‘Mapplethorpe’ Director Ondi Timoner Inks With APA

EXCLUSIVE: Ondi Timoner, the documentary filmmaker who is making her narrative feature debut with the Matt Smith-starring biopic Mapplethorpe, has signed with APA and Dialed-in Entertainment.
Timoner has won a pair of Sundance Film Festival grand jury …

EXCLUSIVE: Ondi Timoner, the documentary filmmaker who is making her narrative feature debut with the Matt Smith-starring biopic Mapplethorpe, has signed with APA and Dialed-in Entertainment. Timoner has won a pair of Sundance Film Festival grand jury prizes — first in 2004 for her feature documentary debut Dig!, then again in 2009 for We Live In Public. Her docu feature credits also include Join Us (2007), Cool It (2010), and Brand: A Second Coming (2015). Last year…

Matt Smith’s ‘Mapplethorpe’ Acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films

Samuel Goldwyn Films has secured North American rights to Ondi Timoner’s biopic “Mapplethorpe,” starring Matt Smith as the controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, will…

Samuel Goldwyn Films has secured North American rights to Ondi Timoner’s biopic “Mapplethorpe,” starring Matt Smith as the controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, will be released in the late fall. Timoner directed from a script she co-wrote with Mikko Alanne. The film is produced by […]

Matt Smith’s ‘Mapplethorpe’ Acquired By Samuel Goldwyn Films For Fall Release

Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired North American rights to Mapplethorpe, Ondi Timoner’s biopic that stars Matt Smith as artist Robert Mapplethorpe. The company is eyeing a late fall release date.
The film, which bowed at the Tribeca Film Festival, expl…

Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired North American rights to Mapplethorpe, Ondi Timoner's biopic that stars Matt Smith as artist Robert Mapplethorpe. The company is eyeing a late fall release date. The film, which bowed at the Tribeca Film Festival, explores Mapplethorpe's life from moments before he and Patti Smith moved into the famed Chelsea hotel in the early ’70s, where he begins photographing its inhabitants and newfound circle of friends including artists and…

‘The Price Of Everything’ To Kick Off Greenwich Film Festival; ‘Mapplethorpe’ Set As Provincetown Film Festival Closer

Nathaniel Kahn’s art world documentary The Price of Everything is set as the opening-night film at the fourth annual Greenwich Film Festival, which this year runs May 31-June 3 in Greenwich, CN. The film about the intersection of art and commerce…

Nathaniel Kahn’s art world documentary The Price of Everything is set as the opening-night film at the fourth annual Greenwich Film Festival, which this year runs May 31-June 3 in Greenwich, CN. The film about the intersection of art and commerce will kick off a lineup of narrative, documentary and short films announced today, as well as panels and tributes that include recipients James Ivory, Tony Goldwyn and Ashley Judd, the latter of whom will be honored at the fest’s…

Matt Smith On Baring (Mostly) All in ‘Mapplethorpe’

The British actor known for playing Prince Philip and the star of “Dr. Who” talks about embracing the danger of playing a boundary-pushing photographer.

Seminal photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s creative awakening as a photographer stemmed from a desire to explore his sexuality through art. His photographs are explicit provocations, and so is the new biopic “Mapplethorpe,” which premiered this week at the Tribeca Film Festival. Director Ondi Timoner captures how dangerous it was to put this work, deemed pornographic and deviant, into the world.

For British actor Matt Smith, best known for playing The Doctor on “Dr. Who” and Prince Philip on “The Crown,” playing Mapplethorpe felt like a risk.

“In many ways, [playing Robert] felt outside of my comfort zone, outside of the things that come naturally to me, ” said Smith in an interview with IndieWire. “But then they’re the jobs that I like, because they make you feel alive.”

Timoner focuses on Mapplethorpe’s creative process as a physical extension of his desires. Timoner’s Mapplethorpe has his major breakthrough during his first sexual experience with a man (at the time, he was dating and living with Patti Smith, portrayed here by Marianne Rendón) and soon sought beauty in pornographic art. Smith said the key to these scenes was figuring out how to translate Mapplethorpe’s artistic passions into onscreen physicality, while at the same time setting boundaries with Timoner about what he was (and wasn’t) willing to do.

"Mapplethorpe"

“Mapplethorpe”

Tribeca Fim Festival

“I think that’s true of every part,” said Smith. “Like, am I prepared to go and live in a hut in South Thailand with 10 other people? Maybe not, or maybe so. It could be anything. Am I prepared to put on 15 stones [approximately 200 pounds]? It just depends. I think those boundaries always exist, whatever the part, but absolutely, with a part like this, you have to be clear about what level of nudity you’re willing to do.”

In the film, male frontal nudity becomes prevalent (as it did in Mapplethorpe’s photos), but not Smith’s – who spends a great deal of screen time without his clothes on.

So what specific boundaries did Smith set for “Mapplethorpe?”

“I mean, you saw what I was willing to do,” said Smith. “They were the bits I was willing to do. The other bits, they’re not in there.”

Yet there was another type of nakedness that Smith needed to lay bare in the film, which was far from pretty or sexy. As the photographer’s star rises and his drug habits ramp up, the biopic portrays him as becoming increasingly self-centered and cruel – treating his models and his little brother (Brandon Sklenar) like disposable props.

“Often with great artists, there comes a complete kind of singular vision and a selfish nature, because sometimes that’s what it takes,” said Smith. “I was quite keen about that. We didn’t shy away from the fact that he was quite selfish at times and could be quite difficult at times, and often put himself first or his work first. I hope that does come across, because I think that’s an important facet of his personality, frankly. It’s why he went on to be an icon.”

Matt Smith, Marianne Rendon, Ondi Timoner on set of "Mapplethorpe"

Matt Smith, Marianne Rendon, Ondi Timoner on set of “Mapplethorpe”

Tribeca Film Festival

Smith, who plays Charles Manson in Mary Haron’s “Charlie Says” (in post-production) – in addition to English royalty in “The Crown” – said that digging in to do research is a big part of his process in figuring out how to play such historical icons. In the case of Mapplethorpe, there was a wealth of material – biographies, websites and the photography itself – but, as with all his roles, the historical becomes just another way into feeling comfortable in his character’s skin.

“I got very interested in the photography particularly, and seeing people through a lens, seeing the world through a filter, Robert Mapplethorpe’s kind of filter, which is often what you do as an actor anyway,” said Smith.

He ticked off a list of roles and the varying challenges they brought him: “It always starts physically with me, whether it’s Prince Philip, he holds his hands behind his back. With the Doctor, he’s mercurial. He’s everywhere. He sort of carries [himself] like a Bambi on ice. With Robert, I knew that I had to get skinnier and be a bit lighter, a bit lighter on my feet, a bit lighter in my body, and a bit lighter in my weight. With Manson, it was I returned to listening to The Beatles a lot, which I hadn’t done in a while. You go, ‘Oh, yeah, I remember the ‘White Album.’ Oh, yeah, cool,’ or it’s LA in the late ’60s. Here it’s New York in the late ’70s.”

Ultimately, Smith said, he embraced the different challenges. “These things, they’re gifts,” he said. “You get to be a historian.”

“Mapplethorpe” premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. 

Eliza Dushku’s 15-Year Journey To Make ‘Mapplethorpe’ – Tribeca Studio

For the last 15 years, Bring It On and Dollhouse actress Eliza Dushku and her brother Nate Dushku have been trying to mount a biopic about controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.
“It’s not the easiest thing to get an art film financ…

For the last 15 years, Bring It On and Dollhouse actress Eliza Dushku and her brother Nate Dushku have been trying to mount a biopic about controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. “It’s not the easiest thing to get an art film financed, we’re not a Marvel comic,” she told Deadline at our Tribeca studio. In 2002, Eliza and Nate were introduced to the original script for Mapplethorpe by writer, Bruce Goodrich. In 2006, Goodrich optioned his screenplay to documentary…

‘Mapplethorpe’ Review: Matt Smith Plays Robert Mapplethorpe as a Huge Dick in a Generic Biopic — Tribeca 2018

There’s a ton of nudity in Ondi Timoner’s Robert Mapplethorpe biopic, but that full-frontal approach disguises a film that’s only skin deep.

There is a lot of penis in Ondi Timoner’s “Mapplethorpe,” a streamlined, straightforward biopic about the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. For those familiar with the late artist’s work, that may not come as much of a surprise — many of his most famous images center on male genitalia, rendering plump and veiny dicks with the same religious awe that Michelangelo sculpted “The Pietà.” On the other hand, it’s rare to see any peen in a major motion picture (or a minor one, for that matter), let alone dozens of them in close-up. Not since the State of the Union have so many flaccid tools proudly displayed themselves in one place. How sad that it still feels transgressive to show them at all, and how much we owe to Mapplethorpe that depicting them is no longer considered obscene.

Of course, Mapplethorpe’s photography was less controversial for the flesh that it showed than for how it positioned that flesh in various states of homoerotic ecstasy and/or violence. Timoner’s film honors that legacy, ensuring that Jesse Helms would’ve censored the hell out of it had it been released in the tumultuous aftermath of Mapplethorpe’s death.   Not only does this hyper-linear biopic include many of the original images, it occasionally takes things one step further, matching some of the disembodied members to the men — or at least to the actors playing the men — whose identities were often cropped out of the original frames in order to spotlight the penises and accentuate their innate theatricality.

Known for her confrontational warts-and-all docs like “DIG!” and “Brand: A Second Coming,” Timoner isn’t one to shy away from such aggressive material. Unfortunately, for all that bluster, her first narrative feature is less defined by the risks that it takes than it is by the ones that it doesn’t. Co-scripted by Timoner and Mikko Alanne, this runaway train of a biopic renders an iconoclast in the most generic of terms, straining Mapplethorpe’s brief life into a series of bullet-points that feed into each other with all the drama of a Wikipedia page, and a fraction of the context. Mapplethorpe fans have little to gain from such an uncomplicated portrait, while the uninitiated will likely be uninspired to learn more about him. If anything, they might walk away with the impression that he was something of a monster.

Therein lies the risk of casting “The Crown” star Matt Smith in the lead role: Few actors are so brilliant at capturing the inherent nausea of self-interest, but that gift can take on a life of its own if a filmmaker isn’t able to counterbalance it. Smith’s Mapplethorpe eventually becomes the biggest dick in the entire movie, but he isn’t an asshole when we first meet him in the early ’70s, only a wayward young illustrator with a beat poet haircut and a severe Catholic background (his domineering father is played by “Mad Men” alum Mark Moses).

One day in the park, a free-spirited poet named Patti Smith (a genial Marianne Rendón) asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend — but they aren’t pretending for long. It’s just a matter of minutes before the couple moves into Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel, as the film skips forward with the staccato weightlessness of a rock tossed along the surface of a lake. It’s one of the most storied love affairs of the 20th century, but here it has all the stickiness of a coincidence.

Surrounded by artists and transients, Mapplethorpe discovers himself and his sexuality. And photography, for that matter. “If you leave me,” he says to Smith, “then I’ll become gay.” Cut to: Mapplethorpe snapping pictures of one beautiful man after another, ripping Polaroids out of his camera like tissue paper. He admits that he’s too lazy to develop photos in a dark room, but the petulant kid immediately feels entitled to a show from the city’s most prominent galleries. The same provocations that repel the establishment attract more progressive sorts, like curator and patron Sam Wagstaff (John Benjamin Hickey). Cut to: Mapplethorpe in full stride, following his erotic fixations and getting in touch with the city’s BDSM community as he uses his high-contrast prints to bring gay culture out of the darkness. All of this seems to transpire in the length of a classic rock song, the semi-obvious soundtrack papering over the gaps in the story.

At least it looks good — constrained, but good. The most compelling arc in the entire movie belongs to cinematographer Nancy Schreiber, whose sunny, sepia-toned cinematography is sapped of life as the action transitions into the ’80s and the AIDS crisis begins to take hold. Most of the drama is confined to lofts and studios, but these spaces — at least in a physical sense — are as vividly realized as the outside world is not.

The lack of context around the photographer’s work is extreme (“Mapplethorpe mania has hit New York!” a newscaster declares at one point, our most concrete indication of the artist’s newfound fame), and any potential appeal of such an intimate approach is undone by filtering his personal life through a similarly reductive lens. To call this the “CliffsNotes” take on Mapplethorpe would be an insult to CliffsNotes.

Smith’s performance hints at tightly coiled depths that the movie skates by, and his character becomes easier to resent even when he begins to get sick. Mapplethorpe’s creativity is smothered in an unctuous need for attention, and his open rebellion against heteronormativity acquires a nasty vindictive streak when his little brother (Brandon Sklenar) tries to follow in his footsteps. At one point, he goes cruising with a full understanding that he’s carrying a plague in his pants. Timoner falls so far short of arguing for her subject’s value that you naturally assume the fault lies with the filmmaking. By the end of it, there’s almost something perversely enjoyable about a conventional biopic condemn its namesake like this, as though affirming Mapplethorpe’s belief that beauty and the devil are the same thing.

It’s telling that, for all of the penises on parade, Smith’s is kept hidden, always turned away from us or artfully tucked beneath a sheet. An actor should never be forced to expose themselves on screen. Nevertheless, that glaring act of modesty is emblematic of a movie that’s always reminding us of how little we see of the man behind the camera.

Grade: D+

“Mapplethorpe” premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. It is currently seeking U.S. distribution.

 

‘Mapplethorpe’ Film Review: Matt Smith Brings the Controversial Photographer to Vivid Life

The major thing that “Mapplethorpe” has in its favor is that the film is afraid of neither the life nor the work of the notorious photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

Documentary director Ondi Timoner (“We Live in Public”), making her narrative debut, has ensured that this movie acknowledges the many hard edges and unattractive qualities of this man while also celebrating and not looking away from his most explicit and scariest photographs, many of which rather surprisingly appear on screen.

Most mainstream films are afraid of showing the male penis, or anything having to do with sadomasochism, but Timoner’s attitude here seems to be, “Bring it on!” (Not to put too fine a point on it, but this film is basically wall-to-wall male genitalia, both on actors in the narrative sections and in the photos themselves.) Timoner’s gutsiness is shared (and then some) by her star Matt Smith, a British actor who very convincingly played another gay male icon, writer Christopher Isherwood, in a TV movie of Isherwood’s memoir “Christopher and His Kind” in 2011.

Also Read: ‘Mapplethorpe,’ 10 Other Projects Chosen for Tribeca All Access

Smith’s Mapplethorpe is first seen staring at himself in a mirror, and right away we can see that this guy is very much narcissistically alone in the world. He thinks only of himself and of becoming a famous artist, and he is up-front about that with everyone he meets, to an absurd degree. Mapplethorpe wasn’t afraid to be something of an idiot and more than something of a jerk in order to achieve what he wanted to achieve, and Smith never softens him.

Timoner was working with a limited budget and shooting schedule, and so she is unable to really suggest the 1960s and 1970s visually, though she does catch the essence of the sterile 1980s once Mapplethorpe ages into that period. She only sketches the bond between Mapplethorpe and punk icon Patti Smith (Marianne Rendón), which was described so touchingly in Smith’s 2010 memoir “Just Kids.” Nobody mythologizes Patti Smith quite like Patti Smith herself, and Rendón is just too cute and too nice to really capture the harsh essence of Smith here.

Also Read: ‘The Crown’ Producers Apologize to Stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith Over Pay Gap ‘Media Storm’

As Mapplethorpe’s lover and financial supporter Sam Wagstaff, John Benjamin Hickey is handicapped by the fact that he doesn’t really look much like Wagstaff, but he acts the part very well and creates a chemistry with Smith, who really comes boyishly alive in his scenes with Hickey. Smith’s Mapplethorpe is at his most appealing with Wagstaff because he needs the older man’s love and money so desperately, and he makes no bones about that. Whatever else might be said of Mapplethorpe, he was always direct.

Timoner also doesn’t shy away from the very ugly side of Mapplethorpe’s relationship with the vulnerable Milton (McKinley Belcher III, “Ozark”), an African-American male who is swept up into being Mapplethorpe’s lover and favorite subject almost against his will. Mapplethorpe’s ruthlessness as a man and as an artist is seen at its worst here, and Smith throws himself into this as he does everything else in this movie: volubly and very physically.

Also Read: Ondi Timoner Didn’t Want to Make Documentaries Anymore – Then Came ‘Jungletown’

Mapplethorpe was raised Catholic in Floral Park in Queens, and he took the concept of evil very seriously. This is a man who hung a painting of the word “Evil” over his bed, where Timoner shows him sleeping off an orgy with some of his photographic subjects, and there was no irony or camp in this for him. In many ways, Mapplethorpe was like a visitor from the 19th century who used 20th century means to promote himself and, of course, this is why he was so well matched with the past-revering Patti Smith.

Even if budgetary restraints sometimes keep Timoner from fully capturing the time she is re-creating, nothing holds Smith back from making Mapplethorpe come alive again, in every sense. Smith’s New York accent is impeccable, and he often looks like he is having the time of his life in this movie, mainly because it must have been great fun to play someone so confident.

Smith gives Mapplethorpe the patter and the darting eyes of a street hustler, which is basically what he was. He was also a Charles Baudelaire-style romantic who gathered up all the flowers of evil he could before being wiped out by AIDS, the disease that took down so many significant gay men of his generation.

“Mapplethorpe” is a commemoration of this man’s work, and Mapplethorpe himself is allowed to stare out from photographs that sometimes upstage Smith’s best attempts to re-incarnate him. Mapplethorpe wanted to be beautiful and deadly and very seductive, and he still is in the photographs we see here, those photographs that he knew would outlive him.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Arnold Schwarzenegger ‘Shocked and Saddened for Eliza’ Dushku After Molestation Accusations

‘The Crown’ Producers Say Claire Foy Was Paid Less Than Male Co-Star Matt Smith

Matt Smith to Play Charles Manson in ‘Charlie Says’ From ‘American Psycho’ Director

Tribeca Film Festival Announces Full Slate, Nearly Half Directed by Women

The major thing that “Mapplethorpe” has in its favor is that the film is afraid of neither the life nor the work of the notorious photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

Documentary director Ondi Timoner (“We Live in Public”), making her narrative debut, has ensured that this movie acknowledges the many hard edges and unattractive qualities of this man while also celebrating and not looking away from his most explicit and scariest photographs, many of which rather surprisingly appear on screen.

Most mainstream films are afraid of showing the male penis, or anything having to do with sadomasochism, but Timoner’s attitude here seems to be, “Bring it on!” (Not to put too fine a point on it, but this film is basically wall-to-wall male genitalia, both on actors in the narrative sections and in the photos themselves.) Timoner’s gutsiness is shared (and then some) by her star Matt Smith, a British actor who very convincingly played another gay male icon, writer Christopher Isherwood, in a TV movie of Isherwood’s memoir “Christopher and His Kind” in 2011.

Smith’s Mapplethorpe is first seen staring at himself in a mirror, and right away we can see that this guy is very much narcissistically alone in the world. He thinks only of himself and of becoming a famous artist, and he is up-front about that with everyone he meets, to an absurd degree. Mapplethorpe wasn’t afraid to be something of an idiot and more than something of a jerk in order to achieve what he wanted to achieve, and Smith never softens him.

Timoner was working with a limited budget and shooting schedule, and so she is unable to really suggest the 1960s and 1970s visually, though she does catch the essence of the sterile 1980s once Mapplethorpe ages into that period. She only sketches the bond between Mapplethorpe and punk icon Patti Smith (Marianne Rendón), which was described so touchingly in Smith’s 2010 memoir “Just Kids.” Nobody mythologizes Patti Smith quite like Patti Smith herself, and Rendón is just too cute and too nice to really capture the harsh essence of Smith here.

As Mapplethorpe’s lover and financial supporter Sam Wagstaff, John Benjamin Hickey is handicapped by the fact that he doesn’t really look much like Wagstaff, but he acts the part very well and creates a chemistry with Smith, who really comes boyishly alive in his scenes with Hickey. Smith’s Mapplethorpe is at his most appealing with Wagstaff because he needs the older man’s love and money so desperately, and he makes no bones about that. Whatever else might be said of Mapplethorpe, he was always direct.

Timoner also doesn’t shy away from the very ugly side of Mapplethorpe’s relationship with the vulnerable Milton (McKinley Belcher III, “Ozark”), an African-American male who is swept up into being Mapplethorpe’s lover and favorite subject almost against his will. Mapplethorpe’s ruthlessness as a man and as an artist is seen at its worst here, and Smith throws himself into this as he does everything else in this movie: volubly and very physically.

Mapplethorpe was raised Catholic in Floral Park in Queens, and he took the concept of evil very seriously. This is a man who hung a painting of the word “Evil” over his bed, where Timoner shows him sleeping off an orgy with some of his photographic subjects, and there was no irony or camp in this for him. In many ways, Mapplethorpe was like a visitor from the 19th century who used 20th century means to promote himself and, of course, this is why he was so well matched with the past-revering Patti Smith.

Even if budgetary restraints sometimes keep Timoner from fully capturing the time she is re-creating, nothing holds Smith back from making Mapplethorpe come alive again, in every sense. Smith’s New York accent is impeccable, and he often looks like he is having the time of his life in this movie, mainly because it must have been great fun to play someone so confident.

Smith gives Mapplethorpe the patter and the darting eyes of a street hustler, which is basically what he was. He was also a Charles Baudelaire-style romantic who gathered up all the flowers of evil he could before being wiped out by AIDS, the disease that took down so many significant gay men of his generation.

“Mapplethorpe” is a commemoration of this man’s work, and Mapplethorpe himself is allowed to stare out from photographs that sometimes upstage Smith’s best attempts to re-incarnate him. Mapplethorpe wanted to be beautiful and deadly and very seductive, and he still is in the photographs we see here, those photographs that he knew would outlive him.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Arnold Schwarzenegger 'Shocked and Saddened for Eliza' Dushku After Molestation Accusations

'The Crown' Producers Say Claire Foy Was Paid Less Than Male Co-Star Matt Smith

Matt Smith to Play Charles Manson in 'Charlie Says' From 'American Psycho' Director

Tribeca Film Festival Announces Full Slate, Nearly Half Directed by Women

Ben Stiller to Direct Jonah Hill in Adaptation of Sundance-Winning Documentary ‘We Live in Public’ — Sundance 2018

Ondi Timoner announced the project at a panel discussing her career — including “Mapplethorpe,” her scripted debut that Sundance accepted but she couldn’t screen.

Ondi Timoner’s 2009 Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary, “We Live in Public,” will become a feature film directed by Ben Stiller and starring Jonah Hill as Josh Harris, the dot-com millionaire who carried out a surveillance experiment with 150 residents at a Manhattan hotel amid Y2K panic.

Bold Films will finance the project, which Timoner will produce with Stiller’s Red Hour Films. Timoner announced the project during an interview at a January 20, Dell-sponsored panel, “Life After Sundance — Building a Career in Indie Filmmaking.”

Timoner also briefly discussed “Mapplethorpe,” her just-completed biopic of Robert Mapplethorpe with “The Crown” star Matt Smith in the lead. She said Sundance accepted the film for the 2018 festival, but it hit “a bump” that prevented its screening.

Read More: Portraying Chaos: Ondi Timoner’s “We Live In Public” (Sundance ’09)

Red Hour Films CEO Nicky Weinstock told IndieWire that “We Live In Public” will be penned by former “Mad Men” writer Brett Johnson. “Ben had seen that documentary and had talked to Jonah Hill about it, who was also obsessed with the documentary, called me and said I have to watch the documentary, and we all put it together,” he said.

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage.Mandatory Credit: Photo by Interloper/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (5877700d) We Live In Public (2009) We Live In Public - 2009 Director: Ondi Timoner Interloper Films USA Lobby Card/Poster Documentary We live in public

The poster for the 2009 documentary “We Live In Public”

Interlope/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

According to Financial Times, Harris was once worth in excess of $50 million but as of November 2016, he lived in Las Vegas where he earned about $650 a month playing poker online. “There’s a real pathology there,” Weinstock said. “It’s like what people used to say about Steve Jobs… He’s an insufferable person, but tapped into something.”

Timoner’s hour-long interview at Dell covered the breadth of her career, including “Mapplethorpe.” She said Sundance accepted the film for the 2018 festival, but it hit “a bump” (one she wouldn’t disclose) that prevented its screening.

“It was a challenging production,” she said of the 19-day shoot. “It’s a beautiful film. I wish I could share it with you. It was going to premiere at the Eccles here, on Tuesday. But it won’t be playing here. Not because Sundance didn’t want it — they were very, very passionate about it, fought very hard to take it… there was a bump in the road, but I really can’t talk about that.”

“Mapplethorpe” is completed; Timoner screened her director’s cut at CAA in a friends and family screening in Los Angeles, just before the festival.

Red Hour’s offices have been housed at Bold since late 2015, after Red Hour completed its years-long, first-look deal with Fox. Red Hour’s filmography includes the “Zoolander” films, “Blades of Glory,” “Tropic Thunder,” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” Bold’s titles include “Whiplash,” “The Neon Demon,” “Nightcrawler,” and the new Keira Knightley film “Colette, which premieres tonight at Sundance.

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Karlee Perez Joins ‘Mapplethorpe’ Biopic; Raffi Barsoumian Cast In Indie ‘The Rest Of Us’

Newcomer Karlee Perez has joined Ondi Timoner’s written and directed biopic Mapplethorpe, starring Doctor Who and The Crown star Matt Smith as avant-garde photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The film, which is scheduled to begin shooting this month, follows Mapplethorpe from his 1970s rise to fame to his untimely death due to complications from HIV/AIDS in 1989. Perez will play Lisa Lyon, the first World Women’s Bodybuilding champion and one of Roberts famous Muses. Timoner…

Newcomer Karlee Perez has joined Ondi Timoner’s written and directed biopic Mapplethorpe, starring Doctor Who and The Crown star Matt Smith as avant-garde photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The film, which is scheduled to begin shooting this month, follows Mapplethorpe from his 1970s rise to fame to his untimely death due to complications from HIV/AIDS in 1989. Perez will play Lisa Lyon, the first World Women’s Bodybuilding champion and one of Roberts famous Muses. Timoner…

‘Mapplethorpe’ Has Found its Patti Smith, But It Doesn’t Have Her Support — Exclusive

Marianne Rendón will star as Patti Smith, but the performer and author declined to lend her support to the film, which begins shooting July 11 in New York.

One week before production is scheduled to start on writer-director Ondi Timoner’s “Mapplethorpe,” the biopic starring Matt Smith as photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, “Imposters” actress Marianne Rendón has been cast as Patti Smith, IndieWire has learned. The role was originally slated for Zosia Mamet until she dropped out over scheduling conflicts.

What the film doesn’t have, however, is the support of Patti Smith.

READ MORE: HBO’s ‘Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures’ Doc Raises Questions, Producer Has Answers

A singer, poet, and influential member of the 1970s punk rock movement,  Smith documented her seminal personal and artistic relationship with Mapplethorpe in the 2010 memoir “Just Kids,” which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction. However, a rep for Smith said she opted not to be involved in the production in any way, declining to comment as to why.

“When I saw Marianne for the first time, I knew we’d finally found our Patti,” Timoner said on Monday. “She has a spunky, open energy and a spark that gives Robert what he needs to explore the world and himself, for the first time… Marianne has such charisma and versatility, I am convinced we are introducing a talent to the world of cinema and this is only the beginning.”

Timoner added that Matt Smith “has a quiet dark power that captured ‘Mapplethorpe’ from the moment I saw him. We read hundreds of people for this iconic role, and his performance was jaw-dropping. He has the gravitas that the singularly focused artist himself possessed, which allowed him to turn the unholy holy and even transform the way we viewed photography as fine art.”

Marianne Rendón Matt Smith Patti Smith Robert Mapplethorpe Ondi TImoner "Mapplethorpe"

Camera test of Marianne Rendón and Matt Smith as Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe in Ondi TImoner’s “Mapplethorpe”

Ondi Timoner

The “Mapplethorpe” team does have the support of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, an organization that he helped found a year before his death from AIDS in 1989. The organization cites as its mission “to protect his work, to advance his creative vision and to promote the causes he cared about… During the last weeks of his life, he added the second mandate of supporting medical research in the area of AIDS and HIV infection.”

“The Mapplethorpe Foundation was impressed by Ondi Timoner’s vision for the project and her strengths as an artist,” Michael Ward Stout, president of the foundation, said in an emailed statement. “We’re very pleased she has chosen to tell Robert’s story.”

“Mapplethorpe” follows the photographer from his rise to fame in the 1970s until his death. According to Timoner, Smith’s character appears in roughly one third of the film.

“It’s a big role,” Timoner told IndieWire. “New York was a cold place for both [Mapplethorpe and Smith] and they were kind of like lone wolves.”

Timoner optioned the project back in 2006, based on a story by Bruce Goodrich, and later took her script to the Sundance Institute’s feature film lab in 2010. Across more than what Timoner said was more than 40 rewrites, Timoner pored over archival material that includes Mappethorpe’s early collage work, provided by The Mapplethorpe Foundation. “It’s phenomenal,” she said. “He comes of age and comes into his sexuality and his artistry all at the same time.”

Ondi Timoner - SXSW 2015

Ondi Timoner

Daniel Bergeron

“Mapplethorpe” marks Timoner’s first narrative feature after working in documentaries for more than 20 years, though the movie continues her focus on “impossible visionaries taking on impossible things,” she said.

Timoner’s 2009 documentary, “We Live in Public,” about internet entrepreneur Josh Harris, won the documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, as did her 2004 documentary “Dig!,” about American rock bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols. “When I tell stories in documentary, I’m attempting to really make suspense-driven narratives,” she said, adding that one of the things she likes to focus on is “the serendipity that happens in life.”

Timoner’s most recent project is the 10-hour docuseries, “Jungletown,” shot in Kalu Yala, Panama, a place that its founders describe as the world’s “most sustainable” town. The series premiered March 28 on Viceland. Her most recent feature documentary, 2015’s “Brand: A Second Coming,” focused on actor-comedian Russell Brand and his journey through addiction to becoming a Hollywood star and stand-up comedian.

READ MORE: Ondi Timoner Debuts Director’s Trailer For ‘Jungletown,’ A Viceland Series About Trying To Build A Sustainable Utopia

Rendón has a short resume: She stars in the Bravo series “Imposters” as a struggling artist named Jules and has a small feature role in writer-director Aaron Katz’s “Gemini,” which Neon acquired after it premiered at SXSW this year. In April, Rendón told an interviewer that for her role on “Imposters” she drew inspiration from well-known artists including Sandra Bernhard, Eileen Miles, and Patti Smith.

“Mapplethorpe” is set to begin shooting July 11 in New York.

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Robert Mapplethorpe Biopic Starring Matt Smith and Zosia Mamet to Shoot in July

Directed by Ondi Timoner, “Mapplethorpe” follows the photographer from his rise to fame in the 1970s to his untimely death in 1989.

The Robert Mapplethorpe biopic “Mapplethorpe” starring Matt Smith and Zosia Mamet is heading into production in July, according to Interloper Films. An intimate portrait of one of the most controversial photographers in American history, the film stars Smith as Mapplethorpe and Mamet as Patti Smith, his longtime friend.

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Documentary filmmaker Ondi Timoner will direct the film, which she co-wrote with Bruce Goodrich. The movie follows Mapplethorpe from his rise to fame in the 1970s to his untimely death in 1989 due to complications from AIDS. Boston Diva Productions will produce alongside Timoner’s Interloper Films.

Timoner’s most recent feature documentary, 2015’s “Brand: A Second Coming,” focused on actor-comedian Russell Brand and his journey through addiction to becoming a Hollywood star and stand-up comedian. Her 2009 documentary “We Live in Public” about internet entrepreneur Josh Harris won the documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, as did her 2004 music documentary “Dig!” about American rock bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols.

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Smith is known for starring on the Sci-Fi Channel’s “Doctor Who” and Netflix’s “The Crown.” Mamet recently finished the sixth and final season of HBO’s “Girls” and will appear in the upcoming Los Angeles-set crime-thriller “Under the Silver Lake,” from writer-director David Robert Mitchell (“It Follows”).

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