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Awards 2015: ‘Interstellar’ BTL, Rep Moves For 12/24/14, ‘Interview’ Goes Online, Polanski’s Request To Dismiss Case Denied

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SSN AWARDS ORIGINALS

BELOW THE LINE: ‘INTERSTELLAR’

Awards 2015: Below the Line Artists Take SSN Behind ‘Interstellar’s In-Camera Visual Effects, Shooting On a Glacier and Coming In On Time and Under Budget

Christopher Nolan’s space exploration epic has grossed $621 million worldwide. SSN talked with the artists who brought to the big screen the most realistic vision of black holes and space travel to date. (SSN)

TODAY’S HEADLINES

Rep Moves For 12/24/14: ‘Top Five’s Gabrielle Union Moves To CAA, Will Patton Signs With APA, and More

Just about all the major agencies get in on some late-in-the-year action, shoring up their roles as we head into 2015. (SSN)

Now, After All the Back and Forth, You Actually Can Watch ‘The Interview’ Online

Starting today, viewers are able to rent or buy the film from YouTube Movies, Google Play, Microsoft's Xbox Video and via SeeTheInterview.com. The cost is $5.99 to rent, and $14.99 to purchase. (HP)

Roman Polanski’s Legal Struggle Continues, as Court Denies Bid To Dismiss His Sex Case

The Oscar-winning director had enlisted Alan Dershowitz for his cause, and petitioned the court to have Polanski’s case dismissed, saying he ”has taken responsibility for his actions, served his sentence, and a remedy should now be fashioned by the court once and for all.” (THR)

Amy Adams Steps Forward and Sets the Record Straight On That Whole ‘Today Show’ Silliness

The actress had been set to appear on the show to push her new film, Big Eyes, when the segment was canceled because she did not want to answer any questions about the Sony hack. (DH)

If You Were Wondering How It Was That Sony Changed Its Mind About Releasing ‘The Interview’ Tomorrow, Tim League Has Some Answers

The Austin-based CEO of Drafthouse, who has a track record for taking risks and making big statements about the continuing role of the movie theater in American culture, talks about his role in getting the controversial film in theaters. (IW)

In Honor Of Christmas, a Definitive List Of the 25 Best Gifts In Movie History

Some really cool stuff makes the list (like Aladdin giving the Genie his freedom, and Will Hunting’s friends giving him a crappy car), but there are some thinkers in there, as well (like Wayne’s ex-girlfriend giving him a gun rack). (SF)

Another Fun Year-End List: The 24 Most Important Special Effects Movies Ever Made

Some obvious movies are on the list, of course, like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Avatar and Jurassic Park, but there are some surprising entries (Lawnmower Man?) and snubs (King Kong, anyone?). (MF)

All the Time In the World: Remembering ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ On Its 45th Anniversary

Perhaps the most underrated James Bond film, and the only one starring George Lazenby as Agent 007, celebrates four-and-a-half decades. Film scholars and experts take a look back at why this first film without Sean Connery was so important to the franchise. (TDB)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Agent Carter’

An extended look at the highly anticipated limited series from Marvel and ABC, which premieres on the Alphabet network on January 6th. (BC)

‘Unbroken,’‘Into The Woods’ Open Big, ‘Interview’ Does Well Online, Pirates Take It For a Spin, Changes In Store For ‘Extant’ Cast

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Early Box Office Numbers Suggest ‘Unbroken’ and ‘Into The Woods’ Will Have Big Weekends, But Not ‘The Interview’

While The Interview should have an excellent per screen average, since it’s playing on just 331 screens, it probably will have a hard time cracking $2 million, while Unbroken is looking to clear $30 million. (THR)

Although ‘The Interview’ Is, To No One’s Surprise, a Bestseller On Google Play and YouTube Movies

The controversial film is listed as the top download as of late Christmas night, ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy and The Maze Runner. The studio is also streaming through Microsoft’s Xbox Video and Seetheinterview.com. (VAR)

And Online Pirates Have Boarded, As Well, With Over 750,000 Illegal Views Thus Far

While it’s not clear if that includes statistics out of Asia, some reports suggest that the film was viewed at least 300,000 times on one video sharing platform in China, and was also being seen in South Korea. (DH)

If You Were On the First Season Of ‘Extant,’ and Your Name Isn’t Halle Berry, You’re Probably Not Coming Back For Season Two

Star returns in the role of an astronaut named Molly who became pregnant while on a space mission. Also returning are Pierce Gagnon, who plays her android son, and Grace Gummer. Goran Visnjic and Camryn Manheim will depart soon after the season starts. (TVW)

The AFI Has Just Announced a New Head Of Its Annual Documentary Festival

Michael Lumpkin, producer and the Executive Director of the International Documentary Association (IDA), has been appointed director of AFI DOC, which will be held June 17th-21st in Washington, D.C. (IW)

Since It’s Boxing Day, There’s No Reason Not To Take a Look At ‘The Untold Story of National Lampoon’s ‘Christmas Vacation”

From freak snowstorms to the comedic cyclone that is Chevy Chase, the cast and creators reveal the secrets behind this beloved (by some, of course) holiday-movies classic. (RS)

Have You Taken a Look At Some Of the Best Action Scenes Of the Year? What’s Your Favorite?

Scenes from Edge Of Tomorrow, Guardians Of the Galaxy, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier are included, but does anything really top the Pentagon escape sequence from X-Men: Days Of Future Past? (CB)

No Year End Lists List Can Be Complete Without a “Best Kisses” Compliation

Winners include selections from One Upon a Time, Vampire Diaries, Jane The Virgin, True Blood, Outlander, and, surprisingly, The Big Bang Theory, among others. (TVG)

Screenwriters: ‘Get Him To the Greek’

The first revision draft by Nicholas Stoller, based on a character created by Jason Segel, dated October 1st, 2008. (DS)

Awards 2015: Richard Linklater and Jason Blum & Helen Estabrook, SSN’s Year-End Industry Poll Part 2, PlayStation and Xbox Live Networks Down

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SSN AWARDS ORIGINALS

BEST PICTURE

Awards 2015 Spotlight: Producer Richard Linklater On the Pragmatic Undertaking, No Contracts and Annual Crew Reunions of ‘Boyhood’

The two-time Oscar nominee is, for the first time, a front runner in awards season, thanks to his 12-years-in-the-making masterpiece about nothing more than a boy in Texas growing up. (SSN)

Awards 2015 Spotlight: Producers Jason Blum and Helen Estabrook On Their “Little Engine That Could’ Film, ‘Whiplash’

Amidst a fall and winter movie-going season heavy on true-life stories, a little original indie called Whiplash is still capturing moviegoers nearly three months after its release. (SSN)

TODAY’S HEADLINES

SSN’s 2014 Year-End Industry Poll, Part 2: Jenni Konner, Iñárritu, Will Weaton and Others Pick Surprise Standouts In TV, Film, Books and Music

Among the other luminaries on our list are Mike Medavoy, Sherry Lansing, Lauren Shuler Donner, writer Aaron Guzikowski, and producer Teddy Schwarzman, among others. Check out what the thought was the best of 2014! (SSN)

This Bad Luck, It Feels Like It Never Ends: PlayStation and Xbox Live Networks Continue To Be Disrupted

What appears to be denial-of-service attacks have kept both online networks down, with short exceptions, for the past couple days. Both Sony and Microsoft say they are working on the problem and hope to have it solved for the weekend. (DH)

It Seems Not Everyone Loves ‘Selma,’ After All, Especially If You’re an LBJ Historian

LBJ Library Director Mark Updegrove said the film unfairly casts Johnson as a sort of composite character who represents the obstacles blacks faced in getting civil rights laws passed. What history shows, Updegrove said, is that Johnson and King had a partnership. (BG)

‘Doctor Who’ Fans Can Relax, Now That Jenna Coleman Is Returning For Next Season

Fans had to wait until the end of the Christmas Special before learning whether or not the actress, who plays the Doctor’s assistant, Clara Oswald, for another year. She has been with the show since 2012. (HV)

Not Exactly a Christmas Miracle, But the Timing Is Right: ‘Mockingjay, Part 1’ To Pass $300 Million Mark This Weekend

In what has been a weak year at the box office, the third Hunger Games flick will become only the second 2014 film to surpass the mark, after the year’s champ, Guardians of the Galaxy. Overall, BO was off five percent from 2013. (VAR)

If You Live In Egypt or Morocco, and Really Wanted To See ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings,’ You’re Plum Out Of Luck

According to several Egyptian and Moroccan press outlets, both countries have banned local cinemas from showing Ridley Scott's biblical epic movie because of “historical inaccuracies,” even though the Hollywood blockbuster was due to be released in each today. (SAA)

Trailer Buzz, Part 1: ‘Dragon Blade’

The first look at the period adventure film starring John Cusack, Adrien Brody and Jackie Chan. Flick is about Roman soldiers who are lost in China, and is still looking for U.S. distribution, though it is opening in China in February. (COL)

Trailer Buzz, Part 2: Oscar Promo Edition

The first promo from host Neil Patrick Harris, who will be front and center when the awards are broadcast on ABC, Sunday night, February 22nd. (HP)

‘Hobbit’ Again Tops Box Office, ‘Interview’ Is Big On VOD, Warner Passes $3 Billion Mark, PlayStation Network Back Online

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The Final ‘Hobbit’ Movie Again Nabs the Box Office Top Spot, With ‘Unbroken’ and ‘Into the Woods’ Both Starting Strong …

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies comes in at $41.4 million for the five day weekend, giving it over $140 mil overall since it’s December 17th opening. Meanwhile, Big Eyes falters and The Interview closes in on $3 million. (BO)

While ‘The Interview’ Does Some Bang-Up Business Online

It’s not terribly surprising that the movie did good business online over the long weekend, but it actually did over $15 million, which far surpasses anything Sony has ever had in the venue. There were over two million legal downloads. Also, it’s now on iTunes. (THR)

Another Argument For How Foreign Numbers Make Things Good: Warner Bros. Surpasses the $3 Billion Mark

The studio reaps the benefits of the latest Hobbit film, as well as Godzilla and, interestingly, Edge of Tomorrow, plus the fact that it owned the foreign rights for Interstellar, which has down boffo numbers abroad, means it’s a good year, overall. (VAR)

It’s Been a Rough Weekend, Yes, But Now the Sony PlayStation Network Is Coming Back Online

It’s hard to pronounce the patient healed just yet, but yesterday morning, the system finally appeared to move past several days of heavy cyber assaults that left it mostly unaccessible to gamers. (DH)

James Gray’s ‘Lost City Of Z’ Just Added Itself a Little Touch Of Sienna

Sienna Miller, that is. The American Sniper actress joins the cast of Gray’s next film, which already includes Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Pattinson and is about a British explorer who disappears in the Amazonian jungle. (TP)

It Appears We Might Finally Have a Release Date For the New ‘Daredevil’ Show

Though both Netflix and Marvel have not confirmed anything, it looks like May 1st will be the day when people can finally see what actor Charlie Cox looks like as ‘The Man Without Fear.” (BC)

Did You Know That Mike Nichols Once Fired Robert De Niro From a Movie That, Ultimately, Never Happened?

The project, Bogart Slept Here, eventually morphed into The Goodbye Girl, but the whole story is rather interesting, and is featured in a new bio of the Oscar-winning actor, De Niro: A Life, by Shawn Levy. (IW)

With All These Year-End Polls, How About One Featuring the Best Worst Movies Of 2014?

There are some doozies on this list, including a couple surprises, movies that some might possibly put on their “best best” list. But you’ll just have to click over to see for yourself. (COL)

Fake Trailer Buzz: ‘Superman Vs. Iron Man’

After last week’s tremendous Marvel Vs. DC trailer, there’s no reason not to enjoy, in a purely geeky fashion, this other “never-gonna-happen” concept.  (CB)

Screenwriters: Brandon Barker on Writing, Career & the Sale of ‘Nottingham & Hood’ to Disney

The same, but different. That’s what new writers are told to strive for when it comes to commercial concepts to raise their chances of a sale. It worked for this screenwriter, who took the classic Robin Hood and asked, “What if…?” (SM)

Paul Rudd Joins Final Season Of ‘Parks and Rec,’ Stallone Announces a ‘Rambo 5,’‘Kickboxer’ Remake Stiffs Its Crew, Disney Crosses $4 Bil Mark

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Chris Pratt Won’t Be the Only Movie Star On the Final Season Of ‘Parks and Rec’

Paul Rudd will return to the show and reprise his role as candy fortune heir, and total idiot, Bobby Newport in two episodes during the show’s final season. The first of 13 episodes premieres January 13th. (ITV)

Yes, Virginia, There Will Be a ‘Rambo 5’

Sylvester Stallone confirms that he will be making Last Blood: Rambo after he finishes shooting Creed, with Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler, though he didn’t say exactly when. (COL)

‘Kickboxer’ Remake Not Exactly Knocking Out Payments To Its Crew

The movie, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme in a remake of the movie that put him on the map, has still not paid about 150 union crew members, even though filming wrapped in New Orleans several weeks ago. (VAR)

Disney Crosses the $4 Billion Mark For the Second Year In a Row

It’s the third consecutive and fourth year overall that Disney has surpassed $1.5bn in North America and the fifth consecutive year for a $2 billion-plus international result, which was set in record time in 2014 on August 4th. (SD)

A Moment Of Quiet Repose For the Retiring Nikki Rocco

The Universal Pictures head of distribution will retire tomorrow, bringing to an end her legendary 47-year career with the studio, which began when she was 17. The final 19 of those years were in her current position. She rallied Universal past the $1 billion mark nine times. (DH)

Emily Blunt Is Not Necessarily Playing ‘Captain Marvel’ For Marvel, But They Do Like Her a Lot

The actress reveals that the studio has previously offered her two roles, both Black Widow and Peggy Carter, but “it just didn't work out scheduling-wise with those two.” She says that there is nothing official about any other roles she might play for the company. (GR)

Paul Feig Has Some Things To Say About That Female-Led ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot

The director says he wants to embrace the “horror” part of the horror/comedy hybrid, as well as the “ghost” part of the title. He says that he and co-writer Katie Dippold “don’t want to hold back.” (MF)

After Some Initial Confusion, Ryan Gosling’s Directorial Debut Will Actually Play In Theaters

Lost River, which the actor also wrote, received mostly negative reviews when it debuted at Cannes in May, and will instead get a release on home entertainment platforms in April. (TOH)

Speaking Of On Demand Viewing, It’s Time For ‘The Year In VOD Numbers’

The number are incomplete, to be sure, but do give a good notion of the winners and losers of pay-per-view home entertainment in 2014. Among the big successes were Snowpiercer, The One I Love, and, of course, The Interview. (IW)

Podcast Buzz: Fans Of ‘Serial’ Will Be Interested In This Interview With Jay Wilds

The man who says he helped Adnan Syed cover up the murder of Hae Min Lee in 1999 finally breaks his silence for an interview that raises more questions than it answers. (TI)

‘Hobbit’ Holds BO For Third Straight Week, DWA Names New Co-Presidents Of Feature Animation, BO Ticket Sales Lowest In 20 Years

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The Third ‘Hobbit’ Movie Takes Box Office Title For Third Straight Week, Surpasses $200 Million Domestic

Peter Jackson’s sixth movie about Middle Earth grossed $21.91 million to retain its title, while The Woman In Black 2 surprises with a number four finish, behind Into the Woods and Unbroken, but ahead of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb(BO)

DreamWorks Animation Has Itself Two New Co-Presidents Of Feature Animation

After a string of disappointing releases at the box office, the company has named Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria — lead producers of the How To Train Your Dragon and Madagascar franchises, to the new positions, replacing Bill Damaschke. (VAR)

And, In More Disappointing News, the 2014 Box Office Was the Lowest In 20 Years

The number of people who went to theaters last year in North America was at its lowest level since 1995, with roughly 1.26 billion tickets purchased, according to preliminary estimates. The last time admissions failed to break the 1.3 billion mark was in 2011. (VUL)

The ACE Editing Award Nominations Have Come Out, and It’s More Good News For ‘Nightcrawler’

In something of a surprise, the noir thriller’s rise through awards season continues, as does that of American Sniper, while movies once considered favorites, like Selma and Unbroken, were snubbed. (COL)

President Obama Announces Sanctions Against North Korea For Sony Hack

While some continue to express doubts about who is actually to blame, Obama signed the order and cited cited "the provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies … including its destructive, coercive cyber-related actions during November and December 2014." (USA)

Mark Your Calendars: FCC Agrees To Vote On Net Neutrality Next Month

The five-member panel will consider a proposal from Chairman Tom Wheeler that he plans to circulate a draft proposal internally in January and hopes to get the measure passed weeks later. The agency is slated to hold its monthly meeting February 26. (DH)

Sony Apologizes To Fans For Hack Of Videogame Service With Free Stuff

The company is offering five free days of PlayStation Plus and a 10 percent discount in an attempt to make up for the fact that hackers had temporarily brought own the online gaming system over the Christmas weekend. (BC)

Mark Schultz Is Now Coming Out Firmly Against the Portrayal Of Him In ‘Foxcatcher’

The Olympic and World Champion wrestler took to Facebook and Twitter to denounce the film and the way his character was portrayed, though he did compliment Canning Tatum’s performance while voicing his displeasure at director Bennett Miller. (TP)

While Warner Bros. Fires the Consultant Who Tweeted the News About Schultz’s Change Of Heart

The studio learned that the WB Digital handle that sent out the tweet belonged to an independent consultant, the account was shut down and the offender given their walking papers, while Warner claimed a zero tolerance party for criticizing other distributors’ films. (THR)

Screenwriters: Behind the Lines With DR — What’s Your Number?

You’ve heard the terms to describe a certain type of person. All talk, no action. All sizzle, no steak. All foam, no beer. All hat, no cattle. These are all terms to describe somebody who speaks a big game but never really delivers. (SM)

On the Set for 1/5/15: Robert De Niro & Zac Efron Start Dirty Grandpa, T.R. Knight Finishes A Year and Change & More

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at arrivals for 2014 MTV Movie Awards - Arrivals 2, Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE, Los Angeles, CA April 13, 2014. Photo By: Emiley Schweich/Everett Collection

STARTS

2:22 1/1/2015 Logline: Dylan Boyd’s life as an air traffic controller is derailed when he begins to find himself in Grand Central Station every day at 2:22 p.m., forcing him to solve the mystery of this uncanny occurrence and find his one true love. Production Companies: Icon Productions, Pandemonium, Lightstream Pictures, Walk The Walk Entertainment Director: Paul Currie Producer(s): Lawrence Inglee, Bill Mechanic, Steve Hutensky, Paul Currie Cast: Teresa Palmer, Benjamin Walker Writer(s): Todd Stein, Nathan Parker, Paul Currie, Kerry Williamson SSN Insight: First spec sale for Todd Stein. The film was previously in development at Gold Circle Films. Literary sale date was May 14 2005.

47 Meters Down 1/5/2015 Logline: Two sisters are trapped in an observation cage at the bottom of the ocean, with oxygen running low and sharks circling. Production Company: The Tea Shop & Film Company Director: Johannes Roberts Producer(s): Mark Lane, James Harris Cast: Vanessa Kirby Writer(s): Johannes Roberts SSN Insight: Bob and Harvey Weinstein’s Dimension Films acquired domestic rights to the thriller while Altitude Film Sales will handle worldwide sales. “This script really caught my eye with its tension and adventure,” said Bob Weinstein in an interview with Variety. “I look forward to working with Johannes to bring audiences a very unique, edge-of-your-seat thrill-ride.”

Dirty Grandpa 1/5/2015 Logline: A recently widowed veteran tricks his adult grandson into going on a road trip for Spring Break in Florida. Production Companies: Josephson Entertainment, Ninjas Runnin' Wild Productions Director: Dan Mazer Executive Producer(s): Alexander F. Young, John Friedberg Producer(s): Barry Josephson, Bill Block, Jason Barrett, Michael Simkin Cast: Zac Efron, Robert De Niro Writer(s): John Phillips SSN Insight: Screenplay was on the 2011 Black List. Project was previously set up at Universal.

WRAPS

A Year and Change 12/30/2014 Logline: After falling off a roof at a New Year’s party, Owen makes some big life changes: He quits drinking, gets to know his estranged son, renews old friendships and falls in love. Production Companies: Unbound Feet Productions, Pebble Hill Films Director: R. Stephen Suettinger Producer(s): Emily Ting Cast: Bryan Greenberg, Claire van der Boom, T.R. Knight, Marshall Allman, Jamie Hector Writer(s): R. Stephen Suettinger, Jim Beggarly SSN Insight: The film marks the feature directoral debut for Suettinger. Previous to Grey’s Anatomy, T.R. Knight was recently in the film 42. The film was shot on location in Maryland.

Voice From the Stone 12/22/2014 Logline: A psychologist tries to help a young boy who made a promise to not speak until his dead mother's spirit returns. Production Companies: Zanuck Independent, K5 Film, Code 39 Films Director: Eric D Howell Executive Producer(s): Mark Wheaton, Tannaz Anisi Producer(s): Dean Zanuck, Stefano Gallini Cast: Emilia Clarke, Marton Csokas, Edward Dring, Caterina Murino, Remo Gironi Writer(s): Andrew Shaw Details: Based on the novel "La Voce Della Pietra" by Silvio Raffo and published by Il Saggiatore in 1996. SSN Insight: Hideo Nakata was previously attached to direct. Maggie Gyllenhaal was previously attached to star.

Awards 2015: He Said/She Said — Acting Races, On the Set For 1/5/15, PGA Noms Come Out, Fox Breaks Global BO Record

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SSN AWARDS ORIGINALS

ACTING WRAP-UP

Awards 2015: He Said/She Said: The Acting Races

Writers Neil Turitz and Dina Gachman continue their ongoing, awards season banter by debating the four acting categories, including Felicity Jones vs. Marion Cotillard and the merits of Jake Gyllenhaal's and Bradley Cooper’s respective Oscar chances. (SSN)

TODAY’S HEADLINES

On the Set For 1/5/15: Zac Efron and Robert De Niro Start ‘Dirty Grandpa,’ T.R. Knight Finishes ‘A Year and Change,’ and More

A trio of projects get underway and begin the new year in style, while a pair of projects complete principal photography. (SSN)

And, the Next Round Of Nominations Has Emerged, This One From the Producers Guild. There Are Surprises

While the top contenders remain the same, the biggest stunners are the inclusion of Nightcrawler and the snubbing of both Unbroken and Selma in the final list of 10 nominees. (COL)

There Is a New Record For Global Box Office In a Single Year, and the New Record-Holder Is …

Fox smashes the old record, surpassing the $5.5 billion mark in 2014, over $350 million more than the previous record, set by Paramount in 2011. The new X-Men and Planet of the Apes movies led the way with over $700 million each in worldwide grosses. (DH)

So, If You’re Keeping Score, It’s Now Scarlett Johansson In, Margot Robbit Out Of ‘Ghost In the Shell’

Now that Robbie has signed on for Suicide Squad, the lead role in the live action adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s manga stories, the Black Widow herself signs up to front the DreamWorks project. (EMP)

No Happy Ending For Chris Carter’s New Show, ‘The After,’ As Amazon Cancels It

The streaming service had debuted the pilot for the show in February and hyped it last summer at the TV Critics Association press tour, but it turns out that no additional episodes were ever filmed. (VUL)

It Appears That ‘Russ & Roger Go Beyond’ Has Found Its Roger

Josh Gad, who can be seen later this month in The Wedding Ringer, is in talks to play Roger Ebert opposite Will Ferrell in the tale chronicling Ebert’s collaboration with producer Russ Meyer on the 1967 X-rated film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. (TOH)

Look Out, Skeletor! Jeff Wadlow Has Apparently Finished the First Draft Of His ‘Masters Of the Universe’ Script

Columbia Pictures Senior Vice President DeVon Franklin tweeted out an image of the script, written by the Kick-Ass 2 filmmaker, who will probably go on to direct this adaptation, as well. (GR)

Producing With Patience: ‘Unbroken’ Producer Matthew Baer Discuss His 17-Year Journey

How a producer who kept hearing “no” about a story that essentially hadn’t changed in 60 years was able to turn it around and, eventually, draw Angelina Jolie into the fold to direct it. (HJ)

Trailer Buzz: ‘The Peanuts Movie’

The new trailer from the upcoming movie about Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the entire Peanuts gang. The film hits theaters on November 6th. (HP)

Academy Reclassifies ‘Whiplash’ Screenplay, Mark Gordon and eOne To Form New Indie Studio, ‘Raid’ Actors Join ‘Star Wars,’‘Girls’ Gets Another Renewal

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Oscar Controversy In the Writing Categories! Damien Chazelle’s ‘Whiplash’ Script Re-Classified As Adapted Screenplay By Academy

The AMPAS considered it “based on other material” because Chazelle and his producers had previously made a short to help get financing, but it was a scene from the script. The WGA still calls it an Original Screenplay, causing major confusion for voters. (DH)

Mark Gordon Sells 51 Percent Of Company To Entertainment One, Will Combine Forces For New Indie Studio

The deal is worth $132.6 million, and the new company which will finance and produce movies and TV shows for the networks, cable channels and digital platforms. eOne will distribute the projects internationally, while Gordon will take the role of CEO. (VAR)

Because J.J. Abrams Apparently Is a Fan Of Awesomeness, a Trio Of Actors From ‘The Raid’ and ‘Raid 2’ Movies Are In the New ‘Star Wars’

Obviously, there is no word at all on who Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, and Cecep Arif Rahman will be playing, but one would expect it would involve them utilizing their incredible fighting prowess in some fashion. (MF)

On the Eve Of Its Fourth Season Premiere, ‘Girls’ Earns a Fifth Season From HBO

The comedy from Lena Dunham remains a cornerstone of the premium cable network's original scripted programming and a staple of cultural dialogue. The series was renewed for its fourth season just days ahead of its season-three bow this time last year. (THR)

Casey Affleck Reveals He’ll Be Replacing His Buddy Matt Damon In Kenneth Lonergan’s Latest

The Oscar nominee will take over the lead role, after Damon had to drop out, in Manchester-By-The-Sea, which revolves around a Boston plumber who is forced to look after his 16-year-old nephew after his brother passes away, but is hindered by a secret tragedy in his past. (COL)

Charles King Picks Up Stakes, Leaves WME To Start His Own Company

The long-time partner at the agency has formed MACRO, an entertainment company focusing on content creation, distribution and engagement for African-American, Latino and Multicultural audiences. (BW)

Fox Announces a Slew Of New Release Dates, Puts ‘Assassin’s Creed’ Back On the Schedule

After moving off the 2015 slate, the Michael Fassbender flick will now come out on December 21st, 2016. Other films affected by the various moves include sequels for Fantastic Four and Planet of the Apes, as well as Channing Tatum’s Gambit film. (SF)

Syfy Network Is Now Developing a New Show About Hackers

Appropriately titled Hackers, the reality show will examine a different infamous cyber crime in each episode and feature interviews with both the crime’s perpetrators and the investigating law enforcement agents. (ITV)

Fans Of Patsy and Edina Can Rejoice: There Is Finally an ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ Movie Coming

The show’s co-creator and co-star Jennifer Saunders announced in an interview that she has completed a draft of the film and will make it her mission to shoot the film in the next 12 months. (CB)

Online Film School: Things Learned From the ‘Snowpiercer’ Commentary

The commentary, from a roundtable of six film journalists and experts, picks apart Bong Joon-ho’s remarkable film, adding some surprsing insights along the way. (FSR)

TV Development for 1/6/15: Netflix Acquires Edward Norton Produced Doc, SyFy Developing Hacker Reality Series, YouTuber Helbig Gets Talk Show & More

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at arrivals for The 2014 Governors Awards Hosted by AMPAS - Part 2, Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland Center, Los Angeles, CA November 8, 2014. Photo By: David Longendyke/Everett Collection

My Own Man Network: Netflix Studio: Class 5 Films Production Company: Sixteen Tons Production Executive Producer(s): Edward Norton, William Migliore, Lisa Nishimura, Adam Del Deo Writer(s): David Sampliner Logline: As filmmaker David Sampliner learns he will be a father to a baby boy he struggles to embrace and define the masculinity he’s rejected all his life. As he researches masculine ideals, including vocal lessons, warrior weekends and hunting, he realizes he must confront his turbulent past with his father in order to grow. SSN Insight: Sampliner wrote, produced and directed the documentary which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in April and has since been picked up by Netflix to premiere on March 6. Sampliner co-directed Dirty Work, his first documentary, which screened at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on the Sundance Channel. He also co-directed Art, Architecture, And Innovation, a documentary about the history of the Guggenheim Museum, now there on permanent exhibition.

Untitled Hacker Series Network: SyFy Studio: Relativity Television Executive Producer(s): Tom Forman, Brad Bishop Logline: Each episode will focus on the true stories, ripped from the headlines of real-life hackers, featuring interviews with both the actual perpetrators and the law enforcement agents who tracked them down. In addition graphics will create an “experiential hacking scene” to illustrate what happens when a network is hacked. SSN Insight: Given the recent Sony hack, this subject is extremely relevant. The series is unlikely to feature the Sony hack, though, as the matter is not closed. Relativity Television is adept at series on cyber dangers as they also produced MTV’s successful Catfish series, based on the documentary film. USA also recently ordered ten episodes of hacker series, Mr. Robot.

The Grace Helbig Project (Working Title) Network: E! Production Company: Embassy Row Executive Producer(s): Grace Helbig, Michael Davies, Amanda McPhillips, Ken Treusch Writer(s): Grace Helbig Logline: A fresh take on the conventional talk show which will incorporate viewer Tweets, Vines and Instagrams. Celebrity guests will be interviewed in alternate locations like a grocery store or car instead of the traditional studio stage. SSN Insight: E! has given a series order for the weekly primetime talk show, set to debut in April and starring the YouTube sensation Helbig, with more than two million subscribers to her talk/comedy hybrid channel, It’s Grace. Helbig commented on the deal to THR. “Congratulations to E! for giving an internet-obsessed introvert a talk show. I’m looking forward to working with humans.”

Kevin From Work Network: ABC Family Production Company: Kapital Entertainment, Wonderland Sound & Vision Executive Producer(s): Barbie Adler, Aaron Kaplan, McG Writer(s): Barbie Adler Logline: Kevin Daily thinks he's getting a terrific new job in Italy, so he writes his gorgeous co-worker Audrey Piatigorsky a sloppy, drunken goodbye love letter. But after the Italian job falls through and he fails to stop the letter from reaching Audrey, Kevin comes crawling back to his crappy old cubicle, his humiliating secret out in the open. It feels like his life is over, but it might just be beginning... SSN Insight: ABC Family has ordered a pilot that McG is set to direct. McG also teamed with Kaplan for the Mysteries of Laura and directed that pilot for NBC.  Paige Spara and Noah Reid (Backpackers) have been cast as leads.

Tough Cookie Network: ABC Family Studio: Universal Television Production Company: No Production Company Available. Executive Producer(s): Lauren Iungerich, David Janollari Writer(s): Lauren Iungerich Logline: 32 year old successful, self-centered, Lilla Spencer is a publicist who makes a living lying--or at least, covering up her clients' flaws. However, Lilla has a big secret, which she refuses to acknowledge: she had a baby girl at age 20 whom she gave up for adoption. When she discovers that her baby is now 12 years old and might want a shot at her real mom instead of another stint in foster care, Lilla meets Eleanor. Lilla finds her maternal instinct and Eleanor discovers she may be family material after all. SSN Insight: ABC Family has ordered a pilot. In addition to penning and executive producing the series, Iungerich will also direct the pilot. Janollari first reteamed with Iungerich last year for a comedy that was set up at NBC and previously spearheaded Awkward whilehead of programming at MTV.

CW/ Untitled Scooter Braun Todd Graff Music Drama Project Network: CW Television Network Production Companies: Flame Ventures, LLC, SB Projects Executive Producer(s): Todd Graff, Tony Krantz, Scooter Braun Writer(s): Todd Graff, Tony Krantz Logline: The story chronicles the rise of Gary Graham, a brilliant young manager with the talent and ambition to shake up the industry, which is a world gone viral: where stars are minted overnight, relationships are constantly tested and careers can be made or crushed with one perfectly placed phone call. SSN Insight: The CW has given an initial script commitment. The drama will have original songs and cameos from some of music’s biggest names, given EP Braun manages Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Psy, and Carly Rae Jepsen among others. The series marks Braun’s second TV scripted project alongside CBS' breakout hit and recently picked up Scorpion.

Awards 2015: NBR Hits and Misses, J.C. Chandor, TV Development For 1/6/15, Amazon Announces Shows For Pilot Season

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SSN AWARDS ORIGINALS

NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW

Awards 2015: Clint Eastwood and Seven Other Hits and Misses Of the National Board of Review

Around since 1909, the organization champions the “art of the people,” and also picks the best films, performances, writing, and directing of each year, though they have never been in lockstep with the Oscars. Here are a few examples. (SSN)

Awards 2015: Writer/Director J.C. Chandor Talks National Board Of Review Best Film Winner, ‘A Most Violent Year’

The Oscar-nominated filmmaker’s third film has been on a lot of year-end Top 10 lists, and the director was joined on the NBR awards list by his stars, Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain. (SSN)

TODAY’S HEADLINES

TV Development For 1/6/15, Netflix Acquire Edward Norton-Produced Doc, YouTuber Helbig Gets Talk Show, and More

In other news, Syfy kicks a reality show about hackers into gear, ABC Family puts a pair of projects into motion, and The CW moves forward on its Scooter Braun music drama. (SSN)

Amazon Has Its New List Of Shows For Pilot Season, Did Your Entry Make the Cut?

Starting January 15th, a week from Thursday, the online streaming service has a slate that includes four drama, two comedy, one documentary and six kids pilots. Viewers will once again be invited to watch and provide feedback on the pilots. (DH)

That Long-Awaited, Matt Damon-and-Paul Greengrass-Led ‘Bourne’ Movie Is Now Coming Out July 29th, 2016

The duo will actually co-write the script with Greengrass’ longtime editor Christopher Rouse, who doesn’t actually have a writing credit to his name. This is the first movie in the series that will not feature the work of Tony Gilroy. (COL)

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ Continues Its Forward Momentum, As Evidenced By the Casting Of Tadanobu Asano

The long-gestating adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel follows Father Rodrigues, a 17th century Portuguese Jesuit heading to Japan with a fellow priest to discover whether Rodrigues’s mentor has left the church. Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson and Adam Driver also star. (EMP)

Ben Affleck Is Getting an Attractive Co-Star In His Next Flick, ‘The Accountant’

Cynthia Addai-Robinson has joined the Warner Bros. thriller, about a mild-mannered accountant by day, lethal assassin by night. Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons and Jon Berenthal are also on board, and Gavin O’Connor is directing. (VAR)

After Years On the Shelf, David O. Russell’s ‘Nailed’ Will Hit Theaters, and With a New Title

Now called Accidental Love, the film will be released theatrically Feb. 20, 10 days after it is available on video-on-demand. The movie, from Millennium Entertainment, no longer carries Russell's name and is credited to director Stephen Greene. (THR)

Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone’s Next Comedy, ‘Michelle Darnell,’ Has Itself a 2016 Release Date

The husband and wife team co-wrote the script for the comedy about a disgraced one-percenter, in which McCarthy will star and Falcone will direct. Universal has set an April 8th, 2016 date for the flick. (WAH)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Big Game’

The first look at the action flick starring Samuel L. Jackson as the President of the United States, struggling for survival in the wilderness after a terrorist attack. Film also stars Ray Stevenson, Jim Broadbent and Felicity Huffman, but doesn’t yet have a US release date. (SF)

Vimeo Signs Exclusive Content Deal, ‘The Interview’ VOD Numbers Keep Rolling In, Legendary Gets Its ‘Esperanza’ Director, ‘Ant-Man’ Trailer Arrives

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Vimeo Signs an Exclusive Deal For Four New Digital Series From Studio Backed By Discovery

Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are also involved in New Form Digital Studios, which will bring two scripted series from YouTube creators exclusively to Vimeo’s on-demand service, with two additional to-be-announced series in development. (VAR)

The Online and VOD Numbers Keep Rolling In For ‘The Interview’

Sony has announced that the movie, which you may have heard has caused more than a small amount of controversy, has surpassed $31 million in online and On Demand sales as of January 4th. (HP)

Legendary Has Found a Director For Its ‘Esperanza’ Project

Cold In July helmer Jim Mickle has signed on to direct the adaptation of the John N. Maclean book, The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder, and the Agony of Engine 57, a piece covering the true story of the arson-sparked wildfire that claimed five lives in 2006. (COL)

‘A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night’ Director Ana Lily Amirpour Has Lined Up Her Next Gig

The new project is called The Bad Bach, is apparently focused on cannibals, and will be jointly produced by VICE and Annapurna Pictures. Megan Ellison will work alongside VICE Executive Creative Director Danny Gabai and Girl producer Sina Sayyah. (IW)

Nicholas Winding Refn’s New Horror Film and That Long-Awaited ‘Deadpool’ Movie Do Some Casting

Elle Fanning joins Neon Demon, formerly titled I Walk With The Dead, replacing Carrie Mulligan, while T.J. Miller and Ed Skrein are in talks to join the Ryan Reynolds-led superhero flick. (TP)

Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Star Continues To Rise, Will Co-Star Opposite Matthew McConaughey In ‘Free State Of Jones’

Director Gary Ross is helming the story of Newton Knight, a Mississippi man who defected from the Confederate army and took a group of like-minded troops with him to create the Free State of Jones. (EMP)

Ridley Scott’s Moroccan Fans Can Rejoice: Country’s Film Board Okays ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’

By simply cutting two lines of dialogue, the filmmakers have apparently satisfied Moroccan sensors, who had objected to in which Christian Bale’s Moses receives messages from a figure — actually an 11-year-old boy — that could be interpreted as representing god. (THR)

“Crazy Eyes” Is Making the Leap To the Big Screen

Actress Uzo Abuda, who won an Emmy for playing the role on Orange Is the New Black, has signed on to star in the new indie, Showing Roots. Film centers on what happens to a racially segregated small Southern town in 1977, when the TV miniseries saga "Roots" premiered. (SAA)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Ant-Man’

The first extended look at the next non-Avengers movie from Marvel. The “final Phase Two” film for the studio stars Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas and hits theaters July 17th. Additionally, official script credit is being given to Rudd and Adam McKay. (CB)

Screenwriters: ‘Rocky Balboa’

The 110-page final draft — originally titled Rocky: Puncher’s Chance — by Sylvester Stallone, dated October 6th, 2005. (DS)

Awards 2015: People’s Choice Social Media Strategy, SSN’s Guide To 2015, WGA Noms Announced, Showtime Lands Clooney Drama

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SSN AWARDS ORIGINALS

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS

Awards 2015: How the People’s Choice Awards’ Social Media Strategy Keeps It Ahead Of the Game

In a season where a plethora of exclusive niche clubs dole out awards, there’s one show that opens the voting pool to anyone with an Internet browser—the People’s Choice Awards. (SSN)

TODAY’S HEADLINES

SSN’s Entertainment Guide To 2015: Brad Bird, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ Netflix’s ‘Jessica Jones,’ and More

Just as the calendar inevitably turns from December to January, from one year to the next, so is it inevitable that operations like ours churn out year-end roundups and looks ahead to what the upcoming year has in store. This time is no different, though it is rather entertaining. (SSN)

The 2015 Writers Guild Nominations Are Out, and There Is At Least One Big Surprise

The producers, the actors, the editors, and the costume designers have already weighed in on their favorites of 2014, and now it’s the writers’ turn to nominate their fellows for achievements this year. (SF)

Showtime Lands Much Sought After Drama From George Clooney and Peter Tolan

The network won the project, about the 1990s movie business, in a competitive bidding situation. Tolan is writing the pilot, which will be directed by Bennett Miller. Clooney will executive produce with partner Grant Heslov. (DH)

The Ongoing Legal Drama Surrounding ‘Birdman’ Has Led To a Restraining Order

While the acclaimed film is already a commercial success, reaping more than $25 million to date, some of the revenue will be sitting in a bank account rather than being distributed to some of the film's investors. (HE)

Netflix Has Announced Its Upcoming Premiere Dates, as Well as a ‘Marco Polo’ Renewal

Time to clear your schedules. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt comes out March 6th, Bloodline is online March 20th, Daredevil on April 10th and Grace and Frankie hits computer screens on May 8th. (HP)

Expect To See ‘This Song Will Save Your Life’ To Be On Your Movie Screens and Theater Stages Soon

Broadway producer Kevin McCollum and former Glee producer Michael Novick have optioned the YA novel by Leila Sales for both stage and film. Book follows a bullied girl who finds a family and a home among the denizens of the underground music scene. (VAR)

VH1 Is Getting Back Into the Original Movie Business, and It’s Hired Seith Mann To Write and Direct It

The film as a working title of The Breaks, is inspired by journalist Dan Charnas’ book "The Big Payback," a narrative history of business in the hip-hop industry, and might become a series after the movie is made. (SAA)

No Sweathogs Here: John Travolta Is Making a Return Trip To TV

The man who got his start on Welcome Back, Kotter is coming back in Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story, which follows the case of O.J. Simpson’s murder trial. Travolta will play Simpson's defense attorney, Robert Shapiro, opposite Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark. (MF)

It Appears That’ll Be All For ‘Covert Affairs’ On the USA Network

The series ended its fifth season in December, and there were expectations of a sixth season renewal, but the network announced today that the show has been canceled. (CB)

People’s Choice Winners Announced, French Media To Keep ‘Charlie Hedbo’ Going as Creative Freedom Takes Another Hit

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The People Have Spoken: a Complete List Of People’s Choice Winners

Ellen DeGeneres, Matt Bomer, Chris Evans and Ben Affleck are the night’s big winners, as was Betty White, who gave an emotional speech while accepting the TV Icon. (THR)

French Television Networks, Radio and ‘Le Monde' All Pledge To Keep ‘Charlie Hedbo’ Running

France Télévisions, the holding group of the country’s national broadcasters, along with the state-run Radio France and the leading broadsheet said they would provide Charlie Hebdo and its various teams with all of the “human and material resources necessary” to keep it going. (DH)

It’s Been a Bad Few Weeks For Creative Freedom

First the Sony hack and then, much more seriously, yesterday’s terrorist attack on Charlie Hedbo has creative communities all over the globe reacting with defiance, even as freedom of speech is viciously and violently attacked. (VAR)

Ted Hope Is Returning To Producing, Which Means Fandor Has a New CEO

Lead investor Chris Kelly, former Facebook General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer, is stepping in as interim CEO to replace Hope, who will be "pursuing a new film production venture, and will remain a close advisor to the company.” (TOH)

Alexander Payne and Reese Witherspoon Agree To Try To Recreate Past Glory By Working Together Again On ‘Downsizing’

The sci-fi, social satire will star Matt Damon in the lead role, with Witherspoon and Payne working together for the first time since 1999’s Election. New film is set in a not-too-distant future world where scientists had learned to shrink human beings down to miniature size. (TP)

Dream Casting? Matt Bomer Signs On To Play Montgomery Clift In New HBO Biopic

Project had originally been intended as an independent film, with Larry Moss set to direct a script by Christopher Lovick. Now, with HBO on board, writing duo Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias will rewrite Lovick’s script. (BQ)

Nat Geo Is Getting Into the Late Night Talk Show Game, and Of Course, Their Host Is Neil DeGrasse Tyson

The new show, Star Talk, is at least partially based on the physicist’s podcast of the same name, will premiere later this year and will be taped at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, in front of a live studio audience. (CB)

Trailer Buzz: ‘Good Kill’

The new trailer for the upcoming drama about a drone pilot who begins to question his mission after too many civilian deaths start to pile up. Ethan Hawke stars in the film, which opens April 2nd. (EMP)

Just How True To Real Life Do Historical Films Actually Need To Be?

You know it’s Oscar season when the historical-accuracy hit squads show up. Over the past several weeks, it seems that almost every major awards contender has had some kind of high-profile accusation flung at it over its misappropriation of the truth. It happens every year. (VUL)

Screenwriters: Screenplay Structure In Four Easy Pieces

Every story must have a beginning, must have a middle, and must have an end. These elements can also be called set-up, conflict and resolution. You can dance around this formula until you're blue in the face, but you're always going to come back to it. (MO)

Film Development for 1/8/15: Liam Neeson On Board for The Escapist, Sienna Miller Joins Lost City of Z, Star Trek 3 News & More

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NEW ATTACHMENTS

Deep Cover Logline: Under wraps Production Company: Red Granite Pictures, Some Kind of Garden Producers: Jim Carrey, Michael Aguilar, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland Writer: Johnny Rosenthal Cast: Jim Carrey SSN Insight: Carrey has decided to re-team with his producing and financing partner on Dumb and Dumber To, Red Granite, on this new comedy.

The Free State of Jones Logline: The true story of Newton Knight, a soldier for the Confederacy during the Civil War who became disillusioned with the South's cause, fled the battlefield, rallied supporters, and declared a safe haven in an area of southeastern Mississippi in opposition to the Confederacy. Studio/ Distributor: STX Entertainment Production Company: Larger Than Life Productions, Bluegrass Films Producers: Gary Ross, Jon Kilik, Scott Stuber, Robert Simonds, Allison Thomas, Robin Bissell Writer: Gary Ross Director: Gary Ross Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew McConaughey SSN Insight: This would be one of the first projects to get off the ground for Robert Simonds’ newly formed mini-studio, STX. Film is said to have a $65 million budget.

Conjuring 2 Logline: The story of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren continues. Studio/ Distributor: New Line/ Warner Bros. Production Company: POV Productions, The Safran Company, Atomic Monster Producers: Rob Cowan, Peter Safran, James Wan Writer: David Leslie Johnson Director: James Wan SSN Insight: New Line is anxious to get the next installment of their hit franchise into theatres and has hired David Leslie Johnson to rewrite a script byWan, Chad and Carey Hayes and Eric Heisserer.

Pete’s Dragon Logline:Pete, following the death of his parents in a car crash when he was four, escaped to the forest and became best friends with a dragon, who raised him - but Pete and the dragon now face unprecedented threats to the way of life they've come to know and love. Studio/ Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures Production Company: Whitaker Entertainment Producers: Jim Whitaker Writer: David Lowery, Toby Halbrooks Cast: Wes Bentley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oona Laurence, Oakes Fegley Director: David Lowery SSN Insight: Hunger Games star, Wes Bentley, signs on tothis remake of the 1977 animation/ live action hybrid film which just started shooting in New Zealand.

The Esperanza Fire Logline:The real-life account of a tightly knit forest service engine crew that perished battling "the perfect storm" of wildland fires near Idyllwild, CA in 2006. Production Company: Legendary Entertainment Producers: Jon Jashni, Thomas Tull Writer: Sean O’Keefe Director:  Jim Mickle Notes: Based on the non-fiction book "The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder, and the Agony of Engine 57," written by John Maclean and published by Counterpoint on February 12, 2013. SSN Insight: The Cold in July and We Are What We Are director continues to expand his filmmaking scope by signing on to this drama.

The Lost City of Z Logline:The true story of British explorer Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett, who disappeared in 1925 while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon. Financier: Annapurna Pictures Production Company: Plan B Entertainment, Annapurna Pictures, Sierra/ Affinity Producers: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Marc Butan Writer: James Gray Cast: Sienna Miller, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Pattinson Director:  James Gray Notes: Based on the book "Lost City of Z" written by David Grann. The book is an expansion of an article, written by Grann, that appeared in The New Yorker magazine in September 2005. SSN Insight: The project used to be setup at Paramount with Brad Pitt to star.  Gray had hoped to start shooting in early 2015 but now it looks like the production won’t get up until summer 2015.

Star Trek 3 Logline:Storyline under wraps. Studio: Paramount Pictures Production Company: Bad Robot, Skydance Productions Producers: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Robert Orci Writer: Patrick McKay and JD Payne Director:  Justin Lin SSN Insight: Lin replaces Robert Orci, the co-writer on the previous re-vamped films, who remains on board as a producer.

NEW PROJECTS

The Naughty List Logline:High concept action comedy centering around a group of unlikely heroes who must band together to save Christmas. Studio: New Line Production Company: FlynnPictureCo. Producers: Beau Flynn Writers: Greg Erb and Jason Oremland SSN Insight: New Linelooks to duplicate the success of its previous Christmas-themed films such as Elf and Four Christmases with this new pitch acquisition. The Escapist Logline: A prison inmate learns that his beloved daughter is very ill and must plot an escape to see her. Studio/Distributor: StudioCanal Production Company: Picture Farm Producers: Rupert Wyatt Writer: Sean O’Keefe Cast: Liam Nesson SSN Insight: Sean O’Keefe seems to be getting projects made at Legendary as this is the second project that they announced with him moving forward. The other being The Esperanza Fire highlighted above.

The Damned Logline: Described as an elevated supernatural thriller in the vein of The Sixth Sense and Jacob’s Ladder. Studio/ Distributor: Legendary Pictures Author: Andrew Pyper SSN Insight: Legendary optioned the film rights to Andrew Pyper’s upcoming novel and Simon & Schuster will publish the book in February.

Awards 2015: What’s Ahead For Palm Springs Fest Honorees, Jason Katims On ‘Parenthood’ Ending, Film Development For 1/8/15

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SSN AWARDS ORIGINALS

PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Awards 2015: What’s Ahead For Richard Linklater, David Oyelowo, and the Other Palm Springs Film Fest Honorees

Each year, right before the Oscars and the Golden Globes, stars head to the California desert for this event. This year, the 26th annual fest will play host to 10 days of screenings, panels, and of course, fancy galas that celebrate honorees. (SSN)

TODAY’S HEADLINES

‘Parenthood’ Producer Jason Katims Discusses the Road To 100 Episodes and the End

In a time where television networks commonly cancel new series after only a handful of episodes, hitting the 100th show mark can seem unlikely. NBC’s Parenthood is about to hit that milestone just under the wire in its final season, after proving to be the little drama that could. (SSN)

Film Development For 1/8/15: Liam Neeson On Board For ‘The Escapist,’ Sienna Miller Joins ‘Lost City of Z’ and More

Along with news about the new Star Trek sequel, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw joining Matthew McConaughey in Free State Of Jones, there is news on Deep Cover, The Conjuring 2 and Pete’s Dragon remake, among others. (SSN)

‘Fargo’ Season Two Adds Some More Solid Star Power

Patrick Wilson, Ted Danson and Jean Smart all sign on for the second season of the FX Network’s ongoing anthology series, joining the previously cast Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst, Nick Offerman, Jeffrey Donovan and Angus Sampson. The story this time around will be set in 1979. (DH)

It Looks Like We Might Finally Have a ‘Wicked’ Movie By 2016, and Stephen Daldry Will Direct

Producer Marc Platt, who oversaw the adaptation from a best-selling book into the Broadway musical that became an international sensation, said he hopes to have the film done by then, but it is “not set in stone.” (COL)

This New ‘Kong: Skull Island’ Movie Just Added Another Actor Sure To Get an Oscar Nod Next Week

Michael Keaton will join J.K. Simmons in the King Kong prequel, which will also star Tom Hiddleston. The movie will go before cameras this year for a March 10th, 2017 release. (VUL)

Tom Hooper Adds More Talent To His Upcoming Flick, ‘The Danish Girl’

Matthias Schoenaerts has joined the cast, which is led by Eddie Redmayne. Story chronicles Danish painter Einar Wegener's life in the early 1930s as he became the first man to undergo a sex change operation, becoming Lili Elbe. Alicia Vikander and Amber Heard are also attached. (EMP)

Not To Be Left Out, the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Has Announced Its Award Nominees

There are few surprises in the list, other than the exclusion of Noah, which is on the Academy’s shortlist for an Oscar nomination. On the list of nominees are films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Into the Woods and The Theory Of Everything. (TOH)

Chris Evans Is Apparently Captain America In More Ways Than One

The actor has become the face of Activision's "Call of Duty" in the Chinese market as the star of a blockbuster ad. The extended-length spot was shot by award-winning filmmakers Longman Leung and Sunny Luk. (CO)

Trailer Buzz: ‘The Voices’

The first look at the Ryan Reynolds horror-comedy, directed by Persepolis director Marjane Satrapi, also starring Anna Kendrick, Gemma Arterton and Jacki Weaver, and premiering in theaters and on VOD February 6th. (IM)

‘Grand Budapest’ Leads BAFTA Nominations, SXSW Announces First Batch Of Films, Willis Reacquires ‘Bandits,’ Del Toro Joins ‘Carnival’

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The BAFTA Nominations Have Been Announced, and It’s a Big Day For Wes Anderson

The Grand Budapest Hotel earned 11 nominations, more than any other film. Birdman was next with 10, while Boyhood earned five. Selma and Unbroken were the big snubs, and Timothy Spall failed to earn a Best Actor nod. (DH)

SXSW Has Announced Its First Batch Of Titles For This Year’s Fest

Among the films announced are the festival opener, Ondi Timoner’s Russel Brand doc, the North American premiere of Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, starring Oscar Isaac, and Michael Showalter’s new comedy, Hello, My Name Is Doris, with Sally Field. (SX)

If At First You Don’t Succeed: Bruce Willis Regains Option Of Elmore Leonard’s ‘Bandits’

The actor had originally purchased the rights to the book upon its publication in 1987, but let them lapse and they were in turn picked up by Quentin Tarantino. When the rights came up again, Willis scooped them up, and now Mitch Glazer will adapt the project. (COL)

The Comic Book ‘Zombies Vs. Robots’ Will Be a Movie Called ‘Inherit the Earth,’ and Now Has a Director

Shrek and Chronicles of Narnia helmer Andrew Adamson will take the reins of the project for Sony and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes. The current draft of the script is by Oren Uziel, after previous drafts by J.T. Perry. (VAR)

Years Ago, Guillermo Del Toro Was Going To Direct a Movie Called ‘A Killing On Carnival Row,’ and Now It’s an Amazon Pilot

The script was originally sold by Pacific Rim writer Adam Beacham as a spec. The project passed through the hands of several different directors before Legendary picked it up last year and repurposed it as a TV pilot, with del Toro re-writing along with Beacham and Rene Echevarria. (SF)

Ease Entertainment Has a New CFO, and His Name Is Craig Dougherty

The payroll and software services firm announced the appointment of several key executives and team members. Dougherty will oversee all financial aspects of the company and will report to founder/CEO Mike Rose. (TW)

Matt Damon and Reese Witherspoon Are Getting Impressive Company In Alexander Payne’s Next Film

Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Sudeikis have all joined the cast of Downsizing, which will be produced and financed by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna shingle, and has an eye for an early 2016 start of production. (THR)

Because Hollywood Is Rebooting Everything, History Channel Is Going To Reboot ‘Roots’

Initially announced in 2013, the project is now moving forward, and Allen Hughes has been tapped to direct it. The plans are for an all-new eight-hour mini-series, though no shooting date or casting news has been announced. (SAA)

The Online Revolution Continues: David Cross’ Directorial Debut Will Be a Pay-What-You-Wish Affair

The movie, called Hits, premiered at Sundance last year, will be released on the BitTorrent site on Friday, February 13th. Audiences will be able set their own pricing in theaters at pay-what-you-want screenings in theatrical markets throughout the U.S. and Canada and on VHX. (IW)

Screenwriters: ‘A Room With a View’

An undated, unspecified draft of the 135-page, Oscar-winning script by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, based on the novel by E.M. Forster. (DS)

Exec Shuffle 12/9/15: Mark Gordon Splits With ABC Studios, Charles King Forms MACRO & More

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Company Launches

TV software services company SeaChange International bought Timeline Labs for $22 million in cash and shares, with an additional $2.5 million in possible additional stock payouts based on performance. Timeline and SeaChange announced NewCoin recently, an initiative to measure local TV ratings, through a joint venture that also includes Fox TV Stations, Univision and Tribune Media.

Producer Mark Gordon is splitting with ABC Studios. Gordon has set up the next phase for the Mark Gordon Company, teaming with Entertainment One to create an independent studio that will finance and produce film, network, cable, and digital content, which eOne will distribute internationally. Gordon will serve as Chief Executive Officer of the venture, which will finance projects produced by him as well as other producers.

Charles King has left William Morris Endeavor to form MACRO, a startup that will focus on developing content for multicultural audiences. MACRO will focus on developing and distributing feature films, TV series and digital content targeting African-American, Latino and multicultural markets. Steve Richards, a 19-year veteran of Silver Pictures, has left to start Endurance Media. The company kicks off with a $250 million financing structure to produce and finance films in the $20 million-$60 million range. Writer-director-producer Rick Bieber and financier Ken Clark have joined forces to form Minds I Cinema, an indie film production company. Their first project is the demonic love story The Other, which Bieber wrote and will direct. Former IMG Sports and Entertainment prexy George Pyne launched Bruin Sports Capital, a global marketing venture backed by an investment of $250 million. Family Christian Stores, the nation’s largest Christian retail chain, is going Hollywood. Rick Jackson, the chain’s entrepreneur, has formed Family Christian Entertainment. The company will produce two films per year, and starts off by teaming with Emmett Furla Oasis to produce 90 Minutes In Heaven.

Studios, Networks, Conglomerates
Marketing exec JP Richards has stepped into his new post leading digital marketing at Warner Bros., after a stint at Universal, where he oversaw digital campaigns for Pitch Perfect, the Purge movies, and the Fast & Furious franchise. He’ll report to WB’s EVP Worldwide Marketing Blair Rich.
Film

After a stellar summer for 20th Century Fox, Kieran Breen has been upped to President of International Marketing. Breen has served as Fox International's EVP, International Marketing since 2006 and has been with the studio since 2000. Angela and Catherine Paura joined Alcon Entertainment as co-presidents of worldwide marketing. The sisters come from their partnership in Capstone Global Marketing & Research Group - a marketing research and consulting firm. Catherine co-founded and served as CEO of marketing research firm Nielsen NRG. Anglea, formerly NRG's COO, worked with Alcon on such releases as The Blind Side and Dolphin Tale.

Financier-producer of The Imitation Game, Black Bear Pictures is expanding. President/CEO Teddy Schwarzman named as president and COO Dan Steinman, the longtime vet of the CAA Film Finance Group. Steinman will be based in New York, as Gotham-based Schwarzman moves to Los Angeles to start an outpost there.

Television

Discovery Channel president Rich Ross announced that he’s named HBO vet John Hoffman as Executive Vice President of Documentaries and Specials. Discovery Channel has also tapped John Goldwyn as an executive producer for scripted programming. Goldwyn most recently served as executive producer for the series Gracepoint for Shine America and Fox, and is known for his work producing Showtime’s Dexter.

Warner Bros Domestic TV Distribution  promoted David Decker to EVP Cable & SVOD Sales. He will replace Tom Cerio, who is retiring from his daily EVP duties at the end of March, but will remain with the company in a sales consultancy role. Benjamin “BJ” Elias, who played a major role in expanding Fox Networks’ TV Everywhere apps and sites, has been upped to SVP Distribution of the division. He was previously VP Distribution, Advanced Services. Elias will oversee Fox Networks’ distribution of new media products and services including TV Everywhere, over-the-top television, VOD and interactive TV.

Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews will be Senior Vice President, News Administration at CBS News. Tim Gaughan becomes Vice President, News Gathering.  Former ABC Family President Michael Riley returns to Los Angeles with a new post as President and CEO of Southern California’s independent TV station KCETLink.

Agencies, Management Companies, Marketing, Public Relations, Law Firms

Kyle Luker, a founding member of The Group Entertainment, has left to join Industry Entertainment. He’s bringing his client list with him, including Krysten Ritter (co-managed with Steve Caserta), Patrick Heusinger, Gillian Alexy, Josh Salatin, Ryann Redmond, Liza Bennett and Marnie Schulenburg.

PGA nominated John Lesher is joining LBI Entertainment, the management/production company founded by Rick Yorn, Ian Montone and Dave Baram, with Julie Yorn running the production business.

Awards 2015: SSN Predicts Golden Globes Winners In Both Film and TV, Exec Shuffle For 1/9/15, Feig Wants McCarthy For ‘Ghostbusters’

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SSN AWARDS ORIGINALS

GOLDEN GLOBES

Awards 2015: He Said/She Said — SSN Predicts The Golden Globes

It’s once again time for another entertaining, educational and informative discussion between SSN writers Neil Turitz and Dina Gachman. The two strenuously debate the winners of Sunday’s Golden Globes film categories, and also include a printable ballot, for your convenience. (SSN)

Awards 2015: SSN Also Predicts the TV Side Of The Golden Globes

SSN’s resident TV expert, Ray Richmond, takes his own swing at forecasting the evening’s winners, and just like above, there is also a printable ballot included here, as well. (SSN)

TODAY’S HEADLINES

Exec Shuffle For 1/9/15: Mark Gordon Splits With ABC Studios, Charles King Forms Macro, and More

In other news, SeaChange International Buys Timeline Labs, a Silver Pictures vet ventures off to start up Endurance Media, other entities are formed, companies are expanded, and promotions are awarded. (SSN)

If Paul Feig Has His Way, Melissa McCarthy Will Be In His ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot

Several hurdles remain, however, not least of which is the actress’ ridiculously busy schedule. Aside from her responsibilities with her CBS sitcom Mike & Molly, there is also her upcoming comedy Michelle Darnell, which she’ll make with husband Ben Falcone. (HV)

Bob Simonds’ STX Entertainment Makes a Big Play For ‘Russ & Roger Go Beyond’

The new studio is in talks to finance and distribute domestically the film, which chronicles the time that soft-core porn impresario Russ Meyer and film critic Roger Ebert teamed to make 1970’s Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. Will Ferrell is playing Meyer. (DH)

Fans Of Marvel TV Shows On Netflix Just Got a Bit More Info About When New Shows Are Coming

During a panel discussion at this year’s TCA, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos suggested that, after Daredevil premieres in April, one would hope that the next show afterward would be “eight to twelve months” away. He also noted that AKA Jessica Jones has not yet started production. (COL)

Good News, ‘Purge’ Fans! The Third Film In the Series Has a Release Date

Mark July 1st, 2016 on your calendars, because that’s when series writer/director James Demonaco’s series will return. Demonic will once again be calling all the shots from his bunker at Blumhouse. (EMP)

Millennium Entertainment Has Rebranded, and Is Now Known as Alchemy

The change comes five months after a management team led by CEO Bill Lee and Virgo Investment Group LLC partnered to acquire Millennium's 665 catalog titles and its distribution platform from a consortium of investors. (TOH)

Your Creative Calendar: 53 Things To Do, See and Hear This Month

You may think you know what's going on in culture, but did you know about knitting jamborees, Tony Danza on Broadway, and penguin awareness? There’s no possible way the answer was yes to all of those things. (FCC)

Is It Possible That All Of Tim Burton’s Movies Occur In the Same Universe?

A fascinating thesis connects every single one of the auteur’s feature films, including his latest, Big Eyes, actually happens in a single, shared universe. Stunningly, it sort of adds up. (TOR)

ICYMI 1/5 – 1/9: SSN Golden Globe Predictions, Looking forward to 2015, SSN He Said/ She Said

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Awards 2015: He Said/She Said — SSN Predicts The Golden Globes

It’s once again time for another entertaining, educational and informative discussion between SSN writers Neil Turitz and Dina Gachman. The two strenuously debate the winners of Sunday’s Golden Globes film categories, and also include a printable ballot, for your convenience. (SSN)

Awards 2015: SSN Also Predicts the TV Side Of The Golden Globes

SSN’s resident TV expert, Ray Richmond, takes his own swing at forecasting the evening’s winners, and just like above, there is also a printable ballot included here, as well. (SSN)

SSN’s Entertainment Guide To 2015: Brad Bird, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ Netflix’s ‘Jessica Jones,’ and More

Just as the calendar inevitably turns from December to January, from one year to the next, so is it inevitable that operations like ours churn out year-end roundups and looks ahead to what the upcoming year has in store. This time is no different, though it is rather entertaining. (SSN)

Awards 2015: Writer/Director J.C. Chandor Talks National Board Of Review Best Film Winner, ‘A Most Violent Year’

The Oscar-nominated filmmaker’s third film has been on a lot of year-end Top 10 lists, and the director was joined on the NBR awards list by his stars, Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain. (SSN)

Awards 2015: He Said/She Said: The Acting Races

Writers Neil Turitz and Dina Gachman continue their ongoing, awards season banter by debating the four acting categories, including Felicity Jones vs. Marion Cotillard and the merits of Jake Gyllenhaal’s and Bradley Cooper’s respective Oscar chances. (SSN)