In August, Focus Features surprised many Oscar prognosticators by setting “Promised Land” for release on Dec. 28. The decision could make the new drama a major awards player, if only because of its pedigree: Matt Damon and John Krasinski wrote the screenplay (from a story by Dave Eggers) and Gus Van Sant directs. The first film co-written by Damon and a fellow actor that Van Sant directed was “Good Will Hunting.” (The pair, along with Casey Affleck, also collaborated on “Gerry,” but you can forget about that one for now.)
For those still not convinced of “Promised Land’s” Oscar bona fides, Focus has released a new trailer for the film that manages to both highlight the human drama and timeliness of its story. Damon stars as a natural gas company salesman who tries to convince the denizens of a rural town to sell their farms for the purposes of fracking. Some agree, but not Krasinski, playing a well-meaning farmer, nor Hal Holbrook’s wizened town elder, a role that many are marking for an Oscar nomination.
Whether “Promised Land” makes a big push for Oscar is obviously to be determined, but the film — which combines elements of “Good Will Hunting,” “Michael Clayton” and “Erin Brockovich” — should certainly be an audience favorite, especially if this new trailer is any indication. Watch above, or head over to Apple to check out “Promised Land” in HD.
Matt’s new movie project is “Promised Land” could be hitting theaters this year! Here’s the article from IndieWire:
Could Gus Van Sant and Matt Damon be headed back to the Oscars? That could be the case if word on their latest collaboration, “Promised Land,” bears out.
The folks over at The Film Stage picked up on a recent feature article on the film in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that dropped a handful of interesting nuggets about the upcoming movie, which was co-written by and co-stars John Krasinksi alongside a cast that includes Frances McDormand, Hal Hobrook, Rosemarie Dewitt, Scoot McNairy and Titus Welliver. Perhaps the biggest bit of info is that Krasinski reveals the movie could be in “a small number of theaters” by the end of the year. Van Sant had already put together an assembly cut during filming, and “is editing the movie and will huddle with his fellow producers and others at summer’s end and tweak the movie through the fall.” Putting those small clues together, our guess is that “Promised Land” will have some kind of awards consideration run, before a wider release in 2013. As for a festival appearance in the fall? We reckon it’s a possibility.
As for the film itself, it will find Damon playing Steve Butler, a corporate salesman who arrives in a rural town with his sales partner, Sue Thomason (McDormand). With the town having been hit hard by economic decline in recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company’s offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (Krasinski) who counters Steve both personally and professionally. As you might guess from that logline, there is an environmental angle at play, and early on, there was one word around the interwebs that the movie was an “anti-fracking” screed (fracking is essentially the process by which water and chemicals are blasted to separate rock layers to extract gas and oil). But not so, says Krasinski.
“Fracking for us became a backdrop. The original script was about wind power,” he explains adding about the rumors, “The idea of fracking or natural gas was just a very apropos news story that was beginning to grow a year and a half ago. I just chose that as the background and, of course, that has grown into something quite wild in and of itself.”
So what will the film address thematically? “I don’t want to give too much away, but the situation people are in financially is very, very real. And what they’re protecting is a community and a lifestyle that they believe very, very strongly in,” he explains. “So, for some of the characters in the movie, it’s a choice to give up everything that they are and everything that they have come from, in order for a quick paycheck, which I think is in keeping with a lot of the different opportunities that are going on in the country today, whether it’s the derivative market or anything else.”
In short, the film is more about the values of America today and how they’ve shifted from our parents’ generation, something that Krasinski remembers his father recollecting. The “way he described his upbringing and the country and the community that he grew up in, and how everything was incredibly honorable and loyal and incredibly rather simple in the best way — going to work, having family, having friends, and taking care of what you needed to take care of, and there wasn’t really much else. And someone’s word was as valuable as anything else,” he shares.
Sounds like the kind of big, broad ideas that Oscar loves and with Van Sant at the helm, a script from Damon and Kraskinski and a pretty compelling cast, this one is inching up our list of anticipated movies for 2012. Hopefully we’ll know more soon, but this could be a dark horse for the end of the year.
Finally we have a synopsis of what Elysium is about! Here’s the report from Collider:
Though he spent a few years developing the high profile Halo film that never came to be, director Neill Blomkamp burst onto the film scene in a big way with his stellar 2009 sci-fi pic District 9. Not only did the film include some truly killer effects work, but it was actually about something and tackled social issues like segregation and xenophobia on a sci-fi platform. It’s been three long years since District 9 opened, and fans are eagerly awaiting Blomkamp’s follow-up, the futuristic thriller Elysium. Plot details have been firmly under wraps, but we know that it fits squarely into the sci-fi genre and stars Matt Damon, Jodi Foster, Wagner Moura, Sharlto Copley, William Fichtner and Diego Luna.
A full synopsis for Elysium has been brought to our attention, giving us a much better idea of what to expect. The film is apparently screening for preview audiences tonight and the ticket includes a fairly detailed logline for the pic. As with District 9, it appears that Elysium will also be dealing with grander issues than space guns and aliens. Hit the jump to read the synopsis. Elysium is slated to open on March 1st, 2013.
Here’s the synopsis:
In the year 2159 two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), a hard the government ofﬁcial, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max (Matt Damon) is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that if successful will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.
The Candelabra was formely known as just “Liberace”, now has a new title and more actors:
Dan Aykroyd’s acting appearances have been pretty randomly spaced out lately, with his recent appearances on-camera including a couple of episodes of The Defenders, which put him opposite fellow former SNL star Jim Belushi. This latest bit of TV casting involving Aykroyd sounds like it might be a more serious role for the actor.
Variety is reporting that Aykroyd is set to join the upcoming HBO TV movie centered on musician Liberace, titled Behind the Candelabra. He joins previously cast Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. Douglas is set to play Liberace, while Damon is set to play his domestic partner, Scott Thorson. And now Aykroyd has been brought on board to play the role of Seymour Heller, “Liberace’s long-time manager who disapproved of his relationship with Thorson.”
I haven’t read Thorson’s memoir, My Life with Liberace, which is the basis for this film, but it sounds like Heller might not be the most likable character. Aykroyd is great at roles that portray him as the friendly guy (see Ray Stantz in Ghostbusters or Elwood Blues in The Blues Brothers), but he’s just as good, if not better, at characters that are meant to intentionally rub you the wrong way (see Roman Craig in The Great Outdoors, Zalinski in Tommy Boy and/or the governor in Evolution). But that’s all based on his comedic work. He’s done drama before (Pearl Harbor, Chaplin), but this sounds like it could be a heavier role. So it should be interesting to see what he does with the part. He’s certainly in good company, and another reason to anticipate this project.
Production is set to begin on Behind the Candelabra this summer.
Rumor: Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Costner May Join Tom Cruise in ‘Magnificent Seven’ Remake
John Sturges‘ 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven featured an iconic cast that included Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, Horst Buchholz, and Eli Wallach, so it’s only appropriate that the new remake brewing at MGM seems to be collecting some top-level talent as well.
The project’s off to a good start on that front already with Tom Cruise attached to star, and if this new report is to be believed, Cruise is about to get some other high-profile company in the form of Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Costner. However, considering the notoriously unreliable source, that’s a very big fat if.
The U.K. Sun (via Screen Crush) is reporting that Damon’s already boarded the project, while Costner and Freeman are only circling at this point. According to the paper, Damon is set for the role of Vin, the character played McQueen in the original, while Costner is up for the part of Britt, who was previously played by Coburn. Along with Cruise, who’s taking over Brynner’s character Chris, Damon and Costner will comprise part of the titular seven heroes. The group is hired to protect a poor village from a gang of bandits led by the villainous Calvera (Freeman).
The publication quotes a source who says, “MGM are throwing big money at the film and wanted some top names to fill the main parts… You can’t get much bigger than Cruise and Damon.” It’s certainly true that a studio looking for well-known stars couldn’t do better than this roster, but as the Sun‘s record is far from spotless when it comes to this kind of news, I’ll caution you again not to take it as gospel until we get more outside confirmation.
News of MGM’s remake hit last month, when Variety learned that Cruise was the driving force behind this film. While a do-over of such a beloved classic is bound to annoy some fans, it’s worth remembering that The Magnificent Seven is itself a remake, of Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece The Seven Samurai.
Granted, Sturges made the story his own by moving the events from feudal Japan to the Wild West, whereas Cruise’s version will be a more straightforward adaptation that keeps the frontier setting. But if the project really is attracting such noteworthy actors, it’ll be interesting to see what they can do with the material. Though we may be waiting a while — the project doesn’t have a director or screenwriter yet, and with Cruise’s busy schedule it may be some time before he can even find a window to concentrate on this one.
We Bought a Zoo is set to come out on Blu-ray and DVD on April 3rd! You can pre-order your copy at Amazon.com
Looks like the Matt Damon & John Krasinki film now has a title: Promised Land. Matt was initially set to direct it, but due to schedule conflicts, he’ll just star on it. Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) is set to direct it. Here is the article from Deadline:
I’m told that Focus Features and Participant Media won a bidding battle for the untitled film that Gus Van Sant will direct with Matt Damon and John Krasinski starring, from the script those actors co-wrote. Focus and Participant are tying down the details. You’ll recall that Damon planned to make his directing debut on the film, but when his schedule made that impossible, he and producer Chris Moore brought it to their Good Will Hunting director Van Sant, who signed on. The film, which got a first draft from Dave Eggers when its title was Gold Mist, is a Capraesque tale in which Damon and Krasinski play rival corporate executives. Damon plays a sales executive who arrives in a small town only to have his whole life called into question. Moore, Damon and Krasinski will produce and production begins in April.
When Damon was directing, the film had been set up at Warner Bros through the production shingle that Damon has there with Ben Affleck. It’s a $15 million budget, and it seems better placed at Focus and Participant, which are teaming up for the first time.
Krasinski had the idea for a film that had resonance in the current climate of economic hardship caused by corporate greed. Krasinski paid Eggers out of his own pocket to write the first draft, then showed it to Damon and Moore while the latter were making The Adjustment Bureau, which starred Damon and Krasinski’s wife, Emily Blunt. Eggers was unavailable to do more work on the script, so Damon and Kraskinski rewrote it together.
Great new interview where Matt talks about We Bought a Zoo, music, crying while watching movies and Tom Cruise, by The Washington Post:
I’m a little worried about “We Bought a Zoo.”
With all the hype about mega-marketed holiday films such as “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” I fear moviegoers may forget all about Cameron Crowe and Matt Damon’s dramedy, or perhaps just dismiss it outright because the title is, admittedly, a little goofy.
They shouldn’t. For starters, Damon delivers one of the most authentic and likable star turns of his career as Benjamin Mee, the widower and father of two who, uh, well, buys a zoo. (In addition to being goofy, the title is also kind of a spoiler.)
I recently chatted with Damon and Crowe about the film for this Sunday Style piece, which, because of space limitations, couldn’t possibly capture the many topics covered during a 40-minute conversation. In addition to discussing New Yorker critic David Denby’s initial dismissal of “We Bought a Zoo,” we also talked about the impact that using music on the set (a signature Crowe move) had on Damon’s performance, as well as the acting abilities of their current multiplex competitor, Tom Cruise.
Here are more extracts from that interview, in which Damon uses big words like “amygdala” and says of Cruise, “He is a much better actor than I think people understand.”
Damon, on Crowe’s use of music during takes: There’s something that happens with music, and I’d never thought of using it this way, but it’s so brilliant because it’s so emotional. It’s like it leapfrogs your neocortex and goes straight to your amygdala and suddenly you’re feeling these things. It’s not rational; it’s going right really to your heart. As a performer, it’s just pulling stuff out of you.
That Jonsi music we have in the movie. . . . The song where I’m looking at the iPhoto stuff and looking at my wife [in the movie] — the song that’s in the movie is the song Cameron played that day, and it’s completely responsible for that whole sequence. It took me places that there is no amount of directing or cajoling or persuading he could have done to get me to that place. He didn’t say anything; he put the song on and we were gone. So that was something I’ve never seen before that’s an unbelievably valuable tool for me going forward, and eventually as a director.
Crowe, on why he changed his mind and decided to play music during certain takes of “We Bought a Zoo”: It happened on the first day when we were doing the scene in the hallway of the school. It was a close-up on Matt, and he kind of turned into the shot. I had two instincts: One is, wow, Matt has really connected to this character and this is the movie happening before me. And the second: I hear Tom Petty, “Don’t Come Around Here No More.”
So I put it on, on instinct, and something started to surge on Matt’s face and in the people around us, and it felt like music has always been for me, kind of an emotional partner. And suddenly we had kind of another character in the room, which was the music. As soon as the take was over, Matt and some other people came over and said, “Wow, I really felt that.” I think in that instant I pivoted and decided to keep doing it. And one of the reasons was because Matt just soaks up music. He’s a music fan, and the music was always a reminder of what movie we were in. And sometimes that’s so much more profound than anything you could say.
Damon, on whether he’ll use music when he makes his directorial debut next year: Definitely, definitely. I’m already thinking about that, when to use it and what songs. Because it really does work.
It was weird to come across a tactic — like, I thought I knew everything. Tactically speaking, without geeking out on theory, a lot of people make good movies, and I know a lot of them and we talk. And so, it was surprising to have this happen on the first day of filming. I was so excited. I had dinner with Ben Affleck that night, actually, and it’s all we talked about, was this Tom Petty thing that had happened. I just couldn’t believe it. I was like, man, you have no idea what this felt like. It was all about a feeling and being lifted by this music, and so yeah, it’s definitely something that I want to do. Because it works.
Damon, on what gets to him in Crowe’s movie “Jerry Maguire”:
There are a few parts, actually. I was watching it with my wife. It’s Tom [Cruise], is what gets to me. Tom’s performance is what gets to me, ultimately. He anchored that movie. He’s such a better actor than I think people understand, and that performance is still great 15 years later. It is worth going back and looking at again. It is one of the great leading-man performances.
When a movie gets to you, there are a bunch of things that start to work on you. The relationship between Cuba [Gooding Jr.]’s character and his wife, that starts to get to me. By the end of it I’m just so teed up for the final scene with Tom and Renee [Zellweger] in front of the women’s group. My wife looks over, and tears are running down [my face] and I’m wiping them away.
But it got to her, too. . . . I’m not ashamed to say that.
Crowe and Damon, on the possibility of Crowe making a movie that brings together Damon, Cruise and “Say Anything . . .” star John Cusack:
Damon: I love that idea.
Crowe: Oh, man. Tom Cruise came to visit the set when we were making “We Bought a Zoo,” and I kind of stood back at a certain point and watched the two of them talking, and I had the same idea. It’s like, damn. . . .
Damon: I had met [Tom Cruise] briefly a couple of times, but we really got to talk and, uh, spend a little time together. And then I talked to him on the phone after he saw some scenes. He dropped by the editing room and saw some stuff and called me. And that was amazing.
After the actor pulled out of directing the untitled film due to “scheduling conflicts,” Van Sant will now take his chair.
Matt Damon might not be directing his untitled drama he co-wrote with John Krasinski and Dave Eggers, but the project is far from dead.
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Matt Damon Won’t Direct Movie He Co-Wrote with John Krasinski
Taylor Lautner to Star in Gus Van Sant Indie Film (Exclusive)
Gus Van Sant will sit in the director’s chair after Damon fell out due to “scheduling issues.” (The actor said yes to several movies this year, and the time required to prep what would have been his directorial debut would have impacted his other commitments.)
Damon came to the realization he would be unable to direct during the holidays and called Van Sant, who helmed him in his 1997 breakthrough Good Will Hunting, to step in.
Damon will still star in the movie, along with which centers on a salesman (Damon) who arrives in a small town only to have his life changed. Krasinski was also due to star. The two are producing as is Chris Moore.
The next step for the project, which hopes to shoot in the spring, is financing. The project was initially set up at Warner Bros. in October but is no longer there. Discussions are underway with financiers to take it over.
Van Sant, repped by WME, last directed Restless, which starred Mia Wasikowska.