EXCLUSIVE: Tom Rothman’s TriStar Productions is closing a deal to finance and distribute Ricki And The Flash, a hot package that had several studios circling because it comes with Meryl Streep playing a hard rocking mama. Scripted by Juno‘s Diablo Cody, the film will be directed by Jonathan Demme, and produced by Marc Platt and Mason Novick. This comes on the heels of TriStar’s deal with Robert Zemeckis to direct the 3-D experiential film To Walk the Clouds about the French aerialist Phillipe Petit who crossed between the Twin Towers on a wire in 1974. The project is based on Petit’s memoirs To Reach The Clouds and is being produced by Zemeckis with his ImageMovers Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey and Rothman. Landing Ricki and The Flash is a coup for Rothman.
Streep will play a rock n’ roll-loving woman who chased her tattered dream at the price of her family, but gets a last chance to get it right by reconciling with her estranged daughter. This isn’t some development deal. Rothman has committed to make the picture and Streep is already preparing. Demme has directed documentaries with Neil Young, and there was an impromptu encounter with Demme and Streep where Young was present, and the iconic guitarist and singer gave her some pointers. She has already demonstrated her ability to sing on Mamma Mia! This is new territory for an actress who has done most everything; her character belts out hard rock at night and is a grocery store checkout lady by day. Shooting begins this fall.
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Paul W.S. Anderson’s Pompeii is a lot of things: he-man gladiator tale, disaster film, upstairs/downstairs romance. But that last part is relegated to the sidelines in this 30-second peek at the ad that will air during tomorrow’s Super Bowl. Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Jared Harris, Kiefer Sutherland, Carrie-Anne … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In what is shaping up to be the first project from Tom Rothman’s TriStar Productions, the Sony-based film company is in the process of acquiring To Reach The Clouds, the working title of the story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit’s walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974. Robert Zemeckis will direct the film, and he has co-written the script with Christopher Browne from Petit’s memoirs.
This is a most ambitious first project for Rothman, because it carries on the spirit of experiential 3D films made under his reign at Fox including James Cameron’s Avatar and Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi. I’m told that Rothman got the idea to do this right when he was exiting the theater after seeing Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, and he began to think about projects with similar possibilities. He knew that Zemeckis and his ImageMovers partners Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey have long been interested in doing a movie on Petit. Rothman worked with Zemeckis on Cast Away and What Lies Beneath, so there is a long relationship there. Rothman’s lieutenant, David Beaubaire, ran point as an exec on the Zemeckis-directed Flight when he was at Paramount.
Now, the pieces have just begun falling into place — maybe falling isn’t the right word here — and Zemeckis likes Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the role, word of which just leaked out. There is no deal for Gordon-Levitt at this time, but it sounds like a career role here and the hope is to pull together the pieces to shoot late this spring or early summer, with Gordon-Levitt or another actor. Zemeckis, Starkey and Rapke produce, and Cherylanne Martin will be line producer and exec producer. ImageMovers’ Jackie Levine will also be involved in a producing capacity. Read More »
Three months after former Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman and CEO Tom Rothman announced he was teaming with Sony Pictures to launch TriStar Productions, a film and TV venture, the label has made its first executive hires. On the TV side, Lindsay Sloane of Doug Liman and David Bartis’ Hypnotic, is joining as SVP. In film, David Beaubaire from Paramount will be EVP and Nicole Brown from Good Universe will be SVP. The trio will start in November, working out of TriStar’s offices on the Sony lot. “Nothing is more important to a young company than the quality and composition of new colleagues, and I feel like we won the Triple Crown,” Rothman said. “David, Lindsay, and Nicole are all leaving great jobs to come here, and I am honored and excited to get started working together.” Read More »
UPDATE: Tom Rothman called in, calling himself “a lucky boy today.” After leaving Fox, Rothman said he wasn’t sure what he would do. “I didn’t have a clue,” he said. “I had the same job, in the same office, with the same 16-minute drive to and from the lot, for 18 years. I worked there longer than I lived at home with my parents in Baltimore. Fox was a wonderful journey, and I went right into Robopocalypse because when Steven Spielberg calls, you answer. When that movie got postponed, I did the thing they always tell you to do. I took a breath. I got to thinking about what I would like to do. I’m fortunate for Amy and Michael’s support and embrace of me. I am getting to do what I like to do and historically have been pretty good at.” Rothman said he also played a lot of golf since January, shaving about seven shots off his score. “I went from being horrible to merely bad,” he explained. After a long-planned two week vacation, he will begin staffing up. Rothman expects to generate four projects a year, and will go at it just as hard on the TV side. This will take awhile since he’s starting from scratch.
EARLIER, BREAKING 1:20 PM: Former Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman and CEO Tom Rothman is teaming with Sony Pictures to launch TriStar Productions, a joint venture that will augment the output of Sony’s film and TV product. This was just announced by Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal, the co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Sony is going to provide funding for the venture and retain distribution rights around the world. Rothman will hold the title of TriStar Productions chairman and receive an equity stake in the new company. He reports to Lynton and Pascal.
Rothman will staff up with production execs and TriStar will have its own strategic marketing capabilities but the movies will be released through Sony’s pipeline. It gives the studio another generator of product to go with Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Classics and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, the latter of which has sometimes had acquisitions released through the venerable TriStar banner. Read More »