For much of 2013 Derek Cianfrance‘s complex drama, The Place Beyond The Pines was the number one grossing independent film of the year. But at one time after it was bought by Focus Features at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival where it was the hot acquisition title, producers had hoped that it would be released in time to be part of last year’s awards season run. Focus decided to wait and opt for a Spring release which turned out to be a good decision for the box office. Now it’s in the mix this awards season. Sitting on the Focus panel, Cianfrance shared some of the secrets of the film, particularly co-star Ryan Gosling‘s real-life plans to rob a bank, for an audience of AMPAS and Guild members at Deadline’s THE CONTENDERS event earlier this month.
The Contenders 2013: ‘Place Beyond The Pines’ Director Derek Cianfrance Details Ryan Gosling’s Dream To Rob A Bank (Video)
2ND UPDATE: Focus Features has confirmed Deadline’s scoop. Release is at the bottom of the story
UPDATE: I’m told that Focus Features indeed closed a distribution deal for one of Toronto’s hottest acquisition titles, the Derek Cianfrance-directed The Place Beyond The Pines. The negotiations between the Focus …
The Place Beyond The Pines is perhaps the most eagerly awaited acquisition title of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. And Friday night it premiered to an enthusiastic reception from a sold-out crowd. With stars Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes lighting up the Princess of Wales theatre’s Red Carpet, there was much anticipation about this unique crime thriller from director and co-writer Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine also starring Gosling). At the 19 Mercer Street after-party, producer Jamie Patricof (Lynette Howell and Alex Orlovsky co-produced with him for Sidney Kimmel Productions) told me they have kept this film under lock and key until the TIFF showing. Because no one had seen it, a lot of distributors were in the audience eager to get a look. Patricof and helmer Cianfrance both said they are looking for a company who is most passionate about the film. Whether it gets out this year (in time for the Oscar race) or later is secondary to that. Cianfrance did add that his natural inclination is always to “have the film out tomorrow” if he could.
A snap poll of reaction after the screening indicated the film had true impact. There’s no doubt buyers will be circling this one – and snapping it up fast. Clearly the movie has a lot of marketing potential with Gosling and Cooper in the leads. Gosling said that working with Cianfrance “has changed my life and changed me as an actor”. He plays a bank robber and said he always had a fantasy about making his getaway by riding a motorcycle into a U-Haul truck which was incorporated here. Cooper might have the most difficult role. ”But I was ferocious in wanting to work with these two guys. It was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had acting,” he said.
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.
EXCLUSIVE: Bradley Cooper is back in talks to star in The Silver Linings Playbook, as it looks like Mark Wahlberg will be leaving the film over what some were saying is a scheduling conflict. And Cooper’s Limitless costar Robert De Niro is also now in the conversation to join the cast. This is The Weinstein Company adaptation of the Matthew Quick novel that David O Russell will direct this fall. Cooper had reportedly been attached to the film last year, but more recently it looked like the star would be Russell’s The Fighter cohort Wahlberg. I’m told that talks are getting underway for Cooper to star with Jennifer Lawrence, who’ll play the female lead role.
Wahlberg will exit the movie because the production start was pushed and it now bumps up against another obligation. I’m still digging, but I think the other Wahlberg movie is Broken City, the noir drama that Wahlberg is poised to star in for director Allen Hughes. In that film, Wahlberg is in talks to play a cop-turned-private eye who gets caught up in a corruption scandal involving the city mayor. Russell Crowe has been offered the role of the mayor, so it sounds like that project is crystallizing with funding from Emmett/Furla Films. The scheduling complexity arose when Lawrence won the female lead over a crop of young actresses. Because she’s shooting The Hunger Games, she needed the picture to start later than expected, and that created the conflict for Wahlberg.
Here’s how fast things move in Hollywood. At Cannes, I got my confirmations and revealed that Ryan Gosling would direct and star in MGM’s remake of The Idolmaker. Now, a couple weeks later, I get to report that he’s had to back out of the picture, at least for now. He just informed the studio he would be too busy. He’s in pre-production on A Place Beyond the Pines, which reteams him with Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance, and then Gosling moves immediately into the Ruben Fleischer-directed Gangster Squad, starring with Sean Penn and Josh Brolin in the period crime drama for Warner Bros. MGM is convinced that Idolmaker is a plum project and the studio and will continue developing the picture. If Gosling is available, they will revisit it down the line. It is fun to watch Gosling’s transformation from darling of the independent film set to arguably the most coveted young leading man for studio films. After turning down lead roles in recent years I’ve heard included Superman, Jack Ryan, Akira and The Lone Ranger, Gosling is suddenly giving the studios a chance. He impressed the Cannes set with the Nicolas Refn-directed Drive, and Warner Bros is offering him everything after testing Crazy, Stupid, Love, with the studio getting Gosling to reteam with Refn in a remake of Logan’s Run.
HBO has put in development Muscle, a single-camera comedy from Blue Valentine co-writer/director Derek Cianfrance about the subculture of contemporary professional bodybuilding. It is based on Sam Fussell’s memoir Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder, which chronicles his four-year stint …
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that The Weinstein Company will move up the release of Blue Valentine two days to Wednesday, December 29. The goal is to get a two-day head start on that New Year’s holiday weekend. The film will start on one screen in New York and one in Los Angeles, with another theater added in Gotham on December 31. The pic will then expand into 10 markets on January 7.