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Thompson on Hollywood

Bigelow's Likely Oscar-Contender 'Zero Dark Thirty' Adds Unknown Ricky Sekhon as Osama bin Laden

Though details on Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow's in-producton project "Zero Dark Thirty" have been scarce, one major piece of news broke today. Ricky Sekhon, a British actor with two IMDB credits to his name, has been cast in the role of mastermind terrorist Osama bin Laden.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 15, 2012 4:21 PM
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Director Peter Weir on Directing, 'Witness,' the Birth of the Australian Film Industry and More

Australian Peter Weir is one of our great living directors, having given us such primal and unsettling classics as "Picnic at Hanging Rock," "The Last Wave," "Witness," "The Truman Show" and "Master and Commander," to name only a few. In this excerpt from ex-Screen editor Mike Goodridge's book FilmCraft: Directing, Weir discusses his methods and stresses that the hardest challenges in directing a film are always "fundamentally creative."
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 15, 2012 3:22 PM
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  • 2 Comments

New Screen Editor Wendy Mitchell Talks Future Challenges for the Venerable Brit Trade

Sure enough, Brit entertainment trade Screen International went in-house and promoted Head of Content Wendy Mitchell to succeed Mike Goodridge as editor. Mitchell, who started at the trade publication as a UK reporter in 2005, is Screen's first woman editor, and will run both monthly print magazine Screen International and ScreenDaily.com.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 15, 2012 1:44 PM
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Producers Line Up to Do 'Fifty Shades of Gray': Let the Best Woman Win

Finding the right producer to shepherd bestselling erotic novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" to the screen is crucial for Brit author E.L. James. She and her lit agent Val Hoskins made the first decision, to let Universal Pictures (co-chairman Donna Langley was crucial) and specialty label Focus Features finance and release the film project.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 14, 2012 7:48 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Fox Searchlight and Red Flag Debut Busy Duplass Bros' 'The Do-Deca-Pentathlon' On VOD

Writer-directors Jay and Mark Duplass headed into SXSW with an unusual distribution deal for their long-in-the-works micro-budget brother comedy "The Do-Deca-Pentathlon." They set it up at both Fox Searchlight, which released "Cyrus," and indie Red Flag Releasing. The VOD release date is June 26, and a theatrical release follows July 6.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 14, 2012 7:21 PM
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Unknown James Hamrick Joins Atom Egoyan's West Memphis Three Drama 'Devil's Knot'; Joins Firth, Nivola, Enos, Witherspoon

Atom Egoyan ("The Sweet Hereafter") is directing "Devil's Knot," based on the true story of the West Memphis Three (Damien Wayne Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr.), who were recently released from Death Row and featured in both HBO's "Paradise Lost" doc trilogy (Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky) and Amy Berg's "West of Memphis."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 14, 2012 4:53 PM
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Focus Forward's 'Short Films, Big Ideas' Competition Hits LAFF; Offers $100K Prize for Grand-Prize Winner

Focus Forward first announced its $200K Filmmaker Challenge at Sundance in January, and will be at LA Film Fest starting tomorrow (June 14-24) to encourage festival attendees and emerging talent to get in on the competition as well. "Short Films, Big Ideas" will ultimately be a series of 30 three-minute nonfiction films.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 13, 2012 7:37 PM
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In the Works: John Madden Set to Direct Whodunit Comedy 'Murder Mystery,' Charlize Theron in Talks to Produce and Star

John Madden's "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" recently crossed the $100 million mark worldwide. In the wake of this phenomenal success, Madden will direct revisionist Agatha Christie-style thriller-comedy "Murder Mystery," from a script by John Vanderbilt. Charlize Theron is producing under her Denver and Delilah Productions banner, along with Endgame and Tower Hill, and is in talks to take the film's starring role.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 13, 2012 3:43 PM
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Danny Boyle Recreates Bucolic English Countryside for London's 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony; Stephen Daldry Also On Deck

Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle is facing a challenge that would make most directors shrink: Directing a cast of thousands, including a village cricket team and parade of nurses, plus 12 horses, 10 chickens, 9 geese and 70 (!) sheep. But this isn't a new film -- it's London's 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 13, 2012 2:36 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Tribeca Film Acquires Rights to Berlin Silver Bear Winner 'War Witch'

Tribeca Film has acquired the rights to Kim Nguyen's "War Witch," which had its world premiere and garnered a Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year, and took home the Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. The talented actress in question is 15-year-old Rachel Mwanza, who was discovered on the streets of Kinshasa, Congo.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 13, 2012 2:23 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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