Julianne Moore has signed on to star alongside Ken Watanabe and Demian Bichir in the hostage drama Bel Canto.
Paul Weitz (Grandma, About a Boy, Mozart in the Jungle) will direct the film from his adapted script, which is based on Ann Patchett’s book of the same name. The title was first published in 2001 and became an international best-seller, but until now it has found little traction despite a compelling female heroine trapped in a hostage situation in Peru.
Anthony Weintraub (Tekkonkinkreet) adapted the love story, which centers on Roxane Coss (Moore), a famous American soprano who travels to a military dictatorship in South America to give a private concert at the birthday party of a rich Japanese industrialist (Watanabe). Just as the gathering convenes, the house is taken over by guerrillas, led by General Benjamin (Bichir), demanding the release of their imprisoned comrades. A monthlong standoff ensues in which hostages and captors must overcome their differences and find their shared humanity in the face of impending disaster.
Caroline Baron (Capote, Monsoon Wedding, Mozart in the Jungle) is producing alongside Anthony Weintraub through their company A-Line Pictures. Weitz and Andrew Miano (A Single Man, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) also are producing via their Depth of Field production company.
Bloom will begin introducing the project to foreign buyers at the Toronto International Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday. WME Global is selling the U.S. rights.
“I read the Bel Canto novel many years ago and have always believed it would translate naturally to the big screen,” said Bloom’s Alex Walton. “The book has a large loyal global fan base, which I am confident will be delighted to see our wonderful cast bring this story to life.”
The project will mark Weitz’s latest film venture, as he continues to receive critical acclaim for his ongoing Golden Globe-winning Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle. Moore will next star in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck and the Kingsman sequel. She also stars in the upcoming George Clooney-helmed Suburbicon, which also is being sold by Bloom.
The Oscar winner (Still Alice) is repped by CAA, United Agents and Management 360.
Watanabe, a supporting actor Oscar nominee for The Last Samurai, can next be seen in Transformers: The Last Knight. Bichir, who earned a best actor Oscar nomination for A Better Life, just wrapped Ridley Scott’s Aliens: Covenant.
The end of Difficult People season two is upon us!
The Hulu comedy wraps up its hilarious, sharped-tongue sophomore season on Tuesday, Sept. 6 in typical fashion as Julie (Julie Klausner) and Billy (Billy Eichner) deal with the sensitivities of New York City on high alert.
While waiting in line for a party, Julie and Billy meet Sarah Nussbaum (Julianne Moore), the ultimate “fake girls’ girl” development executive who takes interest in one of Julie’s essays, and ET has your first look at Julie and Sarah’s chance encounter.
“I remember how punishingly cold it was the night we shot outside the Mark Twain Awards,” Klausner said of filming the scene. “Delirious and starving, Billy and I sent our assistants across the street to Peter Luger for takeout. They forgot to include cutlery with our steaks and baked potatoes, so Julianne Moore made fun of us for eating our dinners with our bare hands ‘like disgusting animals.’ She was completely right to do so, and I feel privileged to have experienced such a unique humiliation.”
Moore is not the only star to stop by the finale. Returning to Difficult People are Amy Sedaris and Debbie Harry, reprising their roles as Rita and Kiki, while Richard Kind also makes an appearance.
J.E.B. Stuart High School alum Julianne Moore started a petition to rename the school.
And 9 other interesting things you should know about Washington schools.
1. The First To Integrate
On February 2, 1959, four African-American seventh-graders were escorted into Arlington’s Stratford Junior High School by at least 85 riot-gear-clad police officers, overcoming “massive resistance” laws that moved to shut down any desegregated Virginia school. The school became H-B Woodlawn High in 1978 but was awarded historic designation this year.
2. “Shameful Shaw”
The neighborhood now synonymous with trendy bars got its moniker from Shaw Junior High, which once sat on Rhode Island Avenue. “A government certified fire trap,” according to the Washington Post, it was dubbed Shameful Shaw due to its crumbling infrastructure and became a symbol of the city’s neglect of its black citizens. The school itself was named after Commander Robert Shaw of the famed 54th Massachusetts Regiment.
3. Professor Biden
Once a high-school and community-college English teacher back in Delaware, Jill Biden has taught at Northern Virginia Community College since her husband became Veep. Her Second Lady status doesn’t keep students from complaining on RateMyProfessor.com that she gives too much homework.
4. Good Footing
The first public school for black students when it opened in 1870, Dunbar High—in an imposing new building off New York Avenue, Northwest—has history in its floors: Students walk to class over plaques honoring alums such as Edward Brooke, the first black US senator, and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Blank plaques suggest the school isn’t done yet.
5. A New Dei
The sons of former senator Rick Santorum, onetime FBI director Louis Freeh, and ex–Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel all attended the Heights School in Potomac. Affiliated with the Opus Dei society—villains in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code—the Heights is fast becoming a conservative rival to Gonzaga, DC’s Jesuit boys’ school.
6. Crown-Jewel School
Airy, light-filled classrooms, a great hall, and grades divided by age all made DC’s Franklin School a cutting-edge educational facility when it opened in 1869, and made its architect, Adolf Cluss, famous. For years a homeless shelter, the building has been vacant since 2008, despite attempts to revive it as a museum.
7. Moon’s School
In addition to its ownership of the Washington Times, Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church has another link to America’s capital. New Hope Academy, a private school in Hyattsville, opened in 1990 after Moon donated $250,000 for purchase of a school building. While officials claim that no religious doctrines are taught, a portrait of Moon and his wife once hung on the walls.
8. Space-Pioneer Neighbor
Schools are often named after local heros, but the honoree for Herndon’s Crossfield Elementary lived right across the street. Famed for flying at twice the speed of sound, test pilot Albert Scott Crossfield retired to a house near Fox Mill Road, where the elementary school went up in 1988. Crossfield died in a plane crash in 2006.
9. Confederate Ed
Five years after the Supreme Court barred school segregation in 1954, Fairfax County pointedly named its Falls Church high school after rebel general J.E.B. Stuart. Now Stuart alum Julianne Moore has started a petition to rename it Thurgood Marshall. One problem: Falls Church’s other high school, George C. Marshall, is already known as “Marshall.”
10. Educating Girls
The Greek Revival ruins of Patapsco Female Institute in Ellicott City are all that remains of one of the country’s earliest girls’ finishing schools, opened in 1837. Closed in 1891, it was a hotel and a wartime hospital before being abandoned for decades. In 1995, Howard County converted it to a park and outdoor theater.
Tire maker Pirelli corralled an impressive and diverse group of actresses – many with an elite fashion pedigree – for its 2017 calendar, photographed by Peter Lindbergh.
They include Alicia Vikander and Lea Seydoux, both faces for Louis Vuitton, Omega ambassador Nicole Kidman and Chanel regulars Julianne Moore, Rooney Mara and Jessica Chastain.
Shooting his third Pirelli calendar, Lindbergh chose five locations across two continents; Los Angeles, New York, Berlin, London and the Paris suburb of Le Touquet.
The other personalities are Zhang Ziyi, Uma Thurman, Robin Wright, Penelope Cruz, Lupita Nyong’o, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet and Charlotte Rampling.
Medical entrepreneur and professor Anastasia Ignatova is listed as a special guest. She teaches political theory at Moscow State University for the International Relations and designs jewelry in her spare time, according to Pirelli.
Pirelli released only making-of images on Sunday and has yet to disclose fashion credits for the shoot, styled by Julia von Boehm with hair by Odile Gilbert and makeup by Stephane Marais.
The fashions seemed hinged on lingerie, glossy leather and cozy knits in black and white. Lindbergh also shot Pirelli calendars in 1996 and 2002.
The calendar will be released in November.
David O. Russell, Julianne Moore and Robert De Niro are teaming for the latest high-wattage TV series package that is expected to hit the marketplace later this month.
Details of the project are still sketchy but it’s believed to be a serialized limited series. Russell’s reps at CAA are understood to have sent out feelers to network buyers asking for a hefty financial commitment even in advance of a formal pitch from Russell.
It’s not clear if the project is set up at a production entity yet but Scott Lambert, Alexandra Milchan and Megan Ellison are on board as producers.
Russell has developed a few TV projects over the past decade at FX, CBS and ABC, and he was an exec producer on the offbeat five-episode Syfy series “Outer Space Astronauts” in 2009. But the Moore-De Niro project would mark his most significant foray into TV. It’s unclear if there are other writers involved at this stage.
The Russell package represents the trend of A-listers assembling high-profile series packages that draw hefty bids. Earlier this year, Showtime made a two-season commitment for a drama to star Daniel Craig from producer Scott Rudin and director Todd Field, based on the Jonathan Franzen novel “Purity.”
HBO’s deal with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson for “True Detective” set the template for projects that sidestep the traditional development process by commanding straight-to-series commitments in an auction process.
Russell earned back-to-back directing and screenwriting Oscar nominations for 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook” and 2013’s “American Hustle.” He was also nommed for directing for 2010’s “The Fighter.”
Moore won a best actress Oscar last year for her work in 2014’s “Still Alice,” and she grabbed an Emmy in 2012 for her turn as Sarah Palin in HBO’s “Game Change.”
De Niro worked with Russell on “Silving Livings Playbook,” which earned him a supporting actor Oscar nom. He’s become active in TV as a producer and he is starring in HBO’s upcoming Bernard Madoff movie “The Wizard of Lies.” He’s got two Oscars in his trophy case, for 1974’s “The Godfather Part II” and 1980’s “Raging Bull.”