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Notable deals from a couple of local filmmaker types.
Screenwriter Nick Schenk (of Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino”) has another Warner Bros. star project due in theaters Oct. 10. Robert Downey, Jr., Robert Duvall, Billy Bob Thornton and Vera Farmiga star in “The Judge,” Schenk’s story of a hotshot criminal defense lawyer who must defend his estranged father on a murder charge. David (“The Wedding Crashers” ) Dobkin directs.
Eric D. Howell, whose Minneapolis- shot short “Anna’s Playground” was shortlisted for a 2009 Oscar is slated to make his feature debut with the psychological thriller “The Voice of the Stone.” Emilia Clarke from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” will star as a nurse in 1950s Italy helping a boy traumatized by the sudden death of his mother, a famed opera singer. She discovers that the family’s Tuscan castle harbors a malevolent force. "It's a ‘Sixth Sense’-like tale of how she’s ensnared, a slow-burn haunting,” Howell said. “Is it real or is it not?”
Clarke is a fast-rising star, slated to play Sarah Connor in the upcoming “Terminator: Genesis” alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. The independently financed ghost story is scheduled to begin production near Siena in October, Howell said, with an eye to a debut on the following year’s fall film festival circuit.
Barkhad Abdi will test his comedy chops in Judd Apatow’s next directorial effort, “Trainwreck,” according to the entertainment trade magazine Variety.
Amy Schumer, who wrote the script will play the lead role. Plot details are scarce, but according to the website Slashfilm, it concerns "a basket case (Schumer) trying to regain control of her life. Other key characters in the film include the woman's boyfriend, her best friend/co-worker, and her parent."
His “Trainwreck” part is Abdi’s first major role since earning an Oscar nomination for “Captain Phillips,” where he played young Somali hijacker Muse. His performance in the film won the BAFTA best supporting actor award.
If the rest of the desired cast signs on, this could have of the oddest ensembles in years. Among those eyeing roles are Tilda Swinton, pro wrestler John Cena, standup comedian Mike Birbiglia and Bill Hader. Let’s hope Abdi ends up as the romantic foil for Swinton. That would be very Apatowian.
Jill Gardner as Tosca in a still from Boston Lyric Opera. Photo by Jeffrey Dunn.
For its third season of outdoor, summertime opera, Mill City Summer Opera has chosen to stage "Tosca," the Puccini tearjerker, with Jill Gardner in the title role. Artistic director David Lefkowich will direct a staging set in the 1940s, and Brian DeMaris will be the show's music director.
Other cast members include Jake Gardner (Scarpia) and Dinyar Vania (Cavaradossi).
As usual, Mill City will stage the opera outdoors in the Mill City Museum's Ruin Courtyard. The past two seasons ("Pagliacci" and "The Barber of Seville") have mostly sold out, so this is a hot ticket. Tickets to the opening night are on sale now; tickets for six scheduled performances July 12-22, go on sale in mid-May at 612-875-5544, or the opera's website.
The Jungle Theater brings back "The Mystery of Irma Vep," with Steven Epp (at left) and Bradley Greenwald, as part of its 2014 season. Star Tribune photo by Tom Sweeney.
Wendy Lehr, currently wonderful in "Driving Miss Daisy" at the Jungle, will be back a year from now when the Minneaplis theater presents her in "On Golden Pond." Bain Boehlke directs and costars in that show about a couple celebrating 48 years of marriage at a lake cabin. (Nov. 7-Dec. 21, 2014).
Also in the 2014 Jungle season:
"Shakespeare's Will," by Vern Thiessen. Boehlke directs Cathy Fuller in the one-woman play about Shakespeare's wife, Anne Hathaway. (Feb. 7)
"Detroit," the play by Lisa D'Amour, won an Obie and was a Pulitzer finalist. Joel Sass directs. (April 11-May 25)
"The Heiress," a Tony-winning play by Ruth Goetz & Augustus Goetz based on Henry James' novel "Washington Square," will be directed by Boehlke. (June 20-Aug. 10)
"The Mystery of Irma Vep," by Charles Ludlam. The high-speed Victorian comedic melodrama won good reviews in 2010, and returns, again directed by Sass, with Steven Epp and Bradley Greenwald. (Nov. 7-Dec. 21)
Season tickets are now on sale. 612-822-7063, www.jungletheater.com.
Casting is crucial to any feature film’s success. When you’re seeking newcomers to hold their own against a two-time Oscar-winner the stakes are higher still. So it was a coup when four novice actors from Minneapolis’s Somali community were cast to play the pirates holding Tom Hanks captive in “Captain Phillips.”
Three Hanks’ costars and the casting agents who discovered them will tell the unlikely story at a red carpet screening and panel discussion of “Captain Phillips” Tuesday.
Faysal Ahmed, who plays the gun-waving loose cannon Najee, Barkhad Abdiriham, the baby-faced reluctant kidnapper Bilal, and Mahmet M. Ali, the tense navigator Elmi, will join the film’s Search Casting Director Debbi DeLisi and her associates Lynn Younglove and Kati Batchelder. The event is hosted by Minnesota Women in Film & Television.
WHAT: “Captain Phillips” screening and panel discussion
WHERE: Grandview Theatre, 1830 Grand Av., St. Paul, (651) 698-3344
WHEN: 6:30 (arrivals and seating), 7:30 screening Tuesday
TICKETS: $20.00 advance; $25.00 at the door. Order at http://mnwift.org/?p=1159 or https://mnwiftcaptainphillips.eventbrite.com/
For further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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