Sundance 2019: Nine Lineup Highlights From Awkwafina to Shia LaBeouf

As Sundance changes up its programming approach, the festival’s lineup reveals some of the big titles and trends we’ll be talking about next year.

Right after Thanksgiving, as awards season gains traction and top 10 lists start being posted everywhere, the Sundance lineup arrives to provide a sneak peak of what’s around the corner for next year. The 2019 program is one of the most ambitious yet: The slate of 112 features just announced from 152 countries contains a range of promising new work, much of which was surveyed in IndieWire’s Sundance wish list. While there are plenty of familiar names in the program, however, this year’s Sundance already looks markedly different from previous editions, in large part due to the way fewer big titles pop out as the obvious sources of hype. Instead, there’s a cohesiveness to a program bursting with potentially compelling new work that reflects a fresh sensibility overall.

That’s a testament to new programming director Kim Yutani, a Sundance veteran who replaced longtime programmer Trevor Groth earlier this year. While Groth excelled at luring some of the festival’s biggest breakouts over the years, Yutani has drawn on her experience at niche festivals like Outfest to look for opportunities to give the festival a cohesive vision.

While festival programmers are often forced to invent talking points to explain their disparate programming decisions, Sundance 2019 actually has several unifying ingredients. Yutani used her background as a shorts programmer to track many talented filmmakers poised to make a big impact with their features this year, from Pippa Bianco (with the disturbing teen thriller “Share”) to Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”). “So many of my relationships with short filmmakers have been instrumental in leading up to this moment,” Yutani said.

“Kim has proven an understanding of taking a refined approach to festival curation as opposed to movie by movie, what plays for audiences,” said festival director John Cooper, who oversees the final selection. Yutani added a few new members to the programming staff, which achieved gender parity this year, and described her experience programming the 2019 festival as the result of many experiences she has gleaned over the years focusing on various sections of the festival, including LGBT and short films. That allowed her to consider the big picture in piecemeal. “It’s been an adjustment to step into this role, but also exciting,” she said. “Now is the time when everything falls into place.”

Here’s a look at some of the biggest takeaways from the lineup released so far, with some input from Yutani and Cooper.

World Cinema Steps Up

Sundance has spent the last several years trying to build up the reputation of its world cinema competitions, despite being so closely associated with American independent film. Sales agents have been wary about premiering international titles at the festival, as opposed to more globally-oriented festivals like Berlin and Cannes, but the current world cinema competition is its most promising one since the festival launched international sections over a decade ago. “We got every single film we wanted,” said Yutani, who drew on her experiences traveling to international co-production markets to draw in notable international films, several of which also surface in the Premieres section. “We’re very tuned into the notion of representing the world we live in, and not just with the American gaze on it,” said Cooper. “To have bigger conversations about that you have to have international cinema.”

Joanna HoggThe Women in Film and Television Awards, London, Britain - 05 Dec 2014

Joanna Hogg

Nils Jorgensen/REX/Shutterstock

Notable foreign titles at Sundance this year include the Colombian feature “Monos,” director Alejandro Landes’ look at a hostage situation gone wrong, which includes a score by “Jackie” composer Micah Levi. From Brazil, Gabriel Mascaro — whose expressionistic rodeo drama “Neon Bull” was a festival breakout two years ago — returns with “Divine Love,” which explores a religious woman who helps couples avoid divorce while struggling with her own marriage. Then there’s British filmmaker Joanna Hogg (“Exhibition”), who has been appreciated in her own country for ages for her innovative deadpan character studies but has yet to break out in North America. That may change with “The Souvenir,” the first of a two-part feature project starring Tilda Swinton and her daughter, Honor Swinton Byrne in an intense drama about a film student in a relationship with an enigmatic man. “I feel like Sundance is such a great place for her to be exposed to a wider audience,” Yutani said.

However, Yutani was even more psyched to single out “We Are Little Zombies,” which she viewed on a trip to Tokyo earlier this year. The story of siblings who deal with the unexpected death of their parents by forming a rock band, the movie draws on writer-director Makoto Nagahisa’s short film, “And So We Put the Goldfish in the Pool,” which won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize in 2017. After seeing the new movie, “we just felt like there was no way we aren’t showing this,” Yutani said. She and Cooper were also keen on U.K. selection “The Last Tree,” which revolves around a British teen of Nigerian descent forced to contend with a sudden lifestyle change in London. “I thought it was going to be a certain kind of movie by the first third and then it switched and then it switched again,” Cooper said. “There are films that I’m dreading to watch and then I love when they totally engage me and turn me around.”

Underrepresented Stories Take Center Stage

Sundance has been a haven for African-American filmmakers long before the cries for industry diversification reached a fever pitch, with everyone from Ryan Coogler to Lee Daniels unleashing prize-winning titles in Park City. The current lineup has plenty of promise on that front. Cooper and Yutani said the very first film they accepted for 2019’s program was “Luce,” the latest feature from Julius Onah, tackling very different material than his last film “The Cloverfield Paradox,” which premiered on Netflix out of nowhere earlier this year. Onah’s promising new work stars Naomi Watts and Tim Roth as a couple who adopt a teenage son from Eritrea whose future is compromised when new information about his past comes to light. “It’s exploring that grey area of what people choose to believe,” said Yutani. “We were so intrigued by it.”

Joining Onah in the U.S. Competition, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” suggests a spiritual sequel to Barry Jenkins’ “Medicine for Melancholy,” with another Bay Area tale of an African-American man contending with the gentrified landscape of the city. Produced by “Moonlight” supporters Plan B and A24, writer-director Joe Talbot’s debut is likely to be a major breakout at the festival. “There’s a freshness to the filmmaking in this that’s exciting,” said Cooper. “It’s really about the American dream.”

Awkwafina Commands the Spotlight

The programmers didn’t skimp on Asian-American stories, either. One of the most intriguing of these is “The Farewell,” the debut of Chinese-American director Lulu Wang, which stars “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Ocean’s 8” scene-stealer Awkwafina as a woman who travels back to her native China to visit her ailing grandmother. The charismatic rapper is ripe for a complex vehicle to take advantage of her screen presence and every indication about this production suggests she’s found it. “This is such a personal story, based on the director’s own family, and you can feel that in the texture of the film,” Yutani said. (Awkwafina also surfaces in the cast of NEXT selection “Paradise Hills.”)

Actress Awkwafina attends the world premiere of "Ocean's 8" at Alice Tully Hall, in New YorkWorld Premiere of "Ocean's 8", New York, USA - 05 Jun 2018

Actress Awkwafina attends the world premiere of “Ocean’s 8” at Alice Tully Hall, in New York

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Another major entry on the Asian-American experience, “Ms. Purple” finds director Justin Chon graduating to competition after his beloved “Gook” was a discovery in the NEXT section two years ago. The story revolves around a karaoke hostess in L.A.’s Koreatown contending with a range of family issues. “I’ve never seen a film like this, and Justin in only the person who could’ve told it,” Yutani said. “There’s real authenticity in a lot of the films we chose this year.”

Women Dominate Competition

For the first time in history, Sundance’s U.S. Dramatic Competition is dominated by women, with 53% of the entries. “We didn’t track this quite as intensely as we do in the world we live in now,” Cooper said of previous editions. “We are always programming with parity and representation in mind. I think that the truth is that it was a pretty organic way we ended up here. We chose the ones that were moving, interesting, challenging for the competition.” Nevertheless, “when you’re fine-tuning the program, you really look at those numbers.” Promising entries from women directors this year include the aforementioned “The Farewell,” Pippa Bianco’s “Share,” and “To the Stars,” an Oklahoma-set period piece from Martha Stephens, whose “Land Ho!” was a NEXT breakout. But one female-directed competition entry will be generating a lot of attention right out of the gate…

Shia Gets Personal

…and its name is “Honey Boy.” Director Alma Har’el has been generating enthusiasm on the festival circuit for years, with innovative poetic documentaries like “Bombay Beach,” but she steps into narrative feature directing mode with another intriguing riff on real life: Shia LaBeouf’s personal story of the falling out and reconciliation he experienced with his father, with the actor playing his dad and Lucas Hedges playing LaBeouf at different points throughout the movie.

Shia LaBeouf Man Down

Shia LaBeouf

Shutterstock

If it sounds like a meta gimmick, just wait: “It’s a very raw movie,” said Cooper. “There’s a truth to it that most people don’t do when telling their own stories. It’s very brave. I have so much respect for Shia for making this film.” Yutani added that Har’el — making her Sundance debut — has been on the festival’s radar for years. “Her vision is so complimentary to Shia’s story and the work that he’s expressing here,” she said. “This was one of these films that we unanimously loved.”

Documentaries Capture the Moment

Sundance remains a launchpad for some of the biggest non-fiction achievements of the year (summer breakouts “RBG” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” both launched in Park City. This year’s offerings are an especially timely bunch. Buzzy titles include Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s “American Factory,” which revolves around the efforts of a Chinese billionaire to employ Ohio factory workers in an old General Motors factory, and seems poised to cast a new light on blue-collar struggles. And as American journalism continues to struggle with the “fake news” dilemma, “Mike Wallace Is Here” promises to use the story of the iconic broadcaster to put honest reporting in the context it deserves — while “Jawline” will show how much the media landscape has changed. Liza Mandelup’s documentary focuses on 16-year-old Austyn Tester, who live-streams virtually every moment of life in rural Tennessee to an active fan base while dreaming of ways to escape his surroundings.

Of course, no documentary will generate more attention leading into Sundance 2019 than “Untouchable,” Ursula Macfarlane’s look at the rise and fall of Sundance regular Harvey Weinstein. As Weinstein’s trials continue to unfold, this portrait will help bring additional context to his crimes, and fuel debate about his actual impact on independent film at the very festival where his career took root.

An “Alien” at Midnight

However, the “fun” factor of this year’s nonfiction offerings sits outside of the festival’s documentary sections altogether. “MEMORY – The Origins of Alien” finds director Alexandre O. Phillipe returning to the midnight section, where “78/52” — his playful dissection of the shower sequence from “Psycho” — first took off. His new movie is a similarly-minded deep dive into a cinematic phenomenon: the origins of Ridley Scott’s “Alien,” the complex mythological roots of the story, as well as its long-term impact. “It just needed to play in midnight,” Cooper said. “It has all these fun clips of horror movies and people talking about gore.”

NEXT Breakouts As Usual

Sundance’s NEXT section has been its most exciting program in recent years, where it has delivered future successes ranging from “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” to last year’s “Searching.” NEXT is essentially a platform for offbeat or innovative storytelling that might not be quite the universal crowdpleaser that competition demands, but could find its footing as a discovery. This year’s lineup includes a few familiar names, but only to people who are really tracking outré American cinema. Alice Waddington’s debut “Paradise Hills,” about a woman who uncovers the dark secret of the high-class family she’s forced to live with, was written by Nacho Vigalondo the cult director of “Timecrimes” and “Colossal.” Then Daniel Scheinert, one half of the directing duo behind Sundance hit “Swiss Army Man,” returns to the festival with “The Death of Dick Long” — another unusual-sounding story about a dead guy, this time in small-town Alabama, and two men who try to cover it up.

But Sundance programmers are especially keen on making sure people see “Give Me Liberty,” the debut of writer-director Kiril Mikhanovsky. The movie revolves around a race-fueled riot in Milwaukee, where a medical transport driver attempts to help both an elderly Russian family attend a funeral and assist a young black woman with ALS. “This is the one that should be the breakout of the section,” said Cooper. “It’s one of those films that’s such a delight to see in our programming season. It’s a film that’s so authentic and you just don’t know what’s going to happen from scene to scene. We wanted to position it the right way so it doesn’t get lost.”

Movies Will Sell, and Buyers Will Be Hungry

Despite all the changes this year, Sundance is still a major marketplace, and buyers attend in the hopes of finding a good reason to open up their wallets. Whether heavyhitters like Netflix and Amazon decide to spend big or boutique outfits like A24 and Neon beef up their slates, they’ll have plenty of options. Cooper singled out “Blinded By the Light,” the latest from “Bend It Like Beckham” director Gurinder Chadha, as having real potential in the typically commercial Premieres section. The 1987-set movie deals with the cultural impact of Bruce Springsteen’s music on an angst-riddled teen. “It’s going to be a real crowdpleaser,” he said.

“Velvet Buzzsaw”

He was also keen on seeing the reaction to “Velvet Buzzsaw,” the latest from “Nightcrawler” director Dan Gilroy, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo in a satire of the L.A. art world. “It just spoke to me in some crazy way,” he said. “It’s hard to make a parody of the art world, because it’s such a parody of itself, but those actors make it such a fun romp, and it’s a horror movie on top of that.”

Lucas Hedges Owns Awards Buzz With ‘Boy Erased’, ‘Ben Is Back’ & ‘Mid90s’

With each passing year, Lucas Hedges multiplies his awards season filmography. First there was Manchester by the Sea, for which he was Oscar nominated. Then, last year, much-garlanded turns in Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Th…

With each passing year, Lucas Hedges multiplies his awards season filmography. First there was Manchester by the Sea, for which he was Oscar nominated. Then, last year, much-garlanded turns in Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. This year he's back with no fewer than three films: Joel Edgerton's Boy Erased, in which Hedges takes the lead as a teenager coerced into conversion therapy; his father Peter Hedges' Ben is Back, in which he plays an addict…

15 Hollywood Actors Who Had Epic Fails as Music Stars (Photos)

There are a few (lots of) Hollywood actors that tried venturing out into the musical world. Some (very few) made it work and others… Well, here’s a list of 15 that should’ve just not.
Lindsay Lohan
Lohan debuted her first album &#8220…

There are a few (lots of) Hollywood actors that tried venturing out into the musical world. Some (very few) made it work and others… Well, here’s a list of 15 that should’ve just not.

Lindsay Lohan

Lohan debuted her first album “Speak” in 2004 and it actually did pretty well commercially. Her music video for “Rumors” even got nominated for an MTV Video Music Award.

She wasn’t horrible, but she just wasn’t pop star good.

Eddie Murphy

Believe it or not, Eddie Murphy had a low-key music career. You probably know him best from his single “I’m a Believer” off Shrek… and that’s probably it.

He just released a reggae single with Snoop Dogg in 2o13, but like most of his stuff no one’s heard it.

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp has been into music for a very long time, but it wasn’t until 2015 where he took it upon himself to create a band with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry called Hollywood Vampires.

He’s told People: “Music is still part of my life… But you won’t be hearing The Johnny Depp Band. That won’t ever exist.”

William Shatner

William Shatner’s music isn’t exactly music more so as it is interpretive spoken word.

He speaks the lyrics in an exaggerated manner rather than sing them so there’s that career down the drain.

Ryan Gosling

We love Ryan Gosling, but his music career? Not so much.

The actor started a rock group called Dead Man’s Bones–creepy–with his friend Zach Shields in 2007. They released an album by the same name too.

Their music couldn’t have been all too bad because a song made into the soundtrack for “The Conjuring.”

But we don’t want to stare at Ryan Gosling singing, we’d much rather stare at him on a giant screen acting.

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy decided to enhance his “Star Trek” character by recording science-fiction themed songs.

His first album was titled” Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space.”

Nimoy’s music was eclectic to say the least.

Michael Cera

Michael Cera is a touring bass player of indie rock band Mister Heavenly.

In 2014, he released his debut album titled “True That” to generally positive reviews.

He hasn’t released anything else and quite frankly, we’re glad he hasn’t. Movies seem to be more of Cera’s thing.

Kevin Costner

This big time movie star is also part of a country rock band called Kevin Costner & Modern West. They even started a worldwide tour in 2007.

Apparently, he’s at his happiest when making music, but I think we can all agree that he’s a better actor than he is a musician.

Keanu Reeves

The “Matrix” actor played bass guitar for a rock band called Dogstar and also performed with another band called Becky.

Turns out music was just a hobby for the actor, because he quit when the band got too serious.

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Jennifer Love Hewitt actually started her music career pretty early. At 12-years-old she debuted her first album exclusively in Japan and it did extremely well.

Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf recently made headlines when he showed everyone he could rap, but there were a few people who weren’t too pleased with his freestyle skills–Soulja Boy.

Although LaBeouf wasn’t a terrible rapper, he probably should just stick to acting.

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis’ debut album was actually released by Motown in 1987 for its R&B stylings. “The Return of Bruno” didn’t do very well but it also wasn’t completely garbage, it was just OK.

Jada Pinkett Smith

Unlike her husband, Will Smith, Jada’s music career didn’t land her a Grammy but that doesn’t mean it was all bad.

She created a metal band called Wicked Wisdom in 2002 and when Sharon Osbourne saw them perform she said she was “blown away.”

Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe’s musical career also started way back when (1980’s) and has been going subjectively strong until at least 2012.

It’s obvious his acting career was a lot more popular than his singing.

David Hasselhoff

David Hasselhoff had a pretty extensive music career, which kicked off in the 1980s. He even made it to the number one spot on German pop charts with this single “Looking for freedom.”

He dropped his 17th album in 2012, so either he has a pretty good fan base or he just doesn’t care and makes music just to make it.

Either way, his time is better spent on screen.

 

Shia LaBeouf is coming for Jared Leto’s Joker in this teaser image for The Tax Collector

Remember when you first saw Jared Leto’s take on the Joker for the Suicide Squad movie? Remember the way the unhinged madness of his various “ha ha ha” tattoos sent a chill down your spine? His was the very face of chaos, a man who had looked into the …

Remember when you first saw Jared Leto’s take on the Joker for the Suicide Squad movie? Remember the way the unhinged madness of his various “ha ha ha” tattoos sent a chill down your spine? His was the very face of chaos, a man who had looked into the black void of society and come out laughing on the other side. Now,…

Read more...

George Lopez, Lana Parrilla Join David Ayer’s ‘The Tax Collector’

EXCLUSIVE: David Ayer has started production in Los Angeles on the indie thriller The Tax Collector, a co-production from Cross Creek Pictures and Cedar Park Entertainment. Ayer, who wrote the script and is directing before he tackles the Bright sequel…

EXCLUSIVE: David Ayer has started production in Los Angeles on the indie thriller The Tax Collector, a co-production from Cross Creek Pictures and Cedar Park Entertainment. Ayer, who wrote the script and is directing before he tackles the Bright sequel with Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, has tapped George Lopez and Once Upon A Time’s Lana Parrilla to join Bobby Soto and Shia LaBeouf. Deadline revealed the project last month.  Cheyenne Rae Hernandez will also be part of the…

Up-and-coming screenwriter Shia LaBeouf enters contest to break into the movie industry

Lots of people all over the world have dreams of making it in Hollywood, but one 32-year-old boy name Shia LaBeouf from the sleepy town of Los Angeles just might have a chance to make those dreams a reality. That boy’s name is Shia LaBeouf, and accordi…

Lots of people all over the world have dreams of making it in Hollywood, but one 32-year-old boy name Shia LaBeouf from the sleepy town of Los Angeles just might have a chance to make those dreams a reality. That boy’s name is Shia LaBeouf, and according to The Wrap, a script he wrote for a feature film called Honey

Read more...

Shia LaBeouf Entered a Contest for ‘Up-and-Coming’ Screenwriters – With a Film Now in Production

Shia LaBeouf just might have a future as a screenwriter if he ever gets tired of acting: The “Transformers” star has made it to the quarterfinals of the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards, a contest for up-and-coming screenwriters.

LaBeouf has a bragging point most of his fellow quarterfinalists don’t: His feature film script, “Honey Boy,” is in production at Automatik Entertainment, where Brian Kavanaugh-Jones (“Midnight Special,” “Sinister”) is a producing partner. Lucas Hedges will star alongside LaBeouf.

That might seem like a built-in advantage, but PAGE executive director Kristin Overn said the contest, which has attracted some big names in the past, is judged anonymously so that no one benefits or is unfairly judged for having a famous name.

Also Read: Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges to Star as Father and Son in ‘Honey Boy’

“Though it may appear that someone working in the industry would have no need to enter a screenwriting contest to get their project recognized and produced, that is not necessarily the case,” Overn told TheWrap. “Achieving the status of finalist or winner in a well-known competition like ours is a ‘stamp of approval’ that can add extra juice to a project and help get the attention of agents and producers, who might otherwise dismiss a script written by an actor or crew member.”

PAGE says it aims to “discover the most exciting new scripts by up-and-coming writers from across the country and around the world.”

Writers can’t have earned more than $50,000 working as a screenwriter or fictional TV writer. But as long as the screenplay hasn’t been optioned or produced as of the date submitted, it’s eligible for an award.

Also Read: Kanye West Took Shia LaBeouf’s Indiana Jones Hat, and 5 More Takeaways From Esquire’s LaBeouf Profile

Martin Starr, Maika Monroe (“It Follows”) and Natasha Lyonne will also star in “Honey Boy,” which follows a child actor as he works to mend the relationship with his hard-drinking, law-breaking father.

Besides being an actor and (now) a screenwriter, LeBouef is known for his performance art, like the time he wore a paper bag that read “I am not famous anymore” over his head on the red carpet at the Berlin Film Festival, or the time he invited fans to the Angelika Film Center in New York as he  watched every movie he’s appeared in and broadcast his reactions to the world.

LaBeouf, who is currently shooting “The Tax Collector” with director David Ayer, wasn’t available to speak with TheWrap about “Honey Boy.”

Also Read: Shia LaBeouf on His Georgia Arrest and Racist Rant to Police Last Year: ‘I F-ed Up’

Overn said some of the famous people who have entered in the past include Cary Elwes (“Princess Bride”), whose “Elvis & Nixon” script was a PAGE finalist and was made into a film. And the TV drama pilot “The Saint,” written by Kunal Nayyar (“Big Bang Theory”) and Corey Sorenson (“Chicago Fire”), was a finalist last year.

“We are now in our 15th year here at the PAGE Awards and are quite highly regarded by the industry, so we do often receive submissions from people who work in various other capacities in the business, including directors, actors and crew,” Overn said.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Borg/McEnroe’ Film Review: Shia LaBeouf Tennis Movie Mixes Backhands With Psychoanalysis

Shia LaBeouf Sentenced to Anger Management Over Racist Run-In With Police

‘Indiana Jones 5’ Won’t Bring Back Shia LaBeouf’s Mutt, Screenwriter Says

Shia LaBeouf just might have a future as a screenwriter if he ever gets tired of acting: The “Transformers” star has made it to the quarterfinals of the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards, a contest for up-and-coming screenwriters.

LaBeouf has a bragging point most of his fellow quarterfinalists don’t: His feature film script, “Honey Boy,” is in production at Automatik Entertainment, where Brian Kavanaugh-Jones (“Midnight Special,” “Sinister”) is a producing partner. Lucas Hedges will star alongside LaBeouf.

That might seem like a built-in advantage, but PAGE executive director Kristin Overn said the contest, which has attracted some big names in the past, is judged anonymously so that no one benefits or is unfairly judged for having a famous name.

“Though it may appear that someone working in the industry would have no need to enter a screenwriting contest to get their project recognized and produced, that is not necessarily the case,” Overn told TheWrap. “Achieving the status of finalist or winner in a well-known competition like ours is a ‘stamp of approval’ that can add extra juice to a project and help get the attention of agents and producers, who might otherwise dismiss a script written by an actor or crew member.”

PAGE says it aims to “discover the most exciting new scripts by up-and-coming writers from across the country and around the world.”

Writers can’t have earned more than $50,000 working as a screenwriter or fictional TV writer. But as long as the screenplay hasn’t been optioned or produced as of the date submitted, it’s eligible for an award.

Martin Starr, Maika Monroe (“It Follows”) and Natasha Lyonne will also star in “Honey Boy,” which follows a child actor as he works to mend the relationship with his hard-drinking, law-breaking father.

Besides being an actor and (now) a screenwriter, LeBouef is known for his performance art, like the time he wore a paper bag that read “I am not famous anymore” over his head on the red carpet at the Berlin Film Festival, or the time he invited fans to the Angelika Film Center in New York as he  watched every movie he’s appeared in and broadcast his reactions to the world.

LaBeouf, who is currently shooting “The Tax Collector” with director David Ayer, wasn’t available to speak with TheWrap about “Honey Boy.”

Overn said some of the famous people who have entered in the past include Cary Elwes (“Princess Bride”), whose “Elvis & Nixon” script was a PAGE finalist and was made into a film. And the TV drama pilot “The Saint,” written by Kunal Nayyar (“Big Bang Theory”) and Corey Sorenson (“Chicago Fire”), was a finalist last year.

“We are now in our 15th year here at the PAGE Awards and are quite highly regarded by the industry, so we do often receive submissions from people who work in various other capacities in the business, including directors, actors and crew,” Overn said.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Borg/McEnroe' Film Review: Shia LaBeouf Tennis Movie Mixes Backhands With Psychoanalysis

Shia LaBeouf Sentenced to Anger Management Over Racist Run-In With Police

'Indiana Jones 5' Won't Bring Back Shia LaBeouf's Mutt, Screenwriter Says

Film News Roundup: Shia LaBeouf to Star in David Ayer’s Thriller ‘Tax Collector’

In today’s film news roundup, Shia LaBeouf is starring in “Tax Collector,” Scout Taylor-Compton joins “Abeyance,” and streaming service Docsville is expanding. CASTINGS Shia LaBeouf and Bobby Soto are starring in David Aye…

In today’s film news roundup, Shia LaBeouf is starring in “Tax Collector,” Scout Taylor-Compton joins “Abeyance,” and streaming service Docsville is expanding. CASTINGS Shia LaBeouf and Bobby Soto are starring in David Ayer’s crime thriller “Tax Collector,” which will be shot in Los Angeles this summer. Cross Creek Pictures is financing “Tax Collector,” a co-production […]

David Ayer Sets Gritty LA Crime Thriller ‘Tax Collector;’ Shia LaBeouf, Bobby Soto Star

EXCLUSIVE: David Ayer is squeezing a gritty indie crime thriller in between directing Bright and its sequel. Ayer has begun pre-production on Tax Collector, a crime thriller he wrote and will direct in Los Angeles this summer with Shia LaBeouf and Bobb…

EXCLUSIVE: David Ayer is squeezing a gritty indie crime thriller in between directing Bright and its sequel. Ayer has begun pre-production on Tax Collector, a crime thriller he wrote and will direct in Los Angeles this summer with Shia LaBeouf and Bobby Soto starring. The film is a co-production between Cross Creek Pictures and Cedar Park Entertainment. Latter is led by Ayer and Chris Long, who just made a first look deal with eOne for television. Tax Collector harkens…

‘Westworld’s Clifton Collins Jr. Joins Lucas Hedges & Shia LaBeouf In ‘Honey Boy’

EXCLUSIVE: Clifton Collins Jr., who currently co-stars on HBO’s series, Westworld, has signed on to play opposite Lucas Hedges and Shia LaBeouf in Honey Boy, which Alma Har’el is directing from the screenplay co-written by LaBeouf.
Loosely based on the…

EXCLUSIVE: Clifton Collins Jr., who currently co-stars on HBO's series, Westworld, has signed on to play opposite Lucas Hedges and Shia LaBeouf in Honey Boy, which Alma Har'el is directing from the screenplay co-written by LaBeouf. Loosely based on the Transformers star’s relationship with his father, the pic follows a child star (Hedges) attempting to mend his relationship with his law-breaking, alcohol-abusing father (LaBeouf) over the course of a decade.  "Honey Boy"…

‘Holes’ Author Louis Sachar on How Important It Was That Film Didn’t End Up ‘Soft, Fluffy’

Louis Sachar got a lot of calls from Hollywood after his book “Holes,” which turns 20 years old this June, won the Newbery Book Award and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

But Sachar was so choosey about who he’d sell the book’s film rights to that it took five years before “Holes” the movie, starring Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight and a young Shia LaBeouf, hit the big screen. Now as the film likewise celebrates its 15th anniversary this month, Sachar is thrilled it’s his book, as well the movie, that is still remembered.

Also Read: ‘The Sandlot’ at 25: Why the ’90s Cult Classic Will Live ‘For-Ev-Ver’

“That was one of my concerns actually when I first decided to make the movie. I hope it doesn’t keep people from reading the book, that it just becomes a movie now,” the author told TheWrap. “I’m now hearing from kids who are reading the book in school and are just now realizing there was a movie made before they were born, which is amazing to me. The movie is 15 years old, and these kids are 10, 12 years old reading it. So the movie is ancient history to them.”

“Holes” is about Stanley Yelnats, a kid with rotten luck who winds up in a correctional camp for boys for a crime he didn’t commit. Stanley and his fellow “campers” are forced to dig a five-foot deep hole every day in order to “build character,” but Stanley comes to suspect that it’s just a ruse for the camp’s warden to find something buried on the grounds.

Also Read: Shia LaBeouf Laments Being ‘Not Extremely Well-Endowed’ to Jimmy Kimmel (Video)

Sachar explained that though it’s a grim subject, he was inspired to write a “fun story” and “grand adventure” in the vein of William Goldman’s “The Princess Bride.” So it was important to him to work with a producer and director like Andrew Davis (“The Fugitive”) who could bring to the project a strong cast and would take the book seriously.

“I didn’t want ‘Holes’ being turned into some soft, fluffy film,” Sachar said. “I liked the idea that it would be a director coming from making tough, gritty films making it.”

Disney

Sachar made his screenwriting debut on the film, guiding some of Davis’s choices to limit the amount of voiceover narration and preserve the story’s mythical flashbacks.

“I was surprised that he asked me to write the screenplay. My first reaction was, ‘no, get someone who knows what they’re doing,” Sachar said. “Even though I wrote it, and I was there, I never like movies of books that I like. So I was surprised how well the movie came out.”

Also Read: Stephen King ‘Maybe’ Agrees With Steven Spielberg About Their ‘Spiritual Connection’

Sachar remembers liking the film so much, he would sit through screenings of the film where he and Davis toured it for teachers across the country ahead of its release. Now 15 years removed from those screenings, he’s hearing from teachers who read the book and saw the film as kids, grew up to become teachers and are showing “Holes” to their own students.

“People had the sense this was something special,” Sachar said. “Certainly that was the case on the set. I was constantly being told by people on the crew, it’s not always like this. Everything felt like family, and there wasn’t a whole lot of ego involved. Everyone was just trying to make a good movie.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘The Sandlot’ Cast Reunites After 25 Years on ‘Today’ (Video)

‘The Sandlot’ at 25: Why the ’90s Cult Classic Will Live ‘For-Ev-Ver’

‘The Sandlot’ Turns 25: From Smalls to Squints, Where Are They Now? (Photos)

Louis Sachar got a lot of calls from Hollywood after his book “Holes,” which turns 20 years old this June, won the Newbery Book Award and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

But Sachar was so choosey about who he’d sell the book’s film rights to that it took five years before “Holes” the movie, starring Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight and a young Shia LaBeouf, hit the big screen. Now as the film likewise celebrates its 15th anniversary this month, Sachar is thrilled it’s his book, as well the movie, that is still remembered.

“That was one of my concerns actually when I first decided to make the movie. I hope it doesn’t keep people from reading the book, that it just becomes a movie now,” the author told TheWrap. “I’m now hearing from kids who are reading the book in school and are just now realizing there was a movie made before they were born, which is amazing to me. The movie is 15 years old, and these kids are 10, 12 years old reading it. So the movie is ancient history to them.”

“Holes” is about Stanley Yelnats, a kid with rotten luck who winds up in a correctional camp for boys for a crime he didn’t commit. Stanley and his fellow “campers” are forced to dig a five-foot deep hole every day in order to “build character,” but Stanley comes to suspect that it’s just a ruse for the camp’s warden to find something buried on the grounds.

Sachar explained that though it’s a grim subject, he was inspired to write a “fun story” and “grand adventure” in the vein of William Goldman’s “The Princess Bride.” So it was important to him to work with a producer and director like Andrew Davis (“The Fugitive”) who could bring to the project a strong cast and would take the book seriously.

“I didn’t want ‘Holes’ being turned into some soft, fluffy film,” Sachar said. “I liked the idea that it would be a director coming from making tough, gritty films making it.”

Disney

Sachar made his screenwriting debut on the film, guiding some of Davis’s choices to limit the amount of voiceover narration and preserve the story’s mythical flashbacks.

“I was surprised that he asked me to write the screenplay. My first reaction was, ‘no, get someone who knows what they’re doing,” Sachar said. “Even though I wrote it, and I was there, I never like movies of books that I like. So I was surprised how well the movie came out.”

Sachar remembers liking the film so much, he would sit through screenings of the film where he and Davis toured it for teachers across the country ahead of its release. Now 15 years removed from those screenings, he’s hearing from teachers who read the book and saw the film as kids, grew up to become teachers and are showing “Holes” to their own students.

“People had the sense this was something special,” Sachar said. “Certainly that was the case on the set. I was constantly being told by people on the crew, it’s not always like this. Everything felt like family, and there wasn’t a whole lot of ego involved. Everyone was just trying to make a good movie.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

'The Sandlot' Cast Reunites After 25 Years on 'Today' (Video)

'The Sandlot' at 25: Why the '90s Cult Classic Will Live 'For-Ev-Ver'

'The Sandlot' Turns 25: From Smalls to Squints, Where Are They Now? (Photos)

‘xXx 4’ in Works With Vin Diesel to Star, DJ Caruso Back as Director

Production on Vin Deisel’s fourth installment of “xXx” is slated to go into production this December as DJ Caruso also returns as director, it was announced Tuesday.

Diesel and The H Collective have also purchased full franchise rights from Revolution Studios. Revolution Studios retains its rights to the first three films.

Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum will produce with Diesel, Samantha Vincent for One Race Films and The H Collective.

Also Read: ‘xXx 4’ to Lead Slate of New Movie Production, Financing Firm The H Collective

The “xXx” franchise, which includes “xXx,” “xXx: State of the Union,” and “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” has collectively grossed nearly $1 billion at the worldwide box-office.

The H Collective CEO Nic Crawley said: “During my time at Paramount I was lucky to be involved in the development and distribution of xXx: Return of Xander Cage. The response from the Chinese box office was unprecedented. Bringing the next installment of the xXx franchise to The H Collective complements our diversified slate and mission to produce content for a global audience.”

Diesel has starred in and produced the five highest-grossing films in the massively successful “Fast” franchise. He voices ‘Groot’ in both the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films and will also appear in Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” this April.

Also Read: ‘XXX’ Director Rob Cohen Sets Female Superhero Film ‘Razor’ as Next Project

Caruso directed the franchise’s previous installment “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” and is best known for his work on DreamWork’s thriller “Eagle Eye” starring Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan, as well as “I am Number Four” for Touchstone Pictures and “Disturbia” for Paramount. His TV credits include “The Shield” for FX which earned two Golden Globe wins.

The H Collective, who will finance “xXx 4” alongside investment partners including Sparkle Roll Media, HCH Media, Dadi Cinema, and Angeleno Studio, is currently in production on an Untitled Horror Feature produced by James Gunn starring Elizabeth Banks and is also in post-production on Christopher Cantwell’s “The Parts You Lose.”

Diesel is represented by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Caruso is represented by CAA and Media Talent Group.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Vin Diesel Closes Deal to Star in Sony’s ‘Bloodshot’

‘Get Christie Love’ Reboot From Vin Diesel, Courtney Kemp Gets Pilot Order at ABC

Vin Diesel Sued, Again, Over ‘xXx’ Sequel

Production on Vin Deisel’s fourth installment of “xXx” is slated to go into production this December as DJ Caruso also returns as director, it was announced Tuesday.

Diesel and The H Collective have also purchased full franchise rights from Revolution Studios. Revolution Studios retains its rights to the first three films.

Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum will produce with Diesel, Samantha Vincent for One Race Films and The H Collective.

The “xXx” franchise, which includes “xXx,” “xXx: State of the Union,” and “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” has collectively grossed nearly $1 billion at the worldwide box-office.

The H Collective CEO Nic Crawley said: “During my time at Paramount I was lucky to be involved in the development and distribution of xXx: Return of Xander Cage. The response from the Chinese box office was unprecedented. Bringing the next installment of the xXx franchise to The H Collective complements our diversified slate and mission to produce content for a global audience.”

Diesel has starred in and produced the five highest-grossing films in the massively successful “Fast” franchise. He voices ‘Groot’ in both the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films and will also appear in Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” this April.

Caruso directed the franchise’s previous installment “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” and is best known for his work on DreamWork’s thriller “Eagle Eye” starring Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan, as well as “I am Number Four” for Touchstone Pictures and “Disturbia” for Paramount. His TV credits include “The Shield” for FX which earned two Golden Globe wins.

The H Collective, who will finance “xXx 4” alongside investment partners including Sparkle Roll Media, HCH Media, Dadi Cinema, and Angeleno Studio, is currently in production on an Untitled Horror Feature produced by James Gunn starring Elizabeth Banks and is also in post-production on Christopher Cantwell’s “The Parts You Lose.”

Diesel is represented by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Caruso is represented by CAA and Media Talent Group.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Vin Diesel Closes Deal to Star in Sony's 'Bloodshot'

'Get Christie Love' Reboot From Vin Diesel, Courtney Kemp Gets Pilot Order at ABC

Vin Diesel Sued, Again, Over 'xXx' Sequel

‘A Quiet Place’ Star Noah Jupe to Play Young Shia LaBeouf in ‘Honey Boy’

“A Quiet Place” star Noah Jupe will play the young version of Shia LaBeouf in the independent drama “Honey Boy.” Lucas Hedges will portray the young-adult version of LaBeouf, while LaBeouf will play his own father. The movie is about a child star attempting to mend his relationship with his law-breaking, alcohol-abusing father over the course of […]

“A Quiet Place” star Noah Jupe will play the young version of Shia LaBeouf in the independent drama “Honey Boy.” Lucas Hedges will portray the young-adult version of LaBeouf, while LaBeouf will play his own father. The movie is about a child star attempting to mend his relationship with his law-breaking, alcohol-abusing father over the course of […]

‘Borg vs McEnroe’ Flounders at Indie Box Office While ‘The Rider’ Shines

In a quieter weekend for the indie box office, NEON’s “Borg vs. McEnroe,” Janus Metz Pedersen’s film about the tennis rivalry between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe had a disappointing start, making only $50,135 for a per screen average of just $1,045. The film starring Shia LaBeouf and Sverrir Gudnason as the famed duo was released on 46 screens and has an 82 percent RT score.

On the flip side, Sony Pictures Classics’ “The Rider” posted the top per screen average from its three-screen release. Directed by Chloe Zhao, the film made $45,268 for a PSA of $15,089.

Also Read: ‘Rampage’ Stomps Past ‘A Quiet Place’ for $34.5 Million Box Office Win

“The Rider” stars Brady Jandreau as a Lakota rodeo rider who hoped that his skills on a horse would lead him out of poverty on the reservation he lives on, but must come to a personal reckoning after serious head trauma forces him to end his rodeo career. The film has received critical acclaim with a 98 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Also disappointing was the indie animation film “Sgt. Stubby,” which tells the true story of the titular Boston Terrier who became a hero during World War I for finding wounded soldiers in No Man’s Land, becoming the first dog to be promoted to Sergeant in the U.S. Army. While it had a 90 percent RT score, it only made $1.1 million from 1,633.

Also Read: ‘The Rider’ Film Review: Lyrical Tale of Injured Rodeo Star Heralds a Major Talent

Finally, there’s Bleecker Street’s “Beirut,” a thriller starring Jon Hamm as a former U.S. diplomat who comes out of retirement to save a colleague from the group that killed his family in 1980s Beirut. Also starring Rosamund Pike and Dean Norris, the film made $1.6 million from 755 screens for a PSA of just under $2,200

Among holdovers, IFC’s “The Death of Stalin” added $460,000 from 325 screens in its sixth weekend to bring its total to $6.2 million. Amazon’s “You Were Never Really Here” expanded to 51 screens in its second weekend for $310,000 to bring its total to $497,000.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Rampage’ Stomps Past ‘A Quiet Place’ for $34.5 Million Box Office Win

5 Reasons ‘A Quiet Place’ Became Horror’s Latest Box Office Sensation

‘You Were Never Really Here’ Rides Cannes Praise to Big Indie Box Office Start

In a quieter weekend for the indie box office, NEON’s “Borg vs. McEnroe,” Janus Metz Pedersen’s film about the tennis rivalry between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe had a disappointing start, making only $50,135 for a per screen average of just $1,045. The film starring Shia LaBeouf and Sverrir Gudnason as the famed duo was released on 46 screens and has an 82 percent RT score.

On the flip side, Sony Pictures Classics’ “The Rider” posted the top per screen average from its three-screen release. Directed by Chloe Zhao, the film made $45,268 for a PSA of $15,089.

“The Rider” stars Brady Jandreau as a Lakota rodeo rider who hoped that his skills on a horse would lead him out of poverty on the reservation he lives on, but must come to a personal reckoning after serious head trauma forces him to end his rodeo career. The film has received critical acclaim with a 98 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Also disappointing was the indie animation film “Sgt. Stubby,” which tells the true story of the titular Boston Terrier who became a hero during World War I for finding wounded soldiers in No Man’s Land, becoming the first dog to be promoted to Sergeant in the U.S. Army. While it had a 90 percent RT score, it only made $1.1 million from 1,633.

Finally, there’s Bleecker Street’s “Beirut,” a thriller starring Jon Hamm as a former U.S. diplomat who comes out of retirement to save a colleague from the group that killed his family in 1980s Beirut. Also starring Rosamund Pike and Dean Norris, the film made $1.6 million from 755 screens for a PSA of just under $2,200

Among holdovers, IFC’s “The Death of Stalin” added $460,000 from 325 screens in its sixth weekend to bring its total to $6.2 million. Amazon’s “You Were Never Really Here” expanded to 51 screens in its second weekend for $310,000 to bring its total to $497,000.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Rampage' Stomps Past 'A Quiet Place' for $34.5 Million Box Office Win

5 Reasons 'A Quiet Place' Became Horror's Latest Box Office Sensation

'You Were Never Really Here' Rides Cannes Praise to Big Indie Box Office Start

Shia LaBeouf Laments Being ‘Not Extremely Well-Endowed’ to Jimmy Kimmel (Video)

Shia LaBeouf doesn’t want to take a steam with you, other Hollywood actors — that is, unless you agree on a strict towel rule ahead of time.

On Thursday’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the actor and artist recalled a recent trip to Finland — one part of the experience left Shia feeling a bit… shy.

“For a person who’s not extremely well-endowed, who’s kinda insecure about my own junk, there’s something about sitting naked with a Sami native in a hut getting warm right away before you say hello,” LaBeouf told his host.

It’s “just all d—” over there, the “Borg vs. McEnroe” star added, which we think should be the Finland Tourism Board’s new slogan.

Also Read: ‘Borg/McEnroe’ Film Review: Shia LaBeouf Tennis Movie Mixes Backhands With Psychoanalysis

“That kinda thing is a very uncomfortable thing,” LaBeouf told a delighted Jimmy Kimmel, “but in Finland it’s so culturally normal.”

Watch the video above.

Movie theaters are serving up “Borg vs. McEnroe” beginning today.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges to Star as Father and Son in ‘Honey Boy’

Shia LaBeouf on His Georgia Arrest and Racist Rant to Police Last Year: ‘I F–ed Up’

Shia LaBeouf Sentenced to Anger Management Over Racist Run-In With Police

Shia LaBeouf doesn’t want to take a steam with you, other Hollywood actors — that is, unless you agree on a strict towel rule ahead of time.

On Thursday’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the actor and artist recalled a recent trip to Finland — one part of the experience left Shia feeling a bit… shy.

“For a person who’s not extremely well-endowed, who’s kinda insecure about my own junk, there’s something about sitting naked with a Sami native in a hut getting warm right away before you say hello,” LaBeouf told his host.

It’s “just all d—” over there, the “Borg vs. McEnroe” star added, which we think should be the Finland Tourism Board’s new slogan.

“That kinda thing is a very uncomfortable thing,” LaBeouf told a delighted Jimmy Kimmel, “but in Finland it’s so culturally normal.”

Watch the video above.

Movie theaters are serving up “Borg vs. McEnroe” beginning today.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges to Star as Father and Son in 'Honey Boy'

Shia LaBeouf on His Georgia Arrest and Racist Rant to Police Last Year: 'I F–ed Up'

Shia LaBeouf Sentenced to Anger Management Over Racist Run-In With Police

‘Borg Vs. McEnroe’ Review: Shia LaBeouf Serves Up A Winning Impression Of A Bratty Tennis Great And Scores

Almost as big a challenge as knocking off a four-time Wimbledon champion is actually centering an entire movie around a match where most probably already know the outcome. But that is exactly what director Janus Metz and screenwriter Ronnie Sandahl have done with Borg Vs. McEnroe, a recreation of the infamous 1980 Wimbledon men’s tennis final that pitted four-time victor Bjorn Borg against the current bad boy of the game John McEnroe.
Utilizing flashbacks to get their…

Almost as big a challenge as knocking off a four-time Wimbledon champion is actually centering an entire movie around a match where most probably already know the outcome. But that is exactly what director Janus Metz and screenwriter Ronnie Sandahl have done with Borg Vs. McEnroe, a recreation of the infamous 1980 Wimbledon men’s tennis final that pitted four-time victor Bjorn Borg against the current bad boy of the game John McEnroe. Utilizing flashbacks to get their…

‘Borg/McEnroe’ Film Review: Shia LaBeouf Tennis Movie Mixes Backhands With Psychoanalysis

If nothing else, “Borg/McEnroe” makes its ambitions clear from the start. The film from director Janus Metz opens with a title-card quote from Andre Agassi (who otherwise has nothing to do with this particular tennis story) that concludes, “Every match is a life in miniature.”

Make that two lives in miniature, because “Borg/McEnroe” sets out to encapsulate the troubled journeys of tennis stars Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe within one epic match. That came in the 1980 Wimbledon final, when the emotionless Swede was going for a record fifth consecutive Wimbledon title and the brash American was trying to climb to No. 1.

The film does a respectable job of it, tying on-court demeanor to past traumas and building to a suitably dramatic ending. After a while, though, you start to feel sorry for poor tennis, forced to bear the burden of all that metaphor.

Also Read: ‘Beirut’ Film Review: Jon Hamm Mired in Muddled Middle-East Tale

The prospect of celebrated hothead John McEnroe portrayed by celebrated hothead Shia LaBeouf is no doubt responsible for a lot of the attention that “Borg/McEnroe” garnered before its premiere as the opening-night attraction at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. But the argumentative New Yorker takes definite back seat in the film to his Nordic rival.

The film starts with Sverrir Gudnason’s Borg, on top of the world after his four consecutive Wimbledon titles but clearly troubled and lonely in his high-rise Monaco retreat. He’s besieged by fans, conflicted by fame and scared that if he doesn’t win again he’ll be remembered as a one-time loser, not a four-time winner.

Also Read: Shia LaBeouf Apologizes After Racist Arrest Video Released: ‘I Am Deeply Ashamed’

McEnroe comes in later, a pugnacious competitor vilified in the New York Times as “the worst representative for American values since Al Capone” and obsessed with overtaking the man he says “isn’t human” after watching a Borg press conference.

It’s the emotionless Swede vs. the guy who’s all emotion – but one of the points of “Borg/McEnroe” is that this shorthand just isn’t true, that Borg was as fiery as McEnroe but had made a conscious decision to stifle his emotion in public.

The movie makes that point partly through copious flashbacks and partly through effectively nuanced performances by Sverrir Gudnason and LaBeouf (though the latter brings his own persona with him, which hampers our ability to see him as McEnroe). But it also overplays its hand by being a little too obvious with the armchair psychoanalysis.

And in the home stretch, when we get close to the Wimbledon final, Metz revs up a game of “who can be more tortured and carry more baggage onto Centre Court?” In this corner, McEnroe explodes at the press; over there, Borg writhes on the shower floor from the pressure.

Also Read: ‘Truth or Dare’ Film Review: Blumhouse College Horror Doesn’t Make the Grade

And then McEnroe says, “Everything I’ve ever done has led up to this match,” and we’re in for five epic sets. McEnroe glowers and smashes. Borg sweats and lunges. McEnroe glowers some more. (LaBeouf, it must be said, is an accomplished glowerer.)

The backhands and ground strokes get bigger, the music gets more pretentious, an international cadre of reporters spells things out for us (“And now it’s all about heart!”) and well, it’s just a bit much.

Borg, for the record, attended a Swedish screening and said the film was “OK.” McEnroe reportedly disagreed and said, “I don’t think it is a good movie.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Toronto Film Market: Indie Distributors Struggle as Netflix, Amazon Look to Dominate (Again)

Lady Gaga Movie and Performance Added to Toronto Film Festival Lineup

‘Lady Bird’ Review: Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan Create Fearless Coming-of-Age Story

If nothing else, “Borg/McEnroe” makes its ambitions clear from the start. The film from director Janus Metz opens with a title-card quote from Andre Agassi (who otherwise has nothing to do with this particular tennis story) that concludes, “Every match is a life in miniature.”

Make that two lives in miniature, because “Borg/McEnroe” sets out to encapsulate the troubled journeys of tennis stars Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe within one epic match. That came in the 1980 Wimbledon final, when the emotionless Swede was going for a record fifth consecutive Wimbledon title and the brash American was trying to climb to No. 1.

The film does a respectable job of it, tying on-court demeanor to past traumas and building to a suitably dramatic ending. After a while, though, you start to feel sorry for poor tennis, forced to bear the burden of all that metaphor.

The prospect of celebrated hothead John McEnroe portrayed by celebrated hothead Shia LaBeouf is no doubt responsible for a lot of the attention that “Borg/McEnroe” garnered before its premiere as the opening-night attraction at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. But the argumentative New Yorker takes definite back seat in the film to his Nordic rival.

The film starts with Sverrir Gudnason’s Borg, on top of the world after his four consecutive Wimbledon titles but clearly troubled and lonely in his high-rise Monaco retreat. He’s besieged by fans, conflicted by fame and scared that if he doesn’t win again he’ll be remembered as a one-time loser, not a four-time winner.

McEnroe comes in later, a pugnacious competitor vilified in the New York Times as “the worst representative for American values since Al Capone” and obsessed with overtaking the man he says “isn’t human” after watching a Borg press conference.

It’s the emotionless Swede vs. the guy who’s all emotion – but one of the points of “Borg/McEnroe” is that this shorthand just isn’t true, that Borg was as fiery as McEnroe but had made a conscious decision to stifle his emotion in public.

The movie makes that point partly through copious flashbacks and partly through effectively nuanced performances by Sverrir Gudnason and LaBeouf (though the latter brings his own persona with him, which hampers our ability to see him as McEnroe). But it also overplays its hand by being a little too obvious with the armchair psychoanalysis.

And in the home stretch, when we get close to the Wimbledon final, Metz revs up a game of “who can be more tortured and carry more baggage onto Centre Court?” In this corner, McEnroe explodes at the press; over there, Borg writhes on the shower floor from the pressure.

And then McEnroe says, “Everything I’ve ever done has led up to this match,” and we’re in for five epic sets. McEnroe glowers and smashes. Borg sweats and lunges. McEnroe glowers some more. (LaBeouf, it must be said, is an accomplished glowerer.)

The backhands and ground strokes get bigger, the music gets more pretentious, an international cadre of reporters spells things out for us (“And now it’s all about heart!”) and well, it’s just a bit much.

Borg, for the record, attended a Swedish screening and said the film was “OK.” McEnroe reportedly disagreed and said, “I don’t think it is a good movie.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Toronto Film Market: Indie Distributors Struggle as Netflix, Amazon Look to Dominate (Again)

Lady Gaga Movie and Performance Added to Toronto Film Festival Lineup

'Lady Bird' Review: Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan Create Fearless Coming-of-Age Story

Jared Leto Is Following in Shia LaBeouf’s Footsteps and Hitchhiking Across America

Leto’s career post-Oscar win continues to be incredibly strange.

Jared Leto’s career post-Oscar win is about to take another unusual turn. The actor has announced he’s going to hitchhike across America in celebration of his band 30 Second to Mars’ fifth album, “America.” Leto has been in New York City this week promoting the album, which becomes available to purchase on April 6, and he’ll head to Los Angeles by way of hitchhiking through the country.

“It’s a pretty big adventure,” Leto told Ryan Seacrest about his plan during a visit to Seacrest’s radio show. “I’m going to hitchhike, among other things, across the country from New York City to Los Angeles. I may jump on a donkey in the Grand Canyon or take a hot air balloon. I got the gear.”

Leto not-so-surprisingly revealed he hitchhiked a lot as a kid and learned to trust his instincts in the process.

“You know if you get that look, that 1000-yard-stare, no blinking, you probably should just steer clear,” he said of deciding on who to trust in the driver’s seat. “But you meet a lot of interesting people and a lot of really kind people. You see a lot of things that are very different than what you might expect because of what we hear on the news. You see a lot of people getting along. You see a lot of beauty and inspiration.”

Leto is just the latest actor to make hitchhiking across a America his new undertaking. Shia LaBeouf famously used Twitter and social media to hitchhike across the country in summer 2016 as part of an art project called #TakeMeAnywhere. LaBeouf and his artistic collaborators Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner would tweet the GPS coordinates of their location and wait for a follower traveling through the area to bring them to their next destination.

As far as acting is concerned, Leto most recently starred in the polarizing Yakuza drama “The Outside.” He also played the villain in last year’s acclaimed tentpole “Blade Runner 2049.” Leto is expected to reprise his role as The Joker in Warner Bros’ “Suicide Squad” sequel.

Martina Navratilova Says John McEnroe Makes 10 Times as Much as Her for Wimbledon TV Gig

Martina Navratilova says John McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, was paid at least “10 times more” than she was for their Wimbledon commentating roles.

Navratilova said she makes £15,000 ($21,000) covering Wimbledon, while McEnroe makes “at least £150,000 ($210,000),” she said.

“Unless John McEnroe’s doing a whole bunch of stuff outside of Wimbledon, he’s getting at least 10 times as much money as I am for very comparable work,” Navratilova said to BBC Panorama.

Also Read: ‘Borg/McEnroe’ Toronto Review: Shia LaBeouf Tennis Movie Mixes Backhands With Psychoanalysis

And she’s “not happy” about that. Navratilova knows this is just a two-week gig for her, but extrapolate that for women working full-time for the BBC, and she’s “angry.”

“It’s extremely unfair and it makes me angry for the other women that I think go through this,” Navratilova said.

The BBC did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for its statement on McEnroe’s pay versus Navratilova’s. However, on the BBC News website, the company says the two commentators are on different contracts and that Navratilova appears less than McEnroe does.

Also Read: Shia LaBeouf Surprises by Channeling Borg, Not McEnroe, at Toronto Press Conference

“Ten times as much? I don’t think so,” Navratilova said in response.

“John and Martina perform different roles in the team, and John’s role is of a different scale, scope and time commitment,” BBC Sports said in a statement to the New York Post. “They are simply not comparable. John’s pay reflects all of this; gender isn’t a factor.”

According to the New York Post, Navratilova made 10 appearances for the BBC at last year’s tournament, while McEnroe made 30. Both McEnroe and Navratilova retired from professional tennis in 2006. McEnroe earned between $210,000 and $281,000 when the BBC revealed the top salaries of players last year.

Watch the video here. The interview airs tonight on BBC One as part of an investigation into the gender pay gap in Britain.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Eva Longoria Also Calls Out E! for Unequal Pay on Golden Globes Red Carpet

Debra Messing Calls Out E! on E!’s Red Carpet Show for Catt Sadler Equal Pay Dispute

Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez Really Want Equal Pay for Women Too (Video)

Martina Navratilova says John McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, was paid at least “10 times more” than she was for their Wimbledon commentating roles.

Navratilova said she makes £15,000 ($21,000) covering Wimbledon, while McEnroe makes “at least £150,000 ($210,000),” she said.

“Unless John McEnroe’s doing a whole bunch of stuff outside of Wimbledon, he’s getting at least 10 times as much money as I am for very comparable work,” Navratilova said to BBC Panorama.

And she’s “not happy” about that. Navratilova knows this is just a two-week gig for her, but extrapolate that for women working full-time for the BBC, and she’s “angry.”

“It’s extremely unfair and it makes me angry for the other women that I think go through this,” Navratilova said.

The BBC did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for its statement on McEnroe’s pay versus Navratilova’s. However, on the BBC News website, the company says the two commentators are on different contracts and that Navratilova appears less than McEnroe does.

“Ten times as much? I don’t think so,” Navratilova said in response.

“John and Martina perform different roles in the team, and John’s role is of a different scale, scope and time commitment,” BBC Sports said in a statement to the New York Post. “They are simply not comparable. John’s pay reflects all of this; gender isn’t a factor.”

According to the New York Post, Navratilova made 10 appearances for the BBC at last year’s tournament, while McEnroe made 30. Both McEnroe and Navratilova retired from professional tennis in 2006. McEnroe earned between $210,000 and $281,000 when the BBC revealed the top salaries of players last year.

Watch the video here. The interview airs tonight on BBC One as part of an investigation into the gender pay gap in Britain.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Eva Longoria Also Calls Out E! for Unequal Pay on Golden Globes Red Carpet

Debra Messing Calls Out E! on E!'s Red Carpet Show for Catt Sadler Equal Pay Dispute

Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez Really Want Equal Pay for Women Too (Video)

Shia LaBeouf Is Starring in a Movie About Shia LaBeouf, but He Won’t Be Playing Shia LaBeouf

Lucas Hedges will play LaBeouf, who’s co-starring as his own father.

You might think it’s too soon for a Shia LaBeouf biopic, but you would apparently be wrong: “Honey Boy” is adopting the actor’s “just do it!” philosophy and coming into existence whether you like it or not. LaBeouf will star in the film, but not as himself — the actor will instead play his father, with Lucas Hedges taking on the role of LaBeouf.

Loosely based on its subject’s life, the project is described by Variety as “the story of a child star attempting to mend his relationship with his law-breaking, alcohol-abusing father over the course of a decade.” Hedges, 21, is 10 years LaBeouf’s junior. He’s built an impressive resume throughout his young career, earning an Academy Award nomination for his performance in “Manchester by the Sea” and most recently appearing in “Lady Bird” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” both of which were nominated for Best Picture.

“Bombay Beach” helmer Alma Har’el will direct the film. She received a DGA nomination for her commercial “Love Over Bias,” which aired during the Winter Olympics, and won Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2011 for “Bombay Beach.”

No word yet on when “Honey Boy” — which takes its title from LaBeouf’s childhood nickname and not his appearance in Andrea Arnold’s “American Honey” — will begin production.

Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges to Star as Father and Son in ‘Honey Boy’

Shia LaBeouf and Lucas Hedges will star in, “Honey Boy,” a film directed by Alma Har’el and financed by Stay Gold Features, it was announced Friday.

Automatik’s Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Daniela Taplin Lundberg of Stay Gold Features and Christopher Leggett of Delirio Films will produce, with Automatik’s Fred Berger as executive producer.

“Honey Boy” follows child actor Otis Lort (Hedges) and his law-breaking, alcohol-abusing father James (LaBeouf), as they attempt to mend their contentious relationship over the course of a decade.

Also Read: Shia LaBeouf on His Georgia Arrest and Racist Rant to Police Last Year: ‘I F-ed Up’

LaBeouf stars as tennis legend John McEnroe in “Borg vs McEnroe,” which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and opens in theaters in April. He will also be seen in “The Peanut Butter Falcon” with Dakota Johnson and Bruce Dern.

Hedges recently starred in the critically acclaimed films “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Lady Bird,” and received an Oscar nomination in 2016 for his supporting performance in “Manchester by the Sea.” Upcoming films include “Boy Erased” opposite Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, and “Ben Is Back” with Julie Roberts.

Har’el’s films include “LoveTrue” and “Bombay Beach,” which took the top prize at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. Her commercial “Love Over Bias” that aired during the winter Olympics earned her a DGA award nomination.

Related stories from TheWrap:

7 Hollywood Stars to Add Inclusion Riders to Their Projects, From Michael B. Jordan to Brie Larson (Photos)

Nicole Kidman to Star in HBO Limited Series ‘The Undoing’ From David E Kelley

Shia LaBeouf and Lucas Hedges will star in, “Honey Boy,” a film directed by Alma Har’el and financed by Stay Gold Features, it was announced Friday.

Automatik’s Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Daniela Taplin Lundberg of Stay Gold Features and Christopher Leggett of Delirio Films will produce, with Automatik’s Fred Berger as executive producer.

“Honey Boy” follows child actor Otis Lort (Hedges) and his law-breaking, alcohol-abusing father James (LaBeouf), as they attempt to mend their contentious relationship over the course of a decade.

LaBeouf stars as tennis legend John McEnroe in “Borg vs McEnroe,” which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and opens in theaters in April. He will also be seen in “The Peanut Butter Falcon” with Dakota Johnson and Bruce Dern.

Hedges recently starred in the critically acclaimed films “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Lady Bird,” and received an Oscar nomination in 2016 for his supporting performance in “Manchester by the Sea.” Upcoming films include “Boy Erased” opposite Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, and “Ben Is Back” with Julie Roberts.

Har’el’s films include “LoveTrue” and “Bombay Beach,” which took the top prize at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. Her commercial “Love Over Bias” that aired during the winter Olympics earned her a DGA award nomination.

Related stories from TheWrap:

7 Hollywood Stars to Add Inclusion Riders to Their Projects, From Michael B. Jordan to Brie Larson (Photos)

Nicole Kidman to Star in HBO Limited Series 'The Undoing' From David E Kelley