As a first-time writer and director, Vadim Perelman has in one stroke created a film that generated a good share of Oscar buzz. With "House of Sand and Fog" (2003), Perelman made a tragic film that re...
Awesome book. Amazing actor. Great screenwriter. You could add John Singleton on to direct and I’d still be super excited about this project. Lois Lowry’s The Giver (which, to those who haven’t read it, is kind of like a 1984 or a Brave New World that is more approachable for younger readers) is being adapted to film. And it’s awesome. It was one of the first books I loved, one of the first endings I tried to analyze, and one of those stories that would probably be really, really terrific as a film—if done right. And with Jeff Bridges and House of Sand and Fog writer Vadim Perelman on board, all signs point to a great adaptation.
Bridges has never once been less than sensational onscreen. He does his thing—it’s usually a pretty similar thing to the last few times he did a thing, but… I don’t know, it’s just one of those things. No one seems to mind. Bridges has stated that he envisioned the titular Giver being portrayed by his father, Lloyd Bridges, before he passed. The senior Bridges was an acting phenomenon as well, but what his son has on him is a softer touch, required for playing the God-figure in consideration. Jeff Bridges has submitted that, as he ages, he begins to see himself more suited to play the role.
Book adaptations often breed controversy among fans, but even as a big fan of the book, I have nothing but optimism about this project. Of course, the lead role -- twelve year-old Jonas -- will have to be expertly cast. For some reason, I feel like a Smith is going to get in on this…
Following is a roundup of American Film Market deals making news over the past day.
Voltage Pictures has closed a host of pre-AFM sales for indie political drama The Whistleblower, starring Rachel Weisz, Variety reports. Territories to acquire the project include Canada, Germany, France, Australia, Hong Kong, Latin America, Taiwan and the Middle East. UTA is selling the pic for the US.
Also per Variety, Maya Entertainment has acquired US rights to Sympathy for Delicious, Mark Ruffalo's directorial debut. Plans are to release in the spring. Ruffalo, Juliette Lewis, Orlando Bloom and Laura Linney star.
London-based WestEnd Films has boarded international sales for The Song of Names, directed by Vadim Perelman and starring Anthony Hopkins and Dustin Hoffman.
Per Screen, the project will be shot by Oscar-winning DP Pawel Edelman. Script is by Oscar-nominated writer Jeffrey Caine with a score composed by Oscar winner James Horner.
Story follows a man searching for a childhood friend, who mysteriously vanished one day when they were teenagers.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Anchor Bay Films has acquired all distribution rights for the US, UK and Australia/New Zealand to Joker Films' Daydream Nation. Michael Goldbach's feature debut stars Kat Dennings and Josh Lucas.
TF1 International is handling two Canadian projects: Hobo With a Shotgun and :) 388 Arletta Avenue.
Latter is produced by Vincenzo Natali and Steven Hoban. Starring Nick Stahl, the found-footage film is Paranormal Activity meets Rear Window, says TF1.
Hobo is from director Jason Eisener, who originally won top honors in the Grindhouse Trailer Contest with a faux trailer for the project. Rutger Hauer stars in the vigilante tale.
France's Memento Films is handling the English-language debut of Palme d'Or winner and Oscar nominee Laurent Cantet, an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' Foxfire.
The project, per Screen, is set in 1950s America and follows a group of headstrong teenage girls. Memento previously handled Cantet's lauded The Class.
StudioCanal has sold all Japanese rights on horror hit The Last Exorcism to Comstock Group.
Indomina Releasing, says Screen, has acquired all North American rights from Films Distribution to French horror project The Pack, which premiered in Cannes and stars Yolande Moreau and Emilie Dequenne.
Magnolia International has closed multiple territories on Norwegian creature feature Troll Hunter. According to Screen, the film has sold in the UK, Australia, Japan, Canada, Brazil and Thailand.
Finally, Strand Releasing has picked up all US rights to Catherine Breillat's Sleeping Beauty from Pyramide Intl. The film will be released next spring.
Source: Hollywood Wiretap
Based on a novel by Laura Kasischke it focuses on two 17-year-old high school girls--Diana (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maureen (Eva Amurri)--who are completely opposite in personalities but still the best of friends. In fact "one is the virgin one is the whore " according to Diana. She does everything her demure and religious BFF with their bond going spiritually deep. One fateful day at high school changes their lives however when a student gunman goes on a shooting spree in the school. The gunman corners the two girls in the bathroom and tells them he must kill one. Jump to 15 years later the adult Diana (Uma Thurman) has a great home life: smart cute kid successful husband nice house. But it's not as it seems. It is assumed that Maureen was the one who was killed prompted by her telling the gunman she wants to be the one shot. But a last-minute plot twist puts the movie's title in a different light: The Life Before Her Eyes is more than just Diana's life. This film incorporates some elegant performances from Wood and Amurri--two veterans of the teen genre who portray their characters’ friendship with much authenticity. Amurri(Susan Sarandon's real-life daughter) especially downplays her innocence with smart nuances while Wood is coming into her own as a strong edgy actress--just not enough to save this film. Thurman tempts Oscar-type bait as the emotionally distraught Diana constantly reliving the horror of the killing spree through flashbacks. The actress’ mood is maudlin and suitably translucent for mournfulness. But Thurman's screen presence is just too large and glamorous to be believable in the melancholy role. She looks to be assuming the trance-like “look of sadness ” as though she's playing a role. Her body language is too confident to be carrying around a lifetime of hurt. Director Vadim Perelman (House of Sand and Fog) is a poor man's Julian Schnabel--a visual and ephemeral craftsman who works with colors. Blurry imbued tones of greens and yellow bring the story to life pairing with spring-time settings with shadows and light. The Life Before Her Eyes aims for a dreamlike complexity and how conscience ties to memory. The film is also about how changing a person's destiny can completely rewrite an entire history. A palette of moody camerawork from director of photography Pawel Edelman (The Pianist) creates an eternal lushness which elevates the drama. The Columbine-style shooting sequences feels outdated however. It's a contrived museum treatment such public tragedies. It’s an adventurous independent film that doesn't quite come together as intended.
Vadim Perelman, who directed the 2003 film House of Sand and Fog, appeared in a Norwalk, Connecticut, court on Monday on charges he groped two women and punched another at a nightclub.
During his appearance, the 42-year-old director asked for a special type of probation that would provide accelerated rehabilitation. He would have no criminal record if he successfully completes his probation.
Perelman faces a third-degree assault charge and two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, or sexual contact without consent.
The incidents allegedly occurred at a South Norwalk nightclub on July 22.
His attorney, Paul Callan said, "Mr. Perelman never intended to harm anyone during the evening in question."
The Superior Court judge said the case was to be continued to Oct. 16.
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It's good to be the King.
Taking in a regal $34.1 million on its record-breaking opening day Wednesday, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the third and final installment of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic fantasy epic, easily lorded over the competition this weekend, rightfully claiming the throne with $73.6 million* and hitting a five-day total of $125 million--the best five-day Wednesday opening of all time.
The Return of King defeats previous record holder Star Wars: Episode I--The Phantom Menace, which opened in 1999 and took a five-day total of $105.6 million, while also beating out its predecessor The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, which opened the same weekend last year and managed a $102 million five-day haul. The first part of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, opened in 2001 with a five-day total of $66.1 million.
"That is amazing. The worldwide sweep of this movie is unprecedented. To have a quarter-billion-dollar gross in five days shows what a broad swath this movie cuts," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations, told The Associated Press. "These would be good numbers for a film to do in its entire run, but this is just the beginning."
The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers went on to take in $861 million and $921 million respectively, leading New Line Cinema to hope The Return of the King may break the $1 billion mark. "This thing is so gigantic, we really don't know where we're going," David Tuckerman, New Line's head of domestic distribution told AP Wednesday. The only film to ever earn $1 billion was Titanic, which took $1.8 billion worldwide.
Although the rest of the top 10 box office contenders paled in comparison, another newcomer to the box office race, the Julia Roberts' starrer Mona Lisa Smile, managed to take second place with $12 million. The romantic comedy Something's Gotta Give came in third with $11.5 million, while the sword-clashing The Last Samurai dropped to fourth place with $7.3 million. The conjoined twin comedy Stuck on You rounded out the top five with $5.4 million.
Other smaller fare openers this week included the delightful Calendar Girls and the tragic House of Sand and Fog.
THE TOP TEN
New Line Cinema's glorious PG-13-rated fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King premiered at No. 1 with an ESTIMATED $73.6 million in 3,703 theaters. Its $19,876 per theater average was the highest of any film playing wide this week. Since opening on Wednesday, its five-day cume is approximately $125 million.
In the final installment to the Tolkien trilogy, the good people of Middle-earth continue their fight against the evil Sauron, while Hobbit Frodo Baggins carries on his arduous quest to destroy the Ring and rid the land of its dark forces forever.
Directed by Peter Jackson, it stars Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, Liv Tyler, Miranda Otto, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan.
Sony Pictures' PG-13-rated drama Mona Lisa Smile opened in second place with an ESTIMATED $12 million in 2,677 theaters with a $4,483 per theater average.
The film centers on a 1950s free-spirited, novice art history professor who encourages her students at an all-female college to strive for a more enlightened futures.
Directed by Mike Newell, it stars Julia Roberts, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kirsten Dunst and Julia Stiles.
Given its mighty competition, Sony Pictures' PG-13-rated romantic comedy Something's Gotta Give last week's topper dropped to No. 3 in its second week with an ESTIMATED $11.5 million (-28%) at 2,677 theaters (unchanged; $4,296 per theater). The film, in which an older man dating a pretty twentysomething falls in love with her dynamic mother, has accumulated approximately $33.5 million to date.
Directed by Nancy Meyers, it stars Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet and Frances McDormand.
Warner Bros.' R-rated period actioner The Last Samurai, fell two spots to fourth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $7.3 million (-48%) in 2,938 theaters (+30; $2,497 per theater average). Its cume is approximately $59 million.
Directed by Edward Zwick, it stars Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Tony Goldwyn and Timothy Spall.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
Twentieth Century Fox's PG-13-rated comedy Stuck on You also fell two spots to No. 5 in its second week with an ESTIMATED $5.4 million (-43%) at 3,007 theaters (+4; $1,796 per theater). Its cume is approximately $17 million.
Directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, it stars Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Eva Mendes and Cher.
New Line Cinema's PG-rated holiday comedy Elf held onto sixth place in its seventh week with an ESTIMATED $5 million (-17%) at 2,451 theaters (-425 theaters; $2,040 per theater). Its cume is approximately $154.3 million.
Directed by Jon Favreau, it stars Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, Zooey Deschanel and Mary Steenburgen.
Miramax Films' R-rated dark comedy Bad Santa held steady in seventh place in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $4.25 million (-29%) at 2,225 theaters (-315 theaters; $1,914 per theater). Its cume is approximately $42 million.
Directed by Terry Zwigoff, it stars Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Tony Cox and John Ritter.
Buena Vista's PG-rated horror comedy The Haunted Mansion dropped three notches to No. 8 in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $4.2 million (-32%) at 2,414 theaters (-587 theaters; $1,740 per theater). Its cume is approximately $59.1 million.
Directed by Rob Minkoff, it stars Eddie Murphy, Terence Stamp, Nathaniel Parker, Marsha Thomason and Jennifer Tilly.
Dropping considerably, Warner Bros. PG-13-rated teen comedy Love Don't Cost a Thing tumbled five spots to take ninth place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $3.9 million (-37%) at 1,844 theaters (unchanged; $2,148 per theater). Its cume is approximately 11.4 million.
Directed by Troy Beyer, it stars Nick Cannon, Christina Millian and Steve Harvey.
Rounding out the top 10, Universal Pictures' PG-13-rated hip-hop drama Honey dropped two spots in its third week with an ESTIMATED $2.5 million (-47%) in 1,824 theaters (-148 theaters; $1,420 per theater). Its cume is approximately $23.4 million.
Directed by Bille Woodruff, it stars Jessica Alba, Mekhi Phifer and Lil' Romeo.
Buena Vista's PG-13-rated lighthearted Calendar Girls debuted in 24 theaters with an ESTIMATED $161,000, with a $6,708 per theater average.
Based on a true story, the film is about a group of older women who pose for a charity pinup calendar, become instant celebrities, and learn life lessons on their journey from England's Yorkshire Dales to Hollywood and back again.
Directed by Nigel Cole, it stars Helen Mirren and Julie Walters.
Dreamworks' PG-13-rated tragedy House of Sand and Fog opened in two theaters with an ESTIMATED $44,000,.
The film explores what happens when the American Dream goes terribly awry as a displaced Iranian colonel and an addict clash over the ownership of a small home.
Directed by Vadim Perelman, it stars Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly.
The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $133.5 million, up a whopping 66.53 percent from last weekend's $80.2 million take but only up less than 1 percent from last year's $132.6 million.
Last year, New Line's PG-13-rated The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers opened at No. 1 with a hefty $62 million in 3,622 theaters ($17,120 per theater); in second place came Warner Bros. PG-13-rated romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice with $14.3 million in 2,755 theaters ($5,201 per theater); Sony Pictures' PG-13-rated romantic comedy Maid in Manhattan dropped to third place in its second week with $10.7 million at 2,866 theaters ($3,738 per theater).
While Thursday's Golden Globe nominations had some predictable made-to-order Oscar fodder such as Cold Mountain, there were some much-talked about films that were conspicuously absent from the list, including The Station Agent, 21 Grams and The Missing.
The question on many people's mind the morning after the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced its nominations is whether the screener ban somehow adversely affected the voting.
HFPA president Lorenzo Soria told Variety Friday that the organization was happy the screener controversy had been resolved but "it is not reflected in our voting. The vote is on artistic merit only.
Soria said that members were seeing four or five films a day in the days leading up to the Dec. 15 ballot deadline, but added that this is typical for this time of year--screener ban in effect or not. "This happens every year. Starting mid-October, our schedules become pretty absurd."
But as Variety's Timothy M. Gray points out, some nominations were surprisingly absent from the roster, including screenplay nods for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Finding Nemo and The Station Agent.
Directors noticeably out off the nominee list were Vadim Perelman (House of Sand and Fog), Jim Sheridan (In America), Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai), Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham), Gary Ross (Seabiscuit), Tim Burton (Big Fish), Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich (Finding Nemo), and Richard Curtis (Love Actually).
Some of the biggest surprises were the absence of acting nods for Cate Blanchett and Tommy Lee Jones in The Missing as well as Benicio del Toro and Naomi Watts for 21 Grams.
Also absent, according to Gray, were Paul Bettany (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), Jennifer Connelly and Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog), Gwyneth Paltrow (Sylvia), Will Ferrell (Elf) and Sean Astin (Return of the King).
The nominations for the 2004 IFP Independent Spirit Awards are in, and with more submissions than ever before in the ceremony's history, it looks like a hot race.
Jeff Kleeman, IFP committee chair, had this to say: "With more submissions and less time then ever before, the Nominating Committee watched and discussed over 190 films in six weeks -- an act of extreme devotion that proved to be tremendously rewarding."
Dawn Hudson, IFP executive producer, added that this year's batch of nominees is particularly diverse, and commended the fact there are more highly talented women writers and directors emerging on the independent film scene, including nominees Shari Springer Berman, Sofia Coppola and Catherine Hardwicke.
Films that have been nominated for IFP Independent Spirit Awards were selected based on their original and provocative subject matter, uniqueness of vision, and financial characteristics, including total budget, individual compensation, and percentage of independent financing.
Last year's ISA winners included the film Far From Heaven (best feature), Julianne Moore (best director and lead actress), and Dennis Quaid (best supporting actor).
The 2004 IFP Independent Spirit Awards ceremony will air live on Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. EST on the Independent Film Channel, and will be broadcast at 10 p.m. EST/PST on Bravo.
The nominees for the 2004 IFP Independent Spirit Awards are (by category):
Lost in Translation
Raising Victor Vargas
Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini - American Splendor
Sofia Coppola - Lost in Translation
Jim Sheridan - In America
Peter Sollett - Raising Victor Vargas
Gus Van Sant - Elephant
American Splendor - Writers: Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini
Lost in Translation - Writer: Sofia Coppola
A Mighty Wind - Writers: Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy and the cast of A Mighty Wind
Pieces of April - Writer: Peter Hedges
Shattered Glass - Writer: Billy Ray
Best First Feature
Bomb the System - Director: Adam Bhala Lough; Producers: Ben Rekhi, Sol Tryon
House of Sand and Fog - Director: Vadim Perelman; Producers: Michael London, Vadim Perelman
Monster - Director: Patty Jenkins; Producers: Mark Damon, Donald Kushner, Clark Peterson, Charlize Theron, Brad Wyman
Quattro Noza - Director: Joey Curtis; Producer: Fredric King
Thirteen - Director: Catherine Hardwicke; Producers: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Michael London
John Cassavetes Award
Anne B. Real - Director: Lisa France; Writers: Lisa France, Antonio Macia, Producers: Josselyne Herman, Luis Moro, Jeanine Rohn
Better Luck Tomorrow - Director: Justin Lin; Writers: Ernesto M. Foronda, Justin Lin, Fabian Marquez; Producers: Julie Asato, Ernesto M. Foronda, Justin Lin
Pieces of April - Writer/Director: Peter Hedges; Producers: Alexis Alexanian, John S. Lyons, Gary Winick
The Station Agent - Writer/Director: Thomas McCarthy; Producers: Mary Jane Skalski, Robert May, Kathryn Tucker
Virgin - Writer/Director: Deborah Kampmeier; Producer:Sarah Schenck
Best First Screenplay
Blue Car- Writer: Karen Moncrieff
Monster - Writer: Patty Jenkins
Raising Victor Vargas - Writers: Peter Sollett and Eva Vives
The Station Agent - Writer: Thomas McCarthy
Thirteen - Writers: Catherine Hardwicke & Nikki Reed
Best Female Lead
Agnes Bruckner - Blue Car
Zooey Deschanel - All the Real Girls
Samantha Morton - In America
Elisabeth Moss - Virgin
Charlize Theron - Monster
Best Male Lead
Peter Dinklage - The Station Agent
Paul Giamatti - American Splendor
Sir Ben Kingsley - House of Sand and Fog
Bill Murray - Lost in Translation
Lee Pace - Soldier's Girl
Best Supporting Female
Shohreh Aghdashloo - House of Sand and Fog
Sarah Bolger - In America
Patricia Clarkson - Pieces of April
Hope Davis - The Secret Lives of Dentists
Frances McDormand - Laurel Canyon
Best Supporting Male
Judah Friedlander - American Splendor
Troy Garity - Soldier's Girl
Djimon Hounsou - In America
Alessandro Nivola - Laurel Canyon
Peter Sarsgaard - Shattered Glass
Best Debut Performance
Anna Kendrick - Camp
Judy Marte - Raising Victor Vargas
Victor Rasuk - Raising Victor Vargas
Nikki Reed - Thirteen
Janice Richardson - Anne B. Real
Elephant - Harris Savides
In America - Declan Quinn
Northfork - M. David Mullen
Quattro Noza - Derek Cianfrance
Shattered Glass - Mandy Walker
Best Foreign Film
City of God (Brazil)
Lilya 4-Ever (Denmark)
The Magdalene Sisters (England/Ireland)
The Triplets of Belleville (France)
Whale Rider (New Zealand)
The Fog of War
Mayor of the Sunset Strip
OT: our town
Directed first feature, the critically acclaimed "The House of Sand and Fog"
Launched his own Toronto-based production house, called Canned Films
Established himself in Los Angeles as a director of television commercials and music videos
Studied film at Ryerson University's prestigious School of Image Arts
Helmed second feature, the independently financed, "The Life Before Her Eyes"
Left Kiev at age 14 for Western Europe, living in Vienna and Rome
Left Europe with mother and moved to Canada
Born in 1963 in Kiev, and raised with his immediate and extended family in a communal flat
As a first-time writer and director, Vadim Perelman has in one stroke created a film that generated a good share of Oscar buzz. With "House of Sand and Fog" (2003), Perelman made a tragic film that revealed the underbelly of the American Dream through several people struggling with and against each other for their piece of the pie. Starring Ben Kingsley as an Iranian immigrant in search of a better life, and Jennifer Connelly as an alcoholic housemaid who loses her home to Kingsley after a bureaucratic error, "House of Sand and Fog" was an uphill challenge for Perelman to make. Ever crafty and determined, Perelman, who fought over a hundred other interested parties to gain the rights to the best selling novel by Andre Dubus III, managed to get the film into production with little money or studio help. But despite the difficult haul, Perelman told the story that he wanted to tell without interference-a rare thing for even the most seasoned director.