Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A smattering of things that have nothing to do with Star Wars


GOF coming to Imax theaters
Imax corporation and Warner Bros. are to announce that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire will be shown on Imax screens on November 18, the same time the movie will be presented in conventional theaters.

This is the second time a Harry Potter movie has been shown on Imax screens with POA last summer becoming one of Imax's highest-grossing digitally remastered movies.

Brand new GOF set reportHP4U.co.uk has posted another great Goblet of Fire set report.

It details the Quidditch World Cup campsite, the Hogwarts Grounds, Gryffindor common room, the graveyard (at the end of the book) and more:

It was all so impressive and the Graveyard is vast, creepy and enchanted and soooo realistic. Every tombstone and stone coffin were hand covered in moss and lichen, mist swirled around the entrance to what one of the crew said was a charnel house. There were giant trees and bushes twisted into tortured shapes. Not a place anyone would want to be at night. Because the grass is real and the entire floor is sculpted and turfed it also smelled like you’d imagine a gloomy graveyard would. The heat from the lights and the amount of bodies (live ones) made the place so warm that steam was rising from the grass making the place seem even more scary.

The biggest surprise of the whole day had to be [as I stood shivering with excitement in the spooky place]. A very unwell looking Cedric Diggory came walking down to set. “Hi,” he joked, “Sorry about my appearance. You’ve caught me on a dead day.” EDITOR'S NOTE: I GUESS THAT'S A SPOILER? (IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOKS.........AND SHAME ON YOU FOR THAT). A FUNNY ONE!

More info on GOF special effectsHP4U.co.uk has a new set report from Starburst Magazine detailing the Hungarian Horntail and more:

The wings are literally 'puppeteers' from behind, and the tail - it's a tail on a stick, basically, he reveals. The beast's front half is animated via a computer performance system. Other achievements by the props department include silicone aquatronic dummies of four of the youngsters - Hermione, Ron, Cho Chang, and Fleur - for an underwater sequence that was filmed in a 60 by 20 foot tank, and the "extreme" make-up for Mad-Eye Moody, played by Brendan Gleeson.

Voldemort...the action figure
Here he is, in all his evilness.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

It's a July start for War Games 2
MGM has announced a July start date for the sequel to 1983's "War Games". Called "War Games II : The Deadly Key", the film is scheduled to shoot in Europe, and tipped for a direct-to-DVD release sometime next year.

In "War Games 2", teenage computer-whiz Cory Carpenter, is on a class trip in Europe when the authorities wrongly mistake him for a cyber criminal. Now, Carpenter's on the run, but thanks to his beautiful classmate Anne and his nerdy best mate Dale Darrow, manages to stay one step ahead of the law.

Unfortunately, whilst all this is happening, Carpenter's long-time internet pal Jay Forell - whom Carpenter later discovers isn't so much a human as he is a government computer that's gone haywire - implents a plan for nuclear disaster by bringing down an unsuspecting planet.

Producer Mike Elliot ["American Pie : Band Camp"] recently chatted about the film, saying

"The story is more international... it takes place in half in Philidelphia, half in Europe". EDITOR'S NOTE: WITH A DIRECT-TO-DVD BUDGET, DID THEY EVEN LEAVE NEW JERSEY? He adds, "It’s hard to believe it but the original “War Games,” which I consider a true classic, is twenty years old! The original was made in a time before everyone had their own computer… before we all had worldwide access to the internet. The world back then was so different from today’s, so much more innocent, that we have had to do a ton of updating. The result is a more techy and fast-paced than the original. It’s tricky, but we are hopeful we will simultaneously please fans of the original and draw in some new viewers."

None of the stars of the original film, notably Matthew Broderick, are expected to return for the sequel.EDITOR'S NOTE: YEAH. GO FIGGER. Casting begins shortly.

Lucas on Indiana Jones's last crusade
Now that the kid's scored his helmet, George Lucas is looking to the "Indiana Jones" franchise for the next extension on his mansion.

Though it's been pushed back more times than a drunk chap at a bar, "Indiana Jones 4" is still happening, says Lucas - the plan is in place.

And it doesn't matter that star Harrison Ford is getting older - because the script caters for that.

Talking to Hollywood.com, Lucas shed some much welcomed light on the third sequel, saying it'll feature Indy - played by Harrison Ford - as well as a new, younger, sidekick. EDITOR'S NOTE: SO THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE CALLING HIS LADY-FRIENDS THESE DAYS?

"I talked to Steven while I was in Hawaii, and he said the script is done and he was going to send it to me when I got back, which was yesterday. It isn't on my desk today and he's coming up tomorrow to see Star Wars, so I assume he'll bring it with him", the "Star Wars" zillionaire says. Lucas says he's trying to get "Indiana Jones 4" off the ground since working on TV spin-off "Young Indiana Jones".

"Oh yeah. I came up with this idea doing 'Young Indy', which has got to be about seven or eight years ago, and we've been through a number of scripts--six or eight scripts. Six scripts, two rewrites. So it's been down the path. There were certain aspects of it that Steven and Harrison [Ford] didn't like, and so we changed those, and then we laid out a version and it didn't come out the way it was supposed to, and then we did another version and it didn't come out, so we've just been going through this development hell, which happens once in a while. We'll see. When it comes out, it'll be different. Different, but the same." EDITOR'S NOTE: OH POOR UNCLE GEORGE. WHY DO YOU SPEAK TO REPORTERS? WHY? WHY? SIGH....

And what of the rumours that a new younger sidekick may be involved?

"It's possible. Not really to take over", says Lucas, adding that the new character hasn't been designed so he/she can star in their own movies. "No, it wasn't meant to be that way. But I guess that's a possibility. It's really to wrap it up. Just desperately trying to put things together that work. You need characters to make the film work. It's not just an adventure story. There's actually got to be human relationships in it."

Lucas wouldn't confirm who would be playing the new sidekick - everyone from Kevin Costner, playing Indy's brother, to Scarlett Johansson, playing Indy's new female sidekick, has been rumoured for the part - but did hint that some old series faves, including Kate Capshaw's Willie Scott, could be returning. EDITOR'S NOTE: WONDER IF SHE CAN STILL MAKE THAT SHRILL SHRIEKING NOISE? (THANK HEAVENS SHE AGED INTO A WAY MORE INTERESTING SCREEN PRESENCE THAN INDY 2 GAVE ANY HOPE THAT SHE WOULD).

Shrek 3 is NSYNC
Seems Justin Timberlake's involvement in the "Shrek" franchise will extended more than a picture of the pop-star featured in the last sequel. (As you'll recall, a poster of "Sir Justin" hangs in Fiona's bedroom).

According to USA Today, the rising young actor will lend his voice to "Shrek 3", playing the role of a young King Arthur in the film.

"Artie," King Harold's rebellious nephew who has no interest in being king, needs Shrek to help him act like royalty. Despite their high-profile relationship, Diaz, who is the voice of Shrek's wife, Fiona, had no say in Timberlake landing the job, producer Aron Warner insists.

"Our desire was to get somebody who is visible and had their own persona to bring to the table," he says. "Justin fit that bill perfectly."

Warner says there's another surprise in the next sequel - Shrek and Fiona may be having a baby. "In teaching Artie to be king, Shrek has to overcome his deep-seated fear of being a father", says the producer. "That's all I'm going to say".

The Talented Mr. Polo
Now this could be go either way. Matt Damon is set to play Marco Polo in a new film from "Kingdom of Heaven" scribe William Monahan, says Variety.

Based on Polo's autobiography "The Travels of Marco Polo", the film will star the blonde superstar as an adventurer who went farther into Asia than any Westerner had ever tried to.

It took Polo twenty four years to complete his journey in which time he witnessed many technological advances in China and Mongolia and became a confidante of Kublai Khan.

"Travels" is one of the greatest books of all time—a vast treasury of invaluable observations on the peoples and geography of the Near East and Asia in the 13th century. Damon is usually pretty good at picking them - can't say the same for his good bud, Ben - so hopefully this will have some crackle. EDITOR'S NOTE: IF THERE HAS TO BE ONE OF THESE CASTOFTHOUSANDSALLCOVEREDINMUD EPICS EVERY SUMMER (AND IT APPEARS THERE DOES), AT LEAST THEY'RE CASTING MORE INTERESTING PEOPLE (THAN COLIN FARRELL OR BRAD PITT) LATELY.

Marsters and Whedon in talks for Spike pic?
Wendy at SupportSpike has slapped up an interesting Q & A with James Marsters, who appeared at Collectormania and waxed lyrical about the much-talked about "Spike" telemovie.

The good news?

The former "Buffy" and "Angel" star had a chat to Joss Whedon about such a project, just two weeks ago.

Q : Is there going to be a Spike movie?

JM : Hopefully. I talked to Joss two weeks ago and he asked me if I was still up for it. I would love to do it but we’re on a clock. I’m a middle-aged man and in 5 years I will be (thinks) I will be 48. Vampires can’t age so it must be done soon. Spike needs to have something to aim for, to win the girl, lose the girl, something like that.

For those not-in-the-know, Whedon's keen on doing a telemovie that centres on the character of Spike, from both "Buffy" and "Angel".

The WB network has yet to give the thumbs up to it.

Mork calling Orson, Come in Orson
Deep in a san-fran bungalow, Robin Williams is brushing up on his 'Nanoo, Nanoo'.


It seems the fuzzy-funnyman is set to return to the role that put him on the map - that of earth-visiting alien Mork.

Williams tells Sky that he's keen to bring the "Happy Days" spin-off to the silver screen.

It's still a great story and ahead of its time", says Williams.

In the series, which ran from 1978-1982, Williams played A wacky alien who comes to Earth and falls for pretty young Mindy McConnell, played by Pam Dawber.

Producer Garry Marshall ["Happy Days"] came up with the idea of the orignal series during a chat with an ABC exec. He introduced the character of Mork, by way of a guest appearance, on his hit series "Happy Days".

Will Williams wear the red jump-suit again? "I may be a little old but do aliens really age?"

Have the X-Men enlisted Sark?
David Anders, best known as the sneaky 'Sark' from TV's "Alias", is in talks to star in "X-Men 3".

Anders, whose character was written out of the Jennifer Garner starrer last season, is reportedly a hop, skip and a jump away from landing the role of the mutant, Angel, says Development Hell.

The actor is currently working on an Indy called "Eli", and let slip that he tested for the role a few days back - and that he's meeting with director Matthew Vaughn to discuss it further.

The character of Angel is merely one of several new characters being introduced into the franchise circa "X-Men 3". EDITOR'S NOTE: IS ANGEL A BAD GUY OR A GOOD GUY IN THE XMEN LEXICON? (DAVID ANDERS, YUMMY ON ANY SIDE)!

Romijn-Stamos on X-Men 3
The troops from IESB caught up with Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and her fine legs, and got blabbing about "X-Men 3".

According to Romijn-Stamos, who plays mystique in the films, she's due on set August 1st, and from the sounds of it, the story might have been tweaked from last reports.

The site adds, "When asked about the script, she mentioned that last she heard it was not done yet and that there has been plenty of changes from the first drafts. The early reports that the storyline would revolve around the Dark Phoenix may no longer be accurate. Part of the problem that Fox is having is that they currently don't know what character the third movie will focus and revolve around."

It's sweet 16 for Mos Def
Rapper-turned-actor Mos Def ["The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"] has won a plum co-starring role in the next Bruce Willis headliner, "16 Blocks".

The film, from director Richard Donner ["Lethal Weapon"], tells of a NYPD officer who is forced to escort a happy but down-on-his-luck witness 16 blocks from the station to 100 Centre Street.

The kicker is - no one wants them to make it from A to B. When this is wrapped, Bruno's due to strap on John McClane's trousers again.

Rodriguez heading back to Sin City
"Sin City" is one of the most eye-popping films of the year. EDITOR'S NOTE: IT ROCKS, ACTUALLY.

The good news? Robert Rodriguez is already planning the follow-ups. EDITOR'S NOTE: YAY!

Says JoBlo.com, "Robert Rodriguez will be shooting back to back sequels for SIN CITY 2 and 3 starting February of next year for a release presumably summer of 2007. I guess the studio big wigs were satisfied with the commercial and critical appeal of the uber-cool SIN CITY that they jumped on the shooting back to back sequels bandwagon". EDITOR'S NOTE: THE FIRST ONE WAS BRILLIANT, BUT I HOPE THEY SPACE OUT THE RELEASE DATES OF 2 AND 3, CAUSE IT'S REALLY INTENSE STUFF, AND I WOULD NEED TO TIME FOR BREATH IN BETWEEN, I THINK.

That's not all, Rodriguez is also planning to do a movie called "Conan" for Warner Bros. There's no details on the film, so it's only a guess, but didn't John Milius say Warner now had they're own ideas for a "Conan" movie? Might be this be it?

Universal digging up The Mummy again?
A while back rumours surfaced that Diector Stephen Sommers might be unearthing the "Mummy" franchise again - without original star Brendan Fraser.

Now, according to JoBlo.com, The Mummy 3" is closer to being a reality, with a storyline already scrawled. Stephen Sommers has completed a script for a third MUMMY sequel and is looking to start shooting at the end of this year and early 2006.

There's no word yet as to whether Brendan Fraser or Rachel Weisz will be back for this sequel but if Universal knows what's good for them, they willl be. EDITOR'S NOTE: YES. EXACTLY!

The last rumoured plot for a third film involved King Imhotep/The Mummy waking up in contemporary times.

Dial M for Melbourne
Victoria Hill and Lachy Hulme have jumped aboard Geoffrey Wright's retool of Shakespeare's "Macbeth," titled "M", about to kick off a shoot in sunny Melbourne.

The film, a contemporary take on Bill Shakespeare's yarn, is a film set amid a violent gangland war in the southern Australian city.

Like Bazz Luhrmann's "Romeo and Juliet", the film will retain the play's original dialogue but be set during modern-day bloody gangland wars.

Rising star Sam Worthington ["Dirty Deeds"] will play Macbeth.

Hill, whose credits include TV's "Crash Palace" and "All Saints", will play Lady Macbeth, and "Matrix Revolutions" star Lachy Hulme is Macduff.

The original play centred on Macbeth's murderous overthrow of the King of Scotland, at the urging of Lady Macbeth, before dying at the hand of Macduff. The film will likely follow the same storyline. EDITOR'S NOTE: SO IT'S A COMEDY?

Blake Nelson, Prepon, Ladd in 'Morning'

Laura Prepon, Tim Blake Nelson and three-time best supporting actress Oscar nominee Diane Ladd are joining the cast of Bold Films' "Come Early Morning," which started principal photography last week in Arkansas.

Written and directed by Joey Lauren Adams, the film stars Ashley Judd as a small-town woman who has never committed to a serious relationship. Actress-turned-director Adams co-starred in Kevin Smith's "Chasing Amy" and appeared opposite Adam Sandler in "Big Daddy

Streep has deal with 'The Devil'

Meryl Streep has signed on to star in Fox 2000's upcoming fashionista comedy "The Devil Wears Prada." Wendy Finerman is producing.

"Devil" is based on Lauren Weisberger's best-selling novel about a young woman who goes to New York to work for an all-powerful magazine editor named Miranda Priestly (Streep). EDITOR'S NOTE: I CAN HEAR THE LINE-READINGS NOW. BITCHY AND BRILLIANT. (AND LOOKING FABULOUS!)

Weisberger did a stint as an assistant to Vogue editor Anna Wintour. David Frankel is directing from a script by Aline Brosh McKenna ("The Laws of Attraction").

'Ray' tuning up for Broadway stage
Get ready for "Ray" the musical.

"Ray" producers Stuart Benjamin and Howard and Karen Baldwin are reteaming to bring a Ray Charles stage project to Broadway.

The producers have acquired dramatico-musical rights to the project from the Ray Charles estate and Ray Charles Enterprises. Universal Pictures and "Ray" director Taylor Hackford are not involved at this time.

The stage project will differ in scope and intent from the film. The play will span his entire career, allowing the producers to showcase Charles' lifetime repertoire of music. It also will combine performances with dramatic vignettes that will tell stories of Charles' business, political and charitable endeavors. EDITOR'S NOTE: IN CASE ANYONE THOUGHT BROADWAY WAS MAKING A COMEBACK.....STICK A FORK IN IT, IT'S DONE. (I DON'T MEAN BOX OFFICE. BUT IT AIN'T ABOUT NEW AND IT AIN'T ABOUT THE AMERICAN MUSICAL, NOW IS IT?!) SIGH.....

In case you haven't seen it yet, Disney has an elaborate website for their upcoming THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE.

The site includes production art along with character profiles. There are also behind-the-scenes videos, news, a film synopis, and downloads (wallpaper, AIM icons). And they recently added a third video which focuses on the sets and locations.

The film hits theaters this December 9th.


USC study: MPAA ratings system flawed
A study released on Monday shows that one in five films rated PG, or "parental guidance suggested" -- with some material that may not be suitable for children -- actually have more violent actions than the average for those listed as PG-13, or inappropriate for children under 13. EDITOR'S NOTE: GOSH. RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU ARE SURPRISED THAT THE WHOLE RATINGS SYSTEM IS A BUNCH OF MALARKY? (PUT YOUR HAND DOWN, BOB).

It also found that one in 10 PG films had more violent acts than the average for those in the study that were rated R, or "Restricted" -- meaning any viewer under 17 should be accompanied by an adult.

"The most striking finding was that more than one quarter of the violence in each of the three rating categories was of lethal magnitude," said the report from the School of Film, Television and Digital Media at USC on a review of 100 top-grossing films.

The MPAA rating system provides secondary information on violence, nudity and language, but it is often in the background in advertising. Thus parents who rely on the age-based categories are using what Theresa Webb, one of the report's authors, called "the weakest of all the indicators" to make viewing decisions.

2929 signs Soderbergh for six pack
In a move that provides significant momentum to Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner's efforts to collapse the traditional distribution windows, their 2929 Entertainment company has signed a six-picture deal with maverick director Steven Soderbergh.

Announced Thursday, the deal through 2929's HDNet production company will see Soderbergh's films released simultaneously across theatrical, TV and home video platforms on the theory that collapsing the traditionally staggered windows gives consumers a choice regarding how and when they want to see a film.

Soderbergh will have creative control over all the films' content, with each produced in 1080i high-definition format.

The first project, "Bubble," centering on a murder mystery in a small town in Ohio, is in production on a three-week schedule with Soderbergh writing and directing.

The casting director trawled area malls and beauty shops to find local residents to audition for the nonprofessional cast.

HDNet Films is financing all the projects with "Bubble's" budget between $2 million-$3 million.

Wagner said this number might increase for the yet-to-be-announced projects, if Soderbergh pitches a compelling concept.

I'm excited to work with Todd and Mark and appreciate the freedom to create independent films under this new distribution model," Soderbergh said in a statement. "All of us see consumer choice driving the future of the movie industry and this is a giant leap in that direction."

Soderbergh has long been a fan of digital filmmaking. His digital projects include Miramax's "Full Frontal" and the HBO series "K Street" and "Unscripted."

The day-and-date strategy will be executed via 2929's Magnolia Pictures label, with theatrical distribution initially taking place at the company's Landmark Theatre chain and TV distribution through the company high-definition cable channel HDNet Movies.

It's unclear whether the theatrical distribution will expand beyond 2929's properties, as the strategy of collapsing windows is seen as a threat by many in the industry.

However, as Soderbergh's recent projects, "Criminal" and "The Jacket," both performed dismally at the boxoffice via Warner Independent Pictures, 2929's strategy might provide an attractive alternative for Soderbergh's smaller projects. (2929 also produced "Good Night, and Good Luck," the story of broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow, directed by George Clooney, Soderbergh's production partner in his company Section 8.)

"I think the distribution strategy was part of why (Soderbergh) did it," Wagner said. "Some of the things he did before didn't get the theatrical attention he would have liked. With us, we can make sure they get theatrical distribution in addition to television and home video. We can get it out there and test this model."

Another driver of this strategy, which Wagner hopes will one day be releasing a theatrical film each quarter, is to add subscribers to his burgeoning HDNet network.

"We want the HDNet subscribers to be happy," Wagner said. "We need to make it worthwhile for them to be on the system. With a director of this caliber they will know that this is something we are serious about."

Wagner also hopes that Soderbergh is not the only director to sign on. "This is just the beginning. This deal doesn't prevent other directors or actors from trying to do something different. But we're off to a good start with Steven leading the charge." EDITOR'S NOTE: AS LONG AS THE CLEVER DISTRIBUTION EXPERIMENT DOESN'T OVER-SHADOW CONTENT?


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