Editor | Peter Bowen
LA Times visits PARANORMAN Set
Posted April 30, 2012
In a recent Los Angeles Times article, "On the Set: 'ParaNorman' in a wacky world of its own," Booth Moore traveled up to Oregon to visit Laika studio where stop-motion animators are finishing up work on Chris Butler and Sam Fell's wacky zombie adventure PARANORMAN. It's fascinating look at the ideas, designs and hard work that go into making such a labor-intensive work like PARANORMAN. But why use stop-motion? Co-director and screenwriter Chris Butler waxes poetic about the rough-hewn beauty created through this technique: "we wanted to find the coarseness, the asymmetry, the broken edges. And everyone we roped in along the way in some way added to that." Indeed as Booth adds:
There is also a warmth and whimsy to Norman's zombie-shaped electric toothbrush and fuzzy zombie slippers, and eccentric Mr. Prendergast's (voiced by John Goodman) doodled-on puffer vest and trucker hat emblazoned with a beaver wielding a wrench.
MoMA hosts special Focus Anniversary Salute
Posted April 27, 2012
From May 3 to 20, 2012, New York City's Museum of Modern Art is throwing a cinematic party for Focus Features 10-year anniversary. Organized by Senior Curator Laurence Kardish, the series highlights the groundbreaking filmmakers that have worked with Focus and the great films they have made: Joel and Ethan Coen (A SERIOUS MAN), Sofia Coppola (LOST IN TRANSLATION), Lisa Cholodenko (THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT), David Cronenberg (EASTERN PROMISES), Michel Gondry (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND), Ang Lee (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN), Fernando Meirelles (THE CONSTANT GARDENER), Gus Van Sant (MILK), Roman Polanski (THE PIANIST), and Mike Mills (BEGINNERS). The series begins on Thursday May 3 with the Coen brothers philosophical favorite A SERIOUS MAN. See the complete list and schedule at MoMA.
Gus Van Sant Lands on PROMISED LAND
Posted April 25, 2012
Cameras on Gus Van Sant's new drama PROMISED LAND started rolling this week, with Matt Damon and John Krasinski taking on roles both in front and behind the camera. The screenplay, written by John Krasinski and Matt Damon, based on a story by Dave Eggers, recounts the plight of Steve Butler (Matt Damon), an oil company exec, who, along with his sales partner Sue Thompson (Frances McDormand), attempts to secure drilling rights from citizens of economically depressed town. However, what should have been an easy corporate sell becomes complicated when a local schoolteacher (Hal Holbrook) and a grassroots community activist (John Krasinski) confront the corporate team. Mr. Krasinski commented, "Matt and I wanted to write a story about American identity. In all of today's political and economic rhetoric, I feel people often lose sight of the deeper, core principles of what defines us as a country. We knew we needed to find a contemporary issue that would serve as the backdrop to the story but, more importantly, allow us to fully explore this idea."
Also in the film are Rosemarie DeWitt, Scoot McNairy, and Titus Welliver. The movie's crew includes cinematographer Linus Sandgren, production designer Dan Clancy and costume designer Juliet Polcsa. Participant Media is co-financing the movie, for which Focus will hold worldwide rights and commence overseas sales at the Cannes International Film Festival in May. Filming begins this week in Pennsylvania for release next winter. Focus president of production Jeb Brody said, "Matt and John's script is rich in Frank Capra-esque qualities, blending humor and heart while exploring the power of community in this day and age. An actor's director like Gus will bring forth all the emotions in the story, which is a true passion project for everyone. We're proud to be making Promised Land with Participant as our creative and financial partner."
For complete info, go to our press release.
Focus World & Tugg Go EXTRATERRESTRIAL
Posted April 18, 2012
Focus World, Focus Features unique alternative distribution initiative, is doing something new again. To release Nacho Vigalondo's fun sci-fi comedy EXTRATERRESTRIAL, Focus World will partner with Tugg, a new distribution effort that allows audiences to collectively push for a theatrical exhibition of a film by guarantying a set audience for a particular theater, date and time. In the audience-pleaser EXTRATERRESTRIAL, a couple wake from a one-night stand to find their morning bliss disrupted by a nosy neighbor, a jealous ex and a flying saucer suddenly hovering over the city. Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo had previously won a cult American following for his 2007 mind-bending thriller Timecrimes. Focus' Avy Eschenasy comments, "We're thrilled to be able to bring Nacho's work back to audiences in the United States. This strategy allows his fans to see EXTRATERRESTRIAL either on the big screen with an audience, or in the comfort of their own homes." For more information about EXTRATERRESTRIAL, Tugg and this unique relationship, see our press release.
Focus Features honored by Point Foundation
Posted April 17, 2012
On Monday, April 16, Focus Features was honored by the Point Foundation, along with legendary playwright Edward Albee, at the fifth annual gala in New York City. [Above, from left, James Schamus, Point Foundation Executive Director & CEO Jorge Valencia, Andrew Karpen] CEO James Schamus and Focus President Andrew Karpen were on hand to accept the honor for all of Focus, but both gracefully honored the Point Foundation as well for its fine work providing scholarships and support for LGBT students of merit. The two Focus heads were presented by Dennis O'Hare, who has appeared in two Focus films -- THE EAGLE and MILK. Andrew Karpen spoke eloquently about how the idea of support underpins both the Point Foundation and Focus Features. And James Schamus quoted James Baldwin on how "people can cry much easier than they can change," adding that while Focus is in the business of making you cry, the Point Foundation has the more daunting task of creating real change. In all, a great honor from a truly honorable organization.
Ryan Seacrest reads FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
Posted April 17, 2012
As Focus Features and Universal go into gear developing the super-hot literary phenomenon Fifty Shades of Grey into a film, others are also getting exciting about the whole thing. Recently announcer extraordinaire Ryan Seacrest has taken to reading the steamy novel and you can hear him talk about it using the player above or visit the Ryan Seacrest Fan Zone.
Eric Bana & Rebecca Hall Begin New Thriller
Posted April 16, 2012
This week Eric Bana (fresh from fast action acting in HANNA) and Rebecca Hall join up to start production on a new thriller from director John Crowley. The script comes from Steven Knight (who penned the David Cronenberg's thriller EASTERN PROMISES). The story centers on two ex-lovers, Martin (Bana) and Claudia (Hall), who find their loyalties tested and their lives at risk when they are joined together on the defense team in a terrorism trial in London. The cast also includes, Riz Ahmed, Jim Broadbent, Anne-Marie Duff and our favorite, Ciarán Hinds (who's been in five Focus films, the most recent being TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY). In addition, the film will be shot Adriano Goldman, the amazing cinematographer who shot JANE EYRE. Two filmmakers from THE DEBT, Jim Clay and Natalie War, will head up production design and costume design, respectively. Working Title's Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing the film with Chris Clark, and Focus holds worldwide rights to the feature.