Naomi Watts at J. Edgar Premiere in Los Angeles

JustJared reports that there has been “talks” for Naomi Watts to possibly star in The Birds remake. Thank Christ Michael Bay is not directing the reboot, but instead it will be Diederik Van Rooijen. Supposedly this version will not adhere to Hitch’s interpretation, but rather more closely to the Daphne du Maurier short story [read online here].

I’m all for Naomi Watts in this version. There are so many up and coming hot young blondes who could bump her. You could go for Margot Robbie, for instance. But by now, Watts has earned blonde icon status in Hollywood – Mulholland Drive and King Kong solidified that status. But the movie The Birds, Hitch’s version of it, injected the story with twisted sexuality which is missing from the short story. In Hitch’s version, Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) comes to down – a sexy, rebellious blonde up to mischief. Her mere appearance there seems to upset the whole dynamic – jealousy from a mother (of course), an “old maid” (ditto) and the usual Hitchcock tropes have swallowed up what the original story was about. This version, if they really do go off the short story, will be more about the horror elements — nature vs. man — than they are about the sexual dynamics at play in Hitch’s version. Watts could play either version but I suspect if they were going the Hitchcock route they would cast someone sexually threatening. But either way, it’s an intriguing project so far.


The blood is just about dried on this year’s Oscar race but throughout the web are predictions for next year’s race. Yes, already. Here’s the thing. It ain’t rocket science. Early Oscar predictions aren’t some kind of magic formula – so people who brag about those are just fooling themselves. The truth is, the Oscar race is an industry that supports another industry – the film industry.  There is a pretty good chance the movies that head into the Oscar race are on the radar already before they’re even finished filming, perhaps even before getting financed, sometimes when the book rights are sold. You go by subject matter, director, stars, sometimes producer – almost always Oscar strategist.  These films have a 90% chance of making it in. The only thing that stops them is if they are poorly received.  Otherwise, their chances are pretty good they fly into the airport, land on the designated runway and glide easily into the gate. Lock and load.

Check out some early articles, like this one at Indiewire has some interesting selections, and The Atlantic has some early predictions that probably hew closer to “reality.”

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Anton Corbijn’s new film, Life, starring Dane Dehaan and Robert Pattinson. Says Indiewire, “The film tells the story of the relationship between renowned Magnum photographer Dennis Stock (Pattinson) and Hollywood legend James Dean (DeHaan), chronicling a road trip the pair took which forever changed Stock’s life. And Corbijn is excited about the project, and collaborating with these actors: “When I see Rob I see an inner turmoil that is great for the role,” Corbijn told EW (print edition, not online). “And Dane is really interesting. He has a beautiful face, but it’s a face to grasp. It’s hard to see how Dane reads [onscreen] sometimes, and the same goes for James Dean.”

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The Annie reboot starring Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz.

Here’s the trailer.

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This is very exciting news indeed.  Peter Greenaway’s new movie is coming in September 2014 and needless to say, I can’t wait.

Here is a first look, after the jump.

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Wonderful Shailene Woodley in the lead role – yes, that means it’s about a girl.



According to the Hollywood Reporter. The English-born actress will have to do an American dialect. She did it reasonably well in Fracture, opposite Ryan Gosling. She would work alongside Ben Affleck as the doomed couple.

chris kyle author photo 615.jpg

Bradley Cooper will star and Steven Spielberg will return to his darker pathways (Munich, Jaws) with the story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle — based on his book American Sniper.


Kyle’s book description on Amazon:

Gripping, eye-opening, and powerful, American Sniper is the astonishing autobiography of SEAL Chief Chris Kyle, who is the record-holding sniper in U.S. military history. Kyle has more than 150 officially confirmed kills (the previous American record was 109), though his remarkable career total has not been made public by the Pentagon.

In this New York Times bestselling memoir, Kyle shares the true story of his extraordinary decade-long career, including his multiple combat tours in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and elsewhere from 1999-2009.

Kyle’s riveting first-person account of how he went from Texas rodeo cowboy to expert marksman and feared assassin offers a fascinating view of modern-day warfare and one of the most in-depth and illuminating looks into the secret world of Special Ops ever written.

But the weird part of the story is how Kyle died. He was murdered by a fellow soldier with PTSD, someone Kyle was trying to help heal, from Wikipedia:

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Disney just sent out the news break that “Actress Lily James (Downton Abbey) has been cast as Cinderella in Disney’s upcoming live-action interpretation of the beloved classic tale. The film is being directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh and stars Cate Blanchett as the iconic evil stepmother.”

scorsese silence

Realizing a dream he’s talked about for well over 20 years, sounds as if financing is at last coming together for Martin Scorsese to bring The Silence to the screen. Set to begin filming in Taiwan in July 2014, the adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel will be Scorsese’s next project after wrapping The Wolf Of Wall Street.

Thirty years ago the Japanese novelist Shusaku Endo published Silence, a novel meant to tell the story of missionaries in 17th-century Japan, whose efforts were subject to fierce repression, through a story that concretely examines nothing less than the nature of faith, of loyalty under extreme duress to Jesus and His Church, and therefore of martyrdom. The novel’s central character is a Portuguese Jesuit, Sebastian Rodrigues, and what we read is an account of this young missionary priest’s experiences in Japan, where he has gone in order to learn the whereabouts, the fate, of another Jesuit, Christovao Ferreira, who is reported to have apostatized after a long career in Asia, much to the disbelief of his fellow Jesuits in Rome and elsewhere. Fr. Rodrigues and another Jesuit, Francisco Garrpe, eventually get to Japan (the year is 1638), and the heart of the novel is a letter written by Fr. Rodrigues (it is declared a part of Catholic missionary history) which chronicles the extreme suffering of persecuted believers, not to mention the spiritual tests and trials put to the man whose words are a record, obviously, an account of a story, but something else, too — a challenge to us: What does Jesus ask of us, expect from us, in our daily lives? (New Oxford Review)

Scorsese has tried to get this ambitious project underway many times over the years, with Daniel Day-Lewis, Benicio Del Toro and Gael Garcia Bernal rumored to star, but his efforts have always been thwarted by setbacks that must have felt like a parallel set of tests, trials and spiritual persecution of their own. Scorsese and Jay Cocks wrote the screenplay, negotiations are being worked out with Graham King for his ownership rights in the story, and the director intends to travel to Cannes to launch publicity for pre-production. Deadline’s Mike Fleming spoke with Scorsese in 2011 about his passionate attachment to Silence.

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way way back

Fox Searchlight reportedly paid $10 million for the rights to The Way Way Back at Sundance in February. Directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash — who won an Oscar for their screenplay for The Descendents.

Over the course of his summer break, a teenager comes into his own thanks in part to the friendship he strikes up with one of the park’s managers.

In theaters July 5th, a rather busy box-office weekend. Watch the trailer after the cut.

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Just announced — Todd Field will direct Beautiful Ruins, with Jess Walter and Field co-writing the screenplay. No word yet who might star but there are many great parts. We wrote about this great book earlier.

The cast of characters include a beautiful unknown actress we first meet in innocent youth soon to be disillusioned as we follow her derailed dreams into wise old age. The young Italian hotelier with big dreams of his own who falls in love with her, an older writer who helps rescue her, the crass studio mogul who manipulates her — and a roaring cameo by the real-life celebrity who changes the course of all their lives in 1962.

Since the overbearing publicist/producer Michael Deane is a rogue gone to seed whose vanity has compelled him to laminate his face over the decades into an alarming plastic-surgery facsimile of his former youth, the rubbery expressions of Jim Carrey might make him suitable for the role. It’s hard to see how the other characters could age from their 20s to 70s without having more than one actor portray them at different stages over the course of five decades. Anyone who’s read the book have any casting ideas for Dee, Pasquale, Claire, Alvis and Shane?

Filmmaker Todd Field, Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson, co-founders of Cross Creek Pictures, and Patrick Milling Smith and Brian Carmody, co-founders of Smuggler Films, announced today that their companies will team up to produce the film adaptation of Jess Walter’s New York Times Best Seller, “Beautiful Ruins.” Todd Field and Jess Walter are confirmed to write the screenplay, with Field set to direct. Field will produce the film through Standard Film Company with Cross Creek’s Oliver, Thompson, Smuggler Films’ Milling Smith and Carmody, Adam Kassan will oversee production for Cross Creek.

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cooperMeanwhile, back at the ranch… Bradley Cooper is the new bad guy in Jane Got a Gun. Cooper is stepping in to fill the role of outlaw gang leader vacated by Jude Law. You’ll recall Law had stepped in to fill the spot left open when original villain Joel Edgerton was promoted to play Natalie Portman’s ex-lover — after Michael Fassbender dropped out of that role in mid-March. I’ve honestly forgotten who’s playing Portman’s husband, if I ever knew. Might help simplify things at this point if he’s dead already. Jane has enough problems.

Gavin O’Connor came onboard two weeks ago to replace director Lynn Ramsey after the project began to unravel for reasons that have never been adequately explained. Jane Got a Gun has been in production for over a week now. Cooper is finishing up work on David O. Russell’s untitled Abscam film.



Two days ago we got our first look at the poster The English Teacher and today with the trailer we get to see Julianne Moore in action.

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On the heels of the news that Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave probably won’t be ready for Cannes, Fox Searchlight just issued a press release announcing its release date of December 27.  The pic stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, Paul Giamatti,  Lupita Nyong’o and tells the story of  “one man’s fight for survival and freedom.  In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.  Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by (Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity.  In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Pitt) will forever alter his life.  The screenplay is by John Ridley and producers are Pitt, McQueen, Jeremy Kleiner, Bill Pohlad, Arnon Milchan and Anthony Katagas.  

To my mind, McQueen is one of the best directors working today – though it appears the industry in Hollywood has yet to catch on.   We are very excited for this film, needless to say.



Hard to believe we’ll have to wait two years to see but lo, Finding Nemo’s sequel, Finding Dory, will take that long to spring to life. Andrew Stanton will helm, and we can safely say this is to be Pixar’s second ever film with a female lead.  The press release:

When Dory said “just keep swimming” in 2003’s Oscar®-winning film “Finding Nemo,” she could not have imagined what was in store for her (not that she could remember). Ellen DeGeneres, voice of the friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish, revealed details today about Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory”—an all-new big-screen adventure diving into theaters on Nov. 25, 2015.

“I have waited for this day for a long, long, long, long, long, long time,” said DeGeneres. “I’m not mad it took this long. I know the people at Pixar were busy creating ‘Toy Story 16.’ But the time they took was worth it. The script is fantastic. And it has everything I loved about the first one: It’s got a lot of heart, it’s really funny, and the best part is—it’s got a lot more Dory.”

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After Beyonce backed out of a Star is Born last October, Clint Eastwood’s musical aspirations stalled. But ContactMusic says he has his eye on the Tony award-winning Broadway show Jersey Boys.

The director is reportedly set to take the musical – based around the career of vocal group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – to the big screen after casting issues have put his next project, ‘A Star is Born’, on hold.

Although Eastwood’s representatives and studio Warner Bros are playing their cards close to their chest, The Hollywood Reporter says multiple sources have confirmed the director is in talks to make the film.

The project was originally set up at Columbia Pictures with ‘Iron Man’ director Jon Favreau favourite to helm, but producer Graham King moved it to Warner Bros in September last year.

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HR reports that James Spader is the latest castmember to join Tommy Lee Jones’ new film The Homesman, which already will star Hilary Swank, John Lithgow, Tim Blake Nelson and Meryl Streep. There were many women homesteaders and landgrabbers back in the 1800s and the rules were the same for them as they were for the men: hold onto the land and you can keep it.  It’s a subject I’ve been researching, rabbit-hole style, for a few years now and am glad to hear Tommy Lee is about to take it in hand.   At any rate, it sounds like it’s about homesteading:

Set in 1855 Nebraska, the story tells of a frontier woman and a claim jumper who ferry a wagonload of women, driven insane by the harsh world of the frontier, eastward to Iowa and back to the civilized world.

While details of Spader’s role are being played close to the vest, it is known he will play a swindler.

More about the Homestead Act of 1862:

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12 years

Take some big guns and hand them to people who know a little something about sharp aim and hitting hard targets. Earlier today Fox Searchlight announced via Twitter that they have acquired 12 Years a Slave and plan to position Steve McQueen’s film for the final week of awards season. That’s not to say that nobody will get a look until then. We can expect the 12 Years a Slave to make its first appearance on the festival circuit — possibly as soon as May at Cannes.

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