John Carney’s 2007 film Once was a surprising, touching musical about two musicians falling in love through their love of music. It felt authentic thanks to the naturalistic direction, and real-life musicians Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, who made their acting debuts and fell in love in real life. That kind of chemistry is lightning in a bottle, but it provided Once with a unique and vibrant feel that expertly wove together a love of music and a love story. Carney’s new film, Can a Song Save Your Life?, returns to similar territory but with a more polished approach that diminishes the charm in favor of a more Hollywood-friendly feel. The movie is still funny, good-natured, and most importantly, stresses the joy of sharing music with others. It’s even a little acerbic in its tone towards the music business, but Carney’s film is guilty of the some of the same critiques regarding watered-down entertainment.
The Weinstein Company has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Once writer/director John Carney’s new film Can a Song Save Your Life?. The pic premiered last night at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and instantly became a crowd favorite. Mark Ruffalo stars as a washed up A&R man who discovers a young singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley) soon after being fired, and the two set out to change each other’s fortunes for the better. I had the pleasure of seeing the film earlier today at TIFF and it’s an incredibly sweet and fun pic that has the potential to be a real crowd-pleaser. The soundtrack is fantastic, and Carney finds a fascinating way to both incorporate music and celebrate the beauty of New York City. The pic is rounded out by swell turns from Hailee Steinfeld, Catherine Keener, and the surprisingly effective Adam Levine.
TWC paid a hefty $7 million for the film after a bidding war broke out, and they have committed $20 million in P&A (prints and advertising). It’s unclear whether the studio will release the film this year or next, and while it’s not really an awards movie I could see it doing really well with the holiday crowd. Hit the jump for the press release, and look for Matt’s full review on Collider soon.
Earlier today, the Toronto International Film Festival announced its line-up for their Galas and Special Presentation programs. Among the films with new images and synopses are:
- Devil’s Knot (Directed by Atom Egoyan) Starring Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Kevin Durand, Bruce Greenwood, Mireille Enos, Dane DeHaan, and Stephen Moyer.
- You Are Here (Directed by Matthew Weiner) Starring Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler, and Laura Ramsey.
- Can a Song Save Your Life? (Directed by John Carney) Starring Keira Knightley, Adam Levine, and Mark Ruffalo.
- Dallas Buyers Club (Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée) Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, and Jared Leto.
Hit the jump to check out the images and synopses. The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5 – 15th. [Update: We have removed the image from Labor Day at the request of the studio]
The Toronto International Film Festival has announced part of its line-up for 2013. The festival will kick off with Bill Condon’s Julian Assange movie, The Fifth Estate, and close with Daniel Schecter’s Jackie Brown prequel, Life of Crime. In between, you have the premieres of Ron Howard’s Rush; Jason Reitman’s Labor Day starring Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender; Richard Ayoade’s The Double starring Jesse Eisenberg; David Gordon Green’s Joe starring Nicolas Cage; Atom Egoyan’s West Memphis Three movie Devil’s Knot starring Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon; the North American premiere of Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, and many more. Even the Mike Meyer’s documentary Supermensch that we reported on yesterday will be on hand, so it looks like he’s already completed it. Unfortunately, I’m sure TIFF will front-load their schedule like they always do, so there will be plenty of tough choices, but Gravity and 12 Years a Slave are the must-sees that immediately jump to mind.
Hit the jump for a list of the Galas and Special Presentations. Please note that there are plenty of other categories that will be announced soon including the full Midnight Madness, Documentary, and Masters line-up so stay tuned. The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5 – 15th.
Keira Knightley plays the title character in Anna Karenina, director Joe Wright’s bold, new romantic drama adaptation of the epic Tolstoy story of forbidden love set in 1874 Imperial Russia. The film, which opens in theaters on November 16th, marks the acclaimed director’s third collaboration with the Academy Award-nominated actress and also stars Jude Law and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
At the film’s Los Angeles press day, Knightley talked about what drew her to the project, what about Wright’s vision made it stand out for her, why she saw Anna Karenina as a terrifying character, how she worked with the other actresses to create the impressive on-screen chemistry for the film’s female relationships, how her costumes played a pivotal role in telling her character’s story, why her film choices are all about story rather than where or when it’s set, and how she likes period, sci-fi and fantasy films as a dramatic tool. She also explained why she decided to move away from darker period pieces and do more contemporary films that are pure entertainment including the recently completed music drama, Can a Song Save Your Life?, and the large scale Tom Clancy thriller, Jack Ryan, directed by Kenneth Branagh, in which she stars opposite Chris Pine. Hit the jump to read the full interview.
Keira Knightley plays the title character in Anna Karenina, director Joe Wright’s bold, new romantic drama adaptation of the epic Tolstoy story of forbidden love set in 1874 Imperial Russia, which marks the director’s third collaboration with the Academy Award-nominated actress. We sat down with Knightley at a roundtable interview today to talk about Anna Karenina, and while we were at it we also asked her about her upcoming projects including the Tom Clancy thriller, Jack Ryan, under the direction of Kenneth Branagh, which is currently in production.
Knightley explained why her film choices are all about story rather than where or when it’s set, how she likes period, sci-fi and fantasy films as a dramatic tool, why she decided this year to move away from darker period pieces and do a couple contemporary films that are pure entertainment including the recently completed music drama Can a Song Save Your Life? and the large scale thriller, Jack Ryan. In Jack Ryan, Knightley plays the female lead opposite Chris Pine who steps into the titular role played previously by Alex Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. Hit the jump for more.
While walking the floor of the American Film Market (AFM) this morning, Steve was able to grab some images and synopses for a few upcoming films. Briefly:
- Rush – Director Ron Howard’s 1970s drama focuses on the rivalry between Formula 1 racers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl). The film opens September 20th, 2013.
- Can a Song Save Your Life? – This uplifting music-centered drama comes from Once director John Carney and centers on the relationship between a struggling musician (Keira Knightley) and a music producer (Mark Ruffalo) in New York City. The cast also includes Hailee Steinfeld, Adam Levine, and Catherine Keener.
- Thérèse – This adaptation of the classic novel stars Elizabeth Olsen as a young woman trapped in an arranged marriage who conspires with her lover (Oscar Isaac) to dispose of her sickly cousin husband (Tom Felton). Jessica Lange also stars.
Hit the jump to check out images and detailed synopses for all three films.
We’ve got a few casting stories to share this afternoon. Briefly:
- Chris Pratt is in talks to star opposite Vince Vaughn in the comedy remake of Starbuck.
- Mos Def has joined Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley in the music-themed drama Can a Song Save Your Life?
- X-Men: First Class star Lucas Till is in talks to lead the werewolf film Wolves.
Hit the jump for more details.
What would you say to a few casting notices?:
- Catherine Keener will star opposite Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo in the music drama Can a Song Save Your Life?
- Dermot Mulroney and Josh Henderson will star in the indie thriller Swelter
- Kevin Durand joined the ever-growing cast of Devil’s Knot, a true crime drama about the West Memphis 3.
Hit the jump for details on each project.
Here’s your latest fix for relevant casting news. Check them out at a glance below:
- Cam Gigandet (Easy A) has joined Emily Browning in director Catherine Hardwicke’s Plush.
- James Corden (The History Boys) has boarded not one, but two projects: Can a Song Save Your Life? and One Chance.
- Cristin Milioti (Year of the Carnivore) is in talks to join the Martin Scorsese picture, The Wolf of Wall Street.
- David Lyons (The Cape) is the latest addition to Relativity’s romantic thriller, Safe Haven.
Hit the jump for more on each project.
We’ve got a few casting stories to share this evening. Briefly:
Hit the jump for more on each film.
Hailee Steinfeld has joined Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson in Can a Song Save Your Life?, the new film from Once director John Carney. As we previously reported, the “feel-good” romance centers on a washed-up A&R man (Ruffalo) who forms a passionate bond with a young singer-songwriter (Johansson) from out of town, and they try to help each other change their fortunes for the better. According to THR, Steinfeld will play Ruffalo’s daughter. Judd Apatow will executive produce, and the production is eyeing a June start date.
Steinfeld is currently shooting a period-adaptation of Romeo and Juliet co-starring Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti. She’s also attached to play Petra in the long-awaited adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, and she’s set to star to the sci-fi film Forgotten. Steinfeld blew me away in True Grit, and while it currently looks like we may not see her in 2012, she’s poised to have a monster 2013. It will be good to see her back.
We’ve got a few casting stories for you this evening. First up, Scarlett Johansson is set to star in John Carney’s (Once) music-oriented film Can a Song Save Your Life?. The Sunday Business Post Online (via The Playlist) reports that Judd Apatow will produce the pic, which centers on “a washed-up A&R man who forms a passionate bond with a young singer-songwriter (Johansson) from out of town.” Carney wrote the screenplay, and Mark Ruffalo and Jim Carrey have been rumored for the male lead. Filming begins in New York next year.
Additionally, Wizards of Waverly Place star Jake T. Austin has landed the role of Huck Finn in Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn. Joel Courtney (Super 8) is in talks to take on the role of Tom Sawyer. Variety reports that Austin is in final negotiations to star in the adaptation of the Mark Twain classic, which Jo Kastner is directing with filming expected to get underway this August in Bulgaria. Hit the jump for the casting news of Mia Maestro joining Oliver Stone’s Savages.