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5 items from 2016

Jim Belushi Joins Kate Winslet in Woody Allen’s New Movie

6 July 2016 9:55 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Jim Belushi will join Kate Winslet in the ensemble cast of Woody Allen’s next film.

The untitled film, written and directed by Allen, is a drama set in New York City in the late 1950s. Allen is producing with Letty Aronson and Edward Walson. The pic marks Allen’s 48th feature.

Allen’s “Cafe Society,” which opened the Cannes Film Festival, will be released by Lionsgate and Amazon in the U.S. on July 15. The film stars Kristen StewartJesse EisenbergBlake LivelySteve CarellParker Posey, Corey Stoll, Jeannie Berlin and Ken Stott.

Belushi toplines the upcoming thriller “The Whole Truth,” directed by Courtney Hunt and written by Nicholas Kazan. The film also stars Renee Zellweger, Keanu Reeves, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Gabriel Basso.

Belushi is repped by ICM Partners. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.


- Dave McNary

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From ‘The Bfg’ to ‘Matilda’: How 5 Roald Dahl Books Landed on the Big Screen

29 June 2016 4:19 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Roald Dahl famously loathed all the movie adaptations of his books, including the 1971 classic “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” starring Gene Wilder. So when the beloved author died in 1990, his widow Felicity (who goes by Liccy) was torn about what to do with his catalogue. It was a time, following the hit comedy “Home Alone,” where the major studios were vigorously chasing family-friendly tales, and many of Dahl’s stories fit the bill. But Liccy didn’t want celebrated bestsellers such as “Matilda” or “James and the Giant Peach” falling into the wrong hands.

Dahl’s publisher at Penguin Books set up a few meetings, and she eventually connected with literary agent Michael Siegel. They bonded right away. “I don’t want there to be bad movies,” Liccy told him. They came up with an unorthodox, boutique approach. “Rather than sell the stories directly to the studios, we would »

- Ramin Setoodeh

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Dan Mazer’s Rock Star Comedy ‘Stiff’ in the Works as Movie

22 February 2016 6:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Andras Hamori’s H2O Motion Pictures is launching development on the rock-star comedy “Stiff” and the thriller “American Solo,” Variety has learned exclusively.

“Stiff” is based on a script from Dan Mazer, the longtime writing and producing partner of Sacha Baron Cohen. The project centers on an ’80s rock star who falls into a 30-year coma and wakes to find the world and his family have moved on without him.

“Stiff” will be directed by Michael Dowse, whose most recent film was the Daniel Radcliffe-Zoe Kazan comedy-drama “What If.” Dowse will produce with Hamori and Jodi Cahn will exec produce.

“Stiff” will begin production in the summer/fall in London.

H2O has also optioned the film rights for the German novel “American Solo” by Katja Eichinger, prior to its English-language publication. The thriller follows the story of a famous musician who kidnaps his neighbor’s beautiful young »

- Dave McNary

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Tahar Rahim circling 'Official Secrets'

13 February 2016 5:30 AM, PST | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Plus: H2O Motun Pictures prepares production start on Herzl.

Tahar Rahim is circling the thriller Official Secrets, which The Solution Entertainment Group is selling in Berlin. The break-out from Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet joins Paul Bettany, Natalie Dormer, Martin Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, and Harrison Ford. Rahim is in talks to play the role of Yasar, whose journalist wife uncovers a plot by the Nsa to accelerate the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Production is scheduled to start in the UK in May. UTA Independent Film Group packaged the project and represents Us rights.

London and Toronto-based H2O Motion Pictures has announced its next film Herzl will start production in Vienna, Budapest, Istanbul, London, Paris and Jerusalem in autumn. Peter Medak will direct the story of Theodor Herzl, one of the foundes of modern Zionism, from a screenplay by Nicholas Kazan. Andras Hamori produces. »

- (Jeremy Kay)

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Berlin: Theodore Herzl Biopic Set with Peter Medak Directing (Exclusive)

12 February 2016 7:00 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

H2O Motion Pictures is producing the biopic “Herzl,” based on the life of political activist Theodore Herzl — one of the key players in the creation of the state of Israel — with a fall shoot planned, Variety has learned exclusively.

“Herzl” will shoot on location in Vienna, Budapest, Istanbul, London, Paris and Jerusalem. Hungarian-born Peter Medak, whose credits include “The Ruling Class” and “Let Him Have It,” will direct from a script by Nicholas Kazan, who received an Oscar nomination for “Reversal of Fortune.”

Andras Hamori, whose credits include “Sunshine,” “The Sweet Hereafter” and “Cheri,” is producing.

Set at the turn of the 20th century,”Herzl” follows the story of self-made political activist Theodor Herzl and his tumultuous family life with Viennese socialite Julie Naschauer. Herzl saw the solution to the “Jewish Question” in the creation of a new country and laid the groundwork for contemporary Israel.

Development began over four years ago, »

- Dave McNary

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