Films overcome obstacles on way to awards spotlight

Mon Jan 4, 2010 11:25pm EST
 
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Producer Finola Dwyer can thank Orlando Bloom for the success of "An Education" -- no matter that the actor isn't in the film.

Dwyer, who produced the 1960s comedy-drama with Amanda Posey, had financiers interested in backing the movie but couldn't close a deal until she attached a "name" to the project.

"When Orlando Bloom committed, I used that as leverage to complete the financing," she recalls. "That's the moment the film became real."

Two weeks later, Bloom dropped out, but it didn't matter. Dwyer had structured an arrangement so the moneymen did not have approval over casting. With a start date around the corner, Dwyer and Posey scrambled and found a replacement in Dominic Cooper, who had auditioned for the film and was among the top choices.

"Fortunately for us, Dominic was still available and still keen to do it," says Dwyer, who reached out to the actor on a Wednesday, did his deal on a Thursday and had him rehearsing with the cast by Friday.

Some movies take years to get to the screen, while others seem to come together practically overnight. This year's awards films each faced a turning point -- a hurdle that the filmmakers overcame to ensure their project got made.

WHERE'S THE MONEY?

Financing is often the top challenge for independent producers, but for "Precious" director-producer Lee Daniels, that was not the case. In fact, Gary Magness and Sarah Siegel-Magness, who put up the money for Daniels' 2008 film, "Tennessee," were the ones who approached him about a follow-up.   Continued...