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News Items:
Download the screenplay at the Fox Searchlight site!
(Adobe Acrobat Reader program required. Thanks, David.)
Quills has been named Best Film of 2000 by the National Board of Review,
and one of the Top Ten films of 2000 by:
Film Critics Groups: Broadcast Film Critics Association, Online Film Critics Society
Film Critics: David Poland, Rough Cut; Paul Clinton, CNN; David Germain, Associated Press; Pamela Harland, Paul Zimmerman, iF Magazine; Michael Sragow, Stephanie Zacharek, Charles Taylor, Salon Magazine; Bill Muller, Arizona Republic

U.S. Box office figures from Yahoo! Movies:
Weekend
Dates
This Week
Last Week
Weekend
Gross
Cumulative
Gross
Release
Weeks
No. of
Theaters
Feb 23-25 36 31 $173,859 $6,471,673 14 156
Feb 16-19 31 45 $330,730 $6,217,308 13 199
Feb 9-11 45 41 $61,362 $5,856,139 12 36
Feb 2-4 41 34 $101,100 $5,754,301 11 56
Jan 26-28 34 29 $132,561 $5,589,615 10 94
Jan 19-21 29 26 $234,309 $5,359,129 9 136
Jan 12-15 26 20 $472,207 $5,002,987 8 177
Jan 5-7 20 19 $615,595 $4,284,664 7 223
Dec 29-Jan 1 19 22 $825,044 $3,350,819 6 216
Dec 22-25 22 17 $433,511 $2,055,744 5 216
Dec 15-17 17 22 $442,182 $1,405,023 4 61
Dec 8-10 22 21 $160,164 $890,654 3 9
Dec 1-3 21 20 $207,337 $640,439 2 9
Nov 24-26 20 -- $249,383 $324,456 1 9



February 14:

Quills will play in more theaters after receiving three Oscar nom's:
…Other specialty pics will get some theatrical bang from various Oscar noms… "We're anticipating a significant bounce so we're going up to about 200 runs," Fox Searchlight distrib prexy Steve Giulula said of 'Quills'. The Marquis de Sade biopic hit a previous platformed peak of 223 screens over the Christmas holidays.
BTW - The film is doing well in terms of foreign box office.  It was #5 in Mexico in its second week of release, showing on 50 screens, and taking in $345,114 for the week, for a total gross of $859,697. In its third week of release in the UK/Ireland, the film took in $278,277 on 82 screens, for a total of $631,857. It has now made $3 million outside the U.S (about $9 million worldwide).

There are a couple of articles today about the reaction to the Oscar nominations:
The Boston Globe has picked up this Variety story:
"For Some, Oscar Forgot to Pay a Visit," by Timothy M. Gray, Reuters
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - For many showbizzers, the road to Oscar is the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.  Every year, there is speculation about Oscar ''snubs.'' But somebody had to come in sixth place -- especially in the wide-open 2000 race… Some of the most talked-about omissions on Tuesday were in the best film category, where ''Almost Famous,'' ''Billy Elliot,'' ''Cast Away'' ''Thirteen Days'' and ''Wonder Boys'' had often been mentioned. Other no-shows include directors Cameron Crowe (''Almost Famous,'' though he's up for original screenplay) and Lasse Hallstrom (''Chocolat''); actors Jamie Bell (''Billy Elliot''), Michael Douglas (''Wonder Boys'') and Sean Connery (''Finding Forrester''); actress Bjork (''Dancer in the Dark''); supporting thesps Bruce Greenwood (''Thirteen Days''); and supporting actress Kate Winslet (''Quills'').
Chris E.S. Johnson also writes about actors overlooked for Oscar nom's in an article for ABC News:
…Other somewhat notable absences include Michael Douglas, for either his turn as the American drug czar in Traffic or as a Pittsburgh professor-writer struggling with writer's block in Wonder Boys; Kate Winslet as the Marquis de Sade's laundress Madeline [LeClerc], who smuggles his last writings out of an asylum in Quills; and Gillian Anderson, who early on had heavy buzz for her portrayal of an early 20th century New York socialite who loses everything when she is rumored to be the mistress of a wealthy man.
From NineMsn (Australian publication):
"Rush Returns Home to Oscar Nomination"
Being nominated for another best actor Academy Award has left Australia's Geoffrey Rush a touch nervous. Rush, who already has an Oscar for his role as pianist David Helfgott in 1997's Shine, garnered another nomination today for his portrayal of the Marquis de Sade in Quills. "It's a kind of exciting nervousness. Like the role itself," he said. "When you working with exciting people like Phil Kaufman, who's continually goading and teasing and playing and collaborating with you, and you're surrounded by Kate Winslet, Michael Caine and Joaquin Phoenix it sort of becomes enjoyable pain, enjoyable nerves." Rush said this year he felt he was representing not just himself but the entire cast and crew of Quills, who he described as a "very rare, sophisticated, complex, stylish piece of adult entertainment. There is probably a degree of disappointment (director) Phil Kaufman, who is one of the great, under-rated, unsung, most interesting American film makers, missed out on a nomination. So I'm up there representing him too," Rush said. Rush was flying back from the Berlin Film Festival when the nominations were released today. He learned of his nomination when met by journalists at Melbourne Airport at 6.30am (AEDT). "They said: 'Congratulations you've received an Oscar nomination' and I said: 'Oh, have I'," Mr Rush told AAP later today. "Then they said: "Do you feel inexplicable joy? I'd just spent 26 hours flying from Berlin that's not quite how you feel after that kind of travel, but it certainly was a good start to the day… It's a cliche to say 'It's an honour to be nominated' but it's the truth."
From a Fox Searchlight press release:
"We are tremendously proud of the extraordinary talent that came together to make 'Quills,' and pleased that the Academy has, once again, recognized the brilliance of Geoffrey Rush," said Searchlight President Peter Rice.
Martin Childs, nominated in Art Direction said, "Philip Kaufman, Doug Wright and the Marquis de Sade ganged up to make everyone on 'Quills' do stuff we didn't know we had in us.  It is great to be recognized for it."  Martin Childs received an Academy Award in 1998 for his Art Direction on "Shakespeare in Love" in which he collaborated with Jill Quertier.
Jill Quertier, nominated in Art Direction (Set Decorator), said "This is a particularly exciting nomination, because the last film I worked on was 'Shakespeare in Love' also in collaboration with the talented Martin Childs. So, I am thrilled to once again be part of a winning team and delighted to have worked with Martin whose sets continue to be so exciting and challenging."
Jacqueline West, nominated in Costume Design, said "To be nominated for an Academy Award, the heart of the best in the astonishing process of filmmaking, is an honor in itself that I will hold more dear than any other experience.  I am so humbled for myself, and yet so proud of all the people from Fox Searchlight, the cast and crew, whose heartfelt effort went into the making of 'Quills.'"

Feb 13: Kate has been nominated for an Empire Award in the category of Best Actress! The other nominees are Julia Roberts ('Erin Brockovich'), Hilary Swank ('Boys Don't Cry'), Angelina Jolie ('Girl, Interrupted'), Connie Nielsen ('Gladiator'). Kate is a past Empire Award recipient. The ceremony takes place Feb 19 at The Dorcester, London.

Feb 13: Quills has received 3 Academy Award nominations - Best Actor (Geoffrey Rush), Art Direction (Martin Childs-Art Direction, Jill Quertier (Set Decoration), Costume Design (Jacqueline West).

Feb 12: Full coverage of Kate and 'Quills' at the Berlin Film Festival on this page!

Feb 12: More critics are publishing their Oscar predictions:
Critic Harry Haun posted his opinion on MSNBC:
Marcia Gay Harden, who has won three different awards in this category for her portrayal of the abused wife of [Jackson] "Pollack," was curiously missing from the SAG selections; instead, SAG went with a less likely Oscar contender: Kate Winslet of "Quills."  Otherwise, SAG's candidates seem ripe for Oscar's attention: Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand, both for "Almost Famous," and the effortless efforts of two British actresses working on reserve: Julie Walters in "Billy Elliott" and Judi Dench in "Chocolat." If there's any variation of this, it could be Catherine Zeta-Jones by virtue of 1) getting a lot of ink last year and 2) being part of "Traffic's" powerhouse ensemble. Left by the wayside: Elaine May in "Small Time Crooks," Laura Linney in "The House of Mirth," Frances McDormand in "Wonder Boys" and Lupe Ontiveros in "Chuck & Buck."
Orange County Register critic Henry Sheehan has posted what I think are the most off-beat predictions:
Shoo-ins: Frances McDormand ('Almost Famous', 'Wonder Boys'), Kate Hudson ('Almost Famous'), Catherine Zeta-Jones ('Traffic'). Possibles: Julie Walters ('Billy Elliot'), Zhang Zi Yi ('Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'), Erika Christensen ('Traffic').
CZJ a 'shoo-in'? Judi Dench and Kate not even on the list of 'possibles'?
Bruce Kirkland of Toronto Sun sees it this way:
Best Supporting Actress Possibilities: (1) Kate Hudson, Almost Famous  (2) Ellen Burstyn, Requiem For A Dream  (3) Julie Walters, Billy Elliot  (4) Jennifer Ehle, Sunshine  (5) Rosemary Harris, Sunshine (6) Catherine Zeta-Jones, Traffic  (7) Kate Winslet, Quills (8) Judi Dench, Chocolat.

Feb 11: Another film critic has published his Oscar predictions. According to Joe Baltake, Sacramento Bee Movie Critic --
The nominees will be: Judi Dench, 'Chocolat'; Kate Hudson, 'Almost Famous'; Frances McDormand, 'Almost Famous'; Julie Waters, 'Billy Elliott'; Kate Winslet, 'Quills'. Actresses that could squeeze in: Marcia Gay Harden ('Pollock'), Catherine Zeta-Jones ('Traffic') and Laura Linney ('The House of Mirth').
Analysis: The worst category. Dench has become the new Glenda Jackson; she gets awarded for anything she does. The same goes for McDormand, the American Glenda Jackson. Winslet is good in her film but, more to the point, is also a past nominee. Which isn't a good reason to nominate her again.  The best of the batch is Waters for 'Billy Elliott,' but I'm afraid this category is owned by Hudson for just about ripping off her own mother (Goldie Hawn) with her performance in 'Almost Famous.' She also seems to be imitating her mother's career arc: 'Almost Famous' is Hudson's 'Cactus Flower.' Hollywood has a weakness for this kind of symmetry. But I prefer Tripplehorn or Linney - neither of whom stands a chance in this category.

Feb 10: Well, two more days to go until the nominations for Academy Awards are announced, and the Oscar 'handicappers' are still making predictions. There is no consensus on Best Supporting Actress - many critics predict Kate will be one of the nominees, while others feel she'll be the runner-up. The critics at Gold Derby see it this way:
Pundits' Predictions Summary - Who'll Receive Nominations on Feb. 13:
[Most votes] Kate Hudson, Almost Famous; Frances McDormand, Almost Famous; Julie Walters, Billy Elliot; [Next] Judi Dench, Chocolat; Kate Winslet, Quills; [Runners-up] Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock; Elaine May, Small Time Crooks; Catherine Zeta-Jones, Traffic.
It's interesting to me that this group didn't include Zhang Ziyi from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as a possibility, as I've heard she has a lot of support. BTW - Ziyi signed with Kate's long-time US agent, Hylda Queally, last week.

Feb 10: More commentary on the race for Oscar - From BBC News:
"Oscar Race Gains Clarity," by Tom Brook:
…The best supporting actress race also has four fairly certain nominees - Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand - both from Almost Famous, Julie Walters for being Billy Elliot's ballet teacher and Dame Judi Dench for a small, but strong role in Chocolat.  The fifth spot is up for grabs and it's anyone's guess who will get it. It could go to a British actress, either Catherine Zeta Jones who was quite impressive as the scheming wife of a drugs kingpin in Traffic, or Kate Winslet for her role in Quills. There is also a strong American contender, Marcia Gay Harden, who plays opposite Ed Harris in his Jackson Pollock biographical picture Pollock…
Well, whether or not she receives a nomination this year, it's wonderful that so many critics and industry insiders feel her chances are so good!

February 9: The February issue of Total Film has a brief review of Quills, giving it 4 out of 5 stars. (4 stars = 'hugely satisfying and entertaining.') Excerpts:
Winslet's down-to-earth approach shows how the straight forward Madeleine can be seduced by the Marquis' charisma... The mind games between these characters are as gripping as they are thematically important.  --Alan Morrison
The poster photo was used in the article, and I was ROTFL at the pic's caption:
'A couple more puffs and my novelty Kate doll will be inflated!'

February 9: Entertainment Weekly Online calls the Oscar race for Best Supporting Actress this way:
Along with supporting actor, this race also has four sure things and one open slot. With nods from the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild, 'Almost Famous' costars Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand will face off against each other as well as previous nominee Julie Walters (for 'Billy Elliot') and previous winner Judi Dench (for 'Chocolat'). 'Traffic' wife Catherine Zeta-Jones landed the fifth Globe slot while 'Quills' Kate Winslet scored a SAG nomination, so they, along with 'Pollock's Marcia Gay Harden, will duke it out for the final spot.

February 8: David Germain of the Associated Press feels that Kate is 'in contention' for another Oscar nom:
Besides Dench, supporting-actress contenders likely will include Golden Globe winner Kate Hudson for 'Almost Famous,' along with her co-star and past Oscar winner Frances McDormand. Also in contention are Julie Walters for 'Billy Elliot,' Kate Winslet for 'Quills' and Catherine Zeta-Jones for 'Traffic.'

February 8: More on Kate in Berlin to promote Quills at the Berlinale Film Festival:
From MSNBC:
Last year, the festival drew 390,000 visitors, a Berlinale record. It is valued by industry insiders for its compact nature. "The Berlinale, because of the weather and the location, is a working festival," in contrast to Cannes and Venice, [Susanne] Reinker [of the German Film Export Union] said. Some organizers were concerned, however, that Hollywood stars would be too preoccupied by contract negotiations to make it to the festival. A guest list that includes Anthony Hopkins, Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Juliette Binoche and Pierce Brosnan remains fluid.
From an article in a German publication:
Also in the Oscar discussion is the film 'Quills-Power of the Obsession' with the British actress Kate Winslet, who had already come [to Berlin] on Tuesday to receive the film and telelvision award 'Golden Camera'. There, Winslet was distinguished in the category 'film international'.
Here's a version of the article in an Italian publication (oops, they got Mia's age wrong; my, she's growing up fast, LOL):
The pop star Ricky Martin and Kate Winslet, who are already in Berlin, received a prize for their successes collected on the small screen in Germany. The British actress - accompanied by her little three-year-old daughter - is in the film of  'Quills' (outside competition) about the marquis de Sade directed from Philip Kaufman, for which Geoffrey Rush and Joaquin Phoenix will also be in Berlin.


February 8: The San Francisco Gate has an article today about campaigning for Oscars, with prominent mention of Quills:
Fingernails are bitten to the quick, Maalox is purchased by the case and the entertainment trade newspapers each weigh about three pounds.

Yep, it's that time of year again, Academy Awards season, when the studios spend millions of dollars promoting their movies through advertisements in the trades…
Nancy Utley, president of marketing for Fox Searchlight, started campaigning early for 'Quills,' which got a jump on the end-of-the-year competition by opening in November. Utley aims to earn 'Quills,' directed by San Francisco's Philip Kaufman, Oscar nominations in technical categories as well as best picture, screenwriter, director and acting nods for Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix and Kate Winslet.
Encouragement has arrived in the form of other awards: The National Board of Review honored 'Quills' as best picture and Phoenix as best supporting actor, and the Screen Actors Guild tapped Rush and Winslet for nominations.
So far, 'Quills,' which is still in theaters, has pulled in $5.7 million in the United States. "I think it's reached the level of gross that it's going to reach without nominations," says Utley, who also worked on last year's campaign for 'Boys Don't Cry,' which helped Hilary Swank take home an Oscar. "We're counting on the Oscar nominations" to get more people to see it, she said.


February 8: The Writers Guild of America nominees were announced yesterday, and to the surprise of many, Doug Wright was not nominated for his adaption of Quills. Films nominated in this category were: Chocolat, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, High Fidelity, Traffic, Wonder Boys.

February 7: Here's another 'Oscar predictor' who feels Kate will be nominated:
Shhhhhhhh! MYSTERY MAN's identity must be kept secret! He's a Hollywood insider who can only speak freely if he remains anonymous. Admittedly, he has ties to the film studios, but that's never clouded his uncanny Golden Globes/Oscars crystal ball in the past. Follow his amazing predix this year and see for yourself! … SUPPORTING ACTRESS -- Judi Dench, Chocolat; Kate Winslet, Quills; Kate Hudson, Almost Famous; Frances McDormand, Almost Famous; Julie Walters, Billy Elliot.
I sure hope his prediction is correct!

February 6: I found more bits about Kate's attendance at the Berlin FF this week and the 'Golden Cameras':
From Yahoo! News:
"Berlin Rolls Out Red Carpet For Film Festival," by Emma Thomasson
BERLIN (Reuters) - Actors, directors and critics descend on Berlin Wednesday for the opening of Europe's first major film showcase of the year, where 16 international movies make their world premiere and Oscar-hopefuls seek the limelight. The Berlinale, considered one of the world's top film festivals after Cannes and alongside Venice, is expected to attract 14,000 viewers to 300 films over 12 days. Stars including Kate Winslet, the British star of blockbuster 'Titanic', Latin pop singer Ricky Martin and British actor Peter Ustinov were due in Berlin Tuesday evening to receive German television awards. Winslet, who is expected to bring her three-month-old daughter Mia, will also be promoting her latest film, Philip Kaufman's 'Quills,' a potential Oscar contender built around the French writer the Marquis de Sade.
From CNN.com Entertainment:
The Berlinale, considered one of the world's top film festivals after Cannes, is expected to attract 14,000 viewers to 300 films over 12 days. Kate Winslet, the British star of blockbuster 'Titanic,' Latin pop singer Ricky Martin and British actor Peter Ustinov were due in Berlin on Tuesday evening to receive German television awards. Winslet will be promoting her latest film, Philip Kaufman's 'Quills,' about the French writer the Marquis de Sade.
From a Spanish language publication:
The Berlin festival is one in which many things turn around the kings of cinematography. In fact, it is considered like the great airdrop platform of North American openings in Europe. For that reason the star presence expected are participates in films of the United States, like Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Sean Connery, Sean Penn, Jack Nicholson, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, who will support their productions.
From Bloomberg.com:
Berlin -- When Leonardo DiCaprio and other stars gathered in Berlin a year ago for the 50th Berlinale festival, German movie companies were on top of the world. Constantin Film AG, Das Werk AG and rivals listed on the Neuer Markt had a combined value of 27 billion euros ($25.3 billion). Executives were exploring their next expansion steps.
This year, Kate Winslet, DiCaprio's partner in 'Titanic,' will be among the guests at the Berlin film festival. While her character survived in the top-selling movie of all time, analysts wonder whether German entertainment companies can stay afloat.
'Production companies are having trouble competing with the power houses and licensing companies spent too much on their rights,' said Christian Tilmann, an analyst at Sal. Oppenheim & jr. Cie. Some film companies are 'basically dead,' he said.

February 6: From today's Los Angeles Times:
"It's Pruning Season for the Oscar Field" - With the Academy Award nominations a week away Oscar handicapping is in full throttle, and based on the decisions of the various critical organizations and guilds, certain patterns have emerged, narrowing the contest in several key categories… Besides Crowe and Hanks, former Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush seems to have an inside track in the best actor category for his performance as the Marquis de Sade in 'Quills'... there are not likely to be many surprises in the best supporting actress category. In addition to Hudson and McDormand, Julie Walters ('Billy Elliot') and Judi Dench ('Chocolat') are on most people's lists. SAG included Kate Winslet ('Quills') among its five nominees while the Golden Globes cited Catherine Zeta-Jones ('Traffic'). Either could take the fifth slot.

February 5: Thanks to George for sending me the news this morning that Jacqueline West, the costume designer for Quills, has been nominated for 'Best Costume Design' in the category of  'Feature Film-Period/Fantasy' by the Costume Designers Guild. (The other nominees in this category are: Betsey Heimann, Almost Famous; Renee Ehrlich Kalfus, Chocolat; Rita Ryack, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.)

February 4: Nice words for Kate's performance in Quills from Jeff Vice, Deseret News Movie Critic:
Rush does manage to make the film watchable with a daring performance that's probably funnier and certainly more thrilling than it deserves to be. Some of that may be due to Winslet, whose scenes with Rush are the film's best. In fact, her feisty performance is surely the best given by the supporting cast.

February 3: Remember reading that the folks at Fox Searchlight have closed the 'Vice' portion of the Quills site? An entertainment news site has published a link to the site for those who haven't gotten enough:
"For Twisted Adults Only"
So, What Is It? Your secret pass to the supersexy (and super off-limits) 'Vice' section of the official Quills movie site. You won't find this link anywhere but here. It's exclusive, it's hot - and it's strictly for the NC-17 set. Why's It Hot? Responding to pressure from the movie-ratings board, Fox Searchlight Films pulled 'Vice' from its studio site January 26. According to Variety, the movie board had received complaints from parents that the section - including the very clickable Marquis de Sade links page - was too racy. But never fear. Now you can see it again in all its glory. From the 'Frequently Asked Questions' page (betcha don't know what Milli Vanilli and sadism have in common!) to the vaunted links page (wanna read an X-rated bible?) to the 'History of Pleasure' timeline (did you know the G-spot was, um, spotted in 1950?). Who Made It So Hot? The tipster who fed us this 'hidden' link to the excised section. Where's It Showing? Check out this hidden link ... if you dare.
The link worked as of this morning. Please note that section of the site is intended for persons at least 18 years of age.

February 1: Here's another mention of the Berlin Film Festival and Kate's scheduled attendance:
"Siege Epic Opens Festival," by Stephen Finch:
    A spectacular movie based on the siege of Stalingrad - Enemy at the Gates - will open this year's Berlin Film Festival on February 7. The epic film, which stars Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Bob Hoskins and Ed Harris, tells the story of a Russian sniper who fights for his life against a German sharpshooter. It is directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, whose previous hits included The Name of the Rose and The Bear. The film was shot mainly in Germany. Festival Director Mortiz de Hadeln said: "With this film, director Jean-Jacques Annaud has brilliantly shed light on a chapter of German history. From the massive crowd scenes to the tiniest details, he and his team of German technicians successfully demonstrate that Germany and Europe are in a position to effectively realise such major projects and thus challenge the idea that Americans have a monopoly on such works."
    Galaxy of stars - A galaxy of stars are expected at the festival, which features many world premieres. Sean Connery will be plugging Finding Forrester, in which he plays a reclusive writer; Anthony Hopkins will be at the first showing of Hannibal; Kate Winslet will be promoting Quills; and Pierce Brosnan will publicise The Tailor of Panama, based on a John Le Carre novel.
    The 51st Berlin festival features films from 32 countries around the world. Among them is Don's Plum, by RD Robb, in which Leonardo DiCaprio portrays a disturbed teenage macho guy alongside Tobey Maguire. The film was shot in 1996 but completed just recently. British films in competition are Chocolat, Michael Winterbottom's The Claim and The Tailor of Panama, directed by John Boorman. Kirk Douglas will be honoured with a Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement and there will be a retrospective of the work of director Fritz Lang, whose newly reconstructed classic Metropolis will be premiered.

January 31: Film critic Jack Mathews of the New York Daily News feels Kate has a good chance for an Oscar nom:
Using the most reliable known indicators, here's how the top six categories are likely to shape up among Academy members:
Supporting Actress - Could be another SAG-Oscar match, with Judi Dench ('Chocolat'), Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand ('Almost Famous'), Julie Walters ('Billy Elliot') and Kate Winslet ('Quills'), though no one would be too surprised if Michelle Yeoh ('Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon') slipped into one of the spots.
Mathews does not see Geoffrey Rush getting one of the five Best Actor Oscar slots.

January 31: BBC News has an item about the Berlin Film Festival:
"Looming Strikes Drain Star Power From Berlin," by Liza Foreman
BERLIN (Variety) - A number of Hollywood stars won't be able to attend next month's Berlin Intl. Film Festival, because they're squeezing in film projects before possible writers' and actors' strike this summer. Outgoing festival director Moritz De Hadeln said Tuesday that he could present his list of stars only with "great caution'' thanks to the stoppages. "We have been experiencing massively contradicting messages about who is coming and who isn't,'' he said at a Berlin press conference. Sure bets include Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Anthony Hopkins and Kirk Douglas, the subject of this year's homage. Author John Le Carre is also expected to attend, as are Kate Winslet, Rachel Weisz, Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix, Joseph Fiennes, Jude Law, Bob Hoskins, Pierce Brosnan, Alfred Molina and Sean Connery… The festival kicks off Feb. 7 with Annaud's "Enemy at the Gates'' and closes Feb. 18 with a re-release of Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey.''
Here is the screening schedule for Quills at the Berlin Film Festival:
Saturday, 10 February 2001 - 16:30 Uhr Cinemaxx 7
Saturday, 10 February 2001 - 22:00 Uhr Belinale-Palast
Sunday, 11 February 2001 - 15:00 Uhr Royal Palast
Sunday, 11 February 2001 - 18:30 Uhr Royal Palast

January 31: The BAFTA nominations were announced today, and Kate was passed over again. (She was not nominated for 'Titanic', either.) Quills received these nom's: Geoffrey Rush, Best Actor; Martin Childs, Production Design; Jacqueline West, Costume Design; Make-up/Hair Design. Read the full list of nom's here: BBC News

January 31: The Quills site has been altered. From Reuters/Variety:
"Fox Blots Out Vice On 'Quills' Web Site," by Janet Shprintz
    HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Fans of Fox Searchlight Pictures' Marquis de Sade movie "Quills'' may notice something missing the next time they log onto the film's official Web site. The infamous aristocrat still is shown balancing virtue and vice, but a note indicates the vices portion of the site is "Closed ... for now.''
    Actually, it is closed forever. Marking a rare instance in which advertising was recalled after it was approved by the Motion Picture Assn. of America, Fox on Friday pulled the vices portion of the "Quills'' site. It had been up since mid-October. The MPAA had received complaints from parents about the risque nature of the site and alerted Fox. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the heat Hollywood has taken for its advertising practices, Fox removed the offending material. The benign virtues section of the Web site remains available. "Given the fact that you cannot prevent children under 18 from viewing adult materials on the Internet,'' a Fox spokesman said, "we made the decision to take the vices section of the 'Quills' site down.'' The MPAA, which got involved in the matter because it polices advertising as well as film content as part of the voluntary ratings system to which all the studios adhere, declined to comment as a matter of policy.
    The R-rated "Quills,'' starring Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet, chronicles the famous libertine's efforts to publish his prose despite censorship and his incarceration in an asylum. The film has garnered generally favorable reviews and several awards.
    So what's all the fuss about? The site featured excerpts from some of de Sade's more unpalatable writings, a history of pleasure and de Sade-related links to the XXX-rated Bible site and a site that explains why God wants us to have fantastic sex, among others. "The irony is that the movie is about how the Marquis de Sade was willing to die for his right to speak his mind without censorship,'' said Andrew Chapman, creative director at Arrowire.com, whose company created the "Quills'' site. "But the Web site for the movie was taken down without a fight.'

January 30: The Screen Actors Guild has again honored Kate with a nomination (her fifth)! She has received a Best Supporting Actress nom for her work in Quills. Judi Dench, Kate Hudson, Frances McDormand and Julie Walters were also honored in that category. Geoffrey Rush received a Best Actor nomination. From the SAG official press release:
Two randomly selected panels totaling 4200 SAG members from across the United States chose the nominees for the only industry acting honors voted on entirely by actors' peers… Ballots will be mailed on February 13, 2001 to the entire active membership of the Guild. Approximately 98,000 members in 26 branches throughout the country will vote on all acting categories… This year's Actors®, will be presented on Sunday, March 11, 2001 at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center and televised nationally on TNT (Turner Network Television) at 8:00 PM (ET/PT), 7:00 PM Central, 6:00 PM MT.
What impact will this announcement have on the Academy Award nominations? While the actors' branch of the Academy nominates other actors, not all SAG members are AA members. Also, most AA members return their completed ballots within the first two weeks of receiving them (they're due in this Friday). Still, let's hope that the Academy members see things the same as the SAG - at least in this category!
Several news sites have reported on the nominations and have the list of nominees - Here's one: Nominees for the 7th annual Screen Actors Guild awards" on FoxNews.com.

January 30: You can vote (as of today) for the 2001 BLOCKBUSTER Entertainment Awards. Kate is nominated for Favorite Actress in a drama.
You can vote in all of the categories or browse through the ballots, voting just for those you like. When you're finished with a ballot, scroll to the bottom of the page, type in your e-mail address and submit. Only one ballot per e-mail address per day will be counted, but you're welcome to submit more than one ballot. Check in often to look for site updates and award show previews. We promise not to call any races early, so be sure to tune into your local FOX affiliate April 11 to see all the results.

January 30: Here's another news item that indicates Kate is planning on attending the Berlin Film Festival:
BERLIN (Reuters) - Two James Bonds, one psychokiller and a Titanic survivor are among the film stars expected to attend the 51st annual Berlinale Film Festival starting next week, organizers said on Tuesday. A total of 15 feature films will have world premieres at the Berlinale, Europe's first major film festival each year and considered one of the world's top festivals after Cannes and alongside Venice. Among the most prominent films will be the horror story 'Hannibal,' the sequel to 'Silence of the Lambs.' Lead actor Anthony Hopkins will come to Berlin to promote his role as a psychokiller, organizers said. The original and the latest incarnation of British secret agent James Bond, Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan, are also expected to attend, both focusing on something other than '007.' Connery will be promoting 'Finding Forrester' in which he plays a recluse writer who mentors an inner city boy. Brosnan's latest film, the 'Tailor of Panama,' adopted from the novel by famed spy writer John Le Carre, makes its world premiere. 'Titanic' actress Kate Winslet, who appears in 'Quills,' will be among the other big names attending, organizers said.

January 30: Thanks to George for sending me these comments from critic David Cesna:
I believe 'Quills' will do better than most people think [at the Academy Awards]. More than likely, it will be nominated for director, actor, supp. actress, adapt. screenplay, costume, art direction, and musical score. I seriously doubt 'Billy Elliot' will do very well at all, except for perhaps Julie Walters. 'Chocolat' is the kind of movie that if it were released six months ago, would not even stand a chance at the oscars. Miramax Films should be proud of themselves for producing a dumb little movie and tactfully releasing it around the Oscar 'season.' After all, why should intelligent films like 'Quills', 'Pollock', and 'The House Of Mirth' get all the buzz? Oscars aren't about talented filmmakers, they're about campaigning, right?
Right!

January 29: The UK Telegraph has a contest to win a signed Quills poster. (Just who signed it isn't mentioned.)
There are only five signed Quills movie posters in the world and the UK has been given one of them. Electronic Telegraph has obtained the UK poster and we are offering our users the chance to win it.
Go to the Promotions-Quills page at the Telegraph to enter the contest, which runs through February 5.

January 29: Thanks to George for sending me the news that Quills has received a couple of nominations for the Brazil Movie Awards:
The nominees for the 76th BSB Movie Brazil Awards were announced! The movie award and festival that happens every February in Brazil! Last years some winners were the same of the Oscars.
The nominations for Quills includes: Geoffrey Rush, Best Actor; Doug Wright, Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Make-up; Best Kiss; Jury Grand Prize for the film. Thanks, George!

January 27: Quills is the 'Film of the Week' in the January 26th issue of OK! Magazine. Along with this photo of Kate and Geoffrey Rush, there is a nice, brief review (posted in its entirety on the 'Reviews' page). Excerpts:
With the help of a buxom maid, beautifully played by Kate Winslet, he smuggled his very naughty manuscripts from behind bars to his publisher, who was conveniently waiting, on horseback, outside the asylum… There is no doubt that this is a classily made, intelligently written and sumptuously acted film… It's fair to say that Quills deserves some kind of recognition come Oscar time, but will it prove too hot for the Academy?

January 26: When I was at Borders Books the other day, I looked through the latest issue of Premiere Magazine, and found that Kate is one of the editors' picks for Best Supporting Actress. Thanks to George for emailing me the item:
Best Supporting Actress:
Judi Dench (Chocolat): There's nothing like this dame.
Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock): Who's afraid of Jackson Pollock? Actors will admire the way she holds her own.
Frances McDormand (Almost Famous): Fargo Oscar winner picks up mom-and-apple-pie vote.
Julie Walters (Billy Elliot): Educating Billy wins her a second Oscar nom.
Kate Winslet (Quills): For playing the beauty to Rush's beast.
Spoilers: Jennifer Ehle and Rosemary Harris (Sunshine), Marg Helgenberger (Erin Brockovich), Kate Hudson (Almost Famous), Lena Olin (Chocolat), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Traffic).
Other 'picks': Geoffrey Rush for Best Actor - 'Scenery-chewing in period style lets him Shine it on'; Phil Kaufman for Best Director; Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator) for Best Supporting Actor - 'His only competition: His own work in Quills and The Yards'; Michael Caine is viewed as a 'spoiler' for BSA; Quills is seen as a 'spoiler' for Best Picture.

January 25: Kate is a Blockbuster Entertainment Award nominee! Entertainment Tonight host Bob Goen reported on some of the nominations in tonight's program:
Fresh off of her Golden Globe win, Julia Roberts will battle Joan Allen and Kate Winslet for Favorite Actress in a Drama. In the male dramatic category, Tom Hanks and George Clooney are among the nominees. When the official voting begins online and in Blockbuster stores January 30th, Sandra Bullock's name can be found among the nominees for Favorite Comedy Actress. Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy are among the men in that category. And Tom Cruise's opposition includes Russell Crowe and Nicholas Cage for Favorite Action Actor. The Blockbuster Entertainment Awards are April 10th, and then they air the following night on Fox.
A clip of Kate at last year's BAFTA awards was shown as her name was mentioned. The complete list of nominees can be found on the Entertainment Tonight web site.

January 25: Quills places #3 on UK Times critic Adam Mars-Jones's Top Ten Films:
3 QUILLS (18)  -- Geoffrey Rush is resplendent as the Marquis in this warts and all biopic of de Sade, the original sadist who turns his perverted attentions to the fresh-faced Kate Winslet.

January 23: From Army Archerd's column in Variety:
Political and A-Political support for "Quills": Geoffrey Rush, Philip Kaufman and Doug Wright last week appeared to support the Creative Coalition at a screening of their pic and for a Q&A with "Spin City" thesp Richard Kind. Monday night, the filmmakers spoke at a screening for the ACLU at the Laemmle Music Hall BevHills. The ACLU has embraced the pic for its strong message about freedom of expression and the First Amendment. And at the bash for the trio Saturday at the Chateau Marmont, hosted by Peter Bart, Barry Levinson and Mark Johnson, guests included Courtney Love (who danced with Kaufman), Robert Downey Jr. with Trudie Styler, Matthew McConaughey, Bill Maher, Annabella Sciorra, Maria Conchita Alonso, Melina Kanakaredes, Tom Rothman, Peter Rice -- and Hugh Hefner, with a bevy of beauties. James Woods, at this gathering, winged back to N.Y. to complete "Riding in Cars With Boys" for Penny Marshall.

January 21: The Jan 18 issue of Daily Variety contains an interesting article about costume design, and includes a mention of Quills:
"Future, Past Divide Costumers," by Michael Speier
    What's the difference between a 'Grinch' and a 'Patriot'? That's the question Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' votes will have to ask themselves when they whittle down their choices for this year's costume design nominees. Mirroring the wide-open race for sexier categories such as best pic and several of the acting noms, there are plenty of possibilities when it comes to clothing in 2000. Along with battlefields and Whoville, this year's buzz list includes 'Dr. T and the Women' (Dallas' high-society), 'The Cell' (serial-killer chick), 'Quills' (stylish sadists) and '102 Dalmatians' (poochie fashion).
    But while tight races always make for exciting office pools, some - especially the artists being considered - are displeased that the playing field is uneven. "There absolutely needs to be two awards," says 'The Patriot' costume designer Deborah L. Scott. "One for contemporary projects and one for period pieces."
    …Scott, who won a 1997 Oscar for 'Titanic', says that although research obviously plays a part in both types of films, it's coming from different points of view. "History is a very personal vision, but it's all about accuracy," she says. "It's a real challenge to bring something to the screen that people haven't seen, and that's a completely different test depending on the film. Reality and fiction shouldn't be compared when it comes to design elements."
    …"I didn't want 'Quills' to be only a costume drama," says the film's costume designer, Jacqueline West, but there really has to be a a sense of education. I want to bring people back to a specific time in order to get the best feeling for the era."

January 20: Las Vegas oddsmaker Lenny del Genio has given his predictions for Oscar nominations:
Best Supporting Actress:
Judi Dench (Chocolat) - Even
Frances McDormand (Almost Famous) - 2 to 1
Kate Hudson (Almost Famous) - 5 to 1
Julie Walters (Billy Elliot) - 7 to 1
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Traffic) - 10 to 1
Long Shots:
Rosemary Harris (Sunshine)
Kate Winslet (Quills)
I think it's wonderful that Kate is a 'possibility', considering everything going on behind-the-scenes. I keep hearing that the 5th slot is still 'open' (after Dench, Hudson, McDormand and Walters). It may be closing, as I've also heard that Michael and Kirk Douglas have been talking to all their contacts in the academy, lobbying for a nom for C Z-J.  We'll see if those tactics succeed - or backfire. BTW - Rush's odds for a Best Actor nom are 7-to-1. del Genio correctly predicted the major categories last year.

January 20: Quills is on critic James Berardinelli's Top Ten list of 2000 films:
The Marquis de Sade as a champion of free speech? Actually, Quills has a lot more to say and offer than that. From director Philip Kaufman, this movie succeeds on three levels - as social commentary, as a biting satire of morality, and as a drama. The overall effect is helped immeasurably by a powerful, colorful performance by Geoffrey Rush and a wonderfully low-key characterization by Kate Winslet. There's quite a bit of kinky sex (more hinted at than shown), but the film's thematic depth indicates that it's far more than an exploitation piece.

January 18: There have been mixed reviews of Quills in UK papers (so far, this week). Here's a positive 'mini-review' from BBC Radio Times:
Depending on your point of view, Quills is either a remarkable testimony to the importance of artistic freedom or the debauched tale of a devilish man: either way it's a considerable cinematic achievement. Geoffrey Rush is perfect as the unrepentant Marquis de Sade, confined to a mental institution and smuggling his "smut" to a publisher care of laundry maid Kate Winslet. When hard-line psychiatrist Michael Caine is sent to oversee the liberal regime of priest Joaquin Phoenix, de Sade has to use all his ingenuity to continue writing. Director Philip Kaufman's multi-layered exploration of cruelty, repression and hypocrisy celebrates de Sade's indomitable spirit, while reminding us of the enduring and corruptive power of his imagination. Quills is the work of a master.

January 18: The 1st Annual Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards have been announced, and Geoffrey Rush has been named Best Actor for Quills. Doug Wright's screenplay was selected Best Adapted Screenplay.

January 18: David Rooney of Reuters reports on the lineup at the Berlin Film Festival:
Unveiling the lineup for his swan song edition as festival chief, executive director Moritz de Hadeln revealed a roster of 24 features and 11 short films competing for the 51st Berlinale's Gold and Silver Bears. Sixteen of these films will be world premieres. While Berlin frequently has been criticized in recent editions as a junket forum for the U.S. majors to profile their heavy-hitting Oscar contenders, studio fare is in shorter supply this year, with more pictures than in the past coming from the indie sector. However, Oscar hopefuls are by no means absent. Competition entries include the critically lauded ''Traffic,'' distributed domestically by USA Films; Columbia's ''Finding Forrester''; and two Miramax productions: ''Chocolat'' and Giuseppe Tornatore's Italian-language period piece, ''Malena.'' Also flying the U.S. flag in competition are Spike Lee's ''Bamboozled'' from New Line, and Penn's ''The Pledge,'' starring Jack Nicholson, Sam Shepard, Robin Wright Penn and Benicio del Toro, a Franchise picture opening in the U.S. through Warners. Screening out of competition is Ridley Scott's ''Silence of the Lambs'' sequel, ''Hannibal,'' which goes out in the U.S. via MGM and internationally through Universal; and Philip Kaufman's ''Quills'' from Fox Searchlight.

January 18: George contributed a couple of items today: A survey of 40 major American film critics, rating films on a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent), gives Quills an average rating of 7.2. The info was published in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Drago PG-13 5 9.2
Traffic R 2 8.9
You Can Count on Me R 9 8.7
…Drunken Horses (x) 10 8.6
The House of Mirth PG 3 8.5
Best in Show PG-13 15 8.4
Thirteen Days PG-13 2 8.4
Billy Elliot R 13 8.0
Cast Away PG-13 3 8.0
State and Main R 3 7.9
Before Night Falls R 2 7.8
O Brother . . . PG-13 3 7.8
Shadow of the Vampire R 2 7.7
An Everlasting Piece R 2 7.4
The Emperor's New Groove G 4 7.2
Quills R 7 7.2

January 17: Quills costar Geoffrey Rush was a guest on the 'Live With Regis' morning talk show today. Here are a few of his comments:
[Answering the question, "Did you have fun playing him?"] "When you read a script and I think it was on page 25 it says you get to tongue kiss Kate Winslet, you kind of jump at the role. We did have a lot of fun. And Phil Kaufman, as a director, is one of those guys… I mean, for people of my generation, if you've seen 'The Right Stuff', it is one of the greatest American films of all time."
[On the nudity in the film] "It wasn't an artistic decision on my part to say to Phil, 'I think I should do the last third of the film without my clothes on.' It's pretty intrinsic to the story because the Marquis is… It's sort of a serious film. He's a political prisoner and they strip this guy of all his dignity and everything that he represents. And so, he's basically, I like to think of it as King Lear. You know, he's a naked animal. So, it's kind of dramatic. I said to Phil, in an Austin Powers kind of way, 'if you can place those bowls of fruit and the candelabra just at the right places on the set, then people are gonna be comfortable enough to watch me.'"
[On the Golden Globes] "Look, I describe it to people as half-way between going to the circus and going to the dentist. But, it's good."
The beginning of the 'trade a kiss for each page' scene was shown.

January 17: Karen reports that an interview with Kate talking about Quills was shown on the UK program 'This Morning'. She's working on the transcript. Here's the description of the spot from the official website:
Film Report : Quills - A scraggy Geoffrey Rush is the aging Marquis de Sade, locked up in an asylum for writing dirty books but continuing to smuggle them out via ingenious methods. Kate Winslet is the doe-eyed chambermaid who flirts with him through the shutters of his cell; and a weepy, fleshy Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator) is the lunatic cleric in charge of the asylum. Michael Caine plays a panto villain who thinks he can cure de Sade.

January 17: One of my favorite film critics, David Poland of Rough Cut, defended his film preferences. He's long been a Quills supporter:
Other passions this year have been more controversial, but I am comfortable that I am on the right side of the Quills battle and was ahead of the curve on Traffic, Cast Away, Finding Forrester and Before Night Falls. We'll see how The Dish plays out.

January 17: The Village Voice writer Michael Musto predicts Kate will receive an Oscar nom:
2000 was the year of the genre flick - gladiator epics, hurricane movies, and chicken runs - and it's now up to the Oscars to plow through all the storms and feathers and find some actual humans worth citing. The nominations will be announced on February 13, but being blessed with amazing mystical powers and a subscription to Daily Variety, I can tell you right now who's going to get what. Maybe. My predictions:
Best Supporting Actress: Veterans dominate this category, oozing authority despite unflattering hairstyles. The hottest hotshots are Frances McDormand and Kate Hudson for Almost Famous (very famous), Catherine Deneuve for Dancer in the Dark (the most glamorous factory worker since Kathie Lee's kids had to address envelopes), Julie Walters for Billy Elliot (no, she's not Brenda Blethyn), Kate Winslet for Quills (being a laundress in that movie took a lot of Febreze), Dame Judi Dench for Chocolat (there is nothing like a Dame Judi Dench), Catherine Zeta-Jones for Traffic (though her lavish pre-nup might be reward enough), Marcia Gay Harden for Pollock (a/k/a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Drunk).
Sorry, ladies: Lupe Ontiveros for Chuck & Buck (the nominators aren't that swift), Zhang Yi Yi for Crouching Tiger (ditto), Jennifer Ehle and Rosemary Harris for Sunshine (their Tony Awards battle was scary enough).
The nominees will be: Dench, McDormand, Walters, Winslet, Zeta-Jones.
May the best woman win-if she's nominated!
Musto is always entertaining, and I hope this time he's correct, although I'm surprised he omitted Hudson (Goldie Hawn's daughter) from the list. He also predicts a Best Actor nom for Rush, but no Best Picture nom.

January 16: Quills costar Geoffrey Rush was a guest on the morning talk show, 'Today', and was interviewed by Katie Couric. I figured she'd find a way to bring up Kate, as she's a big fan:
Katie: When you were asked why this appealed to you - this role - give me your cheeky answer.
Geoffrey: [Laughs] Oh, God.
Katie: Come on. You told me because the direction on page 25 asked you to tongue kiss Kate Winslet.
Geoffrey: I get to tongue kiss Kate Winslet. I said I'll sign!
Katie: Yeah. But, obviously, there were other compelling reasons, right?
Geoffrey: Well, lots. You know, if you've got a script directed by a great maverick and very serious and thoughtful director like Philip Kaufman, and you get to work with Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix, who really have established themselves, I think, as being the two great actors of their generation, and they're also movie stars. Do you know what I mean? They do big, A-list, Hollywood blockbuster movies like 'Titanic' and 'Gladiator'. And then they're also brave enough to pitch themselves into some much tougher material with this kind of story."
BTW - Quite a bit of the 'trade a kiss for each page' clip of Kate and Geoffrey was shown at the beginning of the interview.

January 15: The Golden Satellite award ceremony was held yesterday. Congratulations to Best Actor (Drama) winner Geoffrey Rush and Doug Wright, winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay award. (The mother/daughter team of Jennifer Ehle and Rosemary Harris won Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for 'Sunshine'.)

January 15: The folks at Lineone Entertainment (in the UK) believe Quills still has a good chance at some Oscar nom's. This item is from their 'Showbuzz' column:
With the Oscars countdown under way, several films are foremost in the minds of many when it comes to the all-important Best Picture category. Robert Zemeckis's Cast Away, starring a magnetic Tom Hanks, is currently capturing all the attention, but Ridley Scott's Gladiator, which propelled Russell Crowe into superstardom stratosphere, is also a strong favourite. Steven Soderburgh's lauded Erin Brokovich, which starred Julia Roberts, and Traffic, his high-octane drug-running thriller, could yet win the award. Despite mixed reviews Unbreakable, starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, is also in the running, as is period drama Quills, with Kate Winslet and Geoffrey Rush, and the screen version of Joanne Harris's Chocolat.

January 15: There is a brief interview with Quills costar Amelia Warner, who plays Simone, in a UK paper today. Here are the sections mentioning Quills:
[On the prospect of working with Michael Caine] "When I started making Quills I only knew him from Jaws 4. I was a lot more impressed about the prospect of working with Kate Winslet, to be honest. Then my friends told me what a legend he was and got me to watch videos of Get Carter, Hannah and her Sisters and The Italian Job. It was fascinating to watch him working. He comes across as being a very straightforward actor, but you're aware that there's a lot going on in his head. He really looked after me in a paternal way. Some of the scenes we had to do were horrible, especially for him as a father, but he made them as nice as they could have been for me."
[On going to LA for the premiere] "I had a great time. The first week was silly, just getting used to the whole Hollywood thing - piles of clothes sent to you, cars to take you out to dinner - it was a laugh. I know people say LA is superficial, but I found the people lovely and laid back, and their drive and ambition exciting. I was approached about some new films, but I don't want to do typical popcorn teen-comedy stuff."

January 13: I have posted screen captures and a transcript of the 'Unraveling Quills' special that recently aired on the Bravo! cable channel. There are some great 'behind-the-scenes' pics. It certainly seems as though Kate has a great time on a film set! Thanks to marvelous Mylene for sending me the videotape!

January 11: The January issue of American Cinematographer Magazine contains a very interesting, detailed article about Quills, including a few new photos from the set. The article and pics are posted on a separate page - Go Here!  Excerpt:
"We wanted to give the impression that the walls were alive and dripping with madness," says [Production Designer Martin] Childs with a delighted laugh. "What was fantastically helpful to me - though probably not to anybody who had to schedule the film - was that Kaufman wanted to shoot the film in [continuity]. So we were adding green and decay as the story happened, a luxury we're normally never allowed. We were, for the first time in my experience, able to make a set live."


January 11: I reported previously that Geoffrey Rush was named Best Actor by the Las Vegas Film Critics Society. George emailed me with the news that others involved in Quills had also received nominations for the Sierra Award:
Nominations include: Best Picture, Kate for Best Supporting Actress, Joaquin Phoenix for Best Supporting Actor (also for Gladiator), Jacqueline West for Best Costume Design, Doug Wright for Best Adapted Screenplay.

January 10: Variety reported today that 'Quills' has been selected to screen at the Berlin Film Festival:
BERLIN -- Jean-Jacques Annaud's World War II epic "Enemy at the Gates" has been chosen as the opening night film at this year's Berlin Intl. Film Festival. "Gates," penned by Annaud and Alain Godard, was shot in Berlin and stars Joe Fiennes, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and Ed Harris.
Mike Nichols' adaptation of the London and Broadway hit "Wit," Gus Van Sant's "Finding Forrester" and Philip Kaufman's Marquis de Sade pic "Quills" have also been added to the official selection of this year's fest.
Event will be held Feb. 7-18.
Other English-lingo offerings in outgoing topper Moritz de Hadeln's last year will likely include Spike Lee's "Bamboozled," John Boorman's "The Tailor of Panama," Lasse Hallstrom's "Chocolat," Michael Winterbottom's "The Claim" and Patrice Chereau's English-language debut, "Intimacy."

January 8: Ananova Entertainment News reports that Kate will attend the Berlin Film Festival:
Sir Sean Connery and Sir Anthony Hopkins are to head the list of film stars at this year's Berlin Film Festival. Kate Winslet is also expected at the festival next month where the Golden Bear is awarded to the winners in a number of categories. It is not yet clear whether the newly married Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones will also be attending the festival which runs from February 7 to 18.
Here's a statement from the festival director, Renate Zylla:
"Although the program is not yet complete, I can promise you that we shall be screening many extraordinary and outstanding films, including several impressive productions from Great Britain."

January 8: The Sydney Morning Herald chooses Quills as a 'flick to see' in 2001:
After his Golden Globe nomination, Geoffrey Rush is a chance for another Oscar for Quills. He plays the lecherous Marquis de Sade in a film American critics have praised for its wit, sophistication and style. Confined to an asylum, the Marquis is still scandalising French society with licentious writings smuggled out by a washerwoman (Kate Winslet). The New York Times said Rush plays him as "a flamboyant pansexual, a glittering vulture who exploits others for his own delectation".

January 7: Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan has an article in today's 'Calendar' section about the Oscar race. Here's what he has to say about the Best Supporting Actress category:
The best supporting actress category is one of the more dicey to call. Surest as a nominee is 'Fargo' winner Frances McDormand, more likely for the showier role in 'Almost Famous' than her equally expert work in 'Wonder Boys'. Two British actresses whose performances were in constant danger of biting off more than they could chew are also nearly certain: Judi Dench as a mock-cranky grandmother in 'Chocolat' and Julie Walters as a mock-cranky dance teacher in 'Billy Elliot'. The outcome of the battle for the final two slots in that category is unclear. Kate Hudson has the talent, the youth and the family connections to make a nomination for 'Almost Famous' look good. And Marcia Gay Harden's outstanding work in 'Pollock' should also stand her in good stead. But Kate Winslet in 'Quills' has started some talk, as has Amy Madigan in 'Pollock,' and with things so fluid, almost anyone could sneak in.

January 7: I'm pleased that the company doing the PR for Quills (the company that is also handing the PR for 'Chocolat', 'The House of Mirth', 'Sunshine', 'Traffic', and other current high-profile films) has changed the newspaper ad. As I reported last week, Kate's pic had been removed, and the ad featured only Rush. There was a nice ad in Friday's L.A. Times, however, featuring pics of Geoffrey, Kate, Joaquin and Michael, along with a list of award nominations/wins. I wish, though, that Kate's Int'l Press Academy (Golden Satellite) nom had been listed, and I hope that the London Film Critics' Circle nom is listed in future ads. I've scanned the ad and posted it on the 'Quills-Ads' page.

January 6: Susannah Breslin of Rough Cut placed Quills on her list of movies that --
do what an art form should do, push at its own boundaries… These films asked us to stretch ourselves outside our skins while seated inside the comfortable confines of a darkened movie theater:
The only thing bad to say about 'Quills' is that if its lead actor, Geoffrey Rush, by playing the Marquis de Sade -- who fairly invented sexual spanking -- is denied an Oscar because of said character's naughty preoccupations, it will be a sad day in movies indeed. Philip Kaufman's peek inside the cell and cranium of the Marquis as he sits rotting in a prison while dastardly engaging those religious and nubile around him made for one of this year's great film experiences. Fundamentally, the movie is truly about the act of creation and teaches everyone that sometimes writing on the walls with your own feces is better than not writing at all.

January 5: Quills costar Geoffrey Rush was named Best Actor by the Florida Film Critics Circle. I have heard, though, that there is an allegation that not all votes were counted and there is an appeal…

January 5: Damien Bona (an Oscar historian) at Salon Magazine states that Quills is a 'dark horse' for a Best Picture Academy Award nomination, Kate is a 'possible nominee' for Best Supporting Actress, and Geoffrey Rush is a 'likely nominee' as Best Actor:
'Quills' caused a small stir when it opened at Thanksgiving time, but despite its potential for controversy, it never achieved the status of a 'must-see' movie. And many people have been put off by the film's curious mixture of high-mindedness and out-and-out prurience. Geoffrey Rush's scenery chewing as the Marquis de Sade, though, was certainly ostentatious enough to catch the attention of Oscar nominators. On the other hand, voting for Rush might encourage the actor to do more nude scenes, and nobody wants that.

January 2: The Online Film Critics Society has named Quills one of the Top Ten films of the year, ranking #7. (Thanks, George!)

January 2: Here's a brief mention of Kate and Quills in a story about Joaquin Phoenix:
Joaquin starred in 'Gladiator' and 'The Yards'. He plays a tormented priest who ends up making love to a corpse in the new movie 'Quills'. Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet also star in the movie. It is tipped as a possible Oscar winner and will be released in the UK on January 19. Joaquin joked: "This is one movie I did not take home with me. I have done some strange things but it doesn't get stranger than this."

January 1: 'Father Geek' of Ain't it Cool News chose Quills as one of his favorite films of the year. I love his comment about 'best of year' lists:
Well it's that time again, the dredded 'list' time. First off Father Geek here is NOT making a list of what I think are the BEST films of 2000. I'm making a list of my favorite films of the last year. The difference? Well, while I see approx. 300 motion pictures projected on the big screen each year, I don't see every film made, not even close. So a lot of good, maybe even great films from India, Cuba, Brazil, France, Italy, China, hell even the USA slip by me. Anyone who presumes to tell you what ARE the BEST movies produced in the past year is either an outright liar, or a fool. That is something that is physically IMPOSSIBLE to do.

January 1: The Irish Times critic places Quills on the list of 'must see' movies opening soon:
'Quills' - The first of two new films dealing with the Marquis de Sade, Philip Kaufman's film features Geoffrey Rush in the lead, Joaquin Phoenix as a Catholic priest drawn into his world, and Kate Winslet as the young woman vied for by both men. With Michael Caine. February 2nd.

January 1: Here's a mention of Quills in a nicely written article ('Censorship isn't the way to shield kids') in the Orange County Register:
I'm a First Amendment absolutist, and I don't believe in censoring anything. The movie 'Quills,' which is about attempts to silence the pen of the Marquis de Sade 200 years ago, is a great reminder that what seems offensive to Person A can be meaningful and intelligent to Person B, and that if Person A doesn't want to read it, then he should put the book down (in the movie, some interpret the Marquis' writings as pornography; others think they are clever satires of the ruling class). Same goes for movies.

December 31: John Petkovic of the Cleveland Plain Dealer feels that seeing Quills on New Year's Eve would be a great 'party':
A Sadistic thrill - Phillip Kaufman's "Quills" veers wildly between the erotic, the inane, the lucid and the profane. It's more than inconsistent - it's spastic. But that's precisely why it captures the spirit of its subject, French writer and sexual predator the Marquis de Sade. The film, which screens at the Cedar Lee Theatre, Cedar and Lee roads, Cleveland Heights, chronicles the final days of de Sade in Charenton Asylum, where he died in 1814. In the process, "Quills" explores how libertine pleasure principles culminate in madness - or a brutal repression of them. Geoffrey Rush revels in the role of de Sade, the rebel who rejects morality, love, even the compassion offered to him by the asylum's director, Abbe Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix). Kate Winslet is brilliant as Madeleine, the awe-struck chambermaid who smuggles his depraved tales out of the asylum for publication. All three conspire to create a portrait of de Sade far more sympathetic than the sociopath was in reality. But that's the only flaw in an otherwise titillating scandal.

December 30: Quills makes it onto another 'top 10 of 2000' list:
By Paul Clinton, CNN.com Reviewer -- The Marquis de Sade, from whose name the word "sadism" comes, lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His scandalous, depraved, repugnant writings about sexual matters made him an object of great controversy both in his own time and in the pages of history. Eventually sent to an insane asylum where he continued to write and later died, the Marquis seems an odd choice for a biographical film. But in the hands of director Philip Kaufman, screenwriter Doug Wright and the amazing talents of Geoffrey Rush as the Marquis, "Quills" is a fascinating tale that manages to be disarmingly funny while carrying a message about freedom of speech. The is a magnificent movie, thought-provoking rather than blatantly sexual, a rage against hypocrisy rather than a call to immorality. Joaquin Phoenix delivers an award-winning performance and Kate Winslet scores her best role since "Titanic" (1997). "Quills" will be major Oscar bait in numerous categories.

December 30: The Sydney Morning Herald claims to have an industry 'insiders' report that lists Quills as a good bet for an Oscar nom for best picture:
Australian stars are set to shine in the Oscar race, with a report circulated among influential Hollywood identities showing they have good reason to be working on acceptance speeches. Popular thinking at the moment has Taiwanese director Ang Lee's action movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as frontrunner for Best Picture, even though it is an art house film and in Mandarin. But there is also a feeling that Quills, which stars Geoffrey Rush, or Russell Crowe's Gladiator stand a good chance of taking the top honour. The industry report, which is updated every week, has Quills as second favourite and Gladiator in fourth place.  Rush, who won an Oscar for his performance in Shine in 1997, is second favourite in the race to walk off with the Best Actor award for his portrayal of the Marquis de Sade in Quills.

December 30: Another film critic places Quills on his top 10 of 2000 list:
David Germain, Associated Press -- 8. "Quills" --Sadomasochism for the discriminating moviegoer. Philip Kaufman's comically savage portrait of the asylum-bound Marquis de Sade is off-putting and compelling at the same time.

December 30: Two editors from iF Magazine have chosen Quills as one of the best films of the year:
Paul Zimmerman, Executive Director - Quills - Philip Kaufman's best film to date and the best-modulated and crafted film of the year. As the Marquis de Sade, Geoffrey Rush gets the part of a lifetime in this One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest meets Amadeus wonder.
Managing Editor Pamela Harland - 7. QUILLS - Geoffrey, Geoffrey, Geoffrey. He shines again, which helps us forget all about Mystery Men.

December 29: No surprise here - Rough Cut film critic David Poland (mentioned many times previously on this site) has chosen Quills one of the 10 best films of 2000:
5. QUILLS -- Philip Kaufman has long embraced the rough-hewn reminiscence of history. Quills, from Doug Wright's play of the same name, is a story about censorship and society's willingness to silence human communication for the sake of convenience. It just so happens that the Marquis de Sade wrote about sex. So, Kaufman gets to romp and have fun, but he always comes back to the core issue...  the silencing of a man's truth, regardless of whether it is meaningful or frivolous, angry or kind. This is a wonderfully theatrical piece and the cast shines from start to finish.

December 29: Salon Magazine critic Charles Taylor has also placed Quills on his top 10 list:
4) "Quills" - Giving comfort to neither the people who'd ban art nor the defenders who insist, "Art can't hurt you" (as some of Robert Mapplethorpe's supporters did a few years back), Philip Kaufman's nuanced and damnably smart Grand Guignol entertainment about the last days of the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush) is an argument for the danger that's always inherent in art: the possibility of giving rise to madness. Brazen and witty, Kaufman invites us to flatter ourselves as sophisticates able to chuckle at Sade's tales of depravity. And then he opens up the abyss, leaving us beyond laughter, deep in a world of horror. Great performances from Rush, Michael Caine, Joaquin Phoenix and Kate Winslet.
Another Salon film critic, Michael Sragow, also loves Quills:
I consider my top films of this year, 'Quills,' 'Wonder Boys' and 'Best in Show' more than equal to my favorite films of 1999 ('Three Kings, 'The Insider' and 'The Straight Story')… "Quills" and "Wonder Boys" - Directors salute writers, with delirious results. Philip Kaufman's 'Quills' limns the Marquis de Sade as an irresistible object who meets an immovable force -- the moral guardians (and hypocrites) of Napoleon's France. Curtis Hanson's 'Wonder Boys' pivots on a contemporary novelist who finds it difficult to keep his footing in the success-crazed culture of America. Kaufman's film is funny and fierce, Hanson's funny and melancholic. Both overflow with a love of words and of the actors who speak them -- Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Caine in 'Quills,' and Michael Douglas, Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr. and Tobey Maguire in 'Wonder Boys.'
Salon film critic Stephanie Zacharek placed 'Quills' at number 3 on her list of the top 10.

December 26: Here are the first box office figures for the fifth weekend of the Quills release:
Fox Searchlight took in an estimated $497,000 over four days for Quills adding 100 theaters and pushing its cume to $2.12M.
[That's just over $3,000 per screen average, based on a total of 160 theaters - a good average, but not great. I'm not surprised, though, based on the number of new releases of high-profile films this weekend.]
Update December 27: Another source gives a 'final' weekend figure of $433,511 and a cumulative figure of $2,055,744.

December 25: The folks at Cranky Critic are 'into' Quills:
    Just like Santa Claus, we keep a list. We check it twice. And when the Oscar wannabee crunch hits in November/December -- 40 films in 20 days -- we wonder if all the pain killers are having detrimental effects on our mental processes, fade out, snap back and go, naah... We had a top ten movies and a top ten films list and when we crunched 'em down into one list, it came out an even split between serious films and warm fuzzies (alphabetically): Almost Famous; Billy Elliot; The Claim; Erin Brockovich; Frequency; Gladiator; Quills; Saving Grace; 13 Days; Traffic. The best popcorn flicks: Jackie Chan's Legend of Drunken Master;Charlie's Angels, X-Men
    Geoffrey Rush, Best Actor (Quills)
Our choice had a lot to do with the actor's effect on the overall movie. One potential Oscar nominee was spectacular all by himself on an island, but that's an acting exercise, not an overall best performance. Rush, gave us a battle of both psychological and physical wills in Quills, as the Marquis de Sade in his last days versus Michael Caine as the captor determined to break his spirit however possible. There is humor and pathos in the iron fist in a velvet glove performance.
    Frances McDormand, Supporting Actress (Almost Famous) -- Domineering and possessive mom faces the day when the bird must leave the nest. "And don't do drugs" is as much a demand for control as an expression of a mother's love.
Ditto for: Faye Dunaway in The Yards; Kate Hudson in Almost Famous; Madeline Kahn in Judy Berlin; Kate Winslet in Quills.
    Joaquin Phoenix, Supporting Actor x 3 -- In each case the supporting actor is supposed to set up a base to let the principals kick some royal booty, as Joaquin Phoenix did for Geoffrey Rush in Quills. Then you get the performances where not only does the actor do the job, he also leaves you walking out of the theater remembering his name. That was the case in Gladiator, with Phoenix playing the sniveling backstabbing Emperor Commodus. Finally you get the occasional movie where the supporting actors outshine the principals, which was the case with The Yards, Phoenix' best performance of the three.
Check out three new reviews of Quills.

December 24: Yesterday's issue of the Kansas City Star had an interesting interview with Quills creator Doug Wright. It's posted on the "Wright Interviews" page.

December 22: USA Today picks Kate as a 'front-runner' for an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress:
What Oscar watchers are predicting for the 73rd Academy Awards contest on March 25 --
Supporting actress front-runners:
Judi Dench, Chocolat
Kate Hudson, Almost Famous
Frances McDormand, Almost Famous
Julie Walters, Billy Elliot
Kate Winslet, Quills
Close behind: Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock; Catherine Zeta-Jones, Traffic
Dark horse: Zhang Ziyi, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Geoffrey Rush is considered a 'front runner' for best actor, and Quills is considered to be 'close behind' other films for best picture. Read the entire story - "Keep your eyes on these potential nominees."

December 22: Is Quills an 'Academy' movie? From USA Today:
"Defining Times For 'Academy' Movies," By Susan Wloszczyna
    What exactly is an "academy" movie anyway? The term is often tossed out to either support or deride a film's chances at getting into the Oscar gate.But it's no longer possible to assume certain pictures will be discarded because of disturbing themes or accepted because of gooey sentiment...
    Will Quills' well run dry? The story of the last days of the jailed Marquis de Sade, spiked with violence, gore, naughty talk and even necrophilia, took the top prize from the National Board of Review. Although reviews have ranged from glowing to hateful, director Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff, The Unbearable Lightness of Being) is hoping the academy is grown up enough to handle it. "My wife coined a term to describe a movie like Quills - 'Not for children of all ages,' " Kaufman says. "The word adult is almost pornographic these days, but what else did Spencer Tracy or Humphrey Bogart make but adult movies? In the Nike era, everyone wants to be adolescent. Quills is really a date movie. It is, at heart, romantic." Nancy Utley of Fox Searchlight, the studio behind Quills, believes "the academy is ready for a movie like Quills. It's not giving them credit to say they wouldn't accept a provocative and daring piece of work. Last year, we were told that they would never recognize Boys Don't Cry (about the murder of a girl who passed as a boy), and it won two acting nominations" for Swank and a supporting nod for Chloe Sevigny.
    Quills may follow suit with nominations for Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet. Its best-picture chances, however, are less likely. Says [Robert] Osborne: "I thought it was just awful. It needed to be grittier. It was like a Disney-fied prison." Observes New York Daily News critic Jack Mathews: "The last well-made movie about a pornographer, Larry Flynt, didn't get nominated. The subject is off-putting for Hollywood."

December 21: Congratulations are in order for Geoffrey Rush and Doug Wright for their Golden Globe nominations. Rush was interviewed via telephone early this morning by E! News Daily host Steve Kmetko:
Kmetko: Congratulations! How did you hear?
Rush: Well, curiously enough, I didn't think I'd see it live, but I tuned in to one of the networks and it was running, so I saw them read out live at whatever time they went out in L.A., 5:30 AM or something.
Kmetko: And you're going to be able to go to bed now and sleep? You're not too excited?
Rush: Well, I'll try to. I feel a bit like an Australian child after a picnic - tired but happy.
Kmetko: I don't know how to put this question, but does it seem more pleasing to you for this particular film because there's been a sort of controversy surrounding it and because it is such a… out of the mainstream subject matter?
Rush: Well, I suppose the difference between now and a couple of years ago when it was happening for 'Shine'… I think they're in some ways similar pictures because this will give this film a great leg up in terms of public perception that it's actually there. But this film, I suppose, has a little more obvious 'player power' with Kate Winslet, and Michael Caine, and Joaquin Phoenix, and everyone involved. But it's [the nomination] still gonna help it enormously.

December 20: Follow-up to yesterday's report on the Broadcast Film Critics Awards -- Geoffrey Rush was runner-up for Best Actor to Russell Crowe. The Best Supporting Actresses were (in order of votes): Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Julie Walters, Kate Winslet. (Walters and KW were only three votes apart.)  This is info I got directly from the BFCA. BTW - Those four ladies' names are the ones I see most often on BSA lists.

December 20: David Thomson gives his picks for Oscar nominations in the UK Independent, and mentions Quills for Best Picture ("Philip Kaufman's Quills, a very funny, dark, sexy rhapsody on a largely imaginary version of the Marquis de Sade"), Geoffrey Rush for Best Actor ("I don't think there's a performer alive who wouldn't nominate Geoffrey Rush in Quills - it is his brilliance that makes the harsh material accessible"), and Kate for Best Actress ("Why not Kate Winslet in Quills?"). I'll answer that question, LOL - Because the studio is pushing her in the supporting category, as her chances are better there. Mr. Thomson also comments that "Fox Searchlight have been so scared of Quills they are not letting enough people see it."

December 20: I have posted on the "Quills-Features" page excerpts from articles on Rush and Phoenix that contain interesting quotes about Quills.

December 19: Quills was named one of the Ten Best Pictures of 2000 by the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Here are some of the results of the annual vote of this 140 member group:
Top 10 films (11 listed, as there was a tie for 10th), in alphabetical order:
Almost Famous, Billy Elliot, Cast Away, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Gladiator, Quills, Thirteen Days, Traffic, Wonder Boys, You Can Count On Me
Best Foreign Language Picture: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Director: Steven Soderbergh for Traffic and Erin Brockovich
Actor: Russell Crowe for Gladiator
Actress: Julia Roberts for Erin Brockovich
Supporting Actor: Joaquin Phoenix for Gladiator, Quills and The Yards
Supporting Actress: Frances McDormand for Almost Famous and Wonderboys

December 19: Kate has been nominated as Best Supporting Actress by the International Press Academy, the group that awards the 'Golden Satellite'. (They are a splinter group of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that hands out the 'Golden Globe'.) The IPA is made up of about 250 'entertainment journalists'. Here's the story from Ananova Entertainment News:
    Billy Elliot has been nominated for three Golden Satellite Awards to be presented by the International Press Academy on January 14. Jamie Bell will have to fight off challenges from Sean Connery, Russell Crowe, Geoffrey Rush and Denzel Washington in the Best Actor in a Drama category.
    Julie Walters is up for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Drama, against fellow Brits Dame Judi Dench, Samantha Morton and Kate Winslet, and also Jennifer Ehle and Rosemary Harris who have been nominated together as they play the same character in Sunshine. [Catherine Deneuve has also been nominated in this category.]
    In the Best Motion Picture Drama category Billy Elliot is up against Erin Brockovich, Dancer In The Dark, Gladiator, Quills and Traffic.In total, Gladiator and Traffic received the most nominations with nine each, followed by Erin Brockovich, Quills, Dancer In The Dark and Billy Elliot.
Philip Kaufman was nominated for Best Director and Doug Wright for Best Screenplay, Adapted. Note that this group gives supporting acting nom's in both drama and comedy/musical categories. No nom for costume design or art direction for Quills.  Variety has a more complete list of the nominees.

December 15: Report on the "for your consideration ads" in today's trade papers:  There is a 3 inch square ad on page one of the Hollywood Reporter for Doug Wright's screenplay (no pic). I looked through Daily Variety - and found no ad. That surprised me, until I spotted the special issue "67th Anniversary Issue: The Contenders". It features the same great, full page ad for Rush and Kate that appeared in the December 7th edition of Variety. There is also a large pic of Kate and Rush in an article about the Oscar contenders on page one:
    "The Contenders" -- While the rest of the country awaited the final results of the presidential election, Oscar experts were having strange flashbacks to December 1999. Same time last year, the Oscar race ws considered wide open, and nobody predicted that in March the two-way battle would be fought between DreamWorks' edgy "American Beauty" and Miramax's more traditional "The Cider House Rules." And that showdown, in turn, echoed the 1998 horse race between "Saving Private Ryan" and "Shakespeare in Love."
    As we were preparing our fourth annual Contenders issue, the same pattern seemed to emerge. Although pics such as DreamWorks' "Gladiator," Fox Searchlight's "Quills" and Miramax's "Chocolat" seem to match the classic mold favored by Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voters, there are many dark horses that could easily fit the bill in many of the top Oscar categories.
    In this special issue, which also commemorates Daily Variety's 67th anniversary, we highlight 20 films that have a solid shot at getting nominated in more than two categories in January. Obviously, this is not an exact science, and everyone expects to see a lot of 11th-hour (or late-December) surprises. Let's just hope there are no dangling chads, butterfly ballots or recounts involved in Oscar's voting process.
A half-page is devoted to each of the films, highlighting the possible nominees. Daily Variety's "Noms Watch" for Quills: Picture, Director (Philip Kaufman), Actor (Geoffrey Rush), Supporting Actor (Joaquin Phoenix), Supporting Actress (Kate Winslet), Adapted Screenplay (Doug Wright), Score (Stephen Warbeck), Costume Design (Jacqueline West), and Production Design (Martin Childs).

December 14: Here's more commentary on the possible nominees for Best Supporting Actress by David Germain of the Associated Press:
Here's where the bar of excellence may have to be laid flat on the ground to scrape up enough nominees.
Excellent performances are turned in by Frances McDormand in "Almost Famous" and two-time nominee Kate Winslet in "Quills." It's a narrow lot beyond that. Possibilities: Julie Walters, "Billy Elliot"; Kate Hudson, "Almost Famous"; Marcia Gay Harden, "Pollock"; Zhang Ziyi, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"; Nastassja Kinski and Milla Jovovich, "The Claim."

December 13: Lou Leminick made these observations in his column in the NYPOST today:
    Handicapping the Best Picture race after having seen all the major contenders - but while the studios' campaigns for them are just being rolled out - the field looks amazingly wide open, and strangely loaded with early-in-the-year releases. Besides "Cast Away," the front-runners for the five slots at this point [Gladiator, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Billy Elliot, Chocolat, Quills, Wonder Boys, Finding Forrester, You Can Count On Me]:
    "Quills," chosen as Best Picture last week by the National Board of Review, is the kind of classy period piece Academy members have historically clasped to their bosoms. It's from highly respected director Philip Kaufman, and its plea for freedom of expression certainly plays to their historically liberal biases. But will they embrace a sex-and-violence-filled film about the Marquis de Sade (likely nominee Geoffrey Rush) in a year when Hollywood is under attack from Washington for its lack of self-restraint?
Mr. Leminick gave odds for each of the major contenders. He says the odds of Kate getting a supporting actress nomination are 12-1 (6th place). Placing ahead of Kate - in his opinion - are Julie Walters (Billy Elliot), Judi Dench (Chocolat), Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Frances McDormand (Almost Famous), and Catherine Deneuve (Dancer in the Dark). Of course, that's one person's opinion - consider that he places Laura Linney (You Can Count on Me) and Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream) in 7th and 8th places for Best Actress, while many other critics and observers feel they are "probables".

December 13: I took a look at Variety (Daily and Weekly) and the Hollywood Reporter this morning. There were a few ads for Quills, but none specifically for Kate, so I didn't scan them:
1)    A 3" square ad for Joaquin Phoenix on page one of the Hollywood Reporter; (BTW - Three of Joaquin's performances are being pushed for a nom in the supporting category - Quills, Gladiator and The Yards. Rules forbid an actor being nominated for more than one performance - in the same category. I imagine votes for him will be split between Quills and Gladiator, lessening his chance for a nomination.
2)    Full-page ad for the film and director Kaufman (pictured with Kate) in Daily Variety;
3)    Full-page ad - on the cover - for Michael Caine in Weekly Variety. (I understood this better after I opened the magazine and found inside a two-page spread on Caine about being the "U.K. Personality of the Year".)
Weekly Variety was bundled with the special "Eye on the Oscars: Preview" issue. I was quite surprised to find no ads for Quills. There is (at least) a pic of Kate and Joaquin on the calendar of important dates.

December 13: The New York Film Critics Circle awards were voted on this morning. No wins for Quills. Here are some of the results: Traffic (Film), Steven Soderbergh, Traffic and Erin Brockovich  (Director), Tom Hanks, Cast Away (Actor), Laura Linney, You Can Count On Me (Actress), Benicio Del Toro, Traffic (Supporting Actor), Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock (Supporting Actress), Kenneth Lonergan, You Can Count On Me (Screenplay), Yi Yi (Foreign Film).

December 13: Film critic David Poland comments on the Oscar nomination chances for Quills in today's "Hot Button" column on Rough Cut:
    Three major movies [Quills, Traffic, Before Night Falls] have three major hills to climb. They are amongst the best movies of the year and will likely be amongst the best movies of this decade, but all three make audiences uncomfortable. And, looking at the critics they make uncomfortable, there may be a correlation to Academy voters, who are a bit older and more conservative than the average art house audiences in their towns (New York and Los Angeles). I would be thrilled to see all three nominated for Best Picture and for awards down the line. But it is going to be a fight.
    Quills -- Hollywood's moralists have lined up against this film. What can I tell you? I think it is wonderfully entertaining, beautifully acted, dark, funny, angry, and brilliant. Yes, it is theatrical... but why wasn't that a problem for Shakespeare in Love or, for god's sake, The Cider House Rules? Why? Because those were feel-good films. Quills throws the responsibility right back in your face. People don't always like that. I wish I knew for sure. Critics groups could be very influential here.

December 13: From the "coming soon to a theater near you" column on This is London:
Quills --
High concept: Porn free.
Plotline: Geoffrey Rush stars as the Marquis de Sade, the taboo-busting French writer whose depraved deeds and risqué writings gave us the word 'sadism'. The film focuses on his last years (the early 1800s), when he was imprisoned in an asylum, but still found ways of giving free rein to his creative urges.
Bottom lines: Denied ink, de Sade writes using wine, then his own blood. When he's prevented from cutting himself, he finds he can still write by, er, recycling waste. And you thought Tracey Emin's bed was a bit much.
Starr treatment: De Sade's warders include Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Caine, playing a puritanical doctor. In interviews the director, Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff, Rising Sun), has compared the marquis's moralising oppressors to Ken Starr, Bill Clinton's inquisitor.
Sweet smell of excess: To give de Sade an exotic aura, Rush drenched himself in patchouli oil. He claims everyone said, 'You smell great!' Kate Winslet, who plays the asylum's laundry girl, remembers otherwise: 'It stank!'
The bum's Rush: The film features several shots of a certain naked bottom. Sadly, though, it doesn't belong to Kate or Joaquin, but to Rush. The marquis may have been the original sadist, but the sight of Rush's rear is strictly for masochists.
Verdicts: 'Rush makes the film soar with a sense of enlightened madness' - San Francisco Chronicle. 'Ludicrously crude' - New York Post.

December 13: I found this item in the December 18 issue of People Magazine:
Director Philip Kaufman uses the life of the Marquis de Sade (amusingly played by Geoffrey Rush) as the inspiration to examine what happens to an artist when society decides he must be silenced. Starts off well, but, like the Marquis himself, goes way too far.
The pic of Kate as Madeleine looking out a window was used, with this caption: Kate Winslet keeps it clean in leering Quills.

December 13: The December 15 edition of Entertainment Weekly has a mention of Quills in the "box office" column:
"Rush's Hour" -- …Another reviled literary figure made some noise. Geoffrey Rush's Marquis de Sade drama, Quills, just missed cracking the top 20 but the Fox Searchlight film still managed to enjoy a spanking good second weekend in limited release, posting a nearly obscene $23,037 per-screen average.
The pic of Rush standing on a table, with arms spread was featured, with this caption: The Write Stuff - Rush's Marquis de Sade scares up an audience.

December 12: Today's issue of Variety features a full-page "for your consideration ad" for Geoffrey Rush and Joaquin Phoenix. It's posted on the "Quills-Ads" page. Since Kate's lovely face has been featured in all of the Quills for Best Film ads, her presence is still there, even if an ad isn't specifically for her. Hopefully, Fox Searchlight will run another fyc ad for Kate soon (the last one was last Thursday).  I've heard that Fox Searchlight is expected to spend just under $10 million in promoting Quills.
BTW - Some of the ads for other films are quite interesting. Perhaps the most unique campaign is the one for mother and daughter Rosemary Harris and Jennifer Ehle in Sunshine - to share one nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Miramax has been running several ads for Chocolat, some two full pages, that list just about everyone involved in the film. The Best Supporting Actress candidates being pushed in that film are Judi Dench, Carrie-Anne Moss and Lena Olin. Ads for Dancer in the Dark mention Catherine Deneuve for BSA, and there have been a couple of ads for Erin Brockovich that feature Marg Helgenberger.  The only other major campaign for BSA is, so far, for Frances McDormand in Almost Famous. I had expected to see more ads for Julie Walters in Billy Elliott by now. Keep in mind that the Golden Globe nominations will be announced one week from Thursday. Of course, a big ad campaign doesn't guarantee a nomination, but it's interesting to see who is being "pushed". I'll post in a couple of days info about the people responsible for the Golden Globes (Hollywood Foreign Press Association), the games they play (or rather, the game-playing they reward), and previous controversies.

December 11: I found two more Quills ads in today's issue of Variety, scanned and posted them on the "Quills-Ads" page. One is a full-page ad featuring the poster pic, mentioning the "Best Film" award from the Nat'l Board of Review, and the other ad is a "for your consideration" piece for director Kaufman. While these ads do not specifically promote Kate's performance, they do feature pics of her. Hopefully, we'll see another "fyc" ad for Kate soon.

December 11: Soundtrack reviews is today's feature story on Rough Cut. Here is their review of the Quills soundtrack:
Reviewed by Heather Feher -- Rated 8: Points for originality (out of 11)
    The first five tracks lulled me into thinking that the Quills soundtrack will be a gentle, classical score. (Was that the sound of a didjeridu? Nah.) Slowly, odd sounds began to creep into my consciousness. By track six, "Royer-Collard and Bouchon", I realized that I had made my assessment too soon. Reading the liner notes, I began to see why. Composer Stephen Warbeck informs the reader that, "For some of the score, we used a full orchestra and choir, and other sections were played by The Lunatic Band". In the latter, instruments include shawms, trombone and bucket, serpent, drum, cittern and mandolin, and violin. You don't hear many bucket solos in soundtracks, do you?
    As a musical CD, Quills is iffy. The first third is brooding and quiet, the middle is, at times, a jarring cacophony. Near the end, elements of both become blended together in an odd mix. However, as a soundtrack, Quills hits the mark. The film is set in a madhouse after all. Listening to the full CD, you admire Warbeck's attention to detail, and willingness to bring in non-traditional instruments and styles to grab the notice of listeners.

December 11: No mention of Quills or Kate in this item, but it is interesting. Film critic David Poland of Rough Cut makes the prediction that the various film critics associations will choose different films as their 'film of the year' - for a particular reason:
Oscar Watch: The intense period of critics awards starts next Tuesday with the New York Critics Circle, which will actually show up live, as each vote is taken, on the group's website. I ran into the head of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (which gives out the dreaded Golden Globes) and told him that his group would be even more influential than usual this year, since a number of small films will be getting Oscar nominations and Academy members will probably be looking harder than ever for guidance about which way to go. Ugly, perhaps. But true. Meanwhile, in Paris, the European Film Awards got behind Dancer in the Dark. Besides the fact that they love the movie, my guess is that the vote was somewhat politicized by the feeling that Billy Elliot has enough support in America and that Dancer needed the leg-up. That same mindset will definitely be part of all the critics awards you see in the next couple of weeks: cries of "We need to help You Can Count on Me" or "We need to help Crouching Tiger to a higher level" or even "Dancer in the Dark needs our support!" The other interesting phenomenon to look for is that most of the critics groups will award different movies because each group wants to be the supporter of a movie and not the second or third group to get on a bandwagon. And so it goes.

December 10: Third weekend box office info for Quills:
Fox Searchlight's costume drama Quills, which last week was named the best film of the year by the National Board of Review, collected an estimated $164,000 pushing its total to $894,000 from only nine theaters. Averaging a fantastic $18,184, the acclaimed period piece will expand into 13 more cities next weekend adding roughly 50 theaters.

December 9: Now here's a question I've always wanted answered (LOL):
"Do Suburbs Hex Kinky Sex?" From USA Today:
Big-city audiences are taking great pleasure in the pain of Quills, the kinky tale of the Marquis de Sade in prison. It has grossed more than $650,000 in two weeks at just nine theaters. It has the highest per-screen box office average in North America, and on Wednesday it was pronounced the best movie of the year by the New York-based National Board of Review. But will the man who put the ''S'' in S&M play in Peoria? Fox Searchlight and director Philip Kaufman are hoping that he will. They are banking that stars Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet and Michael Caine will keep on whipping up crowds through the awards season. Rush, at least, seems a likely choice for a best-actor Oscar nomination. ''It's a great date movie,'' Kaufman says. ''If it's provocative and amusing and scary and shocking, then they'll have something to talk about afterward.'' But the heartland doesn't always take to the racy tales savored by city folk.

December 8: I picked up The Hollywood Reporter's "Oscar Watch Preview" issue today. There is a "for your consideration" for Best Picture ad for Quills (small, but placed on Page 1). It's posted on the "Quills-Ads" page. There is also a feature story on the marketing of the film (see "Quills-Features" page), and this item:
"High Hopes - Studio sources describe their respective Oscar dreams - as well as hint at strategies," by Cathy Dunkley
Fox Searchlight Pictures -- The Fox-based indie company will put its weight behind one film, its Marquis de Sade drama "Quills." "We are really excited about 'Quills,' because it represents the best of what independent film can do," says Nancy Utley, president of marketing for Fox Searchlight. "The subject matter is daring, and each of the performances goes very far in what the actors do."
The film will receive a Best Picture campaign as well as the company's backing of Philip Kaufman for Best Director, Geoffrey Rush for Best Actor and Joaquin Phoenix and last year's Best Supporting Oscar winner Michael Caine in the Supporting Actor category. Kate Winslet is also expected to be promoted in the Best Supporting Actress category as is Doug Wright for Best Adapted Screenplay, costume design for Jacqueline West and production design for Martin Childs and editing for Peter Boyle.

December 8: There is another full-page "for your consideration" ad in today's issue of Variety. This one promotes director Phil Kaufman and screenwriter Doug Wright. It's posted on the "Quills-Ads" page.

December 8: Critic Michael Rechtshaffen has an column in the Hollywood Reporter online about the Oscars:
"Oscar Watch" -- As for the nominated actresses, Julia Roberts makes a solid case for "Erin Brockovich," while two-time Oscar nominee Joan Allen should be a Best Actress candidate courtesy of her turn in "The Contender," a role written for her by director Rod Lurie. Outside possibilities include Cannes' Best Actress Björk ("Dancer in the Dark") and Kate Winslet ("Quills").
It's nice that he thinks Kate has a shot at Best Actress, but I guess he hasn't yet seen the "for your consideration" ads or read the many predictions of Kate being nominated in the supporting category. Unfortunately, it's columns like his that will only further confuse academy members about which category she belongs in.

December 8: Popocorn News has a nice mention of the NBOR win for Quills:
"Quills Has The Write Stuff" -- The awards season kicked off in America with a victory for Kate Winslet's 'Quills'.
And They're Off -- The new film awards season kicked off in America on Wednesday, with the Marquis de Sade pic 'Quills' claiming the National Board of Review's top prize. Philip Kaufman's drama stars Kate Winslet and Geoffrey Rush and is a beautifully-shot, intelligent look at the Marquis' last days in a mental asylum.

December 8: There is a mention of Quills in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly in a story about movie posters:
"Poster Perfect?" The Holiday decorations are going up, including shiny designs heralding a sleigh load of big movie releases. From the best to the blah, we've made our list and checked it twice.
"Still Life With Famous People" - With one person in profile and the other facing the camera, these seem modeled on the famous Klint painting, The Kiss. Of course, someone at the studio had to decide which pretty face to put forward. It's not even a contest for Fox Searchlight's Quills - Kate Winslet easily out glows Geoffrey Rush. For Chocolat, Miramax tips the scale in favor of Oscar winner Juliette Binoche, with Johnny Depp left vying for space with a piece of candy. But Helen Hunt suffers the cruelest cut of all. She becomes a half-Helen to Mel Gibson's baby blues, though Paramount gets credit for delivering What Women Want. Chocolat - B; What Women Want - A-; Quills - B+

December 7: There's a great "for your consideration" ad for Kate and Geoffrey Rush in today's Variety! It's posted on the "Quills-Ads" page. Now we know that Kate's performance is being marketed as "supporting". The folks at Fox Searchlight also took out an ad in Weekly Variety (on the inside front cover) announcing the great box office for the first weekend. The poster pic was used, along with this heading: "Meet the Marquis de Sade. The pleasure is all his. $37,093 per screen average first 5 days."

December 7: There's more coverage today on Quills being named Best Film by the Nat'l Board of Review:
From Yahoo! News --
"Update 1 - Arthouse, Foreign Pics Dominate Board Honors," By Jonathan Bing
New York (Variety) - The 2000 award season began on a literary note Wednesday as the National Board of Review crowned "Quills,'' Philip Kaufman's film about the last days of the Marquis de Sade, this year's best picture. The picture's distributor, Fox Searchlight, was one of several specialty labels reaping the benefits of an awards field generally considered the most wide open in years. Seven of the Board's 10 best films of the year were arthouse and foreign selections. As a film that candidly addresses questions of freedom of expression, ``Quills'' is an unsurprising choice for an organization founded in 1909 to fight censorship of the film industry. Comprised of educators, editors, screenwriters, historians and film students, the Board has also traditionally shown a propensity for specialty films.
From USA Today:
"Board stuck on 'naughty' 'Quills'," By Andy Seiler
    The National Board of Review has chosen Quills, the scandalous tale of the Marquis de Sade in prison, as the best film of 2000. The New York-based board, founded in 1909 and considered the world's longest-standing film organization, is famous for kicking off the movie awards season, which doesn't end until Oscar envelopes are opened in late March. Although the group - composed of slightly fewer than 100 film historians, writers, filmmakers and other movie lovers - doesn't usually predict the Oscar winner, last year it did anticipate the Academy Awards by picking American Beauty for best film. "I'm very happy for our naughty little film," says Quills director Philip Kaufman, whose low-budget ($13.5 million) movie stars Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet and Michael Caine. "I don't generally make films thinking about awards. I made the film because I thought it was a really good story. I had a wonderful time making it." Kaufman, whose earlier films include Henry & June and The Unbearable Lightness of Being, has never steered clear of sexually charged subjects. "Some people are shocked that we made a movie about the Marquis de Sade, but on the other hand, don't they make movies about Al Capone? Didn't Alec Guinness play Adolf Hitler? Didn't Richard Widmark push an old lady down the stairs in a wheelchair (in Kiss of Death)?"
    Board spokeswoman Lois Ballon says Quills sends a message that has value and importance. "Quills speaks to a mass audience about subjects that most people don't want to deal with: sexuality and freedom of expression," Ballon says. "Philip Kaufman made a film that knocks your socks off as you're sitting and watching it."
    Quills is playing in nine theaters in five cities (it has the highest per-screen box office average of any film) and expands to more Dec. 15.
From a Hollywood Reporter article (thanks Sylvia of Dougray Scott in Focus) --
In another special category for films focusing on freedom of expression, winners tapped were "A Time for Drunken Horses," "Bamboozled," "Before Night Falls," "The Circle," "Kadosh," "Quills," the documentary "Sound and Fury" and "The Visit."

December 6: The National Board of Review named Quills the Best Film of 2000!  From Inside.com:
The New York-based board traditionally awards the first in a series of pre-Oscar prizes that tend to shape and predict the Academy Awards race. Javier Bardem was named Best Actor for his work in Before Night Falls, while Julia Roberts was Best Actress for Erin Brockovich. Director Steven Soderbergh also received an award for Brockovich. Best Supporting Actor was Joaquin Phoenix, who was cited for his work in Gladiator, Quills and The Yards. Best Supporting Actress was Lupe Ontiveros, for Chuck and Buck. Ted Tally was awarded the board's Best Screenplay prize for All the Pretty Horses, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was named Best Foreign Film, rounding out the major categories.
The board's list of the 10 best films included:
1. Quills ;  2. Traffic;  3. Croupier;  4. You Can Count on Me;  5. Billy Elliot;  6. Before Night Falls;  7. Gladiator;  8. Wonder Boys;  9. Sunshine ; 10. Dancer in the Dark
Here's more coverage from Yahoo! News:
New York (Reuters) - "Quills,'' a drama built around the French writer the Marquis de Sade, was named best film of the year by the National Board of Review on Wednesday, kicking off the movie honors season that culminates with the Academy Awards.
The National Board of Review and other critics' associations' awards are seen as harbingers of Hollywood's Holy Grail -- the Oscars, which are handed out in March.
"Quills,'' a fictional story about freedom of speech and expression with the notorious French writer the Marquis de Sade at its center, beat out nine other films that the board also cited for excellence in what many critics considered a weak year. "Quills'' stars Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix, Kate Winslet and Michael Caine, and is directed by Philip Kaufman.
[The Board] hands out its honors on Jan. 16 at Manhattan's Tavern on the Green restaurant.

December 6: I have posted a couple of new reviews of Quills on the "Reviews" page. Here's an excerpt from one of them that echoes my sentiments:
Kate Winslet continues to impress as his [de Sade's] loyal supporter, choosing challenging roles in independent films rather than cashing in on the success of Titanic. She could have become a major Hollywood star, but instead opted for building a quality body of work in such films as Holy Smoke and Hideous Kinky.
I truly feel that, many years from now, people will still be talking about Kate and admiring her work, while those "it girls" of today are long forgotten.

December 6: I found an interesting feature on the making of Quills in Entertainment Today. It's posted on the "Features" page. Here's an excerpt:
"[Collaborating on Quills] was astonishing, certainly, regarding the cast and in regard to this potentially difficult subject matter," Wright says. "The four great reasons to see any movie are Geoffrey Rush, Michael Caine, Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix. And as a first-time screenwriter, the week I got those four phone calls was amazing. I realized that the only graceful thing to do was retire." The conditions that foster any great collaboration is a synergy, respect and communication between the artists. For Kaufman and Wright, as well as the actors, that was pretty much the creative climate of Quills.

December 6: Another rave about Quills from film critic David Poland in today's "Hot Button" column on Rough Cut:
What a season for mature filmmaking! Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, Phil Kaufman's Quills and Schnabel's Before Night Falls are about as demanding and rewarding a trio of pictures -- all from indie arms of major studios -- as we have ever seen back-to-back-to-back. (I put Cast Away and Finding Forrester in a different category altogether.)

December 4: I found an article about possible Best Supporting Actress nominees in "Oscar Watch":
Excellent performances are turned in by Oscar winner Frances McDormand in ''Almost Famous'' and two-time nominee Kate Winslet in ''Quills.''  It's a narrow lot beyond that. Possibilities: Julie Walters, ''Billy Elliot''; Kate Hudson, ''Almost Famous''; Marcia Gay Harden, ''Pollock''; Zhang Ziyi, ''Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon''; Nastassja Kinski and Milla Jovovich, ''The Claim.''
Of course, Kate Winslet always has a shot, as she's an Academy fave already.

December 4: Estimated box office for Quills this past weekend is $209,500 in nine theaters. That's a great per theater average of just under $23,280!
More from the Hollywood Reporter:
The second weekend at the boxoffice wasn't painful at all for Fox Searchlight's "Quills" as the drama continued to pique audience interest, slipping a scant 16% from its debut and taking in an estimated $209,500 from nine theaters. The Geoffrey Rush-Kate Winslet starrer averaged a stellar $23,278 per theater and has generated positive word-of-mouth, the distributor said. The film's total stands at roughly $642,600.
From Variety:
"De Sade 'Quills' Whips Up Arthouse Ardor"
Hollywood -- Fox Searchlight's "Quills" solidified its status as an arthouse force as the Marquis de Sade biopic grossed $209,500 at nine engagements in five markets in its sophomore outing. The Geoffrey Rush starrer, which dropped only 16% and has cumed $642,600 in a dozen days, will widen to 13 more markets and 50 more playdates on Dec. 15. "The word of mouth is tremendous," said distrib prexy Steve Giulula. "We think it's emerging as a serious dark horse candidate for the Academy Awards."

December 4: Does the Quills trailer mislead moviegoers? Here's commentary from writer Chris Hewitt for the PioneerPlanet:
In the trailer game, often a game of selling a new movie by making it look like a movie people already love, it's tough to market a film about the Marquis de Sade, a long-dead writer whose sexual peculiarities are better known than his writings. Do you pass it off as a buddy movie (De Sade and his wacky sidekick solve crimes)? Probably not. A teen-age horndog movie (Is that a banana in your pocket, Marquis, or are you just dying to do something kinky to me)? No again. So the folks behind the de Sade movie, "Quills,'' are making it look like "Amadeus,'' a bawdy, farcical drama that just happens to be set hundreds of years ago. The movies share some themes, and both are fictional spins on real-life guys, but, like "Amadeus,'' "Quills'' isn't as lighthearted as its trailer would have you believe. It's a good movie, but not quite the movie you'd expect based on the trailer, so it'll be interesting to see how audiences respond when it opens Dec. 15.

December 4: Here's a mention of Quills in the San Francisco Chronicle:
There have been some winners this year, all of which succeed because they don't spoon-feed sentiments. Two small, nuanced dramas, "Two Family House" and "You Can Count on Me," move the audience without hammering home the emotional cues. Other films such as "Nurse Betty," "Quills" and "Dancer in the Dark" have such original visions that they evoke a collective gasp from filmgoers accustomed to drivel.

December 4: I found more coverage of the Quills premiere in Los Angeles in late November:
    Shock figures they might be, but Marilyn Manson and Howard Stern have nothing on the Marquis de Sade. An 18th century writer of perverse, provocative literature, the Marquis was imprisoned for 30 years of his life but continued to stir controversy with the works he composed in his cell. The word "sadism," in fact, is derived from his name. Centuries later, his life has been brought to the big screen in "Quills," starring Oscar winners Geoffrey Rush and Michael Caine, Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix. The film premiered Nov. 20 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
    Rush and director Philip Kaufman ("Henry and June") were on hand to celebrate the film, which marks Rush's third Oscar contender in four years (he was nominated for "Shakespeare in Love" and won for "Shine") -- and his umpteenth period drama, to boot.  "The wig was very important in this because I didn't want to look like Captain Hook," Rush explained. "This period of history is such a fascinating one and such a vibrant one, and you want to create a feeling that the characters are clothed and not costumed. And when I put that wig on, it felt sensual and it felt decadent. I felt like an aging glam rock star ... they were very important things, because I do approach the initial stages of a character from a strong physical basis."
    Rush, like many others, was shocked when he read the Marquis' work in college. But Rush calls his writings "toxic." "I was always intrigued, in the same way I was intrigued by Henry Miller or a comedian like Lenny Bruce. You see Richard Pryor in performance and say, 'These guys are letting their stuff out.' And audiences go, 'Yeah, we want to hear that.'"
    Among the curious celebrities who hit the red carpet were Winslet's "Titanic" co-stars Gloria Stuart and Frances Fisher; Jamie Lee Curtis, Rachel Griffiths, Billy Campbell, Tom Skeritt, Colin Farrell, Josh Brolin and Henry Simmons ("NYPD Blue").

December 2: This item was carried by WENN:
"Michael Caine Talks About Sex"
Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet and Michael Caine have been talking dirty - but it's all for a good cause. Philip Kaufman, the director of their latest film Quills, about the risque Marquis de Sade made sure he got the best performance from his stars by whispering lewd thoughts into their ears just before their take - and they loved it. Rush, who plays the sexually shocking Marquis, says he just wishes he could remember all the gossip from the saucy shoot, because it would have come in useful in later life. He says, "I wish I'd kept a notebook of the things he said because they were quite extraordinary and gleeful." But Kaufman says he wasn't unaided in stirring his actors up to their sexual peak - he had a lot of help from The Cider House Rules star Caine, who would lead discussions on sex. "Michael can tell a few stories about sex in the 20th century, that's for certain," Kaufman says. And when the sexual discussions and whisperings didn't work, Kaufman had a foolproof way to get the best out of his actors. "Philip kept telling me that the Marquis was Mick Jagger," Rush says. "That made sense."

December 2: The folks at Fox Searchlight are holding special screenings of Quills for academy and guild members on the following dates:
Los Angeles -
December 4 (6:30 & 9:00 PM) at the Directors Guild, Theater 2
December 5 (6:30 & 9:00 PM) at Raleigh Studios, Chaplin Theater
December 6 (7:30 PM) at Fox Studios, Little Theater
December 11 (7:30 PM) at Universal Studios, Screening Room 1 and at the Academy, Little Theater
December 17 (1:00 PM) at the Directors Guild, Theater 2
December 18 (7:30 PM) at the Academy, Little Theater and at Universal Studios, Screening Room 1
December 27 (7:30 PM) at the Academy, Little Theater
New York -
December 5, 6 and 11 (7:30 PM) at the Fox Screening Room

December 1: LOL - Someone at the Christian Science Monitor has counted the number of objectionable instances in Quills for their "Movie Guide":
Quills (R) - Director: Philip Kaufman. With Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Michael Caine, Joaquin Phoenix, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Malahide. (120 min.)
A melodramatic visit with the infamous Marquis de Sade, set in the Charenton asylum where he was imprisoned in the later part of his life. In many respects the movie is an exercise in Grand Guignol grotesquerie, presenting de Sade in the sort of self-consciously lurid manner associated with horror and exploitation pictures. At the same time it's a deliberately toned-down account of his outrageous ideas. The acting is passionate, but the film would be more effective if it presented a more thoroughgoing lesson in the raging horrors that swept through European culture during the era of the French Revolution.
Not for the timid, Stunningly performed, intelligent.
Sex/Nudity: 23 instances, often very graphic, including nudity. [Twenty-three?! I assure you, these do not all involve Kate, LOL.] Violence: 12 intensely violent scenes ranging from suicide to beheadings. Profanity: 14 expressions, mostly pornographic descriptons. Drugs: 5 scenes with alcohol.

November 30: Yahoo! News is one of the many news sources that has picked up the David Germain / AP "Oscar Field Weak This Year" story:
Nomination prospects could improve for standout performances by Ellen Burstyn in "Requiem for a Dream" and pop singer Bjork in "Dancer in the Dark," somber films that Academy voters might find too off-putting in other years. Likewise, the comically savage Marquis de Sade film "Quills'' and its four stars - Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Michael Caine and Joaquin Phoenix - could benefit from the dearth of more conventional Oscar movies. Studios are revving up Oscar campaigns for an anything-could-happen season.

November 30: I have posted on the "Features" page a new article by Michael Sragow of Salon Magazine. Here's an excerpt:
Geoffrey Rush: "Then I heard that Kate Winslet was interested, and I am a really big fan of hers -- I'm fascinated by her repertoire. We mutually flattered and excited one another by saying, 'Oh, I'll do it if she does it,' or, 'I'll do it if he does it.' Which is sort of real in a way, because you think that with material like this, you need a great actress like her. "

November 29: An interview with Kate that was done November 2nd was shown this morning on "The Early Show". (See "Rewind II" page for the transcript / captures I have done, along with a link to the interview on RealVideo.) Following are Kate's comments about Quills:
Kate: It's basically a take on the Marquis de Sade, I think, that no one has really seen before. Cause all we know of the Marquis de Sade is that he wrote incredibly sexually explicit, pornographic novels that were just disgusting. I mean, they were. I read some of them. They were absolutely outrageous and I had to put them down. It was that… And I don't get really shocked by things, but I was really shocked by some of the stuff I was reading. But rather than dwelling on the content of his stories, it displays a side of his life, a side of the man that I don't think we've really seen before.
Tom Fenton: [voice-over clip] Kate Winslet plays a laundry maid in the mad house where the Marquis de Sade is imprisoned. [To Kate] Well, you have a reputation as an uncompromising, very brave, straightforward actress.
Kate: Mmm, that's right [laughs].
Tom: Then, the answer is 'yes'.
Kate: Well, I do like to be straight forward and I… yeah, and being brave is very important because sometimes, you know, you can find yourself in scary situations at work, you know, when there are scenes that are difficult to do. And you can't run away from it, so you just have to go headlong into it. And I've always been like that as an actress, and I think in life as well, really.

November 28: E! News Daily had a segment last night on Quills. I have transcribed it and done a couple of captures. (Unfortunately, in the "new" clips with Kate, we only see the back of her as she is filming or speaking with Phil Kaufman.)
     
Host Steve Kmetko: As Kaufman tells Kristin Millea, with Quills, he really pushes the envelope.
Kristin: Quills revisits the story of the Marquis de Sade, an 18th-century writer whose work still evokes controvery. And that's just one reason director Philip Kaufman was attracted to the project.
Phil: I got involved because I read it and I thought it was a terrific story. It was, I thought, you know, beautiful, funny, sad, shocking, and I thought, 'I want to make a movie out of it.'
Kristin: It is a very sexual film.
Phil: Right.
Kristin: So was there a time when you were like, 'oh, maybe I should hold back a little bit,' or was it the perfect opportunity to go for it?
Phil: Well, you know, I mean, my feeling about sexuality is that we don't have enough of it in films, enough of adult sexuality, enough mature sexuality. I really think there's a big audience for that, that people like to go to movies and like to come out afterwards, go on a date and discuss things that you might want to think about.
Kristin [voice-over]: Quills will definitely give you a lot to think about and a lot to see.  [To Phil] Geoffrey Rush didn't seem to be very shy at all in showing it all.
Phil: No, Geoffrey Rush is a fabulous man, he's a fabulous actor, and the fact that he is naked for a good part of the movie, or at least half of the movie, you know, was not something that particularly shocked him. At some point, you know, Geoffrey would be just wandering around the set in what our costume designer says, 'this is your last costume, Geoffrey.'
Steve [in studio with cohost Jules Asner]: The word sadism comes from the Marquis de Sade. You knew that, Jules, didn't you?
Jules: I did know that, but you didn't tell me Geoffrey Rush was naked in the movie.
Steve: You little kitten-with-a-whip. Quills is in theaters now.

November 28: One of my news search engines turned up this item about the ages of recent Academy Award winners from Inside Film:
[W]hile no exact statistics are available, Hollywood lore and the visual evidence at Academy screenings point toward a voting pool that looks distinctly like the grandparents of the typical date-night audience… Not surprisingly, Hollywood likes its women younger, though not by much. Winners in the Best Actress category have been 36 years old, on average, while nominees have been 40. Still, after years of leaning toward more mature female leads like Susan Sarandon at 49 for Dead Man Walking, Jessica Lange at 45 for Blue Sky, and Kathy Bates at 42 for Misery, the trend appears to have turned toward youth. Hillary Swank and Gwyneth Paltrow both won at 26 in the last two years… If Academy voters swing toward the statistical norm -- as they did with Emma Thompson, Helen Hunt and Holly Hunter, all in their 30s when they won -- Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich), at 33, has an advantage, as does Hunt (Pay It Forward, Cast Away) at 37, and Juliette Binoche (Chocolat) at 35. If the youth trend holds, however, the advantage swings toward 25-year-old Kate Winslet for her work in Quills.

November 28: Film critic David Poland comments on Quills bashing in today's "The Hot Button" column for Rough Cut:
Speaking of embarrassing: I haven't had a chance to respond to Dr. Royer-Collard's... oops... Ken Turan's L.A. Times review of Quills... Disliking a movie is one thing. Hating a movie is another. But this... he was morally offended. But why? What did Quills do to Ken Turan? Turan exposes his complete lack of objectivity by turning to the cheapest of critics' tricks... he tells us what director Phil Kaufman was thinking at every turn. (This reminds me, for some reason, of the colleague who accused me of continuing to stick up for this movie because I met Phil Kaufman at Telluride... but conveniently forgot that Kaufman wanted to meet me because I had raved about his film before I ever met him or even had an inkling of the possibility of meeting him. I stick up for the movie because it is great.)

November 28: I found another article in which the writer comments on the quality of films released this year. From the Seattle Times:
With only a handful of December releases still under wraps, the Oscar field is shaping up as one of the thinnest in years… Unlike recent years when films such as "Saving Private Ryan" and "American Beauty" were early favorites, no best-picture front-runners have emerged… [T]he comically savage Marquis de Sade film "Quills" and its four stars - Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Michael Caine and Joaquin Phoenix - could benefit from the dearth of more conventional Oscar movies.
Jack Mathews writes a similar column in the New York Daily News:
    A year ago today, moviegoers were in the midst of Hollywood's annual fall flurry of prestige films, looking forward to a weekend featuring five more movies with major stars and serious Academy Award potential. The menu included the Woody Allen comedy "Sweet and Lowdown" with Sean Penn and Uma Thurman, and the dramas "The End of the Affair" with Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore, "A Map of the Human Heart" with Sigourney Weaver, "Holy Smoke" with Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel, and Anjelica Huston's Irish period piece "Agnes Browne."
    In contrast, there isn't a single new major movie on tap this weekend, nor a picture playing in theaters that veteran Oscar-watchers regard as a front-runner - or even as a major contender - for a Best Picture nomination. What's worse, neither are there many films on the December holiday schedule generating much buzz…
    Philip Kaufman's "Quills," a gutsy adaptation of Doug Wright's play about the notorious Marquis de Sade's last years in a French asylum, got mixed reviews, but what will hurt it more is its tawdry subject matter. Remember how warmly the Academy welcomed "The People vs. Larry Flynt"?
    The fall will not be shut out at the Oscars. It has certainly produced a handful of memorable performances… Geoffrey Rush as the Marquis de Sade in "Quills."

November 27: Film critic David Poland praises Quills yet again in today's "Hot Button" column for Rough Cut:
On Saturday, I saw Traffic. On Saturday night, I saw Small Time Crooks.  On Sunday night, I saw Quills for the third time, at a 9:50 pm show with tickets bought when the 7 pm show sold out… While Traffic and Quills are the most comparable of the Oscar-type pictures out there, again, they are as different as two films could be. Quills brilliantly uses classic filmmaking techniques, with Phil Kaufman at the very top of his game. Steven Soderbergh is working in all the complex and demanding brush strokes that those who saw The Limey appreciated and that so many couldn't quite pick up in Erin Brockovich. But they are here in Traffic, even though Soderbergh doesn't call attention to them. Quills is about censorship and the artistic soul of humanity and the people who fear that vulnerability in their lives. Traffic is about lives out of control, desperately trying to find direction as they search for the answer to a question they don't really even understand. Both are terribly important stories - and are entertaining - and have brilliant performances… My love for Quills has me holding off on proclaiming that Traffic is the best film of the year... at least for now.

November 27: Geoffrey Rush says people who to go see Quills for "sexual excitement" will be disappointed:
"Rush Says Marquis de Sade Had 'Raw Deal'":
    Geoffrey Rush believes the man who gave the world sadism has had something of a "raw deal". The Oscar-winning Australian star plays the Marquis de Sade in the upcoming new period drama Quills. "If you will pardon the pun, I think raw deal just about sums up the way he has been treated by history," Rush says. "He was much maligned, much misunderstood and made a scapegoat by society. If you look at the way Sigmund Freud is revered, there's no reason students and educators shouldn't feel the same way about de Sade. He was a philosopher, an experimentor, way ahead of his time. He may have been fascinated by pleasure and pain but, for him, it was about exploration and progress. The word kinky is way overused in this context."
    Still heralded for his role as a handicapped pianist in Shine, the actor also rushed to the defence of Quills which is being released in the UK in January. He says: "We really don't want people coming for sexual excitement. That kind of crowd is definitely going to be disappointed. This is about the human condition and relationships."

November 27: Geoffrey Rush sure enjoyed filming scenes with Kate! Of course, who wouldn't? Here's an amusing item from Mitchell Fink's column for the New York Daily News:
"'Quills' Star Sure Has Pluck"
Naked alert: Geoffrey Rush bares all in Fox Searchlight's new movie "Quills," in which he plays the Marquis de Sade. But to the Academy Award-winning actor of "Shine," the nudity was all in a day's work.
"I'm an actor who plays a role," said Rush at the movie's premiere last week in Los Angeles. "I like to find the playfulness of what creates the dimensions of a character. I don't shut it off instantly. I experience the pleasure and the stimulation of playing a role for the game of it." And for Rush, making out with Kate Winslet in the film was as good as it gets. "Yeah," he said with satisfaction, "that happened on Page 23. As an audience member, I've always been a fan in the dark. With Kate, I met a down-to-earth playful friend, a mate. Kate is one of the best people in the world to muck around with. Tongue-kissing her was a pleasure."

November 27: Jeffrey Wells is still deriding Quills, and I don't think he's even seen it yet! From his "Hollywood Confidential" column on Reel.com:
Forget those declarations about Quills being a "lock" for Best Picture. The critical hammering that Philip Kaufman's historical drama received from Time's Richard Schickel and the L.A. Times' Kenneth Turan may not keep it out of Best Picture consideration, but these and other condemnations - on top of the respectful but muted reactions I've picked up on my end - have made its chances seem dicey, at best. Schickel called it "soft-gore porn, obvious in its strategies, witless in the play of its ideas, absurdist only in its pretense to seriousness."
He has chosen to focus on a couple of bad reviews, even though the film has received so much acclaim from so many critics. His continued bashing of this film makes me wonder at his motivation.

November 27: From Jam! Showbiz News:
    In the wild historical drama Quills which opens in Calgary on Dec. 22 at the Globe, Kate Winslet plays a young laundress who is obsessed with the notorious Marquis de Sade. It's Winslet's first major film since her triumph in Titanic. "After Titanic, the temptation was for me to do everything because it was all being offered to me. I just couldn't believe it was happening to me," recalls Winslet, who even turned down the lead opposite Chow Yun-Fat in Anna and the King. "I only did Titanic because I loved the script and wanted to work with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jim Cameron, not because I thought it could do something for my profile.  That's how I intend to choose all my projects."
    Instead of the big Hollywood movies she was being offered, Winslet chose to star opposite Harvey Keitel in the edgy drama Hideous Kinky [oops, wrong actor, LOL]. "I'd read the novel and it was filled with incredible imagery. I thought it was so brave that someone wanted to turn it into a film.
    "I think brave scripts inspire brave performances, which is why I was so determined to do Quills."

November 27: More Quills box office - from Reuters:
Premiering in limited release, Fox Searchlight's costume drama Quills took in an impressive $239,000, according to estimates, from only nine theaters. Averaging a robust $26,571 per site, the period piece saw five-day sales of $314,000. Starring Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Caine, Quills played in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, San Francisco, and Boston and will add 13 more cities on Dec. 15 before expanding into all major markets on Christmas Day.

November 27:  Quills box office report from The Hollywood Reporter:
Opening in limited release this weekend was Fox Searchlight's drama "Quills" starring Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet. Based on the life of the Marquis de Sade, the film grossed an estimated $239,000 from nine locations, averaging an outstanding $26,556 per theater. "It's the best limited opening since 'The Full Monty' for Fox Searchlight," said Steve Gilula, Searchlight's president of distribution. "We're very pleased." "Quills' " estimated total since its Wednesday debut is $314,209. The platform release will see it add 13 cities on Dec. 15 and roughly 50 on Christmas, which will bring its theater count to 200.


November 26: Quills had a great opening weekend!
From Yahoo! News:

In limited release Quills, starring Geoffrey Rush as the Marquis de Sade, and Kate Winslet as his fetching apostle, averaged a provocative $34,889 at nine theaters. The "R" rated historical treatise, chasing Oscar attention, grossed a shiny $314,000 for Fox Searchlight in five days of release.


November 26: I have added an interesting article written by Doug Wright (screenplay author) to the "Wright Interviews" page.

November 26: Several showings of Quills were reportedly sold out in New York this weekend! In L.A., Laemmle's Sunset-5 Theatres is now showing the film on two screens due to demand.

November 25: From Yahoo! News:
Los Angeles (Reuters) - For all those moviegoers wanting the heck out of the house and away from the relatives over the Thanksgiving holiday, Disney has cooked up two major releases debuting around the country on Friday, kids movie "102 Dalmatians'' and supernatural drama "Unbreakable.'' But if a taste of Disney doesn't whet the appetite, the folks over at Fox are serving up the sexy and rather sinful little ''Quills,'' a fable centered on the provocative words of France's Marquis de Sade, in major cities. Release plans call for the movie to open across the country over the next several weeks.

November 25: From the Boston Globe:
Boston (AP) The new film about the Marquis de Sade isn't just a movie about a sadist, says its author and screenwriter. ''I wanted to write about the complicated relationship between the writer and his society, that's why it's called 'Quills' and not 'Sade,''' Doug Wright told the Boston Globe in Friday's editions. ''I hope that while Sade is our central character he invokes the specter of provocateurs as diverse as Salman Rushdie and Marilyn Manson,'' he says. ''Sade was the writer I happened to choose, but I think the movie could have been about many writers.''  ''Quills'' made its first appearance as an off-Broadway play in 1995. It earned an Obie Award for Wright, a Yale University graduate who earned a master's degree in playwriting from New York University. The film version stars Geoffrey Rush, Michael Caine, Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix. It opens this weekend.

November 24: From Popcorn News:
    Geoffrey Rush has been something of an Oscar darling since winning the little man for his role in 'Shine'. It looks like the actor might be in with another chance with his latest movie, 'Quills', which - rather aptly - held its premiere at the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences on Monday evening. Rush stars in the movie as the Marquis De Sade, possibly history's most controversial author. The French nobleman spent over 30 years in various jails and mental institutions because of his pornographic literature. While many loved Sade's tales of debauchery, others - including Napoleon Bonaparte - were not so impressed.
    Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix co-star in the movie, although neither were able to attend the premiere. Rush was the guest of honour, though, arriving with wife Jane Menelaus, who plays Sade's estranged wife in the movie. British actress Amelia Warner was also on hand to tell Popcorn about playing Michael Caine's young bride in the movie. The lack of Kate and Joaquin was made up for by the presence of Jamie Lee Curtis (who has just finished working with Rush on 'The Tailor Of Panama'), Rachel Griffiths [Kate's costar in Jude], Tom Skerrit, Toni Collette, Frances Fisher [Titanic costar] and the movie's director, Philip Kaufman.
Go to the popcorn article to view footage from the 'Hollywood' premiere.

November 24: A recommendation to see Quills from the Bergen Record:
Three 1/2 stars "Quills" -- This fictionalized account of the Marquis de Sade's final days in a French insane asylum in the 1810s are memorably evoked by director Philip Kaufman, screenwriter Doug Wright, and set designer Martin Childs. But it's the actors -- Geoffrey Rush (as Sade), Kate Winslet (as his conspiratorial chambermaid), Joaquin Phoenix (as his priest-jailer), and Michael Caine (as the doctor sent by Napoleon to undo Sade) -- who make "Quills" hurt so good. R. 125 minutes. (Bob Ivry)
A number of papers mention Quills today in "coming attractions" articles:
From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:Dec. 1  -- Philip Kaufman's latest film is called Quills and it's about the last days of the Marquis de Sade, which means it's not exactly something you might want to catch right after a big turkey dinner. Our reviewer reports it's a challenging and impressive film for adults, featuring Geoffrey Rush and the nervy Kate Winslet with Joaquin Phoenix turning in what has become his trademark creepy performance. That Dec. 1 opening date is for big markets; it's not arriving here until Jan. 5.
From the Ottawa Citizen: There are also a few art films among the contenders and, inevitably, a bit of controversy. This year it centres on Quills, the Philip Kaufman film about the Marquis de Sade and his time in Charenton Asylum. The film co-stars Joaquin Phoenix as the real-life Abbe de Coulmier, who in the film urges de Sade to write in order "to purge his evil thoughts upon the page." However, the portrayal has raised the ire of the Catholic League, an American civil rights organization that defends the Church from what it calls defamation and discrimination. The league says that the real Abbe was "an unattractive, four-foot tall hunchback who remained celibate." In the movie, it says, he is transformed into a good-looking man who is depicted having sex with a dead laundress, played by Kate Winslet. "None of this is surprising given Hollywood's fondness for Catholicism, but it is disgraceful nonetheless." Quills, inevitably, opens in Ottawa on Christmas Day.
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer: Dec. 25 "Quills." Philip Kaufman ("Henry and June") directed this film about the aging Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush), who, while an inmate at Charenton Asylum, wrote some of his most explicit erotica. Kate Winslet plays the maid who smuggles his work to the outside world.
From the San Francisco Examiner:
Quills -- This is a fictionalized version of the final imprisonment of the notorious Marquis de Sade. In the Charenton Asylum, the Marquis (Geoffrey Rush) is imprisoned and allowed to live with his furnishings and eat decent meals. He is allowed to pursue friendships with the chambermaid Madeleine (Kate Winslet) and the Abbe de Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix). When the Marquis' pornographic writings are sneaked out of the prison, printed and sold to the French populace, Napoleon orders the cold-hearted Doctor Royer-Collard (Michael Caine) to take over the asylum and break the spirit of the Marquis. Directed by Philip Kaufman. Rated R. 124 minutes. [Opened Wednesday at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas.]

November 23: I have added several more reviews since yesterday afternoon. Check them out by visiting the "Reviews" page!

November 22: Mr. Showbiz has an interesting interview with Geoffrey Rush (posted on the "Quills-Features" page). Here's a mention of Kate:
Q: Was the word "Titanic" off-limits while filming Quills?
A: As to what - my naked scenes? [Laughs] The only thought that passed through my mind was that it's great [that Kate Winslet's] playing the laundry lass. I knew she'd be down on Titanic. But no, she's a great, playful actress and likes to make her discoveries through investigation and mucking around and I found that stimulating.
Q: What made you decide to do Quills?
A: Gee, I could be cheeky and say it's the stage direction on Page 25 that said, "The Marquis tongue-kisses Kate Winslet."

November 22: Critic David Poland posted today the first of his Oscar columns, predicting nominations. Excerpts from "The Hot Button":
Picture: Quills -- "One of my big picks. A real possibility of being nominated across the board."
Director: Philip Kaufman, Quills (one of ten possibilities)
Screenplay: Quills, Screenplay by Doug Wright from his own play (a "lock")
Actor: Geoffrey Rush, Quills (one of "the likely five")
Supporting Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator/Quills (one of ten likely contenders)
Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet, Quills ("Another vulnerable category. I like all these performances... but I'm not really sure which ones will make it or if others will show up somehow. This category is probably the blurriest.")
[BTW - Poland says that Anna Paquin has a shot at a nomination in the supporting category for "Finding Forrester". If she is nominated, Kate would no longer hold the record for youngest two-time nominee.]

November 22: Listen to samples from the Quills soundtrack at amazon.com! Follow the link!

November 22: I have added several new Quills reviews today. Rather than just post links to news sites, I am taking the time to post the articles on my "Quills-Reviews" page so that you can read any of them at any time you choose. Following are a couple of excerpts about Kate's performance:
    "Kate Winslet does wonders when it comes to bringing to life the role of a prison laundress and Sade groupie. It's another of her fearless performances." -- Jay Carr, The Boston Globe
    " 'If I wasn't such a bad woman on the page,' she says, 'I hazard I wouldn't be such a good woman in life.' That I didn't groan when I heard that line is testament to Winslet's gorgeous performance, which manages to be at once ripely self-possessed (the phrase 'saucy wench' is impossible to suppress) and tremulously open. She and Phoenix make a heartbreaking match."   -- David Edelstein, MSNBC
    "And Winslet, flirtatious, conspiratorial, maidenly even at her sauciest, is pure delight. Sade is, of course, in love with her, in his own twisted way. ('You've already stolen my heart, as well as another organ south of the equator,' he assures her.) When she creeps into his cell to procure a manuscript, he holds it away from her, telling her she'll have to pay a kiss for every page. When she obliges, it's clear she's half turned-on. But she's more of an accomplice to Sade, a partner in crime, than a lover. She reads his prose aloud to her friends... with voracious joy. With her eternally flushed cheeks and excitable curls, Winslet embodies the thrill that art, at its best or its most devious, can bestow on us - a suggestion that the excitement is sometimes more valuable than the work itself." -- Stephanie Zacharek, Salon Magazine
L.A. Weekly published this great pic

November 22: From Army Archerd's column in Variety:
Parallels of the political climate were among subjects talked post-''Quills'' premiere at the Academy. On hand for the Fox Searchlight pic were director Philip Kaufman and wife (of 42 years) Rose; producers Peter Kaufman, Julia Chasman and Nick Wechsler, plus the pic's stars Geoffrey Rush and wife Jane Menelaus, Amelia Warner with Colin Farrell (''Tigerland''). Costar Kate Winslet, tending her new baby, sent love; costars Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Caine were on location (Berlin and London, respectively). Along Came Mary decked the Academy party with blood-red roses to match the ink of the Marquis de Sade's quill. And, of course blood-red roast beef.

November 22: From the UK Guardian:
    Like the first cuckoo of spring, the magic word 'Oscar' attached to film publicity heralds the arrival of the annual Academy awards spin season, even though the voting is still four months away. Just as an American presidential election campaign starts years before the actual vote - and in some cases goes on after it - so the film industry believes that it is never too early to start positioning your film and its stars as worthy of consideration for an Oscar…
    Quills, directed by Philip Kaufman and starring Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet and Michael Caine, is highly tipped for various honours provided the subject matter of the Marquis de Sade does not make the 6,000 or so academy member voters too squeamish.
    One thing is clear. If there is any dispute about the rightful winners, at least it will not be the secretary of state for Florida who will decide on how the votes should be recounted.

November 22: I found this item on Empire Online:
"Oscars Up For Grabs"
It looks very much like next year's Oscars ceremony could follow in the footsteps of the ongoing US elections, with no sign of an obvious winner to be found. The deadline for nominations is looming at just over a month away and none of the current runners appear to have the upper hand. Stateside critics have voiced concern that 2000 has produced no truly Oscar-winning movies and, with no dead cert standing head and shoulders above the others, this year's contest looks completely up for grabs. "In past years, you had an idea about what was coming out, " said one marketing executive, "but this seems to be a year where there's nothing to grab hold of. And I can't ever remember that happening."
With the last desperate rush of December releases carrying the Academy hopes of many studios, titles like Shadow of The Vampire, Chocolat, The Gift, Proof of Life, Traffic and Ang Lee's epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon are being boosted as late contenders for the Oscar gold. The year's early releases are also being resurrected, with titles including Erin Brockovich and Ridley Scott's Gladiator being bundled into `for your consideration' ad campaigns. Add to that the likes of Quills, the recently re-released Michael Douglas drama Wonder Boys and, of course, smash British success Billy Elliot all waiting in the wings for a chance to grab the prize, and the Oscar 2001 race should prove very tight indeed.

November 21: From Fox News:
"At The Movies: Capsule Reviews of New Films"
"Quills'' - An ignoble, even sordid life makes for stirring cinema in director Philip Kaufman's reasonably fearless adaptation of Doug Wright's 1995 off-Broadway play. The subject is the Marquis de Sade, though whether he's a genius or merely a gifted malcontent is one of the film's many debates. In the end, the movie comes down, unsurprisingly, on the side of freedom of speech, while offering up a cast of surprising strength. That includes Rush as a man possessed by the pen, or "quill''; Michael Caine and Joaquin Phoenix playing duelists for the marquis' depraved soul; and a radiant Kate Winslet as the asylum laundress who acts as his confidante and more. R for strong sexual content including dialogue, violence and language. 120 min.
- Matt Wolf, AP Writer

November 21:
I scanned the article about the corset Kate wears in Quills from the December issue of Premiere Magazine. (Click on the image for larger view.)
I have also typed up the interview with Rush (great quotes from Kate!) and posted the film review (thanks, Sylvia).
Thanks also to David for the tip!
November 21: From the St. Paul/Minneapolis Pioneer Planet:
Season's Screenings (11-19-2000) --
"Quills'' -- Doug Wright's Marquis de Sade play, produced in Minneapolis a few seasons back, becomes a much-anticipated drama about insanity and artistic freedom. A classy cast: Michael Caine, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix and Geoffrey Rush. Dec. 15.

November 21: Dark Horizons scored an exclusive interview with Geoffrey Rush (posted on the "Quills-Features"page). Here's an excerpt:
Despite the film's intense material, Rush sense that there was "a continual sense of playfulness" on the set, inspired by director Kaufman as well as the ensemble cast with which he worked. As conservative Hollywood can be, none of that conservatism is prevalent in Quills. The piece's tackling of the material clearly attracted Rush to become a part of it, and he willingly embraced it. "I think everyone knew that it was material that had to be met head on. I mean you could diminish the piece or the dimensions of the argument by shying away from it and delivering safe, comfortable and not very dangerous moments in performance. So collaboratively you find out where those moments are." While most films are shot out of sequence, Quills was not, which enabled this actor's actor to work methodically on the remarkable and harrowing journey that Sade undertakes.

November 21: From imdb's "Celebrity News":
Geoffrey Rush Gets Into The Mind Of The Marquis De Sade
To prepare for the role of the lascivious Marquis de Sade in the upcoming film, Quills, star Geoffrey Rush worked with a psychological advisor. He explains, "His psychosexual development as the Freudians would claim happened between the ages of four and five. You've got to find what would this guy be like if he came over to your house for dinner. How does he lie on a chaise lounge? You know there are lots of things behaviorally that you need to get in touch with. And I was interested in the tantrums, the rage, the time bomb that this guy's constantly sitting on given that he presents to you a very charming and dangerously witty persona. So there was a kind of profile there that was interesting to see what you could unleash."

November 21: Going to be on Maui during the holidays? (Mmm, sounds nice.) From the Honolulu Star-Bulletin:
For film lovers who missed the chance for an early look at likely Academy Award nominees, Maui Film Festival founder Barry Rivers has a post Christmas present: The FirstLight 2000 Academy Screenings on Maui. Dec. 27 -- 5 p.m.: "Quills" (R) Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet star in this exploration of the boundaries of creative and artistic expression.

November 21: From the San Francisco Chronicle:
"New Movies Opening This Week" --  "QUILLS" This is a fictionalized version of the final imprisonment of the notorious Marquis de Sade. In the Charenton Asylum, the Marquis (Geoffrey Rush) is imprisoned and allowed to live with his furnishings and eat decent meals. He is allowed to pursue friendships with the chambermaid Madeleine (Kate Winslet) and the Abbe de Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix). When the Marquis' pornographic writings are sneaked out of the prison, printed and sold to the French populace, Napoleon orders the cold-hearted Doctor Royer-Collard (Michael Caine) to take over the asylum and break the spirit of the Marquis. Directed by Philip Kaufman. Rated R. 124 minutes. Opening Wednesday at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas.

November 21: "Checkout" has a review of Quills (posted on the "Reviews" page). Here's an excerpt:
Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix both give the kinds of strong performances that we've grown accustomed to seeing, but Caine is not nearly devilish or threatening enough as Dr. Royer-Collard...
Perhaps expectations for such a project are bound to fall a little short, and to give the film its due, while it may not have delivered a knock out, Quills certainly does pack a solid punch.

November 20: I just watched the Quills trailer on  E! Channel's "Coming Attractions" program. It's exactly the same as the trailer on the official site, but included a bonus - comments from Kate! She was interviewed on the Quills set and was in costume as Madeleine. I've transcribed it for you and included two screen captures:
Host Todd Newton, introducing the trailer: "One of the film's stars, Kate Winslet, tells us about her character's relationship with the scandalous writer."
Kate: "She sort of his friend, his confidant, his muse, really. She's the only sort of privileged laundry lass who gets to speak to the marquis, take the linens to the Marquis de Sade, who's kind of like the Mick Jagger of the asylum. He's hidden somewhere, and he's this kind of famous, secret sort of special person that no one else is allowed to communicate with, largely because he's meant to be so dangerous. But she sort of sees him as a silly old codger."
  
Todd: "Right. Apparently, Kate's character knows how to tame the savage beast. Here's Kate in Quills."

November 20: From David Poland's "Hot Button" column on Rough Cut:
As of this writing, Steven Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich, Philip Kaufman's Quills and Gus Van Sant's Finding Forrester are the movies to beat at this year's Oscars. All three are from edgy, indie-minded but experienced filmmakers. All three are from first-time screenwriters (Susannah Grant, Doug Wright, and Mike Rich). All three have sure-bet acting nominees in lead and, probably, supporting roles. None are conventional, saw-it-coming movies. And all three are from major studios (Universal, Fox Searchlight, Columbia). Go figure.
Poland feels Rush's main competition for Best Actor is Sean Connery in Finding Forrester:
Geoffrey Rush is magnificent in Quills, and there are a boatload of great supporting performances by men this year, but the humanity of Connery is... how to describe it? You know how Connery had his Bond thing and then, starting with The Untouchables, became this tough, broguey old guy in movie after movie? You've never really seen this Sean Connery before. His vulnerability is so touching, so intimate... so real. He never hits a false note.
Note: Poland says he hasn't yet seen Traffic, Chocolat, or All The Pretty Horses.

November 20: I found another review of Quills on Dark Horizons today (posted on the Reviews page). "Eric" had this summation:
What makes this thing bearable are the performances. Winslet, Rush, Phoenix and Caine are all brilliant, as are the supporting cast of servants and loonies. This is a fable and the moral of the story is quite clear. The intensity of the film just makes the point even stronger. This is not for the weak of stomach, but is well worth the trip to the theater.

November 20: The UK Telegraph published an interview with Kate today (posted on the "Article Archive" page). Here's the portion about Quills:
Quills opens in the UK in January, but it will be a long time before she allows Mia to watch it, since it concerns the Marquis de Sade. Winslet plays a laundry maid at Charenton, the asylum where he was imprisoned. Geoffrey Rush is the Marquis, Joaquin Phoenix the priest in charge of the asylum and Michael Caine the callous government agent determined to put a stop to the Marquis's sexually explicit writings. The film contains scenes of torture and brutality, and Winslet has a sex scene with Phoenix. "That scene with Joaquin was the hardest for me to do, not just because it's a nude scene - and they're always hard to do - but because there was so much emotion in it," says Winslet. To prepare herself for the role she read some of the writings of the Marquis de Sade. "It's embarrassingly vile. I'm not easily shocked, but I was utterly outraged by it. I was so taken aback by this despicable writing but kind of amazed as well, because the Marquis wasn't just a madman, he was a troubled genius. When I read the script I thought some of the things were so disgusting they were funny."
    Phoenix, Caine and Rush did their best to bring some levity to the set. "We had so much fun," she says. "It had to be like that, because if we hadn't had a laugh we'd have been bogged down with a black, heavy story."

November 20: There's an interesting review by Tom Block (posted on the "Reviews" page). Thanks to Emmeline! Here's an excerpt:
As the young woman whose physical stature is heightened by her fantasy life, Winslet is a tower of imaginary lewdness. She looks like someone who believes in what she's doing, both as an actor and as a character, when she swaggers through the asylum's corridors; by the end of the movie you feel sated by her presence.

November 19: There's a great interview of Kate in today's New York Times Magazine. Here's the portion about Quills:
" 'Quills' was originally a play," Winslet says from London, while her 3-week-old baby, Mia Honey, sleeps in her lap. "The script was wild. It was genuinely shocking, and by that I mean it was everything vile and everything extreme and it was wonderful. I thought, It is incredibly brave for Fox Searchlight, a Hollywood studio, to make this movie. I thought, Bloody hell, they must believe in it. And I signed on."
    As the first star to commit to "Quills," Winslet, because of her clout from "Titanic," was able to get the film going. "She was my first choice," says Philip Kaufman, who directed "Quills" and is best known for directing "The Right Stuff" and "The Unbearable Lightness of Being." "Kate has the proper hierarchy of values. She has none of that movie-star stuff at all, which shouldn't be unusual, but it is. Everyone else is busy being piggies, but Kate rejects all that. She is unafraid. She looks soft, but she's not fragile. At all. And Kate has that face -- that face is better than the ship that sunk."
    "Quills" is set in an insane asylum where the Marquis de Sade has been imprisoned. Punished in 1801 for publishing pornographic novels and plays, the Marquis (played by Geoffrey Rush) lives out his days in isolated splendor, his writings smuggled out by Madeleine (Winslet), a laundress with romantic dreams. Scandalized by "Justine," Sade's latest work, France's emperor, Napoleon, sends Dr. Royer-Collard (Michael Caine) to discipline the marquis. His presence incites the entire asylum, including a priest, Abbe Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix, in a breakthrough performance), who is in love with Madeleine.
    " 'Quills' was risky," explains Winslet, whose father and two sisters are also actors. "In general, I don't think about consequences, my marketability, my overseas potential and all that. I'm looking to have some fun -- an adventure -- and this character had integrity. But there were moments. . . . " Winslet laughs again. What she is referring to is a long, very affecting passage in "Quills" that involves necrophilia. "And, well," Winslet continues, "that's a hard type of scene to do. I mean, sex with a corpse -- that's a bit much. And then you add in that it's a priest having sex with a corpse, in church. You couldn't get more controversial if you tried."
    Although she is the naked corpse, the imminent protests seem to delight Winslet. "Lying on a slab with no clothes on was hard," she says, "but the scene was not gratuitous. Everyone always asks me about nudity because I guess I've taken my clothes off in almost every movie I've done. But, in each case, the nudity has been there for a reason. Frankly, I hate every second. But I can't stand seeing a film and thinking: Why is that woman having sex in all her clothes? She should be naked."

November 19: I have typed up reviews from Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair magazines. They're posted on the "Reviews" page. Here's an excerpt from Rolling Stone:
Kaufman mines Wright's screenplay for every comic and carnal nugget. And the actors are exceptional. Winslet brings sass and spine to the role of an innocent peasant who glories in Sade's lusty prose as she pines for the celibate Abbe. And Phoenix, on a roll this year with Gladiator and The Yards, excels at making the priest a seductive figure - a neat trick considering the real Abbe was a four-foot hunchback. Winslet and Phoenix generate real fire, notably who Abbe dreams of ravishing Madeleine on the altar.

November 18: More reviews of Quills are coming in - GO!  Here's an excerpt from one by Susan Granger:
Pros: Intriguing concept, brilliantly acted by Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix
Cons: So much depravity is, ultimately, repugnant.
Geoffrey Rush performs brilliantly, particularly during the excruciating final half-hour. Joaquin Phoenix embodies the conflicted priest, and Kate Winslet plumbs the subtle nuances of her supporting role. (I assume that it was Ms. Winslet's willingness to be attached to this project that, ultimately, got it to the screen.)

November 17: Well, Amy Reiter's at it again in her Salon column (she sure loves to poke fun at Kate):
"The Naked and The Dead," By Amy Reiter
    You think your job is hard? Kate Winslet had to dabble in necrophilia for her last gig. I'm dead serious. "And, well, that's a hard type of scene to do," Winslet says in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine of her role in the film "Quills," about the Marquis de Sade. "I mean, sex with a corpse -- that's a bit much. And then you add in that it's a priest, having sex with a corpse, in a church. You couldn't get more controversial if you tried."
    Did I mention that she is the naked corpse? "Lying on a slab with no clothes on was hard," Winslet admits, "but the scene was not gratuitous." It's a distinction she believes is essential, and one that helps her get over periodic concerns that "my bum is fat. Everyone always asks me about nudity because I guess I've taken my clothes off in almost every movie I've done," she says. "But in each case, the nudity has been there for a reason. Frankly, I hate every second. But I can't stand seeing a film and thinking, Why is that woman having sex in all her clothes? She should be naked." Regardless of the size of her bum.
BTW - that part of her body isn't on display during that scene. She's right that the scene was not gratuitous. It was actually a very moving scene, beautifully shot.

November 17: OK, I'm pretty much steaming over this news. It's typical studio behavior, but infuriating, nonetheless. From David Poland's "Hot Button" column in today's edition of Rough Cut:
    THE UGLY: Andrew Hindes continues to make me look good for praising him. He broke the story on Wednesday about Talk magazine burying their coverage of Quills in favor of coverage of Miramax's All the Pretty Horses and Chocolat. The story was simple for anyone who has dealt with the publicity machine. A few months ago, Geoffrey Rush did a photo shoot and an hour-long phone interview with a Talk staffer after being told, according to his people, that an article on Rush would run in the December issue of the magazine, in time for the film's release. A few days ago, Talk informed Fox Searchlight, which is releasing Quills, that the magazine really didn't intend to do a story but rather just a photo thing with a caption, and that the piece would be pushed back until the February issue or -- when asked by Hindes -- even March. Now, if you know publicity, you know that Rush might have done a photo shoot for a photo op in Talk, but had it been intended for February, he would have done it during his current publicity push for the film, which is going on this week. And he wouldn't have done an hour-long phoner at all.
What makes all this squeevy is that Miramax owns Talk, a magazine best known to date for staff changes and excessive Gwyneth Paltrow coverage. And the argument by Fox Searchlight folks that Miramax is trying to bury the competition -- that being Quills -- seems pretty reasonable. Of course, Miramax protests. Of course, they say there is a "church and state" situation there. Of course, that is absurd. The magazine is a key promotional tool for Miramax. It's not as single-focus as, say, Sony Style, but it is clearly a Miramax publication.
    I'm also going to take this opportunity to reassert my position that Quills is not only a good movie in competition for Oscar, but that it is a major Oscar player, capable of an 11-nomination run. And I've thought so since August.
First, Miramax dropped the ball in promoting Holy Smoke, and now they're trying to force others to drop the ball in covering Quills.

November 17: From the Salt Lake Tribune:
"Holiday Films - Studios Save Best For Last," by Sean P. Means -- Director Philip Kaufman, who roused patriotism in "The Right Stuff" and aroused interest in "Henry & June," tackles the salacious satire of the Marquis de Sade in "Quills" (Jan. 5). Geoffrey Rush ("Shine") plays the lascivious scribe, fighting for his right to write smut from within the walls of a mental institution. Kate Winslet co-stars as his accomplice in this lush and disturbing drama, an early favorite for numerous Oscar nominations.

November 16: The San Francisco Gate has an interview with Quills costar Geoffrey Rush. Here's an excerpt:
Mind of a monster -- Rush's de Sade is a charmer who is ready to inflict his cruel-to-be-kind brand of seduction on any takers, including a laundress (Kate Winslet), a priest (Joaquin Phoenix) and a doctor (Michael Caine). "Is he intimidating or alluring?" Kaufman said. "Geoffrey plays that very thin line. He's all things to all sexes, and he's dangerous."

November 16: Snowflea found a review of Quills in today's New York Observer by the esteemed film critic Andrew Sarris. (I've been waiting for this one!) It's posted on the "Film Reviews" page. While he doesn't applaud the film, he does applaud the performances:
Why, then, am I so reluctant to applaud Mr. Kaufman's civic service, particularly when the performances of Mr. Rush, Ms. Winslet, Mr. Phoenix, Mr. Caine and Billie Whitelaw as Madeleine's mother are so exemplary? … As for Ms. Winslet, I am still waiting for the puritanical Oscar voters to reward her courageously full-bodied incarnations of complex women.
I hope we don't have to wait too much longer!

November 16: Two people (not film critics), who saw an advance screening of Quills, submitted their reviews to Ain't It Cool News, and they were published today. I have posted the article on the "Quills-Reviews" page.

November 16: There's a nice mention of Quills in a Philadelphia newspaper:
    Get ready for some steam heat during the holiday season with this art film that blends sexual politics, repressed politicians and enough erotic elements to make Bill Clinton blush. Despite being behind bars in a mental hospital, the Marquis de Sade (Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush of "Shine") still manages to get his highly charged S&M writings to the public thanks to a chambermaid (Kate Winslet of "Titanic") who smuggles his work out of prison. Joaquin Phoenix ("Gladiator") and Michael Caine ("The Cider House Rules") co-star in the $14 million drama.
    Why is it so promising? The tale offers a cautionary message about the evils of censorship and the importance of freedom of ex-pression at a time when politicians threaten to impose laws designed to curtail creative thought. It's also directed by the talented Philip Kaufman, whose "Henry & June" (1990), a tale about author Henry Miller and his sexual escapades, earned the first NC-17 rating in motion picture history. The 63-year-old Kaufman, whose other directing credits include "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" and "The Right Stuff," should benefit from the fireworks created by Rush and Caine.
When does it open? Dec. 15

November 16: I found this mention of Quills in a Fall Movie Preview from Las Vegas Weekly that was originally published in September:
The hands-down winner of Most Scandalous Movie this Fall has to be Quills, a tale of passion and persecution set in an asylum where the Marquis de Sade (Rush) is scribbling feverishly. Directed by the superbly talented Philip Kaufman (The Unbearable Lightness of Being), the movie features Kate Winslet as the adoring chambermaid who smuggles de Sade's steamy stories out of the institution to a scandalized society. Napoleon wants the deviant outpourings stopped, but a freethinking priest (played by Joaquin Phoenix) thinks de Sade should be encouraged, as the act of writing is known to purge the mind of evil thoughts. It certainly works for me.  -- Jeannette Catsoulis
It worked for me, too - one heck of a ride!

November 16: Here's commentary on Quills, from a September article in The Durango Herald:
"Quills" -- Will this extraordinary film achieve a huge success or simply rouse vigilant censors? Featuring Geoffrey Rush as the salacious Marquis de Sade, Kate Winslet as a laundry girl and de Sade's message bearer, Joaquin Phoenix as the abbe of an 18th-century insane asylum, and Michael Caine as a primitive psychologist, director Phil Kaufman's movie is grotesquely funny, deliciously cruel, often erotic and generally aglow with voluptuous flesh tones. The quills of the title refer, of course, to the writing pens used by the mad Marquis while composing his sex-driven narratives which are publicly condemned but privately read by multitudes. "Quills" is a hard-hitting study of human hypocrisy posing as piety.

November 15: New pic of Kate at the London Film Festival November 3rd! From Variety:



November 15:
I have scanned the article on Phil Kaufman from the November 17 edition of Entertainment Weekly magazine. It features the nice pic of Kate with Kaufman that was published in the New York Times on September 10. (Click on pic for larger version.)

This issue of EW also has the article "Contenders - Who does Hollywood want to see nominated?" There is a brief mention of Quills there: Searchlight is pushing Philip Kaufman's Marquis de Sade film Quills, featuring Oscar winners Geoffrey Rush and Michael Caine and two-time nominee Kate Winslet.


November 15: Newsday has a holiday movie preview:
"Hollywood Dishes Out Holiday Feast" -- From now through year's end, though, box-office analysts and studio executives expect audiences to crowd cinemas for a stream of big movies.  ''Everybody, even as early as late last year, we were looking at this November and saying this is going to be an incredible month, and even the whole holiday season in general,'' said Robert Bucksbaum, who tracks the box office for Reel Source Inc.
In ''Quills'' (Nov. 22), Rush stars as the Marquis de Sade, imprisoned in an asylum where a sympathetic chambermaid (Kate Winslet) smuggles out his scandalous writings for publication. Michael Caine and Joaquin Phoenix co-star.

November 15: There is an article about Quills director Philip Kaufman and film ratings in today's New York Post. As it is lengthy, I have posted it on the "Quills-Features" page. Here's an excerpt (spoiler alert!):
"Quills," which opens next Wednesday, is perhaps the timeliest movie of the year. It's about freedom of expression, explored through attempts to silence the notoriously kinky Marquis de Sade, still arguably the most controversial writer of all time. Kaufman feared the worst from the ratings board for a film that, among other things, includes a fantasy sequence where a priest (Joaquin Phoenix) makes love to a dead laundress (Kate Winslet). He was pleasantly pleased when the movie received an R. "Maybe my past battle with them put them on guard," the highly respected director (whose credits include "The Right Stuff" and the story for "Raiders of the Lost Ark") said during a recent interview in a Manhattan hotel room. "I didn't have to make any cuts at all."

November 15: My movie review search engine turned up a review posted on imdb.com. The entire review is posted, of course, on the "Quills-Reviews" page. Excerpt:
A virginal chambermaid in the institution, Madeleine (Kate Winslet), is regularly aroused by the Marquis' erotic writings, which she reads to the giggles and pique of other workers, but more important she has been smuggling the banned chapters of the Marquis' literature out of the asylum for general publication - handing the pages over to a mysterious equestrian comrade. With Napoleon himself infuriated by the novels and the Marquis' wife scandalized by the pornography, Dr. Royer-Collar (Michael Caine) is sent to Charenton to bring both the Marquis and the Abbe to heel. Most of the film deals forcefully, dramatically, and exquisitely with what happens after the Marquis is forbidden to write.

November 15: Quills opens in the Seattle area December 15. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
DEC. 15  -- "QUILLS": The Marquis de Sade's twilight years. Geoffrey Rush plays the world's most sexually notorious noble, writing away in Charenton Asylum. Kate Winslet is the laundry worker who smuggles his erotica out. Michael Caine is the doctor who wants to cure him of this nasty habit. Directed by Philip Kaufman, who did "The Right Stuff" and "Henry and June".

November 14: I found another great review of Quills. It's posted on the "Quills-Reviews" page; following are excerpts:
Everything about this film is perfect, though its audience needs to be as sharp and intellectual as the material presented… Quills is a sexual, audacious and witty film, one where all the filmmaking elements come together with graceful precision. It is a remarkable work not to be missed.
Kate Winslet is ferociously alluring as the chambermaid who falls under the Marquis' seductive spell.

November 13: The November issue of Los Angeles Magazine features a great review of Quills. Here's a portion; the entire review is posted on the "Quills-Reviews" page:
Quills is one of the most perversely enjoyable movies of the year…
Rush's partner in crime, Kate Winslet, as a laundress who is smitten with the marquis, also relishes her role. Continuing to explore the bounds of sexual liberation, right where she left off in Jane Campion's Holy Smoke, Winslet may be the most daring actress working today. In Quills, bouncing lasciviously on the dirty old man's knee, she certainly seems to be in on the joke.

November 13: Following is the brief review of Quills in George Magazine:
"George Votes For…" by J.D. Podolsky
Who would have thought the Marquis de Sade a literary hero? I had secretly lusted for Quills to be one of those debauched Barry Lyndon wannabe films solely highlighting the Marquis' unmentionable libertine life. I was happily disappointed. Quills is the right stuff. Director Philip Kaufman confronts freedom of expression, government repression and religion vs. desire. All of which occur during de Sade's imprisoned life in an 18th-century cuckoo's nest. Geoffrey Rush shines as the twisted Marquis, obsessed with penning his joy-of-sex treatises while the government is obsessed with stopping him. Michael Caine (Kaufman patterned his role on Ken Starr) is the evil moralist sent to quash Rush. Fat chance. Quills is indelible. It's etched in your memory forever.

November 13: The LA Times had a feature on Quills costar Joaquin Phoenix in yesterday's "Calendar". No mention of Kate in the article, but a color pic of Kate and Joaquin was included (the pic of the two sitting at the table, writing). Here's an interesting section about Quills:
"A Spin in the Driver's Seat" -- Tension and resistance are so endemic to Phoenix's modus operandi, according to "Quills" director Kaufman, that he tends to internalize them on the set. "There is a certain struggle he goes through before he can do a scene. He didn't want to do the read-through that we have with all the other actors. He kept saying, 'Phil, don't make me do this, man, oh man!' I said, 'Joaquin, there are going to be 25 British actors at the table and you are going to sit there and do it.' He was dragged kicking and screaming, and of course he ended up having a great time."

November 12:

A full-page advertisement for Quills appears in today's Los Angeles Times.

While it's nice that Kate was mentioned in the ad, I was a bit disappointed in the wording - "Winslet may be the most daring actress working today." Too bad a comment such as "there may be no better actress of this generation" (by David Poland), or other praise for her work in this film wasn't used as well. Hopefully, future ads will contain varied comments.
Click on pic for larger version


November 12: According to Corey Ann, Quills and Kate are mentioned in the new issue of Premiere Magazine. A review of the film and an article on Geoffrey Rush with some great quotes from Kate are included. I'll look for it tomorrow!

November 12: From a coming attractions feature in the Los Angeles Times:
"Quills"
Drama: Fox Searchlight
With: Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine.
Writer: Doug Wright, adapting his play.
Director: Philip Kaufman.
The idea: Marquis de Sade spews provocative prose while confined in Charenton Asylum.
Watchwords: Fascinating material in capable hands.

November 10: The current issue of Entertainment Weekly features the official Quills web site:

November 10: Here's a mention of Quills in USA Today:
Quills (Nov. 22). Take the framework for Shakespeare in Love but replace the Bard with a devious Hannibal Lecter-like character (without the cannibal angle) and you have the recipe for this film. Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush plays the Marquis de Sade, devilish author of sexual texts, who while locked in an asylum causes havoc by enlisting an innocent laundress (Kate Winslet) to smuggle out his writings. The movie, which also stars Michael Caine and Joaquin Phoenix, is director Philip Kaufman's first film since Sean Connery's 1993 action movie, Rising Sun.
Keep or exchange: Unlike Sun, which was quickly forgotten, Quills should attract considerable Academy Award attention. But don't bring the kids: This is for adults only.

November 9: I found this brief review of Quills in Film Threat:
"Quills" *** (3 stars out of 5) -- Reviewed by Rich Cline:
    Geoffrey Rush takes on the Marquis de Sade in Philip Kaufman's extremely theatrical take on the notorious novelist/nobleman's final years...in a wacky mental asylum. We have Kate Winslet as the naive young chambermaid, Joaquin Phoenix as the priest in love with her, and Michael Caine as the, er, sadistic doctor treating this particularly difficult patient. Rush gleefully dives into the colourful, meaty role, relishing all the innuendo and vulgarity.
     Phoenix and Winslet have more subtle characters who struggle with a myriad of internal issues. And with Oscars at either end of his mantlepiece, Caine simply goes into maniacal glowering cruise control. The film itself raises all sorts of interesting issues, and the ribaldry keeps us watching, grossing us out every now and then, just as we hope it will. But it's all so artifical and over-designed that you never believe any of it for a second.

November 9: Angie found an article about Kate on TV Guide Insider.  Here's an excerpt:
    Mia will likely be well into her teens before she's allowed to see her mother's latest film, the erotically charged Quills. Opening in limited release on Nov. 22, the offbeat pic stars Geoffrey Rush as infamous sexual maven, the Marquis de Sade. "It's very dark and sort of weird," admits Winslet, who plays de Sade's maid. "I had to do a very shocking scene with Joaquin Phoenix. It was very difficult for both of us emotionally, and even more difficult for me because I was naked. I was very lucky that Joaquin has incredible respect for women... I felt comfortable with him."
    Winslet also felt at ease with Oscar-winner Rush. "Geoffrey is the naughtiest, wickedest actor I've ever worked with," she laughs. "He will happily make his fellow actors laugh in the middle of an emotional scene. There were moments when we were all laughing so much we had to sit down and take a breather. We all behaved so badly," she adds, "but it worked because it helped us get through some of the things we had to do on camera."

November 9: I found another mention of Quills on Rough Cut:
November, and chilly breezes rush from the west: it's the movie studios combining the holiday heft of wanna-be blockbusters… Studio-supported art films like Quills curry exposure from journalists and critics -- see David Poland's Hot Button columns since Telluride on Philip Kaufman's filming of Douglas Wright's play. Although against that backdrop, the small movie seems increasingly endangered, titles good and bad keep getting released… But truly, all movies are made in the same style nowadays: work on it for years, open it on a Friday in a sea of sharks, cross your fingers, maybe pray.

November 9: A preview of Quills in Box Office Online:
Quills -- Geoffrey Rush ("House on Haunted Hill"), Kate Winslet ("Holy Smoke") and Joaquin Phoenix ("Gladiator") form a complex love triangle as the Marquis de Sade, the infamous pornographic writer here confined in an asylum; his chambermaid, who continues to deliver his popular manuscripts to the outside world; and a priest intent on saving the controversial scribe's soul. Michael Caine ("Get Carter") co-stars. Philip Kaufman ("Henry and June," "The Right Stuff") directs; Doug Wright scripts based on his stage play; Julia Chasman ("Polish Wedding"), Nick Wechsler ("The Yards") and the director's son Peter ("Henry and June") produce. (Fox Searchlight, 11/22 ltd, 12/8 exp)
Exploitips: Collaborate with a local bookstore to promote or sell de Sade's works during the run of this film. This opening may also be an opportunity to assemble a discussion panel on sexually charged material and censorship. In a 3.5-star review this month, BOXOFFICE says, "Juxtaposing such challenging themes as pornography, mental illness and religion, Wright, adapting his stage play, still manages to lighten things up."

November 8: Critic David Poland of Rough Cut, a great supporter of Quills, doesn't approve of the studio's ad campaign for the film. From his November 6 column:
"Bad Ad Watch" -- I love Quills. I believe that it will be a 7 to 11 award nominee come Oscar time. But I am not a fan of the new ad campaign. I'm not so much bothered that I got aced out on the pull-quotes, given my obvious insignificance next to the brain damage of Movieline or the feature writers of L.A. Magazine and the L.A. Times. But the tag line -- "The Pleasure Is All His" -- is wrong for this film, because what it suggests is not what the film is about. Quills is not about the Marquis de Sade debauching. Quills is about the absurdity of censorship and the behavior of those who fight in censorship's name. And, like all arguments about censorship, it is easy to defend what you like, but not what you find offensive. De Sade is the ultimate example of society's hypocrisy in censoring what it wants to maintain that it does not like. If the studio wants to make a play on de Sade's reputation, I would suggest something like, "His pain is their pleasure" or "Their pleasure is his pain" or even "He lives your pain." I don't know, exactly. I just know that selling the movie as titillation, although there are sexy and fun moments in the film, is a mistake that will leave audiences surprised and, perhaps, unhappy... even in the face of brilliant work all around.

November 8: There was an interesting article in the New York Times on the 5th about the race for Oscar:
"Hollywood Begins Stoking the Oscar Machinery"
    An Oscar campaign is not cheap. One studio marketing chief estimated that it costs from $300,000 to $500,000 to mount a campaign for a single award, say an acting nomination. Executives at two other studios, however, felt those numbers were low. One executive said that $600,000 was a bare minimum, but a studio that really wanted to put on a full-court press for a film might well spend upward of $3.5 million on a campaign, including all the ads, the cable-television specials, the screenings, the plane trips and per diems for performers, the videotapes and DVD's sent free of charge to academy voters and influential tastemakers, and the cost of keeping a movie in near- empty theaters week after week just to have it in view and justify those ads.
    Based on what they have seen at industry screenings, Hollywood observers believe that likely contenders among coming releases will be Philip Kaufman's "Quills," with Geoffrey Rush playing the Marquis de Sade; Lasse Hallstrom's "Chocolat," with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche; Michael Winterbottom's "Claim," with Wes Bentley and Sarah Polley; and the Coen Brothers' musical chain-gang comedy, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" But there are still so many unseen question marks.

November 7: An interview that Steve Kmetko of E! News Daily conducted with Quills costar Geoffrey Rush was broadcast tonight. A few clips from the Quills trailer were shown, and Geoffrey commented on working with his wife in the film. At the end of the segment, Steve said that his interview with Michael Caine will air later this week.

November 7: From the Washington Post:
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company will hold a benefit reception Monday evening in the General Cinema Mazza Gallerie following a free public screening at 7:30 p.m. of the film "Quills," starring Geoffrey Rush, Michael Caine and Kate Winslet. The movie was adapted from the play by Doug Wright about the Marquis de Sade, which Woolly's Howard Shalwitz directed in its New York and Washington premieres. Tickets to the reception start at $100 to fund Woolly's educational programs. Call 202-234-6130, Ext. 503, or e-mail woollymamm@aol.com.

November 7: There's another review of Quills on Ain't It Cool News today. (See "Quills-Reviews" page.) Here's an excerpt:
Writer Doug Wright (on whose play this film was based) keeps the actors on track with sharp and biting dialogue. Many of the words sting like sleet on your face. Every character here possesses some deviant qualities, which Kaufman exploits and puts on very public display for us to examine and judge. Michael Caine steals every scene he's in and his relationship with his 16-year-old bride is slimy and comes has an appropriate resolution. Winslet's role more or less holds things together as she acts as a go-between for the three males leads, some of whom lust after her because it is expected of them (de Sade) or because it's not expected of them (Coulmier). QUILLS is sick fun and an acting tour-de-force.

November 7: I found another new review of Quills in a film magazine. It's also posted on the "Quills-Reviews" page.
Rush couldn't be more physically wrong to play the bloated Marquis, but his performance is extraordinary - teasing, ironic, desperate and utterly unrepentant, even in extremis. Winslet is thoroughly charming as Madeleine, and Kaufman even manages to harness Phoenix's brittle, somewhat feral energy and put it to good use. And Wright has his thematic house in order: The battle over de Sade's pornographic imagination manages to echo current concerns ranging from Special Counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation of the Clinton White House to ongoing cultural debates over obscenity, art and censorship.

November 7: The Boston Globe is sponsoring a Quills Contest!
Catch Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine, and Kate Winslet on screen at an advance screening on Nov. 13 of "Quills," a film set in Paris in 1807 about author Marquis de Sade. Enter to win a pair of tickets to see an advance screening of "Quills" on November 13th at a downtown Boston theater, courtesy of Boston.com. "Quills" is rated "R."
Follow the link to enter the contest -- Boston.com

November 6: From BBC Movie News:
    Michael Caine, Kate Winslet, Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix, and director Philip Kaufman ("The Right Stuff", "The Unbearable Lightness of Being") all attended tonight's gala screening of "Quills" at the Odeon West End. We took our place amongst the largest press turnout of the festival so far, and interviewed each in turn for our video diaries. The film is an adaptation of Doug Wright's play based on the life and work of the Marquis de Sade. Geoffrey Rush, who won an Oscar for his performance in "Shine" is simply outstanding as the mad, bad, and dangerous to know Marquis.
    Kate: "It really shocked me when I read the script, and that was why I wanted to do the film, because it was daring and brave. And I think it was a lot of things that films aren't really prepared to sort of feel, to  say these days, and it was for those reasons that I wanted the challenge. And I do think that it is shocking and I do think that it is outrageous, but it's entertaining and it's funny at the same time. And it's a great story. I mean, it's just a fantastic story. Yeah, I mean, nude scenes are always difficult. I mean, I think the good thing about the nudity involved in Quills is that there's one nude scene that I have to be involved in, and it's not a sort of pornographic Marquis de Sade-type scene. And I think that's what people would expect. It's a very loving, beautiful scene between myself and Joaquin Phoenix, and, you know, we tried to laugh as much as we could, and got through it, and we were pleased with the end result."
Go to BBC Online to see a video clip of the above! The text of interviews with others is posted on the London Film Festival page.

November 6: I found this mention of Quills in an article about the London Film Festival:
    Wildly entertaining stuff. So, in a very different way, is Quills, one of two films about the Marquis de Sade at the festival. Directed by Philip Kaufman, it boasts a wonderfully wily performance by Geoffrey Rush as the incarcerated author, together with Joaquin Phoenix as the kindly abbé of the asylum, Michael Caine as the tight-lipped doctor sent in to teach de Sade a lesson and Kate Winslet as the washerwoman who smuggles his scandalous writings out.
    Who's the biggest sadist here? Is it de Sade, acting out his peccadilloes in the safety of his imagination but, perhaps, inciting others to practise what he preaches? Or the unscrupulous doctor, with his repressive regime? Or, in the age of Madame Guillotine, society itself? Doug Wright's script, adapted from his own play, is not quite sure, and the film veers between bawdy romp, florid melodrama and grisly violence. Still, it's an ambitious, beautifully shot and finely acted piece.

November 5: From a feature on Joaquin Phoenix:
Phoenix tore at his own shirt and exposed an unironed vest. The psychological striptease went even further as he remembered and re-enacted the abbé's crazed, quixotic effort to rescue Kate Winslet in Quills, discarding piety and propriety as he races to save her from flagellation. 'He sheds his armour, which is his cassock, and he runs through the rain with his shirt open, his chest bare.' By now, Phoenix had worked himself into a frenzy, ripping off clothes he wasn't actually wearing. And the end of the process was the revelation of naked, puny inadequacy. 'This guy thinks he's being so heroic, and we're going, "You arsehole". The joke of the movie is that there is no heroism in that world.'

November 5: I found interesting commentary about Quills in the New York Times:
"I'm Dreaming of a Noir Christmas. You, Too?" by Molly Haskell
    "Quills" is Philip Kaufman's antic, salubriously salacious movie about the last days of the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush), the maestro of deviancy who became synonymous with performing and writing about a sexual cruelty so extreme it can shock even our permissive age… Instead of being depressing, though, these films are exhilarating, willing to look beyond the pieties of art and creativity, the surface charms of order and civility and the cant of "family values" to a more disturbing and feverish examination of the perverse extremes of desire.
    The real crime of the charming and repellent de Sade, as imagined in Doug Wright's play and screenplay, is not so much his sexual depravity as the Marquis's casual endangerment of his few remaining loyalists in his compulsion to write and publish. Appealing supporting characters (Kate Winslet's maid and Joaquin Phoenix's priest) make de Sade seem more appealing; but their rapport only makes his betrayal of their kindnesses more horrifying, showing just how ruthless the compulsion to write can be.
    Nor are the women in these...films excluded from forbidden perils and pleasures... In "Quills," Ms. Winslet's frank virginal curiosity and Amelia Warner's panting recitation of pages from "Justine" give a portrait of an age in which sexual appetites weren't confined to men. To give de Sade credit as a liberator of women might be a stretch, but as Francine du Plessix Gray points out in her book "At Home with the Marquis de Sade," the future writer-pariah was born into a period "that might well vie with the late Roman Empire as the most debauched era of Western civilization." It was a time in which princesses and noblewomen were often as notorious for their debauches as their male counterparts.
    Indeed, in these…movies, love conquers nothing - if it even gets a toe over the threshold. And, after a campaign season in which love and kisses were flaunted as a bid for votes, a form of one-upmanship, a campaign trick, these movies are a welcome breath of foul air.

November 5: Kate's nomination for Best Supporting Actress called a "sure thing" in the The Salt Lake Tribune:
"Oscar Season Is Open Season, With Few Clear Favorites," by Sean P. Means
There is no sure bet for best picture. Philip Kaufman's "Quills," a searing drama about the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush) battling hypocrisy from inside an insane asylum, is a strong contender.
Best Actor - Probable: Michael Douglas as the addled professor in "Wonder Boys," which will get an Oscar-season re-release, and Geoffrey Rush for playing the Marquis de Sade with such glee in "Quills."
Best Supporting Actor - Probable: Albert Finney, the foil for Julia Roberts' spunk in "Erin Brockovich"; Willem Dafoe as Nosferatu in "Shadow of the Vampire"; and Joaquin Phoenix, either as the nasty emperor in "Gladiator" or the sympathetic priest in "Quills."
Best Supporting Actress - Probable: This is a weak field, with the only sure thing being Kate Winslet as the chambermaid aiding the Marquis de Sade in "Quills."
As I've commented previously, Kate's role should be considered "lead" due to the amount of screentime; however, I've heard from more than one source that the studio will probably 'market' her performance as "supporting" because they feel she has a better chance of a nomination in that category.

November 5: The Sydney Morning Herald has a feature on Joaquin Phoenix ("Following River's course"); here's an excerpt:
He appears in Quills, the story of the Marquis de Sade. Towards the end of his life, de Sade (Geoffrey Rush, from Shine) was interned in the Charenton insane asylum. "I'm the priest and administrator, an optimist and idealist, with unorthodox methods," Joaquin says. "He uses artistic expression as a means of exorcising mental illness. But underneath all his seeming contentment are strong desires." These fasten on de Sade's lusty yet virginal chambermaid, played by Kate Winslet. "If any two people should fall in love, it should be them, but this man is married to God. I'm a sex machine enclosed in this cassock. It's something that the Marquis sees in my character and tries to draw out. It's about how we repress our natural desires and how they sometimes manifest themselves in other ways that are more brutal."
This is a capture I took of Kate and Joaquin
in one of their scenes (yowie!)


November 5: There's a mention of Quills on the Canoe entertainment website in a coming attractions feature (they list a December 22 opening):
QUILLS - Geoffrey Rush plays the Marquis de Sade in his dying years. Confined to a prison, the Marquis continues to write his pornographic prose. He has strange allies in a washer woman (Kate Winslet) and a conflicted young priest (Joaquin Phoenix) and a determined foe in a new prison administrator (Michael Caine).

November 4: More Quills premiere coverage in The Sun (UK tabloid)  today:
"Star Kate's Gone Totless"
Kate Winslet went totless at a film premiere last night - by turning up without her new baby Mia.
Kate, 25, told fans it felt "really horrible" leaving Mia behind. Her trip to a screening of her new movie Quills was her first public outing since the birth.
Co-stars Michael Caine and Joaquin Phoenix joined Kate at the West End premiere.

November 4: From Sky News:
"Kate's Great - Despite Missing Mia"

Kate Winslet braved the cold to make her first public appearance since the birth of her daughter. The star thrilled crowds at the premiere of Quills, the latest movie to take centre stage within the London Film Festival. Yet wearing a black top and trousers and floor length satin jacket, she admitted it was a wrench to leave Mia behind - and confessed she was taking seven months off to spend time with her.

'Children most important thing'  -- She said: "It's horrible, really awful, she is back at the hotel with her daddy. Motherhood will always come first. Children are the most important thing to me. It's just not about being a famous actor. It's about privacy and my own life - and now Mia."

Winslet was joined by co-stars Michael Caine and Joaquin Phoenix, who larked about for the scores of gathered fans. Quills, directed by Philip Kaufman, is based on the life of the notorious Marquis de Sade, and is already attracting talk of Oscar nominations next spring. The 25-year-old Titanic star plays Madeline LeCrec, who smuggles the Marquis de Sade's last writings out of a mental asylum.
Winslet gave birth to Mia last month at a London hospital. She married husband Jim Threapleton nearly two years ago in Oxfordshire.
The London Film Festival has had a great start with British premieres for Cameron Crowe's much-hyped Almost Famous and the latest Merchant Ivory offering, The Golden Bowl.

November 4: From ITN News:
"New Mum Kate Winslet Steps Out"
    New mum Kate Winslet was all smiles when she made her first public appearance since the birth of her daughter - but said she hated having to leave baby Mia at home. The Titanic star was in London's West End for the premiere of her new movie Quills.  Her smile was beaming as she arrived at the Odeon West End in Leicester Square wearing a black top and trousers and floor length satin jacket. But she said it was "horrible being parted" from little Mia, who was born just three weeks ago and who was being looked after by her father, film director Jim Threapleton. "It's horrible, really awful, she is back at the hotel with her daddy," Winslet said. While she enjoyed working on the film she now intended to take seven months off to spend some time with her husband and new born child. "Motherhood will always come first," she said. In the film, about the Marquis de Sade, Winslet plays a chambermaid.
    Quills also stars Sir Michael Caine and Geoffrey Rush and was directed by Philip Kaufman. Sir Michael said he had very much enjoyed working on the rather "dark" movie. It also stars the brother of River Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, who said it was a "real honour" to work with such a distinguished actor as Sir Michael.
    The premiere was screened as part of the 44th London Film Festival.

November 4: From Yahoo! News -- Kate talks about her "perfect family":
"Kate Winslet tells of her changing priorities"
    LONDON (Reuters) - Actress Kate Winslet, star of the international blockbuster "The Titanic", has made her first public appearance since the birth of her daughter Mia three weeks ago. The 25-year-old star, who is married to film worker Jim Threapleton, 26, was attending the premier of her latest film Quills at a London theatre.
    Winslet told Sky News that her daughter would always come first. "Children are the most important thing to me," she said. "It's not about being a famous actor, it's not about working all the time -- to me it's always been about privacy and my own life and now especially having Mia that's the most important thing and that should always come first. Winslet is taking a seven-month break from her acting career to be with her baby.
    Quills, which also stars Geoffrey Rush and Michael Caine, is based on the final years of the Marquis de Sade, when he was imprisoned in a lunatic asylum for writing about sexual perversion and torture. Winslet plays a maid who helps smuggle de Sade's writings out of the asylum.
    On Friday, Winslet said Mia had inherited her eyes and nose. "The rest of her is Jim -- her eyes and her expressions are very definitely Jim's," she told the Daily Mail. "She's gorgeous. It's the most amazing thing. Before it was just Jim and me and now it's Jim, me and Mia and it feels the most natural thing in the world -- the perfect family."

November 4: From today's UK Times:
"Winslet's Best Role is Being a Mother," by Elizabeth Judge
Kate Winslet, the actress, arrived at the premiere for her new film last night and confirmed the latest fashion for Hollywood actresses - motherhood. Making her first public appearance since the birth of her daughter, Mia, Winslet, star of the film Titanic, said that she did not like being parted from her child. "It's horrible, really awful, she is back at the hotel with her Daddy," she said.
In Quills Winslet plays a maid who helps to smuggle the Marquis de Sade's erotic literature out of an asylum. It also stars Sir Michael Caine as a doctor and Geoffrey Rush as the marquis. Winslet said that although she enjoyed filming, motherhood would always come first. She intends to take seven months off to spend time with her husband, the film director Jim Threapleton, and their daughter.

November 3: Pics from the Quills premiere in London! (More pics in the two stories posted below and on Empire Online .)



November 3: News of Kate's appearance at the London premiere of Quills, from Ananova:
     New mum Kate Winslet was all smiles as she made her first public appearance since the birth of her daughter - but she said she hated having to leave baby Mia at home. The Titanic star was in London's West End for the premiere of her new movie Quills. Her smile was beaming as she arrived at the Odeon West End in Leicester Square wearing a black top and trousers and floor length satin jacket.But it was "horrible being parted" from little Mia, who was born just three weeks ago and who was being looked after by her father, film director Jim Threapleton. "It's horrible, really awful, she is back at the hotel with her daddy," Winslet said. While she enjoyed working on the film she now intended to take seven months off to spend some time with her husband and new born child. "Motherhood will always come first," she said.
    In the film about the Marquis de Sade, which was being screened as part of the 44th London Film Festival, Winslet plays a chambermaid. Quills also stars Sir Michael Caine and Geoffrey Rush and was directed by Philip Kaufman. Sir Michael said he had very much enjoyed working on the rather "dark" movie. It also stars Joaquin Phoenix, who said it was a "real honour" to work with such a distinguished actor as Sir Michael.

These pics taken at the premiere are from Reuters News service:
British actress Kate Winslet arrives for the premiere of their new film "Quills," at the Odeon West End in central London, November 3, 2000. She stars with Michael Caine, Geoffrey Rush and Joaquin Phoenix in a film about the life of the Marquis de Sade. REUTERS/Michael Crabtree
Actors Michael Caine (L) and Joaquin Phoenix arrive for the premiere of their new film "Quills," at the Odeon West End in central London, November 3, 2000. They star with British actress Kate Winslet in a film about the life of the Marquis de Sade. REUTERS/Michael Crabtree


November 3: From Empire Online's festival coverage:
    Crawling through the crowds at the World Premiere of Quills in London tonight, Empire Online managed to snatch time with the stars of the movie, including Kate Winslet, Michael Caine and Geoffrey Rush.

First off was Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush, who plays the Marquis de Sade in the movie. 'There's a dimension to a character like this,' he told us. 'He comes with a tabloid reputation that's unavoidable. He was known for his wild and excessive debauches. It's the kind of role that will come along in your career very rarely where you get to play those sort of extremities.'
Asking about his next movie, called Lantana, he told Empire Online; 'Its's a kind of scrappy bush that grows in Australia. It has thorny, nasty branches with a beautiful flower, so it's sort of a metaphor.' The movie begins shooting in Australia in a couple of weeks. 'I play a professional lawyer,' said Geoffrey, 'he and his wife have lost their child in rather grisly circumstances so it's an exploration of their relationship held together by grief. It's a winner!'


Next up was the emminently affable Michael Caine. We asked him what was more of a challenge, playing the saintly Dr Larch in Cider House Rules or the evil doctor in Quills. `I enjoy the bad doctor more,' he told us, `because I'm a very good man, so I empathise much more with the doctor in Cider House Rules. This one was someone completely against my own nature. 'The message [of the film] is about individual freedom. I think [De Sade] should be free to write his books, and I should be free not to read them, because the people who try to stop you reading his books usually have a book they want you to read like Mein Kamp or Das Kapital.'
So what's he working on next? 'I've been working all day on a movie called Last Orders. It's a small group British picture with Ray Winstone, Helen Mirren, Tom Courtenay, Bob Hoskins and David Hemmings…We've been filming in a pub in Clapham so I've been drinking alcohol-free beer all day.'  


Last, but by no means least, was the lovely Kate Winslet, come straight from her most important role as the nursing mother. 'What attracted me to the movie,' said Kate, 'is that [my character] is the moral centre of the movie and you really need her at the end to be a part of this story because she's so vulnerable and so innocent. I love the fact that she's different to every role I've played before. I don't think people would expect to see me playing a scrubber and it was for that reason that I wanted to do that.'



November 3: As I mentioned yesterday, Empire Online is following the events at the London Film Festival --
What's happening? The Quills premiere tonight looks like being one of the more star-studded nights of the festival with Kate Winslet, Michael Caine, Geoffrey Rush and Joaquin Phoenix slated to attend. Empire Online will be giving you the skinny on what happened, later on.
I hope all those Kate fans who are hoping to gain entrance to the theatre to see Quills tonight succeed and have a wonderful time!

November 3: From the UK Fox Movie Club (in an email sent to members):
QUILLS - European Premiere 3rd November - London Film Festival -- Certificate - 18 --
Starring Kate Winslet, Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Caine
Directed by Philip Kaufman ("The Right Stuff")
A Catholic Priest is drawn into the provocative and dangerous world of the
Marquis de Sade, as he and the Marquis vie for the soul of a beautiful young
woman. The priest discovers too late that the Marquis' decadent and
inflammatory writing can have tragic repercussions, forcing him to confront
disturbing questions about freedom of expression and moral responsibility.
See the trailer at http://www.fox.co.uk/quills

November 3: I found a review of Quills in The Guardian and posted it on the "Quills-Reviews" page. Here's an excerpt:
The least you can say about Quills is that it tackles contentious material with which Hollywood wouldn't dirty its hands. Its tendency to sensationalise, sometimes in full Hammer-horror style, is at least in keeping with that audacity. Flamboyant performances from a deluxe cast - also including a barely recognisable Billie Whitelaw - mix dignity and full-blooded excess, stopping the film from spelling things out too schematically. Salo may still be the most challenging screen treatment of the Marquis' writing, but Quills is a bold attempt at a dark, provocative and hardly sedate Sade.

November 2: Empire Online is following the events at the London Film Festival as they unfold. A special page has been created, and features a pic of Kate as Madeleine:
The highlight of the British movie calendar is once more upon us and this year's festival is shaping up to be bigger, better and more exciting than ever before. The phenomenal line-up of films includes Cameron Crowe's latest masterpiece Almost Famous, Kate Winslet and Geoffrey Rush's Oscar-touted period piece Quills and Ang Lee's epic fantasy Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Couldn't get tickets? Well do not despair, we'll be bringing you the inside track from behind the velvet curtain and over the next two weeks we'll bring you daily updates with news, gossip and pictures of the stars. So, make yourself comfortable while Empire Online presents your personal pass to The Regus 44th London Film Festival.
I'll be checking the site regularly for news/pics of the Quills premiere Friday!

November 2: I found a very entertaining review of Quills on Ain't It Cool News. It's posted on the "Quills-Reviews" page. Following is an excerpt:
The plot concerns the twilight years of the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush, doing a Casanova Frankenstein with good dialogue), when he was locked in a French asylum, whiling away his time staging plays with inmate talent, and writing his most famous works, smuggling them out with the help of a maid (Kate Winslet, who gets yummier and yummier despite what the skeleton-worshipping fruits over at Us magazine say).
[N]one of that's going to do the job of GETTING YOU TO SEE THIS MOVIE, which you should. Because it's more fun than a box of bon-bons shaped like t****.

November 2: From the UK Independent:
"Film Festival Reels in Allen, Mamet and Young Brits"
    The latest Woody Allen movie, a new film from David Mamet and a host of screenings by British talent are among the highlights of the London Film Festival. Now in its 44th year, the festival has in the past been hit by financial crises and unforgettable boobs such as the opening night gala when Sir Richard Attenborough gave a speech about the uniqueness of being in a cinema and how video could never compare - and the projector immediately broke down.
    But while the LFF still cannot boast the international kudos or glamour of Cannes or Venice, its eclectic selection of new films this year - the largest in the history of the festival - has caused a buzz in the capital.
    Between last night's rock'n' roll movie from Cameron Crowe and the closing British film Born Romantic in two weeks time from writer director David Kane, also set in the world of music and dance, the mix includes Woody Allen's Small Time Crooks with Hugh Grant, Mamet's State And Main with Alec Baldwin, and Quills, a film about the Marquis de Sade with Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet and Michael Caine.

November 1: I found a review of  on the "Rotten Tomatoes" site, written by Michael Rechtshaffen for the Hollywood Reporter. (Oops, I guess he ignored the request of the Festival PR firm to hold reviews until the film's theatrical release.) Rechtshaffen doesn't care much for the film, but has nice words for Kate, saying that Madeleine is "played to perfection by Kate Winslet" and "Winslet manages to instill nice complexity into the role of the woman who aids and abets the Marquis' cause."
The review is posted on the "Quills-Reviews" page.

October 31: Some people are wondering about the lack of reviews written by critics who  attended the LA "Fest 2000" screening of Quills. There's a good reason for this. A memo was distributed at the festival; here's an excerpt:
"Hold Review List" -- We respectfully request that reviews for the following films be held for their theatrical release: "Before Night Falls"; "Me & Isaac Newton"; "O Brother Where Art Thou?"; "Quills"; "Taboo"; "You Can Count On Me"; "Naked States".

October 31: You know that I've stated that Kate's role in Quills is a "lead" role and that I'm very interested in how Fox Searchlight will "market" her performance. I've also mentioned that I feel she has a better chance at a nomination in the supporting category. (The Academy members are free to choose which category, no matter how much screen time a person has.) I read an interesting comment on an industry mb this morning, and wanted to share it:
"Winslet is being pushed for supporting actress… Add Winslet here and give her the award. She's as close to a sure thing as there is this year."

October 31: BBC News lists Quills as one of the highlights of the London Film Festival:
The 44th Regus London Film Festival (LFF) opens on 1 November with almost 200 feature films from all over the world on show. BBC News Online helps make choosing what to see a little easier with a pick of some of this year's festival highlights.
Quills is a sumptuous, thought-provoking period drama about the life and work of the Marquis de Sade. Star attraction comes from Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix and Sir Michael Caine.

October 31: Kate's Quills costar Joaquin Phoenix is featured in a BBC News article:
Willie [The Yards] couldn't be more different from his role in Philip Kaufman's period drama Quills. Phoenix plays Abbé Coulmier, the sympathetic priest who seeks to bring about the spiritual redemption of the Marquis de Sade in the lunatic asylum where he resided in the last years of his life.  "I thought it was the best screenplay I had ever read," says Phoenix, who was particularly taken by the Abbé's complicated interaction with the Marquis, played by Geoffrey Rush. He adds: "They have a wonderful relationship, one of differing views, cordial debate and great banter. But where they start and where they end up are two totally different worlds."
His Quills co-star, Kate Winslet, has described him as "one of the best actors of my generation".

October 30: From the UK Independent:
    The widely anticipated film about the Marquis de Sade's final days, Quills, is littered with A-list stars, including Kate Winslet, Michael Caine and Geoffrey Rush. But the real buzz is aimed at 17-year-old British actress Amelia Warner, who plays Simone, the impressionable wife of the Marquis' physician Dr Royer-Collard. Plucked from the Royal Court Youth Theatre, Warner has appeared in Kavanagh QC, Casualty and, most recently, as a kidnap victim in BBC1's thriller Waking the Dead. Nothing like a bit of sexual intrigue to lighten things up.
    "Quills" opens at the London Film Festival on 3 November.
Doesn't this item seem like a plant from Ms. Warner's PR people? She is certainly fresh and appealing, and gave a good performance, but not an outstanding one (IMHO).

October 30: There's a mention of Quills in The Spokesman-Review:
"Season's Screenings"
November 22 -- "Quills" Set in 1807, this Philip Kaufman film is based on the stage play about the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush), his stay in an asylum and the writings that greatly vex the French authorities. Also starring Joaquin Phoenix, Kate Winslet, Michael Caine.

October 29: There is a brief mention of Quills in an article about coming attractions in the NYPOST:
There's mixed buzz about "Quills," a Nov. 22 costumer directed by Philip Kaufman about the Marquis de Sade, the notorious literary nihilist of revolutionary-era France (starring Michael Caine, Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix).

October 27: I have written a description of the AFI "Fest 2000" closing night events, along with my thoughts about Quills and Kate's performance. It's posted on the "Quills-Reviews" page. As always, if you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to email me. (I've been busy answering questions about various scenes all day, but enjoy discussing this film!)

October 27: Last night was a big night for me -- the premiere in LA of Quills! The film was wonderful, a great achievement for all involved, and the after party was great! Another Oscar-worthy performance by Kate! The courtyard at the Egyptian Theater was lined on both sides with posters on easels. There were several Quills posters - head-and-shoulders shot of Kate sitting of Rush's lap on a black background, credits across the bottom, excerpt from a review at the top. There were also posters of the various magazine articles about the film, so guests could learn more about the film before seeing it. I'll post a few comments about the film and the reception later today.

October 27: The AFI "Fest 2000" site had a link to a video interview with director Philip Kaufman. It was taped at the premiere last night. Here's the transcription:
[Host] "Philip Kaufman's latest film is about the Marquis de Sade, entitled 'Quills'".
[Kaufman]: "This is a Fox Searchlight film, so it's done for what would be called a reasonable budget. It's, I would say... You know, it's a period film and so forth, but it was done for about a third of what Shakespeare In Love was made for. And yet we had a lot of the very same people who worked on Shakespeare in Love. So, a lot of the people who won Oscars, composers and so forth. It's just a thrill to shoot over in London where actors and everybody will work for minimal wages just to be involved in a project that they really believe in."
[Host] "The screenplay for Quills was adapted by Doug Wright from his Obie-award winning play. The action takes place deep within the corridors of the Charenton Asylum."

October 27: Here are two interesting messages from an industry messageboard:
"I pray to god the supporting actress Oscar will go to a REAL actress like Julie Walters or Kate Winslet."
"You guys keep pronoucing Kate Winslet as a Supporting Actress possibility, whilst the rest of the media buzzes that she'll be a Lead Actress possibility. Of course, I haven't seen Quills yet, but considering she's the top-lined female star of the film, as well as a previous Best Actress nominee for the highest grossing film of all time, if she's nominated I think she'll be in the Lead category. "
I agree with the second comment -- Kate's role is definitely a "lead", IMHO. I'm anxious to see the award "campaign" for this performance!

October 27: Two actors in Quills are on Jeffrey Wells (Reel.com) list of Oscar contenders:
The subject for today is the likely nominees for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor…
Best Actor Likelies -- Geoffrey Rush in Quills (as the Marquis de Sade). One person's opinion: "Some people really like him in this, but I found him a little over the top. If you're going to make it with the Academy, you should either surprise people or best yourself, and Rush already did 'manic' in Shine." My view: As with the film, I greatly respect Rush's performance in Quills - but I feel zero enthusiasm. Mitigating factor(s): Quills is being viewed in some quarters as a tough sit.
Best Supporting Actor Lock-- Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator, Quills, The Yards. One person's view: "He's had quite a year. The only tricky part is deciding which performance stands out. I'm guessing it'll be for Gladiator." My view: Ditto. Mitigating factor(s): None.
I don't understand the "tough sit" comment at all, having just seen the film last night! It certainly wasn't a tough sit; it was much more entertaining and less "preachy" than I had thought it would be.

October 26: From the Star-Telegram:
    Hollywood usually doesn't have much to tell us about the world of labor unions and striking workers; after all, this is an industry designed to distract us from the everyday turmoil of the real world. But beginning May 1, you may begin seeing picket signs beneath the palm trees. That is the date of a threatened strike by the Writers Guild of America -- the labor union that represents more than 8,000 film and television writers. A month later, the Screen Actors Guild, which last week ended a five-month commercial-actors strike, is also expected to walk out. The combined effect? A veritable shutdown of Hollywood, with no new scripts, no new movies and no new TV shows for as long as it takes to resolve the issues at hand.
    "My first movie is coming out in November," says Doug Wright, the screenwriter of Quills, which is based on his play and which stars Michael Caine, Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet. "So I'm more employable than ever before. And the specter of a strike is disheartening to me." Wright adds that with the strike looming, he isn't able to live the life of the overpaid Hollywood scribe. "I am thinking in more frugal terms," he admits. "I had planned a vacation for the spring, and I've tabled that for now. I was also looking to buy an apartment in New York, and I decided to continue renting."

October 26: There's a mention of Quills in an article on Indiwire:
The [AFI] festival closes tonight (Thursday) with a Gala awards ceremony, with prizes being doled out in the international and documentary competitions, as well as audience awards. Following the ceremony, the festival will screen the premiere of Philip Kaufman's Marquis de Sade story, "Quills," with a reception afterwards at the Egyptian Theater.

October 25: From an interview with Joaquin Phoenix:
"Phoenix Rising," by Marianne Grey --
Next comes Quills - also showing in the London Film Festival - with Kate Winslet and Geoffrey Rush. "It's based on a play about the Marquis de Sade with historical characters and events," he explains. "It's quite humorous for the first half with a twist in the last half. I play the priest and administrator of Charenton asylum, a man who is repressing his very strong desires for the chambermaid, played by Kate Winslet. There are no sweaty sex scenes. Just half-sweaty sex scenes! Kate's character and my character are made for each other. You really want them to fall in love and be lovers but this man is married to God."

October 24: A mention of Quills in the Independent (10/22 issue):
On the horizon are two new films about Sade himself. There's Philip Kaufman's Quills, a Hollywood offering with Geoffrey Rush as the Divine Marquis and Kate Winslet as the compliant laundress who befriends the ageing prisoner. Benoit Jacquot's Sade, a French production, fields Daniel Auteuil as the Marquis in a younger, more soulful incarnation. Both are being screened as part of the London Film Festival, but don't bother trying to get tickets for the screenings - they're already sold out.
Why should this bloated, obnoxious aristocrat, utterly a product of his times, end up a cultural icon today? It's partly because he can be endlessly redefined and appropriated by successive generations…
The entire article - "Marquis Mania: He's Back" is posted on the "Quills-Features" page.

October 22: There's a nice feature on director Philip Kaufman in today's "Calendar" section of the Los Angeles Times. It's posted on the "Feature Stories" page. Here's a brief excerpt:
    Most of the humor, and the considerable entertainment value of "Quills," resides in its tumbling, exuberant use of language. Rush, Winslet, Caine and Phoenix play off each other with the virtuosity of tight string quartet. This film is about the power of words, as much as anything: The marquis is drunk on them, and Napoleon and his minions are terrified of their subversive tendency to undermine the moral fiber of society.

October 21: Kate talked about Quills during her interview with producer Lynda Obst for Interview magazine:
Obst: Have you seen your new movie, Quills? I've heard great things about it.
KW:  I love it. I love it because it is outrageous, because it is so bold, and it's full of a lot of things that studios would be afraid to put into movies these days. I really wanted to be a part of it because it was so daring and diabolical and disgusting and outrageous and hilarious at the same time. It's really a testament to how brave we need to remember to be when making movies. It's important to keep taking risks.
Obst: And I've heard that love scene with Joaquin is way out there!
KW: It was! And it was shocking to watch it, even though I acted in that scene. When I came to see the final cut of the film, I just couldn't believe it! My heart was in my mouth.

October 19: I found this mention of Quills in David Poland's "Hot Button" column today on Rough Cut:
"Kauf-In Corner": Philip Kaufman appears to be "the new" Fox Searchlight's first in-house director. With Quills about to be released -- and likely to garner a boatload of Oscar® nods -- the studio just gave him the reins on Killer Spy, a Peter Mass book that tells the true story of Aldrich Ames, the CIA counterspy. Don't look for the film to start production until after the strike.
I certainly hope David's many predictions about Quills getting several Oscar nominations is true! It's looking more likely as the year winds down and several films originally scheduled for release in 2000 have been pushed back to next year.

October 18: The editors at Mr. Showbiz rate the Oscar chances of Quills as follows -- Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay = "Sure Thing"; Best Picture, Director = "Contender".  Take part in the poll, "How badly do you want to see this movie?" at Quills.  (Thanks to Azur for the reminder; I haven't looked at that page for a while.)

October 18: Here are excerpts from today's "Hot Button" column on Rough Cut by David Poland:
...And everyone seems to be trying to get revved up for Oscar®. But we can't! There aren't any damned movies to get excited about!… And so everyone and their art film thinks they have a shot at a nomination. And they may be right!
If ever there was a year where a private campaign will probably be worth the money, this one is it! There are no mortal locks this year, with even the obvious choices getting odd looks from some people…Quills is a great, important film. But will Oscar voters be turned off by the edge of the film? I don't think so, but some do...
It's not a great time to rant or rave about Hollywood. I've worn out the rage about the WAH! Petty journalistic infighting just isn't all that interesting, even to me. Movies that seemed sure to be classics have fallen away like so many Winona Ryder boyfriends.

October 13: More talk of an Oscar nomination for Kate! I found this item in the Jeffrey Wells column for Reel.com:
In the Supporting Actress category, we've certainly got Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand in Almost Famous. Both are excellent and should both be nominated, even if they wind up cancelling each other out.  There's also Julie Walters' chain-smoking ballet instructor in Billy Elliot. I also expect a nomination for either Kate Winslet or Billie Whitelaw for their roles in Quills. Ellen Burstyn is superb as an addicted mom in Requiem for a Dream, but the film's a tough sit. I'm also hearing that Judi Dench gives a tasty supporting performance in Chocolat.

October 13: Thanks to Sarah (aka "abbagirl") for this tip on the kwhotline -- CDNow lists an "expected" release date of November 21 for the Quills soundtrack.

October 13: Tara B reports that Quills is mentioned in the November issue of Elle magazine:
"Poetry in Motion: Phoenix and Winslet in Quills" -- This frequently witty former play about the Marquis de Sade eventually reduces the nastiest noble since Vlad the Impaler to a poster boy for free speech. But there's suitably wicked fun along the way, much of it had by Kate Winslet's luscious laundress, Joaquin Phoenix's passionate priest, and Geoffrey Rush's malicious marquis.
[The pic used is the one of Kate and Joaquin sitting at the table, writing.]

October 13: I emailed Garth of Dark Horizons yesterday with news of the added features on the official Quills site, and broke the news to the Kate cyber community. Garth placed the following item on his news page today:
Quills: The official site is now open for this period piece and aside from some clever animation, there's a few sections which you have to be 18 or over to view as there's, gasp, some possible nudity and lewd language. Of course when things get to such a base level, its up to DH to help push things even further down (its not a job - its a responsibility) and so I've included a link to a short clip from the film, probably the only minute of footage clean enough for general audiences, with thanks to 'filmlover2' and Discover Kate.

October 12: The official Quills  site has been expanded today! New features include the trailer and the 'trade a kiss for each page scene'  Yowie!  Check it out!

   
   


October 12: Quills got a mention on the Dark Horizons film news site today (thanks, Garth!):
Quills & Men of Honor: Perverted genius or anarchic madman? The Marquis De Sade was a rather strange individual and now a movie about his life with Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet in the leads. Here's some stills from both it and the new Robert DeNiro/Cuba Gooding Jr. navy diving drama "Men of Honor". Thanks to Movie-Inside.
[The 'stills' mentioned are two pics that aren't new to us - the one of Kate and Joaquin sitting, writing, and one of Geoffrey Rush.]

October 11: There was more discussion today on an industry mb about which category Kate's Quills role falls into ('lead' or 'supporting').  (I feel she has a better chance for a nom in the supporting category, but I imagine that her 'people' may push for a 'lead' campaign.) The good news is - many people are still predicting a GG nomination. The bad news is - and I've commented on this before - confusion over categories may result in not enough votes in either -- unless Fox Searchlight's 'campaigning' is vigorous. I can't wait to see the ads in the trade papers!

October 7: The AFI "Fest 2000" site has been updated today. (Yes, I do check the festival sites daily for updates, LOL.) The program for the fest has been added. This pic of Kate with director Philip Kaufman appears in the program. Go to my AFI "Fest 2000" page for more!


October 6: The London Film Festival site has been updated. Following is the program listing for Quills:
SKY MOVIES GALA - Quills
Fri 03 Nov 20.45 Odeon West End 2
Screenwriter Doug Wright, has adapted his own play about the life and work of the Marquis de Sade whilst he was imprisoned in an asylum for the insane in Paris in 1807. In the hands of distinguished director Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff, The Unbearable Lightness of Being), the result is a challenging, ambitious and thought-provoking exploration of creative expression and sexual identity. Geoffrey Rush, who won an Oscar for his performance in Shine, is simply outstanding as the mad, bad and dangerous to know Marquis, who attempts to outwit and usurp his captors. Michael Caine is enjoyably vicious as his chief tormentor, whilst Kate Winslet is admirably engaging as his chambermaid ally. Joaquin Phoenix is also excellent as the sympathetic priest who is caught in a terrible dilemma of conscience. Quills is a highly intelligent, sumptuously staged period drama that takes its subject matter very seriously, albeit with subtle touches of black comedy. It also should be pointed out that, although Quills is not, in any way, a salacious movie, in tackling de Sade and his work, it does not shy from referring to - or depicting - elements (sometimes shocking) of the Marquis' ideas and writings. We are, therefore, delighted to present the world premiere of Quills.
Adrian Wootton
[This showing isn't actually the "world premiere".] Read more about the London Festival on my festival page.

October 6: I found this mention of Quills in the Jeffrey Wells weekly column on Reel.com:
"Players On The Bench" --     
    There's good stuff yet to come, but the ingredients in the more promising titles may be too modest or edgy to stir widespread acclaim. There are a couple of possibilities, however.
    The very fine Billy Elliot, the Universal Focus release that's been doing almost Full Monty-level business since its London opening last Friday, is one of the few definite high-quality, critically approved, Oscar-worthy films yet to open. It debuts next Friday (10/13).
    There's Quills, of course - a joyless, unlovable prison-term of a movie that nonetheless deserves respect. And Kenneth Lonergan's You Can Count On Me, Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls, David Mamet's delightful State and Main, and a personal favorite, Dancer in the Dark.
    The rest are either unknown or dicey-looking, or appear at this stage to be too escapist or mass-market to be called truly nutritious.

October 4: A Quills trailer was shown on E! News Daily this evening. I have posted screen captures and a transcript HERE!

September 30: I scanned the item on Quills from the September 29 issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine:

September 27: Jeffrey Wells mentioned Quills again as an Oscar contender for Best Picture in his "Hollywood Confidential" column:
The highbrow know-it-alls will be pushing Quills, the acclaimed Phil Kaufman film about the Marquis de Sade, for Best Picture and a bunch of other awards. Having seen Quills, I can say it deserves every honor its admirers might want to bestow — it's a well-made, meaningful, first-rate film. It's also, in my opinion, a marginally unpleasant sit. It is rewarding in every respect except the watching of it.

September 26: Quills will play at the American Film Institute "Fest 2000"! I found this item on Yahoo! news:
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Joel and Ethan Coen's ''O Brother, Where Art Thou?'' will kick off this year's American Film Institute Festival, to be held Oct. 19-26. A tribute to filmmaker Philip Kaufman (''The Unbearable Lightness of Being'') and the L.A. premiere of his period picture ''Quills,'' which stars Kate Winslet, Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Caine, will cap the fest, the AFI announced Monday.
    Here's info from the AFI site:
Awards Ceremony & Closing Night Gala - Egyptian Theatre - Thu, Oct. 26 - A festive ending to the week-long events. Awards will be followed by the premiere of QUILLS directed by Philip Kaufman and gala reception.
    A pic of Kate is featured on the official AFI "Fest 2000" poster! Go to my "Quills at Fest 2000" page for more!

September 22: There's a mention of Kate and Quills in a San Francisco Chronicle item about Joaquin Phoenix, in which Phoenix comments on working with director Kaufman:
"Phil was averaging three hours sleep during filming," Phoenix said. "The rest of the time, he was coming up with ideas for the cast (including Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet and Michael Caine). Phil surprised me with something new every day."

September 21: I purchased the October issue of Movieline magazine (George Clooney cover). Quills is discussed in the Oscar Bait 2000 article, and Kate's name is listed on the cover as Oscar bait. Read the article and view the cover.

September 19: The latest results from an industry insiders' poll on probable Oscar winners:
Edition #25 Updated for 9/16/00
Picture: Quills
Director: Philip Kaufman, Quills
Actor: Ed Harris, Pollock
Actress: Joan Allen, The Contender
Supp. Actor: Willem Dafoe, Shadow of the Vampire
Supp. Actress: Julie Walters, Billy Elliot
Orig. Screenplay: Almost Famous
Adap. Screenplay: Quills

BTW - The same group feels Kate will be nominated in the Supporting Actress category, and they picked her as the winner in the polls of April 22 thru July 8. (Thanks, again, to Janalynn for the tip on this poll.)
I have also been following the discussions on an 'insiders' forum, and there are several people who feel Kate may be nominated in the lead category, as they don't feel there is much 'serious' competition in that category this year. It will be interesting to see how Fox Searchlight markets her performance!

September 18: Film Critic David Poland makes a prediction that I hope comes true (!!) in today's "Hot Button" column:
MOST LIKELY TO BE NOMINATED FOR A LOT OF OSCARS THIS YEAR: Quills (Telluride) - I believe in Quills in a big way. If you want to know why, just read [the August 28 "Hot Button" column].

September 17: Mentions of Quills in fall film preview columns:
    "Fall film preview After a dismal summer, the movies can only get better," by Joe Baltake, Sacramento Bee Movie Critic -
The crowded schedule doesn't include any potential blockbuster that jumps out at us the way James Cameron's "Titanic" did a few years ago, but there are a few compelling trends… Opening Nov. 22 -- "Quills": The confined Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush) and the asylum priest (Joaquin Phoenix) form a triangle with Kate Winslet, under the direction of Philip Kaufman.
    Fall arts preview by Bruce Newman, Mercury News -
Michael Caine appears in the remake of his own 1971 gem "Get Carter'' (though this time Sylvester Stallone is Carter), and joins Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix in director Philip Kaufman's promising look at the last years of the Marquis de Sade, "Quills.'' And Phoenix pairs up with the vastly underrated Mark Wahlberg for a thriller about the subways of New York, "The Yards.''

September 16: I have added a new page - "Quills at the Regus London Film Festival". I will be adding pics and news as it breaks, so you can follow the events!

September 16: Another mention of Quills in a Fall Preview - this time on Metromix.com. Thanks to Angela for the tip!
"From Angels to Grinches - After a dry summer, fall picks up with some promising film releases" by Mark Caro -
    Now that the summer got all of the cruddy movies out of the way, the fall should be a non-stop quality parade. OK, maybe not, but some of these are bound to be pretty darn good.
    "Quills": Ten years after making the first NC-17 movie ("Henry & June") and seven years since his last feature ("Rising Sun"), director Philip Kaufman returns with the tale of none other than the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush). Confined to an asylum, he pens perverse prose that his adoring chambermaid (Kate Winslet) smuggles out until a new doctor (Michael Caine) tries to stop him. November

September 15: The London Film Festival 2000 site has opened, but all sections are not yet 'up'. Following is the link to the screening schedule - LFF Screenings. Quills will be shown on Friday, November 3rd at the Odeon West End 2 at 8:45 PM.

September 15: I have been keeping my eye on particular film discussion boards, and find that Quills is still getting a lot of 'buzz'. Several people claiming to be Hollywood 'insiders' predict Academy Award nominations for the film in several categories. One 'insider' predicts nom's for in these categories: Film, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, and Adapted Screenplay. I certainly hope those predictions come true!
    One person posted this comment: "I kind of hope Fox pushes Kate Winslet as a lead and not as a supporting role, but who knows at this point. It'd be lovely for her to be nominated and to finally win!"

September 14: I found a mention of Kate and Quills in the latest issue of Premiere magazine:
"Phoenix Rising" - Joaquin Phoenix is quite the conquering hero in casting circles. Not only did he beat out British beauty Jude Law for Gladiator, but he also vanquished Law, Billy Crudup (Almost Famous) and Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential) for the young-priest-in-love role opposite Kate Winslet in November's Quills.

September 13: Quills to play at the London Film Festival! I found this article on Empire Online:
"London Festival Rocks "
    The programme for this year's Regus London Film Festival was unveiled in London this morning and director Adrian Wootton made it clear that the 44th festival would be the biggest and best yet. With a new sponsor on board, this year's festival, which runs from 1 to 16 November, will screen no fewer than 196 movies - beginning with Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous.
    Six other gala screenings will follow, including the Royal Charity Premiere of Into the Arms of Strangers, Quills with Kate Winslet and Geoffrey Rush, James Gray's The Yards, Bruce Paltrow's Duets, David Mamet's State and Main, Gurinder Chadha's What's Cooking and Dominic Moll's Harry's He's Here to Help.
    Other highlights include John Waters' Cecil B. Demented, Joan Allen and Gary Oldman in The Contender, Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Stephen Frear's award-winning Liam and the director's cut of The Exorcist.
    On hand today to jolly up proceedings were Olivia Williams and Jimi Mistry, two of the stars from Born Romantic - the British movie that will close the festival. Directed by David 'This Year's Love' Kane, it's a contemporary comedy based in a London salsa club. 'It's a warm, charming tale of people finding romance,' Mistry told Empire Online. 'I'm a slightly backward thief who goes round robbing people all the time.'
    For a free festival programme call the Orange hotline on 07973 100 222 (calls cost 20p from Orange phones).
    For information about the festival check out www.lff.org.uk from mid September
    To buy tickets call the festival box office at 020 7928 3232

September 13: I found this item on BBC News:
"Film frenzy at London festival" -
The 44th London Film Festival opens on 1 November and will screen almost 200 feature films and 65 shorts across 16 days. The festival was launched in Leicester Square on Wednesday by Joan Bakewell, chair of the British Film Institute. .. Philip Kaufman's Quills, to be shown at the festival, is just one of several forthcoming films dealing with the life and work of the Marquis de Sade.
September 13: There is more coverage on the London FF on the Ananova Entertainment News site -  "London Film Festival screening list unveiled". (Yahoo! News has picked up the same story - "London Film Festival".)
From "This is London":
Hotly anticipated is Kate Winslet's appearance in Quills, Philip Kaufman's sumptuous period piece about the Marquis de Sade during his imprisonment in a Paris lunatic asylum in 1807. The script requires Miss Winslet to appear in various states of undress as a laundry maid who is also muse to Geoffrey Rush's de Sade.

September 13: I found another mention of the London FF in Screen Daily:
    David Kane's Born Romantic, the director's highly-anticipated follow-up to UK hit This Year's Love, closes the 44th London Film Festival (November 1-16). The London-set romantic comedy features Brit stars Craig Ferguson, Ian Hart, Jane Horrocks, Adrian Lester, Catherine McCormack, Jimi Mistry and David Morrissey. Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous opens proceedings.
    Features receiving gala screenings at London include David Mamet's comic look at movie production State & Main; Woody Allen's Small Time Crooks, starring Hugh Grant and Tracey Ullman; Philip Kaufman's Quills, a period piece about the Marquis de Sade's imprisonment starring Kate Winslet, Michael Caine and Joaquin Phoenix; and Gurinder Chadha's What's Cooking?, about four American families and their preparations for Thanksgiving dinner.

September 13: Film critic David Poland has again stated that he feels that Quills is one of the best films of the year:
"Hot Button" - Greatness reared its head in Toronto last night. Finally!!! Keep in mind that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Quills were already destined for my Best of 2000 list before the festivals began, but both Telluride and Toronto have been devoid of that magic moment of discovery that the festival experience is all about. There have been really worthwhile, happy finds. There have been good new films from great old filmmakers. There have been a lot of good films. Julian Schnabel's second film, Before Night Falls, is hands down the mind blower of the festival for me. [Read more about Poland's experiences at the film festivals - and his comments about Helen Hunt -- "the Hot Button". ]

September 13: I found a brief mention of Kate and Quills in the Guardian:
Joan Smith discovers a gentler side to the Marquis de Sade -
If ever a man were destined for notoriety, it was the Marquis de Sade… Auteuil's film Sade, in which he also plays the sulphurous marquis, is one of two biopics to be released this year. The competition, starring Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet (as a laundress who smuggles Sade's last writings out of the asylum at Charenton) is also based on fact. This is a departure from earlier attempts to film Sade…

September 10: There's a nice feature story on Quills director Philip Kaufman in the NY Times - and new set pics! (Thanks to Gerard for the tip!) The lengthy article is posted in the "Quills-Feature Stories" page.

       

...Obviously, this is tricky material, the more easily shot in England, where bits and pieces of many noble buildings served to make the asylum, and where the dedication of Kate Winslet, who was the first performer to commit to the film, inspired a cast that includes such actors as Patrick Malahide and Billie Whitelaw in smaller roles. The movie looks and talks like the 18th century, but the sense of nobility and self-destructiveness in the sex and the writing are utterly modern. And the whole thing ripples with comedy. You marvel at the sustained lightness of touch in a film that could have turned preachy, and may yet be forbidden in certain unironic places...

September 10: I found this item in the Los Angeles times:
"No, It's Not Too Early to Start Talking Oscar," by Richard Natale -
A film likely to generate heated debates about censorship--the film's theme--is the period drama "Quills," which has all the ingredients of a sophisticated Oscar-caliber vehicle. Directed by Philip Kaufman ("The Right Stuff," "The Unbearable Lightness of Being") and based on the life of the Marquis de Sade, "Quills" stars Oscar winners Geoffrey Rush and Michael Caine, two-time nominee Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix. As former winners, Rush and Caine both have an inside track, and it's been a banner year for Phoenix, who starred as a mad Roman emperor in "Gladiator" and has a prominent role in the drama "The Yards" opposite Mark Wahlberg. One of those performances could earn him his first Oscar nomination.

September 10: From the St. Paul/Minneapolis Pioneer Planet:
"Keep The Popcorn Warm For These," Chris Hewitt, Movie Critic -
With as many as 100 movies opening between now and Thanksgiving, most moviegoers are going to need to do some paring down. Here are the 10 movies I'm keeping my eye on:
#7 - "Quills'' - The best cast of the fall: Michael Caine, Joaquin Phoenix, Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet.
    And another mention of Quills in another story by the same critic -
"Devil of a Season - Satan makes three appearances in this fall's movies, but some of the offerings still look pretty heavenly" --
Nov. 3 - "Quills'' - The Marquis de Sade is the main character, but it's more about artistic freedom than sex. With Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet.
[I wonder where he got the November 3 release date?]

September 10: I found another 'recap' of the Telluride Film Festival in the The Salt Lake Tribune, with great words for Quills:
    This year's audience was nearly unanimous in its praise for two movies at Telluride: Kaufman's "Quills" and Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
    "Quills" tells of the final years of the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush), confined in an insane asylum and barred from writing his pornographic prose. As the movie tells it, de Sade still wrote, with a chambermaid (Kate Winslet) smuggling his pages to a publisher -- until an autocratic new asylum director (Michael Caine) took over and an escalating battle of wills ensued. Beautifully visualized by Kaufman ("The Right Stuff," "Henry & June") and crisply written by playwright-turned-screenwriter Doug Wright, "Quills" is an opulent costume drama and a searing allegory for artistic freedom and moralizing hypocrisy.

September 10: I found this mention of Quills in the NY Times:
"Looking Ahead: Must-Sees, Everybody Has an A-List" -
LILI FINI ZANUCK, Producer: "I'm anxious to see 'Quills', the Marquis de Sade film with Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet. You say 'Marquis de Sade' and people go, 'Oh, a sex movie.' But in fact, I've read a couple of books about him, and it's a fascinating story about the marquis, his wife and his mother-in-law. Phil Kaufman had been trying for a while to get the movie made, and I find it incredible that he did.

September 8: Here's another mention of Quills in David Poland's "Hot Button" column:
   Toronto 2000, the festival's 25th anniversary, started for me, somehow appropriately, as a reflection of Telluride and even L.A. before that. My first film was Benoit Jacquot's Sade, a film that has Fox Searchlight and the Quills team a little nervous. Well gang, you can stop worrying. It's not that Sade is not a worthy film. But it lives on a whole different planet than Quills.
    Jacquot's vision of the Marquis de Sade is defined by his hire of Daniel Auteuil as Sade, much as Phil Kaufman's vision was defined by the hire of Geoffrey Rush...

September 8: Karen, my UK Correspondent,  emailed me today with a review from Screen magazine. It's posted on the "Film Reviews" page. Here's an excerpt:
Quills has many pleasures and is sure to draw large crowds of upscale film-goers who will be drawn by de Sade's sexual antics, four excellent actors all on top form and the promise of a sophisticated adult entertainment. Fox Searchlight is releasing the film on Dec 8, so no doubt the film will also make a case for Oscar nominations.

September 8: I found this commentary about the Telluride Film Festival and a mention of Quills in the LA Times:
"Telluride: Cinema's Best and Bravest," by Steve Wasserman -
    It is one of Telluride's virtues that, unlike so many film festivals, it privileges the edgy and neglected over the obvious and mainstream. But neither does it raise to the level of dogma its recondite sensibility. It also honors accomplished and successful directors and actors who, against the odds, seek to craft original dramas and visually arresting movies…
    Kaufman's new film, "Quills," is based on the Obie-winning off-Broadway play of the same name by Doug Wright. Loosely derived from the life of the Marquis de Sade, "Quills" is a fevered rumination on the power of the written word. It grapples with perennial issues of evil and good, tyranny and liberty and is, in the end, a movie about the pornography of power.
    …It is films like this--brave and passionate--that make Telluride special. Like the fresh mountain air, they provide a kind of oxygen, renewing one's faith in the idea that movies, like all great art, can still turn us inside out and make us see the world with fresh eyes.

September 6: I found this item in today's "Hot Button" column by David Poland. Quills was very well received at the Telluride Film Festival!
    And so it ends. As though by some sort of divine design, the first real rain of the festival came as the festival crowd rolled out of town... By my count, between Friday night and Monday night, there were 23 new films presented as part of the Telluride festival.
    And now, the Top Five Buzz Films… Please note that with the exception of the top title, the buzz count was almost beyond differentiation:
    #3 - Quills--Perhaps the most seen film of the festival, except perhaps the #1 buzz film, with 2200 available seats over 4 shows. Quills may be the film that Telluride can dine out on for a while. Besides being very popular and well received, the film was supported at the festival by a group of almost a dozen people, meaning that festival goers could find someone from the movie team to chat with on the streets at almost any time during the weekend.

September 6: This item is from an article about the Telluride Film Festival on the Film.com site - thanks to Snowflea for the tip!
    Telluride usually doesn't get premieres of U.S. independent films (everyone saves those for Sundance) or big-budget Hollywood fare (the studios send those to Toronto). Telluride's mix usually consists of highlights from that year's Cannes lineup, forgotten classics, some oddball American releases, documentaries about filmmaking, and whatever a handful of loyal filmmakers -- including Werner Herzog, Phillip Kaufman, Ken Burns and Barbet Schroeder, all represented this year -- have cooking.
    At night, it's back to the Max for the premiere of Phillip Kaufman's Quills. Kaufman is a Telluride regular -- Tom Luddy, in introducing Kaufman at the screening, brags about receiving a Screen Actors Guild residual check for $6.50 for playing a pod in Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers -- and Quills could be one of the most challenging movies he has ever made.
    The movie details the final years of the life of the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush), locked in an asylum and smuggling his pornographic writings through a chambermaid (Kate Winslet), until a zealous doctor (Michael Caine) gives him an inquisition that would make Kenneth Starr green with envy. With a great cast, including Joaquin Phoenix as the asylum's cleric-in-charge, and lush photography and design, Kaufman paints a searing portrait of human desire and official hypocrisy.

September 6: Here's a brief mention of Quills in a 'fall previews' section of yesterday's Evansville Courier & Press:
QUILLS: Stuck in an asylum, the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush) finds help from a chamber maid (Kate Winslet), who smuggles his erotic writings out for publication.

September 6: I found this mention of Quills in The Village Voice September 6-12 "Fall Arts" section:
"Thrillers! Satires! Westerns! Indies! Blockbusters! Sequels! Picture This," by J. Hoberman -
The fall fanfare has begun… Geoffrey Rush impersonates a different kind of monster, the marquis de Sade, in Philip Kaufman's Quills, with Kate Winslet as his so-called laundress.
    And in the same article:
"Ten To Watch For"
Quills (November 22) Philip Kaufman hopefully eschews the louche middlebrow titillations of Henry and June for a no-holds-barred Sade biopic, with Geoffrey Rush (who warmed up for the part in Elizabeth), Kate Winslet (likewise as the profane earth goddess in Holy Smoke), and Joaquin Phoenix (ditto as the sex-crazed, epicene tyrant in Gladiator).

September 5: From David Poland's "Hot Button" column on Rough Cut (thanks to Ruth):
    The final day of the Telluride Film Festival. Sigh. It's kind of like the last day of summer camp. Everyone's had a good time and we all know that school is about to start again. It's a funny thing about this festival. All anyone seems to be able to talk about is how surprisingly happy the whole experience was for them.
My morning started a little late (which didn't keep me from delivering this column a day late). I went off to the Labor Day Picnic, where they served steak from Omaha, ice cream from Haagen-Daz and water from Ralph Lauren.   
    I didn't take the requisite amount of time for schmoozing because I decided that I would go see Quills again, for the first time at the festival. The alternative was Shadow of the Vampire, which I had also already seen.
And you know what? I liked the film even more the second time around. I don't know about you, but when I see a great film a second time or on cable or whatever, there is a certain thrill as I anticipate scenes and moments and get surprised by new things that I had not perceived before. In this case, the screen was bigger, the score was louder and the crowd was rocking. Phil Kaufman introduced the film and mentioned, as he had in an earlier private conversation, that he got this script from Fox Searchlight in the midst of the Clinton sex scandal and that he saw a connective tissue. That added yet another interesting perspective, even though I have a feeling that Kaufman and I have very different opinions about Clinton's character. Or maybe not. One of the remarkable things about the movie is that the Marquis de Sade is not given many breaks regarding his less attractive side and I was even more aware this time around about how abused his prose is in the screenplay. Suddenly, I was getting a feel for the idea that the film defends all artistic endeavors and the public's right to connect with whatever level of art which they choose. An interesting message coming from a guy, Kaufman, who is considered by many a bit of an artistic elitist, especially in recent years. But that, again, speaks to why I love this movie. It is, I believe, accessible from all sides. Sade is entertaining. The sex in this film is really sexy at times. And the depth of meaning, especially in today's society, is powerful.
    Commercially speaking, I think Quills is a $40 million movie that can make $100 million with the big Oscar® push.

September 5: I found this mention of Quills, published today in Daily Variety (late last night on Yahoo! News):
"Summer Slopes Up At Telluride; "Quills," "Assassins" Lift Spirits At Film Fest," by Todd McCarthy -
TELLURIDE, Colo. -- Although everyone seems to agree that it's been a dismal year for movies thus far, you wouldn't know it from the evidence of the Telluride Film Festival, which unspooled its 27th edition over the Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1-4… The highest profile premiere was Philip Kaufman's beautifully crafted look at the Marquis de Sade, Quills, which Fox Searchlight will release this fall.

September 4: I found a new review of Quills in the Boston Globe. Following are excerpts; the entire review is posted on the "Quills-Film Reviews" page.
Brimming with colorful incident, juicy confrontations and layers of irony, Philip Kaufman's intelligently boisterous screen version of Doug Wright's successful play about the Marquis de Sade maintains a sharp focus on the notorious writer's compulsive creativity during his long imprisonment at the Charenton asylum... A fine cast and period re-creation at the service of an intriguing subject should translate into reasonable commercial returns for this Fox Searchlight entry... Winslet gives a lucid account of a peasant girl who manages to combine a dedication to high principles with a feisty independent streak.

September 4: I found this mention of Quills in a Fox News entertainment report - "Summer Movie Season Melts Into Fall":
As any avid moviegoer could tell you, Hollywood hasn't been particularly generous in the quality department these past eight months, so it's up to the fall releases to save the year. As usual, the studios and the indies are lining up a mix of prestige Oscar-bait films and potential breakout hits, with a supposed "sure thing" tossed here or there. Several Oscar winners have high-profile projects in the hopper:  …Geoffrey Rush plays the Marquis de Sade in Quills (Nov. 22), co-starring Michael Caine, Joaquin Phoenix and Kate Winslet.

September 4: Here's a pic I found on the Telluride Film Festival site of writer Doug Wright (l) and director Phil Kaufman:

September 3: I found the following mention of Quills in today's LA Times:
"The 'Ready for Your Close-up' Award" - Both Joaquin Phoenix and, to a lesser degree, Owen Wilson showed they were ready to move into the ranks of leading men based on their work in 'Gladiator' and 'Shanghai Noon,' respectively. Phoenix has been working steadily since his teens, but his portrayal as the mad Roman emperor in 'Gladiator' placed him center stage with a mass audience, and he'll follow up in the fall with two diverse performances, as a petty, corrupt businessman in 'The Yards,' and a lust-in-his-heart prelate in the Marquis de Sade period drama 'Quills'.

September 2: Here's a portion of David Poland's column for today's issue of "The Hot Button" on Rough Cut. He wrote it at the Telluride Film Festival:
  A part of my experience at the lunch was meeting Philip Kaufman, who directed Quills, a movie that regular readers know I have taken to heart in a big way. He and the dozen or so people who are part of the family of the movie who are here had read my review and quite enjoyed it…what wasn't to enjoy? And I was thrilled that I could bring my two cents to the table to help, in some small way, a movie that deserves all the attention it is about to get. But it is so odd to be thanked simply for recognizing what the movie is about and for appreciating it for what it is. As I continue to "grow up" in my role as a critic/analyst/tub thumper, I guess I will come to a point where I know what I'm supposed to feel about this. Don't get me wrong. I love being able to meet and talk to Kaufman and other filmmakers about their work. I love it when I see something that is worth intense amounts of praise. And I love that someone out there takes some value from my words. As a critic, I know that I have a lot to learn, in general and about specific films, by talking to the people who made the films. It's like the anomaly of the critic and the movie junket. They don't belong together. Criticism should not be bent by promotion. But so much criticism assumes to know what the filmmaker is thinking and feeling, and wouldn't it be better criticism if we had the opportunity to ask the filmmaker and just his or her veracity on a one-to-one basis?
    Anyway, I still love Quills. I still think it can be nominated across the board. And I still pray that Fox spends the money promoting an Oscar® run fully. To be overly rational, the movie has four actors who Academy voters clearly favor. The subject is serious enough for Oscar contention. And it happens to be a terrific movie, both fun and horrifying and rich in meaning. All that is true whether Philip Kaufman thanks me or not.

September 2: I did another search for "Quills" on Yahoo! and found the following mention in the September 1 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle:
When we caught up with Fishkin, [Mark Fishkin, director of the Mill Valley Film Festival] he was lamenting the one that got away: Quills, local director Philip Kaufman's lavish period piece depicting the tormented last years of the Marquis de Sade. "We would have been thrilled to show it, but we didn't fit into the marketing strategy,'' Fishkin said, sighing. Quills will, however, screen this weekend at the Telluride Film Festival, which has a long association with the filmmaker.

September 1: I did the following screen capture from the official Telluride Film Festival program:
As the font in the image is so small, I've typed out the text for you:
[Playing] Saturday at 8:30 PM; Sunday at 8:30 AM and 1:00 PM.
quill (n), a feather, used as a pen for writing; a primitive surgical instrument - equally useful in torture. For example, as used by the Marquis de Sade in the Charenton asylum (though his urge was so chronic he could do a eulogy in your loose dung). QUILLS (pl), is Doug Wright's play given the buzzing fury of a fuse at the end of its rope in Phil Kaufman's film. Appallingly funny, deliciously cruel, steadily sexual, with the flowing flesh tones of the late eighteenth century, the shift from wit to horror is as elegant as a pan from a quill to a quim. Not for the tender, the pious, the squeamish, the saved, the pure - but all for you. Geoffrey Rush is de Sade; Kate Winslet does his laundry; Joaquin Phoenix is the abbe at Charenton; Michael Caine is Kenneth Starr. A film to make Bunuel sign. DT (U.S., 2000, 120m) Preceded by FOR THE BIRDS, the latest digital magic from the wizards at Pixar (d. Ralph Eggleston, U.S., 2000, 3m).
In person: Philip Kaufman, Joaquin Phoenix

September 1: Quills is definitely playing at the Telluride Film Festival - premiering Saturday night - and Kaufman and Phoenix are scheduled to attend! [I had reported a few days ago that it was rumored to play at this FF.] I found this item in the Hollywood Reporter:
    "Telluride fest opens" -
The world premieres of Fox Searchlight's story of the Marquis de Sade and Al Pacino's new film as well as a tribute to Ang Lee are just some of what's in store at the 27th annual Telluride Film Festival, which kicks off today.
    "Telluride Fest Has Dark Side" -
TELLURIDE, Colo. -- The 27th annual Telluride Film Festival, which opens today, promises to be as painful as it is pleasurable. The lineup, kept secret until today, includes the world premiere of Fox Searchlight's Quills -- the story of the Marquis de Sade -- slated to be introduced Saturday night by its director Philip Kaufman and Joaquin Phoenix, one of its stars.

September 1: I found another mention of Quills in David Poland's "Hot Button" column on Rough Cut. (He's certainly a great supporter of this film!)
One look at the program for the festival, which mysteriously hit the streets hours before it was supposed to, and it is clear that this year's Telluride is one of the most star-studded festivals that has ever been. It makes Sundance look small time and Cannes, cheap and brassy… Quills is here. I've made it clear in this column that this film is one of the year's few to touch the face of greatness. I don't know whether any cast members will be making the trip here, but director Phil Kaufman will be here.

September 1: Snowflea posted this item on the mb (from Reel.com):
Quills is a critics' film, but not an Academy one. Kaufman's masterful drama about the Marquis de Sade's struggle to create and be heard from behind the walls of a French asylum does everything right filmically, and teems with contemporary socio-political metaphor, but it's a root-canal movie - essential to see and certainly not boring, but not exactly pleasurable to sit through. The Academy will go for Joaquin Phoenix and Kate Winslet in Supporting Actor categories. Possibly Geoffrey Rush as Best Actor (although I doubt it). But they will not bite on Quills as a Best Picture contender.

September 1: There is a mention of Quills in THE TIMES (UK); it's in an article about the French language film Sade [now playing at the Venice Film Festival]:
    Sade, whose best-known work is the 1791 novel Justine, came from an aristocratic background, which entitled him to various ranks in the King's regiments. In 1754 he began a military career, which he abandoned in 1763 at the end of the Seven Years' War. That year he married the daughter of a high-ranking bourgeois family; she bore him three children. Within months of their marriage he had began an affair with an actress and was inviting prostitutes to his "little house" at Arcueil, subjecting them to sexual abuses for which he was imprisoned on orders of the King in the fortress of Vincennes.
    Freed several weeks later, he returned to his life of debauchery. In 1768 scandal broke out after he locked up a young prostitute in his house and abused her sexually. She escaped and reported "the unnatural acts and brutality", showing her wounds as evidence that resulted in Sade being sentenced to the fortress of Pierre-Encise near Lyon.
    After his release he once again returned to his old ways. In 1777 he was arrested and sent to the dungeon of Vincennes, and in 1801 he was confined without a hearing to the insane asylum in Charenton, where he was to end his days.
    It seems to be Sade's year. A rival film, starring Geoffrey Rush, is to be released later this year with Kate Winslet as a laundress who smuggles out Sade's last writings from the asylum, and Sir Michael Caine as his doctor.

Empire Online has a similar article:
…The movie industry mag Variety said there was nothing 'titillating' about Sade, 'which may disappoint some viewers, while piquing the interests of others.'  De Sade is obviously man of the moment - another movie on the French nobleman, Quills, starring Geoffrey Rush as the Marquis, Kate Winslet and Sir Michael Caine, will be released later this year.

August 31: From David Poland's "Hot Button" column on Rough Cut:
God, how I love movies. It's easy to forget sometimes in this job. Anything can become a job after a while if you stand too close. And God knows, it gets kind of tight around here. But as I've gotten through the last two weeks, I've gotten more and more excited about the weeks to come, exhausting though they will be. From Bring It On to Way of the Gun to Dancer in the Dark to Quills to Shadow of the Vampire to Meet the Parents to Girlfight to Billy Elliott to Into the Arms of Strangers to Requiem for a Dream to Two Family House, the train has already left the station. [Poland wrote the column while on his way to the Telluride Film Festival.]

August 30: From Yahoo! News, Quills is listed as a "Fall highlight" -
"Angels, Ogres, Witches in New Movies," by David Germain, AP movie writer -
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Loads of comedy. Horror. Animation. And all that serious stuff by movie types hoping to bag an Oscar. This is Hollywood serving up its usual fall feast… Fall Highlights… QUILLS: Stuck in an asylum, the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush) finds help from a chamber maid (Kate Winslet), who smuggles his erotic writings out for publication.

August 28: I found a GREAT new review by David Poland; it's posted on the "Film Reviews" page. Excerpt:
    Kate Winslet is the glue that holds the movie together, spread in her yearnings between the honor of the young priest who runs the asylum where Sade is kept and the sensual power of unfettered honesty of which Sade wreaks. There may be no better actress of this generation when it comes to these efforts to grow on screen. Winslet is forever seeking truth... Her drive for higher goals, while always remaining earthbound and physically accessible, is the core of her magic as an actress.

August 27: I found another mention of Quills in a fall preview column in the New York Daily News:
"At Last, Some Action! Summer Was A Bummer For Good Films, But The Fall Could Be A Ball," by Jack Mathews -
     …Among the more daring prospects are Philip Kaufman's "Quills," starring Geoffrey Rush as the Marquis de Sade…
"QUILLS" - Stars Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix, Kate Winslet, Michael Caine. Directed by Philip Kaufman. Scheduled opening: Nov. 10.
    Phil Kaufman has always been one of those Hollywood "what if?" stories. What if the critically acclaimed "The Right Stuff" had been a hit? What if "Henry and June" had not been the first studio film to receive an NC-17 rating? What if "Rising Sun" had actually been good?
    Kaufman has directed everything from cult classics such as "The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid" to the highly regarded film of Milan Kundera's novel "The Unbearable Lightness of Being." But he's never been on Hollywood's A-list. And it's doubtful if "Quills," Kaufman's first film in seven years, will put him there. Not that it doesn't sound interesting: It's based on Doug Wright's controversial play about a spiritual contest between the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush) and a priest (Joaquin Phoenix) for the soul of a maid (Winslet) working at the asylum where the marquis is an inmate.
    Sexy material. Outrageous. Maybe even compelling. But does anyone think this will be box-office catnip? And as far as Kaufman is concerned, he keeps making the films he wants to make - grosses be damned.
Keeps making films one wants to make - grosses be damned? Hmm, sounds like Kaufman and Kate have a lot in common!

August 26: Quills will be featured in the New York Film Critics Circle's "Coming Attractions" Film Series! Thanks to "HeavenlyRose" for the tip! She sent me this email:
"The 'Coming Attractions' will take place on Monday evenings at 7:00 PM, October 2nd through November 20th. Reservations are taken on a first-come, first served basis. Reserve passes now before they are sold out!  The phone number is 973-539-8785 and the fax number is 973-734-0852."
I looked up info on the NYFCC:
    The New York Film Critics Circle was founded in 1935. There have been more than 130 members since the group was founded. The alumni include Pauline Kael, Judith Crist, Renata Adler, and Frank Rich, who reviewed movies for Time in the 1970’s. Some members have shown remarkable longevity: The New York Times’s Bosley Crowther was a key member for 30 years, and Andrew Sarris is beginning his fourth decade in the group.
    Membership, which over the years has fluctuated between 11 and 31 critics, was formerly limited to writers published in daily New York newspapers. But the city’s newspaper strike in 1962 crippled the industry and forced the group to extend its reach to include magazines, where many of their newly unemployed members had landed jobs. By the end of the 1960’s, critics writing for national magazines including Newsweek, Playboy, The Saturday Review, and TV Guide were members. And when, in 1987, Time critic Richard Schickel moved to Los Angeles, membership broadened geographically; the group now includes three West Coast writers.
    Strongly opinionated, passionately fervent about movies, and rarely in agreement on anything, the New York Film Critics Circle has remained at the crest of critical opinion in this country since its creation, leaving a rich and vibrant history.

August 25: I found a couple of mentions of Quills in today's news:

From Rough Cut - David Poland's "Hot Button" column:
I wrote that Almost Famous was one of the three best movies of the year. That may well still be true. But Quills has taken over the second slot, behind Erin Brockovich, who is holding on by her fingernails. I'm not going to expound on Quills right now, as I have a bunch of other films to write about. Look for more on Monday. But I see serious Oscar® contention for Philip Kaufman (Best Director), Doug Wright (Best Adapted Screenplay), Geoffrey Rush (Best Actor), Kate Winslet (Best Actress), Joaquin Phoenix (fighting himself for a Best Supporting Actor slot for his Gladiator performance…what a year for this kid!), Rogier Stoffers (Best Cinematography), Jacqueline West (Best Costume Design), Martin Childs (Best Production Design), Nuala Conway, Peter King & Jeremy Woodhead (Best Make-up) and for Julia Chasman, Peter Kaufman & Nick Wechsler (Best Picture). Plus, maybe, Michael Caine as Best Supporting Actor in a role diametrically opposed to the one he won for last year. And I wouldn't be shocked if every single one of these people got a nod. The movie is that good. The production is that fine. The acting is that perfect. And the movie is that important.

From the "Fall Movie Fracas" column on reel.com:
An erotic drama with Kate Winslet sounds great; an erotic drama with Geoffrey Rush sounds scary - Quills has both (you decide) - New York and Los Angeles only [in November].
Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet; Director: Philip Kaufman;
Synopsis: Saucy-yet-somber profile of the notorious novelist and sexual deviant the Marquis de Sade during his stay in an early-19th-century lunatic asylum.

From Yahoo! News - (The NY Post has also picked up this story):
Robin Williams has signed on to play the star-spangled pianist Liberace in a movie biopic… will be backed by Cary Woods' Independent Pictures and directed by Philip Kaufman, creator of such polished affairs as Henry and June and The Unbearable Lightness of Being… Kaufman has recently completed work on Quills, a film about the Marquis de Sade starring Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet and Michael Caine. Filming of the Liberace picture is expected to begin this autumn.

August 22: I found interesting commentary about Quills in the LA Times by Stephen Farber ("Should Movies Aspire to Moral High Ground?")
    When he gave his acceptance speech last week, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joseph Lieberman downplayed the criticisms of Hollywood that once angered the locals, though his complaint about the erosion of "standards of decency" stirred echoes of his more vehement tirades… Cultural critics like Lieberman and Bennett insist that they are not simply calling for a reduction in the amount of sex and violence on screen, but imploring movie makers to reach for the high ground and champion loftier moral values. But that raises a fundamental question: Is it appropriate to look to movies or any art form for lessons in morality?
    Unfortunately for the moralists, movies come in irregular packages…
    This Fall's 'Quills' Sure to Intensify Debate - But the fall also brings Quills, Philip Kaufman's movie about the Marquis de Sade, one that's sure to be furiously debated. It could prove especially timely at this moment of Hollywood-bashing, for it's a movie about controversial art and the impact it has on those who come into contact with it. The story centers on the notorious Marquis' efforts to keep writing and distributing his salacious tales even while he is imprisoned in an asylum.
    The film doesn't take a simplistic, libertarian point of view regarding pornography and society; it shows that some of the Marquis' lurid tales have a destructive effect on the inmates who drool over them. But in the end it celebrates the storyteller's compulsion to express himself, and it sees that urge to entertain--no matter what scatological form it takes--as one of the most irrepressible of all human impulses.
    Quills is about the unquenchable lust to create gleefully indecent stories and is meant to stimulate dialogue about just what entertainment encompasses in a free society. I hope that Joe Lieberman takes a couple of hours away from the campaign trail to sneak a peek at it.

August 22: Another news tip from Snowflea, who posted on the mb that there was a recent mention of Quills in an entertainment column on reel.com. I found the item; here it is:
"Hollywood Confidential," by Jeffrey Wells (August 11):
"Movies I Missed" -
Since running Wednesday's Oscar and Best Picture forecast for 2000 ("Almost Decided"), a few tips have come in about noteworthy films due between now and Xmas that I didn't take note of. I've been repeatedly told that I didn't accurately convey the advance heat being generated by Quills, Philip Kaufman's film about the Marquis de Sade that Fox Searchlight is releasing in November. Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, and Joaquin Phoenix co-star in this adaptation of Doug Wright's off-Broadway play about sex, politics, and censorship. (A friend tells me second-hand that retired New Yorker critic Pauline Kael is one of the film's more ardent fans.)
Thanks, "Snowflea"!

August 22: Snowflea has posted on the mb that she read in a Greil Marcus column that Quills will play at the Telluride Film Festival (September 1-4). The official film festival site does not publish its program until opening day. I found the mention of Quills by Marcus:
"Real Life Rock Top 10," by Greil Marcus, August 21. Joan Osborne, Elvis Costello and the Marquis de Sade. Ten observations on pop and discontents, from the noted critic and author -
6) "Quills," directed by Philip Kaufman (Telluride Film Festival, Sept. 1-4) -
It's in the last 45 minutes or so of this blazing fiction about the end of the Marquis de Sade -- due for general release in November -- when the film begins to move like a piece of music, gathering its rhythms and concentrating them into a force that takes on a life of its own. In the Charenton asylum, Geoffrey Rush's Sade has been stripped of his pen and paper, but he can't not create stories. From his barren cell he begins to shout a new tale through the walls, each sentence carried by a bucket brigade of inmates and workers until, garbled but not lost, the words reach Kate Winslet's laundress, the devoted reader who writes each fragment down -- and then all hell breaks loose. After that there is only madness on all sides, libertines and censors, lunatics and doctors. It's no small irony that Sade's nemesis, Michael Caine's Dr. Royer-Collard, was famous as the leader of the Doctrinaires, who were not the first French doo-wop group but should have been. The result is a horror movie about the rights of man.

Here's more info on the Telluride Film Festival:
    The Telluride Film Festival, held each Labor Day Weekend since 1974 in a Colorado mountain town, is an international educational event celebrating the art of film. It is a sympathetic gathering of film aficionados (both lovers and creators of cinema) who come together from all over the world and from all walks of life to see and discuss and celebrate the most interesting work of the past, present and future. Telluride is not a series of screenings for the press, nor is it a film market. It is a small, friendly festival, regarded by many as one of the most unique events in the world of film.
    The Telluride Film Festival traditionally does not release information about the content of its programming until opening day. Despite this idiosyncrasy, the Festival sells out every year. Over 5,000 people make the trek to Telluride each Labor Day Weekend on the strength of the Festival's reputation for innovative and exciting programming, and many return year after year.
    The program consists of a minimum of 27 major film events, which include three tributes to individual artists. These events are supplemented by formal and informal conversations and seminars with the filmmakers and artists in attendance, as well as parties, picnics and, of course, popcorn!

August 20: I found this great mention of Quills in the NYPOST:
'Tis the season for Oscar contenders - and there appears to be a bumper crop in the offing, at least on paper… Among the many other upcoming movies going for the gold:
"QUILLS" (Nov. 10) - Geoffrey Rush ("Shine") plays a jailed Marquis de Sade. Philip Kaufman ("The Right Stuff") also directs Michael Caine, Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix.

August 18: Here's a pic from the Quills Presskit; it was found on Ebay by Josie!

August 15: I found this item on Ain't It Cool News - "Moriarty" lists Quills as one of the Top 10 films being released this fall:
Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some rumblings from the Lab…
    I spotted PREMIERE and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, both of which are doing their Fall Movie Preview Issues. They're both riddled with new photos and little tidbits, and I'm a hopeless junky for the stuff, so I added them to the stack. E!Online actually asked me to spitball them some thoughts on the upcoming season's releases for something they're working on. It's what you might call the "topic d'jour." Now, after making my way through all these articles and other materials, I'm convinced that 2000 does not have to go on the books as a disappointing year. There are some major pictures coming out, and there are ten I thought worth pointing out in particular…
    "Quills" -
    Howard Hessman in the Los Angeles stage version of Doug Wright's QUILLS cut a memorable figure as the Marquis De Sade, locked away for his work, gradually being stripped of all tools of expression, finally revealed in all his naked, ridiculous glory for the play's tough, uncompromising ending. Knowing that Philip Kaufman is directing Wright's own screenplay, with Geoffrey Rush starring in this film with Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, and Michael Caine, I am absolutely certain that this will be unlike any other film we're offered between now and the end of the year. That's what makes these films worth tracking more than others coming in the near future... it's the idea that we might be challenged, that we might see something fresh, that we might be treated to something really special. This should be a provocative ride for adult audiences, a chance for Kaufman to bring his particular touch from films like THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING and HENRY & JUNE to a story that debates the very right for such pictures to even exist. QUILLS is about expression and voice and pushing the envelope. Anything that can entertain as much as this play did and tackle questions that big is worth anticipating.

August 15: I added the Premiere magazine 'fall preview' item to the 'Feature Stories' page today.

August 14: I was looking at the many Fox sites today, and found this mention of the film on the Australian site:


August 14: Here's a pic of Kate in Quills that is featured in a collage on the Spanish site:

August 14: Quills is featured in the August 18-25 issue of Entertainment Weekly, "Fall Preview" section. Thanks to "MAngel" for the tip! The article is posted on the "Feature Stories" page. Here's an excerpt:
Good sign: With its letter perfect cast and topflight production, Quills is already scratching up ink as an Oscar contender.

July 11: Empire Online has picked up the news about the Quills preview:
"Quills Teaser Trailer Online" -
A new teaser trailer for Quills, which stars Geoffrey Rush as the notorious French author the Marquis de Sade and Kate Winslet as his servant, is now up on the official site. Quills is directed by Philip Kaufman and promises to be just as sexually charged as his previous efforts Henry and June and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The story sees The Marquis confined to an asylum, where he is ministered to by a doctor (Michael Caine) and a priest (Joaquin Phoenix). The trailer features Rush kissing a none-too-happy Winslet, and hints at other scenes of debauchery.

July 10: The Dark Horizons movie news site carried the link to the Flash "Quills" preview.

July 9: View a few pics from the film at "Quills". (You need the Flash plug-in.) Thanks to Patrick of ForeverKate for the lead. I hadn't checked the Fox Searchlight site for a few days.

July 3: I found this "preview" on "Planet Out" -
    We've also included information about a few movies that sound pretty campy and/or intriguing that we thought you might want to know about, as well as including films that have some of our favorite icons in them. Many of these are only initial release dates and will open wider at later dates.
    Quills (November 2000) Dir. Philip Kaufman -- Fox Searchlight
Philip Kaufman is no stranger to erotic subject matter: he directed both The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Henry and June. This time around he brings us the life of the Marquis de Sade, starring Geoffrey Rush.

July 5: My pal Sylvia of Dougray Scott in Focus e-mailed me with this news about Quills from a June 29 Variety item:
Industry Entertainment has another Fox picture in the pipeline: Quills, a Marquis de Sade drama starring Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet, which is at Fox Searchlight. That pic, directed by Philip Kaufman, is scheduled to open in the fall.

April 2 - I found a mention of Quills in the Los Angeles Times:
"Quick Cuts," By Kathleen Craughwell -
Michael Caine has several films in the hopper, but the most likely to hit theaters first is Quills, an erotic comedy-drama based on the life of the Marquis de Sade, who is played by Geoffrey Rush. Caine plays a doctor in the mental institution to which De Sade is committed. Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix co-star. Fox Searchlight plans a fall release for the film.

From AICN bulletin board, September 1999:
Subject: Can't Wait for this project!
From: "cliometrician"
Comment: "And the reason I can't wait is that twenty-two years ago I taught the author of the play, Doug Wright, when he was in my 8th grade U.S. History class. With no exaggeration, he could have been taking upper level college courses as an 8th grader--what an intellect the kid had. He has written for stage and TV, and collaborated with Neil Simon, and his 'Quills' was nominated for a Pulitzer. He came back to Highland Park High School in Dallas three years ago, soon after his nomination, and was a guest alumni speaker at our Literary Festival, where I got to visit with he and his parents. The play shows great wit, with rich depth in its characters. I hope the movie is half as good. Way to go Doug!!"


Casting News History:

From BBC News, 4/16/99:
Hollywood stars Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet are near deals to star in Quills, the story of the last days of the Marquis de Sade. Rush, named Best Supporting Actor at this year's Baftas for Shakespeare in Love, would play the Marquis, who is put in an asylum because his writing is considered pornographic. Kate Winslet would play Madeleine, a maid who is de Sade's contact with the outside world and who helps to get his popular but condemned writings out to the public. Joaquin Phoenix is also in talks for a role in director Philip Kaufman's film, which will start filming in Europe this summer. The film is based on the award-winning play by Douglas Wright.

From The Telegraph, 4/17/99:
    Despite her recent announcement that marriage has made her reluctant to appear in sex scenes, Kate Winslet is to star in a new film about the Marquis de Sade. The Titanic star will play Madeleine LeClerc, de Sade's maid, in Quills, which will be directed by Philip Kaufman. Geoffrey Rush, who won a Bafta for best supporting actor in Shakespeare In Love, will play de Sade, who at the start of the film is confined in the Charenton Asylum of early 19th century France for his pornographic writings, which, while popular, are deemed indecent. Miss Winslet's character embarks on an affair with de Sade and then helps distribute his work to the masses.
    Miss Winslet has not made a film since her wedding last November to the director Jim Threapleton. Last month she said that since getting married she would "think twice" about appearing nude in films. Her last nude sex scene was with Harvey Keitel in Holy Smoke, which will be released later in the year. She appeared nude in Titanic and took on love scenes in Jude and Hideous Kinky. But she said recently: "Jim knows that I won't stand for scenes where the sex is just gratuitous."
   Joaquin Phoenix, younger brother of the late River Phoenix, will play Abbe de Coulmier, a young priest who runs the asylum and fights with de Sade over the maid. The film is based on Douglas Wright's play.
    A Hollywood insider said yesterday: "This is a brave choice for Kate. It could be a very, very controversial film."

From BBC News, 5/10/99:
Michael Caine has signed up to appear in Quills, a film about the final days of the Marquis de Sade. The actor will play a doctor who becomes the chief adversary of the Marquis, who will be played by Australian actor Geoffrey Rush. Kate Winslet also stars in the film as the Marquis' maid. Caine was nominated for a Golden Globe earlier this year for his performance in Little Voice.

From Mr. Showbiz, 7/14/99:
If Kate Winslet's dropping her robe for Leo in Titanic raised your eyebrows, get ready for the not-so-corseted British babe to bare all in an upcoming movie about the life of the decadent Marquis de Sade. Quills is the story of the French marquis who gave us the word for sadism, and who was both a man of letters and a twisted little puppy. Winslet will play de Sade's maid, Madeline Le Clerc, a role that requires scenes of explicit nudity, which in turn calls for a closed set. Empire magazine reports that filming begins next month at Pinewood Studios...The film also stars Joaquin Phoenix, who last played a leather-clad porn store clerk in 8mm and recent Golden Globe winner Michael Caine, who'll play de Sade's doctor. Geoffrey Rush, who was so deliciously underhanded in Elizabeth, (and also in the upcoming House on Haunted Hill, so we hear), will portray the Marquis. Philip Kaufman, the man who brought us the literary sex fests The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Henry and June, will direct. Henry and June, if you recall, was the first film to be slapped with an NC-17 rating.

Here's a press release from Fox Searchlight Pictures, dated August 9, 1999:
    Award-winning director Philip Kaufman has begun principal photography in London on Quills, which stars Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Caine, it was announced today by Fox Searchlight President Lindsay Law. Witty, seductive and deliciously sinister, Quills is a compelling portrait of the passionately obsessed and the dynamics of morality, consequence and freedom of expression. Kaufman directs from a script by Doug Wright.
    Kaufman, whose diverse films include The Right Stuff, Rising Sun, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, for which his screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award®, and Henry and June, has enjoyed a considerable reputation as both writer and director of style and imagination, having written The Outlaw Josey Wales.
    Oscar®-winner Geoffrey Rush (Shine, Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love) is cast as the Marquis de Sade, whose literature changed forever the language of sexuality and attracted controversy and admiration in equal measure. In the years after the French Revolution, de Sade's literature continued to threaten the moral conservatism of Napoleon's France.
   Oscar®-nominee Kate Winslet (Titanic, Sense and Sensibility, Hideous Kinky) plays Madeleine, the innocent and feisty young laundress who unwittingly temps Charenton asylum's most famous resident and the priest who runs it.
    Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator, Inventing the Abbotts, To Die For) plays the Abbe Coulmier who believes toleration and a love of God can cure any man. But, he reckons without the depths of depravity he encounters, with tragic and terrifying consequences for all concerned.
    Oscar®-winner Michael Caine (Hannah and Her Sisters, Little Voice) plays the ambitious doctor Royer-Collard, determined to use his new appointment at the asylum as a political stepping stone.
    Behind-the-scenes, director Kaufman and his producing partners Peter Kaufman, Julia Chasman, Nick Wechsler and co-producer Mark Huffam, have assembled a kaleidoscope of technical talent which includes Oscar®-winning production designer Martin Childs (Shakespeare in Love), director of photography Rogier Stoffers, costume designer Jacqueline West (Rising Sun) and editor Peter Boyle (Robin Hood Prince of Thieves).
    Quills will be released next year. Searchlight is a filmmaker-oriented company which focuses on distinctive films helmed by world-class international 'auteurs' and exciting newcomers. It has its own marketing, distribution and publicity operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox.