EXCLUSIVE: Past Oscar nominees Andy Garcia (The Godfather Part III) and Vera Farmiga (Up In The Air and also a recent Emmy nominee for Bates Motel) team up in the romantic comedy At Middleton. They play two strangers who meet when they take their college-age kids on a campus …
Christy Grosz edits Deadline’s awards publication Awardsline.
Vera Farmiga admits she was skeptical when she first heard about Bates Motel, the series that serves as a modern-day prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. But playing a character who was merely an idea in the original source material has proven to be the right role at the right time for her. The Oscar-nominated actress is almost protective in describing Norma as the parent of a mentally ill child, choosing to see the single mother as sympathetic. While the A&E series has been picked up for a second season, Farmiga also will star in July’s The Conjuring, in which she plays a paranormal investigator.
AwardsLine: When Bates Motel came to you, were you looking for a TV project specifically?
Farmiga: I think I was looking for a career tweak. I have so many other interests in life, and no role is more challenging, rewarding and inspiring than my real-life role as a mom and a wife, so I pretty much just look at the most remunerative offers these days. (Laughs.) But seriously, if I’m going to step away for 18 hours a day, there better be some sort of a paycheck or spiritual salary being offered. And Bates Motel surprised me. (The role) made me reflect so deeply on the love I feel for my children. I was craving a deeper level of, I don’t know, virtuosity. The writers presented me with this deeper level of sophistication, the creation of Norma, and I pounced on the opportunity. Also, I was craving all that cable serial television has to offer, which is the risk and the wackiness, the unorthodox.
During a Bates Motel panel discussion Friday, Carlton Cuse was blunt about borrowing from a classic. No, not Hitchcock’s Psycho; TV’s Twin Peaks. “We pretty much ripped off Twin Peaks,” joked Cuse, executive producer of the A&E series with Kerry Ehrin, in response to a question about the similarities from panel moderator Shawn Ryan. “If you wanted to get that confession, the answer is yes,” he continued, tongue in cheek. “I loved that show. They only did 30 episodes. Kerry and I thought we’d do the 70 that are missing.” Cuse appeared on the Paley Center panel “Inside Bates Motel: Reimagining A Cinema Icon” with Ehrin, Vera Farmiga (who portrays Norma Bates), Freddie Highmore (Norman), Max Thieriot (Norman’s half-brother Dylan), Nicola Peltz (popular teen Bradley Martin) and Nestor Carbonell (Sheriff Alex Romero). English actress Olivia Cooke, who plays Norman’s friend Emma Decody, who battles cystic fibrosis, was a no-show because of “visa snafus,” Ryan said. Once it was acknowledged that both TV shows are plenty creepy and set in the foggy Northwest, Cuse, Ehrin and the cast spent more time during the freewheeling discussion citing the similarities and differences of Bates Motel from Hitchcock’s iconic 1960 film.
Cannes Briefs: Farmiga, Hawke, Harris Join LaBute’s ‘Geography’; The Exchange Boards ‘Supremacy’; Content Sells ‘He Who ‘Dares’
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Ethan Hawke, Ed Harris and Vera Farmiga are attached to star in Neil LaBute’s crime thriller The Geography of Hope. London-based Salt Pictures is handling international sales on the movie that’s due to start shooting in early 2014 in Puerto Rico. French actress Emmanuelle Devos is also attached. LaBute wrote the script and will direct the 1970s era pic that takes place at a resort where two small time crooks meet two vacationing women and a catastrophic series of events is set in motion. Producers are Stefan Nowicki, Joey Carey, Trace Sheehan and Tim Harms.
EXCLUSIVE: Though the 2012 Sundance Film Festival is starting to fade from memory, buyers and sellers continue to make unhurried deals for the films that premiered there. Image Entertainment has just acquired U.S. rights to Christopher Neil’s coming-of-age stoner film Goats for what I’m hearing was near $1 million. The film premiered January 24 at the Eccles Theater and buyers sparked to the performances by David Duchovny, Vera Farmiga, Ty Burrell and Graham Phillips. Christopher Neil directed and Mark Jude Poirier wrote the script.
The closing-night film of the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, was designed to scare the crap out of the audience. But who knew the real nightmares would come from the actual screening itself.
Just an hour into the world premiere of the movie Sunday night the Regal L.A. Live theater, the emergency warning system started flashing lights accompanied by a siren-like noise and an announcement that audience members should vacate the premises immediately due to an “emergency in the building.” Everyone got up and marched outside before the all-clear was quickly declared (a false alarm), the auditorium filled again and the film restarted at the crucial point it left off. And you wonder why producers get ulcers.
But THAT was nothing compared to the nightmare end of the movie that surrounded audience members from that screening (and the overflow house upstairs) who simultaneously had to retrieve their cellphones and BlackBerrys that had been seized for fear of piracy when they entered the theater. The crush as final credits rolled was mammoth as theater personnel slowly took claim tickets and acted like they were on a scavenger hunt. The guy searching for my phone finally came back and rather pathetically asked me, ‘Uh, what color is it?’ to which I replied ‘Black,’ like every single other friggin’ one there.
FilmDistrict (which is releasing the film Aug. 26) distribution honcho Bob Berney came over during the forced intermission of the showing to say that co-writer/producer Guillermo del Toro thought the unplanned interruption was the dirty work of Bob Weinstein or the MPAA (which gave his film an unwanted ‘R’ rating for “violence and terror,” particularly since it involved a minor, according to Berney).
‘Dexter’ Creator James Manos Jr. To Direct Michael C. Hall And Vera Farmiga In ‘Love, Scotch And Death’
EXCLUSIVE: Dexter creator James Manos Jr and Michael C. Hall will collaborate on the big screen after Hall wraps the sixth season as the strangely likable serial killer title character hatched in the Jeff Lindsay novel series. They will team on the independent feature Love, Scotch and Death, with Hall playing a character based on Manos, during a most stressful week filled with unimaginable mishaps. Vera Farmiga will star with Hall. Manos will make his feature directing debut, with shooting to begin in November.
When Manos first wrote the script, he called it The Slow And Complete Decompensation of Jim Manos. It covers a rather bizarre week in the man’s life. After returning from a stressful vacation, he discovers his parents have died of natural causes together in bed, which forces him to navigate his way past an unsympathetic funeral director, his bewildered children and manic wife, an eccentric priest and some over-sexed neighbors. There is also an arrest for assault and the death of his wife’s beloved dog.