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Tracking Shot June: Steve McQueen, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and John Carney Filming New Projects

“Tracking Shot” is a monthly featurette here on that looks at a dozen or so projects that are moments away from lensing and with June being a major production month we’ve got a slew of projects that we feel are worth signaling out. Music appears to be a common narrative theme surrounding several items – we find it infused in Once‘s John Carney’s U.S. production debut – a 10 million dollar production about a dejected music business executive forms a bond with a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan. Scarlett Johansson was formerly attached to Can a Song Save Your Life?, now Knightley appears to be on board. Rock documentary filmmaker Stephen Kijak (Stones in Exile) is looking to make his second fictional feature based on the true story of a The Smiths fans who lost his bearings when the group announced its break-up. Shoplifters of the World has a cast of unknowns confirmed, but more importantly the production has the rights to plenty of songs. Indie DIY helmer Randall Miller who has a portrait on infamous club CBGB also in the works, might begin lensing on The Drummer first – his biopic on The Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson with Chloë Grace Moretz, Vera Farmiga, Rupert Grint and Aaron Eckhart on board.

Speaking of Moretz, the actress has the end of the month tied up with the remake to Carrie. Only her third feature, Boys Don’t Cry‘s Kimberly Peirce will lead the all lady production which also includes Julianne Moore and we look forward in seeing what Judy Greer and Katharine McPhee can contribute to the genre. Also in the larger budgeted productions we’ve got The Counselor – a Ridley Scott film based on a screenplay by Cormac McCarthy with a stellar cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem. We imagine that this will begin filming once Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave is over and done with – both Fassbender and Pitt co-star in that future Cannes item. Speaking of the Croisette, Jeff Nichols’ Mud to be released at some point this year, and we figure there might be comparisons made to Labor Day – Jason Reitman’s book adaption of Joyce Maynard’s novel about a depressed single mom Adele (Winslet) and her son Henry offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride (Brolin). As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story as their options become increasingly limited. Also coming off his Cannes showing, Lee Daniels (and actors Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack) mentioned that his films tend to overlap into each other – so I’m extra curious to see how The Paperboy might find itself into Black List scripted The Butler, which includes a mega cast which is yet to be completed and is based on a newspaper article about the White House’s butler, Eugene Allen, who served eight American Presidents over the course of three decades. Leo DiCaprio’s Appian Way has a cool sounding ensemble with Runner, Runner, about a businessman who is caught up in the world of offshore online gaming. Brad Furman directs.

Pair of European items that worth the mention: Pedro Almodóvar’s Los amantes pasajeros (which has been rehearsing for several weeks now) and Jean-Pierre Jeunet will stick to a format he knows all to well – the eye-candy filled adventure, family friendly adaptation of The Young and Prodigious Spivet. Indie items that have caught our eye include three directing debuts: Andrew Levitas’ Lullaby which includes Garrett Hedlund, Amy Adams, Jessica Brown Findlay, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins and Jennifer Hudson, Naomi Foner (Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal’s mom) will break out with her debut film, Very Good Girls has got a healthy ensemble and something to watch out for at next year’s edition – Jenée LaMarque’s The Pretty One with a duet of Jake M. Johnson and Zoe Kazan.

The Butler
Director: Lee Daniels
Writer: Daniels and Danny Strong
Cast: Liam Neeson, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Minka Kelly, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Jesse Williams, Forest Whitaker, Jane Fonda, Lenny Kravitz, David Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey
Producers: Hilary Shor and Pam Williams

Can a Song Save Your Life?
Director/Writer: John Carney
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley and Hailee Steinfeld
Crew: DP: Yaron Orbach. Production Designer: Chad Keith.
Producers: Judd Apatow and Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman
Filming in New York City.

Director: Kimberly Peirce
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer and Katharine McPhee
Crew: DP: Steve Yedlin. Costume Designer: Luis Sequeira
Producer: Kevin Misher
Filming in Toronto, Canada

The Counselor
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Cormac McCarthy
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem
Crew: DP: Dariusz Wolski. Costume Designer: Erin Benach
Producers: Chockstone Pictures’ Paula Mae Schwartz and Steve Schwartz, Nick Wechsler
Filming in Santa Rosa, California

The Drummer
Director: Randall Miller
Writer: Jody Savin
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Vera Farmiga, Rupert Grint and Aaron Eckhart
Crew: DP: Mike Ozier. Editors: Miller and Dan O’Brien
Producers: Miller and Savin
Filming in California

Labor Day
Director/Writer: Jason Reitman
Cast: Josh Brolin, Clark Gregg, Kate Winslet, James Van Der Beek and Jacki Weaver
Crew: DP: Eric Steelberg. Editor: Dana E. Glauberman. Production Designer: Steve Saklad
Producers: Mr.Mudd’s Helen Estabrook and Russell Smith, Indian Paintbrush’s Lianne Halfon and Reitman

Los amantes pasajeros
Director/Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Pilar López de Ayala, Blanca Suárez, Cecilia Roth, Lola Dueñas, José María Yazpik, Javier Cámara, Hugo Silva, Antonio de la Torre, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Carmen Machi, Raúl Arévalo
Producers: Agustín Almodóvar and Esther García
Filming in Madrid, Spain

Director/Writer: Andrew Levitas
Cast: Garrett Hedlund, Amy Adams, Jessica Brown Findlay, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins and Jennifer Hudson
Crew: DP: Florian Ballhaus. Production Designer: Stuart Wurtzel
Producers: Cary Brokaw and Andrea Stone-Brokaw
Filming in New York

The Pretty One
Director/Writer: Jenée LaMarque
Cast: Jake M. Johnson and Zoe Kazan
Crew: DP: Polly Morgan.
Producers: Provenance Pictures’ Steven J. Berger and RCR Pictures’ Robin Schorr
Filming in Los Angeles

Runner, Runner
Director: Brad Furman
Writer: Brian Koppelman and David Levien
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Oliver Cooper, Anthony Mackie
Crew: Production Designer: Charisse Cardenas
Producers: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Brian Koppelman, David Levien, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, Scott Steindorff
Filming in Puerto Rico.

Shoplifters of the World
Director: Stephen Kijak
Writer: Lorianne Hall and Kijak
Cast: Jessica Brown Findlay, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Jeremy Allen White, Will Poulter and James Frecheville
Crew: DP: Brian Rigney Hubbard.
Producer: Lorianne Hall
Filming in the U.S.

Twelve Years a Slave
Director: Steve McQueen
Writer: McQueen and John Ridley
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Taran Killam, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Scoot McNairy, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Giamatti, and Sarah Paulson
Crew: Production Designer: Adam Stockhausen
Producers: Plan B Entertainment’s Brad Pitt
Filming in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Very Good Girls
Director/Writer: Naomi Foner
Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Dakota Fanning, Demi Moore, Elizabeth Olsen and Peter Sarsgaard
Producers: Norton Herrick and Groundswell Productions’ Michael London
Filming in New York

The Young and Prodigious Spivet
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Writers: Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant
Cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Kathy Bates, Callum Keith Rennie and the young Kyle Catlett
Crew: DP: Thomas Hardmeier. Editor: Hervé Schneid. Production Designer: Aline Bonetto
Producers: Francis Boespflug, Frédéric Brillion, Jean-Marc Deschamps, Suzanne Girard, José Lacelle, Gilles Legrand
Filming in Alberta, Canada.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric 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. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).


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