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Q&A: ‘Shot Caller’ Director on Prison Research, Relativity Drama, and Why He Calls the Film a ‘Massive F—ing Boulder’

26 minutes ago

Ric Roman Waugh is no stranger to the examining the American criminal justice system.

The stunt-man-turned-director’s latest prison film, “Shot Caller,” shows how even the best of men can be corrupted by the current correctional system. Following “Felon” and “Snitch” Waugh finishes off what he has deemed his ‘Prison Trilogy’ with “Shot Caller” — a thriller that is part ’90s action movie, part character study.

Waugh spoke to Variety about inspirations for the film, his journey to get it made, and why the movie’s star, “Game of Thrones” actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, was right for the part.

This completes your trilogy that included “Felon” and “Snitch.” How did the films come about?

I was writing a lot of movies and was very fortunate to work for a lot of major producers. I wanted to deviate away from the big, expensive action movies and direct stuff I was passionate about. I went to a really close friend, [film producer] Tucker Tooley »


- Justin Kroll

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‘Star Wars’: Every Upcoming Film We Know About

34 minutes ago

These are the announced and upcoming “Star Wars” films that we know about.

Related stories'Star Wars' Obi-Wan Kenobi Movie in Early Development at DisneyJohn Boyega Dishes on the Next 'Star Wars,' Carrie Fisher and Why He Doesn't Watch 'Game of Thrones'Han Solo Movie: Clint Howard to Appear in 'Star Wars' Spinoff »


- Jacob Bryant

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Mediapro, Latido Join Cohn, Sokolowicz, On Gaston Duprat’s ‘Mi Obra Maestra’ (Exclusive)

35 minutes ago

Madrid — Mediapro Group, the global independent production, rights and services company, will co-produce Argentine Gaston Duprat’s “Mi obra maestra,” starring Guillermo Francella (“The Clan”), Duprat’s follow-up to “The Distinguished Citizen,” which won star Oscar Martínez a Volpi Cup best actor award at last year’s Venice Festival and swept best picture and actor at July’s Platino Awards.  

Madrid-based Latido Films has also come on board “Mi Obra Maestra,” acquiring world sales to the comedy which goes into production on Aug. 21, shooting for seven weeks in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s Jujuy and Rio de Janeiro. 

“Mi Obra Maestra” is produced by Mariano Cohn, Duprat’s co-director on “The Distinguished Citizen” in a directorial duo partnership which goes back at least to 1991 short “El hombre que murió dos veces.” Going forward, Duprat will produce Cohn’s next feature. 

“Mi obra maestra” is co-produced out of Argentina by Fernando Sokolowicz, a »


- John Hopewell

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Francois Clerc, Former Gaumont & Studiocanal Distribution Boss, Launches Apollo Films with Cgr Multiplex Chain

1 hour ago

Paris– Francois Clerc, the former boss of distribution at Gaumont and Studiocanal, is joining forces with Cgr, France’s third-biggest multiplex chain, to launch Apollo Films, a production and distribution company.

Julien Moreau, the former head of digital at Gaumont, and Bertrand Fleury, a business affairs exec who notably worked at Havas, round up Apollo Films’s leadership team and will be co-managing directors. Clerc, who worked as head of distribution at Studiocanal for two years before stepping down last month, will preside Apollo Films.

Apollo Films will kick off with the distribution of Nicolas Bary’s comicbook-based “Le petit Spirou” in partnership with French distribution outfit La Belle Company on Sept. 27.

“We were eager to join forces with Cgr for various reasons: it’s the third biggest multiplex chain, a thriving company led by forward-thinking executives — I know Jocelyn and his team very well and they have a deep knowledge of what audiences want to watch »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Film Review: ‘6 Days’

2 hours ago

“A renaissance for international terrorism” is among the archival newscast quotes used to set the scene in the opening credits of “6 Days” — a true-life hostage thriller methodically tracking the 1980 siege of London’s Iranian Embassy by Iranian Arab militants. The unhappy irony, of course, is that few viewers would be able to identity any particular era from that soundbite, and Toa Fraser’s lean, cleanly assembled dramatization is in its own way resistant to historical specifics: Shot and styled in contemporary, ticking-clock action fashion, it compresses the complex Theatcher-era politics of its fractious standoff into a simplified West-versus-Middle-East conflict that registers as broadly topical.

Technically smart but dramatically a bit flat — with a triangulated multi-view structure that gives stars Mark Strong, Jamie Bell and Abbie Cornish minimal room to flex — “6 Days” establishes Fraser’s credentials as a viable handler of mainstream genre fare, but comes as something of a disappointment after the livelier exploits of his rollicking »


- Guy Lodge

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‘Star Wars’ Obi-Wan Kenobi Movie in Early Development at Disney

2 hours ago

With Disney’s untitled Han SoloStar Wars” standalone film approaching the finish line, Disney is now looking to tell the story of another iconic character in a galaxy far, far away.

Sources tell Variety that Disney is in early development on a film centered on Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi and is in talks with “Billy Elliot’s” Stephen Daldry to direct.

The character appeared in the first six “Star Wars” films, first played by Alec Guinness in Episodes 4-6 and then by Ewan McGregor in Episodes 1-3. Kenobi is best known as the Jedi master who first trained Anakin Skywalker, who would later turn to the dark side and became Darth Vader. Kenobi would then go on to train Skywalker’s son Luke before falling to Vader in “Star Wars: A New Hope.”

Related

Netflix in Talks With Disney on Marvel, ‘Star Wars’ Movies for 2019 and Beyond

There is not yet a script or a writer »


- Justin Kroll

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Locarno Film Review: ‘Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?’

2 hours ago

The problems with Travis Wilkerson’s well-intentioned yet maddeningly self-focused documentary begin with the title, “Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?” No actually, we never wonder who fired the gun, and neither does he: on the immediate level, it was his white supremacist great-grandfather S.E. Branch, who killed Bill Spann, an unarmed African-American man in 1946 Alabama. On a more general level, the “who” can be expanded to an entire country that’s become pathological in the way it continues to sweep under the carpet an ongoing history of unindicted white-against-black murders. Wilkerson doesn’t mean to suggest ambiguity with his title, since no one questions the identity of the culprit, but it is regrettably indicative of his naval-gazing focus on family skeletons, combined with a deeply annoying tendency to sensationalize the obvious.

Designed as a piece of agitprop, “Did You Wonder” is, for all intents and purposes, a cold case murder mystery, cooked »


- Jay Weissberg

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Paramount Players Lands First Project: ‘Vacation Guide to the Solar System’

3 hours ago

Newly minted Paramount Players has landed its first project, winning a bidding war for the movie rights to the book “Vacation Guide to the Solar System.”

Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, who most recently scripted “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” will produce and adapt the book written by Olivia Koski, head of operations for Guerilla Science, and Jana Grcevich, an astronomer who has presented at the Hayden Planetarium.

The project is inspired by Koski and Grcevich’s work with Guerilla Science on the Intergalactic Travel Bureau, a retro futuristic pop-up travel agency that plans vacations to space for the public.

Related

New Paramount Players Chief Brian Robbins Talks Strategy for the Digital Age

Paramount Players said Thursday that the story is set 50 years in the future when tourism within our solar system has become almost routine, a family trip turns into a life or death struggle to return to Earth when something goes terribly wrong. The »


- Dave McNary

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Amazon Studios, Warner Bros. Teaming on ‘The Goldfinch’ (Exclusive)

3 hours ago

Warner Bros. is finalizing a deal with Amazon Studios to co-finance its film adaptation of Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch,” Variety has learned.

As part of the pact, Amazon will invest more than a third of the movie’s budget, which is estimated to be in the $40 million range, according to insiders. In return, it will get streaming rights to the picture and debut it on home entertainment platforms in what is commonly referred to as the pay-tv window, the term for when movies debut on HBO and Showtime.

Warner Bros. will distribute the film in theaters worldwide. There were several other parties interested in boarding the project, but Amazon was the most aggressive. The e-retailer believes the project is a good fit for its customer base, because Tartt’s novel was a big seller on its platform. It also views the partnership on the movie as a good branding opportunity.

Warner and RatPac had picked up rights to the Pulitzer-winning book back in 2014. RatPac is also an investor in the film as well as a producer. “Goldfinch,” which earned critical raves for its Dickensian plotting, tells the story of a young man named Theodore Decker who survives a terrorist bombing at an art museum — an attack that kills his mother. From there he tumbles through a series of adventures that finds him living in Las Vegas with his deadbeat father and, later, involved in art forgeries.

Ralph Fiennes is being eyed for the role of Hobie, an antiques dealer, who befriends the boy. At some point, the studio also talked to Liam Neeson about the possibility of taking on the Hobie part, while Julianne Moore was approached to play Theodore’s mother, but no deals materialized. John Crowley (“Brooklyn”) will direct the film.

Amazon has moved aggressively into the film space in recent years, scoring Oscars for “Manchester by the Sea” and “The Salesman.” It had a hit last summer with “The Big Sick,” a romantic comedy with Kumail Nanjiani, and will be releasing Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel” and Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying” this fall.

Spokespeople for Amazon and Warner Bros. declined to comment.

Related storiesJohn Crowley Eyed to Direct Adaptation of 'The Goldfinch'Warner Bros. Closes Deal for Bestseller 'The Goldfinch' Warner Bros. Circling Movie Rights to Best-Selling Novel 'The Goldfinch' »


- Brent Lang

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‘Deadpool 2’: Zazie Beetz Mourns Death of Her Stuntwoman

3 hours ago

Deadpool 2” actress Zazie Beetz posted a tribute on Thursday to mourn the death of stuntwoman Joi ‘Sj’ Harris.

Harris died on the set of “Deadpool 2” in Vancouver on Monday after a trick involving a motorcycle went wrong. According to eyewitnesses, she reportedly lost control of her motorcycle and crashed through the glass of the Shaw Tower’s ground floor studio.

Related

Deadpool 2’ Stuntwoman Remembered by Manager, Friends: ‘She Died Doing What She Loved’

Beetz posted handwritten statement on Instagram that reads, “On Monday we tragically lost one of our own — Joi ‘Sj’ Harris. My heart has been breaking the past two days and I have been searching what to say or do. I know that what I feel is nothing compared to what her loved ones, friends and family, are feeling. My heart and my love goes out to her and them all. The cast and crew send peace, healing, »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Alan Arkin Joins Tim Burton’s Live-Action ‘Dumbo’ (Exclusive)

3 hours ago

Alan Arkin has joined the cast of Disney’s live-action adaptation of “Dumbo” directed by Tim Burton.

The film’s cast already includes Colin Farrell, Eva Green, Michael Keaton, and Danny DeVito. Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins will also appear in their first film roles.

Ehren Kruger penned the script. Justin Springer, who worked on “Tron: Legacy,” is producing with Kruger. Nigel Gostelow will serve as an executive producer.

Related

Disney’s 10 Biggest Box Office Openings

The original story followed an ostracized baby circus elephant who strives to achieve his full potential. In this version, the film follows Holt Farrier (Farrell), a former circus star who finds his life turned upside down when he returns from the war. Circus owner Max Medici (DeVito) enlists Holt to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when Holt’s children (Parker and Hobbins) discover that Dumbo can fly, persuasive »


- Justin Kroll

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Documentaries Double-Dip for Emmy and Oscar Consideration

4 hours ago

In the past decade, half of all documentaries nominated for an Academy Award went on to receive a Primetime, News and Doc or Intl. Emmy nomination.

Unlike “Moonlight,” “Spotlight” and “12 Years a Slave,” nonfiction feature Oscar winners including “CitizenFour,” “Taxi to the Dark Side” and “Born Into Brothels” can also tout an Emmy win.

Why? Because documentaries are by and large a product of television or digital platforms and not film studios. Without funding from small-screen distributors such as HBO, PBS, A&E and streaming services including Netflix and Amazon, the Oscar feature documentary category wouldn’t exist.

But docu filmmakers, similar to narrative filmmakers, want the same thing: for their film to be seen in a movie theater with an audience. So outlets, including HBO and PBS, have selectively facilitated that desire for primarily two reasons: to please directors and perhaps more importantly, to qualify for an Academy Award, which »


- Addie Morfoot

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Big World Pictures Acquires U.S. Rights to Julia Murat’s ‘Pendular’ (Exclusive)

4 hours ago

New York-based Big World Pictures has acquired U.S. rights to Julia Murat’s “Pendular,” the Fipresci Best Film prizewinner at the 2017 Berlinale’s Panorama.

A chronicle of a dancer and sculptor’s attempt to negotiate boundaries and balance between art and love, preserving a sense of creative freedoms, “Pendular” was sold to Big World Pictures by Paris sales agent Still Walking.

Produced by Murat and Bubble’s Project Tatiana Leite, it also marks the second feature from a buzzed-up Brazilian women director whose caught attention with her 2011 debut, “Found Memories.” “Pendular” has played at the Lincoln Center/MoMA’s New Directors/New Films in New York and will screen at November’s Los Angeles AFI Fest, among others. It will also now play U.S. festivals, building up to an early 2018 theatrical release, Big World Pictures announced Thursday.

Written by Murat and Matías Mariani, her real-life partner, “Pendular” kicks off with a young couple taping an »


- John Hopewell

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Logic Releases Powerful Pro-lgbt Video for ‘1-800,’ Starring Don Cheadle, Matthew Modine (Watch)

5 hours ago

Rapper Logic, whose album “Everybody” debuted at No. 1 in May, has released a powerful video for his song “1-800-273-8255,” featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid. The clip, which stars Don Cheadle and Matthew Modine, centers around a gay black teen with a white boyfriend coming to grips with his sexuality and his family’s reaction to it. The song’s original theme is around a person contemplating suicide.

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While there have been many videos exploring similar themes, it’s no understatement to say that the clip is unusually moving. Logic had no specific statement on it — a rep said “It speaks for itself” — although the rapper did write a blurb about the song in his album’s liner notes.

“In the first hook and verse we hear a person at the end of their rope who has called the suicide »


- Jem Aswad

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Film News Roundup: Jay Duplass, Edie Falco Drama ‘Outside In’ Gets 2018 Release

5 hours ago

In today’s film news roundup, the Jay Duplass and Edie Falco drama “Outside In” gets a theatrical release, and “Wonderstruck” actress Millicent Simmonds lands a role in John Krasinski and Emily Blunt’s “A Quiet Place.”

Acquisition

The Orchard has acquired worldwide rights to Lynn Shelton’s drama “Outside In,” starring Jay Duplass and Edie Falco, with plans for a release in early 2018.

Producers are Mel Eslyn and Lacey Leavitt. “Outside In” marks the eighth collaboration between between Duplass Brothers Productions and The Orchard.

Shelton directed “Outside In” from script she co-wrote with Jay Duplass. Falco plays a high school teacher and Duplass portrays her ex-student, as they explore a relationship after his release from a 20-year prison sentence. The film will premiere next month at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Shelton’s directing credits include “Humpday,” “Your Sister’s Sister” and “Laggies.” Duplass is currently starring on the  Amazon series “Transparent,” producing »


- Dave McNary

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‘Mission: Impossible 6’ Now Expected to Wrap Production in December

6 hours ago

With Tom Cruise temporarily out of action because of a stunt injury, “Mission: Impossible 6” is expected to wrap production in December rather than October but can still be delivered for its planned release next July, a source close to the production said Thursday.

Likewise, director Christopher McQuarrie insisted in an interview with British movie magazine Empire that, although the exact length of the hiatus had not yet been determined, “nothing that we’re looking at right now is going to affect the release date.” He said he still had seven to eight weeks to go on principal photography, which began in France on April 8.

Cruise broke his right ankle last week while performing a stunt in London. The source close to the production said that the production’s insurance would have to cover any costs incurred by a delay and that, following the injury, insurance costs for the actor, who »


- Robert Mitchell and Elsa Keslassy

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‘It’ Eyes Huge $50 Million-Plus Opening in Early Box Office Tracking

7 hours ago

“It” will float to the top of the box office heap when it hits theaters next month.

Initial tracking suggests that the Stephen King adaptation is on pace to open to more than $50 million when it premieres in the U.S. on Sept. 8, 2017. That’s a massive number, one that’s usually reserved for summer debuts or holiday launches. Plus, “It” carries an R-rating, with its director Andrés Muschietti telling Variety last month that the film doesn’t skimp on the gore.

“I’m so excited that it’s rated R,” he said. “I don’t feel that we held back in any aspect.”

“It” is one of King’s most beloved books, and anticipation has been high for the movie version. The initial trailer attracted 197 million views in its first 24 hours of release.

Related

‘It’ Director on Tackling Two R-Rated Movies and Why He Picked Bill Skarsgard for Pennywise

Sources close to the studio caution that »


- Brent Lang

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HBO Latin America’s ‘The Bronze Garden’: Directors Pablo Fendrik, Hernán Goldfrid Talk Genre, Shot Set-Ups, Character

9 hours ago

After decades of Latin American realism in cinema and soap opera in TV, restrained by customs and context, a lot is beginning to stir and transgress entertainment conventions.

Argentina – with Mexico, one of the few Latin American countries to forge its own genre tradition, is once again the stage for a fresh take on TV fiction entertainment that suggests that, when it comes to higher-end drama, Latin America can have a lot to offer.

One case to point: New HBO Latin America Original “The Bronze Garden,” which will bow out after eight episodes on Friday, Aug. 18 in the U.S.,. Partnering HBO Latin America and Adrian Suar’s Pol-ka Producciones in production terms, it was hailed by HBO after seven episodes as its most-watched Latin American series of the year.

Pablo Fendrik (“Blood Appears,” “Ardor”) and Hernán Goldfrid (“Thesis on a Homicide”), two young Argentine directors that have constantly shown their control over the grammar of movie »


- Emiliano Granada

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Stephen Frears to Receive Award at Venice Film Festival

10 hours ago

British filmmaker Stephen Frears is to be awarded the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker award at this year’s 74th Venice Film Festival. The award celebrates a filmmaker who is considered to have made an original contribution to innovation in contemporary cinema.

Stephen Frears seems to challenge the very idea of a monolithic definition of his cinema,” Alberto Barbera, director of the festival, said in a statement. “Along with Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, he is one of the most vibrant and representative exponents of contemporary British cinema.”

Frears, who received Oscar nominations for “The Grifters” and “The Queen,” returns to Venice this year for a fifth time with his new film “Victoria & Abdul,” which reunites him with “Philomena” star Judi Dench. Frears has competed for the Golden Lion at four previous Venice festivals with “Liam” (2000), “Dirty Pretty Things” (2002), “The Queen” (2006) and “Philomena” (2013). All four films won festival prizes, but Frears has yet to claim the coveted »


- Robert Mitchell

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Haugesund: ‘Winter Brothers’ Director Hires ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Actor Ingvar E. Sigurðsson for Next Film (Exclusive)

12 hours ago

Icelandic star Ingvar E. Sigurðsson (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2”, “Of Horses and Men”) will play the title role in Hlynur Pálmason’s next film after the Locarno winner “Winter Brothers”.

Penned by Pálmason, “A White, White Day” is a mystery thriller about grief, sacrifice and unconditional love. Sigurðsson plays Ingimundur, a responsible father, widower and small-town sheriff who has been off duty since his wife’s disappearance, two years earlier. In the process of building a house for his daughter and grand-daughter, he becomes obsessed with finding the man he suspects is connected to his wife’s disappearance. Over time, his suspicion turned into an obsession that inevitably starts to affect the ones he loves.

The Icelandic film is produced by Join Motion Pictures’ founder Anton Máni Svansson, a 2017 ‘Producer on the Move.’ “Hlynur wrote the script with Ingvar [E. Sigurðsson] in mind,” said the producer, for whom it will be the third collaboration with »


- Annika Pham

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