Weekly International News Wrap: 'Twilight' Star In Cannes, Jean Reno on TV and Berlusconi Biopic
The top global media stories of the past seven days.
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart make a date for Cannes; Rupert Murdoch lashes out at critics and Silvio Berlusconi mulls turning his life into a movie.
Here’s The Hollywood Reporter’s look back at the media stories making headlines around the world this week.
CANNES SNEAK PEAK
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have a date on the French Riviera. Walter Salles’ On The Road , co-starring Stewart and Pattinson-starrer Cosmopolis from director David Cronenberg, will be among the line-up when the Cannes Film Festival announces its official selection April 19th.
Other titles expected to make the cut include Andrew Dominik’s Cogan’s Trade starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard; Ken Loach’s The Angel’s Share and the drama Amour starring Isabelle Huppert and directed by Austrian auteur (and Cannes regular) Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon).
Another familiar face strolling the Croisette this year will be Jean-Pierre Dardenne. The Belgian helmer, a two-time Palme d’Or winner with his brother and co-director Luc, will preside over the festival’s Cinefondation and short films juries.
RENO’S SMALL SCREEN DEBUT
The Professional Jean Reno will make his TV debut as a cop in a new English-language series, Le Grand, which will shoot on location in Paris. Emmy-winning showrunner Rene Balcer (Law & Order) helped develop the series and will produce the show.
GERMAN PIRATES AND BRIT TWITS
Proving their victory in Berlin elections last year was no fluke, copyright law critics the Pirate Party scored their second-straight political victory in Germany, winning four seats in state elections in Saarland. The Pirates are riding a wave of support and are expect to enter Germany’s national parliament in federal elections next year.
There was victory of a different sort in Britain, where a U.K. judge made history by awarding the equivalent of $140,000 in damages in a Twitter libel case. The ruling found that a New Zealand cricket player had been illegally defamed in a 24-word Tweet by the ex-chairman of the Indian Cricket Premier League. It’s the first successful libel suit involving the social messaging service and could make Britain a focal point for future “Twibel” cases.
AND SPEAKING OF TWITS…
Which means Rupert Murdoch should be careful what he says. The News Corp. chairman came out swinging on Twitter this week, attacking critics, including the BBC, which have accused News Corp.’s pay TV affiliate NDS of corporate piracy designed to undermine rivals in various markets. While not directly answering the piracy allegations, Murdoch told his “competitors and enemies,” he was preparing to “hit back hard” before concluding in a final tweet: “Let's have it on! Choice, freedom of thought and markets, individual personal responsibility.”
LIONSGATE STOCK ROARS ON HUNGER GAMES BOW
Markets were kind to Canadian indie studio Lionsgate. Lionsgate stock dipped ahead of the bow of its launch of its fantasy franchise The Hunger Games, with analysts suggesting the tentpole’s box office had be figured into the share price. But the movie’s boffo bow – including at $152 million domestic take – sent Lionsgate shares up 5 per cent.
BERTELSMANN QUIETLY PREPARES FOR IPO
German media giant Bertelsmann, has been notoriously wary of capital markets in the past but at its year-end press conference this week, the owner of RTL Group and American Idol producer FremantleMedia said it was changing its legal form in such a way as to allow the company to issue shares and take on new investors.
The move is being widely interpreted as the first step towards taking Bertelsmann public. With growth in its core European markets slowing down, Bertelsmann is looking to tap international investor capital to expand its businesses in high-growth territories such as China, India and South America.
Sony Corp., meanwhile, put the focus on corporate efficiency. Kazuo Hirai, who will take over from Howard Stringer as Sony CEO on Sunday, unveiled a streamlined management structure which will see him take direct charge of the company’s home entertainment operations, including its TV-set business, and focus its electronics business on the three pillears of gaming, digital imaging and mobile.
UNDERWORLD DUO RETURN TO SWEDEN
Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein, the Swedish directing team behind Underworld: Awakening, are returning to home turf for their next project: an adaptation of the horror novel, Collected Swedish Cults, from author Andres Fager. The episodic novel, published in Sweden last year, will be adapted for local production giant Svensk Filmindustri. The film is set to hit Swedish theaters in late 2013.
KEN LOACH RETURNS TO ‘45
Veteran British director Ken Loach is trawling the archives for his latest cinema project, a feature-length documentary titled Spirit of ’45. With footage from Britain’s regional and national archives alongside photographs, sound recordings and contemporary interviews, Loach wants to document the “unprecedented community spirit” in the U.K. at the end of WWII which resulted in the creation of a new socialism.
AND ‘YES, PRIME MINISTER’ RETURNS TO TELLY
The hit Brit political satire Yes, Prime Minister is retuning to British screens courtesy of a new series commissioned by Gold, the flagship comedy channel of pay-TV platform UKTV.
The new six-episode season, scripted by the original writing team of Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay, will see the Right Honorable Jim Hacker back in office as PM, this time leading a coalition government. Yes, Prime Minister influenced a generation of British satirists, including Stephen Fry and Armando Iannucci and was famously Margaret Thatcher’s favorite show.
BRIT KINKS AND ITALIAN KOOK
Brit pop kings The Kinks will get the big screen treatment courtesy of a new feature by The Filth And The Fury director Julien Temple. The movie, being produced by Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Co., will be based on the autobiographies of brothers Ray and Dave Davies, who founded the seminal rock band.
But the prize for biopic of the week has to go to Silvio Berlusconi. The disgraced ex-Italian Prime Minister and scandal Supremo told Italian media this week he wants to see his life story on screen.
Berlusconi said his life is perfect for a film, he just needs to find the right director. The idea got THR wondering, who would play the leading roles in Berlusconi: The Movie?