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.
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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 »
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.
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Alice in Wonderland truly did send Disney down the rabbit hole. The billion-dollar success of that live-action adaptation quickly got the studio scrambling for live-action remakes of its classic animated films. Maleficent was a massive hit, Cinderella is still raking in the dough, The Jungle Book is in production, Beauty and the Beast is getting ready, and several others like The Little Mermaid, Dumbo and Mulan are all in the works, too. That’s not even a comprehensive list.
Now, yet another classic Disney film will make the transition from animation to real life. The company has hired writer Peter Hedges (About a Boy, The Odd Life Of Timothy Green) to write a live-action film inspired by Pinocchio. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, May 10th, 2012 by Angie Han
Just in time for Mother’s Day, Disney has unveiled a brand-new trailer for its family-oriented fantasy The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton star as a loving couple who finally give up on their dreams of having a child, only to find an adorable Manic Pixie Dream Son on their doorstep the next day. Because I tend not to love kids, I find that set-up more frightening than enchanting. If you like this kind of stuff, though, you could probably do worse than this movie. Watch the video after the jump.
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I can’t quite figure out The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Peter Hedges (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and About a Boy screenwriter; Pieces of April director) directs Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton as a couple who buries all their hopes and desires for a child in a box in the back yard. The next day they’re rewarded for their efforts by the appearance of a boy who claims to be their son. Have their wishes come true, and without all that pesky dealing with potty training and teething? Where did the boy come from? And with that premise, which could be horror as easily as fairy tale, what kind of film is this? (Hint: Disney is releasing it.)
Check out the trailer below and start to get an idea about The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Read More »
Hot off the $125 million (and counting) success of Little Fockers, director Paul Weitz has chosen his next project and is just about ready to lock up his leading lady. Emmy and Golden Globe winning actress Tina Fey is in final talks to star in Admission, based on a novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz. The film, which is being put together by Universal from a script by Karen Croner, centers on an admissions officer at Princeton who develops a relationship with a student who is not quite Princeton material.
In addition, John Michael Higgins, the hilarious character actor best known for his roles in the Christopher Guest movies, has joined the already stellar cast for Cameron Crowe‘s We Bought a Zoo and Ron Livingston (Office Space, Swingers) has signed on to join Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton in Disney’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green, about a couple who wishes for a child. Livingston will also be part of the ensemble high school reunion film Ten Year. Read more after the jump. Read More »
One of my favourite screenwriters at work today is Peter Hedges. He’s a master of light-touch characterisation and sweetly woven plotline, and in the two films he’s directed as well as scripted, he’s shown that his eye for acutely telling detail and clear storytelling can be manifest visually as well as on the page.
His first novel, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, was adapted into a feature film, with Hedges himself behind the typewriter and Lasse Halstrom behind the camera, though as yet his second novel, An Ocean in Iowa, has not made it to the silver screen. Today we learn that Hedges himself is going to script and direct a movie adaptation of his third and latest novel, The Heights.
The novel is about a couple living in Brooklyn Heights who become involved with a very affluent new neighbour and find their lives up-ended. It has earned comparisons to both Tom Perotta and Jonathan Tropper. There’s some slightly more spoilery details after the break, as well as a video of Hedges discussing his original novel, and a tiny scrap of evidence that points towards maybe-possibly casting.
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Disney has sent us a full media kit for the upcoming Steve Carell family comedy Dan in Real Life. The movie follows an Advice columnist/relationship expert who somehow struggles to succeed as a brother, a son and a single parent in this heartfelt comedy from director Peter Hedges (Pieces Of April). The movie also stars Juliette Binoche, Dane Cook, John Mahoney, Emily Blunt and Dianne Wiest.
The film’s new one-sheet movie poster can be seen to the right. Steve Carell’s head in a pile of maple syrup covered pancakes = funny. You can click on the poster image to enlarge. After the jump we also have two new production photos and the film’s theatrical movie trailer.
I find it curious that Carell has chosen to take the family friendly comedy route considering his big break with the R-Rated 40-Year-Old-Virgin. I also find it funny that family comedy films have adopted a “family friendly” voice-over guy who is less abrasive than the usual deep voiced trailer voice-over guy. Read More »