|Feb22: Thanks to my pal Sylvia of Dougray Scott in Focus for notifying me of this article about the American Film Market published in today's Variety. Enigma was screened there yesterday, and screens again today.
This year, buyers and sellers attending the 21st AFM, which runs Feb. 21-28, are having to face the reality that the German market has finally leveled out, and many indie sales companies are fighting to survive with the challenges of the international marketplace becoming more complex than ever, and the potential threat of actor and writer strikes. "The independent film community is at a very sensitive stage right now," says Artisan Entertainment CEO Amir Malin. "Irrespective of big films coming into the marketplace with name directors and cast, if the international marketplace cannot deliver certain budget parameters for a film then the budgets will have to be reduced and the conservatism of buyers to pay high prices will cause disruptions in the marketplace."
Selling Points: Intermedia screens director Michael Apted's romantic thriller ''Enigma,'' fresh from this year's Sundance film fest, about codes and code-breaking in England during World War II.
|Sometime in the next few months (no exact date has been agreed but autumn is likely) Jagger's company, Jagged Films, will release its first feature movie. It has taken six years to finish, during which it has overcome a number of obstacles. But early indications are that it could prove to be a winner. The film is based on Enigma, the bestselling novel by Robert Harris, a tale of intrigue set among British code-breakers working at Bletchley Park, 40 miles north of London during the Second World War, who are desperate to unravel German U-boat ciphers. It stars Kate Winslet as the plucky operative in the radio room, Dougray Scott as the mathematician struggling to get over a breakdown, Saffron Burrows as the beauty who went missing and caused the maths genius to lose his mind and Jeremy Northam as the intelligence expert who has to work out whose side everyone is on.|
|Mick Jagger has returned to the big screen - by writing himself and teenage daughter Elizabeth into Enigma, the movie he's currently co-producing. The Rolling Stones rocker gave himself and Elizabeth, who he calls Libby, small roles in Enigma, the wartime thriller about the efforts of code-breakers to crack the Enigma cipher. But Mick denies he's doing anything wrong - it really is a very small role. He says, "It's only a tiny part; not even a cameo. The main action in the scene has people jitterbugging and Libby and I are going to have a few lessons, but I think it's going to end up with us sitting in the background." But Jagger does have some reservations about his role in the film, which stars Kate Winslet and Saffron Burrows. He adds, "I don't know about the jitterbugging, though. It's not like performing on a concert stage. I'm not a jitterbugger and Libby's even worse at it than I am!" Luckily by the time director Michael Apted had finished with it, all that was left of Jagger's cameo was a few seconds of him dressed in full RAF uniform, sitting with Elizabeth - and no dancing.|
|February 9: From the Feb 12 issue of Us Weekly:
1) 'Sundance Movies To Watch For - Our Critic Turns a Spotlight on the Best of the Best.' Andrew Johnston wrote, 'People usually associate Sundance with small movies, but two of this year's most notable entries featured blockbuster-quality visual effects. Enigma, a crisp World War II spy yarn directed by Michael Apted and starring Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet, was probably the first movie in the festival's history to climax with a naval battle, but the exploding torpedoes never drowned out Tom Stoppard's razor-sharp dialogue.'
2) A brief item about Mick Jagger's attendance at the Sundance Film Festival to promote 'Enigma, a spy movie starring Kate Winslet that Jagger coproduced.'
|1) 'Buzz-O-Meter [at Sundance] Enigma - Kate Winslet's $20 million code-cracker movie looks intriguing, but about as indie as Battlefield Earth. After premiere party, producer Mick Jagger leaves town. Takes buzz with him.'|
|2) Critic Lisa Schwarzbaum didn't like the film. In her report on the Sundance FF she describes the film as 'a sodden, heavily-acted drama about British code-breakers during WWII.' The article included the photo of Kate and Dougray standing next to the Enigma machine.|
|[Clip from 'Enigma' - Hester and Jericho attempt decoding a message using the Enigma machine] Kate (Hester): F Dougray (Jericho): D Kate: Is it German? Come on, genius!|
|Ebert (voice over): You're looking at a scene from Michael Apted's 'Enigma', a British thriller that was one of countless movies that played over ten days in Park City, Utah at the Sundance Film Festival. Sundance is America's most important film festival, a celebration of independent films that ranges from zero budget digital dramas to more commercial productions like 'Enigma'. [Another brief clip of Jericho and Hester sitting in a car. They share a tender moment, as Jericho brushes her hair away from her face. Kate's reaction as she pushes her glasses back into place is great. Jeremy Northam as Wigram is also seen in this scene.]|
|Jagger: That's the whole thing. I mean, it's got these different It's not just about code-breaking, which could have been a bit dull. So, it's got code-breaking, the love story, it's got some underlying moral questions, also.|
|Indie acquisitions executives boarded jets bound for Los Angeles and New York on Sunday roundly disappointed with the Sundance Film Festival's more hyped commercial titles but still cautiously making deals for smaller films that might be tough sells at the boxoffice. The 10-day Sundance fest wrapped in Park City on Sunday with no record-breaking deals in a slow-going festival that buyers said reflected the themes of many of the movies this year -- thoughtful, measured and auteur-driven... Deals for distribution are expected to close shortly on Stacy Peralta's documentary audience award co-winner 'Dogtown and Z-Boys,' Michael Apted's 'Enigma' and Timothy Linh Bui's 'Green Dragon'|
|Stones superstar Mick Jagger is set to conquer America... as a film producer. He bought the movie rights to the Robert Harris novel Enigma and made it into a film starring Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet. The thriller, about wartime codebreaking heroics, was first shown at a film festival last week. A friend said: 'Critics predict it's going to be a smash hit.'|
|As it is, Apted has a little-known cast in a film that is a salute to British brains and patriotism at a crucial moment of the war. (The only American character is a boor.) Dougray Scott plays a working-class math genius (an Alan Turing type) brought into headquarters to decipher a monumentally difficult German code. Saffron Burrows is a seductive beauty who works there and mysteriously disappears, Kate Winslet -- the only box-office name in the picture -- an over-intelligent clerk and Jeremy Northam plays an oily spy. "I liked all the contradictions," said Northam, adding that he'd gotten a little tired of the World of Jane Austen roles that kept coming his way. "It's nice to see how [Stoppard] holds together the personal story and the macro political chaos of the time. There are no easy choices for any character."|
|7. ENIGMA - So when did a $20 million internationally produced and financed costume drama become an independent film? Good question - but who cares, it's a good movie. Starring Kate Winslet and Jeremy Northam, the movie centers around British codebreakers during WWII. Impeccably cast and shot (coming from director Michael Apted, that's not a shocker), and lots of fun. The movie was produced by Mick Jagger, who showed up at the screening and generated more rubbernecking than any other celebrity at the festival.|
|January 28: Today's issue of the Salt Lake Tribune has a feature article on Enigma at Sundance and includes info on the effort to bring this project to the big screen. The article is posted on the 'Enigma-Features' page. Excerpt:|
|There's no question about the movie's quality. "Enigma" is a crackerjack thriller, a tale of the World War II codebreakers in Britain who broke the Nazis' secret-message system and, as a side benefit, developed the first supercomputers... [Director] Apted passed over more marketable stars for Dougray Scott -- but it didn't hurt that, during the production's down time, Scott completed "Mission: Impossible 2" and raised his profile. Snagging Winslet and Northam also upped the ante. But even after seeing the finished film, as of this writing no studio has picked up "Enigma."|
|January 25: Here are some news items found today:|
|Despite freezing temperatures in Park City reactions to the film have been warmly enthusiastic, with Variety describing it as "an intelligent, involving, and intricately plotted thriller" and praising Michael Apted's "sure hand at crafting smartly suspenseful entertainment." The Hollywood Reporter also felt that this "spine-tingler" was a "superbly crafted, wonderfully old-fashioned British-style World War II thriller romance."|
|Enigma was written by Tom Stoppard, who picked up an Oscar for his Shakespeare In Love screenplay. Enigma should hit UK screens later this year.|
|The Sundance Film Festival has seen Mick Jagger as a producer, drumming up interest in the 20 million-dollar movie Enigma. So far there is no US distributor for the film which tells how British mathematicians cracked Nazi coded messages during the Second World War. Playwright Tom Stoppard penned the film, Michael Apted took the helm, while Kate Winslet, Dougray Scott and Jeremy Northam are the main stars. Apted has said Paramount Pictures declined to back the film because of its complicated story and possible eventual expense. Meanwhile, Jagger said of the film: "It doesn't have a distributor, it's not from a big studio, it's made with independent money and in England."|
|Thanks to Sylvia of Dougray Scott in Focus for the next two items:|
|Jagger not only optioned the book with "Saturday Night Live'' producer Lorne Michaels, he also bought his own Enigma code machine when one came up for auction at Sotheby's. "I knew it would come in handy,'' said a jaunty Jagger, dressed in a sky-blue suit. His Enigma machine was used during filming.|
|Apted's Enigma, a $20 million World War II thriller set in the world of Nazi code-breaking, has a Tom Stoppard script that is based on Robert Harris' best-selling novel and a cast that includes Kate Winslet, Dougray Scott and Saffron Burrows. This is a Sundance film? "If you define independent film as a film that was produced outside the studio system, then yes, this is an independent film,'' Apted said, tea finally in hand. "I recognize that with a $20 million budget, big stars and some special effects, it's not your typical Sundance film. But they asked us to be here and we're delighted.''|
|January 24: Co-star Jeremy Northam has been at Sundance to promote the film. Looks like he has had fun:
Tuesday night we witnessed the most organic, off-the-hook extravaganza the festival has seen in recent years. In celebration of the release of hip-hop turntablism films Scratch and Wavetwisters, the dance party at Harry O's had the 700-plus crowd screaming and chanting for more we did spy Enigma star Jeremy Northam getting down with a particularly flexible companion.
|Too bad they forgot to mention Dougray Scott; after all, he does play the lead role!|
|The film took a bit longer than expected to complete because Apted and the producers went back to do some reshoots in November, to tinker with the ending. "In one of the early drafts, we had the Germans winning the war," Michaels joked. "But in early preview screenings, we saw that it really didn't work."|
|January 24: Thanks to Tamara and Dougray Net for these items by Kathleen McInnis:|
|For Film.com: Sundance, which traditionally heralds the start of the festival circuit and the first presentation of the year's new wave of emerging filmmakers, can be called hit and miss at best for 2001 -- at least so far. The opening night film, My First Mister from actor/director Christine Lahti was most kindly described as 'soft', while the best director Michael Apted's Enigma (produced by Lorne Michaels and Mick Jagger) received was a few polite non-committals.|
|Mick Jagger - movie mogul? The Insider spotted the stone rolling at the Sundance Film Festival. Mick was there to premiere a movie he's coproducing - Enigma, costarring Kate Winslet. [Mick] "Finding the writer, director, actors - and the money." And the film's genre? A romantic thriller - just like Mick's love life.|
|December 7: BBC News has a feature article on the Sundance Film Festival. The big news there is that Enigma has been selected:
"Enigma Premieres At Sundance" -- The Sundance Film Festival will première the British film Enigma, the adaptation of Richard Harris' novel which chronicles British efforts to decode German transmissions during World War Two. The film, directed by Michael Apted, stars Kate Winslet, Jeremy Northam and Dougray Scott. It focuses on the efforts of British decoders at Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes, the UK's top secret wartime decoding centre. Harris' book is based on fact but the plot line, involving a Nazi attempt to overturn the work of the decoders, is fictional. The Sundance festival, founded by Robert Redford, is the highlight of the US independent film calendar. The festival opens in January.
This is the cute pic
the BBC used for the story
|"'Madison,' 'Valentine' Likely to Open Sundance" - The Sundance Film Festival will unspool Jan. 18-28. Other pictures expected to join the lineup include Intermedia's ''Enigma,'' produced by Mick Jagger|
|"Paxman Unravels Enigma Mystery" -
A Wartime decoding machine stolen from a museum has been posted to BBC Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman. The Enigma decoder - used to break Nazi codes during WWII and valued at around pounds 100,000 - was stolen from former spy HQ Bletchley Park six months ago.
Police had all but given up hope of recovering the typewriter-sized device after negotiations with an unknown man broke down. But yesterday brash Paxman opened a package at BBC offices addressed to him to find the machine which played a vital role in Britain's war effort.
Last night, the fearsome political interviewer said: "As soon as I opened it I realised what it was. I haven't a clue why they sent it to me. As far as I know I haven't got a reputation as a receiver of stolen goods. I'm delighted to be able to return it to its rightful owner. What they did at Bletchley Park during the war was quite outstanding."
|We're soon going to see you opposite Kate Winslet in Michael Apted's Enigma.
Mmm, I loved doing that.
I really enjoyed Michael Apted. He is someone I have admired since I was little, from Seven-Up and everything. And Thunderheart. He got the best performance out of Val Kilmer ever. He's a funny guy, Apted. Very warm and lovely, but he sort of reprimands you and stuff. He's like that old "I don't believe it" character Richard Wilson plays.
And how was working with Kate Winslet?
She was quite brilliant because we were working long hours and she was pretty pregnant by the end. We were in Amsterdam and she and I had to do the Charleston together. They built us a cottage to live in which I couldn't stand up in. When we got there, they had to raise the ceiling.
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