William H. Macy at the Q&A for "Rudderless" in OKC Monday night via Kristy Patterson
As Monday night's OKC screening fades a bit in the rear view of the mind...here are some impressions of William H. Macy's "Rudderless":
The film's screenplay has changed a good bit from the original version that I first looked at back in November of 2009. It's even changed since the re-write that I looked at after Macy came on board the project.
The acting is generally good with standout performances from Billy Crudup in the lead and excellent support from Anton Yelchin, Laurence Fishburne and Felicity Huffman. Selena Gomez, who soaks up a lot of the press that has surrounded the film, is very effective in a small but pivotal role.
The music is outstanding. Virtually all of it was written for the film by Simon Steadman and Charlton Pettus. Macy said in the Q&A Monday night that the music is intended to be its own character and that is definitely the case. It also serves, as you'd expect, to carry a lot of subtext for the film. It does that too. Make no mistake here, the music is just great...and largely performed by the cast. You can sample the music at the Rudderless Movie website. I've linked it below.
Expect (finally) a trailer to drop in a month or so...that's according to Macy.
The future for "Rudderless" is still an open question at this point. Samuel Goldwyn Films has the U.S. distribution and Macy said Monday night that they along with Paramount are still developing a marketing plan. Realistically, the decision about how to market the film will be determinative in terms of when and how the film id released. Frankly, I expect (and this without a shred of implication from any of the principal players on Monday night) that the SGF folks will attempt to position the film via some plays in film fests this fall. As I have noted numerous times, the "Rudderless" play at Sundance virtually guarantees that it's out of the running for Telluride. Frankly, New York and Venice don't feel right to me either. Toronto...I could see that happening.
"Rudderless" was reportedly shot for $5 million and credit should go to all involved as it sure looks and sounds like a much more expensive production.
For those that haven't kept up with the "Rudderless" developments over the years...here's the official synopsis from the film's website:
Several years after tragically losing his son in an all-to-familiar school shooting, a grieving father, SAM (Billy Crudup), discovers a box of demo tapes and a notebook full of lyrics. The revelation of his son's unknown talent drives him to perform one of the songs at an open-mic night. What was supposed to be an act of catharsis sets in motion a series of events that ends with him reluctantly agreeing to start a band with a quirky young man named QUENTIN (Anton Yelchin). As weeks turn into months and practices turn into gigs the band, RUDDERLESS, begin to gel. With each performance it seems Sam has found the catalyst he needs to move on with his life. He revels in the opportunity to do things for Quentin that he never did for his own son. He swells with pride over the prospect of completing Josh’s musical journey. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for his illusion of a second chance to begin to crumble. RUDDERLESS is an uplifting human drama about music’s ability to heal, chasing dreams and the unconditional love of a parent. - See more at: http://www.rudderlessthemovie.com
Finally, maybe I'm a sucker for this because I have been spooking around on the fringes of this project for more than five and half years. Admittedly it punches some of my buttons thematically and so I'm predisposed to affection for the film and I do love the music.
"Rudderless" is very, very good.
As you might expect, I'll keep following this project as it continues its journey. I'll also continue to follow the fortunes of Oklahoma film makers Casey Twenter and Jeff Robison whose dream "Rudderless" who managed to make the dream become a reality...believe me, there were ups and downs...and I don't even know all of them. Casey and Jeff...if you're reading this somewhere: you're an inspiration!
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
From The Playlist
I continue to look at future oriented projects that have a some earmarks that suggest that they might be a future Telluride play somewhere down the line.
The Playlist reported early this spring that Danny Boyle will be directing a film based on the Battle of the Sexes tennis match between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs in 1973. The Playlist says Boyle's development has been "quiet". So quiet, in fact, that IMDb doesn't list it for Boyle (hie "Trainspotting" sequel "Porno" is listed as his next project).
You have to think that Boyle might well want to come back to Telluride as he has with "Slumdog Millionaire" and "127 Hours" both of which were very well received and earned serious Oscar love (10 nominations/8 wins including Best Picture and Director for "Slumdog" and 6 nominations for "127 Hours").
Here's The Playlist story link:
Meanwhile, Telluride regular Werner Herzog is reportedly working on his next project (as "Queen of the Desert:" is reportedly in post-production). The next up for the namesake of "The Zog" is expected to move onto "Vernon Little God". The Playlist reported this spring that Herzog had cast Russell Brand, Pamela Anderson and Mike Tyson...yeah...read that cast list again...I'll pause and give you a second...
Here's the post:
Meanwhile, if "Queen of the Desert" is ready...expect it in Telluride in less than three months.
"Queen" stars Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Robert Pattinson and Damian Lewis.
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