Jeff Nichols‘ Mud premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions later jointly acquired it for the U.S. with a release coming this spring. Before that, it will premiere Stateside as part of the Spotlight section of Sundance which kicks off today. In the film, two teenage boys encounter a fugitive and help him to evade the bounty hunters on his trail and reunite him with his true love. Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland star.
After being stuck in the rut of doing a series of high-paying major studio romantic comedies, Matthew McConaughey made a smart career switch and has been winning acclaim for one risky role after another in the last year. Beginning with his successful turn as The Lincoln Lawyer, the actor whose most significant recent awards talk had been as People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive suddenly turned out a surprising run of varied roles in disparate, edgy indie movies. There was his prosecutor in Bernie. Then there was a well-received pair of performances in Lee Daniels’ Southern potboiler The Paperboy and Jeff Nichols’ Mud that were both in the official competition in Cannes in May. Now he’s been nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards for his leading role in William Friedkin’s NC-17 Killer Joe and supporting turn as the veteran male stripper in Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, a summertime hit that is also getting lots of Oscar buzz. When I talked to him recently, he looked gaunt and pale after losing 38 pounds to play an AIDS victim in his next project, The Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey has clearly taken his career in fascinating new directions.
AwardsLine: You have been having a hell of a year. Really, one movie after another, and I don’t think you’ve stopped working. Have you had a day off?
McConaughey: Not many. I did five (films) in a row—the most I’ve ever done in a year were three. I remember telling my now wife, then girlfriend, that I’ve never had less than a month and a half to prepare. It scares the hell out of me. And she was like, “We’ll work it out.” I only had two weeks between a couple of them, and it (worked) out really well. Your mechanics are lubricated, you’re kind of flowing. The hard part is just dismissing the last character and moving into the next one. Each one scared me in a different way, and I hadn’t been scared in a while. But it’s that good kind of fear.
The slow recovery of the independent distribution business took a giant step at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, which featured a fast and furious flurry of big-money deals made for partially completed films whose sellers brought sizzle reels and …
EXCLUSIVE: The William Friedkin-directed black comedy Killer Joe will be released by LD Entertainment on July 27 with an NC-17 rating. The film received that rating in late February, and the decision was made after the distributor and filmmaker unsuccessfully went through the appeals process before deciding they didn’t want to change the ending.
An adaptation of the Tracy Letts play, Killer Joe is the first release by LD Entertainment after Mickey Liddell formed the distribution company late last year and hired veteran indie executive David Dinerstein to run it. It’s not the first time Friedkin turned in a cut of a film that drew a dreaded rating from the MPAA. While Friedkin tackled rough subject matter in films like The Exorcist and To Live And Die In L.A., he got an X-rating for the 1980 film Cruising, in which Al Pacino played a detective who goes undercover looking for a killer preying on gay men. Friedkin said he had to cut 40 minutes of that movie to get an R rating. But he won’t have to cut a frame of Killer Joe. LD Entertainment will release a trailer for the film tomorrow, and it will wear the NC-17 rating like a red badge of courage.
LOS ANGELES – October 27, 2011 – Gerard Butler, Sam Worthington and Matthew McConaughey will star in Freedom Films’ upcoming action thriller “Thunder Run” with Simon West set to direct, announced Brian Presley, CEO of Freedom Films, who will produce alongside Carissa Buffel and Kevin Matusow of Freedom Films and Jib Polhemus of The Graphic Film Company. Additional casting will begin in the next week. Hyde Park International has signed on for international sales.
“Thunder Run,” is an all CG 3-D action thriller based on the novel “Thunder Run – The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent David Zucchino. Adapting the story for the screen are Academy Award-winner Robert Port and Ken Nolan, screenwriter of “Black Hawk Down.” The Graphic Film Company will utilize proprietary facial-capture technology they used on West’s upcoming “Night of the Living Dead: Origins 3-D” along with the motion capture technology used in “AVATAR.”
As predicted here, Warner Bros completed its acquisition of domestic rights on the Steven Soderbergh-directed Magic Mike, which stars Alex Pettyfer and Channing Tatum in a Saturday Night Fever-type coming-of-age drama about a young exotic dancer who …
Mickey Liddell’s Liddell Entertainment closed a U.S. rights deal from Voltage Pictures for Killer Joe, the drama directed by William Friedkin that premiered Sunday night at the Ryerson Theater. This might get CAA bragging rights for the largest sale of the festival so far, with a $4 million minimum guarantee and an even larger P&A commitment. The UTA-brokered Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was also a large deal, said to be in excess of $5 million. Liddell is working on a distribution plan right now for 2012, and he will make a service deal with a distributor. Deadline revealed last night that Liddell was going to get the film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival before coming to Canada. The sexy drama stars Matthew McConaughey as the contract killer title character as well as Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon and Juno Temple. In Killer Joe, Hirsch plays a drug dealer whose cash gets stolen by his mother and has to come up with $6000 or he’s dead. He hires Killer Joe (McConaughey) when he learns mom’s life insurance policy is worth $50,000. Joe usually demands his money up front but is flexible when the drug dealer offers his sister as sexual collateral.
UPDATE: Sellers of Friends With Kids say I jumped the gun and their auction hasn’t concluded. I believe that Lionsgate is squarely in the mix, but they tell me others are still in it too and the outcome isn’t as certain as I’d heard last night for a deal that will be for U.S. only. Will update information as it develops.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE: The deal logjam here is on the verge of clearing up. Word is rampant that Lionsgate is on the verge of tying down rights to the Jennifer Westfeldt-directed comedy Friends With Kids, with a deal worth upwards of $2 million for U.S. and five other territories. The ensemble comedy stars Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig and Adam Scott as friends whose lives are altered when they start families. Cinetic and Red Granite are selling.
In another deal taking shape, Mickey Liddell is in talks to acquire rights to the William Friedkin-directed Killer Joe, the drama that made its Toronto debut Sunday. It is the first acquisition of the festival for Liddell, whose last year acquisitions included the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed Biutiful.
Matt Bomer, star of the USA series White Collar, has joined the ab-worthy cast of hunks who’ll play male strippers in Magic Mike, Steven Soderbergh’s next film. So far, Soderbergh has cast Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey. Magic Mike is a Saturday Night Fever-style coming of age story. …