In the cinematic desert that is the January-February movie-release schedule one gains a greater appreciation for mere competence. And that’s precisely what you’ll get with Man on a Ledge a mid-budget thriller with modest aspirations and genuine popcorn appeal. Sam Worthington (Avatar Clash of the Titans) stars as Nick Cassidy a former New York City cop wrongly convicted for the theft of a prized diamond. After exhausting all judicial avenues for exoneration he takes the unusual and seemingly desperate next step of planting himself on a ledge outside the penthouse of midtown’s Roosevelt Hotel and threatening to jump. An NYPD psychologist (Elizabeth Banks) is summoned to talk him down unaware that Nick harbors an ulterior motive. From his perch above midtown he is secretly orchestrating a scheme to take revenge against the corrupt corporate chieftain (Ed Harris) who engineered his demise and prove his innocence once and for all.
Director Asger Leth making his U.S. feature-film debut with Man on a Ledge keeps the pace brisk and never allows the tone to stray into self-seriousness which is crucial for a movie whose premise is so devoutly ridiculous. The script from Pablo F. Fenjves provides enough feints and twists to keep us engaged. Jamie Bell and Genesis Rodriguez aren’t the most believable of couples but there’s a screwball charm to their comic routine as amateur thieves charged with aiding Nick’s scheme. (Leth can’t resist inserting an entirely superfluous – but nonetheless greatly appreciated – scene of the criminally gorgeous Rodriguez stripping down to a thong in the middle of a heist.) Worthington makes for a likable populist protagonist even if his Australian accent betrays him on copious occasions and Harris’ disturbingly emaciated frame lends an added menace to his devious plutocrat villain.
UPDATE: British actor Jamie Bell is in final negotiations with Summit Entertainment for a spot in the upcoming, Man on a Ledge. If the he lands the role, Bell is set to have a tremendous year, already the leading man in Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tin Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn, and also in The Eagle and The Retreat. Congrats, Jamie!
After warring at the Academy Awards this past year, The Hurt Locker and Avatar are joining forces. Well, kind of.
Variety reports that Anthony Mackie (the non-crazy dude in Hurt Locker) is in negotiations to join the cop thriller Man on a Ledge, already starring Sam Worthington (the dude who became permanently blue in Avatar).
Man on a Ledge, written by Pablo Fenjves (best known as the ghostwriter for O.J. Simpson during his trial) and directed by Asger Leth, centers on an NYPD cop who threatens to jump from a building while at the same time, explores the relationship he has with the psychologist who tries to talk him out of it -- a.k.a. 90 minutes of sweating, heavy breathing, and hand held camera. Can't wait!
In all seriousness, the actors should provide some interesting characters for the film. Both proved they can handle intense situations with their roles in 2009, but we'll see how each deals with being the focus on screen -- when Worthington isn't hiding behind blue skin and tail, and Mackie isn't working with some crazy-as-hell cowboy who disarms a gazillion bombs at a time.
Sean Penn is in talks to star in Universal and Imagine's Cartel.
The film, which evolved from a remake of the 1993 Italian film La Scorta to an action vehicle for Penn, will follow a man's journey to protect his son after his wife is brutally murdered amid the world of Mexican cartels.
Asger Leth will direct with Brian Grazer producing. The script is by Peter Craig. Leth, who previously won a DGA Award for directing the 2006 documentary Ghosts of Cite Soleil, will make his feature debut with the film.
The original, directed byRicky Tognazzi, followed four cops' struggle to guard a special prosecutor trying to bring mob bosses to justice.
Variety reports that the studio and Imagine want to get the picture into production by summer but that a start date won't be set until Penn makes a deal.
Penn is also in continuing discussions for Doug Liman's Fair Game, about the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.
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