THE WEEK IN WOMEN news roundup: Rose McGowan to get Tallgrass festival honor, ‘Lady Bird’ added to Austin Film Festival, Patty Jenkins seals historic ‘Wonder Woman 2′ deal as superhero hit powers onto Blu-ray, Jamie Lee Curtis returns to ‘Halloween’

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Rose McGowan, center, appears behind the scenes of her directorial debut, the short film "Dawn." Black Dog Films photo

Rose McGowan, center, appears behind the scenes of her directorial debut, the short film “Dawn.” Black Dog Films photo

Actor, filmmaker and outspoken social and political activist, Rose McGowan, will be this year’s recipient of the Ad Astra Award during the 15th edition of the Tallgrass International Film Festival, presented by Consolidated Equities Trust Oct. 18-22 in Wichita, Kansas.

“From her debut in ‘The Doom Generation’ through films like ‘Jawbreaker,’ ‘Scream’ and ‘Planet Terror,’ Rose McGowan has been a major indie film icon that epitomizes the phrase ‘stubbornly independent,’” Tallgrass Program Director Nick Pope said in a statement.

“However, we have all learned that as dynamic as her onscreen presence was, it was barely scratching the surface of her filmmaking vision – as demonstrated by her directorial debut, ‘Dawn.’ On top of that, her brave and uncompromising voice in Hollywood speaking out on the issues that female filmmakers, actors, and frankly, anyone, in the filmmaking community faces as they attempt to create art and make a living in what can oftentimes be a brutal and unforgiving industry, has made her a leading light in the world of film.”

Tallgrass will present the Ad Astra Award to McGowan at Wichita’s Scottish Rite Theater prior to a screening of her critically acclaimed short film “Dawn” on Oct. 19. A Q&A will follow with McGowan, moderated by Amy Nicholson, film critic and host of “The Canon,” and Festworks.com’s John Wildman. The special evening will conclude with a retro screening of “Planet Terror,” including an introduction by McGowan.

Tallgrass will kick off its tribute to McGowan prior to the festival with a free screening of “Scream” on Final Friday, Sept. 29 in Gallery Alley, following a reel of 2017 Coming Attractions festival trailers.

For more information on the festival, including the honor for McGowan, go to tallgrassfilm.org/experience/tallgrass-film-festival.

Saoirse Ronan appears in a scene from "Lady Bird." A24 photo

Saoirse Ronan appears in a scene from “Lady Bird.” A24 photo

Focus Features acquires international rights to Greta Gerwig’s ‘Lady Bird’

Focus Features has acquired international rights to Greta Gerwig’s acclaimed directorial debut Lady Bird, according to a news release. A24 and IAC Films are partners on the movie. Focus will be handling distribution in all territories outside of North America.

“Lady Bird” has emerged as one of the biggest breakouts of the fall season, winning rave reviews from its screenings at both the Telluride and Toronto International Film Festivals.

According to Deadline Hollywood, Gerwig’s tale of the turbulent bond between a mother and her teenage daughter also has been selected as the opening night film for the Austin (Texas) Film Festival, set for Oct. 26-Nov. 2.

“With Lady Bird, Greta has proven herself to be both a brilliant illusionist and a towering filmmaker. She tricks us into believing this is an intimate story about a specific character, time, and place until the culmination of the laughter and the tears makes you realize it’s actually a grand epic that is as universal, relatable and emotionally powerful as any story of mothers and daughters that has ever been put on film,” said Focus Chairman Peter Kujawski in the news release.  “We couldn’t be more honored to team with Greta and our friends at A24 and IAC to share her incredible work with audiences around the world.”

Scott Rudin, Eli Bush and Evelyn O’Neill are the producers. The movie is due in theaters Nov. 10 via A24. Here is the synopsis:

Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf), a nurse working tirelessly to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird’s father (Tracy Letts) loses his job. Set in Sacramento, California in 2002, amidst a rapidly shifting American economic landscape, “Lady Bird” is an affecting look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home.

Director Patty Jenkins, left, and star Gal Gadot appear on the set of "Wonder Woman." Warner Bros. photo

Director Patty Jenkins, left, and star Gal Gadot appear on the set of “Wonder Woman.” Warner Bros. photo

“Wonder Woman” helmer Patty Jenkins is now the highest paid director in the history of film

As previously reported, Jenkins and Warner Bros. were reportedly working on a historic deal to have her return to direct the sequel to her record-smashing superhero origin story.

She got it.

While an exact number could not be unveiled, Variety reports that sources say Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman 2” payday is in the $8 million range to write, direct and produce the follow-up, making her the highest paid female director of all time. A substantial backend of box office grosses is also included in the contract.

“Wonder Woman” has been a superheroic hit for Warner Bros., ranking as the No. 2 movie of 2017 (after “Beauty and the Beast”) and earning more than $410 million at the domestic box office and in excess of $817 million worldwide. The film is the fourth installment in the studio’s DC Extended Universe, which launched with 2013’s “Man of Steel” with an opening weekend of $116.6 million, followed by last year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” with $166 million, and “Suicide Squad” with $133.6 million, and it’s credited with getting film series back on track after its last couple of installments received mixed reviews. “Wonder Woman” — made on a $150 million budget — has been critically acclaimed, with a 92 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Variety previously reported in June that Jenkins was already working on a script for the sequel with Geoff Johns, who oversees the DC film universe along with Jon Berg for Warner Bros.

Gal Gadot has already signed on to return in the title role in “Wonder Woman 2,” slated for release on Dec. 13, 2019.

Besides the “Wonder Woman” sequel, Variety also reports that Jenkins is reuniting with “Wonder Woman” co-star Chris Pine on the new TNT drama series “One Day She’ll Darken.” Sam Sheridan, author of “A Fighter’s Heart and The Disaster Diaries” is set to write the six-episode series, inspired by the autobiography of Fauna Hodel, who was given away by her teenage birth mother to a black restroom attendant in a Nevada casino in 1949. As Hodel begins to investigate the secrets to her past, she follows a sinister trail that swirls ever closer to infamous Hollywood gynecologist, Dr. George Hodel, a man involved in the darkest Hollywood debauchery, the spider in the web around the legendary Black Dahlia murder of Elizabeth Short in Los Angeles in 1947.

Pine will play Jay Singletary, a former Marine-turned-hack reporter and paparazzo. Jay was disgraced over his story about Hodel years prior, but now he sees a glimmer of redemption. Considering how busy both Pine and Jenkins are post-“Wonder Woman,” the series’ release date is unknown at this time.

“Wonder Woman” powers on to DVD, Blu-ray, and a 4K UHD Blu-ray on Sept. 19. Warner Bros. photo

“Wonder Woman” powers on to DVD, Blu-ray, and a 4K UHD Blu-ray on Sept. 19. Warner Bros. photo

Gal Gadot talks superheroic stardom as ‘Wonder Woman’ powers onto Blu-ray

The news of Jenkins historic payday comes as “Wonder Woman” powers on to DVD, Blu-ray, and a 4K UHD Blu-ray on Tuesday.

The film previously was released on digital streaming services like iTunes, Vudu, and Amazon on Aug. 29.

The disc will boast a variety of special features, most of which center on director Jenkins’s road to making a blockbuster hit out of a comics property that many had tried and failed to adapt in the past, according to ComicBook.com.

As Jenkins previously promised, the movie does not include an “Ultimate Cut” that expands significantly on the theatrical version, as did “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad.” (The only “different” version of the film available is a collector’s edition steelbook.) That’s good news since Jenkins’ theatrical version of the film was so wonderful.

In honor of the blockbuster’s home release, Gadot sat down with Alex Morris for Rolling Stone to talk about her own origin story as an actor (which included throwing the Miss Universe pageant because winning looked like too much responsibility), feminism, and her experiences filming the upcoming “Justice League” movie, which included playing an Amazon warrior while pregnant

“We cut open the costume and had this green screen on my stomach,” she said of the latter topic. “It was funny as hell – Wonder Woman with a bump.”

Even after she landed the coveted role of Diana Prince, she said she was worried about being thought weak, so she waited to tell her “Justice League” co-stars that she was pregnant.

“I didn’t want attention,” she said. “The default should be that women get the job done, but there’s a long way to go and a lot of reprogramming that needs to be done to both genders.”

To her, Gadot said Wonder Woman “stands for love and hope and acceptance and fighting evil,” and she and Jenkins were on a mission to get the icon’s big-screen origin story right.

“I didn’t want to play the cold-hearted warrior. We didn’t want to fall into the clichés,” she said.

“We didn’t want to treat the misogyny in a preaching way,” she added. “We wanted to surprise the audience.”

For her part, the woman who embodied Wonder Woman so effectively on the big screen said she is surprised when people ask if she is a feminist.

“People always ask me, ‘Are you a feminist?’ And I find the question surprising, because I think, ‘Yes, of course. Every woman, every man, everyone should be a feminist. Because whoever is not a feminist is a sexist,’” Gadot says.

To read more of the excellent Rolling Stone feature, click here.

Jamie Lee Curtis is returning to Halloween, the horror franchise that helped to launch her career, in a new film due out in 2018. Photo via Twitter

Jamie Lee Curtis is returning to Halloween, the horror franchise that helped to launch her career, in a new film due out in 2018. Photo via Twitter

Jamie Lee Curtis rejoining ‘Halloween’ franchise

Jamie Lee Curtis is returning to Halloween, the horror franchise that helped to launch her career.

“Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode in HALLOWEEN, released by Universal Pictures October 19, 2018. #HalloweenMovie,” Blumhouse Productions tweeted Friday.

“Same porch. Same clothes. Same issues. 40 years later. Headed back to Haddonfield one last time for Halloween,” Curtis tweeted.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, David Gordon Green, the co-creator of HBO’s “Eastbound & Down” and director of movies such as “Pineapple Express” and “Our Brand Is Crisis,” will helm the new movie with a script he co-wrote with frequent collaborator Danny McBride.

Blumhouse, Miramax and Trancas are the production entities involved. John Carpenter, the co-creator of the franchise and director the 1978 original, will executive produce along with Gordon Green and McBride’s Rough House Pictures.

Curtis has played Laurie Strode in multiple Halloween films, including the classic 1978 original that introduced the mask-wearing, mass-murdering mental patient Michael Myers.

She subsequently played Laurie in “Halloween II” (1981), “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” (1998) and “Halloween: Resurrection” (2002). Although she has worked steadily and successfully as an actor, it has remained a defining role for her: She most recently appeared in Ryan Murphy’s Fox horror comedy “Scream Queens,” which was canceled in May.

According to IMDB, Curtis also will be seen in theaters next year in the political thriller “The Pages,” from writer-director Joe Chappelle, a fellow “Halloween” franchise alumnus who helmed 1995’s “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.”

-BAM

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