Adapting Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Goldfinch for the screen was never going to be an easy task. At 771 pages, it would make a daunting TV miniseries – and director John Crowley managed to whittle it down into an under-two-and-a-half-hour feature film. As any team adapting existing material must, the filmmakers had to make a number of choices as to how they would present the story.
While the critical consensus seems mostly aligned against the changes to The Goldfinch, I tend to align with /Film’s own Meredith Borders in her review from TIFF. “The deliberate pacing and mysterious unveiling of information appear to have alienated many viewers,” she wrote out of the festival. “The film feels more like a gorgeous piece of emotional art than a straightforward story.” Whether that’s what people wanted – or felt – watching The Goldfinch, it was certainly the intent of the filmmaking team.
Just hours before the film’s world premiere in Toronto, I sat down for an extended discussion on the post-production of The Goldfinch with editor Kelley Dixon. Being fresh off both reading the novel and seeing the film, I came ready to dive into the nitty-gritty of how some of the biggest choices in the adaptation came to be. Her answers into both the larger structural changes, as well as some of the smaller details, proved an enlightening glimpse into a film that’s inspired strong reactions from viewers of many perspectives.
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Posted on Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 by Angie Han
Director David Gordon Green sure likes to keep us guessing. After a string of studio comedies, followed by a microbudget indie and a couple of dramas, he’s back on screens this fall with the political satire Our Brand Is Crisis. Sandra Bullock leads the cast as Jane, an American political strategist hired to work with a lagging Bolivian presidential candidate (Joachim de Almeida).
Billy Bob Thornton plays Jane’s professional rival. Anthony Mackie, Zoe Kazan, Ann Dowd, and the ubiquitous Scoot McNairy also star. Watch the first Our Brand Is Crisis trailer after the jump.
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Tommy Wirkola‘s first US film, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, was no critical fave, but it has done over $100m worldwide so far. Now Wirkola is heading back to Norway to make a sequel to his breakout film, Dead Snow. The new one is Dead Snow: War of the Dead, which will follow “the sole survivor of a Nazi zombie attack who battles an even larger army of Zombies with the help of the Zombie Squad, a professional gang of zombie killers from the US.”
The movie will be released in English and Norwegian versions, says ScreenDaily, and the film should shoot later this year. Wirkola said, “We have a script that I am super excited about, which is bigger, scarier, funnier, more action-filled and gorier than the previous one, and I can’t wait to unleash another horde of undead Nazi zombies onto the world again.”
After the break, you’ll find the following:
- The Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sequel Smiley’s Game moves forward,
- Transformers visual effects supervisor returns for Transformers 4,
- Rambo V and The Expendables 3 in the works at the European Film Market,
- Rooney Mara denies that Daniel Craig will be cut from The Girl Who Played With Fire,
- Summit debuts a new Red 2 poster,
- and shots appear from Insidious 2 and Riddick.
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Briefly: This is a pretty small story, but it could lead to something fun: Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson (son of Brendan, and Bill Weasley in the last two Harry Potter films) have been signed to star in a UK comedy called Frank.
The Film4 production is written by Jon Ronson (who wrote the book The Men Who Stare at Goats) and Peter Straughan (who scripted the film The Men Who Stare at Goats, and co-scripted Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and will be directed by Lenny Abrahamson. That’s a pretty good talent lineup, and the idea of seeing Fassbender play in an a comedy is so appealing.
Oh, and the film might be kind of a musical, as Variety says “Gleeson will play an aspiring musician who finds himself in over his head when he joins an eccentric rock band led by Fassbender.”
Meryl Streep prevented the cast and crew of The Artist from a total sweep of the major categories at this year’s British Academy Film Awards, presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and commonly called the BAFTAs. Streep won Best Actress for playing former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, and The Artist took Best Film, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Music and Best Costume Design.
There were a few good winners for categories in between all those, and we’ve got the full rundown after the break. Read More »
One of the more promising films that was delayed when Miramax closed its doors last year is John Madden‘s The Debt. Based on a script by Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class) and Peter Straughan, the film features Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain and Helen Mirren in a remake of the 2007 Israeli film Ha-Hov, about a trio of Mossad agents on the trail of a Nazi war criminal.
Now Focus Features will release the film in the US, later this year. Read More »
A couple weeks back, we told you that producer Lionel Wigram, a former Warner Bros creative executive who oversaw the first three Harry Potter films and went out to create/pitch/write Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, was developing an adaptation of Alexandre Dumas‘ classic 17th-century adventure novel The Three Musketeers. No director or cast has been attached to the project. The Los Angeles Times has learned which filmmakers Warner Bros is courting for the project.
- David Frankel, the director of the big screen adaptations of Marley & Me and The Devil Wears Prada.
- Doug Liman, the director of Swingers, The Bourne Identity, Mr. And Mrs. Smith and Jumper
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Producer Lionel Wigram, a former Warner Bros creative executive who oversaw the first three Harry Potter films and went out to create/pitch/write Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, has hired screenwriter Peter Straughan (The Men Who Stare at Goats) to adapt Alexandre Dumas‘ classic 17th-century adventure novel The Three Musketeers. The plan is to update the story to appeal to young, contemporary audiences, playing up the action/sexier elements. This project should not be confused with Paul W.S. Anderson’s planned 3D adaptation of the Three Musketeers. No director or cast has been attached to the project.
I’ve never really liked The Three Musketeers, and I’ve never really enjoyed any of the films in the swashbuckling action film genre. Can Wigram make The Three Musketeers cool again? Do you care?
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While journalist and documentarian Jon Ronson is currently undergoing a metamorphosis into a screenwriter, the first film to bear his name is not from one of his own scripts but has been fictionalized, and rather heavily so, from his non-fiction book The Men Who Stare at Goats by Newcastle scribe Peter Straughan. What Ronson set down on paper as a darkly comic and increasingly scary investigation into the American military’s more fanciful, or eventually insane, experimentation and research has become an oddball comedy with a tinge of the surreal. Many of Ronson’s ideas run between the lines of Straughan’s invented plot, though I don’t think I personally could have found the film to feel any more different to Ronson’s book or in-parallel TV documentary.
It’s a win-win, though, as far as the book is concerned because those who love the film (and as you’ll find out after the break, that’s an awful lot of people) are bound to find the extra information every bit as engrossing and possibly even more surprising, while those who find some of the film’s seemingly contradictory attitudes towards the paranormal and supernatural or it’s unexpectedly upbeat tone to be off putting will find the book more satisfyingly shaded. I do think, though, that adding sweetness for palatability seems like a curious misstep when you already know your recipe appeals to those with a taste for the bitter.
I’m a very big fan of Ronson’s writing and TV work, so I took great pleasure in interviewing him about Goats. We spoke for over an hour in total but almost immediately, I think, he sensed my disappointment in the film. Neither his enthusiasm or candor were curbed by this and, anyway, as Ronson told me I’m definitely in the minority and the film has been going down superemely well so far.
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We’ve often referred to The Black List, the annual countdown of favorite scripts compiled by canvassing the opinions of film industry folk, but never before, I believe, The Brit List. The principal with this one is exactly the same, it’s just limited to films out there on the British market. In 2007, the list was topped by The Men Who Stare At Goats, now revving up for release with George Clooney and Ewan McGregor in the leads. The new list is a surprising and most newsworthy affair, not least because of the way it sheds new light on a curious old Sacha Baron Cohen rumour.
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