February 22, 2011 11:17am EST
After making a cinematic splash in his native Italy, director Gabriele Muccino successfully made the American transition with the help of Will Smith. The duo collaborated on a pair lucrative dramas (The Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds) but since December 2008 Muccino has been involved in much, save for signing on to helm the lighter-hearted dramedy Playing the Field. There's been little movement on that project since Gerard Butler came on board to star, but as that one moves toward a mid-2011 start date the director has struck a deal to make another movie.
Variety reports that he'll handle Adaline, a supernatural romance that was once going to be directed by Andy Tennant with Katherine Heigl as its star. Both parties have since jumped ship, leaving the Lakeshore Entertainment/Sidney Kimmel Entertainment production in limbo. Now, with a competent filmmaker in the mix, the film is on track to begin lensing in January 2012.
Summit Entertainment has acquired domestic distribution for the film that follows a young woman born at the turn of 20th century who is rendered ageless after an accident. After years of a solitary life, she meets a man for whom it might be worth losing her immortality. A big-draw leading lady is required to anchor this contrived story. The companies nearly had one with Heigl; we all know they can do better.
June 21, 2010 9:15am EST
The sequel to The Last Kiss, directed by Gabriele Muccino, was honoured with the Golden Goblet Best Picture prize and Best Screenplay, while its star Vittoria Puccini took home the Best Actress accolade.
Chinese filmmaker Liu Jie was named Best Director for Deep in the Clouds and the film claimed the Best Music honour as well as the jury prize, which was headed by Hong Kong moviemaker John Woo.
Christian Ulmen landed the Best Actor title for his performance in Wedding Fever in Campobello, and Colin Farrell's Ondine won Christopher Doyle the Best Cinematography prize.
The nine-day festival wrapped on Sunday (20Jun10).
March 25, 2010 3:49am EST
Word in the development community, says The Los Angeles Times, has Tom Cruise and Reese Witherspoon eying lead roles in Paper Wings, a love story set in the world of rodeo that's being developed at Sony.
Cruise would take the role of a rodeo champ who falls for an up-and-coming country singer, played by Witherspoon.
The project has been around for a while, having previously been set up at New Line before moving to Sony.
Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment is producing. Gabriele Muccino, along with others, is in the mix to direct.
December 18, 2008 6:42pm EST
Who knew that Will Smith could deliver the year’s most unexpected and profoundly moving love story? He plays Ben a man with a deep dark secret that leads him help seven complete strangers each with their own particular set of circumstances. Constructed like a jigsaw puzzle we slowly get clues to the traumatic events that cause Ben to contact these people and change their lives in ways they never could have anticipated. What he doesn’t expect is to fall in love with one of them -- Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson) a cardiac patient whose heart may be weak but is clearly strong enough to make a difference in the way Ben looks at things. It’s this relationship that becomes the center of Grant Nieporte’s compelling screenplay but as it continues it’s obvious there is more to what Ben is doing a mystery not revealed until the final moments and one you will not easily forget. Will Smith is at his best. He may be the world’s No. 1 movie star at the moment but he’s continually proving himself to be a brilliant actor as well. Reteaming with director Gabriele Muccino who led him to a Best Actor Oscar nomination in The Pursuit of Happyness Smith once again finds his dramatic mojo in the role of a man whose life has been shattered by something so profoundly affecting that he reaches out to strangers in an effort to redeem himself. You will be hard-pressed to find the loveable Will Smith persona anywhere within this character. Dawson also has a career best as the spunky and courageous Emily a role that could have been sloppily sentimentalized and maudlin. She’s a revelation delivering a flawless and luminous performance. And best among the various recipients of Ben’s kindness is Woody Harrelson as a blind man he encounters. Also quite good is Barry Pepper as Ben’s childhood friend who is the only other person “in” on Ben’s master plan helping him to achieve his goal. He rips your heart out when he gets the call from Ben who says “It’s time.” Gabriele Muccino puts it all out there. He is an unapologetically emotional director and some will probably find fault with his style but as the Italian filmmaker proved in Pursuit of Happyness he knows exactly what he’s doing and where he’s taking the story. He’s most successful here in building suspense and an air of mystery around Smith’s character and then bringing it all home in a whopper of a final act. Clearly story acting and gut-level feeling are the three things that drive Muccino and his distinctive stamp and European approach is evident throughout. Most of all he has given Smith and Dawson a real showcase finding the meat of a story that’s one from the heart and good for the soul.
June 19, 2008 11:06am EST
By Monday, July 7, Will Smith will be the undisputed No. 1 movie star in the world. My sources tell me that tracking for Hancock (Sony) is in the stratosphere, and its five-day gross will be, conservatively, in the $140M-$150M range, with a bigger number highly possible. That would give the former Fresh Prince his eighth consecutive $100M+ grossing movie, topping the all-time best streaks of two fellow screen legends.
Although I do not know anyone who has seen the movie at this point, the concept, in my estimation, is perfectly tuned to our current culture. Hancock is the superhero who needs rehab, a down-on-his-luck loser with super powers. Jason Bateman plays the publicist working to rehabilitate his image. This new Will Smith role is, essentially, a superhero for the TMZ/Perez Hilton generation.
Hancock will, without question, be the 12th $100M+ grossing movie of Smith’s career (including the animated Shark Tale). That will move him back into a fourth place tie with Harrison Ford, whose Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull (Paramount) is still playing strongly in theatres and approaching the $300M domestic mark.
MOST $100M+ HITS IN A CAREER
(Including animated films & excluding cameos)
Tom Hanks: 15
Tom Cruise: 14
Eddie Murphy: 13
Will Smith and Harrison Ford: 12 (including Hancock)
Jim Carrey and Robin Williams: 11
Mel Gibson and Matt Damon: 9
Bruce Willis and Jack Nicholson: 8
Smith, however, is about to do something unprecedented ‘ a feat never accomplished by the Toms--Hanks and Cruise. Hancock will be his eighth consecutive $100M+ grossing blockbuster.
2002: Men in Black II; $52.14M opening; $190.41M cume
2003: Bad Boys II; $46.52M opening; $138.6M cume
2004: I, Robot; $52.17M opening; $144.8M cume
2004: Shark Tale; $47.6M opening; $160.86M cume
2005: Hitch; $43.12M opening; $179.49M cume
2006: The Pursuit of Happyness; $26.54M opening; $163.56M cume
2007: I Am Legend; $77.21M opening; $256.39M cume
The best streak that Tom Hanks put together was seven, beginning with Saving Private Ryan in 1998.
1998: Saving Private Ryan ; $30.57M opening; $216.54M cume
1998: You've Got Mail; $18.42M opening; $115.82M cume
1999: Toy Story 2; $300,000 opening 45.85M cume
1999: The Green Mile; $18M opening; $136.8M cume
2000: Cast Away; $28.88M opening; $233.63M cume
2002: Road To Perdition; $22.07M opening; $104.45M cume
2002: Catch Me If You Can; $30M opening; $164.61M cume
And, surprisingly, were it not for the disastrous Lions For Lambs, Cruise would still be on a long winning streak. Instead, his MGM/UA debut ended his streak of $100M+ hits at seven as well.
2000: Mission: Impossible II; $57.84M opening; $215.4M cume
2001: Vanilla Sky; $25M opening; $100.61M cume
2002: Minority Report; $35.67M opening; $132.07M cume
2003: The Last Samurai; $24.27M opening; $111.12M cume
2004: Collateral; $24.7M opening; $101M cume
2005: War of the Worlds; $64.87M opening; $234.28M cume
2006: Mission: Impossible III; $47.74M opening; $134M cume
Currently, Will Smith is the closest thing that Hollywood has to a sure thing, and notably, he is not making the same movie over and over again. The streak includes sequels, original sci-fi, animation, romantic comedy and Oscar nominated drama. His next film, Seven Pounds (Sony), is set for December and re-teams him with his Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele Muccino. It is an eclectic drama, but it will not be surprising at all if he extends his $100M+ winning streak to nine. Everything he touches turns gold.
December 20, 2006 4:28am EST
Even if you’re one of the 19 other people in a competitive internship at Dean Witter with Chris Gardner (Will Smith) you gotta root for the guy. Life’s beaten him up but not got him down. He lugs his computer-monitor-sized bone density scanner all over San Francisco hoping to sell just one to make ends meet for his family—but nobody’s buying. As his wife’s (Thandie Newton) discontentment nears a boiling point Chris accepts an internship at financial institution Dean Witter—six months without pay and only one of the 20 applicants will ultimately get a job out of it. This sends her packing. She leaves Chris and their son Christopher (Jaden Smith) to fend for themselves at which point they get evicted. It’s the tip of the iceberg because over the course of Chris’ penniless pursuit of the Dean Witter job (and “happyness”) he and Christopher will get by sleeping in homeless shelter--and even in train-station bathrooms. Chris had always vowed to never leave his son and he keeps his promise but there’s no guarantee that his perseverance will pay off. Except for the fact that Happyness is “INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY”! Will Smith is getting all the awards buzz but it’s his real-life son Jaden who transcends all expectations in Happyness. Jaden’s never acted in a movie before and it’s safe to assume that because of his father's long-running movie stardom he could not have grown up in a more different environment than that of his character. Which makes it all the more amazing for this 8-year-old Hollywood tyke to grasp even if coincidentally the plight of a nomadic urban child. The best part about little Jaden is that his performance doesn’t seem robotic like so many child actors who are already too "seasoned" for their own good. Aside from the expected cutesy laughs there’s genuine spontaneity in Jaden’s performance obviously thanks to the fact that he’s acting opposite his dad. Papa Smith gives what’s probably his best performance to date although he's had a career of primarily action roles that weren't exactly conducive to a skills showcase. He delivers the goods here—as seen in the tear-rific trailer—as a man whose whole life is his child but frankly the tears evoked might be too few for Oscar’s liking. Newton (Crash) in a small role is terribly miscast but Mr. and Mr. Smith dominate the screen anyway. Even with the studio flaunting the movie’s "Inspired by a true story..." tagline like a badge of honor—as studios tend to do—and this being the holiday season and all Italian director Gabriele Muccino expends way too much effort into the crowd-pleasing/feel-good aspects of Happyness. The happy ending everyone already knows about should be saccharine enough. Granted this is why a studio loves true stories—one that begins on a low note ends on a really high note and fluctuates all over the radar in between—and it may make the film more pleasing to its targeted mainstream audiences but Muccino and writer Steve Conrad (The Weather Man) really take the gloss factor much too far. In this case they essentially try to tell us a mostly sad story but will not let us feel sad. For instance during what could be very dark reflective scenes potentially connecting with viewers who have struggled through similar problems music befitting a children’s tale overtakes the would-be drama so we don’t ever feel too badly for Chris. It’s nice that the director cares so much for us but oftentimes the best directors are the ones who show an audience tough love.
October 04, 2006 5:16am EST
Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz's plan to reunite in a new movie has fallen flat--both they and the movie's directors have walked away from the project.
The Mask costars were due to re-team for the first time since the 1994 comedy in A Little Game Without Consequence--which was due to begin shooting in New York City later this month.
But the duo quit, reportedly unhappy with filmmaker Gabriele Muccino's reworking of the script.
Muccino then left the film, citing "substantive creative differences" with producers.
But producers Focus Features insist the film will be made, with new leads and a different director.
A statement reads: "Due to amicable but substantive creative differences, Focus Features and producers Alain Chabat and Stephanie Danan are no longer making A Little Game with Gabriele Muccino.
"We are actively seeking a suitable replacement and plan to move forward with the project when that happens."
It's the third Carrey movie to collapse in the space of a year, after Used Guys, which was shut down due to escalating costs and Ripley's Believe It or Not, which has been put on hold.
He recently quit United Talent Agency (UTA) and signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
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