"She's extremely bright and subtle-minded and absolutely devoted to getting it right. She wants every detail to be true... It's hard to be devoted to doing things right. She's taking the hard path." Author Laura Hillenbrand is impressed by Angelina Jolie's talents as a director for the movie adaptation of her book Unbroken, about World War Two hero Louis Zamperini.
Unbroken has passed through many hands since the spark of turning it into a movie first lit up. The film adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's nonfiction book — previously operating under the direction of Catching Fire's Francis Lawrence, with script drafts by William Nicholson (Les Miserables) and Richard LaGravenese (Beautiful Creatures) — now rests with helmer Angelina Jolie, making this her second directorial feature, after 2011's In the Land of Blood and Honey. Still yet to prove herself as a filmmaker of unquestionable merit (Blood and Honey had some interesting things to say, but faltered a good deal in the delivery), Jolie will benefit from a time-tested writing team to make Unbroken a successful venture... and she hit the motherload: the Coen Brothers are taking charge on the script for the World War II picture.
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The story revolves around Lou Zamperini, a solider in the American Air Force whose plane crashed into the Pacific in 1943, where he survived on his own for 47 days before being captured and held prisoner by the Japanese military. Prior to joining the Air Force, Zamperini was an Olympic runner who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Joel and Ethan Coen have a penchant for the quirky and the stylistic — a different ambiance, perhaps, than that which Universal might have had for the movie in the first place, but it's not as though they can't handle gravity. The brothers' flare for the cinematic teamed with the earnest passion exhibited in Jolie's Blood and Honey could meld well, resulting in a tasteful and artistic retelling of this intriguing story.
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But while Zamperini's account might warrant a stern and stoic voice, we can imagine a few other Coen/Jolie projects that would turn out a bit more fun. How about the writing pair's take on Jolie's Lara Croft franchse: Burn After Raiding? Maybe the two should tackle a remake of the actress' drama Changeling, this time from the son's perspective: O Mother, Where Art Thou? Or maybe — just maybe — a movie about a rogue CIA agent who's just trying to make it big as a Hollywood writer: Salton Fink!
Hey, all these have got to be better than The Tourist.
[Photo Credit: Apega/Wenn; Stefano Paltera/AP Photo]
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As Kathryn Bigelow rakes in accolades for her Oscar-bait film, Zero Dark Thirty another woman director is making headlines for taking on the subject of war on film: Hollywood.com has learned Angelina Jolie is in talks to direct Unbroken for Universal.
The film is based off a 2010 bestselling novel of the same name and is set during World War II. It follows Olympian and war hero Louis Zamperini, who after a plane crash survived in a life raft with two other survivors for 47 days, was captured by the Japanese military, and became a prisoner of war. The book, which was the winner of the Los Angeles Book of the Year Award for Nonfiction, was a best seller for more than 108 consecutive weeks, no doubt thanks to the unbelievable nature of the true story.
With such a traumatic tale in her hands, and after taking on the dark love story set during the Bosnian War with In the Land of Blood and Honey in 2011, could Jolie be making moves to align herself with the Hurt Locker director? Bigelow is making strides for the community of criminally underrepresented female directors in Hollywood with the critical success of Zero Dark Thirty (and all before its Dec. 19 release), so it’s hard not to connect Jolie’s second turn as a director of a war-themed story to the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s works. Of course, while both directors have an affinity for bringing trying tales to the big screen, Jolie hasn’t garnered nearly the same level of respect as Bigelow, who’s been directing full-length features since 1982 while Jolie’s career behind the camera only stretches back to 2011.
Still, while In the Land of Blood and Honey debuted to mixed reviews, Jolie’s popularity certainly aids the charge of bringing equality to directing big budget films by providing greater visibility while Bigelow’s work brings the requisite dose of credibility.
In a statement announcing Jolie’s potential involvement in the film, Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson and Co-Chairman Donna Langley said, “In her life and in her work, Angelina has embraced stories and causes involving great struggle and triumph over tremendous odds and the basic human condition … She has a real ability to illustrate the strength in human spirit which will be essential in telling Lou’s story of survival and great heroism.”
In response to the opportunity, Jolie also offered comment. “I read [author] Laura Hillenbrand’s brilliant book, and I was so moved by Louie Zamperini’s heroic story, I immediately began to fight for the opportunity to make this film,” she says. “Louie is a true hero and a man of immense humanity, faith and courage. I am deeply honored to have the chance to tell his inspiring story.”
It’s highly unlikely that with just two films under her belt, Jolie can attain Bigelow status, but her entrance into the fold of successful, well-known women directors whose specialty isn’t the Rom-Com or supernatural teen romance certainly can’t hurt.
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[Photo Credit: Film District]
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Forgive me for being a little cynical before I started writing this post, I knew not what I was getting into. All I knew was that Universal Pictures bought the rights to a WWII non-fiction book from the author of the Seabiscuit book, Laura Hillenbrand, and the film would potentially be directed by Francis Lawrence and written by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart).
Then I found out what Hillenbrand’s book is about - Louis Zamperini. Zamp the Champ (if he hasn’t ever been called this, it needs to start NOW) has lived one of the most incredible lives. He grew up during the Great Depression, became an Olympic runner and enlisted in WWII. Biopics have been made of lesser men, but we haven’t even gotten to the good stuff. He became a bomber in the Air Force, surviving many dangerous missions before crashing but it doesn’t stop there. He survives and in the single greatest sentence ever written in a Deadline article, “After surviving hunger, thirst and incessant shark attacks in a raft that drifted 2000 miles (for 47 days), Zamperini was caught by the Japanese Navy and then the hardship really began.” Kinda makes that head cold you’re suffering through this morning seem insignificant, no? Then there’s surviving horrendous Japanese POW camps, returning home, almost ruining his life from alcoholism and then forgiving his captors after listening to Bill Graham. He even got to carry the Olympic Torch. And the guy has the stones to still be alive today.
Apparently Universal has been trying to make turn this guy’s life into a movie for 50 years but it keeps stalling. I prefer to think that he keeps doing more and more bad-ass things they can’t exclude from the movie. Everyone from Tony Curtis to Nicolas Cage has wanted to play Zamperini, but casting the American hero will be harder than ever today.
The Writers Guild of America, west and East announced nominations for outstanding achievement in writing for the screen, television and radio during the 2003 season.
Nominees in the original category went to independent art-house films, including Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges and Guljit Bindra for Fox Searchlight's Bend It Like Beckham; Steven Knight for Miramax's Dirty Pretty Things; and Tom McCarthy for Miramax's The Station Agent.
Nominees for the adapted category went mostly high-profile releases, including Anthony Minghella for Miramax's Cold Mountain; Frances Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson for New Line's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; and Gary Ross for Universal's Seabiscuit.
WGA noms are closely tracked as an indicator of Academy Awards sentiment. Guild winners in the original screenplay category have matched Oscar choices in 11 years over the past 21 while the WGA adapted screenplay award has matched with the Oscar winner in 14 years during the same period.
The films eligible for Writers Guild Awards were released in the year 2003 under the jurisdiction of Writers Guild of America, East and west and affiliate guilds in Australia, Canada, French Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, and New Zealand.
In television, the nominated scripts were originally broadcast between December 1, 2002, and November 30, 2003.
The winners will be announced Saturday, February 21, 2004, at the 56th Annual Writers Guild Awards ceremonies on both coasts.
The Writers Guild of America, west ceremonies will be held in Los Angeles at the Century Plaza Hotel, and the Writers Guild of America, East ceremonies will be held in New York at The Pierre Hotel.
BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, Written by Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges and Guljit Bindra, Fox Searchlight Pictures
DIRTY PRETTY THINGS, Written by Steven Knight, Miramax Films
IN AMERICA, Written by Jim Sheridan & Naomi Sheridan & Kirsten Sheridan, Fox Searchlight Pictures
LOST IN TRANSLATION, Written by Sofia Coppola, Focus Features
THE STATION AGENT, Written by Tom McCarthy, Miramax Films
AMERICAN SPLENDOR, Written by Robert Pulcini & Shari Springer Berman, Based on the Comic Book Series by Harvey Pekar and the Novel by Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner, HBO Films/Fine Line Features
COLD MOUNTAIN, Screenplay by Anthony Minghella, Based on the Novel by Charles Frazier, Miramax Films
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING, Screenplay by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson, Based on the Novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, New Line Cinema
MYSTIC RIVER, Screenplay by Brian Helgeland, Based on the Novel by Dennis Lehane, Warner Bros. Pictures
SEABISCUIT, Screenplay by Gary Ross, Based on the Book by Laura Hillenbrand, Universal Pictures
Episodic Drama --any length--one airing time
"ABOMINATION (Law & Order: SVU), Written by Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters; NBC
"BOUNTY (Law & Order), Written by Michael S. Chernuchin; NBC
"DISASTER RELIEF (The West Wing), Teleplay by Alexa Junge, Story by Alexa Junge & Lauren Schmidt; NBC
"LOSS (Law & Order: SVU), Written by Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters; NBC
"PILOT (The O.C.), Written by Josh Schwartz; Fox
"7:00 P.M. -- 8:00 P.M. (24), Written by Evan Katz; Fox
Episodic Comedy--any length--one airing time
"DAY CARE" (Malcolm in the Middle), Written by Gary Murphy & Neil Thompson; Fox
"MALCOLM FILMS REESE" (Malcolm in the Middle), Written by Dan Kopelman; Fox
"NO SEX, PLEASE, WE'RE SKITTISH" (Frasier), Written by Bob Daily; NBC
"A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO SHOES" (Sex and the City), Written by Jenny Bicks; HBO
Original Long Form--over one hour--one or two parts, one or two airing times
AND STARRING PANCHO VILLA AS HIMSELF, Written by Larry Gelbart; HBO
Episode 1, "BEYOND THE SKY" and Episode 2, "JACOB AND JESSE" (Taken), Written by Leslie Bohem; USA
CAESAR, Written by Peter Pruce and Craig Warner; TNT
WILDER DAYS, Written by Jeff Stockwell; TNT
Adapted Long Form--over one hour--one or two parts, one or two airing times
NORMAL, Teleplay by Jane Anderson, Based on the play Looking for Normal by Jane Anderson; HBO
OUT OF THE ASHES, Teleplay by Anne Meredith, Based on the book I Was a Doctor in Auschwitz by Dr. Gisella Perl; Showtime
RUDY: THE RUDY GIULIANI STORY, Written by Stanley Weiser, Based on the book Rudy! by Wayne Barrett; USA
THE STRANGER BESIDE ME, Teleplay by Matthew McDuffie and Matthew Tabak, Based on the book by Ann Rule; USA
Animation--any length--one airing time
"THE DAD WHO KNEW TOO LITTLE" (The Simpsons), Written by Matt Selman; Fox
"MOE BABY BLUES" (The Simpsons), Written by J. Stewart Burns; Fox
MY MOTHER THE CARJACKER" (The Simpsons), Written by Michael Price; Fox
"REBORN TO BE WILD" (King of the Hill), Written by Tony Gama-Lobo & Rebecca May; Fox
"RESCUE JET FUSION" (The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius), Written by Steven Banks; Nickelodeon
"THE STING" (Futurama), Written by Patric M. Verrone; Fox
Comedy/Variety--Music, Awards, Tributes -- Specials -- any length
THE KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, Written by George Stevens, Jr., Sara Lukinson and David Leaf; CBS
THE 75TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS, Written by Hal Kanter, Rita Cash, Buz Kohan, Special Material Written by Steve Martin, Beth Armogida, Dave Barry, Dave Boone, Andy Breckman, Jon Macks, Rita Rudner, Bruce Vilanch; ABC
Comedy/Variety--(including talk) Series
LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN, Written by Mike Sweeney, Chris Albers, Jose Arroyo, Andy Blitz, Kevin Dorff, Jonathan Glaser, Michael Gordon, Brian Kiley, Michael Koman, Brian McCann, Guy Nicolucci, Conan O'Brien, Andrew Secunda, Allison Silverman, Robert Smigel, Brian Stack, Andrew Weinberg; NBC
MAD TV, Writing supervised by Scott King, Written by Dick Blasucci, Lauren Dombrowski, Bryan Adams, Bruce McCoy, Michael Hitchcock, Steven Cragg, Chris Cluess, John Crane, Jennifer Joyce, Tami Sagher, David Salzman, Richard Talarico, Jim Wise, Kal Clarke, Sultan Pepper, Bill Kelley, Maiya Williams, Dino Stamatopoulos, Rick Najera, Brooks McBeth, Jason Kordelos, Michael McDonald, Stephnie Weir; FOX
PENN & TELLER: BULLSHIT!, Written by Penn Jillette, Teller, David Wechter, John McLaughlin; Showtime
REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER, Written by Billy Martin, Scott Carter, David Feldman, Brian Jacobsmeyer, Jay Jaroch, Chris Kelly, Bill Maher, Ned Rice, Paul F. Tompkins; HBO
ALL MY CHILDREN, Written by Agnes Nixon, Megan McTavish, Gordon Rayfield, Anna Theresa Cascio, Frederick Johnson, Jeff Beldner, Janet Iacobuzio, Lisa Connor, Addie Walsh, Victor Miller, Mimi Leahey, Bettina F. Bradbury, John PiRoman, Karen Lewis, Amanda Robb, Rebecca Taylor, Christina Covino, David A. Levinson; ABC
ONE LIFE TO LIVE, Written by Josh Griffith, Michael Malone, Shelly Altman, Lorraine Broderick, Richard Backus, Ron Carlivati, Anna Theresa Cascio, David Colson, Leslie Nipkow, Michelle Poteet Lisanti, Becky Cole, James Fryman, Katherine Schock, Ginger Redmon, Daniel Griffin; ABC
"DON'T LOOK BACK" (Out There), Written by Willie Reale and Mark Palmer; PBS
FULL COURT MIRACLE, Written by Joel Silverman and Joel Kauffmann & Donald C. Yost; Disney Channel
I WAS A TEENAGE FAUST, Written by Thom Eberhardt; Showtime
THE MALDONADO MIRACLE, Teleplay by Paul W. Cooper, Based upon the novel "The Maldonado Miracle" by Theodore Taylor; Showtime
Documentary - Current Events
"TRUTH, WAR AND CONSEQUENCES" (Frontline), Written by Martin Smith; PBS
"THE WAR BEHIND CLOSED DOORS" (Frontline), Written by Michael J. Kirk; PBS
Documentary - Other Than Current Events
BECOMING AMERICAN: THE CHINESE EXPERIENCE--BETWEEN TWO WORLDS (PART 2), Written by Thomas Lennon & Mi Ling Tsui and Bill Moyers; PBS
"CYBER WAR!" (Frontline), Written by Michael J. Kirk; PBS
"THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE: THE STRING'S THE THING" (Nova), Written by Joseph McMaster; PBS
"THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE: WELCOME TO THE 11TH DIMENSION" (Nova), Written by Julia Cort & Joseph McMaster, PBS
"THE MURDER OF EMMETT TILL" (The American Experience), Written by Marcia Smith, PBS
"SEABISCUIT" (The American Experience), Written by Michelle Ferrari; PBS
News - Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin or Breaking Report
"PASSING OF MUSIC LEGENDS" (CBS News Sunday Morning), Written by Robert Mank;
"CBS SHOWDOWN WITH SADDAM" (CBS News), Written by John Craig Wilson; CBS
News - Analysis, Feature, or Commentary
"BAPTISM BY FIRE" (60 Minutes), Written by Barbara Dury & Morley Safer; CBS
"WALL STREET" (NOW with Bill Moyers), Written by Michael Winship & Bill Moyers; PBS
AUTISM: SHADES OF GRAY, Written by Julia Kathan; ABC News Radio
AFTERNOON DRIVE, Written by Bill Spadaro; 1010 WINS Radio
WORLD NEWS THIS WEEK, Written by Stuart H. Chamberlain, Jr.; ABC News Radio
News--Analysis, Feature or Commentary
REMEMBERING ED BLISS, Written by Mike Silverstein; ABC News Radio
THE ROAD TO LAUGHTER: A TRIBUTE TO BOB HOPE, Written by Steven Gosset; CBS Radio Network
On-Air Promotion (Radio or Television)
BUFFY/ENTERPRISE, Written by Eric Jacobson; CBS/UPN
Top Story: Rings Gets Top PGA Honor
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won the Producers Guild's highest honor for a film at the PGA Awards, which took place Saturday night at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. The 2,000-member guild presented producers Peter Jackson, Frances Walsh and Barrie M. Osborne with the Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award for The Return of the King. The accolade makes The Return of the King a clear Oscar frontrunner, since 10 of the last 14 producer of the year winners have gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar. The Return of the King has been hailed by several major critics organizations and has won the best film award from the New York City film critics and a best director award for Jackson from the Los Angeles critics. Other PGA winners include the HBO drama Six Feet Under, which took best TV dramatic series and the network's Sex and the City, which was named best comedy series. Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy won best reality or game show series, while My House in Umbria took the top prize for best TV movie or miniseries.
FBI Probes Leaked "Screener" Videos
The FBI is looking into how four video screeners sent to Academy Award voters ended up on the Internet, including the films Something's Gotta Give, The Last Samurai, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and Thirteen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the copies of the four films have been traced by their respective studios to screeners intended for use by character actor Carmine Caridi, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Penalties for an Academy member who fails to safeguard their screeners could be disciplined with expulsion from the Academy, but illegally distributing copyrighted works is also a federal crime that could lead to more severe penalties. Screener copies of House of Sand and Fog and Cold Mountain have also turned up on the Internet but have not been linked to Caridi. Cardini could not be reached for comment.
Mystic River, Seabiscuit Honored
Mystic River and Seabiscuit tied for this year's University of Southern California Scripter Award, which honor the best English-language adaptation. The Associated Press reports the tie will require a runoff between two films with the final results to be announced Thursday. The award will be presented Feb. 15. Nominees this year include: Mystic River-- screenwriter Brian Helgeland/author Dennis Lehane; Seabiscuit screenwriter Gary Ross/author Laura Hillenbrand; Cold Mountain screenwriter Anthony Minghella/author Charles Frazier; The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King screenwriters Frances Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson/author J.R.R. Tolkien; and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World screenwriters Peter Weir and John Collee/author Patrick O'Brian.
Jamie Foxx, Sister Enter Not Guilty Pleas
Comedian Jamie Foxx and his younger sister, Deidra Dixon, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges stemming from a fight with police officers and security guards last year at the New Orleans Harrah's Casino. A Feb. 3 trial date was set at the hearing. According to the AP, Foxx and Dixon were arrested April 26 after police said they and a group of their friends refused to show identification at the door, entered the casino and then refused requests to leave. The two were each charged with two counts of battery on a police officer causing injury, a felony, and one misdemeanor count of disturbing the peace. Dixon is also charged with resisting an officer, another misdemeanor.
Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Hello!: Part II
Just when you thought it was finally over, a judge in London granted celebrity magazine Hello! permission Friday to appeal a ruling that it acted improperly in publishing unauthorized photos of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones' extravagant 2000 wedding at New York's Plaza Hotel. According to the AP, Judge John Lindsay also gave the couple permission to appeal part of his decision that publication of the photos didn't infringe on their privacy. In November, Lindsay ordered Hello! to pay the couple $26,000 in damages--far less than the $900,000 Douglas and Zeta-Jones had sought. He also ordered Hello! to pay $1.9 million to rival celeb tabloid OK!, which had an exclusive deal for pictures of the couple's wedding. No date was set for the appeals.
UPN Gets Amish in the City
UPN is preparing a reality series that follows Amish teenagers having their first experiences outside of their society, the AP reports. Members of the Amish religious sect, present in rural Pennsylvania and Ohio, dress simply and shun modern technology. But at the age of 16, Amish teens are allowed to break free of the religion's strict code of conduct to decide whether or not they want to be baptized into the Amish faith. "To have people who don't have television walk down Rodeo Drive and be freaked out by what they see, I think will be interesting television. It will not be denigrating to the Amish," said CBS chairman Leslie Moonves, who also oversees UPN. The Amish series is tentatively scheduled for this summer.
Johnny Rotten Joins I'm a Celebrity
To the shock and dismay of punk fans worldwide, former Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten has agreed to appear in the reality s