Saturday, August 30, 2014

Al Pacino loses his magic in The Humbling based on Philip Roth's novel


UPDATE: 10/20/2014 ... the trailer has landed, scroll down to watch. In the words of Scott Myers at Go Into the Story, it's ACIDULOUS!

Ooof! Did Philip Roth write this novel so it could be adapted as a tour de force role for Al Pacino? Age brings a certain amount of 'humbling' for all of us but the idea of seeing Pacino as Simon Axler is especially potent. Check out the way the character is described in the overview of the book, below.
 
Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth's startling new book. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, "are melted into air, into thin air." When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. "Something fundamental has vanished." His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can't persuade him to make a comeback.
Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counterplot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day's journey into night, told with Roth s inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life's performances talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation are stripped off.
Buck Henry and Michal Zebede wrote the screenplay while Barry Levinson directed what Scott Foundas in Variety calls a 'quirky take' on Roth's novel. 
"Fronted by a vibrant, deeply committed Al Pacino performance and very fine support from Greta Gerwig, this uneven but captivating film deserves to find its own audience, though doing so will surely prove to be an uphill climb."
Foundas makes the point that The Humbling - [just the title is enough to make me sigh with sympathy] like Birdman does for Michael Keaton - rings true in a very Meta way.

Sounds like my kind of movie, the only problem being that besides the debut at the Venice Film Festival, and an appearance at TIFF next month, the film doesn't seem to have a regular release date yet. In addition to Pacino and Greta Gerwig, the cast includes Kyra Sedgewick, Dianne Wiest, Dan Hedaya and Charles Grodin.

Wouldn't you love to take a peek at the trailer? Me too but it hasn't been made public yet. And here it is!


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