A successful director in both his native England and America, Roger Michell helmed such big-budget hits as "Notting Hill" (1999) and "Changing Lanes" (2002), while also earning critical respect for sm...
There is one scene in Hyde Park on Hudson where it's apparent how sharp and layered Billy Murray's portrayal of the 32nd President of the United States Franklin Roosevelt is. The film centers on the historic meeting of King George VI and the president at FDR's titular compound — a culture clash that worried both parties to no end. After their first lengthy meal FDR takes Bertie into his study for another round of drinks. Roosevelt sits him down to talk about his recent appointment as the King of England and the potential for war overseas. Bertie stammers out his concerns aware that his country has lost faith in him. FDR is nothing but comforting while he lifts his polio-stricken legs out of a wheelchair and maneuvers across the room. "If I were your father I'd be proud of you " he says with a grin.
Murray has always been a charmer dating as far back as his first season on Saturday Night Live and that demeanor makes him a perfect fit for America's only four-term President. But Hyde Park on Hudson wastes the opportunity of hiring Murray for the gig which opts not to hone in on the FDR/Bertie relationship in favor of another angle: Roosevelt's habit for mistresses.
Laura Linney plays Margaret Suckley a distant cousin of FDR's in whom the sitting President randomly decides to take a fancy. He calls her up out of the blue and immediately the two start finding romance in each other's company. A car ride out into the middle of a lavender field (and an impassioned sexual act) seals the deal. Margaret is infatuated with Franklin and the POTUS reciprocates.
And that's about it. The film is based on diaries discovered later in history and as far as the events of the movie are concerned their scandalous relationship went fairly uninterrupted. Alluded to in Hyde Park on Hudson Roosevelt's wife Eleanor had an understanding with her husband that allowed her to live on her own (and quite possibly have uncouth relationships herself) and for him to seek comfort with whomever he pleased.
The success of the other recent Bertie story The King's Speech may be cause for the meandering focus of Hyde Park on Hudson never quite confident to dive deep into any of sides of Roosevelt. But the film is at its richest when the spotlight is on King George. Actor Samuel West lives in the shadow of Colin Firth's Oscar-winning performance but he's still the most interesting character in the film struggling to shake off his commanding wife and become his own man. But Hyde Park on Hudson always goes back to the Margaret/Franklin relationship a vapid core idea that only offers the filmmakers an opportunity to shoot dynamic driving scenes through scenic upstate New York.
There is little conflict in Hyde Park on Hudson the greatest hurdle being Bertie's will-he/won't-he-eat-a-hot-dog predicament which sends the Brits into a tizzy. After an hour (and approximately 18 stamp collecting conversations) into the Hyde Park on Hudson it's apparent that the film is content with reenacting the events of the famous King and Queen visit and letting Murray's vibrant performance do the talking. Linney's intriguing mistress role fizzles out — it wasn't a big deal for FDR back 1939 and it hasn't gained any weight 70 years later.
They say if you make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, so it's no wonder the 50th Annual New York Film Festival is enjoying so many buzzed about films in its lineup, which was recently announced. Aside from the previously announced opening and closing night films — Ang Lee's Life of Pi, which will open the festival with NYFF's first-ever 3-D screening, and Robert Zemeckis' Flight — NYFF has laid out 32 films to be screened at this year's fest. And the list includes a few projects you've probably already caught wind of.
The Bill Murray-starrer Hyde Park on the Hudson is the film in which the classic comic actor takes on Franklin D. Roosevelt. Cineophiles who've been waiting patiently to see the winner of the Cannes Film Festival Palm d'Or can rejoice because Amour is also gracing the long list of films hitting New York's Lincoln Center. Other highlights include Christina Hendricks as an unhappy mother in Ginger and Rosa and Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace in Brian DePalma's erotic thriller Passion.
Check out the full 2012 lineup and check back in September for coverage from Hollywood.com:
Amour (directed by Michael Haneke)
Araf—Somewhere In Between (Yesim Ustaoglu)
Barbara (Christian Petzold)
Beyond the Hills/Dupa dealuri (Cristian Mungiu)
Bwakaw (Jun Robles Lana)
Camille Rewinds/Camille Redouble (Noémie Lvovsky)
Caesar Must Die/Cesare deve morire (Paolo Taviani)
The Dead Man and Being Happy/El muerto y ser feliz (Javier Rebollo)
Fill the Void/Lemale et ha’chalal (Rama Burshtein)
First Cousin Once Removed (Alan Berliner)
Flight (Robert Zemeckis)
Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)
The Gatekeepers/Shomerei Ha’saf (Dror Moreh)
Ginger and Rosa (Sally Potter)
Here and There/Aquí y Allá (Antonio Méndez Esparza)
Holy Motors (Léos Carax)
Hyde Park on Hudson (Roger Michell)
Kinshasa Kids (Marc-Henri Wajnberg)
The Last Time I Saw Macao/A Última Vez Que Vi Macau (João Pedro Rodrigues)
Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor)
Life of Pi (Ang Lee)
Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami)
Lines of Wellington/Linhas de Wellington (Valeria Sarmiento)
Memories Look at Me/Ji Yi Wang Zhe Wo (Song Fang)
Night Across the Street/La Noche de enfrente (Raul Ruiz)
No (Pablo Larrain)
Not Fade Away (David Chase)
Our Children/À perdre la raison (Joachim Lafosse)
Passion (Brian de Palma)
Something in the Air/Après Mai (Olivier Assayas)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes)
You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet/Vous n’avez encore rien vu (Alain Resnais)
NYFF kicks off Sept. 28 at New York's Lincoln Center.
[Photo Credit: Fox 2000]
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Bill Murray, one of the the greatest comedians and dramatists of our time, is finally accepting a role worthy of his regality: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (not that Carl Spackler wasn't pretty glorious...but this is better). New images of Murray in Hyde Park on Hudson, the Roger Michell film that stars Murray as our 32nd president, are now available. Beside Murray, we can see cast members Olivia Williams (as Eleanor Roosevelt), Laura Linney (as Margaret Stuckley) and Olivia Colman (Queen Elizabeth.
All these in addition to the previous, very Rooseveltian image, make for some hefty anticipation of this historical drama. Source: Focus Features via Indiewire
Director Roger Mitchell spent an entire year trying to court the reclusive Bill Murray into starring in his FDR biopic Hyde Park on the Hudson. The actor, notorious for his unresponsiveness to script inquiries and studio calls, eventually got back to him. In text form. "Yes, I'll do it."
And do it he did, as USA Today gives us a sneak peek into the making of the film and our first look at Murray in character. The movie chronicles King George VI and Queen Elizabeth's 1939 visit to Roosevelt's home in upstate New York, a time when the President was knee deep in an affair with his cousin Daisy (played in the film by Laura Linney). Murray sure looks the part in this first snapshot, and according to the article, he went to great lengths to study Roosevelt as well as polio victims to further embody the political figure.
He may not like returning phone calls, but when he's on, he's on.
Hyde Park on the Hudson should arrive in theaters sometime in 2012.
Bill Murray is the man. He doesn't have an agent, his lawyer basically signs contracts for him and if you want to reach him for a role you have to dial a toll free number and leave a message. He may or may not check the messages once a week.
In Hollywood that means you have balls.
But he is still a working actor and the latest role that he has agreed to take is quite presidential. He will play Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park on the Hudson, an adaptation of the 2009 radio play by Richard Nelson. While Nelson will write the screenplay for the film, Morning Glory's Roger Michell will direct.
Murray is one of those actors that slides easily from comedy to drama. Though there isn't much humor to be found in playing FDR, Murray nevertheless will bring charisma to a role that no other could. Then again, he's incredibly iffy when it comes to picking projects so this very well may be a ruse. But if it does happen? Should be excellent!
The actress admits she was "nervous" about portraying an upstart TV producer in the comedy and even tried to convince Michell she wasn't right for the project.
She tells MovieHole.net, "I tried to talk Roger out of it a few times, and thankfully he didn't listen to me. I was very nervous about playing this character and taking on this part, and I didn't want to let him down. I was very hesitant and we talked about it a little bit and he put my fears at bay."
And McAdams insists she owes her performance to the filmmaker, who encouraged her to let loose on the set.
She recalls, "I think what Roger did for me which was so great was he got me out of my head and into my body. He said, 'Just run around - wave your arms and something will happen.' So that's kind of how I got through this movie."
'Megamind' leads one of the most star-filled weekends of the year as Brad Pitt, Will Ferrell, Robert Downey, Jr., Denzel Washington, Tina Fey, Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford do box office battle.
Dreamworks’ animated 'Megamind' makes its two in a row with $30 million for the weekend against a small 35% second weekend drop. The all-star animated feature took on Robert Downey Jr. and newcomers Denzel Washington and Harrison Ford to remain on top at the nation's theatres. The film has earned close to $90 million after just ten days of release.
In the second spot with $23.5 million is Twentieth Century Fox’s action packed train chase drama 'Unstoppable.' Denzel Washington and director Tony Scott have joined forces yet again and have collaborated on four other films including the train-themed re-make of 'The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3,' 'Deja Vu,' 'Man on Fire' and 'Crimson Tide.' Those films had an average opening weekend performance of $21.3 million and given the draw of Chris Pine who portrayed Captain James T. Kirk in J.J. Abrams 2009 hit re-boot of “Star Trek” and Washington’s undeniable appeal, “Unstoppable” performed at a level above the average for the pair.
In its second weekend of release, the Todd Phillips comedy 'Due Date' delivered $15.5 million and with a second weekend drop of 52% the film has earned a total gross through Sunday of close to $60 million. The film opened in second place last weekend with a solid $32.7 million but was able to dominate the mid-week box office derby vs. the more family and therefore weekend friendly 'Megamind.' For reference, Phillips’ 2009 comedy juggernaut 'The Hangover' dropped 27% in its second weekend while on its way to becoming the highest R-rated comedy of all-time.
Check out our exclusive 'Skyline' themed comic strip from Francesco Marciuliano. Francesco writes the internationally-syndicated comic strip “Sally Forth” and the webcomic “Medium Large.” He was the head writer for the PBS series “SeeMore’s Playhouse,” for which one of his episodes won two 2007 Daytime Emmys. He currently writes for the Onion News Network.
The number four spot goes to Universal and Relativity Media’s sci-fi newcomer “Skyline” with $11.7 million. Starring Eric Balfour the special effects-laden film offered fans of the genre some extra-terrestrial fun and therefore performed with an as expected debut.
Rounding out the top five with $9.6 million is the comedy 'Morning Glory' from Paramount. Harrison Ford brings his 'Working Girl' comedy chops back to the big screen with co-stars Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams. Roger Michell, who directed 1999's 'Notting Hill,' attracted women, the date crowd and older audiences to this story set around a morning TV news show. With the younger demographic relating to McAdams and older audiences identifying with Ford and Keaton, 'Morning Glory,' which opened Wednesday, has a five day total of $12.2 million.
The second weekend of the Holiday Movie Season will mark a milestone with year-to-date revenues crossing the $9 billion mark with seven weeks left in the box office year. The even better news is that one of the biggest films of the year, Warner Bros.’ 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1' set to open this Friday to an expected massive box-office debut.
Weekend Box Office
Top 10 Movies - Weekend of November 12, 2010 (Estimates)
Due Date (R)
Morning Glory (PG-13)
For Colored Girls (R)
Paranormal Activity 2 (R)
Saw 3D (R)
Jackass 3D (R)
The Notebook star plays an aspiring news producer in the upcoming romantic comedy, and one sequence sees the actress getting steamy with Wilson.
But the scene left McAdams with a string of injuries.
She tells the Sydney Daily Telegraph, "I got bumps and bruises doing the love scenes because they wanted us to be kind of tumbling as we got in the bedroom.
"Roger (Michell), our director, thought it would work if we were rolling around. Awkward at first, like always, but this one had to be so mapped out because of the kind of comic moves that Patrick and I do that there was more laughing than any kind of embarrassment."
It looks like 'Megamind' will be going for two in a row this weekend as the all-star animated feature from Dreamworks and Paramount fends off stalwart Robert Downey Jr. and newcomers Denzel Washington and Harrison Ford to remain on top at the nation's theatres.
Paramount’s 'Megamind,' Dreamworks’ animated film featuring an all-star voice cast including Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill is poised for another weekend at the top of the box office chart. Using the box office trajectory of the similarly performing 'How to Train Your Dragon' as a guide, a second weekend drop in the mid-30 percent range would give the film a chart topping performance of around $30 million and over $80 by the end of the weekend.
Todd Phillips comedy 'Due Date' should generate revenues in the low $20 millions with a second weekend drop of around 30% and a total gross through Sunday of close to $75 million. The film opened in second place last weekend with a solid $32.7 million but has been dominating the mid-week box office derby vs. the more family and therefore weekend friendly 'Megamind.' For reference, Phillips’ 2009 comedy juggernaut 'The Hangover' dropped 27% in its second weekend while on its way to becoming the highest R-rated comedy of all-time.
Denzel Washington and director Tony Scott join forces yet again for Twentieth Century Fox’s action packed train chase drama “Unstoppable.” The pair has collaborated on four other films including the train-themed re-make of 'The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3,' 'Deja Vu,' 'Man on Fire' and 'Crimson Tide.' Those films had an average opening weekend performance of $21.3 million and given the co-star power of Chris Pine who portrayed Captain James T. Kirk in J.J. Abrams 2009 hit re-boot of 'Star Trek,' the film is looking to debut around the $20 million mark.
Harrison Ford brings his 'Working Girl' comedy chops back to the big screen with co-stars Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams in 'Morning Glory' from Paramount. Roger Michell, who directed 1999's 'Notting Hill,' hopes to attract women, the date crowd and older audiences to this story set around a morning TV news show. With the younger demographic relating to McAdams and older audiences identifying with Ford and Keaton, 'Morning Glory,' which opened Wednesday, should wind up with close to $15 million by the end of the weekend.
The No. 5 spot will likely go to Universal's sci-fi newcomer 'Skyline,' which offers fans of the genre some extra-terrestrial fun and therefore should wind up in the low teens. However, battling the aliens for fifth place will be Lionsgate's 'For Colored Girls' with an expected gross of over $10 million. Perry's early 2010 release, 'Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married,' dropped 62 per cent in its second weekend, but given the older audience demographic of this latest film and its lower opening weekend number, a smaller drop in the 50 per cent range is to be expected.
The second weekend of the Holiday Movie Season will mark a milestone with year-to-date revenues crossing the $9 billion mark with seven weeks left in the box office year.
Morning Glory like its director Roger Michell’s most notable film Notting Hill doesn’t reinvent the wheel but takes it for a pleasant spin around town. He trades the grey skies of London for the skyscrapers of Manhattan with a fun if formulaic romantic comedy that boasts an impressive but underused cast including Harrison Ford Diane Keaton and Jeff Goldblum.
Of course the real star of the show is Becky Fuller the behind-the-scenes boss of fictional network IBS’ (what a name) fledgling morning show Daybreak played by America’s newest sweetheart Rachel McAdams. She gives Becky spunk sexiness and a strong resolve to succeed in a business that isn’t kind to new recruits. Her task is simple to grasp but hard to execute: revive the show and boost its ratings. Had she been working with Matt Lauer or Diane Sawyer the job would’ve been easy but the film would’ve missed out on the possibilities for screwball workplace comedy.
The heartiest laughs are provided by supporting characters like Ty Burell’s Paul McVee who is more entertaining to watch in his ten minutes of screen time than the majority of the core cast throughout the film’s 102 minute run. Not every character is meant for comic relief though like Ford’s growling curmudgeon Mike Pomeroy a hard-nosed award-winning journalist and relic of the past in a world more interested in “fluff” over facts. Pomeroy is strong-armed by Becky into Daybreak co-hosting duties because of a clause in his contract and he does everything he can to make her life a living hell. His reluctance to cooperate is eventually undermined as a result of a “mutual understanding” between the two but it feels unauthentic as he betrays his own ideals for a barely developed friendship.
Even more phony is the virtually useless love angle between Becky and Adam Bennett (Patrick Wilson) a fellow producer at IBS who advises her not to hire Pomeroy based on his own negative experience with the seasoned commentator. You could remove the character from the film completely without affecting the end result. Unfortunately the same can be said for Keaton’s co-host Colleen Peck whose arc mirrors Ford’s but who arrives at the finish line first. It’s a shame really because both are fine actors who could have done a lot more with characters with a bit more depth.
Its message about the sad state of American media aside depth isn’t what Morning Glory is about. This is a cheery comedy with a few chuckles and plenty of charm. Sure it’s silly but it’s definitely not stupid and doesn’t get overly sentimental. The script courtesy of The Devil Wears Prada scribe Aline Brosh McKenna is sharp enough to entertain if you don’t think too hard about it. It may not be the most memorable movie you’ll see this winter but it’ll surely bring a smile to your face.
Directed Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in romantic comedy "Notting Hill"
Made the documentary "Ready When You Are, Mr. Patel" about the Indian actor Harish Patel
Directed "Titanic Town," a dramatic film about Northern Ireland
Joined Royal Shakespeare company; directed "Some Americans Abroad," which transferred to Broadway 1990
Made television debut directing with BBC miniseries "Downtown Lagos"
Directed Daniel Craigh in British film "The Mother"
Co-wrote with Richard Mahar the play "Private Dick"; won the Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival
Helmed "Hyde Park on Hudson," starring Bill Murray as Franklin D. Roosevelt
Worked at the Royal Court Theatre as an assistant director to noted British playwright John Osborne and Irish playwright Samuel Beckett
Directed Peter O'Toole and Leslie Phillips as two eccentric veterans of the stage in "Venus"
Directed comedy feature "Morning Glory," starring Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, and Diane Keaton
Helmed Joe Penhall's first play for London's National Theatre "Blue/ Orange"
Directed the feature adaptation of "My Night With Reg," based on the play he also directed
Directed "Changing Lanes," starring Samuel Jackson and Ben Affleck
Directed and co-wrote the award-winning miniseries "The Buddha of Suburbia" for the BBC2
Directed first feature, Jane Austen's "Persuasion"; aired on television in the U.K.
Re-teamed with Craig for the thriller "Enduring Love"
A successful director in both his native England and America, Roger Michell helmed such big-budget hits as "Notting Hill" (1999) and "Changing Lanes" (2002), while also earning critical respect for small, more intimate features like "Titanic Town" (1998) and "The Mother" (2003). Following an award-winning debut as a theater director in the late 1970s and early '80s, Michell moved into directing for television, including such BAFTA-winning efforts as "The Buddha of Suburbia" (BBC, 1993) and "Persuasion" (1995). His work on the small screen attracted the attention of writer Richard Curtis, who tapped Michell to direct the Julia Roberts/Hugh Grant romantic comedy "Notting Hill" (1999), one of the highest grossing British films in history, which in turn led to assignments in America like "Changing Lanes" (2002), starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson. His subsequent efforts varied in tone and quality, from intense small dramas like "The Mother" and "Enduring Love" (2004), comedies like "Venus" (2006) with Peter O'Toole, and major Hollywood efforts like "Morning Glory" (2010). Though not every film was a hit, Michell's ability to move between genres marked him as one of the most versatile filmmakers on the international scene.