The sun finally came back to a windy and rainy Cannes but the weather clearly couldn’t slow the nonstop parties, premieres, deals and hype for which this festival is famous. And despite the rain on Saturday the turnout for Lionsgate’s big Catching Fire bash was wall-to-wall at Baoli Beach, with everyone including star Jennifer Lawrence crowded into the large tent. One exec there actually was happy with the monsoon-like conditions. “The rain probably kept 30% of our RSVPs away which is probably good because i don’t know how we could have squeezed them in,” he said.
With everyone drying out Sunday there seemed to be even more party-hopping than usual. At the crowded Participant Films party at the Carlton, Focus Features CEO James Schamus was accepting congratulations on his re-upping at the company. I have rarely heard him wax more eloquently about a film than Focus’ recent pickup of The Dallas Buyers Club, the movie where Matthew McConaughey lost about 50 pounds to play an early AIDS victim. It’s not dated yet according to Schamus but is planned for fall sometime. “It’s just a bloodbath trying to pick the right date in that period but this movie is extraordinary. I just so admire what Matthew has been doing with his career in the last couple of years between Magic Mike, Killer Joe, The Paperboy, Mud and now this. You know me, I don’t rave like this a lot, but he really knocks this one out of the park. It is the performance of a lifetime,” he says of the actor in a film that is sure to be a main focus of Focus’ awards-season plans.
Anthony D’Alessandro is Managing Editor of AwardsLine
In the final stretch before the Oscar ballot deadline, there’s still hope that voters remain undecided in the animation category. Though Disney has cornered the Oscar slot with three titles, its Frankenweenie, directed by Tim Burton, stands as an island against the epic Brave and the existential crisis comedy of Wreck-It Ralph. The film is an auteur’s youthful dream short, once buried by the studio that has resuscitated it as a 3D stopmotion feature — the first in black and white. This Frankenstein homage about a boy who brings his dead dog back to life is signature Tim Burton. Many will argue Burton is overdue for an Oscar. He was nominated in the animated category for 2005’s Corpse Bride. His 1994 absurdist biopic Ed Wood garnered a supporting actor win for Martin Landau (as Bela Lugosi) and best makeup, while 2007’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street won best art direction and earned noms for Johnny Depp as best actor and for Colleen Atwood’s costumes. Another appealing Burton attribute for Oscar voters is that he remains an iconoclast among big-studio directors working today — he’s a visual artist with a spooky canon that appears alienating with its deep subtext but lures the masses with its fanciful spins on children’s tales such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. AwardsLine recently spoke to Burton about his career and Frankenweenie’s place in it.
AwardsLine: Why was this the best time to make Frankenweenie as a stopmotion feature. You could have conceivably made it in 1993 instead of Nightmare Before Christmas.
Tim Burton: All these projects take a long time. I remember when I first designed Nightmare, it took about 10 years to get that in place because nobody really wanted to do stopmotion, and in a way, there weren’t a lot of facilities that were doing it. We did the Frankenweenie short many years ago, and I never really planned on it being anything else. Over the years, I just kept kind of thinking about the relationship with my dog, but also other monster movies, the kids and teachers from my school, and even the downtown places in Burbank. A lot more thoughts came into Frankenweenie,
With Dick Zanuck’s sudden passing today at the age of 77 one of the last direct links of a still-active bigtime Hollywood player to the beginnings of the major studios is also gone. When he was hired in 1962 by his father, the legendary …
I’m in shock and heartbroken at the news of Richard Zanuck’s passing. He was like family to me – a mentor, friend and father figure. Richard was a completely unique and amazing individual and there will never be anyone else like him. I’m too sad to speak more about it right now and need some time to mourn.
Related: R.I.P. Dick Zanuck
Others in Hollywood also are weighing in.
Disney’s stop-motion animated Tim Burton movie Frankenweenie has been set to world premiere as the opening-night film at Fantastic Fest on September 20, organizers said this morning. The studio opens the movie wide domestically on October 5. The black-and-white 3D pic, written by John August, is about a boy who brings his beloved dog back to life — with just a few minor adjustments. Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell and Winona Ryder are among the voice cast. The genre festival runs through September 27 in Austin. UPDATE: As part of Disney’s promotion of the pic, it has released a cool 360-degree tour video of the set with interactive elements to click into. It’s certainly a different way to tell a behind-the-scenes story. Here it is:
Disney has posted the second full trailer for Tim Burton’s feature-length stop-motion animated movie based on his short. Frankenweenie‘s voice cast includes Winona Ryder, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Landau. It hits theatres October 5th: