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Things I Learned on the Awards Party Circuit, from AFI, BAFTA and Spirits to Paramount, CBS and the Globes

by Anne Thompson
January 13, 2014 4:26 PM
1 Comment
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Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth, Evan Glodell, and Joel Hodge
'I Origins'

Another hot topic around town is the surge of indie film talent heading to television, where the career opportunities are. At sales rep Kevin Iwashina's annual pre-Sundance Film Festival party Thursday night, writer-producer-actress Brit Marling, her "The East" co-writer and director pal Zal Batmanglij and producer Stephanie Langlois, who works with Mark and Jay Duplass ("Jeff, Who Lives at Home"), all talked about pending TV projects. Marling (who has two movies at Sundance, Mike Cahill's "I Origins" and Daniel Barber's "The Keeping Room") is writing a spec TV script, and Batmanglij has been directing TV series "Wayward Pines." And HBO has picked up the Duplass's half-hour comedy series pilot "Togetherness," which is prepping its start of production in Los Angeles. The Duplass brothers are writing, executive producing and directing their first TV foray, about a group of friends who live together under one roof, played by Mark Duplass, Melanie Lynskey, Steve Zissis and Amanda Peet. 

Sally Hawkins of 'Blue Jasmine'

Another indie heading for TV is writer-actress-director Amy Seimetz ("The Killing"), who was hanging at the Indie Spirits nominees brunch on Saturday with her "Upstream Color" director Shane Carruth and Evan Glodell ("Bellflower"), who all joked that they weren't making a living on indie films. She's writing a TV series.

Sticking with movies is David Lowery ("Ain't Them Bodies Saints"), who is adapting "Pete's Dragon" for Disney live-action as well as adapting David Wain's Vanity Fair article "The Old Man and the Gun" to star Robert Redford, and a film for Casey Affleck ("To Be Two"), all possible directing vehicles. 

J.C. Chandor ("All is Lost") is finishing up casting his next indie-financed original script, the 1981 drama "A Most Violent Year" starring Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac, who replaced Javier Bardem after eight months of development of the script after the Spanish star wanted more rewrites, said Chandor, who first met the "Inside Llewyn Davis" star in Cannes last May. Isaac ("Exodus") and Chastain were classmates at Julliard. The film will start shooting in New York at the end of this month.

June Squibb of 'Nebraska'

"Blue Jasmine" star Sally Hawkins admitted that as Woody Allen doesn't mount rehearsals, she and Cate Blanchett worked with each other on their own to build their sisterly bond. "Nebraska" stars Will Forte and June Squibb were also on hand at BOA Steakhouse. Squibb, who lives in Sherman Oaks, has been busy shooting roles on TV in "Getting On," "The Millers" and "Girls." 

You could tell the Europeans at Saturday's BAFTA tea: they're the ones holding tea cups. The gravity in the room shifted as Martin Scorsese entered the room, chatting with Cate Blanchett and Paul Greengrass; Alfonso Cuaron and Sandra Bullock amiably worked the room for "Gravity," Steve McQueen, Michael Fassbender, and John Ridley talked "12 Years a Slave," Leonardo DiCaprio patiently posed for photos, and told me that while Scorsese carefully mapped out the quaalude scene in "The Wolf of Wall Street," the Lamborghini door opening was a surprise, and in a wide shot, DiCaprio had to improvise with his feet. I met Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck of "Frozen," who were brought together by Disney animation czar John Lasseter to collaborate on this complicated princess musical--a blockbuster likely to win the Oscars it did the Globes. They described how long it took to fit the intricate jigsaw of story and songs into a cohesive whole. 

Will Forte

Saturday night brought a double feature: Paramount at the Chateau Marmont, presided over by studio chief Brad Grey and Viacom's Philippe Dauman, who says that it's easier to make and market ten to fifteen movies a year and do it well, than a larger slate. He also confirmed that boss Sumner Redstone did his recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter's Kim Masters on his own. 

Jon Favreau was celebrating his return to indie-scale filmmaking with $15-million "Chef," in which he plays a chef along with Robert Downey, Jr., which opens SXSW. Producer Mark Johnson ("Breaking Bad") was in the midst of screening the shortlist of nine to his foreign film committee, including members Tommy Lee Jones, James L. Brooks, Kathryn Bigelow and Matt Groening.

Leonardo DiCaprio

TV and movies also collided at Les Moonves' CBS party at Soho House celebrating Globes nominations for Showtimes's "Masters of Sex," CBS's "The Millers" and CBS Film's "Inside LLewyn Davis." Joel Coen, who was on awards duty (his brother Ethan stayed in New York), chatted with his wife Frances McDormand, Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber. "Enough Said" writer-director Nicole Holofcener and Catherine Hardwicke both juggle TV directing with movies. 

Martin Scorsese, Cate Blanchett, Paul Greengrass

And on Sunday was the big show itself. I watched the Golden Globes with EW's Anthony Breznican at Fox's viewing party at the Beverly Hilton, where "12 Years a Slave" lost category after category until the big win for Drama. The "12 Years" gang celebrated en masse, from McQueen and Lupita Nyong'o to Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch (see photo of Fassy and Cumberbatch dancing below).

Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck of 'Frozen'

I went on to hit two hopping after parties at HBO (Michael Douglas, Mike Tyson, Judd Apatow and the "Girls" gang, Tom Hanks, Aaron Paul, Chris Pine) and the Netflix/Weinstein Co., which gave out free lipsticks and where the "House of Cards," "Mandela," "Philomena" and "August: Osage County" groups co-mingled on a balcony, as Julia Roberts talked with song-winner Bono and Kevin Spacey. Leonardo DiCaprio, Taylor Swift and Kerry Washington also held court (with serious security on hand). 

And that was more than enough.

AP Cumberbatch and Fassbender
Getty Kevin Spacey and Julia Roberts

1 Comment

  • Griff | January 13, 2014 7:24 PMReply

    "Sticking with movies is David Lowery ('Ain't Them Bodies Saints'), who is writing a live-action version of 'Pete's Dragon' for Disney..."

    PETE'S DRAGON (1977) was in fact a live-action film (admittedly featuring an animated dragon interacting with humans). The original picture was in fact a promising idea weakly scripted and poorly executed. This is one old Disney movie that could well be improved upon with a fresh approach, good songs, modern effects and a strong cast.

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