SLUMDOG FILMMAKERS RESPOND TO INDIAN PROTESTS
The producer and the director of Slumdog Millionaire, which currently appears to have the inside track in the Oscar race, have responded to growing protests in India of the film -- and particularly of the title. In an interview with Reuters, director Danny Boyle said that such protests were "part of the fabric of life in India ... For us, 'slumdog' was always a very affectionate term because ... it was a hybrid, a mixture of underdog and rooting for the underdog, and obviously he comes from the slums." Producer Christian Colson also said that claims by parents of one of the slum kids who appeared in the film that they received virtually nothing for their work were "inaccurate." In a separate interview with Reuters, Colson said, "Immediately after we cast the kids, we put in place a plan of action for their future welfare, over and above the money we paid them; we did that in consultation with their parents." He said the plan included enrolling the kids in school for the first time in their lives and setting up a fund to pay for their education, medical emergencies and basic living. Boyle added: "What you've got to do is somehow try and get a plan that isn't about the absolute immediate, it's about the long-term benefit for the kids. If we can give them something back, that will benefit them throughout their lives, that's what you want to achieve."
FIND ANY FILM -- SO LONG AS IT'S IN THE U.K.
The publicly funded U.K. Film Council has launched a website called FindAnyFilm.com that enables users to find any of some 30,000 movies either in movie theaters, on television, on DVD, on Blu-ray, and on the Internet (for either downloading or streaming). Since the website does not include links to BitTorrent sites, the ArsTechnica website inferred that the Film Council was attempting "to steer Internet users' attention away from P2P and toward legal movie options." It concluded, however, that "the site is actually pretty useful" and has "some handy functionality, at least if you're looking for fairly recent, popular movies." However, the site is aimed at British users, and directs users only towards theaters in the U.K. playing films, British networks televising them, or U.K. websites selling DVDs or downloads.
NARNIA TO TAKE OFF WITH FOX
Following Disney's decision not to co-finance the next Chronicles of Narnia feature, 20th Century Fox said Wednesday that it plans to partner with Walden Media to make the movie. Daily Variety reported today (Thursday) that the film, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, will have a production budget of $140 million -- far less than the $215 million that last year's Prince Caspian cost. Nevertheless, the Los Angeles Times commented today that while the budget is much lower than Caspian, "it's still a big gamble." But Variety observed, "Dawn Treader is "considered to be a more family film-friendly book, and the goal is to get back to the magical aspects present in the first Narnia pic[ture] but mostly absent from Prince Caspian."
RADCLIFFE'S DOUBLE SERIOUSLY INJURED
Daniel Radcliffe's stunt double was seriously injured during pre-production tests for an intricate scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at Leavesden studios in England Wednesday. A witness told the London Daily Mirror: "He was rehearsing a flying scene which involved an explosion and it seems to have gone badly wrong. The guy was rigged up to a harness for the scene and was flying through the air. It is thought he may have been caught by the explosion and hit the ground very hard. He told crew members who went to help him he couldn't feel anything from the waist down. Everyone is just hoping he makes a good recovery. It has come as a terrible shock." The name of the stunt double was not disclosed.