There is no dearth of stories from the real world that can be adapted into movies. Biopics are quite a rage in Hollywood, with the words “Based on true events” evoking a sense of realism in an otherwise world of props and tricks. This year has had its set of biopics, but the bulk of them and usually the best of them come towards the fag end of the year to be a part of the Oscar race. So here are a few biopics of 2014 that I am aware of, that are yet to see a wide release. Once they do, they may very well be worth our time.
The Imitation Game
This British-American film is the story of none other than Alan Turing, the Father of theoretical computer science, the genius who helped the Allies in World War II to crack Nazi Germany’s cryptic messages, the tormented man who was prosecuted for his homosexuality. Directed by Morten Tyldum, the movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role which is another big reason to be excited about the film. It also stars Keira Knightley and Mark Strong. The Imitation Game released in August 2014 at the Telluride Film Festival and then a few more such film festivals, with a US premiere slated for end of November. The initial reviews have been positive, and we could be looking at a strong Oscars contender here.
The Theory of Everything
From one genius we movie to another. The Theory of Everything narrates the story of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, and covers largely his relationship with his ex-wife Jane Wilde. While the movie’s name is based on Hawking’s famous book, the plot is in fact based on the memoir of Jane Wilde. Directed by James Marsh, the movie has Eddie Redmayne playing Hawking and Felicity Jones playing his wife. The Theory of Everything premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in November 2014 and has had a limited release so far in the USA. Strong reviews may well push it for a wider release soon.
This film will take us in the war infested region of Iraq as it narrates the story of Navy S.E.A.L. Chris Kyle and his innumerable kills. The movie has been directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Bradley Cooper in the lead role. The movie recently had its premiere at the AFI Fest, and the initial buzz around it has been positive. The movie has a limited release in the USA planned for December 2014 with a wide release sometime in January 2015.
Foxcatcher is the story of Olympic Wrestling Champion Mark Schultz and paranoid-schizophrenic millionaire coach John du Pont, who murdered Schultz’s brother, Olympic Champion Dave Schultz in 1996. The film has been directed by Bennett Miller and stars Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo as the Schultz brothers and Steve Carrell in a never-before-seen role of the crazy coach. The movie had its premiere at Cannes in May and has a limited release in USA planned in November itself. The wide release could come a little later, with the studio clearly marketing it for an Oscar run.
Unbroken is the chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II. It has been directed by Angelina Jolie while the screenplay has been written by the Coen brothers. Jack O’Connell is playing the protagonist in the movie. It is Jolie’s second directed movie and has garnered enough publicity in its build up to the theatrical release. The movie will premiere in Sydney in November and a USA release is planned for late December 2014.
Surprisingly, a biopic on Martin Luther King, Jr. has not really made it big in Hollywood, but we have an entry now. Selma is based on the dangerous and monumental voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery held in 1965 and led by Martin Luther King, Jr. Directed by Ava Marie DuVernay, the movie stars David Oyelowo as the famous activist and Tom Wilkinson as the then President of the USA, Lyndon B. Johnson. Selma released recently at the AFI Fest and has a December 2014 limited release in the USA before it opens wide.
This is a British film based on the life and career of famous and eccentric British artist J. M. W. Turner. Directed by Mike Leigh, it features Timothy Spall in the lead role who won the award for Best Actor when the movie premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2014. Mr. Turner has released at a number of film festivals and has received widespread acclaim. A limited release has been announced for December 2014 in the USA.
This movie directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, is based on the memoir by Cheryl Strayed who took a 1,100-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in a journey of self-discovery. Reese Witherspoon plays the lead role and is also co-producing the movie. The movie premiered in August 2014 at the Telluride Film Festival and will be releasing in early December in the USA.
Any other biopics you can remember? Keep an eye out for them. As I said before, history has more than its fair share of stories to fascinate the world of cinema.