Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Replaces Megan Fox in Transformers 3
Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has been cast as Megan Fox’s replacement in Michael Bay’s Transformers 3. She has no acting experience – not that much emoting will be required from her. The robots will provide all the necessary acting in the action/sci-fi flick.
Megan Fox and Bay had an ugly public rift following Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. A few weeks ago, Paramount announced it wasn’t renewing Fox’s contract. The actress then retorted that she was the one who decided to quit the series because she was no longer willing to work with Bay. Fox will next be seen opposite Josh Brolin in Jonah Hex.
Huntington-Whiteley, who had previously worked with Bay on the Victoria’s Secret ad “A Thousand Fantasies,” will play Shia LaBeouf’s romantic interest in this third installment of the Transformers franchise, reviled by critics, worshiped by a certain (large) segment of the filmgoing public.
Others in the Transformers 3 cast are Josh Duhamel, Ken Jeong, Patrick Dempsey, Alan Tudyk, John Turturro, Peter Cullen, Kevin Dunn, Tyrese Gibson, Julie White, and Oscar winner Frances McDormand and Oscar nominee John Malkovich, who I believe are supposed to lend a patina of respectability to the braindead proceedings. Transformers 3, which is currently in production in the Los Angeles area, should come out July 1, 2011.
Photo: Beach Bunny Swimwear
June 11: Megan Fox looks like a real person in this Jonah Hex photo. Well, a very, very, very beautiful real person. If you look at Fox’s Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Jennifer’s Body photos, you’ll see that in those productions she looked like the digitalized image of a beautiful woman. Perhaps it’s a good thing – for her – that Fox won’t take part in Michael Bay’s Transformers 3.
In Warner Bros.’ Jonah Hex, Fox plays Lilah, a brothel worker who befriends the film’s scarred hero played by Josh Brolin. Directed by Jimmy Hayward, the action-thriller-supernatural-Western Jonah Hex also features John Malkovich, Michael Shannon, Will Arnett, Julia Jones, Aidan Quinn, Seth Gabel, David Patrick Kelly, and Michael Fassbender.
Jonah Hex opens June 18, ’10.
Photo: DC Comics / Warner Bros.
On Saturday, at the Hero Complex Film Festival (June 11–13, at the Mann Chinese 6 in Hollywood), between screenings of Insomnia and The Dark Knight, Nolan will discuss his career and will be fielding questions from the audience. His sci-fi/thriller Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy and Ken Watanabe opens July 16.
Also at the Hero Complex Film Festival:
On Friday, special guest Leonard Nimoy and a screening of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Considering the ongoing cruel, nasty, ugly whale and dolphin hunting, and the fact that overfishing is destroying many species of marine life — not to mention the Gulf Coast oil cataclysm — Star Trek IV is a must-see. It also happens to be one of the best — if not the very best — of all the Star Trek features.
On Sunday, the special guest is Ridley Scott. The two screening films are the sci-fi classics Alien, starring Sigourney Weaver, and Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford. The former may have inspired Stephenie Meyer’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Bella giving birth to Renesmee); the latter may have inspired the recent restoration of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Or maybe not.
Kirk Honeycutt says Nolan’s sci-fi/thriller offers “easily the most original movie idea in ages,” adding that “it will perhaps take multiple viewings of these multiple dream states to extract all the logic and regulations.”
Inception stars Leonardo DiCaprio (who’ll have his second 2010 hit, following Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island), Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Lukas Haas. It opens in the US on July 16.
Below is a snippet in which Honeycutt relates Inception to Dreamscape and The Matrix. No mention of Being John Malkovich, though. Or of Alejandro Amenábar’s Abre los ojos / Open Your Eyes and its Hollywood remake, Vanilla Sky, both of which also take place inside the mind of their protagonists.
Following up on such ingenious and intriguing films as “The Dark Knight” and “Memento,” Nolan has outdone himself. “Inception” puts him not only at the top of the heap of sci-fi all-stars, but it also should put this Warner Bros. release near or at the top of the summer movies. It’s very hard to see how a film that plays so winningly to so many demographics would not be a worldwide hit.
Not that the film doesn’t have its antecedents. “Dreamscape” (1984) featured a man who could enter and manipulate dreams, and, of course, in “The Matrix” (1999) human beings and machines battled on various reality levels created by artificial intelligence.
Photo: Stephen Vaughan / Warner Bros.
Daniel Radcliffe in ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’?
Daniel Radcliffe, who’ll next be seen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 in November, is currently attached to star as an idealistic schoolboy-turned-disillusioned war veteran in an upcoming film adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s controversial 1929 novel All Quiet on the Western Front, about life and death in the German trenches during World War I.
According to Variety, the new film version of All Quiet on the Western Front will be produced by Ian Stokell and Lesley Paterson, with Paterson also responsible for the screenplay. Shooting should commence in the spring of 2012, once Radcliffe is finished with his Broadwayrole in the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Directed by Lewis Milestone and starring relative newcomer Lew Ayres, the Universal-produced 1930 film version of Remarque’s novel was a major critical and box office success despite threats of boycotts from American right-wing groups offended by the film’s sympathetic portrayal of German youth. (Nazis would be offended as well; as a result of its pacifist message, the book was banned in Germany in the mid-’30s.)
A nominee in the third year of the Academy Awards, All Quiet on the Western Front became the first movie to win statuettes for both Best Film and Best Director. Its stylized narrative and acting notwithstanding, the 1930 film version of Remarque’s novel remains the best war movie I’ve ever seen.
Though never a top star, fresh-faced Lew Ayres remained a leading man in dozens of motion pictures all the way into the ’50s. He was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in 1948 for his performance in the title role of Jean Negulesco’s Johnny Belinda.
As a result of his All Quiet on the Western Front experience, Ayres was a conscientious objector during World War II. His stance led to the boycott of his films by some U.S. exhibitors. (Ayres did, however, volunteer for noncombatant duties.)
A 1980 made-for-television movie was directed by Oscar winner Delbert Mann (Marty) and starred Richard Thomas of The Waltons fame.
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers will be released domestically on DVD by First Run Features. Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith’s Academy Award-nominated documentary was the 2009 winner of the National Board of Review Freedom of Expression Award. (Image: Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon.)
The Most Dangerous Man in America will be available nationwide on DVD on July 20, ’10. The synopsis below is from the First Run Features website:
In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a high-level Pentagon official and Vietnam War strategist, concludes that the war is based on decades of lies and leaks 7,000 pages of top secret documents to The New York Times, making headlines around the world. Hailed as a hero, vilified as a traitor, and ostracized by even his closest colleagues, Ellsberg risks life in prison to stop a war he helped plan.
This is the riveting story of one man’s profound crisis of conscience that shook a nation, its courts, its free press and its presidency to the core. It is also an acutely timely and piercing look at the world of government secrecy in wartime as revealed by the ultimate insider. Marked by a landmark Supreme Court battle between America’s greatest newspapers and its president, this political thriller unravels a saga that leads directly to Watergate, Nixon’s resignation and the end of the Vietnam War.
Photo: Henry Kissinger/Richard Nixon (Courtesy Air Force Magazine / First Run Features)
Daniel Radcliffe & the end of ‘Harry Potter’
Daniel Radcliffe, who joined Katie Holmes at the 2010 Tony Awards to hand out the best featured actress in a play award to Scarlett Johansson (for Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge), finished working on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this past week.
“Everyone was really devastated. It was really, really sad,” Radcliffe remarked. “[We] were crying quite a lot.”
Radcliffe, who’ll turn 21 next July 23, began his Harry Potter career in Chris Columbus’ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001), along with Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and several British film and stage veterans, among them Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, and Alan Rickman.
Directed by David Yates, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 will open on Nov. 19. Part II is scheduled to open on July 15, 2011.
On Broadway, Radcliffe caused a sensation by appearing naked in a revival of Equus in 2008. He’ll be back next spring – fully clothed – in a revival of the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Radcliffe quote: The Associated Press
Photo: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Murray Close / Warner Bros.)
Feng Xiaogang vs. Harvey Weinstein
Golden Horse winner Feng Xiaogang, among whose credits are A World Without Thieves, Assembly, and If You Are the One, called US mogul Harvey Weinstein “a cheater in the eyes of many Chinese moviemakers,” according to Jonathan Landreth at The Hollywood Reporter.
Feng voiced his criticism at a discussion held at the 2010 Shanghai International Film Festival. Weinstein wasn’t present at the time, though the Hollywood producer had briefly showed up at the discussion before leaving to catch a plane.
Weinstein had been at the festival to push Mikael Håfström’s pre-World War II Casablanca-like spy thriller Shanghai (shot in 2008), starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Gong Li, John Cusack, Chow Yun-Fat, Ken Watanabe, and Franka Potente.
According to a source cited in Landreth’s piece, Weinstein paid $500,000 for the rights to Feng’s Hamlet remake, The Banquet, Hong Kong’s submission for the 2007 best foreign language film Academy Award. Just a couple of days ago, his company bought the North American rights to Su Chao-Bin and John Woo’s upcoming Reign of Assassins, starring Michelle Yeoh.
Landreth adds that Feng also dismissed Zhang Yimou’s Hero and Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, as “Hollywood movies,” and complained that US companies bought Chinese films without the intention of actually selling them.
The Shanghai Film Festival has had its share of controversies this year. Just last week, Taiwan pulled several films from the festival’s line-up.
Photo: Shanghai (The Weinstein Co.)
Demi Moore Memoirs Coming Out
Demi Moore’s memoirs will be (tentatively) published by HarperCollins in 2012, according to The Associated Press.
Moore, whose age is reported to be 47 – old enough for her to write a book of memoirs, it seems – is best known for movies such as St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), with Rob Lowe; Ghost (1990), with Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg; A Few Good Men (1992), with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson; Indecent Proposal (1993), with Robert Redford and Woody Harrelson; and Ridley Scott’s flop G.I. Jane (1997), in which she co-starred with Viggo Mortensen. Recently, she has had roles in The Joneses and Happy Tears, and has done quite a bit of twittering.
Moore’s book will reportedly cover both her life and career. Moore was married to Bruce Willis for a number of years. Her current husband is fellow twitterer Ashton Kutcher, whose Killers opened to so-so business this past weekend.
According to HarperCollins, Moore’s memoirs will be “framed by her complicated relationship with her mother, Virginia King.”
Photo: Ghost (Paramount)
Penelope Spheeris & Henry Selick: Student Academy Award Presenters
Along with The Hurt Locker actor Jeremy Renner, Oscar-nominated animator Henry Selick (Coraline, James and the Giant Peach) and director Penelope Spheeris (Wayne’s World, The Decline of Western Civilization) will be presenters at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 37th Annual Student Academy Awards on Saturday, June 12. The 2010 ceremony will take place at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
As per the Academy’s press release, “the awards ceremony is the culmination of a week of industry-related activities and social events that the Academy will host for the 13 student filmmakers from across the United States and one from the United Kingdom who have been selected as winners this year.”
Also from the Academy’s press release:
While U.S. winners know they will each receive an award, their placement – Gold, Silver or Bronze – will not be revealed until the June 12 ceremony. Gold Medal award winners receive cash grants of $5,000, Silver Medal award winners receive $3,000 and Bronze Medal award winners receive $2,000. The Honorary Foreign Film winner receives a $1,000 cash grant.
The U.S. students first competed in one of three regional competitions. Each region was permitted to send as many as three finalist films in each of four award categories. Academy members then screened the films and voted to select the winners.
The U.S. winners represent 10 U.S. colleges and universities, including for the first time the Kansas City Art Institute (Missouri) and Parsons The New School for Design (New York). The Honorary Foreign Film winner was selected from a record pool of 61 entries representing 36 countries. A complete list of this year’s winners can be found at http://www.oscars.org/awards/saa/winners/2010.html.
The 37th Annual Student Academy Awards ceremony on June 12 is free and open to the public, but advance tickets are required. Tickets may be obtained online at www.oscars.org, in person at the Academy box office or by mail. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.
Penelope Spheeris photo: Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Henry Selick photo: Matt Petit | © A.M.P.A.S.
The Karate Kid 2010 reviews
A sleeper hit, The Karate Kid 2010 remake stars Jaden Smith, son of co-producers Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Jackie Chan in the roles originally played by Ralph Macchio and Academy Award nominee Pat Morita in the 1984 sleeper hit directed by John G. Avildsen. Harald Zwart directed the 2010 movie.
Taraji P. Henson, nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, plays a single mother who moves with her son, Dre (Jaden Smith), from Detroit to China. Once there, Dre becomes enamored of a local girl, while trying to keep at bay a nasty Chinese bully. Enters a wise, kind-hearted kung fu teacher (Jackie Chan) to help things out.
Early reviews for The Karate Kid haven’t been exactly bullish. Most of them, in fact, have been quite negative. Below is a sample (including a positive notice from Variety):
“It’s a measure of the times that the new version of The Karate Kid manages to be longer and bigger-budgeted than the original while having lesser impact. … [T]here’s no doubt that much of the original’s charm has been lost.” Frank Scheck in The Hollywood Reporter.
“Dre seems less a recognizable kid than a patchwork of audition pieces in which Smith shows his stuff: He does his own stunt work, gets in a couple of playful dance numbers, twinkles flirtatiousness, goofs off, pouts. His ‘spontaneous’ riffs have an air of conference calls and exchanged memos. In big, emotional scenes, he doesn’t seem to be crying so much as deploying tears.” Nick Pinkerton in The Village Voice.
“The saddest thing about the new remake of The Karate Kid isn’t that it exists in the first place, though that alone is more than a little depressing. What really rankles the nerves about this film is that despite a commendably boisterous score and some sufficiently cocky wire stuntwork during its cacophonous fight scenes, this remake doesn’t show any signs that its creators believe the Eastern self-improvement mumbo-jumbo its characters espouse.” Simon Abrams at Slantmagazine.com.
“Overall, the filmmakers have largely opted to embellish rather than excise, suggesting their reluctance to depart much from the original template. Still, it’s a sign of that pic’s dramatic durability that “Kid” manages to be as absorbing as it is, despite its nearly 2½-hour running time, and that the climactic tournament (now with instant replay) sustains interest even when it’s clear when and where the blows will land.” Justin Chang in Variety.
“Ralph Macchio was what, like, 35 when he played Daniel? But he looked 16, as his character was, so he seemed like a good fit. Now the character, Dre, is 12 — as is the film’s star, Jaden Smith, son of Will and Jada (both executive producers). But with his pretty face and slight build, Smith looks about 9. It’s inescapably distracting. And so neither the fighting nor the romance with a girl who’s out of his league — two key components of The Karate Kid — makes sense.” Christy Lemire in The Canadian Press.
Photo: Jasin Boland / Columbia Pictures
Guillermo del Toro Out. Who’ll Direct ‘The Hobbit’?
Guillermo del Toro is out. Who will be directing The Hobbit when – or perhaps if – it goes into production, remains a mystery. Names mentioned as possibilities include Alfonso Cuarón, Sam Mendes, Darren Aronofsky, Tim Burton, and, of course, Peter Jackson. But that’s all speculation and wishful thinking – until an official announcement is made.
“We have been caught in a very tangled negotiation,” del Toro remarked at a news conference a few days before he publicly announced he was no longer going to direct The Hobbit. “Now I have been on the project for nearly two years. We have designed all the creatures, the sets, the wardrobe, animatics and planned action sequences and we are very, very prepared for when it is finally triggered. We don’t know anything until the MGM situation is resolved.”
The Hobbit (to be split into parts one and two to be shot back-to-back) has been a project “in the works” for about four years. Del Toro has finally called it quits (at least as the film’s director), partly as a result of MGM’s troubled finances. (The latest James Bond has been another casualty.)
The old studio, founded in 1924 as an amalgam of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and Louis B. Mayer Productions, is both up for sale and $3.7b in debt. It also co-owns (with New Line Cinema) the film rights to The Hobbit, which was scheduled to start production late this year.
Del Toro has told The Lord of the Rings fansite TheOneRing.net, that both The Hobbit films are still slated for release in December 2012 and December 2013. He added that he’ll continue to work alongside Peter Jackson and fellow screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens.
Also at TheOneRing.net, Peter Jackson explained that “the bottom line is that Guillermo just didn’t feel he could commit six years to living in New Zealand, exclusively making these films, when his original commitment was for three years.”
Jackson, the director of the three Lord of the Rings film adaptations released in the early 2000s, is at this point an unlikely replacement for del Toro.
Entertainment Weekly reports that Jackson’s manager Ken Kamins informed them that “as for Peter directing, that’s not something he can consider at this time as he has other commitments to other projects. But make no mistake, Peter and Fran’s commitment to the franchise is total and will do everything necessary to protect the films and the investment made by New Line, [parent company] Warner Bros. and MGM.”
And here’s a brief explanation about The Hobbit, found in The Guardian:
It’s one of those tedious Lord of the Rings books, isn’t it? Full of portentous fantasy and made-up place names. It’s the original novel to which TLOTR trilogy is the sequel.
Tom Cruise Les Grossman to Star in His Own Movie: Good Idea?
Tom Cruise’s vulgar, crass, crotch-scratching Hollywood mega mogul Les Grossman stole the show at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards, dancing with Jennifer Lopez, getting his arm broken by Jaden Smith, and saying something of other about clay, buttcheeks, and diamonds.
All that, after having done a couple of promo spots in which Grossman (reportedly inspired by Viacom’s Sumner Redstone) berates the Twilight Saga stars Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner – the former for wanting to bathe and wash his hair, the latter for claiming he’d be busy on awards night.
Now comes Paramount Pictures and MTV Films with the announcement that Les Grossman will be the star of his own movie, with Cruise as Grossman and Ben Stiller as his co-star. As you may recall, Grossman was first seen on screen in a cameo in Ben Stiller’s 2008 action comedy Tropic Thunder, a solid domestic performer starring Stiller and Robert Downey Jr.
Both Cruise and Stiller will also be two of the as-yet-untitled film’s producers. Michael Bacall (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) is slated to write the screenplay.
Paramount has sent out a colorful press release, in which Grossman explains: “To quote my great friend Kirk Lazarus [Downey Jr.’s character in Tropic Thunder], ‘I don’t read the script, the script reads me.'”
Now, I can’t think of a truly great Hollywood satire since Robert Altman’s The Player back in 1992. This one, however, could work. (But couldn’t they get Robert Pattinson or Matt Damon or Chace Crawford or Justin Bieber or Whoopi Goldberg or anyone to replace Stiller?)
The plot could be about a mega movie star (Stiller, apparently) who has an ugly falling out with the head a major media conglomerate (Cruise’s Grossman) who refuses to renew the actor’s contract and publicly badmouths him.
Time moves on, old grudges are forgiven (or at least set aside), behind-the-scenes deals are made. The actor is eventually rehired to appear in both a popular action franchise and, most shocking of all, is personally selected by the mega mogul to play himself (the mogul) in a biopic.
In the Los Angeles Times, Steven Zeitchik doesn’t seem to find the Grossman spinoff a very idea, no matter the plot. “There are seemingly a dozen reasons why this wouldn’t seem to be a good idea, starting with the fact that the character is based on a single joke that, no matter its satiric value, doesn’t seem capable of carrying an entire feature,” Zeitchik remarks, adding that “characters based on sketches, no matter how viral or beloved, also tend to make wobbly and unsuccessful features.” He cites recent flop MacGruber to make his point.
Also, take a look at this piece in TheWrap about the Cruise/Redstone Affair.
Tom Cruise as Les Grossman image: MTV Movie Awards
June 8: After smooching up Scarlett Johansson at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards this past Sunday, Sandra Bullock told the crowd: “Now that I have done that, can we please go back to normal … Go back to making fun of me. I don’t care. It’s time to go back to normal.”
Bullock, this year’s Oscar winner for the sleeper blockbuster The Blind Side and Razzie winner for the box office disappointment All About Steve, had been turned into a hapless victim by the media following revelations that husband Jesse James had been (sexually) unfaithful.
The Los Angeles Times’ Steven Zeitchik has quickly taken the actress up on the “back to normal” offer. In his Times article “With Sandra Bullock’s New Role, Hope Sinks,” Zeitchik complains that Bullock has decided to follow her Oscar win with a role in one more action-comedy, Most Wanted, co-starring her The Proposal love interest, Ryan Reynolds.
In Most Wanted, Bullock will play a criminal on the lam. Reynolds will be the cop accompanying her.
“You get a magic ticket and this is how you use it?,” Zeitchik wonders. “On a movie that puts you back squarely in territory of The Proposal … or Miss Congeniality, another broad comedy with fugitive elements?
“… Certainly after a best actress win, you don’t immediately go back to the multiplex ghetto from which an Oscar had just helped you escape, right?”
Apparently, wrong. Back to normal.
Photo: The Proposal (Kerry Hayes / Touchstone)
‘The Ghost Writer’ DVD
Roman Polanski’s political thriller The Ghost Writer will be Summit Entertainment’s first single-disc, Blu-ray/DVD Combo release. Starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton and Eli Wallach, the critically acclaimed The Ghost Writer, winner of the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival, will be available on August 3, 2010. The film will also be available as a standard single-disc DVD.
Written by Polanski and Robert Harris from Harris’ novel The Ghost, The Ghost Writer tells the story of a ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) hired to pen the memoirs of a former Tony Blair-like British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan) who has numerous deeply hidden, decomposing skeletons in his closet.
Three original featurettes:
“An Interview with Roman Polanski”
“The Cast of The Ghost Writer” a behind-the-scenes visit with the cast
“The Ghost Writer: Fiction or Reality?” an interview with best-selling author Robert Harris
Audio: English 2.0