Saturday, 29 October 2011

What now, Ben? (Film News - 29/10/11)

It's Ben Affleck everywhere you look this week, he's headlining the news and his latest picture has a release date, it's like he won't leave me alone. (For the record he has pretty much left me alone for the last 34 years but I can dream). So todays news post is partly dedicated to the chinned wonder and his growing strengths of his directorial career.

The Stand

The first story came as a bit of surprise to Harry Potter fans, it was thought David Yates would go on to adapt the seminal Stephen King novel as his next project however it looks like Warner Bros. have passed the baton on to Affleck, which would mark the biggest project so far for the actor/director.

The Stand (above) is a dense complex novel about the end of civilisation and the split of mankind's survivors into two distinct social structures one good and one evil! Developed into a miniseries in the early 90's even short-changed many of the characters and over-simplified the thematics of King's work, so how it will squeeze into two and a bit hours remains to be seen.

That said it's great news for Ben's career, his last two films have been Boston set crime novels which have proven he knows how to work with strong ensembles and tense action scenes so perhaps this is proof a large studio is willing to take a chance on his growing skills behind the camera.

(and upcoming Whitey Bulger biopic)

That is if he doesn't choose to focus on the second story, a potential new collaboration with his Good Will Hunting buddy Matt Damon, a biopic of the famed Boston gangster/FBI informant Whitey Bulger. As much as I'd like to see the two old friends working together again I don't really have much anticipation for this, which appears to be a step back for Affleck's directorial career. Especially given this is the third Bulger biopic I've heard about, although none of them appear to be far enough in production to deter the others from developing the idea right now.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see which way Ben goes, there's another 340 days before Argo is released so plenty of time for him to make his mind up.

Read on for a miss-sold thriller, some running, Norwegian crossovers and a catch up on something I completely missed, as well as the latest casting news and a review of the latest changes in UK release dates.

The Arrangement

I'm not sure why the press notes for this love triangle pitch are calling it a thriller, but the mixed race romance scripted by Brian Tucker is getting that moniker everywhere I see it. Maybe the man on the side turns into a Bunny boiler when the affair ends? That'll be a neat twist which hopefully I haven't just spoilt.


Disney make inspirational sports drama on a regular basis, they tend to involves teams of no good kids, learning to work together under the tutelage of a sports star on the way down (usually a well known star) who realises his (and lets face it it's almost always a he) potential to inspire greatness and defeat his own personal demons. They will probably be a last minute pep talk in the locker room and an amazing turnaround in the final quarter. Usually. This time though the sport in question is athletics, individual players who work alone to prove themselves on the field (although I expect the relay, right, to feature heavily). It'll be interesting to see how this true-life story of a predominantly Latino school turning around it's fortunes will be handled, interesting to see how racial politics come into play too.

The Snowman

Even more news from the North as another Scandinavian thriller looks set for a US adaptation. This time it's the serial killer novel by Jo Nesbø which has been optioned by Working Title in part to the books rise in popularity in the wake of Steig Larsson's Millenium trilogy and partly due the success of the homegrown adaptation of another of Nesbø's novels, Headhunters. The seventh in a series about Harry Hole, a detective who doesn't play by the rules and a killer whose modus operandi includes burying the victims under snowmen. Sounds more TV to me, but we'll see.


I probably should have mentioned this Jonathan Demme project some years ago, after it's been on his to do list for a long time, but I honestly thought it was a documentary (let's face it these days he does drift between fiction and non-fiction works these days) however the more I hear the more I doubt that assumption. It's going to be animated, not that that discounts the possibility of documentary, it's based on a non-fiction novel by Dave Eggars (left) and concerns the muslim shopkeeper who was arrested and detained without charge for 23 days following Katrina, allegedly for terrorism charges. Whether the film will essentially be a biography in the nature of the novel, or whether it will look at the incident as we would expect from a doc remains to be seen for a time, either way it will probably blur the boundaries of the medium and I'll probably flip flop several times over my commitment to talk about it.

Casting News

Probably the most bizarre casting story this week is the addition of Albert Finney to the Bond 23 supporting rosta. What that's you say? "How is that surprising?" I suppose you have a point, with the recent rumours Sam Mendes is going for a more dramatic Bond, less action orientated, it makes sense he'd ask a star like Finney on board, however considering Al's next movie is the other spy franchise The Bourne Legacy there might just be some unfortunate pre-conceptions that audiences will bring in. Also in the news is Sylvester Stallone who's joined the prison break drama The Tomb replacing Bruce Willis in the role of an architect caught in his own labyrinth.

Release Dates

Trespass - The first of the changes you've probably picked up on because I posted the trailer a couple of weeks ago, not that you'd know living in Manchester, less than two weeks until opening and I've only seen one small poster in the cinema. Laugh at Cage's syrup on 11 November 2011.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - Paul Torday satirical novel, with it's curious mishmash of styles (memos, diary entries, interviews) it's going to be odd to interesting to see how it adapts to the screen, especially with the gender changes that have happened to some characters. Realise your most ambitious plans on 09 March 2012.

We Bought a Zoo - We're going to have to wait a little bit longer for Cameron's Crowe's first film in over 6 years, as it's shifted out of the Christmas opening probably to avoid getting missed in the mix of prestige pics. Learn how to deal with sick Lions on 30 March 2012.

Playing the Field - The Gerard Butler career shift continues with this romantic comedy based around children's football (OK, soccer) team and his attempts to shag his way through the Moms. Go to the park for a kick about on 30 April 2012.

Lucky One - Get your hankies ready for the next Nicolas Sparks (Notebook, Dear John) novel to make it to the big screen, with Zac Efron searching for the anonymous girl in a photo that sustain him during his tour in Iraq. Find someone you don't know on 04 May 2012.

Argo - Ben Affleck may be in the news this week for his long-term plans but we still have his CIA subterfuge movie to see first, heading for a similar release pattern to The Town. Pretend to make a film on 05 October 2012.

The Thor 2 - I really enjoyed the first Thor - the only comic book movie I saw this year - and I suspect the change of director to Patty Jenkins will definitely make the follow-up one to watch too, although the delays in getting her to sign up have delayed the release a few more months. I need to buy a horse on 15 November 2013.

Obviously I couldn't end this post without at least one Ben pic - slightly less sexually objectified as I planned but I'm sitting next to my landlord right now!


Julie the Jarhead said...

I worked as an extra on GONE BABY GONE.

Ben Affleck was very friendly and accomodating. When the neighbors in Dorchester started watching the filming, Ben got many of them into the movie.

It was lots of fun.

Runs Like A Gay said...

That's good to hear.

He comes across as quite a nice guy in interviews so it's great that he's down to earth in real life.