Saturday, 13 February 2010

Film News (13/02/09)

You just can't move without finding exciting news stories this week, overall there have been 13 different press releases that have struck me as projects to look out for. That's pretty much a record for me and as a result this weeks post will be scattershot, focusless and messy. Hang on that's every Saturday news post only even worse. And on to it...


I think we all know that I am a huge fan of Steven Soderbergh. Frankly I think he's a genius, with an enormous output and a clever way of balancing high-profile marquee productions with more intimate experimental work. This week it was announced he's working on Contagion, an international deadly virus thriller. It's not the sort of thing that has been tried on such a massive scale before (most virus plots focus on small communities such as Outbreak). It's definitely going to be one of his bigger pictures with Matt Damon, Jude Law and Kate Winslet all circling roles.

Here's a flu virus in action - Steven Soderbergh not pictured.

Read on for Penelope, Rachel and Cate casting news, 70's comedies, US Presidents, metaphoric violence, original musicals, Russian spys and social satires!

Dream House

Our first major casting story is the addition of Rachel Weisz to the it's-not-a-remake-but-sounds-exactly-the-same-as-Cold-Creek-Manor Dream House. She will be married to Daniel Craig, which in itself is quite a dreamy proposition.


Also signing on to a new project is Cate Blanchett, who has taken an unnamed role in Joe Wright's child trained to kill flick. This shouldn't be a big surprise as there's a big hole in her schedule where Wright postponed his Lady Mountbatten/Nehru picture for Hanna in the first place.

Laverne and Shirley/New Years Eve

There seems to be some confusion about what's next on Garry Marshall's slate. New Line, sensing box office gold with this weekends Valentine's Day have already started the ball rolling on a sequel - that is using the same concept of a star studded selection of relationships all intersecting on New Years Day. Names in the hat for who'll be in that one.

In the meantime Garry's been joking(?) on the red carpets that's he's planning a big screen adaptation of "Laverne and Shirley" - the long running spin-off from "Happy Days". I'll confess I don't know the series so I can't say whether it's a good or bad thing.

Personally I'm planning on seeing Marshall's latest magnum opus this afternnon so I'll get back to you on whether I think he should be allowed behind a camera again.

Untitled LBJ Biopic

From the website (I think it's just a local arts/tourism site) comes the news that Robert Benton is prepping for a biopic about 36th US President Lyndon B. Johnson. All we know from the story, which can be found here, is that filming will likely take place elsewhere in order to receive more favourable tax cuts. It seems that would be bad news for the Texan economy. HBO are producing so this may or may not get a theatrical release, but either way the story of LBJ is probably ripe for the telling.

Little War of Our Own

Beacon pictures have picked up Dan (The Hurricane, Murder in the First) Gordon's script about a small town drifting towards violence during the second world war, effectively mirroring the international political scene at the time. It will up to the Sheriff to keep the peace before it's too late. This could be a modern western, or just pure allegory, either way it may just work.

Melancholia/Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Penelope Cruz has hit the headlines for signing on to two widely diverse projects. The first is Lars von Trier's catastrodrama Melancholia, and the second will be seeing her square off to Johnny Depp in the next Pirates installment. Both projects, which I'll be honest I was probably going to see anyway, have just got a lot more interesting.


The remake of the seminal 80's action thriller is not yet dead in the water. In spite of rumours that Darren Aronofsky was against shooting in 3D and that MGM were equally reticent about the R rating the director favours, writer David Self is convinced the project is still go. There are certainly practicalities about the production that need to be finalised as there would be when dealing with a "large corporation" but there's nothing major in the way. Other than Aronofsky's Black Swan, which is due to be released later this year, of course.

Song is You

Based on the novel about Arthur Philips, the story revoles around a middle aged commercial director, going through a bad patch in his life (I'm mentally casting Paul Giamatti) who feels a connection with a club singing ingenue. A tenous romance then plays out with him guiding her career and her becoming his inspiration to reinvigorate his life. Sounds dreadful - only the plan is to make a musical about it. I hope thet means original songs. There are so few musicals writeen directly for screen that I hope they're good when they do try.

The Terminal Spy

Do you remember when there were multiple Alexander Litveninko project hangiong around Hollywood, with Johnny Depp being very vocal about his wish to play the former KGB spy? Well finally one of these is beginning to get moving with news that the authoritive Alan S. Cowell's investigative best-seller is being developed. He's the former chief of the London Bureau of the New York Times so it'll be well researched and at the same time won't hesitate from pointing the finger where it needs to be pointed. Whther any adaptation will be able to fit in the complexities of the case, or whether Depp will be involved in this one remains to be seen.

Turn of the Century

Finally I'm turing to on of the most promising directors of the 1970's, but equally one who never really made good on that original promise: Peter Bogdanovich. It's been 9 years since his underrated Cat's Meow so we're certainly due this Kurt Anderson adaptation. The novel has been favourably compared to the yuppie classic "Bonfire of the Vanities", a social satire which should fit Bogdanovich's style. Let's hope it does - I want to see a re-emergence of the once feted auteur.


Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

I was so annoyed at the bad press P's joining POTC got. I mean they've always been bitching that Keira was spoiling then (I like her, and she was not the reason they were getting worse) and then P joins and everyone's angry. Personally I'd love to see her opposite Johnny and Rob did good work with her in Nine, so I'm glad he's getting someone he's familiar with while working on something different.

Cate Blanchett+Saoirse Ronan+Wright=Genius? I hope.

Runs Like A Gay said...

It does seem that the POTC fans will go for the pretty girls when things are what they want - no surprise as the majority of fans are girls themselves (I'm guessing the teens who go for hammy Depp or bland Bloom don't like any competition).

Saying that Penelope won't be enough to make the film good if the script is as flabby as the last two outings.

Hanna will depend on Ronan exclusively. If she can't convince she's a trained assassin then the whole project's sunk regardless of the involvement of Wright and Blanchett. I'll wait until The Way Back before I start to get truly excited about her capabilities as an actor. (I note you had her in your top 5 actresses for 2009 for Lovely Bones, so it's possible I will be more positive before then.)