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Leonardo DiCaprio, Netflix team up for 'Virunga' documentary

Netflix is teaming up with Leonardo DiCaprio for another film that will be released simultaneously in theaters and on the online streaming service.

Described as “part investigative journalism and part nature documentary,” Virunga follows a group of park rangers in Africa’s oldest national park as they try to protect endangered gorillas from poachers and militia.

DiCaprio will serve as an executive producer on the documentary, which will hit theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Nov. 7, the same day it will be released on Netflix. Appian Way Productions is also producing.

“Films like Virunga are powerful stories that are a window into the incredible culture and natural diversity of our world, the forces that are threatening to destroy it, and the people who are fighting to protect it,” DiCaprio said in a statement to EW. “Partnering with Netflix on this film is an exciting opportunity to inform and inspire individuals to engage on this topic.”

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said, “Leo intuitively understands that there is nothing like the power of film to reach people’s hearts and minds. With Virunga, we’ll work with Leo to introduce viewers around the world to an incredible, gripping story that will have audiences guessing right up until the final act.”

The news comes weeks after similar plans were announced for the release of a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel. Several theaters announced they would not screen the film due to its simultaneous release on Netflix.

 

 

Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way and Langley Park eye 'American Wolf'

No, American Wolf is not a follow-up to The Wolf of Wall Street. It’s actually a tale of the female alpha wolf (the “06”) who’d captivated the scientific and tourist community only to be shot by a hunter outside of Yellowstone National Park in 2012, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s production banner Appian Way is teaming up with Kevin McCormick’s Langley Park to secure the film rights, sources tell EW. The deal is not closed yet, though.

Nate Blakeslee, a Senior Editor at Texas Monthly, sold his book proposal for the story earlier this week for a reported seven-figures. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it inspired some enthusiastic bidding between various production companies, including New Regency and ImageMovers.

The story will focus on the impact Wolf 832F, or 06 (called that because she was born in 2006), had on the humans around her, the business of wolf-watching at Yellowstone, and the public outrage at the hunter, whom Blakeslee was able to track down.

Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass are 'Bourne' again. Are they Hollywood's top actor/director pair?

In a development that feels more inevitable than surprising, Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass are in talks to get back into the Bourne business. The two had sent mixed messages over the years, ever since Jason Bourne disappeared in the murky East River at the end of The Bourne Ultimatum in 2007, with the major roadblock being Damon’s insistence that a reluctant Greenglass direct, while Universal handed the franchise over to writer-turned-director Tony Gilroy. But with Gilroy’s Bourne Legacy, starring Jeremy Renner, failing to live up to the original three Bourne films at the box office, and Damon’s recent non-Bourne projects, like Elysium, also failing to catch fire (or Oscar buzz), a reunion seemed to be in everyone’s best interests—and maybe sooner rather than later.

Damon and Greengrass are kindred spirits, with a similar artistic and political outlook that’s been on display in their two Bourne films and Green Zone, the 2010 action movie that poked the Bush Administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. Greengrass, a former TV journalist, directed Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips last year, and had been contemplating tackling a Martin Luther King biopic. But Damon and Bourne seem to be calling now, and Universal is ready to slot their next adventure together into summer 2016.

Directors and actors have a mystical way of finding each other, and when something clicks, they often seek that comfort zone again and again. The most frequently cited example of an actor and director who’ve repeatedly brought out the best in each other are Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese, who collaborated on eight films, beginning with 1973’s Mean Streets. Frequently, such relationships are between peers of the same generation, with the actor becoming the director’s on-screen stand-in. Other times, an older director takes an actor under his or her wing, as either an apprentice or a muse. (Think Woody Allen and Scarlett Johansson.)

But who are the most compelling actor/director pairings working today? Whose films become immediate must-sees when their names line up on the same movie poster? EW ranked the 20 most interesting and exciting actor/director collaborators today, with Damon and Greengrass in the mix. READ FULL STORY

Robert Downey, Jr. tops Forbes' list of highest paid actors once again

Robert Downey, Jr. continues to prove that playing Tony Stark pays almost as well as being Tony Stark. The Iron Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron star earned an estimated $75 million in the last year, putting him at the top of Forbes’s annual ranking of the highest paid actors for the second year in a row.

READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Tom Hardy joins Leonardo DiCaprio in revenge thriller; Plus Kellan Lutz to play William Shatner, more

After months of speculation, Mad Max: Fury Road star Tom Hardy has officially signed on for The Revenant alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. Based on the Michael Punke novel, Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel) is directing a script he adapted with Mark L. Smith (The Hole) for a fall 2015 release. The 19th century-set film, which will also feature Will Poulter (We’re the Millers), follows the treacherous journey of a fur trapper seeking revenge against his betrayers. [The Hollywood Reporter] READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Leonardo DiCaprio wanted for Steve Jobs biopic; Plus, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg reunion?

• Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street) is being eyed to play Steve Jobs in the Sony Pictures biopic of the late Apple co-founder, which will now be directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionnaire). The script by Aaron Sorkin was originally intended to be directed by David Fincher, Sorkin’s collaborator from The Social Network, with Christian Bale in talks to star. Scott Rudin will produce. [THR] READ FULL STORY

Leonardo DiCaprio to star in grisly grizzly Western for Inarritu

After collaborating with Martin Scorsese, Baz Luhrmann, Quentin Tarantino, Clint Eastwood, Christopher Nolan, and Sam Mendes in recent years, Leonardo DiCaprio is partnering with another Oscar-nominated director for his next movie project. The five-time Oscar nominated actor will star as 19th-century trapper Hugh Glass in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s adaptation of Michael Punke’s 2002 novel, The Revenant.

Iñárritu and Mark L. Smith (Vacancy) wrote the script, which tells Glass’ story of vengeance after he’s abandoned in the wild by his friends and left for dead following a brutal grizzly bear attack. Production is scheduled to begin this September with a fall 2015 release planned through New Regency’s distribution deal with 20th Century Fox.

'Basketball Diaries' director Scott Kalvert found dead at 49

Scott Kalvert, the director best known for his work with Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg on 1995’s Basketball Diaries, was found dead Wednesday at his Woodland Hills, California, home. He was 49 years old.

His death is being investigated as a suicide by the L.A. Coroner’s Office, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Before Basketball Diaries, Kalvert was best known for his music videos, directing Salt-N-Pepa’s “Shoop,” Taylor Dayne’s “Tell It to My Heart,” and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s “Good Vibrations,” as well as teaming up with Wahlberg on a 1993 workout video. The last project Kalvert directed was 2002’s Deuces Wild, a crime thriller starring Stephen Dorff and the late Brad Renfro.

Donnie Wahlberg tweeted his condolences to Kalvert, who helped launch his and his brother’s careers: READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Leonardo DiCaprio drops out of 'The Deep Blue Good-by'; Plus, Thomas Kretschmann's Marvel deal, more

• Leonardo DiCaprio is no longer attached to star as the scrappy Florida beach bum Travis McGee in the big-screen adaptation of John D. MacDonald‘s The Deep Blue Good-by (the first in a 21-book series). Though it was being developed for DiCaprio, who earned an Academy nod for his performance in The Wolf of Wall Street, the actor decided to exit due to scheduling conflicts. Still, the project does seem to be moving forward for 20th Century Fox: It was just announced that Wolverine‘s James Mangold is in negotiations to direct, and Mystic River‘s Dennis Lehane penned the most recent draft of the script. DiCaprio’s Appian Way will still produce the project as well. Sound off in the comments if you have any ideas about who should play McGee in Leo’s absence. [Deadline] READ FULL STORY

The Best Actor race is the hottest ever. And yes, Leonardo could win

In decades of tracking the Academy Awards, I honestly can’t recall any category, in any year, when a race was as fiercely, thrillingly white-hot competitive as this year’s Best Actor race. Just think about it: Not one, not two, not three, but four of the nominees each stands a very real chance of winning. Consider each scenario, and you’ll realize it’s true. When Jennifer Lawrence gets up to present the Best Actor award and tears open that envelope, if she ends up saying, “And the Oscar goes to…Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave,” it will not be a shock, because Ejiofor, playing a man who endures the torments of the damned, and must hold in his emotions (even as he shows them to us), and must somehow, on top of all that, figure out a way to keep his faith burning, has been justly acclaimed for being incredible beyond words in that movie. If Lawrence says, “And the Oscar goes to…Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club,” it will not be a shock, because McConaughey, this year, is the official front-runner, and has been justly coronated for giving a tough, sinewy, moving, and anger-singed performance that is widely viewed as the culminating act of his 20-year career in Hollywood. READ FULL STORY

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