Writer, director, and star Angelina Jolie Pitt’s drama By the Sea will make its world premiere Nov. 5 as the opening film of AFI Fest, organizers have announced.
Reuniting Jolie Pitt and husband Brad Pitt on screen for the first time in a decade, By the Sea follows an American writer and his wife as they arrive in a picturesque seaside resort in 1970s France with their marriage on the rocks. Jolie Pitt has said the film, her directorial follow-up to Unbroken, is inspired by European cinema and theater of the ’60s and ’70s.
AFI chief Bob Gazzale said in a statement, “Time and again, Angelina Jolie Pitt has proven herself an artist of the highest caliber. It is an honor for AFI to celebrate her latest story with its world premiere — and in doing so — to shine a proper light upon her boundless creative energies as actor, director, writer, and producer.”
Jolie Pitt added that “AFI has long supported the boldness and experimentation that accompanies provocative cinema.”
The 29th AFI Fest runs Nov. 5-12 in Hollywood. Last year J.C. Chandor’s crime drama A Most Violent Year opened the festival.
Universal Pictures will release By the Sea on Nov. 13.
Would you expect anything less than arresting beauty from a film starring Angelina Jolie Pitt and Brad Pitt? But the actress, who also wrote and directed this film about an estranged married couple struggling with grief, says that setting By the Sea in the 1970s wasn’t without its aesthetic challenges. “It makes me happy when people say the movie looks period but also beautiful,” she says. “I was little in the ’70s, and to see our old pictures, well…” She laughs. “It was not great.”
Filming took place in Malta last August, with the quiet island of Goza standing in for seaside France. Cinematographer Christian Berger (The White Ribbon) kept the look of the production as realistic as possible. “It’s all natural light so it doesn’t feel artificial,” Jolie Pitt says. “When we did scenes, we didn’t have big lighting setups in our face for close-ups.” That stripped-down intimacy helped with some of the film’s heavier moments. “We watch this couple go off the track and we wait to see if it gets more unhealthy, or if they will recover,” she says. “I think too often people go through very painful transformative experiences and they don’t stay together. They abandon each other.”
The reverse was true for the newly wedded stars — who worked on the film during their honeymoon — though it certainly wasn’t without its darker moments. “It was an emotionally charged set,” Jolie Pitt says. “Even though the characters are very different from us, when you act you still express real emotion.” Luckily, the couple’s six kids were on hand to ground them. “It’s impossible to bring your work home with you when you have to snap out of it for your children,” she says. “It wasn’t easy for either of us, but when we walked away, we were closer than we had been.”
By the Sea opens Nov. 13.
Universal Pictures today announced that it will release By the Sea, Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie Pitt’s directorial follow-up to the studio’s Unbroken, on November 13, 2015, domestically. International releases for the film will build around this date.
Written, directed and produced by Jolie Pitt, the dramatic film stars Brad Pitt and Jolie Pitt, who are supported by an international ensemble led by Mélanie Laurent, Niels Arestrup, Melvil Poupaud and Richard Bohringer.
By the Sea follows an American writer named Roland (Pitt) and his wife, Vanessa (Jolie Pitt), who arrive in a tranquil and picturesque seaside resort in 1970s France, their marriage in apparent crisis. As they spend time with fellow travelers, including young newlyweds Lea (Laurent) and François (Poupaud), and village locals Michel (Arestrup) and Patrice (Bohringer), the couple begins to come to terms with unresolved issues in their own lives.
In its style, and its treatment of themes of the human experience,By the Sea is inspired by European cinema and theater of the ’60s and ’70s.
“This is a story about a relationship derailed by loss, the tenacity of love, and the path to recovery and acceptance,” said Jolie Pitt. “It has been a privilege to explore these universal human experiences with such a generous and talented cast and crew.”
“Angie and Brad have created an intimate gem of a film that will surprise people and delivers an experience they might not expect from them,” said Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Pictures. “Universal is honored to market and distribute it to audiences around the world.”
Jolie Pitt is joined behind the scenes by a key crew that includes cinematographer Christian Berger (The White Ribbon), who used his Cine Reflect Lighting System to shoot the film; production designer Jon Hutman (Unbroken); editor Patricia Rommel (The Lives of Others); and costume designer Ellen Mirojnick (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps). Pitt joins her in production duties, while Chris Brigham (Inception), Holly Goline (Unbroken) and Michael Vieira (Unbroken) serve as executive producers.
Brad Pitt will star in an untitled romantic thriller for Paramount with Robert Zemeckis directing from a Steve Knight script.
Graham King, who developed the project, is producing alongside Zemeckis and Steve Starkey. The project will be produced through King’s GK Films banner with New Regency. Executive producers are Jack Rapke, Knight, Patrick McCormick and Denis O’Sullivan.
The logline for Knight’s script is being kept under wraps.
Pitt was last seen in “Fury” and recently finished filming “By the Sea” with spouse Angelina Jolie, who’s starring and directing.
Zemeckis’ directing credits at Paramount include 1994’s “Forrest Gump” and 2012’s “Flight.” He is in post-production on “The Walk,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit as he crossed the Twin Towers on a tightrope, which is set for an October release from Sony.
King and Knight are also partnered on the action-thriller “The Red Circle,” a remake of the French film “Le Cercle Rouge,” reset in Hong Kong. Knight wrote the script and is producing under GK Films.
Knight’s credits include “The Hundred-Foot Journey” and “Dirty Pretty Things.”He also directed Tom Hardy in “Locke.”
King produced “Rango” and “The Departed.”
Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock are attached to star in the UNTITLED WAR OF THE ROSES PROJECT. The currently untitled War of the Roses style divorce comedy follows a couple who host a HSN/QVC show who trudge through their divorce on air. Pitt and Bullock will play the male and female lead, respectively.
The project is currently in development, and will be produced by Pitt and Dede Gardner for Plan B Entertainment. Brad Weston and Pam Abby will oversee for New Regency, while Sarah Esberg will oversee production. The A-list comedy is currently OWA.
Pitt recently starred in Fury and executive produced the upcoming drama True Story, starring Jonah Hill and James Franco. Up next, he’ll star in By the Sea and The Big Short. He’ll also produce an astounding number of films, including The Lost City of Z and Anonymous vs. Steubenville.
Bullock most recently starred in the Oscar-nominated Gravity, opposite George Clooney. The Oscar winner will next lend her voice to the Despicable Me spinoff Minions and will star in the comedy Our Brand Is Crisis. She’s also producing the Christmas comedy Jingle and executive producing the Untitled Pamela Falk/Michael Ellis Project.
Bullock is repped by CAA. Pitt is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.