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Director Alex Holmes, MRC Non-Fiction team on feature doc “Last Rider”



Academy Award-shortlisted filmmaker Alex Holmes (Maiden) has partnered with Valence Media’s fledgling unscripted division MRC Non-Fiction on the production of his latest feature-length documentary.

Last Rider will chart the story of cyclist Greg LeMond, who became the first non-European professional cyclist to win the Tour de France, managing the feat three times in 1986, 1989 and 1990 and becoming one of only seven riders to win three or more Tours.

The film will document the story of how LeMond managed to come back from “the brink of death” following a hunting accident in 1987. After the accidental shooting, the cyclist underwent two surgeries and missed the next two Tours before returning to the event in 1989 to win “the closest race” in the history of the Tour de France.

Holmes (pictured) will serve as director, with James Erskine and Victoria Gregory named as producers on behalf of New Black Films.

“The 1989 Tour de France was one of the most thrilling spectacles in sport. It pitted LeMond, the only American ever to have won the tour, against the great French champion Laurent Fignon,” said Holmes in a statement. “It was a race that tested not only their physical endurance but their mental strength. The cat and mouse duel between Fignon and LeMond is pure cinema and this film delves deep into the psyche of these men to discover what it takes to make a champion.” 

“LeMond’s career is the inspirational, against all odds story and underscores why the world of sports provides such a fertile ground for documentaries,” said Amit Dey, SVP and head of MRC Non-Fiction. “As big fans of Maiden, we believe Alex is the perfect filmmaker to bring his story to modern audiences and transport us to a time when a special American athlete could write his own legend in the world’s most grueling race without cheating the system.”

In addition to Maiden, which world premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, Holmes has directed the Emmy- and BAFTA-nominated mini-series House of Saddam, and the three-part BBC series Dunkirk, for which he won his first BAFTA as a director.

MRC Non-Fiction was launched in October 2019 and is led by former Universal Pictures executive Dey. The non-scripted film unit is also currently in post-production on Edgar Wright’s debut feature documentary about the legendary American duo Sparks.


MGM Lands Peter Dinklage-Led ‘Cyrano’ Musical Adaptation




Joe Wright is set to direct a cast that also includes Haley Bennett, Brian Tyree Henry and Ben Mendelsohn.

MGM has landed another star-studded package. The studio has picked up Cyrano, a musical adaption of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 verse drama Cyrano de Bergerac that will see Peter Dinklage reprise the role he played onstage in 2019.

Joe Wright is set to direct a cast that also includes Haley Bennett, Brian Tyree Henry and Ben Mendelsohn. Erica Schmidt wrote the screenplay. Music is by The National songwriter-musicians Aaron and Bryce Dessner, with lyrics by lead vocalist Matt Berninger and longtime collaborator Carin Besser.

Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce along with Guy Heeley.

CAA Media Finance brokered the deal with MGM.

This is the latest splashy purchase for MGM, now under the new direction of Michael De Luca.

The studio recently picked up Ridley Scott’s Gucci — a true-crime drama about the murder of fashion trailblazer Maurizio Gucci that has Lady Gaga in talks to star — and an Andy Weir space drama with Ryan Gosling set to topline and Phil Lord and Chris Miller on board to direct. They also nabbed Paul Thomas Anderson’s next movie from Focus Features.

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Another Ellen DeGeneres Accuser Comes Forward: Her Employees Are All Afraid of Her!



In recent weeks, rumors about misconduct from Ellen DeGeneres and her top employees have made the leap from celebrity gossip to mainstream news.

The reports have come as a shock to fans who believed that Ellen’s onscreen persona — that of an ebullient do-gooder who lives to help those who are less fortunate — was an accurate reflection of her behavior off camera.

Now, along with several of her staffers, DeGeneres is being investigated by WarnerMedia and Telepictures, the companies primarily responsible for her show’s production and distribution.

There have been rumors of the Ellen show getting canceled, but thus far, it seems no official decision has been made.

Or at the very least, there’s been no announcement from the powers that be.

Ellen DeGeneres on Sofa

In all likelihood, the show’s fate hangs in the balance, and if Warner execs are still on the fence, this week’s new allegations are likely to tip them in the direction of cancelation.

The latest accusations come from Hedda Muskat, a producer who was hired to work on the show back in 2003, when it was still in development.

In a new interview with The Wrap, Muskat (below) recalls a “culture of fear”  and claims that she was stripped of responsibilities — and eventually her position — so that her superiors could steal the credit from work.

Hedda Muskat

“One day I get called into the office,” Muskat told The Wrap.

“[Producer] Ed [Glavin] says to me, ‘You know, Hedda, we’re really loving your segments. I don’t know how you do it. We’re going to need all your sources.’ I’ve worked 18 years to build those sources. Those sources are why you hired me,” she added.

“I felt a turn, that I was really on everybody’s s–t list.”

Ellen DeGeneres on Her Show

Muskat also recalled an incident in which Glavin savagely berated an underling in full view of the rest of the staff.

“He just went off on them,” she alleged.

“His whole face turned red…We were stunned. You could just see everybody’s faces go stiff. We’re professionals; we’re adults. We don’t need a dog to get us to do our jobs.” 

Glavin was one of three producers on DeGeneres’ show who — just last month — responded to allegations of abusive behavior from other staffers:

Ellen DeGeneres on Her Set

“We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us,” he wrote, in a statement co-signed by two other producers.

“For the record, the day to day responsibility of the Ellen Show is completely on us,” the statement continued.

“We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”

Ellen DeGeneres Tries to Smile

Thus far, Warner Bros. has issued only one terse statement in which the company’s executives promise the necessary changes will be made to ensure that there’s no further abuse of power on Ellen’s set.

“It was important to both Warner Bros. and Ellen that as many people as possible attached to the program could be heard. The Ellen DeGeneres Show is, and has always strived to be, a place that brings positivity to the world,” the statement read.

“And though not all of the allegations were corroborated, we are disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management.”

Ellen DeGeneres Accepts

The company promised that “several staffing changes” will be made, before concluding:

“We are confident this course of action will lead us to the right way forward for the show.”

Needless to say, those who claim they were mistreated are unlikely to be satisfied by that response.

We’ll bring you updates on this developing story as more information becomes available.

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Save Our Stages Campaign Launches Day Of Action To Help Save Indpendent Music Venues



Last month, the Save Our Stages and Restart bills were introduced in the Senate as Congress continues to debate extending COVID-19 relief funding to businesses. Both acts call for steps to ensure the survival of independent venues across the country, hoping to guarantee money so that venues can sustain themselves as regular live performances have effectively stopped because of the pandemic.

Today, a collection of independent music venues based in New York City are participating in a day of action to call attention to the dire need to support these bills. They’ve formed a new organization called the New York Independent Venue Association, an offshoot of the already existing National Independent Venue Association, to ask Congress to help save independent venues.

Participants include Bowery Ballroom, Saint Vitus, Le Poisson Rouge, Baby’s All Right, the Knitting Factory, Elsewhere, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Market Hotel, Alphaville, Nowadays, and many more locations around the city.

Yesterday, David Byrne appeared on TODAY to talk about the plight of independent venues. More information on the Save Our Stages campaign can be found here.

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