The brand new one-sheet for Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited (Fox Searchlight, 9.29). The trailer apparently isn’t online yet, but it will be exclusively attached this weekend to two Searchlight pics — John Carney‘s Once and Danny Boyle‘s Sunshine (which opens this weekend).
Okay, it’s official: director Rod Lurie intends to get his own movie about the Joe Wilson-and-Valerie Plame affair — a roman a clef that will costar Vera Farmiga, Kate Beckinsdale, Edie Falco, Matt Dillon and Alan Alda — into theatres before Warner Bros. and producers Akiva Goldsman and Jerry and Janet Zucker write, shoot and release their version, which, if it happens, will be based on Plame’s memoir, Fair Game.
Vera Farmiga; Valerie Plame
Goldsman and the Zuckers once looked like Wilson-Plame front-runners, but no longer. It seems fair to say that they asked for this situation by dragging ass. If they’d only gotten going they could have been in production by early fall, which might have conceivably scared off the other guys. But with Lurie now locked into shooting Nothing But The Truth come October, Goldsman and the Zuckers are stuck with sloppy seconds.
Am I alone in presuming that Farmiga will be an excellent Plame-like figure? She’s the closest thing we have to being the new Meryl Streep, after all. It’ll all work out (probably) as long as Lurie doesn’t insist that she dye her hair blonde.
A few months ago I read Peter Buchman‘s two Che Guevara scripts, The Argentine and Guerilla, that Steven Soderbegh will begin turning into moving images starting on 7.25 in Spain. I’m bringing it up because Catalina Sandino Moreno has joined the cast of both films. Emiliano de Pablos‘ Variety story doesn’t say which character she’ll be playing, but pretty much everyone on the Che side of the battle in Guerilla winds up dead.
Obviously political and terse and rugged, Buchman’s scripts are about how living outside the law and fighting a violent revolution feels and smells and chafes on a verite, chapter-by-chapter basis. They’re about sweat and guns and hunger and toughing it out…friendships, betrayals, exhaustion, shoot-outs and trudging through the jungle with a bad case of asthma. What it was, how it happened…the straight dope and no overt “drama.”
If Soderbergh does right by what’s on the page, The Argentine and Guerilla (which Focus Features will open within weeks of each other in 2008) will have, at the very least, a Traffic-like impact. The films will almost certainly be Oscar contenders, and you have to figure that del Toro, playing a complex, conflicted hero who ends up dead (i.e. executed in a rural schoolhouse by a drunken Bolivian soldier), will be up for Best Actor. The Guevara role is too well written (nothing but choice, down- to-it dialogue from start to finish) and del Toro is too talented an actor — it can’t not happen.
Warner Bros. No Reservations (7.27) is sneaking nationwide on Saturday night, which obviously means that studio strategists believe it will sell itself. You could also take the hard-nosed view and say it hasn’t been tracking all that well and they need to do something to wake people up. I know they wouldn’t be showing it if didn’t work, so maybe there’s reason for a little uptick.
If the no-end-in-sight hunt for Osama bin Laden “was a movie, we’d trace the saline in Osama’s dialysis machine, target it with a laser and blow up the mountain,” writes N.Y. Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
“W. swaggers about with his cowboy boots and gunslinger stance. But when talking about Waziristan last February, he explained that it was hard to round up the Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders there because ‘this is wild country…this is wilder than the Wild West.’ Yes, they shoot with real bullets up there, and they fly into buildings with real planes.
“If W. were a real cowboy, instead of somebody who just plays one on TV, he would have cleaned up Dodge by now.”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows doesn’t come out for another [two] days, and already I’m seeing ‘SPOILER ALERT!’ in my sleep. We might as well all unplug our broadband connections and sit in a corner going ‘La la la la la’ until 12:01 a.m. Saturday when we can get the book, [and then] hide in a cave with a flashlight and start reading.” — from a Mark Caro/Popcorn Machine riff titled “The Literary Terrorists Have Won.”
Paolo Barzman‘s Emotional Arithmetic, a drama about three Holocaust survivors reuniting at a Canadian dinner party after 40 years apart, sounds moderately intriguing, especially with actors like Gabriel Byrne, Susan Sarandon, Max von Sydow and Christopher Plummer costarring. All the better that Emotional Arithmetic will be the closing night film at the Toronto Film Festival.
But talk about a title that will grab each and every low-thread-counter in each and every city across the globe and say to them, “Don’t see this movie unless you know exactly what ’emotional arithmetic’ might specifically mean. Clearly, the use of this title indicates that we ourselves don’t know what it means, which is a way of saying the movie may be an art-house circle jerk. Lord knows, there is emotional arithmetic to be calculated when you order 99 cent cheesebugers at your local McDonalds — it’s a totally meaningless term.”
MCN’s David Poland has written a calm, intelligent, maturely reasoned assessment of the 20th Century Fox vs. online critics hoo-hah going on right now. It’s so calm, intelligent and maturely- reasoned that the sound and smell of the emotional elephant in the room is made even more palpable than if Poland had acknowledged its presence.
I heard a few minutes ago from a reputable online critic and commentator, and while I’m sure he would strive to put his thoughts together in a mature Poland-like manner if he were to address this issue in print, he has no problems with acknowledging the elephant in private. The piece I posted an hour or two ago is “on the right track,” he said. “Fox has declared war. We’ve been on the receiving end of this for a few years, and no one gave a shit because it was just us. Now that Fox is widening their attitude to everyone, people are now paying attention. Fox hates critics. Fox hates the press. Fox hates their audience. That is the truth.”
I don’t know if that’s altogether true, but I know that things have gotten emotional lately. Unduly and needlessly, I would add. I don’t wanna pickle. I just wanna ride on my motorsickle.
Rope of Silicon has posted photos of Tom Cruise‘s in-costume appearance as Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, the German officer who led a failed plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944, in Bryan Singer‘s Valkyrie. And it was announced yesterday that the World War II drama has a release date — August 8, 2008.
I don’t know that it means anything one way or the other for the Cruise- Wagner United Artists to release a high-profile thriller in the beginning of the August dump season, but I’m sure this story will further the Paul Dergarabedian idea that old paradigms are changing and August is starting to become “the new June.”
My deep regrets over Sherman Torgan, owner and manager of the New Beverly Cinema, having unexpectedly passed yesterday — Wednesday, 7.19 — while bicycling in Santa Monica.
I was sent a letter this morning written by old Torgan friend and colleague Jeffrey Rosen, stating that “this is quite a shock being so unexpected. Plans are not yet finalized as to a funeral or a tribute. Any ideas or suggestions as to the latter would be greatly appreciated. I’m sure there are many who will miss Sherman.”
Rosen added that Sherman’s wife, Mary, and his son, Michael “do not yet know what will happen with the theater.” He wrote that he has “worked with Sherman at the theater since he opened it nearly 30 years ago. I worked as a projectionist there and helped program the theater over the decades. Michael has been helping his dad keep the theater going the past 10 years.”
20th Century Fox’s decision to withdraw a high-profile panel presentation out of Comic-Con (Wednesday, 7.25 to Sunday, 7.29) only a week before the San Diego convention begins seems more than just “sudden.” Suddenness always smacks of sturn und drang, and given recent Fox decisions concerning the online journo community it’s hard not to at least consider the implications.
Coming on the heels of (a) that Radar report about the Fox vs. CFCA confrontation, (b) the decision to keep onliners and other media types from seeing The Simpsons Movie until 7.26 (i.e., a day before the nationwide opening), and (c) a certain Fox publicist deciding to blast me off the Fox screening list yesterday for that mild little piece I wrote two days ago, Fox pulling out of Comic Con seems like another indication of a guarded, bordering-on-frosty attitude by Fox towards online journos and the film-geek community.
A major distributor with almost nothing but supermall popcorn geek movies to promote (Hitman with Timothy Olyphant, Doug Liman‘s forthcoming Jumper, an Aliens vs. Predator followup, a Vin Diesel actioner called Babylon A.D.) yanks a personal-appearance panel out of the biggest movie-geek convention on the planet seven days before it opens? This is business as usual? Do the math.
L.A. Times reporter Sheigh Crabtree wrote yesterday that Fox had “previously announced plans to promote its movies with a star-and filmmaker-studded panel next Friday in the main hall.” This is what has been cancelled — that much is clear. Comic-Con p./r. guy David Glanzer told me this morning that he was informed of the pull-out yesterday morning around 11 am.
There’s some confusion, though. Glanzer also told me that he expects Fox to still deliver a product reel presentation, and yet Fox national publicity vp Sean Dudas told Crabtree that the studio’s “material wasn’t ready and we only want to go out when we can put our best foot forward.” When Dudas says “material” I presume he’s not referring to talent but audio-visual elements…no? Crabtree reported that “the studio was reconsidering its position” and that execs are “still hoping to have some kind of ‘surprise’ for fans at the convention.”
She also wrote that given that “Paramount and DreamWorks, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, Universal, Warner Bros., New Line, Lionsgate and others have announced star-filled panels, screenings, sneak peeks and major promotional events,” Fox’s “last-minute cancellation is something of an upset. An estimated 123,000 will be attending the convention.”
If Fox publicity was open to communicating and keeping the doors open, I would have naturally gotten in touch with them in order to include a possible comment. But they’re not picking up so I just ran it as is. If they want to add anything, it’s their call.
The plot thickens regarding that Alexander Payne-Jim Taylor script of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, which I reviewed yesterday. Payne had nothing to do with handing me the script, but wrote in to say thanks anyway. He added that “I think you didn’t read the actual version we turned in, which we called Flamers. The son Eric was an ice-skater in our version, not a dancer. Also did you not notice that one of them — either Chuck or Larry, I can’t remember — was scripted clearly as African-American? Other details too suggest that you were sent a rewrite of our rewrite…sigh. Anyway, thanks. We were also proud of our original script for Jurassic Park III as well.”