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Mark Helprin’s “Winter’s Tale” is a vast novel filled with many themes, but writer-director Akiva Goldsman always came back to one: love. This grown-up fairy tale tells of how neither time nor space could separate ne’er-do-well thief Peter Lake from the object of his heart, Beverly Penn, a delicate beauty and heiress who dies of consumption. The 1983 book, whose story spans a century, is considered by many one of the best and best-loved novels of the past century, but few could see it as a movie. Its journey to the big screen has its own fateful tale. But here it is finally, in time for Valentine’s Day and starring Colin Farrell and “Downton Abbey” alum Jessica Brown Findlay as the couple of destiny.
Enamored with the novel when he read it as a young man, Goldsman — the scriptwriter of “A Beautiful Mind,” for which he won an Oscar, and “Cinderella Man” — always had the book on his wish list of big-screen adaptations, This despite often getting puzzled looks ballet shoes movie trailer when he mentioned it, Finally, after years of success in Hollywood, the “failed fiction writer,” as he wryly describes himself, got Warner Bros, to buy the rights, “And then I promptly did what boys do, I got it home and started ignoring it and got all kinds of sexier jobs,” says the 51-year-old native of Brooklyn, which is where Helprin’s novel is set, first in the early part of the 20th century and then the present day..
In the summer of 2010 with the option on the novel running out, Goldsman was still trying to crack the main dilemma of “Winter’s Tale,” which is how do you turn a nearly 800-page magical-realism novel with a complicated structure that spans a century into a 120-page script?. “Then one day I went to work in the morning, and my wife died out of nowhere by the time I came home,” says Goldman, a catch in his throat still evident. On July 6, 2010, Rebecca Spikings-Goldsman, a TV and film producer, passed away of a heart attack at 42.
Goldsman didn’t write anything for a while, but when he did, he came back to “Winter’s Tale.” It was “something I loved,” he says, “It was the single most important thing in my life, It became my journey, my hope for meaning behind the randomness of life.”, Goldsman pared the novel down; he jettisoned a major character and concentrated on the lovers, When he ballet shoes movie trailer took the script back to the studio, it calculated that it would cost around $80 million to make; it would kick in $40 million..
“I said, ‘OK, thank you.’” ” Studio officials told him to cast it. “I called in 20 years’ worth of favors. I have no more favors left Hollywood,” jokes Goldsman, who also got to direct his first film with “Winter’s Tale.” Those favors included getting friends such as Oscar winners Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and William Hurt and Oscar nominee Will Smith to work for little more than scale. The scriptwriter then waived his remaining writing fees and put his Directors Guild minimum salary back into the movie.
“Winter’s Tale” certainly has the look and feel of a much more expensive film, thanks to the creative team of costumers and designers that Goldsman was able to put together with his favors, It was shot by one of Hollywood’s greats, ballet shoes movie trailer Caleb Deschanel, a five-time Oscar nominee and winner of the American Society of Cinematographers’ lifetime achievement award, who read the script and decided to do the film for the limited pay, The music was composed by Oscar winner Hans Zimmer and Rupert Gregson-Williams..
Key was who was to play Peter and Beverly. Goldsman says he originally tested young actors for Peter, but decided that the age difference between the couple — as it is in the novel — should remain. He had Colin Farrell in mind for the role. For Beverly, he notes there is “really a deep well of great young actresses right now” and that was a difficult choice. “It was fantastic to watch all these talented young women,” says Goldman about the audition process. Then Jessica Brown Findlay walked in. “She is this very contemporary, charming kid from Great Britain. When she sat down, she struck me that everything about this person was alive.”.
Fans of “Downton” know the 24-year-old actress as Lady Sybil Crawley, who dies tragically in childbirth during the third season of the hit series, Brown Findlay had been written out ballet shoes movie trailer after deciding to leave the show at the end of her contract, To play Beverly, “Winter’s Tale” would put her back into the first part of the 20th century, the same period as “Downton.”, Calling from England where she is filming, Brown Findlay says she may have had a moment of hesitation about returning to the era and playing a dying young woman..