Archive for the 'Rozhetskin' Category


Leonid Rozhetskin is back in good old Europe

Read his entry in the German Wikipedia

Leonid Borissowitsch Roschezkin (auch: Rozhetskin; russisch Леонид Борисович Рожецкин; * 4. August 1966 in Leningrad, Sowjetunion) ist ein russischer Unternehmer, Jurist und Finanzier. Er betreibt die Produktionsfirma L+E Productions in Los Angeles, USA.

Biographie [Bearbeiten]

Rozhetskins Familie emmigrierte 1980 in die USA nach New York, wo er auch zur High School ging. 1987 beendete Leonid Rozhetskin sein Studium an der Universität von Columbia mit einem Bachelor in angewanter Mathematik. 1990 schloss er sein Jura-Studium an der Harvard Law School mit einem suma com laude ab.

1990 bis 1991 arbeitete Leonid Rozhetskin als juristischer Angestellter für den Bundesrichter Sephen S. Wilson in Los Angeles, Californien, USA. 1992 bis 1994 war er bei den Kanzleien Sullivan & Cromwell und White & Case angestellt. 1992 ging Leonid Rozhetskin zurück nach Russland, um seine eigene Kanzlei zu eröffnen. Er vertrat Kunden wie Credit Suisse, Morgan Grenfell, die Moscow Times oder die International Finance Corporation (eine Abteilung der Weltbank).

1995 wechselte Leonid Rozhetskin in die Investment-Branche und gründete die Investmentbank Renaissance Capital.

1998 verließ er Renaissance Capital und wurde Mitbegründer der Risiko-Kapital Bank LV Finance. Zu seinen Kunden gehörten unter anderem der Financier George Soros und der Gründer von CNN Ted Turner. Das Unternehmern investierte in mehrere erfolgreiche StartUp Unternehmen, von denen das bekannteste die MegaFon-Gruppe ist, der drittgrößte Mobilfunk Anbieter Russlands. Seine Anteile an LV Finance hat Leonid Rozhetskin inzwischen verkauft.

Von 2001 bis 2005 war Leonid Rozhetskin Vize-Vorstandschef von Norilsk Nickel, Russlands größter Minengesellschaft. Seine Aufgabenbereiche waren Transparenz, externe Investitionen und Corporate Governance. Unter anderem investierte er in die Stillwater Mining Company (USA) und Gold Fields (Südafrika). Heute arbeitet er im Aufsichtsrat weiter.

Nebenbei ist Leonid Rozhetskin noch Anteilseigner der gratis Tageszeitung City A.M. in London. Die Zeitung behandelt hauptsächlich lokale und globale Business-Nachrichten und hat ca. 100.000 Leser in ganz London.

2007 gründete Rozhetskin zusammen mit Eric Eisner die Film Produktionsfirma –L+E Productions. Der erste Film Hamlet 2 erschien 2008 und wurde vom Sundace Film Festival in Utha, USA ausgezeichnet. Die Weiterverwertungsrechte wurden inzwischen für 10 Mio. Dollar an den Verlag Focus Features abgetreten. Die Filme „Three Woloves“ und „Electric Slide” sollen bald erscheinen.

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Leonid Rozhetskin

Leonid Rozhetskin was born August 4, 1966, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Leonid Rozhetskin is an international financier and lawyer credited with bringing significant financial and legal advances to modern Russia. Leonid Rozhetskin currently co-owns L+E Productions, a movie production company in Los Angeles, California.

Leonid Rozhetskin was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1966, but the Leonid Rozhetskin family immigrated to the United States in 1980. Leonid Rozhetskin attended high school in New York City.

In 1987, Leonid Rozhetskin received a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics from Columbia University with distinction. In 1990, Leonid Rozhetskin graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School.

From 1990 to 1991, Leonid Rozhetskin was a law clerk for Judge Stephen V. Wilson, a federal judge in Los Angeles, California. From 1992 to 1994, Leonid Rozhetskin worked as an attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell and White & Case, both U.S. law firms. In 1992, Leonid Rozhetskin returned to Russia to open his own law firm, representing clients such as the International Finance Corporation (a division of the World Bank), Credit Suisse, Morgan Grenfell and The Moscow Times.

In 1995, Leonid Rozhetskin’s focus shifted from the law to financial ventures. Leonid Rozhetskin was part of a group that founded Renaissance Capital, Russia’s largest and most successful domestic investment bank. While with Renaissance Capital, Leonid Rozhetskin led the firm’s participation in listing the first Russian company on the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1998, Leonid Rozhetskin left Renaissance Capital to co-found the independent venture capital firm LV Finance. The advisory clients of LV Finance included international financier George Soros and founder of CNN Ted Turner. The company invested in a number of highly successful start-up ventures in the media and telecommunications industry, most notably MegaFon, the third-largest mobile phone operator in Russia. In 2003, Leonid Rozhetskin sold his interest in LV Finance.

From October 2001 until January 2005, Leonid Rozhetskin served as Executive Vice Chairman of Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest mining company and the world’s largest miner of nickel and palladium metals. Leonid Rozhetskin led the company’s efforts on transparency, corporate governance and external investment, including the acquisition of a controlling interest in Stillwater Mining Company, a U.S. miner of platinum and palladium metals. Leonid Rozhetskin also pioneered an investment of $1.2 billion to acquire a 20 percent interest in Gold Fields of South Africa. Leonid Rozhetskin currently serves on the Board of Directors of Norilsk Nickel.

This Russian-American financier, Leonid Rozhetskin is also a board member and founding shareholder of City A.M., London’s first free daily business newspaper which covers news on the markets, global and local business as well as contemporary lifestyle features. City A.M. is read by over 100,000 professionals throughout London.

In 2007, Leonid Rozhetskin co-founded movie production company L+E Productions with Eric Eisner to produce feature-length films. Eisner is the son of Michael Eisner, the former Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company.

L+E Production’s upcoming film, Hamlet 2, was selected to screen at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in January 2008. The film premiered at the festival on January 21, 2008. After the screening, an all-night bidding war took place for rights to distribution, which Focus Features won for a near-record $10 million, acquiring worldwide rights to the film. Hamlet 2 is the first Leonid Rozhetskin and Eric Eisner film to be featured at Sundance.

Leonid Rozhetskin will be producing the movie Three Wolves, a film about the Russian mafia.

Leonid Rozhetskin has one son and divides his time between London and Los Angeles.

Leonid Rozhetskin was awarded for the 1989-90 academic year, a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from Harvard University for his special contribution to teaching the undergraduates of Harvard University and Radcliffe Colleges.


Leonid Rozhetskin

Quint dances along with Steve Coogan’s Sexy Jesus in HAMLET 2 at Sundance!

March 5th, 2008

From Ain’t it Cool News

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here finally catching up on my Sundance coverage. In the last month I’ve seen somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-60 films theatrically and another half dozen screeners to add onto that pile.

Of all those movies only about a fifth were damn good and of those only a handful that are what I’d call fuckin’ good or better.

HAMLET 2 made the cut.

Steve Coogan. If that name puts a smile on your face, then get in line now. This is Coogan at his finest. If his name got a “Huh?” response, then that’s okay, too. You’ll be a new fan of his once Hamlet 2 hits and then, I’m sure, you’ll dive into the hilarious world of Alan Partridge.

While Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost broke over here Mr. Coogan was biding his time.

In HAMLET 2, Coogan plays an Arizona drama teacher. In his mind he’s a great actor and in the opening moments of the movie we’re treated to his highlight reel, which consists of bit parts on infomercials and speaking roles in STD treatment commercials.

He gets paid next to nothing, his wife (played by Catherine Keener) is always bitchy to him (she married him and waited for his bit acting career that never came), he’s got a live-in hanger-on (played almost silently by David Arquette) and he’s struggling in a school system that doesn’t value the arts. His classroom has been moved into the cafeteria where his lectures have to compete with the lunch ladies noisily cooking.

In short, his life’s a mess, but he still has a hopeful smile on his face, an almost childlike optimism.

In his new year of teaching he is given a class of delinquents. The irony is not lost on him or the movie as he studies films like DANGEROUS MINDS in order to learn how to make the transition from his pure white-bread theater snob class to a multi-cultural class just trying to get an easy A.

This same year, he finds out that the school has finally cancelled theater and that situation brings the class together to achieve Coogan’s game plan: He’s going to put on a play that is so popular, so good, that the school board will be forced to reinstate the class.

In the past, Coogan’s plays all consisted of stage remakes of popular movies. We’re treated to a glimpse at one of his previous works, a stage version of ERIN BROKOVICH. He has a heated conversation with his biggest critic, the high school newspaper’s entertainment reviewer (a child no older than 12). He asks this kid why he always gets a negative review. The kid simply states that his shows suck. Of course, Coogan breaks down and the kid has to console him and gives him a piece of advice. Do your own thing, don’t just copy everybody else.

With that in mind, Coogan is inspired to create his masterpiece… HAMLET 2. But… everybody dies at the end of Hamlet, right? Aha! Well, that’s where the time machine comes in.

Seriously, the final version that ends up onstage is something they should tour with. You have time travel, historical figures coming in to change the events of the first HAMLET and a dance number involving Christ called SEXY JESUS.

And yes, his main inspiration to sequelize HAMLET is that he thought Shakespeare’s original was too much of a bummer and he wanted a chance to make it happier. He takes the tragedy out of HAMLET, essentially.

I can’t write this up without mentioning a particular actress. One of the secondary stories is the difficulty Keener and Coogan are having conceiving a child. So they go to a sperm bank and while they’re waiting, Coogan bumps into a cute nurse, played by Elisabeth Shue. His mouth hangs open and he says, “Excuse… but you look exactly like my favorite actress Elisabeth Shue.” She smiles and says, “I am Elisabeth Shue.”

And so it goes. She quit acting and became a sperm bank nurse in Arizona… and she’s not a throwaway joke. She is a real character in the movie, playing herself, and boy does she still have it. I’ve had a crush on her since my childhood viewings of ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING and KARATE KID. She’s looking great and is as charming as she’s ever been.

The script was whip-smart, as should be expected from Pam Brady. She works with Trey Parker and Matt Stone a lot on South Park, the South Park movie as well as TEAM AMERICA. She doesn’t disappoint here.

The flick just finished filming in November, so the cut we saw in January I’m sure is still rough. There was a little drag in the middle, but I’m sure they’ll tighten the film a bit before release. Even if they don’t, it’s already hilarious.

It was the biggest pick-up at Sundance, with Focus Features dishing a reported $10 million for it, so you know you’ll see a big release. This’ll be one Sundance movie I”m sure will be at a theater near you no matter where near you is.

Anyway, that’s it for HAMLET 2. Still more Sundance/Santa Barbara flicks to go through before I’m done. Keep an eye peeled, squirts!


Sundance: The Scoop on ‘’Ballast,’’ ‘’Hamlet 2′’

January 28th, 2008


By Owen Gleiberman

Read the whole article.

Sundance Q&A: The Cast of ‘’Hamlet 2′’

January 28th, 2008


By Missy Schwartz

Read the whole article.

Sundance Q&A: The Cast of ‘’Hamlet 2′’

January 28th, 2008


By Missy Schwartz

Read the whole article.

Sundance Q&A: The Cast of ‘’Hamlet 2′’

January 28th, 2008


By Missy Schwartz

Read the whole article.

Sundance BuzzCheck™: The festival’s top seller, ‘Hamlet 2′

January 24th, 2008


Popwatch Blog

The raucous comedy had been the subject of tremendous buzz coming into Sundance…before it was even completed, and without a mere mention in the event’s catalogue. Indeed, the unfinished film was such a late entry into the festival that Park City’s primary premiere location, the Eccles Center, was fully booked. But that didn’t stop Hamlet 2 from knocking Sundance out of its mid-festival doldrums with a rowdy debut screening Monday night at the Library Center theater. The room erupted in hysterics about two minutes into the show, and things stayed that way for nearly two hours.

Read the whole post.

Sundance, Day 7: Why Hamlet 2 Is Hot, Hot, Hot

January 24th, 2008

From E! Online, Reel Girl Blog

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‘Hamlet 2′ is big buy at Sundance Fest

January 24th, 2008

From The Miami Herald

By Ryan Pearson

Read the whole story.

Studios cautiously open their wallets for Sundance films

January 24th, 2008

From USA Today

By Anthony Breznican

Read the whole story.

Trio of deals wakes up Sundance

January 24th, 2008

‘Hamlet 2,’ ‘Henry Poole’ and ‘Choke’ reap big sales

From The Hollywood Reporter

By Steven Zeitchik and Gregg Goldstein

Read the whole story.


January 24th, 2008

From The New York Post

By Lou Lumenick

A late entry to the Sundance program, “Hamlet 2″ was described by several distributors as the first indie this year to have commercial crossover possibilities like “Little Miss Sunshine.”

Read the whole story.

What a piece of work

January 22nd, 2008

From The Hollywood Reporter, Risky Biz Blog

By Gregg Goldstein and Steven Zeitchik

January 22, 2008

Throughout Sundance, distributors have been asking “Indie hit, wherefore art thou?”

The answer may have come Monday evening with “Hamlet 2,” Andrew Fleming’s frequently hilarious story of an overly dramatic high school drama teacher (played by Steve Coogan) who attempts to salvage his department by putting on a controversial musical sequel to Shakespeare’s play.

The late addition to the fest had intermitent lulls, but it also had every top film exec unreservedly gushing outside the Library screening room. The Weinstein Co., Fox Searchlight, Lionsgate, Focus, ThinkFilm, Paramount Vantage and other execs all openly agreeing about how funny it was.

“I heard before I came that it needed a lot of work, but it doesn’t need that much work,” said one buyer. Others said some judicious cutting could bring it big success. At a “Hamlet” dinner afterwards, veteran studio director Fleming (”Threesome,” “Nancy Drew”) said he’d be open to working with a distributor on a refined edit, despite saying he avoided the development process initially. “It”s nothing I haven’t been through before,” he deadpanned.

The film’s satirical take on theater types, modern musicals, high school and high school movies like “Dangerous Minds” resonated with the audience, as did top notch performances by Coogan and Catherine Keener (pictured above), Amy Poehler and the amazing newcomer Skyler Astin, who plays a budding drama student many will recognize.

(Full disclosure: after seeking out Astin to speak with him at the dinner, I realized he currently stars in the Tony-winning best musical “Spring Awakening,” co-produced by an old friend, Amanda Dubois. — Gregg Goldstein)

“Hamlet 2″ came together thanks to producers Eric Eisner as well as “Little Miss Sunshine” producers Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger.” Editors were still cutting the movie as late as December with the possibility that it wouldn”t have made into the festival.

But the filmmakers finished it and got it into the festival just under the wire, not unlike the way the fall’s big indie hit, “Juno,” snuck into Telluride at the last minute.

CAA is selling the title, and top distributors began gathering at their Park City house immediately after the film.

‘Hamlet 2′ Sells After All-Night Bidding War

January 22nd, 2008

From The Wall Street Journal

By Lauren Schuker, January 22, 2008

This just in: After receiving an uproarious reaction from crowds last night, “Hamlet 2” provoked the first major bidding war of the festival. After an all-night battle, the film sold early this morning, according to producer Eric Eisner who only arrived home at 7:30 a.m.

The comedy, which stars Steve Coogan as a failed actor turned high school drama teacher, tells the unpredictable, charmingly offensive tale of a high school drama class that stages a sequel to Hamlet. The film is complete with time machines and a modern-day version of Jesus Christ — with sex appeal and a cell phone.

Equal Opportunity Insults, In Five Acts

January 22nd, 2008

From The New York Times, The Carpetbagger

By David M. Halbfinger

January 22, 2008

Sundance looks to have its first unqualified hit, and a Cinderella story at that, in “Hamlet 2.” A late addition to the film festival, this bawdy romp, starring Steve Coogan as a failed actor-turned-pathetic high-school drama teacher — who stages a musical sequel to “Hamlet,” with a “sexy Jesus” Christ in a starring role — enjoyed a riotous reaction at its premiere in Park City’s library Monday night.

One of the festival’s running themes has been hope and optimism, as most evident in films about people facing down death, among them Amy Redford’s drama “The Guitar” (which didn’t wow audiences on Friday) and Mark Pellington’s lighter-hearted “Henry Poole Is Here” (which played quite well Monday afternoon and immediately drew interest from several buyers).

But “Hamlet 2,” even as it made sure to insult Christians, gays, Latinos, Jews, the A.C.L.U., Hollywood movies about inspiring teachers and one of its lead actresses (Elisabeth Shue), also managed to puncture the death-defying optimism that has hovered over Park City.

As the acquisition teams from Focus Features, Fox Searchlight, Lionsgate, Miramax and the Weinstein Company, among others, filed out into the night – some of them, presumably, to huddle and come up with offers – the non-buying audience hung around for a quick Q-&-A with Andrew Fleming, the director of “Hamlet 2,” and several members of his cast.

Mr. Fleming said he and his writing partner, Pam Brady, had been working on the script for five years, but the idea of a “Hamlet” sequel was much more recent, and the actual play-within-the-movie was written on deadline. “It was this kind of panicked, last-minute thing – ‘let’s write some songs and put on a show,’” Mr. Fleming said.

In the movie Ms. Shue plays herself, oddly enough – or a version of herself that could be so smitten by Mr. Coogan that she’d lick his face (as she did again onstage, for good measure). Why’d she take the role? “I just got the script and it said ‘a famous actress who’s a has-been, lives in Tucson and is a nurse,’” she said. “It was hilarious and I had to do it.”

Industry watching for strike-inspired bidding wars, hot films at Sundance

January 21st, 2008

From CBC News

January 18th

Hamlet 2 is cited as a movie title “that could sneak up under the radar.”

Read the whole article.

Filmmakers Look to Sundance Buying Spree

January 18th, 2008

From The Huffington Post

By Ryan Pearson, January 18, 2008

Read the whole post.

25 films creating buzz among buyers

January 17th, 2008

From Variety

By Sharon Swart

January 16, 2008

Hamlet 2
Steve Coogan toplines as a high school drama teacher who decides to stage a musical sequel to “Hamlet.” Cast includes Catherine Keener and David Arquette. (CAA)

Read the whole article.

2008 Sundance film festival

January 17th, 2008

From The Toronto Sun

By Kevin Williamson, January 17, 2008

THE BUZZ: Movies pegged as potential box-office hits include Sunshine Cleaning (Amy Adams); What Just Happened? (Robert De Niro); The Wackness (Sir Ben Kingsley and Mary-Kate Olsen); Hamlet 2 (Steve Coogan); and Assassination of a High School President (Mischa Barton).

Read the whole article.

Sundance Could Be a Sellers’ Bonanza

January 17th, 2008

From The New York Times

By David Carr, January 17, 2008

Read the whole article.

Quint and Rav preview the 2008 Sundance Film Festival!

January 17th, 2008

From Ain’t It Cool News at

Read the posting.

“A Raisin in the Sun,” “Hamlet 2″ and More Play Sundance Film Fest Beginning Jan. 17

January 17th, 2008

From Playbill

By Ernio Hernandez, January 17, 2008

Also featured at the festival will be “Hamlet 2.” Andrew Fleming directs his and Pam Brady’s script for the film, which stars Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Shue, Amy Poehler, David Arquette and Melonie Diaz. The comedy finds “a high school drama teacher [who] injects love and passion for theatre into his students by creating a musical sequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Read the whole article.

Sundance 2008: Let There Be Light!

January 17th, 2008

From Variety

By Sharon Swart, January 16,2008

Three films seem to be high on buyers’ radars: Premiere comedies “What Just Happened?” and “Hamlet 2,” as well as Dramatic Competition entry “Sunshine Cleaning,” starring Amy Adams and Emily Blunt.

Read the whole article.

Boom looms in Sundance

January 17th, 2008

From the Hollywood Reporter

By Steven Zeitchik and Gregg Goldstein, January 16, 2008

Next week feels far away to many buyers, but distributors already are beginning to eye Plum Pictures’ intergenerational dramedy “Diminished Capacity” and “Hamlet 2,” the comedy-musical starring Steve Coogan that is a late addition to the festival.

Read the whole article.

Strike Makes Fight For Fest Films

January 17th, 2008

From The New York Post

January 16, 2008

Read the whole article.

Play It Again, Sundance

January 17th, 2008

From The Wall Street Journal

By Lauren Schuker, January 12, 2008

“Buyers say they are looking carefully at three star-packed films aimed at young audiences: “Hamlet 2″ (with Elisabeth Shue), about a high-school drama course that puts on a musical sequel to Shakespeare’s play…”

Read the whole article.

Eclectic mix practices Sundance steps

January 15th, 2008

From The Hollywood Reporter

By Steven Zeitchik and Gregg Goldstein
Jan 15, 2008

The prototypical indie producer has evolved too. One of the most buzzed-about titles this year is the last-minute addition “Hamlet 2,” an irreverent comedy musical starring Steve Coogan. It comes from new film producer Eric Eisner — yes, he’s the son of that Eisner, former Disney CEO Michael.

In another era, Eisner the younger might have gone to work as a conglomerate executive like the Murdoch sons, but he decided to branch out. “I’ve always been a little more entrepreneurial,” he said. “There’s a thrill in building a company and starting from scratch.”

Read the whole article.

Latest News

January 10th, 2008

Fleming’s ‘Hamlet 2′ added to Sundance
From Variety

Sundance adds Coogan comedy Hamlet 2 to premieres
By Jeremy Kay
From Screen International

‘Hamlet 2′ to be among New Frontiers
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From The Hollywood Reporter

To be or not to be, again
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From Salt Lake Tribune

Sundance profile: Graffiti Research Labs
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From Variety

On the New Frontier
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Sundance Announces New Frontier on Main Program
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Take some festival spirit away with you in a limited edition Todd Oldham bag

Celebrate Sundance, don’t sabotage it
By Katie Eldridge
From Park Record

Cockeyed, Moccasin Flats writers from B.C. head to Sundance
From CBC News

Captain Abu Raed
By Lee Marshall
From Screen International

Recycle (Ee’adat Khalk)
By Lee Marshall
From Screen International

Irish short is chosen for Sundance
From RTE, Ireland

By Addie Morfoot
From Los Angeles Times

Q&A with ‘Once’ star Glen Hansard
From Dallas Morning News

Linney once again exudes versatility, credibility
By Michael Phillips
From Chicago Tribune

CRITICS’ POLL ‘07 | “There Will Be Blood” Hailed as Best of 2007 in iW Poll of 100+ Critics; “No End In Sight,” “Away From Her” Singled Out
By Eugene Hernandez
From indieWRE



Leonid Rozhetskin; Party For Sundance Success

Party For Sundance Success

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FORMER Disney chief Michael Eisner‘s son, Eric, has done good. Eric and his partner in L+E Productions, Leonid Rozhetskin, just sold their first film, “Hamlet 2,” at Sundance to Focus Features for a whopping $10 million. The duo celebrated over the weekend with the cast, including Steve Coogan, whom Courtney Love notoriously accused of being Owen Wilson‘s drug buddy last year. Coogan arrived with his new girlfriend, China Chow, and the two hung out with another odd couple: author Jonathan Ames and his new lady friend, singer Fiona Apple. Also on hand was Eric’s girlfriend, alice+olivia designer Stacey Bendet, who just bought a house with her pal Moby in the Hollywood Hills, to be closer to her West Coast-based beau. Bendet will now be splitting her time between Los Angeles and New York – where she is unveiling her collection on Feb. 7 at her West 40th Street showroom.


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Interview with the Cast of Leonid Rozhetskins co-produced Hamlet2


Via Entertaiment Weekly


Sundance Q&A: The Cast of ”Hamlet 2

Steve Coogan, Elisabeth Shue, and David Arquette talk about their high-school-set comedy, likely to remain the fest’s biggest acquisition




STEVE COOGAN (left, with Catherine Keener) on Hamlet 2: ”Ours is a film that makes you laugh. It’s not a film that makes you think. But if you want to think, you can”

By the eighth day of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, director Andrew Fleming’s comedy Hamlet 2 remained the biggest acquisition, selling to Focus Features for $10 million. The comedy revolves around a high-school drama teacher (Steve Coogan) who stages a sequel to Shakespeare’s play in order to save his department from budget cuts.

On the afternoon before the film’s premiere, chatted with Coogan and his fellow cast members David Arquette and Elisabeth Shue at EW’s photo studio. (Sadly, Hamlet 2 costar Catherine Keener did not make the trip to Sundance this year.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Are you excited for tonight’s premiere?
DAVID ARQUETTE: I haven’t seen it yet, so I’m nervous. It seems like people have been enjoying it, though.

And you play…?
ARQUETTE: I play Gary. I’m the guy who lives at [Steve Coogan and Catherine Keener’s] house. They only let me live there because I have a car. They don’t have a car. I drive them everywhere. I think I’m supposed to be a trainer in it. I’m very fitness-oriented, but I don’t have any actual clients. I have a small part. I only have about 10 lines in it. And I think one of my scenes got cut, too. I was sad. I play a dumb guy in it. Which I tend to do well.

Well, you’re playing against type.
ARQUETTE: I hope so. [Laughs] Or maybe I’m just dumb.

[Arquette gets called to get his picture taken. Elisabeth Shue steps up.]

Hello. Are you enjoying Sundance?
ELISABETH SHUE: It’s really fun to be back. The most moving time I’ve had at Sundance was two years ago because Davis [Guggenheim, Shue’s husband] premiered An Inconvenient Truth [which he directed] here. That will go down as the most meaningful trip to Sundance. I remember the first screening of An Inconvenient Truth, they gave it a standing ovation. I was crying so much. It still makes me cry thinking of it.

It’ll be hard to measure up to that ever again.
SHUE: I know, it’ll never measure up to that, but it doesn’t have to. I love this movie, actually. It’s really funny. Unique and different. And I just think Steve is a brilliant comedian. I want to do another comedy — and with him. [She points to Coogan, who’s been sitting nearby, ostensibly minding his own business.] I want him to write me a movie where we can be lovers. [Laughs]

[To Coogan] Would you like to join our conversation?
SHUE: Don’t you think he’s hot?

He’s not bad.
STEVE COOGAN: I’m not too pale for a Brit.
SHUE: With his new haircut! He’s got really funny hair in the movie.
COOGAN: It’s kind of ’80s: long, wavy. I had this long, fair hair. It was dyed and bleached and straightened. And then it got so brittle I just had to get rid of it all.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: [To Shue] How did you like working with the great Steve Coogan?
ELISABETH SHUE: Ah…. It was really incredible. It’s so easy.
STEVE COOGAN: We had great chemistry.
SHUE: We did.
COOGAN: We still have great chemistry.
SHUE: I want him.
COOGAN: I want her.

Well, don’t let me stand in the way. [To Coogan] So, what about working with the wonderful Elisabeth Shue?
COOGAN: It was tremendous and stupendous and chemically…
SHUE: Destabilizing.
COOGAN: Destabilizing!
SHUE: He plays this has-been actor whose most important role was being in the background of a herpes commercial.
COOGAN: I was in the foreground of a herpes commercial! The herpes commercial was all about me. And I’ve had a cold sore in real life. Carry on.
SHUE: And then, I play myself, Elisabeth Shue. I’ve quit the business and I’ve gone to Tucson, Ariz., to become a nurse. He comes into the fertility clinic where I work and he’s so excited to see me, because he’s a great lover of film and he thinks I’m just so wonderful.
COOGAN: I’m obsessed with Elisabeth Shue. I metaphorically and literally kiss her ass. And I invite her to my school to give a talk. It’s very exciting. She says some very explicit things. I won’t tell you what they are. But they’re shocking for fans of Elisabeth Shue.

You play yourself — or a version of yourself?
SHUE: It was definitely a version of myself. The first day, I was really self-conscious and nervous because I didn’t know anybody. There were no rehearsals so I just showed up and started shooting. But Steve made me feel comfortable because he was so excited to see me in the scene that it just made me laugh every single time. [She laughs just talking about it] I felt like I understood the version I was supposed to play once he started to react to me.

[To Coogan] And your character — was he fun to play?
COOGAN: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. I play kind of a heroic fool whose heart’s in the right place, but he’s a bit of a jackass and he tries to save the drama department at his school by writing a sequel to Hamlet.
SHUE: It’s a musical!
COOGAN: It’s a happy version. He figures that the original HamletHamlet 1 — it’s a bit depressing when everyone dies at the end. So he wants he want to do a more uplifting, positive, Hollywood version.
SHUE: Jesus is in it. He comes in a time machine.
COOGAN: Jesus Christ. And Albert Einstein. He travels through time and meets a bunch of people.

Wow, so it’s like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure?
COOGAN: It is like that, except that…it doesn’t star Keanu Reeves.

How does it feel to be at Sundance with a comedy?
COOGAN: Great. [At film festivals, there tends to be a lot of] interesting, quirky, odd, individualistic, kind of esoteric films that make you sad. Ours is a film that makes you laugh. It’s not a film that makes you think. But if you want to think, you can. It’s a kind of optional-thinking movie. You don’t have to think too much.
SHUE: Not at all.
COOGAN: Not at all, actually

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The Media Critic on Hamlet2, coproduced by Leonid Rozhetskin

Focus Features Acquires Hamlet 2

Written by on January 22, 2008 – 2:35 pm

Focus Features has acquired worldwide rights to Andrew Fleming’s comedy Hamlet 2, a world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Focus Features CEO James Schamus and president Andrew Karpen made the announcement today.
Directed by Andrew Fleming (Dick, Threesome) from an original screenplay he wrote with Pam Brady (”South Park,” Team America: World Police), Hamlet 2 is produced by L+E Pictures’ Eric Eisner & Leonid Rozhetskin and Aaron Ryder (Memento, The Prestige). The movie was executive-produced by Bona Fide partners Albert Berger & Ron Yerxa (Election).

In the irreverent comedy, a failed actor-turned-worse-high-school-drama teacher (Steve Coogan of Night at the Museum) rallies his Tucson, AZ students as he conceives and stages a politically incorrect musical sequel to Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” The film also stars David Arquette (the “Scream” movies), Melonie Diaz (soon to be seen in Be Kind Rewind), two-time Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener, Amy Poehler (”Saturday Night Live”), and Elisabeth Shue as herself.

Schamus and Karpen commented, “Andrew Fleming and an extraordinary filmmaking team have brought everyone at Focus an amazing New Year’s present. We can’t wait to share this riotously inventive movie with the whole world.”

Eisner said, “We’re extremely excited to work with the talented Focus group on ‘Hamlet 2,’ and we look forward to a bright future for the movie after what was an exceptional response at Sundance.”

Rozhetskin added, “‘Hamlet 2? is the most auspicious imaginable launch for L+E Pictures.”

L+E Pictures was formed in 2007 by Eisner and Rozhetskin with a mission to finance and develop feature-length films. L+E Pictures provides equity financing for films with budgets in the range of $5 to $30 million dollars.

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Leonid Rozhetskin via BuzzCheck

Sundance BuzzCheck™:

The festival’s top seller, ‘Hamlet 2′

Jan 23, 2008, 07:48 PM | by Pop Watch

Categories: Sundance Film Festival 2008

Cooganhamlet2_l To sell or not to sell? That has been the question dogging every fledgling filmmaker at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where sales have been remarkably slow. But it wasn’t a concern for the producers of Hamlet 2 — the bizarro comic farce about an about an eccentric high school drama teacher (Steve Coogan, pictured) who tries to save his drama program and his marriage to his fed-up wife (Catherine Keener) with his production of a sequel to Shakespeare’s masterwork. Their quandary was more about how much to sell their movie for, and to whom.

The raucous comedy had been the subject of tremendous buzz coming into Sundance…before it was even completed, and without a mere mention in the event’s catalogue. Indeed, the unfinished film was such a late entry into the festival that Park City’s primary premiere location, the Eccles Center, was fully booked. But that didn’t stop Hamlet 2 from knocking Sundance out of its mid-festival doldrums with a rowdy debut screening Monday night at the Library Center theater. The room erupted in hysterics about two minutes into the show, and things stayed that way for nearly two hours.

Afterward, Harvey Weinstein hovered by the door, ready to kick off the deal-making. He was far from alone. Producer Eric Eisner and Leonid Rozhetskin, whose L+E pictures financed the film, fielded offers “from all the usual suspects,” including Fox Searchlight and Lionsgate. But it wasn’t until after he spent the whole night hashing things out at the bargaining table in his condo that he finally settled on a deal to sell the worldwide rights to Focus Features for an astronomical $10 million — one of the highest sums ever fetched by any movie in the history of Sundance. Eisner insists it wasn’t simply Focus’ deep pockets that helped that distributor win the bidding war. “We love their whole overall approach to marketing and filmmaking,” say Eisner and Rozhetskin, who will confess that Hamlet 2 outperformed even his high expectations. “It’s been quite a ride. Now it would be nice to get some sleep.” —Christine Spines (with additional reporting by Missy Schwartz)

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