DVD Release Date: 2/24/2009
What Just Happened is a winningly sharp comedy about two nail-biting, back-stabbing, roller-coaster weeks in the world of a middle-aged Hollywood producer -- as he tries to juggle an actual life with an outrageous series of crises in his day job.
Academy Award® winning director Barry Levinson reunites with Academy Award® winning actor Robert De Niro and leading producer Art Linson, who wrote the screenplay based on his bestselling memoir. They all join with an all-star cast in this rollicking, shrewd tale of a man besieged by people who want him to be all sorts of things -- a money maker, an ego buster, a bad news breaker, an artistic champion, a loyal husband, an all-knowing father, not to mention sexy, youthful and tuned-in – everything except for the one thing he and all the preposterously behaved people he’s surrounded by really are: bumbling human beings just trying to survive by any means necessary.
Ben (DE NIRO) is already in over his head trying to balance the tug-of-war of having two ex-wives and two different families with his latest business venture – the boldly “visionary” movie Fiercely starring Sean Penn (SEAN PENN) – when everything that can go wrong goes completely screwy.
Fiercely looks like an audience-offending flop which draws the ire of iron-gloved studio chief Lou (CATHERINE KEENER), who forces him into tangling with the film’s rebellious and drug-addled director Jeremy (MICHAEL WINCOTT). Meanwhile, he’s confused and bewitched by his ex Kelly (ROBIN WRIGHT PENN) who can’t make up her mind about him; shocked by his daughter Zoe (KRISTEN STEWART), who seems to have grown up overnight; infuriated by his screenwriter friend Scott (STANLEY TUCCI) who’s trying to make a deal with him while making moves on his former wife; horrified by a hirsute Bruce Willis (BRUCE WILLIS) and flummoxed by Willis’ nebbishy agent Dick (JOHN TURTURRO), who’s scared to death of his own clients.
Somehow amidst all the madness, treachery, deceit, runaway egos, rampant commercialism, personal politics and atrocious behavior of America’s dream-making machinery, Ben has to find a way not just to make it to Cannes with a finished film, but to cope . . .
What Just Happened is based on the acclaimed, bestselling memoir by veteran Hollywood producer Art Linson, who wrote the screenplay and produced the film with Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal. The executive producers are Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban.
The behind-the-scenes team includes cinematographer Stéphane Fontaine (Talk To Me, The Beat My Heart Skipped), editor Hank Corwin (The New World), production designer Stefania Cella (Man of the Year) and composer Marcelo Zarvos (The Good Shepherd). The film is set to a soundtrack that mixes the classic cinematic sounds of Ennio Morricone with the songs of Nick Drake, Citizen Cope, Dire Straits, Bebel Gilberto and Nina Simone, among others.
Director Barry Levinson
Writer / Producer Art Linson
Producer Jane Rosenthal
Executive Producers Todd Wagner
Ben ROBERT DE NIRO
Lou Tarnow CATHERINE KEENER
Sean Penn SEAN PENN
Dick Bell JOHN TURTURRO
Jeremy Brunell MICHAEL WINCOTT
Kelly ROBIN WRIGHT PENN
Zoe KRISTEN STEWART
Scott Solomon STANLEY TUCCI
Actor BRUCE WILLIS
“A CRACKLING COMEDY PERFORMED BY A CAST OF TOP ACTORS AT THE TOP OF THEIR GAME. NO WONDER IT’S ONE OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES OF THE YEAR. WHAT A CAST! WHAT PERFORMANCES! WHAT FUN!” – Gene Shalit, NBC Today Show
“PRICELESS, LAUGH-OUT-LOUD LINES.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
“THE ADULT COMEDY SURPRISE OF THE YEAR. Smart and riotously funny with De Niro’s best work in years.” – Pete Hammond, Hollywood.com
“A SUPERB, WITTY LOOK AT HOLLYWOOD. De Niro is perfect; Bruce Willis portrays himself hilariously.” – Jeffrey Lyons, NBC/Reel Talk
“I LOVED IT. A tiptop comedy, extraordinarily real and rueful. Robert De Niro is at his most subtle and expansive.” – Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun
“Robert DeNiro gives his most natural performance in a decade.” – Bob Strauss, Film Comment
“SEE IT. IT’S AN IMPORTANT FILM BECAUSE IT’S A CHANCE TO REMEMBER JUST HOW GREAT DE NIRO CAN BE.” – Ben Mankiewicz, At The Movies
“**** DE NIRO IS BETTER THAN HE’S BEEN IN AGES.” – Bill Goodykoontz, AP/Arizona Republic