Vanessa Redgrave is set to co-star opposite Kelly Reilly in The Black Box, a 13-episode limited drama series written by The Relic and Mystic Pizza scribe Amy Holden Jones to air on ABC next year. Simon Curtis is directing the project, executive produced by Jones; Ilene Chaiken, who serves as showrunner; Bryan Singer; 3 Arts’ Oly Obst; and Anne Thomopoulos. The Black Box centers on Elizabeth Black (Reilly), a world-renowned neuroscientist who appears to have it all but is constantly haunted by her own struggle with mental illness. And that is not the only secret she’s kept locked away from her family and her new fiancé. Redgrave will play Dr. Hartramph, Elizabeth’s psychiatrist and the only one who knows all her secrets.
EXCLUSIVE: USA Network’s upcoming political/family drama series Political Animals has tapped Vanessa Redgrave for a provocative guest stint. The Oscar-winning actress will play Diane Nash, a lesbian Supreme Court Justice, the first openly gay member of the Court who is friend and mentor to Elaine Barrish (Sigourney Weaver). Greg Berlanti and Laurence Mark’s six-episode series centers on divorced former First Lady and newly appointed Secretary of State Elaine Barrish who throws herself into the job after recovering from the dissolution of her marriage to ex-President Bud Hammond (Ciaran Hinds) and losing the presidential nomination. The character, who is certain to draw comparisons to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, tries to keep her family together, while simultaneously dealing with crises of the State Department and a hungry DC journalist (Carla Gugino) bent on destroying her career. In addition to Weaver, Redgrave joins fellow Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn on Political Animals for a tour de force acting trio that has 15 Academy Award nominations among them. The series, from Warner Horizon, is slated to debut July 15 and air in the Sunday 10 PM slot. This marks Redgrave’s first series gig since her arc on Nip/Tuck.
Related: TV Teaser: USA’s ‘Political Animals’
Could one movie dominate this year’s best supporting actress Oscar lineup? Certainly an argument could be made for any number of actresses in the ensemble hit, The Help and in fact two of them were nominated for Critics Choice Movie Awards today. But it is more likely Oscar voters will want to spread the wealth rather than repeat what they did for 1963’s Tom Jones, when three ladies won the lion’s share of nominations in the category. The competition among supporting thesps is just too strong this year to go in that direction. Here is a look at the way this highly competitive category is shaping up.
OCTAVIA SPENCER, THE HELP
As Minny Jackson, a civil rights-era maid, Spencer made a very memorable pie and got the bulk of the laughs among a large ensemble. She is a sure thing nominee, not only for her comic ability but her dramatic scenes too, making her a formidable contender and crowd favorite.
BÉRÉNICE BEJO, THE ARTIST
Taking on the challenge not only of playing the lead female role in a black and white silent film, Bejo also had to learn to tap dance and sing in addition to being a believable budding superstar of the silver screen. In other words she does it all except talk. But it’s more than enough.
Awards underdog Paddy Considine saw his Tyrannosaur pick up three prizes at the 14th British Independent Film Awards this evening in London. Tyrannosaur won for best Best British Independent Film, Best Debut Director and Best Actress for Olivia Colman. Michael Fassbender was voted Best Actor for Shame. Vanessa Redgrave won Best Supporting Actress for Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus and Michael Smiley was a winner for Kill List. The winners were announced at Old Billingsgate in a ceremony hosted by actor/comedian Chris O’Dowd and streamed live for the first time ever onLOVEFiLM. As previously announced, Ralph Fiennes was awarded the coveted Richard Harris Award for outstanding contribution by an actor to British film, and Kenneth Branagh the Variety Award. The Special Jury Prize went to Graham Easton.
Winners for 2011:
BEST BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM (sponsored by Moët & Chandon)
BEST DIRECTOR (sponsored by The Creative Partnership)
Lynne Ramsay – WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
THE DOUGLAS HICKOX AWARD [BEST DEBUT DIRECTOR] (sponsored by 3 Mills Studios)
Paddy Considine – TYRANNOSAUR
BEST SCREENPLAY (sponsored by BBC Films)
Richard Ayoade – SUBMARINE
BEST ACTRESS (sponsored by M.A.C)
Olivia Colman – TYRANNOSAUR
Michael Fassbender – SHAME
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Vanessa Redgrave – CORIOLANUS
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Michael Smiley – KILL LIST
MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER (sponsored by STUDIOCANAL)
Tom Cullen – WEEKEND
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION (sponsored by Deluxe142)
THE RAINDANCE AWARD (sponsored by Exile Media)
BEST TECHNICAL …
Maverick British director Ken Russell died in his sleep Sunday at age 84. Russell’s controversial films included the Oliver Reed-Vanessa Redgrave starrer The Devils; Women In Love; and Tommy, the screen version of The Who’s rock opera. In the U.S., he directed the psychedelic Altered States, but his collaboration with equally strong-willed screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky haunted that film, and the failure of his next film, Crimes Of Passion, sent him back to the UK. There, he continued making films, the last of which was The Fall Of The Louse Of Usher.
Russell was a polarizing filmmaker, with critics often split on his films. His movies rarely achieved commercial success thanks to his unique takes on provocative themes that often included sex, drugs and violence. His 1971 film Women In Love, an adaptation of the D.H. Lawrence novel, was his only work to receive Academy Award consideration: it was nominated for four Oscars in 1971, including for best director, and won Best Actress for Glenda Jackson.
Samuel Goldwyn Films and director Larysa Kondracki have finally been given a date for a United Nations screening and panel discussion on The Whistleblower, the drama about sex trafficking in post-war Bosnia that occurred under the watch of UN peacekeepers. The screening will take place tomorrow at 3:30 PM. Kondracki will take part in the panel discussion along with Madeleine Rees, former UN rights lawyer and secretary of the Women’s International League For Peace And Freedom (played in the film by Vanessa Redgrave); Susana Malcorra, Under Secretary General, Department of Field Support; and Anne-Marie Orler, Police Adviser, Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The screening and discussion is being hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The screening will be attended by member states and UN staff.
EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company is negotiating with Icon to acquire U.S. distribution rights to Coriolanus, the Ralph Fiennes-directed John Logan-scripted contemporized adaptation of the Shakespeare play. Gerard Butler, Fiennes, Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave and Jessica Chastain lead the cast. The film will be part of the competition at the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival. It puts Harvey Weinstein back in business with Fiennes, who starred in the 1996 Best Picture winner The English Patient and most recently in The Reader. The plan being discussed involves platforming the picture later this year, in time for awards season. Fiennes plays the title character, a hero who is banished and plots his revenge by aligning with his sworn enemy, Tulles Aufidius (Butler) to return and sack his homeland. Political machinations and misgivings get in the way and place Coiolanus in grave danger. Gabrielle Tana of Magnolia Mae Films, Julia Taylor-Stanley of Artemis Films, and Colin Vaines produced it. Weinstein viewed the film a month ago in London. The pending deal follows an aggressive Sundance for Weinstein, who acquired the fest’s two highest priced films in the Paul Rudd-starrer My Idiot Brother and the Tobey Maguire-starrer The Details.
The 61st Berlin International Film Festival has announced the rest of the Competition line-up in addition to opening film True Grit (which is screening out of competition). They include Ralph Fiennes’ directorial debut Coriolanus, co-starring Gerard Butler and Vanessa Redgrave, and Wim Wenders’ 3D dance film Pina.
Samuel Goldwyn Films closed U.S. rights to The Whistleblower, the Rachel Weisz-starrer that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Larysa Kondracki directed the drama, which also stars Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci and David Strathairn. Weisz plays a cop who takes a peacekeeper job in post-war Bosnia and uncovers a sex trafficking scandal. Pic will be released in August. UTA Independent Film Group’s Rena Ronson brokered the deal. Here is a scene from the film that Deadline previewed at Toronto:
EXCLUSIVE FROM TORONTO: The Whistleblower makes its Toronto premiere tomorrow. Deadline is providing a sneak peek at some of the footage. The film stars Rachel Weisz as Nebraska police officer who takes a job as a United Nations peackeeper assigned to post-war Bosnia. She uncovers a massive scandal and cover-up. Larysa Kondracki directs and Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci and David Straitharn co-star. UTA is selling domestic and Nicolas Chartier is handling foreign.