Looks like that report earlier in the week was on the money. And especially that quote Bryan Singer gave to the LA Times that said, "I wish I could be four people. I could make everybody happy."
The "X-Men" director simply has too much on his plate and won't be able to direct "X-Men: First Class" — a sort of retelling of the original X-Men saga from a more teenage perspective (we've joked all along and called it, "X-Men Muppet Babies" surely, Fox wants to make "X-Men" with hot "Twilight" teens that kids go crazy for). Instead he's going to be on board in a producer capacity according to Deadline Hollywood.
As reported earlier in the week, Singer has obligations to Warner Bros.' "Jack The Giant Killer" which is already deep in pre-production and even has location scouted so that's definitely next and will occupy his time for more than a year (and it may even shoot in 3D, naturally). The problem is 20th Century Fox loves the script that Jamie Moss ("Street Kings") wrote based on Singer's treatment and they want the film ready for 2011.
That will be an impossibility with Singer at the helm, so now he'll be joining Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg as part of the producers on the film. This also certainly means that any hope for Singer's involvement as director of "Wolverine 2" — supposedly shooting in January of 2011 — is out for the filmmaker of "X-Men" and the rather beloved "X2." Still the bench mark in the series thus far. Though note, Deadline says "Wolverine 2" could start in the fall when Jackman the Shawn Levy-directed "Real Steel."
While fans will be disappointed to hear this news, this move bodes well for Singer's continued involvement in the "X-Men" franchise and with talk of a fourth "X-Men" film already gestating — likely no earlier than 2012 — comic movie zealots can at least look forward to hearing how those mutant discussions will evolve. Fox is evidently shortlisting directors as we speak, much like Hitfix already suggested (and seems to already know who they've been talking to).
"X-Men" fans will also be keen to hear that Moss script actually focuses on a younger Prof. Xavier and Magneto and apparently takes a J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek"-like approach to the rebooting of these characters. Deadline also notes that Fox is percolating reboots of "Daredevil" and "Fantastic Four" as has already been reported.
Looks like that report earlier in the week was on the money. And especially that quote Bryan Singer gave to the LA Times that said, "I wish I could be four people. I could make everybody happy."
So Tim Burton seems to be moving full steam ahead on his latest project, "Maleficent," which is a revisionist and live/action take on the "Sleeping Beauty" tale.
Earlier this week it was announced that Disney and "Alice In Wonderland" scribe Linda Woolverton were teaming up for this project that could potentially involve Burton as the director.
Now the L.A. Times is reporting that the project may have even have more momentum as Angelia Jolie could come on board as the titular character — essentially the evil witch antagonist in the Disney's animated 1959's "Sleeping Beauty."
No word on whether the project would be in 3D or not but considering how well the turd that was "Alice In Wonderland" did regardless of its lack of, well anything remotely of value, we're sure Burton, Woolverton and Disney are seriously considering using the tool again (or at least, you know, bumping it up to 3D, it's much cheaper that way and the pleebs in the audience are apparently stupid enough to pay the exorbitant fees regardless).
However, LAT says Burton's involvement right now is still unclear, as he's choosing between this and at least three other projects with include, "Dark Shadows" with Johnny Depp which at one point was set to shoot this fall, a recently announced 3D "Addams Family" project — which Deadline Hollywood apparently had to be all insecure about — and or a feature length version of "Frankenweenie."
We'll just have to see what happens. Personally, though Depp and Burton do need a break, "Dark Shadows" sound macabre enough that it could just possibly break that poor quality curse that has chased them around for a while now (though yes, "Sweeney Todd" wasn't terrible).
Kristin Scott Thomas has joined Bill Condon's "Salmon Fishing In Yemen" which has been bumped one month from its previously scheduled May shoot to June.
The film is about a British civil servant who tries to introduce the sport of salmon fishing to the Yemeni public in the midst of his failing marriage, and is based on a book by Paul Torday that was adapted by "Slumdog Millionaire" scribe Simon Beaufoy. Thomas will play the British Prime Minister's press secretary who apparently is not unlike Alistair Campbell who worked for Tony Blair.
Once filming on this is done, Condon is supposed to shoot his long gestating Richard Pryor biopic "Is It Something I Said?" in the fall, though of course, that depends on if he's swayed to helm "Breaking Dawn" instead. He is also developing the HBO blogger comedy "Tilda" as well.
David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen are set to revisit the shady underworld of London's Russian mob with a currently untitled sequel to "Eastern Promises."
Little is known about the project right now, but original scriber Steve Knight has penned the sequel. The film is already set up at Focus Features and they hope to get it in front of cameras next winter. Though the news seems to be coming out of left field, the film has actually been in the works since the spring of 2009. At the time, it was in merely in discussion stages as Cronenberg, Knight and producer Paul Webster batted around ideas. Well, clearly they found a direction to go in, but with no mention of Naomi Watts, we wonder just where the story will pick up. Needless to say, we are definitely excited and intrigued. "Eastern Promises" is one of the finest films for both the actor and director, and we're curious to see where the story goes next.
The film will mark the duo's fourth straight film together; they are clearly relishing their working relationship. The pair are already hard at work prepping the forthcoming Freud/Jung drama, "The Talking Cure" with Keira Knightley, Vincent Cassell and Michael Fassbender which is set to go in front of cameras in May.
It seems Hollywood is full of bad ideas this week, with Orson Welles being ripped from the grave to voice a shitty Christmas movie, and now this.
The Independent (via AV Club) is reporting that a sequel to the gun-slinging classic "Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid" is in the works with Sam Shepard set to fill the saddle left vacant by Paul Newman. Entitled "Blackthorn," the film "will pick up several years after its predecessor left off, following an ageing Cassidy's attempts to pull off one last robbery that will allow him to return home from Bolivia to the United States. This film has the Wild West outlaw somehow managing to survive the frenzied shootout at the end of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and now living incognito with a native Bolivian woman, breeding horses and hiding his real identity, for roughly 15 years. He's persuaded to return to crime by a young engineer....who has robbed a local mine and is also on the run from the forces of law and order." And no, you didn't miss something, The Sundance Kid is nowhere to be found in the sequel.
Production on the film is apparently quite far along. Spanish actor Eduardo Noriega ("Open Your Eyes," "Che") has been cast to play the young engineer and the film is set to start shooting in Bolivia next month. Mateo Gil, who wrote "The Sea Inside" and "Open Your Eyes," will be directing from his own script. He doesn't explain just how Cassidy manages to survive the shootout at the end of the film but we guess that doesn't really matter at this point.
The minimalist and enigmatic poster for the 63rd Cannes Film Festival has arrived and it's not really all that special.
The photo was taken by photographer Brigitte Lacombe, and was inspired by the Franch saying "c'est la meme chose, plus ca change," which roughly translated means "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Juliette Binoche stands front and center of the poster representing "allegorical figure of cinema 'who gives life to the image with a single stroke of her luminous brush.'" If Binoche's connection to the festival seems random, bear in mind she does star in Abbas Kiarostami's forthcoming "Certified Copy" which was already rumored to appear and now seems almost certain to screen at the festival.
As for the poster, we're not all the impressed by it. It kind of looks like Binoche is directing air traffic. And boo-urns to Variety for breaking the poster only to post a tiny, low-res version. We'll update with a higher-res version as soon as we track one down.
Last month we reported that Forest Whitaker was still putting the pieces in place for his gestating Louis Armstrong biopic, "Satchmo." Back then, the actor was reticent to talk too much about the film, saying that the film was still at the "budgeting stages."
Well, speaking with Empire, the actor/director seems to have those issues cleared up as he has revealed, "We'll start shooting in April next year hopefully. I met with my producers in Paris two days ago and was worried because my budget was so high [but] they assured me it was ok." In order to cover Armstrong's epic life within the timeframe of a feature length film, Whitaker will have a "couple of people performing the character" including himself.
With still a year to go before the film gets in front of cameras, casting is obviously not yet in place. But with financing now coming into place, we wouldn't be surprised if Whitaker hits Cannes to try and raise more funding by getting international rights locked, while meeting with actors to try and get casting lined up.
Kate Hudson is in final talks to join John Krasinski, Ginnifer Goodwin and the recently announced Colin Egglesfield in the upcoming rom-com "Something Borrowed."
The film is about "a Manhattan attorney (Goodwin) who becomes involved with her best friend's fiance following her 30th birthday." Hudson is slated to play the best friend, Darcy. The film will be directed by Luke Greenfield who directed the very enjoyable and very underrated "The Girl Next Door" starring Emile Hirsch, Elisha Cuthbert, Timothy Olyphant (No really, hey, if it was good enough that Mogwai and Elliott Smith's estate approved the music use, it should be good enough for you too). The script was written by Jennie Snyder Urman ("Lipstick Jungle" and "Gilmore Girls" ). Note to producers, no writer from, "The Girl Next Door"? :(
Shooting starts next month. This is the role Krasinski took instead of being "Captain America." Correction, this is the role Krasinski took when he was cut from the short list from that role. Ah, well, he seems more suited to the rom-com world anyhow. And we're pretty glad he was axed too, because imagine the months of fanboy bitching we'd have to endure? not. worth. it.
French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin, who directed the Playlist favorites, "A Christmas Tale" and "Kings and Queen" has lined up his next film, the provocatively titled, "Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian."
Naturally, details on this one are scarce at the moment, but apparently, it will be based on
"The History Of Thought" "Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian: Realities" and dreamby psychoanalyst and anthropologist George Devereux.
Update: Cinema Teaser have the true details (apparently jacked from Tout Le Cine without credit, tsk, tsk). They're google translated from French though so bare with.
[It's] a book reissued in 1998 by Fayard and telling analysis that led Devereux Jimmy Picard, Indian Tribe Blackfoot, plagued by alcoholism, severe neuroses, and a profound sense of rootlessness. Eighty meetings that led the two men become friends. Desplechin, he already knows that the opus will be produced by his partner and longtime partner Pascal Cocheteux, assured yet have any actors in mind, unaccustomed to write for a specific actor. Given the subject, one can imagine that Desplechin will again turn into English, as he had done for his superb ESTHER KAHN, even in the United States, which would be a first for him.Obviously, anytime Mathieu Amalric appears in a Desplechin picture, he's generally firing on all cylinders and is rather amazing (he's stellar in both aforementioned films), so you know who has our vote for the role.
Since studios can't destroy Orson Welles' films anymore — continue shedding tears for "The Magnificent Ambersons," and no, Welles' cut is not on YouTube — they'll settle on pissing on his grave instead.
Special effects house Drac Studios (best known for their work on "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button") will be launching their first feature film, the 3D animation/live action hybrid "Christmas Tails."
The film will be based on Robert X Leed's self-published book about "how Santa's dog saves Christmas" (no, we're not joking).
In 1985 Leed got his friend, Welles, to narrate the story and recorded it on reel-to-reel tape that has been sitting in a closet ever since. Anxious to exploit that friendship for financial gain, under the guise of a "historic moment," the narration will now be used in the film and be promoted as Welles' last acting gig. There is a such a horrible idea, that we don't know where to begin, but we hope that the notoriously litigious Beatrice Welles steps in and prevents this from happening.
When we first saw the vague THR headline we were hoping this was movement on one of Welles' many long-lost cinema Rosetta stone, "The Other Side of the Wind," but alas it was not to be. C'mon Peter Bogdanovich, where are you with that? Promises, promises...
The Internet is clucking in full force over the confirmed news earlier today that that Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood" would be the opening film of the upcoming Cannes Film Festival and in some cases, how potentially lame this news is (obviously some sites are all for it).
Some are worried about what this signals for Cannes, but really it's just par for the course. Last year, Pixar's "Up" opened the festival and generally the opener is a shiny tentpole utilized to garner more attention to the festival and especially the out of competition films are the same -- "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls" and "Kung Fu Panda" in 2008, "Ocean's Thirteen" and "U2 3D" in 2007, "The Da Vinci Code" opening the fest in 2006, etc. etc. But don't worry, this is just what happens, fear not, the rest of Cannes will be business as usual, trust us.
So, with just over a month away, speculation is now beginning to gear up as to which films will or won't be making their splashy debuts on the Croisette.
According to Deadline Hollywood and Showbiz411, one film that can be expected to make its bow is Oliver Stone's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." Earlier this month, the film had its release date bumped from April 23rd all the way to September 24th with little given in the way of reason and Showbiz 411 says the reason for this push was specifically the Cannes world premiere.
But if that seems like an odd film for Cannes, again, worry not. It play out of competition, i.e., another big-named, star-studded film used to gain attention and boost prestige for the festival. One filmed already rumored for the festival and seems to be a lock to appear now is Woody Allen's "You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger.” "Vicky Cristina Barcleona" played at Cannes in 2008 out of competition, Cannes adores Allen (like all the French do), so this one seems like another no-brainer. Though, like any Allen film that walks the Croisette, it will not be screened in competition.
Other names already being batted around for inclusion and being echoed once again are, Terrence Malick's "The Tree Of Life" (really remains to be seen whether it will appear or not), Julian Schnabel’s “Miral” starring Freida Pinto and one new title not mentioned before, Francois Ozon’s “Potiche” starring Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu (sounds like a shoo-in already if it's ready).
That's all the Cannes rumors for now, but surely more will swirl about soon in the next few weeks.
The story of "Paranormal Activity 2" is both boring and ridiculous. Originally set to be directed by "Saw VI" helmer Kevin Greutert, Lionsgate did the equivalent of pouting and taking their ball game home, when they decided to exercise their option on the director, pulling him off "Paranormal Activity 2" and forcing him to direct "Saw VII".
For a while, it seemed like Paramount were aiming for some high brow options for the director's chair as both Brian De Palma and Akiva Goldsman (now executive producing the film) were considered for the job. Well, Paramount has finally made their choice, and Tod "Kip" Williams has been given the job. Who? Williams is probably best known for helming the drama "The Door In The Floor" starring Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger. He's certainly never done anything approaching a supernatural horror film like "Paranormal Activity" so it's an odd choice to be sure.
We're guessing with the clock ticking on the October release date, and Paramount's inability to land a director with name recognition (which seemed like a weird idea, because, who cares who directs these things anyway) they settled on someone who was available (and who apparently doesn't have a picture on the internet unless its with his wife, Gretchen Mol). With the director's chair now filled, the studio will be able to make their scheduled May start date.
Tahar Rahim's career continues to go from strength to strength after "A Prophet" with the Gallic thesp now reportedly set to star in Emir Kusturica's Palestinian comedy, "Cool Water."
The film will see Rahim play one of two brothers who try to smuggle the body of their recently deceased father from Jerusalem to Ramallah while trying to avoid Israeli police and Russian mobsters.
Shooting on the Gabrial Bornstein-scripted pic will begin this September slotting in comfortably between Rahim's work on Lou Ye's "Bitch" and Ismaël Ferroukhi's Si Kaddour Benghabrit biopic and Kusturica's reunion with Johnny Depp on their Pancho Villa biopic, "Wild Roses, Tender Roses," which shoots next year. Kusturica will also evidently star in Olivier Horlait's "Nicostratos," where he'll play a Greek priest whose struggling relationship with his 14 year old son leads the boy to adopt a pelican for solace and escapism.
Meanwhile, Kusturica's long unavailable (at least in R1) film "Arizona Dream" starring Johnny Depp, Jerry Lewis, Vincent Gallo, Faye Dunaway and Lili Taylor (seriously, that cast alone should make you pick this one up) is finally being released via the Warner Archive. The film is a favorite among Playlisters, and is one of the most endearing yet willfully absurd films you're ever likely to see. Track this one down and check out one of our favorite scenes below:
Disney's money train will start to slow this weekend as "Alice In Wonderland" will be forced to give up some of its 3D and IMAX screens to Dreamwork's animated adventure "How To Train Your Dragon." Expect a very healthy opening for the film, which surprisingly has been enjoying much stronger reviews than Tim Burton's blockbuster. "Hot Tub Time Machine" has been testing very well and should be able to draw a sizable older audience looking for a laugh this weekend. Whether it can have the staying power of last year's "The Hangover" is improbable, but after "2012" and this John Cusack is a viable box office star again. At the art-house, director Atom Egoyan returns with the corny erotic thriller "Chloe," while auteur Catherine Breillat brings us her latest, the off-kilter fairytale, "Bluebeard." There's something for everyone this weekend, with great docs and smaller films also opening in limited, so take advantage and support your local theaters!
In Wide Release: A group of aging bros wake up from a debauched night of Jacuzzi madness in "Hot Tub Time Machine." With a title that silly the film may run the risk of swimming in the plot-less skies of the memorably monikered but instantly forgettable "Snakes On A Plane." MGM certainly hopes that the marriage of "The Hangover" with the nostalgic sweetness of "The Wedding Singer" will lead to very solid box office with the older crowd on the modestly budgeted feature. "High Fidelity" co-screenwriter Steve Pink directs a cast headlined by his old buddy John Cusack with mainstays Rob Cordry, Craig Robinson, and Lizzy Caplan. Rotten Tomatoes is at a so-so 69% with Metacritic weighing in with a 65 score.
Dreamworks animation doesn't get the cred that their main rival Pixar enjoys, but they've managed to put out a string of blockbusters with the "Shrek" series, "Kung Fu Panda" and Madagascar" having earned their stripes at the box office. They will try to replicate that success this weekend with "How To Train Your Dragon," a 3D comedic adventure about a teenage viking decides to befriend a dragon instead of slaying it. If you've got young people in your life you could probably do a lot worse at the theaters this weekend, even if it's no "Toy Story 3." The critics are all about the film with a glowing 94% at RT and a 74 score from Metacritic.
In Limited Release: "Chloe" is the story a successful woman who begins to suspect her equally successful husband may be an adulterer. She employees an alluring and quite young prostitute to test his wills. They begin to have a tantalizing affair, the devastated wife hearing all the juicy details from her hired gun. All is well and good in the made for Cinemax department, but this film is directed by the sometimes great Atom Egoyan ("The Sweet Hereafter," "Exotica") and the cast includes talent of such distinction as Liam Neeson, Juliette Moore, and Amanda Seyfried. We reviewed the film yesterday, finding no delight in terrible script, despite committed performances. Better luck next time guys. Rotten Tomatoes falls in line at 52% with Metacritic a score of 50.
The provocateur behind films such as "Fat Girl" and "Romance," Catherine Breillat returns this week with "Bluebeard." The director turns her eye to the classic French fairy tale from the point of view of the Marie-Catherine, the child bride of the famed wife-murdering ogre. We had been excited about the film for months, but two of our writers have reviewed the film, finding it dull, with disappointingly shoddy production values. RT shows critics much more enthralled than we were with a 100% rating, Metacritic chimes in with a score of 84.
"Waking Sleeping Beauty" is fascinating documentary about Walt Disney Animation's second rise to prominence after a string of major failures in the 70's and 80's. The filmmakers certainly know their material: director Don Hahn was a young producer at the studio, while the doc's producer Peter Schnieder was the head of the animation group leading up to it's renaissance with films like "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Aladdin." We just posted our review, surprised to find the movie gripping and emotionally involving, even if it feels a little truncated like a small piece of a huge Ken Burns style epic. Rotten Tomatoes has the film at 71%, Metacritic agrees with a 71 score.
"Welcome," the latest from director Pierre Loiret, is the tale of an Iraqi teen who has crossed Europe on foot to be with his girlfriend in England. His one last obstacle is traversing the English Channel, so he begins to take swimming lessons from a former professional who eventually becomes part of the young man's life. We got a chance to see the film back in the fall and recommend giving it a shot if it opens near you. It is a rewarding a nuanced look at a complex issue, that avoids any grandstanding and let's the characters tell the story. RT has no reviews posted yet, so you'll have to take our word for it.
Other options opening in limited release this week: "The Eclipse," with a great cast including Ciarán Hinds, Iben Hjejle, and Aidan Quinn tells the story of a widower living in a possibly haunted house who volunteers at the local literary festival. He is assigned to, and promptly falls for a striking female author who is being pursued by a former lover and self-obsessed author in his own right. RT: 67%, Metacritic: 60. Sean Bean and Chris Hemsworth star in the psychological thriller "Ca$h," about a young couple who find themselves doing just about anything in the pursuit of dead presidents. Not much buzz on this one, with only one (negative) review on RT so far.
Here are a set of vibrant new photos from Lisa Chodolenko's family drama "The Kids Are All Right" which has already been earmarked as an early award-season contender next year.
The film stars Annette Benning and Julianne Moore as same-sex parents whose worlds are turned upside down when their children (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson) bring their sperm-donor father, played by Mark Ruffalo, back into their lives.
The film was picked up by Focus Features soon after it lit up Sundance for $5 million and then went on to take home the Queer Film Award at Berlin for Best Feature Film.
A theatrical release in the fall to maximize the award-season buzz seems probable with Benning and Moore tipped to shake up the Best Actress race — Moore has been nominated for four Oscars and Benning for three though both have never won. And, of course, we all know how much the Academy likes to reward consistency and persistence.
Yesterday, we talked about the new Brian K Vaughan spec script, "The Vault," a high concept heist movie that's currently being shopped around to the major studios. And today we have a script review, because that's how we roll.
For those of you not familiar with Mr. Vaughan's work, he's a comic book luminary who has overseen wonderful series for major publishers like Marvel's "Runaways" (which we hear is going to be one of the first big Disney/Marvel properties out of the gate) as well turning in smaller, more personal work for imprints like Vertigo (his seminal, 60-issue "Y: The Last Man") and Wildstorm (his still-ongoing political superhero tale "Ex Machina"). Even when he's handed one of the big guns, he's able to turn in something lyrical and emotionally resonant, like "Logan," a three-issue miniseries that is what "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" would have been if Terrence Malick had directed it.
He was a screenwriter and executive producer on "Lost" for a couple of seasons and sold a cracking original script during that time, called "Roundtable," a kind of modern day Knights of the Round Table thing with a wicked sense of humor. Word at the time was that Dream Works paid a shitload of money for it and it's baffling why it hasn't been developed further, especially since Sir Michael Caine is a character in the script and, well, he's getting kind of old. Considering the seemingly stalled nature of that project, however, "The Vault" may beat it to the screen. It's got that electric, zeitgeist-capturing feeling to it that should be struck upon now. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
"The Vault" is positioned around the very terrifyingly real Doomsday Vault, which is the ominous-sounding name for the less-ominous sounding Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It's a internationally funded seed vault, located on a tiny, snowy Norwegian island, that is supposed to protect a giant database of seeds should any global catastrophe happen. Built into the side of a craggy mountain, it's protected around the clock. Essentially, it's the Fort Knox (dramatic pause) of seeds. And it turns out it's a humdinger of a place to set a heist movie.
The script opens with a prologue, as two marines and an assembly of army guys make their way towards the Vault. The charming female marine, Maxine, shares playful dialogue with a superior, who begs her to eat some outdated army food (the label says January 2009). She refuses. That's when it's revealed that the setting of "The Vault" is 2050. Or, as it it says in the script, "That's right, we're FORTY YEARS IN THE FUTURE." (Vaughn's witty asides make the script a blast to read.) Calamity befalls the army guys, and it's clear that there are some very treacherous folks who have taken over The Vault, led by a huge African anarchist named Baron. He spares Maxine.
We then cut to America, three months later, and are introduced to our main character, Sebastian Card, the "King of Thieves," who is mounting a daring heist inside the actual Fort Knox. We see him communicating with the ghostly Gloria, who is a former lover and someone only Sebastian can see. These early sequences are eerie and engaging, as we still don't know if she's just a fractured part of his psyche, if she's actually there (which would add a supernatural element to the script but one that Vaughan isn't above evoking), or if she's some kind of next-generation technological hallucination, not unlike the relationship between Gaius Baltar and Six on the revamped "Battlestar Galactica."
When Sebastian gets into the vault, we learn that gold is no longer stored here but that it's now filled with food. Sebastian lingers over a particularly fine wedge of cheese when - wouldn't you know it? - he's busted by Crowfoot, an intrepid FBI Agent and the Tommy Lee Jones to his Harrison Ford. Soon Sebastian, now shackled and denied his cheese, is meeting with a slimy American bureaucrat named Heinrich who offers him the proverbial "one last score."
What's the score? Well, if you haven't guessed by now, it's inside the Vault. It's a rare seed called the Bloody Butcher that, if retrieved, could revive life as we know it on earth. Sebastian will be accompanied by Maxine, who made it away from The Vault alive, as well as Dock, a crusty mechanic type who will pilot them to the icy island on a prototype space craft. If anybody can steal the seeds from this bloodthirsty warlord and his pack of ideologically like-minded goons, it's the King of Thieves.
And that's the basic plot of "The Vault." And it's kind of awesome. What's really great is that the actual theft inside The Vault only occupies the last act of the movie. Instead, we get a surprisingly varied view of this post apocalyptic world (everything was wiped out in a mysterious event called The Blight). We get to see a tornado ravaged Hollywood, where some bored film students have constructed a lifesize replica of The Vault, as well as Tokyo, which has been protected by a giant plastic bubble (like the one described in the recent Stephen King novel "Under the Dome").
Along the way we're treated to some breathlessly described action sequences (all the stuff in the giant, technologically-embellished, oversexed Tokyo is priceless), including one set piece that is knowingly described in the script as thus: "The next two minutes of SILENT ACTION are why 3D was invented." (Gee, I wonder how they'll shoot "The Vault?")
Vaughan knows that glossy entertainments like this are supposed to be BIG and LOUD but he also knows that they don't have to be DUMB. While early reports compared the story to a cross between "Ocean's 11" and "Children of Men," we also got the feeling, at different points, of Joss Whedon's "Serenity" (Vaughan wrote for a stint on the Whedon-supervised "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Season 8 comic book), what with the wise-cracking, pop culture-obsessed, Han Solo-like rogue at the heart of the story. We also got occasional (but strong) hints of Japanese anime throughout. From the sleek, next generation technology littered throughout the script, to a sequence that involves samurai sword wielding robo-babes, there are definitely similarities.
Is it a perfect script? No. Some of the descriptions of technology, like a gaudy bracelet that does all sorts of neat stuff, is kind of clunky and, in lesser hands, could be rendered laughable on screen. And the banter, while generally quite enjoyable (Sebastian quips: "It's a mind-your-own-business machine"), sometimes sags under the weight of its own wink-wink, nudge-nudge self reference (apparently Sebastian is the only one with a working knowledge of 20th and 21st century cinema). But this stuff could be smoothed out in later drafts (this thing is marked January 2010). As it stands now, "The Vault" is a twisty, turny sci-fi actioner that doesn't feel the need to dumb itself down to appeal to a huge audience. This thing is going to be absolutely huge, lacking the bleak cynicism that most post-apocalyptic fare contain. It may be the end of the world as we know it, but after reading or seeing "The Vault," you'll feel fine. There may even be a sequel...
No One Tells Carey Mulligan Anything; Not Sure About 'My Fair Lady,' 'Effie,' 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo'
Yesterday, we thought we'd finally settled the long-running issue of Carey Mulligan's appearance in "My Fair Lady," as the film's screenwriter Emma Thompson said on the red carpet of "Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang" that "I think Carey is set to play the role," the role being the film's lead, Eliza Doolittle. Except, apparently, Ms. Mulligan isn't aware of this.
Movieline/Collider spoke to the actress yesterday, at a press day for "The Greatest," and asked about the project, and Mulligan responded with a non-committal "Well, that's hugely flattering and that would be great. I really don't know, at this point, what's happening with that. That's lovely that Emma said that. That's really nice. But, I honestly don't know." Sigh.
She's also unsure about the status of her other Thompson-scribed project, "Effie," which a recent report in The Guardian suggested would go before cameras imminently. "I actually don't know what's happening with that. I read the script about two years ago. That's another difficult independent British film. That's hard to get made. I don't know if that film is going, but yeah, I was attached to that."
Either Mulligan is some kind of acting savant, who has no idea what she's appearing in until she turns up on set, takes one look at the script, and immediately turns in a blinding performance, or she's trying not to jinx the projects until the ink is dry, which is fair enough; most of Mulligan's interviews have suggested a certain unease with her new fame, and we don't blame her for playing her cards close to her chest. We can certainly buy that "Effie" is having financing problems, as it's a difficult piece of material, and another, more commercial British indie that Mulligan was attached to, "This Beautiful Fantastic," appears to have fallen through as well -- it was meant to go before cameras at the start of this year, but there's been no movement on it.
One project the actress can't hide her enthusiasm for is "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," which recent rumors have linked Mulligan to a David Fincher-directed adaptation of. Mulligan responds "I would love to do that! I'm not even going to lie. I wasn't lying before. [Hmm...] But I would love to do that. That would be insane. I'm obsessed with those books, as everyone is. But no, I haven't had a phone call. That would be awesome. I would love to play that part, but that hasn't come to me." This may be because whatever discussions that were originally reported about the project were purely internal, because the rumors were incorrect, or because she's being coy again. Fincher and Mulligan couldn't possibly make a worse job of it than the recently released Swedish version, so we hope there's some truth to it.
Mulligan doesn't currently have a project lined up, but seems keen to do something before she goes on the press rounds again later this year for Mark Romanek's "Never Let Me Go" and Oliver Stone's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." Movieline has more from the interview on the subject of those films, so head over there for more.
The release of "The Princess and the Frog" last winter was seen an intriguing cinematic activity because traditional hand drawn animation, both at Walt Disney Animation and in mainstream Hollywood as a whole, was on the brink of extinction. The last time a traditionally animated movie had been released by Disney was in 2004, with the half-assed cowboy comedy "Home on the Range," which followed a string of hugely expensive flops that failed to connect with audiences (anyone remember "Treasure Planet" or "Atlantis: The Lost Empire?") But the newly installed creative team (led by Pixar's cherubic ringleader John Lasseter) felt that the importance of hand drawn animation was too great to let it simply slip under the giant eraser of history. So they brought it back, but for how long remains to be seen. The film failed to cover its $105 million budget with domestic box office receipts, and it remains to be seen it the expensive and time consuming process will be visited again.
But this wasn't the first time that traditional animation was on the brink at Disney.
"Waking Sleeping Beauty," the brilliant new documentary by longtime Disney producer Don Hahn, documents the tumultuous time (between 1984 and 1994) when the animation program, after a string of crushing financial failures, not unlike the ones that preceded "Princess and the Frog," triumphantly delivered what would become one of the most beloved animated films ever.
Using home videos of and by animators at the studio, as well as insightful interviews (most of them dialogue only) and external press materials detailing the internal struggle, Hahn sets up the story as a violent clash of executive egos, with a group of talented and hardworking animators caught in the middle.
For the most part it's gripping, unexpectedly emotional stuff. This is especially true during a prolonged section of the movie devoted to Howard Ashman, the genius lyricist who provided the lyrics to "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," and some of "Aladdin" and who, during the peak of 'Beast''s pre-release hype and rapturous critical response, was quietly dying of AIDS in a Manhattan hospital. Ashman's contribution to the successes of these movies can't be understated and it's nice to see him get the appropriate tribute here.
It's during these human, heartbreaking moments that the documentary really comes to life, and ditto for the highly evocative home movies. They serve a couple of purposes, including showing how the regime change affected the animators. In one clip, you'll see them cavorting with a few of the Nine Old Men (the famous troupe of animators that were installed at the studio while Walt was still there). In another, you'll watch as they come to grips with their new, industrial workspace, far away from the historic building the division had been held in since the days the Nine Old Men were scribbling "Snow White."
In one unforgettable moment, a home video, scanning the brood of 1980s animators comes across a young Tim Burton, looking fresh faced but just as morose as he is today, his jaw slack, not saying a word. On the table in front of him is a cuddly critter from the imagination-starved "Fox and the Hound."
If the movie has a problem, it's an occasional lack of focus. Often, the filmmakers don't know whose story they're trying to tell. Is it focusing on the hardworking animators, who revitalized an art form that was destined for mothballs through a gutsy combination of creative gumption and technological daring? Is it the story of the movies themselves and the behind-the-scenes struggles that seemed to accompany every major release? Or is it a tale of embittered executives, as Michael Eisner, Roy Disney Jr., Frank Wells and Jeffrey Katzenberg battle it out with a whole bunch of talented people caught in the middle?
Often times, the documentary reverts to that last option, which makes it feel like the movie version of James B. Stewart's nonfiction book "Disney War." Undoubtedly, some of this stuff is gripping, particularly in the shocking whirlwind that followed Wells' abrupt death in a helicopter accident (not even that could temper their raging egos), but often times this stuff takes away from the films themselves, which means large swaths are glossed over. For example, the deal to make "Toy Story" and Tim Burton and Henry Selick's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" are only given a swift, cursory explanation.
The movie could also have benefited from a heartier running time. At 89 minutes it feels like a "greatest hits" version of 10-hour Ken Burns-style mega-doc. But still, the power remains. You feel the elated, heart-tugging moments like when they show unfinished bits of the "Beauty and the Beast" cut that was screened at the New York Film Festival (and was met with a standing ovation) and the true devastation of the deaths of Ashman and Wells. For a movie that was officially sanctioned by the studio and made by a top insider, it's also surprisingly frank, with many explaining the hurt feelings that accompanied every production. Yes, there were a whole bunch of animated masterpieces during this period but "Waking Sleeping Beauty" makes it abundantly clear that it was a motherfucker to get there, harder to slay than any fairy tale foe. [A-]
Tracy Morgan To Replace Terrence Howard In 'Son Of No One,' Katie Holmes And Juliette Binoche Also Joining
Perhaps despondent from his comedic turn as a policeman in "Cop Out," Tracy Morgan is now set to join Dito Montiel's cop-drama "Son Of No One" with Katie Holmes and Juliette Binoche also set to come on board.
Morgan will surprisingly replace Terrence Howard in the film and play the role of lead Channing Tatum's best friend and fellow policemen. It's not known if the character has undergone rewrites but subbing Morgan in for Howard does sound like a odd step otherwise.
"Son Of No One" centers on a young cop who followed the footsteps of his deceased father and is assigned to the neighborhood where he grew up, the projects in Queens. The post 9/11 atmosphere there is tense and he soon runs into an old secret which threatens to destroy his life and family. Tatum previously described the pic as a "cop psycho drama" revealing that "it's going to be nuts."
The casting of Holmes, meanwhile, continues her renaissance after a double feature at Sundance with "The Romantics" and "The Extra Man." The actress will play the protagonist's partner though it's not known what role Gallic thesp Binochet will portray. The film also boasts big screen toughs Al Pacino, James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta in its cast.
Shooting was originally slated to begin lensing this month after Tatum was done on Steven Soderbergh's "Knockout" but will now begin next month.
Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood" has been confirmed as the opening night film at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
With regular collaborator Russell Crowe in the iconic titular role, Scott's latest effort will continue his relationship with the fest having participated in 1977 with "The Duellists" and in 1991 with "Thelma and Louise." Like the latter though, "Robin Hood" will screen out of competition.
The reimagining of the classic Nottingham prince of thieves tale comes courtesy of writer Brian Helgeland ("L.A Confidential," "Mystic River") also stars Cate Blanchett as Maid Marion with a strong supporting cast that includes William Hurt, Matthew Macfadyen, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Lea Seydoux, Scott Grimes, Kevin Durand, Alan Doyle, Danny Huston and Max von Sydow.
With all those big names involved, the premiere is sure to bring a lot of attention on the red carpet but will add little to the festival's prestige with the period-action blockbuster hitting French cinemas the same day and its worldwide theatrical release due two days later.
Other films which would be decent bets to feature at the Croisette include the likes of Woody Allen's "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger," Julian Schnabel's "Miral," Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Biutiful," and plenty of others. Bruce Robinson's "The Rum Diary" starring Johnny Depp seems to be aiming for a Cannes premiere which would make sense as Depp's BFF Tim Burton is heading the jury this year.
Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere" and Kelly Reichardt's "Meek's Cutoff," however, have already been ruled out with Terrence Malick's "The Tree Of Life" and David O. Russell's "The Fighter" looking more unlikely with each passing day. This is all mostly speculation on our part though with everything to be confirmed in the last week of April.
The festival will run from May 12th to 23rd.
It's probably not ideal to follow Edgar Wright's 'Scott Pilgrim,' but the first full trailer for David Michôd's much-anticipated Melbourne-set crime drama "Animal Kingdom" has been unveiled exhibiting a dark, raw take on the genre with a lot of promise.
The film stars the likes of Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver and newcomer James Frecheville and centers on a 17 year old boy who finds himself caught between his criminal family and a cop who thinks he can save him. Here's the full synopsis:
"Welcome to the jungle known as the Melbourne underworld. "Animal Kingdom" uses this edgy locale to unspool a gripping tale of survival and revenge.Michôd's work drew some exciting comparisons to the masters of the crime genre (Coppola, Scorsese and Tarantino) after its Park City premiere, where it took home the Dramatic World Cinema Jury Prize. Weaver and Mendelsohn, who portray the sinister matriarch of the family and her eldest son, also earned particular praise from the already "flawless ensemble cast " which includes the perennially underrated, underutilized pair of Pearce and Edgerton (the latter could finally have a breakout role in the upcoming "The Thing" remake).
Pope Cody (Mendelsohn), an armed robber on the run from a gang of renegade detectives, is in hiding, surrounded by his roughneck friends and family. Soon, Pope’s nephew, Joshua "J" Cody (Frecheville), arrives and moves in with his hitherto-estranged relatives. When tensions between the family and the police reach a bloody peak, "J" finds himself at the center of a cold-blooded revenge plot that turns the family upside down."
Sony Pictures Classic acquired "Animal Kingdom" soon after Sundance though there's been no word yet on a stateside release. In Australia, meanwhile, the film has been pushed back from its original showdown with "Iron Man 2" in the first week of May to June 3rd.
Director Noah Baumbach has been perfecting his particular brand of witty, acerbic indie cinema for over a decade. And his career seems to have had two stages: the early phase, generally a comedy of errors mien populated with erudite collegiate urbanites (like the clever '90s malaise and ennui sufferers of "Kicking and Screaming") and a slightly more personal phase that began with 2005's "The Squid In The Whale," continued through 2007's "Margot At The Wedding" and into his latest, "Greenberg," where his focus has turned to fractured families, the emotional violence within those dynamics and the crushing disappointment of dreams that remain unfulfilled.
And it appears that perhaps Baumbach is coming full circle again with the newly announced, "The Emperor's Children," which almost appears to pick up where his alienated aesthete 20-somethings have left off, tracing affluent, educated Caucasians now approaching their 30s full of the anxiety of failed ambition.
Is this just us projecting? Possibly. Before "The Emperor's Children" was officially announced — though we did speak about it briefly, Baumbach had already pegged it as a directorial project he had taken over from Ron Howard — we spoke about the matter at hand, "Greenberg," it's music by James Murphy and the process that brought Baumbach's latest project to the screen, for what may possibly be looked back on as his trilogy of lost, acidic and self-involved protagonists behaving badly.
Starring Ben Stiller, Rhys Ifans and Greta Gerwig, "Greenberg," was released in New York and L.A. on three screens last week and this weekend, Friday March 26, it begins to spread across the country, expanding into approximately 200 more theaters. While this writer didn't particularly love the film (see review), some of our Playlist staff felt very differently and at the very least we can all agree it's definitely worth seeking out at your local arthouse.
The Playlist: Tell us about the impetus for making the film.
Well, it was the characters that — particularly Greenberg (Ben Stiller) and Florence (Greta Gerwig) — were characters that I found myself writing about and I didn't know much in the beginning but I knew I wanted to write about these two characters and I knew I wanted to put the movie in Los Angeles. And everything else really came out of a lot of work and sweat.
Summit are dreaming big for their fourth (and potentially fifth) films in the "Twilight" series that aim to shoot this fall.
As we previously reported, Sofia Coppola, Gus Van Sant and Bill Condon have all been approached to direct the next film(s) in the franchise that has become a tween phenomenon. Now, it's being reported that another Oscar nominee, Stephen Daldry ("The Reader," "The Hours") is being sought to helm the picture.
We're not sure why such esteemed talent is being considered for what is, among fans, arguably the most ludicrous book of the series. "Breaking Dawn" starts with Bella giving birth to a half-vampire/half-human child named Renesmee who possesses some seriously freaky supernatural qualities, among them, being able to grow faster than mortal humans as well as some kind of special way of communicating.
We don't really see why Daldry -- or any of the directors on this list -- would take the job. They all have their own established networks for getting their own passion projects off the ground, and we don't see this being a "one for you, one for me" scenario for any of them. Unless, one of them has a tween child or relative who is dying to meet RPatz and the gang, or if Summit drives a dump truck full of money right up to their door, this is all a pipe dream. But keep thinking big, Summit.
John Singleton, do you really need scratch that badly? Deadline Hollywood reports that the once relevant director, now turned generic "urban" helmer is being assigned the director's chair for Taylor Lautner's forthcoming attempt to become the next major action star, "Abduction."
The script, by Shawn Christensen, caused a bidding war earlier this year, before Lionsgate won by shelling out $1 million for it. In the film Lautner will play a teen who discovers his own picture on a missing persons website and then gets caught up in a Bourne-esque web of intrigue.
For all you Twihards who might be worried the film will get in the way of his "Twilight" commitments, filming is set to shoot this summer, leaving Lautner plenty of time to brood blank-facedly at the camera while vampires and werewolves sort their emo shit out.