Philomena‘s Steve Coogan takes his long-running character to the big screen in Alan Partridge, in which the TV and radio broadcaster finds himself in the middle of a hostage crisis at his radio station. Colm Meaney, Felicity Montagu, Simon Greenall, and Tim Key co-star …
Dame Judi Dench is poised to have a very happy new year. She is certainly no stranger to awards, but there could be more in her immediate future. She’s had 6 Oscar nominations and one win as 1998 Supporting Actress for an eight minute role in Shakespeare In Love. There are also 11 Golden Globe nominations and two wins. And then the British superstar can also boast of an astounding 25 BAFTA nominations and 10 wins split between her film and television work — the most recent coming for her final appearance as M opposite James Bond in 2012′s Skyfall. So what does she need another one for?
The fact is she’s back in awards contention in a big way again this season in Philomena, another signature role as Philomena Lee, a true life story of a woman who had to give up her young child for adoption in the Irish orphanage where she worked — only to search for him 50 years later and discover some startling truths along the way. She’s already racked up SAG, Globe and Critics Choice Movie Award nominations for the crowd-pleasing film (which also has a Best Drama Picture bid at the Globes too) and seems a sure thing for another go at the Oscars when nominations are announced January 16th. This would be her fifth nod (in addition to Mrs. Brown, Iris, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Notes On A Scandal) as actress in a leading role , quite a feat for a performer at any age but particularly one who just turned 79 years old earlier this month. A win would make her the second oldest ever (after Driving Miss Daisy’s Jessica Tandy) to nab the Best Actress Oscar.
One of the most anticipated films in the Venice competition, Stephen Frears’ Philomena blew a breath of fresh air onto the Lido this morning. Essentially a Judi Dench/Steve Coogan two-hander, it screened to laughs, tears and lots of applause – the latter both during and after the film. Following a series of intensely serious movies – some of which, like Gravity, have been very well-received – festgoers were still looking for a genuine crowd-pleaser. Although Philomena treats a very delicate subject matter, which resulted in the pulling out of a lot of hankies in the Sala Darsena, it’s also a very funny and heart-warming film. The Weinstein Co. won a bidding war for it in Cannes after Pathé screened a seven-minute reel for buyers.
Philomena was positioned to open here using a similar strategy to The Queen. Frears also directed that film which won Helen Mirren the Best Actress Volpi Cup, a screenwriting prize for Peter Morgan and the International Critics Prize (FIPRESCI). It later garnered six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress which Mirren won. Philomena next heads to Toronto. An exec involved in the film recently told me they hoped to arrive at that festival “with a little bit of a reputation.” Given today’s reaction, that hope would appear fulfilled.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Alan Partridge’ Bows To Social Media Pressure; John Woo Starts Work On Two-Part Epic Film; More
Social Media Campaign Nets ‘Alan Partridge’ Premiere For English Town
The people of Norwich, England, have won. After a Facebook and Twitter campaign to bring the premiere of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa to the town that’s the setting for the film, distributor StudioCanal and writer Armando Iannucci today announced it will indeed launch at Norwich’s Anglia Square on July 24. Steve Coogan plays the cult character whose fictional radio station, North Norfolk Digital, is located in Norwich. The movie will premiere at a lunchtime showing in Norwich before being screened later that evening in London’s Leicester Square. The official UK release is August 7. Click on the image at left to enlarge the note Iannucci tweeted from Partridge himself.
John Woo Begins Work On What Local Media Is Calling Chinese ‘Titanic’
Director John Woo has started production on his next helming effort, The Crossing. Beijing Galloping Horse is producing the war epic/disaster movie as a two-part feature. The film, set in 1940s Shanghai and Taiwan, revolves around three couples from different backgrounds whose lives are affected by the tide of history. It’s been dubbed by local media as the Chinese Titanic. The lead cast includes Zhang Ziyi, Takeshi Kaneshiro (House Of Flying Daggers), Huang Xiao Ming (The Banquet), Tong Dawei (The Flowers Of War) and Japan’s Masami Nagasawa. Veteran director Woo, whose U.S. titles include M-I:2 Mission: Impossible 2 and Face/Off, last helmed 2009′s Red Cliff II.
Most British comedy returns after long absences fall flat — especially when their creators have sworn off bringing them back. That’s what Steve Coogan did before deciding instead to revive his cult BBC TV character Alan Partridge in the …
EFM Roundup: K5 Lands Rights To Tim Robbins’ ‘Man Under’, Political Thriller ‘The Lion’s Share’; WestEnd Secures Atom Bomb Drama ‘Midnight Sun’
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K5 International has acquired international rights to Man Under, which will be directed by and star Tim Robbins. Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloe Moretz co-star in the pic, about a Yonkers family swept up in New York’s art and high society scene after their picture is taken by a photographer whose tragic death raises her profile and that of her subjects. Ann Cherkis (The Secret) wrote the screenplay, and Alexandra Milchan through her EMJAG Prods, Scott Lambert of Film 360, and Aimée Peyronnet of Wild Child Films are producing. K5 is introducing Man Under to EFM buyers at the Berlin Film Festival; UTA Independent Film Group is repping North American rights. Robbins is represented by UTA and 3 Arts, Pfeiffer by CAA and Management 360, and Moretz by WME and 3 Arts.
K5 also has taken worldwide rights to the political thriller The Lion’s Share, to be directed by Nathan Morlando and star Jim Sturgess and Djimon Hounsou. It begins shooting in September and is the story of journalist Aaron Fletcher (Sturgess), who travels to Somalia to secure a career-making interview with highly dangerous pirate Samakab “Kab” Roble (Hounsou). The danger escalates for both men and the interview takes on new stakes as the journalist learns the only way out may be to deliver the head of a man who is both hero and criminal. Morlando and Allison Black co-wrote; Black and Genevieve Hofmeyr are producing. …
‘Everybody Dance Now’ Stumbles But Murdochs Keep Music Playing
Everybody Dance Now, a new Australian series hosted by Lachlan Murdoch’s wife Sarah Murdoch and featuring American “dance masters” Kelly Rowland and Jason Derülo, has stumbled badly on Network Ten, whose chairman is … Lachlan Murdoch. The Sunday night premiere averaged just 598,000 viewers against Nine’s debuting Big Brother and local crime series Underbelly: Badness. The audience dropped to 304,000 for the second episode on Monday night. Ten insists it’s sticking with the show produced by FremantleMedia Australia, although it’s been cut back to one hour on Sunday nights from three hours over two nights. Offering more than $A450,000 ($472,000) in prizes, the show aims to find the most entertaining dance act in Oz. - Don Groves
Alan Partridge Returns To UK TV Ahead Of Big Screen Debut
Funnyman Steve Coogan is bringing his signature character, Alan Partridge, back to UK television audiences next year via Sky Atlantic. The show, Mid Morning Matters 2, follows a first series that was aired on Sky Atlantic this year. It sees the hapless, politically incorrect radio presenter working at a shabby radio station in North Norfolk, England. Filming has begun on the series that’s produced by Coogan and Veep’s Armando Iannucci along with Baby Cow chief exec Henry Normal. There’s an Alan Partridge feature in the works that starts shooting in January for an August 16, 2013 UK release which StudioCanal is handling. Coogan and Iannucci penned that script with frequent Sacha Baron Cohen collaborator Peter Baynham and Neil and Rob Gibbons. Declan Lowney is directing.
Studiocanal has acquired UK rights to The Alan Partridge Movie. A maladroit radio and TV host created by Steve Coogan and Veep‘s Armando Iannucci, Partridge has been played by Coogan since the 90s, most notably in the British TV series I’m Alan Partridge. In his first move to the big screen, Partridge will attempt to salvage his public career and negotiate a potentially violent turn of events at his Norfolk radio station. Coogan is best known to US audiences for getting blown up in Tropic Thunder and doing impressions of Michael Caine in 2010′s The Trip. Alan Partridge starts shooting in January for an Aug 16, 2013 release. Coogan and Iannucci penned the script with frequent Sacha Baron Cohen collaborator Peter Baynham and Neil and Rob Gibbons. Declan Lowney is directing.
HanWay and BBC Films are partnering on Don Hemingway, a black comedy that will star Jude Law and Richard E. Grant. The Matador’s Richard Shepard is directing the London-set pic about a larger than life safecracker with a short fuse. Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Company is producing with shooting to start in the fall. HanWay is handling sales.
Steve Coogan has signed on for Northern Soul, a film about the underground music movement in 1970s England. Coogan is best known to US audiences as the director who gets blown up in Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder – and for his Michael Caine impression in last year’s The Trip. In the Loop director Armando Iannucci is also prepping a feature based on Coogan’s UK TV personality, Alan Partridge. Elaine Constantine is directing Northern Soul which will be produced by Debbie Gray. Elliot James Langridge, Josh Whitehouse, James Lance, Christian Mckay, Roisin Murphy and singer Lisa Stansfield also star. The Little Film Company is handling sales in Cannes with shooting to start in June.
British police have made what could turn out to be a high-profile arrest in conjunction with the phone-hacking scandal at News Corp’s former tabloid News Of The World. Metropolitan Police officers took a 41-year-old man into custody this morning in London who is believed to be private eye Glenn Mulcaire, a prominent figure in the ongoing investigation. Police said in a statement to the press that the man had been arrested “on suspicion of conspiring to intercept voicemail messages … and on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.” This is one of few of the 18 arrests in the case to include the latter charge. When contacted by Deadline, the Met said it could neither confirm nor deny the identity of the man and wouldn’t release a name until formal charges had been made. However, The Telegraph reports that neighbors of Mulcaire’s say they heard “something going on” at his house this morning.
This will be another bad week for James Murdoch and News Corp as 21 witnesses including several celebs line up to tell a government inquiry how overzealous and unethical reporters turned their lives upside down. The investigation is led by Lord Justice Leveson who Prime Minister David Cameron asked to examine both the phone hacking at News Of The World, and problems with the country’s press culture. The parents of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old who was murdered in 2002, will kick things off tomorrow. The NOTW scandal broke open this past July when it was disclosed that after Dowler was missing the tabloid hacked into the girl’s phone and deleted messages, giving her parents false hope that she might still be alive. Grant will follow them, and is expected to continue his assault on reporting tactics used by NOTW and the Daily Mail. Also due on Monday is the lawyer for actor Jude Law. On Tuesday the panel will hear from actor Steve Coogan and soccer star Garry Flitcroft. On Thursday Harry Potter author Rowling and one time Formula One chief Max Mosley will testify. Next Monday singer Charlotte Church and UK TV personality Anne Diamond will appear.
Coogan outlined his views in a biting commentary he wrote for The Guardian on Friday. “No amount of respectable, well-modulated management-speak from James Murdoch can disguise the direct link between