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Thompson on Hollywood

Portman Offered Gravity, Defining Adult Films, Toronto's Most Anticipated

- In the ongoing saga of who will replace Angelina Jolie in the lead role in Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity--she twice rejected the starring role--Natalie Portman has been offered the role, thanks to rave reviews on her Black Swan performance. With or without Black Swan's vote of confidence, Portman is a strong (but young) choice. The age range of the character in Gravity is apparently flexible. Should Portman accept the role, this will be a chance for her to stand out (although Robert Downey Jr. carries some of the load), a la Tom Hanks in Cast Away or James Franco in 127 Hours. Risky Business lists Portman's growing collection of possible projects, including a Terrence Malick film with Brad Pitt, a Tom Stoppard piece written specifically for her, not to mention Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Tom Tykwer's star-packed (Hanks, James McAvoy, Halle Berry, Ian McKellan) Cloud Atlas (both slated for 2011). All along, the actress has made diverse choices, ranging from Heat (1995), which RottenTomatoes rates highest of all her films, when she was 14 (the unheard of Free Zone [2005] is the lowest) to Star Wars (1999, 2002, 2005) and Garden State (2004).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 8, 2010 3:35 AM
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  • 1 Comment

New Jolie News, Too-High Ticket Prices, Help Find Jean-Luc Godard

- Credit Angelina Jolie with keeping it interesting. This week alone, news broke that she is writing and directing her first feature, a Bosnian love story, and now she will be starring in an adaptation of Brit miniseries Unforgiven, about a woman's struggle to re-enter society after serving a 15-year prison sentence for murdering two policemen who tried to evict her and her family from their farmhouse. One revenge-hungry policeman's son is out for revenge. The script will be written by The Usual Suspect's Christopher McQuarrie (who also co-wrote Jolie's upcoming The Tourist). Assuming the script is to Jolie's liking, this could be an excellent chance for her to combine her A Mighty Heart and Girl Interrupted depth (which won her the supporting actress Oscar) with her powerful mess-with-me-and-you'll-be-sorry untouchability.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 26, 2010 4:31 AM
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Mulligan Along for Drive, Almodovar's Latest, Aniston's Rut

- Nicolas Winding Refn (Valhalla Rising, Bronson) has already lined up Ryan Gosling and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) for his thriller Drive. Now Carey Mulligan is negotiating to play Gosling's passenger. After Gosling's stuntman/freelance getaway driver is involved in a botched bank robbery, he is on the run with the ex-con's girlfriend along for the ride, which no doubt doubles the trouble. Angelenos watch out: shooting starts next month.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 23, 2010 3:14 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Idris Elba as Alex Cross, Bateman's Reckless Masturbation, Fair Game's Identity Crisis

- It's no longer Morgan Freeman's time on the James Patterson murder mystery series (Kiss the Girls, Along Came A Spider). The veteran actor last played the role of Dr. Alex Cross in 2001, but now a new man is taking over the role for Cross, the next cinematic installment in the best-selling series: Idris Elba, of The Wire, The Office, and Obsessed. The 37-year old Brit actor has a long TV and film resume and is due for a meatier lead in a studio feature. Although he's stepping into a role played by Freeman, he's reminiscent of Denzel Washington circa 1999's The Bone Collector. Washington at 43 was in his prime: dignified, sexy, powerful. David Twohy will direct Cross, which follows the character as he tracks a rapist he believes to have murdered his pregnant wife years ago.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 19, 2010 3:59 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Dragon Tattoo's Rapace Goes Hollywood as Remake Goes English, Jolie as Go-To Action Star

- Noomi Rapace took herself out of the running for David Fincher's adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - the Swedish adaptation won her the country's Oscar equivalent for best actress. Rapace wants to expand her career in new directions, and is spending the week in LA meeting with directors, according to THR (including McG and Ridley Scott), producers (Avi Arad and Lorenzo Di Bonaventura) and studio executives at Paramount and Warner Bros. to plan her attack. Repped by UTA and fluent in English, Rapace could burst into Hollywood off the momentum of Dragon Tattoo's success. But it's Rooney Mara who will grab the career hype as she channels Stieg Larsson's counter-cultural anti-heroine for Millennium Trilogy fans, who are already salivating for a better screen version of the story. While Mara's performance will be compared to Rapace's when The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opens in December 2011, it will be seen by far more people. Both actresses' lives have changed because of Lisbeth Salander.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 17, 2010 3:49 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Manly Movie Stars: Rodrigue Talks the Evolution of Masculinity in Film

Manly Movie Stars: Rodrigue Talks the Evolution of Masculinity in Film
Almost two years ago, Anne Thompson asked "Where have the manly movie stars gone?," and investigated the entertainment industry's ongoing search for traditional male leads that aren't borrowed from the UK, Australia or Europe to commandeer Hollywood's most testosterone-needy films. While America lays claim to the boy-men niche with the likes of Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, Jake Gyllenhaal and any male in a Judd Apatow film, Hollywood's most- masculine male leads are more often than not played by foreigners; Christian Bale (a Brit) and Heath Ledger (an Aussie) were case-in-point as the stars of 2008's highest grossing film, The Dark Knight.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 12, 2010 8:28 AM
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  • 21 Comments

Lively vs. Johansson for Cuaron's Gravity; Aniston vs. O'Reilly on Parenthood; Hendricks Talks

-Two young actresses are pitted against each other for the lead role in Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity as the lone survivor of a failed space telescope repair mission who is trying to get home. Scarlett Johansson and Blake Lively are vying for the part in the project, reports THR's Heat Vision blog, which was originally set up at Universal as an Angelina Jolie vehicle. The Cast Away-esque film is now set to push either Johansson or Lively out of a sidekick role and into the spotlight; Robert Downey Jr.'s character in the film takes a back seat to the astronaut trying to get home to her daughter.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 11, 2010 5:29 AM
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  • 8 Comments

Women in Hollywood: Salander vs. Gilbert, Bullock Is Forbes #1, Rom-Com Actresses, Lady Gaga

- Two literary characters--Lisbeth Salander and Elizabeth Gilbert--built huge fan bases of women book lovers well before the characters hit the big screen. Fans eagerly await the news of who David Fincher will cast as Salander in the English-language version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (and subsequent sequels); the Swedish originals starred Noomi Rapace. And author Elizabeth Gilbert is days away from watching herself portrayed by Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 4, 2010 5:02 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Box Office: Inception Beats Dinner for Schmucks, Charlie St. Cloud

In its third go-round, Inception, buoyed by repeat business, continued to stave off all challengers, including the comedy Dinner for Schmucks, which scored a robust $23.3 million, and the Zac Efron weepy Charlie St. Cloud and animated sequel Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, which were both DOA. Anthony D'Alessandro does the numbers.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • August 1, 2010 4:08 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Box Office: Inception Beats Out Salt on Boffo Summer Weekend

Having already passed the $100-million mark, Inception and Leonardo DiCaprio beat out box office challenger Salt and Angelina Jolie this weekend, reports Anthony D'Alessandro. It was an embarrassment of riches at the weekend box office, as two films led by stars, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Inception and Angelina Jolie’s Salt, racked up $43.5 million and $36.5 million respectively.  Clearly both original pictures leaned on serious star power to launch their franchises, during a time when box office analysts have been questioning whether stars mean much these days. Inception had a remarkably small slip for a tentpole film of just 31%.  Typically an actioner will halve its ticket sales in its second frame, but Inception's complex plot inspires moviegoer debate--and lots of repeat business.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • July 25, 2010 4:26 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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