EXCLUSIVE: A major shakeup has gone down at Worldview Entertainment, and CEO Christopher Woodrow has exited abruptly amidst allegations of personal misconduct. I don’t have much more than that at this moment, but COO Molly Conners has taken the reins as acting CEO of the New York-based financing and production company. She and recently appointed Motion Picture Group president Clifford Werber will continue to oversee Worldview films that are in production and release, as well as future films. Those changes were made with the support of lead investors and the board and management team at Worldview.
This is a shocker. With Woodrow at its helm, Worldview has quickly emerged as an up and coming backer of taste-maker fare, and they were very visible and busy at the Cannes Film Festival. The company just made a five-year co-fi deal with The Weinstein Company, and the projects Worldview is involved in are major. They include the Daniel Espinosa-directed Child 44, the Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu-directed Birdman, Warren Beatty’s Howard Hughes movie, the Leonardo DiCaprio-starrer The Revenant, the Helen Mirren-starrer The Woman In Gold, and David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn.
It sounds like the company plans to pick the pace right up, but there will clearly be more to this story and we’ll reveal it when the details become evident.
After finding success with its first documentary, the Oscar-nominated The Square, Worldview Entertainment has come aboard to finance and produce 52, about the search for the loneliest whale on the planet. Joshua Zeman is directing the film from his own treatment, centered on the real life whale that’s been recorded sending out calls at a pitch of 52 Hertz – a sonic frequency no other individual whale has ever been documented at, leading some to believe he/she is the only one of its kind and has been sending the unreturned sonic message out into the vast ocean expanse for decades. Entourage‘s Adrian Grenier is producing for his Reckless Productions label with Alldayeveryday’s Lucy Cooper and Zeman for his Gigantic Pictures. Pic will be exec produced by Worldview’s Christopher Woodrow, Molly Conners, Sarah E. Johnson and Maria Cestone. Filming is set to begin this Fall with a seven-week expedition into the Pacific. Worldview recently signed a five-year multi-picture pact with The Weinstein Co. under which it will co-finance TWC pics Tulip Fever, The Woman In Gold, and two more upcoming films and TWC will distribute at least 20 Worldview titles. Read More »
Clifford Werber, a former senior exec at 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros, has been tapped as president of the motion picture group for Worldview Entertainment, an indie that finances, produces and acquires feature films which has a five-year multi-pic partnership with The Weinstein Company. Werber will report to Worldview’s chairman and CEO Christopher Woodrow and COO Molly Conners.
Werber worked for many years in structuring financial deals at the studios and is well-known around town and on the major festival circuits like the Cannes Film Festival. He coordinated equity film financing deals with companies such as Alcon Entertainment, Village Roadshow Pictures and Morgan Creek Prods, Lightstorm Entertainment at Warner Bros, and Lightstorm Entertainment at Fox. He’s adept at production and finance deals and understands the international markets well. Read More »
The Artist helmer Michel Hazanavicius just inked actresses Bérénice Bejo and Annette Bening for his next film, a Chechnya-set adaptation of 1948 Oscar-winner The Search. Now Worldview Entertainment has snagged North American rights to the pic, which follows an NGO worker who bonds with a small boy who’s been separated from his mother in the war-torn nation. Filming is underway now overseas in Georgia and will next head to France. Hazanavicius penned the script updating the original tale’s setting from post-WWII Berlin to Eastern Europe. He reunites on the film with his Artist producer Thomas Langmann and leading lady Bejo. Worldview’s Christopher Woodrow, Molly Conners, Maria Cestone and Sarah E. Johnson will executive produce. CAA brokered the deal on behalf of Worldview. Wild Bunch is repping international sales at AFM.
Related: Bérénice Bejo & Annette Bening To Star In ‘The Search’
UPDATE, 6:26 PM: Spike Lee is in early negotiations with producers to direct Spinning Gold, sources say. Foresight Unlimited is selling the the biopic about iconic 1970s record exec Neil Bogart internationally at AFM. Justin Timberlake has long been set to play the flamboyant Bogart in the biopic. Timberlake and Foresight CEO Mark Damon are producing with Laurence Mark and Boardwalk Entertainment’s Timothy Scott Bogart and Gary Randall. Joyce Bogart-Trabulus, Foresight’s Tamara Birkemoe and Envision Entertainment’s Remington Chase, Stepan Martirosyan and Vitaly Grigoriants are EPS on the biopic. At market in Cannes earlier this year, Spinning Gold was acquired by SPWA in Latin America, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Greece. U.S. rights are represented by CAA. Lee, who recently completed his latest film via Kickstarter funding, has the English-language remake of the Korean pic Oldboy out on November 27.
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This is a project that stirred a lot of excitement when it was initially announced in 2010. Writer-director Andrew Dominik was coming off of The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford at the time and then went on to make Killing Them Softly. He is still aboard to direct Blonde, which Worldview Entertainment has now optioned. The fictional biopic of Marilyn Monroe is based on a 700-page imagined memoir written by Joyce Carol Oates. Fans of the book are legion. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 2001, and the prolific Oates has said she thinks it may be the book for which she will be most remembered. Dominik wrote the adaptation. The filmmakers are currently casting (Naomi Watts was originally attached to play Monroe). CAA arranged financing and is packaging. The agency reps Dominik and will handle domestic rights. Wild Bunch is selling internationally. Read More »
Anne Hathaway won an Oscar this year based in part on her performance of one song in Les Misérables. Now she’s starring in Song One which Worldview Entertainment has signed on to finance and produce. The drama is a feature debut for helmer Kate Barker-Froyland who will direct from her own screenplay about a young woman who strikes up a relationship with her ailing brother’s favorite musician. Newly-minted Lotus Entertainment is handling international sales. CAA has domestic. Worldview’s Christopher Woodrow and Molly Conners will produce alongside Hathaway’s Rachel Getting Married producers Marc Platt and Jonathan Demme, with Hathaway herself and Adam Shulman. Worldview’s Maria Cestone, Sarah Johnson Redlich and Hoyt David Morgan will executive produce. Principal photography starts May 29 in New York.
Deadline’s Mike Fleming revealed May 1 that Worldview Entertainment would finance and produce David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn with an offer going out to Al Pacino for the lead role. Pacino has now signed to play A.J. Manglehorn, an aging, ordinary guy in a small town who’s more than meets the eye. Here’s the official release on the title that’s likely to be a hot seller in Cannes:
May 14, 2013 (Cannes)—Academy Award winner Al Pacino has signed on to star in David Gordon Green’s drama, “Manglehorn,” financed and produced by Worldview Entertainment. Pacino will play the lead character of A.J. Manglehorn from a screenplay written by Paul Logan, based on an original story by Green and Logan. This is Worldview’s second collaboration with Green and his production team, following the drama, “Joe,” starring Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage. Worldview CEO, Christopher Woodrow, and COO, Molly Conners, will produce alongside Lisa Muskat and Green. Worldview’s Maria Cestone, Sarah Johnson Redlich and Hoyt David Morgan will executive produce alongside Todd Labrowski, Brad Coolidge and Melissa Coolidge for Dreambridge Films, which is making an investment in the film. Jody Hill and Danny McBride will executive produce for Rough House.
“Manglehorn” is the story of an eccentric man who tries to come to terms with a past crime that cost him the love of his life. Principal photography is scheduled to begin in the early fall in Los Angeles. London-based WestEnd Films will handle international sales and introduce the film to foreign buyers this week in Cannes while CAA, who arranged financing for the film, is repping domestic rights.
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Worldview Entertainment has grabbed U.S. rights from Wild Bunch to the Arnaud Desplechin-directed drama Jimmy P, which stars Benicio Del Toro and makes its debut in competition at Cannes. CAA repped Worldview in the deal, and the financier/producer will partner on the film with a U.S. distributor. That gives Worldview three titles at Cannes with the James Gray-directed The Immigrant and the Guillaume Canet-directed Blood Ties also in the mix.
EXCLUSIVE: Worldview Entertainment has committed to finance and produce Manglehorn, which David Gordon Green will direct from a script he wrote with Paul Logan. I hear they are going out to Al Pacino for the lead role of A.J. Manglehorn, an aging, ordinary guy in a small town who nurses his sick cat, squeezes out a conversation with the local bank teller every Friday, and eats at the same place every day. But there is more to Manglehorn than meets the eye: he’s an ex-con who, 40 years ago, gave up the woman of his dreams for a big “job”. He now obsesses daily over the choices he made. After a dramatic effort to start over, Manglehorn faces a terrifying moment and is unmasked as a guy with a very, very dark past.
This figures to be a hot sales title at Cannes, and in a pitch to potential buyers, Green describes Manglehorn “as the story of a guy who gave up the love of his life for a life of crime and now he regrets it as the world crumbles in front of him. His profession as a locksmith is symbolic of a guy who’s trying to find the key to put his life back together. It’s a love story, the choices you make in your youth and the situations you set up for yourself: you end up sitting alone at the dinner table talking to a cat! I do think there is a beautiful humor in this.” Read More »