Two of the many films to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival were writer/director John Krokidas’ Kill Your Darlings and Jerusha Hess’ Austenland. Kill Your Darlings focuses on the origins of the Beat movement and follows the friendships of Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston), and William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster) as they’re tested by the murder of David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall), a man in his thirties who is desperately in love with Ginsberg’s friend Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan). Meanwhile, Austenland centers on a woman in her 30’s (Keri Russell) who is so obsessed with the Pride and Prejudice character Mr. Darcy that no real-life man can compare, and her love life pays the toll. She decides to spend her life savings on a trip to a Jane Austen-themed resort in England. The supporting cast includes Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, Rupert Vansittart and James Callis.
Shortly after seeing both films I recorded two video blogs with Peter from /Film. Hit the jump for our thoughts.
The world was Jared Hess‘ oyster after Napoleon Dynamite became a surprise hit and minor pop culture phenomenon in 2004. Unfortunately he used his points to make Nacho Libre and followed that up with the lackluster Gentleman Broncos, before circling back to a Napoleon Dynamite animated series on Fox. The shine has surely worn off, but the oyster shell has not snapped shut just yet. Producer Scott Rudin (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close) hired Hess to direct The Pet, a family comedy that Disney has been developing since 2007. Based on an original idea from Matt Lieberman—who recently signed on to the Short Circuit reboot—The Pet follows “a man who’s abducted by aliens, taken to their planet and turned into a family pet.”
The latest draft is by Tim Dowling (This Means War), but Variety makes it sound like Hess will take over the script from here on out. If so, Hess will likely turn to wife and longtime collaborator Jerusha Hess for help on the script. To my knowledge, this will be Hess’ first time directing material from an outside source. I don’t know that this fact will freshen up his idiosyncratic style, but it can’t hurt to try.
From creators/executive producers Jared and Jerusha Hess, Napoleon Dynamite is an animated series on Fox, based on the hit film and following the comic adventures of America’s most awesomely awkward teenager and his offbeat family and friends, as they navigate small-town life in rural Idaho. With the original cast of the film (including Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino, Jon Gries, Aaron Ruell, Sandy Martin and Diedrich Bader) back to voice their roles, the first set of episodes also features an impressive guest cast with Amy Poehler, Jennifer Coolidge, Sam Rockwell and Jemaine Clement.
While at the TCA Winter Press Tour, Jared and Jerusha Hess sat down with Collider for this exclusive interview and talked about how the animated series came about, how excited the cast was to reprise their roles, how freeing it was to be able to do anything with the story in an animated version, and that Jared is doing about half a dozen different voices himself. They also talked about what their next projects might be, and Jerusha talked about her directorial debut, Austenland (based on the novel about a woman obsessed with the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, who travels to a Jane Austen theme park in search for her perfect gentleman), starring Keri Russell and produced by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer. Check out what they had to say after the jump:
Jerusha Hess, co-writer of Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre, is set to make her directorial debut with the indie romantic comedy Austenland. Starring Keri Russell, J.J. Field (Captain America: The First Avenger) and Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords), Heat Vision reports that the film will also mark the producing debut of Twilight author Stephanie Meyer.
Based on the book by Shannon Hale, Austenland centers on a woman in her 30’s who is so obsessed with the Pride and Prejudice character Mr. Darcy that no real-life man can compare, and her love life pays the toll. She decides to spend her life savings on a trip to a Jane Austen-themed resort in England. The supporting cast includes Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, Rupert Vansittart and James Callis. Filming begins this week. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of the novel.
Despite the buzz from last night’s Banksy-directed opening to The Simpsons, animation on Fox is pretty much dominated by Seth MacFarlene. However, Fox has just ordered two animated series outside of their go-to animation creators MacFarlene and Matt Groening as Vulture reports the network has ordered an animated series based on the surprise hit film Napoleon Dynamite and another animated comedy series called Allen Gregory featuring Jonah Hill.
Details on both of these new series can be found after the jump.
Along with being the producer of Jared and Jerusha Hess’ latest film, “Gentlemen Broncos”, Mike White also plays the role of Dusty. In the film’s unusual world, in which 17-year-old Benjamin Purvis (Michael Angarano) has his prized science-fiction story stolen by his idol, Dr. Ronald Chevalier (Jemaine Clement), at a writers camp, Dusty is an odd, scraggly-haired member of the Purvis’ church who takes his giant albino snake with him everywhere.
At the press day for the film, Mike White talked about working with his friends, the Hesses, and bonding with the snake, known as Peaches.
Writing and producing partners Jared and Jerusha Hess, who are also husband and wife, have made a career out of championing the underdog. With their quirky sense of humor and their inspiration from the unlikeliest of places, the duo’s success with “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Nacho Libre” have carved them a niche in Hollywood that they are quite happy with.
At the press day for “Gentlemen Broncos”, the Hesses talked about working with special effects for the first time and assembling the cast for this film about an outsider with big dreams trying to achieve what he wants to do in life. Continued after the jump:
Opening on October 30th is director Jared Hess’ (“Napoleon Dynamite”) new movie “Gentlemen Broncos”. While the reviews out of Fantastic Fest were not pretty, this is one of those movies I still want to see due to the cast. After all, who isn’t a fan of Sam Rockwell and Jemaine Clement. Anyway, Fox Searchlight has released two clips from the movie and you can watch them after the jump. I’ve also posted the synopsis if you’re not familiar with the film.