Fruitvale Station, Gravity, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis,  Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks, The Wolf Of Wall Street) and Top Ten TV programs (The Americans, Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones, The Good 14th Annual AFI Awards - Cocktail ReceptionWife, House Of Cards,  Mad Men, Masters Of Sex, Orange Is The New Black, Scandal, Veep).

For my money , this is the most relaxing and fun  awards event of the year. There are no losers, no acceptance speeches, only good vibes. And if you want to network, this is the A-list networking opportunity of the season. Where else are you going to find just about every studio head in the same room including Sony’s Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton, Warner Bros’ Kevin Tsujihara, Fox’s Jim Gianopulos, Disney’s Alan Horn, Paramount’s Brad Grey, and Fox Searchlight’s Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula? They were mixing it it up with the TV side including CBS’ Les Moonves (who also was there for CBS Films’ Inside Llewyn Davis), Fox’s Peter Rice and FX’s John Landgraf, and AMC’s Charlie Collier among many others including new kid on the block Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, who had two shows among the Top Ten, House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black. It was his first time to this party and he was impressed. Oh, and did I mention both directing icons Martin Scorsese (with Wolf Of Wall Street) and Steven Spielberg (repping FX’s The Americans) were there, but quite14th Annual AFI Awards - Cocktail Reception frankly just about everyone in this room at the Four Seasons Hotel was someone. Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs was also taking it all in and told me how she’s suddenly getting lots of calls after it was announced earlier today she would be delivering news of Oscar nominations next Thursday with Thor aka Chris Hemsworth. She’s excited to say the least. Read More »

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CBS Unveils This Year’s Kennedy Center Honors List

By | Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 7:17am PDT

The 36th annual Kennedy Center Honors will fete actress Shirley MacLaine, pianist/singer/songwriter Billy Joel, musician/songwriter Carlos Santana, opera singer Martina Arroyo, and pianist/band leader/composer Herbie Hancock, CBS announced this morning. The annual event at Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has been broadcast on CBS every year since its debut 36 years ago; this year’s broadcast will air Sunday, December 29, from 9-11 PM. From today’s announcement: Read More »

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Shirley MacLaine Returning To ‘Downton Abbey’, 6 New Cast Members Join

By | Saturday March 2, 2013 @ 7:45am PST

Shirley MacLaine will be returning to Downton Abbey next season as Martha Levinson and six new cast members will be joining the show as well, Carnival Films and Masterpiece on PBS announced this morning. Opera star Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is joining the cast as a guest who sings in the house, as confirmed last night among three other new cast members including Tom Cullen who will play Lord Gillingham, an old family friend of the Crawleys who visits as a guest for a house party. Plus Dame Harriet Walter arrives as Lady Shackleton, an old friend of the Dowager played by Maggie Smith and Julien Ovendon comes aboard as aristocrat Charles Blake. Additions revealed in this morning’s announcement were Nigel Harman who joins the household as Green, a valet, and Joanne David who has a guest role as the Duchess of Yeovil. Downton Abbey is a Carnival/Masterpiece Co-production, created and written by Julian Fellowes. Gareth Neame and Fellowes are exec producers.

Related: Another Key ‘Downton Abbey’ Loss: Siobhan Finneran Leaving O’Brien Role

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Shirley MacLaine & Christopher Plummer Join ‘Elsa & Fred’

By | Wednesday October 31, 2012 @ 1:30pm PDT

Oscar winners Christopher Plummer and Shirley MacLaine will star in the English-language remake of Elsa & Fred. Based on the 2005 Spanish-Argentine romantic comedy of the same name, the film will be directed by Michael Radford. The Il Postino director and Anna Pavignano have written the script from Marcos Carnevale’s original film. The movie details the outgoing Elsa’s attempt to engage the uptight Fred after the widower moves into her building. Filming is due to start on December 3, with shooting in New Orleans and Rome. Edward Saxon, Nicolas Veinberg, Matthias Ehrenberg, Ricardo Kleinbaum and Jose Levy will produce. Cuatro Plus Films, Defiant Pictures, Mexico’s Rio Negro Producciones and Media House Capital are providing financing. Plummer is also set to appear in Stephen Frears’ Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight on HBO. MacLaine has joined Downton Abbey for the period soap’s latest season. MacLaine is repped by ICM Partners. Plummer is repped by ICM Partners and the Pitt Group.

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‘Downton Abbey’ Season 3 Debut Pulls In More Than 8.6M UK Viewers

By | Monday September 17, 2012 @ 2:38am PDT

Shirley MacLaine rolled up to Downton Abbey last night to trade barbs with Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess in the show’s Season 3 UK premiere. ITV1 drew 8.64M viewers to the 90-minute opener. The hugely-anticipated return of the Crawley family had a 34.6% share. It was down about 200K viewers on last year’s Season 2 start, but its lead-in from The X Factor was smaller than in 2011. X Factor won the night, but with 9.33M viewers, its ratings were off 1.9M from last year’s final auditions show, according to Digital Spy. U.S. audiences will have to wait until January to revisit the happenings upstairs and down at Downton, so I won’t give away any spoilers. Trailers have been popping up, however. Below is one of the recent teasers of what’s coming up for Lord Grantham & Co.

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Shirley MacLaine Honored With 40th AFI Life Achievement Award

By | Friday June 8, 2012 @ 4:01am PDT
Pete Hammond

“Welcome to the longest night of Warren Beatty’s life,” said Sony honcho and AFI  Board of Trustees Chair Howard Stringer as he opened the evening for the 40th Annual AFI Life Achievement Award to Shirley MacLaine last night at Sony Studios. Actually  MacLaine’s baby brother Beatty seemed to be having a great time all the way through and even to  the exclusive after-party which didn’t even get going until 11 PM. And so did everyone else at this “long overdue” tribute as presenter and 2004 recipient Meryl Streep put it, which drew a starry turnout including such MacLaine co-stars as Streep, Jack Nicholson, Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Jennifer Aniston and many others.

It took a long time for the AFI to get around to MacLaine but it was definitely worth the wait as she told me at the after-party. There’s something rightly aligned with the planets about it happening now in 2012 she says. We’ll go with that even though this is a star who has worked with some of the earliest recipients of this award including William Wyler, Alfred Hitchcock, Gene Kelly, Billy Wilder, Jack Lemmon and others.

MacLaine asked me, “Do you think it was too reverential?” Of course it was. That was exactly the point and how it could it not be when you are talking about a true survivor of the show business wars who has been at it for nearly 60 years. She told me her career is as hot right … Read More »

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Shirley MacLaine, Robin Williams And Oliver Cooper To Star In ‘A Film By Alan Stuart Eisner’

By | Wednesday June 6, 2012 @ 3:55pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Writer/director Andy Bergman has re-teamed with producer Mike Lobell on A Film By Alan Stuart Eisner, an ensemble comedy which so far has Project X‘s Oliver Cooper, Shirley MacLaine and Robin Williams attached, with Rob Reiner making a cameo, Lobell tells me.

The comedy follows a young documentary filmmaker with a burning desire to bring his family’s amazing and bizarre World War II history to the screen. Bergman wrote the script. He and Lobell made The Freshman, Honeymoon In Vegas, It Could Happen to You and Striptease together.

Lobell is in the process of pulling together the financing. This comes after he ended a 14-year odyssey to produce a remake of Gambit, which Michael Hoffman directed from a script by Joel and Ethan Coen. Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman star and CBS Films releases October 12.

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Meryl Streep To Present Shirley MacLaine With AFI Life Achievement Award

By | Tuesday May 22, 2012 @ 7:23pm PDT

LOS ANGELES, May 22, 2012 — AFI Life Achievement Award honoree Meryl Streep will present Shirley MacLaine with the American Film Institute’s 40th Life Achievement Award – America’s highest honor for a career in film. The private black tie gala will be held at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City on June 7 and will air on TV Land on Sunday, June 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. Streep, who was honored with the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2004, played MacLaine’s daughter in POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE (1990).

Related: Shirley MacLaine To Receive AFI Life Achievement Award On June 7th

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Shirley MacLaine In ‘Mother Goose’ Talks

By | Tuesday May 8, 2012 @ 7:20pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Shirley MacLaine is in negotiations to play the royal title character in Mother Goose. The Oscar winner, who earlier this year joined the upcoming third season of U.K. costume drama Downton Abbey, would play the Queen of a fantasy fairyland. The film tells the tale of siblings Jack and Jill as they navigate Mother Goose’s magical kingdom. The brother and sister need to figure out three riddles that will allow them to return home and get ahold of a key held by Mother Goose herself. Hannover House, a division of Target Development Group, is distributing the film. Michael Snyder wrote the Mother Goose screenplay. The writer will serve as a producer on the film. Hannover House CEO Eric Parkinson and company President Fred Shefte will executive produce.  Filming for Mother Goose is expected to occur in Arkansas, Poland and Los Angeles. MacLaine is repped by ICM.

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Dimension Films Acquires ‘Wild Oats’

By | Monday April 9, 2012 @ 2:10pm PDT
Mike Fleming

New York, NY, April 9, 2012 – Dimension Films continues its acquisitions streak with the pick up of the road-trip comedy WILD OATS featuring a talented cast including Academy Award® winner Shirley MacLaine, Academy Award® nominee Jacki Weaver and Academy Award® winner Alan Arkin . The film is directed by Howard Deutch who helmed the classics PRETTY IN PINK and SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL, and recently worked at HBO directing shows such as BIG LOVE and HUNG. Claudia Myers and Gary Kanew penned the script which has been described as a spunky comedy that is a cross between SIDEWAYS and THELMA AND LOUISE.

WILD OATS tells the story of a retired widow (Shirley MacLaine) who hits the jackpot when she receives a Social Security check mistakenly made out for $900,000 instead of $900. She and her best friend (Jacki Weaver) then take off for Las Vegas, only to become media sensations and fugitives from justice.

“Howard Deutch has directed some great classics and the cast is extraordinary,” said Bob Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company. “This is a clever and offbeat comedy that is sure to entertain.”

“I consider it a great opportunity and honor to work with this amazing cast, which has created some of the greatest work in recent memory,” said Deutch.

The film is produced by Blythe Frank, Agathe David-Weill and Alexander Tabrizi, with Michael Mailer and Mike Dolan executive producing.

The deal was negotiated for Dimension Films by Andrew Kramer, President, Business and Legal Affairs; and by Jack Gilardi of

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Shirley MacLaine Joins ‘Downton Abbey’ Cast

By | Monday January 30, 2012 @ 12:08pm PST

Shirley MacLaine Downton AbbeyShirley MacLaine is joining the cast of Downton Abbey, the ITV series that airs in the U.S. on PBS’ Masterpiece Theater and just won the Golden Globe for best miniseries. Our colleagues at TVLine report that MacLaine will play American-born mother of Elizabeth McGovern’s character Lady Grantham. She is set to appear on the third season of the series, which begins production this month. (Season 2 is just wrapping on PBS here.) “My late grandfather directed Shirley MacLaine in Gambit in 1966,” said Downton Abbey executive producer Gareth Neame, “so it is a delight for me that she will be joining us on Downton Abbey.”

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Shirley MacLaine In Talks For Fox’s ‘Walter Mitty’

By | Friday January 13, 2012 @ 10:30am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Shirley MacLaine is in negotiations to play the mother of Ben Stiller’s lead character in Fox’s The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. Stiller also is directing the pic, on which he came aboard after sparking to a new script on the long-in-the-works project from Steve Conrad. Mitty is based on the 1947 Danny Kaye film from the James Thurber short story first published in The New Yorker in 1939, and the story of a perpetual daydreamer had been in development so long that it seemed like it might never be more than a daydream. But now it’s rolling and MacLaine is the first big casting aside from Stiller. Production is set to start in April.

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Shirley MacLaine To Receive AFI Life Achievement Award On June 7th

By | Sunday October 9, 2011 @ 12:33pm PDT

Shirley MacLaine has been named the 40th recipient of the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award. The 77-year-old MacLaine will receive the tribute during a gala ceremony next June 7 that will be broadcast later that month on TV Land. In announcing the selection, AFI board of trustees chair Howard Stringer said, “Shirley MacLaine is a powerhouse of personality that has illuminated screens large and small across six decades. From ingenue to screen legend, Shirley has entertained a global audience through song, dance, laughter and tears, and her career as writer, director and producer is even further evidence of her passion for the art form and her seemingly boundless talents.” The 1984 Oscar winner as Best Actress for Terms of Endearment is being honored by AFI four years after her younger brother Warren Beatty was in 2008.

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TOLDJA! Jack Black Pic ‘Bernie’ Acquired By Millennium Entertainment

Mike Fleming

Deadline revealed in July that Millennium Entertainment was buying U.S. distribution rights to the Los Angeles Film Festival’s opening film Bernie, the Richard Linklater-directed movie that stars Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, for a low-seven-figure minimum guarantee and $1 million P&A commitment. Millennium has finally confirmed the deal. Here’s the official announcement: Read More »

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Millennium Buying ‘Bernie’ With Jack Black

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: A deal is near for Millennium Entertainment to acquire U.S. distribution rights to the Los Angeles Film Festival opening-night pic Bernie. I’m told that it will be the first significant grab for former Film Department co-head Mark Gill since he took the reins of Avi Lerner’s company (UPDATE: reps for the company claim Gill was not involved, though he released Linklater’s Before Sunrise while running Warner Independent, and those reps said the deal was made by  Millennium Entertainment’s Bill Lee and Vincent Scordino). The minimum guarantee will be around $2 million with a P&A commitment of around $1 million and the deal should be done by Monday.

Inspired by a true story, the film stars Jack Black as the title character, an amiable funeral director who kills a rich widow (Shirley MacLaine) and creates a ruse that she’s still alive. Matthew McConaughey also stars in a film that’s directed by Richard Linklater. He directed Black in School of Rock and McConaughey in Dazed and Confused. Pic’s a coproduction between Mandalay Vision and Wind Dancer. Cinetic’s John Sloss and WME Global’s Graham Taylor are making the deal. Another deal is in the offing for Canada, putting the North American rights in the $3 million range. The deal certainly helps the LAFF as a showcase for acquisitions, which always helps a festival seem viable.

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