Pete Hammond’s Notes On The Season: Mel Gibson’s Standing-O; Seth Rogen Talks Politics; No Denial Of Oscar Buzz For Timothy Spall
A column chronicling conversations and events on the awards circuit.
MEL IS BACK
It was an emotional night Monday at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater, where director Mel Gibson got a sustained standing ovation after Andrew Garfield, star of his new film Hacksaw Ridge, brought him up on the stage following the Los Angeles premiere screening of the movie. It’s the story of World War II hero and conscientious objector Desmond Doss, who saved 75 men without ever touching… Read
Stephen Root Cast In ‘The Empty Man’; Mackenyu Joins ‘Pacific Rim’ Sequel
Stephen Root has booked a spot in Fox’s supernatural thriller The Empty Man, written and helmed by David Prior. Based on Cullen Bunn's graphic novel from Boom! Studios, the pic follows an ex-cop who discovers a sinister presence around him while investigating the disappearance of a friend's teenage daughter. Root plays Arthur Parsons, a charismatic leader of a cult that is suspected to be connected to a string of local disappearances. Ross Richie and Stephen Christy will… Read
Abrams Artists Taps Ashwant Venkatram As Digital Media Agent; R&C Hires Alisa Granz As EVP For Consumer Biz
Abrams Artists Agency has hired Ashwant Venkatram as a digital media agent in its Los Angeles office. He previously founded and ran PeopleTree Legal, a law firm that created business opportunities and negotiated contracts in the digital space. His clients include social media stars Jerry Purpdrank, Jon Paul Piques, Daniel Nguyen (Nampaikid), Max Isidor Jr, Arantza Fahnbulleh and King Keraun. Most star in one of the upcoming shows he packaged: the animated series Superslack… Read
Jim Rash, Sasha Alexander, Bellamy Young & More Round The Cast Of ‘Bernard And Huey’
Jim Rash will star as Bernard in the Jules Feiffer-scripted/Dan Mirvish-helmed film Bernard And Huey. He is joined in the film by Sasha Alexander, Bellamy Young, Richard Kind, Keelin Woodell, Lauren Miller Rogen, Shelby Fero, Jake O’Connor, Jay Renshaw, and Mae Whitman. Previously announced cast include David Koechner (Huey), Eka Darville, and Nancy Travis.
The comedy is about two old friends and the women who complicate their lives. It is based on characters that Feiffer… Read
Distributor-Financier 13 Films Taps Endgame Exec As VP
EXCLUSIVE: Los Angeles-based finance and distribution outfit 13 Films has hired former Endgame Entertainment head of business and legal affairs Greg Schenz as VP. The industry veteran will be tasked with spearheading the company's expansion into producing both films and TV projects.
The new gig comes ahead of the American Film Market next month. 13 Films plans to board productions at earlier stages to work with producers and filmmakers to package and finance projects. On… Read
WME-IMG China Appoints NBA Exec Michael Ma As CEO
WME | IMG has appointed longtime NBA executive Michael Ma to be CEO of its China subsidiary, with the goal of expanding the company’ sports and entertainment reach in the country. Ma spent the past 13 years with the NBA where he played a big role in developing the league’s presence in China. He will be based in Beijing.
"Michael brings not only a deep knowledge of the Chinese market, but also incredible experience in cultivating brands within China through his work with… Read
Cross Creek & Doug Liman Team For Sci-Fi Novel ‘Unearthed’
EXCLUSIVE: Cross Creek Pictures has acquired the upcoming sci-fi adventure novel Unearthed, and is plotting it for Doug Liman to develop as a directing vehicle. This comes after the production company and Liman teamed on American Made, the Tom Cruise-starrer which Universal releases September 29, 2017. Unearthed is the first of a two-book series to be published next year by Disney’s Hyperion. Its written by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, the bestselling authors of These… Read
‘The Rocket*’ Scribes Jeffrey Gelber And Ryan Belenzon Ink With WME
EXCLUSIVE: WME has signed writer/producer pair Jeffrey Gelber and Ryan Belenzon. Formally at CAA, the two are perhaps best known for their Black List script The Rocket*, which chronicles the relationship between fallen baseball great Roger Clemens and his trainer Brian McNamee.
The duo first worked together as producers on the Robin Williams-starrer Boulevard, the indie that marked the final dramatic onscreen appearance by the beloved actor. Also starring Kathy Baker, the… Read
Howard Davies Dies: British Director Of ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses’ Was 71
UPDATED, with more information throughout.
Howard Davies, a highly regarded director known for his work at several of England’s most prominent theatrical venues including the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Old Vic, has died following a battle with cancer. He was 71. Davies staged 36 productions for the National Theatre, which called him, in a statement to the BBC, “one of the very greatest theatre directors of his generation.”
Born and raised in… Read
Oscars: 10 Films Make Documentary Short Subject Shortlist
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have unveiled 10 contenders in the Oscar Documentary Short Subject category that have made the shortlist for the 89th Academy Awards. Five will earn nominations when those are unveiled January 24. The Academy’s Documentary Branch
culled the list from 61 eligible entries. Here are the films:
"Brillo Box (3¢ Off)," Brillo Box Documentary
"Close Ties," Munk Studio – Polish Filmmakers Association
"Extremis," f/8 Filmworks in… Read
Michael Massee Dies: Actor Involved In Tragic ‘The Crow’ Accident Was 61
Michael Massee, known for roles in The Amazing Spider-Man film series and whose name was, unfortunately, inextricably linked to the tragic accident that killed Brandon Lee during the filming of the 1994 film The Crow, died October 26 from undisclosed causes. He was 61. The news was first announced by French actor Anthony Delon, Massee’s fellow cast member on the 2014 French series Interventions.
From Kansas City, MO, Massee’s film career was still new when he landed his… Read
Well Go USA Acquires Rami Malek Thriller ‘Buster’s Mal Heart’
Well Go USA has acquired rights in North America and some other territories to Buster’s Mal Heart, a psychological thriller starring Mr. Robot Emmy winner Rami Malek. Writer-director Sarah Adina Smith’s pic, which bowed at Toronto last month, follows a mountain man (Malek) who squats in empty vacation homes while on the run from the authorities. But in another life, he was a loving, stable family guy known as Jonah.
DJ Qualls, Kate Lyn Sheil, Toby Huss and Lin Shaye… Read