Wednesday, January 25, 2012


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Projects Announced
Gabriel Byrne’s Decision A Big “Coup” For Brit Channel 4

“In Treatment” star Gabriel Byrne will make his return to British television after more than 20 years — in a new political thriller from Company Pictures for Channel 4. “Coup,” which will go into production later this year, sees Byrne play a British politician, Tom Dawkins, who finds himself taking on the establishment after a massive industrial accident involving a US petrochemical company rips apart an industrial site in the North of England. The four-part series will be written by Robert Jones, based on the novel by former British MP Chris Mullins, “A Very British Coup,” and will be broadcast by Channel 4 next year.

Selena Gomez Is Getting Her Producer On, And Stuff

Selena Gomez is going to have a movie career no matter how many times she has to hit repeat-peat-peat-peat-peat-peat. She will produce a big-screen adaptation of “The Sky Is Everywhere,” a young adult novel by Jandy Nelson about a high school band geek who has her world torn apart when her older sister dies suddenly. Gomez and her company, July Moon, will develop the film as a star vehicle for the 19-year-old.

Vincent Gallo Doesn’t Want Anyone To “Shoot The Piano Player”

Vincent Gallo has agreed to star in “Don’t Shoot the Piano Player” for Alexandre Nahon who will direct the feature film from his own script. Bleiberg Entertainment is fully financing the film which is based on the David Goodis novel, “Down There,” which was previously adapted into the 1960 film by Francois Truffaut called “Shoot the Piano Player.” In the new flick, the protagonist is a Hollywood composer who loses it all. In the Truffaut version, the story follows a virtuoso pianist who winds up in a bar, frequented by crooks, after his wife commits suicide.

Look Out! Nikki Reed Is About To “Snap”!

Though Nikki Reed is normally found on the edges of the “Twilight” franchise, she’s leaving the sparkly vampire life behind to co-star with Jake Hoffman in “Snap,” a new psychological thriller set in the world of underground Dubstep. Hoffman, last seen in “Barney’s Version,” will play a brilliant yet introverted musician who expresses himself through his musical compositions. His life seems to be opening up a little when he develops a crush on a social worker (Reed). But his demons rise up again when their brief romance peters out, and the results are both shocking and tragic.

Project Updates
Add Daniel Radcliffe To The List Of Allen Ginsberg Portrayers

Things are rolling along well for Daniel Radcliffe’s post-Harry Potter movie career. “The Woman in Black” opens on Feb. 3. And now, the actor has officially signed on for his next film role. Radcliffe will play poet Allen Ginsberg in the independent film, “Kill Your Darlings,” from Killer Films, Benaroya Pictures, and Dontanville/ Frattaroli Management. While Radcliffe has been reportedly in talks for the project since last fall, the actor has avoided confirming his participation in the film costarring Elizabeth Olsen, Dane DeHaan, and Jack Huston.

Looks Like The “Evil Dead” Remake Is In Need Of A New Leading Lady

Looks like Sam Raimi, director Fede Alvarez and the rest of the “Evil Dead” remake gang will need to find themselves a new leading lady. Because, Lily Collins has decided to skip a jaunt to the cabin in the woods because of a scheduling clash. So what’s the clash? The exact reason is unknow, but the most likely suspect is a combo of Collins’ promotional work for upcoming Snow White tale “Mirror Mirror “and filming on novel adaptation “The Mortal Instruments,” which Scott Stewart is setting up to direct.

Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures Won’t Be Co-Financing Steven Soderbergh’s “Side Effects” After All

Just one week after announcing it had signed on with Open Road, the distributors of the film, to co-finance Steven Soderbergh’s psychological thriller, “Side Effects,” Megan Ellison’s Annapurna pictures has backed out of the project (however, Open Road is staying put to distribute the film). But it’s not all gloom and doom for “Side Effects,” though, as Soderbergh’s “Traffic” co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones has just signed onto the project.

Ron Livingston And Lili Taylor “Conjure” A New Collaboration

Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor, both actors who cut their teeth in the indie scene, are in negotiations to join Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga in New Line’s supernatural thriller formerly known as “The Conjuring.” Now under the working title of the “Untitled Warren Files Project,” the script, written by Chad and Carey Hayes, centers on a a husband and wife team of demonologists and psychic investigators who enter the most horrifying case of their career, spirits in a Rhode Island farmhouse. Livingston and Taylor will play a couple who move with their kids to the farmhouse and begin to be haunted.

Liam Hemsworth Embarks On A “Timeless” Journey

“Timeless” is one of those high-concept films that floated around for a while looking for a director to adopt it. Robert Zemeckis flirted with the idea, but then in November 2010, Phillip Noyce entered negotiations to take the job. He’s been in place for a while now and has apparently cast Liam Hemsworth in the lead. The youngest product of the Hemsworth Acting Lab has scored the role of a young man haunted by unresolved issues between himself and his wife, who has tragically died. Instead of attending support groups or moping about the house, he decides to put the money she left him to good, if questionable use – building a time machine so he can journey back and have one last visit with her. We really hope it isn’t just to ask where she left the remote.

Now That The Legal Stuff Is Out Of The Way, “The Crow” Remake Lands A Director

A day after the Weinstein Co. and Relativity Media settled their lawsuit over the movie “The Crow,” Relativity on Tuesday said that it has attached a director and writer to the remake. F. Javier Gutierrez, director of the Spanish-language apocalyptic thriller “Before the Fall,” will direct.

Emma Roberts Seeks To Uncover The “Family Secret”

For a while now, “Lymelife” director Derick Martini has been developing an untitled drama that once went under the name “I Am My Family Secret.” Well, now the name seems to be back in place and Martini has also found the first two pieces of casting for the film, with Emma Roberts and Craig Roberts signing on. Secret focuses on two brothers who are very different. They realize it might have something to do with a shocking, life-altering mystery that their parents have been hiding from them for more than 20 years.

Pilot Season
The CW Orders The “First Cut”

The CW is investing in another female-driven light-hearted doctor project. The network has given pilot orders to “First Cut,” a drama with comedic elements revolving around a newly minted doctor, excited to leave her nerdy past behind for a fresh start in the adult professional world who learns that life at the hospital where she works isn’t much different than her high school experience. From CBS Television Studios, “Gossip Girl” scribe Jennie Snyder Urman will pen the project and executive produce alongside “Pushing Daisies’” Dan Jinks.

Bill Lawrence Gets One Of His Projects Picked Up

Fox wants to play a game of Penny Can. The network has picked up to pilot one of two projects “Cougar Town’”s Bill Lawrence has in the works this development season: “Like Father” a single-camera comedy inspired by his relationship with his father. Lawrence will write, direct and executive produce the Warner Bros. Television project, with Doozer topper Jeff Ingold on board to executive produce.

The “Beauty And The Beast” Are Really Popular Amongst TV Networks

ABC is making it a pair of “Beauty and the Beast” reboots this pilot season. The female-skewing network is moving forward with its reimagining of the classic fairy tale set in a mythical, dangerous world where a beautiful and tough princess discovers an unlikely connection with a mysterious beast. “Human Target” scribe Jonathan E. Steinberg will pen the project with Gary Fleder and Mary Beth Basile attached to executive produce the ABC Studios project through their Mojo Films shingle. It also marks the second “Beauty and the Beast” project ordered to pilot this month, joining the CW’s modern-day take on the 1980s CBS drama that starred Ron Perlman as Vincent and Linda Hamilton as Catherine.

HBO Snoops Around “The Viagra Diaries”

Yet more good news if you’re glad to see “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig getting lots of work in the wake of the hit comedy – he’s just landed yet another gig, signing on to direct a new comedy pilot for HBO called “The Viagra Diaries.” Created by former “Sex And The City” overseer Darren Star, the show will star Goldie Hawn as a 65-year-old woman whose husband has what can only be described as a later-life crisis and leaves her. Suddenly single for the first time in 35 years, the plot will follow how Hawn’s character deals with her new situation.

Acquisitions/Film Festivals
Now That Focus Forward Has Premiered, It’s Contest Time!

A day after premiering five short films on Vimeo, GE and CINELAN have announced the Focus Forward Filmmaker Challenge and plan to award $200,000 in cash prizes to the top five entries in the professionally juried Challenge, with $100,000 going to the Grand Prize Winner. The Filmmaker Challenge is an expansion of the “Focus Forward – Short Films, Big Ideas,” a series of 30 three-minute nonfiction films developed by leading documentary filmmakers about the incredible human power of ideas and invention that will screen at prestigious film festivals globally, followed by day-and-date distribution online to millions of viewers. The initiative was first announced at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. Enter the contest here.

“For a Good Time, Call…” Focus Features

Focus Features made its first buy at Sundance, paying some $2 million to beat out rival bidders to acquire worldwide rights to first-time director Jamie Travis’s “For a Good Time, Call…” The film, which had its world premiere this week in Park City, is a timely comedy about two young women with little in common who room together in New York. When the reserved Lauren finds out that Katie, her roommate, works part-time as a phone-sex operator, the two strike up a friendship and a business partnership to boot, starting their own 1-900 business.

Fox Searchlight Has A Close Encounter With “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

After days of speculation, Fox Searchlight has acquired U.S. rights to “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Benh Zeitlin’s feature debut has been the talk of the festival since it premiered last Friday; at one point five companies vied to buy it. The film, which follows an intrepid six-year-old’s life in the southern Delta with her father, is in the US Dramatic Competition section and is a strong contender for end-of-festival awards.

Sony Pictures Classics Gets Into A Complicated Relationship With “Celeste & Jesse Forever”

Sony Pictures Classics has announced that they’ve bought the North American, Latin American and Eastern European rights to “Celeste & Jesse Forever.” Directed by Lee Toland Krieger and starring Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Emma Roberts and Elijah Wood, the film follows a young couple, Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg), as they get divorced but try to stay best friends.

Fox Searchlight Surrogates “The Surrogate”

Based-in-fact drama “The Surrogate,” from veteran, but unheralded writer-director Ben Lewin, bowed Monday at Sundance to enormous acclaim, particularly for the central performances, from festival favorite John Hawkes and long-absent Oscar-winner Helen Hunt. The film tells the story of Mark O’Brien,  a writer and poet crippled by polio, who sets out at the age of 38 to lose his virginity, with the help of his priest and the surrogate of the title. And Fox Searchlight have been paying attention. In the biggest deal yet to close at the festival, and after an allegedly fierce bidding war, they’ve picked up worldwide rights to the film for around the $6 million mark.

Four Lucky Ducks Just Won An Award At Sundance

Four filmmakers have been selected to receive the 2012 Sundance Institute’s Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award: Etienne Kallos, for “Vrystaat” (”Free State”) from South Africa; Ariel Kleiman for “Partisan” from Australia; Dominga Sotomayor, for “Late To Die Young” from Chile; and Shonali Bose, “Margarita. With A Straw” from India. Each filmmaker receives a cash award of $10,000 in addition to attendance at the Sundance Film Festival, year-round mentoring from Institute staff and creative advisors, participation in a Feature Film Program Lab and ongoing creative and strategic support. The Mahindra Group is one of India’s largest industrial conglomerates. The three-year partnership includes the establishment of the Mumbai Mantra/Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab in India, which provides development for eight Indian screenwriters.

Business/Legal News
Lionsgate Keeps Making The Moves For The Hispanic Market

Lionsgate is making another push into the stateside Hispanic market. On the heels of its 2010 Pantelion film pact, Lionsgate and Televisa announced Tuesday that it is forming a programming and development partnership for the small screen as well. The news comes as the U.S.-based Hispanic demographic, a population of more than 50 million, is poised to grow four times faster than the remainder of the country’s population.

A Brave New World? Univision Introducing Some English

Univision, the Spanish language broadcaster that already frequently attracts viewers who put it along side top U.S. networks in the ratings, is moving to cross over even more among bilingual and English language viewers. It will shortly begin to offer the option of closed captions in English for all of its primetime programming, according to Cesar Conde, president of Univision Networks, who spoke Tuesday at NATPE. Conde also said that by the end of this year Univision Corporation will expand from its current offerings on three networks to 12 networks, many of them more targeted than the typical network which goes after a very wide audience.

Industry Moves
DreamWorks Animation Has A Top Development Guy

DreamWorks Animation said Tuesday that it has promoted Gregg Taylor to the post of head of development for the studio. Taylor, who previously served as a senior development and production executive, overseeing DreamWorks Animation’s expanding franchise properties, will oversee the development of all projects at the studio. The role he is taking over was previously held by Alex Schwartz who after four years in the position will serve as a producer on the studio’s upcoming feature “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” scheduled for a March 2014 release.

Nat Geo Pres Makes Some Hires, Makes Channel His Own

Three months into his tenure, National Geographic Channel president Howard T. Owens is looking to put his stamp on the cable channel. In doing so, the formerly Reveille managing director is adding more projects as well as four new executives to his development team, which will be tasked with developing series and specials for Nat Geo and Nat Geo Wild. Among them: Alan Eyres and J-T Ladt, who will be based in Los Angeles as SVP and VP of programming and development, respectively; along with New York-based newcomers Lynn Sadofsky, executive producer/director of production and development, and J.C. Mills, director of development.

Around The Web
Patton Oswalt's Hilarious Post-Oscar Snub Tweets — MovieFone
Before They Were Oscar Nominees ... They Were On TV — TVSquad
Okay, The Nominations Are Out, But The Question Is, Should We Care? — IndieWire
Snubbing Tilda Swinton AND Michael Fassbender? The British Are NOT Happy ... —
How Did A Silent Movie Get A Screenplay Nom? — MovieFone
Catherine Clinch's Media Grazing
The Toughest Moms In The World

Our Wednesday columnist has a thought-provoking piece this week about that rare sub-category, Military Moms, and how under-represented they are in pop culture. Although, it looks like that might change. Check out what Catherine has to say by clicking on the link here.

Website to Watch

Well, it's now 2012, which means there's an election in 11 months, and has officially launched its 2012 Election Hub. It represents the website's first step towards snaring a greater presence in North America via a more dedicated focus on the upcoming presidential elections. What does it offer to ensure that you're kept up-to-date on the path to the next election? Well, quite a lot. Aside from need-to-know information on each Republican candidate, the site also offers resources on who is backing which candidate, the election campaign calendar, a guide to the caucuses and primaries, information on the Electoral College and even a glossary on U.S. elections. The hub will feature original video content throughout the election. It's not a bad bookmark to have until the tail end of 2012.

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