Specialty Preview: ‘Stoker’, ‘War Witch’, ‘A Place At The Table’, ‘Genius On Hold’, ‘The End Of Love’
Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Sapphires,’ ‘Gimme The Loot,’ ‘Hunky Dory,’ ‘Come Out And Play,’ ‘Starbuck,’ ‘New World’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
The first weekend after Oscars brings a variety of specialty films making their U.S. theatrical debuts. South Korean auteur Park Chan-wook‘s first English-language thriller Stoker, starring Nicole Kidman, hopes to lure Park fans and new converts, while Tribeca Film hopes to draw audiences for its award winning and Oscar-nominated film War Witch. Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio and Jeff Bridges are just two of the marquee names behind hunger documentary A Place At The Table, which Magnolia Pictures rolls out Friday. Fellow doc Genius On Hold looks at a troubled father-son relationship (one a telecommunications genius, the other a jewel thief) in what may be a precursor to a bigger narrative feature down the road. Variance Films also taps the father-son relationship in the drama The End Of Love.
Director: Park Chan-wook
Writers: Wentworth Miller, Erin Cressida Wilson
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Specialty Box Office: ‘Stoker’ Stellar, ‘War Witch’ Modest, ‘Leviathan’ Solid In Debuts
Wentworth Miller penned the screenplay for Stoker under a pseudonym, which eventually made its way to producer Michael Costigan and his colleagues. The story centers on India, whose mysterious Uncle Charlie comes to live with her and her unstable mother following the death of her father. India suspects that her charming uncle has ulterior motives although she also becomes increasingly infatuated with him. “We wondered whether [Park Chan-wook] would read Hollywood scripts as did Searchlight,” Costigan said of the Korean-based filmmaker. “So we thought, ‘let’s give it a shot’. Fortunately his group in the U.S. liked it and he wanted to talk about it. And not only did he want to talk, he started pitching ideas.” Park is the veteran filmmaker of thrillers such as Old Boy and I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK. Stoker is his first English-language film, though Costigan said it is very much a “director Park film.” Set in a stately 20th century mansion, the options for the shoot’s setting were considerable. Enter Nicole Kidman, who lives with husband/country music star Keith Urban in Nashville, who expressed interest in playing the part of Evelyn Stoker. She said in an interview on Good Morning America she’d do the part if the shoot could take place nearby. “We easily found a stately home that was empty” in Nashville, said Costigan. “The way we feel about Park is also felt by many actors.” Kidman was keen to work with Park. For the part of the uncle, Park had a Skype session with Matthew Goode. Park said “we found our Uncle Charlie”, Costigan recalled, and “Nicole always picks her directors. She’s a fan of auteurs.”