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Film News Roundup: ‘Toy Story 4’ Writer Boards Michelle Willliams Drama ‘This Is Jane’

In today’s film news roundup, the “Toy Story 4” writer signs for abortion movie “This Is Jane,” Viggo Mortensen-Masershala Ali’s “Green Book” is honored in Denver and the WGA West names its feature access honorees.

WRITING DEAL

Amazon Studios is moving ahead with its Michelle Williams underground abortion movie “This Is Jane,” and has signed “Toy Story 4” screenwriter Stephany Folsom to write the script, Variety has learned exclusively.

Williams came on board to star in May. “Boys Don’t Cry” director Kimberly Peirce is helming “This Is Jane,” which is backed by John Lesher’s Le Grisbi Productions. Lesher and Peter Heller are producing.

The project is based on Laura Kaplan’s book “The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service,” which follows women who provided abortion services in the years before 1973’s Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. Kaplan, who joined the 3-year-old organization Jane in 1971, assembled the histories of the anonymous women who are identified only by pseudonyms.

Williams will play Jane’s founder, known as Jenny. The actress has been nominated for Academy Awards for “Brokeback Mountain,” “Blue Valentine,” “My Week With Marilyn,” and “Manchester by the Sea.” Peirce’s feature directing credits include “Stop-Loss” and 2013’s remake of “Carrie.”

Folsom wrote “Toy Story 4” for Disney-Pixar, which has a release date of June 21, 2019, and re-wrote “Thor: Ragnarok” for Disney-Marvel.

She is repped by Verve, Kaplan/Perrone and Morris Yorn.

FILM FESTIVAL

The Denver Film Festival awarded the drama “Green Book,” starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, with its audience award for top narrative feature.

Mortensen portrays an Italian-American bouncer with a seventh-grade education who is hired to drive a world-class pianist, played by Ali, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South during the early 1960s. Peter Farrelly directed “Green Book.”

Michael Brown’s “The Weight of Water” won the audience award for top documentary feature. “The Last Honey Hunter” won the True Grit award documentary, which was filmed in the mountains of Nepal and attempts to capture the harmony of villagers and their unique natural setting.

The Krzysztof Kieślowski Award for best narrative feature film went “Shoplifters,” Manbiki Kazoku’s drama about a Japanese family being forced to steal in order to survive. The film won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year. The Maysles Brothers Award for best documentary feature film went to “Wrestle,” Lauren Belfer and Suzannah Herbert’s story about four Alabama wrestlers.

ACCESS PROJECT

The Writers Guild of America West has named honorees for its Feature Writer Access Project, its screenwriting program for minorities, writers with disabilities, women writers, writers 60-and-older and LGBTQ+ writers.

The honorees are Tara Atashgah for “Under the Olive Tree”; Bob Bridges for “Khuska the Humble”; Willie J. Hagan for “The Furies”; Joanna Philbin for “Go Your Own Way”; Peter Silverman for “Herta Mansbacher”; and Garret Williams for “Lost Dog.”

“Now on its sixth year, the WGAW Feature Writer Access Project continues to be beneficial to historically underemployed screenwriters,” said director of inclusion and equity Tery Lopez. “An extremely useful component of the program which the honorees find very helpful, is the meet and greet session with creative executives, an opportunity offered through the seminar series that is awarded to them. The meet-and-greet session puts them in front of those that can hire them, an opportunity some might not have otherwise, especially if not currently represented.”

The 2018 program received 162 script submissions from Guild members, including 34 minority writers, 38 women writers, six writers with disabilities, 67 writers 60-and-older, and 17 LGBTQ+ writers.

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