theplaylist.net — If you live in Los Angeles and haven’t caught up with most of this year’s awards season titles you can breathe easy. No, screeners aren’t arriving early, but AFI Fest has added some unexpected starpower and prestige to its 2017 slate.
Joining previously announced galas “Mudbound” (opening night), “All The Money In The World” (closing night), “Call Me By Your Name,” “The Disaster Artist” and “Hostiles” are seven films that hope to make a dent in the Oscars race in various categories. These special presentations include Paul McGuigan’s “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool,” Craig Gillespie’s “I, Tonya,” Chris Smith‘s documentary “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring A Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention Of Tony Clifton,” Paolo Virzi’s “The Leisure Seeker,” Aaron Sorkin’s “Molly’s Game,” Sam Pollard’s “Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me” and Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water.”
Unlike its galas, the festival did not announce when these new selections would be screening during the event. It’s also worth noting “Darkest Hour” will have a Los Angeles premiere the Wednesday before AFI Fest begins at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
AFI will also be bring back some classic films in their “Cinematic Legacy” slate including “Barefoot in the Park,” “Blow-Up,” “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” and “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.”
The 2017 AFI Fest runs from Nov. 9-16 in the heart of Hollywood.
The SCAD Savannah Film Festival has unveiled its full lineup for its 20th anniversary edition. The fest will run October 28-November 4 at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.
The 2017 lineup, which kicks off with Sorkin’s directorial debut Molly’s Game, will screen a total of 131 films, including 33 narrative films, 16 documentary films and 82 shorts, most of which are already beginning to build momentum for award season. The event is the largest university-run film festival in the nation. The Centerpiece Gala screening is Lady Bird, written and directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan.
The previously announced Sorkin, John Boyega, Salma Hayek Pinault, Holly Hunter, Robert Pattinson and Patrick Stewart who will attend.
Last year, the festival screened five films that went on to receive Oscars including Best Picture winner Moonlight.
(Director: Craig Gillespie. Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, and Allison Janney)
You can find more of the festival’s lineup at the source.
The upstart distributor Neon will open the film in New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 8, with a platform rollout continuing into January.
I, Tonya, Craig Gillespie’s hilarious and devastating Tonya Harding biopic, is officially joining the race to the 90th Oscars, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The film will open in New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 8, with a platform rollout that will continue into January.
The film, which stars Margot Robbie (who also is one of its producers), had its world premiere on Sept. 8 at the Toronto International Film Festival, where, three days later, it became the fest’s highest-profile acquisition, selling to Tom Quinn and Tim League’s Neon for $5 million (over an even larger bid by Netflix).
After catching I, Tonya in Toronto, I wrote: “In the hands of a competent distributor, Robbie could well land a best actress nomination — she wouldn’t be the first beautiful actress to ‘de-glam’ and/or produce her own project and get recognized for doing so (see: Charlize Theron and 2003’s Monster). As for [Allison] Janney, she seems to me like a slam-dunk for a best supporting actress nom [for her portrayal of Harding’s mother] — which would be her first-ever Academy recognition, and hugely deserved.”
After three all-night negotiations, Neon and 30WEST tag teamed to skate off with a deal for I, Tonya, the Craig Gillespie-directed black comedy from Miramax about the epic fall from grace of Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding. Sources peg the deal at around $5 million, and Neon’s Tom Quinn and Tim League will make a strong play for the film in Oscar season. The Steven Rogers-scripted film stars Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney, and came into the festival as the hottest acquisition title before it premiered Friday at 9:30 at the Princess of Wales Theatre. At a post premiere party at Ivan Reitman’s restaurant Montecito, potential buyers I spoke to were not disappointed, nor were reviewers. Robbie produced the film with Tom Ackerley, Rogers and Bryan Unkeless.
The bidding came down to the compelling choice of a traditional theatrical play (Neon) or a streaming deal (Netflix) and here the filmmakers and financiers chose the former. Beyond the strong performances by Robbie and Janney, I, Tonya has an enviable path in front of it. The film can qualify for awards, and roll out slowly with the Winter Olympics coming in February (where the Harding scandal played out in 1994) and then Oscars in March. Neon and 30WEST made a passionate pitch and this will be a big film for the upstart distributor.
In unabashed R-rated fashion, Gillespie admirably threaded the needle and balanced the sometimes outrageously funny chronicle of how Harding skated from a hardscrabble life into momentary glory followed by tabloid scandal, counterbalanced by the upsetting depiction of her being used as a punching bag by her dimwitted husband Jeff Gillooly, after she was slapped around repeatedly as a child by her tough as nails and impossible to please mother. The film shapes up as a cross between hallowed black comedies Fargo and To Die For, in characterizing the twisted things that can happen when not bright people have ambition and try to cut corners to achieve those dreams of escaping their low station in life.
In the lead up to the festival, CBS Films had made an offer said to be around $6 million, which was what Miramax Films paid earlier to acquire and make the film. Before others could step up, the sellers — CAA and UTA Independent Film Group co-brokered the deal for Miramax chief Bill Block — stuck a pin in any talks and let buyers see the film here in Toronto, or at simultaneous screenings in L.A. The clear goal was to match the film with the right distributor and put it into the upcoming awards season race. Some buyers I spoke with felt the movie could be tightened, and it seemed like Gillespie was happy with the cut audiences saw last night. Continue reading
The new film I, Tonya, which made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend, sees Margot Robbie step into the notorious skates of infamous American figure skater Tonya Harding, who in 1994 made the U.S. Olympic team after her rival, Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed in the knee in a plot masterminded by Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly. Harding’s level of involvement or knowledge beforehand has always been up for debate, though she was ultimately banned from figure skating for life; Gillooly, however, emerged as the real creep of the ordeal, especially once Tonya revealed he’d been physically abusive to her throughout their marriage.
I, Tonya director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) presents the events of Harding’s life as a kind of ludicrous and darkly comedic story, with Margot Robbie playing Harding as both trashy and defiant, an athletic wonder and also a habitual liar, plagued by toxic relationships with her mother (an excellent Allison Janney) and later her husband, played with pathetic aggression but also an undercurrent of pure infatuation by Sebastian Stan. Stan is likely best known for his role in the Marvel movies as Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier, but his career has spanned from Gossip Girl to underrated TV gems like NBC’s ill-fated Kings and USA’s Political Animals to films like Ricki and the Flash, The Martian, and The Bronze, where he played a hyper-competitive gymnastics coach with his eyes on the Olympics. This summer, he co-starred in Steven Soderbergh’s phenomenally fun Logan Lucky.
Stan took a moment in Toronto this weekend to sit with Decider and discuss playing Gillooly, the appeal of the Olympics at the movies, and why Tonya Harding just might be a hero if you look at it a certain way.
Decider.com: This is your first time playing a real-life character in a movie?
Sebastian Stan: Yes, it was.
Was that a little daunting?
100%, yeah. It feels like you have someone’s life in your hands, in a way.
I feel like you’re around the same age as me, and I remember watching that whole Olympics and all the controversy around it; do you remember watching it back then?
I watched it very, very, very briefly. But then I caught up with it again when 30 for 30 did that great documentary [The Price of Gold]. And then doing research on this, I really got into it. It’s just a wild time.
That was my next question, actually: were you all encouraged to watch the 30 for 30 or the NBC documentary [Nancy & Tonya]? How much did they want you looking at footage of your characters?
Yeah, they wanted to, but mostly Craig [Gillespie] left me to decide. He said if you want to meet [Jeff Gillooly], meet him. If you don’t want to meet him, you don’t have to. And I was like yeah, I’d love to meet him. And it was great to meet him, because I didn’t have enough footage of him from the present day. It was great to see him now, especially if I was going to try to play him at an older age.
What was your impression of him?
Again, you’re always walking in there with a preconceived idea. And I’d watched so much, over and over and over again, so just seeing him, it was like, “HEY!” I was actually really excited, because I’d spent so much time with him already. And he was very cool with it, he was like, “Hey, what’s going on?” And I was like, I’ve gotta calm down I guess. But yeah, it was surreal; I think there’s a lot more to the story than people think. And that’s what our movie does is try to point that way and get you to look at it a little differently. And it’s bizarre, but in the end, I wanted to see him and how he talked and acted. It was good.
What are the challenges of playing somebody who is on the surface pretty despicable, and then finding something both human and also funny in there?
Well all those things were in the script, that’s what was easy. But it was all laid there as it was, and then Craig coming in and really getting it down. It seems like he knew the very balance of how far to take it. And I think when you see the movie, you see that he’s done it very cleverly in terms of giving a mix of all the right things. Yeah, it’s crazy, man. I think we had to commit ourselves to what was on the page, and at the same time really keep an objective, bird’s-eye-view of safety and being able to trust each other. And Margot, it was very easy with Margot. You know, she was very committed, she wanted to go the distance, and we trusted each other. And sometimes we laughed and sometimes we’d go “Are you okay?” you know, checking in. And by the end we managed very well. Continue reading
Margot Robbie stars as Harding…
…Allison Janney stars as LaVona Golden, Harding’s abusive mother…
…and Sebastian Stan plays Jeff Gillooly, Harding’s equally abusive ex-husband and alleged co-conspirator in the attack on Kerrigan.
Now, I know there’s only one question on your mind: Did Sebastian Stan really grow that iconic Jeff Gillooly-level mustache for this role?
Well, get ready for the journey of a lifetime. I spoke with Stan the morning after I, Tonya premiered at TIFF, and it basically turned into a cold case file.
As soon as I brought it up, Stan said quietly, “Ahh, the mustache.” He smiled. “The mustache may or may not be mine.”
“I’ll tell you this,” he continued, and then paused, choosing his words carefully. “I had a mustache for the audition. I had a mustache for…here, I’ll show you a photo.”
He grabbed his phone and pulled up a selfie in which he was in his Jeff Giloolly costume making a funny face — and he had a mustache that was definitely his and looked a lot like the one he had in the movie.
“I had a mustache for some of the time filming in Atlanta, which proved to be interesting,” he said cryptically, like a very wise but mischievous wizard with a secret. “We had to alter it at times because of the fact that [Jeff] ages [in the film], but yeah, I did for as long as I could.”
The one and only thing we know for sure is that Jeff Giloolly himself officially approved of the ‘stache. “I posted one time when I was on set, and [Jeff Giloolly] wrote to me and he said, ‘You might have actually made that mustache look cool for once,'” Stan said.
Sebastian Stan’s mustache, you riddle, I will solve you.
It might be best to stay out of Margot Robbie’s way when she’s in character. She may not have known at first that her character, Tonya Harding, was a real person, but while on set — as she told the audience after the Toronto Film Festival premiere of I, Tonya — sometimes she got so into playing Harding that she forgot she wasn’t actually in a volatile, violent relationship with Sebastian Stan’s Jeff Gillooly.
Asked to name her favorite moment shooting the movie, she cited a scene with Stan that never made it to screen. It was part of a montage where things are getting so bad between Tonya and Jeff that the police show up. “[Director Craig Gillespie] kind of on the day was like, ‘Just do whatever in the moment,’” said Robbie, “and we got so carried away that I genuinely forgot that we were on a film set and that I wasn’t Tonya and that he wasn’t Jeff.” The ensuing fight was so intense, Gillespie had to cut it. “We got into, like a brawl,” said Robbie, clearly proud. “He slams my hand into the door. And I ended up storming off down the street, which was, like, the end of set, so I was just on the road in the real world.” She turned to Stan, “And you were coming after me, screaming, ‘Where are you going?’ I think you even said, ‘Margot,’ and I said, ‘I’m going to the hospital because you broke my hand!’ And I was so caught up in it and I think I punched you in the side of the head!”
Stan agreed that Robbie had indeed punched him in the head. Still, she went on, “That ended up being my favorite scene because I forgot that I was acting, and nothing makes me more exhilarated when I genuinely forget where I am.”
Something tells us that Sebastian Stan and the side of his head might feel a little bit differently about their favorite moment in the movie.
Check out various snippets below from a variety of reviews of I, Tonya after it’s debut at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.
Hollywood Repoter: Despite its title, the pic (written by Steven Rogers) is deliberate in spreading the narrative focus around. Based, per the opening title cards, on frank interviews with the participants that are re-created here, the film front-and-centers not just Robbie’s Tonya but her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan, endearingly stupid and embarrassed of his infamy), mother LaVona Golden (Allison Janney), skating coach Dian Rawlinson (Julianne Nicholson) and deluded “bodyguard” Shawn Eckhardt (Paul Walter Hauser). All are sadder now; wisdom is less evenly distributed. But each brings something to the table — even the too-proper Rawlinson, who when training young Tonya always encouraged her to wear nicer clothes and clean up her manners: A movie this full of colorful wingnuts needs a voice from Squaresville. […]
Variety: Part of the film’s drama — almost its morality — is that Tonya, though a highly successful skater who starts to compete in national championships, gets lower scores than she deserves, and the judges, at several points, come out and admit that it’s about factors besides skating — what they call “presentation.” But that’s just code for conventionality, for wanting to sell a homogenized image of America on the Olympics level. It has nothing to do with what any of this is supposed to be about — skating — and that lends Tonya a streak of rebel realness.
That’s the good side of her contempt for respectability. The bad side is that she falls for Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), a loser in a sardine mustache who’s nice enough to Tonya — when he isn’t punching her in the face. Their relationship isn’t portrayed as one of those hellacious ones in which the abuser keeps the abused under his thumb by threatening her. Tonya, no matter how much she gets slapped around, simply won’t cut him loose; she marries him, and leaves him, and keeps coming back to him. The movie is sharp enough to suggest that she feels the echo of her mother’s hatred in every slap, and she can’t give that up. She’s addicted to what she thinks she deserves. […]
The Wrap: As a whole the film delights in and demands audience participation by breaking the fourth wall often. Robbie brings a brand of vinegar we haven’t seen in her previous work, and it illuminates a long-forgotten trainwreck.
A postscript on screen says that Tonya now builds and restores decks in Michigan. We’ll take their word that it‘s the f—— truth. […]
It’s an Avengers reunion: Samuel L. Jackson has signed on to join Sebastian Stan in The Last Full Measure.
Christopher Plummer, William Hurt, Bradley Whitford, Michael Imperioli and Linus Roache also star in the film from Todd Robinson (White Squall, Lonely Hearts).
Based on the true story of a present-day cover-up investigation, The Last Full Measure follows young Pentagon investigator Scott Huffman (Stan) as he battles the political machine in Washington. He reluctantly teams with veterans of Operation Abilene to convince Congress to award the Medal of Honor to a courageous Air Force medic, William Pitsenbarger, who is seen saving the lives of more than 60 Marines who were ambushed in one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War. As the battle waged on, and after the last helicopter left, he continued to save lives until his own was sacrificed.
Foresight Unlimited is handling international sales and producing in association with Provocator and SSS Entertainment. Timothy Scott Bogart, Mark Damon, Lauren Selig, Julian Adams, Nicholas Cafritz, Robert Reed Peterson and Shaun Sanghani are producing, with Tamara Birkemoe, Jenna Sanz-Agero, Sidney Sherman, Louis Steyn and T.J. Steyn executive producing. Pen Densham and John Watson are co-executive producers.
Principal photography is set to begin later this month in Atlanta and Costa Rica.
“When I read Todd Robinson’s exceptionally moving script and heard the real-life interviews of the many men whom William Pitsenbarger saved, I felt this could be a great film. With the award-winning cast that has been assembled, I am now sure of it,” said Foresight Unlimited’s Mark Damon.
Stan is currently in production on Avengers: Infinity War for Marvel Studios/Disney and I, Tonya starring Margot Robbie, and has wrapped work on Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky. He is repped by ICM Partners and Brookside Artist Management.
Jackson will soon be seen in Legendary’s Kong: Skull Island, which Warner Bros. is releasing on Friday, and The Hitman’s Bodyguard for Lionsgate in August. He recently wrapped Brie Larson’s directorial debut Unicorn Store. Jackson is repped by ICM Partners and Anonymous Content.
Plummer can next be seen in The Exception for A24 and The Man Who Invented Christmas for Bleecker Street in December. Hurt can currently be seen on the Amazon series Goliath opposite Billy Bob Thornton and will next be seen in Live Like Line opposite Helen Hunt. Whitford is in postproduction on Unicorn Store and Three Christs starring Richard Gere; he previously starred in HBO’s All the Way and can currently be seen in the Universal hit Get Out. He’s repped by ICM Partners and Greenlight Management and Production. Imperioli most recently starred on Fox’s Lucifer, and Roache on History’s Vikings and in Netflix’s Barry.
“Captain America: Civil War” actor Sebastian Stan has joined the cast of the Tonya Harding biopic “I, Tonya” starring Margot Robbie as the figure skater.
Miramax recently landed the rights to distribute the film. Craig Gillespie is directing. Robbie, who broke out in “Suicide Squad” this summer, will also produce along with Tom Ackerley through their Lucky Chap production company with Bryan Unkeless and Steven Rogers, who also wrote the screenplay.
Len Blavatnik and Aviv Giladi will executive produce for AI Film, which is financing the project. AI came on to the project in October.
Stan will play Jeff Gillooly, the estranged husband of Harding, who helped plot the attack on rival figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. Gillooly later revealed he and Harding’s bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt hired Shane Stant to break Kerrigan’s leg so she couldn’t compete in the upcoming 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.
Besides reprising his role as the Winter Soldier in “Captain America: Civil War,” Stan also has the Steven Soderbergh heist movie “Logan Lucky” coming out next year.
Stan is repped by ICM Partners and Brookside Artist Management. Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.