Fox Searchlight announced today that Kenneth Lonergan ensemble drama “Margaret” will be released in theaters Sept. 30. Normally, this would be intriguing, but not major news in the movie industry except that “Margaret” is Lonergan’s follow up to his critically acclaimed directorial debut “You Can Count on Me.” That film was released in 2000, almost 11 years ago.
“Margaret” was produced by Scott Rudin, Gary Gilbert and the late Sydney Pollack who passed away in 2008. The film stars Anna Paquin, J. Smith-Cameron, Jean Reno, Jeannie Berlin, Allison Janney, Matthew Broderick, Kieran Culkin, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Damon.
Her are some intriguing historical facts about “Margaret.” When the film began production…
…Barack Obama had not yet completed his first year as a U.S. Senator representing the state of Illinois.
…the Chicago White Sox were about to win their first World Series since 1917.
…New Orleans was still sifting through the immediate damage of Hurricane Katrina.
…Kobe Bryant was four months away from scoring 81 points in one game against the Toronto Raptors.
…Anna Paquin’s final turn as Rogue in “X-Men: The Last Stand” was still eight months away from theaters.
…Matt Damon had just experienced one of the biggest bombs of his career with “The Brother’s Grimm.”
…Mark Ruffalo was in the middle of his “romantic comedy” year as “Just Like Heaven” had been released.
…Kieran Culkin hadn’t appeared on screen since 2002’s “Igby Goes Down.”
Yes, “Margaret” began principal photograph in Sept. 2005 and it will finally hit theaters six years later.
What’s most amazing about the story behind “Margaret’s” insanely long editing process is that the definitive story behind it was published by the Los Angeles Times over two years ago. The bizarre tale is centered around a director and screenwriter, Lonergan, who used his contractual final cut clause to spur bizarre lawsuits between Gilbert and Searchlight and who reportedly spurned the advice of Pollack, Rudin and legendary editor Thelma Shoonmaker. Longergan, who also wrote “Gangs of New York” and “Analyze This” hasn’t seen any other work of his on screen since this whole fracas began.
Fast forward to August, 2011 and “Margaret’s” release was noted by a simple press release from Searchlight with no poster, no official photos and no trailer (we assume something will be coming). Paquin rules “True Blood,” Matt Damon arguably hasn’t made a bad movie since “Grimm” and Ruffalo is an “Avenger.” “Margaret” isn’t a new movie at this point, it’s a historical document. In fact, no matter how good or bad “Margaret” is, chances are a movie on the making of “Margaret” would be much more entertaining. And at this point, don’t discount it.
“Margaret” finally hits theaters Sept. 30 in limited release.