DIRECTOR MICHAEL MANN (“Public Enemies”) signed screenwriter Sheldon Turner (“Up in the Air”) to script his next big project, “Big Tuna” ? a movie about Chicago Outfit boss Tony Accardo, aka “Big Tuna” and his relationship with his mobster prot?g? Sam Giancana.
The movie could be filmed here, given Chicago native Mann’s penchant for realism — remember how he had Lincoln Ave. repaved with cobblestones for the scene in “Public Enemies” outside the Biograph Theatre? Accardo had a big house in River Forest and Giancana lived in Oak Park.
Meanwhile, actor/filmmaker Nick Celozzi has started shooting his feature-length doc about Giancana, his grand uncle, based on intimate revelations about Sam the family man, told by Giancana’s daughters 30 years after Giancana was shot in his kitchen while frying up a snack of sausage and peppers.
THE WISCONSIN-MADE MOVIE “Feed the Fish” comes to Chicago at the Davis Theatre for a weeklong run, starting Friday, Dec. 10. Called “a classic fish-out-of-water comedy,” it stars Green Bay native Tony Shalhoub, who was also executive producer.
OPRAH WILL STAR in “Ruined” for HBO Films. “Ruined” is an adaptation of Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which won an array of awards during its 2009 off-Broadway run. Oprah’s last starring role was in the 1998 “Beloved.”
The story is about on a brothel in war-torn Congo and the struggles of its madam to prevent her and the women working for her from getting caught between the government and rebel armies. Nottage is writing the script and Oprah Winfrey and Kate Forte will be executive producers.
“Ruined” has been a top priority project for Harpo since Winfrey and Forte moved the company over from ABC to HBO. They have set up several projects so far, including a 7-hour miniseries adaptation of “America: In the King Years,” based on the Taylor Branch book trilogy.
“BUTTERBEAN,” AN INSPIRATIONAL/SPORTS MOVIE about the 1970s Chicago Bulls star, Bob Love, is getting underway as a $15 million feature that will be filmed in Chicago in 2011. The movie has the endorsement of the NBA and the support of the Bulls organization.
The story is about Love’s plunge from the glittering heights of the sports arena to washing dishes and living in a homeless shelter and how he overcame a debilitating handicap and came back stronger as an inspiring role model.
Love is currently the Bulls director of community relations and is a popular corporate motivational speaker, reaching and positively influencing as many as 250,000 persons a year.
Writer of the award-winning “Butterbean” screenplay is local producer/director Jim White. Attached is Mark Ellis (“We Are Marshall,” “The Invincible,” “The Rookie”), whose latest project is sports coordinator on a new football TV series called “Necessary Roughness.”
SAG AND AFTRA’S Joint National Board on Saturday “overwhelmingly approved” the tentative actors agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Production that includes a 2% wage increase per year, a 10% boost in employer contributes to pension and health plans, expanded union coverage over new media productions and other benefits.
Ninety percent of the board passed the motion, which will be sent to members of both unions to vote on ratification within five weeks of receipt of the ballot.
Chicago is on the list of AFTRA/SAG offices to host informational meetings early next year.
NOISEFLOOR AUDIO WILL OPEN its new studio with sessions that have been booked for opening day, Dec. 10, says audio engineer Cory Coken, co-owner of the three-year old audio house with Jamie Vanadia. “A lot of good clients stayed with us during the construction” over the last month, he says. The main room was open in early November and two additional rooms are the ones currently being completed.
The new studio, in 4,000 sq. ft. of sixth floor space at 308 W. Erie, praises their contractors, Helios Design & Build, for finishing the work on schedule. “It was a wonderful experience working with Helios,” and calls them “contractors who don’t let anything fall through the cracks.”
OUT IN L.A., Foundation’s president/CD Samantha Hart will be on hand for the official Dec. 10 opening of Foundation’s spanking new 7,000-sq. ft. studio, including a 30×40-sq.ft. shooting stage, at 3583 Hayden Street in Culver City.
“And we’re opening with the biggest job of the year out there,” says Hart ? an Army National Guard package from Original Film, being edited by Jonathan Delgado. The new L.A. branch employs five, “but we’re looking to adding two more people there,” Hart adds.
IT JUST SO HAPPENS that CNGM Pictures’ artistic director Erica Lynn Schmeck is also the production manager of Kevin Cooper’s first Chicago 3D live action feature, “Shakey.” Which is why a short film, “Behind the 3D: The Making of ?Shakey'” will be shown at CNGM’s Dec. 14 fundraiser at Stage 733.
CNGM taped interviews with actors Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D’Angelo, Steve Lemme, Alfonso Arua and Rylie Behr and Kevin Cooper about their experience working on “Shakey.”
The fundraiser is a ?20s themed “Fedoras, Flappers and Film Affair,” that will benefit non-profit CNGM Pictures, comprised of founder/writer director Michael Noens, managing director Jeff Green and Schmeck. What sets the company apart is their hands-on integration of students with professional filmmakers on paid and indie projects.
CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY for WTTW, the PBS Foundation and eight PBS stations, thanks to a $2.2 million grant from Newman’s Own Foundation — each station received $220,000 ?- to help in its membership drive efforts.
The late actor Paul Newman founded the foundation from profits derived from his many “Newman’s Own” food products.