The AFM A-list
Titles likely to create buzz among buyers.CORRECTED Monday, Nov. 12 10:25 a.m. PT
Against All Enemies
Robert Redford takes an unusual step into the independent arena with this adaptation of Washington insider Richard A. Clarke's best-seller of the same name, picked up by Capitol in turnaround from Columbia. The Oscar-winning director of 1980's "Ordinary People" (and MGM/United Artists' upcoming Tom Cruise starrer "Lions for Lambs") will helm the contemporary drama, chronicling how the Bush administration handled the threat posed by Al Qaeda. John Calley and Tracy Falco are producing the film, which was initially developed for Paul Haggis to direct, before he turned his attentions to Warner Independent Pictures' recently released "In the Valley of Elah."
Ed Harris reteams with Viggo Mortensen, his co-star in David Cronenberg's 2005 drama "A History of Violence" -- only this time Harris writes and directs. Renee Zellweger will also topline the movie, playing Harris' love interest in the Western about two grizzled lawmen who are hired by a frontier town to protect them against an unscrupulous businessman. The movie is currently shooting in New Mexico and is one of the first to be financed by Groundswell Films, the company recently formed by producer Michael London. Robert Knott co-wrote the screenplay.
Three of the leading young actors in Hollywood -- Natalie Portman, Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal -- are joining forces to star in "Brothers," a remake of Danish helmer Susanne Bier's 2004 movie, for financier Relativity Media. Bier, an Oscar nominee for 2006's "After the Wedding," won't direct, but another Academy Award nominee will -- Jim Sheridan (1989's "My Left Foot"). The drama centers on a young woman who seeks comfort in the arms of her husband's black-sheep brother after the former has gone MIA on a military mission in Afghanistan. Their story takes a twist when the husband returns. David Benioff (Paramount Vantage's "The Kite Runner") scripted the movie, which is being produced by Michael De Luca, Ryan Kavanaugh and Joni Sighvatsson. Shooting gets under way this month.
The Burning Plain
Oscar-nominated Mexican scribe Guillermo Arriaga (2006's "Babel," 2000's "Amores Perros") steps behind the camera for the first time to direct his own script. Charlize Theron stars in this ensemble drama that starts shooting in Portland, Ore., and New Mexico in November. At press time, Kim Basinger was also in talks to co-star. The movie centers on two tragic love stories -- one involving a couple who die while having an affair, the other involving the couple's children -- and, like Arriaga's other scripts, explores the mysterious connections between characters living in different times and places. Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald produce.
Chilled in Miami
Gold Circle Films
Renee Zellweger stars in this quirky comedy about a Miami businesswoman who's transferred to rural Minnesota, where she finds love in the form of Harry Connick Jr. The project was originally set up at Universal, where it went under the moniker "32 and Single," and Universal is still expected to distribute domestically. Shooting gets under way in January, after Zellweger completes "Appaloosa." Jonas Elmer directs from a screenplay by Ken Rance and C. Jay Cox.
Ralph Fiennes and Keira Knightley star this real-life drama about an 18th century aristocrat who could be seen as a prototype for her descendant, Princess Diana. The movie is based on Amanda Foreman's biography, "Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire," and also stars Hayley Atwell and Dominic Cooper. It will be released domestically by Paramount Vantage, which picked up the North American rights for a reported $7 million during the Toronto International Film Festival.
Billy Bob Thornton and Kim Basinger star in this drama adapted by novelist Bret Easton Ellis from his collection of autobiographical short stories set over the course of one week in Los Angeles in 1983. Gregor Jordan (2001's "Buffalo Soldiers") directs the film, which interweaves seven different tales about |vampires, rock 'n' roll and movie executives and marks the first time that Ellis has adapted from his own work. He wrote the screenplay with Nicholas Jarecki, who also executive produces. Shooting is under way in Los Angeles, Uruguay and Buenos Aires.
Mexican heartthrob Gael Garcia Bernal teams with Scandinavian bad boy Lars von Trier in this English-language drama about a young New Yorker who tries to change his life while on vacation in Thailand with his wife. Von Trier produces the film, a collaboration between his Danish-based Zentropa Entertainment and Sweden's Memfis Film. Swedish helmer Lukas Moodysson (1998's "Show Me Love," 2002's "Lilya 4-ever") directs, with a shoot spread across New York, Thailand and the Philippines.
German superstar Franka Potente plays the title role in this ninth century drama about a woman who disguises herself as a man and rises through the ranks of the Vatican. Sonke Wortmann recently replaced veteran director Volker Schlondorff on this adaptation of Donna Woolfolk Cross' best-selling novel. Wortmann, the maker of the 2006 soccer documentary "Germany: A Summer's Fairytale," reportedly beat out several other prominent directors in getting the job after Schlondorff left over creative differences. Shooting is expected to begin early next year.
Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is coming to the screen, with
Viggo Mortensen and Guy Pearce in leading roles. John Hillcoat -- who made a splash helming the 2006 Australian western "The Proposition" -- will direct from a screenplay by Joe Penhall, with shooting set to begin in New Orleans in January. The book, an apocalyptic tale about a father and son who walk through a ravaged post-war America, is the third recent McCarthy adaptation, following Billy Bob Thornton's 2000 drama "All the Pretty Horses" and the Coen brothers' current Miramax release "No Country for Old Men." Nick Wechsler produces.
Director James Gray returns to the cameras following the success of his latest film, "We Own the Night," also from Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner's 2929 Prods. This movie, which he also wrote, reteams him with Joaquin Phoenix, the star of "Night" and 2000's "The Yards." Phoenix plays a wayward 30-something who must choose between a girl-next-door type and the wild woman who actually lives next door. Donna Gigliotti produces the movie, which starts shooting in Brooklyn in November.
Veonika Decides to Die
Best-selling author Paolo Coelho's novel about a young woman who finds true love in a mental institution -- only to discover she has mere days to live -- comes to the screen with Kate Bosworth set to play the eponymous heroine. While Coelho is best known for his 1993 literary sensation "The Alchemist," "Veronika" alone has sold 9 million copies worldwide. Emily Young, who received BAFTA's Carl Foreman Award for her first feature film (2003's "Kiss of Life") directs the movie, which is expected to start shooting in New York later this year. Producers are Muse Films' Chris Hanley and Das Films' Sriram Das. Larry Gross (2004's "We Don't Live Here Anymore") and Roberta Hanley wrote the script.
The Young Victoria
Initial Entertainment Group
Emily Blunt stars as the monarch whose name became synonymous with the 19th century in this much-anticipated period piece from Oscar-winning producers
Graham King and Martin Scorsese. The movie, which also features a stellar cast of British supporting actors, including Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson and Jim Broadbent, shot this summer and fall in and around London. Its story centers on the beginning of Victoria's reign, her romance with the dashing Prince Albert, her attempts to deal with her first prime ministers, Lord Melbourne and Sir Robert Peel, and her struggles to win over the public. Julian Fellowes (2001's "Gosford Park") scripted. Jean-Marc Vallee (2005's "C.R.A.Z.Y.") directs.