Paul Newman (1925-2008)

This post will remain the top story throughout the weekend

Very sad news today as we learn that legendary actor/food company owner Paul Newman died yesterday, September 26th 2008 of complications arising from lung cancer at his home in Westport, Connecticut, surrounded by family and close friends. He was 83 years old.

An actor first and foremost, Paul Newman has won one Academy Award, two Golden Globes, one Screen Actors Guild Award, one Cannes Film Festival Award, one Emmy Award and many others (not forgetting countless nominations). His most famous films include The Sting, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, The Hustler and its sequel The Color Of Money, The Hudsucker Proxy , Slap Shot, The Towering Inferno, Message In A Bottle and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. He was last seen on the big screen in Road To Perdition and his voice was featured in the Disney/Pixar movie Cars.

In addition to acting, Paul Newman is well-known for the food company Newman’s Own, which he co-founded. A true humanitarian, Newman donated all profits and royalties of the company to charity. The amount donated exceeds 220 million dollars. His daughter Nell, 49 years old, will now head the company.

Paul Newman was also an occasional film director, of such movies as The Glass Menagerie, and an auto racing enthusiast who won several championships. He is survived by his wife, actress Joanne Woodward (Philadelphia), his five daughters and eight grandchildren.

You can read more about the great man and his many acts of philantropy on his Wikipedia page, and view his full screen credits on his IMDB page. According to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, his best film is the crime drama Cool Hand Luke, that film’s trailer is thus after the jump. Please share your thoughts, condoleances and comments.

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Disney announcements galore

The Walt Disney Company had a big presentation a couple of days ago where they announced a bunch of new movies, including three starring Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street). These are a new adaptation of The Lone Ranger written by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio (National Treasure: Book Of Secrets) where Depp will play Tonto and George Clooney (Burn After Reading) might play the titular character, a new part live-action/part CGI adaptation of Alice In Wonderland written by Linda Woolverton (Mulan) and directed by frequent collaborator Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd…) so yeah obviously, and as expected, a fourth Pirates Of The Caribbean film.

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It was also announced that Cars 2 would be released in 2011 instead of 2012 and that the story will have Mater joining Lightning McQueen on a world tour. Additionally several short films entitled Car-toons will be set between the two films and will air on the Disney Channel and perhaps before some theatrical films. Thus, the Disney/Pixar film originally planned for 2011, Newt, will instead be released in 2012.

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DreamWorks Animation to make new superhero flick, is kinda late to the party

DreamWorks Animation and Disney/Pixar are usually pretty close when it comes to similar concepts, with AntZ/A Bug’s Life, Shrek/Monsters, Inc., Shark Tale/Finding Nemo,… But DreamWorks is running late this time as their animated superhero film Master Mind will come out six years later than Disney’s The Incredibles, which came out in 2004.

Master Mind is to be directed by former Disney man Gary Trousdale (Atlantis: The Lost Empire), and while the voice cast hasn’t been set, Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder) and Tina Fey (NBC’s 30 Rock) are in negotiations. It will be a satirical take on superhero films (how trendy!) and will feature a supervillain losing his pizzaz after killing his enemy (aka the superhero).

DreamWorks Animation are known to play up the easy laughs as opposed to the heart and long-lasting appeal the Disney/Pixar movies have, so don’t expect this to be nearly as good as The Incredibles. That said, you can look out for Master Mind in the winter of 2010.

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From Beetlejuice to Batman to Ken, the Barbie dude

Michael Keaton, best remembered for his lead role in Tim Burton’s two Batman films, has reportedly joined the voice cast of Disney/Pixar’s forthcoming Toy Story 3, directed by Lee Unkrich (co-director of Toy Story 2). Keaton will the voice Ken, aka the Barbie dude, and I guess he’ll logically be a love interest for the Barbie character voiced by Disney regular Jodi Benson. Now I’ve seen both Toy Story films and for the life of me I can’t remember Barbie being in it…but I guess that’s not the issue is it?

Disney had already started work on the picture by itself back in 2004, based on a script by Jim Herzfeld (Meet The Parents). The movie would have centered on Andy’s toys traveling to Taiwan in order to rescue Buzz Lightyear, who’s facing destruction following a massive recall of the toy’s product line. The premise sounds like it could have been interesting, but also very (too?) similar to Toy Story 2, with a simple, cheap role reversal.

After the Disney/Pixar merger in 2006, that version of the movie was cancelled and Pixar took control over production. Now written by Andrew Stanton (Wall-E) and Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), the film will chronicle the lives of everyone’s favorite animated toys, now staying at a day-care center as their former owner Andy has gone to college and is “too old for toys”.

The original voice cast returns for the film, which is slated for release in 3D in the US on June 18th 2010, following re-releases of the first two movies in 3D.

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