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Thompson on Hollywood

Production & Development Watch: Hall's Awakening, Greengrass's King Biopic, Russell's 2 Guns

- Rebecca Hall is a total scene stealer. Think Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Please Give, and The Town. She's a rising star; here's a first look at her first leading role in The Awakening, from Brit director Nick Murphy and screenwriter Stephen Volk. Dominic West (The Wire) and Mike Leigh regular Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) co-star. Set in 1921, a bereaved woman (Hall) deploys rational arguments to debunk supernatural myths. A countryside boarding school asks her to come to ease panic caused by a boy's death (and rumors of a ghost). Her beliefs are challenged when she faces her own ghostly encounter. The Studio Canal and BBC films collaboration is in post-production with no release date. - Forget Bourne. Brit writer-director Paul Greengrass is writing Memphis, a Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic that focuses on the events--both personal and professional--that lead to his assassination on April 4, 1968. There are plenty of assassination reports and conspiracy theories to work with. Greengrass's studio relationship is with Universal; Scott Rudin is in discussions to produce the film with Greengrass at the studio's specialty arm, Focus Features.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 13, 2011 7:00 AM
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Development Watch: Arterton for Gretel, Jolie's Cleopatra Director, Clooney's Monster of Florence

- Jeremy Renner's Hansel has found his Gretel. Gemma Arterton will star alongside the rising Hurt Locker and Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol star in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, which sets the fairy tale duo fifteen years later, chasing witches. Despite having suffered three less-than-stellar films in 2010 (Tamara Drewe, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Clash of the Titans), Brit Gemma Arterton beat out Diane Kruger, Eva Green and Noomi Rapace to fill these fairy tale shoes. Director Tommy Wirkola wants to shoot in Berlin starting March 7. Let's hope this fairy tale update rises above the pack.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 5, 2011 6:29 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Paul Greengrass Talks Bourne, Green Zone, Short Movie Day 8

Brit actor David Morrissey interviews director Paul Greengrass (Bourne films and Green Zone) in this short movie for Dunhill’s Day 8:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 16, 2010 5:18 AM
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Production News: Bourne Without Bourne, Mad Max Stalls, Eastern Promises 2

- Writer-director Tony Gilroy is trying to have it both ways. He confirms that The Bourne Legacy will be made without Matt Damon - but he contradicts himself. "This is not a reboot or a recast or a prequel. No one's replacing Matt Damon," Gilroy says. "There will be a whole new hero, a whole new chapter…this is a stand-alone project" that happens to be using the title of Robert Ludlum's book, "but will not use the story":"The easiest way to think of it is an expansion or a reveal…Jason Bourne will not be in this film, but he's very much alive. What happened in the first three films is the trigger for what happens. I'm building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy...the world we're making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne's return [down the road]…Everything you saw in the first three films actually happened, and everyone who got into them will be rewarded for paying attention. We're going to show you the bigger picture, the bigger canvas. When you see where we're going and see what we're doing it'll be pretty obvious."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 11, 2010 12:36 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Director Watch: Snyder Takes Superman, Gilroy on Bourne 4, Hobbit Inches Closer, Luhrmann Goes Glee

- Superman has a new daddy: Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) will direct Warner Bros' franchise revival, with Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas producing--the dynamic duo that rebooted Batman. Nolan came up with the story; Batman Begins scribe David S. Goyer wrote the screenplay, which brings back villain General Zod. “I feel super awesome,” Snyder told the LAT, while admitting that he lies awake at night thinking of how his Superman - who "has to be a man" - will be recreated. No boys need apply for the job; this is a the "biggest and baddest of them all," Snyder says, "The greatest of them all, right? We all want to know how the next chapter takes shape. I want to know how it will take shape.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 5, 2010 4:45 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Scott Pilgrim vs. Universal and the Matrix

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World's bottom line comes down to the same problem that has faced a long line of Universal projects. It was an indie movie that cost too much to be successful inside the studio paradigm and should have been produced and released on a smaller less ambitious scale at the studio's specialty division Focus Features, which could have nurtured it and sent it into the world on a more limited basis and built on the film's strong word-of-mouth from its narrow base. To them a $12 million gross would have been fine. To Universal, it's less than the film's marketing budget. (A funny mash-up of Scott Pilgrim vs. The Matrix is below.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 23, 2010 11:37 AM
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  • 8 Comments

Bourne #4, Green Lantern Sequel, Monsterpocalypse and Inception Spot

In Development: - Bourne #4 is coming. Tony Gilroy is back in the saddle to write The Bourne Legacy as a sequel, not prequel, to the franchise starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, as well as a "Bourne Bible." The film is not based on the book The Bourne Legacy (written by Eric Van Lustbader, not original novelist Robert Ludlum, who died in 2001) and is set for release in 2012. Damon says he won't do it unless director Paul Greengrass returns (Greengrass directed Ultimatum and Supremacy, while Doug Liman directed the 2002 kick-off The Bourne Identity). [Anne Thompson: I'd like to see Gilroy--in many ways the series' true creator, and a crackerjack director himself (Michael Clayton, Duplicity)-- do the honors. Would Damon work with him? After he sees the script, maybe.]
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 10, 2010 9:20 AM
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Hollywood is Running Out of Movie Stars Like Matt Damon

Hollywood is Running Out of Movie Stars Like Matt Damon
One of the running gags at Saturday night's 24th annual American Cinematheque Ball was how strange it was to be honoring a movie star who hasn't yet cracked 40. "What can you say about Matt Damon that hasn't been said about Brendan Fraser?" roasted Jimmy Kimmel. "You're here tonight because were running out of stars."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 29, 2010 6:56 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Trailer Watch: Damon Stars in Invictus and Green Zone

Trailer Watch: Damon Stars in Invictus and Green Zone
It is more likely that Matt Damon will score an Oscar nom for Clint Eastwood's Invictus, which slices into Nelson Mandela's 1995 pursuit of the rugby World Cup to unify South Africa, than Steven Soderbergh's offbeat The Informant! which has already faded from the scene. Damon plays the captain of the South African rugby team, Francois Pienaar, and Morgan Freeman inhabits Mandela. Invictus opens December 11.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 28, 2009 5:28 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Top 25 Active Directors: Did EW Get it Right?

EW loves lists like this one, the top 25 active directors, designed to inspire healthy debate. Did they get it right? And what do they mean by active, exactly? "Most talented, in-demand directors behind the camera today?" They're trying to have it both ways--it's a power list measuring fame, heat, influence and at the same time, a qualitative measure of talent.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 19, 2009 7:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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