Following the announcement of the Venice lineup today, I sat down with fest chief Alberto Barbera in Rome. He’s got what looks like a very solid roster of 55 films across the official selection that will unspool between August 27 and September 6 on the Lido. It all kicks off with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman on opening night. Barbera told me he was excited for the film, which he says marks a departure for the helmer of Babel, 21 Grams and Biutiful. “It’s inventive and light” and full of surprises. After a truly out-of-this-world festival last year which blasted off with eventual awards-season juggernaut Gravity on opening night, did he feel pressure this time around? “I try not to think about that,” he said. But he did allow that Gravity‘s success may have helped convince Fox Searchlight to debut it on the Lido. Oscar-winning Gravity director, and Inarritu pal, Alfonso Cuaron was also “very supportive” and Barbera says Cuaron is expected in town to continue that support at the premiere next month.
Last year, there were some ruffled feathers when a handful of films, including Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin, premiered in Telluride despite being billed as world premieres in Venice. The two fests overlap on Venice’s first weekend. But Barbera says he has sat down with Telluride’s Tom Luddy, whom he calls a friend, over the past year and … Read More »
I’m here at Rome’s St Regis Hotel where Biennale president Paolo Baratta and Venice chief Alberto Barbera are announcing the lineup for the 71st edition of the world’s oldest international film festival. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Birdman world premieres in competition as the opener on August 27 and we’ll see 55 movies across the Official Selection through September 6. Yesterday, I wrote a primer for today’s reveal with such films as David Gordon Green‘s Manglehorn and Peter Bogdanovich‘s Squirrels To The Nuts expected to be announced today; and they have been.
Twenty films will compete in the main competition, 19 of which are world premieres with one international premiere. There are an abundance of titles from Italy, France, the U.S. and the UK. Among the U.S. titles in competition are Manglehorn with Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Harmony Korine and Chris Messina, and Andrew Niccol’s Good Kill with Ethan Hawke, Bruce Greenwood, January Jones and Zoe Kravitz. Both of those will move on to Toronto next. Gonzalez Inarritu’s opener Birdman is in competition with a starry cast that includes Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts. The closing-night movie, as previously announced, is Ann Hui’s The Golden Era. Among the other expected players that are turning up in competition are Fatih Akin with The Cut starring Tahar Rahim (Carlos); Xavier Beauvois’ La Rançon De La Gloire; Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini with Willem Dafoe; Benoït Jacquot’s 3 Hearts and David Olehoffen’s Loin Des Hommes with Viggo Mortensen. Also particularly of note is The Act Of Killing director Joshua Oppenheimer with documentary The Look Of Silence. Ramin Bahrani, Roy Andersson and Andrei Konchalovsky are also in the mix (see full list below). Read More »
Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s Birdman, or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance, has been selected for opening honors at the Venice Film Festival. When Fox Searchlight set an October 17 North American release, and when Birdman didn’t appear in Cannes, we expected it would get a berth at one of the fall festivals. I felt particularly strongly about Venice, especially as it makes a nice dovetail to last year when Iñárritu’s pal Alfonso Cuaron did opening night honors with Gravity. That film went on to a huge awards season run, but it was not in competition in Venice, and that was lamented across the board. The world premiere screening of Birdman on August 27 is IN competition, and looks like a sign that Venice wants to stand out further. It is increasingly seen as a launchpad for some of the major titles that will figure in the awards races later in the year. But, it competes heavily with Telluride and Toronto which overlap the event. The former last year even ruffled Venice’s feathers by programming some big-ticket titles before their Lido premieres. Also of note, Gravity‘s Oscar winning cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, shot Birdman.
Oscar-nominated Babel director Iñárritu’s first black comedy stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan and Andrea Riseborough. Keaton plays an actor, famous for having portrayed an iconic superhero, who … Read More »
Fox Searchlight has released the first teaser for Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance), the latest film from Babel and Biutiful helmer Alejandro González Iñárritu. The director’s first black comedy stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan and Andrea Riseborough. Keaton plays an actor, famous for having portrayed an iconic superhero, who struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego as he attempts to recover his family, his career and himself. This was a film we had hoped to see in Cannes last month, but Fox Searchlight ultimately set an October 17 release so expect to see this bow at one of the fall festivals.
EXCLUSIVE: While there has been speculation that Fox Searchlight and director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu would race to make the Cannes Film Festival, Fox Searchlight co-president Stephen Gilula tells Deadline that the film will open Friday, October 17. It won’t complete post production until late May or early June, meaning that it will be eyeing fall festivals.
This is his first black comedy, but Inarritu’s past films have been magnets for festivals, and he should have several choices for a festival that is compatible with the opening of Birdman, which Searchlight made with New Regency and Worldview Entertainment. Searchlight controls worldwide distribution and will release it overseas in January. So start the jockeying, Toronto, Telluride and Venice. Read More »
UPDATE: Here is a bit more information on Woody Allen’s next film. I’m told he will shoot in the South of France. That country certainly worked out for him in Midnight In Paris.
EXCLUSIVE: Woody Allen has begun to cast up his next film, and it looks like Emma Stone will play his leading lady. Stone is in talks on the film. These stories are the easiest to write, since Allen keeps his plots, titles, and everything else under his hat. About all you can say is who will be in it, and I expect Stone to close a deal soon. Allen most recently completed Blue Jasmine, with Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin and Louis C.K. leading the cast. Stone has a lot going on, including the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed dark comedy Birdman, the untitled film that Cameron Crowe will direct, and she will reprise as Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Amy Ryan is joining the cast of Birdman, the Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu-directed comedy that is currently shooting in New York. She joins Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis and Andrea Riseborough in the cast for Fox Searchlight and New Regency. Keaton plays a washed-up actor best known for playing an iconic superhero who puts together a play on Broadway based on a short story by Raymond Carver. Unfortunately, the ex-superhero’s plans to soar again are threatened by his egotistical lead stage actor (Norton). Ryan will play Keaton’s character’s long suffering ex-wife.
Birdman is produced by Inarritu and John Lesher. The director wrote the script with Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo. Ryan most recently wrapped the Greg Mottola-directed Clear History, the Atom Egoyan-directed Devil’s Knot, Drake Doremus’ Breathe In and The Tomb. She’s repped by Gersh and Dave Feldman.
EXCLUSIVE: Andrea Riseborough has joined the cast of Birdman, from Biutiful and Babel director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. The dark comedy centers on a former actor, famous for playing a superhero, who attempts a career revival by directing a Broadway play and finds his efforts stymied by an egotistical lead actor. Riseborough will play the role of Laura. She joins Michael Keaton, who stars as the former actor, and Ed Norton, whose casting was announced yesterday. She will next be seen March 27 in Welcome To The Punch with James McEvoy and opposite Tom Cruise in Oblivion, which bows April 19.
EXCLUSIVE: Edward Norton has been set to star in Birdman, the dark comedy that will be directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu for Fox Searchlight and New Regency. Norton joins Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis in a film that will be shot in a Broadway theater in New York beginning mid-April. A former actor (Keaton) who once played a superhero puts together a play on Broadway that is based on a short story by Raymond Carver. Unfortunately, the ex-superhero’s plans to soar again are threatened by his egotistical lead stage actor. Norton will play that actor. Birdman is produced by Inarritu, John Lesher and Robert Graf. The director wrote the script with Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo. While Norton is as identified with serious dramas as much as Inarritu (who’s making his first comedy), this will be the actor’s third straight film with a comic sensibility. He was most recently seen in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and he just wrapped Anderson’s followup, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Norton is repped by WME.
BREAKING: Alejandro González Iñárritu, the Mexican director whose films are about as serious and sad as anything I’ve seen from a world-class filmmaker, is about to lighten the tone and make us laugh with his next feature. Gonzalez Inarritu will next direct Birdman, a comedy he co-wrote with Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo.
Gonzalez Inarritu followed the tragedy-filled Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel by making possibly the most heartbreaking film I’ve ever seen in Biutiful, his last film. Here, he’ll tell the story of an actor in crisis, who once played an iconic superhero, as he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself in the days leading up to the opening of a Broadway play. Birdman will be captured in a single location over the span of three days. Production is currently slated to begin in March 2013. Iñárritu will produce with Robert Graf and his former agent-turned-producer John Lesher. CAA reps Iñárritu and will rep the film. Read More »