15 items from 2015
Exclusive: Focus Features is in talks to hire Jim Burke as president of production. Focus CEO Peter Schlessel is in talks with the veteran exec/producer, who partners with Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor in the production company Ad Hominem, which they formed in 2004. Before that, Burke was a founder of film/TV company Rysher and put that company into the movie business. With Payne and Taylor, he was nominated for Best Picture for The Descendants, and he also produced such… »
Give Tim McCann credit for his twisted imagination: His see-it-to-believe-it 2005 cheapie Nowhere Man concerns a guy hunting for his own severed penis, sliced off by his ex-fiancée, who's now hiding out with the organ in the residence of her former porn-movie co-star. While not quite that outré-sounding, McCann's latest, White Rabbit, boasts its own head-turning premise: Bullied adolescent Harlon (Nick Krause) can't shake the torment of his memory of shooting a rabbit at close range as a child. In the tense opening, Krause has a black eye, sports slicked-back hair, and wears dark, fingerless gloves — a far cry from his dopey guise in The Descendants. The rest of the movie, shot in gun-country Louisiana (overgrown weeds, rusty sw »
By Anjelica Oswald
Chazelle’s Whiplash, about an aspiring jazz drummer and his sadistic instructor, is his second feature film and is adapted from a short film of the same name that he also wrote and directed. The short won the jury award for short films at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Whiplash was nominated for four other awards, including best picture.
Anderson received his second adapted screenplay nomination for Inherent Vice, based on Thomas Pynchon’s novel of the same name. The film was also nominated for costume design. Anderson previously received an adapted screenplay nomination for 2007’s There Will Be Blood, which he also directed. He received a best director nomination, and the film was nominated for best picture.
If either wins, they will become the fifth adapted screenplay »
- Anjelica Oswald
By Anjelica Oswald
Only one of this year’s adapted screenplay nominees isn’t adapted from a book, and that’s Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, which is adapted from his short film of the same name that took home the jury prize for short film from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The other four adaptations all come from books, three non-fiction and one fiction.
- Anjelica Oswald
Hollywood's favorite former bachelor, George Clooney, was honored for his legacy in film and humanitarianism at the Golden Globes, taking home the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was presented by Julianna Margulies and Don Cheadle, who fought over which one of them was a better "F.O.G." (Friend of George), on Sunday night at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. "I can't tell you what an honor it is to be up here," said Clooney. "I thought they were going to roast me." He went on to say that the Globes offer a chance to catch up with old friends. »
- Michele Corriston, @mcorriston
One of Reese Witherspoon’s breakout roles was as the ambitious and persnickety Tracy Flick in Alexander Payne’s second film Election. Since then, the pair has yet to work together, but Deadline reported Wednesday that Witherspoon has joined Payne’s latest film, the much delayed Downsizing.
According to The Playlist, Downsizing was first conceived back in 2008 as a sci-fi social satire in which “enlightened,” possibly pretentious humans choose to shrink themselves down to 1/8 their size in an effort to scale back on Earth’s rapidly depleting resources. Witherspoon was originally attached along with Paul Giamatti, Meryl Streep, and Sacha Baron Cohen.
- Brian Welk
Following news that Reese Witherspoon was going to reteam with her Election director Alexander Payne for the satire Downsizing, starring Matt Damon, a trio of new actors have been added to the film. THR reports that Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Sudeikis will all have roles in the film that now finds itself getting produced and financed by Megan Ellison and her fantastic Annapurna Pictures banner. There's still no new details, but it's been said to follow a man, down on his luck, who decides he can have a much better life if he undergoes a process to shrink himself. It's probably Payne's oddest film yet. This also sounds like it could be Payne's most comedic film since Election with names like Baldwin, Harris and Sudeikis involved now. Of course, all of Payne's films have had some quirky comedy, even amongst the drama in films like About Schmidt and The Descendants. »
- Ethan Anderton
After delivering another knockout film last year with the sincere Nebraska, director Alexander Payne is busy at work gearing up to shoot his latest film, Downsizing, a science-fiction dramedy about a man and his wife who try to reinvigorate their lives and voluntarily have themselves shrunk down. Unfortunately for the man, his wife backs out at the last minute.
During the last week, Oscar Winners Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, The Adjustment Bureau) and Reese Witherspoon (Wild, Inherent Vice) have signed on to play the leading couple of the film, but The Wrap is today reporting that Jason Sudeikis (We’re The Millers), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) , and upcoming Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl) have all signed on to join the project in unspecified roles.
- Scott J. Davis
Alexander Payne began development on his then-next project, Downsizing, in 2009 before moving onto The Descendants. The troublesome social satire scripted by Payne and long-time writing partner Jim Taylor already had Paul Giamatti and Reese Witherspoon attached before it went belly-up. For whatever reason, 20th Century Fox were reluctant to invest in the story or its heavy use of CGI and lodged the flick into a permanent hiatus.
Late last year, the film underwent a shake-up. When news arrived that Matt Damon had relinquished his role in Zhang Zimou’s China-set epic, The Great Wall, in favour of the lead in Payne’s drama, the project returned to Fox’s development slate. Now, in a strange turn of events, Deadline reports that Witherspoon is back on board as the female lead. Together, the two will play a happily married couple who decide to shrink themselves out of financial concerns. Their logic? »
- Gem Seddon
The film is set in a near future in which Norwegian scientists discover a method of shrinking human beings to an eighth of their size.
The method is adopted to reduce consumption and overpopulation, settling the shrunken humans in miniature cities, but dire consequences slowly emerge for big and small people alike.
Downsizing is yet to announce filming or release dates. »
Reese Witherspoon has signed on to follow up her critically-acclaimed performance in Wild with Downsizing. Ironically, the actress was initially attached way back in 2009 when we first reported on the project. Paul Giamatti and Sacha Baron Cohen were also attached to star at the time for director Alexander Payne, but it never moved forward, as the filmmaker went on to make Best Picture nominee The Descendants just a few years later. Matt Damon signed on to star back in November, playing a man who believes his life would be far better off if he shrunk himself, in what is described as a social satire.
Back in 2009, Reese Witherspoon was set to play a woman who met the shrinking man, then played by Paul Giamatti. It isn't known if she will still play the same role in this incarnation. Deadline reports that timing may be an issue with Reese Witherspoon, since »
Waaay back in the day (circa 2008), Alexander Payne was mounting a new ambitious socio-political satire with sci-fi-ish elements called “Downsizing.” It was set in a not-too-distant future world where scientists had learned to shrink human beings down to miniature size in hopes that all of society would follow and that the depletion of Earth’s natural resources would slow down for millions of years (everything would be small, the carbon footprint included). The cast of that early iteration was to star Paul Giamatti, Sacha Baron Cohen, Meryl Streep, Gong Li and one Reese Witherspoon from Payne’s “Election.” Fast forward almost seven years and Payne made two movies in the interim, “The Descendants” and “Nebraska.” Of course, now he’s back on the hill making “Downsizing” again, this time with Matt Damon in the lead. But at least one actor named in the original cast is back. Deadline reports that Reese Witherspoon, »
- Edward Davis
Nominees announced for accolade voted on by the public.
The public will know vote on the winner, which will be announced at the Ee British Academy Film Awards ceremony on Feb 8.
- email@example.com (Andreas Wiseman)
The award, which is sponsored by Ee, recognizes actors or actresses who “have demonstrated exceptional talent, and are destined to be bright stars in the future of cinema.” The other nominees are Shailene Woodley, Margot Robbie and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
O’Connell first came to public attention in the U.K. TV series “Skins,” which he starred in from 2009. In 2013, he took the lead in British indie film “Starred Up,” playing Eric, a violent reprobate prematurely transferred to an adult prison. The role earned him a best actor nomination at last year’s British Independent Film Awards.
He also received critical acclaim for his punchy portrayal of Private Gary Hook in “’71,” for which he was nominated for a British Independent Film Award last year. The thriller, »
- Leo Barraclough
BAFTA has announced this year’s crop of nominees for its Ee Rising Star Award, with a handful of names in the mix whom many would consider already pretty firmly established. The group consists of Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jack O’Connell, Margot Robbie, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley. That there are three women in the mix is an evolution from last year’s two — a few years ago the org was criticized for selecting an entirely male roster. This is the only BAFTA award that is voted on by the British public; it honors actors and actresses “who have demonstrated exceptional talent, and are destined to be bright stars in the future of cinema.”
Mbatha-Raw recently won the British Independent Film Award as Best Actress in Belle. Her other feature credits have included Larry Crowne, Odd Thomas and Beyond The Lights, as well as TV appearances in Spooks and Dr Who. »
- Nancy Tartaglione
15 items from 2015
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