Twitter is a buzz today over the possibility of Whit Stillman’s upcoming Amazon Series Cosmopolitan having its title changed. The magazine Cosmopolitan apparently is the reason the show cannot be called that name.
The title, according to Stillman’s twitter account (@WhitStillman) will now be The Cosmopolitans. Hopefully something can be sorted out and the original series name can be saved.
Deadline reports that Shaun Evans will be the male lead in Whit Stillman’s Cosmopolitan pilot for Amazon Studios.
UpandComers.net also has some info, but it’s mostly the same information as Deadline’s scoop.
Evans will play Hal, a divorced, good-looking but somber young man who’s struggling with his most recent heartache in the company of his two best friends, fellow American Jimmy and European Woddy, who’s less than sympathetic. The friend roles have yet to be cast. Evans, repped by Don Buchwald & Associates and Hamilton Hodell in the UK, next will be seen in upcoming feature War Book.
Simon Butler at CurnBlog interviews Whit Stillman on a myriad of subjects, including his process, how directing for TV is different from films, improv, music in his films, etc.
I can’t really say what the ultimate goal is because that’s a secret. And I’m not quite sure myself. I think it’s pretty clear. … I’m sort of surprised that people think that I’m being scathing – that I’m being hypercritical [of my characters]. I’m not disdainful of the characters. I’m pretty close to them.
Some of it is the casting of the actor. Analeigh Tipton [who played Lily] was very compelling and very likeable. I don’t want to be too schematic and obvious and biased. I like when an actor makes the character more rounded than in the script. I think Serena was sort of flattened in Metropolitan; she could’ve been more charming. Maybe that’s why Metropolitan is so popular – it’s a little bit conventional with the villains.
It depends. It’s not what we’re really after, where we’re just trying to get what we’ve written “XX” down because there’s very little time. Occasionally an actor will want to bring something else into it, and if it works it’s great. I had a guy create that kind of stuff in Damsels: Zach Woods. He added a whole level of performance that his comic chops brought to it. I love when an actor has the comicality that can raise what’s written several notches.
It’s totally different in the sense that generally, the director in film is a bit like the captain of the ship, while in TV the writer-producer is definitely the captain of the ship. You are kind of a first mate when you’re doing television. They’re very denigrating with the director role. It also depends entirely whether the director’s integrated into the productions.
And then Mark came in and made that music happen for the film, and then Mark did Barcelona as a solo job. He really did some very clever stuff unobtrusively in Disco. Mark’s my go-to guy for music.
From the archives of Cosmopolitan Italy, comes this Whit Stillman interview for Damsels in Distress. The obvious tie in to this is Stillman’s possible upcoming Amazon Studios project named “Cosmopolitan.” Although his project has nothing to do with the magazine.
Damsels in Distress – Girls in disarray is a bubbly and funny comedy that takes aim at the contemporary American society . It tells the story of three girls from different characters (there is a dynamic leader , the girl quieter and the sexy and daring ) , but with the same foibles as personal hygiene, perfumes and designer clothing . The group decided to open a center for suicide prevention within the College with the intent to change the social life of the East Coast College, but above all to reverse the disturbing and grotesque attitude to the machismo of its male population. A new arrival in the group of friends will change the cards on the table by creating new and unpredictable dynamics . We asked the director Whit Stillman how was it working with so many women …
The protagonists of his films are four young women . As he approached the reality of university students ?
The protagonists of the film are girls , but I think the issues addressed and what they say in a certain sense is valid for both sexes. It is a question of identity , rather than kind: the protagonists in the film are trying to build their personality , and all around them , the world they want to live . Regarding the feminine aspect of the story, is based on the story of a group of young women brought a wave of change in my university. She did not know her personally but I’ve heard a lot from my companions were girls who had decided to dress well and change the social life of the campus, at that time still male-dominated and not very elegant , based on codes of conduct of the brotherhoods as in the movie . And then I have two daughters, one has already attended college , the other , which appears along with some of her friends in dance scenes , is still studying .
The protagonist Violet claims that the boys are beautiful and intelligent and arrogant then they will end up hurting the girls .
The thesis of Violet does not reveal very faithful to reality, it is a kind of joke: in fact the protagonists end up with all the boys and the cutest character played by Adam Brody will prove to be one of the most ” pathetic .” Instead, the character was supposed to be the most mediocre , Frank , is quite attractive, even if he tries to make himself awkward in the way it moves.
The four protagonists manage the Suicide Prevention Center of the College , convinced that dancing and a kind of aromatherapy can help other students in need.
At the end of one of the first screenings of the film presentation , a psychiatrist at Cornell University told us that he found it very helpful and truthful in dealing with the ways in which we can change the attitudes and predisposition of mind of a person. I was thrilled , even though the aspiration of the film is not to be necessarily realistic but to amuse and entertain .
Not only the cast , but also in the production of the film were young talents. At a time like this , what advice would you give to kids who want to work in TV and movies?
In fact I think this is an amazing moment for them because they can create what they want and upload it on the net. Lena Dunham was already an entertainer college when he made a very popular web series . Another very funny actress who has done a similar path is Aubrey Plaza , which in our film has a small part ( Debbie ) : I think I’ve received a lot of help from his previous experience of online comedy ( he participated in the online series The Jeannie Tate Show and Meyne Street). Today there are great resources available and low-cost technologies . The audience is much closer and can give an immediate response to your work . You can create a work with a very low budget . I think it’s the best time to enter this world but it is not necessarily profitable : if you want to make beautiful things for fun and express yourself is fine , if you want the gain is another matter.
During the casting , what were looking for in actresses to choose from ?
The four women protagonists are all very different and all have different acting styles . We have had a very different casting on both coasts of the U.S. from NY to LA, and most people who sent video of specimens from abroad. For example, Hugo Beckert has sent her audition from Paris. For his part at the beginning was that of an American boy called Tom but since Hugo had a style that I liked, we did become the French character so do not have to worry about the accent. At the end we were very happy with the choices made.
The part of Violet is played by Greta Gerwig bright and promising . How was it working with her?
We were very lucky because it is an actress who has made full all what we expected from her. Greta is fantastic and comes from a past of improvisation that is also very close to the style of the film. In the Last days of disco , I was lucky to find someone like Chloe Sevigny, who has a natural talent for acting. It is always satisfying to have something to do with talent like theirs.
Amazon Studios, who already have many projects out or in the works are adding another to their slate. Whit Stillman will be writing, directing, and executive producing a new show about young expatriates in Paris. The show will be titled Cosmopolitan, which is a nice nod to his first film. The main indiewire site says that according to Deadline the project is “close” to having a deal finalized. If you are a Whit Stillman fan, these last few days have been like Christmas. Hopefully more good news and details will be coming soon!
The indiewire blog site had this to say (it also talks about the Jane Austen project):
Titled “Cosmopolitan” (Stillman’s first film was “Metropolitan,” for those keeping score), Stillman will write, direct and executive produce, and the show will chronicle the loves and adventures of a group of young expatriates in Paris (Stillman spent plenty of time there during his “in the wilderness” period after going more than ten years between films; ‘Disco’ in 1998 and “Damsels in Distress” in 2011). It was also recently announced that Stillman would be working on a Jane Austen-inspired book titled, “Love & Friendship: An Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Unfinished Novella Concerning the Beautiful Lady Susan Vernon, Her Loves and Friendships, and the Strange Antagonism of the DeCourcy Family.”