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Oscar-winning producers Barry Jenkins and Adele Romanski re-team for Eliza Hittman's timely tale of the challenges that face a teenage girl as she seeks an abortion.
As theaters shuttered across the nation amid the coronavirus pandemic, the filmmakers of Never Rarely Sometimes Always had a tough decision to make - wait to release the movie when theaters reopen, or release the film on digital platforms to capitalize on an audience confined to their homes.
Ultimately, for Adele Romanski and Barry Jenkins, who produced the film under their Pastel Productions banner, the story about a teenage girl's journey to get a safe and legal abortion was resonant with the current state of women's reproductive health in America, and so they, along with writer-director Eliza Hittman and distributor Focus Features, opted to release the film on VOD platforms.
"What we do know is that we have a film that's very urgent right now," Romanski tells The Hollywood Reporter. "There continues to be a war on women's health and certain states saying abortions are non-essential medical procedures in response to COVID-19, so we know we have a film that matters."
Written and directed by Hittman Beach Rats, It Felt Like Love and made for under $3 million, Never Rarely Sometimes Always is the story of the teenage Autumn, played by first-time actor Sidney Flanigan, who decides to travel with her cousin Skylar Talia Ryder from her rural Pennsylvania town to New York City to get an abortion. The film delves into the real challenges that the two girls face within the medical system and an unfriendly big city.
The film debuted at Sundance Film Festival this year, where it won a special jury award, and then went on to win the Silver Bear prize at the Berlin Film Festival in February. The film was slated to hit theaters on March 13, but with theaters closing down, it was released on demand on April 3.
"We all believe we have a very powerful piece of art and a very captive audience sitting at home," says Jenkins. "The movie's rated PG-13 and it's really powerful because there's all these kids sitting at home right now trying to figure out what to watch, and while they're doing that, there's states all across the country saying that an abortion is not an essential procedure."
Jenkins and Romanski talked to THR about how Hittman tackled highly politicized issue of abortion with nuance, the biggest production challenges and the decision to bring the film to home screens early.
How did your collaboration with Eliza Hittman come about?
Romanski: We had been fans of Eliza's work since It Felt Like Love, which also debuted at Sundance, and stuck up a friendship as one does on the festival circuit and when we were coming together years later and forming Pastel and thinking about who were the kinds of artists and filmmakers we wanted to...
The coronavirus has obliterated the movie release calendar as we know it. Studios are quickly pulling or pushing release dates as the situation continues on, with movie theaters across the globe currently shut down. Today, Paramount has announced some more shuffling for two of their upcoming sequels: Top Gun: Maverick and A Quiet Place Part II. Top Gun was originally set to open in June, but is now flying to December. A Quiet Place, meanwhile, was originally supposed to open last month before being pulled. Now, Paramount says they’re going to open the film in September.Top Gun Maverick Release Date
Do you feel the need? The need for…social distancing? Tom Cruise was ready to fly again in Top Gun: Maverick on June 24, but now, due to the coronavirus, the film is moving to Christmas season. December 23, to be precise. Again, all of this hinges on the idea that the coronavirus problem will be under control by then. But Maverick is just the latest in a long line of movies changing release dates. And while there are a few stragglers left, it’s looking more and more likely that there will not be a summer movie season this year.A Quiet Place Part II Release Date
A Quiet Place II was supposed to arrive in theaters on March 20 – but obviously that didn’t happen. When Paramount pulled the movie from its initial release date, no new date was announced. Until now. Paramount will now open the John Krasinski-directed sequel starring Emily Blunt on September 4. Again – that’s not set in stone. While moving movies to the November and December seems somewhat reasonable at this time, moving things to the tail-end of summer is still questionable. Will movie theaters be back open by September? We can only hope.Other Paramount Release Dates
In addition to the new dates for Top Gun and A Quiet Place, Paramount also shuffled some other releases. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run was supposed to open on May 22, but has now moved to July 31 which is a date that still seems unlikely. And the Chris Pratt film The Tomorrow War has been pulled from its December 25 release date, and is now TBA. See ya at the movies, folks. Maybe.
In The Turning, new nanny Kate Mackenzie Davis arrives at a beautiful mansion to care for Miles Finn Wolfhard and Flora Brooklynn Prince, who have recently lost their parents. The gloomy mansion appears to reflect the mood of the children, yet Kate soon realizes that something more sinister is afoot. What that is, exactly, may prove to be her undoing.
Directed by Flora Sigismondi, The Turning twists and turns away from its source material, Henry James' classic novella, to provide fresh thrills. Here are three more fright films that loom on the horizon, all promising to supply unexpected horror in theaters during the coming weeks.
Gretel & Hansel
Many people know the fairy tale about two siblings who fall into the clutches of a witch with a taste for human flesh. Over the course of his burgeoning career, however, director Osgood Perkins has consistently upended expectations, which is readily apparent in the trailer for a new version. Sophie Lillis It Chapter Two must protect her younger brother and herself from the very convincing Alice Krige as the truly frightening Holda. Will the youngsters still survive?
Release date: January 31. Get your tickets now!
The original 70s TV series only teased the diabolical possibilities of a mysterious island, while Jeff Wadlow's feature film looks set to embrace fully the more disturbing elements, as dreams turn into nightmares for the hapless guests. Maggie Q, Michael Peña and Lucy Hale lead the cast.
Release date: February 14. Get your tickets now!
The Invisible Man
Flipping the premise of the classic horror thriller on its head, writer/director Leigh Whannell reimagines the story from the perspective of a woman Elisabeth Moss who begins to suspect that her deranged, abusive husband Oliver Jackson-Cohen faked his own suicide in order to haunt her. No one believes her, which forces her to take matters into her own hands.
Release date: February 28. Sign up for a FANALERT® and be the first to know when tickets and other exclusives are available in your area.
Soul celebrates the joys of life: As Pixar's Onward dominates the box office, the studio's next animated feature dropped its first full trailer. Soul promises an existential adventure about a jazz musician in the midst of an out-of-body experience, and it looks as deep as movies get. Look for it in theaters on June 19.
Jungle Cruise holds the key to success: Also from Disney, Jungle Cruise debuted a new trailer featuring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt searching for a magical tree in the Amazon. The adventure comedy is based on the theme park ride of the same name and could very well be the next Pirates of the Caribbean. This one is scheduled to open on July 24.
Black Widow resurrects the past: Disney's next installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow, released its final trailer, and things get a bit nostalgic in this one. The movie deals with the titular Avengers's past and apparently includes a look back at events from her first MCU appearance, in Iron Man 2. Find it only on the big screen starting May 1.
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Bloodshot is here:Vin Diesel is the titular hero of the Variant comic book adaptation Bloodshot, which is now playing only in theaters. In this exclusive clip, the character shows up and takes out an entire squad of enemy combatants with help from the nanotechnology enhancing his abilities:
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The hunt for humans: In honor of the release of The Hunt, now in theaters, here is a look back at other movies involving humans being targeted for sport:
The Hunger Games: The most well-known movie about humans hunting other humans is The Hunger Games, based on the Suzanne Collins novel about a dystopian society dependent on a deadly televised competition involving children. Watch the first full trailer for the Jennifer Lawrence-led blockbuster, which opened March 23, 2012, and was followed by three sequels:
Hard Target: Almost 20 years earlier, legendary Hong Kong action filmmaker John Woo made his Hollywood debut with Hard Target, which is about wealthy businessmen who hunt homeless people for sport. Watch the first trailer for the Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle, which released in the U.S. on August 20, 1993:
Ready or Not: Just last year, we saw another movie about rich people hunting a human for their own amusement called Ready or Not. Watch the red band trailer for the movie, which opened on August 21, 2019, and stars Samara Weaving as a new bride who suddenly becomes the prey for her in-laws' sadistic tradition:
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Erin Brockovich turns 20: Steven Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich celebrates its 20th anniversary next week, so let's watch some favorite moments from the Oscar-winning drama, courtesy of...