Film News

Stars litter the Austin landscape, the real Oprah Effect, and other nuggets of film info

Stars light up 'Fireflies,' 'Kings'

Add Willem Dafoe to the star power behind Fireflies in the Garden, which is filming now in the Bastrop area and previously around the University of Texas with a cast we previously reported includes Julia Roberts, Carrie-Anne Moss, Emily Watson, and Ryan Reynolds. Also joining the project about a family torn apart by tragedy, according to The Hollywood Reporter, are Shannon Lucio, Hayden Panettiere, Ioan Gruffudd, and George Newbern. Meanwhile, Kings of the Evening, about an underground contest in a Deep South ghetto, has Tyson Beckford, San Antonio native Bruce McGill (D-Day from Animal House), James Russo, and Lynn Whitfield in its cast. The project started shooting here April 1. No fooling.

Oprah's knockout effect

Austin screenwriter Bonnie Orr planned to have her project The Oprah Effect before cameras this coming June. But Oprah Winfrey's lawyers had other ideas, telling her to cease and desist on using the talk-show queen's name, Orr says. The script involves a young black woman who has always dreamed of singing on Oprah's show but must survive an abusive husband and the death of her infant child before realizing her dream. With Oprah's name nixed, Orr's investors pulled out all of their funds. "It's back to the drawing board for me," Orr says.

And the rest ...

The Texas House is expected to vote on a film/television incentive program Tuesday just prior to our press time. If approved, it moves on to the Senate… Eve of Understanding, which shot in Austin and Katy, claimed a special jury prize at the recent AFI Dallas International Film Festival… The Austin-shot film For Sale by Owner is coming out on DVD in late summer at all of your Blockbuster, Movie Gallery, and Hollywood Video stores, as well as Wal-Mart and There is talk of a television release… The folks behind Z: A Zombie Musical took out their frustrations with the festival circuit by creating a short called "How to Succeed in Film Festivals … Without Really Trying," which has been invited to screen at the Wildsound Feedback Film Festival in Toronto… Kat Candler is teaching two summer filmmaking workshops, one for adults and one for teens, through the Austin School of Film. More at… Yes, Fox's Prison Break will shoot most of its third season in the Dallas area, with some taping also in Louisiana and Florida, two states that already offer filming incentives. No word yet on the prognosis for Austin-shot NBC series Friday Night Lights… Look for Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof" half of Grindhouse to add scenes and appear as a stand-alone film for non-English-speaking countries. Variety speculates the longer film could turn up at the Cannes Film Festival.

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Fireflies in the Garden, Kings of the Evening, Bonnie Orr, The Oprah Effect

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