What's Paul Reubens up to these days aside from playing Jon Lovitz's character from "Happiness" in Todd Solondz's quasi-follow-up, "Life During Wartime"?
Oh, you know, he's developing a new film and Judd Apatow is helping out, nice.
"Let's face it, the world needs more Pee-Wee Herman," Apatow told Variety today, confirming he'll be the producer on this new film. "I am so excited to be working with Paul Reubens -- who is an extraordinary and groundbreaking actor and writer. It's so great to watch him return with such relevance."
The project is already set-up at Universal (where Apatow has a multi-film deal), and Reubens will be writing with the acting/writing prodigy Paul Rust who had a small role in "Inglourious Basterds," and co-starred in "I Love You, Beth Cooper" (Rust wrote for "Human Giant" and Aziz Ansari and Apatow are obviously tight having several projects on the go together).
Plot details are thin, but apparently it will be a in a road movie built around "a gigantic adventure." Hell, we're ok with that.
Tim Burton might be one of our least favorite directors at the moment, but "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" is his pièce de résistance and truthfully belongs on the Criterion Collection its so good (no, we're not joking; the campaign starts right here). It's a shame Phil Hartman is not around to make a cameo in this one. Maybe at least James Brolin? Let's hope so.
In related Apatowian news, cable channel IFC has picked up the rights to the filmmakers cult TV shows, "Freaks & Geeks" and "Undeclared," the fertile training ground that spawned talent like James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Martin Starr, Jay Baruchel and many more. If you haven't yet seen these (relatively) seminal and enjoyable works and you have cable, they'll soon be no excuse.
What's Paul Reubens up to these days aside from playing Jon Lovitz's character from "Happiness" in Todd Solondz's quasi-follow-up, "Life During Wartime"?
There was a time, not too long ago, when M. Night Shyamalan seemed to be the next great genre filmmaker. With movies like "The Sixth Sense" and "Signs" he uncannily borrowed from legendary directors like Steven Spielberg, George Romero and Brian De Palma, to concoct spooky, often emotionally riveting, cinematic funhouse rides. And then that magic started to fade. With the diminishing returns of "The Village," and the downright abysmal failures of "Lady in the Water" and "The Happening," his knack for crafting taught, twisty tales of the supernatural sputtered and failed. His magic started to look like a cheap slight-of-hand gag, with the magician recast not as a storyteller but as a charlatan. And on the back of these costly flops, the director is given his ultimate shot at redemption: a $200 million franchise tentpole sponsored by a major studio and based on a preexisting property — a sixty-one episode animated series called "The Last Airbender."
And what has all that good will gotten? A whole lot of nothing.
"The Last Airbender" is set in a vaguely Asian-influenced fantasy realm that is divided into elemental kingdoms, with different lands devoted to Earth, Air, Water, and the nastiest of the bunch, Fire. There are special people in these different lands that can control the elements, hence the "-bender" suffix. The earthbenders can make great stone columns pop out of the ground, the waterbenders can encase people in floating bubbly blobs, that sort of thing. The lands are all waiting for the arrival of the Avatar (no, not that kind of avatar), a princely, Dalai Lama-type figure that is supposed to unite the lands through his (apparently the Avatar is always a young dude) masterly ability to control all four elements.
Our story begins as we follow two young Water folk, Katara (Nicola Peltz) and Sokka (Jackson Rathbone) on a hunt for food. It's out on a frozen tundra that they discover a giant frozen orb (echoes of the atrocious "Day the Earth Stood Still" remake) that opens up to reveal Aang (Noah Ringer), the fabled Avatar. Also in that thawed out orb: a giant fluffy flying, six-legged otter that kind of looks like Falkor from "The Neverending Story." Even though Aang looks like he's twelve, he's really a hundred years older than that, having been stuck in that ice bubble for a very long time. Everyone he knows is dead, at the hands of the Fire nation and what's worse - even though he's this fabled savior, he only knows how to control one elemental power: air. Water, Land, Fire? He's clueless. So he's on a quest to lockdown his Water abilities (the movie has a title screen at the beginning that says "Book One: Water") and try to bring some semblance of peace to the lands. Katara is a waterbender, and offers to help, but Aang has to get in touch with the spiritual center of waterbending, at some faraway Water palace.
You've truly arrived in Hollywood when you launch your own production company, and go-to tentpole star Sam Worthington has joined the ranks. Teaming with Michael Schwarz and John Schwarz, the actor has launched Full Clip Productions which will develop projects for publication and for potential big screen adaptations.
The first project on the slate will be "Damaged," based on an original idea John Schwarz and Michael Schwarz. David Lapham will write the graphic novel which will then be adapted into a screenplay by a writer yet to be hired. Worthington and John Schwarz are attached to star in the film in the film which "centers on two brothers committed to justice in different ways -- one inside the law, one violently beyond it. Now with the end of their careers approaching, they must train their replacements, hoping to remake them in their image. But the vigilante code has changed and the brothers are left unprepared for the true lawlessness and corruption that is about to be unleashed." Radical Studios will co-produce the film which sort of sounds like a mix between "We Own The Night" and "The Departed," so it'll be interesting to see if this material moves in a different direction.
Radical Studios are also working with Worthington on the previously announced adaptation of the graphic novel "Last Days Of American Crime." Last we heard, the futuristic noir was waiting a draft of the script by the comic's author Rick Remender.
These are just a couple more projects on Worthington's ever growing plate of potential films including the McG rom-com "This Means War"; the sci-fi adventure "Quartermain" and "Dracula: Year Zero." Worthington is confirmed to star Ami Canaan Maan's "The Fields" as well as "Clash Of The Titans 2."
Whether your care about the franchise or not, its power and fanbase cannot be denied. "Twilight: Eclipse" opened last night at midnight and proceeded to break the record set by its previous installment "Twilight: New Moon" by taking in $30 million from midnight and 3 AM screenings around the country. We're guessing a lot of people called in sick this morning.
The haul surpasses the $26.3 million taken in by 'New Moon' last fall and now the question remains just how much scratch the film will take in over the long, Independence Day weekend. The last time July 4th fell on a Sunday was in 2004 and the big movie that weekend was "Spiderman 2." At the time, that film brought in $180 million after six days just to give you an idea of the kind of numbers Summit are looking at.
Given the reviews that are coming in, M. Night Shyamalan's "The Last Airbender" probably won't be too much of a threat to 'Eclipse' which will undoubtedly land the top spot in the weekend box office. Anyway, expect this record to stand until at least "Breaking Dawn Part 1" comes out....
Circa 2008 or even further back (c'mon interwebs why you fail?!) David Gordon Green confirmed he was writing a remake of the 1982 Kenny Rogers movie, "Six Pack" that also starred Diane Lane and Anthony Michael Hall.
Pajiba is now reporting that Green is no longer a director on the project, but truthfully that's old information.
"We wrote this movie called "Burnin’ Rubber," we had a summer to kill so we just wrote it," Green said about the collaborative screenplay he wrote with buddy Barlow Jacobs (the Green-orbiting projects, "Great World of Sound" and "Shotgun Stories" which he produced).
"And then we went to sell [the script we wrote]." Green told audiences at SXSW at a panel we attended earlier this year. "And Fox called and said, 'we love the script, but would you rewrite it to be a remake of 'Six Pack' rather than make it an original thing? It was the weirdest thing because...has anybody here even seen 'Six Pack'? It's not a huge franchise that to me would be very valuable. I guess? They still wanted the urban spin on it, and keep a lot of the same engineering of it and but basically took our original script and have us make it more derivative of that. They’re trying to find a director for it now. Fox is trying to make it."
And indeed Fox is trying to make it, and they're moving forward. John Coveny and Hunt Baldwin— writer/producers of “The Closer,” and McG’s 2002 TV series “Fastlane” — have evidently come aboard to pen the script and while Green is staying on as a producer, the project look like it's moving in a totally different direction. The new director, for now, is Tom Dey ("Marmaduke", "Failure to Launch") and offered to star? None other than "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" man Kevin James.
Yes, this will probably be as far away from the original idea as possible (Pajiba correctly notes that Green's version could have been something akin to Richard Linklater’s enjoyable 2005 remake of "The Bad News Bears," alas).
So what would have Green's version looked like? Truthfully that's more interesting to us. "['Six Pack'] was a childhood favorite of mine, it was a race car movie and I wrote a remake of it. My buddy [Jacobs] was living in the neighborhood, African American, low-income families in New Orleans and these kids loved NASCAR, and would talk about it all the time and I thought that was badass."
We were worried when just before Cannes, Apparition co-founder Bob Berney resigned, leaving the indie house in a state of flux. Our fears featured a slight uptick when last week, it was revealed that Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group moved the film "Welcome To The Rileys," starring Kristen Stewart and James Gandolfini, to Samuel Goldwyn. Apparition had initially been set to distribute the film after striking a deal at Sundance and with all this moving and shaking, we began to wonder what the fate of Terrence Malick's "The Tree Of Life" might be. Well, the good news is that the film is still at Apparition, who are now restructuring; the bad news is that when we might get to see the film is still up in the air.
The first steps of Apparition's restructuring are difficult. They have laid off 60% of their staff and will be relocating their offices from New York to Los Angeles. Additionally, Bill Pohlad has enlisted ex-Lionsgate president Tom Ortenberg, once rumored as a replacement for Berney, to help with the transition and more importantly, assist in planning the release for "The Tree Of Life." But when that will happen seems to be anybody's guess.
While Deadline say the film is being prepped for a late 2010 Oscar contending release, Anne Thompson is less optimistic. She reiterates previous reports that the film is not guaranteed to be ready to for the Venice Film Festival, and more dishearteningly says that "Apparition has no firm release plan" though a late 2010 release is their target.
But there are signs of hope. Back in April, it was reported the film was 97% done and just a couple of weeks ago, Malick and Brad Pitt were seen palling around in Los Angeles where, apparently, he was overlooking FX work and cutting a trailer for the film. But Malick is a perfectionist and it won't be done until he's ready. So until then, we wait......
Yesterday we sat down with Josh Hutcherson, one of the stars of Lisa Cholodenko's excellent upcoming dramedy, "The Kids Are All Right," starring Annette Benning, Julianna Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Mia Wasikowska ("Alice In Wonderland").
The film is wonderful, one of our faves so far this year, but let's not kid ourselves, top of everyone's minds at the moment is whether Hutcherson will star in Marc Webb's 3D re-imagining of "Spider-Man" which hopes to shoot by the end of the year in time for a July 3, 2012 release date.
Hutcherson confirmed that he's part of the auditions (that include actors like Jamie Bell, Andrew Garfield, Anton Yelchin, and many more), and said win or lose the role, he's happy just to be here. "You know it's crazy, the whole thing is ridiculous to even think about. To be considered on the same list with those great actors that I admire is honestly just an honor. To even possibly be a part of that [film] is more than I could ever ask for."
Asked bluntly if he had screen-tested, Hutcherson blushed and evaded the question.
"Umm... there's not a whole lot I can say, I think they're seeing a lot of people for it and they're trying to figure out and narrow down exactly who they want."
Our thoughts? He screen-tested, but as the 17-year-old actor suggests, they might not mean much as Sony is really going to put all the contestants through the paces to figure out who's right for the role and picture they're trying to make.
Apparently they're being tight with the script too. "No, they won't let anybody read that," he told ComingSoon in a separately conducted interview. " They have it in a safe inside a vault inside some secret Fort Knox location."
He also spoke about the in-limbo'd MGM film, "Red Dawn" which he stars in alongside Chris Hemsworth and Adrianne Palicki. "It was epic. It was quite the opposite of ["The Kids Are All Right"]. It was very big, over-the-top, effects driven movie. A lot of action," Hutcherson said. As for the differences between this remake and the original Cold-War-driven 1984 film directed by John Milius and starring Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell?
"I've seen the original a few times and well, they're similar. The hearts still there, the idea that a group of teens are fighting back against an army is still there, but now the Chinese are invading instead of the Russians and they've modernized a lot of the story and made it believable for this day and age."
Hutcherson had no idea about the MGM delays, but seems psyched to see a final version of the film. More from this interview next week. "The Kids Are All Right" opens in limited release on July 9. — interview conducted by Kimber Myers
Update: Rumors are going around that Hutcherson does have the "Spider-Man" gig, but he also told us he's shooting, "Journey To The Center of the Earth 2" next and apparently that shoots in the fall so wouldn't that conflict? This source however is apparently pretty dead-on at times. They also claim the Lizard will be the main villain of the film, which frankly isn't a surprise to hear. Some are also saying Hutcherson could play Cyclops in "X-Men: First Class," but we'd consider that just a rumor for now.
'5nal Destination' Is An Actual Movie Title; Neil Marshall Wants To Blow Up Bodies In 3D; First Look At 'Priest' & More
God, what hath "Se7en" wrought? Even though New Line execs have no idea why the franchise continues to be popular (and really, neither do we), they are readying yet another installment of the horror series for August 2011. The tentative title? "5nal Destination." That's scarier than anything the films have conjured up. Anyway, in case you care, the opening death sequence in the new film will involve a suspension bridge which is apt considering the suspension of disbelief this series already requires.
What does Neil Marshall have next in his series of films with diminishing returns? "Burst 3D." The high brow horror film takes "place in an isolated town that endures an alien invasion causing victims to spontaneously combust during a severe snowstorm." While Marshall has updated news on the project saying "[We don't have a] shoot date [or] no release date yet" the director confirms the film "definitely has people exploding in it, quite a lot." Clearly, Marshall has a firm grasp on this complex material.
Speaking of diminishing returns, we now have our first look at Paul Bettany -- who seems allergic to starring in decent movies -- in the upcoming horror film "Priest." Set for a 3D conversion and landing a release date of May 13, 2011, the film will find Bettany playing a priest who tracks down a band of vampires who have kidnapped his daughter. Cam Gigandet ("The Unborn," "Pandorum"), Madchen Amick, Stephen Moyer ("True Blood"), Maggie Q., Christopher Plummer, Brad Dourif, and Alan Dale also star.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Tim Burton was circling a 3D stop-motion animated version of "The Addams Family," something which his camp immediately sort-of distanced themselves from. Well, doing press rounds for "Despicable Me" producer Christopher Meledandri confirmed the project is in early stages of development and does have Burton's involvement, though he is not yet committed to the director's chair. The film will be based on the original New Yorker cartoons and may even be in black-and-white (though, we think that's pretty unlikely to happen).
We didn't even know this was a thing that even existed, but apparently the reality show "Ice Road Truckers" is being prepped for a 3D movie by "Max Payne" director John Moore. The plot will revolve around "the storyline of the series, which covers a group of truckers who drive 18-wheelers over a 350-mile highway made of ice, as they haul equipment and supplies to diamond miners working in the tundra of Canada's Northwest Territories." Moore says the film will be "a mission movie that harkens back to 'Towering Inferno,' 'Jaws,' or 'The Guns of Navarone.'" Still not quite sure where the 3D fits in here, but that frozen tundra is gonna look EPIC.
So, checking into the six, almost seven month mark of 2010, where do we stand?
In pretty good shape. While the year has delivered a pitiful summer so far and pretty tepid mainstream prospects, as usual, the indie and foreign markets have dug deeper to give us something much more enriching. So in no particular order, here's The Playlist's Best Films of the Year So Far. And just remember it's early and this list is bound to change by the end of the year.
The sophomore feature film from writer/director Debra Granik uses a simple premise to draw us into a unique world. Seventeen-year-old Ree is caring for her younger siblings and psychologically spent mother when word arrives that her father has jumped his bail, and worse he's put up the family home as collateral. Unless he's found, the house will be seized. Thus begins Ree's journey into the heart of darkness that surrounds her rural Ozark community. It will draw her into a world of meth cookers and dealers; the layered politics and power struggles that keep a delicate balance. There is no greater heroine on screen this year than Ree. Determined yet vulnerable, she soldiers on because it's her only choice, but also because she doesn't know what else to do. Jennifer Lawrence delivers a breakout performance that's raw, heart wrenching and undeniably compelling, and considering she's on screen for pretty much the entire running time, she commands a presence of an actress far beyond her years (John Hawkes as her methed-out uncle is also intensely riveting). Oh yeah, the icing on the cake? Granik's film was shot on RED but not a single frame feels "digital" in the least. Michael Mann only wishes he could shoot non-celluloid this well.
Unfairly ignored by audiences and critics, this terrific, emotionally soulful picture, is an underrated gem and audiences with a female-centric bent would be wise to spend their time with these fully-dimensionalized characters rather than the cardboard cut-outs of "Twilight: Eclipse" and "Sex And The City 2." Thoughtfully rendered by writer/director Nicole Holofcener, the film masquerades as a comedy, but is far more textured. It tells the story of an upwardly mobile couple (Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt) who run a very successful antiques store. Their success has allowed them to purchase the adjacent apartment in their building, that they plan to add to their current apartment once the elderly owner dies. Things get a little more complicated when the couple is drawn into the lives of their elderly neighbor's daughters (Amanda Peet, a wonderfully good and sensitively drawn Rebecca Hall), all the while their own daughter struggles with the pains of puberty. While the main thrust of the story is fascinating and funny, Holofcener has cleverly set up the film as an observation of middle/upper class life and guilt, and the shifting morality that allows us to enjoy our creature comforts while others in our own community, or even on our street, struggle. With a sharp, smart script bolstered by strong performances across the board, Holofcener's film is a layered, humanist dramedy that reveals so much more beneath the surface.
Sold as a comedy in the vein of "Step Brothers," the major indie league debut by "mumblecore" duo the Duplass Brothers is really a different beast altogether. Surprisingly complex and rich, and pulling off a careful balance between broad comedy and darker dramatic notes, "Cyrus" is a mature, intelligent and yes, very funny look at the difficulties of a fledgling relationship in midlife. Our EIC caught the film at SXSW in March where its surprisingly dark, funny and moving tone resonated deeply, and as the rest of the Playlist team caught up with it, the film remained one we kept talking about. The film manages a tricky tonal balance between broad comedy and mature drama, and toes the line between the two with an astonishingly assured hand. Blessed with rounded and rich performances from John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei and a game-changing turn by Jonah Hill, "Cyrus" is the result of what would happen if the (wonderfully) silly McKay/Ferrell collaborations grew up.
"Exit Through The Gift Shop"
Is it real or fake? In the end, it doesn't really matter because Banksy's high wire not-quite-documentary is one of the most flat out entertaining films you will see this year. Think of it as "Jackass" for the high art set. Without spoiling what happens, the film begins as a documentary on the street art movement -- its artists, history and yes, even the notoriously mysterious Banksy himself -- and is flipped on its head partway through as the narrative completely shifts focus for the remaining run time. The latter part of the film is a hilarious sendup of art world absurdity and excess; whether or not the facts are "true," the sentiment is real. Don't go into this one expecting to get the final word on (or from) Banksy, because you won't. However, keep an open mind, and you will be treated to one of Banksy's most brilliant post-modern art world stunts to date. Andy Warhol and tricksters throughout history would be proud.
Back in May, we reported that French musician Anthony Gonzalez, aka electronic/dream pop band M83, had composed the score to Gilles Marchand's out-of-competition Cannes film, "Black Heaven." Well with the festival come and gone, it hasn't taken long for details of his work to emerge, and even better, an official soundtrack release to be announced.
On July 5th, Naive will release the "Black Heaven" soundtrack to digital retailers everywhere (no word yet if a physical release is also on the horizon). The soundtrack boasts two new songs from M83 including "Black Hole" (which you can listen to here) and "Marion's Theme," along with five select cuts from his back catalog. Rounding out the disc are selections from the film's score by Emmanuel D'Orlando and tracks by Moon Dailly and John & Jehn.
No word yet on if the film will reach North American shores, but we doubt it. The online gaming thriller didn't seem to resonate with critics and we pretty much heard nothing about the film while we walked the Croisette last month.
"Black Heaven" Soundtrack Tracklisting
1. M83 - Black Hole
2. Emmanuel D'Orlando - The Trap
3. John & Jehn - Oh My Love
4. Emmanuel D'Orlando - The Chase
5. M83 - In The Cold I'm Standing
6. Emmanuel D'Orlando - Audrey's Theme
7. M83 - Farewell/Goodbye
8. Emmanuel D'Orlando - Footages
9. M83 - *
10. Emmanuel D'Orlando - Suicide
11. M83 - Marion's Theme
12. M83 - Facing That
13. Emmanuel D'Orlando - Marion's Heaven
14. M83 - Violet Tree
15. Emmanuel D'Orlando - Black Hole's Atmosphere
16. Moon Dailly - Save The Last Dance For Me
17. M83 - Black Hole (Extended Version)
Posted by Kevin Jagernauth at 10:43 AM
Tilda Swinton Not Optimistic On Planned Teaming With Isabelle Huppert For Ulrike Ottinger's 'The Blood Countess'
Looks like the dream pairing of Tilda Swinton and Isabelle Huppert for German director Ulrike Ottinger's take on the story of Hungarian countess Elizabeth Bathory has been put on the backburner for now.
Despite previously speaking optimistically about a 2010 production start date last year, Swinton now tells Outside The Frame that "[there's] a seed in the ground that Ulrike Ottinger and I have been occasionally watering but again, I don't know when or if that will come up. But yeah, that's something that we've been playing around with the idea of."
Titled "The Blood Countess", the film was first conceived at last year's Cannes Film Market with updates from Ottinger's website noting the addition of Irm Herrmann, Peter Kern, Eric de Kuyper, Nicholas Ofzcarek, Sophie Rois and Udo Samel to the exciting pairing of Swinton and Huppert, who'll play the titular countess and her devoted maid Hermine respectively. Pretty much amazing right? These two could probably play chess and we'd kill to see it.
The low budget horror film "Paranormal Activity" was one of the (overrated) box office sensations of last year. Built by word of mouth and some clever pre-release marketing by Paramount, the film ended up pulling in over $100 million at the box office. Not bad for a film that only cost about $15,000 to make. So no surprise then that the studio fast-tracked a sequel.
Yet, despite talking about a sequel as early as last fall, and with the planned October 22nd release date looming, the film only got in front of cameras within the last few weeks (seriously?). With a time crunch on their hands Paramount is forgoing elaborate marketing this time around, instead dropping a teaser for the film that pretty much tells fans of the first film that they will get more of the same this time around.
Yep, more video cameras. More jump scares. More cuts of audience members freaking out. Blah blah blah. Can't say we're too excited for this one. The film is being directed (after much boring drama) by Tod "I'm Married To Gretchen Mol" Williams ("The Door In The Floor") though no cast members have yet been revealed (don't expect any big names). Will audiences be lining up for this one too? Only time will tell if this is "Saw II" or "Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2."
'Timecrimes' Director Nacho Vigalondo Preparing Sci-Fi Follow-Up 'Extraterrestre,' Latest On 'Timecrimes' Remake and 'Gangland'
If you haven't seen Nacho Vigalondo's debut feature "Timecrimes" (and too few have), you should seek it out right now; it's as smart and thrilling a take on time travel as anything since "Primer," and marked the emergence of an exciting new genre filmmaker (his Oscar-nominated short "7.35 in the Morning" is worth checking out too -- it's embedded below). But he's been quiet since then; he signed on to the Steve Zaillian-produced action-comedy "Gangland" last year, which was originally reported as being written by Pat Healy ("In Treatment"), but sources tell us that Vigalondo is actually writing himself, and producers are awaiting a new draft.
A remake of "Timecrimes" is in the works, also to be produced by Zaillian; net rumors linked David Cronenberg to the director's chair, but we're told that the Canadian helmer was never involved at all. Timothy J. Sexton ("Children of Men") is penning the script, and the project's still in development, but, like James Bond and "The Hobbit," is being held up by the financial tribulations of MGM, where it's set up
Now word's come in, via Bloody Disgusting, that Vigalondo is prepping a new project. The director revealed on his blog that he's currently working on a Spanish alien invasion horror film called "Extraterrestre," which will go before cameras next month. Apparently, it'll involve a group of people "who experience a global alien invasion without even knowing it has happened, by listening to rumors, or engaging in pointless activities."
It sounds a little well-worn, but if "Timecrimes" proved anything, it's that the director is capable of bringing a fresh take to sci-fi tropes, which should distinguish it from the likes of "War of the Worlds" or "Signs." There's no word on casting yet, but we'll keep our eyes peeled.
Young actress Amanda Seyfried is rumored to have signed on for the titular role in a new Disney live action version of the classic 'Cinderella' story masterminded by "The Devil Wears Prada" scribe Aline Brosh McKenna.
The project, which will reportedly see McKenna pocket a cool seven-figure sum, was conceived just this past May with Disney hoping to replicate the billion dollars success of Tim Burton's "Alice In Wonderland." Pretty transparent where the motivation for this project lies then?
It makes perfect sense that the project would be eying an adored 'it girl' like Seyfried, but treat it as a rumor for now as the news comes from a gossip site source that is not entirely reliable. This 'Cinderella' film, though, is expected to be the first in a line of many revised childhood classics — Annie Leibovitz's recent Disney-endorsed shoot surely wasn't just an exercise in photography — with Burton already setting up a new take on the 'Sleeping Beauty' tale with 'Alice' scribe Linda Woolverton starring Angelina Jolie as the titular witch antagonist, "Maleficent." The world is their oyster really with ready-made narratives in "Snow White," "Pocahontas" and "Peter Pan" just begging for the 21st Century, 3D remake. Let's just hope they can at least bring on some fresh ideas and interesting talent when it all transpires.
As for Seyfried, she will begin work on Catherine Hardwicke's own revisioned fairytale in "Red Riding Hood" with Shiloh Fernandez, Gary Oldman, Max Irons, Julie Christie and Lukas Haas later this summer.
We've had a certain fondness for Gore Verbinski ever since his debut with the above-average kids flick "Mousehunt" in 1998. He's perhaps overly indebted to Burton and Gilliam, but is arguably more technically adept than either, and, while he's yet to make a great film, even the worst of his work has something to recommend it (James Gandolfini's performance in "The Mexican," some of the smaller, Python-esque moments in "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End").
He's given over much of the last decade to that franchise, but having handed over the reins of the fourth installment to Rob Marshall, he's free to pursue other projects. He's been linked to various movies over the years, including an adaptation of the video game "Bioshock," a remake of "Clue" and a segment of "Heavy Metal," but next up is the bizarre looking "Rango," a performance-capture/animation hybrid starring Johnny Depp, which premiered a trailer yesterday
Now, he's signed a deal for his next live-action picture, Twentieth Century Fox's remake of the Danny Kaye-starrer "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," a project that's been in development for literally decades. Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg were both attached to direct the likes of Jim Carrey and Owen Wilson in the lead role, about a timid daydreamer and his many fantasy lives, but with Verbinski signed, the studio are moving ahead full steam on the project.
Pajiba reported a few months back that there was movement on the film, with an offer apparently going out to Sacha Baron Cohen to star, although Variety suggest that he's turned it down, and there's no further word on casting. Verbinski will reunite with writer Steve Conrad, who was behind the oddity "The Weather Man" and, while we didn't exactly love that film (it was a little chilly, and occasionally misjudged), there was plenty to like, including one of Nicolas Cage's few engaged performances in recent years. If the same approach is used here, perhaps 'Walter Mitty' won't merely be just an expensive, high-concept comedy and will offer a little bit more. If all goes well, shooting will kick off in the spring.
South African Rapper Yo-Landi Vi$$er Joins Long List Of Lisbeth Salander Contenders For 'Dragon Tattoo'
With Daniel Craig all-but-officially-announced for the lead role in David Fincher's adaptation of the Stieg Larsson best-seller "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," attentions are moving on to the film's other lead, the character of teen hacker Lisbeth Salander, one of the most hotly sought-after roles in recent years. Carey Mulligan has been campaigning for the role, with "mutual admiration" being expressed by both parties, and names like Ellen Page, Kristen Stewart, Mia Wasikowska, Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, Anne Hathaway, Olivia Thirlby and Scarlett Johansson have all been mentioned.
The pack thinned slightly when Stewart ruled herself out earlier in the week, citing her commitment to "On The Road" and "Breaking Dawn," but now a new, fairly unlikely candidate has emerged. Fincher's long been keen on the idea of casting a relative unknown in the role, and Vulture are reporting that Yo-Landi Vi$$er, a member of the South African rap group Die Antwoord has caught Fincher's attention.
The band, who may or not be an elaborate performance art project, broke after some of their videos hit the web earlier in the year, leading to a huge viral success, with the group being booked for Coachella and heading out on a world tour. The band are also rumored to be working with fellow South African Neill Blomkamp ("District 9") on a video. According to Vulture, Fincher's seen their clips, and has decided that the band's pint-size rapper Vi$$er is "exactly who he wants his Salander to look and act like." She's certainly a good fit visually, and there's a level of performance in the videos (you can see one below) that suggest she might be able to act.
Vulture were unclear if Vi$$er is in the running for the role, or was simply being used as a model, but we reached out to sources on the project. They confirmed that Vi$$er's name has indeed come up, but that she is just one of many people vying for the part. But even if Vi$$er doesn't land the role, it's not the end of the world; she's supposedly had interest from other studios as a result of the attention. At least it's not Ke$ha, we suppose...
We'd like to propose a ban on the words "suck," "toothless," "defanged," and "bloodless" in all future reviews of "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse." Of course, this would be an easier task for writers if director David Slade, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, and source novelist Stephenie Meyer hadn't made a film that epitomizes each of those punny terms. At least make us critics work for it, guys.
Of course, "Hard Candy" and "30 Days of Night" filmmaker Slade isn't entirely to blame. He brings an unprecedented style to the vampire soap opera that wasn't present in Chris Weitz's "New Moon" or Catherine Hardwicke's "Twilight," even with "The Road" director of photography Javier Aguirresarobe helping out in this third installment. However, all attempts at cinematic legitimacy and visual verve get smothered by a plodding story and acting straight from the Hayden Christensen School of Drama. And having Kristen Stewart's Bella Swan read from Robert Frost to open the film certainly doesn't cast the heavy dialogue in a good light. The lines sound like what an adult might imagine to be written in an angsty, lovesick teen's journal (blog? Are we dating ourselves here?).
Slade's horror background is evident from the film's first scene, which introduces a new vampire villain to the franchise. On a dark Seattle night, a teen (Xavier Samuel) is stalked by something that leaves him writhing in pain on the wet ground. Switch to a flowery meadow (seriously), where Bella and her be-fanged beau Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson, still lifeless) bask in the sun, while she reads poetry and he glitters in the light (again, seriously) to a cheesy piano score, courtesy of Howard Shore. Edward again proposes, "Marry me," while she counters with, "Change me," in an attempt to live forever just like Edward.
We've seen various trailers (and especially the surprisingly good international one recently), but now here is our first two clips from Nimród Antal's "Predators." The first clip is all talk and no action but that's no bad thing. It appears to be set just after the bad-ass group of humans, who have been transported to the Predators' game reserve planet, have just been attacked by some Pred-hounds (yep, that's right, frakkin' Pred-hounds). It falls to Adrien Brody's Royce to explain to the rest of the group just exactly what the situation is that they find themselves in. We also get our first decent look at Topher Grace's Edwin, who we're now speculating has been absent from most of the movie's spots to shroud his character in some degree of mystery. He doesn't really come off quite as bad ass as Alice Braga, Danny Trejo or Larry Fishburne does he — there's definitely going to be more to Edwin than meets the eye.
The second clip features more of Mahershalalhashbaz Ali and Oleg Taktarovis and its classic "Predators" with the heat vision, the lazer-seeking pinpoint-ing eyes and some incredibly taut action.
Color us excited because we're really liking the look of "Predators" so far, everything seems positive; they've put together a great cast and the idea to transport the action to an alien jungle is awesome. Hell, just going back to any jungle would have been good enough for us. From what we've seen so far there should be no trouble whatsoever flushing the memory of those awful "AVP" films from our memory which was surely the top of mind for Antal and producer Robert Rodriguez. And we must say we've been pretty disappointed with Antal's post-"Kontrol" work (his fantastic Hungarian comedy-thriller debut), but this seems to place him squarely back where he belongs. Check out the new clips via JoBlo and Bloody Disgusting below the jump. "Predators" hits theaters July 9.
If this preview, courtesy of Comingsoon, is any indication, "The Disappearance of Alice Creed," will evince a slow but tense simmer.
The story centers around two ex-cons, Vic (Eddie Marsan) and Danny (Martin Compston) who hatch a plan to kidnap Alice (Gemma Arterton), the daughter of a rich businessman. The crooks think the plot will set them for life, but their target defies their expectations. Terrified at first, it becomes clear that Arteton ("Clash Of The Titans," "Quantum of Solace") is up for the fight, and she dives into a three-way battle of wits and wills with her would-be captors.
The teaser clip itself is simple: Marsan ("Happy-Go-Lucky") and Compston convert a small apartment into a prison room, stapling foam insulation on the wall, setting up a bed, bolting in a steel door. The wordless sequence is taut and provocative, despite a score that manages to be somehow at the same time minimalist and a bit distracting. But the emotion of the situation is immediately apparent, and first-time writer/director J. Blakeson builds tension by showing us the criminals preparation in way that is both methodical and malevolent. Imagine the excellent sequences of George Clooney packing in "Up In The Air," but with the backdrop of crime, and you'll have the idea.
Blakeson's worked as a horror writer in the past (penning the straight-to-DVD "The Descent 2") but his lack of experience behind the camera isn't evident in this gripping preview. The clip also does a fine job of introducing Vic and Danny as characters — Marsan as the older, experienced crook and Compston, the younger and more nervous apprentice. Even in their cooperation, it is clear that there is tension between the two men.
'Alice Creed' screened at the London Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival in 2009 and had its first appearance in the U.S at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. If the rest of the film lives up to the first five minutes, "The Disappearance of Alice Creed," which opens in Los Angeles and New York on August 6, could be a crime-thriller with a brain that manages to be as provocative as it is intense.
Having already brought Peter Jackson's "King Kong" to life in 2005, Andy Serkis will once again play an ape, but this time in 20th Century Fox's rebooted reboot of their "Planet of the Apes" franchise.
Serkis has been cast in the role of Caesar, the chimp who leads the simian revolt according to Fox's Twitter (via Empire). This is essentially reprising Roddy McDowell's role from 1972's "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes."
Directed by Rupert Wyatt, the helmer of the little-seen British prison movie "The Escapist," the picture also stars James "I like to confound expectations" Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, and possibly Don Cheadle if the rumors prove to be true.
WETA were providing the mo-cap monkeys for the project, so they'll shoot the actors in those light-bright motion capture suits and then render them as apes later. Robert Zemeckis is a huge fan of this tool, having done three films in a row like this -- "The Polar Express," "A Christmas Carol," and "Beowulf" -- and Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are using it in "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn."
Written by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver ("The Relic"), "Rise of the Apes" is due in theaters June 24, 2011. Can't say we care much, but hell, it can't get worse than Tim Burton's version.
Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee & More Join Martin Scorsese's 'Hugo Cabret'; Wants To Better 3D Used In 'Avatar' & 'Alice In Wonderland'
With production set to begin very soon on Martin Scorese's first foray into 3D and also children's fare, the full cast for his upcoming film, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret," has been unveiled, and it's a whopper. Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, English actress Frances de la Tour ("Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire") and Richard Griffiths ("Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban") have joined the previously announced Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Chloe Moretz and Asa Butterfield.
Based on the award-winning and critically acclaimed graphic novel by Brian Selznick and as per the press release summary, it "tells the tale of an orphan boy living a secret life in the walls of a Paris train station. When Hugo encounters a broken machine, an eccentric girl, and the cold, reserved man who runs the toy shop, he is caught up in a magical, mysterious adventure that could put all of his secrets in jeopardy."
Sacha Baron Cohen will play the station inspector; Ben Kingsley will play the silent filmmaker George Méliès (who plays a pivotal role in the film) while Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz play the male and female lead roles. There's no word yet on who the new cast members will play, but we're sure those details will emerge shortly.
While we're wary of 3D and a bit disappointed that Scorsese is jumping on the latest Hollywood fad, it appears that the director is ready to push the format and audience expectations. His longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker recently revealed, "[Scorsese] looked at 'Avatar' and 'Alice [in Wonderland]' and Scorsese didn’t feel that the 3D he saw was as interesting as in the old ones like 'Dial M for Murder' and 'House of Wax.' He’s decided he wants to be stronger with 3D to make it jump out at you. He’s going to go a little bit further with it.”
Schoonmaker also revealed a little bit of what we might expect from the film saying, "It’s very visual, very little dialogue" and marks "a whole new kind of film for us."
So yeah, we're definitely excited to see what Scorsese has up his sleeve for this one. The cast looks great, and the material is certainly interesting. "Hugo Cabret" will shoot on location in London and Paris, and is slated to hit theaters in December 2011.
File under Captain Obvious news. What's with Marvel confirming things way after the fact and after the audience already knows? Despite Dominic Cooper having already admitted that he was going to play the younger version of Howard Stark in "Captain America: The First Avenger," Marvel is now announcing that Dominic Cooper will play Howard Stark (the father of Tony Stark played by Robert Downey Jr. in "Iron Man") in "Captain America: The First Avenger" which is set during the 1940s in WWII-devastated Europe.
"Mad Men" star John Slattery played the older Stark in archival footage played in the mangled mess they called "The Avengers" advertisement — sorry — "Iron Man 2." Yes, these films will painfully interlock in every way possible and suck the life out of the narrative if at all possible (guys, just tell a story and drop the fucking teaser breadcrumbs — they didn't work in 'IM2').
Tommy Lee Jones is in the film and he was belatedly announced yesterday weeks after a cast member had inadvertently confirmed his appearance in the film. "Captain America: The First Avenger" stars Chris Evans, plus Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Sebastian Stan, Neal McDonagh probably Samuel L. Jackson and Stanley Tucci.
Joe Johnston (the award-winning "Jumanji" and "The Wolf Man") will sit in the director's chair and the picture is scheduled to hit theaters July 22, 2011 via Paramount Pictures. Other Marvel Universe films are on the way including "Thor" on May 6, 2011 and "Marvel Studios' The Avengers" on May 4, 2012 (is that the new official title of 'The Avengers'??).
We won't bore you with the nitty gritty details or history of MGM's financial woes (and to be perfectly fair, it's not like we've been keeping pace with every step of that riveting accounting drama) but needless to say the company is in dire straights. Of course, there is the "The Hobbit," the highest profile film caught up in the studio's monetary quagmire. "Bond 23" was put on hiatus by its producers citing the instability of the studio, and completed films "Red Dawn" and "Cabin In The Woods" have been put on the shelf as MGM has no resources to properly promote and market the films.
At the end of (yet another) Deadline piece about the rumored next steps for the studios, there is some not so surprising news regarding the fates of some gestating projects on MGM's slate. Development on "The Three Stooges," "The Matarese Circle" & "Robocop" have all stalled along with the rest of the projects in the studio stable.
While this is hardly shocking news, the projects have all seemed to be moving forward within the last year. As early as January, "The Three Stooges" had some buzz build around it when director Bobby Farrelly (who would've directed with his brother Peter) confirmed that Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro were circling the film. That would've been kind of amazing. As for "Robocop," which had Darren Aronofsky attached, it was reported in January as well that the studio and director were at loggerheards over whether or not to do the film in 3D. Obviously, they never got that resolved. And as for "The Matarese Circle," it's probably the one we're most bummed about. The adaptation of a Robert Ludlum novel at one point had David Cronenberg attached to direct, with Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington set to star. It's really the project Tom Cruise should have done instead of "Knight & Day" (at one point, the actor had six projects he was choosing over which also included "The Tourist"), and it's one we hope finds its way out of this mess and back into Cronenberg's hands.
Until MGM emerges out of the darkness, don't expect anything to happen to these films. It is possible they could be moved to another interested studio, but again, that would probably require a mountain of paperwork and realistically, the projects as they once existed will probably never come to pass.
Confirmed: Bobcat Goldthwait To Direct Film Musical Out Of The Kinks' "Schoolboys In Disgrace" Album
When actor/writer/ director Bobcat Goldthwait revealed earlier this year at Sundance that his next project would likely be a musical adaptation of The Kinks' 1976 album Schoolboys In Disgrace, we thought, "wow, ambitious," but we also assumed we'd never see the project come to fruition in our lifetime.
Further doubt on the film was cast when a competing, "ass-kicking" Western called "Rio Male" was announced. But lo and behold it's happening, it has Ray Davies' blessing (the Kinks founder is an exec producer) and it has the producers of "Last Chance Harvey" and "World's Greatest Dad," — Goldthwait's Sundance 2009 hit.
Disgrace is a concept album that follows the coming-of-age story of a young, trouble-making schoolboy who, after being severely punished, turns into a hard and bitter character realizing he would forever be pushed down by the Establishment. That young boy grows up to become Mr. Flash — an antagonistic, capitalist overlord featured in the band's rock opera, Preservation: Act 1 and Preservation: Act 2 (yes, the Kinks really got into their concept albums in the early '70s).
"It's the genesis story of a super villain set to music," Goldwait says in a press release picked up by THR. "It's the story of the world's most charming criminal and a realistic high school musical for all the kids who hate sugary, sweet, unrealistic high school musicals."
While Brittany Murphy's passing last December was certainly tragic, her film career hadn't exactly been worth speaking about for a number of years. Do you remember "Across The Hall" or "Deadline"? Neither do we. So we can't say we're too surprised that her final film, the psychological thriller "Abandoned" is headed straight-to-DVD.
Anchor Bay will release the film on DVD and BluRay on August 24th. If you've been feeling a lack of ridiculous thrillers in your life, this one might fit the bill. You could read the synopsis below or you can skip right to the end of the post and let the low-rent trailer give away every twist of the story instead:
"Abandoned" follows Mary Walsh (Murphy) as she delivers boyfriend Kevin (Dean Cain, “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”) to a hospital for a routine outpatient surgery. But when Mary returns to take him home, he is nowhere to be found. The hospital administrator (Mimi Rogers, "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery") can’t find any record of him, and a police search turns up nothing.Wait a minute? Peter Bogdanovich is in this? We're not sure how or why he wandered on to the set of this one, but we hope he at least bought a few new ascots or some weird Orson Welles ephemera with his paycheck. RIP Brittany Murphy. You deserved better than this.
Increasingly frantic, Mary is taken to a staff psychiatrist, Dr. Bensley (Peter Bogdanovich, “The Sopranos”) who pronounces her unstable. Now, she must not only find her missing boyfriend, but prove her own sanity. When a stranger informs Mary he knows of Kevin’s whereabouts, but demands a $10 million ransom, Mary realizes that to save herself and the man she loves, she must use any means necessary.