This summer, a bidding war broke out over a new comedy pilot to star and be co-written by comedian/actress Sarah Silverman. The increasingly ambitious NBC won out, and has just finalized the pilot order for this new project, which will be executive produced by Ron Howard and his Imagine associate Brian Grazer.
The pilot, written by Silverman and her Comedy Central series The Sarah Silverman Program writers Dan Sterling and Jon Schroeder, will be a humorous, semi-autobiographical account of Silverman's transition back into single life after a decade-long live-in relationship. Many are probably familiar with the long-term relationship Silverman shared with ABC's late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel from 2002 to 2009.
This new single-camera comedy is still untitled. What begs a few questions is Silverman's merge with network television. The comedian is infamous for her very crude, very raunchy brand of humor. Naturally, getting a way with this sort of material was not as big a problem on her former cable station, Comedy Central. However, the Silverman we know might be amended to fit what the standards of network TV.
Perhaps a more regimented, more balanced format is what Silverman needs to really excel. The comic actress is a talented one, but her Comedy Central series was a bit too all over the place to really work for many of us. Putting the wild Silverman in a more grounded universe could be a formula for comedic success. And having Howard involved inspires a great deal of faith.
Just a few hours after news broke about Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke strongly considering a follow-up to Before Sunset, it has been revealed that Delpy will direct an upcoming biopic about Joe Strummer.
The French actress/writer/director/producer will helm The Right Profile, about the famous frontman/lead guitarist of the English punk band The Clash. She could also potentially star in the film.
Delpy's most notable mainstream directorial effort is 2 Days in Paris, whose Chris Rock-starring sequel, 2 Days in New York, will be released next year.
Source: Variety, Collider
Sometimes, the story behind a story is more interesting than the story itself.
Truman Capote is a revered name in the modern history of American literature, whose classics include Breakfast at Tiffany's and In Cold Blood. The writer's life and work were celebrated in the 2005 biopic Capote, which starred Philip Seymour Hoffman. One piece of Capote's work has long been attached to a special air of intrigue: his first novel, Summer Crossing, which went unpublished until 2005, over two decades after the author's death. The novel is now being adapted into a film, and some of the most interesting aspects of this new development surround the evasive source material as well as the director assigned to the project: Scarlett Johansson.
Johansson has established herself as a major screen presence since beginning her acting career in the mid-1990s. She has worked with a wide variety of directors who far exceed "noteworthy": Woody Allen, Michael Bay, Sofia Coppola, Brian De Palma, Jon Favreau, Christopher Nolan, Robert Redford, and will work under Cameron Crowe in the upcoming We Bought a Zoo. So, perhaps she picked up a thing or two along the way from this cavalcade of filmmakers. At the very least, she picked up the itch.
Summer Crossing will be an interesting debut project for Johansson. The plot revolves around the daughter of an elite socialite Protestant couple who, when left on her own in New York City for the summer, begins dating a working-class Jewish man.
Luke Wilson and Kevin Connolly have joined the cast of Elvis & Nixon, the self-explanatorily titled drama directed by longtime actor Cary Elwes, making his directorial debut.
Eric Bana has already been cast as Elvis Presley and Danny Huston will play former President Richard Nixon in the indie, which centers on the storied 1970 meeting between the two.
Wilson is set to play a member of the King of Rock 'n' Roll's entourage, while Connolly will have a supporting role as a limo driver.
Click on the image below to see more photos of Luke Wilson!
Soon-to-be 'it' girl Felicity Jones has reportedly been cast as the female lead in Warren Beatty's upcoming film about Howard Hughes.
Jones will play a young woman who ultimately falls in love with Hughes (played by writer/director Beatty), the late, notoriously wealthy and reclusive tycoon.
Jones is becoming one of Hollywood's hottest up-and-coming talents, following her critically acclaimed breakout in the recently released drama Like Crazy.
Beatty's longtime wife, Annette Bening, and friend, Jack Nicholson, are also said to be in consideration roles in the untitled film. Ditto Owen Wilson and Alec Baldwin.
Niecy Nash, best known for her regular role on Comedy Central's Reno 911, has landed her own reality show on TLC.
The star and network are not strangers: Nash hosted the long-running TLC home-organization series Clean House.
The untitled series, which is set to premiere in early 2012, will follow Nash and her large family -- including new husband Jay Tucker, whose wedding with Nash was televised to large audience on the same network in June.
Nash, who also appeared on Dancing with the Stars last year, issued the following statement: "TLC is a new member of our big family, and we couldn’t be happier. There’s a lot of love in our house, but also a lot of mayhem and foolishness – all the kids are acting crazy, I’m busier than ever, and Jay’s never raised girls before. We hope our fans welcome us into their homes… we need the room!”
Click on the image below to see more photos of Niecy Nash!
Brett Ratner is out as producer of the next Oscars ceremony, amid the fallout from an antigay slur he made and comments about Olivia Munn and his sex life.
Ratner says the move was voluntary on his part and issued a resignation statement (scroll down for the full, lengthy version), part of which reads: "I called [Academy of Motions Picture Arts and Sciences President] Tom Sherak this morning and resigned as a producer of the 84th Academy Awards telecast. Being asked to help put on the Oscar show was the proudest moment of my career. But as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents."
Sherak responded with the following: “He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself. Words have meaning, and they have consequences. Brett is a good person, but his comments were unacceptable. We all hope this will be an opportunity to raise awareness about the harm that is caused by reckless and insensitive remarks, regardless of the intent.”
Over the past week, the Tower Heist told a movie-theater crowd that "rehearsal's for fags" (for which he apologized) and -- now less notably -- discussed the gory details of his sexual exploits and organ and other similarly unsavory matters, including an affair he may or may not have had with Olivia Munn.
Ratner's full statement:
Over the last few days, I’ve gotten a well-deserved earful from many of the people I admire most in this industry expressing their outrage and disappointment over the hurtful and stupid things I said in a number of recent media appearances. To them, and to everyone I’ve hurt and offended, I’d like to apologize publicly and unreservedly.
As difficult as the last few days have been for me, they cannot compare to the experience of any young man or woman who has been the target of offensive slurs or derogatory comments. And they pale in comparison to what any gay, lesbian, or transgender individual must deal with as they confront the many inequalities that continue to plague our world.
So many artists and craftspeople in our business are members of the LGBT community, and it pains me deeply that I may have hurt them. I should have known this all along, but at least I know it now: words do matter. Having love in your heart doesn’t count for much if what comes out of your mouth is ugly and bigoted. With this in mind, and to all those who understandably feel that apologies are not enough, please know that I will be taking real action over the coming weeks and months in an effort to do everything I can both professionally and personally to help stamp out the kind of thoughtless bigotry I’ve so foolishly perpetuated.
As a first step, I called Tom Sherak this morning and resigned as a producer of the 84th Academy Awards telecast. Being asked to help put on the Oscar show was the proudest moment of my career. But as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents.
I am grateful to GLAAD for engaging me in a dialogue about what we can do together to increase awareness of the important and troubling issues this episode has raised and I look forward to working with them. I am incredibly lucky to have a career in this business that I love with all of my heart and to be able to work alongside so many of my heroes. I deeply regret my actions and I am determined to learn from this experience.
Sincerely, Brett Ratner
While promoting his new movie, Tower Heist, during a Q&A session in Hollywood after a screening, a fan asked Brett Ratner what it was like to watch stars Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller and Casey Affleck rehearse. Ratner casually and obnoxiously responded to the inquiry with "Rehearsal? What's that? Rehearsal's for f*gs. Rehearsal. Not much. A lot of prep, preparation, complex action sequences, visual effects." Many found his comment to be obviously offensive, and yesterday Ratner issued an apology, stating "I apologize for any offense my remarks caused. It was a dumb and outdated way of expressing myself. Everyone who knows me knows that I don't have a prejudiced bone in my body. But as a storyteller, I should have been much more thoughtful about the power of language and my choice of words." What I find most amusing about this statement is how Ratner seems more sorry he came across as not being “trendy” or “hip” rather than for demeaning a sexual orientation.
But since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hired Ratner to produce the 2012 Academy Awards, one would think the director is now tasked with scrapping together some real remorse in order to keep himself in high regard with his employers. But AMPAS president Tom Sherak made it sound like they’ve already forgiven Ratner, saying “His remarks were inappropriate. He said it best in his apology, that his comments were dumb and insensitive. When you think of our community, it went against all the beliefs of the creative community we represent. He knew it was wrong and he issued that response as quickly as any human being ever has. The bottom line is, this won’t happen and can’t happen again. He apologized and we will move forward.” I don’t particularly agree with any of this either, because at no point in Ratner’s statement did he say what he said at the Q&A session was “dumb,” and so Sherak comes across as someone who’s just trying to convince himself that even though he has a bit of gum in his hair, there could always be more (which, heeeeeeey, sounds a lot like the slogan of a director who makes Jackie Chan movies AND the motto of the Academy Awards!). We'll see if Ratner decides to expound upon his non-apology with actual sincerity but from the looks of it, nobody is pressuring him to do so.
Click the image below to view more photos of Brett Ratner!
Sources: MTV, THR
Did Hollywood have anything to do with the emergence of the Occupy Wall Street movement? The whole thing seems a little bit convenient. Last month saw the behind-the-meltdown docudrama Margin Call and the sci-fi metaphor In Time. Now we have Tower Heist a comedy that pits the blue collar staff of the Trump Tower against a thieving Bernie Madoff-esque tenant. The movie's an Ocean's 11 for the 99% with a sense of timeliness that makes the simple plotting and wisecracking that much more effective.
Ben Stiller stars as Josh Kovacs overseer of all the goings-on at the Tower. He wakes up before dawn and heads home after sunset spending his day catering to the occupants of the ritzy apartment complex and managing his eclectic crew—including former Burger King cook Enrique (Michael Peña) Jamaican maid Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe) and his slacker brother-in-law Charlie (Casey Affleck). The crew's greatest concern is multi-billionaire Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) the penthouse resident Tower board member and thanks to attention paid trusted friend of Josh.
Trusted...until the FBI busts Shaw for stealing millions including the Tower employees' pensions.
Like all good tower heists Josh's titular harebrained scheme is prompted by a drunken night out with lead investigator Claire (Téa Leoni) who tips the irked manager off to Shaw's hidden stash: a possible eight-figure sum hidden somewhere in his apartment. In pursuing the American dream of revenge Josh recruits his slighted co-workers along with distraught former-millionaire Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick) and Josh's childhood friend-turned-thief Slide (Eddie Murphy). Together the motley crew concocts a plan to retrieve what's rightfully theirs—all while sinking Shaw in the process.
Tower Heist isn't as slick or intricate as the Ocean movies but its straightforward take on the crime genre is strengthened by Stiller Murphy and the rest of the cast's ability to inject ridiculous humor into sympathetic characters. When Josh realizes his decade spent commanding the operations of the Tower were for naught he wigs out marching up to the top floor to beat the crap out of Shaw's priceless convertible (it was owned by Steve McQueen in case you were wondering why anyone would keep an antique car on the top floor of a building). Not entirely realistic but relatable which sums up every over-the-top satisfying scenario these characters find themselves throughout the film.
Most importantly Tower Heist delivers on the funny. Playing the straight man is an art and Stiller's one of the masters (although you'd never know it from his Night at the Museum shtick or wackier roles like Zoolander) riffing off his co-stars while giving them ample time to be complete weirdos. The movie is being touted as a comeback for Murphy but he wisely steps into a supporting role delivering on his character's manic charm while never trying to steal the spotlight. The one who really steals the show is Broderick whose clueless neurotic Fitzhugh can't help relapsing mid-heist into memories of luxurious trips to Greece.
Credit goes to director Brett Ratner who cranked out three Rush Hour movies and an X-Men threequel while never really nailing down what it takes to make a group dynamic work. Here he pulls it off finding the right beats to make Tower Heist funny and thrilling. There are moments during the actual heist scene set during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade that cause quite a stir—a rarity in today's run-of-the-mill thrill rides.
Tower Heist is the definition of a cinematic softball avoiding risky choices and utilizing each actor to their previously known (and successful) traits without feeling lazy. As the holidays roll in and families look for something they all can enjoy Tower Heist delivers a little something for everyone. Except maybe Bernie Madoff.
Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst have signed up for the indie thriller Cities, alongside Clive Owen and Anil Kapoor.
Roger Donaldson (The Bank Job, Cocktail, et al.) is on board to direct the film, about intertwining stories of greed -- as it pertains specifically to the Dow Jones' all-time high -- and the consequences thereof.
Dunst is coming off the critical success of Lars von Trier's Melancholia, while Bloom is still recovering from the dud that was last week's The Three Musketeers. The two appeared on screen together in Cameron Crowe's 2005 dramedy Elizabethtown.
Click on the image below to see more photos of Orlando Bloom!