The last-minute, going-totally-crazy efforts of the Weinstein Co. team to get additional shooting done on George Hickenlooper‘s Factory Girl (Weinstein Co., 12.29) only a few weeks ago and then hurriedly screen the film for all the year-end critics groups for possible awards consideration…the entire breathless bandwagon (Sienna Miller as Edie Sedgwick! Don’t count us out! We’re in the game!) has suddenly devolved into an east-coast farce.
I’m speaking of an hours-old decision to suddenly cancel the just-scheduled New York press screenings in lieu of a decision by Weinstein Co. distribution honchos to bypass the 12.29 release and not even open Factory Girl in New York theatres until sometime early next year, possibly as late as February.
The reason, I’m told, is that the film is not quite finished — i.e., some rough spots still exist — and the Weinstein Co. would rather that the extra-tough New York-area critics see a film that’s 100% finished rather than one that’s 97% or 98% there. Bullshit, bullshit….a line like this is always a cover for something else.
No one was expecting New York Film Critics Circle members to drop everything and see Factory Girl this week (although three screenings had been set up between now and Friday) and then step right up and vote for Miller in the Best Actress category or for Guy Pearce‘s Andy Warhol performance in the Best Supporting Actor category…nobody was expecting anything. And yet something favorable could have happened along these lines. But not now with the NYFCC totally cut loose. And yet the Weinstein Co. showed the 97% -completed version to the National Board of Review on Monday, and will screen it for the Holly- wood Foreign Press today, and is still showing the film to Los Angeles critics (five screenings between today and Saturday) in time for the LAFCA voting on Sunday.
I’ve been a supporter of Factory Girl for several months, having seen a rough cut back in August, but now the campaign for it is starting to feel like a joke — and the film is not that. It’s spritzy and steeped in a mid 1960s aroma-atmosphere with a excitingly alive-feeling performance by Miller and a wryly amusing one by Pearce, and yet the Weinstein Co.’s suddenly pulling the film out of the New York arena obviously means someone — Harvey Weinstein would be a good guess– got scared at the last second about what the tough-ass NY-area critics might say or do, and decidely to pull the plug on this specific area. Weird.
24 hours ago Weinstein Co, publicist Liz Biber told me that despite confusion to the contrary, Factory Girl would definitely screen “several” times this week for the benefit of New York and Los Angeles critics, as well as the Hollywood Foreign Press. She said she’d be contacting everyone on both coasts yesterday and give them screening dates and times between now and Saturday. And three or four hours later, she did just that. And then came today’s announcement about the New York bailout.
I feel somewhere between angered and dis-invested. I’ve been feeling something genuine for this film for the last four months, but the handling of it over the last 24 to 36 hours has been erratic and close-to-embarassing.