The wine and the money were flowing at Cinema Against AIDS 21, the annual fundraising event for amFAR timed to the Cannes Film Festival and largely hosted by Harvey Weinstein who announced a record-smashing take of $35 million this year. That’s far and away higher than the astronomical $25 million earned last year. Weinstein told me he was just hoping to make a dollar more than last year, but really had no idea the total could go this big. High rollers from all over Europe made up much of the packed crowd that also included celebrities like Adrien Brody, Adrian Grenier, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, Marion Cotillard, Michelle Rodiguez, Rosario Dawnson, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Jane Fonda, Justin Bieber, Kellan Lutz, Jessica Chastain and Leonardo DiCaprio. The latter was part of the action as, just like last year, a seat for a trip to space on Virgin Galactic in 2015 with DiCaprio was being auctioned off and actually went for $700,000. Last year two others won the auction, but DiCaprio told me tonight that due to technical problems there has been a 16-month delay in getting it space-bound. He seemed a little nervous about the whole idea but was game to play for the cause. Chief celebrity auctioneer and his The Quick And The Dead co-star Sharon Stone (who ran the auction as usual and took no prisoners in getting cash) effusively praised him for his unstinting support of the event and cause over the years. The lowest item to get a bid were the gloves of Karl Lagerfeld which took only $10,000 despite almost desperate pleas for more from Stone. She was really in her comfort zone in keeping this thing going at a fever clip.
Cannes: AMFAR’s 21st Cinema Against Aids Event Brings In Record $35 Million Along with Leo, Bieber, Fonda And An Executive Producer Credit For Sale To Highest Bidder
Cannes: Politics Heats Up Competition Films But It’s Berenice Bejo And Marion Cotillard Who Give Them Humanity
Politics came to the Cannes Film Festival (as it often does) in the form of two major movie debuts in the course of 24 hours.
This morning one of the most-awaited films in the Official Competition unspooled for critics at 8:30 AM, and 2 1/2 hours after its start the verdict appeared to be critically mixed for Oscar winner Michel Hazanavicious’ The Search, first feature film since he won Best Director for his 2011 Best Picture winner The Artist. From my vantage point, his new film works on many levels — most importantly, a human one. There was applause at the end but some noticeable boos and I wouldn’t have been surprised if they came from the Russians. They don’t come off well in this story set in the second Chechen War in 1999 as Russians invade, and a young boy and his new baby brother are separated from their family after his parents are killed. Thus begins an incredible journey — and this film hooked me right in – in this contemporary remake of the post-World War II Fred Zinnemann film The Search (1948), in which a young boy is separated from his parents in a concentration camp and taken in by a caring soldier played by Montgomery Clift (Berenice Bejo has the Clift role this time, a gender change in which she plays a European Union delegation head).
The original Search won a Motion Picture Story Oscar and a special juvenile statuette for its young star, Ivan Jandl. It was also nominated for lead actor, director and screenplay. And deservedly so. Perhaps it is never a good idea to tackle a remake of such an honored film, but in this case using the basic premise to shine a larger light on a forgotten cause seems smart. And the boy’s plight is just one strand here, as there’s also the corresponding story focusing on a tough Russian street kid who is slowly turned into a killing machine when drafted into the army. It’s harrowing stuff to watch, but all of a sudden relevant again, coinciding with another Russian invasion of sorts currently happening in Ukraine.
Newcomers bowed with muted to mixed results this weekend, while some holdovers including Jon Favreau‘s Chef held some sway in a box office stomped by Godzilla. The Weinstein Company opened James Gray’s Cannes 2013 debut The Immigrant with Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix in a trio of theaters in New York and L.A. Friday, grossing $45,430 for a $15,143 average. That theatrical result bests Gray’s previous opener, Two Lovers (also starring Phoenix as well as Gwyneth Paltrow), though only slightly in terms of PTA. Magnolia Pictures opened Lovers in 7 runs in February 2009, grossing almost $95K for a $13,569 PTA. It went on to cume nearly $3.15M in the U.S. Gray’s highest grossing pic remains the studio release We Own The Night in 2007 via Sony/Columbia. That feature racked up over $28.56 million in the U.S.
“We’re fairly pleased with The Immigrant [opening],” said TWC’s president of Theatrical Distribution Erik Lomis Sunday. “There’s a dedicated art house crowd which it appeals to. There were sell-outs at the Royal in L.A. and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center in New York (a venue that has limited capacity). We’re not Godzilla, this is for a sophisticated audience and we expect that that [crowd] will discover the film as it [continues to head out].” The Immigrant will head out to the top 50 markets in the coming weeks.
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.
EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company is nearing a deal to distribute a new version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth that has Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard starring, This is the one being directed by Snowtown helmer Justin Kurzel, from a script by Jacob Koskoff Todd Louiso that features the original Shakespearean dialogue, but doing an ambitious job of visually framing Macbeth’s plight, as his ambitious wife coaxes him into taking underhanded means to grab power from the reigning king Duncan. The film’s produced by Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films. TWC and Fox Searchlight have been sparring over the picture in the last month or so.
This puts Fassbender in the hands of Harvey Weinstein and despite what the actor said in GQ about not wanting to participate in the Oscar proceedings, Weinstein can certainly be persuasive in making stars of his movies see the benefit in at least trying to play the game. When an actor makes public comments like the ones Fassbender did, the danger is that it can come off as indifference or disdain to Oscar voters and the process. That puts the focus squarely on performance, which of course is where it should be anyway, but we all know life doesn’t work out that way. In this case, Fassbender’s work in 12 Years A Slave is so overpowering it might not matter. It certainly didn’t stop Joaquin Phoenix from getting a Best Actor nomination for his towering performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master even after the actor went public for his aversion to the whole Oscar dog and pony show.
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.
Since winning her Oscar for La Vie En Rose in 2008, Marion Cotillard has steadily worked with distinctive directors on both sides of the Atlantic. That includes turns in Christopher Nolan’s Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris and Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion along with her recent starring roles in Jacques Audiard’s Rust & Bone and James Gray’s upcoming Lowlife. The actress will next pair up with a pair of hardcore auteurs, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. The two-time Palme d’Or-winning brothers will shoot Deux Jours, Une Nuit this summer in their native Belgium. Cotillard will play Sandra, a young woman who has only one weekend to convince her colleagues they must give up their bonuses in order for her to keep her job. Longtime Dardenne collaborator Fabrizio Rongione will play Cotillard’s husband in the social drama, for which further details are being kept under wraps. The film is a co-production between the Dardennes’ Les Films du Fleuve and Denis Freyd’s Archipel 35.
Prince And Princesses Denounce ‘Grace Of Monaco’
Monaco’s Prince Albert and his sisters Princesses Caroline and Stephanie criticized as glamorized fiction the screenplay for the movie starring Nicole Kidman as their mother, former Hollywood actress Grace Kelly. A statement released by the royal palace of Monaco charged that Grace of Monaco contained “historical untruths” and some “purely fictional” parts. Their statement was intended to debunk a story in the magazine Paris Match that said the Monaco royals had been reassured by producers about the credibility of director Olivier Dahan’s project. “Their Highnesses were quite surprised when they received the script,” said the statement emailed to Reuters. “The Palace had submitted many requests for changes to the producers of the film, not all of which were taken into consideration.” The statement added, “Consequently, the Princely family wishes to emphasize that this film is by no means a biopic”.
Marion Cotillard To Be Feted At Harvard
Oscar winning French actress Marion Cotillard has been named Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ woman of the year. Cotillard won her Best Actress Academy Award for 2007’s La Vie En Rose and last year won accolades for her role in Jacques Audiard’s Rust And Bone. She will be feted with a parade and a roast and given her ceremonial pudding pot at Harvard on January 31. She’s the first French actress to receive the honor.
David Mermelstein is an AwardsLine contributor.
Although Marion Cotillard is the perfect blend of European elegance and natural allure, she’s never been afraid to portray characters lacking those qualities. Her Oscar-winning role as chanteuse Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose (2007) is a perfect example. But she’s also appeared in big-budget Hollywood films like Michael Mann’s Public Enemies (2009), Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010), and, earlier this year, Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Her latest role, as Stéphanie in Jacques Audiard’s French-language Rust And Bone, finds her playing an emotionally repressed whale trainer who loses her legs in an on-the-job accident and then must recalibrate her life.
AwardsLine: What attracted you to the role of Stéphanie in Rust and Bone?
Marion Cotillard: First of all, I always wanted to work with Jacques Audiard, so I was thrilled when he asked to meet with me. I expected a very special story from him because all his movies are very special, but what I didn’t expect was a real love story. And I fell in love with the character — the evolution of her, the complexity. And how she goes from anger to power is something that really moved me.
New York, NY (October 9, 2012) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the nation’s oldest and largest organization for independent filmmakers, announced today that Oscar Award™ winning Actor, Marion Cotillard will be honored with a career tribute at the 22nd Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards™ on Monday, November 26th at Cipriani Wall Street, in New York City. The French actress joins previously announced Tributes Actor, Matt Damon; Director, David O. Russell and Philanthropist and Social Entrepreneur, Jeff Skoll being honored at the 2012 Gothams.
The Toronto International Film Festival officially kicked off tonight with gala screenings of FilmDistrict’s time-tripping sci-fi action flick Looper starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt, plus two Cannes premieres making their official North American bows. On The Road, the 1950s beat movie about Jack Keroauc, drew stars Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst and others, while French helmer Jacques Audiard’s Rust & Bone arrived with stars Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts in tow. Cotillard, as a killer whale trainer who loses her legs in a tragic accident, delivers another show-stopping performance that seems sure to earn her a shot at a second Best Actress Oscar. She looked great after travelling from her Telluride tribute last weekend to Toronto for the big opening tonight. I told her I felt like I have been stalking her, following her from Cannes to Telluride and now Toronto. “Yes, it’s has been quite a trip, hasn’t it?” she said as she entered Michael’s restaurant (also having a Grand Opening) for the pre-screening Moet and Chandon dinner.
Co-star Schoenaerts, who made a splash last year in Belgium’s surprise Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee Bullhead, has everything it takes to be a major star but told me he wants to take it slow. “When all this started happening I did have talks regarding the lead in …
With 5 new movies screening just on Saturday alone with many of their stars and filmmakers in tow, co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard of Sony Pictures Classics are dominating much of the conversation and eyeballs at the 39th Telluride Film Festival. Playing today were SPC’s Cannes sensations Rust & Bone accompanied by star Marion Cotillard, and Palme d’Or winner Amour, whose filmmakers aren’t here. Plus 2013 planned releases No (winner of the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes) and its star Gael Garcia Bernal, and the father/son drama At Any Price whose Dennis Quaid and writer/director Ramin Bahrani are here without Zac Efron. Plus, the remarkable Israeli documentary The Gatekeepers. Barker and Bernard have been coming to Telluride for decades and strongly believe in the value of the festival. “I think anywhere from three to five movies is a good number” to bring here, he told me. And when they aren’t showing their own product, they have been seen at screenings checking out acquisition titles. They also held SPC’s annual filmmakers dinner Saturday night at La Marmotte restaurant.
But other top indie divisions of the majors are virtually sitting out this year’s fest. Telluride regular Fox Searchlight doesn’t have a single film on display here this year, though not for lack of trying. Searchlight has launched movies like Slumdog Millionaire, Juno and last year’s The Descendants among many others at Telluride – and this time wanted to bring their big awards hopeful, The Sessions starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt. But Telluride generally frowns on movies that first debuted at Sundance. So the only Searchlight presence are reps checking out films for sale.
The Weinstein Company normally shows off their top titles, but only brought the undated musical The Sapphires (first seen at Cannes in May). It’s playing well at screenings here. No The Master. No Silver Linings Playbook. Both those movies will be in Toronto. However Weinstein in years past launched Best Picture winners The King’s Speech and The Artist at Telluride.
True, Universal’s arthouse division Focus Features this year is front and center with Hyde Park On Hudson. Its star Bill Murray hit town today and co-star Laura Linney lives here and is attending the fest. But Focus is saving another awards title, Anna Karenina, for a Toronto debut. Paramount, which has been here in the past, skipped Telluride and will miss Toronto in favor of debuting their awards players Flight and Not Fade Away at the New York Film Festival.
The Artist star Bérénice Bejo will replace Marion Cotillard in the next film from A Separation director Asghar Farhadi after scheduling conflicts forced a switch, Paris-based producer Memento confirms. Shooting starts in October in and around Paris on the untitled French-language picture that also stars A Prophet’s Tahar Rahim. Story details are under wraps on what’s been coined as a picture in the vein of A Separation with an element of suspense. Memento’s Alexandre Mallet-Guy is producing and Memento is handling international sales. The film is expected to be ready in spring 2013 – just in time for Cannes.
EXCLUSIVE:The Weinstein Company is near a deal to acquire U.S. rights to an untitled period drama that James Gray wrote and directed, with Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner starring. Gray has completed the film, and The Weinstein Company will release it next year. The project was one of the juicier packages shopped at the recent Cannes Film Festival by CAA and Wild Bunch. Greg Shapiro, Anthony Katagas, Gray and Worldview CEO Christopher Woodrow are producers. CAA and Worldview made the deal with TWC execs David Glasser, Dan Guando and Negeen Yazdi.
Gray wrote the script with Richard Menello. Early on it was called Low Life and American Dream, but Gray’s camp says it is currently untitled. The film takes place in 1920, as two sisters immigrate to New York from Poland, and when one falls deathly ill, things turn nightmarish for the other sister, played by Cotillard. She is forced to trade sexual favors for medicine and food to keep her sister alive. Once they land, she is warned to keep quiet about what happened. Though she does, she walks away with immigration papers that deem her a woman with bad morals.
Deadline’s Pete Hammond talks about hot festival movies such as (clockwise from top left) the superb Prohibition-era shoot-’em-up Lawless with Tom Hardy and Shia LeBeouf; Rust And Bone, with an awards-worthy star turn by Marion Cotillard, shown with Matthias Schoenaerts; Brad Pitt, pictured with Richard Jenkins, in the Mitchum-esque noir thriller Killing Them Softly; the crowd-pleasing Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; and Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, brought to the screen by Walter Salles with a star-making turn from Garrett Hedlund, shown with Kristen Stewart and Sam Riley in the back seat. Other hot movies include a pair of Nicole Kidman triumphs — (below from left) Lee Daniels’ over-the-top The Paperboy and Philip Kaufman’s HBO epic Hemingway And Gellhorn plus Michael Haneke’s brilliant but challenging Amour. You can listen to Pete’s podcast from Cannes here.
Women Dominate Early Competition Films As Marion Cotillard Hits The Festival For The First Time: Cannes
Controversy? What controversy? Some journalists and bloggers, including at least one who isn’t even here, are saying there is a controversy in Cannes this year over the fact that no women directors are represented in the official selection. That may be true — there were four last year — but anyone who has sat through the first four competition films as I have must realize that, so far at least, women are the dominating factor in all of them. And from what I have been tipped about the remaining films it is just the beginning. Women may not be behind the camera this year but they are very prominent in front of it. They are also prominent on the jury making up nearly half. When asked about the lack of women directors this year, Oscar winning juror Andrea Arnold said she would never want one of her movies considered for a berth just because it was directed by a woman. Nevertheless women are a very visible force in the films seen to date. And there is the image of Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe on the festival’s poster everywhere you go here.
In Wednesday night’s opener Moonrise Kingdom, young newcomer Kara Hayward practically carries the movie (with co-star Jared Gilman) which also features female heavyweights Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton. In the Egyptian film After The Battle that premiered in Thursday’s late slot, women dominated the action as the film deals …
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Wild Bunch has closed a deal with Lionsgate UK for the Guillaume Canet-directed drama Blood Ties. The pic is currently shooting with stars Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis, James Caan, Matthias Schoenaerts and Canet’s real-life partner, Marion Cotillard. She and Schoenaerts are also in Jacques Audiard’s competition pic Rust & Bone that’s screening tonight. Blood Ties, written by James Gray and Canet, is based on Jacques Maillot’s 2008 Les Liens Du Sang in which Canet starred. It’s set in 1974 New York and follows two brothers, one a cop and one a criminal. This is Canet’s 4th feature as director. Producers are Alain Attal, Hugo Selignac and John Lesher.
MPI Media Group announced today the formation of MPI Pictures. The theatrical distribution arm of the Chicago-based entertainment company will specialize in the release of foreign language art films, American independent films and high-end genre. And they are hitting the ground running – MPI Pictures already has a slate of seven films, one of which came out last week and another of which has two Oscar winners in it. The mixed martial arts documentary Fightville opened to a limited release in New York and LA on April 20. It is also currently the number one independent film on iTunes. The Artist’s Jean Dujardin and La Vie en Rose’s Marion Cotillard star in the French dramatic hit Little White Lies, directed by Guillaume Canet. Little White Lies is to be released on August 24, 2012. Other films to be released by MPI Pictures include Americano starring Mathieu Demy and Salma Hayek and the thriller The Big Picture starring Romain Duris and Catherine Deneuve. Greg Newman, MPI Media Group Executive VP will lead the new division. Marie Therese Guirgis will be head of Theatrical Distribution. With new acquisitions coming in the next few months, a source close to the company tells Deadline, MPI Pictures plans on releasing a slate of six to eight films every year.
EXCLUSIVE: Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 actress Angela Sarafyan will star opposite Marion Cotillard as her sister in the James Gray feature Lowlife. Also starring Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner, the movie is currently filming in New York City. Sarafyan’s past credits include A Good Old Fashioned Orgy and The Good Guy. Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is due out November 16th. Sarafyan is represented by Innovative Artists and Evolution Entertainment.