Could Bill Murray be getting ready for another trip to the Oscars? Man, we hope so and the early signs point to his latest venture possibly being a contender. "Hyde Park On Hudson" has been stamped with a December 7th release date (limited, of course) which we presume means a fall festival gauntlet is in the works for the pic. Written by Richard Nelson—who adapted his own 2009 radio play—the film finds Murray playing the role of FDR (for real) and focusing on a curious moment in his life. The movie is set over a weekend in 1939 when Brit royalty visits his upstate New York home for the weekend, and will shed light on his affair with his cousin Margaret Stuckley. In a "Rushmore" reunion of sorts, Olivia Williams plays FDR's wife, Eleanor. Laura Linney plays Margaret in the project, while British actors Samuel West and Olivia Colman (who earned raves for "Tyrannosaur") are stepping into the shoes of King George and Queen Elizabeth. Roger Michell (”Morning Glory,” “Notting Hill”) is directing and it seems that Focus Features have a helluva lot of faith in the pic.
Meanwhile, Richard Linklater finally returns with his first film in a few years with "Bernie." The film actually premiered last summer at the L.A. Film Festival (we dug it, read our review here) and marks a reteam between the helmer and his "Dazed & Confused" star Matthew McConaughey and his “School Of Rock” leading man Jack Black. Based on a story, the oddball tale centers on the titular character (Black), a beloved mortician in small Texas town who befriends a mean old widow (Shirley MacLaine) and commits a horrific crime. A black comedy or a funny drama depending on how you look at it, this is another unique entry into Linklater's filmography. "Bernie" will hit in limited release on April 27th. [BoxOfficeMojo]