James Cameron has set Sigourney Weaver to return in the three Avatar sequels that are scheduled to begin production later this year. Weaver joins previously announced cast returnees Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldana and Stephen Lang. She also becomes the second star after Lang to be resurrected for the trilogies after the characters they played died in Hollywood’s highest grossing film ever.
Cameron has long made movies with strong heroines, and that was epitomized when he took over Aliens, the sequel to the film made by Ridley Scott, and established Weaver as one of the great female action heroes.
“Sigourney and I have a long creative history, dating back to 1985 when we made Aliens,” Cameron said. “We’re good friends who’ve always worked well together, so it just feels right that she’s coming back for the Avatar sequels. Her character of Grace Augustine, as fans know, died in the first movie, so she’s playing a different and in many ways more challenging character in the upcoming films. We’re both looking forward to this new creative challenge, the latest chapter in our long and continuing collaboration.”
The as yet untitled Avatar sequels will be filmed back-to-back. The release of the first follow-up will be in December 2016, with the second to follow in December 2017, and the third a year later. The films are being produced by Cameron and Jon Landau through their Lightstorm Entertainment. Weaver is repped by UTA and Alan …
Neill Blomkamp‘s sci-fi Chappie has added Sigourney Weaver as filming gets underway in Johannesburg. The Sony/MRC production written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell follows the preternaturally gifted robot Chappie, who’s kidnapped by two criminals during birth. Weaver joins an eclectic cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Sharlto Copley voicing the eponymous Chappie, Dev Patel, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Brandon Auret, and Ninja and Yolandi Visser of the South African rap duo Die Antwoord. Sony is distributing the pic, which is being produced by Blomkamp and his Elysium producer Simon Kinberg. Sony’s Hannah Minghella and Rachel O’Connor are overseeing with Brye Adler of MRC. Weaver is repped by UTA.
The 67th Tony Awards have added more talent to their June 9 telecast. Laura Benanti, Alan Cumming, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sally Field, Barrett Foa, Jake Gyllenhaal, Megan Hilty, Anna Kendrick, Jane Krakowski, Cyndi Lauper, Audra McDonald, Matthew Morrison, Hal Prince, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Mike Tyson, Sigourney Weaver, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Steven Van Zandt will join previously announced presenters Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Cuba Gooding Jr, Jesse Eisenberg, Jon Cryer and Martha Plimpton.
The two will play siblings this fall in Christopher Durang’s Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike. In the play, Durang takes characters and themes from Chekhov and places them in present-day Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It tells the story of Vanya (Pierce) and his stepsister Sonia (Kristine Nielsen) who have stayed home to care for their ailing parents while their successful movie star sister (Weaver) travels the world. Three-time Academy Award nominee Weaver has previously appeared on Broadway in Hurly Burly (1984) and is currently working on the USA series Political Animals. Four-time Emmy Award-winner Pierce has had Broadway stints in several shows including Spamalot, Curtains and La Bete since the end of his NBC sitcom Frasier. Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike is slated to premiere at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at New York’s Lincoln Center in November.
USA Network showed during its upfront today a first look at its Sigourney Weaver-starring drama Political Animals. The six-episode series from Greg Berlanti, Laurence Mark and Warner Horizon is slated to debut July 15 and air in the Sunday 10 PM slot.
Rodrigo Cortes’ follow-up to Buried was picked up by Millennium Entertainment in January after polarizing Sundance. The film stars Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Cillian Murphy, Elizabeth Olsen, Toby Jones and Joely Richardson. The story follows a psychologist and her assistant who study paranormal activity, leading them to investigate a world-renowned psychic. Millennium has a July 13 release date for the film which Momentum is setting loose on June 22 in the UK. Here’s the trailer:
In her primetime TV series debut, Sigourney Weaver is set to star in Political Animals, USA Network’s 6-episode drama series from Greg Berlanti and Laurence Mark, which premieres this summer. Written by Berlanti, the Washington DC-based series is a fictional look at a former first family that exposes a dynasty weakened by political ambition, lust and greed. It centers on Elaine Barrish (Weaver), the divorced former First Lady and newly appointed Secretary of State who throws herself into the job after recovering from the dissolution of her marriage and losing the presidential nomination. Barrish relies heavily on her son Doug (James Wolk), an ambitious politico who serves as her chief of staff, but is tormented by his twin brother’s struggles with addiction. With a philandering ex-husband who is still as much in love with her as the office he once held, she attempts to keep her family together, while simultaneously dealing with crises of the State Department and a hungry DC journalist bent on destroying her career. In addition to Wolk, Weaver joins previously cast Brittany Ishibashi as Doug’s fiancée. While launching with a short six-episode order, the Warner Horizon-produced Political Animals is envisioned as a regular series that USA brass hope will run for a number of years. Political Animals reunites Weaver and Berlanti. Avatar star’s only previous TV series appearance was in an episode of Berlanti’s ABC drama Eli Stone, which he co-created …
Oren Moverman’s corrupt LA cop drama Rampart stars Woody Harrelson, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon. Millennium Entertainment plans to launch Best Actor, Director and Screenplay campaigns for Harrelson and Moverman.
Toronto: Woody Harrelson Enters Oscar Race With Millennium’s $2 Million Deal For Cop Corruption Drama ‘Rampart’
EXCLUSIVE: Millennium Entertainment is putting Woody Harrelson into the Best Actor Oscar race this year, closing a $2 million U.S. rights acquisition of Rampart. That is the Oren Moverman-directed police corruption drama that Moverman wrote with L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy. The plan is to open in 20 cities and launch campaigns for Harrelson and for Moverman for Best Director and Screenplay. A deal for Canadian rights is expected to close shortly. Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee made the deal, and Millennium Films’ Mark Gill will be a consultant on this and get to roll up his sleeves and wage an awards-season campaign for Harrelson, who drew raves at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival for his portrayal of a corrupt cop in a drama that also stars Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon. The 1990s Los Angeles police family drama explores the dark soul and misadventures of an LAPD cop whose past finally catches up with him in a department-wide corruption scandal.
Last year’s Toronto Film Festival started slow for acquisitions, but finished with a flurry of modest distribution deals that served notice the specialty film business had finally pulled out of its nosedive. This year’s festival hasn’t started and already there are fireworks. Deadline broke news yesterday that Harvey Weinstein would start a VOD business, making the acquisitions market for fringe films more competitive; and last night, I heard that a bidding battle had already broken out for the Steve McQueen-directed Shame, which should be sold by the time it screens Sunday. Fox Searchlight is the favorite, Sony Pictures Classics is in the mix and I’ve heard that The Weinstein Company is hovering. Bidding began right after its Telluride screening, and the mid-six figures thrown around yesterday will probably go higher. That’s huge, considering the movie is an unabashed NC-17, McQueen has final cut, and the sex-obsessed protagonist is unlikable. Oh, yeah, and the sellers want it released this year for Oscar consideration to capitalize on Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan’s Oscar-caliber performances.
Does this mean we’re in for a drunken buying frenzy? Hardly, buyers tell me. They are eager to see the films, but say there’s no title here that’s going to guarantee somebody will overpay. They are also mindful that many of last year’s deals turned out to be box office busts. More deals will be made than …
RJ Cutler, director of the Anna Wintour documentary The September Issue, has optioned the rights to Rudolph Delson’s 2007 novel Maynard & Jennica, which he will adapt to direct as a feature. Maynard & Jennica is romantic comedy about a Gotham-based filmmaker who meets and has a relationship with a California transplant with stars in her eyes. In the book, the romance is told by 35 first-person narrators, ranging from friends to a macaw to dead ancestors. Cutler is currently executive producing Spring/Fall for HBO, which stars Tea Leoni, Hope Davis, Sigourney Weaver and Stockard Channing and is currently filming its pilot episode in New York. He is also developing as a feature Fabulous Nobodies, an adaptation of the Lee Tulloch novel. Cutler is represented by CAA and Mosaic.
EXCLUSIVE: Matt Letscher is set to co-star and Sigourney Weaver to guest star in HBO’s comedy pilot Spring/Fall, starring Tea Leoni and Hope Davis and directed by Jake Kasdan. Set in New York City against the backdrop of the fashion world, the project centers on the dysfunctional partnership between Margo (Leoni) and Eden (Davis), two women with different approaches to career, family and friendship. Letscher will play Margo’s ex-husband. In a rare series appearance, Weaver will play a meticulously dressed, authoritative fashion editor. Also cast in the pilot are Jason Antoon as Eden’s current best friend; Marin Hinkle as Eden’s sister; and Jessica Hecht as Margo’s best friend, a successful management consultant.
Director Rodrigo Cortes has found his followup to Buried, attaching Robert De Niro and Sigourney Weaver to star in the psychological thriller Red Lights. Cortes wrote the script. I saw Buried at its premiere screening and thought Ryan Reynolds and Cortes pulled off quite a feat, but the film unfortunately seems to have gotten a decent burial with a tiny release by Lionsgate. The film so far has grossed just over $600,000 on a high of 103 screens. Maybe Cortes will fare better pulling the action above ground with Red Lights, which starts shooting February in Spain. Weaver plays a psychologist whose study of paranormal activity leads her to investigate a world renowned psychic (De Niro)…Jessica Lange and Sam Neill have joined the cast of the Screen Gems/Spyglass romance The Vow, directed by Michael Sucsy and stars Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum.
EXCLUSIVE: Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver are in talks to board The Cold Light of Day, the thriller that Summit Entertainment and Intrepid Pictures are co-financing. Shooting begins September 6 in Spain. Mabrouk El Mekchri (JCVD) is directing and Henry Cavill plays a young American whose family is kidnapped on vacation in Spain. He’s got hours to find them, and unravels a government conspiracy. Willis is near a deal to play his father, who has secrets of his own. Weaver is in talks to play the villainess, a role that was originally written for a male actor.
Luke Y Thompson is covering the Con for Deadline:
PAUL is a road-trip comedy written by (and starring) Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, who are treated like absolute royalty by fans here. (Proof that what plays well at Comic-Con doesn’t always make it huge elsewhere; see also: “Filion, Nathan”). But PAUL is a perfect Comic-Con movie, because it actually begins at Comic-Con, as our lead duo take a road trip from San Diego to Area 51, where they pick up an escaping alien called Paul.
SATURDAY, JULY 24
THE DAY YOUR FEET GET REALLY SORE
Luke Y Thompson covers Hollywood events at the Con for Deadline:
10:00-11:00 AM: Mad about MAD! I used to love Mad Magazine, but in the years since it started accepting advertising, it has gone way downhill. Apparently there’ll be some sort of new TV venture announced, though not necessarily a spiritual successor to the late MADtv. Magazine vets Sergio Aragones, John Ficarra, and Sam Viviano will be onhand. Room 7AB
10:00-11:00 AM: Twilight Fanfiction Author Fangroup. Why is it that I have a sneaking suspicion most TWILIGHT fan fiction is actually better written than the prose of Stephenie Meyer? Santa Rosa Room, Marriott Hotel and Marina
11:00-11:45 AM: Family Guy. Clips from the upcoming third STAR WARS parody? You know it. Beyond that, we all know this is a love it or hate it show. I used to hate it, but I’m warming up. Ballroom 20
11:45 AM-12:30 PM: The Cleveland Show. Ditto to everything I said above about FAMILY GUY, except for the STAR WARS part. Ballroom 20
11:45 AM-1:15 PM: Warner Bros.: Green Lantern, Sucker Punch, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Aside from the Marvel movie panel, this will be the big deal. Here’s why: GREEN LANTERN is an iconic DC character finally getting his own live-action movie. SUCKER PUNCH is the first original, non-adapted movie from visual stylist Zack Snyder (WATCHMEN/300), and no-one really knows what to expect yet. As for HARRY POTTER, well, people know almost exactly what to expect from that …