Tom Cruise and Reese Witherspoon may be paired up in Paper Wings, a rodeo-driven love story, according to Steven Zeitchik’s Los Angeles Times blog 24 Frames. Paper Wings is currently being developed at Sony.
According to the report, Cruise would play a rodeo champ while Witherspoon would be the country singer with whom he falls in love. Four years ago, Witherspoon won a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of real-life country singer June Carter in Walk the Line.
Director Gabriele Muccino, of Will Smith’s Seven Pounds and The Pursuit of Happyness, has been mentioned as a possibility to handle the project.
Following her Walk the Line box office and critical success, Witherspoon starred in the commercially disastrous Rendition. But in 2008 she acquitted herself to some extent with the (costly) comedy Four Christmases, which earned more than $120 million domestically.
‘At the Movie’s cancelled
Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott’s At the Movies has been cancelled by Disney/ABC after 35 years.
At the Movies was started as Sneak Previews in 1975 by Gene Siskel and current tweetermeister Roger Ebert, who joined hands to give thumbs up (or down) to hundreds of films. Following Siskel’s death, Ebert kept on going with Richard Roeper, until illness ended Ebert’s television career.
Roeper then kept the torch alight with a series of guest critics. But then entered E! Entertainment Television’s much-derided Ben Lyons and Turner Classic Movies’ weekend afternoon’s host Ben Mankiewicz to appeal to a younger crowd – an idea that backfired badly.
At the Movies was brought back by the Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips and the New York Times’ A.O. Scott. The duo’s last show will be on Aug. 14.
Late on Wednesday, Ebert tweeted, “RIP, ‘At the Movies’. Memories.”
Avatar, Sandra Bullock, Robert Downey Jr, James Cameron, Matt Damon, and Penélope Cruz were the top winners at the Green Planet Movie Awards, which are supposed to acknowledge the “power of movies to inspire environmental and humanitarian efforts.”
The awards are sponsored by the Southern California-based Academia Foundation and Anaheim University. Viewers from around the world select the winners. Hosted by Tamlyn Tomita, the awards ceremony took place Tuesday night at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Sandra Bullock won Best Actress for The Blind Side; Robert Downey Jr. was the Best Actor for Sherlock Holmes, James Cameron won Best Director for Avatar, Matt Damon won Best Supporting Actor for Invictus, and Penélope Cruz won Best Supporting Actress for Nine.
In addition to its Best Picture win, Avatar was voted Best Science Fiction film and Best Action film.
Other winners include An Inconvenient Truth as the Best Environmental Film of the Decade, Earth as the Best International Environmental Film of the Decade, Hotel Rwanda as the Best Humanitarian Film of the Decade, and Slumdog Millionaire as the Best Foreign Cultural Film of the Decade.
Also, a special tribute was held in honor of Carrie Hamilton, who died of cancer in 2002 at the age of 38. Her mother, Carol Burnett, was present at the ceremony.
For more information, visit http://www.movie-voters.com/.
Photo: Avatar (WETA / 20th Century Fox)
Sid Ganis Named Governors Awards Producer
Former Academy president Sid Ganis has been named the producer of the 2nd Governors Awards, current Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak has announced.
On Saturday, Nov. 13, one or more of the Academy’s special awards – the Honorary Award, the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award – will be presented at the event.
Sid Ganis represents the public relations branch on the Board of Governors. Among his producer credits are Akeelah and the Bee, Big Daddy and Mr. Deeds.
The 2010 honorees will be selected at a “specially convened meeting” of the Academy’s Board in late August.
The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and the Honorary Award are Oscar statuettes; the Irving G. Thalberg Award is a bust of its namesake.
Photo: Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S.
‘Red Riding’ Trilogy Program Book Available Online
Fans of the Red Riding trilogy can now find the three films’ limited edition program book online. The critically acclaimed Red Riding is currently playing nationwide in theaters and on IFC’s video on demand platform.
The program book had been made available only in New York for the films’ debut Roadshow presentation at the IFC Center. Now, a PDF copy of the program is available at the IFC website. The program features:
* An essay on the films by David Thomson entitled ‘Murder in the North’
* Detailed biographies of the many characters that populate this epic story
* An exclusive interview with novelist David Peace, screenwriter of all three films Toni Grisoni, the projects’ visionary producer Andrew Eaton, and the trio of directors: Julian Jarold (1974), Oscar-winner James Marsh (1980), and Anand Tucker (1983)
* And a gallery of poster alts and artwork.
Visit http://www.ifcfilms.com/films/the-red-riding-trilogy for full info.
Dennis Hopper Terminally Ill
Dennis Hopper, a late ’60s icon thanks to the biker movie Easy Rider, is terminally ill with prostate cancer, according to reports.
The revelation was made public after his attorney declared the 73-year-old actor-director could not be questioned by his wife’s attorneys in a deposition.
Dennis and Victoria Hopper have been in litigation since the former filed for divorce in January. The couple had been married for 14 years. In court filings, Victoria has claimed that her husband wanted the divorce so as to cut her out of her inheritance. Hopper denies that.
With his doctor’s permission, Hopper is scheduled to be present at a ceremony celebrating his new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday. His doctor reasoned it would be a “positive experience.”
During a career that spans more than five decades, Hopper has appeared in nearly 200 movies and television productions. In addition to Easy Rider, which he co-wrote (with co-star Peter Fonda), directed, and starred in, Hopper’s most notable film efforts are George Stevens’ Giant (1956), excellent as Rock Hudson’s “weak” son; the ill-fated 1971 production The Last Movie; and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979), in which he has a supporting role as a photojournalist.
In 1986, Dennis Hopper briefly resurfaced as a talent to be reckoned due to two scene-stealing performances: as a redeemable drunk in David Anspaugh’s feel-good small-town drama Hoosiers, for which Hopper received a best supporting actor Oscar nomination, and as an unredeemable sadist in David Lynch’s feel-weird small-town drama Blue Velvet – for which Hopper should have received a best supporting actor Oscar nomination.
‘Trouble the Water’ Screening
Tia Lessin and Carl Deal’s Trouble the Water (above) and Adam Pertofsky’s The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306 will kick off the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Part Two of its 28th annual “Contemporary Documentaries” screening series on Wednesday, March 24, at 7 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. Admission to all screenings in the series is free.
The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306 is a retelling of civil rights leader Martin Luther King’s assassination as witnessed by the Reverend Samuel “Billy” Kyles on April 4, 1968. Directed by Pertofsky and produced by Vicki Tripp, R. Stephan Mohammed and Margaret Hyde, The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306 earned an Academy Award nomination for Documentary Short Subject. Hyde will be present to take questions from the audience following the screening.
Trouble the Water tells the story of two New Orleans denizens who try to begin life anew in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Trouble the Water earned an Academy Award nomination for Documentary Feature. Lessin and Deal will be present to take questions from the audience following the screening.
The 28th annual “Contemporary Documentaries” series is described as “a showcase for feature-length and short documentaries drawn from the 2008 Academy Award nominations, including the winners, as well as other important and innovative films considered by the Academy that year.”
The screening schedule for Part Two, which runs through June 2010, is as follows:
Wednesday, April 7
The Final Inch
Directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky
Produced by Brodsky, Tom Grant
Academy Award nominee: Documentary Short Subject
The Forgotten Woman
Directed by Dilip Mehta
Produced by David Hamilton, Noemi Weis
Wednesday, April 21
Directed by Leslie Iwerks
Produced by Philip Alberstat, Randy Bradshaw, Mark Cranwell
Directed by Josh Tickell
Produced by Greg Reitman, Dale Rosenbloom, Daniel Assael, Darius Fisher, Rebecca Harell
Wednesday, May 5
At the Death House Door
Directed and produced by Steve James, Peter Gilbert
They Killed Sister Dorothy
Directed by Daniel Junge
Produced by Henry Ansbacher, Nigel Noble
Wednesday, May 19
Viva la Causa
Directed by Alonso F. Mayo, Bill Brummel
Produced by Bill Brummel
Directed by Patrick Creadon
Produced by Christine O’Malley, Sarah Gibson
Wednesday, May 26
The Conscience of Nhem En
Directed and produced by Steven Okazaki
Academy Award nominee: Documentary Short Subject
Standard Operating Procedure
Directed by Errol Morris
Produced by Errol Morris, Julie Bilson Ahlberg
Wednesday, June 9
Tongzhi in Love
Directed by Ruby Yang
Produced by Thomas Lennon
The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
Directed by Ellen Kuras
Co-directed by Thavisouk Phrasavath
Produced by Ellen Kuras, Flora Fernandez-Marengo
Academy Award nominee: Documentary Feature
All films will screen at the Linwood Dunn Theater at the Academy’s Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. All seating is unreserved. The filmmakers will be present at screenings whenever possible.
The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. Free parking is available through the entrance on Homewood Avenue (one block north of Fountain Avenue). For additional information, visit www.oscars.org or call (310) 247-3600.
Photo: Zeitgeist Films