Saturday, 22 October 2011

An Unlikely Combination (Film News - 22/10/11)

This week there're a couple of stories this week about films I've already mentioned but didn't really discuss in detail because they were side issues, and there are a couple of stories about films that are way way off in the future and will probably be forgotten before they're made and then there's one very perplexing story that I had to read about four or five times before I even got close to believing it. Even then I've only seen it in one website so I am sceptical, although if it's true it seems like the most surprising combination of genre, director and source material that I can imagine. Naturally it had to come first.

The Mountain

I've only seen it on Deadline so far, but they're usually reliable and calling this an exclusive, but Fox have acquired the above spec script by Helen Childress.

Described as a sophisticated horror in the vein of Rosemary's Baby (which in itself is quite a claim) it is based on the characters from Edith Wharton's "Summer". You certainly read that right, early feminist author's fable about a unwed mother contemplating prostitution will form the basis of a psychological horror - not what I expect Wharton had in mind. Then it get's even more bizarre when you hear Fox have asked Ben Stiller - who directed Childress' Reality Bites back in 1994 - to get back in the directors chair for this one.

So we have a horror, directed by Ben Stiller from a book by Edith Wharton.

Have you ever heard anything so bizarre?

I actually think it may work, I believe Stiller's most nuanced directorial work was with The Cable Guy with it's dark mood of melancholy behind the florid moments of over acting, so perhaps an unsettling tense horror will be something that he might work well with - as long as he doesn't try to make it funny.

Read on for smuggling, Scandinavia and a railway trip to mess with your head.

City State

Remaking Scandinavian movies seems to be in vogue right now, with Let Me In last year opening the flood gate for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and now this Icelandic crime entry with four diverse storylines converging in Reykjavik as overseas organised crime syndicates take over the cities trade. Given the original written and directed by Olaf de Fleur Johannesson (see poster right) is still out in cinemas over there, it only opened last weekend, there must be potential crossover appeal and it'll be interesting to see how this fares in the English speaking market now news of a remake is out there.

Italian Shoes

Also from within the Artic circle is the latest on Kenneth Branagh's new movie, which is keeping him from directing Thor 2. Written by Wallender creator Henning Mankell (so the link there makes some sense) the story concerns a former surgeon living in a self-imposed exile on a remote Island in the Baltic sea, until a former flame looks him up. It looks like a fascinating project for two performers in their later years, and Manning's themes of decay and danger as they relate to environmental damage and the extinction of isolated communities could make for a thought-provoking backdrop.

Snakehead/Other Stephen Gaghan smuggling drama.

Occasionally Syriana scibe Stephen Gaghan pops up and says he wants to direct again but for some reason his hyperlink dramas never seem to get a final greenlight. Now as a different strategy he's talking about two different projects he's working on, with the expectation that at least one will eventually make it to celluloid. Curiously they both revolve around smuggling illegal goods into America, the first one, based on the Patrick O'Keefe's non-fiction novel, follows the rise and subsequent end of Cheng Chi "Sister" Ping (left) whose Hester Street noodle store was the front for one of the most elaborate and expansive human trafficking organisations in U.S. immigration history (plus a rare chance for Chinese American's to take starring roles in cinema) whereas the second takes a look at Mexican Heroin cartels. Frankly I'm more stoked about the first, but as long as we get something from Gaghan soon it's got to be a good thing.

Casting News

Which I may as well call Carey Mulligan news as both of the stories I read that related directly to casting were about the rising British star. She must be networking in an extraordinary way (as well as being really very talented) as she's signed up to work with two of America's most exciting modern auteurs. On the one hand she's going to be in the next Spike Jonze/Andy Kaufman movie with Joaquim Pheonix, very little is known about the plot although it seems to be a satirical conspiracy theory based movie. She will also be working on the Coen Brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis, they're music based faux-documentary, it'll be a reunion of sorts of Carey with her Drive hubby Oscar Isaac as the lead folk artist.

Go on love, give us a smile.

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