Tom Hardy is reuniting with his Locke director and screenwriter Steven Knight, and his Child 44 producer Ridley Scott for eight-part period series Taboo. Knight created the drama based on an original …
Berlin: Johnny Depp Seals Deal To Play Whitey Bulger In ‘Black Mass’; Tom Hardy In Talks To Play FBI Pal John Connolly
EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Depp has made his deal to star in Black Mass, the drama Scott Cooper will direct about the Boston crime kingpin-turned-fugitive Whitey Bulger, for Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive Media. Now, they are in early talks with Tom Hardy to play John Connolly, the FBI agent and childhood pal of Bulger, who is in prison for tipping Bulger that he was about to be indicted. That led Bulger to go from ruthless Boston crime kingpin to the top of the FBI’s most wanted list. Domestic distribution hasn’t yet been decided and there are some territories that Exclusive is selling at Berlin, a task made easier by these casting developments. Production will begin in May.
Depp was originally expected to play Bulger when Barry Levinson was attached to direct, but the deal fell through over money even though the deal was near $20 million. Deadline revealed last month that talks had rekindled with Depp, and this has now become a blue-chip project, particularly when Crazy Heart and Out Of The Furnace helmer Cooper boarded it. The script is by Mark Mallouk, who adapted the 2001 Dick Lehr/Gerald O’Neill New York Times bestseller Black Mass: The True Story Of An Unholy Alliance Between The FBI And The Irish Mob.
Today, the Sundance Film Festival announced more participants for its 30th annual gathering next month with the out-of-competition sections of Spotlight, Park City at Midnight and New Frontier, along with the latter’s featured installations.Yesterday, the festival revealed its 2014 U.S. and World Cinema dramatic and documentary competition slates and the films in its NEXT section.
The films unveiled today see appearances by Hollywood stars like Tom Hardy in Locke; Jesse Eisenberg, Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Jason Clarke, Diane Kruger, Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson in Cooties; and a double shot of Mia Wasikowska. Plus there’s a Dead Snow sequel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s new variety show, and a video installation featuring multimedia rock star Beck. The upcoming Sundance, which runs January 16-26, also sees the debut of the new Sundance Kids section with films featuring Forest Whitaker, Mackenzie Foy, Lauren Bacall and Paul Giamatti among others. The last slates to be revealed are the Premieres and Documentary Premieres, which are set for Monday. Until then, check out today’s release:
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Heard It Here First: Tom Hardy To Play Elton John In ‘Rocketman’
By Mike Fleming Jr. - As Deadline reported in June when FilmDistrict paid $10 million to acquire U.S. rights to the Elton John film Rocketman, Tom Hardy has been set to play Captain Fantastic himself in the Michael Gracey-directed biographical musical film.
Oscar-Buzzed ’12 Years A Slave’ In Top Ten, ‘Jackass: Bad Grandpa’ Opens #1 For $32M, All-Star ‘The Counselor’ Bombs With $8M
By Nikki Finke - The most interesting news of the weekend, at least to me, is that New Regency’s financed and produced Best Picture Oscar frontrunner 12 Years A Slave marketed and distributed by Fox Searchlight is only playing in 123 theaters (up from 19 last weekend) yet jumped into the Top Ten.
J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan Take Over As ‘Star Wars’ Scribes
By Dominic Patten - The new Star Wars movie has a new screenwriting team. It was announced online today that Episode VII director J.J. Abrams and Empire Strikes Back co-writer Lawrence Kasdan will take over as scribes for the upcoming Disney project which is set to be released in 2015.
As Deadline reported in June when FilmDistrict paid $10 million to acquire U.S. rights to the Elton John film Rocketman, Tom Hardy has been set to play Captain Fantastic himself in the Michael Gracey-directed biographical musical film. The script is by Billy Elliot‘s Lee Hall. Gracey’s directing Fox’s upcoming The Greatest Showman On Earth starring Hugh Jackman, and Disney’s The Muppet Man. FilmDistrict bought it when the film was the talk of Cannes, where it was shopped by UTA, the agency that structured the financing. It was there that UK-based Icon’s production arm AI Film agreed to come aboard to co-finance the film with Rocket Pictures.
The deal went down before FilmDistrict’s Peter Schlessel took over Focus Features, the latter of which will release the film. Schlessel’s distribution company paid around a $10 million minimum guarantee for a guaranteed wide theatrical release and size-able P&A. There is also a generous gross corridor after the film recoups. The film follows John’s journey from 5-year old musical prodigy who by age 11 won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, to a young man who rebelled against his strict upbringing, wore outrageous costumes and became a global icon who teamed with songwriter Bernie Taupin to sell more records than just about any musical artist of his era.
From the time Locke was first announced in Berlin, to its first public screenings here in Venice, much had been kept under wraps about the project. But all was revealed today, and judging by the sustained applause and hoots and hollers for star Tom Hardy, most folks felt it was worth the wait. You could say Locke is about a man in a car, driving from Birmingham to London, while dealing with a series of issues on speaker phone. It would be true, but not accurate. It’s much more than that: part thriller, part psychological study, part family drama – and all with only one actor seen on screen. The movie, however, is not in competition so is not up for the major prizes – which many are lamenting. It next heads to Toronto, where IM Global will be looking to close deals. Its specialty label, Anthem, fully financed the Shoebox Films production and Lionsgate has UK rights.
British director Steven Knight, whose last film, Hummingbird (Redemption in the U.S.), was his feature debut, wrote and directed Locke. His writing credits include Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things, for which he was Oscar nominated in 2004. He said today that prior to writing Locke, he’d been shooting another digital film with a car at night and it looked so good that he “wondered if there was a story you could weave of one man’s journey as he drove down a motorway. I was trying to bring a huge emotion down into a tiny space.” The movie, incidentally, is in real-time.
Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a construction foreman and concrete expert who leaves his job on the eve of a massive project. When the movie starts, it’s near dusk and he’s settling into a drive in a shiny BMW SUV. After calls to a colleague, his boss, a woman called Bethan, and his wife and sons, the audience starts to understand where he’s headed and why. All 85 minutes of the film are spent in the car with Locke as he makes and receives calls, juggling his own demons and his interactions with the other characters who are voiced by Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Tom Holland and Bill Milner.
EXCLUSIVE: The strong cast that director Daniel Espinosa assembled for Child 44 just got better. Philip Seymour Hoffman is negotiating to join Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, and Joel Kinnaman in the film. The picture is being made by Summit Entertainment and co-financed and executive produced by Worldview Entertainment.
An adaptation of the Tom Rob Smith bestseller, the Richard Price-scripted Child 44 focuses on a member of the Soviet military police who investigates a series of nasty child murders during the Stalin-era Soviet Union. His biggest impediment is a government that refuses to acknowledge a serial killer is in their midst. Ridley Scott is producing under his Scott Free Productions banner with Michael Schaefer and Greg Shapiro. Worldview’s Christopher Woodrow, Molly Conners, Maria Cestone, Sarah Johnson Redlich will executive produce along with Douglas Urbanski.
EXCLUSIVE: FilmDistrict is nearing a deal to acquire U.S. rights to Rocketman, the Michael Gracey-directed biographical musical film about Sir Elton John. The script is by Billy Elliot‘s Lee Hall, and Tom Hardy is circling to play the lead role. This film was the talk of Cannes, where it was shopped by UTA, which structured the financing. It was there that UK-based Icon’s production arm AI Film agreed to come aboard to co-finance the film with Rocket Pictures during the Cannes Film Festival. I’m told that FilmDistrict is betting big here, with Peter Schlessel’s distribution company paying around a $10 million minimum guarantee for a guaranteed wide theatrical release and size-able P&A. There is also a generous gross corridor after the film recoups.
The film follows John’s journey from 5-year old musical prodigy who by age 11 won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, to a young man who rebelled against his strict upbringing, wore outrageous costumes and became a global icon who teamed with songwriter Bernie Taupin to sell more records than just about any musical artist of his era. John’s musical catalog is part of the mix, so this is going to be a major film. Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish are producing the project along with Lawrence Bender for AI Film. Sir Elton John and Access Industries’ Len Blavatnik are executive producing the film, along with Icon/AI Film CEO Aviv Giladi and FilmDistrict CEO Schlessel.
EXCLUSIVE: Tom Hardy will star in The Outsider, a Silver Pictures’ film that will mark the English-language debut of Japanese director Takashi Miike, who’s in negotiations to direct the Andrew Baldwin script. The film is based on an original idea by John Linson, who will produce along with Art Linson through their Linson Entertainment banner. Joel Silver, Andrew Rona and Steve Richards will produce for Silver Pictures. The project, originally set at Warner Bros, will be independently financed to shoot in Japan early next year. It’s an epic story set in post-World War II Japan, chronicling the life of a former American G.I. who becomes part of the Japanese yakuza.
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s why I still love movies, even though it has been so many years since I moved from the vaudeville beat at Variety to cover the talkies. Nobodies can become somebodies in the blink of an eye and it happens often enough to give anybody with talent a puncher’s chance. Warner Bros has just made a deal with Tom Shepherd to rewrite Cicero. Since this film has Tom Hardy attached to play Al Capone and is a priority studio project, this is a pretty big break for Shepherd. He has been making a living as a waiter, waiting for his writing career to take off.
John Lesher is producing Cicero, and Adam Kassan is exec producing with Leonard Ackerman. It takes a bold new look at the life of an American icon, chronicling the rise of Capone from lowly pimp to the feared gangster called Scarface, who consolidated control over Chicago, avenges the death of his brother, and attempts to protect the safety and innocence of his family.
All this good fortune happened after Shepherd wrote the script Hey, Stella!, which made last year’s Black List.
Berlin, February 7: IM Global specialty label Anthem will fully finance LOCKE, to be written and directed by Steven Knight (Hummingbird) and starring Tom Hardy (Inception) for Paul Webster, Joe Wright and Guy Heeley’s Shoebox Films.
Based on an original screenplay from Knight (Eastern Promises, Dirty Pretty Things) LOCKE is the story of one man’s life unraveling in a tension-fuelled ninety minute race against time. Ivan Locke has the perfect family, his dream job, and tomorrow should be the crowning moment of his career. But one phone call will force him to make a decision that will put it all on the line.
IM Global, Shoebox and Knight previously collaborated on HUMMINGBIRD, to be released by Lionsgate later this year.