Eddie with ONCOR entertainment founder Ross LaTerra on location


Director: Julie Taymor
Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais
US Release Date: September 28, 2007

Soundtrack Produced by: T-Bone Burnett

LUCY: Evan Rachel Wood
MR. KITE: Eddie Izzard


A romantic musical told mainly through numerous Beatles songs performed by the characters. A young man from Liverpool comes to America during the Vietnam War to find his father. He winds up in Greenwich Village, where he falls in love with an American girl who has grown up sheltered in the suburbs. Together they experience the sweeping changes of America in the late 60's.

(Description from cinema.com) An original musical film, Across The Universe is a fictional love story set in the 1960s amid the turbulent years of anti-war protest, the struggle for free speech and civil rights, mind exploration and rock and roll. At once gritty, whimsical and highly theatrical, the story moves from high schools and universities in Massachusetts, Princeton and Ohio to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Detroit riots, the killing fields of Vietnam and the dockyards of Liverpool. A combination of live action and painted and three-dimensional animation, the film is paired with many Beatles songs that defined the time.




Sony Pictures will release "Across the Universe" on DVD & Blu-ray February 5, 2008. The film stars Evan Rachel Wood, Dana Fuchs, Jim Sturgess, and Joe Anderson. The DVD edition will have 2-discs. Extras will include: a "Commentary with Director Julie Taymor & Music Producer/Composer Elliot Goldenthal," Five featurettes, and "Two live performances of Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite."



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Fan Review (Maria K saw the movie at the Toronto Film Festival)

Well I have to say that I really enjoyed the film. It brought back many memories (good and bad). I would recommend it as a "must see" especially for folks that grew up in that era (like me). The Vietnam scenes brought back a lot of bad memories as my brother was in that "war" and luckily came home in one piece. He told me many stories of what went on over there - not a pretty picture....and it seems we're doing it again. Do we never learn. Unfortunately no sign of our man - Julie Taymor did show up and that was a bonus.

At the Q&A someone asked how Eddie got picked for the part of Mr Kite as he spoke (not sang) the song - which was still fantastic. She basically let him have free reign with ad-libbing throughout the song. The young cast was excellent and Julie Taymor said that 80% of the songs were not pre-recorded - so no lip-syncing - it was the real thing - that's a breath of fresh air. The music and Beatles songs were fantastic - 33 songs in all. We saw the Julie Taymor's version of Across The Universe and apparently all of the production issues are resolved, according to her.

Across The Universe Movie Trailer

Film Has Two Versions; Only One Is Julie Taymor’s

Published: March 20, 2007


LOS ANGELES, March 19 — In Hollywood creative differences among moviemakers often make for more interesting results on the screen. But rarely do those battles escalate so much that a studio takes a movie away from an award-winning director.

Such is the case — for the moment — with “Across the Universe,” a $45-million psychedelic love story set to the music of the Beatles, directed by Julie Taymor, the stage and screen talent whose innovative interpretation of the Disney animated film “The Lion King” is one of the most successful modern stage musicals.

After Ms. Taymor delivered the movie to Joe Roth, the film executive whose production company, Revolution Studios, based at Sony, is making the Beatles musical, he created his own version without her agreement. And last week Mr. Roth tested his cut of the film, which is about a half-hour shorter than Ms. Taymor’s 2-hour-8-minute version.

Mr. Roth’s moves have left Ms. Taymor feeling helpless and considering taking her name off the movie, according to an individual close to the movie who would not be named because of the sensitivity of the situation. Disavowing a film is the most radical step available to a director like Ms. Taymor, who does not have final cut, one that could embarrass the studio and hurt the movie’s chances for a successful release in September.

Ms. Taymor declined to be interviewed, but issued a carefully worded statement: “My creative team and I are extremely happy about our cut and the response to it,” she wrote. “Sometimes at this stage of the Hollywood process differences of opinion arise, but in order to protect the film, I am not getting into details at this time.”

Mr. Roth, a former Disney studio chief who proclaimed his ’60’s-influenced, artist-friendly ethos in 2000 by naming his new company Revolution Studios, is himself a director, of films like “Christmas With the Kranks,” “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” and “Freedomland.”

He said that Ms. Taymor was overreacting to a normal Hollywood process of testing different versions of a movie, something he has done many times before, including with Michael Mann’s “Last of the Mohicans.” He called his version of “Across the Universe” “an experiment.”

“She’s a brilliant director,” he said. “She’s made a brilliant movie. This process is not anything out of the ordinary. Her reaction through her representatives might be. But her orientation is stage. It’s different if you’re making a $12-million film, or a $45-million film. No one is uncomfortable in this process, other than Julie.”

And he warned that the conflict could hurt the movie. “If you work off her hysteria, that will do the film an injustice,” he said. “Nobody wants to do that. She’s worked long and hard, and made a wonderful movie.”

A spokesman for Sony Pictures Entertainment declined to comment, saying the project was developed by Revolution.

“Across the Universe” stars Evan Rachel Wood as Lucy, an American teenager, and Jim Sturgess as Jude, a British import, who fall in love during the turbulent 1960s. The movie, set to 35 Beatles songs, seems to spring from Ms. Taymor’s experimental sandbox, combining live action with painted and three-dimensional animation and puppets, and featuring cameos by Eddie Izzard, dressed as a freakish Mr. Kite; Bono, singing “I Am the Walrus”; and Joe Cocker, singing “Come Together.”

Ms. Taymor has been editing the film for the better part of the last year, after completing the shoot in 2005. An initial release date of September 2006 was pushed off.

Mr. Roth said he had been working with Ms. Taymor on and off during nine months of editing, and that the problem was merely one of length.

Under pressure from Mr. Roth and after test screenings, Ms. Taymor trimmed the film from an initial 2 hours 20 minutes. She told associates she considered the film finished.

Fights between visionary filmmakers and studios are nothing new. Orson Welles spent most of his career fighting with studios that took away his movies, editing options and even limited his film stock. And those fights commonly focus on the running times of movies, which, as critics have noted, seem to grow inexorably longer.

But it is rare for an executive to step in and cut the movie himself. Ms. Taymor was still making her own final edits to the film when she learned several weeks ago that Mr. Roth had edited another, shorter version. That version was tested last week in Arizona, to a younger audience than the more mixed test group than saw Ms. Taymor’s cut in Los Angeles on March 8, according to an individual close to the film.

Mr. Roth, who vowed never again to allow a director final cut after the disastrous 2003 Martin Brest movie “Gigli,” said that the various versions were testing well, but that he had a responsibility to find the most successful incarnation. “It’s ‘show’ and it’s ‘business,’ ” he said.

Ms. Taymor has been showered with numerous awards, including a MacArthur “genius” grant in 1991. The stage version of “The Lion King,” which currently has nine productions worldwide, is notable for Ms. Taymor’s unusual staging and the use of mechanical masks that make the actors seem like real animals. (Mr. Roth, who ran Disney at the time, admitted to having been skeptical about the masks but later told Ms. Taymor he’d been wrong.)

Ms. Taymor has had more mixed results in Hollywood. Her bloody Shakespeare adaptation, “Titus,” bombed at the box office, taking in just $1.9 million. “Frida,” in 2002, about the artist Frida Kahlo, was successful, winning two Oscars and a moderate financial windfall.

Mr. Roth said he believed that the current tensions would be worked out, and that Ms. Taymor would find the best, final version of the film somewhere between his own and her last cut.

But those in Ms. Taymor’s camp were more skeptical, saying the director was not inclined to make any more changes. Ms. Taymor herself struck a more conciliatory note in her statement: “I only hope that we will be able to complete the film we set out to make.”


The trailer can be seen in the movie theatres before the showing of Dreamgirls.

(from an actor that worked with Eddie) "... I worked on the movie late September, and we went up to a farm upstate in Somers, NY where he sang "For the Benefit of Mr.Kite" which comes off the Beatle's Sergeant Pepper album. We had a great time!"

McLean Avenue in Yonkers is the latest Irish American neighborhood street to get the Hollywood treatment.

Katonah Avenue was in the spotlight recently after the filming of the Richard Gere movie The Hoax inside the Mulligan family’s bar, the Fireside.

Now Hollywood on the Hudson continues in the Bronx. The Heritage bar was taken over last week for the filming of Across the Universe, a romantic musical told mainly through numerous Beatles songs performed by the characters.

The tale revolves around a young man from Liverpool who comes to America during the Vietnam War to find his father. He winds up in Greenwich Village, where he falls in love with an American girl who has grown up sheltered in the suburbs. Together they experience the sweeping changes of America in the late 1960s.

U2 frontman Bono and transvestite funnyman Eddie Izzard are set to cameo alongside star Evan Rachel Wood.

According to Hot Press, Bono is keen to make his acting debut in the film. The filming on McLean Avenue was, however, strictly limited to lesser known actors filming a bar scene for the movie.

Across the Universe is due out in 2006.

U2 rocker BONO and transvestite funnyman EDDIE IZZARD are set to star alongside EVAN RACHEL WOOD in new musical ACROSS THE UNIVERSE - a movie plotted around songs by THE BEATLES. The film will chart the adventures of a young British man who heads to America during the Vietnam war in search of his father. And Bono, who sang alongside SIR PAUL McCARTNEY at the Live 8 charity extravaganza, is keen to make his acting debut in the film. THE AVENGERS star Izzard, is similarly excited about the project which has been created by the writers of 1980s British TV hit AUF WIEDERSEHEN PET.

Eddie Izzard is to star opposite Bono in a new film based on the songs of the Beatles. The comic plays Mr Kite in the movie Across the Universe, now in production in New York. It has been written by sitcom veterans Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, the duo behind Porridge, The Likely Lads and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. It is a romantic musical, told mainly through Beatles songs, in which a young man from Liverpool comes to America during the Vietnam War to find his father, ending up in Greenwich Village. The film is directed by Julie Taymor, who was previously responsible for the London and Broadway stage versions of The Lion King.

The project is expected to begin shooting in New York this fall.




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