Tuesday , December 19 2017

London fest serves up ‘Battle’ – Twain, Madsen join Travolta for ‘Trading Paint’

LOS ANGELES, Aug 15, (RTRS): “Battle of the Sexes,” the tennis movie starring Oscar winner Emma Stone and Steve Carell, will be the American Express Gala screening, and have its European premiere, at the upcoming 61st BFI London Film Festival.

Stone and co-stars Andrea Riseborough and Elisabeth Shue will attend the premiere at London’s Odeon Leicester Square on Oct 7. “Little Miss Sunshine” filmmakers Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton direct the movie and will also be in London for the red-carpet event.

The film is set in the early 1970s and chronicles the tennis match between Billie Jean King (Stone) and former men’s champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Carell). King, who won six Wimbledon titles and became the world’s top-ranked female tennis player, will attend the premiere.

The film tells her and Riggs’ on- and off-court stories as the rivalry between them ramps up ahead of their face-off, which became one of the most-watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world.

King, fiercely private, was fighting for gender equality in the tennis world and struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality and relationship with Marilyn Barnett (Riseborough). Riggs was battling gambling and family problems.

Simon Beaufoy wrote the screenplay for the movie, which also stars Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, and Alan Cumming. It is produced by Cloud Eight Films’ Christian Colson and Decibel Films’ Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”).

Clare Stewart, BFI London Film Festival director, said: “This playful, funny and moving film is a rousing tribute to Billie Jean King, whose impact on gender politics was as powerful as her legendary forehand.”

Colson added: “Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, together with our exceptional ensemble led by Emma Stone and Steve Carell, have brought Simon Beaufoy’s richly textured screenplay joyously to life, and I can’t wait to share the film with my fellow Londoners at LFF.”

There will be special screenings of “Battle of the Sexes,” with highlights from the festival premiere, at cinemas across the UK on Oct 10. Twentieth Century Fox will release it across the UK and Ireland on Nov 24.

“Lion” was the festival’s American Express Gala movie last year, and Todd Haynes’ “Carol” in 2015.

The London Film Festival runs Oct 4-15. Andy Serkis’ directorial debut, “Breathe,” will open the festival.

Country music star Shania Twain, Michael Madsen, and Kevin Dunn have joined the cast of John Travolta’s racing movie “Trading Paint.”

Principal photography launched this week in Alabama with shooting scheduled through mid-September at several Alabama locations. Toby Sebastian (“Game of Thrones”) will also co-star.

Karzan Kader, director of Tyler Perry and Doug Liman’s upcoming “The Year of the Great Storm,” is helming “Trading Paint” from a script by Craig Welch and Gary Gerani. Travolta portrays a down-and-out dirt track racing legend who is drawn back into the winner’s circle after his son, an aspiring driver, joins a competitor’s racing team, and incites an intense and dangerous competition between father and son.

Producing

Ambi Pictures and Paradox Studios are fully financing and producing the film. The producers are Andrea Iervolino, Monika Bacardi, Silvio Muraglia, and Alexandra Klim. AMBI Distribution is handling worldwide sales for the film.

Iervolino said, “It’s well know that dirt track racing is one of the most exciting sports in the world, and it’s also one of the most dangerous. Our story is rooted in that high-speed danger, but also very much character driven, and this is where having someone of John’s caliber and gravitas pays great dividends.”

After breaking out in his psychological thriller “The Witch,” Anya Taylor-Joy is looking to reteam with director Robert Eggers on his new take on a cinematic classic.

Sources tell Variety that the “Split” actress is in negotiations to star in Studio 8’s remake of “Nosferatu.”

Eggers is writing and directing the pic. The 1922 silent movie followed the vampire Count Orlok of Transylvania, who wants to buy a house in Germany and becomes enamored of the real-estate agent’s wife. It was an unofficial adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” and Werner Herzog directed a 1979 remake.

Chris Columbus will produce.

Eggers has already signed a deal with Studio 8 and is attached to direct “The Knight” for the studio. Jon Silk brought the “Nosferatu” project to Studio 8.

Eggers wanted to reteam with Taylor-Joy on the film early in the process, but after she became a bona fide movie star in M. Night Shyamalan’s hit “Split,” the young actress’ schedule has filled up. She is currently filming Josh Boone’s X-Men film “New Mutants” and is also signed on for the “Split” and “Unbreakable” sequel “Glass,” which also stars James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Coming off a dazzling best picture win for Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight,” distributor A24 has locked in a wide-ranging slate of awards season players. Since last we checked, the company has acquired Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” (Nov 10), which joins Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s “Woodshock” (Sept 22), Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project” (Oct 6), Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (Oct 27) and James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist” (Dec 1) in an appropriately eclectic stable.

The question in all of this is how far A24 can make it through the season with how many of these drastically different projects. “Lady Bird” has a good shot at wide-ranging appeal, tackling terrain similar to one of the company’s 2016 players, “20th Century Women.” But Baker’s Cannes sensation is an exciting option.

Many have been drawing facile parallels between “The Florida Project” and “Moonlight,” presumably for no other reason than both are set in the Sunshine State and tell stories of the underrepresented. But it admittedly makes for a helpful shorthand in insinuating a movie like this into the season.

The film tells the story of Moonee (Brooklynn Prince), a precocious 6-year-old girl who lives with her mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) in a community of extended-stay motel guests in pastel-streaked Orlando. It’s a hard life seen through the eyes of youthful adventure, a tightrope walk, really. And in a world where no one can say with any confidence what an Oscar movie really is anymore, it certainly has a chance.

In particular, Willem Dafoe is sure to be a story this season as a kind-hearted motel manager. Prince is wonderful and magnetic, though duplicating a run like Quvenzhane Wallis’ (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) is a tall order. Vianaite, a non-actor, deserves serious supporting consideration, and it’s not hard to see the Screen Actors Guild falling for such an effortlessly natural cast like this.

We’ll see what the season has in store, but for now, A24 has revealed the first trailer and poster for the film, which you can view below. “The Florida Project” will transition from Cannes to the early fall festival circuit before an early October release.

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