Adrien Brody launches production company

EXCLUSIVE: First film to go into production from actor’s company will be Manhattan Nocturne.

Adrien Brody has unveiled his production company Fable House in partnership with Sparkle Roll Cultural Media and Nigerian energy magnate Kola Aluko.

The latter is understood to have committed $30m and start-up financier Beijing Cultural Assets Chinese Film & Television Fund a further $20m to a slate of English-language films for China and the international market.

First to go in autumn will be murder mystery Manhattan Nocturne, in which Brody will star opposite Yvonne Strahovski and Campbell Scott.

Brian DeCubellis will direct the adaptation of the Colin Harrison novel and produces with Brody and Scott. LA-based 13 Films handles international sales and Paradigm represents US rights.

“It is the kind of film Sidney Lumet would make,” said Brody, who will produce the entire roster and star in select titles. “It is the kind of film I wish to make.”

Jackie Chan is 50% owner in Beijing-based Sparkle Roll Cultural Media, one of the companies involved in Chan’s upcoming Dragon Blade.

MIPTV Briefs: ‘SAF3′ Secures 2nd Season; ITVSGE Adds Major Series; More

mip tv logo 2Social experiment format Utopia is getting a German version. TheProSiebenSat.1 Group has acquired rights with the local version to be a co-production between Talpa Media and its German partner, Schwartzkopff TV. In the States, Talpa Media U.S. is working with Fox on the American version for launch later this year. The reality series features a group of everyday people whisked to an isolated, undeveloped location for an entire year and challenged to create their own civilization.

halt and catch fireEntertainment One has sealed multiple international deals on new dramas that form part of its multi-year output deal with AMC Networks. Among the sellers are AMC’s Turn and Halt And Catch Fire, as well as SundanceTV’s The Red RoadTurn went to OCS in France, while all three drama series were licensed by C More in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland for exclusive pay rights; HBO Nordic in Scandinavia (SVOD); TV2 in Norway; and yes DBS Satellite Services in Israel. Sundance Channel Globalpreviously acquired The Red Road across multiple territories in Europe, North America and Latin America. It will premiere interntaionally on April 24. Turn, a Revolutionary War drama from executive producers Barry Josephson and Craig Silverstein, and starring Jamie Bell, debuted yesterday on AMC in the U.S. Halt And Catch Fire, a 1980s set drama about the personal computing boom, kicks off Stateside on June 1.

saf3Syndicated series SAF3, from Baywatchcreators Tai Collins and Gregory J. Bonann, has been renewed for a second season. Produced by George Furla and Randall Emmett’s Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, and Bonann’s Tower 18 Productions, the series follows an elite division of first-responders within the Malibu Fire Department. The action-packed 20-episode first season premiered in September last year and airs in over 90% of the U.S., with Tribune Broadcasting as the lead station group. Internationally, the series has been sold in over 60 countries. The 2nd Season Stateside premiere will be accompanied by a simultaneous launch in Spanish via Univision’s UniMas platform for Latino audiences in the U.S. Chris Philip (Sierra Engine), Nadine de Barros (Fortitute) and Tannaz Anisi (13 Films) are handling worldwide sales here at Mip.

duchovnyITV Studios Global Entertainment has boarded a range of new scripted series for international sales. They includeTexas RisingAquariusThe Good Witch and Schitt’s CreekTexas Rising stars Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser and Ray Liotta and details the Texas Revolution and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Roland Joffe will direct. David Duchovny stars in the 1960s-set Aquarius about a cop who goes undercover to track Charles Manson and the Manson Family before their infamous murder spree. The Good Witch series will star Catherine Bell, reprising her role of raven-haired enchantress Cassie Nightingale from the Hallmark TV movies. Season One starts shooting early next year. Canadian comedy Schitt’s Creek stars Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Chris Elliott and Dan Levy in the story of a filthy rich video store magnate who goes bust and is forced to relocate his family to a little town he once bought as a joke when money was no object.

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Alicia Keys says ‘Mister & Pete’ provides Jennifer Hudson’s ‘defining role’

By: Nick Patch, The Canadian Press

Monday, Feb. 17, 2014 at 4:26 P

Alicia Keys, executive producer of the movie

Alicia Keys, executive producer of the movie “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete” smiles while speaking in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. In the film, powerhouse vocalist Jennifer Hudson disappears into an entirely unfamiliar role as a drug-addicted prostitute and absentee mother, her eyes drooping, her hair a sweat-sopped pile, her tattooed arms pocked with syringe scars. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/ Evan Vucci

TORONTO – In “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete,” powerhouse vocalist Jennifer Hudson disappears into an entirely unfamiliar role as a drug-addicted prostitute and absentee mother, her eyes drooping, her hair a sweat-sopped pile, her tattooed arms pocked with syringe scars.

And Alicia Keys, who executive produced and scored the film, couldn’t believe how completely her friend dived into the unflattering performance.

“This is what defines Jennifer Hudson as an actress, this film here. This is a defining role for her,” Keys said in a recent telephone interview from New York. “She’s a drug addict and she is in pain and she feels hopeless, and she’s also trying to somewhere inside of there raise a son even though everything is pointing to just this discouragement.

“She did an amazing job. It was totally unvain. Totally selfless. She went all the way in. … We’re already great, great friends, but I admire her to a whole other degree and level for being brave enough to take a role that takes you that far away from yourself.

“Like, she aced this thing,” she added.

Keys speaks with an uncommon passion for the acclaimed film — which is out on DVD in Canada on Tuesday — because she spent five years nurturing it to the screen.

The gritty drama tracks Mister (Skylan Brooks), an endlessly feisty 13-year-old who is left to fend for himself (along with his nine-year-old compatriot Pete) for one long, hot Brooklyn summer after his mom is hauled off to jail.

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“Chuck” Alum Yvonne Stahovski Set for Crime Thriller “Manhattan Nocturne” Opposite Adrien Brody

January 30, 2014 | Posted by 


Indie crime thriller “Manhattan Nocturne” has cast Adrien Brody and“Chuck” alumna Yvonne Strahovski to play the leads, according toVariety. The Brian DeCubellis film will be introduced to buyers in Berlin.

Based on the 1996 Colin Harrison novel of the same name, “Manhattan Nocturne” sees Brody as Porter Wren, a tabloid reporter who makes his living writing about salacious and scandalous crime and gossip, while being a devoted husband and father in his off hours. When a seductive stranger (Strahovski) asks him to investigate the unsolved murder of her husband, however, he gets in over his head and is drawn into increasingly darker and more dangerous scenarios that threaten all facets of his life. Filming is slated to begin in July.

Aussie actress Strahovski broke out as secret agent Sarah on NBC’s fledgling action comedy caper“Chuck,” a fan favorite which ended after five seasons. She’s had middling luck on the big screen since graduating from TV, with roles in little-seen “Killer Elite” and “The Guilt Trip,” and can currently be seen in “I, Frankenstein” opposite Aaron Eckhart. She’s also booked a return to TV, landing the female lead opposite Kiefer Sutherland in limited event series “24: Live Another Day.”

Berlin: Adrien Brody Heading for ‘Manhattan Nocturne’ (EXCLUSIVE)

adrien brody houdini

Shooting planned for July

Film Reporter@Variety_DMcNary

In a pre-Berlin move, Adrien Brody and Yvonne Strahovski have come on board indie crime thriller “Manhattan Nocturne,” with shooting starting in July.

13 Films will be launching pre-sales next week at the European Film Market in Berlin. Paradigm is packaging and handling North American rights.

Brian DeCubellis will direct from his own script with both DeCubellis and Campbell Scott producing. Scott and Jennifer Beals will also star.

“Manhattan Nocturne,” written by Colin Harrison, was published in 1996. Brody will portray a devoted husband and accomplished journalist who is asked by a seductive stranger (played by Strahovski) to dig into the unsolved murder of her husband.

13 Films is a boutique international sales-acquisitions company headed by Tannaz Anisi and launched at the American Film Market in November. The company plans on acquiring, selling and financing six to eight films a year.

Brody will be seen next in Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Strahovski is starring in “I, Frankenstein.”


Exclusive: Director Jake Goldberger Talks Collaborating With Cuba Gooding Jr. on ‘Life of a King’

The Source Magazine sat down with Director Jake Goldberger, where he talked about collaborating with Cuba Gooding Jr. on his latest film ‘Life of a King’.

What inspired you to direct this movie?

You know for me it was really about Eugene brown himself. This man’s story was really inspiring to me,  that he was making a difference using chess, I thought it was a very inspiring story.
Did you meet the real Eugene Brown? Did he have any input?

I spoke to Eugene many times over the phone, however we didn’t meet in person until we were shooting the movie.  It took us 10 years to make the movie so he and I would have conversations over the year and sure he had input over the movie for him. I just wanted to make sure the movie was making sense on a narrative level.  I would call him and he would call me and he would tell me stories and I would get inspirations from the story =&0=& For me it was that one man can really make a difference…it doesn’t matter what economic background you come from you can be something and somebody and that’s Eugene’s whole platform. It’s really inspiring and the kids he’s working with really love him and get a lot from him. =&1=&

We shot in 15 days and 15 days is incredibly short…for us we had a gazillion locations, we had chess tournaments, multiple chess tournaments, school, jail, exteriors, my cinematographer and I went to Washington DC just to shoot the exteriors. We had to be really careful of the palm tree because when you are shooting a movie in Los Angeles and trying to make it seem like it’s somewhere else, you have to be so conscious of the palm trees and it’s not just the palm trees it’s the palm tree reflections, but yeah we shot the entire movie in 15 days and I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think we could.

=&2=& Cuba is just amazing. When you’re shooting a movie on this schedule, if the main actor is a jerk you’re in trouble. Cuba came on. He was a pro from day one. He was very helpful with the kids, the actors and he knew that they looked up to him. He was still great with them and some actors in his position wouldn’t act as professional as he did. It couldn’t have been done without Cuba. I loved working with him. Hopefully we get a chance to work with each other again sooner than later, he is such a good actor. When you’re working with someone like Cuba as a director sometimes you forget to say cut because you are so into Cuba Gooding Jr’s acting and he’s just getting to you emotionally. -Jasmine Clarke  Videography Credit: Paul Obrochta

The Film Strip: Cuba Gooding, Jr. on ‘Life of a King,’ Oscars and Foreign Stigma

cuba gooding jr & dennis haysbert

Cuba Gooding Jr. & Dennis Haysbert in ‘Life of a King’

*Cuba Gooding, Jr. is Eugene Brown in the remarkable film, “The Life of a King,” based on the real life of the Big Chair Chess Club founder. In prison 18 years for bank robbery, Brown learned how to play chess.

After his release Brown’s motto of “Teach the un-teachable, reach the un-reachable, and always think before you move” saved the lives of many doomed youths.

The Film Strip caught up with Gooding and writer/director Jake Goldberger recently at the Soho Grand in New York City. Gooding gives a lowdown of his newest release, the Oscars and the ‘Blacks don’t sell overseas’ stigma.

Cuba, what makes this character special to you? 
CUBA GOODING, JR: There are a few criteria on which I choose for the roles I gravitate towards. One would be military. I like military movies but I also like real life people that reflect how America became the great nation that it is today. Just look at ‘Men of Honor,’ Chief Carl Brashear, and the Tuskegee Airmen movies. I think the third thing is the father and son nucleus in the family. You look back at ‘Boyz n the Hood,’ with Tre and Furious, even ‘The Butler’ there’s that relationship with father and son. When I was growing up my father was on the road and all my other buddies’ fathers were gone. It was the mom that raised us and turned us into men, but it pushed me to wanting to be in the life of my sons. All of those things coupled with the fact that when I was going to high school I didn’t know about Tuskegee Airmen or the other [black heroes] in the pages in Black history. And I damn well didn’t know about prison inmate Eugene Brown who taught some kids in the inner city how to play chest hat became Grand Master chess champions.

What were some of the challenges?
CG: Money to shoot it, to sell the script. [Enacting the negative responses of some studios and financiers]‘, so what’s it about?’ It’s about this Black guy who teaches kids how to play chess. ‘Right, good luck with that.’

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Life Of A King’, ‘Generation War’, ‘Back In The Day’, ‘Big Bad Wolves’, ‘G.B.F.’

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

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As Sundance kicks into high gear with much of the spectrum of the indie world high up in Utah, Millennium will debut Life Of A King with Cuba Gooding, Jr. The project has been a passion of veteran producer Jim Young over a decade in the making and will open in a fairly sizable launch this weekend. Music Box will bow Generation War, a feature that was initially shown as a highly successful mini-series in Germany with a “unique” story against the backdrop of WWII. Also a project that gestated over some years, Back In The Day will bow this weekend via Screen Media Films, while Magnet releasing will open Israeli-produced thriller Big Bad Wolves. And festival favorite LGBT-centered G.B.F. will open in an initial limited run by Vertical Entertainment.

Related: Fleming On 2014 Sundance Forecast: Thriving Indie Biz Makes Appetite Strong

Life Of A Kinglifeofking
Director-writer: Jake Goldberger
Writers: David Scott, Dan Wetzel
Cast: Cuba Gooding, Jr., Dennis Haysbert, LisaGay Hamilton, Thurston Hill
Distributor: Millennium Films

Life Of A King has roots in a segment from ABC’sNightline over a decade ago. The drama centers on ex-felon, Eugene Brown (Cuba Gooding, Jr) who establishes a Chess Club for inner city teens in Washington, D.C. “I met a sports writer named Dan Wetzel and he said I had to watch this episode ofNightline about Eugene Brown,” said producer Jim Young. “I watched it and it was unbelievable.” He attempted to track Brown down via the internet, but had difficulty at the time (we’ve come a long way) and decided to go the traditional route by hiring a private detective. “He was dumbfounded someone called and wanted to do a movie on him. I started developing the script with Dan [Wetzel] and Dave Scott,” said Young. “Eventually a writer/director I had worked with as a producer on a previous film, Jake Goldberger, [took a look] and worked on a script re-write.” That was 8 years ago, around the time both Young and Goldberger worked on an earlier project, Don McKay. Life Of A King had some sizable production outfits on board at various stages, but it had difficulty getting a final home, but eventually they received a call about the feature from a company in Atlanta. “In early 2012, after many years of toiling to get the film made, we found an amazing partner in UP Entertainment and we were off running,” said Young. Meanwhile, a casting agent had contacted Cuba Gooding, Jr., who read the script, and he came on board.

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First Lady, Alicia Keys Team up for Education

WASHINGTON January 16, 2014 (AP)

Associated Press

First lady Michelle Obama and singer Alicia Keys are teaming up to turn the message of a movie about two inner-city boys battling long odds into a call for the nation to do more to help young people get the support they need to make it to — and through — college.

The first lady held a White House screening of “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete,” for educators and others helping young people make it. The Grammy-winning Keys was the movie’s executive producer and did its score. The movie tells the story of two boys in New York left to take care of themselves.

Keys says she’s passionate about the story, and passionate about the need to do better for kids.

The first lady picks 2013 Sundance favorite “Mister & Pete” for a screening

Brooklyn Park screenwriter gets a White House invitation

The first lady picks 2013 Sundance favorite “Mister & Pete” for a screening

Blog post by: Colin Covert

Updated: January 10, 2014 – 3:44 PM

Michael Starrbury

Brooklyn Park screenwriter Michael Starrbury has had some nice accolades. His scripts have won multiple awards and his first film to be produced debuted last year at the Sundance Film Festival. “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete,” the story of a streetwise, neglected Brooklyn eighth-grader looking after his vulnerable 9-year-old friend, won nationwide praise from critics (though not wide distribution.)
None of those kudos quite measures up to the email he received today, inviting him to attend a screening of the movie with a very special audience in Washington, D.C.
It read: “Mrs. Michelle Obama requests the pleasure of your company at a screening of the film ‘The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete’ to be held at The White House.”
“When I heard that “Mister & Pete” would be screening at the White House and I was invited to attend,” he said, “the first thing I thought was, ‘There goes my goal of going my entire adult life without wearing a suit.’”
Starrbury isn’t sure whether the President will attend the presentation Wednesday. Either way, he’s now in a company of filmmakers that’s a lot more exclusive than winning an Oscar.

This post is from the Artcetera blog