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Lionsgate To Distribute Joss Whedon’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’ Millennium Take ‘What Maisie Knew’

Lionsgate To Distribute Joss Whedon's 'Much Ado About Nothing,' Millennium Take 'What Maisie Knew'

TIFF is pretty much dragging to a close (though doesn’t officially wrap up until the weekend) — everything major has premiered, and those critics who haven’t already departed the city are mostly just catching up on stuff they couldn’t see due to clashes otherwise. But the film market’s still ticking along, and while several high-profile pictures remain, two more have just been snapped up.

Pretty much the only way you’d get a multi-million dollar bidding war over a Shakespeare adaptation is if it came from the director of the third-biggest movie of all time, but fortunately, that’s exactly what “Much Ado About Nothing” is — the film is directed by “The Avengers” helmer Joss Whedon and stars several of his previous collaborators, including Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz and Clark Gregg. And by most accounts, including ours, it’s pretty good.

The film’s landed at Lionsgate, who distributed Whedon’s “Cabin in the Woods” earlier this year, and the company are pairing with Roadside Attractions, as they did on fellow TIFF pictures “Imogene” and “Thanks For Sharing.” There’s no word on a release date yet, but Whedon comments, “I’m thrilled to be working with my cronies at Lionsgate again, and with The Roadside team,” Whedon said. “That they all embrace a Shakespearean romance with the same enthusiasm they had for ‘Cabin in the Woods’ shows that they’re exactly the mad fools we want to be partying – I mean working – with.” [Deadline]

Meanwhile, Millennium Entertainment have been in the hunt for a few pictures, but finally nabbed one, as “What Maisie Knew,” the latest from “Suture” and “The Deep End” directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel, has been picked up for the company for around $2 million. A loose updating of the Henry James novel starring Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan as the neglectful divorced parents of a 7-year-old and also starring Alexander Skarsgård and young Onata Aprile, word’s been mixed on the picture. But Millennium is hoping they can replicate the success they had with Richard Linklater‘s “Bernie,” which was a sleeper hit earlier this year when they released it in the spring of 2012. [Deadline]

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"word's been mixed on the picture."

No it's not. All the reviews of What Maisie Knew have been unanimously positive so far.

Hollywood Reporter: "Tasteful melodrama benefits from uniformly strong performances"

Variety: "Henry James' 1897 novel about a child caught between two horribly unfit parents has been effortlessly updated to the present day. Anchored by five strong performances, … this beautifully observed drama essentially strikes the same sad note for 98 minutes, though with enough sensitivity and emotional variation to make the experience cumulatively heartrending rather than merely aggravating."

New York Post: "Henry James' novel about an innocent child buffeted by divorce gets a smart 21st-century update in this well-acted drama… "What Maisie Knew'' is affecting and alarming and makes great use of its New York locations. "

EW: "Quietly down-to-earth, McGehee and Siegel capture the sadly lovely mood of the film"

Globe and Mail: "Great acting makes the (perhaps intentionally) humdrum script sing. And for those who have read the book, this contemporary adaptation of a once avant-garde story feels exactly right."

The Guardian: 4/5 stars


Uh pretty much every major review for "Maisie" has been a rave. Don't know where the hell you got "mixed" reaction from. But I guess that's to be expected from The Playlist.

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