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TWC Taps Judi Dench For ‘Tulip Fever’

By | Thursday June 5, 2014 @ 1:15pm PDT
Mike Fleming

judiThe Weinstein Company is back in business with its Philomena star Judi Dench, who joins the cast of the Justin Chadwick-directed drama Tulip Fever. Dench will play The Abbess of St. Ursula’s, a rescuer of orphan children. Also joining the production, which is currently shooting in the U.K., are Glee‘s Matthew Morrison as drunken bohemian artist Mattheus, Cara Delevingne (Anna Karenina) as artists’ model Annetje, and Cressida Bonas as Mrs. Steen, a merchant’s young wife. Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger, Christoph Waltz and Zach Galifianakis are already in the cast.  Tom Stoppard adapted Deborah Moggach’s popular romance novel and Ruby Films’ Alison Owen is producing. It’s TWC’s tenth pic with Dench, who got an Oscar nom for Philomena. Vikander plays a 17th Century Amsterdam woman who begins a passionate affair with an artist hired to paint her portrait. The lovers gamble on the booming market for tulip bulbs as a way to raise money to run away together.

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Sam Mendes’ ‘Charlie & The Chocolate Factory’ Leads Olivier Award Noms

olivier awardsThe Sam Mendes-directed West End musical Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, which recently extended its run to May 20, 2015, tied today with the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along to lead the list of Olivier Award nominees with seven each. Charlie grabbed mentions in the Best Actor in a Musical category for Douglas Hodge as well as Best New Musical, among others. The show, from Warner Bros Theatrical Ventures, has twice broken records during its run for the highest weekly gross sales. The other Best New Musical nominees include Once, The Book Of Mormon and The Scottsboro Boys; each received six nominations. In the acting categories, Tom Hiddleston is cited for his lead turn in Coriolanus and Jude Law for his take on Henry V. Judi Dench in Peter And Alice, is up against Hayley Atwell, Anna Chancellor and Lesley Manville for Best Actress. The Olivier Awards ceremony will take place at London’s Royal Opera House on April 13. Click over for a full list of nominations: Read More »

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Bruce Dern Calls It A “Geezer’s Dinner”, But Oscar Nominees Show Up In Force At AARP’s Movies For Grownups Awards

By | Tuesday February 11, 2014 @ 9:42am PST
Pete Hammond

The Oscar luncheon has become a lynchpin for other events and award-related activities since so many MFGnominees are in town for the occasion. It’s a last-gasp attempt to get them out to as many events as possible before final ballots go out Friday. The Dallas Buyers Club group, the Wolf Of Wall Street and several others had AMPAS Q&As lined up Monday evening. But perhaps the biggest event — judging by the Oscar-nominated star power it drew Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon– was AARP‘s 2014 Awards Gala on Monday night saluting Movies For Grownups. Their mission as they say is to “honor outstanding writing, acting and filmmaking with distinct relevance to the 50-plus audience”. Considering the average age of Oscar voters, this is a good place to be seen. Among the winners were 12 Years A Slave  as Best Movie For Grownups, Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron as Best Director, Nebraska’s Bruce Dern and Philomena’s Judi Dench as Best Actor and Actress, 20 Feet From Stardom for Best Documentary, and Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke for their Before Midnight screenplay. Susan Sarandon received the life achievement award from presenter Melissa McCarthy. Best Buddy Picture was CBS Films’ Lost Vegas with star Morgan Freeman and director Jon Turtletaub on hand. Best Grownup Love Story appropriately went to Nicole Holofcener for the terrific and sadly Oscar-overlooked Enough Said.

Related: 86th Academy Awards Nominees Photo

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Hot Oscar Video: Telling The Tale Of ‘Philomena’

By | Saturday January 4, 2014 @ 3:45pm PST

PhilomenaEXCLUSIVE: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Stephen Frears, and author Martin Sixsmith (The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee) discuss the origins of Weinstein sleeper Philomena in the exclusive featurette below. Dench stars in the pic as Philomena Lee, an Irish woman who enlists the help of a writer (Coogan) in her search for the son that was taken away from her 50 years prior. Coogan and Jeff Pope won Best Screenplay honors at the Venice Film Festival and nominated for the Golden Globe. Philomena is also Globes-nominated for Best Actress (Dench) and Best Picture. Check it out:

Related: ‘Philomena’ Box Office Surprise: Could It Be This Year’s Oscar Sleeper?

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OSCARS: ‘Philomena’ Puts Judi Dench Right Back In The Thick Of The Race

Pete Hammond

Dame Judi Dench is poised to have a very happy new year. She is certainly no stranger to awards, but there could be more in her immediate future. She’s had 6 Oscar nominations  and one win as 1998 Supporting 1318861512_Judi_Dench_Oscars_1998_WideActress for an eight minute role in Shakespeare In Love. There are also 11 Golden Globe nominations and two wins. And then the British superstar can also boast of an astounding 25 BAFTA nominations and 10 wins split between her film and television work — the most recent coming for her final appearance as M opposite James dench6fb-toned-webBond in 2012′s Skyfall. So what does she need another one for?

The fact is she’s back in awards contention in a big way again this season in Philomena, another signature role  as Philomena Lee, a true life story of a woman who had to give up her young child for adoption in the Irish orphanage where she worked — only to search for him 50 years later and discover some startling truths along the way. She’s already racked up SAG, Globe and Critics Choice Movie Award nominations for the crowd-pleasing film (which also has a Best Drama Picture bid at the Globes too) and seems a sure thing for another go at the Oscars when nominations are announced January 16th. This would be her fifth nod (in addition to Mrs. Brown, Iris, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Notes On A Scandal) as actress in a leading role , quite a feat for a performer at any age but particularly one who just turned 79 years old earlier this month. A win would make her the second oldest ever (after Driving Miss Daisy’s Jessica Tandy) to nab the Best Actress Oscar.

Related: The Real ‘Philomena’ Answers NY Post Critic Who Condemns Her Film Read More »

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The Weinstein Co’s ‘Philomena’ Vs. MPAA 2: Judi Dench’s M Enlists Steve Coogan: Video

By | Tuesday November 12, 2013 @ 1:44pm PST

The Weinstein Co is unhappy about the R rating slapped on its awards-season hopeful and has launched a second salvo in its battle against the MPAA. Last week it unveiled a clip with Judi Dench reprising her Bond role as M, and now she’s back again — but this time M is deploying a secret weapon: Agent 002, aka Philomena writer, producer and co-star Steve Coogan. After initially confusing MPAA for the little orange guys who worked for “a guy called Wonka,” Coogan naturally assumes he’s being contracted for a hit on the ratings group. Read the background on Philomena vs. the MPAA here, then check out the new clip:

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Hot Trailer: ‘Philomena’

By | Saturday September 28, 2013 @ 6:23pm PDT

Judi Dench is looking Oscar-bound with the true tale of a journalist (Steve Coogan) who helps a woman (Dench) track down the son she gave up for adoption decades earlier. (Read Pete Hammond’s take on Philomena‘s award-winning run on the festival circuit, including a Best Screenplay win at Venice and warmly received Toronto debut.) Weinstein Co. releases the feelgood drama in a limited holiday run on December 25 before going wide on January 10. Check out the trailer:

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Venice: ‘Philomena’ Wows Lido, Debuts To Thunderous Applause

One of the most anticipated films in the Venice competition, Stephen Frears’ Philomena blew a breath of fresh air onto the Lido this morning. Essentially a Judi Dench/Steve Coogan two-hander, it screened to laughs, tears and lots of applause – the latter both during and after the film. Following a series of intensely serious movies – some of which, like Gravity, have been very well-received – festgoers were still looking for a genuine crowd-pleaser. Although Philomena treats a very delicate subject matter, which resulted in the pulling out of a lot of hankies in the Sala Darsena, it’s also a very funny and heart-warming film. The Weinstein Co. won a bidding war for it in Cannes after Pathé screened a seven-minute reel for buyers.

Philomena was positioned to open here using a similar strategy to The Queen. Frears also directed that film which won Helen Mirren the Best Actress Volpi Cup, a screenwriting prize for Peter Morgan and the International Critics Prize (FIPRESCI). It later garnered six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress which Mirren won. Philomena next heads to Toronto. An exec involved in the film recently told me they hoped to arrive at that festival “with a little bit of a reputation.” Given today’s reaction, that hope would appear fulfilled. Read More »

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Dustin Hoffman, Judi Dench Team For BBC Adaptation Of Roald Dahl’s ‘Esio Trot’

By | Friday August 23, 2013 @ 3:51am PDT

Esio Trot will see Dustin Hoffman play Mr Hoppy, a retired bachelor who harbors a secret passion for his neighbor, Mrs Silver (Judi Dench). Unfortunately, she lavishes all her affection on Alfie… her pet tortoise. Directed by Dearbhla Walsh, a 2008 Emmy winner for Little Dorrit, the BBC One commission will be produced by Hilary Bevan Jones’ Endor Productions and BBC One. Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, who previously worked together on comedy series The Vicar Of Dibley, reteamed to handle the adaptation. The 90-minute movie starts shooting in London next spring. Red Arrow International, whose parent company holds a majority stake in Endor, will sell worldwide.

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Clashing Buyer Screenings Causing Chaos?

By | Wednesday May 15, 2013 @ 3:56pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Ah, Cannes got off to such a nice, sunny start. But the skies opened up this evening with rain and thunder, and buyers tomorrow morning are going to have to deal with the clash of two high priority acquisition titles that are screening at the same time. At 10 AM Thursday, Pathe will show seven minutes of footage from the Stephen Frears-directed Philomena, the film that stars Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. It’s the true story of an Irish woman who searches for the illegitimate son she gave up for adoption in the U.S. That screening will be held at Arcades 2.

Starting at exactly the same moment, Embankment Films has a private screening of Diana, the Oliver Hirschbiegel-directed Diana, with Naomi Watts and Naveen Andrews starring in the chronicle of Princess Diana’s romance with a Pakistani surgeon just before her death. That one’s being held at the Olympia 1. I’d heard rumors that some might have seen this film before they left LA for Cannes, but buyers aren’t happy. They will have to split their acquisition teams and nobody likes to bid without a proper consensus. You can’t see both, especially if you are battling the pouring rain.

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Jude Law, Daniel Radcliffe, Judi Dench Board London Plays; John Logan Returns

Veteran theater director Michael Grandage announced a star-studded line-up to launch his new company in London’s West End. Daniel Radcliffe, Judi Dench, Jude Law and Ben Whishaw are among the actors who will tread the boards in a series of five plays to run from December 2012 to February 2014, with New York transfers possible. Screenwriter/playwright John Logan (Skyfall, Rango, Hugo) will also debut his first play since Red which in 2010 won six Tonys after it moved from London to Broadway.

The season will kick off with Peter Nichols’ Privates On Parade starring My Week With Marilyn’s Simon Russell Beale followed by Dench and Whishaw in Logan’s Peter And Alice. In the story, Dench plays Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the original inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, who in 1932 comes face to face with Peter Llewelyn Davies, the original inspiration for JM Barrie’s Peter Pan. Radcliffe will star in Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple Of Inishman starting September 7, 2013. He’ll play the title role in the dark comedy’s first major London revival since 1996. Re-teaming with Grandage after 2009′s Hamlet, Jude Law will star as Henry V to close out the series’ run starting November 2013. Another Shakespeare adaptation, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, will star Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams.

In a move to bring in wide audiences, each of the plays will have at least 200 seats priced … Read More »

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London Crix Go Roeg With Top Honor

The London Film Critics Circle is to present director Nicolas Roeg with the Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film, the org announced Friday. The prize is the venerable group’s highest honor and has previously gone to such talent as Dirk Bogarde, Michael Caine, Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling, Ken Loach, Judi Dench, Quentin Tarantino and Kristin Scott Thomas. Roeg’s diverse filmography includes 1971’s Walkabout, 1973’s Julie Christie/Donald Sutherland-starrer Don’t Look Now, 1976’s David Bowie vehicle The Man Who Fell To Earth and 1990′sThe Witches starring Angelica Huston. Roeg will receive the tribute at the Circle’s 32nd annual awards ceremony which was recently moved up to January 19. Nominees in the major categories will be unveiled Dec 20.

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James Bond ‘Skyfall’ Adds Helen McCrory, Ola Rapace To Cast As Cameras Roll

As filming got underway Monday for Skyfall, the names of two additional actors but not their characters’ identities were posted on the movie’s Twitter account @007: Helen McCrory (Hugo, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2) and Ola Rapace, former husband of Noomi Rapace, apparently in his first English-language role. Last week’s reveal of the official title of Bond 23 was the most recent big news for the project, along with director Sam Mendes promising there would be plenty of action as well as “emotional context.” In addition to McCrory, Rapace and of course Daniel Craig, the rest of Skyfall‘s previously reported cast includes Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Judi Dench, Ben Whishaw and Albert Finney.

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