After winning first runner-up for TIFF ’23 People’s Choice Award, acclaimed Filmmaker Alexander Payne‘s THE HOLDOVERS soon will see a release November 10, 2023. The Film is set is set at a New England prep school where an Instructor (Paul Giamatti) is forced to stay on campus during the Holidays to care for a small number of students with nowhere else to go. He forms a bond with one in particular (Dominic Sessa) and the school’s Head Cook (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), who just lost her son at war.
We were thrilled to be invited to a virtual press conference with some of the key figures behind THE HOLDOVERS, including Payne. Joining us were:
Production Designer: Ryan Warren Smith
Costume Designer: Wendy Chuck
Composer: Mark Orton
Editor: Kevin Tent
Writer: David Hemingson
Director: Alexander Payne
David Hemingson is asked about the inspiration behind THE HOLDOVERS which came from his mind and also one specific moment which stands out most to him.
Hemingson: “Yeah, I mean, you know, it’s kind of like I lived most of that movie and certainly the interpersonal dynamics and, you know, separate apart from the relationship between Paul and Angus, which I think is sort of one of my life experiences with my uncle.”.
“But that kind of King Rat trading at the top of the movie, that starts with the swimsuit and it’s like how much for this weed, that kind of thing. That kind of dealing in contraband naughtiness is something that definitely resonates for me because you know, it’s part of the thrill of being young where you’re sort of trying to find yourself trying to be adult and that kind of swapping and trading and sort of undercover light misbehavior, let’s call it light misbehavior, reminds me of high school, I think the most.”.
Director Alexander Payne is asked which parts of THE HOLDOVERS in particular take him back to a time when he was in school.He insists that the Film is a period film, but is meant to be a contemporary film pretending it’s 1971.
Payne: “Not necessarily just school, but that period, maybe three things. First is yes, like Mark Orton, Latin class. I was four years in Latin class at an all boys Jesuit school in Omaha. I’m still tight with my friends from Latin class, and there are some in jokes woven into those scenes that only they will get. Second, I was nine, turning 10 in 1970 to ’71, so I was young, but I had an older brother. I had two older brothers, one of whom was that exact same year. He graduated Omaha Central High class of ’71, which I didn’t quite realize until later in the program. I go, ‘I’m making a film about that class.'”‘ And when you’re a much younger sibling, you live a lot vicariously through your older, you know, siblings wanting to emulate them and adopt their taste and so forth. So I have vivid memories of that year. And then third, the thing, again, taking it out of school is the movies of that period, because even at that age 9 and 10, I was movie crazy.”.
“And for example, Little Big Man, Arthur Penn’s Little Big Man is featured in the film. It’s appropriate to the time and the scene in which it’s presented. But I saw it like four times in the theater when I was nine years old. So it’s not just the school thing, but a lot of contextual things bring us all back, I think.”.
Ryan Warren is asked about the inspiration behind the Film’s unique Production Design.
Warren: “Yeah, I mean, that was a unique challenge because we had to shoot in, you know, five different schools and intertwine them together. But what we got to do and focus on, like Alexander pointed out, was to make it a little bit invisible. We wanted it to feel natural and never take you out of the scene and always let the story be the star. And so for us, we always just led with our feeling on that. And so we let feeling and instinct lead the way, and me and Alexander like to spend a lot of time in each of the real environments with the real people that live there and soak a lot of that in and then intertwine that into the work that we do there.”.
Costume Designer Wendy Chuck talks about some challenges of recreating looks of the ’70s.
Chuck: “There’s so many people in this movie, there’s so many clothes, half of which don’t appear on the screen. But the volumes were just, I would look at my assistant, I’d say, we’ve got to find more clothes. I’d go down to where the background was being fit and say, we don’t have enough clothes. I’m sick of seeing this thing. We can’t put that on anybody. It doesn’t fit. And also bodies are now very different too. So since 1970s, we now have the advent of fast food. People’s bodies have changed, and especially in Boston, so we don’t have like, tiny, tiny people anymore. So that in itself is something, so we were dealing with the volume. But I want to second, Ryan and I don’t put people’s clothes on, although I have put on Jack Nicholson’s pajamas and broken them down personally. But in this one, I want to reference an Easter egg that nobody knows. Lydia Crane wears a heart-shaped necklace that Reese Witherspoon wore the exact same one in Election.”.
Composer Mark Orton tells us about some of the inspiriations behind the Film’s memorable Score.
Orton: “Yeah, I think, well, in terms of overall blending, I think my first job was really to make sure that nothing I was doing would betray the 1971 feel of it, or 1970 feel of it. That for me ended up in some places that I don’t get to explore much in scoring. You know, I’m more doing sort of orchestral stuff or Americana leaning stuff. But about a third of the score is really coming from a band place, like a band that you know, would be playing in that time period, which for me is super fun. I guess, I have the instruments from that era. They’re the ones that musicians like me collect old guitars from early seventies, late sixties, amplifiers too. And I really got to stretch out and do that stuff and to kind of blend in with this fantastic, you know, source score that’s in there. Things like the Almond Brothers, or Cat Stevens, or Bad Finger. So, that was super fun for me. And then, on the other hand, I was also, of course, referencing some Christmas. I upped my collection from two to something like 25 different sleigh bells, and they do find their way in here and there.”.
Focus Features and Universal Pictures Canada will release THE HOLDOVERS In Toronto on November 3, 2023 & In Theatres Nationwide on November 10, 2023.
Director Alexander Payne is in top form with the delightful Dramedy The Holdovers.
The Film takes place in 1970 over Christmas break at an elite boarding school in small-town Massachusetts. It follows strict Professor Paul Hunham (Paul Giamatti) who’s gifted the undesirable assignment of supervising the students unable to return home for the Christmas holidays. Resolved to have the students suffer along with him, he makes them start the next semester’s assignments. However, when only one student remains, the intelligent but belligerent Angus (Dominic Sessa), the two begin to see themselves in each other.
The Holdovers is an intimate, touching portrait of broken, lonely people connecting. Realizing they’re not alone. This is told through three central characters, Hunham, Angus and school cafeteria manager Mary (Da’Vine Joy Randolph). Each of them outcasts and harbouring their own unique melancholy within. Screenwriter David Hemingson and Payne keep the cause of some of their pain a mystery until the end, except for Mary.
She’s just lost her only son in the war. Randolph gives a heartbreaking performance as a mother experiencing her first Christmas without her son. Randolph’s impeccable comedic talent earnestly shines through creating authentic levity woven within the pain. It’s a successful dramatic turn that will have people knocking on her door.
Meanwhile, Hunham and Angus’s reason for despair remains hidden behind their quick wit and short tempers. Giamatti gave one of the finest performances of his career. He plays Hunham as eccentric yet stern, cruel yet empathetic. Similar to Hunham, Angus has a chip on his shoulder. In his first-ever feature role, Sessa stuns. It’s a performance of a seasoned Actor. He portrays the anguish Angus carries and his desire to be understood.
Overall, The Holdovers is a moving exploration of loneliness over the holiday season with captivating performances and a winning Soundtrack.
The Holdovers screens at TIFF ’23:
Monday, September 11 at 3 PM at Visa Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre
Tuesday, September 12 at 12 PM at Visa Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre
Saturday, September 16 at 6 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox
Sunday, September 17 at 9 AM at TIFF Bell Lightbox
Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Sideways) is back with THE HOLDOVERS and teams-up once again with Paul Giamatti! Today we get a brand-new Trailer.
From acclaimed director Alexander Payne, THE HOLDOVERS follows a curmudgeonly instructor (Paul Giamatti) at a New England prep school who is forced to remain on campus during Christmas break to babysit the handful of students with nowhere to go. Eventually he forms an unlikely bond with one of them — a damaged, brainy troublemaker (newcomer Dominic Sessa) — and with the school’s head cook, who has just lost a son in Vietnam (Da’Vine Joy Randolph).
Director: Alexander Payne Writer: David Hemingson Producers: Mark Johnson p.g.a, Bill Block, David Hemingson Executive Producers: Andrew Golov, Thom Zadra, Chris Stinson Cast: Paul Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, introducing Dominic Sessa
Focus Features and Universal Pictures Canada will release THE HOLDOVERS In Select NY & LA theatres on October 27, 2023 In Limited Release on November 3, 2023 & In Theatres Nationwide on November 10, 2023
Paramount Pictures Canada x Mr. Will want to give Readers a chance to see DOWNSIZING! Up for grabs are Run-of-Engagement Passes and Advance Passes in Montreal on Wednesday, December 20, 2017.
Synopsis: Downsizing imagines what might happen if, as a solution to over-population, Norwegian scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall and propose a 200-year global transition from big to small. People soon realize how much further money goes in a miniaturized world, and with the promise of a better life, everyman Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in Omaha in order to get small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life-changing adventures.
To enter to win, click “like” on this Post at MR. WILL ON FACEBOOKand indicate Montreal or ROE as your preference in the comments there.
DOWNSIZING is in theatres Friday, December 22, 2017.
Since Suicide Squad and TIFF, Toronto hasn’t caught much of a break in terms of starpower. That is about to change soon. While a slew of TV Series and Pilots continue to film in the City, we will be plenty excited to know that A-List names like Reese Witherspoon, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel, Neil Patrick Harris and Samuel L. Jackson are making their way north over the next few months. That’s right! Kicking-off 2016 proper!
DOWNSIZING, to be released via Paramount Pictures, is the latest endeavour for Oscar-nominated Director Alexander Payne who rocked our world with Sideways (2000) and The Descendants (2004).Matt Damon will star as an Omaha man who joins the many others who opt to undergo a procedure which reduces them to a fraction of their size. They then are moved-off to communities with many others like themselves. Reese Witherspoon who worked with Payne in Election, Jason Sudeikis and Neil Patrick Harris also star. Expect a late 2017 release, which means you guessed it… OSCARS and what could be a debut at TIFF ’17! Filming runs April through July.
For those who like a bit more of a punch, the latest installment in the XXX franchise, THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE begins production in February through May and once again stars megastar Vin Diesel in the titular role. Samuel L. Jackson returns and appearing also is MMA star Conor McGregor. After Xander Cage (Diesel) is left for dead, he miraculously finds his way back and is sent on a new assignment by hander Augustus Gibbons (Jackson).
Production is to be based out of Pinewood Studios in Toronto for both Films.
After selling to Europacorp during TIFF in September for a cool $17 million, gun control drama Miss Sloane, starring future Oscar winner Jessica Chastain also is pegged for a late winter start date. Chastain stars as a lobbyist who goes up against Washington to pass through gun legislation. The Hollywood Reporter reports a March start date, while the Directors Guild of Canada report filming could start as early as February.
Concluding the 66th annual Cannes Film Festival, the Main Jury (headed by Steven Spielberg, including Nicole Kidman and Ang Lee) handed-out their Prizes earlier today. Winning top honours this year, the Palme d’Or, was Blue is the Warmest Colour (La vie d’Adèle), directed by Abdellatif Kechiche. The racy Drama, clocking-in at over three hours, is about a teenage Girl who has an affair with a Woman. It also has the distinction of winning the FIPRESCI Competition Prize.
In the acting categories Bérénice Bejo, who received an Oscar nomination for her silent performance in The Artist, won Best Actress for Italian-French Production The Past, about a Parisian Woman looking to divorce her Iranian Husband. Bruce Dern won Best Actor for his work in Nebraska, directed by Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants), about a Father and Son who reunite to claim a Sweepstakes prize. The Drama which stars SNL Alumni Will Forte, gets a November release via Paramount Pictures in North America.
Winning the Grand Prix was eagerly-awaited Coen Brothers Film, Inside Llewyn Davis. Set in the ’60s, the Drama about the Folk Music Scene stars an exciting Cast of Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund, John Goodman and Oscar Isaac.
Mexican Filmmaker Amat Escalante won Best Director for his work on Heli, a Mexican Drama about a Family torn-apart by drugs.
On our radars is Fruitvale Station, to be distributed by eOne Films in select Canadian Citiies on July 26, 2013. The Ryan CooglerDrama, which was a Hit at Sundance earlier this year, picked-up the Future Prize and is about a 22-year-old Man’s final day on New Year’s Eve 2008.
Clearly on the Awards Trail and release dates scheduled for later this year, perhaps we can expect Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Past and Blue is the Warmest Colour to surface in Toronto at TIFF this September?