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Sarah Polley to ‘Waltz’ with Rogen and Williams

After her reportedly Award-worthy turn opposite Ryan Gosling in this year’s Sundance disintegrating couple drama Blue Valentine, Michelle Williams will star opposite Seth Rogen in the Sarah Polley-directed Take the Waltz, according to Deadline Hollywood. Yet another script being made from the recent Hollywood Blacklist of the industry’s best unproduced scripts, Waltz is the story of a commitment-phobic woman who must confront the fact that she only likes the Honeymoon period of relationships. Polley, who also wrote the script, showed the type of promise in her directorial debut, 2006’s Away From Her (for which she received a Best Original Screenplay nomination), that some filmmakers don’t realize late into their careers. It’s also good to see a movie being made about the woman being the commitment-phobe rather than the commitment-ends-all-problems mentality of stereotyped female characters in many a Hollywood romantic comedy, and love of the Honeymoon period of a relationship is something anybody can relate to regardless of age or gender.

Polley is a fine actress, but it looks like she could leave a more resonant stamp as writer-director if Away From Her proves not to be just a one-hit wonder. And, of course, we could always use more talented female directors, especially from such a disproportionately underrepresented country on the silver screen like Canada. Seriously, how many great Canadian directors can you name? I can only come up with four, and none of them are women: David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, Denys Arcand, and Guy Maddin. So it seems there is a necessary gap for a talented filmmaker like Polley to fill (no that’s-what-she-saids, please).

Williams has definitely shown that she has far better acting chops than the rest of the Dawson’s Creek cast (yes, even better than that Mighty Ducks kid) with serious turns in Brokeback Mountain, Syndechoche, New York, and Wendy and Lucy, in addition to all the buzz she’s receiving for Blue Valentine. Polley proved she can utilize the natural talent of great actresses by directing Julie Christie all the way to a late-career Oscar nom in Away From Her, so no doubt she can do the same with the growing talent of Williams. The wild card here is Seth Rogen who, despite being a fellow Canadian, seems out of Polley’s league. It all depends, of course, on what tone she’s going for. My guess is that with the younger cast, the lighter subject matter, and the presence of Rogen, Polley will be going for a dramedy or a tragicomic tone rather that the seriousness of her debut film.

What do you think?

Landon is a PhD candidate currently writing a dissertation on rock 'n' roll movies at Indiana University's department of Communication and Culture. He enjoys slow films on the beach.

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