The Truth About Emanuel now available on BluRay/DVD, iTunes and On Demand.
The film tells the story of Emanuel (Kaya Scodelario), whose mother died while giving birth to her, and her unusual relationship with Linda (Jessica Biel), the new, hip mom who moved in next door. The film has a deep, dark secret which Lowe indicates might be why the distributor is allowing the film to gain some streaming buzz before hitting theaters: “The film will certainly charm on the festival circuit, although theatrical breakthrough will require unconventional marketing to preserve the disconcerting mystery central to the narrative.” Read the full article at source.
The truth about Jessica Biel? She has nightmares about losing her perfect pearly whites.
“I dream sometimes about my teeth falling out,” she said during the Los Angeles special screening of Tribeca Film and Well Go USA’s “The Truth About Emanuel.” “I chew and I’ll have to spit out hundreds and hundreds of teeth. There’s no way that it’s all mine. It’s like I have teeth in there to spare.”
Biel’s costar Kaya Scodelario and the film’s writer-director Francesca Gregorini were also on hand at the Arclight on Dec. 4. Unlike Biel’s dental nightmares, Scodelario, whose character Emanuel is haunted by recurring dreams and fantasies of water (the film was originally titled “Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes” when it made a splash at Sundance), experiences the inexplicable sensation of almost falling in her sleep.
“I don’t really dream that much,” she said. “I get that thing when you’re falling asleep and you think you’ve tripped over. I hate that. That scares me every time.”
Biel plays a troubled woman who’s convinced that the doll she’s raising is her real-life baby. She said shooting with the prop for weeks on end affected her behavior toward the inanimate object.
“She was alive for me in a sense, not to sound totally insane,” Biel said. “The scene was over and I would still hold her and she would go back to my trailer with me. I would rock her. She was so alive; the weight of her was real. It was odd, even our crew would say things to me like, ‘You’re holding that thing like it’s a real child.’”
Meanwhile, Scodelario, whose character inadvertently feeds Biel’s delusion by playing along with the doll-rearing, became attached to the lifeless doll.
“It freaked me out because I’ve never been around kids; I’ve never babysat,” she said. “The doll was the same weight as a real baby so as soon as you hold it, you naturally hold it like you would a baby and protect it. So it kicked up some instincts, which was scary.”
Gregorini initially created the entire project for Rooney Mara, who also attended the preem. When the film took three years to get off the ground, she was forced to cast someone else for the lead, as Mara could no longer pass for a teen. However, she did receive a co-producing credit.
Like most art, Gregorini said the film was an outlet for exercising her demons.
“I am dark and twisted and now I’ve gotten it out,” she teased. “It takes a very long time to make a film so I feel like you should make something worthwhile that talks about things that are of some import to you. And to me, the themes of abandonment and heartbreak and mortality are super important. I sort of grapple with them on an existential level and on a reality-based level. I think it’s just what I needed to write at the time, sort of things I was going through, things that I went through that still haunt me.
Despite the challenges, the project was a labor of love for her.
“It’s definitely shaved a couple of years off my life,” she said. “But apparently, it’s very character-building. I’m a lot less sexy than when I started this process, but I’m a more well-rounded person. Hopefully more lovable in that sense.”
The screening was followed by an after-party at Wood & Vine.
Tribeca Film and Well Go USA Entertainment today announced they have co-acquired North American rights to Francesca Gregorini’s (Tanner Hall) psychological thriller Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes, starring Jessica Biel (Hitchcock, The Illusionist), Kaya Scodelario (“Skins”, Wuthering Heights), Alfred Molina (An Education, Spider-Man 2), and Frances O’Connor (The Importance of Being Earnest, A.I.). Writer/director Gregorini produced the film, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, with Matthew R. Brady (MRB).
Tribeca Film and Well Go USA Entertainment plan a late 2013 theatrical release along with On Demand platforms, where it will be available in more than 50 million homes in the U.S. and Canada through a variety of video-on-demand offerings as well as iTunes, Amazon Watch Instantly, VUDU, Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Google Play, and YouTube.
“Francesca Gregorini’s superb Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes is a rare and remarkable work of mixed genres and expectations,” said Geoffrey Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer Tribeca Enterprises. “A taut surprising and original thriller featuring a career best performance from Jessica Biel and a breakout role by Kaya Scodelario.”
“I feel in Tribeca and Well Go I have found the perfect home for Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes. They are true lovers of cinema, and I feel strongly that they will reach audiences hungry for unique, innovative work,” said Francesca Gregorini.
Movies are about suspension of reality, well the best ones are. I can’t say that Francesca Gregorini’s film Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes is one of the best ones, but it is pretty damn good.
Here’s the synopsis:
Emanuel, a troubled girl, becomes preoccupied with her mysterious new neighbor, who bears a striking resemblance to her dead mother. In offering to babysit her neighbor’s newborn, Emanuel unwittingly enters a fragile, fictional world and becomes its gatekeeper.
Yep, it is your standard indie fare. Writer/Director Francesca Gregorini and Cinematographer Polly Morgan have created a deft ambiance that embraces the viewers like a well worm blanket. From the beginning, despite what happens, we know it’s going to eventually be OK.
The film is almost devoid of all modern appliances like smart phones, computers, and televisions. The only real signs of modernity are mass transit and one lone car, an old Volvo 240. Without the modern distractions, it lets us now that Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes is about characters and story, there’s a novel idea.
One Sunday three or four years ago, I went on a Netflix binge of the British drama “Skins” and was floored by all of the performances. As I poked around to find out who the hell this Kaya Scodelario, who plays Emanuel, was. I quickly discovered she was one of the leads on the British “Skins.” Turns out, the show was a breeding ground for extraordinary young talent, Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies, the Mad Max reboot, the upcoming X-Men, and yes, the kid from About a Boy), Joe Dempsie (HBO’s Game of Thrones), Dev Patel (HBO’s The Newsroom, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) are some of that cast that have since made the transition to Hollywood. I suspect we will soon be adding Scoldelario to that list.
In Gregorini’s Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes, Kaya Scodelario delivers a simply stunning performance as the 17-year-old Emanuel. Here the British actress dons an American accent to play the snarky teen who struggles with her life because her mother died during her birth. While we’re introduced to her in voice over and this is a little silly. However, once we get by that, we can’t help but immediately be taken in by Emanuel’s charm. The voice over simply lets us know that we’re about to encounter a brash and snarky lead character.
As Emanuel, Scodelario plays her with empathy well beyond the characters 17 years, but it works. Again, it’s a movie, so we must suspend reality. Some of her laser sharp one liners are unbelievable, but her delivery allows us to shrug that off. The fact that we can ignore some of Emanuel’s aplomb is a compliment to both the performance and direction. As the namesake of the movie, she is in almost every scene and carries the story flawlessly. A story driven movie like this demands an exceptional performance and Kaya Scodelario does just that.
Jessica Biel is in the throes of a Hollywood trajectory that, unless she manages it well, could very easily erase the talent she has. Earning her wings (pardon the pun), and tabloid star, on the extremely under appreciated WB series “7th Heaven” she has gone on to star in a number of big Hollywood movies; the types of which punch lines and car explosions are more important than dialog. Like Ulee’s Gold and Elizabethtown before, Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes is the type of character driven movie where Jessica Biel shines. Her performance here as Linda, the neighbor with the secret, shows exactly why she is in that Hollywood trajectory (I just hope it doesn’t land her on “Dancing with the Stars”).
When Linda first shows up, before she even utters a line, you notice her wardrobe. Biel is attractive to begin with but here the loose, flowing, beautiful and bohemian (apparently, the one product placement is Free People clothing…that’s a joke) clothes add to her natural beauty and add an element of ethereal quality to the character of Linda. Biel plays Linda like she wears the clothes, loose, earthy, real and beautifully.
Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes also stars Alfred Molina as Dennis, Emanuel’s father. Alfred Molina is Alfred Molina, he could read YouTube comments and I would pay attention. He’s brilliant. Always.
Perpetual scene stealer and all around go to guy for any genre, Jimmi Simpson plays Arthur, Emanuel’s dorky friend at her medical supply/pharmacy job. Here Simpson has shed his Liam Mcpoyle robe (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and is wearing his big boy clothes and his drama cap, along with his Warby Parkers. As Arthur, it is his job to play the lone “bad” guy in the movie. And he is anything but a “bad guy.” Arthur eventually goes on a date with Linda. At the end of this date, with Emanuel downstairs listening to the baby monitor, it is Arthur who tasked with informing Linda of just how crazy she is.
It’s a scene that works so well you’ll get cranky about how it emotionally disrupts you. In just a short time, you’re emotions will be righted again. It’s that warm blanket that Gregorini sets up early in the film coming to cover you. That little emotional pinball game is not easy to pull off and is evidence that everyone involved in this film brought their A game.
So, what is the truth about fishes? I honestly do not know. I’m flummoxed as to the metaphorical significance of the title. I’ll leave that for the smarter folks.
So what makes Emanuel so protective over Linda’s craziness? I’m not telling.
I will tell you Emanuel refuses to bond with her stepmother but has such a longing for a mother figure that she embraces Linda, who resembles her own mother. I will tell you Linda’s crazy is revealed fairly early as Emanuel and she are developing their friendship. Emanuel first ignores the crazy and then teeters on embracing it, completely cognizant that she is jeopardizing her own sanity.
The ending is exceptionally beautiful as both Emanuel and Linda are able to bury their respective pain and crazy. Indeed, the scenes leading to that beautiful moment once again require that suspension of reality, but if you can do that, you will be rewarded.
There is a scene shortly after the “crazy” reveal, and before the ending, between Emanuel and Dennis where he firmly says to her “Emanuel, you don’t know what is in other people’s hearts!” She quickly replies “No I don’t but I know what is in mine.” I know it sounds cheesy and in lesser hands than Molina and Scodelario’s it wouldn’t work. But Emanuel’s simple retort is so truly moving. It makes you wonder if only more people stopped trying to think about what others may think and may do and were focused on, and motivated by, what is in their own hearts, how much better off we would be.
Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes is one of those films that no major studio would make. And that is sad. It’s one of those movies that movie buffs and saps, like me, tend to enjoy. It’s also one of those movies the re-charges me and makes me realize that there are really talented film makers like Francesca Gregorini out there creating. It’s one of those movies that force you to forget the dreck that some of these performers have been in and reminds you that they are where they are because they are talented (and not necessarily who they are married to). It’s one of those movies that, if you can, you should see.
Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes concluded its Brooklyn Film Festival run last night.
The Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) will open on Jun 19 with Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s Lovelace and close four days later with Francesca Gregorini’s Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes.
I Am Divine by Jeffrey Schwartz is the Friday Night Spotlight and Pedro Almodovar’s I’m So Excited! is the Saturday Night Spotlight.
The 2013 Filmmaker On The Edge Award sponsored by the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation will be awarded to Harmony Korine, who will take part in an on-stage conversation with John Waters on Jun 22.
The festival will close on Jun 23 with a block party and the presentation of the HBO Audience Awards.
PIFF is scheduled to run from Jun 19-23. Visit the official website to see the full line-up on May 10.
Myriad Pictures has acquired international distribution rights to the Jessica Biel-starrer Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes. The film, written and directed by Francesca Gregorini, premiered this year at Sundance. Kaya Scodelario, Alfred Molina, Aneurin Barnard, Jimmi Simpson and Frances O’Connor also star. The film centers on Emanuel (Scodelario), an acerbic but sensitive teen who lives with her father and stepmother. When Linda (Biel), a young and hip mother, moves in next door, Emanuel becomes intrigued by Linda’s striking resemblance to her late mother, who died giving birth to Emanuel. Emanuel begins to babysit for Linda’s newborn daughter, but as Emanuel and Linda spend more time together, they develop a bond that becomes deeply entwined in a surprising secret Linda harbors. Myriad will screen the film for international buyers at next month’s Cannes market. Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes was produced by Matthew R. Brady and Gregorini, and executive produced by Jonathan Gray, Paul Schiff, Kenny Goodman, Kevin Iwashina, Michael Sackler, Julia Godzinskaya, Alice Bamford, Olga Segura, Juan Carlos Segura G, Alex Sagalchik and Brent Stiefel.
Deadline London has exclusively premiered the first trailer for “Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes.” Watch it below!
Kaya Scodelario, 21, made her mark on British TV and film with Skins and Wuthering Heights – now she’s taking on America.
To celebrate her starring role in the US indie flick Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes, she’ll be hitting the Sundance London red carpet this Friday.
‘My family and my boyfriend [Shameless star Elliott Tittensor] are coming to watch it for the first time,’ Kaya tells ELLE. ‘It’s nerve wracking because acting is almost like a therapy session, you expose yourself emotionally. But I’m proud of this film.’
The psychological thriller sees Kaya’s character Emanuel becoming obsessed with another woman (Jessica Biel).
The pair bonded during filming. ‘Jessie really made me feel looked after in LA, on my own, working away from home.’
We’re sure that meeting Jessica’s husband, some guy called Justin Timberlake, must have helped too.
‘I’ve only just managed to calm down. He’s a really nice guy.’
Kaya’s own boyfriend, Elliott, visits her frequently on set and he’ll be popping out to visit her in LA on the set of her upcoming sci-fi film, The Maze Runner. ‘It’s completely different: an action packed film with lots of CGI and huge monsters.’
She’s also been rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood crowd off-duty at Coachella, sporting her typically relaxed look of boho top and cut-off shorts.
For the Emanuel red carpet, she’s planning on wearing ‘a beautiful Louis Vuitton dress.’
So when she does hit London, what could be the best compliment her family could pay her?
‘That my American accent was all right.’
Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes has its UK premiere at the Sundance London Festival at The O2 on Friday 26 April, and will also screen on 27 and 28 April.
“Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes” was screened at the Ashland Film Festival and took home the awards for Best Cinematography and Best Ensemble Cast.
This second feature from writer-director Francesca Gregorini may be a coming-of-age movie about a teenage girl, but don’t expect ‘Twilight’-style boy-chasing or high school antics. Instead, this is the haunting, mysterious tale of Emanuel (Kaya Scodelario), an adolescent living with her dad (Alfred Molina) and stepmother (Frances O’Connor) and still struggling to come to terms with the death of her mum some years before. When a stranger moves in next door who bears an uncanny resemblance to Emanuel’s lost mother, the girl’s emotions begin to spin out of control. With a strong cast and intriguing premise, this sounds like a promising spin on the teen flick.
The other competition entry that stayed with me — and felt fresher than any other — was Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes, one of an unprecedented eight in that section’s lineup (fully half!) directed by women. Francesca Gregorini’s sophomore film is vividly realized, and playing the title character, Kaya Scodelario (a striking screen presence destined to be a huge star) consistently transcends her material, even when it gets bogged down in symbolism. Scodelario’s Emanuel is haunted by the passing of her mother who died giving birth to her. A morbid smart-ass, she takes pleasure in inflicting emotional pain on her well-meaning dad (Alfred Molina) and uptight new stepmom (Frances O’Connor). When Linda (Jessica Biel), the spitting image of Emanuel’s mom, moves in next door with her newborn, Emanuel becomes enamored of her, no doubt looking to fill the void left by mother’s death. But upon discovering Linda’s sad, disturbing secret. she becomes so fiercely protective of her new neighbor that it’s she who she assumes the mothering role.
5- EMANUEL AND THE TRUTH ABOUT FISHES
EMANUEL AND THE TRUTH ABOUT FISHES, to me anyways, was this year’s WINTER’S BONE or MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE. It introduced me to Kaya Scodelario, a hypnotically beautiful young actress, who plays the title role. Scodelario’s going to be a star- no doubt about it, but even overlooking her, this is still a breathtaking film, with standout work from everyone from Aneurin Barnard, Alfred Molina, and even Jessica Biel. See it- but again, it’s an acquired taste.
Director Francesca Gregorini wowed crowds at Sundance Film Festival with her solo directorial debut, Emanuel and The Truth About The Fishes, a psychological coming of age drama starring Kaya Scodelario and Jessica Biel. Here the director talks inspiration, loss and the difficulties of being a woman in Hollywood.
WHAT INSPIRED EMANUEL?
Emanuel is about loss and redemption and I think that is one of the quintessential struggles of the human condition. For starters, we are all going to die and everyone we have ever loved will too. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s about the size of it. So, that puts the concept of loss pretty much front and center in all of our sub consciousness. Mortality is arguably the most difficult thing that we must come to terms with.
Like all of us, I have experienced my share of loss, not just in the form of actual death, but in the form of: discovering that I am not able to have children, losing my mother to addiction for a decade of my childhood, romantic heartbreak, all these experiences of profound loss are a form of death and what interested me was mining where we go internally when faced with death. I think everyone’s instinct is to avoid those feelings because they are so immensely sad, that you feel like you yourself might die and that’s where coping mechanisms come into play…drinking, workaholism, etc… and then there is of course the tried and true: denial, a human favorite. Taken to the extreme that can have some pretty dire consequences and leave you living in, for lack of a better word, an altered reality, which is precisely what we are trying to achieve: alter our reality because it is too painful to withstand.
WERE YOU ALWAYS GOING TO BE THE DIRECTOR, AS WELL AS WRITER?
Yes, this is a topic very close to my heart, demons I needed to purge so I had to see it through from the beginning to end. No use in just cutting off the tail of the dragon. If you’re going to step into the ring and grapple with these core issues, you best be prepared to slay the dragon, not just injure him or you might be worse off than when you started.
TELL US ABOUT THE CASTING PROCESS, YOU DIDN’T ORIGINALLY HAVE KAYA SCODELARIO AS THE LEAD?
I actually wrote Emanuel for Rooney Mara, who Tatiana von Furstenberg and I cast as the lead in our film Tanner Hall (Toronto Film Festival, 2009) when she was still a complete unknown. Rooney and I became close friends and she became my muse for this role. However, it took several years for me to raise the funds to shoot it, by which point age-wise and schedule-wise, Rooney no longer seemed like the right choice to portray Emanuel. So, Deb Aquila, my fabulous casting director and I, set about finding Emanuel. I met with every young girl in Hollywood and auditioned a great many of them and even though they were for the most part great, some even amazing, none of them were Emanuel. And since the whole movie rides on her, I was at a loss as to what to do. We went into a holding pattern. Then Tatiana, traveling in Italy, severely injured her back, so I flew out there to be with her for the lengthy recovery. Once she seemed to be on the mend I excused myself for a couple days and went to London to continue my hunt for Emanuel. When Kaya sat down next to me on the couch of the hotel lobby that I was using as my “casting office” I knew I had found her. She has a toughness matched in equal parts by a heartbreaking vulnerability and a courage in her eyes that was unmistakable. Her cracks run deep, deep enough to let the light shine through. This was the girl who could and would go the distance. And there’s nothing more that you can ask of someone as a director.
Kaya Scodelario (“Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes”)
Why You May Know Her: Best known in the U.K. for her breakout turn as a troubled teen in the controversial hit series “Skins” (which briefly spurred an MTV knockoff Stateside), 20-year-old Kaya Scodelario made a transfixing transition to the big screen in Andrea Arnold’s radical take on “Wuthering Heights.” She had bit parts in “Moon” and “Clash of the Titans. What Sundance Could Mean For Her: Touted by many as this year’s Felicity Jones-type breakout, Scodelario stands a good chance at making a name for herself in North America with her lead role in the U.S. Dramatic contender, “Emanuel and the Truth About the Fishes.” In the film, directed by “Tanner Hall” helmer Francesca Gregorini, and co-starring Jessica Biel and Alfred Molina, Scodelario stars as a troubled young woman who takes a strange fascination to a new neighbor who resembles her dead mother.
What’s Next: She’ll next be appearing in the Dakota Fanning-starring weepie “Now Is Good.”
Kaya Scodelario (“Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes”)
For a TV show watched by a fairly small British audience, teen drama “Skins” has had an impressive effect on the movies world. In the five years since it debuted, it’s helped to introduce movie screens to Dev Patel (“Slumdog Millionaire”), Nicholas Hoult (“X-Men: First Class”), Joe Dempsie and Hannah Murray (“Game Of Thrones”), Daniel Kaluuya (“Welcome To The Punch”), Jack O’Connell (“300: Battle Of Artimesia”) and Luke Pasqualino (“Snowpiercer”), among others. And the next to join them looks to be Kaya Scodelario. The 20-year-old actress was the only character to span the first four series of the show, which led to small parts in films including “Moon” and “Clash Of The Titans.” But she really showed her abilities by playing Cathy in Andrea Arnold’s bruising, brutal adaptation of “Wuthering Heights.” She was the best known name in the cast by some way, and more than held her own. And when Rooney Mara dropped out of Francesca Gregorini’s “Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes,” it was Scodelario who stepped in, as the title character, a teenage girl who becomes obsessed with her new neighbor. Reviews of the film have been a touch divided (some raves, some dismissive ones), but Scodelario’s been the constant, with comparisons to previous Sundance darlings Elizabeth Olsen and Carey Mulligan surfacing a good deal. And she’s continuing to work with promising collaborators — next up is “Southcliffe,” a British TV miniseries directed by “Martha Marcy May Marlene” director Sean Durkin.