(January 18, 2001 – New York, NY) – Danny DeVito’s satirical comedy “Death to Smoochy” starring Robin Williams, Edward Norton and Catherine Keener, began production on January 17 on location in New York. The film, produced by Smoochy Pictures, is being co-financed by Warner Bros. Pictures, FilmFour Ltd. and Senator Film and is the second film under the recently announced alliance between Warner Bros. Pictures and FilmFour Ltd. The announcement was made today by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, President of Worldwide Production for Warner Bros. Pictures, and Paul Webster, Chief Executive of FilmFour Ltd. “Warner Bros. Pictures’ continuing relationship with FilmFour reinforces our commitment to release a diversified slate of films that include high quality, edgier fare,” Lorenzo di Bonaventura said. “Danny DeVito’s distinctive filmmaking sensibilities make him the ideal director to render this timely satire in collaboration with the singular talents of Robin Williams, Edward Norton and the rest of our gifted cast.” “Danny DeVito, Robin Williams and Edward Norton are formidable comedic talents,” Paul Webster added. “We look forward to their creative interpretation of this unique story and our continuing partnerships with both Warner Bros. Pictures and Senator Film.” Directed by Danny DeVito (“Matilda”) from a screenplay by Adam Resnick (“Lucky Numbers”), “Death to Smoochy” tells the comic tale of Rainbow Randolph (Robin Williams), the costumed star of a popular children’s television show who is fired over a bribery scandal and replaced by Smoochy (Edward Norton), a puffy, Barney-esque fuscia rhinoceros. When Randolph discovers Smoochy is having an affair with his ex-lover, Nora (Catherine Keener), a top programming executive at the network, he plots his revenge. The film also stars Danny DeVito as Smoochy’s agent and Jon Stewart (“Big Daddy”) as the network president. Andrew Lazar (“Space Cowboys”) and Peter Macgregor-Scott (“The Fugitive”) are the producers. Forged in July 2000, the 3-year pact calls for FilmFour and Warner Bros. Pictures to make several films together each year. The first picture produced under the agreement, Gillian Armstrong’s World War II drama “Charlotte Gray,” stars Cate Blanchett and is targeted for a Christmas 2001 release. “Death to Smoochy” is set to film in various locations in New York and Toronto. Warner Bros. Pictures will distribute the film worldwide, except in the U.K., where FilmFour will distribute, and in German-speaking Europe, where it will be handled by Senator. Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning actor Danny DeVito is also one of Hollywood’s most prolific and successful filmmakers. In 1987, he directed and starred in “Throw Momma from the Train” and two years later directed and starred in “The War of the Roses.” In 1992, along with producers Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher, DeVito formed Jersey Films and then directed and starred with Jack Nicholson in “Hoffa.” “Reality Bites” was the company’s first feature on which DeVito served as producer, followed by Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” which won the coveted Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and received seven Academy Award® nominations. Jersey Films has produced “Get Shorty,” “Sunset Park,” “Feeling Minnesota,” “Fierce Creatures,” “Matilda” (directed by and starring DeVito and wife Rhea Perlman), “Gattaca,” “Out of Sight,” “Living Out Loud” (in which DeVito starred opposite Holly Hunter), “Man on the Moon” (in which he starred with Jim Carrey), “Erin Brockovich,” and the upcoming “Caveman’s Valentine,” starring Samuel L. Jackson and directed by Kasi Lemmons. DeVito achieved prominence as the star of the now-classic television series “Taxi,” although he had appeared in several feature films prior, including his memorable performance in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” He went on to appear in countless other feature films, including “Terms of Endearment,” “Romancing the Stone,” “Jewel of the Nile,” “Wise Guys,” “Ruthless People,” “Tin Men,” “Twins,” “Other People’s Money,” “Batman Returns,” “Jack the Bear,” “Junior,” “Renaissance Man,” “Get Shorty,” “Mars Attacks,” “L.A. Confidential,” “The Rainmaker,” “The Virgin Suicides,” “The Big Kahuna,” “Drowning Mona” and “Screwed.” He recently finished production on “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” and “The Heist.” Robin Williams won the 1998 Academy Award® in the Best Supporting Actor category for his portrayal of Sean Maguire, the no-nonsense blue-collar voice of reason to Matt Damon’s confused prodigy in “Good Will Hunting.” Williams has also been thrice Oscar®-nominated in the Best Actor category for his captivating performances in the films “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Dead Poet’s Society” and “The Fisher King.” Edward Norton made his feature film debut in 1996 in “Primal Fear,” for which he received an Academy Award® nomination and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. That same year, he co-starred in Woody Allen’s “Everyone Says I Love You” and Milos Forman’s “The People vs. Larry Flynt.” For his work in those three films, Norton received Best Supporting Actor awards from the National Board of Review, the Los Angeles Film Critics, the Boston Film Critics and the Texas Film Critics. Norton also starred in “Rounders,” “American History X,” for which he received an Oscar® nomination for Best Actor, and David Fincher’s “Fight Club.” Most recently, he directed, produced and starred in the romantic comedy “Keeping the Faith,” which co-starred Ben Stiller and Jenna Elfman. Upcoming releases for Norton include “The Score,” in which he stars opposite Robert DeNiro and Marlon Brando. Catherine Keener received Academy Award® and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Maxine Lund in Spike Jonze’s “Being John Malkovich.” Her work in that film also won her the Best Supporting Actress award from the New York Film Critics Circle, as well as awards and nominations from numerous other critics associations and two nominations from the Screen Actors Guild Awards: one for Best Supporting Actress and one she shared with the film’s ensemble for Outstanding Performance by a Cast. Keener’s other feature film credits include Neil LaBute’s “Your Friends and Neighbors,” Steven Soderbergh’s “Out of Sight,” Nicole Holofcener’s “Walking and Talking” and four films with director Tom DiCillo: “The Real Blonde,” “Box of Moonlight,” “Living in Oblivion” and “Johnny Suede.” Her notable television appearances include roles in HBO’s powerful drama “If These Walls Could Talk” and as Nina on “Seinfeld.” Upcoming releases include “Simone,” with Al Pacino and Nicole Holofcener’s second (as of yet untitled) feature film, in which Keener stars with Brenda Blethyn. Jon Stewart’s feature film credits include “Big Daddy,” “Playing By Heart” and “The Faculty.” A native of New Jersey, he is perhaps best well known as the host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” His other television credits include a recurring role on HBO’s critically acclaimed “The Larry Sanders Show”; the hour-long CableACE Award-nominated HBO comedy special “Jon Stewart: Unleavened”; and an eponymous talk show which aired on MTV and later in national syndication. Stewart is the author of “Naked Pictures of Famous People,” a collection of humorous essays, which received critical praise and appeared on The New York Times Bestseller List. He has also written for The New Yorker, George and Esquire. Producer Andrew Lazar is President of Mad Chance Productions, which has a non-exclusive first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures. Lazar’s credits as a producer are wide-ranging and include the erotic thriller “Bound”; the existential action thriller “Assassins”; the Shakespeare-influenced hit teen comedy “10 Things I Hate About You”; the sophisticated homage to psychological terror “The Astronaut’s Wife”; the summer hit “Space Cowboys”; Nora Ephron’s lottery comedy “Lucky Numbers”; and the recently released black comedy “Panic,” starring William H. Macy, Neve Campbell, Donald Sutherland and Tracey Ullman. Currently in post-production is “Cats and Dogs,” a live-action film utilizing the latest groundbreaking CGI elements, and in pre-production is writer Charlie Kaufman’s “Confessions of A Dangerous Mind,” starring Johnny Depp and George Clooney, to be directed by Bryan Singer. Producer Peter Macgregor-Scott most recently produced director Andrew Davis’s “A Perfect Murder,” starring Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow and Viggo Mortensen. That film marked the third highly successful collaboration between Macgregor-Scott and director Davis. Their prior films together include the commercial and critical blockbuster “The Fugitive” (which received seven Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture), and the box office smash “Under Seige,” which starred Steven Seagal. While in pre-production for “A Perfect Murder,” Macgregor-Scott was just finishing producing the back-to-back Warner Bros. Pictures films “Batman & Robin” and “Batman Forever.” Macgregor-Scott moved to the United States from his native England in 1970 and produced his first film, “Ride the Tiger,” that same year. He went on to produce three hit films starring the comedy team of Cheech & Chong: “Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie”; “Cheech & Chong: Still Smokin’”; and “Cheech & Chong’s The Corsican Brothers,” as well as Cheech Marin’s “Born in East L.A.” His other early credits include “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” “The Jerk,” “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” “Revenge of the Nerds,” “Gotcha!” and “Troop Beverly Hills.” He then co-produced three films starring action star Steven Seagal: “Marked for Death,” “Out for Justice” and the aforementioned “Under Seige.” Macgregor-Scott also produced the critically acclaimed “Black Beauty,” adapted for the screen and directed by Caroline Thompson.
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