One more piece in the fall film festival puzzle has dropped into place: The Weinstein Co’s My Week with Marilyn, starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe on the 1956 set of The Prince and the Showgirl, will be the New York Film Festival’s centerpiece world premiere gala on October 9. Closing night and the full 25-film line-up are yet to be announced. The upcoming 49th New York Film Festival will run from the opening night showing of Roman Polanski’s Carnage through October 16.
“After seeing Marilyn Monroe so often portrayed in films as a caricature, it is a pleasure to see this complex personality and unique on-screen presence portrayed so well by such a talented actress as Michelle Williams,” says NYFF selection committee chief Richard Peña.
Based on Colin Clark’s diaries, My Week with Marilyn also stars Eddie Redmayne as 23-year-old production assistant Clark. Word is that Kenneth Branagh dominates the movie as Sir Laurence Olivier, who co-starred with Monroe, who was honeymooning with new husband Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott). When Miller leaves, Clark takes Monroe on a tour of England. The supporting cast is also stellar: Dominic Cooper, Judi Dench, Julia Ormond, Zoe Wanamaker, Emma Watson, Toby Jones, Philip Jackson, Geraldine Somerville, Derek Jacobi and Simon Russell Beale.
In their Miramax heyday they would wait and see what films would emerge from the pack. But they no longer have the infrastructure that they once did, although Donna Gigliotti is running production and Sarah Greenberg Roberts has come over from Lionsgate to oversee their publicity operation. L.A.-based outside Oscar consultant Lisa Taback has carried the burden of the Weinsteins’ Oscar campaigns, which bore fruit last year as The King’s Speech took home four Oscars, for best picture, director, actor and original screenplay. But Taback’s lieutenant Whitney Kimmel has gone her separate way. UPDATE: She’s joining ID-PR.
It remains to be seen how TWC will manage discreet campaigns for My Week with Marilyn, Meryl Streep, whose The Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher biopic has yet to surface at a festival (December 16), Golden-Globe friendly Madonna, whose W.E. will play Venice and Toronto (December 9), as well as Ralph Fiennes and John Logan’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus (December 2), also playing Toronto, which boasts another top-flight cast led by Fiennes as the banished hero of Rome, who allies with a former enemy (Gerard Butler); Vanessa Redgrave as Coriolanus’s controlling mother has been generating supporting actress buzz since the movie played Berlin. TWC’s best Oscar shot is probably Cannes favorite The Artist (November 23), a silent film set at the end of Hollywood’s silent era, starring Palme d’Or winner Jean Dujardin.
W.E. is an examination of the Wallis Simpson/King Edward VIII romance starring Abbie Cornish as a contemporary woman seeking details about what really happened to Wallis (Andrea Riseborough) and Edward (James D’Arcy) after he renounced his throne to marry a divorcee (December 9).
Also on the slate is producer Gigliotti’s and director Doug McGrath’s I Don’t Know How She Does It, adapted by Aline Brosh McKenna from the Allison Pearson novel; Sarah Jessica Parker plays a financial exec who provides for her husband (Greg Kinnear) and two kids; Pierce Brosnan, Christina Hendricks and Olivia Munn co-star (September 16).
Also playing Toronto, is Jim Field Smith’s allegorical midwest comedy Butter, about an adopted girl (Yara Hshahidi) with a talent for butter carving who is pitted against established frontrunner Jennifer Garner in the town’s annual contest; Hugh Jackman plays Jennifer’s used-car salesman/ex-boyfriend. Ty Burrel co-stars as Garner’s larger-than-life husband. (They’re stand-ins for the Clintons and Hshahidi is you-know-who.)
The Weinsteins may have to jettison some of their fall line-up. Who will make the cut?