Eye in the Sky marked the last film from the late beloved actor Alan Rickman, which did not go unnoticed at during Bleecker Street’s panel at the Contenders event today. In a discussion with Deadline’s Pete Hammond, director Gavin Hood lauded Rickman’s final performance. “He was a man of great intelligence, great dignity and great wit,” he said. “The reason we asked Alan to do it is he’s just manages to make you laugh at a moment of extreme tension, but not in a way that takes you out of the movie.”
Hood also noted that star Helen Mirren’s character originally was written as a man. “The first script I read half through, and I thought, ‘Wait a minute — there are a number of men in this movie.'” I don’t want to sound like a feminist, although I actually feel partly that I am, with everything that’s going on right now and please God, Tuesday…,” he said. Hood then added, “Let us remind our reality show stars that we are human and the points of view of men and women matter and they matter to us as men too. I shouldn’t go off topic.”
Written by Guy Hibbert and also starring Aaron Paul, the high-tension drone-warfare drama premiered at the Toronto Film Festival to critical raves and went wide in theaters April 1.
Writer-director Matt Ross’ Captain Fantastic debuted in January at Sundance had got its international premiere at Cannes, where it got a 10-minutes standing ovation. The film is about an offbeat dad (Viggo Mortensen) who raises his six kids alone, home schooling them with his own unique life lesson plans in the rustic backwoods of the Pacific Northwest. When asked where the idea came from, Ross attributed it to “being a father.” “When I was writing I was thinking a lot about … whether I was a good father, whether I was passing on my values to my kids,” he said. “I started fantasizing about this character played by Viggo, who gives up his professional ambitions his creative desires to devote every waking moment to his kids.
He said that although he believes that “film is a poor medium to deliver any kind of message,” he felt it was a good platform “to ask a lot questions.” Mortensen, who was also on hand, praised the project, saying, “It’s rare that the final product that you see onscreen meets the promise of the blueprint.” The R-rated film opened in July in limited release and had a successful box office run, pulling in $5.8M in its domestic run.
Denial is a bio-drama that stars Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson and Timothy Spall that had its world premiere in Toronto to a standing ovation. Weisz stars as academic Deborah Lipstadt, who was sued along with her publisher in 2000 by Holocaust denier David Irving (Spall).
“The movie is always going to be timely” said director Mick Jackson. When he started working on the film six years ago, “people were denying everything like climate change and saying evolution is a hoax.” Funny enough, “nobody anticipated this would be as timely in these days that we’re in at the moment.” He added, “Our antagonist is someone who’s called, in the movie, a liar, an anti-Semite, a racist, a distorter of history who is a demagogue who rouses crowds of supporter to uncontrollable passion. I think that sounds familiar.”
With a screenplay adapted by David Hare, Denial opened last month with a strong per-screen average.