She’s a triple threat. She writes. She directs. And of course she acts. But as she explained to a packed audience of AMPAS and Guild members on the Sony Pictures Classics panel at Deadline’s THE CONTENDERS event Julie Delpy has never quite done anything as stressful or intense as the trilogy of films that began with Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004) and now has produced Before Midnight, one of the few critical favorites from the first six months of 2013. She wrote all three films with her director Richard Linklater and co-star Ethan Hawke and now is being widely buzzed for not only her performance which just won her a Lead Actress nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards but also for the script which is among top contenders for a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination. Still she says none of it is easy and it’s all on the page as well as the screen.
The Contenders 2013: Julie Delpy On Co-Writing And Co-Starring In ‘Before Midnight’ – “The Stress Of It All Is Just Intense” (Video)
Contenders 2013: ‘Captain Phillips,’ ‘American Hustle,’ ‘Tim’s Vermeer,’ ‘Before Midnight,’ ‘Saving Mr. Banks,’ ‘Lone Survivor,’ ‘Despicable Me 2’ & ‘The Croods’ Bid For Oscar
Anna Lisa Raya is a Deadline contributor.
The second half of Deadline’s 3rd annual Contenders event at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills got off to an energized start after lunch on the outdoor terrace. Deadline Awards columnist Pete Hammond returned with Captain Phillips star Barkhad Abdi, who had one of the bigger moments of the day when he revealed he ad-libbed his momentous “I am the captain now” line in the Sony film, essentially stealing the scene from Tom Hanks. The film’s producers, Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti, were spotted in the audience joining in the roaring applause.
Anyone who’s been waiting for David O. Russell’s follow-up to last year’s Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle (also for for Sony), will be happy to know the film was locked down today. This is per one of the film’s producers, Richard Suckle, who was on hand to discuss the genesis of the film which is loosely based on the ABSCAM scandals of the 1970s. One of his funnier reveals was that star Bradley Cooper — not wanting to perm his hair for the film — spent hours in hair and makeup every day getting it curled. Co-star Christian Bale, on the other hand, gained 40 lbs. for his role and shaved the crown of his head to perfect his character’s outlandish comb over.
Julie Delpy, co-writer and star of Sony Pictures Classics’ Before Midnight, had a lot to say about the intense writing and preparation that went into making the film appear as improvised and natural as it does. Acting the role was “extremely stressful,” she told Hammond. “There’s no plot. There’s nothing to hold onto but character and emotional arc.” Also for SPC is Tim’s Vermeer — a documentary about one man’s attempt to recreate a Johannes Vermeer painting — which was uncharacteristically directed by Teller (better known as the other half of Penn & Teller). He was thankful for his editor, Patrick Sheffield, who made sense of the over 2,400 hours of footage. Writer Kelly Marcel was on-hand to discuss Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, the only film ever allowed to feature Walt Disney as a character. She called the studio “unbelievably brave” in how hands-off they were with her and director John Lee Hancock.
Related: PHOTOS: Contenders 2013 Gallery
Gotham Awards: ‘12 Years A Slave’, ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’, ‘Before Midnight’, Inside Llewyn Davis’ & ‘Upstream Color’ Win Best Picture Noms
The 2013 Gotham Independent Film Awards nominations have been announced. The trophies will be handed out December 2 at Cipriani Wall Street. This is the first of the many upcoming awards shows, and because of the Gotham’s indie bent, the awards rarely reflect how the Oscars turn out. I always found that to be the most charming thing about them. Here are the nominees:
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, David Lowery, director; Tony Halbrooks, James M. Johnston, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Amy Kaufman, Cassian Elwes, producers (IFC Films)
Before Midnight, Richard Linklater, director; Richard Linklater, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Sara Woodhatch, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)
Inside Llewyn Davis, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, directors; Scott Rudin, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, producers (CBS Films)
Upstream Color, Shane Carruth, director; Shane Carruth, Casey Gooden, Ben LeClair, producers. (erbp)
Almost exactly one year ago, Fox Searchlight released Beasts Of The Southern Wild. The Sundance sensation was significant in many ways, but it also stood out as the only 2012 Best Picture Oscar nominee to have been released in theatres in the definitely NOT Oscar-friendly first half of the year — and coming at the tail end of June it made that distinction by the skin of its teeth. The fact is, in Oscar’s modern era at least, it’s just not wise to risk a release in the first half of the eligibility year if you want to have a serious shot at Best Picture or other major Oscars. In the last five years only seven films have managed to buck the trend (Hurt Locker and Up in June 2009; Winter’s Bone and Toy Story 3 in June 2010; and Midnight In Paris and The Tree Of Life in May 2011 were the others), and that’s only because the Academy doubled its potential Best Pic noms from five to 10. In 2008, the last year there were only five nominees, no film was nominated in the top category that wasn’t released in the second half of the year.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and the long list of Oscar’s Best Picture winners have included early-release films that forced voters to have longer memories: Hurt Locker, Crash (May 2005), Gladiator (May 2000), Braveheart (May 1995) and Silence Of The Lambs (February 1991). The latter was particularly impressive since you would have to go back to Patton in 1970, during Hollywood’s road show era where films played a year on a single screen, to find another Best Pic winner released as early as February. That one definitely went against the grain of thinking in the modern era of Oscar campaigns.
So with the 2013 Oscar race hitting the halfway point this week, and assuming Friday’s crop of The Heat and White House Down are not Best Pic caliber, is there anything that has hit theatres pre-July that looms as a serious Best Picture contender? I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
UPDATE 2:00 PM: Sony Pictures Classics‘ Before Midnight has struck box office gold Memorial Day weekend. The start of the summer 2013 blockbuster season will be for Fast & Furious 6 to celebrate, but Midnight clearly resonated with audiences searching for an alternative. The film, directed by Richard Linklater, opened in 5 theaters grossing $321,914 and averaging $64,383. In 2004, Warner Independent debuted Before Sunset in 20 theaters, averaging $10,971. That film went on to gross $5.82 million domestically. “We think the reputation of this film stands on its own whether you’ve seen those or not,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker. “So it has the benefit of being related to those films, but it also has the benefit of being the finest of the three.” SPC will take Before Midnight wide June 14th. In other openers, Sony Classics also opened Fill The Void in three locations. That film took in $79,164, averaging a solid $26,388.
Last weekend’s specialty box office winner Frances Ha held steady in its second weekend. IFC Films added 56 theaters in its second weekend of release, grossing $708,000 for a $11,800 average. Noted IFC Films: “Frances Ha expanded to the top 20 markets to fantastic results this Memorial Day weekend. Initial runs remained very strong with minimal drops signifying the comedy’s positive word of mouth. The new markets were also excellent buoyed by phenomenal reviews (93% on Rotten Tomatoes) and an extensive advanced screening program. Frances Ha will continue its aggressive platform release as the film will open the top 50 markets this weekend.”
Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Before Midnight’, ‘We Steal Secrets: The Story Of WikiLeaks’, ‘Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton As Himself’, ‘A Green Story’, ‘The Lesser Blessed’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Cannes is winding down with the year’s first glimpse of titles that will hit the fall release slates for companies Stateside, with a number likely to factor into the fall awards season. But first off, of course, is summer and Memorial Day weekend. Sony Classics’ Before Midnight and FocusWorld’s We Steal Secrets: The Story Of WikiLeaks will anchor the Specialty alternative to the official onslaught of blockbusters season. Richard Linklater’s Midnight is the third installment which debuted in the ’90s with Before Sunrise, while Oscar-winner Alex Gibney’s expose on WikiLeaks will take the non-fiction spotlight along with Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton As Himself from Laemmle/Zeller Films. Indican Pictures is bowing immigrant feature A Green Story with Shannon Elizabeth, Ed O’Ross and Billy Zane, while Monterey Media will open coming-of-age story, The Lesser Blessed.
Director-writer: Richard Linklater
Co-writers: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Kim Krizan
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Prior, Charlotte Prior
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
SPC’s Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have played pivotal parts in Richard Linklater’s career, having released his first film Slacker at Orion and later Suburbia at SPC. They were also at Sony when Columbia Pictures released the first film that now forms a trio, Before Sunrise. “We’re big fans of these films and of Rick,” said Michael Barker in Cannes. “And when we saw the first screening of [Before Midnight] in Sundance, we knew we had to have it. The producers wanted us as well, so it felt like a match that had to happen. A deal was made very quickly and it’s been such a pleasure to work on this film. It has Rick at the peak of his form in a very relaxed sort of way. It has artistry but it’s also done in an entertaining way and being in Greece is just awesome.”
The third installment in the Richard Linklater-Julie Delpy-Ethan Hawke trilogy generated serious heat at Sundance this year. Seven buyers circled Before Midnight after its well-received premiere there until Sony Pictures Classics won out by sealing of the biggest deals of the festival. This one follows Jesse and …
EFM Roundup: Submarine Sells Rights To ‘Paul Bowles’, Focus Features International Kills It With ‘Kill The Messenger’; IM Global Sells Out On ‘Before Midnight’
Submarine Entertainment has sold all distribution rights to Paul Bowles: The Cage Door Is Always Open to First Run Features in the U.S. and Films We Like in Canada. The deals were negotiated by David Koh, Dan Braun and Josh Braun of Submarine along with Executive Producer, Stanley Buchthal of Dakota Group Ltd. along with Marc Mauceri & Seymour Wishman of First Run Features and Ron Mann of Films We Like. First Run Features and Films We Like will coordinate a release later in the year. Directed by Daniel Young, the docu film is based on moving interviews given by the writer shortly before his death. It features Bowles and his wife writer Jane Bowles, Gore Vidal, John Waters, Bernardo Bertolucci, Ira Cohen, Edmund White, William Burroughs and Francis Bacon, among others. A HesseGreutert Film Production, Paul Bowles: The Cage Door Is Always Open is executive produced by This Brunner, Stanley Buchthal, Andres Bruetsch, and Simon Hesse.