Focus Features announced today that production has commenced on the drama Promised Land. The screenplay was written by Matt Damon and John Krasinski, based on a story by Dave Eggers, and the project was poised to be Damon’s directorial debut before scheduling issues forced him to vacate the director’s chair. Damon’s Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant swooped in and swiftly took over directing duties, and now filming has begun. Focus President Jeb Brody draws some very flattering comparisons when describing the project:
“Matt and John’s script is rich in Frank Capra-esque qualities, blending humor and heart while exploring the power of community in this day and age. An actor’s director like Gus will bring forth all the emotions in the story, which is a true passion project for everyone.”
In addition to Damon and Krasinski, the cast also includes Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook, Rosemarie DeWitt, Scoot McNairy, and Titus Welliver. Hit the jump to read the press release, which includes a plot synopsis.
The previously untitled project written by Matt Damon, John Krasinski and Dave Eggers that was set to be Damon’s directorial debut now has a female lead. Deadline reports that Rosemarie DeWitt (Mad Men) will star in Promised Land. The Capraesque film pits Damon and Krasinski as rival corporate executives, with Damon’s character arriving in a small town only to have his whole life called into question. The supremely talented actor was poised to make the film his directorial debut, but was forced to scale back to only a starring role when schedule conflicts prevented him from devoting a considerable amount of time to pre-production work. Damon’s Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant promptly signed on to helm Promised Land, and production is now poised to begin next month.
DeWitt is probably best known for her multi-season arc on AMC’s Mad Men (she’s one of the first people we met in the pilot), but she’s poised to break big very soon. She had a impressive turns in United States of Tara and Ben Affleck’s The Company Men, and she stars in this summer’s comedy Neighborhood Watch alongside Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill.
It looks like the Gus Van Sant-directed drama starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski now has a title and a distributor. Known as Promised Land, Focus Features and Participant Media had the winning bid for the project co-written by the two stars. Although it was originally meant to be Damon’s directorial debut, scheduling conflicts prevented it. Promised Land stars Damon as a sales executive whose arrival in a small town turns his life upside down. Krasinski will play a rival corporate executive.
Also acquired today by Sony Pictures Classics was the Marion Cotillard-starrer Rust & Bone by director Jacques Audiard (A Prophet). The project is an adaptation from a book of shot stories by Craig Davidson. Hit the jump to check out more from both projects.
Big Miracle (opening in theaters on February 3rd) is inspired by the incredible true story of a family of majestic gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle, and how an entire Alaskan community fought to save them, with the help of rival world superpowers. Animal lover and outspoken environmentalist Rachel Kramer (Drew Barrymore) is made aware of the harrowing situation when her small-town news reporter ex-boyfriend Adam Carlson (John Krasinski) makes a report that ends up going global. Soon, everyone from an oil tycoon to heads of state to ambitious journalists descend upon Barrow, Alaska, in order to unite and free the whales in time.
At the film’s press day, co-stars Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski talked about how unbelievable and impossible this moving true story seemed, reuniting with director Ken Kwapis, and what they loved about working with each other. Barrymore also talked about staying positive in a business that it’s so easy to become cynical in, while Krasinski talked about his desire to direct again and the currently untitled project he’s developing with Matt Damon, for Gus Van Sant to direct. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
Originally, Matt Damon was going to make his directorial debut with a script co-written by The Office star John Krasinski. Due to scheduling conflicts, the untitled project, described as being about a salesman who experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town, is now being directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting), with a projected April start date for shooting.
While at the press junket for Big Miracle, inspired by the incredible true story of rival world superpowers who came together to rescue a family of gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle and opening in theaters on February 3rd, Krasinski talked about the journey the script has taken, why Matt Damon had to drop out as director, and how excited he is to have Gus Van Sant direct his first original script. Check out what he had to say after the jump, and check back for what he had to say about Big Miracle closer to the film’s release date.
We’ve got a couple updates on the latest projects from Oscar-winning screenwriting duo Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (yes, they act too). A few months ago Affleck was chosen by Warner Bros. to direct their big-budget adaptation of the Stephen King novel The Stand. While it’s been a while since we’ve heard any movement on the project, it now appears that Affleck has now set a screenwriter on the pic. After apparently wowing the studio with an adaptation of King’s It, David Kajganich (The Invasion) has been tapped to handle scripting duties. Hit the jump for much more, including news concerning the untitled drama that Damon was previously set to direct.
Yesterday, we reported that Matt Damon had backed out of directing the untitled script he had co-written with John Krasinski, but the two would remain on board to co-star. Today, The Playlist reports and Deadline confirms that Gus Van Sant has stepped in to replace Damon. The “Capra-esque” tale has Damon and Krasinski playing corporate executives. When Damon’s character arrives in a small town, he begins to seriously reexamine his life. Krasinski originally paid Dave Eggers (Away We Go) to write the first draft, and then teamed up with Damon when Eggers was unavailable to do further work on the script. The project can now move forward again with Van Sant on board, but there’s no guarantee that Warner Bros. will make the movie. However, the process of setting the $15 million budget will begin next week.
Hit the jump for more.
Taylor Lautner: Action Star didn’t work out too well, but it’s apparently time to see if audiences dig Taylor Lautner: Indie Star instead. THR reports that the Twilight actor is finalizing a deal to team up with director Gus Van Sant (Milk) on an indie project based on a nonfiction article in The New Yorker that Lautner optioned. Details on the project are slim, but the reports says more information is expected later this week regarding who will be scripting the pic. The actor made his headlining debut with the action film Abduction in September, but the flick performed poorly at the box office and drew a harsh critical reaction (4% on Rotten Tomatoes).
Lautner is bracing for the end of the Twilight franchise by trying to find his niche as an actor. THR says he’s determined to only work with “top directors and writers” from now on, and Van Sant definitely fits that criteria. It appears that Team Lautner is doing a bit of damage control post-Abduction, but I’m not convinced he can handle weighty dramatic material; his stiff delivery is now pretty much a staple of the Twilight franchise. On the other hand, maybe it just takes a director like Van Sant to get a good performance out of the guy. We’ll see soon enough, as they’re aiming to shoot the indie during the first quarter of next year.
Restless tells the story of Annabel Cotton (Mia Wasikowska), a terminally ill teenage girl that falls for a unique young man, named Enoch Brae (Henry Hopper), who likes to attend funerals. Although Annabel is a cancer patient, her deeply felt love of life and the natural world is apparent. On the other hand, Enoch lost interest in living, after an accident claimed the life of his parents. When these two outsiders meet at a funeral, they find a common ground with which to share their unique experiences of the world, making the most of the time they have together.
For the film’s press day, Collider spoke to director Gus Van Sant, in both a roundtable and a 1-on-1 interview, about how the simplicity of this story is what he found most appealing, that he’s drawn to stories about young people because it’s the most vibrant part of life, how Henry Hopper and Mia Wasikowska had just the right chemistry that they were looking for, and that he used a technique of doing silent takes of the scenes, leaving the actors with only their eyes and faces to fall back on. He also talked about directing the pilot for the upcoming Starz drama series Boss, premiering on October 21st and starring Kelsey Grammar, and said that he’s currently looking at scripts to figure out what to do next. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
Is it a rule that a major film festival has to have a disingenuous, painfully quirky coming-of-age film? This year’s Sundance Film Festival had one with Homework (re-titled to The Art of Getting By when it was released in theaters) and TIFF 2011 has at least one with Gus Van Sant’s Restless. A collection of meaningless quirks and affectations, Restless obnoxiously makes it way to the banal conclusion that we must accept death. It succeeds in that it will make you pray for your own demise if it means you don’t have to keep watching such an awful movie.
A new trailer for director Gus Van Sant’s (Milk) new film Restless has been released. The film tells the story of a terminally ill girl (Mia Wasikowska) who, during her last remaining months, befriends a boy (Henry Hopper) whose best friend is a ghost. Van Sant has a knack for small dramas, and judging by the trailer Restless seems to be no exception. Wasikowska and Hopper look great, and the story is quirky with a touch of heartbreak.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. In addition to Wasikowska and Hopper, the film stars Ryo Kase and Schuyler Fisk. Produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, Restless is poised to hit theaters on September 16th.
One of Cannes’ omnipresent directors, Gus Van Sant will return to the South of France this year to present his new film Restless on the opening night of the Un Certain Regard selection, on Thursday, May 12. The Festival kicks off on May 11. Mia Wasikowska, Henry Hooper and Ryo Kase star in this movie about the relationship of two teenagers. Hit the jump for more info and the trailer.
In November of last year, we reported that Sony had moved Oscar-nominated director Gus Van Sant’s (Milk) drama Restless from its January 28th release date to an unspecified date later in 2011. While the film, starring Mia Wasikowska and Henry Hopper, is still without a solid release date (sometime around the fall 2011 festival season might make sense), a press release from Sony earlier today confirms that it has been shifted to the studio’s Sony Pictures Classics division who will handle its domestic distribution.
As a reminder, Restless tells the story of a terminally ill girl (Wasikowska) who befriends a gentleman who attends funerals for the heck of it (Hopper) and their ensuing friendship. You can check out a trailer for the film by clicking here. Hit the jump to check out the full press release.
What do you do in your spare time? Personally, I like to watch a movie, maybe play some video games, read a book, or hang out with friends. Nothing out of the ordinary and certainly nothing productive. What does James Franco do when he’s not starring in movies, winning awards, or co-hosting arguably the biggest awards show of the year? He’s either going to college or teaching college-level classes about himself or planning to adapt acclaimed novels or making 12-hour movies. Cinematical reports that Franco has directed two movies that will show at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills. One is a documentary about River Phoenix while the other is a reportedly 12-hour behind-the-scenes look at the work-a-day process behind Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho. Hit the jump for details on both films.
There used to be a rumor that William Goldman was the true screenwriter behind Good Will Hunting, rather than Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, who won an Oscar for that script. As Goldman himself put it in his denial of the rumor, “People don’t want to think those two cute guys wrote it.“ But it turns out Affleck and Damon actually had help from another film legend: Terrence Malick. Malick happens to be best friends with Affleck’s godfather, so Damon and Affleck visited the director in Boston while they were writing the film. Damon recalls:
“We had it in the script that my character and Minnie’s left together at the end of the movie. Terry didn’t read the script but we explained the whole story to him, and in the middle of the dinner, he said, ‘I think it would be better if she left and he went after her.’ And Ben and I looked at each other. It was one of those things where you go: of course that ‘s better. He said it and he probably doesn’t even remember that he said it.”
Hit the jump for more quotes from Damon on the evolution of the Good Will Hunting script.