You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Pricey ‘Engagement’

Warners puts up $47 mil for Jeunet movie

PARIS — Continuing its aggressive overseas production strategy, Warner Bros. is backing Gallic helmer Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s next project, “A Very Long Engagement,” to the tune of $47 million-plus, the studio’s biggest budget for a French-lingo pic.

Film will be Jeunet’s second to star Audrey Tautou after “Amelie.”

“This is going to be one of the biggest films for Warner Bros. next year,” Warner Bros. Intl. exec VP Richard Fox said Tuesday.

“From our side, whether the film is $3 million or $40 million, we always have a nervous feeling. But audiences will connect to this film whatever the language.”

The studio will distribute the film in all territories, starting in France in October 2004, and shooting for a subsequent December release in the U.S., in time for Oscar consideration.

Pic, based on the bestseller of the same name by the late Sebastien Japrisot, tells the tale of Mathilde, a young woman who embarks on a quest to uncover the truth about the disappearance of her soldier fiance during World War I.

“Engagement” will reunite most of the “Amelie” crew including co-writer Guillaume Laurant, cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, production designer Aline Bonetto, costume designer Madeline Fontaine and editor Herve Schneid.

Jeunet, a self-proclaimed WWI addict, said he had wanted to make the film for 10 years and brought his script to Warner Bros. after several false starts.

“This is the only I book I ever wanted to adapt,” Jeunet said. “But I didn’t know who the best actress for the part would be. Then I met Audrey.”

Jeunet admitted there will be similarities between characters Amelie and Mathilde, but “Engagement” will be a less cartoonish film, and Mathilde is a stronger, more self-assured character.

Relating to character

“Mathilde is the grandmother of Amelie, or Amelie in another life,” Jeunet said. “The title could be ‘Amelie Goes to War.'”

The helmer is aiming for a “Godfather II” sepia-tinted look for his film — a far cry from the graphic colors of “Amelie.”

The leading man is still being kept under wraps. “The deal is not done yet, but it’s a matter of days,” Jeunet said, revealing only that the actor is young and French.

More Film

  • Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Honored

    Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Named Honorary Argentine Academy Members

    BUENOS AIRES — In a ceremony just before Friday’s prize announcements at Ventana Sur, Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux and José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Festival, were named honorary members of Argentina’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in a new move for the Academy, out through by its new president, Bernardo [...]

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Box Office: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Soars Toward $35-40 Million Debut

    “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is swinging into theaters on a high note. Sony-Marvel’s latest output is launching to $42 million from 3,813 North American locations in its debut, though other more conservative estimates place that number at $35.5 million. The animated superhero story picked up $12.6 million on Friday, easily leading the pack for the weekend. [...]

  • Ventana Sur : Cinema226 Closes Four

    Cinema226 Announces Four Intl. Co-Productions, Hints at More (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexico’s Cinema226, run by Marco Antonio Salgado and Sam Guillén, is driving into a raft of Mexico, Argentina and Spain co-productions, playing off the current vibrancy of Mexican film production funding and distribution outlets. Among the projects are titles which have been standouts at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, the next film by Mexico-based Argentine filmmaker [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content