Since the late 1990s some of Hollywood's best screenwriters have been smiling politely and backing out the door, sneaking across the road to take up a career in television. Screenwriters have traditionally been the lowest rung on the creative process for mainstream American pictures; a director get first cut and the writer gets replaced. On the small screen writer's can create and produce their own shows – directors are hired by the episode and it's much easier to get a scene with eight pages of dialogue shot. But the movies remain mythical, unquantifiable but nonetheless special, and now several of the small screen's leading writer/producers are plotting to make them.
Much of cable television's dramatic lustre originated with The Sopranos, the sage of a New Jersey mob family (in both senses of the word) created and overseen by David Chase. Chase has been quiet since the acclaimed series ended in 2007, but he's now finished an autobiographical film called Not Fade Away. The coming of age tale is about the clashes between a hopeful teenage musician in 1960s New Jersey and his father. Chase, who wrote and directed the picture, has Sopranos star James Gandolfini as the patriarch, while John Magaro plays his son. The supporting players includes Belle Heathcote, the young Australian actress who has leveraged a small role in Jeremy Sims' Beneath Hill 60 into being cast by Tim Burton (May's Dark Shadows) and co-starring with Brad Pitt (September's Killing Them Softly).
Matthew Weiner made his name on The Sopranos, and then went on to create Mad Men, the hit 1960s cable drama that is commencing its fifth season. The show has had long gaps between seasons, and Weiner has obviously spent some of that preparing a feature film. You Are Here is a comic story about a pair of 30something wastrels – a lazy heir and a womanising TV weatherman – whose lives are upended when one of their father's die and the other is attracted to his widow. Zach Galifianakis and Owen Wilson play the two men (lean towards Galifianakis as the indolent scion), with another television star, Amy Poehler from Parks and Recreation, on board as an interfering sister for a May shoot.
Filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona's gripping horror tale The Orphanage screens later this month on SBS (April 24) as part of a Spanish season, and details are now emerging of his next film, an English-language piece entitled Impossible. Like several movies in recent years, including Clint Eastwood's Hereafter, the story is based around the destructive tsunami that struck across the Indian Ocean shoreline in 2004 and how it impacts on a family. The mother is played by Naomi Watts, with Ewan McGregor as the father and the film will be releasing towards the end of this year.
Now that fans of young adult fiction have The Hunger Games to obsess over (expect the sequel in November 2013), the stars of Harry Potter can set about furthering their careers. Emma Watson (pictured), who's worked the least of the three children who grew up over the course of eight films, will star in the British picture Your Voice in My Head, an adaptation of writer Emma Forrest's memoir about a crumbling relationship, her suicide attempt, and the subsequent relationship she struck up with a terminally ill psychiatrist. The latter will be played by Stanley Tucci, who is actually in The Hunger Games, with a familiar face for Watson directing in the form David Yates, who handled the final few Harry Potter installments.