‘Emma’: Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Callum Turner & More Round Out Cast Of Focus Features/Working Title Film

Read on: Deadline.

Bill Nighy (Page Eight), Mia Goth (Suspiria), Callum Turner (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald), Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones) and Miranda Hart (Miranda) are set to co-star in Emma, the latest adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel. The…

Director Jon Stewart’s ‘Irresistible’ With Steve Carell Lands at Focus Features

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Irresistible,” a new political comedy which is being directed by Jon Stewart and stars Steve Carell, has landed at Focus Features, the studio announced Tuesday.

Focus will partner with Plan B Entertainment to produce and distribute “Irresistible,” a comedy set during a political campaign.

Chris Cooper also joins the previously announced cast of Carell and Rose Byrne. Stewart will also produce alongside Plan B Entertainment.

Also Read: Jon Stewart Admits He Should’ve Taken Donald Trump’s Presidential Candidacy More Seriously (Video)

“In the age of fake news, Jon Stewart continues to be the real deal. He’s been making us laugh at the bipartisan commitment to bending the truth for years, and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with him and Plan B as Jon brings his signature wit to the big screen with the incredibly versatile talents of Steve, Rose, and Chris,” Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski said in a statement.

Focus Features and Universal Pictures International will distribute the film worldwide. Focus’ Josh McLaughlin, president of production, will oversee the film.

This is the former “Daily Show” host’s follow-up to 2014’s “Rosewater,” a drama about the life of journalist Maziar Bahari that starred Gael Garcia Bernal.

Also Read: Jon Stewart Finds a New Home for Goats Caught Wandering NYC Subway Tracks (Video)

Cooper will next be seen in Marielle Heller’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” based on the life of Mister Rogers. He also recently completed production on Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women.” He’s represented by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.

Focus is behind the Oscar-winning “BlacKkKlansman” from Spike Lee, and they recently released “Greta” and “The Mustang.” Other films on the studio’s slate include “The Dead Don’t Die” from Jim Jarmusch, “Harriet,” about the life of Harriet Tubman, and the upcoming “Downton Abbey” movie.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Boy Erased’ Kicks Off Focus Features’ Big Winter at Indie Box Office

Bill Murray, Adam Driver to Star in Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Dead Don’t Die’ for Focus Features

‘Last Night In Soho’: Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith Join Edgar Wright’s Next Movie

Read on: Deadline.

Leave No Trace‘s Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie and The Crown‘s Matt Smith have joined the cast of Last Night in Soho, the psychological thriller from Edgar Wright and Working Title.
The duo joins Anya Taylor-Joy in the pic, which Wright co-wro…

Kevin Costner & Diane Lane To Star In ‘Let Him Go’ Thriller From Focus Features

Read on: Deadline.

Two-time Oscar winner Kevin Costner and Diane Lane will topline Let Him Go, a suspense thriller written and directed by The Family Stone helmer Thomas Bezucha. The pic is at Focus Features and is based on the novel of the same name by Larry Watson.
Bez…

Sundance’s Haves and Have Nots: Can Traditional Indie Distributors Still Compete?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Sundance 2019 brought into sharp focus the two-tiered reality that now dominates the world of independent content.

It’s a story of the haves and the have-nots.

The haves are those giant tech-based companies like Netflix, Amazon and Apple that can plunk down many millions of dollars on a movie they like without a second thought.

Also Read: Sundance 2019: Every Movie Sold So Far, From ‘Late Night’ to ‘The Farewell’ (Updating)

The have-nots are everybody else — scrappy distributors who still do the Old Math: adding up the P&A costs, the ancillary rights like TV and international and, um, airlines to figure out how to protect their downside and maybe make a profit.

But there’s no such old-style nonsense for the tech giants — and Amazon is the colossus of choice at this year’s Sundance, blithely buying multiple movies for $15 million without so much as entering a bidding war. Who does that? (Netflix, which wasn’t in the game this year.)

“Late Night,” the broad comedy by Mindy Kaling and co-starring Emma Thompson, went to Amazon for $13 million on Day One of the festival. “The Report,” a gripping drama about the Senate investigation into U.S. torture after 9/11, went to the streamer for $14 million.  And by week’s end Amazon went after a comedy titled “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” starring Jillian Bell, buying it for $14 million.

There isn’t math behind these sales that make any particular sense, despite the fact that the tech giants are supposedly driven by data, according to a number of individuals in the know. Amazon is looking for subscribers to its Prime service, and needs a credible lineup of entertainment to compete with the crushing volume of original content now coming from Netflix. (Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

Also Read: Sundance Shocker: Big-Money Acquisitions Take Indie Film Market by Surprise

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos is capable of spending anything he needs to compete in the entertainment space, having just reported yet another behemoth quarterly earnings triumph.

That leaves the second-tier of buyers to compete over the rest. The noble task of finding movies, buying them at a price and then marketing them to (hopefully) success is left to the likes of Sony Pictures Classics, which bought a David Crosby documentary by producer Cameron Crowe.

Or the taste-making indie distributor A24, which bought a Tilda Swinton starrer “The Souvenir.” Or The Orchard (now known as 1091 Media — but why? please change the name back), which bought Frédéric Tcheng’s documentary “Halston.”

IFC acquired U.S. rights to “The Nightingale,” the latest film from Jennifer Kent, the Australian director of “The Babadook.”

Scrappy Neon, which has shown distinctive taste in choosing movies in the last few years, was probably the most aggressive indie in the “have-not” space, punching above its weight to buy a number of films.

One agent I spoke to who sold a number of films disputed this thesis, saying that a couple of films went to traditional distributors over the streamers — including Netflix — who wanted to pay more.

“What the streamers can often offer is greater or more immediate reach to consumers, which sometimes make sense for that particular film,” said Rena Ronson, co-head of UTA’s  Independent Film Group. “So a lot has to do with knowing your film and making the right choice not just financially, but creatively and strategically.”

But many other distributors I talked to were coldly realistic about their chances to nab the buzziest movies premiering at the festival.

Also Read: Neon Acquires Naomi Watts’ Sundance Film ‘Luce’ in Partnership With Topic Studios

“We’re buying what we can,” said the head of one art-house distribution company. Most of the second-tier sales did not announce the prices in their news releases, a sure sign that the figures were modest.

Notably absent from the buying activities (at least at time of publication) were more traditional art-house studios based at the majors like Focus Features and Fox Searchlight. (Weirdly, WarnerMedia’s New Line stepped up to by Gurinder Chadha’s ’80s-set teen movie “Blinded by the Light” for $15 million).

This makes for a strange dynamic in the indie space, especially since many of the tech giants have now hired veteran executives who are used to competing in the scrappier world.

But then — why should the world of indie film be any different than the rest of the country?

Related stories from TheWrap:

81 Sundance Portraits From A to Z: Awkwafina to Zach Galifianakis (Exclusive Photos)

Sundance 2019: Every Movie Sold So Far, From ‘Late Night’ to ‘The Farewell’ (Updating)

Sundance Party Report: Zac Efron, Awkwafina, Jason Momoa and More on the Scene (Photos)

Is Streaming Still the Mortal Enemy of Traditional Film Distribution? Sundance Panelists Say No

Martin Scorsese Says ‘BlacKKKlansman’ Ending Shows White Supremacy Is “Sanctioned By The Government”

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: After a screening of Spike Lee’s BlacKKKlansman at New York’s Lincoln Center, Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee reminisced about their days at NYU and broke down their shared influences in a 45-minute conversation that proved catnip …

Johnny Flynn Joins Focus Features-Working Title’s ‘Emma’

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: Genius actor and singer/songwriter Johnny Flynn has boarded Focus Features and Working Title’s Emma, the latest adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel.
Flynn joins Anya Taylor-Joy, who is taking on the title role in the feature fi…

‘Greta’ Trailer: Chloë Grace Moretz Vs. Isabelle Huppert In Neil Jordan Stalker Thriller

Read on: Deadline.

Focus Features has taken the wraps off Greta, the stalker suspense thriller starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert that it fought for and won for $6 million during an all-night auction earlier this fall at the Toronto Film Festival. Neil Jord…

‘Downton Abbey’ Movie Teaser Features Return to Sumptuous Estate (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The Crawley family cordially invites you to what they promise will be a cinematic event. The first teaser for “Downton Abbey,” the film adaptation and continuation of the long-running ITV and PBS series, has just dropped. And it’s a regal, impressive first look.

In the teaser, the maids are making the beds, they’re crossing their Ts on all the signatures, and the bell is ringing at the front gate for guests to arrive.

While the plot is unknown for the new film, the original series followed the Crawley family and the servants who worked for them at the turn of the 20th century in an Edwardian English country home.

Also Read: Julian Fellowes’ ‘Gilded Age’ Premiere to Be Directed by Michael Engler, Staging ‘Downton Abbey’ Reunion on NBC

Nearly the whole cast is returning for the film, including Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, Elizabeth McGovern, and Maggie Smith.

Imelda Staunton, Geraldine James, Simon Jones, David Haig, Tuppence Middleton, Kate Phillips, and Stephen Campbell Moore have all joined the cast of the film directed by Michael Engler, who most recently directed “The Chaperone.” Engler took over the directing duties from Brian Percival.

Series creator Julian Fellowes, who won an Oscar for the 2002 Robert Altman film “Gosford Park,” is writing the screenplay. His show lasted six seasons and won 15 Emmys from 69 nominations — more than any non-American show — on top of three Golden Globes. The show left the air in December 2015.

Focus Features will release the film in the U.K. on Sept. 13, 2019, followed by an American release on Sept. 20. Watch the teaser above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Wait, Will Dan Stevens Be in the ‘Downton Abbey’ Movie After All?

‘Downton Abbey’ Creator Julian Fellowes’ ‘The Gilded Age’ Finally Gets Series Order at NBC

‘Time and the Conways’ Broadway Review: Elizabeth McGovern Slams the Door on “Downton Abbey”

SAG Awards Nominations by the Numbers: Netflix Is Back on Top

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The nominations are in for the 25th annual SAG Awards, and Netflix has reclaimed its throne with 15 total nods — that’s almost twice as many than the next leading TV platform.
For film studios, Fox Searchlight and Warner Bros. led the way &…

Focus Features Sets Chloë Grace Moretz-Isabelle Huppert Pic ‘Greta’s Release Date

Read on: Deadline.

Greta, the suspense thriller starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert that Focus Features acquired at the last Toronto Film Festival for $6 million after winning a bidding battle, now has a release date. The pic will hit theaters on March 1, 20…

Chloe Grace Moretz’s ‘Greta’ Gets Spring 2019 Release Date

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Chloe Grace Moretz’s “Greta” will be released on March 1, 2019, Focus Features announced Friday.

“Greta” stars Moretz and Isabelle Huppert and is described as a film about female obsession. Neil Jordan wrote and directed the film. Focus Features picked up the rights to the thriller following the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Maika Monroe, Colm Feore and Stephen Rea also star. Jordan co-wrote the script with Ray Wright. The film is produced by Sidney Kimmel, John Penotti, James Flynn, Lawrence Bender and Karen Richards.

See Video: Chloe Grace Moretz Lived in Summer Camp While Filming ‘Miseducation of Cameron Post’: ‘It Was Method’

Moretz recently starred in “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” and “Suspiria,” and will next star in “The Addams Family” and “Love Is a Gun.” Her other credits include “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” and “The 5th Wave.”

Also slated to be released on March 1, 2019 is Tyler Perry’s “A Madea Family Funeral” and Daisy Ridley’s “Chaos Walking,” co-starring Tom Holland and Kurt Sutter.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Chloe Grace Moretz, Jack O’Connell to Play Bonnie and Clyde in ‘Love Is a Gun’

Natalie Portman, Chloe Grace Moretz Dramas Added to Toronto Film Festival Lineup

Chloe Grace Moretz Wants Louis CK’s ‘I Love You, Daddy’ to ‘Just Kind of Go Away’

‘Pope Francis’ Director Wim Wenders On His Charismatic Subject: “I Haven’t Seen Anybody Who Could Resist His Appeal”

Read on: Deadline.

Pope Francis provoked criticism with his recents remarks about homosexuality, in which he told the author of a new book that men with “deep-seated” gay tendencies shouldn’t be admitted to seminaries. And he has also faced an insurrection from within th…

Focus Features Lands Michael Ausiello Memoir ‘Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies’; Michael Showalter To Direct Jim Parsons

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features has landed the Jim Parsons star vehicle Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, and The Big Sick‘s Michael Showalter is set to direct and produce, with David Marshall Grant and Dan Savage writing the screenplay. The movie is based…

Composer Terence Blanchard Grapples With Tone & Weight Of History On ‘BlacKkKlansman’

Read on: Deadline.

Spike Lee’s go-to composer since Mo’ Better Blues hit theaters 28 years ago, Terence Blanchard knows the realities of longtime creative partnerships—the way in which the challenges that present themselves on projects change over time. It’s been a…

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem Are Under Pressure in Tense ‘Everybody Knows’ English Trailer (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem have told TheWrap how they were in “terrifying pain” while shooting their latest film, “Everybody Knows.” And in this first English language trailer for the film, that intensity shows.

Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows” is in Spanish, but Bardem narrates the opening to this first trailer in English, which is followed by an otherwise dialogue-free but none the less gripping first look.

“Sometimes the past, doesn’t always stay in the past,” Bardem says over an image of Cruz creeping into a dark attic before shrieking in agony.

Also Read: Penelope Cruz on ‘Everybody Knows’ Director: ‘He’s Demanding in a Very Good Way’ (Video)

The film is about a woman who returns to her hometown near Madrid, Spain, for her sister’s wedding, but endures a state of panic when the sibling goes missing. Ricardo Darin also co-stars.

“Everybody Knows” is the Iranian director Farhadi’s foll0w-up to “The Salesman,” and before that “A Separation,” both of which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film. After playing on the opening night of Cannes, which our critic referred to as one of the strongest opening night films in many years of the festival, “Everybody Knows” was picked up by Focus Features, who will open it for a brief, Oscar qualifying run beginning Nov. 30.

The film will open wide starting on Feb. 8, 2019. Watch the first trailer above:

Related stories from TheWrap:

Penelope Cruz, Gael Garcia Bernal Among Additions to Spy Drama ‘Wasp Network’

See Penelope Cruz, Edgar Ramirez, Ricky Martin in ‘Versace: American Crime Story’ Pics (Photos)

‘Roma,’ ‘Cold War’ Lead Academy’s List of 87 Films in the Oscars Foreign Language Race

‘On The Basis Of Sex’ Trailer: Felicity Jones Fights Gender Discrimination In Ruth Bader Ginsburg Biopic

Read on: Deadline.

In the beginning of the new trailer for the Mimi Leder-directed On the Basis of Sex, Felicity Jones is seen as the trailblazing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her days at Harvard Law School. When a man (Sam Waterston) leading a welcome di…