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Kalliope's Van Gogh Biopic Seeks Director

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood September 27, 2011 at 6:34AM

The rich, dramatic story of Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh--who has his own museum in Amsterdam-- hasn't been brought to life (in English, anyway) in a feature film since Robert Altman's underappreciated Vincent and Theo (1990), starring Tim Roth. Vincente Minnelli's 1956 Lust for Life memorably starred Kirk Douglas as Van Gogh; Anthony Quinn won the supporting actor Oscar as Paul Gauguin. Australian Paul Cox also directed a 1987 documentary on the painter, featuring John Hurt reading his letters (clip below).
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Thompson on Hollywood


The rich, dramatic story of Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh--who has his own museum in Amsterdam-- hasn't been brought to life (in English, anyway) in a feature film since Robert Altman's underappreciated Vincent and Theo (1990), starring Tim Roth. Vincente Minnelli's 1956 Lust for Life memorably starred Kirk Douglas as Van Gogh; Anthony Quinn won the supporting actor Oscar as Paul Gauguin. Australian Paul Cox also directed a 1987 documentary on the painter, featuring John Hurt reading his letters (clip below).

Now Kalliope Films wants to do the full soup-to-nuts biopic treatment: Van Gogh. They plan to shoot the film throughout Europe (Belgium, France, the UK and The Netherlands), using restored locations where Van Gogh actually lived. Kalliope CEO Kira Madallo Sesay is producing from her own screenplay and seeks a director. More details and trailers for past Van Gogh films are below:

Kalliope EVP Emiel Pijnaker has spent several years doing extensive research on Van Gogh. "We have traveled to all of the diverse locations where Van Gogh resided and interviewed numerous people while investigating his story," he says, and have "finally unraveled some of the mysteries of Vincent's intriguing tale.” He consulted with the head of the St. Remy asylum where Van Gogh was institutionalized, Dr. Jean Marc Boulon, on the painter's mental illness, as well as Van Gogh expert Bernadette Murphy on the time spent in Arles, France (where he cut his ear) and Dominique-Charles Janssens, an expert on Van Gogh's last days, which ended in suicide.

Robert Altman's 1990 Vincent & Theo

Vincente Minnelli's 1956 Lust for Life

Maurice Pialat's 1991 Van Gogh

Paul Cox's Vincent: The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh

This article is related to: Genres, IN THE WORKS, Independents, Biopics


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.