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Thompson on Hollywood

Production & Development Watch: Hall's Awakening, Greengrass's King Biopic, Russell's 2 Guns

- Rebecca Hall is a total scene stealer. Think Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Please Give, and The Town. She's a rising star; here's a first look at her first leading role in The Awakening, from Brit director Nick Murphy and screenwriter Stephen Volk. Dominic West (The Wire) and Mike Leigh regular Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) co-star. Set in 1921, a bereaved woman (Hall) deploys rational arguments to debunk supernatural myths. A countryside boarding school asks her to come to ease panic caused by a boy's death (and rumors of a ghost). Her beliefs are challenged when she faces her own ghostly encounter. The Studio Canal and BBC films collaboration is in post-production with no release date. - Forget Bourne. Brit writer-director Paul Greengrass is writing Memphis, a Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic that focuses on the events--both personal and professional--that lead to his assassination on April 4, 1968. There are plenty of assassination reports and conspiracy theories to work with. Greengrass's studio relationship is with Universal; Scott Rudin is in discussions to produce the film with Greengrass at the studio's specialty arm, Focus Features.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 13, 2011 7:00 AM
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Ron Howard Goes Lowbrow with The Dilemma; Early Reviews

Ron Howard Goes Lowbrow with The Dilemma; Early Reviews
What was Ron Howard thinking? Did this popular A-list Oscar-winning director really want to make a lowbrow comedy that could be summed up in the following tweet from @giteshpandya:9:24pm via WebDilemma: Low on laughs but should sell to fans of formulaic buddy & relationship comedies. Could use some trimming. #mtrv
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 13, 2011 4:02 AM
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W First-Looks The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Mara

W first-looks Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, along with an in-depth interview portrait of David Fincher by Lynn Hirschberg, which not only sets up the biggest new franchise since Twilight but helps the awards campaign for The Social Network: Fincher, who is contrary by nature, is allergic to garlands. While critics were heralding The Social Network as, hands down, the best movie of the year, a meditation on the inability to emotionally connect in today’s increasingly mechanized society, Fincher was scouting locations in Sweden.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 13, 2011 3:58 AM
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Fox Marketing Shuffle Signals Management Turmoil

Fox Marketing Shuffle Signals Management Turmoil
Pam Levine is out, ex-Disney exec Oren Aviv is in at Fox Marketing. Veteran industry watchers know that this means that studio co-chairmen Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos are under duress. When a major studio suffers a bad run at the box office and then lets go of a top marketing exec, it's considered a scapegoat maneuver. It usually signals that if the management team doesn't produce some hits in the following year, they could be next. (Here's the LAT.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 13, 2011 2:57 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Votes Due Friday, Packed Golden Globes Party Weekend

Oscar Votes Due Friday, Packed Golden Globes Party Weekend
My pals in the Academy are filling out their ballots. One costume designer has already sent hers in. Ira Deutchman, in New York, anxiously hopes that his mailed ballot gets to PricewaterhouseCoopers on time, by 5 PM Friday, January 14 (nominations will be announced January 25). Which raises the question: why doesn't the Academy have online Oscar voting? I voted for the Broadcast Critics Choice Awards easily and effortlessly via their website. Academy spokesperson Leslie Unger answered my query thus:The Academy has and continues to explore ways to allow our members to securely vote electronically some day. But there’s no timetable for that endeavor and I don’t know when it might come fruition.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 12, 2011 9:22 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Women in Film Names New President, Producer Cathy Schulman

Cathy Schulman, the Oscar-winning producer (Crash, The Illusionist, Tears of the Sun), will replace Jane Fleming as president of non-profit org Women In Film. Schulman's three-year term officially began January 1. Fleming declares: "I can think of no one better to take the reins of Women In Film as the organization grows in scope and impact to meet the challenges of the 21st century.  She is a proven leader, producer and visionary as well as a committed teacher, philanthropist and mentor.  Moreover, her production experience in film and television, both scripted and documentary, gives her a unique insight into the diverse needs of the women the organization serves." Schulman is eager to work with new board members (listed below) and says:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 12, 2011 9:19 AM
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Hollywood's Creme de la Creme Memorialize Class-Act Agent Ed Limato

Long-Time ICM agent Ed Limato--who forged the careers of Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Denzel Washington and Michelle Pfeiffer--stood out among Hollywood's agent elite as a class act. He was old-school, yes, and he cared deeply about his clients. Agenting wasn't so much a business to him, although he was competitive: I remember him hanging late at a Twentieth Century Fox premiere party, hoping to catch a word with the recently agentless Kevin Costner. Limato looked after Robert Downey, Jr., for years, and Winona Ryder, too. He loved his exotic fish, and his white patent leather shoes. He was tickled pink when Vanity Fair did a photo shoot. Here's my obit.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 12, 2011 8:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Movieline Hires Elvis Mitchell and Online Vets Jen Yamato, Alonso Duralde

Movieline Hires Elvis Mitchell and Online Vets Jen Yamato, Alonso Duralde
While we still don't know why ex-NYT critic Elvis Mitchell fell out of the new public television show Ebert Presents At the Movies (A.P.'s Christy Lemire and newcomer Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of Mubi.com are doing the honors), the NPR and KCRW radio personality has landed another staff gig at Movieline. The growing Jay Penske film site has also added popular online critics Jen Yamato (ex of Rotten Tomatoes) as West Coast Editor and Alonso Duralde (MSNBC.com) as DVD Editor.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 12, 2011 7:36 AM
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Super Bowl Ads: Favreau is Cutting Spot for Cowboys and Aliens

Cowboys and Aliens will be one of the upcoming 2011 movies with a Super Bowl TV spot, confirms director Jon Favreau on Twitter (this is his Twitter avatar):
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 12, 2011 7:33 AM
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Actress Watch: Dark Knight Rises Tests; Coppola and Portman's Dior Ad; Williams Gives Sage Advice

Christopher Nolan is checking out the ranks of Hollywood's starlets to join Christian Bale and Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises. Keira Knightley (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement), Anne Hathaway (Love and Other Drugs), Jessica Biel (The Illusionist, The A-Team), Kate Mara (127 Hours, Iron Man 2), Charlotte Riley (fiance of Hardy and his co-star in the UK's Wuthering Heights TV mini-series) and Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia, and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) are all scheduled to test. Scheduling seems to be an issue for Naomi Watts and Eva Green, who were previously mentioned. Two roles need to be filled: a love interest and a villain. Who would you like to see in The Dark Knight Rises? Vote in our poll below.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 12, 2011 6:38 AM
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  • 6 Comments

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