Ghost Town team gets spooked (publicity stunt anyone?)

Update: Turns out the whole story is fabricated, or so says Ricky Gervais because he doesn’t want you to find out he pissed his thong when Marilyn Monroe’s ghost tried to give him a lapdance

Apparently prankish ghosts had the time of their undead lives scaring the hell out of movie types trying to throw a press junket at the famous Los Angeles haunted Roosevelt Hotel.

“We wanted the junkets at the Roosevelt because of its ghostly reputation. But we got so much more than we bargained for. A photoshoot we prepared was wrecked and two runners say they saw the figure of a lady in the full-length mirror.

“The final straw came when a production assistant stayed in the room earmarked for Ricky and claimed to have been freezing cold on the hottest day of the year. He said he woke up with someone whistling in his ear, even though he was alone, then heard a giggle before being pushed out of bed.”

Now I’m not saying this didn’t happen and I do believe in that kind of stuff, but it’s kind of convenient how supernatural beings are always willing to give films dealing about them a little publicity (anyone remember how Ghost Whisperer star Jennifer Love Hewitt senses spirits ogling her in the shower?).

Ghost Town, a romantic comedy about a man who dies, gets revived and now has the ability to see ghosts who all want something from him, stars British comedian Ricky Gervais (Stardust), Téa Leoni (You Kill Me) and Greg Kinnear (Baby Mama). The film, which will premiere at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, was directed by superstar screenwriter David Koepp (Secret Window), who penned the script with John Kamps (The Borrowers).

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The Strangers 2 announced (there was a The Strangers 1?)

Rogue Pictures has greenlit a sequel to a horror movie you’ve never heard of, The Strangers. The first movie, which apparently made decent money at the box-office, was written and directed by newcomer Bryan Bertino and stars Liv Tyler (The Incredible Hulk), Scott Speedman (Underworld 1 & 2) and Australian model Gemma Ward (The Black Balloon). It claims to be based on a true story but really isn’t and follows a couple being terrorized by a group of three menacing locals while in an isolated holiday home. Sounds kind of like Vacancy to me, but then a lot of horror movies sound similar don’t they?

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Coco Chanel biopic to lens mid-September

In case you didn’t know, several projects are currently being developed to capitalize on commemorate the Chanel brand’s 100 years of existence. The most legitimate one would be Coco Before Chanel, which will start shooting in France on September 15th. Why the most legitimate? Well, it’s a French movie (original title Coco Avant Chanel) and Coco Chanel was French. The 22 million dollar movie, which Warner Bros will distribute in the States, will be directed by Anne Fontaine (Nathalie…) and star the cute but ever-so-annoying Audrey Tautou (The Da Vinci Code) as the legendary fashion designer and Alessandro Nivola (The Eye) as her lover Boy Capel. Of course, everyone is unnecessarily wondering how the film will compare to last year’s big French biopic La Vie En Rose (original title La Môme) which chronicled the life of singer Edith Piaf.

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Maggie Grace takes role from Mischa Barton

Maggie Grace (The Jane Austen Book Club) has replaced Mischa Barton (FOX’s The O.C.) in the lead of Malice In Wonderland, a British re-telling of Lewis Carroll’s famous book. Since both girls are very pretty, this probably means that the American Maggie is more convincing in an English accent than the British Mischa… Anyway, the movie will probably be the better for it, since even though Maggie Grace hasn’t really proven herself as an actress yet, she’s miles ahead of the incredibly wooden Mischa Barton, who couldn’t emote if her life depended on it.

Described as an action movie, Malice In Wonderland co-stars  Nathaniel Parker (St. Trinian’s, amovie ironically starring Mischa Barton). It is directed by Simon Fellows and written by Jayson Rothwell (who already worked together on Second In Command). The film is now currently shooting.

In the meantime, you can catch (sooner or later, depending of where you live) Maggie Grace is the amazingly badass actioner Taken, co-starring Liam Neeson (Seraphim Falls) kicking ass and Famke Janssen (the X-Men films) moping around. I caught the flick at the beginning of the year, and if you hadn’t guessed, I strongly recommend it. Taken is directed by Pierre Morel (District B13) and written by the Luc Besson/Robert Mark Kamen team (the Transporter films).

Meanwhile Mischa Barton, whose career is fading faster than you can say “hey!”, is resorting to staged paparazzi outings to keep her name in the papers (true story) and is seeing all her post-O.C. efforts go straight-to-DVD in the States. In fact, her latest turd, Virgin Territory, was released last week. The film co-stars Hayden Christensen (Jumper) and Tim Roth (The Incredible Hulk) and was written and directed by David Leland (The Land Girls). Also, don’t buy it (more about that here).

Other Alice In Wonderland movies to be released in the next few years include the adaptation of American McGee’s Alice video game (which has been gestating forever it seems) and a new Disney film by Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street). Both of these movies will give a darker spin to the tale.

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Acclaimed director to helm new basketball movie

Actor Sam Rockwell (The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford) has revealed he will star in a new basketball drama from director James C. Strouse (Grace Is Gone). Not much is known about the film, except that Rockwell will play the alcoholic coach of a high school’s girl’s basketball team, and that he described the movie as cross between The Bad News Bears, Half Nelson, and Hoosiers.

I unfortunately missed Grace Is Gone in theaters, but it is widely believed to be one of last year’s best movies. Sam Rockwell will next be seen alongside Anjelica Huston (Martian Child) and Kelly Macdonald (No Country For Old Men) in Choke, based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club), which will be the directing debut for actor Clark Gregg (the When A Stranger Calls remake)

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Hilary Swank is developing new romantic comedies

American actress Hilary Swank (P.S. I Love You) has bought the movie rights of  bestselling author Emily Giffin’s first two books, Something Borrowed and Something Blue, through her production company 2S Films. The films would of course be starring vehicles for the two-time Oscar winner, who would play the role of Rachel White, a hard-working attorney who sleeps with her best friend’s fiancé after one drink too many. No writer, director or additional cast is attached to the picture yet, as Swank is a hard-worker herself and has no less than 8 movie projects currently in various stages of development.

Hilary Swank will next be seen late next year in the Amelia Earhart biopic Amelia, from director Mira Nair (The Namesake). Amelia Earhart, a noted airplane pilot, is mostly famous for being the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic.

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Are you ready for Voltron?

Relative unknown Max Makowski (One Last Dance) has repotedly been hired to direct the forthcoming sci-fi blockbuster Voltron. No doubt greenlighted following the success of Michael Bay’s Transformers, Voltron will follow five young pilots who, after Earth was devastated by an alien attack, learn to operate lion robots from the planet Arus, which can unite to form a giant sword-wielding  mega-robot. The movie will be shot entirely on green screen like, say, 300 or Sin City. Voltron, set for release in 2010, will be adapted from the eponymous popular eighties Japanese anime that I’ve never heard of. The screenplay is by up-and-coming unknown Justin Marks, whose first feature writing credit, Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li, will be released next year.

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Brett Ratner thinks a Guitar Hero movie would be really cool…Wait, what?

American director Brett Ratner (the Rush Hour trilogy) thinks that a movie based on Guitar Hero can be really good, and he wants to make it. Guitar Hero is a bestselling video game franchise launched in 2005 and published by Activision. Basically you have a contoller shaped like a guitar and you “play music” by pressing buttons at the right time. Ratner doesn’t have the movie rights (yet), but says:

I love ‘Guitar Hero’ and I think it’s a part of pop culture. I would love to do a ‘Guitar Hero’ movie, if Activision would ever let me. I’m trying to convince them, but why would you have a movie screw up such a huge franchise? Not that I would make a bad movie. So that would be cool, to do a ‘Guitar Hero’ movie…It could be about a kid from a small town who dreams of being a rock star and he wins the ‘Guitar Hero’ competition. One of these dreams-[come-true] kind of concepts.

From what it sounds like, it would be your basic “teen dreams of success and obtains it in the end” kind of story, with a guitar tournament as the means. Sure, but why would you need to buy the Guitar Hero rights for that? Thankfully, Ratner has plenty of projects right now so don’t expect a Guitar Hero anytime soon (or ever, hopefully).

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Movie Of The Day: Class Reunion (1982)

10 years after playing a cruel prank on a fellow student at an end of senior year party, a band of classmates return to their old high school for a class reunion. Of course, the now crazy dude, who has a paper bag over his head and wears a schoolgirl’s uniform, is waiting for them, ready to kill them one by one. Also, rock legend Chuck Berry pops in for a few songs. Think of it as an eighties Scary Movie, with less gross out scenes.

This pretty much forms the basis for Class Reunion, a 1982 horror spoof released under the National Lampoon brand. Now I know what you’re thinking, but while National Lampoon now rhymes with “absolute crap”, back when it started it actually usually meant fun, with talent such as talent such as John Landis & John Belushi (Animal House), Harold Ramis & John Hughes (Vacation), etc, often involved.

Class Reunion is actually John Hughes’ first produced script. The movie is directed by Michael Miller (Silent Rage) and stars a bunch of people you wouldn’t know, the most recognizable face probably being Michael Lerner (Godzilla), in a supporting role. Trailer and review after the jump.

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