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Tipton joins Reynolds, Miller in ‘Mississippi Grind’ Elizabeth Banks to make feature directorial debut

LOS ANGELES, Jan 28, (RTRS): Fresh off working with Scarlett Johansson on Luc Besson’s action movie “Lucy,” Analeigh Tipton has signed on to join Ryan Reynolds in Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden’s gambling drama “Mississippi Grind,” TheWrap has learned. Fleck and Boden will direct from their own original screenplay. The filmmakers previously collaborated on the critically acclaimed dramas “Half Nelson” and “Sugar,” as well as “It’s Kind of a Funny Story.” Reynolds stars as Curtis, a charismatic drifter who sets off with a down-on-his-luck poker player named Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) on a road trip through the South, where the duo plan to win back what they’ve already lost.

Sienna Miller and Alfre Woodard co-star in the film, which will find Tipton playing Miller’s friend and roommate Vanessa, who Curtis and Gerry meet along their travels. Jamie Patricof and Lynette Howell are producing through their Electric City Entertainment banner along with Tom Rice and Ben Nearn of Sycamore Entertainment, which is financing the project. Production will take place in New Orleans, and WME Global is handling domestic rights.

Tipton started out on “America’s Next Top Model” before landing a scene-stealing role as the babysitter pining for Steve Carell in “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” She next stars opposite Miles Teller in Max Nichols’ romantic comedy “Two Night Stand,” as well as the indie “One Square Mile,” which co-stars Kim Basinger and Richard Jenkins. Tipton, who had a recurring role on HBO’s “Hung,” recently starred in Summit zombie comedy “Warm Bodies” and Whit Stillman’s “Damsels in Distress.” Tipton is represented by CAA, Mosaic and McKuin Frankel Whitehead.

After directing a segment of the omnibus comedy “Movie 43,” Elizabeth Banks is ready to direct a full-length feature and she has found the perfect studio project to hone her skills on — Universal and Gold Circle Films’ “Pitch Perfect 2,” an individual familiar with the sequel has told TheWrap. Original stars Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson are expected to reprise their roles alongside Banks, who played an announcer in the first film. Banks and Max Handelman will produce the sequel through their Brownstone Productions banner along with Paul Brooks of Gold Circle Films, whose Scott Niemeyer will executive produce. “Pitch Perfect” scribe Kay Cannon will write the sequel and co-produce with Gold Circle’s Jeff Levine.

“Elizabeth originated the idea for ‘Pitch Perfect’ and was instrumental in making the first film such a huge success,” said Universal’s Donna Langley. “She brings an enormous amount of energy and experience to everything she works on and we’re thrilled that she is making her feature directorial debut on ‘Pitch Perfect 2.’” “Pitch Perfect” grossed more than $115 million worldwide on a $17 million budget and was one of the top-performing DVD & VOD titles of 2013. The soundtrack recently went platinum with over 1 million units sold, making it the 18th bestselling soundtrack of all-time, as well as the bestselling soundtrack in digital history. The soundtrack was the #20 album on the Billboard Top 200 Chart for 2013 across all genres, and the single “Cups” nearly went triple platinum, with combined sales of a little less than 3 million units sold. Banks, who plays Effie Trinket in “The Hunger Games” movies, next stars in the comedy “Walk of Shame” and the Brian Wilson drama “Love and Mercy.” She also starred in the Sundance drama “Little Accidents” and recently wrapped Amy Berg’s drama “Every Secret Thing.”

“The Wolf of Wall Street,” director Martin Scorsese’s black comedy starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was the biggest foreign box-office earner this weekend with $31 million from 27 markets. That raises the international total for “Wolf” to $85 million, not far behind its domestic haul of $98 million, giving it a worldwide total of $183 million. Paramount is distributing the movie here, but its foreign rights are held by multiple distributors. Universal is handling “Wolf” in eight European territories, and this weekend saw those markets bring in $16.6 million. It held the top spot in Germany ($5.7 million), the UK and Ireland ($5.5 million) and Spain ($3.2 million).

Elsewhere, “Frozen” took in $20.2 million from 53 markets to up its overseas total to $462 million and its global take to $810 million. That pushes “Frozen” past “The Lion King’ and makes it Disney’s second-highest non-sequel animated release ever, behind only “Finding Nemo,” and the seventh-highest of all time. “Frozen” has yet to open in China (Feb 5) and Japan (March 15). Paramount’s “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” brought in $14.3 million from 42 overseas regions this weekend to up its foreign total to $46.5 million and its worldwide haul to $77 million. “I, Frankenstein” opened in 15 overseas markets and took in $13 million for several foreign distributors.

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