Tracking Shot October: Barthes’ Madame Bovary, Renzi’s Franny, Bonello’s Saint Laurent, Bell’s Shiva & May

Tracking Shot October 2013

“Tracking Shot” is a monthly featurette here on IONCINEMA.com that looks at a dozen or so projects that are moments away from lensing and this October we see a couple of items that we could certainly circle as potential Cannes 2014 bait. Thanks to our friends at Production Weekly for the helping hand in curating our list of future must see items.

Among the top foreign film productions, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover‘s Peter Greenaway is looking at a late October, possible November start to begin filming a fragment of the great Soviet master filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein’s bio timeline. Eisenstein In Guanajuato will cover the portion of the filmmaker’s post Battleship Potemkin career, with Eisenstein landing in Mexico after Hollywood studios balked at the idea of working with him and in its place finds romance. The Girl Who Played with Fire‘s Daniel Alfredson will take a swig out of the true 1983 kidnapping story of Alfred “Freddy” Heinekein with Kidnapping Freddy Heineken. Anthony Hopkins playing the beer tycoon in this heist story of a different sort.

The source material might be over 150 years-old, but Gustave Flaubert’s 1856 novel is the basis for Cold Souls‘ Sophie Barthes’ sophomore film. Lensing in France with a large cast in place (toplined by Mia Wasikowska and also repairing Barthes with Paul Giamatti), Madame Bovary was last revisited by Claude Chabrol in 1991. Speaking of the French, Bertrand Bonello finally begins shooting Saint Laurent and has some mega star-wattage flocking to his project in Gaspard Ulliel, Olga Kurylenko, Jérémie Renier, Léa Seydoux, Louis Garrel, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Amira Casar. We received some exclusive news that Robinson Stevenin is also on board, and Gaspard Ulliel’s sister Lisa will make her film debut. The biopic looks at the 1965-76 period for the fashion icon. We can peg this with a Cannes release.

David Gordon Green who has been on a creative tear as of late, Prince Avalanche and Joe were released this year, and he should begin filming Manglehorn perhaps sometime this month. The film which contains an eclectic cast of Al Pacino, Chris Messina, Holly Hunter and enfant terrible Harmony Korine is about an eccentric man who nurses his sick cat, squeezes out a conversation with the local bank teller every Friday, and eats at the same place every day. But there is more to Manglehorn than meets the eye: he’s an ex-con who, 40 years ago, gave up the woman of his dreams for a big ‘job’. Shooting is pegged for either an October or November start date. Speaking of male lead legends, Richard Gere topline’s Andrew Renzi (Sundance shorts The Fort and Karaoke!) feature debut. Frannie (aka Franny) will shoot in Philadelphia.

And speaking of Gere…Chris Eigeman who was last seen in Arbitrage and is famed for his contributions to the works of Whit Stillman, will follow up Turn the River (2007) with his sophomore film titled Midnight Sun. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Emile Hirsch and Diane Kruger, set in 1943, this is about Max and Jack, two young and brilliant post grads from Columbia, who are recruited by the US Government to work on a top-secret project in New Mexico. They drop their jazz-filled lives in New York City and, along with Max’s girlfriend Laura, move to a secret community of scientists in the desert, where they begin working on the most powerful weapon the world has ever known. More casting info should be dropped soon – rumored is Stephen Root. Not having anything to do with the X-Men mutants, scribe Dan Gilroy makes his debut behind the camera for Nightcrawler, which will feature Jake Gyllenhaal as a young man who discovers the nocturnal world of L.A. freelance crime journalism.

Not sure why this proposed trilogy excludes Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto, but via the help of some young filmmakers and Indiegogo funding, James Franco is setting up shop for the first film Palo Alto Stories: Memoria (to be followed by Palo Alto Stories: Killing Animals and Palo Alto Stories: Yosemite). This tells the story of Ivan Cohen, an anti-social, self-conscious boy living in the suburbs of Palo Alto, California. Unlike most kids in Palo Alto, Ivan comes from a working class family. Also in Cali, Diane Bell parlays her microscopic Sundance 2010 breakout film Obselidia for her sophomore film titled Shiva & May which sees Jessica Biel and Zosia Mamet paired as sisters. Yoga teacher May (Biel) leads a calm, organized life with her boyfriend Dex, with whom she’s about to open a new yoga-based one-stop health center, the fulfillment of their dream. May finds she has a younger half sister, Shiva (Mamet), whom she suddenly decides to meet for the first time. In becoming friends, May comes to realize that she needs to sheds her “perfect” veneer in order to find the truth at the core of her being–a truth which surprises her and Shiva.

Also in the low budget American indie sphere, Jay Duplass and director Linas Phillips (Sundance selected Bass Ackwards) are pairing up in front of the camera for J. Davis’ Manson Family Vacation, a story about two brothers who embark on a strange sightseeing tour of crime scenes, hideouts & jailhouses — all related to the notorious Manson Family. The film will explore the hero worship of Charles Manson, the roots of fanaticism & the importance of family. The Kickstarter project will surely see the day at Sundance or SXSW next year.

And finally, round two of filming begins on Robinson Devor’s much anticipated You Can’t Win, which features actor Michael Pitt in the worn out boots of one Jack Black -  who ventures on road freight-hopping across the western United States and Canada, and his experiences with the Yegg Brotherhood of hobos, bums, tramps and criminals who rode the rails in turn-of-the-century America.

Eisenstein In Guanajuato
Director/Writer: Peter Greenaway
Cast: We await a major casting announcement for the young Eisenstein.
Producers: Bruno Felix and Femke Wolting
Filming in Mexico.

Franny
Director/writer: Andrew Renzi
Cast: Richard Gere, Dakota Fanning, Theo James
Producer(s): Treehouse Pictures’ Justin Nappi and Kevin Turen (All Is Lost), TideRock Media’s Thomas B Fore and Jason Michael Berman (Sara Colangelo’s Little Accidents) and Big Shoes Media’s Jay Schuminsky
Executive Producers: Shelley Browning, Andrew Corkin, Mike Diamond, John Friedberg, Ruth Mutch,
Filming in Philadelphia.

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken
Director: Daniel Alfredson
Writer: William Brookfield
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Thomas Cocquerel
Producer(s): Informant Media’s Judy Cairo, Howard Meltzer and Michael A. Simpson
Filming in United Kingdom, Amsterdam and Paris.

Madame Bovary
Director: Sophie Barthes
Writer(s): Barthes and Rose Barreneche (first screenplay)
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Ezra Miller, Paul Giamatti, Rhys Ifans, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Laura Carmichael, Olivier Gourmet & Logan Marshall-Green
Crew: Cinematographer: Andrij Parekh + Composers’ Evgueni & Sacha Galperine
Producer(s): Aden Films’ Barthes along with Occupant Films’ Joe Neurauter and Felipe Marino (The Wackness)
Executive Producers: Prescience’s Tim Smith and Paul Brett (Better Living Through Chemistry)
Filming in Normandy, France.

Manglehorn
Director: David Gordon Green
Writer: David Gordon Green, Paul Logan
Cast: Al Pacino, Chris Messina, Holly Hunter, Harmony Korine
Producer(s): Worldview’s Christopher Woodrow and Molly Conners, Lisa Muskat, Derrick Tseng and David Gordon Green.
Executive Producers: Worldview’s Maria Cestone & Sarah E. Johnson, Dreambridge Films’ Todd Labarowski, Brad Coolidge & Melissa Coolidge, Rough House’s Jody Hill & Danny McBride
Filming in Austin, Texas.

Midnight Sun
Director/Writer: Chris Eigeman
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Emile Hirsch, Diane Kruger
Crew: Cinematographer M. David Mullen (Big Sur) + Production Designer: Stephanie Carroll (Amelia)
Producers: Elm Ent.’s Kerry Barden, Captivate Ent.’s Ben Smith  (The Bourne Legacy), Eric Morris, Jeffrey Weiner, Andrew Herwitz, Julianne Hausler
Filming in New Mexico.

Nightcrawler
Director/Writer: Dan Gilroy
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton
Crew: Cinematographer: Robert Elswit + Editor: John Gilroy + Production Designer: Kevin Kavanaugh
Producers: Gyllenhaal, Tony Gilroy, Jennifer Fox (We Need to Talk About Kevin), Bold Films’ David Lancaster and Michel Litvak (How to Catch a Monster)
Filming in Los Angeles.

Palo Alto Stories: Memoria
Directors/Writers: Nina Ljeti & Vladimir de Fontenay
Cast: James Franco and Henry Hopper
Producer: Rabbit Bandini Productions’ James Franco & Vince Jolivette, Shruti Ganguly (Black Dog, Red Dog), Iris Torres (Bukowski)
Filming in Palo Alto

Saint Laurent
Director: Bertrand Bonello
Writers: Bonello and Thomas Bidegain
Cast: Gaspard Ulliel, Olga Kurylenko, Jérémie Renier, Léa Seydoux, Louis Garrel, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Amira Casar
Crew: DP: INS Costume Designer: INS
Producers: Mandarin Cinéma’s Eric and Nicolas Altmayer, Isabelle Grellat
Filming in Paris and Marrakesh.

Shiva & May
Director/Writer: Diane Bell
Cast: Jessica Biel, Zosia Mamet
Producers: Super Crispy Films’ Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling, Manage-ment’s Dan Halsted, Greg Ammon
Filming in Los Angeles

You Can’t Win
Director/Writer: Robinson Devor
Cast: Michael Pitt, Hannah Marks, Louisa Krause, Jeremy Allen, Julia Garner, Will Patton
Crew: Cinematographer Sean Kirby + Editor: Marco Perez + Production Designer: Gerald Sullivan
Producers: Pitt, Robert Scarff and Zach Sebastian
Filming in Oklahoma & Seattle

Eric Lavallée is the founder, editor-in-chief and film critic at IONCINEMA.com (founded in 2000). Eric splits his time between his home base in Montreal, NYC, and is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Talk to Her), Coen Bros. (Fargo), Dardennes (La Promesse), Haneke (Caché), Hsiao-Hsien (Three Times), Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love), Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry), Lynch (Mulholland Dr.), Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho), von Trier (Breaking the Waves)