Kristen Wiig came back to host the show that made her a star a year after her tearful “graduation” send-off. But even old characters including the dreaded Gilly and Denise (plus a Maya Rudolph cameo) couldn’t make SNL funny again:
One the splashiest pickups at Toronto last year was the forgettably titled Imogene. The Kristen Wiig-Annette Bening comedy now known as Girl Most Likely is hitting theaters July 19 via Roadside and Lionsgate. The American Splendor duo of Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini directed the …
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, which made one of the splashiest deals at the last Toronto Film Festival in acquiring U.S. distribution rights to the Kristen Wiig-Annette Bening-starrer Imogene, has set the film for a July 19 nationwide release. They’ve also changed the film’s title to the catchier Girl Most Likely.
When it was bought, I remember thinking that Imogene was an awful title, unless the film was a biopic of Imogene Coca, and I wouldn’t go see that movie anyway. The new title is a clever reference to Wiig’s character, a one-time playwright-to-watch who unfortunately has saved her most dramatic moments for her trainwreck of a life. A crisis of confidence stunts her professional momentum and when her boyfriend dumps her, she fakes a suicide attempt. She thinks he’ll be sympathetic and take her back. Instead, she’s consigned to return home to Jersey to live with her estranged gambling addict batshit crazy mother (Bening). Matt Dillon, Christopher Fitzgerald, and Darren Criss also star, and American Splendor‘s Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer directed from Michelle Morgan’s script. Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler, Alix Madigan-Yorkin and Mark Amin produced it.
LOS ANGELES, CA, MAY 25, 2012 – Atlas Independent announced today Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has acquired Revenge for Jolly!, for distribution in the U.S. and Canada. The acquisition marks the first for the newly-formed affiliate company of Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment. A unique dark comedy that examines the moral ambiguity of revenge, the film most recently premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. The deal was negotiated by Sony with UTA Independent Film Group.
Directed by Chadd Harbold and written by Brian Petsos, Revenge for Jolly! stars Petsos and Oscar Isaac, with special cameos by Elijah Wood, Adam Brody, Ryan Phillippe, and Kristen Wiig among others. The film follows a man (Petsos) who, with the help of his cousin (Isaac), seeks to avenge the death of his beloved dog, who was killed under confusing and suspicious circumstances. The two men follow a series of clues in an attempt to track down the dog’s murderer, leaving a path of destruction in their wake.
Cari Lynn is a contributor to AwardsLine
Despite creating one of the year’s biggest box office hits, Oscar-nominated Bridesmaids co-screenwriters and longtime friends Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wigg are self-effacing, readily confessing to embarking on their script by buying a how-to book. “We didn’t know what we were doing,” Wiig says. “We bought Syd Field’s book, and then we were like, “OK, I think on page 30, our first act has to be over…?’”
Wiig and Mumolo met in the early 2000s at L.A.’s improv and sketch theater group The Groundlings, where they describe gravitating toward each other. “Some of my favorite things that I wrote at The Groundlings — all of them, I think — were with Annie,” Wiig says. “We just have a great writing marriage. I call her my creative wife.”
If anyone were to have told you back on May 13 when Universal’s raunchy female comedy Bridesmaids opened that we would seriously be discussing its Best Picture Oscar nomination prospects a week before Christmas, the status of their mental health would been called into question. But even though it remains a…
HAMMOND: ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘Artist’, ‘Paris’ Try To Buck Oscar’s Prejudice Against Comedy; HFPA Says ‘The Help’ Is Not Funny
Dying is easy, comedy is hard. Someone said that, right?
Judging by the paltry number of “pure” comedies that have won Best Picture Oscars in the past, apparently the Academy doesn’t think it’s hard at all. But could this actually be the year comedy will once again get its due in the Best Picture race? Will we ever see another genuine laugher taken seriously? “It’s crazy when you see what these great comedy people do,” says Bridesmaids producer Judd Apatow. His film was a huge surprise summer hit and has one of the highest critics ratings on Rotten Tomatoes with 90% fresh reviews. That’s a lot better than many dramatic contenders that pundits take more seriously as true Oscar pictures. Broad, hit-’em-in-the-gut comedy is almost always dismissed.
Apatow told me he was really surprised when Bridesmaids started to become part of the awards conversation this year but now believes they have a shot, at least in some categories — although not daring to dream of Best Picture yet. “We’re very hopeful about Melissa McCarthy in supporting. (Co-writer and star) Kristen Wiig should get recognition too. It’s very hard to do what she does,” Apatow said, adding that he thought Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover (which Apatow did not produce) should have been recognized a couple of years ago for the “perfect supporting part” but was obviously overlooked.
Further proving disrespect for comedy in the Acad, Apatow himself was dissed even to become an Academy member until finally getting the invite in 2008. Considering the Academy’s usual reluctance to reward the genre, Wiig is shocked they are even in the hunt, but Bridesmaids is the only movie Universal is significantly campaigning this year. “It’s nuts,” she said. “Recently we were looking at our original draft and thinking the fact people are even talking about it in this way is very strange. But I think ultimately it’s about the story and characters. You have to care about them or you’re not going to care about the movie whether it is comedy or drama.”
Bridesmaids is also hoping for recognition as a Best Picture Comedy or Musical nominee in the Golden Globes, where it actually does have a realistic chance of making the cut (The Hangover actually won). Many have called for the Academy to institute separate categories to honor comedy, like the Globes have always done, but it has never flown.
It is not hard to see why.
Often there’s a very gray line between what constitutes a comedy in the first place. The Hollywood Foreign Press lets studios determine which categories they want to be in but has final say. In other words, if a studio tries to squeeze J. Edgar into comedy because there is less competition, forget it. This year, there has been lots of discussion among distributors about what constitutes a comedy. Fox Searchlight initially debated whether to enter its George Clooney starrer The Descendants in the Comedy or Musical category because there are definite laughs, but the dramatic elements ruled the day and it is submitted as a drama. Same with Sony’s Moneyball, which had some TV ads with quotes calling it “hilarious.” In the end, it wasn’t that hilarious — it’s in drama.
On the other hand, DreamWorks officially submitted The Help in comedy or musical even though it has some very heavy dramatic moments. On Monday, an HFPA committee rejected it in comedy and determined it would compete as a drama, where it will go head-to-head with Disney/DreamWorks’ other big hopeful, War Horse (assuming both get nominated, as seems likely). It’s not surprising: At a recent event I attended, a lot of HFPA members were voicing concerns about having to judge The Help as a comedy. The film was indeed initially sold by Disney and DreamWorks with an emphasis on its lighter elements, and past Globe winners in the category such as Driving Miss Daisy were similar in tone. Still, that would have meant Viola Davis would compete in the Best Actress-Comedy or Musical category, and no matter how you slice it, her character — a civil rights-era maid — just wasn’t that funny. Other entries that remain in the category that border comedy and drama are Focus Features’ Beginners and Summit’s 50/50, both dealing with main characters with cancer; Paramount’s Young Adult; and The Weinstein Company’s My Week With Marilyn. But the placement seems logical, and their chances against stiff competition in the drama categories would be considerably lessened. Last year, Focus entered the dramedy The Kids Are All Right in the comedy categories and bagged Globes for both the picture and Annette Bening.
This Funny Or Die video from writer-director Josh Greenbaum explains why non-liberal America hates Hollywood. Featuring Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Jack Black, and Kevin Spacey. Wait for the scene with Bill: