Friday, August 12, 2005

(Friday) Quickie Movie and TV news




Xavier and Magneto heading to Vegas?
"X-Men" buds Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are mulling over an offer to star in a new version of Bill Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice", says Dark Horizons and The Telegraph.

The updated take on the age-old yarn will be set in Sin City, with many of Vegas's towering attractions serving as backdrop.

The new £20 million movie will use the flamboyant Venetian Resort, Hotel and Casino in the heart of the Nevada desert, for it's locale, rather than a medieval Italy, as the original play/film dud.

Like Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo and Juliet",EDITOR'S NOTE: SHUDDER. the new film will keep Shakespeare's dialogue, and won't even pretend to be set in the real Venice.

You'll see the resort's versions of the Rialto Bridge, St Marks Square and the Grand Canal plain and clear.

McKellen, is keen to be involved in the project, though last night he declined to go into details.

"Patrick has approached me about the role and I am very interested," he said.

Others, however, believe Stewart may be trying too hard. One insider who saw an early copy of the script said: "I think the idea of the Las Vegas setting is a step too far. I think it's an example of taking a simple idea and hitting it with a sledgehammer."EDITOR'S NOTE: ON THE OTHER HAND, "MERCHANT OF VENICE" ISN'T EXACTLY A SUBTLE PIECE. IF THEY KEEP LUHRMANN (AND THAT CROWD) OUT OF IT, THIS SOUNDS QUITE INTRIGUING, ACTUALLY.

Qui-Gonn, the sixteenth President of the United States?
According to The Indy Experience, there's an ungloved streetfight in the works with Tom Hanks and Liam Neeson standing in opposite corners.

The New York Daily News reports that Hanks has been nixed from the lead role in Steven Spielberg's upcoming Abraham Lincoln biopic and in his place - the not-so-American Liam Neeson.

"We're definitely going to do it," Neeson, who appeared in Spielberg's "Schindler's List", tells. "We've been working on it since November."

The story of a nation rent by war "speaks to our time," says Neeson.

In addition, The Belfast Telegraph has a bit on the film, saying Neeson's having to go all Lindsay Lohan to play the role. The 6ft 4in leading man has been on a crash diet to play the role of tall and thin American Civil War president, who was at the height of his power in his 50s before being assassinated at the age of 56 in 1865.EDITOR'S NOTE: NEESON SORT OF HAS MORE OF THE RIGHT LOOK THAN HANKS, DOESN'T HE? EVEN PRE-WEIGHT LOSS. (BUT WON'T WE FIND IT A WEE BIT DISTURBING IF WE END UP HAVING THE HOTS FOR ABRAHAM LINCOLN? HOW ODD IS THAT??!!)

Regency prepping Comando sequel?
Funny how an iffy scoop can do a round-trip to accuracy-ville, a couple of years later. More than a few light years ago, I posted an item about a potential sequel to Schwarzenegger effort "Commando" (1985) being in the works. Well, "Commando 2" is indeed in the cards.

Seems "Commando" has had quite a following. EDITOR'S NOTE: GO FIGGER.

In the 80's, it was a strong video renter, and as a balls-to-the-wall R rated effort - did remarkably well theatricaly too. In a recent magazine poll, it's lead character, John Matrix, tested more popular than - believe it or not - John Rambo.

Obviously, Regency believes they've got something here.

In an article about the success of Regency Enterprises ["Mr and Mrs Smith", "Malcolm in the Middle"], the la la-based trade states that the studio's heads have already set their sights on doing sequels to three films : "Commando", "True Lies" and "Mr and Mrs Smith".

The Jolie/Pitt sequel is the first sequel to go, followed by Lightstorm Entertainment's "True Lies 2" - envisioned as a new "James Bond" or "Mission : Impossible" like franchise - and "Commando 2", which will be released shortly after an upcoming special edition disc of the original.

No word on Schwarzenegger's involvement in both "True Lies 2" or "Commando 2", but the whisper is - He'll be back. EDITOR'S NOTE: SO CALIFORNIA CAN BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF THAT THE BIG AUSTRIAN IS ONLY A ONE-TERM GOV?

Murray has cat's eye on 'Garfield 2'
Bill Murray is in negotiations to reprise his role as the voice of Garfield in 20th Century Fox's sequel "Garfield 2," while Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Love Hewitt have signed on to return, though Hewitt's role will be greatly reduced because she is filming the upcoming CBS series "Ghost Whisperer." EDITOR'S NOTE: I'VE SEEN THE PILOT. I BET SHE'LL HAVE TIME TO KILL BEFORE TOO LONG. (AHEM....)

Lucy Davis and Billy Connolly also are entering the fat cat's lair.

Davis, who recently joined the cast of the indie "The TV Set," will play animal lover Abby Westminster, a fashionable professional who has been brought in to try and trap Lord Dargis (Connelly) into revealing his evil plans. She is best known for her role on the U.K. version of "The Office."

"Garfield 2," which will be directed by Tim Hill, is slated for a summer 2006 release.EDITOR'S NOTE: SO WE SHOULD RUSH RIGHT OUT AND RENT "KITTY ONE"? (OR NOT....)

'Yakuza' redo on the map for Warner Bros.
Billy Gerber, hot off the success of "The Dukes of Hazzard," EDITOR'S NOTE: PARSE THAT SENTENCE FOR A SEC....ARE YOU READING BETWEEN THE LINES AND SEE THE WORDS 'SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE' IN THERE? is remaking the 1975 film "The Yakuza" for Warner Bros. Pictures.

It will be written by Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell.

"Yakuza" was directed and produced by Sydney Pollack and starred Robert Mitchum as a man who returns to Japan after a lengthy absence to rescue a friend's kidnapped daughter, ensuing in samurai swords slashing and guns blazing. It was written by Paul Schrader and Robert Towne. Leonard Schrader wrote the story.

The new version, which the studio is envisioning as a two-hander, will be set in contemporary times and also will reflect a more multiethnic Japan

Rudd makes date with 'Woman'
Paul Rudd has been cast opposite Michelle Pfeiffer in Amy Heckerling's "I Could Never Be Your Woman."

Also joining the Bauer Martinez Studios romantic comedy are Tracey Ullman, Fred Willard, Stacey Dash and newcomer Saoirse Ronan.

The Heckerling-penned movie follows a mother (Pfeiffer) who falls for a younger man (Rudd) while her daughter (Ronan) falls in love for the first time. Ullman plays Mother Nature, who meddles in their fates. EDITOR'S NOTE: DOES IT COUNT AS AN OLDER WOMAN/YOUNGER MAN THING, IF THE WOMAN LOOKS LIKE PFEIFFER? SORT OF A CHEAT, HUH? (THEY SHOULD CAST ME, TO MAKE IT REALLY 'READ').

The movie sees Rudd and Dash reunited with Heckerling, who directed them in her 1995 hit, "Clueless."

Trio wades into 'Waist Deep' pic
Rogue Pictures said Thursday that hip-hop star the Game EDITOR'S NOTE: WONDER IF HE KNOWS MCG? (ALL THAT MONEY....CAN'T THEY AFFORD ACTUAL NAMES?)and actors Meagan Good and Larenz Tate have joined Tyrese Gibson in the urban action thriller "Waist Deep," written and directed by Vondie Curtis Hall.

"Waist Deep" follows an ex-con, O2 (Gibson), who while trying to go straight for the sake of his young son Junior is forced to go back outside the law when Junior is kidnapped in a carjacking.

In his acting debut, the Game will star as a vicious criminal leader, Good ("The Cookout") will play a street-smart hustler, and Tate ("Crash") will be featured as O2's shady cousin. EDITOR'S NOTE: I JUST REPORT 'EM. I DON'T HAVE TO CARE ABOUT EACH AND EVERY ONE, RIGHT?

Crew of four on fast track to Ferrell film
Sacha Baron Cohen, John C. Reilly, Michael Clarke Duncan and Gary Cole have signed on to star in the untitled Will Ferrell NASCAR comedy for Columbia Pictures. EDITOR'S NOTE: THAT CAST HAD ME RIGHT UP UNTIL THE WORDS 'WILL FERRELL' AND 'NASCAR' POPPED INTO THE LINE-UP. DRAT.

The story follows Ricky Bobby (Ferrell), a world-class race car driver and fan favorite. Cohen, hot off the success of his HBO comedy series "Da Ali G Show," will play Jean Girard, a gay, French Formula One driver who comes to the U.S. to conquer NASCAR and defeat Ferrell. Reilly, who is filming Robert Altman's "A Prairie Home Companion," will play Cal Naughton, Ferrell's boyhood friend who together with Ferrell forms "Thunder & Lightning," the most feared racing duo in NASCAR

6.4 mil viewers find 'Lost' U.K. premiere
LONDON -- U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 was crowing Thursday as it posted its best-ever ratings for a U.S. series launch after "Lost" crashed its way onto British television screens Wednesday night.

The much-anticipated show, which has been subject to reams of newspaper inches and extensive promos on the channel, recorded peak figures of 6.4 million, repping a 28% share of all TV viewing.

The debut for "Lost" smashes the previous highest average rating for a U.S. series launch on Channel 4, which stood at 4.6 million for "Desperate Housewives" in January this year.EDITOR'S NOTE: HOW TO MESS WITH A BRIT....CALL THEM UP AND START TELLING THEM STUFF ABOUT WALT OR THE CAPSULE OR THE FRENCH CHICK. (THAT'LL MAKE 'EM SPILL THEIR TEA, EH?!)

The Rumour Mill's circling, and circling, and circling, with news that Jennifer Garner (in addition to a certain male cast member who has, indeed, already quit EDITOR'S NOTE: OH NO...VARTAN?) is about to quit TV's "Alias".

Apparently Ms Garner will be gone by the next season, and in her place will be a new female star - Rachel Nichols, whose character will be introduced this season. EDITOR'S NOTE: LET'S SEE IF THIS NEW, FRENCH CHICK IS ANY GOOD. THE SHOW-RUNNERS HAVE BEEN PRETTY GOOD AT CASTING SO FAR, SO WE SHOULD GIVE THEM THE INITIAL BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT? HARD TO IMAGINE THE SHOW WITHOUT MICHAEL AND SYDNEY, THOUGH.

Kelley dramedy targets a.m. TV
Hot off the yellow legal pad of David E. Kelley is a pilot script that has generated considerable buzz around town. Sources said the project is an hourlong dramedy in the "Ally McBeal" vein set behind the scenes at a network TV morning show. EDITOR'S NOTE: JUST WHEN I THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE....DAVID KELLEY IS BACK. CAN'T KEEP THAT MAN AWAY FROM MY TV WITH A BIG STICK. SIGH.....

TNT adds 'Grace' to originals
TNT is in a state of "Grace," ordering the hourlong series pilot from Spelling Television.

"Grace" is a supernatural-tinged drama about a jaded police officer who encounters an angel who offers her an opportunity to redeem her life.

Executive producers are Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent and Nancy Miller ("CSI: Miami"), who is writing the pilot.

"Grace" is expected to be the first of a handful of pilot orders TNT will make in anticipation of picking a few as series follow-ups to its recent original drama additions "The Closer" and "Wanted." Spelling TV produces "Wanted" with Jorge Zamacona ("Homicide: Life on the Street"). EDITOR'S NOTE: TNT IS RAPIDLY BECOMING ONE OF MY TOP CABLE CHANNELS. ORIGINAL DRAMAS! WOOHOO!! (I MIGHT NEVER HAVE TO GET A REAL LIFE OF MY OWN. THANK GOODNESS!)

HBO adds to 'Sopranos' order
HBO confirmed Thursday that eight additional episodes of "The Sopranos" will be produced in addition to the 12 already ordered for the sixth season.

The bonus batch will air in January 2007; the sixth season is scheduled to launch in March 2006.

"Sopranos" is a production of HBO Entertainment, Brad Grey Television and Chase Films.

"We are all looking forward to spending more time with 'The Sopranos,'" said Brad Grey, executive producer of the series EDITOR'S NOTE: OH GOLLY, NOT I. I JUST REPORT IT; DON'T MAKE WE WATCH THIS STUFF.

Nunez to be 'perfect foil' for 'Joey'
Miguel A. Nunez Jr. is set to step into the role of the new character on NBC's comedy series "Joey."

He will portray an actor whom Joey (Matt LeBlanc) befriends and who becomes a "perfect foil for Joey -- he'll be a friend, and he'll also get him in trouble," executive producer Kevin Bright said.

Bright said the character was designed to fill a role on the show that had helped drive the success of NBC's "Friends," the series from which "Joey" was spun off.

"The thing missing was the camaraderie that Joey had on 'Friends' with Chandler and Ross," he said. "He needed a peer he can hang out with and share things with. (The character also will) broaden the landscape and give (Joey) more places to go and more places to be funny.” EDITOR'S NOTE: TOO LATE. NO ONE CARES.


Post a Comment

<< Home