24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Chloe Moretz

Abigail Breslin: 'Little Miss Sunshine' grows up in 'Janie Jones'

November 2, 2011 |  4:21 pm

Abigail Breslin

From Tatum O’Neal to Hailee Steinfeld, adorable child stars have long faced an uphill battle in making the shift to an adult career. Many have struggled to prove that there’s more to their talent than just playing cute. Abigail Breslin is well acquainted with that particular conundrum.

At the age of 10, she earned a supporting actress Oscar nomination for 2006’s “Little Miss Sunshine.” She had the memorable role of Olive, a chubby, somewhat dorky girl whose eccentric family rallies behind her efforts to win a beauty pageant. Since then, Breslin’s slowly been transitioning into more grown-up parts, playing Ryan Reynolds’ daughter in the romantic comedy “Definitely, Maybe” and tackling more serious fare in the somber drama “My Sister’s Keeper” opposite Cameron Diaz, not to mention her turn as feisty younger sister to Emma Stone’s gun-toting tough girl in the horror sendup “Zombieland.”

Now 15, she stars in “Janie Jones,” an independent drama opening Friday about a teenager who is introduced for the first time to her estranged father (Alessandro Nivola). Dad is a rock star, and she joins him on the road as the two work on their relationship.

“To anyone who said, ‘Well, she got an Academy Award nomination because she was a cute kid,’ I would say, ‘Look at her in this movie,’ ” said David Rosenthal, who wrote and directed the film and cast Breslin without even auditioning her for the part. “You see why she’s really a star.”

During a recent trip to Los Angeles to promote the movie, the New York City native sat down with 24 Frames' Amy Kaufman to discuss her latest role, her mother’s effect on her career and her new band.

A.K.: This is a pretty mature role for you — there’s lots of swearing and partying in “Janie Jones.” Was there any hesitation on your mom’s part about letting you do it?

Continue reading »

Martin Scorsese's 'Hugo' not just a kids' movie [Trailer]

October 26, 2011 |  3:06 pm

Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz in 'Hugo'


This post has been corrected. Please see note at the bottom for details.

A new trailer hit the Web Wednesday for “Hugo,” Martin Scorsese’s first family-oriented movie and his first venture into 3-D filmmaking. 

“Hugo” is based on the Caldecott Medal-winning novel "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick about an orphan boy who lives in a Paris train station in the 1930s.

Compared with the trailer released in July, the new one seems to be out to prove that this isn’t just a kids’ movie. The earlier trailer featured a lot of Hugo (Asa Butterfield) leading a playful chase around the train station to escape a clumsy station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen). The new trailer features more Ben Kingsley, who plays a character inspired by pioneering filmmaker George Méliès, and takes a more serious tone with the same music used in “The Fighter” and “The Adjustment Bureau” previews. (The piece is “Breath and Life,” by trailer music company Audiomachine.)

“Hugo” has been touted as revolutionary for its un-gimmicky use of 3-D. Getting its first test of those high expectations, an unfinished version of the film had a surprise screening at the New York Film Festival on Oct. 10.

Wider audiences will have to wait to judge the 3-D for themselves, but they will get to see a 2-D version of the trailer on the big screen when it starts screening in theaters in front of "Like Crazy" on Friday.

“Hugo” also stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Jude Law, Christopher Lee and Emily Mortimer. The film hits theaters Nov. 23.

[For the Record, Oct. 27, 12:15 p.m.: An early version of this post misidentified the author of "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" as Ben Selznik.]


Martin Scorsese winds up 'Hugo' [Trailer]

Moviegoers may end up paying more to see 3-D films

Scorsese's unfinished 'Hugo' shows 3-D's promise for NYFF crowd

–- Emily Rome

Photo: Asa Butterfield, left, and Chloë Grace Moretz in "Hugo." Credit: Paramount Pictures

"The Hunger Games," by way of "24"

July 19, 2010 |  3:52 pm

With the "Twilight" franchise set to take a break of nearly a year and a half, studios are even more furiously trying to find the young-adult books that could soon take that franchise's place as a big-screen genre event / the best way to send 12-year-olds into a state of barely controlled delirium.

One prime candidate: the dystopian fantasy "The Hunger Games," which Lionsgate and Nina Jacobson ("Diary of a Wimpy Kid") are producing.

HungerSuzanne Collins' series about a strong-willed heroine named Katniss in a world devastated by global disaster (two of the books are out, the third, "Mockingjay," comes out next month), doesn't have quite the rabid fan base that "Twilight" had at this point in its evolution. But the story of a girl who steps up to take part in the titular games, in which several dozen teens fight to the death every year in a brutal, large-scale competition (think "The Running Man" meets "The Road"), has a growing group of young female fans, a genre conceit and a strong teenage protagonist.

Now there's momentum on the project, as well as a a bit of news: The veteran screenwriter Billy Ray has been doing a draft/polish of the script that was initially written by Collins herself.

Ray has a number of action movies under his belt, including "Flightplan" and "State of Play" (as well as "Breach" and "Shattered Glass," both of which also saw him sitting behind the camera). But perhaps most notable is that the writer-director has been chosen as the man to adapt "24" for the big screen. (His pitch, which has Jack Bauer running around Europe, Jason Bourne-style, was favored by Fox executives.) There's probably not a lot of overlap between the globetrotting battle to fight violent terrorists and fighting to survive in the futuristic nation of Panem, though, now that we think of it, there are looser comparisons out there. (It's also worth noting that "Hunger Games" comes from Scholastic, the same publisher as the Harry Potter franchise.)

Fans have been wondering who'll pay the young heroine in "Hunger Games" -- Chloe Moretz, Dakota Fanning and Saoirse Ronan are among the fan favorites, as far as we can tell -- but first the project needs to find a director. That could happen soon; Ray's script is about to come into producers, if it hasn't quietly been slipped to them already. And with that will commence the next step in the battle to create the next "Twilight," a competition as fierce as anything in "Hunger Games" itself.

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: "The Hunger Games." Credit: Scholastic Books


'The Hunger Games' in Hollywood

Twilight won't dawn again until November 2011 - Can fans handle the delay?

'The Twilight Saga': Eclipse gives us more of the same

Are the MTV Movie Awards self-defeating?

Breaking Dawn will be broken up (and feature a very large cast)

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Will the American mainstream get to let the right one in?

July 7, 2010 |  7:24 pm

As fan interest in, and backlash to, the American remake of "Let the Right One In" has streamed in over the past year, its principals have said that fans of the original should hold their judgment. "If I didn't feel a personal connection and feel it could be its own film, I wouldn't be doing [a remake]," director Matt Reeves told my colleague Mark Olsen last year. "I hope people give us a chance."

Here's hoping they have the opportunity.

The major management shakeup at Overture last week threw a number of previously ironclad realities into question. Chief among them was the status of "Let Me In," Reeves' take on the Tomas Alfredson coming-of-age-vampire movie that bowled over art house and genre audiences in 2008.

LetThe original, which examined a loner named Oskar and his tender friendship with the oddball vampire Eli, created an exquisite mood and even more exquisite ending. It picked up a hard-core cadre of fans and also caught the attention of Hammer Films, a sales agent and producer that came on board to remake the Swedish hit it long before the film developed a cult following in the U.S. Reeves, hot off his "Cloverfield" debut, soon joined too. Scenes were shot, trailers were cut, and one of the many in-development foreign-language remakes finally was on its way to the screen.

But last week, in something of a surprise, it was announced that Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett, Overture's top dogs and co-founders, would be leaving the company. Overture had been on the sales block for nearly a year, as owner John Malone and Liberty Media looked to exit the film business (and a buyer who would help them achieve that). Without that, Malone decided to retool, slim down,  other euphemisms reserved for people who don't want to be in a business anymore. Chris Albrecht, the head of Overture parent Starz, was stepping in to oversee the film division.

All these moves threw into question several upcoming releases, most notably the Oct. 1 roll-out of "Let Me In."

Sources say that Overture, which declined comment for this story, is still planning to release the film along the lines of its initial plan of 1,200-plus screens. Reeves and the film's stars are still planning on coming to Comic-Con, so the publicity wheels are in motion, and so are the marketing ones. At the very least, the film won't get lost on the watch of Peter Adee, the canny marketing veteran who has been bumped up to run Overture's day-to-day operations in the wake of the McGurk-Rosett departure.

But sources with knowledge of the Overture situation also say that nothing is certain when it comes to the banner's upcoming films, much less for "Let Me In." The fate of the vampire film and two other finished movies (Philip Seymour Hoffman's directorial debut, "Jack Goes Boating," and Robert DeNiro crime drama titled "Stone") will depend heavily on Albrecht, who has several options before him.

Holding back "Let Me In" would be one possible, but not likely, move, as Liberty uses the film as a bargaining chip of sorts for the several suitors who have circled Overture. (We say not likely because when you have the gun ready to fire, as the "Let Me In" marketing team does, you don't take your hand off the trigger. And it Liberty can't find a buyer by October, it probably won't find one anyway.)

More likely, "Let Me In" comes out on schedule in October, but without as much marketing support as it might have gotten when Malone was actually keen to stay in the film business. That would keep the film confined to a narrow audience, creating a particularly ironic situation since one of the main reasons you remake "Let the Right One In" in the first place is to broaden its audience.

It's also possible that Albrecht decides to hold back "Let Me In" so that the company could raise some cash for its release. (P&A investors, as these people are called, are usually among the easiest moneymen to find.) That could mean the movie indeed gets the marketing support it deserves -- it just doesn't come out in October.

In LeBron-like fashion, Albrecht has yet to make a decision about the film on the slate in general, say people familiar with his thought processes, though in his previous life as HBO chief he developed "True Blood," so at the very least has a soft spot for vampire movies.

Long before the latest business drama, there were reasons for fans to be worried when Hammer and its distribution/co-financing partner Overture stepped in. Could you replicate the Gothic mood created by Alfredson and screenwriter-novelist John Ajvide Lindqvist -- and if you could, why would you? A trailer that highlights the horror elements instead of teasing out the metaphors for adolescent sexuality, as the first one did, gave reason for pause. ("Among ordinary people...something wicked lives" is part of the tagline here, and there are a couple of "Omen"-like shots that suggest the horror but not the heart.)

Then again, Chloe Moretz as Eli should hearten anyone who wants to see some sensitive but tough-minded acting, providing she doesn't overdo her wiseacre persona made popular in "Kick-Ass" and "(500) Days of Summer." Richard Jenkins, who plays a kind of father-figure/manipulator figure, is always a joy to watch. And Overture/Hammer should get credit for not aging up the characters in the scurrilous hope of piggybacking on "Twilight" interest.

Even if it's a shaky effort, the passion with which the filmmakers defended it was a reason to want to see this one through. And if nothing else,  a large-scale release would call more attention to the original, an entirely welcome and necessary development -- assuming that large-scale is still possible. As Oskar could tell you, sometimes justice is a cruel monster.

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: "Let Me In" poster. Credit: Overture Films

Monster with a human touch

Matt Reeves: From Cloverfield to Let the Right One In

Overture Films chiefs Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett Exit

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