Jean Claude Van Damme must be rolling over in his grave! What's Playing claims that for the last four years, Paramount has been trying to figure out how to make a big budget tentpole out of "Timecop 2.0," loosely based on the original Van Damme film. 1994's "Timecop," based on a Dark Horse Comics serial, featured Van Damme as a federal agent investigating a time travel conspiracy involving a corrupt politician (a memorably slimy turn from the late Ron Silver).
With the usual Van Damme high-kicking antics, the Sam Raimi-produced "Timecop" was one of the more beloved JCVD pictures, becoming a $100 million worldwide hit and spawning a short-lived television series and a straight-to-DVD sequel. Now Paramount is considering the project as a major tentpole for a big star, though the number of headliners willing to take on Van Damme's sloppy seconds isn't too big. Still, the original picture from director Peter Hyams established a premise that could easily self-sustain through a series of serialized adventures.
The site claims the film, currently in development, would end up on the schedule, "sometime over the next twelve to eighteen months," and while we have no inside info, we would not be surprised to see Len Wiseman's "Timecop 3D" (no one knows if this will be 3D, but c'mon) announced for a rushed 2012 release. The report mentions that Van Damme is interested in reprising his role, but that the studio isn't returning his calls, which is just rude, since it probably robs us of seeing the Muscles From Brussels jump-kicking a velociraptor in the face in 3D.
Jean Claude Van Damme must be rolling over in his grave! What's Playing claims that for the last four years, Paramount has been trying to figure out how to make a big budget tentpole out of "Timecop 2.0," loosely based on the original Van Damme film. 1994's "Timecop," based on a Dark Horse Comics serial, featured Van Damme as a federal agent investigating a time travel conspiracy involving a corrupt politician (a memorably slimy turn from the late Ron Silver).
In an interview with MTV, hot-to-trot Jeremy Renner was asked about his upcoming role in 2012's "The Avengers." He plays Clint Barton, a marksman who goes from petty thief to gimmicky bow-and-arrow superhero as the purple-clad Hawkeye. Hawkeye consistently held his own with teammates in the Marvel Comics source despite not having any superpowers and using only his mighty quiver, so naturally, questions about Renner's characterization tend to focus on the innate realism of the character in an onscreen setting.
On his costume, Renner hypothesized, "I think it's going to be a little more reality-based... you can kind of tell with Scarlett [Johansson]'s character, it's going to be more of a uniform . . . and not a big purple, comics sort of thing."Johansson, you may remember, was the black-clad secret agent-type in "Iron Man 2," a martial artist/spy from SHIELD code-named the Black Widow. It's likely Renner means to say that he, too, will have more of a nondescript black leather outfit.
In the comics, there was a bit of a relationship between Hawkeye and the Widow, though both racked up a more-than-respectable list of bedmates. When asked if that pairing would happen in the movies, Renner said, "We will [have a relationship], I think, in this one as well. We're kind of a team, and what that relationship is, is still to be discovered." This of course suggests that Barton will also work with SHIELD as more of a field operative in the vein of Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) than as a spandex-clad worldbeater opposite the Hulk and Thor. Though a romantic triangle with Renner, Johansson and Robert Downey Jr. would probably be more interesting anyway.
When a filmmaker is compelled to come out and make an apologist introduction to his film before it screens, warns you that, "you may need to give it twenty or thirty minutes" and cautions about the tone and kooky character, you know that's probably not the greatest sign.
One minute you're on top of the world in Hollywood, the next you're yesterday's forgotten trash. And from the highest of possible highs — an Oscar win for Milk," his first produced screenplay — screenwriter-turned-feature filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, could be in for a rude awakening when the dust finally settles from the scattered reviews of his convoluted and aimless debut directorial gig, "What's Wrong With Virginia."
A witless and garbled drama — or wait, maybe a comedy too — that isn't especially interesting, dramatic or funny, Black's semi-autobiographical impotent mental illness picture is almost immediately tedious and mostly unremarkable, until deep into its second half when it morphs into something even worse: a wholly ill-conceived and unsalvageable mess that may have no shot at real distribution aside from the straight-to-DVD kind.
"Devil" is the first in a projected series of movies from the diminishing-returns mind of M. Night Shyamalan under his dubiously named The Night Chronicles production shingle. Shyamalan came up with the story, about a series of strangers trapped on a malfunctioning elevator with (dum dum DUMMMM) the Devil and also produced the movie, but didn't have anything to do with its writing and directing (depending on your feelings on Shyamalan, this can be seen as either a very good thing or a very bad thing.)
Even without his overt involvement the movie features several trademarks of the Shyamalan oeuvre: there's a very religious supporting character with daft spiritual notions who everyone, even the most rational characters, go to for advice and who drives the basic plot momentum (much of the movie is based on a story this character, whose name is barely mentioned, was told by his grandmother); there are long, swirly camera moves; there's a labored insistence on fate and destiny; and, of course, there's a forehead-smacking twist ending followed by a story note so drab and anticlimactic that should have been cut altogether, but probably couldn't be removed because the movie's already so comically brief. All that said, there are some minor pleasures to be gotten out of the film, even if you forget about it completely before you finish the drive home from the theater.
On its most base level, "Devil" does sport a nifty concept, and if the movie had just been whittled down a little more it would have made for a hum-dinger of an episode of "M. Night Shyamalan Presents" but as a feature-length movie it strains that concept and splinters it into a thousand subplots, all of them ultimately meaningless.
J.J. Abrams' secretive Steven Spielberg-inspired project "Super 8" about "three siblings who discover footage of an alien in some Super 8 footage they shot" has cast its first two actors. Elle Fanning ("Somewhere") and Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights") have joined the film, but no word yet on the roles they will be playing.
Both are up and coming talents and not quite household names which should indicate the direction Abrams is going with this. Details on Abrams' film are being kept tightly under wraps but it will be working with a $45-50 million budget. All we really know about the project right now is from the teaser trailer that hit earlier this year. And thankfully, Abrams has confirmed it won't be in 3D.
Production begins this fall and there is already a viral campaign well underway if you're into that sort of thing. [Vulture]
Update: Casey Affleck To Reteam With 'Assassination Of Jesse James' Director Andrew Dominik For Crime Film
Update: Casey Affleck has confirmed the re-teaming in an interview with The Kevin and Josh Movie Show on 106.7 HD2 (CBS RADIO – Washington D.C.).
"In January, I'm going to be doing a movie with Andrew Dominik again," he revealed. "I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about it but it's a Boston-based crime -- it's a novel that was set in Boston that's not going to be set in Boston unfortunately. But it's a novel that was set in Boston, it's a great novel and his got a great take on it. There's a lot of good people in it, it's going to be a great movie."
After making only two films last decade, Dominik now has two projects in the works!? We're ecstatic, though the January start on this presumably pushes back (hopefully that's all it is) the Marilyn Monroe quasi-biopic, "Blonde," which was also slated to begin then. [Film School Rejects]
Swedish filmmaker Frederik Edfeldt opted, for reasons unknown, to tackle the silly teenage and adult world through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl. Unsurprisingly, the director's distance from the subject and principal character is more than apparent in "The Girl," as he disregards realistic human action and emotion for overly negative characters that disregard common sense to better service his overly simplistic plot.
Opening the film is a very close observational frame, depicting our main girl (played by Blanca Engstrom, unfortunately left nameless) receiving shots from a nurse. Some expository dialogue explains that she is to go to Africa for the summer with her parents, working as an aid. However, shortly after her trip to the doctor, her parents learn that she is actually too young for the trip. In one cold quick scene, the parents decide this is a once in a lifetime chance, that they should go anyway regardless if their daughter cannot. The titular character is then left with her alcoholic aunt and a season's worth of swim lessons, which leave her with a morning house that looks like it belongs to a frat and a frighteningly high diving board. Although rightfully a little cheesed that her parents left, the girl sees a chance to live the summer on her own terms and prove that she is just as responsible as an adult at 9 1/2 years old. Blanca cleverly tricks her aunt into leaving for a few days, and luckily for her, she is terribly irresponsible and a few days stretches into the entire summer. With the unbelievable set-up out of the way, the filmmaker now has the opportunity to be as loose as he wants, throwing his dependable actor in a number of situations with an aim at how preposterous the grown-up world really is. Why his perspective on this is so one-sidedly negative is anyone's guess.
Posted by Christopher Bell at 6:32 PM
Following the billion dollar success of Tim Burton's lackluster "Alice In Wonderland," studios are falling over themselves to bring fables and fairy tales to the big screen. So it's no surprise to hear that producer Dan Jinks, who worked on "Big Fish," is using Burton's film as a template for a live action version of "Pinocchio."
The project, set up at Warner Bros., will try and correct failed or botched live adaptations that have been developed in the past. There was Roberto Benigni's 2002 film, which was so bad it single-handedly tanked his Hollywood career, and WB's previous attempt to bring the tale to the bring screen via Francis Ford Coppola that ended up in a bitter lawsuit. Bryan Fuller ("Heroes," "Pushing Daisies," "Dead Like Me") has been tasked to write the film.
While Pinocchio is certainly great material, we can't think of anything worse to try and duplicate than Burton's phoned in 'Alice.' Though, again, given that no one seemed to care it was a very pale imitation of Burton's much better, earlier work and it made a shitload of cash, we can't say we're surprised either. But if this one isn't your cup of tea, there's also Guillermo del Toro's gestating version with Nick Cave doing the music. Awesome. [Variety]
Amusing and completely queer, the rest of the film follows the tone set by this opening sequence. Tony, a middle- to upper-class man, begins to question life upon his father's death. Despite his good deeds in this weird world (which include giving to the homeless and being a good Samaritan), he continues to find difficulty because of his kind soul that is continuously taken advantage of. His wife cheats on him with a co-worker at a party he's attending, he is a target of suspicion of the police after reporting a discovery of a dozen severed hands in a forest, etc. Things only get worse when he finds mutual interest in a beautiful woman who pushes him away when she discovers he is the man who fired an entire factory, which included her elderly father. Somehow, this woman gets involved in a surreal sex/cannibalistic clique, and our hero attempts to save her in a part redemption, part quest of love.
Posted by Christopher Bell at 5:53 PM
We have to admit, it really sounded too good to be true when RZA dropped the news that Russell Crowe would be starring in his soon-to-be-filming kung fu epic "The Man With The Iron Fist." Speaking at the VMAs, RZA had said that Crowe was going to be playing "the baddest man alive" in his film, but it looks like the master thespian isn't quite ready to commit.
Crowe hit Twitter earlier this week to say, "I'm not officially on RZA's gig. He's a good friend,inspirational guy, we will see what happens." Boo-urns. We figure things are still being negotiated and contracts need to be signed and whatnot, but we really hope it pans out. It would be a lot of fun to see Crowe do a 180 on his usual Very Serious Roles and let loose a little bit.
Filming on the project is to begin soon in Hong Kong with a budget of $20 million. Plot details are for now being kept under wraps but Eli Roth, who co-wrote the film, says RZA's "reinventing the Kung Fu movie genre."
The first trailer has arrived for the forthcoming Ron Howard comedy "The Dilemma" and it's just as pedestrian as we suspected it to be.
The film stars Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder as two couples whose husbands are best friends and business partners, with an upcoming venture threatened by one husband's (Vaughn) discovery that his best friend's wife (Ryder) is cheating. Channing Tatum co-stars as Ryder's lover alongside Queen Latifah as an executive at the company where Vaughn and James work. The seemingly omnipresent Allan Loeb ("Wall Street 2," "The Switch") wrote the script.
You can watch the embed below or jump over to Apple for the HD version. Trailer and official synopsis after the jump:
Last fall, a remake of Iceland's Oscar entry for last year, the thriller "Reykjavik-Rotterdam" by director Baltasar Kormakur, was announced with Mark Wahlberg producing and potentially starring and then....well, nothing.
But it looks like the project is picking up steam again as Latino Review is revealing that Kate Beckinsale has joined the project to take a starring role opposite Mark Wahlberg. Now titled "Contraband," the film follows a security guard and former smuggler who, facing financial troubles, is roped back into his old life. The logline seems pretty dry, and we haven't seen the original film, but Wahlberg is no slouch when it comes to picking projects so perhaps it's a lot meatier than the one-liner suggests. No word yet on when production might begin, but Aaron Guzikowski, who penned the very hot Black List script "Prisoners," is writing the screenplay.
The actor has his Oscar fare for this year "The Fighter" hitting theaters in December and a handful of projects on his potential plate including "The Raven" and a recently offered role in "The Odd Life Of Timothy Green" to be directed by Peter Hedges.
This week has not been a good one for screenwriter's making their directorial debuts, proving that storytellers and visualists were all not created equally. Sophomoric, pedestrian and hokey beyond words, Mitch Glazer's excruciating romantic fairytale "Passion Play" is a cliche-riddled, risible and utterly painful experience that boasts hallmark sentiments and TV movie-of-the-week sensibilities mixed in a disastrous attempt to make a love story about unearned redemption.
Two Minutes Of Test Footage From James Cameron's Aborted 'Brother Termite' Will Appear On Upcoming 'Avatar' DVD
From what we know about the upcoming "Avatar" special edition DVD/BluRay, it's going to be mammoth. While no release date has yet been set, among the extras confirmed are an extended opening sequence, 16 minutes of new footage, 45 minutes of deleted/unfinished scenes and a documentary on the Xingu River Dam. But if that wasn't enough, there's even more.
Two minutes of test footage from James Cameron's aborted adaptation of Patricia Anthony's novel "Brother Termite" will be included as an extra feature. A satirical story about extraterrestrials who work in the highest level of government, the film had a script by John Sayles and Cameron began initial work on the project in 2002. For whatever reason it fell apart (our guess? budget) but its significant because at the time Cameron was already experimenting with performance capture technology that he would later use to blue people's minds in "Avatar." It will certainly be an interesting piece of history.
Bleeding Cool has a rundown of some of the other featurettes that are likely to appear on the disc. But if you want to experience the film the way James Cameron intended, buy yourself a 3D television and a salesman will toss you a free copy of the 3D BluRay of the film for your trouble.
While it's never really gone away, and probably never will, the past few months have seen a brace of new entries, from the sublime ("Inception," which despite its sci-fi trappings is really a good old-fashioned caper movie) to the ridiculous (Hayden Christensen and his eminently punchable pork pie hat in "Takers"). Ben Affleck's "The Town" hits theaters today, and while it's a character piece about bank robbers in the mean streets of Boston, it's built around three gripping and well-executed heist sequences among the best we've seen in a long while. In honor of that film, we've put together a list of our favorite heist movies; the ones that dazzle us every time we give them a spin.
Some of the films we discuss are showing at the Film Forum on West Houston Street in an excellent series of double bills from October 1-21, so if any New York readers are unfamiliar with these titles, you should definitely check it out. The rest of us will just have to fill up that Netflix queue...
"The Lavender Hill Mob" (1951)
Not every film can say that it gave birth to an entire sub-genre, but the heist comedy, seen since in everything from "To Catch A Thief" to "Bottle Rocket," didn't really exist before 1951's "The Lavender Hill Mob." One of the very best of the Ealing comedies, it stars Alec Guinness as a timid bank clerk (in a great, Oscar nominated performance) who comes up with a plan to steal gold bullion from his workplace. Teaming with a group of unlikely crooks (Stanley Holloway, Alfie Bass and the great Sid James), they work out that they can smuggle the bullion to France and melt them down, disguising their loot as souvenirs of the Eiffel Tower. Like a comic take on Kubrick's "The Killing," the heist goes off without a hitch, but it all falls apart in the aftermath, as a misunderstanding sees the statues sold as actual souvenirs. It's strangely gripping -- the film was originally conceived as a straight drama -- and director Charles Crichton (who at the age of 78 would direct another British heist comedy classic, "A Fish Called Wanda") had one of the surest comic hands in the business, but what's impressive is the level of pathos that Guinness and Holloway generate: you will want the group to succeed, and considering it's a comedy, the ending is deeply moving. Keep your eyes peeled for a young Audrey Hepburn too.
"The Thomas Crown Affair" ( 1968)
Norman Jewison's heist caper/romance hybrid is a dazzling, irresistible slice of '60s pop escapism, shot through with a subtle undertow of dark cynicism. Steve McQueen is the eponymous anti-hero, a laconic, thrill-seeking millionaire who orchestrates an audacious Boston bank robbery -- largely out of boredom. Faye Dunaway is his foil Vicki Anderson -- an only-in-in-the-movies insurance investigator via the Milan catwalk and cover of Vogue. All kinds of stylish cat and mouse shenanigans ensue, including the justifiably infamous "erotic" chess contest, which Jewison stages as a baroque, almost psychedelic set-piece. It's easy to view Crown simply as an orgy of hedonistic wish-fulfillment, and on these terms alone, the movie really pops off the screen. Jewison's direction is a giddy, propulsive bag of tricks - the editing is brisk, witty, and punchline-orientated, the soundtrack eclectic, and the use of split screen truly gratuitous. Glamor and expensive toys abound. However, this caper is not without a certain darkness -- Jewison envisioned Crown as a romance between two empty, narcissistic souls, a "love affair between two shits" -- and a certain melancholy creeps in as the pair realize the degree to which they are trapped in their own cynical self-regard. Thomas Crown has wealth and respectability, but he feels a constant need to take risks and buck against the system -- an oddly apt, almost autobiographical role for McQueen. John McTiernan's remake isn't bad either, but not a patch on Jewison's original.
“The Hot Rock” (1972)
Penned by two-time Academy Award-winning writer William Goldman (“Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid,” “All The President's Men”) and employing a jazzy, bongo-laden score by Quincy Jones, Peter Yates’ eighth feature-length directorial effort is a product of its era and could be considered a quintessential ‘70s picture insofar as it's characterized by many touchstones of that period; a laconic, talky rhythm, a dry, comedic wit and a matter-of-factness that typified the decade in American cinema. Starring Robert Redford, the always superb and underrated George Segal, character actors Ron Leibman, Moses Gunn, and comedic legend Zero Mostel, “The Hot Rock” was actually labeled as a comedic caper during its release, but its humor is fairly understated by today’s standards. However, it is undeniable that the film has a loose and breezy tone which makes it effortlessly watchable. Compared to some of these other stone-cold classics, Yates' picture could seem a little slight here, but it’s perhaps an important low-key template that others would follow; most significantly in Wes Anderson’s “Bottle Rocket” -- whether he actively knew it or not.
Coming out of TIFF with strong reviews (read ours here), with particular notice given to the performance by the film's star Nicole Kidman, we now have our first look at John Cameron Mitchell's drama "Rabbit Hole."
The two clips in the video below are a good slice of what the film has in store. The film follows Becca and Howie Corbett (Kidman and Aaron Eckhart) as they try to get on with their lives in the wake of the death of their young son in a car accident. In the first scene, Becca gets into a confrontation with her mother (who has had a bit too much to drink) about her unwillingness to reach out to family members for help. In the second scene, Becca and Howie wade into the waters of group therapy. The latter clip especially highlights the film's dark humor, something that not a lot of the reviews are mentioning. There are some bright, funny moments in the film.
"Rabbit Hole" was picked up by Lionsgate and is being prepared for an Oscar season release. Kidman is easily the standout of the film and you can bet there were be a big push for her Oscar nomination. No release dates have been announced yet. [TOH!]
Even though it's still officially summer, this week's lineup has an autumnal feel, with solid dramas, awards bait, and even a well-crafted comedy to attract moviegoers. Four films are opening wide this week and the number one slot is wide open. The strongest contender is most likely the cops and robbers heist picture "The Town," from director Ben Affleck. The film has very strong critical notices as does the charming teen comedy "Easy A," which should have a shelf life for years as good films for teenagers are few and far between. The horror flick "Devil" should see decent numbers despite having M. Night Shyamalan's in the credits; while the animated "Alpha and Omega" has been drumming up zero buzz. At the art-house, the highly anticipated romantic sci-fi film "Never Let Me Go" begins its limited rollout, the Sundance fave "Catfish" will try to build its good buzz into sleeper hit status, Philip Seymour Hoffman directs the drama "Jack Goes Boating" and Edward Norton lights up "Leaves of Grass."
In Wide Release: Ben Affleck returns to familiar Boston soil with his sophomore directorial effort "The Town." The town in question is Boston neighborhood, Charlestown, which at one point was the bank robbery capital of the United States. Following up his solid feature debut "Gone Baby Gone," Affleck steps in front of the camera as well in the story of a ragtag crew of bank robbers facing off with the cops. It's basically a crime genre flick, but a strong and thrilling one (check our review here) with a fantastic cast including Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall and Chris Cooper. RT: 90% Metacritic: 76.
Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden Say 'Calamity Physics' Is In Miramax Death Limbo; Working On New Ensemble Film, Want To Work With Mark Ruffalo
We're big fans of directors Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden having knocked our socks off with their one-two punch of "Half Nelson" and "Sugar."
While doing press for their latest effort, the ensemble dramedy "It's Kind Of A Funny Story" set to hit theaters on October 8th, we had the chance to catch up with the directing pair, who dropped both good and bad news about some of the projects on their slate.
The bad is that their adaptation of Marisha Pessl's excellent novel "Special Topics in Calamity Physics" appears to be dead. The pair have been attached to the project for a few years, and at one stage it seemed likely to be their follow up to "Sugar." But it seems once the studio they wrote it for collapsed, the project pretty much stalled out. Said Fleck, "We wrote that a few years ago for Miramax, R.I.P... So it's sort of in limbo right now. But we're not really working on that right now." It's a shame, as the book is very good, and it would've been interesting to see what Fleck & Boden made of it. Hopefully it'll be resurrected down the line.
Occasionally enchanting and evocative, yet rarely profound or reaching any affecting heights of "ecstatic truth," Werner Herzog's 3D documentary about ancient cave art, "Cave Of Forgotten Dreams" is not totally forgettable, but mostly a mild and familiar effort by the cinema stalwart.
In 1994 French speleologist Jean-Marie Chauvet (and two others) discovered rare and obscure caves in the south end, Ardèche department of the country. Thanks to errant air shafts, inside the caves were ancient prehistoric, 30,000 year old primitive pictorial art, found etched on the side of the crevasses. Herzog and his small film crew were granted unprecedented, but still limited and somewhat compromised, access to the subterranean dwellings that bore evidence of extremely early Upper Paleolithic life. Employing lights that emit no heat, the filmmaker/seeker and his crew, set out to ascertain clues that might give us some kind of insight into the lives of these stone age dwellers. In 3D, naturally.
Herzog has forged an entire career on immense curiosity and constant explorations into new territories and terrains (the Amazon, Antarctica, the desert, etc.), so it's easy to understand the appeal for him here, and while the film intermittently displays small flashes of his trademark brilliance or evokes a sense of true wonder in what Herzog's deep gaze sees, more often than not, the picture feels like a documentary you might press play on at a museum installation to half-listen for deeper info and context before wandering off in search of a new discovery.
Update: Trent Reznor Releases 5 Songs From 'The Social Network' Score For Free, Full Tracklist Revealed; Soundtrack Also Features The Beatles
Update: The free tracks are up and pre-orders for the album on CD, BluRay Audio or Vinyl are now available here. The soundtrack tracklisting is after the jump.
With David Fincher's highly anticipated "The Social Network" only a weeks away from its premiere at the New York Film Festival, and two weeks from it's bow in theaters on October 1st, the film has been picking up some tremendous steam. Early reviews have been effusive in their praise and it looks likely to be a major player in this year's awards season.
In what will certainly help keep the momentum going, it has been announced that Trent Reznor will make five songs from the score he penned with Atticus Ross available for free sometime today on his Null Co. website. It's not the first time Reznor has made some of his work available for free and it seems to be a strategy that works well for the artist and his fans. We can't wait to hear it.
But it looks like it's not just Reznor and Ross' work we're going to be hearing in the film. Roger Friedman reports that The Beatles' "Baby, You're A Rich Man" will be featured in the film as well. Beatles tracks are notoriously difficult and expensive to license (Paramount/Dreamworks paid $1.5 million for "Fool On A Hill" in "Dinner For Schmucks" earlier this year) but this time around, costs were apparently a bit more reasonable as Sony are the publishers of the Lennon-McCartney song catalog as well. Go, corporate synergy!
No word yet on the other songs in the film but we'll keep you posted. "The Social Network" score by Reznor will be officially released on September 28th.
Easily one of our most anticipated films of next year is "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," a new adaptation of John Le Carre's seminal spy novel and one of the true classics of the genre, from Working Title Films and Tomas Alfredson, director of "Let The Right One In." A terrific ensemble cast has been assembled, with Gary Oldman in the lead role of George Smiley, and Colin Firth, Tom Hardy (who recently replaced the originally cast Michael Fassbender), Benedict Cumberbatch, Jared Harris and Ciaran Hinds all joining him.
Producer Tim Bevan of Working Title spoke to Baz Bamigboye, who's been all over the casting for this one, and revealed a couple of key tidbits on the eve of filming commencing. First of all, the seemingly omnipresent Mark Strong ("Kick-Ass," "Sherlock Holmes," "Robin Hood") has joined the cast in an unknown role. The actor's been making a living out of playing villains for a couple of years now, so we hope his role is at least a little more ambivalent, but he's a terrific actor, and a fine addition to the cast.
Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenko ("Bless This Woman" "Love in the Big City") has also come on board, for the key role of Russian spy Irina. There's still no mention of Ralph Fiennes, who was announced as being part of the cast originally, but may have dropped out in order to focus on his directorial debut "Coriolanus" (David Thewlis was also mentioned early on, but seems to have fallen off)
I've Heard That Before, And I'm Trying To Work On It: New 'Due Date' Trailer A Hilarious Improvement
"Due Date" is a somewhat divisive film prospect at The Playlist; half of us have enjoyed the clips and trailers we've seen from the film so far, while half of us feel that the advertising, at least, has been a little lazy and lowest-common-denominator. Either way, the movie, which opens in November, is likely to be one of the biggest hits of the season. Even with an R-Rating, the reteaming of Todd Phillips and Zach Galifianakis, the director and star of comedy megahit "The Hangover," and adding arguably the biggest movie star in the world right now, Robert Downey Jr, to the mix can only result in a colossal haul of money, particularly considering that the trailer's played like gangbusters to audiences in theaters every time we've seen it.
A new trailer hit overnight at Apple, and, while we still wonder if Galifianakis has been given a little too much free rein here, it's certainly an improvement: the hirsute funnyman seems to have great chemistry with Downey Jr, and there's a couple of big laughs -- we love the Grand Canyon/Hoover Dam debate. More importantly, the embarrassing "You'd better check yourself before you wreck yourself" coda to the last clip is gone -- as it hopefully is from the film itself. We also get more of a glimpse of the solid supporting cast; Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Matt Walsh and Danny McBride all make appearances, while RZA, Alan Arkin and (*shudder*) Juliette Lewis will all turn up in the finished film.
We've got enough faith in the talent involved to still keep our fingers crossed for this: after all, it wouldn't be the first comedy with a lowest-common-denominator trailer to turn out to be pretty solid (the clips for "Anchorman" or "Role Models," for instance, weren't particularly promising), and we imagine a red-band clip will be more revealing of what to expect. Either way, the film hits November 5th.
The casting of a legendary musician in a biopic can be a tricky thing. Sometimes the actor can seem like a natural fit (Gary Oldman in "Sid and Nancy," for instance), and sometimes they can come from left field (we certainly never imagined Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash, although he did a solid job). There can also be the disastrous picks, as anyone who's seen Kevin Spacey as Bobby Darin in "Beyond The Sea" can attest to. This evening has brought news of a music biopic which, while we never would have imagined it, suddenly seems like a perfect bit of casting.
Deadline report that Sacha Baron Cohen, the erstwhile star of "Borat" and "Bruno," will play the late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in a new film being produced by Graham King's GK Films and Robert De Niro's Tribeca Productions. The script comes from biopic specialist Peter Morgan ("The Queen," "The Last King of Scotland," "Frost/Nixon"), and will apparently focus on the early years of the band, culminating in their performance at Live Aid in 1985.
Rights to the band's music have been secured, and the surviving members of the group -- Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon -- will be involved in the production. This writer has never been a big Queen fan, but there's no denying that Mercury lived an interesting enough life to be the subject of a film like this, and Baron Cohen is terrific casting. The comedian-turned-actor is very picky about his roles, but clearly the promise here is enough to make him sign on. His previous role outside of comedy in Tim Burton's "Sweeney Todd" was pretty terrific, one of the highlights of that film, and he's currently starring in Martin Scorsese's "Hugo Cabret," so he's clearly going to have a more interesting career path than most comedians.
Breaking: Guess they couldn't stand keeping a "secret" any longer. Casey Affleck has admitted to the New York Times today that the recently released "I'm Still Here" documentary and Joaquin Phoenix's two-year-long terrorist-look/hip-hop career attempt was all a put on.
“It’s a terrific performance, it’s the performance of his career,” Affleck said of Phoenix's gonzo-esque, bearded and tattered appearance and drug-addled mien that has garnered headlines for almost 24 months, including a mumbly, incoherent appearance on Late Show With David Letterman in 2008.
“The reviews were so angry,” Affleck said. While some of us -- including The Playlist -- assumed that (at least) some of the documentary and Phoenix's mental breakdown depicted therein was the real deal, the director/actor fully admitted virtually every moment of the doc was a fabrication.
Even the opening shot that purports to be Phoenix as a child in Panama was seemingly just actors that Affleck hired. Yet still he curiously says, “I never intended to trick anybody. The idea of a quote, hoax, unquote, never entered my mind.” And yet, apparently Letterman wasn't in on the joke and we imagine he's not going to be too pleased when Phoenix is back on the show next week to ostensibly bare his soul and/or confess to it all himself. We're sure his publicist's phone is ringing off the hook right now.
Exclusive: First Clip From Mystery Project 'ITW Pathway' Starring Terrence Howard, Famke Janssen, Rosie Perez, Moby, Alan Cumming, Will Oldham & More
We have an exclusive first look today at "ITW Pathway," a secretive project that is being so closely guarded, the filmmakers themselves are, for now, not revealing their identity.
From what we can tell you, the cast signed on knowing very little about the project, but one thing we can say is that while it does boast a lot of music talent, it is not a music-centered film. "ITW Pathway" boasts a huge cast, including Terrence Howard, Temple Grandin, Rufus Wainwright, Famke Janssen, Will Shortz, Moby, Kent Cullers, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Jorgen Leth, Dave Matthews, Alan Cumming, Rosie Perez, Aimee Mullins, Bob Mankoff and Will Oldham with original music by Yoko Ono.
The project is completed and though no dates are firmed up, we're told "the delivery will be as unconventional as the experience itself." You can watch the enigmatic clip and let the guessing game begin on whose identity is being hidden in the opening moments. You can also hit the film's website, which has a brief intro video that gives you a look at some of the other cast members, but the film's secrets remain close to the chest.
Earlier last week, it was reported that Warner Bros. execs remained uncertain about their sci-fi tent pole “Gravity” being ready for an early 2011 shoot. The possibility of Alfonso Cuarón’s $80 million 3D space thriller being grounded came from Warner’s insistence that Angelina Jolie be involved, despite the fact that she had rejected the project once it moved from Universal.
Reportedly, the WB seemed uncertain they could move forward on the film without a “bankable” leading lady. Conversations and auditions happened with a list of names that, according to Deadline Hollywood, include frontrunners Natalie Portman and Sandra Bullock as well as Naomi Watts, Marion Cotillard, Carey Mulligan, Scarlett Johansson, Sienna Miller, Abbie Cornish, Rebecca Hall, Olivia Wilde and Blake Lively, with Rachel Weisz rumored to have become a possibility in recent days. We think a couple of these actresses could do a fantastic job in the role, but we were put off by the predictability, and the overall whiteness, of this cast.
Jennifer Garner Joins Peter Hedges' 'The Odd Life To Timothy Green'; Offer Out To Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix Next In Line
Jennifer Garner is filling up her schedule. On the heels of news that she would be joining Jeremy Renner in "Better Living Through Chemistry," Vulture reports that the actress has signed on to Peter Hedges' ("Pieces Of April," "Dan In Real Life") next film, "The Odd Life Of Timothy Green."
Based on an idea by producer Ahmet Zappa and written by Hedges, the film is a "modern-day fable [that] centers around a child-prodigy musician and his parents." Garner would play the mother, and there is an offer out to Mark Wahlberg to play the father. But perhaps most interesting, should he pass, next in line to get a phone call is apparently Joaquin Phoenix. As for the role of the titular child, a fresh face is being sought, some preferably "with longish hair and warm, curious eyes." Okay, then.
No word yet on which film will come first in Garner's schedule, but with the completed "Butter" under her belt and these two projects on the way, it looks like she's finally out of the dull rom-com rut she seemed stuck in. [Vulture]
Harvey Weinstein can be your best friend or worst enemy (or both at the same time) and IFC have decided to play with fire, acquiring the worldwide rights (excluding Canada) for "Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project," a documentary on the famed and controversial filmmaking mogul.
The project was revealed earlier this year amidst all the hubbub of a potential Quentin Tarantino-helmed documentary. This spring, the film by director Barry Avrich was described as “a powerful, uncensored account of a brilliant, feared, charming and yet loathsome character” that would capture the “passion, character and old Hollywood style” that the Weinstein brothers have brought to their film ventures. Frankly, it sounds juicy but we're curious how many Hollywood types actually went on the record about their dealings with Harvey.
No word yet on when we'll see the film nor any comment from the subject of the film.
The following review is by A.A. Dowd for InReview Online who are assisting in our TIFF coverage this year.
It's one of the incomparable pleasures of attending a major film festival: walking in blind to something you know virtually nothing about and being completely floored by it. In an age of media saturation, where even a no-budget oddity like "After Last Season" can get trailered on Apple.com, the ground zero of a fest screening is the closest one gets to filmgoing in a vacuum. I'm being a touch misleading: "The Four Times," which I caught yesterday afternoon, isn't exactly an out-of-nowhere transmission. It played the Director's Fortnight at Cannes, where it delighted and entranced enough folks to earn some screenings here in Toronto, as well as a few at Telluride and NYFF. Thing is, that's all I knew about the film going in. Coming out of it, my brain curled around a number of nagging questions, not the least of which was: who the hell made this thing?
That'd be Michelangelo Frammartino, an Italian filmmaker whose only previous credit appears to be a Euro-festival fave called "The Gift." He seems here to have emerged from the artistic womb fully formed; there is a grace, confidence and aesthetic prowess to this beguiling little picture that belies its "new director" pedigree. Blurring the line between pin-drop-quiet character study and observational documentary, Frammartino hones in on a quiet village in southern Italy, where a lonely old shepherd inches closer and closer to the grave. Where the film goes from there I won't say, except to note that it bears a superficial resemblance, in pure premise at least, to another TIFF entry playing later in the week.
The myth of the modern sophisticate is given a thorough workout in Tim Blake Nelson’s “Leaves Of Grass,” a rowdy, dysfunctional new picture opening in New York this weekend. Lead character Bill Kincaid, an arch philosophy professor with high aspirations but low tolerance for his own roots, is the rube in a classical movie set-up, at once the fool and the smartest person in the room. As played by Edward Norton, an actor of great intelligence, the professor spends nearly every scene from the 30-minute point flummoxed, stupefied by the chain of events resulting from the deceptions of a supposed “lesser” brother.
“Leaves of Grass” is interesting, funny and fertile enough that you won’t regard this as a gimmick, as the brother is also played by Norton. Unlike his chatty, button-down sibling, Brady has used his apparent hereditary cognitive skills to pursue a life of crime. Specifically, Brady is a slave to the sticky icky, carefully cultivating crops using advanced hydroponics in order to build a muscular distribution system that stretches through the south. The superficial joke is that in the arena of knowledge, Brady’s worshipful stance on his bountiful buds places him a rung above his brother’s highfalutin’ book-learnin’. The most human decision made by the film is that director Nelson refuses to have these schools of thought compete, existing on the same level of respect.
John Cameron Mitchell's long-awaited drama "Rabbit Hole" made its premiere at TIFF on Monday night and has since been largely impressing critics who have seen the film. We saw it and were certainly taken by what is a very powerful look at the devastating emotional wake caused by the death of a child.
Lionsgate has gone ahead and snatched up the North American distribution rights for the film and more importantly, plan to release it before the end of the year. The film has been earning Oscar buzz surrounding Nicole Kidman's performance and certainly, it's one of the best roles she's had in a while and she definitely brings it. She's surrounded by a strong supporting cast, including Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, Miles Teller and Sandra Oh.
No word yet on a release date but we would imagine it will be prepped for a December bow. [Deadline]
Watch: Trailer For 'The Continuing And Lamentable Saga Of The Suicide Brothers' With Keira Knightley & Rupert Friend
A trailer has landed for a short film we didn't really know was happening at all, but that definitely shows a lot of promise.
"The Continuing And Lamentable Saga Of The Suicide Brothers" is a short film starring Keira Knightley, Rupert Friend and Tom Mison (and written by the latter two) and is a gothic, comic fairytale that looks like the kind of thing that used to be right in Tim Burton's wheelhouse before he lost his way to mainstream fare. The short was directed by The Brownlee Brothers.
After the jump, you can check out the official synopsis and more stills from the film that we dug up over at the official site. The film will be available on iTunes staring September 21st.
Hollywood seems to be taking dead aim at politicians this fall with two gritty documentaries, Charles Ferguson's "Inside Job" and Alex Gibney's "Client 9: The Rise And Fall Of Eliot Spitzer," on the way. Joining them will be George Hickenlooper's seemingly very broad drama/comedy "Casino Jack" about disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
We're still not sure what to make of this. The cast is of kind of all over the place with guys like Kevin Spacey and Barry Pepper rolling with Jon Lovitz and Kelly Preston, not to mention that director George Hickenlooper has been, generously speaking, uneven with his last two features, "Factory Girl" and "The Man From Elysian Fields."
The film is slated for a December release, though an exact date is yet to be nailed down. Full synopsis and trailer below. [FirstShowing or watch it in HD at Apple]
Milton's 'Paradise Lost' Being Turned Into A 3D Action Blockbuster With Aerial Warfare By Alex Proyas
Up yours, English literature snobs! Alex Proyas ("The Crow," "Dark City") has been tapped to bring Milton's 17th century classic work "Paradise Lost" to the big screen in a version that will probably end up bearing very little resemblance to the poem anyway.
While the film will tell the story of the epic battle between Michael and Lucifer, it "will be crafted as an action vehicle that will include aerial warfare, possibly shot in 3D." Think it sounds like a bad idea turned in by a committee of writers? You probably aren't far off. The project has already seen a handful of scribes (mostly unknown) add their two cents to the script, including Stuart Hazeldine, Byron Willinger, Philip de Blasi, Lawrence Kasdan ("The Big Chill," "Raiders Of The Lost Ark") and Ryan Condal.
The film is a co-production between Warner Bros. and Legendary and frankly, it sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. No word yet on when production is slated to begin or how/if it will affect production of "Dracula Year Zero" with Sam Worthington attached. [Variety]
Sorry ladies (and gentlemen), but it looks like "Mad Men" actor Jon Hamm won't be donning blue and red spandex for "Superman: The Man of Steel" anytime soon. The actor appeared on "Live with Regis and Kelly" this morning and denied any affiliation with the project, saying "If that's something that the powers that be are thinking about, I hope they get in touch with me."
Casting rumors (not to mention wishful thinking) have been circulating the web for some time now, with fans of the studly actor hoping to see him take on the cape for WB's newest incarnation of the Man of Steel. But as we've said before and we'll say it here again, studios have a lot of "possibles," so it's likely Hamm's name is on a list somewhere, but probably one amongst many. From casting to who will helm the project, rumors of all kinds have been swirling around for some time, so it will probably be a while before we see what develops once the dust settles.
But don't worry Hamm fans, there is plenty to see in the mean time; the 4th season of "Mad Men" is winding down (or heating up?) on AMC, and the actor can currently be seen on the big screen in both "Howl" and Ben Affleck's "The Town."
Sony Pictures Classics continues their long-standing and successful relationship with Pedro Almodóvar, picking up the North American rights to the director's forthcoming thriller "The Skin That I Inhabit" ("La Piel Que Habito"; previously referred to as "The Skin I Live In").
A revenge picture based on crime novelist Theirry Jonque's 2005 book, Tarantula, the film is about a plastic surgeon's revenge on the man who raped his daughter. But really, that's just scratching the surface. You can read the full synopsis of the book here, but in short, this is a film that has a loathsome protagonist who, while seeking justice for his daughter, keeps his wife imprisoned and subjects her to humiliating sexual acts with strangers. The story also apparently features a wide variety of characters whose lives end up intersecting so it's not a surprise to see the number of new names attached.
The film stars Antonio Banderas, Marisa Paredes (Almodóvar's "All About My Mother" and "The Flower of My Secret"), Jan Cornet, Roberto Alamo, Blanca Suárez, Eduard Fernández, José Luis Gómez (Almodóvar's "Broken Embraces"), Bárbara Lennie, Susi Sánchez, Fernando Cayo and Teresa Manresa. Longtime collaborators such as composer Alberto Iglesias, DoP Jose Luis Alcaine and editor José Salcedo are once again in the mix. The film has a tidy budget of 10 million Euros and is currently in the midst of an 11-week shoot throughout Spain.
No release dates have been revealed as yet but surely the film is an early contender for next year's lineup at the Cannes Film Festival.
Exclusive: Demetri Martin, Jennifer Ehle, Bryan Cranston & Elliott Gould Join 'Contagion'; Film Won't Be In 3D
While the wait for Steven Soderbergh's next film "Haywire" might be a bit longer than we expected due to a late stage distributor change, the director is never one to sit twiddling his thumbs. And with his next film, the globe-trotting virus thriller "Contagion" gearing up to shoot very soon, more names have joined the already huge and star-studded cast.
According to our sources, Demetri Martin, Jennifer Ehle, Bryan Cranston and Elliott Gould have joined the cast for the film, which already boasts Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, John Hawkes, Chin Han and Josie Ho. Phew. As you might recall, Martin was set to star in Soderbergh's "Moneyball" before it fell apart last year, while Gould has worked with the director in the 'Oceans' films as well as in the short-lived HBO series "K Street." For Ehle and Cranston it will be their first time working with the helmer.
An international affair that takes place on several continents (read our detailed, yet spoiler-free script review), and written by Scott Z. Burns, "Contagion" is a taut, thrilling and all-too-plausible and frightening screenplay that is a "Traffic"-like sprawling film about the ramifications of the spread of a global virus. We hear Burns continues to fine-tune the already strong draft we read earlier in the year. No word yet on what roles the new cast members will be playing.
We're glad someone wanted to talk to Keanu Reeves because it appears all the hoity-toity official press types were at a loss for words during the awkward, silence-filled press conference for "Henry's Crime" at TIFF.
However, the folks over at Collider showed the old pros how it's done and chatted with Reeves about pretty much every single project Reeves has been linked to in the past little while, and the actor was more than game, dropping updates on what's happening with each one. So here's a rundown:
"Cowboy Bebop": Linked to a big screen version of the fanboy favorite anime back in 2009, it looks like the budget required to bring the futuristic story to the big screen is prohibitive for now. "I haven’t heard anything back. They turned in the script and it was very expensive. I don’t know if they’re going to…it would cost, like, half a billion dollars to make that script. So, I don’t know where it’s at right now."
"47 Ronin": Things look a bit more promising for this samurai epic period piece. The film is set to be directed by Carl Erik Rinsch who got major heat this year following his short film "The Gift." It looks like pre-production is in full swing with Reeves saying, "....they’ve done pre-production, we’re still working on the script, they’re done pre-viz, and they’re doing location scouting. It’s ready to go. It’s a bullet train in waiting."