Shakespeare is rolling in his grave

Julie Taymor (Across The Universe), aka one of the most overrated directors working today and ironically one of the most respected female directors ugh, is about to start production on her rape of The Tempest, adapted from the play by William Shakespeare (Romeo And Juliet). The film will star Helen Mirren (National Treasure: Book Of Secrets), Jeremy Irons (Appaloosa), Djimon Hounsou (Never Back Down), Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Alfred Molina (The Da Vinci Code), Ben Wishaw (Brideshead Revisited), Felicity Jones (Brideshead Revisited) and possibly Geoffrey Rush (the Elizabeth movies).

Although the play centers on Prospero, an exiled duke-turned-sorcerer, Taymor — who likes to take an experimental approach to her stage and film projects — has rechristened the lead character Prospera so that Mirren can take on the role.

Shakespeare’s play mixes romance with fraternal politics and the supernatural. As revised for the screen, it will center around Prospera, her daughter Miranda (Jones) and a shipwrecked crew full of Prospera’s enemies.

The island’s other inhabitants include Hounsou as the deformed slave Caliban and Wishaw as the airy spirit Ariel.

On the ship are rising comedy star Brand, playing Trinculo, a jester; Irons, as Alonso, the King of Naples; and Molina as the drunken butler Stephano. Rush would play Gonzalo, a royal adviser and old ally of Prospera’s.

Sure the cast is good, but that’s never stopped a bad film and that’s all I’ve seen from Taymor. Is anyone else here disgusted at this travesty? Kenneth Branagh maybe?

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Three more for Inglorious Bastards

French actresses Léa Seydoux (The Last Mistress aka An Old Mistress) and Anne-Sophie Franck (La Jungle) have recently joined the cast of Quentin Tarantino’s (Grindhouse) new World War 2 film Inglorious Bastards and the legendary Isabelle Huppert (I Heart Huckabees) is reportedly in talks to play a movie theater’s owner. The film starts shooting this October in Berlin.

Inglorious Bastards has been a pet project of Quentin Tarantino’s for years and will be a remake of an Italian film from 1978 that is also known as G.I. Bro, Deadly Mission, Hell’s Heroes and Counterfeit Commandos. Described as in the vein of The Dirty Dozen, the film will tell the story of a group of Jewish-American soldiers behind enemy lines (France specifically) who spend their time scalping Nazis.

The ever-growing cast also includes Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading), Mike Myers (The Love Guru), Eli Roth (director of the Hostel films), Samm Levine (Sydney White), Diane Kruger (the National Treasure films), Til Schweiger (King Arthur) and Mélanie Laurent (Don’t Worry, I’m Fine). It is expected to premiere at next year’s Cannes Film Festival.

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Heather Graham wants you to have a Hangover

Virtual nobody Heather Graham (Miss Conception) will star in The Hangover from director Todd Phillips (Starsky & Hutch). The Vegas-set bachelor party-type comedy, which has just started filming, also stars Bradley Cooper (Wedding Crashers), Justin Bartha (the National Treasure films), Ed Helms (Meet Dave) and Zach Galifianakis (What Happens In Vegas) among others. I don’t know but for now, can I say “yawn”?

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New Trailer and Poster: Inkheart

It seems ages ago that Inkheart‘s first trailer premiered, and that’s because, well, it was. Indeed, the fantasy film was to be originally released around Christmas 2007, but instead was delayed again and again, which usually isn’t a good sign but might be explained by the trouble New Line Cinema was having at the time.

The story centers around 12 year old Meggie and her father Mo, who has the power to bring characters from books into the real world when he reads aloud. Turns out Mo discovered his power when his daughter was only a baby, and accidentally sent his wife into a book while reading Meggie a story. That, and an evil dude wants to use Mo’s power.

Based on the first book of a popular German trilogy of fantasy novels written by Cornelia Funke (The Thief Lord), who serves as a producer for the movie, Inkheart was adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire (Robots) and directed by Iain Softley (The Skeleton Key). It stars Brendan Fraser (the new Mummy movies), Eliza Bennett (The Contractor), Andy Serkis (The Cottage), Paul Bettany (The Da Vinci Code), Helen Mirren (National Treasure: Book Of Secrets), Jim Broadbent (Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull) and Sienna Guillory (Eragon) among others.

I think the aforementioned first trailer was better made, but this still looks pretty good, I’m a sucker for (good) fantasy and I must say quite like some of the talent involved. What do you think? Does Inkheart have what it takes to join the closed circle of fantasy winners? The movie will premiere in Germany on December 11th, and will get releases in the rest of the world throughout early 2009.

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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Yet another Inglorious one

The cast for Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards keeps growing as French up-an-coming César-winning actress Mélanie Laurent (Don’t Worry, I’m Fine) has signed on to play Shoshanna Dreyfus, a young Jewish girl who inherits a movie theatre in Paris and tries to avoid the Nazis (duh). The 25 year old Laurent isn’t Jewish, but I guess that’s beside the point.

Inglorious Bastards, which has been a pet project of Quentin Tarantino’s for years, will be a remake of an Italian film from 1978 that is also known as G.I. Bro, Deadly Mission, Hell’s Heroes and Counterfeit Commandos. Described as in the vein of The Dirty Dozen, the film will tell the story of a group of Jewish-American soldiers behind enemy lines (France specifically) who spend their time scalping Nazis.

In addition to Mélanie Laurent, the cast includes Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading), Mike Myers (The Love Guru), Eli Roth (director of the Hostel films), Samm Levine (Sydney White), Diane Kruger (the National Treasure films) and Til Schweiger (King Arthur). Inglorious Bastards will start filming next month in Berlin and is expected to premiere at next year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Fun Fact: Mélanie’s father Pierre Laurent is the French voice for many Simpsons characters including Ned Flanders, Apu, Barney, Reverend Lovejoy and Smithers.

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