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Producer Cassian Elwes (“The Butler,” Werner Herzog’s “Queen of the Desert”) has boarded Guillermo Amoedo’s “Eli Roth Presents The Stranger,” produced by Eli Roth, Nicolas López and Miguel Asensio, that has just won the first Blood Window Best Ibero-American Prize at Spain’s Sitges Festival, Europe’s biggest genre fest meet.
CAA and Elwes will represent U.S. rights to the “The Stranger”; Elwes will also take an executive producer credit on the supernatural thriller.
In another deal, Arianne Fraser’s L.A.-based Highland Film Group (Hfg), which successfully sold Eugenio Dérbez’s “Instructions Not Included” around the world, has acquired international sales rights to the directorial debut of Uruguay-born but Chile-based Amoedo, a co-scribe on López’s “Aftershock” and Roth’s positively-received cannibal adventure “The Green Inferno” and upcoming “Knock Knock,” Roth’s first non-horror movie, with Keanu Reeves.
Blood Window, the genre mart of Latin America mart-meet Ventana Sur, »
- John Hopewell
Misty Upham found dead in Seattle suburb (photo: Misty Upham and Juliette Lewis) Actress Misty Upham, who had gone missing since October 6, 2014, was found dead on Thursday, October 16, in a wooded area along the White River in suburban Seattle. The cause and time of death remain unclear. Best known for her roles in Frozen River, which earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination, and August: Osage County, Upham was 32. According to a statement her father, Charles Upham, sent to media outlets, Misty Upham was last seen on October 5, walking from her sister's apartment in Muckleshoot, Washington. Her father added that she suffered from bipolar disorder and had bouts of depression and anxiety — she had gone missing in the past — but said he didn't believe she was suicidal. "The truth is Misty is not stressed over money or career. Her career is going great," he wrote last Sunday, October 12. "As her »
- Anna Robinson
Jeremy Renner is a busy man these days, balancing bigger stuff like Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Bourne Legacy with more character-centric turns in American Hustle and his new film, Kill the Messenger (which he also produced). Kill the Messenger is based on the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Gary Webb (Renner), whose life was ruined when he linked the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California. His investigation not only threatened to ruin his career, but also his life and the life of his family. For more on Kill the Messenger (which I thought was really well done), watch the trailer. I recently landed an extended interview with Renner. He talked about making Kill the Messenger, the last time he had to audition, what it's really like working with David O. Russell, his craft, the worldwide success of »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Stylish and subversive, filled with dark humor and depictions of brutality that ignited a nationwide debate about violence in the movies, Fight Club was a jolt to the status quo of the studio picture when it came out on October 15, 1999. 15 years after the release of David Fincher’s compelling, controversial masterpiece, it remains heralded as one of the first great films of the 21st century. (Yes, it came out at the end of the 20th century, but the moment it defined lasted well into the 2000s.)
Fight Club was a movie of its moment, with a story, characters and themes that fed into the fear and hysteria of a consumer-driven culture and the emasculated psyche of American society. A decade and a half after its release, some of the references and ideas are dated, but the visceral energy and sharp wit have not blunted one bit. It remains a powerful, »
- Jordan Adler
The earlier the vote, the greater the risk that crucial year-end titles won't be screened on time. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Los Angeles Film Critics also face similar deadlines. The deadline for Golden Globes screenings is December 3, and their nomination announcement is on December 11. Last year the Lafca waited to vote until December 8. This year the Nyfcc Gala Awards dinner will be held on Monday, January 5, 2015 at the Tao Downtown. New additions to the group are Scott Foundas of Variety and Pulitzer prize-winner Wesley Morris of Grantland. While the Nyfcc has an impact on the course of the Oscar nominations, it is by no means predictive, as you can see from last year's awards: Best Picture: "American Hustle"Best Director: Steve McQueen "12 Years a Slave"Best Screenplay: Eric Singer & David O. Russell " American Hustle" Best Actress: Cate Blanchett "Blue Jasmine" Best Actor: Robert »
- Anne Thompson
The last time someone adapted a Matthew Quick novel, the result was David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, which picked up eight Oscar nominations and won one for Jennifer Lawrence’s performance. So hopes are naturally high for another of Quick’s books, with Sam Raimi entering talks to tackle Love May Fail.Producer Matt Tolmach, who worked with Raimi on his Spider-Man trilogy, has snapped up the rights to Quick’s tome, due on shelves next year. Mike White is busy adapting the novel, which follows a woman recovering from the tough end of her marriage to a cheating husband. In an effort to worry about bigger things, she returns to her hometown to clear the name of her old favourite teacher, who has been forced out of his job after a scandal.Raimi has other irons in the fire right now, acting as producer on Knifeman and »
Sam Raimi may have found his next project and it will be in a genre he hasn't worked in for some time. Sony is in talks with the Spider-man and Army Of Darkness director to helm the adaptation of Matthew Quick's novel Love May Fail. Quick is best known for his book Silver Linings Playbook which was adapted into David O. Russell's award-winning feature starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Love May Fail will return Raimi to the real of drama and romance, one he last visited in the »
- Alex Maidy
How do you solve a problem like “Serena”? That, at least, is the question industry watchers have been asking about Danish helmer Susanne Bier’s mysteriously withheld American feature — which, despite wrapping in 2012 with the enticing star duo of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, has sat on the shelf ever since. With the film finally out in the open, the question is no easier to answer: An arrestingly nihilistic Depression melodrama, marked by courageous performances and exquisite production values, this story of a timber-industry power couple undone by financial and personal corruption nonetheless boasts neither a narrative impetus nor a perceptible objective. The result is both problematic and fascinating, an unsympathetic spiral of human tragedy that plays a little like a hand-me-down folk ballad put to film. It’s not hard to see why a U.S. distributor has been slow to step forward.
Magnolia Pictures, sister outfit of the »
- Guy Lodge
It was not meant to be a roast, but there was certainly some ribbing happening at the Friars Foundation’s annual gala honoring Robert De Niro and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim on Oct. 7 at the recently sold Waldorf Astoria.
A parade of industryites appeared in-person and via video including David O. Russell, Sharon Stone, Christopher Walken, Martin Scorsese, Orlando Bloom, Billy Crystal, Barbra Streisand and Don Rickles. All paid tribute to thesp, who received the Friars Club’s fifth-ever Icon Award.
Sting, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin also serenaded De Niro and Slim, who took home the Icon Award for Philanthropy. Warren Buffett, in a pre-recorded video alongside Paul Anka, sang a rendition of “My Way” to Slim.
As the event’s emcee, Larry King (Friars’ Dean) attempted to keep the crowd — full of old men and their model/drag queen dates — in check by “shushing” the room several times. »
- Addie Morfoot
Sneak Peek new images of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, plus a revealing video of her posing for the shoot, from the latest issue of "Vanity Fair" magazine, available October 14, 2014, photographed by Patrick Demarchelier and styled by Jessica Diehl:
Besides her continued representation of the "Dior" fashion line, Lawrence will star in and produce the film adaptation of author Claire Bidwell Smith's memoir "The Rules of Inheritance", to be directed by Susanne Bier. She will also star in the adaptation of the novel "East of Eden" for director Gary Ross, based on author John Steinbeck's novel.
Lawrence will also star in "Burial Rites", a film adaptation of author Hannah Kent's debut novel, followed by the film "The Ends of the Earth", described as a fact-based love story about a powerful oil tycoon caught in an affair.
Lawrence will also play 'Jeannette Walls' in the film adaptation »
- Michael Stevens
Perhaps the least interesting thing about Megan Ellison, Gigi Pritzker and Molly Smith is that these game-changing film financiers happen to be the scions of three of America’s wealthiest families — a status that’s more Trivial Pursuit factoid than it is relevant to their dramatic impact on the current indie movie scene. Indeed, there is a long history of private-sector capitalists who gambled on the film business, from Howard Hughes in the 1940s to the more recent likes of industrialist Steven Rales and fashion magnate Sidney Kimmel — flirtations of varying lengths and intensity, but ultimately, in almost every case, a passing fancy.
What sets Ellison, Pritzker and Smith apart is that the movie business is their business, as well as their all-consuming passion. Financiers they may be, but they’re also creative, hands-on producers with dirt under their fingernails, many notches in their belts, and a keen understanding of »
- Scott Foundas
By Anjelica Oswald
The conversation surrounding potential supporting actress nominees includes some names familiar to the Oscar race, such as Meryl Streep (Into the Woods), and some that could be nominated for the first time, such as Emma Stone (Birdman). The list of potential contenders also includes Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) and Rene Russo (Nightcrawler), two ladies that have flown under the radar since the 90s but could mark their return with first-time Oscar nominations.
Arquette’s role as the mother in Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, a film that chronicles 12 years in a young boy’s (played by Ellar Coltrane) life as he grows up in a divorced household, has been generating Oscar buzz since the film premiered at Sundance. Arquette was involved in a few projects during those 12 years of filming, which was possible due to the sporadic nature of shooting, only three to four days a year. »
- Anjelica Oswald
Does Netflix have Eric Cartman’s Awesome-o working in their studios? You remember; he was the lovable robot who could invent Adam Sandler movies out of thin air, like “Adam Sandler falls in love with a Golden Retriever” or “Adam Sandler is stranded on an island and falls in love with a coconut.” If so, that robot has led them to sign a deal with Sandler’s Happy Madison productions to produce and distribute four films, all of which Sandler will star in and produce. Additionally, Netflix will bankroll each of the films, the budget of which on previous Sandler films have averaged roughly $80 million (though where that money goes in the budget is anyone’s guess). This comes days after news that Netflix’s first feature would be the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel.
Sandler commented typically tastefully in a statement via THR, saying, “When these fine people came »
- Brian Welk
Reese Witherspoon may be the most famous face in The Good Lie, but the film's real stars are the actors who play the four Sudanese immigrants at the heart of the story: Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, and Kuoth Wiel. Set during the Second Sudanese Civil War, which raged from 1983 to 2005, the film follows four children who survive the slaughter and then walk 800 miles to a refugee camp in Kenya. Though only two are biologically related, they become the only family any of them know, and 13 years later, they immigrate to the U.S. as part of the group »
- Nicole Sperling
The cast of "The Good Lie" came by the HitFix studios this week so we could sit down to discuss the work they did in the film, and the way the movie manages to avoid some of Hollywood's most irritating bad habits. First up, I spoke with Arnold Oceng and Kuoth Wiel. Oceng is the film's ostensible lead, although I think it's a fairly balanced movie overall in terms of the way it treats its ensemble cast. He's also the one cast member of the four main refugees with the most acting experience, and unsurprisingly, he was fairly poised in our interview. Both Ger Duany and Emmanuel Jal have made documentaries about their experiences as Sudanese refugees, and they've built careers for themselves as artists as well. Jal is a rapper and musician, and Duany's been in other films, including "I Heart Huckabees." Anyone who can survive being a child »
- Drew McWeeny
If I had a massive fortune to play with, I would probably do what Megan Ellison has been doing with her production company Annapurna. She gives out decently sized budgets to filmmakers with a vision, resulting in some terrific films like Her and Zero Dark Thirty. It makes me happy producers out there are still willing to develop and make films with a unique point of view, even if they do not always appeal to me (i.e. Spring Breakers). Last year, Annapurna teamed up with David O. Russell for American Hustle, a film that was met with a lot of backlash that I still thoroughly enjoyed (it even made my top 10 of last year). Well, it looks as if the Russell/Ellison working relationship was a good one because Russell has signed up for a two-picture deal with Annapurna. There is no word yet on what those projects will end up being, »
- Mike Shutt
Megan Ellison will stop at nothing until David O. Russell wins that Best Director Oscar. Ok, maybe that sounds a little desperate, but after throwing Russell the cash to make his swinging crime picture "American Hustle," Ellison appears even more invested in the writer-director's future. Word comes from Deadline that the artistic patron has made a two-picture deal with Russell through her company, Annapurna Pictures. Since its 2011 inception, Annapurna has financed passion projects from notable filmmakers in a la carte fashion. Ellison swooped in to save films like Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" and Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher," while nurturing ambitious scripts from the get go, like Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty," Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers," Spike Jonze's "Her." A two-picture deal is a first for the company, a promise to back whatever Russell wants to do. What could be the next Annapurna/Russell collaboration? This past January, »
- Matt Patches
Fox offered a peek at its “Exodus: Gods and Kings” for the media at the Zanuck Theater, where Christian Bale told the audience it’s very different from previous versions of the tale. “You can’t out-Heston Charlton Heston,” he deadpanned, adding that the Moses here is “a troubled and tumultuous man.”
The preview consisted of eight scenes from the film, adding up to 37 minutes. Producer Jenno Topping provided context between the scenes, and while she emphasized the complexity of Moses, the biggest take-away was the complexity of the production.
Judging by the footage, the Ridley Scott-helmed epic falls into the “they don’t make ‘em like that anymore” category, with big battle scenes and aerial panoramas of ancient cities, rustic settlements and military camps, all rendered in 3D CGI glory. And the footage really shifted into high gear with the depiction of four of the 10 plagues. (Spoiler alert: The locusts steal the show. »
- Tim Gray
While We’re Young
Written and directed by Noah Baumbach
At age 45, it feels like writer-director Noah Baumbach is getting soft. Best known for his caustic tragicomedies like Kicking and Screaming, The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg, and Margot at the Wedding, he took a turn in tone for his 2012 feature Frances Ha, which starred and was co-written by Greta Gerwig. So, though the warmth of that film might surprise someone familiar with his work, that it’s a collaboration with Gerwig explains at least part of that tone. While We’re Young, though, Baumbach’s newest film which premiered at Tiff this year and made a surprise appearance at the New York Film Festival, manages to carry that affection. It’s hard to top Frances Ha, but his newest is pleasant and impressive all the same.
- Kyle Turner
Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper must like each other a lot. They’ve appeared together in three movies almost in a row: “Silver Linings Playbook,” “American Hustle” and now the upcoming and long-delayed “Serena” (which was actually shot before the 'Hustle', the 2nd David O. Russell collaboration, after 'Playbook'). “Jennifer is such a wonderful girl. We’ve had so much fun working together and I’m so proud of her success,” Cooper recently told a South Jersey Magazine. “She’s one of the most down-to-earth and unpretentious individuals you could ever meet, and it’s such a pleasure to spend time with her. Jennifer is incredibly talented and she’s one of those natural performers who are instinctively good at what they do.” The movie’s narrative revolves around the emotional turmoil resulting after Lawrence’s titular character discovers she is unable to bear children and takes her anger out »
- Edward Davis
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