11
Mar
08

Leonid Rozhetskin

Quint dances along with Steve Coogan’s Sexy Jesus in HAMLET 2 at Sundance!

March 5th, 2008

From Ain’t it Cool News

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here finally catching up on my Sundance coverage. In the last month I’ve seen somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-60 films theatrically and another half dozen screeners to add onto that pile.

Of all those movies only about a fifth were damn good and of those only a handful that are what I’d call fuckin’ good or better.

HAMLET 2 made the cut.

Steve Coogan. If that name puts a smile on your face, then get in line now. This is Coogan at his finest. If his name got a “Huh?” response, then that’s okay, too. You’ll be a new fan of his once Hamlet 2 hits and then, I’m sure, you’ll dive into the hilarious world of Alan Partridge.

While Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost broke over here Mr. Coogan was biding his time.

In HAMLET 2, Coogan plays an Arizona drama teacher. In his mind he’s a great actor and in the opening moments of the movie we’re treated to his highlight reel, which consists of bit parts on infomercials and speaking roles in STD treatment commercials.

He gets paid next to nothing, his wife (played by Catherine Keener) is always bitchy to him (she married him and waited for his bit acting career that never came), he’s got a live-in hanger-on (played almost silently by David Arquette) and he’s struggling in a school system that doesn’t value the arts. His classroom has been moved into the cafeteria where his lectures have to compete with the lunch ladies noisily cooking.

In short, his life’s a mess, but he still has a hopeful smile on his face, an almost childlike optimism.

In his new year of teaching he is given a class of delinquents. The irony is not lost on him or the movie as he studies films like DANGEROUS MINDS in order to learn how to make the transition from his pure white-bread theater snob class to a multi-cultural class just trying to get an easy A.

This same year, he finds out that the school has finally cancelled theater and that situation brings the class together to achieve Coogan’s game plan: He’s going to put on a play that is so popular, so good, that the school board will be forced to reinstate the class.

In the past, Coogan’s plays all consisted of stage remakes of popular movies. We’re treated to a glimpse at one of his previous works, a stage version of ERIN BROKOVICH. He has a heated conversation with his biggest critic, the high school newspaper’s entertainment reviewer (a child no older than 12). He asks this kid why he always gets a negative review. The kid simply states that his shows suck. Of course, Coogan breaks down and the kid has to console him and gives him a piece of advice. Do your own thing, don’t just copy everybody else.

With that in mind, Coogan is inspired to create his masterpiece… HAMLET 2. But… everybody dies at the end of Hamlet, right? Aha! Well, that’s where the time machine comes in.

Seriously, the final version that ends up onstage is something they should tour with. You have time travel, historical figures coming in to change the events of the first HAMLET and a dance number involving Christ called SEXY JESUS.

And yes, his main inspiration to sequelize HAMLET is that he thought Shakespeare’s original was too much of a bummer and he wanted a chance to make it happier. He takes the tragedy out of HAMLET, essentially.

I can’t write this up without mentioning a particular actress. One of the secondary stories is the difficulty Keener and Coogan are having conceiving a child. So they go to a sperm bank and while they’re waiting, Coogan bumps into a cute nurse, played by Elisabeth Shue. His mouth hangs open and he says, “Excuse… but you look exactly like my favorite actress Elisabeth Shue.” She smiles and says, “I am Elisabeth Shue.”

And so it goes. She quit acting and became a sperm bank nurse in Arizona… and she’s not a throwaway joke. She is a real character in the movie, playing herself, and boy does she still have it. I’ve had a crush on her since my childhood viewings of ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING and KARATE KID. She’s looking great and is as charming as she’s ever been.

The script was whip-smart, as should be expected from Pam Brady. She works with Trey Parker and Matt Stone a lot on South Park, the South Park movie as well as TEAM AMERICA. She doesn’t disappoint here.

The flick just finished filming in November, so the cut we saw in January I’m sure is still rough. There was a little drag in the middle, but I’m sure they’ll tighten the film a bit before release. Even if they don’t, it’s already hilarious.

It was the biggest pick-up at Sundance, with Focus Features dishing a reported $10 million for it, so you know you’ll see a big release. This’ll be one Sundance movie I”m sure will be at a theater near you no matter where near you is.

Anyway, that’s it for HAMLET 2. Still more Sundance/Santa Barbara flicks to go through before I’m done. Keep an eye peeled, squirts!

-Quint
quint@aintitcool.com

Sundance: The Scoop on ‘’Ballast,’’ ‘’Hamlet 2′’

January 28th, 2008

From EW.com

By Owen Gleiberman

Read the whole article.

Sundance Q&A: The Cast of ‘’Hamlet 2′’

January 28th, 2008

From EW.com

By Missy Schwartz

Read the whole article.

Sundance Q&A: The Cast of ‘’Hamlet 2′’

January 28th, 2008

From EW.com

By Missy Schwartz

Read the whole article.

Sundance Q&A: The Cast of ‘’Hamlet 2′’

January 28th, 2008

From EW.com

By Missy Schwartz

Read the whole article.

Sundance BuzzCheck™: The festival’s top seller, ‘Hamlet 2′

January 24th, 2008

From EW.com

Popwatch Blog

The raucous comedy had been the subject of tremendous buzz coming into Sundance…before it was even completed, and without a mere mention in the event’s catalogue. Indeed, the unfinished film was such a late entry into the festival that Park City’s primary premiere location, the Eccles Center, was fully booked. But that didn’t stop Hamlet 2 from knocking Sundance out of its mid-festival doldrums with a rowdy debut screening Monday night at the Library Center theater. The room erupted in hysterics about two minutes into the show, and things stayed that way for nearly two hours.

Read the whole post.

Sundance, Day 7: Why Hamlet 2 Is Hot, Hot, Hot

January 24th, 2008

From E! Online, Reel Girl Blog

Read the whole post.

‘Hamlet 2′ is big buy at Sundance Fest

January 24th, 2008

From The Miami Herald

By Ryan Pearson

Read the whole story.

Studios cautiously open their wallets for Sundance films

January 24th, 2008

From USA Today

By Anthony Breznican

Read the whole story.

Trio of deals wakes up Sundance

January 24th, 2008

‘Hamlet 2,’ ‘Henry Poole’ and ‘Choke’ reap big sales

From The Hollywood Reporter

By Steven Zeitchik and Gregg Goldstein

Read the whole story.

PRINCELY SUM NETS ‘HAMLET’

January 24th, 2008

From The New York Post

By Lou Lumenick

A late entry to the Sundance program, “Hamlet 2″ was described by several distributors as the first indie this year to have commercial crossover possibilities like “Little Miss Sunshine.”

Read the whole story.

What a piece of work

January 22nd, 2008

From The Hollywood Reporter, Risky Biz Blog

By Gregg Goldstein and Steven Zeitchik

January 22, 2008

Throughout Sundance, distributors have been asking “Indie hit, wherefore art thou?”

The answer may have come Monday evening with “Hamlet 2,” Andrew Fleming’s frequently hilarious story of an overly dramatic high school drama teacher (played by Steve Coogan) who attempts to salvage his department by putting on a controversial musical sequel to Shakespeare’s play.

The late addition to the fest had intermitent lulls, but it also had every top film exec unreservedly gushing outside the Library screening room. The Weinstein Co., Fox Searchlight, Lionsgate, Focus, ThinkFilm, Paramount Vantage and other execs all openly agreeing about how funny it was.

“I heard before I came that it needed a lot of work, but it doesn’t need that much work,” said one buyer. Others said some judicious cutting could bring it big success. At a “Hamlet” dinner afterwards, veteran studio director Fleming (”Threesome,” “Nancy Drew”) said he’d be open to working with a distributor on a refined edit, despite saying he avoided the development process initially. “It”s nothing I haven’t been through before,” he deadpanned.

The film’s satirical take on theater types, modern musicals, high school and high school movies like “Dangerous Minds” resonated with the audience, as did top notch performances by Coogan and Catherine Keener (pictured above), Amy Poehler and the amazing newcomer Skyler Astin, who plays a budding drama student many will recognize.

(Full disclosure: after seeking out Astin to speak with him at the dinner, I realized he currently stars in the Tony-winning best musical “Spring Awakening,” co-produced by an old friend, Amanda Dubois. — Gregg Goldstein)

“Hamlet 2″ came together thanks to producers Eric Eisner as well as “Little Miss Sunshine” producers Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger.” Editors were still cutting the movie as late as December with the possibility that it wouldn”t have made into the festival.

But the filmmakers finished it and got it into the festival just under the wire, not unlike the way the fall’s big indie hit, “Juno,” snuck into Telluride at the last minute.

CAA is selling the title, and top distributors began gathering at their Park City house immediately after the film.

‘Hamlet 2′ Sells After All-Night Bidding War

January 22nd, 2008

From The Wall Street Journal

By Lauren Schuker, January 22, 2008

This just in: After receiving an uproarious reaction from crowds last night, “Hamlet 2” provoked the first major bidding war of the festival. After an all-night battle, the film sold early this morning, according to producer Eric Eisner who only arrived home at 7:30 a.m.

The comedy, which stars Steve Coogan as a failed actor turned high school drama teacher, tells the unpredictable, charmingly offensive tale of a high school drama class that stages a sequel to Hamlet. The film is complete with time machines and a modern-day version of Jesus Christ — with sex appeal and a cell phone.

Equal Opportunity Insults, In Five Acts

January 22nd, 2008

From The New York Times, The Carpetbagger

By David M. Halbfinger

January 22, 2008

Sundance looks to have its first unqualified hit, and a Cinderella story at that, in “Hamlet 2.” A late addition to the film festival, this bawdy romp, starring Steve Coogan as a failed actor-turned-pathetic high-school drama teacher — who stages a musical sequel to “Hamlet,” with a “sexy Jesus” Christ in a starring role — enjoyed a riotous reaction at its premiere in Park City’s library Monday night.

One of the festival’s running themes has been hope and optimism, as most evident in films about people facing down death, among them Amy Redford’s drama “The Guitar” (which didn’t wow audiences on Friday) and Mark Pellington’s lighter-hearted “Henry Poole Is Here” (which played quite well Monday afternoon and immediately drew interest from several buyers).

But “Hamlet 2,” even as it made sure to insult Christians, gays, Latinos, Jews, the A.C.L.U., Hollywood movies about inspiring teachers and one of its lead actresses (Elisabeth Shue), also managed to puncture the death-defying optimism that has hovered over Park City.

As the acquisition teams from Focus Features, Fox Searchlight, Lionsgate, Miramax and the Weinstein Company, among others, filed out into the night – some of them, presumably, to huddle and come up with offers – the non-buying audience hung around for a quick Q-&-A with Andrew Fleming, the director of “Hamlet 2,” and several members of his cast.

Mr. Fleming said he and his writing partner, Pam Brady, had been working on the script for five years, but the idea of a “Hamlet” sequel was much more recent, and the actual play-within-the-movie was written on deadline. “It was this kind of panicked, last-minute thing – ‘let’s write some songs and put on a show,’” Mr. Fleming said.

In the movie Ms. Shue plays herself, oddly enough – or a version of herself that could be so smitten by Mr. Coogan that she’d lick his face (as she did again onstage, for good measure). Why’d she take the role? “I just got the script and it said ‘a famous actress who’s a has-been, lives in Tucson and is a nurse,’” she said. “It was hilarious and I had to do it.”

Industry watching for strike-inspired bidding wars, hot films at Sundance

January 21st, 2008

From CBC News

January 18th

Hamlet 2 is cited as a movie title “that could sneak up under the radar.”

Read the whole article.

Filmmakers Look to Sundance Buying Spree

January 18th, 2008

From The Huffington Post

By Ryan Pearson, January 18, 2008

Read the whole post.

25 films creating buzz among buyers

January 17th, 2008

From Variety

By Sharon Swart

January 16, 2008

Hamlet 2
Steve Coogan toplines as a high school drama teacher who decides to stage a musical sequel to “Hamlet.” Cast includes Catherine Keener and David Arquette. (CAA)

Read the whole article.

2008 Sundance film festival

January 17th, 2008

From The Toronto Sun

By Kevin Williamson, January 17, 2008

THE BUZZ: Movies pegged as potential box-office hits include Sunshine Cleaning (Amy Adams); What Just Happened? (Robert De Niro); The Wackness (Sir Ben Kingsley and Mary-Kate Olsen); Hamlet 2 (Steve Coogan); and Assassination of a High School President (Mischa Barton).

Read the whole article.

Sundance Could Be a Sellers’ Bonanza

January 17th, 2008

From The New York Times

By David Carr, January 17, 2008

Read the whole article.

Quint and Rav preview the 2008 Sundance Film Festival!

January 17th, 2008

From Ain’t It Cool News at aintitcool.com

Read the posting.

“A Raisin in the Sun,” “Hamlet 2″ and More Play Sundance Film Fest Beginning Jan. 17

January 17th, 2008

From Playbill

By Ernio Hernandez, January 17, 2008

Also featured at the festival will be “Hamlet 2.” Andrew Fleming directs his and Pam Brady’s script for the film, which stars Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Shue, Amy Poehler, David Arquette and Melonie Diaz. The comedy finds “a high school drama teacher [who] injects love and passion for theatre into his students by creating a musical sequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Read the whole article.

Sundance 2008: Let There Be Light!

January 17th, 2008

From Variety

By Sharon Swart, January 16,2008

Three films seem to be high on buyers’ radars: Premiere comedies “What Just Happened?” and “Hamlet 2,” as well as Dramatic Competition entry “Sunshine Cleaning,” starring Amy Adams and Emily Blunt.

Read the whole article.

Boom looms in Sundance

January 17th, 2008

From the Hollywood Reporter

By Steven Zeitchik and Gregg Goldstein, January 16, 2008

Next week feels far away to many buyers, but distributors already are beginning to eye Plum Pictures’ intergenerational dramedy “Diminished Capacity” and “Hamlet 2,” the comedy-musical starring Steve Coogan that is a late addition to the festival.

Read the whole article.

Strike Makes Fight For Fest Films

January 17th, 2008

From The New York Post

January 16, 2008

Read the whole article.

Play It Again, Sundance

January 17th, 2008

From The Wall Street Journal

By Lauren Schuker, January 12, 2008

“Buyers say they are looking carefully at three star-packed films aimed at young audiences: “Hamlet 2″ (with Elisabeth Shue), about a high-school drama course that puts on a musical sequel to Shakespeare’s play…”

Read the whole article.

Eclectic mix practices Sundance steps

January 15th, 2008

From The Hollywood Reporter

By Steven Zeitchik and Gregg Goldstein
Jan 15, 2008

The prototypical indie producer has evolved too. One of the most buzzed-about titles this year is the last-minute addition “Hamlet 2,” an irreverent comedy musical starring Steve Coogan. It comes from new film producer Eric Eisner — yes, he’s the son of that Eisner, former Disney CEO Michael.

In another era, Eisner the younger might have gone to work as a conglomerate executive like the Murdoch sons, but he decided to branch out. “I’ve always been a little more entrepreneurial,” he said. “There’s a thrill in building a company and starting from scratch.”

Read the whole article.

Latest News

January 10th, 2008

Fleming’s ‘Hamlet 2′ added to Sundance
From Variety
By MICHAEL JONES

Sundance adds Coogan comedy Hamlet 2 to premieres
By Jeremy Kay
From Screen International

‘Hamlet 2′ to be among New Frontiers
By Gregg Goldstein
From The Hollywood Reporter

To be or not to be, again
By Sean Means
From Salt Lake Tribune

Sundance profile: Graffiti Research Labs
By Michael Jones
From Variety

On the New Frontier
By Sean Means
From Salt Lake Tribune

Sundance Announces New Frontier on Main Program
From The Film Lot

Give Sundance garb
From Park Record

Todd Oldham Designs an Eco-Chic Messenger for Sundance Film Festival
By Lesley Scott
From Fashion Tribes

Take some festival spirit away with you in a limited edition Todd Oldham bag
From Hippyshopper.com

Celebrate Sundance, don’t sabotage it
By Katie Eldridge
From Park Record

Cockeyed, Moccasin Flats writers from B.C. head to Sundance
From CBC News

Captain Abu Raed
By Lee Marshall
From Screen International

Recycle (Ee’adat Khalk)
By Lee Marshall
From Screen International

Irish short is chosen for Sundance
From RTE, Ireland

DOCUMENTARIES’ STORIES DON’T END
By Addie Morfoot
From Los Angeles Times

Q&A with ‘Once’ star Glen Hansard
By STEPHEN BECKER
From Dallas Morning News

Linney once again exudes versatility, credibility
By Michael Phillips
From Chicago Tribune

CRITICS’ POLL ‘07 | “There Will Be Blood” Hailed as Best of 2007 in iW Poll of 100+ Critics; “No End In Sight,” “Away From Her” Singled Out
By Eugene Hernandez
From indieWRE

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