Anthony Hopkins leads the cast of Informant Media’s Kidnapping Freddy Heineken, about the 1983 kidnapping of the Dutch beer heir and his chauffeur, Ab Doderer. The famous crime resulted in what was at the time the largest ransom ever paid for an individual at 35 million Dutch guldens, or roughly $50 million today. Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, and Ryan Kwanten have also come aboard with Netherlands actor Mark van Eeuwen and Australian newcomer Tom Cocquerel rounding out the cast. Millennium Trilogy helmer Daniel Alfredson (The Girl Who Played With Fire & The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest) is directing from a script by William Brookfield, based on Dutch crime journalist Peter R. de Vries’ bestseller about the Heineken caper.
EXCLUSIVE: Colin Farrell is closing a deal to star with Anthony Hopkins in Solace, the supernatural thriller that Afonso Poyart (Two Rabbits) will direct with production to begin in May. The film will be sold at Berlin by FilmNation’s Glen Basner, and domestic distribution rights are also up for grabs and are being repped by UTA.
The film’s scripted by Sean Bailey, Ted Griffin, James Vanderbilt and Peter Morgan. It has percolating long enough that the film’s first credited writer, Bailey, is currently president of production at Disney. The film originated at New Line but never came together quite right, and producers Beau Flynn of FlynnPictureCo, Tripp Vinson and Thomas Augsberger. Flynn finally got it back and got the financing through Claudia Bluemhuber’s Silver Reel. Matthias Emcke is exec producer with Bluemhuber, Gerd Schepers and Jacob Pechenik.
An FBI detective seeks the help of a retired and reclusive doctor, to try and solve a series of grisly murders. The doctor was a wiz at the murder game, but lost his mojo when his daughter died tragically. Desperate, the detective presses the doctor to come out of retirement for one more case. Farrell will play the serial killer, putting him mano a mano against Hopkins. That should be fun. They’ve yet to cast the detective.
David Mermelstein is an AwardsLine contributor.
When we think of Anthony Hopkins, psychopaths may spring to mind. After all, the Welsh actor won an Oscar in 1992 for playing Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, a career-defining role. But of course there’s much more to Hopkins than playing brilliant fictional villains. He’s also displayed a knack for portraying complicated historical figures. In addition to playing Hitler (on TV) and William Bligh, the actor has earned Oscar nominations for playing the lead in Oliver Stone’s Nixon (1995) and John Quincy Adams in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad (1997). Now, Hopkins has assumed the role of Alfred Hitchcock in Sacha Gervasi’s Hitchcock, which chronicles the development and making of Psycho.
AwardsLine: What attracted you to playing Alfred Hitchcock?
Anthony Hopkins: The project originally came to me eight years ago. I met the two producers and thought, Yes, it’s interesting. But who wants to see a film about Alfred Hitchcock? Plus, I didn’t want to put on weight, having just gotten fit. So it never happened. But then it came back around. Sacha Gervasi now had it, and he had such passion and blatant enthusiasm for it. He had no experience directing actors, and I thought that would be a challenge. So I decided to just jump in.
Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ The Greatest Movie Of All Time? And The Director Could Have New Oscar And Emmy Contenders
Alfred Hitchcock has been dead for 32 years. The last film he made, Family Plot, was released in 1976 yet his popularity among movie fans and cineastes alike has never seemed to wane. To put it bluntly, Hitch has never been hotter. This week proof of that was offered by the ascension of his 1958 classic Vertigo to the No. 1 spot on the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound survey of the so-called 50 Greatest Films Of All Time as selected this year by 846 critics, film scholars and historians, the largest sampling ever in the once a decade list that has been compiled every 10 years since 1962. Ever since the inception of the esteemed poll the British international film journal has named Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane as the Number 1 greatest film of all time — until 2012 when suddenly Hitchcock vaulted to the top after a slow, steady ascent since first appearing on the list of the Top 10 films in 1982. It is certainly interesting that this particular Hitchcock film starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, not even a huge hit in 1958 and recipient of only two minor Oscar nominations, for Color Art Direction and Sound, has become the master’s masterpiece in the eyes of the world’s top film writers and scholars. The only other Hitchcock film on the list is Psycho at number 35, although I personally count numerous others including North By Northwest, Rear Window, Notorious, even The Birds as equally deserving. I’m not at all sure Vertigo, great as it is, is the greatest of all time. Really? David Lean who directed such immortal greats as Lawrence Of Arabia and The Bridge On The River Kwai doesn’t have a single film in the top 50 and you could argue all day about other omissions and inclusions (there’s no DAVID Lean but there is DAVID Lynch at No. 28 with Mulholland Drive. Hmmm).
EXCLUSIVE: Jessica Biel committed today to the second female lead in the Sacha Gervasi-directed Alfred Hitchcock And The Making Of Psycho. Biel will play the role of Vera Miles, who played Lila Crane in the 1960 classic. …
EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that Magnolia Pictures is set to close a U.S. deal for Fernando Meirelles’ sexual drama 360, which opened the 55th BFI London Film Festival last night. Artificial Eye is also in talks to release 360 here in the UK on March 3 2012, I understand. Co-produced by Revolution Films, the UK production company behind IFC’s The Trip, the Peter Morgan-scripted feature follows a sexual circle of prostitution, infidelity and true love. Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz and Jude Law star. Paris-based sales agent Wild Bunch is selling the BBC Films-backed project internationally. Reviews here this morning have been pretty muted: The Daily Telegraph summed up the film as a “glossily unengaging trudge through other people’s love lives,” describing one moment where a character imagines a plane carrying away his lover as “spectacularly stupid.” The Times of London gives the film a pretty dismissive 3-star review, calling the plot improbable, and said the merry-go-round structure “crushes performances into twenty-minute slots that often fail to elicit our sympathy.. The Evening Standard though was much more positive, calling 360 “a well-crafted package” and “a film of beautiful moments, elegant structure and vivid locations.”
Was the 2011 Toronto Film Festival a good one for dealmaking? Even after organizers announced a 20% uptick in film deals last Friday (the festival includes foreign territories in its count), the sales kept coming. A long-expected deal with Lionsgate on the Jennifer Westfeldt-directed comedy Friends With Kids finally got done (in partnership with Roadside Attractions, which will actually release the film), and Music Box announced overnight it had acquired the Rachel Weisz-starrer The Deep Blue Sea. Lionsgate was hotly pursuing another film, the Midnight Madness sensation You’re Next, which of all the festival films seems to have the best chance of approaching the box office turned in by Toronto 2010’s breakout Insidious. There have been about 20 acquisitions so far and that many more could come in the next few weeks.
Still, can you call the Toronto acquisitions marketplace “solid” when no films have been bought so far by The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics, Focus Features, or Fox Searchlight (yeah, I revealed that they bought Shame during Toronto, but it was a deal all but sealed in Venice), or for that matter FilmDistrict, Open Road or Relativity Media, each of which jumped into the distribution business to release films that can play on upwards of 2000 screens? Buyers and sellers said it was a pretty good festival at least. One filled with mostly small deals and a show of distributor discipline that is a positive sign for an indie film sector that just started pulling out of a nosedive this time last year.
The BFI 55th London Film Festival will open with the European premiere of 360, the Fernando Meirelles-directed drama that stars Rachel Weisz, Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins. The film opens Oct. 12 and the festival unveils the rest of its titles next Wednesday. I’m told that the opening film came down to 360 and My Week With Marilyn, but the latter film couldn’t make it because star Michelle Williams could not free herself from the production schedule of Disney’s The Great and Powerful Oz, and co-star Kenneth Branagh will be onstage in Belfast. These fest openers are sometimes determined by availability. For instance, the New York Film Festival seriously eyed Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy for its opener, but the film’s star, Gary Oldman, could not free himself from The Dark Knight Rises. The festival opens with Carnage, even though that film’s director Roman Polanski will certainly be a scratch.
360 is a Peter Morgan-scripted drama of interconnected stories about fidelity. It’s considered one of the hot acquisition titles that will unveil next month at the Toronto International Film Festival, and a possible Oscar contender. (Weisz won Best Supporting Actress for 2005′s The Constant Gardener, which was her last film with Meirelles.) The film is produced by Andrew Eaton and David Linde, Emanuel Michael, Danny Krausz and Chris Hanley.