already halfway through the fall festival season (with NYFF kicking off
this week, and London, Tokyo and the AFI among those still to come),
but three of the biggest in terms of notable premieres are all out of
the way already, with Venice TIFF and Telluride, having come and gone. From those, we’ve seen big movies
like “Birdman,” “The Imitation Game,” “Wild,” “The Theory Of
Everything,” “Nightcrawler” and more, with “Gone Girl,” “Rosewater,“
“Inherent Vice” and “Fury” among those premiering shortly. But what of
those films that didn’t make any of the festivals?
in the summer, we posted our wish-list of 50 movies that we hoped would
be unveiled sometime this fall, and while most have screened, or
will soon enough, there are quite a few candidates that seemed likely
at the time that haven’t yet surfaced, and almost certainly won’t until
2015, possibly even until TIFF or Venice next year. So what are they,
and what happened to them? Is it a sign of trouble, or are the filmmakers and producers taking their time to give their work the best bow possible? Take a look below, and let us know if there’s anything
else you expected to see on the festival circuit that failed to
Is It? After seven long years away, Todd Haynes returns to the big
screen (having made HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce” a few
years back) for this adaptation of Patricia Highsmith‘s “The Price Of
Salt,” about the sapphic relationship between a lonely department store
employee (Rooney Mara) and the title character, an older divorcee (Cate
Blanchett). Kyle Chandler, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy and
Sleater-Kinney/”Portlandia” mastermind Carrie Brownstein are in the
supporting cast, and from what we hear, this is closer to “Far From
Heaven” than some of Haynes’ other work. The Weinstein Company picked
up the film before cameras rolled.
Happened? With the film wrapping late this spring, it was always
touch-and-go whether this would be ready in time for the fall. Some filmmakers are
able to turn things around speedily (“Selma,” for instance, didn’t start
shooting until May or June, but arrives this holiday season), and while we hear this is near the finish line, it seems the folks involved are waiting for the right place to present it.
Will We See It? Cannes seems like the likeliest bet. That said, Haynes
has favored Venice in recent years, with “I’m Not There” and “Mildred
Pierce” both screening there, so it’s possible it won’t surface until
then (depending on what the Weinsteins think of its awards chances).
Is It? A lavish adaptation of Irene Nerimovsky‘s posthumously published novel, this is a period drama
set in occupied France, about a woman (Michelle Williams) with a
missing husband who finds herself increasingly drawn to the Nazi soldier
(Matthias Schoenaerts) posted in her house. Matt Charman, who penned
Steven Spielberg‘s upcoming Cold War movie with Tom Hanks, adapted the
script, and “The Duchess” director Saul Dibb is behind the camera.
Kristin Scott-Thomas, Margot Robbie, Ruth Wilson, Sam Riley, Alexandra
Maria Lara, Eileen Atkins and Lambert Wilson also star. This was another
of the Weinstein Company‘s prospects for 2014, and like “Carol,” was
showcased at their annual event at Cannes back in May.
Happened? No one knows. The film shot back in the summer of 2013, so
this should have easily been ready for the fall festivals, if
not earlier. Best case scenario is that, after their “throw it at the wall
and see what sticks” approach backfired in the awards season of 2013,
the Weinstein Company decided that “The Imitation Game” was the horse to
get behind for 2014, and that they’d let “Suite Francaise” have room to
breathe in 2015 (though they also have “Carol,” “Woman In Gold,” “Tulip
Fever” and “The Hateful Eight” coming up next year). The worst case
is that the film doesn’t work, and Harvey will bury it quietly in the
first half of next year.
Will We See It? If it’s good, next awards season. If not, look for it
as counter-programming in April or May, like “The Railway Man.”
“Far From The Madding Crowd”
Is It? After roaring back with great success a few years ago with “The
Hunt,” Danish helmer Thomas Vinterberg (“The Celebration“) returns to
the English language for the first time in a decade (2005’s curio “Dear
Wendy” was his last one). This time around, it’s for a long-gestating version of Thomas Hardy‘s “Far From The Madding Crowd,” about the
beautiful Bathsheba (Carey Mulligan) and her suitors, shepherd Gabriel
(Matthias Schoenaerts), farmer William (Michael Sheen) and solider
Frank (Tom Sturridge). Being Hardy, it’s pretty bleak, but Vinterberg’s
take on rural Britain should be something to see, especially with this
cast. Andrew MacDonald (“Never Let Me Go“) produces, David Nicholls
(“One Day“) wrote the script and Fox Searchlight is distributing.
Happened? In fairness, Searchlight long ago slated this for release on
May 1, 2015 (as counter-programming to “Avengers: Age Of Ultron“), so
this was always a way off. But given that the studio also showcased
arthouse hit “Belle” at Toronto last year, many expected to see
the film on the festival circuit in advance. It didn’t show, but from
what we hear, Vinterberg was still tinkering with the film last month,
so it wouldn’t have been ready for TIFF or Venice, and is probably a poor
fit with the NYFF or AFI, so it’s not necessarily a sign of trouble (for
what it’s worth, Schoenaerts in particular is apparently excellent in
Will We See It: Short answer: May 1st, 2015. Long answer: it could end
up bowing at either Sundance or Berlin ahead of that. Given Vinterberg’s
Euro-heritage, and the great success that Searchlight had at the latter festival last year with “Grand Budapest Hotel,” we’d put decent money on
Is It? After delving into the world of espionage for “The American” and
“A Most Wanted Man,” photographer-turned-filmmaker Anton Corbijn
returns to a subject closer to his heart, the one in which he made his
name. “Life” centers on magazine photographer Dennis Stock and his
friendship with movie star James Dean, and Corbijn’s attracted two of
the hottest young leading men around, with Robert Pattinson as Stock,
and Dane DeHaan as Dean (Ben Kingsley and Joel Edgerton are also among
the cast, with Kingsley playing studio boss Jack Warner). Little is known
about the project beyond that at this point, but we’re excited
Happened? Simply, it wasn’t ready. Corbijn’s “A Most Wanted Man” premiered at Sundance and was released this summer, and the director had to
interrupt his post-production schedule on “Life” (which filmed back in February) to do
the promotion rounds on that. As such, Corbijn told us that the film wouldn’t be locked until the end of October,
making it too late for the festival circuit this time around, although
he’d initially hoped to premiere at TIFF.
Will We See It? Assuming that it sticks to that October completion
date, Sundance seems to be a good bet, before possibly heading to
Berlin afterwards. But it could end up being held until Cannes we
suppose, although Corbijn would be first-timer there.
“Get A Job”
Is It? The long-awaited return of “Roger Dodger” director Dylan Kidd, this was announced a few years back with
topical subject matter: a young man returns from college and, like his
friends, is unable to find work in the new economy, just as his father
is laid off from his own job. And the cast seemed just as of-the-moment,
with Miles Teller and Bryan Cranston in the lead roles, and Anna
Kendrick, Alison Brie, Marcia Gay Harden, Christopher Mintz-Plass,
Nicholas Braun and Jay Pharoah among the supporting cast. Complete with a
Black List script, and our abiding love of “Roger Dodger,” this was one
that we were particularly excited about.
Happened? And then it disappeared. Shooting back in the middle of 2012,
we expected to see the film in last year’s fall festivals, then we expected to
see it at Sundance, SXSW or TIFF this year. But there was simply no word, until a few weeks ago, when
Kendrick told podcaster Marc Maron (who also has a role in the film)
that she thought the film was “never ever, ever, gonna see the light of
day… it was two years ago, it was a very topical comedy thing.”
Kendrick went on to expand that she’d heard that there were issues with
distributors on the project, suggesting that CBS Films, who originally
signed on, may have dropped the project. We hope she’s wrong, but the
film’s zeitgeisty element does seem to have passed to some degree.
Will We See It? This isn’t going to be “The Day The Clown Cried” or
anything, because at some point, someone who put money into the film will want
to make some money back. Maybe CBS have just been hanging on (perhaps to
cash in on Teller’s increasing star power after “Whiplash” and next
summer’ “Fantastic Four“). Perhaps they have dropped it, and producers
will take it to Sundance in an attempt to get backing. Or maybe
it’ll just end up slinking unnoticed onto VOD at some point.
“The End Of The Tour”
Is It? Plenty of famous writers have been portrayed to the big screen, from Shakespeare to Dickens to Iris Murdoch, but David
Foster Wallace doesn’t necessarily strike you as the most natural subject. The
seminal post-modernist novelist, who passed away in 2008, was a cultish
figure who never quite crossed over to the mainstream, despite his
enormous influence. Nevertheless, playwright Donald Marguiles adapted
writer David Lipsky‘s memoir “Although Of Course You End Up Becoming
Yourself,” about his time accompanying Wallace on the book tour for “Infinite Jest,” into the film “The End Of The Tour,” and filmmaker
James Ponsoldt picked the project to be his follow-up to indie hit “The
Spectacular Now.” Some big names took on the two lead roles, with Jesse
Eisenberg playing Lipsky, and the somewhat unlikely figure of Jason
Segel as Wallace (Ron Livingston, Anna Chlumsky, Joan Cusack and Mickey
Sumner are also involved). Filming kicked off last February, though
controversy soon reared its head when Wallace’s estate condemned the
movie, saying it would have been against the late novelist’s wishes.
Happened? Probably nothing out of the ordinary. The film shot in
February, so it’s on that knife edge where it may or may not have been
ready in time, but even if it was, TIFF doesn’t strike us as the best
fit, as it’s ultimately a populist event, and the film is likely better
suited to a more independent-minded festival.
When Will We See It? As such, this seems like a solid bet for Sundance next year, especially since Ponsoldt’s last two movies premiered there.
“Queen Of The Desert”
Is It? We haven’t had a non-documentary film from Werner Herzog in an
uncharacteristically long five years, in part because he’s spent a lot
of that time working on this long-gestating epic, a biopic of British
explorer Gertrude Bell, a key figure in the Middle East at the turn of
the 20th century. Naomi Watts and Jude Law were originally attached to
the project, but Herzog finally got before cameras early this year with
maybe the starriest cast he’s ever had: Nicole Kidman plays Bell,
and she’s joined by James Franco, Damian Lewis, and, playing T.E. Lawrence (as in …’Of Arabia’), Robert
Pattinson. Principal photography got underway in Morocco and Jordan
back in January, with the film wrapping up in early March.
Happened? Given Herzog’s long association with the Telluride FIlm
Festival (who just named one of their theaters after him), most expected
the film to get its premiere there, despite it currently not having a
U.S. distributor. But producer Cassian Elwes tweeted back in August that, “We’ve had technical issues in the finishing of queen and it’s not
ready for tiff or telluride. We don’t want to show a work in progress.”
Some thought it might appear at NYFF, but the film was nowhere to be
seen, and it’s unlikely to pop up at AFI either, suggesting either that
it’s still not done or that it’s being held for another fest in 2015.
Will We See It? Cannes would be the obvious choice, given the starry
cast and epic scope, but Herzog’s been more closely associated with
Venice and Telluride in recent years. Elwes is part of the furniture at
Sundance, so that’s viable too, and if it turns up there, it could well
head on to Berlinale from there.
“Untitled Lance Armstrong Project”
Is It? When Lance Armstrong finally fessed up to having been a doper, a
flurry of movie projects revolving around the one-time “greatest cyclist
in history” began doing the rounds, including a J.J. Abrams-produced one
that Bradley Cooper was circling, but the first to actually make it
before cameras was this still-untitled picture. Adapted from a book by
David Walsh, a sports journalist who doggedly pursued Armstrong and his
antics, with a screenplay by “Trainspotting” scribe John Hodge, and with
Stephen Frears directing, fresh off the Oscar-nominated “Philomena,” the film
stars Ben Foster, in a much-deserved lead role, as Armstrong, and Chris
O’Dowd as Walsh, with Dustin Hoffman, Lee Pace, Jesse Plemons and
Guillaume Canet in support. Filming began in October 2013, with
StudioCanal and Working Title teaming up on the project.
Happened? It’s unclear, to be honest. Even with Frears taking time out
of post for the awards season, this should have easily have been done in
time for TIFF or Venice (where “Philomena” premiered), but there’s been
little sign beside some teaser posters doing the rounds at the Cannes
market. Our best bet is that Foster’s schedule would have kept him from
promoting the film—he’s been appearing in “Streetcar Named Desire“
with Gillian Anderson in London until a week or two ago, which would
have kept him away from both TIFF and Venice, and without the star on the red
carpet, it’s a less appealing proposition for festivals.
Will We See It? Interesting question. It doesn’t necessarily feel like
Sundance material, or Cannes, though as the film’s still looking for U.S. distribution, either could help. It’s possible that someone will
pick it up at the American or European Film Markets and the movie will skip the
festival route, but with Foster likely having an awards-friendly role
(and the strength of the competition this year may be one of the reasons
it was held back), our best bet is that we won’t see it until next
year’s Venice or TIFF.
Is It? As a screenwriter, Alex Garland‘s been involved in some of the
most interesting (if flawed) genre pictures of the 21st century so far, including films like “28 Days Later,” “Sunshine” and “Never Let Me Go.” So his
directorial debut was always going to be on the radar, especially when
he’s assembled a cast like this. The film’s a near-future tale of a
lowly programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) summoned to the hideaway of the
reclusive CEO of his company (Oscar Isaac), where he’s been asked to
test out a beautiful android girl (Alicia Vikander) who may or may not
have achieved consciousness. We’ll see those three actors in almost
anything, and given how excited Isaac was about the project when we
spoke to him last year, we’re pretty much in for this one, which we hope
will be the kind of thoughtful sci-fi we get all too rarely.
Happened? On one level, we’re not sure. The film is still scheduled to
be released by Universal in the U.K. on January 23rd, so seemed like a
good bet to turn up on the festival circuit. It might have been that
visual effects work led to a longer post process that saw it not ready
for TIFF deadlines, or that the filmmakers felt that a genre picture
like this would be better served elsewhere. However good it was, it was
unlikely to be an awards player, so was probably always better suited
for a spring/early berth anyway.
Will We See It? With that January U.K. release date, we’d be pretty
surprised if it didn’t turn up at Sundance. It’s also possible to see it skipping the festival circuit entirely
and landing straight in theaters next year.
What Is It? Hailing from the New Regency/Plan B partnership that had Oscar-winning success with “12 Years A Slave,” “True Story” is, as the title suggests, the based-in-fact tale of journalist Michael Finkel, who discovered that his identity had been stolen by Christian Longo, an Oregon man who killed his wife and two children before going on the run. Penned by David Kajganich, who’s behind the upcoming re-do of “The Stand,” the film marks the film debut of acclaimed British stage director Rupert Goold, following in the footsteps of the likes of Sam Mendes and Stephen Daldry. Apatow veterans Jonah Hill and James Franco take a turn for the serious as Finkel and Longo respectively, with Felicity Jones and Gretchen Mol joining them. 20th Century Fox will distribute at some point.
What Happened? After ‘Slave,’ this seemed like a near-sure bet for an appearance at TIFF or a similar fest ahead of an awards season run, and yet almost nothing’s been heard of the movie since it went before cameras in the early part of 2013 (though Marco Beltrami was hired to score the project in July). We imagine Goold’s busy theatrical schedule might have something to do with it. He took over the artistic directorship of the Almeida Theatre in London soon after wrapping the film, and has since helmed, to great acclaim, the musical version of “American Psycho,” “King Charles III,” and the upcoming Gemma Arterton starring stage take on “Made In Dagenham,” which opens in a few weeks. But it’s also likely that with Fox opening “Gone Girl” this fall, they already had one dark tale of murder and disappearance on their slate, and didn’t want another so close to it.
When Will We See It? Sundance seems unlikely unless the film moves to Fox Searchlight. If it’s good, it’ll probably be held for a fall release next year, preceded by appearances at Telluride and TIFF. If it’s not, it could end up landing sometime in the spring.
Is It? With an Oscar-nomination (for “12 Years A Slave“) and a mega-hit
(“X-Men: Days Of Future Past“) finally in hand, Michael Fassbender‘s
status on the A-list looks pretty firm these days, and as such, he’s
doing what many stars before him have done, turning to producing his
own projects. The first such film sees him reteaming with former Beta
Band-member turned director John MacLean, with whom he made the
BAFTA-winning short “Pitch Black Heist,” for this New Zealand-shot
Western. Kodi Smit-McPhee stars as a young man out to find his lost love
who’s escorted by a mysterious stranger (Fassbender), while Ben Mendelsohn and Rory
McCann (the Hound from “Game Of Thrones“) also star.
Happened: Who knows? The film shot in October last year, so could have
easily been ready for the fall festivals if they wanted. Maybe Fassbender’s schedule (shooting the crime thriller “Trespass Against Us,” and then Derek Cianfrance‘s “The
Light Between Oceans” this fall) prevented this from hitting the festival circuit.
When Will We See It? Sundance seems very viable, as Film4 and Fassbender had a big hit there with “Frank” last time around.
Is It? After a strong start, Kevin MacDonald‘s been a little bit off
the boil lately, with films like “State Of Play” and “The Eagle.” While his last
film, “How I Live Now,” was something of a return to form, no one really saw it, but we’ve been excited by his new one. Penned by “Utopia” writer Dennis Kelly, it’s a “Treasure Of The Sierra
Madre“-style thriller about a rogue submarine captain (Jude Law) hired
by a mysterious stranger (Scoot McNairy) to track down a submarine full
of Nazi gold that was intended to bribe Stalin during World War II.
Submarines are, “K-19: The Widowmaker” aside, always excellent settings
for tension-filled drama, and given that it’s been a while since we had a
decent one, we’re hopeful that MacDonald can pull off something fun
Happened? The film was originally scheduled for U.K. release in November,
before Focus opened it in January in the U.S., so it seemed more than
plausible that it would hit the festival circuit. The U.K. release
vanished, so the film may not have been ready in time, but it is still
due to hit U.S. theaters in limited release on January 23rd, so it’s
possible that the studio ended up seeing the film principally as a
commercial play, with too big a gap from a September TIFF premiere to a
January release for it to be worthwhile on a publicity level.
Will We See It: January 23rd, perhaps with a Sundance bow first?
“Knight Of Cups”/Untitled Malick Project
Is It? In a new period of relative prolificness from the reclusive
auteur, we got two films from Terrence Malick in the space of eighteen
months, with the long-awaited “The Tree Of Life,” followed swiftly by the
more divisive “To The Wonder.” And Malick’s kept it up, shooting not
one but two movies in late 2012 and early 2013. One, “Knight Of Cups,”
stars Christian Bale and Natalie Portman, while the other, once known as
“Lawless” but still untitled, features Ryan Gosling and is supposedly set
around the music industry. Indications earlier in the year was that the
film was nearing completion, with actors being called in for ADR, so we
were hopeful that this might come sooner rather than later.
Happened? Terrence Malick did not stop being Terrence Malick. The
filmmaker is known for taking his sweet time with projects (even “To The
Wonder” shot at least a couple of years before it opened), and with
these two projects, plus “Voyage Of Time” coming in 2016, he’s had more
on his plate than ever. Actors being called in for ADR is a sign that
the project was nearing completion, certainly, but that doesn’t mean he
won’t continue tinkering until the last possible moment. Plus, after
the hostile reception to “To The Wonder” at Venice, he may have wanted
to wait for friendlier climes for his next premiere.
Will We See It? Cannes is the likeliest bet, but knowing Malick, it
could be anywhere, at any time, between now and the sun swallowing the
is It? Probably the most notable cinematic Shakespeare adaptation in
many years, this is a major new take on the Bard’s blood-soaked Scottish
tragedy that sticks to the original period, and reportedly features some
major battle sequences. Michael Fassbender takes the lead role, with
Marion Cotillard in intriguing casting as the thane’s wife. Australian helmer Justin Kurzel, who broke out with the even grislier
“The Snowtown Murders,” is directing (and presumably impressed
Fassbender as he’s next set to helm the star in blockbuster video game
adaptation “Assassin’s Creed“). The rest of the cast is top notch
too: David Thewlis is old king Duncan, Jack Reynor of “What Richard
Did” his son Malcolm, Paddy Considine is Macbeth’s BFF Banquo, Sean
Harris is adversary Macduff and Elizabeth Debicki from “The Great
Gatsby” is Lady Macduff. The Weinstein Company picked the film up, and showcased footage back at Cannes in May.
Happened? The film shot early this year, so it was probably always a
bit dicey as to whether it would be ready in time for the festival
season. Furthermore, Shakespeare adaptations, even the few good ones,
haven’t had much luck awards-wise, so it’s likely that the Weinsteins
decided their attention was better focused elsewhere for this season.
Will We See It? Unclear. Cannes could be viable—“The Snowtown
Murders” played there a few years back, so Kurzel has some history.
Sundance is also possible, though probably slightly less so.
Is It? Aside from, uh, “Mary Poppins,” we suppose, the suffragette
movement to win women the vote has rarely been featured on screen, but
as the title of this new drama might suggest, it comes front-and-center
here. Directed by Sarah Gavron, who did the underrated “Brick Lane,” and
penned by “Shame” and “The Invisible Woman” scribe Abi Morgan, it stars
Carey Mulligan as a young woman drawn into the movement, with Ben
Whishaw as her husband, Helena Bonham Carter, Romola Garai, Anne-Marie
Duff and Brendan Gleeson in other roles, and in a cameo, Meryl Streep as
the most famous of the suffragettes, Emmeline Pankhurst. Filming got
underway in February, where it drew headlines as the first film ever to
be allowed to shoot inside the Houses of Parliament. It’s a potent
story, to be sure, and one that we’ve been looking forward to seeing.
Happened? The film was originally slated for a January release in the
U.K., suggesting that it would be a strong possibility for the fall
festivals, and for BAFTA and Oscar consideration. But some time in the
last year, it was quietly moved to a U.K. opening next September,
indicating that it will be a contender next year, rather than this one,
and there’s been no sign of it at any festivals. It may be that the film
wasn’t done in time, or that backers Pathe were emphasizing “Selma,” or
that the Weinstein Company, who’ll distribute in the U.S., are pushing
“The Imitation Game” over anything else this time around.
When Will We See It? With that September U.K. date, expect it at Venice and/or Telluride and/or TIFF next year.
Mentions: There are a few films that are technically playing at fall
festivals, though in a slightly unconventional route. “Trash” premieres
at the festival in Rio (where it’s set) in October before heading to
Rome, while “Fury,” “Serena” and “Testament Of Youth” are landing first
in London. As of right now, there haven’t been any announcements for the
AFI, so we could end up seeing “Interstellar,” “Selma,” “American
Sniper,” “The Gambler,” “A Most Violent Year” or Michael Mann‘s “Blackhat” or even “Into The
Woods” at the L.A. festival.
did see Noah Baumbach‘s “While We’re Young” at TIFF, but there was no sign
of his second “Frances Ha“-style low-budget project starring Greta
Gerwig (which actually shot first)—we imagine that’ll be at Sundance.
“Child 44” was a possibility too, but it’s opening wide in April, so
likely won’t be going the festival route at all, and is therefore
probably a commercial play first and foremost. Also missing is Charlize
Theron-starring Gillian Flynn adaptation “Dark Places” (likely keeping
its distance from “Gone Girl” for now), troubled Natalie Portman Western
“Jane Got A Gun” (opening in February, after a delay of six months),
Hou Hsiao-Hsien‘s long-delayed “The Assassin,” Cameron Crowe‘s latest (pushed back from Christmas a release release to next summer likely to keep out of the way of Bradley Cooper‘s “American Sniper”), Wim Wenders‘ “Everything Will
Be Fine” with James Franco, and various others.