Is there going to be a big-screen Top Gun remake? Or is it going to be a sequel?
Paramount Pictures, the studio that brought you (or your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents) Cecil B. DeMille epics, Billy Wilder comedies and dramas, The Godfather I-III, now brings you … Top Gun II?
Well, Vulture says Paramount has “made offers” to both Jerry Bruckheimer and Tony Scott, the producer and director responsible for one of the worst cinematic atrocities of the late 20th century: Top Gun, a 1986 Hail the Military flick made to order for guys (especially gay guys, what with all the bare-chested men wearing tight shorts) and hetero/bi gals (what with all the bare-chested men wearing tight shorts).
According to some reports of that era, Top Gun – which grossed $353.8 million worldwide – made men everywhere want to join the air force like never before so they could look as hip as Tom Cruise’s Maverick, who also happens to get the girl, Kelly McGillis, despite his awful singing and inept acting. (Cruise has become a better performer since.)
Vulture adds that Christopher McQuarrie – the guy who wrote the brilliant The Usual Suspects – would update the screenplay, in which Cruise’s character would have a smaller role, possibly to be played by Cruise himself.
David Ellison, a fan of the original, star of the box office bomb Flyboys, and son of billionaire Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison, is supposed to have been “influential” in the resurrection of Top Gun. Ellison is also one of the executive producers on Cruise’s Mission Impossible IV.
But Vulture points out a little problem for the reboot/sequel:
“Since 1986, the TOPGUN syllabus has been changed so the focus is far less on the spectacular and dramatic air-to-air dogfights that defined Top Gun and far more about teaching U.S. pilots to drop very large bombs on very small ground targets.”
Photo: Paramount Pictures.
The Hangover 2: Zach Galifianakis vs. Mel Gibson?
Zach Galifianakis may have been the reason for the cancellation of Mel Gibson’s cameo in Todd Phillips’ The Hangover Part II. The cameo was meant to be Gibson’s first baby step into mainstream Hollywood moviemaking following his (latest) fall from grace, the result of various expletive-filled phone calls and accusations of battery.
Galifianakis’ involvement hasn’t been confirmed, but at least that’s how many in the media have interpreted his remarks to Comedy Death-Ray host Scott Aukerman. (The podcast transcript and comments below are from Anne Thompson’s “Thompson on Hollywood”):
“But a movie you’re acting in, you don’t have a lot of control – you just show up and vomit your lines out. I’m not the boss. I’m in a deep protest right now with a movie I’m working on, up in arms about something. But I can’t get the guys to [listen] … I’m not making any leeway.” He cut off Aukerman when he tried to say the name of the movie he was shooting at the time, which started with H. Galifianakis added: “It has something to do with a movie I’m working on, yeah. I’ll tell you about it later. It’s very frustrating.”
Zach Galifianakis also said he’s known for refusing movie roles on “moral” grounds – whatever those may be. Ironically, Gibson, a devout Catholic, used to be known as a man of high moral principles.
Todd Phillips regrets casting change
Yesterday (Oct. 21), without naming Zach Galifianakis or anybody else, Todd Phillips announced in a statement:
I thought Mel would have been great in the movie and I had the full backing of [Warner Brothers Motion Pictures Division president] Jeff Robinov and his team. But I realize filmmaking is a collaborative effort, and this decision ultimately did not have the full support of my entire cast and crew.
Best Director Oscar winner
Although best known for The Hangover, Zach Galifianakis has been featured in about 20 films, including What Happens in Vegas, Jason Reitman’s well-regarded Up in the Air, Jay Roach’s box office disappointment Dinner for Schmucks, and the upcoming Due Date, also directed by Todd Phillips.
Mel Gibson took home the Best Director Academy Award for the highly fictionalized “historical” epic Braveheart (1995), in which he also starred in the title role and which also won Best Picture. His recent attempted comeback in Martin Campbell’s thriller Edge of Darkness fizzled, as the film was a major flop.
Zach Galifianakis The Hangover image: Frank Masi | Warner Bros.
Keira Knightley, Last Night
Oct. 28 update: Last Night, Massy Tadjedin’s New York-set marital drama starring Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes, and Guillaume Canet, opened the 2010 edition of the Rome Film Festival (website) this evening.
Regarding the subject of marital infidelity – the central topic in Last Night – Knightley told reporters the following:
“Sometimes I went into it thinking the mental infidelity was worse, then we’re shooting and I think, ‘No, No, the physical’s much worse. I come out and I have no idea.”
Outside the theater, Italian film industry workers were less concerned with how one engages in extra-marital flings than with the decision of Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing government to cut funds for the arts.
The Last Night red carpet ceremony was canceled, but the film’s director and performers made an appearance to express their solidarity with their fellow film industry workers.
Photo: Rome Film Festival.
Johnny Depp & Rob Marshall The Thin Man Remake
Personally, I find it hard to picture Johnny Depp in the old William Powell role of the witty, sophisticated, dipsomaniac former gumshoe Nick Charles.
But according to The Hollywood Reporter, Depp and Rob Marshall, currently working on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, will in the not-too-distant future start working on a remake of MGM’s 1934 screwballish whodunit The Thin Man, which introduced to moviegoers Nick and Nora Charles – the latter played by Myrna Loy.
Warner Bros., whose parent company Time Warner owns the rights to the old MGM library, will reportedly modernize the feel of the Dashiell Hammett novel on which the 1934 movie was based, while maintaining its period setting. (Some say Nick and Nora were based on Hammett and one-time lover Lillian Hellman; other say the characters, as seen in the film adaptation, were inspired by The Thin Man screenwriters Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich.)
For now, it’s unclear who’ll play Nora Charles and the bratty dog Asta in the new version.
Hammett never wrote a sequel to The Thin Man – in fact, he never finished another novel after that one – but MGM’s Louis B. Mayer knew how to milk his celluloid cash cows: Between 1936 and 1947, MGM released five The Thin Man sequels, all starring Powell and Loy (though 1920s Universal star Laura La Plante almost played Nora in the 1945 movie The Thin Man Goes Home).
In the original The Thin Man, directed by W. S. Van Dyke, Nick and Nora investigate a murder in which supporting player Edward Ellis’ inventor may have been involved – said character, in reality, is the actual “thin man” of the title. But since William Powell was both thin and a man, MGM kept the title of the original for the sequels.
The Thin Man is also notable in that Myrna Loy’s absence from the list of Best Actress Academy Award nominees of 1934 was one of the reasons for a major uproar both against and within the Academy. (Admittedly, the omission of Bette Davis for Of Human Bondage is what eventually led the Academy to accept write-in ballots for the first time. The practice would be discontinued two years later.)
Blue Valentine NC-17 Rating to Be Challenged
As expected, Harvey Weinstein has appealed the MPAA’s NC-17 rating slapped on The Weinstein Co.’s Blue Valentine, directed by Derek Cianfrance, and starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling as a couple who go from quirky courtship to disintegrating marriage.
“We want to express our deepest gratitude to our colleagues in the industry and in the media for their recent outpouring of support for Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine after the film surprisingly received an NC-17 rating from the MPAA. We are taking every possible step to contest the MPAA’s decision. We respect the work of the MPAA and we hope, after having a chance to sit down with them, they will see that our appeal is reasonable, and the film, which is an honest and personal portrait of a relationship, would be significantly harmed by such a rating.”
The NC-17 rating can seriously damage the commercial chances of a movie, not only because it keeps – or at least is supposed to keep – those under 17 away, but also because many theater chains won’t show NC-17-rated movies for fear they might contaminate PG-rated flicks – or something along those lines.
Some have also claimed the NC-17 label might diminish Blue Valentine‘s award-worthiness as well, but that’s debatable.
When it comes to awards, what’s important isn’t a film’s MPAA rating, but its marketing strategies. In fact, the NC-17 ruling could be used as a marketing ploy, as Blue Valentine and its makers could be presented as victims of out-of-control censors.
Photo: Blue Valentine (Davi Russo / The Weinstein Co.)
Angelina Jolie Bosnia Woes
Angelina Jolie’s as-yet-untitled Bosnian War drama about the romance between a Serbian soldier and a Muslim woman/war victim, cannot be shot in Bosnia-Herzegovina, according to Bosnian Culture Minister Gavrilo Grahovac.
E! reports that Grahovac revoked Jolie’s filming permit after meeting with the local Women Victims of War Association.
“They will have [the permit] if they send us the scenario with a story which will be different from what we have been told by people who read it,” Grahovac was quoted as saying on Bosnian radio.
Jolie is currently shooting the psychological drama in Budapest.
Photo: Universal Pictures.