Downfall Helmer Returns to WWII

Director Oliver Hirschbiegel, best known for his Oscar nominated biopic Der Untergang (aka Downfall) chronicling the final days of Adolf Hitler, is returning to Germany after 10 years to helm another World War 2 flick, though this time centered on the other side.

The film, simply titled Elser, was co-penned by Oscar nominated screenwriter Fred Breinersdorfer (Sophie Scholl: The Final Days) and his daughter Léonie-Claire. It will follow German carpenter Johann Georg Elser’s November 1939 attempt to assassinate Hitler. Find out more after the jump. Continue reading

Movie announcements galore

Mike Nichols (Charlie Wilson’s War) will helm a remake of High And Low/The Ransom (trailer above), a detective film by legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, the film that inspired The Magnificent Seven). David Mamet (Redbelt) wrote the adaptation, which is loosly based on the Evan Hunter novel King’s Ransom. Source.

Mike Sobel, a former criminal lawyer, is writing Skyscraper for Universal Pictures and producer Neal H. Moritz (Made Of Honor). It will be a disaster film in the vein of The Towering Inferno, where construction on a mile-high building in Chicago will take an unexpected and dangerous turn. Source.

Barry Sonnenfeld (RV) is in talks to helm Bronwyn And Clyde, a romantic comedy written by Tom Vaughan and Kristy Dobkin. Source.

Acclaimed filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Paranoid Park) will direct The Electric Kool-Aid Test, based on a non-fiction book by Tom Wolfe (The Right Stuff). The story recounts Wolfe’s experiences with fellow author Ken Kesey (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) and people called the Merry Pranksters driving around in a school bus and taking LSD. Dustin Lance Black (The Journey Of Jared Price) is writing the script. Source.

Author Neil Gaiman (Beowulf) has confirmed an adaptation of his bestselling The Graveyard Book is in the works. The story tells of a boy raised by ghosts. Source.

Prolific music video director Marc Webb will write and direct the sci-fi flick Age Of Rage, which is described as Children Of Men meets Lord Of The Flies. Source.

Randall Wallace (We Were Soldiers) is adapting the Outlander series of fantasy novels into a potential franchise.

[Diana] Gabaldon’s series of six novels center on an 18th century Scottish Highlander and his time-traveling wife.

From what I hear, the story is more romance than action, but then again, Randall Wallace is writing…Oh wait, he wrote Pearl Harbor, I take that back. Source.

Samuel L. Jackson (Lakeview Terrace) will portray the villain Sho’nuff in a remake of the 1985 martial art cult film The Last Dragon (trailer below).

The updated plot will be along the same lines of the original, centering on young martial arts student Leroy Green in his quest through the streets of New York to achieve the highest level of martial arts accomplishment, known as the Last Dragon. Those who achieve the high ranking possess the Glow, making them the greatest fighter alive.

Dallas Jackson (Uncle P) is writing the adaptation, and producing it. Source.

New movies for Amy Adams, Natalie Portman, Vince Vaughn, Adrien Brody and…Tom Ford

Amy Adams (Charlie Wilson’s War) will star in the biopic Daughter Of The Queen Of Sheba.

Script, penned by Karen Croner based on the bio of NPR correspondent Jacki Lyden, centers on how a woman uses her mother’s madness and delusions to empower herself.

Karen Croner previously wrote the Oscar-nominated One True Thing. Source.

Natalie Portman (The Other Boleyn Girl), Scott Cohen (Law & Order: Trial By Jury) and Charlie Tahan (Nights In Rodanthe) will star in Love And Other Impossible Pursuits, written and directed by Don Roos (Happy Endings) and based on a novel by Ayelet Waldman.

Story revolves around a young woman who finds the key to recovering her marriage in her relationship with her precocious stepson.

Natalie Portman, who also serves as an executive producer, replaces Jennifer Lopez (Bordertown) who abruptly dropped out of the role…Quite an upgrade if you ask me. Source.

Colin Firth (Mamma Mia!), Julianne Moore (Blindness) and Matthew Goode (Match Point) will star in the drama A Single Man for newcomer helmer and former Gucci creative director and fashion guru Tom Ford.

“A Single Man,” penned by Ford and David Scearce, centers on a British college professor who loses his partner of 16 years. The script’s adapted from Christopher Isherwood‘s 1964 novel, which follows a single day in a professor’s life in Los Angeles.

Christopher Isherwood’s writings also inspired the 1972 classic Cabaret. Source.

Vince Vaughn (Fred Claus) will produce and star in Sunny And 68, a drama with comedic elements from co-writer/director Gavin O’Connor (Pride And Glory).

Vaughn will play a superstar on the poker circuit whose alcoholism and recklessness cause him to flame out on national television. Wiped out and owing $500,000 to bookies, he heads home to upstate New York for the first time in 20 years, looking to take back cash he’d been sending his mother. Instead, he finds his mother dying of cancer and raising a 5-year-old girl who is actually his daughter. Mom has been positioning his former high school g.f. to become the girl’s eventual caretaker.

And eventually the three women teach the character to grow up. O’Connor wrote the script with newcomer Anthony Tambakis. Source.

Adrien Brody (The Darjeeling Limited) will play the lead in The Courier, a new action film from back-in-the-spotlight director Russell Mulcahy (Resident Evil: Extinction) and writers Michael Brandt & Derek Haas (Wanted). The film, which will start lensing this January in Louisiana and Las Vegas, has Brody portraying a Transporter-ish character who’s pursued by everyone while attempting to deliver a package to a mobster that just can’t be found. Source.

What project are you most interested in if any? Tell me below in the comments.

Movie Of The Day: Alexander (2004)

Back in 1964, the huge financial failure of The Fall Of The Roman Empire pretty much single-handedly buried the big-budget peplum genre, and it wasn’t until forty years later that new attempts at grand American sword and sandal epics were made. Indeed Gladiator‘s success back in 2000 slowly revived interest in the genre, which led to the release of no less than three such films in 2004: King Arthur, Troy and Alexander.

Existing in three (very) different cuts, the film is obviously based on the life of Alexander The Great and follows the Macedonian king through his childhood, youth and tenure as king, his loves, conquests and relationships with friends and family. Directed by Oliver Stone (W.), who co-wrote the film with Laeta Kalogridis (Pathfinder) and Christopher Kyle (K-19: The Widowmaker).

Alexander stars Colin Farrell (Pride And Glory), Angelina Jolie (Changeling), Val Kilmer (Felon), Anthony Hopkins (Fracture), Jared Leto (Chapter 27), Rosario Dawson (Eagle Eye), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Children Of Huang Shi) and Christopher Plummer (Closing The Ring) among others. Trailer and review after the jump. Continue reading

Various movie announcements: Book Of Shadows, Oranges and My Name Is Jody Williams

Rob Reiner (The Bucket List) will direct the action/adventure Book Of Shadows, written by newcomer Zoe Green

The story follows a young man who must embark on the perilous journey of first love and face many trials of maturity while on the dangerous quest to close a mythical tome called “Book of Shadows” in order to restore balance to the world.

Reiner was in a general meeting with Green and told her of an idea on which he had been working. Green picked up on that and ran with it, fleshing it out.

Newcomers Jay Reiss and Ian Helfer are writing a comedic drama titled Oranges.

The project, which a number of directors are circling, focuses on a man who has a romantic relationship with the daughter of a family friend, turning the lives of the man and the family upside down. [Anthony] Bregman (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) will produce via his A Likely Story banner.

One person familiar with the project called it ” ‘American Beauty’ if ‘American Beauty’ had more comedy.”

Naomi Watts (Funny Games) is in final talks for the lead in My Name Is Jody Williams, from writer/director Audrey Wells (Under The Tuscan Sun).

The screenplay by Wells tells the true story of Jody Williams, a strong-willed teacher working for a temporary employment agency who left her life in Washington to pursue an unlikely career in global activism. Almost a decade and a half later, Williams was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for leading an international campaign to eradicate land mines.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Ben Stiller goes dramatic?

Funnyman Ben Stiller (Tropic Thunder) is apparently in consideration to direct The Trial Of The Chicago 7, a court movie based on real events which Steven Spielberg (the Indiana Jones films) has been dragging along for a couple of years. Paul Greengrass, director of the last two Bourne films, was attached to the pic in August.

The script was written by Aaron Sorkin (Charlie Wilson’s War) and a few actors are already attached, namely Sacha Baron Cohen (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street), Will Smith (Hancock) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War).

As far as I know, Stiller has never strayed, even slightly, from comedy, so if this confirms, will he pull it off? I find that comic actors are often of excellent dramatic performances, but what about comedy directors? On a side note, the events were also recently the subject of an animated documentary titled Chicago 10.

Source

It’s a McInferno for Rose

Following the success of her latest comedy The House Bunny, Anna Faris recently decided to drop out of the more serious-minded Inferno, a biopic of porn star Linda Lovelace, and apparently Rose McGowan (Grindhouse) is now set to take her place. Wikipedia says:

Linda Susan Boreman (January 10, 1949 – April 22, 2002), better known by her stage name, “Linda Lovelace,” was a porn actress who was famous for her performance of deep throat fellatio in the enormously successful 1972 hardcore porn film Deep Throat. She later denounced her pornography career, claimed that she had been forced into it by her sadistic first husband and for a while became a spokeswoman for the anti-pornography movement.

The movie will mark the second feature for writer/director Matthew Wilder after this year’s William J. Frick biopic Your Name Here, and is set for release sometime in 2009. Who’s the better potential porn star, Faris or McGowan? I don’t like McGowan but she seems a better fit to me.

Source

What A Wonderful Whitaker

Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker (Street Kings) will direct his fourth big-screen movie, a Louis Armstrong biopic titled What A Wonderful World, in which he’ll play the lead role, making this the first time he’ll act in one of his directing efforts.

Louis Armstrong was of course an incredibly famous jazz trumpetist and singer, active throughout most of the 20th century and probably best-known for the song which gave the movie its title. The film will start shooting next summer and Louisiana, and you can bet they’ll release it in 2011 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Armstrong’s birth.

The strange thing here is that while Whitaker is well-respected as an actor, he isn’t considered to be good director at all, with his last effort being the widely reviled First Daughter. Another strange thing is that the film is being produced by a Frenchman, Alain Goldman, to his credit no stranger to musical biopics after last year’s hit La Vie En Rose.

Source

Hilary Swank headed back to Oscar territory?

Hilary Swank (P.S. I Love You) will play the titular role in Betty Anne Waters from director Tony Goldwyn (The Last Kiss). Written by Pamela Gray (Music Of The Heart), based on a true story, the film tells of a high school dropout single mom determined to successfully complete law studies in order to protect her younger brother, wrongfully convicted of murder.

Many speculate this is an attempt to garner the acclaimed yet another award-winning role, after her recent, more commercial attempts were critically panned. In any case 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. She also has a couple of romantic comedies in the pipeline.

Source

Short Ones: The Spider’s House, Angel Heart, Bourne spoof and more

Peter Webber (Hannibal Rising) will direct The Spider’s House, a romantic drama following two ex-lovers who meet again in 1950s Morocco, on a backdrop of growing tensions between freedom fighters and French colonials. It is adapted by newcomer Laurie Cooke from a novel by Paul Bowles (The Sheltering Sky).

The 1987 classic supernatural thriller Angel Heart is getting the remake treatment. The original film was written and directed by Alan Parker (The Life Of David Gale), based on a book by William Hjortsberg (Legend), and stars Mickey Rourke (Stormbreaker), Robert De Niro (Righteous Kill) and Charlotte Rampling (The Duchess) among others. Watch the original’s trailer below.

Jack Black (Tropic Thunder) will star in an untitled spoof of the Bourne films, from the screenwriters of Kung Fu Panda, Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. Black will play an amnesiac who’s convinced he must be a spy…FYI, this movie was already made last year into the very unfunny Code Name: The Cleaner.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War) will voice Max in Mary And Max, a claymation film about two penpals, an 8 year old Australian girl and a 44 year old Jewish New Yorker dude. In the meantime you’ll be able to catch him in the incredible looking films Synecdoche, New York (see the trailer) and Doubt (see the trailer).

British actor Michael Sheen (Blood Diamond) just signed onto two films: the new Alice In Wonderland movie from director Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street) and the terrorism-themed thriller Unthinkable from Australian director Gregor Jordan (Ned Kelly), also starring Samuel L. Jackson (Lakeview Terrace) and Carrie-Anne Moss (Disturbia).

Director Martin Scorsese (The Departed) is set to reunite with regular star Robert De Niro more than 13 years after the mob flick Casino. The new film will be based on the non-fiction book I Heard You Paint Houses from author Charles Brandt, as adapted by multi-award winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian (American Gangster).

Source: /Film