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Plot: A young widow (Hilary Swank) loses that one in a million love, but her dead husband (Gerard Butler) has left numerous letters behind to help her get on with her life. Who’s it for: Women. But this treads some tricky ground. If you’ve recently lost someone, this film isn’t really about recovering, but more about not letting go. Expectations: Hilary Swank has proved herself as a powerful actress, but a romantic comedy … actually, I don’t know if this is just a drama or can be considered a comedy. Anyway, I had my worries. Scorecard Actors: Hilary Swank as Holly: Swank’s job isn’t so much as to pull on our heartstrings, but instead to slowly pluck them, never letting us forget she’s mourning. Holly doesn’t »
Scottish actor Gerard Butler's clumsiness brought filming on the set of new film P.S. I Love You to a halt after injuring co-star Hilary Swank. The 300 star was joking around with braces (suspenders) in one quirky love scene when he lost his grip and sent Swank to hospital. He says, "She had four stitches. It was maybe my worst day as an actor. I can laugh now because she laughs at it and quite enjoys telling people the story but, at the time, it was an accident. I'd been doing this scene for a day and a half, stripping and dancing and then pretending that the suspender hits me in the eye. It got stuck behind me and flew over my head and hit her in the head. Within five minutes she'd been taken to the hospital and the whole set goes, 'That's a wrap!' and I'm sitting on the bed on my own. I have to say I bust my balls in that scene making a fool of myself and dancing around a bunch of guys. At the end of that all the thanks I got was that I now scarred Hilary Swank and the production got shut down for five days." »
14 December 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
At the moment, movie tearjerkers about late spouses who haunt loved ones are all the rage.
In Grace Is Gone, a father and two daughters cope with the loss of Mom in Iraq. In Things We Lost in the Fire, a mother and two youngsters mourn the death of the husband and father. P.S. I Love You is the oddest of the bunch, though, because it feels like the late husband of Hilary Swank's Holly Kennedy, a happy-go-lucky Irishman played engagingly by Gerard Butler, refuses to go away no matter how dead he is. Odder still, when we do see the couple together -- in an opening scene and then in flashbacks -- there is always so much tension between the two.
This bittersweet story about a bereaved young widow struggling to move on might connect with female audiences. Yet its boxoffice should be modest despite the presence of two-time Oscar-winning Swank. The film, written (with Steven Rogers) and directed by Richard LaGravenese, is long and drags in places. But the chief problem is that P.S. feels like a gimmick.
The film starts awkwardly with a curious sequence in which Holly (Swank) and Gerry Butler) quarrel about a remark he made over dinner with Holly's highly judgmental mother (Kathy Bates). Then, with calculated abruptness, the movie plunks you down at Gerry's wake in a Manhattan restaurant run by Holly's mother.
Girlfriends Sharon (Gina Gershon) and Denise (Lisa Kudrow) comfort Holly while Sharon's husband John (James Marsters) gets the Irish toasts going. Denise is soon cruising the joint in a determined search for her own potential mate while the new bartender Daniel (Harry Connick Jr.) hits on Holly.
A few weeks later, it's her 30th birthday. A birthday cake and tape recording arrive -- from Gerry! Seems while Gerry lay dying of a brain tumor, he concocted a scheme to send letters to Holly for the year following his death. They come through the mail or are discovered in clothes. At one point, he buys her a trip with her girlfriends to his native Ireland. There she meets a new Irish playmate, William Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and visits Gerry's parents, who also hand her a letter.
Nothing here outside the realm of plausibility, but how exactly are these constant communications from the dead supposed to ease Holly's transition to her new life? They serve, for dramatic purposes, to remind her of their courtship and marriage. Just once you'd like to see her get annoyed at these messages from a dead spouse who won't go away. But then she has her disapproving Mom to do that.
It turns out Gerry's parents weren't too thrilled about the marriage, either. So why, you wonder, is an audience supposed to care about this couple?
There is nothing special about this romance. Holly does like to watch old Hollywood movies, which remind you of how these things were once done. Now it's all such a convoluted mess of letters from the dead and guys who can't measure up to a ghost.
The Irish scenery is quite lovely as caught by Terry Stacey's camera and designer Shepherd Frankel makes the Irish and American pubs, homes and apartments feel cozy and lived-in. But the movie itself feels oddly uninhabited.
P.S. I LOVE YOU
Alcon Entertainment presents a Wendy Finerman productionin association with Grosvenor Park Films
Director: Richard LaGravenese
Screenwriters: Richard LaGravenese, Steven Rogers
Based on the novel by: Cecelia Ahern
Director of photography: Terry Stacey
Production designer: Shepherd Frankel
Music: John Powell
Co-producers: James Flynnn, Morgan O'Sullivan, Steven P. Wegner
Costume designer: Cindy Evans
Editor: David Moritz
Holly: Hilary Swank
Gerry: Gerard Butler
Sharon: Gina Gershon
Denise: Lisa Kudrow
Elizabeth: Kathy Bates
Daniel: Harry Connick Jr.
William: Jeffrey Dean Morgan
John: James Marsters
Running time -- 124 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13
Oscar winner Hilary Swank is set to become the latest celebrity high-flier as part of her research into early aviator Amelia Earhart. The Million Dollar Baby actress will play the historical figure in a biopic that starts shooting in late February, and she's planning flying lessons in the new year. Swank says, "She's very much an inspiration. I am looking forward to playing her. I am going to take flying lessons, which is so exciting." But the production could fail to get off the ground if the Hollywood writers' strike isn't over. Swank adds, "We are not filming until late February. So while I am doing my preparation of breaking down Amelia, and figuring out show she is, I pray the strike will have been resolved by then." »
27 November 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
NEW YORK -- On the heels of deals for films starring John Cusack, Julia Stiles and Leonardo DiCaprio, Plum Pictures is beefing up its staff with new heads of production, development and postproduction.
Pamela Hirsch will head physical production and serve as executive producer on Plum films. Joy Goodwin will head development, and Riva Marker will head postproduction. In addition, Plum has promoted Carina Alves to director of creative affairs.
Hirsch has co-produced Plum projects for two years, including Dedication and Watching the Detectives. She also executive-produced Plum's forthcoming Laws of Motion, starring Matthew Perry and Hilary Swank; Diminished Capacity, starring Matthew Broderick and Virginia Madsen; Trucker; and Bart Got a Room. Before working with the company, Hirsch co-produced Shortbus and worked on several New York-based indie features.
Goodwin is an Emmy-winning television producer who has worked on projects for ABC, A&E, the History Channel, NBC and Lifetime. She helped develop Plum's Capacity and Trucker and has written about theater for the New York Times and the New Yorker. »
10 August 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. presented more than $1.2 million in financial grants to film schools and nonprofit organizations Thursday at its annual Installation Luncheon honoring the organization's 2007-08 slate of officers at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The grants represent the largest tally ever distributed in the group's 65-year history, behind the annual Golden Globe Awards.
Marc Anthony, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez and Hilary Swank were among the celebrities who announced the grants, while others like Charlize Theron, appearing for the Film Foundation, accepted on behalf of the recipients.
President Jorge Camara introduced the new officers: Mike Goodridge, vp; Serge Rakhlin, executive secretary; and Meher Tatna, treasurer. The new board of directors is comprised of Mahfouz Doss (chairman), Armando Gallo, Anke Hofmann, Erkki Kanto, Paz Mata and Frances Schoenberger (alternate).
The grants were distributed among 28 film-related charities and educational institutions.
A complete list of the recipients is available at hollywoodreporter.com.
The recipients are:
In the education area: American Film Institute, $30,000 for HFPA Fellowships for second-year MFA students; California Institute of the Arts, $60,000 for eight scholarships for upperclassmen and graduate students; California State University, Long Beach, Dept. of Film and Electronic Arts, $30,000 for scholarships; California State University, Los Angeles, $30,000 for fellowships for directing students to complete their film/video projects and for showcase of projects and $10,000 for digital video equipment; California State University, Northridge, Dept. of Cinema and Television Arts, $60,000 for fellowships for seniors for their final film project, $15,000 for equipment upgrades and $5,000 for showcase of projects; Columbia University School of the Arts, $50,000 for HFPA Fellowships for international MFA candidates; New York University; Tisch School of the Arts, $20,000 to support third-year students to complete their thesis films; North Carolina School of the Arts Foundation, $20,000 for HFPA Fellow Scholarships for undergraduate students; and the University of California, Los Angeles; School of theatre Film and Television, $50,000 for five directing student fellowships and $30,000 for presenting sponsorship at the 2008 Festival of New Creative Work. »
Actress Hilary Swank will be the face of a new charity campaign which aims to support women who've lost their hair during cancer treatment. The Oscar-winning star will front the Pantene Beautiful Lengths drive - which encourages people to grow their hair, cut it off and then donate it to create wigs for women who've lost their hair through cancer - from 2008. Swank has promised to grow out her own locks for the campaign. She says, "I have lost multiple family members to cancer and witnessed their struggle first hand. I've never heard of anything quite like Pantene Beautiful Lengths, and I'm proud to be asked to promote the goals of such a unique and heartfelt program." »
ROME -- Ben Kingsley and helmer Giuseppe Tornatore will be presented with the Ischia Legend Award at the upcoming Ischia Global Film & Music Fest, organizers said Friday, less than a week after announcing that Hilary Swank would receive the same honor.
The fifth edition of the Ischia event will include several other well-known names from the entertainment world, including actress Laura Dern, director Alfonso Cuaron and singers Sheryl Crow and Laura Pausini.
The Legend Award, sponsored by the regional government of Campania, is awarded each year for overall career achievements.
Kinsley is a four-time Oscar nominee who won the best actor prize for his work in "Gandhi" in 1982. This will be his first major award in Italy.
Tornatore, who won an Oscar in 1990 for "Cinema Paradiso", recently dominated the David di Donatello Awards with his film "La Sconosciuta" (The Unknown Woman). The Sicily-born director also was the toast of the recent Taormina Film Festival, where he was presented with the Taormina Arte Award and honored with a retrospective. »
Penelope Cruz received a special treat when she checked out Prince's intimate Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel concert on Saturday - the pop star performed one song just for her. When Prince spotted the Spanish actress in a booth near the Blossom Room stage, he joined her and her party and played a new song sitting right next to her. Guests also claim Prince agreed to perform an encore of "Nothing Compares 2 U" at the Volver star's request. One bystander says, "Penelope was in heaven. She sang along, eyes closed." Cruz wasn't the only celebrity who checked out the Prince show - the first of a summer residency at the Roosevelt; Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Hilary Swank, rap couple Nas and Kelis and actor Topher Grace were spotted among the crowd. »
ROME -- Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank will be honored with the Legend Award from the regional government of Campania at the fifth annual Ischia Global Film and Music Festival.
The festival will take place July 9-16 on the island of Ischia off the coast of Naples.
Swank will arrive in Ischia to receive the award July 11 before taking off again to resume work on the comedy "P.S. I Love You", set for release by the year's end. »
PARIS -- UNESCO is bringing peace to Paris with the Time for Peace Film and Music Awards, to be held in the French capital for the first time June 22.
The awards, created in 1994 by Marion and Robert Einbeck, under the aegis of the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization honor films and music recognized for their high artistic quality and humanitarian values including "tolerance, respect of differences, the gift of healing and forgiving, solidarity, freedom and preservation of the environment," organizers said.
Director Edward Zwick will attend the ceremony to receive the best film prize for "Blood Diamond", with Charlotte Gainsbourg confirmed to accept her award for best European actress for her role in Emmanuele Crialese's "Golden Door", which also snagged the best European film prize. Best actress went to Hilary Swank for "Freedom Fighters", and best musical artist to Charles Aznavour for his most recent album, "Colore ma Vie".
Winners were chosen by a jury of 24 members from the U.N. »
Penned by Elyse Friedman, the story centers on a husband (Perry) struggling with life in a repressive career and community and enduring headaches caused by his free-spirited brother (Foster) and sister (Goodwin). Swank will play a supporting role as the all-too-perfect neighbor of Perry's harried character.
The film is shooting in Connecticut.
Kind hearted actress Hilary Swank has kicked off a round-the-world run for charity. The Million Dollar Baby spoke at the ceremony on Friday to raise awareness of the 1.1 billion people across the world who lack access to clean drinking water. Twenty runners for the Blue Planet Run will make the 15,250 mile journey over 95 days. Each runner will run 10 miles at a time. Swank, who was speaking at the U.N. lawn at Boston, Massachusetts just before the first runner set off, said, "Making safe drinking water available is everyone's problem, and it's a problem it will take everyone to solve. It's easy for me to show up today and talk about this. The real heroes are the 20 people who are actually running ... and putting their lives on hold for the 95 days." The runners will cross 16 countries including, U.S., Ireland, England, France, and Japan. »
At WMA, Liedtke and Bradwell will work on growing the agency's young talent department, helping the company make a concerted push into the burgeoning tween marketplace across all entertainment platforms.
Liedtke headed the young adult department at TalentWorks, splitting from the agency that had been her home for the past 18 years in December. She had been heavily courted by other agencies. Bradwell also comes from TalentWorks and was promoted to agent by Liedtke in 2005.
Among the clients joining WMA include Zac Efron ("Hairspray"), Thomas Dekker ("The Sarah Connor Chronicles"), Corbin Bleu ("High School Musical"), Joy Lauren ("Desperate Housewives"), Mitchel Musso ("Hannah Montana"), Janel Parrish ("Bratz"), Aidan Mitchell ("The Riches"), Jesse Plemons ("Friday Night Lights") and April Bowlby ("Two and a Half Men").
The actors will join WMA's stable of young talent that includes Abigail Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine"), Vanessa Hudgens ("High School Musical"), Keke Palmer ("Akeelah and the Bee") and Spencer Breslin ("The Shaggy Dog"), among others. »
NEW YORK -- Matthew Perry and Hilary Swank are set to star in Laws of Motion, a comedy produced by Plum Pictures, Ideal Partners Film Fund and Hilary Swank Prods. Ben Foster is in negotiations for a lead role in the film.
Perry plays a husband struggling with life in a repressive career and community along with headaches caused by his free-spirited brother (Foster) and sister. Swank will take on a supporting role as the all-too-perfect neighbor of Perry's harried character.
New York-based indie Plum Pictures has had a recent run of success with big Sundance Film Festival sales this year of James C. Strouse's Grace Is Gone to the Weinstein Co. and Justin Theroux's Dedication to First Look Pictures and the Weinstein Co. Its latest film, Watching the Detectives, premiered last month at the Tribeca Film Festival, and its upcoming adaptation of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar will be produced with star Julia Stiles. »
23 April 2007 11:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
The lull before the summer blockbuster invasion brought a surprise top finisher internationally this weekend as "Wild Hogs" zoomed to No. 1 with an estimated $11.5 million from 3,046 screens in 38 markets, lifting its foreign gross total to $43.3 million.
A 15-market expansion propelled "Hogs" past Universal International's "Mr. Bean's Holiday" and Warner Bros. International's "300," which had been sharing first place in the overseas rankings for the past five weekends.
The suburban biker comedy starring John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy bowed strongly in 15 new markets including No. 1 openings in Germany (an estimated $2.9 million from 600 screens), Switzerland ($480,000 from 50 sites for a per-screen average of $9,600), Austria ($375,000 from 85 situations, more than the market's No. 2 through No. 4 titles combined) and in Singapore ($285,000 from 26 spots for a per-screen average of $10,961).
"Hogs," which has been playing for eight weekends in Australia (where its market cume is $12.7 million), also finished first in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. »
- By Frank Segers
This review was written for the theatrical release of "The Reaping".If you were to put together a horror film by committee, it would look a lot like "The Reaping". Someone would suggest borrowing from "The Omen", which would lead someone else to propose lifting from "The Exorcist" and perhaps a third person would pitch an ending twist reminiscent of "Rosemary's Baby."
The Louisiana bayou would make a nicely mysterious location. Everyone knows that decadent, inbred Southerners live in antebellum mansions while poor white trash occupy shacks in the swamp. People there fear an Old Testament God, yet devil worshippers are everywhere. Throw in 10 biblical plagues, and you've got "The Reaping".
The only question is: What is two-time Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank doing in this fanciful rubbish? Her name and the promise of hordes of CGI locusts probably mean the film will scare up a crowd for its opening weekend. But whether this religious horror will sustain the release in subsequent weeks is a real question.
"Reaping" never tips its hand as to how seriously it wants to be taken. The film comes from Warners-based Dark Castle Entertainment -- Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis' company that makes tongue-in-cheek genre movies, a kind of We're Just Kidding Prods. But the writers, brothers Casey W. and Chad Hayes, and director Stephen Hopkins, who cut his teeth on HBO's "Tales From the Crypt", play things straight, taking the religious miracles more or less at face value.
Swank certainly acts as if the stakes were real rather than camp. Her Katherine Winter has made a profession of being a nonbeliever. Once a minister, she lost her faith and family in tragic bloodshed in the Sudan, the result of narrow-minded religious fanaticism. So she spends her days debunking supposed miracles. Can that actually be a job? She also lectures at LSU about religion-as-nonsense, but you do wonder in what department she teaches.
A science teacher (David Morrissey) from a backwater town called Haven -- yes, that's the name -- comes to this debunker with a problem. Haven's river has turned blood red, and a child has died. Katherine and her assistant Ben (Idris Elba) agree to take a look. It takes only one spooky day and night for Ben to declare, "We are witnessing biblical events." Fish die in the bloody waters, frogs fall from the sky, and cows keel over.
Town folks believe a little girl named Loren (AnnaSophia Robb) brought God's wrath down on Haven because she killed her brother. They mean to "destroy" her. Meanwhile, in a sanctuary far, far away, a priest (Stephen Rea) reads the signs and warns Katherine that she is in mortal danger.
Hopkins pulls all the usual horror-film tricks. He keeps his camera inches from his actors so any person, object or animal entering the frame causes a cheap jolt. Most investigations take place in the dead of night, electricity fails at a crucial moment, and many things go bump in the night. This is hokum with a capital H.
Swank looks justifiably perplexed, but there is no emotional depth to her character. Each fright sequence triggers a flashback both to the Sudan and to the little girl's recent experiences. You wonder how a character can have the memories of two people, but -- whoops -- here comes another plague to distract you from such thoughts.
One either likes this sort of thing or not. Even fans might not buy the ending in which more people get wiped out than in Hurricane Katrina. The tech departments lay on the Old Testament fireworks with appropriate flash, but the characters get thoroughly lost in the CGI blizzard.
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures presents in association with Village Roadshow Pictures
a Dark Castle Entertainment production
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Screenwriters: Casey W. Hayes, Chad Hayes
Story: Brian Rousso
Executive producers: Erik Olsen, Steve Richards, Bruce German
Director of photography: Peter Levy
Production designer: Graham "Grace" Walker
Music: John Frizzell
Costume designer: Jeffrey Kurland
Editor: Colby Parker Jr.
Cast: Katherine Winter: Hilary Swank
Doug Blackwell: David Morrissey
Ben: Idris Elba
Loren: AnnaSophia Robb
Father Costigan: Stephen Rea
Running time -- 100 minutes
MPAA rating: R
Oscar winner Hilary Swank discovered a good deed can get you out of trouble when she escaped a speeding fine after helping a lady with her groceries. The actress stopped to help a shopper in a hurry when she noticed everyone in the Los Angeles bakery/restaurant she uses to learn her lines was busy - and her efforts were noticed by an impressed traffic cop. The same cop pulled Swank over for speeding on the Pacific Coast Highway days later. She recalls, "He goes, 'Hey, Ms. Swank... You know what, you were speeding... but I'm gonna let you off for being a Good Samaritan.' I said, 'What? What did I do?' and he said, 'I was at that bakery a few days ago when you got behind the counter and helped that woman, that actually happened to be the judge of Malibu.' The moral of the story is, if you're in a bakery and they're short-handed, get behind the counter; you never know when it's gonna help you out." »
The book, due in April from Shaye Areheart Books, tells of a woman's journey of self-discovery. After a freak car crash leaves her 24-year-old passenger dead, the narrator discovers that the woman had a list of things she wanted to do by age 25. The narrator then decides to do the items on the list to honor her friend. The book is Smolinksi's follow-up to her debut novel, Flip-Flopped.
No writers are on the project yet.
Finerman is on a book binge of late. Last year, she produced The Devil Wears Prada, which was adapted from a tome by Lauren Weisberger, and she is on post on P.S. I Love You, starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler, based on the novel by Cecelia Ahern. »
A Lot Like Love star Ashton Kutcher's prank show Punk'd is ending after five years of terrorizing celebrities. Kutcher hosted, executive produced and created the MTV show, which set up his famous friends without their knowledge. Some of the most memorable episodes saw Justin Timberlake get emotional when he thought the US tax officials were seizing some of his goods, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip actor Matthew Perry becoming involved in a FBI operation as he tried to buy a stolen car. The final season of Punk'd will begin on MTV on April 10 and features celebrity 'victims' such as Oscar winner Hilary Swank, singer Nelly Furtado and Nashville Star host Jewel. »
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