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Thompson on Hollywood

In Production: New Bond Secrets, Damon's Zoo Co-Star, Singh Directs One of Three Snow Whites

- Writer Jeffery Deaver's The Bone Collector was made into a film back in 1999 starring Angelina Jolie and Denzel Washington. Now Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. has enlisted him to reinvent James Bond. Project X will be published in May and plot details are hush-hush, but Deaver did reveal to USA Today that the story "is set in the present day, in 2011. Bond is a young agent for the British secret service. He's 29 or 30 years old, and he's an Afghan war vet." Deaver is picking up the story from where Fleming's fourteen novels left off, not from the cinematic adaptations, he says: "I want to stay true to the original James Bond, who many people don't know much about." He acknowledges that while Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig have contributed to the Bond legacy, "the original Bond was [actually] a very dark, edgy character." The first Bond, Connery, came closest to incarnating Fleming's Cold War British spy.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 2, 2010 7:23 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekly Wrap: Oscar Contenders Big and Small, Production News, Lawrence and Morgan Talk

Weekly Wrap: Oscar Contenders Big and Small, Production News, Lawrence and Morgan Talk
AWARDS
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 29, 2010 6:06 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Roles That Could Have Been, Women vs. Horror, Hereafter's Cecile de France

- A look back at the roles that got away might soothe Mel Gibson's nerves now that his Hangover 2 role has gone to Liam Neeson. (The LAT's Patrick Goldstein looks at how loose lips lose jobs.) Here's a sampling, courtesy of TheDailyBeast: Demi Moore lost the lead in 1983's Flashdance to Jennifer Beals; Matthew McConaughey lost Jack Dawson in 1997's Titanic to Leonardo DiCaprio; Sandra Bullock lost Runaway Bride to Julia Roberts in 1999, the same year Michael Cera competed with Haley Joel Osment for The Sixth Sense; Meryl Streep was at one point lined up to play Evita before Madonna took over in 1996; Charlize Theron was in the running for Elizabeth Berkley's stripper in Showgirls in 1995; Jake Gyllenhaal auditioned for Ewan McGregor's role in Baz Luhrmann's 2001 musical Moulin Rouge!; and Robert Redford chased Dustin Hoffman's part in 1967's The Graduate.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 26, 2010 4:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Production Watch: Bourne Disses Damon, Tony Scott for Top Gun Sequel, How To Reject A Movie Plot

Matt Damon says he found out about writer-director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) directing the fourth Bourne installment the same way we did - the internet. He told Parade Magazine, “I found out they’re making another when somebody saw it on the Internet. Nobody bothered to call me." Just as we suggested, he surmises: "I’m not in it, but even so, they’ll work Bourne into the title, I guess. Universal just wants to call everything the Bourne something. So I guess they are trying to make another franchise, and as they say, ‘It isn’t over until it’s over.'" Damon boxed himself into this corner by refusing to rejoin the franchise without director Paul Greengrass. Gilroy, who helped create the franchise as the writer of all the previous entries, has come up with a way to work around Bourne.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 25, 2010 4:22 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Peter Morgan Talks Clint Eastwood's Hereafter, James Bond, Freddy Mercury, 360, and Tony Blair

Peter Morgan Talks Clint Eastwood's Hereafter, James Bond, Freddy Mercury, 360, and Tony Blair
Screenwriter Peter Morgan is unusual: a Brit based in Vienna, he's a prolific writer of self-generated screenplays, and not so often a writer-for-hire. (He's been nominated for two Oscars, for The Queen, an original, and Frost/Nixon, adapted from his play.) Hereafter is an unusual original, even for him, written in a "disgracefully short period," he says. After Steven Spielberg flirted with it, Clint Eastwood scooped it up and shot it without making any changes. Morgan still isn't sure how he feels about it. Would he have liked to work on it more, or is the movie as good as it is because it's idiosyncratic, not polished, and emotionally raw? (The movie opened well this weekend; Metacritic rates it at 56.) The script weaves together three stories about people trying to reach the hereafter--or in the case of the character played by Matt Damon, avoiding it.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 24, 2010 11:48 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Box Office: Paranormal Activity 2 Scares Up $41.5 million, Hereafter Delivers Decent Bow

Paranormal Activity 2 outperformed expectations with a jaw-dropping $41.5 million estimated opening weekend, thanks to Paramount's innovative interactive marketing campaign (see spot below). The studio held the top two spots with the horror sequel and Jackass 3D, Anthony D'Alessandro reports. In fact, with less product clogging multiplexes, films with strong WOM are holding better than ever, from Secretariat to The Social Network. (Here's IW's indie b.o. report.)Paranormal Activity 2 conjured up masses of moviegoers this weekend: the Paramount horror-thriller howled a hearty $41.5 million at 3,216 sites, a marvelous opening that outstrips the $30-million bows of several Saw chapters and marks a record for a horror film, outstripping the $40.6 million minted by 2009’sFriday the 13th reboot. Overseas, the sequel also pulled in $22 million in 21 territories. As anticipated heading into the weekend, Paramount delivered a double whammy, as it grabbed the No. 2 spot with holdover Jackass 3D, firing up a solid $21.6 million, off 57% -- a typical drop for guy fare.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • October 24, 2010 4:20 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Paranormal Activity 2 Spoof: Scarier Than A Demon? A Damon!

Thank Funny or Die for providing more entertainment (for free) in under three minutes than Paranormal Activity 2 will slow-drip into your system in over an hour. The first of their two trailers (below, here's the official trailer) warns of something worse than a demon - a Damon! Complete with complex math skills! The second just tries to tell the truth.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 20, 2010 4:55 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Recycling at the Cinema: True Grit, The Great Gatsby and RED

We all know recycling is good for the planet, but is it good for cinema? Consider three old-is-new retreads: a western remake, a 1920s period piece and a contemporary action flick. True Grit is a remake of a 1969 John Wayne film which was adapted from a novelization of a Charles Portis 1968 serial which first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post. The Great Gatsby started as a lauded 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald novel which became a film in 1926 and again in 1949 and 1974. Even comedy hit RED, although it is not based on a book or an old movie, still exists--argues Movie City News--due to recycling of the DC graphic novel's plot and characters. There's nothing new here: movies have been adapting popular fiction for as long as they've been around. What's horrifying is Hollywood's current aversion to anything original.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 19, 2010 6:12 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Weekend Box Office Goes to Record-Breaking Jackass 3D; Red Ensemble Scores in Second

Two escapist comedies launched at Comic-Con surged to unexpected box office heights for October as Jackass 3D and ensemble action comedy Red grossed an estimated $50 million and $22.5 million, respectively, reports Anthony D'Alessandro:
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • October 17, 2010 3:49 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Production News: Bourne Without Bourne, Mad Max Stalls, Eastern Promises 2

- Writer-director Tony Gilroy is trying to have it both ways. He confirms that The Bourne Legacy will be made without Matt Damon - but he contradicts himself. "This is not a reboot or a recast or a prequel. No one's replacing Matt Damon," Gilroy says. "There will be a whole new hero, a whole new chapter…this is a stand-alone project" that happens to be using the title of Robert Ludlum's book, "but will not use the story":"The easiest way to think of it is an expansion or a reveal…Jason Bourne will not be in this film, but he's very much alive. What happened in the first three films is the trigger for what happens. I'm building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy...the world we're making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne's return [down the road]…Everything you saw in the first three films actually happened, and everyone who got into them will be rewarded for paying attention. We're going to show you the bigger picture, the bigger canvas. When you see where we're going and see what we're doing it'll be pretty obvious."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 11, 2010 12:36 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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