Fresh off the production of their upcoming war drama, Lone Survivor, Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg have decided to work together again. According to Deadline, the pair have signed on for American Desperado, an adaptation of a nonfiction crime book by the same name. The Departed's Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan wrote the screenplay.
Written by criminal Jon Roberts and journalist Evan Wright, the book American Desperado tells the true story of Roberts' experiences in the illegal drug trade in Miami during the 1980s. Before its 2011 publication, Roberts was the subject of the 2006 documentary Cocaine Cowboys. At this point, not too much else is known about the film adaptation of American Desperado, but the full title of the book certainly suggests the potential for an action-packed adaptation: American Desperado: My Life from Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset.
So, at the very least, it looks like this will be another violent crime movie for Wahlberg. We're curious to see who else will join the cast. Berg and Wahlberg's other project, Lone Survivor, hits theaters in January.
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The notion doesn't come up when we're tucked into a movie theater seat watching the latest and greatest big budget blockbuster, but making a movie is an evolutionary process. Take Oblivion, for instance.
The hiring an Oscar-winning screenwriter to take on an original idea is music to the ears of any moviegoer. In the case of Oblivion, director Joseph Kosinski's science fiction pitch, the sound was even sweeter. Rarely does Hollywood take a chance on an original blockbuster, but when William Monahan, Oscar-winner for Martin Scorsese's The Departed, was hired to pen the picture, the gamble made perfect sense.
Monahan signed on to the movie in 2010 when Oblivion was still at Disney. The script would be based off Kosinski's original ideas, first put to print in a graphic novel version of the pitch. Hiring Monahan was a promise: fans would be getting a fresh sci-fi tale from a visionary director, brought to life by a guy with golden proof of his skills.
Like with most films, writing Oblivion didn't stop at Monahan's initial draft. The movie eventually jumped from Disney to Universal, and between 2010 to 2012 when Oblivion began shooting, other writers including Karl Gajdusek (Tresspass) and Michael Ardnt (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) were brought on to rewrite and polish the work. The real surprise is the crediting in the final film — while many writers who write the first drafts of a movie receive "Written by" credits, even if their work has drastically changed, Monahan's name is nowhere to be found.
Why? Hollywood.com reached out to the writer to see exactly why the movie opted out of including his name. According to Monahan's reps' official statement:
"William Monahan did not seek screen credit on Oblivion. He did one contractual draft two years ago and there have been other writers under Joe's specific direction since then, as well as creative work between Joe and Tom. He regards the picture as Joe's baby, hopes he was of some assistance in realizing a long-standing ambition to bring Oblivion to the screen, and wishes Joe and Tom and Universal all success. He looks very much forward to seeing the picture."
Those who caught Oblivion in theaters likely saw a version that took cues from Monahan's script, but either enough of it was altered or Monahan didn't see enough of his work in the finished film to feel a credit was deserving. Luckily for Kosinski, Oblivion still gets to pack the "Oscar-winning writer" credit: Ardnt picked up an Academy Award in 2007 for his work on Little Miss Sunshine.
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Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
Sin City 2 is one of those films that has been rumored for so long that it's hard to believe it will ever come to be.
The latest news on the project is that The Departed writer William Monahan is being brought in to pen the script, but even now, when things seem to be really materializing for the film, there are skeptics. And for good reason—since 2005, people have been claiming this movie was underway. We've been let down time and time again and for some masochistic reason, it's fun to revisit all those moments of traumatic disappointment over the years.
So here's a look back at a few (key word) of the Sin City 2 filming rumors that we've had to endure:
“Work had already started on a sequel to Sin City, and would feature many of the same characters.” - Robert Rodriguez, The Quentin Tarantino Archives
“I don't think the film is being made at this moment. So when it's actually going to be made, I'm sure we'll talk about it [again].” - Angelina Jolie, Killer Movies
"When I showed [Antonio Banderas] the first sample of the work, he went, 'Man I'll do anything in that. I'll be the hunchback. You have to bring me onboard, that looks amazing...So Frank met him that time too and he said, 'I have got to find something for that guy. I've never met him before. He's amazing.' [So we're] looking at the cast of characters and [looking] to see where he can fit." - Robert Rodriguez, Comingsoon 2008 “Stars coming back include Jessica Alba, Brittany Murphy, Mickey Rourke, Michael Clarke Duncan and Rosario Dawson. The sequel is expected to be finished for 2010 release.” - Angelina Jolie, Ace Showbiz "Sin City 2 is written. It's mainly a matter of working out the details of the production. I'm hoping to do it with Robert Rodriguez again in the same circumstances that we did the first one, and we could be shooting as soon as April." - Frank Miller, Ace Showbiz 2009
- Daily Motion
"I'm hearing it might be next year. I heard that from a very good source... recently." - Clive Owen, MTV
"As simple as Sin City seems, it's a very complex scheduling with all these actors and it's a very demanding shoot to be on a sound stage all day long." - Producer Stephen L'Heureux, MTV (this article also reported that L'Heureux confirmed "the story will be based upon an original script by Miller, who will once again co-direct the sequel with Robert Rodriguez.")
With Rodriguez confirming Sin City 2 at this years San Diego Comic-Con, can the rumors finally be laid to rest? Can fact finally prevail? Who knows, but it's a good excuse to watch the old movie.
I wasn't sure whether or not Joseph Kosinski would be able to get back to work as quickly as he is. His feature debut, Tron: Legacy, did some business, but not exactly what Disney had hoped it would. Of course, that's not the reason that the Mouse House dropped the visually-inventive filmmaker's new project, Oblivion (at least that's not what the company is saying). The fact that Kosinski couldn't bring the film in with a PG rating is supposedly why Disney let the ambitious movie go. Thankfully, Universal Pictures has swooped in and picked it up - and attached the biggest movie star in the world to it.
Deadline reports that Tom Cruise will star as a lone soldier on the ground in a desolate future planet, where most of the population lives in a society amongst the clouds. Day in and day out he repairs drones that patrol and destroy a savage alien life form that has taken control of the surface, until he encounters a beautiful woman who crashes in a craft and forces him to question everything he believes about his planet and life. William Monahan (The Departed) penned the screenplay, based on Kosinski's original idea, and Karl Gajdusek is coming aboard to rewrite it. Universal, not bound by the same family-friendly business model as Disney, has agreed to a PG-13 rating and a production budget of $100 million.
I'm pretty gung-ho about this project. It's totally sci-fi, but also sounds like it has a deeply theological or existential story arc that, set against the beautiful backdrop of a city in the clouds, should be breathtaking. I'd be more comfortable with it if it was in the hands of a more experienced filmmaker, but this appears to be Kosinski's baby. That, coupled with his indisputable aesthetic talents, should lead to a pretty awesome adventure flick. And this is exactly the kind of film that Cruise needs to make the world remember why he's the biggest action star on the planet. He hasn't done sci-fi since 2005's War of the Worlds, instead opting for spy action like Mission: Impossible 3, Knight and Day and this winter's fourth Mission. He's still one of the most bankable leading men in the business and I'm looking forward to seeing him return to this exciting genre.
I guess Hollywood's fictional scientists learned nothing from A Clockwork Orange. Stanley Kubrick, essentially, sought to teach cinema's most brilliant minds that you cannot alter an individual's natural behavior. Yet that's exactly what director F. Gary Gray is planning to do with his new film, a high-concept futuristic heist thriller called The Last Days of American Crime. In it, America responds to a second major terrorist attack by developing technology that eliminates the impulse to commit crimes of any kind. The story centers on a man leading a heist team to pull off a final job five days before the signal rubs out the criminal instinct.
Let's make this clear. It's not Mr. Gray who is responsible for bringing this story to the screen. You can thank Radical Publishing's Barry Levine for that. The film is a project that he has been shepherding with Sam Worthington, who has a deal with Radical that also includes another adaptation-in-progress called Damaged. The Aussie will star as the team's point man and will also produce with Levine and his partner Michael Schwarz. Rick Remender wrote the script, though Deadline says that Karl Gajdusek, who penned Joel Schumacher's Trespass and will also rewrite William Monahan's Oblivion script for Joseph Kosinski, will work on the screenplay now that a director is on board.
I like Gray as a filmmaker. Sure, he's had a few misses like Be Cool and A Man Apart, but he's also the guy who made Friday, Set It Off, The Negotiator and The Italian Job. The latter release sounds most closely related to what The Last Days Of American Crime has in store for us, and it is a slick heist pic that holds up against the glitzier Oceans films among other genre contenders. My biggest concern is with the story. As previously stated, I just don't see how the hook of having the characters' criminal instincts eradicated will entice audiences to by a ticket. Will it make moviegoers "miss" their criminal behavior? Will everyone go out after the credits and embrace their inner crook? I guess it'll make the team work against a clock, which will increase the tension ten-fold. But if they don't succeed in their mission, I don't see what the big consequences will be.
This shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone. Walt Disney Pictures has decided not to move forward with producing an adaptation of Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski's upcoming illustrated novel Oblivion, says Variety. The studio made a deal with the filmmaker last August after the book bowed at the San Diego Comic-Con, when Tron was tracking big and looked like it was going to be the start of another huge franchise for the Mouse House.
Fast forward a few months. The film's $398 million haul was good enough to draw profit but was hardly the hit that Disney thought it had on its hands, and thus, Kosinski's stock at the company has cooled momentarily. He's still attached to helm a remake of its 1979 sci-fi family film The Black Hole, but it looks like he'll shop Oblivion (which was possibly retitled Horizons) around at other studios with producer Barry Levine of Radical Publishing (who helped develop the book) first. For those unaware of what this ambitious tent pole is about, the story is set in a future in which the Earth's surface has been irradiated beyond recognition and the human survivors live above the clouds, safe from the alien Scavengers that stalk the ruins. But when surface-drone repairman Jak discovers a mysterious woman in a crash-landed pod, it sets off a chain of events that forces him to question everything he believes.
William Monahan (The Departed) and Karl Gajdusek (upcoming Trespass) worked on the script, which means that it's probably pretty good. Given the visual flair of Kosinski's Tron, I've got no reason to believe that this original project won't be cool; it just needs a home. There's a huge market for big science fiction these days, so I can't imagine a studio not going for the property. Disney may regret letting this one go in the long term...
Leonardo DiCaprio has bailed out of his upcoming film with official worst person in the world, Mel Gibson. Gibson, who is currently under investigation for domestic abuse against his girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, had been set to start filming a historical epic about Vikings with DiCaprio in the lead this fall. According to a “source close to the actor”, the Inception star is has officially left the project, due to Mel Gibson’s latest case of batshit insanity.
DiCaprio’s decision to distance himself from Gibson doesn’t come as a surprise. As a result of his oft-discussed leaked phone calls with ex-girlfriend Grigorieva, which are full of racist slurs, swears, and threats of physical and sexual violence, the Passion Of The Christ director has become the most hated man in Hollywood since, well, Mel Gibson in 2004. The untitled Viking project isn’t the only film to be derailed by the actor’s public implosion; Jodie Foster-directed comedy The Beaver, which stars Gibson, was set to be released this year, but currently faces an uncertain future. There’s no reason why DiCaprio, whose recent role in Inception has been garnering rave reviews, would even consider associating himself with Gibson at this point.
As much as we hate to say it, a film written by William Monahan with Leo DiCaprio as a Viking could have been pretty cool (Think Braveheart, with horned helmets instead of kilts). There's enough potential in the project, once you get Gibson out, that it's not inconceivable to imagine another director picking it up. Preferably a director who isn’t a violent, racist prick.
After taking a nearly eight-year break from leading roles during which he directed and produced one film the violent Mayan epic Apocalypto and suffered one rather infamous public meltdown Mel Gibson returns to the big screen with a vengeance — literally — in Edge of Darkness a gritty political thriller directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) and written by William Monahan (The Departed).
Revenge is a dominant theme in Gibson’s work — along with torture and religion it forms the Holy Trinity of the actor-director’s filmmaking obsessions — and the role of Thomas Craven a veteran Boston homicide detective who goes rogue in order to hunt down the men responsible for his daughter’s murder is right in his wheelhouse. But even though Gibson is at the top of his game in Edge of Darkness the film's “renegade cop” bit would still feel stale and played-out were it not for the solid work of Monahan and Campbell who together remind us that in the hands of talented filmmakers even the most conventional of concepts can be made fresh and interesting again.
Nonetheless the notion of seeing Gibson’s face in an actual movie and not in the pages of some tabloid is pretty strange at first and I’m convinced that’s why Campbell depicts the murder of Craven’s daughter — the inciting event of Edge of Darkness — with shocking brutality blowing nearly half her torso away with a shotgun blast to the abdomen. The grisly scene — an early nominee for next year’s WTF?!? Awards — shifts our focus from Mel as tabloid curiosity to Mel as angry grieving father in sudden and dramatic fashion.
And Mel’s the T-1000 of angry grieving fathers his weathered and weary face seething with barely-contained rage as he stalks his daughter’s assailants with grim unwavering determination. The trail lands him waist-deep in a fascinatingly complex conspiracy involving secret nuclear stockpiles shady defense contractors duplicitous government bureaucrats effete senators and corrupt cops (but thankfully no Jews as far as I could tell). And while none of those things matter much to Gibson’s character who simply wants to ass-rape every douchebag that stands between him and sweet bloody vengeance they’re crucial to us keeping us riveted to our seats throughout this taut pulse-pounding thriller.
The Titanic actor will star and Gibson will direct the upcoming epic, about the medieval Scandinavian warrior race.
The film, which is expected to begin shooting next year (10), comes from screenwriter William Monahan and producer Graham King, who previously teamed up on DiCaprio's 2006 movie The Departed.
King tells Variety, "This will be an awe-inspiring story, created with some of the industry's finest cinematic talent, and I am just over the moon to be making this film with Mel, Leo and Bill (Monahan)."
Penned the film adaptation of "Body of Lies" directed by Ridley Scott
Garnered critical acclaim for his first novel Light House: A Trifle
Hired to work as an editor at the now defunct Spy magazine
Penned the film adaptation of "Edge of Darkness"
Began contributing essays and short fiction to the alternative weekly New York Press; regularly courting controversy
Played guitar in a band called the Slags in the late 1980s
Penned the screenplay adaptation for director Ridley Scott’s "Kingdom of Heaven"
Wrote a weekly column for the seasonal Hamptons magazine
Sold first spec script, a Barbary War epic titled "Tripoli" to 20th Century Fox; script was eventually shelved
Scripted the police/mob thriller "The Departed" for director Martin Scorsese; based on the Hong Kong action film "Infernal Affairs"; earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay
Earliest known published piece, a short story titled "At the Village Hall" in the Northampton zine Perkins Press
First novel Light House was published serially in the Amherst literary magazine Old Crow Review over five installments
Reclusive novelist-turned-screenwriter William Monahan cut his teeth for years as a journalist for such well-known publications as <i>Talk</i>, <i>Maxim</i> and <i>The New York Press</i> before becoming the toast of Hollywood in the mid-2000's. The scribe of such big-budget features as Ridley Scott's "Kingdom of Heaven" (2005) and the 2006 Martin Scorsese thriller, "The Departed," Monahan began writing for Hollywood in 2001 and quickly rose to become one of Tinseltown's most sought-after talents.