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    ‘Cartel Land’ Filmmaker Matthew Heineman Wins George Polk Award for Documentary Film

    Long Island U.’s 67th Annual George Polk Awards in Journalism honor “reporters who advanced vital national conversations on race and gender relations with their masterful investigative reporting in 2015.” The annual awards were established in 1949 by LIU to commemorate George Polk, a CBS correspondent who was murdered in 1948 while covering the Greek civil war. Cartel Land won for its fearless investigation of the drug war in Mexico. (HRA)


    Keira Knightley’s Feeling Royal, Circles Barbra Streisand’s Catherine the Great Pic

    Oscar-nominated actress is in talks to star as the Russian monarch in a Streisand-directed biopic, whose script was written by Kristina Lauren Anderson and topped the 2014 Black List for best unproduced screenplays. Knightley met for the project last year and, since then, talks have been progressing slowly. (THR)

    Robert Downey Jr.’s ‘Pinocchio’ Finds a New Director, By the Name Of Ron Howard

    The In the Heart of the Sea director has joined RDJ’s film, replacing Paul Thomas Anderson, who departed the film in the fall. Anderson joined the film as writer and director in July. He took the scriptwriting reins from The Giver scribe Michael Mitnick, who penned earlier drafts of the film. Downey will play Geppetto, the creator of a wooden puppet who comes to life after he wishes for a son. (TB)

    Julianne Moore Is Getting Her Supervillain On In the ‘Kingsman’ Sequel

    Matthew Vaughn is once again directing the film, which will follow the further adventures of Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton), the most unlikely recruit for gentlemanly boutique secret agency the Kingsmen, yet who turned out to be one of their greatest assets … With a little help from Colin Firth’s Harry Hart, who isn’t returning for the sequel. The movie already has a June 16th, 2017 release date pencilled in. (EMP)

    New Line Fires Up a Live Action ‘Astro Boy’, Hires ‘San Andreas’ Writers To Make It Happen

    The Warner Bros. division is in negotiations to pick up the rights to the iconic manga and anime character. At the same time, the company has tapped Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore to pen the script. Animal Logic Entertainment, Ranger 7 Films and Japanese firm Tezuka Productions will produce the feature, which is intended to shed some of its child-skewing trappings and become a live-action, four-quadrant adventure movie. (HV)

    Paramount Does Some Release Date Roulette, Moves ‘Rings’ Back, Moves New Linklater Film Up

    Studio has moved the opening of Richard Linklater’s dramedy Everybody Wants Some forward two weeks to April 1st in limited release. The studio will expand the film over the following two weekends. It also moved back its horror thriller Rings off April 1st to the pre-Halloween weekend of Oct. 28th. (VAR)

    Shawn Levy To Helm Biopic Of Iconic Rock Promoter Bill Graham For Fox, 21 Laps

    The director and the studio will turn the life of the legendary music promoter into a feature film. The studio has acquired Bill Graham: My Life Inside Rock and Out, the autobiography he wrote with Robert Greenfield. Levy will produce through his 21 Laps banner. David Graham, Alex Graham and Robert Greenfield will be the executive producers. (DH)

    Season Two Of ‘Wayward Pines’ Adds a Former Two-Time Oscar Nominee

    Djimon Hounsou has been cast as a series regular on Season 2 of Fox’s M. Night Shyamalan series, and will play an “original resident of Wayward Pines and a historian for the town with extensive knowledge of its complex origins.” It was announced last week that Jason Patric will star in the new season, which was led by Matt Dillon in its first season. (SF)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Colonia’

    Screen Media has released a new look at its upcoming Cold War drama, set in 1973 Chile. Starring Emma Watson, Daniel Brühl and Michael Nyqvist, and directed by Florian Gallenberger, the movie hits theaters and VOD on April 15th. (COL)

    Screenwriters: Lessons in Acting and Writing – From Working with Real People and No Script

    Can you always spot the difference between someone who is acting and real life? Or between scripted dialogue, improvisation and genuine conversation? If you took away the camera operators, the crew and equipment and watched two actors play the climax of a movie – would you believe it was a real conversation? What we can we learn about writing screenplays by placing fiction side by side with fact? (SM)

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    New Attachments

    Logline: Centers on Witold, who has just failed the bar, and his companion Fuchs, who has recently quit his fashion job. During a stay at a guesthouse, an incident launches Witold’s reality into a whirlwind of tension, histrionics, foreboding omens, and surrealistic logic as he becomes obsessed with the guesthouse owner’s newly married daughter Lena.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Kino Lorber
    Production Company(s): Alfama Films, Leopardo Filmes
    Producer(s): Paulo Branco
    Writer(s): Andrzej Zulawski
    Director(s): Andrzej Zulawski
    Cast: Sabine Azema, Jean-Francois Balmer, Jonathan Genet, Johan Libéreau, Andy Gillet
    SSN Insight: Kino Lorber acquired North American rights to the first feature film in 15 years from Polish director Żuławski, whose horror pic Possession screened at Cannes in 1981.

    Get Out
    Logline: A young African American man visits his white girlfriend’s family, with horrifying consequences.
    Production Company(s): Blumhouse Productions, QC Entertainment
    Producer(s): Jason Blum, Sean McKittrick, Ted Hamm
    Writer(s): Jordan Peele
    Director(s): Jordan Peele
    Cast: Allison Williams, Daniel Kaluuya, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Caleb Landry Jones, Betty Gabriel
    SSN Insight: Gabriel’s credits include Experiementer, The Purge: Election Year and the upcoming Beyond Skyline.

    Kingsman Sequel
    Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
    Studio/Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox, 20th Century Fox Distribution
    Production Company(s): MARV Films
    Producer(s): Matthew Vaughn
    Writer(s): Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
    Director(s): Matthew Vaughn
    Cast: Taron Egerton, Julianne Moore (mentioned)
    Details: Based on the comic book series “The Secret Service,” written by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons and published by Marvel Comics on April 11, 2012. Sequel to “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (2015) directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Colin Firth.
    SSN Insight: Julianne Moore is in talks to play the villain in this film.

    L’ avenir aka Things to Come
    Logline: About a married philosophy professor whose life revolves around her books, her students and her overbearing mother. When her husband leaves her and her mother passes away, she begins a new life alone, but for a cat, and full of possibility.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Sundance Selects
    Production Company(s): Rhône-Alpes Cinéma, Detailfilm GmbH, CG Cinema, Arte France cinéma
    Producer(s): Charles Gillibert
    Writer(s): Mia Hansen-Løve
    Director(s): Mia Hansen-Løve
    Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Roman Kolinka, Edith Scob, Andre Marcon
    SSN Insight: Sundance Selects acquired domestic rights after the film’s premiere at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival.

    Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
    Production Company(s): Mockingbird Pictures, Skydance Productions
    Producer(s): David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Bonnie Curtis, Julie Lynn
    Writer(s): Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
    Director(s): Daniel Espinosa
    Cast: Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds (in talks)
    SSN Insight: Espinosa and Reynolds worked together previously on Safe House.

    Logline: The true story of interracial couple Mildred and Richard Loving’s historical Supreme Court case that eradicated laws against marriage between interracial couples.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Focus Features
    Production Company(s): Sarah Green Film Corp., Big Beach, Augusta Films, The Zoo, Raindog Films
    Producer(s): Ged Doherty, Sarah Green, Nancy Buirski, Colin Firth, Peter Saraf
    Writer(s): Jeff Nichols
    Director(s): Jeff Nichols
    Cast: Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Nick Kroll, Jon Bass, Marton Csokas
    Details: Inspired by the documentary “The Loving Story” (2012) directed by Nancy Buirski.
    SSN Insight: Project marks director Jeff Nichols’ second time directing actors Bill Camp and Joel Edgerton, and his fifth collaboration with Michael Shannon. Focus Features acquired domestic rights and most international territories for $9 million after viewing footage at the 2016 EFM.

    Miss Sloane
    Logline: A powerful lobbyist sacrifices her career on Federal Hill so she can push through an amendment enforcing stricter federal laws regulating guns.
    Studio/Distributor(s): EuropaCorp
    Production Company(s): EuropaCorp, FilmNation
    Producer(s): Ben Browning, Luc Besson
    Writer(s): Jonathan “Jonny” Perera
    Director(s): John Madden
    Cast: Jessica Chastain, Alison Pill, Jake Lacy, Michael Stuhlbarg, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Douglas Smith
    SSN Insight: Project was included in the 2015 Black List.

    My Cousin Rachel (Remake)
    Logline: An orphan believes his cousin Rachel is responsible for the murder of his beloved guardian and plots his revenge, but finds his feelings being complicated as he falls under her spell.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Fox Searchlight Pictures
    Writer(s): Roger Michell
    Director(s): Roger Michell
    Cast: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger (in final negotiations)
    Details: Based on the novel “My Cousin Rachel” written by Daphne Du Maurier and published by Doubleday in 1951.
    SSN Insight: Paula Milne previously adapted the novel for Fox 2000. Oliver Parker was previously attached to direct.

    My King
    Logline: A woman is recovering from a passionate but destructive romance.
    Studio/Distributor(s): StudioCanal, Film Movement
    Production Company(s): Les Films du Tresor
    Producer(s): Alain Attal
    Writer(s): Etienne Comar, Maïwenn
    Director(s): Maïwenn
    Cast: Vincent Cassel, Emmanuelle Bercot, Louis Garrel, Isild Le Besco
    SSN Insight: Film Movement has acquired the U.S. rights to the film that is up for eight Cesar Awards, the national film award of France, including Best Film.

    My Little Pony (Animated)
    Logline: A new dark force threatens Ponyville, and the Mane 6 – Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rarity – embark on an unforgettable journey beyond Equestria where they meet new friends and exciting challenges on a quest to use the magic of friendship and save their home.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Lionsgate, Lionsgate
    Production Company(s): Hasbro, Inc., Allspark Pictures
    Producer(s): Stephen J. Davis, Brian Goldner
    Writer(s): Meghan McCarthy, Rita Hsiao, Joe Ballarini
    Director(s): Jayson Thiessen
    Voice Cast: Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Tara Strong, Cathy Weseluck, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St. Germain and Ashleigh Ball
    Details: Based on the “My Little Pony” toy franchise which was introduced with the toy in 1981, and the toy line that ran from 1983 through 1995, and inspired animated specials, an animated feature length film, and four animated television series.
    SSN Insight: Lionsgate will distribute and markets the film globally, with the exception of China.

    On Chesil Beach
    Logline: Set in England in 1962, On Chesil Beach follows Florence (Ronan), one half of two young lovers, in the touching story of how their unexpressed misunderstandings and fears shape the rest of their lives.
    Production Company(s): Number 9 Films
    Producer(s): Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley
    Writer(s): Ian McEwan
    Director(s): Dominic Cooke
    Cast: Saoirse Ronan
    Details: Based on the novel “On Chesil Beach” written by Ian McEwan and published by Nan A. Talese June 5, 2007.
    SSN Insight: Sam Mendes was previously attached to direct. Project was previously set up at Focus Features.

    Rebel in the Rye
    Logline: JD Salinger is followed from the early days of his writing career, though his service in WWII, which change him forever and help him find his voice as a writer.
    Studio/Distributor(s): ,
    Production Company(s): Blue Star Entertainment, Bruce Cohen Productions, Black Label Media
    Producer(s): Danny Strong, Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill, Thad Luckinbill, Bruce Cohen
    Writer(s): Danny Strong
    Director(s): Danny Strong
    Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Spacey, Laura Dern, Brian d’Arcy James, Hope Davis
    Details: Based on the biography “JD Salinger: A Life” written by Kenneth Slawenski and published by Random House in 2010.
    SSN Insight: Bloom is handling international sales at EFM in Berlin, while CAA is repping North American rights.

    Southside With You
    Logline: The story of the eventful date in 1989 when a young associate named Barack Obama was trying to woo lawyer Michelle Robinson on a summer afternoon and evening that took them from the Art Institute of Chicago to a screening of Spike Lee‘s “Do the Right Thin
    Studio/Distributor(s): Miramax, Roadside Attractions
    Production Company(s): State Street Pictures, IM Global
    Producer(s): Robert Teitel, Richard Tanne, Tika Sumpter, Stuart Ford, Matt Jackson
    Writer(s): Richard Tanne
    Director(s): Richard Tanne
    Cast: Tika Sumpter, Parker Sawyers, Vanessa Bell Calloway
    SSN Insight: Project was previously in development at Homegrown Pictures with Stephanie Allain attached to produce. Miramax and Roadside Attractions acquired domestic rights for an estimated $2 million following the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

    Stan & Ollie
    Logline: The film follows the legendary comedy duo during their 1953 variety hall tour of Britain which began with low attendance and eventually became a hit with old and new fans.
    Studio/Distributor(s): eOne
    Production Company(s): BBC Films, Fable Pictures, Sonesa Films
    Producer(s): Faye Ward
    Writer(s): Jeff Pope
    Director(s): Jon S Baird
    Cast: Steve Coogan, John C Reilly
    SSN Insight: eOne will co-finance the film with BBC Films and separately handle sales and distribute the film in its territories.

    Star Wars: Episode VIII
    Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
    Production Company(s): Bad Robot, Kasdan Pictures, Lucasfilm, Ltd., Ram Bergman Productions
    Producer(s): Bryan Burk, George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Ram Bergman
    Writer(s): Rian Johnson
    Director(s): Rian Johnson
    Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill
    Details: Sequel to “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope” (1977) directed by George Lucas and starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.
    SSN Insight: Kelly Marie Tran was previously seen in the TV series Adam Ruins Everything, Comedy Bang! Bang! and About a Boy.

    Logline: When there is a deathly home invasion in the quiet town of Suburbicon, a seemingly perfect family turns to blackmail, revenge and betrayal.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures
    Production Company(s): Silver Pictures, Mike Zoss Productions, Smokehouse Pictures
    Producer(s): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Joel Silver, George Clooney, Grant Heslov
    Writer(s): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
    Director(s): George Clooney
    Cast: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Josh Brolin
    SSN Insight: Previously in development at Warner Bros. In addition to Paramount nabbing U.S. rights, eOne nabbed the UK rights in a deal reportedly in the $5 million range.

    Thank You for Playing
    Logline: Follows indie video game developer Ryan Green as he created That Dragon, Cancer, a game based on his youngest son’s battle with terminal cancer.
    Studio/Distributor(s): FilmBuff
    Production Company(s): Kinematic Films
    Producer(s): David Osit, Malika Zouhali Worrall
    Director(s): David Osit, Malika Zouhali Worrall
    SSN Insight: FilmBuff has licensed worldwide rights to distribute the Tribeca Film Festival documentary. The video game featured in the film was released this month, and FilmBuff plans a platform release of the feature on March 18 along with VOD.

    The Ardennes
    Logline: Two bandit brothers — one fresh from prison and the other eager to escape their criminal past — form a potentially explosive love triangle with the ex-con’s ex-girlfriend.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Film Movement
    Production Company(s): Savage Film
    Producer(s): Bart Van Langendonck
    Writer(s): Jeroen Perceval
    Director(s): Robin Pront
    Cast: Jeroen Perceval, Veerle Baetens, Kevin Janssens
    SSN Insight: Film Movement has bought the rights to Pront’s debut feature film. A 2016 theatrical and VOD release is scheduled.

    The Beat Beneath My Feet
    Logline: The tale of a teenage boy who discovers that his unruly neighbor is really a disgraced rock god who “died” eight years prior and owing a fortune in unpaid tax. The boy agrees not to reveal his secret on the condition that he teaches him the dark arts of rock guitar.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Level 33 Entertainment, SSS Entertainment
    Production Company(s): Scoop Films
    Producer(s): Fiona Gillies, Raj Sharma
    Writer(s): Michael Mueller
    Director(s): John Williams
    Cast: Luke Perry, Nicholas Galitzine, Lisa Dillon, Verity Pinter, James Tarpey
    SSN Insight: The British film screened in 2015’s Berlin Film Festival Generation section. Level 33 acquired North American rights in conjunction with SSS Entertainment.

    The Dinner
    Logline: As two couples dine at an upscale restaurant, their polite discourse disguises the fact that they are struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives over dinner.
    Production Company(s): ChubbCo Film Co., Code Red Productions, Blackbird Films
    Producer(s): Cotty Chubb, Lawrence Inglee, Edward Vaisman, Julia Lebedev
    Writer(s): Oren Moverman
    Director(s): Oren Moverman
    Cast: Laura Linney, Rebecca Hall, Chloë Sevigny, Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Adepero Oduye
    Details: Based on the novel “The Dinner” written by Herman Koch, first published in Amsterdam by Anthos as “Het Diner” in 2009, and translated into English and published in the U.S. by Atlantic Books in 2012.
    SSN Insight: Cate Blanchett was previously attached to direct, which would have been her directorial debut.

    The Lobster
    Logline: About a dystopian society where unmarried people are given 45 days to find a mate, or else they are transformed into the animals of their choice.
    Studio/Distributor(s): A24
    Production Company(s): Film4 Productions, Haut et Court, Lemming Film, Scarlet Films, Element Pictures, Faliro House Productions, Limp
    Producer(s): Yorgos Lanthimos, Ceci Dempsey, Lee Magiday, Ed Guiney
    Writer(s): Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
    Director(s): Yorgos Lanthimos
    Cast: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C Reilly, Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux
    SSN Insight: Alchemy acquired U.S. distribution rights at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival; however, producers subsequently struck a deal with A24, which acquired those rights during EFM 2016.

    Logline: After a college baseball star doesn’t make the Major League Baseball draft, an intramural game with friends becomes hugely important to him as he tries to accept his broken dreams.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Vertical Entertainment
    Production Company(s): Efish Entertainment, Parlay Pictures
    Producer(s): Joseph Mazzello, Eric Fischer, Brianna Lee Johnson
    Writer(s): Joseph Mazzello
    Director(s): Joseph Mazzello
    Cast: Joseph Mazzello, Aaron Tveit, Matt Barr, Chace Crawford, Tyler Hoechlin
    SSN Insight: Vertical Entertainment has picked up worldwide rights to the baseball drama.

    Valley of the Gods
    Logline: The intertwined stories of an ancient Najavo legend, a writer with an unbridled imagination who has the ability to alter reality, the richest man on earth and Grey Horse, a feisty young Native American.
    Production Company(s): The Safran Company, Royal Road Entertainment
    Producer(s): Filip Jan Rymsza, Carla Rosen-Vacher, Lech Majewski, Angelus Silesius, Natalia Safran
    Writer(s): Lech Majewski
    Director(s): Lech Majewski
    Cast: Josh Hartnett, Charlotte Rampling, John Rhys-Davies
    SSN Insight: Rampling will next appear in Ritesh Batra’s The Sense of an Ending with Jim Broadbent and Emily Mortimer.

    Zero Days
    Logline: Tells the story of Stuxnet, self-replicating computer malware that the U.S. and Israel unleashed to destroy a key part of an Iranian nuclear facility, and which ultimately spread beyond its intended target.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Magnolia, Showtime
    Production Company(s): Jigsaw Productions, Participant Media, Global Produce
    Producer(s): Marc Shmuger, Alex Gibney
    Director(s): Alex Gibney
    SSN Insight: Magnolia and Showtime acquired domestic rights prior to the film’s premiere at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival.

    New Projects

    An Ideal Home
    Logline: The extravagant life of a squabbling couple is changed when one of them learns he has a grandson and they take him in.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Remstar Studios
    Producer(s): Gabriella Tana, Maria Teresa Arida, Maxime Remillard, Aaron Ryder
    Writer(s): Andrew Fleming
    Director(s): Andrew Fleming
    Cast: Paul Rudd, Steve Coogan
    SSN Insight: The project is in pre-production with Remstar Studios and National Bank of Canada co-financing. UTA Independent Film Group and WME are handling U.S. rights.

    Hotel Mumbai
    Logline: The true story of the 2008 Pakistani terrorist attacks on the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in India are dramatized.
    Production Company(s): Electric Pictures/Contemporary Films Ltd, Arclight Films Pty Ltd., Thunder Road Pictures, Xeitgeist
    Producer(s): Basil Iwanyk, Gary Hamilton, Mike Gabrawy, Andrew Ogilvie, Julie Ryan
    Writer(s): John Collee, Anthony Maras
    Director(s): Anthony Maras
    Cast: Dev Patel (in negotiations), Armie Hammer (in negotiations), Nazanin Boniadi, Teresa Palmer, Kunal Nayyar
    Details: Based on the documentary “Surviving Mumbai” (Australia/2009).
    SSN Insight: Maras was shortlisted for an Academy Award for his short film The Palace, which also picked up two Australian Academy Awards.

    Mom and Dad
    Logline: An unknown force causes parents to attack their children.
    Production Company(s): Aldamisa International, Armory Films, Zeal Media Co.
    Producer(s): Tim Zajaros, Christopher Lemole
    Writer(s): Brian Taylor
    Director(s): Brian Taylor
    Cast: Nicolas Cage
    SSN Insight: Cage and Taylor previously worked together on Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance.

    San Andreas 2
    Logline: Storyline is under wraps, but this time a massive earthquake involves the Ring of Fire.
    Studio/Distributor(s): New Line Cinema,
    Production Company(s): Flynn Picture Co., 7 Bucks Entertainment
    Producer(s): Dwayne Johnson, Beau Flynn, Brad Peyton
    Writer(s): Neil Widener, Gavin James
    Director(s): Brad Peyton
    Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Paul Giamatti
    SSN Insight: Writers Widener and James sold Verona, a reimagining of Romeo and Juliet to Sony. Recently they set up the true-story drama Battle for Alcatraz at Paramount.

    Logline: Two hit men on a high paying job encounter a mysterious woman.
    Production Company(s): Beaglepug, LuckyChap Entertainment
    Producer(s): David Barron, Molly Hassell, Tom Ackerley, Josey McNamara, Margot Robbie
    Writer(s): Vaughn Stein
    Director(s): Vaughn Stein
    Cast: Margot Robbie
    SSN Insight: The Highland Film Group financing and selling the rights in Berlin. CAA is overseeing the U.S. rights.

    The Grownup
    Logline: A con woman who pretends to read auras is hired by a wealthy woman to banish an evil spirit from her house and it is soon clear that the fake exorcist is in over her head.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures
    Production Company(s): Michael De Luca Productions
    Producer(s): Michael De Luca, Gillian Flynn
    Writer(s): Natalie Krinsky
    Details: Based on the short story “The Grownup” written by Gillian Flynn and published by Crown on June 17, 2014.
    SSN Insight: Universal won a four-studio bidding war to pick up the rights to Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn’s story.

    Untitled Bill Graham Biopic Project
    Logline: The life story of iconic music promoter Bill Graham, who fled the Holocaust as a child and became an iconic music promoter who helped define rock in the ‘60s.
    Studio/Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox
    Production Company(s): 21 Laps Entertainment
    Producer(s): Shawn Levy
    Director(s): Shawn Levy
    Details: Based on the autobiography “Bill Graham: My Life Inside Rock and Out” written by the Bill Graham and Robert Greenfield, and published by Da Capo Press in 1992.
    SSN Insight: 21 Laps’ recent credits include the Netflix series Stranger Things; the Denis Villenueve-directed Story of Your Life, the Ice Cube starrer Fist Fight, the Fox comedy Why Him? and the Anna Kendrick starrer Table 19 at Searchlight.

    Untitled Johnnie Cochran Project
    Logline: The film follows lawyer Johnnie Cochran’s 1981 landmark wrongful death case of college football player Ron Settles.
    Production Company(s): The Firm
    Producer(s): Robbie Brenner, Kevin McKeon
    Writer(s): David McMillan
    SSN Insight: David McMillan was one of last year’s Fox Writers Intensive finalists and recently was a staff writer on the TV series Lucifer.

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    Awards 2016: France’s Oscar Nominated ‘Mustang’ Filmmaker Deniz Gamze Erguven On Courageously Breaking Free Of Gender Roles

    When France’s Mustang, directed by Deniz Gamze Erguveny, was announced as an Academy Award nominee in the best foreign film category last month, it marked the first time since 2009 the European country had been nominated in that division.  (SSN)


    Film Development for 2/18/16: ‘San Andreas 2’ A Go, Ryan Reynolds in Talks for ‘Life’, Julianne Moore Circling ‘Kingsman’ Sequel

    Other film development news includes, Emily Blunt lending her voice talent to the animated My Little Pony, Saoirse Ronan attaching to On Chesil Beach and Paramount nabbing rights to Suburbicon. (SSN)

    MGM Eyes ‘Game Of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke For Katie Silberman Spec ‘Set It Up’

    MGM has acquired the Katie Silberman spec script Set It Up, and the studio has attached Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke. MGM has high hopes for Me Before You, an adaptation of the JoJo Moyes novel which Clarke stars in with Sam Claflin. (DH)

    Woody Allen’s New Movie Starring Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively Sells To Amazon

    Amazon Studios has acquired all North American rights to the director’s new movie, which stars Jeannie Berlin, Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Kristen Stewart, Corey Stoll and Ken Stott. (WRAP)

    Christian Bale Reteaming With Scott Cooper For ‘Revenant’-Esque ‘Hostiles’

    After dropping out of Michael Mann’s biopic Ferrari, Christian Bale will star in the 1892-set Hostiles, which Out of the Furnace filmmaker Scott Cooper will write and direct. (COLL)

    Amazon Orders A New Jill Soloway Pilot, ‘I Love Dick’

    Amazon has given a pilot order to I Love Dick, a half-hour comedy directed and executive-produced by Transparent creator Jill Soloway, based on Chris Kraus’s 1997 novel of the same name. (VUL)

    Jessica Chastain Launching Freckle Films Production Company

    Jessica Chastain has launched production company Freckle Films, where she will serve as president alongside development executive Elise Siegel. Freckle Films has entered into a first-look overhead deal with Maven Pictures. (VAR)

    ‘Blade Runner’ Sequel Gets Release Date

    The sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner has gotten a domestic release date from Warner Bros. The film will hit theaters on Jan. 12, 2018, over Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. (THR

    HBO Renews ‘Vinyl’ After Only One Episode

    Vinyl will get a second spin: HBO has renewed the record industry period drama for another season. (EW)

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    Bear Clan Station
    Logline: A scientist bends the laws of nature in an attempt to raise Canadian bear numbers and clear the way for oil exploration. Unfortunately for all these hybrid bears, whose DNA has been spliced with those of the vicious prehistoric bear, have other plans and the local winter truckers hired to deliver supplies have more to worry about than snow drifts and thawing ice.
    Production Company(s): Extraordinary Features Ltd., Cumberland Pictures
    Director(s): Roger Christian
    Producer(s): Chris Samwells, Stavros C Stavrides, Michael Connor, John Horgan
    Cast: Adam Beach, Corey Johnson, Dave Fulton, Elena Semolina, Katheryn Winnick
    Writer(s): Dave Fulton
    SSN Insight: Roger Christian won an Academy Award for set decoration on Star Wars (1977). He received his second Oscar nomination for his work as the production designer on Ridley Scott’s Alien. Christian’s later credits include Return of the Jedi and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

    Fifty Shades Darker
    Logline: Anastasia has broken off her relationship with the troubled Christian to pursue a new career in a Seattle publishing house.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures, Universal Pictures
    Production Company(s): Trigger Street Productions, Michael De Luca Productions
    Director(s): James Foley
    Producer(s): Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, E.L. James, Marcus Viscidi
    Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Kim Basinger, Bella Heathcote, Robinne Lee
    Writer(s): Niall Leonard
    Details: Based on the book “Fifty Shades Darker,” the second book in the Fifty Shade trilogy, written by E.L. James and published by Vintage on April 17, 2012. Sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey” (2015) directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.
    SSN Insight: Sam Taylor-Johnson was previously attached to direct.

    Final Portrait
    Logline: The story of artist Alberto Giacometti and his friendship with James Lord is adapted from Lord’s biography about his friend.
    Production Company(s): Potboiler Productions, Olive Productions, Arsam International
    Director(s): Stanley Tucci
    Executive Producer(s): Deepak Nayar
    Producer(s): Gail Egan, Ilann Girard, Nik Bower, Fred Hogg
    Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer, Tony Shalhoub, Sylvie Testud, Clémence Poésy
    Writer(s): Stanley Tucci
    Details: Based on the biography “A Giacometti Portrait” written by James Lord, published by New York, Museum of Modern Art and distributed by Doubleday in 1965.
    SSN Insight: HanWay Films is overseeing international sales at the Berlin Film Festival with CAA handling the U.S. Tucci’s previous credits as a writer-director include Blind Date and Big Night.

    Get Out
    Logline: A young African American man visits his white girlfriend’s family, with horrifying consequences.
    Production Company(s): Blumhouse Productions, QC Entertainment
    Director(s): Jordan Peele
    Executive Producer(s): Couper Samuelson, Raymond Mansfield, Shaun Redick
    Producer(s): Jason Blum, Sean McKittrick, Ted Hamm
    Cast: Allison Williams, Daniel Kaluuya, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Caleb Landry Jones
    Writer(s): Jordan Peele
    SSN Insight: Peele is currently attached as an actor/producer to the feature Substitute Teacher and as an actor/writer to Wendell and Wild, both in active development.

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
    Logline: The adventures of the Guardians of the Galaxy continue as the team journeys to unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s parentage.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
    Production Company(s): Marvel Entertainment
    Director(s): James Gunn
    Producer(s): Kevin Feige
    Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff
    Writer(s): James Gunn
    Details: Sequel to “Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) directed by James Gunn and starring Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana. The original movie and sequel are based on “Guardians of the Galaxy” created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and published by Marvel Comics in May 2008. The original “Guardians of the Galaxy” comic book series was created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan and published by Marvel Comics in January 1969.
    SSN Insight: Gunn also completed the film The Belko Experiment for MGM which he produced and scripted. He also has written the screenplay for The Newlyweds at WB in development.

    I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
    Logline: When a young nurse is hired to take care of an elderly author of best-selling ghost stories at her country home, she finds that the house has a ghost story of its own.
    Production Company(s): Zed Filmworks, Paris Film, Inc., Go Insane
    Director(s): Oz Perkins
    Executive Producer(s): Alphonse Ghossein
    Producer(s): Rob Paris, Robert Menzies
    Cast: Ruth Wilson, Bob Balaban, Lucy Boynton, Deborah Harry
    Writer(s): Oz Perkins
    SSN Insight: Perkins is also the director and writer of the feature February and the writer for The Girl in the Photographs, both awaiting release.

    Star Wars: Episode VIII
    Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
    Production Company(s): Bad Robot, Kasdan Pictures, Lucasfilm, Ltd., Ram Bergman Productions
    Director(s): Rian Johnson
    Executive Producer(s): Kathleen Kennedy, Tom Karnowski, Jason McGatlin
    Producer(s): Bryan Burk, George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Ram Bergman
    Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill
    Writer(s): Rian Johnson
    Details: Sequel to “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope” (USA/1977) directed by George Lucas and starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.
    SSN Insight: Preshoots began in September, 2015. Locations include Pinewood Studios in England and Skellig Michael, Ireland. The release date has been confirmed to be December 15, 2017.

    The Tribes of Palos Verdes
    Logline: A teenage girl grows closer to her troubled twin brother and takes up surfing in order to escape their unbalanced family and snobby friends in the exclusive Californian neighborhood of Palos Verdes.
    Production Company(s): The Firm
    Director(s): Emmett Malloy, Brendan Malloy
    Executive Producer(s): Jeff Kwatinetz, Kevin McKeon
    Producer(s): Robbie Brenner, Karen Croner
    Cast: Maika Monroe, Jennifer Garner, Cody Fern, Elisabeth Röhm, Goran Visnjic
    Writer(s): Karen Croner
    SSN Insight: Peter Darley Miller was previously attached to direct. Project previously in development with Industry Entertainment and New Line Cinema. Project picked up in-turnaround from New Line Cinema.


    Logline: Based on a true story, the film recounts Lipstadt’s legal battle for historical truth against David Irving, who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Bleecker Street
    Production Company(s): Participant Media, BBC Films, Krasnoff Foster Entertainment, Shoebox Films
    Director(s): Mick Jackson
    Executive Producer(s): Paul Webster, Guy Heeley, Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Christine Langan
    Producer(s): Russ Krasnoff, Gary Foster, Rikki Lea Bestall
    Cast: Tom Wilkinson, Rachel Weisz, Timothy Spall, Andrew Scott, Caren Pistorius
    Writer(s): David Hare, Max Borenstein
    Details: Based on the memoir “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier” written by Deborah E. Lipstadt and published by HarperCollins in 2005.
    SSN Insight: Hilary Swank was previously attached to co-star. Jackson previously directed The Bodyguard and in 2010 he won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special for Temple Grandin.

    Jason Bourne
    Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures, Universal Pictures
    Production Company(s): Kennedy/Marshall Company, Pearl Street Films, Captivate Entertainment
    Director(s): Paul Greengrass
    Executive Producer(s): Christopher Rouse, Henry Morrison
    Producer(s): Frank Marshall, Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, Jeffrey Weiner, Ben Smith
    Cast: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Tommy Lee Jones
    Writer(s): Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse
    Details: Sequel to “The Bourne Identity” (USA/2002) directed by Doug Liman and starring Matt Damon. Based on the novel “The Bourne Supremacy” written by Robert Ludlum and published by Bantam Books in 1987.
    SSN Insight: Alicia Vikander was recently seen in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Ex Machina and The Danish Girl. She can next be seen in Weinstein Company’s Tulip Fever, John Wells’ Adam Jones with Bradley Cooper and The Light Between Oceans opposite Michael Fassbender. The film was originally reported to wrap on January 15, 2016.

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    Emily Blunt Gets The Umbrella Ready For Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins’ Redo

    Actress is now in talks for the umbrella-wielding title role of “Mary Poppins.”  She’ll be reteaming with her “Into The Woods” director Rob Marshall, and the movie has “Life Of Pi” writer David Magee taking on the script, with Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman creating the tunes. Sounding like a sequel/reboot, this version is taking place twenty years after the original. (TP)

    Aaron Sorkin Isn’t Messing Around With HIs Directorial Debut, Chases Jessica Chastain For the Lead

    Oscar winner is getting behind the camera for Molly’s Game, based on the memoir by Molly Bloom, who ended up running an elite high-stakes poker ring for eight years before ultimately being brought down by the FBI. Chastain has been offered the role of Molly. (COL)

    There’s Suddenly a Big Opening At Sony Entertainment, Nicole Seligman Steps Down as President

    Seligman was serving as president of the Sony Corp. of America when she was asked in May 2014 to add the newly created position of president of Sony Entertainment to her portfolio. While assisting in the transition, she plans to leave Sony by the end of March. Seligman, who has been reporting to both Sony chief executive Kazuo Hirai and Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, is leaving to pursue other interests after 15 years with the company. (TB)

    Brad Pitt Developing Medical Drama ‘He Wanted the Moon’ With Tony Kushner

    Project is a co-production with Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson producing with Plan B. The companies have acquired movie rights to the memoir, written by Dr. Perry Baird’s daughter Mimi and Eve Claxton, titled He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him. (VAR)

    That Long In Development ‘Dark Tower’ Adaptation Has Now Found Its Female Lead

    Model-turned-actress Abbey Lee, who starred in Mad Max: Fury Road, will join the cast, though there are some questions about her character. The 28-year-old Australian is in negotiations to take the female lead, a character named Tirana, but that character doesn’t actually show up until the seventh and final book in the series, so there is some concern among fans about how this will all fit together. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are already on board. (CB)

    New Directors/New Films Announces Its Full Lineup For This Year’s 45th Edition

    Opening the festival will be Babak Anvari’s debut feature Under the Shadow, the Iranian horror film about a mother and daughter haunted by a sinister presence during the Iran-Iraq War. Closing the festival will be Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson, while other festival hits hits like Weiner and Evolution will also screen. (IW)

    Andy Daly’s ‘Review’ to End With Abbreviated Final Season on Comedy Central

    Viacom-owned cable network is poised to pick up Andy Daly vehicle Review for a limited third season. The decision to wrap the comedy series in which Daly stars as Forrest MacNeil, a professional critic who reviews real-life experiences was a joint one between the actor-creator-producer and the network. The move will allow Daly to properly provide closure for the series. Daly is currently fielding comedy pilot offers from the broadcast networks. (LF)

    The Sad Case Of Alchemy, Which Is Being Slowly Killed By the DVD Business

    Alchemy is in deep trouble. Its most anticipated title, The Lobster, has been sold to A24; it’s facing “financial discrepancies,” and major cutbacks. However, while other indie distributors fend off attacks from upstart new-platform competitors like Netflix and Amazon, the undoing of Alchemy may stem from an enemy considered all but toothless: The DVD business. (IW)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘The Path’

    Hulu has released the first extended look at its upcoming original series, from Emmy-winning producer Jason Katims. The drama, which examines a cult, stars Aaron Paul, Michelle Monaghan and Hugh Dancy, and premieres March 30th. (SF)

    Screenwriters: ‘Tin Men’

    The 161-page screenplay by Barry Levinson. Script is labeled Shooting Draft, and dated June, 1986. (DS)

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    -In our latest weekly series, SSN Insider will take a deep dive into the film ticket sales of the week leveraging data from the powerhouse ticketing website, MovieTickets.com. Not only will the infographic pinpoint which movies are claiming the largest piece of the pie from day to day in terms of sales but also which film had the biggest uptick in terms of a percentage variance surge and which had the biggest downtick or steepest dive between any two points.-

    Box Office Trending 2-19

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    Awards 2016: Leonardo DiCaprio on How the “Will to Survive” and the “Triumph of the Human Spirit” Shines Through ‘The Revenant’

    A sit down with Leonardo DiCaprio as he discusses why he signed on to The Revenant. “It was only when Alejandro came on board and made this screenplay his own and really became attached to this material, this epic journey of survival.” (SSN)

    Oscar Nominated Director of ‘The Big Short’, Adam McKay, Reveals His “Big Discovery” and Why Evolving His Style is Always a Must

    Adam McKay might not be the first guy you’d think of to direct a movie like The Big Short, but he’ll be the first to admit that. He dismissed the idea after hearing the rights were taken. When the project came back around again, and he threw his hat in the ring, and everyone is sure glad he did. (SSN)

    Prime Cuts: Two Original Song Performances Sliced From Oscar Broadcast

    The Oscar-nominated songs “Manta Ray,” from the documentary “Racing Extinction,” and “Simple Song #3,” from Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth,” will not be performed on the 88th Academy Awards. Read on for the reason. (VAR)


    SSN Box Office Trending Report for 2/19/16: ‘Deadpool’ Continues Killer Streak, ‘Kung Fu Panda 3′ Still Kicking It

    You can’t keep a good merc down, as everyone’s new favorite superhero, Deadpool, will continue his killer streak this weekend. Kung Fu Panda 3 is also still hanging tough. (SSN)

    On the Set for 2/19/16: Rian Johnson Rolls Cameras on ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’, Chris Pratt & Zoe Saldana Start ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’

    In addition to another Star Wars that starts shooting, cameras have also started rolling on Fifty Shades Darker starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan and new addition Kim Basinger. (SSN)

    Remembering Harper Lee: A Life Shaped By A Towering Text

    To Kill a Mockingbird Author Harper Lee died at the age of 89 in her hometown of Monroeville, Ala., on Friday morning — yet it’s clear that her legacy will live on much longer than that, through her characters and the readers who have embraced them for decades. (NPR)

    Who’s the Boss? Tony Danza Will Make a Return to TV with ‘Sebastian’

    Tony Danza, The former star of Taxi and Who’s the Boss has signed on to star in Greg Garcia’s family comedy Sebastian. The NBC multicam stars comedian Sebastian Maniscalco as a guy whose old-school values, instilled by his opinionated Italian father to be played by Danza. (THR)

    Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman to Attend ‘Office Christmas Party’

    Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, TJ Miller and Kate McKinnon will star in Office Christmas Party, a holiday comedy from DreamWorks Pictures. Will Speck and Josh Gordon (Blades of Glory) are directing the ensemble project that was first set up as a pitch by the duo in 2010. (THR)

    Trailer Buzz: Oscar Nominated Short ‘Claude Lanzmann: Spectres Of The Shoah’

    Here’s the trailer for Claude Lanzmann: Spectres Of The Shoah, a nominee for the best short-form documentary Oscar that also will have its debut on HBO on May 2. (DL)

    Screenplay: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

    In honor of author Harper Lee, here’s the final screenplay for the 1962 film, To Kill a Mockingbird, based on her novel. That film went on to win three Oscars with one that went to screenwriter Horton Foote. (MS)

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    ‘The Revenant’ And ‘Inside Out’ Are Big Winners At The Cinema Audio Society Awards

    The Revenant and Inside Out sound mixing teams have won the 52nd Cinema Audio Society Awards for outstanding sound mixing. (LAT)

    ‘The Big Short’ And ‘Show Me A Hero’ Win Adapted USC Scripter Awards

    The Scripter Awards go to both the original author and the adapter. In the the last five years, the Scripter award winners have gone on to win the Adapted Screenplay Oscar: The Social Network, The Descendants, Argo, 12 Years A Slave, and The Imitation Game. (IW)

    ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Emerges As Big Winner At Makeup And Hairstylist Awards

    Furious 7, Pitch Perfect 2 and Cinderella also score film wins; American Horror Story: Hotel dominates TV with five prizes. (VAR)


    Box Office: ‘Deadpool’ Bedevils ‘Risen,’ ‘The Witch’ With $55M

    Deadpool easily won the North American box office in its second outing, earning a sizable $55 million from 3,277 theaters to trounce biblical resurrection tale Risen and the demonic-laced The Witch. (THR)

    Nelson Mandela Pic In The Works From Maven Pictures

    Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray’s Maven Pictures is teaming up with Going Clear producer Jacqui Lewis to produce the film adaptation of Zelda la Grange’s best-selling book Good Morning, Mr. Mandela. (DH)

    New ‘Star Wars Land’ Concept Art Further Reveals Disney’s Theme Park Plans

    New concept art was revealed during ABC’s The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland at 60 TV special, with Harrison Ford greeting screaming Disney fans to unveil some footage that showed off Disney’s preliminary plans for the theme park addition. (COLL)

    Dan Mazer’s Rock Star Comedy ‘Stiff’ In The Works As Movie

    Andras Hamori’s H2O Motion Pictures is launching development on the rock-star comedy Stiff, based on a script from Dan Mazer, the long-time writing and producing partner of Sacha Baron Cohen. (VAR)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Pete’s Dragon’

    A first look at the Disney remake starring Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford.  (CS)

    Screenwriters: Q&A With Producer Judd Payne

    Script talks with producer Judd Payne on loglines, developing movie ideas, and his upcoming movie with Jamie Foxx. (SM)

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    Company Launches & Partnerships

    Frederator Networks, the media company founded by longtime animation exec Fred Seibert, will co-launch a Spanish-language YouTube animation network with Mexican animation studio Anima Estudios called Atomo Network. The channel will recruit Spanish-language animators, and provide them with audience-development and programming services.

    HBO has signed a major content deal with Hulu Japan which will now have exclusive and wide-ranging access to HBO series, comprising hundreds of hours of programming. Hulu Japan, owned by HJ Holdings, is separate from the U.S.-based Hulu, which is owned by Disney, 21st Century Fox, and NBCUniversal.

    Fox Innovation Lab has partnered with Swedish telecom power Ericsson to promote virtual reality, ultra HD, and other next gen video technologies. They plan to work on multiple projects to provide what they call “true connected content experiences.” The Fox unit has heavily promoted VR experiences based on the studio’s movies Wild and The Martian.

    Vivendi has begun a hostile takeover for French vidgame company Gameloft, founded by France’s Guillemot brothers, who also started Ubisoft. Vivendi had just owned 30% of Gameloft. Vivendi has since offered 6 Euros per share for Gameloft, representing a 50% premium over the share price when Vivendi started building up its stake in the company last fall. As of Monday, Gameloft shares had been upped to 6.64 Euros per share, up from its 5.48 Euro closing price prior to news of Vivendi’s intention.

    Canal Plus is in discussions with Qatari-owned beIN Sports over an exclusive distribution agreement. If approved by anti-trust authorities in France, the deal would give Canal Plus execs a revenue boost while also giving beIN Sports better carriage in France.

    Citizen Skull Productions, helmed by Mark Myers, has launched a new management division called CSP Management. CSP manages on camera talent, DPs, Directors, writers, social media influencers and below the line talent. Jane Henriksen has signed on as Partner of CSP Management. She was previously the President of Henriksen Talent Management brings with her veteran actor Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Danielle Bisutti (Insidious: Chapter 2) and Adam Korson (Hot In Cleveland).

    NextVR, a leader in bringing immersive live streams of sporting events to viewers, has teamed with Fox Sports. The five-year partnership will allow NextVR stream virtual a wide range of events to which Fox Sports holds the broadcast rights live through VR, starting with Sunday’s Daytona 500, beginning at 1 p.m. ET. The race will be available to view for free through the NextVR portal. Samsung Gear VR owners can download the NextVR app on any Gear VR headset-compatible phones.

    NBCUniversal-owned Fandango has acquired the film buff-friendly site Flixster, along with Flixster’s well-known subsidiary, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The deal was reached with Warner Bros. Entertainment, which owned Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes. As part of the deal, Warner Bros. will take an equity stake in Fandango, becoming an ongoing strategic partner.

    The Associated Press has launched a new portal for virtual reality and 360-degree news content and is partnering with tech company AMD on the venture, which will provide software and hardware support. The content will be available for headsets including the Oculus Rift, the Samsung Gear VR, and the Google Cardboard.

    Time Inc. has acquired /Drive and Fast Lane Daily, two of the most prevalent automotive channels on YouTube. The two properties will now be folded into the Time Inc.-owned website TheDrive.com. TheDrive, launched in 2015, is part of the The Foundry, a recently-launched Time Inc. unit focused on content production.


    Nicole Seligman
    is leaving her post as President of Sony Entertainment at the end of March after 15 years with the company to pursue other opportunities. In her position she was credited with getting the company through the corporate computer hacking scandal as well as heading the big move in New York for Sony.

    Christine Benitez has joined the Paramount Pictures as VP of Multicultural Marketing. In her new role, she will be responsible for the development and implementation of strategies that reach multicultural audiences across all marketing disciplines for the studio’s theatrical releases. A 15-year multicultural marketing veteran, Benitez joins Paramount from The Walt Disney Studios where she was Director of Multicultural Initiatives.

    Steve Barnett has been named the President of Production at Endurance Media. Barnett joins James Tomlinson, who is VP Production. Barnett has spent 20 years as an exec and producer at companies such as WWE, Dimension Films and Atmosphere Entertainment, where he was a producer on 300.

    Christophe Lambert is now pursuing other opportunities. He was previously the CEO at EuropaCorp I Paris. Former Universal Pictures chairman Marc Shmuger will take over the position in an interim capacity.

    Mike Leeder has been hired as an Executive Producer at 108 Asia in Hong Kong. He was previously a Freelance Producer/Casting Director.

    Claudia Lewis will leave her post as President Production at Fox Searchlight as of May 23rd, 2016 and will pursue other opportunities.

    Max Pirkis has been named the Head of Acquisitions and Distribution at Embankment. In his new role, he will manage Embankment’s acquisitions slate while also coordinating international delivery and distribution of current Embankment titles. Greg Martin will now report to Pirkis as an Acquisitions and Distribution Exec. Sara May is leaving her consultancy role at Embankment to pursue other opportunities.


    Dave Mace
    has been hired as the EVP of Development at Brian Graden Media where he oversee the development of television and digital content for the company. Previously, he served as VP of Alternative and Non-Fiction Programming at A&E, where he oversaw Storage Wars, Flipping Vegas, and Lachey’s Bar. During his lengthy career, he also founded VH1’s Creative Lab, Viacom’s first-ever internal team devoted to creating innovative, forward-thinking development.

    Peter Bazalgette has been upped from Non-Executive Director to Non-Executive Chairman at ITV (as of May 12th, 2016).

    Paul Lee has left his post as President of ABC Entertainment and is now pursuing other opportunities. Channing Dungey has been upped from EVP of Drama Development, Movies & Miniseries to the President at ABC Entertainment. She becomes the first black executive to run one of the major networks’ entertainment divisions.

    Rabih Gholam has been hired as the President of Unscripted Television at Studio71. He was previously the EVP and Head of Unscripted Programming at Ryan Seacrest Productions.

    Morgan Greco has been upped from Sr. Director to the VP of Social Media & Fan Engagement at A+E Networks in New York.

    Emily Levitan has been hired as the Senior Manager of Development, Film & Television at Activision Blizzard Studios. She was previously the Creative Executive at Shiny Penny Productions.

    Damian Pitman has been hired as the Head, Development at betty in London. He was previously the Head of Development at Optomen Television.

    Adam Reed has been upped from EVP to the President at Thinkfactory Media.

    Angela Santone has been upped from SVP to the EVP, Global Chief Human Resources Officer at Turner in Atlanta.

    Sarah Wright has been upped from Controller, Acquisitions to the Director, Acquisitions at Sky in London.

    Julia Veale has been upped from SVP to EVP Business, Product Development and Management at Showtime Networks. She will continue to oversee product strategy, product development and product management for Showtime subscription services across various platforms, technologies, and devices including the Showtime streaming service, Showtime Anytime.

    Management, PR, Agencies

    Gary Marenzi has been named Head of Entertainment Sales & Partnerships in a newly appointed position at IMG. He will head global sales for entertainment programming. Marenzi was previously the President of Paramount International Television, MGM Worldwide Television and UIP Pay Television. He most recently worked as a consultant via Marenzi & Associates.

    Chad M. Christopher, Esq. has been named the Principal Partner at Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher, LLP.

    Richard Fisher and Paul Reisman have been upped from VP to the Co-Heads of the Theatrical Division at Abrams Artists Agency in New York. Billy Serow has been upped from VP to the Head of Voice-Over Division at Abrams Artists.

    Annick Muller has been brought on as the new SVP at Wolf Kasteler P.R.’s New York office, effective March 1. She was previously a publicist at IDPR, where she began in 2001. She will continue her work with personal clients, on award campaigns and with television networks in launching new and current programs.

    Music, Digital, Publishing, Misc.

    The strategic video content studio Magnet Media has hired Neil Chase as its first Chief Strategy Officer. Chase previously served as a digital media consultant, as SVP, Editorial for Federated Media Publishing, and as Continuous News Editor at The New York Times.

    Joseph Meehan has been hired as an Associate Manager in Features & Business Development at Variety. He was previously the Features Coordinator at Variety. Hanna Pachman has been hired as a Sales Coordinator at Variety Insight. She was previously a Creative & Market Coordinator at Ramo Law.

    Bailey Rosser has been hired as the Vice President of Content Strategy & Audience Development at Ripple Entertainment He was previously the Audience Development Strategist at YouTube Space LA.

    Martin Tremblay has been hired as the EVP of Strategy & Development at The Just for Laughs Group. He was previously the President at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

    Patti Coleman has been hired as the SVP and Head of Business & Legal Affairs at Rhino Entertainment. She was previously the SVP of Business & Legal Affairs at Warner Bros. Records.

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    Awards 2016: ‘The Look of Silence’s’ Adi Rukun on Making History on the First Oscar Nominated Doc “Where Survivors Confront Perpetrators”

    The soft-spoken optometrist in Joshua Oppenheimer’s Oscar-nominated documentary has found himself labelled a hero for survivors of the Indonesian genocide that occurred in 1965 and 1966. In the documentary, Rukun faces the perpetrators of the mass slaughter to find the truth behind his older brother’s murder during that time. In an interview with SSN, Oppenheimer said Rukun’s actions are unprecedented in the history of cinema. (SSN)

    Awards 2016: Oscar Nominated Composer Carter Burwell Talks ‘Carol’ – “The Music is a Character in the Film”

    Todd Haynes’ film has six Oscar nominations, including Best Cinematography, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Costume Design, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score for Carter Burwell. SSN sat down with Burwell for an exclusive chat about his process and how he approached this elegant and passionately tender love story. (SSN)

    Awards 2016: ‘Spotlight’s’ Filmmaking Lessons: Turning a Downbeat Story into an Uplifting One & Enlightening a Well-Trodden Subject

    What makes a given film compelling is not just its subject matter, but the skill of the filmmakers who take us on a journey with them. Spotlight explores one of the most horrific crimes of our time — the abuse of thousands of children by priests of the Catholic Church.  We know how the story ends. We know that the reporters from The Boston Globe won a Pulitzer for their investigative efforts. Yet the film packs a wallop audiences simply don’t anticipate. Why? (SSN)


    Exec Shuffle for 2/22/16: Nicole Seligman Leaving Sony, Fox Sports Partners with NextVR, Citizen Skull Prod. Launches CSP Management

    In other deals, HBO signs a huge agreement with Hulu Japan, Vivendi has begun a hostile takeover for French vidgame company Gameloft, and Fandango makes a big purchase. There’s a lot more this week, so click on the link to read on. (SSN)

    Amy Adams Is the Latest Movie Star To Turn To TV, Will Top Line Adaptation Of Gillian Flynn’s ‘Sharp Objects’

    Academy Award-nominated actress has signed on to star in the adaptation of the book by the Gone Girl author. Jean-Marc Vallee has also signed on to direct the high-profile WME package, which is being shopped to cable and streaming outlets by Entertainment One and Blumhouse Productions. Story follows a reporter — fresh from a brief stay at a psychiatric hospital — who must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. (LF)

    NBC Finds Its Female Lead For the Upcoming DC Comics Comedy Pilot, ‘Powerless’

    Vanessa Hudgens has been cast in the show, which will be her first gig after Grease Live, for which she received rave reviews. Based on characters from the DC universe, Powerless is a workplace comedy set at one of the worst insurance companies in America — with the twist being that it also takes place in the universe of DC Comics. The show is about the reality of working life for a normal, powerless person in a world of super heroes and villains. (VAR)

    Peacock Network Also Lands an Actor With a Certain Set Of Skills To Lead Its ‘Taken’ Series

    Network’s straight-to-series adaptation of the hit movie franchise, has cast its lead, tapping The Vikings co-star Clive Standen to play younger Bryan Mills, the character portrayed in the movies by Liam Neeson. (DH)

    It Appears Those Dire Rumors Are Not True: Zack Snyder Still Directing ‘Justice League’, Willl Start Shooting In April

    After word had leaked that Warner Bros. is not happy with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (which will have a lengthy 151-minute running time), it looked like the studio might replace Snyder as director of the massive, two-part superhero megafilm. Now, Snyder has confirmed that he is still directing and will start shooting April 11th at the Warner Bros. Leavesden studios in England, with various locations around London and Iceland. (COL)

    After Months of Speculation, Martin Freeman’s ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Character Finally Revealed

    Freeman is playing Everett Ross, a stalwart in the Marvel comic books. Ross is traditionally the US government’s man in Wakanda, which brings Freeman into Black Panther’s (Chadwick Boseman) world and makes Freeman a safe bet to be get a broader role in the standalone Black Panther movie. In Civil War he’s part of the Joint Counter Terrorist Center. (EMP)

    One Month Later: A Comprehensive Look At All the Movies Sold At This Year’s Sundance Film Festival

    Many of the films that premiere at the Sundance Film Festival are hoping to attract a distributor and find a bigger audience, be it in theaters around the country or distributed through digital VOD. Throughout the festival we will be reporting on all of the movies sold at Sundance 2016. This list should help give you an idea about which movies may someday be available to you either theatrically of VOD. (SF)

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    Ava DuVernay Set To Direct Disney’s ‘A Wrinkle In Time’; Script By ‘Frozen’s Jennifer Lee

    Selma director Ava DuVernay has just been set by Disney to direct A Wrinkle In Time that has a script by Oscar-winning Frozen writer and co-director Jennifer Lee. (DH)

    Demian Bichir Joins The ‘Alien: Covenant’ Cast

    Demián Bichir is joining Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant cast. The Hateful Eight actor is joining newcomers Katherine Waterston and Danny McBride. (CS)

    ‘The Witch’ Director Robert Eggers Conjures Rasputin TV Series

    Hot director Robert Eggers will write and direct a miniseries about Rasputin. Media Rights Capital are behind the project, and it will likely spark some major interest when it goes out to the networks and streaming sites for consideration. (IW)

    CW Pilot News: Peyton List Joins ‘Frequency’, ‘Transylvania’ Finds Lead

    Peyton List will star opposite Riley Smith in Frequency, the reboot of the 2000 Jim Caviezel-Dennis Quaid film and Aussie actress Laura Brent has been cast in the 1880-set drama Transylvania. (TVL)

    FX Renews Zach Galifianakis Comedy ‘Baskets’ For Season 2

    FX has renewed Baskets, Zach Galifianakis’ comedy series, for a second season at FX. Season 2 is set to premiere in early 2017. (VAR)

    Dan Byrd To Co-Star In ABC Drama Pilot ‘Model Woman’

    Former Cougar Town star Dan Byrd has lined up his follow-up series project, signing on for a co-starring role in the drama pilot Model Woman at ABC. (DH)

    PBS To Launch New Kids Channel, Digital Live Stream

    The move comes as competitors like Netflix, Amazon and HBO, which recently acquired first-run rights to PBS mainstay ‘Sesame Street,’ have increased their library of programming aimed at children. (THR)

    ‘The Jungle Book’: 20 Things To Know About Jon Favreau’s New Adaptation

    Directed by Jon Favreau and drawing from both Rudyard Kipling’s stories and Disney’s animated film, The Jungle Book is an all-new, live-action epic adventure about Mowgli, the young boy who’s been raised by a family of wolves. (COLL)

    Stan Lee’s Universe

    He built Marvel Comics and laid the foundation for today’s blockbuster superhero movies. So why, at 93, is his legacy in question? (VUL)

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    America’s Next Top Model (Reboot)
    Network: VH1
    Production Company(s): Bankable Productions, Tyra Banks Company
    Executive Producer(s): Tyra Banks, Ken Mok
    Logline: Reality series in which selected modeling contestants will live together and compete in weekly tasks for the grand prize of a modeling contract with a modeling agency.
    Details: A reboot of the series Top Model that premiered May 20, 2003 on UPN, and was the first series to debut on The CW on Sept 20, 2006.
    SSN Insight: The original series ended a 22-cycle run on CW in 2015. CBS Television Distribution then shopped the “reinvented” series to cable and SVOD outlets last fall after receiving incoming interest. Banks will not host, rather there will be a new host and judges. The show’s format has been produced in over 30 countries.

    Network: IFC
    Executive Producer(s): Azaria, Church-Cooper, Tim Kirkby, Joe Farrell.
    Writer(s): Joel Church-Cooper
    Logline: Centers on a famed Major League Baseball announcer (Azaria) who suffers an embarrassing and very public meltdown on the air after discovering his beloved wife’s serial infidelity. A decade later, Jim Brockmire decides to reclaim his career and love life in a small town, calling minor league ball for the Morristown Frackers.
    Details: Based on a Funny or Die short.
    SSN Insight: Set to premiere early next year, to be directed by Tim Kirkby. Series will star Hank Azaria.

    Crossroads of History
    Network: History
    Production Company(s): Maker Studios, Trium Entertainment
    Executive Producer(s): Elizabeth Wright Shapiro, Mark Koops, Eric Day, Anthony Samandani, Bonnie Pan
    Writer(s): Elizabeth Wright Shapiro
    Logline: Created and written by Elizabeth Shapiro, the scripted short form series examines the fascinating and largely unknown moments in history that have shaped the world. “Crossroads of History” will lift the veil on famous events and expose little known but historically accurate facts of the story, such as: how President Lincoln’s alcoholic bodyguard, John Parker, chose the wrong night to leave his post at the Ford Theatre and how rejection from art school set a young artist, Adolf Hitler, on a very different career path.
    SSN Insight: 8 short form episodes will air on History channel for an exclusive 48 hours starting on February 25, at which point episodes will be syndicated to Maker Studios-branded channels as well as History’s own digital destinations beginning February 27.

    Great Minds with Dan Harmon
    Network: History
    Production Company(s): Maker Studios, Trium Entertainment
    Executive Producer(s): Dan Harmon, Richard Korson, Jay Peterson, Tim Healy, Paul Cabana
    Logline: The series follows Dan Harmon who invests in a time machine and is subsequently visited by history’s greatest minds. Harmon discusses his visitors’ lives and brings them out into the modern world, embarking on an adventure that drops these famous historical figures right into today’s advanced society.
    SSN Insight: Will air on History channel for an exclusive 48 hours starting February 25, at which point episodes will be syndicated to Maker Studios-branded channels as well as History’s own digital destinations.

    How to Lose the Presidency
    Network: History
    Production Company(s): Maker Studios, Trium Entertainment
    Logline: This series showcases real clips of embarrassing moments and mistakes from Howard Dean’s scream heard round the world and Rick Perry’s time of forgetfulness to outrageous moments in the current presidential campaign.
    SSN Insight: Will air on History channel for an exclusive 48 hours starting February 25, at which point episodes will be syndicated to Maker Studios-branded channels as well as History’s own digital destinations on February 27.

    I Love Dick
    Network: Amazon
    Studio: Amazon Studios
    Production Company(s): Topple Productions
    Executive Producer(s): Jill Soloway, Andrea Sperling
    Writer(s): Sarah Gubbins
    Logline: Chris and Sylvere are about a struggling married couple who have a mutual obsession with an off-putting — but charismatic — professor named Dick. The story is set in a colorful academic community in Marfa, Texas and told in a Rashomon-style shifting points of view.
    Details: Based on the novel, “I Love Dick,” written by Chris Kraus and published by Semiotext(e) in 1997.
    SSN Insight: Amazon ordered the pilot on February 18. Soloway is the creator behind the award-winning series, Transparent.

    Lip Sync Battle Jr.
    Network: Spike TV, Nickelodeon
    Production Company(s): Matador Content, Casey Patterson Entertainment
    Executive Producer(s): Casey Patterson, Jay Peterson
    Logline: Celebrate kids’ love of music and comedy featuring the battles viewers have come to know and love with new variety elements designed to let the little ones shine.
    Details: Spin-off of “Lip Sync Battle” (Spike/2015)
    SSN Insight: Lip Sync Battle is the most-watched original series in Spike’s history with an average of four million viewers and more than 500 million views online. This special will air later this year on both Spike and Nickelodeon. Various Viacom brands are also developing special editions of Lip Sync Battle events.

    Satan’s Sisters
    Network: VH1 Network
    Studio: Sony Pictures Television
    Production Company(s): De Passe Jones Entertainment
    Executive Producer(s): Josh Berman, Amy Engelberg, Wendy Engelberg, Star Jones, Susan Levison
    Writer(s): Amy Engelberg, Wendy Engelberg
    Logline: The series goes behind the scenes of the daytime talk show, “The Lunch Club,” detailing all the sisterhood, sex, betrayal and drama. It delves into the underworld of each of the five co-hosts, exposing hidden addictions, forbidden lovers, shocking family secrets and false accusations.
    SSN Insight: VH1 gave a series order. Star Jones was a co-host of the morning talk show The View.

    Sharp Objects
    Production Company(s): Blumhouse Productions, Entertainment One (eOne)
    Executive Producer(s): Gillian Flynn, Marti Noxon, Jason Blum, Charles Layton
    Writer(s): Marti Noxon
    Logline: Centers on reporter Camille Preaker, who after a short stay at a psych hospital must return to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls — and deal with her neurotic, hypochondriac mother and the half-sister she barely knows. She must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story and survive the homecoming. Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn.
    Details: Based on the novel, “Sharp Objects,” written by Gillian Flynn and published by Shaye Areheart Books on September 26, 2006.
    SSN Insight: Project was previously in development as a feature film. Series will star Amy Adams. eOne is shopping the project to cable and streaming networks currently.

    Stan Against Evil
    Network: IFC
    Production Company(s): @radical.media
    Executive Producer(s): Dana Gould, Tom Lassally, Frank Scherma, Justin Wilkes
    Writer(s): Dana Gould, Susan Burke, Jessica Conrad
    Logline: Stan has trouble relinquishing his authority to Evie, the tough and beautiful new sheriff in town, but they form an unlikely alliance when both begin to realize things are not quite right. Together, they valiantly fight a plague of unleashed demons that have been haunting the town, which just happens to be built on the site of a massive 17th century witch burning.
    SSN Insight: IFC has given a straight to series order of eight episodes as of February 22.

    Untitled Kelly Oxford/Molly McNearney Comedy
    Network: TV Land
    Writer(s): Kelly Oxford, Molly McNearney
    Logline: The story revolves around female best friends and their families.
    Details: Based on the real-life friendship of Kelly Oxford and Molly McNearney.
    SSN Insight: Oxford wrote the best-selling author of Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar and is underway on a second book with HarperCollins. She is also writing the feature All the Way for Point Grey and Sony.

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    Is There a Change In the Offing? Stunt Coordinators Set To Protest Oscars For Inclusion

    Mad Max: Fury Road garnered 10 Oscar nominations this year, including one for best picture, but the stunt coordinators who made the movie’s action sequences possible aren’t feeling the love. As in the past, there’s no Academy Award category for them. The stunt community is not happy, and they’ll be rallying in front of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wednesday afternoon in Beverly Hills. (HRA)

    Oscar Pool Upheaval: Five Major Upsets That Could Rock the Big Night

    The Oscars are five days away, if you can believe it. Will best picture go to The Big Short, The Revenant or Spotlight? That’s the question on everyone’s minds. Underneath it all, there are a few categories that seem locked up, but could give way to a shocker. Here are five potential upsets to keep an eye on next weekend. (IC)

    Cheek Alert: Fusion Inks Deal To Air All Def Movie Awards During Oscars

    In a scrappy bit of counter-programming aimed squarely at the Academy, Fusion has forged a multiyear partnership with Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital banner that will make the news and satire outfit the exclusive broadcaster of the All Def Movie Awards. An offshoot of All Def Digital’s weekly comedy showcase All Def Comedy Live, the All Def Movie Awards happens February 24th, and Fusion’s cable channel will broadcast them throughout Oscar night. (AL)


    TV Development for 2/23/16: ‘America’s Next Top Model’ Finds New Catwalk, ‘Lip Sync Battle’ Headed to Spike/Nick, eOne Shopping Amy Adams Series

    In other deals, Hank Azaria has something new, as does Community creator Dan Harmon. Amazon stays in business with Jill Soloway, while Marti Noxon and Amy Adams team to bring Gillian Flynn to the small screen. There’s a lot more, so click on the link to read on. (SSN)

    Looking To Buy a Studio? Viacom CEO Phillippe Dauman Pursuing Paramount Stake Sale

    The Viacom chief executive has put Paramount Pictures up for sale in a bid to help prop up the ailing media giant after a string of wrong-way moves that has crippled the company’s stock price. Dauman told analysts during an investor conference today that Viacom has “been approached by several potential strategic investors” about taking a stake in Paramount, long considered one of the conglomerate’s crown jewels. (HRB)

    Ryan Reynolds’ First Post-‘Deadpool’ Pic, ‘Hitman’s Bodyguard’, Adds a Very Impressive Duo

    Millennium Films has added Elodie Yung and Salma Hayek to join Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Gary Oldman in the flick. The action film starts production April 2nd in London, directed by Jeff Wadlow from a script by Tom O’Connor. Reynolds plays the world’s top protection agent who gets a new client: a hit man who came in from the cold (Jackson). They hate each other but have 24 hours to get to the Hague. (DH)

    It Looks Like Jimmy Kimmel Might Just Be Your 2016 Emmy Host

    ABC is in negotiations with the late night star. Kimmel, host of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, is a natural choice for the Alphabet, which is airing the Primetime Emmy Awards in September under the wheel system wherein the telecast rotates each year among the Big Four networks. This would mark the second time Kimmel has hosted the Emmy ceremony; his first round was back in 2012, when ABC last carried the kudos. (VAR)

    Jon Bernthal Becomes the Latest To Join Edgar Wright’s ‘Baby Driver’

    Bernthal joins a movie that stars Ansel Elgort as a getaway driver, a near mute with an ear condition who relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jaime Foxx, Lily James and Eiza Gonzalez are also on the roll call for the tale of what happens when the driver is coerced into working for a crime boss and must face the music when a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom. (HV)

    Now That the ‘X-Files’ Revival Is Complete, Fox Definitely Wants More, the Question Is When

    Creator Chris Carter and star David Duchovny have long suggested they’d be up for more X-Files following the miniseries revival. Now, it seems, the network is on board, too. But a big question remains: when? “They’re going to ask for more,” Carter said in an interview. “The ratings were very good.” He noted, however, that his conversation with Fox Television Co-Chairman/CEO Dana Walden was “casual,” and there’s no deal in place. (CBR)

    Jenna Elfman Returns Too TV, Will Star in ABC’s Imaginary Friend Comedy From ‘The Goldbergs’ Duo

    The Dharma & Greg alum has signed on to star in the untitled Adam F. Goldberg-David Guaracio comedy pilot. The live-action/CGI comedy centers on Alice (Elfman), a 30-something bachelorette whose life is turned upside down when she finally meets the love of her life — a divorced father with three kids. That’s when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as an only child suddenly reappears in her life to help her navigate life. (LF)

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    ‘Mad Max,’ ‘Danish Girl,’ ‘Beasts Of No Nation’ Triumph At Costume Designers Guild Awards

    Mad Max: Fury Road’s Jenny Beavan, The Danish Girl’s Paco Delgado and Beasts of No Nation’s Jenny Eagan emerged as the night’s big film winners in the fantasy, period and contemporary categories, respectively. (VAR)


    ‘Spartacus’ Creator Steven S. DeKnight To Direct ‘Pacific Rim 2’

    Legendary Pictures has set Steven S. DeKnight to direct Pacific Rim 2. The current script was written by Jon Spaihts based on characters created by Beacham and del Toro. (DH)

    Paramount’s Suitors? Here’s Seven Top Prospects

    While Viacom paid $9.8 billion for the film and TV studio a dozen years ago, analysts suggest it’s worth $5.5 billion today.  Here’s a few companies that might be able to afford it. (THR)

    Park Chan-wook’s ‘The Handmaiden’ Finds A Home At Amazon

    Amazon Studios has taken the European Film Market by storm in Berlin by securing U.S. distribution rights to Park Chan-wook’s highly anticipated The Handmaiden. The film marks the first Korean-language drama the director has made since 2009’s The Thirst. (IW)

    Demi Moore To Lead TV Series ’10 Days in the Valley’

    Demi Moore is returning to TV and will star in drama series 10 Days in the Valley.  The drama, from Rookie Blue co-creator and executive producer Tassie Cameron, is being shopped to networks. (WRAP)

    Jean-Claude Van Damme Will Star In Action-Comedy Pilot For Amazon

    Jean-Claude Van Damme is coming to Amazon as a version of himself; a guy named Jean-Claude Van Johnson, in an action-comedy pilot also called Jean-Claude Van Johnson. (VUL)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘The Light Between Oceans’

    Based on the best-seller by ML Stedman, The Light Between Oceans stars Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander. Adapted for the screen and directed by Derek Cianfrance. the film will be released later this year. (GUAR)

    Screenwriters: Dana Fox Podcast

    Dana Fox discusses her role as both screenwriter and producer of How to Be Single. Dana is one of a handful of feature writers taking responsibility for delivering not just the script, but the finished movie. (JA)

    Screenwriters: ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’

    Read the June 22, 1960 draft by George Axelrod here. (DS)


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    Bohemia Group: Canadian actor Jonathan Emond has inked with Bohemia Group, a management firm to represent him globally. Emond’s first lead role was in Télé-Québec’s Tactik and has since appeared in Transformers: Age Of Extinction and numerous Canadian TV shows including Being Human, 30 Vies and The Fixer.

    CAA: Actor and stand-up comedian Ron Funches has shifted from APA to CAA, although APA will still represent him for touring. He currently co-stars on NBC’s live comedy series Undateable. His TV guest-star credits include The Kroll Show, Drunk History, Portlandia, New Girl and BoJack Horseman. In terms of features, he appeared in Get Hard and will be in the voice cast of DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls.

    Londonderry Entertainment: Actress Rose McGowan has followed her previous Innovative agent Sheila Wenzel to Londonderry Entertainment where Wenzel is now a manager. She just wrapped the indie psychological thriller Lower Bay and was cast in the feature Black Oasis in development. She is also the director and screenwriter (rewrite) on the feature The Pines, which Tangerine Entertainment and Sundial Pictures is currently producing.

    UTA: Actress Jane Lynch has signed with UTA. She was previously represented by Domain Talent agent Gabrielle Krengel, who died of cancer in August. The Glee actress recently co-hosted Must See TV: An All-Star Tribute to James Burrows and she is currently hosting the fourth season of NBC’s Hollywood Game Night, for which she has won two consecutive Emmys. She will next appear in Christopher Guest’s comedy feature Mascots on Netflix later this year.

    CESD Talent Agency: Actor and YouTube personality Jordan Dowodzenka aka Jordan Doww has signed with the agency which will represent him through their Theatrical, Voice-Over, Commercial, Digital and Print departments. His channel, Jordan Doww, has a weekly vlog and also features lifestyle content, parodies and skits. His brand partnerships include Hollister and Android. He has accumulated over 1.5 million views since 2013.

    Bohemia Group: Actress Nita Mistry has signed with Bohemia Group for global representation. She was recently in the Ashok Pati directed British-Bengali film Romeo Vs Juliet. Her other credits include the BBC Television drama series Casualty and New Tricks. She previously appeared in the 2003 film, What a Girl Wants.

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    Before you searching always remember to change your IP adress to not be followed!
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    Jessica Chastain has launched production company, Freckle Films and signed a first look overhead deal with Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray’s transatlantic financing-production shingle, Maven Pictures. The duo have already optioned The Magician’s Lie book by Greer Macallister and Camille Pagan’s novel, Life and Other Near-Death Experiences. Chastain will serve as President of Freckle Films with development exec Elise Siegel. Under the pact, Maven will provide development funds and cover overhead costs to acquire IP for Freckle and Maven to jointly produce. Jacqui Lewis, Leili Gerami, Clemens Pongratz and Elise Siegel will exec produce these films.

    eOne and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have entered into a long-term, multi-territory pact to include the UK and Benelux in addition to their longstanding distribution alliance in Australia and Spain. The companies are also creating a new home entertainment joint venture in Canada to oversee their joint direct account home entertainment business. Fox will handle sales and distribution services on DVD and Blu-ray on behalf of eOne for film, television and family home entertainment titles in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain and Australia. Fox will also handle exclusive U.S. marketing and sales efforts on physical home entertainment for the pre-school brand, Peppa Pig.

    As reported in Exec Shuffle, Canal Plus is in discussions with Qatari-owned beIN Sports over an exclusive distribution agreement. If approved by anti-trust authorities in France, the deal would give Canal Plus execs a revenue boost while also giving beIN Sports better carriage in France.

    Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman has been quoted with saying he’s been “approached by several potential strategic investors in Paramount” and is “pursuing a transaction with a strategic minority investor.” At the Jefferies Media & Communications Conference in New York, he said he’s engaged in “substantive discussions with a select group of strategic partners” and has signed up Paul Taubman’s PJT Partners as a financial adviser to help with the sale with a deal that could be struck as early as June. Cash would be used to reduce debt and pursue “operational and strategic opportunities that we might have and, of course, return of capital to our shareholders.” Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has sparked rumors that they could be the minority buyer. They recently acquired Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion and are planning to announce another “major deal” on Friday.

    PBS is started a free 24/7 multiplatform children’s programming service this fall through PBS stations. The service will include an expanded PBS Kids TV channel and livestream on digital platforms through OTT partners and PBSKIDS.org. The service eventually will assimilate interactive games and activities. The new channel will meaningfully expand access to PBS Kids educational programming, making it available more hours, including during primetime and weekends when some families tune in together.

    During Univision’s quarterly earnings call, CFO Francisco Lopez-Balboa characterized reports that the company wants to buy out Disney’s 50 percent share of English-language joint news operation Fusion, saying, “We are happy with the joint venture.” CEO Randy Falco was quoted with saying the acquisition would  “help us expand our reach and achieve scale with multicultural millennial audiences.”

    Per Exec Shuffle, HBO has signed a major content deal with Hulu Japan which will now have exclusive and wide-ranging access to HBO series, comprising hundreds of hours of programming. Hulu Japan, owned by HJ Holdings, is separate from the U.S.-based Hulu, which is owned by Disney, 21st Century Fox, and NBCUniversal.

    Creator and executive producer of CBS’ Madam Secretary, Barbara Hall has inked a new two-year overall deal with the studio behind her series, CBS Television Studios. She will continue as executive producer/showrunner on Madam Secretary while developing new projects. Previously she created two other drama series for CBS: Judging Amy and Joan of Arcadia.

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    Security Is Going To Be Pretty Fierce On Sunday Night, as the Oscars Will “Be Like a Military State”

    This year’s Oscar show will be the first since the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris which, all told, took the lives of 144 people and injured 390. Law enforcement says there is “no specific information relative to threats” to this year’s Academy Awards, which is good news. Still, Sunday’s Oscars will be swarming with hundreds of law enforcement officers, plus SWAT teams, bomb-sniffing dogs and sophisticated surveillance equipment and lots more. (AL)

    Black Artists Matter: an Oral History Of Black Actors and the Oscars

    The 88-year history of the Oscars has always been complicated when it comes to matters of race, starting in 1940, when Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Academy Award, honored for her supporting role in Gone With the Wind, as a maid. In the 76 years since McDaniel picked up her Oscar, only 13 other black actors have taken home the award. (IC)

    Curious About This Year’s VFX Nominees? Herein, a Quick Peek At Each Of Them

    Visual effects behind movies have never been better, and the fact that they just keep getting better every year makes the Oscars’ Best Visual Effects category one to watch each year. Sure, performances, direction, writing, and every other award are still amazing year after year, but VFX continue to evolve through technological advances, stretching imaginations in new directions. (UR)


    Film & TV Deals for 2/24/16: Jessica Chastain Launches Freckle Films, eOne & Fox Home Ent. Partner Up, Wanda Rumored to Invest in Viacom

    Canal Plus is up to some new business, PBS fires up a new, multiplatform service for the kids, and Madam Secretary creator Barbara Hall signs a brand new deal. There’s more, so click on the link to read on. (SSN)

    Rep Moves for 2/24/16: Jane Lynch Snagged by UTA, Rose McGowan Moves to Londonderry Ent., CAA Picks up Actor/Comedian Ron Funches

    A light week on the rep front includes an Indian actress finding new advocates, a YouTube celeb landing at CESD, and a few others odds and ends. For the full skinny, click on the link. (SSN)

    Fox Searchlight Sees Awards Potential, Schedules ‘Birth of a Nation’ For October Release

    The Oscars ceremony is mere days away, but it’s already time to start talking about next year’s awards. Hot on the heels of a record-breaking acquisition deal, Searchlight has set a prime, awards-friendly October 7th release date for Nate Parker’s film. Drama tells the true story of slave Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher who led a bloody uprising that had reverberations throughout the country. (COL)

    Get Ready For a Third Take On ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’, as Michael B. Jordan Steps Into Those Pricey Shoes

    The star of the boxing hit Creed is reteaming with MGM for a remake of the heist thriller. The project is in the nascent stages as there is no writer or director attached. Yet the call is out and MGM brass, very happy with how things turned out with Creed, is intent on developing a vehicle around the actor. (THR)

    Chris Weitz In Talks To Helm MGM Film On The Hunt For Nazi War Criminal Adolf Eichmann

    Rogue One writer is in early discussions to direct the untitled Matthew Orton-scripted drama about the team that hunted down and captured Adolf Eichmann, one of the major architects of the Holocaust. Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Automatik is producing, and Matt Charman is exec producing. MGM made a preemptive buy for the script last November, and it is moving very quickly toward the start line. (DH)

    Emily Blunt’s New ‘Mary Poppins’ Gets a Taste Of Broadway, as Lin-Manuel Miranda Joins the Cast

    Miranda would play Jack, a lamplighter who has echoes of Bert, famously played by Dick Van Dyke in the 1964 original. Into The Woods‘ Rob Marshall is directing from a script by David Magee that draws from other books in Poppins author P.L. Travers’ range, which expand beyond the original tome across a series that ran between 1934 and 1988. (EMP)

    Steve McQueen’s ‘Codes of Conduct’ Is Not Moving Forward At HBO

    Cable net has shut down the six-episode series from the 12 Years a Slave director/producer. McQueen was set to direct all six episodes of the series, which was “an exploration of a young African-American man’s experience entering New York high society, with a past that may not be what it seems.” The show was set to star newcomer Devon Terrell along with Paul Dano, Helena Bonham Carter, and Rebecca Hall. (CDR)

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    Tye Sheridan Lands Lead Role In Steven Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’

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    New Attachments

    A Wrinkle in Time
    Logline: A brother and sister travel to a fifth dimension to rescue their father.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
    Production Company(s): Whitaker Entertainment
    Producer(s): Jim Whitaker, Catherine Hand
    Writer(s): Jennifer Lee
    Director(s): Ava DuVernay
    Details: Based on the best-selling novel “A Wrinkle in Time” written by Madeleine L’Engle and published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 1962.
    SSN Insight: Project was previoulsy set up at Dimension Films with an adaptation by John August. Project was previously set up at Reel FX with Cary Granat and Ed Jones producing with an adaptation by Jeff Stockwell.

    Alien: Covenant
    Logline: The crew of the spaceship Covenant discover what they believe is an uncharted paradise, but in fact it is a dark and dangerous world whose only inhabitant is David.
    Studio/Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox
    Production Company(s): Ridley Scott Films
    Producer(s): Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer
    Writer(s): Michael Green, Jack Paglen
    Director(s): Ridley Scott
    Cast: Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Rebecca Ferguson, Katherine Waterston, Demián Bichir, Jussie Smollett, Amy Seimetz, Carmen Ejogo, Callie Hernandez
    Details: Sequel to “Prometheus” (2012) directed by Ridley Scott and starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron.
    SSN Insight: Noomi Rapace’s character Elizabeth Shaw will appear briefly in the film. Smollett can be seen as Jamal Lyon on Fox’s hit primetime soap Empire.

    Baby Driver
    Logline: A young, music-loving expert getaway driver is coerced into a heist for a mob boss which threatens his life, love and freedom.
    Studio/Distributor(s): TriStar Productions, TriStar Pictures
    Production Company(s): Working Title Films, Big Talk Productions, Media Rights Capital
    Producer(s): Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan, Nira Park
    Writer(s): Edgar Wright
    Director(s): Edgar Wright
    Cast: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jon Bernthal, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm
    SSN Insight: The film recently began principal photography in Atlanta.

    Logline: A Moroccan-born woman, who now lives in France with her two teenage daughters, is barely able to communicate with them.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Kino Lorber
    Production Company(s): Rhône-Alpes Cinéma, Telefilm Canada, Pyramide Productions, ARTE, Centre National du Cinema, Credit d’impot du Quebec, Filmoption International Inc, PROCIREP, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur (PACA), SODEC, Istiqlal Films, Fonds Images de la Diversite, L’Agence nationale pour la cohesion sociale et l’egalite des chances (l’Acse), Possibles Média, Commission Images de la Diversite
    Producer(s): Philippe Faucon, Yasmina Nini-Faucon, Serge Noël
    Writer(s): Philippe Faucon
    Director(s): Philippe Faucon
    Cast: Soria Zeroual, Zita Hanrot, Kenza-Noah Aiche, Chawki Amari, Dalila Bencherif
    SSN Insight: Kino Lorber acquired U.S. rights to the film that world premiered at the Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight section and was just picked up four Cesar Award nominations including for Best Film and Best Actress for Soria Zeroual.

    Fifty Shades Freed
    Logline: Christian and Anastasia have become a couple, but Christian’s past is coming back to haunt Anastasia.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures
    Production Company(s): Trigger Street Productions, Michael De Luca Productions
    Producer(s): Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, E.L. James, Marcus Viscidi
    Writer(s): Niall Leonard
    Director(s): James Foley
    Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Arielle Kebbel, Kim Basinger, Luke Grimes, Brant Daugherty
    Details: Based on the book “Fifty Shades Freed,” the third book in the Fifty Shade trilogy, written by E.L. James and published by Vintage on April 17, 2012. Second sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey” (2015) directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.
    SSN Insight: Sam Taylor-Johnson was previously attached to direct. Universal is set to release February 9, 2018.

    Fire at Sea
    Logline: A documentary about the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, near the North African coast, which has become a symbol of Europe’s migrant crisis.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Kino Lorber
    Production Company(s): RAI Cinema, Istituto Luce S.p.A, Les Films d’Ici, Arte France cinéma, Stemal Entertainment, 21uno Film
    Writer(s): Gianfranco Rosi
    Director(s): Gianfranco Rosi
    Cast: Samuele Pucillo, Mattias Cucina, Samuele Caruana, Pietro Bartolo, Giuseppe Fragapane
    SSN Insight: Kino Lorber has acquired North American rights to the film. The film was awarded the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. A fall theatrical release is planned.

    Get Out
    Logline: A young African American man visits his white girlfriend’s family, with horrifying consequences.
    Production Company(s): Blumhouse Productions, QC Entertainment
    Producer(s): Jason Blum, Sean McKittrick, Ted Hamm
    Writer(s): Jordan Peele
    Director(s): Jordan Peele
    Cast: Allison Williams, Daniel Kaluuya, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Caleb Landry Jones, Keith Stanford
    SSN Insight: Stanfield recently appeared as Snoop Doggy Dogg in Straight Outta Compton, and will next be seen in Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead.

    Girl Soldier
    Logline: Centers on the 1996 raid at a boarding school where a band of armed rebels abducted young girls to turn them into soldiers and sex slaves. A courageous teacher at the school, Sister Caroline, then tracked the rebels back to their camp and demanded the girls’ release. After that, 110 girls were returned to the nun’s care. Later, the nun took an anti-trafficking campaign all the way to the Pope and the UN.
    Production Company(s): Imprint Entertainment, De Oliveira Entertainment Group, Caspian Pictures, BioPic Entertainment, Untouchable J
    Producer(s): Will Raee, Uma Thurman, JoJo Ryder, Michael Becker, Brian Bullock
    Writer(s): Stephanie Pinola, Karen Croner, Jonathan Marc Feldman
    Director(s): Will Raee
    Cast: Uma Thurman
    Details: Based on the book “Stolen Angels” by Kathy Cook and published by Penguin Canada Oct 2, 2007.
    SSN Insight: Souléymane Sy Savané and Bill Duke were previously attached to co-star. Project was previously in development at Tiara Blu Films with Diane Nabatoff attached to produce.

    Hard Sell
    Logline: A private school student desperate for cash teams up with a runaway to profit off his classmates.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Momentum Pictures Limited
    Production Company(s): Yellow Cote Productions
    Producer(s): Sean Nalaboff, Jimmy Seargeant, Jared Greenman
    Director(s): Sean Nalaboff
    Cast: Kristin Chenoweth, Katrina Bowden, Skyler Gisondo, Hannah Marks
    SSN Insight: The film marks writer-director Sean Nalaboff’s feature film debut, and will be released in the spring day-and-date by Momentum in the U.S.

    He Wanted the Moon
    Logline: Fifty years after his death, a woman sets out to learn about her largely absent father, who researched manic depression and suffered from depression himself.
    Production Company(s): Plan B Entertainment, Cross Creek Pictures
    Producer(s): Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Tyler Thompson, Brian Oliver
    Writer(s): Tony Kushner
    Cast: Brad Pitt
    Details: Based on the book “He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him” written by Mimi Baird and Eve Claxton; published by Crown Publishers in 2015.
    SSN Insight: Kushner is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Kushner who last wrote the Steven Spielberg-directed Lincoln.

    In Darkness
    Logline: A blind musician hears a murder in the apartment above her.
    Production Company(s): 42
    Producer(s): Benjamin Pugh, Josh Varney, Anthony Byrne
    Writer(s): Natalie Dormer, Anthony Byrne
    Director(s): Anthony Byrne
    Cast: Natalie Dormer, Ed Skrein, Stacy Martin, Emily Ratajkowski
    SSN Insight: Ratajkowski’s credits include David Fincher’s Gone Girl, the Entourage movie and We Are Your Friends opposite Zac Efron.

    Mary Poppins
    Logline: The magical nanny Mary Poppins comes to work for the Banks family and brings adventure and fun into the lives of the children.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
    Production Company(s): Marc Platt Productions, Lucamar Productions
    Producer(s): John DeLuca, Marc Platt, Rob Marshall
    Writer(s): David Magee
    Director(s): Rob Marshall
    Cast: Emily Blunt (in discussions), Lin-Manuel Miranda (in discussions)
    Details: Based on the “Mary Poppins” book series written by P.L. Travers and published by HarperCollins in the UK and Harcourt, Brace in the US from 1934 through 1988.
    SSN Insight: Miranda created and stars in the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton he also composed bar scene music for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and scored the upcoming animated film Moana.

    Office Christmas Party
    Logline: An office party spirals out of control.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Amblin Partners,
    Production Company(s): Management 360, Bluegrass Films, Speck+Gordon
    Producer(s): Scott Stuber, Guymon Casady, Daniel Rappaport
    Writer(s): Lee Eisenberg, Dan Mazer, Timothy Dowling, Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
    Director(s): Will Speck, Josh Gordon
    Cast: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, TJ Miller, Kate McKinnon
    SSN Insight: Ed Helms was previously in talks to co-star.

    Pacific Rim 2: Maelstrom
    Logline: This sequel’s storyline is under wraps, but it picks up many years after the events depicted in the original, when the world has been largely freed of monstrous Kaiju, and monster-fighting Jaeger technology has become used in new ways.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures, Universal Pictures
    Production Company(s): Legendary Entertainment, Disruption Entertainment
    Producer(s): Guillermo Del Toro, Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Mary Parent
    Writer(s): Jon Spaihts, Guillermo Del Toro, Zak Penn
    Director(s): Steven S DeKnight
    Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman
    Details: Sequel to the film “Pacific Rim” (2013) directed by Guillermo del Toro.
    SSN Insight: Project was previously set up at Warner Bros. Scouting was scheduled to take place in 2015, with principal photography set to begin in November 2015.

    Logline: A flock of military ducks mistake a small island in China for Hawaii, upending the world of the local ducks.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Shout! Factory
    Production Company(s): Rome Animation & Film Studio, A-VFX Studio
    Producer(s): Vsevolod Zorin, Ruben Atoyan, Oksana Brovchenko
    Writer(s): Victor Lakisov, Bob Underwood, John Mickevich, Vadim Sveshnikov
    Director(s): Victor Lakisov
    SSN Insight: Shout! Factory has acquired all distribution rights to the film and plans a strategic rollout of Quackerz across distribution platforms and in packaged media in 2016 through Shout! Factory Kids.

    Ready Player One
    Logline: In a virtual world called Oasis, a teenager finds himself competing in a treasure hunt against ruthless foes after the game’s founder dies and offers his fortune as the grand prize.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution
    Production Company(s): Amblin Partners, Village Roadshow Pictures, De Line Pictures, Farah Films & Management
    Producer(s): Donald De Line, Dan Farah, Kristie Macosko, Steven Spielberg
    Writer(s): Zak Penn, Eric Eason, Ernest Cline
    Director(s): Steven Spielberg
    Cast: Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Tye Sheridan
    Details: Based on the novel “Ready Player One” written by Ernest Cline and published by Random House on August 16, 2011.
    SSN Insight: Sheridan’s credits include The Tree Of Life, Mud, Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse and the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.

    Logline: On the lush tropical island of Tanna the conviction of two star-crossed lovers will change their tribe’s culture forever. Wawa, being readied for the ceremony that will recognize her as a grown woman, is in love with the handsome grandson of the tribal chief. When, as part of an effort to prevent a war, Wawa is betrothed to a man from another tribe, she must choose between loyalty to her clan and her own heart.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Lightyear Entertainment
    Producer(s): Bentley Dean, Martin Butler, Carolyn Johnson
    Writer(s): Bentley Dean, Martin Butler, John Collee
    Director(s): Bentley Dean, Martin Butler
    Cast: Mungau Dain, Marie Wawa, Marceline Rofit, Chief Charlie Kahla, Albi Nangia
    SSN Insight: Lightyear Entertainment has licensed U.S. rights to the film. It’s the first feature to be fully shot in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu.

    The Hitman’s Bodyguard
    Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Lionsgate
    Production Company(s): Millennium Films
    Producer(s): Mark Gill, John Thompson, Matt O’Toole, Les Weldon
    Writer(s): Tom O’Connor
    Director(s): Jeff Wadlow
    Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Elodie Yung, Salma Hayek
    SSN Insight: Project was previously set up at Paramount. Pierre Morel was previously in negotiations to direct. Previously in development at Skydance Productions.

    The Land
    Logline: Four teenage buddies skateboard the streets of Cleveland dreaming of getting discovered by a sponsor and skating their way out of poverty. But things change when they find a bag of pills and get tangled up with Momma, the cold, calculating drug queenpin who runs the toughest gang in town.
    Studio/Distributor(s): IFC Films
    Production Company(s): Priority Pictures, Low Spark Films, MACRO
    Producer(s): Greg Little, Karen J. Lauder, Tyler Davidson, Blake Pickens, Elizabeth Zox Friedman
    Writer(s): Steven Caple
    Director(s): Steven Caple
    Cast: Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Moises Arias, Rafi Gavron, Ezri Walker, Erykah Badu
    SSN Insight: IFC Films has acquired U.S. rights to the film that premiered in the NEXT Section at Sundance and slated a theatrical release in the second half of 2016.

    The Storm In The Stars
    Logline: The story of the love affair between poet Percy Shelley and 18-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft, which resulted in Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein.
    Production Company(s): Burstein Company, Parallel Films, Gidden Media
    Producer(s): Amy Baer, Alan Moloney, Ruth Coady
    Writer(s): Emma Jensen
    Director(s): Haifaa al-Mansour
    Cast: Elle Fanning, Bel Powley, Douglas Booth, Ben Hardy
    SSN Insight: Hanway Films is overseeing international sales with UTA, which reps Al-Mansour and helped package the film. Hardy will next be seen as Angel in X-Men: Apocalypse.
    The Tribes of Palos Verdes
    Logline: A teenage girl grows closer to her troubled twin brother and takes up surfing in order to escape their unbalanced family and snobby friends in the exclusive Californian neighborhood of Palos Verdes.
    Production Company(s): The Firm
    Producer(s): Robbie Brenner, Karen Croner
    Writer(s): Karen Croner
    Director(s): Emmett Malloy, Brendan Malloy
    Cast: Maika Monroe, Jennifer Garner, Cody Fern, Elisabeth Röhm, Goran Visnjic, Justin Kirk, Alicia Silverstone, Tom Cocrel
    SSN Insight: Peter Darley Miller was previously attached to direct. Project previously in development with Industry Entertainment and New Line Cinema. Project picked up in-turnaround from New Line Cinema.

    Untitled Woody Allen Project
    Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Amazon
    Production Company(s): Gravier Productions
    Producer(s): Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum, Edward Walson
    Writer(s): Woody Allen
    Director(s): Woody Allen
    Cast: Steve Carell, Jeannie Berlin, Jesse Eisenberg, Parker Posey, Kristen Stewart
    SSN Insight: Bruce Willis was previously attached as a co-star. Steve Carell filled the role in his place. Amazon acquired all North American rights to and will open the film this summer with a traditional, nationwide theatrical release followed by distribution on Amazon Prime Video.

    New Projects

    Behind Closed Doors
    Logline: Follows Jack and Grace, a couple who appear to have the perfect marriage. However, it’s built on a terrifying secret. Following their picture book wedding, the couple’s honeymoon kicks off a nail-biting pursuit.
    Production Company(s): Stone Village Productions
    Producer(s): Scott Steindorff, Dylan Russell
    Details: Based on the novel “Behind Closed Doors” by B.A. Paris; published by MIRA February 11, 2016.
    SSN Insight: The novel, Behind Closed Doors was the No. 1 bestselling Kindle novel with 100K copies sold in its first three days in the UK. The deal was rumored to be in the high six figures.

    Good Morning, Mr. Mandela
    Logline: The true story of the unlikely friendship between President Nelson Mandela and his personal assistant is chronicled from Mandela’s release from prison until his death.
    Production Company(s): Maven Pictures
    Producer(s): Trudie Styler, Celine Rattray, Jacqui Lewis
    Details: Based on the book “Good Morning, Mr. Mandela” written by Zelda la Grange and published by Allen Lane in 2014.
    SSN Insight: Trudie Styler will make her directorial debut with the film adaptation of James St. James’ bestseller Freak Show starring Bettle Midler.

    Logline: In 1892, an Army captain, a dying Cheyenne chief and his family, and a young widow join forces on a harrowing journey from New Mexico to Montana.
    Producer(s): John Lesher
    Director(s): Scott Cooper
    Cast: Christian Bale (in talks)
    SSN Insight: Bale can next be heard as the voice of Bagheera in Andy Serkis’ Jungle Book: Origins for Warner Bros and will be seen alongside Oscar Isaac in Terry George’s The Promise.

    Logline: 17-year-old Reed Brennan transfers to Easton Academy dreaming of a bright future, but soon learns that the ivy-covered walls of the institution hide dark secrets.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures
    Production Company(s): Alloy Entertainment
    Producer(s): Les Morgenstein, Elysa Dutton
    Writer(s): Stacy Rukeyser
    Details: Based on the “Private” young-adult novel series written by Kate Brian and first published by Simon & Schuster in 2006.
    SSN Insight: Alloy first developed Private as a web series in 2009.

    The Detainee
    Logline: In a dystopian world, society can no longer support its weakest members, so the elderly and infirm are treated as scapegoats and shipped off to an island of no escape.
    Production Company(s): Thunder Road Pictures, Film House Germany
    Producer(s): Basil Iwanyk, Christian Angermayer
    Director(s): Ciro Guerra
    Details: Based on the novel “The Detainee,” which is the first volume of a trilogy written by Peter Liney and published by Jo Fletcher Books on July 4, 2013.
    SSN Insight: Ciro Guerra has been nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar this year for his Colombian film Embrace Of The Serpent.

    The Ruins
    Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Fox Searchlight Pictures
    Production Company(s): Shoebox Films
    Producer(s): Joe Wright
    Writer(s): Jon Croker
    Director(s): Joe Wright
    SSN Insight: Croker previously wrote The Woman In Black 2: The Angel Of Death and Freida Pinto-starrer Desert Dancer produced in 2014. He also received a credit for additional material on StudioCanal’s global hit Paddington. Croker’s next project is The Abominable Snowman for Hammer Films.

    The Thomas Crown Affair
    Logline: When a valuable piece of artwork is stolen, no one suspects wealthy businessman Thomas Crown, except the beautiful investigator assigned to the case.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM),
    Cast: Michael B. Jordan
    Details: Remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968) directed by Norman Jewison and starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, which was also remade under the same title in 1999. This version was directed by John McTiernan and starred Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo.
    SSN Insight: Jordan is also attached to Just Mercy, Men Who Kill and an Untitled WB Heist Project, all in active development.

    Untitled John Scott Project
    Logline: John Scott was a NHL “enforcer” known for his five goals and 543 penalty minutes during eight seasons, until an Internet write-in campaign turned him into an All-Star Game captain.
    Production Company(s): Mandalay Sports Media
    Producer(s): Michael Tollin, Jon Weinbach
    Writer(s): Mitch Albom
    SSN Insight: Mandalay Sports Media has acquired the feature life rights to tell the story of John Scott. Tollin has many sports movie credits, including Varsity Blues, Summer Catch, Radio, Coach Carter, Dreamer and The Bleeder.

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    In Case You Were Wondering, Here’s a Look Back At This Year’s Acting Nominees’s First Onscreen Roles

    Five actors — Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Matt Damon (The Martian), Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) and Bryan Cranston (Trumbo) — are vying for the best actor prize at this year’s Oscars. But before landing the prestigious nomination, where did each actor get his start on the big screen? Hit rewind for a closer look at the burgeoning careers of this year’s Oscar best actor contenders. (HRA)

    Snubbed: 20 Classic Films That Were Not Actually Nominated For Best Picture

    This year, like any other, has seen great films left out in the cold when it comes to the Academy’s top prize — most notably Todd Haynes’ Carol, which failed to make the Best Picture line-up despite six nominations in other categories, the same as or more than all but three of the films actually up for Best Picture. And that’s obviously just the tip of the iceberg in terms of movies that didn’t make the cut. (TP)


    Film Development for 2/25/16: Michael B. Jordan to Play Thomas Crown, Amazon Snags Woody Allen Pic, Emily Blunt Circling ‘Mary Poppins’

    In other news, Ava DuVernay signs on to helm A Wrinkle In Time, Baby Driver fills out its cast, Jordan Peele’s next opus fills out, and lots more, so click on the link to read on. (SSN)

    Jason Bateman Returns To TV, as Netflix Picks Up His New Series From MRC

    Ozark, the drama series starring, executive produced and directed by Bateman, has landed at the streaming giant. MRC and Aggregate are producing the project, which was taken out last fall and has been in negotiations at Netflix for about two months. Created by writer Bill Dubuque, show takes place in the dark and dangerous world of drug-money laundering. The series takes its name from the location where it is set, The Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. (DH)

    Marvel Finds Its Iron Fist! ‘Game Of Thrones’ Star To Lead Upcoming Netflix Series

    Finn Jones has been cast as the lead in the upcoming drama series at the streaming giant. Jones — who stars as Ser Loras Tyrell in the HBO fantasy drama — will play the title role of Daniel Rand, aka Iron Fist. Story centers on Rand, who fights against the criminal elements corrupting New York with his kung fu skills and ability to summon the power of the fiery Iron Fist. Dexter’s Scott Buck is on board to serve as showrunner. (LF)

    Carmen Ejogo & Jussie Smollett Join Cast of Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien: Covenant’

    The upcoming sci-fi sequel to Prometheus/prequel to Alien to be directed by Ridley Scott, stars Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Demián Bichir and Danny McBride. It will take place roughly ten years after the end of that 2012 film. Smollett, Ejogo, Amy Seimetz and Callie Hernandez have joined the cast, although no word on what roles each of them will play in the movie. (SAA)

    Jessica Chastain, Queen Latifah and More Launch Non-Profit Production Company to Tackle Gender Gap

    A number of influential Hollywood players — including Jessica, Latifah and Catherine Hardwicke — have teamed up to form We Do It Together (WDIT), a non-profit production company. The aptly named collective was created to finance and produce films, documentaries, TV and other media working towards the goal of empowering women. (WAH)

    Disney’s Maker Studios Funding Original Series From Digital Creators

    Short-form digital studio owned by Disney is opening its wallet to produce original entertainment programming — from talent both within and outside its network of 60,000 creators. Under the new Maker Studios Spark program, the company invited creators to pitch original concepts. From those submissions, Maker picked the most promising concepts and is producing them as series or cross-platform franchises. (VAR)

    Showtime Orders Pilot for Jason Katims’s Anthology Dating Comedy Mating

    Cable net has placed a cast-contingent pilot order for the Friday Night Lights EP’s show, a comedy series that, despite the name, is about love and dating in addition to straight-up raw copulation. Written by The Americans’  Stu Zicherman, show will “explore modern dating and relationships, with each potential season exploring a different protagonist’s journey,” and initially focus on “a recently divorced guy who tries to evolve and connect one date at a time.” (VUL)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Daredevil’

    Marvel and Netflix have released the newest look at the upcoming second season of the hit comic series adaptation, starring Charlie Cox, Elden Henson, Rosario Dawson, Deborah Ann Woll, Scott Glenn, Elodie Yung and Jon Bernthal. The new season premieres on March 18th. (EMP)

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