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Bones and All Got Made Thanks to Lorenzo Mieli

 


Taylor Russell (left) as Maren and Timothe Chalamet (right) as Lee in BONES AND ALL, directed by Luca Guadagnino, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film.  Credit: Yannis Drakoulidis / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo: Yannis Drakoulidis/Metro Goldwyn Mayer

When it came time to find funding for the YA-cannibal-road romance, captivating but shocking, gripping but gross bones and all, director Luca Guadagnino knew that Hollywood was unlikely to have the required taste in the flesh. Although he attached his muse face to the sharp cheekbones of a generation Timothe Chalamet as the project’s co-star and producer, the Italian BAFTA and Golden Globe author whose breakthrough in 2017 call me by your name won a nod to the Oscar for best picture understood that Bones would be a tough sell at increasingly risk-averse studios because of the way it mixed art and grind. That is to say, the film features the literal bloodlust, finger-gnawing, and horrifying human carnivore against the backdrop of exquisite post-adolescent lust; it’s an intimately observed journey of self-discovery, far from the kind of project Hollywood usually craves for.

So, in the final weeks of 2020, Guadagnino began looking for Italian backers who shared his vision for his first American film. The directors first called: Lorenzo Mieli, the prolific Rome-based television producer behind HBO series such as Jude Law’s papal romp The young popethe prestige adaptation of the cable companies of the best-selling Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrantes my brilliant friendand Italian coming-of-age drama we are who we are, for which Guadagnino previously served as director and showrunner. As managing director of Italian production company The Apartment, a boutique division of the global media giant Freemantle, Mieli had never supported a theatrical film. But he teamed up with Francesco Melzi d’Eril (a producer of the horror adaptation of Guadagninos Amazon Studios sighs) and Marco Morabito (who co-produced call me by your name) in the front bones and alls Production budget of $20 million.

For the eccentric subject of the film, it would have been very difficult to convince a studio, tells Vulture Mieli. For a subject like cannibalism, how much do you want to show the violence? Is it going to be a metaphorical journey, a love story as we want it to be? Or will it be too hard? And can we do it independently? The process is going to be very, very long; he needs a lot of attention and no stress because he is very delicate.

That investment paid off with one of the weirdest entries of Season 22 of the awards: a weird but acclaimed, buzzy but niche adaptation of Camille DeAngeliss’ 2015 novel YA by one of Hollywood’s most eminent filmmakers. Europe. A guy who’s had every opportunity to go Hollywood gonzo its just why Guadagnino could have gone the Denis Villeneuve route, turning his art house fame into a nine figure studio movie but who instead opted to keep the production on his seventh directorial feature deliberately small-scale and staunchly independent. MGM bought bones and all out of the blue, acquiring its North American distribution rights last year (in a deal known as negative pickup) on the strength of a nine-minute sizzle reel, Guadagnino cobbled together before the film was finished (Warner Bros. picked up Bones deployment abroad with the exception of Italy where the film is managed by Vision Distribution).

The ’80s horror romance premiered to a ten-minute standing ovation at the Venice International Film Festival in September, where Guadagnino won the Silver Lion for Best Director and co-lead Taylor Russell received the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor. Of the, Bones bowed at other major festivals including Telluride, the London Film Festival and the New York Film Festival, further bolstering its Gold Derby value (in conjunction with a fall For Your Consideration blitz by MGM although in this case FYC might just as well be read as Fine Young Cannibals). bones and all finally achieved wide release around Thanksgiving weekend, its entry into the film market marked by nearly six and a half million fan-generated TikTok videos and a hive of Chalamet-inspired buzz with mostly positive reviews but lackluster ticket sales.

Nowadays, Bones claimed a mere $6.1 million worldwide, seemingly the latest victim of a post-COVID and post-Labor Day box office malaise that has resulted in sluggish box office receipts for many seasons of award-winning titles fashionable. Among them: Tr ($5.1 million worldwide), She says ($6.7 million), Until ($8.7 million) and The Fabelmans ($3.6 million in limited release). Unlike those films, however, bones and allDistributor MGM is owned by Amazon, which uses different metrics than studios to determine box office failure and positions the film to signal its intention to take big creative turns, according to an insider.

Mieli who is rapidly raising his profile in Hollywood’s 30-mile zone as a producer of such splashy upcoming projects as the biopic Sofia Coppola Elvis Priscillathe Apple TV+ series Ferrari, and Angelina Jolie directed by Pablo Larrain with a biographical drama Married nonetheless feels satisfied that he allowed Guadagnino to make the movie he wanted, even if it wasn’t what Hollywood was looking for: a character-driven genre fusion that eschews genre tropes and blurs the lines surrounding both love stories and scary movies. He didn’t want to make a horror movie. He didn’t want to do what you say? an intellectual film, says the producer. He wanted to make a film where you could empathize with the characters. Where you see them finding love, where you see them finding acceptance, but it can also mean destroying and being destroyed. And yet. The film gives off that feeling, that sense of hope.

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