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Michel Hazanavicius, the Oscar-winning director of “The Artist” whose latest film “Redoutable” competed at Cannes Film Festival last year, is set to direct “The Lost Prince,” a fantasy-filled family comedy which will star Omar Sy (“Intouchables), François Damiens (“Heartbreaker”) and Bérénice Bejo (“The Artist”).
“The Lost Prince” is produced by Philippe Rousselet and Jonathan Blumental. Pathé, Studiocanal and TF1 Films Production are co-producing. Studiocanal also handles international sales and will begin pre-sales at Cannes. Pathé will release the film in France. Shooting will begin July 30.
“The Lost Prince” will star Sy as Djibi, a devoted single father whose life revolves around his beloved 7-year-old daughter Sofia.
Every night as Sofia falls asleep, Djibi takes her into “Storyland”, a fantasy film studio where their extraordinary fairytale adventures come to life starring Djibi in the lead role as the heroic Prince Charming. As Sofia eventually grows out of her father’s stories, she starts making up her own tales with Djibi no longer the heroic lead. As his roles in both the real world and in “Storyland” begin to change, Djibi must find a way to forever remain his daughter’s hero.
“I am so excited to work on this new movie. It is made to be a crowd pleaser for families worldwide to enjoy together,” said Hazanavicius. “I want it to be funny, original and emotional and I am very happy that, for the first time in a long time, I will be able to take my whole family to the premiere!”
“The Lost Prince” seems like the right material for Hazanavicius who has a sweet spot for comedies. Although he has never directed a fantasy film, Hazanavicius also has an eye for sophisticated visual styles. His 2011 black & white silent film “The Artist” won five Oscars and worked well at the box office in France and beyond. Hazanavicius was also successful with his two retro spy comedies “OSS 117: Lost in Rio” and “OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spy.”
“The Lost Prince” will mark Hazanavicius’s follow up to “Redoutable,” a comedy-laced romantic film chronicling the tumultuous relationship between iconic French director Jean-Luc Godard and Anne Wiazemsky, set against the backdrop of May 1968 riots in France.
Shooting of “The Lost Prince” will begin July 30.
Adam Perry Lang is perhaps best known in L.A. for setting up his barbecue smoker in the parking lot of his buddy Jimmy Kimmel’s Hollywood Boulevard studio. But soon, he will open APL Restaurant, a different kind of meat-centric experience, down the street in the historic Taft Building on Hollywood and Vine — one that concentrates more exploring the pleasures of dry-aged steak and fine whiskeys.
Between appearances on the Super Bowl episode of “Top Chef” and checking on the restaurant’s progress, Lang is hunkered down in an industrial park in suburban Lawndale, near LAX, honing the craft of knife-making and tinkering with the beef aging process.
Walking into Lang’s man-cave/test kitchen, the first thing you spot is the double-barreled smoker rig that Lang tows to various barbecue events. The next thing is the forge. Glowing at something like 2000 degrees, the renowned pitmaster heats a piece of vaguely knife-shaped raw steel until it glows bright orange, puts it on the anvil and gives it a dozen or so good thwonks with a mallet on the way to making a sharp edge. Making Damascus steel knives by hand is just one of his clutch of obsessions — and APL diners will be able to slice into their aged steaks with Lang’s own carefully-forged blades.
Culinary books of all kind are another obsession, piled in photogenic stacks on an antique oak butcher counter salvaged from a market in Granite City, Illinois. There’s everything from “Jewish Holiday Cooking” to a valuable edition of Brillat Savarin to kitschy ‘60s French treatises on trussing rabbits — plus a menu signed by Salvador Dali.
Vintage relics like a 1920s cash register, a huge walk-in ice box from the Illinois market, and a big red neon MEAT sign from the set of Kimmel’s Austin, Texas show make the utilitarian space look more like an industrial-chic restaurant, and a miniature, fully-stocked bar gives a preview of what APL Restaurant is going to look like when it opens this spring.
Despite Lang’s reputation as a barbecue master, don’t expect baked beans or sticky sauces at APL. The concept is high-end steakhouse-meets-brasserie, inspired by Lang’s stint cooking at Restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris and by his love for dry-aged beef. Lang considered several neighborhoods before he settled on the space just a stone’s throw from Kimmel, who is an investor in the restaurant.
“Hollywood has the kind of energy I’m looking for,” says the man who opened Daisy May’s BBQ in Manhattan, and it doesn’t hurt that the space is just across from the Pantages Theater, a ready source of hungry theater-goers. In the basement, Lang will butcher sides of beef and experiment with dry-aging techniques.
Beef, including his famous short ribs, is the centerpiece of the menu, but there will also be pastas, locally-sourced seafood like vermilion rockfish, and a cocktail program that reinterprets classics with a soupcon of modern creativity, just like the food.
On a recent visit to the workshop, Lang served up one of the 100-day aged steaks, with a smoky, wild-tasting crust encasing a buttery, nearly-bloody center. A simple salad of butter lettuce, a chunk of Lodge bread with whipped butter, and a large dollop of ultra-indulgent pommes aligot enriched with Cantal cheese made a perfect, and very French, lunch.
“Whiskey resets the palate” when you’re eating beef, Lang says, so there will be an extensive selection of brown liquor, plus cocktails that play with the overall theme by using aged vermouth, for one. Beverage director Jonathan Michael McClune shared tastes of drinks like a smoky tequila-ancho chili cocktail topped with flecks of gold leaf, and a bracing, citrusy take on the Corpse Reviver II.
But barbecue will not be completely ignored. Where a tiny one-chair barbershop served customers for 60 years, Lang will install a lunch window offering just a few items: a well-priced basic sandwich and a crazy, indulgent meat orgy of a sandwich that might cost $40 or more.
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GOTEBORG, Sweden — Top Norwegian rap artists Karpe Diem’s feature “The Monkey and The Mouth,” which screen Feb 2 in the Nordic Light section of Sweden’s 41st Göteborg Intl. Film Festival, has been picked up for event releases and worldwide digital distribution by Denmark’s LevelK. It will next month be presented at the European Film Market during the 68th Berlin Film Festival.
Introduced as ”a never before seen” hybrid of music video, live-concert and fiction feature,” and also a first feature from Norwegian director Thea Hvistendahl – “The Monkey and The Mouth” follows the award-winning Muslim-Hindu hiphop duo of Chirag Rashmikant Patel Magdi (The Monkey) and Omar Ytreeide Abdelmaguid (The Mouth), who came together when they met as students in 2000.
In the film they exasperate Norwegian and international societies, challenging freedom of speech and poking fun at both themselves and politicians. They are jailed for their everlasting criticism of Norwegian society, and as they wait for their sentence, an unexpected conflict occurs, testing their years-long friendship.
“For me, ‘Karpe Diem’ is a unique example of what can bring people together in our increasingly polarized society. We wanted to explore themes like race, orientation, sex and religion, constantly balancing entertainment and satire,” explained Hvistendahl, who has so far specialized in shorts and musical videos, including most recently Karpe Diem’s top-listed “The Muslim Elephant.”
The video theme was expanded in “The Monkey and The Mouth,” which also includes excerpts from three sold-out shows at Oslo Spektrum.
The film was produced by Kristin Emblem and Therese Bøhn for Norway’s Einar Film. Before the presentations at Göteborg and at the Berlinale, the film had four full-house screenings in Oslo.
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Smart speaker maker Sonos is looking to go public as early as June, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The company has confidentially filed with the SEC for a public offering and is looking to be valued as much as $3 billion, according to the paper.
Sonos has been mulling over an IPO for some time, in part to raise funding for a further expansion of its retail footprint. The company is currently operating stores in New York, London, Shanghai and Berlin. A public offering could bring in several hundred million dollars for Sonos, according to the Wall Street Journal.
This isn’t the first time a potential Sonos IPO is making headlines. Earlier this month, Variety was first to report that the company was looking to hire for key finance and legal roles, with job listings demanding previous public company experience.
One of the job listings also mentioned that the company is in the process of implementing SOX 404 compliance. This refers to section 404 of the Sarbanes – Oxley Act, which Congress passed in 2002 to protect investors of public companies through better disclosures.
Last year, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence told Variety that the company was looking at an IPO as a possible next step: “We are considering whether an IPO would be the next best thing,” he said. “We are in a strong place, growing, profitable.”
Two major Southern California public broadcasters are joining forces.
PBS SoCal and KCETLink Media announced plans Wednesday to merge. The move would join Southern California’s largest PBS member broadcaster with the nation’s largest independent public broadcaster, creating an entity that would reach more than 18 million people. The merger is expected to close in the first half of 2018, at which time the name of the new organization will be announced.
“Fifty years ago, a surge of innovation and inspiration created public television as we know it today,” said KCETLink board chair Dick Cook and Jim McCluney, chairman of the PBS SoCal board of trustees, in a joint statement. “In this dynamic time for media, this is exactly the right moment to marry the complementary core strengths of each of our organizations. Our new company combines PBS SoCal’s beloved quality programming and community engagement excellence with KCETLink’s passion for creating smart, original content that captures the spirit of the region. We are very excited to advance content creation in public media and continue to successfully implement innovative technologies to reach new and diverse audiences.”
Cook will serve as board chair for the new organization, with PBS SoCal chief executive Andrew Russell becoming president and CEO. The organization will be governed by a 32-person board of trustees made up of 14 members from each of the boards of KCETLink and PBS SoCal, as well as four new board members.
Every word is a safe one in “Fifty Shades Freed,” a Swarovski-dipped series closer that takes no chances, and spares no luxury expense, in giving Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey the dream wedding and nightmare honeymoon period their fans have been anticipating for years. Departing only incidentally from E.L. James’s trashy tome, and making up for any short cuts with extra set dressing, this is brochure cinema of the most profuse order, selling its audience more on a lifestyle than on any of the lives inside it. What began, however glossily, as an ambiguity-laced power struggle between two people from separate social and sexual worlds has devolved into a far less intriguing victory lap for an exquisite couple that wants, and can afford, most of the same things — at least until the pesky matter of baby-making gets in the way.
Even as it administered a patchouli-scented dose of fan service to James’s hungry readership, 2016’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” was a brittle, brisk surprise, refashioning the book’s lilac prose into a warped romantic comedy of personal boundaries, with S&M as the bargaining currency between Anastasia and Christian — played by Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan with a wary, push-pull dynamic. When director Sam Taylor-Johnson and writer Kelly Marcel made way, respectively, for James Foley and James’s husband Niall Leonard for “Fifty Shades Darker,” the result unsurprisingly hewed closer to the author’s original gushing vision, with sexual politics that were less thorny and, for all the steam generated on screen, more conservatively patriarchal.
Interesting as it would have been to see a third creative team take the finale up yet another tonal alley, Foley and Leonard unsurprisingly keep “Freed” bound to its source. With Mrs. Grey now mostly in her husband’s gilded grasp, the series’ former tart strain of battle-of-the-sexes comedy has bled almost entirely out of the enterprise, while even our heroine’s sporadic moments of defiance don’t stray far from a plush wish-fulfilment agenda.
But oh, what pretty wishes! And what princely fulfilment! “Fifty Shades Freed” begins where most romances of its ilk would reasonably end: with rich, dewy nuptials fit for a Vanity Fair spread. Quavering vows are exchanged against a wall of antique-blush roses; John Schwartzman’s camera gorges in crystalline close-up on every last silver cufflink and shred of Chantilly lace.
Taking the film on its own material terms, there’s a perverse frisson of pleasure — of sweet, egregiously unequal justice — to be had in watching two people this immaculately beautiful finally unite in quite such accordingly beautiful fashion, and it’s here where James (once more acting as producer) and the filmmakers have us right where they want us. “You own this?” Anastasia asks, gawping at the private jet waiting to whisk them off on a Côte d’Azur honeymoon. “We own this,” her husband smirks in reply, as the film practically pauses for our applause, and maybe even a rosewater tear, at the shared privilege of it all. How far they’ve come.
What this spectacle doesn’t leave us, however, is much road for this relationship to travel in the happy couple’s souped-up, product-placed Audi speedster. James’s trilogy may consume over 1,600 pages of type, but it’s hard to shake the feeling from an early point in “Fifty Shades Freed” (the series’ shortest entry at a light, padded 105 minutes) that perhaps there weren’t quite three films in it. As Anastasia and Christian argue back and forth with only minor variations over admittedly major points of contention — his possessive nature infringing on her charmed career, their disagreement over when to start a family, whether she should remove her bikini top on the beach or not — Leonard’s lumpen script zeroes in on a tinny thriller subplot, centered on the violent, mysteriously vengeful stalking of Anastasia’s smarmy ex-boss Hyde (Eric Johnson) as the main attraction.
This is the terrain for which Foley, at his best a slinky genre stylist with a tobacco-acrid edge, was presumably brought on board, and he gives it a bit of vim: A luxury-vehicle car chase, screeching and weaving at arrogant speed along the highways of Seattle, is a set piece that rattles in the mind longer and louder than the who and why of it all. He can’t do much, however, to juice up a thin, illogical abduction climax that at least gives an admittedly gagged dramatic function to pop star Rita Ora — little-used but zappily charismatic as Christian’s sister Mia, the only member of this marble-clad family you’d conceivably want to hang with for reasons other than sheer monetary osmosis. In a series so obsessively dazzled by its central couple that even actors like Marcia Gay Harden and Jennifer Ehle are reduced to subservient stick figures in their orbit, that’s an accomplishment.
The trouble with this tunnel vision is that, by round three, there’s nothing left to discover in Anastasia and Christian — characters who, even at their most engaging, weren’t exactly Chekhovian to begin with. With the root of his sadism, her masochism and the mood music their combined issues make together all adequately explored, we’re left mostly rehashing old tensions that, with familiarity, have gone a little slack.
Johnson, so wonderful in the first film, made a game fist of her character’s more capricious conception in the second. This time, her inherent likeability as a performer is all that’s keeping Anastasia, a notionally independent career woman who veers between seething assertiveness and spineless compliance at the script’s will, from sliding off the screen entirely. The extent of Christian’s development, meanwhile, is summed up by the film’s most inadvertently amusing line, delivered by yet another peripheral admirer in his employ: “That GQ profile on you? I love what you’re doing in Africa.” (Dornan even gets a chance to croon Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” at the piano, just to prove just what an awakened heart beats beneath all that bespoke pewter-colored tailoring.
And what of the sex? Perhaps the lone surprise of “Fifty Shades Freed” is just how incidental its erotica has become: There’s no shortage here of lightly spiced bump and grind, staged and shot with salted-caramel smoothness, with nothing more than Johnson’s nipples or a fleeting brush of Dornan’s pubic hedge to prickle delicate sensibilities. But where the first film’s sex scenes, however tame in the grand scheme of things, were integral to setting the terms and tone of the relationship under scrutiny, by this point they’re mostly just (very) attractive digressions, while the once-tremulously mentioned Red Room of Pain has become merely another indulgent facility at Casa Grey, not to mention a handy spare bedroom in the event of a soon-resolved marital squabble. It’ll be a nursery before you know it.
Indeed, a sex-free, PG-13 version of “Freed” could be cut without shedding a second of narrative coherence, such as it is; one could ask what the point of that would be, though similar queries might be leveled at the film as it stands. Intentionally or otherwise, however, perhaps there’s a rueful truth to the gradual dwindling of the films’ kink levels: Sex is just a thing Anastasia and Christian do now, as it is for many a married couple until, in some cases, it eventually isn’t even that any more.
Finally, the film closes with fat French kiss to its fans: a creamy montage of memorable moments from the whole series — mostly, let it be said, from the first two films — scored to a light remix of “Love Me Like You Do,” Ellie Goulding’s soaring pop belter from “Fifty Shades of Grey.” (The new film’s theme, a comparatively generic number by Ora and Liam Payne, isn’t given quite such pride of place.) If that highlight reel is fresher and more vivid than the agreeably silly cashmere diversion that precedes it, it’s hard to begrudge the happy, horny couple a pleasantly boring life together. (Anti-capitalists can begrudge them everything else, but that’s another story.)
Is “Fifty Shades Freed” a wily takedown of married bliss, or at least an acknowledgement that it makes the wildest among us a shade less exciting? Almost certainly not, to go by the contented sighs and cheers that greeted the finale’s dreamily domestic flash-forward at its premiere. Still, it’s fun to imagine this ritzy, ultimately rule-abiding film being at least that provocative.
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Rock trio Haim has new management. Sisters Este, Danielle and Alana Haim have left Roc Nation for Full Stop Management, where they have signed with manager Brandon Creed, sources confirm to Variety. The move was first reported by Hits.
Creed is a seasoned manager who worked with Bruno Mars for nine years, during which the singer won multiple Grammys and saw a string of hit singles. The two split in May 2016. His roster includes Mark Ronson, Sara Bareilles and Troye Sivan. In March, Creed merged his company, The Creed Co., with Full Stop, founded by Jeffrey Azoff, who manages Harry Styles and Meghan Trainor.
Roc Nation, founded by Jay-Z in 2008, started working with Haim in mid-2012. By the end of that year, the girls had landed a recording contract with Columbia Records, home to Adele, Bruce Springsteen, and Barbra Streisand, among many other iconic artists.
Haim released a debut album, “Days Are Gone,” in 2013, which included the song “The Wire,” a hit in the rock radio format. Their latest, “Something to Tell You,” was released in July.
The band no longer appears on the Roc Nation website, and a Roc Nation rep has not responded to a request for comment.
Variety has also reached out to Creed for confirmation.
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