P.J. Hogan's Peter Pan follows J.M. Barrie's story almost to the letter. A girl on the brink of womanhood Wendy Darling (newcomer Rachel Hurd-Wood) loves telling her brothers John (Harry Newell) and Michael (Freddie Popplewell) stories of dastardly pirates as they sit in their nursery under the watchful eye of their St. Bernard Nana. Her 19th-century Londoner parents however believe the time has come for the young girl to grow up especially her father. Then a cheeky wild-haired boy named Peter Pan (Jeremy Sumpter) flies through the nursery window one night with his trusted yet jealousy-prone fairy Tinkerbell (Ludivine Sagnier) telling Wendy he can take her to a place full of adventure where no one ever has to grow up. She readily accepts the offer and with a few happy thoughts some fairy dust and her two brothers in tow she flies off to Neverland. (Not the ranch…the real place.) Once there Wendy encounters mermaids Indians and the Lost Boys (who refer to her as "mother") and gets the whole pirate experience in Peter's ongoing feud with arch-nemesis Captain Hook (Jason Isaacs). But Wendy soon becomes conflicted because on the one hand she likes hangin' with hottie Peter but on the other she misses her mother. She decides it's probably best to go back and grow up but in her hurry to leave she ends up in Hook's clutches. A rescue ensues. Swords clash ticking crocodiles are fed and fairies are saved as our clever fly boy zooms Wendy and company back to London on a giant pirate ship. But does he stay and grow up himself? Hell no he's a Toys 'R Us kid forever!
All the kid actors in Peter Pan are highly watchable and appealing with angelic faces peaches-and-cream complexions and pouty cherry lips. This is the first time Peter is being played by a real-life boy a fact much hyped by the filmmakers and 12-year-old Sumpter (Frailty) does his best to live up to the expectations. (He's soon to be swoon-worthy material for sure.) He's got a mischievous gleam in his eye and a great sly smile but he really lights up when he's looking into Wendy's adorable face. Hurd-Wood the first-time actress who plays the spirited girl earned her role after a long and involved casting process it's well deserved; she fits the typical English-girl profile perfectly and gets the hang of her craft quickly infusing the character with a natural cheerful energy. It's also refreshing to see the young actors play up Wendy and Peter's feelings of first love which prior films always hinted at but never fully realized. Isaacs in a dual role as the firm-but-loving Mr. Darling and the frightening comical lonely charming needy reprehensible Captain Hook draws on his experience at playing exquisitely awful baddies (The Patriot Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and really sinks his claws into Hook. In a stand out supporting role French actress Sagnier (Swimming Pool) is really fantastic as the vivacious non-speaking Tinkerbell portraying the fairy's conflicted emotions with a silent-film over-the-top technique.
Director/writer P.J. Hogan (My Best Friend's Wedding) and his team try to distinguish their film from the other Peter Pans of the world by using all the technical and special effects wizardry at their disposal. Hogan says his Peter Pan is the way its author Barrie intended to be when he wrote it as a play over a 100 years ago--full of fantasy and wonder. In a way he's right and production designer Roger Ford and visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar take his vision and run with it giving audiences a very lush Neverland with waterfalls fluffy pink clouds crystal-blue waters and a gorgeous fairy world. But despite the bells and whistles there really isn't anything original and different in this Pan. Even its look at the dark side of Neverland has been done in Steven Spielberg's 1991 semi-sequel Hook which showed the dangers of Neverland. In this version lives really are at stake and the pirates are not cute and fun. Even the mermaids are mysterious and malevolent with scary faces and murderous intentions a far cry from the beautiful if somewhat mean-spirited creatures of the 1953 classic Disney animated adaptation another inescapable influence on the audience. When the crocodile draws near for example tick-tocking away the croc's signature tune from the Disney film comes immediately to mind. People may love those Disney films for those cutesy catchy songs but Peter Pan really is a good story. Heck it's a great story. But it's just been done.
Top Story: Dixie Chicks Give Two Cents on Schwarzenegger
Must be something about being on tour in Europe that inspires the Dixie Chicks to spout off on politics. Rolling Stone reports the country trio had plenty to say about another high-profile Republican besides President Bush. "[Arnold Schwarzenegger] is a great film star," banjo player Emily Robison told a German newspaper, "but I find his run for governor absolutely insane." She added, "America should be governed by people who have a clue. I hope he doesn't win." Maybe bodybuilders will ban the country singers this time.
Schwarzenegger's Ex-Girlfriend Writes Memoirs
On the heels of controversy surrounding reports of Schwarzenegger's naughty behavior decades ago, now it seems his first girlfriend, Barbara Outland Baker, is writing a memoir of her relationship with the Austrian actor called Surviving Arnold, Reuters reports. Baker, now an English professor at a California community college, dated the then Mr. Universe from 1969 until 1974. "I'm trying to sell it as an insider's account of Mr. Schwarzenegger's early years…with over 100 never-before-published photographs of Arnold," her book agent told Reuters. "She's been writing it for years, but obviously now is an opportune time to try to sell it."
Farrell Wields a Mighty Pen, Diaz Does Not
Irish hunk Colin Farrell has been named "best signer" by Autograph Collector magazine in its 12th annual poll of celebrity autograph givers, The Associated Press reports. "Colin is extremely generous with fans and collectors, and goes out of his way to sign for everyone he can at his movie premieres. ... He just flat-out loves to sign autographs," contributing editor Jeffrey Woolf, who helped compile the annual Best and Worst Signers list, told AP. The worst celebrity to be approached for autographs, he says, is Cameron Diaz. "She might be an Angel for Charlie, but Cameron is nothing short of a witch when it comes to signing autographs," Woolf said. Some of the best included Kate Bosworth, Jennifer Love Hewitt, The Osbournes and Jennifer Garner, while some of the worst included Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Orlando Bloom, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Christina Aguilera.
FCC Rules Stern Is Legit Newsman
The Federal Communications Commission ruled shock jock Howard Stern's daily radio show is a legitimate news program, exempting it from federal equal time rules on political coverage, Reuters reports. The FCC decision opens the way for the show to book two of the sexier candidates for California governor: Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had been slated to appear on Stern in August, and porn star Mary Carey. The Communications Act requires broadcasters to treat political candidates equally when selling or giving away air time, although exceptions are made for news programs. Media Access Project, a media watchdog group, plans to appeal the ruling, claiming it is a reversal of decades of U.S. media regulation designed to promote fairness in election coverage.
Simon and Garfunkel Return
The singing-songwriting duo Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel announced Tuesday their plans to put aside their longstanding differences and launch a U.S. tour together for the first time in 20 years, Reuters reports. The Old Friends tour will hit 32 cities, starting at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan Oct. 18.
ABC Scores Ratings Touchdown
The opener of the NFL football season between the New York Jets and Washington Redskins last Thursday gave ABC its first nightly win in many months in the Neilsen ratings for the week of Sept. 1-7, the AP reports. NBC won the week, averaging 8.3 million viewers followed by a tie between CBS (7.8 million) and ABC (also 7.8 million); Fox (6.3 million); UPN (3 million) and the WB (2.9 million). The top 10 shows were: NFL Monday Night Football: N.Y. Jets vs. Washington, ABC; 2003 NFL Showcase, ABC; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS; Law & Order, NBC; NFL Post-Game Show, Fox; Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS; The King of Queens, CBS; Law & Order: Criminal Intent, NBC; and CSI: Miami, CBS.
Sales Galore at Toronto Film Fest
Films were snapped up left and right at the Toronto Int'l Film Festival Tuesday, Variety reports. Jim Jarmusch's Coffee & Cigarettes was bought by United Artists for domestic distribution. Sony Pictures Classics picked up the Korean film Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring, while Newmarket Films acquired the Danish flick The Green Butchers.
Role Call: Phantom To Appear On-Screen; J.Lo Produces Documentary
With an all-star cast including Miranda Richardson, Minnie Driver, Ciaran Hinds, Simon Callow, James Fleet, Victor McGuire and Jennifer Ellison, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical extravaganza The Phantom of the Opera is coming to the big screen via Warner Bros. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it will be directed by Joel Schumacher and starts production Sept. 15 in the U.K…Jennifer Lopez will make her first foray into producing by making the documentary Los Quinces through her banner Nuyorican Prods., in association with HBO. Variety reports the film revolves around the coming-of-age ball that marks a Cuban girl's 15th birthday.
October 04, 2001 10:31am EST
Actress Rebecca Gayheart (Beverly Hills 90210, Scream 2, Urban Legend) was charged with misdemeanor manslaughter for striking and killing a 9 year-old pedestrian boy, Jorge Cruz in June, The Associated Press reports. Conviction of the charge could result in jail time, heavy fines and loss of license. The actress paid for the boy's medical and funeral expenses.
Steven Soderbergh, Spike Jonze, David Fincher and Alexander Payne are forming a film company that will most likely be linked to USA films, Variety reports. The venture will allow them to direct film with complete creative control, giving them the opportunity to own the titles in five to seven years. USA Films would contribute financing and marketing, as well as obtaining domestic distribution rights. Sam Mendes (American Beauty) has also been asked to join the company.
Shannen Doherty has been sentenced to five days in a work-release program as a result of her drunken driving arrest in December, The Associated Press reports. Doherty pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge of .13 blood alcohol content, and the judge gave her the minimum sentence.
The 19th century period film Gangs of New York will be pushed back for wide release until 2002, Variety reports. The Scorsese film, starring Cameron Diaz and Daniel Day-Lewis, chronicles the Irish and Italian gangs of Manhattan.
Ice-T stars in the new straight-to-video release of Sonic Impact, which is already on new-release shelves around the country, according to Variety. Its release came only 11 days after the WTC attacks and deals with similar issues of plane hijacking and crashing.
American Pie 2 film editors are chopping away at too-sexy-for-TV scenes so that the film can be sold to the highest network bidder for TV viewing, Variety reports. The film could fetch up to $22 million if the editors can maintain the humorous portions of the film without taking out too much of its content.
Court TV is planning to launch its first made-for-TV movie in winter 2002, according to Variety. The flick "Guilt by Association" deals with mandatory minimum sentencing rules and will be the first of several legal films based on actual events.
La Femme Nikita star Anne Parillaud will take the lead role in upcoming film "Scenes Intimes," directed by Catherine Breillat, Variety reports. Parillaud plays a film director whose movie contains sensuous and erotic scenes. "Scenes Intimes" will begin production in November.
Broadway general managers and producers are telling union workers that the 25% pay cuts may be lessened sooner than later. As shows continue to bring in more revenues, the execs will move to a 12.5% pay cut. (Due to the recent September 11th attacks, public turnout has negatively affected theater income.)
It looks like Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt are back on the wagon when it comes to relationships.
Though Roberts once declared to Oprah Winfrey that she and Bratt were "drunk with joy twenty-four hours a day," the once-happy couple has called it quits.
Publicists for both the Oscar-winning actress and her companion of 3½ years have confirmed the news and insist that, despite rumors, there was no third party involved. The two agreed to go their separate ways about a month ago.
According to a story in the New York Post on Thursday, Bratt ended the relationship with Roberts because of the budding friendship the actress was developing with Ocean's Eleven co-star George Clooney. Shooting for the film took place in Las Vegas and Atlantic City throughout the winter.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in April that Clooney and Roberts "put on a steamy show on the dance floor" at the film's wrap party in Sin City. Clooney was seeing British model Lisa Snowdon at the time, but the two have since broken up.
However, the Daily News puts a different spin in the break-up, citing Roberts' career as the obstacle to the couple's bliss. Sources reportedly told the paper that Bratt saw Roberts' career as a conflict to his plans and that the actress was hemming and hawing about committing to marriage.
Bratt, 37, became known to TV viewers in 1995 when he joined the hit NBC series Law and Order in its sixth season, creating the role of Reyaldo 'Rey' Curtis. His film credits include Traffic and Miss Congeniality. He is currently in Montreal filming Abandon with Katie Holmes.
Roberts has a history with her co-stars that goes back to 1988, when she moved in with Liam Neeson after the two met on the set of Satisfaction. Two years later, she was briefly engaged to her Steel Magnolias co-star Dylan McDermott.
In 1991, Roberts almost made it to the altar with Flatliners co-star Kiefer Sutherland, but the nuptial plans fell through just days before the wedding. She wed singer Lyle Lovett two years later, but they divorced in 1995.
Roberts and Bratt have been together since 1997. Bratt was at the actress' side when she picked up an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Erin Brockovich in March. It almost looked as though the "Pretty Woman" had finally met her match with Bratt. Guess not.
Roberts will star in the upcoming comedy America's Sweethearts with John Cusack and Catherine Zeta-Jones.