"Quartet," directed by Dustin Hoffman, written by Ronald Harwood (based on his play)
Actor Dustin Hoffman steps behind the camera for his directorial debut with "Quartet," a film adaptation of Ronald Harwood's play that centers around four retired opera singers and their plans to celebrate composer Verdi's birthday. Hoffman's cast includes the great Dame Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay and Billy Connolly. Filming began last September in locations around the U.K. and is slated for a 2012 release.
“Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out,” directed by Marina Zenovich
Zenovich’s “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” got a major boost from its premiere at Sundance in 2008, followed by a Cannes screening, which not only had audiences chattering about the film’s lively resurrection of an infamous, decades-old celebrity scandal, but also prompted Polanski’s lawyers to re-attempt to dismiss the original case based on evidence presented in the film. “Wanted and Desired” won several Emmys after its HBO airing, and then Polanski was detained in Switzerland in 2009 and put under house arrest for 10 months. Throughout, Zenovich has trained her cameras on the fallout from the first film and Polanski’s evolving predicaments, much as Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky did when their “Paradise Lost” documentary affected real-life events. By early summer Zenovich was putting the finishing touches on the new doc, so barring any new developments in the case the fall fest circuit seems a likely launch pad.
"Seven Psychopaths," written and directed by Martin McDonagh
McDonagh's short "Six Shooter" won the 2006 Oscar for Best Live Action Short. The Irish playwright's feature debut as screenwriter-producer-director was the woefully underrated "In Bruges" (2008) in which Colin Farrell gives a career-best performance alongside Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes and Clémence Poésy. The cast of his second feature (after exec producing his brother John Michael McDonagh's 2011 film "The Guard"), Los Angeles-set "Seven Psychopaths," is even better with Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits and Olga Kurylenko (take a moment to compose yourself). The film follows Farrell as a screenwriter struggling with his script (also titled "Seven Psychopaths"); he finds inspiration when he gets sucked into some dognapping schenanigans with friends (Rockwell and Walken) when the Shih Tzu of a psychopathic gangster (Harrelson) goes missing. The only problem is that he needs to stay alive long enough to write it all down. For those familiar with McDonagh, this all sounds very much in line with his black comedy oeuvre that includes stage plays "The Pillowman," "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" and "The Beauty Queen of Leenane." CBS Films co-financed and will handle US distribution.