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Cannes, France – Adi Hasak has no use for Hollywood. He’d like nothing more than to bypass the big studios entirely, working with international distributors to put his projects before the public.
“I’m really getting into this global environment and making my own path,” the Israeli-Dutch producer says. “The distributors are hungry to get into content creation. I’m cutting out the studios. I have no interest in working with them.”
That might sound rich coming from a man who created and executive-produced NBC’s Jennifer Lopez-led drama “Shades of Blue” and who serves as showrunner on USA Network’s recently launched crime drama “Eyewitness.” But in an interview with Variety ahead of his keynote address Wednesday at Mipcom, Hasak says he’s serious about forging an independent path and avoiding the traditional power centers of the television world.
“I liken [the studios] to these huge aircraft carriers in the ocean, and »
- Leo Barraclough
When Adi Hasak visits Mipcom this week, it will be with the wind at his back. He will serve as a keynote speaker at the annual confab on the heels of the premiere of his new series “Eyewitness,” which debuts Sunday night on USA. It is the second show created by Hasak to premiere this year, following “Shades of Blue,” the Jennifer Lopez cop drama that was renewed by NBC after a successful midseason roll out in January.
It’s a triumphant moment for Hasak, a journeyman writer who has begun to carve out a niche for himself as a bridge between the international and U.S. television businesses — and done so without traditional backing such as an agent or U.S. studio deal.
“I went to Mipcom for the first time I think three years ago,” Hasak says. “And I just started going from booth to booth. No one knew who I was. The »
- Daniel Holloway
The Bay, 2012
Directed by Barry Levinson
Presented in the style of a documentary, the film follows the events of a Fourth of July celebration gone wrong in the small fishing town of Claridge, Maryland, as the inhabitants, thanks to contaminated water, find their bodies playing host to a vicious, mutated parasite which threatens the survival of the whole town.
Let me say this early on, I’m not a big fan of the “found footage” sub-genre of horror films. I find the majority of them largely repetitive, boring, lacking in depth and too reliant on lazy jump scares.
Now are all of them bad? Of course not, for every ten shit “found footage” films, you get about one or two good ones.
The subject of today’s review, the gruesome eco-horror The Bay, is one of those good ones, »
- Graeme Robertson
Five of Robin Williams’ friends and colleagues celebrated the opening of the SAG-aftra Foundation’s Robin Williams Center for Entertainment and Media in New York on Wednesday by remembering the life and and work of Williams. In honor of his more than 40-year career that included more than 100 performances in TV and film, the SAG-aftra Foundation dedicated its new 154-seat screening room to the memory and legacy of Williams.
On hand for the event were Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Hank Azaria, Bonnie Hunt and director Barry Levinson, who directed Williams in three films: “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Toys” and “Man of the Year.” Each member of the panel spoke at length, remembering Williams and sharing insights into his personality. “He was not a sports guy,” Crystal said. “I would ask him who he rooted for, »
- Graham Winfrey
Friends and family of Robin Williams gathered in New York City on Wednesday night to honor the late comedian and to mark the opening of a new acting center that bears his name.
“I think of him as my brother,” said Whoopi Goldberg, who partnered with Williams and Billy Crystal on a series of Comic Relief fundraising specials. “He was my big brother and the funniest person that I knew, and anybody that dared to be as free as he did, has a shot to be as good as he was. That’s the legacy. He dares you to be as good if you can be as free.”
Goldberg was joined at the event by Crystal, as well as Hank Azaria, Bonnie Hunt, Carol Kane, Marlo Thomas, Phil Donahue, and Barry Levinson, who directed Williams to an Oscar nomination in “Good Morning, Vietnam.”
Crystal told reporters that the occasion was a bittersweet one. »
- Brent Lang
To mark the release of Shades of Blue on 3rd October, we’ve been given a copy to give away on DVD. Good cop, Bad cop? Oscar®-winning director and executive producer Barry Levinson brings you Shades of Blue, a complex police series that centres on Harlee Santos (Jennifer Lopez- The Boy Next Door) who stars as […]
The post Win Shades of Blue on DVD appeared first on HeyUGuys. »
The SAG-aftra Foundation is honoring Robin Williams by naming its screening room and educational space in New York City after the late actor.
The Robin Williams Center for Actors, Broadcasters and Recording Artists will be opened on Oct. 5 with a celebration of Williams’ work, featuring a conversation with Robin Williams that took place at the Foundation in Los Angeles in 2003.
Following the screening, a panel of friends and colleagues including Hank Azaria, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Bonnie Hunt and writer-director Barry Levinson will discuss collaborating with Williams.
“The SAG-aftra Foundation is a national organization and we’ve been serving union performers all over the country with our free programs and resources for more than 30 years. However, with the opening of the incredible Robin Williams Center, we now have two permanent and state-of-the-art homes for actors, broadcasters and recording artists on both coasts,” said JoBeth Williams, president of the SAG-aftra Foundation. »
- Dave McNary
One week a month, Watch This offers staff recommendations inspired by a new movie coming out that week. This week: In honor of the new sequel to the modern classic The Blair Witch Project, we look back at some of our favorite found-footage horror films.
The Bay (2012)
The problem with most found-footage horror films is that they offer the laziest possible solution to an age-old B-picture problem: how to pull off an impressively scary movie on a pauper’s budget. It’s easier to disguise bad writing, amateur acting, and cheap special effects when most of the dialogue is improvised, and when shoddy camerawork and clumsy exposition are baked into the premise. That’s what makes 2012’s The Bay all the more impressive. Director Barry Levinson and screenwriter Michael Wallach take advantage of the found-footage format to deliver a lot of information in ways that feel fresh and ...
- Noel Murray
I must confess, before I go on with this feature, that when I was 12, my girlfriends were obsessed with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison, so much so that when they played Beatles, I was Yoko Ono.
Paul Shaffer and the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation founder and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band member, Steven Van Zandt, hosted the rock 'n' roll New York premiere of Ron Howard's The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years, written by Mark Monroe. Whoopi Goldberg, Julie Taymor, Paul Rudd, Bobby Cannavale, Bob Gruen, Vincent Pastore, Max Weinberg, Tony Sirico, Maureen Van Zandt, and many other guests attended.
Favorite Beatle for Alessandro Nivola: "My »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Much like his beloved New York Mets, the novels of Philip Roth have repeatedly frustrated the grandest hopes of many a fervent follower, at least as far as film is concerned. From Ernest Lehman to Robert Benton, Barry Levinson, and most recently James Schamus, the author’s peculiar brew of existential angst has simply proven too elusive for filmmakers great and small.
And so it proves for first-time director Ewan McGregor, whose “American Pastoral” tackles the greatest of Roth’s late-period works with obvious admiration and attempted fidelity, only to see the beating heart of the book slip further and further from his grasp with every scene. Groping for grand tragedy and finding only actorly melodrama, shooting for political contrarianism but landing instead on reactionary conventionalism, “American Pastoral” is as flat and strangled as its source is furious and expansive.
In addition to directing, McGregor also stars as the ill-fated protagonist Seymour “Swede” Levov, »
- Andrew Barker
Tony Sokol Aug 10, 2016
De Niro - who previously popped up in Russell’s films Silver Linings Playbook and Joy - has signed up to star alongside Julianne Moore, in a serialized limited TV series that is expected to hit the marketplace later this month. That is to say, potential broadcasters will be trying to buy it. Lots of them, we'd wager, with all of that talent involved.
There aren’t many details about the project, which is being produced by Scott Lambert, Alexandra Milchan and Megan Ellison. Rumours say it will be a crime thriller set in the 1990s that is designed to run for multiple seasons. »
Stx had no comment about the project. In April, Variety reported that the two-year-old studio had come on board “Gypsy” after picking it up out of turnaround from Universal, where it had been in development for several years.
“Gypsy” tells the story of the burlesque legend Gypsy Rose Lee, based on her 1957 memoir about her career and hard-as-nails stage mother. That book served as the inspiration for the highly successful 1959 musical, starring Ethel Merman, with »
- Dave McNary
Stx Entertainment is exiting its role as distributor and co-financier of Gypsy, the Barry Levinson movie that had Barbra Streisand attached to play the iconic Momma Rose. The move comes less than four months after the studio boarded the musical project, a long-gestating one that it picked up after Universal put it into turnaround last fall after a long development period. It looks like Stx’s exposure grew on this picture, after a major part of the puzzle exited. Sources… »
STX Entertainment has dropped plans to finance Barbra Streisand‘s musical remake of “Gypsy” with Barry Levinson directing, a person familiar with the situation told TheWrap. Streisand is still attached to star and produce with Joel Silver (“Lethal Weapon”), who will be shopping the project to other companies. “Gypsy” has had a troubled development history dating back to STX motion picture group chairman Adam Fogelson‘s days as head of Universal Pictures. The studio spent years developing “Gypsy” — at one point Streisand planned to direct as well as star as the ultimate stage mother, Mama Rose — but put the project into. »
- Umberto Gonzalez
The studio will no longer distribute and co-finance the Barbra Streisand project about Momma Rose, according to reports.
According to Deadline Hollywood, the proposition became riskier for Stx after sources said financier Len Blavatnik pulled out of funding up to one-third of the $50m-plus production.
Richard Lagravenese adapted the screenplay from the Stephen Sondheim musical about a tough mother who drives the vaudeville careers of her two children, one of whom becomes the legendary striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
Clip It: Each day, Jon Davis looks at the world of trailers, featurettes and clips and puts it all in perspective. It's not usually surprising when a well known actor tries their hand at directing. They're already creative people, they spend all day on set, they have a lot of experience with the performance aspect of filmmaking, so it makes a lot of sense. Meg Ryan's directorial debut Ithaca is a little more unexpected because she's been around so long and hasn't done any high profile producing or much else on the other side of the camera until now. That doesn't mean she doesn't have the chops, it's really cool to see a well known creative person do something different. From my admittedly myopic standpoint, the only indication she had a yearning to break into new territory was her performance in Courage Under Fire. Cast way against type, Meg Ryan played a tough-as-nails, »
- Jon Davis
Having written more than 30 books, including the Pulitzer Prize winner American Pastoral, it is somewhat surprising that there haven’t been more film adaptations of Philip Roth’s work. Portnoy’s Complaint, Goodbye Columbus, The Human Stain and more recently Barry Levinson’s The Humbling have been among the few to make it to the screen. But this year with American Pastoral (October 21) and this week’s release of Indignation, Roth is a hot commodity in cinemas. As I say in… »
Based on the Jonathan Ames novel, the story follows Albert Votto (Nivola), a New York politician who finds himself at the center of a sinister web of organized crime. Ramsay will write and direct the film, which Amazon Studios is financing and distributing, and Page 114 is producing.
Garcia is writing and directing, as well as producing, along with Joshua Harto.
- Justin Kroll
Upticks in the volume or quality of movies about American politics aren’t particularly good news; historically, it’s a pretty reliable warning sign that things in the real world aren’t going so well. And so, in the 20 years since IndieWire launched, we’ve seen a barrage of great movies about American politics. Yay?
Watch enough of them, and it’s hard to imagine how this country actually functions (or endures). These films can form a grim echo chamber that might seem it leaves us with little to celebrate.
And yet, there’s real joy to be found if you know where to look. Many of these movies are comedies — our increasingly absurd times inspire increasingly absurd movies. “Wag the Dog” seemed like outlandish satire when it premiered in 1997, but 19 years later it feels like a stone’s throw away from the truth. On the other hand, if 1997 audiences »
- David Ehrlich, Chris O'Falt, Liz Shannon Miller, Ben Travers, Eric Kohn, Steve Greene, Kate Erbland, Zack Sharf, Kate Halliwell, Sarah Colvin, Russell Goldman and Anne Thompson
Two working mothers bonded about how they balance career and family, dealing with “mommy guilt” and the rules they set for themselves. There are no easy answers to any of those questions, even if you’re named Jennifer Lopez and Felicity Huffman. During their revealing conversation at Variety’s “Actors on Actors” studio, the stars of NBC’s “Shades of Blue” and ABC’s “American Crime” also talked about the challenges of playing complex characters who may not always do what’s right — and why they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jennifer Lopez: I think that as an actor the thing you want most is to work with talented writers, directors and get great material. We’re nothing without that.
Felicity Huffman: It’s all on the page and the stage.
Lopez: It’s so challenging to do hour-long dramas. It’s probably the hardest job in our field. »
- Debra Birnbaum
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