Yep. That sure does look like a Wes Anderson movie.
The entire line-up for Cannes that's been announced so far has me damn near giddy, and as soon as they announced that the opening night film was going to be Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," I made sure to book my travel so I'd be there for the kickoff.
I read about half this script, then stopped. Not because it was bad, but because of the exact opposite. I was having so much fun with it that I decided I'd rather just see it play out than read it and ruin it for myself. The worlds that Wes Anderson creates in his films are so specific and visual and all-encompassing that it's impossible to really "read" one of his films ahead of time. You have to see how the actors choose to inhabit the characters, and you have to see the details that he packs his frame with, and you have to hear the soundtracks he puts together.
I don't get it when people complain about the heightened reality that Anderson creates in his movies. It seems to me that if you don't like directors with a strong signature style, you just should skip their films, not complain that they are so specific. Anderson's absolutely got a signature that you can see as soon as something begins, and ever since "Bottle Rocket," he has been refining that style a little bit more with every movie.
Yep. That sure does look like a Wes Anderson movie.
Francis Lawrence has emerged as the favorite to replace Gary Ross as the director of "Catching Fire," the highly-anticipated sequel to "The Hunger Games," and according to a report just published in The Hollywood Reporter, he'll get his official offer to helm the movie this afternoon.
This has been a lightning-fast process, primarily because Lionsgate can't afford to waste any time. They have a specific timetable they have to meet if they plan to have Jennifer Lawrence done with shooting in time for her to make the jump to the sequel to "X-Men: First Class" that she is also committed to, and it sounds like Lionsgate ended up meeting with Lawrence and with Bennett Miller today.
As with the "Twilight" films, it seems like the studio is casting a wide net for what they're looking for in a director on this series, and none of the picks are what I would call typical action directors. While Lawrence made "Constantine" and "I Am Legend," his most recent film was "Water For Elephants," and in conversation with him, he's always seemed like a guy who had a pretty broad range of interests in terms of what he'd like to make.
I'm going to have the next "James Bond Declassified" for you tomorrow, covering "Thunderball," and in the meantime, I thought there were enough bits and pieces of James Bond news bouncing around out there that it was worth rounding them up in one place.
First and foremost, have you been reading Greg Ellwood's reports from the set of "Skyfall"? He just went to London, and it sounds like it was a great trip to Pinewood to see what Daniel Craig and crew are up to. If you'd like to get as close as possible to a set visit without leaving your house, there's a new video blog up featuring Sam Mendes and the Shanghai setting for some of the new film.
This seems to be the most active any James Bond film campaign has ever been in terms of offering up looks at the making of the film while they're still working. It's even unusual for a big film to allow people to write about a set visit a week after they were there. Normally those things are held for months. It signals a sort of confidence on the part of EON and Sony that the public is hungry for the return of Daniel Craig, and I think it's also due in part to this being the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first Bond film, "Dr. No."
I guess some of this feels inevitable, but if a decade-plus of covering this industry has taught me anything, it is that common sense rarely rules the day. Just because Robert Rodriguez is finally making a sequel to "Sin City," we shouldn't just assume that he's going to have the same cast back… should we?
When Rodriguez spoke with MTV News this week, he said that Mickey Rourke has agreed to return as Marv, the role that helped kickstart his successful comeback. That's good news, because if anyone on this planet looks like they stepped out of a comic book, it's Mickey Freakin' Rourke. And it sounds like Rosario Dawson is also coming back to play Gail, one of the most visually striking characters the already-visually-striking Dawson has ever played.
In 2007, there were rumors that Angelina Jolie was set to star in the film, but it sounds like Rodriguez threw some cold water on those rumors. The process never really got that far, and right now, Jolie's not involved at all.
The press conference to announce the first batch of titles that will play this year's Cannes Film Festival began around 2:30 AM PST, but the line-up more than made up for the half-hour delay from the promised start time.
Thierry Fremaux, director of the festival, took the stage to announce the first 50 or so titles, and it's an exciting event on paper. The potential here is almost intoxicating, even without some of the much-speculated-about titles. I'm going to be at the festival for the second time this year, and I have a feeling I'm going to do much better this year in terms of how much I see and how I prioritize the films I'm going to attend.
For example, I am fairly sure I'll be seeing the 1984 film "Once Upon A Time In America," and I'm dying to see if the 269-minute cut of the film finally resolves the issues that keep it from being one of my favorite Sergio Leone films. And I'm going to see the restoration of Roman Polanski's "Tess," just as sure as I'm going to see the Laurent Bouzereau documentary "Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir."
In 1994, I had my first play produced as part of a one-act theater festival here in Los Angeles at the Met Theater. The festival was cast by Risa Bramon Garcia, who was one of the biggest casting agents in the business at the time, and one of the other plays that was produced as part of the festival was "Betrayal By Everyone," by Kenneth Lonergan. That was eventually expanded into "This Is Our Youth," and the play put both Lonergan and Mark Ruffalo on the map.
During the festival, I made time to see the play that Ruffalo was in several times, and he earned a nickname among the people working on the fest: Baby Brando. There was a crazy intensity to his work that had people talking about him, and it didn't surprise me at all to see him continue to work with Lonergan in the years that followed.
When we sat down to talk about his work in "The Avengers" the other day, he was paired with the lovely Scarlett Johansson, and when I brought up the Act One festival, he was excited to talk about that time. The nickname, though, was news to him, and Johansson took visible pleasure in being able to use that as ammunition in the teasing that seems to be a constant between the cast members of this film. He did a Brando impression for her even as she started busting his chops about his work in the "thea-tah," and by the time we rolled tape, they were both laughing and kidding around.
On Allen's fourth birthday in March, we took him to Disneyland. This was his third trip, and we're still adding new rides each time we go, figuring out what he and Toshi like the most, and there are rides we still haven't been on. This past time was their first experience with Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and it was a big hit with them.
They don't know the film "Wind In The Willows" at all, though, and I've noticed that as a big part of the Disneyland experience for kids. They don't actually know many of the films that inspired the various attractions, but they enjoy the rides anyway. As my friend who joined us at the park pointed out, it's surprising they haven't taken Mr. Toad's Wild Ride out or changed it, since the ride quite literally ends with you going to Hell.
When Disney says that they're planning to develop a film based on the ride, though, I must admit I'm a little confused. Does that mean they're going to do a new adaptation of "Wind In The Willows" using these same character designs? Or are they going to throw out the story completely, take these characters, and build something totally different? That's kind of a weird idea, considering the ride was adapted from a film that was adapted from a book. It's like Disney is playing a pop culture game of telephone, and getting further from the original idea each time out.
Did you have a chance to read Guy Lodge's thoughts on spoilerphobia today?
I have a friend who pretty much knows everything about "Prometheus." He didn't actually work on it, but he was in a position to sort of see everything. As a result, he's been dying to tell me everything for months now. If the film comes up, I can see the actual physical effort it takes for him to not tell me every single detail that he knows, and even with him being as well-behaved as humanly possible, I've probably heard more than I should have.
Even so, I don't feel like the film is ruined for me. When you go see a Ridley Scott film, I'd argue that the most important thing is the visual delivery of the ideas. He has a painter's eye, and until you actually see a Ridley Scott film, I don't believe it can be "spoiled," per se.
Fox has been very, very careful about how they've sold this film, and there are a few things they've guarded, even while hiding them in plain sight. I think they're having real fun in terms of what words they use when discussing the film, whether it's Damon Lindelof or Ridley Scott or the cast, and they've said more than people think they've said.
A year from now, when you look at me and I'm 60 to 70 pounds lighter than I am right now, you can trace that decision back to the moment I was sitting across from Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans and felt like the most horrifying specimen of manhood of all time.
Look, I get it… these guys are paid to be superheroes. But nothing will make you question the genetic lottery more than a full day spent talking to the actual physical embodiments of Thor and Captain America. It would be easier to take if I could report back that they are terrible people, rude and abrasive and totally hung up on the whole movie star thing… only that wouldn't be true. In actuality, everyone in the cast seems to be really centered and smart and grateful for what they're doing these days.
Hemsworth has come a long way in a few short years, and it's funny to look at him in "Cabin In The Woods," before he had any idea he was going to suit up as the God of Thunder, while Evans seems to have completely left behind any thoughts of the "Fantastic Four" films he was in, embodying a totally different personality as Steve Rogers.
I have had a deep attraction to pulp fiction for most of my life, and in some ways, I wish I'd been able to work in an earlier era, where an author could develop a character and there were dozens of places where you could publish an ongoing series. I envy guys like Lester Dent and Robert E. Howard because there was a market for the kind of work they did, one that I would argue doesn't really exist in the same way today.
However, I've been exceptionally lucky in the last year or so, because I was able to connect with Derek Haas and Popcorn Fiction, and I've been offered a home for my own pulp hero, Commander Future. This morning, we published the third story about his adventures as chronicled by Peter Underhill, and it's my favorite of the series so far.
More than that, though, I'm just honored to be part of the Popcorn Fiction family. Haas has been picking stories every week for a few years now, and he's proven to have great taste and a broad definition of what belongs on the site. A few weeks ago, Film School Rejects editor/writer Cole Abaius published a story on the site under his alternate identity, Scott Beggs, but Haas has included a wide range of voices on the site. Guys like Rian Johnson, Charlie Huston, Mark Wheaton, Eric Heisserer, Patton Oswalt, Larry Doyle, and Eric Red have all published stories on the site, and Haas has started to develop a stable of regular authors who contribute to the site. I'm particularly taken with the work that Les Bohem has contributed. Just knowing that I've shared an outlet with Lawrence Block is enough to make me feel like this is a milestone, something I should cherish.