Saturday, October 17, 2009

FILM NEWS: Chris Pine as Jack Ryan, Jolie & Worthington in The Tourist, Reynolds in Drag, and more

• Seems like DJ Caruso is curbing the comic adaptation Y: The Last Man until he can find the right leading man. So instead he's started working on The Art of Making Money for Chris Pine (Star Trek), which is based on the 2005 Rolling Stone article that later turned into Jason Kersten's book The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter. Pine will play a character whose name is Art Williams, an alias the con-man concocts as he graduates from petty thievery to master counterfeiting. It's a good thing Caruso scored Pine when he did, because he just landed the biggest coup of his career to which his role in Star Trek will pale in comparison. He's in negotiations to revive Tom Clancy's famous CIA character Jack Ryan, who's been played by Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October), Harrison Ford (Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger), and Ben Affleck (The Sum of All Fears). If it's rebooted properly, unlike many times before, it could result in a Bourne-like trilogy. The only odds against it are that it won't be following the novels, just the concept, and the writer working on the screenplay is Hossein Amini, who doesn't exactly have the best track record (i.e. The Four Feathers and Killshot).

• I'd never imagine that Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron were interchangeable. But apparently everyone is jumping ship from the upcoming thriller The Tourist. First Tom Cruise retreated, then director Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day) pulled out, and now it's had to replace it's leading lady. The producers seem to be desperate to remake the 2005 French film, so they have Jolie in for Theron and Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) in for Cruise. The "story centers on an American tourist who, on behalf of Interpol, goes undercover to entrap a former lover who's a suspected global criminal." While I don't doubt that the scenes between Jolie and Worthington will steam up the big screen, the frequent cast changes don't bode well for the film in general.

• People keep asking Will Ferrell to stop playing overgrown children with sports careers, so he's branching out in under-the-radar indies. I loved him in Stranger Than Fiction, so I'm not concerned about him being able to deliver a great performance. I'm just not sold on the premise of his latest project. In Everything Must Go, he'll play "a man who loses his job and gets locked out of the house by his wife. She deposits his belongings on the front lawn, and he spends the next four days trying to sell his possessions." Sounds...kind of depressing, and not in the what-a-great-life-lesson kind of way.

Matthew McConaughey is one of those people that you wish would differentiate his resume, but really hate when he does. He's going to play an LA lawyer who operates out of the back of his car defending criminals until he lands a huge murder case. Even though Tommy Lee Jones co-stars, I can't really picture McConaughey with a suit on...or a shirt.

• I think it was bound to happen eventually. Nearly every funny man has donned a dress at one point in his career and now it's Ryan Reynolds' turn. He's signed on for an untitled rom-com where he'll play "a jilted lover who must disguise himself as a woman and befriend his ex in order to win her back." Come on? You can't do better than that?

• I, personally, think that only Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) can make murder funny. The hilariously awkward Brit and his fellow countryman David Tennant ("Doctor Who") are teaming up for the period comedy Burke and Hare. It's about two men who "fall into the highly profitable business of providing cadavers for the medical fraternity in 19th Century Edinburgh, then the centre of medical learning which was always short of bodies." So what do you do when there aren't enough dead bodies? Duh! You make them—supply and demand!! "In real life the case became known as the West Port murders. Hare's wife ran a lodging house where Burke stayed and whenever a patron looked to be on their death bed they would accelerate the process." Hmm, sounds like Sweeney Todd.

Justin Long briefly returned to horror movies this year with Drag Me to Hell, and now he's trying his hat at drama. He's signed on for Robert Redford's historical drama The Conspirator to play a crippled soldier who is best friends with James McAvoy's lawyer character. "The story follows Confederate sympathizer Mary Surratt (Robin Wright Penn), who was tried as a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination, and Col. Frederick Aiken (McAvoy), who reluctantly agreed to defend her before a military tribunal." Evan Rachel Wood has also signed on as Penn's daughter.

• Gee, why won't Amber Heard just go away? I think the main reason I won't be watching Penn Badgley's ("Gossip Girl") The Stepfather, besides the fact that it reminds me too much of Disturbia, is because of her vacant acting. Now I can't even watch Leighton Meester ("Gossip Girl") in Cowgirl Bandits, which is said to be a younger take on Thelma & Louise. Seriously?

• I don't know why but Rashida Jones (I Love You Man) and Will McCormack ("Brothers & Sisters") are adapting a graphic novel about a wealthy heiress who works for the CIA called Frenemy of the State. That doesn't really seem like her style.

Ian Somerhalder must be enjoying the attention he's getting for being smolderingly sexy on "Vampire Diaries," because he just signed on for the gothic fairy tale romance Cradlewood. It's about "an Australian woman (Emma Lung from The Boys Are Back) living in Boston with the heir (Somerhalder) to an incredible fortune whose family history is swirled in a legend that tells of a pact made with a demon which ensures that whenever a boy is born into the family, the father is killed. The heir suspects his girlfriend is pregnant, and after strange events occur, he comes to believe he will die if he continues to fall in love." Since it's a romance, I'm assuming he choses the kid's life over his own. But who knows, there could be a loop hole. ;)

• It seems that Camilla Belle is over being creepy, scared and damaged (see or don't When a Stranger Calls, The Quiet, and Push). She's about to get into some lighter fair with the romantic comedy Prada to Nada, where she'll star alongside Alexa Vega (Spy Kids), Wilmer Valderamma ("That 70's Show"), Adriana Barraza (Babel), and Kuno Becker (Goal! trilogy). It's said to be a Latina version of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, adapted by Fina Torres (Woman on Top) and Luis Alfaro (Electricidad). The plot centers on "two spoiled sisters left penniless after their father's sudden death and forced to move in with their estranged aunt in East Los Angeles. There they find romance and love for their culture."

Norman Ollestad's memoir Crazy for the Storm is being adapted into a dramatic film, and I'm genuinely excited. I can't wait to see who they pick to play an 11-year-old kid who was stranded in the icy San Gabriel Mountains after his plane crashed there, killing his father. Watching him fend for himself with only the survival skills his adventurous dad taught him could be Oscar-worthy. Since most of the critics are loving Where the Wild Things Are, maybe the 12-year-old star Max Records will score the part.

• As soon as I heard that Lisa Fineberg Cook's memoir Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me was being adapted into a film, I started thinking up possible people to play the lead. In the book, Cook "relocates to Japan six days after marrying her husband, who had taken a one-year teaching job in Nagoya. Having left her valet-defined L.A. life behind, Cook endures the abrupt transition to a culture severely lacking in manicures and Jewish-American women but teeming with cooking, cleaning and commuting duties." So, who can play a yuppy brought down to a middle-class level? I was thinking someone like Sarah Jessica Parker or Nicole Kidman—you know, someone who doesn't look like they've ever washed a dish in their life.

• Read this and tell me if you don't say "Whaaaat?" The plot of Five Hours South is: "a small-town Italian policeman struggles to pursue his passion for break-dancing while dealing with a secret from his past." There is just sooo much wrong with that sentence.

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