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The production surrounding Scott Cooper’s Black Mass has been a bit of a doozy. The movie has been in the works for a while now, first with Barry Levinson at the helm before it hit a few roadblocks. Production shut down completely last May over a salary dispute with Johnny Depp, then started up again earlier this month with Depp firmly back in place as the lead. However, Levinson got left behind and was replaced with Cooper, who then brought on Tom Hardy for a supporting role. Now, we have word that the film finally has a release date, but has lost Hardy and replaced him with Joel Edgerton (who was cast in Hardy’s part originally). Phew! Still with us?
- James Garcia
Twice in the past five years Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson has attempted to make a film about a real-life gangster – Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father and then Black Mass – and on each separate occasion the respective project has hit a roadblock, only to begin moving forward again, with a new director. The latter crime/biopic is now progressing at a pace to reach the finish line (read: hit theaters) next year.
Black Mass is about Whitey Bulger, the infamous Boston crime boss who spent decades eliminating the competition by ratting them out to the FBI – in part through his childhood friend-turned federal agent John ...
- Sandy Schaefer
Just weeks after star Johnny Depp was confirmed to star in Black Mass, Warner Bros. has signed on to co-finance and distribute the James 'Whitey' Bulger biopic. The studio is eyeing an October 2015 release slot.
Our report from earlier this month also revealed that Tom Hardy was in talks to co-star as FBI agent John Connolly, a childhood friend of Bulger who helped the gangster get rid of his competition. However, Joel Edgerton, who was initially attached to play Connolly when Barry Levinson was set to direct, has come back to take on the role. Oddly enough, Johnny Depp was also attached to the first incarnation of this project, although he dropped out in May, reportedly because he was holding out for more money. The actor re-entered negotiations in December.
Johnny Depp's latest mafia movie seems to be set to go with Warner Bros helping on the money side of things. According to a report from Deadline, Depp-as-Whitey-Bulger is moving forward in the Scott Cooper-directed film, "Black Mass." Depp previously starred in the based-on-a-true-story mafia film "Donnie Brasco" back in 1997, a movie directed by Mike Newell and also featuring Al Pacino. "Black Mass" looks to have Depp potentially star opposite Joel Edgerton as FBI agent John Connolly. At one point, this movie was in the works with Barry Levinson attached to direct, but the deal fell through. Whitey Bulger was a Boston mob boss who worked as an informant for the FBI, but used information from the government to remove his competition. He ended up on the run for a number of years before being caught in 2011 and sentenced to life in prison. Warner Bros. is co-financing the »
- HitFix Staff
Ambi Pictures, the Rome-based film production and finance company, has formed a new international sales division.
Following a trial run at the Efm in Berlin ealier this month, Ambi will now handle worldwide sales on the films it produces, starting with the recently completed action thriller Sights of Death, which was financed and produced by Ambi and stars Danny Glover, Daryl Hannah, Rutger Hauer, Stephen Baldwin and Michael Madsen.
Abmi bosses Monika Bacardi and Andrea Iervolino said: “We feel we are in a great position to grow the company, establish a significant footprint in the global film arena and ultimately build a strong brand as we bring high quality commercial feature films to the marketplace.”
The move will dovetail with its burgeoning production arm, which plans to produce eight feature films in 2014.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
Movies frequently use 'casinos' as important settings in their stories, with the excitement of 'poker' games contributing to the thrill of those gaming sequences.
In the film, superspy Bond plays a high stakes poker game against evil terrorist 'Le Chiffre', who has his sights on a large pot that he plans to use, to fund his international criminal activities.
A plan which Bond tries his best to foil, with the last hand of the game showing Bond with a hand that doesn't amount to much.
However, in true '007' fashion, Bond wins the hand and (again), saves the world from tyranny.
Many movies set in the 'Old West' also rely on casino scenes, including the 1939 feature "Sunset Trail", also focusing on a high stakes poker game.
During the sequence, the main character has »
- Michael Stevens
In its second deal at Berlin for a film in pre-production, Open Road Films has picked up U.S. distribution rights to the thriller “The Tank.”
Kellie Madison is directing from her own script, with the story set in an isolation tank designed to simulate the lengthy trip to Mars. Production is set to begin in April in Ohio.
The deal was announced Tuesday at Berlin, five days after Open Road acquired domestic distribution rights to Barry Levinson’s upcoming “Rock the Kasbah,” starring Bill Murray as a has-been manager in Afghanistan.
News of the deal was first reported by Deadline.com.
- Dave McNary
Director: John Boorman
Writer: John Boorman
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available
The octogenarian director is still going strong, though this is his first feature since 2006’s The Tiger’s Tail. We’re thinking this historical piece sounds exactly like Boorman’s cup of tea, whose more recent dabblings in John Le Carre land or the South African set In My Country didn’t quite win raves. Instead, this recalls something like his semiautobiographical 1987 film, Hope and Glory.
Gist: An Englishman who grew up in London during World War II joins the military to fight in the Korean War. br>
Release Date: Boorman’s last stint at Cannes was in 1998 for The General, for which he won Best Director. Chances are slim that we’ll see him there again, look for it »
- Nicholas Bell
Director: Barry Levinson
Writer: Mitch Glazer
U.S. Distributor: Open Road Films
In the 80′s, Barry Levinson appropriated restaurant lingo and male-bounding (Diner) , added some funk to the political process (Wag the Dog) and in the naughts has worked in docu, television, and The Bay, his low-budget genre film. An interesting mix of players and a quasi-return to American foreign policy has got us curious.
Gist: This tells the story of Richie Vance, a has-been rock manager (Murray) who takes his last remaining client (Willis) on a Uso tour of Afghanistan. When Richie finds himself in Kabul, abandoned, penniless and without his passport, he discovers a young girl with an extraordinary voice and manages her through Afghanistan’s version of “American Idol”, the wildly popular “Afghan Star. »
- Eric Lavallee
Director: James Ponsoldt
Writers: Donald Margulies
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available
The success of The Spectacular Now created quite a flurry of new projects for James Ponsoldt, including a highly anticipated biopic on Hilary Rodham Clinton and several other projects. But it looks as if his next film will be this, set to film this spring with recent announcements that Jason Segel would star as the Infinite Jest author alongside Jesse Eisenberg. We’re hoping this wraps up in time for a release at the end of the year.
Gist: A magazine reporter recounts his travels and conversations with author David Foster Wallace during a promotional book tour.. br>
Release Date: While we’re hoping to see this out at the end of 2014 and at a major film fest, but there’s a »
- Nicholas Bell
First he was on board. Then there was a deal disagreement and for a while there, it appeared that Johnny Depp wouldn’t end up playing notorious Boston gangster Whitey Bulger. Now, thanks to some fresh overtures and the presence of Crazy Heart’s Scott Cooper in the director’s chair, Depp has signed on to star as Bulger in Black Mass, with the producers talking to Tom Hardy about playing corrupt FBI agent and long-time Bulger friend John Connolly.This one was first floated back in early 2013, with Barry Levinson directing and Depp in discussions to play Bulger from a script by Mark Mallouk. That in turn was adapted from Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill’s book, subtitled The True Story Of An Unholy Alliance Between The FBI and The Irish Mob. The film will track Bulger’s life, masterminding a violent gang in Boston while also reportedly »
Here's the latest word on acquisitions at the European Film Market in Berlin: The Weinstein Company has acquired U.S. rights to Morten Tyldum's The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as mathematician Alan Turing, for a reported record of $7 million. RADiUS-twc has acquired U.S. rights to Joe Lynch's action thriller, Everly, starring Salma Hayek, Togo Igawa, Masashi Fujimoto, and Hiroyuki Watanabe. Open Road has acquired U.S. rights to the Barry Levinson comedy, Rock the Kasbah, starring Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Danny McBride, Shia Labeouf, and Zooey Deschanel. Hit the jump for more on each picture. First up from Deadline comes news of the record-breaking acquisition purchase of rights to The Imitation Game by The Weinstein Company. Cumberbatch stars as "Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. »
- Dave Trumbore
The biopic tells the story of Boston mob kingpin Whitey Bulge of The Winter Hill Gang.
Hardy is linked to the role of FBI Agent John Connolly, a childhood friend of Bulger's who reveals inside information, according to Deadline.
Bulger topped the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List before disappearing for a decade. He was arrested in California in 2011.
One of the most recent troubled productions in Hollywood, it looks like Black Mass is finally going into production this summer.
Johnny Depp (The Lone Ranger) had long been rumoured to be involved in the film, with Barry Levinson (Rain Man) set to direct and Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby) set to co-star. But after years of production issues, which saw both Levinson and Edgerton leave the project, it looks like finally the film will roll under the direction of Scott Cooper, acclaimed director of Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace, which is in cinemas now.
Depp is confirmed for the film to star as Whitey Bulger, one the FBI's most-wanted men and leader of The Winter Hill Gang, who was involved in racketeering and murder. In a strange turn of events, Bulger was also an FBI informant. But after being told by his childhood friend turned FBI agent John Connelly, »
- Gary Collinson
While it’s still to be seen how Bill Murray will “Rock the Kasbah,” he certainly rocked a crowd of international distributors at a Berlin reception Friday, with director Barry Levinson and sales agent Qed Intl.’s Bill Block in attendance.
Open Road Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights, in a deal clinched Wednesday in Berlin. It will give “Kasbah” a wide release, Block said.
Murray, dubbed “the Murricane” by Block, plays a has-been rock manager on tour in Afghanistan discovering a young Afghan girl whom he tutors through that country’s version of “American Idol.” Producers said they will cast an authentic Afghan singer.
Joking about his co-stars Murray said to laughs: “Bruce Willis is fun. He’s a very generous guy, he shows up with bottles of wine. Zooey Deschanel, she’s a big TV star now, but I knew her when she was just a nice person. »
- John Hopewell
An adaptation of the Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob has been in the works for some time now, always intending to have Johnny Depp play the centerpiece role of mob boss Whitey Bulger (the character that Jack Nicholson played in The Departed was loosely based on Bulger, just so you know). Barry Levinson was initially going to be in the director’s chair, with Depp having Joel Edgerton as his main co-star. That never came to pass though, with some reports indicating that Depp wanted more money than was being offered. He officially dropped out at one point, but now that the film has a new director in Scott Cooper, it seems that Depp is back in for this. At this moment at least, Black Mass is a go. This time around, »
- Joey Magidson
After a number of problems in pre-production (Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson dropping out, Johnny Depp exiting over pay), the fact-based organised crime pic Black Mass is now moving ahead with Out Of The Furnace’s Scott Cooper at the helm and Johnny Depp officially all signed up and back onboard. The film, based on the 2001 non-fiction novel ’Black Mass: The True Story Of An Unholy Alliance Between The FBI And The Irish Mob’ by Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill, is being joint produced by Cross Creek and Exclusive Media.
Black Mass will chart the rise infamous hoodlum Whitey Bulger from low-level street thug to FBI’s most wanted after the Boston-based kingpin was allowed to continue his ruthless reign of crime despite playing snitch for the law. However, he disappeared for over a decade after being linked to racketeering, money laundering, extortion and murder during his time as an informant. »
- Craig Hunter
Berlin – Bill Murray provided a bit of levity for foreign buyers in Berlin on Friday, confessing that he's basically a "very lazy person" who doesn't like to leave his house and work. However, when he does, he works hard. Take the Berlin Film Festival, where Murray is on hand for the premiere for two of his films, Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel and George Clooney's World War II comedy-drama The Monuments Men. He is also here to tout his upcoming music-filled comedy Rock the Kasbah, from director Barry Levinson. Story: Berlin: Wes Anderson Reveals His Inspirations for
- Pamela McClintock
Just last month we learned Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace director Scott Cooper was in talks to take over Universal's gangster film Black Mass, the story of Boston crime kingpin Whitey Bulger. Previously, Johnny Depp and director Barry Levinson were going to bring the project to the big screen, but they both fell away from the project. But when Cooper got involved with the film, Depp circled back to the project and Deadline has confirmed that he's closed a deal to lead the film. But this time, instead of Joel Edgerton taking the pivotal supporting role of John Connolly, the FBI agent and childhood pal of Bulger, a different name has emerged. Read on! Right now Tom Hardy is in early talks to play the FBI agent who now sits in prison for tipping Bulger that he was about to be indicted, helping him elude the law for »
- Ethan Anderton
Not that long ago, the Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass was all set to star Johnny Depp and Joel Edgerton, with Barry Levinson at the helm; then the film shut down, and the whole thing seemed dead in the water for a good long while. Proving that you can’t keep a good film buried for too long, Black Mass has returned in force, with Depp officially in place to star and a replacement director in the form of Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace).
Black Mass is based on the book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, by Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill, with a script by Mark Mallouk. Depp is now confirmed for his starring role and Tom Hardy is reportedly in early talks to play opposite. Depp will be Whitey Bulger, the Boston mobster who »
- Lauren Humphries-Brooks
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