Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shia LaBeouf falls back into 'Necessary Death'

LaBeouf Shia LaBeouf is breathing life back into "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman," the actor's long-gestating passion project that briefly had Zac Efron attached to star back when the film was set up at Mandate Pictures.Voltage Prods. and Bona Fide Prods. are now starting pre-production on the film, which acclaimed commercials helmer Fredrik Bond is attached to direct from a Black List script by Matt Drake ("Project X").The gritty pulp romance will find LaBeouf playing the title character, a normal guy who falls for a woman who has been claimed by a violent crime boss. Scheduling issues have kept LaBeouf from the project, which the "Transformers" star initially joined back in April 2010. With LaBeouf's calendar clearing, the actor decided to follow through with his original plan to star.The "Little Miss Sunshine" duo of Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa will produce through their Bona Fide banner along with Bill Horberg ("The Kite Runner"), while Craig J. Flores ("300") will produce for Voltage, whose Nicolas Chartier ("The Hurt Locker") will exec produce. Bona Fide developed the script with Drake and attached Bond, while Voltage Pictures will handle foreign sales for the film, which is skedded to start production in early May in Eastern Europe. "After our fantastic experience collaborating with Shia on 'The Company You Keep,' I jumped at the idea of working with him again on 'Charlie Countryman,'" said Flores. "The spark in this amazing script, mixed with Shia's pure talent and Fredrik's masterful ability to create an elevated love story we just can't get enough of -- will redefine pulp romance."LaBeouf next stars in John Hillcoat's bootlegging drama "The Wettest County" and Robert Redford's political thriller "The Company You Keep," which was also produced by Voltage.CAA reps LaBeouf, Berger, Yerxa and Bond, who's also repped by Management 360 and attorney Warren Dern. LaBeouf is also repped by John Crosby Management and attorney Matt Saver, while attorney Linda Lichter reps Berger and Yerxa. Drake is repped by Original Artists and 3 Arts Entertainment. Contact Justin Kroll at justin.kroll@variety.com

Monday, January 23, 2012

Empire's Avengers Covers Assemble

Plus Hunger Games and Bourne Legacy!The brand new problem of Empire hits shelves now (Thursday The month of january 26, fact fans) and it is a doozy. We have switched all Nick Fury and put together The Avengers the same shape as four barnstorming super hero covers. Choose of Black Widow, Thor, Iron Guy and CaptainAmerica. Awesome, non?The finest gathering of superpower in movie history happens within the problem. This is an exclusive, access-all-areas set report in the Marvel blockbuster's Cleveland set. Empire swept up using the whole crew, in addition to a certain villain from the piece. "They know who he's now, and what his forces are," states Tom Hiddleston of Loki. "To ensure that The Avengers to get together, Loki needs to become more menacing, and every one of his malevolence is founded inside a completely delusional dream." Alongside the mighty Avengers, there is a second helping of Jeremy Renner - this time around changing bow for hand gun in Bourne Legacy - a global-exclusive set of The Hunger Games, and that we reunite the cast of yankee Cake for any must-see photoshoot. All of this movie miracle is onsale if this month's Empire hits newsstands on Thursday.

Friday, January 20, 2012

VIDEO: Hilarious! CoverGirls Ellen DeGeneres and Sofia Vergara Play with Makeup

Sofia Vergara and Ellen DeGeneres CoverGirl spokeswomen Sofia Vergara and Ellen DeGeneres did a live version of their sassy new ads for the makeup brand on Ellen Monday. In the segment, DeGeneres acts as Vergara's hands, applying makeup according to a script that DeGeneres wrote for the Modern Family actress to read aloud. It's a lot funnier than it sounds - watch it!

Anthony Mackie talks Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Earlier in the week we brought you the latest poster for supernatural action flick Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and now Anthony Mackie has weighed in with a few more details about what we can expect from the film.Mackie plays William, Lincoln's childhood friend turned valet, who assists the President in his nighttime endeavours to slay the forces of evil."We did a ton of training," says Mackie. "I can honestly say that Timur [Bekmambetov] is amazing because he shot this film like it was a real biography of Abraham Lincoln, but the action sequences are unlike anything you've ever seen before. "He realized that this fabricated story is so far out there that he had to go all the way out to make it work. So he just went as far as he could with the CGI and that trademark Timur cranking of shots and the storytelling."And Mackie even goes as far as to compare the finished article to one of the seminal science-fiction movies of the '90s."I feel like the great thing about [my career] is being able to do a pleasant mixture," explained Mackie. "Just recently I was able to do a play, two independent films and one big crazy studio film. But Abraham Lincoln is like the Matrix of the next generation. It's going to do to film what The Matrix did to film."Quite the claim. You can see whether Mackie has been over-egging the pudding when the film arrives in the UK on 2 August 2012.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fukushima disaster impacts Berlinale Forum

BERLIN -- The March 11 tsunami and subsequent nuclear catastrophe in Japan is the focus of three Japanese films screening in this year's Forum section of the Berlin Film Festival. The Forum sidebar showcases a cross section of arthouse, avant-garde and experimental cinema from around the world. Showing a strong impact by the Fukushima disaster, this year's lineup includes Fujiwara Toshi's "No Man's Zone," which takes viewers into the contaminated zone around the nuclear reactors, evoking images of an invisible apocalypse. Likewise, Funahashi Atsushi's "Nuclear Nation" presents a portrait of a mayor without a town who is desperately trying to keep together a community scattered across different emergency shelters, while in "Friends After 3.11," Iwai Shunji discusses the political, economic and social situation of a country in a state of dependence. American independent cinema also has a strong presence in this year's program. David Zellner's fairytale-like "Kid-Thing" explores the day-to-day life and fantasies of a neglected little girl, while Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky's "Francine" follows a shy woman (played by Oscar-winning actress Melissa Leo) recently released from jail. In So Yong Kim's "For Ellen," a neglectful rock-musician (played by Paul Dano) attempts to build a relationship with his young daughter. In Ann-Kristin Reyels' German entry "Formentera," a young couple on holiday is confronted with the flower-power ideals of their parents' generation, only to realize how much their own ideas about life diverge from one another. Another German pic set in Spain, Stefan Butzmuehlen and Cristina Diz's "Sleepless Knights," tells the story of gay love in the provinces. A total of 38 films will unspool in the main Forum program, including 26 world premieres and eight international premieres. The Berlinale runs Feb. 9-19. FORUM: MAIN PROGRAM "The Last Friday," Yahya Alabdallah (Jordan/UAE) "The Woman in the Septic Tank," Marlon N. Rivera (Philippines) "Avalon," Axel Petersen (Sweden) "Soldier/Citizen," Silvina Landsmann (Israel) "Bestiaire," Denis Cote (Canada/France) "Negotiating Love," Calle Overweg (Germany) "The Wait," Rodrigo Pla (Uruguay/Mexico/France) "Normal School," Celina Murga (Argentina) "Espoir voyage," Michel K. Zongo, France/Burkina Faso) "For Ellen," So Yong Kim (U.S.) "Formentera," Ann-Kristin Reyels (Germany) "Francine," Brian M. Cassidy, Melanie Shatzky (U.S./Canada) "Friends After 3.11," Iwai Shunji (Japan) "Living/Building," Clemence Ancelin (France) "Hemel," Sacha Polak (Netherlands/Spain) "Winter Nomads," Manuel von Stuerler (Switzerland) "Jaures," Vincent Dieutre (France) "Choked," Kim Joong-hyun (South Korea) "Our Homeland," Yang Yonghi (Japan) "Kid-Thing," David Zellner (U.S.) "The End of Puberty," Kimura Shoko (Japan) "Condition," Thomas Heise (Germany) "No Man's Zone," Fujiwara Toshi (Japan/France) "Nuclear Nation," Funahashi Atsushi (Japan) "Parabeton -- Pier Luigi Nervi and Roman Concrete," Heinz Emigholz (Germany) "Modest Reception," Mani Haghighi (Iran) "A Night Too Young," Olmo Omerzu (Czech Republic/Slovenia) "Revision," Philip Scheffner (Germany) "Salsipuedes," Mariano Luque (Argentina) "Secret," Przemyslaw Wojcieszek (Poland) "Sleepless Knights," Stefan Butzmuehlen, Cristina Diz (Germany) "Golden Slumbers," Davy Chou (France/Cambodia) "Spain," Anja Salomonowitz (Austria) "Beyond the Hill," Emin Alper (Turkey/Greece) "Keep Me Upright," Zoe Chantre (France) "Everybody in Our Family," Radu Jude (Romania/Netherlands) "What Is Love," Ruth Mader (Austria) "Tomorrow," Andrey Gryazev (Russia) Contact Ed Meza at staff@variety.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

'Young Adult,' 'I, Anna' to unspool in Berlinale Special

BERLIN -- Jason Reitman's "Youthful Adult" and Barnaby Southcombe's "I, Anna" are some of the latest worldwide photos selected with this year's Berlin Film Festival. "Youthful Adult," with Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt, and "I, Anna," a noir thriller starring Charlotte now Rampling, Gabriel Byrne and Hayley Atwell that got a significant boost in the fest's Co-production Market this year, will screen included in the Berlinale Special sidebar. Also unspooling within the section is Doris Doerrie's "Bliss," an appreciation story with different short story by best-selling author and Berlin defense attorney Ferdinand von Schirach that follows a youthful prostitute and her punk boyfriend away from home. The Berlinale Special is featuring 18 features and documentaries, including U.S. records "Alongside,Inch by Chris Kenneally, and Alison Klayman's "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry." Also showing are Bassam Mortada's Egyptian doc "Confirming A Revolution" Nederlander helmer Klaartje Quirijns' "Anton Corbijn ThoroughlyInch and Alvaro Longoria's The spanish language doc "Sons from the Clouds, the final Colony." To celebrate the 60th anniversary of French film journal Positif, the Berlinale Special will even present Volker Schloendorff's 1975 drama "Coup p sophistication" and all sorts of 15 hourlong instances of Mark Cousins' documentary "The Storyline of Film: An Journey." The sidebar will even unspool Ulrike Schamoni's docu "Farewell towards the Frogs" in recognition from the 50th anniversary from the Oberhausen Manifesto that brought inside a new trend in German film. Additional screeners incorporate a restored version of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1943 British drama "The Existence and Dying of Colonel Blimp." Included in Berlinale Retrospective, the Berlinale Special will even unspool a recently restored version of Sergei Eisenstein's 1928 Soviet classic "October," supported through the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra carrying out the initial score by Edmund Meisel. The 2011 Retrospective, named The Red-colored Dream Factory, examines early Soviet socialist cinema. Meanwhile, the Berlinale's Co-production Market will showcase 39 projects including three in the Rotterdam-Berlinale Express initiative with Rotterdam's CineMart and 11 in the Berlinale's Talent Campus program. The producers and company directors from the projects, which range in budget between $1.25 million and $9 million, will come across with a few 450 potential co-production and financing partners. The Berlin Film Festival runs February. 9-19. Contact Erectile dysfunction Meza at staff@variety.com

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Post house puts money where its work is

LipSync has equity in several films on which it has done post work, including 'The Deep Blue Sea.'London-based post-production house LipSync -- which for the past four years has been boarding independent films as an equity producer -- is ramping up its efforts to become one of the major players on the post scene.Since 2006, LipSync, headed by Peter Hampden and Norman Merry, has invested 9.2 million ($14.3 million) in 42 films, in which the company joins the production as an equity producer and, in exchange, gets work funneled through its post-production business.It has two services -- LipSync Creative, which invests in films, and LipSync Post.Recent pics boarded at the equity stage include Stephen Frears' "Lay the Favorite," Simon Curtis' "My Week With Marilyn," Lynne Ramsay's "We Need to Talk About Kevin," Steve McQueen's "Shame," Terence Davies' "The Deep Blue Sea" and an upcoming adaptation of "Great Expectations," helmed by Mike Newell.It's latest investment is Neil Jordan's vampire thriller "Byzantium" -- LipSync will also complete the post work for the pic, which is a co-production between Stephen Woolley's Number 9 Films and Parallel Films."We put cold, hard cash into films at the financial closing stage," says financial director Merry. "Other people may have different structures, but we physically put money in on day one, and then we get treated as a post house when production is shot and editing is done, and they come and buy services from us. We don't inflate or adjust prices. Whatever we agree (to) in a post-production deal here is totally separate from what we agree (to) as a cash investment from financial closing."For a company that started some 25 years ago making trailers and TV commercials (a part of the biz it is still involved in), its business certainly has come a long way.Within a market where prices are falling and volume is increasing, the company has seen its revenues by one third in the past 18 months, bringing in approximately $15.6 million over the past year ."It takes a while to lose the moniker of being the new kid on the block," says Hampden. "I think we've certainly lost it now."He says that the decision to invest in films came not just from a desire to generate business for their own company."We saw a gap in the market," Hampden adds. "And we wanted to help producers. Getting the money for any film deal can be difficult, especially getting that last bit of money; that can be the trickiest part."Merry and Hampden own the business and, as a result, can react quickly to a producer in need of an equity injection. There are no boards or committees to go through, and the fact that LipSync has reinvested its profits back into the company for the past four years coupled with its access to cash for loan purposes, makes it an appealing door for a producer to knock on.For instance, "Lay the Favorite," toplining Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn and Catherine Zeta-Jones, hit various hurdles in piecing together its $12 million budget. When producer Paul Trijbits at Ruby Films approached LipSync, there was a week to arrange the financing to make sure it didn't collapse.Within a day, LipSync, which already had a good relationship with Ruby, put up $450,000 of equity into the pic.Number 9 Films' Stephen Woolley, who had already worked with LipSync on pics such as "Made in Dagenham" and "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People," approached the company after one of the elements of U.S. money fell out of upcoming adaptation "Great Expectations" during pre-production."We got involved with BBC and the British Film Institute and helped get the film over the finish line," says Merry. "Between us all, we structured the amounts of money invested and the way that money is recouped."Woolley came back to LipSync for "Byzantium," which is shooting in Ireland and stars Gemma Arterton and Jonny Lee Miller. Post is scheduled to start in June; Studio Canal will release the film this year in the U.K. with West End selling world rights.But it's not just at the critical last minute moments that LipSync boards its projects. For instance producer Iain Canning brought "Shame" to the company at the early stages.Hampden adds that investing in pics has, as a result, caused them to forge closer bonds with producers throughout the years, facilitating future business.And while the two work mainly in indie circles, they still have relationships with the Hollywood majors, making foreign-language trailers and re-versions of features tailored for overseas markets.The company plans to build up its vfx business -- it has worked on pics like "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" and Madonna's "W.E." -- and plans to continue to take advantage of structured finance options, which Merry says are beneficial to producers because the costs are less aggressive."We can help maximize, and we're happy to take a small piece of the bigger pie," he says. Contact Diana Lodderhose at diana.lodderhose@variety.com

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

PGA Awards Contains Few Surprises

PGA Awards Contains Few Surprises By Jenelle Riley January 3, 2012 Photo by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures "War Horse" The Producers Guild of America Award nominations came out today, and the list is looking pretty much as expected. Often considered the precursor to who will win the Best Picture Oscar, the PGA Awards chose "The King's Speech" last year over "The Social Network" when most people thought the latter film was a shoo-in. This year all the front-runners made the list, from "The Artist" to "The Descendants" to "Hugo" to "War Horse" and "Moneyball." Continuing to prove itself more than a spring blockbuster, "Bridesmaids" also made the list. Perhaps more of a surprise was the inclusion of "The Ides of March," which has been feeling like an almost-ran as of late. Other nominees include "The Help," "Midnight In Paris," and--sort of surprising considering the mixed reviews--"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." READ THE FULL LIST OF NOMINEES ON BEHIND THE SCENES PGA Awards Contains Few Surprises By Jenelle Riley January 3, 2012 "War Horse" PHOTO CREDIT Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures The Producers Guild of America Award nominations came out today, and the list is looking pretty much as expected. Often considered the precursor to who will win the Best Picture Oscar, the PGA Awards chose "The King's Speech" last year over "The Social Network" when most people thought the latter film was a shoo-in. This year all the front-runners made the list, from "The Artist" to "The Descendants" to "Hugo" to "War Horse" and "Moneyball." Continuing to prove itself more than a spring blockbuster, "Bridesmaids" also made the list. Perhaps more of a surprise was the inclusion of "The Ides of March," which has been feeling like an almost-ran as of late. Other nominees include "The Help," "Midnight In Paris," and--sort of surprising considering the mixed reviews--"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."READ THE FULL LIST OF NOMINEES ON BEHIND THE SCENES

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Spoleto sets Egoyan opera

'The Agony as well as the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs' A Chinese opera helmed by Atom Egoyan additionally to stints from Off Broadway alums including Mike Daisey and troupe 7 Doigts are the options on tap within the 2012 Spoleto Festival USA.Also round the docket for your 36th annual undertaking arts fest -- created by Nigel Redden, who also handles NY's Lincoln subsequently subsequently Center Festival -- certainly are a staging of Noel Coward's "Hay Fever" from Dublin's Gate Theater additionally to "The Animals and youngsters Needed for the Streets," a multidisciplinary show from U.K. troupe 1927.Egoyan helms composer Guo Wenjing's "Feng Yi Teng," of a meeting that changes Chinese history, getting a design team including Broadway vet Derek McLane ("Bengal Tiger within the Baghdad Zoo"). Just like a co-output of Spoleto as well as the Lincoln subsequently subsequently Center Fest, "Feng Yi Teng" looks poised to to research the 2012 slate within the Gotham arts festival too.Daisey works his monologue "The Agony as well as the Ecstasy of Jobs,Inch which shown popular enough at Off Broadway's Public Theater this year's season to warrant an approaching return run, additionally to some piece referred to as "Teching in India." Canuck company 7 Doigts will stage acrobatics showcase "Traces," also current playing Off Broadway in the extended-term run.Among the other productions round the Spoleto slate are another monologue, "Creating the realityInch from journo Jack Hitt, additionally to bop activities from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Cedar plank plank Lake Contemporary Ballet. Selection includes the U.S. preem of Philip Glass opera "Kepler."The 2012 edition of Spoleto Festival USA runs May 25-June 10 in Charleston, S.C. Contact Gordon Cox at gordon.cox@variety.com