Christopher Walken, Helena Bonham Carter & More Join David Hare’s ‘Page Eight’ Sequels

Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films and BBC Two are partnering on the final two TV movies in writer/director David Hare’s The Worricker Trilogy. The first installment, Page Eight, aired in 2011 on BBC Two and PBS and starred Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon and Judy Davis. Nighy will reprise his role as British intelligence officer Johnny Worricker for parts two and three, respectively titled Turks & Caicos and Salting The Battlefield. Fiennes also returns for both. Turks & Caicos is adding Christopher Walken, Winona Ryder, Helena Bonham Carter, Ewen Bremner, James Naughton, Dylan Baker and Zach Grenier. Davis, who was nominated for a supporting actress Emmy for Page Eight, will return for Salting The Battlefield as will Bonham Carter and Bremner along with Saskia Reeves, Kate Burdette and Malcolm Sinclair.

Page Eight, which closed the Toronto Film Festival in 2011, saw Worricker uncover a plot to turn control of MI5 directly over to the prime minister after the head of the organization’s death. Part two will pick up after Worricker leaves his MI5 post and heads to Turks & Caicos where the CIA forces him to deal with a group of ambiguous Americans who are on the islands for a high-level conference. At the same time, an old girlfriend is being asked to betray her boss in London in order to establish an illicit connection between the prime minister and dark goings-on in the war on terror. Salting The Battlefield sees Worricker and the girlfriend on the run from MI5 until Worricker returns home to confront the prime minister in a duel of wits. Read More »

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Venice: Michael Cimino Raises New ‘Heaven’s Gate’, ‘The Iceman’ Cometh

“Being infamous is not fun. It becomes a weird occupation in and of itself.” Michael Cimino spoke those words at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday as he introduced a digitally remastered version of Heaven’s Gate. One of the most notorious box office flops of all time, the film is credited with contributing to the demise of United Artists and halting the auteur movement of 70s Hollywood. Cimino was coming off Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for The Deer Hunter when Heaven’s Gate came out in 1980 and cratered his career. On the Lido Thursday to accept a life achievement award along with debuting the updated pic, he said he at first didn’t want to revisit it, “I’ve had enough rejection for 33 years.” Cimino oversaw the digital remastering and said technology had advanced enough that seeing it now was like seeing a new movie. It’s also a longer movie. The new version runs 216 minutes.

Meanwhile, a lot of heat surrounded Ariel Vroman’s out of competition title, The Iceman. Michael Shannon has drawn great notices for his take on real-life contract killer/family man Richard Kuklinski. Reaction was also positive for strong performances by Winona Ryder and Ray Liotta. Ryder, who’ll next be seen in Gary Fleder’s Homefront, said she’s scaling back on work in general. “I want to have a good life and so a film has to be pretty great to make me want to leave my life. I’m not in a place where I want to keep working just to work,” she said. Read More »

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Winona Ryder To Play Killer’s Wife In Indie ‘The Iceman’

By | Monday December 12, 2011 @ 3:33pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Winona Ryder has just committed to star with Michael Shannon and Chris Evans in The Iceman, the Ariel Vromen-directed drama based on the Anthony Bruno book about Richard Kuklinski, a family man who secretly carried out contract … Read More »

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‘The Greatest Salesman In The World’ In Movie Mode

By | Friday October 28, 2011 @ 9:30am PDT
Mike Fleming

Waterstone Entertainment has optioned screen rights to Og Mandino’s bestselling self-help book The Greatest Salesman In The World into a feature film. This is a book that has sold over 25 million copies. Waterstone, which just wrapped the James Franco-Winona … Read More »

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KatzSmith Duo Makes First-Look Warner Bros Deal; Will Bring ‘Beetlejuice’ Back From Dead

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: KatzSmith Productions partners David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith have just signed a two-year first-look feature producing deal at Warner Bros. While rights are still being worked out, one of their first projects is expected to be a sequel to … Read More »

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James Franco, Winona Ryder Pic ‘The Stare’ Launches Waterstone Entertainment Label

By | Monday April 18, 2011 @ 10:59am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: James Franco will star with Winona Ryder in The Stare, a Jay Anania-directed film that is the first project funded by Waterstone Entertainment, a new producing/financing company formed by producer Jeff Kalligheri and Texas real estate developer and producer Steve Bowen.

Waterstone intends to generate projects it develops and has several other projects percolating, including two that will be produced by Franco (one he’ll direct) and his Rabbit Bandini partner Vince Jolivette. Waterstone’s core business will be to build a distribution business through a partnership it will strike with an independent distributor, Kalligheri said. Waterstone will put up minimum guarantees on films, and will also be looking for structured finance opportunities on films that are in the works. Kalligheri said he will be meeting with potential strategic partner distributors at Cannes, with Waterstone repped by Gersh’s head of Packaging and Finance, Jay Cohen. Bowen has funded several projects but no hits and is looking to step it up. Kalligheri had most recently been president of production at Queen Nefertari Productions, which had been been developing Adrenaline for Entourage’s Kevin Connolly to direct. Read More »

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Tim Burton Finds His ‘Frankenweenie’ Cast

By | Monday September 20, 2010 @ 3:10pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Tim Burton is going to familiar people to voice cast Frankenweenie, Burton’s stop motion animated Disney feature based on his 1984 short about a man who reanimates his dog after it gets hit by a car. Burton has … Read More »

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Venice Confirms ‘Black Swan’ As Opener

Darren Aronofsky’s ballet psychological thriller will open the 67th Venice International Film Festival on September 1. Natalie Portman stars as a ballerina who finds herself locked in a web of competitive intrigue with new rival Mila Kunis. Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder also star in the Fox Searchlight … Read More »

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