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A Summer Full of Film Stars

Allison Janney, Daniel Radcliffe, Will Ferrell, James Gandolfini, Jonathan Groff, and more stage veterans hit the big screen!

By New York City
Allison Janney in Away We Go
(© Big Beach Films)
Allison Janney in Away We Go
(© Big Beach Films)
Some of this past season's biggest stage stars, including Allison Janney, Daniel Radcliffe, Will Ferrell, James Gandolfini, Jonathan Groff, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Harriet Walter, can be found on the big screen this summer -- giving even the most ardent theater lover plenty of reasons to go to the multiplex.

Away We Go (June 5), an episodic road movie from Oscar winner (and theater director) Sam Mendes, focuses on a young couple (John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph) who travel from Phoenix to Montreal in search of the perfect place to have and raise their imminent baby. Along the way they encounter characters played by Jeff Daniels, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and 2009 Drama Desk Award winner (and 9 to 5 star) Allison Janney, who co-starred in Mendes' acclaimed American Beauty. "It was such a treat to get to work with Sam again, but in a comedy this time," says Janney, who plays Lily, the outrageously foul-mouthed excuse for a mother. "I'm glad there are so many different kinds of mothers out there, otherwise I'd have a very boring career."

Land of the Lost (June 5) stars Will Ferrell in a comic update of Sid and Marty Krofft's cheesy kid's sci-fi series. Among those accidentally transported back in time and space to a land of cgi dinosaurs are Tony Award winner Anna Friel and young Jorma Taccone as the hairy little Chaka.

Moon (June 12) serves up more sci-fi, but this time, Sam Rockwell -- in another dynamite performance -- plays a technician whose tour of outer space duty is almost up when an accident leads to some serious changing of plans. Kevin Spacey voices Rockwell's ultra-solicitous computer, the only other inhabitant of the desolate outpost.

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (June 12) is Tony Scott's remake of the gripping 1974 thriller about a hijacked subway train, this time featuring Denzel Washington, John Travolta, James Gandolfini, John Turturro, John Benjamin Hickey, and Lucille Lortel Award winner Saidah Arrika Ekulona.

Whatever Works (June 19) has curbed neither Larry David's enthusiasm nor his misanthropic personality in Woody Allen's New York-based comedy about an angry suicide survivor and Nobel Prize loser who reluctantly rescues a young female runaway (Evan Rachel Wood). He then meets both her mother (Patricia Clarkson) and father (Ed Begley, Jr.), and everyone in the cast -- including Jessica Hecht, John Gallagher, Jr. and Christopher Evan Welch -- eventually falls in or out of love and even out a window.

Cheri (June 26), adapted by award-winning playwright and Oscar winner Christopher Hampton from the famed 90-year-old Colette story, concerns the long-time affair between Lea de Lonval (Michelle Pfeiffer), a Belle Epoque cougar, and her much younger lover, Cheri (Rupert Friend). Director Stephen Frears has lined up an eclectic supporting cast, including Kathy Bates, Harriet Walter, and even former rock groupie Anita Pallenberg, although taking one's eyes off the leads won't be easy!

Public Enemies (July 1) is Michael Mann's action-packed account of the legendary Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) and a slew of other baddies such as Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham), Pretty Boy Floyd (Channing Tatum), and Frank Nitti (John Ortiz), who face off against FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover (a plump Billy Crudup) and top agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale). Mann's star-studded cast also includes Oscar winner Marion Cottilard (soon to be seen in the film version of Nine) and such familiar stage faces as Lili Taylor, Stephen Lang, Carey Mulligan, Peter Gerety, and Bill Camp.

Daniel Radcliffe in
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
(© Warner Bros. Pictures)
Daniel Radcliffe in
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
(© Warner Bros. Pictures)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 15) finds our eponymous hero (Daniel Radcliffe) and his cohorts at Hogworts nearing the end of the series and the final battle with the villainous Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). They're also battling teenage angst and zits, but you'll have to wait another couple years for the final conclusion to all the drama, adolescent and otherwise.

In the Loop (July 24) blends bits of Dr. Strangelove and Wag the Dog to create a refreshingly original political satire in which a British politician misuses the word "unforeseeable" and sends the world to the brink of all-out war in the Middle East. The cast is a mix of accomplished Brits and Americans (including Peter Capaldi, Steve Coogan, Mimi Kennedy, and David Rasche), but it's a supremely funny James Gandolfini as an American General, who steals the movie!

Adam (July 29) is an unusual love story about a man (Hugh Dancy) with Asperger's Syndrome (a high functioning form of autism), who meets a sympathetic woman (Rose Byrne). Writer-director Max Mayer, a co-founder of New York Stage and Film, has enlisted Peter Gallagher, Amy Irving, Frankie Faison, and Mark Linn-Baker to help tell the tale.

Sophie Barthes' Cold Souls (August 7) stars Emmy Award winner Paul Giamatti as "Paul Giamatti," an actor who puts his soul in cold storage in the hopes of improving his acting talent. And it works, until he tries to get his soul back only to find it's been sold to an actress in a bad Russian soap opera.

Jeremy Piven is the main draw in Neal Brennan's The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (August 14), in which he plays Don Ready, a man who in order to avoid bankruptcy, heads up a crack team of car salesmen (including Ving Rhames) whose job it is to beef up sales at a used-car dealership. Look for a cameo from co-producer Will Ferrell.

Oscar winner Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock (August 14) offers a fantastic performance by Demetri Martin as the gay but closeted Elliot Tiber, who managed to pull together the famed 1960s rock festival. British stage and screen stars Imelda Staunton and Henry Goodman portray his motel-owning parents, Jonathan Groff is entrepreneur Michael Lang, Eugene Levy is Max Yazgour, whose farm became the Festival's site, Liev Schreiber is a cross-dressing ex-marine named Vilma, and such stage favorites as Mamie Gummer, Paul Dano, Skyler Astin, Katherine Waterston, Jason Antoon, and more show up in smaller roles.


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