Now in its third year, the Athena Film Festival, a celebration of women and leadership held at Barnard College in New York, is an engaging weekend of feature films, documentaries and shorts that highlight women’s leadership in real life and the fictional world. Co-chaired by producer Debra Martin Chase, filmmaker Mira Nair, actress Greta Gerwig and writer/director Diablo Cody, among others, the four-day festival, which has quickly established itself as one of the most prestigious festivals of its kind, includes conversations with directors and Hollywood stars, and workshops for filmmakers.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, Cody talked about what sets the Athena Film Festival apart from other film festivals, why she wanted to get involved, the female writers and directors that she admires, and what it means to her when young women or aspiring filmmakers tell her that she’s inspired them. She also talked about why she decided to make her directorial debut with Paradise (she’s 99% sure that’s the title now) and what made Julianne Hough her leading lady, and said she was still working on the Sweet Valley High movie (based on the books by Francine Pascal), that it’s a musical with songs written by Tony Award winners Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, and how she saw that project as a great opportunity to tell those stories and appeal to the people who grew up with them, but also subvert them and make it really funny. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
BrandX with Russell Brand features the British comedian’s honest and unfiltered point of view on current events, worldwide politics and popular culture. After a somewhat experimental series of six episodes, FX has ordered another seven installments that will return sometime in October, likely behind the new seasons of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League.
While at the FX portion of the TCA Press Tour, Collider got the opportunity to participate in both the show’s panel and a 1-on-1 interview with the always outrageous and often thoughtful Russell Brand, in which he talked about what the experience of this show has been like, whether it’s been more fun or more work than he expected, what he enjoys about having such honest interactions with his audience, the creative changes he’s planning to make with the show, who he would like to exchange lives with for a day, and what he would do, if he could be President of the United States. He also talked about working with Diablo Cody on her directorial debut, his career doing family films, and how it’s been difficult to book time to do his voice work for Despicable Me 2 because they keep wanting to record during his yoga class, but that he will definitely be in it, eventually. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
Having just recently wrapped the starring role in Juno scribe Diablo Cody’s untitled directorial debut, Julianne Hough is now attached to reteam with Cody on the romantic dramedy Time and a Half for Groundswell Productions and Mad Chance Productions. Hough will play a recent college grad who runs into her sister’s high school boyfriend while taking a temp job at a trophy store. To complicate matters, she once had a one-night stand with said high school boyfriend. Cody wrote the script and Ol Parker (Imagine Me & You) is set to direct the pic.
Variety reports that the filmmakers are currently searching for the right actress to play Hough’s sister, and the project won’t go forward until they’ve filled the role. The plan is to start production next year should everything come together. Hough will next be seen in the Nicholas Sparks adaptation Safe Haven, which opens next Valentine’s Day.
On Season 2 of the Showtime comedy series Episodes, it is four months after the events of Season 1 and Pucks! has gone from a pilot to full-blown series while its creators, Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig) are no longer living together. As Beverly struggles to save her marriage, Pucks! star Matt LeBlanc is determined to save his bromance with Sean, network head Merc Lapidus (John Pankow) is trying to salvage the plummeting ratings, and his second-in-command and mistress Carol (Kathleen Rose Perkins) is just trying to get the recognition she deserves.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Kathleen Rose Perkins, whose pitch-perfect performance is both hilarious and heart-breaking, talked about what fans can expect from the new season, the advantage of getting to have the same writers and director for the entire season, how they stick to exactly what’s written in the script, and how exhausting it is to play someone so high-strung. She also talked about playing a haggard Las Vegas prostitute in Diablo Cody’s untitled feature directorial debut, about a woman (played by Julianne Hough) who denounces her faith in the Christian church, and then goes to Vegas for a night and meets all these different types of people just so that she can experience sin. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
Filming has begun on Fede Alvarez‘ remake of Sam Raimi‘s classic 1981 horror film The Evil Dead. Raimi is producing alongside original co-producer Rob Tapert and franchise star Bruce Campbell. Alvarez co-wrote the screenplay with Rodo Savagues with Diablo Cody also doing some work on the script, which she calls “unbelievably violent.“ The remake will keep the “five co-eds head to a cabin in the woods, and bad things happen” of the original, but since Raimi’s The Evil Dead was one of the forefathers of the genre, it’s immune from the scathing satire of The Cabin in the Woods. The remake stars Jane Levy (Suburgatory) as Mia; Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood) as David; Lou Taylor Pucci (Carriers) as Eric; Jessica Lucas (Cloverfield) as Olivia, and Elizabeth Blackmore (Legend of the Seeker) as Natalie. Like the original, the characters stumble upon the Book of the Dead, read from it, and are possessed until only one is remaining.
Hit the jump for the press release. The Evil Dead is slated for April 12, 2013.
Even though Jason Reitman is the director of Young Adult, and Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson and Patton Oswalt are the leads, writer Diablo Cody comes across as the star and auteur of the film. She wrote Juno – which won her an Oscar and was a huge success – helped create The United States of Tara, and wrote Jennifer’s Body. As to be expected with any success from a larger than life female artist, the backlash was severe and cruel. In many ways Cody is commenting on her haters in Young Adult, a pitch black comedy about a ghost writer (Theron) who goes back to her hometown in the hopes of wrecking a marriage. Our review of the film on Blu-ray follows after the jump.
The cast of Diablo Cody’s directorial debut just got a whole lot more mustache-y. Deadline reports that Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman is set to join a stellar ensemble in the pic that now includes Octavia Spencer, Holly Hunter, Russell Brand, and Julianne Hough. Previously titled Lamb of God, the film centers on a young woman (Hough) who loses her faith after a plane crash and decides to go to Las Vegas to experience the wild side of life. Cody wrote the script and will be trying her hand at directing on the pic.
No details are given as to Offerman’s role in the film, but he’s a fantastic comedic actor who regularly kills on NBC’s Parks and Rec (which, for my money, is the best show on TV right now). Offerman also appears in the upcoming 21 Jump Street as well as Will Ferrell’s Spanish-language comedy Casa de mi Padre. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, I implore you to hit the jump and watch a few gems from his character Ron Swanson on Parks.
There has been a bit of revolving casting going on with The Evil Dead remake as Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror) was set to star and then left the project. But it looks like the leads are set now with Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood) and Jane Levy (Suburgatory) in place. Lou Taylor Pucci (Carriers) is now in talks to join the project, a reimagining of Sam Raimi’s 1981 original that follows a group of teens who unleash a horde of demons through their discovery of the Book of the Dead. Pucci is expected to play Eric, an overly curious intellectual type who stirs up most of the trouble. Hit the jump for more on The Evil Dead, as well as a casting addition to Django Unchained.
Now playing in limited release is director Jason Reitman’s (Up in the Air) great new movie, Young Adult. Written by Diablo Cody (Juno), the film centers on an alcoholic young adult novelist (Charlize Theron) who ventures back to her hometown in order to pursue her now-married high school boyfriend (Patrick Wilson). Patton Oswalt co-stars as Theron’s former classmate. While Young Adult could have easily taken the familiar steps of “bad person goes home and turns everything around”, I’m happy to report Reitman and Cody have crafted a unique movie that should not be missed. It’s definitely one of my favorites of the year and I’m pretty sure Theron is going to get a nomination for her portrayal of Mavis Gary. Watch the trailer here and some clips here.
Anyway, I recently got to speak with Cody in New York City. During the interview she talked about the way she writes, how the idea for Young Adult came about, her karaoke song, what she’s learned about Hollywood over the past few years, and her relationship with Jason Reitman. In addition, with Cody having worked on the remake of Evil Dead, she talked about what her work on the project entailed and calls the script “unbelievably violent.” Finally, I got an update on her directorial debut and a script that’s so autobiographical and personal that she wants to wait ten years before it’s produced. Hit the jump to read or watch the interview.
“Magical” may be an odd word to describe a dark comedy as intentionally depressing, uncomfortable, and mean as Young Adult. But there is a magic in watching a writer, a director, and an actor craft a captivating character who keeps the audience guessing to what’s in her head. In creating Mavis Gary, screenwriter Diablo Cody, director Jason Reitman, and actress Charlize Theron do far more than simply put a mean girl from high school under the magnifying glass. There’s inarguably a state of arrested development for Mavis, but what keeps her interesting is if she knows how pathetic she really is. Throughout the movie, I kept wondering, “Does she know she’s deluding herself? Does she know how much she’s embarrassing herself and is she just trying to ignore it?” Mavis could have easily turned into a David Brent-type where the obliviousness is both hilarious and cringe-inducing. Cody, Reitman, and Theron provide a dramatic weight to that obliviousness. Young Adult only stumbles when the film tries to take a shortcut at the end to force her in a particular direction. But everything that comes before is a nasty, delightful piece of work
Sony Pictures has set the remake of Sam Raimi‘s 1981 horror film Evil Dead (or “The Evil Dead” if you want to be OCD about it) for April 12, 2013. The original movie centered on five twenty-somethings who headed up to stay in a cabin in the woods (the worst place anyone on Earth can ever be) only to be met with the horrors wrought forth from the Necronomicon (the Book of the Dead). The movie spawned the sequels Evil Dead II (considered to be the best in the franchise) and the goofy horror-action film Army of Darkness, all starring groovy chainsaw-wielding protagonist Ash (Bruce Campbell). Newcomer Fede Alvarez was brought on board to direct the remake after Raimi and producing partner Rob Tapert were impressed by his short film “Panic Attack”. Diablo Cody was then hired to revise Alvarez’ original script. Last month, Cody told Steve that the remake would be “unbelievably violent“.
No other movie is currently slated to open on April 12, 2013 [Box Office Mojo]
Holly Hunter has signed on to co-star in Diablo Cody‘s untitled directorial debut. Foremerly titled Lamb of God, the movie centers on a young woman (Julianne Hough) who loses her faith after a plane crash and decides to go to Las Vegas to experience the wild side of life. Russell Brand will play “an unlikely companion (Brand) who inadvertently helps her find her true self” while The Help‘s Octavia Spencer has been cast as “a card dealer at the casino where Brand’s character works.” According to Deadline, Hunter will play Hough’s “conservative and overprotective mother.”
Hunter recently wrapped filming on the Walden Media drama Won’t Back Down and playing the title character Antoinette Beumer’s indie flick Jackie. She’ll also be reuniting with her The Piano director Jane Campion for the BBC/Sundance Channel miniseries Top of the Lake. Filming on Cody’s movie begins in the spring.
Opening in limited release this weekend is director Jason Reitman’s (Up in the Air) great new movie, Young Adult. Written by Diablo Cody (Juno), the film centers on an alcoholic young adult novelist (Charlize Theron) who ventures back to her hometown in order to pursue her now-married high school boyfriend (Patrick Wilson). Patton Oswalt co-stars as Theron’s former classmate. While Young Adult could have easily taken the familiar steps of “bad person goes home and turns everything around”, I’m happy to report Reitman and Cody have crafted a unique movie that should not be missed. It’s definitely one of my favorites of the year and I’m pretty sure Theron is going to get a nomination for her portrayal of Mavis Gary. Watch the trailer here and here’s some clips.
Anyway, I recently got to attend a press conference in New York City with Theron, Oswalt, Cody. They talked about how the project came together, the idea of going against what we normally see on movie screens, the soundtrack and music from the ’90s, their own high school experiences, actors and directors they really admire, the rehearsal process, and so much more. Hit the jump to check it out.
A few months ago we reported Fede Alvarez was going to write and direct an Evil Dead remake, with Diablo Cody doing some script revisions. Now before you get up in arms that Evil Dead is being remade, it’s important to know that director Sam Raimi and original producing partners Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell are very much involved in the film. Based on the original team’s inclusion, this is one of those projects I’m very curious about.
However, while we knew the remake was moving ahead as evidence by the premiere of the new logo at AFM and Lionsgate’s selling of international rights, no one was quite sure exactly how much work Cody had done on the script. So when I spoke to her today for her great new movie Young Adult, she was more than willing to talk about her involvement on the film. She said that she mostly handled dialogue and character, and addressed concerns people may have about her involvement by assuring me that she had no intention of infusing Evil Dead with “wacky dialogue and cute stuff” from Juno. In addition, she said the script is “unbelievably violent” and that the director’s draft was “really scary.” Hit the jump for more.
Each year, a number of films are presented and sold at the American Film Market in Santa Monica. The 2011 AFM takes place this week, and in preparation for the AFM, Lionsgate has compiled production information and synopses for the properties that they plan to sell at the convention to both domestic and international buyers (for the territories that they have the rights). Lucky for us, that info is now public, and we’ve pulled together cast, director, and writer information as well as official synopses for some high profile 2012 Lionsgate films. We’ve got info on the Evil Dead remake, Spike Lee’s English-language adaptation of the now classic Park Chan-wook film Old Boy, Diablo Cody’s directorial debut, the comedy Murder of a Cat starring Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, and Rob Lowe, and much more. Hit the jump for all the details.