Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger has declared Feb. 7 and 8 “The Rewrite Weekend.” On Sunday, Feb. 8 at 3 p.m., the movie will screen for free and before theatrical release at the Anderson Center. Following the screening, the University will host a question-and-answer with star Hugh Grant and director Marc Lawrence.
“Instead of going to the usual cliché, boring places to do a premiere, like New York or Los Angeles or London,” Lawrence said, “we’re coming to the vacation capital of America — Binghamton, New York.”
“The Rewrite” stars Hugh Grant as a past-his-prime screenwriter who accepts a teaching job in creative writing at Binghamton University, despite believing that “writing can’t be taught.” At Binghamton, he falls in love with a student and single mother, played by Marisa Tomei.
The movie will be available on iTunes and video-on-demand on Feb. 13, for Valentine’s Day weekend. However, Image Entertainment, the movie’s distributor, did not book any theaters in Vestal or Binghamton. A representative for the movie provided Pipe Dream with a list of the 10 theaters the movie will play in; none of them are local.
Lawrence, who graduated from Binghamton University in 1981 with an English degree, shot most of the movie at LIU Post (formerly called CW Post) for budgetary reasons. The crew also spent two weeks shooting in Binghamton in August 2013. “The Rewrite” is the fourth movie Lawrence has made with Hugh Grant. Binghamton isn’t merely incidental in the movie’s story: There’s a pivotal scene at one of the carousels, characters seem to eat spiedies for nearly every meal and a “Twilight Zone” episode figures prominently.
Stenger said he was glad the Binghamton campus and community would be able to see the movie first.
“This is not a movie that will be like ‘Animal House,’” Stenger said. “This is going to be a movie that talks about how our students actually turn around a professor, and make him a very good professor from one that wasn’t really that concerned with the teaching profession.”
Stenger was careful to say that the characters in “The Rewrite” don’t represent individuals on campus, calling Grant’s character a “nonconventional professor.” In the movie, Grant’s character gets involved in a sex scandal, and comes into teaching reluctantly.
Clyde Lawrence, Marc’s son, scored the film. He and Marc will be in the Undergrounds for a networking event at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7. At 10 p.m., The Clyde Lawrence Band, fronted by Clyde, will play a concert.
Though the Anderson Center is meant for live performances, the University has brought in equipment to make the Osterhout Concert Theater, which can seat up to 1,200 people, suitable for screening movies, including a large screen and improved sound equipment.
Tickets for the movie screening are free, and will be available for students, faculty, staff and alumni from noon to 5:30 on Monday, Feb. 2 at the Anderson Center. A number of tickets will be held for the public, who can pick up tickets on Tuesday. The first five people in line on both Monday and Tuesday will receive a free prop from the movie, some of which is Binghamton apparel worn onscreen.