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Maya Rudolph, Natasha Lyonne Sign First Look Deal With Amazon Studios

Maya Rudolph, Natasha Lyonne Sign First Look Deal With Amazon Studios
Maya Rudolph and Natasha Lyonne have signed a new first-look television deal with Amazon Studios, the company announced on Monday.

Under the deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, the duo will create original series for the streamer via their Animal Pictures production banner.

“Maya and Natasha are proven talents in front of and behind the camera, and we are so excited to tap into this powerful creative brain trust and be in business with these fiercely funny and phenomenally smart women,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios.

“I’ve had an incredible experience working with the team at Amazon Studios on Forever, where they have given us true creative freedom,” said Rudolph. “I’m excited to extend this relationship and to have the opportunity for Natasha and myself to continue to develop new shows for a global audience.”

Also Read: Amazon Studios, Blumhouse TV Team Up for 8 Thematically-Connected Films

Lyonne added,
See full article at The Wrap »

FX’s "Fosse/Verdon" Sets Main Cast; Norbert Leo Butz, Margaret Qualley Join as Series Regulars

  • Variety
FX has set the main cast for the eight-episode limited series “Fosse/Verdon,” Variety has learned.

The series is based on the biography “Fosse” written by Sam Wasson and tells the story of the romantic and creative partnership between Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) and Gwen Verdon (Michelle Williams).

Norbert Leo Butz has been cast in the series regular role of Paddy Chayefsky, while Margaret Qually will appear in the series regular role of Ann Reinking.

In addition, the following people have been cast in recurring roles: Aya Cash as Joan Simon, Nate Corddry as Neil Simon, Susan Misner as Joan McCracken, Bianca Marroquin as Chita Rivera, Kelli Barrett as Liza Minnelli, Evan Handler as Hal Prince, Rick Holmes as Fred Weaver, Paul Reiser as Cy Feuer, Ethan Slater as Joel Grey, Byron Jennings as George Abbott, and Laura Osnes as Shirley MacLaine.

Butz is currently starring on Broadway in “My Fair Lady
See full article at Variety »

Spinal Tap to Reunite and Perform for 35th Anniversary Screening at Tribeca Film Festival

Spinal Tap to Reunite and Perform for 35th Anniversary Screening at Tribeca Film Festival
Spinal Tap, the loudest band in England, is reuniting for a 35th anniversary screening of their film This Is Spinal Tap at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and will also perform following the screening.

Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer will turn it up to 11 again in a one-night-only concert in which they’ll perform as themselves in tribute to the fictional band Spinal Tap. So they won’t specifically be in character as Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins and Derek Smalls. But they’ll further be joined by This is Spinal Tap director Rob Reiner for a conversation to follow.

“Spinal Tap proves there is definitely a fine line between stupid and clever,” director, co-writer and star Reiner said in a statement Monday.
See full article at The Wrap »

"True Blood" Creator Alan Ball Gives Details Of Musical Version In The Works

  • Deadline
True Blood fans rejoice. You may be getting a fix of the vampire fantasy story in musical form.

Speaking at a 10th anniversary screening of the pilot episode at Vulture Festival in Los Angeles on Sunday, creator Alan Ball gave details of the rumored musical version coming from composer Nathan Barr, which Ball says he’s heard is "pretty good."

"It tells the story of vampires coming out of the closet," Ball said.
See full article at Deadline »

John Bluthal obituary

John Bluthal obituary
Stage and screen actor who appeared in popular sitcoms including "Never Mind the Quality," "Feel the Width" and "The Vicar of Dibley."

The actor John Bluthal, who has died aged 89, forged a long and successful acting career in Britain that began in the golden age of television in the 1960s, when he provided a foil to the comedy legends Michael Bentine, Eric Sykes, Peter Cook and, over several decades, Spike Milligan.

Bluthal soared to the top of the bill when he starred alongside Joe Lynch in the sitcom "Never Mind the Quality", "Feel the Width" (1967-71), the pair playing respectively the Jewish jacket-maker Manny Cohen and the Irish trouser-maker Patrick Kelly running a business in the East End.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Can ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Survive Without Enchanting New Audiences?

Can ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Survive Without Enchanting New Audiences?
As J.K. Rowling continues to expand the “Harry Potter” universe, the generation that grew up watching onscreen adventures of the Boy Who Lived have remained a faithful bunch.

That much was clear from the opening weekend of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the latest installment in the seemingly endless array of “Harry Potter” sequels, prequels, spinoffs and stage shows. The umpteenth return to the fantasy series launched with $62 million at the domestic box office, a sizable and potentially problematic drop from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Like the first Fantastic Beasts installment, the audience breakdown was much older than the movies centering around the bespectacled boy wizard.

The lower than expected start displays that beyond die-hard fans, the Wizarding World has struggled to entice a new wave of Potterheads.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

The Original 'Frankenstein' Has Finally Been Restored After 108 Years

The Original 'Frankenstein' Has Finally Been Restored After 108 Years
Frankenstein isn’t the only Frankenstein. James Whale’s 1931 take on Mary Shelley’s iconic novel was beaten to the punch by the Edison Manufacturing, which in 1910 produced what a title card describes as a “liberal adaptation” of the story.

The Library of Congress purchased a collection of prints in 2014 that included a nitrate print of Frankenstein. Alois F. Dettlaff acquired it in the 1950s and brought it with him to film festivals and monster conventions for decades; a meeting with then-AMPAS president Robert Wise in 1986 failed to persuade him to let the Academy preserve and archive it.
See full article at Indiewire »

'Green Book' Has Successful Start at Indie Box Office Before Wide Release

'Green Book' Has Successful Start at Indie Box Office Before Wide Release
Before hitting the road on a nationwide release, Universal's awards contender Green Book got warmed up with a limited opening on 25 screens that earned $313,000 this weekend and a per screen average of $12,250.

Stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are expected to be awards contenders for their performances as Italian-American bodyguard Tony Lip and jazz icon Dr. Don Shirley. Green Book follows the friendship that grew between the two men as Tony escorted Shirley on his tour through the Jim Crow South, using the titular Green Book to find hotels that African-Americans were allowed to stay in.
See full article at The Wrap »

‘Roma’ Review: Alfonso Cuaron Makes His Masterpiece

‘Roma’ Review: Alfonso Cuaron Makes His Masterpiece
If a thing of beauty is a joy forever, as John Keats famously said, then the surpassing loveliness and bracing brilliance of Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma will never pass into nothingness. Not as long as there are film lovers or a Netflix, the streaming service that stepped up to bring the movie (fully financed by Participant Media) to theaters for a limited run. (Its worldwide subscriber base, numbering over 137 million, will have the chance to see it starting Dec. 14th.) In other words, Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical memory piece about his 1970’s childhood in Mexico,
See full article at Rolling Stone »

‘Benny in the Dark’ Heads ‘Brit List’ of Top Unproduced Screenplays

The Brit List, the annual survey of British film executives’ favorite unproduced screenplays (similar to the Black List in the U.S.), was unveiled Monday in London with “Benny in the Dark,” a supernatural thriller by Phillip Morgan, heading the list.

The film, which garnered nine recommendations, is a “character-driven 1950s-set allegory for the unspoken societal fears around male depression.” It will be produced by House Productions, the company headed by Tessa Ross, the former controller of film and drama at Channel 4, and Juliette Howell, the former head of television at Working Title.

Morgan, whose credits include 2017 short “Blackmoor,” has another features screenplay in development, “E for English,” with Blue Shadow Films.

Following closely with eight recommendations was thriller/drama “Surge,” written by Rupert Jones and Rita Kalnejais, and set to be produced by Rooks Nest, BBC Films and Creative England. The film, set over 24 hours, is “a stripped-back
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Melissa McCarthy to Receive Spotlight Award at Palm Springs Film Festival

Melissa McCarthy to Receive Spotlight Award at Palm Springs Film Festival
Melissa McCarthy will receive this year’s Spotlight Award at the 30th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival in recognition of her dramatic turn in this year’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Richard E. Grant, McCarthy’s co-star in the film, will present the award. McCarthy joins Glenn Close and Rami Malek as the other honorees of this year’s festival.

Previous recipients of the Spotlight Award include Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston, Andrew Garfield, Helen Hunt, Allison Janney, Rooney Mara, Julia Roberts and J.K. Simmons.

Also Read: Glenn Close to Receive Icon Award From Palm Springs Film Festival

McCarthy is a contender for Best Actress for her work as real-life author Lee Israel in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” and all of the previous recipients of the Spotlight Award have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations in the year they were honored, with Simmons winning an
See full article at The Wrap »

CBS Promotes Kelli Raftery to Executive VP of Communications

  • The Wrap
CBS has promoted Kelli Raftery to executive VP of communications, as the network continues to shuffle its executive ranks following longtime comms chief Gil Schwartz’s retirement.

Raftery will work with Dana McClintock and fellow communications executive VP Chris Ender. McClintock succeeded Schwartz as CBS’ chief communications officer this month.

“Kelli has excelled in every arena, from entertainment to news to sports, and more recently corporate,” said McClintock. “CBS is fortunate to have an executive with such deep experience to take on this larger role. I look forward to all she’ll do as we continue to communicate the outstanding opportunities in front of our Company.”

Also Read: CBS Communications Chief Gil Schwartz to Retire

A CBS veteran, Raftery has most recently been serving as senior VP, communications, helping to manage media relations for the CBS Corporate Communications Department, covering a wide range of company initiatives and activities in sales,
See full article at The Wrap »

AFI Conservatory Dean Richard Gladstein Steps Down

Richard Gladstein is stepping down as dean of the American Film Institute Conservatory after a little over year at the top of the film school.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by Michael Chung, vice dean of administration, and Tom Engfer, vice dean of academic affairs. AFI said it has begun a search for a permanent dean.

Gladstein, a former Miramax executive and the founder of the production company FilmColony, said he is moving on “to new opportunities” in a statement. He took the reins at AFI after a particularly stormy period in its history. His predecessor, Jan Schuette, stepped down after facing a near-revolt among staffers. Schuette, who took the helm of the conservatory in 2014, ran afoul of the faculty over changes he made to the school’s thesis program and for failing to consult with them on personnel moves. The faculty union held a “no confidence
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Richard Gladstein Steps Down as Dean of AFI Conservatory

  • The Wrap
Richard Gladstein is stepping down as dean of the AFI Conservatory, the American Film Institute announced Monday.

Vice dean of administration Michael Chung and vice dean of academic affairs Tom Engfer will serve as co-interim deans and will report to AFI’s President and CEO Bob Gazzale. The Conservatory is searching for a new, permanent dean.

“It was my honor to serve as Dean of the AFI Conservatory,” said Gladstein. “As I move on to new opportunities, I will always cherish and champion the Fellows, the faculty and the alumni who make AFI a world-class educational experience.”

Also Read: Nicole Kidman's 'Destroyer' and Viola Davis' 'Widows' Cancel AFI Fest Red Carpet Amid Woolsey Fire

Gazzale added, “We appreciate Richard’s contributions to the Conservatory, and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Gladstein was named the dean of the Conservatory in May of 2017, taking over for Jan Schuette,
See full article at The Wrap »

‘Luke Cage’ Star Theo Rossi Joins Netflix Thriller ‘Rattlesnake’

‘Luke Cage’ Star Theo Rossi Joins Netflix Thriller ‘Rattlesnake’
Sons of Anarchy” star Theo Rossi has joined the cast of “Rattlesnake,” an upcoming Netflix movie from filmmaker Zak Hilditch.

Character details are under wraps, but Rossi will star alongside Carmen Ejogo in the psychological thriller, which is currently in production.

It follows a single mother who accepts emergency help from a mysterious woman when her daughter is bitten by a rattlesnake. She’s forced to return the favor by taking the life of a stranger in the desert town of Tulia, Texas. Hilditch is reteaming with producer Ross Dinerstein and his label Campfire on the project.

Rossi most recently appeared on two seasons of the Netflix series “Luke Cage,” part of the streamer’s cluster of Marvel Studios television properties, where he played fan favorite villain Hernan Enrique Salazar “Shades” Alvarez. His breakout role came on Kurt Sutter’s FX series “Sons of Anarchy,” where he portrayed hacker and intelligence officer Juice Ortiz.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Stacey Abrams: The Exit Interview

Stacey Abrams still had options. As late as Friday morning, her campaign was considering multiple legal paths to challenging the certification of her Republican opponent in the Georgia gubernatorial race, Brian Kemp,. Abrams could have pushed for a new election in Georgia, an unprecedented step. Late Friday afternoon, Abrams gave a speech in which she concluded her historic run, but refused to credit Kemp as the true victor. “Concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper,” she told her supporters. “As a woman of conscience and faith,
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Georgia Dem Lucy McBath Salutes Late Son, Gun Violence Victims in Post-Election Tweet

Lucy McBath – the gun control activist recently elected to represent Georgia’s sixth congressional district – tweeted a salute to her late son, Jordan Davis, who was killed in a 2012 shooting. “Never thought I would be here,” the Democrat wrote on Monday, along with a picture of herself behind her congressional desk. “This is for you, Jordan. And for every single family impacted by gun violence in this country – let’s get to work. #GA06.”

A white man named Michael David Dunn shot and killed 17-year-old Davis in November 2012; the murder
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Amazon Sets First-Look Production Pact With Maya Rudolph and Natasha Lyonne

Amazon Studios has set a first-look pact with Animal PIctures, the newly formed production banner headed by Maya Rudolph and Natasha Lyonne.

The agreement calls for the pair to develop original series for the streaming giant. The partnership with Rudolph and Lyonne is among a slew of creative talent deals that Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke has inked since she took the helm of the studio division in February.

“Maya and Natasha are proven talents in front of and behind the camera, and we are so excited to tap into this powerful creative brain trust and be in business with
See full article at Variety - TV News »
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