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David Brenner, Comedian and Johnny Carson Favorite, Dead at 78

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 04:18

David Brenner, a prominent stand-up comedian and regular guest of Johnny Carson's on “The Tonight Show,” died of cancer Saturday afternoon in his New York City home surrounded by his family, according to spokesperson Jeff Abraham. He was 78.

Brenner began his career as a writer, producer and director of documentaries, putting more than 100 on the air. Yet he eventually realized “you don't change the world by doing documentaries,” according to a recent “CBS This Morning” profile.

He decided to try comedy for a year, and, shortly before that year was up, his agent brought the top booker for “The Tonight Show” to see Brenner in Greenwich Village.

“He saw me and what he said was ‘David Brenner does vomit material,” Brenner recalled. “‘Not only won't he be on ‘Tonight Show,’ we won't let him in the building at 30 Rockefeller.'”

Also read: Jay Leno on ‘Tonight Show’ Ouster: ‘I Was Blindsided'; Compares Jimmy Fallon to Johnny Carson (Video)

That lit a fire under Brenner, who prepared a monologue better suited to Carson's show and auditioned. He booked a gig, and his appearance elicited immediate requests for more. He appeared more than 150 times on “Tonight Show” as a guest and substitute host. He also appeared on other talk shows and game shows before hosting his own show for a year.

“In David's final request he asked that one hundred dollars in small bills be placed in his left sock “just in case tipping is recommended where I'm going,” according to a statement issued by Abraham. “His final resting spot will read “If this is supposed to be a joke – then I don't get it!”

Also read: Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2014 (Photos)

Brenner is survived by his wife Ruth; his three sons, Cole, Wyatt and Slade; his grandson, Wesley.

Watch the full CBS profile below and his first “Tonight Show” appearance below that.

The post David Brenner, Comedian and Johnny Carson Favorite, Dead at 78 appeared first on TheWrap.

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Josh Brolin Reveals Past Heroin Use

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 03:14

Josh Brolin belonged to a surfer gang called the Cito Rats and dabbled in hard drugs when he was a teenager, he said in a recent interview with The Guardian. Brolin opened up about his childhood, telling the British newspaper the Rats were a group of “children of rich, neglectful parents or children of poor, neglectful parents.”

“I tried heroin,” Brolin said. “That sounds so horrible when you put it like that. But yeah, I tried heroin.”

Brolin never took to the drug, but many of his friends did.

“I've had 19 friends who died,” Brolin said. “Most of those guys I grew up with, they're all dead now.”

Also see: WrapChat: Philip Seymour Hoffman and Hollywood's Link Between Drugs and Creativity (Video)

Brolin sat down for the interview to discuss “Labor Day,” Jason Reitman's latest movie in which Brolin plays Frank, an escaped convict who lands in suburbia.

The question of sobriety has hung over Brolin since he was arrested for public intoxication on New Year's Eve of 2012. Despite media repots that he entered a rehab facility last November, Brolin swears he is clean and focused on his upcoming projects.

The actor appeared in “Gangster Squad,” “Oldboy” and “Labor Day” last year, three movies viewers received poorly. He will appear in two movies this year that should fare better, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” a sequel to Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's hit film, and “Inherent Vice,” the latest movie from Paul Thomas Anderson.

The post Josh Brolin Reveals Past Heroin Use appeared first on TheWrap.

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‘Orange Is the New Black’ Cast Dishes on Prison Sex, Women Calling the Shots, and What Red Did

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 01:46

Netflix's hit women's prison dramedy “Orange Is the New Black” returns for its second season on June 6, and the stars and creator of the groundbreaking series took the stage at PaleyFest Friday night to talk about what's made the show a social phenomenon — from the unprecedented roles for women behind and in front of the camera to the issues of race and sexual identity the show tackles.

See video: ‘Orange Is the New Black's’ Jason Biggs, Taylor Schilling and Cast Answer: Is the Show a Comedy or Drama? (Video)

Life on the Inside
The show centers around Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, an upper middle class white girl thrown into Litchfield minimum security federal prison with nothing but her own presumptions and prejudices to guide her.

Co-creator and showrunner Jenji Kohan said that critical to achieving a realistic depiction of life inside a women's prison is a focus not on stereotypes and statistics but on the characters she portrays.

“Our focus is on character… and these people as individuals,” Kohan said.

See video: Netflix's ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Sets Season 2 Premiere Date, Releases Teaser (Video)

“And we don't approach it as like ‘Well what does the black one do, what does the “Latino one do?’ You know these people — you can't view it as tokenism, you have to view it as people,” she added.

Danielle Brooks, who plays fan favorite Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson, echoed Kohan's sentiment.

“There's women out there that are like Taystee,” Brooks said to a round of audience applause.

“It's about telling a true story and giving voice to those that do not have a voice, and I think that's what we're all doing.”

By the same token, the prison guards are treated with the same thorough storytelling.

See photos: ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Season 2 First Look: Taylor Schilling Gets Bloody, Prison Gets a New Inmate (Photos)

“They're all in prison; the guards are in prison too,” Kohan said.

Michael Harney, who portrays friend-turned-foe inmate counselor Sam Healy, said he relished the opportunity to show that the correctional officers aren't as simple as heroes or villains in the story.

“By us being able to be whole people, we're able to expose some of the inner conflicts that people that work inside of these places deal with,” Harney said.

“So it's not so much about being true to life, but it's about being true to be able to express the inner life of what they go through, for me,” he added. “They're having a rough time too, dealing with what they're dealing with.”

In response to a fan question about why Piper — a divisive character among fans and critics alike — comes off as so shallow and unlikeable, Kohan pointed to the diversity of the world.

Also read: PaleyFest: ‘Veronica Mars’ Creator Talks Movie Sequel, Possible Netflix or Amazon Series Reboot (Photos)

“Why can't a character on TV be narcissistic and whiny?” Kohan asked.

“It's a naturalistic world, and in the world there's all sizes and colors and shapes and why should that not be accepted?”

Lady Love

Kevin Parry for Paley Center for Media

“Orange Is the New Black” has been heralded for its frank portrayal of female sexuality and sexual identity, particularly through the storyline of transgender character Sophia Burset, portrayed by transgender actress Laverne Cox.

“For the trans community, a lot of folks — a lot of people are having conversations that they weren't having before,” Cox said, to a hearty round of applause.

See video: Piers Morgan and Transgender Guest Janet Mock Get Into Heated Exchange During Second Interview (Video)

Lea DeLaria, who plays Carrie “Big Boo” Black, joined the cast from the audience to say how the show has changed the cultural perception of butch lesbians.

“Usually when a 16-year-old boy walks up to me on the street, it was to spit in my face and call me ‘dyke.’ And now it's to hug me and say how much he loves ‘Orange Is the New Black,'” DeLaria said in an emotional moment.

Kohan and the cast credit the organic manner in which these issues are presented in the story for how they've been received in the public.

“It's not confronted; that's the whole point,” Kohan said. “It's not ‘The Very Special Episode about the trans character.’ It's normalized in this conversation.”

Also read: Bill Simmons Calls Transgender Blowback ‘Really Rough,’ Predicts More Gay NFLers Will Follow Michael Sam

Women in Charge
One look at the stage at PaleyFest Friday night says it all: 12 women and two men represented “Orange Is the New Black.”

Surely there are more men in the cast, and others involved in the project on different levels, but on Kohan's show, women call the shots.

“Orange Is the New Black” is known for its majority female writers room — a rarity in Hollywood — and women predominate on set in above- and below-the-line roles

“It just made us dream differently,” said Uzo Aduba, who plays Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren.

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“I remember feeling it reverberate through my being that I had never seen that before, that so many women were calling the shots.”

“And women of color,” Brooks added.

What to Expect in Season Two
Jason Biggs, who plays Piper's unsympathetic fiancee, gave the audience a preview of what to expect for their strained relationship in the second season.

“When we left Larry and Piper in season one, their relationship was precarious at best, and for Larry, season 2 is pretty much spent trying to figure out if the damage that was done to the relationship is irreparable or if there's something that they can mend there,” Biggs said.

“I think it's hard for him to just give up on it, so season two is spent with that sort of turmoil.”

Also read: ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Stars Asks Fans to Support Castmate Injured in Severe Car Accident

Kevin Parry for Paley Center for Media

Inside Litchfield, a new character is introduced who upsets the lives of all of the inmates — a “street-wise drug maven” called Vee, played by Lorraine Toussaint.

“Jenji has written one of the more complex characters I've ever played, and probably one of the more difficult characters I've played,” Toussaint said.

“I think it'll be interesting seeing how this character is received, because Jenji has written a character that plays and enjoys the game, and is incredibly engaging and draws people into her — into the big game and has — I have a great deal of fun,” she added

WHAT DID RED DO!?
Fans of the show are familiar with the format — little by little, we learn how these women got sent to jail.

Also read: ‘Orange Is the New Black': What the Critics Think About Netflix's Prison Comedy

And while audiences have learned quite a bit of kitchen queen Red's backstory, nobody knows what Kate Mulgrew's character did — not even Kate Mulgrew!

Nobody except for Kohan, of course.

“I do know what you did and we can talk about it,” Kohan said, to the surprise of everyone on stage and in the audience.

“I wrote the scene and I threw it away, because it didn't matter.”

But, Kohan said, the scene still exists on a hard drive somewhere, so perhaps viewers can stop writing their “What Red Did” fanfiction and get to the bottom of what landed Red in the slammer.

Kevin Parry for Paley Center for Media

The post ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Cast Dishes on Prison Sex, Women Calling the Shots, and What Red Did appeared first on TheWrap.

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Los Angeles Times Fires Reporter After Errors, ‘Inappropriate Relationship’ With Source

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 01:02

The Los Angeles Times has fired award-winning investigative reporter Jason Felch after he admitted to an “inappropriate relationship with a confidential source” for a series of stories about Occidental College.

The Times issued an editor's note Friday to apologize for an error in Felch's front-page story from Dec. 7, which was reiterated in subsequent stories. Felch alleged Occidental had failed to disclose 27 incidents of sexual assault as mandated by the Clery Act. The school did not contest reports it failed to disclose certain incidents, simply that Felch had exaggerated the number. Some of the incidents were sexual harassment rather than assault.

After the Times began looking into Occidental College's complain, Felch acknowledged his indiscretion with a source, prompting his dismissal. Los Angeles Times editor Davan Maharaj said the relationship was “a professional lapse of the kind that no news organization can tolerate.”

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Felch has not replied to TheWrap's request for comment, but he sent a long letter to the Associated Press about the situation.

“In late December, I began an inappropriate relationship with a confidential source that lasted several weeks,” Felch wrote. “When the relationship began, I stopped relying upon the person as a source. None of the subsequent articles published in the LA Times relied upon that person.”

Felch said he was fired “for creating the appearance of a conflict of interest” and that he accepts “full responsibility” for what he did. Felch, an investigative reporter who has written about arms trafficking and money laundering, is the co-author of “Chasing Aphrodite,” a book about looting in the art world.

The post Los Angeles Times Fires Reporter After Errors, ‘Inappropriate Relationship’ With Source appeared first on TheWrap.

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‘Banshee's’ Odette Annable, ‘Good Wife's’ Melissa George Join ABC Drama Projects

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 00:39

Odette Annable and Melissa George have joined ABC projects, representatives for the actresses told TheWrap.

Annable will co-star on “Astronaut Wives Club” from “Gossip Girl” executive producers Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz for Fake Empire, which was given a 10-episode series order. Michael London (“Betas,” “The Illusionist”) will executive produce for Groundswell.

Set in the 1960s, the series focuses on the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history during the height of the space race.

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She'll play Trudy Cooper, the wife of Gordo Cooper and the youngest of the wives. A licensed pilot herself, she has aspirations that can cause challenges for her husband and the other wives.

She joins previously announced castmembers JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Azure Parsons and Zoe Boyle.

Represented by UTA and Evolution Entertainment, Annable most recently appeared in recurring roles on CBS's “Two and a Half Men” and Cinemax's “Banshee.” Previously she starred on ABC's “October Road” and “Brothers & Sisters.”

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Meanwhile, George will co-star on ABC's untitled Richard LaGravenese drama pilot, which revolves around the war between two socialites (and sometimes lovers).

George will play a socialite in the middle of a devastating divorce who sets her former lover, Phillip (Rufus Sewell) on her soon-to-be ex-husband's fiance.

Aside from Sewell, George joins Katie Holmes, who plays lead role Ann, on the project.

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Represented by Vic Murray Talent and 3 Arts Entertainment, George previously guest-starred on ABC's “Grey's Anatomy” and “Alias.” She has also appeared on HBO's “In Treatment” and CBS's “The Good Wife.”

LaGravenese — who wrote the screenplays for HBO's “Behind the Candelabra,” the films “Beautiful Creatures” and “Water for Elephants,” among others — will write and executive-produce the project. Erwin Stoff (“The Matrix”), Ilene Staple and Wren Arthur (“A Prairie Home Companion”) will executive produce with ABC Studios.

The post ‘Banshee's’ Odette Annable, ‘Good Wife's’ Melissa George Join ABC Drama Projects appeared first on TheWrap.

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James Franco, Jimmy Fallon Compare Publishing Credentials on ‘The Tonight Show’ (Video)

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 23:59

James Franco visited Jimmy Fallon Friday on “The Tonight Show” to talk about Broadway debut in “Of Mice and Men” and his first book of poems, prompting Franco and Fallon to compare their publishing records.

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“I have one book,” Fallon said, whipping out a copy of his humorous “Thank You Notes.” You can see a photo of the two published authors above. Franco is earnest about his own efforts, aware that some may roll their eyes at him.

“I know how an actor writing poetry sounds,” Franco told the crowd. “I have a master's degree in poetry.” Franco earned the degree from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. The book, whose title stems from the work of award-wining poet Frank Bidart, is the product of four years of work there.

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Franco, at times the object of ridicule given his myriad artistic endeavors, put to rest any doubts. He has put in the work.

“It's not easy getting a graduate degree,” Franco said.

Watch the video:

The post James Franco, Jimmy Fallon Compare Publishing Credentials on ‘The Tonight Show’ (Video) appeared first on TheWrap.

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SXSW Audience Award Winners: Oscar Winner Shawn Christensen's ‘Before I Disappear,’ ‘Vessel’ (Complete List)

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 23:20

Shawn Christensen has conquered South by Southwest just one year after he won an Oscar. Christensen's “Before I Disappear,” a feature length film based on his Oscar-winning short “Curfew,” won the audience award for Best Narrative Feature Saturday at the Austin-based festival.

Christensen stars in the film alongside 14-year-old Fatima Ptacek, both of whom reprised their roles from the short. The Oscar enabled the former musician to recruit a stellar cast for his feature debut, including Emmy Rossum, Paul Wesley and Ron Perlman. The film chronicles a depressed young man who must look after his niece for a few hours.

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“When we started getting good positive feedback [to the short], I knew I wanted to expand it into a feature,” Christensen told TheWrap at South by Southwest.

“And by positive feedback, he means he won the Oscar for best short film,” Rossum chimed in.

Watch our interview with Christensen and his cast below:

The other big winner Saturday was “Vessel,” Diana Whitten's documentary about a doctor who gives abortions at sea. A SXSW jury awarded her movie a prize for “political courage” earlier in the week.

The festival only accepted eight movies in both the narrative and documentary competition, turning away thousands of submissions. It seeks films from lesser-known filmmakers who have demonstrated promise, Christensen being a prime example.

SXSW exhibits more flexibility in other categories, in which it will accept movies that premiered at other festivals and are made by more established filmmakers. It balances crowd-pleasing, mainstream movies, like the Seth Rogen comedy “Neighbors,” with movies like “Fort Tilden,” which won the top jury prize.

Diego Luna's “Cesar Chavez,” a biopic about the titular activist that will open in theaters later this month, won the narrative spotlight award while Ben Knight and Travis Rummel's “Dam Nation,” a film about our nation's changing attitude towards dams and how those structures have affected our waterways, won the documentary spotlight award.

You can watch a video on that here:

Anlo Sepulveda and Paul Collins also won an award for a film about America's rivers, specifically Texas’ Yakona river. The two told the story from the perspective of the stream.

HBO took home a pair of awards Saturday, as Mike Judge's new show “Silicon Valley” won the award for Best Episodic and “True Detective” won for excellence in title design at the film design awards. Episode is a new category at SXSW, which admitted TV series pilots into the festival this year.

Here's the full list of winners:

2014 SXSW Film Festival Audience Award Winners:

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

Audience Award Winner: Before I Disappear

Director: Shawn Christensen

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION

Audience Award Winner: Vessel

Director: Diana Whitten

DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHT

Audience Award Winner: DamNation

Director: Ben Knight & Travis Rummel

NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT

Audience Award Winner: CESAR CHAVEZ

Directors: Diego Luna

VISIONS

Audience Award Winner: Yakona

Director: Anlo Sepulveda & Paul Collins

MIDNIGHTERS

Audience Award Winner: Exists

Director: Eduardo Sánchez

EPISODIC

Audience Award Winner: Silicon Valley

Director: Mike Judge

SXGLOBAL

Audience Award Winner: The Special Need

Directors: Carlo Zoratti

FESTIVAL FAVORITES

Audience Award Winner: The Case Against 8

Director: Ben Cotner & Ryan White

 

SXSW Film Design Awards

EXCELLENCE IN POSTER DESIGN

Audience Award Winner: Big Significant Things

Designer: Corey Holms

EXCELLENCE IN TITLE DESIGN

Audience Award Winner:  True Detective

Designer: Patrick Clair for Elastic

The post SXSW Audience Award Winners: Oscar Winner Shawn Christensen's ‘Before I Disappear,’ ‘Vessel’ (Complete List) appeared first on TheWrap.

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The post #ICYMI on TheWrap: 10 Top Showbiz Stories – Anne Sweeney Bombshell, Marvel vs. WB, ‘Fantastic Four’ Casting appeared first on TheWrap.

‘Mr. Peabody’ Chasing Down Sputtering ‘Need for Speed’ at Box Office

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 20:54

Aaron Paul's hot car movie, “Need for Speed,” took the pole position at the box office Friday, but “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” is a good bet to pass it for No. 1 this weekend.

DreamWorks’ 3D video game-based action film led with $6.6 million on its first day, which puts it on pace for a three-day total of around $18 million. That's well under the $25 million analysts and distributor Disney had projected — despite “Speed” being in 3,115 theaters, 90 percent of which were 3D.

Gamers likely powered “Need for Speed” to a solid $1.1 million in Thursday night screenings, but the soft Friday suggests it's having a tough time connecting with moviegoers beyond its core audience despite the presence of Paul, a former star on the hit TV show “Breaking Bad.” It could pick up speed, but the reviews have been weak and it received just a “B+” CinemaScore from first-night audiences.

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DreamWorks Animation's “Peabody,” distributed by Fox, took in $5.4 million on Friday. That's just a 31 percent drop from last week, and the PG-rated kids movie, based on a segment of the 1960s TV cartoon “Rocky and Bullwinkle”, should get a big boost from families on Saturday and Sunday. Being in a market-high 3,951 theaters won't hurt either, and it will likely finish in the $22 million range.

“300: Rise of an Empire,” last weekend's No. 1 movie, came in second on Friday with $5.8 million. That puts Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros.’ R-rated sword-and-sandals saga on track to battle with “Need for “Speed” for No. 2 at around $18 million, and raises its domestic total to $65 million. It's added more than $88 million from overseas.

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The weekend's other wide release, “Tyler Perry's Single Moms Club,” landed with a thud. The PG-13 comedy-drama brought in $3.2 million Friday and likely won't crack $10 million for the weekend. That's below the mid-teen millions projected by analysts and distributor Lionsgate, and would be the weakest debut ever for movie written and directed by Perry, who is putting his film career on hold to focus on TV work. It received an “A-” CinemaScore.

“Wes Anderson's “Grand Budapest Hotel,” which last week averaged more than $200,000 per screen in a record-breaking four-theater debut, expanded to 66 theaters and took in $1.1 million. That's $16,705 per screen – the best of any film in release – and pencils out to a strong $3.7 million three-day total for Fox Searchlight.

“Veronica Mars,” based on the TV show of the same name that came to the big screen via a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, looks like it will crack the top ten. Warner Bros. opened “Mars” in 291 theaters and it brought in roughly $1 million, which translates to a $2.7 million weekend. It was also made available for download Friday, but streaming problems had some of the film's contributors seething.

Also read: Warner Bros. to Refund Angry ‘Veronica Mars’ Contributors

“Bad Words,” the R-rated spelling bee comedy in which Jason Bateman makes his directorial debut and stars, opened in six theaters and took in $38,000. That's a $6,312 per-screen average, the second-best in the marketplace.

Universal's Liam Neeson thriller, “Non-Stop,” took in $3.1 million Friday – just a 32 percent drop from last week. The action film is heading for a $10.7 million third weekend, which would up its domestic total to nearly $70 million.

Overall, the weekend was pacing roughly 15 percent ahead of last year, when “Oz the Great and Powerful” led the way with a $105 million second week.

The post ‘Mr. Peabody’ Chasing Down Sputtering ‘Need for Speed’ at Box Office appeared first on TheWrap.

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Warner Bros. to Refund Angry ‘Veronica Mars’ Contributors

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 11:03

Warner Bros. will provide refunds to backers of the “Veronica Mars” crowdfunding campaign who struggled to download the movie they helped support, the studio said Friday. Irate contributors complained about their problems throughout the day, having been promised a digital download within days of the movie's release.

Most of their vitriol is directed at Flixster and UltraViolet, the services Warner Bros. used to release the movie digitally to the project's supporters. Anyone who tries to buy the movie now can do so using iTunes and Amazon, but backers had to use Flixster/UltraViolet and are incensed by their lack of choice.

Flixster is owned by Warner Bros.

“My first and last time using Flixster or Ultraviolet,” Jennifer Gottried wrote. “Not happy about what a pain the digital “download” is, but loved the movie!” Carolyn O'Neill said she felt “ripped off,” adding “I will not be supporting anything VMars related in the future, and may never support a similar Kickstarter project again.”

Also read: Veronica Mars’ Creator Talks Movie Sequel, Possible Netflix or Amazon Series Reboot (Photos)

Others labeled Flixster “unreliable,” “crap,” “slow” and “punishing.” There are those who downloaded the movie without a hiccup, and those who did have been effusive in their praise. Yet the majority expressed dismay, prompting Rob Thomas, creator of the TV show and director of the movie, to post a response on Friday.

“We know that some of you have strong opinions about the decision to provide digital versions of the movie through Flixster,” Thomas wrote. “As you'll see in the original FAQ on our Kickstarter page, we've always planned to include Flixster as a digital distribution platform. But I also know that many of you use iTunes, Amazon or other platforms, and would prefer to claim your digital copies on your favorite service, so we hoped we'd also be able to arrange for more options. Unfortunately, it just wasn't possible. In the end, Flixster was the best option for getting the digital movie reward out to all of you, worldwide, at the same time.”

Thomas then suggested people get in touch with customer support, as that is the only way to get a refund.

Dissatisfied contributors will either receive $10 or a full refund after buying the movie elsewhere. That will assuage some commenters divided over whether or not to blame Thomas. But it will not spare Flixster, a movie site Warner Bros. acquired in 2011, or UltraViolet, the cloud-based movie storage service run by a studio-backed consortium.

Movie studios conceived UltraViolet as the future of movie ownership, but adoption remains slow. This snafu won't help.

The post Warner Bros. to Refund Angry ‘Veronica Mars’ Contributors appeared first on TheWrap.

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‘How I Met Your Mother’ Spinoff Casts Nick D'Agosto and Andrew Santino

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 06:59

CBS's “How I Met Your Mother” spinoff pilot “How I Met Your Dad” has cast “Mixology” actor Andrew Santino and “Masters of Sex” actor Nick D'Agosto.

D'Agosto (pictured) will play Frank, the head of IT for the fashion blog run by Juliet (Krysta Rodriguez).

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In a guest-starring role in second position to “Mixology,” Santino will play uptight, overachieving lawyer Danny, the older brother to Sally, the female Peter Pan-type who sits at the center of the pilot (and who's being played by Greta Gerwig).

Drew Tarver has also been cast in the pilot as the husband of Sally's brother.

Billed as a kindred spirit of “How I Met Your Mother,” the spinoff tells the story from a female point of view, featuring a brand new story and characters, and with a new voice at its center.

Also read: Pilot Season 2014: TheWrap's Complete Network Guide

“HIMYM” creators Carters Bays and Craig Thomas are writing and executive producing the pilot, along with Emily Spivey (“Up All Night”).

“How I Met Your Mother” director Pamela Fryman is directing the pilot.

The pilot is being produced by 20th Century Fox Television.

The post ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Spinoff Casts Nick D'Agosto and Andrew Santino appeared first on TheWrap.

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Judge Rules Pandora Must Pay ASCAP 1.85 Percent of Annual Revenue

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 05:54

A rate court judge ruled on Friday that Pandora must pay the America Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) 1.85 percent of the streaming music service's annual revenue.

The amount was lower than the rate increase ASCAP sought, but higher than Pandora wanted.

The streaming service was pushing for the rate to be between 1.7 percent — what traditional radio pays — and 1.85 percent, the rate it had been paying since 2011. ASCAP wanted 2.5 percent for 2013 and 3 percent in 2014 and 2015 — at which point the term expires.

Judge Denise Cote presided over the proceedings. The decision was made under seal, but ASCAP confirmed the details, first reported by Billboard, for TheWrap.

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ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento applauded the decision but said the market rates for Internet radio is “substantially higher” than the 1.85 percent rate, and urged review of the regulatory structure for music licensing.

“Streaming is growing in popularity — and so is the value of music on that platform,” LoFrumento said in a statement. “We are pleased the court recognized the need for Pandora to pay a higher rate than traditional radio stations.

“But recent agreements negotiated without the artificial constraints of a consent decree make clear that the market rate for Internet radio is substantially higher than 1.85 percent,” he continued. “And today's decision further demonstrates the need to review the entire regulatory structure, including the decades-old consent decrees that govern PRO licensing, to ensure they reflect the realities of today's music landscape.”

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Pandora confirmed the order under seal, but said the company “cannot comment until it is publicly released.”

The decision was filed under seal pending the determination of what (if any) confidential information in the decision should be redacted.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

The post Judge Rules Pandora Must Pay ASCAP 1.85 Percent of Annual Revenue appeared first on TheWrap.

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Lionsgate, Reese Witherspoon Developing ‘Outliers’ Trilogy as Next Major YA Franchise

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 04:48

Lionsgate has acquired the feature film rights to Kimberly McCreight's upcoming novel trilogy “The Outliers,” which is could serve as the studio's next YA franchise after “The Hunger Games.”

 

In “The Outliers,” Wylie has always had great instincts, but she dismissed them as nothing more, until her best friend went missing. She finds Cassie in a remote spot in the woods with a group called the Outliers, who claim to be able to harness “intuition” and turn it into a powerful psychological weapon called EQ Transference. Bewitched by the utopia they seem to have created, and thrilled to be surrounded by people like her, Wylie joins the Outliers. But within days, she finds herself running for her life. Wylie doesn't know it, but she has the potential to become the most powerful Reader of all. There are many who would go to great lengths to destroy her, and she can't trust anyone – least of all, the Outliers.

Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman will produce via their Mandeville Films banner along with Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea via their Pacific Standard banner. Mandeville and Papandrea also produced “Warm Bodies” for Summit.

Mandeville's hard-working development executive Laura Cray was instrumental in the “Outliers” deal, having brought the project in. She'll oversee “Outliers” for Mandeville, while Lionsgate/Summit execs Erik Feig and Meredith Milton will oversee the project for the studio, whose Robert Melnik negotiated the deal on Lionsgate's behalf.

“The Outliers” continues Lionsgate's successful relationship with Mandeville Films, which produced Summit Entertainment's “Warm Bodies” and has recently come aboard to executive produce the “Divergent” sequel “Insurgent.”

Pacific Standard is the production company behind the upcoming feature film adaptations of two bestselling novels, “Gone Girl” and “Wild.”

In a preemptive major sale, HarperCollins acquired North American publishing rights to McCreight's upcoming trilogy earlier this year. The first book in the series will be published in late 2015.

McCreight's bestselling debut novel, “Reconstructing Amelia,” is being developed by Nicole Kidman, who is also attached to star. The author is represented by Resolution and Marly Rusoff & Associates, Inc.

The post Lionsgate, Reese Witherspoon Developing ‘Outliers’ Trilogy as Next Major YA Franchise appeared first on TheWrap.

Anthony LaPaglia to Star in CBS's Terrorism Pilot

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 04:41

Anthony LaPaglia is back in business with CBS.

The “Without a Trace” star has been cast in CBS's upcoming drama pilot from Nikki Toscano (“Revenge,” “Detroit 1-8-7″) and Kerry Ehrin (“Bates Motel,” “Parenthood”).

Also read: Pilot Season 2014: TheWrap's Complete Network Guide

The pilot follows the aftermath of a terrorist event that rocks Washington, D.C. LaPaglia will play Coach Holden Weller, an intense, high school football coach/athletic director in Virginia — who happens to be a retired, well-respected CIA operative. When the attack happens, Weller is pulled back into action to investigate closer to home where the next generation of terrorists are being bred.

The cast also includes Shanley Caswell and Aimee Garcia.

Toscano is writing the pilot, with Ehrin producing. James Foley (“Glengarry Glen Ross,” “House of Cards”) will direct.

The untitled pilot hails from Universal Television and CBS Television Studios.

 

The post Anthony LaPaglia to Star in CBS's Terrorism Pilot appeared first on TheWrap.

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Josh Lucas Joins Debra Messing in NBC Drama Pilot ‘The Mysteries of Laura’

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 04:27

Josh Lucas is hooking up with Debra Messing.

The “American Psycho” and “Hulk” actor has been cast in the NBC “The Mysteries of Laura,” which also stars “Will & Grace” alum Messing.

The pilot, based on the original series “Los Misterios de Laura,” follows the life and relationships of a female homicide detective who can handle murderous criminals — but not her hell-raising twin children.

Also read: Pilot Season 2014: TheWrap's Complete Network Guide

Lucas will play Jake, a captain in Laura's precinct and her would-be ex-husband, if only he would sign the divorce papers. A serial cheater who could schmooze his way out of the electric chair, Jake's charm and coveted “good dad” role means he deftly leaves the parenting of his young twin children entirely to Laura.

Greg Berlanti, Jeff Rake, Aaron Kaplan and Todd Lituchy are producing, as is McG, who's directing the pilot.

Jeff Rake is writing the pilot, which is being produced by Berlanti Productions and Kapital Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television.

The post Josh Lucas Joins Debra Messing in NBC Drama Pilot ‘The Mysteries of Laura’ appeared first on TheWrap.

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‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Actors Join HBO's Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger Rock ‘n’ Roll Pilot

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 04:11

HBO's untitled rock ‘n’ roll pilot from executive producers Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger has filled two more roles.

Max Casella and Jack Quaid have joined the cast, a network representative told TheWrap.

From writer/executive producers George Mastras (“Breaking Bad”) and Terence Winter (“Boardwalk Empire”), the untitled series will explore the drug and sex-fueled music business as punk and disco were breaking out through the eyes of a record executive trying to resurrect his label and find the next new sound.

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Casella will play Julian “Julie” Silver, who's described as nurturing yet with an explosive temper. He's the Head of A&R for label American Century, who struggles to stay hip and relevant in the young man's game of the rock ‘n’ roll business.

And Quaid will play Clark Morellea, a young A&R executive at the label who struggles for a foothold in the competitive environment of the A&R team.

They join castmembers Bobby Cannavale, Olivia Wilde and Juno Temple.

Represented by Innovative Artists, Casella previously appeared on HBO's “Boardwalk Empire” and “The Sopranos.” Viewers may also remember him as Vinnie Delpino on ABC's “Doogie Howser M.D.,” opposite Neil Patrick Harris.

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Quaid played Marvel on “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” UTA and Anonymous represent the actor.

George Mastras, who has an overall deal with HBO, will serve as showrunner if HBO orders the project to series. In addition to his executive producing duties, Scorsese is also set to direct the pilot.

Victoria Pearman, Emma Tillinger Koskoff and Rick Yorn will also executive produce on the project.

The post ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Actors Join HBO's Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger Rock ‘n’ Roll Pilot appeared first on TheWrap.

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Women in Film Accepting Applications for 2014 Film Finishing Fund

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 03:11

The Women in Film Foundation is now accepting applications for their 2014 Film Finishing Fund grants. WIF is giving up to $15,000 in grants to help filmmakers complete their films.

This is the 29th year WIF has offered this program, which is currently run by Committee Co-Chairs Betsy Pollock and Nancy Rae Stone. The Film Finishing Fund has awarded $2 million worth of grants for more than 170 films from all over the world.

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Past recipients include Cynthia Wade's 2008 Academy Award-winner for Best Documentary Short, “Freeheld,” Freida Lee Mock's 1994 Academy Award-winner for Best Documentary “A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory,” and the 2011 Sundance Audience Award winner by Maryam Keshavarz, “Circumstance.”

To qualify, submitted projects must be by, for or about women. The films must have completed 90% of principal photography and have a rough cut at the time of submission. All genres are eligible. More information is available at www.wif.org

Applications are due by June 6, 2014. Winners will be announced in October 2014.

The post Women in Film Accepting Applications for 2014 Film Finishing Fund appeared first on TheWrap.

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