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Madonna Disapproves of ‘Blonde Ambition’ Biopic

3 hours ago

Madonna is unhappy over Universal’s development of the biopic “Blonde Ambition.”

“Nobody knows what I know and what I have seen,” she said in an Instagram post on Tuesday. “Only I can tell my story. Anyone else who tries is a charlatan and a fool looking for instant gratification without doing the work. This is a disease in our society.”

Related

Watch Madonna’s Fiery, Expletive-Laden Speech at the Women’s March on Washington

Universal had no comment. The studio won an auction Monday for Elyse Hollander’s “Blonde Ambition” screenplay about Madonna’s first album.

“Blonde Ambition” led the 2016 version of the Black List — an annual ranking of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. Hollander’s script received 49 votes among the 250 executives voting. The project details Madonna’s efforts in the early 1980s in New York City to get her first album released while navigating fame, romance, and »


- Dave McNary

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Andie MacDowell on Hollywood Ageism, Nude Scenes and ‘Love After Love’

3 hours ago

Andie MacDowell waited until age 59 to do her first nude scene. As a grieving matriarch trying to get over her husband’s death and re-entering the dating scene in “Love After Love,” MacDowell has several sexual encounters in the indie drama that leave her emotionally and physically baring all.

“I kept making a joke to everybody that I waited until I fell apart before I took my clothes off,” the actress told Variety during an interview at the Tribeca Film Festival where “Love After Love” is debuting. The experience left her advising her actress daughters, Sarah Margaret Qualley and Rainey Qualley, not to wait as long before shedding their clothes on screen.

“I keep telling my girls, ‘you’re so beautiful, you should just do it,'” she says with a laugh. “‘Go. Do it. Don’t wait.'”

Ultimately, getting naked on screen didn’t feel as vulnerable as »


- Brent Lang

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Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner to Voice Timon and Pumbaa in Live-Action ‘Lion King’

3 hours ago

Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner have been tapped to voice Timon and Pumbaa in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “The Lion King,” sources confirmed to Variety.

Donald Glover is on board to voice Simba, while James Earl Jones will reprise his role of Mufasa that he voiced in the original. Beyonce is still circling the role of Nala.

Related

Disney Dates ‘Lion King’ and ‘Frozen 2,’ Pushes Fifth ‘Indiana Jones’ Film to 2020

In the original, Timon and Pumbaa were the lovable meerkat and warthog who look after Simba after he flees his kingdom.

Jon Favreau is directing with Jeff Nathanson writing. The film is being fast-tracked, with the studio recently dating it for July 19, 2019.

“Lion King” was originally released in 1994 and is one of the highest-grossing animated films of all time, ultimately hauling $968.5 million worldwide.

The studio’s emphasis on live-action adaptations follows the successes of “Alice in Wonderland” (2010), “Maleficent” (2014), “Cinderella” (2015), and, »


- Justin Kroll

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‘The Big Sick’ to Open 2017 Nantucket Film Festival

4 hours ago

The Nantucket Film Festival has announced the complete list of films it will screen at this year’s event, including opener “The Big Sick” and closer “An Inconvenent Sequel: Truth to Power.”

Screenwriters Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s “Big Sick,” the romantic comedy directed by Michael Showalter, centers around the writers’ real-life courtship and stars Nanjiani as a character based on himself, with Zoe Kazan as Emily. The couple struggles with cultural differences and the unexpected impact of a mysterious illness in the Lionsgate/Amazon Studios release, which also stars Holly Hunter and Ray Romano.

Related

Sundance Film Review: ‘The Big Sick

Paramount Studios and Participant Media’s documentary “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth the Power,” directed by Bonni Cohen and John Shenk, will close the festival, continuing where “An Inconvenient Truth” left off by charting Vice President Al Gore’s mission to solve our climate crisis before it’s too late. »


- Erin Nyren

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‘Spotlight’ Director Tom McCarthy Eyeing ‘Timmy Failure’ at Disney

4 hours ago

Spotlight” writer-director Tom McCarthy is in talks to direct an adaptation of the children’s book “Timmy Failure” for Disney.

McCarthy would also co-write the pic with the book’s author, Stephan Pastis.

The popular book series centers on an 11-year-old boy who believes he is the best detective in town and runs the agency Total Failure Inc. with his partner, a 1,200-pound, imaginary polar bear, and his sidekick Rollo Tookus.

Jim Whitaker, who has a strong track record with the studio producing such tentpoles as “Pete’s Dragon” and “A Wrinkle in Time,” will produce.

Though better known for his adult fare like “Win Win” and “Spotlight,” McCarthy has always been drawn to family friendly stories, going back to when he penned the baseball movie “Million Dollar Arm.” He recently did a rewrite on “Christopher Robin,” a live-action take on the “Winnie the Pooh” tale, and was also a writer on Pixar’s “Up. »


- Justin Kroll

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Wes Anderson’s Next Movie ‘Isle of Dogs’ Gets Poster, Premiere Date

5 hours ago

Wes Anderson’s upcoming film “Isle of Dogs” got a brand new poster on Tuesday, along with a premiere date — April 20, 2018.

The animated film — which has a massive, star-studded cast including Wes Anderson regulars Edward Norton, Bill Murray, and Jeff Goldblum as well as virgins of the auteur Bryan Cranston and Liev Schreiber — is set in Japan and follows a boy’s odyssey to find his dog.

As such, the poster features the Japanese language translations of all of the billings, as well as the title in massive red characters.

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Wes Anderson Announces Cast of His Film ‘Isle of Dogs’ (Watch)

While the stop-motion film’s plot may sound ordinary, in typical Wes Anderson fashion, it’s sure to be creative. For starters, a video released in December revealed that the dogs talk.

The poster features five of the dogs, although it is not identified which actor voices which pup. »


- Erin Nyren

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Disney Dates ‘Lion King’ and ‘Frozen 2,’ Pushes Fifth ‘Indiana Jones’ Film to 2020

5 hours ago

Disney dated a slew of films on Tuesday, including “Star Wars: Episode IX,” the live-action “Lion King” reboot, and “Frozen 2.” It also moved the release dates for “Indiana Jones,” “Wreck-It Ralph 2,” “Wrinkle in Time,” and others.

Here’s the studio’s full release schedule:

Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action) previously dated on 7/28/17 moves to 8/3/18

Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-it Ralph 2 (3D) is final title of previous Wreck-it Ralph Sequel – previously dated on 3/9/18 moves to 11/21/18

A Wrinkle In Time (3D) previously dated on 4/6/18 moves to 3/9/18

Magic Camp is final title of previous Untitled Disney Live Action – previously dated on 8/3/18 now moves up to 4/6/18

Gigantic (3D) previously dated on 11/21/18 moves to 11/25/20

Star Wars: Episode IX (3D) now dated on 5/24/19

Untitled Indiana Jones previously dated on 7/19/19 moves to 7/10/20

The Lion King (Live Action) (3D) now dated on 7/19/19

Untitled Disney Live Action now dated on »


- Maane Khatchatourian

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Tribeca Film Review: ‘A River Below’

5 hours ago

When it comes to activism, there’s almost nothing more powerful than an unforgettable image, which has the capacity to inspire, to destroy and to transform. “A River Below” focuses on two conservationists in the Amazon who aim to bring about change by using the national media, only to discover the consequences of their actions are unexpectedly messy. Functioning as a spiritual companion piece to Louie Psihoyos’ 2009 “The Cove,” director Mark Grieco’s documentary incisively examines the complications of engaging in a crusade via public TV — here, primarily on behalf of the endangered pink river dolphin. Boosted by its refusal to proffer easy solutions to knotty situations, the doc should net serious interest following its Tribeca Film Festival debut.

In both Brazil and Colombia, the dolphin (“boto”) is under siege by local fisherman scattered along the Amazon River who illegally kill it in order to use its carcass as bait »


- Nick Schager

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‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ Gets Release Date

6 hours ago

Star Wars: Episode IX” is set to fly into theaters on May 24, 2019, Disney announced on Tuesday.

Colin Trevorrow is on board to direct.

More to come…

»


- Justin Kroll

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Michael K. Williams Joins Chris Evans in True-Life Drama ‘Red Sea Diving Resort’ (Exclusive)

6 hours ago

The Wire” star Michael K. Williams is in negotiations to join Chris Evans and Haley Bennett in “Red Sea Diving Resort.”

Previously titled “Operation Resort,” the film will be written and directed by “Tyrant” executive producer Gideon Raff. Bron Studios, which backed “Fences,” is fully financing the movie. Alexandra Milchan is on board to produce “Red Sea Diving Resort,” which begins shooting this summer.

Raff had originally sold the pitch to Fox Searchlight, but recently put it back on the market, with Bron Studios now coming on to finance.

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Han Solo Spinoff Eyes Michael K. Williams in Key Role (Exclusive)

The film is based on the 1981 rescue of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan. The story picks up in 1977, when Israel’s Mossad spy agency was given an assignment far different from its usual cloak-and-dagger activities. It was ordered by then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin to rescue thousands of Jewish men and »


- Justin Kroll

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Alex Roe-Jessica Rothe’s Romantic Drama ‘Forever My Girl’ Lands at Roadside

6 hours ago

Roadside Attractions has bought domestic distribution rights to  family romance “Forever My Girl,” starring Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe, and set an Oct. 27 release date in a counter-programming move.

Forever My Girl” is the fourth film to land on the pre-Halloween weekend, which will also see launches of Paramount’s “2017 Cloverfield Movie,” Lionsgate’s “Saw: Legacy” and Universal’s Miles Teller Ptsd drama “Thank You for Your Service.”

The deal marks the seventh collaboration between Roadside Attractions and Ld Entertainment, which has included “Albert Nobbs” and “Biutiful.”

Forever My Girl” stars Roe as a country music super-star who left his bride at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, he’s suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind.

The film is written and directed by Bethany Ashton Wolf, based »


- Dave McNary

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Anjelica Huston to Be Honored at Seattle International Film Festival

8 hours ago

Academy Award-winning actress Anjelica Huston will be honored with the Career Achievement In Acting Award at the 43rd annual Seattle International Film Festival (Siff), the fest announced this morning.

The tribute event will take place on June 7, prior to a screening of her new movie, “Trouble,” written and directed by renowned playwright and two-time Emmy nominee Theresa Rebeck. Huston also serves as an executive producer on “Trouble,” which casts her and Bill Pullman as feuding siblings.

In addition to “Trouble,” the festival will be screening two of Huston’s films from 1990, “The Grifters” and “The Witches.” More information and tickets are available at the festival’s website, http://www.siff.net.

Huston was born into a film dynasty that includes her father, director John Huston, and her grandfather, actor Walter Huston. She won an Oscar for her role in 1985’s “Prizzi’s Honor,” directed by her father, and was nominated »


- Jenelle Riley

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Blumhouse, Meridian Form Multi-Year Co-Financing Agreement (Exclusive)

8 hours ago

Meridian Entertainment has reached a film financing agreement with Blumhouse Productions, the makers of “The Purge” and “Insidious,” Variety has learned.

The pact is a multi-year one and will cover all Blumhouse films outside of the production company’s overall deal with Universal Pictures. The partners first film will be a remake of Benji, the long-running series of films about a mixed-breed dog with a preternatural ability to rescue humans.

The deal comes after a wave of successes for Blumhouse and its founder Jason Blum. The studio recently scored back-to-back box office hits with Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” a buzzy thriller about race relations, and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split,” a psychological horror film about a man with 23 distinct personalities. The company’s films have made $2.8 billion, but what makes them particularly valuable to studios is they carry small budgets, typically between $5 million to $10 million. That means they are »


- Brent Lang

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Open Road Taps Loren Schwartz to Replace Jonathan Helfgot as Marketing President

8 hours ago

Open Road Films has shaken up its marketing operation, naming Loren Schwartz to replace Jonathan Helfgot as president of marketing.

Schwartz will report directly to Open Road Films CEO Tom Ortenberg, who also made the announcement Tuesday.

Helfgot came on board slightly over a year ago, replacing Jason Cassidy in the post. That shuffle came a month after Open Road’s “Spotlight” had won best picture at the Academy Awards.

Helfgot is returning to 20th Century Fox, where he will be exec VP of theatrical marketing and report to Pam Levine, president of global marketing. He previously worked at Fox in a number of roles from 2004 to 2011.

Open Road also announced that Liz Biber has been promoted to president of publicity and will continue to report to Ortenberg. Biber has been head of publicity since the company’s inception in 2011.

Schwartz was previously executive VP of marketing at Screen Gems »


- Dave McNary

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Danny Pudi Comedy ‘Tiger Hunter’ Gets Fall Release

8 hours ago

Shout! Factory has acquired North American rights to Lena Khan’s immigrant comedy “The Tiger Hunter,” starring Danny Pudi, from Red Sea Media.

Shout! Factory plans a strategic rollout across multiple platforms, beginning with a theatrical launch this fall. The film had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on April 21, 2016, and won the grand jury prize for narrative feature.

Pudi stars as clever young Indian who travels to 1970s America to become an engineer in order to impress his childhood crush and live up to the legacy of his father — a legendary tiger hunter back home. When his job falls through, he takes a low-end job and joins with a gang of oddball friends in hopes of convincing his childhood sweetheart that he’s far more successful than he truly is.

Khan directed from a script she wrote with Sameer Gardezi (“Modern Family”). Producers are Megha Kadakia, »


- Dave McNary

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Thunderbird Releasing Takes ‘Una,’ ‘Brimstone’ for U.K. (Exclusive)

8 hours ago

Thunderbird Releasing has added Benedict Andrews’ “Una” and Martin Koolhoven’s “Brimstone” (pictured) to its U.K. distribution slate. Both films saw their U.K. premieres at the 2016 London Film Festival and are scheduled for release in September this year.

“We’re thrilled to add two intelligent and entertaining female-driven titles to our slate,” said Thunderbird managing director Edward Fletcher. “We’ve had great early exhibitor interest and, with the support of all the talent involved, look forward to delivering engaging U.K. campaigns.”

Una,” based on Scottish playwright David Harrower’s award-winning play “Blackbird,” stars Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn in the roles played by Michelle Williams and Jeff Daniels in last year’s Broadway revival of the work. Also starring Riz Ahmed, the film focuses on the fraught and emotionally devastating ramifications following a young woman’s attempt to track down a man from her past, which unearths long-buried secrets. »


- Robert Mitchell

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Ed Asner to Receive Lifetime Achievement Honor at L.A. Jewish Film Festival

9 hours ago

Ed Asner has been selected to receive a lifetime achievement award at Wedensday’s opening night of the  12th annual Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills.

Asner has won seven Emmy Awards for performing — more than any other male actor. He received five of the awards for the role as Lou Grant in the two series “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Lou Grant.”

Asner served as the 18th SAG president for two terms from 1981 to 1985. He received SAG’s Life Achievement Award in 2002, two years after winning the guild’s Ralph Morgan Award for service to the guild. He was also the lead plaintiff in a 2013 lawsuit against SAG-aftra alleging mishandling of $130 million in royalties and residuals.

The opening night activities will include the screening of  the short film “Super Sex,” directed by actor Matthew Modine and starring Kevin Nealon, Elizabeth Perkins, »


- Dave McNary

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Cannes: Will Smith, Paolo Sorrentino Join Festival Jury; Full Lineup Announced

9 hours ago

Actors Will Smith and Fan Bingbing and directors Paolo Sorrentino and Maren Ade will serve on the 70th Cannes Film Festival’s jury, whose full lineup was unveiled by festival organizers Tuesday.

Smith, Fan, Ade and Oscar-winner Sorrentino join previously announced jurors Jessica Chastain and Pedro Almodovar, who will preside over the panel. Rounding out the jury that will decide the winner of the Palme d’Or are French actress Agnès Jaoui, South Korean director Park Chan-wook and French composer Gabriel Yared.

Spanish helmer Almodovar, who won the festival’s best director prize in 1999 for “All About My Mother” and best screenplay for 2006’s “Volver,” was named as jury president in January. The festival’s artistic director, Thierry Fremaux, revealed that two-time Oscar nominee Chastain would serve on the official competition jury during an interview with French radio earlier this month. The actress’ breakout role came in Terrence Malick’s »


- Robert Mitchell

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Warner Bros. Unveils Metropolis and Gotham City for Abu Dhabi Theme Park

11 hours ago

Warner Bros. and Abu Dhabi’s Miral have unveiled details for their planned $1 billion theme park — including worlds for Superman’s Metropolis and Batman’s Gotham City.

The park, which will open next year, will also include Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, and Dynamite Gulch, themed after the Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera brands; and Warner Bros. Plaza, which will be reminiscent of old Hollywood. Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, located on Yas Island and set to open in 2018, will include thrill rides, interactive family friendly attractions and live entertainment.

Warner Bros. and Miral first announced the indoor project a year ago, promising to open the facility in 2018. The companies said Tuesday that the park is on track to make that goal.

“Miral is proud to confirm that one year after announcing its plans to bring Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi to Yas island, we’re making great progress with our partners where »


- Dave McNary

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AFI to Honor ‘Blue Velvet’ Cinematographer Frederick Elmes

11 hours ago

The American Film Institute has selected “Blue Velvet” cinematographer Frederick Elmes as this year’s recipient of its Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni medal.

The award is presented to an AFI alumnus who embodies the qualities of Schaffner — “talent, taste, dedication and commitment to quality storytelling in film and television.” Schaffner earned 28 Academy Award nominations during his 40-year career.

Elmes graduated from AFI in 1972 and received his first credit on David Lynch’s “Eraserhead” in 1977. He went on to work on Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” in 1986 and “Wild at Heart” in 1990. He won Independent Spirit Awards back to back years for “Wild at Heart” and Jim Jarmush’s “Night on Earth.”

Elmes won the National Society of Film Critics award for “Blue Velvet” and was nominated for a primetime Emmy for “In the Gloaming.”

Other credits include Tim Hunter’s “River’s Edge” (1986), Ang Lee’s “The Ice Storm (1997) and “Ride with the Devil »


- Dave McNary

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