17 items from 2014
After a four-year slowdown due to the economic recession and the Arab Spring shockwaves, Morocco is back with a bang and proving once again a hotspot for big U.S. shoots.
“Mission Impossible 5,” “Queen of the Desert” and “A Hologram for the King” along with 30 other foreign films and TV productions sailed to Morocco in 2014, investing an estimated $120 million on local soil, a 420% year-on-year jump.
Mendes and Bond star Daniel Craig recently traveled to Oujda, in northeastern Morocco, to shoot a small scene in a train — one that’s not electrified.
“Oujda is pretty spectacular: It’s surrounded by the desert,” said Zakaria Alaoui, who runs one of Morocco’s leading shingles, Zak Productions, and signed a one-year exclusive contract to work on the Bond movie.
The production will return in June »
- Elsa Keslassy
'Idol's Eye' production shut down: Robert De Niro, Robert Pattinson and Rachel Weisz to have starred in Olivier Assayas' action-thriller (photo: Robert Pattinson) Production on screenwriter-director Olivier Assayas' action-thriller Idol's Eye, which was to have starred two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro (The Godfather: Part II, Raging Bull), Robert Pattinson (the Twilight movies, The Rover), and Oscar winner Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener), has been shut down, officially due to financing woes. Michael Benaroya's Beverly Hills-based Benaroya Pictures announced the bad news earlier today, November 3, 2014. “Due to the criteria for financing not being met by producers, Benaroya Pictures has formally decided to discontinue financing the motion picture titled Idol's Eye. The company cannot continue to put its investment at risk and has been forced to stop cash flowing [to] the production. “This is something all of us wanted to avoid, but due to the producers missing »
- Zac Gille
Despite Nicholas Brody's fate, Damian Lewis clearly enjoys working with Us cable network Showtime, because he’s jumped right back into another project for the company, signing on to co-star in Billions with Paul Giamatti.Originated by writer/producers Brian Koppelman, David Levien and Andrew Ross Sorkin, Billions aims to take a deep, forensic look at the poisonous world of high finance, using the approaching clash between two powerful figures.Giamatti will be driven, smart Us Attorney Chuck Rhodes, who targets ambitious, brilliant hedge-fund expert Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, played by Lewis. The idea of those two going at each other is certainly an appealing proposition, so hopefully this one will make it past the pilot. Divergent’s Neil Burger is on board to shoot that crucial first episode.Lewis has recently worked on Werner Herzog’s Queen Of The Desert and the Horrible Histories team’s new Shakespeare film Bill. »
Though he's remained prolific as a filmmaker ("Queen Of The Desert" will hit next year, and he's already gearing up on "Vernon God Little"), Werner Herzog has become strangely in demand as an actor as well in recent years. The filmmaker cropped up occasionally in German cinema, but from the late 1990s, with "What Dreams May Come" and more notably Harmony Korine's "Julien Donkey-Boy," he has appeared increasingly in American film and TV. The German directing legend has lent his voice to "The Simpsons," "Metalocalpyse," the upcoming "Penguins Of Madagascar," Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" and even played the villain in Tom Cruise actioner "Jack Reacher." But it sounds like we'll be seeing him on a small screen in one of the unlikelier possible venues, in a cameo on NBC's long-running, sweet-natured sitcom "Parks & Recreation." According to Flavorwire (via the Av Club), Herzog »
- Oliver Lyttelton
The 41st Telluride Film Festival, which has become a harbinger of heavyweight Oscar contenders over the past few years, has announced its schedule for the fest – which opens Friday and runs through Labor Day — just as a charter planeload of industry festgoers departs Lax. Despite a well-publicized battle with the upcoming Toronto Film Festival over Oscar-buzzed movies, Telluride honchos Tom Luddy, Gary Meyer and Julie Huntsinger have some pretty impressive contenders in the mix. Of course, film-freak paradise that it is, Telluride is not all about hot awards titles but a mix of programming that always whets the appetite of movie lovers who flock here each Labor Day weekend.
That said, Oscar watchers will be eagerly lining up for Fox Searchlight and New Regency’s Birdman, which is coming directly from its opening-night slot at the Venice Film Festival where it received rapturous reviews — not only for star Michael Keaton »
- Pete Hammond
It seemed like a no brainer: Production had wrapped, and considering that there's a new theater in town named after the guy, Werner Herzog's "Queen Of The Desert" looked like it would sail into the Telluride Film Festival. But it looks like the movie won't make Telluride or the Toronto International Film Festival. We'll let producer Cassian Elwes explain:We've had technical issues in the finishing of queen and it's not ready for tiff or telluride. We don't want to show a work in progress — cassian elwes (@cassianelwes) August 11, 2014 So, let the speculation begin. Could the film be finished in time to hit the New York Film Festival, which is already boasting world premieres of David Fincher's "Gone Girl" and Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice"? That would be a major coup. Or maybe it'll show up at AFI Fest? However, the term "work-in-progress" suggests that there is still much left to be done. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
One of the films we've been expecting to land on the annually secretive Telluride line-up this year is Werner Herzog's "Queen of the Desert" with Nicole Kidman. A period piece chronicle of the life of traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer and political attaché Gertrude Bell, the film sounds like it could be a meaty opportunity for Kidman, and if a studio were to bite at these late stages and prime a strategy, it might even be a potential awards player. Alas, the film won't be ready for the early festival circuit, at the very least, and that includes Telluride. Here is the scoop from the horse's mouth, producer Cassian Elwes: We've had technical issues in the finishing of queen and it's not ready for tiff or telluride. We don't want to show a work in progress — cassian elwes (@cassianelwes) August 11, 2014 The film also stars the ubiquitous James Franco and "Twilight" alum Robert Pattinson. »
- Kristopher Tapley
Over the weekend producer Nick Raslan tweeted he'd seen the final cut of Werner Herzog's newest film, Queen of the Desert and in true producer fashion said, "It's a true Epic." Along with the high praise he tweeted the above picture offering our first look at the film, which many believe may be headed to one, if not several, of the upcoming fall film festivals. The film is based on the true story of Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman), the traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attache for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century. Robert Pattinson, James Franco and Damian Lewis co-star. In a recent conversation with The Playlist, Herzog discussed the performance from Kidman in the film saying, "Wait for that one. Wait for it. I make an ominous prediction: How good she is." So, as I've been reviewing Herzog's older films (read my »
- Brad Brevet
German filmmaker Werner Herzog is on the brain today. The 71-year-old filmmaker is about to celebrate the release of the superb Shout Factory boxset "Herzog: The Collection" and he’s got a new film waiting in the wings. Titled “Queen Of The Desert," the film features the filmmaker’s most starry cast to date: Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Robert Pattinson, “Homeland” star Damian Lewis and many more. The film chronicles the events of Gertrude Bell's life, a British explorer, traveler, archaeologist and political officer. And apparently it’s done and in the can. Co-producer Nick N. Raslan tweeted the first photo of the movie over the weekend, said the movie was done and described it as a “true epic” (you can see the tweets below). Surely if the picture is done that means we can absolutely expect it at one of the fall film festivals this September, at either Tiff, »
- Edward Davis
Charles Gillibert developed and produced the project with CG Cinema, Bluegrass Films’ Scott Stuber, Film 360’s Scott Lambert, Alexandra Milchan and Michael Benaroya. Ben Sachs is executive producing for Benaroya Pictures.
International Film Trust, which was co-founded by Benaroya, will be handling foreign sales of the title heading into the summer and the Toronto International Film Festival, under the helm of Ift President Christian De Gallegos.
CAA, which arranged financing, will represent domestic rights along with Wme.
Assayas directed English-language drama “Clouds of Sils Maria,” which played in competition in Cannes. The film stars Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloe Grace Moretz and was produced by Gillibert’s Gc Cinema. »
- Dave McNary
You might recall we reported on the trailer for Olivier Assayas’ current film, Clouds Of Sils Maria, which received a warm reception at this year's Cannes Film Festival. That one starred Kristen Stewart, but it appears the director has not finished with veterans of the Twilight franchise. He has Robert Pattinson set to star alongside Robert De Niro in his next film, Idol’s Eye.According to Deadline, Assayas is keeping quiet about the actual plot, but it’s described as a sophisticated heist action thriller. How Pattinson and De Niro fit into that is anyone’s guess at this point, though the older actor does have some form on cinematic bank robbery…Assayas has Benaroya Pictures on hand to finance the film, which he wants to start shooting this October in Toronto and Chicago. Pattinson, whose latest film, David Cronenberg’s Maps To The Stars also premiered at Cannes, »
Charles Gillibert developed and produced the project with CG Cinema, Bluegrass Films’ Scott Stuber, Film 360’s Scott Lambert, Alexandra Milchan and Michael Benaroya, with Ben Sachs executive producing for Benaroya Pictures. The film is scheduled to begin principal photography in October in Chicago and Toronto.
The plot elements are currently under wraps, but it has been described as a sophisticated, heist action/thriller.
International Film Trust, which was co-founded by Benaroya, will be handling foreign sales of the title heading into the summer and the Toronto International Film Festival under the helm of Ift President, Christian De Gallegos. CAA, which arranged financing for the film, will represent domestic rights along with Wme.
Assayas had the English-language »
- Michelle McCue
It has already been a busy 2014 for Robert Pattinson, and he's not slowing down any time soon. The actor will be leaving the Cannes Film Festival feeling pretty good, receiving good notices both "The Rover" (review here) and "Maps To The Stars" (review here). And not only does he have promising projects in the can and still to come — Werner Herzog's "Queen Of The Desert" and Anton Corbijn's "Life" — on the horizon, he has James Gray's "The Lost City Of Z" and a possible project with Harmony Korine. And now you can add a movie with Olivier Assayas to the list. Last week, the filmmaker revealed he had Pattinson lined up to star in his next film, and this week, the actor confirms his involvement in an interview with La Nouvel Observateur (watch below). Pattinson says he'll be shooting the film in November, and shares that it's »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Robert Pattinson out of ‘Mission: Blacklist’ movie (photo: Dane DeHaan and Robert Pattinson in ‘Life’) Robert Pattinson and Mission: Blacklist have parted ways. Pattinson, whose name had been attached to the project for two years — since Cannes 2012 — has reportedly dropped out due to scheduling issues. Now, what could those issues be? Well, Robert Pattinson, best known (at least for the time being) as the vampire Edward Cullen in the immensely popular Twilight movie franchise, has no less than two movies opening at Cannes 2014: David Michôd’s thriller The Rover, co-starring Guy Pearce, which will be shown as one of Cannes’ Midnight Screenings, and David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, also featuring Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Mia Wasikowska, and Carrie Fisher, and which is in the running for the Palme d’Or. There’s more: Robert Pattinson has recently completed work on Anton Corbijn’s Life, with Pattinson as photographer Dennis Stock, »
- Zac Gille
Producer and former agent Cassian Elwes turned to one of his favourite topics in his keynote address at the Ifta Production Conference (25), laying into what he called a “rubbish” tentpole model that jeopardised the prospects of intelligent filmmakers.
The Elevated Film Sales CEO struck a more hopeful note when he told attendees in Century City that as the studios continued to produce fewer films and make more tentpoles, opportunities will arise.
“Actors want to do these [non-studio] films and that’s where we come in,” said Elwes. “There’s an audience for alternative fare.”
Elwes’ credits as producer, executive producer or packaging agent include The Butler, Dallas Buyers Club, Hateship Loveship, Paul Bettany’s feature directorial debut Shelter and Werner Herzog’s upcoming Queen Of The Desert. »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
Robert Pattinson’s clout-building continues in 2014 though it technically has barely begun. Pattinson’s post-“Twilight” career rehab started with David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis” and the film world took notice. Auteurs, perhaps needing a viable star to greenlight their projects, took notice too. Werner Herzog came knocking (“Queen Of The Desert”), James Gray (“The Lost City of Z”), Cronenberg again (“Maps to the Stars”), Anton Corbijn ("Life") and many others. One of the earliest adopters was Aussie filmmaker David Michôd who quickly cast him in “The Rover” opposite Guy Pearce. Once set for a loose Fall Tbd date (which gave Oscar pundits some pause), distributors A24 have announced this afternoon that “The Rover” has been dated for a limited release bow of July 18 in New York and Los Angeles. The movie will go wide on July 25. “The Rover” is a type of crime drama that centers on an odd loner »
- Edward Davis
Erstwhile Homeland star Damian Lewis could step into the role of King Henry VIII in BBC Two and Masterpiece‘s major adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize winning historical fiction novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. Mark Rylance is playing Thomas Cromwell in the six-part serial and Deadline has confirmed that Lewis is in talks for the role of the Tudor King. A deal is not yet closed. The Daily Mail first reported word of the “complex negotiations.” Lewis is currently filming Werner Herzog’s Queen Of The Desert with Nicole Kidman. The Wolf Hall project is due to start shooting in the spring. It follows Cromwell’s rise from the lowly son of a blacksmith to becoming Henry’s closest advisor. BAFTA-winning helmer Peter Kosminsky is directing from a script by Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’s Peter Straughan. Wolf Hall is a co-production from Company Pictures, »
- NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor
17 items from 2014
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