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Toronto International Film Festival 2017 Lineup (Photos)

45 minutes ago

The Toronto International Film Festival’s 2017 lineup for the galas and special presentations categories.

Related storiesToronto Film Festival Lineup Includes Movies From Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Alexander PayneToronto Film Festival Kicks Off $3 Million Campaign to Support Female FilmmakersFilm Review: 'The Exception' »


- Jacob Bryant

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Ben Stiller Has a Nervous Breakdown in First Trailer for ‘Brad’s Status’

55 minutes ago

Ben Stiller deals with middle-age disappointment in the first trailer for Mike White’s bittersweet comedy “Brad’s Status.”

Stiller plays the titular Brad, who, despite a good career and happy family, is obsessed with the better fortunes of his old friends from school. While escorting his musical prodigy son (played by Austin Abrams) on an East Coast tour of colleges, he is forced to confront the success of his friends and his own feelings of failure.

“My mind drifts at night,” he says in a voiceover. “I work for a nonprofit and I have nothing to show for it.”

By comparison, his college pals are now a Hollywood bigshot (White), a hedge fund founder (Luke Wilson), a tech entrepreneur (Jemaine Clement), and a political pundit and bestselling author (Michael Sheen).

“Dad, are you having a nervous breakdown?” Abrams asks after noticing his father’s anxiety.

Sidney Kimmel Entertainment first unveiled the project last year after White »


- Dave McNary

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Netflix Boards Ariel Vromen’s Spy Thriller ‘The Angel’ (Exclusive)

1 hour ago

Netflix has boarded “The Angel​,” a $12-million spy thriller to be directed by Israeli helmer Ariel Vromen (“The Iceman”). The film is based on Uri Bar-Joseph’s bestselling novel “The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel.”

The Netflix Original will depict the true story of high-ranking Egyptian official Ashraf Marwan, who became a spy for Israel despite being the son-in-law of former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and close adviser of his successor, Anwar Sadat. Marwan, who died in 2007 under mysterious circumstances in London, is perhaps the most famous spy in the history of the Middle East, and was regarded as a national hero in both Israel and Egypt.

“The Angel” begins shooting this month in London under cinematographer Terry Stacey (“Elvis & Nixon”). It will also shoot in the U.K., Bulgaria, and Morocco this summer.

The film will topline Marwan Kenzari (“The Promise”), Toby Kebbell (“The East”), plus a number of well-known Middle Eastern actors »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Charlize Theron Relates ‘Atomic Blonde’ to ‘Wonder Woman’: ‘Girls Can Take Ownership in This Space’

1 hour ago

According to Charlize Theron at Monday night’s premiere at the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, “Atomic Blonde” might not be the last we see of her character, Lorraine Broughton.

“We’re actively talking about where we could go with a sequel or a prequel,” she mused on the red carpet. “The great thing about Lorraine is that she is such an enigma. We really didn’t saddle her with anything so that leaves us a lot of ways to go and continue her story.”

Theron said she was particularly satisfied about how the movie, which debuted at SXSW in March, matched her initial vision in 2013 when development began on a movie version of Sam Hart’s graphic novel “The Coldest City.”

“I think it’s very rare where you develop something and you end up with what you planned four years ago,” she added. “I’m very proud of it.”

Related »


- Dave McNary

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Protagonist Pictures Restructures, Ups Dave Bishop to CEO

1 hour ago

Protagonist Pictures has named Dave Bishop its new boss, promoting from within to fill the role being vacated by Mike Goodridge.

Protagonist works across sales, finance, and production, and Bishop’s elevation has sparked an internal restructure. Dimitra Tsingou becomes president of production in addition to her current role as chief operating officer and will work on Protagonist’s drive into production, alongside Bishop.

Vanessa Saal, head of sales, will become managing director of sales and distribution. Head of marketing Bridget Pedgrift will also be part of the new-look senior management team.

The London-based company said it would fill the head of worldwide acquisitions role that Bishop held in coming months.

“With Dimitra, Vanessa and Bridget at my side we will continue to collaborate with fiercely intelligent filmmakers whose honest, challenging and thoughtful films have become synonymous with the Protagonist brand, while exploring new opportunities to grow our business,” Bishop said in a statement.

Protagonist »


- Stewart Clarke

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Toronto Film Festival Lineup Includes Movies From Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Alexander Payne

2 hours ago

Films by Joe Wright, Angelina Jolie, Darren Aronofsky, George Clooney, and Alexander Payne will hit the Toronto International Film Festival, hoping to build buzz as they head into a crowded awards season.

Jolie will be on hand with “First They Killed My Father,” a drama about the Cambodian genocide that she made for Netflix. Aronofsky will present “mother!,” a horror film he made with Jennifer Lawrence; Clooney will offer up “Suburbicon,” a Coen brothers’ scripted crime comedy; and Payne is presenting “Downsizing,” a satire in which Matt Damon will shrink to the size of a saltine cracker.

None of those films will get gala presentations, however. That’s either because they have previously stated that they will premiere at other film festivals — “Downsizing” will bow at Venice, for instance — or they’re in line for a Telluride or Venice berth.

Related

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ Is the First Slam-Dunk Oscar Contender of 2017

The gala section boasts Wright »


- Brent Lang

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Mexico’s Piano Bows Foreign Film Distribution (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

Having carved out a reputation for its distribution of edgier Mexican fare, Piano Distribution, the auteur art pic distribution operation of Julio Chavezmontes’ production house Piano, has moved into international acquisitions, picking up Mexican rights to two high-profile Cannes titles: Ruben Ostlund’s 2017 Palme d’Or winner “The Square” and Rungano Nyoni’s first feature “I’m Not a Witch,” a Directors’ Fortnight standout.

“A thrilling milestone for the company, said Chavezmontes, the entry into international acquisitions dovetails, however, into plans for a far larger international expansion at Piano, kicking in over the next months.

Sold by The Coproduction Office, “The Square,” a social fable underscoring the valuelessness of modern life, marks final consecration for Ostlund, whose “Force Majeur” already topped Cannes Un Certain Regard in 2014.

Set in a small Zambian community, the Kinology-repped “I’m Not a Witch,” turning on a small girl who’s branded a witch, was one of the most talked-about titles of »


- John Hopewell

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Johnny Depp’s ‘Richard Says Goodbye’ Releases First Look Photo, Rounds Out Cast

2 hours ago

Danny Huston, Rosemarie DeWitt, Devon Terrell and Odessa Young have joined Johnny Depp’s comedy-drama “Richard Says Goodbye” with principal photography started on location in Vancouver.

Variety reported on July 20 that “Before I Fall” star Zoey Deutch had been set to co-star with Depp. Wayne Roberts is directing from his own script.

The film follows the story of  a world weary college professor — portrayed by Depp — who is given a life-changing diagnosis and decides to throw all pretense and conventions to the wind and live his life as boldly and freely as possible with a biting sense of humor, a reckless streak and a touch of madness.

Im Global and Cirrina Studios are co-financing the film with additional financing from Leeding Media. Brian Kavanaugh-Jones of Automatik Entertainment and Im Global’s President of Production Greg Shapiro are producing the film. Executive producers include Im Global chief Stuart Ford, Miguel Palos of Im Global, Karine Martin, »


- Dave McNary

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Comic-Con 2017: What Popped and What Flopped

3 hours ago

Comic-Con 2017 has come and gone, with well over 100,000 attendees flooding into San Diego for the annual event. Amid a sea of costumes, comics and merchandise, the TV and film industry trotted out its biggest stars and action-packed previews for upcoming projects with the hope of winning over a passionate fan base. Some blew the crowds away; others tried valiantly, but ultimately failed to impress.

Best: Steven Spielberg

Geekdom’s elder statesman scored with “Ready Player One,” his dive into virtual reality. It’s been more than a decade since he worked in the sci-fi space — he’s been more interested in Oscar-bait dramas like “Lincoln” or “Bridge of Spies.” Based on the trailer, “Ready Player One” offers a cornucopia of pop culture delights referencing everything from “Back to the Future” to “The Iron Giant.”

Worst: Ben Affleck

Batman hit back at a report he’s ready to hang up the cape and cowl, declaring »


- Variety Staff

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Venice Days: Works by Chloe Sevigny, Canada’s Kim Nguyen, China’s Pengfei in Lineup

6 hours ago

Rome – The Venice Film Festival’s independently run Venice Days section, modeled on Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, has unveiled a promising lineup mixing known auteurs and potential discoveries, with 11 of 12 competition titles slated for world premieres.

New works from China’s Pengfei; Canada’s Oscar-nominated Kim Nguyen (“War Witch”); Thai auteur Pen-ek Ratanaruang (“Last Life in the Universe”); U.S.-based Iranian artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat (“Women Without Men”); and Italy’s Vincenzo Marra (“La Prima Luce”) are among competition highlights.

Pengfei, who was in Venice Days in 2015 with his first film, “Underground Fragrance,” is returning with followup “The Taste of Rice Flower” (pictured), a mother/daughter drama set in a village in China’s Yunnan province.

Venice Days will also play an active role in a “Focus on China” film industry forum being held during the fest this year.

Kim will world premiere “Eyes of Juliet,” a love story seen from the point of view of »


- Nick Vivarelli

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Korea Box Office: ‘Dunkirk’ Beats ‘Spider-Man’

6 hours ago

Foreign releases remained in the lead at the South Korean box office, with “Dunkirk” topping the chart after opening last Thursday. The Warner Bros. World War II drama earned $10.44 million from 1.35 million admissions over its opening five days. Showing on 1,245 screens nationwide, it accounted for 46.5% of the total weekend box office.

Spider-Man: Homecoming” slipped to second place, with a week-on-week drop of 62.5%. The Sony release earned $3.99 million from 533,700 admissions between Friday and Sunday for a cumulative total of $50.27 million from 6.85 million admissions after three weekends.

The horror film “47 Meters Down” with Mandy Moore and Japanese animation “Crayon Shinchan 2017 Theatrical Film: Invasion!! Alien Shiriri” landed in third and fourth place, respectively. Opening last Wednesday, “47 Meters” earned $2.26 million over five days, while Thursday opener “Crayon Shinchan” earned $870,900 over its first four days.

Cars 3” dropped to fifth from the previous week’s second spot. The animated family adventure earned $727,600 between Friday and Sunday for a total of $2.88 million after »


- Sonia Kil

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BiFan Film Review: ‘Jailbreak’

14 hours ago

Cambodian commercial cinema takes a big stride forward with “Jailbreak,” an exciting, all-out action extravaganza about elite cops trapped in a prison during a mass breakout. Stylishly directed by Italian expat Jimmy Henderson and starring Cambodian martial arts wizards including female dynamo Tharoth “Little Frog” Sam, “Jailbreak” was a huge domestic hit in early 2017 and brings an exciting new dimension to the recent revival of Cambodia’s film industry. Though running slightly out of narrative steam in the final furlong, this polished production draws immediate parallels with Indonesian hit “The Raid,” and has already secured sales to seven Asian territories including China and South Korea. With more distribution deals in the works, “Jailbreak” has a highly promising international future.

Even during the 1960s and early ’70s Golden Age of Cambodian cinema, only a tiny handful of films featured any significant martial arts action. All that changes dramatically with “Jailbreak.” On show here is the national fighting discipline »


- Richard Kuipers

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Jacqueline Bisset Joins Sarah Jessica Parker’s ‘Best Day of My Life’ (Exclusive)

15 hours ago

Jacqueline Bisset has joined Sarah Jessica Parker’s romantic drama “Best Day of My Life” and will portray the mother of Parker’s character, Variety has learned exclusively.

Renee Zellweger, Common, Isabella Rossellini, Simon Baker, Taylor Kinney, and Gus Birney are also starring.

Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi’s Ambi Group is producing. Parker portrays a jazz vocalist in New York City who receives a diagnosis that shatters her world as she prepares for a world tour. Bisset portrays a woman who mostly speaks French who comes to visit her daughter the weekend of her New York performances.

Fabien Constant is directing the film from a screenplay written by Laura Eason. Parker will also serve as producer alongside Alison Benson, Iervolino and Bacardi. The movie is being executive produced by Phil Hunt and Compton Ross of Head Gear Films, who are co-financing the film.

Ambi Distribution is handles worldwide sales. CAA »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: ‘Santoalla’

15 hours ago

One morning in 1997 after a two-year-long sojourn around Europe in a camper van, Dutch couple Martin Verfondern and Margo Pool woke up on a hillside in Galicia, in northern Spain and decided they’d found home. The village — little more than a collection of abandoned tumbledown structures clinging to the side of a mountain — was called Santa Eulalia, though even its name seemed to have collapsed in on itself, being more often referred to as Santoalla. Part of the attraction for the young couple, making a new, hippy-tinged, self-sufficient life for themselves, was its isolation. Not even the mailman delivered out there, so it’s hard to imagine how directing team Andrew Becker and Daniel Mehrer found their way. But in their debut documentary feature, this tiny hidden hamlet, and the even tinier human tragedy that unfolded within it, is brought to wider attention. While “Santoalla” is a small story, its poignancy resonates, »


- Jessica Kiang

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Anne Hathaway in Talks to Replace Amy Schumer as ‘Barbie’

16 hours ago

After losing Amy Schumer due to scheduling conflicts, Sony looks to have found its replacement for the upcoming live-action “Barbie” pic, with Anne Hathaway in talks for the lead role.

Australian “Fun Mom Dinner” director Alethea Jones is in talks to helm the comedy.

Studio reps said the casting is premature as scheduling arrangements have not been worked out and there is no deal as yet.

The big screen adaptation of Mattel’s iconic toy line was originally expected to start production on June 23, but Schumer’s busy schedule included a promotional tour for her new Fox comedy “Snatched,” as well as shooting for Rebecca Miller’s “She Came to Me” opposite Steve Carell.

Sony still intends to stick to its projected June 29, 2018 release date, though it’s not clear when production would start. Mattel already has merchandise and product cycles in motion, and shifting the production to accommodate Schumer would have put on a strain on »


- Justin Kroll

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Fox, Chernin Acquire Movie Rights to Michelle Richmond’s ‘The Marriage Pact’

17 hours ago

20th Century Fox has acquired the feature film rights to Michelle Richmond’s upcoming psychological suspense novel “The Marriage Pact.”

Justin Haythe will adapt the screenplay for the film, which will be produced by Chernin Entertainment. “The Marriage Pact” will be published in the U.S. by Bantam Books, a Random House imprint, on Tuesday. Foreign editions are forthcoming in 27 languages.

“The Marriage Pact” is centered on newlyweds who receive an enticing wedding gift, and decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact. The goal of The Pact is to keep marriages happy and intact, but the young lovers discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership is for life. The marriage of their dreams devolves into their worst nightmare.

Haythe’s writing credits include the upcoming Fox feature film “Red Sparrow,” starring Jennifer Lawrence, which Chernin also produced. He also wrote “Revolutionary Road.” Haythe is represented by CAA and 3 Arts Entertainment »


- Dave McNary

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Why Directors Are This Summer’s Biggest Stars

18 hours ago

While movie stars continue to fade at the box office, directors are having their day in the sun. “Dunkirk’s” $50 million opening weekend is just the latest indication that the spotlight may be shifting from actors to filmmakers, even for blockbusters and summer popcorn fare.

Star-driven films like Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler’s “The House,” Scarlett Johansson’s “Rough Night,” Tom Cruise’s “The Mummy,” Johnny Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” and Charlie Hunnam’s “King Arthur” all failed to deliver audiences to movie theaters. The directors were the focus of the buzz on Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” earlier this year, and more recently for Edgar Wright’s “Baby Driver” and Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk.” Even comic book tentpoles and sequels like “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” directed by Jon Watts, and Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” succeeded with lesser-known leads taking on properties with troubled pasts, thanks »


- Justin Kroll

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WGA West Members Facing Higher Health Care Costs

18 hours ago

Members of the Writers Guild of America West will face higher health costs next year, the guild’s leaders have told members.

The missive was sent Monday to the 9,000 members of the WGA by president Howard Rodman, VP David A. Goodman, secretary-treasurer Aaron Mendelsohn, and executive director David Young.

The changes are due to concessions that the guild made in its negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in order to shore up its health plan, which had been running at a deficit. The two sides reached a deal less than an hour before the contract expired on May 1.

Related

David A. Goodman Running Unopposed for WGA West Presidency

“Our Mba deal includes both contribution increases from our employers and an agreement by the Guild to cut costs,” the missive said. “Basically, the companies agreed to increase contributions by $30 million annually and we agreed to make cuts that yield $7 million in savings annually. Now »


- Dave McNary

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J.R.R. Tolkien Biopic Draws Finnish Director Dome Karukoski

19 hours ago

Finnish director Dome Karukoski will helm a biopic on J.R.R. Tolkien.

Fox Searchlight and Chernin Entertainment have been developing the project since 2013. Tolkien’s epic novels — set in Middle Earth — served as the basis for the film trilogies “The Lord of The Rings” and “The Hobbit.”

The movie’s script by David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford focuses on the author as he finds friendship, love, and artistic inspiration among a fellow group of outcasts at school prior to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He served in the British armed forces from 1916 to 1920, then wrote the two novels while working at Pembroke College. Tolkien died in 1973.

“The Hobbit” was first published in 1937. Tolkien then wrote “The Lord of the Rings” between 1937 and 1949 as what was initially intended to be a sequel, but the story became much larger — and one of the best-selling novels of all time with more than 150 million copies sold.

Karukoski »


- Dave McNary

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John Hawkes, Jon Bernthal Join Shia Labeouf in ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’

20 hours ago

John Hawkes, Jon Bernthal, Thomas Haden Church, and Yelawolf have joined Shia Labeouf and newcomer Zachary Gottsagen in the adventure-drama “The Peanut Butter Falcon.”

Dakota Johnson and Bruce Dern were cast in the film last month. Gottsagen, who is the inspiration for the film, will play the principal character of Zak in the movie, which will be directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz from their own script.

The pic made headlines earlier this month when Labeouf was arrested for public drunkenness, obstruction, and disorderly conduct while filming in Savannah, Ga.

The story follows Zak, a young man with Down syndrome, who runs away from the nursing home where he lives to pursue a career as a professional wrestler and attend the Saltwater Redneck wrestling school. Through circumstances beyond their control, a small-time outlaw also on the run (Labeouf) becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally.

Armory FilmsTim Zajaros and Christopher Lemole will produce and finance »


- Dave McNary

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