[This is a re-print of my review from the 2011 Toronto Film Festival]
In Anonymous, Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) tells young playwright Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto), “All artists have something to say because otherwise they’d just make shoes.” It’s a funny quote when you consider that director Roland Emmerich‘s previous filmography is mainly comprised of brainless blockbusters like Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012. Anonymous, a political thriller wrapped in a conspiracy theory, could not be further from those movies and Emmerich sets out like a man with something to prove. There are no monsters, aliens, cataclysms, and the only explosion is the destruction of the Globe Theatre, which actually did burn to the ground in 1613. The film plays fast and loose with most historical facts (including why the Globe burned down), but it manages to craft an intriguing period piece before getting bogged down in political intrigue and tearing down historical figures.
With series like Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men finding plenty of success and praise, period dramas seem to be all the rage on TV right now (especially with Pan-Am and The Playboy Club on the way this fall). Now another period drama is ready to set sail as Variety reports a new miniseries called Titanic: Blood and Steel is set to begin production in Serbia this week. The series, said to be a cross between Downtown Abbey and Boardwalk Empire, focuses on on designing and building the ship against the class-bound backdrop of Edwardian Belfast, Northern Ireland, where financial pressures led to fatal compromises.
The series will be directed by Ciaran Donnelly (The Tudors) and is in the midst of snagging Neve Campbell to play a reporter covering the liner’s first voyage who may have deeper reasons for being on board while Chris Noth is in talks to play financier J.P. Morgan. Meanwhile, The King’s Speech star Derek Jacobi has already joined the cast as Lord William Pirrie, chairman of ship builder Harland and Wolff, the company that built the ill-fated liner. The three actors join a cast that also includes Ophelia Lovibond, Billy Carter, Massimo Ghini, Branwell Donaghey, Martin McCann and Kevin Zegers (the kid from the first Air Bud). The 12-part miniseries doesn’t yet have a network home (though it’s looking to air during the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking next spring) and will be available to buyers at next month’s Mipcom sales mart in Cannes, so stay tuned as more details become available.
It looks like Emma Thompson’s long-in-development biopic Effie is finally gearing up for production. Thompson wrote the original script, which is a biopic of Effie Gray and centers on her doomed marriage to art critic John Ruskin in 1840’s London. Despite her beauty, Ruskin didn’t consummate the marriage and the devastated Gray eventually fell in love with Ruskin’s protégé, painter John Everett Milias. Deadline reports that Dakota Fanning will star in the title role, taking a part that was previously circled by Carey Mulligan and Saorsie Ronan.
Greg Wise (who is Thompson’s husband) will play Ruskin, and it appears that Tom Sturridge (Pirate Radio) will be playing Milias instead of previously mentioned Orlando Bloom. Rounding out the cast is Julie Walters and Derek Jacobi as Ruskin’s parents, Thompson as Lady Eastlake, the woman who takes the suffering Effie under her wing, and Edward Fox is in talks to play Eastlake’s husband. Production is set to begin October 17th in Scotland, London and Venice. Richard Laxton (An Englishman in New York) is directing.
Opening today, in limited release, is one of the best films of the year and something that’s absolutely getting nominated for every major award: director Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech. I caught a screening at the Toronto Film Festival and was floored by how much I loved the film. In fact, after the Festival ended, only two films stayed with me: The King’s Speech and Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.
If you never saw the trailer, it’s based on the true story of King George VI (Colin Firth) and how he overcame a debilitating speech impediment with the help of an eccentric speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush). The film also stars Helena Bonham Carter as Firth’s wife, and Guy Pearce, Derek Jacobi, Timothy Spall and Michael Gambon.
While I’ve seen a lot of great performances this year, Firth, Rush, and Bonham Carter are all at the top of their game and all three are getting nominations. Anyhow, I recently had the chance to talk with director Tom Hooper and after the jump you can either read or listen to what he had to say. We talked about casting, editing, film vs. digital, awards, working for HBO (he did John Adams), what he has coming up, and a lot more:
Opening on November 26 is one of the best films of the year and something that’s absolutely getting nominated for every major award: director Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech. I caught a screening at the Toronto Film Festival and was floored by how much I loved it. In fact, after the Festival ended, only two films stayed with me: The King’s Speech and Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.
If you never saw the trailer for The King’s Speech, the film is based on the true story of King George VI (Colin Firth) and how he overcame a debilitating speech impediment with the help of an eccentric speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush). The film also stars Helena Bonham Carter as Firth’s wife, and Guy Pearce, Derek Jacobi, Timothy Spall and Michael Gambon.
While I’ve seen a lot of great performances this year, Firth, Rush and Bonham Carter are all at the top of their game and all three are getting nominations. They’re that good. For a taste of the movie, the Weinstein Company has provided us with 4 clips. Hit the jump to watch:
We have the first teaser trailer for director Roland Joffe’s (The Killing Fields) upcoming epic, There Be Dragons. The film tells the story of “two childhood friends who become separated during the political conflict to find themselves on opposite sides as war erupts.” Rodrigo Santoro, Olga Kurylenko, Derek Jacobi, Wes Bentley, Charlie Cox, Dougray Scott, and Golshifteh Farahani star.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer and to read a plot synopsis for the film.