The romantic sports dramedy Backwards, now available on DVD, tells the story of Abi Brooks (Sarah Megan Thomas), who has spent her life trying to win an Olympic rowing medal, only to be named an alternate at the age of 30. Deciding instead to quit the team and move back home, Abi gets a coaching position at her alma mater, where her old boyfriend (James Van Der Beek) is the head of athletics, and struggles to adjust to life off the race course.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actor James Van Der Beek talked about what made him want to help tell this story, being a big sports fan himself (even though he knew nothing about rowing, prior to doing Backwards), the challenge of playing a nice guy, how impressed he was with Sarah Megan Thomas (who also wrote and produced the film), and why he typically loves to shoot as many takes as possible. He also talked about the experience of working with Jason Reitman on his next film Labor Day, the success he’s found in playing a highly exaggerated version of himself on the ABC comedy series Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23, being more fearless since having kids, and why he felt the hiatus he took from acting after the end of Dawson’s Creek was necessary. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
Director Jason Reitman has commenced production on his next feature, the drama Labor Day. The film is based on the Joyce Maynard novel of the same name and centers on a 13-year-old boy who convinces his reclusive mother to take in a drifter over Labor Day weekend. It’s later revealed that the man is an escaped convict and the three spend a weekend together that will “shape them for the rest of their lives.” Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin star as the two leads, and Reitman felt so strongly about his cast that he pushed the production schedule back a year until both Winslet and Brolin were free.
Reitman wrote the screenplay himself and is directing Labor Day as his follow-up to last year’s Young Adult. As a big fan of Reitman’s past work (Thank You For Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air), I’m eager to see him tackle this weighty dramatic material. Clark Gregg and James Van Der Beek also star in the film. Hit the jump to read the full press release, which includes the updated synopsis.
Coming off of last year’s excellent (and sadly underseen) Young Adult, director Jason Reitman is gearing up to begin production on his next project, Labor Day, this summer. Reitman scripted the adaptation of Joyce Manard’s novel himself, and Kate Winselt stars as a lonely mother whose 13-year-old son convinces her to take in a drifter (Josh Brolin) who turns out to be an escaped convict. The three spend Labor Day Weekend together and, obviously, bond. THR now reports that James Van Der Beek has joined the cast as a police officer investigating a missing person’s case ($10 says he shows up on Winslet’s doorstep at some point in the film).
Additionally, a separate report from THR reveals that, following an extensive search, Reitman has settled on Gattlin Griffith (Changeling) to play Winslet’s son in the film. The deal isn’t closed, but the actor has entered negotiations. The role is crucial as the story is told from the boy’s point of view. I’m a big fan of Reitman so I’m eager to check this one out. The director will have waited nearly a year to start production so that Winslet and Brolin’s schedules could free up, so clearly he’s passionate about what he’s put together. [Update: Feeling left out by the Labor Day casting party, Variety now adds that Brighid Fleming has landed the young female lead in the film, a character who acts as the object of Griffith's affection.]
Seven years after Roger Avary won an Oscar for his work on Pulp Fiction, he jumped behind the camera for his second directorial feature, The Rules of Attraction. It was ranting guntoters meets Bret Easton Ellis, thrown on a university campus, and led by a parade of good TV stars going bad, from 7th Heaven’s Jessica Biel sleeping with the whole football team to Dawson’s Creek’s James Van Der Beek selling drugs and The Wonder Years’ Fred Savage become a stoner loser. Hit the jump for my review of The Rules of Attraction on Blu-ray:
The first trailer for The Big Bang has hit the web. Directed by Tony Krantz (Otis), the film stars Antonio Banderas as a private detective who is hired to find a missing stripper. That’s about all the plot I’m able to boil down because, judging from the tilt-heavy trailer, this flick looks to be a bit of a mind-bender in the vein of Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. The Big Bang stars Banderas, William Fichtner, James Van Der Beek, Snoop Dogg, Delroy Lindo and Rebecca Mader. Anchor Bay Films is set to release the film on May 13th.
Though we’d heard J.J. Abrams was looking to reunite Lost stars Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn with Odd Jobs, the series has apparently been pushed back until the next development season in 2012. However, it looks like Emerson will still be working with Abrams this season as Deadline reports the actor will lead Bad Robot’s drama Person of Interest which has been set up at CBS. The proposed series is said to follow an ex-CIA agent, presumed dead, who teams up with a mysterious billionaire (Emerson) to prevent violent crimes in New York City. David Semel (Heroes) will direct the pilot which we’ll hopefully be seeing later this year.
For news on other TV casting with James Van Der Beek and Maria Bello, hit the jump.