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No ‘Midnight Rider’ Death Responsibility, Say Open Road, Landowner

1 hour ago

Both the distributor of Midnight Rider and the owner of the land where camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed Feb. 20 denied responsibility in court filings this week for her death. The landowner even blames Jones in its filings for not exercising “ordinary care for her own safety.”

Jones’ parents are suing distributor Open Road, landowner Rayonier Performance Fibers and a dozen others for their daughter’s Feb. 20 death when a train blew through a film set on a bridge trestle. The parents’ suit says the distributor was responsible for ensuring a safe and legal shoot, which Open Road answered with an August motion to dismiss. In a new filingthis week in Georgia (read it here), Open Road claims it had no “operational control” over the film shoot.

“None of the rights granted to Open Road under the Distribution Agreement provide Open Road with control over the production. Not one,” reads the filing, »


- Jen Yamato

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Michael Eisner’s Tornante Taps Jim & Brian Kehoe To Script Olympic Village Comedy

2 hours ago

Exclusive: Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company is following its Netflix show BoJack Horseman by creating some feature film action. Tornante has set the comedy writing duo of Jim & Brian Kehoe to pen an untitled comedy in a mid-six-figure deal. I’m told the idea centers on the Olympic Village. The siblings have several projects around town, including their 2012 Black List entry Cherries, which has Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg producing for Good Universe alongside Dmg, with John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg directing.

The Kehoes are currently rewriting Thomas Lennon & Ben Garant’s Disney script The Wheelman, and they sold their action comedy pitch Top Of The Food Chain for mid-six figures to Lionsgate, with Tyler Perry’s 34th Street Films and Dmg producing. Cherries sold as a spec shortly after Endgame purchased the Kehoes’ previous spec script, You Complete Us, for Adam Shankman and Offspring. The scribes are repped by »


- Mike Fleming Jr

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Patrick Carman Kids Book ‘Floors’ To Disney With Jason Filardi Writing

2 hours ago

Exclusive: Walt Disney Pictures has closed a deal for Floors, a pitch that Jason Filardi made to give movie treatment to the children’s book series by Patrick Carman.

Filardi, who scripted Bringing Down The House for the studio, will write the script. In the vein of Night At The Museum and Willy Wonka, pic tells the story of an emotionally stunted son who inherits the coolest and craziest hotel in the world from his estranged and eccentric father. He must go on a fun-filled adventure inside the hotel to stop it from self-destructing. Carman, whose 30 books have been translated into more than 20 languages, will be an executive producer.

Filardi, whose last credit was the Zac Efron hit 17 Again, is repped by Paradigm and manager Brian Lutz. Walt Disney Pictures Executive VP Kristin Burr will oversee the project for the studio.

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- Mike Fleming Jr

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Screen Gems Buys ‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies,’ Pic Adds ‘Game Of Thrones’ Stars

3 hours ago

Exclusive: Two major developments on Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, the Burr Steers film that mixes the mannered, brain-challenging prose of Jane Austen with brain-eating corpses from hell.

Screen Gems has closed a deal for U.S. distribution rights, and Game Of ThronesCharles Dance and Lena Headey have joined the cast. The film stars Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcoate, Jack Huston, Douglas Booth, Matt Smith, and Suki Waterhouse.

Screen Gems seems a strong match for this literary mash-up that begins with the tangled relationship between lovers from different social classes in 19th-century England, and is complicated by a full-on outbreak of zombies. That plot embellishment escaped Austen but was added by Seth Grahame-Smith, and it probably would have propelled me to actually finish Austen’s book had she thought of it in the first place. Latest script is by Steers.

The picture has been put together by Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver, »


- Mike Fleming Jr

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‘Olympus Has Fallen’ Scribes To Adapt iPhone Game ‘The Drowning’

3 hours ago

Exclusive: Olympus Has Fallen and The Expendables 3 writers Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt have been tapped to adapt video game The Drowning for Radar Pictures. The iOS mobile first-person shooter was published last year by Tokyo-based publisher DeNa. The best-selling game is being envisioned for the big screen as an ecological horror tale about a deep-sea oil-drilling accident that causes ancient micro-organisms to be released into the water supply of an island town off the Seattle coast.

Radar PicturesTed Field, Mike Weber, and Michael Napoliello are producing the feature adaptation. Tom Van Dell and Jason Moskowitz are executive producing. Radar’s recent horror-thrillers include The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Amityville Horror, and the upcoming Under the Bed. Writing duo Rothenberger and Benedikt also penned the sequel London Has Fallen. They are repped by The Gersh Agency, Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment, and Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein.

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- Jen Yamato

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‘Rosie Project’ Has Lord & Miller Circling To Helm Neustadter & Weber Script

8 hours ago

Exclusive: The benefit of paying big for a hot book is that sometimes it draws the top-drawer talent. Sony Pictures optioned screen rights to the global breakout Graeme Simsion novel The Rosie Project for Sony-based producers Matt Tolmach and Michael Costigan, and the studio now has the 22 Jump Street and Lego Movie team of Phil Lord & Christopher Miller developing the book to potentially direct, and the (500) Days Of Summer and The Fault In Our Stars scribes Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber set to turn the book into a script. This is remarkable progress, considering it was April when the deal was closed by Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad and production president Hannah Minghella. The author took the first pass at the script, and Simon & Schuster publishes his book in the U.S. next month.

The Rosie Project centers on Don Tillman, a professor of genetics who may suffer from Asperger »


- Mike Fleming Jr

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J.J. Abrams To Receive Ves Society’s Visionary Award

8 hours ago

The Visual Effects Society has tapped J.J Abrams as the next recipient of its Visionary Award which it will present to the Star Wars helmer during the 13th annual Ves Awards on February 4. The honor recognizes an individual who has uniquely and consistently employed the art and science of visual effects to “foster imagination and ignite future discoveries by way of artistry, invention and groundbreaking work.”

Previous winners include Christopher Nolan, Ang Lee and Alfonso Cuarón.

Abrams’ credits include the Star Trek reboots, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Cloverfield and Super 8, and TV series Alias, Lost, Fringe and Person Of Interest via his production company Bad Robot. But by February he will be deep into finishing Star Wars: Episode VII, the reboot of the iconic sci-fi franchise. He co-wrote the script with Lawrence Kasdan and produces; production kicked off in May in the UK.

Star Wars is set for a December 18, 2015 release. »


- The Deadline Team

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‘Divergent’s Neil Burger To Helm Spy Thriller ‘All The Old Knives’

9 hours ago

Exclusive: Neil Burger is attached to direct All The Old Knives, the spy thriller adaptation of Olen Steinhauer’s upcoming novel that Chockstone Pictures partners Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz and Nick Wechsler optioned in April. The author wrote the script. Burger is coming off the hits Divergent and Limitless.

The thriller takes place in the idyllic town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, where two ex-lovers — one CIA spy and one ex-cia spy — meet for dinner and to reminisce. They relive their memories of the disastrous hijacking of Royal Jordanian Flight 127, which ended in the death of all on board, a failure that haunts the CIA’s Vienna station to this day. The question is whether Henry has come to dinner to rekindle the romance or to get to the bottom of a conspiracy. It also becomes clear that one of the ex-lovers may not survive the meal.

Olen Steinhauer has written a fantastic, »


- Mike Fleming Jr

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Elisabeth Moss Joins Cast Of ‘Truth’, Pic Based On Rathergate Scandal

9 hours ago

Exclusive: Elisabeth Moss is set to join Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett in Truth, the film about the scandal that erupted after Dan Rather reported on 60 Minutes II that George W. Bush had gotten preferential treatment that put him in the Texas Air National Guard to avoid the Vietnam War draft. The ensuing scandal during Bush’s re-election campaign left Rather’s reputation in tatters and his key producer Mary Mapes fired.

James Vanderbilt, the A-list screenwriter behind the first two installments of The Amazing Spider-Man, is making his directorial debut on the pic, which is based on Mapes’ 2005 memoir Truth And Duty: The Press, The President, And The Privilege Of Power. Redford is aboard to play Rather and Blanchett will play Mapes. Moss will play CBS veteran Lucy Scott, now a journalism professor in Dallas, who is brought on board by Mapes as her new associate producer to “run point” on the story controversy. »


- The Deadline Team

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Fantastic Fest: Dark Sky Acquires Irish Horror ‘Let Us Prey’

9 hours ago

Exclusive: Mpi Media Group’s Dark Sky Films banner has picked up U.S. rights to Let Us Prey, from Irish helmer Brian O’Malley. The commercials director makes his feature debut with the horror tale about an enigmatic stranger (Game Of ThronesLiam Cunningham) who’s detained overnight in a small town police station, where his dark influence takes over the minds of the inmates and officers around him. Let Us Prey played Cannes and the European genre circuit before making its U.S. debut over the weekend at Austin’s Fantastic Fest. Dark Sky is plotting a spring 2015 release.

Let Us Prey also stars The Woman‘s Pollyanna McIntosh, Hanna Stanbridge (Outcast), and Bryan Larkin (Outlander) and was co-written by David Cairns and Fiona Watson. The film is a co-production between Fantastic Films, Greenhouse Media Investment in association with Mr. Significant Film, the Irish Film Board, and Makar Productions. »


- Jen Yamato

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Aaron Paul Joins ‘The 9th Life Of Louis Drax’

10 hours ago

Breaking Bad Emmy-winner Aaron Paul has joined the cast of Miramax’s supernatural thriller The 9th Life Of Louis Drax, directed by HornsAlexandre Aja. He’ll play Peter, Louis Drax’s father, who becomes the target of a criminal investigation when his young son is injured in an accident. Back in August, Miramax set Fifty Shades Of Grey‘s Jamie Dornan to star as Dr. Allan Pascal, the doctor investigating the strange circumstances of the boy’s accident who is drawn into a thrilling mystery, testing the boundaries of fantasy and reality. The adaptation of Liz Jensen’s bestselling novel is produced by AntColony Films’ Tim Bricknell and Brightlight PicturesMax Minghella, who scripted. Shawn Williamson and Aja will also produce. Rosanne Korenberg is exec producer. Filming begins next month in Vancouver. Paul is repped by United Talent Agency (UTA) and Leverage Management.

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- Jen Yamato

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Broad Green Finds ‘Eden’, Music Box Jams With ‘Mekons’

10 hours ago

Broad Green Pictures, which announced its presence on the distribution scene in Toronto with a marquee $3 million deal for 99 Homes, has acquired North American rights to Mia Hansen-Løve’s Eden. The pic, set in the underground electronic dance movement in early-’90s Paris, had its world premiere in Toronto and is playing the New York Film Festival that kicks off Friday.

Broad Green plans a spring 2015 release for the pic, which follows Paul (Félix de Givry), a teenager drawn to the more soulful rhythms of Chicago’s garage house than rave music forms a DJ collective named Cheers (two of his friends form another one called Daft Punk, who float throughout the movie). Together they plunge into the ephemeral nightlife of sex, drugs, and endless music. Pauline Etienne, Vincent Macaigne co-star with appearances by Brady Corbet, Laura Smet and Greta Gerwig. The deal was negotiated by Grégoire Melin and Ram »


- The Deadline Team

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Don’t We Want ’70s-Style Adult Thrillers Like ‘A Walk Among The Tombstones’? A Chat With Scott Frank

10 hours ago

Everybody says, bring back those great, gritty 70s adult thrillers. Scott Frank makes one with Liam Neeson in A Walk Among The Tombstones, and not enough people show up to launch it into a franchise. With $13 million in ticket sales so far, it’s $5 million short of what it is needed to trigger more films based on the Matthew Scudder character from Lawrence Block’s mystery novels. I can sit here and wonder if the results would have been better had Universal opened it after Denzel Washington’s turn in The Equalizer this Friday, when appetites will be whetted  for challenging adult films and heroes without capes. Or I can point to the squeamishness of some critics who blasted Frank for faithfully adapting a novel about Scudder’s hunt for two serial killers preying on the girlfriends and daughters of drug dealers. It is hard to pretty that up, but one normally smart, »


- Mike Fleming Jr

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‘Fishing Without Nets’ Trailer: Somali Pirate Drama

10 hours ago

Cutter Hodierne’s short film Fishing Without Nets won the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Now the feature version of the same name, also written and directed by Hodierne, winner of the 2014 Sundance U.S. Dramatic Directing Award, is about to bow. Shot in East Africa with Kenyan actors of Somali descent, Fishing Without Nets tells the bandits’ story from the Somali point of view. The pic opens in La on September 26, NYC a week later, followed by nationwide VOD on October 28. Check out the trailer:

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- The Deadline Team

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Peter Dinklage Set For ‘The Thicket'; John Magaro Joins ‘The Finest Hours'; Celebrity Death Pool Pic Adds 6 To Cast

22 hours ago

Peter Dinklage is set to star in period crime drama The Thicket, based on Joe Lansdale’s novel. He plays Shorty, a crafty bounty hunter enlisted to find a woman who has been kidnapped by a violent killer at the turn of the 20th century. He and his fellow trackers venture into the deadly no-man’s land known as the Big Thicket, a place where blood and chaos reign. Gianni Nunnari’s Hollywood Gang is producing with Dinklage and the actor’s manager David Ginsberg. Dinklage stars on HBO’s Game Of Thrones and next appears in the comedy features Taxi and Pixels. He is repped by CAA, attorney Karl Austen and Ginsberg.

John Magaro has been cast in Disney’s The Finest Hours. The Craig Gillespie-directed film chronicles the massive rescue mission that’s launched when a pair of oil tankers split in two off the coast of »


- The Deadline Team

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‘Kingsman: The Secret Service': Hot Trailer

22 September 2014 6:00 PM, PDT

It’s been four months since Fox laid the first trailer on us, now it’s time for Round 2. Based on the comic series by Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, Kingsman: The Secret Service earned strong responses with sneaks at CinemaCon and WonderCon and also got some face time at Comic-Con. The stylishly comic espionage actioner follows a veteran secret agent (Colin Firth) who leads a young protege (Taron Egerton) into the shadowy business. The kid gets into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a twisted tech genius threatens the world. Fox has shifted the release date a few times, last month settling on Valentine’s Day weekend to counterprogram that Fifty Shades Of Grey thing. Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Caine also star. Matthew Vaughn, who helmed Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class, directs Kingsman from a script he wrote with Jane Goldman. Yes, that’s »


- The Deadline Team

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Marcia Gay Harden Signs With ICM Partners

22 September 2014 5:49 PM, PDT

Exclusive: Actress Marcia Gay Harden has signed with ICM Partners. Harden won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her turn in 2000’s Pollock and was again nominated for 2003’s Mystic River. She next appears opposite Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer in Millenium’s Elsa & Fred and will play mother to Christian Grey in Universal’s Valentine’s Day 2015 tentpole Fifty Shades of Grey. Harden recently starred on ABC’s Trophy Wife and will return to HBO’s The Newsroom as attorney Rebecca Halliday this fall. She also appears in Woody Allen’s latest, Magic in the Moonlight, with Colin Firth and Emma Stone. Her Broadway work includes God of Carnage, for which she won the Tony. On television, Harden nabbed an Emmy nod for a 2007 guest role on Law & Order: Svu and another for 2009’s The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler. She was previously with UTA. Harden is also »


- Jen Yamato

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Newbie Picture Company On The Case For ‘Tracking Of A Russian Spy’

22 September 2014 4:41 PM, PDT

Exclusive: StudioCanal has snapped up rights to journalist Mitch Swenson’s true-story novella The Tracking Of A Russian Spy that will be produced by Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman’s The Picture Company. It marks the second deal for the new shingle since its formation; earlier this month, StudioCanal acquired rights to Tom Wood’s Victor the Assassin books for Pierre Morel to helm and Picture Company to produce with Sentient Entertainment.

Russian Spy, first published on the literary site Thought Catalog, will be adapted by Charles Cumming. It centers on a secret romance Swenson had with Katya, a young and mysterious Russian woman he met in a New York nightclub. She disappeared suddenly after the arrest in 2010 of 10 Russian Americans who were charged with spying for the Kremlin. Swenson traveled to Moscow to uncover who his love really was, leading him down a rabbit hole of intrigue and shadow government operations deep within Russia. »


- Mike Fleming Jr

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Hamptons Fest Gets ‘St. Vincent’ Opener; Now They Pray For St. Bill

22 September 2014 3:11 PM, PDT

Exclusive: The Hamptons Film Festival just got a good one for its opening night on October 9. It will premiere St. Vincent, the Ted Melfi-directed comedy that had a rousing opening-night World Premiere at Toronto, was just slotted into the first night of the Long Island festival. This fest launch fit nicely into The Weinstein Company’s release strategy that begins October 10. Now, of course, the question becomes whether the Hamptons is fortunate enough to get a dose of the film’s star, Bill Murray, who charmed the entire city of Toronto after the festival declared it Bill Murray Day and he showed up with a crown and a slew of great stories.

Murray came through even though it was an open question till late whether he would cross the border; he doesn’t have a cell phone or an agent, and he’s a pretty elusive guy — which is part of his charm, »


- Mike Fleming Jr

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‘The Admiral: Roaring Currents’ Becomes Top Grossing Korean Film In U.S.

22 September 2014 2:38 PM, PDT

After taking South Korea by storm, The Admiral: Roaring Currents — the story about the real-life battle of Myeong-Nyang in 1597 when the Japanese invaded Korea — has broken an eight-year record to become the highest-grossing Korean-language film ever in North America. This comes after it whipped up 17M admissions to become the most-watched film of all time in South Korea, where it broke numerous box office records. To date, the period actioner has grossed $2.5M stateside after five weeks of release.

Previously, the highest-grossing Korean-language film in the U.S. was filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s The Host, which debuted in 2006 via Magnolia in 116 screens and tapped out at $2.2M.

The Admiral follows the top naval officer Yi Sun-shin, who won the battle against the Japanese fleet of 330 ships with only 12 of his own. His heroic tale is legendary in Korea. The film is currently playing on 14 screens in the U.S. »


- Anita Busch

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