Ashley Greene and Kellan Lutz 'Breaking Dawn' contract impasse comes to an end
May 19, '10, update: After much Sturm und Drang and a few “scandalous” (or at the very least embarrassing) accusations of exploitation and low wages, Ashley Greene (the Twilight vampire Alice Cullen) and Kellan Lutz (Emmett Cullen) have finally signed on to appear in Summit Entertainment's final installment of The Twilight Saga franchise, Breaking Dawn, possibly to be split into two movies to be directed by Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, Dreamgirls).
According to one online report, part of the reason for the widely publicized impasse between Ashley Greene and Kellan Lutz, and Summit was that Greene, 23, and Lutz, 25, had been unable to renegotiate their contracts (see further below) following the unexpected worldwide success of the original Twilight in 2008.
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, and starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, Twilight went on to gross $408.7 million globally. The Chris Weitz-directed sequel, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, earned even more money: $709 million worldwide. Both Ashley Greene and Kellan Lutz had brief supporting roles in the first film; Greene's role was expanded in New Moon and its follow-up, David Slade's Eclipse. Lutz got a few more lines in both films.
Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene movies of the non-'Twilight' variety
Besides The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Ashley Greene has also signed on to appear in Butter, a comedy directed by Jim Field Smith, and starring Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Alicia Silverstone, and Olivia Wilde. In addition to Eclipse, Greene has two movies scheduled to come out in 2010: Todd Lincoln's The Apparition and Michael F. Sears' A Warrior's Heart, in which she co-stars with fellow Twilighter Kellan Lutz.
Lutz, for his part, has recently starred shirtless in Calvin Klein underwear ads. He is currently filming Love, Wedding, Marriage, which also features Mandy Moore, Jane Seymour, Blythe Danner, and James Brolin under the direction of Dermot Mulroney (whose acting gigs include Longtime Companion and My Best Friend's Wedding).
'Twilight Breaking Dawn' in two parts
Breaking Dawn should begin production in the fall. In all likelihood, this last installment in the Twilight Saga movie franchise will be split into two parts to be shot concurrently: Part 1 is to be released in fall 2011; Part 2 would reach screens in summer 2012. Needless to say, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart will be back as the three principals: Jacob Black, Edward Cullen, and Bella Swan.
Eclipse opens in the United States and about a dozen other countries on June 30. As in the previous two Twilight films, Melissa Rosenberg adapted Stephenie Meyer's bestselling novel.
In addition to Pattinson, Stewart, Lautner, Kellan Lutz, and Ashley Greene, the Twilight Eclipse cast includes the following: Bryce Dallas Howard, Xavier Samuel, Dakota Fanning, Peter Facinelli, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Billy Burke, Elizabeth Reaser, Daniel Cudmore, Jodelle Ferland, Michael Welch, Cameron Bright, Anna Kendrick, Charlie Bewley, Sarah Clarke, Gil Birmingham, and Catalina Sandino Moreno.
Alice Cullen Ashley Greene Twilight New Moon photo: Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment.
Robert Pattinson (foreground), Jackson Rathbone, Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed as the Cullen (vampire) children in Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon (The commotion seen above has been caused by Bella, played by Kristen Stewart, who has accidentally cut her finger)
Ashley Greene and Kellan Lutz, who have been fighting for higher paychecks for their work on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, have reached a deal with Summit Entertainment, according to Nicole Sperling at EW.com.
Both Greene and Lutz play two of the Cullen “children” – Alice and Emmett, vampires adopted by the kindly Dr. Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli). The other two adoptees are Robert Pattinson's Edward and Jackson Rathbone's Jasper. Elizabeth Reaser plays their mother, Esme.
Sperling adds in her report that it's unclear who has given in – or if both parties reached a compromise.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn should start shooting in the fall, but no dates have been set as yet. Academy Award winner Bill Condon will direct the movie, which in all probability will be split into two parts (hence the salary dispute): part I to be released in the fall of 2011; part II to reach screens in summer 2012.
Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, and Kristen Stewart will be back as the three principals.
Directed by David Slade, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opens in the United States and about a dozen other countries on June 30. Melissa Rosenberg adapted Stephenie Meyer's bestselling novel.
Photo: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment)
May 18 update
The Cullen Family (minus Emmett, Kellan Lutz, and Edward, Robert Pattinson): Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Elizabeth Reaser, Jackson Rathbone, Peter Facinelli in David Slade's upcoming The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Elizabeth Reaser, who plays Robert Pattinson's vampire “mother” Esme Cullen in the Twilight Saga movies, has said that contract negotiations are a part of show business and that the Kellan Lutz-Ashley Greene contract dispute with Summit Entertainment for the expected Part II of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn has been overblown.
Summit Entertainment is officially keeping mum. Reports about Lutz's and Greene's demands have ranged from $1m-$4 million for each Breaking Dawn film. According to various reports, initially both Reaser and fellow Cullen family member Jackson Rathbone had been demanding more money as well.
Reaser is unhappy about one thing, however. Summit hasn't decided when exactly Breaking Dawn will start filming and the actress wants to find out “because I'm trying to plan my life.”
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opens June 30. Breaking Dawn, to be directed by Bill Condon and starring Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, should start filming sometime in the fall.
Quote: The Associated Press
Photo: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment)
Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, Peter Facinelli as Dr. Carlisle Cullen in Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene's salary negotiations for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn are still under way. Lutz and Greene were contracted to appear in one Breaking Dawn movie. The problem is that Summit Entertainment, which owns the rights to Stephenie Meyer's novels, may well want two. Thus, Lutz and Greene have been fighting for more money for their work on “Part II.”
Bill Condon is scheduled to direct Breaking Dawn, which will bring back Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, and Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black. The movie – whether a long feature or a two-part release – is scheduled to begin filming in the fall.
In addition to Pattinson, Stewart, and Lautner, the Twilight Saga's supporting cast members have signed on as well, including most of the Cullen “family,” of which both Lutz and Greene are a part – as, respectively, Emmett and Alice.
Peter Facinelli, who plays the kind Dr. Carlisle Cullen, the family's patriarch, has told Popcornbiz / NBC Chicago the following about the Lutz-Greene vs. Summit Entertainment Twilight salary saga:
“I haven't spoken to them about this.” [Facinelli then added he doesn't plan to either.]
“Their deals are their deals. I respect whatever they decide to do. Every actor has to do their deal.”
Whether Breaking Dawn will be turned into one movie or two, Facinelli was just as diplomatic:
“I don't think it's been decided. I respect Summit's ability to decide when they get to the cutting room floor to see if it warrants one movie or two. If it doesn't they'll make one.”
“The decision will be made at some point, but it won't be my decision.”
A small banner announcing The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 has been circulating online. If the decision hasn't been made, at least we know which way the decision makers are leaning.
Photo: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment)
Kristen Stewart, the 20-year-old actress best known for her Bella Swan in Twilight, New Moon, and the upcoming Eclipse, torn between Robert Pattinson's vampire and Taylor Lautner's werewolf, has been trying to branch out as an actress. In the last couple of years, Stewart has taken on challenging roles in several independent productions.
Two of those, Floria Sigismondi's The Runaways, co-starring Dakota Fanning, and Jake Scott's Welcome to the Rileys, co-starring James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo, were greeted with positive notices – mostly directed at Stewart's performances – at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Both were eventually bought by Apparition. (For Welcome to the Rileys, which sparked an email campaign to get the film distributed, Apparition partnered with the Sony Worldwide Acquisitions Group.)
This past Monday, May 10, Apparition co-found Bob Berney abruptly left the company, catching off-guard those at the indie distributor, including partner Bill Pohlad, and just about everyone else in the industry.
Pohlad's e-mail to his staff was shortly thereafter made public:
To our Apparition colleagues and staff:
As some of you may know, Bob Berney has submitted his resignation to me. I suspect that this news comes as a surprise to many of you. It certainly did to me. So I can't claim that we have a plan in place yet in the wake of this announcement. I can, however, assure you that we will be working in the days ahead to explore our options regarding his replacement. In the meantime, Valerie Bruce, our Senior Vice President of Business Affairs, will serve as interim COO.
I apologize for whatever confusion and uncertainty this news may cause, but know that we are proud and grateful for all the work that you have put into the company and appreciate your continued support.
The recently formed Apparition attempted to take off with Jane Campion's Bright Star, starring Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish, one of the hits at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. The $8.5 million period romance, however, ended up earning a quite disappointing $4.44 million at the domestic box office.
There were also stories about disagreements between Pohlad and Berney after Pohlad's production company River Road sold the domestic rights to Doug Liman's political drama Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, to Summit Entertainment. (Those stories were later refuted, at least to a certain extent.)
A dearth of ready investment funds at Apparition didn't help matters any. But the strip of film that broke the camel's back was apparently the way the R-rated rock biopic The Runaways was released.
“I can knock down that Fair Game, which Pohlad's River Road financed along with Participant Media but is being distributed by Summit, [caused] the schism,” Mike Fleming wrote at Deadline.com. “From what I'm told, there was no big disagreement over that film. But I have heard there was significant disagreement between Pohlad and Berney over how to release The Runaways. Berney wanted to go wide on 1200 screens. Instead, the film was platformed and supported with a viral campaign.”
Concurring with that assessment, Thompson on Hollywood's Anne Thompson asserted that “the movie that most tested the Pohlad/Berney partnership was music biopic The Runaways, which carried high expectations due to Twilight stars Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart. In that case, after a splashy media launch at Sundance, Pohlad altered Berney's distribution plans, drastically pulling the film back from a planned wide release to a more conservative platform.”
Despite a number of good reviews for Sigismondi's film and especially for Stewart's performance as rocker Joan Jett, after eight weeks The Runaways has grossed a meager $3.5 million – or a little more than one third of its reported $10 million cost. Its widest release was at 244 theaters on opening weekend. A planned expansion last April meant going from 84 theaters showing the film on weekend no. 3 to 204 theaters on weekend no. 4 and 243 theaters on weekend no. 5.
The film's R rating could well be part of the problem, as it has helped to keep away Stewart's countless teenage fans. (The Runaways should have better luck on DVD/VOD.) A number of those fans, for their part, have voiced complaints that Apparition did a poor job of raising awareness about their film.
Kristen Stewart's Welcome to the Rileys, reportedly acquired by Berney himself, will be playing at the upcoming Los Angeles Film Festival, which will also feature a special screening of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. In Welcome to the Rileys, Stewart plays a foul-mouthed pole dancer-cum-sex worker who is “saved” by a man (Gandolfini) who had recently lost his daughter.
Unless there are more upheavals at Apparition, Welcome to the Rileys is scheduled to be released in the United States later this year.
Also, check out Larry Richman's analysis of the Berney-Apparition issue.
Kellan Lutz as Emmett Cullen, Peter Facinelli as Dr. Carlisle, Jackson Rathbone as Jasper, and Robert Pattinson as Edward in David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (top); Ashley Greene as Alice Cullen, Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan in Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon (bottom)
May 12 update: Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene have been demanding $4 million each for each of the two The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn movies, according to several unnamed EW.com sources. In the same article, however, another source is cited claiming the performers want to be paid $1 million “or more” each. That's quite a gap between “sources.” Which one do you believe?
Summit hasn't been talking – at least officially.
As per the report, Lutz (Emmett Cullen), Greene (Alice Cullen), Jackson Rathbone (Jasper), and Nikki Reed (Rosalie) had initially banded together to demand more money. Their rationale was that they may have fewer lines in the films themselves, but they have to be on the set along with principals Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, and do loads of Twilight Saga-related promos.
And the two Twilight Saga movies have earned over $1.1 billion worldwide at the box office alone.
EW.com adds that Reed is now apparently close to signing a deal within the $750,000-$1 million range for the role of Rosalie Hale. Rathbone's fate remains unclear at this stage.
Directed by David Slade, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will open in the United States on June 30. Melissa Rosenberg adapted Stephenie Meyer's bestselling novel.
Photos: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment); The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment)
May 11 update
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 teaser poster (top); Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Elizabeth Reaser, Peter Facinelli in Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon (bottom)
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner are all set to star in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, to be released in November 2011. Oscar winner Bill Condon has been hired to direct the last installment(s) of the series. And in the image above you can see Summit Entertainment's teaser poster for the film – which says “Part I.”
In other words, a “Part II” is all but inevitable – Pattinson, Stewart, and Lautner are already onboard (or nearly there) – despite reports that Summit might want to stick to one single (and long) film because of a salary impasse with several supporting players in the series, most notably Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene, two of the Cullen “children”: Emmett and Alice, Pattinson's/Edward's vampire “siblings.”
The curious thing about Breaking Dawn's contract negotiations is that in case all recurring Twilight Saga cast members, including its chief supporting players, did sign on – following the first Twilight's unexpected mega-success – to appear in a fourth film in the series, that would be Breaking Dawn Part I.
If such an agreement is indeed in place, then it would be not only pretty weird but quite possibly pretty costly to have one or more actors replace the current recalcitrant players in Breaking Dawn Part II for the very fact that the two movies will be shot back-to-back – so as to save costs.
Imagine if there's a scene featuring Emmett Cullen in a specific setting: one at the beginning of Breaking Dawn; one in the second half of the story. If the two movies are going to be shot back-to-back (or simultaneously, if the same location is needed in both Part I and Part II) and, say, Kellan Lutz is replaced by another actor, would Summit need to have Lutz and his replacement on hand for those days?
Or, if Lutz has indeed been contracted to be featured in one Breaking Dawn movie, would Summit opt to pay him not to appear in either Part I or Part II?
Either choice would be awkward at best.
Twilight fans are surely hoping all parties involved will be able to work this all out.
Pattinson, Stewart, Lautner, Lutz, Greene, and all others will next be seen in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, which opens in the United States on June 30.
Photo: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment)
Click on the photo to enlarge it.
May 11 a.m.
Ashley Greene / Alice Cullen, The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner are close to finalizing contractual agreements with Summit Entertainment to star in two The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn movies, both to be directed by Academy Award winner Bill Condon. Stephenie Meyer has already given the go-ahead to split her last Twilight novel into two movies.
According to Matthew Beloni's piece in The Hollywood Reporter, Stewart, Pattinson, and Lautner will get much fatter paychecks for their appearance in a fifth film in the series. But Beloni adds that there's a serious problem with Breaking Dawn - Part 2: an impasse between Summit and several of the supporting players in Twilight Saga franchise.
As per Beloni's piece, Summit has reached a deal with both Peter Facinelli (Dr. Carlisle Cullen, Edward's “father”) and Billy Burke (police officer Charlie Swan, Bella's clueless, obnoxious father – I'm reading Eclipse now; Charlie would be a perfect candidate for a vampire dinner party).
Now, “the Cullen kids” – Beloni singles out Kellan Lutz (Emmett Cullen), recently seen in A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Ashley Greene (Alice Cullen) “are trying to sink their teeth into bigger paydays that, at least at this point, the studio behind the billion-dollar franchise is unwilling to provide.”
Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, New Moon
Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz Breaking Dawn Offer 'Offensive'
As per Beloni's sources, Lutz and Greene have been offered “at least 10 times what the actors made on the first movie.” The offer, however, was deemed “offensive,” considering that to date Twilight's first two movies have grossed $1.118 billion worldwide – not to mention their record-breaking DVD sales, VOD earnings, etc.
There's already the threat that at least one of the recalcitrant actors will be booted from the series, much like what happened to Rachelle Lefevre, who played the vicious vampire Victoria in both Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight and Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon.
Officially because of scheduling conflicts; unofficially because her representatives played hardball on money matters, Lefevre was kicked out of Eclipse. (In all fairness, Lefevre's demanding more money would make sense, as Victoria plays a much larger role in Eclipse than in the previous two films.)
Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron Howard's daughter and reportedly the initial choice for the role, replaced the departing Lefevre.
Another concern for Summit is that costs have been going up as well: Twilight had a $37 million budget, as per Box Office Mojo. New Moon's budget was $50 millionand Eclipse has cost approximately $65 million according to the Reporter piece.
Breaking Dawn, partly (chiefly?) as a result of Pattinson's, Stewart's, and Lautner's salary increases, should end up quite a bit costlier than any of the previous three films even if shot back-to-back (in fall 2010), as planned, and possibly in Louisiana, where tax breaks would be made available.
The first Breaking Dawn movie will be released in November 2011. The all-but-inevitable second part should be out in summer 2012. Would audiences accept two new faces in the Cullen family in BD2 – or would that throw the series off-kilter, even if only slightly? If so, would anyone care, as long as Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner are back?
The next installment of the Twilight Saga series to hit theaters, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, opens in the United States next June 30. David Slade directed it from Melissa Rosenberg's screenplay.
Also in the Eclipse cast: Xavier Samuel, Dakota Fanning, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Elizabeth Reaser, Gil Birmingham, Kirsten Prout, Jodelle Ferland, Michael Welch, Cameron Bright, Anna Kendrick, and Catalina Sandino Moreno.
Ashley Greene / Alice Cullen / The Twilight Saga: New Moon picture: Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment.