All posts by Christopher Levy

Philip Mantle interviews Film Director Francis Xavier

A NEW ALIEN ABDUCTION MOVIE COMING IN 2019.

Philip Mantle interviews Film Director Francis Xavier.

I’ve been in contact with movie director Francis Xavier for several years now and I was interested to hear that he now had in development a new alien abduction movie. I contacted Francis to see if he was able to talk about his new project and was pleased to hear that he was. Francis was only too happy to give me a few minutes of his time for a quick Q and A session.

 

Q: Who is Francis Xavier, please tell us something about yourself ?

 A: Known for his unpredictable, violent films, Writer, Producer, Director Francis Xavier first earned widespread fame for his directorial feature film ‘Barry’s Gift’ before going on to direct the controversial Johnny Come Lately.

 

Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1962, Xavier moved to California in 2008 to continue his love of making movies during which time he wrote and directed both the psychological thriller Never On Sunday and the award winning horror film Poe. Xavier’s directorial debut came with the award winning feature film Barry’s Gift (2000), for which he won awards for best screenplay and best director at The Greenbelt Film Festival in Maryland, the film was also an official selection at the 2000 Maryland Film Festival in which he was in competition with Oscar winning director Barry Levinson (Rain Man) and director Eduardo Sanchez (Blair Witch Project). Next he would receive widespread critical and commercial acclaim with the controversial psychological thriller Johnny Come Lately (2004). Subsequent features include the trilogy Night Cry (2005), the thriller The Tango Dancer (2006), the award winning urban drama Dodge City (2007), directing Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winning actress Sally Kirkland (Anna/JFK) in the film, The Ear of the Beholder (2008) and writings and directing the psychological thriller Never On Sunday (2009). Xavier earned several awards for the horror film Poe (2012) including best screenplay at the Los Angeles Feature Film and Screenplay Film Festival and winner of the 2012 Screen Actors Guild Roll Film Festival and soon after writing and directing the supernatural thriller Less Than A Whisper (2015), the latter being the director’s latest effort and was an official selection at the 2015 Film-Com event in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition, the filmmaker has directed over 50 commercials including Budweiser and Nestle, 4 short films and 10 music videos including 2 music videos for Taylor Swift’s Cray Cray for Tay Tay merchandise company.

Q: So when did you first get into movies ?

 

A: Back in the 60’s and 70’s my mother owned a movie theatre in my hometown of Baltimore City, Maryland called The Tower Theatre and from the time I was born I was watching movies because my mother would take me to work with her everyday. I grew up watching many great films there and they loomed larger than life on the big screen for me. Then in 1973 a film would premiere at my mother’s theatre that would change my life forever and would put me on course to make my own. That movie was William Friedkin’s The Exorcist.


Q: How many movies have you worked on so far and in what capacity ?

A: I have written, produced, edited and directed eight feature films, my latest being the supernatural thriller ‘Less Than A Whisper’. I actually play the lead role in the film.

Q: You now have a movie in development with Lark Entertainment based on Robert E. Dunn’s book BEHIND THE DARKNESS. Can you tell us about this project please ?

 

A: I met Robert E. Dunn about 2 years ago when we first discussed his alien abduction novel Behind The Darkness and me possibly writing the screenplay from the novel.  I read the novel and loved it and thought to myself Behind The Darkness would make a great scary film.  Through one seemingly endless night four friends find themselves surrounded, and at the mercy of nameless, unseen aliens. Desperation makes for difficult choices and even more difficult actions as two men learn just who they must be to fight the creatures behind the darkness.

 

What follows is a violent battle for survival that will change everyone forever. Imagine Behind The Darkness as Night of the Living dead with aliens rather than zombies. Behind The Darkness is a survivor story of resistance against impossible odds. I wrote the screenplay and took it to the American Film Market last November. The screenplay is currently in the development department at Lakeshore International.


Q: Have you always been interested in the UFO subject or is this
something new for you ?

 

A: I’ve always been interested in UFOs and aliens. I’m a true believer in the subject and have a missing time story of my own to tell. But that’s a whole different interview. Trust me, it’s my true alien abduction story I will tell someday.


Q: How do you think the UFO community will react to this movie ?

A: I think the community would react rather well with the story and the movie. It’s no secret that the government has been hiding UFO and alien disclosure from us for decades. We are not alone, and I’m living proof of that. Maybe we can do a follow-up interview soon so we can talk about my missing times. Thanks to organizations like MUFON, and people like Dr. Steven Greer, Linda Moulton Howe and also you Philip, to get the word out to the community that we are not alone. I think people would be able to relate to Behind The Darkness because the characters are everyday real people put in a situation unlike any human beings would want to experience. These are not dumb characters. It’s very hard for the government and filmmakers to fool people and an audience these days.

 

Q: Now I know this movie is still in development but when can we
expect to see it released ?

 

A: If everything goes well for the studio development of Behind The Darkness, I can see a release date of late 2019.


Q; Do you have a favorite UFO movie at all ?

 

A: My all time favorite UFO movies are John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ and ‘Alien 1 and 2’.


Q: I have to ask this, have you ever had a UFO sighting yourself ?

 

A: Absolutely, many to be exact. My last sighting, witnessing a cluster of UFOs in the daytime in Van Nuys, California in 2009 and I wasn’t alone. They were right over my house until fighter jets appeared and the UFOs just simply disappeared right before our eyes. My 2001 missing time experience was scary enough. But that’s a whole different interview lol.

 

TRAILERS 

 

Behind The Darkness Billboard Trailer

 

I would like to thank Francis Xavier for giving up his time for this Q and A session and would like to take this opportunity to wish him well with all of his new projects.

 

About the author:

Philip Mantle is a long standing UFO researcher and author from the UK. He was formerly the Director of Investigations for the British UFO Research Association and the MUFON Representative for England. He is the founder of FLYING DISK PRESS

 

Netflix Pulls Out of Cannes Following Rule Change

Netflix Pulls Out of Cannes Following Rule Change

Ted Sarandos says Netflix won’t be going to Cannes this year.

Netflix’s chief content officer says that the festival sent a clear message with a new rule that bans any films without theatrical distribution in France from playing in competition. Netflix could screen some of its upcoming movies out of competition, but Sarandos says that doesn’t make sense for the streaming service.

“We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker,” Sarandos says. “There’s a risk in us going in this way and having our films and filmmakers treated disrespectfully at the festival. They’ve set the tone. I don’t think it would be good for us to be there.”

Netflix made a big splash at the prestigious film festival last year with two movies that showed in competition: Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories.” But after the 2017 announcement, French theaters owners and unions protested the inclusion of these films to Thierry Fremaux, the artistic director of Cannes. Netflix was amenable to having their movies play on big screens in France, but a law in the country requires movies to not appear in home platforms for 36 months after their theatrical release.

Netflix has had day-and-date theatrical releases for such titles as “Mudbound,” Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father,” “Okja” and “The Meyerowitz Stories.”

Sarandos will not personally be attending Cannes in May, but some of his executives will be there. “It is not a coincidence that Thierry also banned selfies this year,” Sarandos says, of another new rule that doesn’t allow guests to snap pictures on the red carpet. “I don’t know what other advances in media Thierry would like to address.”

Here, Sarandos spoke with Variety about the Netflix rule change.

Are you deciding not to participate in Cannes this year?
Well, it was not our decision to make. Thierry announced the change in their qualification rules [that] requires a film to have distribution in France to get in, which is completely contrary to the spirit of any film festival in the world. Film festivals are to help films get discovered so they can get distribution. Under those rules, we could not release our films day-and-date to the world like we’ve released nearly 100 films over the last couples of years. And if we did that, we’d have to hold back that film from French subscribers for three years under French law. Therefore, our films they are not qualified for the Cannes Film Festival competition.

And you aren’t taking movies to the festival out of competition?
No. I don’t think there would be any reason to go out of competition. The rule was implicitly about Netflix, and Thierry made it explicitly about Netflix when he announced the rule.

Were you surprised by the rule? Netflix had the two biggest English-language releases at last year’s Cannes.
I would say not just on the English-language side. I think they were the biggest films in the world last year with Bong Joon-ho and Noah Baumbach and the star power we were able to bring — Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, it goes on and on. We loved the festival. We love the experience for our filmmakers and for film lovers. It’s just that the festival has chosen to celebrate distribution rather than the art of cinema. We are 100% about the art of cinema. And by the way, every other festival in the world is too.

Did you talk to Thierry before he made the rule change?
I believe it was not just Thierry’s decision. I think it was the decision of his board, which is made up of several exhibitors. I know we didn’t have any conversation with Thierry. I read about it in the press.

In interviews, Thierry said that “the Netflix people loved the red carpet,” but your “model is now the opposite” of what Cannes does. Do you agree with that?
No, obviously not. Do we love the red carpet? I love our filmmakers being on those red carpets. Of course. It’s a very glamorous, very fun event for filmmakers. That is beside the point. That is true of every festival. Last year we were jointly celebrating the art of cinema at Cannes. The divergence is this decision to define art by the business model. In that way, yes, we have diverged.

Will you or other Netflix employees be attending Cannes?
I personally won’t be attending myself. But we will have people there who are in the business of acquiring films, because many films will be there without distribution.

So you could end up buying a movie that’s in competition?
Yes 100%. We don’t discriminate that way.

Netflix acquires movies from film festivals all the time. Ultimately, this rule seems to be about preventing a movie from entering Cannes as a Netflix release.
It was a puzzle to me. Keep in mind last year at Sundance, we produced the film that won the jury prize [“I Don’t Feel at Home In This World Anymore”], and we acquired “Mudbound” in the biggest acquisition of the festival.

Have you had conversations with your filmmakers about Cannes?
We’ve talked to a lot of our filmmakers after the rule change. When we went into making these films and acquiring these films, that rule wasn’t in place. That was a change in dynamics.

Do you think Cannes might change its mind in the future?
Yeah. I do have faith that Thierry shares my love for cinema and would be a champion of changing that when he realizes how punitive this rule is to filmmakers and film lovers.

What is your message for the international film community?
We hope that they do change the rules. We hope that they modernize. But we will continue to support all films and all filmmakers. We encourage Cannes to rejoin the world cinema community and welcome them back. Thierry had said in his comments when he announced his change that the history of the Internet and the history of Cannes are two different things. Of course they are two different things. But we are choosing to be about the future of cinema. If Cannes is choosing to be stuck in the history of cinema, that’s fine.

Norway’s Maipo Prepares Dystopian Thriller ‘Fortress,’ Season 2 of ‘State of Happiness’

Norway’s Maipo Prepares Dystopian Thriller ‘Fortress,’ Season 2 of ‘State of Happiness’

Leading Norwegian company Maipo is developing “Fortress,” an ambitious dystopian thriller, and is preparing the second season of “State of Happiness” (“Lykkeland”), the historical series which is competing this week at Canneseries.

“Fortress” is created and penned by two high-profile Norwegian screenwriters: John Kåre Raake, whose track record includes Nordic blockbusters such as “The Wave,” Roar Uthaug’s disaster movie, and “Ragnarok, a family film based on Viking mythology;” and Linn-Jeanethe Kyed, who notably co-wrote “Børning” and “Børning 2,” a action-comedy movie franchise set in the world of illegal sports car racing, and Benjamin Ree’s critically acclaimed documentary feature about the Norwegian chess prodigy, Magnus Carlsen.

“Fortress” takes place in a near future in Norway which is now secluded from the rest of the world by a wall built by the nationalistic government. Norwegians live in absolute sovereignty, relying only on their own homegrown resources and caring solely about national affairs. But when a malicious epidemic starts spreading in the country, officials embark on a race against time to find who is behind the epidemic and seek help to find a cure from foreign organizations which are reluctant to provide any support.

Synnøve Hørsdal, who is producing “Fortress” with Ales Ree at Maipo, said the concept of the series echoes some tendencies of the politics happening in the western world today.

The producer said that in addition to examining the consequences of political decisions that have been made, it will mostly be a suspenseful character driven thriller.

Meanwhile, Maipo is also developing the second season of “State of Happiness” with Mette M. Bølstad (“Nobel”) back on board to write the show. Set to world premiere in competition at Canneseries on Tuesday, the first season of “State of Happiness” takes place in the summer of 1969 in the coastal town of Stavanger and follows four young characters who come from different backgrounds and are thrown into a whirlwind of opportunity during the oil boom which turned Norway into one of the world’s most prosperous countries.

“State of Happiness”‘s second season which will set the action five years later years afterwill also bring back the cast, including British actor Bart Edwards (“UnREAL”), as well as newcomers Anne Regine Ellingsæter Malene Wadel and Amund Harboe.

Hørsdal said one of the biggest challenges Maipo faced to make “State of Happiness” was raising the financing for the 10 million euros series. “Everybody says ‘we want to make different shows that are not Nordic Noir but the reality is that it’s difficult to raise financing for ambitious drama series that are not crime-based.”

Maipo is behind some of Norway’s biggest films, such as “The Ash Lad: In the Hall of the Mountain King,” and Anne Sewitsky’s anticipated “Sonja – The White Swan” about Sonja Henie, the famous ice skater-turned-Hollywood star.

Alexa & Katie’ Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix

Alexa & Katie’ Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix

Netflix has renewed Alexa $ Katie for a second season, the streaming giant announced Monday.

The first season of the series launched on March 23. The multi-camera sitcom follows the titular best friends through their freshman year of high school. Alexa (Paris Berelc) is undergoing cancer treatment, but makes it through thanks to her outgoing personality and the help of her best friend Katie (Isabel May). At times they’re left feeling like outsiders, during a period when what seems to matter most is fitting in. Tiffani Thiessen stars as Lori, Alexa’s determined and protective mother. The series also stars Emery Kelly, Eddie Shin, Jolie Jenkins, and Finn Carr.

Heather Wordham created the series and will take over as showrunner on Season 2. Her previous credits include “Hannah Montana” and “Reba.” Matthew Carlson was the showrunner on Season 1.

That show, which debuted its first season on Feb. 16, followed two groups of high school misfits from the A/V club and a Drama club who collide in 1996 Oregon. It starred Peyton Kennedy, Jahi Winston, Patch Darragh, Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako, Sydney Sweeney, Elijah Stevenson, Quinn Liebling, and Rio Mangini.

‘Violeta at Last’ Sells to Starz

‘Violeta at Last’ Sells to Starz (EXCLUSIVE)

Hilda Hidalgo’s second film screens in Mexico on May 11

Underscoring the growing interest in Latino fare among pay TV and SVOD companies, premium pay TV outlet Starz has snapped up Hilda Hidalgo’s  “Violeta at Last”

Starz will start airing “Violeta” in August, according to its sales agent Alfredo Calviño of Habanero Film Sales. Inspired by Hidalgo’s mother, “Violeta at Last” turns on a woman in her seventies who finds new freedom in her winter years. “Violeta” is co-produced by Mexico’s Laura Imperiale of Cacerola Films who also co-produced Hidalgo’s first film, “Of Love and Other Demons,”

“Violeta” is slated to premiere in Mexico on May 11 at the Cineteca Nacional of México City and in five other cities, said Hidalgo. “Laura, myself and my lead Eugenia Chaverri will be there to present it,” said Hidalgo, who concedes that oftentimes co-producing with other territories is the most viable way of seeing your film released in other Latino countries.

It’s probable that “Violeta” boards Amazon Prime Video Direct in Mexico after October, according to Calviño. Amazon Prime’s self-service program for filmmakers, distributors and content creators, took its Film Festival Stars program (FFS) to the Guadalajara Int’l Film Festival (FICG) in March, marking its first foray into the Latin American marketplace. Launched at Sundance 2017, the FFS program offers cash bonuses and royalties to festival films seeking to self-distribute on Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime Video recently snapped up the exclusive Latin American streaming rights to Spiral Int’l and Dynamo co-production, “Falco,” the Mexican adaptation of German high-concept crime series, “The Last Cop” (“Der Letzte Bulle”) by Ernesto Contreras. Red Arrow Studios International has launched international sales of “Falco” at MipTV.

In other sales news, Habanero Film Sales sold Uruguayan film “Mi Mundial” to Spain’s Cada Films/EDreams Factory and to Arcadia Films in Chile. Primer Plano releases the film in Argentina this month.

Carlos Morelli’s debut feature, “Mi Mundial” topped Guadalajara’s works in progress sidebar last year. The teen morality tale turns on a talented soccer player who has the skills but not the maturity to deal with the challenges of youth pro soccer and discovers other things – family, for instance – matter more than the beautiful game.

 

Facebook’s Communications Meltdown: How the Company Lost Control of Its Messaging

Facebook’s Communications Meltdown: How the Company Lost Control of Its Messaging

“You’re asking a really important question.” “It’s such a good question.” “Those are fair questions, and I think those are real questions.”When Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg talks to journalists these days, she frequently praises their questions — and then proceeds not to answer them, instead talking about something else. Anyone who has ever undergone media training knows this as a redirection, a changing of the subject in order to evade those “really important” questions.

Sandberg has obviously undergone plenty of media training, as any executive in her position would have. But she’s also spent the past 10-plus years at Facebook, a company that has tried to control its messaging like few others — and that has been completely caught off-guard ever since the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal broke last month, incapable of dealing with a situation where the company is not in control.

Those decisions are as much a reflection of each company’s corporate culture as of their businesses. Apple makes most of its money with a handful of products, and believes it has found the best salespeople for the job. Google, and its corporate umbrella Alphabet, are on the other hand a lot more diversified, and publicly test all kinds of products and initiatives, from VR headsets to thermostats and from autonomous cars to cloud computing.

Facebook is in many ways more like Google, with a lot of groups working on separate products that often seem to compete with each other. Instagram, Whatsapp and Messenger are just the most prominent example of this. Nonetheless, the company has long tried to use the Apple messaging method, with a firm grip on its narrative.

That’s why you’ll often see Facebook sending not one but two executives to fireside chats at industry conferences. Regularly pairing up a man with a woman, these duos seem to suggest a gender balance, but also outnumber the moderator, and tend to recite well-rehearsed softball answers.

That’s why Mark Zuckenberg reportedly has a team of employees taking care of his public Facebook profile, working in the background to keep the illusion that the founder of the biggest social network of the world really is just like the rest of us.

And that’s why Sandberg always has an anecdote about a mom-and-pop store using Facebook to increase sales at the ready, a habit that she picked up for the company’s quarterly earnings calls but that she couldn’t help but fall back to during last week’s interview.

But there’s a problem with narratives: If you repeat them too often, you might start to believe them yourself.

That’s exactly what seems to have happened at Facebook, which increasingly became tone-deaf to criticism over the past few years. Privacy advocates have long rallied against some of the company’s policies. What’s more, Facebook knew that it screwed up on key data sharing permissions, allowing Cambridge Analytica to do what it did, as early as 2014.

Instead of working on a real response, which would have resulted in rethinking everything from third-party app data to retention of customer information, the company practiced the art of the apology — and didn’t even realize how it began to alienate its users

 

Box Office: ‘A Quiet Place’ Sounds Off With Huge $50 Million Debut

Box Office: ‘A Quiet Place’ Sounds Off With Huge $50 Million Debut

Paramount Pictures’ thriller directed by John Krasinski soared past estimates to a massive $50.3 million opening in 3,508 theaters. That’s enough to land it the second highest domestic opening of the year to date behind “Black Panther,” which opened in February with $202 million. Since its debut at South by Southwest, .It currently holds an solid 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, with a B+ CinemaScore.“This much bigger than expected debut comes in an era of ongoing popularity for the horror genre that in North America alone last year generated over $1 billion in box office,” Paul​ Dergarabedian, a media analyst at comScore, said.

Paramount’s president of domestic distribution Kyle Davies, attributed the film’s success to positive word of mouth following

“There was a lot of momentum going into the weekend that never stopped,” Davies said. “John Krasinski has emerged as an incredible filmmaker with a story that’s simple, but has clearly resonated with audiences.”
“We could not be more pleased with the result this weekend,” Universal’s head of distribution Jim Orr said. “Kay Cannon and her directorial debut knocked it out of the park. It really overperformed.”

Meanwhile, the eighth frame of “Black Panther” landed at No. 4 with $8.8 million in 2,747 locations. Domestically, the Marvel film earned $665.4 million, making it the third-biggest release of all time behind “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Avatar.” Globally, “Black Panther” has grossed $1.29 billion.

Rounding out the top five is Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions’ “I Can Only Imagine,” with $8.4 million in 2,894 theaters. The faith-based film has been a force at the box office, making $69 million in four weeks.

Two other newcomers, “Chappaquiddick” and “The Miracle Season” premiered slightly above estimates. Entertainment Studios’ “Chappaquiddick” opened with $5.9 million at 1,560 locations, while LD Entertainment’s “The Miracle Season” saw $4 million at 1,707 locations.

While the 2018 box office is down 2.1% compared to 2017, this weekend is up 35% compared to the same weekend last year.

The Darkest Nothing: Paraphrenia (2018) Teaser And Posters

The movie is a cyber crime psychological thriller about the first technically possible “red room” with live video streaming out of a deep web site, with the psychiatrist who is responsible for it using projection technology and the whole platform for manipulating the viewers, who indirectly submit themselves into a deep and disturbing psychotherapy with subliminal messages and explanations about dreams, fears and pop culture references, movies and music, and how they affect the audience subliminally.

This is the first feature length film out of the series, with 5 short movies as bonus material, showcasing the whole back story of the psychiatrist, his entire group and how they got into the underground horror deep web business.

Gallery and more info below!!

Film Review: ‘Winchester’

Even the most tepid gothic thriller can be “original,” and “Winchester” qualifies: Set in 1906, it’s the first (and probably the last) ghost story to be haunted by the spirit of gun control. Helen Mirren, taking a paycheck role but incapable of slumming (or, at least, incapable of doing so without giving it her all), plays the real-life historical character Sarah Winchester, the turn-of-the-century California widow whose late husband, William Wirt Winchester, left her a 50 percent stake in the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. Mirren, her silver hair swirled into a Victorian bun, a black crepe dress buttoned up to her neck, speaks in an American accent, with a voice of calmly possessed clarity. Sarah sees ghosts everywhere, but she isn’t scared of them. She wants to help them. They’re the spirits of people killed by those dastardly rifles her husband invented.

The way that she helps them is to never, ever stop building rooms onto her sprawling San Jose mansion, a colossal gray Victorian with teal trim and red roofs. To say that she’s renovating the seven-story, 100-room structure wouldn’t do the project justice — the house is metastasizing. Carpenters work on it round-the-clock, sawing and hammering all night long, and the place is a loopy labyrinth of alcoves and walkways and boxy carved chambers. It’s like a cozy bed-and-breakfast the size of Xanadu, as designed by M.C. Escher. The point of all this labor is to give the ghosts a place to come and heal. But some of the spirits don’t cooperate. They’re so testy they need to be locked away, sealed into their rooms with 13 nails.

The Winchester Mystery House, as it’s known, is a legendary tourist attraction (according to San Jose folklore, it really is said to be haunted by the ghosts of people killed by Winchester rifles). But in “Winchester,” Sarah’s paranormal real-estate fetishism is more than a wealthy widow’s eccentricity — it’s a compassionate gesture offered to the victims of gun violence. The board of the Winchester Repeating Arms Co., however, thinks she’s gone around the bend, and are using that as an excuse to take away her stake.

To accomplish this, they hire a dissolute physician, Dr. Eric Price (Jason Clarke), to move in and do a psychiatric evaluation of her; basically, they pay him to declare her mentally unstable. What they don’t count on is that Price is a laudanum addict haunted by visions of his late wife, who killed herself (yes) with a gunshot. The movie’s villain, meanwhile, is the melty-faced, vengeful Jack-in-the-box spirit of a Confederate corporal whose brothers were killed by Union soldiers. “Winchester” is the supernatural-schlock version of a liberal think-tank paper. It says, “Look at all the ways guns can kill — and turn people into ghosts.”

Sarah may not be crazy, but the film seems slightly nuts. It was directed and co-written by Michael and Peter Spierig, the German-Australian filmmaking brothers who made the showy, overblown “Daybreakers” (2014) as well as the recent torture-porn sequel “Jigsaw,” and they’re trying, for once, to be “restrained.” But that just means that there’s drawing-room dialogue between Jason Clarke and Helen Mirren that sounds like it came out of a Vincent Price movie; mostly, it’s there to break up the routine ghostly shock cuts. Mirren does all she can to look like she’s having fun, but “Winchester” isn’t a movie about acting. It’s an empty grab bag of a spook show in which the Spierig brothers never do figure out a way to turn the Winchester Mystery House into an exhilarating movie set. It’s more like a hardwood maze that traps us.

Leonardo DiCaprio to Star in Quentin Tarantino’s Manson Movie

After being courted for several months, Leonardo DiCaprio will star in Quentin Tarantino’s untitled Charles Manson movie, sources confirmed.

DiCaprio will play an aging, out-of-work actor in the film. Margot Robbie, meanwhile, is being eyed for the role of Sharon Tate.

This will mark DiCaprio’s first film since winning the Oscar in 2016 for his performance in Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s “The Revenant.” DiCaprio and Tarantino last collaborated on 2012’s “Django Unchained.”

He is repped by LBI Entertainment.

As previously reported, Tom Cruise is also being pursued to star in the director’s ninth feature. Sources now tell Variety that Tarantino is interested in casting Al Pacino in the film as well. Sony is handling distribution.

The movie will hit theaters on Aug. 9, 2019, Variety has learned. Opening on the 50th anniversary of the day that the Manson family committed the LaBianca murders and the day after Tate was killed, the film will head off against “Artemis Fowl,” Disney’s adaptation of the popular sci-fi and fantasy series.

Sony beat out several bidders, including Warner Bros. and Paramount, for rights to the film. The movie — shrouded in secrecy — is set in 1969 and is believed to involve Charles Manson and the Manson family murders. The director has told media outlets that it’s not a biopic, but is an ensemble film set during the tumultuous time period. It’s the first pic that Tarantino is releasing without the Weinstein Company. A group of investors led by Maria Contreras-Sweet is in a strong position to buy the Weinstein Company following sexual misconduct allegations against its disgraced founder Harvey Weinstein.

Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.