For director Rob Reiner, bringing the quirky story and interesting characters of The Magic of Belle Isle to the big screen was a labor of love inspired by something he’d started exploring in The Bucket List – the idea that no matter what curveballs life throws your way, you have to find a way to live your life until you die because you only get one shot. The comedy-drama reunites Reiner with Morgan Freeman, who plays Monte Wildhorn, a famous Western novelist whose struggle with alcoholism has sapped his passion for writing. When he takes a lakeside cabin for the summer in picturesque Belle Isle, and befriends the family next door – an attractive single mom (Virginia Madsen) and her young daughters, he suddenly finds the inspiration to reconnect and embrace life once again.
At the recent Los Angeles press day, I was able to speak to Reiner at a roundtable interview about making the film. He talked about how he went about finding the right cast and location, how the script changed once Freeman came on board, how he varied his directorial approach with each actor to get the best performance, and how improvisation played a role in the romantic direction the film took at the end. He also discussed his childhood and what it was like growing up in the shadow of his father, Carl Reiner. Hit the jump for the full interview.
In Rob Reiner’s new comedy-drama, The Magic of Belle Isle, Morgan Freeman plays Monte Wildhorn, a famous Western novelist in the third act of his life whose glory days are now behind him. For Monte, long confined to a wheelchair and recently widowed, nothing is left except long bleak days and battling alcoholism as he housesits a lakeside cabin in Belle Isle for the summer. Everything changes when he meets his next door neighbors, Mrs. O’Neil (Virginia Madsen) and her three daughters. For more on the film, here’s the trailer.
At the film’s press day, we sat down with Freeman and Madsen to talk about bringing The Magic of Belle Isle to the screen. Freeman told us what it was like to play a romantic lead, how he drew upon his real life experiences to portray a wheelchair-bound character, why stories about storytelling are important because imagination is an essential ingredient in life, and how he deals with celebrity. Madsen revealed how she bonded with the young actresses who played her daughters, her thoughts on Sideways being turned into a play, and what it was like dancing with Freeman. Freeman also discussed his charitable work and his upcoming role in The Dark Knight Rises.
The first trailer and poster for Rob Reiner’s drama The Magic of Belle Isle have gone online. The film stars Morgan Freeman as a famous Western novelist whose struggle with alcoholism has sapped his passion for writing. He takes a lakeside cabin for the summer in Belle Isle, where he befriends a single mom and her daughters who (naturally) help him to feel inspiration once again. Though this is the same director as A Few Good Men and Stand By Me, Reiner’s recent output has leaned heavily toward Hallmark fare with pics like The Bucket List and Flipped, and The Magic of Belle Isle is no exception. That said, I can say without hesitation that my mom will absolutely want to see this.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film also stars Madeline Carroll, Fred Willard, Kenan Thompson, and Kevin Pollak. The Magic of Belle Isle will be available on iTunes on June 1st and opens in theaters on July 6th.
The 2012 Sundance Film Festival just ended and the Berlin Film Festival is about to get underway, so don’t expect the acquisition stories to slow down. As such, we’ve got two fresh acquisitions to share with you today. First up, IFC Films has picked up the Sundance documentary Room 237. The film examines the numerous theories surrounding the “real meaning” of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. The doc was a big hit at the fest (you can read Matt’s review here), but many questioned the logistics of releasing it theatrically due to the fact that it’s comprised of footage from The Shining, which could possibly lead to legal entanglements. IFC’s acquisition is great news and I’m glad to see that us common folk will get a chance to check out the flick sometime soon.
Deadline reports that the film may screen in the New Directors/New Film series in New York, and it’s a likely bet for the Cannes Film Festival. IFC plans on releasing the pic domestically later this year through a day-and-date theatrical and VOD release. If you haven’t surmised from our previous acquisition stories, VOD is all the rage at the moment and is a likely staple in the future of film distribution. Hit the jump for acquisition news concerning Rob Reiner’s The Magic of Belle Isle.