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Inglourious Basterds: Tarantino Adds One Minute, Thinks Prequel

Quentin Tarantino comes back to Michael Fleming with details on his final cut of Inglourious Basterds--one minute longer, or 2:32 including end credits--reminds that he had final cut up to 2:48, admits he listened to Universal's David Linde and TWC's Harvey Weinstein, who are both under pressure to deliver hits, but took his own course. As he told me in Cannes, he added a scene with the Brit soldiers played by Michael Fassbender and Mike Myers before the sequence at La Louisiane. He's not worried about adult films pulling audiences, and cites Public Enemies' strong opening as a positive sign. (Let's see the second weekend drop.) And Tarantino is seriously considering doing a Basterds prequel, with support from Brad Pitt. (That will require that audiences do show up to see the World War II flick, which has an unusual promo partner for a smart-house movie, Ultimate Fighting Championship.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 9, 2009 8:07 AM
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Moneyball Redux

Speaking of embattled auteurs, David Poland asks more questions about Sony pulling the plug on Moneyball and what it means. So does Jeffrey Wells. I've also heard that Soderbergh wanted to make a responsibly budgeted commercial movie with MLB approval, and that Sony was backing James Brooks' baseball movie over his.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 3, 2009 1:30 AM
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Cholodenko Lesbian Drama

I had heard about Lisa Cholodenko's new movie, The Kids Are All Right, which she cowrote with Stuart Blumberg. (Michael Fleming runs the official start of production announcement here.) It's a great story: Julianne Moore and Annette Bening are long-time partners; each mothered a kid with sperm from the same anonymous donor. Doctor Bening has a brainy achiever girl (Mia Wasikowska), while designer Moore's son is a jock (Josh Hutcherson). He wants to meet his father (Mark Ruffalo) and talks his 18-year-old sister into getting permission to approach him. The father doesn't mind. But complications ensue when he gets involved with his son's mother.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 30, 2009 5:22 AM
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Public Enemies: Can Depp Save Mann's HD Biopic?

Universal is counting on one thing to open Michael Mann's Public Enemies: Johnny Depp. According to The Ulmer Scale, he's the second most popular movie star in the world, after Will Smith. That's based on his hugely successful roles as broadly comedic, over-the-top Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. But while Sweeney Todd wouldn't have done as well without him, Depp can only move the needle so far.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 29, 2009 5:59 AM
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Paramount Scores Orci and Kurtzman Project

It's not surprising that new Paramount production head Adam Goodman took advantage of his DreamWorks insider status and nabbed a high-profile project, License to Steal, from the super-hot screenwriter-producing team Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. This buy of an overtly commercial Salon feature about globe-trotting Repo men chasing luxury planes and boats was pursued by several top directors and producers. It signals that an inside-Hollywood pro is back in charge, and the once-quiet studio is back in buying mode. When Paramount put into turnaround projects such as John Carter of Mars and Twilight , that sent another signal: the studio didn't recognize potential franchises.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 29, 2009 5:43 AM
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Tarantino Tweaking Basterds, Says Weinstein

My initial story was correct: Quentin Tarantino is not cutting the shit out of Inglourious Basterds. GQ grills Harvey Weinstein about the final cut:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 24, 2009 6:29 AM
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Moneyball Update

It was a bad week for Steven Soderbergh and his $57-million screen version of Michael Lewis's baseball book Moneyball, which Sony shut down as of Friday--with a Monday start-of-production date. (How odd that "producer" Michael DeLuca was on his honeymoon last week and still has not returned. Soderbergh's producer Greg Jacobs was in charge, clearly.) The problem with the Sony spin over the weekend is that it doesn't make sense for Sony chief Amy Pascal to be suddenly discovering that she didn't like a script that had been in circulation--and active pre-production for weeks. Soderbergh was open about his documentary-like approach, and had obtained Major League Baseball cooperation.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 22, 2009 6:40 AM
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Studios Get Tough; Sony Puts Moneyball in Play

In the overall scheme of things, a $57-million budget is pocket change to a studio, especially a big-spender like Sony. So why would Sony chairman Amy Pascal risk alienating a star like Brad Pitt and a director like Steven Soderbergh by pulling the plug on baseball movie Moneyball hours before it was to start shooting? She's sending a message to Hollywood, loud and clear. She's asserting her power to just say no. Finally, in this economy, the studios are spending less on fewer available slots. That's also what Brad Grey is signalling at Paramount by ditching production execs John Lesher and Brad Weston: he's saying, "There's no room for error."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 21, 2009 6:57 AM
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Studios Gets Tough; Sony Puts Moneyball in Play

In the overall scheme of things, a $57-million budget is pocket change to a studio, especially a big-spender like Sony. So why would Sony chairman Amy Pascal risk alienating a star like Brad Pitt and a director like Steven Soderbergh by pulling the plug on baseball movie Moneyball hours before it was to start shooting? She's sending a message to Hollywood, loud and clear. She's asserting her power to just say no. Finally, in this economy, the studios are spending less on fewer available slots. That's also what Brad Grey is signalling at Paramount by ditching production execs John Lesher and Brad Weston: he's saying, "There's no room for error."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 21, 2009 2:19 AM
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The Proposal's Writer and Director Talk Comedy

The rom-com seems doomed by studio formulas and misogynistic concepts like Bride Wars, which I refused to go see. Thank God for Judd Apatow and John Hamburg, but still, their bromances are aimed mostly at men. So when a fresh chick flick comes along that isn't a dumbed down vehicle for Kate Hudson, I cheer. Written on spec over several years by production exec-turned-scripter Peter Chiarelli and directed by choreographer-turned-helmer Anne Fletcher (Step Up, 27 Dresses), The Proposal stars Sandra Bullock, who pokes fun at her age and credibly falls for a younger man without turning shrill and brittle. Her chemistry with Reynolds, who she's known for years off-set, is palpable. Chiarelli and Fletcher explain how they made a smart studio rom-com, and how the Writers' Strike may have been a good thing for their movie, which opens June 19.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 12, 2009 7:36 AM
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