Sundance 2019: Premieres Include Harvey Weinstein Docu, Mindy Kaling, Dr. Ruth, UK Spies, Miles Davis & Ted Bundy

Harvey Weinstein is returning to the Sundance Film Festival, at least on screen.
A looming and powerful presence at the Robert Redford founded huddle for decades, an Ursula MacFarlane directed documentary about the rise and fall of the now disgraced an…

Harvey Weinstein is returning to the Sundance Film Festival, at least on screen. A looming and powerful presence at the Robert Redford founded huddle for decades, an Ursula MacFarlane directed documentary about the rise and fall of the now disgraced and much accused producer is one of the premieres at this year's SFF. Implicated by more than 60 women of sexual assault or sexual harassment, a number of which took place at the Utah film gathering, Weinstein is facing a…

Hilary Swank & Robert Forster Take A Personal Journey With Elizabeth Chomko In ‘What They Had’ – The Contenders LA

At today’s Contenders LA, here’s what they said about What They Had, Bleecker Street’s family drama from first time writer/director Elizabeth Chomko.
“It was something that I wrote for my family,” said Chomko, appearing on a panel with stars Hilary Swa…

At today's Contenders LA, here's what they said about What They Had, Bleecker Street's family drama from first time writer/director Elizabeth Chomko. "It was something that I wrote for my family," said Chomko, appearing on a panel with stars Hilary Swank and Robert Forster. "It’s about the things that happened during my grandmother's Alzheimer's disease…a place of grief and time traveling." Chomko said she wrote the first draft seven years ago, and joked that was followed…

‘What They Had’ Film Review: Strong Cast Shines in Tough, Loving Alzheimer’s Tale

“What They Had” isn’t so much an Alzheimer’s movie as it is a film about a family in crisis. Yes, a senior woman suffers from dementia, the severity of which her husband, kids, and granddaughter seem to think is up for debate. But they all have problems that fight to inform their decisions about how to handle it, and the bigger issue is the exhausting challenge of being a caregiver, especially when the person you’re caring for is family.

The film promises to be sentimental from the start, with first-time writer-director Elizabeth Chomko focusing on photos and a Christmas tree as Ruth (Blythe Danner) puts on lipstick and a coat in the middle of the night and walks out of her Chicago home; she’s still in her nightgown. By the time her husband, Burt (Robert Forster), notices, she’s long gone, and he calls his local son, Nick (Michael Shannon), who by default is charged with looking after them. But he in turn phones his sister, Bridget (Hilary Swank), who flies in from California with her college-age daughter, Emma (Taissa Farmiga). All are alarmed except for Burt, who tries to downplay Ruth’s wandering.

To Nick, this is the sign they’ve been waiting for — it’s time to put Mom in a home. But Ruth used to work in nursing homes, and Burt, who’s still vital, doesn’t want to do that to “his girl” of 60 years. Bridget wants to respect his wishes. Nick barks a little louder, but she has power of attorney. She does what she can to let them age in place, though her big idea conveniently lets her test her desire to free herself from her husband and flirt with the construction guy she knew in high school. Nick has romantic problems of his own, while Emma hates school and is trying to hide the fact that she hasn’t signed up for any classes next semester. Everyone is miserable and constantly at each other’s throats.

Watch Video: Hilary Swank, Wanda Sykes, Nick Offerman Audition for ‘Batgirl’

That early sentimentality never snowballs. Chomko makes the family a salty bunch, with Dad responding to Ruth’s disappearance with a “Goddammit!” and Nick commenting on the name of a home — the “Reminisce Neighborhood” — with “Yeah, they’re all called s–t like that.”

Their discussions of and responses to Ruth are unflinchingly real, from their laughter when she announces that she’s going to have a baby to Nick shouting at Bridget about how difficult it is to have to be available at their parents’ demand. As is usually the case with the caregivers of Alzheimer’s sufferers, impatience gets the best of everyone, even Burt: When Ruth asks how he and Bridget know each other, her husband says, “She’s our daughter, for chrissakes.”

Also Read: When Gwyneth Paltrow, Blythe Danner and a Drunk Christopher Walken Starred in ‘The Sea Gull’ (Podcast)

Another theme is the loneliness that can spring up in relationships. While Burt’s is obvious (how painful it is to live with someone who doesn’t always remember you), Bridget and Nick suffer instead from ennui and an inability to commit, respectively. Burt repeats throughout the film that “love is commitment,” but his children are convinced that their relationships aren’t as special as his. (When Nick challenges his mother to identify their father, and she responds with an adoring “He’s my boyfriend,” you don’t doubt it.) Nick sleeps in the bar he owns, and Bridget feels an increasing need to get out of her marriage.

The acting across the board is top-notch. Swank and Shannon anchor the film as the bickering, stressed-out siblings, with Swank’s Bridget the softer heart who’s just short of being a pushover while Shannon’s Nick is the frustrated realist. You respect them both. Forster, meanwhile, plays Burt as a husband and father who’s always a little worked up, knowing he’s fighting a losing battle but determined to do battle nonetheless. Farmiga is appropriately student-sour.

Also Read: Katherine Waterston, Michael Shannon Drama ‘State Like Sleep’ Sells to The Orchard

But Danner, of course, is the real key to the film’s success, largely keeping Ruth’s forgetful episodes tinged with sadness instead of being straight-up loopy and making her present moments all the more wonderful to behold.

The real triumph of “What They Had,” however, is its refusal to descend into mawkishness, even when a third-act tragedy takes place. Chomko doesn’t drag on a scene longer than it should be; there’s an expediency to her storytelling that gets the point across without the film feeling rushed. It’s blunt and bold, just like its characters.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘AHS’: Taissa Farmiga Will Reprise Both Her ‘Murder House’ and ‘Coven’ Roles for ‘Apocalypse’

Can Fall Box Office Break Records Despite Lack of New ‘Star Wars’ and Marvel Movies?

‘Half the Picture’ Film Review: Women Directors Tell All in Illuminating, Infuriating Doc

Hollywood Gender Gap Shocker: Women Directed Just 3 Percent of This Year’s Studio Films (Exclusive)

“What They Had” isn’t so much an Alzheimer’s movie as it is a film about a family in crisis. Yes, a senior woman suffers from dementia, the severity of which her husband, kids, and granddaughter seem to think is up for debate. But they all have problems that fight to inform their decisions about how to handle it, and the bigger issue is the exhausting challenge of being a caregiver, especially when the person you’re caring for is family.

The film promises to be sentimental from the start, with first-time writer-director Elizabeth Chomko focusing on photos and a Christmas tree as Ruth (Blythe Danner) puts on lipstick and a coat in the middle of the night and walks out of her Chicago home; she’s still in her nightgown. By the time her husband, Burt (Robert Forster), notices, she’s long gone, and he calls his local son, Nick (Michael Shannon), who by default is charged with looking after them. But he in turn phones his sister, Bridget (Hilary Swank), who flies in from California with her college-age daughter, Emma (Taissa Farmiga). All are alarmed except for Burt, who tries to downplay Ruth’s wandering.

To Nick, this is the sign they’ve been waiting for — it’s time to put Mom in a home. But Ruth used to work in nursing homes, and Burt, who’s still vital, doesn’t want to do that to “his girl” of 60 years. Bridget wants to respect his wishes. Nick barks a little louder, but she has power of attorney. She does what she can to let them age in place, though her big idea conveniently lets her test her desire to free herself from her husband and flirt with the construction guy she knew in high school. Nick has romantic problems of his own, while Emma hates school and is trying to hide the fact that she hasn’t signed up for any classes next semester. Everyone is miserable and constantly at each other’s throats.

That early sentimentality never snowballs. Chomko makes the family a salty bunch, with Dad responding to Ruth’s disappearance with a “Goddammit!” and Nick commenting on the name of a home — the “Reminisce Neighborhood” — with “Yeah, they’re all called s–t like that.”

Their discussions of and responses to Ruth are unflinchingly real, from their laughter when she announces that she’s going to have a baby to Nick shouting at Bridget about how difficult it is to have to be available at their parents’ demand. As is usually the case with the caregivers of Alzheimer’s sufferers, impatience gets the best of everyone, even Burt: When Ruth asks how he and Bridget know each other, her husband says, “She’s our daughter, for chrissakes.”

Another theme is the loneliness that can spring up in relationships. While Burt’s is obvious (how painful it is to live with someone who doesn’t always remember you), Bridget and Nick suffer instead from ennui and an inability to commit, respectively. Burt repeats throughout the film that “love is commitment,” but his children are convinced that their relationships aren’t as special as his. (When Nick challenges his mother to identify their father, and she responds with an adoring “He’s my boyfriend,” you don’t doubt it.) Nick sleeps in the bar he owns, and Bridget feels an increasing need to get out of her marriage.

The acting across the board is top-notch. Swank and Shannon anchor the film as the bickering, stressed-out siblings, with Swank’s Bridget the softer heart who’s just short of being a pushover while Shannon’s Nick is the frustrated realist. You respect them both. Forster, meanwhile, plays Burt as a husband and father who’s always a little worked up, knowing he’s fighting a losing battle but determined to do battle nonetheless. Farmiga is appropriately student-sour.

But Danner, of course, is the real key to the film’s success, largely keeping Ruth’s forgetful episodes tinged with sadness instead of being straight-up loopy and making her present moments all the more wonderful to behold.

The real triumph of “What They Had,” however, is its refusal to descend into mawkishness, even when a third-act tragedy takes place. Chomko doesn’t drag on a scene longer than it should be; there’s an expediency to her storytelling that gets the point across without the film feeling rushed. It’s blunt and bold, just like its characters.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'AHS': Taissa Farmiga Will Reprise Both Her 'Murder House' and 'Coven' Roles for 'Apocalypse'

Can Fall Box Office Break Records Despite Lack of New 'Star Wars' and Marvel Movies?

'Half the Picture' Film Review: Women Directors Tell All in Illuminating, Infuriating Doc

Hollywood Gender Gap Shocker: Women Directed Just 3 Percent of This Year's Studio Films (Exclusive)

Geoffrey Owens Joins Hilary Swank In ‘Fatale’ Thriller

Geoffrey Owens is on a roll. After Hollywood came to his defense when media outlets attempted to shame the former Cosby Show actor for his job as a Trader Joe’s cashier,  Owen has landed yet another role, this time opposite Hilary Swank, Michael …

Geoffrey Owens is on a roll. After Hollywood came to his defense when media outlets attempted to shame the former Cosby Show actor for his job as a Trader Joe’s cashier,  Owen has landed yet another role, this time opposite Hilary Swank, Michael Ealy, and Mike Colter in the noir thriller Fatale, which is being directed by Deon Taylor. David Loughery penned the screenplay, which centers on a married man who is tricked into a murder scheme by a seductive female police…

Michael Ealy, Mike Colter Join Hilary Swank’s ‘Fatale’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Michael Ealy (“The Perfect Guy”) and Mike Colter (“Luke Cage”) will star opposite Hilary Swank in Deon Taylor’s noir thriller “Fatale,” Variety has learned exclusively. Ealy will portray a married man who is tricked into a murder scheme by a seductive …

Michael Ealy (“The Perfect Guy”) and Mike Colter (“Luke Cage”) will star opposite Hilary Swank in Deon Taylor’s noir thriller “Fatale,” Variety has learned exclusively. Ealy will portray a married man who is tricked into a murder scheme by a seductive female police detective, played by Swank. Colter plays Ealy’s best friend and business partner. […]

‘What They Had’ Director & Cast Speak On The Film’s Multi-Generational Coming-Of-Age Story – Toronto Studio

After premiering at Sundance earlier this year, Bleecker Street’s family drama, What They Had made its way to the Toronto Film Festival for its international premiere screening. Written and directed by Elizabeth Chomko, the film stars Hilary Swan…

After premiering at Sundance earlier this year, Bleecker Street’s family drama, What They Had made its way to the Toronto Film Festival for its international premiere screening. Written and directed by Elizabeth Chomko, the film stars Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Blythe Danner, Robert Forster, Taissa Farmiga, and Josh Lucas. It follows Bridget (Swank) as she returns home to Chicago at the urging of her estranged brother (Shannon) to deal with her ailing mother (Danner)…

Deadline Studio at TIFF 2018 – Day 4 – Nicole Kidman, Keira Knightley, Hilary Swank, Aaron Taylor-Johnson & More

Deadline’s studio at the Toronto International Film Festival kicked off Day 4 by hosting fest-goers such as Nicole Kidman of Destroyer; Keira Knightley of Colette; Hilary Swank of What They Had; Aaron Taylor-Johnson of A Million Little Pieces; an…

Deadline’s studio at the Toronto International Film Festival kicked off Day 4 by hosting fest-goers such as Nicole Kidman of Destroyer; Keira Knightley of Colette; Hilary Swank of What They Had; Aaron Taylor-Johnson of A Million Little Pieces; and many more. Click on the photo above to launch the gallery. Stay tuned for more photo galleries and video interviews from the Deadline Studio at TIFF 2018. Deadline Studio at TIFF 2018 is presented by eOne. Special thanks to…

Toronto Film Festival Adds Conversations and Events With Mahershala Ali, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Reitman

The 2018 Toronto International Film Festival has added conversations with Mahershala Ali, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hilary Swank to its lineup, as well as special events including a Jason Reitman Live Read and an IMAX screening of “First Man,” …

The 2018 Toronto International Film Festival has added conversations with Mahershala Ali, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hilary Swank to its lineup, as well as special events including a Jason Reitman Live Read and an IMAX screening of “First Man,” TIFF organizers announced on Thursday.

The conversations and events will join the list of 343 films that were previously announced for the festival, which will run from September 6 through September 16.

The In Conversation With … program will feature three onstage discussions with actors who have films at the festival. Ali appears with Viggo Mortensen in Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book,” Gyllenhaal stars in “The Kindergarten Teacher” and Swank co-stars with Michael Shannon, Robert Forster and Blythe Danner in “What They Had.”

The special events include an opening-night screening of the Black Lives Matter-themed drama “Monsters and Men” with an introduction by Drake; a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” presented by director Dean DeBlois and producer Brad Lewis; a sneak-peek IMAX screening of Damien Chazelle’s “First Man,” starring Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong, at Ontario Place Cinesphere, the world’s first permanent IMAX theater.

Also, Toronto will feature a live reading of “The Breakfast Club” directed by Jason Reitman, who in past years has brought his popular Live Read series to TIFF for readings of “American Beauty,” “Boogie Nights” and “The Princess Bride.”

Tickets for the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival go on sale to the public on September 3, with more information available at tiff.net.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Natalie Portman, Chloe Grace Moretz Dramas Added to Toronto Film Festival Lineup

Chris Pine and Laura Dern Films to Open and Close Toronto Film Festival

'Beautiful Boy,' 'A Star Is Born' Highlight Toronto Film Festival Lineup

Film News Roundup: Hilary Swank to Star as Detective in Thriller ‘Fatale’

In today’s film news roundup, Hilary Swank will play a seductive detective, “Dora the Explorer” starts production, and Richard Stanley’s “Malware” gets an additional producer. CASTING Hilary Swank has come on board D…

In today’s film news roundup, Hilary Swank will play a seductive detective, “Dora the Explorer” starts production, and Richard Stanley’s “Malware” gets an additional producer. CASTING Hilary Swank has come on board Deon Taylor’s thriller “Fatale,” which begins shooting in September in Los Angeles. “Fatale” centers on a married man being tricked into a murder scheme […]

Hilary Swank To Star In Deon Taylor-Directed Noir Thriller ‘Fatale’

EXCLUSIVE: Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank has been set to star in Deon Taylor’s noir thriller Fatale.
Fatale centers on a married man who is tricked into a murder scheme by a seductive female police detective. Swank plays the detective. Taylor, who…

EXCLUSIVE: Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank has been set to star in Deon Taylor's noir thriller Fatale. Fatale centers on a married man who is tricked into a murder scheme by a seductive female police detective. Swank plays the detective. Taylor, whose next film is the Screen Gems' thriller The Intruder, is directing Fatale and producing with his Hidden Empire Film Group partners Roxanne Avent and Robert F. Smith. David Loughery (Lakeview Terrace and Obsessed) wrote the…

‘What They Had’ Trailer: Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon Lead Big-Name Cast In Alzheimer’s Drama

A family crisis plays out onscreen in What They Had, in which a big-name cast tackles a big-league problem: Alzheimer’s disease. Now we have the powerful first trailer for the film from first-time writer-director Elizabeth Chomko that premiered a…

A family crisis plays out onscreen in What They Hadin which a big-name cast tackles a big-league problem: Alzheimer’s disease. Now we have the powerful first trailer for the film from first-time writer-director Elizabeth Chomko that premiered at Sundance 2017. It follows Bridget (Hilary Swank) as she returns home to Chicago at the urging of her estranged brother (Michael Shannon) to deal with her ailing mother (Blythe Danner) and her father’s (Robert Forster) reluctance…

‘What They Had’ Trailer: Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon Care for an Ailing Parent in This Sundance Drama — Watch

Bleecker Street will bring Elizabeth Chomko’s first film to select cinemas this October.

Michael Shannon was at a Chicago pub when he watched his “The Shape of Water” collaborators accept this year’s Best Picture Oscar, so he likely had no trouble getting into character — as a Windy City bar owner — for “What They Had.” The movie’s writer/director, Elizabeth Chomko, received a $35,000 Nicholl Fellowship from the Academy for her debut screenplay, besting more than 7,400 other applicants. Also a playwright and actress, Chomko has appeared on series like “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

“What They Had” screened in the premieres section of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival (Chomko is an alum of the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Lab). Set during the Christmas season, the film casts Shannon and two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank (“Boys Don’t Cry,” “Million Dollar Baby”) as the children of a military veteran (Robert Forster) and an Alzheimer’s patient (Blythe Danner). Shannon’s Nick is the frequent caretaker of their parents, as his sister Bridget (Swank) raises her daughters in California amid marital strife. Yet Bridget returns home to assist Nick after their mother wanders into snowy metropolis in her nightgown. As Danner’s alter-ego loses her grip on reality, she drinks holy water, and — at various points in the plot — becomes convinced that she’s both a young lover and an expectant mother.

“Little Miss Sunshine” producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa are among those who backed the project, and Bleecker Street will bring “What They Had” to select theaters on October 12. Watch the trailer below.

Hilary Swank, Wanda Sykes, Nick Offerman Audition for ‘Batgirl’ (Video)

Hilary Swank, Wanda Sykes and Nick Offerman were just a few of the actors who showed up for a mock audition for “Batgirl” on “Conan.”

In the spoof, Kristen Schaal was up first, bringing a baby with her into the audition.

“I hope that doesn’t mess with your emotions at all or make you feel like you have to hire me,” she said, adding, “I really need this job.”

Also Read: Why DC’s ‘Batgirl’ Movie Won’t Happen Anytime Soon

“This is my audition right here,” Swank says, holding up an Oscar, presumably from winning Best Actress both in 2000 for “Boys Don’t Cry” and in 2005 for “Million Dollar Baby.”

“Silicon Valley” star Thomas Middleditch came in, wanting to audition for the role of the waiter in the diner. Jodie Foster also wanted to audition for the superhero movie, but seemed a little annoyed that Swank brought an Oscar with her.

Offerman then came in to read for the lead role, but when he was told that the producers were only looking at women for the role, he said, “oh, of course, this is the same bulls— I got on ‘Ocean’s 8.’ I bet Sandy Bullock gets this one, too!”

Lastly, Sykes popped in, asking, “How are you still making superhero movies? The world is on fire, the polar ice caps are the size of basketballs, Trump is putting babies in cages, and you’re making ‘Batgirl?’”

Also Read: Joss Whedon Steps Down as ‘Batgirl’ Director

But that didn’t stop her from gearing up and reading for the role.

In reality, screenwriter Christina Hodson was hired in April to write “Batgirl” for Warner Bros. and DC Films. Joss Whedon stepped down as director of “Batgirl” in February, saying in a statement at the time, “Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warners/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realize I really didn’t have a story. I’m grateful to Geoff and Toby and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I… uh, is there a sexier word for ‘failed’?”

Watch the video above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

DC’s ‘Batgirl’ Movie Lands ‘Birds of Prey’ Screenwriter Christina Hodson

Lindsay Lohan Wants to Star in Joss Whedon’s ‘Batgirl’ Movie

Emma Stone as Batgirl? Comic Book Artist Imagines Oscar Winner as Character (Photo)

Hilary Swank, Wanda Sykes and Nick Offerman were just a few of the actors who showed up for a mock audition for “Batgirl” on “Conan.”

In the spoof, Kristen Schaal was up first, bringing a baby with her into the audition.

“I hope that doesn’t mess with your emotions at all or make you feel like you have to hire me,” she said, adding, “I really need this job.”

“This is my audition right here,” Swank says, holding up an Oscar, presumably from winning Best Actress both in 2000 for “Boys Don’t Cry” and in 2005 for “Million Dollar Baby.”

“Silicon Valley” star Thomas Middleditch came in, wanting to audition for the role of the waiter in the diner. Jodie Foster also wanted to audition for the superhero movie, but seemed a little annoyed that Swank brought an Oscar with her.

Offerman then came in to read for the lead role, but when he was told that the producers were only looking at women for the role, he said, “oh, of course, this is the same bulls— I got on ‘Ocean’s 8.’ I bet Sandy Bullock gets this one, too!”

Lastly, Sykes popped in, asking, “How are you still making superhero movies? The world is on fire, the polar ice caps are the size of basketballs, Trump is putting babies in cages, and you’re making ‘Batgirl?'”

But that didn’t stop her from gearing up and reading for the role.

In reality, screenwriter Christina Hodson was hired in April to write “Batgirl” for Warner Bros. and DC Films. Joss Whedon stepped down as director of “Batgirl” in February, saying in a statement at the time, “Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warners/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realize I really didn’t have a story. I’m grateful to Geoff and Toby and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I… uh, is there a sexier word for ‘failed’?”

Watch the video above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

DC's 'Batgirl' Movie Lands 'Birds of Prey' Screenwriter Christina Hodson

Lindsay Lohan Wants to Star in Joss Whedon's 'Batgirl' Movie

Emma Stone as Batgirl? Comic Book Artist Imagines Oscar Winner as Character (Photo)

‘Trust’ Review: FX’s Jaded Getty Kidnapping Drama Is Criminally Stylish

The 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III receives its second telling in several months with Trust, the magnetic, frenetic and fitful new FX series debuting Sunday. It follows by what feels like minutes Ridley Scott’s big-screen All the Money in the World.
But the 10-episode Trust has enough differences in its details – historical, artistic – to merit a revisit. It has a personality all its own, even if that personality is as splintered as the split and sectioned screens…

The 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III receives its second telling in several months with Trust, the magnetic, frenetic and fitful new FX series debuting Sunday. It follows by what feels like minutes Ridley Scott’s big-screen All the Money in the World. But the 10-episode Trust has enough differences in its details – historical, artistic – to merit a revisit. It has a personality all its own, even if that personality is as splintered as the split and sectioned screens…

Hilary Swank On Family Dysfunction In ‘What They Had’ – Sundance Studio

“There were so many reasons I felt compelled to tell the story,” first-time director Elizabeth Chomko said of her film What They Had at Deadline’s Sundance Studio, “but the biggest one, I think, especially in hindsight, is the awareness that memories are a gift and that they’re precious.”
Memory loss is a key tenet in Chomko’s film, which she also wrote. The story follows a family dealing with the fallout of its matriarch’s descent into Alzheimer’s as estranged siblings…

"There were so many reasons I felt compelled to tell the story,” first-time director Elizabeth Chomko said of her film What They Had at Deadline's Sundance Studio, “but the biggest one, I think, especially in hindsight, is the awareness that memories are a gift and that they're precious." Memory loss is a key tenet in Chomko's film, which she also wrote. The story follows a family dealing with the fallout of its matriarch's descent into Alzheimer's as estranged siblings…

‘What They Had’ Sundance Clip: Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Robert Forster & Blythe Danner In Family-Crisis Pic

“She’s fine,” the dad tells his grown kids as they arrive to see their mother in the hospital. “What did the doctor say?” the son asks. “He hasn’t been in yet.” A logical follow-up question: “Then how do you know she’s fine?” The husband and father’s equally logical reply: “Because she’s fine!”
Here is the first look at What They Had, first-time writer-director Elizabeth Chomko’s family-in-crisis drama that premiered Sunday at Sundance. Bridget (Hilary Swank) returns home…

“She’s fine,” the dad tells his grown kids as they arrive to see their mother in the hospital. “What did the doctor say?” the son asks. “He hasn’t been in yet.” A logical follow-up question: “Then how do you know she’s fine?” The husband and father’s equally logical reply: “Because she’s fine!” Here is the first look at What They Had, first-time writer-director Elizabeth Chomko’s family-in-crisis drama that premiered Sunday at Sundance. Bridget (Hilary Swank) returns home…

Sundance So Far: Festival Gets Woke With Strong Set of Diverse Films

A rich crop of satisfying movies featuring themes of race and gender have stood out at 2018’s Sundance Film Festival so far, displaying a newfound confidence on issues that have divided the country.

From the funny-not-funny Oakland, Calif., drama “Blindspotting” to the micro-aggression symphony “Tyrel” to the satire “Sorry to Bother You” to Idris Elba’s tale of Jamaican immigrants in England in the early 1970s, “Yardie,” the films span a range of tone and undertone.

What they share is the strength of the voices and performances. Sundance always features diverse voices, but the quality has never been higher. In the years since #OscarsSoWhite, it seems that talent and stories about underrerpresented communities have found their way to Park City in significant numbers — and rather than feeling as if the festival is taking work to satisfy a quota, this year’s films simply seem to be an integral part of the festival’s longstanding commitment to showcasing new voices.

Also Read: ‘Tyrel’: Race, Class and Bad Manners Collide in Showcase for Jason Mitchell

“Blindspotting” was a script nine years in the making from stars Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal. It explores two best friends trying to define themselves in the social, political and racial pressure cooker of Oakland. It’s an unflinching look at what happens when those who are other cannot divorce the political from the personal.

These diverse voices are not limited to trauma. In Boots Riley’s “Sorry to Bother You,” LaKeith Stanfield plays a telemarketer who unlocks the keys to success when he puts on his “white voice” with customers. Sales skyrocket, which creates tension with his activist girlfriend (Tessa Thompson) as he becomes the object of insane boss Armie Hammer’s approval.

Meanwhile, women’s films are also taking center stage at the festival in the year of #MeToo and #TimesUp.  A full 43 female directors have joined the lineup across sections in the feature-film categories. If you include short films in the count, 42 percent of Sundance directors are female this year, a festival spokesperson told TheWrap.

Also Read: ‘Blindspotting’ Film Review: Ambitious Oakland Tale Suffers from Too Many Ideas

Among them are Cathy Yan’s notable “Dead Pigs,” a mosaic of stories set against a 2013 phenomenon when 16,000 dead pigs surfaced in Shanghai’s Huangpu River In the film, Yanexplores the isolation she felt growing up in both China and the U.S.

Elizabeth Chomko’s writer-director debut “What They Had” explores Alzheimer’s with the help of Blythe Danner and Hilary Swank. Sara Colangelo also made waves as a writer-director with “The Kindergarten Teacher,” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, about a woman teetering between her conventional life and her passion for art.

Other films directed by men often as not put women front and center. Wash Westmoreland’s “Colette,” with a towering performance by Kiera Knightley as the feminist icon, was one of two set in the 1890s, a time of tumultuous cultural, economic and political change. (The film sold to Bleecker Street and 30West in one if the few deals in the festival so far; more on that in a moment.)

The other was “Lizzie,” about hatchet-wielding Lizzie Borden (Chloe Sevigny), who did her nefarious deed in 1892. Both manage to set the stage for modern womanhood and the complicated world of contemporary feminism.

Also Read: ‘Lizzie’ Film Review: Chloë Sevigny Makes the Infamous Killer a Rebel With a Cause

In Paul Dano’s directorial debut, the austere Richard Ford adaptation “Wildlife,” Carey Mulligan is raw and riveting as a Montana housewife chafing against the restrictions placed on women in the early 1960s. In Jesse Peretz’s “Juliet, Naked,” Rose Byrne is utterly charming and affecting as her character tries to find independence (while sort-of romancing a reclusive American rock star) in a small British town.

The Sundance documentary slate is once again a strong point, with “The Price of Everything,” “The Sentence,” “Three Identical Strangers,” “Believer,” “Robin Williams: Inside My Mind” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” among the many docs that have drawn praise.

And many of the most high-profile docs at the festival are about women, including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (“RBG”), artist Yayoi Kusama (“Kusama – Infinity”), activist Nadia Murad (“On Her Shoulders”), attorney Gloria Allred (“Seeing Allred”), singer M.I.A. (“Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.”), punk/fashion grand dame Vivien Westwood (“Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist”), rocker Joan Jett (“Bad Reputation”) and actress Jane Fonda (“Jane Fonda in Five Acts”).

Also Read: Jane Fonda, Tessa Thompson Fire Up Women’s Respect Rally in Sundance

Perhaps none of the films hit the level of unanimous raves prompted by recent-year Sundance hits like “Call Me by Your Name,” “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” but quality seems to have reached a high.

Still, sales have initially proved chilly. As TheWrap predicted walking into Sundance, buyers are more cautious than ever thanks to multiple factors. Indie institutions like Fox Searchlight (recently acquired by Disney) and Focus Features are facing tough competition from the deep-pockets of streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon, though deal-makers have begun to resist the worldwide exclusivity the streamers demand for their subscribers.

Discounting pre-sold titles (mostly docs), the biggest deal to close so far has been for “Colette,” which sold for seven figures on Sunday to Bleecker Street and 30West. But that sale was followed by the bidding war for “Blindspotting,” as buyers may begin to open their wallets as the opening weekend closes.

But money remains tight. Producers are better fed from the money they raise on international sales, one top dealmaker told TheWrap in Park City, but increasingly cannot convince the streaming giants to accept only North American rights. In addition, many in the marketare wary after the #MeToo movement has claimed several casualties in the indie market, with deals unraveling for Louis C.K.’s “I Love You, Daddy” and Morgan Spurlock’s “Supersize Me 2: Holy Chicken” after their filmmakers faced misconduct accusations.

Also Read: Idris Elba Insists He Wasn’t Thinking About Modern Race Issues With ’70s-Set ‘Yardie’ (Video)

The market would be wise to wake up to the caliber of films in Park City this year. They reveal a conscious nurturing of diverse voices, which can only serve our industry and audiences as they are heard, financed, produced and distributed.

In the words of Jane Fonda, addressing a Park City crowd at this year’s Respect Rally, thrown by the organizers of last year’s Women’s March: “This kind of change doesn’t just come about through protest. It comes through organizing.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sundance Scene and Heard: Black Eyed Peas, Issa Rae, Joaquin Phoenix and More (Photos)

Jane Fonda, Tessa Thompson Fire Up Women’s Respect Rally in Sundance

MoviePass to Co-Acquire Movies With Distributors, Starting at Sundance

A rich crop of satisfying movies featuring themes of race and gender have stood out at 2018’s Sundance Film Festival so far, displaying a newfound confidence on issues that have divided the country.

From the funny-not-funny Oakland, Calif., drama “Blindspotting” to the micro-aggression symphony “Tyrel” to the satire “Sorry to Bother You” to Idris Elba’s tale of Jamaican immigrants in England in the early 1970s, “Yardie,” the films span a range of tone and undertone.

What they share is the strength of the voices and performances. Sundance always features diverse voices, but the quality has never been higher. In the years since #OscarsSoWhite, it seems that talent and stories about underrerpresented communities have found their way to Park City in significant numbers — and rather than feeling as if the festival is taking work to satisfy a quota, this year’s films simply seem to be an integral part of the festival’s longstanding commitment to showcasing new voices.

“Blindspotting” was a script nine years in the making from stars Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal. It explores two best friends trying to define themselves in the social, political and racial pressure cooker of Oakland. It’s an unflinching look at what happens when those who are other cannot divorce the political from the personal.

These diverse voices are not limited to trauma. In Boots Riley’s “Sorry to Bother You,” LaKeith Stanfield plays a telemarketer who unlocks the keys to success when he puts on his “white voice” with customers. Sales skyrocket, which creates tension with his activist girlfriend (Tessa Thompson) as he becomes the object of insane boss Armie Hammer’s approval.

Meanwhile, women’s films are also taking center stage at the festival in the year of #MeToo and #TimesUp.  A full 43 female directors have joined the lineup across sections in the feature-film categories. If you include short films in the count, 42 percent of Sundance directors are female this year, a festival spokesperson told TheWrap.

Among them are Cathy Yan’s notable “Dead Pigs,” a mosaic of stories set against a 2013 phenomenon when 16,000 dead pigs surfaced in Shanghai’s Huangpu River In the film, Yanexplores the isolation she felt growing up in both China and the U.S.

Elizabeth Chomko’s writer-director debut “What They Had” explores Alzheimer’s with the help of Blythe Danner and Hilary Swank. Sara Colangelo also made waves as a writer-director with “The Kindergarten Teacher,” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, about a woman teetering between her conventional life and her passion for art.

Other films directed by men often as not put women front and center. Wash Westmoreland’s “Colette,” with a towering performance by Kiera Knightley as the feminist icon, was one of two set in the 1890s, a time of tumultuous cultural, economic and political change. (The film sold to Bleecker Street and 30West in one if the few deals in the festival so far; more on that in a moment.)

The other was “Lizzie,” about hatchet-wielding Lizzie Borden (Chloe Sevigny), who did her nefarious deed in 1892. Both manage to set the stage for modern womanhood and the complicated world of contemporary feminism.

In Paul Dano’s directorial debut, the austere Richard Ford adaptation “Wildlife,” Carey Mulligan is raw and riveting as a Montana housewife chafing against the restrictions placed on women in the early 1960s. In Jesse Peretz’s “Juliet, Naked,” Rose Byrne is utterly charming and affecting as her character tries to find independence (while sort-of romancing a reclusive American rock star) in a small British town.

The Sundance documentary slate is once again a strong point, with “The Price of Everything,” “The Sentence,” “Three Identical Strangers,” “Believer,” “Robin Williams: Inside My Mind” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” among the many docs that have drawn praise.

And many of the most high-profile docs at the festival are about women, including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (“RBG”), artist Yayoi Kusama (“Kusama – Infinity”), activist Nadia Murad (“On Her Shoulders”), attorney Gloria Allred (“Seeing Allred”), singer M.I.A. (“Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.”), punk/fashion grand dame Vivien Westwood (“Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist”), rocker Joan Jett (“Bad Reputation”) and actress Jane Fonda (“Jane Fonda in Five Acts”).

Perhaps none of the films hit the level of unanimous raves prompted by recent-year Sundance hits like “Call Me by Your Name,” “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” but quality seems to have reached a high.

Still, sales have initially proved chilly. As TheWrap predicted walking into Sundance, buyers are more cautious than ever thanks to multiple factors. Indie institutions like Fox Searchlight (recently acquired by Disney) and Focus Features are facing tough competition from the deep-pockets of streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon, though deal-makers have begun to resist the worldwide exclusivity the streamers demand for their subscribers.

Discounting pre-sold titles (mostly docs), the biggest deal to close so far has been for “Colette,” which sold for seven figures on Sunday to Bleecker Street and 30West. But that sale was followed by the bidding war for “Blindspotting,” as buyers may begin to open their wallets as the opening weekend closes.

But money remains tight. Producers are better fed from the money they raise on international sales, one top dealmaker told TheWrap in Park City, but increasingly cannot convince the streaming giants to accept only North American rights. In addition, many in the marketare wary after the #MeToo movement has claimed several casualties in the indie market, with deals unraveling for Louis C.K.’s “I Love You, Daddy” and Morgan Spurlock’s “Supersize Me 2: Holy Chicken” after their filmmakers faced misconduct accusations.

The market would be wise to wake up to the caliber of films in Park City this year. They reveal a conscious nurturing of diverse voices, which can only serve our industry and audiences as they are heard, financed, produced and distributed.

In the words of Jane Fonda, addressing a Park City crowd at this year’s Respect Rally, thrown by the organizers of last year’s Women’s March: “This kind of change doesn’t just come about through protest. It comes through organizing.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sundance Scene and Heard: Black Eyed Peas, Issa Rae, Joaquin Phoenix and More (Photos)

Jane Fonda, Tessa Thompson Fire Up Women's Respect Rally in Sundance

MoviePass to Co-Acquire Movies With Distributors, Starting at Sundance

Sundance Film Review: ‘What They Had’

Though its causes remain shrouded in mystery, Alzheimer’s Disease is unmistakably on the rise, and will become an ever-growing public issue as senior populations and longevity itself each continue to expand. We’re still at an early stage in terms of its dramatization, however — apart from  “Away From Her” and “Still Alice,” there haven’t been […]

Though its causes remain shrouded in mystery, Alzheimer’s Disease is unmistakably on the rise, and will become an ever-growing public issue as senior populations and longevity itself each continue to expand. We’re still at an early stage in terms of its dramatization, however — apart from  “Away From Her” and “Still Alice,” there haven’t been […]

Blythe Danner Responds to Criticism That Gwyneth Paltrow Spoke About Harvey Weinstein Too Late (Video)

Actress Blythe Danner opened up about her daughter Gwyneth Paltrow’s role in the #MeToo movement — specifically criticism that the Oscar winner waited too long to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

Speaking with TheWrap at Acura Studios during the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, Danner discussed a blunt op-ed she wrote for the New York Times in response to a piece by Maureen Dowd.

The columnist asserted that Paltrow ignored Weinstein’s behavior to become the “queen of Miramax,” referencing her 1999 Best Actress Academy Award for Weinstein’s film “Shakespeare in Love.” Danner balked at the notion.

Also Read: Jane Fonda, Tessa Thompson Fire Up Women’s Respect Rally in Sundance

“It’s so easy to put people down for not speaking quickly enough. I mean everyone has to do it in their own way,” Danner told TheWrap.

“She was a tough cookie with the powers that were. He’ll go unnamed,” Danner said.

Her “What They Had” co-stars Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon agreed. Shannon offered his thoughts on why abuse is so rampant in Hollywood, which includes indie cinema as we know it. Weinstein was an architect of that culture after all, Shannon said.

“A lot of that behavior is the Hollywood culture of entitlement and people in positions of power feeling that their appetites are justified because they’re powerful. When you’re on a film like this, there’s nobody in that position. It’s just people trying to do good work and tell the story,” Shannon said.

“What They Had” was written and directed by debut filmmaker Elizabeth Chomko, the recipient of the esteemed Academy Nicholl Fellowship for screenwriting. It also stars Taissa Farmiga.

Watch the full interview above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sundance Scene and Heard: Black Eyed Peas, Issa Rae, Joaquin Phoenix and More (Photos)

Jane Fonda, Tessa Thompson Fire Up Women’s Respect Rally in Sundance

Sundance 2018: A Music Fan’s Guide to Concerts, Appearances in Park City

Actress Blythe Danner opened up about her daughter Gwyneth Paltrow’s role in the #MeToo movement — specifically criticism that the Oscar winner waited too long to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

Speaking with TheWrap at Acura Studios during the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, Danner discussed a blunt op-ed she wrote for the New York Times in response to a piece by Maureen Dowd.

The columnist asserted that Paltrow ignored Weinstein’s behavior to become the “queen of Miramax,” referencing her 1999 Best Actress Academy Award for Weinstein’s film “Shakespeare in Love.” Danner balked at the notion.

“It’s so easy to put people down for not speaking quickly enough. I mean everyone has to do it in their own way,” Danner told TheWrap.

“She was a tough cookie with the powers that were. He’ll go unnamed,” Danner said.

Her “What They Had” co-stars Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon agreed. Shannon offered his thoughts on why abuse is so rampant in Hollywood, which includes indie cinema as we know it. Weinstein was an architect of that culture after all, Shannon said.

“A lot of that behavior is the Hollywood culture of entitlement and people in positions of power feeling that their appetites are justified because they’re powerful. When you’re on a film like this, there’s nobody in that position. It’s just people trying to do good work and tell the story,” Shannon said.

“What They Had” was written and directed by debut filmmaker Elizabeth Chomko, the recipient of the esteemed Academy Nicholl Fellowship for screenwriting. It also stars Taissa Farmiga.

Watch the full interview above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sundance Scene and Heard: Black Eyed Peas, Issa Rae, Joaquin Phoenix and More (Photos)

Jane Fonda, Tessa Thompson Fire Up Women's Respect Rally in Sundance

Sundance 2018: A Music Fan's Guide to Concerts, Appearances in Park City

Hilary Swank to Star in Sci-Fi Thriller ‘I Am Mother’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Hilary Swank is starring in the science-fiction thriller “I Am Mother,” which has started shooting at South Australia’s Adelaide Studios, Variety has learned exclusively. Swank, who won best actress Academy Awards for “Million Dollar Baby” and “Boys Don’t Cry,” is joining Clara Rugaard in a unique mother-daughter story. Rugaard portrays the first of a new […]

Hilary Swank is starring in the science-fiction thriller “I Am Mother,” which has started shooting at South Australia’s Adelaide Studios, Variety has learned exclusively. Swank, who won best actress Academy Awards for “Million Dollar Baby” and “Boys Don’t Cry,” is joining Clara Rugaard in a unique mother-daughter story. Rugaard portrays the first of a new […]