Rajiv Dalal has been appointed as the Mayor’s Office’s Business Team Representative-Entertainment. Dalal with work closely with LA Film Czar Tom Sherak, assisting Sherak with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Sacramento agenda to increase tax incentives for the entertainment industry. He will also work closely with all city departments to cut red tape to make sure Los Angeles remains a film-friendly location. Dalal’s appointment follows the naming of former MPAA Chief Bob Pisano as informal advisor to Sherak. Sherak spoke highly of Dalal at an Obama event this morning. ”This kid is fantastic and a real asset for us. I told the Mayor in eight months he’s going to be saying “Tom who?’ and asking for Rajiv,” Sherak told me. Dalal was most recently Executive Director of Time Warner’s public policy program in Asia‐Pacific. He earlier worked for MPAA in Los Angeles and Mumbai and previously practiced law with Dorsey & Whitney LLP.
EXCLUSIVE: The former AMPAS president said last month that he was going to bring a high-profile industry individual on board at City Hall as his “consigliere” – and now he has. Former Motion Picture Association of America president …
Eric Garcetti said today at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s second annual State of the Industry Conference that he is serious about getting state politicians to expand California’s $100 million annual Film/TV Tax Credit program. “We are going to go to Sacramento and storm that place like you’ve never seen before,” L.A.’s mayor said. In place since 2009, the current program “should be expanded because it makes good business sense,” he added. Garcetti also told the crowd that he wanted to launch a campaign to show people how production in LA benefits all businesses in the city. His remarks came after various speakers from both the industry and Sacramento criticized the current $100 million annual lottery system program as unstable, unrealistic and providing too little money.
“We can reverse this,” said LA Film Czar Tom Sherak today of runaway production after being introduced by the mayor. “Can we reverse it 100%? No, but we can reverse some production from going to other states, other cities and other countries,” he added. While offering no specifics, the former AMPAS President stressed — as he has before — that the heart of his argument is middle-class jobs.
Listen to (and share) episode 44 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about the challenges facing new Los Angeles film czar Tom Sherak; producer Scott Rudin’s big weekend at the New York Film Festival, where his Inside Llewyn Davis and Captain Phillips debuted strongly ahead of the latter film’s wide sneak previews this weekend; the field of candidates for Oscar’s foreign-language film category, led by Iranian nominee The Past; and some of the movies that won’t be contending this year for Oscar after all. Finally, we’ll get Pete’s take on this week’s new movie releases, including Alfonso Cuaron’s “fantastic” space epic, Gravity, featuring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney; JFK assassination docudrama Parkland, with a sprawling cast featuring Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti, Jacqui Weaver and Marcia Gay Harden; and divorce comedy A.C.O.D., featuring Richard Jenkins, Amy Poehler, Jane Lynch and another large cast.
Catch up with the best of Deadline’s Top Film stories you may have missed this week:
OSCARS: ‘Foxcatcher’ Becomes Latest Film To Drop Out Of This Year’s Race
By Pete Hammond – Scratch off another potential Oscar contender. Sony Pictures Classics has announced the planned December release of the Bennett Miller-directed drama Foxcatcher has been moved out of this year’s awards race and into 2014 so filmmakers “can have more time to finish the film”.
Tom Sherak Named As LA Film Czar By Mayor
By Dominic Patten – The former AMPAS President today was appointed to the new LA Film Czar post by Mayor Eric Garcetti. The announcement of Tom Sherak‘s immediate appointment to the $1 a year position comes close to the 100 day deadline Garcetti gave himself to find someone to lead the effort to halt runaway production and work with the industry soon after being sworn into office in late June.
Tom Sherak Q&A: Cancer Battle And $1 Salary Not Stopping New L.A. Film Czar’s Latest Quest
By Pete Hammond – Former Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak has been named to the new post of LA Film Czar by Mayor Eric Garcetti. Sherak will be paid only $1 a year (“an infinity compared to what the Academy paid,” he laughed about his previous nonpaying gig) in the post designed to bring a halt to runaway production and put it back in Los Angeles, capital of the film world.
‘Cloudy With Meatballs 2′ Beefs Up For $35M And Easy #1, ‘Rush’ Slows To Small $10.6M, ‘Baggage Claim’ Gets Lost With $9.2M, And ‘Don Jon’ Can’t Seduce Past $8.8M Weekend
By Nikki Finke – A total of 4 major releases this weekend amounted to a soft domestic box office with total moviegoing slightly below last year’s.
As my colleague Dominic Patten was first to report earlier today on Deadline, former Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak has been named to the new post of LA Film Czar by Mayor Eric Garcetti. Sherak will be paid only $1 a year (“an infinity compared to what the Academy paid,” he laughed about his previous nonpaying gig) in the post designed to bring a halt to runaway production and put it back in Los Angeles, capital of the film world. Of course Sherak is no stranger to politics, of a sort: Being a former President of the Motion Picture Academy is no walk in the park. He knows the real “capital” is Sacramento, where he will spend time trying to convince Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers this is an important issue — not only for Los Angeles but California as a whole. In a conversation that turned very personal this afternoon, Sherak told me he initially resisted the job but took it only after a meeting with Garcetti this week and an OK from his oncologist. Sherak has gone public with his 12-year battle against prostate cancer and expects to be up to the task full time in a few weeks after final chemotherapy treatments. He’s even jokes now that he’s the “czar,” does that mean he can pick his own spot for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
DEADLINE: With everything going on in your personal life right now and your regular paying job as an industry consultant, why take this on?
TOM SHERAK: I resisted it, but I got a call from two of Garcetti’s people saying they’ve vetted me and they want me to meet about this job. So I went to lunch with them, and they said, ‘We’ve talked to the mayor, and he’s approved this and we want you to take it.” And I said I would have to think about it. I went home and I thought about it. And again, I am going through all kinds of stuff with my body, and somebody once said don’t make a decision when your body’s going one way and your head’s going another way. I took another couple of days and said I wanted to meet with the mayor. This past Monday I met with the mayor, and when the hour-and-15-minute conversation was over, if he offered me the Brooklyn Bridge I might have bought it from him. … I told him when it was all done to let me go home and talk to (my wife). I did, and she said, “Take it.” I next called my oncologist, and he said, “Tom, take it; you’re going to be fine.” And that’s what happened.
Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences president Hawk Koch broke today’s news naming its 86th Academy Awards producers — a rerun of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron – because I’d received a tip this morning and was …
In what has to be a first for the normally sedate and reverential audiences at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theatre, members of Monday night’s packed house for the 70MM presentation of 1960’s classic epic Spartacus stood and repeatedly chanted “I Am Spartacus” shortly after its 95-year-old star Kirk Douglas was introduced to a rousing standing ovation during the pre-screening Q&A (which I moderated). Cued by Academy President Hawk Koch after his opening remarks, Douglas was clearly taken aback by the crowd’s eruption and said he’d never seen that kind of response before. Koch’s predecessor Tom Sherak remarked to me later, “Did you see Douglas’ face when we did that? Priceless.” Sherak, an unabashed Spartacus fan (the original poster hung in his Academy office during his presidency and this was a special night for him) orchestrated it all telling me he came up with the idea during a morning yoga session, planned it with Koch and then prepped the audience before Douglas entered from backstage. It was quite a moment, almost surreal. It was also ironic since Douglas remembers that for some strange reason director Stanley Kubrick actually wanted to cut the now-iconic scene where Spartacus’ fellow slaves all uttered the famous phrase. It’s not the only time they butted heads. Kubrick also wanted to cut Douglas’ crucifixion closeup after the actor spent a full day on the cross. Suffice to say that idea didn’t play well with the producer/star and it remains in the film.
‘Oscar Outdoors’ To Launch Ambitious Summer And Fall Film Screenings And Preservation For The Academy
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gathered forces in Hollywood today to announce an ambitious program celebrating the experience of seeing movies on the big screen. Academy president Tom Sherak, Los Angeles City Councilmember Eric Garcetti and the Acad’s Managing Director of Programming, Education and Preservation Randy Haberkamp stood in front of a newly erected 40-foot movie screen built for its new Oscar Outdoors venture across the street from the Academy’s Pickford Center on Vine Street in Hollywood, making it clear that the Academy is in Hollywood to stay. This after abandoning plans to build a movie museum on the very same land it purchased in 2006 for an estimated $50 million; instead, the Academy moved it to mid-Wilshire in a joint venture with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
“We are thrilled to be deeping our ties to Hollywood. We are hoping this outdoor theatre makes an impact on the community”, Sherak said of the new summer screening program that will bring classics and family movies to an outdoor venue that was formerly the parking lot of the now-shuttered Big Lots clothing store. The Acad did a test run Saturday night for staff, showing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. With shiny new green grass, the Acad announced it will open with an invitation-only screening of Field Of Dreams on May 19. The Oscar Outdoors program will begin for the public June 15 with Casablanca and run for 10 weeks at a cost of $5 for the public and $3 for students and Academy members. Sherak told me the first “family” film selected for Saturday night June 16, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, came about when he was in a meeting with Disney chairman Robert Iger and asked him what his favorite Disney film was. When Iger told him it was Snow White, Sherak decided then and there it would be one of the first films shown.
The bottom line, as Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences President Tom Sherak told me this morning, is that, “I wanted to stay in Hollywood. And the Board Of Governors said the awards should definitely stay in Hollywood. I think the Board always felt the awards belonged in …
When controversy ended the short reign of Brett Ratner, who was originally chosen to co-produce the 84th Academy Awards with Don Mischer, followed by the exit of Ratner’s chosen host Eddie Murphy, it looked like this year’s Oscars were in deep trouble. But Academy president Tom Sherak quickly enlisted Brian Grazer to step in and join Mischer at the helm, and they hit the ground running, persuaded Billy Crystal to agree to host for the first time in nearly a decade and calmed the stormy Oscar seas. But until this morning’s nominations, they weren’t exactly sure just what kind of show they were gonna have. After all, the Academy instituted a new rule that allowed for anywhere between 5 to 10 nominees depending on the level of enthusiasm and first-place votes each film received — instead of the set number of 10 in the last two years or 5 in previous years. That there are 9 films that made the cut (a first for the Academy) had both producers and Sherak breathing a sigh of relief when I talked to them after the announcement. They all seemed genuinely excited at the prospects for the show.
At Saturday night’s third annual Governors Awards, Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno) was seated next to me and before the show unexpectedly said of being in the room with Oprah: “This is extreme for me. I am an Oprah worshipper.” After this year’s recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award earned a trio of standing ovations and ended her emotional acceptance speech to bring the big night to a close, Cody concluded, “I feel like I have just freebased Oprah”. Indeed it was Oprah’s night in this room. But it also belonged to the other honorary Oscar winners, too – makeup legend Dick Smith and actor James Earl Jones, who accepted his award from London’s Wyndham stage in a segment taped earlier in the day after a matinee performance of Driving Miss Daisy in which he is appearing alongside Vanessa Redgrave.
So far I have been to all three Governors Awards ceremonies and I would say this seemed the most emotional of them all with both Winfrey and Jones referencing their long journey from Mississippi to this Hollywood moment. One attendee told me afterwards, “I was really moved by this more than any other year”. If only the speeches could be this good on the Oscar show itself. Then the Academy wouldn’t have to worry about who hosts or produces the show.
Academy President Tom Sherak made his entrance in a Darth Vader uniform (in tribute to Jones) and opened with the same line he used to introduce a screening of the Jones film, The Great White Hope on Friday night: “How was your week?” It was an obvious reference to the tumultuous events surrounding this year’s Oscar show. But that was the only time the week’s events came up all evening. This was a night for the honorees and they all made the most of it. Before dinner a stirring reel was shown highlighting the entire 84-year history of honorary Oscar winners, followed by a touching tribute to past Oscar show producers Laura Ziskin and Gil Cates who both died this year.
Alec Baldwin got the show rolling after dinner by honoring his The Hunt For Red October co-star Jones saying, “Unlike many actors, James Earl Jones never had to get his career back because he never lost it. He is one of the greatest actors in history”. Glenn Close came out to praise him by referencing his Broadway triumph Fences. “He is the only actor who has broken me apart and transformed me until I was a screaming slobbering mess. James Earl Jones is indeed a world treasure.” Redgrave via tape surprised her co-star by bringing on Sir Ben Kingsley with an Oscar to present to Jones. ”You achieve what every actor is striving for. You are always so damn good,” Kingsley praised.
Jones was genuinely taken aback. “If an actor’s nightmare is being onstage butt-naked and not knowing his lines, then what the hell is this?” he laughed. ”This is an actor’s wet dream. I am gobsmacked at this improbable moment in my life. You cannot be an actor like I am and not have been in some of the worst movies like I have. But I stand before you deeply honored, mighty grateful, and just plain godsmacked.”