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Category: Olivia Wilde

Toronto 2011: Who's the inspiration for Olivia Wilde's stripper?

September 15, 2011 |  3:13 pm

Olivia wilde is in butter Filmgoers who caught Jim Field Smith's political satire "Butter" at the Toronto International Film Festival have been making a sport of guessing just who some of the characters in the Midwestern fable are supposed to represent.

Is Jennifer Garner's smug butter-carving competitor Laura Pickler a stand-in for Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann? (Harvey Weinstein, who is releasing the film, certainly seems to be inclined toward the latter.) Is the 11-year-old African American girl competing against her in Iowa supposed to be a 2008-era Barack Obama?

Movie fans, though, may find some real-world familiarity in another character -- namely, Olivia Wilde's Brooke, a brash stripper who attempts to beat Laura at her own game. As you watch the film, she seems, it may slowly occur to you, an awful lot like Diablo Cody. (The Weinstein Co. isn't releasing any official photos yet of Wilde in the role, but some fan sites have posted some.)

Cody is of course the voluble and self-mythologizing screenwriter behind movies like "Juno" and "Jennifer's Body." The similarities between her and Wilde's character are subtle but unmistakable.

Diablo codyLike Brooke, Cody was once a stripper and is covered in upper-body tattoos. Like Brooke,  Oscar winner Cody has a certain swagger and also sought to reinvent herself in another discipline that doesn't involve pole dancing, in the hope of landing a big prize.

Oh, and Cody's real first-name? Brooke.

Screenwriter Jason Micaleff acknowledges he had the "Juno" writer in mind--sort of.

 "Slightly inspired by Diablo (who is thrilled and excited to see it, I hear)," he replied in an email when we put the question to him.

Micallef said that, perhaps unlike some of the more barbed portrayals of U.S. politicians, he intended the Brooke character as homage. "I was intrigued by the idea of a wickedly smart stripper," he said. ("Butter" is slated for general release next year, but if you can't wait that long, it will get a brief one-week run in theaters at the end of October.)


Micallef also wrote that the character carried a larger meaning too. "Brooke thematically represents anarchy, which is why, in a time when everyone hates the government, audiences love her so much."

He then offered that the character had her own Twitter address (@BrookeTokyoRose)--an act of self-branding that might befit, well, Diablo Cody.


Toronto 2011: Harvey Weinstein carves 'Butter' into political statement

'Evil Dead' remake: Diablo Cody polishing script for first-time director

Toronto 2011: Sarah Palin gets a Bronx cheer in new documentary

--Steven Zeitchik in Toronto

Photos: (Top) Olivia Wilde poses for a portrait to promote the film "Butter" at the Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday. Credit: Associated Press/Carlo Allegri

(Bottom) Diablo Cody at the Academy Awards in 2008. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times

Toronto 2011: Harvey Weinstein carves 'Butter' into political statement

September 13, 2011 | 11:24 pm

"Butter" premiere in Toronto

It wasn't enough for Harvey Weinstein to unveil his new movie, "Butter," at the Toronto International Film Festival's largest theater, Roy Thomson Hall, on Tuesday night. The film stars Jennifer Garner and treads lightly into political satire. But in a classic move from the Weinstein promotional playbook, "Butter" was served up with a saucy, quasi-incendiary statement from the studio chief -- in what seemed to be a blatant effort to make the movie into something people will be talking about.

Though Weinstein was in the theater, he chose to have one of the film's actresses, Olivia Wilde, deliver a statement on his behalf to the crowd of more than 2,000 people. After reading through some typical pleasantries, Wilde said: "In 20 years of coming to the Toronto Film Festival, I've never released a statement for a film. But I would like to take this moment to formally invite Republican congresswoman from Minnesota and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann to co-host with me the big premiere of 'Butter' in Iowa in a few months from now."

The statement continued: "I know Michele will already be in Iowa for the caucus, so we can save some money on airfare and travel. I would of course be more than happy to fly in the other leading members of the "tea party" movement to make an entire day of it. We could take some math classes in the morning to help balance the budget, brush up on the Constitution in the afternoon, play some ping-pong and then maybe some verbal ping-pong on gay rights and women's rights (especially the right to choose). 

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Telluride 2011: Jennifer Garner spreads 'Butter' at festival

September 4, 2011 |  8:07 am

Photo: Jennifer Garner in "Butter." Credit: The Weinstein Co. There’s no shortage of serious subjects at this weekend’s Telluride Film Festival, including new movies about obsession (“Shame”), infidelity (“The Descendants”), the death penalty (“Into the Abyss”) and climate change (“The Island President”).

But the lineup isn’t all grim, and one of this year’s sneak previews — Jennifer Garner’s “Butter” — is as broad a satirical comedy as Telluride has ever shown.

After not getting into this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the makers of the movie about backroom intrigue, sexual dalliances and sabotage at an Iowa butter carving competition fine-tuned their movie, bringing it to Telluride for its world premiere.

Garner, who also produced, plays Laura Pickler, who with husband Bob (Ty Burrell) eats, sleeps and drinks butter carving -- transforming massive blocks of the stuff into three-dimensional tableaux.

When Bob, whose prize-winning butter sculptures include depictions of Newt Gingrich on horseback, “Schindler’s List” and the Last Supper, is asked not to compete because he wins too often, Laura decides she will take up the family’s carving knives.

At first, Laura may remind some people of certain right-wing political candidates — she complains about “the liberal media” and says “I believe in America, I believe we’re the best” — but it’s swiftly apparent that she’s actually a bit nuts.

When she discovers that her husband has been sharing more than a lap dance with a local stripper (a heavily tattooed and nearly naked Olivia Wilde), Laura’s determination to churn up a killer butter carving grows a little too intense.

If Laura’s going to lard her trophy case with another carving prize, she must first defeat Destiny (Yara Shahidi), a 10-year-old African American girl whose butter work includes a staggering rendering of Harriet Tubman on a freedom train — complete with an all-butter cloud of smoke coming from its locomotive.

To help improve her chances, Laura enlists former boyfriend Boyd Bolton (Hugh Jackman) to launch some dairy damage against Destiny.

Unlike several of the new features debuting in this former mining town, “Butter,” whose release date hasn't been set by the Weinstein Co., doesn’t have awards aspirations. Its udder heart rests with what you smear on your toast, on a much larger scale.


Glenn Close Gender Bends in "Albert Nobbs"

George Clooney Makes Waves with "The Descedants"

Joshua Marston Heads for Farther Shores with "Forgiveness of Blood"

-- John Horn in Telluride, Colo.

Photo: Jennifer Garner in "Butter." Credit: The Weinstein Co. 

Is the bloom coming off the Ryan Reynolds rose?

August 3, 2011 |  6:39 pm


Inasmuch as it’s ever hard being a Hollywood pinup, Ryan Reynolds is having a tough summer. He took a step up in the superhero leagues with “Green Lantern,” where he played a lead in a comic-book movie for the first time — only to have the movie snubbed by critics and  dismissed by a wider moviegoing public.

Next up is this weekend’s body-switching comedy “The Change-Up,” which hasn’t garnered strong early reviews and isn’t tracking especially well, particularly among the young male audience that typically makes up an R-rated comedy’s core audience.

It all adds up to a setback for the 34-year-old Canadian, who just two summers ago was being hailed as an A-list leading man when “The Proposal” reached a level of surprise blockbuster success. Reynolds booked several gigs off that turn, including the “Green Lantern” role, after proving that he can bring in a much-coveted female demographic. But when the curtain comes down on the box office this summer, his stock won’t be nearly as high, and it remains to be seen whether producers will be as quick to book him as leading man in a big-budget bet.

On the red carpet of "The Change-Up” premiere, Reynolds acknowledged paying "some attention" to ticket sales, but said he doesn't "place a tremendous amount of focus on it. It doesn't mean as much to me as it does studio heads." (Video interviews with the film's stars can be found below.)

Reynolds is not the only “Change-Up” star to have a rough go of it this summer. Olivia Wilde got her first significant spot in a major Hollywood tent pole with Jon Favreau’s genre mash-up “Cowboys & Aliens.” But the film isn’t off to a great start — it collected only $36.4 million on its first weekend in theaters, and in an embarrassing turn, was nearly beaten at the box office by the lower-profile "The Smurfs."

Wilde, who went to Comic-Con International in San Diego last month to promote the movie, said that she too doesn’t pay much attention to a film’s performance, saying she "purposefully scheduled" time to direct a short film last weekend so she could be distracted from the "box-office extravaganza."

"I'm really happy, because I have no idea how we did, so it's OK," she said. "I don't know the numbers. I don't need to know."

About the only star of “The Change-Up” who seems to be having a good summer is Jason Bateman. The actor, again playing one of his likably even-keeled roles, found success at the box office with “Horrible Bosses,” a raunchy comedy about a trio of men who make a pact to murder one another’s employers. The modestly budgeted film came in to the summer with few expectations but has already raked in more than $110 million worldwide since it opened in July.

For Reynolds, the stakes get higher in the months to come. He’s set to star in two big releases, the  undead thriller “R.I.P.D.” and as the titular wisecracking Marvel mercenary in "Deadpool." For his sake, one hopes things pick up, or he could end up with a lot more box office news on which he won’t put a tremendous focus.

-- Amy Kaufman and Steven Zeitchik



Photo: Ryan Reynolds and Olivia Wilde in "The Change-Up." Credit: Universal Pictures.


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