Monday, January 11, 2010

FILM: Hollywood's New Cancer Craze starring Reynolds, McAvoy, Blanchett, Hudson, Linney, and Messina

Cancer seems to be the new dramatic trend in Hollywood. Despite the failure of Funny People and the lack of critical appreciation for My Sister's Keeper, there are 6 new cancer-related projects slated for 2010 and 2011.

Romantic Comedy Cancer
Kate Hudson, fresh off of her over-hyped role in Nine, is set to star in Earthbound, the story of a woman who learns she has been stricken with cancer before meeting a new guy (Gael Garcia Bernal). At first, I thought it would just be another failed opportunity for her to try and gain some indie-Oscar cred, especially since it's a romantic comedy. But after learning that Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married) has signed on to play her best friend, there's a slight possibility critics won't completely write it off.

Indie Cancer
The Wackness director Jonathan Levine just agreed to helm the dramatic comedy I'm With Cancer, starring James McAvoy and Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air). It tells the story of a 25-year-old who learns he has cancer, and the young psychologist assigned to help him, despite her lack of real life experience. Oddly enough, Seth Rogen will co-produce and co-star despite having co-starred in the unbelievably unfunny cancer comedy Funny People.

Biographical Cancer
Cate Blanchett will star in the adaptation of Glamour and New Yorker cartoonist Marisa Acocella Marchello's memoir Cancer Vixen: A True Story. The respected artist didn't let chemo interrupt her wedding plans or her hectic party lifestyle.

TV Cancer
Laura Linney and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) have signed up for the Showtime comedy "The C Word," where Linney will play a suburban mom who tries to find the humor in her recent diagnosis, and Sidibe will play one of her smart ass summer school students. Hopefully, it won't be Dangerous Minds-esque.

JJ Abrams is working on the HBO adaptation of Jerome Groopman's "Anatomy of Hope," which'll star Chris Messina (Julie & Julia and Away We Go). It'll be a medical drama based on the lives of cancer patients.

Superhero Cancer
Ryan Reynolds's spin-off comic adaptation Deadpool set for 2011 is about a mercenary who was dying of terminal cancer before he volunteered for gene therapy. "An unanticipated side effect of the therapy was a rapid acceleration of the tumors as well, causing them to quickly spread across his entire body as soon as his powers fully activated."

So the overall message Hollywood is trying to send is: You can't let cancer get you down! But will audiences listen? I understand watching a depressing film about cancer and crying, but I don't understand watching a comedy about cancer and laughing. I just can't picture ever finding it the topic funny. But maybe one of these films will prove me wrong. Fingers crossed for McAvoy's.

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