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Thompson on Hollywood

Soderbergh's Liberace Goes to HBO with Douglas and Damon

Milk's Sean Penn and James Franco, J. Edgar's Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer, now add Michael Douglas and Matt Damon to the list of Hollywood actors playing romantic leads. And yes, yet another high-profile filmmaker and project are finding a safe harbor at HBO Films. Steven Soderbergh will direct Douglas as the flamboyant lounge pianist Liberace and Damon as his lover Scott Thorson in a movie adapted by Richard LaGravanese from Thorson's memoir Behind the Candelabra in this long-in-development biopic. HBO plans to sell the movie to theatrical distributors overseas via film festivals, but it will air on HBO in North America.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 11, 2011 6:17 AM
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How Did Moneyball Director Bennett Miller Make a Smart Studio Movie? Brad Pitt.

How Did Moneyball Director Bennett Miller Make a Smart Studio Movie? Brad Pitt.
Bennett Miller is not the first name that would come to mind as the director of Moneyball, which two years ago was a problem-plagued project stalled at Sony with $10 million in costs stacked against it from past writers Stan Chervin, Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin and departed directors David Frankel and Steven Soderbergh. And yet, for many reasons, Miller was just the right fit for this Sony adaptation of the 2003 Michael Lewis bestseller about Oakland As general manager Billy Beane. The movie launched to raves at Toronto and beyond and opened well this weekend. Now Oscars are in its sights.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 26, 2011 8:25 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Contagion Holds Strong at Box Office; Burns Talks Script, Viral Power of Bloggers

Contagion Holds Strong at Box Office; Burns Talks Script, Viral Power of Bloggers
Steven Soderbergh has a solid commercial double in his disease thriller Contagion, which is holding strong at the box office in second place this weekend, with $44.2 million to date. Part of the credit goes to screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Informant) who helped to supply what Soderbergh calls "an ultra-realistic feel about a pandemic."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2011 2:37 AM
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Weekly Wrap: TIFF: Moneyball, Descendants, Deep Blue Sea; Reviews Kevin, The Lady; Media Watch

Weekly Wrap: TIFF: Moneyball, Descendants, Deep Blue Sea; Reviews Kevin, The Lady; Media Watch
Box Office:
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • September 16, 2011 5:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Box Office: Contagion Runs $23-Million Fever Over Cold Weekend

Box Office: Contagion Runs $23-Million Fever Over Cold Weekend
Steven Soderbergh's pandemic ensemble thriller Contagion posted a healthy opening despite an overall downer weekend. Anthony D'Alessandro breaks down the box office:
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • September 11, 2011 4:21 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Weekly Wrap: Venice and Telluride Reviews, Pre-Toronto Buys, Lifetime Achievement Awards

Weekly Wrap: Venice and Telluride Reviews, Pre-Toronto Buys, Lifetime Achievement Awards
INTERVIEWS:
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • September 9, 2011 10:04 AM
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Venice Reviews 2011: Soderbergh's Contagion is Alarmingly Believable Global Disaster Movie

Venice Reviews 2011: Soderbergh's Contagion is Alarmingly Believable Global Disaster Movie
Love him or hate him, Steven Soderbergh is back. Always willing to take chances and experiment, whether it meant getting kicked off Sony's Brad Pitt-starrer Moneyball or shooting the $60 million Che in two parts in Spanish, or The Good German in old-fashioned black-and-white, Soderbergh makes the movies he wants to see, the audience be damned.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2011 11:38 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Venice Reviews: Soderbergh's Contagion, Alps, Chicken with Plums, That Summer

Venice Reviews: Soderbergh's Contagion, Alps, Chicken with Plums, That Summer
Brit correspondent David Gritten reports from Venice: Traditionally, weekends are the busiest time in Venice, but today has felt quieter -- perhaps because of the lack of high profile competition films on offer.
  • By David Gritten
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  • September 3, 2011 5:43 AM
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Oscar Talk: Venice and Telluride, Carnage, Ides of March, W.E., Contagion, The Artist

Oscar Talk: Venice and Telluride, Carnage, Ides of March, W.E., Contagion, The Artist
In Contention's Kris Tapley is here in Telluride with me, while Guy Lodge is in Venice. We all got on Skype for this week's Oscar Talk, which delves into early reaction to Venice titles from George Clooney (The Ides of March), Madonna (W.E) and Roman Polanski Carnage and a movie Kris and I saw in L.A., Steven Soderbergh's Contagion, as well as Cannes title The Artist, which is showing in Telluride. Friday Kris and I should get a crack at The Descendants, Martin Scorsese's George Harrison doc and Albert Nobbs, starring Glenn Close.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 2, 2011 3:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Venice Film Festival, Day One: George Clooney's Ides of March is a Winner, Review and Fest Preview

Venice Film Festival, Day One: George Clooney's Ides of March is a Winner, Review and Fest Preview
The Venice Biennale got off to a strong start with The Ides of March, reports London-based TOH correspondent David Gritten:How perfect a choice was George Clooney’s The Ides of March to open the Venice Film Festival today? Let us count the ways. Firstly, this political thriller fits Venice like a silk glove. It’s smart, sophisticated and politically astute, written with a shrewd intelligence and featuring stars (Clooney himself, Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei) who offer Hollywood glamour while engaging in work that’s more than a cut above routine Hollywood product. The Ides of March also offers two terrific supporting performances from Grade-A character actors (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giammatti), doing the kind of work that makes European critics and audiences sit up and take notice.
  • By David Gritten
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  • August 31, 2011 2:54 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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