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In The Works: Coens Go Musical, Pacino's Humbling, Rushdie's Working Tltle/Showtime Sci-Fi TV Series

by Sophia Savage
June 13, 2011 6:05 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood


- ThePlaylist caught a conversation between the Coen Brothers and Noah Baumbach at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (from now on we're calling it The Film Center). The brothers' latest project is a musical.

"We’re working on a movie now that has music in it," said Joel Coen, "but it’s pretty much all performed live, single instrument so it’s hard to tell." On casting the project, they added: "in stories that we’re coming up with ourselves, it’s frequently the case that we write for specific people, although I have to say, the [musical] thing we’re doing now, we’re not writing specifically for any of the parts which is unusual for us.” Here's more.

- Al Pacino and Barry Levinson are teaming for an adaptation of Philip Roth's The Humbling, 2009's sexually charged novella, which - depending on what critic you listen to - portrays a hostile view on homosexuality, dull yet graphic sex or caustic wit. Pacino liked it enough to buy the rights himself. Moveline has the synopsis, complete with spoilers. Levinson adapted the novel along with Buck Henry and Michal Zebede, and will also direct. Pacino's co-star, a much younger woman who becomes his character's lover, is yet to be cast. [Deadline]

USA Today writes, "the plot suffers from a kind of gender gap," while the Boston Globe calls it "one of Roth's weakest novels," and the NYT declares it "a slight, disposable work about an aging man's efforts to grapple with time and loss and mortality, and the frustrations of getting old...The women in Simon's life are all female caricatures, devoid of any nuance or inner life."

- Salman Rushdie is moving to TV. The controversial novelist believes that the medium, for which he is developing a Working Title sci-fi series entitled The Next People for Showtime, is "the best of both worlds…You can work in movie style productions, but have proper control," and apparently have a budget that almost matches that of a feature, as well as the plot and character control previously limited to the novel form. His agents suggested the shift because of the decline in movie quality and uprising of quality creativity on the small screen. The Next People will mesh science with the supernatural and extra-terrestrial, and address the modern speed of life, politics, sexuality, religion, science and technology. Rushdie says, "It's a sort of paranoid science-fiction series, people disappearing and being replaced by other people,..It's not exactly sci-fi, in that there is not an awful lot of science behind it, but there are certainly elements which are not naturalistic." [The Observer via the Guardian]

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