Kill Your Darlings

Kill Your Darlings

Perhaps the most misleading aspect of the new crop of Beat movies that have surfaced during the past few years is that they obscure the fact that there was once an older crop of Beat movies. If your only exposure is Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s Howl, Walter Salles’ On the Road, John Krokidas’ Kill Your Darlings, and Michael Polish’s Big Sur, you might assume that the Beats participated in an artistic movement reserved exclusively for the written word. Yet Allen Ginsberg was front-and-center of experimental film projects like 1959’s Pull My Daisy (narrated by Kerouac) and 1966’s Chappaqua, while William S. Burroughs spent most of his career after the 1970s in independent films (alongside producing spoken word albums). Even Jack Kerouac, the most novelistic of the best-known Beats, showed his media literacy by recording improvisatory experiments in audio technology before he published “On the Road.” The literary Beats not only inspired later independent filmmakers, musicians, and artists, but they participated in multimedia productions themselves, seeking to realize a revolutionary new aesthetic across a variety of platforms of expression, often concurrently with their most famous published work. There is nothing inherently wrong with focusing only on these authors’ best-known works in adapting them to screen, but the resulting films do reinforce a rather common image of the Beats as forever-young literary outsiders, when they were in fact heavily involved in the social and artistic movements their work cultivated and helped inspire throughout their lives. But this raises a question: Do […]

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Kill Your Darlings

Watching a few young pretentious writers for 90 minutes should be as unpleasant as it sounds. For the first half of Kill Your Darlings these young rebels, including Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), ramble on and on about shaking up the system and starting a revolution. Imagine being stuck in a room with these young men and trying not to strangle somebody. Now try to calm your rage because Kill Your Darlings is far from a naval gazing experience. Part thriller, part romance, part coming-of-age tale, and part murder mystery, it’s a wild blend of many ideas and genres. At the center of it all is Radcliffe, playing the young, howling poet. I got to sit down with the actor who explained, amongst other things, the difficult choices that come with a stack of scripts and how he transformed into a young Allen Ginsberg (pretentiousness in tact).

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KillYourDarlings_still1

Editor’s note: Our review of Kill Your Darlings originally ran during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-posting it as the film opens today in theatrical release. In Kill Your Darlings, Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) is an aspiring writer but one that is trapped under the weight of his successful poet father (portrayed with a reserved performance from the usually comedic David Cross) and his mentally unstable mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh). When Allen gets into Columbia, his father encourages him to go and become the writer he has always longed to be. But in his first poetry class, Allen rubs his professor the wrong way when he questions why poems have to rhyme and follow a certain structure. In doing so, he also catches the eye of one of his fellow students, Lucien “Lu” Carr (Dane DeHaan). Allen makes his way down to his room one night and the two share a drink and begin talking about poetry and writing. It is the first time we see Allen truly light up inside, talking about something he is so passionate about with someone who understands him. Lu takes him downtown to a party at the house of his friend David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall), and as Allen enters he proclaims, “Allen in Wonderland.” And it is true, as we watch him suddenly enter a word full of people who think like him but also act on it, writing, drinking, and creating.

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Carrie 2013

The characters of this week’s releases are at the end of their ropes. That might even be literal for Robert Redford’s character in All Is Lost unless sailors have a different word for “rope.” And they probably do. Some of the film figures of the week are covered in blood, some have been kidnapped into slavery, some have been falsely imprisoned, some are fighting the system, and some are losing the battle against it. Desperation seems like a common theme. Of course, it’s October, so “ghosts” are another big one. And who’s more desperate than they are? There’s also a lot more going on in a week with a massive amount of movies. Here’s your trailer-ized guide to what’s coming out:

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Kill Your Darlings

Donning some sweet spectacles again, Daniel Radcliffe returns to theaters this upcoming Wednesday as beat poet Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings. The actor joins us to talk about finding that character and the hunt for great material. Continuing that theme, Black List founder Franklin Leonard speaks with us in an extended interview on the website’s 1st birthday as an outlet for aspiring writers to be discovered and receive feedback from industry professionals. What successes they’ve faced, what challenges lie ahead, and what changes we’ll see in year two. All coming up on today’s program as well as some advice from Geoff on knowing whether you’re ready to have your work read by the big dogs. You should follow The Black List (@theblcklst),Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #37 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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KillYourDarlings_still1

Well, you gotta hand it to Daniel Radcliffe. His American accent is actually pretty good. Whether he’ll actually pull off a star-worthy performance in Kill Your Darlings is a whole different story, however. Yahoo! Movies has the first trailer. Check it out after the jump.

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Kill Your Darlings

After a teensy tiny 30 second teaser trailer that quite literally ended mid-sentence, and a full-length trailer that existed online last week for about an hour before being pulled down by the studio, the beatniks of yesteryear have graced us with this satisfying little clip from John Krokidas‘ Kill Your Darlings.

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Kill Your Darlings

Call me a pessimist, but I doubt that Daniel Radcliffe will ever free himself from the shadow of Harry Potter. He’s yet to have a role bigger than that of the bespectacled teen wizard (and it’s doubtful that he’ll ever find one), but he’s also never had a role that proves his wizarding success was due to his acting ability and not just his resemblance to the kid on the “Harry Potter” book covers. Kill Your Darlings might be a revelation, but it might also be one more step in Radcliffe’s march from under the towering presence of so much whimsical witchcraft and wizardry. In the film’s debut poster (which you can see below), it’s clear we’re supposed to be seeing an older, wizened man, still wearing the same glasses (Radcliffe is playing the bespectacled Allen Ginsberg, so it’s not like he could just swap them out for contacts) but hardened by the passage of time.

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Daniel Radcliffe as Ginsberg

It’s a brief glimpse, but here is your first look at Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg in John Krokidas’ Kill Your Darlings. The film depicts the story of a murder at Columbia University in the 1940s that brings the poet together with William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac to form the Beatnik Justice League for the first time. I’m actually being told that the incident inspired the trio to write, and not to fight crime, but I kind of liked my version better. As is the nature with teasers, we’re not given much to work with in these thirty seconds. We’ve got Radcliffe in some punchy horn-rimmed glasses taking in his surroundings as a wide-eyed student at Columbia University as someone inspires chaos in the library, Dead Poets Society style. His American accent isn’t too shabby either, but in the main piece of dialogue where it gets put to use, he gets cut off mid-sentence by the end of the teaser. Booo! I suppose we’ll just have to wait for the full-length trailer to find out why Allen Ginsberg is a troublemaking young student-slash-gifted-poet who appears to be breaking all the rules at his straight-laced school.

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Don Jon

The Sundance Film Festival may be over, but that doesn’t mean that the year’s first major film fest doesn’t live on in our hearts – or our theaters and VOD apparatus. Like any good film festival, Sundance is not just a fun movie-watching playtime, it’s also a market for new films looking for a distribution home, even films that come complete with big stars (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ashton Kutcher, Paul Rudd, the list goes on and on). But just because a film gets picked up at Sundance — and by a major company, to boot — doesn’t mean that it will get a big, fancy theatrical release in a timely fashion (see the Tobey Maguire- and Elizabeth Banks-starring The Details for proof of that), though it’s a damn good start. So, just which of the many films that bowed at the ‘dance will you be able to see at a theater (or couch) near you? If our tally of purchased films is to be believed, at least thirty-eight! After the break, check out our comprehensive list of every film picked up at Sundance (and even a few that hit the festival with their distribution already in place, those lucky, happy few), including who bought them and when we’re likely to see them.

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Snow

It is time to say goodbye. Some of us have already left, some of us have a few more days, but the festival is officially winding down as quickly as the brief snowfall from two days ago is melting on the ground. (I’m getting deep, y’all, get ready.) The end of Sundance is always bittersweet; you are ready to get back home, but at the same time the idea of leaving friends, movies, and popcorn (okay, that’s not true — we are all more than sick of the popcorn) is sad. The final few days of the festival are always a bit different since the pack of people you know has whittled down and the majority of the movies have been watched. I started the day actually getting to sleep in (even I don’t understand how I pulled this off) and these extra few hours somehow helped me stay alert enough to take things in as I went through the day, a task I have never been able to attempt before due to exhaustion and the perpetual “end of the fest” daze. I spent the morning working at the Bloggeratti Condo and relishing the fact that I can crack jokes and fact check with colleagues in person instead of over social media (although Eric Snider and William Goss’s jokes are hilarious both in person and on the Internet).

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Mud

The prospect of heading back to the snowy mountain that houses the Sundance Film Festival brings up many questions – is my jacket warm enough? Do I have boots with good traction so I do not slip on the ice? Will I be able to use my iPhone with gloves on? But beyond these basic survival questions, the one major question is: what films do I want to see? The Sundance lineup gets increasingly more impressive with each passing year and the festival program for 2013 certainly lives up to that standard. After putting together the puzzle that is a festival schedule (a task not for the faint of heart) I am genuinely looking forward to all the films on my list, but these are the ten films I am most looking forward to plopping down in a (hopefully) warm theater to watch. Stay tuned to FSR for my reviews and see if these films end up being ones that should be added to your own “must-see” lists for the year.

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The upcoming movie Kill Your Darlings will look at the relationship between beat authors Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, and the man who introduced them, Lucien Carr. It was a relationship that reportedly began with murder, as soon after the three became friends Carr was implicated in the killing of another man named David Kammerer, and the famous authors found themselves caught in the middle of all the drama. Sounds like a saucy little story, especially with the “based on true events” factor that it has working for it. But perhaps even more exciting than the murder aspects of this story is the cast that it is now being assembled to bring it to life. The first casting announcement was that Daniel Radcliffe would be shrugging off his wizarding robe and branching out in another direction to portray Ginsberg. The idea of watching Radcliffe do something so different could have been enough to sell people on this movie alone, but some new casting details have surfaced that add to the anticipation. According to a report from Variety, not only has the Kerouac role been filled by Boardwalk Empire’s Jack Huston, and the Carr role filled by In Treatment’s Dane DeHaan, but Martha Marcy May Marlene’s breakout star Elizabeth Olsen has signed on as well. She’ll be playing Edie Parker, who was an art student and a girlfriend of Kerouac’s.

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Daniel Radcliffe

James Franco isn’t just known as the greatest Oscars host of all-time, he’s also an actor. An actor who up until now was the most recent man to portray legendary beat poet Allen Ginsberg on screen. Franco played Ginsberg in the movie Howl, which didn’t shy away from the perceived obscenity of Ginsberg’s works, the fact that there was a lot of drug use going on in the man’s life, or the fact that he was pretty openly homosexual. You have to be comfortable dealing with some pretty risqué stuff if you’re going to accurately portray Ginsberg on film, so it makes sense that an actor as concerned with being artsy and progressive as James Franco would take the poet on. But what’s a little more shocking is the newest actor who is going to be stepping into Ginsberg’s shoes. In the upcoming film Kill Your Darlings the poet is going to be played by none other than… Harry Potter?!

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