The thing about having a column that rails against Hollywood is that it's largely dependant upon Hollywood giving you something to rail against. Frankly, however, it's been something of a slow news week here at MovieWeb, and so I turned my wandering attention to the back pages of publications like Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. It's amazing the news that flies under the radar of our mainstream attention span! And so I thought I'd bring you some of the pieces that perhaps you haven't seen around this web this week. So enjoy!
After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, director David Fincher (Fight Club, Seven, the upcoming Zodiac) has signed aboard a big-budget adaptation of the 1980's children's franchise – the Care Bears. Developed by Sony Pictures as their tentpole release in 2007 – largely to off-set the inevitable success of Universal's game-to-film translation, Halo – the pic has been budgeted at an estimated $75 million.
"That's real money," says Fincher of the project. "Frankly, I don't see how you could do a Care Bears film for under $60 million. In order to express their profound surplus of love and tenderness, these fucking bears fire off rainbows and all sorts of shit from the beautiful expressions of self-identity on their chests. And that's going to take some serious FX work."
Scripted by American Beauty and Six Feet Under scribe, Alan Ball, the film will tell the story of the Bears' involvement in the life of a young girl whose brother is killed by mortar-fire in Iraq. Fincher is eyeing Dakota Fanning to star.
"I think that we live in a time of great despair," says Fincher. "We're at war for uncertain reasons, living under the dark cloud of terrorism. Buses are exploding. Planes are crashing. And I think that the remedy for this is obvious…The Care Bears. When has there ever been a better time for Tenderheart and Cheer Bear and Bedtime Bear to touch our hearts and spread their incredible fucking message of love and understanding."
FILMMAKER TERRY GILLIAM STRUCK WITH LEPROSY
In a recent interview with Premiere Magazine scheduled to hit stands next month, The Brothers Grimm director, Terry Gilliam, definitively announced that "the Lord has given me leprosy."
Long since troubled by the worst of cinematic luck, the acclaimed director of such films as Time Bandits and Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas has just released his first film in over six years. While attached to over a dozen start-and-stop projects over that singular period, it was Gilliam's blood-and-tears adaptation of Don Quixote that proved the most disastrous. As captured in the documentary Lost in La Mancha, the shoot was plagued by a range of difficulties – from financial fall-outs to script difficulties to the illness that befell the film's leading man to a terrible flash flood that wiped out valuable sound and camera equipment.
"God just didn't want me to make that movie," said Gilliam jokingly. "A few years later, I was working on The Brothers Grimm and the studio was railing me about making changes and, of course, I had to work with Matt Damon every day, and so it was obvious, all things considered, that God hated me. I was pissed. And I told him so." Now, speaking to Premiere Magazine, Gilliam admits that particular discussion with God was "probably a mistake."
"The Lord gave me leprosy," admits the director. "He came to me in a dream and said that if I wanted to bitch about it, he'd give me something to bitch about. So he gave me leprosy."
Scratching uncomfortably at his arms and legs, the director appears unconcerned.
"He said there'd be more to come, but, really, what do I care?" says Gilliam. "The shit he's put me through already – what else could happen?"
A post-script to the interview explains that only days after their initial meeting, the Lord sent what Gilliam describes, via phone, as "a great wind," which summarily destroyed the director's home and swept away his wife and children.
Gilliam's next project will be a biblical adaptation of the story of Job. The director plans to shoot the project for very little money over a lengthy shooting schedule.
"The way I figure it," says the director as he chain smokes Parliaments, "if I just stand in one place long enough, we'll get the FX-work done for free."
JAMES BOND CAST AS JAMES BOND IN CASINO ROYALE
According to an article in today's Variety, James Bond, 34, of Springfield, Massachusetts, has been cast in the role of international super-spy, James Bond. Ending months of rampant speculation, the announcement of a relatively unknown actor as cinema's historic leading man came as something of a surprise to the Hollywood community.
"We looked at everyone," said producer Barbara Broccoli. "And I mean everyone. We looked at well-known actors such as Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman, Clive Owen and Eric Bana, but in the end, no one plays Bond quite like Bond."
But the middle-aged math teacher from Western Massachusetts might be the most surprised of all.
"I was shocked," said Bond of the final decision. "I was down in New York to see The Producers with my parents and noticed that they were having an open casting call. I wasn't going to do it, but my mother made me. So I went and I tested and I got the part."
Director Martin Campbell, who begins shooting the newest Bond film, Casino Royale, in October, was enthusiastic about Bond from the beginning.
"I always knew that we were looking for an unknown," said Campbell. "And then I met Bond. Such confidence! He walked through the door and immediately acted like he already had the part. He walked up to me and said, ‘Hi, I'm Bond,' and I smiled and said, ‘Excuse me?' and he said, ‘Bond, I'm James Bond,' and I laughed but he looked completely serious – such commitment – and it was clear to me that James Bond was going to be the best James Bond since Connery."
But Bond is modest about his newfound success.
"I just hope I can do a good job," said the actor. "I hope I can live up to the name."
REDFORD AND NEWMAN TO RE-TEAM FOR EUTHENASIA SNUFF FILM
When Robert Redford commented in a recent interview that he would once again team up with film legend Paul Newman, details on the long-awaited project were vague. An upcoming adaptation of the Bill Bryon novel, A Walk in the Woods, seemed a likely candidate for the life-long friends, best known for their work together in such films as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting. However, in a recent phone interview with MovieWeb.com, Redford officially announced the much-anticipated project: a hardcore euthanasia snuff film.
"Let's be honest," said Newman. "We're past our prime – both of us – and we know it. So I think we figured, let's go out with a bang. Literally."
The movie, which will be filmed in a grainy 16-millimeter by director Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo, Nine Inch Nail's Closer video), will chronicle the final two hours in the life of the aging actors.
"Oh, we're playing ourselves," said Newman firmly. "This is all improvised, folks, it's all real. They're really going to film it and we're really going to die. It's going to be great. It's a film with everything – friendship, love, emotional struggle and uncut, hardcore suicide."
The nature of the suicide is being kept secret, but a posting by Moriarty over at Aint-It-Cool-News sheds some light on the possible staging.
"They're going off a cliff," says Moriarty. "I can't tell you how I know – or which cliff – but they're aiming for the whole Butch-and-Sundance, Thelma-and-Louise nostalgia thing."
The film will likely hit screens just in time for the 2006 awards season.
"Do they give posthumous Oscars?" joked Newman. "I'm serious. Do they? Cuz I'm not doing this for nothing, you know."
NOTE: I hate to have to come out and directly say this, but for those of our readers who have trouble progressing past dick-and-fart humor – all of the above was a joke. It's all meant for a laugh. It's all untrue. It's all satire. Well, except maybe for the Newman and Redford thing. I suspect that might actually happen.