Chosen from thousands of auditions, 10-year old Neel Sethi will be playing the part of Mowgli in Jon Favreau‘s version of Disney‘s The Jungle Book. Sethi was discovered after an extensive search ranging from New York to New Zealand, London to Canada, and India. It’s Sethi’s first time up on the bigscreen and he’ll be the only actor up there as the new Disney take on The Jungle Book is a combo of live-action and animation. Pic is slated for release on October 9, 2015 in 3D.
“Casting is the most important element of any film and finding the right kid to play Mowgli was imperative,” said Favreau in a statement, “Neel has tremendous talent and charisma. There is a lot riding on his little shoulders and I’m confident he can handle it.”
“Neel embodies the heart, humor, and daring of the character,” added casting director Sarah Finn. “He’s warm and accessible, yet also has an intelligence well beyond his years and impressed us all with his ability to hold his own in any situation. Even though he has no professional acting experience, his natural charisma and instincts jumped out at us.” Sethi is repped by DBA.
A seasoned assistant film editor has filed a complaint of harassment, gender discrimination and wrongful termination against Walt Disney Pictures and Muppets movie editor James Thomas. “Defendants retaliated against Plaintiff, created a hostile work environment and treated Plaintiff differently because she was an Asian woman over age 40, and terminated Plaintiff’s employment because of her gender, race and family responsibilities and because she made good faith complaints and opposed Defendants’ unlawful conduct,” says the complaint (read it here) filed by Cecilia Hyoun’s lawyer on June 3 in LA Superior Court. “Defendants also falsely claimed that Plaintiff’s position was being eliminated, whereas in truth and in fact a subordinate male employee with vastly less experience than Plaintiff was promoted to her position,” adds the complaint of her June 1, 2011, dismissal from The Muppets. Hyoun is seeking compensatory damages to be determined by the court in a jury trial for her lost wages, sick pay, and vacation pay. Hyoun started work on The Muppets in the fall of 2010 and claims she even turned down another job at Paramount because she expected to be working on the film until November of 2011. Claiming that Thomas made negative comments about her race, the postproduction vet is also seeking punitive damages and mental and emotional distress damages as well as interest and legal … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: A former Senior Financial Analyst at Walt Disney Pictures today launched a class action suit against the company over overtime pay and Labor Code violations. However, this lawsuit (read it here), filed in LA Superior Court this afternoon, could all be over very soon according to one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys. “Although the lawsuit was filed today, the parties have reached a tentative agreement, subject to Court approval, to resolve the dispute without an admission of liability on the part of Disney. We will be seeking court approval of the Settlement in the near future,” Dennis Moss told Deadline today. In the suit Katherine Clay, on behalf of 30 former and current employees of the company, seeks various levels of damages for each plaintiff class member up to $4000 depending how long they worked at Walt Disney Pictures. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Walt Disney Pictures has set up a remake of the 1984 film The Flamingo Kid, and it will be produced by Brett Ratner’s Rat Entertainment and Michael Phillips’ Lighthouse Productions. Nzingha Stewart, who has directed videos by Jay-Z and 50 Cent and whose film credits include For Colored Girls, has been set to write the script. Ratner, Phillips and Juliana Maio will produce; Rat Entertainment’s John Cheng is exec producer.
Directed by Garry Marshall, the original is one I remember fondly, with Matt Dillon playing a high school grad who gets a job at the Flamingo Club and finds himself mentored by the club’s owner. He soon disdains his own blue collar origins for the beach club where the rich and privileged come to play, but it all comes at a high price and the kid smartens up.
Heard of Ratner, but I haven’t heard Phillips’ name that much since he produced Taxi Driver, The Sting and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind with his late ex-wife, Julia Phillips. Well, he produced the original The Flamingo Kid. Stewart is repped by WME and manager Neda Niroumand.
Disney sent a message to thousands of financial analysts and Wall Street types aimed at drawing their attention to about-to-bomb $250M-budget John Carter even though it’s looking like a $100 million writeoff. Talk about tone deaf. “The best part is the subject line of the email. Disney obviously hasn’t noticed that The Lorax came out last weekend.” Enjoy:
From: Walt Disney Pictures
Date: March 8, 2012 2:47:10 PM EST
Subject: See “The First Blockbuster of the Year” tomorrow: Get Tickets Today
EXCLUSIVE: Former EVP Music/Creative Marketing Glen Lajeski filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court today alleging breach of contract. It claims that he was terminated without warning or explanation by Walt Disney Pictures 2 years before his employment pact was due to expire and without providing him any opportunity to cure.
Lajeski began working for Disney in 1996 as VP of Music Marketing. Among his credits, he spearheaded the unexpected success of the Coen Brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack which won Grammy and Country Music awards. He also had success with soundtracks for films like Coyote Ugly, Pirates Of The Caribbean, Dangerous Minds, and Armageddon. Lajeski’s lawsuit says that early success prompted top execs to request his services on music marketing for the animation and direct-to-video film divisions. That’s when his work on the Cars soundtrack went platinum. Soon Lajeski was responsible for “initiating a new system of coordination among all the divisions at Disney using music (including live action, music publishing, record labels, animation, ABC-TV, and Direct-To-Video) in order ti make communications between the divisions more efficient and cost effective and reducing unnecessary overlap between divisions. This initiative resulting in sigbnificant savings for Disney and has been studio-wide ever since.” Based on his continuing success, Lajeski was promoted to EVP and entered into the first of several multi-year employment agreements with Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production.
Lajeski’s most recent employment contract with Disney began on January 2, 2008 and wasn’t supposed to expire until January 1, 2013.
EXCLUSIVE: Walt Disney Pictures has acquired The Runner, a pitch for a futuristic science fiction film that will be written by Dave Andron as a potential directing vehicle for Marc Forster. Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer is producing with Forster’s Apparatus Entertainment partner Brad Simpson. Andron hatched the NBC reinvention of Knight Rider, and he’s supervising producer of the FX series Justified.
The premise: In the year 2027, Earth’s surface has been rendered uninhabitable due to a devastating attack. A group of survivors living in the Rocky Mountains have discovered a way to send a man back in time. While the volunteer departs under the guise of trying to stop the devastating attack, he has an ulterior motive: to save the love of his life. The concept was hatched by Andron with Blacklight Transmedia. Grazer’s Imagine made a first-look deal with that company, which develops big idea concepts on multiple platforms. In this case, The Runner will be simultaneously developed for TV, video game, graphic novel, and for interactive content for hand held and mobile devices. Disney will be involved in all those other platforms. Blacklight’s Zak Kadison will also produce and his partner Eric Lieb will be executive producer. Imagine’s Erica Huggins is overseeing the project with Disney’s Brigham Taylor and Tonia Davis.
Disney production president Sean Bailey bought the pitch, another original big idea with a cutting-edge filmmaker for the … Read More »
Walt Disney Pictures has tapped Ken Caldwell as SVP of theatrical sales for North America and Jeff Forman as SVP of theatrical sales for international, upping the pair to be key members of new distribution boss David Hollis’ team. In July, Hollis, EVP of theatrical exhibition sales and distribution, takes over the duties of division president Chuck Viane, who announced in January that he is retiring after 25 years.