Friday, January 28, 2005

JOLIE FLOCKS TO 'SHEPHERD'; THESP TEAMS WITH DAMON ON U PIC
By Michael Fleming, Daily Variety

Angelina Jolie will join Matt Damon in "The Good Shepherd," the Robert De Niro-directed drama expected to begin production in March.

Universal will distribute the film domestically; Morgan Creek is negotiating to handle foreign territories.

Neither Jolie nor Damon will close their deals until Morgan Creek's participation is finalized. Pic was on firm footing until late last year, when Initial Entertainment Group ankled over budget concerns.

Pic is an Eric Roth-scripted history of the CIA as seen through the eyes of a career agent whose marriage is destroyed by the stress and difficulties of the job. Jolie has been tapped to play the wife.

Tribeca partners De Niro and Jane Rosenthal are producing, with Francis Ford Coppola, Rick Schwartz and Chris Brigham exec producing.
Last seen in "Alexander," Jolie recently wrapped "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" opposite Brad Pitt.

The actress has been immersed in making "A Moment in the World," a documentary she financed. Jolie sent 38 teams of cameramen and narrators to locations in the U.S. and throughout the world to capture events that occurred during the same random four-minute span. She is cutting the footage into an educational film for children about cultural diversity.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Hard Candy with Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page
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From Variety:

Posted: Wed., Jan. 26, 2005, 9:24pm PT
Hard Candy

A Lions Gate Films release of a Vulcan Prods. presentation in association with Launchpad Prods. Produced by David W. Higgins, Richard Hutton, Michael Caldwell. Executive producers, Jody Patton, Rosanne Korenberg. Co-producers, Brian Nelson, Hans Ritter. Directed by David Slade. Screenplay, Brian Nelson.

Jeff Kohlver - Patrick Wilson
Hayley Stark - Ellen Page
Judy Tokuda - Sandra Oh
Janelle Rogers - Jennifer Holmes
Nighthawks Clerk - Gilbert John


By TODD MCCARTHY

'Hard Candy'

A spectacular performance by teenage thesp Ellen Page elevates this disturbing slice of designer shocksploitation into a film that's impossible to dismiss on principle. Destined to be called "the castration picture" due to the procedure the female lead spends two-thirds of the film preparing to perform on her male captive, this low-budget but exceedingly accomplished first feature by Brit commercials and video director David Slade stirs deeply conflicted feelings about its characters and the film itself. Lions Gate paid $4 million at Sundance for world rights, minus a few territories, and the investment looms as a very good one, as the tense, sleek picture could clean up in Europe and Asia, with the U.S. posing a somewhat chancier but still promising bet.
Roughly inspired by a Japanese case in which schoolgirls lured older men over the Internet, only to beat them up, and influenced by femme revenge pics going back to Abel Ferrara's "Ms. 45," Brian Nelson's clever screenplay pivots on the notion of female payback for all the underage girls molested or killed by adult males.

What Nelson, with the skill of a highly practiced playwright, and Slade manage most adroitly is to force the viewer to shift allegiances many times.

After a frisky Internet dalliance, 32-year-old fashion photographer Jeff Kohlver (Patrick Wilson) meets 14-year-old Hayley Stark (Page) at a Los Angeles cafe. Perhaps it should tell Jeff something that her reading matter consists of a Jean Seberg biography and "Romeo and Juliet" (she even sports a very cute Seberg haircut), but he chooses to overlook the warning signs and take her up to his beautifully minimalist Hollywood Hills home, a location in which, as photographed in bold widescreen compositions by Jo Willems, Michelangelo Antonioni would feel right at home.

Although Jeff says upfront he's "very aware of the legal boundaries," he doesn't prevent his guest from guzzling alcohol. Through all the early banter, Hayley comes off as far beyond her years, like a teasing 19-year-old in a coltish high school freshman's body.

Suddenly, Jeff passes out. When he awakens, he finds himself bound to a chair and accused by Hayley of being a pedophile, a molester and perhaps even the murderer of a young girl. As Jeff protests his innocence, Hayley scours his emails for incriminating evidence, searches his home for porn and taunts him about his alleged involvements with underage fashion models.

After a brutal struggle, Hayley prevails again, with Jeff this time, at 45 minutes in, tied down on a table, a bag of ice over his crotch and ready to live a scene out of "Reservoir Dogs," only this time the bit of anatomy is more delicate and precious than an ear. It's time for "a little preventive maintenance," announces Hayley as this daughter of a med student begins shaving (offscreen) the area in question.

As one braces for the seemingly inevitable, it's easy to disengage from the proceedings by dismissing them as low-end cinematic exploitation and sadism, and there is undeniably an element of that; interior voices ranging from whispers to shouts will insist this is just manipulative rubbish.

But with more than a half-hour still to go, it becomes clear how effectively the film has been playing with viewer sympathies. Increasingly, Hayley comes off as a possibly demented and delusional bitch, a very intelligent and articulate one, to be sure, and quite an expert with ropes and knots. And one is inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to Jeff, whose protests seem plausible and degree of victimization extreme.

But things flip and flop more than once thereafter, and by pic's end it's difficult not to ponder the serious questions of physical abuse Hayley has raised, even if they seemed like specious rationalizations for outrageous cinematic torture during a good deal of the running time.

Although the film's design elements, from the elegant decor and arresting lateral scene transitions bathed in red to the infectious musical selections, are striking if trendy, "Hard Candy" is memorable most of all for Page, a Halifax, Nova Scotia thesp said to have been 15 when pic was shot. Self-possessed to an astonishing degree, both as an actress and as the character, Page handles her enormous load of dialogue with adult-sized portions of emotion, insinuation and driving rage, not to mention an appreciation of sexual dynamics and consequences that repeatedly astonishes. The actress will be in great demand as soon as Hollywood sees this, if she isn't already.

Wilson, currently onscreen as the courtly benefactor in "The Phantom of the Opera," spends most of the picture unbecomingly sweaty and hog-tied, but is entirely convincing as the smooth-talking photog.

Aesthetically and in terms of subject matter and the frank presentation of an acutely sexualized young teenage girl, "Hard Candy" feels much more like a European film than an American one, despite the Yank characters and Hollywood location. Whether it's Eurotrash or Eurosmart will be a matter of opinion.

Camera (CFI color/Technicolor, Panavision widescreen), Jo Willems; editor, Art Jones; music, Molly Nyman, Harry Esscott; music supervisor, Hans Ritter; production designer, Jeremy Reed; art director, Felicity Nove; set decorator, Kathryn Holliday; costume designer, Jennifer Johnson; sound (Dolby Digital), Dennis Grzesik; re-recording mixer, Patrick Giraudi; supervising sound editors, Richard Taylor, Stuart Martin; associate producers, Erica Farjo, Barney Jeffrey; assistant director, Barry Wasserman; casting, Valerie McCaffrey. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Midnight), Jan. 25, 2005. Running time: 103 MIN.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

HARD CANDY PRESS:

Lions Gate Bites Into Hard Candy

POTO PRESS:

'Phantom Of The Opera' Is Just Your Average Love Triangle — With A Disfigured Ghoul

'Phantom' Tailored for Moviegoers

Monday, January 24, 2005

"Phantom" Rises to #7 in Box-Office Figures
By Andrew Gans
24 Jan 2005

During its first weekend in nationwide release, Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" was the seventh highest-grossing film.

The long-awaited film of the Tony-winning musical of the same name brought in $5 million over the past weekend. To date, the Joel Schumacher-directed movie musical has earned $34 million in the U.S. The movie stars Gerard Butler in the title role with Emmy Rossum as Christine and Patrick Wilson as Raoul.

"Phantom" had previously hovered at the number nine and ten positions on the weekly list of movie grosses.

As of Jan. 19, the movie had grossed $28 million domestically and $43 million overseas, for a worldwide total of $71 million. Its production costs are reported to be $70 million, mostly shouldered by Lloyd Webber's production company, Really Useful.

This week's top-ten list also includes "Are We There Yet?," "Coach Carter," "Meet the Fockers," "In Good Company," "Racing Stripes," "Assault on Precinct 13," "White Noise," "The Aviator" and "Elektra."


Thursday, January 20, 2005

From Variety:

Wilson drawn back to 'Bright Lights'

Deutsch looking to shop CD as a feature

By ROBERT HOFLER

Patrick Wilson, now onscreen in "Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the
Opera," returns to "Bright Lights, Big City" by Paul Scott Goodman, his New
York legit debut. The actor heads the show's cast album, which will be
released in April on the Sh-K-Boom label.

Now that Wilson has segued from the stage to TV and film, Sh-K-Boom's Kurt
Deutsch is looking to shop the "Bright Lights" CD as a featurefeature film.

Starting in March, his next movie assignment is opposite Robert De
NiroRobert De Niro and Matt Damon in Universal's "Good Shepherd," which De
Niro directs.

Reps for Wilson confirmed the actor was attached to the cast album, which
also features Jesse L. Martin and Sherie Rene Scott, and was recorded last
year.

Based on Jay McInerney's 1985 novel of 1980s decadence in Gotham, the "BLBC"
musical had its world premiere at New York Theater Workshop in 1998. Wilson
played Jamie, the role essayed by Michael J. Fox in the 1988 film. Neither
film nor musical was embraced by the critics.

Undeterred, Deutsch calls the 2005 recording a "completely new version" of
the musical, which has been radically reshaped: Among other adjustments,
Goodman has dropped the narrator and added several songs.

As for the work's future incarnations, Deutsch feels the 1980s are back.
"Decadence, drugs, fashion and excess -- that time period is in right now,"
he said.

After NYTW's original staging of "Bright Lights, Big City," Wilson appeared
on Broadway in "The Full Monty""The Full Monty" and the 2002 revival of
"Oklahoma!" From there he went into HBO's "Angels in America," "The Alamo,"
"Phantom" and "Hard Candy"; latter pic unspools at Sundance.

Martin also has developed a TV-movie pedigree. The "Law & Order" thesp
reprises his first Broadway musical assignment in the upcoming film version
of "Rent."

Scott opens in Broadway's "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" in March.

Broadway.com -- Ask A Star

Monday, January 17, 2005

Lack Of Color On The Red Carpet

Thursday, January 13, 2005

(no subject)

ROSSUM LIPS SWOLLEN FROM KISSING WILSON

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Patrick will be a guest on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," Thursday, January 13 on NBC (12:35-1:35 a.m.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

<a href="Flocking to Fockers: "Parents" Sequel Remains #1 ast Box Office; "Phantom" Steady at #9

Monday, January 10, 2005

A homecoming for hurricane relief

Emmy Rossum lips swollen from kissing Patrick Wilson

Friday, January 07, 2005

"Phantom of the Opera" CD Is Number One on Billboard Soundtrack Chart

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Cinematic "Phantom of the Opera" adds rich visuals to stage show's music

Here are some fun older clips from Patrick's alma mater...

Scotch 'n Soda Buzz Blair Award -- Young Alumni Award

Most Eligible Bachelor Returns


Also, the box office report for POTO from Playbill.com

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Check out the special 'Phantom' Christmas greeting on the RUG website.

Vote for Patrick at the Really Useful Group Website Poll: Who are you looking forward to seeing most in the new Phantom movie?

STAGE TO SCREEN: Joel Schumacher's "The Phantom of the Opera"

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Looking Back (Way Back) Before the New Year -- Patrick Wilson