Producers are Di Bonaventura Pictures' Lorenzo di Bonvaventura and Mark Vahradian, MadRiver Pictures' Marc Butan and Ara Keshishian, and Butler and Alan Siegel under their G-BASE banner.
Jason Constantine, president of acquisitions and co-productions, oversaw the deal for Lionsgate, along with executive vp of acquisitions Eda Kowan and John Biondo, executive vp of business and legal affairs.
Butler is represented by CAA and Alan Siegel Entertainment.
Bombshell tells the story of how Fox News anchors Megyn Kelly Charlize Theron and Gretchen Carlson Nicole Kidman, along with other women in the newsroom, brought sexual harassment charges against then-chairman Roger Ailes John Lithgow. Margot Robbie plays a composite character named Kayla, and the film dramatizes a scene in which Ailes calls her into his office and asks her to lift her skirt.
“John and I were equally as disturbed by that scene,” Robbie said during Lionsgate's The Contenders Los Angeles panel today. “It was obviously an incredibly safe place on a set. I'm very grateful that I got to do that scene with John. [Director] Jay [Roach] was in the room with us every step of the way and our crew was incredible, but the content of that scene is incredibly disturbing.”
To convey Ailes' methodical pattern recounted by the many accusers, screenwriter Charles Randolph and Roach let the harassment scene run long.
“I think it was important, the way Charles scripted it, to be in that room as long as you are,” Robbie said. “That's what made it so disturbing. There's no escape. You're in that room as long as Kayla is.”
Lithgow agreed, adding that what makes it so disturbing is how much happens without Ailes saying anything.
“It's almost entirely stage directions,” Lithgow said. “We acted out exactly what Charles wrote. There are about 12 syllables that pass in the course of about three minutes and yet your heart just starts pounding. It's so disturbing.”
Roach elaborated on the scene.
Roach, left, and Randolph Shutterstock
“How they were manipulated, the darkness of Roger's approach, the psychological manipulation of how he would move women and take advantage of them past the line they thought they would never cross, just a little bit and take them further the next time,” the filmmaker said. “Just that dark intensity of that character. I felt for [the women].”
Carlson is still under an NDA, so she could not speak with Kidman about playing her. The Oscar-winning actress said she watched Carlson on air and tried to capture her essence underneath the on-air persona.
“It's a fighter,” Kidman said. “It's like, 'I'm not going down without a fight.' It's a very confident woman that underneath — this woman who was very vulnerable and alone and frightened but fiercely, fiercely determined to do what was right. I wanted to be able to make sure that she was seen as the catalyst and the godmother of this particular movement because that's really the ground she breaks in this.”
Theron, who also produced Bombshell, is hoping the real women portrayed in the film get to see it.
“We've sent invitations to each and every person who's part of the story, but we do not know if they've taken us up on that,” Theron said.
'Knives Out' Trailer: Daniel Craig Wants To Know Whodunit In Rian Johnson's Agatha Christie Homage
Also today, writer-director Rian Johnson and producer Ron Bergman presented Knives Out. Daniel Craig stars as Benoit Blanc, a Southern detective investigating the death of Harlan Thrombey Christopher Plummer. Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Katherine Langford and Jaeden Martell play Thrombey's family members and suspects.
The 'Knives Out' cast Lionsgate
“Very much drawing from the Agatha Christie movies I was watching as a kid with my family, with Peter Ustinov as Poirot,” Johnson said. “They had an all-star cast and just had a cheeky, self-aware tone, but they were still a good mystery,” Johnson said. “They weren't a parody.”
Johnson added that once Craig signed on, the rest of the cast followed. They just had to schedule the film before the James Bond actor had to film No Time to Die.
“Daniel Craig came first,” Johnson said. “He was the first piece of the puzzle. He's the reason the movie got made. Once Daniel's on board, that started the snowball. Michael Shannon signed up next. Those guys are actor bait and drew more people [like] Chris Evans. Once Daniel was on board we were off to the races.”
Bombshell opens December 20. Knives Out will be unsheathed November 26.
The Contenders Los Angeles: Deadline's Complete Coverage
EXCLUSIVE : Lionsgate and Little Women producer Playground Entertainment have teamed on a major fantasy project — a television remake of Tamora Pierce’s expansive Tortall Universe series.
The Orange Is The New Black studio and Colin Callender's production company, which was also behind Jodie Comer's The White Princess, have optioned the rights to the 22 book series from Donald Laventhall of Folio on behalf of Pierce.
It is Playground's first move into a major television franchise, although the company also produces the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play, and the two companies hopes of turning it into a tentpole series that crosses over between fans of Game of Thrones and YA novels.
Talks are currently underway with potential showrunners. Playground's Colin Callender, Scott Huff and David A. Stern will executive produce.
The Tortall Universe series consists of over twenty books and short stories. It is set in Tortall, a kingdom populated with lords and ladies, knights and sorcerers, and where few people are lucky enough to possess magical gifts.
Tortall and its surrounding countries is a medieval fantasy universe, the home of an interesting assortment of heroes, many of them girls. There is military danger from neighbors like northern Scanra, eastern Tusaine, and worst of all, imperial Carthak in the south, with its ever-hungry slave culture and its greedy mage emperor. Pirates from Carthak, Scanra, and the Copper Isles haunt Tortall's eastern shores. In a country both large and sparsely policed, there is always a risk of conflict, be it from rebel nobles, the impoverished people of the eastern hills, or the barely vanquished Bazhir tribes.
Books include The Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, The Protector of the Small, Tricksters, Beka Cooper: A Tortall Legend and The Numair Chronicles. The series covers modern day themes of feminism, LGBQT, love, lust, coming of age, diversity and class relations.
Pierce said, ““Not only am I over the moon that the Tortall books will be adapted by Playground, but I know my fans will be ecstatic.”
Callender added, “Tamora has proven time and again that she is an unparalleled world-builder. The breadth of the source material in her Tortall series is staggering and we're thrilled to be partnering with her to bring these incredible stories to life.”
Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, inspiring a whole new generation of girls to become astronauts. Now the story of her life and the mission that put her in the history books will be turned into a movie by Transparent creator Jill Soloway and Lionsgate.
Lionsgate sent out a press release announcing the Sally Ride movie today. The film is simply titled Ride, and is based on an original spec script by Krystin Ver Linden that was rewritten by Cassie Pappas. Nathan Kahane, President of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group had this to say about the project:
“Sally Ride is an American Hero and icon whose life and career was and is endlessly fascinating and inspirational. In the hands of Jill Soloway and our tremendous team of producers, we feel we have the right storytellers to honor and properly tell Sally’s incredible story.”
Sally Ride was selected to be an astronaut by NASA Astronaut Group 8 in 1978, the first class to select women. She applied to the program while completing her PhD in physics at Stanford after seeing an ad in the student newspaper. Out of 8,000 applicants, only 35 were selected, and Ride was one of those people.
After entering NASA in 1979, Ride worked as a mission specialist, serving as the ground-based capsule communicator CapCom for the second and third Space Shuttle flights, and helped develop the Space Shuttle’s “Canadarm” robot arm. But it wouldn’t be until June 18, 1983, that she became the first American woman in space as a crew member on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7, NASA’s seventh space shuttle mission.
Jill Soloway will also be producing along with Andrea Sperling through their Topple production banner. They’ll be joined by Kristin Burr Cruella, Christopher Robin and her Burr! Productions. This is another major project for Soloway, who is also slated to write and direct an adaptation of the pulp adventure character Red Sonja for Millennium Films.
In the spirit of the blockbuster hit Crazy Rich Asians, HBO Max has ordered The Ho'sworking title from Lionsgate TV. The new docuseries will shed a bling-worthy light on the opulence and over-the-top lives of the real-life, multi-generational Ho family, who have built a multi-million dollar empire.
The new series, which will include eight 30-minute episodes, follows the Ho family led by patriarch Binh Ho and his wife, Hue Ho. As Vietnamese immigrants, the power couple is the epitome of the American Dream. After moving here from Vietnam with little money, they worked hard and a multi-million dollar bank, a real estate development company as well as a new generation of American Ho's including their children Judy and Washington. The docuseries will give a peek at their lavish Houston lifestyle and will showcase the tight family connections that unite them. Of course, there will be some multi-generational drama — but it's all about love, laughs and luxury at the end of the day.
“Rarely do you come across a family that is so rich in so many ways — not just in wealth, but in heart, traditions and love for each other,” said Jennifer O'Connell, Executive Vice President of Original Non-fiction and Kids Programming, HBO Max. “There's great pride in being a Ho and they are ready to give the world a seat at their luxurious table.”
A breakdown of the Ho family tree can be read below:
Binh Ho, 71, despite being the super strict patriarch of the Ho family, Binh has nothing but good intentions. Originally from Vietnam, his hard work has paid off and he is now the owner of a successful bank. Although Binh is living the 'American Dream' he feels the need to control every move his children make.
Hue Ho, 66, is Binh's loving wife and the matriarch of the family. Hue is always the perfect looking, highly critical mom who thinks her children can do no wrong. She often defends the children when Binh seems unreasonable, especially over Washington's hard-partying ways. Her love for her family is rivaled only by her love of cooking, which is on full display at the weekly Sunday dinner she hosts. The authentic Vietnamese fare is mouth-watering but the drama at the table is even juicier.
Judy Ho, 39, is the first born of Binh and Hue Ho. The self-pegged responsible and reliable one, Judy was the perfect candidate to become a lawyer and did so with flying colors as she is the consummate perfectionist. She is a mom to three kids and is going through a divorce.
Washington Ho, 38, is the “former” playboy of the family with a reputation of dating questionable women and partying way too hard. Once he met Lesley, his future wife who would eventually steal his heart, he was forced to settle down...a little. Now, he's a devoted father of two adorable kids, Roosevelt and Lincoln who, like him, are named after former U.S. presidents, but all of this is about to change as he attempts to prove he's a changed man and ready to step out of his father's looming shadow — he just hasn't quite figured out how.
Lesley Ho, 34, is Washington's independent, outspoken, down-to-earth and loving Vietnamese-American wife who juggles being the mother of their two beautiful children with her career as a pharmacist. Growing up in a small town, middle-class family in Oklahoma, she's had to adjust to the over the top lifestyle that comes with being a Ho.
Aunt Tina, 58, is the Aunt that likes to be noticed and makes sure that everybody does. From her purple streaked hair to her tight dresses, Aunt Tina is all about...well, Tina. She likes to work hard and play harder. As one of the younger immigrants of the Ho family, she grew up in Vietnam before following in her older brother's footsteps and moving to America.
Cousin Sammy, 29, should probably have her life a little more together but instead, lives for the moment even if it doesn't always work in her favor. Since she and Washington are so close, he decided to offer her a job as his head of marketing.
The Ho's comes from Wallin Chambers Entertainment in association with Lionsgate Television. The series is executive produced by Katy Wallin and Stephanie Bloch Chambers. Amanda Ly and Rosalina Lydster serve as co-executive producers with casting by Peter Huntley. Wallin Chambers Entertainment and the Ho family are repped by UTA.
Lionsgate has created a dedicated team to handle current programming — promoting Lee Hollin to run the unit and hiring a number of executives.
This comes on the back of a number of new series and renewals including new seasons of Florida Girlsand Dear White People.
Hollin, who was formerly SVP, current programming becomes Head of Current Programming, continuing to report to Lionsgate Television Group Chairman Kevin Beggs. Meanwhile, it has hired former WME agent Erin Conroy, who was previously VP, Development at Cavalry Media, as Vice President, former BET Director of Original Programming Jade-Addon Hall as Director and promoting Marshall Turner, who was previously Beggs' executive assistant and development associate to Manager.
Hollin is responsible for series including Pop comedy sensation Florida Girls,from its partnership with 3 Arts Entertainment, Dear White People, which just landed a fourth and final season at Netflix, OWN's family saga Ambitionsand anthology series Manhunt: Lone Wolffor Spectrum Originals. He also shepherded Lionsgate's first original series for Apple, Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet. Hollin and his team will also work closely with the Lionsgate Television Group development team on series such as Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist for NBC, Love Lifefor HBO Max and Starz series like Heels,Dangerous Liaisonsand Power Book II: Ghost as well as shepherding Viola Davis-starrer First Ladies, which is in fast-track development at Showtime.
He joined Lionsgate in 2018, having previously been Vice President of Current Programming at CBS and Director of Drama Development at CBS Studios. During his tenure at CBS, Hollin oversaw shows including Madam Secretary,Jane the Virginand Criminal Minds. Before that, he served as Manager of Drama Development at Fox Broadcasting Company where he worked on Gleeand Fringe.
“Lee is an invaluable member of our television group and will be an exceptional leader to a team of dedicated professionals, television connoisseurs and fast-rising stars,” said Beggs. “With our current programming and development teams at full throttle, we are well positioned to continue to offer more fan favorite shows and critically-acclaimed hits to audiences. I couldn't be more proud of our group and the diverse portfolio of shows that we're putting together.”