The Walt Disney/Robert Zemeckis connection has been terminated. The Hollywood Reporter says that late yesterday the Mouse House decided to permanently dock the Oscar-winning director's planned remake of The Beatles' beloved 1968 film Yellow Submarine, which was announced in August 2009 before his take on A Christmas Carol failed to make miraculous amounts of cash. On the heels of a $6.9 million opening weekend for his latest production, the sci-fi family film Mars Needs Moms, the studio has apparently had enough of his shenanigans.
It's no surprise, really. In May 2010, after the grim reality that A Christmas Carol was an official flop became clear, Disney shut down Zemeckis' ImageMovers shingle and was letting the fate of Yellow Submarine rest on the commercial performance of Mars Needs Moms, which cost $150 million just to produce. Two back-to-back big-budget bombs for any filmmaker is enough to cause panic, and the fact that he couldn't get the Beatles' heirs in a room for a key presentation of test footage after a canceled date in December (which was never rescheduled) just compounded the negativity. Disney is simply acting according to procedure with today's move.
Zemeckis' Yellow Submarine was to employ the same performance capture technology he'd used on The Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol and was set to star Cary Elwes, Dean Lennox Kelly, Peter Serafinowicz and Adam Campbell. Though getting kicked off of the Disney lot is a major setback, THR notes that the filmmaker is now free to shop the project around to other studio's, though I can't imagine any company biting after the rocky returns on his recent films. Zemeckis is said to have fled Tinsel Town for Montana, where he'll regroup and decide what his next move is.
My two cents for Mr. Z? Enough with the mo-cap movies. Get back to live-action filmmaking. This is the guy who made Back To The Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump and Contact. The Polar Express was good and all and I love Beowulf, but the process is just too expensive to justify putting all that energy into. The longer he stays in animated territory, the more clout he loses. There's a wealth of good scripts out there just dying to get produced; a man with as much pedigree as Zemeckis should look to reinvent himself once again as this performance-capture chapter of his career comes to a close.
First we had the 70th birthday of John Lennon over the weekend. Then yesterday we had footage surface of Eric Stoltz as the original Marty McFly in Back to the Future. And today we have a weird hybrid of those two stories: Robert Zemeckis’ (Director of BTTF) 3D motion-capture remake of Yellow Submarine (popular Beatles’ song and movie) is still happening and starts filming in April (see the connection now?).
Also, further strange little side note - Eric Stoltz directed last night’s episode of Glee. Just thought I’d share that.
Anyway, while at the New York Comic Con, Cary Elwes confirmed that Yellow Submarine was still happening and filming begins in April. Now is this just a diversion? After all, April is pretty far off and this gives us plenty of time to forget about it or is it actually happening for real? Is Cary Elwes that devious? I’m going to have to say no.
Another strange side note - I loved Elwes in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but I don’t really see what the big deal is with The Princess Bride. I mean, its a good movie but I didn’t think it was that funny? Sue me. Please don’t.
Back to the movie. Elwes has been cast as George Harrison. Dean Lennox Kelly will be playing John Lennon. Kelly is kind of amazing in his turn as Shakespeare in Doctor Who which I’m sure you all saw and by gosh, I am making that show popular in the US whether Americans like it or not. If you haven’t been watching Running Wilde, you are missing out on the delight that is Peter Serafinowicz who will be playing Paul McCartney. And the lovable Ringo Starr will be played by Adam Campbell.
Wait, what’s this? Adam Campbell dates Jayma Mays, the lovable Emma on Glee? Is the whole news cycle collapsing in on itself? Should I be worried? Do I need to get duct tape? Or is this just an instance of me reading too much into pure coincidences because Hollywood is a relatively small community of members who constantly work on other people’s projects? Nah, definitely a conspiracy.
Source: The Playlist
The British comedian only got to utter a few lines in the Star Wars prequels, but his Hollywood career has since taken off, with roles in Run Fatboy Run and Couples Retreat.
And now Liverpool-native Serafinowicz has been recruited to Robert Zemeckis' forthcoming animated remake of the 1968 film.
John Lennon will be played by Dean Lennox Kelly, George Harrison by Cary Elwes and Ringo Starr by Adam Campbell.
The soundtrack will be performed by Beatles tribute band The Fab Four.
Robert Zemeckis has found his fab four. In negotiations to play The Beatles for the director's Yellow Submarine are Cary Elwes, Dean Lennox Kelly, Peter Serafinowicz and Adam Campbell, according to the Heat Vision blog.
Kelly, currently on the BBC's Robin Hood series, is portraying John Lennon; Serafinowicz, who appeared in Shaun of the Dead and Couples Retreat, is Paul McCartney; Elwes, who worked with Zemeckis on A Christmas Carol, will play George Harrison; and Campbell, whose credits include Epic Movie and Date Movie, will be Ringo Starr.
Zemeckis is remaking the 1968 animated movie for Disney using 3D performance-capture technology. He also wrote the screenplay and is producing with his Imagemovers Digital partners Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey.
Because actual Beatles music will be utilized (licensed from Sony/ATV and EMI-Capitol Records) the actors will not actually be performing the 16 songs used in the movie, HV notes.
Based on Ian McEwan’s equally stirring novel we begin the story in 1935 on the cusp of WWII. Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan) a 13-year-old fledgling writer lives with her wealthy family in their enormous English country mansion and on one hot summer day she irrevocably changes the course of three lives including her own. It seems the housekeeper’s son Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) carries a torch for Briony’s older sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley). And on this warm day it becomes clear she feels the same way; their love ignites. Little Briony who harbors her own secret crush on Robbie witnesses the beginnings of this love affair and not understanding its meaning feels compelled to interfere going so far as accusing Robbie of a crime he did not commit. He is arrested and whisked away eventually forced into the British army but thankfully the two lovers have a moment before he goes to war to reconnect. Cecilia promises to wait for him urging him to “come back” to her once the madness he is about to become immersed in is over. Meanwhile Briony (played in adult years by Romola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave) has grown up regretting every single moment of that fateful day and in desperately trying to seek forgiveness finally finds a path to understanding the power of enduring love. The performances in Atonement are nothing less than captivating beginning with the young Irish rose Saoirse Ronan (who is also set to play the lead in Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones). Since it is primarily Briony’s story Ronan must make the first most indelible impression and set the tone for the rest of the movie--and she succeeds on every level. From the moment you see Ronan’s pale face clear-blue eyes and steadfast gait you immediately recognize Briony’s need and determination to make everything in her life just so. Indeed Briony is a strongly focused child and Ronan so embodies the character an Oscar nomination is almost a certainty. As the 18-year-old Briony Garai (Dirty Dancing 2) does the best she can following such a tough act as Ronan but can never quite match the same intensity. On the other hand Redgrave who comes in at the very end as the much older Briony nails it right away adding her own nuances to a character who has lived a full life. Of course Knightley and McAvoy are no slouches either vividly capturing the passion bubbling up between Cecilia and Robbie then turning around and showing the heartache as their love is ripped apart. McAvoy is particularly effecting as his Robbie must also witness some truly horrific wartime scenes. Actually Oscar nods should come fast and furious for everyone in Atonement. With Pride & Prejudice and now Atonement director Joe Wright may have just established himself as the new James Ivory (of Merchant/Ivory fame). Wright is a real visionary for the romantic period piece expertly delivering truly spectacular vistas. From set design to costumes to cinematography the look of Atonement is at once verdant welcoming and then startlingly grim. The first half of Atonement at the Tallis’ country home is certainly the film’s most defining peppered by an effective musical score which uses the sound of a typewriter like a metronome. Through a soft lens Wright displays the general idleness of summer day at a country home like a sunny floral motif that belies an undercurrent of sweating bodies wilting flowers stagnant pools--and an imminent tragic event. Then once Wright moves with Robbie into WWII he actually paints an even more grim view of war then maybe seen before. The one continuous shot of the historical Dunkirk--a French beach on which thousands of British soldiers were forced by the Germans and then waited to be evacuated--is absolutely stunning and surreal. Atonement does drag ever-so-slightly in the middle especially as Briony trains to be a nurse in London but overall this is a film Academy voters eat up with a silver spoon. Expect to be hearing about it in the months to come.
Loosely based on the (rather lame) 1960 Rat Pack film dashing understated-but-cool thief Danny Ocean (George Clooney) orchestrates the most sophisticated elaborate casino heist in history less than 24 hours after being released from jail. In one night Danny's handpicked 11-man crew of specialists--including an ace card sharp (Brad Pitt) a young-but-masterful pickpocket (Matt Damon) and a demolition genius (Don Cheadle)--will attempt to steal over $150 million from three Las Vegas casinos owned by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) the elegant ruthless entrepreneur who just happens to be dating Danny's ex-wife Tess (Julia Roberts). To score the cash Danny will have to risk his life and risk his chance of ever reconciling with Tess. But if all goes according to his intricate nearly impossible plan Danny won't have to choose between his stake in the heist and his high-stakes reunion with Tess. Or will he?
The star wattage in this movie could solve all of California's electricity problems in one fell swoop. George Clooney easily passes himself off as suave mastermind Danny Ocean playing the role with understated class and elegance. Brad Pitt takes a similar arc as Rusty though he's slightly more dispassionate and professional than Clooney's visionary Ocean. Matt Damon is convincing as the inexperienced-but-talented pickpocket who's essential to getting in the vault. And Julia is simply Julia--glamorous and charming a smart cookie who is being wooed by the evil ruthless (and anal-retentive) casino mogul so elegantly portrayed by Andy Garcia. Affecting a Cockney accent and attitude Don Cheadle's portrayal of the demolition expert is a tour de force. Carl Reiner is absolutely hilarious as Saul Bloom an aging old-timer who comes out of retirement to infiltrate the casino as a debonair arms dealer. Elliott Gould Bernie Mac Scott Caan and Casey Affleck round out the cast nicely with inspired performances especially Gould's and Mac's.
Soderbergh cemented his reputation last year as a director of serious weight when both Traffic and Erin Brockovich were nominated for the Best Film Academy Award and garnered him two Best Director nominations---an unprecedented feat. Ocean's Eleven marks Soderbergh's departure from the serious to the seriously fun. This is one of the most stylish most elegantly filmed movies I have ever seen. Not only are all the actors beautiful but so are the locations clothes and shot selections. The speed and pacing of the flick belie the movie's length; Soderbergh clearly had fun making this movie. He shot this film very intimately often allowing the camera to stay close on the actors a tad longer than expected which lets their personas shine through--thus their personalities draw you into the movie as much as the caper itself. It's not often you see a movie where the direction has as much wit and cleverness as the plot itself. Ocean's Eleven makes no pretense to be something other than a jaunty cheeky exhilarating heist movie. So while the plot's not too deep all is forgiven considering the level of acting and direction.