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film news

Madeleine Stowe loses a role but gains a job

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Tuesday, May 12, 2009

When news surfaced that actress Madeleine Stowe had written an original spec script, a western, that itself was unusual. The Last of the Mohicans actress had taken a semi-retirement from starring in movies to focus on her homelife -- or maybe that was the official story. Maybe Stowe was smart enough to look around and realize that the roles she had been offered ten years ago weren't coming now and she decided to make her own opportunity. It's a sad but all-too-true fact that Hollywood doesn't usually give its aging actresses the same opportunities they had a decade earlier.

But let's get back to Stowe's western, Unbound Captives. Hollywood studios wanted it and they were prepared to pay the actress-turned-writer a whopping $3 million dollars to part with the rights. But Stowe wanted one caveat: she wanted to play the lead female role. And that's where the true ugly face of Hollywood showed itself. 20th Century Fox reupped its offer to $5 million, an unheard of amount of cash for a screenplay written by a new screenwriter, but Stowe held her ground: she wanted that part. And so Fox -- and the other Hollywood studios -- all decided to pass on Unbound Captives. It might be a great script worth $5 million, but letting a middle-aged woman play the main female part in it? Madness.

But that was then. Now things have shifted slightly: Unbound Captives is getting made but without the backing of a studio. Instead it will be Hyde Park Entertainment that will pay the bills, with Gil Netter, Ashok Amritraj and Grant Hill producing. And Unbound Captives has a cast attached to it that will certainly command the attention of the masses; Hugh Jackman will play the leading man role, Rachel Weisz gets the female lead and Twilight superstar Robert Pattinson plays the younger male part.

And while Rachel Weisz will be playing the part that Madeleine Stowe held out for, there is something of a blue sky for Stowe: she will direct Unbound Captives.

Variety had the inside word straight from Stowe about how events played out the way they did. "There was never a moment's hesitation on my part, but it felt unreal, and I can remember my husband putting a finger across his neck to signal not to take the offer," Stowe said about her decision to walk away from the sure thing. "There are moments in life where you need to follow your heart. The script remained my singular focus, but directing it myself wasn't something I ever dreamed of."

During the aftermath of turning down the offer Stowe found encouragement from producer Gil Netter. He coached her to keep working on the story, breaking down each scene. It's likely that insight that turned things around and made Stowe the right person to direct Unbound Captives. And then she had to find someone to play the character that she turned down $5 million dollars in the hopes of playing herself. "I saw three actresses, and knew after meeting with Rachel that she was the person I wanted to hand this role to," she told Variety. "Robert said yes last fall, before everything broke with Twilight. Hugh said yes a couple of weeks ago."

Hyde Park anticipates that Stowe will call action on the set of Unbound Captives before the end of the year, and she will have the helping hand of seasoned cinematographer John Toll by her side.

-Variety.
Daltons chin dimple
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Posts: 12800
Posted: 10 years 15 weeks ago

Take that, Hollywood Studio system!!

....says "Kill Bond, NOW!"
trazalca
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Posted: 10 years 14 weeks ago

That is an AWESOME story! Just the story of how this is getting made against the grain of zombie-infested Hollywood is spectacular. I wish nothing but the best for this film, and look very much forward to its release. Go Stowe! :D

[Enter witty witticism of no particular brevity or relevance here.]
badfish
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Posted: 10 years 14 weeks ago

Really cool analysis, stuff like this really give more depth than the typical "movie scoop and spoiler" sites...

Baelzar
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Posts: 213
Posted: 10 years 13 weeks ago

Wow. Threw away 5 million dollars, sounds like. For a film that will likely be forgotten in a month.

Does she think she's making Citizen Kane?

Well, at least it's a western.

"INDEED!"
The Swollen Goi...
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Posts: 14343
Posted: 10 years 13 weeks ago

I'd rather have Stowe than Weisz.