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Thompson on Hollywood

Scorsese's Mafia Movie Dream Team, Mulligan in My Fair Lady, Cher and Fonda Aging Gracefully?

- It sounds too good to be true; Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese all working on a hitman drama entitled The Irishman? It's one of a handful of projects Scorsese is considering for his next film (he's currently shooting 3-D Hugo Cabret with Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, Ben Kingsley and Sacha Baron Cohen). De Niro has been developing the picture at Paramount through his Tribeca Productions. The script is written by Steve Zaillian (Schindler's List, Gangs of New York, David Fincher's Dragon Tattoo series), based on the 2004 book I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & The Inside Story of The Mafia, The Teamsters, & The Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa by Charles Brandt. The title comes from the first words ever spoken from Jimmy Hoffa to Frank Sheeran (presumably Pacino and Pesci), the subtext approximating: "I heard you kill people and paint the walls and floors with their blood." With a title like that, what better cause to reunite this Goodfellas/Heat/Casino crowd?
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 14, 2010 3:46 AM
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  • 4 Comments

TIFF: Barney's Version Early Reviews

TIFF: Barney's Version Early Reviews
Canadian producer Robert Lantos was smart to world premiere the long-gestating Barney's Version at the Venice Film Festival instead of home-town Toronto; the book sold over over 700,000 copies in Italy, and won Venice's Golden Lion Cub award (voted by high school students). Lantos even moved the Paris section of the book to Italy.
  • By Cameron Carlson
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  • September 12, 2010 2:03 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Casting News: Hendricks in Drive, Renner and Rapace Witch Hunters, Seydoux vs. Bruni in Paris

- Drive just got juicier with Mad Men fixture Christina Hendricks set to join Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaacs and Albert Brooks in the Nicolas Winding Refn film, which shifts into gear at the end of this month. Hendrick's role is unidentified, though The Playlist suggests, following a perusal of the "terrific, noirish script," that she must be the female associate of bank-robber-Mulligan's-boyfriend (presumably played by Isaacs).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 9, 2010 12:31 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Fassbender/McQueen Reunite, Studio Critique, Love And Other Drugs, Mulligan Talks Never Let Me Go

- The Guardian calls Hollywood's summer box office victory - approximately a 2.4% lead on 2009 - a hollow one; "the abiding memory of summer 2010 will be of a decline in standards" (the standards of storytelling, not technical effects). The arguments behind this hollow victory include the decline in actual people in theatre seats (lowest since 1997) and the rise in revenue (thanks, 3-D), the root of which conflicts with studios' growing challenge to stay relevant amongst growing sources of alternative entertainment (if they're only making movies for profit, they're undermining the argument for preserving the relevance of film). The Guardian also disses too many studio-approved screenplays that "too often settle for tired storylines, hackneyed dialogue and vacuous characters hiding behind music video sensibilities and loud explosions." The Guardian does see hope in the next year (including Never Let Me Go, but warns another "creatively impoverished" season of films will descend upon us sooner or later.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 8, 2010 7:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Barney's Version in Sony's Hands

Before its launch in Venice and Toronto Fest, Sony Pictures Classics has scooped up Barney's Version. Based on Mordecai Richler's acclaimed comic novel and directed by Richard J. Lewis, the film's stellar cast is led by Paul Giamatti, Minnie Driver, Dustin Hoffman and Rosamund Pike. The story spans three decades of Barney's extraordinary life (although he is an ordinary man), running through three wives, an absurd father and an indulgent best friend.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 8, 2010 6:40 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Director Clooney Casts Political Drama, Affleck "All In" with The Town, TV vs. Cinema

- Occasional director George Clooney announced his intentions to adapt the play Farragut North some time ago. And now this February his movie is set to shoot with a powerful cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and possibly Chris Pine, Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei (should they accept Clooney's offers). At some point, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio were each attached to play leading roles in the film but schedules didn't work out. Former Democratic politico Beau Willimon, after working on Howard Dean's '04 campaign, wrote the original story and first script draft about behind-the-scenes dirty campaign tricks for a Democratic candidate who will barely be seen on screen. The main characters include a young campaign whiz kid (Pine already won praise for playing the role onstage at the Geffen [pictured]), a veteran boss (Hoffman), a rival campaign manager (Giamatti), a teen staffer (Wood?) and journalist (Tomei?). Though the specifics of funding and distribution are as yet unconfirmed, Vulture says, "finding funding with this cast shouldn't require kissing a lot of babies."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 2, 2010 3:23 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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

First Look: Coen Brothers' True Grit

Here's a first look at the Coen Brother's True Grit, which was filmed (along with another western, Cowboys & Aliens) around the Southwest. Paramount has released this still of grizzled Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld as Rooster Cogburn and Mattie Ross, respectively.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 19, 2010 6:15 AM
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  • 4 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

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