At­ten­tion

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The script got the at­ten­tion of Hol­ly­wood with a spot on the cov­eted Black List in 2015, a sur­vey of the in­dus­try’s best un­pro­duced screen­plays. It was picked up by MGM and even had “Game of Thrones’” Emilia Clarke to star, but it started to fall apart when the stu­dio wa­vered and Clarke had to go back to shoot her tele­vi­sion show. The team, in­clud­ing Pow­ell, was un­de­terred.

“We met with a lot of peo­ple who re­ally liked the script but so many peo­ple would say, ‘oh it’s not right for our platform,’ or ‘it’s not right for our slate,’” said “Set It Up” direc­tor Claire Scan­lon. “There were so many rules for peo­ple who were pick­ing up films and if it didn’t fit per­fectly with ex­actly what they had com­ing out, then they didn’t want to do it.”

That all changed in a meet­ing with Net­flix, when ex­ec­u­tive Matt Brodlie agreed to make it in the room — he said yes in Jan­uary and they were shoot­ing by May. Net­flix has also re­leased a few other ro­man­tic come­dies this year in­clud­ing “Ibiza,” “When We First Met” and “The Kiss­ing Booth.” And, like­wise, Ama­zon was the shop that took a gam­ble ac­quir­ing “The Big Sick.”

It’s not just stream­ing plat­forms re-em­brac­ing the genre — the big stu­dios are too. Univer­sal has “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” com­ing July 20, with many of the orig­i­nal cast as well as Cher and Andy Gar­cia. And Warner Bros is re­leas­ing the adap­ta­tion of Kevin Kwan’s pop­u­lar novel “Crazy Rich Asians” on Aug 15.

Nina Ja­cob­son, who pro­duced “Crazy Rich Asians,” saw an op­por­tu­nity in the story about a Chi­nese Amer­i­can woman who trav­els to Sin­ga­pore to meet her boyfriend’s par­ents to take au­di­ences to a world they haven’t seen in a main­stream Amer­i­can movie, and also touch on univer­sal themes.

“So many (ro­man­tic come­dies) be­came so for­mu­laic,” Ja­cob­son said. “But it is a genre that has been his­tor­i­cally beloved and suc­cess­ful and this felt like a great way to re-ap­proach it.”

The in­de­pen­dent realm, which has been keep­ing rom-coms alive for some time, also has a few bound­ary-push­ing re­leases on the sched­ule, both about peo­ple in their early mid­dle age find­ing love. The Sun­dance charmer “Juliet, Naked,” based on the Nick Hornby novel and star­ring Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd and Ethan Hawke, comes out Aug 17, fol­lowed by “Des­ti­na­tion Wed­ding,” which boasts a ‘90s dream cast in Wi­nona Ry­der and Keanu Reeves who star as sin­gle wed­ding guests.

“It’s a dark com­edy,” said “Des­ti­na­tion Wed­ding” pro­ducer Gail Lyon. “They’re play­ing the idea of two bro­ken peo­ple who have had the (ex­ple­tive) kicked out of them in the love depart­ment. Can they re­ally find enough hope to find some­thing or is cyn­i­cism go­ing to rule the day? It’s re­ally funny and re­ally hon­est about find­ing love later in life.”

Lyon, who also pro­duced “Win a Date with Tad Hamil­ton!,” knows that the movie busi­ness is cyclical, but thinks that rom-coms needed to get back to the ba­sics — char­ac­ter and dia­logue — while also “twist­ing the par­a­digm a lit­tle bit to keep it fresh,” which she says “Des­ti­na­tion Wed­ding” (Aug. 24) does.

If 2018 is the start of a new era of the ro­man­tic com­edy, Carl­son thinks that one day we may trace it back to “The Big Sick.” She com­pares it to how “Moon­struck,” which won three Os­cars in 1988, helped get the genre out of the cyn­i­cal “Annie Hall” phase and pave the way for “When Harry Met Sally” and all the clas­sics that hit spawned.

“Peo­ple have writ­ten the ro­man­tic com­edy’s obit­u­ary over and over and over again,” Carl­son said. “But the genre will al­ways sur­vive as long as it’s pushed for­ward in ways that re­flect con­tem­po­rary so­ci­ety. And it will also sur­vive as long as love and relationships elude and fas­ci­nate us — that is, it will never go away.”

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