Brad Pitt Commits To Board ‘Bullet Train’; David Leitch To Helm Sony Pictures Action Film

Brad Pitt is set to star in Bullet Train, the Sony Pictures action movie that just got as director David Leitch, the helmer of Deadpool 2 and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.

Zak Olkewicz wrote the script, based on the Japanese novel Maria Beetle by Kotaro Isaka. In the novel, five assassins find themselves on a fast-moving bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka with only a few stops in between. They discover their missions are not unrelated to one another. The question becomes, who will make it off the train alive and what awaits them at the terminal station?

Pitt is coming off an Oscar-winning performance in the Quentin Tarantino-directed Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The actor is firming up his dance card, eyeing several projects but committing only to this one for now. A start date for later this year is eyed.

Antoine Fuqua developed the project originally with Fuqua Films’ Kat Samick, and they are producing along with Leitch and Kelly McCormick (Atomic Blonde) through their company 87North. Ryosuke Saegusa and Yuma Terada of CTB Inc are exec producers and rep Isaka and the IP. Leitch is overseeing a rewrite by Olkewicz to get the film ready to shoot.

Brittany Morrissey is the executive overseeing the project for Sony Pictures. Pitt is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

Harvill Secker will publish the novel Bullet Train in English next year.

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Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock and More Thank Essential Workers in ‘United We Sing’ Special

Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Oprah Winfrey, Jamie Foxx and more stars took the time to honor essential workers amid the coronavirus pandemic in Harry Connick Jr.’s CBS special, United We Sing: A GRAMMY Tribute to the Unsung Heroes, on Sunday.

Connick began the show by acknowledging that it was filmed prior to the movement for racial justice across America and around the world in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd.

“Just so you know, this special was filmed a few weeks ago and since that time our world has changed,” Connick said during the special. “Our focus has broadened from the coronavirus to include a painful dialogue about racism in America.”

The special, which was filmed in part with the help of Connick’s 24-year-old daughter, Georgia, featured the New Orleans native traveling around his hometown to thank essential workers with the help of some celebrity pals.

One such A-lister was Pitt, who spoke with a shocked sanitation worker named Darnell Rudolph.

“Man, I love the work you’ve done after Katrina,” Rudolph told Pitt of the 2005 hurricane that destroyed much of New Orleans.

“That’s so appreciated, I’ve got such a love for that city, and we so appreciate what you’re doing,” Pitt told him before asking about his family.

ET’s Rachel Smith spoke with Connick last week prior to the special airing, where he talked about the exchange between Pitt and Rudolph.

“There was this one guy who’s a sanitation worker in New Orleans. We talked to him and he said, ‘Why are you talking to me?’ Georgia and I are like, ‘Because our lives, they would suck without you,'” Connick told ET of Rudolph. “Brad Pitt was on a Zoom on the iPad, we flipped the iPad around and Brad Pitt says, ‘Hey man, I just want to thank you,’ and the guy goes, ‘Oh wow!'”

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Plan B, Searchlight Pictures Team to Adapt ‘The World According to Fannie Davis’

Author Bridgett M. Davis is adapting her own work while Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage is consulting on the project.
Plan B Entertainment, the Brad Pitt-fronted production banner behind Oscar winners Moonlight and 12 Years a Slave, has teamed up with Searchlight Pictures to adapt The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers, a memoir by Bridgett M. Davis.

Davis is writing the script. The project is also getting an assist from Lynn Nottage, who is acting as a consultant. Nottage, the only woman to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice for her plays Ruined and Sweat, is known for her work as a mentor of playwrights and a dramaturge, and will apply that skillset to the film project.

Plan B will produce.

Fannie Davis tells the true story of Davis’ mother, a woman who “made a way of no way” her motto as she did whatever it took to offer her children a middle-class life in 1960s and 1970s Detroit. In this case, it meant that Davis’ mother became part bookie and part banker to run a numbers racket out of her home, allowing her children to go to good schools and have nice clothes, all the while keeping the entire operation a secret.

The book was praised for being a look at a slice of Black America, showcasing what a marginalized class had to do to break down obstacles to the middle-class American Dream. The numbers, as the long-standing racket was known, was dominated by men and offered ways for the Black community to lift itself up from poverty by giving them access to cash when normal mainstream ways didn’t.

Director of production Zahra Phillips and manage of production Apolline Berty are overseeing for Searchlight. Gabby Shepard is running point for Plan B.

The banner last produced Ad Astra, which starred Pitt, and indie The Last Black Man in San Francisco.

Davis, the creative writing and journalism professor at Baruch College, is repped by CAA and Anjali Singh of Ayesha Pande Literary. Nottage, who is additionally an associate professor of playwriting at Columbia University, is repped by CAA and Manage-ment.

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Christie’s partners with photographer Mark Seliger for COVID-19 relief efforts

The award-winning American photographer is offering limited-edition prints from his own archives for a special philanthropic auction at Christie’s, which will take place online May 28- June 12.

The online sale will present 25 of Seliger’s most-renowned portraits of politicians and celebrities, such as President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Johnny Cash, Kurt Cobain, Leonardo DiCaprio, Dr. Dre and Tom Hanks.

Additional sitters include Billie Eilish, John Lee Hooker, Lenny Kravitz, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jerry Garcia, Courtney Love, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brad Pitt, Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen and U2.

“My career has been built on connecting with and understanding people and their stories with the desire to represent them in a way that is authentic and, in some cases, a bit fantastic. My team and I have curated a special group of prints for this auction that illustrate some of my favorite subjects and moments from the last 30 years,” Seliger said in a statement.

All proceeds from the “RADArt4Aid” photography sale will benefit the subject’s charity of choice, in an effort to raise awareness and vital funds for organizations that support those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Brad Pitt chose Meals on Wheels.

Brad Pitt. “I’ve had the great honor of working with Mr. Pitt over the years from the beginning of ‘Interview With the Vampire,’ and what I love about working together, he’s felt as enthusiastic about making great imagery as I did. And he challenged me: ‘What can we do that feels monumental?’ This is in Humboldt County — Avenue of the Giants in the redwood forest. We decided to have a few of his own motorcycles brought up. We spent two days taking pictures. I was laying on my stomach on the roof of an old SUV moving maybe 30 miles an hour. We did a lot of practicing before he got there. I don’t do my own stunts usually but this one I wanted to. This picture, it’s freedom, it just captures him. I find him to be an artist that allows himself to be part of whatever he commits to, and that gives [the work] a sense of authenticity.”

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Oprah, John Fogerty, Brad Pitt Tapped for Grammys’ Tribute to Essential Workers

Oprah, Brad Pitt, John Fogerty, Jamie Foxx, and Cyndi Lauper will appear on a Grammys tribute to essential workers, United We Sing. Harry Connick Jr. will host the show, which airs June 21st at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Per a press release, the show will feature Connick and his filmmaker daughter, Georgia Connick, taking “a road trip in an RV to thank and celebrate essential workers who risk their own lives on a daily basis to keep us safe.” The trip will start in Connecticut and end in New Orleans, and at each stop along the way, the Connicks will listen “to the stories of essential workers in health care, food preparation, sanitation, law enforcement, trucking, and more to honor their dedication and public service during this unique moment in history.” (A note in the press release adds that United We Sing was “filmed with a minimal crew practicing social distancing and with extensive safety precautions in place.”)

During the trip, celebrities like Oprah, Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Renée Zellweger, Queen Latifah, and Drew Brees will “deliver surprise messages to America’s unsung heroes.” There will also be plenty of musical performances: The lineup boasts Connick, Fogerty, Foxx, and Lauper, as well as Herbie Hancock, Little Big Town, Dave Matthews, Tim McGraw, Andra Day, Jon Batiste, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Rockin Dopsie, Irma Thomas, and Trombone Shorty.

During United We Sing, viewers will be encouraged to donate to charities that support underserved children, such as No Kid Hungry and the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in New Orleans. The special will also raise money for the COVID-19 relief fund set up by the Recording Academy’s charitable wing, MusiCares, which is providing aid to people in the music industry who have been hit hardest by COVID-19.

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