Saturday, 6 August 2011

Reading, Writing and Swapping Vegetables (Film News - 06/08/11)

The most bizarre thing about this weeks news is that most of the stories I'm going with I wasn't planning on using. Honestly I read several things on the net this week and thought well I'll use that if it's quiet, and it has been a little slow but we've obviously had worse weeks, however I'm sticking with all those optional stories, mainly because I can't really decide which ones to throw out. So please enjoy this slightly extended post and don't forget to scroll ahead for the monthly production updates.

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

That fascinating title is enough to make me want to know more about Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer's bestselling novel based on the Channel Islands. Framed much like 84 Charing Cross Road the book is a series of letters between Juliet, a single 30-something author in post-war London and the extra-ordinary members of the titular club who write to her, recounting their experiences and personal struggles during the German occupation of the island.

It's a fascinating concept that will need an awful lot of work to make it visually interesting, although I expect once a flashback structure is created the letter writing element will be virtually lost, and charged with adapting the novel is Don Happy Endings Roos which certainly gives an idea of the ensemble style and nature of the piece.

The final piece in the jigsaw is director Kenneth Branagh who's currently shopping around for his next project now he's turned down Thor 2. More of a Peter's Friends than Henry V this does sound like it might be out of his comfort zone, but we were all surprised by what he brought to Thor so I have high hopes for how this literary package will turn out.

Shame the book cover (above) is so blatantly chick-lit I can't actually buy it and read it on the commute to work!

Read on for shark revenge fantasies, a candlestick in the library, money shots and boom boxes. As well as news from the Academy, some casting titbits and a run down of the latest stories featured here which might actually get made!


Bret Easton Ellis, of American Psycho fame, has been trying to get this odd revenge movie off the ground for some time, but with the news that Paul Schrader has signed on to direct we may see it sooner than we think. It's an ugly sounding piece, no surprise there, which concerns a waiter beaten by his rich spoilt clients who enacts his vengeance by forcing them to swim in shark infested waters. Sounds like a prototype Bond villain and I'm not completely sure plans like that would actually work but with Ellis' penchant for underlining the banality of evil this could become a cult hit.


It's hard to believe but the bubble may have burst on the game-to-movie adaptations after only the trailer for Battleship following the news this week that Universal have dropped plans to remake the classic murder mystery game. The good news is that Hasbro have rescued the Gore Verbinski helmed pic (possibly to be his next after The Lone Ranger next year) so it's still on the cards. This seems like a strange decision as it's probably the easiest and cheapest of the proposed mini-genre to make, even has the proven track record with the 80's comedy (which I love, btw). I can totally see Verbinski's best mate Johnny Depp in a Wadsworth type role too - played by Tim Curry in the original on the left.


Lars von Trier is at it again, not content with the on-going Cannes related Melancholia controversy, and in a brave attempt to deflect from his connection to the Utoeya massacre, he's announced that two versions of his next film, a woman's sexual history told over a number of varied encounters, will have two versions. A soft and hard core version. Oh, Lars, if you just want to make porn, just go ahead and make porn. No need to dress it up as art.

Say Anything... 2

Now the headline that accompanied the story on Empireonline was "Cameron Crowe Talks Say Anything Sequel", which for the sake of Journalistic integrity is technically true, however when you look at it in context, it is certainly misleading. During a 45 minutes Television critics association interview about his Pearl Jam documentary Crowe was specifically asked, without provocation, if he had considered a sequel to his 1989 cult hit which led to the answer "Say Anything... is the only thing that I've written that I would consider doing that with. And I've thought about it from time to time, and talked about it with John Cusack once. This is the only story that I've thought there might be another chapter to that at some point." Which is like someone asking me if I'd like to play Iago at the RSC and then reporting that I'm considering playing Iago for the RSC. Nonsense!

Cusack really wants you to hear our song, in an image that everyone remembers.

Governor's Special Academy Awards

Congratulations to the latest recipients of the Academy Awards special awards, James Earl Jones, Dick Smith and (for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian award) Oprah Winfrey. The quality work the three of them have done is undeniable. Earl Jones is probably best remembered for his voice work, including Darth Vadar (left) and Mustafa in The Lion King (which I will certainly be watching again to celebrate) but he's also an incredible stage actor - his triumph in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in London last year was legendary - and has been Oscar nominated for boxing drama The Great White Hope. Smith's make-up effects have been a staple for horror fans and Dramatic movies throughout the 70's and 80's, responsible for work as varied as The Exorcist, The Godfather, Amadeus and Death Becomes Her. Oprah may be the most famous woman on the planet and her not-inconsiderable charitable work has included setting up a girl's school in South Africa and giving $10m in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. All three thoroughly deserve this recognition from the Academy.

Casting News

Surprisingly little going on in casting rumours, Nick Nolte is set to join Jason Statham's latest punchfest Parker, further proof of his strange ability to mix junk with high-brow fare (see his recent link with Robert Redford). We've also heard that Leonardo DiCaprio has obviously been bitten by the Western Genre bug as he may be following up Tarantino's Django Unchained with Creed of Violence for Todd Field, based in 1910, from the Boston Teran novel it follows to unlikely partners trying to infiltrate a arms smuggling ring.

Production News

I've been peeking at IMDb again, and the latest collection of new films entering into the pre-production phase is a delightful mish mash of genres and styles. They include Russian period epic Anna Karenina, Mormom murder expose Under the Banner of Heaven, GP biopic Rush (can't wait for that one), Katherine Bigelow's currently untitled Bin Laden/Seal 6 picture, Comedy remake The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Spike Lee joint Red Hook Summer (already filming would you believe), biopic of Scandinavian boxer Bosse Hogberg with Noomi Rapace as the singer he falls for and curious sci-fi Under the Skin which I've just finished reading and it's going to be fascinating to see how Jonathan Glazer adapts it. And those are just the ones I've already mentioned on previous news blogs. The following two films also appeared with no forewarning:


It's been a long time since Uma Thurman starred in a bona fide hit so it comes as no surprise to see her sign on to this eighties throwback of a project. She'll play a defence lawyer who's lover (a DNA specialist who may have just discovered a cure for her daughter's genetic disease) is a chief suspect in a murder. If that doesn't sound like a twist on Jagged Edge than I don't know what does, should be fun though.


In spite of selling over 65 million books it's surprising how few of Terry Prachett's novels have been adapted for the screen, sure there's been a steady selection of TV mini-series but nothing for the cinemas. Until 2013 when we will see an animated version of the first part of his Bromeliad trilogy, focusing on a tribe of Nomes (an extra-terrestrial tiny people living amongst humans, illustrated in the cover art below). It's not a Discworld novel which will at least make it more accessible to non Pranchett devotees but may limit the possibility of franchise material. Have to keep our eyes out for more news on this.


TomS said...

A wealth of information, once again...
I smiled at this: "Shame the book cover (above) is so blatantly chick-lit I can't actually buy it and read it on the commute to work!"... You must live in a fairly rough neighborhood! Still, I think you would prevail in a scuffle...
(I once attended a seminar about how mysogyny is at the real root of male homophobia).
Too bad the Governor's Awards are no longer nationally telecast here...
Lars von Trier: it is often more fun to read about him than it is to attend his films.
"Clue" has popped up in a couple different blogs of late. I loved the board game... the original film came with (2 or 3) different endings, and you never knoew which one you would see when you went to a theater....

Runs Like A Gay said...

It's not that rough, but I try to seem a little butch when using public transport.

Lars film's may not be fun but he has a real craft which can't be ignored.

I wish I'd seen Clue at cinemas - I caught up with it on TV with all three ending in succession so only getting one would have been interesting!