24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Jon Hamm

Toronto 2011: Westfeldt, Davies films bound for theaters

September 19, 2011 |  9:36 am


As the Toronto International Film Festival wound down on Sunday, distributors snapped up a pair of movies.

Music Box acquired Terence Davies' "The Deep Blue Sea," starring Rachel Weisz. Set in 1950s, the film centers on the wife of a British high court judge who, in a subversive move, leaves her husband to begin a romance with a young pilot. The acquisition spells the first English-language release for the Chicago-based distributor, which is behind the Swedish-language "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy.

And in a deal that had long been anticipated, Jennifer Westfeldt's parenthood dramedy "Friends With Kids" has sold to Lionsgate. Westfeldt revealed the news to Deadline at an Emmy party that she attended with her partner (and “Kids” co-star), Jon Hamm, whose "Mad Men" took top drama prizes at the TV awards Sunday night. A spokesman for the film's producers later confirmed the sale.

Lionsgate has yet to announce the deal officially, and no release date has been set.

Westfeldt and Hamm don't have kids themselves. But the actress-filmmaker told 24 Frames in an interview at the Toronto festival that she learned a lot watching her friends dive headfirst into parenthood. Westfeldt has seen all her friends move out of New York City and head to the suburbs; she’s watched couples lose their love for each other as a baby becomes a top priority; and she’s witnessed relationships evolve as a couple becomes a family.

Westfeldt explores all the good and bad that comes with parenting in her new film. It’s an ensemble comedy where she plays a woman, still single, who after watching her friends basically fall apart with new baby duty, decides to conceive a child with her friend (Adam Scott) with the hope that since they aren’t a couple their relationship won’t erode. At least that's the hope.

Westfeldt, 41, originally wrote part of the script four years ago but then put it away. She pulled it back out last year with an eye toward completing her decade-long trilogy that began with the bisexual-dramedy "Kissing Jessica Stein" (2001), which Westfeldt co-wrote and starred in, and continued with "Ira and Abby" in 2006.

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Preview review: Ben Affleck goes to town

July 20, 2010 |  7:30 am

The Town movie image JON HAMM After years of turning in solid performances as an actor, Ben Affleck tried his hand at directing with 2007's "Gone Baby Gone." His debut was relatively well-received, but his latest behind-the-camera effort, September's crime drama "The Town," looks even more promising.

Based on Chuck Hogan's novel "Prince of Thieves," the movie tells the story of Claire, a bank manager (Rebecca Hall) who is taken hostage during a robbery. As she tries to recover from the trauma, she's comforted by Doug (Affleck), who it turns out was one of her kidnappers. Meanwhile, Doug's buddy (Jeremy Renner) is worried that his new love interest might figure out Doug's true identity, while an ex-girlfriend (Blake Lively) continues to vie for his affections. 

The trailer has an ominous tone, opening with creepy footage from Claire's abduction, before explaining that captors come from the gritty streets of Charlestown, Mass. Boston-native Affleck is clearly comfortable on his home turf, and it shows here. And despite the shooting and violence, awards darlings Hall and Renner ground the film emotionally.

Even Lively, known for her wispy portrayal of a blond socialite on "Gossip Girl," seems to be veering into more serious territory. Better yet, her Boston accent isn't horrible.

--Amy Kaufman

Photo: Jon Hamm in "The Town." Credit: Warner Bros.

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