Late last night the Hollywood Reporter‘s Alex Ben Block reported that Taylor Hackford‘s Love Ranch, a ’70s period drama about Joe and Sally Conforte‘s Mustang Ranch, will finally get a limited U.S. release in June through E1 Entertainment.
Joe Pesci plays the (in)famous Mr. Conforte and Helen Mirren (i.e., Hackford’s wife) plays Sally. Most of us are a little scared, I think, of husband-and-wife collaborations on films (they tend to disappoint) hence the muted enthusiasm about this one.
The screenplay, however, is by celebrated author and longtime New York magazine contributor Mark Jacobson, who based it on a story he wrote about the ranch, so maybe.
The film, which began shooting in January ’08 but hasn’t been seen at any film festivals, has been tied up in legal wrangles due to the producers, Capitol Films David Bergstein and Ron Tutor, having failed to make payments on loans and being foreclosed upon in late ’08, blah, blah. But financial boondoggles never prevent a film from being shown at a festival or two, as critical acclaim at Toronto or Sundance can obviously add value to the core asset. If it’s worth showing, there’s always a way.
My guess is that Love Ranch hasn’t shown at any festivals because it isn’t all that good. How do ya like them apples?
ABB reports that “it will open in seven to ten North American cities, including New York and Los Angeles,” and “if it gets positive reviews and does good business the release would be expanded.” Oh, give me a break!
Here are Hackford and Mirren talking about Love Ranch with Peter Bart and Peter Guber God knows how many months ago.
Update: A journalist and HE-reader whom I know to be legit says he “saw Love Ranch last year at a test screening. Taylor Hackford was there. The film was flat and un-involving but you do get to see the great dame Helen Mirren swear up a storm, which was kinda funny. She even throws in a Queen of England joke. Pesci has so much makeup on he looked like a tranny. The unknown guy who plays Mirren’s Argentinian lover is also miscast.
“The film was so boring I couldn’t bring myself to do a proper write-up. It would make a good fit for HBO.”