London — Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris’ Neal Street Prods., whose credits include Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful,” has unveiled its latest film project, an adaptation of Enid Blyton’s “Magic Faraway Tree” books for theatrical release.
This will be the first feature film adaptation of “The Magic Faraway Tree” series, which were written between 1939 and 1951. The series is made up of four novels: “The Enchanted Wood,” “The Magic Faraway Tree,” “The Folk of the Faraway Tree” and “Up the Faraway Tree,” all of which have been optioned by Neal Street for development.
Each story takes place in the enchanted forest in which The Magic Faraway Tree grows — tall enough to reach the clouds and large enough to contain small houses. Discovered by the books’ child heroes, the tree and forest provide the background to their adventures.
Blyton is one of the world’s best-selling children’s authors. She has sold more »
- Leo Barraclough
It’s a well-traveled path for writers from stage to screen. There are the established crossover masters — think David Mamet and Tony Kushner — but every decade brings new playwriting talent to Hollywood, from American Beauty’s Alan Ball to Skyfall's John Logan. The Hollywood Reporter shines the spotlight on the new class of playwrights who are making their names known in film and TV. Rob Askins "It's blood, sex and Jesus, with laughs," says Askins of his playwriting, his slight drawl barely giving away his rural Texas upbringing. His home state inspired the 34-year-old first to
- Austin Siegemund-Broka
In cinema, the comedy sequel is a peculiar beast. Unlike those found in other genres, follow-ups to those films that strike to tickle the funny bone are often less bigger, bolder and darker and more, well, disappointing.
Whether it’s continuations of Airplane, The Hangover or even the widely-derided Grown Ups, history has taught us that a comedy sequel can be a tough nut to crack. But come November, Sean Andres will look to avoid those pitfalls with Horrible Bosses 2 — the follow-up to 2011’s surprise ensemble hit.
Reuniting Nick, Dale and Kurt — aka the world’s unluckiest Average Joes — Horrible Bosses 2 will see the trio try to break out on their own by setting up a business. Of course, things don’t go quite according to plan after a conniving investor (played by Christoph Waltz) double crosses them. Joining Waltz as a newcomer is Chris Pine, while Kevin Spacey, »
- Michael Briers
Movie posters are a very important part of any given movie’s marketing campaign – even today when social media and internet marketing are such powerful tools.
When we think of iconic movies from the past, the movie posters associated with them are almost as famous as the movies themselves. The shark approaching the surface to take out the girl on the Jaws poster, the screaming victim on the Psycho poster, the titular heroes side by side on the Avengers poster, the terrifying “Here’s Johnny” face on the poster for The Shining and the solitary rose on the American Beauty poster are just some examples that prove that point perfectly.
However, in order to get to any given final version of a movie poster, there has to be a design process in which several ideas are pitched and, as a result, countless concepts go unused for every single »
- K.J. Stewart
“It’s great to be back. This is so much more fun than directing movies, I can’t even begin to tell you.”
So quipped Jason Reitman at the start of the fourth season of Film Independent’s Live Read at Lacma series on Oct. 16. Tackling Alan Ball’s Oscar-winning screenplay for “American Beauty,” the director recruited a clutch of actors from his most recent film, “Men, Women and Children.”
Adam Sandler took on Kevin Spacey’s signature role of Lester Burnham, with Rosemarie DeWitt once again playing his wife in the part originated by Annette Bening. Olivia Crocicchia read for Mena Suvari’s teenage sexpot; Travis Tope limned pot-dealer/videographer/amateur-philosopher Ricky Fitts; and Kaitlyn Dever, Dean Norris and Phil Lamarr rounded out the cast.
It would be easy to read the casting as a sort of crypto marketing stunt — as Reitman noted in an aside, “go see the film, »
- Andrew Barker
It’s a shame only 600 people got to see Jason Reitman‘s Live Read of American Beauty on Thursday. If more people saw it, they’d be lining up to see Men, Women and Children this weekend. The cast proved they are wonderful together. As the kickoff to the 4th season of Live Reads at Lacma, Reitman […]
- Germain Lussier
Neil Patrick Harris to host Oscar 2015 ceremony Stage, film, and television actor Neil Patrick Harris will host the 2015 Oscars, aka the 87th Academy Awards ceremony, Oscarcast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today, October 15, 2014. This will be Neil Patrick Harris' first time hosting the show, which in the United States will air live on ABC on Sunday, February 22. As quoted in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences press release, Zadan and Meron are "thrilled" to have Harris host their show, adding that "we have known him his entire adult life" and "to work with him on the Oscars is the perfect storm." As to be expected, Harris' statement reads that “it is truly an honor and a thrill" to be invited to host the 2015 Academy Awards ceremony Now, Neil Patrick Harris is an experienced awards-show host. His credits in the field include hosting the 61st and 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, »
- Steve Montgomery
A veritable cavalcade? avalanche? orgy? of links this morning from news stories we haven't covered through interesting film tidbits and showbiz articles we wanted to point out for various reasons.
Vanity Fair looks back at the making of now 20 year old Pulp Fiction
Fox Searchlight Birdman gets an incredible series of city-specific movie posters. Hopefully various movie theaters around the country will latch on to this. Such a fun idea.
The Spy in the Sandwich looks at Oscar's resistance to Asian cinema in the Foreign Language Film category and The Phillipines in particular
NonFics 10 essential documentaries on sex and sexuality. »
- NATHANIEL R
1999 will always be one of my favorite years for movies. This is partially because there were a lot of great movies released that year, but mainly because in 1999 I was in high school, and as we all know, the world was more important and less terrible when we were in high school. Last week, I took a look at which movies from 1999 had aged well, and asked which had aged poorly. The response was overwhelming, insofar as it's overwhelming that anyone likes American Beauty. However, one reader email in particular struck me as a launchpad for an important conversation. Here »
- Darren Franich
By the end of its theatrical run, Jason Reitman's Internet drama "Men, Women & Children" will likely amount to the director's least financially successful picture. No, not every film can click with the zeitgeist like "Juno" and haul in $143.5 million. But when Reitman's Kate Winslet-Josh Brolin drama "Labor Day" tapped out at $13.4 million this past winter, analysts considered it a disappointment. This weekend's specialty box office reports pin "Men, Women & Children" just under $128,500 after its second weekend — something beyond mere disappointment for Reitman and Paramount Pictures. The silver lining: With "Men, Women & Children," Reitman found actors that ignite him and perhaps vice versa. The door for future collaborations appears to remain open, with the first already in motion. As part of his on-going live-read series with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Reitman is set to direct a staged reading of Alan Ball's Academy Award-winning script "American Beauty. »
- Matt Patches
Entertainment Weekly reports that Jason Reitman will kick off his annual L.A. Live-Read series with a performance of American Beauty — which he did once before in 2012, starring Bryan Cranston — performed by the cast of his recent film Men, Women & Children. The reading will take place October 16 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and features Adam Sandler as Lester Burnham, in the role that won Kevin Spacey an Oscar, and Rosemarie DeWitt as his wife Carolyn, originally played by Annette Bening. Reitman also revealed some of the other live readings he plans to perform this year, including The Empire Strikes Back in December, Goodfellas in January, and Dazed and Confused in March. All starring Adam Sandler, we hope. »
- Anna Silman
Jason Reitman’s live read series is about to launch with the cast of his recent drama and a ’90s Oscar winner.
Reitman, who hosts a live read series every year in which actors perform classic scripts, has set his “Men, Women & Children” cast to perform the “American Beauty” screenplay for one night only. The performance will take place Oct. 16 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Adam Sandler will play Lester Burham, which nabbed Kevin Spacey an Oscar, and Rosemarie DeWitt will play Carolyn, originally portrayed by Annette Bening. Kaitlyn Dever has been cast as the couple’s daughter Jane (played in the film by Thora Birch), Olivia Crocicchia will play Jane’s friend Angela (played in the film by Mena Suvari) and Travis Tope will take Wes Bentley’s role as Ricky.
“I had a such a great experience working with the cast that I was looking »
- Alex Stedman
Jason Reitman is kicking off a new Live Read season with an Oscar-winning '90s classic. Reitman will host a one-night reading of American Beauty's screenplay, to be performed by the cast of his recent drama Men, Women & Children. The reading takes place Oct. 16 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Adam Sandler will take on the role of Lester Burham, which won Kevin Spacey his second Oscar. Rosemarie DeWitt will inhabit the role of his fastidious wife Carolyn, played in the film by Annette Bening. American Beauty, released in 1999, grossed $356 million worldwide
- Ryan Gajewski
It's been 15 years since 1999, because that's how time works. 1999 is generally considered a great year for movies. Transformative, even: A diverse array of films, directed by a fleet of up-and-coming filmmakers, all arriving at the multiplex back when cable was lame enough and the internet was slow enough to make the multiplex a place that mattered. If you happened to be young in 1999—or young-ish—it was possible to feel like you were seeing the entire cinematic art form evolve in front of you. Fifteen years ago this month was Three Kings and Fight Club and Being John Malkovich, instant-cult »
- Darren Franich
Jason Reitman's L.A. Live-Read series is kicking off its new season with a cast swap. Each year, The Young Adult and Up in the Air filmmaker hosts a series of one-night-only live performances of classic movie scripts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and a new round begins Oct. 17 with Alan Ball's Oscar-winning screenplay for American Beauty. The readings are like artistic science experiments, following the recipe of a previous film but mixing in new ingredients, so the twist this time is that Reitman has filled the roles with actors from his latest film, Men, »
- Anthony Breznican
Move your mind back through the mists of time to summer 2013 and you may recall the moment that The Conjuring manifested itself in movie theatres. James Wan's film fictionalisation of an astoundingly creepy case handled by American paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) was a huge critical and commercial hit. In fact, earning over $300 million off the back of a budget estimated around $20 million, it's one of the highest-grossing horror flicks of all time.
Naturally, a sequel was ordered and that's due to surface and scare us all over again just before Halloween 2015. Before that, though, audiences itching for more of this particular world (and threatening other worlds) have something novel to enjoy while they wait for the return of the Warrens. »
A lot of people see cinema as a way to capture reality. Quite frankly, I do not see it that way. It is an artificial medium, and everyone watching knows it. The capturing reality mindset is needed for some pictures, but it is not a hard and fast rule. I think filmmakers embracing film's artificiality can make for very interesting products. One of my favorite ways to highlight that is by directly breaking the fourth wall, a storytelling technique that addresses the audience in very a direct way. It can make them complicit in a nefarious plot. It can accuse them. It can bring them in on a joke. It is a very fun device to use, and, for the most part, it works when it's used. Below is a pretty fun supercut of breaking the fourth wall in movies. Here, though, breaking the fourth wall is translated as looking directly at the lens. »
- Mike Shutt
Women made up 60% of “Gone Girl’s” opening crowd and 51% of “Annabelle’s” premiere audience. The films bowed to $38 million and $37.2 million, respectively, among the best October debuts in history.
This follows on the heels of premieres for such recent hits as “The Maze Runner” (51% female), “The Equalizer” (48% female) and “No Good Deed” (60% female), which demonstrate that women will turn out for films in a wide variety of genres with as much if not more consistency than their male counterparts.
“Once again, female audience are driving the box office and not just with young adult movies or films aimed just at women, such as romantic comedies,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “The female audience is vitally »
- Brent Lang
The weekend is coming, and while we should definitely take some time to unwind from our busy weeks, that doesn’t mean you can start gearing up for Monday by checking out some new audition opportunities! Here are seven posted to Backstage this week! “Coming Through The Rye”This feature film shooting in Virginia and starring Chris Cooper (“American Beauty”) is casting dozens of supporting and lead roles. The film is about a prep student who deeply identifies with Holden Caulfield from “Catcher in the Rye.” This gig pays professionally and auditions will be held Oct. 3–17 in Charlottesville, Va. Be sure to list which role you’d like to audition for in your application! “A Night Of Conservative Humor”For those familiar with current events and politics, this sketch comedy show is seeking actors and comedians from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut with jokes that possess a conservative sway. »
What a busy busy month that was. We were overachievers here, really. I'm so exhausted I'm hoping to prick my finger on a cursed spindle for a little R&R. Traffic always picks up in the fall when the adult movies arrive so if you're just rejoining us we welcome you back with slighly chilled affection (this place is hopping all year round!) by pointing out what you may have missed.
Neo, Cheryl and Rocky hike the Pct
Index of Goodies
Toronto was a blast! - a handydandy guide (and prizes) for everything I saw there
Nyff - in progress but we've already talked about a bunch of foreign films as well as Maps to the Stars, Gone Girl & Whiplash
- NATHANIEL R
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