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Time Cover Boy Hanks' The Pacific Launches Sunday on HBO

I confess: I am at SXSW wishing I had time to watch the DVDs for The Pacific that HBO delivered the day I left town. At $200 million (more than Rome), the ten-part series is the most expensive HBO has ever made, and earned Tom Hanks the cover of Time (like HBO, a Time Warner company). It's the flip side to Hanks and Spielberg's brilliant and harrowing World War II series Band of Brothers, which broke out Damian Lewis.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 13, 2010 12:21 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Spielberg Heating Up Gershwin and Quinto

It looks like DreamWorks and Steven Spielberg are heating up on Doug Wright's script for a planned biopic of composer George Gershwin. Several biopics--including Tony Kushner's Lincoln and a still-in-development look at the life of Martin Luther King--are in the works, and there's also the ten-part family adventure The 39 Clues, written by Jeff Nathanson, which Spielberg could decide to take on. But clearly, the DreamWorks filmmaker is excited about Gershwin. The script is set in the 30s during the period when the songwriter, hugely popular, stretched himself by turning to more serious Broadway musicals.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 1, 2010 1:06 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Disney's Aviv Exits as Ross Relies on DreamWorks

It's deja vu all over again. A studio in management upheaval. A new studio head recruited from TV being directed to reinvent the wheel by a boss who is a film biz outsider.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 13, 2010 12:22 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Things I Learned at the Avatar Premiere

Things I Learned at the Avatar Premiere
James Cameron basked in the glow as Avatar, his latest industry-changing event-film, earned a standing ovation at the Mann Chinese Wednesday night. At the after party Cameron beamed as he stood between two tall women, wife Suzy Amis and ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow. "You're on a roll!" he said to the Hurt Locker director. "You raised the bar," she said to Cameron.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 17, 2009 4:49 AM
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  • 8 Comments

Dreamworks Acquires WW I novel War Horse to Produce with Kennedy/Marshall

DreamWorks Studios has acquired the rights to the World War I adventure novel War Horse for Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Revel Guest to produce. Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) is writing the script. Written by children's author Michael Morpurgo and first published in 1982, War Horse tells the story from a boy's POV of being separated from his horse. The sentimental play, staged with puppet horses, has been a huge sellout family hit in London for the past two years. Spielberg believes the story has universal appeal.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 16, 2009 8:07 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Ten Things I Learned at the Governors Awards

Ten Things I Learned at the Governors Awards
1. The Governors Awards will not be televised. At the orange Grand Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland Saturday night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave out four honorary Oscars at a new annual event on the awards calendar. Academy executive director Bruce Davis, president Tom Sherak, Oscar show producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman, and Oscar-host-to-be Alec Baldwin all attended this relaxed, celebratory black-tie cocktail and dinner party. The ceremony awarding four honorary Oscars to actress Lauren Bacall, producers John Calley and Roger Corman and cinematographer Gordon Willis, punctuated by repeated standing ovations, lasted three hours and 18 minutes, to be exact.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 15, 2009 8:13 AM
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  • 5 Comments

The Pacific: Hanks, Spielberg talk WW II HBO Action

The Pacific: Hanks, Spielberg talk WW II HBO Action
The ten-part HBO mini-series The Pacific is a follow-up to Band of Brothers from World War II-obsessed exec producers Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Steven Spielberg. It follows a similar m.o.: hire excellent unknown actors to inhabit the characters we follow (Damian Lewis broke out from Band of Brothers). In this featurette, Spielberg describes how the soldiers not only faced a formidable enemy playing by unfamiliar rules, but a hostile natural environment. The series--which boasts a pricetag of more than $200 million, more than double that of 12-parter Rome--is the most expensive in HBO's history. It launches March 2010.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 10, 2009 7:14 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Industry Gives Hollywood Film Festival Free Pass

Industry Gives Hollywood Film Festival Free Pass
I am surprised by the film industry and the media's continued willingness to give a free pass to entrepreneur Carlos de Abreu's Hollywood Film Festival, a cannily constructed facade which honors stars, filmmakers and craftspeople and lines the pockets of de Abreu.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2009 12:31 PM
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  • 7 Comments

NBC/Universal on Roof, Downey Likely Harvey Star, Movie Sound Cliches

It looks like GE is in serious talks with Comcast to buy NBC Universal, reports Sharon Waxman. As Vivendi looks to sell its 20 % stake in the company, which has suffered a tough year, Comacast may step into the breach. UPDATE: Here's the LAT.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 30, 2009 12:17 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Vanity Fair New Establishment Favors Editor Cronies

The one year that I covered the Hollywood side of the Vanity Fair New Establishment List, I found that the final list reflected less accurate reporting than who was a possible cover subject or socialized with editor Graydon Carter. This year the nasty economy allowed VF to trim some familiar names while the Hall of Fame protects some Carter cronies.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2009 8:16 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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