By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH AND KEIRA KNIGHTLEY LEAD A TOP-FLIGHT CAST IN “THE IMITATION GAME”

September 15, 2013 Start of Principal Photography in the UK Announced by Black Bear Pictures

 LONDON, 16 SEPTEMBER, 2013: THE IMITATION GAME, which began principal photography in the UK yesterday, is a dramatic portrayal of the life and work of one of Britain’s most extraordinary unsung heroes, Alan Turing.

The pioneer of modern-day computing, Turing is credited with cracking the German Enigma code and the film is a nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team at Britain’s top-secret code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. Turing, whose contributions and genius significantly shortened the war, saving thousands of lives, was the eventual victim of an unenlightened British Establishment, but his work and legacy live on.

 Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Fifth Estate“, “Star Trek Into Darkness“, and TV’s “Sherlock“) and Keira Knightley (BAFTA nominee for “Atonement”, Oscar® nominee for “Pride and Prejudice“) will star as Alan Turing and his close friend and fellow code-breaker Joan Clarke, alongside a top-notch cast, including Matthew Goode (“Stoker”, “A Single Man“), Mark Strong (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy“), Rory Kinnear (“Skyfall”), Charles Dance (“Gosford Park“, TV’s “Game of Thrones“), Allen Leech (“In Fear”, TV’s “Downton Abbey“) and Matthew Beard (“An Education“).

Norwegian filmmaker Morten Tyldum, 2012’s BAFTA nominee for “Headhunters“, is directing from a screenplay by Graham Moore, based on the book “Alan Turing: The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges.

Black Bear Pictures’ Teddy Schwarzman is producing alongside Nora Grossman and Ido Ostrowsky, with Moore as executive producer and Peter Heslop (“The King’s Speech”) as co-producer. Behind-the camera talent includes director of photography Óscar Faura (“The Impossible”), editor William Goldenberg (Oscar® winner for “Argo”), production designerMaria Djurkovic (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”), hair and make-up designer Ivana Primorac(“Anna Karenina”), casting director Nina Gold (“Les Miserables”) and composer Clint Mansell (“Black Swan”).

FilmNation Entertainment is handling International Sales, with CAA representing US Domestic. STUDIOCANAL has all rights in the UK.

BLACK BEAR PICTURES

Launched in 2011, Black Bear Pictures is a New York based film production and financing company. Black Bear strives to produce original, engaging and commercial films that stand out within their genre. With two to four films slated for production each year, Black Bear focuses on developing, producing and financing wide-release films with unique points of view and specialty films with crossover potential from original voices.

 FILMNATION ENTERTAINMENT

Founded in 2008 by veteran international film executive Glen Basner, FilmNation Entertainment is a new kind of film company – global, versatile and full-service; and is a go-to destination for many of the world’s most renowned filmmakers. FilmNation can board a project in a myriad of ways (as a producer, financier, sales agent, international distributor or marketer) and at any stage in a film’s lifespan including development.

FilmNation’s upcoming sales line-up showcases the work of many of today’s most exciting, established and up-and-coming filmmakers, and includes three 2013 Cannes Official Selections: Alexander Payne’s Nebraska starring Bruce Dern; Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ringstarring Emma Watson; and J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost starring Robert Redford.

The upcoming sales line-up also includes: Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skinwith Scarlett Johansson, an In Competition film at this year’s Venice Film Festival and an Official Selection of the Toronto International Film Festival; Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups and an untitled project; David Michôd’s The Roverstarring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson; Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Rachel McAdams; Genius starring Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender; the untitled Marc Lawrence romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei; The Rules of Inheritance starring Jennifer Lawrence; among others.

Production vet Aaron Ryder heads up FilmNation’s production arm. Previously released this year was Jeff Nichols’ critically acclaimed Mud, a 2012 Cannes competition selection,starring Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Michael Shannon and Reese Witherspoon; and Dan Beers’ teen sex comedy Premature. FilmNation is in development on Nic Mathieu’s Story Of Your Life.

 

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin