• Sandra Bullock, who just picked up a SAG nomination for her work in Gravity, is in early talks to star in the comedy Our Brand Is Crisis for producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’s Peter Straughan wrote a script based on a 2005 documentary about the use of American political campaign techniques in the 2002 Bolivian presidential election. EW’s Entertainer of the Year is currently voicing the lead role in The Minions, set for a July 2015 release. [The Wrap]
Nearly one year after DreamWorks acquired the rights to Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick’s manuscript The Good Luck of Right Now, the studio is in negotiations with Little Miss Sunshine directing team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris to head up the adaptation. Variety first reported the news.
The story follows a middle-aged man who has always lived with his mother. When she dies, he and a group of fellow outsiders — a librarian, her vulgar brother, and an ex-priest — head to Canada. On the way they form a family of sorts. Oh, and it’s all told through a series of letters written to Richard Gere. Yep, that Richard Gere.
PG-13, 1 HR., 36 MINS.
The late Paul Walker taps into the desperate soul of a father racing to save his newborn daughter’s life when Hurricane Katrina forces a hospital evacuation. (Also available on VOD) B —Chris Nashawaty READ FULL STORY
After months of legal harrumphing from all corners, Miramax sued Warner Bros. and New Line for $75 million over claims to profits related to The Hobbit sequels. Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who ran Miramax when it was developing The Hobbit in the 1990s and retained a financial piece of Peter Jackson’s 2012 movie, are part of the lawsuit.
“This case is about greed and ingratitude,” the plaintiffs claim in papers filed today in Manhattan. “It arises in connection with a decision by Warner Bros. and New Line executives to divide a motion picture based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit into three installments and Warner Bros and New Line’s claim that, as a result of that unilateral decision, Plaintiffs are not entitled to their previously agreed upon share of revenue from The Hobbit film.”
Miramax owned the rights to Tolkien’s novel — and its Lord of the Rings trilogy follow-up — briefly in the 1990s before selling them to New Line in 1998. As part of that deal, however, Miramax retained a stake in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, a claim that earned the Weinsteins more than $100 million after Peter Jackson’s films became billion-dollar blockbusters. However, New Line and its parent companies argue that that agreement extended only to the first Hobbit film — not its sequels. “This is about one of the great blunders in movie history,” said Warner Bros. in a statement. “Fifteen years ago, Miramax, run by the Weinstein brothers, sold its rights in The Hobbit to New Line. No amount of trying to rewrite history can change that fact. They agreed to be paid only on the first motion picture based on The Hobbit. And that’s all they’re owed.”
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Paul Walker’s family will hold a private funeral service, The Los Angeles Times reports, now that the actor’s body has been released by the coroner’s office.
Walker died on Nov. 30 from a car accident along with friend/driver Roger Rodas after their Porsche crashed into a light pole and tree, and burst into flames. The autopsy confirmed that Walker suffered from ”traumatic and thermal injuries” from the crash. A memorial at the crash site was held on Sunday.
Juan Antonio Bayona, the Spanish filmmaker who directed The Impossible, the disaster movie about the 2004 Asian tsunami starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, will direct Brad Pitt in the sequel to World War Z. A source close to the zombie project confirmed the news, first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.
Based on Max Brooks’ novel and planned as a franchise, World War Z overcame production complications to become a summer blockbuster, grossing $540 million worldwide, and a solid critical hit. Director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) and Pitt didn’t always see eye-to-eye, and the original ending was trashed, requiring dramatic and expensive reshoots. At the end of the first film, Pitt’s United Nations employee is reunited with his family in Canada after he heroically found a solution to protect humans from zombies. “This isn’t the end,” he says. “Not even close. Our war has just begun.”
Bayona, 38, has a background in horror (The Orphanage), and The Impossible, which grossed more than $180 million worldwide, had an apocalyptic look and feel.
A second man charged with stealing a piece of the car in which Fast & Furious actor Paul Walker died has surrendered.
Authorities say 25-year-old Anthony Janow surrendered Tuesday at the San Fernando courthouse. He was booked and released on $60,000 bail.
His attorney’s name wasn’t released. READ FULL STORY
Good news for 12 Years a Slave and The Butler … not so good for The Wolf of Wall Street.
The harrowing drama about a free black man who is kidnapped and sold into bondage on a Southern plantation had a leading four nominations at the Screen Actors Guild Awards this morning: best ensemble, lead actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor, and supporting bids for Michael Fassbender and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o.
Among the notable snubs were Robert Redford, the lone actor in the survival saga All Is Lost, and The Wolf of Wall Street, which got zero nominations.
The big surprise was The Butler, the blockbuster drama about a black man who spends a lifetime working in the White House under eight presidents. It hasn’t been present in many of the critics awards this season, but came on strong with three nods from the actors union: best ensemble, lead actor for Forest Whitaker, and supporting actress for Oprah Winfrey.
Also with three nominations each, including best ensemble: August: Osage County and Dallas Buyers Club.
Contenders for the SAG Awards were announced in both film and television fields this morning. The guild awards are closely watched as an Oscar bellwether since actors are the single largest voting bloc within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
A nod here can cement an actor’s chances, while a snub can sometimes reveal a fatal lack of momentum. There’s no Best Picture prize, but the Screen Actors Guild’s Best Ensemble award is typically seen as a key stepping stone in that race for that Oscar. READ FULL STORY
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