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Studiocanal Poaches Thierry Lacaze From Wild Bunch to Head Distribution in France (Exclusive)

1 hour ago

Studiocanal, the Vivendi-owned pan-European film and TV group, has appointed Thierry Lacaze to the position of head of theatrical, video and VOD distribution in France.

Lacaze is currently working at Wild Bunch, where he has been in charge of distribution since 2013. The well-seasoned executive previously worked at Pathe Distribution as head of marketing.

Lacaze will report to Géraldine Gendre, head of Studiocanal’s production and distribution in France, and will begin his new job in September. He succeeds Francois Clerc, who stepped down from Studiocanal in July to launch his new production and distribution outfit, Apollo Films.

During his tenure at Wild Bunch, Lacaze has worked on a mix of mainstream comedies and dramas, as well as auteur films. Some movies released under his leadership include “The Odyssey” and “Nicholas on Holiday.”

At Studiocanal, Lacaze will play a strategic role, overseeing both theatrical and video/VOD, which were previously handled by two different executives.

The »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Haugesund: Izer Aliu Hires ‘Taken’ Actor for Heist Movie (Exclusive)

1 hour ago

Haugesund, Norway — Amanda winner and Nordic Council Film Prize Norwegian nominee Izer Aliu has attached Arben Bajraktaraj (“Taken”) to star in “Teacher Izat and the Lottery Heist.” LevelK is handling international sales.

Albanian-born, Norway-based writer-director Aliu was just bestowed at Haugesund’s Norwegian Intl. Film Festival, with the Amanda award for best director for his feature debut “Hunting Flies,” also nominated for the coveted Nordic Council Film Prize for 2017.

Set in Kosovo, his third film, with the working title of “Teacher Izat and the Lottery Heist “ mixes for the first time a string of local non-professional and profesional actors. Besides Arben Bajraktaraj (“Taken”, “Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1”), cast also includes Alihajdaraj (“Agnus Dei”) and well-known Kosovo actor-producer Naser Rafuna.

Using “Hunting Flies” techniques of improvisation to catch a spontaneity in acting, the crime drama will challenge the traditions of genre cinema and question the true meaning of friendship.

The »


- Annika Pham

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Joker-Harley Quinn Movie in the Works With Jared Leto, Margot Robbie

6 hours ago

Warner Bros. is developing an untitled tentpole movie starring Jared Leto as the Joker and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.

Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who direct and exec produce NBC’s “This Is Us,” are in final negotiations to direct the villain movie as part of the expanding DC Entertainment universe.

Leto and Robbie will reprise the roles they played in the studio’s 2016 super-villain mash-up “Suicide Squad.” The studio has not unveiled any logline other than a “criminal love story.”

And the Joker-Harley Quinn project is separate from Warner’s recently unveiled standalone Joker origin movie being developed as a potential directing vehicle for Todd Phillips of “The Hangover” — which will not star Leto.

Ficarra and Requa directed Robbie and Will Smith in the 2015 heist movie “Focus.” Their other big-screen credits include “I Love You Phillip Morris,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.”

Warner Bros. has been attempting to take advantage of Leto »


- Dave McNary

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Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn’s Stolen Nude Photos Removed From Website After Hack

7 hours ago

After being threatened with legal action, a porn site has removed stolen photos and video of Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn.

“The hackers responsible for these despicable invasions of privacy should be prosecuted, and the websites that post the stolen photographs and videos should be held accountable, too, because they provide a platform for these lowlifes to showcase their ‘work,'” attorney Andrew Brettler, whose firm Lavely & Singer represents a number of the hacking victims, told Variety.

In addition to images of Vonn and Woods, dozens of nude photographs of other celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, Kristen Stewart, Katharine McPhee, and Stella Maxwell, were published online on Tuesday.

Lavely & Singer was also successful in getting the photos and videos of other celebrities removed from the site, although the firm declined to name its clients.

A rep for the Olympic skier called the hackers’ act “outrageous and despicable.”

“It is an outrageous and despicable invasion of privacy for anyone »


- Maane Khatchatourian

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‘Insecure’ Star Issa Rae Joins Drama ‘The Hate U Give’ (Exclusive)

8 hours ago

Insecure” creator and star Issa Rae has joined Fox 2000’s coming-of-age drama “The Hate U Give” opposite Amandla Stenberg, Variety has learned exclusively.

George Tillman Jr. is directing from Audrey Wells’ script, adapted from Angela Thomas’ debut novel of the same name.

Additional cast members include Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Algee Smith, Lamar Johnson, and Common. Rae will play April, the activist that helps Stenberg’s character find her voice and speak up.

Related

Tiffany Haddish, Issa Rae and Jerrod Carmichael Star in ‘Friends’-Inspired Jay-z Music Video

Stenberg plays a 16-year-old girl named Starr who grew up in a poverty-stricken area, but now attends a suburban prep school. After she witnesses a police officer shoot her unarmed best friend, she’s torn between her two very different worlds as she tries to speak her truth.

The film’s rights to “The Hate U Give” were picked up by Fox 2000, Temple Hill, and »


- Dave McNary

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Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Bridges in Talks to Star in Drew Goddard’s ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’

9 hours ago

Chris Hemsworth and Jeff Bridges are in negotiations to star in the Fox thriller “Bad Times at the El Royale,” with Drew Goddard directing from his own script.

Should the deals close, the actors would be the first attached to the project, which is expected to begin shooting early next year. Fox has kept details about “Bad Times” under wraps other than it being set in the 196os at a dilapidated hotel in California’s Lake Tahoe region. Bridges would play a down-on-his-luck priest.

Goddard is also set to produce the movie. He received an Academy Award nomination last year for best adapted screenplay for “The Martian,” which was adapted from the Andy Weir novel.

Goddard directed Hemsworth in 2012’s “The Cabin in the Woods” from a script he co-wrote with Joss Whedon. He also has a screenplay writing credit on “World War Z.”

Bridges received his seventh Oscar nomination this year for “Hell or High Water” and »


- Dave McNary

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10 Most Anticipated New Films of Oscar Season

10 hours ago

Oscar season is officially on our doorstep as the 74th annual Venice Film Festival is set to take flight a week from today with the world premiere of Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing.” Recent contenders like “Birdman,” “Spotlight,” and “La La Land” have begun their journeys on the Lido before taking the season by storm.

Commencing in the Colorado mountains next Friday will be the Telluride Film Festival’s 44th Labor Day sprint, where major players like “Moonlight,” “12 Years a Slave,” and “Argo” all unspooled. Other awards season launchpads in Toronto, New York, and Hollywood (AFI Fest) will follow soon after.

Many new films will plant their flags throughout this circuit, while plenty more will aim for strategic exposure after the festival dust settles. The six-month season will be long — longer than usual, thanks to the Winter Olympics — but the reward will (hopefully) be a string of quality prestige films from many of the finest filmmakers in the »


- Kristopher Tapley

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Box Office: Will ‘Hitman’s Bodyguard’ Protect No. 1 From Newcomers?

11 hours ago

A sluggish summer at the box office appears to have almost reached a standstill.

Last weekend, “Hitman’s Bodyguard” won the domestic box office with $21.4 million. That was a solid opening for a film without a superhero, well-known source material, or a franchise to back it up. But now, in week two, it seems the movie could retain its spot on top, even if it sees a 50% to 60% drop.

The fresh releases don’t post much of a threat, starting with “Leap!” from the Weinstein Company. The animated film, which has already picked up $58.2 million from foreign markets, is looking at an opening around $5 million from 2,500 locations. Éric Summer and Éric Warin directed the movie, titled “Ballerina” in all territories outside the U.S. It’s billed as a musical adventure comedy about an orphan girl who aspires to become a dancer. The voice cast is led by Elle Fanning, and also includes Maddie Ziegler, »


- Seth Kelley

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Will Ferrell to Star in ‘The 100 Year-Old Man’

11 hours ago

Will Ferrell is producing and starring in the CBS Films comedy “The 100 Year-Old Man.”

The project is based on bestselling author Jonas Jonasson’s “The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.”

Ferrell is producing the film with partners Adam McKay and Jessica Elbaum via their Gary Sanchez shingle alongside Andy Licht and NiceFLX Pictures’ Pontus Edgren and Mikael Wallen. Felix Herngren and Henrik Jansson-Schweizer will serve as executive producers, and Joshua Mehr will co-produce.

Jason George (“Narcos”) is set to write the screenplay. No director is yet attached. »


- Dave McNary

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Netflix to Release Gay Talese, Joan Didion Documentaries

13 hours ago

Netflix has unveiled a pair of documentaries — Gay Talese’s “Voyeur” and “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold” — and plans to release both later this year.

Both titles are due to premiere first at the 55th New York Film Festival in October.

“Voyeur” follows Talese as he reports one of the most controversial stories of his career: a portrait of a Colorado motel owner, Gerald Foos. For decades, Foos secretly watched his guests with the aid of specially designed ceiling vents, peering down from an “observation platform” he built in the motel’s attic and kept detailed journals.

Talese had originally published the story about Foos in the New Yorker, then set up the project at Amblin with Sam Mendes attached to direct, but the “Voyeur’s Motel” project was dropped from development after questions emerged about the veracity of some of the details of the story.

“It’s an incredible honor to be able to »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: Daniel Radcliffe in ‘Jungle’

13 hours ago

There doesn’t outwardly appear to be a psychotic killer on the loose in “Jungle,” the fifth feature from slash-happy Aussie horror specialist Greg McLean, but it turns out Mother Nature is more than happy to do the honors. A booby-trapped backpacker survival saga set in deepest Bolivia, based on a memoir by Israeli explorer Yossi Ghinsberg, “Jungle” may ostensibly be a nobler departure from the exuberantly grisly genre fare on which McLean has made his name — but structurally and atmospherically, it has more in common with his smashing 2005 breakout “Wolf Creek” than you might guess. Taut and rattling in setup, before losing its bearings in more ways than one as no end of jungle fever seizes Daniel Radcliffe’s agonized protagonist, this Melbourne festival premiere should enjoy somewhat safer travels on the strength of its name appeal and handsome National Geographic veneer.

Between last year’s disappointing, James Gunn-scripted gorefest “The Belko Experiment” and the »


- Guy Lodge

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Joshua Satine Joins Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively in Thriller ‘A Simple Favor’ (Exclusive)

14 hours ago

Six-year-old Joshua Satine has been cast in Lionsgate’s thriller “A Simple Favor” opposite Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and Henry Golding, Variety has learned exclusively.

Satine will play the son of Kendrick’s mommy blogger character, who tries to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of her best friend, portrayed by Lively. Golding plays the husband of Lively’s character. The story is described as being a post-modern film noir with twists, betrayals, secrets, revelations, murder, and revenge

Paul Feig is directing the film. Feig and Jessie Henderson are producing through their Feigco production company. Jessica Sharzer wrote the script based on Darcey Bell’s book of the same name.

Fox 2000 was originally developing the project after buying the movie rights to “A Simple Favor” in a preemptive deal. The story is in the vein of Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel “Gone Girl” and Paula Hawkins’ 2015 debut “The Girl on the Train” — two best-selling thrillers in which a »


- Dave McNary

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‘Entourage’ Star Emmanuelle Chriqui to Star in Thriller ‘Hospitality’ (Exclusive)

14 hours ago

Emmanuelle Chriqui has joined the cast of the crime thriller “Hospitality” opposite “True Blood” star Sam Trammell.

Chriqui plays Donna, a woman with a checkered past who must protect her son when a man brings trouble to her isolated bed and breakfast. Jr Bourne (“Teen Wolf”), Jim Beaver (“Supernatural”), and Conner McVicker (“Vice Principals”) have also joined the cast.

The film is written and directed by David Guglielmo and Nick Chakwin (“No Way to Live”) and is produced by Howard Barish (“13th”) through his Kandoo Films production banner.

This film is the third in a slate of eight indie films being produced by Barish and Kandoo Films. Barish began this initiative last year to provide opportunities to emerging artists, up and coming directors, and passionate storytellers.

Chriqui was most recently seen in the Hulu series “Shut Eye” starring Jeffrey Donovan and can be seen next in “Super Troopers 2” which bows April 20, 2018. She is repped by Management 360 »


- Justin Kroll

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Palme d’Or Winner ‘The Square’ Is Sweden’s Pick for Foreign-Language Oscar

14 hours ago

Ruben Ostlund’s Palme d’Or-winning “The Square” will represent Sweden in the foreign-language Oscar race at the 90th Academy Awards in 2018.

A satirical drama weaving dark comedy, “The Square” takes place in the contemporary art world. Written by Ostlund, the film stars Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West.

The Square” world premiered in competition at Cannes, where it won the Palme d’Or. It will next play at Toronto, in the Special Presentations section. Magnolia pre-bought U.S. rights to “The Square” a year ago.

Commenting on the selection of “The Square,” Ostlund, who spoke about his despair over missing out on an Oscar nomination for his 2015 “Force Majeure” in a YouTube clip, said he “really hope it’s less painful this time round.”

Although it missed out on an Oscar nomination, “Force Majeure” was a critical hit. It took home six Swedish Guldbagge Awards and won the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard »


- Elsa Keslassy

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France, Britain Lead Europe’s Foray Into Vr Content Creation

15 hours ago

They’re already home to two of Europe’s most vibrant film industries. Now France and Britain are leading the way in the region in creating Vr content.

Between them, the two countries have eight of the 22 titles competing in the upcoming Venice Film Festival’s new virtual-reality section — the world’s first competitive Vr strand at a film festival. Add in an entrant apiece from Italy and Denmark, and the number of European titles in the competition exceeds that of the U.S.

“The Vr industry is booming in Europe, which is great for all of us,” said Sol Rogers, CEO and founder of Rewind, the British creator of “Ghost in the Shell Vr,” with U.S. banner Here Be Dragons, and “Home: A Vr Spacewalk,” which just picked up an award at Cannes Lions.

A report in August identified 487 virtual-reality companies operating in Europe, up from the 300 recorded in February.

But »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Vanessa Redgrave, Alex Gibney, Griffin Dunne Documentaries Join New York Film Festival Slate (Exclusive)

15 hours ago

The 2017 New York Film Festival’s Spotlight on Documentary lineup includes work by a number of notable directors, with world premieres by Vanessa Redgrave (“Sea Sorrow”), Alex Gibney (“No Stone Unturned”), and Griffin Dunne (“Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold”), among others.

The documentaries on tap encompass a wide range of subjects, including the global refugee crisis (“Sea Sorrow”), male bodybuilding (Denis Côté’s “A Skin So Soft”), small-town racism and misogyny (Travis Wilkerson’s “Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?”), Rome’s biggest public square (Abel Ferrara’s “Piazza Vittorio”), and a 1994 Irish massacre (“No Stone Unturned”).

Related

New York Film Festival 2017 Slate Dominated by Amazon, Netflix (Full List)

There are also a number of works focused on individuals, including Rebecca Miller’s movie about her playwright father, “Arthur Miller: Writer,” as well as docs about the writer Joan Didion (“The Center Will Not Hold”), artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (Sara Driver’s “Boom for »


- Gordon Cox

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Maya Rudolph to Reunite With Melissa McCarthy in ‘Happytime Murders’

15 hours ago

Maya Rudolph has joined Melissa McCarthy in the dark comedy “The Happytime Murders.”

The casting represents a reunion for longtime friends McCarthy and Rudolph, who first shared the big screen in 2011’s comedy blockbuster “Bridesmaids” and will next be seen together in Warner Bros.’ “Life of the Party.” McCarthy was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in “Bridesmaids.”

STXfilms’ “The Happytime Murders” is centered on two clashing detectives, one human and the other a puppet, who are forced to work together to find the killer who’s murdering the former cast of “The Happytime Gang,” a classic puppet show.

The production companies are Henson Alternative, On the Day Productions, and STXfilms. McCarthy is producing with partner Ben Falcone, along with Brian Henson and Jeffrey Hayes. Executive producers are Lisa Henson, Dee Robertson, and John W. Hyde.

Brian Henson is directing from a script by Todd Berger, Dee Robertson, »


- Dave McNary

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Film News Roundup: Jamie Luner Joins Romantic Comedy ‘Honeymoon in Paradise’ (Exclusive)

15 hours ago

In today’s film news roundup, “Melrose Place” star Jamie Luner joins “Honeymoon in Paradise,” Vera Farmiga joins “The Front Runner,” Abramorama and Gravitas acquire documentaries and Sony Pictures gets to work on the thriller “Nightlight.”

Castings

Jamie Luner is starring in Odyssey Media’s romantic comedy “Honeymoon in Paradise” with shooting starting in October in the Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia, Variety has learned exclusively.

The producer is Kirk Shaw, who has producing credits on “Life and Death of John Gotti” and “Papa Hemingway in Cuba.” David DeCoteau is directing from a script by Julia Holdway, in which two exes are contestants on a new romantic reality TV series filming at Saint Lucia’s Coconut Bay Resort and Spa.

The one-time couple soon realize the flame of love continues to burn but find that the only way to get time together, to sort out the past and plan a future, is »


- Dave McNary

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David Oyelowo Joins Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley in Doug Liman’s ‘Chaos Walking’

15 hours ago

David Oyelowo has joined Lionsgate’s science-fiction adventure “Chaos Walking,” starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley.

Doug Liman is directing while Allison Shearmur and Doug Davison are producers. The screenplay will be written by Patrick Ness, Charlie Kaufman, and John Lee Hancock.

The film is based on Patrick Ness’s “Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go,” a book that was published in 2008 as the first in a trilogy. It’s set in a dystopian world where all living creatures can hear each other’s thoughts with Holland’s character playing the only boy in a town of men who’s forced to flee with only his dog.

Oyelowo will play the antagonist, Aaron, in the movie.

Holland is coming off of playing the title role in Sony’s summer hit, “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” He is currently tied to Shawn Levy’s adaptation of “Uncharted,” “The Current War” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and »


- Dave McNary

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‘Student’ Director Kirill Serebrennikov Put Under House Arrest in Russia

16 hours ago

Acclaimed Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov has been put under house arrest in Russia pending trial on charges of embezzling state funds. The filmmaker, whose 2016 film “The Student” won the Francois Chalais award in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016, was arrested in St. Peterburg on Tuesday where he was shooting a new movie about Soviet singer-songwriter Viktor Tsoi.

Appearing in a Moscow court Wednesday, Serebrennikov found his request to be freed on bail rejected despite character-witness statements on his behalf from a number of Russian actors and directors, including Fedor Bondarchuk. Serebrennikov pleaded innocent to the charges and told the court he needed to “finish filming a movie.”

The decision means he will not be able to return to work on his biopic of rock star Tsoi and is banned from communicating with anyone aside from close relatives and his legal team without investigators’ approval. »


- Robert Mitchell

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