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Stone incredibly nervous working with Allen Foster’s ‘Monster’ starring Clooney lands at TriStar

LOS ANGELES, July 27, (Agencies): Tom Rothman’s TriStar Pictures is nearing a deal to acquire Jodie Foster’s financial drama “Money Monster,” which will star George Clooney as a Jim Cramer-esque TV personality who is taken hostage live on the air, TheWrap has learned. TriStar beat out Focus Features for the film with its generous offer to finance “Money Monster” for $30 million. Open Road was also in the mix for the hot title. As TheWrap first reported, much to his publicist’s chagrin (don’t worry, we still love you Stan!), Clooney will star as a TV personality whose insider trading tips have made him the money guru of Wall Street. When a viewer who lost all of his family’s money on a bad tip from the money expert decides to hold him hostage on air, ratings soar as the entire country tunes in to this media frenzy.


Written by Alan DiFiore and Jim Kouf as well as Jamie Linden, the project reunites Clooney with Daniel Dubiecki (“Up in the Air”), who’s producing via The Allegiance Theater along with Lara Alameddine, Clooney and his Smokehouse partner Grant Heslov. Allegiance’s Tim Crane will executive produce with Stuart Ford of IM Global, the company that originally developed the project. Production will begin next spring, as Clooney will shoot the Coen brothers’ “Hail, Caesar!” first. From “The Wolf of Wall Street” to “Margin Call,” financial dramas have struck a chord lately with both audiences and critics. Stars have also been flocking to timely projects that examine the fragile state of America’s economy, from Matt Damon in “Promised Land” to Andrew Garfield in the upcoming indie “99 Homes.”
Clooney and Dubiecki’s agency CAA teamed with Foster’s agency UTA to negotiate the “Money Monster” deal. TriStar has Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt on the horizon, as well as Jonathan Demme’s “Ricki and the Flash,” which will star Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. The company is also developing an untitled comedy with “Bridesmaids” writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. The news was first reported by Deadline.
NEW YORK: Colin Firth had been hoping for decades to get a call from Woody Allen. Emma Stone, at only 25, hadn’t been waiting nearly as long — but she notes her family dog IS named Alvy, after a classic Allen character, and she can keep up with Firth in a spontaneous recounting of the bank robbery scene in “Take the Money and Run.” The two stars of “Magic in the Moonlight,” opened last week, were both working for the first time with Allen, and they sat down recently to recount what it was like.
“I was incredibly nervous,” said Stone. “You don’t get to know him first, there’s no rehearsal, you don’t see him before shooting.” As for Firth, he had a quick and somewhat strange phone call with the 78-year-old director. “I thought he’d asked for the call, and it turns out he thought I’d asked for it,” said Firth. “Cate (Blanchett) told me the same happened to her with ‘Blue Jasmine.’” The call, needless to say, was quick. “It wasn’t of the ‘Welcome to the film!’ variety,” says Firth. “It was just sort of, ‘Cut to the chase.’” Firth plays Stanley, a cynical stage magician who seeks to unmask Sophie, a young American medium, as a fraud. But Firth points out that magic tricks aren’t his strong suit.
“I was called upon to perform a simple card trick. That was the only time I saw a hint of impatience from Woody,” the actor laughs. “He was just sighing.” The scene was eventually cut. Firth had been waiting for years to work with Allen. “This person’s work had such a specific role to play in my whole relation with movies,” he said. “To suddenly be invited to join the narrative a bit is thrilling.”
Both actors said a number of stories they’d heard about Allen turned out to be myths. “There are a lot of stories,” said Firth. “He doesn’t really direct, don’t expect him to make jokes on the set, that sort of thing. No. He directs, and he was funny.” Firth, 53, is an obvious fan. Asked his Allen favorites, he replied: “Different ones at different ages. ‘Bananas’ was the first. Brilliantly judged silliness. As was ‘Take the Money and Run.’”
At this point, Firth basically re-enacted the bank robbery scene, with the famous illegible stickup note. Stone chimed in with her own memories. “I remember watching that with my grandparents,” the actress said. While Stone’s already working with Allen again — shooting in Providence, Rhode Island — Firth doesn’t think lightning will strike twice. “It’s taken him 50 years to ask me the first time, so by the current rate I’ll be 104 by the time he asks me again,” he quipped.

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