Stuart Vaughan, a theater director who shared Joseph Papp’s passion for Shakespeare and staged several of the New York Shakespeare Festival’s inaugural productions with such stars (and future stars) as Al Pacino, Colleen Dewhurst, Elizabeth McGovern and Martin Sheen, died of cancer June 10 at home in High Bridge, NJ, the New York Times reported today. He was 88.
His partnership with Papp went back to the Shakespeare Festival’s first productions at an outdoor amphitheater on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In 1956 Papp hired him to stage Julius Caesar and The Taming Of The Shrew. The latter production resulted in Dewhurst’s celebrated performances as Katherine (a role Papp originally promised to his wife). The next year, when the festival moved to a temporary stage in Central Park, Vaughan directed Two Gentlemen Of Verona, Romeo And Juliet and Macbeth. These were all long before Papp built the Delacorte Theatre to present Free Shakespeare In The Park (1962) and the festival’s permanent complex, the Public Theater, in the old Astor Library in the East Village (1967). Read More »
Simon Curtis’ The Woman In Gold started shooting last week, and yesterday Deadline reported that Katie Holmes is joining Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Bruhl, Antje Traue and Tatiana Maslany in the Weinstein Company, BBC Films and Origin Pictures drama. Today comes word that Downton Abbey‘s Elizabeth McGovern and Jonathan Pryce are coming aboard with Max Irons, Charles Dance and Moritz Bleibtreu now confirmed. In his screenwriting debut, playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell penned the script that’s based on the true story of a Holocaust survivor who sets out to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Gustav Klimt’s famous painting, ‘The Lady In Gold’. She teams with a plucky young lawyer in a major battle to sue the government. David Thompson is producing for Origin with Kris Thykier. Harvey and Bob Weinstein are exec producers as is BBC Films’ Christine Langan. The movie will shoot for eight weeks in the UK, Austria and the U.S. McGovern is repped by the Curtis Brown Group and UTA; Pryce is with Julian Belfrage Associates and UTA.
Related: Katie Holmes Joins ‘Woman In Gold’
EXCLUSIVE: Coming off a killer Sundance where it acquired The Way, Way Back and unveiled its film Stoker, Searchlight has acquired worldwide rights to Laura Moriarty’s best-selling novel The Chaperone. My Week With Marilyn helmer Simon Curtis will direct a a script written by Downton Abbey‘s Julian Fellowes. The film reunites Fellowes with his Downton Abbey star Elizabeth McGovern. Eli Selden and Adam Shulman of Anonymous Content are producing with Curtis and McGovern.
Amid the backdrop of the tumultuous times of the early 1920s, the life of a Kansas woman (McGovern) is forever changed when she chaperones a beautiful and talented 15 year-old dancer named Louise Brooks to New York for the summer. One of them is eager to fulfill her destiny of silent film stardom; the other hopes to unearth the mysteries of her past. Read More »
Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.
Oscar hopeful Hyde Park On Hudson with Bill Murray as Franklin Delano Roosevelt is this weekend’s highest profile debut in the specialty market. There’s also In Our Nature with Jena Malone and John Slattery, and Robert Carlyle headlines California Solo in a role written with him in mind. The late Ernest Borgnine stars in The Man Who Shook The Hand Of Vicente Fernandez in a role that turns the idea of celebrity upside-down. Plus Elizabeth McGovern stars in Cheerful Weather For The Wedding that her Downton Abbey fans will likely appreciate. On the non-fiction front, a re-mastered 3D version of The Art Of Flight hits AMC Theatres for one night only in select markets followed by a campaign for screenings via Tugg.com, the online marketing platform that allows moviegoers to push collectively for a theatrical booking in their area.
Hyde Park On Hudson
Director: Roger Michell
Writer: Richard Nelson
Cast: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Olivia Williams, Samuel West, Elizabeth Wilson
Distributor: Focus Features
Focus Features and Film 4 waited a year to see if Bill Murray would take the role of America’s longest serving president, Franklin D. Roosevelt in a story written by Richard Nelson that observes the little known story about the relationship the four-term President had with a distant cousin, Daisy (Laura Linney) who lived near his mother’s Hudson Valley, NY retreat. The story revolves around that relationship coinciding with a historical visit by the British monarchs George VI and Queen Elizabeth before the dawn of World War II. “It’s the fourth movie we’ve worked on with Bill,” said Focus Features CEO James Schamus. “Taking on a role like this – there’s no safety net. You either have to do it or not. It took him about a year to come on board, but once he commits, it’s 100 percent and he’s all in.” The film was shot in the UK with Roger Michell at the helm and with British co-financing. Schamus noted the terrain looks similar to the Hudson Valley and the relatively plentiful estates outside London made finding the right setting easier than it might have been in New York. “We couldn’t get approval at the actual Roosevelt mansion,” Schamus said of the movie, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival after a Telluride screening over Labor Day weekend. Read More »
On Wednesday night, the Obamas, the Camerons and UK Treasury chief George Osborne broke bread at the White House with Downton Abbey’s Lord and Lady Grantham themselves, Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern. Today, it looks like they might have discussed more than just Mary and Matthew’s wedding plans. When the British government unveils its new budget next week, Osborne is expected to announce a consultation on a tax break for producers of so-called “high-end” TV shows like Downton Abbey, reports say. The move is an effort to stem runaway production and is also eyed as a way to encourage foreign shows to come to the UK. Britain’s “cinematic” TV industry is a £2.2 billion business with Downton Abbey among the rare exceptions of shows produced at home. (The upcoming Titanic miniseries, written by Downton creator Julian Fellowes, was produced in Canada and Hungary.) The shows eligible for the break would be productions that cost £1 million an hour or more to produce. In order to qualify, they would need to pass a cultural test to prove their Britishness with at least 25% of spend occurring in the UK. Alternatively, projects could be eligible under an agreed co-production treaty.
A tax credit for films already exists in the UK and offers as much as a 25% break on pictures shot locally. The scheme has helped boost production with more than 200 films supported in 2010 alone, including Warner Bros’ final Harry Potter installment. A recent report by consulting firm RSM Tenon and media law specialist Wiggin LLP estimates that a tax incentive for big budget shows “would transform the world TV economy” and would make the UK the location of choice for local and international producers. The groups estimate an additional £350 million of production spend would be generated each year. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: UTA has added two Golden Globe nominees to the agency fold. UTA has signed My Week With Marilyn director Simon Curtis as well as his wife Elizabeth McGovern, the Globe-nominated star of Downton Abbey. McGovern was a rising feature actress in the 1980s with leads in films like She’s Having A Baby, Ordinary People, Ragtime and Racing With the Moon, before moving to the UK to raise a family with Curtis. She has continued working there, and has found herself back on the Hollywood radar with the British series Downton Abbey. McGovern is managed by Anonymous Content, and both continue with their UK reps. McGovern is with The Rights House and Curtis with Independent.