Dwayne Johnson Comedy BALLERS Gets Series Order at HBO; Fox Picks Up Will Forte’s LAST MAN ON EARTH

by     Posted 63 days ago

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The TV comedy landscape just improved by two.  Firstly, THR reports that HBO has picked up to series the half-hour comedy/drama Ballers starring Dwayne Johnson.  The show hails from executive producer Stephen Levinson (Entourage) and revolves around the lives of a group of former and current football players, with Johnson playing the lead.  Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg are also onboard as executive producers, and the show marks Johnson’s first foray into the series regular TV world.  This comes on the heels of HBO recently picking up to series the political comedy The Brink, with Jack Black and Tim Robbins starring.

Hit the jump for series order news of a new comedy on Fox starring Will Forte and executive produced by the directors of The LEGO Movie, marking a Clone High reunion of sorts.

Weekend Box Office: LONE SURVIVOR Clears $38.8 Million: THE LEGEND OF HERCULES Looks Less Than Legendary

by     Posted 95 days ago

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Lone Survivor easily dominated in its first weekend in wide release.  The real-life war drama took in an estimated $38.8 million from 2,876 locations – doubling its studio’s pre-release projection of $19 million.  Along with its surprising windfall, Lone Survivor now claims the second-highest January opening of all time, behind the $40 million of 2008’s Cloverfield.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Lone Survivor $38,511,000 $38.8
2.  Frozen $15,070,000 $317.6
3.  The Wolf of Wall Street $9,000,000 $78.5
4.  The Legend Of Hercules $8,600,000 $8.6
5.  American Hustle $8,600,000 $101.5
6.  The Hobbit 2 $8,015,000 $242.2
7.  August: Osage County $7,315,000 $7.8
8.  Saving Mr. Banks $6,578,000 $68.9
9.  Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones $6,300,000 $28.4
10.  Anchorman 2
$6,100,000 $118.5

More box office news after the jump.

Director Peter Berg Talks LONE SURVIVOR, Having SEALs On Set Every Day, Damon Lindelof’s THE LEFTOVERS, THE RUNDOWN Sequel, and More

by     Posted 98 days ago

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Opening tomorrow is director Peter Berg’s (The RundownThe Kingdom) adaptation of the true-life memoir of Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor.  The powerful film tells the story of four Navy SEALs on an ill-fated covert mission who try to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative, but are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan.  The film stars Mark WahlbergTaylor KitschEmile HirschBen FosterEric BanaAlexander LudwigAli Suliman, and Rohan Chand.  For more on the film, here’s the latest trailer.

At the recent New York City press day, I landed an exclusive interview with Peter Berg.  He talked about the challenges of making the film, his assembly cut, the test screening process (and how the film scored a 96), what he asked the actors to do prior to filming, how he’s changed as a filmmaker, whether we will ever get a sequel to The Rundown, how he got involved with Damon Lindelof’s new HBO series The Leftovers, the possibility of another Friday Night Lights movie, and more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

LONE SURVIVOR Review

by     Posted 114 days ago

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After watching Battleship and Lone Survivor, I have no doubt that director Peter Berg has a deep and earnest respect for America’s military.  While one movie is a silly blockbuster and the other is based on a true-story tragedy, they both celebrate the honor and dedication of men and women in uniform.  Where I take issue with Berg is how he expresses his adoration of the troops.  In Battleship, a movie with aliens, spaceships, and explosive pegs, throwing in an appreciation of sailors is a nice sentiment.  In Lone Survivor, appreciation isn’t a sentiment; it’s a cause.  Berg’s desire to honor the Navy SEALs who lost their lives on a FUBAR mission is admirable, but the film’s heavy emphasis on action makes physical endurance appear more commendable than deeds and intentions.

Peter Berg and Marcus Luttrell Talk LONE SURVIVOR, Cast and Crew Dedication, Making the Movie for the Right Reasons, Honoring Lives Lost, and More

by     Posted 119 days ago

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There’s no sitting through Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor without walking out deeply affected by the experience and if you read Marcus Luttrell’s book and/or this press conference transcript, you’ll understand why. The film is based on Luttrell’s New York Times bestseller and tells the tale of his true experience during a covert mission in the mountains of Afghanistan when he and three other Navy SEALs were ambushed by the enemy.

While in New York City ahead of Lone Survivor’s December 25th limited release, Luttrell himself sat down alongside Burg to run through the challenges of adapting his story for the screen, his experience working with stars Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster, and the need to work around classified information. Read about that, Berg’s extensive research, becoming the first civilian to embed with an active SEAL team, and loads more after the jump.

Peter Berg Says He’s Meeting with Writers for a Sequel to THE RUNDOWN; Looking to Team Dwayne Johnson with an Unnamed Actor

by     Posted 129 days ago

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The other day, Steve did the press junket for Lone Survivor, and he sent me an e-mail asking if I had any questions for director Peter Berg.  I didn’t, but I told Steve to tell Berg that I adore his 2003 action-adventure film, The Rundown.  For those who haven’t seen it, it’s similar to Midnight Run in that a tough guy (Dwayne Johnson) has to retrieve a squirrelly, meeker guy (Seann William Scott), but Berg’s film distinguishes itself with exciting set pieces and delightful performances, especially from Chistopher Walken.  It’s my favorite Peter Berg film, but after ten years, I had given up any hope of a sequel.

But other fans have kept that hope alive, and now their patience might be rewarded.  Berg says he’s actively developing a sequel.  Hit the jump for more on The Rundown 2 (unofficial title, but it feels good just to write that).  Lone Survivor opens in limited release on December 27th and goes wide on January 10th.

Peter Berg Says There Won’t Be a New FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS Movie

by     Posted 129 days ago

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Friday Night Lights is sure to go down in history as one of the greatest TV dramas of all time, but fans have been clamoring for just a bit more since the NBC show’s series finale in 2011.  Executive producer Peter Berg and many FNL castmembers have been teasing the possibility of a Friday Night Lights movie for the past few years now.  Though the show initially began as a spinoff of Berg’s Billy Bob Thornton-fronted 2004 film of the same name, this proposed new film would follow Kyle Chandler’s Coach Taylor and Connie Britton’s Tami Taylor.

Steve recently had a chance to speak with Berg in anticipation of his upcoming feature directorial effort Lone Survivor, and during the course of their conversation he provided an update on the status of the Friday Night Lights movie by saying it’s most likely not going to happen.  Hit the jump for more.

12 New Images from LONE SURVIVOR Starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, and Emile Hirsch

by     Posted 132 days ago

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Universal Pictures has released some new images from director Peter Berg’s (The Kingdom) adaptation of the non-fiction book Lone Survivor.  The film tells the story of four Navy SEALs on an ill-fated covert mission who try to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative, but are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan.  The film has drawn positive responses from early screenings, and Berg has more than proven himself to be a skilled action director.  Hopefully the dramatic character interplay is on point here as well.

Hit the jump to check out the new images.  The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Alexander Ludwig, Ali Suliman, and Rohan ChandLone Survivor opens in limited release on December 27th before going wide on January 10th.

Behind-the-Scenes Featurette for LONE SURVIVOR Starring Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch, and Ben Foster

by     Posted 177 days ago

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Universal has released a new behind-the-scenes featurette for Peter Berg‘s Lone Survivor.  The film centers on four Navy SEALs on an ill-fated covert mission who try to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative, but are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan.  This behind-the-scenes featurette explains the real story behind the film, and the ethos of the SEALs.  There’s a heavy emphasis on brotherhood and fighting for the sake of the man next to you.  The tragic aspect is that at the end, there was only the “lone survivor”, Marcus Luttrell, who went on to write about his experiences, and his book became the basis for the movie.  It looks like Berg has tried to create a film in the vein of Black Hawk Down, and I hope he’s succeeded.

Hit the jump to check out the featurette.  The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Ali Suliman, Alexander Ludwig, and Eric BanaLone Survivor will premiere at AFI Fest, open in limited release on December 27th, and go wide on January 10, 2014.

Damon Lindelof’s THE LEFTOVERS Ordered to Series at HBO

by     Posted 213 days ago

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Three years after Lost ended with a polarizing and much buzzed-about series finale, creator Damon Lindelof is officially returning to television.  Warner Bros. TV announced today that HBO has ordered Lindelof’s The Leftovers to series, with a 10-episode first season likely to premiere sometime next year.  Based on the book of the same name by Tom Perrotta, the story takes place after the Rapture, centering on the people in a small town that didn’t make the cut.  Justin Theroux leads a cast that includes Liv Tyler, Christopher Eccleston, Amy Brenneman, Carrie Coon, Ann Dowd, and Chris Zylka.

The pilot was directed by Friday Night Lights alum Peter Berg, and obviously HBO took a liking to the result.  Lindelof will serve as showrunner on the series, which will likely decrease the amount of time he is able to devote to feature films.  He most recently co-wrote the Disney pic Tomorrowland with Brad Bird, and that film is currently in production with George Clooney in the lead and a December 2014 release date set.

First Trailer, Poster, and Images for Peter Berg’s LONE SURVIVOR Starring Mark Wahlberg

by     Posted 260 days ago

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Universal Pictures have released the first trailer, poster, and images for Peter Berg‘s adaptation of the non-fiction book Lone Survivor.  The film tells the story of four Navy SEALs on an ill-fated covert mission who try to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative, but are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan.  Berg is a wildly uneven director, but I have so much good will towards him for The Rundown and The Kingdom that I want him to succeed.  Unfortunately, this trailer makes the film look like a military recruitment ad of the worst kind.  The best way to respect the troops is to paint them honestly, and I fear that honesty is absent from Berg’s picture.  I hope this trailer is misleading and Berg hasn’t made Act of Valor but with real actors.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer, poster, and images.  The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, and Eric BanaLone Survivor will open for an awards-qualifying limited release on December 27th before going wide on January 10th.

Mark Wahlberg to Star in Peter Berg’s AMERICAN DESPERADO, Written by William Monahan

by     Posted 294 days ago

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Though they only just finished working together on the Navy SEAL thriller Lone Survivor, director Peter Berg and actor Mark Wahlberg are already planning a reunion project.  Fresh off a new adaptation by Oscar-winning The Departed screenwriter William Monahan, Wahlberg has become attached to star in American Desperado with Berg directing.  The book is based on a series of interviews between Generation Kill author/journalist Evan Wright and super-criminal Jon Roberts, the focus of the documentary Cocaine Cowboys.

Roberts’ life story can be filed under “stranger than fiction,” as he recounts being born into Mafia royalty, running guns for the CIA, smuggling cocaine for the Medellin cartel, and brushing elbows with the likes of Richard Pryor and Jimi Hendrix.  Hit the jump for more on the project.

Universal Dates LONE SURVIVOR Starring Mark Wahlberg and Taylor Kitsch for January 10, 2014 Release

by     Posted 342 days ago

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Universal Pictures announced today that it will be releasing director Peter Berg’s (The Rundown) Navy SEAL film Lone Survivor on January 10, 2014.  Based on the bestselling non-fiction book of the same name, the film tells the story of four Navy SEALs on an ill-fated covert mission to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative who are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan.  The film’s impressive cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, and Eric Bana.

Berg and Kitsch are coming off of last summer’s bomb Battleship, but both have proven themselves to be quite talented in the past, so hopefully Lone Survivor is a return to form.  The film will likely open in New York and Los Angeles at the end of December to qualify for awards season, and will face off against the Sylvester Stallone/Robert De Niro boxing film Grudge Match and the Lionsgate horror pic Jessabelle when it opens wide on January 10th.

Dwayne Johnson to Star in and Produce HBO Pilot About Athletes; Mark Wahlberg to Produce

by     Posted 350 days ago

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Another Pain & Gain reunion is already in the works.  Deadline reports that Dwayne Johnson is set to star in and executive produce a half-hour dramedy pilot for HBO about the lives of athletes, with his Pain & Gain co-star Mark Wahlberg also onboard to executive produce alongside Steve Levinson.  The project takes place in Miami and “chronicles the lives of athletes—some retired, some still active.”  Johnson will play one of the athletes, but at this time it sounds like Wahlberg is only producing.  Levinson—who wrote many episodes of the Wahlberg-produced HBO series Entourage—wrote the pilot, which will be directed by Friday Night Lights helmer Peter Berg.  Production is slated to begin this fall.

This marks another move for the very busy Johnson, who is next set to shoot his starring role in Brett Ratner’s Hercules.  The actor is also in talks to return for Fast & Furious 7 should his schedule allow.  This also marks the second HBO pilot that Berg is helming this season, as he will also direct the pilot for Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof’s potential series The Leftovers.

Peter Berg To Direct Damon Lindelof’s HBO Pilot THE LEFTOVERS; Filming To Start in June

by     Posted 1 year, 9 days ago

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Last summer, Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof talked about his collaboration with Tom Perrotta (Election) in adapting Perrotta’s 2011 post-Rapture novel The Leftovers for HBO, which the premium network picked up in February.  It was announced today (via Production Weekly) that Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Hancock, Battleship) is now on board to direct the pilot, continuing a trend of movie directors making a move to the small screen.  Filming will take place in New York and should start in mid-June, so expect a 2014 premiere date should HBO pick the pilot up to series.

The Leftovers marks Lindelof’s first return to television since the end of Lost (however you feel about that), but as has been pointed out, him being so in demand for big-screen projects may see him reduce his involvement with the series a tad, although he did co-write the Leftovers pilot with Perrotta and appears to be on-track to serve as showrunner.  Hit the jump for more on The Leftovers.

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