Derek Cianfrance

An ESPN movie was bound to happen at some point. After all, ESPN is a thing that people have heard of, which fits in quite well with with the latest Hollywood trend of: “this a thing people have heard of, so it must be adapted into a feature film” (see also: Stretch Armstrong). And ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun packs a double dose of name recognition. It’s both a movie about ESPN and a movie based off of a book — that book being “ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun” by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales. This harrowing (and apparently, fun-filled) tale of ESPN’s rise to the top of the sports TV world will be directed by Derek Cianfrance, whose previous outings include Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines. With those two films in mind, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Ryan Gosling play one of the networks many sportscasters (perhaps a young Keith Olbermann?), mumbling a few words about football then staring at camera in vaguely menacing silence. As of now, there’s no screenplay, nor is there a screenwriter attached to the project. But according to The Wrap, producers from both The Social Network and Fifty Shades of Grey are on board, so expect either a taught thriller about the rise of a media empire or a film with far too much rough sex. Maybe both.

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cianfrance

With his 2010 film, Blue Valentine, director Derek Cianfrance proved that he wasn’t afraid to tell an unpleasant story that would make his audience uncomfortable. With his 2012 film, The Place Beyond the Pines, he proved that he wasn’t afraid to tell a complex story that explored issues from multiple perspectives. Probably that’s enough for us to start giving him praise for being a fearless filmmaker, which is a reputation that’s going to come in handy as he makes his next film, a complex character drama that features flawed protagonists and no easy answers. What’s this new project he’s got coming up? According to a report from THR, DreamWorks has just hired him to make an adaptation of ML Stedman’s 2012 novel “The Light Between Oceans,” which is an Australian-set story that takes place just after World War I and which features a young couple who get faced with a series of very serious decisions.

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PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

Note: Andrew Robinson’s review originally ran during TIFF 2012, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release. Derek Cianfrance‘s The Place Beyond the Pines is broken up into three chapters. We open with Luke (Ryan Gosling) coming back into town with the circus and finding out that he has a son. He decides to stick around, but since he’s unable to make a living to support his family, he begins robbing banks using his skills as a professional motor bike rider. The narrative is then handed over to Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), a police officer heading into politics and struggling with family matters. The film takes its time in making sure that we get a good grasp on each character as there’s very little overlap in screen time between each. The reckless rise of Gosling’s bank robbing spree and the troubled rise of Cooper’s political/social standing in the world parallel one another beautifully. What the film truly discusses is what someone is willing to do selflessly for others. While, morally, Cooper and Gosling’s acts are complete opposites of each other, their motivations start out in the same place, the intention to provide for their family. Luke’s robbing banks was never about himself; he never wants to take credit for them, reflecting his clear shame. Cross’s actions are one of motivations head-butting his own desires, even at the expense of his son’s affection.

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The Place Beyond the Pines

Ryan Gosling seems to have a perfect love triangle going on. With Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) and Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), he couldn’t ask for better collaborators. Refn and Gosling made The Driver an instant icon of a character while Cianfrance and Gosling delivered on one of the most critically acclaimed films in the past few years with Blue Valentine. Obviously those filmmakers are people one would to surrounded themselves with after such positive experiences, which is exactly what Gosling has done. With Derek Cianfrance’s followup to Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines, Gosling continues to work in an environment that allows for big gambles. Those gambles include ridiculous facial tattoos and other foolish decisions that Cianfrance made Gosling live with. Here’s what the actor had to say about his directorial partnerships, being open to mistakes, and his upcoming directorial debut, How to Catch a Monster.

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The Place Beyond the Pines

This contest is now closed. Thanks for entering! Want to see Derek Cianfrance‘s The Place Beyond the Pines for free? While also wearing a shirt from the film? And jamming out to its soundtrack? And decorating your home with its (Ryan Gosling-heavy) poster? Have we got a present for you! One person will win our The Place Beyond the Pines prize pack, which includes a $25 Visa Gift card to see the film in theatres, a t-shirt, a poster, and a copy of the film’s original soundtrack (with score by Mike Patton). In addition to Mike Patton’s score, the album features tracks by Vladimir Ivanoff, Arvo Park, Bon Iver, Ennio Morricone, and more. The Place Beyond the Pines, written by Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, Darius Marder; directed by Cianfrance; and starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Mahershala Ali, Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen, Ben Mendelsohn, and Ray Liotta, will hit limited release on March 29, with a nationwide release to follow on April 12. Hit the break to read our very precise, meme-based, social media-fueled instructions on how to win your very own The Place Beyond the Pines prize pack (cool pictures of said prize pack included).

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Bradley Cooper

Once The Hangover hit it big at the box office, Bradley Cooper and the rest of that film’s gang of miscreants suddenly found themselves in the position of transitioning from being utility players in the showbiz landscape to being viewed as commodities that could anchor films of their own. But ever since Cooper showed people that he could do a whole lot more than just play the cocky, funny guy with his Oscar nominated performance in Silver Linings Playbook, it’s looked like the sky is the limit concerning how far he can go as an actor. Today, with the news that Cooper has two big, new projects in the works, we see that sense of possibility begin to bear fruit. First up, Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to the James Renner novel “The Man From Primrose Lane,” a book they intend on developing into a starring vehicle for our new favorite actor. Black List-approved screenwriter Chad Feehan (Beyond the Pale) will be doing the adapting of the story, which the book’s Amazon page describes by saying: “In West Akron, Ohio, there lived a reclusive elderly man who always wore mittens, even in July. He had no friends and no family; all over town, he was known as the Man from Primrose Lane. And on a summer day, someone murdered him. Fast-forward four years. David Neff, the bestselling author of a true-crime book about an Ohio serial killer, is a broken man after his wife’s inexplicable […]

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The Place Beyond the Pines

Have you guys heard about this movie? The one where everyone’s darling, Ryan Gosling, has a facial tattoo and also rides a motorcycle and is also a bank robber and also Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes are there? No? It’s called The Place Beyond the Pines? And it’s from the guy who did Blue Valentine? Still not ringing bells? Then this first poster for The Place Beyond the Pines is for you. Admittedly, its Instagram-y feeling sort of works for me, though I would like this poster much more if it just jettisoned the ol’ floaty faces and stuck to the image below, of a tattooed, motorcycle-riding Gosling gazing at his small town’s bank. That’s your imagery right there. That will stick. Besides, everyone just looks so damn sad up top. Pep up, kids, if you can’t be happy in a dramatic, multi-generational film about violence and families, when can you– oh, nevermind. You’re right. The Place Beyond the Pines opens on March 29th. [IMDb, via FirstShowing]

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The Place Beyond the Pines

Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance’s latest film isn’t a tense drama about a marriage falling apart. But it does have Ryan Gosling in all kinds of tattoo’d wonder. The Place Beyond the Pines also seems to have a fair amount of tension thanks to its story, which follows a biker (Gosling) who turns to a life of crime to fend for his young son, only to get locked in the crosshairs of a rising star cop, as played by 2012′s breakout dramatic man Bradley Cooper. The best description of the film, from reviews at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, comes from Monika Bartyzel, who calls it “[Blue] Valentine’s spiritual offspring, a movement out of the worlds of love’s attraction and demise, and into the world of fathers, sons and consequences.” To say the least, Derek Cianfrance is still deep. As is evident in this first trailer.

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I’ve been praising the moves Derek Cianfrance has been making with The Place Beyond the Pines ever since I first learned of the project. First there’s the plot of the film; a professional motorcycle rider turns to bank robbery in order to support his newborn son and a rookie cop vows to start his career off right by taking the robber down. Just hearing those words arranged in that order makes my inner five-year-old squeal. Then there are the actors Cianfrance cast in the leads. He got the quirky, charismatic Ryan Gosling to step in as the bank robber and the newly crowned, proven leading man Bradley Cooper to sign up as the cop. Those guys are both good, and watching them play off each other should be fun. Finally, Cianfrance wrapped the package up in a nice little bow by picking a couple of actresses I enjoy to play the love interests. He got Eva Mendes, who is crazy-gorgeous and seems to have real potential as an actress, to be Gosling’s baby mama, and he got one of my favorite young actresses working today, Greta Gerwig, to play Cooper’s character’s wife. Things were great, I was all ready to sit back and wait for this one to come to theaters. But now we’ve hit a stumbling block.

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Talk about non-traditional casting. According to Variety, Ray Liotta is going to play a corrupt cop in A Place Beyond the Pines. Can you even imagine it? Can you even wrap your mind tightly enough around the concept of Liotta being, not only a police officer, but one that’s not totally above board in order to envision how it might play out? Neither can I. Sarcasm aside, even if it is the most obvious kind of typecasting, Derek Cianfrance has got a ton of skill and a lot of talent lined up for his movie that sees Ryan Gosling as a motor cycle racer/bank robber being chased down by Bradley Cooper with a badge. Who better than Liotta to bring a sense of gravitas to a very necessary and particular role? At any rate, it proves the old saying about the corrupt cop character: If you build it, he will come.

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There’s some more casting news about Derek Cianfrance’s upcoming crime drama The Place Beyond the Pines. We already knew that the Blue Valentine director’s latest would pit a pro motorcycle rider who decides to start robbing banks (Ryan Gosling) against a cop who needs to take him down (Bradley Cooper), and now there’s word that they’ve cast some pretty ladies to play opposite these two fellas as well. Eva Mendes is on board to play the Gosling character’s baby-mama, whose pregnancy is the impetus of his decision to start acquiring gobs of money illegally. And Greta Gerwig is set to play Bradley Cooper’s character’s wife, because motorcycle-riding jerks have illegitimate children and police officers have nice marriages. You probably know Gerwig as being the girl who started off being in every Mumblecore movie ever, but then moved up to more mainstream affairs like Greenberg and No Strings Attached. And probably you know Eva Mendes as that really attractive person on the covers of magazines and whatnot. I give this casting news my personal stamp of approval as Gerwig is one of my favorite young actresses working today, and Mendes impressed me with her comedic chops in the otherwise bland The Other Guys. I’m interested to see what else she has up her sleeve, especially when working with a director like Cianfrance. [Deadline Highland]

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as MrSmith1939 and 2BorNot2B in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the two daydream the ultimate reboot – an entire era of filmmaking brought back to life through the lens of modern directors. What styles should we bring back and homage? It is a good idea to let nostalgia drive us artistically? Will people in 30 years be harkening back to the Abramsian style?

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Last year, director Derek Cianfrance got a lot of acclaim for his relationship on the rocks drama Blue Valentine, which starred Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a married couple whose union was in the process of dissolving. It makes sense then that he is re-teaming with Gosling for his next project, The Place Behind the Pines. And now Variety is reporting that Bradley Cooper, fresh off of generating $143 million worldwide in a starring role in Limitless and quite a bit more than that for reprising his role as Phil in The Hangover Part II, is joining the cast as well. That’s not a bad deal, one actor that you have a proven track record with and another who is the newly crowned King of Hollywood. The Place Behind the Pines is about a professional motorcycle rider who turns to bank robbery when he needs to begin supporting a newborn son, and the rookie cop who his newfound career choice sees him running afoul of. Cooper will play the cop and Gosling the robber respectively. When talking to Speakeasy late last year Cianfrance said of the project, “We should be shooting in the summer. We just have to flesh out the rest of our financing and finish casting it, but a lot of that movie was inspired by Jack London books and this idea of ancestry – and again, it’s all in Blue Valentine – what gets passed on down through the generations?” He then went further comparing and […]

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The Week That Was

We made it! As birds fall dead from the sky, fish show up dead around the world, politicians are being shot while picking up the produce, you and I have made it, dear reader. What a wild week it has been around the world — the apocalypse could very well be right around the corner. So if we’re all going to go out in a blaze of glory, lets take a moment for some delightful diversion. My suggestion — read the work of the FSR staff as we continue our ongoing coverage of the world of film. It may not be a homeless guy with the perfect radio voice, but it’s worth a look either way.

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Someone should sit down all the Nora Ephrons of the world to watch director Derek Cianfrance‘s Blue Valentine, preferably Clockwork Orange-style. The Ephrons in the film universe are like little girls who play with ponies and dream of beach-side weddings, living in a picketed and beautiful suburban house and having everything be absolutely perfect. The greatest conflicts in their films are the tragedies of a broken nail or whether or not the wedding dress will make the bride look slim. Those films are mannequins; they’re artificial on the outside and hollow on the inside. Cianfrance despises those films, or at least that’s the impression I got while talking to the honest man. Honesty is what he seems to care most about, including the harsher truths of life and love that we don’t see too often represented accurately on the big screen. This isn’t a film that felt like it was written by some teenage girl who just found out what love is from another Katherine Heigl rom-com, but instead made by someone tired of artificial love stories. Where’s the imperfection? Where are the dark times? That’s what Cianfrance is interested in: no fantasy.

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Earlier today news broke that Blue Valentine, one of the critical darlings of this past year’s Sundance Film Festival, was slapped hard with an NC-17 rating by the 14th century progressives at the MPAA. The development is one that has brought shock to anyone who has seen the film, including yours truly, who reviewed it at the ‘dance in January. The offending scene, according to a report from Deadline Nacogdoches, is one that features a very awkward hotel room scene between Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, who play a couple on the verge of watching their marriage erode away. The scene shows a last-ditch attempt for the formerly happy couple to save their relationship, delivering several moments that comprise the heart of the gut-wrenching tale. Cutting it in any way would be criminal. But the MPAA wants director Derek Cianfrance and The Weinstein Company (who acquired the flick at Sundance) to cut it down, it seems. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen. In the mean time, the first trailer for the film’s fall theatrical release can be seen right after the jump.

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There’s nothing more predictable going into Sundance than the fact that there will be some heavy drama. The only question is: will it be great, or will it be not-so-great? This time, it’s great.

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