Twilight heartthrob Taylor Lautner is close to a deal to star in an independent film to be directed by Gus Van Sant (Milk, Howl), THR reports. The as-yet-untitled film is based on a New Yorker article Lautner optioned. THR offers no specifics on the article upon which the film will be based, but we're hoping it's this one.
Though the film currently lacks a script -- or a screenwriter, for that matter -- the filmmakers are supposedly planning for a first quarter 2012 start of production.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Taylor Lautner was last seen in the conspiracy thriller Abduction, which took quite a beating from critics. He'll next be seen in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1, which should fare a little better (at the box office, at least.) Click below for more images of the popular young actor:
John Singleton has filed suit against Paramount, claiming the studio reneged on promises made in its deal to acquire Hustle & Flow, THR reports. Singleton, who produced Craig Brewer's 2005 breakout indie hit, alleges that Paramount had committed to backing two additional feature-film projects from the filmmaker, but followed through. He's seeking $20 million in damages.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Singleton most recently directed the critically bludgeoned conspiracy thriller Abduction, starring Taylor Lautner as a teen on the run from the CIA. Click below for more images of the Twilight star:
It’s a film that shaped generations. It taught us how to grow up how to deal with loss how to do the right thing…and how to dress in drag and do the hula. The Lion King remains to this day the highest-grossing hand-drawn animated feature film of all time – and with good reason. It’s simply timeless. If you’re watching it as a nostalgic adult who first experienced its sweeping beauty 16 years ago when it first hit theaters each iconic scene sends you back to the feeling you got the first time you witnessed it. If you’re watching with wonder for the first time you can still enjoy it with the same fresh feeling audiences loved in its initial run. It seems strange to say that an animated film is truly an important one but in this case it couldn’t be truer. That’s why the opportunity to see the gorgeous colorful film in 1080p high definition thanks to the new Disney Diamond Edition Blu-ray is a very very good thing.
From the sweeping scenes of the Savannah to the Elephant graveyard to Timon and Pumba’s desert oasis The Lion King was made for high definition. And with some of the most talented actors around lending their voices to these iconic characters and the various Elton John/Tim Rice new standards there’s no better reason for high definition audio. But of course with any Blu-ray it’s not just about the film itself – it’s about the extras.
For a Diamond Edition – and a recent one at that – the special features are bit thinner than I’d like but that may be due to the immense effort Disney put into the accompanying iPad app Second Screen for The Lion King which is free in the app store and syncs with the movie to deliver a sort of enhanced special features experience. It’s fantastic delivering games puzzles coloring books photos and concept art with Fun Facts and videos of the actual animals that inspired the film’s characters. There’s just one slight problem: you have to have an iPad. For those that don’t the modest – for a Diamond Edition – special features will have to suffice.
Though there aren’t too many the features included are fairly robust. The main event is Pride of The Lion King a lengthy documentary and conversation with the folks responsible for the film and the Broadway Show chronicling the events from the film’s inception up to its transition to the stage. As always this feature is thorough entertaining and delivers a few nuggets of information that even the most dedicated Disney fan may find surprising. Of course the Blu-ray offers more like deleted songs storyboards for deleted scenes sing-a-long mode and a weighty interactive HD gallery that includes sketches storyboards and concept art. Also included is a strange little Blooper Reel that may or may not be animation set to actual recording bloopers – either that or they convinced the whole cast to come back to record new bloopers for the Blu-ray (which seems pretty unlike considering the voice of Simba Jonathan Taylor Thomas is 30 now). It’s a little weird but the kiddos will enjoy it.
While it could always use more extras the main event is the cinematic beauty of the film itself which looks more beautiful than ever – everything else is just icing on the grub.
The Lion King Blu-ray/DVD combo pack hits shelves Oct. 4.
In Dream House – the new suspense thriller from Jim Sheridan (In America My Left Foot) – Daniel Craig plays Will Atenton a successful New York publisher who disavows his high-powered Manhattan lifestyle and relocates along with his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and two daughters (Taylor and Claire Astin Geare) to a picturesque New England hamlet. Their new home a quaint fixer-upper bears imprints of the family that lived there previously: Old tools and other belongings are strewn about the basement a secret room abutting the children’s bedroom is filled with discarded toys. Will and Libby see the items as charming artifacts signs that their house has a history a soul.
The new neighborhood is not so bucolic as it seems. The children complain of a man peering in on them from the front yard – a suspicion confirmed when Will discovers footsteps in the snow the next day. If that weren’t ominous enough Will later learns that five years earlier his new home was the site of a grisly murder spree in which the previous owner Peter Ward was alleged to have killed his wife and two daughters. Acquitted due to a lack of evidence Ward spent a brief time at a psychiatric facility before being released. Could the shadowy figure glimpsed outside the window be Ward returning to the scene of the crime preparing to kill again?
At this point Dream House pulls off a whopper of a mid-game twist that effectively re-frames the entire narrative. (I won’t spoil it for you but if you want to know what it is just watch the trailer which rather stupidly gives it away.) Until now Sheridan has worked steadily to foster the guise of a relatively conventional haunted-house tale presenting a portrait of idyllic domesticity while simultaneously building an atmosphere of looming peril. After the story drops its bombshell the film morphs into a sort of supernatural murder mystery with Craig’s character scouring for clues within his own tortured psyche. Characters and scenes that might have been dismissible as red herrings – a neighbor (Naomi Watts) appears oddly stand-offish; her ex-husband (Martin Csokas) cartoonishly gruff; the town cops inexplicably apathetic – gain sudden relevance.
It’s a clever gambit; it is also patently absurd. A talented cast helps make the twist easier to swallow but the film’s second half sheds credulity seemingly by the frame at points devolving into schlock. Which in a different film might bode well for some silly fun but Sheridan aims for a restrained tone that seems more suitable for a somber character study than a flagrantly preposterous suspense thriller. As it is Dream House is neither thrilling nor suspenseful.
After garnering widespread praise (and an Oscar nomination for screenwriting) for his 2000 directorial debut You Can Count on Me Kenneth Lonergan was in-demand. In September 2005 the writer/director began production on a follow-up feature: Margaret which touted Anna Paquin Matt Damon Mark Ruffalo Matthew Broderick Allison Janney as well as legendary filmmakers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) as producers. The movie wrapped production in a few months time. The buzz was already growing.
Now six years later the movie is finally hitting theaters. So…what took so long?
The journey to this point hasn't been an easy one and it shows. If a film's shot footage is a block of granite and the editing process is the careful carving that turns it into a statuesque work of art Margaret feels like it was attacked by a blind man with a jackhammer. The film is a cinematic disaster a mishmash of shallow characters overwrought politics and sporadic tones. The story follows Lisa Coen (Paquin) a New York teenager who finds herself drowning in chaos after distracting a bus driver (Ruffalo) causing him to hit and kill a pedestrian (Janney). Initially Lisa tells the police it was all an accident but as time passes regret takes hold and the girl embarks on a mission to take down the man she now regards as a culprit. That's just the tip of the iceberg–along the way Lisa deals with everyday teen stuff: falling for her geometry teacher (Damon) combating her anxiety-ridden actress mother losing her virginity dabbling in drugs debating 9/11 and the Iraq War cultivating a relationship with her father in LA and more. There are about eight seasons of television stuffed into Margaret but even a two and a half hour run time can't make it all click.
For more on Margaret check out Indie Seen: Margaret the Long Lost Anna Paquin/Matt Damon Movie
As Jacob Black the bronze slice of werewolf beefcake in the Twilight films Taylor Lautner was propelled to stardom not by any demonstrable acting prowess but by the frenzied shrieks of tween girls which rise to a deafening pitch whenever he doffs his shirt to reveal his chiseled physique. (Not an infrequent occurrence.) From a talent standpoint he ranks a bit below his Twilight co-stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson but his skillset is more than adequate enough to qualify him for action-heroism a field in which even range-deficient brutes like Vin Diesel have found steady employment.
In the action thriller Abduction Lautner plays Nathan a high-school student living a seemingly idyllic suburban existence. And yet for reasons he can’t quite comprehend he’s plagued by the gnawing suspicion that he’s somehow living someone else’s life. The most fortuitous of coincidences leads him to discover his baby picture on a missing persons website which in turn leads to the revelation that his parents Kevin (Jason Isaacs) and Mara (Maria Bello) are not actually his parents. This is the first of many bombshells that drive the film’s inane and convoluted conspiracy plotline.
Nathan has little time to ponder his parentage before armed assassins arrive at his doorstep and he’s forced to flee taking his neighbor/love interest Karen (Lily Collins) with him. On the run trailed by shady Serbian bad guys (and later the CIA) he sets about solving the mystery of his upbringing and divining the true nature of his identity.
As you’ve no doubt already surmised the plot of Abduction borrows rather liberally from the Bourne franchise right down to Nathan possessing an inbred set of fighting skills that come in handy whenever the odd anonymous goon comes knocking. This unfortunately is where the similarities between the films end. Returning to the director’s chair for the first time since 2005’s Four Brothers John Singleton has little to offer beyond a trite and predictable collage of conspiracy-thriller clichés. No one can be trusted threats lurk around every corner surveillance is omnipresent etc. etc.
What’s remarkable is the solid cast Singleton was able to amass for such unremarkable fare: In addition to Bello and Isaacs Sigourney Weaver and Alfred Molina appear in supporting roles playing a psychiatrist who isn’t what she seems and a CIA agent who isn’t what he seems respectively. It’s hard to see what attracted them to this silly enterprise. Certainly it couldn’t have been the often squirm-inducing dialogue they’re saddled with. Perhaps they’re Team Jacob partisans.
And what of Mr. Lautner's performance? His fans will be heartened to know that the kid isn’t half-bad in Abduction. Though his line-readings can be a bit stiff he exudes a decent amount of charm develops a nice romantic spark with co-star Collins and gamely tackles the film’s various stunts and fight scenes. He even manages to keep his shirt on for almost the entire film. Which admittedly some of you might count as a drawback.
As the hot-blooded, oft-shirtless werewolf Jacob Black in the Twilight films, Taylor Lautner has amassed a large and vociferous following among tween girls. And their older sisters. And their mothers. With his new film Abduction, a Bourne-esque thriller directed by John Singleton, the preternaturally polished 19-year-old is out to prove he’s not merely Tiger Beat fodder, but a bona fide movie star in the making. Playing a hotshot high-schooler who goes on the run after discovering his idyllic domestic life is nothing more than an elaborate fabrication, Lautner battles assorted bad guys, woos his pretty co-star (Lily Collins), performs a variety of hazardous stunts, and holds his own on-screen with such formidable talents as Sigourney Weaver, Alfred Molina, and Maria Bello.
In an exclusive interview with Hollywood.com, Lautner spoke with us about Abduction, his steamy love scene with his rumored off-screen girlfriend, his adrenaline-junkie tendencies, and his shrieking fanbase:
The animated family film, which features the voice of teen idol Jonathan Taylor Thomas as a young Simba, was originally released in 1994, when it opened with takings of more than $40 million (£25 million), and it's proved a big hit the second time around, too.
The Lion King 3D knocked last week's (11Sep11) number one, the star-studded outbreak thriller Contagion, into second place with $14.5 million (£9 million).
Ryan Gosling's Drive enters at three, followed by The Help at four. The remake of 1971 psychological thriller Straw Dogs debuts at five, while Sarah Jessica Parker's new comedy I Don't Know How She Does It only manages to reach sixth place on the weekly chart.
Just as surely as the hippos and gazelles that populate the African savannah in Disney’s 1994 hand-drawn classic The Lion King must take their place in the grand cosmic scheme of things the best Disney animated movies have their own roles in the “circle of life” that the movie’s opening song of the same name written by Elton John and Tim Rice refers to. The films open in theatres and delight kids and adults alike before heading to the home-entertainment sphere where they find everlasting life by being passed down to future generations.
However every once in a while a beloved Disney title gets reincarnated on the big screen in a newer spiffier form. Such is the case with The Lion King itself which arrives in theatres for the first time in 3D in a limited run beginning September 16 before its release on shelves as a special Diamond Edition Blu-ray on October 4.
An audience of Mouse House devotees were treated to the first public screening of The Lion King in 3D at the Anaheim Convention Center’s multi-tiered arena on Saturday August 20 2011 as part of Disney’s fanboy-nirvana D23 Expo. Directors Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers took to the stage to introduce the screening at one point even offering a spirited rendition of the miniature musical number in which the comedy team of wisenheimer meerkat Timon (voiced by Nathan Lane) and gaseous warthog Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) distract a band of evil minions by launching into a rapid-fire Hawaiian-themed ditty. One of the co-directors even kept the rhythm going by banging on the makeshift drum of an upside-down water jug.
Then the movie began and it’s gratifying to report that Disney’s 3D conversion of The Lion King is an excellent fittingly majestic bit of post-production wizardry. Of course part of what makes the 3D so enveloping is that Minkoff and Allers have already done such an expert job of creating visually layered 2D compositions that the addition of the third dimension is able to stagger those layers in a striking manner. For example the last shot of malicious Uncle Scar’s (Jeremy Irons miraculously delivering the best vocal performance in a cast that also includes the booming baritone of James Earl Jones) “Be Prepared” musical number features an elephant’s skeleton in the foreground and the sight of Scar and his hyena underlings bellowing the song’s final notes atop a craggy mountain in the background. In 3D the viewer can get happily lost in the amplified depth between the shot’s foreground and background action.
Naturally there are also more gimmicky less subtle uses of 3D. Pumbaa’s snout and two horns are repeatedly lunging right at the spectator and the smoke and dust kicked up in the wake of the wildebeest stampede that (spoiler alert for those who have been living under a rock for the past 17 years!) claims King Mufasa’s (Jones) life seemed to hover in the Anaheim arena’s air. Since perhaps the most eye-catching use of 3D is when a flying character seems to soar in the space between the screen and the audience (think of that fuzzy-butterfly-type creature that stole the show in Disneyland’s 3D attraction Captain EO) the winged movements of Mufasa’s avian adviser Zazu (Rowan Atkinson) make for some of the movie’s showiest 3D touches. But they also lead to my one quibble with the 3D here: because the “you can seemingly reach out and touch Zazu” effects are so attention-grabbing scenes that aren’t even dramatically centered on Zazu end up inevitably and distractingly being all about the snooty beaked majordomo.
As fans would expect though the film’s stirring hero’s-quest narrative arc and emotional grace notes register just as strongly in this new format. When young hero Simba (voiced as a cub by Jonathan Taylor Thomas) devastated by father Mufasa’s death crawls under the giant paw of his dad’s corpse a few D23 attendees behind me could be heard blowing loudly into their tissues. That’s another benefit of having this film in 3D: those dark glasses do a great job of hiding your tears.
From the day we arrive on the planet, and—blinking—step into the sun, there is more to see than can ever be seen. And included in that heap of things seeable is new The Lion King 3D concept art!
For fans of the childhood staple The Lion King (a group that you must be evil incarnate to not be part of), it's interesting to see original designs for characters like Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas/Matthew Broderick), Mufasa (James Earl Jones), Nala (Niketa Calame/Moira Kelly) Timon (Nathan Lane), Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) and Zazu (Rowan Atkinson).
Varying from sketches to complete illustrations, the below images give us some fun insight into who these characters might have originally been conceived to be. Simba looks more impish and wily. Timon looks a little more conniving and sly. Pumbaa just looks sad.
The Lion King 3D will reach theaters this Friday, September 16.