‘Wish I Was Here,’ actor-director-writer Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded follow-up to his 2004 directorial debut ‘Garden State,’ has closed a deal to be acquired by Focus Features, according to various sources. The sale price is approximately $2.75 million, according to sources, with a significant theatrical commitment of about 600 theaters. The $2.75 figure includes an international component.
Zach Braff’s comedy-drama centers on a 30-something actor coming to terms with his life in the face of his father’s illness and his life’s dreams unfulfilled. Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin, Ashley Greene, Josh Gad, Jim Parsons, Donald Faison and the late James Avery co-star. The first film from a major star to be funded by crowdfunding site Kickstarter, ‘Wish I Was Here’ is said to have generated strong interest from CBS Films and Lionsgate in an auction conducted by CAA and Wild Bunch. Expect release details shortly.
Speaking to The Wrap on the promotional rounds for his new NBC series ‘Believe,’ J.J. Abrams revealed that the script for ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ is complete, and he also confirms that he’s talked with ‘Breaking Bad’ actor Jesse Plemons about a role. “We’re working really hard and we’ve got our script and we’re in deep prep,” Abrams told the outlet. “Full steam ahead, y’know.”
J.J. Abrams confirmed that Jesse Plemons is among the actors he’s speaking with, and expressed surprise about the reports of his talks with the actor. “He is one of the actors that we’ve talked to, yeah,” Abrams said. “But, you know. It’s not often that I read about actors that I’m going to be meeting … that I get to read articles about actors who are going to come in. And so I get to see someone and say, ‘Oh, I read that I’m going to see you.’ … It’s usually agents talking to people about what’s happening. It’s a lot of noise.”
Warner Bros. Pictures has debuted this first TV spot for ’300: Rise of an Empire,’ the upcoming follow-up to Zack Snyder’s ’300.’ Planned for a March 7th release, ’300: Rise of an Empire’ stars Rodrigo Santoro returning as Xerxes, Sullivan Stapleton as Themistokles, Jack O’Connell as Calisto, Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo, David Wenham as Dilios, and Eva Green as Artemisia.
’300: Rise of an Empire’ is based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel that takes Xerxes, the Persian leader who is an antagonist in ’300,’ and turns him into more of a pivotal figure. He’s a man in search of godhood after the death of his father, battling an Athenian warlord named Themistokles. The story takes place over the course of several years, but the focal point is the battle of Artemisium, which occured in 480 BC. Previous reports had Zack Snyder – who in my eyes done a fantastic job with ’300′ – pegged to direct until Warner Bros and producer Christopher Nolan signed him up to helm ‘Man of Steel.’ Noam Murro (five-time DGA nominated commercials director) is on board to direct the film. Stay tuned for the new trailer tomorrow!
Out and about at the Sundance Film Festival for ‘Infinitely Polar Bear,’ MTV caught up briefly with Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana, one of the newer members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On the topic of how the ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ script compares to ‘The Avengers,’ Ruffallo said, “I would say that it’s better, it’s cooler, it’s more awesomer. It’s a little bit darker, but also really has Joss Whedon’s incredibly, witty and sly sense of humor.” Ruffalo’s character was arguably one of the best elements of 2012’s ‘The Avengers,’ but would he get the same kind of fan-favorite moments in the sequel? According to Ruffalo, fans shouldn’t worry. “[Bruce Banner] gets to do such great stuff,” he said.
Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ isn’t the only trip to another world that Zoe Saldana is making in the next few years. She recently signed on for the next three ‘Avatar’ movies, which James Cameron is currently prepping. Saldana told MTV that she wasn’t surprised that Neytiri would be sticking around for three sequels, since she found out long before the general public. “I knew. I knew for a while,” she said. “Then it was confirmed last fall when they approached us, already telling us these are the dates, lock yourself, we would like you to start getting ready around this time.”
According to reports, Oprah Winfrey is coming on board to act as a producer on Ava DuVernay’s ‘Selma,’ the drama about the historic civic rights marches that has David Oyelowo portraying Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The move puts her in company with Brad Pitt, who is already on board as a producer via his Plan B production company, and its execs Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner. Plan B was behind ’12 Years a Slave,’ Steve McQueen’s drama that just nabbed 10 Oscar nominations. Winfrey played Oyelowo’s mother in Lee Daniels’ ‘The Butler’ and seems to be making more moves into movies after a long absence. She is also producing ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ for DreamWorks.
‘Selma’ details the attempts of black marchers to walk from Selma to Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, in 1965 in order to gain voting rights, only to be beaten back by police. It took the organizers three attempts to make the journey, which swelled in numbers each time. It was also a critical time in MLK’s life. “It’s a subject matter close to her heart,” Ava DuVernay tells The Hollywood Reporter. “The producers are behind some of the most forward-thinking movies of last year and they are all coming together.”
THR are reporting that Miles Teller is set to play Dan Aykroyd in the John Belushi biopic, which is being directed by Steve Conrad. Emile Hirsch is starring in the movie as Belushi, and it was Hirsch who made the announcement at a party for the Creative Coalition Saturday night. “A shout-out to Miles Teller!” he reportedly told the packed party. “We’re going to be working together soon. He’s playing Dan Aykroyd in the Belushi movie.”
Miles Teller’s agency CAA, however, is saying any announcement may be premature. The actor does have the offer but insists the actor will take a beat to committing to any new project until after Sundance wraps and he finishes his press duties for his upcoming movie ‘That Awkward Moment.’