Screen Talk: How do you know?


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The Independent Culture

Big box-office successes and flops are part of the global, high-stakes poker game for the movie studios. But it always sends shivers down Hollywood's collective spine when one of the studios throws down a former high-scoring face card.

Sony Pictures did just that after it opted not to renew its production deal with the film-maker James L Brooks after a 20-year relationship. Brooks and his Gracie Films production label no longer enjoys a cosy office on the Sony lot, but will maintain a development fund from Sony. The Oscar-winning writer-director, whose resume boasts Terms of Endearment and Broadcast News as well as As Good As It Gets, fell foul of one of Hollywood's golden rules. If you're going to have a flop, don't make it a giant one. Brooks's How Do You Know cost Sony a whopping $120m to make last year, but the Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy grossed just $48m worldwide.

A Lego feature

The building blocks are all falling into place as construction on an animated feature based on Lego begins. Animal Logic, the Sydney-based animation and digital- effects house, has been tasked with making the world's nobbly building bricks into an animated feature, backed by Warner Bros. The film is expected to incorporate the latest animation and photo-real techniques. It is written and will be directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (who worked on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), with Chris McKay serving as co-director.

Beverly Hills hop

In a place where image is all and location matters, the latest agency move to grab headlines came not from talent switches, but from the place of work. UTA, one of the big names agency with a talent roster that includes Emily Head of The Inbetweeners fame and twin sisters Tia and Tamera Mowry, best known for their 1990s sitcom stateside Sister, Sister, moved its HQ. The talent stable is moving to fresh Beverly Hills offices, now considered old-school Hollywood. It is moving into a part of Beverly Hills known as the area's industrial quarter. But, don't worry, talent will not have to face down some old factory when arriving for meetings. The building is undergoing a $30m renovation prior to the agency's arrival with UTA promising its own multi-million dollar interior and exterior work.

Jolie land

It is perhaps surprising that a certain Ms Angelina Jolie hasn't counted a talent agent of her own in her myriad team of representatives. But Jolie recently did just that, signing with Ilene Feldman at IFA Talent, whose roster also includes Ryan Gosling, among others. The last time Jolie had acting representation by a talent agency was in 2006, when she was with CAA (a stint that lasted 13 months). In March, she signed with UTA to rep her as a writer and director, but not as an actor. She continues to be with her long-time manager Geyer Kosinski at Media Talent Group, and attorney Robert Offer of Sloane Offer Weber & Dern. Hollywood thinks IFA will help Jolie source roles in smaller, independently financed films, not studio tent poles or franchises. Soon audiences will be able to see Jolie's directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, which she also wrote.

Green zone

The director David Gordon Green is writing and will direct an unconventional love story called Q. The film-maker behind Pineapple Express backed by Columbia Pictures has secured the studio's backing for his plans. The studio is closing out a deal to snaffle rights to Evan Mandery's novel of the same name, which details the story of a man visited by a future vision of himself who tells him not to marry the love of his life. He agrees and spends the rest of his life trying to undo that fateful choice and find the only woman he ever loved.