Jeremy Renner in ‘The Bourne Legacy’: First look at Aaron Cross
Matt Damon has gone from The Bourne Identity movies to Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo and Neill Blomkamp’s upcoming Elysium. In Damon’s place – more or less – we now have Jeremy Renner, best known as the Academy Award-nominated actor from Kathryn Bigelow’s Best Picture Oscar winner The Hurt Locker and Ben Affleck’s The Town, in The Bourne Legacy. (Cosmic, in that Affleck and Damon have been pals for years and shared a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Good Will Hunting back in early 1998.)
More recently, Renner can be seen in a key role in the Brad Bird-Tom Cruise movie Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. MI4 just happens to be the most successful late 2011 release worldwide. Will the fourth Bourne movie be as lucky when it’s released next summer?
Maybe yes, maybe no. Either way, USA Today has published (Jan. 2012) the first image of Jeremy Renner as The Bourne Legacy hero Aaron Cross – who, according to an Empire interview with Renner, will have a variety of different monikers. But hopefully only one face; I mean, those movies are confusing as is.
‘The Bourne Legacy’ cast
Directed by Michael Clayton‘s Tony Gilroy, and co-written by Gilroy and his brother, Dan Gilroy, besides Jeremy Renner this Bourne Identity spin-off features the following:
Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener, 2005). Two-time Academy Award nominee Edward Norton. Three-time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen. Five-time Academy Award nominee Albert Finney. Oscar Isaac. Scott Glenn. Stacy Keach.
The Bourne Legacy is scheduled to come out on Aug. 3.
For the record, below are The Bourne Legacy cast members’ Oscar nominations alluded to above.
- Best Supporting Actor for Gregory Hoblit’s Primal Fear (1996).
- Best Actor for Tony Kaye’s American History X (1998).
- Best Supporting Actress for Oliver Stone’s Nixon (1995).
- Best Supporting Actress for Nicholas Hytner’s The Crucible (1996).
- Best Actress for Rod Lurie’s The Contender (2000).
- Best Actor for Tony Richardson’s Tom Jones (1963).
- Best Actor for Sidney Lumet’s Murder on the Orient Express (1974).
- Best Actor for Peter Yates’ The Dresser (1983).
- Best Actor for John Huston’s Under the Volcano (1984).
- Best Supporting Actor for Steven Soderbergh’s Erin Brockovich (2000).
Matt Damon vs. Tony Gilroy ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ Screenplay
The Bourne Legacy director-writer Tony Gilroy is the guy The Bourne Identity star Damon dissed (and later more or less apologized for dissing) in a candid interview for GQ magazine. After stating that Gilroy’s The Bourne Identity screenplay was perceived to be a turkey before the film’s release – and that the screenwriter was eager to share credit (i.e., blame) with someone else – Damon remarked that Gilroy was paid “an exorbitant amount of money” for his single draft on The Bourne Ultimatum, the third and most recent Bourne movie. According to Damon, that was not money well spent.
“It’s really the studio’s [Universal’s] fault for putting themselves in that position. I don’t blame Tony for taking a boatload of money and handing in what he handed in. It’s just that it was unreadable. This is a career-ender. I mean, I could put this thing up on eBay and it would be game over for that dude. It’s terrible. It’s really embarrassing. He was having a go, basically, and he took his money and left.”
Entered George Nolfi and Scott Z. Burns, with the assistance of director Paul Greengrass, to rescue the production by fully revamping Gilroy’s work. Damon added that once all was done, Gilroy “arbitrated to get sole credit.” The Writers Guild, however, eventually decided against Gilroy, who had to share credit with Nolfi and Burns. “That was just a little bit of justice, I have to say,” Damon summed up.
Damon later called his anti-Gilroy outburst “unprofessional.” I’m not sure if keeping mum about (what seems like) unethical behavior is a form of “professionalism.” Perhaps it is; perhaps it’s nothing more than a way to cover one’s own back. Damon, after all, claims he may do another Bourne movie in the future. Either way, I can’t help but lament that there aren’t more such honest outbursts out there.
Directed by District 9‘s Neill Blomkamp, Damon’s next movie, Elysium, opens March 1, 2013. Directed and co-written by Tony Gilroy, The Bourne Legacy opens next August 3.
See also: The Bourne Legacy box office: Trailing Matt Damon Bourne movies.
‘Akira’ Movie: Still On Despite Stalling
Jan. 8: Akira has stalled as Warner Bros. wants the film’s screenplay revamped. Will the $90-million production to be directed by Jaume Collet-Serra still be a go? Well, possibly. Variety cites two examples of projects that have been recently put on hold due to budgetary issues, but that haven’t necessarily been shut down for good.
One is David Dobkin’s Arthur & Lancelot. The adventure fantasy’s March 15, 2013, release date is now on hold while the studio finds ways to reduce its budget from $135 to $110 million. Kit Harington and Joel Kinnaman have the title roles.
The other title is Alex Proyas’ Paradise Lost, which will miss its January start date due to budgetary woes. The one box office name in the project is Bradley Cooper, who is set to play Lucifer. Benjamin Walker is to play Lucifer’s nemesis, the Archangel Gabriel, while Camille Belle will play the apple-eating Eve.
Akira has a relatively unproven box office name in the person of Garrett Hedlund, whose one commercial hit – a relatively moderate one – was TRON: Legacy in 2010. Later this year (at least in France), Hedlund will be seen in Walter Salles’ independently made On the Road, co-starring Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, and Amy Adams.
Coincidentally, Kristen Stewart was reportedly “in talks” to co-star with Hedlund in Akira. So far, that has come to naught. An actor to play Akira’s nemesis hasn’t been cast as yet, either, though performers as varied as Brad Pitt, Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield, and James McAvoy have been mentioned as possibilities. As per Variety, only two actors remained in contention by late 2011: Michael Pitt and Dane DeHaan, neither of whom is a box office name.
Even so, Variety adds that “the studio is by no means pulling the plug. Insiders said a new writer will probably be brought on over the next two weeks to focus on character elements and particularly on the pic’s look.” No official names as yet, but rumor has it that the possibilities are The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises’ Jonathan Nolan and, somewhat surprisingly, Green Lantern‘s Michael Green. Directed by Martin Campbell and starring Ryan Reynolds, Green Lantern was widely derided by critics and turned out to be a box office flop.
‘Akira’ Movie Shut Down
Jan. 5: Production on Akira has been shut down. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the problems have to do with the film’s casting and budget, the latter currently at $90 million. So, does that mean it was useless to bitch and complain when white actors were considered for a role that some felt belonged only to ethnic Japanese? Maybe not.
Not that Warner Bros. will be necessarily casting Takeshi Kaneshiro as one of the leads. My point is that Akira will likely still get made. TRON: Legacy‘s Garrett Hedlund has already signed on to the project. Hedlund’s co-star in the Walter Salles indie On the Road, Kristen Stewart, was “in talks” to play the female lead. Others supposed to appear in the film were Ken Watanabe and Helena Bonham Carter. But no one as yet has been cast as Hedlund’s nemesis/brother. (Among those mentioned for either of the male leads were Stewart’s Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson, in addition to Brad Pitt, Andrew Garfield, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, and Justin Timberlake.)
Besides the casting issue, the Reporter adds that Warners wants the film’s budget lowered, even though it’s now about half of the projected cost when Albert Hughes was set to direct. As per the Reporter, Akira‘s attached director Jaume Collet-Serra and producers Jennifer Kiloran Davisson and Andrew Lazar are now going to rework the screenplay so as to bring the budget down to $60-70 million.
According a tweet by Variety‘s Josh Dickey, however, “Good source tells [fellow Variety contributor Justin Kroll] that Akira issue isn’t budgetary at all – it’s that WB execs want more script development.”
Regarding Kristen Stewart’s casting, Dickey had earlier tweeted the following: “Her deal never closed. Which is pretty telling, actually.” And in answer to a query about Stewart’s potential casting, Dickey wrote: “Hard to say. With her deal not closed and the studio shrinking the budget, I wouldn’t hold my breath.” But if the studio isn’t really shrinking Akira‘s budget, then…
Well, in case Akira does indeed see the light of day – which is apparently quite possible – it’ll be released in 2013. By then, we should know whether or not Kristen Stewart will be one of the film’s stars.
Matt Damon The Bourne Ultimatum photo: Universal Pictures.
Aaron Cross a.k.a. Jeremy Renner The Bourne Legacy image: Universal Pictures.
Walter Salles’ ‘On the Road’ at Cannes? Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley and Kristen Stewart star
Producer Charles Gillibert has tweeted the following: “Am happy to share with you : OTR french release the 23rd of may, more to come.” OTR? That’s On the Road, directed by Walter Salles, and toplining Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, and Kristen Stewart.
As for the May 23 release date in France, does that mean On the Road will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival? Quite possibly. Cannes 2012 runs May 16–27.
Based on Jack Kerouac’s classic 1950s novel, On the Road follows New York-based writer Sal Paradise (Sam Riley), sexually charged rebel Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund), and Dean’s free-spirited girl, Marylou (Kristen Stewart), as they go on a cross-country road trip following the death of Sal’s father.
Sal is based on Jack Kerouac himself. Dean, on Kerouac’s friend Neal Cassady. And Marylou on Cassady’s first wife, LuAnne Henderson.
Walter Salles’ previous road movies
Walter Salles became internationally known following the success of his Brazilian road movie Central Station (1998), which earned two Academy Award nominations: Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actress for Fernanda Montenegro. (The winners that year were, respectively, Roberto Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful and Gwyneth Paltrow for Shakespeare in Love.)
José Rivera, Salles’ Oscar-nominated screenwriter on another road movie, The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), wrote the On the Road adaptation.
‘On the Road’ cast
In addition to Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, and Sam Riley, the On the Road cast includes:
Viggo Mortensen. Amy Adams. Kirsten Dunst. Tom Sturridge. Alice Braga. Danny Morgan. Elisabeth Moss.
Steve Buscemi. Terrence Howard. Veteran Michael Sarrazin (They Shoot Horses Don’t They?).
Best Director Academy Award winner Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather: Part II, 1974) is listed as one of the executive producers, while Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolalla (Brokeback Mountain) is the On the Road composer.
Kristen Stewart On the Road image: MK2 Productions.
Cannes Film Festival website.
‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ trailer: Oscar material?
My very, very early Oscar 2013 predictions – well, we’re still in December 2011 – include The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey nominated in the following categories: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Costume Design. Perhaps Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Editing and Mixing as well.
I’m not so sure about Best Anything Else just by looking at the An Unexpected Journey trailer below. Ultimately, that’ll depend on:
a) Whether director Peter Jackson gets solid reviews for the first part of his two-part film version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel The Hobbit. (August 2012 update: Ahem, three-part film version.)
b) Whether The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey delivers business on a par with Jackson’s three Lord of the Rings movies. In case you’ve forgotten their titles, I’m talking about The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), and the Best Picture Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey trailer with Martin Freeman and The Lord of the Rings’ Gandalf, Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nominee Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 2001). McKellen, by the way, had been previously nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of filmmaker James Whale (Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein) in Bill Condon’s Gods and Monsters (1998).
‘An Unexpected Journey’ vs. the two Snow White movies
Admittedly, movie trailers aren’t necessarily solid evidence of how good or bad a movie is, but after looking at the trailers available online, both upcoming Snow White movies – like An Unexpected Journey, medieval-inspired fantasy adventures featuring a group of dwarves – look more compelling than the first Hobbit.
Starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Best Actress Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Monster, 2003) as the Evil Queen, Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman looks appropriately dark and menacing.
Starring Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, and Best Actress Oscar winner Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich, 2000) as the Evil Queen, Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror, for its part, looks brightly colorful and humorous.
The tone of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey falls somewhere in-between: not dark enough; not exactly humorous.
‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ cast
Starring in The Hobbit 1 are Ian McKellen, once again as Gandalf, and Martin Freeman in the title role as the youthful Bilbo Baggins. Also in the cast are:
Luke Evans. Andy Serkis. Hugo Weaving. Barry Humphries. Mikael Persbrandt. Benedict Cumberbatch.
Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Ian Holm (Chariots of Fire, 1981), reprising his Lord of the Rings role as the older Bilbo Baggins.
Veteran Christopher Lee (The Horror of Dracula, Saruman in the Lord of the Rings movies).
The Hobbit 1 opens in the U.S. and Canada on Dec. 14 ’12.
The Hobbit 2 a.k.a. The Hobbit: There and Back Again comes out in late 2013. (August 2012 update: The second installment in the Hobbit trilogy has been retitled The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.)
‘The Great Gatsby’: Leonardo DiCaprio & Carey Mulligan as Jay Gatsby & Daisy Buchanan
The first official The Great Gatsby pictures became available online a few days ago. Seen above are stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan as, respectively, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, two of the most iconic characters of 20th century American literature.
Set shortly after the end of World War I, The Great Gatsby is told through the eyes of Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a returning war veteran who becomes part of the upscale Long Island universe of Jay Gatsby, a mysterious figure obsessed with the memory of his long-past affair with the now married Daisy Buchanan.
This latest big-screen version of Fitzgerald’s most famous novel was directed by Baz Luhrmann (Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge). In addition to DiCaprio, Mulligan, and Maguire, the mostly Australian supporting cast features Joel Edgerton, Jason Clarke, Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Debicki, Jack Thompson, and Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan.
‘The Great Gatsby’ at the movies
There have been three previous The Great Gatsby adaptations for the big screen:
- Directed by future Academy Award nominee Herbert Brenon (Sorrell and Son, 1927–28), the 1926 silent version starred future Academy Award winner Warner Baxter (In Old Arizona, 1928–29) as Jay Gatsby and popular leading lady Lois Wilson as Daisy Buchanan. This version is now lost; only the trailer remains.
- The hard-to-find 1949 version starred Alan Ladd and Betty Field. Elliott Nugent, whose career consisted mostly of B movies and programmers, directed. The extensive supporting cast included MacDonald Carey, Ruth Hussey, Barry Sullivan, Howard Da Silva, and future two-time Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Shelley Winters (The Diary of Anne Frank, 1959; A Patch of Blue, 1965). The film was not a critical success.
- Jack Clayton’s eagerly awaited 1974 version turned out to be a critical flop and a commercial disappointment (considering expectations), despite a cast that included Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby, Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan, plus Karen Black, Scott Wilson, Bruce Dern, Sam Waterston, Lois Chiles, and, once again, Howard Da Silva.
Baz Luhrmann’s reportedly $190 million-budgeted The Great Gatsby opens – in 3D – on Christmas Day 2012. (August 2012 update: The Great Gatsby is now scheduled to open in May 2013.)
Disney decides to release ‘The Avengers’ in 3D
In other movies news … The problem with the North American box office is that it needs saviors in North America – as opposed to saviors in Russia, China, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, or Mexico (for box office purposes, not “North America”).
Could the Disney/Marvel release The Avengers be it?
Well, whether or not The Avengers will rescue the North American box office when it opens on May 4 ’12, it’ll have at least one revenue advantage: ticket-price surcharges.
The Walt Disney Studios has decided to release The Avengers in 3D, which means that the all-star superhero flick will hit theaters about one month after another 2D-to-3D conversion, James Cameron’s multiple 1997 Oscar winner Titanic, starring a pre-The Great Gatsby Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
There’s more: Sony Pictures’ The Amazing Spider-Man, directed by Marc Webb, and starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, will be another 2012 (July 3) superhero 3D release.
Christian Bale’s batman suit, however, will remain very much 2D-ish in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.
‘The Avengers’ cast
Directed by Joss Whedon (of the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and co-written by Whedon and Zak Penn, The Avengers features the following:
- Chris Evans as Captain America.
- Chris Hemsworth as Thor.
- Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man.
- Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/the Incredible Hulk.
- Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye.
- Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow.
- Tom Hiddleston as Loki.
- Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts.
- Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
- Stellan Skarsgård as Professor Erik Selvig.
‘Byzantium’ image of vampire Saoirse Ronan & Caleb Landry Jones
Images from the set of Neil Jordan’s Byzantium have been released online. In the picture above you get to see Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, 2007) either about to bite or to help – or perhaps to lick? – Caleb Landry Jones, who seems to have badly hurt his blood-pulsing wrist.
In the film, Ronan plays the vampire daughter of Gemma Arterton, who also happens to enjoy some viscous red juice every now and then.
Just don’t expect a variation on the crowd-friendly Twilight movies, toplining Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. After all, Neil Jordan’s directorial credits are filled with adult-oriented fare such as Mona Lisa (1986), the Best Picture Oscar nominee The Crying Game (1992), and The End of the Affair (1999).
Having said that, in addition to bloodsuckers, Byzantium, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and the two Breaking Dawn movies share one element in common: reddish hair. Just take a good look at Saoirse Ronan and then picture Rachelle Lefevre and Bryce Dallas Howard as the vindictive vampire Victoria.
Besides Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, and Caleb Landry Jones, the Byzantium cast includes the following:
Jonny Lee Miller. Sam Riley. Daniel Mays. Uri Gavriel. Thure Lindhardt. Kate Ashfield.
The screenplay was written by Moira Buffini (Jane Eyre, Tamara Drewe), from her own play, A Vampire Story.
Byzantium is expected to hit U.S. theaters later in 2012.
‘Wolverine’ piracy case: Convicted man gets one year in federal prison
And finally … When Charles Ferguson accepted the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award for Inside Job earlier this year, he remarked that none of those responsible for the global economic crisis – the worst since the Great Depression – had gone to jail. If only those jerks had uploaded movies online.
New York resident Gilberto Sanchez, who uploaded to the Internet an unfinished copy of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men spinoff X-Men Origins: Wolverine, has been sentenced to one year in federal prison.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, U.S. District Judge Margaret Morrow described his misdeed as “extremely serious,” while U.S. attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in a statement that “the federal prison sentence handed down in this case sends a strong message of deterrence to would-be Internet pirates. The Justice Department will pursue and prosecute persons who seek to steal the intellectual property of this nation.”
Thanks to Sanchez, X-Men Origins: Wolverine could be found online weeks before its May 2009 release. But unfinished online print or not, Wolverine ultimately grossed $373 million worldwide in theaters.
That begs (at least) a couple of questions: how much more money was Fox expecting to earn from this film? Did the uploaded print of Wolverine actually reduce the film’s revenue potential?
For comparison’s sake (not adjusted for inflation):
- X-Men: The Last Stand grossed $459.35 million worldwide (2006).
- X-2: X-Men United collected $407.71 million (2003).
- The original X-Men took in $296.33 million (2000).
Curiously, the original source for the X-Men Origins: Wolverine leak remains a mystery.
‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ cast
Besides Hugh Jackman, X-Men Origins: Wolverine features the following:
Liev Schreiber. Ryan Reynolds. Lynn Collins. Taylor Kitsch. Danny Huston. Kevin Durand. Will.i.am. Julia Blake.
Martin Freeman The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / New Line Cinema.
Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio The Great Gatsby image: Warner Bros.
Caleb Landry Jones and Saoirse Ronan Byzantium image: IFC Films, via comingsoon.net.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey trailer: MGM / New Line Cinema.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey trailer + Leonardo DiCaprio Is F. Scott Fitzgerald Antihero” last updated in May 2018.