Austenland

The elaborate courtship rituals of Jane Austen’s England bear little resemblance to the no-strings hookups and domestic partnerships of the 21st century dating scene, but that hasn’t stopped modern romantics from hoping to find a Mr. Darcy of their very own. In the Sundance romcom Austenland, one particularly hardcore fan gets an opportunity to do just that.

Keri Russell stars as Jane Hayes, who splurges on a trip to an Austen-themed resort complete with Regency costumes, era-appropriate activities, and even handsome suitors (played by paid actors). But the experience isn’t all she’d hoped, and in her disillusionment she finds herself increasingly drawn to “stableboy” Martin (Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords). Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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A few days after the kickoff the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, deal-making is in full swing. The well-reviewed drama The Spectacular Now, by Smashed director James Ponsoldt, is headed to newish distributor A24, while the crowdpleasing comedy Austenland, from Napoleon Dynamite writer Jerusha Hess, is nearing a deal with FilmDistrict. Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan‘s The Look of Love had a mixed reception, but that’s not stopping IFC Films from closing in on a deal; the distributor also released the pair’s last comedy together, The Trip. Meanwhile, Anchor Bay has picked up two narrative features so far, the Dermot Mulroney-starring The Rambler and Leland Orser‘s Morning. (The latter is not playing at Sundance.)

Over in the world of documentaries, music-centric films seem to be doing quite well. Showtime has acquired the broadcast rights to the two-part documentary History of the Eagles, which will air on the channel February 15 & 16. Also headed to television is Pussy Riot — A Punk Prayer, which has been snapped up by HBO Documentary Films. Finally, Twenty Feet From Stardom, which follows some of popular music’s greatest backup singers, will get a theatrical release by RADiUS-TWC. And in non-music news, AMC’s Sundance Selects has grabbed Dirty Wars, about America’s covert wars, and The Summit, about climbers scaling the most dangerous peak in the world.

Hit the jump to read descriptions of the films mentioned above.

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Friday is the first real day of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and I spent the afternoon in the Eccles Theater (aka the Park City High School auditorium) watching two films: Jerusha Hess‘ adaptation of Austenland starring Keri Russell, and Kill Your Darlings starring Daniel Radcliffe as Alan Ginsberg. After the jump you can find my mini reactions and a video blog I recorded with Steve Weintraub from Collider.
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Two successful female writers will take on new roles as they collaborate on an indie romantic comedy. The film is called Austenland and it’ll be directed by Jerusha Hess, who co-wrote Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre and Gentlemen Broncos with her husband Jared Hess, and produced by Stephenie Meyer, writer of the Twilight novels. Though Meyer is credited as a producer on those ultra-successful movies, this will be her first producing gig on something she didn’t conceive.

Austenland focuses on a young woman obsessed with Colin Firth’s character, Mr. Darcy, in the BBC production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Starring Keri Russell, JJ Field, Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, Rupert Vansittart and James Callis, it humorously explores how that idealism completely ruins her love life. Shooting begins this week. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Gosh! Now it’ll be super easy for Napoleon Dynamite to get extra chap stick, tame a wild stallion or go off some sweet jumps because it’ll be drawn for him. Fox has picked up a six-episode animated TV version of the 2004 cult film which launched the careers of director Jared Hess and star Jon Heder. All the original cast members will be providing voices for the show which will be produced and written by Hess, his wife Jerusha Hess and Simpsons alum Mike Scully. Simultaneously, Fox also green lit another animated show called Allen Gregory which is created by Jonah Hill and Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul, who wrote Yes Man. Hit the jump for more info on both shows and the uncropped hight res version of the Dynamite art. Read More »

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The actor with the best perma-squint in showbiz, Choke‘s Sam Rockwell, has just signed on, alongside Flight of the Conchords Jemaine Clement and youngster Michael Angarano, to star in director Jared Hess‘s comedy Gentlemen Broncos. Angarano will play a teen attending a writer’s convention (what fun those are) where he discovers that his idea has been stolen by a “legendary fantasy novelist” played by Clement. Rockwell should have a field day as he plays the title character (what an odd name) in both the kid’s and novelist’s stories.

Hess, who previously directed Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre, wrote the script with his wife, Jerusha Hess, and I like the log line, sounds write up his alley. Oh yeah, to the guy who bemoans when I don’t mention this, that would make Hess, ahem, a writer-director. The film is set for release in 2009.

Not sure why, but I’m in the mood to see a comedy about a fantasy novelist, and Clement, whose face is quite devilish and elastic, is a bit of inspired casting. Movies that literally play with literary structure are always interesting, whether it’s terrible (The Number 23) or mildly amusing (John Candy’s Delirious). Anyone got another flick that fits this category? Discuss below.

Source Link: THR

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