The release of the new Kevin Kline and Dakota Fanning movie The Last Of Robin Hood will be bittersweet for writer/director Wash Westmoreland - because the woman he spent years tracking down and then persuading to let him adapt her love story didn't live to see it. After reading Tedd Thomey's book, The Big Love, about Beverly Aadland's romance with silver screen icon Errol Flynn in 2003, Westmoreland attempted to track down the forgotten actress and singer.
Thomey made the introductions and the director drove to Palmdale, California to meet the reclusive former socialite.
He tells WENN, "We really wanted to get in touch with Beverly but she was famously guarded about the story. We wrote a very nice letter and waited. A few weeks later we got a phone call from Mr. Delvin Irwin from Mississippi saying, 'I hear you want to talk to Woodsy,' which was Flynn's nickname for her; he (Delvin) was a Flynn fanatic who had made friends with Beverly and her husband Ron and was kind of acting as a gatekeeper.
"We met her in a Mexican restaurant and she came in with her husband. She was very friendly but didn't put all her cards on the table at first. It was personal to her and she felt very bruised about the way that the romance has been treated over the years. She resented her mother stealing her story and teaming up with Tedd Thomey for The Big Love."
But Westmoreland's research impressed Aadland and her husband - he even tracked down a recording of Beverly singing Some Say two months after Flynn died for the film - and she agreed to let him make the movie.
He adds, "That's actually a real Beverly Aadland song. We managed to get the rights and we got Ron and the couple's daughter in the audience for the cabaret scene, where Dakota (Fanning) performs.
"Ron, who is a salt of the earth American blue collar guy, was just incredibly moved and was in tears watching this. He was just incredibly proud and the only sadness was that Beverly couldn't be there. She died in 2010. We always promised her the film would get made but she never saw it on the big screen."
The movie also features a cameo from Sean Flynn, Errol's 23-year-old grandson.
Westmoreland explains, "He played the guy who Beverly goes off with in Cuba on the back of the motorbike. So Kevin (Kline), as Errol, gets to look out the window seeing them disappear off into a cloud of dust, where he's really looking at Errol Flynn's grandson taking his girl away!
"He (Sean Flynn) said, 'People of my age don't know who Errol Flynn is', and he never met him. So when he met Kevin Kline as Errol, he said, 'I feel like I finally met my own grandfather'."
If you're a filmmaker looking for a young, blonde Hollywood darling to star in your next project, the first place you look is usually the Fanning household. So it makes sense that when Charlize Theron optioned the rights to Susannah Calahan's memoir Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, she picked Dakota to star in it. According to Deadline, the actress will play Calahan in a story that follows her year-long battle with an autoimmune disease that resulted in brain inflammation, paranoia and seizures. As of right now, there are no writers or directors attached to the project yet, but with two big names already on board, the film shouldn't have any trouble attracting interest.
Brain on Fire is just the latest high-profile project on Dakota's slate, and her upcoming releases include the eco-terrorism thriller Night Moves, the Errol Flynn biopic The Last of Robin Hood and the Richard Gere vehicle Franny. However, she's not the only Fanning with plenty of attention-grabbing films hitting theaters soon, as Elle is bookending the summer with Maleficent and The Boxtrolls. It's clear that in the battle of the blonde Hollywood starlets, the Fanning sisters reign supreme, but what about the sisters themselves? When it comes to a sibling showdown, which Fanning ends up on top? We’ve decided to put them to the test, and put Dakota and Elle head to head in five key categories in order to determine which Fanning would win this sibling showdown.
Breakthrough Role: Though both Dakota and Elle have been working since they were small children, they started gaining attention at different points in their careers. Dakota's big breakthrough role came at age seven, when she starred opposite Sean Penn in I Am Sam, a role that quickly lead to her becoming Hollywood's go-to child actress. Elle played a younger version of Dakota's character in that film, but she didn't manage to break out herself until she starred in Super 8 at 12. While it did help her gain the industry's attention, it didn't manage to catapult her to the same heights that Dakota's turn in I Am Sam did. Winner: Dakota
Career Highlight: Though she's since starred in many attention-grabbing films, Dakota's biggest project to date still remains her breakthrough film, I Am Sam, for which she became the youngest actress to ever be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award, as well as the youngest member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which admitted her in 2006. Elle, however, seems to be hitting her stride now, with her buzziest film yet, Maleficent, arriving in theaters later this month. Since it's a summer blockbuster, it seems unlikely to get the kind of awards coverage that I Am Sam did, but it has established her as one of the hottest actresses currently working, which means plenty of big opportunities are headed her way. Winner: Elle
Career Lowlight: Every actor has one or two terrible films under his or her belt, and the Fanning sisters are no exception. For Elle, it was Daddy Day Care, one in a long line of Eddie Murphy-fronted flops, and one of her first movies. For Dakota, it was The Cat in the Hat, the strange adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss book. And while neither film will be remembered for its quality, at least Daddy Day Care didn't give the world the terrifying image of Mike Myers dressed as a giant anthropomorphic cat. If he didn't haunt your nightmares for years afterwards, you have a sturdier constitution than we do. Slightly Less of a Loser: Elle
Famous Directors: Both Dakota and Elle have worked with some major Hollywood players, and despite their young age, they've each got several films with prestigious directors under their belts. One of Elle's breakout roles was in Sophia Coppola's 2010 film Somewhere, where she played the daughter of Stephen Dorff's washed-up Hollywood actor. Incidentally, Elle was also in Twixt, one of Francis Ford Coppola's least revered pictures. Dakota's most famous director was Stephen Spielberg, who helmed the 2005 remake of War of the Worlds, in which Dakota played Tom Cruise's daughter. Though the Coppola family's films are often held in high esteem, the combination of Somewhere and Twist doesn't quite manage to outrank Spielberg, who is regarded as one of the biggest, most influential directors in cinematic history. Winner: Dakota
Fashion Contracts:The Fanning sisters have established themselves as major fashion players in recent years, and have become fixtures at fashion week and have appeared in ads for several big fashion houses. Elle's first major campaign was for Marc Jacobs when she was 13, and she has since gone on to be the face of Miu Miu and appear in ads for J.Estina alongside her sister. Dakota has appeared in 2 campaigns for Marc Jacobs, including her infamous ads for his Oh, Lola! perfume, which were banned in the UK, as well as playing muse to houses like Uniqlo, Rodarte and Prada. Winner: Dakota
Overall Winner: Dakota, with three wins to two. Of course, with Elle gaining more and more attention and both sisters lining up big projects for the future, the Battle of the Fanning Sisters is still anyone's game. Dakota did have a head start, after all. Let us know your thoughts below!
Errol Flynn's widow Patrice Wymore has died at the age of 87. The actress passed away in Portland, Jamaica on Saturday (22Mar14) after a long illness.
Wymore first appeared on the big screen opposite Doris Day and Gordon MacRae in 1950's Tea for Two following several Broadway gigs in the late 1940s, including Hold It! and All for Love.
She fell in love with Flynn while co-starring in Rocky Mountain in 1950 and the pair married later that year.
In 1953, they welcomed a daughter, Arnella Flynn, who went on to become a fashion model in Europe. She died in 1998 from an apparent drug overdose.
Wymore continued to act and appeared in such films as the original Ocean's Eleven, The Big Trees and I'll See You in My Dreams.
Flynn passed away in 1959.
It’s hard to end such a complicated series, or so we thought. Apparently, the most conflicted show on television can be summed up in one sentence, "There is only one story, light vs darkness."
Marty and Rust find one of the killers and unmask the pedophile ring to the mass media. In the process Rust gets stabbed by Errol, the man with the face scars, and Marty gets an ax in the chest. Yet, they persevere. Rust shoots Errol in the head, which is the biggest surprise of all. We expected a torture scene or at least an unfair fight. But we got nothing. Just a couple of injuries, a few tears from each detective, and zero explanation about anything.
We could say that the show was wrapped up quite nicely, the bad guy is dead, the good guys prevail. Just as Rust says when looking at the stars he believes that light is winning against darkness. But we don’t see how that’s possible. There’s still a ring of pedophiles who weren’t caught, a slew of dead children, and honestly, the night sky seems darker than ever.
It was a nice attempt at an end, but we don’t feel wrapped up. Maybe the show should’ve lasted another hour, or maybe that would’ve prolonged the inevitably disappointing ending. Guess we’ll never know.
The filmmakers behind a new documentary about beloved movie critic Roger Ebert have surpassed their crowdfunding campaign goal and will premiere the film at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival. Last November (13), Hoop Dreams director Steve James started an online campaign via Indiegogo.com to help fund his movie, Life Itself, based on the memoir penned by Ebert, who died last year (Apr13).
His goal was to raise $150,000 (£91,274) to help complete the movie and pay for promotional costs, and thanks to the generosity of online contributors, he raised $153,875 (£93,632).
In the film, James interviews many filmmakers whose lives were impacted by Ebert, including director Errol Morris and Martin Scorsese, who serves as an executive director on the film.
James plans to donate the extra money raised to some of the critic's favourite charities, including The Ebert Foundation, which supports educational and arts organisations.
Life Itself is slated to make its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday (19Jan14).
Hollywood veteran Kevin Costner is auctioning off a selection of personal items and film memorabilia to help an employee at his South Dakota tourist attraction cover his college costs. The actor was moved by the story of 47-year-old Lakota tribe interpreter Phillip Red Bird Frame, who is determined to return to school to study sociology and obtain his degree, and he has offered up items including his childhood baseball and bat, and a sports jacket he wore in 1988 film Bull Durham to help raise funds.
Chief David Bald Eagle, head of the Minnicoujou Tribe, has also donated some of his movie keepsakes, including a signed copy of Errol Flynn's Captain Blood, in which he appeared as the actor's bodyguard, and a signed buckskin shirt he wore for the picture.
Frame, who works at Costner's Tatanka: Story of the Bison museum near the city of Deadwood, is flattered by the stars' generosity and he tells local publication the Rapid City Journal, "I am humbled but that's too small of a word. I am obviously appreciative that I am getting this chance to help other people through Mr. Costner and Chief Bald Eagle."
The sale will take place at Lead's Dakota Plains Auctions on Saturday (21Sep13).
A pair of boots worn by Errol Flynn in 1938 film The Adventures Of Robin Hood are expected to fetch at least $3,000 (£2,000) at auction later this month (Sep13). The actor's rust-coloured boots were used in what was the most expensive Warner Bros. film ever made at the time, and they are among 20,000 theatrical costumes at the sale.
The auction, due to take place in Nottingham on 21 September (13), is being held to sell items belonging to former hire shop owner Andrew Wilson-Jenner.
Movie legend Errol Flynn was once the subject of a private investigation in England after he failed to cover the cost of a large clothing bill. Jonathon Williams, the current store manager of Northampton menswear shop Montague Jeffrey, recently unearthed a handful of letters in the store's archives, which revealed the late star had wracked up a large debt back in the 1950s.
The shop owner hired detectives to track down Flynn in a bid to recover the funds, and when confronted, the Australian, who was working in the area, admitted he was strapped for cash.
He vowed to pay the store back in full within a week, although it is unclear whether Flynn ever made good on his promise before he died in 1959.
The actor acknowledged the issue in a handwritten note to the store, dated January, 1955, which reads, "If you would care to wait about a week longer I will be able to pay your account in full. The only reason it has not been settled previously is inability, not disinclination."
Turning "Jack and the Beanstalk" into a Lord of the Rings-style fantasy epic sounds like the premise of a MADtv sketch, but director Bryan Singer (X-Men, Superman Returns) finds a happy medium between grand action filmmaking and the dapper whimsy of an Errol Flynn adventure with Jack the Giant Slayer. The movie nods to its storybook origins: the characters are slight, the villains are goofy, and every action is painted in the biggest, boldest, most colorful stroke possible. It's fluffier than Rings, and that's not knock on the film. Jack is light on its toes, making it the perfect entry-level fantasy film for genre buffs and their kids to enjoy.
Jack suffers most of its problems in the first 10 minutes, a plodding, stylized recounting of man's history with giants. It's a tedious stretch that also introduces us to Jack (Nicholas Hoult), a farm boy whose dreams of a thrilling soldier life cloud his ability to do anything right. His kingdom's princess, Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson), suffers from the same inability to escape her life. When she finally goes on the run in one last effort to escape her suitor Roderick (Stanley Tucci), the princess takes refuge on Jack's farm. The two instantly connect, but their rainy night in is rudely interrupted by a few misplaced magic beans, which produce a towering beanstalk straight through Jack's bachelor pad. Jack watches as Isabelle and his home disappear into the clouds. The king and his army immediately spring into action to rescue the princess, and Jack's newfound connection to Isabelle drives him to join the team.
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Jack the Giant Slayer's lengthy setup feels frivolous in both script and execution, a series of hurdles in the way of the real fun of the movie. Jack partners with head knight Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and the king's advisor Roderick (like Jafar!) — who hides a secret connection to the towering beasts — to climb the beanstalk and track down Isabelle. Singer knows his way around an action set piece and turns the scaling of the beanstalk, even with CG enhancements, into a dizzying vertigo experience. When the group arrives in "Gantua," the land of the giants, they immediately encounter the floating land's residents and are outnumbered (not to mention, outscaled). Singer has his cake with the design of his monstrous ensemble: they're both cartoonish (maybe a bit so in the case of Bill Nighy's General Fallon, who has a second, blabbering head) and realized with detail and familiar motion. The giants have distinct personalities, and they clash with both their human adversaries and each other. Most of Jack the Giant Slayer is from Jack's ant-like perspective, like a medieval Honey I Shrunk the Kids.
Hoult is up to the physical task of outrunning (and occasionally slaying) the giants, a gimmick that never gets too repetitive thanks to Jack's 90-minute runtime. Livening up the set pieces are McGregor and Tucci, who both chew up their fair share of scenery along the way. McGregor is sprightly as the noble knight. At one point, the actor finds himself wrapped in dough, fated with becoming a human-sized pig in a blanket. Silly, but McGregor knows it — and plays it through for laughs. Tucci has a ball as the diabolical villain, sneering and sniveling against the computer animated giants. The man knows what he can get away with in a fairy tale movie and takes full advantage. The two eventually share a duel and its the highlight of the movie.
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Teased in the trailers, Jack and the Giant Slayer caps off with a grand battle. The movie takes one too many cues from the fantasy films of yore (moments in the score feel directly ripped from Rings), but impressively, Singer's stamp never disappears, even in the biggest scenes. A sequence where the beanstalk is cut and topples over across the open fields is expertly crafted, while the warring finale moves swiftly from small moments, like Elmont and Jack organizing troops for battle, to vistas filled with destruction. When giants attack, they go big. Singer always knows just where to have us looking — at a firing catapult, at a bellowing giant, at knights pushing against the castle gate to ward off intruders — and it's cut together for maximum thrills.
Jack the Giant Slayer is blockbuster entertainment built upon fairy tale logic. Scrutiny does it no justice, but from a giant's point of view — or atop the beanstalk, if you're a pesky human — the big picture is good fun.
What do you think? Tell Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and read more of his reviews on Rotten Tomatoes!
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
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The Last Of Robin Hood will focus on the controversial relationship between Flynn, played by Kevin Klein, and teenage actress Beverly Aadland, who was with him when he died in 1959 at the age of 50.
Flynn, who was cleared of statutory rape charges in 1942, was married to actress Patrice Wymore until his death, but romanced Aadland after casting her in his final film, Cuban Rebel Girls.
Susan Sarandon will play Beverly's mum Florence Aadland, who wrote 1961 book The Big Love about Flynn's relationship with her daughter.
The film is due for release later this year (13).