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Thompson on Hollywood

Avatar's James Cameron Talks 3D

Variety tech wonk David S. Cohen conducts an in-depth interview with James Cameron about something he knows a little bit about: 3D. An early believer and innovator in the technology that looks to revolutionize the way many movies are made, Cameron expounds at length. (He reveals some tech details on his next 3D effort, the long-awaited Avatar, due in 2009.) Here's a sampling of their email exchange:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 11, 2008 6:05 AM
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The Visitor: Exclusive Film Clip and McCarthy

Actor-writer-director Tom McCarthy (who played the ambitious young reporter on The Wire), took some time after his last film, The Station Agent, to travel in the Mideast with the film--sponsored by the U.S. State Dept. Inspired by some of the people he met in Beirut and Oman, he started writing a script with two main characters, a closed-down professor and a Syrian illegal alien who plays African drums. "I leave time for writing to develop organically," McCarthy says. "I start with characters first, who I haven't seen before."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 4, 2008 4:28 AM
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Leatherheads: Clooney Goes Retro

George Clooney is the sort of movie star who gets to do what he wants, especially if he's willing to direct himself. In this case the period football comedy Leatherheads had been languishing on the shelf at Universal for decades, and was going to be directed by Steven Soderbergh at one time. Clooney's version is a sweetly daffy valentine to classic Hollywood screwball comedies, Coen brothers comedies and romantic comedies. Clooney stars as a handsome over-the-hill football player who's pretty smart but gets beat up on the playing field and takes plenty of pratfalls and romances a wise-cracking reporter (Renee Zellweger).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 1, 2008 4:45 AM
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Holiday Weekend Update: Good and Plenty

There's plenty to see in theaters this weekend.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 21, 2008 5:40 AM
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Judd Apatow Alert: Four Comedies Coming

We all know producer Judd Apatow has four movies coming up in 2008. But which ones will work at the boxoffice? By my guess, all of them. It's just a case of how high is high.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 19, 2008 5:48 AM
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Minghella and Clarke Are Gone

Anthony Minghella died of an unexpected cerebral hemorrhage on Tuesday after the removal of a growth in his neck last week. He was 54. Minghella had been finishing up the BBC/HBO series "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency," which he co-wrote and co-produced with Richard Curtis, before its debut March 23. Minghella was always putting in long days on numerous projects. Here's the Variety obit. UPDATE: And the NYT.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 18, 2008 5:52 AM
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More: Obit, Directors

Batman's Nolan Talks Dark Knight and Ledger

Summer 2008 is jam-packed with movies vying for screens every weekend from the start of May through Labor Day. Pamela McClintock lays out the stakes.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 9, 2008 6:51 AM
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Rolling Stones Shine a Light

While Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stone concert doc Shine a Light grabbed some flat reviews out of Berlin (here's ">Variety), I was delighted with it when I saw it Tuesday night. That's partly because Scorsese gives camera operating duties to 10 top cinematographers (Robert Richardson! Robert Elswit! Ellen Kuras! John Toll! Declan Quinn!) to shoot two Stones concerts at the Beacon Theatre in New York. The results are dazzling for those of us who get a kick out of swooping cameras and brilliant editing and the whirling Stones.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 6, 2008 7:06 AM
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Coens' Burn After Reading, Starring Pitt and Clooney, Goes Wide

While speculation runs rampant on whether or not the Coens will take their next movie, the CIA pic Burn After Reading, starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney, to Cannes--obviously Thierry Fremaux will want it, but he hasn't screened it yet; UPDATE: Working Title says it probably won't be finished in time--in the meantime Focus Features has booked the Working Title movie to go wide on September 12. This suggests that after the Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men (which soared 67% this weekend) the Coens have jumped out of art-film territory and boast more commercial appeal; this pic's stars are certainly big enough to warrant a wide opening.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 3, 2008 7:50 AM
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Oscar Watch: Predicts

At long last, the Oscar ballots are in and it is the week before the Oscar kudocast! It's time to make your fearless forecasts and plunk your money down in your office pool. (I can tell you one thing--it's not easy to come out on top here at Variety, where everyone is an Oscar expert.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 19, 2008 7:20 AM
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