Michael Hoffman‘s The Last Station “should be an interesting film to watch from the acquisition marketing angle,” says the Telluride-based “buckzollo.” “This waning-days-of-Leo Tolstoy biopic has not been acquired as far as I know. It could be more tightly edited and frankly needs a sound edit (i.e., too loud with the chirping crickets). But I believe it is very marketable, mostly because it is about a major literary brand.
“The film claims that Tolstoy is the most celebrated author of all time. As Ken Burns alluded to in a discussion, the film is a 1900s version of the Michael Jackson death or OJ craziness. There is a lot of archival footage and it was very interesting to me to discover how much the Tolstoy’s were celebrities and had cameras rolling all the time back in the day.
“The movie could run afoul of critics (or so I’m sensing), but the fact that it is very easy to absorb without haing a Master’s Degree in Russian Literaure should be a marketing boon, no? One guy told me it needs a good $25 million to make the Oscar run, which is ‘exactly what Harvey and Bob do well although they probably don’t have the wad.’ I’m wondering if Apparition (who I am told will see it Tuesday) might want some guaranteed Oscar bait to get off on a good foot?
“The themes in The Last Station are contemporary and everything is very “eat up-able.” You learn something and there’s no way that Christopher Plummer, channeling Ernest Hemingway or something, can’t elbow his way onto the Best Actor contender list. And Helen Mirren, James McAvoy and Paul Giamatti are great. And it’s beautifully shot. The question is will someone belly up tp the bar and if yes, will there be time to mount the right kind of campaign?