A first look at The Butler and the staff that Lee Daniels assembled including Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey in her first film since 1998′s Beloved, and Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan which raised plenty of eyebrows and rankles last year. The film tells the story of Eugene Allen (Whitaker), who served eight commanders in chief during his 1952-1986 stint as the White House butler. Daniels wrote the screenplay with Danny Strong, based on Wil Haygood’s 2008 article in The Washington Post. The Weinstein Company releases the drama on October 18:
Oscarcast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Maron have already enlisted Barbra Streisand and Shirley Bassey for show duties, and now have added another nod to that generation with seven-time nominee and two-time winner Jane Fonda. Here’s the release that just went out:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Academy Award® winner Jane Fonda will join Jennifer Garner, Kristen Stewart and Kerry Washington to present on the Oscar telecast, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today.
Fonda earned seven nominations and won Academy Awards for her roles in “Klute” and “Coming Home.” Garner was seen in this year’s “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” and will be seen next in “Dallas Buyers Club.” Stewart is best known for her role as Bella Swan in the “Twilight” saga and also starred in 2012′s “On the Road” and “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Washington starred in the Best Picture Nominee “Django Unchained” and was seen in “A Thousand Words.” Washington is also the star of ABC’s hit drama “Scandal.”
“We’ve never seen anything like this. We’re exhausted. We are out every night it seems and the invitations keep coming,” one Oscar-winning Academy member told me recently. He was referring to the glut of invites to parties, lunches, screenings with Q&As and everything else for which Oscar season campaigning has come to be known. He pointedly added that none of it has ever influenced his vote but he is not turning down the elaborate food spreads and the chance to mingle with contenders. “Just don’t tell anyone who invites me to these things, but it doesn’t really have much impact on the way I fill out my ballot,” he added with a smile.
That won’t stop Oscar strategists from trying and the campaign activity this season seems like it pushed into high gear much earlier than normal and hasn’t let up, even as the Christmas break quickly approaches and the town starts to shut down. Don’t tell that to the relentless Weinstein Company who will still have some of their contenders out on the stump even over this holiday weekend. Quentin Tarantino who, despite seeing his Los Angeles premiere for Django Unchained cancelled Tuesday night out of sensitivity to the Newtown tragedy, was out doing a Q&A and reception for a packed screening at the Academy last night and will be doing the same thing for BAFTA-LA Friday night.
After fielding a slew of pilot orders over the years and recently doing a guest arc on Aaron Sorkin’s HBO drama The Newsroom, Oscar winner Jane Fonda has attached herself to a comedy in …
Specialty releases can clean up at the box office if they’re seen as serious awards contenders, but the majority of limited rollouts never make it to the awards big leagues in a given year. Two of this week’s new specialty openers are admittedly not in play for any golden statuettes according to their insiders (unless this is some sort of reverse-psychology campaign?). First off, Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener starrer Peace, Love & Misunderstanding will open in 25 cities this weekend. Its high-profile stars along with some now high-profile newcomers might be just the thing for moviegoers looking for a summer escape. China Lion’s Double Trouble will have a smaller indie platform release, hoping to cash in on the first film of Hong Kong star Jackie Chan’s son, Jaycee. Also hitting screens is FilmDistrict’s Safety Not Guaranteed, which concerns a magazine crew that sets out in search of the person who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time-travel. Then there’s Daryl Wein’s Lola Versus with star Greta Gerwig courtesy of Fox Searchlight and doc Paul Williams Still Alive is taking its story about the Oscar and Grammy award-winning star via a more DIY approach.
EXCLUSIVE: Jane Fonda, in Cannes to make an appearance for L’Oreal, has just joined the cast of the comedy Better Living Through Chemistry. She joins Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Monaghan, Ray Liotta, Ben …
Catherine Keener and Jane Fonda play alienated daughter and mother in this comedy directed by Bruce Beresford in which uptight Manhattan lawyer Diane (Keener) drives her teenage son (Nat Wolff) and adult daughter (Elizabeth Olsen) to meet their grandmother (Fonda) for the first time. Written by Christina …
Toronto: ‘Descendants’ Premiere Gets Big Reaction, Searchlight Has No Shame About Pickup Of Controversial ‘Shame’
Fox Seachlight’s annual party at the Thompson Hotel for the Toronto International Film Festival seemed especially ebullient Saturday after its growing Oscar contender, The Descendants, premiered to a standing ovation. Exactly a week earlier, the film received a similar enthusiastic response in Telluride. On top of that, Searchlight’s co-presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula had just won rights over The Weinstein Company and Sony Pictures Classics to the controversial Steve McQueen-directed Shame, which missed out Saturday on the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival but did nab star Michael Fassbender the Best Actor prize for his raw, let-it-all-hang-out performance as a sexually addicted man in freefall.
Utley confirmed that Searchlight will release Shame this year in time for the Oscar race, possibly December. Although they have not dated it, they do want enough time to put a campaign together. She was thrilled that Fassbender got the Venice prize for the film, which premieres in Toronto tomorrow night, after