Amazon Studios Acquires “Life, Itself”

Amazon Wins $10 Million U.S. Rights Auction For ‘This Is Us’ Creator Dan Fogelman Film ‘Life Itself’

DEADLINEEXCLUSIVE: In one of the year’s biggest acquisition deals, Amazon Studios has made a $10 million-plus deal for U.S. rights to Life, Itself, a drama directed and written by This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman. The completed film is a multi-generational love story, weaving together a number of characters whose lives intersect over the course of decades from the streets of New York to the Spanish countryside and back. Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Olivia Cooke, Laia Costa, Mandy Patinkin, Sergio Peris-Mencheta and Alex Monner star. Pic’s produced by Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, FilmNation Entertainment’s Aaron Ryder, and Fogelman.

Amazon won the project over Paramount and Universal, and it was a big one for Amazon under Jason Ropell’s leadership. This project has been on the radar of distributors since the script topped the Black List before it began production, and again when FilmNation presented the package at Berlin at a time when This Is Us had established itself as the biggest breakout hit network series in years. But the auction — which came down to Paramount, Amazon Studios and Universal in the end — really commenced after distributors heard about a couple of “friends and family” screenings of the finished film. Studios — which had already read the script — began making sight-unseen proposals, and three finalists emerged and were then shown the finished film. The bidders made marketing presentations and how they would release the film in the Oscar corridor next year. This process had been going on for the past 10 days.

The film will likely be unveiled next fall in a prestige festival like Toronto or Telluride, and it will broaden from there. Fogelman, who wrote the animated films Cars, Tangled and Bolt and then moved into live action with scripts Stupid, Crazy, Love, The Guilt Trip and Last Vegas, made his directorial debut on a small film, the Al Pacino-starrer Danny Collins. Life Itself, one-third of which takes place in Spain with Spanish-language dialogue and subtitles, fuses the complex emotional resonance of This Is Us in a feature format that puts Fogelman in a position to mine turf of James L. Brooks. The film liberally uses the music of Bob Dylan, specifically from his album Time Out Of Mind.

This is the third major film that FilmNation fully financed, which became a huge sale, after Arrival and The Big Sick.

Endeavor Content brokered the U.S. deal with FilmNation, latter of which is the international sales agent. Fogelman is repped by WME, Management 360 and attorney Bruce Gellman of Hansen Jacobson.

“Free Fire” News

‘Kill List’ and ‘Sightseers’ writer-director Ben Wheatley has selected the action thriller ‘Free Fire’ for his next feature, with production scheduled for spring 2015.

Featuring a cast that includes tar Luke Evans (‘Dracula Untold,’ ‘The Hobbit’), Cillian Murphy (‘Inception,’ ‘Peaky Blinders’), Armie Hammer (‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,’ ‘The Social Network’), Olivia Wilde (‘Rush,’ ‘Her’) and Wheatley’s regular collaborator Michael Smiley (‘Kill List,’ ‘A Field in England’), the actioner revolves around an arms deal which goes spectacularly wrong. Set in Boston in 1978, the film sees Wilde playing a woman who has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen (played by Murphy and Smiley) and a gang led by Evans and Hammer who are selling them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired in the handover, a heart-stopping game of survival ensues.

“The idea for ‘Free Fire’ came from my love of hard-boiled crime movies; from ‘The Asphalt Jungle,’ ‘The Big Sleep,’ ‘The Killing’ and ‘The Big Combo’ through ‘The Driver,’ ‘Le Samourai’ and ‘The French Connection,’ to the modern cycle of ‘Goodfellas,’ ‘Casino,’ ‘Hard Boiled’ and ‘Reservoir Dogs,’ said Wheatley in a statement.
“Free Fire will take you and stick you in the middle of the action. I want the film to have the stylish, no nonsense feel that you get in Peckinpah’s The Getaway. It’s a modern ‘70s movie. Muscular, tough and spare.”
Wheatley is currently in post production on his latest effort, an adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s ‘High-Rise,’ which stars Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller and Luke Evans.

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Gravitas nabs “The Longest Week”

Gravitas Ventures has acquired all U.S. rights to Peter Glanz’s directorial debut “The Longest Week”, a comedy that stars Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde, Billy Crudup and Jenny Slate.

The film will be released theatrically and on VOD on September 5.

Glanz’s script is based on his short film “A Relationship in Four Days,” which played both Cannes and Sundance.

Bateman stars as Conrad Valmont, heir to a hotel fortune, who is cut off from his allowance following his parents abrupt divorce and tossed out into the unforgiving streets of the Upper West Side. Luckily, he is taken in by his old friend Dylan (Crudup), and returns the favor by immediately falling for Dylan’s girlfriend Beatrice (Wilde). As Conrad attempts to woo Beatrice while keeping both their relationship and his bank balance secret, Dylan tries to set him up with Jocelyn (Slate). Committed to the charade that he eventually finds difficult to maintain, Conrad quickly realizes his charm can only extend so far into debt.

“‘The Longest Week’ and the performances of Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde and Billy Crudup offer a refreshing new perspective on a timeless love triangle. With the film, Peter Glanz follows in the great tradition of Woody Allen, Whit Stillman and Wes Anderson in incisively and hilariously portraying the challenges of falling in and out of love in Manhattan” remarked Gravitas Ventures founder/CEO Nolan Gallagher.

“Upon hearing Gravitas Ventures strategy for the film, we realized immediately that they are at the cutting edge of independent film distribution and would do a fantastic job with this film,” said YRF Entertainment CEO Uday Chopra.

YRF Entertainment (“Grace of Monaco”) financed “The Longest Week” and produced in association with Armian Pictures, Atlantic Pictures, and Far Hills. The film was produced by Uday Chopra and Neda Armian, and executive produced by Jonathan Reiman, Chris Marsh, Stone Douglass and Taylor Materne executive produced.

panarmenian.net

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“Third Person” Trailer

Sony Classics Pictures has now unveiled a brand-new domestic trailer for Paul Haggis’ newest film “Third Person.” The upcoming ensemble drama, which is also written by Haggis, deals with three couples who live separate lives in three different parts of the world, but each are suffering from the same dilemma — the loss of a loved one, and the guilt that haunts them. Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, Kim Basinger, Maria Bello, and Moran Atias star.

“Third Person” is scheduled to be screened next week at Tribeca, with a limited release set for June 20th.

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“Better Living Through Chemistry” Clip

Certain movies make things look so fun and appealing, right? This exclusive clip, from the upcoming “Better Living Through Chemistry,” should come with a warning much like the ones legally required at pharmacies: No amount of pills will make you look like Olivia Wilde and Sam Rockwell, nor are they likely to make you have as much fun as they appear to be having in this glimpse at the film.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s take look into the pharmaceutically enhanced lifestyle of Doug (Rockwell) and Elizabeth (Wilde). Doug’s a ho-hum pharmacist, rocking a lab coat and a snooze-worthy routine, until he meets Elizabeth, the recreational pill-popper trophy wife client with whom he begins an affair, as well as a nice little medical habit.

Check out the clip from the flick, in which Doug discovers the joys of frankensteining different combos of drugs for his own personal pleasure, heightening both his sexy lunch breaks with Liz and his boring work days. (No word on whether that heightening involves any of Rockwell busting out any of his signature dance moves, but we have a feeling that it’s highly likely.)

“Better Living Through Chemistry,” which also stars Jane Fonda and Michelle Monaghan, hits limited release March 14.

Olivia Wilde To Star & Produce “Meadowland”

Olivia Wilde will star in and produce Meadowland, a psychological thriller that will be directed by Reed Morano from a script by Chris Rossi. Wilde is producing with Matt Tauber and Jennifer Levine will be executive producer. Wilde plays a mom whose son disappears, a jolt that puts her on an unexpected and dangerous path toward acceptance as she seeks out a relationship with a neglected boy and watches it take an unexpected turn. Filming starts in July in New York.

Wilde is coming off the Oscar-nominated Spike Jonze-directed Her, and the Ron Howard-directed Rush. She also starred in Drinking Buddies. Morano makes her directorial debut after serving as cinematographer on the indies Frozen River, Kill Your Darlings and Sundance premieres The Skeleton Twins and War Story, as well as the HBO series Looking. Wilde is repped by WME and Untitled, Morano by Gersh, Rossi by APA and Untitled, and Tauber by ICM.

deadline.com

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Trailer For “Better Living Through Chemistry”

The first trailer for the upcoming film “Better Living Through Chemistry” has just been released!

A straight-laced pharmacist’s uneventful life spirals out of control when he starts an affair with a trophy wife customer who takes him on a joyride involving sex, drugs and possibly murder.

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