To Our Readers We wanted to thank you for being loyal readers over the years by sending out a full newsletter today. Also, we have to ask, do you miss us? If so, please show your support by heading to the website and signing up for the daily newsletter again. It is only $4.99 per month (which averages out to less than 25 cents each day), and is specially gathered and curated for your daily reading pleasure. Projects Announced “Raising Izzie” Is Ready To Go
Former Executive Vice President of Tyler Perry Studios Roger Bobb, who left the company earlier last year to start his own film production company called Bobcat Films, will make his feature film directorial debut with a project titled “Raising Izzie” – a film that’s based on the grand-prize winning script of the 1st annual GMC Faith & Family Screenplay Competition last year, and that will premiere on the GMC (Gospel Music Channel)this July. Bobb, who’ll also produce, and whose past credits include directing several episodes of Tyler Perry TV shows, will direct from a script penned by David Martyn Conley. The film now has its starring cast which includes Vanessa Williams (of “Soul Food” fame, not the former Ms America), Rockmond Dunbar, Kyla Kenedy and Victoria Staley.
Warner Bros. has picked up screen rights to “Defending Jacob,” a legal thriller by William Landay. Mary Parent and her Disruption Entertainment banner are attached to produce. “Jacob” is the debut novel by Landay, a former lawyer. The book’s February publication was accompanied by great buzz and reviews that compared the author to Scott Turow, the lawyer-turned-legal thriller author behind such best-sellers as “Presumed Innocent” and “The Burden of Proof.”
Indian Paintbrush has picked up the action-thriller “Off the Grid,” a spec from writers Christopher Cantwell and Christopher Rogers. Indian Paintbrush’s Steven Rales and Mark Roybal will produce with the company’s Mike Pruss co-producing. According to the company, “Grid” follows a professional “fixer” named Ghost who helps white-collar criminals change their identities and disappear. After saving a seemingly innocent woman from a violent loan shark, Ghost finds his own life in danger after a private security firm puts a price on his head. Ghost goes “underground” in an attempt to discover who his mystery assailant is and gets caught in a tangled web of betrayal, revenge and murder.
It seems producer Scott Rudin has had a thing for documentaries lately.Down in the rain of Austin, Rudin and Sony Pictures have snagged the remake rights to “Brooklyn Castle” from first time feature filmmaker Katie Dellamaggiore. Chess? Boring, right? Wrong. Rudin has been down this path before with Steve Zaillian’s excellent, underrated “Searching For Bobby Fischer”
Who Wants To See A William Wallace TV Show? Because It’s Happening!
Scottish legend William Wallace — portrayed by Mel Gibson in the feature “Braveheart” — is getting the TV biopic treatment. STV Productions, in association with Digital Rights Group and Los Angeles-based Nine/8 Entertainment as well as Creative Media are developing “Wallace,” a historical drama series based on the life of the war hero, the companies announced yesterday. Mick Davis (“The Eleventh Hour”) will write, create and executive produce the project, which will focus on Wallace’s back story, his years spent attempting to unify Scotland, his loves and losses as well as his legendary battles with King Edward the Longshank and rival Robert the Bruce. The original idea hails from Kent Dalian and Seoras Wallace, an adviser on “Braveheart.”
This Week's Sign Of The Apocalypse: Metallica Is Following In The Footsteps Of Justin Bieber and Katy Perry
Continuing their downward trajectory from badass metal gods, to aging hard rock clowns, Metallica are now doing something that puts them in the same category as Justin Bieber and Katy Perry: they’re making a 3D movie, and now their project has a director. ”Predators” helmer Nimrod Antal is now on board to shoot the movie, which will blend the traditional concert stuff with a narrative of some kind. Considering how the band chronicled their internal strife with “Some Kind Of Monster,” who knows what they’ll cover here. Or maybe they’ll do some kind of fictional story tied into their own music. Guess we’ll have to wait and see. But this one is gearing up, with an August shoot lined up and a 2013 release as part of the plan.
Woody Allen's Grand Tour Of The Continent Keeps On Trucking
Woody Allen could be looking to continue his tour of great European capitals. The Oscar-winning director is reportedly eying Copenhagen as the location for his next, still-untitled feature. If true, it would be Allen’s first film set in Denmark and would follow Allen’s Oscar-winning take on France in “Midnight in Paris,” the London of “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” and “Match Point,” the Spanish setting of “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and Rome, where his upcoming feature “Nero Fiddled,” starring Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz and Jesse Eisenberg, is set.
It's Official: “The Raid” Helmer Is Going To Stage Another One
In a long-rumored move among the action movie set, director Gareth Evans is officially making a sequel to his upcoming film “The Raid.” Following successful runs at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival and the 2012 Sundance Festival, XYZ Films and Evans’ PT Merantu company brokered a deal to create a follow-up that will reunite the filmmaker with his “Raid” leading man Iko Uwais.
Project Updates “The King of Soho” Adds Some Funny Young Faces At Court
We feel fairly confident in saying that Michael Winterbottom, or at least his casting director, is a big comedy fan. And with “The King of Soho,” a biopic of legendary London porn baron turned property millionaire Paul Raymond, the trend looks to continue. Filming is already underway with Anna Friel, Imogen Poots and Tamsin Egerton as Raymond’s wife, daughter and mistress respectively, but a few more comic names have announced via Twitter as the latest cast members. First up is Chris Addison, the stand-up turned actor who’s best known for starring in Armando Iannucci’s brilliant TV comedy “The Thick Of It.” Also coming along is Addison’s co-star on the hugely popular TV panel show “Mock The Week,” Dara O’Briain. Finally, fast-rising actress/writer Sarah Solemani also took to Twitter to announce that she’s appearing in the film.
After casting one of the new “Expendables,” Liam Hemsworth, and everybody’s favourite thumb-with-a-face, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dito Montiel’s heist flick “Empire State” had easily filled up it’s beefcake quota, and now the balance is being redressed somewhat by adding a bit of much needed femininity into the mix. Emma Roberts — an actress who we’re slowly growing to like more and more with each project — will play a waitress in the film who serves as a potential love interest for Hemsworth’s character. The film itself centers on Hemsworth’s character and his childhood friend who plan to rob an armored car depository, but unfortunately for them an NYPD detective played by The Rock is out to bust them.
That Viola Davis-As-Barbara Jordan Thing Might Just Be Real ...
Maybe this could be the one to put Viola Davis up on the stage on Oscar night with a win in her column. Several reports state that Davis is circling to star in and produce a biopic on the trailblazing Texas Congresswoman — Barbara Jordan. Jordan was a leader in the civil rights movement and was the first black woman elected to the House from the South. She was also the first African American woman to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 1976 and she keynoted it again in 1992. Wikipedia says that she had a female partner for 30 years but was never out. Davis will produce the film with her husband Julius Tennon and they have optioned the book Barbara Jordan: American Hero by Mary Beth Rogers.
Pilot Season Better Late Than Never: Chad Michael Murray Has Developed “Scruples”
Chad Michael Murray is plotting his series TV return. The former “One Tree Hill” star has been cast as the male lead in ABC’s drama pilot “Scruples,” The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Based on the Judith Krantz novel, the sexy soap is set in the late 1970s and follows Billy, a socialite who, following her husband’s death, seeks to open a fashion-forward boutique in the heart of Beverly Hills.
Director David Cronenberg is heading to the small screen. “The History of Violence” helmer is teaming with Media Rights Capital for his first foray into television. He will direct the pilot as well as serve as an executive producer on “Knifeman,” based on the Wendy Moore novel of the same name. The drama, which will soon be shopped to potential buyers, centers on the trials and triumphs of a radical, self-educated surgeon delivering a visceral portrait of the extraordinary and unorthodox lengths he will go to uncover the secrets of the human body. Cronenberg will be a partner on the project, much as David Fincher is on MRC’s “House of Cards,” set to debut on Netflix later this year.
“Pilot News! Get Chore Pipin’ Hot Pilot News Here!” (Wait, Too British?)
More quickie TV pilot casting news… First, Courtney B. Vance has been cast in the USA Network pilot “Graceland,” which “examines the problems when the Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI and U.S. Customs department are all forced to live together in an undercover assignment.” Vance will play Sam Campbell, a veteran FBI agent who takes a special interest in his move to Los Angeles when he believes there is an informant within the ranks. Vance joins Daniel Sunjata, Aaron Tveit and Scottie Thompson, who’ve already been previously cast. And second, Gary Anthony Williams has been added to the cast of the comedy pilot “Friday Night Dinner,” which “centers on a quirky family that has dinner together every Friday night.” Williams will play Mr Marley (originally a white character) – the quirky family’s neighbor who frequently shows up at the family’s home and is apparently infatuated with the wife, played by Allison Janney. Tony Shalhoub is the husband.
It’s official: “The Walking Dead’s” Jon Bernthal is reuniting with former showrunner Frank Darabont.The actor has landed the lead role in Darabont’s TNT cop pilot, L.A. Noir, the network can confirm now that Bernthal has been killed off AMC’s breakout zombie series on last night’s heavily hyped episode.This time around, he is adapting John Buntin’s book “L.A. Noir: The Struggle For The Soul Of America’s Most Seductive City,” a true story of a decades-long conflict between the LAPD and the city’s criminals. The project was picked up to pilot earlier this year.
“Cor Blimey, More Pilot News Guv’na!” (Drat. Still Too British, Right?)
The CW’s hospital drama pilot, “First Cut,” has just landed its rock star heart surgeon. Necar Zadegan has joined the pilot as Gina. She’ll play a late-30s no-nonsense surgeon.The pilot is also executive produced by Dan Jinks ("Pushing Daisies") with Bharat Nalluri set to direct.
Acquisitions/Film Festivals “Francophrenia” Plays Tribeca
And you thought James Franco was just appearing on “General Hospital” for the fun of it? With an Oscar nomination and a series of big budget successes under his belt, Franco could be one of Hollywood’s most dominant leading men. If he wanted. Instead, he has worked to invert and subvert his celebrity and the greater perception of fame, and while playing a serial killer on an ABC soap opera would be a massive antithetical career move for most stars, he took it one step further. “Francophrenia” is the result of Franco’s collaboration with filmmaker Ian Olds on the set of “General Hospital,” based on dry footage of the star wandering the small backstage area, talking to cast members and crew. Franco, however, narrates with an increasingly psychotic tone, soon creating a sort of meta-thriller that offers three layers of the actor: the character, the man and the confusion of the two.The film debuted at the Rotterdam Film Festival, and will next play at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.
Anchor Bay Films is negotiating to acquire U.S. rights to Austin Chick’s “Girls Against Boys,” which had its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival Friday. The provocative Midnighter selection screened to positive buzz in the early morning hours of opening night at the Austin-based fest.
Magnolia Pictures has picked up rights to Robert Pattinson’s newest movie “Bel Ami,” which it will release theatrically in the U.S. on June 8. The film, which had its world premiere at last month’s Berlin International Film Festival, stars Pattinson as a seductive social-climber in 19th century Paris. Based on the novel by Guy de Maupassant, it also stars Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci and Colm Meany.
LACMA hosted its eleventh annual Young Directors Night on Saturday, showcasing seven short films from student filmmakers around Los Angeles. Presented by Muse, the event’s mission statement is to “not only be a film exhibition, but also to create an educational experience highlighting the intricacies of the filmmaking process.” Following the screening, LACMA curator Elvis Mitchell, Film Independent’s Josh Welsh and Maggie Mackay led a fun and succinct panel.
As Far As The Miami Fest Audience Is Concerned, It’s All About “Juan Of The Dead”
Alejandro Brugues’ “Juan of the Dead” was voted the Lexus Audience Award at the 29th annual Miami International Film Festival, which concluded Sunday. The festival, produced by Miami Dade College, presented its top jury prizes to Cristián Jiménez’s Bonsái, Bart Layton’s “The Imposter” and Kenya Márquez’s “Expiration Date.” “Juan of the Dead,” which concerns a zombie takeover of Havana, is being distributed by Outsider Pictures, which acquired it from Latinofusion, the Mexico-based international film sales and distribution company.
Music Box Films Is Getting “Emotionally And Sexually Charged”
Music Box Films will distribute Ira Sachs’ “Keep the Lights On” throughout North America. The film debuted at Sundance 2012 and won Berlin’s Teddy Award (the prize for best film with an LGBT theme). The film is headed to April’s Tribeca Fest. Sachs’ film is a semi-autobiographical relationship drama that “chronicles the emotionally and sexually charged journey through the love, addiction, and friendship of two men.” The film stars Thure Lindhardt and Zachary Booth, as well as Julianne Nicholson (“Boardwalk Empire”), Souléymane Sy Savané (“Goodbye Solo”) and Paprika Steen (“Applause”).
SnagFilms Snags The Rights To Some Movies With Rhythm
SnagFilms has acquired exclusive digital rights to a number of new films, including “We Made This Movie,” directed by “Late Show With David Letterman” executive producer Rob Burnett; drama “Faces in the Mirror,” directed by Boyd Tinsley of Dave Matthews Band; and “Black Tulip,” Afghanistan’s official entry for the 2011 Academy Awards. The slate also includes Joe Berlinger’s 2012 Sundance Film Festival documentary “Under African Skies,” which features Paul Simon. SnagFilms’ rights vary with each title and the company is in the process of determining release windows that will begin this summer and fall.
The New York Television Festival is extending its search for the next “Seinfeld,” “Ellen” or “Louie” hit sitcom to Montreal’s Just For Laughs comedy festival. The U.S. and Canadian festivals have partnered on a new pitch contest for international comedy performers at the upcoming Just For Laughs comedy conference in July. The winner from five finalists in Montreal will showcase their sitcom concept, ideally based on a stand-up comedy character or sketch, at the New York TV festival in late October 2012.
The Sundance Institute and Mumbai Mantra, the media and entertainment division of the Majindra Group, have selected eight feature film projects by Indian screenwriters for the inaugual Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab. The Screenwriting Fellows will work on their scripts with the support of established screenwriters and directors during a five day workshop at a Club Mahindra resort. The Creative Advisors will include Shekhar Kapur (“Elizabeth”), Michael Goldenberg (“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”), Marcos Bernstein (“Central Station”) and Guillermo Arriaga (“Amores Perros”).
News Corp.-controlled German pay TV group Sky Deutschland is targeting rabid fans of “Game of Thrones,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Entourage” in Germany with the launch of its Sky Atlantic service in the territory. Sky Atlantic, which bows in May this year in Germany, will offer English-language original versions of these and other HBO series, including “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” as well as films and other other highlights from HBO’s catalogue.
Showtime has set Sept. 30 for the return of its dramas “Dexter” and “Homeland.” The seventh season of “Dexter,” starring Emmy nominee and Golden Globe winner Michael C. Hall, will begin the evening at 9 p.m. The sophomore season of “Homeland,” the recent Golden Globe winner for best TV drama, follows at 10 p.m.
Industry Moves Andrew Wang Is Hearing Chants Of Bravo! Bravo!
As Bravo expands its programming slate to include scripted series, the network has tapped Andrew Wang for the newly created position of vp of scripted development and production. Based in Los Angeles, Wang will report toe Eli Lehrer, vp of development and original programming. Wang comes to Bravo from Alloy Entertainment where as vp of TV development and production he had a hand in managing such young and female skewing series including “Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries” and “Pretty Little Liars.”
Louis Santor will step down as COO/CFO of New Regency in July after working nearly 20 years for Arnon Milchan’s production and financing company. Santor has spent the last month working with Milchan and newly installed president-CEO Brad Weston to select a successor, Jonathan Fischer, who has been named CFO. Longtime deputy CFO Robert Corzo will stay on in an increased capacity.
Technology/Multi-Platform Content Spotify Launches In Germany
Swedish online music service Spotify will launch in Germany, the world’s third-largest music market, just after midnight on Monday. The launch is Spotify’s biggest since its U.S. bow last year and key for the company, which needs to expand rapidly to justify its $1 billion valuation.
Producer Mark Gordon (“Saving Private Ryan,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) has launched a new website for people seeking internships in highly competitive industries such as film and television, music, sports, theatre, advertising/PR, tech, the web fashion and publishing. Intern Sushi features over 1,500 available internships, which can be found in cities spanning the U.S., from NY to LA, from Chicago to Miami, at companies like Warner Music Group, Lionsgate and FunnyOrDie.com (a full list is on the site). The site also has a different idea in mind when it comes to the application process. Users create a digital profile, which can include a one-minute introductory video, as well as other multimedia elements such as photos, digital assets and/or samples of their work, in order to provide a more in-depth “snapshot of who they are.” The site also offers more information about the industries through exclusive written and video content via its “Industry Insiders” section. And finally, Intern Sushi says it provides a more interactive hiring process as users can track the status of their application, while hiring managers can use built-in social media tools to keep in touch with applicants and new hires. While free, an $8.99/month premium membership will get you early access to new openings and information.