Offbeat playwright Will Eno’s Broadway debut, The Realistic Joneses, will end its limited run this Sunday, having played 132 performances at the Lyceum Theatre since March 13. The dramedy about a suburban couple whose life is changed when a weird pair moves in next door stars Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Marisa Tomei and Tracy Letts and was staged by Sam Gold. The play had its world premiere last year at the Yale Repertory Theater and came to New York on the strength of some positive reviews and a desire by game lead producers Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel to risk bringing a fresh voice to the commercial bazaar that is Broadway.
Broadway producer Jeffrey Richards, who is having a terrible spring, announced this morning that The Realistic Joneses, starring Toni Collette, Marisa Tomei, Michael C. Hall and Tracy Letts, will end its Broadway run on July 6. Richards is also the lead producer of The Bridges Of Madison County, the Jason Robert Brown/Marsha Norman musical that closed last Sunday at a loss of $8.5 million. Estimated cost of the Joneses: $2.5 million to $3 million.
An offbeat comedy-drama about suburban neighbors with mysterious pasts, the show came into New York after a Yale Repertory Theater tryout last year that was critically lauded, especially but hardly exclusively by N.Y. Times scribe Charles Isherwood. Reaction to the Sam Gold-staged show on Broadway was mixed, through Isherwood called it “far and away the most stimulating, adventurous and flat-out good play to be produced on Broadway this year.” It failed to garner any Tony nominations, though the play had many supporters and was doing respectable business, playing last week to 91% of capacity at the Lyceum Theater and taking in $590,378 — which was 82% of its gross potential and a $21,000 improvement over the week before during a down week on the Street.
Absent a long-term bump from the Tonys and offering little appeal to the summer tourist crowd, business was likely …
Actress Toni Collette, Emmy winner for United States of Tara, has signed with CAA. In features, Collette recently starred in The Way Way Back and Enough Said and next will be seen in Lucky Them, which is executive produced by Joanne Woodward and the late Paul Newman, premiered at Toronto and screened at Tribeca. Collette, who was with WME, can be seen on Broadway in Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses, for which she earned a Drama Desk Special Award. Collete also recently signed with Lee-Anne Higgins of United Management in Australia, and continues to be repped by Jen Turner of Viking Entertainment, Dean Michaels of The Asteri Group, and attorney Debbie Klein.
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity has closed a 7-figure deal for U.S. distribution rights to Hector And The Search For Happiness, the Peter Chelsom-directed comedy that stars Simon Pegg, Toni Collette, Rosamund Pike, Stllan Skarsgard, Jean Reno and Christopher Plummer. Relativity has dated the film for a September 26 platform opening, expanding wider on October 3. The script was written by Maria von Heland, Chelsom & Tinker Lindsay.
The film is based on the bestselling novel by François Lelord, and Pegg plays a disillusioned psychiatrist searching the globe to find the secret to happiness. The film is a co-production between Egoli Tossell Film, Erfttal Film and Screen Siren Pictures film, in association with Head Gear Films and Film House Germany. It was produced with the participation of Telefilm Canada, the German Federal Film Board (FFA), Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF). It was co-produced by Wild Bunch Germany and Construction Film. The producers are Judy Tossell, Klaus Dohle, Christine Haebler and Trish Dolman, with Phil Hunt, Compton Ross and Christian Angermayer.
Eyeing a September shoot, helmer Catherine Hardwicke is boarding comedy/drama Miss You Already, with Rachel Weisz and Toni Collette attached to star. The pair will play lifelong best friends whose relationship is tested as they confront a crisis. Morwenna Banks, best known for her UK acting credits including Skins, Shameless and Peppa Pig, wrote Miss You Already based on personal experience. Hardwicke says of Banks’ story of intense friendship, “This is something she lived through. She managed to take real life and turn it into a powerful, laugh‐ and cry‐out‐loud screenplay.” When the project was originally announced during Berlin in 2012, it had Jennifer Aniston attached to star, and Paul Andrew Williams directing. At the time, the story was very London-centric, but has since been expanded.
The judges are set for 13th annual edition of the event founded by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff. The seven competition juries for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival include 33 filmmakers, writers, producers, actors, journalists and entrepreneurs. The World Narrative Competition judges are Lake Bell, Steve Conrad, Bart Freundlich, Catherine Hardwicke and Ben Younger. Jurors for other categories include Toni Collette, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Goldblum, Alfonso Arau, Heather Graham, Anton Yelchin, HBO’s Sheila Nevins and Google’s Regina Dugan. The Nas rap docu Time Is Illmatic will open the fest, which runs April 16-27 in NYC. The recently re-retitled Begin Again closes it. Here is the full list of jurors and categories:
Glassland is the second feature from Irish director Gerard Barrett, who made this year’s drama Pilgrim Hill. He starts shooting on the new film January 8 with Toni Collette, Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age Of Extinction), Will Poulter (We’re The Millers) and Michael Smiley (A Field In England) aboard. The Dublin-set story follows a young taxi driver (Reynor) who gets tangled up in the world of human trafficking while trying to save his mother (Collette) from addiction. Barrett wrote the screenplay. Ed Guiney and Juliette Bonass are producing for Ireland’s Element Pictures in association with Nine Entertainment. Element’s Andrew Lowe is exec producer. Up-and-comer Reynor is returning to his roots with Glassland. The actor got a ringing endorsement from Michael Bay last January when he tapped the Irish thesp for the new Transformers. At the time, Bay wrote on his website, “I just hired a great new actor for Transformers 4 to star against Mark Wahlberg. Jack Reynor, he is an Irish kid that came to America with 30 bucks in his pocket. Pretty ballsy. Seriously who does that? Anyway I spotted him in a great little Irish movie What Richard Did. This kid is the real deal.”
IFC Films acquired U.S. rights to Lucky Them, the Megan Griffiths-directed pic that stars Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church and Oliver Platt. Scripted by Emily Wachtel and Huck Botko, the pic premiered at Toronto last month. Collette plays an unconventional rock journalist who dates musicians and is assigned to explore her own pasts. It’s a cathartic assignment. IFC’s Arianna Bocco made the deal with Cinetic Media’s John Sloss.
TV critics did not marvel at NBC doing a CBS-type drama, Mondays at 10 this fall in The Blacklist – they were more interested in ticking off the James Spader drama’s similarities to the feature film The Silence Of The Lambs. But today at TCA they did marvel at CBS doing a highly serialized drama you’d see on NBC, ABC or Fox in the same timeslot. Particularly because the event-drama thriller, Hostages, comes from Jerry Bruckheimer – the high priest of CBS procedural crime dramas. Hostages stars Toni Collette as a surgeon who is ordered to assassinate the President of the United States in order to save her family. Dylan McDermott stars as the chief hostage taker, who insists he has a really good reason for wanting POTUS dead.
“We’re doing 15 [episodes] and hope to get not only two seasons but a lot more. This is not a miniseries,” Bruckheimer said when one TV critic suggested it must be. “We normally like orders of 22” episodes, agreed Bruckheimer’s TV chief Jonathan Littman. “When you’re doing something that is this intense and this much of a thriller it’s hard to bring out 22 [episodes], with repeats and weeks off, and keep up the suspense….The series concept dictates [the format].”
The Way, Way Back is the coming-of-age story of a 14-year-old introvert who spends a difficult summer vacation with his single mom, her not so warm and fuzzy boyfriend and his daughter. Having a hard time fitting in, the teen finds unlikely friendships with the prickly manager and the misfit workers at a run down water park. Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph and Liam James star in the pic directed and scripted by Oscar-winning The Descendants scribes Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. Fox Searchlight won a nearly $10 million bidding war for the film in one of the most spirited auctions in recent memory at Sundance. It’s set for release July 5th. Check out the trailer:
EXCLUSIVE: Toni Collette and Jean Reno are set to star in Hector And The Search For Happiness, a romantic comedy feature directed by Peter Chelsom that follows a psychiatrist as he searches the globe for the definition of happiness. The addition of Collette and Reno completes the casting and the film has just commenced principal photography.
Collette and Reno join a stellar cast that includes Simon Pegg, who will play Hector, an eccentric London psychiatrist in crisis; Rosamund Pike; Stellan Skarsgård; Christopher Plummer; Desiree Zurowski; and Jakob Davies. Chelsom and Tinker Lindsay wrote the screenplay, adapted from the novel of the same name by Francis Lelord.
Deception co-star Tate Donovan is set to co-star opposite Toni Collette in Hostages, CBS‘ drama pilot from writer-director Jeffrey Nachmanoff, Jerry Bruckheimer TV and Warner Bros TV. The casting is in second position to NBC’s midseason drama. Donovan is the first Deception regular to book a pilot. Deception‘s ratings have been low but stable, logging a 1.2 18-49 rating for the last couple of weeks. With both Do No Harm and Smash premiering lower (0.9 and 1.1, respectively), a renewal for Deception, while not likely, is not completely out of the question. Based on an Israeli format, Hostages centers on Ellen (Collette), a successful surgeon living in Washington, D.C. who is selected to operate on the President of the United States.
EXCLUSIVE: Broadway actress Nina Arianda has been cast in Megan Griffiths’ Lucky Them, the Joanne Woodward-produced comedy shepherded by the late Paul Newman before his death. Arianda will play the best friend to Toni Collette‘s Ellie, a rock journalist assigned to track down her own musician ex (Thomas Haden Church). Oliver Platt, Ryan Eggold, and Ahna O’Reilly are also onboard for the pic, which began filming last weekend in Seattle. Arianda, a Tony-winner with multiple stage honors, continues to cross over into film after appearing in Win Win, Higher Ground, Midnight In Paris, and Tower Heist; she also guest-starred last year on 30 Rock. Arianda is attached to play — and sing as — Janis Joplin in the big screen biopic Joplin, from Martha Marcy May Marlene director Sean Durkin. She’s repped by ICM.
Independent film distributor Dada Films has acquired Mental. The Australian comedy reunites director P.J. Hogan with actress Toni Collette for the first time since their collaboration in Muriel’s Wedding back in 1994. Dada’s owners MJ Peckos and Steven Raphael say they plan to release Mental both theatrically and on VOD on March 29. In Mental, Collette plays Shaz a single woman hired by the father of five young girls to take care of them after their mother has a nervous breakdown. Anthony LaPaglia plays the father. Liev Schreiber also stars in the film as a shark hunter. Dada picked up Mental after it debuted at the Palm Springs International Film Festival earlier this month. Jerry Zucker, Janet Zucker, Todd Fellman and Jocelyn Moorhouse produced Mental.
Oliver Platt, 90210‘s Ryan Eggold and The Help‘s Ahna O’Reilly have joined Toni Collette in Lucky Them, the film that Paul Newman was working on when he passed away in 2008. The “un-romantic comedy” about a female rock journalist on assignment to hunt down her musician ex-boyfriend began filming in Seattle last weekend on Newman’s birthday — January 26th. Newman’s wife Joanne Woodward signed on to executive produce the picture last year to help its cause. Thomas Haden Church plays the elusive ex, with Platt, Eggold and O’Reilly rounding out the supporting cast.
Based on an Israeli format, the project, which had a pilot production commitment, centers on a family caught in the middle of a grand political conspiracy that will change their lives forever. Emmy winner Collette will play Ellen, a successful surgeon living in Washington, D.C. who is selected to operate on the President of the United States. She is thrust into the middle of a political conspiracy when her family is taken hostage, and it is up to her to save the lives of her husband and children.
Hostages was originally developed for Israel’s Channel 10 by Alon Aranya, Omri Givon and Rotem Shamir. The show has not been produced in Israel, but an U.S. adaptation written by Aranya found its way to Bruckheimer TV, which bought the rights and then brought in Nachmanoff (Traitor). Nachmanoff wrote the script and will direct the pilot. He will also executive produce it with Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, Givon, Rotem Shamir and Chayim Sharir. Aranya and KristieAnne Reed serve as co-executive producers. Collette won an Emmy for her starring role on the dark Showtime comedy United States Of Tara.
The Little Film Company announced today that Toni Collette and Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel have joined director Bill Bennett’s Defiant. Based on a true story, the thriller is set against the backdrop of a double honor killing in India. Patel will play Hari, a young man who is, along with his girlfriend, trying to escape vengeful parents who want to kill the lovers to stop them marrying. Collette will play Sally Lane, a journalist who in covering the story of the lovers is drawn into its dangers. Bennett and Australian-based Anupam Sharma are producing Defiant. The script is written by Bennett. Robbie Little’s Little Film Co is handling international sales and will debut the project to buyers in Cannes next month.
EXCLUSIVE: Anthony LaPaglia has joined Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained cast. LaPaglia will play the leader of a group of greedy Australians who encounter slave-turned-bounty hunter Django (Jamie Foxx) as they are escorting a group of slaves recently purchased as fighters. LaPaglia said he and Joseph Gordon-Levitt will play mean brothers, and LaPaglia said he was bowled over by the script. “It’s wildly ambitious and imaginative, deals with that subject matter in a way it hasn’t been dealt with before,” LaPaglia told me. “The way the cast has shaped up, it’s exciting to be involved.” It will be the second film in a row where LaPaglia can readopt the Australian accent he grew up with but dropped for many of his Hollywood roles and the series Without A Trace. He wrapped the PJ Hogan-directed Mental with Toni Collette and Liev Schreiber, a film that LaPaglia said is partly based on the filmmaker’s own experiences. “I play the father, who in real life had committed his mother to a mental institution, who had five kids, picked up a hitchhiker [Collette] on the way back and said, you’re taking care of the kids now.” LaPaglia said Hogan got rights to tunes from The Sound Of Music, and uses them in unexpected ways. “I absolutely assassinate “Edelweiss,” just tear it to shreds so badly that I’m sure Christopher Plummer would have a fit. It was meant to be terrible, and it is.”
We’ve certainly gotten an eyeful lately of actor/soap star/Oscar host James Franco. We even met his grandmother in that Funnyordie.com spot where she deemed moviegoers too squeamish to watch 127 Hours “a bunch of pussies.” Now it’s actor/writer Dave Franco who is building some career steam. He’s just been set to play a villain in 21 Jump Street, a film that is getting close to production at Sony Pictures. In fact, it’s so close that the inevitable rumors have started on whether Johnny Depp will show up for a cameo. After all, the TV series launched his career. I hear plans are being made for him to set aside a day to shoot one, but I’m not sure what his role will be.
Franco has so far played roles in films ranging from Superbad to Greenberg, and he most recently completed the DreamWorks remake of Fright Night, which stars Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Toni Collette and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. He also has starred with Mintz-Plasse (Superbad‘s McLovin) in the widely viewed and very bawdy Funnyordie.com spot You’re So Hot. In 21 Jump Street, he’ll play Eric, the most popular kid in school, who also happens to be a raging drug dealer. Jonah Hill’s narc character befriends him to infiltrate the cool kid crowd. Franco turns 26 in June, and Hill is 28. Channing Tatum, turning 31 this month, plays another undercover officer. Are these guys really going to look like high …