After making a big splash in the super summer blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises as Batman’s larger than life enemy, Bane, Tom Hardy looks to be heading Hollywood East way in a new movie that could be filming sometime next year.
Earlier this month, Hollywood insider pub, Variety, reported that Bullhead director Michael Roskam is being eyed by Fox Searchlight and Chernin Entertainment to lead the charge on the latest cinematic adaption of a Dennis Lehane novel. The book, entitled Animal Rescue, follows the story of a Boston bartender who gets more than he bargained for after adopting a puppy he finds in an alleyway. Hardy is is currently a strong contender for the lead.
Boston-based author Lehane has had a successive string of novels that have become successful cinematic features, including Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and Shutter Island. His most recent literary work, Live By Night, is in development at Warner Bros., with Ben Affleck attached to write, direct, produce and star.
Chernin Entertainment, which will be co-producing the picture, recently wrapped the female-driven cop comedy The Heat, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, and was filmed in Boston earlier this summer.
As the project is currently considered to be “in development,” no final casting notices or locations have been secured. We’ll stay on top of this story as more details develop!
Dennis Lehane is a staple among Massachusetts writers. His most famous novels Shutter Island, Mystic River and Gone, Baby, Gone are all Hollywood blockbusters set in the Boston area. Now, he is taking on new literary territory with the announcement of his own line of novels at HarperCollins’ William Morrow imprint. After two decades of his books being printed at the company, Lehane will give up-and-coming authors a chance to be the next Dennis Lehane.
Lehane was born and raised in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, the youngest child of Irish immigrants. He attended Boston College High School before leaving the area to attend Eckerd College and Florida International University in Miami. Besides his many successful novels, Lehane has written plays, short stories and even wrote and directed his own independent film, Neighborhoods. Lehane has even dabbled in television with a guest role as himself as the crime drama “Castle” and a spot on the writing staff of “The Wire.”
The new line will release a select number of fiction works with a “dark edge” each year and Lehane is looking to put the spotlight on writers he admires. ”I’m one of those people who buys ten copies of a book I like and sends it to people I think would enjoy it,” Lehane said in a statement about the line. ”My goal is to call attention to worthy writers, who for some unknown reason aren’t as popular as they should be.”
★ Charlie Sheen tells a Boston radio station that he might return to “Two and a Half Men.”
★ Henry Louis Gates, who appeared in the PBS-TV series “African American Lives” and “Faces of America,” died.
★ Can you hear me now? Verizon ad guy, who resides in Connecticut, ends his contract.
★ Maine resident Kara DioGuardi admits she was molested as a child in her new book.
★ Catherine Zeta Jones checks into a mental health facility in Connecticut to treat her bipolar disorder.
★ Of the celebrities who have gone to college, many of them have gone to colleges here in Boston, including Harvard and Emerson.
★ NBC to air Concord, MA native Steve Carell’s final episode of “The Office” on April 28.
While the proverbial NBA battle of Hollywood East versus west may be over, we saw a plethora of celebrities and other famous faces packing the stands, cheering their favorite team on.
So which stars cheered for which team? On the Boston Celtics side, “Access Hollywood” cohost, Medford-born Maria Menounos, a graduate of Emerson College, Cambridge-born comedian Dane Cook, retired New England Patriots linebacker (and recent Health Expo attendee) Tedy Bruschi, Boston-born actor Mike O’Malley, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, Red Sox owner John Henry, Everett’s Ellen Pompeo, Watertown’s Eliza Dushku, and Dorchester’s Donnie Wahlberg. Chief executive of DreamWorks Animation and film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, who donated $1.25 million to Boston University in 2006, was also assumed to be cheering for the Celtics.
Rooting for the Lakers, as always, was Jack Nicholson, singer Justin Timberlake, Sylvester Stallone, director Spike Lee, Sean P. Diddy Combs, Snoop Dogg, actor Leonardo DiCaprio who spent some time in Boston in 2008 while filming Shutter Island, Kevin Connolly, and Andy Garcia. Stars of the E! reality show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” Kris, Kim, and Khloe Kardashian, wife of Lakers forward Lamar Odom, attended the games in L.A., but were absent on the east coast. Khloe did, however, find herself the target of some unique taunting by Boston fans at the TD Garden; fans were seen waving cardboard cutouts of her in hopes of distracting Odom.
Others famous faces that have been spotted at some of the games, included, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia, singer Christina Aguilera, Olympic gold medalist from Jamaica, Usain Bolt, musicians Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh of the Eagles, “Saturday Night Live” performer Seth Meyers, singer Anita Baker, and comedian Will Ferrell. Actors Chris Rock and Adam Sandler, who have been heavily promoting their movie, Grown Ups, throughout the games, also spent time in Boston last summer filming their new flick, and were spotted sitting courtside in L.A.
The stars in the stands weren’t the only TV and film personalities in attendance. Lakers star Lamar Odom has been featured numerous times alongside his wife on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” as well as its spin-off “Khloe and Kourtney take Miami”. Celtics star Ray Allen, who began his college career at the University of Connecticut, has also starred in a number of films, including Spike Lee’s He Got Game, and Harvard Man. At a press conference after game 4, Celtics players Nate Robinson and Glen Davis even likened themselves to characters from the popular Shrek movies. Perhaps we’ll see them on set at the next film shot in Hollywood East during their off season!
When it comes to movie making, Pembroke, MA resident, Kathleen Fitzgerald does it all. When she’s not directing, writing, or producing a film through her production company, Poverti Productions, Kathy is flexing her acting muscles on the set of locally shot films such as Shutter Island, or last year’s Furry Vengeance, and Ben Affleck’s The Town as an extra.
Among the feature films and shorts she has produced are: Messiah, Ring Of The Bishop, Out In The Dark, Magical Portals, Nathan’s Rebellion, The Ancient, A Joker’s Card, A Matter Of Choice, Chaotic Breakfast, A 9/11 Remembrance, and For The Troops. She has written over a dozen scripts and she is currently working on a feature documentary entitled Killer Mom From Outer Space and the epic tale, Mikayla-The Second Coming.
Kathy attended the Hollywood Film Institute and is a registered television producer. She has been affiliated with local organizations such as the Harvard Square Scriptwriters, Women In Film & Video, and the Mass Media Alliance. We caught up with this multifaceted industry talent to find out what it’s like doing it all.
HEC: How did you get started in your career as a director/writer/actor/producer?
I’ve always written down ideas for a movie. That means I have dozens of saved ideas in my file cabinet and all over the house on scraps of paper. From the age of five, I always went to the movies on the weekends (Mom needed a break). So you can understand that I was, basically, brought up in the industry. And knowing what I wanted to see, I always wanted to direct. Most writers do make excellent directors because they write as they direct and direct as they write.
HEC: How has your training helped you?
Most of my talent was inborn. Formal training has made me understand the scope of making a film, showing me that there’s a team that makes a film, not just one person — not an A-list actor, not the director, not the writer, but everyone from the background actors all the way up to the producers. With that, I show respect to those who give respect to their craft and their co-workers.
HEC: What professional qualities are important in doing this type of work?
For acting, you have to know how to emote the feelings that are required in the scene. It has to be real, or look real. Otherwise you’ll take the audience away from the story. For directing and writing, again, know the emotions, but be able to relay what you want the actor to know or the audience to feel.
HEC: What are the best and worst parts of being a director/writer/actor/producer?
The best part of being a writer is that the reader can identify or be pulled into the lives of the characters…if written properly. The hardest part of writing, to me, is making up names that fit the characters, and getting a block because the characters are not talking to me. If they don’t, I have to find the problem and re-route the story accordingly. Or, tear it up and start a new one. Also, reading and re-reading to check for typos and continuity can be a real strain. Sometimes you just have to take a couple of weeks off to clear the mind.
Basically, it’s the same with directing. If I’ve done my job, the audience will be sucked into the film and become part of it emotionally. The audience/viewer must ride the coaster with you, next to you, or it won’t have any meaning. Your work will be a waste of everyone’s time and money. If you have a sucky attitude, as if you alone make the product, instead of one that acknowledges that it takes a team to make a film, it will show in your work. Actors will dislike you, and the word will get around that you’re hard to work with. It’s the same with acting. You must remember that you are human and that you must always try to do your best. After all, your name is on the product you deliver.
HEC: What advice do you have for someone trying to get work in this field?
After doing all your homework and studying, you must realize that you have to toughen your psyche. There are so many naysayers as opposed to approving nods that you might want to crawl into a box and never come out. But do stay out in the open, because there are so many films and actors that have made it big by sticking to their ideals and ideas. Just keep up energy the it takes to push yourself forward in the business.
If you’re ready to make a budgeted film, hire experienced (and to your taste) crew. If you have the experience around you and you learn from them, it is well worth it. Making your own, you’ll see your mistakes, learn and grow. Much cheaper than a full college education.
HEC: What has been your most memorable work experience thus far?
My most memorable work experience? That’s hard to answer because so many experiences were memorable. Each team of actors and crew were so talented, humble and professional, that they became family to me. Albeit one or two bad apples. (They’re always around to test your patience.)
For acting, I think it was Shutter Island. Well treated, well paid, well fed, and I got to be near and work beside a few actors that I consider acting heroes/idols. Of course, working under Scorsese is an honor, too. Almost everyone treated you as if you worked there…just like themselves. I met only two snobs on the set. Not a bad ratio at all.
As more and more movies have turned to Hollywood East for filming locations, Boston has become quite the celebrity hub. Combined with the number of stage shows, traveling theater, concert venues, world class hotels, world-renowned universities, and high-profile sporting and charity events, Beantown’s ability to attract the A-list crowd is significant. With stars ranging from former SNL castmembers, to popular movie actors, to reality show winners, lately, it seems like there’s no telling who you could run into walking down the streets of Boston these days.
Here at Hollywood East Connection, we’ve heard about a variety of celebrity sightings over the past year. These stars have been spotted all around town by fans. Singer Seal was seen in Boston’s Public Garden. Actress Natalie Portman was in town in February for a friend’s wedding in Cambridge. Brooke Shields was spotted in her off-time from shooting Furry Vengeance at a number of South Boston eateries. She wasn’t the only one sampling local eats, funnymen Denis Leary and Lenny Clark grabbed lunch at the Four Seasons last spring, and Grown Ups costars David Spade and Colin Quinn were seen this summer grabbing a bite at Sel De La Terre. We even caught Lady GaGa’s make-up artist shopping at the Pru.
We’ve also heard from up-and-coming stars from the New England area about their experiences on set with all the big names. Local talent Bradley J. Van Dussen checked out Robin Wright Penn’s piggy toes on the set of Empire Falls and in his first-time movie role, teen actor Anthony O’Leary talked baseball with Ben Affleck on the set of The Company Men. Movie extra Kathy Fitzgerald recently shared with us details of her experience on the set of the the Martin Scorsese directed Shutter Island. She tells Hollywood East Connection:
“I worked on Shutter Island as a criminally insane person and was right on the side of the path that Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Max Von Sydow, and Sir Ben Kinglsey walked down. With the many takes of Leonardo walking down in his ‘detective’ costume, he and Mark kept looking at me with a quirk. I knew what it was, but could do nothing about it. Finally, after about 7 takes, and a ‘cut’ yelled out, Leonardo looked at me again and asked…”What’s with the curl?” Then they both started laughing. All I could say was…”That’s what they did to me, what can I say?” The hair people took my bangs and put them into one curl in the middle of my forehead, while the rest of my very long hair remained normal, if not nice and shiny.”
Whether its accidental encounters on the street, or more professional experiences with fellow actors on set, there’s no doubt that Boston has become quite the hotbed for celebrity activity. As the summer shooting season is about to heat up, we want to hear your stories about your close encounters of the movie star kind on the streets of Boston and its surrounding areas. Email your sightings, and snapshots to [email protected]!
★ Celebrity connections, HEC exclusive: Spotted on Saturday, February 13, Harvard Alum Natalie Portman presented a reading on love as a guest at the wedding of two Harvard Med School grads. The ceremony was held at the Memorial Chapel at Harvard Yard, and the actress wore a red and black designer dress.
★ Who could be meaner than Simon? Boston U grad, Howard Stern in talks to guest judge on “American Idol”.
★ Batman in Beantown: Val Kilmer speaks at the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston.
★ 5 people injured at the North Attleborough mall during a visit by the Disney Channel’s Selena Gomez.
You’ve seen the trailer for the soon-to-be-released Shutter Island, directed by Martin Scorsese. But did you know it was shot almost entirely in the Boston area? Excluding a documentary on The Rolling Stones, Scorsese has most recently brought us the academy award winning film, The Departed, which was also famously filmed in Boston. Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, who is himself a Boston native, Shutter Island has an all-star cast and is sure to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
“Someone is missing.” That is the publicized tagline for the dramatic thriller set in 1954 at a secluded island off the coast of Boston. Shot mostly in or around the Boston Harbor (including Peddocks Island), the creepy Medfield State Hospital campus, and the scenic Acadia Nat’l Park in Maine, Shutter Island marks the fourth collaboration between Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio.
DiCaprio plays Teddy Daniels, a U.S. Marshal investigating the recent disappearance of a woman incarcerated for murder at a hospital for the criminally insane, which is located on Shutter Island. She vanished from her room overnight and is supposedly hiding somewhere on the premises. Daniels’s search for the woman uncovers terrible mysteries that the doctors and staff would rather keep quiet. Is that another fake Boston accent we hear Leo attempting? When asked about what it was like working with Scorsese, DiCaprio said in this interview, “he expects you to do all the research” and “it’s a really empowering process when someone gives you full ownership over the character.” In addition to DiCaprio, the cast includes Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Emily Mortimer, and Patricia Clarkson.
With such classics as Taxi Driver and Cape Fear under his belt, Scorsese is not inexperienced with the darker side of cinematic storytelling. However, he’s taking a slightly different turn with his new plot-based and genre-oriented film. “I tried to pull back a few times and not get so emotionally and psychologically involved,” says Scorsese of the filming, as quoted in the Los Angeles Times. “But this story, these characters — it was a very unsettling experience.”
Scorsese wasn’t the only person affected by the project, as DiCaprio also fell victim to the intensity of the production. “It was draining,” says DiCaprio. “It got to the point where it became more and more realistic the deeper it got – swerving away from anything stylistic and becoming more about human nature.” In fact, a psychologist was deemed necessary to be on the set during filming due to the emotional demands on the actors.
Having come a long way from the blockbuster Titanic in 1997 – which launched him into the public eye – Leonardo DiCaprio has established himself as one of Hollywood’s most sought after leading men. He has appeared in over 20 films throughout his career, taking on challenging roles that have only added to his popularity. DiCaprio’s partnership with Scorsese has lead to three critically acclaimed films, and their newest will likely join those ranks.
Shutter Island overcame a postponement from its original planned release in October 2009, moving it to February 2010. Though this removes it as a contender for the 2010 Oscars, the film is open to nomination for the following year.
Whether it will truly become a classic and grabs some Oscars like so many others of Scorsese’s films still remains to be seen. And yet DiCaprio seems confident, saying, “There were moments on set where I definitely felt like we were going into uncharted territory.” Only time will tell if the unique experience the actors had making the film translates to the screen.
Shutter Island opens nationwide February 19th, 2010.
“Our 2009 slate was greenlit in a very different economic climate and as a result we must remain flexible and willing to recalibrate and adapt to a changing environment,” said Grey in a press release. “This is a situation facing every single studio as we all work through the financial pressures associated with the broader downturn.”
Deadline Hollywood Daily (DHD) spelled out the financial pressures, relaying a studio source’s insight that “’s got the cash, just not the home video sales: ‘Given where the DVD business is in 2009, our only hope is the economy and the retail business rebounds in 2010 because the hardest hit segment has been movies that play to an older adult audience.’”
Shutter Island is the second major studio flick to jump from fall 2009 to February 2010, after Universal’s The Wolfman. The postponement will knock the film out of contention for the March 2010 Academy Awards. However, now that the Academy has expanded the Best Picture category to 10 nominees, it will be easier for a movie released at the beginning of the year to be recognized. DHD confirms that Shutter Island‘s Oscar dreams are still alive with comments from a studio insider: “ studio settled on the release date of February 19th because ‘’that’s when Silence of the Lambs came out’ back in 1991 and it won the Oscar.”
Shutter Island’s all-star team—most notably the dynamic duo of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio—has fueled speculation about the reasons behind postponement; after all, who wouldn’t shell out some cash or risk home video sales for the boys who brought us the 2006 Best Picture winner, The Departed? DHD reports that DiCaprio wasn’t going to be available for international promotion efforts, but this reasoning seems shady as well with modern inventions like contracts and iCals.
In spite of Scorsese’s track record, the release postponement is raising questions about the quality of the movie. A filmic interpretation of Dennis Lehane’s novel by the same name, Shutter Island is the story of two U.S. marshals who investigate the disappearance of a mental hospital patient. Clearly this isn’t fodder for a light-hearted, coming-of-age film; plan to sleep with the hallway light on for a week after catching this flick.
Even Lehane himself admits to shaking in his boots. At an October 2008 appearance at The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona, he explained that the opening scene “freaks him out,” and that he anticipates that the film will be “disturbing.”
Filmmaker Celina Murga recounted her experience on Shutter Island shoots in the January edition of Cahiers du Cinema: “Dialogues are filmed through close-ups, with the characters virtually looking at the camera shaft. The result is something deeply disquieting. It is uncomfortable for the spectator since they are intense monologues of patients spouting their madness.”
Despite the accounts, it’s unlikely that the film is too disturbing for theater release; in fact, DHD’s insider reported that the film “…tested in the high 80s/low 90s and Scorsese even brought it down to 2 hours.” Alas, the missing-person mystery film remains a mystery itself. Check out the trailer below for some clues.
“Advance preparation is not my strong suit, making stuff up is, that’s why I’m a writer.” Dorchester’s own Dennis Lehane explained at Emmanuel College’s 87th commencement exercises on May 9th. Lehane, whose most well-known works include Mystic River and Gone, Baby, Gone has yet another silver-screen adaptation of his work arriving this fall with the Martin Scorsese directed “Shutter Island”.
As the keynote speaker and honorary recipient of a doctor of humane letters degree by the college, Lehane spoke practically to the class of 2009. “I’m glad we are no longer at a time in this country where we are saying ‘yes, you can drive us off the cliff, as long as you take the scenic route’. That we are no longer being told ‘mission accomplished’ when it is not. We are being talked to like adults. We are being told, ‘no, everything is not ok’. Isn’t that great to hear?” he remarked, to a certain amount of applause. His outlook–”If things are bad, for God sakes, don’t give up. If you believe it can’t get any worse, God help you. If you believe it can’t get any better, you’re wrong.”
Lehane, who at one time worked as a bookstore manager and even a parking attendant before his writing career took off, maintained his life’s purpose has always been clear. Ever the smart-mouthed Boston-blood, Lehane quipped on the flip side of fame. “We live in a world where we are forced to know who Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan are. Its an ugly world.”
Lehane turned sentimental before the Catholic college crowd when recalling past events of his own life, and related the lessons he learned. “You don’t have to believe in God to believe in miracles. If you believe it can’t get any worse, God help you. If you believe it can’t get any better, you’re wrong.” Lehane was one of a number of famous names in the Boston area to deliver commencement speeches. Smokey Robinson spoke at Berklee College of Music on May 9th, filmmaker Ken Burns will be at BC on May 18th, and Steven Spielberg will be receiving an honorary degree from BU on May 17th.
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