×

‘Jinx’ nixed by MGM

Halle Berry will not, after all, be donning the orange bikini again as Jinx, the American superspy from the recent James Bond movie “Die Another Day.” Much to the apparent dismay of Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson at Eon, MGM has nixed their planned spin-off movie featuring Berry’s character, which was due to be made before the next Bond pic. “Jinx” was being written by Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Rob Wade, and was due to be directed by Stephen Frears (though that had not been announced). But last week MGM told Eon to put the project on ice and press ahead instead with Bond 21, due to shoot in 2005. Eon is clearly furious — “there were creative differences,” says a spokesperson acidly. But curiously, Eon is making no apparent effort to wrest “Jinx” from MGM and set it up at another studio.

Myriad stages “Piccadilly” circus

Myriad Pictures has brokered the financing for the Mission Pictures movie “Piccadilly Jim,” after the project’s original sales company Odyssey Entertainment dropped out.

The $15 million P.G. Wodehouse comedy starts shooting in November. It stars Sam Rockwell, Tom Wilkinson and Amanda Peet, directed by John McKay from a Julian Fellowes script.

Universal Pictures Intl. has pre-bought all rights in the U.K., Australia, South Africa, Latin America and France, for theatrical distribution via UIP. The deal is a split between minimum guarantees for certain territories and direct distribution in others, giving co-producers Myriad and Mission the chance of significant upside if the film performs.

That innovative arrangement was put together by Myriad’s London office under head of international production Marion Pilowsky. She also brought in equity financiers Inside Track and the Isle of Man Film Ltd to complete the funding.

This is the second time this year that Myriad’s new London production arm has remounted a movie that another financier let fall. It rescued the Marc Evans horror pic “Trauma,” starring Colin Firth and Mena Suvari, after Pathe pulled out.

In “Piccadilly Jim,” Rockwell plays an American rogue on the loose in 1930s London, desperately trying to clean up his reputation in his quest to win the heart of the girl of his dreams (Peet). Wilkinson is her disapproving father.

The pic will be produced by Andrew Hauptman, Peter Czernin and Graham Broadbent for Mission, with Pilowsky and Myriad’s L.A. based topper Kirk D’Amico as exec producers.

Curtis is all around

Richard Curtis may seem like a nice man, but anyone who inflicts the tune “Love Is All Around” upon the British people, not once but twice, must have a sadistic sense of humor.

The Wet Wet Wet single from “Four Weddings and a Funeral” spent 15 awful weeks at number one, so long that the band begged people to stop buying it. Now a new seasonal version, “Christmas Is All Around,” sung by ageing rocker Billy Mack with a video directed by Curtis, is being released Dec. 15 to tie-in with his latest movie, “Love Actually” (short for “Love actually is all around,” natch).

This is an elaborate and, it must be admitted, inspired practical joke. Mack is a character from the movie, played by Bill Nighy, who records “Christmas Is All Around” with off-key gusto in a desperate bid to resurrect his heroin-ravaged career with a Christmas number one. He publicly denounces the song as “crap,” but begs people to buy it anyway, just to stop boyband Blue from topping the charts at Christmas. Needless to say, he gets his wish.

Out in the real world, and by no coincidence whatsover, the song is being released on exactly the same day as Blue’s actual Christmas single. So will the British public fall for this satirical bit of mischief? Nighy is a 16/1 outsider for the Christmas number one spot, with Blue at 8/1. But given the inevitable hugeness of “Love Actually” and Curtis’ Midas touch, it might just be worth a bet.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

    Film Review: 'A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon'

    No asteroids are hurtling toward Earth in “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon,” though a flying frozen pizza does softly slice the top off an elderly shopper’s hairdo: That’s roughly the level of quirky peril we’re talking about in the latest outing from Aardman Animations, and as usual, the British stop-motion masters cheerfully prove that [...]

  • Slam

    Film Review: ‘Slam’

    The disappearance of a fearless female Palestinian-Australian slam poet triggers suspense and powerful social and political commentary in “Slam,” an outstanding slow-burn thriller by expat Indian filmmaker Partho Sen-Gupta (“Sunrise”). Starring Palestinian actor Adam Bakri (“Omar,” “Official Secrets”) as the missing woman’s conflicted brother, and leading Aussie performer Rachael Blake as a troubled cop, Opening [...]

  • Igo Kantor

    Igo Kantor, Producer and Post-Production Executive, Dies at 89

    Igo Kantor, whose Hollywood career took him from Howard Hughes’ projection room to supervising post-production on “Easy Rider” and producing B-movies like “Kingdom of the Spiders” and “Mutant,” died Oct. 15. He was 89. Kantor, who was born in Vienna and raised in Lisbon, met “Dillinger” director Max Nosseck on the ship to New York. [...]

  • The Lion King

    Average Movie Ticket Price Falls 4% in Third Quarter of 2019

    Average ticket prices for the third quarter have dropped 4% to $8.93, down from Q2’s $9.26, the National Association of Theatre Owners announced today. However, compared with the third quarter of 2018, ticket price has risen 1.1% from $8.83. The summer box office is down 2.13% from 2018, though the third quarter box office is [...]

  • Tilda Swinton to Preside Over The

    Tilda Swinton to Preside Over Marrakech Film Festival

    Tilda Swinton, the iconoclastic British actress and producer, is set to preside over the 18th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival, succeeding to American director James Gray. Swinton, who won an Oscar and a BAFTA award for best supporting actress for “Michael Clayton,” has been leading an eclectic acting career. She has collaborated with [...]

  • The King Netflix

    Middleburg Film Festival Brings Hollywood to Virginia

    For the last seven years, audiences have flocked to the Middleburg Film Festival. Running October 17th – 21st, and situated in the wine-country hills of historic Middleburg, Virg., the festival usually highlights some of the year’s buzziest titles, and 2019 is no exception. “We’re a smaller festival with fewer overall screenings than other events, so we [...]

  • Kelly McCormick and David Leitch'Fast &

    'Wheelman' Director to Helm 'Versus' From David Leitch, Kelly McCormick (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Wheelman” director Jeremy Rush is in negotiations to helm the action movie “Versus,” with Kelly McCormick and David Leitch producing. Rush will direct the Universal movie from a script penned by “Three Musketeers” scribe Alex Litvak and “American Assassin” writer Mike Finch. Plot details are being kept under wraps, though it will follow the genre [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content