On Thursday, at Comic-Con (a.k.a. Nerd-Con) 2010 in San Diego Sylvester Stallone explained (quote via ScreenCrave) why he chose Brazil to shoot the ultra-violent The Expendables, about a bunch of aging mercenaries trying to overthrow a South American dictator:
“You can shoot people and blow things up and they say, ‘Thank you! Take a monkey home with you!’ We couldn’t have pulled off what we did [somewhere else]. We blew up huge plots of land. It was like, Everybody bring their hot dogs. We’re having a BBQ today. We’re gonna blow up this village.”
Stallone then proceeded to ridicule the security situation in the South American country, making jokes about the police in Rio de Janeiro – which apparently wear uniforms stamped with a skull, two guns, and a knife.
Whether or not those in attendance at the Expendables panel found that sort of thing funny I don’t know, but Stallone surely hasn’t made any new friends in Brazil.
Twitter has been abuzz with irate Brazilians providing free publicity for The Expendables by way of “CALA BOCA SYLVESTER STALLONE” (“Shut up SS”) – Twitter’s no. 1 trending topic worldwide – which is described as “a brazilian [sic] campaign to protest the actor Sylvester Stallone, for trying to denigrate the Brazilian image.”
The Brazilian mainstream media has also gotten in on the act, with pieces such as “Stallone badmouths Brazil and is target of twitterers’ ire” (Veja magazine) and “After detonating Brazil, Stallone leaves event with an award” (at terra.com.br, which also remarked on the actor-director’s “tasteless jokes”).
One report also included complaints Stallone has made about The Expendables’ Brazilian crew.
Today, Stallone issued the inevitable apology by way of a press release, as reported in the Brazilian media.
By the way, the “award” Stallone received at Comic-Con was a Guinness World Records certificate for having created the most popular sports-related movie franchise ever, Rocky, which went from bad to worse from 1976 to 1990, earning $1.2 billion along the way. (The first Rocky beat Taxi Driver and Network for the Best Picture Oscar; also that year, Ingmar Bergman’s Face to Face and Lina Wertmüller’s Seven Beauties weren’t even nominated.)
And finally, here’s the best quote I’ve found from the Expendables Comic-Con panel, with Sylvester Stallone quoting Jean-Claude Van Damme, who turned down the role that eventually went to Dolph Lundgren:
“He told me, ‘You should be trying to save people in South Central.’
“I knew I’d lost him.”
Sylvester Stallone The Expendables image: Karen Ballard / Lionsgate Pictures.
Stallone / Van Damme Quote: via the New York Times.
Daniel Craig In, Kristen Stewart Out? ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ Remake
Daniel Craig will be playing (unfairly) disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist in the Hollywood version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. David Fincher is slated to direct the suspense thriller for Sony Pictures.
With the casting of Daniel Craig, Fincher and Sony can now focus on finding their Lisbeth Salander (played by Noomi Rapace in the Swedish adaptation), perhaps the most coveted female role of the year. According to an Entertainment Weekly report, auditions should take place next week.
Carey Mulligan, once rumored to have been cast as Salander, has said she’s out of the running. According to recent rumors, Kristen Stewart’s position also seems iffy, as she’s nowhere to be found in the “unofficial” list of possibilities to play the tough-vulnerable, bisexual computer hacker. That would be too bad, as Stewart, more than any of the other actresses mentioned above, has the exact qualities – toughness, vulnerability, sensuality, sexual ambiguity – required for the role.
Based on the first book of Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millennium trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has become an international blockbuster, collecting more than $100 million worldwide.
European Academy Award nominee Rapace and Michael Nyqvist starred in the generally well-received Swedish film directed by Niels Arden Oplev.
Photo: Quantum of Solace (MGM); The Runaways (Apparition)
Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist in the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Director David Fincher’s Hollywood adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be set in Sweden, according to MTV.com.
“Stockholm. Uppsala. In the north,” Fincher remarked at Comic-Con. “You have to. What, are you going to put it in Seattle?”
In other words, you’ll have English-speaking actors – Daniel Craig, for one – playing Swedes. Or will they be foreigners living in Sweden?
Come to think of it, Seattle – or Boston or Milwaukee or Vancouver – would not be such bad choices after all.
Rumored possibilities for the role of Lisbeth Salander, the computer hacker who helps to crack a 40-year-old murder/disappearance case, include Ellen Page, Mia Wasikowska, Kristen Stewart, and Emily Browning.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is slated for release on Dec. 21.
Image: Music Box Films
Jerry Bruckheimer-Walt Disney box office duds
In The Hollywood Reporter, Carl DiOrio talks about Jerry Bruckheimer’s recent string of disappointments at the domestic box office.
Confessions of a Shopaholic, G-Force, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and his latest, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, have all underperformed in the U.S. and Canada despite sizable production and marketing budgets.
Apprentice, with a $160–$170 million production budget and another $50 million spent on marketing, took in less than $25 million in its first five days out. As DiOrio points out in his piece, unless the Jon Turteltaub-Nicolas Cage effort performs incredibly well abroad it will end up losing distributor Disney tens of million of dollars.
Also, although it’s true that G-Force and especially Prince of Persia did well overseas, neither big-budget release was able to cover its production costs (not including marketing/distribution expenses) at the box office alone.
Bruckheimer is currently stationed at Disney, but it’s unclear how much longer he’ll remain there. In case he does stay around, the veteran producer of mostly loud, mindless, formulaic fare will likely have less leeway in his future projects.
Bruckheimer has been working on the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, which should come out in May 2011. Starring Johnny Depp, the Pirates of the Caribbean has grossed $2.75 billion worldwide.
Best quote found in the article:
“A lot of these guys get too caught up in formulas, and they just keep making the same film over and over again” – uttered by a “highly placed industryite.”
Photos: Bruckheimer / Disney Enterprises
Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt Win Tabloid Lawsuit
Back in January 2010, Brad Pitt, 46, and Angelina Jolie, 35, were the victims of the News Corp.-owned British tabloid News of the World (which world remains unclear). The tabloid published the “news” that the Hollywood couple were legally separating and were in the process of negotiating the split of their millions and the custody of their many children.
Since the tabloid refused to retract its “false and intrusive” claims and to offer an apology, Pitt and Jolie sued. An undisclosed settlement was reached at London’s High Court, reports the BBC.
Brad Pitt will next be seen in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. Angelina Jolie’s next release is Phillip Noyce’s Salt, which opens on Friday. Both Pitt and Jolie are well-known for their liberal and humanitarian views.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. also owns Fox News, among other television channels and publications.
Photo: Salt (Andrew Schwartz / Columbia Pictures)
Pedro Almodóvar’s Academy Award-nominated Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios / Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) will become a Broadway musical, Lincoln Center Theater has announced.
To be directed by Bartlett Sher, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown will have book by Jeffrey Lane, and music and lyrics by David Yazbek.
The cast includes de’Adre Aziza, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Patti LuPone, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Mary Beth Peil and Sherie Rene Scott.
Previews will begin Oct. 2. The musical will open Nov. 4 at the Belasco Theatre.
Almodóvar’s classic comedy starred Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Rossy de Palma, Maria Barranco, and Julieta Serrano.
Photo: El Deseo
‘Mississippi Burning’ Murders
Neshoba: The Price of Freedom will have its US theatrical premiere in New York City on Aug. 13 at Cinema Village. Los Angeles will follow suit on Sept. 10.
Directed by Micki Dickoff and Tony Pagano, Neshoba: The Price of Freedom delves into both the legacy and the story behind the disappearance and murder of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, three civil rights workers who became victims of a mob of Klansmen in Neshoba County, Mississippi, at the beginning of the Freedom Summer in June 1964.
Forty-one years later, the state convicted only one man in the killings, 80-year-old Baptist preacher Edgar Ray Killen.
According to the Neshoba: The Price of Freedom press release, Dickoff and Pagano “gained unprecedented access to Killen, following him from shortly after his indictment through his trial. For the first time, the film captures the outspoken views of a Klan member charged with a civil rights murder and takes viewers on a journey into the mindset of a man who still feels the murders were justified as ‘self-defense’ of a way of life.”
Neshoba also features interviews with the families of the victims and with Neshoba County citizens of various ethnicities and points of view.
The release adds that “the film explores whether the prosecution of one unrepentant Klansman constitutes justice and whether healing and reconciliation are possible without telling the unvarnished truth.”
On Aug. 4, 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed partly because of the revulsion over the “Mississippi Burning” murders.
Alan Parker tackled the subject matter in the highly fictionalized (and much criticized) Mississippi Burning (1988), which received seven Academy Award nominations including Best Picture.
Casey Affleck & Joaquin Phoenix ‘documentary’
I’m Still Here, Casey Affleck’s directorial debut about a year in the life of Joaquin Phoenix – it’s unclear whether that’s a documentary or a mockumentary or both – has been acquired by Magnolia Pictures.
I’m Still Here follows Oscar-nominee Phoenix after he announced his retirement from films in the fall of 2008 and decided to pursue a new career as a bearded, bizarre hip hop musician.
Phoenix, by the way, has been mentioned as a possibility to replace Edward Norton as a hip-hopping Bruce Banner / The Incredible Hulk in the planned Marvel production The Avengers.
Casey Affleck won scores of best supporting actor awards and was nominated for an Oscar in that category for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford in 2007.
Joaquin Phoenix’s two Oscar nods were as best supporting actor for Gladiator in 2000 and as best actor for Walk the Line in 2005.