‘Teen Spirit’ Trailer: Elle Fanning Gets Her ‘Idol’ On In Max Minghella’s Music-Heavy Toronto Pic

Read on: Deadline.

“This world is extremely competitive,” one adult tells the aspiring singer in Teen Spirit. “You’ll be up against some of the best singers in the country.” Says another: “Life comes down to these moments, Violet. Don&…

Max Minghella, Elle Fanning TIFF Film ‘Teen Spirit’ To Get Theatrical Bow In 2019

Read on: Deadline.

Bleecker Street and LD Entertainment are teaming up for U.S. distribution rights to Max Minghella’s directorial debut film Teen Spirit. Starring Elle Fanning as a shy teen from a small European town who dreams of pop stardom, the pic had its premiere a…

Elle Fanning Tells Us Why She Admires Her Unlikable ‘Teen Spirit’ Character (Video)

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Elle Fanning describes herself as someone who is always smiling, laughing and is generally happy. It’s the way audiences have come to know her in the media and in her films. But she was surprised to learn how much she related to her character in her latest film, “Teen Spirit,” despite playing a girl who isn’t any of those things.

In “Teen Spirit,” the directorial debut of “The Handmaid’s Tale” star Max Minghella, Fanning plays a Polish, aspiring teen pop star who is tested once she enters into a singing competition. The film features original songs from a variety of indie musicians and pop stars, including Robyn, Grimes, Katy Perry and more.

But for Fanning, the part tested her as well in how she related to a character she considers unlikable.

Also Read: ‘Teen Spirit’ Film Review: Elle Fanning Sings – Boy, Does She Sing – in Indie Musical

“It’s funny that I related to her because I think when outside people, what they think of me as is not this character. I smile a lot, I laugh a lot, and in this movie, we really don’t do that very much at all,” Fanning told TheWrap founder and CEO Sharon Waxman at the Toronto International Film Festival. “I felt so connected to Violet. I feel like I grew up a lot also after the making of this film as well, getting to play her, and also knowing that you don’t necessarily have to play a character that is likable.”

Fanning added that in addition to putting on a Polish accent for the part, she enjoyed tapping into the grittier aspects of her character.

“I think that’s why I love her. She’s not necessarily your typical girl in school that would be super popular. She’s harsh,” Fanning said. “And to make someone who has that edge into a hero in the film, that’s something that I loved. I was excited, I don’t think I’ve ever played a character like that before.”

Watch a clip of our interview with Fanning and director Minghella above.

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‘Teen Spirit’ Film Review: Elle Fanning Sings – Boy, Does She Sing – in Indie Musical

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Teen Spirit,” which premiered on Friday at the Toronto International Film Festival, has a scene in which our mild-mannered heroine, an aspiring singer Violet, performs a song with such verve and power that everyone who knows her is left with mouths agape.

They’re all thinking exactly the same thing: “We didn’t know she had it in her.”

And “Teen Spirit” might also have that effect on its viewers — because while we’ve seen great things in the past from Elle Fanning, who plays Violet, we’ve never seen her sing and perform like this. Like the characters on screen, we didn’t know she had it in her.

Fanning’s performance is one of the most surprising things about “Teen Spirit,” a goodhearted and entertaining film about stardom in the “American Idol” era that also marks the directorial debut of Max Minghella. The actor (“Bee Season,” “The Social Network,” “The Handmaid’s Tale”) is now following in the footsteps of his famous father, “The English Patient” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley” director Anthony Minghella.

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But he’s not following in his father’s stately footsteps tonally or thematically. “Teen Spirit” uses songs from Tegan and Sara, the Undertones, No Doubt and others to craft a ragged musical that retains its charm even when it slides into slickness.

It’s one of a generous crop of musicals at TIFF this year, with Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” grabbing the lion’s share of attention but Brady Corbet’s “Vox Lux” also bowing on Friday after winning raves in Venice.

You could say that “Teen Spirit” is the latest in a string of terrific little indie musicals, or music-heavy indie films, that have come out in the last few years. John Carney’s magical 2007 film “Once” is the best of them, but more recently the list has included “Sing Street,” “Band Aid” and, so far this year, “Hearts Beat Loud” and “Juliet Naked” – and if you stretch it, you could include Ethan Hawke’s upcoming “Blaze” in that number as well.

(Meanwhile, “La La Land” and “The Greatest Showman” have made the top of the box-office charts safe for musicals, too.)

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Minghella’s film feels glossier and less scrappy than most of those smaller films, because the production style of TV talent shows means its musical numbers have to be big and shiny. But with “La La Land” producer Fred Berger and music producer Marius De Vries on board, “Teen Spirit” knows how to add gloss without losing emotion.

Fanning’s character is the child of a Polish immigrant mother who is deeply religious and overprotective of her daughter; if Violet wants to sing, mom doesn’t understand why she can’t do so in their church choir on the Isle of Wight.

But Violet has other dreams, even though she initially seems timid and anti-social. So when a British television show, “Teen Spirit,” holds auditions on the Isle for the first time, she shows up (along with everybody else in her school, it seems) and is chosen to move on to the next round, a break that also requires her to enlist the services of a weathered local named Vlad who turns out to be a famous opera singer gone to seed.

Obviously, Violet’s path in a movie like this isn’t hard to figure out; she’ll advance, she’ll have setbacks, she’ll find an inner strength as the grand finale approaches. But Minghella, to his credit, makes it an entertaining ride even when we see where it’s going, and Fanning turns out to be a terrific singer well suited to the alternative-rock playlist she’s given.

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We never see her with one of those big ballads so beloved of singing competitions — no “Hallelujah” or “I Have Nothing” for this girl — and that’s a good thing. And when Violet has given her final performance and it’s the moment of truth on several different levels, Minghella backs off rather than overplaying the drama, finding a gently affecting coda.

If you’re of the mind that thinks singing other people’s songs on television is not a very satisfying route to stardom (full disclosure: I am), Violet’s journey in “Teen Spirit” may not feel as momentous as the filmmakers intend. And with the U.S. singing shows failing to produce a real star for several years now, the film feels a little out of time; the route to pop stardom may have changed, though maybe we shouldn’t expect a teen from the Isle of Wight to realize that.

Still, this is not a film to quibble about — it’s a light and lively one to enjoy, and a blast of something new from the gifted Fanning.

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Does June Escape Gilead in the Novel?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu has been pretty good about Margaret Atwood’s novel on which it is based, but even early on, the show was expanding beyond the scope of the book.

In Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the story is stretching into all-new territory, following June (Elisabeth Moss) in the immediate aftermath of the big cliffhanger in Season 1. That cliffhanger left June’s life seemingly imperiled as she was placed in the back of a van with no explanation as to what was happening, raising the question of whether the authorities of Gilead had discovered her work with the insurgent Mayday organization.

In fact, though, June found herself safe, thanks to the fact that she was pregnant — seemingly with Nick (Max Minghella) as the father. That caused Nick to help June get away from Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes), hiding her at the former offices of the Boston Herald until someone could sneak her out of the country?

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But is June’s escape covered in the novel? The answer to that question is a resounding: no. In fact, Atwood’s book ends, or at least June’s story does, when she steps up into that van, unsure of her fate.

After the narrative portion, in which June tells her story, the book version of “The Handmaid’s Tale” changes, taking readers to an academic lecture in 2195. The frame presents June’s story as a recording recovered years after the fall of Gilead, but it makes clear that her story took place in the early portion of a regime that lasted for years.

The scholar giving the lecture, Professor James Darcy Pieixoto, explains that while June’s story provides a lot of information about the inner workings of Gilead, it’s incomplete. In fact, while the show makes it clear that the handmaid Offred is named June Osbourne, her real name is never explicit in the books, and is instead left open to interpretation by the reader. Pieixoto notes that it’s extremely difficult for historians to find out what happened to a lot of people, including Offred, because of the changes to their names.

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So right now, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is in off-book territory. While aspects of Season 2, like the portions that concern June’s mother, are largely adapted from material in the book, the show is expanding June’s story beyond what Atwood originally wrote. Fans won’t be able to look to the novel to predict where “The Handmaid’s Tale” is headed next.

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17 ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Authoritarians, Ranked From Bad to Exceedingly Evil (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The dystopian, women-subjugating society of  “The Handmaid’s Tale” is full of people who willingly sign on with its evil. Whether they’re the leaders who created the place or just collaborators willing to go along, the show is full of people willing to watch others suffer every day — and even inflict that suffering. Here are 17 such folks, ranked by how much they sign on with Gilead’s evil agenda.

Nick (Max Minghella)
Nick’s not a bad guy, and he’s trapped in Gilead like a lot of people, but he’s still a cog in the machine. At most, he uses his position to help June (Elisabeth Moss) where he can. He’s mostly still standing by and letting everything happen to her, though, and as far as their relationship is concerned, she’s the one taking all the risks.

That One Aunt (Margaret Atwood)
The author of “The Handmaid’s Tale” only gets a quick cameo, but as an aunt at the Red Center, her character is undoubtedly embracing the awfulness of Gilead. And she gets to smack June while she’s there.

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The Boat Driver (Marvin Kaye)
When people were fleeing Gilead, this guy was willing to take them across the border in his boat. He was also willing to profit by the situation as much as possible, gouging Luke for whatever he could pay for his passage. He might not be a part of the government, but he’s bad enough to take advantage of its rise.

Jezebels’ Martha (Elena Khan)
Informing for the government is a good way to take care of yourself at the expense of everyone else. Nick’s Martha friend is willing to sell out the people around her — and people like her are essential to keeping the oppressive system working.

Ambassador Castillo (Zabryna Guevara)
The Mexican ambassador who meets with the Commander isn’t responsible for the way Gilead treats women, but she’s obviously willing to look the other way when it comes to its policies. Even when June tells her how bad things are, she’s unwilling to do much — and if Mexico is entering into trade with Gilead for handmaidens, she’s not only looking the other way on slavery, she’s about to facilitate it.

Burke (Jim Cummings)
The interrogator who questions June about Ofglen likes to start his discussions a certain way: with a cattle prod. A government lackey, a brutal interrogator and someone who persecutes women, Burke is an “investigator” whose clearly relishes his job and the power it gives him.

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Emma Monroe (Christy Bruce)
Mere hours after separating her from her child, Commander Monroe and his wife Emma have the handmaid Janine (Madeline Brewer) ready for another “ceremony.” It’s a reinforcement that even among the “nice” commanders and their wives, handmaids are seen as little more than animals.

Naomi Putnam (Ever Carradine)
Mrs. Putnam is the “wife” whose handmaid, Janine, actually has a baby, a somewhat rare occurrence. Like with June, Putnam is nice to her handmaid right up until the baby is born. After that, Naomi can’t wait to get rid of the other women and go back to treating her and the other handmaids like property.

The Doctor (Kristian Brunn)
The gynecologist June visits early in Season 1 propositions June, making it clear he’s regularly taking advantage of handmaids for sex. That makes him a guy who manages to take the extremely awful world he lives in and make it even more gross.

The Judge (Thomas Hauff)
When June’s friend Ofglen is discovered for being a lesbian with another woman, this guy sentences Ofglen’s lover to death and Ofglen to mutilation. Not only is he perfectly comfortable with those sentences and without even giving the women a chance to defend themselves, but it’s a look into the way Gilead systematizes women as lesser people.

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Commander Monroe (Matthew Olver)
Monroe might be considered a “nice” commander, but he’s still a leader of the regime and must have played a part in both its coming to power and in its continuing terrible ways. Plus, like his wife, he’s instantly ready to treat Janine like someone who’s less than human.

Commander Pryce (Robert Curtis Brown)
Pryce seems like the paranoid commander, and other than Commander Waterford, he comes off as the most devout. But he’s still in the car with the others, coming up with the best way to brand the idea of all the commanders taking on concubines and making it sound biblical. Ultimately, the commanders don’t even believe their own lies, and Pryce is obviously just trying to consolidate his own power.

Commander Guthrie (Christian Lloyd)
Of the leaders of the movement, Guthrie seems to be the most truthful. He’s a jerk who doesn’t really care about the religion side, but it’s his idea to create the handmaids expressly for the purpose of breeding. Where the other leaders are hypocrites, they at least hide it well. Guthrie’s just in this for the gross, exploitative power.

Commander Putnam (Stephen Kunken)
Putnam has an extra layer of horrific to add to the usual awfulness of the commanders. He convinced his handmaid, Janine, that he was going to run away with her. His lie got him what he wanted from her, but it helped ruin Janine even more.

Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd)
The scary thing about Aunt Lydia is she comes off like a true believer. She’s fully committed to forcing handmaids into a life of rape and servitude, and she seems to enjoy wrecking the women who don’t immediately respect her with her cattle prod. She and people like her are essential to making subjugation work because she buys in, and has no problem hurting anyone who doesn’t.

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Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski)
Talk about your all-time backfires. Serena Joy got everything she ever thought she wanted. Her book touted the great world she would help create, and yet she seemingly didn’t realize that advocating to make women second-class citizens would include her too. That means she’s marginalized by the people she helped elevate, and she’s angry enough about it to use her own power to ruin the lives of the people below her. She just can’t stop being fully awful.

The Commander (Joseph Fiennes)
The worst thing about the Commander is that he plays nice. He invites June to his room for games of Scrabble and, in private, treats her like a real person. But even his acts of kindness are actually clear methods of enforcing his power over people — he knows June can’t really challenge him, and he likes to wield his ability to be nice to her as something he can easily take away. It’s almost worse that he sometimes treats her well, because every act of kindness comes with the tacit feeling of being in his debt, as well as under his whim.

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Stars Hit PaleyFest To Tease Season 2, Trips To The Colonies, & America’s Descent Into Gilead

Read on: Deadline.

Returning for its highly anticipated second run on April 25, The Handmaid’s Tale‘s upcoming season was teased today at PaleyFest. On hand to discuss the series following a screening for the Dolby Theatre audience were many of the cast and crew of the Hulu original, including series creator Bruce Miller and executive producer Warren Littlefield. They were joined by stars Yvonne Strahovski, Max Minghella, Amanda Brugel, Madeline Brewer, Samira Wiley and O-T Fagbenle.
In The…

Hulu Went All-In on This Bold ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Marketing (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

If you had any misconceptions about what “The Handmaid’s Tale” is about, Hulu has some marketing that’ll drive its point home.

According to one new character poster released by the streaming service on Thursday, it’s a “f—ing nightmare.”

Hulu released nine new character posters the day after the show’s premiere, featuring each of the main characters standing in front of a gray background with a blunt message behind it. The one featuring series lead Elisabeth Moss is the most jarring, saying that “the future is a f—ing nightmare.” Others almost rip from today’s headlines, with slogans like “this is not ordinary,” and “your body is no longer your own.”

Also Read: Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Endorsed by Planned Parenthood: ‘A Terrifying Cautionary Tale’

Based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, “The Handmaid’s Tale” takes place in Gilead, a brutal theocratic state established after fanatics overthrow the U.S. government where women are stripped of all rights and enslaved by the state. To deal with a population crisis stemming from a declining birth rate, fertile women are enslaved and forced to become handmaids, surrogate mothers for the rich and powerful whose subjugation is justified on religious grounds.

The show doesn’t pull any punches, forcing audiences to confront directly the abuse and the discomfort of living in a nightmare like that. The marketing for the show isn’t pulling any punches  either, with real-life installations and performances, such as one exhibition in New York featuring 4,000 copies of the novel that people can remove, or groups of handmaids walking around recent festivals like SXSW and the Los Angeles Festival of Books.

Also Read: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Tribeca Panel Turns ‘Bizarre’ as Cast Downplays Feminist Themes

Check out the character posters below.

Alexis Bledel as Ofglen/Hulu

Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia/Hulu

Elisabeth Moss as Offred/Hulu

Joseph Fiennes as Commander Waterford/Hulu

Madeline Brewer as Janine/Hulu

Max Minghella as Nick/Hulu

O-T Fagbenle as Luke/Hulu

Samira Wiley as Moira/Hulu

Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy/Hulu

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Elle Fanning To Star In Max Minghella’s Directorial Debut ‘Teen Spirit’ — Berlin

Read on: Deadline.

Elle Fanning is set to star in Max Minghella‘s directorial debut Teen Spirit, which David Garrett’s Mister Smith Entertainment is shopping to international buyers at the EFM.
She’ll star as Violet, a shy teenager living in a small European town who dreams of pop stardom as an escape from her dismal surroundings and shattered family life. With the help of an unlikely mentor, Violet enters an international singing competition that will test her integrity, talent…

Max Minghella Teams With ‘La La Land’ Producer For Directorial Debut ‘Teen Spirit’ – Berlin

Read on: Deadline.

Max Minghella is set to make his directorial debut with Teen Spirit, an emotional underdog story set in the world of pop music that Mister Smith Entertainment is launching to buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin next month.
Minghella, who has acted in such film as The Social Network and The Ides of March, writes and directs the project with La La Land producer Fred Berger producing alongside Brian Kavanaugh-Jones under their Automatik banner. Billy Elliot star…

‘La La Land’s’ Fred Berger to Produce Max Minghella’s Directorial Debut ‘Teen Spirit’

Read on: Variety.

“La La Land” producer Fred Berger will produce Max Minghella’s directorial debut, “Teen Spirit,” alongside Brian Kavanaugh-Jones (“Midnight Special”) under their Automatik banner. The movie is being unveiled to international buyers at the upcoming Berlin Film Market by Mister Smith Entertainment. Currently in pre-production, “Teen Spirit,” written and directed by Minghella, is “an emotional underdog… Read more »