Production began last week in Los Angeles on the untitled film starring Ben Stiller for writer/director Noah Baumbach, an Academy Award nominee for his original screenplay of The Squid and the Whale (which he also directed). Scott Rudin, an Academy Award winner as producer of No Country for Old Men, and Jennifer Jason Leigh are producing the movie, to which Focus Features holds worldwide rights. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.
Mr. Baumbach has written the original screenplay from a story conceived by Ms. Leigh and himself. At a crossroads in his life, Roger Greenberg (Mr. Stiller) ends up housesitting at his brother’s home in Los Angeles. There, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with his brother’s assistant Florence (Greta Gerwig of Hannah Takes the Stairs), an aspiring singer. Florence and Greenberg’s encounters lead to an uncertain and wonderfully vulnerable courtship.
Rhys Ifans, soon to be seen in The Boat That Rocked, plays Greenberg’s friend Ivan. The supporting cast includes Mark Duplass (of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival success Humpday), Brie Larson (of the hit series United States of Tara), and Juno Temple (of Focus’ award-winning Atonement); Ms. Leigh will also costar in the film.
Mr. Rudin produced Mr. Baumbach’s most recent film as writer/director, Margot at the Wedding, which earned Ms. Leigh a Spirit Award nomination for her performance. The latter feature’s director of photography Harris Savides reteams with Mr. Baumbach on the new film; the costume designer is Mark Bridges (There Will Be Blood). Focus senior vice president, production Kahli Small is overseeing filming of the new movie for president of production John Lyons.
Mr. Schamus said, “It’s a privilege and a pleasure to finally be making a movie with Scott, Jennifer and Noah, and one that will showcase Ben as an actor. This script has the hallmarks of Noah’s best work, and then some; heart and soul interlaced with biting wit. Filmgoers worldwide will find themselves emotionally engaged by and with these splendidly realized characters.”
Focus Features and Focus Features International (FFI) (www.filminfocus.com) together comprise a singular global company, dedicated to producing, acquiring, financing, selling, and distributing original and daring films from emerging and established filmmakers films that challenge mainstream moviegoers to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world. The company’s flexible and nuanced approach to distribution allows it to support a wide range of films, from those geared to a single local market to worldwide hits. The company operates as Focus Features domestically, and as Focus Features International overseas.
Domestically, the Focus Features slate includes Cary Joji Fukunaga’s epic dramatic thriller Sin Nombre, winner of 2 awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival; writer/director Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control, starring Isaach De Bankolé; Away We Go, directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes and starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph; Shane Acker’s animated fantasy epic 9, starring Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly and produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov; Academy Award-winning writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man; and Taking Woodstock, the new film from Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee.
Focus Features and Focus Features International are part of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.