Tag: Brad Grey

Denzel Washington to Direct and Star in “Fences” Movie for Paramount

Denzel Washington Cecil B. DeMille
Denzel Washington (UNIMEDIA IMAGES/REX SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Dave McNary via Variety.com

Denzel Washington will star in and direct a movie version of August Wilson’s “Fences” for Paramount Pictures with Viola Davis on board to star.

Both actors won Tony Awards for their performance in the 2010 Broadway revival of “Fences.” Bron Creative and Macro are producing the movie with Washington, based on Wilson’s screen adaptation of his Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

Scott Rudin and Todd Black are producing with Washington. Executive producers are Eli Bush; Bron Creative’s Aaron L. Gilbert, Jason Cloth, Andy Pollack; Macro’s Charles D. King and Kim Roth along with co-executive producer Poppy Hanks.

Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures said, “This important and beloved play has been a passion of Denzel’s for many years and it is with great excitement that we embark together to bring his dream project to the big screen.”

“Fences” is the story of a one-time promising baseball player, now working as a Pittsburgh garbage collector, and the complicated relationships with his wife, son, and friends. The film’s ensemble cast includes Stephen Henderson, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, Jovan Adepo and Saniyya Sydney.

“Fences” is Washington’s third outing behind the camera following “The Great Deabaters” and “Antwone Fisher.”

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/denzel-washington-viola-davis-starring-fences-movie-1201750942/

“Selma” Cast, Director Ava DuVernay Wear “I Can’t Breathe” Shirts at N.Y. Premiere

Eric Garner Selma premiere protest I
(RAY TAMARRA/GC IMAGES)

Parties and protests don’t typically overlap, but the “Selma” cast made an exception and a statement on Sunday night following the film’s Manhattan premiere. At one point during the otherwise splashy festivities, director Ava DuVernay took to the steps of the New York Public Library with actors David OyelowoE. Roger MitchellWendell PierceOmar DorseyJohn Lavelle, Stephan James, Kent FaulconLorraine ToussaintAndre HollandTessa Thompson and Colman Domingo, donning “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts over their partywear and raising their arms in the “don’t shoot” pose.

It was not just an unusually sobering photo op, but also a direct acknowledgment of the eerie timing of Paramount’s civil rights drama, with its scenes of organized protest and its urgent plea for justice and reform. The premiere was held the same weekend that more than 25,000 men and women marched through Manhattan, in the largest protest the city has seen since a grand jury decided not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner.

The picture’s timeliness is undeniable, said Toussaint, who plays the civil rights activist Amelia Boynton. “There are no accidents,” she said. “I’m so proud to be a part of this film, and I’m so proud of Ava’s accomplishment. To bear witness to the fact that this voice is being heard at this moment … it speaks to the times and the needs of this time, too.”

Introducing the screening, along with Oyelowo and producers Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, DuVernay noted that the last time she had set foot in the historic Ziegfeld Theater, it was in her capacity as a publicist. That was back in 2006, at the New York premiere of “Dreamgirls.”

“I was on that film for a year,” DuVernay recalled at the afterparty. “I remember what Jennifer Hudson wore. I remember what Beyoncé wore. It was a madhouse of A-list celebrities, and I walked that same carpet.” Is it better walking it as a filmmaker rather than a flack? “A little better, a little better. I’ve got better gear on than that black suit.”

Fortunately for actor Alessandro Nivola, the premiere was held on his one night off from “The Elephant Man,” the Broadway play in which he’s currently starring alongside Bradley Cooper. Nivola had to dash over to the Ziegfeld from the matinee, just in time for the film’s 6 p.m. screening.

“I would’ve walked offstage a little early to get to the red carpet if it had meant that I was going to miss it (otherwise),” Nivola said.

He noted that it was a treat to work again with Oyelowo, with whom he also appeared in “Who Do You Love” and the upcoming “A Most Violent Year.” “He was particularly inspired in this particular role by his faith. Whether or not you believe in God, when you see somebody who feels that drive in him in a performance, it’s a pretty powerful thing.”

Also in attendance were Paramount chairman-CEO Brad Grey, Viacom president-CEO Philippe DaumanJames Schamus and Harvey Weinstein, as well as “Selma” actors Carmen EjogoCommonTim Roth and Tom Wilkinson. Paramount will roll the film out on Christmas Day in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., followed by a wide release on Jan. 9.

article by Justin Chang via Variety.com

Chris Rock Lands $12.5 Million Deal with Paramount for His New Film “Top Five”

Top Five Toronto Film Festival

Paramount is about to finalize what will likely be the biggest deal of this year’s Toronto Film Festival: a whopping $12.5 million for the Chris Rock comedy “Top Five.”  The studio, which is acquiring worldwide rights to the movie, has also agreed to spend $20 million on marketing.

The Scott Rudin-produced film, which Rock stars in and directs about a day in the life of a comedian movie star, premiered in Toronto on Saturday night and sparked a fierce bidding war among several studios.

The film’s budget was north of $10 million.  Buyers interested in the film included CBS Films, Sony, Open Road and Relativity.

Part of the concern for potential buyers is that with a substantial promotional commitment and Rock’s limited international following, the film would be almost wholly dependent on its domestic box office in order to make a profit. However, the film was enthusiastically received by audiences at Toronto and knowledgeable insiders say it has real commercial potential.

Paramount makes sense because the studio’s chief, Brad Grey, has a longstanding relationship with Rock.

article by Brent Lang and Ramin Setoodeh via Variety.com

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