Sunday, 27 February 2011

Film Musical event of a lifetime (Film News - 26/02/11)

Wow, Oscar night already. I'd love to pretend I'll be staying up all night to watch it but it is on exceptionally late and isn't on free view here either, so I guess I'll catch up with the winners in the morning. In the meantime here are some articles that have caught my eye, as well as the monthly update on cinema release dates for films we've covered here in the past.

Les Miserables

It's one of the most successful and popular musicals of all time, last year it past it's 26th anniversary on Broadway and it's 10,000's performance in London, and yet there hasn't been a film adaptation for Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's work. Not that they haven't tried both Alan Parker and Bruce Beresford have had high-profile attempts to put it together but it's all come to nothing, until now. With the world at his feet, and the prospect of a surprise best Director oscar this evening, Tom Hooper is seriously considering taking it on as his next project. You know damn well that it will be massively popular, but will it be any good?

I confess I've never seen the musical, in spite of the exhortations of a number of my friends, for me it seems to be a monumental folly, an extraordinarily overlong retelling of an already padded out novel (Victor Hugo, not known for his brevity). However it has won numerous Olivier and Tony awards, a few of the tunes are catchy and I don't know anyone who's really hated it. It's also pretty clear that a movie with this sort of heritage will produce a much better box office return than, say Nine even if recreating the French revolution will cost significantly more and may thereby resurrect the moribund musical genre.

Another factor going for the adaptation is the central relationship between petty criminal Valjean and obsessive policeman Javert which should create an interesting dynamic for the two actors who takes these roles, and as we've all seen recently Hooper is a master at dissecting male relationships. Keep our fingers crossed for this I think.

Read on for timeless romance, Miami vice, more dream levels, an old mans love, unsolved murders, soccer and a fast and loose biopic. As well as the usual round-up of castings and release schedules.


Gabriele Muccino is obviously gutted at losing Passengers from his schedule as he's now considering another sci-fi inflected romance, this time about a woman who stops aging at the turn of the 20th century until she meets the right man. The project previously has Andy (Hitch) Tennant and Katherine Heigl attached but with them dropping out it seems the film may be leaning more to the weepie audience. It's a difficult combo to get right, but I wish them the very best.

Cocaine Cowboys

The dramatic retelling of 2006's documentary (left) hit might still be in the works, according to David O. Russell and Mark Wahlberg. It focuses on 70's crime icon Jon Roberts and his aspirations and experiences with drug cartels in Miami. Right now it looks like we'll have Russell and Wahlberg collaborating for the fourth time soon whatever film he decides to make.

Inception 2

Tom Hardy has waxed lyrically this week about his forthcoming role in The Dark Knight Rises for which he plans to bulk up (what, even more you say) but he also let slip that his contract for Inception included a lock-in clause for a sequel. I very much hope that's a legal machination to prevent the rights falling into the wrong hands and not an indication that the story will continue. I quite like the open-ended ending it currently has.

Old Mans War

I always see to be writing about sci-fi movies here, yet exceptionally few of them ever get made. Really at the moment there's only Prometheus and the Avatar sequels on the horizon. So please read on with a healthy dose of scepticism as Paramount have picked up the rights to John Scalzi's highly praised novel (left). The memories and personality of a septuagenarian are transplanted into a genetically enhanced body of a young soldier. The plot then gets weird when he meets a woman who reminds him of his dead wife. On board to direct is Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, Poseiden) which seems like an odd choice so expect some changes before it goes before the cameras.


It looks like Precious director Lee Daniels has finally settled on his next project, and the bad news it's a thriller (I'm still trying to forget Shadowboxer). Based on the Pete Dexter's Florida set novel it meanders through a complex plot involving investigative journalism and unsolved murders whilst touching upon the seedy underside of the popular holiday destination. He's been talking to Bradley Cooper, Sofia Vergara and Alex Pettyfer about heading up the cast.


Football doesn't often make it to the big screen, the latest attempt Goal was seen as a horrendous failure, but that hasn't stopped this latest French comedy from getting the go ahead. It will focus on a former star player who coaches his local amateur team in an isolated fishing community in Northern France. Combined with Zebras and Playing the Field it looks like soccer is beginning to ascend in cinema.

Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft

A couple of years ago we heard about a fictional biopic of sci-fi author H.P. Lovecraft (there he is on the right, and you can kind of see why he wrote sci-fi novels) but then the trail ran cold. The latest update is that Big Fish/The Nines scribe John August has been brought on to revise the script. August has a solid genre background so he should be a nice addition to this dreams unleashed project.

Casting News

There's been the usual round of casting speculations including a (very)longlist of actors vying to replace Matt Damon as the central character in Bourne Legacy including Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Garret Hedlund, Kellen Lutz and on and on for 10 more possible actors! Robert Downey Jnr is all but confirmed as Paul Thomas Anderson's private eye in Inherent Vice, Uma Thurman and Jessica Biel will be among the ladies Gerard Butler will woo in Playing the Field, and Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts and Rebecca Hall have all been linked to roles in the Matt Damon/Ben Affleck wife swap drama The Trade - that is providing the wives and players in the New York Yankees who inspired the story don't manage to prevent it from even happening in the courts.

Release Schedules

Not much going on with the latest release changes. I guess we're still consolidating after the winter. Mind you summer's beginning to look less empty - I now have two movies I want to see between 20 May and 02 September - shame they're both out on the same date.

Hanna - Who'd've thought that Joe Wright would be making a summer tent pole movie - well the latest release shift for his hit girl thriller has shifted straight into the mid May onslaught. Seek revenge through your children on 06 May 2011.

Conspirator - Robert Redford's historic-political drama about the trial of Mary Surratt shuffled out of Toronto last year with little support but it should still pick up an audience in a dull looking summer. Join mob mentality on 01 July 2011.

War Horse - Spielberg's still settling on a final release pattern for his patented serious and silly combo with this latest tiny shift. Follow your pet across Europe on 25 March 2011.

Bourne Legacy - It's yet to really enter into the pre-production phase, in fact as you can see above they're still 14 stars to disappoint before they can even begin, however the latest Bourne movie has a release. Forget your past on 17 August 2012.

No, Damon won't be appearing in this.

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