Author Topic: Kenneth Lonergan  (Read 5462 times)

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wilder

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Re: Kenneth Lonergan
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2013, 12:30:51 PM »
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Kenneth Lonergan To Script ‘Howards End’ Miniseries Project For BBC, Playground
via Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: The BBC and Colin Callender‘s Playground Entertainment are developing Howards End, a miniseries project based on E.M. Forster’s classic novel. Deadline has learned that Kenneth Lonergan, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Gangs Of New York and You Can Count On Me, will pen the adaptation in what marks his first move into television. The project is not yet greenlighted, but is envisioned as a four-parter for BBC Two. The novel was first published in 1910 and explores social and class divisions in early 20th century England through the prism of three families. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala won an Oscar for her feature script adaptation with Merchant Ivory’s 1992 film. Playground, in association with City Entertainment and KippSter Entertainment, acquired rights to turn the novel into a miniseries late last year. Callender will executive produce with Joshua D. Maurer, Alixandre Witlin and David A. Stern; Polly Hill is exec producing for the BBC. Callender recently exec produced the Starz/BBC limited series The White Queen, and Playground is also co-producing BBC mini Wolf Hall with Company Pictures. Lonergan is repped by CAA.

wilder

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Re: Kenneth Lonergan
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2014, 01:27:59 AM »
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Six-Year Legal Battle Over Kenneth Lonergan's 'Margaret' Finally Ends (Exclusive)
2 April 2014
by Eriq Gardner
via The Hollywood Reporter

After a heated fight that included Martin Scorsese's interjection and an attempted Twitter campaign by many film critics, a lawsuit over a film "masterpiece" is settled after film financier Gary Gilbert takes the witness stand at trial.

As time stands divided against potential, there will be no marching back of the clock to relive the unfulfilled commercial promise of Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret, released in 2011 amid legal intrigue. The film can now be judged on its artistic merits as the lawsuits that dragged in its wake have now been regulated to the past. On Wednesday, film financier Gary Gilbert filed a formal request for dismissal to the once high-profile turf battle.

While Hollywood has experienced notable fights throughout the years over final cut, the lawsuits over Margaret were extraordinary by any measure. Here was Longeran with his follow-up to the Academy Award-nominated film You Can Count on Me. The movie counted on its production team many celebrated filmmakers, including Scott Rudin, Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella. It boasted a top-notch cast of Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick and Anna Paquin. And if that's not enough, when the situation got rough, none other than cinematic maestro Martin Scorsese collaborated on his own edit in an attempt to broker peace.

All that was not enough.

In 2005, the movie looked promising enough whereby Fox Searchlight and Gilbert came to an agreement to split about $12.6 million in production costs. Gilbert previously produced Garden State and The Kids Are All Right as well as the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team.

Principal photography commenced and was completed that autumn, but Lonergan needed extra time to edit Margaret. With a loan from Broderick, Lonergan spent $1 million to pay for extensions during the post-production process.

Eventually, Lonergan delivered a final cut on the film, but around 2007, Gilbert had become unhappy with the results, and according to Lonergan's side, attempted to seize control of the film despite not having cutting rights as an investor. Gilbert considered the two-and-a-half hour film at that point to be "incoherent" and with the consent of Searchlight and Rudin, worked with Dylan Tichenor, who edited Brokeback Mountain, to cut a two-hour version.

Searchlight accepted Lonergan's version in the summer of 2008 and attempted to invoice Gilbert's company for nearly $6.2 million. When Gilbert hedged, Searchlight said Gilbert had "invented a number of flimsy excuses" and sued the financier on July 18, 2008 for allegedly reneging on a co-financing agreement. That led to counterclaims a few months later against Searchlight and Lonergan. Gilbert claimed that the Tichenor edit -- dubbed the "Peggy Cut" -- was better.

Then, Scorsese, who had first screened the Lonergan edit a couple years earlier and had hailed it as a "masterpiece," took time during the making of his own Hugo to try his own edit of the film -- apparently free of charge. It was later proposed that Scorsese would become an executive producer, and Margaret would be released with a "Martin Scorsese Presents" credit. Lonergan says that written consent was never given. Gilbert later pointed out that some $800,000 would be required to do sound editing and the like and get the cut ready to be exhibited. (UPDATE: Gilbert maintains that he did not pass on the Scorsese cut.)

Gilbert and Searchlight would come to a settlement with each other, and in 2011, Lonergan's initial cut was released in extremely limited release. Few saw it despite ample critical praise. The New Yorker, for example, said it "was one of the best things to happen in the movies" that year.

For the hard-core cinephile, it was the must-see You Can Count on Me follow-up from Lonergan, who had previously written Analyze This and Gangs of New York.

For everyone else, it was a curio whose luster faded with nary much official marketing hype nor awards. Many prominent film critics attempted a grassroots campaign for the film on Twitter under the hashtag #TeamMargaret, and press attention reached its apex with a New York Times Magazine feature titled "Kenneth Lonergan's Thwarted Masterpiece," but soon thereafter, the spotlight shifted, and time marched on. That seemed to be it for Margaret.

Except it wasn't.

Gilbert and Lonergan continued to be in court with each other, pointing fingers about who was to blame for what went wrong. Gilbert continued to pursue claims that Lonergan had breached a director agreement for not delivering Margaret on time and providing writing services on another film. Gilbert demanded more than $8.2 million in damages for allegedly never receiving the benefit of his bargain in funding the movie. Gilbert argued that Lonergan had requested extension after extension, had never really delivered a final cut and also declared in a March, 2013 deposition that Lonergan "did not promote the film in any way, shape, or form."

Lonergan had evidence to show he gave Margaret ample support at film festivals and screenings. The director also painted Gilbert's claims of a contract breach and fraud as an attempt to bully him and cause him anguish and distress.

Part of the legal dispute focused on what role, if any, an investor should have in the final version of a movie.

Rudin himself testified that Gilbert "badly hurt the movie" and "exacerbated" its problems. "The financier does not belong in the cutting room," said Rudin during a deposition. "He's not an editor, he's not a director, he's not a writer, and he's not a producer. He's a guy who wrote a check. That does not buy him a place in the editorial suite."

In contrast, Gilbert presented the question of interference in the editing process as some form of smokescreen from the issue of whether the director lived up to his contractual promises to deliver a real final cut on the agreed upon schedule and then support it. If Lonergan eventually got behind the version of the film that's now out, Gilbert argued that it had come too little, too late.

Although few knew about it, the Margaret litigation went to trial last June before a retired judge acting as referee. After several days of hearing, the trial was adjourned until October, where Lonergan prepared to call to the witness stand many stars included Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, and yes, Scorsese.

Gilbert's side didn't want the celebrities to speak at trial. His attorneys brought a motion to preclude Scorsese's testimony on the basis that it covered inadmissible settlement discussions and believed that "Lonergan's outrageous tactic is to march celebrities in as witnesses to intimidate Gary Gilbert and try to get him to drop the case."

The referee denied it. As a result, just as Scorsese was gearing up to deliver his own The Wolf of Wall Street, Lonergan hoped Scorsese would testify how Gilbert had rejected overtures towards a "Lonergan/Scorsese" cut to be sent to the Toronto Film Festival. Had this happened, Lonergan maintained it would have led to a new life for the film. Lonergan's defense was based, in part, on Gilbert's alleged failure to mitigate damages by giving approval of the Scorsese edit. (Lonergan also pointed to Gilbert's "profligate litigation" as casting a "pall over the film.")

The trial resumed Oct. 21. That day, Gilbert took the witness stand and was cross-examined. The case didn't get much further because the following day, just as Scorsese was going to give his own opinion, the parties found a way to come to resolution.

However, it wasn't until very recently when the settlement finally executed. Lonergan hasn't paid anything to resolve the $8 million case. However, the settlement provides that if he gets another writing assignment from a studio, he will be handing over five percent of that amount up to $50,000. If Lonergan never writes another film -- devoting himself to his good career as a playwright or just taking film director gigs -- Gilbert will never see a penny.

On Wednesday, the dismissal request filing came from Michael Plonsker representing Gilbert's Camelot Pictures, which told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement, "After supporting Mr. Lonergan for years, Camelot finally had enough. Mr. Lonergan finally agreed to pay some money to Camelot in settlement and now the parties can put their dispute behind them."

As for Lonergan, he credits Matt Rosengart, his attorney at Greenberg Traurig for the outcome, expressing relief at how the long battle turned out. He says, "After five years of expensive and highly contentious litigation, the plaintiff suddenly dropped all of his claims in the middle of the trial, without any guarantee of ever receiving a dime."

"Kenny Lonergan is a brilliant and talented director, yet he was attacked in this case in a vicious and unfair way," says Rosengart. "Kenny’s movie has been declared a 'masterpiece,' by people ranging from Martin Scorsese to critics from The New York Times, The New Yorker and others.  Despite the attacks and having to deal with five years of litigation, Kenny persevered and prevailed -- both as a director and as a defendant.  Plaintiff’s case will likely go down as one of the biggest debacles in recent Hollywood litigation.  There is just no other fair way to describe it.” 

wilder

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Re: Kenneth Lonergan
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2014, 11:39:15 AM »
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Director Kenneth Lonergan Returning With 'Manchester-by-the-Sea' Starring Matt Damon
via The Playlist

Though he's been intermittently busy with plays and the like (a revival of "This Is Our Youth" starring Michael Cera and Tavi Gevinson is just opening on Broadway), writer and filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan has made only two films in fourteen years. The first, "You Can Count On Me," was wildly and correctly acclaimed, winning Laura Linney an Oscar nomination, and launching the career of Mark Ruffalo. The follow-up, "Margaret," was something different: shot back in 2005, the film spent years in the editing room and was subject to legal difficulties, before eventually being quietly released in 2011, to an initially muted reaction, only for critics to eventually pick up its cause, some calling it the best film of the year.

Many worried that Lonergan would struggle to get another movie financed after the controversies over the film, but in the best news of the weekend, it's emerged that he's heading back on set for the first time in nearly a decade, and is bringing an A-list star with him. The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Lonergan will go into production this fall on "Manchester-by-the-Sea," in which Matt Damon (who had a small role in "Margaret," and starred in "This Is Our Youth" in London over a decade ago) will play the lead.

OddLot Entertainment are financing the project, which will see Damon play a plumber who returns to his hometown after his brother passes away, in order to look after his 16-year-old nephew, only for a secret from his past to emerge. The actor is squeezing the project in before he stars in "The Martian" for Ridley Scott, which gets rolling in November.

wilder

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Re: Kenneth Lonergan
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2015, 04:39:38 PM »
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Casey Affleck In For Kenneth Lonergan's 'Manchester-By-The-Sea'
via The Playlist

What's going on with "Margaret" director Kenneth Lonergan's "Manchester-By-The-Sea"? Well, with Matt Damon's schedule tied up for the foreseeable future with Ridley Scott's "The Martian," Casey Affleck confirmed to the Boston Globe that he has taken over the lead role. The film looks to be another intense drama from the filmmaker, following a plumber who returns to his hometown after his brother passes away in order to look after his 16-year-old nephew, only for a secret from his past to emerge. No word yet on when shooting will begin.

wilder

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Re: Kenneth Lonergan
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2015, 05:17:44 PM »
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Kenneth Lonergan Penning Four-Part TV Adaptation Of Howards End
via The Playlist

How do you stop streaming behemoth Netflix's ever-growing slate of original programming? You play the same game. "I personally think competition is good for us all," BBC Head Of Drama Polly Hill told The Telegraph. "The rise of Amazon and Netflix just raises all of our games." Furthermore, she believes "the Beeb" has a distinct advantage.

"I feel very confident that what we do is unique to us, that writers and producers still want to bring shows to us because of the relationship they have with us and the risks we take," she added. "Because of the way we're funded, we start first and foremost not thinking about the commercial elements of a show but thinking what's the most important thing for our channels moving forward. I think that leads to greater successes."

So Hill has announced which shows are on the way from the BBC, and the highlight of the bunch is a four-part TV adaptation of E.M. Forster's "Howards End" from the pen of Kenneth Lonergan ("You Can Count On Me," "Margaret"). The literary classic was previously brought to the screen in 1992 by James Ivory, which won three Oscars, including Best Actress for Emma Thompson.

wilder

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Re: Kenneth Lonergan
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2016, 10:13:56 PM »
+3
BAFTA Screenwriters Lecture from last week


wilder

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Re: Kenneth Lonergan
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2018, 05:08:18 PM »
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Oscar winner Kenneth Lonergan on director's cuts, Scorsese and studio battles
Interview by Jake Nevins
16 January 2018
via The Guardian

The writer-director behind Manchester by the Sea and You Can Count On Me talks about his struggles with the much-delayed 2011 drama Margaret




On screenwriting v directing
Writing a screenplay without directing it is obviously easier than writing and directing, just because it’s less work. But it’s not as much fun, mostly because you have no real control over the end product. There are exceptions. I had a wonderful experience recently doing a four-part television adaptation of Howards End for the BBC, which was then beautifully directed by Hettie Macdonald. Nothing turns out exactly as you imagined, whether you direct your scripts or not.


On director’s cuts
They’re all so different. Apocalypse Now Redux, for instance, seems like this great creative experiment after the fact. I prefer the original Apocalypse Now myself, but I can see that doing the longer version so many years after was a tremendously enjoyable experiment for Coppola – just to see what the film would look like if he put absolutely everything he shot back in it. But it doesn’t seem like the kind of director’s cut that represents the director’s original frustrated intention. It’s pretty well known that Ridley Scott was unhappy with the original release of Blade Runner and that his subsequent versions were his attempts to get the film back to where he had wanted it to be all along. The extended edition of Margaret absolutely meets that description. It represents my best attempt to bring the film to life as I conceived and wrote it, and as I came to understand it as a director.


On working with Martin Scorsese on Margaret
Martin Scorsese stepped in when we were at a standstill in the politics of the editing process. The theatrical release represents the cut I had submitted to Fox Searchlight in 2008 or 2009. I was unhappy with it and continued working on a version of my own that I could live with. I suggested bringing Marty in as a respected third party who could work with me to create a final version of the film that everyone could be happy with.

Searchlight had dug their heels in about the contracted two-and-a-half hour length – mistakenly, I think – and I’d been equally mistaken in trying to find a satisfying version of the film at that length, long after it should was obvious that I couldn’t do it. With Marty’s imprimatur on the film I thought the studio would be less apt to feel affronted if the running time increased a little – as I had learned it obviously had to if the film was to work. Marty’s always been incredibly supportive of me, but he really outdid himself this time. He worked really hard on the cut; he tried and I thought found a way to maintain the integrity of the movie while keeping the running time down. We passed the movie back and forth until we were happy, and in the end we turned in a cut that was about 12 minutes longer than the theatrical release.

I signed off on it, Searchlight signed off on it but unfortunately [producer] Gary Gilbert did not. Without his OK, Searchlight couldn’t release anything over the contracted length, so they released the two-and-a-half-hour version instead. I should also say that the length of the film per se is of zero importance to me. What matters is how long it feels, and doing whatever it takes to realize the film as fully as possible. Manchester by the Sea, for instance, feels about 10 minutes too long to me. But I wouldn’t go back in to cut it down because I feel it’s about as close to what it should be as I can get it.


On editing Margaret
I found myself focused on what felt like a new way of telling a story on film. One of the elements that felt very different from anything else I’d ever done or seen was this idea of letting the scenes play out much more as if they were happening in real time than is normal in a movie. In Margaret I tried really hard to create a more naturalistic rhythm, so that even if it feels a bit slow at first, after a while you get absorbed into the story as if it was something you were really watching in real life.

But I certainly didn’t go to all that trouble just for the sake of being different. This particular story demanded this particular treatment. For one thing, the film is about a teenager who discovers that the center of the world resides not in herself but in everybody’s self equally. And since teenagers – and some grownups too – tend to see their lives in very dramatic and cinematic terms sometimes, it was very difficult trying to tell that story effectively through conventional or ordinary cinematic means. The structure of the film exemplifies the story. Whenever we tried to shorten the scenes to meet the demands for a shorter running time, the whole film fell apart.

For a long time I really thought that I could get the film down to two and a half hours and still be happy with it. But it turned out to be impossible. The two-and-a-half hour version – the theatrical version – is my best effort to meet my contractual requirements while doing the best job I could, but I never considered it finished and I was never particularly happy with it. Because I was being sued for having supposedly failed to release a cut of my own, I wasn’t able to express any preference or dissatisfaction with the theatrical release publicly. But I wouldn’t have anyway, while the film was still in release; it would have been unethical, for one thing. I did express my unhappiness behind the scenes at great length, in a vain effort to secure the release of a version I liked better. Happily they approved the extended edition, which apart from some technical deficiencies which I hope to correct some day, is very close to the movie I wanted to make in the first place.


On the difficulties of director-studio diplomacy
Negotiating with a studio or whoever is paying for the movie or intruding themselves into the editing process, has nothing to do with editing – except in the broadest sense which includes politics and negotiation and personal relations in the equation of any collaborative creative enterprise.

When you are editing you are trying to put the movie together from thousands of pieces, shots, performances, takes; you are making decisions about the pacing, content, shape, etc, of the picture; you are trying to find a way to tell the story as best you can. Arguing with other people about how long or short the movie is or how long or short the scenes should be, assuaging generally ephemeral but extraordinarily pressing anxieties from people who are invested in and worried about the success of the film when it’s finished – all that is a totally different and unrelated process. When the two processes collide, it’s a real problem for everybody. Talking about the editing has nothing to do with the editing itself. It has to do with diplomacy, mutual trust, mutual respect, and sometimes blind faith.

Working well in an adversarial environment is really hard for me. It’s not so much a test of your will; it’s a test of your concentration. I’m worried about when to cut to the next scene and which shot to use; I don’t want to be thinking about the conversation I had the day before with three people in California. But the fact remains that the director is not the only person with a stake in how the movie turns out and if I could do things differently, I’d do them very differently. I think I had a lot more authority than I realized – I think in a way the studio and I felt bullied by each other and didn’t realize we were doing any bullying. I know that had they taken a leap and left me alone in the first place, and been patient, the movie would have turned out beautifully and on time and that the extra length would have been self-evidently justified. But since they were unable to do that it’s pretty clear that I failed to find a way around their concerns and apprehensions.

It doesn’t work to just say, ‘Please trust me, leave me alone, and it’ll be all right.’ People get very anxious when they write those checks; they want to know what’s going on. I don’t know that they would’ve accepted a three-hour movie no matter what, but had I been more vigilant in dealing with and calming their fears instead of just trying to get them off my back, I would’ve probably served myself better and they might have accepted a longer cut of the film in the end. It’s possible there no was good solution at the time. I’m very happy they paid for the Extended Edition and we all get along fine now – most of us, anyway.

 

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