Reiner looks on bright side at AFM

Discussing his new pic, helmer urges filmmakers to 'embrace life'

“You want to make movies that embrace life.”

That was one of Rob Reiner’s major pieces of advice to filmmakers at Sunday’s American Film Market panel on his upcoming “Summer of Monty Wildborn.” Nicolas Chartier’s Voltage Pictures is selling international rights.

“I’ve been doing that since ‘The Buckcet List’ and I’m making those kind of movies now,” Reiner told an audience of about 100 at the Loews Hotel. “I look for a story that I can relate to.”

Reiner — whose directing credits include high-profile studio fare like “A Few Good Men,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “The Princess Bride” — said the pic’s in post-production with screenings set for Dec. 6 and 7 for domestic distribs.

He revealed that the pic was made for $5 million in 25 days. “Actors will work for scale if the material is really good,” Reiner added.

Story centers on Morgan Freeman as a wheelchair-bound author of Western novels whose alcoholism is making him lose his passion for writing. Virginia Madsen plays his new neighbor, a single mother going through a divorce who has three daughters. The family strikes up a relationship with the novelist and helps him rediscover his talent and find his passion for writing again.

Reiner said Sunday that the name of the film was changed to “Summer of Monty Wildhorn” (the name of Freeman’s character) because the former title, “Summer at Dog Dave’s,” was generating confusion — just as “Princess Bride” and “The Shawshank Redpemption” had done.

“My philosophy about titles is do no harm,” he noted. “So at least ‘The Summer of Monty Wildhorn’ isn’t going to hurt.”

Guy Thomas wrote the inspirational script along with Reiner and Andrew Scheinman.

Alan Greisman, Lori McCreary, David Valdes and Salli Newman will produce, while Castle Rock prexy Liz Glotzer and CEO Martin Shafer will exec produce.

Production took place in July and August in Greenwood Lake, NY, and took advantage of the state’s incentive credits.

Panel was moderated by Variety film editor Josh Dickey.

The film is still being sold by Voltage with the title “Summer at Dog Dave’s.”

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