TIME movies

Why Did Nicole Kidman’s Grace Kelly Biopic End Up on Lifetime?

David Koskas —©Weinstein Company

What hope is there for actresses when one of the industry's most prestigious can't get her movie out in theaters?

Grace of Monaco, Nicole Kidman’s film about the life of actress-turned-royal Grace Kelly, played at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival—but even at that point, the film was considered long-delayed. It had been meant to premiere stateside in the 2013 holiday season, and Kidman appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair to promote the film that fall. Nearly a year after its Cannes bow, the film’s journey to a U.S. release came to an anticlimactic end, with the announcement that the film would debut on Lifetime. It will air May 25.

This is a major blow for Kidman, whose rare TV work has tended towards the prestigious. To go from an Emmy nomination for HBO’s Hemingway & Gellhorn to a movie premiere on the network that also played host to Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor is a comedown indeed. But she can’t possibly have expected that this journey might be quite so tortured: After all, the film’s director, Olivier Dahan, is best-known for shepherding an unknown Marion Cotillard to Oscar in a biographical film with a similar degree of difficulty, La Vie en Rose. But no one involved in the long saga comes off particularly well, least of all producing company the Weinstein Company, who had purportedly battled with Dahan over the film’s final cut. That Weinstein couldn’t be brought to release the film is strictly business, of course, but feels punitive to a group of people who’d meant their movie to be seen on the big screen. Even Naomi Watts’s Diana played theaters; Grace of Monaco, tepid-to-poor reviews very much in mind, can’t be that bad.

Kidman’s power in Hollywood would seem to be at a low ebb, which would simply be the order of things if she weren’t still held up as the gold standard of Hollywood stardom in media coverage of her work and at events like the Oscars, where she’s a perpetual attendee—she’s the sort of icon who doesn’t go out of fashion. Her filmography has been spotty, but until fairly recently it seemed somewhat understood that occasional creative misfires were the cost of doing business in a genre of cinema that relied on originality more than CGI. Kidman is close to the platonic idea of a movie star, in the public imagination. The only star more potent, it’d seem, is someone like Jennifer Lawrence, whose own slow-release bomb Serena managed to get a theatrical run this year after years of delays.

But even that barely came together. If Lawrence’s movie just barely happened, as a theatrical release, and Kidman’s isn’t going to, what hope is there for anyone else?

TIME movies

How Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper Went Both Bad and Sad in Serena

Jennifer and Bradley together again. Sounds great — but not in this drama made in 2012, now getting a release that's really an autopsy

Bad movies: they can be tatty classics of crazed ineptitude, like Edward D. Wood’s Glen or Glenda and Plan 9 from Outer Space, or big-budget misfires like the 1987 Ishtar, a would-be comedy that sent Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman on a Hope-Crosby Road to Dystopia. Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate, a “bad movie” that practically torpedoed its sponsoring studio, United Artists, is actually often a great one — anyway, much of it errs on that side — but in “gate” notoriety it’s up there with Richard Nixon’s Water-, Bill Clinton’s Monica- and Chris Christie’s Bridge-.

Connoisseurs of bad movies are looking for bold wrongness: the urgency of a child screaming its lungs out with what may be madness or a hint of genius. But another type of certifiably awful movie just sits in a corner muttering about issues that neither it nor any spectator can care about. Such a one is Serena, Danish director Susanne Bier’s DOA adaptation of Ron Rash’s 2008 bestseller. Filmed in 2012 and finally limping into theaters after a few weeks on VOD, Serena fails in ways that are fun neither to sit through nor to write about.

The picture would barely be worth an obit except for its leading actors, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. They made ideal wounded sparring partners (and ballroom dancers) in Silver Linings Playbook. They flirted with malicious intent in American Hustle. They’re big stars, frequent Oscar nominees and, from available evidence, decent people for whom one wishes the best. And somehow they stumbled into a muted kind of worst: the story of a North Carolina lumberman and his Colorado bride, in an effort that has star wattage up the wazoo but zero emotional voltage.

George Pemberton (Cooper) is a powerful rogue employing any means necessary to battle government regulations in the first years of the Great Depression. He must also cope with his new wife’s knowledge that, before they met, he fathered a child with a local girl (Ana Ularu). Serena (Lawrence) says that nothing in the past matters; but that’s just the cooing lie of a femme fatale — the type that Barbara Stanwyck brought to seductive life and death in Hollywood’s Golden and Noir ages.

Iconographically, Lawrence looks just right for the period. Platinum blonde, she instantly evokes such early-talkies actresses as Mae West. Toby Wing and Jean Harlow. Too bad she gets no help from Bier, who won a Foreign Film Oscar in 2011 for the Danish In a Better World after a calamitous foray into Hollywood drama with the 2006 Things We Lost in the Fire.

Foreign-born directors, from Billy Wilder to Alejandro González Iñárritu, can be the most acute observers of American ways and mores, but Bier lacks either the empathy or the simple competence to establish a forboding tone and bring the Serena story to pulsing, plausible life. The movie was shot in Prague, not in the American South, but distance is no excuse for disaster. The Anglo-Italian Anthony Minghella filmed a dark Carolina love story, the 2003 Cold Mountain, in Romania and still managed to extract plenty of Tar Heel kick from his Civil War epic.

In Serena, stuff happens, then nastier stuff, without ever engaging the viewer’s rooting interest or sick fear. Sometimes it’s a question of sloppiness on the set or in the editing room. In one intense scene with Cooper, Lawrence provides the money shot of a tear coursing down her cheek. In the next closeup, her face is dry, suggesting that no one noticed or nobody cared.

Behind this inert movie is the shadow of a better, or at least creepier, one. Serena was originally to star Angelina Jolie and be directed by Darren Aronofsky immediately after he made Black Swan — a movie that reveled in the display of a sympathetic woman going toxically bonkers. Black Swan shared some of those excesses, but its vigor gave it a liveliness he might have applied to the Serena project. Bier’s directorial timidity spells doom.

It’s like some fateful old Broadway tryout that should have closed in New Haven. In fact, Serena opened last Oct. at the London Film Festival. Lawrence graciously showed up, beckoning the audience to embrace the movie. “And if you don’t,” she added, “just don’t tweet about it.”

The more appropriate social medium would have been Grumblr, the Tumblr spinoff that, like Serena, suffered an early death in 2012. This weekend’s theatrical premiere marks only the sighting of a glamorous zombie — a movie that is a poignant subspecies of bad: just plain sad.

TIME movies

Jennifer Lawrence Is Done With Mystique After X-Men: Apocalypse

The actress says the 2016 film will be her last in the series

Despite behind-the-scenes interest in a standalone Mystique spin-off, Jennifer Lawrence says the upcoming X-Men movie will be her last.

Lawrence, who took over the character previously played by Rebecca Romijn in 2011’s X-Men: First Class, told MTV News that X-Men: Apocalypse “is her last one, actually” at the premiere of Serena. The newest film in the franchise, which comes out in 2016, is a sequel to 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past and will complete the trilogy of the latest X-Men films, according to writer and producer Simon Kinberg.

Lawrence could be moving on to bigger things, but she might just have had enough of spending hours and hours getting painted blue every day. Watch the clip below of Lawrence and her Serena co-star Bradley Cooper:

TIME movies

Jennifer Lawrence to Star in Spielberg Adaptation of War Photographer’s Memoir

It's What I Do is coming to the big screen

War photographer Lynsey Addario’s memoir has barely been out for a month, but the bidding war for its film adaptation appears to be over.

Warner Bros. is finalizing a deal to bring It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War to the big screen, TIME confirms, with Steven Spielberg attached as director and Jennifer Lawrence in a starring role.

Addario apparently met with all of the bidders, who reportedly included Darren Aronofsky (who wanted Natalie Portman as the lead), Working Title Films (who wanted it for Reese Witherspoon), Focus’ Margot Robbie and George Clooney, along with his producing partner Grant Heslov.

“I wanted [to work with] people with integrity like Warner’s and Andrew Lazar, people who will honor my vision and honor the passion that I brought to my work and bring that to their work,” Addario tells TIME. “It’s really about integrity, passion and being true to the issues that I cover.”

MORE: Meet the Photographer Who Found How to Balance a Life of Love and War

She has spent much of the past 15 years photographing the human toll of conflict, especially on women, from Afghanistan to Libya, Cuba to Iraq, India to Israel.

“I feel a huge pressure to be successful in communicating their trauma,” the mother of one, who’s been kidnapped twice, told TIME last month. “I have to make sure that I take this information and disseminate it in a way that’s useful to them in the long term; that will prevent other women from going through what they went through. I can’t imagine not dedicating my life to trying to stop those things from happening.”

Turning to Hollywood is the latest stage in the photographer’s life-long goal of keeping the spotlight on the people and issues she’s covered. “It means so much to me because people respond to Hollywood in a way that journalists can’t always access.”


TIME movies

Jennifer Lawrence Dismisses Rumors of Feud With American Hustle Director

20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Arrivals
Jeff Kravitz—FilmMagic/Getty Images Director David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence at the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 18, 2014 in Los Angeles.

"I adore this man and he does not deserve this tabloid malarkey."

One of the most fruitful artistic collaborations in recent years continues.

Jennifer Lawrence, the actress who won an Oscar and was nominated for another for the past two David O. Russell movies (Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle), had been rumored to have engaged in a screaming match with Russell on the set of his next film, Joy. On Facebook, Lawrence put those rumors to rest in classic Lawrencian fashion, beginning with self-deprecation:

The rumors took hold in part because of Russell’s reputation for being aggressive with his actors. A famous video shows the director yelling at Lily Tomlin on the set of the 2004 film I Heart Huckabees, while Russell and his Three Kings star George Clooney have criticized one another in the press and reportedly got into a physical fight onset.

But Lawrence is different; she’s both the biggest star in the world at the moment and at the very center of Russell’s recent return to prominence. It’s a valuable relationship, and one worth patching up, or at least appearing to have patched up. For her part, production company Annapurna Pictures head Megan Ellison has also weighed in:

Joy, in which Lawrence plays Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano, is to be released Dec. 25.

TIME movies

British Actor Ben Hardy Has Landed a ‘Key Role’ in X-Men: Apocalypse

EastEnders' Ben Hardy attends the KISS FM Haunted House Party at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on October 31, 2014 in London, England.
Danny E. Martindale—Getty Images EastEnders' Ben Hardy attends the KISS FM Haunted House Party at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on October 31, 2014 in London, England.

The up-and-coming actor is mostly known for his role in the long-running British soap EastEnders

British actor Ben Hardy has reportedly landed a key role in Bryan Singer’s upcoming movie X-Men: Apocalypse.

Hardy’s part in the comic-book film sequel hasn’t yet been disclosed but the Wrap reports it will be “important.”

Fans of British dramas will recognize Hardy as Peter Beale from long-running BBC soap opera EastEnders. He’ll be joining X-Men regulars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult.

New faces include Tye Sheridan (Mud, Tree of Life) as Cyclops, Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) as Jean Grey, Alexandra Shipp (House of Anubis) as Storm and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) as Nightcrawler.

Filming for X-Men: Apocalypse is set to start in April, and the movie is due to hit theaters on May 27, 2016.

[The Wrap]

TIME movies

The Imitation Game Director Talks Making His Next Film With Chris Pratt and (Maybe) Jennifer Lawrence

Getty Images Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt

The Oscar-nominated director will take on a sci-fi film called Passengers next

Director Morten Tyldum will find out next week whether he wins an Oscar for the Benedict Cumberbatch film, The Imitation Game. In the meantime, he’s already getting started on his next project — a science-fiction romance called Passengers — which will see him continuing to work with some of the most in-demand talent in Hollywood. He tells TIME that Chris Pratt has signed on to the project, while Jennifer Lawrence is still in negotiations.

The movie focuses on a man who unexpectedly awakens from cryogenic sleep while on a journey to a distant planet; he wakes up a fellow passenger, and the two begin a romance. Though Pratt has some experience filming movies that take place in space, Tyldum says that Passengers will be very different from Guardians of the Galaxy.

“This is a love story, a character drama between two people. It just happened to be in space, which is the beauty of it. It’s a very different kind of sci-fi—not laser guns and fights,” Tyldum says. “It’s a very existential film about what we need to be fulfilled as people. It goes very deep and very dark and very dramatic.”

Like another space movie, Gravity, expect the two main characters to be the only ones who get a lot of screen time. “It’s more or less just the two of them in the whole film.” says Tyldum. “There’s one other character who is woken up at the end. And then there’s an android who is human looking from the waist up and then a pole from the waist down who is a bartender with pre-programmed dialogue. Those are the only people in the whole movie, so it’s really fascinating.”

Read next: This Honest Boyhood Trailer Will Make You Laugh No Matter How Much You Loved the Movie

TIME beauty

Plus-Size Model Ashley Graham Says Don’t Call Jennifer Lawrence Curvy

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" - Los Angeles Premiere
Jon Kopaloff—FilmMagic Actress Jennifer Lawrence arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 17, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

Model Ashley Graham, who has appeared in Vogue and Elle, lambasted Hollywood’s treatment of women’s bodies in an essay for Net-a-Porter’s online magazine, The Edit.

The model, who is a size 14, writes: “I think that you can be healthy at any size and my goal is to help and educate women on that. It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 2 or 22 as long as you’re taking care of your body, working out, and telling yourself, ‘I love you’ instead of taking in the negativity of beauty standards.”

Though she acknowledged that Hollywood starlets like Marilyn Monroe and Jennifer Lopez have worn their curves with confidence over the years, Graham said she thinks that girls need to see more women on TV and in magazines who have healthy figures. “Young girls don’t have much to look at, curvy women are not on covers of magazines, they’re not talked about on social media as much as other celebrities. Jennifer Lawrence is the media’s poster girl for curves — she’s tiny!”

Lawrence has spoken in the past about how she was told she would lose a job if she didn’t diet, to which she replied, “You can go f-ck yourself.”

Read next: Fargo’s Allison Tolman on How to Fix Hollywood’s Body Image Problem

TIME movies

Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 to Open in China Next Month

Fans in China will have to wait until Feb. 8

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 will be released in China on Feb. 8, Lionsgate confirmed Tuesday.

Set in a dystopian, totalitarian state where dissent is brutally crushed, the movie will debut on more than 4,000 screens across the world’s most populous nation, making it biggest rollout for the Hunger Games franchise in China to date, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film had been set to screen on Nov. 21 but was pushed back to January. Then Lionsgate announced the February release, which coincides with the Chinese New Year holiday.

To promote the movie, a Chinese language trailer is being released and Jennifer Lawrence has even recorded a special greeting for Hunger Games fans in Mandarin.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

TIME celebrities

Hunger Games Stars Unite to Fight Ebola

Jennifer Lawrence and other cast members teamed up with the Ebola Survival Fund

The Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence knows what it’s like to fight for your life.

That’s why she and the cast of the film franchise have teamed up with the Ebola Survival Fund to raise awareness of the deadly disease.

“The world is facing the largest Ebola outbreak in history,” says actor Jeffrey Wright, who plays Beetee, in a new PSA.

“But the countries hit hardest are Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone,” continues Lawrence.

“Why?” asks Liam Hemsworth.

“In Liberia they had 50 doctors for 4.4 million people,” says Josh Hutcherson.

“But with high quality supportive care, the great majority of people in West Africa will survive Ebola,” concludes Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health.

Of course, you can’t have a video featuring Lawrence without there being at least a little silliness.

“What would happen if you got Ebola?” asks Hutcherson. “I’d be fine,” Lawrence answers after a dramatic pause.

This isn’t the first time the 24-year-old Oscar winner – who was recently named the year’s highest-grossing celebrity (thanks to her work in Mockingjayand X-Men: Days of Future Past) – has shown her heart this holiday season. On Christmas Eve, she visited a children’s hospital in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

This article originally appeared on People.com

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