Hirsch, Martin to star in Ang Lee pic
Focus Features will begin production late this month on “Taking Woodstock,” scripted by James Schamus and to be directed by Ang Lee.Lee’s ensemble cast includes Emile Hirsch, Imelda Staunton and Liev Schreiber. Pic is an adaptation of the memoir of Elliot Tiber, who played a role in helping the historic 1969 music fest unfold on his neighbor’s farm (Daily Variety, April 22). Less than a month ago, Focus had been thinking about postponing the start of production over concerns that a possible Screen Actors Guild strike could force a shutdown later this year. But numerous studios have begun to move forward on feature starts, and it’s understood that Focus has worked out contingency plans in the event of a work stoppage. Demetri Martin (“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”) had already been set to play Tiber, an aspiring interior designer in Greenwich Village obliged to run the family business, a Catskills motel. In summer 1969, he found himself at the center of a generation-defining experience when he volunteered the motel to be the home base for Woodstock concert organizers after his neighbor, Max Yasgur, made his farm available for the event. Staunton and Henry Goodman will play Tiber’s parents, and Jonathan Groff (currently starring in the Shakespeare in the Park production of “Hair” in Gotham) will play Woodstock organizer Michael Lang; Hirsch will play a recently returned Vietnam vet, Eugene Levy will play Yasgur, and Schreiber is in talks to play a transvestite named Vilma. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is set as a closeted married man having an affair with Tiber, while Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan play a hippie couple attending the concert. Dan Fogler will play a local theater troupe head, and Mamie Gummer will play Lang’s assistant. Focus Features CEO Schamus will produce with Lee. Celia Costas (“Angels in America”) is executive producer.