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By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

“THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL” TO BEGIN PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY

John Madden to direct all star cast with Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy and Dev Patel

LOS ANGELES, CA October 6, 2010 – Fox Searchlight Pictures President of Production Claudia Lewis and Participant Media President Ricky Strauss announced today that that principal photography for THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL will begin on October 10th in India. John Madden (SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE) will direct an all star cast in the comedy THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL from a script by Ol Parker and Deborah Moggach based on the novel by Deborah Moggach. The film will star Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy and Dev Patel and be produced by Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin of Blueprint Pictures. Fox Searchlight Pictures has worldwide rights and they will co-finance the film with Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi.

“We’re honored to have John at the helm of this film, a director with a deft hand in both comedy and drama,” said Lewis. “And to welcome back esteemed actors from the Searchlight fold such as Judi, Bill, Tom, Dev as well as the other members of our exceptional cast.”

Strauss said, “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Fox Searchlight for this amazing lineup of talent and a story that’s engaging, optimistic, funny and romantic, yet still manages to deal with the real issues that people today are facing everywhere.”

Madden said, “This is a gorgeous script – witty, moving and hilarious – with a wonderful feel for its subject – India. It’s rare to find one that traverses comedy, romance, and melancholy with such a lightness of touch and it’s proved to be a magnet for the cast of your dreams: actors I know and would want to work with in every film – Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson; and actors I’d feel lucky to be in the room with – Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, and an amazing ensemble. It’s a great project about a world that defies all categorization. No one could come to India and not be changed by it.”

“We have the best of Britain’s actors, the incomparable John Madden directing, a fresh and funny script about ‘outsourcing’ retirement, and amazing partners in Fox and Participant. We’re very excited to get started,” said Broadbent.

THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL follows a group of British retirees who decide to “outsource” their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past.

The project will be overseen by Senior Vice President of Production Zola Mashariki and Creative Executive DanTram Nguyen for Fox Searchlight and Executive Vice President of Production Jonathan King and Creative Executive Angel Lopez for Participant Media.

Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures. It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox. Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group.

Participant Media (participantmedia.com) is a Los Angeles-based global entertainment company specializing in socially-relevant documentary and non-documentary feature films, television, publishing and digital media. Participant exists to tell compelling, entertaining stories that bring to the forefront real issues that shape our lives. For each of its projects, Participant creates extensive social action and advocacy programs, which provide ideas and tools to transform the impact of the media experience into individual and community action. Participant’s online Social Action Network is TakePart (takepart.com).

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Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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