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By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

FISHER STEVENS TO DIRECT AMERICAN PASTORAL For Lakeshore Entertainment and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Los Angeles, CA, May 15, 2012—  Academy Award-winner Fisher Stevens will direct American Pastoral for Lakeshore Entertainment and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment (SKE).  The project is based on Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name.  Screenwriter John Romano (The Lincoln LawyerIntolerable Cruelty) adapted the screenplay.

American Pastoral is a pivotal story depicting the destruction of the American dream.  Protagonist Seymour “Swede” Levov, a legendary high school athlete, grows up to marry a former beauty queen and inherits his father’s business.  Swede’s seemingly perfect life shatters when his daughter rebels by becoming a revolutionary and commits a savage act of political terrorism during the Vietnam War.

The book is the first novel in Roth’s American postwar trilogy that also includes I Married a Communist and The Human Stain.  This will mark Lakeshore Entertainment’s third project with Roth—The Human Stain was released in 2003 and Elegy (based on The Dying Animal) in 2008.

“Philip Roth is the great American author of our time,” says Lakeshore Chairman Tom Rosenberg.  “Fisher shares our passion for Roth’s literature, and he is a unique storyteller with his multi-layered past in the business as an actor, producer and director.  Stand Up Guys has been a fantastic experience, and we are thrilled to work with Fisher again.”

Says Sidney Kimmel: “Philip Roth is such an extraordinary story teller, an American treasure, and this particular story so vivid that we could not be more excited. Fisher and all of us are dedicated to bringing his vision to the big screen in a fully complimentary and realized fashion.”

Stevens is currently directing Stand Up Guys starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin for SKE and Lakeshore Entertainment which Lionsgate will release.  He is represented by Paradigm and Untitled Entertainment.

Lakeshore Entertainment’s Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi are producing with Sidney Kimmel.   SKE President Jim Tauber and SKE President of Production Matt Berenson are executive producing.  Principal photography will begin early next year.

The project marks the seventh film co-financed and co-produced by Lakeshore and SKE in the past year, including the hit Lionsgate release The Lincoln Lawyer, and the upcoming I, Frankenstein, starring Aaron Eckhart and directed by Stuart Beattie for Lionsgate to release, in addition to Adaline in pre-production with Spanish director Isabel Coixet set to direct.

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“The core fear is what can happen to you, personally. Your body. That’s what horror films deal with, precisely. We are a very thin skin wrapped around a pumping heart and guts. At any given moment it can come down to that, be it diseases, or somebody’s assault, or war, or a car wreck. You could be reduced to the simple laws of physics and your body’s vulnerability. The edged weapon is the penultimate weapon to disclose that reality to you.”
~ Wes Craven, 1996, promoting Scream

MAMET
Well, that, to me, is always the trick of dramaturgy; theoretically, perfectly, what one wants to do is put the protagonist and the audience in exactly the same position. The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always what does the protagonist want. That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants. What gives rise to the drama, what is the precipitating event, and how, at the end of the play, do we see that event culminated? Do we see the protagonist’s wishes fulfilled or absolutely frustrated? That’s the structure of drama. You break it down into three acts.

INTERVIEWER
Does this explain why your plays have so little exposition?

MAMET
Yes. People only speak to get something. If I say, Let me tell you a few things about myself, already your defenses go up; you go, Look, I wonder what he wants from me, because no one ever speaks except to obtain an objective. That’s the only reason anyone ever opens their mouth, onstage or offstage. They may use a language that seems revealing, but if so, it’s just coincidence, because what they’re trying to do is accomplish an objective… The question is where does the dramatist have to lead you? Answer: the place where he or she thinks the audience needs to be led. But what does the character think? Does the character need to convey that information? If the answer is no, then you’d better cut it out, because you aren’t putting the audience in the same position with the protagonist. You’re saying, in effect, Let’s stop the play. That’s what the narration is doing—stopping the play… It’s action, as Aristotle said. That’s all that it is—exactly what the person does. It’s not what they “think,” because we don’t know what they think. It’s not what they say. It’s what they do, what they’re physically trying to accomplish on the stage. Which is exactly the same way we understand a person’s character in life—not by what they say, but by what they do. Say someone came up to you and said, I’m glad to be your neighbor because I’m a very honest man. That’s my character. I’m honest, I like to do things, I’m forthright, I like to be clear about everything, I like to be concise. Well, you really don’t know anything about that guy’s character. Or the person is onstage, and the playwright has him or her make those same claims in several subtle or not-so-subtle ways, the audience will say, Oh yes, I understand their character now; now I understand that they are a character. But in fact you don’t understand anything. You just understand that they’re jabbering to try to convince you of something.
~ David Mamet

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