Last August I reported that Chappaquiddick (dated 5.11.16, 131 pages), a blistering Ted Kennedy melodrama written by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan, would begin filming just after Labor Day. It did so. John Curran directed with a cast that toplined Jason Clarke (as EMK), Kate Mara (Mary Jo Kopechne), Ed Helms (Joe Gargan), Bruce Dern (the immobile Joseph P, Kennedy), Jim Gaffigan and Taylor Nichols.

I figured Chappaquiddick might turn up at Toronto in search of a distribution deal, but it wasn’t included in the first batch of titles. A friend who’s seen it says it’s “good…Jason Clarke really captures the Teddy vibe of that era but it’s Bruce Dern that is the power of the film as father  Joe.”

Maybe it’ll be announced as a Toronto title in a week or so, and maybe it’ll open commercially sometime in the late winter or spring of ’18. I know a good script when I read one so here’s hoping.

The other qualifier has to do with Stephen Chbosky‘s Wonder (Lionsgate, 11.17). The trailer suggested it might be a tad cloying, but you can never tell anything from a trailer. I reported on 3.30 that a Lionsgate spokesperson had told the Cinemacon crowd “that Wonder has gotten the highest test scores of any Lionsgate film ever.” And so the original release date, 4.7.17, was changed last February to 11.17. 

But that didn’t mean that Lionsgate believed that Wonder has the Oscar nuts. All it meant, I’ve been told, is that Lionsgate knew they had a strong family film and so they wanted to open it near Thanksgiving to capitalize on that.  Make of this what you will.