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Thompson on Hollywood

Star Watch: McAdams Morning Glory Breakout, Heroic Plame in Fair Game, Rainn Wilson's Soul Pancake

Some wonder why Rachel McAdams has taken so long to break out--it's more than six years since Mean Girls and The Notebook. Now the NYT wonders if she's on the brink of a blockbuster, as her latest, the romantic comedy Morning Glory, is set to open November 10. While there have been "few glaringly stupid" choices, notes the NYT, and she shows a wide range (from crowd-pleaser Wedding Crashers to sprawling ensemble State of Play to the pretty girl in Sherlock Holmes), she hasn't exactly broken out with a star-making role, has she? It's not so much her performances as the execution of these middle-of-the-road studio films. Morning Glory director Roger Michell gushes that McAdams "just radiates life. She has two sets of muscles. One is a kind of railway map of the script, which must be adhered to, and the other is emotional, meaning she can see what floats through the window on the day of shooting and go with that.” She makes the work-life balance sound easy: “Being an actor, you get to have so many lifetimes in one...I like the comfort of home, the stability and security, but I also want to travel and do new things. Being an actor expedites that.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 1, 2010 5:13 AM
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Three Features In Works from BBC Earth and Reliance Big Entertainment Partnership; Two in 3-D

BBC Earth (2007's Earth) and India's Reliance Big Entertainment are partnering on three films; Reliance's IM Global will distribute. The three films are: $65 million live-action/CGI Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, directed by Pierre De Lespinois and Neil Nightingale, which will use groundbreaking 3-D cameras and LIDAR (Light, Detection and Ranging) technology; $25-million documentary feature Africa 3D, and documentary feature Life, from co-directors Mike Gunton and Martha Holmes, which follows a series of animal kingdom life-cycle stories.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 1, 2010 4:51 AM
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Lena Dunham Talks Tiny Furniture, Writing for Hollywood, Rudin, HBO

Lena Dunham Talks Tiny Furniture, Writing for Hollywood, Rudin, HBO
The discovery of this year's SXSW (and best narrative feature winner) was 24-year-old New York writer-director Lena Dunham, who shot her semi-autobiographical micro-budget film Tiny Furniture at her family's Tribeca loft with herself, her sister Grace and her artist mom Laurie Simmons (The Music of Regret) in leading roles, along with indie professionals Jemima Kirke, Alex Karpovsky and Merritt Wever, who she met at SXSW when she debuted her first film Creative Nonfiction there. Dunham's painter father Carroll didn't want to be in the film, she admits during our flip cam interview during LAFF at L.A.'s Four Seasons (below, with trailer). "I was exploring a more female-centric thing." Her family worked their butts off during fifteen days of filming (Jody Lee Lipes is her cinematographer) and are "quite proud of it. We all went through that artistic process together."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 30, 2010 2:02 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Sound of Music Reunion on Oprah

True confession: I sang along with The Sound of Music at the Hollywood Bowl a few summers back, with a lot of other happy fans of the 1965 musical, which is still the third most successful movie of all time (after Gone with the Wind and Star Wars). Corrected for inflation in 2005 dollars, according to Blockbusting, the movie's domestic gross (including rereleases) would be $953.9 million (158.9), its cost $49.7 million ($8.0). It took 114 days to make, 25 days over-schedule. Nominated for ten Oscars, it won five, including best picture and actress (Julie Andrews, cast after the director saw advance footage of Mary Poppins) and director (Robert Wise).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 27, 2010 11:58 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Production Watch: Dark Knight Rises (in 2-D), Aronofsky's Machine Man, Goodfellas TV Prequel

- The Dark Knight Rises for Chris Nolan, but his villain is still unclear: whoever it is (and it's NOT the Riddler), Heath Ledger's Joker will be impossible to top. By playing it safe with the title, Warner Bros. is betting that box office numbers will match those of Nolan's second Batman installment ($1 billion worldwide). Nolan confirmed the title and his successful resistance to 3-D to his usual journo source, LAT's The Hero Complex.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 27, 2010 5:39 AM
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  • 1 Comment

We Are Here: The Pale Blue Dot, Narrated by Carl Sagan

Check out the cool, unaccountably moving video (below) by David Fu to accompany the late great astronomer/educator/author Carl Sagan's reading of "We Are Here" from his 1994 book (I was a huge fan of Sagan's 1980 tour of the universe in the TV series Cosmos.) Here's some of the Wikipedia entry:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 24, 2010 11:09 AM
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More: TV, Video

Weekly Wrap: Awards and Festivals, News, Media, Celebs

In the past week, TOH looked at Names That Rule in Moviesphere, considered Recycling at the Cinema [pictured: DiCaprio and Hall, potentials for Great Gatsby remake] and pondered the five things that went wrong with Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 22, 2010 7:23 AM
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Who is Jack Huston?

Jack Huston is popping up all over. Who is this guy? Any relation to Angelica, Danny, John, or Walter? Well, it turns out, all of the above.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 22, 2010 1:42 AM
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Mad Men's Jaw-Dropping Season Four Finale: "A pretty girl walks by and everything's out the window."

Tim Appelo recaps Mad Men's Season Four finale (packed with Spoilers, needless to say). I am not the only one drooping with disappointment that my fave series is going into hiatus. Sigh. “A secretary is not a pet, nor an erector set,” they sang in the 1961 Robert Morse musical How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying -- but try telling that to Don Draper. In Mad Men’s jawdropper fourth-season finale, he drop-kicks his brilliant, drop-dead gorgeous girlfriend Dr. Faye Miller and pops the question to his secretary du jour, Megan –better known as “Who the hell is that?” (as Roger Sterling blurted when Don announced the engagement). Draper secretaries come and go like Spinal Tap drummers, but Megan turned a one-night stand into a giant diamond.
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • October 20, 2010 6:50 AM
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Celeb Watch: Saoirse Ronan's Killer Slate, Hamm on Cusp of Movie Stardom, Gibson in Hangover 2

- Vulture chats with Saoirse Ronan, who at sixteen has had more meaty dramatic roles than most actresses twice her age. True, she has played children: she led us into the heart of Joe Wright's Atonement and almost made Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones worth watching. After a turn in Peter Weir's ensemble The Way Back (which rolls out in December and January), she boasts two more adult roles, in Joe Wright's Hanna (Focus) and Geoffrey Fletcher's indie Violet & Daisy. She plays a teen raised by her father (Eric Bana) as a killer in the former (April 2011) and an assassin in the latter (with Alexis Bledel, James Gandolfini and Danny Trejo). Despite the similarities of these two roles (which also call to mind Femme Nikita and Kick-Ass), Ronan insists they are very different: "Hanna is more serious, and funnily enough, it's more realistic. Violet & Daisy is quite surreal." On her relationships with these two directors, she agrees that Fletcher is a "really sweet guy" (directing his first film) and that her working relationship with Wright is now "quite in sync."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 18, 2010 5:46 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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