Director Daniel Schechter endured an emotional night at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) when he premiered his movie Life Of Crime because he keenly felt the loss of author Elmore Leonard, who died just weeks before the project was finished. The abduction comedy, based on the revered writer's 1978 novel The Switch, debuted in Canada on Saturday (14Sep13) and Schechter reveals he was tinged with sadness as he walked the red carpet without Leonard by his side.
The late author is credited as an executive producer on Life of Crime, but didn't get to see the final cut before his death last month (Aug13).
Speaking to reporters at the premiere, Schechter said, "He didn't get a chance to see the film, which crushed me...
"Like a cruel joke, he had a heart attack and passed away two weeks later. But he heard the film got into TIFF, so it's nice that he knew to some extent it was getting some love."
Leonard suffered a stroke and died on 20 August (13), aged 87.
Life of Crime stars Jennifer Aniston as the wife of a wealthy businessman, who is kidnapped and held for ransom.
Director Daniel Schechter faced a race against time to finish his new film adaptation of one of Elmore Leonard's books as he wanted the author to see it before he died. The moviemaker has adapted Elmore's book The Switch into a film called Life Of Crime, starring Jennifer Aniston, but the writer passed away on Tuesday (20Aug13), three weeks after suffering a stroke, before he could see the finished version.
Schechter admits he tried his best to complete work on the movie when he heard Leonard's health was failing, but he was unable to finish in time.
He tells Deadline.com, "A week before his stroke, I wrote him a letter because he wanted to see the film and I asked for three weeks. By then, I'd have the score, the sound would be mixed, all the effects would be done. I showed him the sizzle reel I made for the crew and he got a kick out of that. I re-read the letter this morning and it made me want to cry."
The moviemaker insists the film's premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Canada next month (Sep13) will be dedicated to Leonard.
He adds, "That night in Toronto was always going to be dedicated to him because his book brought us together and he was such a massive influence on me,. It will be a very bittersweet evening. We were ready to fly him out, get him a nice seat and let him see the audience respond to 35-year-old jokes that really hold up and characters that really touch people. It's heartbreaking to not get to do that."
The Switch, which was published in 1978, is a prequel to 1992's Rum Punch, which Quentin Tarantino transformed into hit 1997 movie Jackie Brown.
Actors have always jumped at the chance to take part in a big-screen adaptation of an Elmore Leonard story, and the beloved novelists latest film project is starting to attract major talent.
Deadline reports that Jennifer Aniston - fresh off her most successful year in cinema in ages thanks to Just Go With It and Horrible Bosses - is in talks to join Switch, a film project first reported to be a prequel of sorts to Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown. In truth, it's not a prequel, but rather a parallel tale that is intersected by characters who appeared in the 1997 neo-noir. She'd play a woman who's kidnapped by two ex-cons in an attempt to extort money from her seedy real estate developer husband, a role being circled by Dennis Quaid. The twist? When the husband refuses to pay, the angry wife teams with the two ex-cons to swindle all of his money. Already cast are Oscar nominee John Hawkes, Mos Def and Ty Burrell. Daniel Schechter will write and direct.
What's most interesting about this project is the fact Hawkes and Mos Def will be playing younger versions of the two main characters in Jackie Brown - Louis Gara and Ordell Robbie, previously incarnated by Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson. The dynamic established between these two actors was highly entertaining, and the fate of this film may largely depend on whether or not Hawkes and Mos Def will be able to replicate that chemistry. Plus, they'll need to score points with nostalgic audiences who loved the original pairing. The addition of two more familiar and revered faces like Aniston and Quaid will serve as a back up plan, though. If she can bring the kind of ruthlessness she injected into Horrible Bosses in her role as a scorned wife, she'll easily steal the show.
A May production date is being eyed for Switch.