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Paul Verhoeven to Direct ‘Blessed Virgin,’ Based on True Story of Lesbian Nun

1 hour ago

Paul Verhoeven’s next project will be “Blessed Virgin,” which will see the director re-team with producer Said Ben Said and actress Virginie Efira from “Elle” on a film about a lesbian nun.

The new French-language project was revealed late Tuesday night in a tweet by Said and confirmed by production company Sbs on Wednesday.

In “Blessed Virgin,” Belgian actress Efira, who had a key role in “Elle,” will play a 17th-century nun who suffers from disturbing religious and erotic visions. A companion is assigned to assist her through these visions, and the relationship between the two women develops into a romantic affair.

The film is based on a 1986 book by Judith C. Brown, “Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy.” Based on candid archival documents, “Immodest Acts” tells the true account of the rise and fall of Sister Benedetta Carlini, abbess of the Convent of »


- Robert Mitchell

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Telecinco Cinema to Receive the CineEurope Independent Producer of the Year Award

1 hour ago

Madrid — Telecinco Cinema, the film production arm of Mediaset España, Spain’s biggest TV network, has won the 2017 CineEurope Independent Producer of the Year Award.

Adjudicated by the International Union of Cinema (Unic), Europe’s umbrella assn. of national exhibitor associations. Telecinco Cinema’s two driving forces, CEO Ghislain Barrois, and Alvaro Augustin, its director general, will accept the Award at the 26th CineEurope, whose prize ceremony takes place on June 22 in Barcelona.

Described by Andrew Sunshine, VP of the Film Expo Group, which manages CineEurope, as “one of the major feature film studios no only in the Spanish market but in Europe also,” Telecinco Cinema launched in 1999 as Estudios Picasso Fabrica de Ficción, which channeled a government-imposed obligation to invest part of its revenues in Spanish or other European movie production.

Making a virtue out of a necessity, Telecinco Cinema has gone on to co-produce six of the top »


- John Hopewell

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Cannes: Protagonist Picks Up Directors’ Fortnight Film ‘The Rider’

2 hours ago

Protagonist Pictures has come on board to handle worldwide sales on Cannes Directors’ Fortnight title “The Rider,” written and directed by Chloé Zhao, Protagonist CEO Mike Goodridge said Wednesday. This is Zhao’s second feature and second film selected for Directors’ Fortnight.

Based on the true story of Brady Jandreau, the film stars Jandreau along with Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau, Lane Scott and Cat Clifford. While visiting the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for her first feature, “Songs My Brothers Taught Me,” Zhao connected with a group of Lakota cowboys, including Brady, and wrote “The Rider” around his “tragic and ultimately universal story.”

“Once a rising star of the rodeo circuit, young cowboy Brady is warned that his competition days are over after a tragic riding accident. Back home, Brady finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no longer do what gives him a »


- Leo Barraclough

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Stars of ‘Babylon Berlin,’ Netflix’s ‘Dark’ Join Effort to Highlight German Cinema (Exclusive)

3 hours ago

Six German actors have been chosen to lead the second wave of an effort to highlight German cinema around the world after a year that saw the success of such films as Oscar-nominated “Toni Erdmann” and high-end television dramas like “Deutschland 83.”

Volker Bruch (pictured, far left), star of Tom Tykwer’s eagerly anticipated TV series “Babylon Berlin” from Sky, will join up-and-coming actors Louis Hofmann and Jannis Niewoehner as well as more established stars Alexander Fehling, Ronald Zehrfeld and Tom Schilling in the “Face to Face With German Films” campaign. The initiative by national film-promotion body German Films was first launched last fall with six leading German actresses, including “Toni Erdmann” star Sandra Hueller.

The six actors are to serve as ambassadors of German cinema at festivals and events around the world, and will all attend next month’s Cannes Film Festival for the new phase’s official launch. »


- Robert Mitchell

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Max Richter, ‘The Leftovers’ Composer, Signs With Decca Publishing

5 hours ago

German composer Max Richter, whose ambient, post-minimalist style has made him popular with directors as from Michael Scorsese to Michael Bay, is the first artist to sign a long-term, global publishing deal with Universal Music’s newly launched Decca Publishing.

Richter has been the composer of record on HBO’s “The Leftovers,” now in season three, and excerpts from his 10-hour album “On the Nature of Daylight” can be heard in Scorsese’s 2010 film” Shutter Island” and 2016’s “Arrival” (which its integral use to bookend the narrative resulted in Oscar disqualification for Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score).

Richter’s music was also a standout among Super Bowl 51 syncs, providing the evocative backing track to Paramount’s promo for this summer’s “Transformers: The Last Knight.” For all that, Richter is still a relative unknown in mainstream entertainment circles, something Universal and Decca plan to change.

Max Richter is one of »


- Paula Parisi

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China Sets Day-and-Date Releases for ‘Transformers,’ ‘Despicable Me’

6 hours ago

At least four major Hollywood films – “Wonder Woman,” “Cars 3,” “Transformers: The Last Knight” and “Despicable Me 3” – will enjoy day-and-date theatrical releases in China in June.

Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman” will release in China on June 2, in a day-and-date outing aligned with the North American and international releases.

Disney’s “Cars 3” is scheduled for June 16, simultaneous with the sequel’s North American release.

Transformers” has been given a June 23 slot, again a day-and-date with North America.

Universal’s Illumination Entertainment-produced “Despicable Me” will reach Chinese audiences on June 30.

In an earlier announcement, Disney revealed that Shanghai will host the world premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” on May 11, ahead of a commercial release on May 26.

Hollywood studios are not permitted to handle release of their own films in China. Those titles imported under the revenue-sharing quota are distributed by state-owned enterprise China Film Co. »


- Patrick Frater

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Tribeca Film Review: ‘The Divine Order’

7 hours ago

The long-fought battle for women’s suffrage in America ended in 1920, but it wasn’t until 1971 that Switzerland granted its female population the right to vote. “The Divine Order” revisits this fight for equality through the fictional lens of a housewife in one of the country’s remote villages, where her mounting desire for autonomy and actualization is opposed by backward-thinking cretins of both genders. Though the film’s feel-good construction undercuts its ability to surprise, Petra Volpe’s cine-history lesson, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, remains a mainstream crowd-pleaser adept at inspiring and amusing in equal measure.

Nora (Marie Leuenberger) spends her days doing laundry, making beds and vacuuming around her domineering father-in-law, and her nights cooking and caring for husband Hans (Max Simonischek) and their two sons. At first, see seems agreeably submissive to this life of routine servitude. But unfamiliar stirrings of outrage over her »


- Nick Schager

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Tribeca Film Review: ‘One Percent More Humid’

8 hours ago

“You used to be so original,” spits a spurned character to her partner near the end of “One Percent More Humid,” but from the outset, writer-director Liz W. Garcia’s indie drama plays like a tag sale of cinematic clichés, each one piled haphazardly atop another. A dreamy tale of guilt and grief whose affectations prevent any sort of genuine engagement with those emotions, this story about two girls coping with their role in the death of a friend has sporadic moments of genuine passion and humor. Mostly, though, it unravels at a pace far faster than it can spin the stories of its protagonists, limiting the prospects of this Tribeca Film Festival entry.

In an upstate New England university town, twentysomething Iris (Juno Temple) is joined by best friend Catherine (Julia Garner) to waste away the summer smoking weed and skinny-dipping at the local lake. Catherine’s so rich »


- Nick Schager

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Korea’s Yu Ji-tae Joins Lars von Trier’s ‘The House That Jack Built’

9 hours ago

South Korean actor, Yu Ji-tae has joined the cast of maverick filmmaker Lars von Trier’s upcoming “The House That Jack Built.” Yu is the first Asian actor to appear in a von Trier movie.

Set in the U.S. in the 1970s, “House” revolves around a serial killer played by Matt Dillon. Uma Thurman, Bruno Ganz, and Riley Keough are also on board.

Yu won the role following a joint pitch by producer Zentropa Entertainment and and Korean distributor Atnine Film. Neither company has revealed details of his role, which Yu finished shooting in Sweden in late March.

Known for his role in Park Chan-wook’s 2003 hardboiled thriller “Old Boy,” Yu has expanded his career into directing, producing and film festival organizing. His recent filmography includes crime drama “Split,” which is now in competition at Italy’s Udine Far East Film Festival. “House” is set for a 2018 release.

Related »


- Sonia Kil

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‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ to Hold World Premiere in Shanghai

10 hours ago

Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” will hold its world premiere at the Shanghai Disney Resort in China on May 11.

Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer plan to attend. Disney noted the event will mark the first time a Hollywood movie has premiered in Mainland China.

The red carpet will take place in Disneytown at Shanghai Disney Resort, with the screening in Walt Disney Grand Theatre at Disneytown. Shanghai Disneyland includes the pirate-themed Treasure Cove, inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Related

Javier Bardem Vows to ‘Eliminate’ Jack Sparrow in New ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 5’ Trailer

Having cleared Chinese censorship, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” will be released wide on May 26 in the country, day-and-date with its release in the U.S.

Disney showed »


- Dave McNary

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Tribeca Film Review: ‘The Trip to Spain’

10 hours ago

The Trip to Spain” is the third entry in the cult series of culinary road comedies featuring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as thinly fictionalized versions of their scalding, misanthropically funny, showbiz-fixated London-comedian-actor selves. The first thing to say about the film is that it’s utterly of a piece with “The Trip” (2010) and “The Trip to Italy” (2014); if you’re a fan of the first two movies, it’s hard to imagine that you won’t like this one. (Each is a boiled-down version of a six-episode TV series made for the BBC, all of them directed by Michael Winterbottom.) This time, Coogan and Brydon spend five days driving up the misty green Spanish coastline, staying in rustic designer hotels and sampling New Traditional restaurants — which Brydon has arranged to review for The New York Times — against a backdrop of absurdly tranquil and picturesque towns and villages.

The leisurely lunches, »


- Owen Gleiberman

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Jeff Goldblum to Return for ‘Jurassic World’ Sequel

11 hours ago

Jeff Goldblum is coming back to the world of dinosaurs and will appear in Universal-Amblin Entertainment’s next “Jurassic World” film.

J.A. Bayona is directing the next installment. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are returning for the sequel to the 2015 blockbuster “Jurassic World.” The sequel also stars Justice Smith, James Cromwell, and Toby Jones.

Goldblum co-starred in 1993’s “Jurassic Park” and in 1997’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” but was absent from “Jurassic World.” He played the quick-witted mathematician Ian Malcolm, who managed to survive in both films.

At one point in “Jurassic Park,” he’s told by Richard Attenborough’s John Hammond, “All major theme parks have delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked!” Goldblum responded, “Yeah, but, John, if the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.”

Colin Trevorrow, who directed “Jurassic World,” wrote the script for the sequel with Derek Connolly. »


- Dave McNary

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‘Alien: Covenant In Utero’ Puts Virtual Reality Spin on Fox Franchise

11 hours ago

Alien” fans have watched a long line of endoparasitoid extraterrestrials bloodily burst forth from the host bodies of unfortunate astronauts since the first entry in the franchise debuted in 1979.

Now, for the first time fans will be able to experience it from the creature’s perspective in “Alien: Covenant In Utero,” a two-minute 360-degree video debuting April 26 exclusively on Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear Vr.

“For me, it was about giving the audience an element of wish fulfillment,” said David Karlak, director of “In Utero,” at a press unveiling of the project hosted by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Previously, “we’ve always been on the receiving end of [the] violence.”

Although “In Utero” is designed to promote Fox’s upcoming sequel “Alien: Covenant,” it was not a postproduction afterthought dreamed up by the marketing department. Inspired by a scene in the film, it was made »


- Todd Longwell

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Disney Content Moves in India ‘Misinterpreted’ Says Andy Bird

12 hours ago

Disney is not abandoning local content production in India, despite a decision last year to close its Bollywood film making side. The country is often overshadowed by the growth of China, but prospects for India are very bright, says Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International.

“I’ve never been more excited about India,” said Bird, speaking at the Asia Pacific Video Operators Summit (Apos) convention in Indonesia on Wednesday “That comes after a decade of frustration.”

Bird pointed to the launch last year of Jio by industrial giant Reliance Industries as a recent example of market expansion. Jio, which offers low cost and widely available broadband, now claims over 108 million subscribers in the space of just a few months.

Bird said that his decision to close down Disney’s Indian film production operations last year has been misunderstood by the industry. The decision was taken in November last year, »


- Patrick Frater

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Tensions Rise in Hollywood as Emboldened Writers Guild Renews Negotiations

12 hours ago

With a possible writers strike starting in a week, tensions are rising markedly in Hollywood due to the massive uncertainty that’s been injected into the entertainment business.

Studios and companies have been holding contingency meetings to plot out the scenarios that incorporate a work stoppage that could come as early as May 2. “The talk of a strike is becoming a dominant topic,” one exec admitted.

Contract negotiations resumed Tuesday following an eight-day break and will continue Wednesday. “I think they will go down to the wire,” one source told Variety.

There were no public comments from either side Tuesday as negotiations started again at the headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers with both sides observing a media blackout.

A strike would require all 12,000 WGA members to stop work immediately. It would cause an immediate blackout of late-night television programming, followed by delays in programming for »

- Dave McNary

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Poll: Who Should Play Madonna in Upcoming Biopic?

12 hours ago

News broke on Monday that Universal is developing a biopic about Madonna, and while the superstar herself is none too happy about the news, the question still stands: Who has the chops to play the Queen of Pop?

The movie will focus on Madonna’s efforts in the early 1980s to get her first album released, putting the star in her early-mid-20s. This opens the door for a younger actress to take on the role.

There’s “Fifty Shades” star Dakota Johnson, who proved to be a stand-out in the erotic book adaptations, as well as Margot Robbie, who built hugely on her fanbase by starring as Harley Quinn in “Suicide Squad” and will be playing Tonya Harding in an upcoming biopic.

On the less conventional side, there’s also Lady Gaga. The singer has been branching out into acting, with her roles in “American Horror Story” and the upcoming “A Star Is Born, »


- Variety Staff

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Tribeca Film Review: ‘Love After Love’

13 hours ago

Blending the intimate volatility of John Cassavetes with the elegant lyricism of Hou Hsiao-hsien, Russell Harbaugh crafts an alternately ugly and lovely — and altogether authentic — snapshot of the tumultuous process of grieving a lost loved one. Bolstered by superb lead turns from Chris O’Dowd and Andie MacDowell, as well as a formal structure that enhances the roiling emotions propelling its characters into a downward spiral, “Love After Love” is an assured debut feature that announces its writer-director as a formidable new American indie voice. In the wake of its Tribeca Film Festival premiere, it seems primed to attract enthusiastic theatrical — and award season — attention.

The narrative starts before the film’s calamity, with Suzanne (MacDowell) and son Nicholas (O’Dowd) pondering the nature of true happiness, and how long it might last. The answer to the latter question is not very long at all, given that Suzanne’s husband, »


- Nick Schager

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Madonna Disapproves of ‘Blonde Ambition’ Biopic

16 hours ago

Madonna is unhappy over Universal’s development of the biopic “Blonde Ambition.”

“Nobody knows what I know and what I have seen,” she said in an Instagram post on Tuesday. “Only I can tell my story. Anyone else who tries is a charlatan and a fool looking for instant gratification without doing the work. This is a disease in our society.”

Related

Watch Madonna’s Fiery, Expletive-Laden Speech at the Women’s March on Washington

Universal had no comment. The studio won an auction Monday for Elyse Hollander’s “Blonde Ambition” screenplay about Madonna’s first album.

“Blonde Ambition” led the 2016 version of the Black List — an annual ranking of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. Hollander’s script received 49 votes among the 250 executives voting. The project details Madonna’s efforts in the early 1980s in New York City to get her first album released while navigating fame, romance, and »


- Dave McNary

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Andie MacDowell on Hollywood Ageism, Nude Scenes and ‘Love After Love’

16 hours ago

Andie MacDowell waited until age 59 to do her first nude scene. As a grieving matriarch trying to get over her husband’s death and re-entering the dating scene in “Love After Love,” MacDowell has several sexual encounters in the indie drama that leave her emotionally and physically baring all.

“I kept making a joke to everybody that I waited until I fell apart before I took my clothes off,” the actress told Variety during an interview at the Tribeca Film Festival where “Love After Love” is debuting. The experience left her advising her actress daughters, Sarah Margaret Qualley and Rainey Qualley, not to wait as long before shedding their clothes on screen.

“I keep telling my girls, ‘you’re so beautiful, you should just do it,'” she says with a laugh. “‘Go. Do it. Don’t wait.'”

Ultimately, getting naked on screen didn’t feel as vulnerable as »


- Brent Lang

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Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner to Voice Timon and Pumbaa in Live-Action ‘Lion King’

16 hours ago

Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner have been tapped to voice Timon and Pumbaa in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “The Lion King,” sources confirmed to Variety.

Donald Glover is on board to voice Simba, while James Earl Jones will reprise his role of Mufasa that he voiced in the original. Beyonce is still circling the role of Nala.

Related

Disney Dates ‘Lion King’ and ‘Frozen 2,’ Pushes Fifth ‘Indiana Jones’ Film to 2020

In the original, Timon and Pumbaa were the lovable meerkat and warthog who look after Simba after he flees his kingdom.

Jon Favreau is directing with Jeff Nathanson writing. The film is being fast-tracked, with the studio recently dating it for July 19, 2019.

“Lion King” was originally released in 1994 and is one of the highest-grossing animated films of all time, ultimately hauling $968.5 million worldwide.

The studio’s emphasis on live-action adaptations follows the successes of “Alice in Wonderland” (2010), “Maleficent” (2014), “Cinderella” (2015), and, »


- Justin Kroll

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