Owen Wilson is back, with brushes, as the longtime host of a beloved but fading Burlington, Vermont-based PBS instructional art show. Paint from IFC Films opens on 800+ screens.
Public television is always ripe for parody and happens to be a world Wilson knows. His father Robert Wilson helped launch, and ran, Dallas PBS station KERA. (He also introduced Monty Python’s Flying Circus to public television.)
Paint director Brit McAdams tells Deadline said that his own after-school TV ritual, General Hospital, would often segue into PBS host Bob Ross’ The Joy Of Painting. Ross is a loose inspiration for Wilson’s character, Carl Nargle, in the look at least, from permed hair, denim-on-denim wardrobe and dulcet tones that impressed McAdams and a global fan base. “I’d be like, ‘Who is this guy?’ And then he’d paint something brown that would turn into a branch, and then a tree, and then a forest, and a landscape. And you would go from a loud world to a quiet, intimate place,” the helmer said. Carl’s personal story, however, is his own. It was shaped, separately, by McAdams’ fascination with celebrities — some of whom he said he met working at VHI “when it was still a music channel” — whose sympathetic public personas belied their real-life behavior.
'How To Blow Up A Pipeline' Review: Lukas Gage Among Superb Ensemble In Nail-Biting Eco-Terrorist Thriller
Ross’ show ran from 1983 to 1994. He passed away from cancer the following year. A 2021 Netflix doc, Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed, chronicled the artist’s rise and a battle over his business empire.
McAdams wrote the script in 2010. It made the Black List, a buzzy annual compendium of the most-liked un-produced Hollywood screenplays, was financed quickly and “then took a decade falling apart,” he said. As it re-emerged, Ross had coincidentally made a bit of a comeback with hipsters, from TikTok, to Halloween costumes. “Bob Ross was not part of the zeitgeist when I wrote it. I’d say to people, ‘Do you remember there was this guy named Bob Ross? It’s a little like him.’ And they’d be like, ‘Oh, yeah. I think?’”
Also starring Michaela Watkins, Ciara Renée, Stephen Root, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Lucy Freyer, Lusia Strus and Michael Pemberton. Deadline review here.
Other notable openings, and there are a handful this week: Neon presents thriller How To Blow Up A Pipeline, the TIFF-premiering eco-terrorism drama by Daniel Goldhaber, on 12 screens. Based on Andreas Malm’s controversial nonfiction book/manifesto How to Blow Up a Pipeline: Learning to Fight in a World on Fire, which sparked public debate around environmental activism. It follows a crew of young activists from very different backgrounds on a daring mission of sabotage. The film written by Goldhaber, Ariela Barer (who stars and is also a producer) and Jordan Sjol.
Also starring Kristine Froseth and Forrest Goodluck (both executive producers), Lukas Gage, Sasha Lane, Jayme Lawson, Marcus Scribner and Jake Weary. It’s the debut for emerging female cinematographer Tehillah de Castro.
The filmmakers researched and wrote the script in six months after reading the book, then packaged, cast and financed it in another few. They worked with experts and engineers to build and then blow up the pipeline in the film. Neon acquired the film in a competitive situation after its world premiere as part of TIFF’s 2022 Platform category. See Deadline review.
Oscilloscope Laboratories opens Saim Sadiq’s Joyland, winner of Un Certain Regard Grand Jury Prize at Cannes, Best International Film at the Independent Spirit Awards, and Pakistan’s Oscar-shortlisted selection for International Feature. In New York at Film Forum this weekend, expanding to LA’s Landmark Nuart April 21 and nationwide the following week.
A gentle and timid Haider (Ali Junejo), who lives with his wife Mumtaz (Rasti Farooq) and extended family in Lahore, Pakistan, lands a job at a Bollywood-style burlesque after a long spell of unemployment. He tells his family he’s a theater manager but is actually a backup dancer, an unusual position that brings him out of his shell and shakes up the traditional dynamics of his household. Deadline review here.
A24 opens Kelly Reichardt’s latest Showing Up in NYC (Angelika and Lincoln Square) and LA (The Grove and Century City), expanding nationally in coming weeks. Premiered at Cannes. The comedy-drama Stars Michelle Williams as a sculptor preparing to open a new show and balancing her creative life with the daily dramas of family and friends including her father, a potter, mother, who manages the office where she works, and her conspiracy theorist brother. Deadline review here.
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