Promising journalism student Matt Buckner (Wood) gets tossed out of Harvard for taking a drug rap for his highly privileged roommate the son of a governor. He knows he can't fight the charges so he heads to London to visit his sister (Claire Forlani) who's married and has a child. Their absentee father (Henry Goodman) is a foreign correspondent and Matt can't reach him to tell him of his expulsion. Meanwhile he meets Pete (Hunnam) the crass and unsophisticated brother of his new brother-in-law Steve (Marc Warren). Steve sends Matt off with his brother Pete with a bribe to show him one of England's best cultural event--a football match (that's soccer to us Yanks). That trip results in Matt's involvement in the Green Street Hooligans a gang or "firm " as they're called that supports the local team and pounds each other in violent street battles. Matt learns about camaraderie loyalty machismo and street fighting as well as realizing he can pack a wallop when called upon. He's getting a reputation for being tough but things get more complicated as Matt becomes the sole American in the Hooligans as well as the fact he's hiding that he's a journalist. The firms don't take kindly to the tabloid types.
We know Wood as Frodo Baggins the hobbit of the Lord of the Rings movies and Hunnam is known as the pretty boy from the British version of Queer as Folk and Nicholas Nickleby. But in Green Street Hooligans both of them dirty themselves up a bit. Hunnam is the standout showing his true acting chops with his close-shorn hair and spontaneous mean streak. He's smart and multi-dimensional alternately showing his rough side as a gang fighter and then his sensitive side as a schoolteacher and football coach. Wood isn't nearly as believable as a street thug but he's adept at playing the fish-out-of-water roles. Warren is noteworthy as the brother-in-law with a secret and Leo Gregory puts on quite a performance as a police lieutenant suspicious of Pete. The supporting cast looks like they were taken right off the streets of West Ham.
Director and co-writer Lexi Alexander does a nice job showing the British versions of gangs and their bloody street fights. Americans may be shocked by the senseless violence surrounding a sports franchise (or maybe not) but it's realistic. The British press however are vilifying this film because it's too cleaned up and doesn't accurately show the "yob" subculture. But if Hooligans is viewed for its brutal but effective fight scenes as well as a window into machismo then its not disappointing. It gets a bit corny at times and heads in a predictable direction but it remains captivating partially because of the handheld cinematography by Alexander Buono. The film shows how the sense of belonging and desire to bash heads can become addictive among the guys in the pubs who don't have much to lose.
Top Story: Johnny Depp To Manage Crew of Oompa Loompas
Johnny Depp has been offered the role of Willy Wonka in director Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a Warner Bros. remake of Mel Stuart's 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. This will be the third reteaming for Depp and Burton, who previously collaborated on Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood. According to Variety, talks could potentially break down between the studio and Depp's UTA reps, since the commercial success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl gives the actor an upper hand in the negotiations. The adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic is being produced by Michael Siegel, who manages the interests of the author's estate, and Plan B partners Brad Grey, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. A script for the pic is in the works, but Warner Bros. has moved carefully over the years to prep the remake; Dahl adapted his novel for the original Willy Wonka movie but wasn't content with the result.
Production Resumes on Raymond Set
Production resumed Tuesday on CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond following the return of co-stars Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle, who had called in sick the day before. Co-star Patricia Heaton also was out sick several days last week, but the actress did report to work Tuesday, Reuters reports. The show's set has been rocked by the deadlock between producers and Emmy-winning co-star Brad Garrett, who has demanded a raise before he returns. Garrett was subsequently written out of next month's premiere episode.
Plastic Surgeons Snippy About Nip/Tuck
The FX network's hit drama Nip/Tuck, which follows two plastic surgeons who run a successful practice in Miami, is apparently getting under the skin of real life plastic surgeons. Dr. Leo McCafferty, chair of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery's public education committee, claims the show perpetuates the belief that all plastic surgeons do is stretch skin and stuff breasts rather than work with burn or accident victims. "The specialty is a medical specialty that deals with real medical issues," McCafferty told the AP. Maybe so, but according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, some 6.6 million people had cosmetic plastic surgery last year, with most popular procedures being nose reshaping, liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery and facelifts. Last week, Nip/Tuck was the 11th-ranked cable show.
The Fab Five Head to Miami
The Fab Five from Bravo's hit reality series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy will guest star as themselves on an episode of the NBC comedy Good Morning, Miami in the show's upcoming second season, Reuters reports. In the scene, Carson Kressley, Thom Filicia, Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas and Jai Rodriguez will meet Dylan and Jake in New York, where the couple moves, and will transform their little studio apartment into a nice living space. The episode is set to air Oct. 7 and will also feature guest appearances from Good Day Live's Jillian Barberie and Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Tiffani Thiessen.
Harrison Ford Guests at Deauville Film Fest
Harrison Ford will be the star guest at next month's Deauville Film Festival in France, The Associated Press reports. The 61-year-old actor will promote his latest action comedy Hollywood Homicide. Other stars expected at the festival, which honors American cinema, include John Cusack, Ed Burns, Charlize Theron, Ridley Scott and Jessica Lange. Ten films will compete for the Jury Prize, while another 15 will be shown out of competition, including Hollywood Homicide, American Wedding and Woody Allen's Anything Else. The 29th annual Deauville fest runs from Sept. 5-14.
Erik Estrada Sues Production Company
Former ChiPs star Erik Estrada filed a lawsuit Monday against White Tiger Films for $75,000, claiming the studio reneged on paying him when it decided against making a proposed movie, the AP reports. According to the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, the 54-year-old actor was set to appear in Four Corners of the Mafia and was to receive $25,000 a day for three days' work, regardless of whether the movie was made. The provision is standard in many actors' contracts to prevent them from losing income after committing to a failed film project.
Magician David Blaine Reveals Next Stunt
For his next stunt, magician David Blaine will suspend himself from a crane in a small Perspex box for more than six weeks. According to the BBC, Blaine will have no communication for the duration of the stunt and his only source of nourishment will be a tube supplying him with water. The event will start September 5 on the banks of the River Thames in London and end October 19. This will be Blaine's first UK stunt. Britain's Sky One TV will air a live telecast of Blaine gong into the box and then again exiting. His past stunts have included standing on a 100-foot-high pole in New York City for 35 hours and encasing himself in a six-ton block of ice for three days.
Role Call: Hip-Hop Director Eats Up Jelly Beans
Grammy-nominated hip-hop video director Chris Robinson, whose recently helmed the video for Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams' "Beautiful," will direct Jelly Beans for Warner Bros. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project is described as a music-oriented feature set in an Atlanta roller-skating rink in the vein of
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 9, 2000 -- So he got to shoot on an island off Thailand for months, flying friends in for visits and soaking up an island paradise. But Leonardo DiCaprio, star of "The Beach," has one little quibble.
Says Leo to the British magazine The Face, "It truly bothered me ... that [Richard, DiCaprio's character] never had any kind of sexual contact with Francoise," a stunning Frenchwoman played by Virginie Ledoyen, with whom he does a little smooching and frolicking in the surf.
"The constant foreplay between the two characters never amounted to anything," the 25-year-old DiCaprio says. "And I really wanted something, whether it be complete and utter rejection or some sort of wild sexual encounter. ... It just had to happen." Well, it just goes to show that even the King of the World can't have it all.
SCANDAL SHEET: Vanity Fair's 13-page article this month has revived controversy over Natalie Wood's mysterious 1981 drowning by suggesting that she and husband Robert Wagner argued on the night of her death.
The story, written by Sam Kashner, says previously unpublished police records appear to contradict statements that there was no fight between Wood and Wagner that night. The report features a new interview with Christopher Walken, who says he and the couple had been drinking on the night of Nov. 28, 1981, and had a conversation in which "you put all your cards on the table." The confessionals snowballed into a marital argument, and Walken "stepped outside for some air" and when he returned, everyone was apologizing and everything seemed fine. Wagner says it was a political discussion.
Wood, 43, was found drowned wearing a nightgown, socks and a jacket after apparently trying to leave her yacht off Catalina Island in California to board an inflatable dinghy. Her death was ruled an accident.
DAS FESTIVAL: In Germany, the 50th Berlin Film Festival kicked off today with a screening of "The Million Dollar Hotel," starring Mel Gibson and Jeremy Davies and co-written by U2 frontman Bono.
In the fest's coming days, French actress Jeanne Moreau, who recently did a diva walk-off during a planned guest appearance on "ER," will receive a special homage, as will Robert De Niro.
Other stars to raid Berlin: George Clooney and Ice Cube, on hand to promote "Three Kings" and the aforementioned Leo, a possible for "The Beach."
HONORS: Legendary writer/director Billy Wilder, who fled Nazi Europe in the 1930s for France (and later the United States), will receive the Federal Republic of Germany's Knight Commander's Cross (badge and star) on March 10. The 93-year-old Wilder is also to be honored by the Producers Guild on March 2 at Los Angeles' Century Plaza on the occasion of his "Some Like it Hot" joining the guild's landmark movie list ...
... Blake Edwards will receive the Art Directors Guild's Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award on Feb. 26 at the Beverly Hilton. The 77-year-old director-writer-producer, who is married to Julie Andrews, is the director of films such as "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Days of Wine and Roses" and eight "Pink Panther" movies ...
... The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, running today through Sunday in Aspen, Colo., will honor funnyman Robin Williams with its American Film Institute Star Award. Also on the docket: Baltimore-loving director Barry Levinson receiving the AFI Filmmaker Award and career tributes for Jerry Lewis, Mike Nichols and Elaine May.
QUICK TAKES: Martin Lawrence's cop comedy "Big Momma's House" is getting an early move-in date, says The Hollywood Reporter. Twentieth Century Fox is moving the film's release up from October to June 2. It was originally moved to fall after Lawrence was hospitalized Aug. 22 from heat stroke after jogging under heavy clothing in 100 degree heat. He fell into a coma but emerged after three days and began production on the film ...
... James Coburn will join the ranks of presenters at this year's Academy Awards on March 26 at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium. Coburn won a Best Supporting Actor statue last year for "Affliction," and, as tradition dictates, will likely present this year's Best Supporting Actress award ...
... And if you turn to the Grammys this year, you'll see the following artists perform (no, not together): The Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Whitney Houston, Kid Rock, Britney Spears, Santana, the Backstreet Boys, TLC and Ricky Martin. The Grammys air Feb. 23 on CBS.
LOVE LINES: In honor of the upcoming Valentine's Day, we give you the skinny on how to kiss Woody Allen -- straight from the lips of his "Mighty Aphrodite" co-star, Helena Bonham Carter.
"He tells you up front certain ways of kissing, he does not want,'' Bonham Carter tells the UK Sun. "No exchange of liquid is permitted."
As if that weren't enough info, Bonham Carter adds: "There's absolutely no tongue encounter. ... It can be a bit offensive because he makes no effort at all. But he does warn you, and says everyone gets the same treatment. His mouth is a no-go area. It's like kissing the Berlin Wall, really."
Somebody get the Listerine.