Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Brian De Palma joins Labor Day weekend’s batch of Specialty newcomers along with films directed by three women, all of which have television connections. De Palma’s Passion, which has been available via Ultra-VOD, will hit more than a dozen screens this weekend with his remake of a French corporate thriller. Penny Lane’s Our Nixon, which has been on rotation on CNN, is the weekend’s new documentary offering. Lane and her producer were the unlikely “re-discoverers” of a vast amount of footage from inside the Nixon administration, made by the insiders themselves. Television producer-writer Jill Soloway hits the big screen with Afternoon Delight, starring Kathryn Hahn and Juno Temple, while Liz W. Garcia, a fellow TV producer and writer, brings the Kristen Bell romantic drama The Lifeguard to theaters. And the kids-on-a-rampage story I Declare War joins the holiday weekend’s rollouts.
In Toronto, producers approached De Palma about the possibility of doing an English-language remake of French director Alain Corneau’s thriller Crime D’Amour. The veteran filmmaker saw how he could put his stamp to it and began the project. After writing a script and getting European financing, De Palma cast his two leading women, Rachel McAdams and Sweden-born Noomi Rapace. The pair had starred together in 2011′s Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows and came aboard Passion a week before shooting was set to begin in Berlin. “I rewrote it a few times. And then the girls came in and — well, the girls had a few ideas about how they were going to act,” said De Palma, who worked the script further with Crime D’Amour scribe Natalie Carter. “I showed them the original [film], and much to my surprise, they said, ‘We’re not doing that.’ … So Natalie and I worked for a week rewriting the script to fit how they wanted to play their characters.” De Palma tapped cinematographer José Luis Alcaine (who often works with Pedro Almodovar) to shoot the stylish corporate thriller about two ambitious women who connive to reach the top at an advertising agency. “We had other people interested in playing Isabel (Rapace), but we couldn’t find actresses that wanted to play the bitchy Christine (McAdams),” said De Palma. “Those are the fun parts to play, but I guess everyone wants to be loved.”