TheWrap‘s Jeff Sneider reported earlier today that Baz Luhrmann is negotiating to direct an Elvis Presley biopic based on a script by Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks, Fifty Shades of Grey). Yes, I agree that Jared Leto would be a good choice to play Presley…or is he be too old to play him young? Because I’m guessing that Marcel’s script will be about the thin, 20something Elvis of the mid ’50s rather than the bloated, grotesque, drug-taking, peanut-butter-and-banana-sandwich-consuming, on-the-verge-of-death Elvis of the mid ’70s. (Banks showed that Marcel is not a fan of sprawling, multi-decade biopics.) If I were her I’d concentrate on ’54 (i.e, when Presley made his first Sun Records recording) to ’58, when he went into the Army and more or less “died” (in the view of John Lennon) as far as his sideburned, hip-shaking, rock ‘n’ roll sexual-dynamo persona was concerned. Who wants to see a fat Elvis movie? What is there to say about another rock star self-destructing? It’s an old, predictable story we’ve seen a hundred times.
(l.) Elvis Presley sometime around 1957 or ’58; (r.) during his bloated downfall period, probably sometimes around ’75 or ’76.
I understand the motive for the National Basketball Association banning L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his ugly racial remarks. Just desserts. The guy is a known asshole, according to this 4.27 N.Y. Times story. But how do you order a guy to cough up $2.5 million because TMZ posted an initially private audio recording and exposed him for the creep that he is? How did the NBA decide upon $2.5 million as a fine limit? Why not $10 million? Why not $500,000? We all understand that if you blunder in public, you have to take your punishment. Dicks deserve to be treated like dicks. I recognize also that getting outed (i.e., assasssinated) by TMZ or some other gossip site is par for the course these days, but Sterling was talking privately. That means nothing by today’s standards, I realize, but perhaps it should. I’m not taking Sterling’s Jim Crow attitudes lightly, but he’s almost certainly representative of God knows how many old rich white guys who have lived in their own private membranes for most of their lives. They’re never going to change or re-think things. They’re just going to die one day and that will eventually be that. Update: Sterling has just declared during a Fox News interview that he’s not selling the Clippers and that the NBA can go stuff it.
Of the six features just added to Cannes Film Festival’s official selection, Pablo Fendrik‘s El Ardor, an Amazon-set action adventure, appears to be the hottie. Passion in the mist, verdant landscapes, green mansions. Pic stars Gael García Bernal as a heavy cat who emerges from the Argentinean rain forest to rescue the kidnapped daughter (Alice Braga) of a poor farmer after mercenaries murder her father and take over his property.
The great Bob Hoskins has died from pneumonia at 71, two years after retiring from acting due to Parkinson’s disease. Hoskins’ 40-year career (his first role was in ’72) was blessed with a ten-year hot streak (1978 to 1988) that boiled down, if you want to be ruthless about it, to four landmark performances. His breakout role was the luckless Arthur Parker in Dennis Potter and Piers Haggard‘s British-produced Pennies From Heaven miniseries (six episodes). This, for me, was Hoskins’ “okay, wait a minute, who’s this guy?” role. Then came Harold Shand, an old-school East London gangster, in John Mackenzie‘s The Long Good Friday (’80) — one of the best blustery tough guys of the crime realm. And then his all-time finest performance as George, the downmarket lovestruck chauffeur in Neil Jordan‘s Mona Lisa (’86) — a performance that Hoskins should have won the Best Actor Oscar for (he lost to The Color of Money‘s Paul Newman) but which resulted in Golden Globe, BAFTA and Cannes Film Festival honors. His fourth and final great role was as feisty L.A. private dick Eddie Valiant in Robert Zemeckis‘ Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (’88) — his most famous performance and a necessarily broad and hammy one, but nowhere near the level of his Mona Lisa turn. His other performances were…well, okay. Hoskins was a solid, dependable craftsman. Thank God, fortune and serendipity for that brilliant ’80s run and for all the paychecks that followed. Condolences to family, friends and fans. 71 is a little early to check out.