I just want to share exciting news in regards to two of my highly-anticipated movies of the year: Coriolanus and Machine Gun Preacher, both of which will be released in time for Oscar season!
I’ve talked about both movies several times already, but here’s the quick summary on the plot and cast:
A modern retelling of a Shakespeare political play, Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in the title role as the banished hero of Rome who allies with a sworn enemy Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler) to take his revenge on the city. The rest of the cast includes Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Cox, and Jessica Chastain from a script by John Logan (Gladiator, Last Samurai, The Aviator).
The Film Stage reported that The Weinstein Company will release the film on limited release on December 2, 2011. I sure hope it’ll make its way to Minneapolis on that time, too, as I definitely would make my way to any theater in town on opening night!
I love what my friend Sheri wrote on her blog JHMO about the story and the casting:
I’ve read the play (although it has been many years since I have done so.) It is a story filled with passion and violence and politics and themes like ambition and familial devotion, friendship, and betrayal. While some may instantly grimace at the idea of sitting through a filmed version of a Shakespearian tragedy (and I fear some of those people will never be able to open their minds to the possibility,) there are parallels to be found in current world politics and if done right, will resonate with a modern viewer.
It is my hope that this film will not only serve to prove that Ralph Fiennes has successfully joined the ranks of a mere handful of actors who have transitioned from in front of the camera to behind it and back again, but also to prove what a small but vociferous bunch of us have known for a long time, that Gerard Butler is a very talented actor. More talented than his recent foray into romantic comedy and action adventure would have indicated; the talent that seemed evident in much of his earliest work and seemed to want to break out of the constraints of a caged serial killer.
Machine Gun Preacher
I don’t know if this happens very often as I don’t have much knowledge in Hollywood business dealings. Lionsgate apparently couldn’t accommodate director Marc Forster request to have the film released this year due to its full lineup, so Relativity Media stepped in to distribute the fact-based drama in the US this Fall (per Deadline) and possibly making an Oscar push for this flick! There is no official release date announced yet, but most likely it’ll be sometime this Fall.
I read some snooty remarks from some sites (one of which is a very pompous site in general) in regards to hearing Gerard Butler’s name and Oscar in the same sentence, but as you know, I’ve long believed the Scot is soooo much more than his 12-pack abs in 300 and or what you see in his recent rom-coms. I always think he’s a talented and versatile actor with varied roles in the past 10 years, as I’ve outlined in my post of top five Gerard Butler roles.
The film is inspired by the real-life preacher Sam Childers in his book Another Man’s War: The True Story of One Man’s Battle to Save Children in the Sudan, a former drug-dealing biker tough guy who found God and became a crusader hundreds of Sudanese children who’ve been kidnapped and pressed into duty as soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army (L.R.A.). I recently read Childers’ interview in Vanity Fair, and he’s definitely got a story worth telling. The caption under the photo on that article reads, “I found God in 1992,” says Sam Childers. “I found Satan in 1998.” The reference is to Joseph Kony, leader of the outlaw L.R.A..
In addition to Butler, the rest of the cast is an impressive one as well: Kathy Baker, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon (the soon-to-be General Zod) and Souleymane Sy Savane, the Ivorian actor who received rave reviews for his performance in Goodbye Solo. I’m also a fan of Forster’s work, especially Stranger than Fiction and Finding Neverland (Not crazy about Quantum of Solace but it certainly wasn’t terrible). I share Sheri’s sentiment about Forster on her JMHO blog entry on this project:
I’ve had a really good feeling about this one from the moment I heard Marc Forster was directing. He’s a talented and versatile director who manages to pull the best out of his actors. Monster’s Ball was brilliant and he not only got an Oscar -worthy performance out of Berry, but he got amazing performances out of Heath Ledger and Billy Bob Thornton as well.A nomination for Johnny Depp was among the seven earned by Finding Neverland. Hell, Will Ferrell was nominated for a Golden Globe for Stranger Than Fiction. I’m a fan of all three of these films. I’m also a fan of Forster’s much-maligned Quantum of Solace.
Filming locations took place in Michigan and South Africa. Check out these on-set photos of Butler last Summer with his biker getup, complete with the mullet 😀
Now if only the Weinsteins and Relativity Media would grant us trailers for these movies real soon, I’d be a happy camper!!
What do you think folks? Does either one of these movies interest you?