Friday, April 16, 2010

We Can't Wait: #4 RABBIT HOLE

Our We Can't Wait series continues as we discuss a film all of us want to see but know very little about...

Rabbit Hole
Directed by: John Cameron Mitchell
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Weist, Sandra Oh, Tammy Blanchard

Synopsis: Life for a happy couple (Kidman and Eckhart) is turned upside down after their young son dies in an accident.
Brought to you by: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Expected release date: TBA

Jose: Proving why she's the most constantly adventurous working actress, Nicole Kidman is back with one of her two big back to back projects (if The Danish Girl ever starts shooting of course...) which has her play a character that won Cynthia Nixon a Tony during the play's Broadway run.

Do you think this means Oscar attention for Nic or will it be her own Proof?

If truth be told, I would've actually liked to have seen Cynthia Nixon do it. I like Kidman (Margot! Birth!) but how much more of an interesting project would it have been had Nixon been given the role in the film. Of course, she's nowhere near as bankable as Kidman so it may never have been a consideration on the part of the film's backers or producers - and of course Kidman is one of the producers - but I'm keen to see Nixon really expose her drama chops on film in a big way. I really hope it's not a Proof for Kidman though - my fingers are crossed that that approach is avoided.

I don't think awards bait, and I don't thing big emotional weepie. I suppose someone more familiar with the play can fill me on whether the film should hit those marks.

David: My brain seems to have come up with a very limited way of seeing this film: if it starts racking up awards, I fear I'll hate it. It's as if I want it to fail miserably! But my favourite Kidman performances have always been the ones in her more challenging, offbeat movies - Dogville and Birth spring straight to mind, but I found more to appreciate in Fur than most seemed to - and it seems that the Kidman dramatics that I groove to are not the ones the awards bodies start weeping over.

Jason: ...Nicole, being sad. She's so wonderful at sad! Almost as wonderful as she is playing a bitch (Susanne Stone Moretto forever!), but since she seems to prefer the sad I'll take the sad.

Jose: I'm sure Kidman will be splendid but how excited are you about the rest of the cast?

Nathaniel: Even without JCM's strong vision behind the camera I would have been sold by the cast. Dianne Wiest takes over the grandmother role that Tyne Daley won acclaim for on Broadway and we can certainly always use more Wiest on the silver screen. I think she's one of the greatest living actresses and I'm eager to see her attack another meaty role onscreen.

Having Dianne Wiest in the cast boosts interest even higher - the movies have missed you, Dianne!

Jason: I didn't even know Dianne Wiest was in it! And that there jumps it up a couple of notches all on its own. She's spectacular. And Aaron Eckhart... I like to stare at Aaron Eckhart and his large strong hands. So all's good.

Will Eckhart's hands lend enough support to Kidman's sure to be devastating performance?

Jose: I'm also dying to see what Mitchell does with material that wasn't written by him; Shortbus and Hedwig were two of the most confrontational works of the '00s but they probably were very personal as well.

Robert: The wild card here is Mitchell. The "suburbanites in mourning" genre is one that's in danger of getting old fast, if it already hasn't. I don't know what he'll bring to the material, but I anticipate something unconventional. When I think John Cameron Mitchell I don't think mainstream. Here's hoping it does so while still maintaining that rebellious JCM touch.

Nathaniel: Mitchell should be able to work this visually into something far more expressive than just dour suburban drama. First of all there's the title metaphor and second, I believe the teenage character Jason (Miles Teller) is into drawing or comic books or some such (or am I creating a false memory?) and Mitchell has already promised a complete cinematic rendering so we might see animated flourishes? I'm guessing. He's used them in both of his other film to fine stylistic effect.

Jason: It really is all about JCM for me, working on material he didn't create - I don't have anything against his two previous films, mind you, I love both, but I'm curious to see what he does with something that seems on the surface so different.

Craig: Cameron Mitchell is such a solid talent, he's shown in Hedwig and Shortbus that he can spin from pathos to party in a heartbeat (and often do it in the same scene), but if this is an all-out drama I'd like to think he'll add something a bit more fresh to it to shake up the possible over-familiarity of the genre. From the very few stills I've seen, part of me does groan a little at the apparent heaviness of its heart-wrenching feel, but then I'm immediately perked up by the mere presence of Eckhart. But a still is a still - the movie itself could spark and fly off the handle!

David: I've only seen Shortbus but I'm afraid of his directorial identity being stripped by an awards hungry studio. He was a very interesting choice for Kidman to make, though, and I would trust that her as producer means she's made the choice for artistic reasons.

I know hardly anything about the source material, so I'm sure my head is imagining this all wrong, but I'd love a Lynchian vibe off this whole thing - a mess of dark emotions manifesting in weird and memorable imagery. I think it might just be the word "rabbit" though. The Rabbit Hole? Who knows what's down there.

Jose: With JCM's visuals and the polarizing reactions Kidman has been drawing from audiences and critics throughout the decade this at least is sure to be one of the year's most fascinating projects.

How about you readers, will you take the proverbial trip with them or is this something you'd never want to watch? Oh and did anyone who saw the play tell us a bit more about it? Do you think it'll translate well to the screen?

"We Can't Wait: Summer and Beyond"
The "orphan" picks Nathaniel (Burlesque), JA (Love and Other Drugs), Jose (You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger), Craig (What's Wrong With Virginia?), Robert (True Grit) and Dave (Brighton Rock); Team Film Experience Countdown #12 It's Kind of a Funny Story, #11 Sex & the City 2, #10 Scott Pilgrim vs the World, #9 Somewhere, #8 The Kids Are All Right, #7 The Illusionist, #6 Toy Story 3, #5 Inception, #4 Rabbit Hole, #3 Never Let Me Go, #2 Black Swan and #1 The Tree of Life.


A.R. said...

OK, Mitchell as director definitely piques my interest. Haven't yet seen Shortbus, but I'm a big fan of Hedwig. I agree with David; I like Kidman but like her best in more offbeat movies. And Dianne Wiest, yay!

NicksFlickPicks said...

I get it that everyone thinks this is totally obvious, but can someone explain in what way the media "hates" Nicole Kidman? This claim emerges in almost every comment thread on this blog. I know there are lots of media comments about her rather extreme approach to Botox (which seems like a hard point to argue with), and people grouse that she makes bad mainstream films and weird small ones. But I've never once read an article that sounded like the author or the culture at large "hated" her. What am I missing?

James T said...

I can't wait either! Is it weird that I'm eager to see a couple suffering? :p

Unknown said...

I'm so excited for this movie. Even though she might not be in the Actress top five for it (I'm currently predicting out of sheer desire to see it happen), I'm sure that Nicole Kidman will be fantastic. Also anxious to see how Aaron Eckhart does.

Trevor said...

It sounds like you guys are expecting way too much from this film. You don't want it to be too dour (it's gonna be dour). You don't want it to be like the other cliched "suburbanites in mourning" type films (is this even a problem yet?). You want John Cameron Mitchell to move mountains to impress you (maybe this is the film where he tones down his quirk, and that would be okay too). You don't want this to be an awards bait film b/c you'll hate it then (huh?). You want Nicole Kidman to be challenging but not too challenging (again, huh?). You'd rather have Cynthia Nixon in the role instead (there I agree with you). Let the film be what it's gonna be. The pedigree's sound. The cast is killer. The subject material can be elevated cinematically. I'm excited about it and hope it's great.

alix said...

I don't think Mitchell could make it a Proof. He's too unconventional to go that route.

I'm certain Kidman will get every major nom for that. It's her Doubt. But she will lose to either Naomi Watts (Fair Game) or Annette Bening (Kids are all right).

Anonymous said...

People keep saying that it would be great if Nixon had been cast since she played Becca on the stage or that Kidman made sense because of bankability but here is the thing NOBODY cast Kidman, she approached the author of the play who agreed that she make the movie version and wrote the screenplay for her company. It was her and her producing partner who developed it for the screen before taking it to Oddlot Entertainment and Olympus, the other producers.

If Nixon wanted to play the role maybe she should have spoken to the author of the play about wanting to make a screen version. I mean, why should Kidman cast Nixon in the film version? the play was not written for Nixon even if she was the first actress to play the female role and won a Tony for it, it is not HER role. Rabbit Hole was already being performed all over America by different theatrical groups, does that mean all other actresses who played the role should have been considered?

Good luck to Kidman, she used her initiative to find a role for herself, developed it and found the money to get it made.

Nixon has made enough money on SATC to be able to have at least a little power to get roles for herself.

Anonymous said...

Additionally, I am looking forward to it. I think it will be fantastic. Great cast, wonderful director.

cinephile said...

I don't see how this movie proves that Kidman is an adventurous actress... It's a dramatic, award-winning, showy role based on an award-winning play.

Noecitos said...

cinephile, you should watch Shortbus and Hedwig to understand why it is a risky choice...

Anonymous said...

Anom. 3:55 PM,well said, if somebody in the future wants to remake this movie, they'll be making a version of Kidman's film because she bought the rights of the play

Arkaan said...


My big obstacle is that I didn't find the play all that great (based on reading it). The cast are solid and I'm looking forward to what Mitchell can do with it, but I'm not expecting a lot.

Glenn said...

Perhaps more than Somewhere, this is the film I wanna see. Mitchell directing Kidman, Eckhart, Weist and Oh? Hell yeah! And I just so hope that it gets Kidman back into the good graces of people.

Nick, people "hate" her in the way that you describe. She doesn't conform to the, say, Angelina Jolie mode. Making big budget action movies and occasionally doing something that appears "worthy" like Changeling. Plus, she's "cold". Apparently.

Anonymous said...

Perfectly gorgeous actresses messing with their looks turns me off a bit. I guess she looked okay in Margot, but her face in that first picture, erg. Those lips are the most retarded decision she could make. She won an oscar so she messes with her face, silly woman.

That said i still really like her quite a bit

Anonymous said...

I hope my suspicions are correct. This project could certainly place Dianne Wiest as the female equivalent of Walter Brennan – have 4 nominations in the supporting category and 3 wins.

Anonymous said...

This is not a Fox Searchlight film. 3 companies are involved, Blossom Films, Oddlot Entertainment and Olympus as seen on the first official poster.

Fox Searchlight has a first look deal with Kidman's production company but there is no agreement yet that they have anything to do with Rabbit Hole. According to Kidman, the film has no distributor yet.

Anonymous said...

cinephile, Rabbit Hole is not what will finally show Kidman to be an adventurous actress, she already is. Her choices of making films with directors that are not to the taste of mainstream audiences and playing characters that are often non-palatable or have questionable movies without playing them to gain audience sympathies make her adventurous.

Anonymous said...

movies = motives


Glenn and Nick -- yeah, it's that. The botox comments are one thing. The general tone of so many pieces about her is one of disdain or takedown (not a box office star! too weird! etcetera) and there's just very little generosity or acknowledgement of her considerable gift.

I don't know quite how to reference or describe it but the negative tone is there. You can also see it in 3/4th of anything written about Madonna.

And this isn't somethign I'm projecting based on people i like. Michelle Pfeiffer, for example, is generally treated kindly by the press... even when things don't go right. and even when there's a negative comment in an article there's no glee in the insult, you know?

Anonymous -- please sign your names. I can't tell if this is 4 or 5 different people commenting or 1 who just keeps thinking of more things to say ;)

Mike said...

I'm so excited for Rabbit Hole - I hope it puts Kidman back on top of the awards roster like The Blind Side did for Bullock. Nicole has had an extraordinary range of films, and in my opinion she's never put out a bad performance!

Hope we hear more about this one soon!

Jordan Ruimy said...

Woah didn't know this was coming out, im psyched. mostly cause f mitchell and his immense and fearless talent.

Isabel Archer said...

Please Give a release date! I'm looking forward for this movie since it was only rumours.
I think Nicole is the perfect choice (though it was her own choice)... I'm excited to see har in chalenging and deep character again.
And about the negative media, that's very annoying and when people says things without know anything about her (like she's cold) it is much more annoying. We should have some prudence when we are talking about some topic in wich we're ignorants (and what massive and tendencies media says doesn't count exactly like a knowledge).

cinephile said...

Even with this director, I don't see why this is such an adventurous choice for Kidman - based on the original material I'd rather say it's quite a safe choice.
And while she certainly has done several adventurous choices, I don't think she is the most adventurous working actress - that would rather be someone like Tilda Swinton, Julianne Moore or Juliette Binoche.

skankyoldwhore said...

I will say she is adventurous indeed. And I will put her in the same group as Swinton, Binoche and Moore in the adventurous stake. I certainly don't look at Moore's work and think she is more adventurous than Kidman.

Swinton is doing more interesting work and thank heavens for France in the case of Binoche. Kidman and Moore need to catch up, they seem to be more susceptible to dollar signs when they could be using their skills elsewhere.

Oh, and looking at Kidman's filmography, she has done more than "several" adventurous choices.

Anonymous said...

Bah! How many boring Nicole Kidman flops can one see in one's lifetime? She may pick adventurous projects but generally she comes across as miscast - so what's the point? We'll all be begging that Cynthia Nixon had been cast when Nicole Kidman ruins yet another movie. Dangerous that she's now producing what are essentially vanity projects. Many a potentially great film will only be watched a small cult majority who worship the botox beautiful aesthetic. Just what the world needs another breathy, whispering Nicole Kidman flop.

Anonymous said...

When are they finally releasing this movie it has been in production for four years what is taking so long !!!!!!!