Bin Laden movie & Obama Administration connection: Republican congressman wants investigation
The Hurt Locker‘s Academy Award winners Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal have been receiving assistance from the Barack Obama Administration for their Bin Laden movie project, about the Navy SEAL raid that killed Islamist terrorist Osama bin Laden in Pakistan earlier this year, according to a Maureen Dowd report in the New York Times. In her article, Dowd affirms that “the moviemakers are getting top-level access to the most classified mission in history from an administration that has tried to throw more people in jail for leaking classified information than the Bush administration.”
Following the publication of Dowd’s article, Republican New York Congressman and chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security Peter King has called for an investigation on the type of cooperation the Obama Administration has been providing to the filmmakers. In a letter to Inspector General Gordon S. Hedell, published at Deadline.com, King wrote:
The Administration’s first duty in declassifying material is to provide full reporting to Congress and the American people, in an effort to build public trust through transparency of government. In contrast, this alleged collaboration belies a desire of transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history.
Many Republicans have denied the Obama Administration credit for the capture (and on-site execution) of bin Laden. King, for one, has claimed that “waterboarding,” a torture practice that simulates drowning, was what eventually led to the discovery of bin Laden’s whereabouts. Obama (at least officially) disapproves of waterboarding.
Republicans are also concerned that Bigelow’s movie, Killing bin Laden, will serve as timely political propaganda right when the increasingly unpopular Obama face American voters. Though still in pre-production, Killing bin Laden will be released by Sony Pictures on October 12, 2012 – also in time to catch the attention of red-white-and-blue Academy voters.
Bigelow and Boal have released a joint statement regarding their project. The statement, also posted at Deadline.com, reads like a flag-waving publicity release with the obvious intent of shutting up Republican naysayers:
“Our upcoming film project about the decade long pursuit of Bin Laden has been in the works for many years and integrates the collective efforts of three administrations, including those of Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, as well as the cooperative strategies and implementation by the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency. Indeed, the dangerous work of finding the world’s most wanted man was carried out by individuals in the military and intelligence communities who put their lives at risk for the greater good without regard for political affiliation. This was an American triumph, both heroic, and non-partisan and there is no basis to suggest that our film will represent this enormous victory otherwise.”
It’s unclear if the ties between waterboarding and Osama’s death, if any, will be featured in the movie. As for the White House’s response to King’s accusation, via press secretary Jay Carney, it reads:
I would hope that as we face the continued threat from terrorism, the House Committee on Homeland Security would have more important topics to discuss than a movie.
Photo: The Hurt Locker (Jonathan Olley / Summit Entertainment)
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands / Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos, Brazil’s biggest box office hit until last year’s The Elite Squad 2, will be remade. At the Gramado Film Festival, currently being held in the small southern Brazilian town, actor-director Reginaldo Faria announced that his son, Marcelo Faria, will star in a new film adaptation of Jorge Amado’s bestseller. The project will also mark television director Pedro Vasconcelos’ feature-film debut.
Bruno Barreto’s acclaimed 1976 sex comedy starred Sonia Braga, José Wilker, and Mauro Mendonça. A (quite tame) American remake directed by Robert Mulligan, and starring Sally Field, Jeff Bridges, and James Caan, was released as Kiss Me Goodbye in 1982. It was a critical and box office disappointment. Additionally, there was a 1998 Brazilian TV miniseries toplined by Giulia Gam, Edson Celulari, and Marco Nanini.
Set in Salvador in the early 1940s, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands tells the story of a widow (Braga) whose dead husband (Wilker) refuses to leave her side – and her bed – after she marries a kind-hearted but strait-laced pharmacist (Mendonça). As the bohemian, womanizing ghost, Wilker spends much of the film with his clothes off.
At the 1977 Gramado Film Festival, Dona Flor won three awards, including Best Director. Two years later, it was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Additionally, Sonia Braga was a British Film Academy nominee in 1981 in the Most Outstanding Newcomer to Leading Film Roles category.
The new Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands is expected to hit Brazilian theaters in 2014.
‘Spider-Man’ Reeve Carney: Jeff Buckley in Jake Scott’s Untitled Biopic
There seems to be countless movie Snow Whites in the works (Kristen Stewart’s, Lily Collins’, China’s, etc.). But there are only two movie projects about singer Jeff Buckley, who drowned at the age of 30 while swimming in Tennessee’s Wolf River in 1997.
One, Greetings from Tim Buckley, is set to star Gossip Girl‘s Penn Badgley as Jeff Buckley. The other, it has been announced, will star Broadway actor-singer Reeve Carney as Buckley. Carney, who played Prince Ferdinand in Helen Mirren’s The Tempest and the young Ethan Hawke in Snow Falling on Cedars, is best known for his Broadway incarnation of Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
To be directed by Jake Scott, son of Ridley Scott and best known for the Kristen Stewart-James Gandolfini drama Welcome to the Rileys, this as-yet untitled Jeff Buckley project is being executive produced by Buckley’s mother, Mary Guibert. The screenplay is by Ryan Jaffe. Filming should begin in November in New York and Memphis.
Greetings from Tim Buckley is to be directed by Daniel Algrant (Al Pacino’s People I Know, Mary-Louise Parker’s Naked in New York), from a screenplay by Algrant, David Brendel, and Emma Sheanshang. The film will focus on Jeff Buckley’s performance at his father Tim Buckley’s 1991 tribute concert.
James Franco Out of ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’
James Franco’s Broadway debut will have to wait. Franco has dropped out of a planned revival of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth. Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman is still on board and so is director David Cromer.
Sweet Bird of Youth revolves around an aging, hard-drinking movie actress, Alexandra Del Lago, who leaves town with an aging (35?), small-town escort/drifter, Chance Wayne. Wayne, in love with a corrupt Florida politician’s daughter, wants Del Lago back in the movie game so he can have a chance in show biz as well.
Elia Kazan directed Paul Newman and Geraldine Page in the original 1959 Broadway production, which earned Page a Tony nomination. Newman and Page reprised their roles in the somewhat watered-down 1962 film version directed by Richard Brooks. Page and Shirley Knight, who played Chance Wayne’s love interest, were both nominated for Academy Awards as, respectively, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. As the ruthless politician Tom Boss Finley, Ed Begley won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
A surprisingly poor 1989 television version was directed by Nicolas Roeg, adapted by Gavin Lambert, and starred Elizabeth Taylor, Mark Harmon, Valerie Perrine, and Rip Torn. Additionally, Lauren Bacall played Alexandra Del Lago in a 1985 London production directed by Harold Pinter and co-starring Michael Beck.
Franco, currently on screens around the world in Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is currently shooting Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful with Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams. Franco has also appeared in the soap opera General Hospital and is working on a English doctorate at Yale. Earlier this year, he hosted the Academy Awards telecast – and was lambasted for sleepwalking through the show – and received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours.
Upcoming James Franco movies – officially announced or just plain rumored – in various stages of production include Sal, a biography of actor Sal Mineo with Val Lauren in the title role and Franco as director Milton Katselas; Carter’s mental illness tale Maladies, with Catherine Keener; and Jay Anania’s thriller The Stare, opposite Winona Ryder.
There’s more: Ariel Vromen’s crime thriller The Iceman, with Benicio Del Toro; Stephen Elliot’s San Francisco-set drama Cherry, about a young woman, pornography, and drug abuse; and Lovelace, with Olivia Wilde rumored to play Deep Throat porn star-turned-Born Again Christian Linda Lovelace.
Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover, Naomi Watts as Helen Gandy in ‘J. Edgar’
As J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI’s notoriously corrupt, rabidly power-hungry topdog, Leonardo DiCaprio looks very much like Leonardo DiCaprio in the above still from Clint Eastwood’s Hoover biopic J. Edgar. As Hoover’s secretary Helen Gandy, Naomi Watts looks like Nicole Kidman without make-up. Watts certainly looks nothing at all like the real Gandy.
The Big Question: Will J. Edgar delve into Hoover’s alleged homosexuality and his relationship with protégé Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer)? Considering that the J. Edgar screenplay was written by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black of Milk fame, I can’t see how it wouldn’t. That might also explain Hammer’s casting: the Social Network actor looks as much like Tolson as, say, Tom Cruise looks like Joseph Stalin, but Hammer and DiCaprio do make a nice-looking couple.
In addition to DiCaprio, Watts, and Hammer, J. Edgar offers several other good-looking faces passing for real-life characters who weren’t exactly pretty. Josh Lucas plays Charles Lindbergh, Miles Fisher is Jim Garrison, Lea Thompson is Lela Rogers (that’s Ginger Rogers’ right-wing mom), Jeffrey Donovan is Robert F. Kennedy, Dermot Mulroney is Norman Schwarzkopf, and Gunner Wright is Dwight Eisenhower. And that’s Hollywood.
Others in the J. Edgar cast are Stephen Root, Ed Westwick, Amanda Schull, Michael Gladis, Josh Stamberg, Zach Grenier, Judi Dench as Anne Marie Hoover, Christopher Shyer as Richard Nixon, Ken Howard is U.S. attorney general Harlan F. Stone, and Jennipher Foster as Lucille Ball. J. Edgar opens on November 9 in the United States.
Photo: J. Edgar (Warner Bros.)
‘Little Miss Sunshine’ Actress Abigail Breslin to Murder Mother in ‘The Class Project’
Abigail Breslin, Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for the sleeper hit Little Miss Sunshine, is all grown up now. Or at least grown up enough to commit matricide.
Breslin is set to star in Stan Brooks’ real-life-based indie drama The Class Project, the story of two teenage Canadian sisters who, fed up with their alcoholic mother, decide to do away with her – reportedly with the assistance of the 15-year-old boyfriend of one of them – by first pumping her up with vodka, Tylenol 3, and codeine, and then drowning her in the bathtub. Hence the girls’ tabloid moniker: “Bathtub Girls.” Leave it up to the media to come up and spread around the most idiotic nicknames.
Production on The Class Project is slated to begin next month, reports Variety. The screenplay is by Fabrizio Filippo and Adam Till, who adapted Toronto Star reporter Bob Mitchell’s 2008 book The Class Project: How To Kill a Mother: The True Story of Canada’s Infamous Bathtub Girls, a retelling of the 2003 murder in Mississauga, Ontario.
But before she sets out to kill her mother, Breslin will be seen opposite Alessandro Nivola, Elisabeth Shue, and Peter Stormare in David M. Rosenthal’s drama Janie Jones, which opens October 28. Additionally, Breslin is part of the star ensemble of Garry Marshall’s New Year’s Eve, a sort of “box-office sequel” to Valentine’s Day, to be released on Dec. 9. Written by Valentine’s Day‘s Katherine Fugate, New Year’s Eve also features Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer, Lea Michele, Julie Andrews, Josh Duhamel, Sarah Jessica Parker, John Stamos, Katherine Heigl, Sofia Vergara, Robert De Niro, Jessica Biel, Sienna Miller, Til Schweiger, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank, Sara Paxton, Alyssa Milano, Carla Gugino, Jon Bon Jovi, Ryan Seacrest, Ashton Kutcher, Hector Elizondo, Ice Cube, Ludacris, and John Lithgow.