Saturday, 4 June 2011

Me Ben. You Reader. - (Film News - 04/06/11)

It's been a great week for film news, with some very unexpected stories catching my eye, and with sci-fi, romance, adventure and thrillers there's probably something for everyone in these stories. There have also been some exciting casting developments and the monthly look through imdb has revealed an unlikely trio of movies that weren't even on my radar. So please enjoy the read, and don't forget to let me know if any of these films appeal to you too.


It's been a while since Edgar Rice Burrough's 1914 novel has seen a new adaptation. 12 years since the Disney animation, 27 since the largely dismissed Hugh Hudson movie and of course 63 years since Johnny Weissmuller last donned the loincloth so it's hardly surprising that Warner Bros are dusting of the rights, believing we're due another look at the lost Earl of Greystoke.

Essentially a series of boy's own action adventure stories about an abandoned child with no adult contact with humans getting the full Victorian explorer craze full in the face. Partly a treatise for leaving the natural environment well alone it'll be an interesting to see what a post global warming look at the plot will highlight

Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Footloose) is set to direct what has been described as a passion piece for him, with an eye to making a franchise trilogy should the first film do well. Either way I;m sure we'll get some jungle action soon. Everybody grab hold of a vine and do your best "Aaaa-aaa-aaargh".

Weissmuller was never happier than when just hanging out in a tree.

Read on for computer chips, iconic love stories, media frenzies, more pirates and secrets in our past as well as the weekly round-up of casting news and the monthly check on imdb pre-production lists.


A few months ago Wayne Kramer was attached to the Sylvester Stallone assassin film Headshot (which is in no way connected to Stallone's Assassins) and things seemed to be going swimmingly until out of the blue Kramer left for 'creative differences' and Walter Hill was brought on board. At the time reports said that Kramer had something else in the works which would be easy to get funding for so na na nah-na naa. This week we heard his next project, which doesn't sound at all easy to get funding for, will be a sci-fi romance set in a alternative future where love can only be obtained through via a prohibitively expensive implanted chip (the title). The plot will follow a couple who go to desperate measures to obtain a chip. There are more questions than answers in that summary - for instance if they want a chip why do they need one? - but I am curious how Kramer, working from his own script, will build a world where that seems plausible.

Furious Love

Those of you with long memories will remember we first mentioned the relationship biopic of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in July last year, based in part on Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger's book (left). Back then there were quite a few names in the frame for the cast but plans were still very sketchy. Now Liz is no longer with us the impetus to make the movie seems to have increased with the news that Martin Scorsese is interested in directing. That's a bizarre twist I doubt anyone would have predicted, but then who would of thought he'd be making a children's film in 3D and the Hollywood lore aspect of the story almost certainly appeals to Marty. That said I think I'd rather see his Silence first.

Panic Attack

OK, calm down. Just a week after the red band trailer for the US Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake has been 'leaked' onto the net director David Fincher has kept himself in the headlines by optioning Jason Starr's 2009 crime novel. The story concerns a psychiatrist who kills an intruder and must face the media frenzy that results and the victim's partner in crime out for revenge. Ultimately we're looking at a Cape Fear type cat and mouse game and the sort of stuff Fincher could do in his sleep, although you have to ask whether it's far enough apart from the Dragon Tattoo's dark and macabre central conceit to really interest him as a director.

Pirates of the Caribbean 5

Now it's time to panic, as Disney are convinced there is a public appetite for a fifth Pirates movie (ignoring it's domestic gross will probably be around $100m less than the previous installment) and already the wheels are in motion to recruit Rob Marshall back into the directors chair - on the off chance that fails they've also got a long list of other directors they're willing to contact including Tim Burton, Sam Raimi and Alfonso Cuaron. Of course it's all down to Depp (right) if he stays on then I can't imagine the studios turning away the licence to print money so "please please please Johnny just give it up and walk away; this franchise is killing all of our brains".

Safe Haven

Fans of unadventurous middle America literature be warned Lasse Hallstrom is set to have another crack at a Nicolas Sparks novel (left) following the reasonable profits from two hanky movie Dear John. This time an audience surrogate with a dark secret moves into a North Carolina town and falls for a store-owning widower. Expect difficult choices and tearful reconciliations and absolutely no-one really caring about the characters.

Casting News

News on the casting front has been a little more interesting this week, starting with the delicious prospect of Leonardo DiCaprio joining Tarantino's Django Unchained as the evil plantation owner holding Will Smith's wife as a slave. Amy Adams and Laura Dern are both up for a bit of fundamentalism in Paul Thomas Anderson upcoming project about creating a religion.

Production News

It's that time in the month when we look through imdb to find which of the delicious stories mentioned here has swung into production, potentially threatening a real movie at the end of it. The top line good news is that there are now 20 films that would qualify for the 20 for 2012 countdown for next year - yes we're already thinking about it. Naturally many of those will fall by the wayside (5 will potentially move into this year including Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Little Red Wagon, numbers 1 and 20 respectively) but it's a good sign that next year could see a load of really interesting stuff on the horizon. This month we've seen movement on Steven Spielberg's Lincoln biopic, motorcycling epic The Place Beyond the Pines, mother/daughter vampire picture Byzantium, Danny Boyle's quickie arts heist movie Trance, Florida murder mystery The Paperboy (Much discussed at Cannes) and Channing Tatum will get nekkid as Magic Mike. We'll see paperback pygmalian He Loves Me, Michel Gondry's kids flick The We and the I, Texas-set thriller Borderline and 3D erotica Io e Te.

Of course a month wouldn't go down properly if there weren't some titles that surprised me, coming out of nowhere. So here, in no particular order, are three brand new projects which I am curious about seeing.

Charlie Irish

The least likely of the films to actually make it into a final product is this Steven Feder script about a maths prodigy who uses his skills to create unbeatable algorithms to predict sports results and thus clear up. Allegedly based on a true story this seems like a one man retread of 21 without boring card game scenes. Currently Barry Levinson's attached to direct but with Gotti: three generations also on the horizon expect this to be dropped soon.

Saving Seymour

Allegedly based on a book, although I can't for the life of me find a novel with that title, the main reason I'm curious about this adaptation is Jerry Stiller, Mr. Pinky from the Hairspray musical will play the title role, and it's always great to see a character actor get the limelight later in life (he's 84 this week).

Whisperings and Lies

Biopic of Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. Few can argue with the immense talent (and immense hands) of one of the most influential musicians of the 19th/20th century, his works including the brutal and complex piano symphonies speak for themselves. As a man he is fascinating, spent most of his life battling depression and arthritis, as well as spending most of his adult life in America, escaping from the Russian Revolution. There is no doubt that a look at his life and works will be an important addition to the canon of Classical music biopics, although quite what direction this film will take is unclear. The description hints to taking his story up from after his death (secrets he took to the grave) and the only cast member attached is Abbie Cornish, who whilst very talented could not make a credible Sergei.

Rachmaninoff's work has made it to cinemas before, most notably the Piano Concerto No. 3 which sends Noah Taylor (as a young David Helfgott) over the edge in Shine above.


TomS said...

Well..."Magic Mike" certainly has me intrigued! Lots of good stuff to look forward to. Thanks for the heads up!

Runs Like A Gay said...

Magic Mike seems very odd, especially with Alex Pettyfer playing Tatum. I do wonder how real the story is going to be.

I think Boyle art heist movie is the one that has me most intrigued at this point, but it's very early days.