By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 2, 2011 at 4:19AM
Can you tell that Cameron Crowe's "We Bought A Zoo" is on the way? With TIFF and Venice now just around the corner, we presume that his first feature film in six years will soon be added to the lineups of one or both festivals, as the press train is now beginning to pick up some major steam. Following news over the weekend that Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi will be scoring the film, a batch of new images have emerged for the upcoming dramedy.
As you know, the film is based on the memoir by Benjamin Mee, with a script from “The Devil Wears Prada” writer Aline Brosh McKenna. The story follows Ben (Matt Damon), a single father who attempts to fulfill his late wife’s wish of moving their family to the titular animal sanctuary. Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Elle Fanning and others co-star, and judging by these glimpses the film looks like the breeziest Crowe effort to date.
So what kind of tone can we expect? It might be something akin to a 1983 Burt Lancaster film. "He gave me the film 'Local Hero,'" Matt Damon revealed to USA Today about when Crowe first approached him to do the movie.
The long wait for "We Bought A Zoo" has allowed Crowe to reflect and make peace with the flop of "Elizabethtown." "It helps as a journalist, because you are able to talk to the people whose work you've followed, and you realize that everything doesn't always hit on all cylinders," he said. "I know it came from the right place. And when people like the movie and connect to it, they are connecting to something you honestly wanted to put out there."
So what was he doing in all that time? "I was writing for a while. Just stockpiling stuff to do later," he revealed. "It was kind of what happened after 'Almost Famous,' when I took time to write a book, the Billy Wilder book ["Conversations With Wilder"]. That was a great little pause. An inspiring pause."
Needless to say expectations will be high and while we're excited, there is something a bit -- hokey perhaps? -- about these early stills, something that makes us worry about what Jonsi's lilting croon over a sweet smiling family might do to the tone and tenor of the piece, but Crowe assures, this is one where we'll be left wanting to see and know more. "The size of this was great," he said about making it his return to filmmaking. "I love those rich movies where every character feels like you could veer off and do a movie just with them."
"We Bought A Zoo" will hit theaters on December 23rd. Keep your ear to the ground as a festival appearance announcement is likely just around the corner. [Additional pics from The Uncool]