EXCLUSIVE: Spirit Award-nominated Brie Larson has boarded indie drama Room, directed by Lenny Abrahamson. She’ll star as Ma, a woman kidnapped as a teenager who has been held captive for years in a tiny room where she lives with her 5-year-old son Jack. To the boy, Room is the only home he’s ever known. Emma Donoghue adapted the script from her own 2010 bestseller which was itself partially inspired by the 2008 case of Austrian woman Elisabeth Fritzl, who escaped from a basement after a 24-year captivity during which she gave birth to seven children. Larsen is coming off of her award-winning central turn in last year’s Short Term 12. She’ll next be seen in Paramount’s upcoming The Gambler opposite Mark Wahlberg, Judd Apatow’s Trainwrecked, and DreamWorks’ The Good Luck Of Right Now. Room is produced by Ed Guiney for his Irish shingle Element Pictures. Larson is repped by The Gersh Agency and Authentic Talent & Literary Management. UTA reps Donoghue and the film and is putting financing together alongside Element.
2013 Gotham Awards: ‘Inside Llewyn Davis,’ ‘Fruitvale Station,’ ‘Short Term 12,’ ‘Dallas Buyers Club’; Lee Daniels Talks Racism: “I Became Very Angry At White People”
The Coen brothers‘ Inside Llewyn Davis won Best Feature tonight at the fourth annual IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards but lost some of the spotlight to presenter Lee Daniels, who made some eyebrow-raising remarks. Kicking off awards season in NYC, the trophy show propelled the CBS period folk music drama and Fruitvale Station, Dallas Buyers Club, and docu The Act of Killing toward the Oscars. The raucous audience at Cipriani Wall Street chattered so loudly during Daniels’ tribute speech his The Butler star Forest Whitaker that he tried to shush them with a few f-bombs. “Forest would like to hear all you talking through my speech, so shut the f*ck up,” admonished Daniels. He wasn’t the only presenter to complain onstage about the Gothams crowd, as Julie Delpy threatened to set herself on fire to get their attention while presenting another tribute, to Before Midnight helmer Richard Linklater.
Big wins went to Fruitvale Station, which nabbed Best Breakthrough Director and Actor for Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan, respectively. Dallas Buyers Club star and Oscar hopeful Matthew McConaughey won the Gothams’ inaugural Best Actor award and accepted via iPhone through co-star Jared Leto with his signature “All right, all right, all right.” Short Term 12‘s Brie Larson nabbed Best Actress honors, boosting the SXSW winner’s awards profile. Presenting Best Documentary, Morgan Spurlock took a shot at public television (“PBS: We pay more money than IFC”) before presenting the Gotham to Joshua Oppenheimer’s Oscar hopeful The Act of Killing.
Host Nick Kroll (Kroll Show, The League) struggled with the ambivalent room early on with a roast of the indie scene: “To the people from L.A. or abroad, I hope you’re enjoying your tiny hotel room you had to pay for out of pocket because Magnolia or IFC wouldn’t pony up.” Riffing on the night’s nominees, he quipped, “A common theme in this year’s movies are the horrors we inflict upon one another – slavery, war, folk music… .” Unfortunately for Kroll, he was upstaged by New York Mayor Bloomberg. “Independent filmmakers and New York have a lot in common… We both want Harvey Weinstein to be nice to us.” Boosting local filmmaking versus runaway production to neighboring Canada while presenting the tribute to his Media and Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver, Bloomberg joked, “For the record: the mayor of Toronto and the mayor of New York do not have a lot in common.”
In the first leading role of her career, Brie Larson has been getting rave reviews for playing a teacher working with troubled kids in writer-director Destin Cretton’s Short Term 12. Cinedigm picked up distribution at this year’s South by Southwest festival, where the film won the Grand Jury and Audience Awards, and Larson most recently earned a Gotham Award nomination for best actress. Although Larson also appears in two higher-profile films of the season—Don Jon and The Spectacular Now—it’s her performance in this tiny indie that has everyone talking.
AwardsLine: Did you initially read the script for Short Term 12 with the idea that you would play Grace?
Brie Larson: I didn’t know what the role was or what the movie was about. I just couldn’t believe that what I was reading was a script. I kept thinking that I was reading some sort of transcript. It felt so honest and natural. I had never read dialogue that was so revealing and simple and complicated with no manipulation. I was totally intimidated by the material. It’s never been easy for me to book any job so I couldn’t imagine that something this rich would be easy for me. I tried to apply for a bunch of volunteer jobs before and learn as much as possible so I could have an in-depth, intelligent conversation with Destin about (the role). I wanted to be viewed as a collaborator and someone who was interested in the subject. I didn’t tell him that I had been rejected by all the volunteer jobs. At the end of a very short conversation—20 minutes or something—he asked if I would do it. I was totally and completely shocked. I hadn’t booked a job before where I haven’t had to audition multiple times. I knew at some point that he had seen my reel, but I don’t even know what’s on that thing. But I know there were certain scenes where he thought, “Why did she put this on her reel? She’s not even in this.” Then he’d rewind it and watch it again and see that it was me. The fact that I blend into whatever character I’m playing was interesting to him, that there wasn’t some sort of set thing that I do every single time.
Specialty Box Office: ‘The Grandmaster’ Tops Newcomers; ‘Blue Jasmine’ Still Flowering In Big Expansion
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
The Grandmaster battled its way to the top of the Specialty Box Office in its first weekend, targeting the art house crowd though the film by celebrated Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai is headed for a wider release next week. The martial arts feature starring Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi grossed over $132K, averaging $18,894, making it the weekend’s top PSA title and out-performing the debut of the filmmaker’s previous release, My Blueberry Nights. That film grossed over $74K in 6 theaters in April 2008, averaging just $12,357. It went on to cume just $867K domestically. But Grandmaster fell short of 2046, Wong’s 2005 feature which opened in 4 theaters also in August of that year. That film, also starring Zhang, grossed just over $113K for a $28,268 average.
The Grandmaster itself evolved since screening for hometown audiences, shaving off 22 minutes by the time it hit screens this weekend and, according to TWC, a more linear telling of the story about Ip Man, the martial artist who trained Bruce Lee. TWC is confident the feature will cross over to a wider audience and is planning a significant expansion into Labor Day weekend.
“There is substantial action that will appeal to a wider audience,” said Weinstein president of Theatrical Distribution Erik Lomis. “It [is in] upscale theaters the first weekend and then will broaden out to suburban theaters.” The Grandmaster will head to 500 to 600 theaters next weekend, making it one of the largest foreign-language releases of the year. The film has grossed $55 million overseas to date.
SXSW Film Festival narrative winner Short Term 12 starring Brie Larson and John Gallagher bowed in 4 runs over the weekend. The film by Destin Cretton charmed audiences at SXSW, winning the Audience Award in addition to the top Jury Prize. It also received an acting award for Larson at the recent Locarno Film Festival. And in theaters, it grossed over $60K for a PSA just over $15K. Not a smash, but the film carried some momentum from its festival word of mouth.
Janis Nords’ Latvian drama Mother, I Love You took home Best Narrative Feature and Ryan McGarry’s medical docu Code Black won the Documentary Award as the 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival doled out honors today. Destin Daniel Cretton’s SXSW awards darling Short Term 12 nabbed the fest’s Audience Award ahead of its August 23 theatrical release via Cinedigm. Check out the full list of winners:
DIRECTV Narrative Award (for Best Narrative Feature)
Mother, I Love You directed by Janis Nords
DIRECTV Documentary Award (for Best Documentary Feature)
Code Black directed by Ryan McGarry
Best Performance in the Narrative Competition
Geetanjali Thapa in Kamar K.M’s I.D.
Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
Short Term 12, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton
Destin Daniel Crettin’s SXSW Grand Jury and Audience Award winner features a breakout turn by Brie Larson as a social worker battling her own demons. Short Term 12 is writer-director Crettin’s sophomore film after the Sundance 2012 selection I Am Not A Hipster. Cinedigm is plotting a late summer theatrical release. The pic also stars Kaitlyn Dever, John Gallagher Jr, Rami Malek, and Keith Stanfield. Maren Olson and Asher Goldstein produced for Traction Media with Joshua Astrachan of Animal Kingdom and Ron Najor. Frederick W. Green, Douglas Stone, and David Kaplan executive produced. Cinedigm’s VP of Theatrical Acquisitions Vincent Scordino negotiated the deal with Traction Media and Cinetic. Cretton is repped by WME, manager Jonathan Hung, and Chad Christopher of SMGSB.
On the closing day of SXSW 2013, Destin Daniel Cretton’s Short Term 12 added an Audience Award to its Narrative Grand Jury Prize. Kid golfing docu The Short Game nabbed the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature (watch Deadline’s exclusive trailer premiere for the pic here), while the first pick-up of the fest, Cheap Thrills, scored the Midnighters audience prize. Full Audience Award winners list below.
Director Destin Daniel Cretton’s Short Term 12, featuring a breakout turn by Brie Larson, nabbed top narrative honors at the 2013 SXSW Film Awards held tonight at Austin’s Paramount Theatre. Cretton’s script won the Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship and was based on his own Sundance-winning short. In the docu competition, Ben Nabors’ Kickstarter-backed William And The Windmill won the Grand Jury Prize for its profile of William Kamkwamba, the teenage Malawian inventor who took TEDGlobal by storm in 2007. The fest unveiled juried award honors in narrative and documentary feature, short film, design, and special categories. SXSW is an Oscar- and BAFTA-qualifying shorts festival and the winning narrative, documentary, and animated shorts will be eligible for the Academy Awards and Orange British Academy Film Awards. The 2013 SXSW Film Festival hosted 133 feature films and 110 shorts and continues through Saturday, March 16; Audience Award winners will be announced that day. Scroll down for full list of winners.