Gorgeous, evocative and well performed, “Set Fire to the Stars” recounts the week in 1950 when New York poetry professor John Brinnin (Elijah Wood) brought famed Welsh poet — and Brinnin’s perhaps undeserving idol — Dylan Thomas (Celyn Jones) to America to perform in a university reading tour.
Although he’s warned by his mentor, Jack (Steven Mackintosh), that taking a chance on the gifted if reckless Thomas could torpedo Brinnin’s academic future, Brinnin earnestly asks: “How much trouble can one poet be?” Well, he’s about find out — the hard way.
Thomas is a handful, a self-described “horrible little imp.” Volatile, sloppy and hard-drinking, yet often irrepressibly charming, the grandiose Welshman takes Manhattan by storm, so much so that he’s thrown out of his hotel. The increasingly cautious Brinnin then squires the health-challenged poet (Thomas would die three years later) up to rural Connecticut, where the two spend a few fraught days attempting to prepare for Thomas’ all-important reading at Yale.
During this interlude, a boozy evening is spent spinning stories with “The Lottery” author Shirley Jackson (Shirley Henderson) and her husband, Stanley (Kevin Eldon). It’s an extended, offbeat sequence that exemplifies the film’s many stirring forays into theatricality.
As for how things go at Yale, suffice to say Thomas knows how to clear a room.
The literate script by Jones and director Andy Goddard provides a vivid snapshot of the era, including the fussy world of academia and America’s post-World War II zeitgeist. That Brinnin was a closeted gay man remains more implied here than explored, though it subtly infuses Wood’s excellent, circumspect performance.
Chris Seager’s black-and-white cinematography is superb, as are the film’s production design, costumes and score. Thomas’ singular poetry is sprinkled throughout to fine effect. (The movie’s swoony title comes from a phrase in his poem, “Love in the Asylum,” which is memorably presented here.)
The film was shot entirely in Thomas’ birthplace of Swansea, Wales, credibly subbing for New York and New England.
There was a long-passed time when writers coming to America to carouse and experience culture therein was a major event. There were few such excursions that loomed as large as Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’ trip to New York City in 1950. This is the setting for “Set Fire To The Stars,” and today we have an exclusive clip.
Co-written and directed Andy Goddard and starring Celyn Jones (who also co-wrote the script) and Elijah Wood, the drama follows a New York academic and big fan of Thomas who becomes his escort and guide to New York City. What follows is a journey that lets him get closer to his hero than he ever thought possible. But as you’ll see in the scene below, being with Dylan Thomas doesn’t automatically mean you’ll unlock the mysteries of his work.
Presented in black-and-white, “Set Fire To The Stars” opens on on June 12th in New York City with more to follow.
The first trailer for The Last Witch Hunter is out:
After Vin Diesel took on his usual early job of playing social media marketing manager with imagery from the film, the first trailer for The Last Witch Hunter has now arrived online. Flaming swords at the ready!
The movie, directed by Breck Eisner, finds Diesel as an immortal warrior who finds himself in present-day New York having to face down a powerful witch queen intent on unleashing a terrible plague that could wipe out the human race.
His chief ally in the fight, however, is a female witch (Game Of Thrones’ Rose Leslie), who teams up with him to help take down the rising evil. Julie Engelbrecht is the main villain, with Elijah Wood, Michael Caine and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson already all aboard.
Caine here appears to be playing a role in getting the exposition out there, playing one of the senior members of the church aware of Diesel’s background. Wood, meanwhile is a young priest who will be drawn into the building conflict. Expect the witchy madness to kick off here on November 6.
Nacho Vigalondo’s high stakes thriller Open Windows, which was recently released on VOD, starts off with Elijah Wood’s Nick Chambers getting situated in a hotel room, ready for a dinner with his favorite movie star, Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey). The dinner gets cancelled, and what at first looks like a strange game of cat and mouse – one that cleverly takes place almost entirely on a computer screen – soon turns into a dark and foreboding look at what we’re usually too afraid to admit: the Internet and technology can be extremely dangerous, depending on who is using them.
A largely unseen villain named Cord forces Nick to cyberstalk Jill in real time, using his technical prowess to tap into any and all cameras and electronics in the area. While everyone’s lives are generally in danger throughout the film, one of Cord’s major threats is making available to the public a video of a partially nude Jill, using a website with a countdown clock on it. I had the pleasure of talking to both Wood and Vigalondo about Open Windows just as Emma Watson’s nude photo leak website was revealed to be a hoax. When asked how they felt about the situation, Wood shared his views on the evolution of Internet behavior.
I think it’s getting to a point where it’s starting to go beyond the online … the sort of safety that provides, and we’re starting to see more direct real-world consequences for the things that people do online, and I think that that’s a good thing in the sense that we’re having a much larger conversation now about what we do online and how it can actually affect people in real life. “
Now, it’s true that most of the morally degraded asshats on the Internet aren’t out on the streets threatening a celebrity’s privacy and forcing them into awful situations, but reading through comment sections and certain message boards can put one in a really dour state of mind concerning humanity’s fate. And even though the circumstances in Open Windows are intentionally hyper-dramatic, the film still shows us that online safety could one day require a lot more faith than the undeniable assertion that it exists. Unfortunately, women are almost always going to be victimized more than men. It’s sadly not that shocking how bad GamerGate got, and Wood also spoke of that as a vaguely optimistic omen that things could change.
The thing about that particular situation that fascinates me is if people were actually handling themselves in human, good ways, there could actually just be a discourse, because that’s what it should be; a discourse about what they feel about feminism and how that might affect gamers’ pride. Talk about it, discuss it, have interactions. However, what it actually turns into are death threats and race threats and the worst elements of humanity that literally are forcing some of these women to hire security and contact the FBI; so because it’s getting to that level, I feel like it’s actually a good thing that it’s going to those extremes because I hope it will ultimately make people look at the way they conduct themselves online and what those consequences can actually be.”
Open Windows also plays with the concept of identity both on- and offline, but talking about that would be delving into the film’s secrets. For what it’s worth, Vigalondo didn’t set out to make Open Windows mirror society at large, and Wood says that the point “is not to make a statement about the way we conduct ourselves online, but rather using those elements to feel like familiar thriller tropes.” Here’s how the director explained his anti-motivation.
The thing is, I really wasn’t concerned about all these things…I never wanted to make a cautionary tale…I wasn’t going to deal with all these things to start a discussion or be part of a discussion. I never wanted to.”
Sometimes prescience happens when you least expect it to, and this is definitely one of those instances. Find Open Windows out on VOD now, with a limited theatrical run starting November 7.
Here’s the first trailer for Open Windows which will be on theaters and VOD on September 29th, via thefilmstage.com:
After taking us on time-travel adventures in Timecrimes and exploring sci-fi comedy with Extraterrestrial, director Nacho Vigalondo‘s latest film takes a unique approach to the thriller territory. Open Windows follows Elijah Wood and Sasha Grey as the latter has been captured by a villain named Chord (Neil Maskell), and the film takes place entirely on a computer screen or various cameras.
We recently caught it at Fantasia, saying in our review, “One of the many films to open with the misdirection of a movie within a movie, Open Windows actually earns it, even if the effort it expends in doing so makes no effort in really separating the layers of cinema fantasy. Because while festival programming guides will like to label it as an update of the Hitchcock-De Palma voyeuristic thriller, Open Windows is, if anything, far more like a Feuillade serial: one cliff-hanger after another — which is perhaps why the film runs 100 minutes, instead of the usual gimmick film’s 80 — including criminal underworlds, wild plot twists, and shifting identities.”
The first U.S. trailer has now landed ahead of a fall debut, and one can see it below:
Jill, the most exciting actress of the moment, refuses to have dinner with Nick, a fan who won a date with her in an Internet contest organized by the distributor of her latest film. In return, a guy named Chord, posing as Jill’s campaign manager, help Nick to follow in the footsteps of the actress from his own computer. Nick starts a game in which he realizes that is only a puppet into the manic plans devised by Chord, to hunt down the star.
New Project for Elijah! From THR
Elijah Wood has joined Lionsgate’s supernatural action film The Last Witch Hunter.
The Lord of the Rings alum will star with Vin Diesel, Michael Caine and Game of Thrones actress Rose Leslie in director Breck Eisner’s thriller. The film centers on an immortal witch hunter (Diesel) who partners with a witch to stop New York City’s covens from unleashing a plague on the city.
Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama (Dracula Untold, Gods of Egypt) wrote the screenplay from a pitch by Cory Goodman. D.W. Harper and Melisa Wallack also contributed to the script.
Mark Canton, Bernie Goldmann and Diesel are producing, and Samantha Vincent of One Race and Adam Goldworm are executive producing. Production is set to begin later this month.
Lionsgate will release the film in North America through its Summit Entertainment banner. Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-president Erik Feig, Summit president of production Geoff Shaevitz and Lionsgate vp production & development Matthew Janzen are overseeing the project for Lionsgate. Lionsgate evp business affairs Robert Melnik negotiated the deal on behalf of the studio.
Wood was most recently seen in the Damien Chazelle-scripted Grand Piano and currently appears on the final season of FX’s Wilfred. With his horror-thriller label SpectreVision, he is also a producer of the upcoming horror comedy Cooties, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and in which he co-stars, and the serial killer drama The Boy.
He is repped by WME, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson and Binder.
Cinedigm has acquired U.S . distribution rights to the thriller “Open Windows,” starring Elijah Wood and Sasha Grey.
The film, which has its world premiere last month at South by Southwest, is directed by Nacho Vigalondo. Cinedigm is planning a theatrical release in late summer or early fall.
Wood stars as the winner of an online contest chosen to have dinner with the hottest actress on earth. When she cancels, he recevies a phone call from a guy who offers to give him the tools to spy on the actress from his computer for the rest of the night.
Elijah attended a screening for Grand Piano last Wednesday, here are pictures.
Grand Piano is available on Movies on Demand and it’ll have a limited theater release on March 7th.
- Events > 2014 > Grand Piano – New York Promotion – February 26th 2014
“Downton Abbey” director Andy Goddard is helming the film, which he co-wrote with actor Celyn Jones.
Elijah Wood has signed on to star in Set Fire to the Stars, a period movie exploring the relationship between poets John Malcolm Brinnin and Dylan Thomas.
Andy Goddard, best known for helming key episodes of Downton Abbey, co-wrote the script and is directing. Celyn Jones (Jo) co-wrote the script with Goddard and will portray Thomas opposite Wood’s Brinnin.
The movie is set to begin filming at the end of the month and counts Kelly Reilly (Flight, Sherlock Holmes), Shirley Henderson (the Harry Potter movies) and Steven Mackintosh (Luther) in its cast.
A.J. Riach is producing while Steve Clark-Hall, who frequently collaborates with Guy Ritchie (the Sherlock Holmes movies and the upcoming Man from U.N.C.L.E. are among his credits) is exec producing.
Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals has been lined up to compose the score for the movie.
Brinnin was a Canadian-born American poet who was instrumental in bringing Thomas, known as the “doomed poet,” into the U.S. for his famed visits in the early 1950s, leading up to his death in 1953. He had to deal with the drunken Welsh man’s increasingly erratic behavior, even writing about those final years in a 1955 book, Dylan Thomas in America.
The movie will explore the turbulent relationship between Brinnin and his hero, with shooting taking place on location in and around Thomas’ home of Swansea, Wales.
Goddard directed the season-three finale of Abbey, as well as the recent Christmas special, among the show’s episodes. He also helmed episodes of Doctor Who, Torchwood, Dracula and Once Upon a Time. Additionally, he is attached to the Patricia Highsmith feature The Blunderer, being produced by Ted Hope and Killer Films’ Christine Vachon with Sierra/Affinity financing.
Wood, who has been starring in TV’s quirky comedy Wilfred, next will be seen on the big screen in the thriller Grand Piano. The actor has been producing and starring in horror movies via his SpectreVision banner and has his first two productions, Cooties, about a virus that turns school kids into murderers, and vampire movie A Girl Walks Home at Night, premiering at Sundance.
Wood is repped by WME, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Stone Meyer. Goddard is repped by Resolution and United Agents. Jones is repped by Kate Staddon at Curtis Brown Group.
Wood is producing the horror story with SpectreVision partners Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller.
SpectreVision, the horror-thriller label run by Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller, is moving forward with its latest project, The Boy.
Craig Macneill is directing the movie from a screenplay by him and Clay McLeod Chapman, who created the characters in his novel Miss Corpus. Shooting will begin February 17 in Medellin, Colombia.
The Boy is the first movie of a planned trilogy that will track the childhood of a future serial killer. The films will explore the killer at the ages of 9, 14, and 18, culminating with him becoming an iconic mass murderer.
It is based on the short film Henley, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was directed and written by Macneill and Chapman, respectively.
Jared Breeze will play the lead role of Henley. The eight-year old actor is a SpectreVision find as he made his acting debut in Cooties, the company’s horror comedy, which premieres on Sunday at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
“Jared only had one line in Cooties,” says producer Daniel Noah, “but he made a huge impression on the set. The Boy is a very different kind of child horror film. It’s a probing character study into the undeveloped mind of a future madman. Jared’s tender complexity is just right to bring us into the life of this complicated young person,” he added.
Also cast in the movie is Aiden Lovekamp, whose credits include Cooties and Paranormal Activity 4.
SpectreVision’s Wood, Noah and Waller are producing, with the company teaming up with Chiller Films for the movie.
Breeze is repped by Coast to Coast Talent.