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 … 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:
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, … Read More »
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 … 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 … Read More »
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 … Read More »
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 … 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 … 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 … Read More »