Filming is underway on Alejandro González Iñárritu’s black comedy Birdman. Fox Searchlight and New Regency announced today that principal photography has begun in New York City on Birdman, which centers on an actor who once played an iconic superhero, and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim past glory. Michael Keaton stars as the struggling actor, and he’s surrounded by a fantastic ensemble cast that includes Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan, and Andrea Riseborough.
Iñárritu co-wrote the original script alongside Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo, and is also producing the film with John Lesher. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
It’s a breezy fall day in Nashville, Tennessee. Leaves are falling over an expansive estate that’s as haunting as it is gorgeous, and South Korean director Park Chan-wook—the man behind Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Thirst, and many others—is directing his English-language feature film debut in the country music capital of the world.
In September of 2011, Collider was invited to the set of the horror drama Stoker, which stars Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Jacki Weaver, and Dermot Mulroney. The production had opted to film most of the pic’s scenes in and around a rather gothic-looking estate in Nashville, so along with a small group of journalists, we were able to spend a day on set and to get a look at how Park Chan-wook was making his Hollywood debut. Hit the jump for my full set visit report.
Director Danny Boyle’s next feature finally has a U.S. release date. Fox Searchlight announced today that Trance will open stateside on April 5th, a date that the Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy comedy The Heat recently vacated for the dog days of summer. Boyle’s film centers on an art heist that goes sideways when its mastermind (James McAvoy) gets amnesia and can’t remember where he stashed the loot. Vincent Cassel co-stars as mob boss leading the heist gang, and Rosario Dawson plays a hypnotist who tries to get the memories out of McAvoy’s character.
Currently the only other wide release scheduled for April 5th is Jurassic Park 3D, so it seems like a smart move on Fox Searchlight’s part. Hit the jump to watch the trailer and to check out the new hypnotizing poster.
It looks like Tom Hardy is getting some company in the Dennis Lehane adaptation Animal Rescue. We previously reported that Hardy was being eyed to star in the pic as a lonely bartender who rescues a puppy from a garbage can and “becomes the target of the dog’s abusive and mentally unstable former owner, while simultaneously getting caught in the middle of a criminal conspiracy playing out in his mob-controlled bar.” Now Deadline reports that Hardy is in final talks to topline the project, while Noomi Rapace is being offered the female lead.
Bullhead’s Michael R. Roskam recently stepped in to replace Neil Burger as the film’s director, and Fox Searchlight is eyeing a March start date in New York for production. Lehane is the author of the previously adapted novels Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River, and Shutter Island, and he penned the script for Animal Rescue based on his own short story. The film’s action has been moved from Boston to New York.
The long-in-the-works drama about Jackie Kennedy is heating back up again. The project, titled Jackie, was previously set to be directed by Darren Aronofsky with his then-wife Rachel Weisz poised to star as the First Lady, but both dropped out following their divorce. Now Deadline reports that Fox Searchlight is courting Natalie Portman to take on the role. The story, written by Noah Oppenheim, takes place in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, so the role is quite a tall order for any actress to tackle.
Portman is said to be keen on the script, but her participation depends on the director. Aronofsky directed Portman to a Best Actress Oscar with Black Swan so it’s feasible that he could possibly come back to the project. A few years ago it attracted the interest of Steven Spielberg, so it’s safe to assume that a talented filmmaker will sign on sooner or later. Portman is next set to star opposite Michael Fassbender in the incredibly promising western Jane Got a Gun, from We Need to Talk About Kevin director Lynne Ramsay.
Sony wants Marc Webb to direct the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man, and Webb wants to come back to continue the story he started to tell in the first movie. Yet last we heard, the studio feared that Webb may not be able to return due to “obstacles”. The problem is Fox Searchlight, who has a claim on Webb—the director still owes the studio that made (500) Days of Summer at least one more film. Fox gave Webb some time to direct The Amazing Spider-Man, but is understandably unwilling to give him another couple years to make the sequel. Unfortunately for Webb, Sony needs to find a new director soon to make the announced May 2, 2014 release date for the Amazing Spider-Man sequel. So if Webb can’t make The Amazing Spider-Man 2 next, he can’t make it at all. Hit the jump for a possible solution.
We were starting to wonder when Stoker, the English-language debut from Oldboy director Chan-wook Park, would get released. The film went in front of cameras last September, and we haven’t heard anything about it since. Today, word comes that Stoker will open March 1, 2013. The plot centers on a young girl (Mia Wasikowska) who encounters her mysterious uncle (Matthew Goode) while mourning her death of her father (Dermot Mulroney). The impressive cast also includes Nicole Kidman, Jackie Weaver, Lucas Till, and Alden Ehrenreich. I’ve been told that the movie could be described as a horror, a thriller, a drama, or a combination of all three, so it will be interesting to see how Fox Searchlight plans to sell it.
It won’t be an easy sell in a crowded March 2013, which could almost pass for a summer month with the amount of heavy-hitters it has on hand. Stoker will be sharing its weekend with Neill Blomkamp‘s District 9 follow-up, Elysium, which stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. Even if Stoker does well, it will be tough to have legs in a month that also includes Oz the Great and Powerful, Now You See Me, the remake of Carrie, the Tom Hanks drama Captain Phillips, DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods, Jack the Giant Killer, and the delayed 3D release of G.I. Joe: Retaliation. [Update: We've been sent official word regarding the release date, which comes with an official synopsis. Read it after the jump.]
Fox Searchlight is developing a comedy that, if it comes together, offers a very exciting team-up. Larry David is and Greg Mottola (Superbad) are in talks to star and direct, respectively. The screenplay is credited to Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer, and David Mandel, a trio who works with David on Curb Your Enthusiasm and co-wrote The Dictator. THR was unable to ascertain any details about the plot, other than it will be improvised as David does with Curb. (David and his writers outline the plot, but the dialogue is largely improvised by the actors.)
Last night it was announced Mottola will adapt Jeffrey Eugendies’ novel The Marriage Plot—at the time, there was curiously only speculation that the writer/director might also take the helm. This report paints a clearer picture, suggesting Mottola might be saving the spot for this project. I am very eager to hear more about what they have in mind—we will pass along the details once they surface.
Hot off a season two order for her new HBO comedy series Veep, Julia Louis-Drefus is poised to team up with fellow HBO alum James Gandolfini in the new Fox Searchlight film from Please Give writer/director Nicole Holofcener. Deadline reports that Louis-Drefus will play “a masseuse who falls in love with the husband of a new friend,” and Gandolfini is set to play said husband. Further plot details are unknown, but Holofcener will write and direct the project while Anthony Bregman will produce.
Holofcener’s 2010 drama Please Give drew rave reviews and this new untitled project is definitely one to watch out for. Holofcener also directed the 2006 pic Friends with Money and helmed two episodes of the stellar NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation. Gandolfini recently completed shooting the comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone with Jim Carrey and Steve Carell, and will be seen later this year opposite Brad Pitt in the crime thriller Killing Them Softly.
While the 2012 Sundance Film Festival is only a few days in, more than a few favorites are starting to emerge. Earlier today Sony Pictures Classics picked up the Rashida Jones comedy Celeste and Jesse Forever and Fox Searchlight acquired crowd-favorite The Surrogate (John Hawkes is apparently amazing in the latter). Now Fox Searchlight has made yet another high profile acquisition, as they’ve picked up U.S. rights to Benh Zeitlin’s fantastical drama Beasts of the Southern Wild. The film centers on a six-year-old on the brink of orphanhood who lives in a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world.
The pic has been picking up some serious buzz ever since its first screening. Matt called it a must-see and say it’s “a movie unlike anything you’ve seen in recent years.” You can read his full review here. Fox Searchlight plans to release the film this year. Hit the jump for acquisition news regarding the comedy For a Good Time Call… and to read the full press release regarding both films.
Two of the more high profile films featured at this year’s Sundance Film Festival have now secured distribution. Fox Searchlight will handle the drama The Surrogate, while Sony Pictures Classics has picked up the comedy Celeste and Jesse Forever. The Surrogate is quickly becoming one of the more crowd-pleasing pics at the fest, picking up a considerable amount of buzz with each screening. The film stars John Hawkes as a paraplegic polio victim who sets out to find a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) wiling to take his virginity. Fox Searchlight acquired worldwide rights to the flick, which also stars William H. Macy.
Additionally, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired distribution rights to Celeste and Jesse Forever. Co-written by and starring Rashida Jones, the film centers on a couple that decides to break up. The impressive cast is rounded out by Andy Samberg, Emma Roberts, and Elijah Wood. Hit the jump to read the full press release regarding both acquisitions, and click here to read Matt’s review of the Celeste and Jesse Forever.
Fox Searchlight’s distribution deal with Shame provided that the studio would not re-edit the movie for a lower-rating even though it’s almost certainly going to get an NC-17. The movie, which follows the downward spiral of a sex addict (played brilliantly by Michael Fassbender), features copious amounts of graphic sex and nudity with a sprinkling of implied incest.
There are multiple challenges to marketing an NC-17 movie. Most networks won’t air promos for an NC-17 film (at least not during primetime), newspapers are wary of buying ads for NC-17 movies, and even theaters aren’t eager to show NC-17 movies because it’s adults only. There’s no possibility of anyone under the age of seventeen getting in and that cuts in on sales and allows for stupid folks to come out an accuse the theater of not being family friendly. So what can Fox Searchlight do? Hit the jump to find out
Fox Searchlight has tweeted that they’ll be releasing Steve McQueen’s Shame (click here for my review) on December 2nd. The movie, which centers on a man whose life begins spiraling out of control due to his sex addiction, was picked up by Fox Searchlight at the Toronto Film Festival and the deal requires the studio to release the film uncut. The uncut film has a lot of graphic sex, and as we all know, the MPAA absolutely hates sex. That means Shame is going out either NC-17 or Unrated. Since ads for NC-17 and Unrated films are forbidden just about everywhere except the Internet, Shame has an uphill battle and the hill is at a 90-degree angle. It’s an award season film and if the Academy can get over its prudery, Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, and McQueen could be serious contenders for Oscar nominations. That’s a tremendous “if” but Fox Searchlight knows how to play the award-season game, and hopefully they can get Shame out to as many folks as possible.
Surprisingly, there are no wide releases set for December 2nd. However, the equally-brutal We Need to Talk about Kevin will also be opening in limited release. Happy holidays!
Matt went in to the Toronto International Film Festival with Shame near the top of his most-anticipated list, and I’m looking forward to his review after tomorrow’s premiere. In the meantime, you can rest easy knowing Shame will open beyond the festival circuit, and soon. Fox Searchlight has acquired the U.S. distribution rights for release in 2011. The film is the second collaboration between Michael Fassbender and Hunger writer/director Steve McQueen. Fassbender stars as Brandon, a a sex addict with intimacy issues: “When his wayward younger sister (Carey Mulligan) moves into his apartment stirring memories of their shared painful past, Brandon’s insular life spirals out of control.”
To give you some idea of how the film plays, we’ve included an oh-so-creepy clip after the jump along with Fox Searchlight’s press release.
Fox Searchlight has picked up distribution rights to Zal Batmanglij’s Sound of My Voice. The film, which premiered at Sundance, was co-written by (and stars) Brit Marling who also wrote and starred in the Sundance hit Another Earth, a film which Fox Searchlight is also distributing. Commenting on the acquisition, Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley had this to say:
“Zal Batmanglij’s first feature offers a truly unique voice in filmmaking with a tense and compelling tale. Brit Marling amazed us once again with her stunningly deft performance. We are thrilled to be working with such exceptional talent.”
Directed by Zal Batmanglij and written by Batmanglij and Marling, the film stars Brit Marling, Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius and Avery Pohl. Hit the jump to read the full press release.