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Common joins Mara in Iraq War drama ‘Leavey’ – Romantic drama ‘Hepta’ set to shoot in Cairo

LOS ANGELES, Dec 16, (RTRS): Common has signed on to co-star with Kate Mara in the Iraq War pic “Leavey,” sources tell Variety. Edie Falco, Bradley Whitford and Tom Felton are also on board to star with “Blackfi sh” helmer Gabriela Cowperthwaite directing. Story follows Megan Leavey and her military combat dog Rex who saved lives searching for roadside bombs during two tours in Iraq from 2004 to 2006. Common will play Sgt. Gunney Massey, the Gunnery Sergeant in charge of the kennels at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. LD Entertainment will finance.

The script is by Pamela Gray, Annie Mumolo, and Tim Lovestedt and Jordan Roberts. Mickey Liddell, Jennifer Monroe and Pete Shilaimon are producing. Production is expected to start sometime in the first quarter of 2016. Common was last seen in “Selma,” which also won him an Oscar for best original song along with John Legend. He can be seen next in the DC pic “Suicide Squad” opposite Will Smith and Jared Leto and is currently filming the sequel to “John Wick 2” opposite Keanu Reeves. He is repped by CAA and Oasis Entertainment. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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Egyptian romantic drama “Hepta — The Last Lecture” is set to start shooting this month in Cairo, directed by multi-hyphenate Hadi El Bagoury (“Wahed Saheh”). The ensemble Egyptian A-list cast comprises Maged El Kedwany (“678”), Ahmed Malek (“Clash”), Ahmed Dawood (“Before The Summer Crowds”) and Yasmine Raeis (“Factory Girl”). Based on the eponymous novel by Mohamed Sadek, which sold widely across the Arab world, “Hepta” takes its title from the Greek word for the number seven.

The pic turns on a lecture given by a famous psychiatrist at Cairo University about the seven stages he theorizes are necessary to experience fullness in love. It will weave four narrative threads about couples at different stages in life. Hadi El Bagoury, whose credits “Blair Witch”-like chiller “Warda,” is also producing through his Cairobased the Producers shingle. Young scribe Wael Hamdy (“Mikano”) penned the script. “We did some clever tweaks to the book to make the characters intersect,” said producer Hani Osama, co-founder with El Bagoury of the Producers.

Osama is at the Dubai Film Festival with veteran Egyptian director Mohamed Khan’s ligh t satire on the Egyptian middle class “Before The Summer Crowds.” Osama also underscored the universal theme of the pic, which “gives it crossover potential,” he said. “Hepta — The Last Lecture” is being produced by the Producers in collaboration with prominent producer Mohamed Hefzy’s Film Clinic with another partner soon expected to come on board.


LOS ANGELES: “The Intern” director Nancy Meyers has been selected by the American Cinema Editors board as its ACE Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award. Longtime collaborator Steve Martin will present the award at the 66th annual ACE Eddie Awards on Jan. 29 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. “Nancy Meyers has been delighting and moving audiences around the world with deeply human, relatable stories for over three decades,” the ACE Board of Directors said. “As a writer and director, she’s brought us some of the most beloved films in recent memory, and pioneered the art of telling stories with strong female characters at their center.

From ‘Private Benjamin’ to her most recent film ‘The Intern,’ Nancy is a trailblazing filmmaker and we’re thrilled to celebrate her body of work thus far.” Past Golden Eddie honorees including Frank Marshall, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Norman Jewison, Alexander Payne, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Kathleen Kennedy, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Saul Zaentz, Paul Greengrass and Stanley Donen. Meyers debuted as a director on “The Parent Trap,” starring Dennis Quaid and Lindsay Lohan, which Meyers also co-wrote.

Her directing credits include “What Women Want,” “Something’s Gotta Give,” “The Holiday” and “It’s Complicated,” which starred Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep. As a writer/producer, Meyers’ first film was “Private Benjamin.” She co-wrote and produced “Irreconcilable Differences,” followed by “Baby Boom,” starring Diane Keaton; and “Father of the Bride” and “Father of the Bride Part II,” both of which starred Steve Martin and Keaton

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