I love Focus Features, the indie studio who values storytelling over big-budgeted films. And I'm loving Matthew McConaughey lately especially with his scene-stealing turns in last year's "Magic Mike" and "Killer Joe." So I was pleasantly surprised that Focus has purchased "Dallas Buyers Club" starring McConaughey as Ron Woodruff, an '80s-era AIDS patient who started a "buyers club" for HIV-positive folks needing medication. The true-to-life film also stars Jennifer Garner as Woodruff's doctor and actor turned rockstar, Jared Leto, as a cross-dressing AIDS patient (perfect role right?). Jean-Marc VallVallée, the guy who gave us "The Young Victoria," directed the film from the original screenplay by Craig Borten and Melissa Wallack.
"Dallas Buyers Club" will be released during the second half of 2013, yup, the awards season!
Here's the full press release from Focus:
NEW YORK, April 23rd, 2013 - Dallas Buyers Club, currently in post-production, has been acquired by Focus Features for domestic theatrical release in the second half of 2013. The company has also acquired Latin American rights to the feature. Focus CEO James Schamus and Focus president Andrew Karpen made the announcement today.
A Truth Entertainment production, Dallas Buyers Club is produced by Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter. Spirit Award winner Matthew McConaughey stars in the fact-based drama for director Jean-Marc Vallée (The Young Victoria). The film's original screenplay is by Craig Borten and Melissa Wallack.
In Dallas Buyers Club, Mr. McConaughey portrays real-life Texas electrician Ron Woodroof, an ordinary man who found himself in a life-or-death battle with the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies. In 1986, Ron was blindsided by being diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. With the U.S. still internally divided over how to combat the virus and restricting medications, Ron grabbed hold of non-toxic alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and illegal. Seeking to avoid government sanctions against selling non-approved medicines and supplements, he established a "buyers club," which fellow HIV-positive people could join for access to his supplies.
The cast of Dallas Buyers Club also includes Gotham Independent Film Award winner Jared Leto and Golden Globe Award winner Jennifer Garner. The movie's executive producers are Truth Entertainment's Tony Notargiacomo and Joe Newcomb; Nicholas Chartier; Cassian Elwes; Logan Levy; Nathan Ross; and Holly Wiersma.
Mr. Schamus and Mr. Karpen commented, "Matthew McConaughey is an actor at the top of his game, and he incarnates Ron Woodroof by showing how his self-interest was galvanized into something much more. Audiences will want to take this journey with him, Jared Leto, and Jennifer Garner, as guided by their dynamic director Jean-Marc Vallée."
Mr. Vallée said, "I'm extremely pleased that we are partnered with Focus Features. They have a long and successful history of sharing memorable stories. Ron Woodroof's story is one of an imperfect man and his fight for survival, during a confused and desperate time. We all believe that this film had to finally be made, and we are all grateful and privileged to be part of this project."
Focus Features and Focus Features International (www.focusfeatures.com <http://www.focusfeatures.com/> ) comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.
The current and upcoming Focus Features slate includes Derek Cianfrance's drama The Place Beyond the Pines, starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and Eva Mendes; The World's End, the third installment of Edgar Wright's trilogy of comedies starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; Closed Circuit, the suspense thriller directed by John Crowley and starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall; the true-life dramatic thriller Kill the Messenger, to be directed by Michael Cuesta and star Jeremy Renner; and the comedic fable The Boxtrolls, the new animated feature from LAIKA, directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable with a voice cast that includes Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, and Tracy Morgan.
Focus Features is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is owned by Comcast Corporation.
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So, will Gus Van Sant get down and dirty and direct the big screen version of E L James' best-selling sex novel? Say it isn't so. "Fifty Shades of Grey" is like "Twilight" for smut. Remove the sex scenes and it becomes less interesting (with "Twilight," remove all the vampire/werewolves references and we're left with nothing).
But according to TheWrap, Van Sant shot test footage of a sex scene last weekend with Alex Pettyfer playing Christian Grey, the main character and S&M connoisseur.
TheWrap went on further and revealed that the scene Van Sant shot was when the female character, Anastasia Steele, loses her virginity to Christian. Van Sant is an interesting choice by Universal and Focus (the studios are tag teaming production/distribution of this flick), if it's true. The Oscar-nominated director is known for well told films like "Milk" and "Good Will Hunting." But then again, Van Sant is also known for being experimental (remember his virtual shot-by-shot remake of "Psycho?") so entering the world of S & M may be something that excited the helmer.
Fans of the book have been inundated with various adaptation rumors before such as who will play Anastasia? Will it be Emma Watson? Mila Kunis? Allison Williams?
Until the next "50 Shades of Grey" rumor y'all!
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Thor said he would return and voila, he's back! Marvel has given us a glimpse of what to expect from the sequel with the very first trailer for the sequel "Thor: The Dark World."
Chris Hemsworth returns to don the outfit as Thor. Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, and Jaimie Alexander also return. The sequel follows what happened in the first one and "Marvel's The Avengers," and now Thor (Hemsworth) will be reunited with Jane Foster (Portman) and our superhero takes his love to Asgard. We'll also find out what happens to Loki, the super bad Big Bad brother of Thor played wonderfully by Hiddleston.
I enjoyed the first movie, but I gave original director, Kenneth Branagh, props for making the 2011 film full of pathos. We'll see if director Alan Taylor can match Branagh's flick with the sequel.
But seriously? I'm having a serious case of Marvel overdose! "Iron Man 3" in May (we'll pretend that the crappy "Iron Man 2" didn't happen), and then "Thor: The Dark World" on Nov. 8. After the fantastic "The Avengers," all the following Marvel movies better have the same weight or we'll stop caring! Right?
Here's the trailer for "Thor: The Dark World":
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We all know Anna Kendrick is a good actress and always a scene-stealer, but who knew that she is destined to become a pop star as well. Her new song "Cups" is burning up the charts. And for those who've seen "Pitch Perfect," you'll remember this acapella goodness from the movie.
Now, Universal Music Group has released a video to accompany the song, and it's cleverly directed by the "Pitch Perfect" helmer, Jason Moore. The picture above was from Kendrick's Instagram during the making of the video.
I guarantee you that you will be practicing flipping cups very soon, thanks to this video! And the next time I interview Kendrick, I'll make her teach me!
Here's the music video for "Cups":
Check out my fun interviews with Anna Kendrick:
"UP IN THE AIR"
"END OF WATCH"
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"The Purge" starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey gets a new release date. It was going to open May 31st, but now, will be debuting one week later on June 7th. So there you go thriller fans, you have to wait one more week!
Here's more info on "The Purge":
Release date: June 7, 2013
Genre: Speculative thriller
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane, Max Burkholder
Written and Directed by: James DeMonaco
Produced by: Jason Blum, Sébastien Kurt Lemercier, Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller
If on one night every year, you could commit any crime without facing consequences, what would you do? In The Purge, a speculative thriller that follows one family over the course of a single night, four people will be tested to see how far they will go to protect themselves when the vicious outside world breaks into their home.
In an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity—including murder—becomes legal. The police can't be called. Hospitals suspend help. It's one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment. On this night plagued by violence and an epidemic of crime, one family wrestles with the decision of who they will become when a stranger comes knocking.
When an intruder breaks into James Sandin's (Ethan Hawke) gated community during the yearly lockdown, he begins a sequence of events that threatens to tear a family apart. Now, it is up to James, his wife, Mary (Lena Headey), and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide.
Directed by James DeMonaco (writer of Assault on Precinct 13 and The Negotiator), The Purge is produced by Jason Blum of Blumhouse (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister), Platinum Dunes' partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form (The Amityville Horror, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), as well as Sébastien Kurt Lemercier (Assault on Precinct 13).
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