Catherine Zeta-Jones movie remains AWOL
As Catherine Zeta-Jones takes a break from public life to cope with bipolar disorder, she remains absent from another place she once frequently appeared: movie theaters.
That's not, however, a function of her not working. It's a function of her last movie getting stuck in release limbo.
The Oscar-winner's most recent film is "The Rebound," an inter-generational romance in which she plays a single New York mother who falls for a younger man played by "The Hangover's" Justin Bartha (in real life Jones and Bartha are about 10 years apart). In addition to starring two likable actors, the movie has another selling point: it taps into a cougar boomlet that's hitting the big screen. But try to find it in a theater, on Netflix or on VOD, and you'll come up empty.
Directed by Bart Freundlich, "The Rebound" was shot three years ago by independent production company The Film Department. But it has languished outside the reach of audiences without a distributor.
There have been numerous buyer screenings of the film since it was completed, but no deal has materialized. Two distribution executives who spoke on condition of anonymity have said that the asking price has been too high given the quality of the film.
But Mark Gill, who founded The Film Department, said there have been opportunities to sell the movie to a distributor but that he and his company have held it back in hopes of making it a part of his company's inaugural distribution slate. Financing plans for that operation are coming together, he said, with the goal of releasing "The Rebound" in September or October, ahead of the crowded holiday season.
Even if the movie makes that release date, it will still mark a four-year dry spell for Zeta-Jones. The actress last appeared on the American screen in 2007, when she starred opposite Aaron Eckhart in the romantic comedy "No Reservations."
She is slated to play a vixen newscaster in Gerard Butler's soccer dramedy "Playing the Field," which is currently in production in Louisiana, and star opposite Justin Timberlake and Bruce Willis in the gambling comedy "Lay the Favorite." Her representatives have said her treatment in a mental-health facility won't affect her shooting schedule.
Zeta-Jones was once one of the busiest actresses in town, taking on a diverse group of lead roles in the early 2000s. But her own slowed-down work schedule -- she of course has spent the past year dealing with husband Michael Douglas' cancer treatment -- along with some distribution woes, have made her an infrequent screen presence.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Catherine Zeta-Jones after her receiving her Commander of the Order of the British Empire honor in February. Credit: John Stillwell / AFP