The indie romantic comedy “inspired” by George Clooney has filled out its cast as filming begins. Tate Donovan, Kristen Johnson and Rosanna Arquette have joined the ensemble of For the Love of George led by Nadia Jordan, who also co-scripted with Hayley Nolan. (DH)
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Former Alaska governor is being eyed to host and star in her own daytime court TV series after signing a deal with Montana-based production company Warm Springs. Big Ticket Entertainment’s Larry Lyttle, whose credits include both Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown, is attached to the project as an executive producer. The project is still in the early stages, but the hope is to launch a daytime syndicated series in fall of 2017. (LF)
Film is a crime drama which the actor will also write, produce, and star in. Peter Berg, who directed Kitsch in Friday Night Lights, Battleship, and Lone Survivor, will produce. The plot concerns three best friends in Detroit whose lives are forever changed when they intercept a drug run. It’s to be a longer version of Kitsch’s short film of the same title. (SF)
Director will develop the project with Ol Parker penning the script. Laura Sandler and Amanda Harlib wrote the first draft. Based on the novel by Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick, story follows a high school senior who secretly lives in the back of a school bus after being booted out of the house by her mother’s boyfriend. The bus is the same one that her mother uses to drive kids to school. Amber is then put to the test after a fatal tragedy. (VAR)
The A-listers, who met while starring in the 2006 dance film Step Up, will executive-produce and appear the upcoming dance competition series. Dewan Tatum is will serve as a regular judge/mentor, while her husband will make occasional visits. NBC has given a six-episode pickup to the series, which is said to put a “fresh” spin on the (some might say tired) dance competition genre. (TVL)
BBC America’s long-in-development adaptation of Douglas Adams‘ novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency got the straight-to-series greenlight earlier this year, and now the Max Landis scripted series is casting up. The comedic thriller, which will have eight hour-long episodes in its first season, follows the titular holistic detective and his reluctant assistant Todd as they investigate the supernatural, and now Wood has signed on to play Todd. (COL)
Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton and Kelly MacDonald are already on board the project, the exact plot details of which are still under wraps. Collins is apparently set to be an anarchist named Red, a high-ranking member of the Animal Liberation Front. Bill Nighy was previously attached to the film, but had to drop out, while Paul Dano is still circling a role. Netflix is producing the project. (EMP)
For the past 30 years, the relationship has been punctuated by a series of spectacular fights — a gruesome tussle over ideology in 1986’s graphic novel Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, a dramatic dust-up due to mind control in the 2003 comic-book story line “Hush,” and, of course, an upcoming gladiator match in this weekend’s big-screen tentpole. Batman and Superman are both, of course, good guys, but what we so often want to see is them fighting. (VUL)
Netflix’s series seems aimed squarely at the drama side of things with its borderline-black visual palette, bloody battle scenes and serious subject matter. Over on The CW, The Flash is very much the opposite. With its bright color spectrum, stylized fights and fun overall tone, Greg Berlanti’s universe looks quite different than Drew Goddard’s. Yet both shows are consistently referred to as “superhero” shows, even though they’re so very, very different. (IW)
Warner Bros. has released the latest look at the upcoming film from writer-director Shane Black. The 70s action-comedy-thriller stars Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Keith David, Matt Bomer, Beau Knapp, Angourie Rice, and Margaret Qualley, and opens May 20th. (CS)
The Oscar-winning, 109-page screenplay by Michael Arndt. Script is dated October 9th, 2003. (DS)
CAA: Writer-directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos have signed with the agency. The duo are the writers and director behind the hugely successful 10-part Netflix documentary, Making A Murderer series. The duo began developing the series surrounding the case of convicted murderer Steven Avery while in graduate studies at Columbia University’s School of the Arts MFA film program and the series took a decade to finish. A second season is under consideration at Netflix. The duo were previously without agency representation.
WME: Actor Malachi Kirby has signed with the agency. The Brit actor was cast as Kunta Kinte in A+E Networks’ remake of Roots. The event TV series will air on Lifetime, A+E and the History Channel over the Memorial Day weekend. Kirby also will star in the episode entitled “Men Against Fire” in Netflix’s anticipated new season of Charlie Brooker’s anthology series Black Mirror. On the feature side he will be seen in Fallen, financed by Lotus Entertainment and directed by Scott Hicks.
Abrams: TV personality and reality star Ramona Singer has signed for representation with Abrams Artists Agency’s alternative programming and digital department. Singer will be represented in all areas, including digital and branding, by both the Los Angeles and New York teams. Singer is best known for appearing on The Real Housewives of New York City. She’s an experienced entrepreneur who has launched several businesses, including Ramona Wines, True Faith Jewelry and Tru Renewal SkinCare.
CAA: Trent Dilfer has signed with CAA. He is a former NFL quarterback who played for five teams, including the Super Bowl XXXV-winning Baltimore Ravens. He retired in 2007 and is now an analyst on ESPN and can be heard on the radio from the NFL Draft to the Super Bowl. He’s also been seen on NFL Live, NFL Primetime, SportsCenter and Monday Night Countdown. In addition, he’s the head coach for the top high school quarterback camp Elite 11, whose alumni include Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford and Jameis Winston.
WME: Singer-songwriter Ben Harper signed with WME who will represent him in all areas. Across his 30-year career he has sold 4.5 million albums in the U.S. He won Grammys for 2013’s Get Up! and 2004’s There Will Be Light. Harper collaborated with his mother, Ellen on his 2014 album called Childhood Home. In April, Harper and the Innocent Criminals will release Call It What It Is on Stax Records, that group’s first studio album in nine years. A tour in support of the new recording kicks off April 2 in New York with stops in Denver, Hollywood, Europe, as well as Australia and New Zealand.
Dish customers were at risk of losing access to NBCUniveral-owned NBC and Telemundo affiliates in markets including New York, LA, Chicago and Miami, and cable channels including USA, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC and Syfy. But, DISH Networks will continue to carry NBCUniversal channels for the time being although the contract negotiation deadline has passed. Per the FCC, a notice requesting arbitration for the carriage dispute begins a 10-day cooling off period.
European pay TV broadcaster Sky has launched Sky VR Studio, a virtual reality production company with the goal of creating immersive video content for VR devices and platforms. It will begin with sports content before branching off to entertainment and news. The first piece of VR content, two films shot during Formula One testing in Barcelona, will put viewers in the pit lane and out onto the track.
UK producer Damian Jones has signed a two-year, first-look deal with Fox Searchlight for his DJ Films LTD banner. The two are currently collaborating on the feature adaptation of the TV series Absolutely Fabulous which will reunite the original cast with Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley and Julia Sawalha. Jones’ was also behind the feature adaptation of the classic UK TV series Dad’s Army, grossed more than $10 million at the UK box office. Ariadne Kotsaki has been hired by DJ Films as a Development Executive.
China’s Huayi Bros Media has launched a new animation division, Wink Animation. The company will produce animation initially for the Chinese market, where local and imported animated content is a growing business. Joe Aguilar has been named the CEO and will work out of their Shanghai location. He was formerly the Chief Creative Officer at Oriental DreamWorks. VFX supervisor Markus Manninen has signed on as their artistic director. The two have worked on such titles as The Croods and Kung Fu Panda 3. Wink will release its first film in 2017.
Film and finance company Night Fox Entertainment is opening an acquisitions arm. The four-year-old company is behind the films Z For Zachariah and Headlock. The goal of the division is to diversify their revenue streams, build their content library and provide a distribution outlet for projects that cannot get distributed through the normal studio channels. They will search for films up to five million in the urban, horror, romantic comedy and action genres. New hires for the office will be through their Omaha office. The company is currently financing East Texas Hotlinks with Samuel L. Jackson as the executive producer.
Per Exec Shuffle, Warner Bros. TV Group has reached a template agreement that grants ABC full in-season stacking rights to all episodes of new series, giving the network both the on-demand and streaming rights to all new episodes of series debuting next season, as well as from 2017-2018. Previously, Warner Bros. has only granted ABC a slate of five rolling episodes at a time to use across its platforms.
Producers Stacy McKee and Bill Harper have each signed a new two-year overall deal with ABC Television Studios. The two are the executive producers and co-showrunners on Grey’s Anatomy. ABC is the studio behind the long-running series. Under the deal the two will continue on Grey’s, which was recently renewed for next season, its 13th. They will also work under creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes on Grey’s and develop new projects for network, cable, and streaming services.
Lantica Media and AMBI Group have signed a multi-picture co-production and co-financing deal. The two will make three features over the next three-to-five years which they will fully finance. AMBI Distribution, will oversee worldwide sales. Lantica’s interests include Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios and Lantica Pictures which develops, finances and produces original content for English- and Spanish-speaking audiences. Recently it was behind the Jonas Cuaron-helmed Z which shoots this summer. AMBI and Lantica are also joining forces in a new VFX and 3D conversion post-production facility that will be based at Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios. That company will fall under AMBI’s Toronto-based AIC Studios banner.
Per Exec Shuffle, Plimsoll Productions now owns a minority stake in specialist distributor Magnify Media. Under the deal, Magnify will have exclusive rights to distribute Plimsoll’s catalogue. The company will also continue to work with third-party content. Plimsoll is a UK and U.S.-based factual entertainment and wildlife producer that currently producing 23 series and over 125 hours of programming for both domestic and international networks.
Fox International Productions and FOX Networks Group Asia have will join forces to develop and co-produce Chinese-language content, including films and TV series for distribution internationally. The deal will cover the development of originals as well as remakes of existing Fox titles. The first title under this pact will start production in 2017. In a statement FIP President Tomas Jegeus, commented, “Greater China, and Asia overall, represent a very significant portion of our strategic focus on the production of feature films globally. FIP joining forces with FOX Networks Group Asia will now solidly position us as a go-to, one-stop shop for our local partners, and amongst the creative community overall in the region.”
Film & TV Deals for 3/23/16: Huayi Bros Media Launches Wink Animation, Lantica Media & AMBI Group Sign Co-Financing Deal, Sky VR Studio Opens For Business
Other film and TV deals include, UK producer Damian Jones signing a first-look deal with Fox Searchlight and film and finance company Night Fox Entertainment opening an acquisitions arm. (SSN)
Rep Moves For 3/23/16: ‘Making A Murderer’ Writer-Director Duo Laura Ricciardi & Moira Demos Sign With CAA, ‘Roots’ Star Malachi Kirby Inks With WME
Other rep moves include, singer song-writer Ben Harper signing with WME and NFL star Trent Dilfer signing with CAA. (SSN)
Josh Greenstein’s Sony Marketing Makeover: 20 Layoffs, Danielle Misher, Damon Wolf To Co-Head Screen Gems & TriStar Marketing
Josh Greenstein has reorganized the Sony Marketing Department which will mean 20 layoffs and Sony execs Danielle Misher and Damon Wolf to become co-heads of marketing for Screen Gems, TriStar and Acquisitions. (DH)
Fox 2000 won a heated bidding war for Angela Thomas’ debut novel The Hate U Give with George Tillman Jr. attached to direct and Amandla Stenberg to star. (THR)
Producers of of the Carole King musical Beautiful are targeting Broadway with a new musical adaptation of Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday, featuring Cole Porter songs and bowing in San Francisco in the spring of 2017 prior to a Broadway transfer in the fall. (VAR)
TNT has given a pilot order to Claws, an hourlong dramedy set in a Southern Florida nail salon from Rashida Jones and Will McCormack’s Le Train Train in association with Warner Horizon Television and TNT Original Productions. (DH)
She doesn’t have her own movie yet, but before you get to know the new Wonder Woman, check out her 75-year evolution. (FCC)
Renee Zellweger made an appearance on Wednesday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she debuted the new trailer for Bridget Jones’s Baby. (EW)
Disney and its Marvel Studios film unit will not shoot future movies in Georgia if a controversial bill that critics contend would legalize anti-gay discrimination is signed by that state’s governor. Viacom as well as the AMC Networks, which films The Walking Dead in the state, has called on Gov. Nathan Deal to veto the legislation. Time Warner joined the protest this morning. (THR)
Suddenly, the Hollywood union finds itself in a unique situation relating to his successor. Being that Howard was the first and only elected president of the merged union, the question of who will formally take over the top spot will be answered via a series of stages. That process could see the union appoint an interim president within less than a month. Currently, EVP Gabrielle Carteris has stepped in as acting president, while also keeping her own job duties. (DH)
Miller has been released from a Georgia jail after serving just over half of his two-year sentence for his involvement in the 2014 death of crew member Sarah Jones. Miller was freed yesterday following a hearing in which prosecutors agreed Miller’s good behavior had earned him early release. He pled guilty last year to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass after Jones, 27, was fatally struck by a train during filming of the Gregg Allman biopic. (EW)
Streaming giant has commissioned a second season of the show. The British series’ odd title shocked subscribers when it arrived on Netflix last spring, but those who watched it discovered the name hid a sweet, wistful rom-com. Though the series originally aired on Channel 4, Netflix’s deal with the BBC means its eight-episode second season will premiere globally on the streaming service. (VUL)
Days after it hit the marketplace, streaming giant has snapped up Maniac, the dark comedy TV series starring Stone and Hill. Produced by Paramount Television and directed by Emmy winner Fukunaga, project is based on 2014 Norwegian comedy series. A search for a writer is underway, with Stone and Hill set to star and Fukunaga set to direct every episode. (LF)
Sarah Silverman has joined the Fox Searchlight flick, alongside Elisabeth Shue and Andrea Riseborough, with Little Miss Sunshine filmmakers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris directing from a script by Simon Beaufoy. Danny Boyle is producing with Christian Colson. Silverman will play Gladys Heldman, the founder of World Tennis magazine. (VAR)
Comedian Peter Serafinowicz will play the title role in the show, joining Griffin Newman as The Tick’s sidekick Arthur, who’s been labeled a schizophrenic when nobody else believes evil is planning on taking over the city. Valorie Curry plays Arthur’s sister Dot, who worries for him. The series will see The Tick re-donning his famous blue suit to fight evil after recovering from memory loss. Wally Pfister helms the pilot episode. (COL)
Michael Stuhlbarg has signed up for the film, said to be “a mysterious and magical journey set against the backdrop of Cold War-era America circa 1963 with an otherworldly love story at the center of it.” Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer are already on board the project, which starts shooting in August. (SF)
Netflix has dropped the first trailer for the upcoming comedy from director-star Ricky Gervais. Also starring Eric Bana, Vera Farmiga, Kelly MacDonald and America Ferrara, it premieres on the streaming giant on April 29th. (IW)
It’s all in the writing. After all the structuring is done, the scenes themselves have to entertain. Most often, when one reads a script, one thinks to oneself, “It needs color.” Color the characters; color the scenes; color the dialogue. It’s all in the writing. (SM)
At All Costs
Logline: Follows two of America’s top high school basketball prospects, Parker Jackson Cartwright and Gabe York, as they play their final summers in the AAU basketball league and prepare for the college level, as well as Etop Udo-Ema as he attempts to coach his Compton Magic to another championship.
Studio/Distributor(s): XLrator Media
Production Company(s): New Man Media
Producer(s): Ian Ward, Mike Nicoll, Nick Henry
Writer(s): Mike Nicoll
Director(s): Mike Nicoll
SSN Insight: XLrator Media has acquired North American distribution rights to the film and release it this fall under its PACE multicultural label.
Battle of the Sexes
Logline: Surrounds the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.
Studio/Distributor(s): Fox Searchlight Pictures,
Production Company(s): Cloud Eight Films, Decibel
Producer(s): Danny Boyle, Christian Colson
Writer(s): Simon Beaufoy
Director(s): Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Austin Stowell, Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, Sarah Silverman
SSN Insight: Brie Larson was previously in talks to co-star.
Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
Production Company(s): Crave Films, Arcade Films, Clubhouse Pictures
Producer(s): Eric Newman, Bryan Unkeless, Max Landis, David Ayer
Writer(s): David Ayer
Director(s): David Ayer
Cast: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton
SSN Insight: Netflix paid a reported $3 million for Max Landis’ script and will reportedly invest $90 million in the entire package.
Logline: A baby chimp is adopted by the pop star Michael Jackson. Narrating his own story, Bubbles the Chimp details his life within The King of Pop’s inner circle through the scandals that later rocked Jackson’s life and eventually led to Bubbles’ release.
Production Company(s): Starburns Industries, End Cue
Producer(s): Andrew Kortschak, Dan Harmon
Writer(s): Isaac Adamson
SSN Insight: Project was included in the 2015 Black List. Project will be a stop motion animation. Harmon exec produced Anomalisa, which was nominated for the Best Animated Film Oscar this year.
How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town
Logline: When shunned sex columnist Cassie returns for mom’s funeral, things get spicy. She had labeled the town prudish in her big-city writing gig, but upon her return, a group of eclectic town folk are inspired to try to plan an orgy and beg Cassie to serve as their mentor.
Studio/Distributor(s): Gravitas Ventures
Writer(s): Jeremy Lalonde
Director(s): Jeremy Lalonde
Cast: Jewel Staite, Lauren Holly, Ennis Esmer, Jonas Chernick, Kristian Bruun
SSN Insight: Gravitas Ventures has acquired the film that premiered at Slamdance in January and have set a day-and-date theatrical/VOD release on May 13.
Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom
Logline: Against his father’s advice, young Howard Lovecraft uses the legendary Necronomicon to open a portal to a frozen world filled with terrible creatures and danger.
Production Company(s): Arcana Comics
Producer(s): Sean Patrick O’Reilly, Michelle O’Reilly
Writer(s): Sean Patrick O’Reilly
Director(s): Sean Patrick O’Reilly
Voice Cast: Ron Perlman, Christopher Plummer
Details: Based on the graphic novel and series “Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom” by Bruce Brown and published by Arcana Studio on March 1, 2010.
SSN Insight: With the intent of introducing a new generation to the work of H.P. Lovecraft, the project combines the biography of the young Lovecraft in a family-friendly genre.
Jacob’s Ladder (Remake)
Logline: Storyline is under wraps.
Production Company(s): Gaeta Rosenzweig Films, LD Entertainment, Will Packer Productions
Producer(s): Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon, Michael Gaeta, Alison R Rosenzweig, Jennifer Hilton Monroe
Writer(s): Sarah Thorp, Jeff Buhler, Jake Wade Wall
Director(s): David M Rosenthal
Cast: Michael Ealy
Details: Remake of “Jacob’s Ladder” (1990) directed by Adrian Lyne and starring Tim Robbins.
SSN Insight: An homage to the original film through a contemporary story. James Foley was previously in talks to direct.
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, Halle Berry, Edward Holcroft
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: Although his character died in the first film, Holcroft will return to the role.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Logline: This sequel involves a swashbuckling search across the seas for a legendary and powerful artifact, the Trident of Poseidon.
Studio/Distributor(s): Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Production Company(s): Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Producer(s): Jerry Bruckheimer, Mike Stenson, Chad Oman
Writer(s): Jeff Nathanson, Terry Rossio, Ted Elliott
Director(s): Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Cast: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Ian McShane, Stephen Graham, Paul McCartney
Details: Sequel to Walt Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003) starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.
SSN Insight: Rob Marshall had been mentioned to direct. Jared Leto and Christoph Waltz were reportedly eyed for the villain role. Filming has wrapped but filming has recommenced with the add-on of a big set-piece scene with Paul McCartney.
Sorta Like a Rockstar
Logline: After they become homeless, high school senior Amber and her mom secretly live in a school bus. Amber remains solidly optimistic, but a tragedy puts her attitude to the test.
Studio/Distributor(s): Fox Searchlight Pictures
Production Company(s): Gotham/Principal, Temple Hill Entertainment
Producer(s): Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Lee Stollman, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein
Writer(s): Ol Parker, Laura Sandler, Amanda Harlib
Director(s): Miguel Arteta
Details: Based on the novel “Sort Like a Rock Star” written by Matthew Quick and published by Little, Brown in 2010.
SSN Insight: Arteta recently directed Disney’s Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for the big screen, which grossed more than $100 million globally.
Logline: This unauthorized biopic of former Smiths leader Morrissey focuses on his his troubled childhood in Manchester and how he overcame it to become a star.
Production Company(s): Honlodge Productions
Producer(s): Orian Williams, Baldwin Li
Writer(s): Mark Gill, William Thacker
Director(s): Mark Gill
Cast: Jack Lowden
SSN Insight: Jack Lowden recently appeared in the BBC epic War And Peace. Entertainment One has acquired UK rights.
The Bad Kids (Documentary)
Logline: At a remote Mojave Desert high school, educators combat the crippling effects of poverty on at-risk students by giving love, empathy and teaching life skills.
Production Company(s): Low Key Pictures, The Filmmaker Fund
Producer(s): Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe
Director(s): Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe
SSN Insight: FilmRise has acquired the worldwide distribution rights to the film that was shown during the Sundance Film Festival.
The Little Prince
Logline: A pilot crashes in the Sahara Desert and is befriended by a mysterious little boy.
Production Company(s): Canal Plus, M6 Films, W9, Orange Studio, ON Entertainment, LPPTV
Producer(s): Aton Soumache, Dimitri Rassam, Alexis Vonarb
Writer(s): Irena Brignull, Bob Persichetti
Director(s): Mark Randolph Osborne
Details: Based on the novel “Le Petit Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, published in 1943.
SSN Insight: Netflix has acquired the film for domestic release after Paramount Pictures surprisingly dropped the film days before its planned theatrical release.
To The Bone
Logline: A young woman suffering from anorexia tries to find a doctor who can help her.
Production Company(s): Mockingbird Pictures, Sparkhouse Media
Producer(s): Bonnie Curtis, Julie Lynn, Karina Miller
Writer(s): Marti Noxon
Director(s): Marti Noxon
Cast: Lily Collins
SSN Insight: This is the feature directorial debut for TV writer Marti Noxon.
We the People: The Market Basket Effect (Documentary)
Logline: A documentary that focuses on the dramatic relationship of the Demoulas family over control of their $4 billion supermarket chain, Market Basket.
Production Company(s): Dundee Entertainment, NBTV Studios, Bungalow Media + Entertainment
Producer(s): Nick Buzzell, Ted Leonsis, Robert Friedman, Paul Nero, Tommy Reid
Director(s): Tommy Reid
SSN Insight: FilmBuff has picked up U.S. rights to the film and will release it in theaters starting April 14, followed by a VOD release April 22.
An Untamed State
Logline: In Haiti, a Haitian-American woman is kidnapped for ransom in front of her husband and child.
Studio/Distributor(s): Fox Searchlight Pictures,
Production Company(s): Michael De Luca Productions
Producer(s): Michael De Luca, Gina Prince-Bythewood
Writer(s): Gina Prince-Bythewood, Roxane Gay
Director(s): Gina Prince-Bythewood
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Details: Based on the novel “An Untamed State” written by Roxane Gay and published by Black Cat in 2014.
SSN Insight: Mbatha-Raw worked with Prince-Bythewood on Beyond the Lights and most recently starred in Concussion and Belle.
Logline: The true story of Tonya Harding, who rose from poverty to become prominent in figure skating, but was disgraced when her husband tried to break the leg of her rival in the 1994 Olympics.
Production Company(s): Clubhouse Pictures, LuckyChap Entertainment
Producer(s): Bryan Unkeless, Margot Robbie
Writer(s): Steven Rogers
Cast: Margot Robbie
SSN Insight: Robbie can next be seen in The Legend of Tarzan and Suicide Squad. She is also in preproduction on Terminal which she was in cast in and is attached as a producer.
Logline: Years after orphan Jane Steele committed a crime that caused her to flee to Victorian London, she returns to her childhood home as a governess.
Production Company(s): 1492 Pictures, Prescience Film Finance, Ocean Blue Entertainment, Altus Productions
Producer(s): Chris Columbus, Bill Andrew, Rich Brennan, Michael Barnathan, Mark Radcliffe
Details: Based on the novel “Jane Steele” written by Lyndsay Faye and published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on March 22, 2016. Inspired by Charlotte Bronte’s classic Jane Eyre.
SSN Insight: Jane Eyre was adapted for film in 1996 with Anna Paquin and Cary Joji Fukunaga directed a 2011 version with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender.
Logline: A US Marshal arrives at a small town in an old frontier fort in the 1860s to find his brother, the town pastor, who died under suspicious circumstances. His investigation uncovers a web of corruption and deceit.
Production Company(s): JLE Cinema Group
Producer(s): A.J. Perez, John Lewis, Jim Burleson
Writer(s): John Lewis, Shawn Justice
Director(s): Richard Gabai
Cast: Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Robert Carradine, Stephen Lang, Ellen Hollman, John Lewis, Nathan Parsons, Jackson Rathbone, Lesley-Anne Down
SSN Insight: Parsons’ credits include The Originals, True Blood and General Hospital. Rathbone was seen in The Twilight Saga films and Finding Carter.
Logline: Three best friends from Detroit change the course of their lives when they intercept a drug run.
Production Company(s): Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, Film 44
Producer(s): Randall Emmett, George Furla, Peter Berg, Taylor Kitsch
Writer(s): Taylor Kitsch
Director(s): Taylor Kitsch
Cast: Taylor Kitsch
Details: Based on the short film “Pieces” (2013) written and directed by Taylor Kitsch.
SSN Insight: Taylor Kitsch will make his feature directorial debut with this film that E/F/O will finance.
The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll
Logline: The story of Dare Wright, author of the 1950s children’s book “The Lonely Doll,” who lived a bizarre life of glamour and isolation, struggling to escape her painful childhood through her art.
Production Company(s): Untitled Entertainment, Bruce Cohen Productions, Indigenous Media
Producer(s): Jon Avnet, Jake Avnet, Rodrigo Garcia, Bruce Cohen, Jason Weinberg
Writer(s): W Merritt Johnson
Director(s): Gia Coppola
Cast: Naomi Watts, Jessica Lange
Details: Based on “The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll” written by Jean Nathan and published by H. Holt in 2004.
SSN Insight: Watts can be seen in The Divergent Series: Allegiant and her next film will be Demolition opposite Jake Gyllenhaal.
Untitled Guillermo del Toro/Cold War Project
Logline: An otherworldly love story set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963
Studio/Distributor(s): Fox Searchlight Pictures,
Production Company(s): Fox Searchlight Pictures
Producer(s): Guillermo Del Toro
Writer(s): Guillermo Del Toro
Director(s): Guillermo Del Toro
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer (in talks), Michael Stuhlbarg
SSN Insight: Hawkins recently was seen in Paddington and Godzilla and wrapped the lead role in indie drama Maudie, alongside Ethan Hawke.
What’s the Point? (And Other Fair Questions About Marriage)
Logline: Ensemble comedy about the concept that marriage should be a seven-year contract with an option to renew.
Production Company(s): More Films, Cold Iron Pictures , Ways & Means
Producer(s): Lake Bell, Jett Steiger, Miranda Bailey, Amanda Marshall
Writer(s): Lake Bell
Director(s): Lake Bell
Cast: Lake Bell, Ed Helms
SSN Insight: The film received financing from Cold Iron Pictures and The Film Arcade and will begin shooting next month in Los Angeles.
Film Development for 3/24/16: Netflix Invests $90M in Will Smith Starrer ‘Bright’, Margot Robbie to Play Tonya Harding, Paul McCartney Boards ‘Pirates’ Sequel
Other film development news includes, XLrator acquiring Mike Nicoll’s basketball documentary, Sarah Silverman to star in Fox Searchlight/ Dayton & Faris comedy Battle of the Sexes and a remake of Jacob’s Ladder in the works. (SSN)
The film is based on the true story of Joey Williams, a 44-year-old father of four from Tennessee who returned to college to complete his degree and fulfill a lifelong dream of playing collegiate football. (THR)
Garry Shandling, an actor whose deadpan wit and dry delivery made him a comedic force for decades, passed away today after a “medical emergency,” at the age of 66. (IW)
Saban Films is acquiring North American distribution rights to Rob Zombie’s horror thriller 31. The film, premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival. (VAR)
The NBCUniversal-owned cable network has given a series order to the dark comedy My So Called Wife. (THR)
While CBS and The Young and the Restless led the list of networks and programs up for 2016 Daytime Emmy awards — with 77 and 27 nods respectively — the announcement was tempered by the news that the ceremony will not be televised. (TVL)
Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment, which paid upward of $2.5 million for North American rights to former Focus Features head James Schamus’ directorial debut Indignation, has set the picture for release on July 29 with Roadside Attractions. (DH)
The company has teamed up with executive producers Ben Silverman, musician Will.i.am and Howard Owens’ Propagate for an unscripted series about the Apple app ecosystem. (BILL)
Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for The Hangover filmmaker Todd Phillips’ comedic drama War Dogs, starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller. (COLL)
This should please investors in privately held MGM: The studio says this morning that the board has added $300 million to its stock-repurchase plan, though it offered no timetable. (DL)
Netflix has enforced a maximum limit on the quality of video streamed over AT&T and Verizon wireless networks for years, the company acknowledged Thursday. But Netflix also said it’s working on a way to give users control over how much bandwidth they wish to use to access the service. (VAR)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has earned an estimated $20.3 million in its first day of play in China. That includes a $1.35m midnight opening and is the sixth-biggest opening day for an American movie in China. (FB)
A Creative Overhaul on ‘APB’ Happening as Creator Exits, Production Stops and Matt Nix Steps in as Showrunner
Fox’s drama pilot APB starring Justin Kirk is undergoing a creative overhaul. Production on the pilot, directed by Len Wiseman, has been shut down temporarily, and Burn Notice creator Matt Nix has been brought in as writer-showrunner. (DL)
IFC Films has acquired U.S. rights to The Free World. Boyd Holbrook and Elizabeth Moss star in the Jason Lew-helmed drama. Octavia Spencer, Sung Kang and Waleed Zuaiter round out the cast. The film, which made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 26 in the U.S. Dramatic Competition section, was produced by Laura Rister. (THR)
How a Possible Boycott on Georgia Raises Questions About Other Places Where Human Rights Are Far From Stellar
The boycott on shooting in Georgia raises questions about whether studios, having threatened a boycott over a discriminatory law in one state, would apply the same standards to a plethora of other regions where human rights are far from stellar. (VAR)
When looking at the most profitable films of the year, there are other wildly profitable films, usually genre pictures, that don’t merit inclusion on the basis of highest domestic gross. But that doesn’t mean these films don’t tell compelling stories in their own right. So this time, we included snapshots of five overachieving pictures. (DL)
Screenwriters: Egyptian Filmmaker Yousry Nasrallah Reveals His Tips on Depicting Terrorists in Storytelling
If you convince yourself that “it is for a just cause,” every taboo can be broken. Every flaw becomes a quality. Your very inadequacy is a virtue. The way the media tells the story, it really depends on where you stand. (VAR)
Following in the footsteps of Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe and Jim Caviezel, Ewan McGregor is set to bring Jesus back to the big screen in the upcoming odyssey “Last Days in the Desert.” (IW)
If you were looking to cast a couple of Hollywood actors as arms dealers, Jonah Hill and Miles Teller probably wouldn’t be top of the list. This is precisely why they’re the right fit for War Dogs, a forthcoming action comedy film from Todd Phillips, director of The Hangover trilogy. (ID)
Logline: Based on true events, this drama explores the time in Barack Obama’s life when he was a college student in New York City and forged key personal relationships, including with a fellow student.
Production Company(s): Cinetic Media, Black Bear Pictures
Director(s): Vikram Gandhi
Producer(s): Teddy Schwarzman, Vikram Gandhi, Ben Stillman, Dana O’Keefe
Cast: Devon Terrell, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jason Mitchell, Ellar Coltrane
SSN Insight: Another film, Southside With You, about an early day in the life of Obama will be released by Miramax and Roadside Attractions following the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
Logline: Two female journalists join a team of international agents in Paris and take on one of the worlds’ most brutal sex trafficking rings. Loosely based on true events.
Director(s): J.R. Niles
Producer(s): J.R. Niles, Audra Cervantes, Ardees Rabang Jundis
Cast: Gabrielle Christian, Salvator Xuereb, Nicholas Downs, Angelica Page, Julia Parker
Writer(s): J.R. Niles
SSN Insight: Niles’ first film was a documentary on climate change, On This Land Kilimanjaro, filmed in Tanzania and her documentary on Women of the French Resistance in WWII, The Art of Resistance.
Logline: A US Marshal arrives at a small town in an old frontier fort in the 1860s to find his brother, the town pastor, who died under suspicious circumstances. His investigation uncovers a web of corruption and deceit.
Production Company(s): JLE Cinema Group
Director(s): Richard Gabai
Executive Producer(s): Niko Foster
Producer(s): A.J. Perez, John Lewis, Jim Burleson
Cast: Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Robert Carradine, Stephen Lang, Ellen Hollman, John Lewis
Writer(s): John Lewis, Shawn Justice
SSN Insight: Jamie-Lynn Sigler currently appears in Baby Daddy on Freeform. Her upcoming films include I Want Kandee and Justice.
Logline: A virus capable of making people act out their wildest impulses infects a corporate law office on the very day attorney Derek Saunders is framed by a co-worker and wrongfully fired. Trapped in the quarantined building, Derek is forced to fight tooth and nail for not only his job but also his life.
Production Company(s): Circle of Confusion, Royal Viking Entertainment
Director(s): Joe Lynch
Executive Producer(s): Parisa Caviani
Producer(s): Lawrence Mattis, Matt Smith, Sean Sorensen, Mehrdad Elie
Cast: Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving
Writer(s): Matias Caruso
SSN Insight: Joe Lynch previously directed Everly, Knights of Badassdom and Wrong Turn 2: Dead End.
Logline: A bank robber desperately tries to escape the dragnet that is closing in on him.
Production Company(s): Elara Pictures
Director(s): Josh Safdie, Ben Safdie
Producer(s): Sebastian Bear-McClard, Oscar Boyson
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Cliff Moylan, Roy James Wilson Jr., Jibril goodman, Ratnesh Dubey
Writer(s): Josh Safdie, Ronald Bronstein
SSN Insight: Robert Pattinson’s can next be seen in The Lost City of Z and The Childhood of a Leader. He was also cast in The Trap, which is in active development at Focus Features.
Logline: A young junior hockey player’s life is shattered by an in-game act of violence. As he struggles with the repercussions of the event, desperate to find a means of reconciliation and a sense of identity, his personal journey ends up illuminating troubling systemic issues around violence.
Production Company(s): Type One, Tabula Dada Productions
Director(s): Kevan Funk
Executive Producer(s): Christine Haebler, Trish Dolman
Producer(s): Haydn Wazelle, Daniel Domachowski
Cast: Jared Abrahamson, Sara Canning, Ben Cotton, Max Haynes, Darren Mann
Writer(s): Kevan Funk
SSN Insight: Jared Abrahamson’s recent features include The Submarine Kid and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, on the TV side he played Pete on MTV’s Awkward series.
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.
Logline: Five individuals are trapped in an elevator in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. This is their struggle to survive.
Production Company(s): Sunset Pictures, Vitamin A Films, Thunder Studios, Sprockefeller Pictures
Director(s): Martin Guigui
Executive Producer(s): Mark Burg, David Rodrick, Ryan Johnson
Producer(s): Martin Sprock, Dahlia Waingort, Warren Ostergard
Cast: Whoopi Goldberg, Charlie Sheen, Luis Guzman, Wood Harris, Olga Fonda
Writer(s): Martin Guigui, Steven Golebiowski
SSN Insight: The film was shot in Long Beach, CA for four weeks. Whoopi Goldberg also wrapped on the feature, Black Dog, Red Dog, directed by James Franco.
Logline: This period drama takes place in 1930s Korea during the Japanese colonial era.
Studio/Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures
Production Company(s): Grimm Pictures, Harbin
Director(s): Kim Jee-woon, Song Kang-ho
Producer(s): Jae-weon Choi, Choi Jung-hwa
Cast: Gong Yoo, Song Kang-ho, Han Ji-min, Shin Seong-rok, Seo Young-ju
Writer(s): Lee Ji-min, Kim Jee-woon
SSN Insight: The first-ever Korean-language movie to be financed and distributed by Warner Bros.
SSN Box Office Trending Report for 3/25/16: ‘Batman v Superman’ Flies High While Few RSVP to ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2′
In our ongoing 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. (SSN)
On the Set For 3/25/16:Jamie-Lynn Sigler Starts Shooting ‘Justice’, WB’s First-Ever Korean-Language Film, ‘Secret Agent’, Wraps Production
Also, the movie about President Obama’s college years and a thriller starring one of the stars of The Walking Dead fire up cameras, while new films starring Robert Pattinson and Ruth Wilson complete principal photography. There’s more, of course, so click the link to read all about it. (SSN)
Network is keeping two high-profile projects that it developed this season in contention for the next cycle. The Notebook It, based on the romance novel by Nicholas Sparks and the 2004 feature, and Weaveworld, an adaptation of the horror/fantasy novel by Clive Barker. Both projects will get new writers to pen new incarnations which again will be executive produced by Sparks and Barker, respectively. (DH)
Writer Cross is working with Endemol Shine, Entertainment 360, and Diogenes, who struck a deal with the Patricia Highsmith estate last year, to adapt all five of the Tom Ripley books. There are five Ripley novels in all, collectively known as the “Ripliad”: The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ripley Underground, Ripley’s Game, The Boy Who Followed Ripley, and Ripley Underwater. (SF)
Oscar winner is on board the adaptation of author Melanie Gideon’s novel. Gideon previously wrote three YA novels and a memoir, but this marks her first adult-oriented book, published in 2012. Kris Swanberg is writing the script, about a woman in a midlife crisis who agrees to anonymously participate in a survey about marital happiness, only to experience a reawakening through the power of confessing to the mysterious researcher who fields her responses. (WAH)
Don’t Get Too Attached To ‘Togetherness’, as HBO Has Cancelled the Show After the Current Second Season
It was announced today that the show has been canceled by the cable net. Mark and Jay Duplass’ first television series is still airing new episodes of its second season on Sunday nights, but will not return for a third season. Despite low ratings, hope remained for a series with a strong cult fanbase and wide critical support. (IW)
Both Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Last Man On Earth received renewals from the network, with the cop comedy starring Andy Somber and Andre Braugher earning its fourth season and the Will Forte-starring Last Man getting its third. (CB)
The network has just renewed nearly a dozen of its established hits for next season. NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans join the previously picked up NCIS, along with Elementary, Scorpion, Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-O and Madam Secretary, as well as Mom, 2 Broke Girls and the already-renewed The Big Bang Theory. Also on the list, Survivor and The Amazing Race. Perhaps more notable than what CBS ordered today is what didn’t get picked up. (VUL)
Vincent Curatola is the latest actor to join the growing cast of the CBS Films and Lionsgate feature about the Boston Marathon bombing. Curatola is set to play longtime mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino alongside the star-studded cast that includes Wahlberg, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, and Jimmy O. Yang. Peter Berg will direct the script written by Matt Chairman. Wahlberg will also serve as producer with Scott Stuber, Hutch Parker, Dylan Clark, Stephen Levinson and Michael Radutzky. (TB)
A report shown at the 2016 World Economic Forum in January says millions of jobs will be lost to robots in the next few years. When thinking about who is most vulnerable, factory workers, drivers, and pilots come to mind. Surely the jobs requiring a human touch, such as artists, entertainers, and managers, will stick around, right? Maybe some of those jobs will be safe. Managers, not so much. (VB)
Over Easter weekend, Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice debuted to a record March opening of $170.1 million in North America. In total, the film landed a global debut of $424.1 million, the No. 1 showing of all time for a superhero adaptation and the fourth-biggest for any title. (THR)
Among the records shattered offshore are: The biggest superhero opening weekend of all time; biggest March opening ever; WB’s biggest China bow at $57 million and WB’s biggest IMAX opening at $18 million. The film also marks the top bows for stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, and director Zack Snyder. (DL)
In prepared remarks, Gov. Nathan Deal said the bill “doesn’t reflect the character of our state or the character of its people” and that stage legislators should leave freedom of speech and freedom of religion to the U.S. Constitution. (THR)
NBC announced singers Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys will team up with Blake Shelton and Adam Levin on season 11 of The Voice. That bromance has been going strong since the first season back in 2011. But, this casting could mean great things for the show, still one of the most-watched programs on television. (WP)
The Tribeca Film Festival has pulled a controversial anti-vaccination documentary a day after festival co-founder Robert De Niro publicly defended the decision to show Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe. De Niro commented, “We do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for.” (VAR)
Spike TV has pushed the pause button on Red Mars, its 10-episode straight-to-series drama adaptation of Kim Stanley Robinson’s best-selling “hard” science-fiction trilogy. (DL)
Users have created 200 million live broadcasts for Periscope, up from just 100 million in January. Getting people to create videos, not just watch them, was one of the key hurdles that tripped Meerkat. (RC)
Nickelodeon has set May 2 as the premiere date for its new animated comedy The Loud House. The series centers around 10 sisters and one brother and was inspired by creator Chris Savino’s life. The concept is the first to be greenlit to series out of Nickelodeon’s annual Animated Shorts Program. (VAR)
HBO dropped a new Game of Thrones teaser that reveals the season’s most anticipated showdown, beware there are spoiler ahead. (VF)
Despite giving trusted cohorts the green light to be brutal, this screenwriter fully expects their critiques of his screenplay to come sugarcoated. Instinct informs and prohibits them from being ‘the horrible pal’ to inflict the ugly truth upon him. But, he reasons you must question their critique. (SM)
Company Launches & Partnerships
NBCUniversal has launched the NBCU Content Studio, a creative unit aimed at developing and producing branded, original content for NBCU’s advertising partners. NBCU executive Wendy Wildfeuer has been upped to SVP of The Content Studio and will run the studio, overseeing a staff of one dozen. The Studio’s content will be available on NBCU platforms, as well as on clients’ retail channels, apps, and mobile sites.
As part of a geographical rebalancing of its activities special effects company Double Negative will close its Singapore production facility to take effect by May 20. The company said the closure will result in the redundancy of the majority of its staff in Singapore.
Univision Digital has launched Univision Beta, an in-house innovation lab with the aim to accelerate digital reach and innovation across social and digital platforms, with a particular focus on news and information. The initiative was created as part of a three-year collaboration between Univision Digital and the MIT Media Lab. The Univision Beta team will be led by Carlos Martínez de la Serna, Univision’s Director of Digital Innovation.
Thor Bradwell has launched his own shingle, Thirty Three Management and will be the Principal. He was formerly the Manager at LBI Entertainment. He will bring over clients including include Bella Thorne, Ashley Benson, Dianna Agron, and Justin Kelly.
AOL will not renew their partnership with Whalerock Industries, the media firm that has worked to build up Moviefone’s website and apps since 2013. As of April, Moviefone will be back in-house at AOL. AOL will seek to expand Moviefone’s social reach and mobile capabilities, and invest in original video content, both internally and via deals with production companies.
Discovery Communications has launched One Discovery, an expansive marketing platform with a particular emphasis on reaching younger viewers. One Discovery will include Discovery Engage (Discovery’s data management and analytics platform), Discovery Digital (Discovery’s TV Everywhere platform), as well as Discovery VR, Discovery Web-Native Networks, and the in-house production team Discovery Brand Studios.
Chinese streaming giant iQIYI has inked a content deal with the British Film Institute. BFI will curate a selection of films for iQIYI, all of which have screened at the BFI London Film Festival and iQIYI will be BFI’s exclusive Chinese VOD partner for the collection. The collection will include 20 titles to start and is expected to grow.
Japan’s Softbank has invested $250 million in WME-IMG, placing the value of the agency at $5.5 billion. Private equity firm Silver Lake is the biggest shareholder in WME-IMG, with an investment of $200 million for a 31% stake back in 2012. Softbank’s key media investment advisor is Raine Group, which had an integral role in the Endeavor-William Morris merger that led to the creation of WME. Previously Softbank has invested $250 million in Legendary Entertainment.
The Marketing and Distribution department at Sony is getting a reorganization under President Josh Greenstein to evolve Sony’s international marketing operations. As part of the reorganization, 20 of its 600 worldwide staffers will be laid off. Sony executives Danielle Misher and Damon Wolf have been named the Co-Heads of Marketing for Screen Gems, TriStar and Acquisitions. On the International Marketing side, Joseph Liao has been hired as the CMO in China and Stephane Huard as Managing Director in France.
Fred Berger has been named a Partner at Automatik where he will focus on filmmaker-driven prestige films as well as high-end commercial films. Berger will retain his current projects and jointly produce going forward including producing the Damien Chazelle musical La La Land.
Robin Chandler is launching his own, as yet unnamed, independent consulting practice. He was formerly the Head of Theatrical Publicity at DreamWorks Animation. Terry Curtin will take over as Head of Theatrical Publicity at DreamWorks Animation (as of April 11th, 2016). He was formerly the Head of Strategic Marketing & Global Communications at STX Entertainment.
Tamara Hunter has been named the VP of Casting at Sony Pictures Entertainment. She was previously the VP of Features Casting at 20th Century Fox.
Jason Rogers is now a Support Producer, Social Media Specialist at Buck Productions. He was formerly the Production Assistant at ACQUA Films and Ultra 8 Pictures in Toronto.
Dominic Rustam has been upped from VP to the SVP, Production at Voltage Pictures. Michael Wickstrom has been upped from VP to the SVP of Royalties, Merchandising, and Music Administration at Voltage Pictures.
Marco Shepherd has been upped to Head of Production and Development at Centropolis Entertainment. He will oversee development and production for all of Centropolis’ film and TV projects, as well as licensing for consumer products. He started at the production company in 2005.
Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum have been named the Co-Heads of Production at Fox Searchlight in addition to their roles as EVPs. They will responsible for Fox Searchlight’s annual slate of films and work together on all aspects of production for the company including development, packaging, budgeting, casting and production.
Thomas Lesinski has been named the CEO of Sonar Entertainment. He had been serving as interim CEO since September to replace Gene Stein. Lesinski has served on the Sonar board since 2013. He was previously the CEO and founder of Energi Entertainment and prior to that, the President of Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment and president of Worldwide Home Entertainment for Paramount.
Casey Kyberh has been named the VP of Drama Development at 20th Century Fox TV. She was formerly a Research Executive at 20th Century Fox TV and oversaw the studio’s primary and secondary research efforts, from providing ratings analysis and tracking series awareness, to leading focus group testing of both new and returning shows.
Christine Davis has been named the Director of Animation Production at Tricon Films & Television in Toronto. She was previously the Founding Partner at Animated Solutions. Cheyanne Dillenberger has been named the Director of Factual Development at Tricon. She was previously the Director of Development at Discovery Studios. Dan Miller has been named the VP of Factual Development. He was formerly the Executive Producer, Showrunner of the series Going Deep with David Rees.
David Ellender is now pursuing other opportunities. He was formerly the Chief Executive Officer at Slingshot Global Media.
Tara Gaule has been named the VP of Format Sales & Development, Europe at Small World IFT. She was previously the VP of Sales at Zodiak Rights in London.
Cindy Kelly has been named the President of Advertising Sales at Entertainment Studios Networks. She was previously the SVP of Strategic Sales & Solutions at ION Media Networks in New York.
Mike Kim has been named the SVP of Content Distribution at Ovation TV. He was formerly the VP of Affiliate Distribution & Partnerships at Participant Media.
Mark Linsey has been named the Director at BBC Studios in London. He was formerly the Acting Director at BBC Television.
Phil Zimmerman has been upped from Senior Director to the VP of Communications at Discovery Channel.
Kareem Chin has been named the VP of Investor Relations at Viacom. He was formerly the SVP of Investment Banking, Media & Technology Group at Jefferies & Company.
Michael Klein has been named the EVP of Original Content at MTV and he will oversee all original programming across MTV and its related brands. He most recently was the EVP Programming and Content Strategy, Digital Channels, for Condé Nast Entertainment in charge of the development and production for the company’s portfolio of Millennial-targeted digital channels.
Pauline Bohm has been upped from SVP to the EVP of International Marketing & Communications at NBCUniversal International Distribution.
Management, PR, Agencies
CAA has promoted several Agent Trainees. David Ball has been upped from Agent Trainee to Music at CAA in London. Natalie Drye is now an Executive, Property Sales at CAA Sports in London. Matt Brownstein has been upped to Agent in the Baseball department at CAA Sports. Angela Dallas, Phil Quist, Lanell Rumion and Ben Schildkraut (New York) are now TV Agents. Janet Kim and Ali Spiesman (New York) are now Music Agents. Allison Wruble is now an Executive in the Innovation Group at CAA.
Music, Digital, Publishing, Misc.
Richard Beckman has left his post as Chief Revenue Officer at Vice Media to pursue other opportunities.
Bob Pilon has been named the EVP of Social Impact at Participant Media. He was formerly the Chief Development Officer at The ONE Campaign.
Matthew Borst has been named the Director of Connected Content at MTV. He was formerly the Director of Social Media & Integrated Marketing at Endemol Shine North America.
Jeffrey Glaser is now the President at Wondery. He was formerly the EVP of Current Programming at 20th Century Fox Television.
Michael Schneider has been named the Executive Editor at Indiewire (as of April 11th, 2016). He was formerly the Chief Content Officer at TV Guide Magazine.
Exec Shuffle For 3/28/16: Softbank Invests $250M in WME-IMG, Sony Laying Off 20 Staffers in Int’l Marketing, CAA Ups Multiple Agent Trainees
Also, NBCUniversal launches a new content studio, AOL walks away from an ongoing partnership, Discovery Communications takes a big marketing step, and plenty more. Click the link to read all about it. (SSN)
Weekend estimates had the domestic tally at $170.1 million and a global total of $424.1 million, which set several records, including biggest opening for: a DC Comics film, Snyder himself, movies opening in 2016, March, Spring, and Easter weekend. All of those records still stand. New estimates put the take at $166.1 million domestically, behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 at $169.2 million. It also marked the worst Friday-to-Sunday drop-off ever. (COL)
After MTV launched in 1981, a hot ad campaign prompted thousands of young viewers to shout its slogan: I want my MTV!” In recent times, it seems, that phrase has not been on as many lips. With the network suffering the defection of viewers who consume video entertainment in new ways, such as on tablets, that aren’t always counted in Nielsen tallies, the network’s owner, Viacom, is preparing to unveil a broad overhaul in coming weeks. (VAR)
Network has named the Condé Nast exec as EVP Original Content. He will oversee all original programming across MTV and its related brands. MTV has been without a head of programming since Susanne Daniels exited her post as president of programming in July. At the time, the plan was to not fill the position, with EVP Scripted Development Mina Lefevre and unscripted chief, EVP Series Development Lauren Dolgen, appointed co-heads of programming. (DH)
At a hearing today, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald nearly ran a lawsuit brought by former N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller straight outta his courtroom. Heller is suing almost everyone involved in Straight Outta Compton, thanks to Paul Giamatti’s unflattering portrayal of him. Heller also says he was not compensated for the use of his likeness and claims that the defendants stole his work and breached an agreement that settled an old dispute. (HESQ)
After announcing that president of production Claudia Lewis, company has promoted Greenfield and Greenbaum to co-heads of production. They will be responsible for Searchlight’s annual slate of films as well as all aspects of production for the company including development, packaging, budgeting, casting and production. (THR)
Petition Demands FCC Investigate Comcast’s Failure to Add African American-Owned & Operated Networks
Entertainment Studios, Inc. and The National Association of African American-Owned Media (NAAAOM) filed an historic petition with the FCC, demanding enforcement of Comcast’s failure to honor its commitment to add African American-owned cable television networks. This commitment from Comcast was outlined in the Comcast/NBCUniversal merger formally approved by the FCC and the Department of Justice in January, 2011. (SAA)
The demand for short form content has created new opportunities for short filmmakers as brands, new digital platforms and major media companies all crave quality, bite size, streamable content that has been proven to drive web traffic via social media. But what does this mean for talented short filmmakers whose work plays at top film festivals? (IW)
Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema have released the new look at the highly anticipated horror sequel from director James Wan. Vera Farming and Patrick Wilson return to star in the film, alongside Frances O’Connor. The movie hits theaters June 10th. (EMP)
Warner Bros. has also dropped the new international trailer for the comic book adaptation from writer-director David Ayer. Starring Jared Leto, Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Cara Delevingne, Joel Kinnaman, Karen Fukuhara, Adam Beach, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Common and Jay Hernandez, the flick hits theaters August 5th. (TP)
Woody Allen’s latest film, featuring Jesse Eisenberg as a 1930s screenwriter, will usher in a program rumored to contain films from Spielberg, Almodóvar and Refn. Allen’s 49th film, which is screening out of competition, will be his third to kick off Cannes. (GD)
Warner Bros.’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice might come up $3.7M million short of breaking even in its global theatrical run. However, the first title in DC features 2.0., which was blasted by critics with a 29% Rotten score, likely will turn a minimum profit of $207.9M once all revenue streams are accounted. (DL)
Shane Smith’s Vice Media has acquired a controlling stake in U.K. production company Pulse Films, which was founded by Thomas Benski and Marisa Clifford in 2005. The acquisition will bolster Vice’s programming capabilities across linear, digital and mobile. (VAR)
Jerry Bruckheimer has tapped Danish filmmaker Nicolai Fuglsig to direct the Afghanistan war pic drama Horse Soldiers for Lionsgate. The project follows a team of CIA agents and special forces who head into Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in an attempt to dismantle the Taliban. (DL)
NBC announced that it has passed the $1 billion milestone in ad sales for the 2016 Olympic Games — 129 days before the sporting event opens in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (BI)
Nathan Lane and John Slattery will lead the starry cast of an upcoming Broadway revival of The Front Page, opening in New York in the fall with Scott Rudin producing. (VAR)
The might of the marketing push for Batman v Superman underscores how Warner Bros. left nothing to chance in promoting Zack Snyder’s movie, which launches DC Entertainment’s cinematic universe in the battle to rival Marvel. (THR)
The second trailer for Captain America: Civil War was the most viewed trailer on YouTube and Facebook for the third straight week. Civil War had 11.4 million views for the week and now has racked up more than 96 million cumulative views since its March 10 debut. (THR)
Crossovers are nothing new to the small-screen versions of the DC Universe, but they not only jumped worlds but networks with freshman Supergirl and star Melissa Benoist welcoming The CW’s The Flash, which is in its second season. Here’s how it came to be. (DL)
With 30 launch titles available on the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset right now, you may be wondering where to begin. There’s a wide range in price, comfort level and game genre. If you don’t have the time to try them all we’ve compiled this list of our personal favorites. (CT)
After the Black
Network: BBC America
Logline: The show will feature discussions with “Orphan Black” cast, crew and special guests, with topics ranging from plot hints, twists and theories. Special segments will include behind-the-scenes footage and exclusive first looks at the following week’s “Orphan Black” episode.
SSN Insight: BBC has given a series order and it will debut Thursday April 14 immediately following the Orphan Black Season 4 premiere. The 30-minute series will be moderated by Ajay Fry, Morgan Hoffman and Teddy Wilson, hosts of the InnerSpace show on Canada’s Space channel.
Studio: Warner Horizon Television
Production Company(s): Le Train Train Productions
Executive Producer(s): Rashida Jones, Will McCormack
Writer(s): Eliot Laurence
Logline: A dark, wickedly funny meditation on female badness which follows the rise of five diverse and treacherous Florida manicurists in the traditionally male world of organized crime. We will soon find out there is a lot more going on at the Nail Artisan of Manatee County salon than silk wraps and pedicures.
SSN Insight: TNT has given a pilot order. Previously in development as a half hour project with HBO during the 2015-2016 season.
Production Company(s): Martin Chase Productions, JuVee
Executive Producer(s): Viola Davis, Julius Tennon, Debra Martin Chase, Ayanna Floyd-Ohl, Kim Swann
Writer(s): Ayanna Floyd-Ohl
Logline: Inspired by the life of Kym Worthy, the chief prosecutor of Wayne County, Michigan, known as the toughest woman in Detroit.
Details: Inspired by the life of Kym Worthy, the chief prosecutor of Wayne County, Michigan.
SSN Insight: The project was previously developed at ABC for the 2015-2016 season with a different writer. ABC also has a legal drama pilot Conviction this year, which is unrelated.
I Am Homicide
Network: Investigation Discovery
Production Company(s): Blackfin
Executive Producer(s): Geno McDermott, Alexa Conway, Patrick Conway, Diana Sperrazza
Logline: The docuseries will follow a Charlotte, NC, detective, Detective Garry McFadden, “with more than a 90% success rate” as he works cases. Fully immersing himself in every corner of Charlotte to protect and serve the community, McFadden uses his street smarts to work the neighborhoods and gather critical information for leads, no matter how dangerous.
SSN Insight: The hour long program has been given a series order and is set for a June premiere.
Studio: Paramount Television
Production Company(s): Anonymous Content
Executive Producer(s): Jonah Hill, Emma Stone, Cary Fukunaga, Michael Sugar, Doug Wald
Logline: A guy lives a fantasy life in his dreams but in reality is locked up at an institution.
Details: Based on the Norwegian series, “Maniac,” which premiered on Norway’s TV 2 in 2015.
SSN Insight: Netflix has given a series order of ten episodes. Emma Stone and Jonah Hill are in the midst of closing deals to star and Cary Fukunaga to direct the half-hour series package.
My So Called Wife
Network: Bravo Media
Studio: Universal Cable Productions
Executive Producer(s): Paul Adelstein, Adam Brooks
Writer(s): Paul Adelstein, Adam Brooks
Logline: A female con artist gets men to fall in love with her, marries them and then disappears with their money and just enough dirty inside information to guarantee they will never go to the police. But things get complicated when she falls in love with her latest mark, and three of her last victims join together to track her down.
SSN Insight: Bravo has given a series order of ten episodes. Will star Inbar Lavi, Rob Heaps, Parker Young and Stephen Bishop.
Network: CW Television Network
Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Production Company(s): Nicholas Sparks Productions
Executive Producer(s): Nicholas Sparks, Theresa Park
Logline: This series will follow the romantic journey of Noah and Allie, at the outset of their blossoming relationship as they build their lives and their future together against the backdrop of the racial politics, economic inequities, and social mores of post-World War II of the late 1940s in North Carolina.
Details: Based on the novel, “The Notebook,” written by Nicholas Sparks and published by Warner Books on October 16, 1996. The book was also made into the film, “The Notebook,” (2004), directed by Nick Cassavetes and starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.
SSN Insight: Project is being rolled to the 2017-2018 season with a new writer.
Untitled Jenna Dewan-Tatum Dance Competition Reality Series
Network: NBC Entertainment
Studio: Endemol Shine North America
Production Company(s): Free Association, Purple Cup Productions
Executive Producer(s): Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Meegan Kiernan, Channing Tatum, Peter Kiernan, Reid Carolin
Logline: Jenna Dewan-Tatum serves as a judge and mentor in this dance competition series.
SSN Insight: NBC has given a series order of six episodes. This order marks the first series for Dewan-Tatum’s production company Purple Cup Productions.
Untitled Apple Reality Series
Production Company(s): Apple, Propagate
Executive Producer(s): Howard T. Owens, Will.i.am, Ben Silverman
Logline: Details are under wraps, but it will chronicle the development of apps.
SSN Insight: Ben Silverman previously founded Electus. This is his first sale post Electus. Apple is also producing Vital Signs, a scripted drama starring Dr. Dre and distributing a music docuseries from Vice titled The Score via Apple Music.
Untitled Sarah Palin Daytime Court Series
Production Company(s): Warm Springs Prods
Executive Producer(s): Larry Lyttle, Barry Wallach, Sarah Palin
Logline: Sarah Palin will be the judge on this series that follows the format of a traditional syndicated court show.
SSN Insight: Warm Springs Prods. is based in Montana and produces unscripted shows, including History’s Mountain Men. Lyttle, who will serve as showrunner. No network set. Palin previously starred in TLC’s Sarah Palin’s Alaska.
Untitled Tom Ripley Series
Studio: Endemol Shine Studios
Production Company(s): Management 360
Executive Producer(s): Guymon Casady, Ben Forkner, Philipp Keel
Writer(s): Neil Cross
Logline: The series follows the adventures of charming, murderous sociopath Tom Ripley. Based on the novel series.
Details: Based on the novel series, unofficially knows as the “Ripliad,” which includes “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1955), “Ripley Underground” (1970), “Ripley’s Game” (1974), “The Boy Who Followed Ripley” (1980) and “Ripley Under Water” (1991). The novels were written by Patricia Highsmith through various publishers.
SSN Insight: Endemol Shine Studios has been developing the project for the past year, no network has been set. Neil Cross previously created the acclaimed series Luther.
Network: CW Television Network
Studio: CBS Television Studios
Executive Producer(s): Clive Barker, Angela Mancuso
Logline: An app designer teams up with a young pastry chef who has just discovered that destined to be guardian of a mythological realm that can be accessed through a portal in an old Savannah mansion. Together, they fight an epic battle with evil forces who are vying for control of the magical world.
Details: Based on the novel, “Weaveworld,” written by Clive Barker and published by Poseidon Press in 1987.
SSN Insight: Project is being rolled to the 2017-2018 season with a new writer. Jack Kenny was previously attached to write. Showtime has previously attempted to adapt the novels for a miniseries.
TV Development for 3/29/16: NBC Greenlights Jenna Dewan-Tatum Dance Reality Series, Viola Davis Developing ‘Conviction’ for TNT, Ben Silverman Producing Series for Apple
Among the other bits and pieces in this week’s roster of moves is a new reaction series talking about Orphan Black on BBC America, a new pilot on TNT for Rashida Jones and her writing partner, Will McCormack, and an adaptation of the hit film (and book) The Notebook. As always, there’s plenty more, so click on the link to read on. (SSN)
The Wait For ‘Gambit’ Grows Even Longer, as Film Gets Pushed So Director Doug Liman Can Do Something Else, First
While 20th Century Fox finally looked to pull the trigger on the long-awaited spinoff with Channing Tatum attached to star in and produce the pic, once Liman recently signed on, further script development will push filming to the end of the year. In the meantime, Liman in negotiations to direct the psychological thriller The Wall for Amazon Studios. Film revolves around a sniper and his spotter pinned down behind cover by a legendary sniper. (COL)
A Few Days After Committing To Another Project, Julia Roberts Will Also Star in, Produce Mystery Thriller ‘Fool Me Once’
Oscar winner is attached to star in and produce a big-screen adaptation of Harlan Coben’s thriller, Fool Me Once. The novel was published last week by Penguin’s Dutton imprint, and Roberts pounced quickly to begin developing through her Red Om Films banner. There’s no studio attached at this stage. Just last week, she committed to star in and produce the adaptation of another novel, Melanie Gideon’s Wife 22. (THR)
Network has reupped Tosh.0, Drunk History, This Is Not Happening and several digital series. Additionally, the network has confirmed a third and final season of Review, and added 10 episodes onto the freshman run of Not Safe With Nikki Glaser. (LF)
Film already has Lily Collins starring, and is playing a young woman dealing with anorexia and Reeves plays Dr. William Beckham, a medical man with an unorthodox style who pushes Collins’s character to embrace life and treatment. Noxon, who also wrote the script, is about to start the cameras rolling in Los Angeles. (EMP)
Story follows an American space station crew that’s abandoned, after a problem with a Hadron accelerator causes Earth to completely vanish, challenging all they know about the fabric of reality, as they desperately fight for their survival. Filming set to begin some time in the second quarter of this year, with a release date scheduled for February 24th, 2017. (SAA)
Company has signed a deal with a key creative auspice behind another critically praised comedy series: Mozart In the Junbgle‘s executive producer, showrunner and director Paul Weitz. Amazon Studios has signed a two-year first-look deal with Weitz and his brother Chris Weitz’s production company Depth of Field. Under the pact, the duo will develop new projects for the streaming company. (DH)
The film about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing adds the actress to the cast alongside Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, Jimmy O. Yang, Vincent Curatola and James Colby. Peter Berg is directing, with Wahlberg, Scott Stuber, Hutch Parker, Dylan Clark, Stephen Levinson, Dorothy Aufiero and Michael Radutzky producing. (CS)
Ryan Reynolds film has hit the $745.7 million mark worldwide, eclipsing The Matrix. Domestically, film is still third behind The Passion of the Christ, but is expected to surpass American Sniper for second. Plus, Deadpool is a hair’s breath from becoming the highest-grossing X-Men film of all time worldwide. (TP)
Disney has released the first look at its upcoming sequel, directed by James Bobin and starring Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen, it hits theaters May 27th. (FB)
In an unprecedented move, parent company NBCUniversal is combining its NBC presentation with those of Telemundo and the entire NBCU cable entertainment group. (THR)
From Mark Rylance to Idris Elba, Suranne Jones to Sheridan Smith plus Adele’s first nomination, here are the people and programs up for this year’s awards. (GUAR)
Sofia Coppola will write and direct a remake of The Beguiled, the 1971 drama that starred Clint Eastwood. Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning are in talks to star in the film. (VAR)
Edi Gathegi, who has recurred on the NBC drama this season as big bad Mr. Solomon, has closed a deal to co-star in the network’s in-the-works spinoff. (TVL)
Kristen Wiig has replaced Reese Witherspoon in a leading role in Election director Alexander Payne’s new film Downsizing. (IW)
The mogul will write, direct and executive produce Too Close to Home, about a young woman who is forced to return to her trailer-park beginnings after her political career is derailed by a sex scandal. (THR)
Directors Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane are starting to roll out a few new teases for their upcoming animated film Finding Dory revealing the animated animal cast of the Finding Nemo sequel. (COLL)
Producer Scott Glassgold on how Vimeo and YouTube can be direct paths to Hollywood. (FCC)
Paul and Chris Weitz have entered into a two-year first-look deal with Amazon Studios under their shingle Depth of Field to develop new projects. Paul Weitz is the executive producer, showrunner and director of critically acclaimed comedy series Mozart In The Jungle. Paul Weitz recently directed the extolled film Grandma starring Lily Tomlin. Chris Weitz wrote on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for Disney and rewrote Mountains Between Us for Fox 2000. His next project will be the film Eichmann for MGM which he will direct.
Sky has acquired a stake in the indie production company Sugar Films. Former Discovery Networks International president and CEO Mark Hollinger will also take a share and become Chairman. Sugar Films was formed last year by UK TV executives Kwadjo Dajan, Narinder Minhas, Lucy Pilkington, Nav Raman and Pat Younge and the company produces scripted and non-scripted content for the UK and global markets. Sky’s production and distribution sector, Sky Vision, will represent their new programs and formats internationally.
Skydance, the company launched in 2010 by David Ellison, has raised $700 million in new financing for television, gaming and film production. $200 million is in equity from a group of investors, and a $500 million line will be in the form of credit from J.P. Morgan Chase. Skydance previously worked with Paramount and Ellison on World War Z and Terminator Genisys.
Vice Media acquired a majority stake in UK production company Pulse Films. Pulse Films’ credits include The Cruise Ship and the documentary When Bjork Met Attenborough. The two companies worked together to produce Shut up and Play the Hits back in 2013 about the final show of LCD Soundsystem. Through the deal Pulse will attain access to Vice’s increasing strength as a global platform and generator of content.
Producer Mark Schwahn has inked a multi-year pact with Lionsgate and Universal Cable Productions, the two studios behind E!’s The Royals, which he created and executive produces. Under the first-look deal he will develop scripted programming, which will be co-produced by Lionsgate and UCP. Prior to The Royals, Schwahn created and executive producer of the long-running the WB/CW drama One Tree Hill.
Dick Cook Studios and China’s Film Carnival are joining forces on a $500 million film financing fund. Film Carnival will fully finance the films under the deal and will allow other Chinese investors to invest in those movies on an individual basis. DCS, headed by former Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook, will handle development, production, worldwide distribution and marketing of the titles. The first film to be produced under the deal will be Ranger’s Apprentice with Paul Haggis attached as the writer, director and producer with the aim of launching a franchise.
VIZ Media is joining forces with UTA to develop live-action programming based on titles from VIZ Media’s catalog that includes Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Pokémon franchises. Founded in 1986 in San Francisco, VIZ Media is the industry leader in Japanese comic books, graphic novels and anime publishing, distribution and licensing, and is the top manga publisher in the U.S.
Entertainment One (eOne) has acquired a 65% interest in David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe’s award-winning unscripted production company Renegade 83 for a reported $23 million. Garfinkle and Renfroe will continue to lead Renegade 83, as Co-President & Chief Executive Officers. Launched in 1994, Renegade 83, is one of the fastest growing unscripted production companies and is behind such hit shows as Naked & Afraid, Fit to Fat to Fit, 4400, The Kennedy Detail and Blind Date. Separately, eOne is expected to deliver more than 400 hours of unscripted television this year. In the US, eOne’s lineup includes David Spade’s comedy prank show Fameless on truTV and long-running hit Mary Mary on WE tv.
WME: The Theory of Everything director James Marsh has shifted from CAA for WME. He previously won the BAFTAs’ highest domestic honor for the 2008 documentary Man on Wire, which also won best documentary feature at the Academy Awards. He is in postproduction on another true story, Deep Water, starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz to be released this fall by StudioCanal.
CAA: Actress Sophia Bush has signed with the agency. She played the lead on WB/CW’s long-running One Tree Hill and currently stars on NBC’s Chicago P.D. On the film side she starred in Dave Meyers’ The Hitcher with Sean Bean along with the films The Chalet Girl and Table for Three. She also has a skincare and perfume line, i smell great.
WME: Alex Rodriguez, who is retiring from baseball after the 2017 season, has signed with WME. A-Rod has been an All-Star 14 times and was honored as the MVP of the American League three times. He won the World Series in 2009 with the New York Yankees. In 2015 A-Rod scored 83 runs and 33 homers, his best since 2008. He’s had more career at-bats (10,341), runs (2,002), hits (3,070), home runs (687) and RBIs (2,055) than any other active player in MLB.
ESA: Filmmaker Matthew Newton has signed with Varun Monga, Martin To and Paul Alan Smith’s Equitable Stewardship For Artists (ESA) for representation in all areas. He is the director behind From Nowhere which made a successful debut at this year’s South By Southwest Film Festival. He previously helmed the 2008 dramedy Three Blind Mice, which premiered at SXSW in 2009 as was acquired after by IFC. As an actor, Newton starred on the Australian television series Underbelly and was seen on Queen of the Damned, Face to Face and The Sideways Light.
Paradigm: Tommy Tune has signed with signed with Paradigm’s theatrical literary head Jack Tantleff. The director-choreographer has won 10 Tony Awards. He is currently working with Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer-director James Lapine, on Barbara Cook: Then And Now, scheduled to begin performances April 12 at off-Broadway’s New World Stages.
CAA/Cinetic: Filmmakers Kris Avedisian, Jesse Wakeman and Kyle Espeleta have signed with CAA and Cinetic. They are the filmmakers behind the feature Donald Cried, based on their Slamdance short of the same name, which debuted at South by Southwest. Jesse Wakeman starred in the film about Peter Latang who returns home to working-class Warwick, RI where he meets up with childhood friend Donald Treebeck and what starts as a simple favor and turns into a long van ride into two friends’ past. The feature version was also selected for the IFP labs and also screened at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s New Directors / New Films.
Film & TV Deals For 3/30/16: Skydance Raises $700M, ‘Royals’ Creator Inks Deal with Lionsgate & Universal, VIZ Media Pairs with UTA
In other news, the Weitz brothers sign a big new deal with Amazon Studios, Sky grabs a piece in Sugar Films, Vice Media makes a big purchase, as does Entertainment One. As always, there’s plenty more, so click on the link to read all about it. (SSN)
Rep Moves For 3/30/16: Director James Marsh Shifts to WME, Sophia Bush Signs with CAA, Alex Rodriguez Inks with WME
Among the other bits and pieces in this week’s activity roster of moves are new representatives for one young filmmaker, and a trio of others, as well as the legendary Tommy Tune switching over to Paradigm to work with theatrical literary head Jack Tantleff. As always, there’s plenty more, so click on the link to read on. (SSN)
Company will launch a $4.99-monthly ad-free video service, a bet that its blend of original and licensed content will resonate with millennials in an increasingly crowded market. The VOD service, set to debut April 26th, will have more than 800 hours of content, including feature-length movies, and series and original content from digital stars. The company has a major partner in AT&T, which will market the service to its 100 million-plus customer base. (VAR)
Helfgot arrives at a good time for the independent distributor. Run by CEO Tom Ortenberg, Open Road is home of Oscar best picture winner Spotlight, a major coup for the young company. Ortenberg launched it in 2011 on behalf of mega-theater circuits AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment, which co-own the venture. Helfgot’s hire comes not long after Peter Lawson exited his post as executive vp production and acquisitions at Open Road. (THR)
Room helmer will direct The Grand Escape, adapted from the not yet published book by Neal Bascomb. Film4 and Element Pictures won the rights to the story, which chronicles three daredevil fighter pilots captured and held as POWs at one of Germany’s most infamous camps at that time. They go on to lead the First World War’s greatest mass prison escape in July, 1918. (EMP)
After Doing So Well the First Time They Worked Together, Oscar Isaac and Alex Garland Are Re-Teaming
Actor is officially on board Annhilation, joining Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson in the forthcoming sci-fi thriller. Garland is set to direct his own script, adapted from the first novel of the Southern Reach trilogy by science fiction author Jeff VanderMeer. Isaac starred in Garland’s Oscar-winning directorial debut, Ex Machina. (TB)
Lionsgate’s adaptation of Jeanette Walls’ bestselling memoir switched out Jennifer Lawrence for Larson late last year, and now they’ve added another heavy-hitter to the cast in the form of Naomi Watts. Watts will play Larson’s character’s eccentric mother, while Woody Harrelson is onboard to portray her alcoholic dad. Shooting is set to begin in Montreal this June. (CS)
The second X-Men trilogy will be wrapping up when X-Men: Apocalypse hits screens later this summer, and the one thing thought to be known for sure was that Lawrence would not be back in the role of Mystique beyond Apocalypse. However, now the actress is saying that not only would she be willing to come back, she actually really wants to return. (CB)
The Live TV Event Trend Continues, as Aaron Sorkin to Adapt ‘A Few Good Men’ as Live TV Event for NBC
Sorkin, who first wrote it as a stage play that premiered at the Music Box Theatre in 1989, has officially been hired on to adapt and produce A Few Good Men for a live presentation on NBC. Set to air in early 2017, the production will mark the first live drama to air since NBC kicked off the trend of live recreations of popular productions with A Sound of Music back in 2013. (IW)
Still Upset About Zack Snyder’s Version Of Superman? Watch This Piece About How Animator Max Fleischer Defined Him — 75 Years Ago
Whether you love or hate Snyder’s interpretation of the iconic superhero, it’s just one in hundreds, if not thousands, of incarnations of Krypton’s sole survivor. In this video, Superman — The Golden Age of Animation, you get a thorough, loving look back at what brought the alien in red and blue tights off the page and into the hearts of millions. (TP)