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 …
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.
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.
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.”
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2010 Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Lead Drama Series Actor race:
TONI COLLETTE, UNITED STATES OF TARA
Why She Got Nominated: Collette won here last year. If the TV Academy votes separately for each of her personalities, that’s a lot of votes.
Why She Has To Win: …