The Weinstein Company acquires 'Hampstead'

By Jeremy Kay | Screen

Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson star in London-set romance; TWC acquired from a promo reel.

The Weinstein Company has moved on North American rights to the Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson romance in a deal with Cornerstone Films.

Joel Hopkins directs Hampstead from a screenplay by Robert Festinger about an American widow who falls for the inhabitant of a hut on London’s Hampstead Heath that is under siege by property developers. James Norton also stars.

Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae of Ecosse Films are producing the feature, which is financed by Motion Picture Capital and Silver Reel. TWC acquired the film after watching a promo reel.

TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said the film was “a great example of the power we all can have when we stand up for our beliefs and fight for the people and things we care most about, something that is especially important these days.”

“We’re delighted to have TWC on board as our North American partner,” said Mark Gooder and Alison Thompson of Cornerstone Films. “Their long-standing passion for this project and indisputable track record with female-driven crowd-pleasing films makes TWC the perfect home for Hampstead.”

Bernstein and Rae added: “We are delighted to be collaborating with The Weinstein Company on Hampstead. We feel they have the right sensibility and passion for the film.”

David Glasser, Talia Houminer, Negeen Yazdi and Jennifer Malloy negotiated the deal for TWC with Gooder and Thompson on behalf of Cornerstone Film and Laure Vaysse and Craig Emanuel for Motion Picture Capital.

Diane Keaton, Brendan Gleeson’s Drama ‘Hampstead’ Goes to Weinstein

By Dave McNary | Variety

The Weinstein Company has bought distribution rights for the U.S. and Canada to the drama “Hampstead,” starring Diane Keaton, Brendan Gleeson and James Norton.

“Hampstead” is directed by Joel Hopkins from a screenplay by Robert Festinger (“In the Bedroom”). The project was produced by Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae at Ecosse Films.

The film, which went into production in early 2016, was acquired by TWC based on a short promo video. The project was financed by Motion Picture Capital and Silver Reel. Cornerstone Films handled the sale.

Keaton plays an American widow who can’t quite focus on things that need attention, like her lovely old apartment, her finances and her son while living on the edge of the British countryside. While looking out across the heath from her attic window, she witnesses an unkempt man (played by Gleeson) attacked by a group of professional thugs. Shocked, she calls the police and ventures into the woods in search of the man, discovering that his home is the target of property developers using heavy-handed tactics to remove him.

TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein said, “We’re thrilled to work with Robert Bernstein, Douglas Rae and the incredible Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson on this film. ‘Hampstead’ is a great example of the power we all can have when we stand up for our beliefs and fight for the people and things we care most about, something that is especially important these days.”

Gleeson starred in Ben Affleck’s “Live by Night” and won an Emmy for playing Winston Churchill in “Into the Storm.” Keaton has been nominated for four Oscars and won for “Annie Hall.”

The deal for the project was negotiated by David Glasser, Talia Houminer, Negeen Yazdi and Jennifer Malloy for TWC with Mark Gooder and Alison Thompson on behalf of Cornerstone Film and Laure Vaysse and Craig Emanuel for Motion Picture Capital.

Adam Shankman to Direct Kate Beckinsale in ‘Chocolate Money’

By Dave McNary | Variety

In a pre-Berlin market move, Adam Shankman has come on board to direct Kate Beckinsale in mother-daughter drama “The Chocolate Money.”

Cornerstone Films will be launching international sales to buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin next month. UTA is repping domestic rights.

The project is based on Ashley Prentice Norton’s novel with Emma Forrest adapting. The story is set in 1980s New York, centered on the relationship between a rich chocolate heiress and her precocious young daughter.

The mother lives a free-wheeling, rock-star lifestyle, and her extravagant parties are legendary. Dazzled by her mother’s situation and constantly craving her attention, the daughter finds escape in reading beauty magazines and taking photos.

Beckinsale is producing with Mar-Key Pictures President Leslie Urdang, Miranda de Pencier and Kelly E. Ashton. Producers plan to begin shooting in New York City in the spring.

Beckinsale starred last year in “Underworld: Blood Wars” and “Love & Friendship.” Shankman’s credits include “Rock of Ages,” “Hairspray” and “A Walk to Remember.” He was in talks in October to direct “Enchanted” sequel “Disenchanted” for Disney.

Urdang said, “Emma Forrest wrote a profoundly witty and moving script with a role that could easily become Kate Beckinsale’s most brilliant and memorable.  Adam Shankman’s emotional accessibility and his gorgeous style will create a world we will not be able to resist.”

Shankman and Beckinsale are repped by UTA.

 

Adam Shankman Set To Direct Kate Beckinsale In ‘The Chocolate Money’ — Berlin

By Diana Lodderhose

Adam Shankman has been set to direct Kate Beckinsale in an adaptation of mother-daughter drama The Chocolate Money, based on Ashley Prentice Norton’s popular novel.

Cornerstone Films is handling international sales and will be launching to buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin next month. UTA is repping domestic.

Set in 1980s New York, the story follows the relationship between Babs Ballentyne, an impossibly rich chocolate heiress, and her precocious young daughter Bettina. Beckinsale plays Babs who is beautiful, whip-smart and lives a rock-star lifestyle. Her daughter Bettina, who is dazzled by her mother, constantly craves her attention. With her blurred view of reality, she fantasizes about normal family life and develops a crush on her mother’s married lover, Mack.

Some years later, Bettina enrols in boarding school where she goes on a self-destructive spree, partying and behaving in ways which she thinks will catch her mother’s attention. When Mack’s teenage son becomes part of her new circle of friends and her mother unexpectedly turns up on campus, she wonders if she will be ever be able forge her own identity or simply doomed as her mother’s daughter forever.

Beckinsale is producing with Mar-Key Pictures’ President Leslie Urdang, Miranda de Pencier and Kelly E. Ashton. Emma Forrest adapts the screenplay from Prentice Norton’s book.

Shankman has previously directed titles such as Hairspray, A Walk to Remember and The Pacifier and is also the director behind Disney’s upcoming sequel Disenchanted with Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey and James Marsden.

Film is scheduled to go into production in the Spring in New York.

Shankman and Beckinsale are repped by UTA.

Adam Shankman to direct Kate Beckinsale in 'The Chocolate Money'

By Tom Grater | Screen

Cornerstone Films will introduce the project to buyers at the EFM.

Adam Shankman (Hairspray) has signed up to direct Kate Beckinsale in the film adaptation of Ashley Prentice Norton’s novel The Chocolate Money.

Beckinsale will also produce with Leslie Urdang of Mar-Key Pictures, alongside Mirdana de Pencier and Kelly E. Ashton. The film is scheduled to shoot in New York in Spring 2017.

London-based Cornerstone Films is handling international rights and will commence sales at next month’s European Film Market (Feb 9-17). UTA is overseeing US sales.

The novel, adapted for the screen by Emma Forrest, is set in 1980s New York, following the heiress to one of American’s largest chocolate fortunes. The twisted comedy-drama tale follows the heiress’s daughter, who develops a crush on her mother’s married lover.

Leslie Urdang commented: “Emma Forrest wrote a profoundly witty and moving script with a role that could easily become Kate Beckinsale’s most brilliant and memorable.  Adam Shankman’s emotional accessibility and his gorgeous style will create a world we will not be able to resist.”

Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder added: “Adam Shankman and Kate Beckinsale are perfectly matched to this funny, audacious and profoundly moving story about a dysfunctional mother/daughter relationship that will resonate with buyers across the world looking for a female-driven movie with a big heart.”

Last weekend, Beckinsale picked up the London Critics’ Circle’s British/Irish Actress prize for Love & Friendship.

Cornerstone’s EFM slate also includes: Kirsten Dunst’s directorial debut The Bell Jar starring Dakota Fanning and Patricia Arquette; John Turturro’s comedy-drama Going Places starring Turturro and Susan Sarandon; The Kill Team by Oscar-nominated director Dan Krauss, starring Nat Wolff and Alexander Skarsgård; Boxing Drama Journeyman by writer, director and actor Paddy Considine; and Joel Hopkins’s Hampstead, starring Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson.

Baftas 2017 Nominations

BEST FILM

  • ARRIVAL Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, David Linde, Aaron Ryder
  • I, DANIEL BLAKE Rebecca O’Brien
  • LA LA LAND Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt
  • MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Steward, Kevin J. Walsh
  • MOONLIGHT Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM

  • AMERICAN HONEY Andrea Arnold, Lars Knudsen, Pouya Shahbazian, Jay Van Hoy
  • DENIAL Mick Jackson, Gary Foster, Russ Krasnoff, David Hare
  • FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM David Yates, J.K. Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, Lionel Wigram
  • I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien, Paul Laverty
  • NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney, Mike Brett, Jo-Jo Ellison, Steve Jamison
  • UNDER THE SHADOW Babak Anvari, Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER

  • The Girl With All the Gifts: MIKE CAREY (Writer), CAMILLE GATIN (Producer) 
  • The Hard Stop: GEORGE AMPONSAH (Writer/Director/Producer), DIONNE WALKER (Writer/Producer) 
  • Notes on Blindness: PETER MIDDLETON (Writer/Director/Producer), JAMES SPINNEY (Writer/Director), JO-JO ELLISON (Producer) 
  • The Pass: JOHN DONNELLY (Writer), BEN A. WILLIAMS (Director) 
  • Under the Shadow: BABAK ANVARI (Writer/Director), EMILY LEO, OLIVER ROSKILL, LUCAN TOH (Producers) 

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

  • DHEEPAN Jacques Audiard, Pascal Caucheteux
  • JULIETA Pedro Almodóvar
  • MUSTANG Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Charles Gillibert
  • SON OF SAUL László Nemes, Gábor Sipos
  • TONI ERDMANN Maren Ade, Janine Jackowski

DOCUMENTARY

  • 13th Ava DuVernay
  • THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK- THE TOURING YEARS Ron Howard
  • THE EAGLE HUNTRESS Otto Bell, Stacey Reiss
  • NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney
  • WEINER Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg

ANIMATED FILM

  • FINDING DORY Andrew Stanton
  • KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Travis Knight
  • MOANA Ron Clements, John Musker
  • ZOOTROPOLIS Byron Howard, Rich Moore

DIRECTOR

  • ARRIVAL Denis Villeneuve
  • I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach
  • LA LA LAND Damien Chazelle
  • MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan
  • NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Tom Ford

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • HELL OR HIGH WATER Taylor Sheridan
  • I, DANIEL BLAKE Paul Laverty
  • LA LA LAND Damien Chazelle
  • MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan
  • MOONLIGHT Barry Jenkins

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • ARRIVAL Eric Heisserer
  • HACKSAW RIDGE Robert Schenkkan, Andrew Knight
  • HIDDEN FIGURES Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder
  • LION Luke Davies
  • NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Tom Ford

LEADING ACTOR

  • ANDREW GARFIELD Hacksaw Ridge
  • CASEY AFFLECK Manchester by the Sea
  • JAKE GYLLENHAAL Nocturnal Animals
  • RYAN GOSLING La La Land
  • VIGGO MORTENSEN Captain Fantastic

LEADING ACTRESS

  • AMY ADAMS Arrival
  • EMILY BLUNT The Girl on the Train
  • EMMA STONE La La Land
  • MERYL STREEP Florence Foster Jenkins
  • NATALIE PORTMAN Jackie

SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON Nocturnal Animals
  • DEV PATEL Lion
  • HUGH GRANT Florence Foster Jenkins
  • JEFF BRIDGES Hell or High Water
  • MAHERSHALA ALI Moonlight

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • HAYLEY SQUIRES I, Daniel Blake
  • MICHELLE WILLIAMS Manchester by the Sea
  • NAOMIE HARRIS Moonlight
  • NICOLE KIDMAN Lion
  • VIOLA DAVIS Fences

ORIGINAL MUSIC

  • ARRIVAL Jóhann Jóhannsson
  • JACKIE Mica Levi
  • LA LA LAND Justin Hurwitz
  • LION Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka
  • NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Abel Korzeniowski

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • ARRIVAL Bradford Young
  • HELL OR HIGH WATER Giles Nuttgens
  • LA LA LAND Linus Sandgren
  • LION Greig Fraser
  • NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Seamus McGarvey

EDITING

  • ARRIVAL Joe Walker
  • HACKSAW RIDGE John Gilbert
  • LA LA LAND Tom Cross
  • MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Jennifer Lame
  • NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Joan Sobel

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • DOCTOR STRANGE John Bush, Charles Wood
  • FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock
  • HAIL, CAESAR! Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh
  • LA LA LAND Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, David Wasco
  • NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Shane Valentino, Meg Everist

COSTUME DESIGN

  • ALLIED Joanna Johnston
  • FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Colleen Atwood
  • FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS Consolata Boyle
  • JACKIE Madeline Fontaine
  • LA LA LAND Mary Zophres

MAKE UP & HAIR

  • DOCTOR STRANGE Jeremy Woodhead
  • FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS J. Roy Helland, Daniel Phillips
  • HACKSAW RIDGE Shane Thomas
  • NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Donald Mowat, Yolanda Toussieng
  • ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Nominees tbc

SOUND

  • ARRIVAL Claude La Haye, Bernard Gariépy Strobl, Sylvain Bellemare
  • DEEPWATER HORIZON Mike Prestwood Smith, Dror Mohar, Wylie Stateman, David Wyman
  • FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Niv Adiri, Glenn Freemantle, Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Ian Tapp
  • HACKSAW RIDGE Peter Grace, Robert Mackenzie, Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright
  • LA LA LAND Mildred Iatrou Morgan, Ai-Ling Lee, Steve A. Morrow, Andy Nelson

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS

  • ARRIVAL Louis Morin
  • DOCTOR STRANGE Richard Bluff, Stephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Jonathan Fawkner
  • FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz, David Watkins
  • THE JUNGLE BOOK Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Andrew R. Jones, Adam Valdez
  • ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Neil Corbould, Hal Hickel, Mohen Leo, John Knoll, Nigel Sumner

BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION

  • THE ALAN DIMENSION Jac Clinch, Jonathan Harbottle, Millie Marsh
  • A LOVE STORY Khaled Gad, Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara, Elena Ruscombe-King
  • TOUGH Jennifer Zheng

BRITISH SHORT FILM

  • CONSUMED Richard John Seymour
  • HOME Shpat Deda, Afolabi Kuti, Daniel Mulloy, Scott O’Donnell
  • MOUTH OF HELL Bart Gavigan, Samir Mehanovic, Ailie Smith, Michael Wilson
  • THE PARTY Farah Abushwesha, Emmet Fleming, Andrea Harkin, Conor MacNeill
  • STANDBY Charlotte Regan, Jack Hannon

EE RISING STAR AWARD

  • Tom Holland
  • Ruth Negga
  • Laia Costa
  • Lucas Hedges
  • Anya Taylor-Joy
  •  

Patricia Arquette, Bel Powley Join Kirsten Dunst’s Directorial Debut ‘Bell Jar’

By Dave McNary | Variety

Patricia Arquette, Bel Powley and Stacy Martin have joined Dakota Fanning and Jesse Plemons in the movie adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar,” which will be Kirsten Dunst’s directorial debut.

Cornerstone Films has launched foreign sales at the American Film Market. The film is going into production in early 2017.

Fanning came on board the project in July to play the lead role of Esther Greenwood in the film, based on Plath’s 1963 novel. Plemons will portray the Lenny Shepherd character.

Dunst has adapted the script with Nellie Kim.

Priority Pictures optioned remake rights from Studio Canal. “The Bell Jar” was made into a feature film in 1979.

Priority’s Lizzie Friedman, Karen Lauder, and Greg Little will produce alongside Fanning and Echo Lake Entertainment’s Brittany Kahan. Celine Rattray and Dunst are executive producing.

In the book, Greenwood takes an internship at a magazine in New York City, and then begins to suffer a mental breakdown when she returns home to Boston. The novel is the only book ever published by Plath, who committed suicide in 1963.

Arquette won the a supporting actress Oscar for “Boyhood.” Powley starred in “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” and Martin starred in “Nymphomaniac.”

Arquette is represented by the Gersh Agency and 3 Arts Entertainment. Powley is repped by UTA, The BWH Agency and Authentic Talent and Literary Management. Martin is repped by WME, 42 West, and Greg Slewett as her attorney.

AFM: Arquette, Powley, Martin join Dunst debut 'The Bell Jar'

By Andreas Wiseman | Screen

EXCLUSIVE: Oscar winner Patricia Arquette joins adaptation of Sylvia Plath novel.

Oscar winner Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) and rising stars Bel Powley (The Diary Of A Teenage Girl) and Stacy Martin (Nymphomaniac) are to join Dakota Fanning (American Pastoral) and Jesse Plemons (Black Mass) in Kirsten Dunst’s directorial debut The Bell Jar.

Fanning will play the lead role in the adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s classic 1950’s-set novel of the same name about a young woman who finds her life spiraling out of control as she struggles with mental illness.

Priority Pictures optioned the re-make rights to the film from Studiocanal. Lizzie Friedman, Karen Lauder and Greg Little (The Stanford Prison Experiment) will produce together with Dakota Fanning and Brittany Kahan from Echo Lake Entertainment (Nebraska) with Celine Rattray (American Honey) and Kirsten Dunst as executive producers.

Dunst is co-writing the screenplay together with Nellie Kim. The film is due to go into production in early 2017.

Cornerstone Films is handling international sales with UTA handling the North American rights.

The prestige drama is one of a number of women-focused packages heating up the AFM.

Set in the 1950s, The Bell Jar charts the story of Esther Greenwood (Dakota Fanning), a young woman from the suburbs of Boston, who wins a summer internship at a prominent women’s magazine in New York City.

While she tries to embrace this newfound freedom, she finds herself neither stimulated nor excited by the city’s glamorous culture and lifestyle. Struggling with the expectation that girls her age should idolise this world, she is unable to reconcile her conflicted feelings. As her time in New York counts down, she can’t escape her memories of an idyllic childhood turned on its head, of Buddy - her home town first love - and of the rising wave of anxiety at the thought of a future life without real meaning.

Arquette is represented by the Gersh Agency and Management 360, Powley by UTA, The BWH Agency and Authentic Talent and Literary Management, and Martin by WME, 42 West, and Greg Slewett as her attorney.

John Turturro talks rediscovering Jesus Quintana

By Jeremy Kay | Screen

Wrestling with Bertrand Blier’s 1974 comedy Les Valseuses, John Turturro had a flash of inspiration for his sixth directorial outing, Going Places.

John Turturro was flummoxed. Try as he might, he could not crack a key piece of his adapted screenplay Going Places, his sixth and latest directorial outing, based on Bertrand Blier’s novel and 1974 film Les Valseuses.

The actor and film-maker was excited about his “reimagining” of the French sex comedy following the misadventures of three misfits, but was struggling to update Jean-Claude, the character Turturro himself would play based on Gérard Depardieu’s original role.

Then it came to him and, in a flash, Turturro’s long-held desire to revisit an old friend and the wildest hopes of millions of fans of The Big Lebowski were destined to align.

“I was calling him JC, and it reminded me of this character I’d done in a play many, many years ago [he declines to name the play but will say it was a Latino character] that had inspired Joel and Ethan [Coen] to write the character of Jesus Quintana,” says Turturro.

“So I thought, ‘Wow! We’ve talked about doing something with Jesus Quintana but it was always silly.’ I started playing around with it and I thought we could be on to something with his irony and the irreverence of the character.”

While Jesus Quintana in many people’s minds is remembered as the pederast bowler from the Coens’ 1998 comedy, Turturro says of one of his most famous on-screen creations: “I knew him in a much more complex way than what people had seen in the movie, which was the trailer version of the character.”

He took the idea to the Coens to canvass their opinion, and showed them Les Valseuses. “It kind of blew their minds,” he says. “They thought it was a great idea and told me, ‘We’ve taken a character inspired from a stage play and now you want to put him in a movie which is a French movie, which was inspired by American road movies.’”

Blier, it turns out, loved old American road movies with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, and Les Valseuses was an homage of sorts. Turturro knew this first-hand, having got to know the French film-maker after approaching him seven years ago to remake Les Valseuses, which he had first seen in his youth.

“It made a big impression on me,” says Turturro, who loved the performances of Depardieu and Patrick Dewaere, and went on to devour all Blier’s films. “I liked the humour and the irreverence and the freedom.

The men were always so perplexed by women even though they thought they had the answers, and there was a level of guile and naivety that went along with their Neanderthal behaviour.”

It turns out Blier liked Turturro’s work as an actor and agreed to what the latter calls a “reimagining more than a remake, involving guys who were older but stuck in their adolescence”.

After a quick negotiation, Turturro began to write the script in between other projects. John Penotti, president of Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, was an early champion and the company committed to finance alongside New Element and Tribus P Film.

Going Places shot in New York state over the summer and from what he has seen in the editing room these past six weeks, Turturro says he is delighted — not least with his cast, which includes Bobby Cannavale as the character originally portrayed by Dewaere, Audrey Tautou in the role played in 1974 by Miou-Miou, Susan Sarandon and Oscar contender and Aquarius star Sonia Braga.

Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder’s Cornerstone Films represents international sales and is showing a promo at AFM. ICM Partners, which represents Turturro, has teamed up with Penotti to handle North America and buyers are sniffing around. It is no surprise. While the overall package sounds tantalising - a trio of troublemakers, a gun-toting hairdresser and unexpected love - people will be desperate to see the return of Quintana, aka The Jesus.

Turturro says there is more to the bowling demon with the prodigious tongue and unsavoury past than we saw in The Big Lebowski. “You see his past, how he thinks, and there’ll be a lot of surprises,” he says. “He still has his robust side to him, but without giving away the movie, he’s not walking around like this angry guy - he wants to enjoy life a bit.”

Turturro says Quintana serves as “the perfect guide” to his characters. “They’re losers with these great schemes and everything they do backfires, but they wind up doing good things for other people. They do stuff we’d all like to be able to do but there would be too many ramifications.”

Sidney Kimmel, Penotti, Robert Salerno, Fernando Sulichin and Paul-Dominique Vacharasinthu produce. Bruce Toll, Max Arvelaiz and Michael Lewis are executive producers.

First Look: Diane Keaton, Brendan Gleeson Find Unlikely Romance in 'Hampstead'

By Alex Ritman | The Hollywood Reporter

James Norton, Jason Watkins, Lesley Manville and Simon Callow also star in the drama, which Cornerstone is showcasing at AFM.

Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson sit amid the long grass in North London's famed Hampstead Heath in the first look image for upcoming romance Hampstead.

The film, which also stars James Norton, Lesley Manville, Jason Watkins and Simon Callow, sees Keaton play an American widow who forms an unlikely alliance with Gleeson's character, who has been living on the outskirts of the woods for years, as they battle with property developers using heavy-handed tactics to get their own way.

Hampstead was first introduced to buyers at last year’s AFM by Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder’s Cornerstone Films. This year, they’ll be showing the first clips from the film, which is directed by BAFTA Award-winner Joel Hopkins (Last Chance Harvey) from a screenplay by Academy Award-nominated writer Robert Festinger (In the Bedroom). BAFTA-nominated Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae from Ecosse Films (Nowhere Boy, Becoming Jane) are producing, with Leon Clarance, Mark Woolley, Laure Vaysse, Jo Monk, Thompson and Gooder exec producing.

Motion Picture Capital has fully financed the film.

Jesse Plemons Joins Dakota Fanning in Kirsten Dunst’s ‘Bell Jar’

By Dave McNary | Variety

Jesse Plemons is joining Dakota Fanning in the movie adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar,” which will be Kirsten Dunst’s directorial debut.

Cornerstone Films has come on board to launch foreign sales next month at the American Film Market.

Fanning came on board the project in July to play the lead role of Esther Greenwood in the pic, based on Plath’s 1963 novel. Plemons will portray the Lenny Shepherd character.

Dunst has adapted the script with Nellie Kim.

Priority Pictures optioned remake rights from Studio Canal. “The Bell Jar” was made into a feature film in 1979.

Priority’s Lizzie Friedman, Karen Lauder, and Greg Little will produce alongside Fanning and Echo Lake Entertainment’s Brittany Kahan. Celine Rattray and Dunst are executive producing.

In the book, Greenwood takes an internship at a magazine in New York City, and then begins to suffer a mental breakdown when she returns home to Boston. The novel is the only book ever published by Plath, who committed suicide in 1963.

Cornerstone’s Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder said “The themes explored in ‘The Bell Jar’ resonate as strongly in 2016 as they did in 1963 when the novel was first published.  Kirsten Dunst’s compelling vision for the film has a vibrant authenticity that modern audiences will embrace and we are proud to be part of the team bringing her directorial debut to the marketplace.”

Plemons’ credits include NBC’s “Friday Night Lights,” AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” and FX’s “Fargo.” Feature credits include “Black Mass” and “The Master.”

 

 

‘Big Lebowski’ Spinoff: First Look at John Turturro Bowling in ‘Going Places’

By Dave McNary | Variety

John Turturro is back as the iconic bowler Jesus Quintana in a first look photo from “Going Places,” the spinoff from the Coen Brothers’ “The Big Lebowski.”

Cornerstone is launching international sales at the American Film Market, which opens Nov. 2.Turturro is directing, starring and wrote the screenplay, inspired by the 1974 French film “Going Places,” which stars Miou-Miou, Gérard Depardieu and Patrick Dewaere. It was directed by and based on the novel by Bertrand Blier.

Turturro is bringing back his Quintana character from 1998’s “The Big Lebowski,” in which Quintana is a loud-mouth opponent of the bowling league team that includes the characters played by Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi. The Quintana character spoke with a thick accent, danced backwards and referred to himself as “the Jesus.”

As with the French film “Les Valseuses,” (the French title is slang for “the testicles”) Turturro’s version follows a trio of misfits whose irreverent, sexually charged dynamic evolves into a love story as their spontaneous and flippant attitude backfires time and again. When they make enemies with a gun-toting hairdresser, their journey becomes one of constant escape.

The dramatic comedy also stars Bobby Cannavale, Audrey Tautou and Susan Sarandon. Producers are Sidney Kimmel, John Penotti, Robert Salerno, Fernando Sulichin, and Paul-Dominique Vacharasinthu.

AFM: Nat Wolff, Alexander Skarsgård join thriller 'The Kill Team'

By Kristen Klemens | Screen International

Cornerstone will commence sales of the feature film adaptation of Dan Krauss’s acclaimed documentary The Kill Team at AFM.

Actors Nat Wolff (The Fault in Our Stars) and Alexander Skarsgård (The Legend of Tarzan) have come on board Oscar-nominated writer and director Dan Krauss’s feature film adaptation of his documentary The Kill Team.

The film is currently in pre-production.

Based on true events, The Kill Team is a psychological thriller that tells the story of a young American soldier trapped between his conscience and his survival when members of his platoon carry out a murderous scheme in Southern Afghanistan.

Wolff is set to play the character based on Adam Winfield, an ambitious young soldier whose quiet temperament sets him apart from his platoon. He meets his squad leader, Sergeant Deeks, played by Skarsgård, and falls under his spell.

However, when a young Afghan farmer is killed under unusual circumstances, Adam attempts to pull away from the group, but instead is dragged into a dangerous match of psychological warfare with his own colleagues.

Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey will produce for Temple Hill Entertainment. The producers praised both Krauss’s documentary and adaptation: “His film’s scope and tension, combined with these morally ambivalent characters, made it irresistible to watch. And his screenplay adaptation is even more impressive.”

Cornerstone Films will oversee international sales and distribution. They plan to introduce the project to buyers at the upcoming American Film Market. UTA and CAA will jointly represent North American rights.

Wolff and Skarsgård are represented by CAA; Wolff is also represented by Untitled Entertainment. UTA represents Temple Hill and Krauss.

 

First Look: John Turturro Bowls Again as Jesus Quintana in 'Going Places'

By Ashley Lee | The Hollywood Reporter

 

Turturro wrote, directed and stars in the adaptation of the 1974 film of the same name, alongside Bobby Cannavale, Audrey Tautou and Susan Sarandon.

John Turturro is back as the dancing, loud-mouthed bowler Jesus Quintana in Going Places.

Turturro wrote, directed and stars in the spinoff of the Coen Brothers' 1998 title The Big Lebowski, which he adapted from the 1974 French film of the same name. Bobby Cannavale, Audrey Tautou, Susan Sarandon and Sonia Braga also star in the dramedy.

The follow-up centers on a trio of misfits whose irreverent, sexually charged dynamic evolves into a surprising love story as their spontaneous and flippant attitude towards the past or future backfires time and again, even as they inadvertently perform good deeds. When they make enemies with a gun-toting hairdresser, their journey becomes one of constant escape from the law, from society and from the hairdresser, all while the bonds of their outsider family strengthen.

Sidney Kimmel, John Penotti, Robert Salerno, Fernando Sulichin, Paul Dominique Vacharasinthu are producing.

Cornerstone is launching international sales at the American Film Market.

Nat Wolff & Alexander Skarsgård Join Feature Adaptation Of War Doc ‘The Kill Team’

By Diana Lodderhouse | Deadline

Nat Wolff and Alexander Skarsgård are set to star in a feature film adaptation of Dan Krauss’ war documentary The Kill Team.

The film tracks the story of Private Adam Winfield, a soldier in Afghanistan who attempted to blow the whistle on members of his platoon who carry out a murderous scheme in the desolate wasteland of Southern Afghanistan. Wolff, who starred in The Fault of Our Stars, is set to play Winfield with Skarsgård, who was recently seen in The Legend of Tarzan, playing the fraternal and imposing Sergeant Deeks.

Krauss will write and direct this version of his documentary, which is currently in pre-production.

Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey will produce for Temple Hill Entertainment, while Cornerstone Films will oversee international sales and distribution and will introduce the project to buyers at AFM. UTA and CAA will jointly rep North American rights.

“When we first saw Dan Krauss’ documentary, we were shocked by this story and blown away by his direction,” said Bowen and Godfrey in a statement. “His film’s scope and tension, combined with these morally ambivalent characters, made it irresistible to watch.”

Cornerstone’s Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder said: “We were spellbound by Dan Krauss’ script and vision for the retelling of this true story about a young man’s courage to speak the truth which in doing so, put his own life at risk.”

Wolff and Skarsgård are repped by CAA. Wolff is also repped by Untitled Entertainment. DAn Krauss and Temple Hill are with UTA.

AFM: Kirsten Dunst's directorial debut 'The Bell Jar' finds sales home

By Andreas Wiseman | Screen

Cornerstone boards drama based on Sylvia Plath’s classic.

Cornerstone Films has boarded international sales on Kirsten Dunst’s (Melancholia) directorial debut, The Bell Jar.

The film is based on the literary classic written by Sylvia Plath and stars Dakota Fanning (American Pastoral) in the lead as Esther Greenwood and Jesse Plemons (Black Mass) as Lenny Shepherd.

Dunst is co-writing the screenplay together with Nellie Kim and the film is going into production early 2017. Cornerstone Films will commence sales at the American Film Market with UTA handling the North American rights.

Priority Pictures optioned the re-make rights from Studiocanal and Lizzie Friedman (The Stanford Prison Experiment) will produce together with Dakota Fanning and Brittany Kahan from Echo Lake Entertainment (Truth) with Celine Rattray (American Honey) and Kirsten Dunst as executive producers.

Set in the 1950s, Esther Greenwood (Dakota Fanning), a young woman from the suburbs of Boston, wins a summer internship at a prominent women’s magazine in New York City.

Esther tries to embrace this newfound freedom but finds herself neither stimulated nor excited by the city’s glamorous culture and lifestyle. Struggling with the expectation that girls her age should idolize this world, she is unable to reconcile her conflicted feelings. As her time in New York counts down, she can’t escape her memories of an idyllic childhood turned on its head, of Buddy – her home town first love – and of the rising wave of anxiety at the thought of a future life without real meaning.

Cornerstone’s Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder said: “The themes explored in The Bell Jar resonate as strongly in 2016 as they did in 1963 when the novel was first published.  Kirsten Dunst’s compelling vision for the film has a vibrant authenticity that modern audiences will embrace and we are proud to be part of the team bringing her directorial debut to the marketplace.”

Jesse Plemons to Star in Kirsten Dunst's Directorial Debut 'The Bell Jar'

By Alex Ritman | THR

Based on the literary classic by Sylvia Plath, the project has been picked up Cornerstone Films who will kick-off international sales at the AFM.

Jesse Plemons is set to appear in the directorial debut of his Fargo co-star – and off-screen girlfriend – Kirsten Dunst.

Announced Thursday, the rising Breaking Bad,Bridge of Spies and Black Mass actor has now joined The Bell Jar, to be directed by Dunst and also starring Dakota Fanning.

Based on Sylvia Plath's 1963 literary classic, the adaptation will see Dakota play the lead Esther Greenwood, with Plemons as Lenny Shepherd. Dunst is co-writing alongside Nellie Kim, with the film set to go into production in early 2017.

Priority Pictures optioned the re-make rights to the project from StudioCanal. Lizzie Friedman (The Stanford Prison ExperimentRide) will produce together with Fanning and Brittany Kahan from Echo Lake Entertainment (TruthNebraska) with Celine Rattray (American HoneyThe Kids Are Alright) and Dunst as executive producers.

Cornerstone Films has acquired The Bell Jar for international sales and will be introducing the film to buyers at the American Film Market next month. UTA is handling the North American rights.

"The themes explored in The Bell Jar resonate as strongly in 2016 as they did in 1963 when the novel was first published," said Cornerstone's Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder. "Kirsten Dunst’s compelling vision for the film has a vibrant authenticity that modern audiences will embrace and we are proud to be part of the team bringing her directorial debut to the marketplace."

Toronto: 'Denial' Performances Could Attract Academy's Attention

By Scott Fienberg | The Hollywood Reporter

Rachel Weisz, Timothy Spall and Tom Wilkinson star in Mick Jackson's film about the legal battle between a Holocaust expert and a Holocaust denier.

It's kind of incredible that in 2016, when so many movies that reach theaters are nothing but remakes, sequels or adaptations of one pop-cultural phenomenon or another, a new film has been made about Deborah Lipstadt, a professor and an expert on the Holocaust, and David Irving, the historian who sued her for libel after she called him a Holocaust denier in one of her books — because it is that rarity, a film about history and ideas and debate.

But that is precisely what Bleecker Street will bring to theaters on Sept. 30 when it releases Mick Jackson's Denial, which is drawn from Oscar-nominated screenwriter David Hare's adaptation of Lipstadt's book Denial: Holocaust History on Trial.Starring Oscar winner Rachel Weisz and Timothy Spall, the movie had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday night.

For members of the Academy, who soon will be asked to consider Denial for awards, I think the most appealing thing about the film will be its performances: Weisz, with a wig and Queens accent firmly in place, is as strong as anyone could be as Lipstadt (I say this as someone who saw Lipstadt speak at Brandeis University shortly after the trial and before my graduation), while Spall, with his inimitable sneer, and Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson (as Lipstadt's lead counsel) shine in supporting parts. But it's a competitive year in both the lead actress and supporting actress Oscar categories, so nothing is a given. Oscar-winning composer Howard Shore's original score also could attract attention.

Some, though, might find it a bit forced, since the idea of relitigating the Holocaust in 2016, or even in 1996 (when most of the film is set), seems like debating the undeniable, at least to anyone who might go to an art house theater to see Denial. (The situation was different in 1961 when Judgment of Nuremberg was released and dissected a tragedy that largely had been swept under the rug up to that point — and the film was recognized with 11 Oscar nominations, including for best picture.) Also hard to believe is England's legal system, which, in libel cases, places the burden of proof on the accused, hence the U.S.-based Lipstadt's appearance in a British courtroom in the first place. But, that being said, many Academy members will be pleased that Denial exists, in the hope it will result in fewer Irvings and more Lipstadts in the future.

‘Denial’ Review: Rachel Weisz and Timothy Spall Square Off In A Compelling Courtroom Drama

By David Ehrlich | Indie Wire

A movie about Holocaust deniers shouldn’t be so relevant in the fall of 2016, but – for better or worse – this is essential viewing. 

Grade: B

Earlier this year, the concentration camp Auschwitz was wiped off the face of the Earth. A superpowered Holocaust survivor who goes by the name of “Magneto” went to the hallowed massacre site, and — blind with rage after suffering a tremendous personal loss — used his mutant abilities to dismantle the single most important landmark of his people’s suffering. It was a striking moment, in part because it seemed wildly out of place in a movie about a group of teens who dress in purple spandex and fight each other with magic, and in part because Magneto’s rash show of rage wasn’t played as a revenge fantasy so much as an act of historical rejection.

There’s a good reason why, in real life, Auschwitz is a museum and not a landfill: It protects against those who say the Holocaust could never happen again, and — increasingly — to serve as evidence that it took place in the first place. Magneto loses sight of that and never recovers, he spends the rest of “X-Men: Apocalypse” in a blank fugue state, muttering a half-dozen lines from beneath an unchanging mask of self-erasure.

Mick Jackson’s “Denial,” allegedly the first non-documentary production to shoot on the haunted grounds of Auschwitz [update: distributor Bleecker Street specifies that this is “the first narrative film to have been allowed to film outside the perimeter gates with its actors.  They were allowed documentary style filming inside the fence, but there was another film back in 1947 which was allowed the same privilege”), feels born from Magneto’s act of destruction. A simple courtroom drama that never betrays its convictions, the film is a basic but bitterly urgent reminder that history is far more fluid than fact, a garden that must be tended to at all times lest it wither and grow weeds.

Stretching from the last years of the 20th century to the first days of the 21st (a time when extremist groups were just beginning to recognize the internet as the most powerful organizational tool since the Swastika), “Denial” tells the all too true story of the clown show that ensued when author David Irving sued historian Deborah Lipstadt (and her publisher, Penguin Books) for libel in 1996, claiming that one of her books had mischaracterized him as a Holocaust denier. That might seem like a strange bit of self-immolation for such a rancorous and openly rabid anti-Semite, but Irving knew something that Lipstadt would only come to learn in time: In England, there is no assumption of innocence in libel cases, and the burden of proof falls upon the defendant. As a result, Lipstadt and her team were effectively tasked with proving — forensically — that the Holocaust actually happened.

That, as both parties were well-aware, would be easier said than done. The Nazis, in their final act of barbarity, were as thorough in erasing any evidence of their crimes as they had been in erasing the Jewish people. Fortunately for Lipstadt (and right-thinking people the world over), she had a remarkable team of lawyers to help her make the case for history.

There are any number of movies about the power of storytelling, but the decidedly unromantic “Denial” is one of the rare few that approaches the subject as a cautionary tale. Working from a spirited but straightforward script by the brilliant playwright and screenwriter David Hare (“The Hours”), the film is immediately attuned to the dark power of narrativizing hatred.

Its opening scene would be absurd if it weren’t so believable: Irving — played here by a slippery and wickedly convincing Timothy Spall — crashes one of Lipstadt’s lectures with a few conspirators in tow, hijacking her forum, offering $1,000 to anyone who can prove that the Nazis gassed Jews at Auschwitz, and recording the whole thing for posterity. It’s an uncomfortable moment for Lipstadt, who has publicly vowed never to engage with anyone who claims the Holocaust didn’t happen. One attendee argues that she’s refusing to engage in a debate, but not all opinions are created equal.

As Lipstadt, Rachel Weisz makes the most of a thankless role that’s ultimately defined by a reverence for the truth and a really thick Queens accent. Much like Lipstadt herself, Weisz’s greatest challenge lies in not being overcome by disgust, not being lost in the shadow of more outlandish characters — as viewers may already be aware, it’s a lot more fun to be a hate-mongering firebrand than it is to be a well-meaning rationalist, a lot easier to steal the spotlight as a man on the attack than as a woman on the defense. The film’s solution is a strange one, as Hare’s script slowly reduces Lipstadt to the comic relief of her own crusade, the righteous American drawing solid laughs as she defies the strange decorum of the British court system.

In fairness, however, “Denial” halfheartedly argues that a coalition of the just will always triumph over a deranged ideologue, and the film’s supporting cast is so good that you’ll hardly care when Lipstadt recedes into their ranks. As cold-blooded libel lawyer Richard Rampton, the great Tom Wilkinson only further cements his status as a humble pillar of contemporary British cinema. Wilkinson is the rare actor who can balance casual grace with extreme gravitas — his steady performance shudders with the knowledge losing the trial would make it acceptable to doubt the Holocaust, but Wilkinson tempers that anxiety with staunch professionalism, knowing full well that his character is also making a case for the efficacy of the system, of the need to prioritize veracity over a misplaced sense of victimhood.

That restraint is evident throughout the movie, which confronts denial through a self-imposed asceticism. Jackson, whose “L.A. Story” evinced a certain visual flair, directs this project with the blunt functionality of an aging barrister. Aside from the Auschwitz scene, which is shot with appropriate solemnity, the film seems determined to get out of the way of its argument. Hare’s writing is similarly straightforward, and even begins to border on anti-drama as the trial builds towards its verdict.

There’s no big speech, and Irving isn’t given much of a straw man argument — unlike, say, the media covering an election, parity isn’t the end game here. This isn’t a debate, it’s a sledgehammer; it’s not inherently compelling drama, but it’s immensely satisfying catharsis to watch as it flattens Irving’s nonsense into nothingness. Likewise, it’s not great cinema (in fact, it’s as milquetoast and middle-brow as movies get, and its third act suffers by trying to gin up additional suspense), but “Denial” does the modern world a great service by refusing to entertain the idea that there are two sides to every story, even if that means it refuses to entertain a portion of its audience in the process.

Not to put too fine a point on a movie that has no right to be so relevant in the fall of 2016, but stories are powerful things, and sometimes we need to resist them. Auschwitz was hell on earth, but the moment it’s gone is the moment someone starts to rebuild it somewhere else.

Rachel Weisz triumphs in courtroom battle over truth of the Holocaust

By David Sexton | The Evening Standard

Denial, which follows the trial of Holocaust denier David Irving, has winning performances from Rachel Weisz, Timothy Spall and Tom Wilkinson ****

As courtroom dramas go, Denial just about has the lot.

In 1996, David Irving, the Holocaust denier and long-term writer about Nazi Germany, launched a libel suit in Britain against Penguin Books and the American historian Deborah Lipstadt, the author of Denying The Holocaust: The Growing Assault On Truth And Memory, for having stated that he was a deliberate falsifier of history.

David Hare has turned the true story of the High Court battle into an efficient script, fluently directed by Mick Jackson, the BBC veteran who scored big with The Bodyguard back in 1992.

Rachel Weisz is excellent, furiously intense, as Lipstadt, hardly needing the cute accoutrements of a lovely dog back home in the States and a penchant for jogging.

Timothy Spall gives another remarkable performance as Irving, his face lined, pouchy and drawn but still maintaining a haughty defiance against the world. As Lipstadt’s lawyers, who decided that neither she nor any Holocaust survivors should be put on the stand for Irving to exploit, Andrew Scott is credibly smart as her solicitor Anthony Julius, but the actor who runs away with the film is Tom Wilkinson.

As the bibulous barrister Richard Rampton QC, Wilkinson makes having enormous presence as an actor, while never seeming just to play the same part, look so simple. If only that were true.

Denial takes a sombre excursion to the ruins of Auschwitz but the main action is all in court. The arguments — resulting in a massive written judgment in 2000, rejecting Irving’s account and permanently labelling him a Holocaust denier, anti-Semitic and racist — are necessarily a bit skimped in the film, which had its world premiere in Toronto last night.

But Hare’s script makes it clear that winning such a case is a matter of legal strategy, more than sincere expression. “You risk losing, not just for yourself, but for everyone, for ever,” Rampton warns Lipstadt, when she wants to speak up. She accepts his advice.

Her joy at finally seeing an Evening Standard billboard proclaiming “Irving the verdict: he lied” — even the way she jogs up to the statue of triumphant Boadicea by the Thames — is fully earned.