LOS ANGELES, CA — February 21, 2012 – The winners of the 14th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards were announced tonight at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The event was hosted by actress, Jane Lynch. The Guild handed out competitive
When it comes to meting out naked statuettes for Costume Design, the Academy loves its period looks. Consider the most recent winners: Alice In Wonderland, The Young Victoria, The Duchess, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Marie Antoinette. This year, again, there’s no shortage of organza, tweed and cloches from films spanning the late 1920s to the early ’60s. Sure enough, a contender such as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo — with its contemporary gritty style — couldn’t upset the trend. AwardsLine contributor Monica Corcoran talked to the nominees about their craft and asked each to do the unspeakable, clothe Oscar himself.
EXCLUSIVE DETAILS: Hollywood knows that, when it comes to Madonna, never count her down and out. Because few performers are as shrewd about their careers as this 53-year-old multi-hyphenate singer, actress, producer, and now film writer and director who has stayed buzz-worthy for three decades. I’ve learned that Interscope Records is releasing her new CD in late March – her first album in 5 years. And “Gimme All Your Luvin”, the first single, is coming out the last week in January just prior to her upcoming Super Bowl XLVI halftime appearance on February 5th. I’ve learned that’s the same week her upcoming Weinstein Company film, W.E., is now scheduled for a wide release on February 3rd. So it becomes clear why Harvey Weinstein delayed Madonna’s movie from December 9th in NY and LA: to take advantage of the early 2012 promotional hype which will surround her and provide him with free marketing. That’s especially useful after reviews of the film she directed and co–wrote about American-born Walllis Simpson’s historic affair with Britain’s King Edward VIII have been lukewarm at best and lousy at worst in the U.S. and UK. Weinstein cancelled its Oscar push. I can also reveal that the 3-album licensing deal which Madonna and Live Nation Entertainment just inked with Interscope Records is valued by my sources at $40M. It’s one component of a broad career comeback developed by Madonna, her long-time manager Guy Oseary, and Live Nation Entertainment executive chairman Irving Azoff.
Presenting the Weinstein Company’s first official trailer for Madonna’s W.E. She directed and co-wrote with Alek Keshisian the drama about the historic romance between Wallis Simpson and Britain’s Prince Edward which is intertwined with a contemporary love story. It stars Abbie Cornish, Richard Coyle, James D’Arcy, Oscar Isaac, Annabelle Wallis …
Harvey Weinstein just set a new air, land and sea world record for attending movie premieres. The Weinstein Company mogul managed to show up at three, count ‘em, three different premiere events in two different countries all on Monday night. “Yeah, this was some fun wasn’t it?” he deadpanned when I asked him about his landmark photo-op achievement.
Although he has been in Toronto this week, Weinstein had to go back to New York City on Monday night to attend the premiere of his company’s romantic comedy I Don’t Know How She Does It, which stars Sarah Jessica Parker and opens nationwide Friday. Then it was right back to Canada and two more North American premieres: Madonna’s directorial outing W.E. and the Ralph Fiennes-directed Coriolanus – and he made ito to both post-parties at Soho House. On one floor he was dining with Madonna and her exclusive guest list, then he did a walk-through one floor down at the Coriolanus preem. Then it was back up to the third floor, where he huddled with Jennifer Garner and Olivia Wilde, the stars of yet another Weinstein Company movie, Butter, which premieres here on Tuesday (I saw it in Telluride). I am told they will open the film for a one-week Oscar-qualifying run October 28 and reopen it sometime in early 2012.
As for the Madonna film, which was critically lambasted in Venice, the spin I got from one of its international reps was that it’s really not all that bad. It’s just that it’s not all that good either. There are some nice visual touches, but the material about the romance between King Edward and Wallis Simpson (written by the Material Girl herself) just isn’t all that compelling. My overall impression is that she is to be commended for trying something different with this British period piece, but for someone normally so edgy, this film very much lacks edge. It is undoubtedly an older person’s movie and facing a daunting commercial climb.
Before the film started (a half hour late), Madonna told the hometown crowd, “As you know I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, so I almost feel Canadian. Even when I have been arrested here I had a heck of a time,” she said. At the earlier Monday morning press screening, a paltry crowd of less than 100 reportedly showed up for their first opportunity to see her directing and writing effort. By the time it was finished, less than half remained in the massive 555-seat Scotiabank Theatre. But following the evening screening at the Roy Thomson Hall, the crowd gave Madonna a brief standing ovation before heading for the exits. But it wasn’t the kind of enthusiastic standing applause heard at the Machine Gun Preacher screening just one night earlier.
The signs are always the same when any studio knows it has a bomb. Executives won’t commit any opinion to email. Phone calls from them pledging to “explain everything” are promised but never come. The suits deny up and down any truth to the inevitable leaks about a troubled shoot or creative friction or bad buzz. But when the studio is financially on-the-fence like The Weinstein Co, and it acquired U.S. rights to Madonna’s first feature-length directorial effort W.E., and the subject matter is Wallis Simpson, and its debut is at the unforgiving Venice Film Festival, which has panned far bigger and more influential big names in filmdom — then not even the PR maestro Harvey Weinstein can downplay crushingly lousy reaction and reviews.
Fact is that the international press and its U.S. counterparts are having a field day killing Madonna’s movie in what can only be seen as the latest “Death In Venice”. Or maybe the more accurate way of saying this is “Death By Venice”. The Times of London claimed Madonna had made an inadvertent comedy “screamingly, inadvertently funny in parts [that] had ‘em rolling in the aisles at Venice” The Guardian review was truly vicious under the headline, “Madonna’s jaw-dropping take on the story of Wallis Simpson is a primped and simpering folly, preening and fatally mishandled”. Only the Daily Mail gave it a true thumbs-up. But my guess is that probably has more to do with that newspaper’s long and troubled history with Madonna, who in 2009 won a multimillion-dollar lawsuit again the Daily Mail and whose legal reps have been threatening the paper recently and repeatedly of more to come because of its nearly always negative coverage of her.
In fact, The Weinstein Co in June was strenuously denying the British tabloid’s article pronouncing W.E. a mess after detailing a secret NY test screening that reportedly left Harvey “thunderous and sour”. His minions claimed that the audience loved the picture and so did Weinstein, who had made Truth or Dare with Madonna and enjoyed a critical and financial success. The studio confirmed the pair had been working on W.E. for some time before that test screening, but wouldn’t confirm or deny reports that Harv was re-editing the picture to make it more commercially viable. That’s something he’s done to only mixed success in the past — earning him the nickname “Harvey Scissorhands”.
I do think The Weinstein Co was masochistic not only to send Madonna’s oeuvre to the film festival even if out of competition but also schedule it during the coming Oscar corridor.
Contrary to a UK tabloid article that pronounced the Madonna-directed W.E. a mess after a test screening that left Harvey Weinstein “thunderous and sour,” The Weinstein Company has dated Madonna’s directorial debut for Dec. 9. That means that it will be one of the pictures Weinstein pushes during Oscar season. Weinstein, who made Truth or Dare with Madonna, is bullish on the picture, I’m told. There was certainly a test screening. Weinstein was hardly demonstrative, especially since the woman sitting next to him incognito in black hat and sunglasses was Madonna. They’ve been working on the movie for some time, together. We’ll see how it all comes out. Just as intriguing is how Weinstein is going to handle the Oscar volume this year. Potentially, he’s got Oscar contenders in the black-and-white silent film The Artist that he bought right before the Cannes Film Festival, before the film became a rave on the Croisette; he’s got Iron Lady, with Meryl Streep playing British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, also bought at Cannes; and the John Hillcoat-directed The Wettest County in the World, which is expected to be platformed for Oscar and released in early 2012. They will push Michelle Williams for her work as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn, and there are also talks about The Weinstein Company acquiring This Must Be The Place, the Paolo Sorrentino-directed drama that would put star Sean Penn in the Oscar hunt. All those pictures were bought in Cannes. Here’s the W.E. announcement:
New York, NY, June 13, 2011 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that it has acquired U.S. distribution rights to “W.E.,” Madonna’s directorial debut of a feature film. W.E. is a romantic drama co-written by Madonna and Alek Keshishian, produced by Madonna and Kris Thykier and executive produced by Scott Franklin (BLACK SWAN). It stars Abbie Cornish (LIMITLESS), Oscar Isaac (DRIVE), James D’Arcy (MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD), Andrea Riseborough (NEVER LET ME GO), Natalie Dormer (“The Tudors”), Richard Coyle (PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME), James Fox (SHERLOCK HOLMES) and Laurence Fox (“Inspector Lewis”). The announcement was made by TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein and President of Production Donna Gigliotti.
Spanning six decades, W.E. juxtaposes a contemporary love story with that of King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson.