UPDATE: Not even a day after this original story broke, Summit Entertainment has hired Let Me In director Matt Reeves to helm its adaptation of This Dark Endeavor. Deadline reports that Jacob Aaron Estes will pen the screenplay for the picture.
EARLIER: Apparently everyone capable of making movies is sick of zombies and vampires and all the rest of that stupid crap, so that fad is being tossed aside in favor of something original: Frankenstein, but there's one problem. Everyone capable of making movies is also making their own Frankenstein. According to Deadline, there are now six different studios producing some type of Frankenstein film. The reason? Well, Frankenstein is a classic novel that's considered "public domain," so anybody can pretty much create their own monster (sorry), but in the end probably only one or two of these films will actually be made.
Anyway, the most recent film is an adaptation of Peter Ackroyd's novel The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein, which will be adapted by the talented Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Auburn (Proof). Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert's Ghost House Pictures will produce alongside RT Features. The story will focus on the "youthful days of Frankenstein," you know, the days when a young, darling Frankenstein ran through open fields of wildflowers, lilies and innocence, or something.
Universal is currently teaming with Guillermo del Toro and Scott Stuber for an update on the 1931 film; Summit Entertainment -- with Twilight Saga producer Karen Rosenfelt -- is developing an adaptation of Kenneth Oppel's novel This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstin; Columbia Pictures and producer Matt Tomach just acquired a script that retells the Frankenstein story pitched by Craig Fernandez; also, Fox 2000 is remaking The Rocky Horror Picture Show with Glee's Ryan Murphy; and finally, Guns N Roses guitar player Slash has teamed his Slasher Films with Scout Productions to do Wake the Dead, a Frankenstein tale based on the graphic novel by Steve Niles with Jay Russell attached to star -- because at this point, why the hell wouldn't Slash be making a Frankenstein film?
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Pixar makes it ten gems in a row with this enchanting animated story of 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen a recent widower who decides to fulfill his (plus his late wife’s) lifelong dream of tying thousands of balloons to their house and floating off to a mountaintop in South America. But he soon discovers a stowaway in the form of Russell a precocious eight-year-old “Wilderness Explorer” who he reluctantly allows to accompany him on his journey. Together the unlikely pair embark on the adventure of a lifetime encountering Kevin a rare 13-foot tall-flightless bird; Dug an overly-friendly talking pooch; and Charles Muntz a once-famous adventurer who now lives alone in a massive airship surrounded by a pack of attack dogs.
WHO’S IN IT?
Sticking to their general custom of casting actors not big stars in key voice roles Pixar assembled a superb cast for Up led by veteran TV star Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) as the aged Carl who takes flight in his house and finds there is a lot to learn about life even as you near death. Asner’s grumpy delivery provides the perfect counterpoint to nine-year-old Jordan Nagai’s Russell a bright and optimistic kid who proves an invaluable assistant to Carl throughout their journey. Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music) is authoritative and intriguing as the obsessed Muntz and John Ratzenberger (Cheers) extends his streak of Pixar films to 10 as a construction engineer who tries to convince Carl to sell his house. Bob Peterson does delightful double duty as two of the key dog voices lovable Dug and the menacing Alpha head of the pack.
Like Pixar’s previous Oscar-winning masterpiece Wall-E Up is a ‘toon that is not content to explore the same places we’ve seen in previous animated blockbusters. Centering an action comedy around a 78-year-old man isn’t a strategy you’ll find in the youth-obsessed Hollywood recipe book but it pays great dividends here with a moral that life’s greatest adventure is the one you share with someone you love. The non-humans — particularly Kevin and Dug — are hilarious and unique and a silent sequence detailing the courtship and marriage of the Fredricksens is a sweet touch that could have come straight out of a Charlie Chaplin movie.
With a string of critically-acclaimed hits that includes Toy Story Finding Nemo The Incredibles Ratatouille Wall-E and now Up Pixar is ruining it for everyone else. There is simply no way they can be topped when it comes to pushing the boundaries of animated movies. Bad for other studios. Good for us.
Could Up which just became the first animated film to open the Cannes Film Festival also become the first to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar since Beauty and the Beast in 1991 (before the Animation category was even established)? At this point in the year it’s actually a good bet. Whatever the case expect Up to earn several nominations come Oscar time.
A swashbuckling swordfight across the skies between two near-octogenarians? It’s the best action scene in a summer full of ‘em.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
Oh pleeeeeease! Get to a theater fast. Up is also available in 3-D at select locations. Either way it’s a must-see.
Legendary The Flintstones animator Ed Benedict has died. He was 94.
Benedict passed away in his sleep on Aug. 28 at home in Auburn, California, his longtime friend and co-animator David K. Sheldon has just revealed.
Sheldon says, "He was quite an interesting fellow, that's for sure. He was the main character designer for all the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons--Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw."
But Benedict was most famous for designing the main characters in The Flintstones--Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, as well as their respective wives, Wilma and Betty.
Cartoon historian Jerry Beck says, "It would not be an exaggeration to say that a large part of Hanna-Barbera's success in TV animation is owed to Benedict's incredibly appealing and fun character designs."
Before his death, Benedict requested his cremated ashes to be scattered over California's Carmel Bay.
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Lonesome doctor Kate Forster (Sandra Bullock) must move out of the lake house she loves so much but leaves a letter for the new tenant in the mailbox with a forwarding address and a few pointers about the house. When Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves) who’s father built the house moves in he finds things very different than Kate’s letter has revealed. After a few exchanges of questions and curiosities they realize they are living on the same day two years apart. Wondering how this could be happening (as are we) the mailbox suddenly becomes a conduit for their burgeoning love affair. But attempting to meet face to face is the challenge. Reeves is generally perceived as an action hero with Speed and The Matrix movies cementing his fate. So seeing him in romantic films such as Sweet November makes us cringe a little since he always looks like he’d rather be off chasing buses. While this still remains true in Lake House the stiffness actually works since the character doesn’t have much interaction with his object of affection. And of course pairing up with his Speed co-star is a plus. The emotion pours out of the two. Bullock’s slightly guarded character begins to open up to Reeves’ and the letters which turn into conversations throughout the movie depict the connection nicely. Inspired by the South Korean film Il Mare Argentinean director Alejandro Agresti handles The Lake House with a fine hand. It’s true the time-travel premise is more than a little confusing and riddled with plot holes but one has to keep in the back of their mind The Lake House is meant to take you on a journey of sorts. Agresti does an excellent job of doing this highlighting the scenic beauty and having the characters talk to each other through their words. If you just don’t think about the ridiculousness of it too much you’ll enjoy it.
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Auburn Proof centers on Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow) a devoted daughter who must come to terms with the death of her father (Anthony Hopkins). He was a brilliant mathematician whose genius was crippled by mental insanity. As she deals with the devastating loss Catherine also is confronted with her own fears that she'll end up just like him. She's just as much as genius as her dad but at what price? The constant threat of madness weighs the girl down. It doesn't help that her estranged sister Claire (Hope Davis) pretty much believes Catherine is headed for the deep end and wants to whisk her away so she can take care of her. At least Catherine finds some solace in one of her father's former math students Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal) who idolized her father--and has loved her from afar. But even this bright spot in Catherine's life is jeopardized when the proof is finally discovered. And that brilliant world-changing complicated proof just blows things all to hell.
With a film adapted from a play the onus naturally falls on the actors. Thankfully in Proof no one disappoints. Having already tackled the part on the London stage Paltrow slips into the very unglamorous downtrodden role once again convincingly playing Catherine with such pathos. It's exhausting to watch at times because we are always kept wondering whether she'll spiral out of control. The actress obviously had to dig deep--maybe too deep--but proves she can handle such affecting material. Luckily there are more upbeat characters in the movie. Typically relegated to playing depressives in such indies as American Splendor and About Schmidt Davis gets to be the optimistic one this time. As the perky Claire who long ago ran away from her dysfunctional family Davis comes off as the "bad guy " but one who conveys genuine concern for her sister. Also no stranger to indie films Gyllenhaal breaks away from his usual disheartened fare (Donnie Darko The Good Girl) and plays a rather animated fellow who is trying desperately to get through to the damaged girl he's fallen for. And then there's the venerable Anthony Hopkins as the demented dad. Although his appearances are brief they are entirely memorable and aptly detail the unwavering bond between father and daughter.
Of course you can't help but compare Proof to the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind in some ways. Both are about mathematicians whose minds are a little too brilliant for their own good. But while A Beautiful Mind is grand in scope and is a true cinematic experience Proof narrows down to the minutiae--but is still intriguing. Sure a movie about math might seem like a yawner but you're drawn in by the exceptional people whose genius won't let them cope with the real world. John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) previously directed the London production of the play. He does a nice job keeping things flowing especially in utilizing the shifts in time with flashbacks and flash forwards. But the film still has the talking heads problem. On stage it's acceptable for actors to stand around and give weighty emotional speeches about love life and relationships. On film you want more. Even if Madden takes the camera outside in the snow or to a university campus Proof is still peppered with those stage pieces. Luckily for the film crazy people are fascinating to watch.
Top Story: Winslet and Mendes Expecting Child
Titanic star Kate Winslet and her new husband, American Beauty director Sam Mendes, are expecting their first baby, due in January, The Associated Press reports. "They are both delighted with the pregnancy," Chloe Dunbar of Premiere PR in London, which represents Mendes, told AP. The two were married in May, and Dunbar said they were currently on vacation in Italy. Winslet has a 3-year-old daughter Mia from her previous marriage to director Jim Threapleton.
Schwarzenegger Calls for Tougher Piracy Laws
In Mexico promoting his new actioner Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Arnold Schwarzenegger stressed the need for stronger laws against film and music piracy after being handed a bootleg copy of T3, Reuters reports. "We need stricter laws so that the people who do this (piracy) are treated the same way as somebody who steals something," Schwarzenegger said Thursday at the press conference. The actor, who is considering running for governor of California, should make this his first order of business if elected.
West Wing Returns With New Writing Staff
NBC's political drama The West Wing will return for a fifth season with a new commander-in-chief: John Wells, who is replacing series creator Aaron Sorkin, Reuters reports. With a brand-new writing staff, NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker promised Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour that the transition would be seamless, with viewers noticing little difference in the show except for perhaps less of the dialogue "banter" that was a hallmark of Sorkin's writing style.
Osbourne Tour Manager Dies
Bobby Thomson, Ozzy Osbourne's longtime Ozzfest tour manager, died in his sleep Thursday night in Birmingham, Michigan, after battling throat cancer, LAUNCHMusic.com reports. He was 50. Osbourne issued a statement saying, "We are devastated by the loss of our dear friend Bobby. He has been a part of our family for 23 years and loved very much. He will be greatly missed by all of us. Our sincerest sympathies go out to the Thomson family."
J. Lo Postpones Tour, Launches New Fragrance
If you're waiting to see Jennifer Lopez in concert, you're going to have to wait a little longer. The pop singer/actress has decided not to go on tour with her latest album This is Me…Then but will wait until her next release, MTV.com reports. "The [question] was like, 'Do we go out now when we're on the, like, third and fourth single of this album?' 'Cause really, you go out at the beginning of an album," Lopez told MTV. "And [so] that's what we're gonna do. I'm gonna work on something else, and when that comes out I think I'm gonna go out right away." Instead of touring, Lopez is releasing a second fragrance, called Still, in October to go along with the first, Glow, MTV.com reports. The ad campaign is planned for a more upscale market and will feature the slogan, "In the eye of the storm, I am still Jennifer Lopez."
Role Call: Newell Considering Fourth Potter, Gyllenhaal Needs Proof
Director Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) is looking to team up with Warner Bros. to direct the fourth Harry Potter installment, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He'll be the first British director to tackle the hugely popular J.K. Rowling books, following Chris Columbus, who directed the first two films Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets and Alfonso Cuaron, currently filming the third in the series Prisoner of Azkaban…Jake Gyllenhaal is in negotiations to join Gwyneth Paltrow in Proof for Miramax Films. According to The Reporter, the story, based on David Auburn's Pulitzer-prized play, centers on a young woman (Paltrow) taking care of her dying father, a brilliant but insane math professor. Gyllenhaal will play Hal, the young woman's love interest.
November 28, 2001 11:52am EST
CBS won a narrow victory over NBC in the final week of the November sweeps, The Associated Press reports. While NBC's Friends was the most-watched program with 24.2 million viewers, more TV sets were actually tuned to the CBS comedy Everybody Loves Raymond. Survivor ratings fell slightly on the Thanksgiving holiday, slipping to 20th place in the Nielsen standings with 17.7 million viewers. For the final full week of sweeps, CBS came in first with an average of 13.2 million viewers, followed by NBC with 12.8 million, ABC with 10 million and Fox with 9.5 million. The Nielsen Media Research ratings are used to set advertising rates.
Angel star David Boreanaz married former Playboy Playmate Jamie Bergman in Palm Springs on Saturday. The pair originally planned to wed in September but postponed the nuptials after the events of Sept. 11, PageSix.com reports. Bergman, who plays B.J. Cummings on Howard Stern's Son of the Beach, skyrocketed to fame when she was named Playboy's 45th Anniversary Playmate
Movie classics The Manchurian Candidate and Network, along with the TV series Happy Days and Maude, will be inducted into the Producers Guild Awards' Hall of Fame on March 3, People reports. The ceremony honors films and TV programs at least 10 years old.
The Los Angeles Police Department confiscated a collection of vintage erotica, which included paintings and photographs, from Paul Reubens' home on Nov. 16, Entertainment Tonight reports. Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman) was not arrested or charged with any crime. A spokesperson for the actor called the allegations false and financially motivated. Reubens was arrested in July 1991 for performing lewd acts at a porn movie theater in Sarasota, Fla.
Rebecca Gayheart pleaded no contest in a Los Angeles courtroom Tuesday to a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter in the death of a nine-year-old boy, People reports. The former Beverly Hills, 90210 star, who struck the boy with her car in June, was sentenced to three years probation and a $1,000 fine. Gayheart also had her driver's suspended and will have to produce an educational safe driving video.
Rodney Dangerfield could be released from the Cedars Sinai Medical Center as early as Wednesday, Reuters reports. The 80-year-old comic was admitted to the Beverly Hills hospital Nov. 22 after suffering a mild heart attack.
Halle Berry may star as the femme fatale alongside Pierce Brosnan in the 20th James Bond film, Variety, reports. The deal has not yet been closed because of potential scheduling conflicts for the actress, who is set to reprise her role as Storm in the upcoming X-Men sequel for Fox early next year. The Bond film, which does not yet have a title, is set to begin shooting at Pinewood Studios in England on Jan. 14.
Six male strippers from the Broadway musical The Full Monty bared all for Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Variety Performance in London on Monday, AP reports. The annual charity began in 1912 and helps raise funds for the Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund. Other performers included Elton John, Cher and Jennifer Lopez.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young will kick off their 35-city, three-month tour on Feb. 6 at the Palace of Auburn Hills in suburban Detroit, Reuters reports. Tickets for the veteran rockers' Tour of America go on sale Dec.1 in Toronto and Dec. 3 in New York and Boston.
South African audiences were apparently laughing out loud on Tuesday after viewing the first episode of Survivor: Africa. South Africans found the participants' concerns about possible bear encounters particularly amusing, considering there are none in Kenya, Reuters reports. Critics said the reality show perpetuates the stereotypes associated with Americans abroad. Obviously.
Had first NYC production with "Skyscraper", produced at the Manhattan Theater Club (MTC)
Upon return to Manhattan, submitted "Proof" to MTC; in spring 1999, MTC held reading with Mary-Louise Parker in lead role
Penned the screenplay for "The Lake House" a remake of Korean pic "Il Mare"
Hired to pen first screenplay, an adaptation of the novel "Triage"
Had major success with second play, "Proof", a drama about the daughter of a mathemetician haunted by her father's illness; first produced Off-Broadway; later moved to Broadway
Moved to London to be with a girlfriend; over course of summer, wrote first draft of "Proof"
While attending the University of Chicago, began peforming with and writing for an improvisational comedy troupe
Adapted his Pulitzer Prize winning drama, "Proof" for the big screen starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins
Raised in Columbus, Ohio and in Arkansas
Won fellowship sponsored by Amblin Entertainment; went to L.A. and learned how to write film scripts; after fellowship ended moved to NYC because "I decided that, if I were going to go broke trying to be a writer, I'd rather do it as a playwright in New Y