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:
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.
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 …