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In Time For Berlin: Johnny Depp Plays Boston Mob’s Whitey Bulger In ‘Black Mass’

2 February 2013 6:07 PM, PST

Exclusive: Just as Whitey Bulger rose to the top of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List when he disappeared for a decade before he could be put behind bars, the fast mobilizing movie about the Boston crime kingpin just rose to the top of the most wanted list in the upcoming European Film Market in Berlin. That’s because Johnny Deep has become attached to star in the Cross Creek crime thriller Black Mass, with Barry Levinson directing him. The picture is a co-production between Cross Creek and Nigel Sinclair and Guy East’s Exclusive Media, with the two entities co-financing. Universal Pictures is aboard to release the film in the U.S. through Cross Creek’s distribution deal with the studio, and production is to begin in May. The film will be produced by Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson, John Lesher, and Christi Dembrowski, Depp’s partner in Infinitum Nihil. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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‘Revenge’s Emily VanCamp Landing Lead In ‘Captain America 2′

1 February 2013 2:30 PM, PST

Exclusive: I’m told that Marvel Studios has found its female lead for the sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier. They are in talks with Emily VanCamp, who makes the leap to the big screen after starring in such series as ABC’s Revenge, the WB’s Everwood and Brothers and Sisters. She joins Chris Evans in a sequel that doesn’t have a firm start date, but will be released April 4, 2014. The film is directed by Joe and Anthony Russo. If you recall, the first film started period and morphed into the present. I’ve heard talk that Scarlett Johannson will bring her Black Widow character to the mix. She is repped by UTA and Thruline. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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‘The Game’ Scribes Tackle Adaptation Of True Conspiracy Tale ‘Truth Never Dies’

1 February 2013 1:15 PM, PST

Exclusive: John Brancato and Michael Ferris, who’ve scripted The Game and Terminator 3, have been set to write Influence, a thriller that incorporates a true story and terrorism and the dynamics of geopolitical power. Based on Dr. William Chasey’s book, Truth Never Dies, the story details how Chasey, a high-powered Washington lobbyist, took a job representing Muammar al-Gaddafi’s Libya in the wake of the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103, only to see his life systematically dismantled by the U.S. government. In his quest to understand why, Chasey discovered a CIA-led conspiracy to conceal the truth behind one of the worst terrorist acts in history. Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar and Richard Middleton (The Artist) will produce along with the author, Renée George will be exec producer. This comes a day after producer Scott Stuber has a production start on Kill The Messenger, a Jeremy Renner-starrer about Gary Webb, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Fox Searchlight Sets Simon Curtis-Directed ‘The Chaperone’ With ‘Downton Abbey’s Elizabeth McGovern

1 February 2013 12:56 PM, PST

Exclusive: Coming off a killer Sundance where it acquired The Way, Way Back and unveiled its film Stoker, Searchlight has acquired worldwide rights to Laura Moriarty’s best-selling novel The Chaperone. My Week With Marilyn helmer Simon Curtis will direct a a script written by Downton Abbey‘s Julian Fellowes. The film reunites Fellowes with his Downton Abbey star Elizabeth McGovern. Eli Selden and Adam Shulman of Anonymous Content are producing with Curtis and McGovern. Amid the backdrop of the tumultuous times of the early 1920s, the life of a Kansas woman (McGovern) is forever changed when she chaperones a beautiful and talented 15 year-old dancer named Louise Brooks to New York for the summer. One of them is eager to fulfill her destiny of silent film stardom; the other hopes to unearth the mysteries of her past. “I have longed to make a film of Laura Moriarty’s The Chaperone »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Deadline-Launched Teaser Trailer ‘The Prototype’ Hatches Berlin-Bound Pic Package

1 February 2013 9:46 AM, PST

Exclusive: What started as a cool teaser trailer on Deadline has turned into a full-fledged movie package that will be shopped hard at Berlin next week. Andrew Will has written and will direct The Prototype, a sci-fi thriller that will be produced by Will and Shawn Wallace of Variant Films, Sean Cushing of Cantina Creative and Max Leitman of Bandito Brothers. This is being put together in a similar fashion that the Bandito Brothers employed when it did Act Of Valor, the $12 million film that has grossed over $80 million. FilmNation is financing, and Glen Basner will be in Berlin next week selling international rights. Wme Global’s Graham Taylor will be spearheading the domestic deal. We run a lot of trailers on this site, and agency parodies that have gotten jobs and representation for actors and directors, but this is a new one for Deadline. Since we broke this trailer in June, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Benedict Cumberbatch In Talks To Play Alan Turing In ‘The Imitation Game’

1 February 2013 9:21 AM, PST

Exclusive: Benedict Cumberbatch‘s next high-profile role looks like it will be playing English mathematician Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, Graham Moore’s heralded screenplay that went from Warner Bros to Teddy Schwarzman’s Black Bear Pictures. Headhunters helmer Morten Tyldum recently signed on to direct, and I hear it will be Cumberbatch (he’s in deep conversations but hasn’t yet signed a deal) who plays the genius most responsible for cracking the German “Enigma Code” during World War II that helped the Allies stave off defeat, and who would later be prosecuted by Britain in the early 1950s for being a homosexual. Schwarzman is producing along with Ampersand Pictures’ Nora Grossman and Ido Ostrowsky. Moore will be exec producer. This is the 2011 Black List script that originally got set at Warner Bros with Leonardo DiCaprio expected to star. In what seems shocking today, the hero was forced to make a radical choice, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Jim Carrey Joins ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ Helmer For ‘Loomis Fargo’

1 February 2013 7:54 AM, PST

Didn’t see this announcement in my inbox yesterday, but it is worth noting. Relativity Media acquired worldwide rights to finance, produce and distribute Loomis Fargo, an action heist comedy that will star Jim Carrey. It’s directed by Napoleon Dynamite‘s Jared Hess from a script by Emily Spivey, rewritten by Chris Bowman and Hubbel Palmer. Shooting begins in April. It’s inspired by true events and tells the story of a disgruntled bank employee who goes into a life of crime to build a new life with his love. He teams up with his work crush to rob the place of $20 million, leaving a trail of evidence that is as obvious as snail tracks. Always good to see Carrey in comedies (he opens soon in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and wrapped Kick-Ass 2), but is it me or does this sound a little like an amalgamation of recent »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Why The Pornmeisters Behind XXX ’50 Shades Of Grey’ Should Really Be Ashamed

1 February 2013 7:14 AM, PST

My colleague Dominic Patten yesterday revealed how Universal sent lawyers to invoke coitus interruptus by halting production of Fifty Shades Of Grey: A XXX Adaptation. Aside from blatant copyright infringement, I think those porn producers have also disgraced a proud hardcore sex film industry tradition of coining clever titles from real movies and TV shows. According to the 10 seconds I spent researching this on Google, those classics apparently have included: Splendor in the Ass, Throbbin’ Hood, Ball The President’s Men, Hung Wankenstein, Das Booty, Enema of the State, In Diana Jones and the Temple of Poon, The Rodfather, Add Momma to the Train, Star Whores, Schindler’s Fist and E.T.: The Extra-Testicle. Not to be outdone, XXX classics inspired by TV shows include Beverly Hills 9021-Ho and Dawson’s Crack. C’mon guys, how about spending 10 seconds to come up with something that is not only laugh-worthy, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Universal Moves Richard Curtis Pic ‘About Time’ To Fall Slot

31 January 2013 4:11 PM, PST

Universal Pictures has moved Richard Curtis‘s new film About Time from its May 10 slot to a limited engagement on November 1 and a nationwide release November 8. The film, labeled a comedy about love and time travel, stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams,Tom Hollander and Bill Nighy. It’s produced by Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, who are joined by Nicky Kentish Barnes. It was also written by Curtis and I think of him as an autumn kind of guy, probably because his Love Actually is a film I watch every Christmas Eve. Leave the summer to the superheroes. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Oscar-Nommed ‘A Royal Affair’ Team Boards Epic Don Winslow Novel ‘Power Of The Dog’

31 January 2013 4:02 PM, PST

Exclusive: Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg, who scripted the Swedish The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and followed with the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee A Royal Affair, have found their next project. It’s a feature adaptation of The Power Of The Dog, the epic Don Winslow bestseller framed around the drug war and a 30-year struggle between a hard DEA agent and a family of cartel kingpins in Mexico. Arcel will direct, and the script will be written by Heisterberg, Arcel and Shane Salerno. Salerno will produce through The Story Factory. This is the same Salerno who wrote, directed, produced and financed the J.D. Salinger documentary Salinger that earlier this week was licensed in the U.S. for an American Masters broadcast and is being shopped for feature distribution after a companion biography sold in a 7-figure deal to Simon & Schuster. I’ve read most of Winslow’s novels, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Jeremy Renner Ready To ‘Kill The Messenger’ In Berlin-Bound Film Package About CIA-Smeared Journo Gary Webb

31 January 2013 2:22 PM, PST

Breaking: The movie packages are coming together on the eve of next week’s Berlin Film Market. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters star Jeremy Renner has been set to star in Kill The Messenger, a thriller that Michael Cuesta will direct that is based on the tragic tale of a journalist who committed suicide after being smeared by the CIA. The script was written by Peter Landesman. Cuesta seems perfect for this; he’s an exec producer and has directed numerous episodes of Homeland abd has been integral in establishing the visual look of that show. He also helmed the pilots for Dexter and Elementary. Scott Stuber, who set up this project eight years as producer at Universal, will be joined by Renner and Don Handfield and it will be a co-production between Stuber’s Bluegrass and Renner’s The Combine. Naomi Despres is also producing. The film begins production in the summer. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Gets D.C. Moment With Bradley Cooper

31 January 2013 12:44 PM, PST

I cannot remember a year where so many Best Picture Oscar candidates reverberated so much on Capitol Hill. First, there was the Lincoln screening for Congress, and we know how Zero Dark Thirty has shaken things up amidst its D.C. premiere. Now it’s Silver Linings Playbook‘s turn, for its message of hope toward those who’ve suffered silently with mental challenges. Bradley Cooper, Oscar nominated for his role as the film’s bipolar protagonist, will join former Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy in a press conference Friday at the Center for American Progress to discuss how the film has helped make progress toward removing the stigma of mental illness. This comes after Cooper and Robert De Niro taped an appearance with Katie Couric to talk about the movie and its mental health message. In that appearance, I’m told that De Niro actually broke down when he »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Nicolas Chartier Bullish On ‘Charlie Countryman’ Heading Into Berlin

31 January 2013 12:10 PM, PST

The hot hot buzz titles at Sundance have been brokered, and while nobody involved in that festival seems to have yet caught up on sleep, the festival is fast fading in the rear view mirror. So what happens to the films that came in with big hopes but haven’t yet sold? Are they headed to the movie equivalent of the Island of Misfit Toys? Hardly, says Voltage chief Nicolas Chartier. He came to Sundance with two films, and watched the Joe Gordon-Levitt-directed Don Jon’s Addiction quickly sell for close to a festival record $4 million with a $25 million P&A commitment for summer release by Relativity Media. His other Sundance pic, The Shia La Beouf-starrer The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman directed by Fredrik Bond, didn’t walk off the slopes with a deal. Now, Gordon-Levitt plays a chronic dolphin flogger in Don Jon’s Addiction, but »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Tom Drumm Snares New Management Shingle

31 January 2013 11:32 AM, PST

Exclusive: After a decade, Tom Drumm has parted ways with Peter Safran. He is forming Think Tank Management and Production, a new shingle where he’ll rep clients and hatch movies and TV. When Safran left Brillstein-Grey to form The Safran Company in 2006, Drumm followed him. “Peter has been an amazing mentor, and he has given me a great head start in building my business, and creating my own company,” Drumm said. “I look forward to continuing to work with him as a producer,” said Drumm. Safran produced five films last year, including the James Wan-directed The Conjuring, the Paul Walker-starrer Hours, and the Mark Strong-starrer Mindscape. Drumm’s clients Guy Holmes wrote the script, and Jorge Dorado directed it. “It has been a pleasure working closely with Tom over the past decade and I look forward continuing to collaborate with him in the future,” Safran said. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Survivors Of 9/11 Victims Slam Senators For Trashing ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

31 January 2013 9:41 AM, PST

Here is an unexpected vote of support for Best Picture nominee Zero Dark Thirty, a film that probably lost an Oscar nomination for director Kathryn Bigelow because of the cage rattling by three U.S. Senators over what they said was a false impression that the torture depicted in the film led somehow to 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden. Here is a release issued by 9/11 Parents & Families of Firefighters and Wtc Victims, which was forwarded to me by Sony Pictures. As a New Yorker, I can see their point. While I was having my house built in a new community a dozen years ago, we met a firefighter who right up the block was building his dream house. Construction got delayed and by the time these houses were done, he had perished on 9/11. His family has long since moved away, but each time I drive past that house, I think of him. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Frank Langella Signs On As Ronald Reagan Adviser Paul Nitze In ‘Reykjavik’

31 January 2013 7:22 AM, PST

Exclusive: Frank Langella, so memorable as Richard Nixon in the stage and screen versions of Frost/Nixon, is back in political mode, and this time he’s playing the guy behind The Guy. He’s joining the cast of the Scott Free/Participant Media/Headline Pictures-produced Reykjavik. The Mike Newell-directed drama tells the story of the 1986 peace summit between Reagan and Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland. Michael Douglas and Christoph Waltz play Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, and Langella will play Paul Nitze, U.S. Secretary of the Navy and Reagan’s most senior and trusted adviser. Langella is coming off raves for Robot & Frank, and he next stars in the Stephen Frears-directed Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight for HBO in 2014. Langella recently wrapped Grace Of Monaco opposite Nicole Kidman for director Olivier Dahan, and the indie Parts Per Billion opposite Gena Rowlands and Rosario Dawson. Langella was also »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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‘Smallville’s Tom Welling Joins JFK Pic ‘Parkland’

30 January 2013 3:59 PM, PST

Exclusive: After a nine year run donning the cape in the CW series Smallville, Tom Welling is taking a break from TV and transitioning to features. He’s just landed a co-starring role in Parkland, the Exclusive Media feature that is being directed by Peter Landesman. He joins Paul Giamatti, Zac Efron, and Billy Bob Thornton in the ensemble drama about the hours following the assassination of JFK in Parkland Hospital. Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are producing with Bill Paxton. Open Road is in talks to distribute domestically in the fall, around the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Welling is repped by Wme. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Max Borenstein To Adapt ‘Mona’ For New Regency

30 January 2013 3:44 PM, PST

Exclusive: Godzilla scribe Max Borenstein has come on to write Mona for New Regency. The film is an adaptation of the upcoming novel by Dan Sehlberg, which is an international thriller that merges science fiction with real developments in the fields of thought-control systems and cyber warfare. A terrorist invents a computer virus that is infectious to humans and a Swedish scientist, who has invented a device that allows disabled people to use their minds to surf the web uses that technology to battle the terrorist. Michael London and Janice Williams will produce the project via their Groundswell Productions banner. Niclas Salomonnson will executive produce the project. Borenstein is currently writing the action sci-fi film Paladin for Disney, which he sold as an original pitch to the studio with Justin Springer set to produce. He’s come back on Godzilla (after a Frank Darabont polish), as that film heads toward »

- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Tom Hardy Teams With ‘Safe House’ Helmer Daniel Espinosa For ‘Child 44′

30 January 2013 12:30 PM, PST

Breaking: Tom Hardy is in talks to star in Child 44, the adaptation of the Tom Rob Smith novel that will be directed by Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa for Scott Free. Hardy, who wrapped Mad Max: Fury Road for director George Miller, will star in Child 44 after he completes Animal Rescue, the Fox Searchlight drama that Michael R. Roskam is directing, with Noomi Rapace his co-star. He will shoot Animal Rescue in March, then move right on to Child 44. Child 44 takes place in Stalin’s Soviet Union, and Hardy plays a security officer and war hero who believes in the Soviet system and the law. That is until he uncovers the existence of a mass murderer, and he is thwarted by that system he has sworn to serve because they have no interest in acknowledging that murders are taking place in a country perpetuating the myth of a crime-free utopia. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Will Gluck Helming ‘Annie’ Remake For Sony, Will Smith And Jay Z

30 January 2013 11:19 AM, PST

Breaking: Sony Pictures is setting Will Gluck to helm Annie, the re-imagining of the Broadway musical. The helmer who directed Easy A and Friends With Benefits for Sony-based Screen Gems takes on a high-profile project that will be produced by James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Will Smith through their Overbrook Entertainment banner, and by Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Jay Brown, and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith through Marcy Media. Willow Smith is no longer attached; she was 9 when development began and she has outgrown the role of Annie. Gluck will revise the film’s screenplay, which was written by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna based on the musical and its book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin. That’s based on the Little Orphan Annie comic strip. The movie is contemporized and will shoot in the fall for a 2014 release. Commenting on the announcement, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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