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Maria Contreras-Sweet Bid Leads Weinstein Co Auction; Staff Would Stay, Bob Weinstein Exit, Women Lead Board

EXCLUSIVE: After a protracted bidding process, the sale of the scandal-scarred The Weinstein Company..

EXCLUSIVE: After a protracted bidding process, the sale of the scandal-scarred The Weinstein Company is close at hand, and the company will rise from the ashes with a future that will be forged by women, timely on a day when the Golden Globes is expected to be dominated by the #metoo theme, which was borne out of allegations of sexual assault and harassment by co-founder Harvey Weinstein. Maria Contreras-Sweet, former head of the U.S. Small Business Administration for the Barack Obama administration, has emerged as the frontrunner to soon complete a deal to buy the pieces and resurrect a company that will be renamed, and majority controlled by women, sources said. Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Enterprises and Lantern Capital are minority partners in the bid, sources said. The derby isn’t quite done yet and Lionsgate is also squarely in the mix.

Bob Weinstein, who founded TWC with brother Harvey Weinstein, is expected to exit and set up his own company and take the Dimension Films name along with properties that include The Six Million Dollar Man, which has interest from both Warner Bros, and potential star Mark Wahlberg.

As Deadline reported last December, the board pored over bids –more than 20 came in, including bids for just the TV component, or the library — and the ones in the final round include Lionsgate, a Killer Content bid backed by Abigail Disney (daughter of Roy Disney), Shamrock Capital, Vine Investments, Sony (for the television business), MSD Partners, Critical Content, Versa, and Qatar-based beIN, which owns Miramax. The finalists are Contreras-Sweet, Lionsgate and Killer Content, which would for sure put women at the helm, as well as Sony, Shamrock and Vine, the latter two for the library.

Wall Street Journal reported last week that the company will sell for around $500 million, a figure I’ve also heard. That number includes a purchase around $275 million, an infusion of fresh capital, plus the assumption of liabilities and operating costs that includes keeping employed the long suffering 157 or so staffers and managers whose lives turned upside down the moment that The New York Times and The New Yorker detailed shocking first person accounts of sexual assault and harassment allegedly perpetrated by Harvey Weinstein, who was summarily fired by the board of directors.

TWC will quickly be renamed and it is all moving quickly as the intent is to complete the deal before the money runs out in February, when it would need bankruptcy protection. Phoenix might be an appropriate name given the potential turnaround here, but that is taken by Mike Medavoy’s company. There is the possibility this new company could be in motion for Sundance, where Weinstein was once the biggest buyer of prestige films, going all the way back to Steven Soderbergh’s sex lies & videotape.

If it is Contreras-Sweet who emerges victorious, she certainly puts a positive face on a company that badly needs one. Her bid has no contingencies, and solid backing. She is an immigrant from Guadalajara, Mexico and was executive chairwoman and founder of ProAmerica Band, a commercial lender to small to mid-sized business with a specialty in the Latino community. She became California’s cabinet secretary overseeing the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency before spending three years as a member of President Obama’s cabinet.

Contreras-Sweet has followed through on her pitch letter to the board of directors in late November, where she promised to not only assume liabilities but also infuse new capital to retain staff and pay suppliers. While the shock of the Weinstein scandal left those with TV or movie projects wanting to get far away with series and films that have been stalled, that stigma might be removed if this deal makes. Her bid was blessed by Gloria Allred, who will rep numerous women who file civil lawsuits against Weinstein. Included is contingency funding that will be paired with insurance policies to cover liabilities related to claims against Weinstein.

The bidder inherits a strong lineup of library titles and output deals with the likes of Netflix. Projects include the Kevin Costner-Taylor Sheridan series Yellowstone, movies like the recut Benedict Cumberbatch-Michael Shannon-starrer The Current War and the Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes musical In The Heights, Hotel Mumbai, the Armie Hammer-Dev Patel starrer Hotel Mumbai, as well as numerous other series and films. It might make possible the David O Russell-directed series with Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore, which was scrapped at Amazon even though it had a two-season commitment.

Investment banker Lloyd Greif said word has circled that it came down to Contreras-Sweet and Lionsgate, with motivations that couldn’t be more different: Lionsgate is looking to bulk up its portfolio at a time when companies are looking to grow larger in the wake of the Disney acquisition of Fox and the pending merger of AT&T and Time Warner.

“You’re either prey or predator,” Greif said. “This is an opportunity to buy on the cheap.”

In this scenario, Lionsgate would look to acquire content, but it doesn’t need or want the The Weinstein Co.’s organization. Even the tainted Weinstein brand might disappear, Greif said.

Contreras-Sweet presents a phoenix-rising-from-the ashes opportunity, in which, “The phoenix is wearing a dress,” Greif said. The ne company, he said, “will be accepted by the entertainment community at large — writers, actors and directors.”

Contreras-Sweet is the only potential acquirer who would keep the studio intact — making her the likely preferred buyer, assuming all offers are roughly equal. This option also gives The Weinstein Co.’s board to claim a modest victory at a moment of defeat. After all, the investors who were close to a megadeal with ITV that imploded when Weinstein was investigated for groping an actress/model in New York. are essentially walking away losing their investment. The board is expected to be gone in the new configuration.

“The board could say, ‘We saved all these people’s jobs!'” Greif said.

No comment from TWC.

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James Bonds still got the moves as Daniel Craig plants kiss on Lea Seydoux in intimate No Time To Die scene

Well this is all very g-rated (Picture: The Mega Agency)
In what is expected to be his final outing ..

Well this is all very g-rated (Picture: The Mega Agency)

In what is expected to be his final outing at 007, Daniel Craig has been seen planting a rather polite kiss on co-star Lea Seydoux as they continue filming the latest James Bond film, No Time To Die.

Polite for James Bond, anyway – but wheres the passion weve come to love?

As production steamrolls ahead in Italy on the 25th offering of the titular character – directed by Cary Fukunaga – the actors were seen getting to grips with one another in an intimate scene shot over the weekend.

Dressed casually, Lea (who plays Dr Madeleine Swann) wore a red and white sundress, while Daniel went cool and collected in a blue jacket and trousers, as they kissed on stone steps.

The 007 actor placed a hand on his co-stars shoulders, as they locked lips.

But with the character known for his passion and steamy embraces with the women of Bond, its a little G-rated, we have to say.

Daniel Craig shares a kiss and embrace with French co-star Lea Seydoux
The two shared a laugh during scenes (Picture: The Mega Agency)

While many have been left wondering whether the hiring of Fleabags Phoebe-Waller Bridge might bring an end to the arguably womanising ways of the spy, shes insisted thats not the case.

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Hes just evolving.

Daniel Craig
Daniel was covered in blood last week (Picture: MEGA)

It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesnt have to, she previously said of the character, after being hired to work on the script.

He needs to be true to this character.

Last week Daniel was seen on set sporting a blood-splattered face, hinting old mate Bond is still getting himself into the wars, despite retiring to Jamaica at the end of the last film, Spectre. Hes definitely not living the quieter life, by the look of things.

The 51-year-old is helming the flick and looked cool as a cucumber as he emerged on set, with a pair of black sunglasses and his hands on his hips.

More: James Bond

He was later seen blowing up graves in further explosive scenes, only piquing our interest to the next instalment even more.

Bring on next year, we say!

Read More – Source

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Jojo Rabbits Taika Waititi & Cast On Making An Anti-Hate Satire In Current Political Climate – Toronto Studio

“Nazis werent cool when I wrote it,” joked Jojo Rabbit filmmaker Taika Waititi about making and rele..

“Nazis werent cool when I wrote it,” joked Jojo Rabbit filmmaker Taika Waititi about making and releasing his Adolf Hitler comedy in the current divided political climate, one where white supremacists have become some of President Donald Trumps more ardent supporters.

“People werent into this sh*t when I wrote it, and now its just developed and suddenly weirdly relevant,” says Waititi, who was first turned on to Christine Leunens novel Caging Skies by his mother some years ago.

The film follows a young German boy, Jojo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis), who is a devotee of the Hitler youth, so much that his imaginary friend is a funny Fuhrer (Waititi). Jojos mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson), is harboring a Jewish fugitive (Thomasin McKenzie) which challenges the boys brainwashed beliefs.

No, Jojo Rabbit isnt Oliver Hirschbiegels Downfall. Its a movie about finding humanity in chaos, and the decimation of stereotypes, with Waititis sense of humor woven in. Critics were divided coming out of TIFF, believing that Waititi was joking too close to the fire, but festival audiences disagreed today, bestowing their Oscar Best Picture bellwether, the Grolsch Peoples Choice Award, upon Jojo Rabbit; an award won by such films as Green Book, The Kings Speech, 12 Years a Slave and American Beauty which found themselves months later with awards seasons top prize.

As Deadlines awards guru Pete Hammond reported, the reception for Jojo Rabbit at it TIFF world premiere was rapturous. Word of mouth will be this pics best friend when it opens limited from Fox Searchlight (under its new parent Disney) on October 18.

Says McKenzie on how Jojo Rabbit organically wags a finger at the current climate, “That happens quite a lot, I find, where films come out and they weirdly reflect or are like a mirror to whats actually going on in the real world. Which is why, for me, film is such an important medium. Because people are able to see things from a different perspective, and think about them in a different way. So in that kind of way, film is such an amazing piece of magic or treasure that is really valuable.”

When it comes to playing Hitler, Waititi says, “I didnt feel that uncomfortable, other than having to see myself in a mirror. But apart from that, I donRead More – Source

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Phyllis Newman Dies: Tony-Winning Broadway Legend Was 86

Phyllis Newman, known for her Tony Award-winning role as the bath towel-clad Martha Vail in the musi..

Phyllis Newman, known for her Tony Award-winning role as the bath towel-clad Martha Vail in the musical Subways Are for Sleeping, has died. The star of stage and screen was 86.

The news was announced by her son Adam Green, a theater critic for Vogue, via Twitter. “My sister @amanda_green and I had to say goodbye to our beautiful mother today,” he tweeted. “Ill miss her more than I can say.”

In addition to Subways Are for Sleeping, Newman appeared in numerous Broadway productions including Bells Are Ringing, The Apple Tree, On the Town, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, Awake and Sing, Wish You Were Here and First Impressions. She also had her one-woman musical The Madwoman of Central Park West which was co-written by her and Arthur Laurents. She also received a Tony nom for her performance in Neil Simons Broadway Bound.

She received a Drama Desk nomination for her starring performance in the Off Broadway production of James Lapines The Moment When… Her other Off Broadway credits include Nicky Silvers The Food Chain, the Naked Angels production of Shyster as well as the revival of A Majority of One.

She had multiple appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and was the first woman to host The Johnny Carson Show. Her other TV credits include 100 Centre Street, Oz, Murder, She Wrote, thirtysomething and The Jury.

On the film side, she appeared in numerous features including The Human Stain, It Had To Be You, For the Time Being, Fish in the Bathtub, A Price Above Rubies, The Beautician and the Beast, Only You, ManneqRead More – Source

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