Peter Hedges’ career as a screenwriter began by writing his first novel, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, which he then adapted into a screenplay for the 1993 film. In the years that followed, Hedges wrote more books, plays and the occasional screenplay, including the Oscar-nominated adaptation of Nick Hornby’s About A Boy. In 2003, he took his first crack at being a writer/director with Pieces of April, followed four years later with Dan In Real Life. and The Odd Life of Timothy Green in 2012.
His latest work, Ben Is Back, is particularly important to Hedges for a couple of reasons. First, he gets to work with his son, Lucas Hedges, one of the busiest young actors working today (Ben Is Back marks his third film in the last two months, after Mid90s and Boy Erased), for the first time since Lucas was a youngster. And second, he finally gets to work with his all-time favorite actress, Julia Roberts, who plays Holly Burns, the mother of Ben, a drug-addicted teen who returns home from rehab unexpectedly on Christmas Eve, setting off a series of events that put both mother and son in great danger. The entire film takes place is 24 hours and tests the patience and resolve of everyone involved, including Holly’s new husband Neal (Courtney B. Vance) and Holly’s daughter/Ben’s sister Ivy (Kathryn Newton). Part family drama/part thriller, Ben Is Back gives the elder Hedges a chance to work his creative muscles in ways he hasn’t as a filmmaker to this point in his career.
/Film sat down with Hedges at the recent Chicago International Film Festival to talk about working with his wildly talented son for the first time as an adult actor, the importance of being able to cast his favorite working actress in the lead role, and the thrill of turning a simple mother-and-son story into something of a chase movie. The film is now playing in New York and Los Angeles, and is set to open wide on Friday, December 14.
Read More »
It’s only been a few days since the members of the Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society released the nominees for their annual awards, and the winners have already been determined. However, don’t expect this to be an indication of how any of the major awards are going to go down later this season. Our editor-in-chief Peter Sciretta is counted among this group, and the wide array of film critics from various backgrounds makes the results skew much further from the norm than you might expect at the Golden Globes or Oscars.
However, that actually makes the Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society awards winners a little more interesting than the usual awards fare – they have awarded the adaptation of The Hate U Give Best Picture. How did the rest of the awards shake out ? Check out the full list below. Read More »
This awards season will see two different stories of drug addiction hitting theaters. There’s Beautiful Boy showing the turmoil that addiction creates between a father and son played by Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet, and then there’s Ben Is Back, the new film from director Peter Hedges showing how addiction impacts an entire family, with Julia Roberts doing everything she can to keep her addict son Lucas Hedges from heading down a dangerous path when he returns home. And the latter just released a harrowing new trailer to pull at your heartstrings.
Watch the new Ben Is Back trailer below. Read More »
Let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat since comparisons are inevitable, both at the Toronto International Film Festival and upon general release: Ben Is Back and Beautiful Boy (read our review here) are different films with different approaches to the topic of addiction. While both follow a young addict as he struggles to stay clean, Peter Hedges’ Ben Is Back opens his film outwards to reflect on the topic in a larger conversation. He acknowledges that while the film is about one substance abuser and one family, their story does not exist inside a vacuum.
Find out more in our full Ben Is Back review below. Read More »
Telluride has wrapped, Venice is heading towards its close and now the fall festival season spotlight moves towards Toronto. Known as “the people’s festival” for its accessibility of its robust programming slate to the public at large, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a cinema lover’s dream. It’s one of the few events with something for everyone, whether you want to see the star-studded premiere of a predestined awards darling, check out the latest work by a renowned international master filmmaker, discover an emerging voice in world cinema or explore projects that push the boundaries of the form.
/Film will be in attendance at TIFF reporting back on the good, the bad and the sublime movies we see. But for those who aren’t heading north of the border for the festival, you can curate an equally impressive slate of films at home to prepare yourself for the eventual release of these festival titles. Here are 10 films we’re getting excited to see in Toronto and what you can watch from the comfort of your couch in order to have a more informed frame of reference when the public conversation centers around these movies. (All streaming availability is accurate as of publication and subject to change.)
Read More »
Quick, someone call Timothée Chalamet and tell him that Lucas Hedges has yet another prestige pic coming out. The Oscar nominee just gained some ground in the pair’s ongoing “It Boy” war with a new drama directed by Hedges’ own father, Peter Hedges.
Hedges stars as a recovering drug addict teenager who attempts to reconcile with his mom, played by Julia Roberts, in the Ben is Back trailer. See the official teaser trailer below.
Read More »