You know why Sony made this survivalist adventure about a dad and his son, etc.? Apart from the likelihood that Will Smith and his son found it emotionally fulfilling? Because it’ll play everywhere. Every bored, compulsive, under-educated teenager or ADD-afflicted 20something in every under-developed or emerging or flush economy…they’ll all feel good about this. To me it’s nothing. To me the “jumping off a cliff and soaring like a bird” shot is tired Avatar bullshit.
Hollywood Reporter critic Todd McCarthy has written a smart essay about who might direct a forthcoming televised version of Stanley Kubrick‘s Napoleon, which Steven Spielberg has said he’s hoping to produce. The piece has many sage observations, but I was especially taken by McCarthy’s clever notion about who would be best suited to direct Kubrick’s 186-page screenplay, which would run about three hours but could theoretically expand into a six-hour miniseries.
That person would not be Spielberg, McCarthy claims, as Napoleon embraces the same misanthropic view of human nature as Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. “An ideal director should be someone whose style is precise, analytical and cold — an analytical sort with a skeptical, if not caustic, view of human motivations and a belief that intelligence and rationality are very often trumped by destructive traits, particularly hubris,” McCarthy writes.
That is Kubrick in a nutshell, and about as far away as you can get from the “fundamentally optimistic and ennobling attitude that is almost always dominant in Spielberg’s work,” he says.
“Who, then, among big-name Hollywood directors, could realize Napoleon — or, more likely, parts of Napoleon — in a way that would be most compelling and still properly honor Kubrick? Seven clear-cut candidates would be David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Kathryn Bigelow, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan and Peter Weir.”
Then McCarthy suggests what seems to me like the perfect fellow, “a now highly prominent international director who has only ever undertaken his own projects and has never done anything on this scale but whose work is just as exacting and chilly as Kubrick’s and is probably his intellectual equal: Michael Haneke.
“I have little doubt that Kubrick himself would have loved The White Ribbon, and I believe that, if Haneke shot, in his own style, any portion of Kubrick’s script more or less as he wrote it, we’d have something as close to what Kubrick would have done as any director now on Earth could manage.”
Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere to HBO publicists (sent today): I’m looking to jump in on any press events, junket interviews, DVD screeners or screenings that will allow me to full savor David Mamet‘s Phil Spector (HB), 3.24). I’ve been all over Phil Spector since ’09 and am a huge fan of Vikram Jayanti‘s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector, which Mamet has said was an inspiration for his script. So please send me a screener or invite me to whatever press gatherings or you-name-it. Thanks.
The total domestic gross for Titanic 3D was $57,884,114. I’m guessing that Jurassic Park 3D will be much more of a 3D gut-slam experience, will at least double the gross of James Cameron‘s converted epic. Steven Spielberg‘s 3D dino flick opens on Wednesday, 4.3. IMAX all-media screenings are happening a little more than a week prior.
A little less than 20 years ago or sometime around mid-May 1993, Anne Thompson (now with Indiewire, then with Entertainment Weekly) and I caught an early press screening of Jurassic Park on the Universal lot. We then drove over to the Warner Bros. lot to pay a visit to the set of Demolition Man and to say hello to producer Joel Silver. Sylvester Stallone and a fairly young Sandra Bullock were peforming a car-driving scene on a sound stage. I remember telling Silver that the last act of Jurassic Park was pretty damn scary and that the film was guaranteed to be huge.
The only problem I’m anticipating in seeing Jurassic Park 3D is having to endure several “Spielberg awe-face” or “Spielberg scared-face” close-ups from Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough and those two cute kids.
Between this modern-dress adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play (which I didn’t see at the 2012 Toronto Film festival) and his anti-Mitt Romney “zombie apocalypse” video that he posted last October I’m willing to let bygones be bygones with Joss Whedon and basically forgive him for The Avengers and Cabin in the Woods and all of that GenX geek TV stuff that he made his bones with. Filmed on a shoestring, Much Ado will open June 7th through Lionsgate/Roadside.
Star Wars poobah George Lucas has told Bloomberg Businessweek‘s Devin Leonard that Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are pretty much locked down for cameos or supporting roles in JJ Abrams‘ Star Wars, Episode VII, which will come out in 2015.
I’m cool with Ford, who turns 71 on July 13th, returning as a grizzled and sinewy Han Solo, but do we really want the people in the above photos (Hamill’s pic was taken in 2010, Fisher’s in 2009) messing with cherished memories of the eternally young Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia? Isn’t it better to leave the past alone and…you know, let sleeping dogs lie? I really, really don’t want to see jowly Hamill fighting anyone with a light sabre, and the thought of a plus-sized Fisher wearing Princess Leia outfits…wow.
I’m sure all three will soon be hitting the gym and sticking with a jello, coffee, apples and navel orange diet but there’s only so much you can do with the “lived-in” faces that Hamill and Fisher have acquired. In the words of Dr. Heywood Floyd in 2001: A Space Odyssey, there’s a serious potential for “cultural shock and disorientation” should they try to re-inhabit characters they first played 36 or 37 years ago.
Remember how James Cagney looked in Public Enemy in 1931? And how he looked 37 years later when he made Never Steal Anything Small?
The way to bring Luke and Leia back for Episode VII (seriously) is to announce that they were killed by Imperial forces many years ago, but that their spirits are with us like Alec Guinness‘s Obi-Wan Kenobi was a character of sorts in The Empire Strikes Back (’80). And then digitally replicate their bodies from Star Wars, Empire and Return of the Jedi footage and give them new things to do, and then get Hamill and Fisher to simply “voice” them. Spectral holograms of a talking Han and Leia would totally work. Plus the fans would be enormously grateful to Abrams for not having subjected them to a lesson in the ravagings of age.
“We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison — or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation,” Lucas told Leonard. “So I called them to say, ‘Look, this is what’s going on.’ Maybe I’m not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-dee-doo, but we were negotiating with them. I won’t say whether the negotiations were successful or not.”