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Noah Baumbach on Crafting His Venice Opener ‘White Noise’ and Creating a Community While Shooting in Ohio – Venice

Adam Driver, director Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig.
Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Noah Baumbach passed through the Lido Wednesday afternoon where he broke down the origins of his Venice Film Festival opener White Noise, starring Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, and Don Cheadle.

Written for the screen and produced by Baumbach, David Heyman, and Uri Singer, the film is based on the cult book by Don DeLillo, which Baumbach said he rediscovered during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I both couldn’t believe how relevant it felt and how it felt so much about the moment,” Baumbach said. “But I was also struck by how I feel like whatever moment was going on it would feel relevant to that. And at the same time, I started not only taking on DeLillo’s language but finding my own voice within his language. It was something that felt very familiar.”

In the Netflix movie, Adam Driver plays Jack Gladney, an ostentatious “Hitler Studies” professor and father-of-four whose comfortable suburban college town life and marriage to the secretive Babette (Gerwig) are upended after a horrifying nearby accident creates an airborne toxic event of frightening and unknowable proportions. Also starring are Jodie Turner-Smith, Raffey Cassidy, Sam Nivola, May Nivola, André L. Benjamin, and Lars Edinger.

Production on the film took place in Ohio, which Baumbach said provided a much-needed respite from his native New York City, which has been a constant backdrop in his past work.

“In New York, everyone is so bored and jaded and annoyed that you’re on their street. And you’re running into the TV show Blue Bloods on the next corner” he joked. “The novel takes place in a fictional college and a fictional town in a fictional city, which created options. But I had a sense. It felt like somewhere in the mid-west.”

Speaking of Ohio, he added: “It’s a very distinct place and it was a great place to shoot because they’re not as used to having movies there so many of the people in the background, in the college, those are real kids and they’re parents that live there. They aren’t actors. And the people at the barracks, many of them aren’t actors they’re just people who wanted to be in the movie. It was the best experience I’ve had with bringing a community into a movie.”

DeLillo’s novel is best known for its large-scale, genre-bending narrative and pop-philosophical ideas on unbounded consumerism and ecological catastrophe. Rumors online and on the ground in Venice have suggested that the budget for Baumbach’s adaptation clocked in north of $100 million. Discussing the scale and style of the film, Baumbach said he spent a lot of time during production thinking about the theatrical film language of the 1980s.

“People have already said to me I haven’t seen you do this before but the material hasn’t called for it. And this material really did,” he said. “The story is a story of American culture in a sense. And being surrounded by American culture. I was a child in the 80s. And it was a very informative time for me. The movies I saw were part of what informed me and led me to do what I do, so I also saw it as a story of American cinema because of the genre elements and the tonal shifts that were available to me.”
The film also marks Greta Gerwig’s long-awaited return to acting since she picked up the camera for her much-lauded directorial efforts Lady Bird and Little Women. Gerwig, who is in a relationship and shares a child with Baumbach, said she began re-reading the book at the same time as the director and was inspired by the novel’s theatricality.

“There was something about it that made you want to share it with people because it seemed to be both emotional and intellectually exciting,” she said. “We were lucky to have a long stretch of rehearsal before shooting and that’s when the characters became real people. Because in the world of the novel they felt more abstracted. That’s when they felt more like characters in a Baumbach movie.”

White Noise also marks the first time a Netflix movie has opened the Venice Film Festival as well as Baumbach’s return to the Lido after he premiered Marriage Story at the festival in 2019.

Netflix will give White Noise a theatrical release starting November 25 before it streams on December 30.

Venice runs from August 31-September 10.

‘White Noise,’ the shot-in-Cleveland movie starring Adam Driver, to open Venice Film Festival

“White Noise” will be screened Wednesday August 31 in the Sala Grande at the Palazzo del Cinema (Lido di Venezia) on the opening night of the 79th Venice Film Festival. “White Noise” is distributed by Netflix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


SOURCE: Cleveland.com | Joey Morona
July 25, 2022

CLEVELAND, Ohio — “White Noise” will open the 79th Venice Film Festival on Aug. 31, organizers announced Monday. Directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig, the upcoming Netflix release was shot in and around Cleveland in 2021. Production wrapped in November, but there had been some uncertainty about when the film would be ready for screening. Until now.

“It was worth waiting for the certainty that the film was finished to have the pleasure to make this announcement,” festival director Alberto Barbera said in a statement. “Adapted from the great Don DeLillo novel, Baumbach has made an original, ambitious and compelling piece of art which plays with measure on multiple registers: dramatic, ironic, satirical. The result is a film that examines our obsessions, doubts, and fears as captured in the 1980′s, yet with very clear references to contemporary reality.”

Baumbach, whose previous film, the Oscar-winning “Marriage Story,” premiered at the same event in 2019, added, “It is a truly wonderful thing to return to the Venice Film Festival, and an incredible honor to have ‘White Noise’ play as the opening night film. This is a place that loves cinema so much, and it’s a thrill and a privilege to join the amazing films and filmmakers that have premiered here.”

Indeed, the festival has become an effective launching pad for films with Academy Award aspirations. Opening-night films in recent years have included “Gravity,” “Birdman,” “First Man” and “Black Swan.”

The festival’s website describes “White Noise” as “at once hilarious and horrifying, lyrical and absurd, ordinary and apocalyptic.” It’s about a college professor (Driver) whose family is evacuated from their idyllic midwestern town after a train accident sparks an airborne toxic event. The story follows their “attempts to deal with the mundane conflicts of everyday life while grappling with the universal mysteries of love, death, and the possibility of happiness in an uncertain world.” The film also stars Don Cheadle, Raffey Cassidy, Sam Nivola, May Nivola and Jodie Turner-Smith.

The movie, also known by its working title, “Wheat Germ,” spent more than $100 million in Northeast Ohio during its nearly six-month shoot, employing 3,000 background actors and 921 crew members, and working with 256 local vendors. Scenes were filmed in Cleveland Heights, Wellington, Canton and on the campuses of Oberlin and Baldwin Wallace, among other places. In November, the Hope Memorial Bridge in downtown Cleveland was shut down for an evacuation scene.

“A lot of local effort and talent went into this film. Ohio has built a successful track record over the past decade of high-caliber projects filming in the state,” said Bill Garvey, president of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, the nonprofit that works to attract film and television productions to the region. “We work very hard to continue this pipeline of economic investment and job creation flowing to this region. Netflix has returned again and again to film projects in Ohio, playing an essential and important role in the growth and longevity of the motion picture industry here. GCFC is thrilled to have partnered with Netflix to bring this project to Ohio.”

Netflix has not yet announced a premiere date for the film on its streaming service. The movie is likely headed for a limited theatrical release, too.

Noah Baumbach’s ‘White Noise,’ Starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig, to Open Venice Film Festival

Courtesy Venice Film Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


SOURCE: Variety | Nick Vivarelli
July 25, 2022

Noah Baumbach’s black comedy “White Noise,” with an ensemble cast comprising Greta Gerwig, Adam Driver and Jodie Turner-Smith, is set to open the upcoming Venice Film Festival.

“White Noise,” which will world premiere in competition at Venice on Aug. 31, marks the first time a Netflix original film opens the fest.

Baumbach’s Don DeLillo adaptation follows Jack (played by Driver), a professor who made a name for himself by teaching Hitler studies at a liberal arts college in Middle America. With his fourth wife Babette (portrayed by Gerwig) and their kids, they attempt to navigate the usual rocky passages of family life. But their existence is put to the test and disrupted when an “airborne toxic event” forces them to face the threat of death together.

Additional “White Noise” cast includes Don Cheadle, Raffey Cassidy, Sam Nivola, May Nivola, André L. Benjamin and Lars Edinger.

 

 

Former Youngstown resident and ‘This Is Us’ writer Vera Herbert discusses new feature film ‘Don’t Let Me Go’

Don’t Let Me Go begins streaming July 15 on Prime Video. (Courtesy of Amazon Content Services) Courtesy of Prime Video

 

 

 

 

 

 


SOURCE: Cleveland.com | John Benson
July 11, 2022

CLEVELAND, Ohio — There’s perhaps nothing more awkward than a father looking for a fun day out with his daughter but accidentally taking her to a nude beach instead.

That uncomfortableness you’re feeling acts as the heartbeat of new feature film “Don’t Let Me Go,” which begins streaming Friday on Amazon Prime Video.

While the drama includes plenty of comedy, “Don’t Make Me G”o follows a single father (John Cho) and his reluctant teenage daughter (Mia Isaac) as they embark on an unforgettable cross-country road trip discovering new levels of their love for each other and the unexpected twists and turns life has in store.

The movie was written by Vera Herbert, a former Youngstown resident who graduated from Ursuline High School in 2007. The four-time Emmy-nominated writer and producer is best known for her work on NBC series “This is Us.

We recently caught up with Herbert to talk about “Don’t Let Me Go,” father-daughter relationships and nude beaches.

 

 

‘Shooting Stars,’ the LeBron biopic now filming in Northeast Ohio, features actors from ‘Stranger Things,’ ‘Euphoria’

Arizona Compass Prep’s Marquis Cook #1 is seen against National Christian Academy during a high school basketball game at the Hoophall Classic, Saturday, January 15, 2022, in Springfield, MA. Arizona Compass won the game. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)AP


SOURCE: Cleveland.com | Joey Morona
May 20, 2022

CLEVELAND, Ohio — “Shooting Stars,” the LeBron James biopic currently filming in Cleveland and Akron, has found its star. Marquis “Mookie” Cook, a high school basketball phenom at Arizona Compass Prep in suburban Phoenix and a University of Oregon recruit, will play a young James in the story focusing on the NBA superstar’s formative years growing up in the inner city of Akron. The news was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

 

 

From Hollywood to helping community: East Cleveland actor giving back with launch of mentoring program


SOURCE: WKYC 3 Studios | Chris Webb
May 9, 2022

CLEVELAND — A few years ago, artist, leader, and East Cleveland native Robert Hunter decided to take on a new mission. As an actor Robert reached unimaginable heights – starring on the big screen in movies like “The Land.”

“As an artist we are natural empaths, so with that being said I’m naturally a humanitarian,” Hunter said. “I love acting but I felt like it wasn’t doing the job.”

Hunter wants to take the lessons he learned along the way to help his community do the same, so he started his own mentoring program called “The 5 Pillars.”

“The 5 Pillars Inc. is an after-school program designed to help young black boys ages 9 to 13 develop an overall sense of wellness,” he said. “That’s wellness spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically as well as financial wellness.”

Hunter says he was inspired to start the program after moving back home to Northeast Ohio just before the pandemic.

“I had the same story as all my peers,” he said. “You grew up in a single parent home and things like that and there were certain things that I felt inadequate about and I felt like, you know what can I do to make my community better so other black boys don’t have my same narrative.”

So he began creating programming around five pillars of sustainability that he saw lacking in the community. Since starting the program in 2021, it has been implemented in schools, community centers and housing spaces all across Northeast Ohio and is custom fit for each young man he encounters.

“When it comes down to 5 Pillars, I try to meet them where they are at and bring them up,” he said. “So, like you see me in the basketball gym ….anybody else will say well y’all just playing basketball. No, we are taking that opportunity to meet them where they’re at and they learn leadership through basketball, they learn trial and error through basketball, I make them evaluate themselves.

Hunter says he can already see his efforts paying off.

“We never know what can happen because I’m seeing boys who everybody wrote off, making changes in less than a year. And it’s a blessing for me to even be a part of their growth.”

Robert is looking for coaches to help expand the 5 Pillars Inc. team – you can reach out to him directly at [email protected].

LeBron movie ‘Shooting Stars’ filming around Northeast Ohio with help of $7.6M incentive

A production crew films a scene for “Shooting Stars” in Shaker Heights on Monday, May 2. [Carrie Wise / Ideastream Public Media]

 

 

 

 

 


SOURCE: Ideastream | Carrie Wise
May 4, 2022

Just before sunset Monday evening, crew members filmed a movie scene from the front steps of a Shaker Heights home.

This was one of several shoots in the Shaker area this week for the LeBron James’ biopic “Shooting Stars.” Filming in Akron, Cleveland and other locations around the region will continue until the beginning of June, according to Bill Garvey, president of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.

“It’s a good, high quality, positive story,” Garvey said. “Stories like that, it’s important to tell them, especially local stories and stories as impressive and as inspiring as LeBron’s story.”

Garvey’s organization helps film projects like this one set up production in Ohio. The commission also lobbies for government support to bring filming to the region. The state approved $7.6 million for this production as part of Ohio’s Motion Picture Tax Credit program, which awards up to $40 million annually.

Garvey is pushing for lawmakers to remove the cap on the incentives in order to lure more business to the state.

“I think the demand for content is greater than ever, and because of that, there’s more production dollars flying around searching for a landing spot,” he said.

Other states are hoping to attract more production business too. For instance, Pennsylvania’s film industry is lobbying lawmakers to allocate $125 million for tax credits. In Michigan, advocates seek to bring back film incentives that were previously scrapped. By comparison, California and New York allocate hundreds of millions in production credits annually.

“Shooting Stars” is set to premiere on the Peacock streaming platform in 2023.

LeBron James biopic ‘Shooting Stars,’ currently filming in Northeast Ohio, will premiere on Peacock in 2023

St. Vincent St. Mary High School basketball players Romeo Travis, Willie McGee, LeBron James, Sian Cotton and Dru Joyce pose for a photo in 2003. Roadell Hickman, The Plain Dealer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


SOURCE: Cleveland.com | Joey Morona
May 4, 2022

CLEVELAND, Ohio — “Shooting Stars,” the LeBron James biopic currently in production in Cleveland and Akron, will skip theaters and premiere on the Peacock streaming service in 2023, NBCUniversal announced this week. The studio and LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Company signed a four-year, first-look production deal in 2020 and this film is the first product of that agreement.

The movie, based on Buzz Bissinger’s 2009 book, focuses on the NBA superstar’s childhood years, telling the story of a close-knit group of friends who overcome the challenges of growing up in the inner city and find refuge together on and off the court. Joining James and Carter on the project as producers are Academy Award nominees Rachel Winter (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Terence Winter (“The Wolf of Wall Street”).

 

 

LeBron James movie on high school title run filming in Cleveland, Akron

LeBron James at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. | CJP Photo / Bob Jacob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


SOURCE: Cleveland Jewish News | Becky Raspe
May 4th, 2022

Film crews have once again descended on Cleveland – this time to film the LeBron James movie, “Shooting Stars.”

Set in 2003 and based on the 2009 James and Buzz Bissinger book of the same name, the movie chronicles the St. Vincent-St. Mary High School state championship basketball run while James was in high school, alongside his best friends, Dru Joyce III, Sian Cotton, Willie McGee and Romeo Travis. The five friends were dubbed “the Fab Five” during their time playing for the Akron school.

James’ SpringHill production company is producing the movie, bringing $25 million to the region, according to multiple reports. The project is being shot entirely in the Cleveland and Akron areas, with filming beginning in Beachwood on April 18. Other filming locations included the old South High School gym in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights. Future production dates include May 4 through May 6 and June 2, according to a casting notice posted by the Greater Cleveland Film Commission. General filming is slated through the end of June.

 

 

Filming for movie about LeBron James’ life underway in Cleveland Heights

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Fairmount Boulevard doubles for LeBron’s high School, St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron(Vic Gideon)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


SOURCE: Cleveland 19 News WOIO | Vic Gideon
April 28, 2022

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – A movie about LeBron James and his high school basketball team is filming throughout Northeast Ohio, with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Fairmount Boulevard doubling as the Akron native’s high school, St. Vincent-St. Mary.

“They’re trying to recreate Akron, and they’re filming in Akron for portions of the movie, but other portions are being recreated here in Cleveland,” said Bill Garvey, president of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission. “So, anything you see is going to play as Akron in the movie, so a lot of it is basketball based and all the games portrayed in the movie that took place back then.”

The movie takes place in 2003 and is based on James’s book with Buzz Bissinger, also called “Shooting Stars.”

“No, no, it isn’t, as far as I know,” Garvey said when asked about whether James’ son, Bronny, would play his father in the movie. “It’s LeBron’s formative years, so there’s an actor playing LeBron and his teammates, of course, and they are, they are current basketball circuit on the AAU circuit.”

LeBron’s production company, Spring Hill, is producing the movie, which has a budget of $25 million. It could be out next summer.