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Ten years after its founding, Participant Media has released some 55 films, from docs "An Inconvenient Truth," "Food, Inc.," "Waiting for ‘Superman'" to upcoming Toronto International Film Festival title "Merchants of Doubt" to uplifting features such as "Good Night, and Good Luck," "Syriana," "The Help," "Contagion" and "Lincoln." As Participant prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary at Toronto with the world premiere of animated “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet,” the company led by eBay co-founder Jeff Skoll has been broadening its narrowly defined social action niche to include commercial feature fare. The message is still there--but it's more hidden. In one example, the company just sold U.S. rights to supernatural thriller "Out of the Dark," starring Julia Stiles, Scott Speedman, and Stephen Rea, to Vertical Entertainment »
- Anne Thompson
With Warner Bros. and The Fault In Our Stars director Josh Boone going full speed to develop a cinematic take on Stephen King’s sprawling post-apocalyptic story The Stand, the studio’s thoughts are clearly starting to turn to casting. Boone already has Stars’ Nat Wolff aboard, but for the villain of the piece, Warners is trying to land Matthew McConaughey.According to Deadline, it’s very early days and no formal discussions have taken place, but the studio wants McConaughey to play antichrist-like figure Randal Flagg, who haunts the survivors of a man-made plague that collapses civilization. We can certainly see McConaughey’s natural intensity working for the character, though with an Oscar under his belt, he has a lot more negotiating power these days and may simply decide it’s not for him.Also jumping up and down like an eager puppy to score his attention is Syriana’s Stephen Gaghan, »
Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros. Pictures is eyeing Matthew McConaughey to play Randall Flagg in Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) upcoming adaptation of Stephen King's apocalyptic masterpiece novel "The Stand."
Randall Flagg is the demonic figure who wreaks havoc after a plague kills most of the population. Flagg was played by Jamey Sheridan in the 1994 television adaptation. Flagg was such a force of evil that he has appeared in at least nine of King's novels, sometimes as the primary antagonist and other times in a cameo appearance including The Dark Tower series.
Patrick Massett & John Zinman wrote the script, which is based on a true story about the 1993 Bre-x Mineral Corporation mining scandal in which vast amounts of gold were reportedly discovered in the Indonesian jungle. »
- Kellvin Chavez
Flagg is the primary antagonist of the novel which is set in the wake of a plague that decimates civilisation. He's essentially seen as the work's version of The Devil and was previously played by Jamey Sheridan in the 1994 mini-series.
The true story tale deals with the 1993 Bre-x Mineral Corporation mining scandal where large amounts of gold were found in the Indonesian jungle.
Source: Deadline »
- Garth Franklin
NBC has opted not to move forward with "Emerald City," a ten episode modern and dark reimagining of the classic L. Frank Baum Oz tales said to be more akin to the likes of "Game of Thrones" than the 1939 MGM film.
Matthew Arnold and Josh Friedman's project would've drawn from Baum's original fourteen books and featured more battles, political maneuvers and a very different take on the infamous wizard. Though ordered straight to series, the plan has been scrapped due to a "difference in vision" between the network and show runners. [Source: Variety]
Set in the English countryside in 1888, the story follows a gentleman farmer who is obsessed with proving the existence of the afterlife. »
- Garth Franklin
Matthew McConaughey is clearly a hot property, what with his Oscar-winning turn in Dallas Buyers Club, hit television show "True Detective" and now a starring role in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar and it appears the hits just coming as The Wrap is reporting Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) is courting McConaughey to play Randall Flagg in his upcoming adaptation of Stephen King's "The Stand" at Warner Bros. amz asin="B001C4NXKM" size="small"The site reports Boone initially saw McConaughey as Stu Redman, a character immune to the plague responsible for wiping out most of the world's population, but an insider has since confirmed McConaughey is now being eyed to play Flagg, the primary villain in the feature, played by Jamey Sheridan in the 1994 television adaptation. However, McConaughey is hardly solidified for the role, though the site does say the actor is set to star in »
- Brad Brevet
The drama, which comes from former Middle East correspondent for Time magazine Nick McDonell and former senior Afghanistan adviser to Richard C. Holbrooke John Dempsey, centers on Western diplomats and journalists living in Afghanistan. The lead character is Jon Liston, a war junkie who has spent the better part of the last decade in Kabul with a front-row seat to the carnage. In the pilot, Jon ignores the advice of everyone and overreaches in an attempt to talk with insurgent leaders. It does not go well.
McDonell and Dempsey are co-writers and co-executive producers. Executive producers are Chris Mundy, a long-time journalist for Rolling Stone and showrunner on “Criminal Minds” and “Low Winter Sun,” and Tom Freston, the former CEO of Viacom and a former resident of Afghanistan. »
- Whitney Friedlander
“Ned Rifle,” is the final installment in Hartley’s dysfunctional family trilogy which started with “Henry Fool” and “Fay Grim.” It sees a son emerge from the witness protection program with the sole aim of killing his father.
The film, which has its world premiere in Toronto’s Special Presentation section, stars Liam Aiken, Martin Donovan, Aubrey Plaza, Parker Posey, Thomas Jay Ryan and James Urbaniak. Fortissimo has all rights outside North America.
Appearing in Toronto, but premiering in Venice, is recent Fortissimo pickup “Theeb,” the story of a desert trek by a Bedouin youngster and a mysterious British army officer. It was shot by first-time director Naji Abu Nowar in some of the same locations as “Lawrence of Arabia.” Fortissimo handles rights outside the Middle East, »
- Patrick Frater
Tom Rothman’s TriStar Productions has acquired the worldwide rights and given the go ahead to Money Monster, a fast-paced, character-driven thriller written by Jamie Linden. Daniel Dubiecki, who worked with George Clooney on Up In The Air, and Lara Alameddine developed the script along with Jodie Foster, who will direct the film. Dubiecki and Alameddine’s The Allegiance Theater will produce together with Clooney and his Smokehouse Pictures partner Grant Heslov. Alan Difore and Jim Kouf wrote the original draft of the script.
Principal photography is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2015.
Clooney stars as Lee Gates, a bombastic television stock huckster, whose program (the titular “Money Monster”), and life, are taken hostage by an outraged gunman. As much of the world watches live, Gates must keep himself alive and, with help from the woman who produces the show, uncover the truth behind a tangle of big money lies. »
- Michelle McCue
London – The U.K. advertising watchdog has banned a Jaguar spot featuring Thor star Tom Hiddleston for encouraging irresponsible driving. The latest installment of carmaker Jaguar Land Rover's online ad campaign with the slogan “It's good to be bad" was entitled “The Art of Villainy” and promoted the Jaguar F-type coupe. "They say Brits play the best villains," Hiddleston says in the spot before exploring what makes a great villain. Photos Inside Warner's Chamber of Secrets The ad campaign, which was kicked off during the Super Bowl, has also featured Ben Kingsley and Mark Strong (Syriana, Tinker
- Georg Szalai
By Robert Welkos Name: Jeff Skoll Net Worth: $2.7 billion (TheRichest.com) to $3.8 billion (Forbes) Source Of Wealth: eBay ‘Bio: Born to a middle-class family in Canada, Skoll graduated with honors in electrical engineering program at the University of Toronto, then went backpacking around the world before entering Stanford Business School, where he earned an Mba degree. He was the first full-time employee and first president of eBay, the Internet auction firm. He sold a portion of his company holdings for $2 billion. In 1999. he created the Skoll Foundation, which quickly became the world’s largest foundation for social entrepreneurship. In 2004, he created the movie production company Participant Media. In 2009. he founded the Skoll Global Threats Fund, focusing on issues that could bring the world to its knees: climate change, water scarcity, pandemics, nuclear proliferation and Middle East conflict. Marital Status: Single Hollywood Connections: Participant Media seeks to make films that »
- Robert W. Welkos
Egyptian star Amr Waked (best known internationally for his performances in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Syriana) has joined the cast of the Weinstein Company/Netflix TV series collab, Marco Polo, which follows the travels of the 13th Century explorer. Currently shooting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Waked joins star Lorenzo Richelmy, who is playing Marco Polo, as well as Benedict Wong, Zhu Zhu, Tom Wu, Remy Hii and Rick Yune. The 10-episode drama was created by John Fusco, and focuses on the famed explorer's journey that takes him to the center of a brutal war in 13th century China - "a world replete with astonishing martial arts, »
- Tambay A. Obenson
Foresight Unlimited has brought onto the market one of the biggest – if not the biggest – of new projects at Cannes: the sci-fi action film “Inversion,” Mark Damon, chairman-ceo of Foresight Unlimited announced Sunday at Cannes.
Foresight Unlimited is handling international sales on the epic. It is budgeted at $120 million, Damon added.
“Inversion” turns on a scenario where the Earth suddenly loses its gravity, the catastrophic results of such a phenomenon and what could be done, if anything, to restore gravity and save the Earth and its six billion inhabitants.
The epic is written by Bragi Schut and Academy Award nominee David Arata (“Children of Men”). It charts a global chase against the clock with the narrative traveling across continents from China to Europe to the U.S. culminating in a startling gravity inverted NYC.
- John Hopewell
(Inversion – Concept Art)
Becoming one of the most talked about films at Cannes 2014, Foresight Unlimited invigorates a low key market with the big budget sci-fi action film Inversion, it was announced today by Mark Damon, Chairman and CEO of Foresight Unlimited which is handling international sales.
What would happen if Earth suddenly lost its gravity? The unique story revolves around the catastrophic results of such a phenomenon and what could be done, if anything, to restore gravity and save Earth and its 6 billion inhabitants.
The epic $120 million budgeted film, is written by Bragi Schut and Academy Award Nominee David Arata (Children Of Men) and is a global chase against the clock traveling across continents from China to Europe to the United States culminating in a startling gravity inverted NYC.
- Michelle McCue
Some quick sales news has hit our desks coming out of Cannes 2014. The Highland Group has joined forces with Anchor Bay UK to work together on several titles including the long talked about World War Dead. Read on for details.
From The Press Release
Highland Film Group has joined forces with Anchor Bay UK to introduce three genre titles to international buyers at the upcoming Marché du Film at Cannes. The slate of UK produced titles includes World War Dead, We Still Kill The Old Way, and Age Of Kill.
World War Dead stars Ray Panthaki (28 Days Later), Wendy Glenn (You’re Next) and Kacey Barnfield (Resident Evil) and is about a TV documentary team travelling to the Somme to uncover new mysteries in relation to World War I. However, what they unearth is far from a new story, but an army of the undead and a brand new war. »
- Steve Barton
About a year and a half ago, writer Stephen Gaghan (best known for Traffic and Syriana), announced his intentions to direct a film titled Candy Store. It was an extremely hot project, with names like Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, Matt Damon and Christian Bale all flirting with it at one point or another. Now, it looks like casting is almost finalized as the previously rumored Robert De Niro and Omar Sy have been confirmed for their roles, with Keira Knightley and Matthias Schoenaerts joining them.
We had heard in the past that Jason Clarke and Christoph Waltz were on board as well, but the press release makes no mention of them. It does, however, give us a very detailed plot summary, which you can check out below:
- Matt Joseph
Sometimes life gets in the way. Actors have to struggle to maintain their image and visibility with fans, a task that offers many challenges as far as staying in shape, keeping active, and not over-exposing yourself. But sometimes people get injured, they change body types, they age: George Clooney credits a major back injury on the set of Syriana for why he never does action-intensive parts anymore. With actresses, those issues become even tougher because of the issue of pregnancy, and right now one of our biggest stars has a bun in the oven. The prolific Scarlett Johansson is currently expecting a child, one of the highlights of her life, no doubt. And fortunately for movie fans, that little miracle isn.t going to impede the filming of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, according to the Huffington Post. The Captain America: The Winter Soldier star is currently shooting the superhero sequel, »
The duo, who began working together in the 1980s, will depart Friday, according to a spokeswoman. Each held the title of exec VP of marketing, and the pair were based at Participant’s headquarters in Beverly Hills.
Participant was founded a decade ago ago by former eBay exec Jeff Skoll with the aim of backing films with a social message. The company’s co-financed “The Help,” “Lincoln,” “Good Night, and Good Luck” and “Syriana” as well as docu “An Inconvenient Truth.” “Lincoln” has been Participant’s top grosser with $275 million worldwide.
Participant’s “The Fifth Estate” performed poorly after it premiered as the opening night film at the Toronto Film Festival last September. The WikiLeaks drama took in only $3.2 million in the U.S. and another $5 million overseas.
Shutt and Jones were hired at »
- Dave McNary
Exclusive: Buffy Shutt and Kathy Jones are out as heads of marketing at Participant Media. They leave Friday after being there for more than eight of the company’s 10 years, a milestone Participant hits after being formed by eBay founder Jeff Skoll, with Jim Berk as CEO. Shutt and Jones grew up in features, together running marketing for TriStar and Universal, and they helped Participant market with social media campaigns issue-oriented films that include The Help and Lincoln, and the Oscar-winning The Inconvenient Truth and The Cove, Good Night, And Good Luck, and Syriana, and Waiting For Superman. Participant has evolved into a more diversified company and that is why this is happening. I’ve confirmed the exit, which was attributed to a restructuring, and officially I’m told it was a mutual decision to part ways. The company will hire a new marketing head who’ll come in as senior vice president, »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
Participant Media's film marketing chiefs Kathy Jones and Buffy Shutt are exiting the financing and production company at the end of the week. The longtime business partners joined Participant in 2007 as executive vp marketing after working as consultants for the company, helping to guide some of Participant's first releases, including Good Night and Good Luck, Syriana and An Inconvenient Truth. Photos: 35 of 2014's Most Anticipated Movies: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past,' 'Mockingjay,' 'Spider-Man 2' Participant was founded in 2004 by former eBay executive Jeff Skoll with a mandate to co-finance and co-produce
- Pamela McClintock
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