Iñárritu's 'Birdman' starts shooting with Michael Keaton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis and more
Add up the belly laughs in Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s first four features -- "Amores Perros," "21 Grams," "Babel" and "Biutiful" -- and, well, you'll find you have a lot of fingers going spare. Accomplished and sometimes exhilarating as his films (all of which have found favor with the Academy to some degree) have been, a change of pace wouldn't hurt him at this point.
That appears to be very much what he's going for in his new project, "Birdman," which began principal photography in New York City yesterday. Billed as a black comedy, it stars several names you might not have expected to see in an Iñárritu film, including Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Zach Galifianakis, as well as a few more regularly drama-inclined stars. Among them is Naomi Watts, who received her first Oscar nomination for "21 Grams" nearly 10 years ago; this will be her first collaboration with the director since then.
Also on board this all-star endeavor: Edward Norton (who has settled into a routine of ensemble pieces lately), Amy Ryan (an Oscar nominee five years ago for "Gone Baby Gone") and new British hope Andrea Riseborough (fresh from "Oblivion," so to speak).
New Regency is producing, with Fox Searchlight set to distribute; the project certainly seems to fit Searchlight's scrappy-glossy indie brand.
What's interesting is that it's Keaton who has the lead role. The "Beetlejuice" and "Batman" star hasn't exactly been absent from our screens in recent years, though you could be forgiven for thinking so -- voice work aside, his last big-screen outing, albeit in a supporting role, was the 2010 action comedy "The Other Guys." In "Birdman," subtitled "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance," he plays a seemingly rather self-reflexive character: a deflated actor, most famous for playing a beloved movie superhero, trying to repair his career and personal life as he mounts a Broadway play. Sounds somewhat Kaufman-esque to me; expect the word "meta" to pop up a lot around this one.
It marks Iñárritu's second film without Guillermo Arriaga, formerly his regular screenwriter: the original screenplay was written by the director with Armando Bo and Nicolas Giacobone -- with whom he also co-penned "Biuitiful" -- as well as newcomer Alexander Dinelaris. Searchlight president Claudia Lewis calls it "an imaginative and original dark comedy"; the film's producer John Lesher ("End of Watch") echoes her with "deeply original." We can always use more of that.
Do you think Iñárritu can pull off a quirky comedy, or would you rather the Oscar-nominated auteur stuck to his somber palette? And are you ready for a Michael Keaton comeback?
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
Let Streaming Genie help you.