International Business Times 10/10/2012

_IntBizTimes_Banner_10_10_IntBizTimes_Headline_10_10Gabriel Gornell quoted in International Business Times piece on 50 Shades of Grey.

By Justine Ashley Costanza

October 10, 2012

On Monday, Universal Pictures/Focus Features (NYSE: GE) announced that little-known screenwriter Kelly Marcel has been hired to pen the screen adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

The highly anticipated film, based on the raunchy bestseller by E.L. James, has regularly made headlines since March, when the studio purchased the rights to the book for a cool $5 million. Months after the deal was announced, the Oscar-nominated team behind “The Social Network,” Michael DeLuca and Dana Brunetti, were chosen to produce the film.

_IntBizTimes_picIn August, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Karen Croner (“One True Thing”), Dan Fogelman (“Cars,” “Tangled”), Veena Sud (“The Killing”) and Marcel were all in the running to adapt “Fifty Shades” for the screen.

It came as somewhat of a surprise when Marcel, who is best known as the creator of the sci-fi TV series “Terra Nova,” beat out her competitors. The plot and mood of “Terra Nova,” which follows a family that travels back in time by 85 million years, have nothing in common with the jaw-dropping BDSM tale that is “Fifty Shades.”

Universal’s choice to hire a writer who has yet to prove herself is risky considering what a challenge it’s going to be to adapt the book. Marcel will have to please the book’s enormous, dedicated fanbase while turning James’ cringeworthy dialogue into something that won’t leave a bad taste in viewers’ mouths. She’ll also have to figure out a way to write the book’s countless explicit sex scenes in a manner that won’t draw too much ire from the MPAA and somehow manage an R rating.

There’s at least one person who doubts Marcel can pull it off – but those might be sour grapes talking. Bret Easton Ellis, who unsuccessfully campaigned on Twitter to be the film’s screenwriter, wasn’t happy with the studio’s decision to hire Marcel.

“Kelly Marcel?!? KELLY MARCEL?!? Kelly Marcel is WRITING the script for ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’?!? THIS is the movie they want to make? ARGH,” the “American Psycho” writer tweeted.

Yet based on statements from the film’s producers, Marcel has demonstrated superior writing skills in her script “Saving Mr. Banks.” The film, which chronicles the 20-year battle to bring “Mary Poppins” to the screen, gained recognition after landing on the list of “Best Unproduced Screenplays” in 2011.

“Kelly’s work demonstrates her flawless structural technique and passionate commitment to emotion, humor and depth of character which is particularly visible in the celebrated screenplay for the upcoming ‘Saving Mr. Banks,’” said De Luca in a statement. “We were all taken with the depth and passion of Kelley’s engagement with the characters and world E.L. James has created and we knew she was the right person to augment our ‘Fifty Shades’ family,” added Brunetti.

The “Unproduced Screenplays List” is referred to as the “blacklist” in the film industry. Started by film executive Franklin Leonard in 2005, the list is released annually. According to the Los Angeles Times, Leonard compiles the list after surveying hundreds of film industry colleagues and learning what screenplays they feel have been wrongly neglected.

These scripts are often referred to “spec scripts” — meaning they are unsolicited projects without agency or studio representation.

According to Screen Rant, “Saving Mr. Banks” was picked up by Disney earlier this year and began filming in September. The film, directed by John Lee Hancock, stars Colin Farrell and Paul Giamatti and is slated for a late 2013 release.

_IntBizTimes_Quote“’The blacklist’ has become somewhat of a go-to monster for producers,” Clint Morris, a writer and producer who serves as the editor of, said in an email. “The list has, especially in the past few years, gained a reputation for unearthing some absolute gems. … The game now almost seems to be:  Get on the blacklist, more so than sell your script to whoever bites. Those in charge of the list pick diligently and probably do a better job than most agency script/studio readers, so near everything on that list is a four-star film waiting to happen.

“I don’t think it’s daffy at all that Universal/Focus hired a blacklist writer. The material (on the list) is usually of such a high standard that it shows someone – like a studio or producer – what one is capable of.”

Morris points out that “50/50,” “The Hunger Games” and “The King’s Speech” were all unearthed after appearing on the list while the Guardian has noted that “Juno” and “Slumdog Millionaire” were also once featured in the lineup of unproduced work.

“Argo,” “Looper,” “Margin Call,” “Snow White and the Huntsman,” and “Crazy, Stupid Love” all made the list in 2010 before they were made into high-profile films.

Recent blacklist discoveries include “The Imitation Game,” a film about Alan Turing which has caught the attention of Leonardo DiCaprio. “Chewie,” a satirical look at the making of “Star Wars,” which appeared on the list, is currently being turned into a film by director Kyle Newman. According to Deadline, Matt Damon’s forthcoming directorial debut, “Father Daughter Time: A Tale of Armed Robbery and Eskimo Kisses,” was recently plucked from the list as well.

Since Marcel has appeared on the blacklist alongside some of Hollywood’s most gifted emerging screenwriters, she seems a reasonable choice for “Fifty Shades.”

According to up-and-coming director and screenwriter Nikhil Melnechuk, Marcel’s status as a talent on the rise, could generate more excitement for “Fifty Shades.”

“The buzz around one’s name or project is both hard to stir up, and fleeting, and these days, sometimes more valuable than proven talent. Someone with promise who is somewhat untested can be more exciting than a known entity, as people in an industry are always looking for the ‘Next Big Thing.’

“‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ was a book that publishing companies took a big risk on when they released into the mainstream,” he continued. “The producers of the film likely wanted a screenwriter willing and able to attempt that sense of risk.”

“There’s always risk in this business, but this doesn’t sound very risky to me,” said Guy Shahar, a director and producer at Priority Films. “Marcel is quite successful, she created her own show, and ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ is going into production. The studio obviously felt comfortable choosing Marcel, and there are many stakeholders there.”

Andrew Lauren, who produced the indie gem “The Squid and the Whale” and runs his own film company, Andrew Lauren Productions, praised Focus/Universal for selecting Marcel.

“I credit the studios for taking a chance on Ms. Marcel,” said Lauren. “I think if a writer has the right tone for a project and there is confidence and belief that they have what it takes to execute. Why not take that chance no matter how many credits they have on their resume?

“Assuming that the story stays intact, and it’s from the perspective of someone innocent and naive who is thrown into the world of kinky sex and the super-wealthy,” he continued, “the choice of an unseasoned writer with a new voice might be fresh and inspired.”



Variety 6/22/2012

_Banner_Veriety_6_22Gabriel Gornell quoted in Variety article on the Emmy rivalry between ‘Today’ and ‘Good Morning America’




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Hollywood Reporter 5/24/2012

_HR_banner_5_24 _HR_headline_5_24 _HR_Photo_5_24 _HR_subhead_5_24_12With barely a month to go before the June 23 Daytime Emmy Awards, HLN has finalized a deal to air the annual awards show.

The 39th edition of the Emmys was left without a TV home when CBS, which aired the show the previous two years, declined to make room on its schedule for the telecast, which was produced by Associated Television International. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences parted ways with ATI, which leased the time from CBS while CBS sold advertising and product placement, after last year’s show. Other broadcast networks declined to pick up the Daytime Emmys, which have struggled to stay relevant in the face of declining ratings and outright cancellation of once mighty daytime soap operas.

This marks the first time the ceremony will air on cable. This year’s telecast will be produced by Gabriel Gornell of LocoDistro and will feature tributes to recently cancelled programs including All My Children and One Life to Live.

”In a statement, Scot Safon, executive vp and general manager of HLN, said the network is “thrilled to work with NATAS to celebrate some of television’s best programs and performances.”

“Every day we focus on the news and information people talk about, and that has included extensive coverage of the Daytime Emmys in the past. This year, we’re very excited to also be carrying the event itself,” he added.

NATAS chairman Malachy Wienges noted that the show will be “fresh” and “creative.” NATAS also promised “surprise guests” and “unusual presenter pairings.”



“It’s exciting be working with both NATAS and HLN on such an important event as the Daytime Emmy Awards,” said Gornell. “I couldn’t have hoped for a better fit with them as creative partners as we pay tribute to some of the very best that entertainment has to offer.

Bill Geddie, executive producer of The View, is this year’s Lifetime Achievement recipient. Barbara Walters will present the award at the black tie ceremony held at the Beverly Hilton.

A host has yet to be named.

Inside Cable News 5/24/2012


2012 Show Includes Tributes to Outgoing Series & Beloved Talent; Spotlight on Innovative Programs

NEW YORK, NY, May 24, 2012—HLN grabs the reigns as the host network of the 39th annual daytime entertainment Emmy® Awards to be presented live from The Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 23, 8-10 p.m., ET/PT, it was announced by Scot Safon, Executive Vice President & General Manager, HLN, and Malachy Wienges, Chairman, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

“HLN is thrilled to work with NATAS to celebrate some of television’s best programs and performances,” said Safon. “Every day we focus on the news and information people talk about, and that has included extensive coverage of the Daytime Emmys in the past. This year, we’re very excited to also be carrying the event itself.”

“The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) is very excited to announce that the 2012 Daytime Entertainment Emmy® Awards will be broadcast live on HLN on Saturday, June 23, from The Beverly Hilton hotel, in Beverly Hills, California,” said Wienges, Chairman of NATAS.

“Working with the show’s producer, Gabriel Gornell of LocoDistro, we are preparing a new, fresh, creative show that will honor all the genres that make Daytime Television part of our daily lives. These shows include Daytime Dramas, Children’s and Animation Programming, Game Shows, Courtroom, Talk, Culinary, and the Morning Shows.”

Wienges also noted that with Barbara Walters presenting Bill Geddie, Executive Producer of “The View” and the “Barbara Walters Specials” with the 2012 Daytime Lifetime Achievement Award, “this will be one of the most exciting Daytime Emmy® broadcasts in years!”

This year’s presentation will feature thoughtful and celebratory tributes to beloved shows that recently have finished their run, including All My Children (nominated for “Outstanding Drama Series”) and One Life to Live; a look back at the daytime TV landscape through the years juxtaposed with today’s innovative programming lineup and platforms; surprise guests and unusual presenter pairings.

Fan input will be an integral part of the presentation with featured segments on air and online at Presenters and additional program information will be announced within a few weeks. The 39th annual daytime Emmy Awards is produced by LocoDistro; Gabriel Gornell is Chief Creative Officer and the show’s producer.

“It’s exciting be working with both NATAS and HLN on such an important event as the Daytime Emmy Awards,” said Gornell. “I couldn’t have hoped for a better fit with them as creative partners as we pay tribute to some of the very best that entertainment has to offer.”


Variety 5/24/2012

_Variety_banner_5_24_Variety_headline_5_24Ending the uncertainty over its broadcast future with barely a month before the black ties hit the Beverly Hilton, the Daytime Emmys have a deal for a new television home with HLN, which will televise the kudos live on June 23.

The 39th edition of the event, which had spent the past two years on CBS, will air live at 8 p.m. Eastern and 5 p.m. Pacific, with encore broadcasts to follow on HLN, which reaches approximately 95 million homes domestically. It will be the Daytime Emmys’ first appearance on cable.

Mark Lucas will direct the kudocast, which drew a 0.8 rating and 3 share among adults 18-49 for CBS last year (airing on a Sunday) and 5.4 million viewers overall. A host has not been finalized but is expected to be announced within the next two weeks.

LocoDistro, led by CEO Colleen Seldin and chief creative officer Gabriel Gornell, signed on to produce. The shingle came on board after Associated Television International parted ways with the Daytime Emmys in February.

National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences chairman Malachy Wienges told Variety that the daytime community was “unhappy” with the previous two shows.

The org went to several producers looking for a fresher take.

“After the last show, the daytime community approached NATAS and said that if we have to do the show in 2012 the exact same as in 2010 and 2011, we would rather have an untelevised event and just have a sit-down dinner and honor ourselves in Beverly Hills.” Wienges said.

The new approach will focus on a celebration of daytime TV at a time of transition for the industry, which has seen such defining dramas as “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” leave the air in the past year.

_Variety_5_24_quote_1Word of HLN’s interest in the Daytime Emmys emerged in early May. HLN exec veep and general manager Scot Safon said that from the first moment the cabler was approached in March as a potential television partner, there was a natural fit.

“HLN focuses on news stories and information and things that our audience wants to talk about,” Safon said. “That includes the celebrations like the Emmy awards. If there’s a fanbase there, which for daytime television is an enormous fanbase, and the show was really going to delight that fanbase, then we were interested in presenting that — because that’s a news event to them.”

HLN and parent company Turner, which also provides the annual home for the Screen Actors Guild awards on TNT and TBS, are developing a number of promos to draw attention to the kudocast.


_Variety_5_24_quote_2There had been speculation, following the withdrawal of ATI and CBS, that the Daytime Emmys might end up as a webcast or untelevised on any medium, but Wienges said that was not a possibility given the interest from “a couple of cable companies and agencies.”






People Magazine 3/7/2011

_People_banner_3_7In 2011 the star-studded tribute special conceived and executive produced by Gabriel Gornell received full-page coverage in People Magazine.  The special included such acts as Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Tim McGraw, Darius Rucker, Wynonna Judd, Alison Krauss, and many more.  _People_KennyCover_People_KR_Page

Business Of Film 4/15/2010

_BizOfFilm_Banner_4_15 _BizOfFilm_Photo_4_15April 15, 2010

For Locomotive Entertainment Distribution, founded in September 2009 as a division of The Locomotive Entertainment Group, MIPTV 20 marks the company’s first official outing to MIPTV, at which Colleen Seldin, Locomotive Distribution’s President, announces acquisition of two informative children’s series for buyers in the international marketplace: B. I. Group’s Bubble Bubble Cook and Moray Black Productions’ Job Jumpers from Emmy Award-winning producer, Len Stone (“What’s Up?”).

Gabriel Gornell, Chief Creative Officer of Locomotive Distribution said: “I fell in love with Bubble Bubble Cook moments after meeting Joon Lee at Kidscreen. The creative is so fresh and so funny… and the fact that “Bubble” supports kid nutrition and good eating habits is hugely important for us. “

Colleen Seldin, President Locomotive Distribution added: “Job Jumpers is equally important as it inspires kids to think about their futures and showcases careers with hands on experience. We hope that both of these deals are the start of two great partnerships for the future.”

Joon Lee, Producer B.I Group commented: “Locomotive Distribution is the perfect fit for B.I. Group and Bubble Bubble Cook. They’ve got the right mix of sales experience, worldwide reach, and creative firepower. We’re excited about working with them to take this property to audiences outside of Korea, where we premiered last month.”

Producer, Len Stone said: “When the idea of Job Jumpers occurred to me, I ran the idea past several colleagues of mine. Everybody (and their kids) thought it was a great concept, including Moray Black Productions. In partnership with Moray’s company, I produced a 30 minute pilot that turned out to be….as the kids would say….Totally Awesome!”

Moray Black of Moray Black Productions concluded: “Both Len and I agree that our greatest stroke of good fortune was when Gabe and Colleen with Locomotive Entertainment Group offered to represent the show. The advice and counsel already provided by Locomotive is proving to be invaluable and their commitment and faith in our program is providing what we believe will be the springboard to our ultimate success.”

About Locomotive Entertainment Group
Founded in September 2009 Locomotive Entertainment Group is a New York City based film and television production company that develops and produces programming as Locomotive Creative Services, with Locomotive Distribution handling worldwide distribution for film, television and new media. The company’s productions span genres including, action, science fiction, horror, comedy, sports, science and technology. Current productions include a broadcast special for Discovery Channel called Tyrannosaurus Sex, and Kenny Rogers: The First 50 years for MGM Grand and Dreamcatcher Entertainment