I get the feeling no one wrangles Bruce Willis.
Most of the time when a publicist wants to organize an interview, everything is rigorously scheduled. I've had several phone interviews this week, and in every case, there has been a flurry of e-mails and phone calls ahead of time to pin things down, including in almost every case a pre-call call just to make sure I'm really where I'm supposed to be and the conversation is really going to happen.
I got an e-mail from Sony asking if I'd be interested in talking to Bruce Willis about "Looper," and the answer to any query about whether or not you want to talk to Bruce Willis is, of course, "yes." I sent back my affirmation and then waited for a follow-up.
A full day and a half later, my phone rang, and I answered, right in the middle of trying to talk my kids into putting on pants. It was post-school, and they have recently decided on an all-underwear policy when they're relaxing after school, something I'm trying to discourage. In the middle of a debate that largely consisted of me saying things like, "I don't know why! You just need pants!", I picked up the phone, distracted and not expecting anyone in particular.
"Hi. Is this Drew?"
"Hi, Drew. This is Bruce Willis."
I get the feeling no one wrangles Bruce Willis.
Richard Stark wrote 24 novels about Parker, and yet we've got no less than three film versions of the first book now, including Taylor Hackford's "Parker," where Jason Statham will step into the shoes once filled by both Lee Marvin ("Point Blank") and Mel Gibson ("Payback") in previous adaptations.
At some point, I'd love to hear the story of why this one particular novel keeps getting adapted while the rest of the series, which contains some truly remarkable books, has yet to really be mined as source material. Sure, Godard adapted one of the books loosely as "Made In USA" in the '60s, and there was another French film called "Mise a Sac" that used "The Score" as source material, also in the '60s. Jim Brown played a renamed version of Parker in "The Split," and Robert Duvall played a renamed Parker in "The Outfit". But we're talking about 24 books, and just a handful of movies. That's crazy.
I'm still not sure what to make of the title, but the trailer for "Movie 43" makes it look very slick and wildly offensive, and I'll admit that much of what I saw made me laugh.
The very, very, very red band trailer for the movie showed up today on the Comedy Central website, and just looking at the trailer, you can tell this has been kicking around for a while. It filmed in 2010 and is the work of a whole group of directors. Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill, Steve Carr, Rusty Cundieff, James Duffy, Griffin Dunne, Peter Farrelly, Patrik Forsberg, James Gunn, Bob Odenkirk and Brett Ratner all contributed to the picture, which was written by Steve Baker, Will Carlough, Patrik Forsberg, Matt Portenoy, Greg Pritikin, Rocky Russo, and Jeremy Sosenko.
Hi-yo, Silver, indeed.
Disney is betting big on "The Lone Ranger" for next summer, and based on the first trailer that just premiered on "The Tonight Show" when Armie Hammer appeared last night, they're sparing no expense in an effort to make this work.
Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp made Disney a mountain of cash, something like three billion dollars over the course of three films together. I wonder how much longer Verbinski is going to make this sort of film, this scale of film. I think he's got a real voice as a filmmaker, and I want to see him try his hand at the esoteric, the small, the personal.
That's not to say this is purely going to be an empty experience, though. I like the opening narration in the trailer, someone talking about the change that the railroad is going to bring to the west. I like that Verbinski is building this lush, opulent world and contrasting it with what looks like fairly classic Western movie imagery.
So are we getting a Sharon Carter in the Marvel Universe?
That's certainly a possibility as we hear reports today that Marvel is screen-testing a list of five actresses to play the female lead in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," which is due to start shooting soon. The subtitle is our one big clue about what we're seeing in the sequel, and I was sure they were going to be headed in this direction as soon as we saw Bucky's "death" in "Captain America."
I think Joe Johnston did a nice job of setting up enough dangling threads in the first film to leave plenty of room for Joe and Anthony Russo to play in the sequel. The home video release of "The Avengers" has given us a glimpse at some of the scenes involving Captain America grappling with his lost past that were cut from the film. While I liked those scenes, I can see how they decided they didn't fit in "The Avengers," but I hope they carry over the same melancholy tone for at least part of the sequel. There's something interesting they can play with Captain America that isn't true for any of the other Marvel characters onscreen so far.
Toshi saw "E.T." when he was too young to process it.
I wasn't the one who showed it to him. It was while he was away in Argentina with his mom for six months. There were only six movies at the house where they were staying, and "E.T." dubbed into Spanish was one of them. And during that six months, while he was going nuts from lack of things to watch, "E.T." became a mainstay. My wife says it must have been played at least 20 times, but this summer, when we were talking about the film, I realized that he remembers none of it.
Allen also felt like he had a handle on the film, and when I asked him what he knew about the movie, he told me, "That's the movie about the guy who is from outer space and he poops candy." I feel like that's not entirely accurate.
The Blu-ray showed up here at the house between my trips to Toronto and Austin, and both of the boys were eager to see the movie again. We haven't done that yet, but it's on the agenda for October. In the meantime, while I was gone on my second trip, Universal invited us to participate in a special "E.T." press day, and I talked to my wife about her taking the boys since I wouldn't be back in time.
While I was at Fantastic Fest last week, "Holy Motors" screened five or six times, and they kept adding screenings later in the schedule. It was wildly impressive to see how many people fell in love with the film. It's not an easy movie. It's not a movie that will ever play on 3000 screens at one time. But it's a gorgeous movie, a big beautiful drunken dream of a movie, and I love that people are responding to it.
The movie's going to be opening in the US soon, in limited release, and when the film's publicists asked if I wanted to be the first one to present the poster to you, I jumped. Selling a movie like "Holy Motors" is a real test, because it doesn't offer anything like a conventional plot, and it's not particularly star-heavy. Eva Mendes and Kylie Minogue both appear in it, and Minogue is great in it. The film belongs to Dennis Levant and Edith Scob, and it's the most amazing duet of the year, a dance between these two great actors. Scob is part of France's film history, and I can't think of a better way to wrap up an iconic career of performances than in a film about the power of icons and performance.
JAMES BOND 007 DECLASSIFIED
FILE #9: "The Man With The Golden Gun"
This series will trace the cinema history of James Bond, while also examining Ian Fleming's original novels as source material and examining how faithful (or not) the films have been to his work.
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz
Produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman
CHARACTERS / CAST
James Bond / Roger Moore
Scaramanga / Christopher Lee
Mary Goodnight / Britt Ekland
Andrea Anders / Maud Adams
Nick Nack / Herve Villechaize
Hai Fat / Richard Loo
Hip / Soon-Tek Oh
Chew Mee / Francoise Therry
J. W. Pepper / Clifton James
Rodney / Marc Lawrence
Lazar / Marne Maitland
M / Bernard Lee
Moneypenny / Lois Maxwell
Q / Desmond Llewelyn
This is one seriously weird Bond film.
There's something almost "Prisoner"-esque about the film's opening sequence. I like how in the book, Scaramanga's third nipple is mentioned in passing as part of a briefing dossier, but in the film, they immediately zoom in on his chest in extreme close-up with a dramatic music sting, as if this is important plot information that we're going to need later.
Somewhere today, the Hughes Brothers are very, very sad.
As unlikely as it sounds, they once claimed that a big-screen version of "Little House On The Prairie" was one of the projects they most wanted to make. They grew up watching the show, and they felt a real love for the material.
As equally unlikely as it sounds, the director of "Your Highness," "Pineapple Express," and "George Washington" is now the man who will bring the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to the big-screen, with a script by Abi Morgan, best known for the Fassbender-f**king-everything-that-moves drama "Shame."
I think it's a no-brainer for some studio to develop this material again. After all, the books by Wilder were the inspiration for the TV series that ran from 1974-1983, but I would hardly call the show a faithful adaptation. The books are an industry unto themselves, and the eight books published while Wilder was alive were just the starting point. There were at least four books published posthumously based on her writing, and a number of other series that built off of what she wrote, eventually chronicling something like five generations of her family, from their time in Scotland to the age of her daughter living in San Francisco. Her personal papers have been combed through repeatedly by scholars and writers, and there's plenty of material for the filmmakers to use when they sit down to decide what story they're telling.
This is about as good a choice as anyone could have hoped for, and I am completely and utterly excited about "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes" now.
Matt Reeves is one of those filmmakers who is going to have a long and interesting career, a smart guy who makes smart choices, and signing on to replace Rupert Wyatt for the second film in the newly-rebooted "Apes" franchise is a very smart choice. The first film was plagued by bad buzz pretty much all the way up to the moment it was actually released, and then it turned out to be so much smarter and more interesting than expected. Andy Serkis is already set to return to star again as Caesar, the ape whose evolution kicked off an uprising at the end of the first film, and the script for the sequel was written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who co-wrote the first one, with newer revisions being handled by the uber-smart Scott Burns, whose work with Soderbergh has been so compelling so far.