Going in to the first Sundance showing of The Skeleton Twins, in which Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader play a troubled sister and brother coping with the legacy of their screwed-up family, I knew nothing about the film except that it was being billed as the movie that reunited the two former SNL teammates but wasn’t a comedy. Glancing at that photo above, I thought to myself: Hmmmmm, I hope it’s not one of those glum dysfunctional-family indie specials in which gifted comedians blank themselves out for the sake of art. I needn’t have worried. The Skeletons Twins is very much a drama, but it has lots of laughs, too — the kind of good, soul-ticking laughs that emerge, organically, from dramatic situations. Its tone is comparable to that of The Kids Are All Right or Alexander Payne’s films. The Golden Globes would have no problem nominating The Skeleton Twins in the Best Comedy or Musical category. Yet as directed and co-written by Craig Johnson, this is a tenderly sincere, and smart, and beguiling, and penetrating movie about the way that ordinary messed-up people can wind up stumbling through their lives. And let me say right up front: The two actors are fantastic together, every bit as powerful as Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo were as the woundedly bound siblings of You Can Count on Me. But then, we already know from Bridesmaids what a knockout of a leading lady Kristen Wiig can be. It’s Bill Hader who’s the revelation. I think he could become a major screen actor. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Keira Knightley (1-10 of 14)
Once, the 2007 Oscar-winning movie about the musical connection between a broken-hearted Dublin busker and a piano-playing Czech immigrant, was one of those rare movies whose charm couldn’t be bottled in a critic’s blurb or even explained in a full review. You just had to see it to fully understand how a simple story with simple characters could make you, the audience, feel wonderful and alive and believe wholeheartedly that a song could save your life. That movie starred Glen Hansard, the lead singer of the Irish band the Frames, and his ex-bandmate John Carney directed the film.
Six years later, Carney brought a new film to the Toronto Film Festival last week, and though he insists he intended to do something quite different than Once, there’s no denying that Can a Song Save Your Life? aims to strike a similar chord. Keira Knightley plays a sensitive songwriter whose musical partner and boyfriend (Adam Levine) is about to become famous because a few of his songs were in a hit movie. As his fame tears them apart, she wallows in despair at a New York open-mic night, where she’s “discovered” by a desperate A&R man (Mark Ruffalo) who is looking for anything to cling to. Like in Once, the creative process of making music is cinematic alchemy, and the two drifting souls eventually have to decide where — and with whom — they really belong.
When Can a Song Save Your Life? premiered last weekend in Toronto, where it was seeking a distribution deal, audiences — and buyers — were immediately entranced. Harvey Weinstein cornered Carney at the film’s post-premiere party and wouldn’t let their conversation end until the director made a deal with The Weinstein Company. The next day, TWC announced its $7 million acquisition (and a $20 million advertising commitment), guaranteeing that Can a Song Save Your Life? will play in theaters across the country when it opens, most likely in 2014. Carney spoke to EW about the music business, casting judges from The Voice, and what it’s like to get the hard-sell from someone like Harvey Weinstein.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I suspect this movie will evoke a very similar audience reaction to Once, because these fragile characters also connect through their shared love of music. Where did this story begin for you?
JOHN CARNEY: I was thinking about what part of my life I could mine, and I felt that it would be fun to look back at A&R guys, who were always sort of looking for the next big thing. I was in a band after I left school, and I guess the ’90s were really that last hurrah of A&R craziness, with coke habits and five-star hotels and unlimited credit cards and stuff like that. I thought it would be interesting to see where those guys are now, now that the music industry has changed so much. The idea of an A&R man discovering an act and what discoveries are left and what does fame sort of mean anymore were some of the themes I wanted to talk about in this movie. What I liked about the conflict between Keira and Ruffalo in the film, which I hope people are seeing, is what does an old-school A&R man do with a young talent who genuinely doesn’t want the limelight?
In a culture that thrives on irony, detachment, the postmodern hum of advertising, and the communicative cool enforced by technology, good old sincerity — remember that golden oldie? — can seem not just out-of-date but a little embarrassing. Who wants to be caught saying what they mean and meaning what they say, or wearing their heart on their earnest, pleading sleeve? John Carney does. He’s the Irish-born writer-director of Can a Song Save Your Life?, an unapologetically sincere movie that is modeled on the beautiful, almost desperate sincerity of the music-movie that put Carney on the map: Once, that lovely and enchanting 2007 pop bagatelle about two lost souls who connect through song, and who find a love so ethereal that it transcends even…love. At the time, Once felt like a one-of-a-kind movie, and I think it was, but Carney has other ideas. He’s out to make that gentle wistful lightning strike twice. READ FULL STORY
Casting Net: Keira Knightley heads to 1920s New York; Plus, Elizabeth Banks joins Beach Boys biopic, Martin Starr meets 'Veronica Mars,' more
• Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina) is attached to produce and star in an adaptation of Suzanne Rindell’s The Other Typist for Fox Searchlight. Set in 1923, the story follows Rose, a typist for the New York City Police Department. She’s old-fashioned and set in her ways till she befriends the new woman in the office, Odalie, who is glamorous and modern and loves to have fun at speakeasies. But Rose gets a little obsessed, hence the comparisons to The Talented Mr. Ripley. There’s no director attached yet. Knightley will be appearing next alongside Chris Pine in Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan (in theaters December 25), and with Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine in Can a Song Save Your Life. [THR]
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Casting Net: Kristen Stewart joins two indie projects; Plus Keira Knightley to star opposite Benedict Cumberbatch, more
• Kristen Stewart is lining up more projects for life after Twilight. She has signed onto two indie films that will shoot this summer, political drama Camp X-Ray and the Olivier Assayas-directed film Sils Maria. In Camp X-Ray, Stewart will play a young soldier who escapes her small town by joining the military, and, instead of getting a tour of duty in Iraq as she hoped, she ends up being sent to Guantanamo, where she encounters abuse and hatred from her superiors. For Sils Maria, Stewart joins Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass) and star Juliette Binoche (Chocolat) in the film about the introspective years of middle age. [Deadline]
A wedding isn’t the only exciting news for Keira Knightley fans this week: The actress is in negotiations to play the female lead in the dark comedy Laggies, according to a rep for the film. The independent production, written by first-timer Andrea Seigel and directed by Lynn Shelton (Your Sister’s Sister), tells the story of a young woman who reacts to her boyfriend’s marriage proposal by pretending to go on a business retreat while she actually hunkers down with a new 16-year old friend (Chloë Grace Moretz). Anne Hathaway was originally on board for the lead but had to depart due to scheduling conflicts with her next project, Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic Interstellar.
Knightley, 28, has a mix of small and big-budget films on her docket, including the Kenneth Branagh-directed Jack Ryan (co-starring Chris Pine) and the indie Can a Song Save Your Life? by writer-director John Carney (Once). The actress married musician James Righton in a small ceremony in France on Saturday. (A rep for Knightley did not immediately reply to a request for comment.)
Casting Net: Chris Rock to write, direct, and star in new film; Plus Keira Knightley as Coco Chanel, more
• Chris Rock is set to direct and star in a new film that he wrote, which is described as an “edgy showbiz-themed comedy with romance.” The busy comedian is also working on a number of documentaries, including Eat, Drink, Laugh, about New York’s Comic Strip Live, and Credit Is the Devil. This will be Rock’s third directorial effort. Rock also wrote and directed I Think I Love My Wife and Head of State. [Deadline]
• We’re tempted to roll our eyes at the thought of yet another Coco Chanel film, but this one might actually be interesting. Karl Lagerfeld, the delightfully irreverent creative director of Chanel, is reportedly working on a short film starring Keira Knightley as the lady behind the famous fashion house. Knightley’s the face of Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle perfume, and the short will be in celebration of the brand’s 100th anniversary. It’s a dressed up marketing campaign, but thanks to David Lynch’s short film for Dior with Marion Cotillard, we’re interested in what collaborations like these can breed. [Guardian]
As crafted by filmmaker Joe Wright (who directed Knightley in Atonement and Pride & Prejudice), the epic tale of a woman who cheats on her politically powerful husband (Jude Law) plays out almost entirely within the confines of a lush theater, which magically shapeshifts into any and all parts of czarist Russia.
But there’s more resonance to the film (which is in theaters now) than clever production design and lavish costumes. Knightley portrays a woman who is no victim, who consciously chooses to trade her fate and the misfortune that follows for a brief run of passion with the younger Count Vronsky, played by Kick-Ass actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
Q&A: 'Anna Karenina' up-and-comer Alicia Vikander on Keira Knightley, corsets, Denmark's 'A Royal Affair'
Swedish actress Alicia Vikander has everything going for her as an up-and-coming ingenue: a softly beautiful face that gleams pink-cheeked innocence, solid acting chops, and a modest, European approach to Hollywood far more wise than her 24 years.
In Joe Wright’s film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s late 19th century Russia-set novel Anna Karenina, out in theaters Friday, she stars as 18-year-old Princess Ekaterina “Kitty” Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya (ok, it’s easier to say “Kitty), betrayed by Keira Knightley’s dark-haired adulterer Anna Karenina when the older beauty sets her aristocratic eagle eyes on the object of Kitty’s affection, Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky, played by blonde, pucker-lipped Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
EW talked to Vikander about working with Knightley and Taylor-Johnson, wearing those amazingly cinched-in and ornate corseted dresses in the film, and starring in another period drama as different kind of royalty, the Danish queen Caroline Matilda, alongside Mads Mikkelsen (aka the villain in 2006 James Bond romp Casino Royale), in A Royal Affair, Denmark’s official foreign film entry for next year’s Oscars.
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