Kevin Spacey to Play Gore Vidal in Netflix Film


Michael Hoffman is directing the film for Netflix.

Two-time Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey is next slated to play Gore Vidal in a new Netflix film about the writer’s life. 

Michael Hoffman (One Fine Day, The Last Station) is directing the film for Netflix. The project is currently in pre-production in Rome. Andy Paterson is producing. 

Shooting will begin at the end of August in Rome, according to soures, and then move to the Amalfi Coast, where most of the film will take place. 

Vidal purchased his infamous cliffside mansion in Ravello, La Rondinaia in 1972 and moved there permanently in 1993. 

The writer hosted numerous international celebrities in the seven-bedroom mansion over the years, including Mick Jagger, Susan Sarandon, Hillary Clinton, Lauren Bacall, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. 

Vidal sold the Amalfi Coast mansion in 2004, and it was again placed on the market in 2015. 

The writer spent a number of years in Italy. After making it big in Hollywood as a scriptwriter on films including Suddenly Last Summer and Ben Hur, he settled in Rome to redefine his career as a novelist.

After befriending Federico Fellini, he appeared as himself in Roma and later wrote a draft of Casanova. Vidal wrote a number of novels in Italy, including Washington, D.C. (1967). 

Vidal never saw himself as an ex-pat in Italy, but rather considered La Rondinaia his “perch” from which to view the world. 



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‘To the Bone’ Star Lily Collins on Why the Fashion Industry Needs to Discuss Runway Sizes


The young actress, soon to be seen in Amazon’s ‘The Last Tycoon,’ hopes her Netflix dramedy will help spark a renewed discussion about eating disorders.

When Lily Collins’ new film To The Bone premiered on Netflix last Friday, she was traveling to Italy to take some much-needed time off. The 28-year old actress began her vacation at the Ischia Global Film & Music Fest where she accepted the festival’s breakout actor award.

Written and directed by Marti Noxon, To the Bone also stars Keanu Reeves as a doctor specializing in eating disorder treatment. Both Noxon, who penned the film based on her life, and Collins suffered from anorexia and have been outspoken about the disease’s impact on their lives.

Collins tells THR in Ischia that she took the role to add to the discussion about eating disorders. “I don’t think we are starting the conversation,” she says, “but we are making it louder, which is very important.”

Collins, who started out as a model, believes the fashion industry in particular would benefit from a renewed discussion on the health of models. “I think the BMI conversation was really important,” she said about France’s regulations that runway models must have a body mass index of at least 18 and a doctor’s note to walk.

“But then you do watch fashion shows and you do see extremely small girls walking down the runway, and a lot of them are really young and haven’t become women yet,” she says. “It’s like their body shape hasn’t changed. Some girls look like they’re about to pass out. I think there’s still a conversation to be had there about runway sizes.”

Collins adds that she’s often frustrated with ill-informed discussions around eating disorders, when the public criticizes models or celebrities for being too thin. “I hate that because you just don’t know if someone is struggling. I was a victim of that when I was losing the weight for this movie,” she says. “I was photographed looking a certain way, and all of a sudden it was like plastered everywhere, and I wasn’t allowed to talk about the movie yet.”

Collins is next jumping to Amazon with the series The Last Tycoon, about the power struggles of early Hollywood studio executives, premiering on July 28.

“They’ve just given me a lot of juicy, cool things to do,” she says of her role as Celia Brady, an ambitious young woman navigating a decidedly male world. “It’s the 1930s and there was a lot going on that I think a lot of people don’t realize were going on in the 1930s, and Celia gets to experience a lot of them. “She wants to be a producer, so she starts working her way up from the ground up. She goes to all the different departments and she meets some incredible people on the way, and amazing guest stars come in.”

Collins is optimistic that the show will extend beyond its current first season. “Hopefully we get to go into more seasons,” she says. “It’s brilliantly written. And there are so many different relationships and stories going on. It would be a shame not to be able to share them all.”  



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Antonioni, Godard and Spielberg Films to Headline Venice Film Fest Classics


The lineup of restored classics include Golden Lion winner ‘Red Desert.’

Venice Classics will include a wide range of restored classics this year including the 1964 Michelangelo Antonioni Golden Lion winner Red Desert starring Monica Vitti and Richard Harris. Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 (1976) starring Robert De Niro and Gerard Depardieu will make its big comeback, as will Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) starring Richard Dreyfuss and Francois Truffaut.

Italian director Giuseppe Piccioni (Not of This World, Light of My Eyes) will chair the jury, to award the Venice Classics Award for Best Restored Film and Best Documentary on Cinema.

Other highlights of the lineup include Kenji Mizoguchi’s Silver Lion Winner Sansho the Bailiff (1954), Milos Forman’s Black Peter (1963), Jean-Luc Godard’s Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1967),and John Landis’ Into the Night (1985).

Venice Classics has been a popular sidebar of the international festival since 2012, presenting world premieres of the best recent film restorations. Its jury, in addition to the chairman, is composed of 26 Italian students of cinema history.

Alongside the restoration, Venice Classics also premieres a new selection of documentaries about cinema and filmmakers. The complete list of Venice Classics documentaries will be announced with the full Venice lineup on July 27.

The 74th Venice International Film Festival takes place Aug. 30-Sept. 9.

VENICE CLASSICS LINEUP

Wanderers of the Desert, Nacer Khemir

Batch ’81, Mike De Leon 

Black Peter,Miloš Forman 

A Story from Chikamatsu, Kenji Mizoguchi

Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Steven Spielberg 

Dainah la metises, Jean Grémillon

Zéro de conduite – rushes, Jean Vigo

Red Desert, Michelangelo Antonioni

Two or Three Things I Know About Her, Jean-Luc Godard

The Ape Woman,by Marco Ferreri

Come and See,Elem Klimov

Into the Night, John Landis 

Under the Olive Tree, Giuseppe De Santis

1900, Bernardo Bertolucci

Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, Yasujirō Ozu

The Third Lover, Claude Chabrol

The Old Dark House, James Whale 

The Revolt of Mamie Stover, Raoul Walsh 

Sansho the Bailiff, Kenji Mizoguchi

 

 



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Todd Haynes to Get Locarno Film Festival Honor


Todd Haynes will receive the prestigious price at the festival on August 7.

The Locarno film festival will celebrate American director, writer and producer Todd Haynes with an honorary Leopard award.

He will get the prestigious Pardo d’Onore Manor prize on Monday, Aug. 7. The festival will also screen his latest work, Wonderstruck, alongside Poison, which originally screened in Locarno in 1991.

Haynes, often exploring America in the 1950s, continued his career with Julianne Moore in Safe (1995), Far from Heaven (nominated for four Academy Awards in 2002) and Wonderstruck (2017), and Cate Blanchett in I’m Not There (2007) and Carol (nominated for six Academy Awards in 2015).

Wonderstruck, which premiered in Cannes earlier this year, is a simultaneous story of a Midwestern boy and a girl in New York from 50 years ago in search of the same enigmatic connection. It is being released in the U.S. on Oct. 20.

“His characters – often with extraordinary performances by the female leads – bring back the magic of great cinema, of art that achieves the sublimation of reality without lapsing into disenchantment,” said festival director Carlo Chatrian. “His latest, splendid film Wonderstruck is another fine example, a journey into a cabinet of curiosities where fear and desire merge in the accuracy of a twofold historical reconstruction.”

Locarno70 runs Aug. 2-Aug. 12.

[readmore:]



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Venice Film Festival to Honor Jane Fonda and Robert Redford


The festival will screen the Netflix original film ‘Our Souls at Night.’

Jane Fonda and Robert Redford will be honored with Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement at the 74th Venice International Film Festival on Sept. 1 at the Palazzo del Cinema.

After the awards ceremony, the festival will screen the world premiere of Netflix film Our Souls at Night by Ritesh Batra, starring Fonda and Redford and produced by Redford and his company Wildwood Enterprises, organizers said Monday.

Our Souls at Night is a Colorado-set film about two neighbors who meet after decades of living in the same small town with very little contact.

Actress and producer Fonda also has an honorary Palme d’Dr, as well as two Academy Awards (for best actress in 1971 for Klute and in 1978 for Coming Home), three Golden Globes and an AFI Life Achievement Award.

Noted environmentalist, actor, director and producer Redford, in addition to founding the Sundance Institute, has won a Directors Guild of America Award, a Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for best director for his feature film directorial debut Ordinary People. He has also won six Golden Globes and in 2012 won the Venice Film Festival’s Open Prize and Vittorio Veneto Award for The Company You Keep.

The 74th Venice International Film Festival takes place Aug. 30-Sept. 9. 



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Paul Haggis on Scientology Series: "You Don’t Want to Piss Off Leah Remini"


The Oscar-winning director discusses his upcoming appearance on Remini’s show and the parallels he sees between Scientologists and Trump supporters.

Leah Remini didn’t always plan for a second season of her show, Scientology and the Aftermath, a deep expose of the organization she was a part of for most of her life. The upcoming season premieres this summer, with season one earning an Emmy nod for Remini, as well as A&E’s biggest premiere rating in three years.

Season two has many surprises in store, including an interview with the perhaps Hollywood’s most prominent Scientology defector, Oscar-winning writer-director Paul Haggis. He appears on the show to discuss his break from the church and the constant harassment he received after his very public split from the organization.

Haggis was a big fan of the first season of Remini’s show. “She’s incredibly brave,” Haggis tells THR from the Ischial Global Fest. “And it’s a very personal story with her, because of course she grew up in Scientology, unlike me. But you don’t want to piss off Leah Remini. You know, you just don’t want to piss her off. And they pissed her off, and you see it.”

Haggis, who left the organization a few years before Remini, said that she was the only person who didn’t shun him after his departure, and even defended his position to the church.

And then she finally opened her eyes too,” he says. “It’s a long process. You are so inundated with what they want you to look at. I mean it’s ridiculous when you step outside and look at it, but when you are inside you believe you are the one. It’s your group and you are under attack by all these bigots around the world, these bullies, and so you stand up for them.”

Haggis maintains that despite the renewed public level criticism of Scientology, no one in the organization is noticing. “A. they aren’t allowed, but B. it’s not like someone is controlling their television set. It’s a culture that is a very slow process of brainwashing,” he says. “No Scientologist will watch Going Clear or her show. Out of a point of pride they won’t.”

He does see parallels between Scientologist and Trump supporters and the constant call of “fake news,” along with Remini who has pointed out that they are both very hostile toward the media. 

“Of course a lot of Scientologists are Trump supporters,” he says. “It’s the same kind of strong-arm mentality. It’s very strange, but a lot of them are very much in that kind of thinking.”

Scientology recently came into the news again with many critics questioning the choice of casting Elizabeth Moss in The Handmaid’s Tale, about a made-up religious regime that oppresses women, given her involvement in the organization.

“Yes it’s strange isn’t it,” he says of the casting. “I don’t know Elisabeth. I met her once. But I don’t think if you asked her she’d find it ironic, because I don’t think anyone within the church views the church like that. Because you are taught to believe that it’s about free speech and free thought, etc. It’s not, but that is what you are taught. So they truly believe that they are defending freedom.”

Haggis is so familiar with Scientology’s tactics to speak out against opponents that he is already anticipating their response to his appearance on the upcoming show. “I’m sure they will put out a statement, again, how I’m a liar and what a terrible man I am. How I do no work in Haiti or anything else,” he says, about his ongoing work in Haiti under his nonprofit Artists for Peace and Justice. “They boast all the great work they do in Haiti and how I do it for photo-ops or something. It’s just ludicrous and you don’t have to pay any attention to it.”

His only hope for the show is that people watch it and form their own opinions. “I think if people just open their eyes that’s great,” he says. “I’m not on a crusade to open people’s eyes. It’s up to them.”

In addition to appearing on the upcoming show, Haggis is currently finishing a new script. He’s also co-directing an upcoming documentary film with doc helmer Dan Krauss about Ward 5B in San Francisco in the early 1980s in the middle of the AIDS epidemic. While many caretakers refused to treat the then-unknown disease, a small group of doctors and nurses were determined to provide everyone with care, effectively creating the world’s first inpatient AIDS clinic.

Haggis plans on taking the film to festivals next year, and ultimately to a streaming platform.

You actually get your films seen, which is so hard for independent films these days, just in the ways we’ve changed,” he says. “I’ve spoken to so many friends when my last independent film came out and they go ‘Oh I can’t wait to see it, when is it on Netflix?’ I go, ‘It’s in the theaters right now, it’s opening this weekend!’ And they go ‘yeah, yeah, when is it on Netflix?’ And those are my friends. We all get lazy.”

 

 

 



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Bille August, Antonio Banderas Cancel ‘Versace’ Project (Exclusive)


Ryan Murphy’s upcoming ‘American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace’ played a key role in the decision to abondon the film.

The life and death of Italian fashion icon Gianni Versace has always seemed like ideal subject matter for the big screen. His mysterious 1997 murder and his ensuing legacy still haunts the world of fashion and beyond.

So it made sense, at last year’s Berlinale, when Bille August (Pelle the Conqueror), announced he was prepping a biopic of the Italian designer.

The Danish director attached Spanish actor Antonio Banderas to star, and pre-production was reportedly well on its way.

But last fall another Versace project was announced when Ryan Murphy decided he would focus his incredibly popular American Crime Story series on Versace’s murder. The high-profile cast includes Edgar Ramirez as Gianni Versace, Ricky Martin as his boyfriend Antonio D’Amico, Penelope Cruz as Donatella, and Darren Criss as serial killer Andrew Cunanan.

After evaluating what is sure to be one of the major television events of 2018, August and Banderas decided to back down.

“Actually I saw Bille at Cannes film festival,”  says Banderas in an interview with THR at Italy’s Ischia Global Fest. “Because there was a TV show going on, that actually my friend Penelope is doing, we looked at each other and said ‘this movie doesn’t make sense anymore.’”

Additionally, Murphy’s project, titled The Assassination of Gianni Versace, will air earlier than was expected — in early 2018 — after swapping places with what will now be the third season of Crime Story, which will focus on hurricane Katrina.  

Banderas admits that in retrospect taking on a role like Versace might have been too much of a stretch for him.

“I have to confess now…I don’t think I am Gianni,” says Banderas. “I met him in the house where he was killed, actually, a couple of times. He was a very shy man, very laid back, beautiful, very sweet, but there was something about him that I don’t have.”

In addition to competing with Murphy’s project, August was also reportedly never able to see eye-to-eye with the Versace house, which has called the project unauthorized and “a work of fiction.” The film reportedly did not shy away from details about Gianni Versace’s personal life, salacious details and all, as well as his relationship with his family.

Banderas doesn’t ultimately think however that there can be too many films or shows about Versace.

“No, the guy deserves it,” he says. “It’s a story that deserves to be told, about a man who actually did something extraordinary, created something extraordinary for himself and for Italy and for the world. So no, I think it’s fair that people talk about him.”

But for now, the public will have to be content with one new project.

“I think Penelope is a great actress.I know Donatella very well, and I know that Penelope is going to engulf her,” says Banderas of the upcoming show. “I’m going to watch it definitely.”



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Locarno Festival Unveils Lineup for 70th Edition, Including 'The Big Sick,' 'Atomic Blonde'


Director Olivier Assayas will lead the jury that will determine the top award winners of the Swiss festival.

Switzerland’s Locarno Festival is entering its 70th year with a diverse lineup of pictures that has become characteristic of the annual film gathering which attracts top independent film talent from around the world. 

With a look to the future, the event has rebranded itself as simply the Locarno Festival, with new initiatives including a Locarno Kids section and a Youth Advisory Board. 

This year’s opening night film is Noemie Lvovsky’s dark drama Tomorrow and Every Other Day, starring Mathieu Amalric. And the festival will close with a rock tribute film form Kevin Merz: Gotthard – One Life, One Soul

Other Piazza Grande events include the critically lauded The Big Sick, starring Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan, Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron and James McAvoy, Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and What Happened to Monday?, starring Glenn Close, Noomi Rapace and Willem Dafoe. 

International guests who will grace Europe’s largest outdoor cinema, the Palazzo Grande, this year include Irrfan Kan and Golshifteh Farahan who will promote their film The Song of Scorpions and Fanny Ardant for the film Lola Pater. Vanessa Paradis will also make the trek to Locarno for Samuel Benchetrit’s Chien. And Nastassja Kinski will be honored with a career retrospective.

Director Mathieu Kassovitz (Amelie) will receive the festival’s 2017 Excellence Award. 

A total of 18 films will compete for this year’s Golden Leopard including U.S. entries Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? by Travis Wilkerson, En el Septimo Dia by Jim McKay, Gemini by Aaron Katz and Lucky by John Carroll Lynch. 

Other entries include Asteroids by Germano Maccioni, Goliath by Dominik Locher, Madame Hyde by Serge Bozon, Mrs. Fang by Bing Wang, Ta is peau lisse by Denis Cote, and wajib by Annemarie Jacir. 

As previously announced, Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody will receive the festival’s Leopard Club Award. And French director Jean-Marie Straub will receive the festival’s prestigious honorary Leopard. 

Michel Merkt will receive the festival’s best independent producer award, honoring his career producing award-winning films including Toni Erdmann, My Life as a Zucchini and Elle

Director Olivier Assayas will head up the jury to determine this year’s top award winners. 

The Locarno Film Festival runs Aug. 2-Aug. 12. 



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Italian Actress Elsa Martinelli Dies at 82


The star of European and American cinema was most famous for her role opposite Kirk Douglas in ‘The Indian Fighter.’

Italian actress Elsa Martinelli died Saturday in Rome at the age of 82. The bombshell actress known for her classic style and jet-set lifestyle worked between Hollywood, Paris and Rome.

Martinelli was originally discovered as a model in 1953 by designer Roberto Capucci. She began taking on small roles, beginning in 1954 with Claude Autant-Lara’s The Red and the Black.

But her most famous role came just two years later after Kirk Douglas (or his wife, according to an alternate version of the story) claimed to have spotted her on a Life magazine cover. Douglas recruited her to play a Sioux Chief’s daughter for the 1955 film The Indian Fighter, which he also starred in and produced.

In 1956 she won the Silver Bear for best actress in Berlin for her title role in Mario Monicelli’s Cinderella story Donatella.

She worked with the top directors of the Golden Age of Hollywood, starring in Roger Vadim’s Blood and Roses (1960), Howard Hawks Hatari! (1962), Orson Welles’ The Trial (1962), Elio Petri’s The 10th Victim (1965) and Vittorio De Sica’s Woman Times Seven (1968).

Her last English-language role was in Eugene Levy’s comedy remake Once Upon a Crime (1992). She acted up until 2005, with her last role playing Duchessa di Monteforte in Rai 1’s blockbuster historical drama TV series Pride.

She is survived by her daughter, actress Christiana Mancinelli. 



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John Savage Calls for Breaking Down Walls at Ischia Fest Opening


The Ischia Global Film & Music Fest opened with a grand ceremony celebrating working across borders.

The 15th Ischia Global Film & Music Fest kicked off Sunday night on the grand island off the coast of Naples with an outdoor screening of Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled.

The evening’s festivities included a warm welcome from Ischia president Trudie Styler, coming to the island fresh from her daughter’s wedding. Styler praised the festival for bringing people together. She noted the festival even helped her find people who went on to help her Rainforest Fund, which she founded with her husband Sting.

The Deer Hunter and Hair actor John Savage received the festival’s art award. After regaling the audience with a bit of opera, he accepted his prize, praising Europe for carrying the torch of daring cinema.

“We’ve got to get together,” he told the audience. “We can’t afford to build more walls.” The gathered crowd cheered his speech which called for more open partnerships between Hollywood and European cinema, while also criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Earlier in the day, Savage condemned current American policies that cut spending on arts and education but prioritize military spending.

He told the press that America today “doesn’t even like to think about climate change. My generation would have liked to have seen it fixed,” he said.

“I think that Europe, with its values, should once again become the world leader,” he said, remarking that the best stories come from the old continent.

Honorary Chairman Mark Canton announced that it was Dennis Hopper who first brought him to Ischia. “Man, just come with me right now,” Canton said, quoting the late actor. “We’re going somewhere special.”

Co-chair Avi Lerner also thanked the festival for bringing him together with people he later went on to work with, including Lee Daniels (The Paperboy) and Gerard Butler (Playing for Keeps).

And designer John Paul Gaultier, praised as the first “cross-dressing” fashion designer to define rock star style, was honored with the fest’s excellence award.

“In reality, if I do fashion,” said Gaultier when accepting the award, “it is because of film.”

Ischia Global Film & Music Fest continues through July 16 with other events honoring Mira Sorvino, Lily Collins, Roman Polanski, Colin Trevorrow, Art Linson and Patrick Wachsberger.



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