Although the Holocaust is a well-visited subject for Hollywood, Geoffrey Rush says he was struck by how The Book Thief — based on the 2007 novel by Marcus Zusak — offers “another different perspective on everything.” Rush, who has an Oscar for 1996’s Shine and three subsequent nominations, plays Hans, an adoptive father who’s trying to survive World War II and Nazi Germany. Directed by Brian Percival, the film introduces 12-year-old actress Sophie Nelisse as Hans’ daughter, Liesel, and features Emily Watson as the patriarch’s hardbitten, overbearing wife. Although the role was relatively light on dialogue, Rush says learning to play the accordion connected him strongly to his character.
Related: Can 20th’s Under-The-Radar Entry ‘The Book Thief’ Steal A Spot In The Oscar Race?
AwardsLine: What struck a chord with you when you read the script for The Book Thief?
Geoffrey Rush: I think I got about five pages into it and thought, this is a remarkable story. It’s already got me hooked. It’s not what you call a soft opening, to meet this 10-year-old girl whose 6-year-old brother dies on page one. Then in the next scene, her mother’s a Communist and gets taken away. I can’t think of many films that start with a 10-year-old with a burden that’s comparable to Hamlet’s. Read More »
Here’s the official international trailer for The Book Thief, the Fox 2000 film that’s stealthily entering awards season. When it bowed at Mill Valley, my colleague Pete Hammond wrote it played to a “huge standing ovation.” The movie is based on Markus Zusak’s No. 1 best-selling novel and follows a young girl in Nazi Germany who seeks refuge in books while her family hides a young Jewish man in the basement of their modest home. Brian Percival directed stars Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nélisse and Ben Schnetzer. The Book Thief is released domestically on November 8th.
Could The Book Thief come out of nowhere to pull off a heist in this year’s Oscar race? While distributor 20th Century Fox seems to be putting most of its marbles on this weekend’s New York Film Festival launch of its big Christmas Day release, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, the studio has concurrently picked another festival, the lower-profile but respected 36-year-old Mill Valley Film Fest, to World Premiere its stealth entry into awards season. The Book Thief played to a huge standing ovation at its Thursday night unveiling on the Northern California fest’s opening night. Tonight co-star Geoffrey Rush will be the subject of a tribute there. Based on Markus Zusak’s No. 1 best-selling novel, the story set in Nazi Germany during World War II finds a young girl seeking refuge in the world of books while her family hides a young Jewish man in the basement of their modest German home. As they did earlier today with Mitty, Fox has had simultaneous screenings on their lot for bloggers and critics, which is where I caught it yesterday. Read More »
Though he’s not at the center of this year’s film awards season, Geoffrey Rush has a new prize to add to his mantle: The actor was named Australian Of The Year 2012 in his home country on Wednesday. Rush, an Oscar, BAFTA, Tony, Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award winner is also a 3-time Australian Film Institute honoree. His latest film, Fred Schepisi’s The Eye Of the Storm, was just picked up by Sycamore Entertainment Group for the U.S. The Australian Of The Year Awards celebrate eminent Australians by profiling leading citizens who act as role models through their achievements and contributions. In announcing the award, the org said Rush is “seen as a creative mentor by many” who “supports young actors and arts companies.” Read More »
He’s not in the Green Lantern cast list, but I’m told that Oscar-nominated The King’s Speech star Geoffrey Rush plays an important role in the Martin Campbell-directed Warner Bros film that stars Ryan Reynolds. Sources said that it’s Rush who provided the voice for Tomar-Re, the scientist who works alongside the title character in the Green Lantern Corps. Tomar-Re, who looks a bit like the Creature From the Black Lagoon, has a long history in the DC Comics version of Green Lantern. Warner Bros will unveil footage at CinemaCon in Las Vegas tomorrow, so perhaps some of the mystery might be cleared up by Thursday.
Less certain is who’ll provide the voice for the character Kilowog. Speculation has centered on Michael Clarke Duncan. I’m told that he’s certainly a contender but a final decision hasn’t yet been made. The film opens June 17, so a decision will be made shortly.
Overall, tonight’s BAFTA awards show — known as “the British Oscars” – was marred by human errors and technical flubs. But the winners didn’t care. I counted 7 name-checks for Harvey Weinstein during the evening. In fact, pretty much every time one of The King’s Speech’s 7 award winners thanked the British academy, they thanked The Weinstein Company brother. A visibly emotional Colin Firth, accepting his second straight Best Actor statuette, referred to “the unstoppable Harvey”. Winning The King’s Speech screenwriter David Seidler said: “Harvey, I guess you’re not British but you’ve made and distributed so many British films we owe you an honorary tally-ho.” Presenter Jessica Alba, referring to Geoffrey Rush not being on hand to accept his Best Supporting Actor award, said that Harvey would give it to him. Helena Bonham Carter, accepting her Best Supporting Actress award, called Harvey her “nominations godfather”. Even emcee TV chat show host Jonathan Ross, admonishing everyone to turn off their cell phones, worked in a reference to the man: “I can see that Harvey Weinstein is gagging for a tweet.”
In Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House tonight, Inception won 3 technical awards for Sound, Production Design, and Special Visual Effects which prompted one VFX designer to pay homage to the film’s writer/director Christopher Nolan: “I spent 3 weeks in Chris Nolan’s garage visualising this film, which wasn’t hard because Chris had done all the work.” The Social Network also received 3 BAFTAs, including a surprise Best Director for David Fincher. But … Read More »
The Weinstein Co movie won 5 British Independent Film Awards at the ceremony in London’s East End tonight, including Best Film, Best Actor (Colin Firth), Best Supporting Actress (Helena Bonham Carter), Best Supporting Actor (Geoffrey Rush), and Best Screenplay. Micro-budget sci-film Monsters won 3 awards: Best Director (Gareth Edwards), Best Achievement in Production and Best Technical Achievement, while Carey Mulligan was named best actress for Never Let Me Go.
BEST BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM
THE KING’S SPEECH
GARETH EDWARDS (MONSTERS)
THE DOUGLAS HICKOX AWARD [BEST DEBUT DIRECTOR]
CLIO BARNARD (THE ARBOR)
DAVID SEIDLER (THE KING’S SPEECH)
CAREY MULLIGAN (NEVER LET ME GO)
COLIN FIRTH (THE KING’S SPEECH)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
HELENA BONHAM CARTER (THE KING’S SPEECH)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
GEOFFREY RUSH (THE KING’S SPEECH)
MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER
JOANNE FROGGATT (IN OUR NAME)
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION
SON OF BABYLON
BEST TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT
GARETH EDWARDS – VISUAL EFFECTS (MONSTERS)
ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE
BEST BRITISH SHORT
BEST FOREIGN FILM
THE RICHARD HARRIS AWARD (for outstanding contribution by an actor to British Film)
HELENA BONHAM CARTER
THE VARIETY AWARD
THE SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
This year’s AFI Festival will host an ensemble tribute to The King’s Speech, with director Tom Hooper and stars Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. The festival has also made its Centerpiece Gala selections, including director Diego Luna’s Abel, George Hickenlooper’s Casino Jack and John Wells’ The Company Men, along with Barney’s Version and Blue Valentine. Also newly slated are several special screenings, including the U.S. premiere of John Sayles’ Amigo, Werner Herzog’s 3D Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, John Cameron Mitchell’s Rabbit Hole and Nigel Cole’s Made in Dagenham. The festival takes place November 4-11 in Hollywood and has already announced that Love & Other Drugs will be the opening night film and Black Swan will serve as the closing night selection. David Lynch serves as the festival’s artistic director.
After the Tom Hooper-directed Colin Firth-Geoffrey Rush film The King’s Speech came out of Toronto with strong Oscar buzz, United Talent Agency swooped in to sign the pic’s writer, David Seidler. It’s not unusual for the scribes of Oscar-bait film to get snapped up by major agencies. But Seidler is no flash in the pan. He’s 73 years old, and the effort to make the film dates back to before many of today’s top screenwriters were born. His script –covering King George VI’s race to overcome a stutter so he could rally his subjects in radio broadcasts as England fought Hitler’s invading forces in WWII–was subject matter that is woven through Seidler’s own life. While an eloquent speaker now, Seidler developed a debilitating childhood stutter he attributes to the shock of those early days of WWII. “I was a profound stutterer as a kid, and though we relocated to the US after the Battle of Dunkirk, it was the trauma of hearing the guns and bombs from that battle that triggered it. I could barely talk at times, but as the war progressed, we were allowed to listen to the radio and the King of England. He spoke badly, but I thought my goodness, if a king can be brave enough to speak like that on the radio, maybe there’s hope for me. He was always a hero to me.”
Years later, after Seidler finished the 1988 Francis Coppola-directed Tucker: The … Read More »
Over the course of its four days, the Telluride Film Festival has certainly become a key early player in setting at least part of the table for Hollywood’s awards season. I have seen numerous Academy voting members wandering in and out of the state-of-the-art screening venues around town getting an early look at some films certain to be contenders — and some that clearly won’t. Academy Award winner Bruce Cohen (American Beauty), this year’s co-producer (with Don Mischer) of the Oscars, has even come here to check out potential movies he will likely be showcasing come February 27th and was lining up all day long soaking up the cinema. At last week’s Emmys he was frequently caught on camera in the booth during the show (which Mischer also produced) so I asked him what he learned from that experience. “Fast. Fast. Faster,” was his instant answer expressing the reality that you gotta keep the show moving like a speeding train. He’s infectiously enthusiastic about the task he’s been given this year and at Sunday night’s festival party was already talking up possibilities for musical numbers from films he’s seeing. “Of course we have to see what the actual nominees are going to be first,” he laughed. Minor detail.
One film strongly Oscar-buzzed at that party, on the gondolas and just about everywhere you go in Telluride this weekend is The King’s Speech, The Weinstein Company’s historical drama about King George VI’s stuttering problems and his relationship with the Australian speech therapist who gave him strength and ultimately a lifelong friendship. It was unveiled to one of this fest’s rare standing ovations for the first time anywhere here this weekend. Colin Firth is George and Geoffrey Rush is the therapist in director Tom Hooper’s outstanding film that can count on major awards love after it opens this Thanksgiving holiday, at least if the praise Telluriders are giving it is any indication.
One person leaving Monday’s screening said, “It makes up for all the bleakness,” referring to the great number of dark films showing at this year’s fest. Both stars and Hooper were surrounded by well-wishers at last night’s packed party. Firth and Rush are sure-thing nominees and the film itself is a strong Best Picture prospect to say the least. Harvey’s back in the Oscar game with this one, no doubt.
Firth was the subject of packed major tributes here Sunday night and Monday morning. (At this fest, the honoree gets feted twice.) “That’s something I’m genuinely not ready for. I don’t know what that’s gonna be like,” he said referring to the double dose of love when we sat down for a pre-first tribute interview. He says his virgin Telluride experience has been extremely gratifying in every way. “It feels more like a community than a festival, It’s not a market or a press-feeding frenzy. It’s so pure. This one seems to be just for the love of film. It doesn’t get better,” he says. Firth notes he and Rush have been stopped everywhere, getting applauded in bars and restaurants or just crossing the street. Telluride is certainly providing the actor a nice ego boost, if nothing else, but he’s genuinely thrilled to see the reaction to his performance. Read More »
Art imitates life as two of the Fox acting dynasty act together for the first time on the big screen in Madonna’s W.E. film. James Fox (Sherlock Holmes) plays King George V, while his real-life son Laurence plays unwilling heir-to-the-throne Bertie. Shooting has just begun on location in England, France and the US.
W.E is a Julie & Julia-style story switching between the past and the present. Abbie Cornish stars as a young married New Yorker in 1998, obsessed with what she perceives as the ultimate romantic love story: Edward VIII’s abdication for his love of Wallis Simpson. Andrea Riseborough plays Simpson and James D’Arcy, Edward.
It’s a project Madonna has been developing for a long time. The pop star has written the script herself with Alek Keshishian, who directed her in documentary In Bed With Madonna. One early version had a 70-year-old Mrs Simpson swaying to the Sex Pistols with her pet dogs.
Madonna’s first choices for Edward and Mrs Simpson — Ewan McGregor and Vera Farmiga — both abdicated from the project.
Two of Britain’s best-liked producers are working on W.E. Colin Vaines (Coriolanus) is producing, with Kris Tykier (Kick-Ass) executive producing. It has been reported that David Parfitt was going to produce alongside Vaines, but that he just couldn’t handle Her Madgeness. Parfitt assures me this isn’t true. The reason he dropped out was because of a scheduling conflict with his own feature, My Week With Marilyn, which starts prep next month.
No … Read More »