EXCLUSIVE: Before they return to dystopian Panem this fall in Lionsgate’s Mockingjay, sources say Hunger Games co-stars Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson will head West to shoot revenge action thriller By Way Of Helena. Aussie filmmaker Kieran Darcy-Smith (Wish You Were Here) is directing from the script by Matt Cook that made the 2009 Black List. Hemsworth will star as David, an 1880s Texas Ranger sent to an isolated frontier town to investigate a series of mysterious murders. There he squares off against Harrelson as a local preacher named Abraham who holds the townsfolk in a fearful grip.
Pic should be a treat for Hunger Games fans since Hemsworth and Harrelson’s characters haven’t yet shared the screen in the Lionsgate franchise. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: True Detective star Woody Harrelson has joined the cast of Triple Nine, the John Hillcoat-directed heist thriller which begins production this summer. Open Road Films pre-bought domestic distribution rights just prior to Berlin and has pledged to give the film a wide release next year. Harrelson will play Sergeant Detective Jeffrey Allen, the uncle to the cop played by Casey Affleck. Those two meshed together well last fall in Out Of The Furnace. Harrelson joins Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Winslet, Fruitvale Station’s Michael B. Jordan, Breaking Bad and Need For Speed‘s Aaron Paul, Warm Bodies’ Teresa Palmer, and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman in the Batman Vs. Superman film). Matt Cook scripted the thriller, in which a crew of dirty cops is blackmailed by the Russian mob to execute a virtually impossible heist. The only way to pull it off is to manufacture a 999, police code for “officer down”. Their plan is turned upside down when the unsuspecting rookie they set up to die foils the attack, triggering a breakneck, action-packed finale filled with double-crosses, greed and revenge. Worldview is financing and the film is produced by Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin, Keith Redmon, and Bard Dorros, along with Sierra/Affinity. Paul Green is exec producer. Harrelson, who is finishing The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, is repped by CAA.
An average of 2.6 million viewers watched the drama anthology, which this season stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, at 9 PM, besting the premiere’s previous high of 2.3 mil on January 12. Across its three plays for the night, True Detective was watched by 3.6 million viewers – also a series high. Season-to-date, the series cops an average gross audience of 10.9 million viewers. Girls, which followed at 10 PM, averaged 916,000 viewers in its slot, and, for the night tallied 1.3 million viewers. The Lena Dunham starrer has an average gross audience of 4.3 million viewers season-to-date. NBC announced this morning Dunham will make her guest-hosting debut on Saturday Night Live on March 8.
For the third week in a row, HBO’s Lookingfound another series high at 10:30 PM with 519,000 viewers, up 54% from the series premiere. Across all Sunday night plays, Looking attracted 749,000 viewers. Season-to-date, Looking has an average gross audience of 2 million viewers .
It may be the ultimate anti-buddy show, but True Detective stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were in full bromance mode today in Pasadena. “I love Matthew, my brother, a phenomenal amazing person,” said Harrelson of his co-star. “Woody and I, part of why we’re friends is that we get on each other’s frequencies,” added McConaughey. Amidst much laughter and in-jokes, the actors were joined on the TCA stage at the first of HBO‘s panels by Michelle Monaghan, who plays Harrelson’s character’s wife; EP/writer Nic Pizzolatto; and EP/director Cary Fukunaga. “I love Michelle,” Harrelson said. “I’ve known her many many years. Cary’s a terrific director, and Nic wrote this amazing script I couldn’t put down.”
Set to debut on Sunday, the eight-episode series stars McConaughey and Harrelson as Louisiana state police detectives Rust Cohle and Martin Hart. The two are partnered up in the mid-1990s on what appears to be an occult-themed serial killer case. True Detective toggles between 1995 and modern day as two contemporary detectives reopen the case of almost 20 years beforehand. Under that dark premise, the antagonistic relationship between McConaughey’s Cohle (a former undercover narcotics cop suffering from hallucinations, social disconnection and an obsessive sense of duty) and Harrelson’s Hart (a hard-drinking philanderer but more by-the-book officer) makes up the heart of the show. “I can’t imagine anyone playing that part better,” said Harrelson of McConaughey. “It was different than any other part I’ve seen him play before, and he knocked it out of the park.” Still, McConaughney rejected the idea of doing more episodes. “It’s contained, that’s it,” he responded to a question from the audience.
EXCLUSIVE: Between nightly guild screenings and the AFI Fest, you could go to theaters all over Hollywood, throw a rock, and probably hit a great director or actor. One I’m intrigued by is Scott Cooper, whose debut Crazy Heart drew an Oscar for Jeff Bridges and a nomination for Maggie Gyllenhaal. His follow-up Out Of The Furnace threatens to do the same for a stellar ensemble cast of Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard. What’s fascinating is Cooper spent years knocking around as an actor, hoping for but never getting the kinds of roles he writes for other actors. He discusses that with Deadline along with the high price of truthful writing, the role of luck, fate and ’70s films in his process, and how painful violence in serious films imprints on a gun-crazy society.
Deadline: It would have been hard to think of you in any other context than a struggling actor when you made your directorial debut on Crazy Heart. You put your on-camera background to good use, helping Bridges and Gyllenhaal to career performances. Scripts start coming your way and you latch onto The Low Dweller, the big-money Brad Ingelsby spec that stalled when Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio dropped out. Why did you choose it as the template for Out Of The Furnace? Scott Cooper: I had very unremarkable career as an actor and wrote a very personal story in Crazy Heart. Robert Duvall, a mentor and close friend who let me get married on his farm, produced my first film and to have a guy like, who speaks the language of actors, get behind you was key. That film met with some modest success, and then I’m starting at a pile of scripts after never being offered anything in my life as an actor. I have kids to feed, but I want to stay true to myself. I said no to a lot of scripts that went on to become very good films that shall remain nameless. Ridley and Michael Costigan really loved Crazy Heart and so did the folks at Leo’s Appian Way. They offered me The Low Dweller, which received acclaim around town when Leonardo and Ridley were going to do it. I was in a place where I only wanted to tell personal stories. The script was very well written, but I didn’t want to film some of the themes that coursed through it and said no. They came back and said, why don’t you take carte blanche with it? I do have a brother, and there was this seed in that script that ultimately became the movie. A man gets out of prison and avenges the loss of his brother. From there, I personalized my life and turned it into something I felt would resonate. Read More »
HBO made it official: Matthew McConaughey/Woody Harrelson‘s new HBO series True Detectiveswill premiere on Sunday, January 12 at 9 PM, after which Girls will return for its third season. And, the network’s new Looking debuts Sunday, January 19 at 10:30 PM. True Detectives stars McConaughey and Harrelson as Louisiana detectives Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, whose lives collide and entwine during a 17-year hunt for a killer, ranging from the original investigation of a bizarre murder in 1995 to the reopening of the case in 2012. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sensing it has a movie that can create heat during Oscar season, Relativity is moving the Scott Cooper-directed revenge thriller Out Of The Furnace from October 4 to a limited release on November 27, expanding that run beginning December 6th. The film stars Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard and Willem Dafoe. Crazy Heart helmer Cooper wrote the script with Brad Ingelsby. Bale plays a simple man in a blue collar job at the local steel mill, who cares for his terminally ill father at night. His brother (Affleck) returns from Iraq and falls in with a ruthless crime ring. When he disappears, that simple man takes matters into his own hands, and sets out to seek justice for his sibling. Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Killoran produced with Scott Free’s Ridley Scott, with Michael Costigan also producing with Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh. This has been a hot project since Ingelsby first sold the spec in a big money deal that came with DiCaprio attached to star and Scott to direct. The elements have shifted, but the Cormac McCarthy-style stark and simple revenge tale element has remained intact.
Relativity production president Robbie Brenner said that Cooper “has made a powerful, moving and brilliant film that we think will generate a tremendous amount of conversation and attention during this awards season. We are confident that this new date will give Scott’s … Read More »
Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Tom Waits, Olga Kurylenko, Zeljko Ivanek and Gabourey Sidibe figure in this CBS Films tale that revolves around an LA gangster’s dognapped Shih Tzu. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths opens October 12th:
EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, True Detective, an eight-part event drama series project starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, has landed at HBO with a straight-to-series order. I hear the pay cable network is finalizing a deal for an eight-episode order to the high-concept cop drama written on spec by Nic Pizzolatto, with Cary Fukunaga (Jane Eyre) on board to direct all episodes.
True Detective, which sparked heated bidding after it was taken out to the top cable networks earlier this month, is descried as an elevated serial narrative with multiple perspectives and time frames. It centers on two detectives, Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Harrelson), whose lives collide and entwine during a seventeen-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana. The investigation of a bizarre murder in 1995 is framed and interlaced with testimony from the detectives in 2012, when the case has been reopened. The concept is for the 8-episode first season to resolve the mystery at hand, with subsequent seasons using same structure but new characters and story. True Detective is gearing up to start production right away. It is ready to do so with director and stars already on board as well as two written episodes and a bible, which were part of the project’s pitch. Anonymous Content, which manages Pizzolatto and Fukunaga, developed True Detective in-house and will be producing the series for HBO. Anonymous president Paul Green negotiated the … Read More »
The Last King of Scotland Oscar winner and Hunger Games star will round out Scott Cooper’s Out of The Furnace, Relativity announced today. Forest Whitaker, as previously reported by Deadline, and Woody Harrelson join Christian Bale, Sam Shepard, Zoe Saldana and Casey Affleck in the Rust Belt crime drama. Whitaker will play Sheriff Wesley Barnes of the mill town of Braddock, PA. Harrelson plays local crime boss Harlan DeGroat. Out of the Furnace is the first film by Scott Cooper since 2009’s Crazy Heart. As well as directing, Cooper wrote the script based on an earlier version by Brad Ingleseby entitled The Low Dwellers. The film, which actually started principle photography today in Pennsylvania, tracks Bale as an ex-con and Affleck as his brothers as they are thrust deep into the violent criminal underworld. Relativity will distribute Out of the Furnace in the U.S. LA-based production-financing-sales company Red Granite will handle international sales in Cannes net month. Producers are Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Killoran, Scott Free’s Ridley Scott, Tony Scott and Michael Costigan plus Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh.
EXCLUSIVE: A hot event cop drama project is hitting the cable marketplace. Written by Nic Pizzolatto, the 8-part series has Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson attached to star and Cary Fukunaga (Jane Eyre) to direct all the episodes. Titled True Detective, it is descried as an elevated serial narrative with multiple perspectives and time frames. It centers on two detectives, Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Harrelson), whose lives collide and entwine during a seventeen-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana. The investigation of a bizarre murder in 1995 is framed and interlaced with testimony from the detectives in 2012, when the case has been reopened. The concept is for the 8-episode first season to resolve the mystery at hand, with subsequent seasons using same structure but new characters and story. I hear that, in addition to the assembled team of a writer, director and stars, the pitch for True Detective includes two written episodes and a bible. Anonymous Content, which manages both Pizzolatto and Fukunaga, developed the project in-house and is producing. Anonymous’ Richard Brown, Steve Golin and Bard Dorros are executive producing with Pizzolatto and Fukunaga.
This is the first TV collaboration for best friends McConaughey and Harrelson who have done two features together, Edtv and Surfer, Dude. For McConaughey, this marks the first regular TV series gig, for Harrelson, it marks a return to the medium where he became a household name … Read More »
Oren Moverman’s corrupt LA cop drama Rampart stars Woody Harrelson, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon. Millennium Entertainment plans to launch Best Actor, Director and Screenplay campaigns for Harrelson and Moverman.
EXCLUSIVE: Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits and Olga Kurylenko have joined Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken in Seven Psychopaths. Directed and scripted by In Bruges’ Martin McDonagh, the film began production this week in Los Angeles. CBS Films is co-financing and distributing in the U.S.
Farrell plays a screenwriter who struggles to find the handle on his script, called Seven Psychopaths. He gets drawn into the dog-napping escapades of his friends (played by Rockwell and Walken). Once the beloved Shih Tzu owned by a psychopathic gangster (Harrelson) goes missing, the screenwriter finds himself fueled with all the drama he needs for his screenplay, if he can stay alive long enough to write it all down. The film’s produced by Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin, with Tessa Ross exec producing. It’s a production of Blueprint Pictures, and Film4 is co-financing with the BFI Film Fund and CBS Films. Hanway Films is handling foreign sales. Mickey Rourke, who had been in negotiations for a role, never closed a deal and will not be in the picture. Harrelson and Kurylenko are repped by CAA, Waits by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Dave Franco has joined the cast of Now You See Me, which is his second straight movie for Summit Entertainment. Franco joins Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman and Isla Fisher in the Louis Leterrier-directed drama about a team of FBI agents that track a group of illusionists pulling off daring bank heists during their performances. Franco plays one of the Four Horsemen, as the illusionists bill themselves. Franco, the younger brother of 127 Hours star James Franco, is currently shooting Warm Bodies for Summit opposite Nicholas Hoult, John Malkovich and Teresa Palmer. Franco will next be seen starring in 21 Jump Street with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, which Sony releases March 16. Miles Levy and Paradigm made his deal.
EXCLUSIVE: Millennium Entertainment is putting Woody Harrelson into the Best Actor Oscar race this year, closing a $2 million U.S. rights acquisition of Rampart. That is the Oren Moverman-directed police corruption drama that Moverman wrote with L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy. The plan is to open in 20 cities and launch campaigns for Harrelson and for Moverman for Best Director and Screenplay. A deal for Canadian rights is expected to close shortly. Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee made the deal, and Millennium Films’ Mark Gill will be a consultant on this and get to roll up his sleeves and wage an awards-season campaign for Harrelson, who drew raves at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival for his portrayal of a corrupt cop in a drama that also stars Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon. The 1990s Los Angeles police family drama explores the dark soul and misadventures of an LAPD cop whose past finally catches up with him in a department-wide corruption scandal. Read More »
Was the 2011 Toronto Film Festival a good one for dealmaking? Even after organizers announced a 20% uptick in film deals last Friday (the festival includes foreign territories in its count), the sales kept coming. A long-expected deal with Lionsgate on the Jennifer Westfeldt-directed comedy Friends With Kids finally got done (in partnership with Roadside Attractions, which will actually release the film), and Music Box announced overnight it had acquired the Rachel Weisz-starrer The Deep Blue Sea. Lionsgate was hotly pursuing another film, the Midnight Madness sensation You’re Next, which of all the festival films seems to have the best chance of approaching the box office turned in by Toronto 2010’s breakout Insidious. There have been about 20 acquisitions so far and that many more could come in the next few weeks.
Still, can you call the Toronto acquisitions marketplace “solid” when no films have been bought so far by The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics, Focus Features, or Fox Searchlight (yeah, I revealed that they bought Shame during Toronto, but it was a deal all but sealed in Venice), or for that matter FilmDistrict, Open Road or Relativity Media, each of which jumped into the distribution business to release films that can play on upwards of 2000 screens? Buyers and sellers said it was a pretty good festival at least. One filled with mostly small deals and a show of distributor discipline that is a positive sign for an indie film sector that just started pulling out of a nosedive this time last year. Read More »
Last year’s Toronto Film Festival started slow for acquisitions, but finished with a flurry of modest distribution deals that served notice the specialty film business had finally pulled out of its nosedive. This year’s festival hasn’t started and already there are fireworks. Deadline broke news yesterday that Harvey Weinstein would start a VOD business, making the acquisitions market for fringe films more competitive; and last night, I heard that a bidding battle had already broken out for the Steve McQueen-directed Shame, which should be sold by the time it screens Sunday. Fox Searchlight is the favorite, Sony Pictures Classics is in the mix and I’ve heard that The Weinstein Company is hovering. Bidding began right after its Telluride screening, and the mid-six figures thrown around yesterday will probably go higher. That’s huge, considering the movie is an unabashed NC-17, McQueen has final cut, and the sex-obsessed protagonist is unlikable. Oh, yeah, and the sellers want it released this year for Oscar consideration to capitalize on Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan’s Oscar-caliber performances.
Does this mean we’re in for a drunken buying frenzy? Hardly, buyers tell me. They are eager to see the films, but say there’s no title here that’s going to guarantee somebody will overpay. They are also mindful that many of last year’s deals turned out to be box office busts. More deals will be made than … Read More »
UPDATE: I originally posted a trailer for this movie that I found on Youtube, and the Deadline commenters have spent the day beating it like it owed them money. The producers have appealed to my sense of fair play because, they said, the trailer was an early sales tool that doesn’t reflect the quality of the finished film. So I’ve pulled the trailer.
EXCLUSIVE: ARC Entertainment is teaming with Barry Gordon’s XLrator Media to acquire U.S. distribution rights to Bunraku, the Guy Moshe-directed martial arts action film that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last fall. The film stars Josh Hartnett, Ron Perlman, Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson, Kevin McKidd, Jordi Molla, Gackt Camui and Shun Sugata.
Hartnett plays a mysterious drifter who arrives in town the same time as a young Japanese warrior (Gackt). The town has been poisoned by criminal elements, and each man moves along toward separate missions, advised by the bartender (Harrelson) at the Horseless Horseman Saloon. Eventually the two strangers team to take on the town kingpin (Perlman) and his femme fatale companion (Moore). The film’s produced by Snoot Entertainment’s Keith Calder and Jessica Wu, along with Picturesque Films’ Nava Levin, and Ram Bergman. Production designer Alex McDowell co-produced. Calder and Wu are producers on the Morgan Spurlock documentary POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. “Bunraku’s visually dazzling world melds Samurai films, spaghetti westerns, … Read More »
Woody Harrelson has joined Julianne Moore and Ed Harris in HBO Films’ Game Change, produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone. The movie, directed by Jay Roach, follows John McCain’s (Harris) 2008 presidential campaign, from his selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (Moore) as his running mate to their ultimate defeat in the general election. Harrelson will play Steve Schmidt, McCain’s senior campaign strategist and adviser.
Based on the bestselling book Game Change, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, the film is directed by Roach and written by Danny Strong, whose previous collaboration was HBO’s Recount, about the 2000 Florida recount. Playtone is producing in association with Roach’s Everyman Pictures, with Hanks, Goetzman and Roach executive producing. Strong serves as co-executive producer.