An aspiring actor is suing producers at The Weinstein Company over his role in horror parody sequel Scary Movie 5. Michael Trigg donated $100,000 (£58,823) to charity to win a small speaking role in the 2013 movie, starring Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen, but he only got to say one word and producers warned him the scene could be cut from the final product.
Trigg complained to producers at The Weinstein Company, led by brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, about his small screen time and they allegedly agreed a $40,000 (£23,529) refund if his scene was eventually cut.
His donation, made through online auction site Charitybuzz.com, also allegedly guaranteed a one-on-one chat with Harvey Weinstein, which Trigg claims never materialised.
According to Perezhilton.com, Trigg is suing the company for breach of contract and misrepresentation.
Harvey Weinstein's film company office in New York City was evacuated on Monday (16Jun14) after a fire broke out in the building. Emergency services were called to The Weinstein Company's office in Manhattan to tackle a blaze, which prompted an evacuation of workers, including Weinstein's brother Bob, who co-runs the business.
A source tells New York Post gossip column Page Six, "The Weinstein Company's offices were evacuated at 99 Hudson because of a fire. They're all on the street, including Bob Weinstein."
A representative for the Official Fire Department City of New York (FDNY) adds, "(The fire was) extinguished, largely by the building's sprinkler system... (There was) minor flooding in the basement."
Movie moguls Bob and Harvey Weinstein have been ordered to meet with an arbitrator in their $75 million (£46.9 million) legal battle over profits from The Hobbit film franchise in a bid to settle the case out of court. The Weinstein brothers filed suit against executives at New Line Cinema Corporation, part of the Time Warner brand, in December (13), claiming they were owed money from the success of the fantasy series as a result of a rights agreement they signed in 1998.
The deal stipulated that New Line bosses would pay the producing duo five per cent of gross receipts for the rights to the "first motion picture" from the J.R.R. Tolkien novel, directed by Peter Jackson, as the brothers had already made a $10 million (£62.5 million) investment in the film adaptation.
However, the Weinsteins claim the defendants then decided to turn The Hobbit into a trilogy and are now refusing to pay them their cut of profits from the second and third instalments of the franchise.
They wanted the case to be heard in open court and refused to enter into talks with an arbitrator, but last week (ends14Feb14), New York Judge Eileen Bransten has shut down their request in favour of having the two parties enter dispute resolution talks first, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The first instalment, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, hit cinemas in 2013 and grossed over $1 billion worldwide, and the follow-up, The Desolation of Smaug, has banked over $860 million (£537.5 million) since its release in December (13).
The third movie, There and Back Again, is scheduled to hit theatres at the end of this year (14).
Weinstein Company via Everett Collection
From Oscar fans to Oscar insiders, everyone knows Harvey Weinstein's annual campaign and nominated films regularly become part of film afficionados' conversations. Studio System News has taken a complete analytical view of The Weinstein Company in a three-part series from (in order) its nomination locks, current nominations and future.
Miramax via Everett Collection
Monday morning saw a heap of news involving the Weinstein brothers and their former golden goose Miramax. Deadline reports that, in short, Hollywood kingpins Harvey and Bob have signed a deal that will allow them to dig up old properties and revive them in new forms. This means sequels, reboots, and reimaginings for a lot of their past Miramax hits. In ascending order of madness, we have mention of...
- Rounders 2 — a follow-up to the Matt Damon poker flick that is reaching for Robert De Niro as the central villain.- A "series transfer" for Flirting with Disaster, an early David O. Russell movie that saw Ben Stiller on a quest to find his biological parents. This could easily be transformed into an episodic comedy (though we're not saying it should).- A Shakespeare in Love sequel, which, we guess, would involve the Bard's continued forays with romance as he explores the creative folds of his mind.- And finally, the most bewildering announcement that the showbiz news circuit has coughed up lately, another series adaptation: this one of the movie Good Will Hunting.
...That's pretty weird. For the three Americans who haven't seen Good Will Hunting, it tells the story of (once again) Matt Damon, as a 20-year-old orphan, impoverished Bostonian, and all-around dillhole with a genius intellect, most notably for complex mathematics. He spends most of his time causing mayhem with fellow dillholes (of the non-genius variety) Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, and Cole Hauser, until his mental stamina is discovered by a haughty MIT professor (Stellan Skarsgaard) who insists that his old pal (Robin Williams) refurbish the troubled young Damon's psychological state of being so that he can put his intelligence to good use. In the end, everything works out rather neatly. The poor-but-smart Mr. Hunting finds an outlet for his talents, gets in touch with his latent childhood traumas, and even meets a nice lady in the process (Minnie Driver). The sort of self-contained story that made for the bread and butter of '90s cinema.
So how on Earth are they going to turn this picture into a series? Some hefty bastardization is in order...
The Session-by-Session Route: Each week, we'll examine the psychological progress achieved by young William Hunting as he undertakes regular therapy sessions with Dr. Robin Williams. I mean Sean. Kind of like The Sopranos, with a different (albeit similarly egregious) mistreatment of the letter "R". Potential episodes: "Will Hunting's Daddy Issues," "Will Hunting and the Naked-in-High-School Nightmare," "Will Hunting vs. the Rorshach."
The On-the-Road-to-Skyler Route: At the end of the movie, we see Will take off out of Boston in the new car just bequeathed unto him by three friends who, unlike himself, actually don't have high paying jobs lined up. Without so much as a goodbye, he zooms down the road to "see about a girl" ... in other words, to reunite with Skyler, who at this point resides in California. Maybe we'll see the sequel as a series of sorts, with Will taking on a cross country journey to make amends with his lost love, getting himself mixed up in goofy adventures along the way. Potential episodes: "Will Hunting Takes Manhattan," "Will Hunting in the Bayou," "Will Hunting's Sheboygan Adventure."
The Just-Hangin'-'round-with-Chuckie-and-the-Fellas Route: This is probably the worst idea of the bunch... and yet, so many a film and TV program has been made of it. In this incarnation, Will and his Southie pals would spend their time drinking, cursing, watching little league games, beating up other kids in the park, going down to the bowling alley. Think of it as an even more nihilistic Seinfeld, with less money and a good deal more maim. Potential episodes: "Will and Chuckie Rob the Shaw's," "Morgan's Get Rich Quick Scheme," "Cole Hauser's Sheboygan Adventure."
The Original Thriller-esque Route: For those of you who have read up on the story behind the production of Good Will Hunting, for whatever unfounded reason, you might know that the script was originally a thriller about G-men who pursued Will for his mathematic gift. So, maybe something like that would work as a series, and we'd see Will taking on Jason Bourne-like adventures as he avoids the long arm of the American government. Potential episodes: "Will Goes Incognito," "Will Meets Carrie Mathison," "Will Finally Realizes It's Time to Serve His Country and Sells Out Entirely."
Which of these Good Will Huntings would you most like to see?
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Movie moguls Bob and Harvey Weinstein have filed a $75 million (£50 million) lawsuit against production studio bosses in a dispute over profits from The Hobbit films. The Weinstein brothers signed a deal with executives at New Line Cinema Corporation, part of the Time Warner brand, in 1998, giving producers the rights to make films based on the hugely popular J.R.R. Tolkien book.
According to documents filed in New York's Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday (11Dec13), New Line chiefs agreed to pay the plaintiffs five per cent of gross receipts for the "first motion picture" from the fantasy novel, directed by Peter Jackson, as they had already invested $10 million (£6.7 million) into developing a big screen adaptation of The Hobbit.
However, the Weinsteins claim the defendants then decided to split The Hobbit into three movies and are now refusing to pay them for money made from the second and third films, with producers insisting they are actually "remakes" - which the brothers would not be compensated for.
In court papers, the Weinsteins state, "The three part motion picture collectively tells the entire story of The Hobbit", adding, "This case is about greed and ingratitude."
The first installment, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, hit cinemas last year (12) and grossed over $1 billion worldwide, and the follow-up, The Desolation of Smaug, opened in theatres this week (begs09Dec13). The third movie, There and Back Again, is scheduled for release next year (14).
Bosses from both New Line and Time Warner have been named as defendants in the case.
Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is shifting his attention away from the big screen to create TV shows. The influential producer hopes to replicate his cinematic success on the small screen and has started to plan a 10-episode TV drama with his brother Bob Weinstein, titled Book Of Dead, which will be set in Ancient Egypt.
He tells Britain's The Times newspaper, "We're living in a golden age of television... Television is a writers' and producers' medium. In film, the director holds the power. In television it's much more the executive producer."
When asked about his upcoming drama show, he adds, "It's going to be great. It's going to be very very sexy. Too sexy for you and me... Our Nefertiti is going to be amazing."
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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When shots rang out on a November morning, the whole world was changed forever. The assassination of John F. Kennedy sent shockwaves throughout the entire country, but the new film Parkland focuses on the select few men and women who saw it happen. The film seems not to be so much about President Kennedy or his life, but more specifically on the unsung men and women who sprung to action after his death.
Parkland showcases, from multiple perspectives, the race to save the President's life, the events of the investigation, and the life of the family of Lee Harvey Oswald. In a cast littered with Hollywood talent, Paul Giamatti plays the man who mistakenly captures the assassination on tape, Tom Welling and Billy Bob Thornton play secret service agents attempting to catch the shooter, and a scruffy Zac Efron plays a doctor tasked with saving the Commander-in-Chief's life.
Open Road Films
The cast also includes Marcia Gay Harden, Jackie Earl Haley, James Badge Dale, and Jacki Weaver. If the trailer is any indication, Parkland looks like the type of meaty historical drama that will have Oscar voters buzzing early next year. At the very least, the film looks to have the 1960's aesthetics nailed right down to the skinny ties and classic cars.
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Since delving into Christopher Guest's new television series Family Tree, I have been asked by many a Best in Show and A Mighty Wind fan deprived of an HBO subscription, "Is it hilarious?" And the answer, the unabashed truth, is no. Throughout the seven-episode season, I found myself going full half-hours without more than a laugh or two — and we're talking modest chuckles. Approaching the program with the expectations garnered from years of adoring Guest's uproarious big screen work, I found myself perplexed by the pilot: Are these punchlines supposed to earn more than just a knowing smirk? Are the gags and quirks of these subdued characters meant to stand up against the riotous one-liners of Guest's past work? Perhaps the director was going for something different, something alogether new, with this venture — something that might aptly be defined not only by its comedy but by its drama.
A full season having gone by, I still wonder exactly what Family Tree was going for all this time, whether it meant to identify itself by its laughter or its heart. But this muddled identity notwithstanding, these seven episodes proved that Guest knows precisely how to tell a story. On Sunday night, the chapter closed on star Chris O'Dowd's wayward hero Tom Chadwick, a recently unemployed and newly single 30-year-old Londoner who compenstates for his new void of substantial happiness by investigating his own family tree (an exploit brought on by the passing of a great aunt he barely knew). Having somewhat of a conflicted relationship with his alarmingly eccentric sister Bea (Nina Conti) — who carres a monkey puppet with her at all times through which to speak candidly — and their moreover distant father Keith (Michael McKean), Tom seems to look at family as the "final frontier," after coming up short in the realms of the romantic and the professional.
And so, his journeys take him much farther than he might have anticipated. He discovers his roots in showbiz, a set of unknown second cousins in a rural England town, and — in what seems to be the pay-off to which the first half of the season had been leading — takes a trip to U.S. soil when he finds out about a collection of Chadwicks residing across the pond, dating back to the 1800s.
The latter four episodes have Tom uniting with his American brethren: conspiracy theorist Al (Ed Begley Jr.) and his flighty hippie wife Kitty (Carrie Aizley), an eccentric but good-hearted pair who open their home to their visiting cousin; Civil War reenactor Rick (Matt Greisser) and his incurably blunt girlfriend Julie (Maria Blasucci), who also enjoy their share of clubbing; and oddball Southerner Dave (Guest himself), who suffers from a vestigial tail and hasn't seen his wife in two years. But his journeys do not cease with the Chadwicks — Tom learns, through interracting with his new kinfolk, that he has roots in American Indian and Jewish lineages, eventually coming to meet the equally amicable Schmelff side of the family (which includes the familiar faces of Kevin Pollak and Guest fixture Bob Balaban).
Recalling just how eager each new character is to welcome Tom into his or her life and home offers a new rationale behind what makes Family Tree work so well in the absence of obviously laugh-out-loud comedy, or punch-to-the-gut tearjerker moments. Whereas Tom's plight to find new family could have easily disintegrated into mayhem in the face of unanticipated madness, the quirks and eccentricities of his new relatives are met with the sort of kindly, humorous sensibility that you adopt to approach your own relatives' psychological shortcomings. Everyone that Tom meets, even Rick's didactic historian friend Harvey (Don Lake) who grows frustrated with Tom's irreverence for their Civil War reenactments, is more than happy to help him on his mission, and is just as excited as he about the background and legacy of the Chadwick clan.
Of course, the series takes some pretty standard turns: Tom meets an American girl, Ally (Amy Seimetz), whom he saves from a scuffle via his talents assessing the point of fault in traffic accidents, and becomes smitten with her, as does she with him. In the finale, he pioneers a ribald affection for his sister, warts and all, when he steals back her beloved Monk after it has been apprehended by a stubborn charity worker. These are the "high points" of the show's energy, the explosions of purpose and direction. Otherwise, Family Tree delivers a slight, slow, smooth arc to get Tom over his breakup and layoff, allowing him a new sense of self worth, which he derives from his bloodline adventure. And it's as engaging as it is pleasant.
Its outlying climactic beats aside, the series takes pride in its low energy and its realism, melding that classic Guest nuttiness with some down-to-earth charm. It's not as much a comedy as it is a venerable slice of life — we accompany Tom on his trip, which fits not to any particular storytelling form, but unravels organically as he learns about, contemplates, and experiences these new episodes of his life. So perhaps it isn't a misplaced identity at all, but just one that we don't often see on television: a program that realizes we don't need excess comedy or drama to stuff a story. We just need to be, as the character of Tom is at his core, fascinated with the intrinsically majestic idea of a story itself.
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