Starstruck 

Ira Sachs scores big names for his new movie: period genre flick Marriage.

Like fellow Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer, Ira Sachs has parlayed Sundance success into a career as one of America's most promising young filmmakers.

A year and a half after capturing the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for Forty Shades of Blue, the Memphis-bred, now New York-based Sachs is in Los Angeles completing pre-production on his next film, Marriage, a period piece set in the Pacific Northwest in 1949.

With a budget of "around $12 million" and an eye-popping cast -- Chris Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Patricia Clarkson, and Pierce Brosnan are the principals -- this genre film, set to begin shooting in Vancouver at the end of the summer, signifies a big step-up for Sachs.

The script for Marriage, co-written by Sachs and Oren Moverman (Jesus' Son), is adapted from the British pulp mystery Five Roundabouts to Heaven by John Bingham.

"It's the story of a married man who falls in love with another woman and decides divorcing his wife will cause her too much pain, and it will be better to kill her," Sachs says. "Then it becomes a suspense film about whether or not he'll go through with it."

Cooper, who won an Oscar for Adaptation, plays the husband. Indie veteran Clarkson (The Station Agent) plays the wife. Rising superstar McAdams (subject of a recent Entertainment Weekly story about her judicious choice of roles) plays the woman Cooper's character has an affair with. And former James Bond Brosnan plays the best friend, "the consummate bachelor."

"This film is inspired by times my then-boyfriend and I would stay home and watch Joan Crawford movies -- '30s and '40s melodramas," Sachs says. "Those films would take exaggerated situations and have audiences relate to them very personally, and I think that's what Marriage is like."

The plot of Marriage evokes the great '40s Edward G. Robinson/Fritz Lang collaborations Scarlet Street and The Woman in the Window, influences Sachs also acknowledges.

"I think Cooper is very much in the style of Robinson in that he's someone you can identify with yet very much has a power on screen," Sachs says. "He's an Everyman in a way."

After getting great notices for the performances he got from Rip Torn and relative-unknown Dina Korzun, Sachs gets to work with some of the most high-profile and respected actors in American movies. So how did he put this cast together?

"It's a process," Sachs says. "It's a culmination of the script, which I think is a page-turner. It's a good read and people can see it as a film. Forty Shades of Blue had strong performances, and I think that gave these actors confidence in me. Basically, it's like courting. For the past 12 months, I've been trying to court a series of strong actors who would be right for the roles."

According to Sachs, Marriage will be financed by Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, a company that has been involved with films as diverse as 9 ½ Weeks and the current United 93. Marriage will be produced by Steve Golin, who has worked on some of the very best recent American films, producing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich.

"He's one of the good guys out here," Sachs says of Golin. "He knows how to work the system but is very much oriented toward filmmakers and preserving the creative vision of a film."

After searching for a distributor at Sundance for Forty Shades of Blue, Sachs says Marriage is likely to be distributed through MGM in a pre-arranged deal.

"At this amount of money, it's not something where you hope to get a distributor," Sachs says. "I think that will be set up in advance. It'll still end up going to a festival to launch it but likely with a distributor in hand."

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • The Disaster Artist

      James Franco’s hilarious love letter to the worst film ever.
    • Thor: Ragnarok

      Taika Waititi takes The God of Thunder in a comedic direction
    • Lady Bird

      Greta Gerwig directs Saoirse Ronan in the dazzling coming of age comedy

Blogs

Hungry Memphis

New Central BBQ to open

News Blog

Just City Launches New Group

News Blog

MLGW Chief Defends Rate Increases

News Blog

Memphis Pets of the Week (Dec. 14-20)

Tiger Blue

Tigers 67, Albany 58

News Blog

Fire damages Pete and Sam's restaurant

News Blog

Report: Memphis 'Ground Zero for Government Waste'

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Chris Herrington

  • Last Words

    In "Enough Said," James Gandolfini makes his last lead film role his best.
    • Sep 26, 2013
  • Masters of Sound

    New albums from two of Memphis’ most distinctive stylists.
    • Sep 19, 2013
  • Hayes Carll at the Hi-Tone

    • Sep 19, 2013
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • A Bigger Splash

    Tilda Swinton and Ray Finnes deal with First World Problems
    • Jun 1, 2016
  • The Mummy

    A bedtime story about Tom Cruise and a swimming pool full of money.
    • Jun 17, 2017
  • Maggie’s Plan

    Comedy perfection from director Rebecca Miller
    • Jun 17, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation