June 23: Thanks to my pal Sylvia of Dougray Scott in Focus for passing along news she received from a Manhattan Pictures International VP about the release of 'Enigma' in the U.S.:
"No specific date for the release is set. However, when one is we will announce it through a regular press release."
Sylvia also received word that the current issue of People Magazine contains the comment that 'Enigma' is scheduled to open in the U.S. next year. Let's hope the info People has is incorrect and that the recent plans for a Fall 2001 release are followed.
June 22: Thanks to my pal Sylvia of Dougray Scott in Focus for this item from The Daily Mail:
‘Watch Out For...’
1. Tom Hollander, who will play the title role in Michael Grandage’s production of Moliere’s Don Juan at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre for a season from September 26. Grandage asked Simon Nye to write a new translation of the play. Mr. Hollander will soon be seen in Michael Apted’s film Enigma, an entralling screen adaptation of Robert Harris’s bestselling thriller. Mr. Hollander co-stars in the wartime film, which tells the story of how the Brits cracked the German’s top secret code, with Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet, Saffron Burrows and the scene-stealing Jeremy Northam. Enigma is the perfect antidote to the high-octane nonsense that will assault our senses through the summer and autumn.
June 22: I found this great new review of the film. The reporters apparently attended a special screening:
British mathematician Alan Turing is now recognised as one of the fathers of
computing (his suicide by eating a poisoned apple inspired the name of a
well-known computer company) but the work which gained him this position was one
of the best-kept secrets of the war. So secret, in fact, that even Winston
Churchill did not mention it in his history of the war. This work was using
primitive computers (called bombes) to break the German’s most ‘unbreakable’
code, Enigma. However, this film, a fictional story based around the facts of
this secret war, is not a techie-feast, but chooses instead to look at the human
dimension of the work.
Tom Jericho (Scott) is a maths genius who was hired on the first day of the war to work at Station X, the code-breaking headquarters at Bletchley Park. We first see him, though, returning to the Park in 1943 after having been sent away to recover from a nervous breakdown. But was the breakdown caused by the stress of his ultimately successful effort to find away into the Enigma code, or by the end of his relationship with the beautiful but enigmatic (pun intended) Claire Romilly (Burrows)? And has he recovered enough to be able to help with the urgent problem facing British Intelligence: the largest convoys ever assembled have set off from the USA just as the Germans have changed their U-boats’ code, making it once again unreadable. While Jericho is supposed to be helping the motley assortment of eggheads race to once again crack the code, he is distracted both by the disappearance of Claire and by a secret service agent (Northram) who thinks the Germans were tipped off by a mole in the Park, and suspects Jericho (and possibly Claire). Meanwhile, a small boy and his smaller dog have discovered something nasty in the woods in the Ukraine (trust me, that does become relevant).
The very English war film (only one bomb dropped, and minimal shagging) is based on the book by Robert Harris, and is remarkably faithful to it. However, the screenplay was written by Tom Stoppard, and there are flashes of his humour throughout, which provide welcome relief to what could otherwise be a heavy thriller. Less welcome are the occasional examples of dialogue tailored for the US market. (Would an officer of His Majesty’s Navy ever describe a situation as ‘a bitch’?) However, I suppose we have to soften the blow since this film reveals that World War 2 was not won solely by Tom Hanks or Ben Affleck.
Scott, last seen as the bad guy in MI2, gives a good performance as the harassed intellectual forced to be a man of action, while always teetering on the brink of another mental collapse. Kate Winslet (Quills and some film about a boat), in her most fully-clothed role for some time (sorry lads) is equally good as the ugly duckling friend of Burrow’s femme fatale. These two are on screen for almost the whole film, and provide the main motor for the plot. Winslet is particularly good in portraying a woman who realises she is at least as intelligent and capable as the men she works with, but that her gender will always keep her down. This proto-feminism does not seem out of place, but is subtly played, and makes it more believable that these two could work as an effective team.
Northram (Possession, The Golden Bowl, An Ideal Husband), as the amusingly named Wigram, is very dry and snide, not bothering to hide his contempt for Jericho and the other codebreakers. He also has some of the best lines, and a commanding presence whenever he is on screen. Even when the spy is revealed, Wigram still seems the real villain of the piece, as he alone seems untouched by events, and gives the impression of a man whose career will only benefit from his machinations. By the way, the identity of the spy, and the tangled web behind Claire’s disappearance, are not really problems on a par with the Enigma code, but they are fortunately not so obvious as to spoil the film.
The group of codebreakers with whom Jericho works are carefully selected to run the gamut of comedy English intellectual stereotypes, ranging from the pointless stutter (look, he must be intelligent, he’s so shy and ill-at-ease) to bearded Marxist (he’s so controversial in views and hair that he must be the spy). They also give the impression that corduroy was the only item not rationed in the war. However, this may be a reflection, however distorted, of historical reality: when Churchill met the real Bletchley Park eggheads, he is reported to have said that his command to look under every stone to find the best people was not supposed to have been taken so literally.
Apted manages to pump up the suspense at points throughout the film, notably in the scene where the codebreakers are racing to find a way into Enigma while the U-boats are closing in. However, he also allows room for the relationships between the characters to develop, so that this film never degenerates into just a geek-friendly war thriller with a love story slapped on like lipstick on a bulldog. Instead, the various strands of the story come together into a satisfying conclusion, even if the last scene is a little too pat. In all, this film is more intelligent, better written, and ultimately more entertaining than the other WW2 film around at the moment, and it has the added advantage of taking fewer liberties with historical reality.
Enigma, reviewed by BFG reporters Rupert Marsh and Rebecca Stimson
Director: Michael Apted
Stars: Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet, Jeremy Northam, Saffron Burrows
[I'll move this article to the 'Reviews' page soon; I need to re-format the page.]
‘Enigma’ will play at the ‘Taormina Filmfest 2001’ (Italy) on July 1st! I found this Reuters/Variety article about the festival:
"Taormina Lines up Troops," By David Rooney
ROME (Variety) - The 47th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily will sprinkle a variety of world and European premieres among a Vietnam double bill of Joel Schumacher's "Tigerland'" and Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now Redux".
The non-competitive festival, unspooling June 29-July 7, will focus exclusively on English-language productions from around the globe for the second year. Films scheduled for the Sicilian resort town's ancient Greek amphitheater include sci-fi comedy "Evolution," with director Ivan Reitman and stars Orlando Jones and Seann William Scott on hand; Michael Apted's "Enigma," starring Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott; and Brit helmer Nick Hamm's horror thriller "The Hole," with Thora Birch.
Also to unspool are Stewart Sugg's "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," starring Stellan Skarsgard and Chris Penn; Brit tyro director Richard Parry's "South West 9"; and "The Anniversary Party," co-directed by and starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming. Oscar-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro will be on hand to present Coppola's definitive version of "Apocalypse Now."
The principal retrospective this year focuses on the work of Italian veteran Luigi Comencini, including his WWII Resistance comedy "Tutti a Casa," with star Alberto Sordi in attendance. A tribute to Ettore Scola also is on tap.
June 14:I received a message this morning that the 'Enigma' UK release date is set for September 28! Here's an item from BFG:
A release date has been announced on the eagerly anticipated British thriller, ‘Enigma’. Based on the international best-selling novel by Robert Harris, ‘Enigma' stars the luminous Kate Winslet (‘Titanic’), Dougray Scott (‘Mission Impossible 2’), Jeremy Northam (‘Emma’) and Saffron Burrows (‘Timecode’) and will be released in the UK on September 28.
in the atmosphere of wartime England, ‘Enigma’ delves into the mystery of
codes and code breaking. It also explores love and betrayal set inside the
birthplace of the computer age and has much contemporary relevance in today’s
world of the internet and computer hacks.
‘Enigma’ has been directed by Michael Apted and produced by Mick Jagger’s Jagged Films and Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Films. Variety magazine have already described ‘Enigma’ as, "an intelligent, involving and intricately plotted thriller…Michael Apted demonstrates his sure hand at crafting smartly suspenseful entertainment." Screen International adds that the film is "a compelling, sumptuously-made romantic thriller…quintessentially noir tale of love, obsession and betrayal."
Adapted for the screen by Tom Stoppard, ‘Enigma’ will be distributed by Buena Vista International (UK) Ltd.
May 31: I found more on the Stephen Baldwin / ‘Enigma’ connection in Film Unlimited (he is apparently a consultant for Manhattan Pictures International):
Enigma, the wartime thriller starring Kate Winslet and produced by Mick Jagger, has found an American distributor, according to People News. After several studios reportedly passed on the feature because it was "too British" it was bought by Alec Baldwin's kid brother Stephen at Cannes. The film, which was scripted by Tom Stoppard and produced by Jagged Films, tells the story of the British world war two codebreakers based at Bletchley Park who cracked the Nazi cyphers.
And thanks to my pal Sylvia of Dougray Scott in Focus for sending me this item from the Sun Times:
Rock ‘N Reel: Just back from Cannes, Stephen Baldwin told New York celebrity scoopster Baird Jones at the Paramount Hotel's 10th anniversary bash that he and partner Danny Aiello think "we may have hit gold" with the first pick for their new Manhattan Pictures International distribution company. Baldwin and Aiello picked up the U.S. rights for producer Mick Jagger's much-anticipated "Enigma," directed by Michael Apted ("The World Is Not Enough"). Co-produced by "Saturday Night Live" guru Lorne Michaels, "Enigma" follows the struggle of an Allied operative (Dougray Scott) trying to break Nazi U-boat codes--while worrying that his girlfriend (Kate Winslet) is a spy. [Actually, Saffron Burrows plays the girlfriend who is suspected of being a spy.]
May 30: I found this item in today’s "People News":
Film Finds Saviour" -- Enigma finally finds a well-connected distributor
Mick Jagger’s ill-fated film venture, Enigma, has finally found an American distributor, a relieved PeopleNews can reveal. After a dispiriting few months dragging the movie around Hollywood, the Rolling Stone wiped his brow when he heard that Stephen Baldwin, the little brother of actor Alec, had agreed to buy it. The Tom Stoppard-scripted film, which stars Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott, the man who turned down the chance to be the next James Bond, was snapped up at the Cannes film festival by Baldwin and his business partner Danny Aiello. Enigma, made by Jagger's production company Jagged Films, is their first acquisition. According to an industry insider: ‘They hope that it will be a hit despite the fact that it is not really a mainstream production. It’s a risk, but they’re confident that the film will be a success.’ The film tells the story of a British Second World War code-breaker based at the famous Bletchley Park centre. Although the movie was widely admired at the Sundance Film Festival, it was turned down by a number of studios for being ‘too British’. Jagger feared that the film would never see the light of day after he dismissed a bid from Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein, only to find that no studio was willing to better it.
The last we heard, Manhattan Pictures International will be distributing the film in the US and it is set for a "fall 2001" release. That was reported recently in the trade papers and on the Intermedia site.
Thanks to my pal Sylvia of Dougray Scott in Focus for the heads up on this item:
"Manhattan Gets Godard, Chases Two More Cannes Pics" (Screen Daily)
Debutant US distributor Manhattan Pictures International has confirmed its domestic acquisition of Jean-Luc Godard’s well-received essay-poem Eloge De L'Amour (In Praise of Love) from its Paris-based sales representative Wild Bunch.
Manhattan Pictures, which is spearheaded by art-house veteran Paul Cohen, is planning a spring 2002 release for Eloge. This would follow the company’s inaugural release of Michael Apted’s Enigma, which was acquired after its premiere at Sundance from Intermedia Films.
Manhattan claims to have tabled bids on two other completed pictures that were vying for this year’s Palme D’Or. So far, the only other Cannes competition films to have been picked up in the wake of the festival have been Va Savoir! (Sony Pictures Classics) and No Man’s Land (United Artists), leaving award-winners such as Nanni Moretti’s The Son’s Room, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive and Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher all still up for grabs. Asking price for US rights to Mulholland Drive was put at $6m.
On the Godard purchase, Wild Bunch's Carole Baraton commented: "Manhattan Pictures' ability to financially commit to the film was attractive but it was Paul’s knowledge and passion for cinema and this film, that ultimately won Manhattan the US distribution rights."
On the production side, overseen by Steven Seagal’s former partner Jules Nasso, Manhattan is currently in post-production om One Eyed King, which was being sold worldwide in Cannes by Cutting Edge Entertainment. The release of One Eyed King has been moved until after the release of Enigma.
Too bad they couldn’t give a release date for Enigma! At least we know it will be released before next spring!
I found a mention of ‘Enigma’ in the May issue of Total Film Magazine (UK). There were no photos accompanying the item, except one of the novel. The writer seems to have wanted to put down Kate:
"Brought To Book"
Many of this year's biggest blockbusters are based on best-selling novels. But what's been changed in the name of cinema?
Author: Robert Harris
Director: Michael Apted
Story: March 1943. The code-crackers of Bletchley Park race against the clock to solve a new Enigma code variation among their number are Tom Jericho and Hester Wallace.
In the book: "She had a thin face, split like a knife by a long, sharp nose. Her hair was wrenched back from a browning forehead. A dark-haired woman, thirtyish. She was wearing round spectacles and a thick overcoat."
In the film: Kate Winslet. She has the coat. She's got the Harry Potter-style glasses. She can work on the nose. Or maybe not.
Intermedia held a screening for 'Enigma' today (May 14) at the Cannes Film Festival. According to the advert placed in the special Cannes issue of The Hollywood Reporter: "Screening: Monday May 14 10:00AM - Star 1 Theater".
Kate gets a mention in an article about Intermedia’s finances. It is another indication that ‘Enigma’ will be released in the last half of 2001:
IM Internationalmedia AG said first quarter net profit fell to 551,000 eur from 2.273 mln a year earlier, because the company did not release any films in the quarter. The company said the results reflect the industry's typical delivery cycle. First quarter sales fell to 10.256 mln eur compared to 35.997 mln in the same period in 2000, with revenues generated from the film library, shareholdings and interest.
Nine films are currently in production, with actors including Harrison Ford, Nicolas Cage and Kate Winslet, and these are expected to generate revenues in the second half of the year.
Thanks to Sylvia of Dougray Scott in Focus for sending me this item from the Edinburgh News. The article about moviegoers' love of World War II films contains a brief mention of 'Enigma'. It mentions an 'autumn' release (UK):
Got War in its Sights," by Sandy Strang
Oh what a lovely war, they whoop. The battle blockbuster is back. It’s revival time for the genre. Gung-ho Second World War heroics, ripping yarns of love and courage are once more fashionable. We’re awash in a red sea of celluloid conflict.
Saving Private Ryan started the resurrection, as we sat riveted with Tom Hanks and that terrifyingly authentic set-piece D-Day carnage on the Normandy beaches. We then gawped at that bleak siege of Stalingrad, the city that refused to die before the 1942 Third Reich onslaught in Enemy at the Gates. More recently, we’ve gazed at Malena, Sicilian widow Monica Bellucci, ravishing eye candy, inspiring a young lad’s courage and pursuit of honour in war-torn Italy. And this very week, thousands are flocking to see maverick Italian commander Nicolas Cage, aka Captain Corelli, strumming his mandolin on an occupied Greek island and winning the heart of melancholy martyr Penélope Cruz. And the really big one’s yet to come. The grandest, splashiest war pageant of all time. Cue, in June 2001, £135 million of Affleck, Beckinsale and Hartnett enacting their tragic love triangle against the backdrop of Pearl Harbor.
The box office evidence is incontrovertible. War sells. It has serious financial firepower, especially when it’s the Second World War - with America valiantly winning it - and especially when it’s pitched at both genders. War ’n’ romance, love among the shells. Yet most folk today are virgins when it comes to real war, and only about a sixth of us alive just now are old enough to remember the Second World War. So where’s the magnetic appeal? Why do we have this insatiably voracious appetite for silver screen conflict? Why is there this insistent, warnographic, voyeuristic lust for virtual war, for combat as a spectator sport?
The answer lies partly in our love of large-scale exciting spectacle. The Second World War had it in spades, and Hollywood’s got the capacity and the desire to deliver - big-screen conflict pyrotechnics as troops are dive-bombed in their landing craft, towering infernos of exploding battleships, manic human mayhem amidst blitzed and desecrated cities.
But there's a deeper, more insistent impulse reaching far further into our human psyche. Those in war are living in extremis, on the edge. There’s a compelling, life-enhancing immediacy to every action. All human experience, the big universal themes to which we can all relate - sadness, death, comradeship, happiness and love, especially love - is heightened, sharpened, rendered more acute by war’s all too insistent emphasis that mortality is ephemeral. The stark likelihood that tomorrow will never come - it touches a primeval nerve close to the core of all our identities.
The patriotic factor in war flicks is another significant attraction. Most of us respond to their appeal to national self-affirmation even more in an age which all too often denounces our basic instinct for collective identity - even if much of the current jingoistic crop is tiresomely pro-Yank.
And there’s a further platoon of war films on the march. By autumn, when the distant drone of the last bomber has receded into the Pearl Harbor distance, and the spark has gone out on the film’s "beacon of life" Kate Beckinsale, look out for Enigma romance among the Bletchley Park codebreakers with Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet. And spot Cate Blanchett, French Resistance fighter, in Charlotte Gray. Real war may be hell on earth, but the film variant is blissful heaven to Hollywood. Our craving for Love Story - with guns - will assuredly be satisfied. Shoot on.
May 7: Parade’ Magazine (a supplement to many U.S. Sunday newspapers) has an interview with ‘Enigma’ costar Jeremy Northam. Following is the section about the film:
"It’s been two years since I was last in your country," Northam told me. He came this time for the Sundance Film Festival, where his new romantic thriller, Enigma, co-starring Kate Winslet, was unveiled. "We got a really nice response," Northam said. he also had been to dinner with Mick Jagger, whose company, Jagged Films, had produced Enigma in partnership with Broadway Video, the company of SNL producer Lorne Michaels. Was the Rolling Stone an old London chum? "No," said Northam. "I’d not known him before. Mick is very bright, very nice."
BTW - Northam plays Wigram in ‘Enigma’, who is sent by the Foreign Office to investigate an incident at Bletchley Park where people are working on breaking the Enigma code. He begins to suspect Jericho (Dougray Scott) and Hester (Kate) of espionage. In the screen captures I have added here, Wigram (wearing hat) confronts Jericho and Hester:
May 4: Yes, I truly did breathe a sigh of relief when we learned recently about the distribution deals! This item is from a film column in a UK paper:
Breathe a sigh of relief for ol' Jumpin' Jack - Mick Jagger's first movie has now found a home and will be shown in the cinema. The Kate Winslet, Dougray Scott starrer ‘Enigma’, based on the Robert Harris novel, has been acquired by Manhattan Pictures International in America and will be put out by Miramax in the UK later this year. That'll teach those knockers who were writing the flick off - filmed many months ago - as a straight-to-video special.
April 23: The Scottish Daily Record has an item today about the 'Enigma' distribution deal I mentioned on this site a couple of days ago:
Mick Jagger's World War II code-breaking movie Enigma has finally secured a deal. The rocker had been knocking on doors all year to get his film bought up since its Sundance Film Festival premiere in January. With Cannes just three weeks away, he has sold the United States rights for pounds 1.38 million to Manhattan Pictures International. In the UK, Miramax will distribute the film, which stars Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet.
Reuters/Variety also has this item dated April 23. Note the comment that Manhattan Pictures is 'in final negotiations'. I certainly hope we hear of a 'done deal' and release date for the U.S. soon!
"Manhattan Home To Enigma," By Dana Harris
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Upstart film distributor Manhattan Pictures Intl. is in final negotiations to pay about $2.5 million for North American rights to the World War II production "Enigma,'' which was produced by Mick Jagger. Separately, Miramax Films has acquired the title for the U.K.
Directed by Michael Apted and adapted by Tom Stoppard from the Robert Harris bestseller, "Enigma'' is set in 1943 as two young British mathematicians try to crack the Enigma Code of a German U-boat. It stars Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott. The picture premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival. Rolling Stones frontman Jagger's Jagged Films produced the Intermedia-Senator Film co-production, with "Saturday Night Live" executive producer and Lorne Michaels' Broadway Films.
Here's more from The Hollywood Reporter:
wrapping 'Enigma' output - MPI makes first buy," by Ian Mohr
NEW YORK -
The deal for the 15-month-old MPI will mark its first acquisition for distribution. Sources said the pending pact on the $30 million-plus budgeted "Enigma" is expected to close during the next week and that Intermedia was asking upward of $2 million for domestic rights, though it is not clear how much MPI or Miramax will pay in their deals.
Set in war-torn England circa 1943, "Enigma," adapted by Tom Stoppard from Robert Harris' novel, follows an elite team of codebreakers who must decipher the illusive Nazi Enigma code. As they race to crack the code, the team's leader learns that the mysterious woman who broke his heart has disappeared, and that the group might have been infiltrated by a spy.
"Enigma" was produced by Mick Jagger and Lorne Michaels through Michaels' Broadway Video banner. The film screened in competition at January's Sundance Film Festival. The project was executive produced by Intermedia's Guy East and Nigel Sinclair, Jagged Films' Victoria Pearman and Senator Films' Hanno Huth and Michael White.
Launched in early 2000, MPI is headed by distribution vet Paul Cohen, along with producer Julius Nasso and Joseph Amiel (HR 1/16). The company said at its launch that it planned to acquire four films in 2001 and 12 annually thereafter. At Sundance, MPI optioned Rick Newberger's script "Marcus Timberwolf" for Danny Aiello and Lori Singer to star.
Said Sinclair, whose company is handling worldwide rights on "Enigma": "We are very excited about Miramax's commitment on the project. We're very bullish about having a first-class U.K. release strategy with such a strong team on this movie." On the pending MPI deal, Sinclair added: "MPI had a major yen for this movie and chased it so hard. We came to the conclusion that no one could do the job they could. MPI has strong backing, and with an intelligent movie like this, you need to be totally committed to it."
Intermedia has collaborated with Miramax on the distribution of "Sliding Doors," "Playing by Heart" and the upcoming "The Quiet American," now in production. Miramax senior vp Andrew Herwitz negotiated the deal for his company. Jere Hausfater, Intermedia's president of motion pictures and worldwide distribution and acquisitions, repped his company. Cohen is negotiating for MPI.
Screen Daily also has a story today on the acquisition by Miramax and impending U.S. deal:
"Miramax Buys U.K., Manhattan Close To U.S. On Enigma," by Mike Goodridge
Films has acquired UK rights to Enigma, the World War II thriller
directed by Michael Apted which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film
Festival. Intermedia co-financed the film with Germany’s Senator Film and
handled the UK sales to Miramax.
Meanwhile Manhattan Pictures International, the recently formed New York-based producer/distributor run by Paul Cohen and Julius Nasso, is in the final stages of negotiating domestic rights to the film; it will be one of the company’s first films in theatres.
Scripted by Tom Stoppard from the novel by Robert Harris, Enigma is based around code-breakers at the top-secret Bletchley Park operation in 1940s England. It stars Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet, Jeremy Northam and Saffron Burrows and was co-produced by Mick Jagger’s Jagged Films and Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video. One of Winslet’s previous movies, Hideous Kinky was released by Paul Cohen in the US when he was at his last company Stratosphere Entertainment.
The UK deal was negotiated by Jere Hausfater, chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution for Intermedia, with Miramax senior vice president Andrew Herwitz. “Mick Jagger and Lorne Michaels are two of the most talented people I know,” said Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein in a statement. “Enigma is a celebration of British heroism and patriotism, which saved the day for the allies during World War II. Considering how great the UK has been to me personally, I could not resist this project.”
Intermedia has previously sold rights to Miramax on three other films - Sliding Doors starring Gwyneth Paltrow (North American rights), Playing By Heart with Angelina Jolie and Sean Connery (North America and UK rights) and Philip Noyce’s upcoming The Quiet American starring Brendan Fraser and Michael Caine (North and Latin American rights).
April 20: YIPPEE!! (Yes, I am literally jumping up and down, LOL) Enigma has apparently landed U.S. and U.K. distribution deals! This item was posted on the ‘industry’ site Inside.com tonight:
With the Cannes Film Festival just three weeks away and strikes threatening to turn put a serious crimp in Hollywood's product flow, studio executives are scrambling to close deals and screen dozens of new projects now on offer from sales agents. At least two films, Michael Apted's Enigma and French blockbuster Brotherhood of the Wolf have recently found U.S. distributors, and more deals are expected in coming weeks. ''People are screening all the films that didn't get into Cannes,'' said one harried studio buyer who said there was definitely pressure to buy because of the looming strikes. ''I've been screening two films every day.'' ...
Paul Cohen and Julius Nasso's Manhattan Pictures International is dotting the Is and crossing the Ts on a domestic distribution deal for Enigma, the World War II romantic drama starring Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet, Jeremy Northam and Saffron Burrows. The company is said to have paid about $2 million plus a significant P&A commitment for U.S. rights to the film. Miramax has picked up UK rights to Enigma, which was produced by Mick Jagger and Lorne Michaels. The film, based on the novel by Robert Harris adapted for the screen by Tom Stoppard, focuses on the lives and loves of British code breakers.
Financed by Intermedia and Senator Films, Enigma premiered at January's Sundance Film Festival, to mixed reactions. But upbeat reviews sparked post-festival interest from several domestic distributors including Paramount Classics and Miramax.
Enigma would mark the first high-profile acquisition for Manhattan Pictures, which was launched shortly before Sundance by Nasso, Steven Seagal's former producing partner, and Cohen, co-founder of Stratosphere Entertainment.
Let's hope it's really a 'done deal' - and that we'll be seeing Kate on the 'big screen' again soon!
Week of April 1-7:
Thanks to Sylvia of Dougray Scott in Focus and Missy for this item:
Works Away at Enigma Problem," By Nigel Reynolds
He's still dynamite with the girls - and he's not bad on stage. But Mick Jagger may have some way to go before Hollywood considers him a real player. The 57-year-old Rolling Stone, his heart now intent on the movies, is in danger of being out-manoeuvred by Harvey Weinstein, the no-nonsense, penny-shaving boss of Miramax Films who turned British movies such as ‘The English Patient’, ‘Shakespeare in Love’ and ‘The Crying Game’ into big hits in America.
In January, to much fanfare, Jagger appeared at Robert Redford's Sundance Festival in Utah for the world premiere of ‘Enigma’ - Sir Tom Stoppard's screen adaptation of Robert Harris's best-selling novel about the Second World War codebreakers at Bletchley Park. Shot for pounds 25 million, ‘Enigma' was Jagger's first film for his Jagged Films company, and looked a cert for success. It has both British and American stars (Kate Winslet, Saffron Burrows and Dougray Scott) and a winning combination of love, war and spies.
But, three months on, Jagger still hasn't been able to sell the distribution rights. Soon after Sundance, Weinstein offered to buy the rights for America, Britain and subsidiary territories. But Jagger, I gather, walked away believing he could get a better price. Other distributors failed to bite, however, and talks with companies such as Paramount recently collapsed. Jagger begrudgingly returned to Weinstein and told Miramax it could have the film after all. Weinstein agreed, but - no fool he - said his price had dropped. The rock star, I am told, was non-plussed.
Industry insiders are now saying that, unless Jagger suddenly finds a new buyer, Miramax is likely to get ‘Enigma for a bargain price. He'll live and learn . . . Meanwhile, the rock star - who will be holding court at Cannes next month - has several other projects on the go...
Sylvia also found a Real Player clip of 'Enigma' costar Saffron Burrows talking about the film (1 min, 20 sec). Here's what she had to say:
"I loved working on it. The actors are a brilliant collection of people. There's, you know, Dougray Scott as the lead, and Kate Winslet, Jeremy Northam, and some very, very funny performances. What I like is that I think the director's approach is not that we're making a film set in 1943, but we're actually making something highly kind of pertinent and almost thriller-like. And just the idea that there is a great deal of tension within the story. You know, you're never quite sure who is betraying who and if anyone's really who they say they are. My character can be particularly deceptive, I have to say, which is quite fun to play." [Reporter asks if the story is quite taut.] "Yeah, it's pretty taut, and also what's brilliant, of course, is that we're all based on real people, most of whom are still around in Britain and who turned up on set, you know, on a regular interval. And said, 'we'd never have used that language.' You know, a wonderful kind of scene - our director being admonished by a woman in her eighties. 'You've got that completely wrong. No, no, no, we wouldn't have done that.' I said, 'I'm sorry'."
I found this item is from the Montreal Gazette. Note that the Cannes screening is not confirmed. In another recent report it was claimed that Jagger is ‘expected’ to take the film to Cannes. Other reporters seem to have accepted this as ‘fact’. The official festival site does not yet have a 2001 screening list posted; the line-up will be announced April 19.
Keith Richards is steamed, British reports say, because Mick Jagger is too busy with movies to tour this year. "Jagger seems more interested in the film business now, and we are all worried that it might be it as far as touring is concerned," an anonymous source - evidently not a million miles from Keef - told the British tabloid the Sun. "Mick said he might tour next year, but it's all up in the air."
Jagger's movie company, Jagged Films, is doing pretty well. His first picture, about the World War II code-breaking machine called 'Enigma', stars Kate Winslet and will premiere at Cannes next month. He's also working with Martin Scorsese to develop a project about a pop star. Richards, however, "gets restless when he's not on the road," the Sun's source said.
again, to my pal Sylvia for this item:
"Miramax Talking Code-Breaker Film"
Miramax is close to acquiring distribution rights to Enigma, the World War II period piece produced by Mick Jagger and Lorne Michaels and financed by Intermedia Films and Senator Entertainment. The mini-major, which was one of at least three bidders for the film, is in negotiations to buy North American rights as well as several overseas territories, including the UK. Paul Cohen and Julius Nasso's upstart Manhattan Pictures International and Paramount Classics had previously made bids for Enigma, which stars Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott as British code-breakers. Michael Apted directed film found no takers when it debuted at January's Sundance Film Festival, but after getting a positive notice in Daily Variety, several distributors gave the $30 million-budgeted film a second look. A Miramax spokesperson could not be reached for comment; William Morris agent Cassian Elwes, who is representing the film, confirmed only that he was in negotiations with the company.
Week of March 25-31:
I skimmed through the March issue of Total Film magazine and found this article:
"Trailers" -- Enigma - Cryptic war-time thrills with Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott.
The Plot: Dougray Scott is Tom Jericho, a master crypto-analyst who’s credited with cracking the Enigma code - only to find that it’s changed again. Now he has to race against time to break the new cipher before an allied shipping convoy is blasted from the sea. But there’s a problem: a spy in Bletchley Park’s Station X...
The Background: Hollywood sub-drama U-571 had British stiff upper lips in a froth when it rewrote history, suggesting the Americans, not the Brits captured the Nazi’s code-making Enigma machine during World War Two. Enigma - based on Robert Harris’ bestseller - aims to set the record straight. According to director Michael Apted, this war-time spy yarn is as much a story of unsung heroes as it is a tale of complicated codes. "What was amazing about Bletchley Park is that no one knew anything about it for 30 years," he told Total Film when we popped along to the set. "The element of secrecy surrounding it is spectacular."
The Buzz: With Jeremy Northam joining the cast, a script by Tom Stoppard and a producer credit for old rubber-lipped Mick Jagger, there’s no secret about Enigma’s pedigree: best of British.
UK Release: Summer; Cert TBC
Pic caption: Coded signals: Kate Winslet falls for Dougray Scott in this Robert Harris adaption. [Wouldn't it be nice if Intermedia released a few new pics?!]
Will ‘Enigma’ play at the Cannes Film Festival? I found this item on Reuters News Service:
London (Reuters) - Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have fallen out because Jagger scuppered plans for the band's latest tour in order to concentrate on producing films, Britain's top-selling Sun tabloid reported on Thursday. Richards was angry because he loved touring with the band, the tabloid said. "He gets restless when he's not on the road, but Mick has told the rest of the band he's too busy with film stuff," a source close to the group was quoted as saying. The Stones, who shot to fame in the 1960s, were due to play concerts in Britain and the United States later this year, the Sun said. "(Jagger) seems more interested in the film business now and we are all worried that it might be it as far as touring is concerned," the source said. "Mick said he might tour next year, but it's all up in the air."
Jagger, 57, has experienced success with his movie production company Jagged Films. The first film produced by the company was an adaptation of the Robert Harris thriller "Enigma," about the battle by British scientists to break German secret codes during World War Two. Jagger is expected to take the movie, starring "Titanic" actress Kate Winslet, to the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Week of March 18-24:
I found a mention of the film in the March 20 issue of Hello! Magazine:
Inside Story - Jerry Hall Shows Support For Mick's New Film: Proving they are still the best of friends, Jerry Hall lent former husband Mick Jagger her moral support when she accompanies him to a private screening of Enigma, the first movie to be produced by his company Jagged Films. Directed by Michael Apted and starring Kate Winslet, Dougray Scott and Saffron Burrows, the film is based on the novel by Robert Harris about the British code-breakers who successfully unraveled German U-boat ciphers during World War Two. Also watching the movie was Mick's one-time bandmate, ex-Rolling Stone, Bill Wyman, who arrived with his wife Suzanne. Of his foray into films, Mick says: "You need an eye for detail. You have to be assertive, but I don't lose my temper with people. I don't have that problem."
Two photos were included - one of Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, the other of Bill Wyman and wife. Too bad there were no photos of Kate and Dougray!
I also saw a mention of 'Enigma' in the April issue of Premiere Magazine. In a section on the Sundance Film Festival, there is a full-page photo of director Michael Apted, producer Mick Jagger, and costars Jeremy Northam and Nicholas Coster-Waldau. The pic caption just mentioned the name of the film and the people in the photo. No discussion of the storyline or that Dougray and Kate are the stars of the film. Duh.
Thanks to my pal Sylvia of Dougray Scott in Focus for turning up this item that appeared on a UK news site earlier this month:
"Nicky Haslam, Man About Town"
Saturday 4th March -- Spent all day failing to wish Princess Lee Radziwill happy birthday - she was staying with Ralph Lauren-ite Hamilton South and I hoped I could remember his number. Unfortunately, I must have tried every numerical combination but kept getting strange old ladies in Miami. Drove back to London in the evening for a very smart screening of Mick Jagger's film Enigma, at the New Boat House. None of the cast (Kate Winslet, Jeremy Northam, Dougray Scott) were present so I made do with Sabrina Guinness, Dave and Anoushka Stewart, Bill and Suzanne Wyman, Tara and John Hitchcox. The film was written by Tom Stoppard, directed by Michael Apted and was very good. I didn't go to dinner but got stuck in the bomb mayhem at the BBC on my way home.
BTW - Sylvia also found a mention of a November 15 release date for 'Enigma' in Germany.
There's a brief mention of 'Enigma' in a 'Showbizz People Briefs' item about costar Tom Hollander:
... British thesp Tom Hollander ("Maybe Baby") has joined the cast of Robert Altman's period piece "Gosford Park." Thesp -- who joins a cast that boasts Emily Watson, Ryan Phillippe, Helen Mirren, Jeremy Northam and Kristin Scott Thomas -- will next appear in Michael Apted's "Enigma," opposite Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet, and in Neil Labute's "Possession."
My pal Sylvia of found this item. Looks like a U.S. distribution deal for ‘Enigma’ may soon be finalized!
"Two Months After A Chilly Reception At Sundance, ‘Enigma’ Bidding Heats Up’’
At least three distributors are in the running for domestic rights to Enigma, the World War II period piece financed by Intermedia Films and Senator Entertainment and produced by Mick Jagger and Lorne Michaels. Paul Cohen and Julius Nasso's Manhattan Pictures International, Paramount Classics and Miramax are all said to have made offers for Enigma, which stars Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott as British code-breakers. Director Michael Apted's langorously-paced film received a less than enthusiastic evaluation from many acquisition executives following its initial screening at January's Sundance Film Festival, but after getting an extremely upbeat review in Daily Variety, several distributors have given the $30 million budgeted film a second look. Manhattan Pictures -- which was launched shortly before Sundance -- and Paramount Classics are the likely front-runners, say insiders, with bidding said to be in the vicinity of $2 million plus a significant P&A commitment. Miramax is said to have made a considerably lower offer. All three distributors declined comment, while William Morris agent Cassian Elwes confirmed only that he was negotiating with "several distributors."
March 9: I read a story about Intermedia (the company behind 'Enigma') in Daily Variety the other day that is posted on their website today. The company is strong and they expect $330 million in sales of films this year. The article doesn't mention 'Enigma' as one of the films up for 'sale', but let's hope it does sell soon.
LONDON -- While the Neuer Markt collapses around it, IM Internationalmedia AG, better known as Intermedia, just keeps getting stronger. Its annual results, announced Thursday, paint a picture of a company that's piling on cash, beating profit predictions and readying itself for some major corporate acquisitions.
Intermedia reported net income of 19.7 million euro ($18.3 million) for 2000, a third higher than analysts were estimating. That's also nearly double the $9.9 million figure projected by the company at its IPO in May. Even more impressively, at a time when many other Neuer Markt film companies are fast running out of funds, Intermedia's cash position remains as strong as when it floated, and is expected to improve further in 2001…
Intermedia now is predicting sales in the current year will more than double to $330 million. That figure is based solely on the company's own productions, including "K-19," "K-Pax" and "The Quiet American," and does not include acquired films.
March 2: Update on the 'Enigma has found a distributor' item that was published yesterday in the UK (and reported here) -- A source at Intermedia has made the following statement: ''Discussions are still active regarding the US distribution of ENIGMA and at present Intermedia is unable to confirm who this will be.'' (Thanks, Sylvia!)
March 1: Thanks to my pal Sylvia of for finding these two items early this morning (she's on the computer a couple of hours before I am due to a difference in time zones, LOL):
Now, don't get too excited (I'm trying not to) but Lineone's 'Showbiz' column has this item today:
Now that Michael Apted's much-anticipated film Enigma is to be distributed in the US by Paramount Pictures, the British director has turned his attentions to his next project. He is about to begin production on Jennifer Lopez's next film, Enough in which the actress-singer plays an abused wife who goes on the run with her daughter. Apted, who directed the most recent James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, is waiting to hear whether he will also be directing the next one. "I don't think there are any firm plans yet for the next Bond film," he says. "I enjoyed doing the last one and I'd be happy to do another one if they ask me."
Let's hope the above report is true. I don't think I can take it, LOL.
'Film Maven' saw 'Enigma' at the recent AFM and submitted this item to Dark Horizons:
''Enigma'' - This is Michael Apted's latest film. It stars Jeremy Northam, Kate Winslet, and I can't remember the lead. It is a drama involving the attempts to crack the German's U2 Enigma code. This was a very good film, well written, acted, and directed. I don't know when it's coming out but it's worth seeing.
He can't remember the lead?! Somebody give that guy a pencil and writing pad! How insulting to Dougray. At least another person thinks it's worth seeing.
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