Abigail Breslin, Denise Richards to Star in ‘Saturday at the Starlight’ (EXCLUSIVE) – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Abigail Breslin, Denise Richards, and Michael Madsen are starring in the independent comedy “Saturday at the Starlight,” currently shooting in Los Angeles.

The project is an ensemble comedy, in the vein of Richard Linklater’s 1993 comedy “Dazed and Confused,” set in a roller rink on a single night in the mid-’90s. The story traces a canceled prom, a tween birthday bonanza, and a drug money pick-up gone awry.

The cast that includes Tony Cavalero (“School of Rock”), Booboo Stewart (“Twilight”), Brec Bassinger (“Bella and the Bulldogs”), Brenna D’Amico, and veteran comedian Brian Huskey along with newcomers Dylan Summerall and Breaker Novogratz.

Phillip Clark Davis is directing from a screenplay by Jake Disch and Nick Gligor. Producers on the project include Lee Eisenberg (“Bad Teacher,” “The Office”), Linne Radmin, and Jimmy Summerall.

The project is the first feature film from Brat, a digital company that’s released more than a dozen series on YouTube with recognizable players including Annie LeBlanc, Hayden Summerall, MaeMae Renfrow, Meghan McCarthy, Madeleine Byrne, and Cristian Oliveras. Founded by Rob Fishman — who previously started Niche, a digital marketing company acquired by Twitter — the company is backed by Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital, and the Chernin Group.

“This generation of teens deserves the sort of iconic, sophisticated films that we grew up watching in the Eighties and Nineties,” said Asher Levin, a partner at Brat.

Breslin received an Academy Award nomination for 2006’s “Little Miss Sunshine.” Other credits include “Signs,” “August: Osage County,” and Fox’s “Scream Queens.” Richards has credits on “Wild Things,” “The World Is Not Enough,” and “Blue Mountain State.”



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‘House of Cards’ Set to End With Season 6; Netflix Silent on Kevin Spacey Assault Claim – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Netflix drama “House of Cards” will end with its upcoming sixth season, Variety has learned. Production has begun on what will be the final season of the drama series, which is set to premiere in 2018.

Word of the series’ end comes in the wake of sexual-assault allegations against its star, Kevin Spacey. On Sunday in an interview with Buzzfeed, “Star Trek: Discovery” star Anthony Rapp claimed that Spacey had sexually assaulted him at a party in 1986 when he was 14. Spacey later apologized to Rapp in a statement released hours after the interview was published in which he said he was “beyond horrified” by Rapp’s story, saying he did not recall the incident. Spacey was criticized Monday by GLAAD and gay activists for including in his apology a statement saying that he was choosing “to live as a gay man” from now on — a move critics said appeared intended to deflect attention from Rapp’s accusation.

Spacey is the star and executive producer of “House of Cards,” the drama series that put Netflix on the map as a destination for original programming. Since 2013, the series has been nominated for 53 Primetime Emmy Awards — including five nominations for outstanding drama series.

Starring alongside Robin Wright, Spacey plays Frank Underwood, a devious congressman who ascends to the role of President of the United States through a series of complex machinations.

Filming for season six began in Maryland this month. No premiere date has yet been set by Netflix. Season five premiered May 30 on the streaming service.

Unlike leaders at most media and entertainment companies, Netflix executives have been largely silent about the issue of sexual harassment since a wave of allegations engulfed frequent Netflix collaborator Harvey Weinstein earlier this month. Netflix spokespersons have declined repeated requests to comment on the Weinstein situation. During an interview pegged to the company’s quarterly earnings report this month, chief content officer Ted Sarandos dismissed the idea that Netflix might by the Weinstein Company, the embattled production company that Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob Weinstein founded.

“Our business with the Weinstein Company is pretty arm’s distance,” Sarandos said. but in reality the relationship between Netflix and Weinstein has been much closer, with multiple creative partnerships and joint appearances. Netflix and the Weinstein Company also hosted a Golden Globes party together for the last three years.



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World Series Game 5 Tops ‘Sunday Night Football’ – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


TV Ratings: World Series Game 5 Tops ‘Sunday Night Football’ – Variety



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‘Lion Heads Australia’s AACTA Awards Nominations – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


The Weinstein Company’s “Lion” topped the nominations for the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, which were announced on Monday.

Earning 12 nominations, including best feature film, best director for Garth Davis, and best supporting actor for Dev Patel, “Lion” was closely followed by television productions “Blue Murder: Killer Cop,” and “Top of the Lake: China Girl” with 11 nominations each.

In the film category, “Hounds of Love” collected nine nominations. “ALli’s Wedding” and “Berlin Syndrome” collected eight each.

Hugo Weaving earned his third consecutive best supporting actor nomination for “Jasper Jones,” a film which collected six nominations.

“Blue Murder,” in the running for telefeature or miniseries, saw acting nominations for Richard Roxburgh and Toni Colette. “Top of the Lake,” nominated in the TV drama series category, included nominations for Elizabeth Moss as actress and Nicole Kidman as supporting actress.

“This year’s nominees showcase the Australian screen industry’s ability to create quality productions that tell universal stories with an Australian voice,” said AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella.

The awards will be announced in Sydney, at an industry lunch on December 4; and the main AACTA awards ceremony on December 6.



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Kevin Spacey’s Apology Slammed by Dan Savage, Rose McGowan, Billy Eichner – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Kevin Spacey’s apology to actor Anthony Rapp has unleashed a flood of negative reactions on Twitter. Spacey’s decision to combine a coming-out statement with an apology to Rapp, who has accused him of sexual misconduct when Rapp was just 14, was slammed by observers who were shocked that Spacey took the opportunity to talk about his own sexuality in the midst of the accusation of underage sexual assault.

“Savage Love” writer and “It Gets Better” creator Dan Savage strongly condemned his statement, saying “There’s no amount of drunk or closeted that excuses or explains away asssaulting a 14-year-old child.”

“Billy on the Street” host Billy Eichner left it at a succinct “Nope. Absolutely Not.”

Rose McGowan, who was instrumental in helping to reveal the sexual assaults committed by Harvey Weinstein, reminded that the focus should be on the victim, not the accused.

Author Mark Harris said “Coming out is a beautiful part of being gay. Attaching it to this vileness is so wrong.”

Comedian Cameron Esposito and “Full Frontal” writer Travon Free both emphasized that being gay does not have to do with going after “underage folks.”

Comedian-writer Guy Branum called it a “PR smokescreen.”



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‘S— Is Going to Hit the Fan’ – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Star Trek: Discovery” will see the return of Harry Mudd this week and things are going to get wild.

The role of Mudd, played by Roger Carmel in the original series and taken over by Rainn Wilson in “Discovery,” was introduced into the new series last week as a fellow captive on a Klingon ship alongside Captain Lorca. But when Lorca discovers Mudd has been passing information to the Klingons in return for preferential treatment, he leaves him behind during his escape. According to Wilson, Mudd is out for revenge.

“The only thing I can say is he was not so happy to have been abandoned there by Captain Lorca, so I imagine the s— is going to hit the fan,” Wilson told Variety. 

Though Mudd only appeared in a handful of episodes in the original series, he has long been a fan favorite character. Wilson attributes that to the nuance Carmel brought to the role.

“‘Star Trek’ always had a comic thread running through it,” Wilson said. “Some episodes were downright silly, especially in the original series. Roger Carmel just gave a great performance as Harry Mudd and has obviously been a fan favorite for decades because he brought that sense of fun, but he also brought danger. He was equal parts charming and despicable and that is very tough to play, so I was very inspired by what he brought the equation. I think that my Harry Mudd is a little darker because this new ‘Star Trek’ universe is a little darker. I think our current times are a little darker than they were in 1966. … It’s a testament to Roger Carmel that the character still lives and thrives and is still regarded so highly.”

Mudd is notorious for having a weak grasp of ethics, surviving mostly off of his ability to hustle, con, and connive better than those around him. Despite this, Wilson does not believe Mudd is inherently bad.

“I used to play a lot of Dungeons & Dragons as a kid, and you choose your alignment in that for your character,” he said. “You can be lawful good or chaotic evil. Harry Mudd is chaotic neutral. He’s trying to make his way in the world and he’ll do whatever it takes to get ahead. He’s a scrapper and a merchant and he just operates by a different moral code. He’s ultimately just a straight up capitalist. … I think Harry Mudd is a lot like Donald Trump: he follows the rules when it works for him, but he’ll bend the rules when it suits him.”

In addition to Mudd, “Discovery” has already brought back classic characters like the Vulcan ambassador Sarek and referenced several others. So what other characters would Wilson like to see join the new show?

“I would say Balok, the alien played by Clint Howard [in the original series]. I don’t know much about him, so I don’t know how he would get back in. I wonder if you could merge universes, like Q from ‘Next Generation.’ I loved him and I looked forward to every episode he was on. He was always so exciting because, again, he would just throw a monkey wrench into the workings of the Enterprise and play outside the rules. And Q is beyond space and time so he could definitely have an encounter with the Discovery.”

Star Trek: Discovery” Episode 7, titled “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad,” will be available to stream on CBS All Access beginning Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET. 



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The Awakening’ Grosses Minuscule $742 – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


The Weinstein Company’s “Amityville: The Awakening” grossed a minuscule $742 total at 10 locations on Saturday, two weeks after the haunted house sequel began streaming for free on Google Play.

Bella Thorne, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jennifer Morrison, and Cameron Monaghan star in “Amityville: The Awakening,” which was directed by Franck Khalfoun from his own script. It’s produced by TWC’s Dimension and Blumhouse.

The original 1979 movie “The Amityville Horror” is based on the 1974 events at a rural house in Amityville, N.Y., which became the site of one of the deadliest hauntings and grisliest murders in American history when Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot all six members of his family. Jay Anson’s book “The Amityville Horror” detailed a family moving into the house in 1975 and leaving a week later due to paranormal activity.

The book was adapted in 1979 by American Independent Pictures and became a hit, grossing $86 million. MGM’s 2005 version earned $108 million worldwide. In “Amityville: The Awakening,” Thorne’s teenage character’s family moves into the house without knowing of its notoriety, and subsequently find themselves haunted by a demonic entity.

The Weinstein Company had planned to release “Amityville: The Awakening” several times since last year before scrubbing the release date. It announced on Sept. 21 — two weeks before the massive Harvey Weinstein scandal broke — that “Amityville: The Awakening” would be available for free exclusively on Google Play from Oct. 12 to Nov. 8 and have a limited one-day theatrical release on Oct. 28.

TWC had no comment about the theatrical release. Here’s a clip from the film that was released on Sept 20:

 



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‘Manic,’ ‘New York is Dead’ Among Top Winners at New York Television Festival – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


“Manic” and “New York is Dead” were among the winners of the independent pilot competition held as part of the 13th annual New York Television Festival, which wrapped Saturday night.

“Manic” took the honors for drama or dramedy. The pilot from Yolanda Carney, Kate Marks and Kimberley Browning of Los Angeles revolves around a teenager who is derailed by a manic episode.

The comedy nod went to “New York is Dead,” from Jenn Harris, Matthew Wilkas and Randy Harrison of New York. The pilot centers on two broke artists who become hitmen to make ends meet.

A duo from London, Lucy Smith and Jamie Minty, took the prize for unscripted pilot for “Against All Odds,” an obstacle course game show involving five contestants carrying locked bags, one of which contains a stash of cash.

This year’s competition drew more than 3,750 submissions. From those, 52 pilots were selected for competition.

Here is a complete list of this year’s NYTVF winners:

Best Animated Project: 

Tiffany is your average teenage girl who happens to be a Grim Reaper. 

Best Comedy Project: 

New York is Dead” created by Jenn Harris, Matthew Wilkas and Randy Harrison (New York, NY)

A darkly hilarious series about two broke NYC artists who become hitmen to make ends meet.

Best Drama/Dramedy Project: 

Manic” created by Yolanda Carney, Kate Marks and Kimberley Browning (Los Angeles, CA)

An Ivy-league bound, overachieving teen is derailed after a manic episode lands her in a school for children with mental illnesses. 

Best Short-Form Digital Project: 

Starving Artists” created by Dewayne Perkins and Aasia Bullock (Chicago, IL)

Comedy duo Aasia and Dewayne go to extravagant lengths to reach their goals of international stardom and complete world domination. Starving Artists is a show about being young, gifted, and black in a world that praises straight, white, and wack. 

Best Unscripted/Alternative Project: 

In this game show competition format, five contestants carry five locked bags, but only one contains £100,000. Together, the group must complete an obstacle course across treacherous natural landscapes and make it to the finish line.

Best Actress in a Comedy: 

Rachel B. Joyce for “Royally” (New York, NY)

Best Actor in a Drama: 

Best Actress in a Drama:

Shanice Williams for “Manic” (Los Angeles, CA)

 

Best Direction: 

Dinh Thai for “Monday” (Los Angeles, CA)

Best Editing: 

Best Writing: 

Kris Lefcoe for “Giving Up” (New York, NY)

 

NYTVF Critics Award: 

NYTVF Critics Award

Royally” Created by Rachel B. Joyce (New York, NY)

A millennial burnout runs a private princess party company as a front for small-time cons, petty theft, and drug peddling.

Overall Best of the Fest Award: 

Giving Up” created by Kris Lefcoe (New York, NY)

A New York couple faces their own deadline to either “make it” or give up their dreams.

Best Comedy Script (tie): 

“Blurs” written by Jonterri Gadson (Bloomfield, NJ)

A women’s studies professor and her free-spirited, dysfunctional black family face the challenges of living in the type of town where all 80s/90s films with no black people could take place.

“Maternal Instinct” written by Elizabeth Stamp (Brooklyn, NY)

A serial killer turned suburban stay-at-home mom balances “family first” and “murder in the first” in this dark comedy.

Best Drama Script (new award): 

“Fragile State” written by Andrea “AJ” Janakas (Los Angeles, CA)

When a border patrol agent is recruited to work as a spy to help overthrow a country, he doesn’t realize that the country he enters is a parallel America on the verge of collapse.

2017 NYTVF DEVELOPMENT DEALS AND NETWORK AWARD WINNERS  

Audible Pitch Deals:

Three winners will each receive a development grant to further develop their concepts with Audible.

– Elizabeth Stamp (Brooklyn, NY)

– Julia Mattison and Noel Carey (New York, NY)

– Jordan Mendoza, Shannon Odell and Joanna Rothkopf (New York, NU)

Comedy Central Development Award: 

Mike Cabellon, Adrien Pellerin, and Katie Sicking for their project “Night Crew

(New York, NY)

OneX Pitch Deal: 

Zandile Tisani (Johannesburg, South Africa)

Red Arrow Entertainment Development Award: 

Dewayne Perkins and Aasia Bullock for their project “Starving Artists” (Chicago, IL)

Shudder Pitch Deal:

Andrea Janakas (Los Angeles, CA)

TOPIC Pitch Deal:

TOPIC selected two creators and creative teams from their pitch meetings to enter into further development with the digital studio from First Look Media.

Jonterri Gadson (Bloomfield, NJ)

Emily C. Chang and Sara Amini (Los Angeles, CA)

truTV Comedy Breakout Initiative: 

Nick Armstrong for his project “Series Finale: The Series” (Los Angeles, CA)

(Previously-announced)

WEtv Pitch Deal: 

Jillian Armenante (Los Angeles, CA)

(Pictured: “Manic”)



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