Angelina Jolie’s ‘By The Sea’ To Open AFI Fest 2015

From Deadline: “The American Film Institute has made the Angelina Jolie Pitt and Brad Pitt drama By The Sea the opening-night film of AFI Fest 2015, the annual festival that kicks off November 5. The Universal Pictures pic, which Jolie Pitt wrote and directed and stars in with husband Pitt, will bow in theaters November 13 as part of an Oscar push.

Mélanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud, Niels Arestrup and Richard Bohringer co-star. The fest runs November 5-12 around LA including at the Dolby Theatre, the Chinese Theatre, the Egyptian Theatre and the Roosevelt Hotel. The full lineup and schedule will be unveiled in October.”

‘Animal Kingdom’ Actor Anthony Hayes Joins ‘War Machine’ With Brad Pitt

From Variety: “Australian actor Anthony Hayes is the latest to join Brad Pitt in Netflix’s “War Machine.”

Topher Grace, Scoot McNairy, Emory Cohen, John Magaro and Anthony Michael Hall are also on board, with “Animal Kingdom” helmer David Michod directing and writing. Netflix will open the film in select theaters next year as well as stream the film on its online service.

Pitt and his Plan B partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner are producing with Ian Bryce.

Based on Michael Hastings’ book “The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan,” the story follows a general, played by Pitt, whose track record lands him the commanding job in the American conflict in Afghanistan.

Principal photography is scheduled to start this fall.

Hayes and Michod previously worked together on the 2010 Australian crime drama “Animal Kingdom.” Hayes is also known for his work in “The Slap” and “The Rover.” He will appear next in Derek Cianfrance’s “Light Between Oceans” to be released later this year.”

Venice Film Festival: Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Audition’ Premiere Canceled

From The Hollywood Reporter: “One of the more anticipated screenings of the Venice Film Festival has been canceled this year. Martin Scorsese’s short film The Audition will not debut at the festival, as previously planned.

The festival said in a statement: “We have just been informed by the production that due to unexpected technical problems the film could not be here in time.”

Scorsese stars in the film, which has him pitting his frequent collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro against each other for a leading role in an upcoming film. Brad Pitt also makes an appearance. Oscar-nominated writer Terence Winter penned the script.

Venice festivalgoers were looking forward to potential appearances by the Academy Award-winning director and actors.

The film’s inclusion in the world’s oldest film festival had been seen as controversial by some, as it was produced to promote the opening of Melco-Crown’s $2.3 billion Macau Studio City and the existing Manila City of Dreams resorts and casinos.

However, Venice director Alberto Barbera had told THR earlier in an interview, “It’s a Scorsese film, not a commercial. The casino paid for the film, but it’s not in the film at all.”

No expense was spared on The Audition. The short film has been rumored to have cost $70 million, with each actor taking home $13 million for the two-day shoot according to Page Six. The casino has denied these figures.

Teasers for the film were released in January this year, one with the actors on location in Manila and one in Macau, but they were quickly taken down.

A rep for the film told THR that, while the producers had hoped that the film would be ready in time for Venice, unfortunately the film is still in postproduction and could not be completed in time.”

By the Sea

From People: “It’s been 10 years since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Pitt fell for each other on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith – beginning their love story and later cementing them as one of Hollywood’s most powerful couples – but now the stars are reuniting on screen in the new romantic drama By the Sea.

Set in France during the 1970s, By the Sea tells the story of a struggling marriage between Vanessa (Jolie Pitt), a former dancer, and her writer husband, Roland (Pitt). “It focuses on three couples, all at different stages in their lives,” the 40-year-old mom of six tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “And at its center are the questions of what happened to Roland and Vanessa and why they are in the place they are now.”

Now Jolie Pitt is sharing behind-the-scenes photos from the set, and opening up about what it’s like to work with her husband again after all these years.

The couple, who are coming up on their one-year wedding anniversary, traded in a typical newlywed celebration of private vacation time for an “unconventional” honeymoon, as Jolie Pitt describes it. The whole family, including their six children, jetted off to the Mediterranean nation of Malta to begin filming the ’70s drama.

Jolie Pitt wore numerous hats while working on set, acting as the writer, director and star of the film. “It was difficult to be both inside and outside of the scenes, to be able to give directions,” she explains.

The couple have no problem working together as parents and philanthropic partners, but for Jolie Pitt, taking on the role of director and giving Pitt, 51, instructions was not an easy task.

“It was hardest [when] I was directing our fight scenes,” she says.

But finding new ways to overcome this challenge only brought the couple closer together.

“I understand and appreciate his creative process and his work ethic even more than before,” she adds.

By the Sea hits theaters Nov. 13.”

See the new By the Sea photos at

Brad Pitt: ‘I feel fantastic’ about Make It Right

From “The origin story of the collection of angular, brightly painted homes called Make It Right has become a piece of New Orleans lore. The Lower 9th Ward neighborhood near the Claiborne Avenue bridge was more or less wiped out by floodwater surging through a gap in the levee wall in 2005. Then, as if by Hollywood magic, Brad Pitt appeared to attempt to rebuild it. At the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the flood, 109 homes stand where there once was only mud and wreckage. More homes are on the way.

“I’ll tell you, every time I drive over the Claiborne bridge, no matter what frustration I might be dealing with at the moment, I get this well of pride when I see this little oasis of color and the solar panels,” Pitt said in a telephone conversation Friday (Aug. 15) from Los Angeles.

An ecologist, architecture enthusiast and part-time New Orleans resident, Pitt called on the top building designers of the region, nation and world to draw up houses with striking appearances that married advanced environmental practices with affordable building methods. He also founded a nonprofit organization to see that those design gems rose on the empty landscape.

“I drive into the neighborhood and I see people on their porch,” Pitt said, “and I ask them how is their house treating them? And they say, ‘Good.’ And I say what’s your utility bill? And they’ll throw something out like, ’24 bucks’ or something, and I feel fantastic. It’s a reminder of why we’re there. It’s a reminder of why we push like we push. It makes it all worthwhile.”

Over the past seven years, Tennessee Street and the surrounding blocks have become New Orleans’ newest tourist destination, and no wonder. Pitt’s “oasis of color and solar panels” includes futuristic homes designed by architectural legends Shigeru Ban, Thom Mayne, and even Frank Gehry, arguably the most famous designer in the world. All three architects have won the Oscar of their field, the Prizker Prize.

“Listen, we were very fortunate that they would come in, but they felt the need as well,” Pitt said of his stellar team of volunteer architects. “Actually, this is the definition of architecture: It is solving problems through design. And, again, we’re not talking about aesthetics; we’re talking about function, and that is the holy grail of architecture. So I was grateful, but it wasn’t surprising to me for them to jump in and want to tackle this and find solutions for this. Especially with everything we were witnessing on the news and the suffering of the people.”

But, Pitt pointed out, the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood had become a tourist draw even before the arrival of the first Make It Right house.

“I think it first became a 21st-century disaster attraction, unfortunately,” Pitt said. “This became the icon of the place that was hit the hardest and suffered the most, certainly in one condensed area. It certainly seemed to illustrate man’s failure in this particular area.”

“The message (of Make It Right) was to take this spot that was emblematic of such human failure and to make it a human success story on how we can build in the future, how we can build for families, how we can build with quality, and how we can build with the community under their guidelines.”

Seven years after the project began, Make It Right also is an icon of inventive recovery. But getting to this point has been a complicated process for Pitt and his organization.

“We went into it incredibly naïve,” he said, ” just thinking we can build homes — how hard is that? — and not understanding forgivable loan structures and family financial counseling and getting the rights to lots and HUD grants and so on and so forth. So it’s been a big learning curve.”

Pitt said that he and the Make It Right staff have taken the lessons learned in the Lower 9th Ward and used them in other affordable housing developments in Missouri, Montana and New Jersey, with more sites on the way.

“What we have learned, which was the original premise, is that you do not have to build low-income housing with the cheapest materials that keep families in a poverty trap,” he said. “Whether that be running up high utility bills or with toxic materials that run up your doctor bills. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

According to figures provided by Make It Right, Pitt’s visionary recovery neighborhood has cost $26.8 million. The houses have been sold at a loss, as was always part of the plan, for an average of roughly $150,000 each, with financial assistance to make the mortgages affordable. In exact terms, Make It Right reports that it has provided $5.2 million in supplementary loans that needn’t be repaid and another half-million to cover up-front mortgage costs (closing costs).

The cash to fuel the project has come mainly from donations and federal grants. In the first year of the project, $12.3 million came in. In 2011, when the banking crisis deadened the economy, donations dropped to one-sixth that much. Last year, the figure was back up to roughly $6 million, a respectable amount considering that time has naturally dimmed the public’s interest in New Orleans’ ongoing recovery.

Critics complain that the attention-grabbing project was too costly for what it accomplished. Pitt said that perhaps more recovery housing could have been built for less, but the sheer quantity of homes built was never a Make It Right priority. In the beginning, he said, everyone involved knew the experimental prototypes would cost more than future duplicate houses. In long run, Pitt said, he hopes that efficient building methods will make Make It Right homes no more expensive than conventional homes.

“With each house we build we’re getting closer and closer to what I believe will be a dollar for dollar scenario,” he said, “and then there’s no excuse to build any other way.”

Pitt said that calling on big-name architects to design artistic homes was part of how Make It Right became fixed in the public imagination, but he’s come to feel that the appearance of the homes is less important. At the start, the public was less aware of the energy and resource-saving aspects of home building. Today, he said, onlookers better understand the ecological imperatives.

“I think we came at a time when people were just getting their arms around this idea of high-performance building.”

“We made aesthetics one of our mandates, which I feel today is less important because of the fact that now, as more time has passed, more people do understand high-performance building, are drawn to it and want to learn more from it. And so the calling card of the aesthetics is less vital to me than it was at that time.”

To the Crescent City eye, accustomed to clapboard residential construction and neoclassical, Victorian, or Arts and Crafts flourishes, the futuristic Make It Right homes seemed to be alien upstarts. But over time, gardens, flags, garland, and touches of wear and tear have mellowed their rakish appearance.

Pitt pointed out that the appearance of Make It Right was, from the beginning, guided in part by the returning residents who selected the house designs they preferred, the height the individual houses were raised above the ground, the exterior colors and interior amenities.

“The inhabitants, the families are the ones who designed the neighborhood,” Pitt said. “They had choices in front of them. They picked the houses to suit their needs. They picked the colors. They picked how it would work for their family. And, now, to start seeing the neighborhood take shape, to see the topography that has formed because of these individual choices (that have) now become the community’s choices is really exciting. Because it’s something we could have never planned for.”

Fundamentally, Pitt said, his vision would have never taken root if the returning residents hadn’t “taken a gamble” on Make It Right.

“The fact that we’ve been able to do it is because of the tenacity of the families that were determined to return and rebuild their lives.”

Considering the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood and the other Make It Right programs springing up around the country, Pitt said: “That something that big, (such) a big idea, can come out of something so horrible is a story that I will tell over and over and over again.”

Pitt said he surely will be returning to New Orleans sometime in the future to film.

“We bring a lot of films down there, our production company. New Orleans is such a great place to shoot and the rebates are phenomenal, so it’s not a big fight with the studios. They’re more than happy for us to get back down there. It’s a very rich place to shoot. It’s my excuse to get back there.”

But, he said, he will not be in New Orleans for the 10th anniversary of the 2005 storm and flood. He said that he’ll be off to film a movie, the details of which he kept vague.

“We’re doing a satirical piece on war, a satirical piece on the decisions that bring about war. That’s the best I can do at the moment,” he said.

A24 Teams With Brad Pitt’s Plan B for ‘Moonlight’

From Variety: “Three-year-old A24 is partnering with Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Adele Romanski to produce and finance coming-of-age story “Moonlight.”

Barry Jenkins will direct from his own his script, based on the Tarell McCraney play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.” The movie is set in Miami during the war on drugs.

A24 is financing and owns worldwide rights with filming to take place in Miami in the fall. Jenkins directed 2009’s “Medicine for Melancholy.”

A24 announced in June that it was producing real-estate drama “The Liar’s Ball” with director J.C. Chandor, Neal Dodson and Anna Gerb. A24’s top box office performers have been “Ex Machina,” which has crossed $25 million domestically, and James Franco’s “Spring Breakers,” which grossed $14 million in 2013.

It also teamed with DirecTV to release release movies exclusively on the satellite TV provider before they hit theaters, including Ryan Reynolds’ “Mississippi Grind”; Charlize Theron’s thriller “Dark Places”; the Aubrey Plaza-starrer “Life After Beth”; Atom Egoyan’s “Captive,” starring Reynolds; and Julius Avery’s directorial debut, “Son of a Gun,” with Ewan McGregor and Brenton Thwaites.

“We are extremely proud to be involved with this heartfelt, groundbreaking film,” said A24 in a statement. “The opportunity to work with Barry, one of the most talented and daring contemporary directors, and Plan B, who consistently provide a home for filmmakers, is very exciting. We look forward to the collaboration.””

Angelina Jolie Pitt on By the Sea

There is an interview with Angelina at the DGA website where she talks about By the Sea: “For her latest movie, By the Sea, which she also wrote, Jolie Pitt could skip the meet-and-greets with at least two of her actors. She stars in the film with (Brad) Pitt. It’s about a deeply unhappy couple on vacation in France who becomes involved with a pair of newlyweds staying at their seaside inn. “I’d be directing myself and him in a scene where we’re having a fight, and I’d be pulling out the parts [of him] that have an aggression toward me or when you’re frustrated with each other—it was very heavy,” says Jolie Pitt. “We kept joking that all of the crew felt like they were living in a house where the parents were fighting and you don’t know where to stand or where to look.”

Filmed in Malta with a primarily European crew and cast, By the Sea was shot by Austrian cinematographer Christian Berger (The White Ribbon) who brought his Cine Reflect Lighting System to the mix. “There’s actually very little technical light in the room,” says Jolie Pitt of a system that involves using “paniflectors” to illuminate the actors. “It’s all based on using an outside source of light and using reflectors, a white plate, in front of the actors. And it felt like doing a play. You’re not conscious of the light and so you’re also not conscious of staying in the light or how you look. It made me act differently and made me direct differently too.

Described by Jolie Pitt as “an art film, the kind of movie that I like to see but not something I’m usually cast in,” she isn’t eager to direct a movie like By the Sea again soon. “We’re proud of ourselves for being brave enough to try it,” she says, adding that she and Pitt made it on their honeymoon. “I think By the Sea was the hardest film for me because it wasn’t [issue-driven]. It’s something I probably won’t do very much of.””

Scoot McNairy Joins Brad Pitt In Netflix’s ‘War Machine’

From Deadline: “Scoot McNairy has been set to join Brad Pitt in Netflix’s war-on-terror-themed black comedy War Machine. Last seen in Gone Girl, McNairy reunites here with Pitt and his Plan B partners after he worked with them on Killing Them Softly and 12 Years A Slave. He worked with War Machine helmer David Michod on The Rover.

The film is based on the Michael Hastings book The Operators: The Wild And Terrifying Inside Story Of America’s War In Afghanistan and satirizes the handling of that war, and the people running it. Michod wrote the script and Pitt produces with Plan B partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, in association with Ian Bryce.

McNairy just wrapped Sleepless Night opposite Jamie Fox and Michelle Monaghan. Later this year he stars opposite Sandra Bullock in Our Brand Is Crisis and in March will co-star in Superman V Batman: Dawn Of Justice.”

Will Poulter Joins Brad Pitt in Netflix’s ‘War Machine’

From Variety: “Will Poulter has closed a deal to join Brad Pitt in the Netflix black comedy “War Machine.”

Topher Grace, Scoot McNairy, Emory Cohen, John Magaro and Anthony Michael Hall are also on board, with “Animal Kingdom” helmer David Michod directing and writing. Netflix will open the film in select theaters next year as well as stream on the film on its online service.

Pitt and his Plan B partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner are producing with Ian Bryce.

Based on Michael Hastings’ book “The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan,” the story follows a general, played by Pitt, whose track record lands him the commanding job in the American conflict in Afghanistan.

Principal photography is scheduled to start this fall.”

Anthony Michael Hall to Star in Brad Pitt’s ‘War Machine’ Netflix Original Movie

From Variety: “Anthony Michael Hall will star alongside Brad Pitt in “War Machine,” Netflix’s satirical comedy about the U.S.’ engagement in the conflict in Afghanistan, slated to be released in 2016.

Hall, whose credits include “Foxcatcher,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Breakfast Club,” will play the second-in-command to Pitt’s four-star general, who’s based on the real-life Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Cast also includes Topher Grace (“That ’70s Show”), who will play a civilian media adviser.

“War Machine” is written and directed by David Michôd (“Animal Kingdom”) and based on Michael Hastings’ book “The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan.” Film is to be produced by Pitt and his Plan B partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, along with Ian Bryce (“World War Z”).

Netflix has said the original film will be available in theaters and to streaming subscribers in 2016 — although large theater chains have been vocal about their plans to boycott the company’s releases, given Netflix’s short or nonexistent theatrical windows.”