7 items from 2016
One of the films from this year's Sundance Film Festival that I'm still chewing on is Author: The Jt LeRoy Story. The documentary by Jeff Feuerzeig is well-made and obviously was produced with an enormous amount of access to Laura Albert, the writer at the heart of the very, very strange saga. That's part of the problem, though. I'm not sure why anyone would ever trust a single word out of Albert's mouth, especially not on the subject of Jt LeRoy, and in the end, her involvement makes me believe the movie less, not more. For those unfamiliar with the story, Jt LeRoy was a literary phenomenon in the late '90s, a young author who became a celebrity as much for his backstory as for his prose. People like Bono and Courtney Love and Gus Van Sant and Billy Corgan all believed fervently in LeRoy, and while secrecy was »
- Drew McWeeny
Here’s a good sign of momentum: weeks after a documentary premiered at Sundance and received its first wave of fine reviews, the figure known as Jt Leroy is having their life story turned into a feature film. THR tell us Kristen Stewart, James Franco, Helena Bonham Carter, and writer-director Justin Kelly (the Franco-led I Am Michael) will team for Jt Leroy, which examines the eponymous figure — itself the outlet for a writer and actor who fooled the world with “a man who identifies as transgender, tricking the rich and famous in Hollywood, the fashion world and elite literary circles.”
If contracts are arranged, Carter and Stewart will respectively star as Laura Albert and Savannah Knoop, Leroy’s writing and public personas. There are many directions in which this narrative can reach, evidenced by the fact that writer-director-actress Asia Argento, who adapted Leroy’s The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, »
- Nick Newman
Jt LeRoy, the literary sensation who palled around with celebrities and romanced Asia Argento before being unmasked as a hoax a decade ago, is getting a biopic: THR reports that Kristen Stewart, Helena Bonham Carter, and James Franco are in talks to join Jt LeRoy, a film about the two women who dreamed up the stunt, from I Am Michael's Justin Kelly. Bonham Carter would take the role of Laura Albert, who wrote the work credited to LeRoy; Stewart would play Savannah Knoop, who impersonated LeRoy in public (and now co-wrote this movie's script). Franco is set to play Knoop's brother, who was married to Albert. Ten years after being unmasked, LeRoy is having another moment in the spotlight: A documentary, Author: The Jt LeRoy Story, just earned rave reviews at Sundance. »
- Nate Jones
There are few celebrity stories as fascinating as Jt Leroy's. The author behind the beloved "non-fiction" bestseller “The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things” (which was turned into a 2004 film by Asia Argento) earned the kind of status the writer's don't often receive, rubbing shoulders with folks like Marilyn Manson, Shirley Manson, Courtney Love, and Billy Corgan. But all of that changed when, in 2006, Jt Leroy was revealed to be the creation of Laura Albert, who furthered the duplicity by having Savannah Knoop play LeRoy in public. And now, that wild story is coming to the big screen. THR reports that Kristen Stewart, James Franco, and Helena Bonham Carter will star in "Jt LeRoy." Justin Kelly, who previously directed Franco in "I Am Michael," will be behind the camera and pen the script for this one, which is based on Knoop's memoir. Kyle Buchanan at Vulture adds that Stewart would play Knoop, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Author: The Jt LeRoy Story relives the literary hoax of the early aughts, the truly weird and out of control tale of Jt LeRoy. An allegedly gender-fluid HIV positive son of a West Virginia truck stop hooker, he rose to the heights of indie stardom befriending the likes of Courtney Love, Shirley Manson, Lou Reed, Michael Pitt, Billy Corgan and filmmakers Gus Van Saint and Asia Argento (both would “adapt” works by LeRoy). An anonymous experiment originally conducted by Laura Albert, the myth grows out of control when she hires Savannah Knoop, her sister-in-law, as an avatar. The real Laura Albert had been described by media accounts as a Brooklyn housewife, but here director Jeff Feuerzeig dives deeper.
A sweeping first-hand account of the bizarre saga as told by Albert, Author: The Jt LeRoy Story is wildly entertaining and truly stranger than fiction, even perhaps the fiction Albert wrote as LeRoy. »
- John Fink
Ever the one to maintain an open dialogue with his legions of fans via social media, Vin Diesel has shared another image from the set of action threequel xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage, this time offering up our first look at Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone.
Having officially eased into production earlier this week, the latest still arrives on the heels of a pair of set photos – once again, hailing from Diesel – that teased some early stuntwork, along with Vin Diesel collaborating with director D.J. Caruso.
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What remains unclear at this stage is how exactly Padukone filters into the story. It’s no secret that the xXx franchise has been guilty of underserving its female leads in the past, though we’re holding out hope that the Bollywood actress gets her fair share of the limelight, perhaps in a similar vein to Asia Argento’s role in the 2002 original. »
- Michael Briers
After refusing to cooperate with Marjorie Sturm on the latter’s fascinating “The Cult of Jt Leroy” last year, Laura Albert gets a podium for airing her side — and nobody else’s — in Jeff Feurzeig’s “Author: The Jt Leroy Story.” For many, however, the result may feel less an exoneration than a case of “Give ’em enough rope … ” The woman who wrote acclaimed books while posing as HIV-positive ex-prostitute transgender male Leroy does not buy as much retrospective sympathy as she seeks in painting herself as victim to various circumstances beyond her control, ignoring or evading the many ways in which the saga played out as a calculated, opportunistic con. This slickly crafted first-person recap of “Jt’s” starry rise and fall may well travel farther than its predecessor; Amazon picked up U.S. rights (its very first documentary acquisition) at Sundance. But it’s ultimately the less interesting film of the two, »
- Dennis Harvey
7 items from 2016
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