Champs-Elysées Film Festival Honors Indie Genius Whit Stillman, Plus a Retrospective on His Films and More on His Upcoming Project THE COSMOPOLITANS

by     Posted 105 days ago

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The most famous avenue in the world was transformed into a mini Cannes for one week. The Champs-Elysées Franco-American Film Festival in Paris screened both indie and major studio films from both sides of the Atlantic in theaters up and down the Champs-Elysées. But it was worth braving the waves of tourists, who were more copious than ever, for the program’s third edition.

One of the highlights this year was the Whit Stillman retrospective. Sure, the indie filmmaker has only made four movies in about 24 years:  Metropolitan, nominated for an Oscar in 1990 for Best Original Screenplay; Barcelona (1994); The Last Days of Disco (1998); and Damsels in Distress (2011). But with his keen eye and ability to create poignant characters, Stillman is often compared to Eric Rohmer and Woody Allen.  Hit the jump for more on the Stillman retrospective from the Champs-Elysées Film Festival.

Director Whit Stillman and Greta Gerwig Talk DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, Favorite Movies, Karaoke, and More

by     Posted 2 years, 176 days ago

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Opening this weekend is writer-director Whit Stillman‘s (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco) first movie in thirteen years: Damsels in Distress.  Filled with the unique characters and dialogue that populate all of his works, Stillman’s latest film is about a group of college coeds (Greta Gerwig, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Carrie MacLemore, Adam Brody, and Analeigh Tipton) whose friendship is threatened by a series of romances, “including slick Charlie (Brody), dreamboat Xavier (Hugo Becker), the mad frat-pack of Frank (Ryan Metcalf), and Thor (Billy Magnussen) — who threaten their friendship and sanity.”  For more on the film, here’s the trailer.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I got to speak with Stillman and Gerwig. We talked about the dialogue, favorite movies and actors, karaoke, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Megalyn Echikunwoke and Carrie MacLemore Talk DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, Favorite Movies, Karaoke, Whit Stillman, and More

by     Posted 2 years, 177 days ago

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Opening this weekend is writer-director Whit Stillman‘s (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco) first movie in thirteen years: Damsels in Distress.  Filled with the unique characters and dialogue that populate all of his works, Stillman’s latest film is about a group of college coeds (Greta Gerwig, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Carrie MacLemore, Adam Brody, and Analeigh Tipton) whose friendship is threatened by a series of romances, “including slick Charlie (Brody), dreamboat Xavier (Hugo Becker), the mad frat-pack of Frank (Ryan Metcalf), and Thor (Billy Magnussen) — who threaten their friendship and sanity.”  For more on the film, here’s the trailer.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I got to speak with Megalyn Echikunwoke and Carrie MacLemore.  We talked about trying to deliver Stillman’s unique dialogue, how familiar they were with his previous films when they got the roles, favorite movies and actors, karaoke, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Analeigh Tipton and Hugo Becker Talk DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, Favorite Movies, Karaoke, Whit Stillman, and More

by     Posted 2 years, 178 days ago

Analeigh-Tipton-Hugo-Becker-Damsels-in-Distress-interview-slice

Opening this weekend is writer-director Whit Stillman‘s (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco) first movie in thirteen years: Damsels in Distress.  Filled with the unique characters and dialogue that populate all of his works, Stillman’s latest film is about a group of college coeds (Greta Gerwig, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Carrie MacLemore, Adam Brody, and Analeigh Tipton) whose friendship is threatened by a series of romances, “including slick Charlie (Brody), dreamboat Xavier (Hugo Becker), the mad frat-pack of Frank (Ryan Metcalf), and Thor (Billy Magnussen) — who threaten their friendship and sanity.”  For more on the film, here’s the trailer.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I got to speak with Analeigh Tipton and Hugo Becker.  We talked about trying to deliver Stillman’s unique dialogue, how familiar they were with his previous films when they got the roles, favorite movies and actors, karaoke, and you can also watch them impersonate Stillman giving them notes on their line readings.  Hit the jump to watch.

Writer/Director Whit Stillman Talks DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, Blu-ray Releases for His Previous Films, Favorite Movies, Editing, and a Lot More

by     Posted 2 years, 179 days ago

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One of my highlights of last year’s Toronto Film Festival was getting to sit down with writer-director Whit Stillman.  As a huge fan of Stillman’s first three features (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco), I never thought I’d get the chance to talk with him.  But with Stillman writing and directing his first film in 13 years, Damsels in Distress , he was at TIFF to talk about the project and I jumped at the chance to speak with him.  We talked about what he’s been doing since The Last Days of Disco, the process of making Damsels in Distress, improv, future projects, and a lot more.  You can watch that interview here.

With Damsels now getting released this weekend, last week I sat down with the great director for a follow up interview.  We talked about how he had to make a few edits to get a PG-13 release, the soundtrack, the hardest scene to edit, filming on Staten Island, the status of a Blu-ray release for his previous films, his favorite films, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch and make sure you check out Damsels in Distress if it’s playing near you!

Megalyn Echikunwoke Talks Showtime’s HOUSE OF LIES, DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, and NBC Pilot BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE

by     Posted 2 years, 213 days ago

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On Showtime’s outrageous comedy series House of Lies, Megalyn Echikunwoke plays sultry temptress April, the love interest of management consultant Marty Kaan (Don Cheadle). This season, she has also recurred on The CW’s reboot of 90210, as the stylish and conniving Holly. Next up, she is playing one third of a trio of girls set out to revolutionize college life at a grungy American University, in the smart and quirky comedy Damsels in Distress, from writer/director Whit Stillman (The Last Days of Disco). And, the busy actress has also signed on for the innovative new NBC pilot Beautiful People, taking place in a not-too-distant future where mechanical human beings exist to service the human population, until some of the mechanicals begin to awaken.

During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, Megalyn Echikunwoke talked about how her role on House of Lies came about, how physically challenging it was to do a pole dance as her stripper character, how much she enjoyed working with Don Cheadle, and why she thinks it’s important to portray strong women. She also talked about what drew her Damsels in Distress and what it was like working with Whit Stillman, as well as the appeal of the futuristic sci-fi drama Beautiful People, and how she would love the opportunity to do a musical. Check out what she had to say after the jump:

First Trailer for Whit Stillman’s DAMSELS IN DISTRESS Starring Greta Gerwig

by     Posted 2 years, 229 days ago

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I believe there is an uncanny valley in portraying the young and erudite.  I want to see witty movies about the UHB, but only a select few—led by Woody Allen—can write the dialogue without it seeming so stilted.  Whit Stillman is one of the masters.  It’s not that the banter isn’t stiff, rather that is part of the point.  And it helps when you have stars like Greta Gerwig, Adam Brody, and Analeigh Tipton voicing the characters as Stillman does in his latest, Damsels in Distress.  Gerwig, Tipton, Megalyn Echikunwoke, and Carrie MacLemore star as a group of coeds whose friendship is threatened by a series of romances, “including smooth Charlie (Brody), dreamboat Xavier (Hugo Becker), the mad frat-pack of Frank (Ryan Metcalf), and Thor (Billy Magnussen).”  Damsels in Distress opens in limited release on April 6. Hit the jump to watch the trailer.

Exclusive: Whit Stillman’s DAMSELS IN DISTRESS Poster Starring Greta Gerwig

by     Posted 2 years, 234 days ago

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Today, we’re proud to premiere the poster for Whit Stillman‘s Damsels in Distress.  The film centers on a group of women in college whose friendship is strained when they become romantically entangled with a series of men.  Damsels is Stillman’s first film since 1998′s The Last Days of Disco, and I’m bummed that a last-minute schedule change at the Toronto International Film Festival caused me to miss it.  Thankfully, Steve said it was great and the film is set to hit theaters this spring where I’ll be sure to catch it.

Hit the jump to check out the poster and here’s Steve’s exclusive interview with Stillman on the film.  The film stars Greta Gerwig, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Carrie MacLemore, Analeigh Tipton, Hugo Becker, Ryan Metcalf, Billy Magnussen, and Adam BrodyDamsels in Distress opens in limited release on April 6th.

Exclusive: Whit Stillman Talks DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, Future Projects, and the Last 13 Years at TIFF

by     Posted 3 years, 2 days ago

Whit Stillman DAMSELS IN DISTRESS interview TIFF 2011

One of my highlights of this year’s Toronto Film festival was getting to sit down with writer-director Whit Stillman.  As a huge fan of Stillman’s first three features (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco), I never thought I’d get the chance to talk with him.  But with Stillman writing and directing his first film in 13 years, Damsels in Distress , he was at TIFF to talk about the project and I jumped at the chance to interview with him.  Since Damsels doesn’t get released until next year, I decided to use more of the time to talk about what he’s been doing for since The Last Days of Disco and what’s coming up in the future.  While I hoped he’d jump into another film immediately, he tells me:

“I doubt if, in the best case scenario, there’d be anything underway in 2012. I have to write a commission, get some money, a paid job that I hope might lead to something. I do have these other scripts, the only one I talk about now is the Jamaica one, because I don’t wanna talk about stuff that doesn’t happen and that one’s already lost its virginity, and so I can still talk about it, so that’s one of sort of three projects.”

In addition, if you’re like me and patiently waiting for his first three films to hit Blu-ray, he revealed Criterion is trying to get the rights to Barcelona but he had no idea when the films would hit HD.  Hit the jump to watch the interview.

TIFF 2011: First Images from DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, GOON, PAGE EIGHT, and VIOLET & DAISY

by     Posted 3 years, 45 days ago

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Damsels in Distress (starring Greta Gerwig and Adam Brody), Goon (starring Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, and Liev Schreiber), Page Eight (starring Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, and Ralph Fiennes), and Violet & Daisy (starring Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledel, and James Gandolfini) are all playing at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.  We have images for these films.  We think you’d like to see them.

Hit the jump to check out the images.  The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8 – 18th.

TIFF 2011: PAGE EIGHT, SLEEPING BEAUTY, VIOLET & DAISY, and More Added to Galas and Special Presentations Line-Up

by     Posted 3 years, 45 days ago

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A task can’t get “more impossible”, but the prospect of seeing everything I want at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival just got more impossible.  We’ve already shown you the incredible line-ups for the Galas & Special Presentations, Real-to-Reel (Documentary), Midnight Madness, Vanguard, TIFF Kids, City to City, Canadian Features, and Canada First! programs. Now even more must-see movies have been thrown into the mix.  TIFF has announced that the spy thriller Page Eight (starring Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, and Ralph Fiennes) will be the closing night film in the Galas section.  Other films added to Galas and Special Presentations include Sleeping Beauty (starring Emily Browning), Winnie (starring Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard), Intruders (starring Clive Owen), Violet & Daisy (starring Saoirse Ronan and Alexis Bledel), and more.

Hit the jump to check out the additions to the Galas and Special Presenations line-up.  The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8 – 18th.  Click here for all of our TIFF 2011 coverage.

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Whit Stillman’s VIOLET WISTER’S DAMSELS IN DISTRESS

by     Posted 3 years, 185 days ago

Sony Pictures Classics has picked up the worldwide distribution rights to Whit Stillman’s new film Violet Wister’s Damsels in Distress.  Formerly titled just “Damsels in Distress“, the movie is first Stillman’s first picture since 1998′s The Last Days of Disco.  The comedy stars Greta Gerwig, Adam Brody, and Analeigh Tipton and centers on a group of young women who set out to revolutionize life at a grungy East Coast university.  I know fans of Stillman can’t wait to see the flick so hopefully SPC will announce a release date soon.

Hit the jump for the full press release.

First Images from Whit Stillman’s DAMSELS IN DISTRESS

by     Posted 3 years, 245 days ago

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The first stills from writer/director Whit Stillman’s Damsels in Distress have landed online.  For those of you keeping track at home, Damsels in Distress is Stillman’s first film since 1998′s The Last Days of Disco and tells the story of a group of style-obsessed girls who take in a new student (Greta Gerwig) with the intention of teaching her the ways of semi-helping people/actually ostracizing people at their college.  Although the project is currently without a release date, Gerwig recently discussed the film with Steve in an exclusive interview where she mentioned that it’s looking at a fall release.

Hit the jump to check out the stills.  In addition to Gerwig, Damsels also stars Adam Brody, Analeigh Tipton, Ryan Metcalf, and Caitlin Fitzgerald. [Update: The film company behind Damsels in Distress has requested that we remove the Damsels images.  Given our great respect for Stillman's work, we have complied.]

Greta Gerwig Exclusive Interview; Talks NO STRINGS ATTACHED, Whit Stillman’s DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, and the Remake of ARTHUR

by     Posted 3 years, 253 days ago

If you’re an indie film watcher, you already know Greta Gerwig.  But while many of us are familiar with her great work in such films as The House of the Devil, Baghead and Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg, she’s still not on everyone’s radar.  But that’s about to change.  That’s because Gerwig plays one of Natalie Portman’s friends in No Strings Attached, she stars opposite Russell Brand in the remake of Arthur, and she’s also in Whit Stillman’s (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco) new movie Damsels in Distress.  What that means is…she’s right on the verge of being a mainstream star.

Anyhow, I recently got to do an extended interview with Gerwig and we talked about all three of her upcoming projects.  If you’ve been waiting (like me for Whit Stillman to finally make another movie, the great news is she thinks Stillman might not stop with Damsels in Distress.  In addition to spending way too much time talking about Stillman, Gerwig talks about her love of Elizabeth Meriwether and Ivan Reitman, making No Strings Attached, what making Arthur was really like, and so much more.  Hit the jump to either watch, read or listen to the interview:

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