AFM 2011: Terrence Malick, Aaron Eckhart Emerge as Film Market’s Unlikely Stars
The solid American Film Market produced two clear stars: actor Aaron Eckhart (CAA, Hirsch Wallerstein) and reclusive director Terrence Malick (CAA).
Each was at the center of a trio of high-profile projects being shopped at the annual gathering of foreign buyers in Santa Monica. Eckhart is the lead in horror thriller I, Frankenstein; CIA thriller The Expatriate; and The Drummer, a biopic about the Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys.
“These are an amazing series of roles for him,” says John Fremes of Essential Entertainment, which is selling Expatriate.
Malick’s AFM presence included FilmNation wrapping up sales for his untitled romantic drama, starring Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams, and the launch of two projects, Lawless and Knight of Cups. Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett will star in both films, so Malick plans to shoot them back-to-back next year.
Several insiders who know Malick report that he’s been invigorated by the success of The Tree of Life, which has grossed $41 million at the foreign box office (plus $13 million in the U.S.).
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Gothic thriller I, Frankenstein to be filmed in Melbourne
A BIG-BUDGET gothic thriller starring Hollywood heartthrob Aaron Eckhart will be filmed in Melbourne.
Innovation, Services and Small Business Minister Louise Asher announced today Victoria had beaten other Australian states to secure the $37 million feature film I, Frankenstein.
Ms Asher said pre-production, filming and post-production for the feature film would be undertaken in Melbourne.
Exact locations are still being finalised, but the production will be based at Docklands Studios and shoot at several locations around Melbourne.
Pre-production commences soon and filming is scheduled to begin in February 2012.
I, Frankenstein is written and directed by Australian Stuart Beattie (Tomorrow, When the War Began, Australia, Pirates of the Caribbean franchise) and will be produced by Hopscotch Features.
The film stars Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight, Thank You for Smoking) in the title role.
”Securing an Australian production with such a high international profile is a real testament to the strength of the Victorian screen industry and the calibre of the crews, talent, facilities and services available here,” Ms Asher said.
“I, Frankenstein will spend up to $37 million in Victoria and employ around 500 local cast and crew.”
One of the film’s producers, Andrew Mason, said Film Victoria’s production services, location support and advice also played a major role in their decision to film in Melbourne.
“Victoria has an incredible diversity of locations and specialised local crew, and Film Victoria’s services and support are really outstanding. We decided Melbourne was the perfect home for this project,” Mr Mason said.
Film Victoria CEO Jenni Tosi said she was thrilled Melbourne had secured I, Frankenstein.
“Attracting a production of this calibre is great news for the industry. It gives local practitioners a chance to further develop their skills and experience, and builds on our already solid relationship with Australian and US production houses,” Ms Tosi said.
“Our crews, facilities, incentives, film-friendly councils and our film commission services continue to make Melbourne an attractive production destination.”
I, Frankenstein is adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Kevin Grevioux, co- creator of the Underworld film franchise.
Described as a modern-day gothic thriller, the film tells the tale of Dr. Frankenstein’s creature Adam, who centuries after his birth finds himself in a gothic city, caught in a war between two immortal clans.
Source: Herald Sun
Savannah Film Festival Interview: Aaron Eckhart
The star of “The Dark Night” and “Thank You for Smoking” chats with us about Johnny Depp, his knack for making bad guys appealing and his scheduled return to the Coastal Empire in 2012. By Summer Teal Simpson.
Savannah Magazine: You are being honored with the Outstanding Achievement in Cinema Award at the Savannah Film Festival. What does that mean to you given the company of a fellow honoree such as Lily Tomlin.
Aaron Eckhart: Well, I am not in her category. I’m honored to be here. It’s nice to be asked. I feel like I have a long way to go to deserve an honor such as this. That’s pretty good company.
SM: With the work you have done in films like “Towelhead” and “Thank You for Smoking,” how is it that you are drawn to these complex, sometimes unappealing characters?
Eckhart: Well, it all comes from the script. The reason why you do movies where you may not come out in the best light is because the writing is good, the directors are good and your fellow actors are good. You feel a connection with the material. People ask you to do those types of roles because they know that you are going to give your all, that you are going to make an accomplished character and you are going to play into the hero and not the villain. I don’t know how many people offer me roles where they say, “You’re the only guy who can make this guy appealing. Make him human.” That’s a compliment, but if I ever get married or have a girlfriend, I can’t keep on playing those roles. It’s tough sometimes.
SM: I know that you have an upcoming role in “The Drummer,” which is about Dennis Wilson, the drummer of The Beach Boys.
Eckhart: Yes, and it is going to be filmed here.
Eckhart: I think it is going to be filmed right around here. Next summer, I think.
SM: We’ll be glad to have you back. I read that you started out with an interest in songwriting. Can you tell us about the musical demands of that role?
Eckhart: Well, they’re pretty big. I get a little scared when thinking about it. You know I have to learn how to play drums, piano and harmonica. I have a lot of songs to know. That’s what I am doing right now. I have either drum or piano lessons everyday, but I am also doing a movie before that where I play the monster Frankenstein, so I’ve got that to do. I feel I have a big responsibility with “The Drummer” because of Dennis Wilson. This was his passion, his life. It is what ultimately killed him. He was a very complex dude.
SM: The film version of Hunter S. Thompson’s “The Rum Diary” has recently been released, which you star in with Johnny Depp. What was that experience like?
Eckhart: It was great. I really enjoyed working with Johnny. He is so good to the people he works with. He treats you like family. And he is so passionate about Hunter. Hunter’s chair was always mixed in with ours, always with a script on it. And every day they would dip their fingers in whiskey and put it behind their ears in tribute to him. It’s nice to be able to work on projects like that because it wasn’t a job for Johnny. He was carrying on Hunter’s legacy.
Source: Savannah Magazine
Aaron Eckhart: ‘Rum Diary’ Star Talks Johnny Depp, ‘I, Frankenstein’
by Jo Piazza
Source: Huffington Post
Aaron Eckhart stars in “The Rum Diary” with Johnny Depp, but he actually prefers Fyodor Dostoyevsky to Hunter S. Thompson. He grew up in the Church of Latter Day Saints, but has absolutely no opinion on Mitt Romney’s candidacy. He’s studying to play Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, but claims he can’t sing.
The Huffington Post recently discovered these contradictions and more while chatting with Eckhart at the Savannah Film Festival:
You just did “The Rum Diary” with Johnny Depp, who plays writer Hunter S. Thompson. What was he like to work with?
We filmed in Puerto Rico, which wasn’t bad, and it was a fun movie because Johnny was so involved. It is his passion project, so everyone on the crew has done six movies with him and it was like filming with his family. I got along really well with him. We had a good time, which I was happy about, and you know, Johnny is crazy about Hunter. He is passionate about him and knows him really well and feels a responsibility to carry on his legacy in a certain way, so if it weren’t for Johnny, these movies wouldn’t get made.
Are you a Hunter S. Thompson fan?
I am more of a Dostoyevsky fan. I am sure Hunter read Dostoyevsky. I do like Hunter. I have read some of his books, but I am not an aficionado. I love the idea that he lived his life in his way, and I think that’s to be admired because I think it takes a lot of energy and courage to live against the grain like Hunter did. I think Johnny leads his own life that way.
How did you get into acting?
I was 14, in high school in England, and I was on my way to rugby practice when I saw a sign for auditions for a “Charlie Brown” play. Since my school was so small, no one else auditioned and I got the role of Charlie and I had seven solos.
So you can sing and dance?
No, I was dreadful because those songs are high. Somebody had to kick me in the balls to get up there sometimes. Then I went to a school for the arts in Sydney and I got a theater degree at Brigham Young University and then moved to New York
2011 Savannah Film Festival closes with honors for Aaron Eckhart and filmmakers
By Linda Sickler
Actor Aaron Eckhart accepted an Outstanding Achievement in Cinema Award. “Many have called him an actor’s actor,” said Danny Filson, the festival’s executive director, in presenting the award.
Eckhart said he once worked with Morgan Freeman. “Every word out of his mouth was perfect,” he said. “Take after take, it was flawless.”
When Eckhart asked Freeman how he did it, Freeman simply replied, “Thirty years.”
“I’m halfway there,” Eckhart said. “After 30-plus movies, I continue to ask, ‘How do you do it? How do you reach perfection?’”
Earlier in the day, Eckhart said he will be filming “The Drummer” on Tybee Island next summer. In it he will play Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys.
Like Wilson, Eckhart himself was a surfer, until his family moved to England for his father’s work. While living overseas gave him life experience to draw on in his acting career, it came at an inopportune time.
“I was just going into the eighth grade when we moved to England,” Eckhart said. “I was just getting interested in girls and sports.”
But while there, Eckhart discovered acting when he auditioned for a school play and got the lead role of Charlie Brown.
Eckhart plans to teach a master class at the Savannah College of Art and Design when he returns next summer. He recently spoke to students at Harvard about the film industry.
“It’s helpful for students to hear it coming from a professional,” Eckhart said. “I majored in theater and got the degree. I feel I give them the perfect advice.”
With credits for films as varied as “Erin Brockovich,” “The Company of Men,” “Thank You for Smoking,” “Rabbit Hole,” “The Missing,” “Battle: Los Angeles” and “The Dark Knight,” Eckhart truly is a good source for inside information.
He encourages students to pursue their dreams. Eckhart himself hopes to someday write screenplays and direct.
“I have a love-hate relationship with acting,” Eckhart said. “I’d like to abandon acting altogether and be much more involved in the subject matter.”
Source: Savannah Now
Aaron Eckhart on “The Rum Diary,” advice for actors
By Susan Kemp and By Danielle Austin
Just before stepping on stage at Trustees Theater on Nov. 5 to accept his award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema, Aaron Eckhart sat down with District for a brief interview.
After nearly 15 years in the industry, he shared his advice for young actors jumping into their first big role and what it was like working alongside Johnny Depp in his most recent film, “The Rum Diary.”
Aaron Eckhart to be honoured at the Savannah Film Festival on November 5
In case you don’t know yet, Aaron will be attending the Savannah Film Festival where he will be honoured on November 5 at the Trustees Theater at 7pm. If you are in the area, get your tickets now at the Savannah Box Office.
Aaron Eckhart: the actor’s process
By Bill DeYoung
Source: Connect Savannah
With a filmography that includes box office hits (The Dark Knight, Erin Brokovich, The Black Dahlia) and critically acclaimed indies (Thank You For Smoking, Towelhead, In the Company of Men), Aaron Eckhart can pick and choose his projects.
He admits he doesn’t always get it right – the big-budget romantic comedies No Reservations and Love Happens, opposite Catherine Zeta Jones and Jennifer Aniston, respectively, were serious flops. Even Rabbit Hole, based on an acclaimed dramatic play and pairing Eckhart with Nicole Kidman, did disappointing business.
But that’s OK with Eckhart, who usually got the best reviews in those films, anyway. He understands the mechanics of the movie business.
He’ll be here Nov. 5, feted at the Savannah Film Festival’s closing night event.
Although mainstream audiences probably got their first glimpse of his rugged good looks in Christopher Nolan’s Batman film The Dark Knight (he played Gotham district attorney Harvey Dent), Eckhart has been in the celluloid game since the early ‘90s.
Next up, he’s co-producing The Drummer, in which he’ll play the Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson. Eckhart is taking drum, piano and singing lessons to ease into the role.
Because hey, that’s what a good actor does.
Considering all the work you’ve done with playwright Neil LaBute, and the fact that you’re in The Rum Diary, from Hunter S. Thompson – how important is really good writing to you?
Aaron Eckhart: Well, good words are better than bad words. You put two words together, three and four and five words, and somehow they make magical sense. It means more for the five senses – not only do you hear them, but you feel them and you taste them and you smell them and all that sort of stuff. In other words, words just aren’t random when great people put them together, like Neil, or David Mamet, or, you know, Shakespeare – they have an electricity inside them, and when you put two words together to create an image, it’s powerful. So you can tell, as an actor, good writing. And it really just clips, and it means something. And there’s electricity on your tongue, in your body, when you say it. I intentionally simplify this, in terms of good words and bad words, but bad words are just tough to say. You lose energy when you say them, and that translates onto the film.
But you’re not always going to get a great script, right, especially with the big studio films? What do you do then?
Aaron Eckhart: It’s tough. There’s the whole “We’ll fix it on the day” or “We’ll come up with something on the day,” which is never as strong. It’s hard to compensate for bad writing. Or bad plot. Or ill-conceived … you have to live with the consequences. The problem is that good words aren’t always rewarded in terms of box office. And I’m not saying they should be, but I think there’s less of a demand for that sort of thing today. Certainly in the studios. So, follow the money. You gotta go where the money is. And if you want a chance to play the game again, you’ve got to make some money for somebody.
“The Rum Diary” at the Box Office
Johnny Depp’s latest, The Rum Diary, stumbled out of the gate with just $5 million. Pirates of the Caribbean this was not. The disappointing opening fell in line with Depp’s other substance abuse picture, 1998?s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which debuted to $3.3 million and earned $10.7 million total. The Rum Diary‘s edgy story was always going to be a tough sell, and FilmDistrict’s President of Theatrical Distribution Bob Berney admits: “While we all wish the numbers were better, we’re proud of the film and its loving tribute to Hunter S. Thompson.”
Source: Entertainment Weekly
Five Favourite Films with Aaron Eckhart + “The Rum Diary” interview
by Luke Goodsell
Source: Rotten Tomatoes
You could set your watch to Aaron Eckhart’s handsomely chiseled features — but do so at your own peril. As he’s proved time and again on screen, Eckhart excels at portraying deceptively charming men: be they manipulative executives (his breakout In the Company of Men), big-tobacco spin doctors (Thank You For Smoking), or literally, physically duplicitous district attorneys (The Dark Knight). Which isn’t to say he won’t play nice, reasonably normal guys, of course, as his excellent (and strangely Oscar-overlooked) performance in last year’s Rabbit Hole attests. This week, however, Eckhart’s up to his smooth-talking tricks in The Rum Diary, playing against Johnny Depp as the impeccably-dressed but otherwise rather rapacious Sanderson — an American businessman out to turn postcard-perfect Puerto Rico into a lucrative tourist resort. We spoke with Eckhart recently, where he talked about the film, his thoughts on writer Hunter S. Thompson, and the art of playing the likeable bad guy. But first, he ran through his five favorite films.
Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
My five favorite films? I have no memory, that’s my problem. [Laughs] Well one of them would be Apocalypse Now. I mean, you could tell that the movie was made in madness, as madness, and that, to me… someday I want to make a movie like that. Total consumption.
Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson, 1970)
One of them would be… did I say Apocalypse Now? [Laughs] What other films are there? Have there been any other films? I would say Five Easy Pieces. Nicholson was a god. Is a god. Great movie. Fucking great movie.
The Getaway (Sam Peckinpah, 1972)
Then I’ll say — this is so easy, but I’ll say The Getaway, with McQueen. Just, you know, just raw power and action.
Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)
Bringing Up Baby, with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn — just because I grew up on those movies.
Midnight Express (Alan Parker, 1978)
And then I’m gonna say… What’s a modern movie that I’ve seen? How about… you know a great movie that I saw was… [extremely long pause] Oh, I got a movie — the one where he goes to the Turkish Prison. Midnight Express. There you go. That movie terrified me. [Laughs] Go to Turkey, but do your hash before.
Plus, The Rum Diary co-star on making the film, playing chaming bad guys, and staying in character — and sober — on set.