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Variety is reporting that Matt Damon has signed on to produce and star in Charlatan, a drama which will see him taking on the role of John R. Brinkley, an early 20th century doctor and con man who fooled his patients into believing that he had discovered the cure to impotence.
The film will be scripted by the writing team of Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Ocean’s Thirteen) and is based upon Pope Brock’s bestselling 2008 non-fiction book Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam. The official description for the book reads as follows:
In 1917, John R. Brinkley–America’s most brazen con man–introduced an outlandish surgical method for restoring fading male virility.
It was all nonsense, but thousands of eager customers quickly made “Dr.” Brinkley one of America’s richest men–and a national celebrity. The great »
- Gary Collinson
Charlatan: Matt Damon (Suburbicon, above) will star as a doctor turned con man in Charlatan. It's based on a book by Pope Brock, first published in 2008, that told the true story of a medical doctor in Kansas who fooled his patients into believing he had found a cure for impotence. Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Ocean’s Thirteen) will write the screenplay. [Variety] The Croods 2: A sequel to The Croods (above) has now set a theatrical release date. The Croods 2 will once again feature a prehistoric family as they grapple with a new challenge: another family. Returning members of the voice cast include Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman and Clark Duke. Leslie Mann will lend her vocal talents as well. Look for the...
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- Peter Martin
Charlatan: Matt Damon (Suburbicon, above) will star as a doctor turned con man in Charlatan. It's based on a book by Pope Brock, first published in 2008, that told the true story of a medical doctor in Kansas who fooled his patients into believing he had found a cure for impotence. Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Ocean’s Thirteen) will write the screenplay. [Variety] The Croods 2: A sequel to The Croods (above) has now set a theatrical release date. The Croods 2...
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Matt Damon has signed to take on real-life doctor John R. Brinkley in the independent drama Charlatan. Matt Damon will star as Brinkley, and also produce alongside his longtime partner Jennifer Todd through their Pearl Street Films company, with Kimberly Steward's K Period Media also joining in. Both Matt Damon and Kimberly Steward previously worked together in producing last year's Best Picture nominee Manchester-By-The-Sea.
Variety reports that the project will be based on the 2008 book "Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam," which was written by Pope Brock. The screenplay will be adapted by the writing team of Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Rounders, Billions). While there is no studio attached for this true story adaptation quite yet, Wme negotiated the deals with talent and will oversee worldwide sales for the film.
John R. Brinkley studied for two years at Bennett Medical College in Chicago, »
After headlining two movies that debuted on the fall festival circuit — “Suburbicon” and “Downsizing” — Matt Damon has found a new project. He’s set to star as John R. Brinkley, a real-life 20th century doctor who conned his patients into thinking that he had discovered the cure to impotence, in the drama “Charlatan,” Variety has learned.
The movie marks another collaboration for Damon as a producer with Kimberly Steward, who worked together behind-the-camera on the Oscar-winning drama “Manchester by the Sea.” Steward’s company K Period Media, which she launched in 2013 with a mandate to tell edgy stories, will co-produce the movie with Damon’s Pearl Street Films alongside Jennifer Todd.
Venice Film Review: ‘Suburbicon’
The independent film is based on a best-selling 2008 non-fiction book, “Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam,” by Pope Brock. The screenplay will be adapted by the writing team of Brian Koppelman and »
- Ramin Setoodeh
The action on “Billions” takes place on Wall Street, but the masterminds of the Showtime drama are more comfortable working out of digs in the West Village. Brian Koppelman and David Levien, co-creators and showrunners, haven’t been in the space for long, but there are a few cherished mementos representing their partnership.
Koppelman and Levien met as teenagers — Brian was 16, David was 14½ — when they were sent on a summer bus tour of the American West. “That was the summer the two of us became like brothers,” Koppelman says. In a Jackson Hole, Wyo., tourist trap, after knowing each other a week, the two donned Old West garb and props for a sepia-tone photo that has survived the years. Levien points out that Koppelman is pointing a gun at him. “I don’t think the two guys in that picture ever imagined that hanging out would become our job,” Koppelman »
- Cynthia Littleton
The WGA East and several New York City agencies have set the inaugural group of fellows for its Made in NY Writers Room initiative designed to help open doors for aspiring writers from diverse backgrounds.
After the program was unveiled last fall, the guild and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (Mome) and other agencies were flooded with nearly 500 script submissions. All of those submissions received feedback notes from the WGA East member. Another 170 received a second round of notes. A total of 30 finalists were selected, and the 12 fellows were chosen from that pool.
The fellows comprise 11 individuals and one writing team. They will earn a $15,000 stipend for taking part in the six-month fellowship that will include mentoring sessions, networking and professional development opportunities. The program is part of a broader push by Mome to create more talent-nurturing activities to capitalize in the spike in production in the state.
- Cynthia Littleton
Author: James Kleinmann
The lineup for the first Split Screens TV festival in New York which runs at the IFC Center from 2nd – 8th June 2017 has just been announced.
With high-profile filmmakers and actors working in television now the norm and the current wealth of celebrated series, showcasing episodes along with their casts and creators has become an increasingly important aspect of major film festivals. Despite the likes of Tribeca 2017 creating an entire programme strand for television, the natural focus of festival press coverage tends to remains on film, so it’s great to see more festivals emerge like Spilt Screens which are devoted purely to television.
Curated by critic Matt Zoller Seitz, the weeklong Spilt Screens festival comprises special events, panels and screenings and launches with the world premiere of HBO’s ’70s set drama ‘The Deuce’, with producer and co-star Maggie Gyllenhaal in attendance.
Other guests taking to »
- James Kleinmann
“Billions” cashed in big with its Season 2 finale, with the Sunday night episode outperforming both the Season 1 finale and the Season 2 premiere.
According to Nielsen data, the Season 2 finale drew in an estimated 1.02 million viewers, airing at 10 p.m. on Showtime. The season premiere averaged 753,000 viewers in its initial airing, meaning this season’s finale improved on the premiere by 35%. It also managed to edge out the Season 1 finale, which drew 1.01 million viewers back in April 2016. Across multiple airings, the Season 2 finale managed 1.32 million viewers for the night. Based on eight weeks of available data, the second season is averaging 4.6 million viewers per episode across multiple platforms.
This season of the critically-acclaimed series picked up shortly after the events of the explosive Season 1 finale. U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis) will stop at nothing to settle their personal war. But both men will have to contend with »
- Joe Otterson
“What do the words ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ mean to you regarding the awards?” “Billions” star Asia Kate Dillon recalled asking the Television Academy when they were deciding whether to submit under supporting actor or supporting actress for this year’s Emmy Awards.
Dillon, who identifies as gender non-binary (using the pronouns they, their, and them) and plays a non-binary character on the hit Showtime drama, eventually chose to submit in the supporting actor category after learning from the Television Academy that “any performer can enter either category for any reason.” Dillon, who plays Taylor Mason, a financial genius who becomes a potent weapon for Damian Lewis’ hedge fund king Bobby Axelrod, also mentioned a definition they learned for the term “actor,” which, in the late 1500s was often referenced as a non-gender and non-sex word.
“I’ve been aware of binaries in awards systems since I’ve been aware of awards ceremonies,” Dillon »
- Jason Pham
The panel for Showtime’s Billions’ at Deadline's The Contenders Emmys began with some news: Asia Kate Dillion, who plays introspective financial whiz Taylor Mason, has been upped to a series regular for Season 3. The performer helped deliver the news along with fellow panelists — creator/executive producers/showrunners Brian Koppelman and David Levien and Maggie Siff. "We're thrilled to say that going forward Dillion is going to be a series regular on Season 3," said… »
Showrunners David Levien and Brian Koppelman auditioned cis, trans and gender non-binary actors for the role, and cast Dillon after the third audition. Dillon’s performance not only inspired the writers to give Dillon more to do, but also impressed everyone on set. “Our cast and crew, basically to a person, all came up to us after Asia’s first day with the general attitude of ‘holy s–t that person is amazing,'” report the creators. “And that only grew throughout the season.”
That the star would be a contender for the upcoming Emmy Awards is a given — but when Showtime asked which category Dillon wanted to be submitted under, Dillon had to give it some thought. The »
- Debra Birnbaum
The Uber driver can’t come fast enough for John Singleton.
At the Lot complex just off Formosa, Singleton is working with longtime collaborators on the sound mix and other post-production touches for the two-hour telepic that will introduce “Rebel” on March 28. In a nutshell, the series, Singleton explains, is “ ‘Shaft’ with a black woman.”
After reviewing the progress on “Rebel,” Singleton, 49, hurries out to the street, searching for the Uber while talking a blue streak, punctuated by a distinctive high-pitched giggle when he really wants to make a point. He’s revved up about the promise of the series and the breakout potential of his star, Danielle Moné Truitt.
“I call it film noir with neo soul, neo »
- Cynthia Littleton
“‘Billions’ continues to be a show on the rise, growing not only in audience, but in critical buzz and cultural relevance,” said David Nevins, president and CEO of Showtime Networks Inc. “It offers a unique mix of pure entertainment with sly commentary on our current have/have-not economy. Season 2 is off to a tremendous start, and has only whetted our audience’s appetite for what will come in Season 3.”
Season 2, currently airing, picked up immediately after the Season 1 finale. Hard-charging U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Giamatti) squares off against billionaire hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Lewis), scorching the earth in a costly war for personal domination. The series explores the dynamic in the battle of law versus money, with power, sex, and the soul of New York in the »
- Oriana Schwindt
A version of this story originally appeared on EW.com.
If you were to guess which TV series would be the first major program to introduce a gender non-binary regular character, Showtime’s Billions probably wouldn’t leap to mind. The high-finance drama is hyper-focused on the dueling testosterone-soaked worlds of Axe Capital hedge fund (led by Damien Lewis’ scheming Bobby Axelrod) and the Southern District of New York’s U.S. Attorney’s office (commanded by Paul Giamatti’s growling Charles Rhoades).
- James Hibberd
“Billions” showrunners Brian Koppelman and David Levien teased Season 2, saying that the dynamic between the two main characters is about to change. “We reset the dynamic a little bit, where Axe is taking the offensive and Chuck finds himself under siege,” Levien told TheWrap. “Of course, the show never goes in a straight line. It zigs and zags quite a lot, then they have to work from there.” Season 2 picks up immediately after the explosive Season 1 finale, which ended in a head-to-head confrontation between U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and billionaire hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis). Also Read:. »
- Joe Otterson
Welcome to Remote Controlled, Variety’s podcast series featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.
This week’s episode features Variety executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum and chief TV critic Maureen Ryan in conversation with “Billions” creators and executive producers Brian Koppelman and David Levien, as well as stars Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti.
In the second season of “Billions,” which arrives on Sunday, Chuck Rhoades comes out swinging — in more ways than one, according to Giamatti, who plays the federal prosecutor.
Partly in reaction to various crises in his life, including his ongoing battle with hedge fund magnate Bobby Axelrod (Lewis), Chuck takes up jiu jitsu early in Season 2.
His training at the gym “becomes metaphorical for him and for the show,” says Giamatti, who notes that Chuck learns from the martial art “that you can win from a position of vulnerability.”
- Maureen Ryan
The Vogue editor-in-chief was among the high net worth guests who turned out to toast the Wall Street-themed drama’s Feb. 19 return on Showtime. Knicks coach Phil Jackson and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft also made the rounds at the screening and party, appropriately held at the venue across the street from Wall Street’s iconic charging bull sculpture.
Showtime CEO David Nevins gave a shout-out to co-creators and showrunners Brian Koppelman and David Levien for their deft touch in delivering the “Billions” mix of sudsy drama and heady commentary on the 1% and their discontents. The show’s already large ensemble cast — anchored by Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff and Malin Akerman — has been enhanced this year with such notable additions as Eric Bogosian, Christopher Denham »
- Cynthia Littleton
A selection of new TV promos have arrived on this week, giving us a look at the upcoming shows Beyond, Trial & Error, 24: Legacy, Chicago Justice, along with the second seasons of Billions and The Magicians; check them out here…
“Beyond” is a one-hour drama about Holden, a young man who wakes up from a coma after 12 years and discovers new abilities that propel him into the middle of a dangerous conspiracy. Now Holden must try and figure out what happened to him during those 12 years; how to survive a world that changed while he was gone; and answer the question, why did this happen to him?
Trial & Error is your new weekly addiction. A serialized murder-mystery comedy from Jeff Astrof (Ground Floor, Friends) and Matt Miller (Forever, Chuck), this documentary-style single-camera series goes into the heart of a quirky, small Southern town to follow the arrest and murder trial »
- Amie Cranswick
“My character, and in some ways the show, is less Mussolini and more Machiavelli,” Paul Giamatti said when asked about “Billions” Season 2 during Showtime’s TCA panel presentation for the high-rated drama. And by that, he means the characters will be “less brutal and more strategic” in the upcoming episodes.
“You see vulnerabilities in them,” co-star Damian Lewis added. “These vulnerabilities and frailties become burdensome in trying to win this game.”
The game Lewis refers to is the winner-takes-all throw-down between Chuck Rhodes, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, an aggressive hedge fund manager who Rhodes suspects is corrupt. Much of Season 1 focused on the two waging war against each other, as Axe attempted to grow his empire and Rhodes aimed to expose Axe in order to destroy him.
But in Season 2, things are intensifying at work and at home for both men… »
- Ben Travers
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