Jackie Chan just won't sit down. The popular Hong Kong actor is lining up to star in not one, not two, but four feature films. First up is Highbinders, a Hong Kong movie about an immigration officer who's killed on the job but returns from the dead with superpowers--with some high-kickin' super-moves to be sure. Next is The Art of War, based on the Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu's treatise, where you keep your friends close and your enemies even closer--with some high-kickin' super-moves added in. The budget is around $38.5 million, making it one of the most expensive movies made in Hong Kong. The film is looking to start production in 2003.
Then there's Chan's film Nosebleed, which MGM just bought from New Line, after it shelved the project in 1999. The story revolves around a window washer working at the World Trade Center who teams with a waitress at the Center's restaurant to stop another possible terrorist attack-during which Chan will use his high-kickin' super-moves. And last, but not necessarily least, Chan has agreed to make a sequel to last year's surprise hit Shanghai Noon with costar Owen Wilson. The wacky pair will travel to London to uncover a worldwide conspiracy to overthrow the British and Chinese empires. Rush Hour 2 is coming out this summer with costar Chris Tucker. Whew! Good luck, Jackie.
And following Chan's footsteps …
Just like Jackie Chan, Ben Affleck is loading himself up with film projects. His films, however, will most likely lack high-kickin' super-moves. He is in talks to star in Surviving Christmas, about a man who must overcome his depression on being alone on Christmas by visiting his childhood home and forcing the people who live there to take him in. This comes on the heels of his involvement in director Martin Brest's Gigli and his turn as CIA analyst Jack Ryan (played previously by Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford) in The Sum of All Fears. Of course, we can currently see the hunky Affleck shooting down Japanese war planes in the soppy World War II epic Pearl Harbor.
Listen to the premise of this new movie. A local British man becomes a pop sensation on Liverpool's Cantonese karaoke circuit--Cantonese?--and even though he is white, he immerses himself in the Chinese history and culture, learning the language and taking the Cantonese pop scene by storm. Here's the catch--it's based on the true story of 22-year-old Barry Cox and producer Lawrence Bender and singer-songwriter, Peter Gabriel are going to make the film for Miramax. They are calling it a cross between Saturday Night Fever and The Full Monty. Of course they are. Cox is currently readying a trip to Hong Kong to meet with film and record companies to fulfill his dream on becoming a Chinese pop star. Think it'll happen for him?
Hopper's got a "Night Job"
Actor and Dennis Hopper is set to direct and star in The Night Job, a drama about an ex-con lured back into the underworld by a crooked cop trying to nab a mobster's global art smuggling ring. Hopper will play the cop; Val Kilmer is in negotiations to play the colorful mobster. Hmmm, Kilmer and Hopper together in a film? Certainly, they are two of the more eclectic actors out there, to say the least. This one sounds promising, especially since Hopper only directs interesting films such as Easy Rider and Colors.
Ben Affleck is going to be the third actor to play CIA analyst Jack Ryan in a movie, replacing Harrison Ford in Paramount's production of Tom Clancy's bestseller "The Sum of All Fears," Daily Variety reports. The role of Ryan was originally played by Alec Baldwin ("The Hunt for Red October"). Ford opted out of the latest sequel after taking on the Ryan role in "Patriot Games."
SORVINO IN 'LOVE': Mira Sorvino is in final negotiations to star in "The Triumph of Love," an indie pic to be produced by director Bernardo Bertolucci. Sorvino will portray a princess who takes on feminine and masculine identities, discovering she has a power for seduction.
SOME THINGS ARE BETTER LEFT UNSEEN: Joan Collins won't be disrobing as Mrs. Robinson in the London production of "The Graduate," according to Liz Smith in her daily column. (Kathleen Turner let it all hang out for the role, as will Jerry Hall, Turner's replacement.) Collins, 67, who was offered the role when Hall leaves, thinks it is "unseemly" to undress on the stage.
FILM HAS A NAME! Director/writer Cameron Crowe, whose last film was 1996’s "Jerry Maguire," has settled on a name for his latest effort: "Almost Famous." According to USA Today, the DreamWorks flick slated for a Sept. 15 release is an autobiographical coming-of-age tale set in the '70s based on Crowe's experiences as a teenage music reporter for Rolling Stone.
Leave it to Hollywood to try to fool audiences into thinking that Walter Matthau and any woman could produce offspring in the form of Diane Keaton, Lisa Kudrow and Meg Ryan.
The three actresses, who, uh, aside from their gender have nothing but blond hair in common, co-star in Columbia Pictures' "Hanging Up" (opening today) as sisters dealing with an aging father (Matthau).
"Hanging Up" The Pointer Sisters they are not. How do three kids -- who in flashbacks appear close in age -- grow up into a mismatched trio wherein Keaton suddenly looks (at least) 15 years older than Ryan and Kudrow? Welcome to Hollywood-style gene splicing.
"Hanging Up" is just the latest example of mismatched sibling combos. Consider:
-- "Little Women": The lack of family genes is very obvious in Gillian Armstrong's 1994 remake featuring an Oscar-nominated turn by Winona Ryder. Ryder is but one of the four sisters; cast as her siblings are Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst and Trini Alvarado. At least Ryder and Alvarado have the same hair color, but the fair red-headed Danes and dirty blond Dunst are off in left field, and on opposite ends at that.
-- "The Brothers McMullen": Actor-writer-director Edward Burns, Jack Mulcahy and Mike McGlone could never pass as brothers. In fact, Burns and McGlone, who reunite in the "Brothers McMullen" follow-up "She's the One," look absolutely nothing alike. Well, unless they had different fathers and mothers.
-- "Family Business": In this little-seen 1989 Sidney Lumet bomb, a son (Matthew Broderick) estranged from his father (Dustin Hoffman) enlists the help of his career-criminal grandfather (portrayed by a very Scottish Sean Connery) to pull off a heist. Broderick, Hoffman and Connery are never believable as family -- of this Earth, anyway. Connery begat Hoffman begat Broderick? Forget genetics, this is perhaps the most egregious example yet of star packaging gone awry. Speaking of Connery, witness the familial casting insanity in 1998's "Playing by Heart." Connery is married to Gena Rowlands, and their daughters are Gillian Anderson, Madeleine Stowe and Angelina Jolie. Uh, OK.
The problem also affects TV shows. Consider:
-- "Sisters": In this touchy-feely 1991-96 series, Sela Ward, Swoosie Kurtz and Julianne Phillips (Bruce Springsteen's ex-wife, the one with really full lips) are about the funniest mismatched trio on television since "The Three Stooges." The dark-haired Ward, who in her small cameo role at the beginning of the Harrison Ford starrer "The Fugitive" looks oddly like ice skater Nancy Kerrigan, would never be mistaken for the redhead Kurtz. Actually, does anyone in Hollywood resemble Kurtz?
"Eight Is Enough" -- "Eight Is Enough": Poor Adam Rich. He looked nothing like his non-mop-topped siblings on this 1970s show, and they looked nothing like him. (Which, at least, was consistent. The other faux siblings -- particularly the five actresses cast as the five Bradford sisters -- looked nothing like each other, either.) Apparently eight was not enough. "The Cosby Show" and even "The Brady Bunch" did it better.
-- "Family Ties": "I bet we've been together for a million years." So says the theme song from this 1982-89 sitcom, but take a look at the original Keaton siblings (Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman and Tina Yothers) and you know that "Family Ties" even a million years couldn't make these three (later, four -- when Brian Bonsall joined the cast) look like family. Fox and the little Bonsall could pass as brothers. Heck, even Fox and Bateman could pass as siblings with a little stretch of the imagination, but where did Tina Yothers' Jennifer Keaton come from, with her big '80s blond hair? The adoption agency?
But fear not, for all is not lost. Casting directors have made some uncannily good decisions for siblings. Julia Roberts and Kyra Sedgwick work as sisters in "Something to Talk About." So the potential is out there.
And those Baldwin brothers sure do look a lot alike.