Michael Cohl, lead producer of the new Julie Taymor musical Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, announced Nov. 30 that the production sold more than $1 million worth of tickets within 24 hours of the first preview performance on Nov. 28 at Broadway’s Foxwoods Theatre. “We’re thrilled to finally be performing this terrific show for audiences, and we’re excited that the audiences are coming in droves,” stated Cohl.
I can confirm that 23-year-old Eric Kuhn is joining UTA’s digital media department where I’m told he will specialize in social media strategies for the agency’s talent and corporate clients. This may be the agency world’s first move to bring in an agent focusing specifically on social media and outlets such as Twitter, Foursquare, and Facebook — and, if not, Kuhn is certainly the most high profile. Kuhn was CNN’s Audience Interaction Producer, where he oversaw social media for CNN’s U.S. programming and worked on the network’s television/web integration. Kuhn oversaw CNN’s more than 250 Twitter accounts, and I’m told he was responsible for helping predict election results by looking at voter sentiment on Twitter (and now we know who to blame for all that on-air pablum by the newscasters and pundits during election night). Prior to CNN he helped manage social media for both the NBA and the CBS Evening News. I’m told Kuhn will be relocating from DC to LA at the beginning of the year.
What have you done lately? Excuse me while I go feel sorry for myself.
USA has given a formal green light to the Burn Notice movie prequel starring Bruce Campbell, which will be directed by Burn Notice star Jeffrey Donovan. The two will also executive produce with Burn Notice creator Matt Nix, who wrote the movie, and the series exec producer Mikkel Bondesen. The untitled two-hour film, which was announced at this year’s Comic-Con, will begin shooting in January on location in Bogota, Colombia for a premiere in Spring 2011. Burn Notice, which remains the top-rated scripted series on basic cable, has wrapped production on Season 4, and filming on Season 5 is slated to begin shortly after the movie finishes shooting.
Primetime musical series are red-hot courtesy of Fox’s Glee, and ABC, whose sibling Disney Channel started the genre’s resurgence with High School Musical and Hannah Montana, is developing a couple of music-themed series for next fall. Leading the pack is a drama with musical elements from writer Bob Kushell (Samantha Who?) starring Tony winner Idina Menzel. Another one is a musical comedy from Robert Horn, who penned 2 Disney Channel movie musicals this year: the High School Musical-spinoff Sharpay Fabulous, starring Ashley Tisdale, and The Suite Life: The Movie. Hot off her recurring role on Glee last season, Idina Menzel is headlining her own musical hourlong project, a mother-daughter relationship drama in the vein of Gilmore Girls. It will star the Broadway actress as the single mother of a teenager who, to make ends meet, waits tables and performs at weddings and bar mitzvahs, odd jobs that Menzel herself worked early on while pursuing a Broadway career. Kushell, who had been looking to do a musical series for the past 10 years, is writing the script for ABC Studios and will executive produce with David Knoller (Big Love).
Glee is a fluke. I’m very skeptical an original musical drama is going to work.
I hear The Walking Dead writer/ executive producer/ director Frank Darabont has let go of the writers on the hot freshman AMC series, which has already renewed for a second season. That includes Darabont’s No.2, writing executive producer Charles “Chic” Eglee. Writer turnover on series between seasons is commonplace but wholesale overhauls are unusual. What’s more, I hear Darabont is looking to forgo having a writing staff for the second season ofWalking Dead altogether and assign scripts to freelancers. Darabont, who hails from the feature world with The Young Indiana Jones as the only series credit before Walking Dead, ended up writing 2 of the first season’s 6 episodes ofWalking Dead - the pilot and the second episode - and co-writing/rewriting the other 4. Two of those 4 were written by non-staff writers, one by executive producer Robert Kirkman, on whose comics the series is based, and one by Glen Mazzara. The freelance model is employed by the Starz/BBC series Tourchwood, which in turn borrowed it from the U.K. where the show originated. Having BBC as producer has allowed Torchwood to proceed with no writing staff but I hear such a plan on an U.S.-based series such as Walking Dead may face issues with the Writers Guild. And, while the first season of Walking Dead was only 6 episodes, its second-season order is for 13, which may prove harder to manage in pre-production, production and post-production with no writing staff. Sources tell me that no final decision has been made yet with all options open, including using some combination of a writing staff/freelances. There is time - AMC is mulling launching Walking Dead's second season the way it did the first one - in October during Fearfest.
I let out an audible “whoa” in response to this. That rarely happens.
Newly named Oscar co-host James Franco is in talks to co-star with Nicole Kidman in a fall 2011 revival of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth, according to Showbiz411.com. As previously reported, Kidman has signed on to play aging actress Alexandra del Lago (known as the Princess Kosmonopolis) under the direction of David Cromer (Our Town, Brighton Beach Memoirs), and Franco would co-star as Chance Wayne, the young gigolo who becomes her companion.
"The idea is to use these fragments of cut scenes and use CGI to have The Joker appear one last time," a source explained. "Chris wants some continuity between movies and for the franchise to pay tribute to Heath and his portrayal of the Joker."
It is thought only a snippet of footage will be used, although the plan is only in the early stages at the moment. If it goes ahead it is likely to be a hit with fans and industry professionals alike, as Heath’s portrayal of the Joker has gone down in film history as one of the most intense depictions of a character ever seen.
"It would only be a fleeting moment in the movie and would only be included with the full consent of Heath’s family," the source added.
“They just couldn’t stand him. I think it was Michael Eisner, the head of Disney at the time, who was quoted as saying, ‘He’s ruining the movie.’ Upper-echelon Disney-ites, going, What’s wrong with him? Is he, you know, like some kind of weird simpleton? Is he drunk? By the way, is he gay? … And so I actually told this woman who was the Disney-ite … ‘But didn’t you know that all my characters are gay?’ Which really made her nervous.”—Johnny Depp to Vanity Fair re: Jack Sparrow | Vulture
I was wondering about your opinion on Franco and Hathaway as Oscar hosts, and if you think the Academy could've made a better choice.
I personally think NPH or a an actual comedian would've been a better idea
Franco and Hathaway will do fine - it may be a little weird and forced though. Their personalities are suitable, it really comes down to the writing. If the writing is typical award show hacky, it won’t be a good time.
As I stated before Justin Timberlake would have been an excellent option. He’s got acting heat around him (not unlike Franco and Hathaway), he’s a song and dance man as someone pointed out, and he’s young. NPH would have been fine too. Or a Jimmy Fallon-esque choice, he did great at the Emmys. Picking an older comedian would have been stale, such as Steve Martin or Billy Crystal let’s say.
You can’t knock them for trying something different. Let’s just hope it’s as loose and fresh as they want it to be.
The Scottsboro Boys, the final collaboration between legendary Broadway composing team John Kander and the late Fred Ebb, has set a closing date for December 12 at the Lyceum Theatre. The show, which began previews on October 7 and opened on October 31, will have played 29 previews and 49 performances upon closing.
The creators of FX’s unjustly underrated show Terriers wrote an open letter to fans and delivered it via Alan Sepinwall at Hitfix. Let’s take a look.
Dear “Terriers” watchers,
On the eve of our season finale — and, as far as we know, it is a season finale — we wanted to thank you for tuning in and supporting the show and, most of all, for embracing Hank and Britt with such enthusiasm and devotion. We’re very proud of “Terriers” and are grateful/gratified it found an audience as intelligent, discerning and handsome as you. So, on behalf of all the actors and writers and directors and crew members and everyone who worked on the show, thanks. And we hope to do it again next year.
Ted Griffin & Shawn Ryan & Tim Minear
P.S. If you think of it, you might watch tomorrow’s episode LIVE if you can; it’s called (for no particular reason) “Hail Mary” and we hope you enjoy it. Also, if you happen to know a Nielsen family, this could be a great opportunity to reconnect by inviting yourself over to watch it at their place. Super too would be if when you got home after, you Hulu’d the show. Then gifted it via iTunes to everyone you love/can barely stand. Just a thought. It’s what our mothers are doing.
It’s such a fantastic show. I can’t stress that enough. But this reminds me a bit of Kyle Killen’s blog plea with Lone Star a few months back, and that’s unsettling.
In today’s Times, Michael Cieply reports on the strange reaction to the trailer for next summer’s Cowboys & Aliens, which has been unintentionally drawing laughs before screenings of Harry Potter. Universal is concerned, because of the film’s silly title and genre-mixing premise, that audiences are expecting a comedy instead of the joyless mash-up of Unforgiven and Alien that C&A apparently is. So how — apart from the movie’s already very somber trailer — can they better convince us of its “deadly seriousness”? Remix someInception-style horns into the score? Give Daniel Craig’s character Parkinson’s? Have Mo’Nique play Harrison Ford’s abusive mom? Your suggestions are appreciated, we’re sure.
BEST FEATURE 127 Hours Black Swan Greenberg The Kids Are All Right Winter’s Bone BEST DIRECTOR Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan Danny Boyle, 127 Hours Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right Debra Granik, Winter’s Bone John Cameron Mitchell, Rabbit Hole BEST SCREENPLAY Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, Winter’s Bone Nicole Holofcener, Please Give David Lindsay-Abaire, Rabbit Hole Todd Solondz, Life During Wartime
BEST FIRST FEATURE Everything Strange and New Get Low Night Catches Us The Last Exorcism Tiny Furniture BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY Diane Bell, Obselidia Lena Dunham, Tiny Furniture Nik Fackler, Lovely, Still Bob Glaudini, Jack Goes Boating Dana Adam Shapiro, Evan M. Wiener, Monogamy JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD Daddy Longlegs Lbs. Lovers of Hate Obselidia The Exploding Girl BEST FEMALE LEAD Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right Greta Gerwig, Greenberg Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone Natalie Portman, Black Swan Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine BEST MALE LEAD Ronald Bronstein, Daddy Longlegs Aaron Eckhart, Rabbit Hole James Franco, 127 Hours John C. Reilly, Cyrus Ben Stiller, Greenberg
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE Ashley Bell, The Last Exorcism Dale Dickey, Winter’s Bone Allison Janney, Life During Wartime Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jack Goes Boating Naomi Watts, Mother and Child BEST SUPPORTING MALE John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone Samuel L. Jackson, Mother and Child Bill Murray, Get Low John Ortiz, Jack Goes Boating Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY Adam Kimmel, Never Let Me Go Matthew Libatique, Black Swan Jody Lee Lipes, Tiny Furniture Michael McDonough, Winter’s Bone Harris Savides, Greenberg BEST DOCUMENTARY Exit Through the Gift Shop Marwencol Restrepo Sweetgrass Thunder Soul
BEST FOREIGN FILM Kisses Mademoiselle Chambon Of Gods and Men The King’s Speech Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD Hossein Keshavarz, Dog Sweat Laurel Nakadate, The Wolf Knife Mike Ott, Littlerock PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD In-Ah Lee, Au Revoir Taipei Adele Romanski, The Myth of the American Sleepover Anish Savjani, Meek’s Cutoff AVEENO® TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Sweetgrass Jeff Malmberg, Marwencol Lynn True, Nelson Walker, Summer Pasture ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD Please Give Director: Nicole Holofcener Casting Director: Jeanne McCarthy Ensemble Cast: Ann Guilbert, Rebecca Hall, Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Lois Smith, Sarah Steele
Italian film director Mario Monicelli, 95, died last night in Rome. The AP reports that Monicelli“leapt to his death from a fifth-floor balcony” at the hospital where he was being treated for prostate cancer. Monicelli, who wrote and directed more than 60 films, was best known for I soliti ignoti (Big Deal on Madonna Street), La grande guerra (The Great War), La ragazza con la pistola (The Girl with a Pistol), and Amici miei (My Friends). He was nominated for two Oscars in the 1960s, for co-writing Casanova 70 and I compagni (The Organizer).
Winter’s Bone, the grim drama about a 17-year-old girl forced to track down her meth-manufacturing father, took the Best Feature Film prize at last night’s Gotham Awards. The event, which is held annually by the Independent Feature Project, has a history of building buzz for smaller films entering the forthcoming Hollywood awards season. Other winners last night included The Oath, a documentary about Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard who now drives a taxi cab in Yemen, and Waiting for “Superman”, which won the festival’s Genius Audience Award. Congrats to all! [Reuters]
Grey’s Anatomy guru Shonda Rhimes knows about gracefully dealing with PR landmines, thanks to certainformercast members, and now she’s mining the world of crisis management for a new show: Vulture has learned that Rhimes is creating a series for ABC inspired by the career of legendary public-relations consultant Judy Smith — the woman who’s helped guide Bill Clinton, Michael Vick, and New York Governor David Paterson through various scandals and snafus. But it won’t be just a ripped-from-the-headlines procedural about famous folks trying to bounce back: Based on the show’s description, there will be more than a few Rhimes-esque soapy twists involved.
I just wanted to let you know ever since you changed your icon I've been passing your tweets/posts. Bart Simpson was an attention grabber, maybe you should change it again. Just Saying :)
I might brighten it up a bit so it’s more eye catching, but I need to have a logo that is solely my own. I haven’t seen a drop in pageviews, followers, or notes since changing it. In fact my follower count has gone up.
If only I could get Matt Groening to sign off on my use of Bart Simpson.
It went much better last night than expected. As far as the show is concerned, I’m ecstatic. We came within just inches of getting through the entire second half without a stop. In your first preview, I think that’s quite extraordinary. It is a preview. It is a look inside the process of creating what will be the final live show, and that show will be shown to the world on Jan. 11. Last night was by no means an opening.
We’ll go over an analysis of what happened, why it happened, and how to prevent it from happening next time. We’ll keep working on it and working on it. It’s probably a little more difficult than the average show people do, and in order to make it work, that’s why we’re here so early and why we’re not going to have our official opening until Jan. 11.
I thought the audience enjoyed it. They stood at the end and clapped; they laughed at the jokes; they clapped after every song. I thought it was a 10 out of a 10 in the category of first previews.
“Wow, I read these morons on the internet who think they are in the know. “We have have problems with our 3D????” Really? Come into my edit room and I will show you beautiful 3D. There has never been a live action show that has pushed the boundaries of 3D like Transformers 3. We shot the entire movie with 3D cameras. I actually loved shooting in 3D. I will give full details of my process and why I liked 3D in the next week right before the Transformers announcement piece comes out on Tron and Narnia.And don’t watch this movie in 2D, we made it for 3D. -Michael”—Michael Bay Re: Transformers in 3-D from a since taken down blog post (via Vulture).
Selling a film at Sundance is always a bit of a three-ring circus, and now Kevin Smith wants to make sure everyone’s invited to the show. Smith has announced that if the festival accepts his next film, the satirical horror movie Red State, he plans to sell the film in the room immediately after the first screening and may even bring in a professional auctioneer to make things more interesting. “And if you’re a multi-millionaire who can’t make it to the first screening of Red State, fear not,” Smith added. “Maybe we’ll set up an eBay page for the post-screening bid-calling as well.” [/Film]