Much has been made lately of singer-songwriter Bob Dylan‘s demands to screen the Weinstein Co.’s upcoming Oscar hopeful, but it’s only the latest in a growing trend of troubling rumors surrounding the Edie Sedgwick biopic.
"Factory Girl" has been buzzed about as Sienna Miller‘s big break, the role that could send the British actress from "Layer Cake" eye-candy to breakout star. Distributor Weinstein Co. even pushed the flick towards a last-minute December 29 release to qualify for awards season; months ago, Hollywood Elsewhere‘s Jeffrey Wells rough cut rave hailed it as a contender (and suggested there’s Oscar potential in both Miller’s star turn and co-star Guy Pearce‘s portrayal of Andy Warhol).
The film, directed by documentarian George Hickenlooper ("Hearts of Darkness," "Mayor of the Sunset Strip"), chronicles the up-down trajectory of Warhol celebutante Sedgwick, the pixie-headed model-actress who was briefly a member of the Factory in the 1960s, dated Bob Dylan, and died of a drug overdose in 1971. Miller herself is a dead-on doppelganger for Sedgwick and stars alongside Pearce, Hayden Christensen, Ileana Douglas, Mary-Kate Olsen, Jimmy Fallon, Mena Suvari, and various members of Weezer.
It’s Christensen’s character, "Billy Quinn," that has drawn the ire of Dylan and his lawyers; though the name is different, the character bears enough resemblance to the folk legend and implies that their break-up inadvertently led to Sedgwick’s demise. From the LA Times: "[The character] has Dylan’s mannerisms and sports a checked scarf like the one Dylan sports on the cover of his classic "Blonde on Blonde" album — on which, legend has it, Sedgwick inspired two songs, "Just Like a Woman" and "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat."
Consequently, Dylan is demanding the film’s release and all early screenings be cancelled until he can view it and give his approval — or else producers Bob Yari and Holly Wiersma will be sued for defamation. (Coincidentally, Yari is the guy who was embroiled in a lawsuit around this time last year over snubbed producing credits for "Crash" and is currently in a public sparring match with Warner Bros. over what he considers a flawed Oscar campaign for his upcoming film, "The Painted Veil.")
Add that to recent rumors of Weinstein-mandated re-shoots and "Girl" champions might have cause to worry about the flick (and it’s stars’) chances come February. And then there’s the message board shouting match over at Cinematical about the Hickenlooper film, a failed competing Edie Sedgwick project, and a quite entertaining, if hard to follow, ensuing war of words from supporters of both camps (scroll down to the comments, it’s worth it!).
Elsewhere in Indie News
Sharon Stone To Play Jimmy Fallon’s MILF in Indie Pic
Stone in last year’s "Broken Flowers"
Jimmy Fallon and Sharon Stone are teaming up for the indie drama "Eliot Rockett." The film, which will begin shooting in February, tells the story of a workaholic/commitment-phobe man returning to his hometown due to a family illness; a reunion with his mother (Stone) rekindles his feelings of dysfunction. "Eliot Rockett" marks the directorial debut of co-screenwriter Patrick Sisam.
Lionsgate to Show Crowe’s "Tenderness"
Crowe earning his Golden Globe in "A Beautiful Mind"
The Russell Crowe-starrer "Tenderness" has been picked up by Lionsgate. The indie drama, which also features the talents of Laura Dern, Jon Foster, and Sophie Traub, tells the story of a cop on the trail of a serial killer, who’s become a bit too friendly with a local girl. The film is currently in post-production, and will likely hit theaters in late 2007.
Judge Unleashes "Alpha Dog"
"Alpha Dog": Coming to theaters before going to trial
It’s finally a go for teen crime flick "Alpha Dog," the Nick Cassavetes-helmed biopic based on the life of a young drug lord known as Jesse James Hollywood that premiered at Sundance nearly a year ago. Thanks to a federal judge’s ruling, Universal can release the film as planned this January; Hollywood’s defense attorney still maintains that releasing the flick will infringe upon his client’s right to a fair trial (to take place next year) and will continue to seek legal restraints.
The pic, starring Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Sharon Stone, Bruce Willis, and a lot more young Hollywood thesps, details the kidnapping and murder of a young man allegedly orchestrated by Hollywood, who consequently became the youngest person on the FBI’s most wanted list. The wealthy, fast-living criminal fled to Brazil, where he was apprehended in 2005.
Tomatometers for Last Week’s Limited Releases
Sarah Polley in Isabel Coixet’s "The Secret Life of Words"
Also playing this week in limited release: "The Secret Life of Words," starring Tim Robbins and Sarah Polley in a tale of high drama on an oil rig, is at 76 percent with 25 reviews; "Automatons," a zero-budget dystopian sci-fi flick, is at 67 percent with 6 reviews; "Breaking and Entering," a story of the tangled webs weaved after a burglary starring Jude Law and Juliette Binoche, is at 50 percent with 36 reviews; "The Good German," Steven Soderbergh‘s "Casablanca"-esque drama set in post-WWII Berlin starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett, is at 33 percent with 70 reviews; and "Home of the Brave," about the trials of vets returning home from Iraq starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, and 50 Cent, is at 21 percent with 33 reviews.
Top Performing Limiteds
In the indie box office battle last week, Pedro Almodovar‘s "Volver" again claims the top spot, taking in a per screen average of $6,965 of 45 screens in its seventh week of release for a total of just under $2.9 million. The runner-up was the debut drama "The Secret Life of Words" starring Tim Robbins and Sarah Polley; it took in $5,309 in one theater. The suburban drama "Little Children" starring Kate Winslet came in third, claiming $3,695 on 21 screens in its 11th week of release (for a total of just over $2 million). The theatrical adaptation of "The History Boys" finished fourth, taking in $2,889 on 76 screens in its fourth week of release for a total of $795,000. Finally, the Bollywood drama/adventure, "Kabul Express," made $2,852 on 50 screens in its first week of release, for a total of $142,000.