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Thompson on Hollywood

Angelina Jolie Talks Blood & Honey on 60 Minutes: Afghanistan Set War Drama is Next, Punching Through Gender Stereotypes & Being Scared in a Good Way

  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 28, 2011 1:45 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Mendes Casts Whishaw as Bond Gadget-Meister Q in Skyfall

Clearly, director Sam Mendes is seeking to update the Bond franchise and pull in some younger viewers. While Daniel Craig and Judi Dench are returning as agent 007 and his boss, M, respectively, John Cleese will not come back as Q. That role will go to a younger-generation gadget-master to be played by Ben Whishaw, 31, a terrific actor who shined as Freddy Lyon in the Brit TV series "The Hour," Ariel in Julie Taymor's "The Tempest," one of several incarnations of Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes' "I'm Not There," and Jane Campion's "Bright Star," among other films. He co-starred with Craig in "Layer Cake" as well, and stars opposite Tom Hanks in the upcoming "Cloud Atlas."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 25, 2011 11:52 AM
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  • 3 Comments

First Look at Prometheus: Scott's Sci-Fi Thriller with Alien DNA, Fassbender, Theron, Rapace, Elba, Pearce & Wilson

Ridley Scott's 3-D sci-fi thriller "Prometheus" is shrouded in mystery. Now EW offers a first look at the "Aliens"-related VFX space epic set for June 2012 release starring Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba, Patrick Wilson, Guy Pearce. Need we say more? We got our first peak at Comic-Con (the fest's prime asset). Fassbender told us that he plays an android based on the physicality of diver Greg Louganis.  "There’s definitely a link to 'Alien,' there’s creatures in it that you’ll recognize,” he said at Comic-Con. Theron added that "people should really let go of the idea that it’s an Alien film.” Want more images? Here. At Comic-Con, Fox and Scott downplayed the sci-fi space thriller's relationship to Scott's original film and the kick-ass James Cameron sequel "Aliens." But Scott admits that this movie is grown from the same DNA. The movie is a further exploration of that future world produced with the scale and scope that new technology makes possible. And its ultimate goal is "to scare the living shit out of you," Scott said via satellite from Iceland.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 23, 2011 4:30 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Thankful for Scorsese: What's Next; Ebert's Goodfellas & Badfellas; Fast Company on the 'Greatest Living Director'

Martin Scorsese is not slowing down, burning out---or selling out, either. "Hugo," his first children's tale and first 3-D film, opens this weekend, and is earning stellar reviews. While it may prove too rich for many mainstream moviegoers, it's a testament to his ongoing exuberance as a director.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 23, 2011 1:41 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Interview Watch: Brutal Honesty from Jeremy Renner, Streep & Coen Talk Film in China, Knightley on Dangerous Method & Anna Karenina

Here's some brutal honesty from Jeremy Renner, whose "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" comes out December 21, followed by "The Avengers" in May 2012. Career comes first: "Even now, any woman would take a No. 2 seat to my job.” No thanks, "Transformers": "Thank God I don’t have to do a monologue to a robot. I don’t know how Shia, God bless him, does that.” As for celebrity attention? “I don’t pay attention to that horseshit." And a touch of film wisdom, via his experience building houses:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 22, 2011 1:08 PM
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CASTING WATCH: Game of Thrones' Harington and The Killing's Kinnaman Are Arthur & Lancelot

Thanks to Steven Soderbergh, who pitched Brit Kit Harington (Jon Snow in "Game of Thrones") and Swede Joel Kinnaman (AMC's "The Killing," "The Darkest Hour," "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo") for his soon-to-be-aborted "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."), Warner Bros. has cast both rising actors in "Arthur & Lancelot," slated for a March 2013 release. Harington landed King Arthur, while Kinnaman is playing Lancelot. The studio has made an odd choice of director for this project, David Dobkin ("The Change Up," "Fred Claus," "Wedding Crashers") who is writing the script. Check out soundbites from Harington at Comic-Con, where we covered the "Game of Thrones" panel and witnessed proof that Harington is already a scream-inducing heartthrob. How does he feel about the thousands of 15-year old girls putting posters of him on their walls? "It scares the crap out of me."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 21, 2011 1:52 PM
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Soderbergh Hits Promo Circuit for Contagion, Talks Man From U.N.C.L.E. and New Film

Steven Soderbergh has been around the industry long enough to know the signs of a project that isn't firing on all cylinders. And he knows that once you go down the road of making too many compromises, the chances of turning out a movie you can be proud of are pretty slim. Better, he told me Friday night at an Academy-invited screening and cocktail promo party for "Contagion," his best-received movie in a while, to let "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." go before it really was too late. He doesn't regret losing out on "Moneyball" either, he says. If he hadn't been fired from the baseball picture, he says he wouldn't have gotten to make "Haywire" (January) with Channing Tatum, which led to stripper movie "Magic Mike." But not to "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 20, 2011 3:27 AM
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  • 1 Comment

WEEKLY WRAP: Oscar Talk, Box Office, Gender Watch, AFM, Harry Potter, Cleopatra & More

Revisit the best stories of the week from Thompson on Hollywood!
  • By TOH!
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  • November 19, 2011 1:11 PM
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Open Road Picks Up Dax Shepard's Ensemble Action Comedy Outrun

Open Road Films, launched earlier this year by the AMC and Regal theater chains, has picked up all U.S. rights to the romantic action comedy "Outrun." Written and co-directed by star Dax Shepard (“Parenthood”), the road movie boasts a sprawling ensemble including Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper, Tom Arnold, Beau Bridges and Kristin Chenoweth. David Palmer co-directs. Open Road's Tom Ortenberg calls it "a wildly fun and funny movie." Sherpard stars in "Outrun" as ex-getaway driver Charlie Bronson who flees Witness Protection in order to drive his girlfriend (Kristen Bell) to Los Angeles to seek a new job. Their road trip goes awry as they are not only chased by the Feds (led by Tom Arnold) but Bronson's ex-gang (led by Bradley Cooper). Shades of "Midnight Run."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 18, 2011 2:17 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Will Roth & Fincher Deliver Jolie's Cleopatra?

Let us count the ways that Sony's "Cleopatra" could go wrong. But hiring Eric Roth to write the script for the Angelina Jolie epic (possibly with David Fincher at the helm) is a good sign. We can thank Roth for "Forrest Gump," "The Insider," "Munich," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and many other fine scripts including the upcoming "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close." Based on Stacy Schiff's sprawling bestseller, this "Cleopatra" is rooted in a complex history and demands a seasoned writer who will not lose sight of the biography's authentic primary sources. Bringing Fincher on board would also set the project on the right course. Exuding the infamous intelligence, charisma and sexuality of Cleopatra will be easy for Jolie, who nonetheless needs a strong director to pull from her a layered and compelling performance. The Egyptian queen--arguably the most powerful woman of all time-- was a master political strategist who deftly manipulated her two life mates, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.  (Picking the right two co-stars is also key.) If the movie gods align the elements, this could be Jolie's career-defining role--and her best shot at a Best Actress Oscar.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 16, 2011 3:49 PM
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  • 2 Comments

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