Category: Real Life Stories
From the whimsical mind of director Tim Burton, BIG EYES tells the outrageous true story of one of the most epic art frauds in history. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, painter Walter Keane had reached success beyond belief, revolutionizing the commercialization of popular art with his enigmatic paintings of waifs with big eyes.
The bizarre and shocking truth would eventually be discovered though: Walter’s works were actually not created by him at all, but by his wife Margaret. The Keanes, it seemed, had been living a colossal lie that had fooled the entire world. A tale too incredible to be fiction, BIG EYES centers on Margaret’s awakening as an artist, the phenomenal success of her paintings, and her tumultuous relationship with her husband, who was catapulted to international fame while taking credit for her work.
Big Eyes is a 2014 American biographical film directed by Tim Burton, starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz. The script was written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. The film is about the life of American artist Margaret Keane—famous for drawing portraits and paintings with big eyes. It followed the story of Margaret and her husband, Walter Keane, who took credit for Margaret’s phenomenally successful and popular paintings in the 1950s and 1960s, and the lawsuit (and trial) between Margaret and Walter, after Margaret reveals she is the real artist behind the big eyes paintings.
Big Eyes had its world premiere in New York City on December 15, 2014. It was released in theatre on December 25, 2014 in the U.S. by The Weinstein Company. The film was met with positive reviews, praising the performances of both Adams and Waltz. Adams won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical and was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Waltz was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his performance and Lana Del Rey received a Golden Globe nomination for the film’s theme song “Big Eyes”.
Based on a true story, Infinitely Polar Bear is a funny and heartbreaking portrait of the many unexpected ways in which parents and children save each other.
While most fathers spend their days at work, Cam Stuart (Mark Ruffalo) is more likely to be found mushroom-hunting, cooking elaborate meals, or working on one of his many half-completed projects. His family’s wealth keeps his family just barely afloat, while Cam struggles to live with manic depression. When Cam has a manic breakdown that lands him in a mental hospital, his wife Maggie (Zoe Saldana) and their two young daughters, Amelia and Faith, are forced to leave their house in the country and move into a cramped apartment in Cambridge, where Maggie tries to find a decent job, with no luck.
Broke, stressed, and overwhelmed, Maggie applies to business school and is accepted to Columbia University’s MBA program. Seeing this as her chance to build a better life for their daughters, Maggie asks Cam to become the primary caregiver for the girls while she completes her degree in New York. After all, routine is what the doctor ordered and the girls miss their dad. Cam agrees, hoping to rebuild his family. But the two spirited girls are not interested in making things easy for him.
With Maggie away in New York, Cam quickly realizes that he’s in over his head. Over the course of the next 18 months, as Maggie rushes to complete her degree, he learns, through trial and a lot of error, how to take care of his precocious daughters as well as himself. After years of struggling to find his place in the world, Cam may finally have found where he fits in.
Infinitely Polar Bear
Directed by: Maya Forbes
Starring: Zoe Saldana, Mark Ruffalo, Keir Dullea, Wallace Wolodarsky, William Xifaras, Mary O’Rourke
Screenplay by: Maya Forbes
Production Design by: Carl Sprague
Cinematography by: Bobby Bukowski
Film Editing by: Michael R. Miller
Set Decoration by: Jennifer Engel
Costume Design by: Kasia Walicka-Maimone
Music by: Theodore Shapiro
MPAA Rating: R for language.
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: January 18, 2014
Mr. Turner explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies.
Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty.
Mr. Turner is a British biographical drama film, written and directed by Mike Leigh, and starring Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Paul Jesson, Marion Bailey and Ruth Sheen. The film concerns the life and career of British artist J. M. W. Turner (played by Spall). It premiered in competition for the Palme d’Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where Spall won the award for Best Actor and cinematographer Dick Pope received a special jury prize for the film’s cinematography.
Leigh has described Turner as “a great artist: a radical, revolutionary painter,” explaining, “I felt there was scope for a film examining the tension between this very mortal, flawed individual, and the epic work, the spiritual way he had of distilling the world.”
Directed by: Mike Leigh
Starring: Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson, Ruth Sheen, Sandy Foster, Amy Dawson, Lesley Manville, Sinead Matthews
Screenplay by: Mike Leigh
Production Design by: Suzie Davies
Cinematography by: Dick Pope
Film Editing by: Jon Gregory
Costume Design by: Jacqueline Durran
Set Decoration by: Charlotte Watts
Art Direction by: Dan Taylor
Music by: Gary Yershon
MPAA Rating: R for some sexual content.
Studio: Entertainment One
Release Date: December 19, 2014
Taglines: Unlock the secret. Win the war.
Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.
The film portrays the race against time by Alan Turing and his team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. The motley group of scholars, mathematicians, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers had a powerful ally in Prime Minister Winston Churchill who authorized the provision of any resource they required.
The film spans the key periods of Turing’s life: his unhappy teenage years at boarding school; the triumph of his secret wartime work on the revolutionary electro-mechanical bombe that was capable of breaking 3,000 Enigma-generated naval codes a day; and the tragedy of his post-war decline following his conviction for gross indecency, a now-outdated criminal offence stemming from his admission of maintaining a homosexual relationship.
The Imitation Game is a British-American historical thriller film about British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing, a key figure in cracking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code that helped the Allies win World War II, only to later be criminally prosecuted for his homosexuality. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing and is directed by Morten Tyldum with a screenplay by Graham Moore, based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges.
The film’s screenplay topped the annual Black List for best unproduced Hollywood scripts in 2011. After a bidding process against five other studios, The Weinstein Company acquired the film for $7 million in February 2014, the highest ever amount paid for US distribution rights at the European Film Market.
The film had its world premiere at the 41st Telluride Film Festival in August, it also featured at the 39th Toronto International Film Festival in September where it won “People’s Choice Award for Best Film,” the highest award of the festival. It had its European premiere as the opening film of the 58th BFI London Film Festival on October 2014. The Imitation Game will have a general release in the United Kingdom on 14 November 2014, and will be released theatrically in the United States on 28 November 2014.
Directed by: Morten Tyldum
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Charles Dance, Allen Leech, Tuppence Middleton, Hayley Joanne Bacon, Hannah Flynn, Grace Calder
Screenplay by: Graham Moore
Production Design by: Maria Djurkovic
Cinematography by: Oscar Faura
Film Editing by: William Goldenberg
Costume Design by: Sammy Sheldon
Art Direction by: Nick Dent, Rebecca Milton, Marco Anton Restivo
Music by: Alexandre Desplat
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking.
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Release Date: November 28, 2014
Directed by: Morten Tyldum
Indiana, 1817. The entire nation, only 40 years old and a few years removed from a second war of independence, is raw. Men, women, and children alike must battle nature and disease to survive in remote log cabins. This is young Abraham Lincoln’s world. Spanning three years of the future president’s childhood, The Better Angels explores his family, the hardships that shaped him, the tragedy that marked him forever, and the two women who guided him to immortality.
The Better Angels tells the story of Abraham Lincoln’s childhood in the harsh wilderness of Indiana and the hardships that shaped him, the tragedy that marked him for ever and the two women who guided him to immortality.
The Better Angels is an American biographical drama-historical film about the formative years of United States President Abraham Lincoln directed by A. J. Edwards. The film had its premiere at 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2014.
The film was later screened in the Panorama section of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival on February 8, 2014. In March 2014, Amplify acquired the distribution rights of the film, with schedule to release the film November 7, 2014.
The Better Angels
Directed by: A.J. Edwards
Starring: Jason Clarke, Diane Kruger, Brit Marling, Wes Bentley, Braydon Denney, Cameron Mitchell Williams, Madison Stiltner, Veanne Cox
Screenplay by: A.J. Edwards
Production Design by: Caroline Hanania
Cinematography by: Matthew J. Lloyd
Film Editing by: Alex Milan
Costume Design by: Lisa Tomczeszyn
Set Decoration by: Amy Morrison
Art Direction by: Christopher Tandon, John Vogt
Music by: Hanan Townshend
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements and brief smoking.
Studio: Amplify Releasing
Release Date: November 7, 2014
Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club), Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Nick Hornby (An Education) bring bestselling author Cheryl Strayed’s extraordinary adventure to the screen. After years of reckless behavior, a heroin addiction and the destruction of her marriage, Strayed makes a rash decision.
Haunted by memories of her mother Bobbi (Academy Award nominee Laura Dern) and with absolutely no experience, she sets out to hike more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own. WILD powerfully reveals her terrors and pleasures –as she forges ahead on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.
Wild is an American biographical adventure drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, written by Nick Hornby, and based on Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. The film stars Reese Witherspoon as Strayed, alongside Laura Dern (as Strayed’s mother), with Thomas Sadoski, Michiel Huisman and Gaby Hoffmann among several others in supporting roles. The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on August 29, 2014 and was released theatrically on December 3, 2014 in North America.
Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallée
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Michiel Huisman, Kevin Rankin, Charles Baker, Areana Cirina
Screenplay by: Nick Hornby, Cheryl Strayed
Production Design by: John Paino
Cinematography by: Yves Bélanger
Film Editing by: Martin Pensa, Jean-Marc Vallée
Costume Design by: Melissa Bruning
Set Decoration by: Robert Covelman
Art Direction by: Javiera Varas
MPAA Rating: R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language.
Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release Date: December 5, 2014
Foxcatcher tells the gripping, true story of Olympic Wrestling Champion brothers Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) and their relationship with the eccentric John du Pont (Steve Carell), heir to the du Pont Chemical fortune that led to murder. Based on the true story of Mark Schultz, an Olympic wrestler whose relationship with sponsor John du Pont and brother Dave Schultz would lead to unlikely circumstances.
Foxcatcher is an American biographical drama film, directed by Bennett Miller, starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo. The screenplay was written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman. It competed for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where Miller won the Best Director Award.
About the Production
Based on true events, FOXCATCHER is a rich and moving story of brotherly love, misguided loyalty and the emotional bankruptcy that can accompany great wealth and power. Examining the perilous relationship between an eccentric multi-millionaire and two champion wrestlers, Academy Award nominee Bennett Miller’s fourth feature once again centers around complex characters with vivid personalities navigating unusual circumstances. As with his previous features, CAPOTE and MONEYBALL, large and often allegorical themes in society emerge through Miller’s meticulously imagined portraits of real people.
The mass of research collected during the years of preparation for FOXCATCHER yielded the stark facts from which the drama would be created, transforming the story into a wholly new incarnation. “It’s fact to fiction as a vehicle back to truth,” says Miller. “Some months after CAPOTE was released I received a letter from Harper Lee. She said the film was a demonstration of fiction as a means towards truth. There was, as she pointed out, a great deal in the film that we had invented, but that ‘The film told the truth about Truman.’ FOXCATCHER has a similar aim.”
Miller first heard about the story of eccentric multi-millionaire John Eleuthere du Pont (Steve Carell) and a pair of world champion wrestler brothers, Mark (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) when executive producers Michael Coleman and Tom Heller showed him a newspaper article about the story. “The circumstances seemed comical and absurd, but the outcome was horrible and real,” says Miller. “The deeply strange things that happened on the du Pont estate were unlike anything I had personally experienced, and yet they felt familiar. There was something about the story – or perhaps something beneath the story – that wasn’t strange at all. In fact, the opposite.”
At the heart of FOXCATCHER is a triangular dynamic between du Pont and the Schultz brothers that Miller found compelling- enough so to commit to making it his next film. But while his initial impulse to take on the project was immediate, the subsequent time and energy poured into it was expansive. “I needed to learn what hadn’t been known about the story and that takes time,” says Miller. “What compelled me was clear and convincing; I knew this was a story for me. But the process of summoning this film took years, involving relentless research and discovery that goes far beyond determining plot. My first undertaking was authoring and engineering the moments and sequencing that would become the film – a process that allowed the film to continue to reveal itself all the way through to the last detail in post-production.”
Miller traveled all over the country- to Iowa, California, Colorado, Missouri, and Pennsylvania – amassing materials, including video footage of both du Pont and the Schultz brothers, and interviewing dozens of people, including Mark Schultz, Dave’s widow Nancy, their friends and fellow wrestlers, people who had worked for du Pont, police officers, and anyone who had lived any part of the story. “This story harbors some uncomfortable truths,” says Miller. “Everyone I spoke with seemed to be guarding some aspect of what happened.”
The basics of the story revealed the following: Although Dave was slightly older than Mark, the siblings did not have a typical brotherly relationship growing up. After their parents split up when they were young, Dave assumed a paternal role as they moved between their parents’ homes, often fending for themselves. Over time, Mark developed a need for his brother, as wrestling partner or coach, or for emotional support. At the same time, he was jealous of Dave’s success. His inner turbulence only escalated as the years went by. “Mark was always that little brother that just couldn’t break out or figure out how to get by on his own,” says Tatum. “He always had to rely on Dave, and this kept him from having his own life, his own career, and the thing he wanted most-his own respect from people.” Mark’s confused vulnerability made him frequently turn his pent-up anger on himself as much as on his wrestling opponents. “I don’t think anybody could punish Mark more than he could himself and I think he hardens himself against the world by punishing himself,” says Tatum.
Directed by: Bennett Miller
Starring: Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Sienna Miller, Mark Ruffalo Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Michael Hall, Mark Schultz, Vanessa Redgrave, Tara Subkoff, Stephanie Garvin, Samara Lee
Screenplay by: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Production Design by: Jess Gonchor
Cinematography by: Greig Fraser
Film Editing by: Jay Cassidy, Stuart Levy, Conor O’Neill
Costume Design by: Kasia Walicka-Maimone
Set Decoration by: Frederick E. Kowalo, Kathy Lucas
Music by: Rob Simonsen
MPAA Rating: R for some drug use and a scene of violence.
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: November 14, 2014
In 2009, London-based journalist Maziar Bahari (Gael García Bernal) was detained in Iran for more than 100 days because of an interview regarding the country’s presidential election. Bahari was arrested and, while his pregnant fiancée waited for him, spent four months at Evin Prison, being brutally interrogated.
When Maziar Bahari left London in June 2009 to cover Iran’s presidential election, he assured his pregnant fiancée, Paola, that he’d be back in just a few days, a week at most. Little did he know, as he kissed her good-bye, that he would spend the next three months in Iran’s most notorious prison, enduring brutal interrogation sessions at the hands of a man he knew only by his smell: Rosewater.
For the Bahari family, wars, coups, and revolutions are not distant concepts but intimate realities they have suffered for generations: Maziar’s father was imprisoned by the shah in the 1950s, and his sister by Ayatollah Khomeini in the 1980s. Alone in his cell at Evin Prison, fearing the worst, Maziar draws strength from his memories of the courage of his father and sister in the face of torture, and hears their voices speaking to him across the years.
He dreams of being with Paola in London, and imagines all that she and his rambunctious, resilient eighty-four-year-old mother must be doing to campaign for his release. During the worst of his encounters with Rosewater, he silently repeats the names of his loved ones, calling on their strength and love to protect him and praying he will be released in time for the birth of his first child.
Rosewater is an American drama film written and directed by Jon Stewart, based on the memoir Then They Came for Me by Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy. Bahari’s imprisonment is connected to an interview he conducted on The Daily Show in 2009; the authorities presented the interview as evidence that he was in communication with an American spy. Due to the content of the film, Stewart has been accused by Iran’s State TV of being funded by Zionists and working with the CIA. The film is scheduled to be released in theaters on November 14, 2014.
Directed by: Jon Stewart
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Golshifteh Farahani, Dimitri Leonidas, Kim Bodnia, Haluk Bilginer, Nazanin Nour
Screenplay by: Jon Stewart
Production Design by: Gerald Sullivan
Cinematography by: Bobby Bukowski
Film Editing by: Jay Rabinowitz
Costume Design by: Phaedra Dahdaleh
Set Decoration by: Karim Kheir, Nasser Zoubi
Art Direction by: Samy Keilani
Music by: Howard Shore
MPAA Rating: None.
Studio: Open Road Films
Release Date: November 14, 2014
Taglines: The extraordinary story of Jane and Stephen Hawking.
Starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, this is the extraordinary story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde.
Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking received an earth-shattering diagnosis at 21 years of age. With Jane fighting tirelessly by his side, Stephen embarks on his most ambitious scientific work, studying the very thing he now has precious little of – time. Together, they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science, and achieving more than they could ever have dreamed.
The film is based on the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, by Jane Hawking, and is directed by Academy Award winner James Marsh (“Man on Wire”).
The Theory of Everything is a British romantic biographical film directed by James Marsh and penned by Anthony McCarten. The film was inspired by the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking, which deals with her relationship with her ex-husband theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, his diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and his success in physics.
A Brief History
Time has always been a subject of fascination to the brilliant astrophysicist Stephen Hawking: when the universe began, when it will end, and all points in between. The renowned professor’s book A Brief History of Time has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. But the concept of time struck him on a most personal level when, in 1963 at the age of 21, he was given two years to live after a diagnosis of motor neuron disease (MND, which is related to ALS; the latter is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). He wanted life, even with the impending constraints on his speech and movement. He wanted love, with the woman who would be his wife. Against the odds, he would have all of that and more.
No matter how strong his will, he could not have done it alone; he was accompanied on his journey by Jane Wilde, soon to be Jane Hawking. A brilliant mind in her own right, she dedicated herself to Stephen and their marriage and family.
Outliving his diagnosis decade after decade, Stephen continued to explore the outer limits of theoretical physics, leading to further breakthroughs. By the 21st century, his name was being spoken of in the same breath as Albert Einstein’s.
Screenwriter and producer Anthony McCarten has long been fascinated by Professor Hawking, in particular the time and effort it took for the severely physically compromised man to write his seminal book. “He has illuminated physics for the world, and there is a sense of the profound in all his work,” says McCarten. “That was enhanced by Stephen’s own physical situation, which only allowed him to compose his communications at the agonizing rate of one word per minute; here, in one man, was an unprecedented juxtaposition of extraordinary mental prowess and extraordinary physical incapacity.
“His mind continued to open up one frontier after another in relentless exploration, so he was contracting yet also expanding which was apt for a man whose life is devoted to studying the universe.”
McCarten was moved to read Jane Hawking’s memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen. He discovered “a marvelous love story between two people, incredibly intense and challenged in the extreme: first by the physical decline, and then by the advent of fame in their lives. When news of his imminent death proved exaggerated, and two years became 10, then 20, their situation demanded that their love take bold and unorthodox forms if it was to survive. Theirs was a love story without precedent.”
Envisioning the couple’s story as a feature film, he began writing a screenplay adaptation of the book with no guarantees in place; he met with Jane at her home to discuss the project. “I will always be grateful to her for answering that buzzer and welcoming me inside. No promises were made that day, and our dialogue continued over time,” he notes.
After multiple drafts, he was introduced to producer Lisa Bruce via their mutual ICM agent, Craig Bernstein. Knowing of Stephen Hawking only as the brilliant man in the motorized wheelchair who communicated via a mechanical voice activated device, Bruce found the script to be a revelation.
She remarks, “A lot of people don’t even think about Stephen Hawking’s domestic life, much less know that he walked and talked, and they certainly don’t know that he fathered children. When you look deeper into his life, you see so much more than just the genius: you find a father, a husband, and under it all an eternal optimist. But, for me, the most powerful element of this story was the sense that he would never have achieved what he did without a partner like Jane.”
What also struck Bruce was how Stephen and Jane’s love story was simultaneously unique and universal. She explains, “Nobody has ever lived what the Hawkings experienced as a couple; here were two young people with their whole lives in front of them, full of nothing but promise, and then this bomb drops on them with Stephen given two years to live in effect, a death sentence delivered at age 21. Yet, instead of running from it, they chose to face this impossible life together; in that regard, I think they are one of the most inspirational love stories of our time.”
The marriage would evolve and adapt while Stephen made significant strides in his work. Bruce notes, “Jane and Stephen’s relationship in this movie spans 25 years, as we seem them achieve things the most able bodied among us can’t even imagine. On that level, it’s unique. At the same time, what is completely universal is loving and caring for someone.”
“Jane had done this extraordinary thing,” says McCarten. “She said to Stephen, yes I’ll marry you and I’ll take that ride with you. This was essential to Stephen, since, as he admits, he was in a bit of a dark hole at the time. He was just beginning his life when he was told that it would end very soon. Despite the uncertainty, with Jane he entered into marriage joyfully and optimistically.
“It was a personal and professional turning point all at once. With Jane’s help, he overcame his depression, and the ticking clock of his prognosis sparked his mental process. In a very short time he began to achieve his full potential as an astrophysicist. The Theory of Everything charts this intellectual ascent alongside his physical deterioration; through it all Stephen somehow finds the courage and internal drive not only to cope but also to actually prevail which is astonishing.”
It would take McCarten and Bruce several years to secure the full legal rights, and the blessing and permission from Jane and Stephen, to allow this love story to become a movie. During those years they worked tirelessly together on the story, promising to eschew sensationalizing or sentimentalizing the couple’s history, and committing to conveying the complexity of the marriage.
McCarten asserts, “For them to have marched through that difficult terrain together and had a marriage that lasted decades was nothing less than a triumph. Stephen and Jane both show us all what human beings are capable of when they set their minds to something. But in writing the script, I had to allow for showing their moods and frustrations that were completely understandable. Our film celebrates Stephen, but it doesn’t try to mythologize him; he had very strong negative emotions about the loss of his physical powers and we show that, as well as the highs and lows of the marriage.
Oscar winning filmmaker James Marsh joined the project. The award winning Working Title Films producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, with whom Bruce had made the telefilm Mary and Martha, also came on board.
Bruce notes, “Tim and Eric cared deeply about this story, and about getting our telling of it to deliver the truth and emotional power that was in the Hawkings’ lives. The support of Working Title was overwhelming.
“Everyone felt that, given the way he has empathized with real life people in his films, James would have the sensitivity needed to tell this story.”
Marsh, who had won the Academy Award for his documentary Man on Wire, was continuing to work on both narrative and nonfiction features. When he received the script, the director admits, “I had the fixed image of Stephen Hawking as the great scientific mind with the wheelchair and the voice machine.
“But I quickly became infatuated with Anthony’s take. He found the fascinating point of view, which was to tell the story from the perspective of the woman who was falling in love with an able bodied man; she then makes the critical choice to stay with the man she loves when he is diagnosed with a terminal illness. The moving and unusual love story that Anthony wrote was quite original in demonstrating what it’s like to live with someone who is both disabled and a genius, and the burdens it placed on Jane’s career and on her as a wife and mother. This was very rich territory.”
The director was also drawn to The Theory of Everything because its spirit recalled Man on Wire for him; both are about men who defy conventional human boundaries and limitations. He muses, “There is definitely an affinity, and there is also a cosmic irony: Stephen is physically constrained and yet mentally he is able to go wherever he wants. His mind can and does travel to the outer limits of the universe, but his body is confined.”
The tonal challenge that Marsh zeroed in on was that “Stephen Hawking’s story, while bittersweet, is not a tragedy even though a near fatal illness befalling a young able bodied man with promise has all the elements of one. It’s Stephen’s character which takes that out of the equation; his defiance of the illness with humor, perseverance, and grit makes this story the opposite of a tragedy in the end.
Already a man who has upended our concept of the creation of the universe, Professor Hawking continues to challenge and inspire us well into a new millennium.
The Theory of Everything
Directed by: James Marsh
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Charlie Cox, Charlotte Hope, Anastasia Harrold
Screenplay by: Anthony McCarten
Production Design by: John Paul Kelly
Cinematography by: Benoît Delhomme
Film Editing by: Jinx Godfrey
Costume Design by: Steven Noble
Set Decoration by: Claire Nia Richards
Music by: Jóhann Jóhannsson
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some thematic elements and suggestive material.
Studio: Focus Features
Release Date: November 7, 2014
Taglines: Can you keep a national secret?
Two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner (“The Bourne Legacy”) leads an all-star cast in a dramatic thriller based on the remarkable true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb. Webb stumbles onto a story which leads to the shady origins of the men who started the crack epidemic on the nation’s streets… and further alleges that the CIA was aware of major dealers who were smuggling cocaine into the U.S., and using the profits to arm rebels fighting in Nicaragua.
Despite warnings from drug kingpins and CIA operatives to stop his investigation, Webb keeps digging to uncover a conspiracy with explosive implications. His journey takes him from the prisons of California to the villages of Nicaragua to the highest corridors of power in Washington, D.C. – and draws the kind of attention that threatens not just his career, but his family and his life.
Kill the Messenger is an American drama thriller film directed by Michael Cuesta and written by Peter Landesman. It is based on the book of the same name by Nick Schou and the book Dark Alliance by Gary Webb. The film stars Jeremy Renner (in his first film as a producer), Michael Sheen, Andy Garcia, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosemarie DeWitt, Paz Vega, Oliver Platt, Richard Schiff, and Michael K. Williams. The film was released on October 10, 2014.
Kill the Messenger
Directed by: Michael Cuesta
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Andy Garcia, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosemarie DeWitt, Paz Vega, Oliver Platt, Richard Schiff, Michael K. Williams
Screenplay by: Peter Landesman
Production Design by: John Paino
Cinematography by: Sean Bobbitt
Film Editing by: Brian A. Kates
Costume Design by: Kimberly Adams-Galligan, Doug Hall
Set Decoration by: Nicole LeBlanc
Music by: Nathan Johnson
MPAA Rating: R for language and drug content.
Studio: Focus Features
Release Date: October 10, 2014