On the topic of New Zealand exports, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson tends to get most of the glory in the world of film, but, as Yoda once said: "...there is another." That other gifted islander is Andrew Adamson, a visual effects guru who made the transition to director with Shrek, Shrek 2 and the first two of three Chronicles of Narnia films. He's now one of the big Hollywood players, with billions of dollars in global gross and an Oscar nod to his name.
He's such a big deal that Bedrock Studios partners Cary Granat and Ed Jones have signed the 43-year-old filmmaker to an exclusive multi-year development deal, along with his frequent producer/collaborator Aron Warner. It's the first completed talent signing that Bedrock has made and a lucrative one at that. Adamson is young, creative and has numerous projects in development that the production house can lend their support to (and reap their benefits, of course).
Adamson's next credit is that of executive producer on The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of The Dawn Treader.
Source: Deadline New York
Josh Randall, who plays Dr. Mike Burton on the NBC TV series Ed, was arrested Wednesday night for allegedly smoking crack cocaine in a Brooklyn park, The Associated Press reports. According to police, Randall was smoking crack with a homeless man in a park near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Police say they also recovered a small quantity of crack at the scene. The 30-year-old actor has been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and could face up to seven years in prison if convicted. But his lawyer, Ken Glassman, said the allegations are a misunderstanding and are unsubstantiated. In a statement released Thursday Glassman said Randall asked a homeless man for directions to the bus, and the homeless man asked him for money. "Josh, who is not a New Yorker, was taking a walk in Brooklyn and got lost," he said. "Josh gave him $20--at which point he was arrested. Josh has committed no crime."
A spokesperson for the Osbourne family told USA Today that matriarch Sharon is in "very good spirits" following her first session of chemotherapy. The treatment is the first step of a three-month course in her battle with colon cancer, which will be shown on the second series of MTV's hit reality show The Osbournes.
New Zealander Andrew Adamson, who co-directed DreamWorks' animated feature Shrek with Vicky Jenson, has signed on to shoot the live-action feature adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. According to Variety, writer Ann Peacock will adapt the C.S. Lewis novel for Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz' Walden Media, which hopes to have the film in theaters by mid-2004. No distributor is attached yet.
Emmy-nominated actress Jennifer Aniston (Friends) will team up with funnyman Jim Carrey for Universal Pictures' spiritual comedy Bruce Almighty. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Morgan Freeman is in final negotiations to star. Directed by Tom Shadyac, the project is expected to begin production Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry has signed on to star in Nappily Ever After, a film about a black woman's journey to self-discovery--including the decision to stop processing her hair and cut it short, according to The Hollywood Reporter. But the project just got an added boost: Scribe Tina Chism (Drumline) has signed on to do the screenplay based on Trisha Thomas' novel by the same name.
Director Paul Schrader (The Comfort of Strangers) is in negotiations to helm the untitled prequel to The Exorcist, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Schrader is taking over the reigns from the late John Frankenheimer, who died one month after voluntarily stepping down from the project. The film, which stars Gabriel Mann, Liam Neeson and Australian actor Billy Crawford, is expected to begin shooting in the United Kingdom and Spain in November.
The fifth upcoming season of the hit NBC comedy Will & Grace is heating up to be a good one. According to The Hollywood Reporter, crooner Harry Connick Jr. will be joining the cast as a new love interest for Grace, while Jack gets hired as a personal assistant to Kevin Bacon, who will be playing himself. The new season of Will & Grace debuts Sept. 26.
Rapper P. Diddy and Shakira have joined the lineup of performers for MTV's 2002 Video Music Awards, which will take place Aug. 29 at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Previously announced performers include Pink, Eminem and Bruce Springsteen. Britney Spears, Nelly, B2K, Bow Wow and Elton John will help hand out the awards, MTV.com reports.
CBS won the first week of the May sweeps, powered by its hit reality show Survivor II: The Australian Outback and its coupled drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The two shows scored second- and third-place finishes respectively, behind an episode of NBC's E.R., which saw the return of Sally Field. CBS averaged an 8.4 household rating for the week with a 14 share. NBC, no longer feeling the drag of ratings for its XFL football telecasts, was close behind with an 8.2/14. ABC, which placed two editions of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in the top ten, was third with a 7.1/12, followed by Fox with a 5.7/10. Meanwhile, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw set a modern record by maintaining the lead among network newscasts for 52 consecutive weeks.
The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:
1. E.R. NBC, 17.5/29; 2. Survivor II: The Australian Outback, CBS, 16.6/27; 3. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 14.4/22; 4. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Sunday), ABC, 12.0/18; 5. West Wing, NBC, 11.9/19; 6. Millionaire (Tuesday), ABC, 11.7/20; 7. Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 11.4/17; 8. Law and Order, NBC, 11.3/19; 9. The Practice, ABC, 11.2/18; 10. Friends, NBC, 10.9/19.
TALKS BETWEEN WRITERS, PRODUCERS CONTINUE PAST DEADLINE
Negotiators for the Writers Guild of America and the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers stayed at the bargaining table for nearly three hours past the 12:01 a.m. expiration of their contract, then announced that they would resume their talks at noon Wednesday. Although spokespersons for both sides said that the current contract had not been formally extended, the fact that the WGA negotiators did not call for a strike authorization vote appeared to represent a de facto recognition of a day-to-day extension. It also suggested that the two sides may be nearing an agreement. Each side, however, declined to say whether progress was being made. "We are working very hard to reach an agreement," Writers Guild spokeswoman Cheryl Rhoden told reporters at the end of last night's (this morning's) session.
NBC CHIEF QUERIES PRODUCERS ABOUT "THE SOPRANOS"
In what was regarded by executives at HBO as a slap at their most successful program, NBC President Robert Wright has written to several top producers asking for their views about the impact of The Sopranos -- "a show which we could not and would not air on NBC because of the violence, language and nudity." The letter was accompanied by a tape of one Sopranos episode that included sex scenes and a violent beating of a prostitute. HBO Chairman Jeff Bewkes told the New York Times, "I take exception to his implication that there in inappropriate content on the show. I feel it's unjustified. It's hard to understand what he's trying to do." Wright told Wednesday's Los Angeles Times that his goal was to provoke a dialogue about where network programming is heading.
GM AND NEWS CORP TO CONTINUE DIRECTV TALKS
The board of directors of General Motors said Tuesday that they wanted to continue talks with News Corp about merging Hughes Electronics' DirecTV with the media giant's Sky Global Networks. GM is the parent company of Hughes.
AUSTRALIA TO AIR "SURVIVOR" FINALE EARLY
Australia's Channel 9, which has been airing Survivor: The Australian Outback about a week after it is seen in the United States, will carry last week's episode followed by the finale only hours after the American telecast Thursday night (Friday in Australia). Executives of the Australian network had feared that revelation of the winner in the Australian press would discourage viewers from tuning in.
ROBB SURFACES -- WITH EXPOSE -- AT "INSIDE"
David Robb, the former Hollywood Reporter journalist who quit his job last week in a dispute with the publisher over an investigative article he had written about the trade paper's gossip columnist, has found an outlet for his work: the online media magazine Inside . Robb includes allegations in his article that Reporter columnist George Christy accepted numerous favors from persons and companies that he wrote about -- particularly Steve Stabler and Brad Krevoy of Motion Picture Corporation of America and Destination Films. He claims that for years Christy received free office space from the now-defunct companies valued at $1,000-$1,250 per month and that although his credits appear in listings for five films produced by Stabler and Krevoy, Christy is nowhere to be seen in any of them. Inside announced Tuesday that Robb will be covering the actors' and writers' guild negotiations for the Web site.
THROWING A CROWBAR INTO THE WORKS
Government and industry lawyers told a federal appeals court Tuesday that unless the panel upholds a ruling barring the distribution of a computer program that breaks the industry's encryption code aimed at preventing DVDs from being copied, perfect digital copies of movies could be uploaded onto the Internet and distributed worldwide. The program, called DeCSS, amounts to a "digital crowbar" for copyright thieves, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Alter told the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. However, Stanford University Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan, who represents Eric Corley, the operator of an Internet hacker site that published the code, shot back: "The government is trying to impose strict liability for having a crowbar, whether you're a carpenter or a thief." Corley and others have contended that DeCSS is essential for watching DVDs on many computers that are not equipped with the Windows operating system -- but that it is impractical for bootlegging them on the Internet.
BRITISH WRITER "IMPRESSED" BY QUICK DEAL WITH DREAMWORKS
A British sci-fi writer says that he was "impressed" when he received a phone call from DreamWorks offering to buy the film rights to three novels that he had written as a trilogy. Terry Pratchett told Britain's Guardian newspaper that DreamWorks plans to use the books -- Truckers, Diggers and Wings, together known as the Bromeliad Trilogy -- as the basis for a computer-animated film to be directed by Andrew Adamson (Shrek). "You've got to be impressed when someone from the studio phones up from Hollywood one night and turns up for lunch in Wiltshire, England, the very next day," Pratchett said. DreamWorks principal Jeffrey Katzenberg commented, "There are few authors whose work lends itself to animation as well as Terry Pratchett's."
BRITISH FILM COMPANY GOING AFTER HOLLYWOOD
Britain's commercial Channel 4, whose FilmFour movie division has turned out such moderate low-budget hits as Trainspotting, The Crying Game and Elizabeth, announced Tuesday that it is altering its strategy and will begin producing more expensive films featuring major British and American stars. Channel 4 CEO Michael Jackson said Tuesday that the company is launching 4 Ventures Limited to attract investors in the company's film business. He said that it has already signed Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Andie MacDowell, Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Harris and Ian Holm for forthcoming projects, including the upcoming $22-million production of Charlotte Gray, based on the Sebastian Faulks novel and starring Blanchett and Crudup.
WILL "BRIDGET" BECOME BRITAIN'S BIGGEST HIT?
Bridget Jones's Diary retained the top spot at the British box office for the third consecutive weekend, earning $5 million to bring its total U.K. gross to $30.1 million, the British trade paper Screen International reported Tuesday. (The film had grossed $36.8 million through Monday in the United States) British analysts projected that the film will eventually eclipse Notting Hill as the most successful British film in history. (Notting Hill earned $43.5 million in Britain and $116 million in the United States.)