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Thompson on Hollywood

Willow Smith & Jay-Z's Annie Remake, Pattinson & Knightley for Cosmopolis, Cusack "Bad-Ass" Poe

- The question is, will Willow Smith in a remake of (Little Orphan) Annie turn out to be a box office hit that plays like an extended music video proving that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith turned out some cute money makers? Or will it be a gritty, creative and inspired re-telling of the outdated musical and 1982 John Huston film? Jay-Z signed Willow Smith (so thank him for "Whip My Hair") and is in talks to do the music on the remake. If Jay-Z's 1998 Annie-theme-song-inspired "It's The Hard Knock Life" is an indication of how the film would feel, we'll support it all the way. If the remake is heading for Whip My Hair Annie we'll pass. Videos of both Jay-Z and Annie's versions of "The Hard Knock Life" are below.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 21, 2011 12:00 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Sacha Baron Cohen Follows Up Borat and Bruno with Saddam Hussein Adaptation The Dictator

Sacha Baron Cohen, of Borat and Bruno fame, will next star in Paramount's The Dictator, hitting theaters worldwide on May 11, 2012. Borat (Twentieth Century Fox) and Bruno (Universal) director Larry Charles is re-teaming with Cohen. The Dictator is based on Saddam Hussein best-selling novel, Zabibah and The King, and is described as "the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed." Brings tears to our eyes already.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 20, 2011 4:51 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Watch Exclusive: Tom Hooper Talks Directing Style in The King's Speech

In a wide-ranging discussion about his directing approach on The King's Speech, Tom Hooper talks (in the video below) about framing star Colin Firth in wide-lens close-ups so that there was "nothing between him and the character." He mentions one of the visual themes in the film was finding "a visual analogue to stammering which became about framing Colin in relationship to negative space."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 20, 2011 4:17 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Sundance Preview: Cedar Rapids Is Hilarious, Sundance Pre-Buys, Hot Tickets, Surprise Attendees

While some fest holdovers in the Sundance line-up have distributors, such as juror Susanne Bier's Golden Globe-winning Oscar submission In a Better World (Sony Pictures Classics), about 100 titles are looking for homes. The most commercial ones are being sold by the likes of UTA, CAA, WME, Cinetic, Submarine et al. Some deals have already gone down ahead of time, signaling the fact that with so many titles going into the fray, it may be better to leak screeners to distribs in advance.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 20, 2011 3:22 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Chasen Murder: Case Closed

Songwriter Diane Warren dedicated her Golden Globe award to her long-time publicist Ronni Chasen, who was shot and killed in the wee hours of November 16 by a lone bicycle-riding gunman, Harold Martin Smith, on Sunset and Whittier after the premiere of Warren's film, Burlesque. Smith later killed himself with the same gun on December 1. Many friends of Chasen's, Warren included, found it tough to accept the Beverly Hills police accounts of the murder. Why was the lone gunman so far away from his own neighborhood, why did he flee the scene without robbing Chasen, 64, and how did those five bullets shatter the glass and kill her?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 20, 2011 2:54 AM
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  • 1 Comment
More: News, Obit

Oscar Watch: Nominations LiveStream and Ten Episode Best Picture Preview

Oscar Watch: Nominations LiveStream and Ten Episode Best Picture Preview
Early risers (5:30am PT) on January 25 can watch a live stream of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards nominations announcement. The "Road to the Oscars" package features The Bachelor host Chris Harrison and EW's Dave Karger introing brief clips celebrating 2010 films and a discussion of the year's trends. The nominations will be announced at 5:38 am by Academy president Tom Sherak and Mo'Nique, winner of last year's best supporting actress Oscar for Precious.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 19, 2011 11:21 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Relativity Hits Sundance with Ex-Paramount Star Acquisition Exec Matukewicz in Tow

In a piece of acquisition news second only to SnagFilms' pick-up of veteran indie star Bingham Ray, new distrib on the block Relativity has poached Paramount acquisitions exec Joe Matukewicz as SVP of Worldwide Acquisitions. Matukewicz put in nine years as a Paramount exec, winding up as VP Acquisitions and Co-Productions for Paramount Vantage and Paramount Worldwide Acquisitions Group. He head acquisitions and work closely with the Relativity production team, reporting to Relativity production chief Tucker Tooley and marketing and distribution head Peter Adee. Matukewicz has already acquired for Relativity David Ellis’ Untitled 3D Shark Thriller from his old Vantage boss Nick Meyer’s Sierra Pictures.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 19, 2011 10:16 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Screenwriter Steven Zaillian to Get WGA Laurel Award

Writers Guild of America will give Steve Zaillian the Laurel Award for Screen, a lifetime achievement award recognizing his body of work, which includes his Oscar-winning screenplay for Schindler's List (1994) as well as Awakenings and American Gangster. Best-known as the industry's go-to rewrite man, Zaillian also co-wrote Gangs of New York and Clear and Present Danger. In production are Sony and David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Zaillian is also executive producing). Zaillian has also directed his own scripts, including Searching for Bobby Fischer, A Civil Action and All the King's Men.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 19, 2011 9:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Women and Hollywood Joins IndieWIRE Blog Network

Please welcome Women and Hollywood to the indieWIRE blog network. It's an excellent fit. Melissa Silverstein is a swift and persistent cinephile who champions the female perspective. She shares info and insight about women filmmakers trying to get their films made and seen, as well as the legions of women who want to see these films. She's also the founder of the Athena Film Festival, which launches next month at Barnard in New York.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 19, 2011 9:15 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Behind the Visual Effects on Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan is one of those movies that is creepy, scary, believable and psychologically taut partly because he deploys 250 visual effects shots to such good effect. They aren't obvious, or on a big-budget scale. While we probably figured out that Nina morphing into a Black Swan at the film's finale is a visual effect (the most complex in the film), most of the film's effects are far more subtle.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 19, 2011 9:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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