Miniseries, limited series, whatever you want to call the currently popular genre — Frances McDormand thinks the form is great for women. “A 90-minute time frame is not long enough to tell a good female story,” she said at HBO’s TCA panel today for her 4-part series Olive Kitteridge, which will premiere in November. “That’s why longform storytelling has become so great” for female actors, writers and filmmakers.
McDormand — joined on the panel by director Lisa Cholodenko, co-star Richard Jenkins and writer/EP Jane Anderson, who wrote the script based on Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel — was explaining how she came to bring the project to HBO. She said a friend gave her the novel about six years ago and “I loved it, [but] I don’t read novels looking for things to be made into movies.” The friend said, “But you want to play that part.” McDormand argued that the story was too long and complex for a feature-length movie. “Yeah, but you want to play that part,” the friend insisted. Eventually, the actress optioned the book and took it to HBO.
EXCLUSIVE: In a rare small-screen stint, Bill Murray has joined the cast of HBO’s Olive Kitteridge, the miniseries based on Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Adapted by Jane Anderson and directed by The Kids Are All Right’s Lisa Cholodenko, the mini tells the tale of a seemingly placid New England town fraught with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy, as chronicled through the eyes of Olive who is tough on the outside but has a strong moral center. She’s played by Frances McDormand, and Murray is playing Jack Kennison, a local widower whom Kitteridge befriends.
Richard Jenkins plays Olive’s husband, and John Gallagher Jr, Rosemarie DeWitt, Zoe Kazan, Jesse Plemons, and Cory Michael Smith also star. The miniseries is a co-production between Playtone and As Is, with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman exec producing with McDormand and Anderson. Steven Shareshian is co-exec producer and David Coatsworth. McDormand optioned the material when it was in galley form, and it really has turned into something exceptional.
Murray just wrapped the Ted Melfi-directed St. Vincent De Van Nuys, as well as the George Clooney-directed Monuments Men, and the Wes Anderson-directed The Grand Budapest Hotel. He’s part of the cast of Cameron Crowe’s film as well. He’s lawyered by David Nochimson.
EXCLUSIVE: HBO has set The Kids Are All Right helmer Lisa Cholodenko to direct and Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins to star in a miniseries adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Elizabeth Strout novel Olive Kitteridge. Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman will be executive producers along with McDormand and her As Is banner and Jane Anderson. Anderson adapted the book into the four-hour mini. David Coatsworth is producing.
Olive Kitteridge tells the alternately poignantly sweet, acerbically funny, and devastatingly tragic story of a seemingly placid New England town wrought with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy, told through the lens of Olive, whose wicked wit and harsh demeanor mask a warm but troubled heart and a staunch moral center. McDormand plays the title character and Jenkins plays her husband, Henry.
Getting this cast, director and a four-hour commitment from HBO is a real testament for McDormand. I’ve been following this one for years, and it started when McDormand fell in love with the book before it won the Pulitzer. She bought it with her own money, and drafted Anderson to write the script. Her gamble has paid off in this being a nice star vehicle for the Oscar-winning Fargo star. She’s repped by WME and Circle Of Confusion, Jenkins by Gersh and Bill Treusch, and Cholodenko by … Read More »
The Weinstein Company has debuted the domestic trailer for director Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must Be The Place starring Sean Penn, Frances McDormand and Judd Hirsch. Penn plays a bored ex-rock star who at age 50 lives off his royalties in Dublin until family drama starts him on a quest across America. Release date is November 2nd:
HOLLYWOOD, CA (August 3, 2011) – Worldwide box office receipts for TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, have hit $1 billion, Paramount Pictures announced today. To date, the third installment of the hit Transformers franchise, and the first shot in 3-D, has grossed $338 million in U.S. (through Monday) and $663 million internationally (through Tuesday).
“TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON is the first billion dollar grossing movie in the history of Paramount Pictures, marking a substantial milestone in the 99 year life of this legendary studio,” said Brad Grey, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Pictures. “We are grateful for the extraordinary work of Michael Bay and his film-making team, executive producer Steven Spielberg, and everyone at Paramount around the globe who played a part in helping make this latest TRANSFORMERS one of the 10 highest grossing films worldwide of all time.”
EXCLUSIVE: When Wes Anderson is ready to make a movie, talent comes running. I’m told that Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton are all in talks to star in Moon Rise Kingdom, a script that Anderson wrote with Roman Coppola and which Anderson will direct late next spring. Scott Rudin is producing with Anderson. Indian Paintbrush, the financier/production company bankrolled by billionaire Steven Rales, is in early conversations to fund the film and come aboard as producer. Rales, who recently installed Rudin’s longtime president Mark Roybal to run the company and step up its output of auteur-driven prestige films, has a strong relationship with Anderson. Rales was involved as a producer in Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox as well as The Darjeeling Limited. Both films were produced by Rudin.
Moon Rise Kingdom is set in the 60s. Two young adults fall in love and run away. Leaders in their New England town are sticking the idea that they’ve disappeared and go in search of them. Norton will play a scout leader who brings his charges on a search. Willis is in talks to play the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Appearing in a new role–producer–Frances McDormand has set at HBO a potential series adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Elizabeth Strout novel Olive Kitteridge. Separately, she has attached Diane Lane to star in a Nicole Holofcener-scripted feature adaptation of Laura Lippman’s crime novel Every Secret Thing. McDormand got both projects off the ground and while she will play the town’s seventh grade math teacher Olive Kitteridge if the pilot script Jane Anderson’s writing becomes an HBO series, McDormand doesn’t plan to appear on camera in Every Secret Thing.
Perhaps it’s being in the creative orbit of her writer/director husband Joel Coen, or a way to creatively fill the gaps between acting jobs while raising their family, but McDormand has self-started a producing venture that has no staff or company name. She has made two promising projects happen and has others percolating, including a stage musical. McDormand is using her own money to make the option deals.
McDormand optioned Olive Kitteridge before it won the Pulitzer last year. The book consists of 13 interconnected tales that involve the residents of a fishing village along the coast of Crosby, Maine. Anderson, whose HBO work includes writing/directing the Jessica Lange/Tom Wilkinson drama Normal–is weaving Strout’s storylines into a drama that has enough characters to allow McDormand to play the title role but still have time for her other acting obligations. Her acting … Read More »
Milan-based Intesa Sanpaolo has made a groundbreaking investment in Sean Penn’s next project This Must Be the Place. It has become the first Italian company to use the country’s new film tax credit system. The bank is investing €2.5 million ($3.2 million) in Paolo Sorrentino’s $28 million comedy. If successful, Intesa Sanpaolo could spark a whole new investment wave in Italian production.
Forty per cent of the bank’s investment is sheltered through Italy’s new 40% film production tax credit.
Stefano Massenzi of co-producer Lucky Red tells me, “Banks usually lend money, they don’t invest. But in this case Intesa Sanpaolo invested in our project.”
This Must Be the Place begins shooting on August 16 on location in Ireland. Then it moves to the US.
Frances McDormand co-stars with Penn. David Byrne, ex-Talking Heads, is writing the score.
The Italian tax credit – which confusingly behaves like a rebate in that taxpayers deduct it from tax they owe – became law in 2007. But the culture department and Finance Ministry only spelt out how the new tax credit should work in April.
There are different categories of tax credit. Producers can only knock 10-15% off their monthly tax bills (Italian companies submit their F24 paperwork every four weeks). Distributors and exhibitors can claw back 20%. Investors unconnected to the business qualify for a higher 40% tax rebate. This means they can deduct 40¢ out of every euro … Read More »
Fargo star Frances McDormand has become the latest film star to make stage plans. She’s committed to star in the Manhattan Theatre Club’s world premiere production of Good People, a play written by David Lindsay-Abaire and directed by Daniel Sullivan. The plan will open March 3 at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on West 47th Street. She’ll play a struggling South Boston woman who has lost another job and sees a potential end to her struggles in an old fling who has escaped the neighborhood and made his fortune. Lindsay-Abaire, one of the writers who took a crack at the Spider-Man 4 script before it was scrapped, won the Pulitzer for his play Rabbit Hole. McDormand’s previous stage turns include the Mike Nichols-directed The Country Girl, the Stephen Daldry-directed Far Away, and turns as Stella and Blanche in different productions of A Streetcar Named Desire. Sullivan directed her in The Sisters Rosenzweig. McDormand has time to work on her Southie accent, but it’ll have to be good to erase the memory of her rural Minnesotan patter from Fargo, evident in Marg Gunderson lines like, “And I guess that was your accomplice, in the woodchipper.”