Despite the whole Grace Of Monaco controversy that has overwhelmed early coverage of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, The Weinstein Company showed off an impressive slate of their other films tonight. Harvey Weinstein hosted as usual and brought up stars Naomi Watts who co-stars with Bill Murray in the upcoming (and very funny, based on the footage shown) St. Vincent. And also Ryan Reynolds who is co-starring in Woman In Gold, a 2015 title.
Related: Harvey Weinstein Defends Actions On ‘Grace Of Monaco’
He also gave a solo spot to debuting director Ned Benson whose The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby premieres in Cannes on Saturday night as a single film. It will be released that way in September after being picked up as “a work in progress” by TWC at last September’s Toronto Film Festival where it was actually shown as two different movies, each from the point of view of one of the main characters played by Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. All three versions – Him, Her and Them – will be seen in Cannes during the festival, but it’s the new combined and streamlined Them that will get the most commercial play and, in my opinion, real Oscar consideration. In fact, it is one of TWC’s strongest Academy Award prospects and highlights remarkably fine performances across the boar, especially Chastain, McAvoy and William Hurt, and marks the emergence of a real talent in Benson.
Related: Weinstein To Unspool Footage From Host Of Fall Films On Friday
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Mike Fleming Jr broke this story last week that The Weinstein Company would acquire rights to a new version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Weinstein and Fox Searchlight had been sparring over the pic. Here’s the company’s release today confirming the North American rights deal:
New York, NY (October 23, 2013) – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that they are acquiring U.S. and Canadian rights from Studiocanal for director Justin Kurzel’s (SNOWTOWN) big screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s MACBETH. Jacob Koskoff and Todd Louiso (THE MARC PEASE EXPERIENCE) have penned the screenplay for the film, which will star Michael Fassbender (12 YEARS A SLAVE, SHAME) and Marion Cotillard (THE IMMIGRANT, RUST AND BONE). The project is being produced by See-Saw Films’ Iain Canning and Emile Sherman (THE KING’S SPEECH). STUDIOCANAL is financing and is handling international sales. Film4 developed and is partnering on the project.
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Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard has boarded See-Saw Films’ Macbeth, to be directed by Snowtown‘s Justin Kurzel. Natalie Portman had previously been attached to play the scheming Lady Macbeth opposite Michael Fassbender as the iconic eponymous antihero. Fassbender is still in the mix. King’s Speech and Shame producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman are producing. Pre-production is slated for the end of the year with principal photography to kick off in the UK in January 2014. Studiocanal is financing the majority of the picture with Film4 and will handle international sales. It is also releasing in the UK, France and Germany. Cotillard is repped by CAA and Agence Adequat.
He has been on the big screen in the Big Apple doing Shakespeare a lot over the years but Kenneth Branagh is finally going to make his first appearance on the New York stage in Macbeth next summer. Fresh from a run this summer of the infamous Scottish play at the Manchester International Festival, the recently knighted actor will both co-direct and take on the lead role in the play at NYC’s Park Avenue Armory in June 2014. The actor will be joined in the New York Macbeth at the 55,000 square feet Armory by former ER star and former Royal Shakespeare Company member Alex Kingston. The actress also played Lady Macbeth in the UK version of the play last month. “I am delighted that we have the chance to recreate Macbeth in this epic setting,” said Branagh in a statement today. Though well known for his film turns in Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It and 1996’s Hamlet, for which the Thor director was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at that year’s Oscars, Macbeth is not only Branagh’s first onstage performance in New York but his first Bard performance since a 2002 role as Richard III.
Related: Kenneth Branagh Cast As Russian Villain In ‘Jack Ryan’ Reboot
Film4′s film adaptation of the Shakespeare classic has Snowtown helmer Justin Kurzel attached to direct. Project is glued together by a number of prior relationships. Michael Fassbender is attached to play the iconic title antihero, with Natalie Portman attached to play his scheming Lady Macbeth. The pair recently filmed Terrence Malick’s untitled Austin-set pic together. Script is by Todd Luiso and Jacob Koskoff, who previously teamed up on 2009′s The Marc Pease Experience. Fassbender’s Shame producers Iaian Canning and Emile Sherman, whose UK-Australia See-Saw banner also produced The King’s Speech, are producing with Film4. Sherman had a hand in financing Kurzel’s feature debut Snowtown (AKA The Snowtown Murders). Kurzel, Fassbender, and Portman are repped by CAA.
Laurence Olivier’s ‘Macbeth’ Screenplays Unearthed
A British professor has stumbled across Laurence Olivier’s screenplays for a 1950s movie version of Macbeth which were thought to have been lost. The University of Exeter’s Jennifer Barnes was researching Olivier’s film version of Richard III at the British Library’s Laurence Olivier Archive when she came across references to Macbeth scripts. Olivier had tried to mount the filmed version of Shakespeare’s play, but it was shelved due to financing problems. He would and wife Vivien Leigh would have played not only Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, but also two of the three witches, the screenplays reveal. Olivier also planned to cut out the “Is this a dagger I see before me?” line, The Guardian reports. While he was still alive, Olivier contended there were no surviving copies of his screenplay, but Barnes said “I was going through the catalog” of papers acquired by the library from Olivier’s family in 2000, “and I pulled up a script and found it was Macbeth. I didn’t believe it because I knew it wasn’t supposed to exist… I guess the people who cataloged them didn’t know how important they were”. The screenplay ends with a spectacular fight between Macbeth and Macduff. Per The Guardian, Olivier wrote: “Every conceivable trick of fighting that isn’t going to get a laugh must be employed.”
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Next season on London’s West End is shaping up to be a who’s who of British talent. Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Daniel Radcliffe, Ben Whishaw and Jude Law are all starring in plays and Whishaw and Dench’s Skyfall director Sam Mendes is prepping a musical production of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. James McAvoy is the latest to commit to walking the boards, taking on the title role in Macbeth which veteran theater director Jamie Lloyd is mounting as part of the Trafalgar Transformed season. McAvoy has played Macbeth before, albeit in a modernized BBC version in which the Scottish lord was transformed into a top chef. He was last on stage in 2009′s Three Days Of Rain, which Lloyd also directed. He’ll next be seen on screen in Danny Boyle’s Trance and is reprising his role of a young Charles Xavier in Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past. In a growing trend to reach out to wider audiences, Read More »