OSCARS: Kenneth Branagh — ‘My Week With Marilyn’

By | Sunday February 19, 2012 @ 11:23am PST

Kenneth Branagh’s wickedly funny portrayal of Sir Laurence Olivier in the Weinstein Co’s My Week With Marilyn has earned pretty much every awards-season nomination available and also landed him an Oscar nom for Best Supporting Actor. It’s fitting, as comparisons with Olivier have dogged Branagh throughout his career: Early on, he was touted as “the next Laurence Olivier,” and like Olivier he founded his own theatre company before going on to direct and star in movie versions of Shakespeare’s Henry V and Hamlet. While married to Emma Thompson, the two were compared to Olivier and wife Vivien Leigh, the reigning monarchs of British theatre. Branagh admits all the Olivier comparisons gave him pause before accepting the role. AwardsLine contributor Tim Adler caught up with the actor in Sweden, where he is filming Wallander for the BBC, based on the bestselling Swedish detective novels.

AWARDSLINE: When you were a teenager you wrote to Laurence Olivier for acting advice. Why? And what advice did he give you?
BRANAGH: I was 19 years old at the time. I was struggling with a role in Chekhov’s The Three Sisters playing the doctor, Chebutykin. Olivier had played him in a famous production that became the only film he made after The Prince And The Showgirl. He often blamed Marilyn for putting him off directing for the best part of 20 years. I remember asking Olivier if there was a painting or a book or a piece of music that in some way had inspired his performance, and he wrote back and said, “Yes, there had been all these things,” but it was up to me to find my own. His simple advice was just to “Have a bash and hope for the best.” In a way, it didn’t matter what he said. Here was a letter that I put up in my bedsit kitchen in north London with the letterhead of Laurence Olivier. Not only was he the unquestionable leader of his profession, he was also somebody kind enough to throw a few words of encouragement to a young actor. Read More »

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Weinstein Co To Expand ‘My Week With Marilyn’ Ahead Of Oscars

By | Friday February 17, 2012 @ 7:58am PST

New York, NY (February 17, 2012) The Weinstein Company announced today that they are expanding MY WEEK WITH MARILYN into 600 theaters nationwide. This will give audiences a chance to see for the first time or

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Oscars Q&A: Michelle Williams On How She Morphed Into Marilyn Monroe

By | Sunday February 12, 2012 @ 10:49am PST

Playing a Hollywood icon is playing with fire for a performer, especially when that person is Marilyn Monroe. The more popular … Read More »

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GOLDEN GLOBES FILM: Is ‘The Artist’ Unstoppable After Latest Victory?

By | Monday January 16, 2012 @ 2:14am PST
Pete Hammond

From ENTV: Deadline Hollywood
Pete Hammond’s 2012 Golden Globe Predictions

Although the track record for the Golden Globes matching the Best Picture Oscar has not been sterling in recent years, all eyes are on the glitzy, star-studded NBC awards show to give some semblance of order in the awards-season picture. Sunday’s night show didn’t really do that as it spread the winners around — just like every other contest seems to have done in this topsy-turvy year. The one thing it seems to have confirmed is that The Artist, the little French black-and-white silent film Harvey Weinstein acquired almost on a dare, is the one to beat all the way to the Academy Awards on February 26. Winning three of its six nominations — for Best Picture, Actor-Musical or Comedy, and Best Music Score — it led all comers, with only The Descendants being the only other multiple winner with two last-minute victories for Best Actor-Drama George Clooney and Best Picture-Drama.

At the Fox party afterward, Globe-winning producer Jim Burke told me it was like a surprise party where you had no idea you were gonna be surprised. He said the way the evening was going, it was a shock they came out on top in the end. Producer-writer-director Alexander Payne also told me he was very happy with the outcome although there is a long way to go until Oscar night. This definitely gives a shot in the arm to the Hawaiian-set comedy/drama, but it is by no means the only film set to challenge The Artist for Best Picture bragging rights at the Oscars.

Although The Help only was able to cash in one of its Globe nods — for Octavia Spencer, now the odds-on favorite for Best Supporting Actress — there is mounting evidence based on my Academy voter interviews that it could be a major multi-category contender at the Oscars. And also Hugo, which may have lost Best Picture-Drama at the Globes but won Best Director for Martin Scorsese and should not be counted out despite a less-than-glowing box office performance.

What the Globes and Thursday’s Critics Choice Movie Awards results, in addition to the split decisions among many critics groups, have proven is that this is a wide-open year. No sweep seems to be developing, and even  though The Artist would seem to be the favorite, anything is possible. Still, Harvey Weinstein was one happy camper tonight as his company was able to bring home Globes for not only the silent sensation but also Meryl Streep for Best Actress-Drama for The Iron Lady; Best  Actress-Comedy Or Musical for My Week With Marilyn’s Michelle Williams; and even Best Song for Madonna’s “Masterpiece,” from W.E. (the HFPA can’t resist Madonna), though it’s not eligible for an Oscar nom in the same category. Read More »

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HAMMOND: Tough Economic Times Make Nostalgic Films Hottest Bets For Oscar

By | Saturday January 7, 2012 @ 10:43am PST
Pete Hammond

It wasn’t that long ago that the top pictures being talked up during awards season all had do with war, murders, corporate baddies, ruthless oil barons, criminals, the disconnect between people, and well, just our basic bummerness. Recent Best Picture winners like The Hurt Locker, The Departed, No Country For Old Men, Crash, Slumdog Millionaire and nominees like There Will Be Blood, Babel, Michael Clayton and The Reader among many others exploring our darkest moments seemed to be what the Academy — and the public for that matter — wanted in their entertainment.

But then bad economic times hit, really bad times, and the result seems to have spawned a different kind of top Oscar contender. Last year was the turning point as a more traditional period film that promoted a better view of ourselves handily defeated a more cynical movie that defines our times. In the battle of The King’s Speech vs. The Social Network, good old fashioned entertainment won out over edgy and complex, if superlative, filmmaking.

This year, at the top of most pundits lists we are seeing a return to the kinds of movies that might have worked in the Great Depression of the 1930s, when pure entertainment ruled the roost and Shirley Temple and Astaire and Rogers were must-sees. With frontrunners and early award magnets like the Weinstein Co’s black-and-white silent film The Artist, Martin Scorsese’s love letter to the earliest days of the movies in Paramount’s Hugo, Woody Allen’s nostalgic and romantic Midnight In Paris from Sony Classics, and the Weinstein’s glistening film-about-the-making-of-a-film My Week With Marilyn (just longlisted for a leading 16 BAFTA awards), it is a different kind of race entirely. These are the favorites in many categories, while darker fare struggles to compete on the same level. It’s as if people are trying to use movies again for escape from the harsh realities of living in this modern, difficult world. Read More »

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BAFTA Longlist: ‘My Week With Marilyn’ & ‘Tinker Tailor’ Lead Potential Nominees

The British Academy of Film and Television has released the longlist for its upcoming Orange British Academy Film Awards. My Week With Marilyn and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy lead with 16 mentions each. One point of note is the fact that Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 was not named in the overall Best Film category. It is, however, on the list of Outstanding British Film potentials. Ryan Gosling also picked up two spots on the longlist for Best Actor, one for Drive and one for The Ides Of March. The longlist is the result of round one of voting by BAFTA members. It places 15 contenders in each category which will then be reduced to five eventual nominees. The animated film and documentary categories longlist five films each which will be reduced to three nominees per category.

According to BAFTA, all members vote in the first two rounds for all categories except Documentary, Film Not in the English Language and Outstanding British Film, which are voted for by Chapters (groups of over 80 members with specialist skills or experience in a particular craft area). The asterisks in the longlist below denote the top five selection of the relevant Chapter. In the final round, winners are voted for by specialist Chapters in all categories except for Best Film, Outstanding British Film, Documentary and Film Not in the English Language and the four performance categories, which are voted for by all members.

The final nominees will be announced on Jan 17 with the BAFTA ceremony taking place on Feb 12. The longlist is below:

Best Film
The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Help
Hugo
The Ides of March
The Iron Lady
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
My Week with Marilyn
Senna
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
War Horse
We Need to Talk About Kevin

Film Not in the English Language
Abel
As If I Am Not There
The Boy Mir – Ten Years in Afghanistan
Calvet
Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries)
Incendies
Little White Lies
Pina
Post Mortem
Potiche
Le Quattro Volte
A Separation
The Skin I Live In
Tomboy
The Troll Hunter

Outstanding British Film
Arthur Christmas
Attack the Block
Coriolanus
The Guard
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
The Iron Lady
Jane Eyre
My Week with Marilyn
Senna
Shame
Submarine
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Tyrannosaur
War Horse
We Need to Talk About Kevin

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Specialty Box Office: December 2-4

Specialty Box Office:

Shame (Fox Searchlight) NEW [10 Theaters]
Friday $110K, Saturday $139K, Weekend $361K, Per Screen $36,118

The Dirty Picture (FLM) NEW [48 Theaters]
Friday $76K, Saturday $120K, Weekend $268K, Per Screen $5,583, Cume $268K

Pastorela (Lionsgate) NEW [55 Theaters]
Friday $23K, Saturday $24K, Weekend $65K, Per Screen $1,191, Cume $65K

I Am Singh (Reliance Big … Read More »

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2011′s Second-Worst Weekend: ‘Breaking Dawn’ Threepeats For #1, ‘Muppets’ #2, Oscar-Buzzed ‘Hugo’, ‘Shame’, ‘The Artist’, ‘The Descendants’, ‘Marilyn’ All Strong

Specialty Box Office: December 2-4

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM : No major studio movies opened. Interesting that 6 of the Top 10 highest-grossing films are PG. But this weekend is looking like $82M, which is neck-and-neck for the  lowest weekend of 2011 (September 9th’s $81M). Deadline begins its closer look at the specialty market. Fox Searchlight’s Shame played in 10 theatres in 6 cities and grossed $361K with a theatre average of $36,118. In a dismal down weekend, the film delivered the highest per-screen average this post-holiday period even with an NC-17 rating. The studio is hoping this Steve McQueen-directed film is receiving enough buzz for a long run through the awards season. Fox Searchlight’s The Descendants sticks the Top 10 despite a low theater count and became the first limited-platform film ever to hit $10M in the first 12 days of release. This Oscar-touted Alexander Payne/George Clooney dramedy expands next Friday into 850 theaters to keep up with continuing demand. The Weinstein Co’s My Week With Marilyn didn’t add theaters but held up well, down only 43% on Friday and 26% on Saturday. Already TWC’s badmouthing of the Oscar competition has begun: “This compares to Descendants which, while down 47% and 24% overall, added 33% more locations (141) theaters, and their actual drop in the existing theaters was down 56% and 37%. Paramount’s Hugo added 44% more theaters (563) and, while their overall drop was down 57% and 24%, their actual drop in the existing theaters was down 62% and 34% for Friday and Saturday. What all this says is that Marilyn is holding in better than the competition and that we have good word of mouth.” [UPDATE: The Weinstein Co's David Glasser called me strenuously denying that this was 'badmouthing' and said this was merely normal box office comping.] The Weinstein Co’s Academy Award Best Picture-heralded The Artist had its best day yet on Saturday in both NY houses. “And while LA took a hit on Friday, it was only down slightly from last week on Saturday with drops of 21% in Hollywood and 11% at the Landmark,” the indie said. “Obviously, we have fantastic WOM on this.” The European Film Awards just wrapped in Berlin, where Magnolia’s Melancholia from the looney Lars von Trier won top prize.

Top 10 highest grossing films:

1. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (Summit) Week 3 [4,046 Theaters]
Friday $5.5M, Saturday $7.2M, Weekend $16.9M (-60%), Cume $247.3M

2. The Muppets (Disney) Week 2 [3,440 Theaters]
Friday $2.7M, Saturday $5.2M, Weekend $11.2M (-63%), Cume $56.1M

3. Hugo 3D (Paramount) Week 2 [1,840 Theaters]
Friday $2M, Saturday $3.4M, Weekend $7.5M (-36%), Cume $25.1M
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No Box Office Bounty For T-Day Weekend: ‘Breaking Dawn’ Still #1, ‘The Muppets’ #2, ‘Happy Feet’ #3, ‘Arthur Xmas’ #4, ‘Hugo’ #5

FRIDAY PM/SATURDAY AM, 4TH UPDATE: Full analysis later this morning. But overall Thanksgiving holiday weekend moviegoing … Read More »

Comments 252

HAMMOND: Red Hot Best Actress Oscar Race Heats Up Even More As Meryl Streep’s ‘Iron Lady’ Screened

Pete Hammond

One of the last pieces of this year’s increasingly hot Best Actress race puzzle fell into place this week as The Weinstein Company unveiled Meryl Streep’s The Iron Lady at an exclusive media screening Tuesday night at the Warner Bros … Read More »

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VIDEO: Chinese Superstar Pianist Lang Lang Plays At ‘My Week With Marilyn’ Premiere

By | Tuesday November 8, 2011 @ 3:44pm PST
Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company pulled off a coup at their Sunday night AFI premiere of My Week With Marilyn with a pre-screening recital from Chinese superstar pianist Lang Lang playing composer Alexander Desplat’s  “Marilyn’s Theme” before he was literally whisked away by police escort to his anticipated solo concert the same night at … Read More »

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AFI Fest Announces Centerpiece Galas And Special Screenings

Pete Hammond

With just a little more than two weeks to go before its opening-night world premiere gala of Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar on November 3, the American Film Institute has just announced the long list of Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings for its 25th edition — AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. Unlike the Eastwood coup, the lineup doesn’t include any other world or North American premieres and instead is made up of films recently seen in Toronto, Venice, Telluride or New York or combinations of all of the above festivals.

The AFI Fest, which runs November 3-10, is becoming known as the festival of galas, with at least one big red-carpet event every night of the week. Slated as Centerpiece Galas this session are Luc Besson’s The Lady (November 4), which played the Mill Valley Film Festival last week in a version now several minutes shorter than its well-received Toronto Film Festival premiere; Roman Polanski’s Carnage (November 5); My Week With Marilyn (November 6); The Artist (November 8); and Steve McQueen’s controversial Shame (November 9). Also on November 7, the fest will present an evening with Pedro Almodovar, this year’s Guest Artistic Director, who will be presenting his 25-year-old classic Law of Desire and participating in a special onstage conversation. All will be presented at the Chinese theater in Hollywood. Read More »

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‘My Week With Marilyn’ Moving To Thanksgiving Weekend

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Emboldened by the critical reaction that the Simon Curtis-directed My Week With Marilyn received in its New York Film Festival debut, The Weinstein Company has moved the film from November 4 to November 23, placing it smack into the … Read More »

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More Festival Intrigue: ‘My Week With Marilyn’ Added To Hamptons Film Festival

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: After a rousing response to the New York Film Festival premiere of My Week with Marilyn last Sunday, The Weinstein Company has added the film to this weekend’s Hamptons International Film Festival. My Week With Marilyn will screen … Read More »

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HAMMOND: Will Marilyn Monroe Finally Win An Oscar If Michelle Williams Does?

Pete Hammond

Is Marilyn Monroe finally headed toward that Oscar nomination which eluded her during the actress’ all-too-short film career? In an odd twist of fate, yes. With the world premiere Sunday night of The Weinstein Company’s My Week With Marilyn at the New York Film Festival, another presumed awards contender is out of the gate. And if I were Meryl, Glenn, Charlize, Viola, or any other lead actress Oscar hopeful, I would be nervous: Michelle Williams as Marilyn is that good. Sexy, vulnerable, fragile, alluring, seductive, delectable, complex, and all things in between, she nails it and certainly has claimed a spot among the top five if not frontrunner status for the Oscar itself. She also flawlessly sings a couple of Monroe standards as bookends for the film. Marilyn herself never managed to get any kind of Oscar recognition. Now, oddly, Monroe and her unique appeal could figure strongly in the 2011 Best Actress race as channeled through Michelle Williams.

I saw the film Sunday night at a small last-minute screening in Beverly Hills timed to coincide with its New York premiere. (Sony Classics did the same thing for Carnage when it opened NYFF over a week ago, just as Fox Searchlight did when The Tree Of Life premiered in Cannes.) It makes us die-hard West Coasters feel included in the hoopla, I guess. At the very least it’s smart Oscar strategy: an Academy acting branch member I talked to afterwards was totally under Williams’ spell.

The movie due for release November 4th is directed by British tv producer/director Simon Curtis. It is, along with Midnight In ParisThe Artist and The Descendants, one of the most purely entertaining films I’ve seen so far this year. I would imagine it will have great appeal for the same voters who supported Weinstein’s Best Picture winner The King’s Speech last year. But realistically its best shot is in performance and some below-the-line categories like Costume Design and Art Direction. I have to confess that, after seeing some selected footage that was shown at the Weinstein party in Cannes last May, I had my doubts about Williams as Monroe. But those concerns were completely erased in the context of the entire film where she gets to show three distinctly different sides of the star without ever drifting into impersonation. Williams had doubts, too, when she was making the film last year in England. When I did a phone interview with her between takes  and talked about her nominated turn in Blue Valentine, I asked about playing Marilyn. But she fumbled through an answer and could not articulate what it meant then, much like the real Monroe when she was making the real film-within-the-film. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘My Week With Marilyn’

The Weinstein Company is expecting to make an Oscar Best Actress push for Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn, which is set for a November 4 release. She stars as Marilyn Monroe and Kenneth Branagh is Laurence Olivier. So, does Harvey Weinstein have a campaign on his hands?

[flv image=”http://www-deadline-com.vimg.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/mwwm_dt1_100411111007154622.jpg” … Read More »

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BFI London Film Fest Opens With ’360′ From Fernando Meirelles

Mike Fleming

The BFI 55th London Film Festival will open with the European premiere of 360, the Fernando Meirelles-directed drama that stars Rachel Weisz, Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins. The film opens Oct. 12 and the festival unveils the rest of its titles next Wednesday. I’m told that the opening film came down to 360 and My Week With Marilyn, but the latter film couldn’t make it because star Michelle Williams could not free herself from the production schedule of Disney’s The Great and Powerful Oz, and co-star Kenneth Branagh will be onstage in Belfast. These fest openers are sometimes determined by availability. For instance, the New York Film Festival seriously eyed Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy for its opener, but the film’s star, Gary Oldman, could not free himself from The Dark Knight Rises.  The festival opens with Carnage, even though that film’s director Roman Polanski will certainly be a scratch.

360 is a Peter Morgan-scripted drama of interconnected stories about fidelity. It’s considered one of the hot acquisition titles that will unveil next month at the Toronto International Film Festival, and a possible Oscar contender. (Weisz won Best Supporting Actress for 2005′s The Constant Gardener, which was her last film with Meirelles.) The film is produced by Andrew Eaton and David Linde, Emanuel Michael, Danny Krausz and Chris Hanley. Read More »

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CANNES: The Weinstein Company Parties (Twice) And Previews Its 2011 Film Slate

Pete Hammond

Still enjoying its post-King’s Speech Best Picture Oscar win from a couple of months ago, The Weinstein Company had plenty of reasons to party Friday night in Cannes, so they threw two soirees instead of just one. It was a packed main event at the Martinez, where the company showed clip reels of its burgeoning 2011 slate. COO David Glasser touted the company’s recent highlights and introduced a beaming Harvey Weinstein, who crowed (sorry) about the upcoming slate mentioning future hoped-for biggies including what he described as perhaps their biggest movie ever, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. Deadline broke the news Friday of another potential winner that was mentioned, TWC’s acquisition of The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep as Britain’s only female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, which TWC will release in the fall in time for Oscar. Then he showed some first looks of upcoming product including My Week With Marilyn, with Michelle Williams glammed up as the legendary Monroe (although it’s clearly a challenge to capture that particular magic) and Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier. I talked to Williams on a phoner from London while she was making the film, and she had a really difficult time articulating the process she was going through. The task was obviously a daunting one, but I can’t wait to see what she does with it in the context of the whole film. I heard Branagh’s brilliant in it.

There were also clips from Our Idiot Brother, with Paul Rudd, and the last-minute Cannes competition entry The Artist, a black-and-white silent movie that will unspool in a prime Sunday night slot at the Palais. Harvey introduced it by saying his associates thought he was off his rocker for buying this black-and-white silent, “just like they thought I was when I did a film about a guy with a left foot and a British king who stutters.” At the party, he made a point of telling me to see the film as soon as possible here. The footage really made it look intriguing, full of old Hollywood pizzazz and style, so I will be checking it out bright and early Sunday morning at the first press screening. Weinstein clearly has a Harv-on for this one and also seemed high on a new comedy just wrapping production, I Don’t Know How She Does It starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan. Parker was flown into Cannes for the event and introduced the clips herself. Also part of the proceedings was yet another recent acquisition announced in Cannes (these guys are busy) of Peter Ho-Sun Chan’s Martial Arts film noir, Dragon, which had its official Cannes premiere out of competition just after midnight. The director introduced the entire cast and promised something completely new in the genre. And just to keep the town hopping, Weinstein threw a second party later Friday to celebrate Dragon before their red-carpet stroll.

Elsewhere on Friday, the competition films got international with former Palme d’Or winner Nanni Moretti’s Read More »

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Donna Gigliotti Named President Of Production For The Weinstein Company

Reaching into their past to (hopefully) repeat some of their glory, Harvey and Bob Weinstein have tapped a familiar face to be The Weinstein Company’s president of production. Donna Gigliotti was was an executive at Miramax from 1993-1996. She was also one of the Oscar-winning producers on Miramax’s Shakespeare In Love back in 1998 and received an Oscar nomination for TWC’s The Reader in 2008.

New York, NY (October 18, 2010) – Having established a relationship for more than seventeen years, The Weinstein Company (TWC) has hired Oscar-winning producer and former Miramax Films Executive Vice President Donna Gigliotti as president of production. She will work directly with TWC Co-Chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein, as well as produce several films for the company. Gigliotti’s first production will be I Don’t Know How She Does It, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, which will begin principal photography January 17. She is currently overseeing My Week With Marilyn, starring Michelle Williams shooting in the UK, and will produce David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook in the latter half of 2011.Gigliotti is one of only five women ever to win a Best Picture Oscar. In her first outing as an independent producer, she received the 1998 Academy Award for producing the seven-time Oscar-winning Miramax film Shakespeare in Love, and was subsequently nominated for a Best Picture Oscar for The Weinstein Company’s 2008 romantic drama The Reader.

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