NEW YORK - It goes without saying that Broadway actors are rarely able to reprise their roles in the movie versions of stage musicals they've starred in. For every Anthony Rapp in "Rent," Rita Moreno in "West Side Story" or Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in "The Producers" there are countless other films that didn't even consider actors who played the same role on the stage. Usually it's just too risky for Hollywood execs to fund a musical without some old fashioned movie starpower on board (it's still considered a risky proposition). Don't tell that to Clint Eastwood, however.
UPDATE (6/20): Not so fast. According Nikki Finke, Leto has turned down the project after all. Still, nice work in getting offered the gig. Noomi Rapace remains attached; the search for a male lead continues.
If Hollywood blockbusters are currently crippled by fear of the unknown, Broadway musicals – an ever-increasing number of them based on Hollywood blockbusters – are hardly less guilty. The jukebox musical is, if you will, the Great White Way's superhero reboot: their safest gambit, removing the greatest variable in a genre that has, after all, always been reliant on existing story material. Who needs composers when perfectly good popular discographies are there for the taking? “Jersey Boys” was a swift hit when it opened on Broadway in 2005; credit zesty staging or a tidily structured book if you will, but it's a show that owes its pull to one of the most buoyant American songbooks in Top 40 history.
Sony Pictures Classics honchos Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have been feted up one side and down the other lately. The duo celebrated 20 years of SPC in 2012 and have received awards from the Museum of the Moving Image and the Gotham Awards as of late. Tonight they will receive the Los Angeles Film Festival's Spirit of Independence Award as the love keeps pouring in.
Ever since Robert Downey Jr. revitalized his career, first proving he was for real on "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" and then making good on big-boy movie insurance with "Iron Man," I've been wondering if we'll see him really seize an awards season opportunity. Yes, he was nominated in 2008 for a hilarious turn in "Tropic Thunder," but that was as much a stunt as it was genius. When he really sinks his teeth into something non-genre again, will the Oscar machine be at his beck and call? "The Judge" could provide an answer in due time.
David Michod's "The Rover" opened in Los Angeles and New York today and the Aussie filmmaker has to be happy with the reception so far. It's scored positive reviews across the board including intriguing raves from the LA Times, Wall Street Journal and Village Voice. As Michod's follow up to his 2010 critically acclaimed drama "Animal Kingdom" "The Rover" would have been a must-see for any true movie fan, but the presence of Robert Pattinson and, to a lesser extent Guy Pearce, has brought even more attention.
As DreamWorks' "How to Train Your Dragon 2" lands in theaters this weekend, shooting to the top of the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar race, Focus Features and Laika Entertainment have a counter in the form of the first full-length trailer for their latter-year hopeful "The Boxtrolls."
There's a lot of high-quality fare hitting theaters today, but we know which film a certain sect of die-hard fangirls will be going to see. Quite what the young R.Pattz-fixated contingent will make of "The Rover," David Michod's dark, dystopian western, is another question altogether. Pattinson acquits himself well in this striking sophomore effort from the Australian director of "Animal Kingdom," and Guy Pearce is on particularly strong form as an ex-soldier out for revenge in a barren post-apocalyptic desertscape.
I'm generally a fan of director Gregg Araki's brand of neon-kitsch provocation, but his new film "White Bird in a Blizzard" disappointed me at Sundance. Based on Laura Kasischke's coming-of-age novel and starring ubiquitous ingenue Shailene Woodley as a high-schooler discovering her sexuality while being haunted by her femme fatale mother, it's material that provides ample scope for Araki's signature erotic fixations and camp detailing, but winds up feeling like his tamest effort to date.
The principals involved with "22 Jump Street" have a lot of momentum coming into this project: Channing Tatum's leading-man career keeps going from strength to strength, while Jonah Hill is coming off his second Oscar nomination in three years. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, meanwhile, currently have the year's highest grosser in "The LEGO Movie" -- a film that hit theaters only four months ago. "21 Jump Street" pleasantly surprised critics and audiences two years ago, so has this team again surpassed expectations for the sequel? Have they ever.