One of my favorite films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was writer/director Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash. The film stars Miles Teller as an aspiring jazz drummer who aspires to greatness under a ruthless instructor, played brilliantly by J.K. Simmons. While the film focuses on musicians, it’s really about anyone trying to become great at something and the cost of achieving said goal. Trust me, it’s a great movie, and one you’ll be able to see by the end of the year because Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film for domestic distribution. Whiplash also won both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize for the U.S. Dramatic competition at Sundance. For more on the film, read Matt’s review.
While at Sundance, I landed a short video interview with director Damien Chazelle, Paul Reiser (who plays Teller’s dad) and Austin Stowell (another drum student). They talked about the positive reaction to the film, whether the project changed during development, the making of the film, getting it ready for Sundance, and more. Hit the jump to watch.
We know “greatness” demands sacrifice. It’s blood, sweat, and tears, and if you’re not willing to dish out all three constantly and consistently, then hey, you’re not worthy of your dream. Physical greatness, the greatness of athletes, for examples, is easily quantifiable. But when that physicality is blended with musical expression, it becomes something more vague, complex, and fascinating. Writer-director Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash provides an intense and disturbing exploration of the primal drive to dominate and achieve greatness but at a horrific cost. Anchored by extraordinary performances from lead actors Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, Chazelle’s film never loses its brooding, unnerving energy even as it stumbles trying to find a fitting crescendo.
A couple of heavy hitters in casting news today. Here are the headlines at a glance:
Hit the jump for more on each project.
Two new casting additions for a couple of thrillers to report today. Here they are at a glance:
- Elijah Wood has been cast in the indie thriller, Grand Piano, pitched as “Speed at a piano.”
- Pierce Brosnan is set to join the action drama The Coup alongside Owen Wilson.
Hit the jump for much more.
Following on the heels of the original’s financial success, a sequel to 2010′s The Last Exorcism is now in the works. Heat Vision reports that Damien Chazelle will pen the script for the follow-up which is scheduled to begin production this fall. Chazelle, a Harvard grad whose debut feature Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench premiered at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, also penned the 2010 Black List script The Claim which was picked up last October. Most recently, the busy scribe sold his thriller screenplay Grand Piano to producer Adrian Guerra (Buried) who has Eugenio Mira attached to direct.
As for The Last Exorcism, details are sparse regarding Studio Canal’s sequel. Director Daniel Stamm’s original was made on a budget of around $1.5 million and took in approximately $62.5 million at the worldwide box office. The pic took a found-footage approach and centered on a preacher who allows a film crew to document his final foray into exorcism land. Those interested can find our review of that film by clicking here.