Woody Allen will follow up his upcoming untitled London set project with a romantic drama set in Paris, according to Screen Daily.
The project will continue Allen's partnership with Spanish producing company Mediapro and will be the second of a three-picture deal Allen signed after working with company on "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." The first of which is his London set project starring Naomi Watts, Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Josh Brolin and Anthony Hopkins which is set to commence shooting this summer.
The current relationship between Allen and Mediapro and his run of films set and show in Europe may actually have been conceived more out of functionality than convenience or desirability. At a recent press conference for "Whatever Works," via Hollywood Elsewhere, Allen revealed that the London-based project was first conceived as a story set in New York before financial problems forced him to alter the story as was the case the case for his 2005 film "Match Point."
"I was going to make my next project in New York and I couldn't afford to," the director revealed. "It was millions of dollars short if I made it in New York so I thought maybe I'll make it in San Francisco cause' that's also a very good city but I couldn't afford to make it in San Francisco either cause' that was too expensive so we shifted it to London, made the cast British just as I had done with 'Match Point.' I had written that for New York and the Hamptons and Palm Beach and I had written it as an American story and I anglicized it cause' to make it in New York was a fortune of money. The same with the film I'm doing next. To make it in New York is a lot of money, I can't afford it."
Allen still hopes to return to his native New York in the near future adding: "If I happen to write a film that budgets within my limited budget, I would certainly make it here."
His Paris-based film, meanwhile, is set to shoot in 2010 with the script still currently being written by Allen.
Woody Allen will follow up his upcoming untitled London set project with a romantic drama set in Paris, according to Screen Daily.
U.S. and U.K. trailers for Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson's "The Invention Of Lying" has debuted online and, unfortunately, exhibit a film more akin to Gervais' half-way decent work in "Ghost Town" rather than any of his exceptional British television work with Stephen Merchant.
The film follows the story of Mark Bellison, played by Gervais, who resides on an alternate Earth where no one has ever lied until Bellison himself discovers the art of lying and aims to use it for the better. Co-starring is a star-studded cast consisting of Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, Louis C.K., Jonah Hill, Christopher Guest, Tina Fey, Jeffrey Tambor, Martin Starr, Jason Bateman and Patrick Stewart as the film's narrator.
Both trailers feature differing material though both center on Gervais and his relationship with Garner. Here's to hoping the film has much more to offer than a decent romance-tinged comedy with a sci-fi narrative device. Word has it the script is absolutely killer but that, sadly, doesn't seem to shine through the trailer. Hope does lies in the fact that the film is actually written by Gervais, as opposed to "Ghost Town," but we have to admit we're much more excited by Gervais' reunion with Merchant in "Cemetery Junction" than this.
Also, here's what "Star Trek" director J.J. Abrams had to say about the film, courtesy of HitFix:
"Ricky Gervais proves, once again, that he is the master. Not only of comedy, but social commentary. 'The Invention of Lying' is as funny as it is biting, wholly original, and surprisingly moving. Is there such thing as an important comedy? Turns out there is, and this is it. If you're still reading this, you should stop immediately and go see 'The Invention of Lying!'U.S. Trailer
"The Invention Of Lying" comes out September 25th.
Director Michael Bay was recently asked about Megan Fox's claims that Bay's films were "special-effects-driven" and failed to provide acting opportunities to which he responded:
"I 100% disagree with her. Nick Cage wasn’t a big actor when I cast him, nor was Ben Affleck before I put him in 'Armageddon.' Shia LaBeouf wasn’t a big movie star before he did 'Transformers' — and then he exploded. Not to mention Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, from 'Bad Boys.' Nobody in the world knew about Megan Fox until I found her and put her in 'Transformers.'"
Wait, what does that have to do with the claim that his movies are not special effects driven? Maybe Bay made Fox a star, introduced Smith and Lawrence to cinema audiences and has had a bit to do with LaBeouf blowing up, but it's not like they were spotted for their acting. It's arguable that Steven Spielberg is the real man behind LaBeouf's success - but Affleck and Cage?!
"Good Will Hunting," and "Leaving Las Vegas" anyone? Gotta love this guys arrogance and it's not like he's going to be punished for it by dumb audiences who will likely flock to "Transformers" in droves this weekend. It's already amassed $89 million since Wednesday night, Christ. [Vulture]
Spike Jonze and Kanye West surprised audiences at the Los Angeles Film Festival last night with the premiere of their previously announced short film, revealed to be titled "We Were Once A Fairytale," according to the Daily Swarm.
Written and directed by Jonze, the short reportedly "walks the fine line between self aggrandizement and self mockery that runs through all of Kanye’s endeavors" and "takes what people love and hate about Kanye’s persona and then pushes it into a new, trippy realm" with Jonze's filmmaking described as "on point, with cinematography and sound design that authentically renders that feeling of being really disoriented in a nightclub."
Plot-wise, the film chronicles a surreal, fictional outing by West at a club that includes the likes of sexual hallucinations, the vomiting and bleeding of rose pedals and a furry demon-like rodent that derives from Kanye's stomach and commits the act of hari kari. And we thought their last collaboration, the music video for West's "Flashing Lights," was weird?
The short also features a remix of West's single "See You In My Nightmares" (off his album 808's and Heartbreaks) by musical group N.A.S.A. whose line up includes Jonze's brother Sam Spiegel (aka Squeak E. Clean).
FYI, the Daily Swarm notes "the answer is no, Kanye still can’t act."
Remember the Julie Taymor-directed "Spider-Man" musical that will hit Broadway sometime in 2010 (unless there's more delays) and will star Evan Rachel Wood as Mary Jane?
Well, actor Alan Cumming has joined the cast as the Green Goblin, the role played in the Sam Raimi film by Willem Dafoe. U2's Bono and The Edge are still doing the music. We're hoping this is a glorious fiasco to remember for the ages.
This musical is now officially titled, "Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark." Preview performances begin February 25, 2010 and the opening date will be announced after. Most likely March? Save those pennies now. Whoever will play Peter Parker/Spidey has not been announced yet. [RS/THR]
"My Sister's Keeper," the drama starring Cameron Diaz were she sports a bald wigcap, opens up this weekend. It's about a 13-year-old (Abigail Breslin), who brings a lawsuit against her parents alleging that they only conceived her in order become a bone marrow donor for her sick older sister (or something like that..., it made our dubious 40 Least Anticipated Movies of the year list). You're gonna love it.
Anyhow, a soundtrack was released on Tuesday and it features tracks by Regina Spektor, James Blunt, Pete Yorn and an unreleased Jeff Buckley track called, "We All Fall In Love Sometimes" which is a cover of an Elton John song (which you can hear below, or if that doesn't eventually load, you can hear it here; a bootleg has circulated for some time now, but seems to have been pulled by the usual suspects).
It's not bad to tell you the truth, but if Buckley's mom is so reportedly quality control about her son's legacy and therefore a slow-moving biopic, why is she giving a Buckley track to a weepy, manipulative-looking tearjerker? Makes us worry about the biopic. The flick comes out today and is directed by Nick Cassavetes who directed "The Notebook," but there's no great actors like Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams to make this one look remotely tolerable.
"My Sister's Keeper" soundtrack tracklist
1. Feels Like Home Edwina Hayes
2. Don't Wanna Cry Pete Yorn
3. Better Regina Spektor
4. Life Is Beautiful Vega 4
5. Carry You Home James Blunt
6. We All Fall In Love Sometimes Jeff Buckley
7. Girls Just Want To Have Fun Greg Laswell
8. Find My Way Back Home Priscilla Ann
9. With You Jonah Johnson 3:54
10. Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries E.G. Daily
11. Heaven Jimmy Scott 4:57
12. Hymn: Amazing Grace Pipe Major Jim Drury & Julie McGurk
Obviously there's an outpouring of grief, or at least media attention and coverage, over the death of Michael Jackson, the King of Pop who died yesterday at the age of 50 after suffering a cardiac arrest at his home in L.A. And despite years of ridiculing Jackson, now that he has died, it's apparently verboten to act Un-PC-like and Universal is reacting quickly.
Since we're in movie world, the first thing we thought when we heard the news of Jackson's death was an "uh oh," for Sacha Baron Cohen. We're all under heavy embargo, so we'll let the U.K. Guardian explain.
A scene in which Cohen interviews the singer's sister, LaToya Jackson, was hastily removed from the film. Sources at Universal, the studio behind "Brüno", said the decision had been made "out of respect for Jackson's family."What happened in the offending scene?
...Cohen, in the guise of Brüno, attempting to find Michael Jackson's phone number on LaToya's BlackBerry. After Brüno reads aloud what he claims to be the singer's number, an apparently enraged LaToya terminates the interview and storms off the set. Reports suggest that the scene will not be restored for its official release.We confirm we saw this material in the cut we saw. After claims that "Brüno" already underwent "gayfriendly reshoots" to appease the potentially-offended gay community, this further self-censorship is probably not a good look for the film (even if those "gayfriendly reshoot" reports feel like a lot of bullshit). "Brüno" hits theaters on 10 July.
In-demand screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman were having a hell of a year. "Star Trek," is the number one grossing film in the U.S. so far, and "Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen," is poised to easily overtake it in a few weeks. But perhaps a little blemish on their writing record so far is them damn, racist robots in Michael Bay's "ROTFL" that people are trying to peg on them -- the writers of the script.
However, they've already said in various other interviews they are not responsible for RacistbotGate and creating or writing those characters. Furthermore, after seeing the minstrely Skids & Mudflap on screen Kurstzman told FSR they weren't exactly psyched. "I wasn’t thrilled. I certainly wasn’t thrilled." Orci doubled up on the sentiment, "Yeah, same reaction. I’m not easily offended, but when I saw it, I thought, ‘Someone’s gonna write about that.’ ”
More like their reaction was probably, "Oh, shit." But they get it and understand why people are offended. "We sympathize. Yes, the gold tooth was not in the script, that’s true."
"It’s really hard for us to sit here and try to justify it," Kurtzman said despite Michael Bay trying to defend it and dismiss the criticism yesterday. "I think that would be very foolish, and if someone wants to be offended by it, it’s their right. We were very surprised when we saw it, too, and it’s a choice that was made. If anything, it just shows you that we don’t control every aspect of the movie."
Translation: Like Pontius Pilate, we wash our hands of this debacle. You know where to find whatshisface; he can answer to all this. Kind amusing to see these guys throw Bay under the bus, he deserves it. [FilmSchoolRejects]
Steven Soderbergh knows baseball. Born in Louisiana, the filmmaker was serious about baseball at at a young age growing up in Baton Rouge, but lost his arm mojo when he was 12. "I woke up one morning, and I didn't have it," he told Time Magazine in 2001. "And I knew that I wasn't gonna be able to get it back. Whatever the thing was, it was just gone."
In May of this year he told ESPN (via Anne Thompson) "My clearly stated goal is to set a new standard for realism in that [sports] world."
Great. so how is it that he apparently screwed up the "Moneyball" script? When it was first reported by Variety that the baseball movie had been deep-sixed at the 11th hour by Sony prez Amy Pascal, the blame seemed to fall on Soderbergh who apparently delivered a last minute draft across her desk that evidently greatly deviated from the original draft by Academy Award winning screenwriter, Steve Zaillian ("Schindler's List" - The irony is Zaillian also wrote "American Gangster," which was ankled last minute before Antoine Fuqua was supposed to direct it, it was shelved and then Ridley Scott eventually took over and brought it to the screen).
And in many ways, the departed-from-the-original-script accusation is true. We know this because we've read Soderbergh's draft. Hold on a minute...
Context: The main crux of "Moneyball," is the concept of building a effective, valuable team with no dollars and using funny stats math, no, unconventional metrics, that Baseball as a larger entity laughs and scorns at; it was dismissed at the time as glorified Fantasy Baseball logic. A fool's errand that wouldn't work in the real world. But Oakland A's GM Billy Beane (to be played by Brad Pitt) did exactly that and amassed a rag-tag team of circus freaks that on paper -- at least to the conventional wisdom at the time -- was a joke. The players he bought and traded for made other coaches and sports pundits scratch their heads. Was he mad? Beane had always been a maverick, a risk taker, but it wasn't -- at least according to the script -- until he met Paul DePodesta, a Harvard grad who uses his statistical skills to change baseball scouting tactic and joined the A's in 1999 as an assistant to the GM, that this offbeat, but cost-effective schema was put into effect. It worked in 2002, when following the sabermetric principles -- using undervalued players, and putting the emphasis on walks and strong on-base averages -- the A's set an MLB-record of winning 20 consecutive games. They were first in the American League West after a dreadful season where pundits laughed them all. But this incredible turnaround launched the book, "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game," which documented their overachieving season.
Back to Soderbergh vs. Zaillian's draft (from what we've read so far). The main difference right in the beginning is some of the sabermetrics context. In Zaillian's December 2008 draft (presumably there's been others between then and now), there's a lot of engaging set-up of Beane finding the young DePodesta, taking him under his wing and making him a member of the club, to the grand scoffing skepticism of his coaches and various scouts. It sets up the major challenges ahead -- a man who has nothing to lose because his team is so shit (Pitt's Beane character), so he follows an unproven kid -- and the cynicism and obstacles he has to face within his own clubhouse. This is totally missing in Soderbergh's draft. The two met in the most undynamic, prosaic way, trade pleasantries and are off and running. The dialogue through the first 20-some pages is extremely expository; sometimes painful how it tells and doesn't show.
A key scene in the beginning of "Moneyball," is between Billy Beane and his wife Amy going to the airport on vacation. A desirable trade comes up all of a sudden and Beane -- who's cellphone is practically attached to his ear at all times -- eventually bails on his wife and their Caribbean vacation to fly to a bar mitzvah and convince a GM about a player deal. Suffice to say a divorce is not far behind and it masterfully sets up everything you need to know about Beane as a human being; he's obsessed with baseball and everyone, even his wife comes second. He'll even crash a bar mitzvah, put on a yarmulke, and ask, "how long is this thing gonna last?" as he impatient waits for his man (dude has big brass stones on him).
We haven't read all of Soderbergh's "Moneyball," yet so we'll save judgement for later, but it seems pretty apparent that the reports that Amy Pascal (and potentially Brad Pitt) was shocked when she read his 6.22.o9 draft of the script and then put on the breaks, seem to be on the mark. There's elements that aren't even written out that must have made her nervous as well such as an "INTERVIEWS" section that vaguely reads, various people, "describing the intensity and potential of one Billy Beane, a star athlete in San Diego in the spring of 1980."
Furthermore, his vague intentions are telegraphed at the beginning of the script with an intro (warning?) that reads, an important portion of the film will be written "in the editing room." This intro says, this is not a "cop-out" but just a fact and it's done entirely by design. Still, you can't help but think as soon as that was read the warning signs went off.
But is the whole thing terrible? According to Scriptshadow who has read the whole thing, yes. They give it a grade of "trash," also complaining heavily about the expository dialogue.
"I kept thinking I was at a museum listening to a tour guide, 'Baseball is a game of numbers. Billy has discovered that. He will now try to apply it to his team.' All the fun is gone here," they wrote. The stats context that we painfully reiterated above and said was missing from Soderbergh's draft? They agree, and say the backstory to the metrics thinking is "treated like an afterthought. It's implied that there's a spreadsheet involved but the explanation stops there." This is well put. Shadow's conclusion is "he turned a solid script into an incomprehensible mess. And that's why his movie was shut down."
Again, we'll save our judgement for the end, and there are midway points in the script that seem verbatim from Zaillian's draft, but obviously we agree on crucial points in the beginning of the script that probably can't be salvaged later on.
We've been writing enough about it that people are coming out of the woodwork at us (which is nice to get noticed). For one the MLB-not approved theory seems to be, as you probably figured, total b.s. Update: we finished Soderbergh's draft. It's ok, but not great. Much more docu-drama at the expense of real drama. It's like he looses a lot of great juicy, dramatic elements and, as mentioned, drops a lot of the interesting context to the metrics analysis (which is more interesting than you'd think). It simply doesn't get much better than we'd already read, but "trash" is putting it a little harshly. It's also not as "drastically" different as everyone says it is, but the changes are significant enough to cause worry.
Ok, so now that we're slightly over the announcement that the Academy Awards has changed the Best Picture category to include 10 nominations -- a cheap way to get ratings and to pander to populist thinking and those disappointed by the exclusive of not-really-worthy Best Picture films like, "The Dark Knight," and "Wall-E," -- there is a positive side.
Well, possibly. The upside? More room for smart and worthy indies (or foreign films) with not gigantic Oscar campaign sized-wallets, i.e. maybe "The Wrestler" or "Frozen River." The down side? Michael Bay earns a nomination, or even "Star Trek," (sorry, not Best Picture material ever).
Maybe it opens up the field to more interesting films and then mainstream, big-budget films like, "Frost/Nixon" -- a film that many point at when thinking of the old, conservative Oscar guard mentality -- can live next to smaller, also-deserving films, and or be jettisoned all together with this new bold, let's-get-ratings-thinking.
Ok, so without over thinking it and quickly. Here's 10 films that could make the Oscar noms this year.
Five That Seem Like No-Brainers Now:
1. Clint Eastwood's Nelson Mandela drama "Inviticus" starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon
2. Peter Jackson's family murder drama, half of which takes place in heaven, "The Lovely Bones," starring 3. Saoirse Ronan and Mark Wahlberg among others.
4. "Nine" - Rob Marshall's Weinstein Company driven musical starring Daniel Day-Lewis and every leading lady in Hollywood (Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz)
5. "Up"- Pete Docter's sweet and endearing Pixar film, which will make up for last year since the new Oscar 10 seems to be all about reparations.
Five More That Could Squeeze In There Depending On Arrival & Quality
1. "Public Enemies" - Michael Mann's 30s gangster pic with Johnny Depp and Christian Bale
2. Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life" starring Sean Penn and Brad Pitt, if it ever appears this year.
3. "The Road" - John Hillcoat's harrowing post-apocalypse drama starring Viggo Mortensen.
4. "Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Biutiful," a mysterious police-crime drama starring Javier Bardem, but there's zero indication if it's coming out later this year or what.
5. "An Education" feels like a stronger bet than "Amelia" at this point, but it has the benefit of already winning rave reviews at Sundance whereas the latter doesn't hit until October.
Six Films That Will Greatly Benefit From This News and Could Round Out The Five (honestly we think these are strong contenders)
1. Kathryn Bigelow's arresting Iraq War drama, "The Hurt Locker"
2. Jane Campion's excellent 18th century romance, "Bright Star" featuring an excellent Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw.
3. "Sin Nombre" - Cary Joji Fukunaga's astounding Mexican gangs and immigration drama [ed. the Playlist staff totally disagrees with me here]
4. "Precious" - The Sundance hit starring Mo'Nique
5. "The Informant" - Steven Soderbergh's agricultural price-fixing industry black comedy starring Matt Damon
6. "Green Zone" - Paul Greengrass' Iraq War thriller starring, again, everybody's favorite, Matt Damon.
Although they haven't said, and they can't make too many other changes or the show will be super, super long, uhh, expect more changes. Your thoughts? This list was written admittedly, very fast. And yes, that's more than 10 pix, sue us.
Here's an interesting note. According to Anne Thompson, even Michael Bay thinks "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" is too long at 2 and 1/2 hours. The studio obviously feels that way (blockbusters should be short so they can be screened as many times as possible in a day).
"Michael Bay wishes he had one more week to edit the picture, which everyone, including him, agrees is too long. It could use a trim. Paramount's new production chief Adam Goodman, who supervised the movie, asked Bay to cut it, but he wouldn't, partly because they ran out of time."Also, they want "Transformers 2" stat, but in a different way. "Paramount wants another installment to go real soon, on a slightly smaller-scale." But obviously Bay's been talking about doing an all-together different, smaller-scale film.
As for the very valid comments about racism concerning the Skids and Mudflap -- the modern Al Jolson, jive-talking "black robots" that have faces resembling monkeys, gold cap teeth and are illiterate minstrel, bumbling fools? (no, seriously). Bay's mostly dismisses these comments when talking to USA Today.
"We're just putting more personality in. I don't know if it's stereotypes — they are robots, by the way. These are the voice actors. This is kind of the direction they were taking the characters and we went with it."Throw the voice actor (Tom Kenny, the guy who voices "Spongebob Squarepants") under the bus, nice move, Michael (though Reno Wilson who voices Mudflap is African American). He lays it on thick too. The parts were "kind of written but not really written, so the voice actors is when we started to really kind of come up with their characters."
This quote is awesome too. "I purely did it for kids. Young kids love these robots, because it makes it more accessible to them." Uhh, what the fuck is he trying to say there? It's practically too white hot dangerous to touch [ed. kids love racist clowns].
He also adds not-so effectively to his excuse/response, “Listen, you’re going to have your naysayers on anything. It’s like is everything going to be melba toast? It takes all forms and shapes and sizes.”
Whatever you say, buddy. "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" currently has a dismal 22% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Could 'Inglorious II' Actually Happen? Weinstein Talks 'Basterds' Prequel, Rips Into False Reports About '40 MinuteGate'
Interesting. Remember when Quentin Tarantino spoke about a potential "Inglourious Basterds" prequel, starring the African American subplot soldiers he cut out of the original script? Well, it sounded cool, but Tarantino likes to talk a lot and has basically come up with sequel ideas for every one of his films and characters ("The Vega Boys," "Kill Bill 3"), but so far none of them have materialized and just feel like, fun, wouldn't-it-be-cool, pie-in-the-sky ideas and scenarios. And we can understand why. Dude is excitable, enthusiastic and he loves his characters like children. However, Tarantino did say the script was already "half-written."
And in a GQ interview with Harvey Weinstein, the project sounds like more than just a tiny idea. When discussing material from the script he read 7-8 years ago, the TWC chief said some of the elements from those early drafts were still in the final version and then hinted at some of it appearing in the prequel.
"Yeah, they were pieces [of that original script that] ended up in the film and then I’ve also read the stuff that’s part of the prequel. I’m not tellin’ you! [But] Brad wants to do Inglorious II. We all want to do it. And the movie hasn’t even come out yet! But unfortunately I cannot give away the plot. [pause] Unless you turned into Jacqueline Bisset when she was 27 years old. Under those circumstances, I would give it away." Tarantino always said the film could have been a long "Band of Brothers"-like mini-series saga and Weinstein echoes those old sentiments, practically a decade old now. "We were gonna do this as, like, 16 hours for Showtime or HBO. He had so much stuff mapped out, we could have done like 3 movies. It was just epic. We could do two movies, three movies. I was begging for the movies, but Quentin wanted to do the TV series, Bob [Weinstein] wanted to do the TV series, so it was like two against one, you know? And I was getting outvoted all over the place, so I just figured, 'All right, forget it, I’m not gonna be a loser, I’ll jump to the winning side.' And then Quentin turns it into one movie. Go figure." [ed. ironic considering how much the final Basterds script would serve better as a series.]
Harvey also rips into the The Wrap's story that said 40 minutes was going to be cut from the film and basically calls the report straight up bullshit (as we basically said as much and presumed).
"Those stories are all untrue. There’s no fucking way. Here, read my lips: That is nuts. Please don’t even write that, it’s insanity. There’s not even a question of that. Whatever you’re reading, it’s like some insane blogger… There’s no truth to any of this. He’s not gonna cut. What he’s doing is just reorganizing some scenes. I mean, the guy had six weeks to cut his movie [for Cannes]; most guys take six months. Most guys take a year. When I worked with Martin [Scorsese], we’d do eighteen months in post-production. Quentin Tarantino cuts a movie in six weeks? Come on, there’s shit on that cutting-room floor that’ll blow your brains out. I was telling Quentin the opposite—'You should put that shit back in the movie.' There’s scenes with Brad Pitt and the Basterds, and I’m praying he puts that shit back in, ‘cause it’s un-fucking-believably great. Listen—this movie will be between two hours and twenty minutes and two hours and twenty-seven minutes. I don’t think it’s going to be shorter—it’s just a question of rearranging. I know he’s putting footage back into the movie. I know he’s got some cool shit that he didn’t get time to address."Good news for fans, but having read the script, c'mon Harvey, don't exaggerate, there's not that many scenes left unless he made up stuff on the fly which is entirely possible (and the ending was slightly changed), but at the speed he was shooting, we don't expect to see anything dramatically different.
With the Internet abuzz over the possibility that Christopher Nolan won't return to a not-in-development third installment in the Batman series, we figured we'd set the record straight- the Playlist is 90%-ish certain Nolan won't resist the call of a third film in one of the most robust, durable mega-franchises of the modern film era. Hey, "Star Wars" wouldn't have survived "Batman and Robin" -- the WB went out and made two more after that!
That being said, the 10%-ish of doubt comes from the possibility that Nolan DOES step down, leaving the director's chair open for another filmmaker. After the success of "The Dark Knight," it would probably be an amicable split, and we wouldn't be surprised to see Nolan sticking on as a very hands-on producer. Note these aren't our personal picks. But here are five feasible directors that WB could want and Nolan might agree to (if he had say). None of them are really great artistes (for the most part) and they certainly wouldn't be our picks, but from a business perspective, they are people who could be considered.
1. Zack Snyder
A no-brainer from WB's perspective. The decision to replace directors would come with a lot of scrutiny from the hardcore faithful, and someone like Snyder (inexplicably) has a lot of cred with this group, having made what many consider to be the best film one could make from the "Watchmen" property. He's got a working relationship with the WB, and he's long since campaigned for a chance to take on the Bat-mantle, supposedly with an adaptation of seminal graphic novel "The Dark Knight Returns." Could Nolan and WB be receptive to ending this trilogy by shooting off far into the future for an installment featuring an elderly Batman fighting government lackey Superman?
Why This Might Be Bad: Well, obviously, Snyder has yet to make a good movie. However, to grace with faint praise, Snyder has directed a number of arresting sequences in his films that may fail the collective narrative tissue around him but solidify him with a strong visual sense. If Nolan can reign him in, it might be interesting, but Nolan seems a bit too erudite for Snyder's gutter mentality.
2. Wolfgang Petersen
Since bolting "Ender's Game" he has no real next project, so it wouldn't be a surprise for him to return to WB. A few years ago when the WB was debating a "Superman" relaunch, Petersen was part of a package to direct Andrew Kevin Walker's script for "Batman Vs. Superman." The movie was to feature a Batman so distraught over the death of a fiancee that he pursued Superman in combat, a premise that the studio passed over in favor of the eventually-defunct McG-JJ Abrams "Superman" relaunch. Petersen had no sour grapes, however, as he went on to lose WB a huge chunk of money with "Poseidon." He's still welcome at the studio, most likely, as they are still flush from his "Troy" success, which was a $500 million worldwide smash.
Why This Might Be Bad: Petersen is another filmmaker not up to par with Nolan's sensibilities. He's still got that credibility from "Das Boot," but the only half-decent movie he's made since then is the turgid "Troy." He's a guy that would probably be forced onto Nolan more than anything else.
3. George Miller
Another filmmaker with a working relationship with WB, Miller is coming off a long, fruitless development period for their big superhero tentpole "Justice League Mortal." Miller's newfound return to the A-List owes itself to kiddie films, as he won admirers for "Babe: Pig In The City" but scored huge with the animated "Happy Feet." He continues to speak of "Mad Max 4," but that project, re-imagined as some sort of anime project, doesn't seem to be something that would turn him away from this gig.
Why This Might Be Bad: Miller's got a bombastic, visually-arresting style that would be hard to imagine in Nolan's Batman universe. It's an odd marriage of filmmakers, one that might produce some curious results, but it's difficult to image the conversations on set between Miller and Nolan. Plus, all things considered, Miller's last live-action film was eleven years ago.
4. Fernando Meirelles
The bloom has fallen off the rose for Meirelles, who burst onto the American scene with a Best Director Oscar nomination for "City of God." Since then his stock fell a bit with "The Constant Gardener" and nearly plummeted with the widely-derided "Blindness." Still, he's a filmmaker with a strong political consciousness, one who's surely eager to break into the bigtime- he recently completed a long flirtation period with Paramount regarding the Jack Ryan franchise. He's coming from an "arthouse" sensibility not unlike Nolan, WB suits would feel, which is sorta misleading, since "City of God" had a propulsive energy not found in most blockbusters.
Why This Might Be Bad: In his last two films, Meirelles' politics have become didactic as all hell, leading to sledgehammer politics annihilating the cohesion of the final half hour of "Blindness." Is he going to force the commentary developed in "The Dark Knight"? More importantly, is it possible he's one of those guys who would feel over-matched graduating to the bigtime?
5. Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Our leftfield pick. Nachmanoff has only one directorial credit under his belt, the assured, interesting "Traitor." Nachmanoff is a popular screenwriter in Hollywood, but his name remains heavily unknown to several, which may be a good thing. There's bound to be uproar over who sits in the director's chair for this film, and many will be expecting a superstar pick like Darren Aronofsky or Paul Greengrass, so from a PR perspective, it might be best to bring in a guy like Nachmanoff, who is as under-the-radar as you can get, but judging from "Traitor," is more than qualified to work with a template already set in place by Nolan. If a director who's established an onscreen universe brings in a new director to work with, ideally the selection would be a screenwriter who understands story. Plus, he'd be cheap.
Why This Might Be Bad: Nachmanoff also wrote "The Day After Tomorrow." So yeah...
Alright, we finally finished Steve Zaillian's ("Schindler's List") December 2008 draft of "Moneyball," the adaptation of the 2003 best-seller about Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane who helped revolutionize baseball thinking via a new method of analyzing statistics.
The would-be Steven Soderbergh directed baseball metrics drama starring Brad Pitt(as Beane) Demetri Martin (as a young, Harvard graduate baseball stats nerd), and many real-life baseball players was obviously shelved earlier this week supposedly because Steven Soderbergh's new draft -- apparently handed in at the last minute -- veered far too drastically away from the Zaillian draft.
However, having finished the script, this claims seems to be more and more like an excuse.
It's well written, moves like a shark and very entertaining: the lothario, no-nonsense Billy Beane trades girlfriends like he trades players (which "always makes him feel better"), baseball thinks he's nuts for following "Fantasy Baseball logic" and the A's are constantly skating by on the skin of their teeth. The bargain-basement, nearly inept players are pretty amusing too and range from scared alcoholics (Jeremy Giambi's "don't hit it to me, don't hit it to me"), to aging pros (David Justice) to timid ex-catchers forced to play first base (Scott Hatteberg, who sighs relief everytime his name is not on the daily roster).
However, as much as "Moneyball," is a fine script, with sharp characters, it's not really a major studio movie by today's standards and feels like one of those odd and quirky '70s films that would never play now (like "Straight Time" or the original "Taking Of the Pelham 123"). The stakes are too low and it feels like something you'd see as an HBO film or even small-part mini-series, not something you'd see in theaters today where things like Tony Scott, aggro-redos seem to be the flicks du jour. We're not moguls or anything either, but a $57 million pricetag also seems to be way exorbitant for what's in the script.
It feels like Amy Pascal at Sony just realized when she, re-read Soderbergh's draft, just how uncommercial the project was, perhaps because it was just days away from shooting, decided, "what was I thinking?" That doesn't mean we're shitting on the project or don't want to see it happen, the exact opposite in fact, but it really feels like a difficult sell. Especially considering the films Sony normally puts out. This would be their low-key, chatty, personal-politics baseball drama. As said before, there are no real villains in the story and the obstacles aren't really the stuff of traditional feature films (Sony being a traditional studio). That said, the film zips around from location to location and different eras and a filmmaker like Soderbergh could make the experience pretty memorable with an "Oceans" -like pep if he so wished. We're just not sure it's a movie for the major leagues (and as we wrote earlier this week, we're not baseball experts at all and it's still enjoyable and comprehensible, which does say a lot about the script's appeal).
As David Poland also said a few days ago. "All the chatter about all the things that are wrong about the film... all were in the script delivered long before last week." Still, we're dying to read Soderbergh's draft to find out just how dramatically different it supposedly is. Our hunch is not as radical as some would say, but will we ever find out? It probably should have leaked by now, no?
Finally, one conspiracy theory out there (via a comment section remark eyeballed by MovieLine) is simply mismanagement of the project in that Sony did not get the approval of Major League Baseball for this new draft , and that's why they had to pull the breaks.
Soderbergh’s script was **not completely different than what the studio was aware of. Pascal is stuck because she did all this on Friday not realizing she didn’t get MLB approval for the project EVER. without MLB approval they can’t make the movie (yes, someone in business affairs screwed up) MLB only approved Soderbergh’s version of the script and not the May 1 script turned in by Zaillian. Pascal greenlit this movie at 70 million, Soderbergh brough the budget down by 13 million (partly by reducing his fee, so he would be making less than what David Frankel was going to be made as well as getting Brad to reduce his fee by 9 million)We don't necessarily buy this, but again, we wouldn't be surprised if Soderbergh's draft is nothing worth torpedoing. It was likely just a reminder to an exec who has 10 million other things on her plate and went, "Wait, we're paying $57 million dollars for this and we've spent $10 million+ already?!" The ball, as it were, is still apparently in Sony's glove, but sadly, we won't be surprised if this project just quietly goes away.
It's sad for music fans too as you would have heard a lot of '80s, booze-soaked alt-rock like Social Distortion, The Replacements, Paul Westerberg, Husker Du and groups like The Who ("Won't Get Fooled Again" of course) and Oasis -- "Live Forever" which was supposed to bitter sweetly close out the picture and remind Billy Beane and perhaps, everyone, that baseball glory is a young man's game.
'The Runaways' Line Up Reshuffles, Scout Taylor-Compton To Replace Alessandra Torresani As Lita Ford
Despite previously unveiling Alessandra Torresani as Lita Ford in the upcoming biopic "The Runaways," news hits today that young actress Scout Taylor-Compton will now portray the band's guitarist, Ford, with Torresani possibly moving to the role of Jackie Fox, one of the band's many short-lived bass guitarists.
"I'm playing Lita Ford," Torresani previously announced. "She's the most incredible woman. I'm getting to meet her very soon, so that'll be amazing."
That was until Taylor-Compton announced via her Myspace today that she will, in fact, be joining the upcoming biopic as Ford while speculation has it Torresani may now be portraying Jackie Fox though nothing about it was in Variety's announcement of Compton's acquisition.
One possible reason for the line up change is the fact Taylor-Compton is actually an aspiring musician who can sing and play guitar. Adversely, Torresani had previously revealed she just was beginning music lessons for the role. "I learn the guitar starting [Monday], so that'll be interesting," Torresani noted. "I'm very nervous about it."
"The Runaways" is expected to be released in 2010.
Whilst on press for the Bluray release of the director's cut of "Watchmen," Zack Snyder has discussed his upcoming project "Sucker Punch" in greater detail. And it really sounds like he hasn't learned a thing. At least not where his critics are concerned.
"I think 'Sucker Punch' is a smart movie," the director revealed to CHUD. "It absolutely is challenging, and it's fucking hardcore. [At] the end she gets... it's dark! But it's fucking actiony like nobody's business. We hope the action we're creating is off the charts, and it's not stupid."
Okay, so we gathered from the film's premise that the project is ultimately Snyder just flexing his muscles and pushing the boundaries but this just sounds ridiculous.
"I like fight choreography and I like being able to see what's happening in action. When the girls are fighting, [like] they're on their way to kill a baby dragon, they've killed all of these Orc-like creatures and they're entering a door [and] it's this classic, real Navy SEAL style room clearing. They have machine guns but they're fighting mythic creatures, impossible creatures. The hand to hand stuff is all brutal, because Damon [Caro] did all the [fights] in Bourne and it has that vibe to it." As good as these girls look, the bunch of them fighting dragons and Orc-like creatures!? Can this project sounds any more moronic?
Further, Snyder noted with Collider that the film will be "straight-up, in your face craziness," "absolutely balls out, no holds barred, crazy action," that would "probably be over an hour and a half but not two hours" and confirmed the cast of: Emily Browning as Baby Doll, Abbie Cornish as Sweet Pea, Jamie Chung as Amber, Jena Malone as Rocket, Vanessa Hudgens as Blondie and Scott Glenn who has just joined in an unnamed "wise man" role (please never let this man touch a Batman film ever).
The director also revealed the film would be shooting for a PG-13 rating, despite previous remarks. "If you can make 'Taken' PG-13, you can make this movie PG-13. That's what I believe. Because it's more fantastic. No one really dies in the movie."
"Sucker Punch" has a tentative release date of October 10th, 2010.
Finally. You probably could have guessed, this one was coming in the fall, but IFC have officially set Lars Von Trier's Cannes-scandalizing "Antichrist" for an October 23rd limited release in L.A. and N.Y., just one week before Halloween.
We suppose they're probably trying to leverage the horror angle there, which is probably not a bad idea. We still think this means "Antichrist" will appear at the Toronto International Film Festival (early September) and the New York Film Festival (late September), to build the buzz for North American audiences who might not have paid attention to the European outrage at Cannes (how you woulda missed that though...)
The film will also hit Video-On-Demand on October 21. "Antichrist" is a supernatural, erotic and brutalizing psychological horror film that stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a married couple that lose a child and retreat to a cabin in the woods to heal their psychic wounds, but soon find an inhospitable forest around them that doesn't quite take to their presence. Loony shit ensues. The report doesn't specify, but presumably this New York, L.A. run will be the reported limited-run full-on director's cut, and anything that comes after (especially On-Demand), will be a safer, non-penis mutilating edition. The film is being released in the U.K. unedited for its entire run. [Variety]
Director's Cut Of 'Watchmen' To Hit Theatres In July, 'Transformers: ROTFL' Grosses $16 Million First Day
Not sure why anyone would care at this point outside a few hardcore geeks, but Zack Snyder's director's cut of "Watchmen" will see a one-week theatrical release in July as per planned. Then again, the release is nicely timed, one week before Comic-Con when nerd herd fervor hits its summer peak. There's 25 minutes of additional footage which means a new running time of 3 hours and 13 minutes that will be screened in Los Angeles, Dallas, Minneapolis, and New York, prior to Comic-Con. Good luck with that. The Blu-ray and DVD hits on July 21.[THR]
"Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen" (or 'ROTFL' as some are cheekily calling it) grossed about $16 million from it's midnight screenings on Wednesday. Only "The Dark Knight" and "Star Wars: Episode 3 - Revenge Of The Sith" have done better from though they had the advantage of of opening at midnight on a Friday and Thursday respectively. Will bad word of mouth affect it's box office run at all? [Variety] Update: Wow, the film has no amassed $60 million from Wednesday receipts alone. So far it's already grossed, $120 worldwide. Seems like it has an easy shot at beating "Star Trek" as the highest grossing film in the U.S. in 2009 so far. But "Star Trek" is only #3 in the highest grossing films of the year worldwide. #1 is "Angels & Demons" which has grossed, $459 million in total around the world. Odd, right?
In what is sure to warm the hearts of fanboys, Zak Penn ("X2," "X-Men: The Last Stand," "Elektra" and "The Incredible Hulk") revealed his attempt to adapt Marvel's "The Avengers" film: "We all have the best intentions, and it still might suck." [SciFiWire]
Sylvain White's "The Losers" has been given a tentative April 16th, 2010 release date. The film, of course, follows a team of vengeance-seeking rogue black-ops whose cast consists of the likes of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jackie Earle Haley, Idris Elba, Columbus Short and Zoe Saldana while Jason Patric and Chris Evans were in talks but not yet confirmed. [MTV]
An American college student at the University of Indiana has come under intense scrutiny after setting up a small play titled "The Last Days Of Heath Ledger" based on an Esquire article by Lisa Taddeo chronicling Ledger's final days. The article, though, is tagged "reported fiction" with Taddeo filling parts of the story "with her imagination."[HeraldSun]
Ryan Reynolds is set to star in indie film "Buried." The actor will play a civilian contractor who's kidnapped in Iraq and awakens buried in a coffin in the desert, armed only with a cell phone, a candle and a knife. Sounds likes a "MacGyver" episode of some sort. [Variety]
Count Tyrese out of contention for the role of B.A. Baracus for Joe Carnahan's "The A-Team." When asked about it, the singer-actor remarked: "I don't know who they have in mind, but I would definitely be honored if I ever got that phone call." [CinemaBlend]
Michael Cera And Shia LaBeouf Linked To Role Of Facebook Founder In David Fincher's 'The Social Network'?
According to CNET and their "entertainment industry sources," the newly announced, possibly David Fincher-helmed, Aaron Sorkin-scribed project "The Social Network" is reportedly courting Michael Cera and Shia LaBeouf for the role of the protagonist, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.
Cera is apparently the top choice for the role due to the fact that "audiences find him particularly likable" and the belief he will be able to draw sympathy to the unfavorable, obnoxious nerd that Zuckerberg's character is rumored to be portrayed as. The CNet writer then makes a personal case for LaBeouf citing that he "really does sound a lot like Zuckerberg." Apparently many younger actors are being eyed also (well, duh), but this report doesn't name them.
Cera and Labeouf? Come on, you didn't even use your imagination for that one. CNET have nothing to lose though, if they're wrong -- who cares, they're an tech site and who expects them to have entertainment industry sources anyway -- but if they're right, they look likes geniuses. We will admit though, both Cera and LaBeouf would probably make great leads for the project and do pass as Zuckerberg look-wise. Cera could also use a dramatic turn to switch up the monotony of his samey performances, but one thing: If David Fincher made Jake Gyllenhaal's life a living hell on the set of "Zodiac" (incessant takes, berating him about not bringing his A-game), wouldn't Fincher eat Cera alive?
Despite early synopses of the film more comparable to a grounded 'Hitchcockian' thriller than any of his previous sci-fi-based efforts, Richard Kelly has evidently returned to his old stomping ground in the newly-released trailer for his upcoming film, "The Box." It simply looks like a corny B-movie and an extended episode for the "Twilight Zone" with an even thinner-plot (the economic angle reminds of the other paper-thin camp horror this year, "Drag Me To Hell").
Starring James Marsden and Cameron Diaz (is this a budget B-list cast or just perfect B-movie casting?) as protagonists Arthur and Norma Lewis, the film centers on the suburban couple who receive a simple wooden box as a gift from a mysterious stranger (played by Frank Langella with a crazy scar on his face) who informs them that the box promises to bestow upon its owner $1 million with the press of a button. Pressing this button, though, will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world, someone they don’t know. With the box in their possession for just 24 hours, the financially-stricken couple find themselves in a moral dilemma and must face the true nature of their humanity.
Based on Richard Matheson's short story "Button, Button," Kelly recently discussed his attempt to draw strong influence from the source material for his film. "There's Matheson's pedigree and the fact that the story takes place in 1976. With all of those elements together, I felt like I wanted this to have an old-fashioned quality, to have that feeling you get when you watch those old 'Twilight Zone' episodes - but also to feel like a 1970s picture in a way. I wanted it to feel like it was made in the '70s, like with that style of photography."
The trailer, though, exhibits a film run through with Kelly-isms such as oddly dressed characters standing in the middle of the road (though it is set in the '70s), the manipulation of eerie, warp-like substances and strange fantastical sequences all of which have been seen before in his debut effort "Donnie Darko." Whether the similarities are due to the studio trying to capture the cult Kelly audience with marketing or that the film, in actual fact, will play out similarly to his previous efforts remains to be seen. But surely after "Southland Tales," Kelly has to put the extremities of his personal ambitions and aspirations aside for the sake of potential box office performance and mainstream appeal?
Speaking on the film's direction, Kelly cryptically noted: "[Arthur and Norma] have to become detectives in act two and act three. And Arlington [Langella's character] knows that. It almost becomes a game that they play. They're playing into his hand. And then it's "Can Arlington be conquered? Can he be defeated? And can they discover the identity of his employers?" - which is something that is ultimately to be debated. I hope it's one of the big things that is debated about the film. There's a lot to chew on when you leave the theater."
Also seen partially in the trailer is the fx-laden face of Frank Langella's character which is akin to that of Aaron Eckhart in "The Dark Knight." Kelly has preemptively brushed off comparisons to AICN citing a meeting he held with Nolan regarding potential similarities.
"When I was editing the film around May of 2008, when Chris Nolan was putting the finishing touches on 'The Dark Knight,' I went to his editing house, met him and his wife, and they showed me Two-Face's digital makeup to make sure that what they were doing wasn't too similar to what we were doing with Langella - which was cool. We were in completely different places, but it was still pushing into new territory in terms of digital makeup."
"The Box" hits theatres October 30th. Halloween! Go figure.