Remember when, for a hot second, Lindsay Lohan was supposed to play '70s porn icon Linda Lovelace in a biopic while a similar project was also being shopped around Hollywood? Well, thank god we got to see Amanda Seyfried play her first, because she is absolutely perfect in Lovelace, which debuted at Sundance on Tuesday night. Poor Malin Akerman, who took Lindsay's place, is going to have some big, um, shoes (?) to fill.
Seyfried is one of those actresses where you could always see promise (either as a ditz in Mean Girls or a conflicted polygamist in Big Love) but whose subsequent movie work has been, well, to call it "sub par" would be a compliment. (I mean, In Time anyone?) Expectations were also low for directors Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein's Lovelace. I guess that's what happens when you make a movie about porn — everyone thinks that the product is going to be just as lackluster as its subject matter. I'm happy to report that Lovelace is far better than expectations, especially Seyfried, who gives one of those raw, vulnerable, and nuanced performances that earn ingenues their first Oscar nomination.
History already told the story of Lovelace, who grew up in New York and Florida and made the most famous porn movie of all time, Deep Throat. She later wrote a book, Ordeal, about her experience making the movie and her abusive husband, Chuck Traynor, who forced her into it. She then became an outspoken critic of the porn industry as a whole before her death in 2002.
The movie starts out like any other biopic, showing her rise to fame and the strict parents that pushed her into the arms of Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard). When we get halfway through, after the making of Deep Throat, the evidence of abuse is already starting to show and it's easy to think the film will be another What's Love Got to Do with It. (Things will get worse and worse before she finally leaves.) That's when the movie plays a keen trick. Instead of continuing forward, it goes backward, reshowing the scenes we already saw but with added details. For instance, Linda and Chuck's first night as a married couple wasn't a scene of married bliss as we were first lead to believe. It was actually the first night Chuck raped Linda.
This is a keen tactic because it mimics Linda's story as it unfolded to the public and it uses our expectations of the genre and turns them on their head (though forces them on their back might be a more apt analogy). We knew her as the porn star, passing all sorts of judgements on her and her profession, and later had to rethink those things when the real nature of her relationship with Traynor came to light.
Along with Seyfried, who cannily occupies the head space of an abused woman who vacillates between trying to please everyone and trying to escape, the cast is an embarrassment of riches. The underused and always amazing Debi Mazar plays a fellow porn star, James Franco does a cameo as Hugh Hefner, Chris Noth plays a shady financier, Adam Brody as porn star Harry Reems, Hank Azaria is a badly touped director, Bobby Cannavale is a producer, and Chloë Sevigny shares one short scene with her Big Love costar as a reporter (reunion alert!). Now we need to talk about Sharon Stone, who is completely unrecognizable as Linda's harsh and disapproving mother Dorothy, who practically pushes her daughter into the arms of an abusive man and lives to regret it. It's the best thing she's done since Casino.
As for the movie itself, it has some problems. After retracing the story, it picks up six years in the future when Linda goes public with her allegations of abuse. While it's important to see what she has become, we never get to see her transformation and we never get to see just how she got away from Chuck and into a loving relationship and a quiet life on Long Island. From a journalistic standpoint, that's the information we want to know. We want to see Seyfried make the transformation from a scared bird on a porn set to a staunch domestic violence advocate on Donahue. There haven't been any actresses who started a successful career making porn, but it looks like Seyfried might be the first.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Millennium Films]
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The world has been spoiled by the supernatural transformation undergone by Sir Anthony Hopkins for the upcoming film Hitchcock (previously titled Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho), but all things considered, Amanda Seyfried's aesthetic take on Linda Lovelace is none too shabby. Seyfried will play the pornographic film star in the biopic Lovelace, which has released a new poster.
Seyfried certainly doesn't look like herself in the image. The young actress is known for her inimitable giant green eyes and light blond hair, both of which she has shed to become the darker Lovelace and tell her severe story.
Peter Sarsgaard plays Lovelace's abusive husband and manager Chuck Traynor, who is said to have forced her into the pornography business. Other noteworthy figures from counterculture will be represented in the film, including Hugh Hefner (played by James Franc) and Gloria Steinem (Sarah Jessica Parker).
Check out the poster below, and consider whether or not you think Malin Akerman will be able to top this for the rival biopic Inferno (or if she'll ever have to).
More:Exclusive: Gone Star Amanda Seyfried Talks Lovelace and Les MiserablesNew Lovelace Poster Depicts Amanda Seyfried Deep in CharacterAmanda Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard Show the Calm Before the Storm in Lovelace Image
Amanda Seyfried will embody adult film star Linda Lovelace in the upcoming biopic Lovelace. The actress is kicking things off by emulating a poster for Lovelace's iconic contribution to the industry, Deep Throat. Alongside Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard will star as Linda Lovelace's abusive husband and manager Chuck Traynor, the man who forced her into her infamous career. Sharon Stone, James Franco, Sarah Jessica Parker, Juno Temple, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, Bobby Cannavale and Robert Patrick also make up the impressive cast.
Check out the new poster, then head over to a previously released Lovelace photo here!
Recent days have been substantially traumatic for Demi Moore, who was hospitalized after a drug overdose, then checked into rehab and dropped out of the developing Linda Lovelace biopic Lovelace. Here's wishing that Moore's recovery is as speedy as the film's casting process: they have already found a replacement for the actress, who was set to play feminist activist Gloria Steinem. Mary Louise Parker, best known as the star of Weeds, has accepted the part.
It was reported recently that Chloe Sevigny might be taking Moore's role, but Parker is now confirmed to be portraying Steinem. Parker's role in the film will be a small one; Lovelace is expected to feature several cameos of present day stars playing adult entertainment industry icons of past. For instance, James Franco will be delivering a brief performance as Hugh Hefner.
The main cast features Amanda Seyfried as the focus of the film, with Peter Sarsgaard playing her abusive husband Chuck Traynor. Additionally, Sharon Stone, Adam Brody, Hank Azaria, Bobby Cannavale, Chris Noth and Robert Patrick are on board.
Mamma Mia! star Amanda Seyfried has replaced Kate Hudson to portray the adult actress-turned-porn activist in the forthcoming project, opposite Peter Sarsgaard as Lovelace's husband Chuck Traynor.
Oscar nominee Franco was previously linked to the role of Traynor, but now he's being touted to take on a smaller part as the Playboy magazine founder, reports trade paper Daily Variety.
The Smurfs star Hank Azaria has joined the cast as Jerry Damiano, the director of hit porn film Deep Throat.
James Franco has decided that he wants to be Hugh Hefner. It's a sentiment a lot of men have harbored. But the difference is: James Franco actually can be Hugh Hefner.
The developing film Lovelace, a biography of pornographic actress Linda Lovelace with Amanda Seyfried playing the lead, involves (pretty understandably) a small appearance by the character of Hefner; Franco has decided he is interested in playing this role. The actor was previously considered for the film's depiction of Chuck Traynor, Lovelace's extremely abusive husband and manager. The role eventually went to Peter Sarsgaard.
Franco's casting is not yet solidified, but the film is not exactly taking its time with the bringing in of talent: new to the cast are Hank Azaria, Bobby Cannavale, Chris Noth and Robert Patrick.
Azaria will be playing Jerry Damiano, who wrote and directed Lovelace's biggest film, Deep Throat. Cannavale and Chris Noth will play two business partners of Traynor. Finally, Patrick will take on the role of Lovelace's father John Boreman, who is defined by the mixed feelings he has over his daughter's career choice. The newcomers will join a cast including Seyfried, Sarsgaard, Wes Bentley, Sharon Stone and Juno Temple.
Lovelace is being directed by the team of Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein, who also helmed the biopic Howl (starring Franco as Allen Ginsberg).
Amanda Seyfried has been tapped to play Linda Lovelace in Lovelace, a biopic about the '70s porn actress, Deadline.com reports. Seyfried steps in for Kate Hudson, who had been slated to play the Deep Throat star before getting pregnant. Peter Sarsgaard (Green Lantern) is in talks to play her husband/svengali Chuck Traynor, a role to which James Franco had once been attached. Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman will direct from a script by Andy Belling and W. Merritt Johnson. The filmmakers expect to begin shooting in January.
Amanda Seyfried stars alongside Justin Timberlake in the sci-fi thriller In Time, which is now playing in theaters. Click below for more images of the doe-eyed beauty:
A crucial step in the career progression of any Serious Actor is a biopic — the more controversial and/or damaged the figure portrayed, the better. Olivia Wilde, most recently seen in such frivolous commercial fare as Tron: Legacy and Cowboys & Aliens, seems primed to take that step toward respectability, and she's lined up a doozy of a subject to help her do it: porn star Linda Lovelace, star of the groundbreaking skin flick Deep Throat. According to E!, Wilde is considering starring in the biopic from directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, Oscar-winning documentarians whose 2010 narrative debut, Howl, starred James Franco as the provocative beat poet Allen Ginsberg.
The news might come as a surprise to Kate Hudson, the actress currently attached to play Lovelace. The role of Lovelace's husband/Svengali, pornographer Chuck Traynor, has reportedly been offered to Franco. A rival Lovelace pic, Inferno, is currently in pre-production, with Matthew Wilder directing and Malin Ackerman slated to star.
The age-old debate over fate vs. free will has been and always will be a tough theme to crack in any medium but with the benefits of modern filmmaking technology the theory can be explored in ways that Philip K. Dick never imagined. However when one relies too heavily on spectacle to tell a story a piece of cerebral science fiction can quickly become just another action extravaganza. In this day and age there’s a fine line between the two; The Matrix walked that tightrope with style and grace while Next never found its footing in the first place. Fortunately the precious work of novelist Dick has for the most part been treated with respect by Hollywood (the aforementioned Nic Cage dud notwithstanding) but that doesn’t necessarily mean movies based on his stories are completely faithful to his vision.
Case in point: George Nolfi’s directorial debut The Adjustment Bureau an adaptation of Dick’s short story “Adjustment Team.” The film stars Matt Damon as David Norris a successful businessman and rising political candidate who after a chance encounter with the girl of his dreams (Emily Blunt) loses a crucial election. He happens to run into her on a Manhattan bus the following week before finding his office swarming with masked men who are “adjusting” everyone inside. Richardson (John Slattery) the man in charge captures Norris who unsuccessfully flees the scene after seeing behind “a curtain he wasn’t even supposed to know existed” as the enigmatic figure puts it. From that point on Norris must live with the knowledge that he (and we for that matter) is not in control of his own life. Rather the choices he makes fit perfectly into “The Plan” that’s been written by “the Chairman”.
In relation to my earlier statement I have to say that Nolfi’s picture looks stunning but his natural urban aesthetic doesn’t overpower the story. Sleek contemporary production design and elegant costumes characterize the high-concept story and the wraithlike agents who shape our destinies. Topically we’re dealing with some heavy material but Nolfi and editor Jay Rabinowitz move the action along at a brisk pace that keeps you engaged and entertained without having to try. The film is properly proportioned as a chase thriller romantic adventure and sci-fi fantasy and thankfully no component overshadows another.
Setting the film in the world of politics and big business helps make its larger-than-life revelations a bit more accessible (as do appearances from Michael Bloomberg Jon Stewart and Chuck Scarborough) while providing sub-text about the corruption involved in elections and campaigns (there are conspicuous shades of The Manchurian Candidate in the movie) but the writer-director often tries too hard for broad appeal. For a film with existential implications as severe as they are here the dialogue is at times hokey and superficial. Dick’s source material is far more abstract and Nolfi for the sake of commercial success panders to the palette of soccer moms and mallrats.
What’s worse is his unwarranted exposition of the Bureau a shadowy organization whose major allure is anonymity. Some secrets are best kept and less can be so much more when crafting a mysterious atmosphere; Nolfi reaches that level of magnetic curiosity but squanders it as he reveals the truth about the Bureau and its grand scheme. On the other hand he brushes over the technical lingo between agents Harry Mitchell (Anthony Mackie) McCrady (Anthony Ruivivar) and others without explanation perhaps hoping that the ambiguous terminology will fool you into thinking that his script is smarter than it really is.
Even though Nolfi’s allegorical conclusions are uncomfortably ham-fisted the chemistry between Damon and Blunt alone is enough to enchant you; this is one highly watchable cinematic pairing that should be revisited as soon as possible. Their innocent relationship blossoms organically and together they make it seem as natural on screen as it is for their star-crossed characters. Even if you have a hard time believing in higher powers or manipulative Orwellian forces you’ll have faith in David and Elise’s fated relationship one of the most captivating couplings I’ve seen on the big-screen in some time.
February 11, 2011 11:55am EST
I hope that I'm not alone in feeling fatigued with the almost daily casting rumors that set James Franco to play everything and everyone from Oz, The Great and Powerful to pornographer Chuck Traynor. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy. He's funny, he's cool and he's got genuine chops. But he's just not right for every role.
That's what makes the latest rumor, which just hit the web courtesy of ScreenCrave, even more nauseating. According to the source, Franco may be next in line to take the lead in Warner Bros. always-developing, never-shooting adaptation of the epic anime Akira. Zac Efron was attached to the project last we heard, but now it seems that Franco has pushed him off the line. What a surprise.
If you're not a nerd, you probably don't know what Akira is. You fail. The story's themes are all-encompassing and quite cerebral, but to break it down as best as I can, I'll say that it is a story set in a dystopian Tokyo and centers on a member of a biker gang who turns into a raging psionic psychopath that only two kids and a group of fellow psionics can stop. The destruction caused is devastating as are its implications about government and humanity. In short, it's science fiction at its best.
Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way is producing the feature, which is said to be directed by The Book of Eli's Hughes Brothers. DiCaprio was once set to star in the role that Franco may be getting (that of Kaneda), the gang leader who is friend to Tetsuo, the dangerous psionic. Lucky Leo would be a better fit for the part, but at almost 40 years old now (Titanic was a looooong time ago) he's too old to portray a teen biker. Efron is actually closest in age and look of Kaneda, but Franco obviously has more street cred. And balls. However, I'm at the point of Franco oversaturation. He seems to be rumored for nearly every big role up for grabs these days and that just seems a bit unfair. I say give Joseph Gordon Levitt a shot. Give Emile Hirsch a shot. Give SOMEBODY ELSE a shot before Franco dies of exhaustion.