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    To the Surprise Of Exactly Zero People, ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Sets a Box Office Record

    The movie clears $81.7 million to break the record for biggest Presidents Day Weekend opening, while Kingsman: The Secret Service does a solid $35.6 million for second place, and the Spongebob movie surpasses $30 million in its second week. Meanwhile, American Sniper does more than $16 million to rocket past the $300 million mark. (BO)

    A Preview Of Next Week? ‘Grand Budapest’ and ‘Imitation Game’ Take Top WGA Honors

    Wes Anderson’s script won for Original Screenplay, while Graham Moore took the prize for Adapted. Birdman was not one of the nominees, as it wasn’t eligible. Because of WGA rules restricting its awards to films that are made under the guild’s Minimum Basic Agreement or the agreements of several affiliated international guilds, neither was The Theory of Everything. (TW)

    ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ Clean Up at the Make-Up and Hair Awards

    Each film won two awards at Saturday night’s Make-up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards. For Guardians, David White took home the award for best special effects make-up, while Elizabeth Yianni-Georgio won for best contemporary make-up. Grand Budapest Hotel’s Frances Hannon and Julie Dartnell nabbed awards for best period and/or character hair styling, as well as best period and/or character make-up. All the winners, save Dartnell, are up for Oscars. (EW)

    Meanwhile, ‘Birdman’ and ‘Big Hero 6’ Are the Big Winners At the Cinema Audio Society Awards

    Birdman won for sound mixing in a live-action film at the event, held Saturday night at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Other prizes went to Sherlock: His Last Vow in the TV movies and mini-series category as well as Game of Thrones: The Children for hourlong skein and half-hour winner Modern Family: Australia. Foo Fighters Sonic Highways: Los Angeles won nonfiction television kudos. (VAR)

    The Sound Editors Also Reward ‘Birdman,’ as Well as ‘American Sniper’ and Others

    Among the other winners at the MPSE Golden Reel Awards were Unbroken and Get On Up, while Darren Aronofsky accepted the MPSE’s 2015 Filmmaker Award, and Skip Lievsay received its Career Achievement Award. He has worked on more than 100 features including all of the Coen brothers’ films. Lievsay won the Oscar last year for Sound Mixing on Gravity. (DH)

    And the American Society of Cinematographers Do the Obvious and Give Their Prize To Emmanuel Lubezki

    The defending Oscar winner for Cinematography is once again the front runner for the big trophy, even more so now after once again winning the ASC top prize for his work on Birdman. He topped a field of nominees that included Roger Deakins for Unbroken; Oscar Faura, The Imitation Game; Dick Pope, Mr Turner; and Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel.  (BTS)

    The Berlin International Film Festival Wrapped Up Over the Weekend, Announcing Its Winners as It Did

    Jafar Panahi’s Taxi and Pablo Larrain’s El Club took the Golden Bear and Silver Bear, respectively. Both earned big accolades at the fest, and their wins are hardly surprising. Same goes for the acting sweep by Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay’s in Andrew Haigh’s buzzed about 45 Years. (TP)

    PBS Distribution Announces Fall Theatrical Release for Stanley Nelson’s ‘The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution’

    The film will be distributed by PBS Distribution in select theaters in the fall of 2015. It will also be broadcast as part of PBS’ independent film series Independent Lens in winter of 2016. Promising a definitive portrait of the Black Panther Party — its rise and fall — acclaimed veteran director Stanley Nelson aims to paint a complete and accurate account of the revolutionary black nationalist organization, a film that should act as a reminder, as well as an education (especially for the uninitiated, unaware of those whose shoulders they stand on). (SAA)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘The Comedians’

    The first extended look at the upcoming FX sitcom, starring Billy Crystal and Josh Gad, playing alternate versions of themselves. The show premieres on April 9th. (COL)

    Screenwriters: Script Angel — How To Make Us Love Your Script

    Love  can have a powerful affect on us, our work and on those around us. To love someone or something is to feel a strong, positive emotional reaction, one that is unbidden and can be overwhelming. Storytelling, whatever genre your script, is about eliciting a strong emotional response from your audience and it doesn’t come much stronger than love. (SM)


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    at arrivals for AMERICAN HUSTLE Premiere, Directors Guild of America Theater, Los Angeles, CA December 3, 2013. Photo By: Dee Cercone/Everett Collection

    STARTS

    Extraction 2/15/2015 Logline: A widowed former CIA operative and his son, a young agent following in his father's footsteps, are developing a super-weapon, and when the father is kidnapped the son leads a rogue rescue effort that uncovers deep secrets. Production Companies: Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, Aperture Entertainment Director: Steven C. Miller Producer(s): Randall Emmett, George Furla, Adam Goldworm Cast: Bruce Willis Writer(s): Umair Aleem SSN Insight: Shooting commences in Alabama. Lionsgate/Grindstone through its multi-picture distribution deal will release the film domestically with Highland Film Group set to sell international rights in Berlin. This film marks the seventh film Willis has made with Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films.

    Five Minutes to Live (Remake) 2/15/2015 Logline: Two hardened thieves team up to kidnap a bank executive's wife and demand a hefty ransom for her return. Production Companies: Hannibal Pictures, Patriot Pictures LLC, Nasser Entertainment Director: Chuck Russell Producer(s): Joseph Nasser, Michael Mendelsohn, Richard Rionda Del Castro Cast: Wesley Snipes Writer(s): Raul Sanchez Inglis, Chuck Russell Details: Remake of "Five Minutes to Live" (1961) directed by Bill Karn and co-starring Johnny Cash. The film was re-released in 1966 under the title "Door-to-Door Maniac." SSN Insight: Jan De Bont was previously attached to direct.

    Joy 2/16/2015 Logline: A housewife, struggling to make ends meet, invents a mop that changes her life and makes her a millionaire. Based on a true story. Studio: Fox 2000 Production Company: Davis Entertainment Director: David O. Russell Producer(s): John Davis, John Fox, Ken Mok Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Édgar Ramírez Writer(s): David O. Russell, Annie Mumolo Details: Based on the true story of Joy Mangano, the inventor of the Miracle Mop. SSN Insight: The film’s release is set for Christmas Day, 2015, and Russell’s films have had luck in winter with Silver Linings Playbook’s release November 16 2012 and American Hustle’s release in December 13 2013. Next up for Russell is the release of Accidental Love starring Jake Gyllenhaal set for a March 20 release.

    The Danish Girl 2/9/2015 Logline: A man finds an alter ego when he puts on a dress to pose for his artist wife. Before long, however, they both realize their marriage is in trouble. Studio: Working Title Films Production Companies: Pretty Pictures, Harrison Productions Director: Tom Hooper Producer(s): Gail Mutrux, Anne Harrison, Linda Reisman, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, Matthias Schoenaerts Writer(s): Lucinda Coxon Details: Based on the book “The Danish Girl” written by David Ebershoff published by Viking February 7, 2000. SSN Insight: This project was previously set to start shooting on February 2. Lasse Hallstrom, Tomas Alfredson, Neil LaBute and Anand Tucker were all previously attached to direct. Rachel Weisz, Charlize Theron, and Gwyneth Paltrow were all previously attached to the role of Greta Wegener.

    Untitled (Oliver Stone/Edward Snowden Project) 2/16/2015 Logline: The story of Edward Snowden is told. Snowden made thousands of classified documents public while working at the US National Security Agency. Production Companies: Ixtlan Inc., Onda Entertainment Director: Oliver Stone Producer(s): Oliver Stone, Moritz Borman, Eric Kopeloff Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Scott Eastwood, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto Writer(s): Oliver Stone Details: Based on the books "The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man" written by Luke Harding and published by Vintage on February 7, 2014 and "Time of the Octopus" written by Snowden's Russian attorney Anatoly Kucherena and to be published soon. SSN Insight: In November, Open Road and Endgame acquired domestic rights. Clint Eastwood’s son Scott has previously acted in his father’s Gran Torino and Flags Of Our Fathers. The Nicholas Sparks adaptation, The Longest Ride by Fox, marks his first studio starring role.

    Wake 2/16/2015 Logline: A crew of ruthless criminals meets its match when it finds a sociopathic killer is among its hostages. Production Companies: DMG Entertainment, Circle of Confusion, Slingshot (UK), Benaroya Pictures Director: John Pogue Executive Producer(s): Stephen Emery, Chris Fenton, Arvind Ethan David Producer(s): Michael Benaroya, Tobin Armbrust, David Alpert, Chris Cowles Cast: Bruce Willis, Ben Kingsley Writer(s): John Pogue, Matthew Sand, Chris Borrelli SSN Insight: Kasper Barfoed was previously attached to direct. Mikael Hafstrom was previously attached to direct. Project was previously in development at Exclusive Media & Hammer Films. CAA is repping domestic rights while International Film Trust is handling international rights in Berlin.

    WRAPS

    A Monster Calls 2/14/2015 Logline: A boy deals with his mother’s illness and bullies at school by living in a world of fairy tales and monsters. Studio: Focus Features Production Companies: River Road Entertainment, Participant Media, Apaches Entertainment Director: J. A. Bayona Executive Producer(s): Bill Pohlad, Jeff Skoll, Mitch Horwits, Jonathan King, Patrick Wachsberger Producer(s): Belén Atienza Cast: Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, Lewis MacDougall Writer(s): Patrick Ness SSN Insight: Focus Features is committing $20 million in P&A to release. Based on the children’s novel "A Monster Calls" written by Patrick Ness and published by Walker Books on September 27, 2011. The novel was based on an original idea by the late Siobhan Dowd. Screenplay was included in the 2013 Black List.

    Belgica 2/10/2015 Logline: Two brothers who open a bar get caught up in its success in the Belgian nightlife scene. Production Companies: Pyramide Productions, Menuet , Topkapi Films Director: Felix van Groeningen Producer(s): Dirk Impens Cast: Stef Aerts, Tom Vermeir, Charlotte Vandermeersch Writer(s): Felix van Groeningen, Arne Sierens SSN Insight: Matthias Schoenaert was previously attached to co-star.

    Elvis & Nixon 2/12/2015 Logline: Story of Elvis Presley's visit with Richard Nixon at the White House on December 21, 1970. Production Companies: Holly Wiersma Productions, Elevated Film Sales Director: Liza Johnson Executive Producer(s): Byron Wetzel, Robert Ogden Barnum, Jerry Schilling, David Hansen, Johnny Mac Producer(s): Cassian Elwes, Holly Wiersma Cast: Kevin Spacey, Michael Shannon, Luke Wilson, Kevin Connolly, Evan Peters Writer(s): Jason Micallef, Cary Elwes, Joseph Sagal, Hanala Sagal SSN Insight: Eric Bana was previously in negotiations to play Elvis Presley. Emma Roberts was previously in negotiations to play Margaret. Danny Huston was previously attached to star. The film was featured in SSN’s list of the most bankable films at AFM, click here to read more.

    Geostorm 2/10/2015 Logline: When the world's climate-controlling satellites stop working, a satellite designer and his estranged brother must travel to space and work together to save the planet from total destruction. Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Production Companies: Electric Entertainment, Skydance Productions Director: Dean Devlin No Executive Producer Available. Producer(s): Dean Devlin, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Marc Roskin, Rachel Olschan Cast: Gerard Butler, Abbie Cornish, Andy Garcia, Katheryn Winnick, Jim Sturgess Kieran Mulroney, Michele Mulroney, Dean Devlin, Paul Guyot SSN Insight: Skydance Productions bought the spec script by Dean Devlin and Paul Guyot for a reported seven figures. Project was previously in development at Paramount. Project marks writer, producer and director Dean Devlin’s feature directorial debut.

    Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials 2/15/2015 Logline: After a group of teenagers escape from a mysterious maze, they face even more danger out in the open on a devastated planet. Studio: 20th Century Fox Production Companies: Gotham/Principal, Temple Hill Entertainment Director: Wes Ball No Executive Producer Available. Producer(s): Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Lee Stollman, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Joe Hartwick Jr. Cast: Dylan O'Brien, Aidan Gillen, Rosa Salazar, Kaya Scodelario, Dexter Darden Writer(s): T.S. Nowlin Details: Based on "The Scorch Trials," the second novel in the young-adult science fiction trilogy written by James Dashner and published by Delacorte Press in 2010. Sequel to "The Maze Runner" (2014), also directed by Wes Ball and starring Dylan O'Brien and Kaya Scodelario. SSN Insight: Director Wes Ball and screenwriter T.S. Nowlin are collaborating on “Ruin,” a post-apocalyptic live-action science-fiction feature currently in active development at 20th Century Fox, based on Ball’s acclaimed 2011 animated short of the same name.


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    american sniper bts

    SSN AWARDS ORIGINALS

    BEST PICTURE

    Awards 2015 Spotlight: ‘Birdman’ Producer John Lesher Reveals “The Best Way To Make a Bankable Movie”

    As a big-time agent, studio head, and now Oscar-nominated producer, John Lesher has had a varied Hollywood career. And through it all, he’s worked with Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárittu. When the director approached him about his new project, an odd concept about a washed up actor looking for redemption, Lesher read the script and said, “Geronimo! Let’s go!,” he explains with a laugh. Birdman, has been nominated for nine Oscars. (SSN)

    Awards 2015 Spotlight: Producer Andrew Lazar Speaks Out About the “Manufactured Controversy” and ‘American Sniper’s Impact

    Sometimes, when a movie hits a certain chord with the viewing audience, not only does it clean up at the box office, it starts a national conversation as well. American Sniper is just such a phenomenon, a movie that has moved audiences to the tune of almost $300 million in domestic grosses, and brought renewed attention to our veterans, the care they receive when they come home, and the after effects war. (SSN)

    TODAY’S HEADLINES

    On the Set For 2/16/15: David O. Russell Starts Lensing ‘Joy’, ‘Maze Runner 2’ Wraps, and More

    A pair of new Bruce Willis films, a new Wesley Snipes picture, the Oliver Stone-Joseph Gordon-Levitt Edward Snowden film and Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables followup also all get rolling, while Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon wrap Elvis & Nixon, and several others finish principal photography. (SSN)

    Former Rhythm & Hues Owners Sued for Having "Pillaged" Oscar-Winning VFX House

    John Hughes and others are slammed in bankruptcy court for having allegedly made questionable investment and real estate transactions, plus not guarding their interest in dealings with Universal, Fox and Warner Bros. Low margins, the use of digital movie-making and cheap labor in foreign countries were all factored in to the downfall of Rhythm & Hues, which sold itself for $17.8 million at auction as creditors continued to circle the bankrupt estate. (HESQ)

    It Might Be a Holiday In America, But the BBC Makes a Couple Big Announcements

    Network announced a brace of drama projects: Love, Nina, a five-episode half-hour series from Nick Hornby as well as New Blood, a seven-part hour-long investigative crime thriller from Anthony Horowitz. Love, Nina is Oscar-nominated screenwriter’s first drama for television and is an adaptation of Nina Stibbe’s bestselling book about  a 19-year-old girl, who leaves Leicester to work as a nanny in London. (DH)

    Jamie Dornan’s Quality Relationship With Netflix Continues With a New Movie

    War thriller Jadotville has been picked up for all its territories for a 2016 release. Dornan stars in the film, as he does on another Netflix program, The Fall. Film tells the true story of the 1961 siege of a 150-member Irish U.N. battalion under Commander Patrick Quinlan (Dornan) by 3,000 Congolese troops, led by French and Belgian mercenaries working for mining companies. (VAR)

    Jake Gyllenhaal and Antoine Fuqua Are Reuniting To Tell the Tale Of Cocaine Cowboy Max Mermelstein

    The pair has Southpaw coming out this summer, and will get back together to make this movie about Mermelstein, who was sentenced to only two years and 21 days in jail even though it’s estimated he smuggled upward of 56 tons of cocaine, worth $12.5 billion, into the United States. He received a light sentence because he was a valuable asset to the U.S. government, providing insight into the inner workings of the international narcotics network the Medellín cartel. (UR)

    Bryan Cranston Just Found Himself Some Attractive Company In ‘The Infiltrator’

    Diane Kruger joins the four-time Emmy winner in the movie, adapted from from customs and excise agent Robert Mazur’s autobiography, the film will find Cranston as Mazur, who must investigate dodgy dealings by going undercover as a man named Bob Musella. Cranston will play Mazur, while Kruger will play the second lead. Brad Furman is directing. (EMP)

    Wong Kar-Wai Fans Can Rejoice, as the Filmmaker Has Announced His Next Project

    The filmmaker was going to make The Ferryman as the follow-up to his movie The Grandmaster, but things changed, and now he’ll direct something else. While Wong remains attached to The Ferryman as a producer, he’ll put his real energy behind a film called Blossoms. Just as The Ferryman will be an adaptation of a short story, Blossoms is an adaptation of short stories by Jin Yucheng, set in Shanghai. (SF)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘House of Cards’

    A look at the third season of the Emmy-winning series, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. The new season, from online streaming service Netflix, premieres a week from Friday, February 27th, when all 13 episodes will be made available. (SF)

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    MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN

    Adam Sandler Picks Up His ‘Ridiculous Six’ and Moves It From Paramount To Netflix

    Sandler, who stars along with Terry Crews, Lost‘s Jorge Garcia, Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, Luke Wilson and Nick Nolte, will make this one of the four films in his deal with the online streaming service. The Wedding Singer‘s Frank Coraci will direct a script by Tim Herlihy and Sandler. Film is about to being production in New Mexico. (DH)

    UTA Escapes Lawsuit Alleging ‘The Purge’ Was Stolen From Someone Else’s Script

    A California federal judge dismissed United Talent Agency from an ongoing lawsuit alleging that Universal's The Purge derived from a script authored by Douglas Jordan-Benel. Benel filed suit last July, looking to hold legally responsible those including Universal, Blumhouse Productions and Purge writer-director James DeMonaco for allegedly using his screenplay titled Settler's Day to create a movie where the government sanctions crime for 12 hours each year. (HESQ)

    Fox Is Continuing With the Comic Book Adaptation, Building an Event Series Based On ‘Enormous’

    Comic book by Tim Daniel and Mehdi Cheggour has been optioned by producer Adrian Askarieh, who has teamed with New Regency Television and 20th Century Fox Television to develop. Producers are looking for a showrunner now, after which a pilot script, cast and director will start to fall into place. Look for a 2016 broadcast. (IO9)

    While Alejandro Jodorowsky Couldn’t Get His ‘Dune’ Done, He Has Big Plans For ‘Endless Poetry’

    The filmmaker, featured in last year’s feature documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, is turning to Kickstarter to fund his newest project, a sequel to his last film, Dance Of Reality. Picking up where the previous movie left off, the film will follow the filmmaker’s life as a poet in 1950s Chile. The Kickstarter page features a video and a 10-minute video talk from the auteur about the project. (SF)

    Readers Of ‘Game Of Thrones’ Books Are Apparently In For a Big Surprise With the New Season

    Author George R.R. Martin has said that characters set to die in Game of Thrones Season Five didn't necessarily die in his original tomes. "Even the book readers will be unhappy," Martin said. "So everybody better be on their toes. [Showrunners] David [Benioff] and D.B. [Weiss] are even bloodier than I am." (ESQ)

    Adopt Films Picks Up American Rights To Berlin Hit Film ‘Victoria’

    The film directed by Sebastian Schipper won the Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution for cinematography at the festival, and will get a late summer/early fall 2015 U.S. release. Movie was shot by Norwegian-born cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen in one continuous 134-minute take, bridging 20 locations. It stars Spanish actor Laia Costa and German thespians Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski, Burak Yigit, and Max Mauff. (VAR)

    Eight Films That Premiered In Berlin That Don’t Yet Have American Distribution, But Should

    Each of the films was a big hit at the festival, including Taxi, which won the Golden Bear as the festival’s best film, and while most of the films are foreign, each has something that will appeal to American audiences. While one of the films actually has landed distribution — see the story above — no word on actual deals for the rest. That should change. (IW)

    In Case You Missed the ‘SNL 40th Anniversary Special’ On Sunday, Here’s a Ranking Of the Live Sketches and Moments

    Everything is covered from the cold open with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake to the Wayne’s World reunion and the In Memoriam montage, with everything in between. Over the course of three and a half hours of television, a lot of very funny things happened. (VUL)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘The Water Diviner’

    A first look at Russell Crowe’s directorial debut. Written by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios, the film follows an Australian man (Crowe) who travels to Turkey after the First World War in an attempt to discover what happened to his three sons, who disappeared at Gallipoli. It does not yet have an American distributor. (EMP)

    Online Film School: Six Filmmaking Tips From Jean-Luc Godard

    The French New Wave director’s career has been devoted to both honoring and destroying cinema, to taking it apart and refitting it anew, and to making it speak against those who most often speak for it. Godard’s film’s have addressed a wide range of subjects – from Vietnam to prostitution to revolution to Jane Fonda – but they are, invariably, about cinema. (FSR)

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    at arrivals for THE WALKING DEAD at the 2nd Annual PaleyFest New York TV Fan Festival, The Paley Center for Media, New York, NY October 11, 2014. Photo By: Derek Storm/Everett Collection

    Untitled Darby Kealey Drama Project Network: AMC Studio: MGM Television Entertainment Production Company: Whalerock Industries Executive Producer(s): Thomas Kelly, Lloyd Braun Writer(s): Darby Kealey Logline: An award-winning actress is kidnapped by the dictator of a foreign country and becomes the centerpiece of a covert power struggle. SSN Insight: Kelly will serve as showrunner and previously wrote and produced on Blue Bloods. He’s currently executive producing the Kingmakers pilot for AMC as well.

    Becoming Network: Disney XD Studio: Walt Disney Studios Production Companies: ESPN Films, Springhill Productions Executive Producer(s): LeBron James, Maverick Carter, Connor Schell, Libby Geist, Bill Simmons Logline: The series features extraordinary stories of athletes from around the world. SSN Insight: The series originated from a special of the same name that aired on October 26, 2014. Disney ordered the series on February 10 and it’s slated to premiere on Disney XD later this year.

    Brothers In Crime Studio: Universal Cable Productions Production Companies: Valhalla Entertainment, Viking Brothers Entertainment Executive Producer(s): Gale Anne Hurd, Nick Cassavetes, Cliff Dorfman Writer(s): Cliff Dorfman Logline: The story centers on three old friends who own a construction business together. To stave off financial collapse and worse, the trio turn to a criminal act to keep things from going very wrong. Details: Based on the Swedish series, Tusenbroder, which aired on Sveriges Television in 2002, 2003 and 2006. SSN Insight: The project is part of Valhalla’s three year old exclusive deal with Universal Cable. The original Swedish series of Tusenbroder aired for 3 seasons in 2001, 2002 and 2006. In 2006 it was given a theatrical release before being re-edited for television.

    Chicago Med Network: NBC Entertainment Studio: Universal Television Production Company: Wolf Films, Inc. Executive Producer(s): Derek Haas, Michael Brandt, Matt Olmstead, Dick Wolf Writer(s): Derek Haas, Michael Brandt Logline: Storyline under wraps, it’s a spinoff to the NBC series Chicago Fire. SSN Insight: The characters for the potential spinoff are introduced in episode 319 of Chicago Fire. Law & Order 16 year strong alumna S. Epatha Merkerson is set to work again with EP Wolf and will star in the series.

    Deutschland 83 Network: RTL Group Studio: SundanceTV, FremantleMedia International Production Company: UFA Fiction Executive Producer(s): Joerg Winger, Nico Hofmann Logline: Set against the real culture wars and political events of Germany in the 1980s. The drama follows Martin Rauch as the 24-year-old East Germany native is pulled from the world as he knows it and sent to the West as an undercover spy for the Stasi foreign service. Hiding in plain sight in the West German army, he must gather the secrets of NATO military strategy. Everything is new, nothing is quite what it seems and everyone he encounters is harboring secrets, both political and personal. SSN Insight: RTL ordered an eight episode series order on February 9. The series is the first original German-language drama ever to broadcast on a U.S. TV network. It premiered in Berlin as part of an enhanced Berlinale Special Series program that’s also debuting Italy’s 1992, picked up by Sky UK.

    Enormous Network: Fox Studio: 20th Century Fox TV, New Regency Television Production Company: Prime Universe Films Executive Producer(s): Andrew Poltkin, Adrian Askarieh Logline: In the near future, the world is suffering a resource crisis when an ecological disaster creates massive beasts named The Enormous. A shattered society scrambles for refuge in the wake of the monstrous rampage. Ellen Grace, a former school teacher who lost everything in the uprising, leads a search and rescue team in hopes of locating orphaned children. Details: Based on the comic book created by Tim Daniel and Mehdi Cheggour that originally debuted as an oversized one-shot graphic novella in 2012 and was the basis for a live-action short web film from Machinima. SSN Insight: After the one-shot, the comic series debuted in July 2014 and achieved repeated release-day sellouts in its first six issues.

    Fast Boys Network: AMC Production Company: Black Box Management Executive Producer(s): Anthony Pucillo Writer(s): Anthony Pucillo Logline: Based on the true story of the origins of the fast food industry in America. Details: Pucillo previously worked for Chris McQuarrie, writer of X-Men and Edge of Tomorrow and former HBO exec Carolyn Strauss. He will produce along with his management company Black Box.

    Incurable Network: HBO Production Companies: Boku Films Executive Producer(s): Will Strouse, Alan Poul Writer(s): Will Strouse Logline: The story centers on a support group for people with supernatural problems. SSN Insight: Strouse, the son of composer Charles Strouse, has developed series previously for FX and CBS Studios. If the one-hour drama is ordered, Poul (Six Feet Under, The Newsroom) will direct the pilot.

    Outcast Network: Cinemax Production Company: Circle of Confusion Executive Producer(s): Robert Kirkman, Sue Naegle, Chris Black, David Alpert, Sharon Tal Yguado Writer(s): Robert Kirkman Logline: Strange things have been happening to Kyle Barnes, all his life. Horribly abused by his deranged mother as a child, Kyle stopped his wife Allison from hurting their daughter Amber three years ago -- and after taking all the blame for himself, he's been a social outcast, damned as a child torturer. Kyle has spent the last five months living in his old home, but he's been existing more like a possum than a human being; he doesn't really live in his home, he sort of infests it. After assisting Reverend Anderson in the exorcism of 8 year old Joshua Austin, Kyle finally realizes what he's denied all his life: the three separate instances of child abuse were in fact supernatural in their essence, and Kyle is, for reasons unknown to him, a demon magnet. Details: Based on Robert Kirkman's upcoming comic series. SSN Insight: Cinemax gave an initial script plus penalty commitment and then ordered the pilot on July 25. The series was given a ten episode order on February 12.

    Sigmund And The Sea Monsters Network: Amazon Studio: Amazon Studios Executive Producer(s): Sid Krofft, Marty Krofft Logline: The series centers on two brothers, Johnny and Scott Stuart who discover Sigmund, a friendly young sea monster who had been thrown out by his comically dysfunctional undersea family for refusing to frighten people. Details: Based on the 1970s television series "Sigmund and the Sea Monster," created by Sid and Marty Krofft. SSN Insight: Amazon ordered the pilot on February 12. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Kroffts were behind many popular primetime variety series such as The Donny and Marie Show and The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.

    Super Sad True Love Story Production Company: Media Rights Capital Executive Producer(s): Gary Shteyngart, Karl Gajdusek, Ben Stiller Writer(s): Gary Shteyngart, Karl Gajdusek Logline: Set in the near-future, the story explores the unlikely relationship between a bookish man stuck in a tech-obsessed society and a complex, materialistic young Korean-American woman. While navigating this romance he must also contend with mounting demands from his charismatic boss, who is himself being pressured by the domineering American government. Based on the novel. Details: Based on the novel, "Super Sad True Love Story," written by Gary Shteyngart and published by Random House on July 27, 2010. SSN Insight: Planned as a straight-to-series project by MRC in line with their standard plan like House of Cards and the upcoming Blunt Talk and The One Percent on Starz. Stiller is attached to executive produce and direct multiple episodes. The series is currently casting and has not been set up at a network.

    The Global War On Morris Executive Producer(s): Andrew Lenchewski, Rob Reiner, Alan Greisman Logline: A meek pharmaceutical salesman from Long Island is mistakenly targeted as America’s next major terrorist. Based on the novel. Details: Based on the novel "The Global War On Morris," written by Congressman Steve Israel and published by Simon & Schuster on December 30, 2014. SSN Insight: Israel and Lenchewski are long time friends. Israel is a 13-year New York  Representative in the 3rd congressional district, which includes Lenchewski’s hometown and non-coincidently the area where his long-running USA series, Royal Pains, is shot.

    The Grinder Network: Fox Broadcasting Company Studio: 20th Century Fox Television Executive Producer(s): Andrew Mogel, Jarrad Paul, Nicholas Stoller, Rob Lowe, Jake Kasdan Writer(s): Andrew Mogel, Jarrad Paul Logline: When his long-running hit series comes to an end, he finds himself at a crossroads in life and decides to move back to his small home town thinking he has the experience to take over his family’s law firm where he butts heads with his brother. SSN Insight: Fox gave an initial put pilot order on October 6 and ordered an official pilot on February 12.

    Valentina Network: ABC Family Production Companies: Kapital Entertainment, RCTV International Executive Producer(s): Aaron Kaplan, Jorge Granier Logline: A young girl’s incredibly wealthy mother is killed in an accident. After the mother’s extended family takes over her company, Valentina (the sole heir) realizes that her mother may in fact have been murdered by her own family in order to takeover the business. She disappears and returns 10 years later and sets out for revenge. Details: Based on the RCTV telenovela Mi Gorda Bella Valentina (official English-language sales title My Sweet Fat Valentina). SSN Insight: The original telenovela aired on Venezuela’s RCTV from 2002-2003. It has aired in 80 countries, including in the U.S. via Telemundo, and has been remade in several other territories including Mexico. Valentina comes from Kapital’s first-look deal with RCTV, which allows Kaplan to explore RCTV’s library of formats in partnership with Granier. Jane The Virgin, was also a product of this deal as it was based on an RCTV format and revamped by Granier.

    You Network: Showtime Studio: Warner Bros. Television Production Companies: Alloy Entertainment, Berlanti Productions Executive Producer(s): Sera Gamble, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Leslie Morgenstein, Cheryl Dolins Writer(s): Greg Berlanti, Sera Gamble Logline: A 21st century love story about the obsessive yet brilliant 20-something Joe Goldberg who uses the hyper-connected digital age to make the woman of his dreams fall in love with him. Details: Based on the novel, "You: A Novel," written by Caroline Kepnes and published by Atria/Emily Bestler on September 30, 2014. SSN Insight: In addition Berlanti is attached to direct the potential pilot. Berlanti Prods. Is on a roll with two pilots: Supergirl at CBS, which Berlanti co-wrote, and Blindspot at NBC. In addition to the CW’s renewals of the company’s shows Arrow and The Flash, they also produce the NBC series The Mysteries Of Laura.


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    SSN AWARDS ORIGINALS

    SHORT FILMS AND INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS

    Awards 2015: Your Handy Guide To All Three Short Film Categories

    Without a doubt, the short film categories are likely the three toughest to call in your Oscar pool; they’re the films that nobody actually watches. Well, we’ve done the dirty work for you, over a long, frigid, New York City weekend. Behold, your inside look at the three short film categories. (SSN)

    Awards 2015 Spotlight: Director Ava DuVernay’s Personal Connection To ‘Selma’ and How Oprah Became Involved

    The Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic, Selma, is nominated for five Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature, Director, Cinematographer, and Actor and Actress for David Oyelowo and Carmen Ejogo, for their respective portrayals of King and his wife Coretta Scott King. The awards will be held on Saturday, the 21st, the day before the Oscars. (SSN)

    TODAY’S HEADLINES

    TV Development For 2/17/15: Gale Anne Hurd Developing ‘Brothers In Crime’, Berlanti Producing Showtime Series, and More

    It’s a big week in the TV work, with series a plenty getting the go ahead to the pilot stage, with spinoffs, remakes of foreign shows and original projects all moving forward. (SSN)

    HBO Knows a Good Thing When It Sees It, Renews ‘Last Week Tonight’ For At Least Two More Seasons

    Hosted by The Daily Show alum John Oliver, the first season of the show proved a big hit for the cable network and in fact won a big award over the weekend from the WGA. Now, with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert either leaving or gone from Comedy Central, HBO waited just two episodes into Season Two to make sure that Oliver would stay in the fold. Each season will run 35 episodes, with Season Three in 2016 and Season Four in 2017. (IW)

    Michelle Williams Likes Working With Director Kelly Reichert So Much, She’s Doing It For a Third Time

    The duo previously worked on the Western drama Meek’s Cutoff and the drama Wendy and Lucy, both of which received critical acclaim and accolades from various festivals. Williams won best actress at the Toronto Film Festival and a nomination from the Indie Spirit awards. The hopes are that this pic will bring similar critical praise. Reichardt is writing and directing. Plot details are unknown at this time. (VAR)

    Because There Is Not Enough Depressing Television On the Air, NBC Is Remaking ‘The Decalogue’

    Originally made in Poland by Krzysztof Kieslowski in 1989, the anthology series episodes are each assigned to one of the Ten Commandments. Now, the Peacock Network is teaming with Entertainment One for a re-imagining of the production. Todd Ellis Kessler (The Good Wife), who is writing and producing the remake. (FSR)

    Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8 Just Made Another Big Spec Purchase

    Former WB head of production’s new company has acquired White Boy Rick, a spec script by Logan and Noah Miller that is inspired by the story of Richard Wershe Jr. At the age of 14, Wershe became an undercover informant for local and federal law enforcement agencies in the mid-80s, and grew in that role enough to establish himself as a major drug dealer. He was brought down in 1988 and sentenced to life without parole. The baby-faced felon has been in jail 27 years. (DH)

    For Your Consideration: How Data Analysis Was Used In This Year’s Oscar Race

    With voting ending today at 5 pm PST, it’s crunch time for Oscars voting, and Focus Features is one of many film studios using social data and analytics to woo Academy members on Twitter and Facebook. The studio's biopic about renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, "The Theory of Everything" has been nominated for Best Picture this year, and Focus and other production companies are taking the classic For Your Consideration print ad and aiming narrowly targeted messages to Academy members and their social networks. (AA)

    And Speaking Of the Oscars, Have You Ever Wondered How a Movie Can Qualify For Best Picture?

    It’s not enough that you release the finest feature film in a given year; in order to qualify for the Best Picture Oscar, you’ll have to meet a good number of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences-ordained demands, particularly in regard to the distribution of your movie. (MLF)

    First Look: ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’

    Film director Bryan Singer has released some production art by designer Grant Major. The image shows the back of either a massive robot or ship, in front of a lone humanoid figure. Of course, all of the key, discernible details are stippled out. Still, it’s something. (VUL)

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    BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE), (aka BIRDMAN), Michael Keaton, on set, 2014. /TM

    The Final Guild Award Has Been Handed Out, and the Costume Designers Have Honored ‘Birdman’ (and ‘Grand Budapest’)

    Birdman costume designer Albert Wolsky won the award for Excellence in Contemporary Film last night at the 17th annual CDG Awards, while Milena Canonero won for Budapest for Excellence in Period Film. They will square off against each other at the Academy Awards on Sunday. Deadline has the entire list of winners from last night’s event. (DH)

    Scarlett Johansson and Universal, So Successful Together With ‘Lucy’, Are Back In Business Again

    The actress will star in The Psychopath Test, a film directed by Jay Roach based on the book of the same name by Jon Ronson, who also wrote The Men Who Stare at Goats. The book looks at ways that psychopaths are diagnosed, despite (or because of) their ability to charm and manipulate; the film will be written as a psychological thriller. Kristin Gore is scripting. (SF)

    After Hinting About It For Weeks, It Now Appears That Sam Taylor-Johnson Officially Won’t Return To Direct ‘Grey’ Sequel

    She had made very public how the relationship between her and author E.L. James was so fraught with tension, and now the director has decided it was best not to move forward on the franchise's two sequels. Taylor-Johnson made no secret that she disagreed with some of James's decisions regarding the film, and that she didn't approve of James's seemingly carte blanche control over the final product. (MF)

    Long Rumored, Now Confirmed: Javier Bardem Is On Board ‘Pirates 5’

    The Oscar-winner will play the bad guy in the fifth installment in the series, once again starring Johnny Depp, with co-stars Kaya Scodelario and Brenton Thwaites the obligatory younger, good looking pair involved this time. Kon-Tiki directing pair Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning is at the helm for this one, which has begun production and is scheduled for a July 7th, 2017 release. (EMP)

    ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Just Keeps Adding More Mutants

    Kodi Smit-McPhee has been cast as Nightcrawler in the latest installment of the franchise, a role originated in X2: X-Men United by Alan Cumming. He joins Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy, Oscar Isaac and Michael Fassbender in the film, which has begun production. Bryan Singer returns to direct the film, in theaters May 27th, 2016. (VAR)

    Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones Get Some Company In Upcoming ‘Inferno’

    French actor Omar Sy has joined the Sony project, which will be directed by Ron Howard, from a script penned by David Koepp, and which follows Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, who awakens in an Italian hospital, disoriented and with no recollection of the past thirty-six hours, including the origin of the macabre object hidden in his belongings. Sy will play head of the SRS team who is ordered to find Langdon. (SAA)

    Jason Blum Is Turning To ‘The Mortal Instruments’ Director To Helm His Latest Flick

    Harald Zwart, the director of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is on board the family horror film, the latest in a long line of micro budgeted films from the producer’s Blumhouse label. Robert Ben Garant, the writer of another Blumhouse film, Jessabelle, wrote the script for the untitled film. Blum will produce, and the logline is still under wraps. (THR)

    So, Colossus Will Be In Ryan Reynolds’ ‘Deadpool’ Movie, But Daniel Cudmore Won’t Be Playing Him

    Cudmore played the character in three different X-Men films, including last year’s Days of Future Past, but tweeted out that he won’t be in Deadpool, which is currently filming. The character’s inclusion in the film was first mentioned with the announcement touting Gina Carano’s addition to the cast as a character called Angel Dust. With Cudmore out as Piotr Rasputin, the hunt is surely on for another actor to play the mountainous mutant. (CBR)

    Oral History Alert! How the Upright Citizens Brigade Evolved Into A Comedy Juggernaut

    Long-form improv as we know it today was heavily influenced and popularized by the Upright Citizens Brigade theatre and its founders Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, and Ian Roberts — oft regarded as the UCB Four. It’s fair to say that we may still be stuck in a world full of short-form improv à la Who’s Line Is It Anyway? if it weren’t for these folks.  (UR)

    Screenwriters: ‘The Year of Living Dangerously’

    The 128-page, fifth draft of the screenplay by David Williamson, based on the novel by C.J. Koch, and using additional material from Peter Weir, Alan Sharpe and C.J. Koch. Dated January, 1982. (DS)

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    at arrivals for 2014 BAFTA Los Angeles Jaguar Britannia Awards Presented by BBC America and United Airlines, The Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA October 30, 2014. Photo By: Xavier Collin/Everett Collection

    CAA: Writer-director J.C. Chandor has signed with CAA. The Oscar-nominated filmmaker moved after leaving the film Deepwater Horizon at Summit over creative differences. The director of Margin Call, All Is Lost and A Most Violent Year had been previously repped by WME.

    APA: OC star Mischa Barton has signed with APA. The actress just starred opposite Martin Sheen in the docudrama Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain and she made the paranormal thriller Ghost Station as well as AMBI Pictures’ crime thriller Hope Lost, opposite Michael Madsen.

    ICM Partners: How to Get Away with Murder’s Alfred Enoch has signed with ICM Partners. The British actor was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for his supporting role as law student Wes in the ABC drama. Last month he signed with Wolf | Kasteler Public Relations.

    UTA: Indie musician/actress Joanna Newsom has signed with UTA. This comes right after her film debut as the narrator of Inherent Vice. The harpist-singer-songwriter also has appeared on IFC’s Portlandia.

    APA: CSI’s George Eads has played Nick Stokes on the long-running CBS procedural since its pilot episode 15 years ago. Eads plans to depart the series at the end of this season.

    Gorfaine/Schwartz: Selma music supervisor Morgan Rhodes has signed with Andrew Zack at the music-focused Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency. The former KCRW DJ curated the songs that constitute the soundtrack for the civil rights drama. 42West: The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan has signed with 42West. She returned to the AMC zombie drama’s midseason premiere recently. Cohan stars on the big screen in Lakeshore and Vertigo’s upcoming living-doll horror thriller The Boy. Her previous television appearances include recurring arcs on The Vampire Diaries, Chuck and Supernatural.


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    at arrivals for Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights 2012 Ripple of Hope Gala, Marriott Marquis Hotel, New York, NY December 3, 2012. Photo By: Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection

    SSN AWARDS ORIGINALS

    DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

    Awards 2015 Spotlight: ‘Last Days In Vietnam’ Director Rory Kennedy On the Nominated Folm “Obama Should See”

    The youngest child of Ethel and Senator Robert F. Kennedy turned her camera on the final days of the Vietnam War in her Oscar-nominated documentary. The film explores the messy final hours as the U.S. quickly exited South Vietnam in 1975 as Communist forces moved in on Saigon. As Kennedy says, even historians have seen the film and said, “we had no idea.” (SSN)

    Awards 2015: Inside the Swankiest Oscar Gifting Suites

    Getting Oscar-ready may require fittings, special diets and fitness training sessions. However, the gifting suites and lounges in Los Angeles held in the days leading up to the Academy Awards also ensure celebs get pampered with manicures, spray tans and facials while browsing for accessories to wear on the red carpet like watches, jewelry and handbags. (SSN)

    TODAY’S HEADLINES

    Rep Moves For 2/18/15: ‘Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan Signs With 42West, J.C. Chandor To CAA, and More

    Plenty of action as some performers move from one agency to another, others land new representation, and at least one music supervisor ends up with a boutique agency. (SSN)

    Ewan McGregor Will Become the Latest Actor To Add “Director” To His Resume

    Already set to star in the adaptation of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral alongside Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning, McGregor will now also make his directorial debut. Set during the Vietnam War years, story follows a once all-conquering high-school athlete who’s married to a beauty queen and runs the business he’s inherited from his dad. His daughter joins the countercultural of the time, becomes a revolutionary and commits a fatal act of violence. (EMP)

    Will Smith’s Days Of Taking a Long Time Between Movies Appears To Be Over

    The actor’s Focus hits theaters next weekend, and his NFL concussion drama arrives Christmas Day, and now he will star in Paramount Pictures’ Bounty, based on Sascha Penn’s spec script. The story is set in Boston and centers on a man (Smith) who is wrongly convicted of murder. He escapes from prison determined to prove his innocence—a nearly impossible task after the widow of the man he supposedly killed puts a $10 million bounty on him, dead or alive. (HV)

    Now That ‘Bosch’ Is Up and Running, Amazon Orders Five More Pilots To Series

    The online service grants full seasons to The Man in the High Castle, Mad Dogs, the docu-series The New Yorker Presents, Just Add Magic, for kids ages 6-11 and The Stinky and Dirty Show, for preschoolers. Amazon gleaned feedback on the shows by streaming the pilots for Prime Instant users; The Man in High Castle was the streaming service's most-watched pilot ever. Mozart in the Jungle was also given a second season. (MF)

    The Latest Oscar-Nominated Actor Coming To TV Is John Hawkes

    Former House executive producer Katie Jacobs is taking the indie route with another medical drama project, Dr. Del, which she is producing with Nick Wechsler. Hawkes is set to star in the pilot, developed and to be filmed without the backing of a studio. Show follows Del Canyon (Hawkes) as he reluctantly returns to his small hometown to run his family’s apothecary, the only source for medical attention for hundreds of miles. (DH)

    Whoopi Goldberg Decides She’s Not Busy Enough With ‘The View,’ Will Star In a Sitcom

    The EGOT winner will co-star in the sitcom Delores & Jermaine, based on Jermaine Fowler's life. She will play Fowler's grandmother, Delores, a former cop who became a football-obsessed recluse after retiring from the force and takes in her millennial grandson after he's kicked out of his parents' house.  (WAH)

    Broken Hollywood: The Biz’s Top Players Call Out Ways Industry Needs To Change

    Talk to any top executive or producer in the movie, television and digital businesses today and they will tell you that the challenges they face are more severe and confounding than ever. Industryites are grappling with profound concerns that cut to the heart of the traditional models to which Hollywood has adhered for decades. Here’s what’s on the minds of the media business’s best and brightest, in their own words. (VAR)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’

    The first look at the Tom Hardy adaptation, starring Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Michael Sheen the story of a newly wealthy and very independent woman and the three suitors who vie for her attention. Film, directed by Thomas Vinterberg, opens May 1st. (SF)

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    Who’s The Black Private Dick Who’s Once Again Going To Have His Adventures Remade? Shaft!

    New Line is developing a brand new take on the property, with veteran producer John Davis on-board to shepherd the project. It's still early in the process, so no casting announcements yet; nor who will write and direct this new reboot. John Singleton has already done one reboot, back in 2000 with Samuel L. Jackson taking over for the legendary Richard Roundtree. (SAA)

    It Appears That Neill Blomkamp Is Making His ‘Alien’ Sequel After All

    Just over a week after speculating that 20th Century Fox would make the movie with him, that speculation has now changed to an announcement, as the director took to Instagram to let the world know that the Alien film will, in fact, be his next movie. Speculation is that it will take place after the events of Prometheus 2, which is still in development. Blomkamp’s Chappie hits theaters March 6th. (HP)

    Amidst a Shakeup At Viacom, There Is Now an Opening For the President Of TV Land

    Just a day after news broke that MTV Networks veteran Van Toffler is leaving VIacom, Larry Jones will also leave is post as TV Land Prext. Jones both helped launch TV Land and launched its push into original scripted series in 2009. On Tuesday, it was revealed that Toffler was to leave Viacom from his post as president of the division that includes MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo in April to start a new venture as an independent producer. (VAR)

    Meanwhile, Legendary TV Makes a Big Move, Hires Veterant TV Lit Agent Lauren Heller Whitney To Run Scripted

    Legendary TV topper Bruce Rosenblum had been looking to appoint a president of scripted television and has now brought in Whitney in that role. The company’s current top scripted executive, EVP Peter Johnson, has extended his contract through 2017 and will now report to her. Whitney reports to Rosenblum, Legendary’s President of Television and Digital Media. (DH)

    Ryan Reynolds’ ‘Deadpool’ Love Interest Has Been Cast, and Her Name Is …

    Morena Baccarin has landed the role of the Merc With a Mouth’s lady friend, which fits for a women with her level of geek-cred, having starred in the TV series, Stargate: SG-1, V, Serenity and now Gotham. She joins Gina Carano and T.J. Miller in the cast of the flick, being directed by Tim Miller and currently in production for a February 2016 release. (THR)

    Gore Verbinski and Steve Conrad Are Back In Business At Sony With an Action Comedy About a Transcontinental, Driverless Car Race

    The duo’s last project with the studio, the North Korea comedy Pyongyang, was torpedoed by the hacking scandal, and now the studio is fast tracking this new project, with Conrad writing and Verbinski attached to direct. Story follows a race which begins as a beta test comparing the vehicles of competing start-up companies looking to dominate the world of driverless cars, but quickly spins out of control when the cars’ passengers try to take control of the experiment. (COL)

    ‘Suicide Squad’ Has Added Another Cast Member, Though No Word On Whom He’ll Be Playing

    Jay Fernandez, best known for Hostel, Gang Related and the film version of Friday Night Lights, has joined the cast in an unknown role. He joins Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as the crazy/lovable Harley Quinn, Jared Leto as The Joker, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, and Cara Delevigne as Enchantress. David Ayer is directing and the film hits theaters in August of 2016. (CB)

    Scott McLoud’s New Graphic Novel ‘The Sculptor’ Will Be His First Creation To Be Turned Into a Movie

    The author of Zot! and Destroy! has just released the original graphic novel, about an actual sculptor who makes a deal with Death when he’s down on his luck. He’s given powers to manipulate all kinds of materials in order to be a great artist again, but the catch is that he’s given only 200 days to live and enjoy the gift. Of course, he falls in love, which makes his expiration date a more tragic issue. Scott Rudin and Josh Bratman will produce. (FSR)

    Years After His Death, Norman Mailer’s Novel ‘Armies of the Night’ Is Finally Getting To the Big Screen

    RadicalMedia plans to bring Norman Mailer's 1967 historic novel to the big screen. Stanley Buchthal, Michael Mailer and Joe Berlinger are also on board. Director Joe Berlinger will blend fiction and reality, with a verite shooting style, while using a fully scripted narrative. The rock and folk music of the time will also be incorporated. No details on casting yet, though it has begun, and shooting will commence later this year. (TOH)

    Screenwriters: Turning a Novel Into a Screenplay

    Let’s face it: A novel and a screenplay are two very different creatures. It’s like comparing a housecat with a bobcat—both are cats, but one you want curled up on your lap and the other, not so much. It can be difficult adapting a novel that runs 300 to 600 (or more) pages. The screenwriter also faces the challenges of meeting the producer’s, studio’s and fan’s expectations. Not to mention the book’s author who can be very protective of his/her work. (MO)

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    at arrivals for THE AVENGERS Premiere, El Capitan Theatre, Los Angeles, CA April 11, 2012. Photo By: Michael Germana/Everett Collection

    NEW ATTACHMENTS

    The Psychopath Test Logline: An exploration the medical community's diagnosing of psychopaths. Studio/ Distributor: Universal Pictures Production Company: Wildgaze LTD, Imagine Entertainment, Everyman Pictures Producers: Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey, Jay Roach, Brian Grazer Writer: Kristin Gore Director: Jay Roach Cast: Scarlett Johansson Notes: Based on the book "The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry," written by Jon Ronson and published by Riverhead on May 12, 2011. SSN Insight: Attaching Johansson after her successful turn in the studio’s thriller, Lucy, puts this project on the development radar.

    Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Logline: This sequel involves a swashbuckling search across the seas for a legendary and powerful artifact, the Trident of Poseidon. Studio/ Distributor: Walt Disney Motion Pictures Production Company: Jerry Bruckheimer Films Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Mike Stenson, Chad Oman Writer: Jeff Nathanson Directors: Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg Cast: Javier Bardem, Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Stephen Graham, Orlando Bloom, Keith Richards, Brenton Thwaites, Cara Delevingne SSN Insight: Bardem has signed on to play the bad guy in this fifth installment of the successful franchise which has begun production and is scheduled for a July 7th, 2017 release. X-Men: Apocalypse Logline: In 1983, ten years after Wolverine traveled to the past to prevent a bleak future, the X-Men team up with Cyclops, Storm, and Jean in a battle to stop an unprecedented apocalypse by an ancient enemy. Studio/ Distributor: 20th Century Fox Production Company: Bad Hat Harry Productions Donners’ Company, Marvel Entertainment, Genre Films, Hutch Parker Entertainment Producers: Lauren Shuler Donner, Hutch Parker, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg Writer: Simon Kinberg Director: Bryan Singer Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar Isaac, Alexandra Shipp, Sophie Turner Tye Sheridan, Rose Byrne SSN Insight: McPhee will play the role of “Nightcrawler” who was played by Alan Cumming in the 2003 X-Men 2.

    Inferno Logline: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is drawn into the nightmarish world of Dante's "Inferno" when he follows its clues to stop a worldwide plague. Studio: Columbia Pictures Production Company: Imagine Entertainment Producers: Ron Howard, Brian Grazer Writer: David Koepp Director: Ron Howard Cast: Omar Sy, Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones Notes: Based on the novel "Inferno" written by Dan Brown and published by Doubleday on May 14, 2013. SSN Insight: Sy will next be seen in Jurassic World, the 4th installment in the Jurassic Park franchise to be released on June 12, 2015. Untitled Jason Blum Project Logline: Storyline is under wraps. Production Company: Blumhouse Productions Producers: Jason Blum, Robert Ben Garant Writer: Robert Ben Garant Director: Harold Zwart SSN Insight: Project is the latest micro-budgeted horror flick to come from Blumhouse after Paranormal Activity, The Purge and Insidious, but this one is said to be geared toward families. The Seven Five Logline: The true story of Michael Dowd is told. Dowd led a ring of criminalized cops in the corrupt 1980s NYPD until he was arrested in 1992. Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures Production Company: Le Grisbi Productions, Annapurna Pictures, All3Media America Producers: John Lesher, Megan Ellison, Eli Holzman Director: Yann Demange Notes: Based on the documentary The Seven Five (USA/2014) directed by Tiller Russell. SSN Insight: Demange, one of the town’s most in demand filmmakers after his debut film ’71 garnered much critical attention, has signed on to the studio’s remake of the Michael Dowd documentary, making it a high profile project. The Great Wall Logline: The history of The Great Wall of China. Studio/ Distributor: Universal Pictures Production Company: Legendary Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment Producers: Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Charles Roven, Alex Gartner, Richard Suckle, Peter Loehr Writer: Tony Gilroy Director: Zhang Yimou Cast: Willem Dafoe, Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal SSN Insight: This project was previously in development at Warner Bros. and has long been a passion project of Legendary CEO, Thomas Tull. Despite previous stars and directors such as Bryan Cranston and Ed Zwick, it seems to be rounding out its cast for an April start.
    NEW PROJECTS
    The Sculptor Logline: A destitute artist makes a deal with Death, to create with his hands for 200 days and then die, but then he meets the girl of his dreams. Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures Producers: Scott Rudin, Josh Bratman Notes: Based on the graphic novel "The Sculptor" written by Scott McCloud and published by February 3, 2015. SSN Insight: Winning out in yet another competitive situation over an acclaimed graphic novel (last week Sony and producer Josh Bratman set up comic The Descender), this time Sony nabbed Eisner and Harvey award-winning novelist McCloud’s first work of fiction in over 20 years. White Boy Rick Logline: Richard Wershe Jr. was 14 when he became an undercover informant for law enforcement in the 1980s, and then became a major drug dealer until he was arrested at age 17. Studio/ Distributor: Studio 8 Production Company: LBI Entertainment Producers: John Lesher Writers: Logan & Noah Miller SSN Insight: This is the second major studio project based on the same story. Universal has a similar project with director Joseph Kosinski and producer Scott Stuber attached. The Shoe Logline: Storyline is under wraps. Studio/ Distributor: Studio 8 Writer: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland SSN Insight: This is the second of two buys in one week (the first is the project above, White Boy Rick) for Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8 which will generate up to 6 films each year.

    Untitled Alien Film Logline: Set after the sequel to Ridley Scott’s Prometheus film. Studio/ Distributor: 20th Century Fox Production Company: Producers: Ridley Scott, Director: Neill Blomkamp Writer: Neill Blomkamp SSN Insight: Blomkamp leaked concept art from his pitch on the project online and moments later it was confirmed by a source.

    Driverless Car Race Logline: This sweeping action adventure comedy focuses on a transcontinental auto race with autonomous cars. Studio/ Distributor: Columbia Pictures Writer: Steve Conrad Director: Gore Verbinski Writer: Steve Conrad SSN Insight: Per Deadline, the project is on a fast track. Conrad and Verbinski previously were developing Pyongyang, the North Korea-set project that was canceled after the Sony hack.


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    boyhood linklater

    SSN AWARDS ORIGINALS

    PHASE TWO WRAP-UP

    Awards 2015: The 10 Most Shocking Surprises Learned From Oscar Nominees During SSN’s Spotlight Series

    We’ve almost made it. The Oscars, the main event is on Sunday, ending the awards season in a brilliance of gold at the Dolby Theater. During the course of SSN’s Phase 2 of coverage, we’ve interviewed countless nominees. Throughout the road to Oscar we learned about their challenges (you can read that article here) and also things that surprised us and the nominees during development, production, post and release. (SSN)

    Awards 2015: The Top 10 Challenges Faced By Eddie Redmayne, Richard Linklater, and Others From SSN’s Spotlight Series

    It’s always interesting to find out what someone’s biggest challenge was on a particular film or in his or her career as a whole. Some of their answers are relatable to any filmmaker, some are humorous, and some are enlightening and instructive. What was it like getting into character, editing a harrowing scene, or getting a passion project onto the page? Find out all that and more in this sampling from SSN’s Phase 2 Spotlight interviews. (SSN)

    TODAY’S HEADLINES

    Kevin Costner and Which Other Former A-Listers Are Primed For a Michael Keaton-Like Comeback?

    Making it to the A-List is a feat unto itself, that needs the luck of a lottery winning ticket combined with talent and a powerful supporting team. But making it to the top rung doesn’t guarantee that an actor will stay there. Some actors are still making blockbusters by drinking from the fountain of youth, like Tom Cruise, while retire from acting like Rick Moranis, and still others suffer misstep after misstep with no hope of returning to former glory. (SSN)

    Film Development For 2/19/15: Scarlett Johansson In For ‘The Psychopath Test’, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Adds Cast, and More

    A whole host of upcoming blockbusters announce big casting news, along with a passel of new projects, including a couple from Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8 and the confirmation that Neill Blomkamp is, in fact, doing another Aliens movie. (SSN)

    Fox Searchlight Makes a Big Splash By Nabbing ‘A Bigger Splash’ For U.S. Distribution

    The film, starring Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts and Dakota Johnson, is directed by Luca Guadagnino from a script by David Kajganich, centers on a high-profile couple, a famous rock star and a filmmaker (Schoenaerts and Swinton), whose vacation on the remote Italian island of Pantelleria is interrupted by the unexpected visit of an old friend and his daughter (Fiennes and Johnson). Searchlight is planning a release later this year. (THR)

    Fans Of Classic Literature Can Rejoice: There’s a New Version Of ‘Ivanhoe’ On the Horizon

    Scottish writer Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting) and director Jon S. Baird (Filth) are re-teaming for a bold new adaptation of the classic Walter Scott adventure tale. Very much the standard bearer for the knight in shining armor genre, Ivanhoe follows the story of a worthy and noble knight who returns to England after the third Crusades. He fights to restore the good King Richard, believed to be held captive in an Austrian prison, and depose Richard’s wicked brother John. (DH)

    It Appears There Might Just Be a ‘Settlers Of Catan’ Movie On the Horizon

    Gail Katz, whose producing credits include Pawn Sacrifice, Air Force One and The Perfect Storm, has acquired feature film and TV rights to the popular boardgame. Created by Klaus Teuber, the multiplayer game, first published in Germany in 1995, has sold more than 22 million copies in 30 languages. The goal of the game is to create the dominant community on the ever-changing fictional island of Catan amid scarce resources. (VAR)

    Melissa McCarthy’s Cupcake Comedy Just Added a Very Sweet Ingredient

    Kristen Bell has joined the cast of Michelle Darnell, a comedy written by McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone, who is directing. Kathy Bates and Peter Dinklage also star in the story, which follows McCarthy, a titan of industry sent to prison after being caught for insider trading. Upon release, she is ready to rebrand herself as America’s latest sweetheart with the help of former assistant, now single mother trying to start her own cupcake business, played by Bell. (CB)

    The New ‘Evil Dead’ Show From Starz Has Found Its Female Lead, and Her Name Is …

    Jill Marie Jones has booked the female lead role of Amanda Fisher in Ash vs Evil Dead, the long-awaited serial follow-up to the classic horror film franchise The Evil Dead, which will follow disgraced Michigan State Trooper Fisher (played by Jones), after the grisly murder of her partner, as she sets out to find anti-hero Ash and prove his responsibility for the crime. Bruce Campbell returns as Ash. Show will premiere towards the end of this year. (SAA)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Mad Men’

    A new teaser for the second part of "Mad Men"'s seventh and final season is here, and it looks like Don Draper and co. are in for plenty of hookups and hangovers in the final stretch of episodes. It premieres April 5th. (MF)

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    Anne Hathaway and Scott Free Want To Get Involved With ‘The Burning Woman’

    The Oscar-winning actress and the production shingle are teaming to get behind the spec script by Brad Ingelsby. Story is about a 32-year-old woman in a small, blue collar Pennsylvania town whose teen daughter goes missing and she is left to raise her infant grandson alone. The story is told over the course of 11 years, leading up the long-awaited discovery of the truth. It’s a drama with thriller elements. Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Michael Pruss are producing. (DH)

    From the “Least Surprising News Of the Day” File: E.L. James Wants More Control Over ‘Fifty Shades’ Sequel

    Fresh of the news that Sam Taylor-Johnson will not return to direct the next installment of the trilogy, comes word that James wants to write the screenplay for the sequel. James already wielded lots of power over the production of the first flick, scoring casting approval and working closely with filmmakers to give input, leading to big fights with Taylor-Johnson. Universal is reportedly resistant to this, and production on the second film has stalled as a result. (MF)

    Fox Just Attached Len Wiseman To Helm Its ‘Lucifer’ Pilot, Which By the Way, Is Being Retooled

    Written by Californication creator Tom Kapinos, the series is based on the long-running comic book in which the Devil leaves Hell to run a piano bar in Los Angeles. Now, in the pilot, he will help the LAPD catch and punish criminals. Wiseman will executive produce along with Jonathan Littman (CSI) and Jerry Bruckheimer. (CB)

    Adam Scott’s Producing Career Just Took Another Giant Step Forward

    The Gettin’ Rad shingle he runs with wife Naomi Scott just sold scripted comedy Buds at NBC, a comedy that got a script commitment and revolves around the day-to-day operations of a marijuana dispensary in Denver, Colo. It marks the first sale for the Parks and Recreation star and his producer-wife under their two-year first-look deal with Universal Television. (TLF)

    ‘AKA Jessica Jones’ Continues To Fill Out Its Cast, Adds Three More To It

    Erin Moriarty, Eka Darville and Will Traval are all on board the next installment of Netflix’s four limited series deal with Marvel. The first, Daredevil, debuts on April 10th, to be followed by this series, starring Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter, who will then star in the next series, Luke Cage. Show is about a woman still picking up the pieces after a short-lived stint as a superhero, who opens up a New York detective agency for both ordinary people and heroes. (EMP)

    Get Ready For Another Trip To the ‘Barbershop,’ as Ice-T and Friends Will Return For a Third Installment

    Malcolm D. Lee will direct this one, which will be produced by T’s production company, Cube Vision. Cedric The Entertainer will also return in the latest installment, after the first two grossed a combined $130 million domestically. Lee’s next film, the third in the Best Man series, is set to hit theaters April 15th, 2016. (COL)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Going Clear’

    The first look at Alex Gibney’s scathing documentary about Scientology, based on Lawrence Wright’s book. The film caused quite a stir at Sundance last month for taking on the controversial organization and claiming many bombshell revelations about the group’s history and tactics. Film debuts on HBO on Sunday, March 29th. (EW)

    First Look: ‘Aquaman’

    Director of Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice Zack Snyder has tweeted out the first picture of Jason Momoa as the King of the Seven Seas. Momoa will appear in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel, which hits theaters March 25th, 2016. (VAR)

    Wherefore Art Thou, Michael Cimino? ‘Deer Hunter’ and ‘Heaven’s Gate’ Director Speaks

    From genius auteur to Hollywood pariah in the space of two films: That is director Michael Cimino's legacy to bear. After over a decade of silence, the two-time Oscar winner sits down for an extended interview. It’s a pretty fascinating read. (THR)

    Screenwriters: ‘MacGruber’

    The 99-page, undated and unspecified draft of the script by Will Forte, John Solomon and Jorma Taccone. (DS)

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    Company Launches

    Producers Jonathan Roberts and Adam Trahan have teamed to form new talent management company Silver Fox Entertainment (SFE). Roberts will serve as CEO while Trahan will serve as president and head of talent.

    Emmy nominated director Neil Marshall (Game Of Thrones) and his agent Marc Helwig have launched a TV/film production company called Applebox Entertainment. They have signed a two-year overall deal with Legendary TV. The duo will develop scripted dramas that focus on elevated genre fare and projects with worldwide appeal.

    Film

    Sean Cocchia has been upped to EVP Business Operations and General Manager, Disney Channels Worldwide. The longtime Disney exec will oversee the division’s Strategy and Operations and Franchise and Brand Management groups; Disney Media Sales and Marketing; and Radio Disney.

    Universal Pictures International has named Rob Huber managing director for the UK and Ireland. He will replace Niels Swinkels, who was promoted in December last year to the role of EVP International Distribution.

    Television

    CBS has brought on Lisa Ammerman to the newly created position of VP Talent Booking, following her work as Senior Segment Producer for The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. Before that she was a casting producer for CBS’ Survivor and The Amazing Race.

    Robert Mills has been promoted to SVP Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming for ABC Entertainment. Mills was previously a VP and had been running ABC’s alternative department on an interim basis since the November departure of the network’s previous head of alternative, EVP Lisa Berger.

    Bruce Rosenblum took over Legendary Television in 2013, and he has been looking to hire a president of scripted television. He has now brought in veteran TV lit agent Lauren Heller Whitney. The company’s top scripted executive, EVP Peter Johnson, has extended his contract and will now report to Whitney.

    MSNBC has hired Tom Colicchio, the award-winning chef, restaurant owner, and founder of Crafted Hospitality, as its first food correspondent across all platforms. Colicchio will produce original reporting and video for MSNBC's TV shows, and host a new weekly food show on Shift, MSNBC’s new digital video experience.

    Tribune Broadcasting appointed Bart Feder to Senior Vice President of News. Feder, who worked at CNN, will be responsible for overseeing all news operations and news production for Tribune Broadcasting's 42 owned or operated stations.

    Discovery Channel has upped Michael Greco to EVP programming and research. Greco will oversee program strategy and long- and short-term planning for Discovery Channel's primetime, daytime and late-night programming.

    Digital

    LiquidThread has restructured its executive ranks and promoted Brent Poer to global creative director. Juan Davila is now managing director of global business development at Starcom MediaVest’s branded entertainment division. LiquidThread also has tapped John Doyle as senior VP, managing director, USA; and upped Jill Griffin to managing director, operations, USA. Management, PR, Music, Agencies

    Paradigm Talent Agency has promoted five agent trainees to agents. Will Douglas, Dan Moresco and Jamie Hughes have gotten upped in the Talent department. Varun Lella has been promoted in the Digital department, and Gabriel Mena in the agency's Film Packaging, Financing and Sales division.


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    SSN AWARDS ORIGINALS

    OSCAR PREDICTIONS

    Awards 2015: He Said/She Said — SSN’s 2015 Academy Awards Predictions, Including Printable Ballot

    After several months of bickering, name-calling and no small amount of expert analysis that’s been right far more often than not, senior editor Neil Turitz and senior staff writer Dina Gachman wrap up this year’s awards season coverage with a comprehensive discussion of all things Oscar. Strap yourselves in and get your office pool ballot ready. Some serious knowledge is about to be dropped on you. (SSN)

    Awards 2015: The Making Of the Oscars From Day One To Show Day Through the Eyes Of the Crew

    Before taking on the position of editor at SSN Insider, Diane Panosian worked in TV production and home entertainment. She’d always wished to work on the Oscars, and when the opportunity arose to assist the supervising producer of the Academy Awards, she jumped at the chance. Now, she takes you behind the scenes on the eve of the Big Night. (SSN)

    Awards 2015: The Five Twitter Accounts To Follow On Oscar Night

    Maybe you’re going to the Academy Awards this year, and if that’s the case please have fun and take lots of photos. If you’re not, and you want a little live(ish) comedy to go along with your Oscar-watching experience, there are some very funny people you should follow on Twitter who can make that happen. So check out our picks for the five best people to follow on Twitter during this year’s Academy Awards. (SSN)

    TODAY’S HEADLINES

    Exec Shuffle For 2/20/15: Neil Marshall Launches Applebox Entertainment, Paradigm Promotes Five Trainees, and More

    As usual, there’s action aplenty this week, with company launches, hirings in the film industry, lots of stuff going on in television, and of course the digital world is not to be left out, either. Click on the link to learn more. (SSN)

    Always One To Keep Up With the Times, the Television Academy Has Announced Major Rules Changes For the Emmys

    There are a series of interesting changes, including the increase from six titles in each category to seven, but as per the Academy's new rules, series with episodes of 30 minutes or less will now be defined as a Comedy and series with episodes of more than 30 minutes are considered Drama. Most notably, this means that Orange Is The New Black will now be considered as a drama, rather than a comedy. (HP)

    ‘Mission: Impossible 5’ May Have Moved Up Its Release Date Five Months, But It’s Still Got Some Issues

    Though the Paramount film’s release was moved from Christmas to July 31st, the latest installment of the Tom Cruise franchise has temporarily halted production to figure a new ending. Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie is huddling with Cruise and an unnamed other writer in an effort to “craft the perfect ending” for the film, which is due in theaters in just five months. (TP)

    AMC Is Going To Air the ‘Orphan Black’ Season Three Premiere Across All Its Channels

    The April 18th opener will run simultaneously at 10 p.m. across AMC, SundanceTV, IFC and We TV, in addition to BBC America. The move could provide a crucial boost to turn “Orphan Black” into a broader hit that reaches beyond its hard-core cadre of sci-fi fans. The move is also a sign that AMC Networks is wasting no time in finding ways to integrate BBC America with the rest of its networks. (VAR)

    Just When Warner Bros. Thought It Was Out Of Its ‘Gravity’ Lawsuit, Tess Gerritsen Pulls Them Back In

    As the author of the crime novels that Rizzoli & Isles come from said she would, Gerritsen filed an amended complaint in the matter earlier this week. Last month, a federal judge dismissed the author’s initial $10 million breach-of-contract action against Warner Bros. over her 1999 Gravity novel and the Oscar winning 2013 Alfonso Cuaron-directed and studio released film of the same name. (DH)

    No More ‘Justified’? No Problem For Timothy Olyphant, Who Signs Up For Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden Film

    Stone’s film will chart the experiences of Snowden, the whistleblowing National Security Agency contractor who began leaking classified documents to former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald in June 2013. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley are starring as Snowden and his girlfriend. Olyphant will play a CIA agent who befriended Snowden before he fled to Russia. The film has begun production for a Christmas release. (EMP)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Furious 7’

    The international trailer for the latest installment of the action franchise. The film opens April 3rd and stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, Ronda Rousey, Tony Jaa, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Djimon Hounsou, Lucas Black, Elsa Pataky, and Kurt Russell. (COL)  

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    Awards 2015: He Said/She Said — SSN’s 2015 Academy Awards Predictions, Including Printable Ballot

    After several months of bickering, name-calling and no small amount of expert analysis that’s been right far more often than not, senior editor Neil Turitz and senior staff writer Dina Gachman wrap up this year’s awards season coverage with a comprehensive discussion of all things Oscar. Strap yourselves in and get your office pool ballot ready. Some serious knowledge is about to be dropped on you. (SSN)

    Awards 2015: The Making Of the Oscars From Day One To Show Day Through the Eyes Of the Crew

    Before taking on the position of editor at SSN Insider, Diane Panosian worked in TV production and home entertainment. She’d always wished to work on the Oscars, and when the opportunity arose to assist the supervising producer of the Academy Awards, she jumped at the chance. Now, she takes you behind the scenes on the eve of the Big Night. (SSN)

    Awards 2015: The Five Twitter Accounts To Follow On Oscar Night

    Maybe you’re going to the Academy Awards this year, and if that’s the case please have fun and take lots of photos. If you’re not, and you want a little live(ish) comedy to go along with your Oscar-watching experience, there are some very funny people you should follow on Twitter who can make that happen. So check out our picks for the five best people to follow on Twitter during this year’s Academy Awards. (SSN)

    Awards 2015: The 10 Most Shocking Surprises Learned From Oscar Nominees During SSN’s Spotlight Series

    We’ve almost made it. The Oscars, the main event is on Sunday, ending the awards season in a brilliance of gold at the Dolby Theater. During the course of SSN’s Phase 2 of coverage, we’ve interviewed countless nominees. Throughout the road to Oscar we learned about their challenges (you can read that article here) and also things that surprised us and the nominees during development, production, post and release. (SSN)

    Awards 2015: The Top 10 Challenges Faced By Eddie Redmayne, Richard Linklater, and Others From SSN’s Spotlight Series

    It’s always interesting to find out what someone’s biggest challenge was on a particular film or in his or her career as a whole. Some of their answers are relatable to any filmmaker, some are humorous, and some are enlightening and instructive. What was it like getting into character, editing a harrowing scene, or getting a passion project onto the page? Find out all that and more in this sampling from SSN’s Phase 2 Spotlight interviews. (SSN)

    Awards 2015: Inside the Swankiest Oscar Gifting Suites

    Getting Oscar-ready may require fittings, special diets and fitness training sessions. However, the gifting suites and lounges in Los Angeles held in the days leading up to the Academy Awards also ensure celebs get pampered with manicures, spray tans and facials while browsing for accessories to wear on the red carpet like watches, jewelry and handbags. (SSN)

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    Awards 2015: SSN’s Top 10 Oscar Moments

    Well, we finally made it. Considering the Academy seems to love movies about show business even more than period biopics, it wasn’t a total shock when Birdman took flight, snagging four Oscars. On the actual show itself, although there wasn’t a group selfie that broke Twitter or a Billy Crystal worthy opening, there were plenty of moments last night that were memorable. (SSN)

    Spoiler Alert! ‘Birdman’ Wins Best Picture At Last Night’s Oscars

    Alejandro Gonzalez Irárittu wins for Best Director as the Academy pretty much snubs Boyhood which only went home with one Oscar, for Patricia Arquette’s performance. Deadline has the complete list, in case you slept through it or were stuck on a plane, or something. (DH)

    Meanwhile, ’Boyhood’ and ‘Birdman’ Were the Big Winners at the Independent Spirit Awards On Saturday

    Birdman won Best Picture and a Best Actor award for Michael Keaton, while Richard Linklater took Best Director and Patricia Arquette snagged Best Supporting Actress. One of the biggest winners was Dan Gilroy, who won Best Screenplay and Best First Feature for Nightcrawler. (IW)

    ‘Fifty Shades’ Repeats as Box Office Champ, But Drops Off a Massive 73 Percent From Opening

    Fox’s Kingsman: The Secret Service took in an estimated $17.53 million to remain in second place. The Matthew Vaughn directed graphic novel adaptation starring Colin Firth was down 52 percent from last weekend, while The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water held steady in third with an estimated $15.5 million. Disney's McFarland, USA led this weekend's openers with an estimated fourth place debut of $11.32M. (BO)

    In Case You Didn’t Get Your Awards Fix This Weekend, There Were Also the Razzies

    Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas “won” four awards at the ceremony, which also recognized Cameron Diaz, Megan Fox and Kelsey Grammer for their work in films like Sex Tape, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Expendables 3. Ben Affleck won the Redeemer Award for reclaiming his career after winning a 2003 Razzie for Gigli. (TP)

    The Morning After, Are You Still Lamenting the Movies That Got Snubbed? Here’s an In Memoriam Of Them All

    Last night, a number of movies, filmmakers, performers and craftspeople of all different kinds saw their dreams realized in the form of an Oscar win. About five times that many saw their nominations turn into a loss. Even more were at home, not even invited to the party, despite the overwhelming worthiness of their work. Welcome to the Oscar Snubs. (FSR)

    In Case You Were Wondering About the Claustrophobic Layout Of the Theatre In ‘Birdman', Today’s You’re Lucky Day

    The technical feat of Birdman most viewers rave about is that the entire film occurs in what appears to be one continuous shot. This device would not be possible, however, if the film's action weren't restricted to a single location. Michael Keaton's character seems trapped within a prison of his own making throughout, and the new floorplan shows exactly why. (FCC)

    Who Are the Most Thanked People In Oscar History? The List Might Surprise You

    Delivering an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards is a thankless task. It’s always good to thank the Hollywood elite so that they will employ you in the future. But who has been name-dropped the most during Academy Award acceptance speeches? Thanks to an analysis of all 1,396 Oscar acceptance speeches, we now have the results. (CB)

    Hollywood’s Disappearing Chinese Money Problem

    Writer Michael Wolff takes a look at the rumors, the logic, the promise of money from China, and how little actual money there is from China in Hollywood. There are, with a cold eye, probably only two meaningful deals involving Chinese investment in the U.S. industry — and both are exceptions. It’s a pretty fascinating read. (THR)

    Screenwriters: Notes From the Margins — Goals Vs. Needs: What Defines Characters and Writers

    What’s your goal? It’s one of the most important questions a writer can ask. Not just of their protagonist, antagonist and every single one of their supporting characters, but of themselves. A character without a defined goal has nothing to fight for, no aim and no meaning in the plot, no connection to the hook. A writer who doesn’t know what they want to achieve, what their next steps are to reaching that goal, and what they want their script to accomplish for them, is no different. (SM)

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    STARTS

    Maggie's Plan 2/23/2015 Logline: A young woman tries to make a life for herself in New York City. Production Companies: Locomotive, Rachael Horovitz Productions, Round Films, Hall Monitor Director: Rebecca Miller Producer(s): Rachael Horovitz, Damon Cardasis, Rebecca Miller Cast: Greta Gerwig, Julianne Moore, Ethan Hawke, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader Writer(s): Rebecca Miller SSN Insight: Clive Owen was previously attached to the role ultimately played by Ethan Hawke.

    Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiars 2/22/2015 Logline: On an isolated island off of Wales, 16-year-old Jacob discovers an abandoned orphanage that was a home for children with strange powers. Studio: 20th Century Fox Production Company: Chernin Entertainment Director: Tim Burton Producer(s): Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Dylan Clark Cast: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Samuel L. Jackson Writer(s): Jane Goldman Details: Based on the novel "Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children" written by Ransom Riggs and published by Quirk on June 7, 2011. SSN Insight: Jackson is said to be playing the role of “Barron,” a new character created just for the film.

    Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales 2/18/2015 Logline: This sequel involves a swashbuckling search across the seas for a legendary and powerful artifact, the Trident of Poseidon. Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Production Company: Jerry Bruckheimer Films Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg Producer(s): Jerry Bruckheimer, Mike Stenson, Chad Oman Cast: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Ian McShane, Stephen Graham Writer(s): Jeff Nathanson, Terry Rossio, Ted Elliott Details: Sequel to Walt Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" (USA/2003) starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. SSN Insight: Rob Marshall had been mentioned to direct. Jared Leto and Christoph Waltz were reportedly eyed for the villain role.

    Snowden 2/16/2015 Logline: The story of Edward Snowden is told. Snowden made thousands of classified documents public while working at the US National Security Agency. Production Companies: Ixtlan Inc., Onda Entertainment Director: Oliver Stone Producer(s): Oliver Stone, Moritz Borman, Eric Kopeloff Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Scott Eastwood, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Nicolas Cage Writer(s): Oliver Stone Details: Based on the books "The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man" written by Luke Harding and published by Vintage on February 7, 2014 and "Time of the Octopus" written by Snowden's Russian attorney Anatoly Kucherena and to be published soon. SSN Insight: The film’s pre-production began in Germany with shooting set to take place in Munich. Open Road Films and Endgame Entertainment announced in November, 2014 they would partner for the U.S. release. Nicolas Cage was added to the cast today and will play a U.S. Intelligence Officer.

    The Infiltrator 2/23/2015 Logline: The true story of Robert Mazur, a Customs official, who helped uncover a massive money laundering scheme that involved Pablo Escobar. Production Company: Good Films Director: Brad Furman Producer(s): Miriam Segal Cast: Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger Writer(s): Ellen Brown Furman, Alex Holmes Details: Based on the book "The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel" written by Robert Mazur and published by Arcade on April 15 2009. SSN Insight: Previously in development at 2929 Productions. Project marks the second collaboration of Cranston and Furman since 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer.

    WRAPS

    Bonded By Blood 2: Essex Boys The New Generation 2/18/2015 Logline: In this sequel, all-out gang warfare appears imminent following the murders of three of the original Essex Boys. Production Company: Richwater Films Director: Greg Hall Producer(s): Jonathan Sothcott, Rod Smith, Neil Jones Cast: George Russo, Josh Myers, Sam Strike, Martin Delaney, Mark Harris Writer(s): Simon Cluett Details: Sequel to "Bonded by Blood" (UK/2010). Based on the novel "Essex Boys, The New Generation" written by Bernard O'Mahoney and published by Mainstream Publishing, June 10th, 2008. SSN Insight: The first film grossed an estimated $4 million. Russo has previously appeared in Doctor Who (2009-2010) and Shameless (2012-2013).

    The Outfield 2/20/2015 Logline: Three Varsity baseball players, who have been best friends since childhood, enter their senior year of high school and must navigate relationships, plans for the future, and baseball. Production Company: Fullscreen Directors: Michael Goldfine, Eli Gonda Producer(s): Michael Goldfine Cast: Nash Grier, Cameron Dallas Writer(s): Michael Goldfine, Lydia Genner SSN Insight: Feature film acting debut of Vine social media star Nash Grier.

    Untitled (Blumhouse/Joel Edgerton Project) 2/20/2015 Logline: A happily married couple's lives are threatened when an old school classmate of theirs enters their lives seeking revenge for his past treatment by the husband. Production Companies: Blumhouse Productions, Blue Tongue Films, Ahimsa Films Director: Joel Edgerton Producer(s): Rebecca Yeldham, Jason Blum Cast: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton Writer(s): Joel Edgerton SSN Insight: Joel Kinnaman was previously mentioned to play the role ultimately filled by Jason Bateman.


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    On the Set For 2/23/15: ‘Pirates 5' and ‘Snowden’ Begin Shooting, Joel Egerton Wraps Blumhouse Film

    Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiars also gets rolling, as does Bryan Cranston’s The Infiltrator, while the Blumhouse project is joined by a couple of indies, which also wrapped up principal photography. (SSN)

    IATSE Says It Will Implement a Safety Hotline In Wake Of Sarah Jones Death

    The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees seems to be following the lead of their Local 600 and the International Cinematographers Guild in attempting to make a change for the better in regards to industry safety. In a letter dated February 19 written by International president Matthew Loeb, he writes: “It has come to my attention that there is interest in the creation of an industry-wide safety hotline for IATSE members … it is a worthy idea and we plan to implement a single hotline accessible to all of the industries we represent.” (DH)

    ‘Wonder Woman’ News: It Appears the Film Will Start Shooting This Fall

    Movie starring Gal Gadot, who will make her debut as the character in next year’s Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, will be directed by Michelle MacLaren. No plot details of the film yet, but it is rumored that the movie will take place in the 1920s, when Princess Diana leaves her home of Themyscira and comes to America. The film is scheduled for release June 23rd, 2017. (GR)

    Absurdly Early and Unnecessary Oscar Predictions For 2016

    Now that the Academy Awards are over, it can only mean one thing: It's time to place your bets for 2016's awards. It's actually not that time at all, but here are some incredibly premature predictions for this time next year. Before we get bogged down by the inevitable glad-handing and mudslinging, we can pretend the Academy Awards are about honoring cinema's finest. (HP)

    And Another Thing, Who Might We See Host Next Year’s Ceremony? Some Suggestions

    Despite some stand-out moments, Neil Patrick Harris has mostly received middling to negative reviews for his hosting job last night. It was a valiant effort, but he probably won’t be hosting again. Who should replace him? Here are nine dream picks for future Oscar host hopefuls. (MF)

    Antoine Fuqua Finds His Female Lead For His Upcoming ‘Magnificent Seven’ Remake

    The director is reteaming with his Equalizer star, Denzel Washington, for the movie, and is also trying to get Chris Pratt for the film. Now, he has added Haley Bennett in a prime role. John Lee Hancock and True Detective’s Nic Pizzolatto are among those who have contributed to the screenplay, adapted from the classic Seven Samurai, which became the first crack at a Magnificent Seven in 1960. (EMP)

    Irene Bedard Is Bringing the Classic Native American Story ‘Two Old Women’ to the Big Screen

    The Golden Globe-winning actress Irene Bedard will shepherd a movie adaptation of the Native American publishing sensation Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage, and Survival. Written by the Gwich'in author Velma Wallis, is the survival tale of two elderly women abandoned by their tribe in the midst of a harrowing Alaskan winter. (WAH)

    What Were the Five Biggest Surprises Of Last Night’s Not Terribly Surprising Oscar Telecast?

    The 2015 Oscars were not very surprising. If you played it safe on your ballot, you probably got at least 20 correct. Which is more or less how it works these days, sadly. But there were a few morsels of the unexpected last night, for better or worse. (IW)

    Remember When ‘The Big Bang Theory’ “Ruined” ‘Raiders Of the Lost Ark’ For People? Here Is a Brilliant Counterpoint

    Amy Farrah Fowler’s point that Indiana Jones is incidental to the story and thus is not a good protagonist fundamentally misunderstands the central conflict in the film, and what the movie is ultimately about. (PP)

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    After Months Of Rumors, It’s Now Official: Pee-Wee Herman Returns!

    Paul Reubens’ signature character will be in a new film for Netflix called Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday, and will be produced by Reubens and Judd Apatow. Ruben co-wrote the script with Jack Rust, and director John Lee will make his feature debut behind the camera. No word yet on shooting dates or a release schedule from the online streaming service. (DH)

    ‘Better Call Saul’ Co-Creator Has a Wall Street Movie In Development At HBO

    Peter Gould is in the early stages of developing a telepic for the cable net based on Guy Lawson’s 2012 nonfiction book Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market and Wall Street’s Wildest Con. He will write and direct the HBO Films project, which will revolve around a colorful cast of rogues and schemers who create an audacious hedge fund fraud and then go on a wild search for “the Octopus,” a secret and elite market that controls the world financial system. (VAR)

    Calista Flockhart Is Returning To TV, Will Take a Key Role In CBS’ ‘Supergirl’ Pilot

    The former Ally McBeal star will play Cat Grant, a self-made media magnate. Melissa Benoist stars as Kara Zor-El, who works as her assistant. Flockhart alums joins recently announced Laura Benanti as Kara's birth mother. (TVG)

    Another Former Movie Star Turns To TV For Career Resurrection: Wesley Snipes Signs Onto NBC Pilot

    Snipes will star with Phillip Winchester and Damon Gupton in Endgame, created by Leverage’s John Rogers. Show is being touted as a fast-paced thriller show set in the high-stakes world of Las Vegas. Winchester’s playing a former intelligence officer who now works as a security expert in the gambling paradise, and finds himself drawn into a mysterious conspiracy that will require him to complete a series of challenges to save innocent people. Snipes is a mysterious sort named Johnson who oversees the game. (EMP)

    Rob Riggle and Jane Curtin Are Teaming For a New Sitcom For Fox

    The 21 Jump Street alum and Saturday Night Live vet have been tapped to star in comedy pilot 48 Hours 'Til Monday. The single-camera comedy from The Mindy Project's Charlie Grandy centers on one husband's desperate struggle to not let every weekend go completely to hell. Riggle will star as Charlie Bishop, an energetic, overcommitted yet blindly confident father of three kids who is happily married. Curtin is his mother-in-law. (TLF)

    Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden Film Just Added Another Big Name

    Nicolas Cage will play the role of a former U.S. Intelligence Official in the film that already stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the former computer contractor who leaked classified National Security Agency documents in the summer of 2013. Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans, Joely Richardson, and Timothy Olyphant also star. (TP)

    In Case You Were Holding Out Hope For a ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ Sequel, This Will Probably Not Make Your Morning

    Star Rooney Mara, who earned an Oscar nod for her performance as Lisbeth Salander in the film, has said a sequel is almost certainly not going to happen. She said in an interview, “I’m sad never to do it again, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards.” (SF)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘The Gunman’

    The latest look at the action film starring Sean Penn, Mark Rylance, Ray Winstone, Idris Elba and Javier Bardem. Film hits theaters March 20th. (COL)

    No Joke, There Is Now an App That Allows You To Play Off Rambling Co-Workers, Like At the Oscars

    You know that music cue when Oscar winners thank way too many people? Now you can use it to make speeches and presentations more efficient. Agency Rethink has just rolled out a new app that recreates the award show play-off music, placing it right inside your phone. “You’re Cut Off” tells anybody who has gone on too long that it's time to do a dismount. (FCC)

    Online Film School: Things Gleaned From the Commentary For ‘Predator’

    Today marks the one year anniversary of director John McTiernan‘s release from jail after being convicted of lying to the FBI in a case involving wiretapping and a disgraced private investigator. He hasn’t made a film since 2003’s Basic, but he has some great ones on his resume including Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October, The Thomas Crowne Affair and… 1987’s Predator(FSR)

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