Steven Spielberg given gold Blue Peter badge

2016
Steven Spielberg is awarded the gold Blue Peter badge
– the BBC children’s television programme’s highest accolade.

He joins a select group including the Queen, JK Rowling and Sir David Attenborough. Spielberg confesses he has “always secretly privately wanted” the badge.

“I’m going to wear it with pride. I’ve been aware of Blue Peter ever since I started making movies here in 1980. I made Raiders of the Lost Ark here in the UK in 1980. This is my first Blue Peter badge … so thank you.”

Steven Spielberg given gold Blue Peter badge

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Academy’s New Board of Governors Includes Steven Spielberg

2016
Steven Spielberg is elected
to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and SciencesBoard of Governors.

New elected

governors include Laura Dern who starred in Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993).

Incumbent governors who have collaborated with Spielberg include:

Actors: Tom Hanks
Casting directors: Lora Kennedy
Costume designers: Deborah Nadoolman Landis
Designers: Jim Bissell, Rick Carter
Film editors: Carol Littleton
Makeup artists and hairstylists: Lois Burwell
Producers: Mark Johnson, Kathleen Kennedy
Public relations: Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Marvin Levy
Sound: Mark Mangini, Scott Millan
Visual effects: Craig Barron, John Knoll
Writers: Robin Swicord

Academy’s New Board of Governors Includes Steven Spielberg

2017
Steven Spielberg’s The Kidnapping Of Edgardo Mortara, an adaptation of the 1997 book by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Kertzer, tells the story of a young Jewish boy in Bologna, Italy in 1858.

After having been secretly baptized, he is forcibly taken from his family to be raised as a Christian. His parents’ struggle to free their son becomes a pivotal event in the collapse of the Vatican as a secular power and an example of how a single human fate changed the course of history.

Mark Rylance stars as Pope Pius IX. This is his third collaboration with Spielberg – having won the Best Supporting Oscar for Bridge Of Spies (2015) and portrayed the title character in The BFG (2016). The cast is joined by Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).

The Bridge Of Spies producing team of Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger serve as producers.

The screenplay is written by Tony Kushner who also penned the scripts for Munich (2005) and Lincoln (2012). He gave a copy of David Kertzer’s book to Steven Spielberg who read it twice and was convinced it would make a great movie.

The Amblin Entertainment production is slated for early 2017 – when Ready Player One will have wrapped – with an intended release in the fourth quarter of 2017, a perfect slot for awards season…

Steven Spielberg has often released double-salvos of films in one year. Now he seems to turn into a kind of “Woody Allen”, bringing out one film per year: Bridge of Spies in 2015, The BFG in 2016, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara in 2017, Ready Player One in 2018, and Indiana Jones 5 in 2019.

Artwork: © Amblin Entertainment

NBCUniversal to Acquire DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

2016
Comcast-owned NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation.

The $3.8 billion deal is expected to close by the end of the year. It is subject to regulatory approval. The DreamWorks Animation brand will remain intact as an imprint.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CEO, will become chairman of DreamWorks Animation New Media. Chris Meledandri, head of Universal’s Illumination Entertainment animation wing, will oversee operations.

DreamWorks Animation was formed by the merger of the feature animation division of DreamWorks SKG and Pacific Data Images (PDI). It was spun off into a separate public company in 2004, with Jeffrey Katzenberg heading the new division – Steven Spielberg and David Geffen remained on board as investors and consultants. 

The studio has released more than 30 feature films, including the franchises of Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon.

NBCUniversal to Acquire DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

CinemaCon: Frank Marshall Named International Filmmaker of the Decade

2016
Frank Marshall is honored at CinemaCon, the annual exhibition industry convention and trade show in Las Vegas, as “International Filmmaker of the Decade“.

In 1981, Marshall and
Kathleen Kennedy
co-founded Amblin Entertainment with Steven Spielberg, producing many successful films such as Gremlins (1984), Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) and the Back to the Future trilogy (1985, 1989, 1990).

As a producer, Marshall has received five Oscar nominations for Best Picture for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Seabiscuit (2003), The Sixth Sense (1999), The Color Purple (1985), and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).

His feature film directing debut was the thriller Arachnophobia (1990).

After ten years at Amblin, Marshall and Kennedy formed their own production company, the Kennedy/Marshall Company.
Marshall
took over as sole principal, when
Kennedy became president of Lucasfilm in 2012.

He also produced the record-breaking film Jurassic World (2015) and Steven Spielberg’s The BFG (2016).

CinemaCon: Frank Marshall Named International Filmmaker of the Decade

2016
Bryan Cranston
plays President Lyndon B. Johnson in All The Way, directed by Emmy Award-winning Jay Roach. The stage-to-tv adaptation is produced for HBO by Amblin Television, Tale Told Productions and Moon Shot Entertainment, with Steven Spielberg, Darryl Frank & Justin Falvey, Robert Schenkkan and Bryan Cranston executive producing.

All the Way is based on Robert Schenkkan’s play of the same name and follows Johnson’s ascension to the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It depicts his efforts to maneuver members of the 88th United States Congress to enact, and civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr. to support, the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Anthony Mackie co-stars as Martin Luther King Jr. Also starring are Melissa Leo as Lady Bird Johnson and Bradley Whitford as Hubert Humphrey.

For his portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson, Bryan Cranston has won a Tony Award in 2014. He has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in Trumbo (2015) which was also directed by Jay Roach. Cranston is best-known for his roles as “Walter White” on the AMC drama series, Breaking Bad (2008), for which he has won four consecutive Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Emmy Awards.

According to Variety, Cranston didn’t hesitate when the offer to adapt All the Way came in from HBO because the lesson of the play, about the moral and political courage it took Johnson to push forward on the Civil Rights Act in 1964, was so vital: “We could now reach millions more and tell this important story by way of HBO.”