‘Better Call Saul’ Behind-the-Scenes Preview

Jan 26, 2015 by B. Alan Orange

AMC has released a new behind-the-scenes look at Better Call Saul, which kicks off with Bob Odenkirk describing how this Breaking Bad spinoff came to be. Creator Vince Gilligan first approached the star while they were working together on the set of Breaking Bad, where Bob Odenkirk promised that if Gilligan wrote it, he would definitely do it. Now, just a few years later, the show is already getting plenty of critical praise, with some even calling it better than its predecessor as the prequel prepares for its launch this February.

Better Call Saul is set in 2002, six years before Saul Goodman meets Walter White. When we first see him him, the man who will become Saul Goodman is known as Jimmy McGill, a small-time lawyer searching for his destiny, and, more immediately, hustling to make ends meet. Working alongside, and, often, against Jimmy, is Mike Erhmantraut. This spinoff will track Jimmy’s transformation into Saul Goodman, the man who puts “criminal” in “criminal lawyer.”

Starring Bob Odenkirk in the title role, the series will also feature Jonathan Banks, Michael McKean, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian and Michael Mando. Vince Gilligan directed the first episode of the series, which will premiere on February 9, 2015 on AMC. Watch as the creator delves deeper into the story and motivation behind this thrilling new drama, along with various members of his cast:

Share this story yet?


‘The Overnight’ Gets Late-Night Bidding Battle – Sundance

EXCLUSIVE: Two days after its premiere here at the Sundance Film Festival, The Overnight is getting a lot of Sunday night attention from bidders. I hear that the comedy executive produced by Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass and Adam Scott and producer Naomi Scott is attracting the likes of Netflix, A24, The Orchard, Bleecker Street and Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate. With ICM Partners and Submarine Films brokering things for the filmmakers, all the players are putting in bids in the $3 million range. A deal will close in the AM in Park City.

That would see The Overnight acquired for what Relativity paid for The Bronze on Saturday and what IFC paid for The D Train earlier today.

Starring Scott, Orange Is The New Black‘s Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, and Judith Godrèche, The Overnight is about a Seattle family that move to LA and the highly charged relationship that develops with another couple as they try to find their way in the City of Angels. Thethe U.S. Dramatic Competition pic is directed and written by Patrick Brice, who previously helmed the thriller Creep, which Mark Duplass and Jason Blum produced. Mark Duplass and Brice also starred in the SXSW premiering Creep.

Related‘Me And Earl And The Dying Girl’ In Sundance Record-Setting Deal Talks


‘Me And Earl And The Dying Girl’ In Sundance Record-Setting Deal Talks

EXCLUSIVE: A precedent-setting deal will close tonight for Me And Earl And The Dying Girl. I hear bidding has reached $12 million for worldwide rights to the Alfonso Gomez-Rejon-directed drama, which debuted in the U.S. Dramatic Competition on Sunday at the Eccles. I’m hearing Fox Searchlight is in the lead but there are still other bidders including Lionsgate and Focus Features. These talks could go late and they still have to work out marketing and other commitment details.

If the deal makes, the total would overtake the previous Sundance sales record of around $10 million, paid for several films including Spitfire Grill, The Way Way BackLittle Miss Sunshine and Hamlet 2.

Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton and  Molly Shannon star in the pic, written by Jesse Andrews. Jeremy Dawson and Dan Fogelman produced it. The plot follows Greg, who is coasting through senior year of high school as anonymously as possible, avoiding social interactions like the plague while secretly making spirited, bizarre films with Earl, his only friend. But both his anonymity and friendship threaten to unravel when his mother forces him to befriend a classmate with leukemia.

WME is brokering the deal for the film.


SAG Movies: Not Many Surprises But Hawking Vs. ‘Birdman’ Fires Up The Best Actor Oscar Race – Hammond

As far as being a good Oscar harbinger, the SAG awards have a fairly good track record. Last year for instance, they first awarded Matthew McConaughey, Cate pete_hammond_300x100Blanchett, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o, and then they all went on to win Oscars. However, American Hustle took the Outstanding Cast award, but was shut out by the Academy. Cut to tonight where Birdman took the Cast award. The continuing coronation of  Julianne Moore in lead actress for Still Alice, J.K. Simmons in Supporting Actor for WhiplashSAG Awards Live Blog and Patricia Arquette in Supporting Actress for Boyhood were locks at the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice Movie Awards and now SAG. They remain locks at the Oscars in the same corresponding categories, although Arquette’s handlers might hope CBS would lay off the heavy CSI: Cyber (in which she stars) promos until after voting closes on February 17th. The only roadblock could be at BAFTA on February 8th.  Those can be unpredictable and these are three very American performances, but I expect the Brits could well fall in line with the o462208742ther groups. It doesn’t really matter anyway.  All three should make room on their shelf for Oscar.

It is the lead actor category, as it has been all season, that provides the only suspense in the acting races on Academy Award night and SAG just ratcheted up the stakes by giving  The Theory Of Everything’s Eddie Redmayne their Best Actor award.  As I noted in our live blog tonight, I thought Michael Keaton might have a great chance to pull this one off. It is a group of actors voting and he plays an actor in crisis in Birdman. Plus he just came off three wins at the Critics Choice Movie Awards blanking Redmayne. At the Globes they both won, with Redmayne in drama and Keaton in comedy/musical.  This has been a seesaw battle recently but the SAG win is very important for momentum since Redmayne is favored to also pick up the same win at BAFTA in two weeks. This is the industry talking now.

RelatedSAG Awards: ‘Birdman’ Soars & ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Shines

Perhaps the 100,000 strong SAG/AFTRA membership that voted thought by handing the Cast award to Birdman that it was also a way to take care of Keaton. In a way it was as he did get an opportunity to make a speech on that stage , so that kept him front of mind. And the Cast win for Birdman will get a lot of attention as it is SAG’s version of Best Picture and it comes on the heels of last night’s surprise PGA win for the film. The movie which was not quite the critics choice that Boyhood 462211748 has been, has come soaring into this Oscar race with big wins at the first two industry awards shows and leaving Boyhood (sans Arquette’s win) in its dust.  That cannot be underestimated, and I think it really opens up this race making the February 7th DGA show all that more important.

RelatedSAG Awards Winners: What They’re Saying Backstage

Most people to whom I have spoken think the DGA will go to Boyhood’s Richard Linklater. After all this dogged 12-year joTNT's 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Backstageurney on that film was a monumental achievement for any helmer. If it’s not a directors’ triumph, it’s nothing.  But now with the back-to-back wins this weekend for Birdman , Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu might be flying into a co-frontrunner status there with his equally impressive and risky directorial achievement on Birdman. Who knows? Maybe he has been the leader all along.  It will make for an interesting evening and DGA voting continues for almost another two weeks. After the PGA awards last night, Inarritu told me he thought that the industry was possibly sparking to his film because they, better than anybody, know what a real high wire act pulling it off was. Risk sometimes equals reward, and the term equally applies to both Boyhood and Birdman. And as was clearly evident to anyone who watched the SAG awards on television, the numerous and very powerful new spots on the box office and cultural phenomenon American Sniper signal that Warner Bros will be going all out to win this race with that blockbuster. If box office returns count, it could really complicate things. There were no SAG nominations for the late-breaking December 25th release, but Clint Eastwood landed a DGA nomination. Although he was not given the same nod by the Academy’s Directors branch, his film is up for six Oscars including Picture and Actor for Bradley Cooper. The latterTNT's 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Show could be a real spoiler in the already crazy lead actor race helping to make Sniper an unprecedented and unknown contender as we enter the last month of the race. And what do you want to bet that Harvey Weinstein thinks he can still pull off a big Oscar win for his The Imitation Game even though it has yet to win anything. I wouldn’t count it out though it really has to come from behind now and that’s tough. It’s enormously popular with Academy members,so I guess anything is possible, even after being shut out at PGA and SAG.

So on to the next chapter. Final Oscar balloting begins February 6th and the next night those much anticipated DGA Awards take place, followed the next day by BAFTA. What all this means is that the money may well be flowing as there are still a number of movies, even at this late date, that still think they are in the race.


SAG Awards TV: Hourlong Series Sweep Drama & Comedy Races, Netflix Rises, Viola Davis Scores Freshman Win

Orange Is The New Black SAG Winner

What does a half-hour comedy series need to do to win a comedy SAG Award these days? That was the question posed by this year’s awards, which snubbed what had been considered comedies for decades in favor of genre-bending hourlong series that straddle the worlds of drama and comedy. The three comedy series SAG Awards went to Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black (best ensemble, actress Uzo Aduba) and Showtime’s Shameless (actor William H. Macy).

William H MacyThese were the first SAG Awards nominations for the two shows in their first season competing as comedy series. Netflix and Showtime made the controversial category switch last spring, going into the Emmy Awards. For Shameless, it came after the series competed as a drama for the first three seasons to very little awards attention. For Orange, the change was made after a run as a drama yielded only a Golden Globe nom.

The completed domination of the comedy field by drama series with comedy elements tonight will likely reignite the debate whether the TV Academy needs to better redefine the comedy category.

Among the actors in half-hour comedies that lost out to Macy tonight was Jim Parsons, still in search of his first SAG Award. It is a head-scratcher — the Big Bang Theory star has now won four Emmys for his showy role on the biggest show on television but is yet to get a recognition from his peers.

And Orange ended Modern Family‘s four-year streak as best comedy ensemble as the acclaimed ABC comedy was left empty-handed.

A big leap for Netflix, from three nominations last year to three wins tonight to top the network list — two for Orange and one for House Of Cards (drama actor Kevin Spacey).

HBO was second, taking home both long-form categories, for Mark Ruffalo (The Normal Heart) and Frances McDormand (Olive Kitteridge). It was a first award for both for their HBO movies. For Ruffalo, it came at the very end of The Normal Heart‘s awards cycle, so this makes up for previous snubs, while Olive Kitteridge is yet to compete at the Emmys.

viola davisThe drama winners were all over the place. With no big frontrunner like last year’s Breaking Bad, the actors guild went with old favorite — 2013 winner Downton Abbey repeating as best ensemble — and a newcomer — How To Get Away With Murder‘s Viola Davis.

While the SAGs failed to nominate three first-year shows that triumphed at the Golden Globes, Amazon’s Transparent, Showtime’s The Affair and the CW’s Jane The Virgin, they still awarded a freshman in HTGAWM‘s Davis in her first major recognition for the twisty murder mystery.

On a night where there were no black nominees on the film side, it was nice to see Davis, Aduba and the diverse cast of Orange onstage, a recognition of the fact that television offers more, flashier, award-worthy roles for minority actors right now.

HTGAWM and Downton Abbey held the flag for broadcast TV, which was shut out until the very last two categories.

It’s hard to believe but HBO’s True Detective ended its awards run without a single major acting nod for its A-list leading duo of Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Did they split the vote by competing against each other in every race? In their final ceremony for the broody HBO cop show, they saw the drama actor SAG Award go to House Of Cards‘ Spacey, his first for the Netflix political drama.


Sony Pictures Classics Lands ‘Diary Of A Teenage Girl’ – Sundance

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Classics is wrapping up a deal for The Diary Of A Teenage Girl, the Marielle Heller-directed drama that premiered Saturday at the Eccles Theater. Deal was seven figures for North America, plus numerous other territories around the world. Pic is about a 15-year-old aspiring comic book artist who comes of age in the hate of San Francisco in the 1970s. She’s insatiably curious about the world around her, and it was the free love era and she begins sleeping with her mother’s boyfriend.

Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgard, Christopher Meloni, and Kristen Wiig star.

Pic is competing in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, and UTA is brokering the deal with the SPC team. Miranda Bailey, Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck and Madeline Samit produced. Heller wrote the script.


Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘Justice League Dark’ Characters Revealed?

Jan 25, 2015 by Brian Gallagher

One of the many projects that director Guillermo del Toro is working on is the highly-anticipated Dark Universe, a.k.a. Justice League Dark. We reported in November that the filmmaker had turned in his script for the superhero adventure, but we still don’t know exactly what characters will appear. Today, Latino Review’s El Mayimbe revealed that the characters John Constantine, Zatanna, Brand/Deadman and Jason Blood. Naturally, these characters have not been confirmed by Warner Bros. at this time.

It still isn’t known if Justice League Dark is part of the DC Comics movie universe, but director Guillermo del Toro revealed in December that the movie is a part of a shared universe, but it wasn’t known if he was referring to the DC Comics shared universe, or a rumored shared universe featuring Vertigo Comics titles. It isn’t known if casting is currently under way or not.

Of course, given the addition of John Constantine in Justice League Dark, it remains to be seen if the movie will cross over with NBC’s current Constantine TV series, which stars Matt Ryan as the title character. NBC hasn’t issued a renewal for the TV series at this time, but it isn’t known if Guillermo del Toro wants to use that version of the character or not. What do you think about this rumored Justice League Dark lineup? Chime in with your thoughts below.


— Umberto Gonzalez (@elmayimbe) January 25, 2015

Dark Universe is in development . The film is directed by Guillermo del Toro.

Share this story yet?


‘Batman v Superman’: Lois Lane Has One Scene with Batman

Jan 25, 2015 by Brian Gallagher

While fans wait for the first trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is reportedly set to debut in February}, attached to prints of Jupiter Ascending, new details have been revealed by star Amy Adams. The actress reprises her role as intrepid reporter Lois Lane from 2013′s Man of Steel, and she revealed in a new interview with Press Association that she only has one scene with Ben Affleck‘s Batman. Take a look at what she had to say about the actor below.

“He is going to be his own unique thing. He’s got a wonderful quality and a great body of work. I was only in one scene with him, I think I’m allowed to say that. So I didn’t get to see much, but what I saw was fantastic.”

Production wrapped back in December, but the actress revealed that she has already seen some footage since shooting ended.

“It should be a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun for me. We’re not allowed to speak about it, but I just want to tell everybody everything. I’ve spoken about working briefly with Gal (Gadot) as Wonder Woman and Ben as Batman and had a wholly positive experience. And teaming up with Zack (Snyder), Henry (Cavill) and Laurence Fishburne again is so much fun. I like playing Lois, it’s a real privilege for me. I never really expected it. I can’t wait to see it. Just the part I’ve seen looks really exciting.”

What do you think about the actress’ comments? Are you excited to see her return as Lois Lane? Chime in with your thoughts below, and stay tuned for the first trailer, which is expected to debut in the next few weeks.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes to theaters March 25th, 2016 and stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons. The film is directed by Zack Snyder.

Share this story yet?