June 22 update: Warren Beatty used to be known as a Ladies’ Man. Before Annette Bening, there were stories about Natalie Wood, Leslie Caron, Jean Seberg, Julie Christie, Diane Keaton, Joan Collins, Carly Simon, Faye Dunaway, Madonna, etc. The same goes for Howard Hughes, whose list included Katharine Hepburn, Olivia de Havilland, Ginger Rogers, Jean Harlow, Ava Gardner, Billie Dove, Bette Davis, Yvonne De Carlo, Gene Tierney, Lana Turner, wives Terry Moore and Jean Peters, and others. Probably not coincidentally, Beatty has always wanted to play Hughes, and he’ll now have his chance according to Deadline.com.
For his first directorial effort since Bulworth in 1998 and his first starring vehicle since the critical and box office disaster Town & Country in 2001, Warren Beatty will star as Hughes in his recently announced untitled project for Paramount. The Beatty-Hughes movie, however, will be neither a biopic nor a remake of Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio as the quirky billionaire. Instead, the new film will focus on a relationship between the old Hughes and a much younger woman – it seems while he was married to Jean Peters (though his “official” wife remained Terry Moore). Or perhaps after his 1971 divorce from Peters.
Deadline adds that the Beatty-Hughes project may feature the likes of Annette Bening, Andrew Garfield, Shia LaBeouf, Jack Nicholson, Evan Rachel Wood, Rooney Mara, and Alec Baldwin, who himself had a role in the Oscar-nominated Scorsese movie.
Warren Beatty is set to direct, produce and star in a project from an original screenplay Beatty himself wrote. Beatty has joined forces with Paramount, the studio that distributed two of his biggest hits: Heaven Can Wait in 1978 and Reds, which earned Beatty a Best Director Oscar, in 1981.
Beatty hasn’t directed a movie since Bulworth in 1998. His last screen foray as an actor was Town & Country in 2001, an expensive critical and box office disaster directed by Peter Chelsom, and co-starring Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Nastassja Kinski.
“Warren’s script is quintessential Beatty, elegantly written and wonderfully entertaining,” Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey was quoted as saying in The Hollywood Reporter. “It is our privilege to have one of the great artists in the history of the film industry come home to Paramount.”
The new Warren Beatty project should be going into production later this year.
Ian McKellen looks pensive – or perhaps just plain tired – in the picture above, found in Entertainment Weekly. It’s a “first look” at The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, part one of two prequels to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Peter Jackson directs Martin Freeman in the title role (the hobbit, not the journey).
In The Hobbit, Gandalf gets a particular hobbit, Bilbo, involved with a group of thirteen dwarves eager to recover Lonely Mountain and its treasure from the greedy dragon Smaug. Also in the cast: Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Stephen Fry, Richard Armitage, Lee Pace, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Ian Holm, Barry Humphries, Mikael Persbrandt, and Benedict Cumberbatch (as Smaug / the Necromancer).
“So what’s weird for me on The Hobbit,” Jackson told Entertainment Weekly, “is that I’ll be sitting on the set talking to Ian and – if I look away at the crew and look back – I don’t see Ian McKellen, I see Gandalf beside me.” Well, too bad my imagination isn’t as expansive as Jackson’s; when I look at the above picture all I see is Ian McKellen dressed funny and smoking a long pipe.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is expected to hit theaters in December 2012. Part two, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, will open a year later.
Captain America poster: Chris Evans’ determined profile
Captain America: The First Avenger, starring Chris Evans (Fantastic Four, Push), has a new poster out via Yahoo Movies. As can be attested by the image above, Evans looks good (and quite determined) in profile. Personally, however, I much prefer the previous Captain America poster, in which Evans looks somber and about ready to destroy the world – in order to save it, of course. In fact, the new poster looks like a modernized version of the cheesy artwork for action movies and comics of years past; I’m not sure that’s such a good idea. (Check out the uncropped new Captain America poster below.)
Captain America: The First Avenger cast
Directed by Joe Johnston (The Wolfman, Jurassic Park III), besides Chris Evans in the title role, Captain America: The First Avenger also features Academy Award winner Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive), Academy Award nominee Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Hugo Weaving (The Matrix), Richard Armitage (Frozen), Hayley Atwell (Brideshead Revisited), Dominic Cooper (Mamma Mia!, An Education), and Toby Jones (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets).
Distributed by Paramount Pictures, Captain America opens on July 22. We’ll see if Chris Evans and his shield will cure the North American box office of its current Superhero Fatigue Syndrome.
Chris Evans movies
Chris Evans has been featured in movies since the early 2000s. Evans’ film credits include Brian Robbins’ The Perfect Score (2004), with Scarlett Johansson; Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s The Nanny Diaries (2007), once again with Scarlett Johansson; Danny Boyle’s Sunshine, with Cillian Murphy and Michelle Yeoh; The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (2008), with Bryce Dallas Howard; Push (2009), with Dakota Fanning; and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, with Michael Cera.
And check out below the “unedited” Captain America: The First Avenger poster.
‘Captain America’ Poster Retro Style: ‘Collector’s Edition’
Marvel Studios has printed 100 copies of a retro poster for its upcoming release Captain America: The First Avenger. Inspired by posters of Hollywood movies of the 1940s, this “collectors’ edition” of the Captain America poster was handed out to audience members at the Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex Film Festival this past weekend.
Starring Chris Evans, Captain America: The First Avenger is set during World War II. Needless to say, the enemies are the Nazis – see Hitler getting punched – and, one hopes, the fascists as well. Especially considering that the latter are still very much around everywhere. (The Commies, I might add, were US allies in those days.)
A Paramount release, Captain America opens July 22.
Poster via First Showing.
In sharp contrast to the colorful, action-packed retro poster Marvel printed for the Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex Film Festival this past weekend, the other Captain America: The First Avenger poster is anything but colorful. We get instead Chris Evans at his most somber, with dark grey as the dominating color on his face, clothes, shield – and all around him as well. Evans, I must say, looks like my kind of complex hero.
Directed by Joe Johnston, Captain America: The First Avenger also features Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving, Richard Armitage, Hayley Atwell, Dominic Cooper, and Toby Jones. Distributed by Paramount Pictures, Captain America opens July 22.
Chris Evans in new Captain America: The First Avenger poster: Paramount Pictures.
Sean Connery has been in the news of late: First there was the “gay kiss” (more on that later), then The Donald (a.k.a. Donald Trump) announced he wanted Connery to open his Scottish golf complex, and now comes a letter – fake, but worth reading all the same – “From the Desk of Sean Connery,” telling Apple’s computer salesman Steve Jobs to get lost for good.
Dated December 11, 1998, the faux Connery-to-Jobs missive, which became a Twitter sensation, states the following:
I will say this one more time. You do understand English, don’t you? I do not sell my soul for Apple or any other company. I have no interest in “changing the world” as you suggest. You have nothing that I need or want. You are a computer salesman – I am fucking JAMES BOND.
I can think of no quicker way to destroy my career than to appear in one of your crass adverts. Please do not contact me again.
Ironically, 1998 was the year Connery chose to all but destroy his film career by appearing in The Avengers. And of course, he would eventually “sell his soul” in a Louis Vuitton “advert.” But remember: However entertaining, this letter is as phony as Connery’s Russian submarine captain in The Hunt for Red October.
George Clooney Movie to Open Venice
George Clooney’s The Ides of March has been scheduled to open the 2011 edition of the Venice Film Festival on August 31.
Set in the near-future during the Democratic presidential primaries in Ohio, The Ides of March is a political drama starring Clooney himself as a presidential candidate and Ryan Gosling as his press secretary. Clooney and his Good Night, and Good Luck. screenwriting partner Grant Heslov adapted Beau Willimon’s play Farragut North, inspired by the 2004 campaign of Democratic candidate Howard Dean.
Also in the Ides of March cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Max Minghella, Jeffrey Wright, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The Ides of March is Clooney’s first directorial effort since the 2008 comedy Leatherheads, co-starring Reese Witherspoon and John Krasinski. Leatherheads was a major box office disappointment upon its release. Clooney’s previous directorial foray, the 2005 drama Good Night, and Good Luck., earned a Best Picture Oscar nomination and a Best Director nod for Clooney.
Also later this year, George Clooney will be seen in Alexander Payne’s The Descendants.
‘A Separation’ at Sydney Film Festival
Asghar Farhadi’s Iranian drama A Separation has won top honors at the 2011 Sydney Film Festival. The announcement was made on Sunday, June 19.
“Propelled by an acute attention to class, religious and gender differences,” reads the Sydney Film Festival commentary about A Separation, “Farhadi’s mathematically precise script interrogates the very basis of truth and ethics, its imploding narrative movement the perfect metaphor for the social and political discord that plagues contemporary Iran.” Earlier this year, A Separation won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, in addition to an ensemble Silver Bear for its cast — Shahab Hosseini, Peyman Moaadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat — and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.
Chen Kaige led the Official Competition jury, which included filmmaker Sarah Watt, actress Kerry Fox, and producer Mark Herbert.
Also in the running for the $AUD60,000 Best Film award were Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Attenberg, Miranda July’s The Future, Tran Anh Hung’s Norwegian Wood, and Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty, among others.
Roger Ebert Apologizes for Ryan Dunn Tweet, G4 Pulls ‘Proving Ground’ After Fatal Crash
Updated June 22:Vilified by some for being “insensitive,” Roger Ebert turned out to be right about Jackass performer Ryan Dunn’s last ride. Dunn’s blood alcohol level was 0.196, or more than twice the maximum legal limit of 0.08. Also, according to police he might have been driving as fast as 140 mph in a 55-mph zone.
Dunn, who had turned 34 on June 11, and his passenger Zachary Hartwell, 30, died early Monday after Dunn’s Porsche flew over a guardrail, smashed into a tree, and burst into flames in West Goshen Township, Penn.
Prior to the deadly crash, Dunn had tweeted pictures of himself drinking with Hartwell and another friend. Not long after Ryan Dunn’s death was made public, Roger Ebert tweeted: “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” Ebert later apologized in case his remarks had sounded “cruel.”
Following Dunn’s death, G4 has put his new show, Proving Ground, on hiatus. It’s unclear if it’ll return. In Proving Ground, Dunn was to recreate his professional stunts within a real-world setting.
Updated June 21: Following the tweet “friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive,” referring to Jackass performer Ryan Dunn, who died in a fiery car crash on Monday, June 20, Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert has been relentlessly attacked by some on Twitter and Facebook.
Shortly before the crash, Dunn had tweeted a picture of himself drinking with two friends, one of whom was Hartwell.
Many who called Ebert insensitive went on to ridicule his appearance following cancer surgery. Along with Dunn, Zachary Hartwell of West Chester, Penn., also died in the crash. Police have said speed was likely an issue, but only an autopsy will reveal if Dunn was indeed drunk while at the wheel.
Ebert now says he was “probably too quick to tweet” about Dunn’s drinking. “To begin with, I offer my sympathy to Ryan Dunn’s family and friends, and to those of Zachary Hartwell, who also died in the crash,” he wrote. “I mean that sincerely. It is tragic to lose a loved one. I also regret that my tweet about the event was considered cruel. It was not intended as cruel. It was intended as true.”
Ebert added, “I have no way of knowing if Ryan Dunn was drunk at the time of his death.”
Ryan Dunn, best known for his participation in Johnny Knoxville’s Jackass television show, was killed along with an unidentified passenger this morning, June 20, ’11, when his Porsche flew over a guardrail, crashed into a tree and burst into flames in West Goshen Township, Penn. Dunn had turned 34 this past June 11.
Prior to his last ride, Dunn had tweeted pictures of himself with two friends drinking (see below), which has led to speculation that alcohol was at the root of the fatal accident. Roger Ebert, for one, tweeted: “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” Police said that speed was one probable reason for the crash.
Following Ryan Dunn’s death, G4 has put his new show, Proving Ground, “on an indefinite hiatus.” In Proving Ground, Dunn was to recreate his professional stunts within a real-world setting.
In addition to being credited for some of the “concepts” used in the Jackass 3D movie, Dunn had minor roles in several films, including Street Dreams, Living Will…, and Close-Up.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Film Independent have announced that film critic Elvis Mitchell will be the curator of LACMA’s new film programming.
Mitchell’s resume includes stints at the New York Times and the LA Weekly, serving on Film Independent’s board of directors and the Spirit Awards nominating committees, and selling tickets at LACMA’s Bing Theater.
According to Steve Pond at TheWrap, “Mitchell also has a history of lasting only a short time in new jobs, including a recent one at Movieline.com – and, occasionally, of accepting jobs and then not showing up at all.”
LACMA’s film programming almost came to a halt in 2008. But then Martin Scorsese and others vociferously protested against the cancellation, and companies and organizations such as Time Warner and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association stepped in with much-needed grants for the museum. Think of the sad irony had LACMA’s film series been canceled: the county museum located in the film capital of the world would no longer be showing films.
Photo: via ifc.com.