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3 items from 2007

'Tulia' to Bring Berry and Thorton Back Together

14 March 2007 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- Three years after Halle Berry was named to topline LionsGate’s upcoming release Tulia, a co-star has finally signed on. Billy Bob Thorton was captivated enough by the screenplay to agree to what will amount to a Monster’s Ball reunion. The script was penned by Karen Croner and given a rewrite by Franklin. Filming is set to begin April 30 in and around New Orleans. Berry, who signed on to the production in January 2004, will portray the key attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in a case involving the 1999 arrests of 10% of the black population of Tulia, Texas. The arrests did not produce drugs or money, causing prosecutors and civil rights groups to denounce the bust as racial profiling. The undercover agent who conducted the bust was indicted for perjury; Texas Gov. Rick Perry pardoned most of the 46 arrestees in 2003. The screenplay is an adaptation of »

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Tollin, Robbins going solo

13 March 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Producer-directors Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins said Monday that they are ending their nearly 15-year partnership to pursue separate projects. The duo, whose collaboration has spawned such recent boxoffice hits as Norbit and Wild Hogs, will continue to work together on Tollin/Robbins Prods.' film and TV fare currently in development and production, including about a dozen movies. Both cited a desire to downsize what had become a monstrous operation, which most recently included a film deal at Walt Disney Pictures and a TV deal at NBC Universal TV Studio.

In the wake of the split, Robbins has inked a first-look, two-year deal at DreamWorks Studios to direct and produce films.

"It was a no-brainer. My experience (directing) 'Norbit' was such a dream," Robbins said regarding his DreamWorks deal. "It's such a filmmaker-friendly place. Look, it's run by a filmmaker."

TRP executive Charla Sumpter will join Robbins, who next will direct Eddie Murphy in 20th Century Fox's Starship Dave, as his producing partner. The new company, which also will employ a junior executive, has several projects in production at the studio, including The Art of Making Money, which is based on a Rolling Stone article, and Traded, which is being rewritten by Mike Rich. »

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Lionsgate has 'Tulia' locked up

2 March 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Lionsgate has resurrected Tulia, the long-gestating Tollin-Robbins project starring Halle Berry as a lawyer investigating an infamous Texas drug bust. The producers are in negotiations with Carl Franklin to direct the feature.

The film centers on the 1999 arrests of 46 black men in the impoverished town of Tulia, Texas -- a sting effort where no money, drugs or illegal weapons were found on any of the suspects. Berry will portray the lead attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which intervened to free the citizens wrongly convicted based on one crooked cop's testimony.

The story is based on the nonfiction book "Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town" by Nate Blakeslee. Karen Croner wrote the screenplay.

The producers are: Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Sharla Sumpter for Tollin-Robbins Prods.; Berry and her manager, Vince Cirrincione; Jesse Beaton; Adam Rosenfelt and Sam Nazarian, both of Element Films, who will produce in conjunction with New Orleans-based LIFT Films. »

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