> Chapter1-Take1: September 2016

A Monster Calls ... A boy and his loss [trailer]

I’m about 25% of the way through The Goldfinch and crazy about its main character, the 13 year old Theo. The deeply moving opening just slayed me. There are a number of 13 year olds in the book2movie world just now, especially 13 year old boys losing their mothers, vis a vis the adaptation of A Monster Calls. The film made its debut at TIFF earlier this month and is set to screen at the London Film Fest in early October before its’ main theatrical run at the start of the new year. 

The monster is voiced by Liam Neeson

The 13-year old Conor is played by Lewis MacDougall, fairly 
new to the biz, but his cancer-beset Mum is played by Felicity Jones with Sigourney Weaver as his Grandma. Like Theo, Conor has a rich relationship with his mother, and like Theo, has to come to terms with his grief.

If this is all new to you, here’s the lowdown on the book from Barnes and Noble. Siohban Dowd, human rights campaigner and ya author, had the idea for the book but herself died from cancer before she could write it. Patrick Ness not only wrote the book but also the screenplay. Meant as children’s book, this middle grade reader deals with some important, very grownup issues, so much so that some reviews indicate it may be too emotionally harrowing for your own young teen.
An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting-- he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd-- whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself-- Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

Take a look at the trailer.


Fantastic Beasts Trailer: A Whole Lot of CGI

The first full trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has been released. Not surprisingly it looks full of big money CGI. 

I was intrigued when we first saw the teaser trailer with Eddie Redmayne climbing into a small battered suitcase, and impossibly disappearing down into it. But I’m not sure how I feel about the wizarding world of Harry Potter—sans Harry Potter—meets the USA during what looks like the 1930's. All the CGI seems ... a bit much. I hope I’m wrong. I like Eddie Redmayne, I like Colin Farrell. And I’d like to like the movie. The film which also stars Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Jenn Murray, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo, Gemma Chan and newcomer Faith Wood-Blagrove opens in 3D and IMAX on November 18th.

What do you think? This trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is very special effects heavy. Does it have the magic in terms of storyline and character arcs and human connections to make it truly fantastic? I guess most of us will have to wait for its release on November 18th to really know.

Silence: The Martin Scorsese film opens December 23

Martin Scorsese's long awaited adaptation of SILENCEMartin Scorsese has had this film in his head for so long, he was at one point sued for not proceeding with the film based on Shusako Endo’s novel—is set for a limited release on December 23. 

Clearly he’s got Oscar voters on his mind. I first got wind of the project in 2012 but Scorsese has been talking about making this movie since the early 1990’s! Starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Tadanobu Asano, and Adam Driver, the film follows “two 17th-century Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and spread the gospel of Christianity.” (imdb.com) 

In an interview withVariety, Liam Neeson talked about working with the acclaimed director “[Scorsese] gives 200%. All he requires is that you give 100%. He’s intimidating,” Neeson added that he lost twenty pounds for his role. “He requires absolute silence on the set — if he hears one tiny sound, it shatters it for him.” Interesting. I’ve heard Clint Eastwood likes a quiet set too. 

For Scorsese the novel is deeply personal both for its story and its reflection on how we live as Christians in the world today. It’s not a book I feel drawn to read but if it’s a Martin Scorsese film, I’ll be drawn to watch it. How about you?

Good Girls Revolt: We've Come A Long Way, Baby!

A look at the personal and professional lives of employees 
at an American news magazine in the late 1960s.

For a lot of women my age—and especially those a few years older—Good Girls Revolt isn't a period drama. This was our lives. Groping bosses, dismissive attitudes about a woman’s place in the world of work. 

Based on the book The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich, the Amazon series, set in 1969 is inspired by the real-life group of female Newsweek researchers who demanded equality and bylines. 

I’m excited to see the period of the late 60’s, early 70’s through that specific lens, especially as it sounds like a show that will engage young women, who, to be honest, don’t quite seem to grasp the way it was just a few short years ago. I worry that they take women’s progress for granted and in doing so, put those strides at risk. I’m thinking specifically of women’s health rights but I’d be surprised if the show—a fictionalized telling of Povich’s true story doesn’t include a storyline that deals with the challenges of an unwanted pregnancy.

Of course, like Mad Men, with the clothes, the vibe and the music of the 1960’s, it also looks like a helluva lot of fun to watch!

Check out the trailer for a preview of the series which debuts October 28th. You can’t miss the iconic Norah Ephron played by Grace Gummer. 

The cast also includes Genevieve Angelson, Anna Camp, Erin Drake, Chris Diamantopoulos, Hunter Parrish and Jim Belushi.

In honor of William Faulkner's birthday: His inspiring Nobel Prize acceptance speech

William Faulkner was born on this day, September 25, 1897. Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949, the legendary author of The Sound and the Fury, A Rose for Emily, As I Lay Dying, Absololm, Absolom accepted the prize the following year. Below is the speech the great writer made, a celebration of the longevity of the human spirit, necessary for the creation of art. 

Did you know the great writer, like F. Scott Fitzgerald, also penned scripts in Hollywood? Among other projects, Faulkner scripted the adaptation of Hemingway’s To Have & Have Not and Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. Why? The reason most writers turn to Hollywood. For the money. 

I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work – a life’s work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed – love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.

I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.’’


The Lost City of Z starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland. #book2movies

We have the trailer but still no release date except for sometime this year. What's also new is that Diana Scrivener, the choreographer behind the exquisite dance in War and Peace worked on this film as well. She's agreed to talk with us about her work on The Lost City of Z, closer to the film's release date. Diana's already given me a correction on a casting note. I mistakenly assumed that twenty year old Tom Holland was playing the brother of thirty six year old Charlie Hunnam, but Diana tells me Holland (who we loved in Wolf Hall) is playing Jack Fawcett, Percy Fawcett's 21 year old son. Well, you know what they say about what happens when you assume!

While many of us are waiting for James Gray’s Steve McQueen biopic, it looks like Gray’s equally long-awaited Lost City of Z is getting closer to a real release date. Gray, who directed the beautiful The Immigrant, has been trying to get the film made for ages. Brad Pitt, originally set to star, dropped out but his company Plan B still produces, and helped move the movie along and it finally looks like something solid is happening.

The movie reportedly won’t be ready until the fall; the plan is for this ‘sales’* trailer to help pre-sell it, get a little buzz before it hits the festival circuit, hopefully making the task of picking up a distributor a breeze.  *replaced by regular trailer

The Lost City of Z stars Charlie Hunnam as British explorer Percy Fawcett who set off into the Amazon jungle searching for the Lost City and never returned. Based on the book by David Grann, the cast includes Robert Pattinson as Fawcett’s fellow explorer Henry Costin with Sienna Miller as his wife Nina. Tom Holland, getting lots of attention as the new Spiderman, plays his brother son Jack as does the adorable young Daniel Huttlestone, one of the best parts of Les Miz.

Gray has said David Lean was an major inspiration and the trailer is said to have an Apocalypse Now vibe. Gray once again collaborates with cinematographer Darius Khondji, the two worked together on The Immigrant.

Robert Pattinson? Yep, Robert Pattinson

Let’s watch the trailer together and please, let me know what you think. 

Apocalypse Now? Yes, in the sense that it’s a journey into the Heart of Darkness Amazon jungle but it’s got Khondji’s gorgeous filmy fingerprints all over it. Described as action/adventure I was expecting something more violent, more pure action in tone. But gosh this almost looks like, dare I say it, a historical drama. And yes, lots of action-y overtones. I’m in. You?

The Girl on the Train starring Emily Blunt has its London premiere. Get on board the hype train.

Author Paula Hawkins, director Tate Taylor with Emily Blunt, Luke Evans, Rebecca Ferguson & Haley Bennett

Girl on the Train Author Says 
Emily Blunt Is "Too Beautiful" for the Main Role

I was struck this morning by the above headline in E News: 

The piece goes on ...
Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train, doesn't think Emily Blunt is a good fit for the movie adaptation of her novel.
Blunt, who stars as the titular character Rachel Watson, is too pretty to play the main character who is supposed to be an overweight divorcee with a bad drinking problem. "Oh, she's too beautiful to play Rachel," Hawkins told the Daily Mail. "They've done their best, I mean to sort of make her look a bit s--t, but you know..."
Despite her strong opinion about the casting of the movie, Hawkins admitted she did enjoy Blunt's work in The Devil Wears Prada and said she does an "extraordinary job" in this film.

Wow! Talk about twisting words. Here’s what Hawkins actually said to the Daily Mail. Note how the editing out of the first part of the sentence changes the entire meaning. Suddenly it sounds as though the opinion is Hawkins whereas she is actually talking about what ‘everybody’ else is saying.
‘Everybody moans about, ‘‘Oh, she's too beautiful to play Rachel’’ and she is [too beautiful]. But the thing about Rachel, you know the key part of her is her self-loathing and how bad she feels about herself.’

That position is one I took in my take on the book. While ENews describes Rachel as ‘an overweight divorcee’ I’ve felt from the start that the puffiness and weight gain that often accompanies alcoholism doesn’t mean Rachel would be overweight in a hugely obvious way. It is more likely that her once fashionable clothes would now be tight and ill-fitting, stretched to their limits, buttons and closures, once easily snapped shut, now strained, left open. The 5 to 10 pound brand of ‘overweight’. The ugliest thing about Rachel is the amount of self-loathing she feels.

Hawkins went ‘that the way the actress carries herself managed to capture the way her character feels ‘horrible’ about herself ‘amazingly’ well.

Blunt herself said: ‘I haven’t played a woman like Rachel before. Alcoholism is a brutal disease and it exacts a terrible cost on the people who suffer from this addiction and the people around them. It was a great challenge to play a very messy, broken character.’

The Girl on the Train which had its premiere in London this week also stars Justin Theroux, Luke Evans and Rebecca Ferguson.

Here's the latest ad for the film which makes its debut October 6th. 

The Daily Mail

Curtis Hanson: Director of L.A. Confidential ... RIP

Director Curtis Hanson, winner of the Academy Award for L.A. Confidential has died. In addition to his acclaimed adaptation of James Ellroy’s novel—in 1998, the film won Best Picture, Best Screenplay Adaptation (with Brian Helgedlund), Best Cinematography with a Best Supporting Actress award for Kim Basinger—Hanson is known for 8 Mile, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle and The River Wild. 

“For me all good stories are about awareness. Self-awareness and lack of it, of how you get there and how you might fail to get there. Even Don Siegel’s ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ is about that to a degree. People discover who they are and what they’re all about by meeting their doppelgängers. I have deliberately tried to mix it up in my movies, because I enjoy visiting different worlds. However, thematically, I find that things keep coming up. Self-examination to begin with. You know, who am I, how did I get here and how do I become a better version of myself. Self-destructiveness, because that is the beginning or negation of self-examination.” Curtis Hanson, 3/24/45—9/20/16

Early in Hanson’s career he directed a mostly unknown Tom Cruise in Losin’ It. I’ve written about going to the wrap party and meeting Tom Cruise but if I met Hanson I have no memory of it.

Reports indicate that Curtis died in his Hollywood Hills home of a heart attack but that he may also have been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. He gave up the helm of his last movie, Chasing Mavericks, in 2012, leaving it to Michael Apted to complete reportedly due to complications from heart surgery. I hope that's so. I hate the thought of Alzheimer’s stealing the man’s life years before he actually died. He was 71 years old.

Jared Leto joins Ryan Gosling, Harrsion Ford & Robin Wright in Blade Runner 2

Denis Villeneuve hasn’t been able to attend the film fests where Arrival—based on Ted Chiang’s novella The Story of You—has been getting raves because he's in Budapest filming Blade Runner 2 with Ryan Gosling in the lead. You've probably heard that Harrison Ford is back as Rick Deckard. No one knows much more than that as the film is based on an original idea by Hampton Fancher who cowrote the first screen adaptation of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 

"I can say nothing...it's an insane project that is moving forward...we are in the middle of the shoot right now and Ryan Gosling is fantastic," Villeneuve said. "For me it's a big, big, big...artistic encounter. I have never been that inspired by an actor. He is really doing something special in front of the camera right now."
Today's news is that Jared Leto has just joined the cast. Again the shoot is still 'shrouded in mystery' so we have no idea who—or what?—Leto will be playing. In additon to Gosling and Harrison Ford, Leto will be joining Robin Wright, Ana de Armas and Mackenzie Davis. Acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins is doing the shooting as he did for Villeneuve's Sicario and Enemies.

Leto is having a great year. He's just put together a deal which has him playing Andy Warhol in a biopic based on Victor Bockris 1989 book, Warhol: The Biography which Leto bought the rights to some time ago. More on that news to come!

Amy Adams: On Arrival

I’ve been excited about the Amy Adams-starring Arrival for awhile now but it wasn’t until I saw the trailer at the theater that I was really blown away. You just can’t compare watching a film on your device or even your big screen tv to seeing it on the big screen at the movie theater. You just can’t.

That being said, enjoy today’s short Slacker Sunday video, six minutes with Adams and director Denis Villeneuve. The video is from the Venice Film Festival, the interviewer is Dutch (I think, perhaps Swedish or Danish) but like most Europeans he speaks terrific English. Pay attention to the part about the meaning of the word “kangaroo’’.

Based on the story by Ted Chiang: READ IT HERE

Oh, what the hell ... here’s the trailer too.

Saturday Matinee: Romeo + Juliet starring the real Leonardo DiCaprio #book2movies

Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo + Juliet at 21

Have you seen the images of Leonardo DiCaprio’s doppelganger going around? He’s a 21 year old Swedish bartender/musician/model named Konrad Annerud (@Konrad_Annerud) who looks a lot like Leo back in the day.

This is Konrad Annerud. 
Looking a bit like Leo is not the same as being Leo.

This is what being Leo looks like.

DiCaprio, who turns forty one in a couple of weeks, was just twenty one himself when Baz Luhrman cast him in Romeo + Juliet. Claire Danes was his 17 year old Juliet.

 Roger Ebert hated it. HATED it. Gave it just two stars and said hed never seen anything remotely approaching the mess that the new punk version of “Romeo & Juliet” makes of Shakespeare’s tragedy.” Well, we know anything by Baz Luhrman is going to be controversial. Some of us loved his Great Gatsby, others not so much. Ditto with Moulin Rouge. His unconventional approach really bothers the purists, but not Peter Travers of Rolling Stone. He adored the 1996 film.

“These babes from the TV woods — he started in Growing Pains; she emerged in My So--Called Life — fill their classic roles with vital passion, speak the Elizabethan verse with unforced grace, find the spirited comedy of the play without losing its tragic fervor and keep their balance when the audacious Australian director Baz Luhrmann (Strictly Ballroom) hurls them into a whirlwind of hardball action, rowdy humor and rapturous romance.” 
Guess what? I’ve never seen it. So that’s my Saturday Matinee. Romeo + Juliet. And you, want to watch it with me?

Republished on the occasion of Baz Luhrmann 54th birthday. 9/16/2016

Who's ready to take a road trip with Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland?

I shared my views on the making of The Leisure Seeker starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland when it debuted in Cannes back in May. There was a lot interest in the adaptation of the Michael Zadoorian novel at the time but no bites. Now it looks as though Sony is on the verge of picking it up so we can expect to see Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland—he has Alzheimer’s, she has cancer—making a road trip in a vintage Winnebago Leisure Seeker to visit Ernest Hemmingway’s home in Key West, despite the warnings of their doctors and children.

Buyers at the Toronto International Film Festival saw footage from the movie currently filming.

Have you read The Leisure Seeker? How does this sound to you?
A sort of Easy Rider meets The Notebook, Michael Zadoorian’s poignant, funny, vibrant, and unforgettable novel, The Leisure Seeker, is a story of two seniors who escape from their retirement home and embark upon a hilarious and touching end-of-life road trip. Here is a story that will appeal to a wide range of readers: from retiring Baby Boomers to fans of Mitch Albom, Tom Perotta, David Sedaris, Nick Hornby, and Nicholas Sparks. In fact, the Detroit Free Press says, “I would recommend Michael Zadoorian’s The Leisure Seeker to almost anyone.”

Nocturnal Animals: My take on the book behind Tom Ford's film starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal [TRAILER]


I have a neighbor who is always passing on books to me, saying “I don’t want it back.’’ She’s a lawyer and prolific reader with little room in her one bedroom apartment for the sheer number of books, fiction and nonfiction, she plows through. I typically lend her novels with the caveat that I am a book hoarder. “No rush, but please return it when you’re done. Enjoy!’’

It doesn’t matter whether you keep a book on your shelf, store it in your nook or kindle, donate it or return it to the library, some novels stay with you. Like it or not.

That’s how Tony & Susan by Austin Wright struck both of us “I have so many questions!’’ Lucy tells me. I do too. First we wonder how much director Tom Ford has changed it in his screenplay for Nocturnal Animals. I tell her I know he has made Susan into an art dealer, while in the book, she’s a professor teaching a few classes at the local community college. Ford has admitted Susan is him.

Edward is Susan’s ex–husband of twenty odd years. They’re not on friendly terms, or even in touch, but Edward sends Susan his manuscript Nocturnal Animals with a note asking her to read it. She’s always been his best critic. The truth is Susan never liked Edward’s writing and gave him lukewarm support. In Nocturnal Animals, Tony is the key character, a husband and father whose trip with his wife and their daughter is interrupted by some thugs. Tony is ineffective in the way he deals with the men and things go from bad to worse. Very worse!

Susan finds Edward’s novel, the so-called Nocturnal Animals surprisingly good, as do we. It’s a real old-fashioned page turner. She can’t help wondering why Edward has sent it to her, or thinking about the kind of mind her ex-husband has, that he can imagine these evil characters. Between sessions she also thinks about her husband who is away on a business trip, wondering if he is having an affair.  A college professor who teaches just a few classes, letting her ambition go, not publishing, not expanding her world, she is constantly—albeit unconsciously—questioning the choice she made to leave Edward, to marry Arnold. 

Finishing the book, she thinks long and hard about what she’ll say— and how she’ll say it—and waits for Edward’s visit but he stands her up. Without a word, he leaves her dangling. 

Why did Edward really send Susan his manuscript? Is he rubbing his achievement in? Is he nailing home the point that he could do this thing she said he could never do? Why does he stand her up? Is his protagonist Tony, Edward’s alter ego? Does he wish for Susan the same kind of ending he gives the wife in the book? 

And what about Susan? Her dreams and ambitions have been so muffled by time and marriage to a controlling man. When and why did that younger, opinionated woman allow that to happen?

They say living well is the best revenge, and it seems to me, Edward—who we never meet—with his perfect little nail biter of a book, is the one who lives well in this scenario.

Nocturnal Animals, Tom Ford's film starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal just made its debut at Venice and took home the Grand Jury Prize. A sort of second prize as the Golden Lion is the most prized prize. 

Nocturnal Animals is now playing at the Toronto Film Festival, Ford had this to say to the Jenny Yuen in the Toronto Sun:

The fashion entrepreneur-turned-filmmaker admits he often feels torn about “letting go of things in society,” when he is an obvious contributor to consumerism. His second stylish thriller, Nocturnal Animals, is a homage to letting go – but being unable to.
“We're constantly bombarded with things,” Ford said at the Princess of Wales Theatre Sunday night, ahead of his TIFF premiere. “Buy this, you're going to feel this way, get that, you're going to be happy, have this and you're going to get the guy of your life. We sort of push a sort of happiness that isn't life. Life is happy, life is sad, life is painful. And I realize that I am one of the people creating all these products and I've often been very torn about that and that's what this film is about."
Based on the novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright, Amy Adams plays Susan, a successful Los Angeles art gallery owner troubled by her absent travelling doctor second husband, played by Armie Hammer. A manuscript arrives on her desk written by her long-estranged first husband, Tony, portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal. Reading the script, she’s forced to confront the demons of her past.
“I began by not liking (the character), but it’s not my responsibility to judge my character, but sometimes I’ll have a gut reaction about them,” Adams said. “I realized she didn’t like herself and once I figured that out, that was a great starting point, then I could get into the core of who she was.”
Clearly Ford has made some changes! Did you read Tony & Susan by Austin Wright? What do you think? Does it sound like Ford has taken the novel and layered some of his own preoccupations and concerns within the story? We’ll have to wait and see. Nocturnal Animals doesn’t open here in the states until November in some major cities like NY and LA, December 9th across the country. Those of you visiting from the UK and other European countries expect to see the movie at your local theater beginning in November.

Isla Fisher takes on the role of Tony’s wife in the novel within the novel, while Armie Hammer plays Susan’s current husband, renamed Hutton Morrow. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Michael Shannon play the thug Jake, and the thuggish cop, Bobby Andes, who play huge roles in the story within the story.

Eva Green and Emmanuelle Seigner starring in Based on a True Story directed by Roman Polanski. No thanks.

Here’s some controversy for you. Eva Green and French star Emmanuelle Seigner have been cast in the psychological thriller Based on a True Story which is based on the prizewinning French novel D’apres une histoire vraie by Delphine de Vigan. The book is available in English translation. 

Acclaimed director Olivier Assayas, named the best director at Cannes for Personal Shopper starring Kristen Stewart, is co-writing the film. So where’s the controversy? Assayas is writing the film with Roman Polanski who directs. Polanski is almost as famous for raping a 13 year old girl in Los Angeles in 1977 and fleeing to France to escape imprisonment as he is for directing Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown, or for being the husband of Sharon Tate, the pregnant actress brutally slaughtered by the Manson Family. The director served just 42 days before he was released on bail pending sentencing. 

Based on a True Story tells the tale of an obsessive admirer (Eva Green) who tries to control a writer. The author is played by Emmanuelle Seigner, the French actress and Polanski’s wife who starred in Polanski’s 2013 Venus in Fur. The two have been married since 1989. 

The film will start shooting in France in November. Just a reminder that Polanski can not return to the USA where he would be immediately arrested. Also a reminder that unlike Woody Allen, these are not allegations and Polanski, 36 at the time, pleaded guilty to statutory rape of the 13 year old girl. The actual charge was “rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor.’’ In case it's not clear, what Roman Polanski did was feed her, the 13 year old model, alcohol and a quaalude. What did they use to say? Candy is dandy but alcohol’s quicker? And quaaludes? Oh, they’re much quicker than that.

I recognize Polanski is a genius. And some would say his inability to return to the USA, the filmmaking center of the world is punishment enough. Really? Like a coward, he fled from justice, never paid the real price of his crime but like so many other rapists and perpetrators of sexual assault he’s gotten off lightly. There are plenty of movies I’ve wanted to see but still haven’t got around to. This is one I think I’ll skip. 

The girl, Samantha Gailey, (Geimar), is now a married woman of 50-something who wrote her own memoir The Girl about the rape in 2013. Come to think of it, The Girl, might make for a compelling film. Think anybody in Hollywood is interested? 

Denial starring Rachel Weisz : Proving the Holocaust happened

This sounds promising! Rachel Weisz stars as Deborah Lipstadt in Denial, an adaptation of Lipstadt's book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier. Timothy Spall and Tom Wilkinson also star in Mick Jackson's film about the legal battle between a Holocaust expert and a Holocaust denier.

The script was written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter David Hare (The Hours, The Reader), the score by Oscar winner Howard Shore (Hugo, The Hobbit) and costumes by BAFTA-winning Odile Dicks-Mireaux (Great Expectations, Brooklyn, High-Rise) made its debut this week at TIFF and is set for release at the end of September. 

The material is serious and some are saying Oscar worthy. The British trio of actors is certainly well-respected. Check out the trailer, Weisz is utterly believable as the American Lipstadt while Timothy Spall, as the Holocaust denier David Irving makes you want to scream with his sneering portrayal. 

The always superb Tom Wilkerson plays Lipstadt’s counsel and that’s Andrew Scott, the man you love to hate as Moriarty in Sherlock, as co counsel Anthony Julius. Julius is a pretty big deal in the UK having represented Princess Di and Heather Mills as well

Set in 1996, the trial takes place in England where Irving sued Lipstadt for labeling him a Holocaust denier in one of her books. Apparently in English civil courts, the burden of proof in libel cases is on the defendant which means Lipstadt’s legal team had to prove the Holocaust occurred. Which is crazy. On the other hand I was reminded recently that alt-right talk show host Alex Jones still insists that Sandy Hook was a fabrication, with child actors playing the dead children. But that’s a whole other horrible story.

Let’s watch the trailer.

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