Cate Blanchett will star in the Richard Linklater-directed film adaptation of Maria Semple’s bestselling novel, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” — that much we know already. But at the Texas Film Awards in Austin, it was revealed the movie will begin filming this summer.
A walk-on role in Linklater’s new film was part of an auction package at the awards Thursday night (two bidders ended up purchasing the package for $42,000 total, which benefits the Austin Film Society).
Semple’s 2012 novel spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s the story of Bernadette Fox, an eccentric agoraphobic mother who disappears before a family trip to Antarctica. The book is narrated by her 15-year-old daughter, Bee Branch. No word yet on who will play the daughter in the movie.
The movie’s screenplay was adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, known for “The Fault in Our Stars” and “500 Days of Summer.” Stephen Feder, who worked on Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some,” will be the executive producer.
While the Texas Film Awards Thursday night were about celebrating the many accomplishments of the film industry, organizers paused the celebrations to remember two Texas film industry heavyweights that died in the last year: Debbie Reynolds and Bill Paxton.
Reynolds, an El Paso native, was honored at the start of the ceremony with a “Singin’ in the Rain” tribute performance by Austin musician Suzanna Choffel, and in the middle of the ceremony, Austin director Robert Rodriguez took the stage to honor his friend, Fort Worth actor Bill Paxton, who died in February. The two worked together on Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (Paxton played Dinky Winks, an eccentric theme park owner). Rodriguez paid tribute to the actor upon hearing of his death, saying working with the Texas actor was a highlight of his career.
Rodriguez told a story about Paxton, saying that when they started working together, digital cameras were relatively new and he discovered that he could just “let them run” to catch improvised moments on camera, and Rodriguez thought that would be a perfect scenario for Paxton to improvise funny moments — but when the actor showed up on set, he said, “I’m like an old pony. You gotta walk me around. I need rehearsal.”
Rodriguez was surprised, saying, “You’d think he’s making it up as he goes. He worked very hard at making it look effortless and easy. He was a great man, a great actor, a great friend and a great Texan.”
Paxton was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2007, and the Austin Film Society honored him Thursday night by playing his full acceptance speech for the award, followed by clips from two of his co-stars: Kevin Bacon and Tom Cruise.
Both actors got teary-eyed as they talked about Paxton. Bacon, who worked on “Apollo 13” with Paxton, told a story about a time Paxton took off his oxygen mask while filming the movie and got giddy with laughter. Cruise, who starred in “Edge of Tomorrow” with Paxton, started his tribute with this: “He entertained me.” That’s something many Texans will remember about Paxton.
Shirley MacLaine, whose legendary film “Terms of Endearment” was honored with the Star of Texas Award at the Texas Film Awards at Austin Studios Thursday night, had someone special on her arm on the red carpet before the ceremony: Austin’s own Richard Linklater.
MacLaine, accepting the award, said she was glad to be there — “I’m glad to be anywhere,” she joked. In her acceptance speech, she gushed about her love for Austin and how great it felt to be in a creative community.
“I think you should build a wall around this city,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed every time I come back here.”
Austin writer Philipp Meyer’s “The Son” is scheduled to start shooting this month in the Austin area, and Pierce Brosnan, the former James Bond, will be replacing Sam Neill as Eli, the patriarch of an oil and ranching family.
The new casting was first reported by Deadline.com, which said Neill dropped out of the project for personal reasons.
The AMC series is based on the book by Meyer and written by Meyer and fellow Michener Center for Writers grads Lee Shipman and Brain McGreevy.
“The Son,” a 2013 Texas epic about the McCullough family, has been hailed as some of the best fiction to come out of the state in recent years.
It deals with Eli McCullough, who was kidnapped by Comanches as a child and goes on to found an empire. It also follows the fortunes of his children and their heirs.
Besides starring as Bond, Brosnan is also known for the 1980s NBC series “Remington Steele.”