Sunday, 13 February 2011

Honouring the writers (Film News - 12/02/11)

It's been a fantastic week for film fans, every day we've been treated to valuable nuggets of information all building up to exciting propositions for future cinematic releases. Some have been for the sort of box office behemoths that dominate the front pages however there has also been a tsunami of reportage for more high brow fare, including some projects that may bother the Academy over the next couple of years.

The Third Act/He Loves Me

We start this week with two very different projects that share a similar starting point: Writer's Block (something I imagine most bloggers are familiar with). In The Third Act we have a sucessful author of Western novels - set to be played by Morgan Freeman - He Loves Me will star Paul Dano as a former child prodigy trying to break into serious adult fiction (that's fiction for adults nothing saucy).

That's where the similarities end. Whilst the former involves Freeman meddling with the lives of the local inhabitants of the small town he retreats to for inspiration and the latter will riff on Pygmalion and see Dano writing up hs ideal girlfriend into existence. Behind the cameras will be Rob Reiner and Little Miss Sunshine duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris further highlighting the divergent styles.

You wouldn't have thought tht writer's block (as visualised above) would be such a hot topic in Hollywood, but with these two and Jason Reitman's upcoming Young Adult there definitely seems to be a trend forming. I would be tempted to say theres been a lot of it about but you could hardly argue the output has dwindled over recent years or that the quality of high end writing has dimished either in la-la-land or on the Waterstone's shelves. Maybe it's just an outpouring of nostalgia for the printed word before it finally gets subsumed by the instant gratification of the computer screen.

Read on for tragic siblings, runaway princesses, gospel singers, assassins, hypnotherapy, bible stories, werewolves, The Coen brothers, mad millionaires and the usual helpings of casting news.

Back Roads

Andrew Garfield (left) clearly has a good head on his shoulders, or at least a clever agent, as he's already signing onto the indie options tht will prove invaluable once the Spider-man cash cow has met it's untimely end. Once filming on the web slinger is over he'll be raising his youg sisters all by himself as a result of his domestically abused Mum murdering his Dad. Expect lots of wrought emotions, as well as steamy encounters with neighbour Jennifer Garner, in Adrian Lyne's film.

Girl's Night Out

The King's Speech has reminded everyone that good old-fashioned Royalty mixing with commoners is still as popular as ever so it's no surprise to see the tale of young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret sneaking out of the Palace on VE day and having a high old time in London. Expect Margaret (due to be played by Dakota Fanning!!!) to be having much more fun than her upright sister, now The Queen.

Got to Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel

If you think one American Idol reject winning an Oscar is not enough then stand by for Fantasia Barrino (to be honest I have no idea who she is, but apparently she's well known on that side of the pond). She's taking the lead role in the biopic of the Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson (right - in full flow). Unlike most biopics there's very little dirt to dig up on Mahalia, raised in an abusive household she found the Church fairly early on and never looked back. On the other hand she sung at the March on Washington in 1963 and at Martin Luther King's funeral as well as being the first Gospel artist to perform at the Carnegie Hall. So it should be a fairly affirming movie at least.


I wouldn't normally go for Stallone movies, especially one where he plays a hitman lest it be a sort of sequel to the horrific Assassins. However the graphic novel has been adapted by The Messenger scribe Alessandro Camon which, given how powerful and nuanced his previous work is, makes me very interested indeed.

The Hynotist

Dragon Tattoo fans rejoice there's a new Swedish thriller set to ake the leap to the big screen, and even better it's not being made as a TV miniseries then being butchered into feature length episodes. On the other had Lars Kopler's first novel (left) in his Det. Joona Linna books is hardly Steig Larsson levels of notoriety. The plot involves a near dead boy being hypnotised to reveal details of who murdered his family in order to protect the other surviving siblings. Probably gory.

Noah's Ark

A few weeks ago we had speculation about Darren Aronofsky writing a comic book in order to obtain finance for his next projet. This week we found out that comic is for his Noah's Ark story. The odd thing is it's not even a metaphor. Darren Aronofsky really wants to make a biblical epic about the most famous boat in Genesis, covering themes of environmentalism and survivors guilt, it's the sort of film they definitely don't make anymore. Not sure how middle America will respond - but then I guess they didn't watch Black Swan.

Sharp Teeth

Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy may be joining forces for the third time running (after Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours) with the adaptation of the Werewolves in gangland LA novel by Toby Barlow (right). It's had some very good press and won the Alex award for young adult literature. Clearly Boyle's highly acclaimed National Theatre production of Frankenstein has persuaded him to make the leap to onscreen horror.

The Coen Brother's next movie

Joel and Ethan Coen are in an virtually unheard of position as they have no project on the go, and as much as I'd like them to return to some of their abandoned ideas (The Yiddish Policeman's Union first and foremost) it seems they're going to bemoving on. During a recent webchat with Empire magazine they hinted a full blown horror may be on the cards - with Frances McDormand as the monster - or a faux documentary might make it first (according to Roger Deakins). Frankly, with the financial and critical success of True Grit I imagine the studios will make them make whatever they want to make this time.

Christopher Nolan's Howard Hughes biopic

Apparently Christopher Nolan (left) fancies making a small movie after Dark Knight Rises, aiming to follow the increasing bizare behaviour of reclusive Billionaire Howard Hughes. I'm not sure how much more needs to be said about the man, between Scorsese's The Aviator and the Melvin and Howard cameo I think we've seenit all, however Nolan clearly wants an Oscar and it might be that biopics are the only way for him to get one.

Casting News

Some interesting addtions to projects already in the pipeline including Richard Jenkins joining the card cheat fallout out in Cogan's Trade, Nicolas Hoult will be Jack, The Giant Killer out to dispose of the Bill Nighy and John Kassir's two headed giant whilst being manipulated by Stanley Tucci. Bruce Willis, Justin Timberlake and Catherine Zeta-Jones will all be gambling on Lay the Favourite. Oscar nominees James Franco is the latest Wizard in Oz: The Great and Powerful and Jennifer Lawrence will be involved with drug cartels in The Savages. Finally - and I know this isn't cating - David Frankel (Devil wears Prada) is the latest diretor attachedto Meryl Strep marital therapy comedy Great Hope Springs.

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