You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Comedy contenders for feature film

The Golden Globes 2012: Comedy

The dramas have stronger competish from the comedies than at any time in recent memory. But where are the musicals?

Summit Entertainment
Bringing a cancer comedy to the bigscreen presented a daunting task. But when leading man James McAvoy dropped out days into the film’s February 2010 shoot, “50/50’s” chances for survival were more like 20/80. Director Jonathan Levine and producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg scrambled to find a replacement and salvage the semi-autobiographical tale of writer Will Reiser’s battle with cancer. Enter Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who took on the role of the twentysomething facing uncertain odds. The project, originally titled “I’m With Cancer,” draws loosely from Reiser’s days as an associate producer on “Da Ali G Show,” when he worked alongside writers Rogen and Goldberg. As Reiser’s physical appearance deteriorated, Rogen and Goldberg chalked it up to the show’s grueling schedule. Months later, Reiser revealed his cancer diagnosis to his friends, who urged the scribe to put the experience to paper. It took Reiser another nine months before he began writing the film’s screenplay.

“The Artist”
Weinstein Company
More than seven decades had passed since the last black-and-white silent film hit the bigscreen. But that fact did nothing to dissuade writer-director Michel Hazanavicius from bringing the two forms back to the theater. The French helmer best known for the “OSS” spy spoofs took his audacious but still vague silent-film pitch to producer Thomas Langmann, who embraced the opportunity to team with Hazanavicius on the unlikely project. Hazanavicius settled on a story about a silent-era star stubbornly dismissive of the coming talkie invasion, and began writing a screenplay with his go-to leading man, Jean Dujardin, and wife, Berenice Bejo, in mind. But in October 2010, with the 35-day shoot just days away, the film’s prospects suddenly looked bleak as Langmann managed to raise only half of the film’s €15.5 million ($19.7 million) budget. But the producer of such films as the “Asterix” franchise made up the difference with his own coin, confident that Hazanavicius’ ode to early cinema would find an audience well beyond the Gallic borders.

Universal Pictures
Like a long unopened wedding gift that turns out to be an indispensible household treasure, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo’s “Maid of Honor” pitch sat collecting dust after first making the rounds in 2006. In fact, director Paul Feig sparked to the project after reading an early draft a year later and doing a table read with Wiig. But the marketplace was flooded with wedding-themed comedies, including a similarly titled Patrick Dempsey starrer “Made of Honor” that was in production at Sony, and Universal decided to take a breather on the Judd Apatow-produced material. Even after greenlighting the film in 2010, the studio refused to divulge the untitled pic’s logline or concede that it had anything to do with bridesmaids or the pratfalls of tying the knot. “When you say it’s a movie about a wedding, people’s eyes just glaze over because of that feeling, ‘Oh it’s another one of those movies,’ ” says Feig.

“Midnight in Paris”
Sony Pictures Classics
After shooting a single scene for “Everyone Says I Love You” in Paris, Woody Allen vowed to return. It took 15 years for the director to realize that vision with “Midnight in Paris,” which has become the biggest box office hit of his career with a $145 million worldwide haul. The film that offered every high-brow hijinks a sophisticated viewer could wish for — from Gertrude Stein and Salvador Dali sightings to Sorbonne shout-outs — still managed to attract robust auds in red states where freedom fries replaced French fries not long ago, leaving Sony Pictures Classics execs scratching their heads amusedly. Even more enthusiastic was the critical response to Allen’s valentine to the City of Light, with the nostalgic romp awakening the warm and fuzzy side of even the most jaded critics such as the New Yorker’s David Denby and the Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern, who called the comedy beguiling and bedazzling.

“My Week with Marilyn”
Weinstein Company
Director Simon Curtis and producer David Parfitt never really cast a net to find their Marilyn Monroe. Michelle Williams was the only thesp they would consider to play the legendary blonde. Fortunately for the pair, Williams agreed to tackle the titular role, even eschewing lip-synching and body doubles for the film’s song-and-dance numbers. The detail-oriented Curtis meshed well with the “Blue Valentine” star, who meticulously prepared for the part — a far cry from Monroe’s own improvisational style that so angered Laurence Olivier during the filming of “The Prince and the Showgirl,” which the film depicts. The pursuit of authenticity brought the filmmakers to London’s Pinewood Studios, where “Prince and the Showgirl” lensed some 54 years earlier, as well as Parkside House, the very dwelling that Monroe and then-husband Arthur Miller occupied during the film’s production. In fact, Curtis shot a pivotal scene at Parkside where Monroe likely sat snooping into her playwright husband’s notebook

Tales trump top talents | Globes embrace TV’s new, offbeat shows
Drama: Picture | Drama: Actor | Drama: Actress | Comedy: Picture | Comedy: Actor | Comedy: Actress
The Cecil B. DeMille Award: Morgan Freeman

More Film

  • Trailer for Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Entry

    Watch: Trailer for Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Entry ‘Song Without a Name’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID — Peru’s La Vida Misma and Paris-based sales agent Luxbox have dropped the first trailer and poster of Melina Leon’s “Canción sin nombre” (“Song Without a Name”), selected this week for the Cannes Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight. Written by Leon and Michael J. White, “Song Without a Name” sums up some of ambitions and focus [...]

  • 'Aladdin,' 'Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,' 'Shaft' Set

    'Aladdin,' 'Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,' 'Shaft' Set for China Debuts

    Disney’s new live-action “Aladdin” will release in China on May 24, day-and-date with North America, giving the studio a run of three films in Chinese theaters as many months.  Two other Hollywood titles will also hit the big screen in the Middle Kingdom in the coming months: “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu” on May 10 and the [...]

  • Patrimonio

    Film Review: 'Patrimonio'

    Though it never really went away on much of the globe, a sort of creeping feudalism is making such a striking comeback — with the ever-more-fabulously-rich squeezing the poor of every dime and resource — that Lisa F. Jackson and Sarah Teale’s documentary “Patrimonio” feels like a frightening portent. Will such crude appropriations of land [...]

  • Fan Bingbing

    Fan Bingbing Starts to Re-Emerge Months After Tax Scandal

    Half a year after she was found guilty of tax fraud and disappeared from the public eye, Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing has begun to signal her comeback, attending a gala event and launching her own beauty product on social media this week. The 37-year-old actress unexpectedly hit the red carpet in Beijing on Monday at [...]

  • I Trapped the Devil

    Film Review: 'I Trapped the Devil'

    “I Trapped the Devil” sounds like the title of a sermon or gospel song, but it’s a very literal-minded statement coming from the mouth of a leading character in writer-director Josh Lobo’s debut feature. This being a horror film, there’s a chance he’s even literally correct, rather than simply mad. A mixed-bag frightfest, IFC’s limited [...]

  • American Factory

    Tribeca Film Review: 'American Factory'

    When the last truck rolled off the assembly line of the General Motors factory outside Dayton, Ohio, filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert were there to film it, documenting the end of a certain American dream, along with the unemployment of more than 2,000 people — down from 6,000 in more prosperous times. That was [...]

  • Sony Pictures logo

    Sony Pictures Profits Rise to $489 Million but Music Profits Tumble

    Profits at Sony Pictures rose to $489 million for the financial year running to the end of March 2019. That compares with $376 million in the previous financial year. The pictures division result was achieved despite a fall in revenue. That dropped from $9.13 billion in the preceding financial year to $8.87 billion in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content