J.D. Salinger in 1952 (San Diego Historical Society…)
Cannes, France--With award-season hits such as “The Silver Linings Playbook” and “Django Unchained,” the Weinstein Co. had a small but potent slate in the latter half of 2012.
On Friday evening at the Cannes Film Festival, the indie-film company unveiled its back-nine for 2013, showing footage from nearly a dozen upcoming releases it hopes will catch on with consumers and Oscar taste-makers. New material from John Wells’ adaptation of the Pulitzer-prizewinning play “August: Osage County,” Nicole Kidman’s royals drama “Grace of Monaco,” Shane Salerno’s anticipated literary doc “Salinger” and Justin Chadwick’s apartheid tale “Mandela” was all shown, along with some previously released material from films such as Lee Daniels' "The Butler."
CHEAT SHEET: Cannes Film Festival 2013 trailers
Weinstein Co. also showed trailers or scenes from Sundance darling “Fruitvale Station," the James Gray period movie “The Immigrant" and Nicolas Refn’s Thai revenge drama “Only God Forgives," the last of which will be released this summer by boutique label Radius. All three movies are playing at the Cannes Film Festival.
Elicting one of the strongest reactions was “Salinger,” whose material suggested a mystery about why the "Catcher in the Rye" author stopped writing (and, for that matter, whether he really did). Joyce Maynard, Edward Norton and the playwright John Guare are among those making appearances to shed light on the matter.
Kidman was on hand to promote “Grace of Monaco. The actress told reporters she "got to know Grace very very well" in making the film, then unveiled footage that showed everything from tired icon to fiery iconoclast. (Kidman is on the Cannes competition jury, prompting Weinstein to quip that he hoped she’d be leaving to vote for one of his movies.)
The trailer for “August: Osage County,” a family drama starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, took a more wistful tone than Tracy Letts’ dark play; it remains to be seen where the exact tone of the film lands.
Weinstein has held an upfront of sorts for the past several years at Cannes, whetting reporters’ appetites and offering signals about the company’s highest priorities. In the July-December period this year, Weinstein has as many contenders as he's had in years.
The mogul rounded out the presentation with material from “Mandela,” bringing an assortment of people from the cast and crew, including stars Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, on to the stage to join actors from some of the other films. “This is not your daddy's HBO version of Mandela. This is the kick….version of Mandela,” he said of the historical piece. “It's a warts-and-all story of Mandela and the end of apartheid.”
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