The son of a Polish-born violinist, Richard Kwietniowski was born and raised in England but felt very much of an outsider, in part because of his homosexuality. (He also jokes in interviews that he wa...
Minnie Driver ("Return to Me") has signed on to star with Philip Seymour Hoffman in Canadian Alliance Atlantis Motion Pictures' "Owning Molony," a film based on the nonfiction book "Stung" by Gary Ross. Richard Kwietniowski ("Love and Death on Long Island") will direct.
Driver will play the girlfriend of Brian Moloney (Hoffman), a mild-mannered Toronto bank manager who has a serious gambling problem. Miraculously, he is given access to an unsupervised account of $20 million and manages to gamble away $12 million in 18 months.
Execs hope to start production before the impending actors' and writers' strikes this summer.
STILING WITH PARAMOUNT, MTV: Julia Stiles, hot off her hit film "Save the Last Dance," has inked a development and production deal with Paramount Pictures and MTV Films. Under the open-ended deal, she will develop starring vehicles and receive producing credit on projects she brings to the table.
"She's a great young actress who is very intelligent, has a good development sense and who wants some control over the pictures she stars in," David Gale, head of MTV Films told Daily Variety. And with the success of her latest film, which has so far grossed $84.6 million domestically, the studio is anxious to work with Stiles again.
Stiles' writing talent has been touted before. In 1998, the Sundance Institute's prestigious Screenwriters Lab selected the then 16-year-old actress to develop a screenplay, "The Anarchist's Daughter," which she wrote with two other writers. She'll be seen next in Universal Pictures' "The Bourne Identity."
TOWNSEND HAS '24 HOURS' : In Columbia's thriller, "24 Hours," Stuart Townsend will join co-star Charlize Theron ("The Legend of Bagger Vance") in a story about a doctor (Townsend) and his wife (Theron) who are forced to take matters into their own hands when two experienced kidnappers (Kevin Bacon and Courtney Love) abduct their little girl.
The Irish actor Townsend will be seen in the upcoming "About Adam" (March 23) and the much-anticipated adaptation of novelist Anne Rice's "Queen of the Damned," which is being released later this year. He will be playing the Vampire Lestat.
'SUN' BEAMS ON THORNTON: Writer/director/actor Billy Bob Thornton will star in the drama "Behind the Sun," scheduled to start shooting March 24 in Louisiana. The script revolves around an intolerant sheriff in a small town who becomes disillusioned when he discovers a statewide conspiracy after a transsexual is murdered.
Thornton directed last year's "All the Pretty Horses" and will be starring in two films for Miramax, "Up in Reno" and "Daddy & Them," the latter of which he wrote and directed.
Short film "Flames of Passion" (made in 1989) received festival screenings
Helmed second film "Owning Mahowny" (lensed 2001), featuring Minnie Driver and Philip Seymour Hoffman
Born and raised in England
Directed short "Actions Speak Louder Than Words"
Wrote and directed first feature "Love and Death on Long Island"
Made first short film "Alfalfa"
The son of a Polish-born violinist, Richard Kwietniowski was born and raised in England but felt very much of an outsider, in part because of his homosexuality. (He also jokes in interviews that he was often teased in school because he doesn't know how to play cricket). After studying film at the University of Kent and Berkeley, he began his career by making experimental shorts. His first, "Alfalfa" (1987), was a nine minute riff on language, offering an alternative alphabet keyed to gay slang (e.g., C is for Clone), and received attention at the 1988 Berlin Film Festival. Kwietniowski followed with "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" (1988), featuring Quentin Crisp in a modern-day rendering of Oscar Wilde's courtroom speech about "the love that dare not speak its name" and "Flames of Passion" (1989), a gay twist on David Lean's 1945 "Brief Encounter", which received much festival exposure. Other short films include "Proust's Favorite Fantasy" and "The Cost of Love" (both 1991) and the 22-minute "Actions Speak Louder Than Words" (1992), which explores the confluence of the gay and hearing-impaired communities.
Since reading Gilbert Adair's novel "Love and Death on Long Island", which echoes Thomas Mann's classic "Death in Venice", Kwietniowski had wanted to make a film based on the book. He wrote the screenplay adaptation of the first-person story about a reclusive British author who becomes obsessed with an American film star and teen heartthrob, and then spent over 18 months trying to find backing for the project. Companies in Italy, Canada and the UK out up the money and the director was able to land the two actors he wanted for the leads, John Hurt and Jason Priestley, both of whom delivered strong performances under his guidance. The modest, quirky comedy earned generally positive notices and grossed over $2.5 million at the US box-office.
Polish; emigrated to England
University of Kent
University of Kent
University of California at Berkeley
His last names is pronounced "kuh-SEE-et-nee-ahv-skee".
"Nobody is terribly interested in me in Britain. I'm a bit of a square peg in a round hole. When we tried to get the film off the ground, we were told it was too ambitious. The British are a bit nervous about obsession and desire." --Richard Kwietniowski to The New York Times, March 13, 1998.
"One of the problems I have, being based in Britain, (is that) most British films are based either in the past or in a gritty realism, which is very socio-economic, so it's a diagnosis of the way certain people live. I tend to come from a different, un-English tradition, which is more about people's interior lives and fantasy and desire." --Richard Kwietniowski to Daily Bruin, Monday March 9, 1998.