Category: Focus Features
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
Taglines: Life is an occasion. Rise to it.
Wish I Was Here is an American comedy-drama film directed by Zach Braff and co-written with his brother Adam Braff. The film stars Zach Braff, Josh Gad, Ashley Greene, Kate Hudson, Joey King and Mandy Patinkin. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2014 and was given a limited release on July 18, 2014 by Focus Features. Principal photography took 25 days, beginning on August 5, 2013 in Los Angeles and ending on September 6, 2013.
Wish I Was Here is the story of Aidan Bloom, a struggling actor, father and husband, who at 35 is still trying to find his identity; a purpose for his life. He winds up trying to home school his two children when his father can no longer afford to pay for private education and the only available public school is on its last legs. Through teaching them about life his way, Aidan gradually discovers some of the parts of himself he couldn’t find.
About the Story
Aidan Bloom (Zach Braff) is a 35-year-old father of two struggling to be an actor in L.A. while his wife, Sarah (Kate Hudson) works a tedious data job. In order to send their kids, Tucker (Pierce Gagnon) and Grace (Joey King) to a good school, they rely on help from Aidan’s father, Gabe (Mandy Patinkin), who insisted they go to an Orthodox Jewish day school.
When Gabe reveals his cancer has come back, he tells Aidan that he’s decided to put the rest of his money into a new stem cell treatment, meaning his grandkids can no longer afford to attend their school. After the school refuses to provide any aid to the Blooms because Aidan’s career is his “choice” and other families have greater needs, Sarah suggests that Aidan homeschool his kids, and their adventure of self-discovery begins. Through teaching them about life his way, Aidan gradually discovers some of the parts of himself he couldn’t find.
His brother Noah (Josh Gad) is a selfish shut in who can only be bribed to babysit for his brother and refuses to see his dying father due to resentment of Gabe criticizing him throughout Noah’s life. He meets his neighbour Janine (Ashley Greene) who is a furry costume maker which gives him the idea to impress her by making a costume for Comic-Con.
Wish I Was Here
Directed by: Zach Braff
Starring: Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Joey King, Pierce Gagnon, Alexander Chaplin, Leslie David Baker, Mandy Patinkin, Ashley Greene, Michael Weston
Screenplay by: Adam J. Braff, Zach Braff
Production Design by: Tony Fanning
Cinematography by: Lawrence Sher
Film Edited by: Myron I. Kerstein
Costume Design by: Betsy Heimann
Set Decoration by: Beth Wooke
Music by: Rob Simonsen
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content.
Studio: Focus Features
Release Date: July 18th, 2014
Taglines: The end justifies the mean.
Jason Bateman makes his feature directorial debut with the subversive comedy Bad Words. Mr. Bateman stars as Guy Trilby, a 40-year-old who finds a loophole in the rules of The Golden Quill national spelling bee and decides to cause trouble by hijacking the competition. Contest officials, outraged parents, and overly ambitious 8th graders are no match for Guy, as he ruthlessly crushes their dreams of victory and fame. As a reporter (Kathryn Hahn) attempts to discover his true motivation, Guy finds himself forging an unlikely alliance with a competitor: awkward 10-year-old Chaitanya (Rohan Chand), who is completely unfazed by Guy’s take-no-prisoners approach to life.
Andrew Dodge’s screenplay for Bad Words first caught attention after making The Black List in 2011. Around this time, Jason Bateman’s agent sent him screenplays for possible directorial work. “I said to my lit agent, ‘Please don’t wait for me to have an opening in my acting schedule to pursue the directing stuff. Understand that I’m only acting to create the kind of relevance or capital necessary to get a directing job,’” explained Bateman. “It’s really the only reason I’ve been acting for the last 20 years of this career.”
Principal photography lasted 29 days at the end of 2012 in Los Angeles, with the Sportsman’s Lodge in the San Fernando Valley serving as the location of the national spelling bee final.
Directed by: Jason Bateman
Starring: Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, Rachael Harris, Phillip Baker Hall, Kathryn Hahn, Rohan Chand, Jacquie Barnbrook
Screenplay by: Andrew Dodge
Production Design by: Shepherd Frankel
Cinematography by: Ken Seng
Film Editing by: Tatiana S. Riegel
Costume Design by: April Napier
Set Decoration by: Elizabeth Keenan
Music by: Rolfe Kent
MPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content, language and brief nudity.
Studio: Focus Features
Release Date: March 28, 2014
Taglines: The morning after the night before.
Meghan Miles is a TV correspondent who works at a local Tv station. She gets an opportunity to work at a network. She goes home to celebrate with her boyfriend. Her friends show up to celebrate with her. But they find her despondent. It seems like her boyfriend left without saying good bye and the network is leaning towards someone else. Her friends convince her to go out and get drunk.
They get her to put on a hot dress. She eventually gets so drunk that a guy offers to take her home but she prefers to go to his place. And she spends the night. When she wakes up she gets s call telling her that the network is reconsidering her so she has to go to work but her car was towed away and her wallet which in her purse is also in it. And she left her phone at the guy’s place. She then finds herself wandering around downtown LA and runs into drug dealers and people think she’s a hooker. So she has to find a way get to work. And even the police are after her.
Walk of Shame is an American comedy film written and directed by Steven Brill. It is scheduled to be released on March 14, 2014 by Focus Features. The film stars Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs, Sarah Wright, Ethan Suplee, Oliver Hudson and Willie Garson.
About the Story
Beginning with a montage of bloopers entailing reporters losing their professional demeanor with cursing, freudian slips of sexual innuendos and ending with local channel KZLA6 (a likely parody of KTLA) segment reporter Meghan Miles (Elizabeth Banks) who has the undesired paranormal ability of turning cats psychotic towards her, being swarmed at an animal shelter, also an integral plot device.
Meghan is being considered for an anchor position with the cnb network and her interview with network executives has her answering her final question, claiming “I’m a good girl”. Two weeks after the interview, her producer, Dan Karlin (Willie Garson) receives a call that out-of-town Wendy Chang is being chosen over her, a likely tokenism requirement.
Upset over her steady boyfriend leaving her and taking his stuff, her two friends take her out clubbing and Megan drinks heavily. Being locked out of the club on a fire escape from a one way door, Gordon, a handsome and charismatic man woos her and takes her to his place where they indulge in frat house-style games ending with Megan waking up in his bed in just her underwear. Receiving a call that Chang has racy pictures of her circulating and Megan is hired, has her collecting her clothes from around the place, she comes across a cat, with its eyes turning shiny.
Walk of Shame
Directed by: Steven Brill
Starring: Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, Sarah Wright, Ethan Suplee, Oliver Hudson, Gillian Jacobs
Screenplay by: Steven Brill
Production Design by: Perry Andelin Blake
Cinematography by: Jonathan Brown
Film Editing by: Patrick J. Don Vito
Costume Design by: Lindsay McKay
Set Decoration by: Karen O’Hara
Music by: John Debney
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content.
Studio: FilmDistrict, Focus Features
Release Date: March 14, 2014