Saturday, 5 March 2011

Future Oscar Bait (Film News - 05/03/11)

This week the film headlines have been dominated by the Oscars (congrats to everyone involved with The King's Speech - really must get round to watching it) and by Charlie Sheen's continuous breakdown however slinking underneath the headlines have been a number of projects discussed which may be worth keeping an eye on.

Boys in the Boat

The Weinstein Company is having a very good week - see my comments above - so obviously they're already on the way to planning for future Oscars. As it is with this historical movie set on the eve of the Second World War, focusing on the US Olympic crew who defied the will of Adolf Hitler and his aryan rowers (pictured passing the winning post below). Hoo-rah!

Bizarrely all Harvey has paid for is the rights to a book treatment that isn't even finished by David James Brown, so expect a very very long wait until this gets made.

At the moment Kenneth Branagh is linked to direct but luckily he has cancer-ridden drama Italian Shoes with Anthony Hopkins on his slate first.

Read on for returning boxers, drinking buddies, classic literature, a Job story, a project that worries me, flowers and Quentin Tarantino as well as all the latest production news fit to print.

Fighter 2

Whilst working the red carpet last Sunday Mark Wahlberg (left) made references to a potnetial sequel to the oscar winning boxing movie. Likely to focus on Mickey Ward's three bouts with Arturo Gatti. I really am amazingly uninterested in seeing this happen, but if it does they really need to think of a better way to film the boxing segments.

Honeymoon with Harry

The drama about an alcoholic groom who's fiancee dies so he goes on the honeymoon with his not quite father-in-law is back on track with Jenny Lumet giving the script a polish before passing it on to director Jonathon Demme. The pair have worked wonders with dramedy before in 2008's Rachel Getting Married.

Hunchback of Notre Dame

We haven't had a major live action version of Victor Hugo's classic monster romance for many years so it's no surprise to hear Josh Brolin is trying to get the talent together to make a new version. So far he has Sherlock Holmes 2 scriptwriters Michele and Kieran Mulroney and he's looking to entice Tim Burton to he directors chair. I am concerned about the potential tone of this adapatation given the diverse perspectives but it will be good to see Brolin swinging from the bells screaming for Esmerelda. That's Charles Laughton on our right taking the role in 1936 - don't expect Brolin to mess with the formula too much.


Apparantly The Coen Brother's A Single Man wasn't close enough to the Biblical Job for Will Smith so he's signed up to a modern retelling which starts with the premise that God and Satan are fighting over a man's soul. Smith will star as the titular put upon hero who will lose his wealth, health and family in what the writers (Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson of The Fighter) claim is a comedy.


We're on dodgy territory here. Barry Levinson is set to make a low-budget film about Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh using a script by Clay World (who's brother was on McVeigh's defence team). This could be an interesting artsy look at why a seemingly well-adjusted adult commits such a horrific crime, or it could become a extraordinary attempt to belatedly clear McVeigh's name, or at least shift the blame onto extremists groups - a possibility that would be offensive to the families of those who were killed or injured as a result of his attack.

Tulip Fever

The temptation to put this long-gestating British movie at the top of todays headlines was high, but that would have made three weeks in a row leading with Tom Hooper rumours and I don't want to be seen as rubbing it in. Effectively trailed by Gordon Gekko in Wall Street 2 Deborah Moggach's novel is set against the trading on tulip bulbs in 17th century Holland - althugh it's essentially a love story between a penniless artists and a married woman. It has been close to being made a couple of times - in 2004 the cameras were set to roll when funding collapsed (somewhat aptly) - but given the currently financial mess we're in I doubt it could be more prescient.

Tulips in Amsterdam (see background windmill) pictured.

Untitled Quentin Tarantino Western

Quentin's seen how well True Grit has done commercially and seems t have decided the time is ripe for his spagetti western. I wasn't a fan of Inglorious Basterds but I think his excess and asthetic could work in a Wild West setting. Christoph Waltz and Franco Nero are among those already getting calls from the auteur.

Production News

Whilst trawling through IMDb this week there are a shocking number of projects that have kicked into gear over the last month, far more than you would expect to see in a single month. In fact just try to imagine 16 films you want to see all opening in one month - doesn't bare thinking about. So production has begun on gambling biopic Lay the Favourite, writer's block tale Third Act and Lasse Hallstrom kicked off on both Swedish crime thriller The Hypnotist and transgender drama The Danish Girl. Returning to forthcoming schedules (having disappeared for a short while) are Lee Daniels's civil rights movie Selma, Great Hope Springs with Meryl Streep and the Al Pacino version of King Lear. There's also tough family drama Back Roads, sci-fi tinged romance Adaline, literary adaptation The Great Gatsby (which I still don't understand why Baz Luhrmann wants to shoot in 3D), young adult adaptation The Graveyard Book and football drama Les Seigneurs. For action fans there's Headshot and Bourne Legacy and for music fans there's yet to be titled biopics about Mahalia Jackson and Tupac Shakur.

Whew! There are a couple more which turned up of which I had no previous idea they even existed. As follows:

El Chico Blanco

Drama about two friends who take different paths with one joining the police and the other choosing crime and eventually become mortal enemies. Oddly just writing that seems terribly passe, but I was strangely drawn when I heard it was written by Twilight actor Peter Facinelli.

Whole Lotta Sole

British comedy - steady - about a robbery in a Belfast fish market (hence the pun filled title) that goes horribly wrong. Brendan Fraser and Sophie Okonedo are set to be two of the hotchpotch selection of hostages. Possibly set in the market pictured below...

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