Writer/director/actor Justin Theroux ("Tropic Thunder," writer of the upcoming "Zoolander 2") has joined the cast of David Wain's "Wanderlust," co-starring Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston and Ken Marino with Judd Apatow producing.
Not a bad group of talent at all to say the least, and we bet the cast will still expand to add a few more good names.
Aniston and Rudd lead the film and play a couple who retreat from city life to join a commune. Theroux's role is currently unknown.
The project is a recently announced superstar comedy union between the fellas of "The State" and the Apatow comedy milieu from a script by Marino and Wain. Helmer Wain impressed studio execs by salvaging Luke Greenfield's "Role Models" during massive reshoots, but he also earned a lot of cred by turning down a chance to direct "Little Fockers." With a solid budget and studio backing from Universal, we're excited to see what the Apatow-Wain union can produce.
Theroux is an in-demand triple threat these days. He wrote "Iron Man 2" all on his own, stars in David Gordon Green's "Your Highness" as the villain (it hits April 2011), he obviously has the "Zoolander" sequel to contend with, and his writing obviously turned a lot of heads with "Tropic Thunder," a key gig in his career arc -- Ben Stiller loved his script so much, he pegged him for the fashion-obsessed sequel, and Robert Downey Jr. dug him so much he suggested him to Jon Favreau. We'd also like to see him take on another directorial gig when he gets a breather as 2007's "Dedication" starring Mandy Moore and Billy Crudup was underrated. [Deadline]
Justin Theroux Joins David Wain's 'Wanderlust' With Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston & Judd Apatow Producing
Writer/director/actor Justin Theroux ("Tropic Thunder," writer of the upcoming "Zoolander 2") has joined the cast of David Wain's "Wanderlust," co-starring Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston and Ken Marino with Judd Apatow producing.
So even though “Sex And The City 2” placed third behind “Shrek Forever After” and “Prince of Persia” on last week's pitiful Memorial Day weekend (the lowest box-office MD weekend in seventeen years), and took less in five days than its predecessor did in three — that’s no reason to suggest there won’t be a third installment.
In fact, Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., says "Personally, I’d love to see [a third film]. We’re sitting back and watching what happens.”
By “watching what happens,” what he really means is “going to keep the damn thing in cinemas until it has turned enough of a profit to be deemed a hit.” “I'm looking at five weeks of summer where I feel I have the competitive advantage to maximize the revenue of the movie,” said Fellman, who admits the opening weekend was slower than expected but later states with sinister assurance, “The girls are going to go.” Aside from the ick factor of a presumably middle-aged man referring to mostly middle-aged women as “girls,” this is notable because for all WB felt certain of a instantaneous hit, they’re now having to switch to a longer-term strategy. Not only that, but it seems insiders are baffled as to why the ladies didn’t show up in droves this time, and in their struggle to account for it, reveal more than they might want to about their attitudes towards female audiences.
Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com, “suspects negative word of mouth through social networks may also have hurt the movie beyond the critical trashing it took” because, he says “women trust each other.” Really? No shit. Of course word of mouth plays a huge role — doesn’t it always, whether the mouths are pretty and be-lipsticked or taciturn and surrounded by stubble?
How is “women trust each other” a thing worth saying unless you regard women as some exotic alien species whose every behavior, no matter how obvious, is noteworthy? Unfortunately that's close to the truth of it for many Hollywood businesspeople who seem to look at ‘women’ the way white-coated scientists might look into a petrie dish filled with monocellular proteins: “Good lord, they’re forming bonds of trust, and, look at that, using social media... that’s not what we expected, harrumph harrumph.” Add to this Dergarabedian’s equally incisive analysis that “it turns out Memorial Day weekend was much more family-oriented" and boom! we’ve an explanation for SATC2’s underperformance that pretty much sidesteps the whole “it’s awful; its trailer was awful; its marketing campaign was awful; and people don’t like seeing awful movies” issue.
Quality simply doesn't seem to enter into the equation in the discussion surrounding “SATC2,” as though to suggest it’s not doing the business because it’s a rotten film is absurdly simplistic, especially when dealing with the notoriously fickle (read: stupid, will go see anything pink and glittery) female audience. Fellman says: "great reviews are always good but this is a franchise where we have such a strong fan base. Yes, the reviews were unfavorable … but the audience likes it." Translation: “It’s 'Sex and the City,' dumbasses! The ditzy broads that love this shit don’t read reviews!” And he may be somewhat right about that, but unfortunately for him, it seems the ditzy broad demographic may be smaller than he thought.
Apparently, bullshit artist extraordinaire David Bergstein and Ron Tutor, a Los Angeles-based construction magnate, are very close to acquiring Miramax Films.
... Say what?
We reported that Bergstein was in the running for the company, but we didn't think it would seriously go this far. The LA Times reports that, while a deal was expected to be finalized by the end of the weekend, nothing as of this morning has been confirmed. However, the two became front-runners for the company after their bid was closest to Disney's sale price of $700 million. Even though Hollywood and everyone in it appear to have the memory of Leonard Shelby, it seems that all remember Bergstein as being, shall we say, particularly shady to put it fucking lightly and the article states that "many in Hollywood, and even some executives inside Disney, considered Bergstein a dark horse given his trouble business dealings." Nervous, but still going ahead, the whole thing is now under lawyer review and the two have the right to conclude a deal exclusively.
Bergstein and Tutor have had a relationship for years, starting as neighbors and then eventually working together, one of their credits being the Luke Wilson (read: lukewarm) film "The Wendell Baker Story." The two seem eager to acquire Miramax and its library, as they look to the future and have plans to build a global digital distribution business. Well, owning "Pulp Fiction" and "Clerks" sure is a start, right? Also putting down some money is an unnamed off-shore investor, so it's unclear as to his knowledge of film or Bergstein's recent film catastrophes.
Seeing as Bergstein destroyed both ThinkFilm and Capitol Films, his neighbor relationship with Tutor must go deeper than borrowing the lawn mower to have him sink this amount of dough into the company. Stay tuned for the official word coming soon, but this feels rather unbelievable. Yes, this story is indeed crazy (we never would've thought Bergstein could rope this one in a million years), but it's true nonetheless and may yield some interesting newsbits throughout the year. We'll see if it indeed happens. Someone will throw in an 11th hour launchblocker, no?
Beastie Boy Adam Yauch's Oscilloscope Laboratories has picked up first time filmmaker Yony Leyser's documentary "William S. Burroughs: A Man Within" for distribution, indieWIRE reports.
The documentary, which follows the life of the life of the legendary beat author and features previously unseen archival footage, will also be soundtracked by iconic noise rockers Sonic Youth and Patti Smith. It is unclear whether the soundtrack will be comprised of previously recorded pieces or new collaborations between the two artists. But, given Sonic Youth's recent score work in Fabrice Gobert's "Lights Out" and the fact that they have previously worked with Burroughs on his 1990 spoken word album Dead City Radio, we wouldn't be surprised if the soundtrack at least featured a bit of new material.
The film, narrated by Peter Weller (the star of "Naked Lunch"), features interviews with admirers and collaborators alike, including John Waters, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant (Burroughs had a small role in "Drugstore Cowboy," and had a tiny cameo in "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues") Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Sonic Youth, Laurie Anderson, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, and David Cronenberg who obviously found a brilliant way to bring the aforementioned "Naked Lunch" to the screen — a crew of real characters, for sure.
'A Man Within' currently is set for a fall theatrical release with a DVD and digital release to follow thereafter. The film will also get a television broadcast as part of the PBS series "Independent Lens" in their 2010-2011 season. You can check out the trailer for the film below.
Two trailers (and one poster) have arrived today that are both examples of how not to promote your film.
First up is the action extravaganza "The Expendables." The film, a brainchild of Sylvester Stallone, stars or features every major action star of the last few decades, including Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts and Steve Austin. The film is about a group of mercenaries who are betrayed and blah blah blah. Basically, by the time this hits theaters on August 13th you will have seen the same story twice already in "The Losers" and "The A-Team." This latest trailer is clever only in that it decides not to show any footage from the film, hoping that audiences will be suckered by all the BIG FONT names of stars flying at them.
As for "Twelve," the forthcoming privileged-white-kids-doing-bad-things film starring Chace Crawford and Curtis "50 Cent" aka "Fiddy" Jackson, instead of not showing anything, the trailer does the opposite and pretty much telegraphs the entire story from beginning to end. To its credit, this trailer makes a lot more sense than the three-minute spot that hit the web (and was pulled) in April. But to its detriment, it's a mess. It starts off with a voiceover that disappears completely while we get all the plot details and inevitable twists out of the way, before it reappears out of nowhere at the end. Basically, the movie looks like a third-rate take on standard Bret Easton Ellis material. No thanks. And is it any surprise that this was directed by Joel Schumacher? The film has wisely been pushed from its original July 2nd release date -- where it would've squared off against "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" -- and settled on July 30th.
Oh and the irony. Crawford plays a drug dealer in the film, right? Well, life imitates art sorta: he just got busted for pot. Kiss those teen-y good guy roles goodbye.
Oh boy, here we go again. To mix our movie references, one man enters, one man leaves.
Or something like that. Sam Mendes just picked up an adaptation of Ian McEwan's acclaimed 2007 novel "On Chesil Beach" for Focus Features and then concurrently said, thanks but no thanks to Disney's "Oz The Great and Powerful" prequel.
Adam Shankman and Timur Bekmambetov are on the shortlist to direct the 'Oz' film (Shankman incidentally is not doing "Hairspray 2" which is apparently dead), and now yet another name has entered the mix and it's one former "The Hobbit" director Guillermo del Toro according to Deadline.
Though even according to their sources, it's just a rumor that's going round that the Mexican helmer could meet with the production since he's now free of his 'Hobbit' duties.
That's about all the intel they have at the moment and it's thin, but since all eyes are on del Toro and "The Hobbit," it's certainly worth keeping tabs on.
This writer hasn't read the 'Oz' script, but our U.K. writer has read a very recent draft and he has not had anything favorable to say about it internally (and he's hinted about that here too). Robert Downey Jr. is said to still be circling the role of the Wizard, but with "Gravity" and "Sherlock Holmes 2" on deck (one apparently shooting in the summer, the other evidently shooting in the early fall), one probably assumes this will have to start lensing in 2011.
Thanks to the billion-dollar grossing 3D "Alice In Wonderland," get ready for a glut of films based on public domain works - a godsend for studios because unlike films based on contemporary copyrighted source material, they pretty much don't have to pay a red cent for these older, license-free works.
Deadline reports that Brett Ratner, Ryan Kavanaugh, Bernie Goldmann, Tucker Tooley and John Cheng are to set produce an edgy "3D re-imagining" of the classic tale "Snow White." The project, titled "The Brothers Grimm: Snow White" (which pretty much sets this thing up as a franchise), was written by Melisa Wallack who most notably has done work on the AIDS drama "The Dallas Buyer's Club," that, while still in development, has at various points attracted the likes of Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling.
"This is not your grandfather's Snow White," Ratner said. "Melisa went back to the 500 year old folk tale and put in some of the things that were missing from Walt Disney's film. His dwarves were miners, and here they are robbers. There is also a dragon that was in the original folk tale. Walt made one of the great movies of all time, but ours is edgy and there is more comedy. The original, made for its time, was soft compared to what we're going to do." So you hear that Walt Disney, you soft old bastard? Brett Ratner knows better than you. So robbers, dragons and more comedy? And in 3D? We're dreading this already.
Other rebooted franchises on the way include a Disney reboot of "Cinderella" written by Aline Brosh McKenna ("The Devil Wears Prada"); "Oz The Great And Powerful" with Robert Downey Jr. attached and a number of directors circling; two "Three Musketeers" projects (one from Paul W.S. Anderson and another from Doug Liman); and two more "Wizard Of Oz" films, one set up at New Line and the other at their parent company Warner Bros.
We reckon studios will keep going back to this well if people keep buying tickets, so expect tentpoles to be blander than usual for the next few years.
There is nothing that raises red flags for us more than a punny title, but mix that with a middling cast led by two veterans who have a history of signing on to mediocre films and you have a movie that we're wary of right out of the gate.
Forest Whitaker, Bruce Willis, Malin Akerman and Kate Mara have signed on star in "Catch .44" (get it!?!?) from writer/director Aaron Harvey. The film "focuses on three women -- led by Akerman's character -- being thrust into an extraordinary situation involving a psychopathic hitman, played by Whitaker, a grizzled trucker and a delusional line cook. Willis will play the head crime boss, the mastermind behind everything that happens." This will mark Harvey's sophomore directorial effort, with his previous credit being the horror film "The Evil Woods." Scary. The film sounds a little ridiculous already, and we've seen enough delusional line cooks on "Hell's Kitchen" to last us a lifetime.
Production is moving ahead quickly with filming set to get underway on July 11 in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Shocktillyoudrop has a peek at the new one-sheet for "Buried," the Ryan Reynolds-starring vehicle about a contractor in Iraq who is buried alive and held for ransom.
After its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, the claustrophobic picture was quickly bought by Lionsgate for distribution. The film is supposed to take place almost entirely in the small confines of a coffin and the one-man, one-setting vehicle could prove to be a marketing challenge. Not for Lionsgate marketing co-pres Tim Palen and team! This Saul Bass-inspired one sheet channels Hitchcock's "Vertigo," and presents the rather limited (though terrifying) subject matter in a fresh, interesting, and expressive way. Nice to see some actual graphic design on a one-sheet rather than just a bunch of floating heads Photoshopped together (**cough** Iron Man 2 **cough**). Palen's more than just a marketing exec or a mastermind behind the curtain, he shoots many of the Lionsgate's marketing materials and posters himself-- you can check out some of his work at his website. You may remember his icky-fun "Hostel: Part II" meat one-sheet, headless Bijou Phillips, or the gorgeous gal character posters for "The Spirit" (at least the posters were awesome, right?) [full disclosure: this writer used to work for Mr. Palen at LG].
"Buried" director Rodrigo Cortes is riding his wave of momentum and has lined up his next project, "Red Lights," starring Sigourney Weaver as a para-psychologist debunking a popular psychic. Spooooky.
Christopher Nolan Calls 'Inception' His 'Bond Movie'; Admits To Influence of 'Her Majesty's Secret Service' And Says Heist Is Also A 'Love Story' Too
In Empire's latest print edition, they've done a massive profile on "Inception" revealing more details about the plot and Christopher Nolan's inspirations for the film. In case you're playing catch-up, "Inception" is an "existential heist thriller" that takes place in world where people can enter your dreams to both steal and implant ideas. It's certainly one of the highest concept summer blockbusters ever to hit theaters, and despite it's massive budget and all star cast, Nolan very nearly considered making a smaller-scale version of the film years ago. Nolan notes that had he done "Inception" after "Insomnia" it would have been the "$30 million dollar version," and would have been a stripped-down thriller instead of a full-on action movie.
"And that never worked for me," he told Empire. "It took me a long time to figure out why, but what I realized is incredibly simple: as soon as you say the film is about dreams, it has to be on the grandest scale possible or you're not addressing it correctly. Because what's fascinating about the potential of the human mind is that it's infinite and infinitesimal."
In the Empire story, more puzzle pieces of the plot are revealed, so here's out latest take on what it all could mean: Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) specializes in the secretive art of constructing and entering dreams in order to extract information. He is given an intriguing proposition: take a job where he won't extract anything, but rather, insert an idea. Then things become complicated. DiCaprio's character presents himself to Cillian Murphy's business magnate character as an expert in "subconscious security, the ultimate in corporate espionage." In truth, Cobb has been hired by rival of Murphy's character (Ken Watanabe) to insert an idea. That job also somehow offers DiCaprio's dream thief character some kind of personal redemption connected to the fate of his wife (Marion Cotillard). And it's pretty clear from some of these photos and the Japanese trailer that while DiCaprio and Watanabe are allies at first, somewhere along the lines, they become foes (a double cross? That's our guess).
Well, we never figured this was something we'd actually have to report because it seemed pretty obvious and logical to us, but in the latest print edition of Empire which features a cover story on Christopher Nolan and "Inception," they ask him about the possibility of re-casting the Joker for "Batman 3":
“No”, says Nolan emphatically and unhesitatingly. He resists elaborating simply because, quite understandably, he says, “I just don’t feel comfortable talking about it”.Well, duh. Christopher Nolan is obviously a smart guy and anyone who thought he'd replace the Joker -- ie. Heath Ledger -- with another actor after his Oscar winning turn, is frankly being kind of an idiot. Even in the fake casting rumors that have circulated regarding the third film, when people were flat-out making shit up about "Batman 3" and its potential villains, they left the Joker/Ledger out of it. So for the first and last time: the Joker won't be in it.
Nolan has gone on record talking about the potential villain or villains for the third film only to say that it won't be Mr. Freeze. Jonathan Nolan is working on the script that will "finish the story" of Nolan's Batman trilogy rather than expanding it even more (thank God). He has not yet confirmed that he will direct, waiting for a script to be finished first, but will he really give away the last installment of his baby to someone else? We doubt it and we're sure Warner Bros. will do whatever it takes to get him into the director's seat for the film; they've already penciled in a July 20, 2012 release.
Aside from being a vehicle for Russell Brand, for so long a rock star without a music career, Infant Sorrow boasts something of an actual pedigree with real musicians like Jarvis Cocker and Carl Barat (The Libertines) contributing, and enough original songs to fill an album (also the film’s official soundtrack). Whether there is life for Infant Sorrow beyond “Greek” remains to be seen, but here’s our tip o' the hat to nine other bands-from-movies that we reckon are good enough, or at least have a good enough gimmick, to be able to survive outside the films that spawned them; in a couple of cases they actually do.
In no particular order (this is a collaborative effort and we wanted to keep it friendly):
Band name: Stillwater
Who were they? Guitar-Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee), Guitar-Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup), Bass Guitar- Larry Fellows (Mark Kozelek of The Red House Painters), Drums- Ed Vallencourt (John Fedevich)
Best track: "Fever Dog"
Worst Track: None that we heard but the pitch was a bit off when the entire bus sang "Tiny Dancer." Still, that's part of what makes it magical.
How hard do they rock? When Rolling Stone writer William Miller calls your guitar incendiary you know you have accomplished something. Stillwater's arena blues rock, with Jeff Bebe's soulful swagger and Russell Hammond's undeniable presence as an emerging guitar God, encompassed the greatness of Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Eagles, amping it up with a solo of cool that few bands of the era could touch. The scene where Russell Hammond walks onto the stage before Fever Dog can only be described as electric. Their fans are as hungry as the song's subject, knowing that they are tasting a rare moment. The Stillwater performance we see brings us the best part of being a music fan. They are on the cusp of greatness but still are small enough to be your little secret.
Band name: The Venus In Furs and Wylde Ratttz
Who were they? Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers as a Bowie/Bolan mash-up) lead the Furs and Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor as a Iggy Pop/Lou Reed surrogate) fronted the Wylde Ratttz.
Rock Pedigree: Anyone who thinks the meta-referential "I'm Not Here," was Todd Haynes' first foray into movie-rock meta-textualness needs to go back and revisit his glam-rock paean "Velvet Goldmine" which did a lot of rock-star character compositing to create new figures (while McGregor's character is clearly physically based on Iggy Pop, the electroshock therapy to "cure" his homosexuality reference is ripped straight out of the Lou Reed biography). The film is littered with rock and cinema references. The Slade character has a persona named "Maxwell Demon" who is named after one of Brian Eno's early bands, the members of Placebo all appear as the fictional band, Flaming Creatures, which is named after a graphically sexual, 1962 experimental film by filmmaker Jack Smith, The Wylde Ratttz are a reference to Ziggy Stardust guitarist Mick Ronson's early band (The Rats) and the list goes on and on.
Who They Really Were: Forget the actors, the musical members of The Venus In Furs (itself a Velvet Underground reference) were a supergroup that included, Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, David Gray, Suede's Bernard Butler, and Roxy Music's Andy Mackay. The musicians behind The Wylde Ratttz were a complimentary American supergroup that featured Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley, Minutemen's Mike Watt, Gumball's Don Fleming, The Stooges' Ron Asheton, and Mark Arm of Mudhoney (anyone remember that they tore the roof off the MTV Video Music Awards in 1998?)
Best track: Best is relative as covers can't compete with these originals, but "Venus in Furs" as sung by Thom Yorke doing his best Bryan Ferry imitation is... interesting and Jonathan Rhys Myers singing Brian Eno's "Baby's On Fire" with the Wylde Ratttz was surreal enough that it's worth taking another listen to
Worst track: Placebo's cover of T-Rex's "20th Century Boy." How do you fuck up that classic track? Easy, you become the wannabe glam rockers in Placebo.
How hard do they rock? The bands were fine, but really its an excuse to delve into the Roxy Music, Stooges, Brian Eno, Lou Reed, T-Rex, Slade, New York Dolls, etc. bands that were referenced in the film. Pulp, Shudder to Think and Grant Lee Buffalo also wrote original music for the film and curiously enough there were zero David Bowie songs in the film even though his character and music were obviously integral to the story and musical scene at the time. This is because Bowie was shepherding his own film project and didn't want the competing film to get all his songs. Of course that film has never materialized.
"Hustle & Flow"
MC name: DJay
Who were they: DJay (Terrence Howard) provides the flow while Al Kapone of Three Six Mafia penned the lyrics.
Best track: "Whoop That Trick" wins out over the Oscar-winning "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" with dark grooves and an aggressive delivery from Howard.
Worst track: "Hustle & Flow (It Ain't Over)" is derivative and doesn't stand up to multiple listens outside the film.
How hard does he rap? The three songs performed by DJay in the course of Craig Brewer's junkyard-underdog-rising film are hard Southern gangsta rap, heavy on the bass and dispersing misogynistic lyrics with ease. Howard does well to keep up his end while Al Kapone's rhymes are serviceable at worst and include such gems as "I don't think you understand this one right here might get banned/Setting off a riot like we living in Afghanistan." Overall, get the three songs and avoid the soundtrack, which is peppered with guest appearances of songs that only get brief airtime in the film.
"The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension"
Band Name: Hong Kong Cavaliers
Who Were They? Frontman Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller), pianist Rawhide (Clancy Brown), sax player Reno Nevada (Pepe Serna), guitarists Perfect Tommy (Lewis Smith) and Pinky Carruthers (Billy Vera) and backup dancer and pianist New Jersey (Jeff Goldblum).
Best track: The instrumental "Bonzai Jam" sounds like something in the eighties that would have had us tapping our toes and nodding our heads at the bar.
Worst track: We're not a fan of Bonzai's impromptu cover of "Since I Don't Have You," and neither are the bad guys, who interrupt Bonzai's live rendition with gunshots before kidnapping his lady love.
How hard do they rock? The score of the film, from Grammy winner Michael Boddicker, riffs off the very little we do hear of the Cavaliers, so you could suggest we spend the entire film listening to physicist/neurosurgeon/rock star Bonzai's eclectic band. There seems to be a heavy reliance on period-appropriate synth and keyboard, though the heavy reliance on sax and piano suggests a futuristic melding of big band aesthetics and frisky jam band-age.
Kind of a low-impact weekend offering a bit of a breather between bigger tent-pole releases. It's a mixed bag of mid-budget studio films, unusual for early June, with potential hits in "The A-Team" and "The Karate Kid" looming on next week's horizon. Honestly we'd rather see things like "Get Him to the Greek" and "Splice" than most of what Hollywood has to offer this summer. "Shrek Forever After" will likely remain at the top of the box-office for the third week even with "Marmaduke" trying to bite off a piece of its audience. The art-house is a little slower than normal this week as well with "Ondine" being the highest-profile release.
In Wide Release: Russell Brand continues his stateside invasion with the "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" spin-off "Get Him To The Greek." Brand reprises his obnoxious rock star character Aldous Snow from the 2008 film, a comedic mix of Bono, Michael Hutchence, and the Gallagher brothers. Jonah Hill plays Aaron Green, the scrappy industry troll who is tasked with an impossible 72-hour assignment: escort Snow from London to LA for the first date of his monster comeback tour. We reviewed the film earlier this week, finding it darkly funny but very uneven. Rose Byrne and Sean "Diddy" Combs also star in the Nicholas Stoller-directed picture. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%, Metacritic: 65.
Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley are romantically entangled geneticists who decide to add human DNA to their promising animal hybrid experiments in "Splice." The scientists end up with an oddly sexy french-accented creature with wings and a barbed tail (played by Delphine Chaneac) and everyone lives happily-ever-after. Or not. We reviewed the film yesterday and were excited to find that the film mostly lives up to the Sundance hype, reminding us of early Cronenberg: scary and disgusting, but also smart and funny. RT: 68%, Metacritic: 65.
Other films opening wide today: In an attempt to out-suck the recent "Garfield" movies, we are presented with a live action "Marmaduke" film. Owen Wilson is the voice of the Great Dane, with George Lopez, Steve Coogan, Fergie, and a couple of Wayans Brothers also cashing checks. RT: 10%, Metacritic: 29.
Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl play lovers/assassins in "Killers." The film is basically "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" with lower wattage stars and a smaller budget. We might have checked out a screening of this, based on that fact that Tom Selleck apparently makes an appearance. Oh well, at least "Marmaduke" had the balls to screen for critics.
In Limited Release: Director Neil Jordan's latest "Ondine," is out today. The off-kilter fairytale stars Colin Farrell as a fisherman who catches a strange and alluring woman in his net and we won't spoil where it goes from there. We reviewed the film back at the Toronto Film Festival, finding it dreamy, romantic and bittersweet with an understated and impressive performance from Farrell. Alicja Bachleda, Stephen Rea and Alison Barry also star. RT: 61%, Metacritic: 64.
Also out in limited release, "Convention" a documentary made by 11 filmmakers with all-access to the 2008 Democratic Convention. The IFC-released film hasn't picked up a whole lot of buzz, but we're curious. Filmmaker Johan Grimonprez's unclassifiable documentary "Double Take" takes a look at Alfred Hitchcock's output of the 50's and 60's against Cold War-era political anxiety. Color us interested in any film that draws multiple comparisons to Orson Welles' great "F For Fake." RT: 68%, Metacritic: 66.
Could 'Adventurer's Handbook' Also Star James McAvoy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt Or Chris Pine? Jonah Hill Talks 'Zoolander 2,' Plus 'Cyrus' Rollout Sched
When the spec script, "The Adventurer's Handbook" — written by Jonah Hill, Matt Spicer and Max Winkler — made the rounds in Hollywood it was a white hot property and Universal jumped on the project allegedly in a seven figure deal.
Talent quickly circled the project. Hill and buddy Jason Schwartzman were pretty much immediately attached as the leads and then Jason Segel and director Akiva Schaffer, known for his SNL Lonely Island skits with Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone soon followed.
Inspired by the stories of explorers detailed in Mick Conefrey's book "The Adventurer's Handbook: Life Lessons From History's Great Explorers," the film was said to follow four childhood friends who embark on a global adventure.
Segel's character was a talented musician and alcoholic, Hill's role was that of an engineer isolated from his family with Schwartzman pegged to play a spoiled and cowardly three-time Grammy winner. But what about that fourth friend?
Well, the film stalled and took a backseat to several different projects from all the cast members, but in an interview conducted with The Playlist yesterday during a "Cyrus" junket (Jonah Hill's next picture which hits theaters June 18), the actor and writer told us that the filmmakers were eyeing James McAvoy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Chris Pine for the role.
"It ended up with scheduling conflicts, we'd gotten greenlit, but because of Jason Segel and Jason Schwartzman's television schedules we couldn't shoot in the time slot," Hill said of the 'Handbook' delays. "And then 'Moneyball' came up for me and I went aboard that."
Hill has lined up three other films for the next nine months and it remains unclear when they'll be able to return to "The Adventurer's Handbook," but it's something he still clearly wants to do, but when still seems nebulous. "We'd have to figure out when all of us have time to make it," he said, noting the cast's busy schedules.
Could McAvoy, Pine or Gordon Levitt get offered roles if and when the time comes? It's far too early to say, but it is interesting to hear the kind of talent they had in mind for the fourth character. Dare we say they're all pretty fine choices (though obviously we like McAvoy and JGL the most).
As for Hill's discussed appearance in "Zoolander 2," Hill says nothing is locked in stone, but Ben Stiller is a comedic hero of his and he's geeked out at the possibility. "I haven't read a script yet, but it's something we're all talking about and I'm totally open to doing it. I think I might play the new villain in that movie, but I haven't read the script yet, but I would love to work with Ben."
While Hill has played coy about knowing many details about the film in most interviews, after continued prodding the actor allowed, "I've had input with them as far as my character, but not as far as what the story will be." Asked what kind of villain he would play he simply paused, smiled and said, "You just want to create a character that's different, original and honest. Even if it's a silly movie like 'Zoolander 2.' "
"[Writer Justin Theroux and Stiller] asked me to be in it and it sounds great, an amazing amount of fun," Hill offered. "For me, 'Zoolander' came out when I was in high school, it was a very formative comedy, so to be a part of something like that would be really cool.
As for "Cyrus," the Duplass Brothers dramedy that stars Hill, John C. Reilly, and Marisa Tomei, and earned itself a Playlist rave review at SXSW, as mentioned the film hits theaters June 18 in limited release and then rolls out wider after that. Fox Searchlight has released the tentative scheduled (via /Film) and you can see when it hits your city after the jump. And be surprised and happy as the picture is going fairly wide with at least over 50 cities across North America it appears. — interview conducted by Christopher Bell
New images have landed for David Gordon Green's upcoming medieval stoner comedy "Your Highness," and they show that Russell Crowe isn't the only one who can look badass wielding a bow-and-arrow. In fact, Natalie Portman looks like she can go toe-to-toe with Crowe's Robin any day of the week.
The images come courtesy of the print edition of Spain's Fotogramas magazine (hat tip to Sandra for the scans) and offer up a different taste of the film than was revealed in the first press shot released earlier this year. Aside from Portman, there are a couple of shots of James Franco and Danny McBride wielding swords and a first look at Zooey Deschanel in a bodice ripping dress.
The release date for David Gordon Green's medieval stoner comedy was recently pushed from October 1, 2010 to April 8, 2011. We talked to Green at SXSW and he described the production of the film as "a tough shoot" going on to reveal that is was "by far the most expensive movie, by about double anything I’ve ever done. There was huge special effects, it’s just got so many different elements working, to puppets from guys in suits that can’t breathe, that have to pause the shot and take their masks off every three minutes. There were so many things going on and at the same time you’re trying to be funny and get a performances out of two guys and just have the backdrop feel alive and authentic... but then everyone needs a break and everyone's hands are sore from working a puppet mouth." Our guess is that Green needs more time to edit the the film to his liking and complete the special effects work, but with a prominent spring date, Universal is clearly banking on this one being a winner.
There are more pictures after the jump and for now these images will have to do until we get a taste of the film in a trailer.
Matthew Vaughn was only appointed director of "X-Men: First Class" at the beginning of May, but, with a release set for next summer, things have been moving ahead at lightning speed, with official casting news breaking at the end of last week with the selection of James McAvoy to play Professor X in the rebooted prequel.
Shortly afterward, a paparazzi photo surfaced showing Vaughn and McAvoy with "Kick-Ass" star Aaron Johnson, and speculation began that Johnson might be strapping on the spandex to join the mutants, possibly in the role of Scott Summers/Cyclops. Johnson was previously revealed to have met Bryan Singer over the now-delayed "Jack The Giant Killer," which Singer was also using as an attempt to scout actors for Vaughn's movie, which Singer is producing.
And so it seems as if those photos have validity to them. U.K. sources familiar with the casting process of "X-Men: First Class, " tell us that not only is Johnson in the mix, he's pretty much locked into the movie, although it's still unclear in exactly which role (we maintain that he's far too young for Magneto, and that Cyclops seems like the best fit).
Furthermore, it appears that one of the potential "Spider-Man" candidates, Frank Dillane (son of Stephen, who appeared in the last 'Harry Potter' film) is also in the running for a role, should he not land Spidey (and Drew at Hit Fix reported a few days back that the least intriguing actor on Sony's extensive list, Josh Hutcherson, is close to landing the role, but he also reported that Logan Lerman was a lock for the role...).
There's certainly a trend here; the movie is shooting for the most part in the U.K. (Vaughn's third child with Claudia Schiffer was born there about three weeks ago), and so the vast majority of actors being looked at are based in Britain, and are actually young (17/18/19 years old, or those who look it at least), rather than Stockard-Channing-in-"Grease" young, although we're sure that plenty of U.S. actors are auditioning too. This makes sense; by going so young with McAvoy's casting, there needs to be a significant difference between the teacher and his students.
We'd expect to see confirmation of Johnson sometime next week, and more cast should be filled out very soon -- Vaughn's got exactly 52 weeks to put together a superhero tentpole, so he really can't afford to dawdle around. We're also hearing rumors that casting bits have called for actors who can pull off a Cajun accent. Hmmm, the character Gambit's also potentially scheduled to appear in the film?
"Humpday" actor Josh Leonard and the trio of Tony Award-winning thespians Bill Irwin, Donna Murphy and Norbert Leo Butz have topped off the cast of Vera Farmiga's directorial debut, "Higher Ground," currently shooting in upstate New York.
The quartet join the likes of John Hawkes, Dagamara Dominczyk and Ebon Moss-Bachrach for the story based on Carolyn Brigg's memoirs centering on her journey as an awkward young teenager who grows up lost and finds herself attracted to the world of an American Christian fundamentalist cult among hippies in the 1970s. The novel is described as a "riveting page-turner [in which] Briggs writes with unflinching honesty and the remarkable story she tells cuts to the marrow. Her journey rewards with a clarity of insight that is its own grace and redemption. This is a work that truly enlarges the human spirit."
Farmiga will excitingly take the lead role in the film which should make for an interesting character study and a return to grittier indie drama roles for the actress akin to her turn in Debra Granik's "Down To The Bone." At the same time, it'll be fascinating to see how she fares behind the camera especially after recently working under the with acclaimed helmers such as Martin Scorsese, Jason Reitman, Anthony Minghella and fellow newcomer Duncan Jones.
"Higher Ground" is being backed by BCDF Pictures with Jonathan Burkhart, Brice Dal Farra, Lauren Munsch and Matt Parker executive producing.
British actor James D'Arcy has rounded out the cast of Madonna's sophomore directorial effort, the romantic-drama "W.E." taking over over the role of King Edward VIII from Ewan McGregor who was loosely attached before dropping out alongside Vera Farmiga.
D'Arcy will join the likes of Andrea Riseborough, Abbie Cornish and Oscar Isaacs in the dual narrative story of Wally, a modern day woman trapped in a loveless marriage who develops romantic interests with a Russian security guard at a Sotheby auction, and the abdication of King Edward VIII for his marriage to American socialite Wallis Simpson. Madonna co-wrote the script with writer Alex Kershishian, with the project evidently something she's been plotting for years.
"It's been kind of an obsession of mine," Madonna told Interview. "I started writing it when I finished filming 'Filth and Wisdom.' It was actually an idea I had before that, but I made 'Filth and Wisdom' because I realized that I didn't really have a right to make a bigger film until I made a smaller film-and learned how to make a film."
The pop-icon-turned-director also addressed a misconception of the film and its portrayal of the two narratives. "The movie everyone thinks I'm making that's supposed to be a musical about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. I don't know why that got in the newspapers. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor are in the movie, but it's not going to be about them. It's really about this other woman's journey, and the duchess is kind of her spiritual guide."
"It's set mostly in pre-World War II England-like, 1936 to 1937-and then in New York in 1998. It goes back and forth in time. I use the Sotheby's auction in 1998 of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's estate as a device to flash backward from." It's ambitious to say the least but with the flashback device, it does sound a bit more fitting than the loose dual narrative we had envisioned. Even with the promising cast that's been put together, it is Madonna helming — god only knows what she's got in store for us.
Shooting on "W.E." will begin on July 4th with lensing to span across London, New York and the French Riviera.
Gary Oldman Set To Star In Tomas Alfredson's Spy Thriller 'Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy'; Colin Firth, Michael Fassbender & David Thewlis To Join?
After dropping the gender-bending tale "The Danish Girl" starring Nicole Kidman, Tomas Alfredson is now set to move onto his previously announced adaptation of John Le Carre's Cold-War-set spy thriller "Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy" with the production set to kick off this September, according to Production Weekly.
On top of that, the project is now reportedly in the process of casting with versatile thespian Gary Oldman set to star and the illustrious likes of Colin Firth, Michael Fassbender and David Thewlis in early negotiations to follow. It's early days yet but it's already shaping up to be quite the impressive cast for Alfredson's followup to the highly acclaimed "Let The Right One In."
Adapted for the screen by the talented Peter Morgan ("The Queen," "Frost/Nixon"), who has apparently "managed to put the heart and essence of Le Carre’s classic into the screenplay," Le Carre's novels follows the story of a British Intelligence operative whose task is to delve into the world of Cold War espionage and root out a Soviet mole in the Circus, the highest echelon in the British Intelligence Services. Oldman is slated to the lead George Smiley, described as a "breathtakingly ordinary, anti-James Bond"-type character who was previously portrayed by Alec Guinness in the 1979 BBC television adaptation of 'Tinker, Tailor.'
Firth, Fassbender and Thewlis, meanwhile, are being lined up for other unnamed but vital roles, with two female roles also up for grabs including Smiley's wife and a matriarchal figure at the agency.
Color us intrigued and excited with where this project is going. And with a certain British spy looking like he'll remain absent from the silver screen, it seems like the perfect opportunity for Alfredson and Working Title to capitalize with a smart, realistic take on that same world.
Despite the excessive amount of unnecessary sequels and the fact that the film ended on a note that could ostensibly close its story for good, James Cameron has been planning "Avatar" as a trilogy of films as far back as 2006.
But at the rate the director — who recently called the U.S. oil spill experts "morons" — makes films, most of us assumed, it would be at least another ten years until we saw a sequel appear (the gap between, "Titanic" and "Avatar" is twelve years).
And yes, Cameron has been talking about "Avatar" sequels for several months now and has hinted that "Avatar 2" is already mapped out and but what can we say, we still presumed the picture was several years away and might possibly not even be next.
But even THR is noticing tonight that when Cameron spoke at the All Things Digital conference, via the Wall Street Journal, he said his next film could come in the next three to four years, could possibly be "Avatar 2," but could potentially also be, “some other big film that uses that same technology.”
This rings major bells. In 2005, at the same time that he announced "Avatar," he also announced his intentions to make "Battle Angel," a futuristic love story thriller about a 26th-century cyborg that he also envisioned as a trilogy in 3D.
Based on Yukito Kishiro's 12 popular Japanese graphic novels (titled "Battle Angel Alita") about a nymphette who morphs into an action heroine, Cameron had reworked a script from Laeta Kalogridis who obviously helped write "Avatar" (though she has no credit), wrote "Shutter Island," and has been credited as one of Hollywood's most up and coming screenwriters. She also wrote Oliver Stone's "Alexander," and worked on scripts for "X-Men," "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," early drafts of the live-action, "Wonder Woman," "The Lone Ranger" and she's currently adapting, "Ghost In The Shell" For Dreamworks (though she's probably long done by now and is simply doing draft revisions).
"And with 'Battle Angel,' also, we'll do the same thing [as 'Avatar']," Cameron told MTV in 2006. " 'Battle Angel' is actually designed as a three-film cycle. So, the logic there is to make one and if it hits, boom-boom on the other two."
We might be getting ahead of ourselves, but here's the Amazon description of "Battle Angel."
In the first volume of Yukito Kishiro's Battle Angel Alita, Daisuke Ido discovers a badly damaged cyborg in the trash heap beneath the floating city of Tiphares, which he rebuilds and names Alita. She has no memory of her previous life, but when she is drawn into a battle with the monster Makaku, Alita realizes that she must uncover the dark secrets of her past.Then again, Cameron was also developing an underwater adventure, "The Dive," with screenwriter Dana Stevens ("City of Angels") in 2005 as well, but maybe that's not as epic or "big" enough for his taste. We'll see. If another project came first and conservatively, "Avatar 2" has to wait say six years, is it weird that actors like Sam Worthington will have aged significantly? Or now that they are Na'vi and not humans perhaps it won't matter at all...
Kishiro's story is much more than a science-fiction adventure. Woven into the violent, roller-coaster plot is a strand of philosophical speculation. Battle Angel Alita takes us to a world where technology blurs the boundaries between human and machine, begging the question "What makes us who we are?"
The loose talk was apparently a bulls eye. In late 2009 "The Hurt Locker" star Jeremy Renner said he and Marvel had been in discussions about playing the archer character Hawkeye in "The Avengers."
That talk cooled slightly when Renner backed away from that claim somewhat and cautioned to fans that those conversations were very early ones. It appears now those discussions went well.
THR is reporting that Renner is in final negotiations to play the archer character in "The Avengers" film that will be directed by Joss Whedon (final negotiations is basically done deal, btw).
As THR notes, Renner's character is a bit rogue and was not initially a team member. In fact his origin ties in closely to Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow character as she tricked him into helping her to steal technology developed by Tony "Iron Man" Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) Whether the movie plays with that same storyline is obviously unknown.
The trade also notes that cast members are all taking paycuts to keep costs down and that all the usual suspects from the Marvel films so far are scheduled to appear, but no deal for Ed Norton as The Hulk exists yet (it's very possible, they just get the CGI monster to appear and they don't need the actor, who could prove to be difficult and pricey).
Renner passed on Universal's "Battleship" earlier this year despite heavy courting by the studio and while he's interested in Paul Thomas Anderson's Untitled Scientology film — and is for all intents and purposes appearing in it, if it finds its financing — the picture has been delayed several times (talk backers on our site now insist the film is scheduled for a year-end shoot at the earliest and we're inclined to believe them)
There's been tons of "Avengers" rumors of late. Recent chatter has pegged actors like Josh Holloway ("Lost"), Nathan Fillion, and TV actor Kevin Pennington ("90210"), to have roles in the super hero team-up picture, but none of this talk has turned into anything other than simple speculation.
"The Avengers" is scheduled to hit theaters May 4, 2012 and last we heard Robert Downey Jr. was talking about a Spring 2011 production start date.