At its TIFF premiere earlier this month, Oren Moverman‘s police drama “Rampart” was applauded by critics all round with lead actor Woody Harrelson, in particular, earning praise for his performance as Dave “Date Rape” Brown (not kidding), a corrupt cop caught in the ’90’s L.A.P.D. scandal where the film derives its name.
Many have since positioned the actor, who re-teams here with his “The Messenger” director Moverman and co-star Ben Foster, as a Oscar Best Actor dark horse but the fact it hadn’t been picked up for distribution nearly a month after the festival, we were beginning to doubt its prospects. Now things are looking a lot more optimistic as Millennium Entertainment has acquired the project and planning a Oscar-geared release.
Not known for its strong wide theatrical releases let alone award season campaigns, the move will be quite the gear change for the studio and the newly-appointed Millennium exec Mark Gill has brought on for “consulting on the project,” presumably because they’ll need someone at the company giving the campaign all their attention. It’ll be interesting how the studio plots their awards stumping trail as Deadline reports their plans will also center on campaigning for Moverman’s direction and the screenplay penned by Moverman and James Ellroy — whose involvement will surely only add further muscle to its prospects.
“Oren’s is one of the great new voices in American film,” Millennium Entertainment’s CEO Bill Lee reveals in a statement. “In ‘Rampart,’ he has created a compelling, genre-bending picture that is not only a poignant look at one man’s fall, but also an exploration of the conflict that often lies between masculinity and redemption.” Also featuring a stellar ensemble cast including Foster, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon, our own review described Moverman’s film as “harrowing,” “gritty” and “riveting” in its “exploration of corruption taking root and completely overpowering an individual beyond all recognition to anyone in his life.”
Sounds like co-star Foster, a producer on the film as well, will have the honor of saying “I told you so” after warning us all in January to “watch out for [Harrelson at the] next awards season.” [Deadline]