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July 9, 2014

TORONTO – Brad Pitt is no longer involved, but Vancouver-raised novelist Tom Rachman still has a screen deal for his smash debut effort, “The Imperfectionists.”

Pitt’s production company, Plan B, optioned the rights to the critically heralded story about a group of journalists when it became an international bestseller and made the Scotiabank Giller Prize long list in 2010.

Now, as Rachman promotes his equally raved-about second book, “The Rise and Fall of Great Powers,” he says Pitt’s company wrote a screenplay for the first novel but “decided it didn’t work as a film.”

“The script that they did, they cut it down to three characters essentially out of all of them, so it just didn’t really have enough of the original in it and so it didn’t go forward,” the 39-year-old said in an interview.

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May 29, 2014

While “World War Z” is now viewed as the modern-day runaway film project and all that implies of ego—hubris, irresponsibility and whatnot—the project began with the best of intentions. Brad Pitt’s Plan B Pictures, the same company that developed and won a Best Picture Oscar for “12 Years A Slave,” wanted to try to create their own franchise. Pitt, a producer/actor with diverse taste, wanted a movie his boys could enjoy when they grew up. They hired a respected and eclectic filmmaker Marc Forster (“The Kite Runner,” “Monster’s Ball”) and talented writers—Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof—but the project went south on them regardless when they realized the tone and rhythm of an action movie is much more complicated than they realized.

And while the press viewed it as a disaster in the making, the movie’s $540 million worldwide gross turned out to be the opposite of a trainwreck like “Heaven’s Gate” (and in fact is the highest grossing film of Pitt’s career). And for all its problems, it really wasn’t that bad of a tentpole in retrospect, it’s at times thrilling, unnerving and has a genuine anxious feeling of real-world terror. It’s certainly not perfect and its salvage job doesn’t always work either, but you can see it’s good intentions up on the screen – to resemble the thinking man’s tentpole.

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May 29, 2014

Paramount Pictures and Pathé announced this week that the shoot for Martin Luther King film Selma will take place in Alabama’s Selma and Montgomery and Atlanta in the nearby state of Georgia.

Principal photography has started on the film in Atlanta, Georgia, which is being led by first-time feature film director Ava DuVernay.

The film is being produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films and Christian Colson’s Cloud Eight Films.

The screenplay was written by Paul Webb. Ava DuVernay, Paul Garnes, Cameron McCracken and Nan Morales are executive producing.

The big budget production will depict the struggle of Martin Luther King to secure equal voting rights – a journey which led to President Johnson changing the law.

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May 15, 2014

Casey Affleck has signed up to star in HBO’s “Lewis And Clark.” As you might have surmised from the title, the six-hour miniseries will be about explorers Lewis and Clark, and their journey down the Missouri River. Some big talent is behind this one with powerhouses Tom Hanks and Brad Pitt putting the executive producer credit on this thing. And the show will be adapted from the book “Undaunted Courage” by Stephen E. Ambrose (the guy who penned “Band Of Brothers”). Here’s the Amazon synopsis:

From the bestselling author of Band of Brothers and D-Day, the definitive book on Lewis and Clark’s exploration of the Louisiana Purchase, the most momentous expedition in American history and one of the great adventure stories of all time.

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April 26, 2014

The Wrap reports that Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, The Help) is in talks to play Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik’s adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ 2000 novel Blonde. Brad Pitt’s and Dede Gardner’s Plan B and Worldview Entertainment will produce. Worldview optioned the film in 2013, the latest move in a long-developing project. A previous version had Naomi Watts in the starring role, with a photo of her in costume released in 2010. Chastain is a natural redhead, but previously dyed her hair blonde for The Help.

Here’s a synopsis of the book: She was an all-American girl who became a legend of unparalleled stature. She inspired the adoration of millions, and her life has beguiled generations of fans and fellow artists. The story of Norma Jean Baker—better known by her studio name “Marilyn Monroe”—has been dissected for more than three decades, but never has it been captured in a narrative as breathtaking and transforming as Blonde.

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April 26, 2014

New Regency, RatPac Entertainment and Plan B have acquired 3 Videotapes, a pitch by Ian McCulloch that puts both companies in the low-budget genre game. The film is an elevated thriller with aspects of The Ring and Memento. RatPac’s Brett Ratner is executive producer. New Regency’s Arnon Milchan and Brad Weston brought in Plan B last fall after they collaborated on Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave.

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April 26, 2014

Adaptation of Michael Hastings’ best-seller focuses on rise and fall of General Stanley McChrystal

Brad Pitt is being eyed to star in “The Operators” with “Animal Kingdom” director David Michod signed to direct the adaptation of the late Michael Hastings’ best-seller.

The film will chronicle the rise and fall of General Stanley McChrystal, the commanding general of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and will be backed by Plan B, New Regency and RatPac Entertainment. Hastings covered America’s recent military adventures for Rolling Stone and Newsweek and captured McChrystal in moments of shocking candor. In an interview with Hastings, the general and his staff were openly contemptuous of the White House and civilian leaders, and McChrystal’s intemperance ultimately led to his resignation.

Pitt will produce the film along with his Plan B partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, and the filmmakers promise a beyond-the-scenes look at the military infighting and ego-clashing that derailed a once-promising career.

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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.

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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?”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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