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April 7, 2014

Brad Pitt’s production company will allegedly bring the Steubenville rape case to the big screen.

The Tracking Board, a Hollywood insider blog, claims Pitt and Dede Gardner’s Plan B Entertainment has bought the rights to the November 2013 Rolling Stone story “Anonymous vs. Steubenville” written by David Kushner. The piece focuses on hacktivist and Anonymous member Deric Lostutter’s role in revealing information and exposing cover-ups relating to the 2012 rape of a 16-year-old girl by two football players from the close-knit town.

Read more.

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April 2, 2014

Made over seven years and in partnership with Pitt’s production company Plan B, Boynton’s film tracks American oil company execs and African politicians as they negotiate a drilling deal that could benefit everyone except the local population.

On Wednesday night, following a Los Angeles screening of Rachel Boynton’s documentary Big Men — an edge-of-your-seat film that offers an unprecedented inside look at how American oil companies and African governments interact when oil is discovered in Africa — The Hollywood Reporter met up with Boynton and one of the film’s executive producers, Brad Pitt, to discuss how the project came together and what they hope people will take away from it.

Boynton spent seven years of her life making the film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, screened theatrically last year (unfortunately rendering it ineligible for Oscar consideration this year) and is now playing in select theaters across the nation.

It seems to be the hope of Boynton and Pitt — whose Plan B production company champions films of social value, such as this year’s best picture Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave — that Big Men will raise awareness and bring about reforms that will benefit the people of African nations who have heretofore rarely shared in the profits of the discoveries of oil within their borders.

Here is a transcript of our conversation.

Read more. Also added to BP Press.

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April 2, 2014

Always one to make a scene with his arrivals, Brad Pitt attended the Los Angeles screening of the documentary, “Big Men” on Wednesday (March 26).

Looking cool in a summer suit, the “World War Z” stud sported a tan jacket and pants, going casual with a white tee underneath.

“Big Men” is directed and produced by Rachel Boynton, and its official synopsis reads, “The film’s central story follows a small group of American explorers at Dallas-based oil company Kosmos Energy. Between 2007 and 2011, with unprecedented, independent access, Big Men’s two-person crew filmed inside the oil company as Kosmos and its partners discovered and developed the first commercial oil field in Ghana’s history.”

Continuing, the sum-up states, “Simultaneously the crew filmed in the swamps of Nigeria’s Niger Delta, following the exploits of a militant gang to reveal another side of the economy of oil: people trying to profit in any way possible, because they’ve given up on waiting for the money to trickle down. So what happens when a group of hungry people discover a massive and exquisitely rare pot of gold in one of the poorest places on earth?”

Read more.

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April 2, 2014

Paramount Pictures and Plan B announced today that writer / director Adam McKay has come aboard to adapt and direct THE BIG SHORT, based on the acclaimed book by Michael Lewis.

Based on Lewis’ best-seller The Big Short: Inside The Doomsday Machine about the housing and credit bubble of the 2000s, the film will be produced by Paramount and Brad Pitt’s Plan B.

Pitt previously starred in and produced Lewis’ MONEYBALL, which earned an Academy Award®-nomination for Best Picture.

“Michael Lewis has the amazing ability to take complex formulas and concepts and turn them into page turners. Plan B and I connected over that breathless quality the book has. Very excited to jump into this,” said McKay.

Said Adam Goodman, Paramount Film Group President, “I am so excited as this project marks my third collaboration with Adam McKay – a tremendously talented filmmaker and one of my favorite storytellers.”

Said Plan B, “There are those rare literary treasures – as with “THE BIG SHORT” – that park in the harbor and you just wait, with hope. Adam McKay is a singular voice and talent and a ferocious mind – the vector of Adam and this book is what a producer dreams of.”

Read more.

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March 15, 2014

“Big Men” is a documentary film by Rachel Boynton who gained unprecedented access to the inner workings of the oil business. Boynton filmed a small group of Americans at Dallas, Texas oil company, Kosmos Energy. Boynton’s film covers the years 2007–2011 when Kosmos and partners discovered the first commercial oil field in Africa’s Ghana.

The film is a look at one of the poorest places in the world and what desperation can lead people to do. You’ll see Boynton’s closeup view of private executive meetings talking about billions of dollars and a militant gang in the swamps of Nigeria’s Niger Delta. Variety called the movie a real-life “Chinatown” or “There Will Be Blood.”

“Big Men” was the winner at Cinema for Peace, earned a Grand Jury Prize at Festival International, and was named official selection at Tribeca Film Festival.

Read more.

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March 15, 2014

NBC’s ads for midseason drama series Believe feature front and center its mastermind, newly minted Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón, touting his best director statuette for Gravity. Meanwhile, the promos for another heavily marketed midseason drama that premieres within a day of Believe, ABC’s Resurrection, don’t even mention the fact that it comes from the producers of best picture Oscar winner 12 Years A Slave. Brad Pitt’s Plan B is behind Resurrection, with the company’s two other principals, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, who shared in the best picture Oscar with him, executive producing the series. Just like Plan B’s 12 Years A Slave managed to top Gravity and seven other movies to land the biggest prize, ABC probably hopes its show would spark some ratings magic. And boy, does the network need some of that.

Read more.

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January 23, 2014

Oprah Winfrey is joining the team making “Selma,” a film about U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., as a producer, director Ava DuVernay said.

Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner are already on board as producers as part of their Plan B production company, which was also behind “12 Years a Slave,” the Hollywood Reporter said Sunday.

Christian Coulson, who won an Oscar for “Slumdog Millionaire,” and Cameron McKracken are also producing the film.

“Selma” focuses on the attempts of activists to march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama in 1965 to gain voting rights.

David Oyelowo will play King, Reporter said.

Read more.

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January 9, 2014

From an interview with Sumner Redstone, leader of CBS and Viacom/Paramount.

Brad Pitt’s Plan B company, which made World War Z for Paramount, is leaving for New Regency. Does that concern you?

Well, people have a right to go where they want. But I think Paramount is the best studio in the world. And Brad [Grey] is the best studio leader in the world, in my opinion. I hired him!

Is it true David Geffen encouraged you to hire Grey and then encouraged you to un-hire him?

I had no discussions that I recall with David Geffen. I don’t need anyone’s advice, like David’s, about hiring Brad [Grey]. Brad is great. He was great with [management company Brillstein-Grey]. But he [might make] less money running the studio. He wanted to be a studio head.

So, when there’s studio politics, like the fact that Plan B didn’t make 12 Years a Slave for Paramount and the film is now a leading Oscar contender, do you care?

Of course I care. I care about everything that affects the studio or any part of Viacom/CBS. Anyone is entitled to go where they want. A lot of people favor Paramount. Those who do are the ones who are right.

Read more.

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December 15, 2013

After an eight-year run at Paramount, Brad Pitt’s Plan B has signed a three year deal with New Regency and RatPac Entertainment. Under the agreement, New Regency and Brett Ratner’s RatPac will finance future films from Plan B, and RatPac will have the opportunity to co-finance the multiple projects from Pitt’s production company currently in development at New Regency.

“Our company is built on working with the best talent in the business,” said Brad Weston, President and CEO, New Regency.

“Plan B has become a consistent supplier of top-tier material and talent,” said James Packer and Brett Ratner, founders of RatPac Entertainment. “As a new company, for us to be able to partner withArnon and his team at New Regency on this deal, it gives us a great jump-start for what we are trying to accomplish.

The news is interesting, since Paramount and Pitt have just tapped Juan Antonio Bayona to helm the sequel to “World War Z.”

Plan B and Paramount had gone through some rough times in the last year after a problematic shoot on “World War Z,” but those problems seemed to fade once “World War Z” grossed more than $540 million at the worldwide box office.

Read more.

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November 8, 2013

Not to be mistaken with the 1979 Disney film turned upcoming Joseph Kosinski remake, author Charles Burns’ “Black Hole” remains one of the great adaptations lying in wait. Published between 1995 and 2005, the highly acclaimed graphic novel drew attention from Hollywood immediately, with Paramount snagging the rights and putting Alexandre Aja to direct and the team of Roger Avary and Neil Gaiman to pen a script. In 2008, David Fincher replaced Aja as helmer, but Gaiman and Avary drifted away shortly thereafter. The project has since become another “what-if?” scenario; one of Fincher’s “lost projects” we hoped he would one day return to. And now looks like Brad Pitt and his production company Plan B is helping to make that happen.

Looking to the future following their Oscar contender “12 Years a Slave,” Pitt’s label Plan B has laid out an ambitious slate of projects (via THR), including the Andrew Dominik-directed Marilyn Monroe biopic, “Blonde,” an adaptation of Michael Hastings’ book “The Operators,” and most notably, a revived version of “Black Hole” with Fincher still attached. Burns’ book follows a group of Seattle teens in the 1970s who contract “The Bug,” an incurable sexually-transmitted disease that causes shocking mutations among them all.

Read more.

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November 8, 2013

Robert Pattinson Joins Benedict Cumberbatch in James Gray Lost City of Z

David Grann’s acclaimed book serves as the basis for the movie, which Brad Pitt is producing under his Plan B banner

Robert Pattinson will join Benedict Cumberbatch in James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z,” an individual familiar with the long-gestating project has told TheWrap.

Brad Pitt was initially attached to star in the adaptation of David Grann’s acclaimed book, though he’s now strictly producing the film through his Plan B banner along with Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Anthony Katagas.

Read more. That takes Brad out of the cast for WWZ part 2, as I call it.

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October 3, 2013

Not to be mistaken with the 1979 Disney film turned upcoming Joseph Kosinski remake, author Charles Burns’ “Black Hole” remains one of the great adaptations lying in wait. Published between 1995 and 2005, the highly acclaimed graphic novel drew attention from Hollywood immediately, with Paramount snagging the rights and putting Alexandre Aja to direct and the team of Roger Avary and Neil Gaiman to pen a script. In 2008, David Fincher replaced Aja as helmer, but Gaiman and Avary drifted away shortly thereafter. The project has since become another “what-if?” scenario; one of Fincher’s “lost projects” we hoped he would one day return to. And now looks like Brad Pitt and his production company Plan B is helping to make that happen.

Looking to the future following their Oscar contender “12 Years a Slave,” Pitt’s label Plan B has laid out an ambitious slate of projects (via THR), including the Andrew Dominik-directed Marilyn Monroe biopic, “Blonde,” an adaptation of Michael Hastings’ book “The Operators,” and most notably, a revived version of “Black Hole” with Fincher still attached. Burns’ book follows a group of Seattle teens in the 1970s who contract “The Bug,” an incurable sexually-transmitted disease that causes shocking mutations among them all.

Read more.

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September 16, 2013

The movie of movies at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival is Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” which was nurtured along the way by Plan B producer Dede Gardner and her partner, Brad Pitt, who co-stars in the film with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch. I interviewed Gardner for a TIFF Industry Q & A, below.

Anne Thompson: When you showed the film at Telluride were you worried?

Dede Gardner: Yes. I was always worried. I get really anxious because it’s your life, you know. I’ve had movies that I really love, and no one sees them, so you think, “I could be crazy,” and you don’t know. It’s nerve-wracking, sure.

AT: Here you are at TIFF with “12 Years a Slave.” It’s so powerful and immersive and it puts you through the pain. It doesn’t spare you. How did you get involved?

DG: That was a quintessential case of what we do. We saw “Hunger” and I couldn’t breathe. I thought it was one of the most amazing films I’d seen in a long time. We reached out to Steve McQueen and said, “you don’t know us and you’re new to the system but we want to work with you, and to trust us.” You start talking and feeling out one another’s overlap, where your interests are as human beings and artists and as people who love film. He said, “why don’t you think there’s ever been a movie about the institution of slavery per se? There have been movies about singular events but never one that really presents a survey.” We said we didn’t know. I was troubled at the question and said, “why don’t we try?” So that’s the beginning.

Read more. Interesting interview!

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September 16, 2013

The news of Charlie Hunnam’s casting as Christian Grey in the upcoming film adaptation of E L James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” continues to have Hollywood – and fans – buzzing.

And while the fan debate rages on, as to whether Charlie – perhaps best known for his role as Jackson “Jax” Teller on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” – is the right choice, at least one fellow big screen leading man is lending Charlie his full support.

“I know Charlie, he’s a great guy!” Brad Pitt beamed to Access Hollywood at the Toronto Film Festival, when asked for his thoughts about the “Fifty Shades” casting news.

“He’s a good egg and one of the guys that are putting story and craft first,” Brad continued of Charlie, who many have said looks a lot like Brad. “I hope good things for him.”

In fact, Brad’s production company Plan B is slated to produce a vampire film “Vlad,” for which Charlie wrote the screenplay.

As for Brad, he was in Toronto promoting his new drama “12 Years A Slave,” in which he plays Samuel Bass – a Canadian abolitionist who helps Solomon Northrup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) gain his freedom after being kidnapped and sold into slavery in New York in 1841.

“It’s an incredible movie. It’s a very special film, it’s a rare film – it’s why we all get into the business,” Brad said of his new film.

While Brad was busy promoting the film in Toronto, Angelina Jolie was in Australia, along with the couple’s six children.

“Yeah, she’s got her hands full,” Brad joked with Access. “I’m actually jealous.”

Read more. Thanks Nikki.

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September 3, 2013

Hulu is continuing to expand its original programming slate, announcing on Tuesday that they had purchased 10 episodes of half-hour series “Deadbeat,” a supernatural comedy co-produced by Lionsgate and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment.

“Deadbeat” comes from creators Cody Heller and Brett Konner, who previously worked on FX’s “Wilfred.” Set to debut next year, the series focuses on a hapless but gifted male medium who aids New York’s ghosts in settling their unfinished business. Troy Miller (“Flight of the Conchords”) will direct and executive produce all episodes through his Dakota Pictures banner.

“On behalf of the Hulu team, we are very proud to be working with Cody, Brett, Troy and the talented executives of Lionsgate and Plan B on this uniquely funny and imaginative show,” said Charlotte Koh, Hulu’s head of development in a statement. “‘Deadbeat’ is a welcome addition to our growing slate of smart, distinctive original programming.”

With production slated to begin in the fall, “Deadbeat” joins Hulu’s original content slate that includes Seth Meyers’ “The Awesomes” and western comedy “Quick Draw.”

Read more.

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