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David Fincher Close to Deal to Direct ‘World War Z 2’ (Exclusive)

27 minutes ago

After previously taking the film off its calendar, Paramount Pictures looks to be moving forward with a “World War Z” sequel, with David Fincher directing and Brad Pitt back to star, thanks to the studio’s new chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos, according to knowledgeable sources.

While Gianopulos has not officially official greenlit the movie yet, he is expected to do so in coming weeks. This will likely be among the studio chief’s first greenlit movies. Sources say that production would probably begin in the first quarter of 2018.

A spokesperson for the studio has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Variety first reported last summer that Pitt had been courting Fincher to direct the pic and that the director was intrigued by the idea. The plans had to be put on hold while Pitt dealt with his divorce from Angelina Jolie, and were put into question once the studio, »


- Justin Kroll

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Talking Heads Frontman David Byrne Pens Touching Tribute to Jonathan Demme

1 hour ago

David Byrne paid tribute to Jonathan Demme in a lengthy letter posted Wednesday on his website after the Academy Award-winning director died at the age of 73.

The Talking Heads lead singer and guitarist recounted his experiences with Demme filming the footage that would eventually be turned into “Stop Making Sense,” a now-iconic concert doc shot at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre. Byrne highlighted how Demme was able to think of the movie as a “theatrical ensemble piece” and reflected on his ability to make the band feel included.

Related

Justin Timberlake Remembers ‘Master of Humanity’ Jonathan Demme

“Jonathan was also incredibly generous during the editing and mixing,” he said. “That inclusion was hugely inspirational for me. Though I had directed music videos before, this mentoring of Jonathan’s emboldened me to try making a feature film.”

With few words to spare for Demme’s more successful films, such as “Silence of the Lambs” and “Philadelphia, »


- Erin Nyren

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Nicolas Cage Breaks Ankle on Set of Heist Movie in Bulgaria

2 hours ago

Nicolas Cage has broken his ankle on the set of heist movie “#211” in Bulgaria, a source confirms to Variety.

It’s currently unclear how the accident happened, but he was transferred to a hospital near the set before heading back to Los Angeles for treatment. He’s still in L.A., with hopes to return to set in about two weeks.

Millennium Films and Nu Image, the production companies behind the film, have not yet announced how Cage’s absence will affect production.

Related

Nicolas Cage to Star in Sci-Fi Action Film ‘The Humanity Bureau

York Shackleton directs the movie that stars Cage as a police officer, following his efforts to stop a bank robbery. 211 is police code for “robbery in progress.”

Jonathan Yunger and Jeffrey Greenstein serve as producers of “#211,” with Yariv Lerner, Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, and Scott Karp on board as executive producers. Along with Cage, the cast also includes Amanda Cerny, »


- Alex Stedman

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‘Captain America’ Director Joe Johnston Boards ‘Narnia’ Revival ‘The Silver Chair’ (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

Captain America: The First Avenger” helmer Joe Johnston will journey to “Narnia: The Silver Chair,” a revival of C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia” series.

TriStar Pictures will partner with the Mark Gordon Company, the C.S. Lewis Company, and Entertainment One on the project with Mark Gordon, Lewis’ stepson Douglas Gresham, Vincent Sieber, and Melvin Adams producing the pic. “Life of Pi” scribe David Magee adapted the script.

“Joe is a wonderful storyteller who is equally at home in the biggest franchises and the most intimate character pieces,” Gordon said. “Because C.S. Lewis’ story is iconic and epic, but also tender, personal, and emotional, he’s the perfect choice to bring ‘The Silver Chair’ to the screen.”

The “Narnia” franchise’s three films — “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” “Prince Caspian,” and “The Voyage of the Dawn »


- Justin Kroll

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Justin Timberlake Remembers ‘Master of Humanity’ Jonathan Demme

2 hours ago

Justin Timberlake is the latest star to heap praise on Jonathan Demme, who died on Wednesday of cancer complications.

The pop star worked with the prolific filmmaker on his final feature, the 2016 concert documentary (and his most commercial concert movie) “Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids.”

Related

Jodie Foster Pays Tribute to Jonathan Demme, ‘A Champion of the Soul’

“Where do I begin? Words just aren’t enough with heartache like this,” Timberlake captioned a photo of him and the late director on Instagram.

“You, master of humanity. You, genius of storytelling. You, generous and warm man. You, special soul. You taught me so much about life and art and about standing up for what you believe. You made me better at my craft,” he continued. “And, the time I spent with you away from a camera and a stage made a better human out of me. You are truly irreplaceable. »


- Maane Khatchatourian

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Jonathan Demme Appreciation: A Filmmaker Who Turned His Humanity Into Art

3 hours ago

The great filmmakers who came to prominence in the 1970s — and Jonathan Demme, who died Wednesday, was one of them — had stylistic traits that made them iconically identifiable. Robert Altman had his multi-character hubbub, Martin Scorsese had his volcanic rock ‘n’ roll virtuosity, and Francis Ford Coppola had his lavishly scaled operatic grandeur. But Demme, vivid and stirring as his filmmaking voice was, had no such obvious signature. You could almost say that he was defined by his lack of signature.

What defined a Demme film was the open-eyed flow of its humanity, the way his camera drank in everyone on screen — it didn’t matter whether the character was a goofy truck driver, a derelict billionaire, the troubled wife of a mobster, a new wave rock ‘n’ roller, or a serial killer — and took the full measure of their life and spirit. For Demme, the magic of movies resided »


- Owen Gleiberman

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New ‘Alien: Covenant’ Prologue Connects Film to ‘Prometheus’

4 hours ago

Ahead of the upcoming May 19 release of “Alien: Covenant,” Fox has released “The Crossing,” a short bridging the gap between the end of 2012’s “Prometheus” and the latest installment.

Related

Alien: Covenant In Utero’ Puts Virtual Reality Spin on Fox Franchise

The short, which Fox posted on Wednesday, is narrated by the synthetic droid David (Michael Fassbender) and takes place 10 years after the destruction of the Prometheus. He explains how scientist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), the only survivor of the doomed expedition, helped repair him, forging a bond unlike any he had ever experienced with a human. After salvaging an alien craft, the pair prepared to make a journey onward to meet their creators, the Engineers. The short cuts off just as David looks upon the new world, leaving fans to wonder whether this is indeed the planet of the Engineers.

Alien: Covenant” sees original “Alien” director Ridley Scott returning »


- Erin Nyren

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Box Office: ‘Fate of the Furious’ Aims for Threepeat Over ‘The Circle,’ ‘Latin Lover’

4 hours ago

The Fate of the Furious” is racing toward its third straight weekend on top of the box office.

After earning $38.4 million domestically during its second frame, the eighth film in the beloved “Fast and Furious” franchise should steer clear of the competition once again and land in the $15 million to $20 million range. A major landmark also approaches as the actioner could race past $1 billion at the global box office this week.

The biggest contender in “Fate’s” race to the top is “The Circle” from Stx and EuropaCorp, which will likely earn somewhere between $10 million and $15 million. While its production budget is a relatively thrifty $18 million, the opening expectations are meager considering the star power involved, mainly Tom Hanks (who opened 2016’s “Sully” to $35 million), Emma Watson (recently the belle of the box office in “Beauty and the Beast”), and “Star Wars” phenom John Boyega.

Related

‘Fast & Furious’ Films Ranked »


- Seth Kelley

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Luc Besson Nurtures French Filmmakers at Ecole De La Cite

5 hours ago

Luc Besson is arguably France’s most famous film school reject — a setback that clearly didn’t stopped him from working his way up to become the country’s top commercial director.

“More than half of the French directors who were successful in the last 30 years didn’t come from a national [or state-backed] school. It doesn’t mean the way they teach is bad; it means the way they select directors isn’t right for people like me,” says Besson, who decided to take matters into his own hands.

In 2012, the director started his own free film school, Ecole de la Cite, on the grounds of the studio where he shot “Lucy” and his most recent sci-fi adventure, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.”

As it happens, the studio was also Besson’s idea, built on the grounds of an old power plant in the semi-dangerous north Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. »


- Peter Debruge

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Walt Disney Family Museum to Exhibit Work by ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Artist Eyvind Earle

5 hours ago

The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco will feature a new exhibition on the life and work of iconic Disney artist Eyvind Earle, beginning May 18 and running through Jan. 8.

Earle is best known for his lush landscapes and as the lead stylist behind Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” (1959). He has produced concept art for other Disney classics, including 1955’s “Lady and the Tramp” and “Peter Pan” (1953).

“Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle” is co-curated by Eyvind Earle Publishing CEO Ioan Szasz and Michael Labrie, director of collections and exhibitions for the museum and the Walt Disney Family Foundation.

“Whether it was through a modest snowy landscape for a Christmas card or a more intricate background concept for films like ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ Earle brought magic to everything he touched,” said Szasz, who starting working with Earle in 1988.

The exhibit will feature more than 250 works by Earle, including his rich work »


- Terry Flores

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Ewan McGregor to Star in Disney’s ‘Christopher Robin’

5 hours ago

Ewan McGregor is in talks to star in Disney’s “Christopher Robin,” sources confirmed to Variety.

World War Z” director Marc Forster is helming.

In line with Disney’s model of taking animated classics from its archives and giving them a live-action spin, the story follows Robin, the little boy from the “Winnie the Pooh” series, who is now all-grown-up and lost all sense of imagination. Pooh and his friends reenter Robin’s life to help him gain that back.

Related

Spotlight’s’ Tom McCarthy to Re-Write Disney’s Live-Action ‘Christopher Robin

Brigham Taylor is producing the project.

Hidden Figures” scribe Allison Schroeder is penning the script.

This is the second feature revolving around the world of “Winnie the Pooh,” with Fox Searchlight’s “Goodbye Christopher Robin” focusing on the real-life story of “Winnie the Pooh’s” author A.A. Milne.

McGregor has had a bit of a resurgence in the »


- Justin Kroll

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Cannes: Capstone Group Formed by Christian Mercuri

6 hours ago

In a pre-Cannes Film Festival move, international sales executive and producer Christian Mercuri has formed Capstone Group as a financing, production and full service international sales company.

Capstone, based in Beverly Hills, will debut at the Cannes market next month. The entity is funded through private equity, in partnership with Jeanette Zhou of Jaguar Entertainment.

Capstone Group said it offers filmmakers access to development funding, production funding as well as international distribution. The company anticipates to handle four to five big-budget commercial theatrical films per year.

The company has entered into a three-year deal with Red Granite Pictures handling the international sales for the  production company. Danny Dimbort, longtime partner and colleague of Mercuri, will serve as a sales consultant for Capstone Group.

“In today’s world you have to be more than just a sales agent to be in a position to bring the very best theatrical titles to the buyers, »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: ‘Obit.’

6 hours ago

What is the sum worth of a man or woman’s life? In word-count terms, that’s a question dealt with every day by the subjects of “Obit.,” who comprise the New York Times’ obituary department — one of the last surviving extensive operations in the publishing world devoted to their particular task. Entertaining if a bit conventional in its anecdotal structure and slightly cutesy tone, these 95 minutes should appeal to the same public that happily spends half the day reading the Sunday Times, and which will enjoy a polite peek behind the Gray Lady’s operational curtain.

Though they admit the job does keep mortality on their minds, the Times’ obit crew rarely finds it depressing. As Margalit Fox puts it, “We’re usually writing about someone who’s died in his or her 80s or 90s after living a long, rich, creative, fulfilling life. … In an obit of 800 words, »


- Dennis Harvey

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Jodie Foster Pays Tribute to Jonathan Demme, ‘A Champion of the Soul’

6 hours ago

Jodie Foster remembered the late Jonathan Demme, who directed the actress in her Oscar-winning turn in “The Silence of the Lambs,” with a touching statement to media outlets on Wednesday.

Related

Hollywood Reacts to Oscar-Winning Director Jonathan Demme’s Death

“I am heart-broken to lose a friend, a mentor, a guy so singular and dynamic you’d have to design a hurricane to contain him,” she said in the statement. “Jonathan was as quirky as his comedies and as deep as his dramas. He was pure energy, the unstoppable cheerleader for anyone creative. Just as passionate about music as he was about art, he was and will always be a champion of the soul. Jd, most beloved, something wild, brother of love, director of the lambs. Love that guy. Love him so much.”

Foster played Clarice Starling in the 1991 horror classic, starring alongside Anthony Hopkins and Scott Glenn. Along with »


- Alex Stedman

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Box Office: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Blasts Off Overseas

6 hours ago

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” has launched in its first international markets with $6.6 million in Australia, Italy, and New Zealand.

Disney-Marvel’s sequel will be open in 58% of the international marketplace by Sunday, while it hits theaters in the U.S. on May 5. Other markets where it opens on Wednesday include France, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand.

Related

Film Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

It opened in Australia on Anzac Day to an estimated $2.9 million, the second-highest debut day for a Marvel title after “The Avengers.” It earned more than three times the opening day gross of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which fell on a non-holiday. The cume, including Monday night previews, is $4.5 million.

The film saw a No. 1 launch in Italy on Liberation Day with $1.4 million, three times greater than the opening days of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Doctor Strange.” It launched »


- Dave McNary

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Tony Vinciquerra Advances as Lead Candidate for Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Post (Exclusive)

7 hours ago

Industry veteran Tony Vinciquerra has advanced through the Sony Pictures Entertainment job search process and is now the lead candidate to succeed Michael Lynton as the top executive at the studio.

Vinciquerra would come to the job with decades of TV experience, albeit little exposure on the film side. Sources said Sony Corp. chief Kazuo Hirai has been looking for a candidate with strong managerial chops and a familiarity with the fast-expanding world of big data and analytics.

Vinciquerra headed Fox Networks Group for a decade before stepping down in early 2011. He’s since worked as a consultant to numerous entertainment firms and private equity group Tpg. Through his work as a senior advisor to Tpg Capital, Vinciquerra has been involved in Robert SimondsStx Entertainment startup venture, in which Tpg is an investor. He also sits on the board of directors of Univision.

In Sony’s view, Vinciquerra’s »


- Cynthia Littleton

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‘Cars 3’ Trailer Shows Aftermath of Lightning McQueen Crash

7 hours ago

The new “Cars 3” trailer expands on the teaser trailer from last November, showing the aftermath of Lightning McQueen’s (Owen Wilson’s) dramatic crash.

Overall, the third film in the Pixar franchise deals with darker themes, as Lightning fights to stay relevant and avoid becoming a commercial sell-out as his racing days are numbered.

The crash — which is depicted in the new trailer — is a major turning point in Lightning’s life.

“I can’t go out on the track and do the same old thing. It won’t work,” opines the lead character.

Related

Disney Dates ‘Lion King’ and ‘Frozen 2,’ Pushes Fifth ‘Indiana Jones’ Film to 2020

Enter an eager race technician, newcomer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), who offers to help Lightning return to his former glory.

He’ll have his work cut out for him, with a hot new racer Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), getting all the attention. »


- Lawrence Yee

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Variety Bolsters Film Reporting Team With New Hire Ricardo Lopez

7 hours ago

Ricardo Lopez, who has been a star political reporter for Minnesota’s Star Tribune for nearly three years, will be joining Variety as an entertainment journalist focused on the film business.

Lopez will soon be moving to Los Angeles to start his new job as a film reporter on May 22.

“This is a journalist who is a tenacious, highly skilled digger, reporter and writer and I have no doubts that he will make his mark in entertainment coverage in no time,” says Variety co-editor-in-chief Claudia Eller, to whom Lopez will report.

At the Star Tribune, he covered the state budget and education politics, specializing in impactful, in-depth accountability journalism. He was most recently promoted to lead coverage of Gov. Mark Dayton and his administration, one of the paper’s most important beats.

His work was nominated for an Editor’s Award for beat reporting. Among those stories was one showing »


- Variety Staff

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How Jonathan Demme’s ‘Silence of the Lambs’ Broke Countless Oscar Conventions

7 hours ago

The further I spin away from “Moonlight’s” best picture victory last February, which none of us really had the chance to unpack in all the chaos of the Oscars climax, the more stunned I am by its sheer unlikeliness. That exciting moment broke countless conventions.

So, too, did “The Silence of the Lambs” 25 years ago. With director Jonathan Demme’s untimely passing this morning, I’m reminded of just how many “rules” that film broke, and how it — like “Moonlight” — is a constant reminder: let convention be damned when it comes to the Oscar race.

To start, it was a horror film. Skew it to “thriller” if you want, but no movie as horrific as this had ever claimed the Academy’s top prize. And how could it? It’s difficult for genre filmmaking to translate broadly enough. Science-fiction is often the poster child for this, but horror faces an even steeper climb. »


- Kristopher Tapley

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Entertainment Education: 20 Schools Offering Competitive Film Instruction

8 hours ago

These 20 standout schools offer competitive, world-renowned cinema instruction for aspiring filmmakers:

American Film Institute

Los Angeles

With several of its alumni receiving awards and nominations during the 2016-17 awards season, AFI’s newly implemented programs aim to further increase the progression of students from education to the workforce. Students have the opportunity to take screenwriting courses that employ the collaborative format of a TV writers’ room for creating pilots, and participate in the AFI Writers’ Room Ready, pairing graduating screenwriters and their pilot scripts with accomplished AFI mentors. This year, AFI alumnus and cinematographer Frederick Elmes will receive the Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal, an honor that recognizes the exceptional creative talents of an AFI alum who embodies the qualities of cinematographer Schaffner.

Art Center College of Design

Pasadena, Calif.

The private Pasadena college boasts a wide range of educational partnerships, allowing students to collaborate with industry partners and gain real-world experience. »


- Variety Staff

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