Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ben Affleck Is So Much "American Bulls**t"

Even if "The Town" doesn't score an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, Ben Affleck should be extremely proud of the film he directed, co-wrote and starred in. The film has been nominated for a slew of awards this past season and found itself named as one of the National Board of Review's top ten films of the year.

While Affleck puts on a solid performance in the film, it's his work as director and writer where his skills truly shine through. More often than not action/crime films are overlooked at award's season, but due to Affleck's deft direction and reflective writing the film has an emotional base and proves itself to be a great movie rather than just a great "action" film (which it is as well).

Affleck has shown, along with "Gone Baby Gone," that he truly has a knack for directing and that it may be what the longtime actor is best at. With the success of "The Town" Affleck has made himself quite the hot director and he is considering a few different projects for his next effort says The Wrap.

According to the site Affleck is heavily considering Eric Warren Singer's "American Bulls**t" as his next directorial effort.

Sony Pictures has the rights to the script which is described as "the true story of Abscam, the FBI's 1980 undercover sting operation of Congress to root out corruption, which was the brainchild of the world's greatest con man," according to Deadline.

Affleck is also considering a couple other projects including the 1970's Yankee wife-swapping story "The Trade" and "Replay," an adaptation of the Ken Grimwood novel.

Dave Mandel wrote the "The Trade," which follows the fantastically interesting story of New York Yankees pitchers Fritz Petersen and Mike Kekich who swapped wives back in the 1970s. Jason Smilovic, who penned "Lucky Number Slevin," adapted Ken Grimwood's novel "Replay," which follows a forty-year-old radio journalist who dies and gets to relive his life over and over in his 18-year-old body.

While I think all of the projects sound interesting I'd like to see what Affleck could do with "American Bulls**t" or "The Trade," both of which seem like they could be really solid films. The director has shown he has quite the touch with crime stories, so Affleck and Abscam could be quite the pairing.

Either way Affleck should make a decision soon on what he'll like to take on next behind the camera. The Academy Awards will be held February 27, 2011.

Josh Lucas Signs On For "J. Edgar"

Clint Eastwood's upcoming film "J. Edgar" is shaping up to be quite the biopic. The top of the cast is fantastic with Leonardo DiCaprio set to play J. Edgar Hoover and Armie Hammer signed to play his lover Clyde Tolson.

The supporting cast is excellent as well, and just got a bit better by adding another solid name to a list which already includes Judi Dench, Damon Herriman and Ed Westwick. According to Deadline Josh Lucas has joined the cast of Eastwood's new biopic.

Lucas will play one of America's most well-known figures, pilot Charles A. Lindbergh in the drama. Five years after receiving worldwide acclaim for flying across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, Lindbergh's son was kidnapped and later murdered. J. Edgar Hoover was the head of The Bureau of Investigation, which was handling the extremely notable case.

Eastwood is directing from a script by Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, though shooting dates have yet to be locked.

According to the article Lucas is also rumored to be playing Lincoln in the adaptation of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which actually would be a pretty good fit. Over his career Lucas has been a solid performer and has turned in some excellent work in films like "American Psycho," "A Beautiful Mind" and "You Can Count on Me."

Eastwood's film is sure to be an awards contender when it is released and the cast keeps getting more and more solid. The film should shoot later this year for a 2012 release.

"Social Network" Producers Try Lunar "Sex"

Back when Ben Mezrich sold the rights to his book on the creation of Facebook, the nicely titled "The Accidental Billionaires," there was no way anyone could have predicted how successful the film adaptation would be.

Sure, people may have thought it could have been a box office success, but a Best Picture front runner? Clearly that's what happens when you work with producer Scott Rudin and his pals, and Mezrich is hoping to make the same formula work again for his next novel.

According to Deadline "The Social Network" producers Rudin, Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti have signed on to produce a film adaptation of Mezrich's next non fiction novel, "Sex on the Moon."

The upcoming story follows a young scientist and NASA employee who decides to impress his girlfriend by stealing moon rocks. Mezrich also wrote the book "Bringing Down the House," which was adapted into the film "21."

Mezrich is a really talented and entertaining writer and it's clear his books translate very well into film. His first book that was adapted into a film, "Bringing Down the House," was a fantastic read. I must have finished it only a day or two after starting it. His upcoming book sounds just as interesting and entertaining as his past work and could turn out to be quite the movie, a la "The Social Network."

"The Social Network" has been on the quite the run lately, winning a handful of Golden Globe Awards including Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Director for David Fincher, and Best Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin.

Look for Mezrich's book on the shelves by early next year.

Alexander Payne Visits "Nebraska"

Based on his past work, Alexander Payne and the road movie genre is usually a pretty damn good mix. The past two feature films he has directed, 2002's "About Schmidt" and 2004's "Sideways" were both road trip films and the latter might be considered his best work.

With his next film, "The Descendants" starring George Clooney, in post-production Payne has set his sights on another road project that he has held onto for quite a few years, the simply titled "Nebraska."

According to The Playlist the story is about an aging alcoholic father who thinks he’s won a million dollar Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes prize.

While his family thinks he's crazy for wanting to take the long trip from Montana to Nebraska to claim his alleged winnings, they can't dissuade him. Along for the ride is the man's estranged twentyish year old soon, who was forced to come along to keep him out of trouble, alowing the two to bond after years of separation.

According to the site Payne has had the script around since 2004 and had really taken a liking to it, but after back-to-back road films ("Sideways" and "About Schmidt") he wanted to step away from that for a bit. Clearly he thinks enough time has passed because Payne is now working on rewriting Robert Nelson's original script along with Phil Johnston ("Cedar Rapids").

While Payne has never been the type of filmmaker to churn out projects year after year his work is always top notch. "Election" is one of the best and underrated films of the past twenty years and I thought "Sideways" was just pure genius. This type of story seems perfect for a filmmaker like Payne, who seems to know exactly how to portray realistic middle-aged male emotions.

In a sense Payne is like Judd Apatow, but instead of showing a realistic portrayal what it's like to be a late-twenty something slacker who looks like Seth Rogen, it's more like a fifty something guy that looks like Paul Giamatti.

Currently there are no actors attached to the film but the site mentions Casey Affleck and Robert Forster as two "very" early candidates. Payne aims to kick off shooting on "Nebraska" later this year while "The Decendants" should be released later this fall or winter.

Dreamworks Remakes "Timecrimes"

The idea of time travel is easily one of the most interesting devices in film and I'll admit it probably is my favorite type of science fiction story. "Back to the Future" is one of my favorite movies of all time and Shane Carruth's ridiculously underseen and low budget film "Primer" might be the best film you've never heard of.

What's great about the time travel genre is that filmmakers, writers, authors, whoever, can take an idea that technically (okay I'm not a scientist so who knows) can't exist and employ it for creative purposes, adding their own rules along the way. It's always interesting to see how those creative talents will put their own original spin on it, which is why I was drawn to the 2007 low-budget Spanish film "Timecrimes".

The film is an extremely unique take on time travel and crime, with the story following a protagonist as he repeatedly goes back in time and hour to attempt to change the events of a crime that occurs. The film was truly fantastic and sort of mind blowing, so it's only normal that Hollywood wants to remake it.

According to Deadline DreamWorks has picked up the rights from United Artists and has tasked uber-writer Steve Zaillian to rewite it. Tim Sexton had worked on earlier drafts of the script, and on top of rewriting Zaillian will also produce the project.

Zaillian has written a slew of fantastic films in his career, including "Schindler's List," "Awakenings," "Gangs of New York" and "American Gangster." On top of that the writer has been the Hollywood go-to-guy of late, working on the scripts for two hotly anticipated films, Bennet Miller's "Moneyball" and David Fincher's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Nacho Vigalondo, who wrote and directed the original, will serve as executive producer.

Honestly if you don't have a chance to see the film and don't mind some spoilers, hop over to the original film's Wikipedia page and check it out, because the whole story is utterly original and fascinating. I have a feeling Zaillian is going to turn in a great script and no matter who takes the helm to direct, the one should be as good at the original….Hopefully.

"G.I. Joe" Sequel Gears Up For June

Say what you will about 2009's widely panned film "G.I. Joe," but one thing is for certain, Byung-hun Lee's character Storm Shadow was pretty badass.

While I thought the cast was pretty great, it was clear the film was a major let down for true "Joe" fans, so it's a step in the right direction to hear that Lee's character will be returning for the upcoming sequel to the film according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the writers behind the comedy "Zombieland," are currently working to pen the script for the sequel.

The first "Joe" was a major disappointment but I really have a good feeling about this sequel. Reese and Wernick did something truly original and creative with the zombie genre for "Zombieland" and I hear that their "Deadpool" script is fantastic as well. If the two of them can craft a good story and drop some well placed zingers (which they proved pretty good at) this film could make fans forget about the first film.

While Steven Sommers will not be back to direct, I think starting fresh in the directors chair will be a huge positive move for this franchise.

While no official announcements have yet been made as to what other cast will return, shooting is set to begin in June with the film to hit theatres Summer 2012.

Robert Downey Jr. To Play "Mr. Peabody"

Peabody fans unite!

I'll admit it, I thought that Hollywood had snatched up every single imaginable cartoon out there to turn into a film franchise, but clearly I was wrong, and I couldn't be happier about it.

According to EW, Robert Downey Jr. is set to voice the genius talking dog in a new DreamWorks 3D feature based on the classic cartoon "Mr. Peabody and Sherman."

On the original "Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends," Mr. Peabody and his pet boy Sherman, used The WABAC Machine to travel through time and discover new things about historical figures. While the characters were popular for many years, most kids these days aren't familiar with the duo.

As a kid I loved the cartoon immensely, the only one I liked more was probably "Johnny Quest," and the fact that Downey will be voicing Peabody should make all the loyal fans happy.

While I haven’t seen "Yogi Bear," most of the cartoon adaptations have been awful (sorry, but I don’t have hope for "The Smurfs" either), but with the casting of Downey and the fact that Peabody and Sherman is just flat out awesome, I think we might finally get a great adaptation of a classic cartoon for the new generation.

Rob Minkoff ("The Haunted Mansion") will direct from a script by Jeffrey Ventimilia and Joshua Sternin. While the role of the naive young Sherman has yet to be cast, a 2014 release is being targeted.

George Clooney Is A "Monster"

Anyone who doubts that George Clooney is one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood ought to look at the man's upcoming slate. He is gearing up to direct the film "The Ides of March" and also is attached to star in Alfonso Cuaron's new sci-fi movie "Gravity" and has now added yet another project to the mix.

According to Variety Clooney is attached to star while Fox 2000 have acquired the film rights to serial-killer thriller "The Monster of Florence".

The novel, which the film will be based on, was released in 2008 and written by Douglas Preston ("The Cabinet of Curiosities," "The Relic") and Mario Spezi. The story focuses on a serial killer who carried out 16 murders between 1968 and 1985 in Florence, Italy. The perpetrators were never caught.

Interestingly, the case was one of the inspirations for a character in the 1999 novel Hannibal by Thomas Harris.

Writers Chris McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander are taking on the script while Clooney, Grant Heslov, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen are producing. Tom Cruise had originally optioned the rights and was attached to produce and possibly star in the project at United Artists back in 2008.

The case sounds fascinating and the fact that McQuarrie is taking on the script is only a positive for this project. To me McQuarrie wrote one of the best scripts in recent memory when he did "The Usual Suspects" back in the '90s, so any film he works on has the chance to be something special.

Clooney on the other hand can play any role he likes and make it look easy. I recently watched "Syriana" again for the first time since I saw it in theaters and I was marveled by Clooney's performance. I remember it being Academy Award worthy, but after watching it again I realize that it was nothing short of phenomenal. On a side note I think "Syriana" was grossly overlooked and underrated and is truly an excellent, albeit complicated film.

"The Monster of Florence" most likely will shoot in the fall.

Lawrence In Talks For Zamperini Biopic

Olympic athlete. American war hero. Plane crash survivor. The story practically writes itself, how could this not be a movie? After suffering for years in development limbo, it looks like Louis Zamperini may finally get the feature film treatment he deserves.

According to Deadline Francis Lawrence is in talks to direct the long-gestating biopic of Zamperini for Universal.

The film will be based on author Laura Hillenbrand's recent release, "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption". Hillenbrand is no stranger to having her books adapted for the screen, she also wrote the book "Seabiscuit" for which the movie of the same name was based on.

Zamperini was an Olympic athlete in 1936 and joined the Air Force in World War II as a bombardier, but his plane crashed and he spent 47 days lost at sea before the Japanese Navy rescued him and placed him in a POW camp where he was tortured.

Universal bought Zamperini’s life rights way back in 1957 and has been trying to develop the film for decades. At one point Tony Curtis was going to star, while Brad Pitt and Nicolas Cage have previously tried to produce the film over the years to no avail.

"Crazy Heart" director Scott Cooper is being looked at for writing a new adaptation for the studio while Matthew Baer and Erwin Stoff will produce.

Zamperini has lived quite the amazing life, and his film should translate to the silver screen beautifully.

Summit Hires Jon and Erich Hoeber to Write "Red" Sequel

While I don’t think everyone quite realized it, probably due to some little vampire movie put out by the studio, Summit Entertainment had a pretty nice hit last year with its action film "Red." The film grossed over $150 million worldwide, and now it looks as it that was enough to warrant a sequel.

According to Collider, Summit has hired Jon and Erich Hoeber, who adapted the first film from the comic book, to write the sequel.

The first film, which was based in Warren Ellis' comic, had a stellar cast, with Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren starring as former CIA agents who are deemed "Red," as in retired, extremely dangerous. While none of the stars are yet confirmed for the sequel, chances are at least one or two of them will be returning.

Also, while the studio hasn't officially green lighted the film yet, things are starting to move in that direction considering the hiring of the duo, who also penned the upcoming Peter Berg film "Battleship."

The Hoeber's did a pretty good job on the first film, but I'm actually more intrigued to see what they did for Berg's "Battleship." That film has the potential to be one of the coolest movies ever or a huge bomb, considering its massive budget. While I think the film will do well these things can never be certain when it comes to box office success.

"Red" pleasantly surprised me and it think a sequel to the film could be even more successful than the original. If the studio digs the script, the project should get the official green light soon after.

Alex Kurtzman's "Welcome to People" Welcomes Mark Duplass

Screenwriter and producer Alex Kurtzman has literally been killing it since he made it to Hollywood, penning such films as "Transformers," "Mission Impossible III," "Star Trek" and the upcoming "Cowboys & Aliens."

After years of working primarily as a writer, Kurtzman plans on donning the title of director for the first time for his upcoming film "Welcome to People," which has just added a solid member to its cast.

For viewers of the FX series "The League," Mark Duplass is best known as the slacker Pete Eckhart, but to the more seasoned film fan, he is one of the Duplass Brothers, the kings of the "mumblecore" genre and directors of the 2010 film "Cyrus."

While the Brothers are currently in post-production on their upcoming 2011 release "Jeff Who Lives at Home," Mark plans on keeping himself busy, joining the cast of Alex Kurtzman's directorial debut film "Welcome to People," according to Variety.

The film centers on a twentysomething man (Chris Pine) who, after flying home to L.A. for the funeral of his father, discovers that the will says that he must deliver $150,000 in cash to a 30-year-old alcoholic sister (Elizabeth Banks) he never knew existed. Determined to keep the money to solve his own issues, he's fascinated by his unknown kin and makes contact without revealing who he really is.

Duplass ("Baghead") will play a neighbor who takes a romantic interest in Banks' character. Olivia Wilde and Michelle Pfeiffer also are among the cast.

Kurtzman co-wrote the script with longtime partner Roberto Orci and Jody Lambert.

I really think this project has potential to be very good and very interesting, mainly because of Kurtzman's heavy involvement. While he is best known for his excellent science fiction work ("Fringe," "Transformers"), everything Kurtzman writes always seems to have solid emotional interactions and great character development, which will be essential for a project like this to work.

On top of that, the addition of Duplass (who is making his name more and more known by the month) is also excellent because he should be perfect for the part as the curious neighbor.

Kurtzman and Pine had some magic together on "Star Trek," so hopefully the addition of Duplass to an already solid cast will mean success for Kurtzman's directorial debut.

"Monsters" Helmer Tackles "Godzilla"

The beast of all beasts is back.

According to Heat Vision British filmmaker Gareth Edwards, who made a splash with his low-budget independent sci-fi film "Monsters", is coming close to a deal to direct a "Godzilla" feature for Legendary Pictures.

Legendary picked up the rights to the character in March and is the company who co-produced both "Inception" and "The Dark Knight". The reboot would be the first major film in the franchise since 1998 when Roland Emmerich helmed the creatively titled, "Godzilla".

Edwards is riding an amazing hot streak since the release of his film "Monsters". The film, which was made with a cast and crew of less than twenty people and for a miniscule budget by Hollywood standards, was an extremely creative and original take on the ever popular "alien invasion" genre. The story followed two people as they traveled through Mexico, which was deemed a quarantine zone due to an infestation.

The special effects in the film were done on a shoe string budget and looked completely legitimate, which is one reason why Edwards caught everyone's eye. While the film isn't perfect, when you consider its budget and it's background, it truly is a great achievement.

I think Edwards should have no trouble with a bigger budget, considering what he was able to do with such a small one. No matter what type of film he makes it will definitely be better than the last "Godzilla" film which was an absolute mess.

Edwards will work on the script as well, and I can imagine the studio will hope to make this into a new series so the director may be around for multiple films if this one is a success.

Producers Guild Names Top Films

The Producers Guild Awards are usually one of the best measurements for figuring out what films will be nominated come Oscar time. Last year the Producers Guild nominations included eight of the ten films nominated for Best Picture of the Academy Awards and in the past many winners have matched up.

The Guild nominates 10 films for its outstanding producer award and the list fits in line with what has been happening through awards season so far: “Inception,” “Toy Story 3,” “The King’s Speech,” “True Grit,” “The Fighter,” “Black Swan,” “The Social Network,” “The Kids are All Right,” “The Town” and “127 Hours" will battle it out for the top prize.

I really can't disagree with any of the choices here, and I'm especially happy to see Ben Affleck's film "The Town" among the nominees. I thought the film was more than just a great action film and the performance of Jeremy Renner was absolutely great.

"The Social Network" is most likely the favorite to win this award since its been cleaning up all year so far, but "Black Swan", "The Fighter" and "True Grit" could pull it off as well.

Other film categories include for documentary and animated feature, the latter of which has three excellent films nominated. "Despicable Me", "How to Train Your Dragon", and "Toy Story 3" were tabbed for the award, and all three were more than deserving. While I expected greatness from "Toy Story 3" I was pleasantly surprised with how good both "Despicable Me" and "How to Train Your Dragon" were.

The PGA hands out its awards on January 22, while Oscar nominees will be named on January 25 and handed out February 27.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Boca Vacation

"I would love to take them all to Jamaica, but is that good management? Yes. But is it the best management? Well, I can't afford it, and corporate won't pay for it. So who's the real criminal?"

Won't be in Jamaica but whatevs yo. See ya'll in a week.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Stewart, Colbert May Return to Hulu

As they proved this year with their "Rally to Restore Sanity and Or Fear", Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are two forces to be reckoned with.

The duo have firmly planted themselves in the political conversation, and anyone who watches them knows that if you want to cut through all the babbling and BS of the cable news networks, they are the only ones to watch. Adding to that, the duo just may find themselves some new viewers in the coming year.

According to The New York Times, a year after both shows were taken off Hulu, it looks as if Comedy Central will bring "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" back to the site.

The two shows were taken off Hulu, which is the biggest video site on the Internet, in March after the website and the network couldn't agree on a payment system for viewing the show. Although both shows are free to watch on the Comedy central website, the company wanted a payment plan for Hulu, which would bring the shows to an even wider audience.

But according to the report the two sides are working on a deal and have "negotiated about restoring the shows as recently as last month, according to two people with direct knowledge of the talks." A point that could factor in the negotiations is Hulu Plus, which is the monthly subscription service that Hulu now operates.

Either way this is welcome news for both shows, because adding viewers in any possible way is always a positive move. While both shows have steady fan bases, it's clear that Comedy Central would like to expand those bases even further. Hulu would give the shows flexibility to post clips as well as full episodes and interviews.

More news on the deal should come out in the coming weeks.

'The Social Network' Wins Three Online Film Critics Society Awards

As we move into the New Year and more and more awards are given out, the Oscar race should begin to get clearer. And while many categories are up for grabs, one film seems to have taken the lead when it comes to Best Picture, adding another win to its impressive resume.

"The Social Network" took home the Best Picture award from the 14th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards, beating out films like "Inception", "Toy Story 3", "True Grit" and "Winter's Bone". The film also won some other major awards, including best director (David Fincher) and best adapted screenplay (Aaron Sorkin).

The awards for acting went to Colin Firth in "The King’s Speech" for best actor, Natalie Portman in "Black Swan" for best actress, Christian Bale in "The Fighter" for best supporting actor and Hailee Steinfield in "True Grit" for best supporting actress. One of my favorite films of the year, "Inception", won two awards, including Christopher Nolan for best original screenplay, and one for its editing work, which was phenomenal.

While winning this particular award won't emphatically prove that "The Social Network" will win the Oscar for Best Picture, based on how many awards its been winning the past couple months, that's starting to look like a real possibility.

I've seen the movie twice already, and I think it's a genius piece of filmmaking. For anyone who thinks the movie is just about Facebook, that's like saying "The Sopranos" was only about the mafia. The acting is completely superb, especially Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg, and David Fincher's direction is just perfect in all the right ways.

It remains to be seen how many awards "The Social Network" will win following this batch, but it's clear that we have the Oscar front runner on our hands here.

Nominations for the Academy Awards will be given out bright and early on January 25, 2011.

Casting Rumors Swirl Around Howard's "Dark Tower"

Ron Howard's TV and film adaptation of Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series is quickly becoming one of Hollywood's most wanted commodities.

Director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer have already dropped some names as possibilities to star in the project including Viggo Mortensen, Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman and Jon Hamm, and now according to the NY Post, Javier Bardem has found himself on top of the list.

The paper reports that the Academy Award winning star of "No Country For Old Men" is the top choice for the film with Mortensen “a close second" for the lead role of Roland Deschain.

The project is an ambitious one, with Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman planning to turn the book series into a TV show and three movies, all using the same cast. According to the article the plan is to start with a movie, then continue the story into the TV series, and then follow with a second film and then a second TV series which will show the main character Deschain as a younger man. The third film will follow the character as he gets older and finish off the series.

The whole scope and plan for the adaptations is an ambitious undertaking for the crew, but if anyone can handle a project of this scale it's the team of Howard, Goldsman, and Brian Grazer. I can't remember a project that invested so much in the transition from film to television for a story, but the scope of King's stories is so big, it may be the best way to adapt the "Tower" series.

Although I think Bardem would make a fine leading man for this project, I really hope it turns out to be Mortensen who gets the role. If you take a look at a picture of Deschain, it's perfectly clear that Mortensen has the gruff look that would perfectly suit the character.

Either way, whoever gets the role this project is going to be a huge undertaking, but it think it will ultimately prove to be a success, mainly because King has created an amazing epic story and the filmmakers will find a perfect way to bring it to the screen.

"Casper" Still Has Some Life

Everyone's favorite neighborhood ghost is back.

Apparently in Hollywood there is no product, character or franchise that won't be remade, rebooted or reworked these days.

Classic Media is in talks with Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures to develop a new live-action film based on the classic comic "Casper the Friendly Ghost" according to What's Playing.

The last time the character was on the silver screen was for the big-budget feature "Casper" in 1995 which pulled in around $300 million at the global box-office. The film starred Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci as a supernatural psychiatrist and his daughter and was a blend of live action and computer graphics.

Since then however, Harvey Comics' friendly ghost has been relegated to the small screen in the form of direct-to-disc releases and kids television shows. "Casper: A Spirited Beginning" was released in 1997 and was one of the first direct-to-video sequels ever, but the company is looking to move away from that form of release for the character.

In 2009 the comic "Casper and the Spectrals" was published and it revamped Casper’s story and characters, with hopes of bringing in a new audience of kids. The film most likely would follow suit, adding some contemporary elements to the story to help make it more relatable for today's audiences. Discussions of the film being shot for 3D are also taking place (what a surprise).

The company also owns the rights to every other Harvey Comics character, including Little Dot, and is looking at bringing them to cinemas as well.

Maybe it was just because I myself was a kid when it came out, but I enjoyed the first live-action "Casper" film and I think an updated version of the character would do well at the box office. The character has been around for over 50 years, so that means at some point most likely that grandparents, parents, their kids, and their kids all may have been fans of the character or cartoon at some point in their lives.

Movement on this project should happen in the coming months.

Kruger Is Marie Antoinette In "Farewell"

Diane Kruger is one of the most glamorous and stunningly beautiful actresses working in Hollywood, so it's only fitting that she will play a famous Queen in one of her next roles.

According to The Playlist Kruger will replace former Bond hottie Eva Green as Marie Antoinette in the Benoît Jacquot directed "Farewell, My Queen"

The film is an adaptation of Chantal Thomas' novel, which is set inside the sheltered and ritualized court of Versailles during the last days of the French Revolution. The main character, played by Léa Seydoux, is a courtier whose job was to read books aloud to Antoinette.

The last notable appearance of Antoinette on the big screen was in Sofia Coppola's 2006 film "Marie Antoinette", but that film was a more 'pop culture' type look at the Queen, with this filming seemingly being a more true life portrayal.

Kruger should have no problem taking on the role of a famous historical female figure considering she previously played Helen of Troy in the Brad Pitt film "Troy" in 2006.

Gérard Depardieu also stars in the film, while shooting will start in the spring.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Matt Damon: Steven Soderbergh Really Does Plan to Retire from Filmmaking

When someone retires and they still seem to posses the skill they are retiring from, many of us out there wonder--why?

If you could still do what it is you do, why would you stop? Famed Detroit Lion running back Barry Sanders might be the best example of the bunch, having retired with a few years left in the tank, and already considered to be one of the best running backs ever.

Recently I was reading some news that sort of shocked me--director Steven Soderbergh plans to retire after he works on his next couple films.

The reason the news shocked me is because Soderbergh is one of the most talented filmmakers in the industry, and easily one of my favorites. Another reason was that because the man is only 48 years old.

In an interview with the LA Times, actor Matt Damon, who is very close with the director and is currently working with him on the film "Contagion," said that: "He's retiring, he's been talking about it for years and it's getting closer. He wants to paint and he says he’s still young enough to have another career."

According to the article Soderbergh hasn't kept his ideas a secret, having told Esquire a couple years ago that he'd like to retire by the age of 51, which marks his 25th year as a filmmaker.

Damon later offered more specifics: “After this movie we’re doing, ‘Liberace’ next summer with Michael Douglas, and then he might do one more movie after that with George [Clooney], and then after that he’s retiring."

While I wish this were a trick or a prank, Damon seems to be totally serious. And while I'd miss Soderbergh as a filmmaker, the man has every right to decide if and when he wants to stop making movies.

Selfishly, I wish he would reconsider, because if you've enjoyed films since the early '90s, some of them are sure to have been Soderbergh's. In 1989 he splashed onto the scene with the independent film "sex, lies, and videotape" (which is great) and has worked on films such as "Traffic," "Erin Brokovitch," "Che," "Ocean's 11," "The Informant!" and many others.

But I can't hate on the man for pulling a Barry Sanders here--if he wants another career, he has every right to do so. No matter what happens, if he really retires or not (hey, remember when Jay-Z retired…twice?), the man will always be able to look back on his Academy Award-winning work and his impact on independent film and American cinema and be pretty pleased.

Not a bad career to leave behind.

Arterton, Garfield Team For Mann's Next

Over the years Michael Mann has proven himself to be one of the most capable and skilled director's in Hollywood. Whether it's a literary drama adaptation, such as "The Last of the Mohicans," or a modern-day heist film like "Heat," Mann never misses a beat no matter the genre or story.

That's just one reason why it's welcome news that the director is preparing for work on his next film--the other reason is because of its fantastic leading cast. According to Total Film, rising acting stars Gemma Arterton and Andrew Garfield are teaming for Mann's next film, which is a biopic about combat photographer Robert Capa.

Based on Susana Fortes' award-winning novel, "Waiting for Robert Capa," the story follows a romance between war photographers Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, who met in Paris in 1935. Both exiled Jewish photographers, they decide to change their names to sell their works and head to Spain to capture images of the Civil War.

Her real name, Gerta Pohorylle, became Taro as nod to the Japanese artist Taro Okamoto. Endre Friedmann chose Robert Capa as a mix of actor Robert Taylor and film director Frank Capra, so he would appear to be American.

While the plot may not yell 'blockbuster smash,' this is exactly the type of smart, intellectual film that Mann knows how to work with. On top of that, both Garfield and Arterton are considered to be rising stars in the acting game and I think they both fit in perfectly with the roles.

Garfield has had a huge year, starring in both "The Social Network" and "Never Let Me Go," while also beginning work on the upcoming "Spider-Man" reboot. I'm thrilled to see Garfield and Mann team up, because Garfield has quickly become one of my favorite actors to watch and with Mann's direction, this could end up being an award contender once it wraps.

While no shooting dates have been set yet, Mann has stated that he wants the film to be a gritty, real world look at the story.