December welcomes ‘The Tourist’

Posted by · 5:26 am · August 19th, 2010

It’s difficult to know how to interpret the news that “The Tourist,” the first English-language feature from Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, has been yanked forward into the 2010 release calendar, following a reportedly well-received screening for studio bosses. The film will now hit US theaters on December 10, a release date it shares with the latest “Chronicles of Narnia” instalment and, more pertinently, David O. Russell’s Oscar hopeful “The Fighter.”

Why difficult? Well, the buzz on the film has heretofore been so quiet that we have little idea what manner of beast it is. I haven’t seen “Anthony Zimmer,” Jérôme Salle’s well-regarded but underexposed 2005 French espionage thriller from which von Donnersmarck’s film is adapted, but it appears to be a lightweight genre effort.

While many will assume that the rescheduling positions “The Tourist” as a serious awards prospect, it could just be that Sony sees the film as a commercial winner for adult audiences in the pre-Christmas rush. (We only need look back at last year’s brutal holiday season to be reminded that a December release is no guarantee of awards gold.)

On the other hand, if the film’s pitch doesn’t sound entirely baity, its pedigree does: after a four-year wait, many will be interested to see how the German director follows up his Oscar-winning “The Lives of Others,” while the star pairing of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie (with Paul Bettany — huzzah — in support) is as A-list as it gets.

The screenplay is credited to an unlikely pair of Oscar champs in Julian Fellowes and Christopher McQuarrie (plus the writer of “The Day After Tomorrow,” but we’ll put that to one side for now), while the presence of below-the-line names like John Seale, Colleen Atwood and Joe Hutshing makes it clear we’re dealing with, at the very least, high-end studio product. (My new favourite website Clothes on Film, incidentally, was getting worked up over Atwood’s contribution back in June.)

As it stands, I don’t feel compelled to alter my predictions just yet, but with the prestige release slate still looking a touch sparse, it’s nice to have something new on the radar. What does your gut tell you?

[Photo: Clothes on Film]

→ 15 Comments Tags: , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

15 responses so far

  • 1 8-19-2010 at 5:49 am

    Carson Dyle said...

    Wonder if Timothy Dalton could possibly summon up the kudos he’s deserved since 1968…

    Hell, if he didn’t get nominated for an Oscar in Hot Fuzz, he’s never going to be.

  • 2 8-19-2010 at 5:54 am

    Chris said...

    My gut tells me that I didn’t like von Donnersmarcks attitude afte he won that Oscar. His films should speak for themselves but I cleerly don’t sympathize with him as a person. Plus I find “The Lives of Others” to be nothing more than “quite good”, if that at all.
    And after four years in director’s limbo, I somehow expect(ed) him to end up like Oliver Hirschbiegel.

  • 3 8-19-2010 at 6:55 am

    Reno said...

    Jolie will get a Best Actress Drama at the GG, she’ll take the Julia Roberts’ spot, since The Tourist has more pedigree and will be released just in time for the Globes.

  • 4 8-19-2010 at 6:55 am

    The Other James D. said...

    I’ve forgotten about his attitude. Illuminate me?

    Also, I agree with you Guy: Strikes me more as a tech player at best, but just a potentially intriguing yarn really. And to think this is to blame for them withholding The Rum Diary on us? Grr.

    P.S. The Day After Tomorrow is one of my guilty pleasures from the last decade….Mostly the Jake-in-the-NYC-Public-Library scenes, plus anything w/ Sela Ward. The Dennis Quaid scenes can go rot in the vault.

  • 5 8-19-2010 at 7:02 am

    McAllister said...

    If I were going to crop the one still we have from the film to include only one of its stars… it would’ve been Angelina.

  • 6 8-19-2010 at 7:05 am

    The Other James D. said...

    Well, if I were Guy, I would’ve cropped the still to include the more talented thespian instead–which he did =).

  • 7 8-19-2010 at 8:13 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    McAllister: Actually, I deliberated over that. Every other blog went with the Jolie pic, so I chose to zig where others zagged. Plus, having the other guy’s face in the shot behind Jolie looks sloppy.

    Reno: I’m pretty sure Roberts will compete in the Comedy/Musical race.

  • 8 8-19-2010 at 9:20 am

    Hans said...

    I’m intrigued. I mean, two of the biggest stars on the planet right now, how can one not be, especially in an age where “the movie star” is becoming so irrelevant? I’m sure this wouldn’t have been given the time of day (at least not as readily) if it was, say, Richard Jenkins and Melissa Leo (not a knock on those two, mind you).

  • 9 8-19-2010 at 10:30 am

    Bia said...

    Commercially this will do well over Christmas, it looks like a very glamorous 2010 version of To Catch A Thief.

  • 10 8-19-2010 at 10:45 am

    McAllister said...

    The Other James D.,

    No. ;)

  • 11 8-19-2010 at 10:47 am

    The Other James D. said...

    Oh yes.

  • 12 8-19-2010 at 11:41 am

    jen said...

    It is indeed supposed to be a reminiscent of To Catch A Thief, as Jolie said in an interview.

    PS : Eat Pray Love is listed as a drama on imdb, so I assume Roberts will be considered in the Best Actress in a Drama category

  • 13 8-19-2010 at 6:58 pm

    Glenn said...

    Those sort of breezy, ladida dramas can sometimes end up in the drama category of the Globes because, well, why not? And the comedy categories are usually slighter than the drama so they need as many titles as they can get.

  • 14 8-20-2010 at 7:22 am

    Chris said...

    The other James D:
    I guess you asked me to “illuminate” you. Back then von Donnersmarck made some statements, that seemed a little arrogant and ungrateful. First of all, he thanked Arnold Schwarzenegger and (if I recall correctly) Tom Cruise in his Oscar acceptance speech. For no other reason, besides that he was a fan and that they welcomed him in a friendly way in the US. He was so obsessed with going there, leaving Germany. He said, he was going to move there, while being interviewed on the red carpet before he won that Oscar. I just got the impression that he wanted to leave Germany and the German film industry as fast as he could, because he didn’t like it there and only did this one, very German, very European film as a sacrifice, to get his career going.
    This is how it seemed to me, equally so in some other interviews he made after the Oscars. I am in no way accusing him for actually being that way. I just wasn’t able to sympathize with him.
    Plus, it seemed a little ridiculous, in a way, that it took him so long to come up with another film, while being in such a hurry when leaving Germany.

  • 15 8-20-2010 at 6:35 pm

    martisco said...

    Von Donnersmarck has rubbed a few people the wrong way, but not for the reasons Chris states. He’s an upper-class, extremely confident guy who has basically said “Don’t waste your time making student films” and he pissed off some people in Germany because he dared make a movie about a Stasi agent who never could have existed in real life, etc blah blah. Personally, I love “The Lives of Others” and found it to be something more than merely “quite good,” but I still haven’t been able to bring myself to listen to Von Donnersmarck’s DVD commentary because he just sounded a little too self-satisfied and willing to overexplain everything. I’m looking forward to “The Tourist” as entertainment (which “The Lives of Others” was), not necessarily as Oscar bait. We’ll see.