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AFI Fest: A “Practically Perfect” U.S. Premiere For Disney’s ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ Steps Up Oscar Talk

By | Friday November 8, 2013 @ 9:53am PST
Pete Hammond

The 2013 AFI Fest opening night at Hollywood’s famed, newly IMAX’d Chinese Theatre was as AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale said “practically perfect in every way” — thanks in no small part to nabbing the North American premiere of Disney’s surefire Oscar contender Saving Mr. Banks. It was a no-brainer on AFI and Disney’s part to launch this holiday release (it opens domestically December 13) which chronicles the turbulent relationship of Walt Disney and Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers during the the making of that 1964 musical classic which had its premiere at the very same theatre a half century ago. Director John Lee Hancock noted that in his opening remarks: “My life just keeps folding around. Just like in Mary Poppins it seems what happened has happened before. Fifty years ago there was a premiere here for Mary Poppins. About a year ago we were here filming the re-creation of that premiere, and now here we are again so it all just feels right,” he said. By the way, Poppins itself returns to the Chinese when AFI Fest hosts a red-carpet screening Saturday with stars Dick Van Dyke, Karen Dotrice and Oscar-winning composer Richard Sherman attending.

Related: ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ World Premieres In London – Can It Be Heading For Oscar Night?

Disney chair Alan Horn was taking congrats for the film he actually inherited when he came to the studio, and production president Sean Bailey was also singled out for praise in making this happen. Of course stars Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson were there, but both skipped the Hollywood Roosevelt after-party where Sherman was the main attraction. I told Horn this is a word-of-mouth movie if ever there was one and should be a big hit for the studio. How it fares in the Oscar race will be interesting considering the last three Best Picture winners — Argo, The Artist and The King’s Speech — all seem to be films that make audiences feel good about themselves with the former two having a special Hollywood connection just like this one. Banks seems to fit the same bill that Oscar voters have been responding to recently, effortlessly blending laughs, tears, comedy, drama and emotion. This was my second viewing in three weeks (I saw it at a small screening shortly before it had its world premiere at the London Film Festival) and it holds up. Hanks and Thompson are slam-dunk nominees here and the film has many possibilities — but it is facing weightier fare in frontrunners 12 Years A Slave, Gravity and Captain Phillips (another film with Hanks, which could make him a double nominee this year). Read More »

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The Contenders 2013: First-Time Actor Barkhad Abdi On ‘Captain Phillips’ Co-Star Tom Hanks: “He’s Really Good At It”

By | Thursday November 7, 2013 @ 11:04am PST
Pete Hammond

Barkhad Abdi had never acted before being plucked out of obscurity in Minneapolis (by way of his native Somalia and Yemen) to audition for director Paul Greengrass as the key Somali Pirate who takes over the cargo ship captained by Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips. Now he’s even being recognized when he walks down the street, he told me during our interview as part of Sony’s presentation at Deadline’s THE CONTENDERS event Saturday at the Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. There’s Supporting Actor Oscar buzz now too and getting to tell his story in front of the 500 AMPAS and Guild members present won’t hurt. He charmed the crowd.

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Contenders 2013: ‘Captain Phillips,’ ‘American Hustle,’ ‘Tim’s Vermeer,’ ‘Before Midnight,’ ‘Saving Mr. Banks,’ ‘Lone Survivor,’ ‘Despicable Me 2’ & ‘The Croods’ Bid For Oscar

Anna Lisa Raya is a Deadline contributor.

The second half of Deadline’s 3rd annual Contenders event at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills got off to an energized start after lunch on the outdoor terrace. Deadline Awards columnist Pete Hammond returned with Captain Phillips star Barkhad Abdi, who had one of the bigger moments of the day when he revealed he ad-libbed his momentous “I am the captain now” line in the Sony film, essentially stealing the scene from Tom Hanks. The film’s producers, Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti, were spotted in the audience joining in the roaring applause.

Related: Deadline’s Contenders 2013 – Morning Panels

Anyone who’s been waiting for David O. Russell’s follow-up to last year’s Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle (also for for Sony), will be happy to know the film was locked down today. This is per one of the film’s producers, Richard Suckle, who was on hand to discuss the genesis of the film which is loosely based on the ABSCAM scandals of the 1970s. One of his funnier reveals was that star Bradley Cooper — not wanting to perm his hair for the film — spent hours in hair and makeup every day getting it curled. Co-star Christian Bale, on the other hand, gained 40 lbs. for his role and shaved the crown of his head to perfect his character’s outlandish comb over.

Julie Delpy, co-writer and star of Sony Pictures ClassicsBefore Midnight, had a lot to say about the intense writing and preparation that went into making the film appear as improvised and natural as it does. Acting the role was “extremely stressful,” she told Hammond. “There’s no plot. There’s nothing to hold onto but character and emotional arc.” Also for SPC is Tim’s Vermeer — a documentary about one man’s attempt to recreate a Johannes Vermeer painting — which was uncharacteristically directed by Teller (better known as the other half of Penn & Teller). He was thankful for his editor, Patrick Sheffield, who made sense of the over 2,400 hours of footage. Writer Kelly Marcel was on-hand to discuss Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, the only film ever allowed to feature Walt Disney as a character. She called the studio “unbelievably brave” in how hands-off they were with her and director John Lee Hancock.

Related: PHOTOS: Contenders 2013 Gallery
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Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

Catch up with the top film stories you missed this week:

OSCARS: Why Michael Fassbender’s Refusal To Campaign Likely Won’t Matter
By Pete Hammond - Campaign or no campaign, in Fassbender’s case it may not matter. He’s very likely going to get nominated — and could win — for Best Supporting Actor and I think that’s a scenario whether he lifts a finger or not in doing the usual rounds.

Tom Hanks Retraces A Life In Pictures, Talks Pitfalls Of Comedy & Freedom From Self-Consciousness At BAFTA Event
By Nancy Tartaglione - Tom Hanks was in London on Saturday to spend an evening with BAFTA. The British Academy’s Life In Pictures series is a walk through an actor or director’s career – Hanks’ this evening lasted two hours, which, considering his resumé, wasn’t nearly enough time to touch on every film.

Oren Aviv Exited As Chief Movie Marketing Officer At 20th Century Fox
By Nikki Finke - EXCLUSIVE: There’s yet another shake-up inside a major Hollywood studio. I’ve learned that Thursday will be the last day for 20th Century Fox Chief Marketing Officer Oren Aviv at Twentieth Century Fox even though his contract had another 18 months to go.

Tony Sella Not Out Yet At Fox Film – But Decision Day Is Monday
By Mike Fleming Jr. - Might 20th Century Fox Film chief creative officer Tony Sella be soon following marketing chief Oren Aviv out the door? Read More »

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London Film Festival: Disney’s ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ World Premieres – Can It Be Heading For Oscar Night?

By | Sunday October 20, 2013 @ 3:26pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Could Disney finally be on track for a Best Picture Oscar winner of its own making? Who knows, but judging from the very enthusiastic reaction to the world premiere tonight of Saving Mr. Banks at London’s Odeon Leicester Square theatre on the closing night of BFI London Film Festival, it’s off to a good start. Deadline’s International Editor Nancy Tartaglione reports there was about four minutes of sustained applause as the end credits began and word at the Old Billingsgate after-party was unanimously upbeat with premiere-goers loving it. Initial reviews also seem to be strong. Before the film rolled an organist onstage warmed up the first-nighters with the score for Mary Poppins, the film that serves as the inspiration for this tale of how Walt Disney led a two-decades-long quest to bring notoriously reticent P.L. Travers’ classic book to the screen. Director John Lee Hancock, producers Alison Owen and Ian Collie and stars Colin FarrellTom Hanks, Ruth Wilson and Emma Thompson were then introduced to the crowd. Thompson remarked, “it’s very moving to have the film premiere in London… so let’s watch the damn thing”. There’s even a reference to the Leicester Square theatre in the movie.

Related: Tom Hanks Retraces A Life In Pictures At BAFTA Event Read More »

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Tom Hanks Retraces A Life In Pictures, Talks Pitfalls Of Comedy & Freedom From Self-Consciousness At BAFTA Event

By | Saturday October 19, 2013 @ 4:52pm PDT

Tom Hanks was in London on Saturday to spend an evening with BAFTA. The British Academy’s Life In Pictures series is a walk through an actor or director’s career – Hanks’ this evening lasted two hours, which, considering his resumé, wasn’t nearly enough time to touch on every film. Hanks joked throughout the evening that he was getting whiplash from the fast-paced interview that started out with his early work as mostly a comedic actor, through to more serious turns in Punchline, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, and up to his current films Captain Phillips and Saving Mr Banks.

Hanks is also in London ahead of the world premiere of Saving Mr Banks, in which he plays Walt Disney. The film tells the story of how Disney persuaded Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers to sell rights to her tale of the magical nanny. Portraying the legend came with a particular challenge, Hanks said, due to “the current atmosphere of pressure in films.” Disney, he noted, “died of lung cancer. He smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. So, can we show him smoking? No way in hell.” Hanks said there was an actual “negotiation” about whether or not he could be filmed holding a lit cigarette in a scene. He could not. That film is the closing night gala for the London Film Festival which wraps tomorrow.

Over the course of tonight’s retrospective in front of about 150 BAFTA members, Hanks shared anecdotes from his long career, starting off, improbably, with 1989’s Turner & Hooch. “It has been so long since someone has shown a clip” from the film, he said, “I’m delighted, I learned a lot from that dog.” The dog in the film was male, but Hanks called comedy in general, “such a bitch… It’s sink or swim. It can’t be faked on film. The chops you develop in comedy are chops you will not be slave to, but will serve you.” Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Intouchables’ Helmers Gear Up For ‘Samba’; BAFTA To Host Life In Pictures With Tom Hanks; More

By | Wednesday October 2, 2013 @ 10:00pm PDT

‘Intouchables’ Helmers Set To Begin Production On ‘Samba’
The Intouchables helmers Eric Tolédano and Olivier Nakache will begin shooting their next film, Samba, at the end of October. Omar Sy, Best Actor César winner for Intouchables, stars in the social comedy alongside Charlotte Gainsbourg (Nymphomaniac, Melancholia), Tahar Rahim (The Past, A Prophet) and Izya Higelin. French major Gaumont is co-producing with Intouchables‘ Quad Productions. Gaumont will handle French distribution and sell the film internationally as it did with Tolédano and Nakache’s 2011 mega box office hit. Delivery is expected at the end of 2014. Read More »

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CNN Prepping 10-Part Docu Series ‘The Sixties’ From Playtone And Herzog & Co

By | Tuesday September 17, 2013 @ 9:16am PDT

CNN, Playtone, and Herzog & Company are co-producing a provocative, sweeping 10-part documentary series that will explore perhaps the most transformative decade of the modern era. The non-scripted series will be executive produced by multiple EMMY® Award-winning producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman (HBO’s John Adams and The Pacific), and EMMY® Award-winning producer Mark Herzog (History’s Gettysburg) of Herzog & Company (HCO), as a CNN original series for CNN/U.S., it was announced today. “From protests to war, to human rights, the Beatles, innovative technologies, and politics, the 1960s were an extraordinary era of consequential cultural and global change,” said Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide. “We are so pleased to partner with Tom, Gary, and HCO to bring this very special series to our audience. Projects like this are emblematic of exactly the type of programming that we need more of, signifying a new direction and expanded sensibility at CNN.” THE SIXTIES will launch with a 90-minute special episode, “The Assassination of JFK (1963),” broadcast on CNN/U.S. in November 2013, and timed with the observance of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The inaugural episode will explore the key conclusions of the controversial Warren Commission, as well as the shocking impact of the assassination upon the nation, and upon American politics. The series will resume in April 2014 with episodes about the events and people that shaped our history and character as a nation.

Read More »

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Toronto: Lotus Stakes ‘A Hologram For The King’ With Tom Hanks And Tom Tykwer

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: As international buyers begin to arrive in Toronto for the festival, Lotus Entertainment has staked a big one. Lotus has come on board to handle international sales for A Hologram For The King, the adaptation of the Dave Eggers novel that Tom Hanks will star in and Tom Tykwer will direct in a reteam from Cloud Atlas. Playtone and X Filme Creative Pool are producing.

Lotus will sell foreign rights here in Toronto to get the film ready for an early 2014 production start. CAA will make the domestic deal. Hanks will play a struggling businessman who heads for a rising Saudi Arabian city, far from weary, recession-scarred America, in a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter’s college tuition, and finally do something great. Tykwer wrote the script. Deadline first revealed the project as it was mobilizing in June. Read More »

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Global Show Briefs: Venice Fills Out Its Lineup; ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ To Close London Fest; More

Venice Film Festival Rounds Out Lineup, Adds Carrie Fisher To Jury
The 70th Venice Film Festival’s lineup is complete with the addition of five titles including Une Promesse, writer-director Patrice Leconte drama starring Rebecca Hall, Alan Rickman, and Richard Madden, which will screen Out of Competition. The fest also announced that the collective film Venezia 70 – Future Reloaded — composed of 70 short films lasting 60 to 90 seconds made by 70 directors from all over the world to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the festival — will be the second opening film at the inaugural ceremony. Also, Carrie Fisher and Mexican director Amat Escalante have been added to the International Jury. The fest runs August 20 to September 7.

‘Saving Mr. Banks’ Set For Closing Night At BFI London Film Festival
The 57th BFI London Film Festival will close with the European premiere of Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks. Tom Hanks stars as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers in John Lee Hancock’s drama about the effort to bring Mary Poppins to the screen. The fest, which runs October 9-20, will open with the continental bow of another Hanks film, the Somali pirate drama Captain Phillips from director Paul Greengrass. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Captain Phillips’

By | Wednesday August 7, 2013 @ 5:06pm PDT

Tom Hanks-starrer Captain Phillips is set as the opening-night film at the prestigious New York Film Festival next month. Directed by Paul Greengrass, the Sony Pictures film tells the true story of Captain Richard Phillips (Hanks) and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama. Phillips was eventually rescued in a dangerous mission by a Navy SEAL team. Catherine Keener, Max Martini, Yul Vazquez, Michael Chernus, Chris Mulkey, Corey Johnson, David Warshofsky, John Magaro and Angus MacInnes also star. It’s set to hit theaters on October 11. Check out the latest trailer:

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Global Showbiz Briefs: GAP2000 Sets ‘Retardation’; ‘Captain Phillips’ To Open 57th BFI London Film Fest

Gap2000 Partners With Vladar On ‘Retardation’
Former recruitment exec Premila Puri Makh was born in Mumbai, grew up in the Netherlands and now lives in London, which she uses as a production base for a burgeoning slate of feature projects from her GAP2000 Films and Ariana Entertainment companies. Via GAP2000, which Premila built with her brother, writer-director Sameer Puri, she’s producing Retardation, a psychological suspense thriller about a man who wakes up with no memory and has to figure out where he comes from. GAP2000 has just partnered with NY-based The Vladar Company (Head Smash) to develop the project which they will shoot in India – and in English – in February 2014. Sameer Puri wrote the script and will direct. Partners are circling including a major U.S. sales company. The movie is being cast with well-known Indian actors from the indie scene and Premila has locked New York City rock band Deadbeat Darling for music. GAP is focusing on Indian films that will decidedly stray from the western vision of Bollywood cinema. Read More »

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Tom Hanks-Starrer ‘Captain Phillips’ Gets Opening-Night Berth At NY Film Festival

By | Monday July 29, 2013 @ 9:18am PDT
Mike Fleming

The New York Film Festival has begun unveiling films for its 2013 program, and it begins with Captain Phillips, the Sony Pictures film that Paul Greengrass directed and Tom Hanks starred in as the captain who put himself in the hands of Somali pirates instead of his crew after the cargo ship he captained was hijacked in 2009. He was rescued in a dangerous mission by a Navy SEAL team. It seemed a good candidate to grace Gotham’s prestigious festival as the opening-night film. One of the film’s producers, Scott Rudin, is a New Yorker who brought The Social Network to the festival. And the film was conspicuously absent from the Toronto and Venice lineups. Here is the official word:

New York, NY, July 29, 2013 – The Film Society of LincoOoln Center announced today that Paul Greengrass’s CAPTAIN PHILLIPS will make its World Premiere as the Opening Night Gala presentation for the upcoming 51st New York Film Festival (September 27 – October 13). Starring two-time Academy Award® winner and 2009 Film Society Chaplin Award honoree Tom Hanks in the title role, the film is Academy Award®-nominated director Paul Greengrass’s multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates.

NYFF’s Director of Programming and Selection Committee Chair, Kent Jones said, “CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is a riveting experience. At this point in his working life, Paul Greengrass has become a master of immersive reality-based narratives set along geopolitical fault lines – in this case, the 2009 seizure of the Maersk Alabama cargo ship by four Somali pirates. I’m excited that this tough, tense, real-life thriller, capped by the remarkable performances of Tom Hanks and four brilliant first-time Somali actors (Barkhad Abdi, Faysal Ahmed, Barkhad Abdirahman and Mahat M. Ali), is opening the 51st edition of the festival.”

Read More »

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UPDATE: Tom Hanks And Ron Howard To Return For Next Dan Brown Movie ‘Inferno’; Sony Sets December 2015 Release Date

By | Tuesday July 16, 2013 @ 1:52pm PDT

UPDATE, 1:52 PM: Tom Hanks and Ron Howard, the star and director, respectively, of Sony’s first two tentpole movies based on Dan Brown’s novels, are returning for Inferno, we’ve learned. Hanks had been expected to reprise his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon for The Lost Symbol, the third novel in Brown’s book series. But Howard had bowed out of that project, which is now on the back burner, saying he wanted to produce it with Brian Grazer and their Imagine Entertainment but not direct. Now we’re hearing he’ll return for Inferno.

PREVIOUS BREAKING…Inferno was released in May and is the fourth Robert Langdon book written by The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons author Dan Brown. Sony, which has film rights to the franchise, has just set a December 18, 2015 release date for it. David Koepp, who wrote Angels & Demons, is aboard to write the script. The news means Brown’s third installment of the thriller series, The Lost Symbol, will not be the next movie for Sony. Danny Strong had been set to write that adaptation in March 2012 and the expectation was the film would be directed by Mark Romanek after Ron Howard opted out of directing as he had done on the first two pics. Not much has been … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Saving Mr. Banks’

By | Thursday July 11, 2013 @ 10:18am PDT

Yesterday we got the first image of Tom Hanks as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks. Today, we get the first trailer. Hanks plays Walt Disney, and Emma Thompson plays prickly Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, in the true story of how the ultimate classic made it to the screen. John Lee Hancock directs the picture that also stars Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths and Kathy Baker. Saving Mr. Banks goes out via Disney on December 13 in limited release and goes wide on December 20.

Trailer: Saving Mr. Banks on Disney Video

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First Look Photo: Tom Hanks As Walt Disney In ‘Saving Mr. Banks’

By | Wednesday July 10, 2013 @ 11:06am PDT

Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson star in Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks which goes out in limited release on December 13. It’s based on the true story of how Mary Poppins made it to the screen — and the testy relationship that Walt Disney had with author P.L. Travers that almost derailed it. Per Time, here’s the first picture of Hanks as Disney and Thompson as Travers on a walk through Disneyland in 1961:

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Tom Hanks, Tom Tykwer To Adapt Dave Eggers Novel ‘A Hologram For The King’

By | Wednesday June 12, 2013 @ 3:28pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Tom Hanks and Tom Tykwer are going to turn the Dave Eggers novel A Hologram For The King into a feature. Hanks will star and the film will be directed by Tykwer, the Run Lola Run director who most recently co-helmed Cloud Atlas. Tykwer has adapted the book, which was published last year by McSweeney’s and became a National Book Award finalist. The story involves a struggling businessman who, after failing in America, heads to a rising Saudi Arabian city for a last ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter’s college tuition, and do something memorable.

The film will be produced by X Filme Creative Pool producers Stefan Arndt, Uwe Schott and Tykwer, who are teamed with Playtone partners Hanks and Gary Goetzman. They don’t yet have a studio or their financing completely together yet, but CAA, which reps Hanks, Eggers and Tykwer, is getting underway with the effort to arrange financing. Given all the movies that group seeded for financing during the Cannes Film Festival, it shouldn’t be that difficult. Hanks and Tykwer bonded over the experience making Cloud Atlas, in which Hanks played several roles. Tykwer directed with Lana and Andy Wachowski. Hanks is currently starring on Broadway, playing ace crime reporter Mike McAlary in the Nora Ephron play Lucky Guy. He plays the title role in the Paul Greengrass-directed Captain Read More »

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Tom Hanks & Scarlett Johansson Among Tony Presenters

By | Wednesday May 29, 2013 @ 7:47am PDT

Tom Hanks was nominated for the Nora Ephron-penned Lucky Guy and Scarlett Johansson was not for playing Maggie in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Both will present during the 67th annual Tony Awards on June 9 at 8 ET/PT on CBS. Other presenters tapped in the first batch this morning: Cuba Gooding Jr, Jesse Eisenberg, Jon Cryer and Martha Plimpton.

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Hot Trailer: Tom Hanks In ‘Captain Phillips’

By | Wednesday May 8, 2013 @ 12:29pm PDT

Tom Hanks stars as the titular Captain Phillips in Paul Greengrass’ film based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of an American cargo ship. Catherine Keener and Max Martini also appear in the Scott Rudin/Michael De Luca/Trigger Street production that Sony releases on October 11. Here’s the first trailer:

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