The Cosmopolitans

Whit Stillman has just completed a two-week shoot in Paris on The Cosmopolitans, a 30-minute pilot to be streamed by Amazon. The autobiographical portrait of a group of young Americans living in Paris stars Chloë Sevigny, Adam Brody and Carrie MacLemore (both from Damsels in Distress), Dree Hemingway (Starlet), and Adriano Giannini (son of Italian actor Giancarlo Giannini), “plus other great performers to be discovered” per Stillman. “I think it’s ended up quite a droll half-hour, though the original objective was a romantic drama in many parts. I have a lot of stories to tell and characters to portray from the Paris years.” Ultimately Stillman envisages “what I’d like to consider a four-and-a-half-hour multi-part film—audience and Amazon permitting. I hope Film Comment-ers might support it when it comes to voting time, which should be in August.” You heard the man—we hereby command you to watch it at least once, and if you want to game the system, watch it over and over. Consider it a new way of financing a movie—the reward should be sweet …

Sunset Song

Terence Davies’ dream project, Sunset Song, is now officially shooting: an adaptation of a 1932 novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, it’s a coming-of-age story about the hard life of young woman growing up in a dysfunctional farming family in northeast Scotland at the turn of the century. And get this: it’s being shot in 70mm. Agyness Deyn plays the heroine, and her co-star is Peter Mullan, the undisputed champion of Scottish dysfunctionality … At last, what the world’s been waiting for: Johnnie To is finally making… a musical. In a return to the territory he mined in 2011’s Life Without Principle, it’s an adaptation of the 2009 hit stage musical Design for Living. Sylvia Chang reprises her stage role as an alpha-female corporate CEO faced with the 2007 meltdown. And co-star Chow Yun-fat plays… the love interest? In case you were wondering, the play’s Chinese title translates as the super-snappy The Glamorous White-collars: To Live or to Survive, but regardless, I’ll eat my hat if this one doesn’t kick off a wave of workplace musicals about the global financial crisis … For those who care, Matteo Garrone starts production on an English-language feature, The Tale of Tales, a modern update of 50 classical tales in the Neapolitan dialect, written by Giambattista Basile in the 17th century. Vincent Cassel and Salma Hayek will star. Well, I for one, can hardly wait … After the less-than-brilliant The Congress, animator Ari Folman continues to plug away undaunted. His next project is an adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank

Bette Midler

William Friedkin and Bette Midler, together at last! They’re teaming up to make a Mae West biopic for HBO, based on her memoir Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It. Harvey Fierstein is writing the script, and Jerry Weintraub is inevitably somewhere in the background … Having completed the forthcoming The Captive (about a father’s attempts to rescue his kidnapped daughter—like Taken never existed, I guess), the tireless Atom Egoyan is underway on Remember, starring Martin Landau, Dean Norris, Christopher Plummer, and Bruno Ganz. It’s described as “a compelling thriller in which the darkest chapter of modern history collides with a contemporary mission of revenge.” I wonder which dark chapter that’s going to be? So many options. At any rate, let’s hope Remember isn’t as forgettable as much of Egoyan’s output since The Sweet Hereafter [So mean!—Ed.] …

Vincent Cassell

Heaven Knows What will be the next one from Josh and Benny Safdie. Co-written by estimable Frownland director Ronald Bronstein, it’s inspired by the experiences of street kid Arielle Holmes, who plays a fictional version of herself alongside actor Caleb Landry Jones in what’s described as “a tumultuous drama about a New York City couple battling addiction in the midst of a love affair” … And finally, the prize for oddest remake of the week: French thriller specialist Jean-François Richet is changing gear rather alarmingly with his, er, “reboot” is the word I’m looking for, of Claude Berri’s 1977 comedy Un moment d’égarement, in which two fathers take their sexy adolescent daughters on vacation—and one of them is seduced by the other’s jeune fille. Vincent Cassel and François Cluzet play the dads. (Anyone see Blame It on Rio, Stanley Donen’s 1984 remake of the Claude Berri film, starring Michael Caine, Michelle Johnson, and Demi Moore? Anyone like it?)