Posts Tagged ‘Tamara Drewe’

A Conversation with Tamara Drewe Director Stephen Frears

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

By Andrea Gronvall

This fall when so many films are about heavy subjects like dirty politics, wrongful imprisonment, death and near-death experiences, one independent comedy stands out as a welcome oasis. Tamara Drewe is the latest work by gifted British director Stephen Frears, whose notable movies include, but are by no means limited to, The Grifters, Dangerous Liaisons, High Fidelity, and The Queen.

Based on the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds (who was inspired by Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd), this entertaining movie is a satirical look at a picturesque English country village, where a pompous mystery writer (Roger Allam) holds court at the writers’ retreats he hosts on his estate, in between churning out bestsellers and cheating on his long suffering wife (Tamsin Greig).

The return of former neighbor Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton)—once a Plain Jane, but now a stunning London sophisticate–turns everyone upside down. Things get even more complicated when she hooks up with a rebounding rock star (Dominic Cooper), an event that turns a bored, rebellious, lovelorn teen (Jessica Barden) into a stalker. Fresh off the film festival circuit, Frears recently stopped in Chicago to chat up his movie, which Sony Pictures Classics is now rolling out across the country in a platform release.

Andrea Gronvall: Tamara Drewe is so much fun, as well as moving. You’ve struck an interesting tone.

Stephen Frears: Well, those are the things I thought when I read the script [by Moira Buffini].

AG: How long did it take you to shoot, and how long to edit?

SF: It took me nine weeks to shoot. [The edit took from] December to about March. We just got on with it.

AG: What was the budget?

SF: I don’t know the budget. I’d happily talk about it, but I don’t know it. I choose not to know about it.

AG: One less thing you have to worry about.

SF: No, it’s that I find the numbers so frightening. I just finally said, can’t we make this cheaper?

AG: Well, your movie doesn’t look cheap. It’s beautiful to gaze at.

SF: We shot it late in the year–in September, not in mid-summer. By September the sun was starting to get low in the sky, so that’s when it looks especially beautiful. And this [the story] had to cover all of the seasons, so you wanted a time of the year that gave you the most possibilities. We were incredibly lucky. We shot in the west of Dorset. I have a house in Dorset; I go out for about three days, then I have to get back to London. It is stunningly beautiful, but then you just start to get restless.

AG: So the “weekenders” angle in the movie is true to life?

SF: Yes, it’s about rich people who bought houses in the country, thereby pricing out the local people.

AG: Well, gentrification is happening in a lot of places. I used to attend the Telluride Film Festival, when the town had loads of charm. But since it became a vacation-home magnet for celebrities, it’s been very built up.

SF: I was in Telluride this summer. It’s lovely, but it has become gentrified.

AG: In a lot of movies these days women characters are one-dimensional; one is either a femme fatale, or a gun-toting action heroine, or merely a decorative sex object, or impossibly good.

SF: I understand your complaint.

AG: The women in Tamara Drewe share some of these aspects, but what I loved about the movie is that they’re all so flawed.

SF: So, that’s what women want—to be shown as flawed?

AG: It makes them more interesting. Here you give them space, to be good and to be bad. That’s a neat trick to pull off. How did you decide on that tone?

SF: It was always in the story, the tone. The truth is if I didn’t show women like that, the women around me would crucify me. I don’t really have a choice!

AG: Who are those women who would beat you up?

SF: My wife, my daughter, the casting director—I mean, they’re all women around me. They would trample me into the ground.

AG: I found the tone of your film to be slightly different than the book’s. It’s a bit more larky.

SF: It has high spirits.

AG: Yes! It reminded me of Cold Comfort Farm. It’s delightful that there are so many layers to this tranquil country village that one might not suspect at first. If this were a Hollywood film, the actress playing the title character would be in every scene, and we wouldn’t get as much layering.

SF: They don’t do ensemble films in Hollywood?

AG: Not often enough. With buddy pictures, the two male stars may split the screen time, but more and more often, there’s one main star supported by actors in minor roles who don’t have many lines.

SF: Oh, I knew this was an ensemble film. In fact, when they asked me if I would make it I said, “I can’t make it with famous people.”

AG: It meshes as an ensemble piece; it’s more than just a springboard for all these talented performers to come on and do their clever bits, and then exit. I’m guessing it was the screenwriter who decided to introduce the two mischief-making local teenage girls, Jody [Jessica Barden] and Casey [Charlotte Christie] earlier in the movie than they are in the book.

SF: We all said, can’t we have more of the young girls–they’re so wonderful—so we brought them forward.

AG: The movie really becomes a triangle about three women, three generations—Tamara, Jody, and Beth, the mystery writer’s wife, played by Tamsin Greig. Shifting the focus back and forth between them not only propels the narrative forward in a really engaging manner; it also leads to a deeper understanding of the characters because we see how they view each other.

SF: That’s interesting, but it wasn’t that self-conscious.

AG: But even if it wasn’t self-conscious, this switching focus creates sympathy for characters who might be a little too hard-edged, or self-serving. Did you see Tamara as a kind of anti-heroine?

SF: No, because I don’t think like that; I just saw her as a gorgeous girl appearing in the middle of a village, causing chaos.

AG: Gemma Arterton is definitely gorgeous. And your other casting decisions: you picked solid actors like Dominic Cooper—I didn’t even recognize him in the film. It was a surprise to see his name in the end credits.

SF: Where did you know him from?

AG: An Education, and a few smaller roles.

SF: Again, perhaps because I don’t see all these films—no, I had seen An Education. He’s jolly good. But I’ve never seen Mamma Mia!

AG: He could start a whole new trend here. If more guys realized what a little eyeliner could do for smoldering looks—

SF: He’s great. My cousin said, “You want Dominic Cooper,” and I said, “Oh, okay.”

AG: Why did she say that?

SF: I never asked her.

AG: You obviously enjoy long-standing relationships based on trust and faith. Okay, then, why Tamsin Greig?

SF: Because she’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Various friends started working with her and I was rather jealous. She’s a very, very witty, striking woman. She never stops working in England. And only when I met her did I agree to make the film.

AG: In this role she seems like she has the kind of heft of an Emma Thompson—someone of that caliber. And what about Roger Allam?

SF: Well, he’s the best actor in England.

AG: He deserves to be discovered here in the U.S., too.

SF: Well, that’s not my problem—don’t blame me! They’re very good actors. You make these [casting] decisions instinctively. You try to think about it, but then you work a lot out afterwards: “Oh, that’s why I did that.” A lot of it is just instinct.

AG: Tell me a little about your new project.

SF: I’m supposed to make a film in Las Vegas, about sports book gamblers.

AG: What is the allure of that for you?

SF: Lay the Favorite, Take the Dog is a rather good book [by Beth Raymer], and a good script by a friend of mine, a chap called D.V. DeVincentis, who wrote the screenplay for High Fidelity. I like Chicago; I made High Fidelity here.

AG: You captured a lot of what’s appealing about our city. You also recently were in Toronto with Tamara Drewe; how did you find the festival this year?

SF: It’s become just business. It wasn’t the fun it used to be.

AG: Is there any film festival you like?

SF: Telluride! Telluride was heaven: very familial—friendship and intellectual curiosity. It’s absolutely terrific.

Anne-T Wishes Tamara Drewe Had Stars And That Tamara Were Punished For Her Sexuality

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Anne-T Wishes Tamara Drewe Had Stars And That Tamara Were Punished For Her Sexuality

Weekend Box Office Report – October 10

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Nobody Nose Anything

The Social Network surprised pundits with a better than expected hold and won the weekend movie going chase with an estimated $15.3 million. Three national debs were on its tail with lackluster returns. The rom-com Life As We Know It faltered in the clutch with $14.6 million while the much ballyhooed turf saga Secretariat posted $12.4 million, and there was a lack of stereoscopic shock for My Soul to Take with $6.9 million.

There was also a lack of oomph for the comic oddity It’s Kind of a Funny Story with $2 million tally-woo from 742 engagements.

In the niches Telegu-language Khaleja had a buoyant bow of $343,000 from 24 screens and OK returns of $72,700 for French thriller L’Immortel in Quebec. There were also a raft of exclusive bows with Darwinian winners that included the young John Lennon of Nowhere Boy grossing $51,300 at four venues, the squeezed of non-fiction Inside Job with $37,500 at two interviews and psychological thriller Stone with $71,400 from six couches.

Overall business once again took a dip with 2010 box office now less than 2% ahead of last year’s pace and industry mavens sweating out a quick reversal of fortune.

Tracking reports had pegged the uplifting tale of racing Triple Crowner Secretariat as the weekend’s odds-on favorite with estimates in the range of $16 million to $18 million. But its appeal to women and an older demo that remembered the four-legged wonder of the early 1970s failed to bring ‘em out in its maiden performance despite a considerable marketing push.

Life As We Know It was expected to be about a length behind Secretariat but pulled ahead right from the opening gate. It opened ahead of the pack on Friday with a $5.2 million bow but quickly lost ground to The Social Network as the weekend advanced.

And My Soul to Take fell smack in the middle of estimates in the $6 million to $8 million range. All three of the newbies skewed toward distaff viewers and there’s little question the marketplace is in dire need of something for the boys.

Weekend revenues pushed to roughly $92 million that represented a 4% dip from seven days back. It was a considerably steeped 16% fall from 2009 when the launch of Couples Retreat topped the charts on a $34.3 million first salvo.

On the expansion track, the “what’s wrong with our education” doc Waiting for “Superman” is holding up well and Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger continues to draw in aficionados. But the dour Never Let Me Go appears to have peaked early in the awards season. Among the new entries the highly enjoyable Tamara Drewe proved to be the surprise commercial disappointment with a dull $4,300 engagement average from four initial exposures.

__________________________________________________

Weekend Estimates – October 1-3, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
The Social Network Sony 15.3 (5,520) -32% 2771 45.9
Life As We Know It WB 14.6 (4,630) New 3150 14.6
Secretariat BV 12.4 (4,050) New 3072 12.4
My Soul to Take Uni/Alliance 6.9 (2,670) New 2572 6.9
Legend of the Guardians WB 6.8 (2,100) -38% 3225 39.2
The Town WB 6.3 (2,310) -36% 2720 73.7
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Fox 4.5 (1,600) -55% 2829 43.6
Easy A Sony 4.1 (1,450) -39% 2847 48.1
Case 39 Par Vantage 2.6 (1,160) -55% 2212 9.5
You Again BV 2.4 (1,030) -58% 2332 20.7
Let Me In Overture 2.4 (1,160) -54% 2042 9.1
It’s Kind of a Funny Story Focus 2.0 (2,670) New 742 2
Devil Uni 1.7 (1,210) -51% 1442 30
Alpha and Omega Lionsgate 1.4 (890) -51% 1616 21
Resident Evil: Afterlife Sony/Alliance 1.2 (1,210) -56% 1012 58.8
Waiting for “Superman” Par Vantage .63 (6,120) 54% 103 1.4
Toy Story 3 BV .55 (1,400) 140% 393 412
Inception WB .52 (1,290) -43% 403 289.2
Takers Sony .39 (950) -50% 412 56.8
Catfish Uni/Alliance .37 (2,590) -37% 143 2.2
Khaleja Ficus .34 (14,290) 24 0.39
Never Let Me Go Searchlight .33 (1,990) 77% 167 1.1
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $86.30
% Change (Last Year) -16%
% Change (Last Week) -4%
Also debuting/expanding
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Sony Classics .25 (3,380) 15% 73 0.84
Buried Lionsgate .21 (2,300) 118% 92 0.5
L’Immortel Seville 72,700 (3,030) 24 0.07
Stone Overture 71,400 (11,900) 6 0.07
Nowhere Boy Weinstein Co. 51,300 (12,820) 4 0.05
Inside Job Sony Classics 37,500 (18,750) 2 0.04
Route 132 Alliance 37,300 (1,430) 26 0.06
I Spit on Your Grave Anchor Bay 30,800 (2,570) 12 0.03
Tamara Drewe Sony Classics 17,200 (4,300) 4 0.02
Ghetto Physics IDP 10,700 (1,190) 9 0.01
Budrus Balcony 8,400 (8,400) 1 0.01
It’s a Wonderful Afterlife UTV 5,500 (770) 20 0.01
As Good as Dead First Look 1,850 (1,850) 1 0.01

Domestic Market Share – January 1 – October 7, 2010

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (23) 1340.5 16.20%
Fox (16) 1277.7 15.40%
Paramount (14) 1237.4 15.00%
Buena Vista (14) 1107.4 13.40%
Sony (23) 1081.3 13.10%
Universal (16) 753.6 9.10%
Summit (9) 425.1 5.10%
Lionsgate (12) 407.1 4.90%
Overture (6) 74.5 0.90%
Fox Searchlight (5) 71.5 0.90%
Focus (6) 68.4 0.80%
Weinstein Co. (6) 60.9 0.70%
Sony Classics (19) 52.3 0.60%
MGM (1) 50.4 0.60%
CBS (2) 50 0.60%
Other * (260) 217.3 2.60%
8275.4 100.00%
* none greater than .04%

Top Global Grossers: January 1 – October 7, 2010

Title * Distributor Gross
Avatar * Fox 1,948,069,404
Toy Story 3 BV 1,047,492,510
Alice in Wonderland BV 1,024,537,295
Twilight: Eclipse Summit 691,330,829
Inception WB 803,799,128
Shrek Forever After Par 732,163,289
Iron Man 2 Par 622,718,660
How to Train Your Dragon Par 494,288,254
Clash of the Titans WB 489,778,913
Sherlock Holmes * WB 367,796,599
Despicable Me Uni 367,194,481
The Karate Kid Sony 357,206,535
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time BV 335,020,929
Robin Hood Uni 311,610,747
The Last Airbender Par 310,375,125
Shutter Island Par 301,977,955
Sex and the City 2 WB 301,158,934
Salt Sony 287,626,258
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Fox 264,341,533
Grown Ups Sony 261,324,243
The Expendables Lionsgate 257,529,373
Resident Evil: Afterlife Sony/Alliance 244,795,280
Knight and Day Fox 229,686,302
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Fox 226,497,209
Valentine’s Day WB 217,596,116
* does not include 2009 box office

Gemma Arterton Not Hot On “Hot Pants” Key Art For Tamara Drewe

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Gemma Arterton Not Hot On “Hot Pants” Key Art For Tamara Drewe

Friday Estimates – October 9

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Life As We Know It|5.2|3150||5.2
The Social Network|4.8 |2771|-40%|35.4
Secretariat|4|3072|New|4
My Soul to Take|2.6|2572|New|2.6
The Town|1.9|2720|-41%|69.3
Legend of the Guardians|1.8|3225|-31%|34.1
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps|1.4|2820|-58%|40.4
Easy A|1.3|2847|-41%|45.3
Case 39|0.8|2212|-57%|7.8
Let Me In|0.75|2042|-61%|7.5
Also Debuting
It’s Kind of a Funny Story|0.6 5|742||0.65
Khaleja|32,500|22||32,500
L’Immortel|22,800|24||22,800
Stone|21,300|6||21,300
Nowhere Boy|12,700|4||12,700
I Spit on Your Grave|11,100|12||11,100
Tamara Drewe|5,100|4||5,100
Ghetto Physics|4,990|9||4,990
Budrus|3,450|1||3,450
It’s a Wonderful Afterlife|1,500|18||1,500
||||
*in millions|||

Critics Roundup – October 7

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Secretariat|Yellow|Yellow||Yellow|Green
Life As We Know It|||||Red
Inside Job||Green|Green|Green|
It’s Kind of a Funny Story |Yellow|Yellow|Green|Green|
Letters to Father Jacob ||||Green|
Marwencol |||Green||
Stone |Red|Green|Green||Yellow
Nowhere Boy |Green|Green|||Green
Tamara Drewe |Green|Green|Green||

I Just Flew Into Toronto, and Boy, Are My Arms Tired

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

After a full day of travel, I finally landed in Toronto around 10PM tonight. I spent part of the flight watching screeners — I’ll have a review of Swedish film Behind Blue Skies up soonish, but in brief: it’s kind of a Swedish Holy Rollers (the Jesse Eisenberg, Hasidic Jews smuggling ecstasy flick), set in the ’70s, and stars Bill Skarsgård (Son of Stellan) in a soulful, impressive lead performance.
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Stephen Frears Up The Country With Tamara Drewe

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

“I like this idea of, ‘I’m creative so I have to behave appallingly.'”
Stephen Frears Up The Country With Tamara Drewe

Tamara Drewe, dir Stephen Frears

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

37th TELLURIDE FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2010 FESTIVAL LINEUP

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Twenty-four new feature films to preview in Festival’s main program, the ‘SHOW’

Claudia Cardinale, Colin Firth and Peter Weir to receive Silver Medallion Awards

Special revival programs selected by Guest Director Michael Ondaatje

Telluride, CO – Telluride Film Festival (September 3-6, 2010), presented by the National Film Preserve is proud to announce its 2010 Festival program. Twenty-four new feature films presented by their creators in the Festival’s main program; six programs curated by 2010 Festival Guest Director Michael Ondaatje; twenty-five new short films; plus thirteen documentaries screening in the Backlot program. Celebrating works from over twenty countries, Telluride Film Festival opens Friday, September 3 and runs through Monday, September 6, 2010.
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The Mind Behind Tamara Drewe

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

The Mind Behind Tamara Drewe

Trailer: Tamara Drewe

Friday, August 27th, 2010
When Tamara Drewe sashays back to the bucolic village of her youth, life for the locals is thrown upside down. Tamara — once an ugly duckling — has been transformed into a devastating beauty (with help from plastic surgery). As infatuations, jealousies, love affairs and career ambitions collide among the inhabitants of the neighboring farmsteads, Tamara sets a contemporary comedy of manners into play using the oldest magic in the book: sex appeal.