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‘Everest’ Movie Crew Ok After Tragic Avalanche

18 April 2014 3:23 PM, PDT

Exclusive: While the second unit crew shooting Everest were in the vicinity when a tragic avalanche struck Mount Everest and so far has killed 13, there were no injuries or fatalities on the film, I can report. Principal photography on the Baltasar Kormakur-directed film is nearly over and they are finishing in Pinewood in England, but the second unit was setting up to go and shoot at Base 2 on Mount Everest near Nepal. Fortunately for the crew, they were acclimating at the foot of the summit and weren’t up where the disaster took place, when a wall of ice 1,000 feet up fell off at the left shoulder of the mountain and crashed down on Base 2. Most of the fatalities were experienced sherpas that guide climbers to the summit. Several of the sherpas involved with the Everest production rushed to help. The production will now have to wait to assess whether »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Cannes: Nicole Garcia Heads Camera d’Or Jury

18 April 2014 5:10 AM, PDT

Actress-director-screenwriter Nicole Garcia will preside over the jury for this year’s Caméra d’Or award, given to the best debut film at the Cannes Film Festival. In this opportunity to champion an up-and-coming director she joins the ranks of previous jury presidents Bong Joon-ho, Gael García Bernal, Carlos Diegues and Agnès Varda, who have all in the past contributed their experience and passion for cinema to the deliberations. “Presiding over the Caméra d’Or is an honour, a joy and a mission,” she said. “I hope to be worthy of the honour, bask in the joy and do my best to deliver on the mission.” Since 1978, the Caméra d’Or has awarded the best debut film presented in the Official Selection (Competition, Out of Competition, or Un Certain Regard), Critics’ Week or Directors’ Fortnight. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Accusations Prompt ‘X-Men’s Bryan Singer To Skip This Weekend’s WonderCon Fanfest

17 April 2014 6:57 PM, PDT

Exclusive: In the wake of shocking allegations of sexual abuse against Bryan Singer that surfaced five weeks before the launch of the new X-Men film, Singer has cancelled a scheduled appearance at this weekend’s WonderCon in Anaheim, Deadline hears. Fox instead will send Simon Kinberg as the studio prepares to launch the Singer-directed blockbuster X-Men: Days Of Future Past. Kinberg wrote and produced the film and has been a part of the X-Men universe since the beginning. Singer had been scheduled to be on hand to do interviews for the film that Fox opens May 23. It seems fairly obvious that right now he’s not going to get the kind of questions that will help the movie, or that he could answer. Singer had been scheduled to represent X-Men among a bunch of big Fox movies vamping this weekend, appearing along with Andy Serkis, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman and »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Sony Buys Lauryn Kahn Spec ‘I’m In Love With The DJ’ For Gary Sanchez

17 April 2014 12:38 PM, PDT

Exclusive: Sony Pictures has made a pre-emptive deal for I’m In Love With The DJ, a romantic comedy spec by Lauryn Kahn that will be produced by Gary Sanchez’s Adam McKay, Will Ferrell and Kevin Messick. Deal comes right after Gary Sanchez made a Sony deal for Border Guards, a comedy that will star Ferrell and John C. Reilly, with McKay directing. The new deal is for an R-rated comedy is about a girl whose two best friends tag along on her work trip to Spain that quickly turns into a crazy hunt for a hot DJ through the electronic dance music scene. Kahn is the young writer who, after spending four years as McKay’s assistant and honing her writing skills scripting, performing and directing numerous shorts for the Funny Or Die, sold the script He’s Fuckin’ Perfect to Fox 2000 for $1 million against $1.5 million. That film, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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UTA Signs WattPad’s Breakout Novel ‘After’

17 April 2014 11:40 AM, PDT

Exclusive: UTA has signed to represent screen rights for After, a serialized story by Anna Todd that has become the most followed literary property published by Wattpad, an online community in which writers tell stories chapter by chapter. According to Wattpad general manager Candice Faktor, the three-part series After has been clicked on by more than 500 million. Factor described the site as “a writer and reader community to collaborate and share nonfiction, fiction and fan fiction. It is a mobile experience that is very social and where writers establish a personal connection with their audience.” The site launched seven years ago and has built to 22 million monthly users, 80% of whom access the site on mobile devices. The company recently raised $46 million in Series C funding. Agencies usually rep works from traditional publishers, but the priority in Hollywood is to find rabid followings that warrant screen adaptations. For Wattpad, After is »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Fox Buys Pitch For Its ‘Chronicle’ And ‘Fantastic Four’ Star Michael B. Jordan

17 April 2014 10:54 AM, PDT

Exclusive: Fox has closed a deal for Men Who Kill, a pitch by T.J. Fixman that will be developed as a star vehicle for fast-rising Michael B. Jordan. The tone of the film is an international Bad Boys and it gives the studio another project with Jordan, who comes off his breakout role in Fruitvale Station and heads into the Fantastic Four reboot after previously starring in the Fox sleeper Chronicle. After starring as a teen in the iconic TV series The Wire and Friday Night Lights, Jordan is making the transition to adulthood among a handful of young actors vying to be in the next generation of bankable leading men. This is the first action thriller vehicle being developed specifically for Jordan, who is separately attached to play Apollo Creed’s grandson in a new version of Rocky that will re-team him with Fruitvale Station writer-director Ryan Coogler. Greg Berlanti »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Open Road Acquires U.S. On ‘Tupac’, John Singleton-Directed Pic On Hip-Hop Icon

16 April 2014 11:43 AM, PDT

Exclusive: Open Road Films has acquired U.S. rights to Tupac, the long-awaited and highly anticipated feature on the life of Tupac Shakur directed by John Singleton. Scripted by Jeremy Haft & Ed Gonzalez and Singleton, the film traces Shakur’s life from growing up in East Harlem the son of activist Black Panther Party members, to reaching superstardom as a songwriter, hip-hop and movie star, to his vocal position as a leader in the East Coast/West Coast rap war, to his death. Shakur, leaving a Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand In Las Vegas, was murdered in a drive by shooting, dying at age 25 in 1996. Related: All Eyez On John Singleton As Director Boards Tupac Shakur Biopic The film is being produced and financed by Morgan Creek Productions and Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films. The deal was set by Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg, Morgan Creek chairman and CEO James G. Robinson, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Jose Padilha & Eric Newman Team For John Hlavin’s WWII Revenge Pitch ‘Nekome’

16 April 2014 9:24 AM, PDT

Exclusive: GrandElectric Entertainment, a new shingle formed by ex-Strike Entertainment partner Eric Newman, has teamed with director Jose Padilha‘s Cold Mountain to preemptively purchase Nekome, a period action pitch by John Hlavin. Studiocanal will finance development and production of the film. The title is the Yiddish word for revenge and the film is set in the days following the end of World War II. Two young Holocaust survivors are sent by the Jewish underground to Brazil to hunt down and kill the escaped Nazis who ran their concentration camp. The film will shoot in Brazil. Studiocanal is committed to finance the film, but Newman and Padilha retained distribution rights in Brazil, where Padilha is a movie god after his Elite Squad films. Deal marks a growing relationship between Newman and Padilha, and also Studiocanal’s Olivier Courson and Ron Halpern. Newman first began working with them in 2010 on The Last Exorcism, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Wme Signs Playwright/Scribe Jay Reiss

16 April 2014 8:43 AM, PDT

Exclusive: Writer Jay Reiss has signed with Wme for representation. Reiss, who had been at CAA, co-wrote the award-winning Broadway musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the dark Julian Farino-directed comedy The Oranges. His movie scripts certainly seem to draw stars. He most recently completed The Complete History Of My Sexual Failures for Universal, a comedy to star former Saturday Night Live (boy is he missed) castmember Jason Sudeikis. Reiss is currently writing Family Therapy at Universal for Jason Bateman, Crazy You at New Line for Will Ferrell, and The League Of Extraordinary Princesses at Fox Animation. The writer continues to be repped by Mosaic and Bloom Hergott. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Hot Tribeca Clip For ‘Keep On Keepin’ On; Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock To Swing At Saturday’s Post-Premiere Performance

16 April 2014 8:34 AM, PDT

Mark the calendar for the April 19 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Keep On Keepin’ On, the Al Hicks-directed documentary about 23-year-old blind piano prodigy Justin Kauflin, who is helped over his terrible stage fright by his ailing mentor, jazz legend Clark Terry. Terry was Quincy Jones’ first teacher and mentor to Miles Davis. As they prepared for an elite international competition, the 89-year-old Terry saw his sight and then his health fail. While he is one of few to have played in the orchestras of Count Basie and Duke Ellington and later broke the color barrier as first African-American staff musician on NBC’s Tonight Show, the most important thing to Terry was hanging in to see Kauflin realize his dream and play his best at the competition. Jones produced with Paula DuPre’ Pesmen, latter of whom was behind the Academy Award-winning The Cove and Chasing Ice. After the festival premiere, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly Re-Team With Adam McKay On Sony’s ‘Border Guards’

15 April 2014 3:42 PM, PDT

Exclusive: After cranking out two big hit comedies in Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, Sony Pictures is back in business with Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and John C. Reilly. The studio has closed a deal with Oscar-nominated In The Loop writer Jesse Armstrong to pen Border Guards. It’s a comedy that McKay is eyeing to direct, with Ferrell and Reilly playing two hapless but earnest friends who decide to give purpose to their lives by protecting America’s borders from illegal immigrants. In the process they find themselves accidentally stranded in Mexico without identification and must sneak back into the U.S. It’s only related to the previous films in that Ferrell and Reilly pair so well together. Ferrell, McKay, and Kevin Messick are producing through Gary Sanchez Productions. Michael De Luca and Jonathan Kadin will oversee for Sony. The scribe, who’s repped by CAA, is a »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Leonardo DiCaprio, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Commit To September Start For New Regency’s ‘The Revenant’

15 April 2014 10:38 AM, PDT

Exclusive: Leonardo DiCaprio has committed to star this September in The Revenant, a gritty thriller that Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu will direct for New Regency, for fall 2015 release through Fox. Gonzalez Inarritu and Mark L. Smith co-wrote the script. DiCaprio had been attached to team with Gonzalez Inarritu, but he is attached to many projects; getting the star to commit off his Oscar-nominated The Wolf Of Wall Street performance is a big development for Arnon Milchan and Brad Weston’s game plan to make tasteful, star- and director-driven fare. Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin, Keith Redmon and David Kanter will produce with Gonzalez Iñárritu, Milchan and James Skotchdopole. Paul Green is exec producer. The film will be co-financed by RatPac and Worldview Entertainment, latter of which just partnered with Regency and Fox Searchlight in the Inarritu-directed Birdman, which was just set for release on October 17. An adaptation of the Michael Punke »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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David Fincher Off Steve Jobs Shows Perils Of Tracking Board Journalism

14 April 2014 9:48 PM, PDT

So tonight there are big scoops about how David Fincher walked away from the movie Sony and Scott Rudin are developing about Apple visionary Steve Jobs, based on the Walter Isaacson book. What an unusual outcome to a story that was almost completely the result of overeager journalists. I remember when the Fincher rumor first circulated on tracking boards, and while every trade called to check, only one broke the news, claiming a deal for the director was nearly done. Then another publication splashed a story that Christian Bale was Fincher’s top choice for the role, another nugget that came from these tracking board sheets that are becoming too much a staple of what ends up being published and accepted as fact. All along, people close to the project cautioned that while they’d gone to Fincher and he liked the script, the director had not committed. Fincher is »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Qed Buys ‘Yellowstone Falls’; 52-Page Spec About Wolves Battling Mutated Humans

14 April 2014 11:26 AM, PDT

Breaking: While we’ve got plenty of projects that mix genre staples from zombies to wolves, the town went wild for a highly unusual combination. In heated bidding, Qed emerged victorious and acquired Yellowstone Falls, a spec script by Dan Kunka, who most recently sold his script Bermuda Triangle to Warner Bros, with Charles Roven and Madhouse producing. Deal was six figures against near seven-figure purchase price if the movie gets made. This script is unusual in that it was 52 pages, with few human characters and essentially no dialogue. The action begins after an apocalyptic event that saps the humanity from most of the mutated humans that remain. At its core, it’s the story of a mother wolf, separated from her mate as the rest of the pack flees to safety, is forced to defend her cubs from the oncoming swarm. It sounds like those spare nature-based movies Jean Jacques Annaud makes, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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New Regency Taps Brad Pitt, David Michod To Tell Gen. Stanley McChrystal Afghan Story ‘The Operators’

14 April 2014 8:37 AM, PDT

Breaking: Animal Kingdom helmer David Michôd will write and direct The Operators, which will be developed as a star vehicle for Brad Pitt. The project’s backed by Plan B, New Regency and RatPac Entertainment, and it was announced by Brad Weston, New Regency’s president and CEO. Pitt will produce along with his Plan B partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner. Based on the Michael Hastings book, The Operators focuses on the rise and fall of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commanding general of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. It portrays the backrooms and politics behind the war, and the high-stake maneuvers and the political firestorm that shook the country. New Regency and RatPac made a multi-year producing partnership with Pitt’s Plan B late last year after Regency teamed with Plan B on the Best Picture Oscar winner 12 Years A Slave. Michôd is repped by UTA and attorney Alan Wertheimer, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Spoiler Alert: Was ‘Game Of Thrones’ TV’s Best Offing Ever?

14 April 2014 8:32 AM, PDT

Update: Our commenters have been beating on me like I owe them money for spoiling the ending of this episode and not immediately blaring spoiler alerts. I had this thing mostly written, meant to store it when a Brad Pitt break came over the transom but hit publish before it was properly polished with disclaimers. I am truly sorry if I spoiled the episode for anyone. I thought it was fair game after reading recaps all over about the events of this episode (and every other hot show such as  The Good Wife, Vikings, Sons Of Anarchy, Boardwalk Empire, take your pick) after a major character is axed. But I’ll know better to be more careful next time. Related: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Draws 6.3 Million Viewers To Shocker; ‘Silicon Valley’ & ‘Veep’ Steady Spoiler Alert: This story contains details of Sunday’s episode of Game Of Thrones. When I first saw »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Oscar, Schmoscar: MTV Votes ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Best Movie

13 April 2014 8:13 PM, PDT

Update: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire just beat out such films as Oscar winner 12 Years A Slave and The Wolf Of Wall Street for Movie Of The Year in the conclusion of the MTV Movie Awards. Even though Johnny Depp presented, the award was accepted by Josh Hutcherson. Nobody else showed up. Yowza. Earlier: So what’s happening in the vitally important MTV Movie Awards? Well, Conan O’Brien–who would win if there was an award for Most Screwed Over For Network Late Night Slot after guys who came behind him have the big network gigs while he’s still the best show on TBS–took the stage on a design that seemed to be inspired by where the Sleestaks lived on Land Of The Lost. I can tell you Jared Leto won Best On-Screen Transformation for getting dolled up for Dallas Buyers Club (I bet he puts the »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Catty Philip Berk Memoir Prompts Leave Of Absence From Golden Globes Vote Body HFPA

13 April 2014 6:45 PM, PDT

Exclusive: After extreme pressure from other members over his memoir Signs And Wonders, four-term Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk has taken a six month leave of absence from the organization that is behind the Golden Globes. This happened last Friday, a compromise resolution to a problem that has been in the air since Berk published a book that covered his early days and especially the back and forth between HFPA members and celebrities involved in the Globes. Insiders said that the feeling among HFPA members was that Berk blindsided them with his book, took shots at them and a lot of Hollywood celebrities, and also took way too much credit for the success of the Globes. Perfectly positioned to be a tool during Oscar campaigns, the Globes has grown in prominence and TV ratings, even as some questioned whether the voting body has a right to wield such clout. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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