Amid all the insane speculation about the awards chances of a half-dozen movies that are probably all coming out this month, it's nice to be reminded that there is life after January. There are always films on the way and here's news on five of them, new projects all.
First up is Ian Olds' indie flick “The Fixer," a Northern California-set drama about an Afghan immigrant who gets deep into the criminal underworld of his new home using his background as a journalists' fixer back in Afghanistan (Olds previously directed a documentary called “Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi”, which was a hit in Tribeca in 2009). The real reason we're psyched for this one, though, is the only casting announcement so far: James Franco as “an unstable hot-tub craftsman called Lindsay.” An unstable hot-tub craftsman called Lindsay, folks. Only in California, and only playable to James Franco. God bless him. [The Wrap]
Elsewhere, we have the announcement of a feature film based on “Gilligan's Island,” one of those shows that's a cultural touchstone but that almost no-one under the age of 50 has actually ever seen. Anyway, that isn't stopping Warner Bros. from lining up a new version, featuring and written by Josh Gad, the star of “Book of Mormon” and voice of Olaf the snowman in “Frozen.” No word yet, however, on who he'll be playing or who'll be in it with him, but we can cross another one off the ever-shortening list of “things that haven't been remade yet.” [Deadline]
Speaking of famous '60s things that have kind of faded from the popular consciousness... the Allman brothers! Stunning segue. Back in October, “CBGB” came out to not much attention or acclaim, but director Randall Miller is sticking with the pop music pictures and has announced casting for “Midnight Rider,” a biopic of the Allman brothers' highs as 60s stars and drug users. It will star Tyson Ritter, the lead singer of All-American Rejects, as Gregg Allman, with Wyatt Russell, soon to be appearing in “22 Jump Street,” as brother Duane. [THR]
Meanwhile in Europe, we have news of two interesting projects. “Glassland” is the second film from Irish director Gerard Barrett, whose “Pilgrim Hill” made a small but well-regarded splash earlier this year. “Glassland” will star Toni Colette as a drug-addicted mother and Jack Reynor (who will be big news in 2014 as the lead in Michael Bay's “Transformers: Age Of Extinction”) as her taxi driver son, trying to save her. Meanwhile, production has begun on “Lady Grey,” the debut film of French director Alain Choquart: starring Peter Sarsgaard, Jeremie Renier and Emily Mortimer, it's the story of a remote South African community haunted by the memory of a massacre. And that's all the news that's fit to print. [Screendaily/Cineuropa]