The wild tale of the Portland Mavericks looks to be coming to the big screen via one of its former employees. Little Children director and former Mavericks batboy Todd Field is in talks to direct and write an adaptation of the documentary The Battered Bastards Of Baseball, I’ve learned. Helmed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way and featuring multiple appearances by their uncle and former Maverick himself Kurt Russell, the docu launched in the Documentary Premiere section of this year’s Sundance Film Festival on January 20 and has its final screening tomorrow. Despite reports earlier today that pitched Justin Lin as directing the adaptation, the former Fast & Furious helmer in fact is producing the adaptation through his Perfect Storm company. In play right now with several buyers at Sundance, according to sources close to the film, Battered Bastards chronicles how in 1973 Bonanza actor Bing Russell formed what at the time was America’s sole independent baseball team. Seen as a real-life version of the Bad News Bears, the Mavericks lasted three years before they were pushed out of Portland by the return of the major-league-backed Portland Beavers. Field is repped by CAA.
BREAKING: The Weinstein Company is on the board with a Sundance acquisition, and it was the company’s multi-platform arm Radius-TWC that made the deal. Tom Quinn and Jason Janego’s division acquired worldwide rights to the Charlie McDowell-directed The One I Love for around $2 million, in a deal that happened 24 hours after the film debuted. The pic stars Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss and Ted Danson and is about a couple with a crumbling marriage that escapes for the weekend in pursuit of their better selves. What they discover awaiting them is an unusual dilemma. The film’s first screening was Tuesday night at the MARC.
Related: Hot Sundance Clip: ‘The One I Love’
EXCLUSIVE: Richard Linklater isn’t the only filmmaker at Sundance to film a movie over the course of an extraordinarily long span of time. Australian helmer Sophie Hyde shot World competition drama 52 Tuesdays, about a teenager (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) adjusting as her mother (Del Herbert-Jane) begins a gender transition, over the course of a year. The characters’ time together becomes limited to once a week, on Tuesdays – which is also how Hyde and her crew shot the film with actors Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Del Herbert-Jane, Imogen Archer, Mario Späte, Beau Williams, and Sam Althuizen. Matthew Cormack scripted from a story by Hyde. visit Films is repping sales at Sundance. 52 Tuesdays screens again Thursday and Friday:
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 1:00 am PST: It took awhile, but the Sundance deals are now moving faster as the festival heads toward its final weekend. IFC is closing a deal for Cold In July, the Jim Mickle-directed drama that stars Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, Don Johnson and Vinessa Shaw. I’m hearing the deal is in the vicinity of $2 million for North American rights, with WME Global negotiating. Hall plays a small town Texas man who kills a home intruder and finds his life unraveling into a dark underworld of corruption and violence when the dead man’s father insists on eye for an eye justice. The film premiered last Saturday in the Library Theater, in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. This is the second IFC deal tonight, as the label is also closing God’s Pocket, the Philip Seymour Hoffman-starrer that marks the feature directing debut of Mad Man star John Slattery.
Here is release:
IFC Films announced today from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival that the company is acquiring North American rights to Jim Mickle’s COLD IN JULY. The film, with a screenplay by Jim Mickle and Nick Damici, stars Michael C. Hall, Don Johnson, Sam Shepard, Vinessa Shaw, Nick Damici, and Wyatt Russell.COLD IN JULY was produced by Linda Moran, René Bastian of Belladonna Productions, Marie Savare de Laitre and
The directorial debut from Mad Men‘s John Slattery is going global with Dean Devlin‘s Electric Entertainment, which acquired international rights to the Sundance drama following its in-competition premiere last week. Slattery directs Mad Men co-star Christina Hendricks alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, John Turturro, and Caleb Landry Jones in the buzzy film about a man who tries to cover up the accidental death of his stepson in a blue collar neighborhood in South Philadelphia. Slattery, who previously got behind the camera for episodes of Mad Men, adapted the pic with Alex Metcalf from the 1983 novel by Pete Dexter (The Paperboy). Electric Entertainment won the title in Park City where Devlin was in hot pursuit following its world premiere, while IFC is taking U.S. rights.
God’s Pocket marks the first pickup for international for Electric Entertainment’s international sales division, which launched at AFM last year.
Sundance: A24 Acquiring J.C. Chandor-Helmed ‘A Most Violent Year’ With Oscar Isaac And Jessica Chastain
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 8:48 am PST: Coming into Sundance, many expected big things for upstart distribution company A24, and the label hasn’t disappointed. A24 is closing the biggest deal so far for the company, acquiring domestic distribution rights from Participant Media to A Most Violent Year, the drama written and directed by All Is Lost and Margin Call helmer J.C. Chandor. The film stars Inside Llewyn Davis‘s Oscar Isaac and Zero Dark Thirty‘s Jessica Chastain. I’m told the plan is to release the film wide, late this year, giving A24 a likely horse in the next Oscar race. It starts shooting shortly. I’m told it will be 1200 screens, minimum.
This comes after A24 acquired two of the best liked films at this year’s Sundance: the Lynn Shelton-directed Laggies with Keira Knightley, Chloe Moretz and Sam Rockwell, and the Gillian Robespierre-directed comedy Obvious Child, which features a breakout performance by former Saturday Night Live cast member Jenny Slate. Laggies came after an all night auction, and it’s a smart buy because the film will likely be released after TWC unveils Toronto title Can A Song Save Your Life, a breakout film that will cast Knightley in a different career light once audiences see the John Carney-directed film.
Park City, Utah (January 22, 2014) – Sony Pictures Classics announced this morning that it has secured worldwide rights to Martha Stephens & Aaron Katz’s bawdy road trip comedy LAND HO!, which premiered on Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival. SPC plans to release the film nationwide in 2014.
The film is produced by Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy, and Christina Jennings, and executive produced by David Gordon Green, and Julie Parker Benello, Dan Cogan, Geralyn Dreyfous, and Wendy Ettinger of Gamechanger Films. LAND HO! is the first film to be financed by Gamechanger, which launched last fall to exclusively finance features directed and co-directed by women.
Starring Paul Eenhoorn (THIS IS MARTIN BONNER) and newcomer Earl Lynn Nelson, LAND HO! follows a pair of retirees who set off to Iceland in an attempt to reclaim their youth through Reykjavik nightclubs, trendy spas, and rugged campsites.
Sundance Institute tonight presented jury prizes and honorable mentions in short filmmaking at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The Short Film Grand Jury Prize went to Of God And Dogs, about a Syrian soldier who confesses to killing a man he knew was innocent. This year’s Short Film program comprised 66 short films selected from a record 8,161 submissions. In addition to this evening’s ceremony, other films in other competition categories will be honored Saturday at the Festival’s Awards Ceremony. Those January 25 awards will be hosted by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally — both of whom have films at Sundance this year. In the meantime, check out the full list of short film winners and honorees here:
EXCLUSIVE: Capping a rocking day for deals at the Sundance Film Festival, IFC Films is closing a deal to acquired God’s Pocket, the directorial debut of Mad Men star John Slattery. The black comedy stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks, and John Turturro. Slattery wrote the black comedy with Alex Metcalf. Slattery, Sam Bisbee Lance Acord, Jackie Kelman Bisbee, Emily Ziff and Hoffman produced. Hoffman plays Mickey, who, after his nutty stepson gets killed in a construction “accident,” tries to hide the truth from a newspaper columnist (Jenkins) who profiles the people of God’s Pocket. And though he’s gone to seed, he might uncover the truth unless Mickey can stop him. The film is playing in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, and it has been a buzz title since it premiered late Friday afternoon at the Eccles Theater. The film is being repped by Gersh.
The dam finally broke on film deals after a slow start. The numbers aren’t huge, but nobody expected them to be. I’d ask people about films, and they liked many of them. When I asked if they had commercials potential, the reviews weren’t so stellar. Many left the festival today, and …
Sundance: Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions, Sony Pictures Worldwide Pay $3.5 Million For ‘Skeleton Twins’
In separate deals that add up to $3.5 million and likely the biggest total so far for a film at the Sundance Film Festival, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions bought domestic rights, and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions bought the rest of the world on The Skeleton Twins, the Craig Johnson-directed film that stars Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell and Kathleen Rose Perkins. Former Saturday Night Live co-stars Hader and Wiig play estranged twins who reunite and look back over their lives after they cheat death on the same day. Lionsgate/Roadside takes U.S., SPWA gets other worldwide rights. They plan to release it late summer. This gives Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions a shot at redemption after Robert Redford singled them out for not pushing him for Oscars for All Is Lost.
I’ve heard strong reaction for a breakout turn by Hader, who plays a suicidal sibling in a role that is way more serious than the characters he became known for playing expertly on SNL. The film is produced by Stephanie Langhoff, Jennifer Lee and Jacob Pechenik, and the film got its first screening last Saturday at the Library Theater. ICM and UTA brokered the deal for the film that is in the U.S. Dramatic Competition.
Lionsgate has officially acquired North American rights to Cooties, the SpectreVision and Glacier Films comedic horror pic that debuted in the Midnight section on Saturday in Park City. The directorial debut of Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion was written by Leigh Whannell and Ian Brennan (Glee) and stars Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Whannell, Jorge Garcia and Nasim Pedrad. In the pic, a substitute teacher at a new school experiences the worst first day imaginable when he discovers an outbreak of a mysterious virus is transforming the students into rampaging tykes. The deal reunites Saw creator Whannell and Lionsgate, who distributed that franchise. The Cooties deal was negotiated by Constantine along with Lionsgate’s Eda Kowan and Wendy Jaffe; Paradigm’s Ben Weiss repped the filmmakers.
Sundance: Bruce Willis To Star In Action Pic ‘Vice’, Teaming Again With Emmett / Furla / Oasis Films
EXCLUSIVE: Lone Survivor producer Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films is set to produce and finance Vice, an Andre Fabrizio- and Jeremy Passmore-scripted futuristic action thriller that will star Bruce Willis. The $15 million-budget pic will be distributed by Grindstone/Lionsgate Films. The movie is set in a city in which humans can enact their most perverse fantasies onto androids. One android becomes self-aware and breaks out, only to become intent on shutting down the organization. Ambyr Childers, most recently seen in 2 Guns, Ray Donovan and The Master, will play the android, and Willis will play Julian, owner of the Vice resort that caters to the depraved. Pic begins shooting March 15 in Alabama and more casting is pending. George Furla, Randall Emmett and Adam Goldworm are producing. Barry Brooker and Stan Wertlieb will executive produce, and Tim Sullivan is co-producing.
Emmett/Furla is fully in the Bruce Willis business these days: He just finished shooting director Brian A. Miller’s action thriller The Prince alongside Jason Patric, John Cusack and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, also penned by Fabrizio and Passmore. Willis also was recently set to star in Captive, a Brazil-set action thriller directed by Simon Brand that shoots later this year.
Willis is repped by CAA, and E/F/O Films is with WME.
Sony Pictures Classics has released a new action-packed trailer for Gareth Evans‘ martial arts sequel The Raid 2 ahead of its Sundance bow tonight. This is a hot ticket in Park City where the first Raid film screened after making a splashy debut at Toronto in 2011. Iko Uwais reprises his role as Rama, the Jakarta cop who battled his way through a tenement filled with criminals in the first pic only to go undercover in the sequel to uncover the corrupt baddies at the top of the food chain. Arifin Putra, Tio Pakusadewo, Oka Antara, and Julie Estelle join the fray in The Raid 2 which also sees the return of Raid actor/stunt choreographer Yayan Ruhian. SPC releases The Raid 2 on March 28 but they’re not the only studio banking on the Raid team. Yesterday at Sundance RADiUS-TWC pre-bought North American rights to Evans’ next project, The Night Takes Us, to be directed by Timo Tjahjanto (Killers) and produced by Evans with original Raid cast members starring.
Worry not Fifty Shades Of Grey fans: The movie of the book aims to give you what you want. “We’re very conscious of not making anything gratuitous or exploitive while being faithful to the stories of the book and to the fans of the book,” said producer Michael De Luca this morning at the Sundance Film Festival. “We’re going to give them what they expect, which is an intense and erotic love story,” he added. “Obviously the film can’t be as explicit as the book,” De Luca noted. “A picture is worth a 1000 words. So to be erotic onscreen means I think an image is going to have way more power than reading the words on a page.”
The soon to be president of Production for Columbia Pictures (he officially takes the reins March 1) was in Park City for the second annual PGA Breakfast. In a free-ranging discussion with Producers Guild national executive director Van Van Patten, De Luca mainly discussed his career history. But it was on Fifty Shades that things got steamy.
“Not to sound corny, but it is, at its heart, a young love story. I think those things always work,” he said of the blockbuster trilogy of books. “No matter what you think about the book, those things are in that story and they are very cinematic. I think people love a good love story and the these two characters endeared themselves to 90 million readers so it’s hard to say that it didn’t connect on a deeper level than just its more sensationalist aspects, but it was the love story that did it for me.”
Chris Columbus and Eleanor Columbus’ Maiden Voyage Pictures is joining with Audax Films, Court 13, DCM Productions, Good Lap Productions, Le Grisbi, TideRock Media, and Treehouse Pictures to finance and produce Mediterranea, a feature based on the Venice Film Festival short A Chjana. Jonas Carpignano will write and direct the pic and the Columbuses will produce for their Maiden Voyage banner which launched last February. The movie centers on Ayiva, a young migrant worker who seeks to reunite with his best friend in the wake of the most significant race riot in Italian history, inspired by a true story. This marks Maiden Voyage’s second project after Little Accidents, which stars Elizabeth Banks, Chloe Sevigny and Josh Lucas and is screening tomorrow in the Premieres section at Sundance. It as well as A Chjana were developed at the Sundance Writing and Directing labs. The company officially launched its operations this year in Park City with the aim of partially financing and producing indie features. WME will represent both films. Writer-director Sara Colangelo’s Little Accidents is set in a small American coal town, where the disappearance of a 14-year-old boy draws a surviving miner, the lonely wife of a mine executive, and a local boy together in a web of secrets.
Sundance: As ‘Dogfight’ Producer Richard Guay Floats New Crowd-Funding Model, It’s Time To Stop Using Kickstarter And ‘Wish I Was Here’ As A Punching Bag
Just days after the domestic rights to the Zach Braff-directed and Kickstarter-funded Wish I Was Here sold for $2.75 million to Focus Features at the Sundance Film Festival, there’s a new crowd-funding plan making the rounds here in Park City. While his Passion First Funding isn’t up and running yet, Dogfight producer Richard Guay, who has been part of the New York indie scene for years, thinks he’s found a way that people can actually see some financial return for contributing to future projects like Braff’s movie. “It’s going to bring traditional financing and the power of the crowd together,” he told me today. The idea comes out of aspects of the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act that permit general solicitation of accredited investors. The act was intended for startups in general, of which film is but a niche, but in this case people putting money in to a project seeking crowd-funding won’t just be getting a signed poster or set visit but they could actually make their money back as well as profits.
UPDATE, 4:34 PM: A24 has made its deal for the comedy official. Check out the release after the original break.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 3:54 PM: In the second big deal of the Sundance Film Festival, A24 has acquired Obvious Child. Written and directed by Gillian Robespierre, the film stars Jenny Slate as a Brooklyn comedian who gets dumped, fired and pregnant just in time for the most chaotic Valentine’s Day of her life. The film also stars Jake Lacy, David Cross and Gabby Hoffman. Elisabeth Holm is the producer. WME Global brokered the sale for the movie, which premiered Friday at the Prospector. The deal was for low seven figures.
A24 was expected to be a strong buyer here at Sundance and it hasn’t disappointed. This is its second deal after acquiring the Lynn Shelton-directed Laggies. Hopefully, this will break the logjam for acquisition deals. Several films are in play, including the Midnight title Cooties, which has Lionsgate and several others in hot pursuit.
No deal is done but Lionsgate looks to be the front-runner to snag comedic fright flick Cooties at the Sundance Film Festival. Sources say negotiations on the film starring Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson are ongoing. Cooties premiered on January 18 in the festival’s Midnight section. Produced by Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh Waller’s SpectreVision, Cooties is the feature directorial debut of Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion from a script by Leigh Whannell and Ian Brennan. Paradigm are repping the fimmakers.
UPDATE, 2 PM: Fox Searchlight just confirmed it has acquired worldwide rights to I Origins. Full release follows after the original break.
PREVIOUS, EXCLUSIVE, 9:30 AM: I hear Fox Searchlight is the frontrunner to make a world rights deal on I, Origins, the science fiction film written and directed by Mike Cahill. I’m hearing the deal closed at around $3 million, but I’m waiting to confirm. The film premiered Saturday at the Eccles Theater; it will be released domestically by Fox Searchlight. It stars Michael Pitt and Brit Marling, and Cahill and Pitt produced it with Hunter Gray and Alex Orlovsky. It focuses on a group of biologists who make a discovery that has far-reaching consequences. Fox Searchlight did the domestic on Cahill’s last film with Marling, Another Earth, and Fox released in some foreign territories. WME Global brokered the deal.
PARK CITY, UT January 20, 2014 – Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to the existential drama I ORIGINS. Directed and written by Mike Cahill, I ORIGINS is his second feature following ANOTHER EARTH which Fox Searchlight acquired at Sundance in 2011. The film stars Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Steven Yeun and Archie Panjabi with Cahill, Hunter Gray and Alex Orlovsky serving as producers. The film is scheduled to be released in 2014.