By: Romeo San Vicente*/Special to TRT—
McConaughey adrift on the Sea of Trees
We no longer remember Failure to Launch or Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. We happily put them out of our head when Matthew McConaughey took the wheel of his terrible career and pulled an abrupt and awesome u-turn into seriously excellent work, the kind he promised everyone back in Dazed and Confused. Whether it’s on TV in HBO’s wickedly great True Detective or in good movie after good movie like Mud, Killer Joe or his now-Oscar-nominated turn in Dallas Buyer’s Club, the man is on fire in the best possible way. So it’s almost run-of-the-mill good news to learn that he’s taken a role in the latest Gus Van Sant drama, Sea of Trees opposite Ken Watanabe. From a Chris Sparling (Buried) script that made the 2013 Black List, Van Sant will tell the story of an American man who goes to the notorious “Suicide Forest” located in the foothills of Japan’s Mount Fuji. There he meets Watanabe, a Japanese man who’s having second thoughts about his own planned demise and the two begin a journey out of the forest and back to the land of the living. Maybe when he finds his way out he’ll give Kate Hudson some career rehab pointers.
Stockholm, Pennsylvania, population Cynthia Nixon and Saoirse Ronan
Lest we forget that indie cinema is still the main destination for gut-wrenching, heartbreaking stories, here comes Stockholm, Pennysylvania. The debut directorial feature from Nikole Beckwith – it’s adapted from the stage play – was developed through the Sundance Screenwriting Lab and sounds like it’s going to require a box of Kleenex to deal with. A kidnapping drama – hence that title – it tells the story of a developmentally stunted young woman (Saoirse Ronan) held for 20 years by her captor (Jason Isaacs), then reunited with her birth mother (Cynthia Nixon) as an adult. Her mother must struggle to nurture the daughter she’s never known, earn her trust and affection and fight to restore her to the world of functioning human beings. In other words, here comes Cynthia Nixon swinging for the bleachers, and if anyone can get us to enter this sorrowful world it’s her. She always was the coolest member of the Sex and the City gang. Shooting this year, expect accolades for her come 2015.
Emma Watson endures Regression
Alejandro Amenabar, the gay, Academy Award-winning, Chilean-Spanish filmmaker, isn’t afraid to go there. He put Nicole Kidman through supernatural hell with The Others and directed Javier Bardem in the euthanasia-themed drama The Sea Inside. Now it’s Emma Watson’s turn, as she takes a role in the director’s new film, Regression, a thriller with a disturbing (and, until now, under wraps) plot. So far what we know is that the script is from Amenabar himself and co-stars Ethan Hawke as a convicted sex offender with no memory of his crimes, which include raping his own daughter. No news on whether or not Watson plays the daughter or the therapist who engineers the title’s therapeutic process that helps Hawke’s character retrieve the evidence of his horrible actions. Shooting this year, look for it to make your local multiplex the feel-bad place of 2015.
College Republicans court the gay vote
Hot new gay director John Krokidas, fresh off his 2013 indie hit about the Beat Generation, Kill Your Darlings, has plans to reunite his stars for the next project on his plate. Krokidas is looking for Kill cast members Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan to reteam for College Republicans. From a Black List script by Wes Jones, the film is a period piece, set in 1973, concerning much younger versions of right-wing political operatives Lee Atwater and Karl Rove on a very strange political road trip. The light-hearted satire of the birth of contemporary dirty tricks-style campaigning will tell the story of Rove cutting his teeth on a hardball campaign for National College Republican Chairman under the guidance of campaign manager Atwater. In other words, it doesn’t sound like a warm, fuzzy Tea Party-approved biopic. Good.
Alexis Bledel wants to marry Katherine Heigl. Won’t you help?
OK, not in real life. But the producers of Jenny’s Wedding are still hoping you’ll donate to their Indiegogo fund to finish production on the romantic comedy-drama about two lesbians facing uncertain marriage plans. From director Mary Agnes Donoghue (screenwriter of Beaches and White Oleander), the film stars Katherine Heigl as Jenny, a lesbian who wants to marry her girlfriend (Alexis Bledel). Except Jenny never got around to telling her parents (Tom Wilkinson, Lindo Emond) that she’s gay. Principal photography is finished but the production is looking to raise about 150,000 more dollars to complete the film. And that’s where Indiegogo comes in. As of this writing, they’ve managed to come up with a little more than $30K. So it boils down to this: You may never want to see Katherine Heigl do anything else in this life except make out with Rory Gilmore, but you know you do want to see that, so isn’t it worth five bucks? Sure it is. Do it for the sake of lesbian wedding movies now and forevermore.
*Romeo San Vicente knows all about dirty campaigns. Ask that still-angry homecoming king he used to know. He can be reached care of this publication or at www.DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.