After winning worldwide acclaim for first opera The Little Prince, Oscar-winning English composer Rachel Portman returns to film to create the original score for Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski's new film based on Charles Dickens's classic novel Oliver Twist. Sony Classical will release the film's original soundtrack recording on Tuesday, September 20, 2005, and the TriStar Pictures release will open in theaters nationwide on September 30, 2005.
Portman is the first woman ever to win an Academy Award for scoring a film, for her music for the 1996 comedy Emma. She subsequently won Oscar and Grammy nominations for her scores for The Cider House Rules and Chocolat, both of which can be heard on Sony Classical original soundtrack recordings. The label also released simultaneously on CD and DVD the BBC film of The Little Prince, which had its stage premiere in Houston in 2003. In July, Portman received her first Emmy nomination, in the category of Outstanding Musical Direction, for the PBS Great Performances broadcast of the opera. The opera will have its New York stage premiere at New York City Opera in November.
Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist represents a striking departure from his last film, the powerful World War II drama The Pianist, for which he won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Director. An enduring tale about an orphaned boy who gets involved with a gang of pickpockets in the underworld of early 19 th-century London, Charles Dickens's novel Oliver Twist, published in 1838, has been filmed before, in Sir David Lean's classic 1948 version and as the musical Oliver!, directed by Sir Carol Reed, based on the international stage hit and winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1968.
“We are not going to strive for realism, quite the opposite,” Polanski has said of his film, shot principally in a vast recreation of period London built on the soundstages of Prague's Barrandov Studio. “The characters in this story are larger-than-life with the emphasis on their glorious humor and eccentricities. This is a Dickensian tale in the truest sense, which means it is exuberant, intriguing and timeless. And it is full of incident that is constantly surprising.”
After an extensive search, Polanski chose the 11-year-old English actor Barney Clark for the title role in Oliver Twist. He joins a cast headed by Oscar-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley, who plays Fagin, the master of the boy pickpockets, and young Harry Eden as The Artful Dodger, as well as Jamie Foreman (Bill Sykes), Leanne Rowe (Nancy), Edward Hardwicke (Mr. Brownlow) and Jeremy Swift (Mr. Bumble).
Oliver Twist reunites Polanski will a number of colleagues from The Pianist, including producers Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde, co-producer Timothy Burrill, screenwriter Ronald Harwood, cinematographer Pawel Edelman, production designer Allan Starski and costume designer Anna Shepard.
A TriStar Pictures release of an independent co-production of R.P. Films of France, Runteam II Ltd. of the U.K. and Etic Films s.r.o. of the Czech Republic, Oliver Twist is directed by Roman Polanski from a screenplay by Ronald Harwood, produced by Robert Benmussa, Alain Sarde and Polanski, and co-produced by Timoothy Burrill and Petr Moravec.
Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell will be the soloist in the original score by Oscar-nominated composer John Debney for the new DreamWorks Pictures film Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, and Sony Classical will release the film's original soundtrack recording, which also features an end-title song by 16-year-old singing sensation Bethany Dillon. Written and directed by John Gatins and inspired by a true story, Dreamer stars Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning and Kris Kristofferson, and it opens nationwide on Friday, October 21, 2005. Sony Classical will release the original soundtrack recording on Tuesday, October 18, 2005.
Bell 's performance on the Dreamer soundtrack follows his acclaimed contribution earlier this year to the soundtrack of the English film Ladies in Lavender (nominated for a Classical Brit Award) and, earlier, his performances on the soundtracks of Iris and the Oscar-winning The Red Violin - all heard on Sony Classical soundtrack recordings.
Composer John Debney was an Oscar nominee in 2005 for his score for Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ. He has also written scores most recently for Sin City, Christmas with the Kranks, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Raising Helen, The Whole Ten Yards, Elf, Bruce Almighty, The Hot Chick, The Tuxedo and the Spy Kids films. For his work in television, Debney is a three-time Emmy Award winner and a five-time nominee.
Singing sensation Bethany Dillon, who co-wrote (with Ed Cash) and performs the title song of Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story over the film's end credits, made her recording debut last year with a self-titled album that brought her GMA Music Award nominations for New Artist, Female Vocalist, Pop/Contemporary Album, and Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year.
Inspired by the dramatic fate of Mariah's Storm - a promising filly that suffered a potentially career-ending injury in 1993 but recovered to become a champion the following year - Dreamer tells the story of a father who, for the love his daughter, sacrifices everything to save the life of an injured racehorse and bring the promising filly back to her former glory. Kurt Russell plays the father Ben Crane, with Dakota Fanning as his young daughter Cale and Kris Kristofferson as his distant father.
Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story was directed by John Gatins, from his own screenplay, marking his directorial debut. Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins are the producers, with Ashok Amritraj, John Jashni, Bill Johnson, Stacy Cohen and Caitlin Scanlon executive producing. The cast also includes Oscar nominee Elisabeth Shue, Dvid Morse, Freddy Rodriquez, Luis Guzmán and Oded Fehr.
One of the world's most acclaimed classical violinists, Joshua Bell is an exclusive Sony Classical artist. The most recent addition to his remarkably varied catalogue is a new live recording of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the Berlin Philharmonic. His previous recording Romance of the Violin (also available as a DualDisc) was named by Billboard Magazine as the 2004 Classical Recording of the Year, and Bell was named Classical Artist of the Year.
The movie classic that became a Broadway sensation now becomes a movie musical event – Mel Brooks' The Producers, the enduring Broadway hit that won a record 12 Tony Awards, returns to the screen under the direction of Susan Stroman, director/choreographer of the acclaimed stage production, with Tony winners Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick recreating their triumphant stage performances and Uma Thurman and Will Ferrell in their singing and dancing debuts . Sony Classical will release the film's original soundtrack recording on Tuesday, November 22, 2005. A Brooksfilm production released by Universal Pictures and Columbia Pictures, produced by Mel Brooks and Jonathan Sanger, The Producers opens in theaters nationwide on Wednesday, December 21, 2005.
The soundtrack will include most of the hit songs from the stage production, for which Brooks wrote the music and lyrics, including "We Can Do It," "I Wanna Be a Producer," "Keep It Gay," "Along Came Bialy," "That Face" and, of course, "Springtime for Hitler." He also collaborated on the musical's book with Thomas Meehan, as well as the film's screenplay. Stroman won Tonys for her direction and choreography of the Broadway production, and she is making her debut as a film director. In addition to Nathan Lane's Tony-winning portrayal of Max Bialystock and Matthew Broderick's acclaimed Leo Bloom, Gary Beach reprises his Tony-winning performance as Roger De Bris, and Roger Bart once again plays De Bris's assistant Carmen Ghia. Joining them in the film are Uma Thurman as Ulla, Max and Leo's secretary, and Will Ferrell as the playwright Franz Liebkind.
For the film, Brooks has written a new end-title song - "There's Nothing Like a Show on Broadway" - which Lane and Broderick will introduce on the soundtrack. As a second end-title track, Ferrell is slated record a "power ballad" arrangement his character's song from the show, "Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop." Also, the score has been rearranged for larger musical forces by Douglas Besterman, who won a Tony for his orchestrations of the stage production.
Based on the 1968 film of the same title for which Brooks won an Oscar ® for his screenplay, The Producers opened to critical acclaim on Broadway in the spring of 2001 and became an immediate hit. It swept the theatrical awards for the 2000-01 season, winning the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics Circle awards for Best Musical. Its total of 12 Tony Awards shattered a record set almost 40 years earlier by Hello, Dolly! In 2005, the London production won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical.
Sony Classical made the original cast recording - which went on to win a Grammy ® for Best Musical Show Album - and also produced a documentary film about the recording session, Recording The Producers: A Musical Romp with Mel Brooks, that won a Grammy for Best Longform Music Video.
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