In his day, Charlton Heston had the market cornered on the epic movie. The prolific leading man would turn his name into a genre watermark, delivering behemoth films about fantastic people and places. Teaming regularly with visionary Cecil B. DeMille, Heston breathed life into Bible stories from Testaments Old and New, and invited audiences to take a new, dramatic look at cultural icons. His career brought him to fallen empires, strange planets, and thrilling mysteries. And although many would argue that Heston's cinematic accomplishments cannot truly be duplicated, Hollywood will try, try again to relive his majesties. The latest in the film industry's many endeavors to reproduce a Heston classic involves Ben-Hur, William Wyler's three-and-a-half-hour drama that set the star as a Jewish prince forced into slavery and then thrust upon a revenge quest against the companion who betrayed him.
Deadline reports that MGM, the studio that produced the 1959 opus (and its 1925 silent film precedent), is looking to recreate the story of Judas Ben-Hur for modern audiences. The studio will call back to writer Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, which inspired both pictures. Interestingly, Wallace's Ben-Hur stood as the second best selling piece of writing in the world, next to the Bible, from the time of its publication until the release of Gone with the Wind. Living up to the glory of its source material, Wyler's Ben-Hur maintained status as the only film to win 11 Academy Awards (Best Picture included) for almost 40 years (1997's Titanic broke Ben-Hur's record with 14 Oscar wins).
With this sort of legacy, the plight of a Ben-Hur remake will not be an effortless one. Looking at reattempted Heston pieces of past, we can surmise just what direction in which MGM might plan to take its bountiful new prospect...
The Tim Burton Travesty
In 2001, Tim Burton kicked off a long line of disappointing remakes with Planet of the Apes, transforming the 1968 science-fiction allegory into a misguided mass of Wahlbergian yelling. And just imagine what a field day Burton would do with Ben-Hur's famous chariot sequence, what with the endless reach of modern stop-motion animation at his disposal and an inexplicable penchant for spiraling appendages.
The Sub-Disney Animated Family Film
From Heston's Ten Commandments came a like-titled animated movie, with the likes of Ben Kingsley, Christian Slater, Alfred Molina, and Elliot Gould (as the man upstairs) offering voices to the Biblical characters. The reason you might not have heard of this 2007 picture is because of its critical panning, minute gross, and small studio backing. Ratatouille it was not. (Although a Pixar take on Ben-Hur might be worth exploring...)
The Tuesday Night Sitcom
A decade following Heston's turn in P.T. Barnum biopic The Greatest Show on Earth, Jack Palance took on the ringleader role in an ABC dramedy that involved the star in the trials and tribulations of his various circus performers. The show didn't last very long, failing in the ratings warfare with more popular comedies of the era. Today's small screen Judah B.? Probably something in the vein of Noah Wyle, if he can ever step away from Falling Skies.
The CGI-Heavy Franchise Seedling
A far more successful endeavor than any of those mentioned again stemmed from Planet of the Apes. The 2011 hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes was markedly more imaginative than Burton's turn with the material, this time predating the events of the original film with a prequel of sorts, placing ape Caesar at the center of the story. There aren't too many animals worthy of shifting the focus toward in Ben-Hur... maybe the racing horses? I wonder what they're thinking... Call Serkis.
[Photo Credit: MGM]
Anne Hathaway Post-Oscar Prospects: A New 'Taming of the Shrew'
'Jurassic Park 4' Finds a Way in 2014, Steven Spielberg Will Produce
'Pirates 5,' 'Captain America 2,' 'Muppets 2': Disney's Release Date Frenzy
From Our Partners:
Megan Fox’s 12 Hottest Moments (Moviefone)
Golden Globes: Tina and Amy’s Best Zinger’s (Moviefone)
The boxing world got exited by the snaps of a sweat-drenched De La Hoya, dressed in fight gear and looking like he was ready for a comeback, but the Latino sports star insists the shots were just for show.
He tells BoxingScene.com he has no plans to come out of retirement, stating, "I wish I could. Seriously. Look, I love training and I'm actually even hitting the heavy bag, working out and this and that. I love boxing... and it hurts me deep down inside that I can't. I just can't.
"I wake up every single morning thinking, 'Maybe today, maybe I turned back the clock and maybe I can!' But I can't, I can't do it. And it hurts me."
But at least he has a fight night to look forward to as a promoter - De La Hoya's Golden Boy Productions will stage the much-anticipated Amir Khan/Carlos Molina match in Los Angeles in December (15Dec12).
Fall season premieres are still under way, but that hasn’t stopped TNT from looking forward to the next round of dates: winter premiere season!
TNT has announced its lineup, and along with four returning shows (Dallas, Rizzoli & Isles, Leverage, and Southland), the network will also premiere a brand new medical drama Monday Mornings from David E. Kelley and Dr. Sanjay Gupta starring Ving Rhames, Alfred Molina, and Jamie Bamber, as well as a new unscripted series with unprecedented access to the Boston Police Department called Boston’s Finest from executive producer Donnie Wahlberg.
Check out when the new and returning series come back on your TV:
Nov. 27: Rizzoli & Isles, Leverage
Jan. 28: Dallas
Feb. 4: Monday Mornings
Feb. 13: Southland
Feb. 27: Boston’s Finest
Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: TNT]
Move Over, Trista and Ryan: 'Bachelorette' Ashley Hebert Headed For a TV Wedding
'Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars' Recap: Rydell High's Accidental 60th Reunion
TV Tidbits: 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' Gets Characters, Ryan Murphy Wants More
Whether it’s decorating cakes or painting like the masters, it looks like the characters Josh Hutcherson plays always seem to be artistically inclined. Die-hard Hunger Games fans everywhere will rejoice to hear that The Forger (formerly called Carmel-by-the-Sea) is hitting shelves next week, a movie in which Hutcherson plays a down-on-his-luck teen who stumbles into the world of art forgery. Feast your eyes on Hollywood.com’s exclusive clip of the film, which comes out straight to DVD on July 3:
As you can see, the clip doesn’t actually show Hutcherson forging anything, but it does play on the movie’s highest-selling asset: its leading man. Josh works his other forgery magic, that of romance, on Hayden Panettiere (or is it genuine — murky relationship waters, for sure). Whereas the dangers of The Hunger Games are more physical and straightforward, Hutcherson's ventures into the word of art crime may be even meatier and more ambiguous. Little movies like this are where the actor can really shine.
The Forger is directed by Lawrence Roeck and stars Lauren Bacall, Alfred Molina, Hutcherson and Panettiere.
‘Hunger Games’ Star Josh Hutcherson Goes Epic - TRAILER
‘Hunger Games’ Star Josh Hutcherson Honored For Gay Rights Activism
America Ferrera and Virginia Madsen have also signed up to appear in the YouTube channel called Where It Gets Interesting (WIGS), which will feature A-list actresses taking the main roles in high-end scripted dramas.
Created by Black Swan producer Jon Avnet and Albert Nobbs actor Rodrigo Garcia, WIGS will broadcast new and original content every weekday.
Madsen says, "This is where entertainment is going. So get on board now or you might miss the train."
Michael C. Hall, Stephen Moyer and Alfred Molina are the male stars who will appear on WIGS.
One of the several major differences between the upcoming movie The Amazing Spider-Man, starring Andrew Garfield as the web-slinging hero, and its Tobey Maguire predecessors is the villain. Sam Raimi's Spider-Man series covered five different villains: The Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), the "New" or "Second" Goblin (James Franco), Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), Venom (Topher Grace) and the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church). The Amazing Spider-Man opts instead for another classic villain from the comics: The Lizard, to be played by Rhys Ifans.
The Lizard's true identity is Curtis Connors, an army surgeon who lost his right arm at war and spent the next chapter of his life working obsessively to create a formula that would allow reptilian limb generation for humans. Obviously, things went awry (as they often do in these situations), and he became the supervillain known as the Lizard.
Check out the below shots of The Amazing Spider-Man's central baddie below, and catch the movie in theaters on July 3.
Amazing Spider-Man Poster: Andrew Garfield is Right at Home in New York City
Amazing Spider-Man: Japanese Trailer Reveals Black & White Backstory
Donald Glover in Amazing Spider-Man: Honor or Insult?
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
Each new year produces a handful of it-girls and men of the moment, and we here at Hollywood.com like to get ahead of the game by letting you, our loyal readers, know who’s going to be a big deal. 2012 sees a gaggle of films big and small hit theaters, and with them an army of actors working hard to make the most of their packed schedules. Some are big-screen veterans, others are relatively new to showbiz, but all of them are must-know names.
*This list was compiled based on the amount of films/projects each actor is a part of that will release in 2012, factoring in the size of the film(s) and their overall celebrity status.
Cooper had a hell of a 2011, with The Hangover Part II and Limitless proving him a major box office draw and those dreamy eyes helping him join the ranks of People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. So what does the New Year have in store for him? No less than four films: David O. Russell’s new comedy The Silver Linings Playbook, in which he works with an eclectic ensemble including Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Chris Tucker, Julia Stiles and more, the action-comedy Outrun, the dramatic thriller The Words (which co-stars Olivia Wilde and his new girlfriend Zoe Saldana) and The Place Beyond the Pines, the new film from Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance. All the while he’ll be shooting Paradise Lost, an epic FX-driven actioner from I, Robot director Alex Proyas.
This Aussie became the superhero-du-jour thanks to his breakout role as the God of Thunder in Marvel’s Thor earlier in 2011, and he’s capitalizing on his newfound fame in a big way. He’ll reprise the part in May’s The Avengers, and has one-of-two titular roles in one-of-two anticipated Snow White adaptations (Snow White and the Huntsman) in June. Additionally, a pair of pictures he shot long ago will finally hit theaters – first the horror-thriller Cabin in the Woods, followed by the remake of cult favorite Red Dawn. Add in Ron Howard’s Rush, which he’ll begin shooting this January for an early 2013/late 2012 awards run and you’re looking at one of the most exciting careers to follow!
Tatum made our list last year thanks to a packed schedule including The Dilemma, The Eagle, The Son of No One and more, and 2012 is just as busy for the young A-lister. In January, Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire will finally hit multiplexes (in which he has a bit part) and we could see his ensemble drama Ten Year go wide at some point, but even if it doesn’t he’s got plenty of major motion pictures to promote. First will be the romantic drama The Vow opposite Rachel McAdams, followed soon after by Sony’s 21 Jump Street reboot. On June 29th, he’ll release a pair of very different movies – Paramount’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation and his second collaboration with Soderbergh, the male strip flick Magic Mike. But the best is yet to come, as he’ll star in Moneyball director Bennett Miller’s new drama Foxcatcher opposite Steve Carell, due in 2013.
As stated in the introduction, this list is about both seasoned cinematic figures and rising stars, and was there anyone who had a more impressive year than newcomer Ms. Chastain? I think not. With films as wide ranging as Texas Killing Fields, The Debt, The Help and The Tree of Life (among others) she solidified herself as a dramatic force to be reckoned with in 2011, and the future is bright for the 30-year-old starlet. She’ll reunite with director Terrence Malick for his new, untitled romantic drama and also has a role in John Hillcoat’s anticipated prohibition thriller Wettest County opposite Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman. Additionally, she’ll star in a horror flick called Mama and a star-studded drama titled Tar with James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and more.
Here’s an example of a longtime film hero hitting it hard in 2012. While this isn’t the first fiscal year in which Willis has released multiple movies, it’s without question the busiest frame in his career. He’s slated to appear or star in no less than seven films, including big-budget blockbusters like G.I. Joe Retaliation and The Expendables 2, smaller action-thrillers Looper and The Cold Light of Day and more artful projects like Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and Stephen Frears' Lay the Favorite. He’ll also turn up in the 50 Cent-produced thriller Fire with Fire and will shoot the highly-anticipated A Good Day to Die Hard and videogame adaptation Kane & Lynch throughout 2012. Not bad for an elder statesmen.
Though he’s best known as a modern TV icon thanks to his Emmy-winning role in AMC’s Breaking Bad, Cranston has been incredibly prolific on the big-screen in recent years. He appeared in six films in 2011, including Drive, The Lincoln Lawyer, Contagion and Larry Crowne, and has five major productions on the horizon in 2012. In January he’ll play an authoritative figure in Lucasfilm’s long-gestating wartime action flick Red Tails, followed by a turn in Disney’s mega-budgeted John Carter. He’s also got a part in Adam Shankman’s Rock of Ages adaptation and a villainous role in Sony’s Total Recall remake, and is currently filming Ben Affleck’s CIA drama Argo, set to hit theaters in September.
The former High School Musical star has been trying to establish himself as more than just a pretty face for some time, and 2012 could be a pivotal year in his career. He dabbles in commercial and independent fare next year, with starring roles in Universal’s Dr. Seuss adaptation The Lorax and Warner Bros.’ Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Lucky One as well as parts in Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy and Josh Radnor’s Liberal Arts. He’s also going to appear in an untitled ensemble drama alongside Dennis Quaid, Heather Graham and Clancy Brown.
We've had to wait until 2012 to finally see Baldwin's return to TV, and, lucky us - we'll also be treated to about five film roles from the beloved entertainer. He’s got parts in all kinds of movies, from indie comedy AmeriQua to indie drama Lucky Them, and even big studio flicks like Rock of Ages and DreamWorks Animation’s CGI spectacle Rise of the Guardians. But his most interesting project in unquestionably Nero Fiddled, Woody Allen’s new Rome-set romp, which will likely premiere at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
Biel is best known as a maker of mainstream movies (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, The A-Team, Valentine’s Day), but 2012 will see her release a diverse slate of films. She’s got one of two female lead roles in summer actioner Total Recall, and will play a pivotal part in Gabriele Muccino’s new dramedy Playing the Field. In addition, she’s got a horror thriller titled The Tall Man in the can, and is preparing to film a pair of pictures that could screen next year – The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes. With any luck, we could also see the long-delayed David O. Russell political rom-com Nailed (in which she plays the female lead) release, but I’m sadly not holding my breath. And if she ends up wedding Justin Timberlake (as engagement rumors started swirling around the web earlier this month), it’s going to be a landmark year for the former 7th Heaven star.
This young talent has been on the rise for awhile, and with a resume that includes work with Robert Zemeckis, Jon Favreau, Paul Weitz and Lisa Cholodenko it’s a wonder he hasn’t been propelled to the spotlight sooner. In 2012 he has five films to release, and by the time the year is over he’ll likely be a household name. First he reprises his role from 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, then appears in an anthology film that sports a directing roster including Benicio del Toro and Gaspar Noe. March sees him starring in one of the most eagerly awaited films of the year – The Hunger Games – while he’ll then appear in the art-house drama Carmel opposite Alfred Molina and Hayden Panettiere. Finally, he’ll star in MGM’s Red Dawn remake in November, and by that point he’ll probably have already cornered several major films for his future.
When is Franco NOT one of the busiest entertainers in showbiz? The Oscar-nominated actor and noted workaholic has been laboring at ludicrous speeds as of late, and his 2012 schedule is packed with somewhere between five and seven films that you'll probably never see including drama Maladies (with Catherine Keener and David Strathairn), thriller The Stare (opposite Winona Ryder), the fore mentioned ensemble drama Tar, the Linda Lovelace biopic Lovelace and another porn-centric drama called Cherry. All the while he’ll be shooting a documentary and filming projects for release in 2013. The man is a machine.
Finally, here’s yet another example of career resurgence. Goodman’s been working incredibly hard over the past few years and has been a part of some of the most acclaimed pictures of 2011 – Kevin Smith’s Red State and awards’ hopefuls The Artist and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Next year, however, is a whole other animal, as he appears in five movies including indie dramedy Thicker, dark comedy Spring Break ’83, Focus Features animated fantasy ParaNorman, and a pair of important dramas from Ben Affleck (Argo) and Robert Zemeckis (Flight). In between pushing those pics, he'll be shooting the Coen Bros. new flick Inside Llewyn Davis and Pixar's anticipated prequel Monsters University. Walter Sobchak is back in the building people.
U.S. TV host Craig Ferguson has invited a number of celebrity guests to give his robot sidekick Geoff Peterson a voice while his regular controller, actor Josh Thompson, is on vacation. British actors Alfred Molina and Dominic Monaghan were among those who had the honour on shows this week (begs07Nov11), while Bad Santa star Lauren Graham and The Office actress Angela Kinsey will be among those taking over the post next week (begs14Nov11).
The Spider-Man 2 star wanted to make sure his daughter Rachel was clear that acting wasn't all glamour and dress-up when she first started talking about becoming a film star - and he quickly put her off the idea.
Molina tells WENN, "I said, 'Why don't you come with me on the set and spend the day and see what it's like?' I took her on a night shoot. I said, 'You can't just sit around drinking Coca Cola in the trailer; you've got to work.' I arranged it with the wardrobe people and the prop people that they give her little errands to do around the set.
"By about half past one in the morning she was so exhausted she ended up falling asleep in my trailer and she never mentioned acting again!"
And now Molina fears he'll have to do the same thing for his five-year-old granddaughter.
He adds, "She said, 'Grandad, I'm gonna be an actor but I don't know what film I'm going to be in yet.' So I said, 'When you find out darling, can I be in it with you?' She said, 'I don't know. It's gonna be about girls and you're not a girl.' That was great."