Saturday, 3 September 2011

You've got to Know when to Hold 'em (Film News - 03/09/11)

It's not been much of a week for film news, even trawling through IMDb looking at new movies going into production hasn't done much to whet my appetite for upcoming cinematic events. Of course there are a couple of reasons for that. Firstly it's the last week of the summer, ending with the US Labor Day weekend and what a perfect excuse to go away and relax for a bit. We've also seen the Venice and Telluride festivals kick off with Toronto coming on their heels next week, marking the final stage of 2011, the awards baity film releases. So with publicists and creatives mixing it with the Press at a variety of exotic locations, it looks like an inopportune moment to talk about what's going to happen in a couple of years time. Of the few stories I have spotted there has been a music related theme, even if utterly tenuous, so please enjoy the inserted youtube clips, and with the choices there should be something for everyone.

The Gambler

When I first heard that Martin Scorsese, William Monahan and Leonardo DiCaprio - the director, writer and star of 2006 Oscar winning The Departed - were getting back together to remake The Gambler I immediately felt my heart leap. At last legitimacy for Kenny Rogers' most famous ballad and unnecessary TV adaptation. Alas they were talking about a different better, the 1974 Karel Reisz drama which starred James Caan as a respectable middle class professor who is controlled by his addiction to gambling.

Like all good addiction movies it traces the compulsion from a harmless hobby to when it begins to cost Caan his family, home and even his professional integrity. Indeed the famous tagline, on the poster below, says it all.

The film is loosely based on a short story by Dostoyevsky and it's unclear right now how much Monahan will stick to the original film or return to the book for inspiration, or indeed when this will slot into the three hectic slates. One questions I really want to know though is why they didn't ask Tobey Maguire, Leo's poker buddy who's currently being sued for winning illegally gained funds - essentially money laundering even though he wasn't aware of it.

By the way if you wondering if they ever will remake Kenny's story, you'd better hope not as that Gambler should be left alone with his personal miseries. Let Kenny tell you all about it:

Read on for bountiful bouquets, rejected child actors and a belted dream as well as the latest list of films heading into production.

L'Ecume des Jours

It's a bit of a non-story but due to the scarcity of exciting stuff I'm running with it anyway. Do you remember several months ago we heard about a forthcoming collaboration between bonkers French director Michel Gondry and gamine Gallic Goddess Audrey Tatou? Well, it now has a title, which I would translate but I can't find a definition of Ecume anywhere. Anyone able to help? Anyway joining Tatou will be Romaine Duris (they have a long history of starring together) in the fantastical love story with philosophical subplots and beds of flowers (it's adapted from the 1947 novel by Boris Vian, so that hasn't come from nowhere). With those elements now known suddenly this seems like a perfect vehicle for all involved.

Cameron Crowe's Kids movie/My Name is Marvin

Crowe has scotched the rumours of a Say Anything sequel this week, although if you remember I had my personal doubts from the very beginning. So of course that's led to an avalanche of alternative theories of what he might he be working on next, in spite of the six year wait we've had for We Bought a Zoo. One popular thought is he will return to the Marvin Gaye biopic (My Name is Marvin) first planned several years ago, an artist to which he is still utterly in awe of (and who can blame his). Crowe's a former music journalist, which I guess everyone who's seen Almost Famous knows and this will be a fascinating bridge between his documentary work and narrative cinema.

The most recent alternative, which he's even admitted to writing, is a kids movie based on the child actors he didn't cast in We Bought a Zoo. Read about it in this excerpt from an IFC interview.

“This woman that I work with, Gail Levin, is a great casting director. She’s always finding new faces,” he said. “The kids she found for ‘We Bought a Zoo’ are so exciting. We met with all these actors, and they would leave the room and it was a situation where I would turn to Gail and say ‘They’re not right for this one, but I want to write something where we can work with that person.’ That was the genesis for writing a whole new script which I’ve been working on while we were doing ‘We Bought a Zoo’ and finishing this Pearl Jam movie.”

Which to me does not seem like a good enough excuse to make a movie, but maybe it will showcase great talent so I shouldn't be so sniffy.

Casting News

Only one casting bit that caught my eye this week but it's such a doozy I can't imagine that any film fans weren't on the cusp cheering the news that Anne Hathaway may be joining Tom Hooper's production of Les Miserables as Fantine. The phenomenally successful musical scored by Claude-Michel Schönberg has taken an painfully slow route to the screen, surprising given it's inbuilt audience, but with the casting of Hathaway alongside Hugh Jackman who last got together at the Oscars proving they both have the lungs to knock their respective roles out of the park. Fantine is a relatively short role in the story (no spoilers here though) but she does get the most famous song "I dreamed a dream", which no doubt all of you have heard a variety of takes on it, including this version from Glee.

Production News

Very few new films moving into pre-production this month, one can only assume that August with all the school holidays and festival planning it evokes has left Hollywood short on pencil pushers ticking boxes. That said the following productions all look worth seeing. There's Robert Redford's press ethics drama The Company you Keep, which will hopefully not be spoiled by Shia LaBeouf. Thematic sci-fi Adaline has come and gone before so it may just disappear again, naval adventure Here there be Dragons which almost certainly not be Robert Zemeckis' next film and the Bret Easton Ellis scripted Bait. Yet another film that casts sharks as the bad guys as a revenge seeking nerd feeds the yuppies to them.

Sharks just want top be loved, stop hating on them Hollywood.


TomS said...

That shark in your photo looks especially cuddly....

I hope the time it's taking to ready "Les Miserables" for the screen means that it will be an exquisite production. Jackman and Hathaway are delectable!

Count me among the tiny minority who doesn't understand the Scorsese-DiCaprio symbiosis. DiCaprio isn't bad, just not strong enough to realize Scorsese's fevered vision. Scorsese needs another savage, like the young DeNiro.

Runs Like A Gay said...

DiCaprio vs De Niro is an interesting question that we really should discuss sometime (do you have skype?). IN principal I agree that Leo isn't as savage and therefore can't keep up with Scorsese's demands, but on the other hand the films Scorsese is making, the antagonists he chooses don't need that. De Niro couldn't have play Howard Hughes or Teddy Daniels or Billy in The Departed.