Actor-director John Turturro will distribute his movie Romance & Cigarettes with his own money, after a studio takeover left it on the scrap-head.
The musical was made in 2004 with an ensemble cast including James Gandolfini, Kate Winslet, Susan Sarandon, Steve Buscemi and Christopher Walken.
Its future was thrown into jeopardy before it could be released when MGM was bought by a consortium headed by Sony in 2005. It was released in the U.K. in 2006, but has been left in limbo in the U.S. as the filmmakers attempt to unravel a legal mess so the film can be seen by the American public.
Sony Pictures claims it has video rights for the movie and MGM has theatrical rights â€” but a source claims Turturro has secured the film’s release so it can go on show at New York’s Film Forum from 7 September (07), at his own expense.
Turturro musical to escape limbo, sort of
By GREGG GOLDSTEIN
The Hollywood Reporter
NEW YORK – John Turturro is taking matters into his own hands. The actor-writer-director is self-distributing his $11 million musical, Romance & Cigarettes, a project that has experienced a tortured history since it was filmed in 2004.
Despite an all-star cast that includes James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Walken, Bobby Cannavale, Mandy Moore, Mary-Louise Parker, Aida Turturro, Elaine Stritch, Eddie Izzard and Amy Sedaris, the unconventional United Artists feature was put in limbo in 2005 when Sony Pictures merged with MGM.
Turturro was nominated for a Golden Lion award for the film after its September 2005 premiere at the Venice Film Festival, but Romance received mixed reviews there and later at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The over-the-top story line follows a Queens construction worker (Gandolfini) who gets in trouble when his wife (Sarandon) discovers he has a lusty mistress (Winslet). The characters break into songs ranging from James Brown to Engelbert Humperdinck to Bruce Springsteen.
A Sony spokesman said video rights now reside with Sony and theatrical rights reside with MGM. A production source said Turturro and his CAA agent Bart Walker eventually persuaded the powers that be to give the film an open-ended theatrical release Sept. 7 at New York’s Film Forum.