When Catherine Zeta-Jones recently stepped back from public life because of bipolar disorder, it also highlighted an absence for the actress from somewhere else: the movie screen. Her cougar-themed movie, "The Rebound," has been stuck in release limbo for nearly two years.
Zeta-Jones is back to work -- she turned out recently to the set of her new comedy "Playing the Field" and is set to star in the film version of “Rock of Ages." But fans hoping to see the Oscar winner back on the big screen in “The Rebound" could be in for a long wait. The Film Department -- the company that financed the movie and, after attempting to sell rights, had been raising money to distribute the picture itself in the fall -- has announced that it will be closing its doors.
That means that plans to bring out the film in the coming months have been scotched. For the film to be released at all, a buyer would need to acquire it -- something none did when it was initially peddled in 2009. Even then, it's very possible the movie would be released direct to digital or DVD platforms, acknowledged Film Department founder Mark Gill. (The company also has a completed Kate Hudson film called "A Little Bit of Heaven," a $16-million romantic comedy that Gill said he hopes to sell to a theatrical distributor.)
Directed by Bart Freundlich and shot in 2008, "Rebound" is an inter-generational romance in which Zeta-Jones plays a single New York mother who falls for a younger man (Justin Bartha). Bartha has some box-office value -- he stars in the upcoming "The Hangover Part II" -- and the movie (which has been released internationally) taps into a vogue for cougars.
But privately, several movie distributors have said the asking price has been too high given the quality of the film.
While the movie doesn't seem likely to approach the infamous territory of "Margaret," a Matt Damon drama that has languished unseen by audiences since 2005, it remains a curious asterisk in the career of Zeta-Jones.
--Steven Zeitchik, with reporting by Ben Fritz
Photo: Justin Bartha and Catherine Zeta-Jones in "The Rebound." Credit: Paramount Pictures U.K.