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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Catherine Zeta-Jones

Catherine Zeta-Jones movie could go direct-to-video

May 5, 2011 |  1:49 pm

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.


Catherine Zeta-Jones movie remains AWOL

The Film Department closes its doors

Gerald Butler begins 'Playing the Field'

--Steven Zeitchik, with reporting by Ben Fritz



Photo: Justin Bartha and Catherine Zeta-Jones in "The Rebound." Credit: Paramount Pictures U.K.


Catherine Zeta-Jones movie remains AWOL

April 15, 2011 |  7:31 am


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




Ministry of Gossip: Catherine Zeta-Jones treated for bipolar disorder

Gerard Butler begins playing the field

The cougar makes a comeback

Photo: Catherine Zeta-Jones after her receiving her Commander of the Order of the British Empire honor in February. Credit: John Stillwell / AFP


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