Two years ago, The Current War was being primed to be a key Oscar candidate. A historical drama about the race for electricity dominance in 19th century America starring awards darlings Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon and directed by Martin Scorsese protégé Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, The Current War had all the right elements to make it a frontrunner in the awards race. It was met with lukewarm reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, and that might have obstructed it, sure, but critical acclaim isn’t always a driving force come awards season. But then its distributor The Weinstein Company imploded amid the Harvey Weinstein scandal that rocked Hollywood. And The Current War disappeared.
But sparked by a Scorsese clause in the film’s contract, The Current War flickered back to life. Now the film has been acquired by 101 Studios, which will finally set The Current War US release for an overhauled cut that is 10 minutes shorter and has five additional scenes.
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The Current War, once expected to be a 2017 Oscar hopeful from the Weinstein Company, has been pulled from its 2017 release date following the on-going sexual assault revelations involving the recently-fired Harvey Weinstein. Read the news about The Current War release date below.
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Another Toronto International Film Festival has been resigned to the dust, and it is time for us to look back on it and remember all the great (and not so great) films we witnessed there.
Truth be told, this year’s fest was slightly less exciting than last – the films were good, and some were even fantastic, but overall they did not pack as much of a punch as I’d been hoping. Still, it’s hard to deny the thrill one gets from attending TIFF; day after day, you spend hours upon hours watching films with audiences who are genuinely excited to be there, unlike seeing a film at your local multiplex, where the crowd could care less. If you’re covering TIFF as press, you rise at dawn, make your way down to the Scotiabank Theatre and spend almost the entire day there. It can be exhausting and draining, but it’s also wonderful.
For the sake of completion, I’ve compiled links to all the /Film reviews (written by me and Marshall Shaffer) out of this year’s TIFF, as well as a blurb or two for films that did not receive a full review. Here is every movie we saw at TIFF 2017.
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Another Toronto International Film Festival has come and gone, bringing with it a wealth of great movies and a few weirdly disappointing ones too. This usually sets the stage for the remainder of the year in film – the movies that generated buzz at TIFF will likely go on to be talked about ad nauseam come Oscar season. TIFF itself gives out awards as well, and the big winner was Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which took home the Grolsch People’s Choice Award.
I didn’t see it. Sorry!
But I did travel to TIFF and take in a slew of memorable films, which I will now present special awards to for the sake of wrapping-up the fest. Some spoilers follow.
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The last thing cinema needs right now is another movie about a brilliant man whose brilliance is expressed through being a stubborn jerk. We already have a wealth of these artist as needlessly mean, antisocial guy portraits, and to keep adding more at this point goes well beyond beating a dead horse.
But Me and Earl and the Dying Girl director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon manages to get some great milage by taking such a setup and approaching it through a deconstructed lense with The Current War. The brilliant jerk in question this time is none other than the Wizard of Menlo Park himself, Thomas Edison. Edison, that brilliant inventor and sometimes thief, is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, an actor who has made almost an entire career playing brilliant jerks. It’s typecasting to the nth degree, but it also works. Cumberbatch brings an amusing, detached air to Edison, playing the genius as an overly competitive, short-tempered savant who wants to slap his name on everything.
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Today, electricity surges through our homes, offices and restaurants and we’re hard-pressed to get anything done without the power it provides. But back in the 19th century, electricity was in its infancy, and it was at the center of a war between two of the greatest minds of the time to see who would control the marketplace for energy. The story of that historic battle is coming to the big screen this fall.
The Current War stars Benedict Cumberbatch as inventor Thomas Edison and Michael Shannon as entrepreneur and engineer George Westinghouse as the two battle to see whose idea for bringing electricity to the masses would become the primary source for power. The battle stems from Edison’s company wanting to use direct current while Westinghouse thought alternating current was the way to go, hence the title of the movie. Read More »
Posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2017 by Jacob Hall
Benedict Cumberbatch received an Oscar nomination for playing Alan Turing in 2014’s The Imitation Game, so it makes perfect sense that he’s seek out another movie with an awards-friendly premise where he gets to play a fascinating historical figure. The Current War gives him one hell of a role: Thomas Edison, the prolific American inventor and businessman responsible for the lightbulb, the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and countless other items we take for granted today (he held over 1,000 patents in the United States alone). And he was also something of a total dick, a subject that this film will undoubtedly explore.
Our first look at Cumberbatch as Edison in the film has arrived, so how about we take a look?
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We’ve seen Magic Mike and will soon get the sequel, Magic Mike XXL. But what about a film that tells the real story of the Chippendales male dance revue? Alan Ball (True Blood) wrote and is now looking at directing a Chippendales story called I Am Chippendale. He’s got Ben Stiller in talks for the lead role, which should give his old Blue Steel muscles a real workout. Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Briefly: Timur Bekmambetov now has a project to possibly follow up Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. He has just been attached to direct The Current War, which isn’t about a war taking place now, but rather about a battle over electricity. Specifically, Michael Mitnick‘s spec script is about “the competition between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to create the first sustainable electrical current.”
That’s potentially a great story, though I wonder how Bekmambetov, whose work isn’t exactly closely indebted to truth and history, will make the movie. Steven Zaillian is producing, as is Bekmambetov. There is no cast yet, though Sacha Baron Cohen was reportedly interested in playing Edison at one point. Now that the top-level team is set, we’ll see whether or not he gets an offer. [Variety]
Posted on Monday, December 12th, 2011 by Angie Han
Each December since 2004, studio executive Franklin Leonard has compiled the best unproduced screenplays of the year, as voted by hundreds of execs, agency guys, and high-level assistants. Titled The Black List, the compendium highlights both established screenwriters and up-and-comers, and has served as a launching pad in the past for projects like Juno, Lars and the Real Girl, and (500) Days of Summer. Last year’s list included Margin Call, Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Hunger Games, and Snow White and the Huntsman.
It should be noted that the headline is somewhat misleading — some of these screenplays have already been acquired and are already in development, though according to Leonard none will have entered principal photography by December 31, 2011. Also worth pointing out is that, as in previous years, there have been rumors that some of the participants have been accused of using the Black List to promote their own clients or friends. Finally, as Leonard reminds us each time, “The Black List is not a ‘best of’ list. It is, at best, a ‘most liked’ list.”
Regardless, we can always rely on the Black List to stir up conversation among both industry insiders and outside spectators alike, so without further ado, hit the jump for the complete 2011 list.
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