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  • Daily

    Page 1 of 10March 14, 2012

    By Pamela McClintock In an unusual turn of events, AMC Entertainment CEO Gerry Lopez has joined the rallying cry to overturn the R rating for language that was assigned to Lee Hirsch’s documentary Bully.

    Hollywood support also is growing. Meryl Streep and her daughter Mamie Gum- mer will co-host a screening of the film in New York, and Johnny Depp has offered his help. The Weinstein Co. will release Bully, which centers on the bullying epidemic in U.S. schools, on March 30 in theaters.

    Lopez’s stand is note- worthy because exhibitors generally are on the side of the ratings system, which is administered both by the MPAA and the National Asso- ciation of Theatre Owners.

    Lopez criticized hard-and- fast rules that limit the use of the F-word. It can only be used once in a movie that’s rated PG-13. Violence and sex are more subjective. Hirsch did not want to cut his film, noting the language reflects reality.

    “To automatically default Bully is a mistake,” Lopez said. “Automatic default to a rating … is a mistake. The message, the movie and its social relevance defy that kind of formulaic, conven- tional thinking. AMC will

    Support Grows Behind Protest of Bully Rating

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    Leo Hirsch’s documentary Bully has galvanized a national movement, since the very audience it was made for will be restricted in seeing it.

  • movie news Page 2 of 10March 14, 2012

    show this movie, and we in- vite our guests to engage in the dialogue its relevant mes- sage will inevitably provoke.”

    Bully has galvanized a national movement, since the very audience it was made for will be restricted in seeing it.

    Michigan high school student Katy Butler, a victim of bullying, started a peti- tion that has been signed by 300,000 people — including one of Lopez’s sons.

    On Capitol Hill, more than 20 lawmakers have signed a bipartisan letter to the MPAA urging that the rating be overturned. And on Tuesday, Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) tweeted that she too supports lower- ing the rating to PG-13. As with Lopez, it’s unusual to have lawmakers asking that a rating be lowered.

    Other notable names joining the cause include Justin Bieber, who recently tweeted that he’ll help the Weinstein Co. in any way he can, and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. A T-shirt being de- signed by Tommy Hilfiger based on the Bully poster will be sold in Hilfiger stores, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Facing History and Ourselves.

    Barrymore pic set for release By David Rooney NeW YORK — Barrymore, the film based on the celebrated 1997 Broadway production that won a Tony Award for Christopher Plummer as

    best actor in a play, will be shown theatrically in Canada this spring, and throughout the U.S. and internationally in the fall.

    The 82-year-old Plummer became the oldest Oscar winner in history when he took home supporting actor honors in February for his work in Focus Features’ Beginners. He reprised his

    role in Barry- more in a lim- ited run at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre last year, which was captured on film both

    on stage and on location by director-adapter Erik Can- uel. The film premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

    In William Luce’s bio- play, set in 1942, Plummer takes on the role of John Barrymore, part of the legendary American multi- generational acting dynasty. Faced with the diminished luster of his box-office power, he looks back over a life of highs and lows as he attempts to mount a comeback by recreating his Broadway triumph in Richard III.

    Produced by Garth Drab- insky, the film version will be released by New York-based alternative content distrib- utor BY Experience. Exec- utive producers are Steve Kalafer and Peter LeDonne.

    In addition to Beginners, Plummer was seen recently in David Fincher’s U.S. re- make of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. He is set to next appear in the Stephen Frears feature Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight.

    warners Bros. to conjure up mandrake pic By Borys Kit Warner Bros. has picked up movie rights to the classic comic strip Mandrake the Magician and is developing a feature film with Atlas Entertainment producing.

    Created by Lee Falk in 1934, Mandrake told of the adventures of an illusionist who had the power to hyp- notize his foes at great speed. With his companion Lothar, an African strongman, he fought evildoers ranging from gangsters to masters of disguise to aliens. He also had a twin brother who used his power for evil instead of good.

    Mandrake is one of those characters that Hollywood has long tried to nail down in a viable movie adaptation. Columbia Pictures made a 12-part serial in 1939, and a TV movie aired in the 1970s, but nothing has made it to screens since.

    Disney had the rights to the character for a while, but most recently the prop- erty was held by Baldwin Entertainment and Hyde Park, which in the late 2000s developed incarnations with directors Chuck Russell and Mimi Leder and actors Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Hayden Christensen.

    Atlas became involved with the project in 2009, and even developed a script with David and Janet Peo- ples (12 Monkeys).

    Warner now wants to give the character a 21st century

    makeover, the same way it did for Sherlock Holmes, and is on the hunt for new writers.

    Sarah Schechter is over- seeing for Warners. Charles Roven and Andy Horwitz are shepherding for Atlas.

    Rocky Shepard of King Features Syndicate and Atlas’ Alan Glazer are executive producing.

    aBBey creator fellowes to pen Gypsy adaptation By Borys Kit Universal has hired Oscar- winning scribe and Down- ton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes to write its film adaptation of Gypsy.

    Barbra Streisand and Joel Silver (making his first foray into Broadway musi- cal movies) are producing the feature project, which is an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Lau- rents’ Tony Award-winning musical.

    The play and movie are based on the memoir by Gypsy Rose Lee, a bur- lesque dancer, and the relationship with her mother, Momma Rose, who has since become the prototype of a “stage mom” in pop culture. The first film version, starring Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood, hit screens in 1962.

    The new project was initially looking like it was going to be set up at Warner

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  • movie news Page 3 of 10March 14, 2012

    Bros., which made the original movie, but a deal never took and Gypsy quietly made its way to Universal last year.

    Fellowes won an Acad- emy Award for Gosford Park. His recent movies include The Tourist, which starred Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, and Romeo and Juliet, which is now in production with Hailee Steinfeld.

    laBute short Bff to Bow at triBeca By Gregg Kilday BFF, a short film from writer/ director Neil LaBute, will have its world premiere at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festi- val, set to run April 18-29.

    The festival has scheduled a program of 60 short films from 25 coun- tries that in- cludes 26 world premieres.

    The 2012 slate will be presented in nine thematic programs (five narrative, three documentary and one

    experimental). Performers and interview subjects in the movie include Jamie Lee Curtis, Rachel Dratch, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Fassbender, Jesse Tyler Fer- guson, Rachael Harris, Hugh Masekela, Sting and Lily Tomlin.

    In addition to La Bute, returning di- rectors include Julia Bacha, Matthew Bonifacio, Shawn Christensen, David Darg, Sasha-Waters Freyer, Mar- tin Laporte, David B. Levy, Charles Lim, Bryn Mooser, Jay Rosenblatt and Joel Schlemowitz.

    “We’re thrilled to have so many international short films in this year’s selec- tions, particularly from countries whose work may be new to our filmgoers,” said Sharon Badal, Tribeca Film Festival head of shorts programming.

    Works selected for the Tribeca fest shorts slate are eligible to compete for com- bined cash and value-in- kind prizes totaling more than $10,000 for Best Narra-

    tive Short, Best Documen- tary Short and Student Visionary Award.

    And, for the second year running, the recipient of the Tribeca Film Festival’s Best Narrative Short award will qualify for consideration in the short films category of the Academy Awards with- out the standa