The good news: Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are coming to your living room in February. The possibly-not-so-great news: They’ll be doing so via Serena, a movie they filmed nearly three years earlier.
"Our projections on it are good… it’s a good film,” says Magnolia Pictures president Eamonn Bowles of Serena, the “lost” Lawrence drama that’s finally making its way to theaters. Earlier this week, The Hollywood Reporter quoted sources that said Serena was over-edited, “uneven” and “made no sense,” which might explain why it lingered without a U.S. distributor for two-and-a-half years. Nevertheless, Magnolia is standing by Serena, and moving forward with an “aggressive” theatrical release in early 2015.
According to Thompson on Hollywood, the Depression-era drama, starring Lawrence and Bradley Cooper as a power-hungry couple, will open in select theaters on March 27, following a VOD release on February 26. By then, potential audiences will have seen the reviews from overseas, since Serena has its U.K. premiere in October. In the meantime, both Bowles and director Susanne Bier are refuting THR’s negative press.
“Frankly I don’t know what cut they saw,” Bowles says of the trade publication’s anonymous sources. “It was a question of emphasis. It’s not a radically different cut. Susanne tweaked it and it got better. The one they have now is the best one. It’s a beautiful-looking period piece, a fantastic-looking production. It’s completely relatable and understandable and a really good film. It’s a serious drama, a big-scale romance, and a bit of a tragic Lady MacBeth story.”
Bier, winner of the 2011 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for In a Better World, is standing by her story that the film was only delayed so long because everyone involved was really, really busy. “I’ve been doing another film [A Second Chance],” she told Thompson on Hollywood. “Cooper and Lawrence were super-busy, just doing the [post-production sound recording] has been tricky. She had only one day off in two years!” (Jennifer Lawrence only had one day off in two years? Now that we can believe.)
Given the negative press, Bowles is now embracing the promotional strategy of low expectations. “If people go in thinking it’s a bad film,” he says, “they will be pleasantly surprised.”Tags: director, movie, release