Thanks to a whim of the movie gods, production company Plan B Entertainment saw three of its high-profile Oscar contenders debut almost simultaneously: “Woman Talking” (UA via MGM), “Blonde” (Netflix) and “She Says” (Universal). )
Dede Gardner – one of the three Plan B partners along with Jeremy Kleiner and Brad Pitt – said diversity: “I didn’t think it would happen like this. Covid was the big driver, with things backing up and then happening all at once. But I don’t think it’s a mistake. If movies are alive and kicking, they’re in conversation with what’s happening inside the culture. All three are in the conversation, and I’m grateful for everyone’s time.”
“Women Talking,” directed by Sarah Polley and adapted from the book by Miriam Toews, features women in a religious community debating how to handle their collective physical and mental abuse. “Blonde” is Andrew Dominick’s take on Marilyn Monroe. “She Said,” directed by Mary Schrader, follows two female journalists investigating Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior.
Can they be described as feminist films?
Gardner says, “I hope everything we do is feminist, but I hope it’s humanitarian first and foremost. All are images of power, isolation, fear—and I don’t think those things are gender-specific.
Plan B, which began in 2001, is harder to define. It’s like a boutique company, but its success is massive: six Best Picture Oscar nominations, wins for “12 Years a Slave” and “Moonlight.” Its releases include “World War Z,” “The Big Short,” “Vice,” “Killing Them Softly,” “The Tree of Life,” “If Bill Street Could Talk” and “Selma.”
Plan B has a first-look deal at WB and a second-look deal with MGM. In December, it closed a deal to sell a majority stake to European media conglomerate MediaOne.
It’s hard to imagine the Plan B trio doing merchandising with movie franchises or film financiers.
“I have a lot of admiration for people who know how to think this way,” says Gardner. But that would be thinking about something other than the story, and I don’t know that I’m good at that.
“If you’re given the opportunity and resources to tell stories, you’ll create the best stories of those that haven’t been heard, and the voices that haven’t been represented, and the conditions that need examination.”
He and Kleiner do not share responsibility. “We’re both into everything. We’ve been together 20 years, and I think we bring different things to the table; We can finish each other’s sentences.
“Under normal circumstances, we share everything. But with Covid, we had multiple things going on, so we covered different things because we couldn’t travel back and forth.” “Blonde” began production in 2019; “Woman” and “She Said” were shot in summer 2021.
Dominic Joyce adapted and directed the novel “Blonde” by Carol Oates. The film was enthusiastically received at the Venice Film Fest in September, but stateside reaction was sharply divided.
“I found the vitriol extremely misleading,” says Gardner. “I think the allegations are not correct. We have lived for decades with this person at the center of our pleasure; The movie suggests that he did not share that joy. And the movie asks about our complicity as viewers.
“Andrew and Anna are fantastic. Some have accused Andrew of not liking Marilyn Monroe, but no one really cares, otherwise why would? Anyone who has read the book or knows him will know that’s not true.”
He shrugs, “Your reactions are out of control; You are in control of your intentions and I know what they are.”
It seems that the film may be “rediscovered” and re-evaluated in a few years.