ENJOY THE MOVIES
While doing press for his new film Abduction starring Taylor Lautner, director John Singleton briefly spoke to The Playlist about re-teaming with his his Boyz n the Hood star Ice Cube for a project very close to the rapper-turned-actor's heart; Straight Outta Compton, the long-gestating biopic of the late '80s/early '90s Compton, California-based rap group N.W.A. of which Cube was an original founding member. While Singleton didn't have much to say about the project since it's in the early stages of development, he indicated it has a strong script and that both New Line Cinema and Ice Cube are on board.
Thus far, expected to return to the Sly Stallone testosterone-o-rama known as The Expendables 2 are Terry Crews, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, as well as Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger who will reprise their cameos from the first film with a somewhat larger presence. It wouldn't be an '80s/'90s action packed reunion without Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris, who will also be crushing skulls for the first time in TE2. But the latest to join the cast of the sequel is up-and-comer Liam Hemsworth, making him the young newbie in an ensemble of otherwise old-timers.
Straight out of TIFF, Luc Besson's The Lady, a biopic of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese pro-democracy activist and political prisoner, has just been acquired for US distribution by Cohen Media Group. Cohen has plans to release the film late this year in hopes that it will quickly enter the race of Oscar contenders, with a campaign focused on Besson's directing and performances from Michelle Yeoh (Memoirs of a Geisha), who plays San Suu Kyi, and David Thewlis (Harry Potter, Seven Years in Tibet), who plays her husband and biggest supporter that led the campaign for her Nobel Peace Prize win in 1991. More thoughts below.
British character actor Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes, Red Riding Trilogy) will be the latest to retell Shakespeare with his planned directorial debut, Pell Mell. According to Marsan, who spoke to Screen Junkies during while promoting Tyrannosaur at TIFF, said Mell will be “Shakespeare’s Richard III set in 1960's London”. While the film is still in the early stages of financing and casting, Marsan is “very excited” about making the big move behind the camera (though he will likely act in the film as well). In fact, it was one of his fellow British actors turned writer/directors that encouraged him to change hat. Read on!
Sadly, some of the greatest shows are ones that find their audience too little too late. Some include "Arrested Development," "Veronica Mars," both Joss Whedon's "Firefly" and "Dollhouse" and another series among them is the Starz Network's "Party Down", co-created by Paul Rudd and "Mars" creator Rob Thomas and starring Adam Scott, Martin Starr, Jane Lynch, and Lizzy Caplan. Like its fellow doomed series, "Party Down" has been promised to return in film form but just like many of the series in the same boat, has failed to come to fruition. However, Scott says that could actually change next summer. Read on!
It's safe to say that Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life) is a director with an affinity for being in the shadows. For instance, a simple Google Image search returns multiple versions of the same photo (you know the one…where he looks like he's dressed up as Dr. Alan Grant for Halloween and someone yelled "Oh, Terrence!" and snapped a pic of him just as he turned around). Interviews with the auteur are even rarer. So, when we came across a conversation with Malick from a June 1974 issue of Filmmaker's Newsletter found on the All Things Shining: The Terrence Malick Blog, we just had to share it.
Duncan Jones' sophomore effort Source Code further proved what he set out to say with his first effort, Moon; that smart and sci-fi can co-exist! And Source Code fit the same bill to the point that the multiple universes and alternate realities were enough to make even Doc Brown's head spin! Was it time travel or was it time reassignment as Jeffrey Wright's character Dr. Rutledge (inventor of the time manipulating technology) articulates to Jake Gyllenhaal's Captain Colter Stevens (the mouse in the wheel if you will)? Well, a fun little doodle by Jones himself attempts to clear things up for us a bit. See if you can figure it out!
One of my favorite films from Fantastic Fest 2010 was a little horror flick from up and comer Chris Peckover entitled Undocumented. The film, very much grounded in some of the real life social horrors our country is experiencing, focuses on some young filmmakers as they follow undocumented illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. in hopes of a better life. That's when things go horribly wrong, as both groups are kidnapped and tortured by a group of American extremists, led by the villainous Peter Stormare (Fargo, Big Lebowski). And now we have a bloody star-spangled poster below!
This film is big enough for the both of them! Deadline reports that DreamWorks and Fox will be sharing the duties on financing Steven Spielberg's Robopocalypse - an adaptation of Daniel H. Wilson's novel with a script from Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods, Cloverfield, "Lost"). Seems that the film was transforming into something bigger than DreamWorks could handle, which is what inspired the decision to bring Fox aboard to distribute the film internationally. Disney will distribute domestically as a part of their 30-picture distribution deal with DreamWorks dating back to 2009, which also includes Spielberg's War Horse and the similarly robo-centric Real Steel. And they've already got a 2013 release date set!
Movies based on board games seemed to be all the rage just earlier this year… well, I should say movies in development based on board games. But now, studios are getting just plain bored with the idea. Last month, Universal dropped Ouija and before that cleaned out the game closet by also cutting Clue, Magic: The Gathering, and the Ridley Scott-produced Monopoly. That's 4 out of 7 they have a contract with Hasbro to make, with Battleship sailing into theaters May of next year - making it the only film out of the bunch to actually make it into production (though based on the trailer they might have wanted to sink that, too).
First it was video games, now it's Video on Demand! The Weinstein Company has officially announced via Deadline plans to launch a new VOD label, with Magnolia Pictures' hot shots Tom Quinn and Jason Janego as co-presidents of the yet-to-be-named venture. Quinn & Janego know a thing or two about simultaneous release models from their days with Magnolia Pictures; you may recall this distributor being one of the first to embrace same day theatrical/DVD releases in 2005 with Steven Soderbergh's Bubble and later embracing a similar model with VOD for more recent titles like Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins.