With all eyes focused on Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games this weekend, not many will notice Music Box Films’ quiet limited (NY, LA, Miami) launch of their 2011 Toronto Film Festival pickup The Deep Blue Sea. It’s the first narrative film in over a decade from British director Terence Davies — his last was 2000′s The House Of Mirth – and stars Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz in another Oscar-bait role. Davies did do a highly regarded 2008 documentary, Of Time And The City, in the long interim between narrative projects.
With an impressive 84% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and major raves today from the NY and LA Times among others, Weisz and the film are winning the kind of top reviews that Oscar voters usually notice. In fact, Music Box was toying with the idea of opening the heavy relationship drama for a week in December in order to qualify for the last Oscars but finally decided it was not in the film’s best interests to rush it out there — especially with such a competitive Best Actress race already going on. Plus, Weisz had another potential awards role with the August release The Whistleblower, so it might have just confused things, though as it turned out the Samuel Goldwyn Co did not end up campaigning Whistleblower in any significant way. A March opening for Deep Blue Sea is a tough time for releasing Oscar contenders and hoping they will be remembered. Nevertheless Weisz’s emotionally naked performance as a 1950′s-era woman caught in an unsatisfying marriage and embarking on a torrid affair with a younger man (played by War Horse’s Tom Hiddleston) is the kind of thing actors crave, and it’s certainly one of the few female roles of any real substance to surface at this early point in the year. Read More »
Here’s a clip from The Deep Blue Sea, adapated and directed by Terence Davies. The screen version of Terence Rattigan’s play stars Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston and Simon Russell Beale. The film will open the 55th BFI London Film Festival on October 27 and hit UK theaters on Nov. 25. No U.S. release date has been set.
Last year’s Toronto Film Festival started slow for acquisitions, but finished with a flurry of modest distribution deals that served notice the specialty film business had finally pulled out of its nosedive. This year’s festival hasn’t started and already there are fireworks. Deadline broke news yesterday that Harvey Weinstein would start a VOD business, making the acquisitions market for fringe films more competitive; and last night, I heard that a bidding battle had already broken out for the Steve McQueen-directed Shame, which should be sold by the time it screens Sunday. Fox Searchlight is the favorite, Sony Pictures Classics is in the mix and I’ve heard that The Weinstein Company is hovering. Bidding began right after its Telluride screening, and the mid-six figures thrown around yesterday will probably go higher. That’s huge, considering the movie is an unabashed NC-17, McQueen has final cut, and the sex-obsessed protagonist is unlikable. Oh, yeah, and the sellers want it released this year for Oscar consideration to capitalize on Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan’s Oscar-caliber performances.
Does this mean we’re in for a drunken buying frenzy? Hardly, buyers tell me. They are eager to see the films, but say there’s no title here that’s going to guarantee somebody will overpay. They are also mindful that many of last year’s deals turned out to be box office busts. More deals will be made than … Read More »
BFI London Film Fest Opens With ’360′ From Fernando Meirelles The Deep Blue Sea starring Rachel Weisz (who also stars in the festival’s opening-night film, 360), Tom Hiddleston, and Simon Russell Beale will close the 55th BFI London Film Festival on October 27th. This will be the UK premiere of the drama adapted and directed by Terence Davies (Distant Voices, Still Lives), marking his return to fiction features. Set in post-war Britain, this is an adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s classic play The Deep Blue Sea – a study of forbidden love, suppressed desire, and the fear of loneliness. Davies said: “”As a British filmmaker, to get into the BFI London Film Festival at all is bliss — to get a closing-night film is sheer heaven! The festival is now, rightly, seen as one of the major European and world film festivals; championing not only British but world cinema.” The Deep Blue Sea opens in UK cinemas on November 25th.
EXCLUSIVE: Fulcrum Media Finance, the London- and Sydney-based film and TV financier, has closed its first wholly British deal. Rachel Weisz stars in Davies’ new screen version of Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea. Shooting on the UK Film Council and Film4 backed project begins in November. Tom Hiddleston will play Weisz’s reprobate RAF pilot lover and Simon Russell Beale her stolid husband. Fulcrum is cash-flowing the UK tax credit, worth 20% of the budget. In the movie business, that’s as risk free as you can get.
The financier hopes to finance 24 UK projects a year. Fulcrum is co-owned by Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, producers of Oscar-tipped The King’s Speech. Fulcrum offers to lend up to 95% of the value of the tax credit. Until now the financier has been financing either wholly Australian films or Australian/UK co-productions such as Oranges and Sunshine and Triangle. Canning tells me that UK producers should welcome working with a financier who’s a filmmaker too. Fulcrum says it will undercut banks such as Barclays and Coutts that offer this kind of finance. “As producers ourselves, we know filmmakers just want financiers to be straightforward with them and just get the job done,” Canning tells me. Read More »
She’s in advanced talks to play the wife in British director Terence Davies’ adaptation of the 1952 play The Deep Blue Sea, says the Daily Mail. Even today, Terrance Rattigan’s script feels like wrenching stuff. Weisz would play a woman who leaves her companionable husband when she becomes sexually enslaved by an alcoholic ex-fighter pilot. Although she’s 40, it’s the first time she’s ever had an orgasm. Having smashed up her marriage, she then sticks her head in a gas oven when her booze-addled boyfriend walks out on her.
Greta Scacchi played the part in a London stage revival a couple of years ago. Peggy Ashcroft, who originally played Hester Collyer opposite Kenneth More as her lover, complained the role made her feel as if she was walking around on stage naked. Rattigan wrote the play after an old boyfriend of his committed suicide. Weisz won an Olivier in March for her portrayal of another emotionally-damaged woman, Blanche DuBois, in A Streetcar Named Desire.