Over the years, I’ve written at length at how far too many indie comedies mistake quirk for character. Characters feel like people. They have emotions, goals, fears, etc. A character can have quirks, but they can’t be quirks. Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini‘s Imogene is yet another example of an indie comedy that derives its comedy not from clever jokes, thoughtful set-ups and payoffs, or believable characters. It attempts to get laughs from its miserable eponymous protagonist interacting with her goofy family of one-dimensional eccentrics. As much as Imogene strives to coast on the wackiness of the characters, the best jokes in this shapeless comedy come from the little off-handed moments that slip through the tortured, hollow idiosyncrasies.
We have a couple quick casting stories to report this morning. First up, rising star Brit Marling (Another Earth) has chosen between Robert Redford’s The Company You Keep and the Tom Cruise action flick One Shot and cast her lot with the former. Variety reports that Marling will co-star with Redford and Shia LaBeouf in the flick which centers on a former Weather Underground militant (Redford) who goes on the run when his identity is revealed by an ambitious reporter (LaBeouf). Nick Nolte will also star in the flick but there’s no word on what role he or Marling will play. Marling is also committed to reunite with her Sound of My Voice director Zal Batmanglij for the thriller The East.
In other casting news, Matt Dillon will join Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening in Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s Imogene. Wiig plays a playwright who fakes suicide in order to win back her ex but ends up in the custody of her Jersey Shore-esque mother (Bening). Deadline reports that Dillon will play Bening’s love interest and “he claims to be in the CIA, but his behavior suggests he just might be crazy.”
Coming off the wild success of Bridesmaids, the highest grossing female R-rated comedy of all time (and the sixth highest grossing romantic comedy), Kristen Wiig has a bit of clout. The actress is using the momentum from the Judd Apatow-produced film to get a passion project of hers off the ground: Imogene. Variety reports that the actress has been trying to get the project moving for two years now, and production is finally set to begin on August 8th.
Wiig will star in the film as a New York playwright who fakes suicide in order to get the attention of her ex-boyfriend. The plan backfires, however, and she’s sent to live with her gambling-addicted mother. Michelle Morgan wrote the screenplay and Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (American Splendor) are set to direct. In addition to starring in the film, Wiig will serve as executive producer.
HBO has dominated the TV movie for ages. The network has won the last 7 Emmys for Outstanding Made for TV Movie, not to mention 16 of the last 19. But it’s not the sexiest format, so HBO’s efforts do a much better job at boosting the Emmy total than my actual interest in the network, no matter how solid Temple Grandin was.
Yet something about Cinema Verite stands out. The cast is teriffic, featuring Diane Lane, Tim Robbins, James Gandolfini, Patrick Fugit — but that’s not it. HBO telepics always have great casts. I’m drawn in by the story, a look behind the scenes of the 1973 documentary An American Family, which chronicled the lives of the Loud family and effectively birthed the reality TV genre. The first teaser trailer, which makes excellent use of “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & the Papas, does not disappoint. Watch it after the jump.
Documentaries have undoubtedly grown closer in style to narrative features over the past 20 years. Similarly, when documentarians Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini moved into the narrative world, they brought their old techniques with them. That first feature, American Splendor, made a big splash, thanks to its fresh and complicated approach that broke standard filmmaking conventions and included material from mediums that varied from comic books and film to television.
Springer Berman filled us in recently on her latest film, The Extra Man, which continues its gradual, national release today in top 10 markets, with Chicago. Hit the jump for the interview’s audio and transcript, along with info on her new HBO film Cinema Verite featuring Diane Lane, Tim Robbins, Thomas Dekker and James Gandolfini, where she stands on a big divide in the documentary world and a story she’s never told publicly about American Splendor’s late subject, Harvey Pekar.
Last month I had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable interview with husband and wife Academy Award nominated writing and directing team Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman (American Splendor) to promote their upcoming film The Extra Man. For those who don’t know, it stars Kevin Kline as a failed playwright who moonlights as an “extra man”, escorting wealthy elderly women to events. Paul Dano’s character rents a room from Kline’s character and the two spark a friendship. The film is based on a book by one of my favorite authors, Jonathan Ames, who is perhaps best known for creating HBO’s Bored To Death, who’s title character shares his name.
To see what Pulcini and Berman had to say about their early involvement with the film, working with Jonathan Ames, working with Kevin Kline, Paul Dano and John C. Reilly (who has a supporting role in the film) and their upcoming project with HBO, continue reading. The Extra Man is currently playing in limited release.
Yesterday we gave you a list of all the films playing in-competition at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. We now have the list of the films playing out-of-competition and they’re divided up into four categories: Premieres, Next, Spotlight, and Park City at Midnight. Since combining these lists would be a lot to read for just one article, we’ve broken it up to make it easier on your eyes. You’re welcome.
Know that while there are a lot of films playing in-competition, most of the films to get buzz will be coming from the out-of-competition categories. First up are the premiers which include John Wells’ The Company Men starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and Kevin Costner; Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s The Extra Man starring Katie Holmes, John C. Reilly, and Paul Dano; Get Low starring Robert Duvall and Bill Murray; Michael Winterbottom’s The Killer Inside Me starring Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, and Jessica Alba; and more. Hit the jump to check out all of the films with brief synopsis for each.
The 2010 Sundance Film Festival will run from January 21-31st.