Some of the most buzzworthy projects set to debut at the market.An American Crime
(First Look Studios)
It was a crime that the prosecutor called the most terrible ever committed in Indiana. Now, director Tommy O'Haver, a native of Indianapolis, where the incident took place, is bringing the story to the screen. The crime in question centered on Gertrude Baniszewski (Catherine Keener), who, along with two of her children and two neighbors, was accused of torturing a young, attractive teenager to death in the basement of her home during the mid-1960s. Ellen Page, James Franco and Bradley Whitford also star in this "Lord of the Flies"-style drama from Christine Vachon's Killer Films and John Wells, three minutes of which screened at last month's Toronto International Film Festival.
City of Men
Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Meirelles returns to the subject that put him on the world map -- the favelas, or slums, of Rio de Janeiro -- with this follow-up to his critically lauded "City of God," released theatrically in the U.S. in 2003. This time, he produces but does not direct the movie, which will be helmed by Paulo Morelli from a script by Elena Soarez. "Men" is an adaptation of the Sundance Channel series that followed two young fellows on opposing sides of the gang wars that have decimated Rio. Miramax already has purchased domestic rights to the movie, which is set to open in Brazil in early 2007 and domestically later in the year.
The Garden of Elah
Summit is handling international rights to filmmaker Paul Haggis' first directorial outing since 2005's "Crash" scooped the best picture Oscar earlier this year. The war-themed drama, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron, is set for domestic release via Warner Independent Pictures in 2007. Jones portrays a career military man who teams with a police detective after his son goes missing on the way home from a tour of duty in Iraq. Haggis will produce and wrote the screenplay for the movie, which is based loosely on Mark Boal's Playboy magazine article "Death and Dishonor." Shooting is scheduled to begin in late November.
Antonio Banderas and Meg Ryan star in this frothy comedy from writer-director George Gallo, which started shooting in Louisiana in October. The film centers on a young federal agent who discovers that his overweight, out-of-shape mother has miraculously transformed herself into a svelte beauty and is now dating the perfect man -- perfect, except that he is an art thief. The son (Colin Hanks) finds himself in the uncomfortable position of spying on his mother while she's dating in order to trap the thief. Richard Salvatore, Heidi Jo Markel, Julie Lott and Avi Lerner produce. Selma Blair co-stars as Hanks' fiancee.
After earning raves for his feature directorial debut, 2003's "House of Sand and Fog," Vadim Perelman goes back behind the cameras with another literary adaptation, this time taking on Laura Kasischke's novel "The Life Before Her Eyes," about a suburban wife and mother (Uma Thurman) who begins to reevaluate her life as she nears the 20th anniversary of a high school shooting in which her best friend was killed. Evan Rachel Wood plays Thurman's younger self, with Eva Amurri as her friend. Footage from "Bloom," which began shooting in Connecticut in August, will experience its initial unveiling at AFM. Perelman produces with Aimee Peyronnet and Anthony Katagas.
Brendan Fraser and Paul Bettany join Eliza Bennett in an adaptation of Cornelia Funke's best-seller about a girl who teams with real and fictional characters that have sprung from the pages of a book. The girl's mother disappeared years ago under mysterious circumstances, and she is drawn into a web of magic and intrigue as she confronts the evil Capricorn and his followers. British helmer Iain Softley directs. Production on the picture, which also stars Oscar winners Kathy Bates and Jim Broadbent, kicks off in Italy in mid-November.
On the heels of 2005's "Brokeback Mountain," Ang Lee's new film for Focus is an espionage thriller set in 1940s Shanghai that centers on a powerful political figure and the young woman who gets emotionally caught up with him. "Lust" stars Tony Leung and rising Chinese star Tang Wei. Lee and Bill Kong produce the film, which began shooting last month and is based on a short story by the late Chinese author Eileen Chang. Focus is set to release "Lust" domestically in fall 2007.
Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson and Rachel McAdams star in this tentatively titled drama about relationships, love and deception. The movie spans two decades and follows a married man whose affair with a younger woman becomes complicated when he introduces her to his best friend (Brosnan), a womanizer who manipulates the situation so that he ends up with the girl. Based on the John Bingham book "Five Roundabouts to Heaven," "Marriage" is directed by Ira Sachs, who wrote the screenplay with Oren Moverman. The film is shooting in Vancouver. MGM is set to release "Marriage" domestically.
Talk to Me
Don Cheadle, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Taraji P. Henson and Cedric the Entertainer star in this biopic from actress-turned-director Kasi Lemmons. "Talk" is based on the life of Ralph Waldo "Petey" Green, an ex-convict played by Cheadle, who took on the white establishment and became an iconic radio personality during the 1960s. Lemmons wrote the script with Rick Famuyiwa and Michael Genet. Mark Gordon produces with Sidney Kimmel.
John Cusack and Hilary Duff star in this Iraq-conflict satire in which Cusack plays a freelance assassin hired to eliminate a rogue terrorist leader -- only to find his mission complicated when he must pose as the chaperon of a young pop star. The comedy, which also stars Ben Kingsley and Marisa Tomei, was expected to begin shooting Oct. 23 in Bulgaria and Kazakhstan. The film was written by Cusack, Mark Keyner and Jeremy Pikser.
A Woman of No Importance
Annette Bening co-stars with Lindsay Lohan in this adaptation of an Oscar Wilde stage comedy, directed by Bruce Beresford. The Edwardian period piece, now in preproduction, centers on a young American woman who spends a weekend in the English countryside, where she becomes attracted to a struggling bank clerk -- until the despicable Lord Illingworth falls for her, too. Bening plays the penniless banker's mother, whose arrival throws a wrench into Illingworth's plans. Howard Himelstein penned the project, which he is producing with Sarah Radclyffe and Donald Zuckerman.