Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Remakes spark December holiday start

Tobey Maguire says he lost "around 20 pounds" to play the tortured returning POW in "Brothers."
"I lost five pounds," adds Director Jim Sheridan, whose Irish whimsy belies the serious nature of his films.
"Brothers," adapted by David Benioff from the 2004 Danish original from Susanne Bier, is one of two remakes of foreign films opening just about everywhere Friday to get a jump on the upcoming crowded holiday field. The other, also a relatively small feature with a notable cast, is "Everybody's Fine," directed by Kirk Jones, whose whimsically Irish "Waking Ned Devine" jumpstarted his career
Jones based his own current screenplay on Giuseppe Tornatiore's 1990 “Stanno Tutti Bene,” and landed Robert De Niro for the lead role of the wandering widowed father originally played by Marcello Mastroianni.
"Kirk and I (together above), we had a meeting and he told me the story and he told me what it was based on," De Niro explains during a recent press conference. "And, he had photos of the whole project, the traveling across the country, and I was impressed with how passionate he was. I could see that he just was special and he doesn't do movies often. This will have been his third.
"And. so, that informed for me that he cares so much obviously. So then I saw the original and then I saw his other two movies and then I read the script. And then we just decided when to do it."
De Niro's "kids" on film include Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell, all looking for ways to please their proud, if mostly uncommunicative dad -- in life and in their chosen professions.
"My own father was pretty easy on me about what I wanted to do, be an actor and stuff like that," De Niro says. "My grandfather (was) more strict and more old-school, old-time Italian. My impression of my father certainly was he came from that to New York City to get away from certain things and raised me kind of easily.
"I have five children and two grandchildren and I try not to be too strict with them because certain things they have to do. But, at the same time, I don't want them to get away with anything. I think, in general, it works pretty good"
In "Brothers," Maguire shares top billing with Natalie Portman, as his sturdy wife, and Jake Gylenhaal (with Maguire below), as the family black sheep who kind of steps up when his brother is presumed dead in Afghanistan.
"I felt really fortunate that I had the opportunity to do this with these folks," Maguire says during another press confab." I was definitely excited at the challenge. Mostly, I was attracted to the subject matter and to do something that could shine a light on something and hopefully start a conversation about something that's probably not talked about as much as we should talk about it.
"To lose the 20 pounds was challenging," Maguire concludes, "but I went from about 156 pounds to 136 in five weeks. I've had to do it before, actually, and it's not the most fun thing to do."
Meanwhile, the biggest challenge for good guy Sheridan (below, right) likely came in trying to figure out a funny thing to say about remaking Bier's well-received original.
"I was really in this position like a doctor," he says, "where you don't want to do anymore damage than you can.

"And, I did have a joke about the (original) movie. I said it made about $200K or $300K at the American box office and, if the critics would've ever paid in, it would've made about $500 million. Like, every critic saw it."
My reviews of both "Brothers" and "Everybody's Fine" will be online Friday at Sun News.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it's been a while since i've seen a decent movie at the theater, so 'Brothers' was a welcome surprise; that movie will get nominated for at least a few awards I'm sure