Actors Mandell Maughan and David Henrie have signed with Abrams Artists Agency to be represented theatrically.
“Mandell and David are incredibly talented actors whose work across television and film speaks for itself,” said Abrams Artists Agency president Brian Cho. “We are excited to have them on board and surround each one with a team of expert agents who can help them reach the next stage of their careers.”
Born and raised in San Diego, Maughan graduated from the University of Arizona with a BFA in Professional Acting Training from The Arizona Repertory Theatre Company. After graduating, she moved to LA, where she studied at The Upright Citizens Brigade and completed the conservatory and graduate program at The Second City Training Center. Maughan currently resides in LA and can be seen performing at UCB, IOWest and The Second City.
Henrie starred in the biographical drama W Before Mickey and the independent drama Little Boy opposite Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson. He was also featured in Columbia Pictures’ Mall Cop 2. Henrie will make his feature directorial debut with the coming-of-age movie This Is the Year. The pic follows a nebbish high school senior and his best friends as they embark on a road trip to attend the greatest music festival of the year in a last-ditch effort to win over the girl of his dreams. The film is produced through Henrie's Novo Media Group.
Maughan is managed by Silver Lining Entertainment, and Henrie by Untitled Entertainment.
At CAA, Dallas Liu, one of the stars of Hulu’s PEN15 streaming series, has signed.
Currently shooting season 2 of PEN15, Liu also can be seen in the Snapchat series Privacy. His previous credits include recurs on Who Was and No Good Nick on Netflix .
Liu continues to be repped by LVL UP Management and Matt Rosen at Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher. Source: deadline.com
Adam McKay has berthed his new production company Hyperobject Industries to a first look feature film deal at Paramount Pictures, and hopes the new relationship will get off the ground with the pending destruction of earth by a meteor, in a moment where everything is paralyzed by polarizing and partisan political and media landscapes.
McKay hopes to next direct Don't Look Up, which Paramount will get first look at when he completes the first draft soon. He describes it as a “dark satire in the school of Wag the Dog, Doctor Strangelove and Network and if it is half as good as any of them, I will be happy,” McKay told Deadline. “Two mid-level astronomers discover a meteorite will destroy earth in six months and must go on a media tour to warn mankind.”
Paramount was long the studio home for Gary Sanchez, the company that McKay ran for years with partners Will Ferrell and Chris Henchy before Deadline broke in April that McKay and Ferrell would wind down a creative partnership that started back to Saturday Night Live in the mid-1990s, and led to the formation of that 13-year old multi-platform company. The principals remain connected on projects they set up and will see through.
McKay, who shared an Oscar with Charles Randolph for adapting Best Picture nominee and Paramount hit The Big Short, and who last directed the Dick Cheney film Vice, sees his new Hyperoptic Industries as the next natural iteration of his career. He already set a 5-year first look television deal at HBO, and revealed that the new company will also make podcasts. But movies are important to McKay also, and he felt so comfortable with Paramount brass that he made the new first look feature deal there.
“We have long enjoyed a successful creative and collaborative relationship with Adam, and couldn't be happier to be alongside him on this journey as he explores this latest chapter,” said Wyck Godfrey, President of Paramount's Motion Picture Group.
Said McKay: “The first script I ever wrote was at Paramount. Our first overall deal was with Paramount Vantage 12 years ago. We've done a half-dozen movies there. Mix in Great people like Wyck Godfrey and Jim Gianopulos, and this all feels very comfortable.”
The film side will be steered by longtime collaborator Kevin Messick, and the braintrust includes Betsy Koch and the recently hired Who Is America producer and Sacha Baron Cohen collaborator Todd Schulman. They are only just getting going putting movie projects together. Executive producer Robyn Wholey creative exec Maeve Cullinane, associate producer Staci Roberts-Steele as well as Jenna Go, Stephanie Chopra and Daniel Omaits make up the rest of the Hyperobject Industries team.
What does the new company moniker mean?
“Timothy Morton is a philosopher out of Rice University and he coined this term to refer to things that are beyond human comprehension, forces that affect us in tangible ways, but our limited scope of perception can't fully comprehend,” McKay said. “It signals we are trying to dive into unknown areas. And the Industries part is a straight up joke.”
Just as McKay has evolved from straight up comedies into political minded but entertaining movies like his last two, he sees the entire creative landscape and audience expectations evolving also in good ways, even as he acknowledges that adult-themed mid budget films are having a tough go of it.
“We have this really nice deal with HBO, they were really generous with us, and when it was time to figure out the movie part, we looked at Paramount,” he said. “You get older, and once we split up Sanchez, it became clear they still wanted to work with us. So we'll be there a few more years with that first look deal. I believe that genres are starting to blur together, that the risks you are allowed to take is growing as so much stuff is getting made and audiences are so savvy. We started seeing it in the last few years of Sanchez, how everything is bending together and as a result the choices you can make in a movie or TV show has expanded. If there's a mandate - and all the producers here are empowered to seek what they like and find interesting - it's to keep pushing in that direction. Try to find stories, structures, tones and genres that really push the edges of what we traditionally thought we could do. Not just with what's going on streaming, but what's going on in the world. Politically, environmentally, economically. We're just living in strange, unprecedented times. The goal of the company is to dive face first into these times and see how much we can push things.”
McKay will do that with the limited series based on the upcoming book by Julie K. Brown on pervy financier Jeffrey Epstein. It was Brown whose reporting in the Miami Herald led to the arrest in July of Epstein on sex trafficking charges. He subsequently hanged himself in his jail cell.
“It is as deep and dark as anything I've seen,” McKay said. “I've followed that story for years, and god bless Julie Brown, she finally broke it. It's the old cliché you would see in 70s movies. How far does this story go? Straight to the top. This one really does.”
McKay revealed that Hyperoptic will also develop a series based on David Wallace Wells's Uninhabitable Earth. “It's a Black Mirror-like anthology dealing with what the world will be like as we go forward with global warming.” He said the show has connective tissue to the previously reported show he has been working on, about the Showtime years of the Lakers championship teams by Max Borenstein McKay’s directing the pilot, in that it is the kind of exercise audiences might have rejected just a decade ago. will Once again, ten years ago you don't see that show.
“You might think it's just about basketball, but it's about class, race, gender and we're shooting it in a multi format, with Super 8, video, 35 millimeter. These are examples of shows I'm not sure we could have made ten years ago, that audiences would be okay with some of the ways we're pushing it.”
Finally, McKay weighed in on this controversy over superhero films that was fueled by some comments made by The Irishman director Martin Scorsese and Francis Coppola, who bristled about these blockbusters sucking all the oxygen out of the creative medium of cinema. He lands on the side of the spandex set.
“I wrote one, Ant-Man, and I love 'em,” McKay said of superhero movies. “I felt like, c'mon Marty, what are you doing? You're an all-time hero, and some of those movies are really good. To anyone who disses superhero movies, I always say, watch Thor: Ragnarok. That movie is awesome.”
McKay said he grew up a Marvel Comics kid. Having come up for air after shooting a pilot, he's eager to catch up with Todd Phillips' adaptation of the DC character Joker.
When I mention how Phillips has stamped himself as a serious dramatic director McKay made the same kind of transformation from comedy with The Big Short, he said he wasn't at all surprised.
“Todd has always been supremely talented and I always thought the secret trick to The Hangover films was that they were so well made. I cannot wait to see Joker, Jo Jo Rabbit, Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story. It's never easy but I look at the things that A24 and some others are doing, and think there is quality out there. With all the new streamers coming, we're about to see an explosion in the amount of movies and series being made, the likes of which I wonder has ever existed in Hollywood.”
McKay said that in support of the WGA, no Hyperobject Industries project will be part of any packaging deals through WME, who represents McKay as a director and producer along with Ziffren Brittenham LLP.
EXCLUSIVE: NBC has put in development Quantum Spy, based on David Ignatius' CIA thriller novel The Quantum Spy, from writer Dave Kalstein Treadstone, Boies/Schiller Film Group, Tony Krantz's Flame Ventures, Anonymous Content and Universal Television, a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios.
Your Complete Guide to Pilots and Straight-to-Series orders
Adapted by Kalstein, Quantum Spy is a thriller centered around Harris Chang, a newly promoted Chinese-American CIA officer. After America's top-secret quantum research lab is compromised, he's tasked with finding the traitor and ends up in the middle of a global conspiracy that leads him to uncover dark secrets from his own past.
Kalstein executive produces alongside BSFG President Zack Schiller and BSFG co-founder David Boies, Anonymous Content's Alex Goldstone Apple TV+'s Dickinsonand Flame Ventures' Krantz. Ignatius will co-executive produce. Boies/Schiller Film Group, Flame Ventures, Anonymous Content co-produce. Universal TV is the studio.
Kalstein is a co-executive producer on Treadstone, set in the world of Jason Bourne, which is airing its first season on USA. Previously, he served as co-executive producer on Quantico and also on NCIS: Los Angeles. He is repped by Anonymous Content and attorney Jeff Endlich.
Since Boies/Schiller, co-founded by Schiller and attorney David Boies, has been behind such films as Jane Got A Gun, The Upside and Escape Plan. Upcoming movies include Countdown, The Starling, The Babysitter 2 and an action-comedy take on the long-running reality crime series Cops.
Ignatius is an award-winning Washington Post columnist who has covered international affairs and the CIA for more than 25 years. His other novels include Agents of Innocence, Body of Lies, and The Increment.
Anonymous Content's TV slate includes Mr. Robot USA Network, 13 Reasons Why Netflix , Homecoming Amazon, Dickinson Apple, and the upcoming Home Before Dark Apple and Defending Jacob Apple.
Flame Ventures recently wrapped production on new Netflix series Wu Assassins. Next up is Dangerous Liaisons for Starz. Krantz is currently in pre-production on his next theatrical film, The Plumbers, which he wrote and will direct at the top of next year. Flame Ventures is repped by CAA and attorney Bianca Levin.
Less than a week before Comcast and Department of Justice lawyers will face off against Byron Allen in the Supreme Court in the Entertainment Studios boss' $20 billion discrimination lawsuit against the NBCUniverisal owner, a prominent member of Congress now wants the telecommunications giant brought down to size.
AP “Comcast has enjoyed the largesse — as has the cable industry, in general — of the AfricanAmerican and other minority communities and has reached such prominence that it now disregard these communities with a cold, callous corporate insensitivity that is stultifying, arrogant, harmful, and intensely painful,” writes Rep. Bobby Rush in a letter last night to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts that Deadline has obtained.
“Simply put, it is my belief that the Comcast Corporation needs to be broken up,” declares the long serving Illinois Democratic Congressman, who sits on the influential Energy and Commerce committee and chairs its consumer protection subcommittee.
Similar to statements by Presidential hopefuls Senator Kamala Harris D-CA and Senator Cory Booker D-NJ and other members of Congress, Rep. Rush is dismayed that Philadelphia-based Comcast in its battle with Allen has gotten in bed with the Trump Administration to force a potentially pivotal change to Civil War era passed civil rights enhancing legislation in the case that is to be heard before the nine justices on November 13.
While Congress doesn't directly have the power to shatter corporate empires, they certainly have the power to hold hearings, issue subpoenas and shine a very bright spotlight on the likes of Roberts and Comcast. Of course, such a spotlight can put pressure on the executive branch to take action too, regardless of if it is a Republican or Democrat in the White House. Known to be close to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it also wasn't' an accident that Rep. Rush cc'd Attorney General Bill Barr, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission in his correspondence to CEO Roberts of November 7, if you know what I mean?
In a dust-up with long term political, civil rights and corporate implications in which the likes of the NAACP, the ACLU, National Urban League and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, among others, have come out swinging against Comcast, the symbolism of Rush's declaration could hold great weight.
“Comcast's actions today call into question why it signed Memoranda of Understanding hereafter, memoranda on diversity with the Asian American Justice Center, East West Players, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, Japanese American Citizens League, Media Action Network, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Action Network, National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, National Hispanic Media Coalition, National Urban League, and Organization of Chinese Americans,” Rush notes in his letter to Roberts. “Further, we must note that these memoranda were instrumental in securing the support of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus for its acquisition of NBC Universal. The contradictory nature of its legal argument leads me to believe that these memoranda were signed merely for political expediency.”
Once a very vocal proponent of Comcast's acquisition of an initial majority stake in NBCUniversal almost a decade ago, the turn of Chicago Congressman Rush, who is known to joke that he is the only person to ever beat Barack Obama in an election, puts the company clearly on the defensive.
“There is no major media company in America that has done more to promote diverse programming than Comcast,” a spokesperson for the company told Deadline in response to Rep. Rush's letter. “We've gone above and beyond the MOUs from the NBCUniversal transaction in every case. While Byron Allen chose not to participate in the MOU process that brought four African American owned networks on to our cable lineups, entrepreneurs who started the channels ASPiRE, REVOLT, AFRO, and CLEO TV, have all launched with our support. Our film divisions are making films like Us, Get Out, Straight Outta Compton, Harriet, Girls Trip, Little, and Queen and Slim, all with African American directors and stars. We've dramatically increased on air and behind the camera diversity across all of NBCUniversal.”
“We believe that the civil rights laws are an essential tool for protecting the rights of African-Americans and other diverse communities,” Comcast further states. “We have been forced to appeal this decision to defend against a meritless $20 billion claim, but have kept our argument narrowly focused. We are not seeking to roll back any civil rights laws — all we are asking is that section 1981 in our case be interpreted the same way it has been interpreted for decades across the country.”
While Comcast avoided Rush's throwing down of the gauntlet of corporate disintegration, Byron Allen has a much more concise reaction.
“I am highly confident that if Comcast shows up in the U.S. Supreme Court next week to challenge the civil rights of over 100 million Americans, Comcast will be broken up,” the mogul asserts.
Entertainment Studios Having first sued Comcast and a number of other companies a few years back on the premise that they had violated the Civil Rights Act after he unsuccessfully tried for years to get the cablers to carry his networks, Allen saw mixed results. Now WarnerMedia-owning AT&T settled, but in the cases with Comcast and Charter, Entertainment Studios suffered a series of losses in other cases. However, in February, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Comcast and Charter's motion to toss the multibillion-dollar civil rights lawsuit against them. Quickly, Comcast moved to take the matter before Chief Justice John Roberts no relation to CEO Brian Roberts before it went back to the trial courts.
With lobbyists galore in the nation's capital, Comcast suddenly was handed an early Christmas present from the Trump administration on August 15, when the DOJ filed a brief in the matter that seeks to tighten the definitions of the Reconstruction Era statute in the City of Brotherly Love-based corporation's favor.
The feds' brief frames the statute to require that Entertainment Studios has to prove race was not merely a motivating factor, as the 9th Circuit interpreted the statute earlier this summer, but the only factor — a near impossible standard, especially without direct access to corporate documents. In a very rare move, Comcast are handing over 10 minutes of their time before the SCOTUS for Solicitor General Noel Francisco and DOJ lawyers argue the matter before the increasingly conservative court.
All of which makes the stakes all the greater next Wednesday.
Allen and Entertainment Studios are represented in the case by a team from Miller Bardondess LLP and University of California Berkeley School of Law's Erwin Chemerinsky. Attorneys from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP are working for Comcast in the matter.
Megyn Kelly announced a comeback on Friday, teasing an interview that will be posted on Instagram and YouTube — an interview with a woman who was fired after she was suspected of leaking a video hot mic moment of ABC News' Amy Robach, complaining that the network didn't jump on the Jeffrey Epstein story three years ago.
“We just sat down with her, and we got the full story, and I think you are going to be fascinated by it,” Kelly said in an Instagram post.
The woman, a producer, had since moved to CBS News, but after right-wing site Project Veritas posted the footage, ABC News reportedly informed their rival network of what had happened. Kelly said that the employee was fired because she had “marked” the video of Robach, but they “suspected that she leaked” the video.
Spokespersons for ABC News and CBS News did not immediately return requests for comment.
Inthe video, which was from last summer, Robach says, “I had this interview with Virginia Roberts. We would not put it on the air. First of all, I was told, 'Who's Jeffrey Epstein? No one knows who that is. This is a stupid story. Then the palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways. We were so afraid we wouldn't be able to interview Kate and Will that we, that also quashed the story.”
After the video was posted at Project Veritas, Robach issued a new statement. She said that she was caught “in a private moment of frustration.”
“I was upset that an important interview I had conducted with Virginia Roberts didn't air because we could not obtain sufficient corroborating evidence to meet ABC's editorial standards about her allegations.” she said. “My comments about Prince Andrew and her allegation that she had seen Bill Clinton on Epstein's private island were in reference to what Virginia Roberts said in that interview in 2015. I was referencing her allegations — not what ABC News had verified through our reporting.
“The interview itself, while I was disappointed it didn't air, didn't meet our standards. In the years since no one ever told me or the team to stop reporting on Jeffrey Epstein, and we have continued to aggressively pursue this important story.”
Kelly left NBC in January, after her daytime series Megyn Kelly Today was cancelled. She appeared last month on Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight, Kelly's first interview since exiting NBC. She criticized the network for the way it handled the Harvey Weinstein story, which was the subject of Ronan Farrow's book, Catch & Kill.
CBS has put in development dramas Vanishing Point, from writer Breen Frazier Criminal Minds, and The Honorable from Everybody Hates Chris co-creator Ali Leroi and Michelle Amor Playin' For Love. Both hail from Jay and Phil McGraw's Stage 29 Productions and CBS Television Studios, where Stage 29 is under a first-look deal.
Your Complete Guide to Pilots and Straight-to-Series orders
Written by Frazier, Vanishing Point revolves around a cavalier but brilliant behavioral psychologist and his methodical FBI agent ex-wife, who are forced to re-team together on a missing persons case that may in fact be the spark they need to rekindle their relationship and finally locate their own teenage son who disappeared years before.
Frazier executive produces with Dr. Phil McGraw, Jay McGraw, Julia Eisenman for Stage 29 Productions, along with Marc Provissiero and Bob Odenkirk for Odenkirk Provissiero, and Lee Schneller and Jeremy Evans.
Chicago mayoral drama The Honorable is written by Leroi and Amor. In The Honorable, for the young, idealistic new mayor of Chicago, winning the election will seem like a cakewalk compared to the challenges of running one of the most politically fraught cities in the world, balancing her own tangled personal life, and navigating an old rivalry with a powerful family.
Leroi executive produces with Dr. Phil McGraw, Jay McGraw, Julia Eisenman for Stage 29 Productions. Amor is co-executive producer. CBS Television Studios is the studio for both projects.
Frazier has been with Criminal Minds since the series' launch, starting as producer and rising through the ranks to his current role as executive producer. Frazier also was a co-producer on Ghost Whisperer and worked on Alias and Roswell.
LeRoi co-created Everybody Hates Chris, which aired from 2005-2009, first on UPN then moving to the CW for its final three seasons. He also created TBS comedy Are We There Yet, which aired for three seasons, and was an executive producer on Survivor's Remorse.
Amor's writing credits include features Of Boys and Men and Playin' For Love.