DEADLINE – EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: NEON indeed landed Assassination Nation, but they have a partner in what is the first eight-figure deal of the Sundance Film Festival. NEON acquired the picture with AGBO for north of $10 million for worldwide rights, and a wide release commitment. AGBO is the new progressive production company launched by Joe and Anthony Russo. 30WEST arranged the deal on behalf of Neon and AGBO, and Endeavor Content repped the film.
The film stars Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, Abra, Bill Skarsgard, Bella Thorne, Colman Domingo, Joel McHale and Aniki Noni Rose. Oroducers are David Goyer, Anita Gou, Kevin Turen, Aaron L. Gilbert, Matthew J. Malek and Manu Gargi.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE: After another all-night bidding battle, NEON is negotiating toward a deal to acquire the provocative Assassination Nation, sources said. This would mark its second major buy of Sundance, following yesterday’s deal for Monsters and Men, and the announcement that 30WEST acquired a majority stake in the distribution company started by Tom Quinn and Tim League and which is in the awards mix with Toronto acquired film I, Tonya.
Directed and written by Sam Levinson, the film tells the story of what happens when a social media-savvy high school senior and her friends observe the results of what happens when a provocateur starts posting details from the private digital lives of everyone in their small town — it turns the town upside down. Browser histories, direct messages, illegal downloads, secret text chains, and worse. It creates a worst-case scenario of what is possible in the digital age.
‘Assassination Nation’ Stars Discuss Timely Story About Female Rage In The Internet Age — Sundance Studio
DEADLINE – Premiering his wicked and wild first feature Another Happy Day at Sundance seven years ago, writer/director Sam Levinson returns this year with another stylish and haunting feature, Assassination Nation, which takes on a number of timely topics.
A “thousand percent true story,” Levinson’s latest follows high school senior Lily (Odessa Young) and her crew of besties, whose lives are shaped by the digital age, expressing themselves through texts, posts, selfies and chats. A film about “the abuse and madness and craziness of being a young person today,” Assassination Nation really kicks off when a provocateur starts posting details from peoples’ private digital lives in the public forum, leading to a murderous “Category 5 sh*tstorm.”
“The main idea I was exploring is how we treat one another, and how the internet can at times sort of create this barrier in which empathy isn’t able to get through,” Levinson remarked at Deadline’s Sundance Studio, with stars Young, Hari Nef, Suki Waterhouse, Abra and Bill Skarsgård alongside him. “I also wanted to deal with mob mentality and vigilantism, and how truth has become splintered.”
With Another Happy Day, Assassination Nation and The Wizard of Lies—which he co-wrote for father Barry Levinson—the younger Levinson has displayed an extraordinary ability when it comes to crafting complex female characters. In studio, this was something Levinson’s stars could attest to.
“I thought Sam was a woman when I first read the script,” Young said.
While Assassination Nation explores a lot of contemporary ideas and issues, at its core it is perhaps about rage. And what could be timelier than that?
“I think cinematically and from a storytelling point of view, if you want to tell story about rage and violence in 2018, you’re probably going to want to tell that story through a woman’s lens, with female characters,” Nef said. “Because nobody knows these things as ell, gender-wise, as women do.”
To view Deadline’s conversation with the Assassination Nation team, click above.
New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. have announced that an It sequel will be in theaters on September 6, 2019.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Since its launch earlier this month, the film adaptation of Stephen King’s book has shattered numerous records.
Pennywise the Dancing Clown is getting ready to terrorize audiences all over again.
New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. on Monday announced that a sequel to the horror blockbuster It will hit theaters, including Imax locations, on Sept. 6, 2019.
Since its debut earlier this month, the film adaptation of Stephen King’s book has shattered numerous records, including becoming the top-grossing horror film of all time, not adjusting for inflation. The Exorcist, released in 1973, made $233 million in North America and $441.3 million worldwide, but the domestic portion swells to $917.5 million when adjusting for inflation.
It has earned $266.1 million domestically and $478.1 million globally to date. The R-rated pic has roused the box office back to life after a brutal August and tough summer, as well as fueling record September revenue in North America.
Gary Dauberman, one of the screenwriters on It, has quietly closed a deal to pen the screenplay for the follow-up, while director Andy Muschietti is waiting in the wings to return as well. Producers Barbara Muschietti, Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg are also expected to return for the sequel.
King’s opus It tells of a group of friends who band together to defeat their small town’s demon, first as kids and then as adults. While his book toggles between the young and older characters, New Line structured its adaptation so that the first film focuses on the kids and is set in the past. While the sequel will take place in the present, it will be punctuated with flashbacks, allowing the same cadre of kids to be seen again.
In a twinned movie, the studio’s film adaptation of Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans Go! has a new release date. The movie is being pushed back from June 1, 2018, to July 27, 2018.
VARIETY – With “It” tearing it up at the box office for a second weekend in a row, you can expect Warner Bros. to green-light the second chapter of Andy Muchietti’s Stephen King adaptation any day now. (Indeed, the film has not yet been given the official go-ahead, but it is in active development.)
Recently appearing on Variety’s “Playback” podcast, actor Bill Skarsgard — who stars as the creepy manifestation of It, Pennywise the clown, in the new film — spoke briefly about one scene that was shot but ultimately cut.
VARIETY – The new reboot of Stephen King’s “It” hasn’t even opened in theaters, but director Andy Muschietti is already planning for the next installment. The sequel is a near-certainty since King’s book switches off between two storylines, and it’s already known that the film that opens Friday focuses more on the child characters.
Though it has always been planned as a two-part story, Warner Bros. isn’t emphasizing the two movies in marketing materials. Perhaps the studio learned from “The Dark Tower,” which was planned as a movie, TV series and more, but fizzled after the first film disappointed.
However, the movie itself leaves plenty of room for a sequel, not to mention the fact that the title card at the end of the film (MILD SPOILER ALERT) reads “It: Chapter One.”
The novel “It” follows a group of children known as “the Losers Club” as they battle the evil force known as Pennywise, then follows up with another battle with the creature 30 years later. While the 1990 miniseries adaptation directly follows the plot of King’s novel, including interdimensional travel (Carey Fukunaga’s original script for the reboot reportedly included a dimension portal), Muschietti’s version is much more grounded and does away with the weird otherworldliness…at least for now.
Muschietti told Variety that he doesn’t think of the next film as a sequel, more like the second half of a single story and that’s he’s prepared to helm this project as well.
“I really wanted to focus on the emotional journey of the group of kids. Getting in to that other dimension — the other side — was something that we could introduce in the second part,” Muschietti said in an interview with Yahoo Movies. “In the book the perspective of the writing… is always with the Losers, so everything they know about Pennywise is very speculative and shrouded in absurdity, so I wanted to respect that mystery feeling of not knowing what’s on the other side.”
“It” is expected to break the record for biggest opening weekend of a non-sequel, R-rated horror film, currently held by “The Conjuring,” which debuted to $41 million in 2013.
“It” opens in theaters Sept. 8.
The ‘It’ star will voice Moomintroll in ‘Moomins and the Winter Wonderland’ that features top Swedish talent, including his father Stellan.
Bill Skarsgard is swapping Pennywise for a role that’s definitely more child-friendly after signing up for Moomins and the Winter Wonderland.
The Swedish actor, who has a starring role as the killer clown in Warner Bros.’ upcoming film It, will voice the protagonist Moomintroll in the animated movie. Skarsgard is the latest in what is becoming an all-star Swedish voice cast that includes Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander and his father Stellan.
“So excited to be a part of this lovely project and bringing Tove Jansson’s fantastical world to the big screen. I grew up with my mom and dad reading Moomin and their adventures to me at bedtime, so it will not be the first time I hear my dad voice Moominpappa,” said Skarsgard.
The Moomins were created by the Finnish writer Tove Jansson in a series of books and comic strips, originally published in Swedish in the 1940s. The iconic fairy tale characters have garnered a global following thanks to translations, along with several television and film adaptations as well as a theme park called Moomin World in Naantali, Finland.
Finish film company Filmkompaniet and Polish animation studio Animoon are co-producing the new project. Los Angeles-based production, distribution and IP management company Global Genesis Group is handling international distribution and sales.
Based on Jansson’s original books, with a screenplay from Małgorzata Więckowicz-Zyla, Piotr Szczepanowicz and Ira Carpelan, Moomins and the Winter Wonderland will be created from existing, vintage footage from original stop-motion Moomins productions co-produced by Jupiter Film and Film Polski in the 1980s.
Exciting news! Bill has joined the upcoming Stephen King Hulu Series, Castle Rock.
Bill Skarsgård has been cast as a series regular in Hulu’s Stephen King series “Castle Rock,” Variety has learned.
The project marks the second King project for Skarsgård, who will star in the film adaptation of King’s classic novel, “It,” as the iconic terrorizing clown, Pennywise.
In “Castle Rock,” Skarsgård will play a young man with an unusual legal problem. He joins a cast that includes Sissy Spacek, André Holland, Jane Levy and Melanie Lynskey.
“Castle Rock” is described as a psychological-horror drama set in the Stephen King multiverse that combines the mythological scale and intimate character storytelling of King’s best-loved works, weaving an epic saga of darkness and light, played out on a few square miles of Maine woodland. The fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine, has served as the setting for many of King’s books, including “Cujo,” “The Dead Zone,” and “The Body.” The series landed a 10-episode order.
Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason are writers on the series and will serve as executive producers along with J.J. Abrams, Ben Stephenson and Liz Glotzer. Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television are behind the series.
Skarsgård is on the rise. Aside from gearing up for his biggest role to date with “It,” which hits theaters this September, the Swedish actor starred in Netflix’s “Hemlock Grove” and is also known from the “Divergent” franchise. He is repped by WME.
Production on “Castle Rock” begins this year. No premiere date has been set, though the series is expected to debut in 2018.
Sam Levinson wrote and direct the film about four teen girls who have their personal information leaked by an anonymous hacker.
Bella Thorne, Maude Apatow, Bill Skarsgard, Joel McHale and Colman Domingo are set to star in the edgy thriller Assassination Nation.
The film, written and directed by Sam Levinson, follows four teenage girls in a small suburb who become the focus of unwanted worldwide media attention after their personal information is leaked by an anonymous hacker.
Odessa Young, Hari Nef, R&B musician ABRA and Suki Waterhouse were previously announced as being attached to the pic, which is set to begin shooting this spring in Louisiana.
Matthew Malek and Anita Gou are producing Assassination Nation with Phantom Four’s David Goyer and Kevin Turen and Bron Studios’ Aaron L. Gilbert. Creative Wealth Media’s Jason Cloth and Andy Pollack are executive producers.
“We couldn’t be happier with this amazing ensemble cast that is going to bring Assassination Nation to life in a big way,” Gou and Malek said in a statement. “Sam has such a strong vision for the film that will combine an incredible story, a unique visual style, and now a killer cast that is anything but ordinary. Bron Studios and Phantom Four are amazing partners with a kindred sense for exceptional storytelling.”
Thorne is repped by CAA; Apatow is with UTA; Skarsgard is repped by WME; McHale is with WME; and Domingo is repped by The Gersh Agency.
Go ahead, laugh. It’ll be easier for him to find you in the dark.
Imagine this staring at you from inside the concrete chamber of a storm drain.
We’ve already gotten a close-up of Pennywise the Clown from the new film version of Stephen King’s It (out Sept. 8, 2017), but here we step back for a fuller view of the creature that likes to take the form of a leering, sinister clown.
Bill Skarsgård is playing the ageless, supernatural beast who feeds on the fears of children, and it’s clear director Andy Muschietti (Mama) is steering away from the modern, baggy-suited, rainbow-hued clown for something a bit more… archaic.
For that, the filmmaker relied on Emmy-winning costume designer Janie Bryant (Deadwood, Mad Men) who crafted a form-fitting suit that draws upon a number of bygone times – among them Medieval, Renaissance, Elizabethan, and Victorian eras.
No need to look it up. It’s what you’re feeling right now. The unreasonable fear of clowns.
Maybe it’s not so unreasonable.
Look below and you’ll lay eyes on the first look at Pennywise the Dancing Clown from next year’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s It, with Bill Skarsgård taking on the role of the most fearsome creature to ever clutch a bouquet of balloons.
“It’s such an extreme character. Inhumane,” Skarsgård says. “It’s beyond even a sociopath, because he’s not even human. He’s not even a clown. I’m playing just one of the beings It creates.”
Anyone who’s turned the pages of King’s epic coming-of-age horror thriller knows this bloodthirsty funster isn’t your average psycho in grease paint. Pennywise is the favorite embodiment of a nameless, shapeless evil that dwells beneath a small town and feeds on the fear – and sometimes limbs – of children.
This manifestation of Pennywise from director Andrés Muschietti’s film (out Sept. 8, 2017) is elegant, precise — even alluring. He’s in control. It’s a stark contrast to the messy, smeared, and dirty scary-clown trend pioneered eight years ago by Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight.
“It’s important that we do something fresh and original for this one. It’s purposely not going toward that weird, greasy look,” says Skarsgård, best known for Allegiant and the Netflix series Hemlock Grove.
The key to this monster? Having fun with it. “It truly enjoys the shape of the clown Pennywise, and enjoys the game and the hunt,” the actor says. “What’s funny to this evil entity might not be funny to everyone else. But he thinks it’s funny.”