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‘Geostorm’ Director Hopes Harvey Weinstein Scandal Signals ‘Sea Change’ for Hollywood

28 minutes ago

Warner Bros.’ “Geostorm” premiered Monday night at the Tcl Chinese Theatre in Hollywood while talk of the Harvey Weinstein scandal percolated on the red carpet.

Dean Devlin, who made his directorial debut with the weather disaster take, admitted that he was “stunned” by the sheer volume of the #MeToo postings on social media after actress Alyssa Milano encouraged women who had been been sexually harassed or assaulted to post on social media in solidarity.

“It is depressing; it is overwhelming,” he said. “I hope that maybe this will be the pivotal moment of a sea change where society says ‘enough.’ This is crazy and it has to end.”

As for “Geostorm,” Devlin said its underlying message carries plenty of power, given the number of deadly hurricanes that have struck recently. The film is set in a near future where climate-controlling satellites go haywire and cause a storm of epic proportions, until brothers »


- Dave McNary

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‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Movie Title Announced

43 minutes ago

The “Star Wars” Han Solo spinoff has finally been titled: “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

Director Ron Howard announced the news in a video on Twitter on Tuesday morning. Howard also revealed that they just wrapped production on the movie.

“Hey #Twitterville we just wrapped production so here’s a special message #StarWars,” he wrote.

Hey #Twitterville we just wrapped production so here's a special message #StarWars pic.twitter.com/8QJqN5BGxr

Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) October 17, 2017

The film follows the young Han Solo — a 20-something version of Harrison Ford’s character —  and Chewbacca’s adventures before joining the Rebellion, including their encounters with Lando Calrissian.

Howard took over as director in August after the movie’s original helmers, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, were fired, after clashing with Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy and co-writer/executive producer Lawrence Kasdan.

“It was a culture clash from day one,” a source told Variety at the time. “She didn’t »


- Maane Khatchatourian

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Hilary Swank to Star in Sci-Fi Thriller ‘I Am Mother’ (Exclusive)

1 hour ago

Hilary Swank is starring in the science-fiction thriller “I Am Mother,” which has started shooting at South Australia’s Adelaide Studios, Variety has learned exclusively.

Swank, who won best actress Academy Awards for “Million Dollar Baby” and “Boys Don’t Cry,” is joining Clara Rugaard in a unique mother-daughter story.

Rugaard portrays the first of a new generation of humans raised by “Mother” – a kindly robot designed to repopulate the earth following the extinction of mankind. But their unique bond is threatened when a blood-drenched woman (played by Swank) inexplicably arrives, calling into question everything she’s been told about the outside world.

I Am Mother” is based on an original concept by director Grant Sputore and writer Michael Lloyd Green. The screenplay was on the 2016 Black List.

I Am Mother” is Sputore’s feature debut. The special effects team at Weta Workshop (“Avatar,” “The Lord of The Rings”) has created the titular robot.

The movie is »


- Dave McNary

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Busan: ‘Gasoline’ Fills up at Project Market Awards

2 hours ago

Oh Seung-uk’s “Gasoline” from Korea was the front runner Tuesday at the Asian Project Market (Apm), part of the Busan Film Festival. It picked up the Lotte award of $8,900 (KRW10 million) and the Moneff award that provides $20,000 worth of post-production services.

Bui Thac Chuyen’s “Glorious Ashes” (Vietnam) won the Busan award of $15,000. The Bright East Films award of $15,000 was won by Li Xiaofeng’s “Revenge” (China). Riri Riza’s “Humba Dreams” (Indonesia) won the Cj Entertainment award of $10,000.

Yoon Ga-eun’s “Sora” (Korea) won the Kocca award of $8,850. Wissam Charaf’s “Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous” won the Arte International prize of $7,000. Min Bahadur Bham’s “A Year of Cold” (Nepal/France/Germany) won the Sorfund award which is an invitation to the Norwegian South Film Fund’s pitching forum, including flights.

The New Creator awards for book to film pitching went to Lee Jung Yuen’s “The Untouchables” while the E-ip pitching went to Lee Soo-a »


- Naman Ramachandran and Patrick Frater

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Bjork Elaborates on Harassment: Danish Director ‘Stroked Me,’ Made ‘Graphic Sexual Offers’

2 hours ago

After Lars Von Trier denied Bjork’s allegations that an unnamed Danish director had sexually harassed her, the singer got specific with her allegations in a Facebook post Tuesday. Bjork and von Trier worked together on the 2000 film “Dancer in the Dark.”

In the post, she expresses sympathy with other women who hesitated to make their claims of sexual harassment public, and then goes on to accuse the still-unnamed director of “strok[ing] me sometimes for minutes against my wishes,” “making “unwanted whispered sexual offers with graphic descriptions,” and threatened to “climb from his room´s balcony over to mine in the middle of the night with a clear sexual intention , while his wife was in the room next door.”

Von Trier denied the allegations on Monday, telling the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, “That is not the case — although we didn’t get along, that’s a fact. … On the other hand, she delivered »


- Jem Aswad

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Nora Johnson, Writer of ‘The World of Henry Orient,’ Dies at 84

2 hours ago

Nora Johnson, who wrote the screenplay for “The World of Henry Orient” with her father, writer-director Nunnally Johnson, died Oct. 5 in Dallas. She was 84.

Her daughter, Marion Siwek, said she died of natural causes.

Johnson based the story on her novel about two schoolgirls who have a crush on a concert pianist, informed by her experiences at private school in New York. Peter Sellers played the pianist; the film also starred Angela Lansbury and Paula Prentiss. It also became a Broadway musical, “Henry, Sweet Henry.”

Her memoirs about her father and growing up in show business included “Flashback,” “You Can Go Home Again” and “Coast to Coast,” a memoir of her childhood shuttling between her journalist mother in New York and her Hollywood-based father. Nunnally Johnson was the writer and director of films including “The Three Faces of Eve” and “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” and screenwriter of “The Dirty Dozen.”

Her 1959 essay »


- Pat Saperstein

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What Prompted Jack Gao’s Wanda, Legendary Departure?

2 hours ago

If China’s Dalian Wanda is going to make a comeback in Hollywood, after weathering its present storms, it will do so without Jack Gao. The polished and high-flying executive this week parted from Wanda, the property to entertainment giant, and from its Hollywood producer subsidiary Legendary Entertainment.

Wanda insiders insist that the group maintains a long-term commitment to Legendary, where Gao had been interim CEO since January, and will be back as a major player in Hollywood. But Wanda’s list of problem issues mean that further overseas expansion is not going to happen in the short or medium term.

The Chinese government, in a series of ever stronger measures over the past year, has punished the companies that have engaged in “irrational” and “exuberant” foreign acquisitions. Putting restrictions on deal-making in the areas of hotels, entertainment and sports, the measures seem specifically tailored to halt Wanda in its tracks. And without that activity, »


- Patrick Frater

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Harvey Weinstein Firestorm Marks an Inflection Point for Entertainment

3 hours ago

In all the years we’ve been in the entertainment news business, there’s never been a firestorm quite like the one ignited by the sordid saga of Harvey Weinstein and his alleged far-reaching sexual abuse scandal.

The Variety staff has been working overtime to cover every angle, including Tuesday’s extensive coverage.

This moment is about more than just one man whose decades of despicable behavior have been exposed by the courageous women who are finally coming forward with their terrifying stories. Yes, the reverberations are being felt across the entertainment industry, where other alleged perpetrators of sexual harassment, like Amazon Studios chief Roy Price, will continue to be outed.

But the scandal, of course, transcends Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

What this is really about is our culture at large, where for too long too many turned the other way as power was abused and covered up to protect profits.

But no more. »


- Claudia Eller and Andrew Wallenstein

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European Filmmakers and Producers Protest Sacking of Polish Film Institute Director

3 hours ago

European film producers are voicing outrage over what they allege was the politically motivated sacking of the head of the Polish Film Institute, the nation’s key funding and international networking hub for cinema production.

Magdalena Sroka’s ouster, announced Oct. 9 by Poland’s culture minister, Piotr Glinski, prompted street protests at the Warsaw film festival this week. Filmmaker Wim Wenders, the head of the European Film Academy, said in an open letter that the organization’s members were “deeply disturbed” by the right-wing Polish government’s move to fire Sroka.

“The Polish Film Institute is financed by private sources, and the director can only be dismissed by the government if she has broken the law, which she hasn’t,” Wenders wrote. He described Sroka’s removal as “an expression of disrespect for culture and artistic freedom, and that, indeed, concerns us as a European Academy. It shows how shortsighted governments are when trying to subjugate culture »


- Will Tizard

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Casting-Couch Tactics Plagued Hollywood Long Before Harvey Weinstein

3 hours ago

Whether producing “The Artist,” “Shakespeare in Love” or “The English Patient,” Queens-born serial predator Harvey Weinstein has always had a knack for making powerful period pictures. Maybe, between the best picture Oscars that those movies scored, he should have brushed up on his Hollywood history. His penchant for the casting couch — the practice of powerful white men exploiting young actresses trying to break into the movie business — has a historical precedent as old as the movie business itself.

“The perils for women in Hollywood are embedded, like land mines, from an actress’s debut to her swan song,” says film critic and historian Carrie Rickey, “where moguls like Harry Cohn reputedly wouldn’t cast starlets like Marilyn Monroe and Kim Novak unless they auditioned in bed.”

Long before Weinstein there was Louis B. Mayer, who co-founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios in 1924. Mayer, the ground zero of this kind of abuse, had means, motive, opportunity »


- Thelma Adams

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Amazon, the Democrats and the Fallout From the Harvey Weinstein Scandal

4 hours ago

The New York Times and New Yorker stories detailing a decades-long history of alleged sexual abuse have undone the career of Harvey Weinstein. Bounced from his role as co-chairman of the company he founded with his brother Bob, his name scrubbed from multiple projects, expelled from the Academy, and publicly denounced by dozens of high-profile actors, executives and filmmakers, the mogul has been tossed out of the business of which he was once a titan.

But he’s not the only one facing a reckoning. With even more revelations about Weinstein’s misdeeds coming to light, the scandal has had a ripple effect throughout the industry, dragging down multiple companies and public figures in its wake.

Amazon Studios

As allegations against Weinstein flooded Hollywood, the waters also began to rise around Roy Price, president of Amazon Studios. Rumors of Price’s imminent departure from the tech company’s entertainment division had begun swirling this summer with the »


- Daniel Holloway

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Entertainment One Merges Film, TV Production (Exclusive)

5 hours ago

Entertainment One has unified film, TV, and digital production with Steve Bertram and John Morayniss now co-presidents of the consolidated operation.

Independent studio eOne signaled its intention to align TV and film earlier this year and the sales teams have already come together under Stuart Baxter, who has proceeded to bring in Dan Gopal and Joyce Yeung, both of whom have studio experience.

Uniting production and development was a natural next step, Morayniss told Variety. “As we put that sales structure together we asked why stop there,” he said. “There was an ‘a-ha moment’ for us a while ago when we did ‘Sharp Objects.’ We optioned Gillian Flynn’s book to develop as a feature, but after we started developing, it occurred to us that this is a very complicated story and to do it justice it made more sense as a series, so we pivoted very quickly on that.”

The series, »


- Stewart Clarke

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Mipcom: Colombia’s Dynamo and YouTube Sensation Enchufe TV Co-Produce Enchufe’s First Movie (Exclusive)

5 hours ago

Basking in the success of its production service involvement in Netflix’s mega hit “Narcos,” Univision’s “El Chapo” and Doug Liman’s Tom Cruise-starrer “American Made,” Colombia’s powerhouse production company Dynamo,is melding digital and traditional media in its upcoming feature film production, “Rock ’n Cola.”

Sony Pictures Int’l Prods. will distribute the comedy in the U.S. and Latin America with Sony’s Diego Suarez and Raymundo Diaz overseeing the project.

The comedy, now in post, taps the talent of wildly popular YouTube channel, Enchufe TV, which boasts more than 22 million subscribers. Written and directed by Jorge Ulloa of Touche Films, a co-founder and executive producer of Enchufe TV, the comedy stars a pan-Latin American cast comprised of Enchufe’s Raul Santana and Nataly Valencia, Mexican thesp Mariana Trevino, Peruvian stand-up comedian and actor Carlos Alcantara and Colombian thesp Biassini Segura. Top YouTubers of the region, Fernanfloo (El Salvador »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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Rushlake Media Boards Jahmil X.T.’s Qubeka’s ‘Sew the Winter to My Skin’ (Exclusive)

6 hours ago

Cologne-based Rushlake Media has acquired world sales rights for “Sew the Winter to My Skin,” a South African-German co-production directed by acclaimed South African helmer Jahmil X.T. Qubeka.

The acquisition marks the first time that the sales outfit, which specializes in licensing for VOD markets and has a strong focus on African content, has boarded a film early in the production stage.

“This is a film that definitely stands out,” said Rushlake’s Philipp Hoffmann, who praises Qubeka’s talents while adding that “having a great script with a German co-producer onboard made it a perfect fit for us.”

Qubeka said that the producers were looking for “a distribution partner that could handle this kind of film,” and that “the history of dealing with African film [at Rushlake]…was a hugely appealing factor.”

Principal photography is set to begin next month on a movie loosely inspired by the tale of a livestock thief in mid-century South Africa, whose Robin Hood-like »


- Christopher Vourlias

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Lumière Festival: Michael Mann, Guillermo del Toro talk Michael Mann

6 hours ago

Lyon, France — Director Michael Mann, a guest of the Lumière Festival, discussed his decades-long career and creative process on Sunday before introducing a restored version of “Heat” never seen before in France.

Speaking with Institut Lumière director Thierry Frémaux and fellow filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, Mann said he saw himself as an auteur, adding: “It’s not about self reflection, it’s about responsibility. Everything, good or bad, the creative choices, whether it’s an actor, the folds in the curtains, the fashion, the music, the cut, it’s all my fault, my responsibility. And that’s what’s always so exciting to me about cinema.”

Turning the discussion to the characters in Mann’s works, del Toro pointed out that his films, whether “Heat” or “The Last of the Mohicans,” often dealt with men struggling as relics in their own time as history leaves them behind. “And they seem to be holding a very intimate set of »


- Ed Meza

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Lumière Festival: Guillermo del Toro on the Catholic Church, his Holy Trinity and Boris Karloff Epiphany

6 hours ago

Lyon, France  —  In a wide-ranging discussion at Lyon’s Lumière Festival on Monday, Guillermo del Toro talked about the creative and disturbing influence of the Catholic Church, his own personal Holy Trinity, the unique aspects of cinema, his desire to work with Michael Mann and George Miller on a book project and his Boris Karloff-inspired epiphany.

Asked how he is able to translate nightmares into beautiful dreams, Del Toro quipped, “I had a f****d up childhood.”

The imagery of Mexico’s Catholic Church, which Del Toro described as second only to that of the Philippines in goriness and anatomical accurateness, was a main factor.

“There was a Christ in my church with an exposed bone fracture, and it was kind of green and purple, but his face looked like he was coming. And then they said, ‘The body of Christ,’ and I said, ‘No thank you.’

“In Guadalajara, of all f*****g cities, »


- Ed Meza

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Judgment Day: Harvey Weinstein Scandal Could Finally Change Hollywood’s Culture of Secrecy

7 hours ago

Harvey Weinstein’s implosion has been cathartic for Lauren Sivan, one of the dozens of women who have come forward in recent days alleging that the once-celebrated mogul was a serial sexual harasser and abuser. It’s a moment of justice and public condemnation that seemed all but impossible to imagine mere weeks ago when Weinstein enjoyed a position as one of the most powerful figures in media, a skilled operator whose connections stretched from Capitol Hill to Wall Street and whose sense of entitlement knew no bounds.

“You reap what you sow,” says Sivan. “I know that he believed for years that he was untouchable, and a lot of people helped him be untouchable.”

Weinstein’s precipitous fall has been stunning, if not a long time coming. He’s been fired from his own company, ostracized by his longtime friends and collaborators in the entertainment industry, transformed from power player to butt of late-night talk-show jokes, ditched »


- Brent Lang and Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Banijay Group Ramps Up Scripted Output with Drama Projects From Tom Fontana, Radu Mihaileanu (Exclusive)

10 hours ago

One year after joining Banijay Group to spearhead the expansion of the company into international scripted programming, TV industry veteran Takis Candilis has launched joint ventures in key European markets and has put in motion several high-profile series with helmers such as Tom Fontana and Radu Mihaileanu.

Speaking to Variety at Mipcom, Candilis spoke about the highlights of the company’s scripted development slate, including Radu Mihaileanu’s “Farewell Shanghai” and Tom Fontana’s untitled series about Joann of Arc.

“Farewell Shanghai” is being developed by David Kodsi’s Kien Productions and is based on Angel Wagenstein’s 2007 book by the same name. Taking place on the eve of WWII, “Farewell Shanghai” follows the true-life journey of European jews who fled Nazi Germany and found refuge in Shanghai. These refugees, many of whom were accomplished artists and intellectuals, lived in Shanghai slums and worked in menial jobs.

“Not many people know that China delivered about 30,000 visas to Jews »


- Elsa Keslassy

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‘Angels Wear White’ to Open Singapore Film Festival

10 hours ago

Chinese drama, “Angels Wear White” has been set as the opening title of the Singapore International Film Festival.

The film kicks off with an apparent assault on two school girls by a public official in a hotel. What follows is a tale of corruption, collusion and compromise, set in a decaying seaside town.

“Angels” is the second film directed by Vivian Qu, who previously shot “Trap Street.” It had its premiere in Venice earlier this year, and has since played in Toronto and London festivals. It has since been nominated for three prizes at the upcoming Golden Horse Awards.

Vivian Qu has made a name for herself as one of the few female filmmakers and producers in China and has been a strong advocate for independent cinema. ‘Angels Wear White’ showcases her prolific cinematic style in telling a hard-hitting story of the society’s marginalized through the camera lens and brings to fore a rare female perspective »


- Patrick Frater

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Mipcom: New Ricardo Darin Production Co Teams with Patagonik, Disney, FilmSharks on Juan Vera’s ‘Love at Last Sight’ (Exclusive)

10 hours ago

Cannes — Ricardo Darin and Mercedes Moran  (“Neruda,” “La Cienaga”) are attached to star in “Amor a ultima Vista” (Love at Last Sight”), directed by Patagonik producer-screenwriter Juan Vera’s (“Dos más Dos,” “Just Like Me”), a near institution in Argentina’s film industry.

The last-chance love story marks the debut of Kenya Film, Ricardo Darín’s new production label, which will produce with Disney co-owned Patagonik, which has backed Pablo Trapero’s “Carancho” and “White Elephant” and Lucrecia Martel’s “Zama,” selected this year for Venice and Toronto.

Set to shoot in first half 2018, “Love at Last Sight” will be released by Disney/Bvi in Argentina and South America during the third quarter of 2018, bidding fare to be one of the biggest opening of next year. FilmSharks Intl. has acquired international sales rights.

“Love At Last Sight” turns on Marcos (Darín)  and Ana (Moran) , who have been married for twenty-five years. One day, the »


- John Hopewell

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