Saturday, June 21, 2008

Natural Talent

Author: Brian
Location: Arizona

"Natural Talent"

Directed by Ron Howard
Written by Alan Ball and Akiva Goldsman
Music by Danny Elfman

Principal Cast:

Simon Baker (William McCormick)
Kate Winslet (Elaine McCormick)
Meryl Streep (Brenda Donovan)
George Hearn (Frank Donovan)
Don Cheadle (Sam Wood)
Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Mark Ward)
Reese Witherspoon (Leah Ward)
Ewan McGregor (Edward Bailey)
Drew Barrymore (Barbara Bailey)

Tagline: "Conquer the Stage. Make Fame of Your Voice. Come to People’s Homes. But Don’t Try and Do Them All"

Synopsis: The story begins in the 1920’s at the rise of Vaudeville. William and Elaine are comedians and newlyweds, and join Elaine’s parents, Brenda and Frank, two singers, in their Vaudeville act. During that time, they meet Sam Wood, an incredibly talented and versatile comic, who is beloved onstage, but treated like any other negro during that time. While all four of them are terribly racist at the beginning (like all other people at the time), Sam becomes a part of their heart. However, Sam is murdered after his final show in Vaudeville. William, Elaine, Brenda and Frank, however, feel little of a loss, and quickly move on to radio. The stock market has crashed, problems are building up overseas, and former Vaudeville stars are nothing. To their fortune, though, the four are able to survive the transition from the stage to the studio, and become a hit radio team. During this time, they encounter Mark and Leah Wood, a young couple. While they appear a phenomenal duo, no one knows about Mark’s abuse of his wife. Watching this failed marriage causes turbulences in the marriage of both William and Elaine and of Frank and Brenda. By the end of their radio days, William and Elaine had gotten divorced, and Frank and Brenda had both become extremely sick. On the night of their final broadcast, the elderly couple sings “It Had to Be You” to one another, and, as though it was a miracle, both die happily and readily in their sleep that night. Radio had gone out, Mark and Leah were never seen again, and William and Elaine are forced to carry on in media, this time against their will. At this point, not only are William and Elaine not in love, but they deeply hate one another. They agree that they will speak to each other only for their career’s sake as they move on to the biggest entertainment “fad” of all time: Television. Huge stars are born, and almost none of them were ever near Vaudeville. The biggest of these new stars, though, are Edward and Barbara Bailey, the assigned partners to William and Elaine on their new smash hit sitcom. Their happiness is what brings the divorced couple back together. The film ends as William and Elaine are backstage, about to film the finale of their show. They are very old at this point. William says to Elaine “take their breath away. I know you can. I’ve seen it.” They walk into the bright lights one last time.

What the press would say:

The new Ron Howard film covers a genre Hollywood has completely forgotten: original historical fiction. That does not mean gladiator battles, raging wars or loyal knights. It is the media of the 1920’s to the 1950’s. This bold, strong movie tackles that time perfectly, with wonderful performances, dark humor and wonderful, imaginative writing. One of the best parts of this film is the actual singing and comedy that is done by the characters. “Natural Talent” will have you grin, frown and think. This movie screams Oscar, and needs a strong campaign in the following categories…

Best Picture
Best Director (Ron Howard)
Best Actor (Simon Baker)
Best Actress (Kate Winslet)
Best Supporting Actor (George Hearn, Don Cheadle)
Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon)
Best Original Screenplay (Alan Ball and Akiva Goldsman)
Best Original Score (Danny Elfman)
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design

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