The filmmaker was found dead on Saturday (30Oct10), police have confirmed.
Hickenlooper was in Denver, Colorado for the premiere of his latest movie, Casino Jack, starring Kevin Spacey and Kelly Preston, reports the Associated Press. No further details of his death were available as WENN went to press.
He won an Emmy Award in 1992 for Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, about the making of the movie Apocalypse Now, and also directed Andy Garcia and Sir Mick Jagger in The Man from Elysian Fields.
In order to save the life of her father an ex-mountain climber who needs a very expensive operation to repair an old spinal injury not covered by insurance 12-year-old Maddy (Kristen Stewart) a budding rock climber herself gets the idea to rob a bank for the money. Not just any bank mind you but the same one for which her mother (Jennifer Beals) has just designed a high-tech security system and the same one that refused to lend money to Maddy's family for Dad's operation. Ah so it's about a worthy cause and it's a revenge plot. Along with her climbing skills which she'll have to use in order to scale the 100-foot vault Maddy also enlists the help of her two best friends--the mechanically gifted Gus (Max Thieriot) and Austin (Corbin Bleu) a computer whiz and future film director. As the trio try to pull off the seemingly foolproof heist things don't go necessarily to plan (big surprise) and the kids must face the repercussions. Maybe it would have been easier if they just put on a musical show in the barn where neighbors could generously contribute to the "Let's Fix Dad" fund.
Catch's saving grace is the kids--Stewart Thieriot and Bleu are instantly likable. As the veteran of the trio Stewart (Panic Room) infuses Maddy with the right amount of empathy and determination while newcomers Thieriot and Bleu deliver charming performances not only as Maddy's friends but as her would-be suitors as well. The little competition between the two for her affection is sweet and unassuming and about the only compelling aspect to the story. As far as the adults in the film most fall into stereotypical roles. Michael Des Barres (Man From Elysian Fields) plays the megalomaniac president of the bank á la It's A Wonderful Life's evil Mr. Potter; Beals is Maddy's workaholic mother who promises to spend more time with her daughter while Sam Robards is the free-spirited dad waiting for his kid to save the day. And let's not forget a sadomasochistic yet bumbling bank security guard (James Le Gros) who "knows NUTHING!" about how to stop some wily kids from breaking into the vault. Borrring.
Catch That Kid is actually a remake of the 2002 Danish film Klatretøsen which is one of the country's more successful films a kid's version of the slick Ocean's Eleven. Doing a remake probably looked good on paper. After all bank heists are still considered the classier of crimes (providing no one gets hurt) stealing all that insurable cash from greedy financial institutions--and seeing kids do it would be fascinating. Unfortunately Catch fails to recognize its own potential. Screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas instead concoct the far-fetched plot so Maddy would have to have a good reason to commit the crime and indie director Bart Freundlich (World Traveler) doesn't even come close to capturing Ocean's Eleven's spirited fun and cleverness. There's no thrill. The kids show no joy in their high-tech and physical capabilities. They just dutifully plod through their mission. Even in trying to emulate the ultra-cool gadget-filled Spy Kids the film ultimately falls short in firing up the audience's imagination.
The Man From Elysian Fields is truly a unique premise which grabs you from the beginning. Byron Tiller (Andy Garcia) was once an advertising career man but after authoring a novel he throws it all away to follow his true calling as a writer. His loving wife Dena (Julianna Margulies) fully supports him yet for Byron success as a writer remains an elusive dream. He can barely pay his family's bills. Just as Byron hits his lowest point he meets Luther Fox (Mick Jagger) the owner of Elysian Fields a discreet male escort service. Fox offers Byron "temporary" employment at his private club which caters to the needs of lonely women everywhere. Seeing no other option and desperate to provide for his family Byron reluctantly accepts--and is immediately put to work escorting a beautiful and wealthy woman Andrea Alcott (Olivia Williams) to the opera. One thing leads to another and sure enough Byron is soon providing the full treatment. He also finds out she is married to one of his literary heroes Tobias Alcott (James Coburn) who encourages his wife's dalliances since he is now too old. In fact he's dying and through a twist of fate Byron ends up collaborating with Alcott to rewrite his last book while still "servicing" Andrea. Up to this point the story is riveting but by the last third of the movie it becomes muddled. It has a tough time finding a way to wrap it all up.
Elysian Fields employs an eclectic cast who for the most part do a nice job bringing out the best in the story. The film ultimately belongs to Garcia who looks good carrying a feature film again--even if it's one on a smaller scale. First of all it is refreshing to see a man put into the position where he has to become a prostitute to support his family and Garcia plays this winningly. Byron is all thumbs when it comes to the art of seduction with a woman other than his wife but he's undoubtedly immediately attracted to Andrea. From Garcia's eyes you know he's going to succumb to the temptation. Yet it's Garcia's scenes with veteran Coburn where the movie comes alive as Byron's real passion is exposed. Coburn does a nice turn as the dying writer who still wants to produce the best possible material even if he's beyond the ability to do so. Williams and Margulies do what they can with their roles the former playing the cold Andrea with aplomb and the latter handling the chores as the beleaguered wife with a requisite amount of charm. Jagger as the Faustian Fox is admirable as a sexual predator who also has moments of vulnerability (apparently it's not just all rock and roll with this guy).
Elysian Fields was made more than a year ago and even with its top-notch cast it still took awhile to get a U.S. distributor. Garcia may not be quite the draw he once was but clearly that doesn't affect his dedication to his work behind and in front of the camera one bit. Acting as a producer of the film Garcia cares about this highly original material and it doesn't matter to him whether the film is mainstream enough--he wants to tell this story. Director George Hickenlooper takes his inspiration from his star focusing primarily on Byron and his desperation to be successful at something he loves to do. Is Byron selling his soul to the devil in order to get his big chance? That is certainly up for interpretation but with all good stories that's the fun of it. If the film only stuck to this principle for the entire movie then there may not have been such difficulty in tying up the ending. First-time screenwriter Phillip Jayson Lasker does a great job setting everything up but once Byron and Alcott write the book the film drags on for another half hour or so trying to resolve Byron's dilemma. Also the subplot revolving around Fox and his No. 1 client (played by the lovely Anjelica Huston) whom he actually loves seems sorely out of place and not fleshed out.
The Walt Disney Co., reopened its theme parks in the U.S. on Wednesday, one day after a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York, Reuters reports. The last time Disneyland was closed was in November 1963 following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The theme parks have apparently heightened security to safeguard guests.
The Toronto International Film Festival on Wednesday canceled all of its social events, including its closing party. Many stars were prevented from attending the festival, including Mick Jagger, who was to promote two of his films, The Man from Elysian Fields and Enigma. The legendary rocker was set to arrive at the festival on Tuesday from London via New York.
New York's much anticipated Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which takes place twice a year at midtown's Bryant Park, has been tentatively rescheduled for Oct. 22-24. According to Reuters, one show was held on Tuesday before the tragic events unfolded, but all remaining shows were canceled. The firm that has organized the event since 1993, 7th on Sixth, has offered use of the Bryant Park tent for emergency services.
Laura San Giacomo, who stars in the NBC comedy Just Shoot Me, is talking publicly for the first time about her son's struggle with cerebral palsy. In the October issue of Rosie magazine, San Giacomo said that while she wanted to protect herself and her son, she did not want people feeling sorry for them.
Robert Pisano, a former MGM executive, has been named the new director for the Screen Actors Guild, The Associated Press reports. Pisano was hired Monday and was appointed chief executive officer and national executive officer.
Rapper Timbaland has announced plans to release a duet with Aaliyah and Beck on his upcoming album Indecent Proposal, Sonicnet.com reports. "I'm Music" will appear as a single on Timbaland and Magoo's second album due out Nov. 20. Though Aailyah's label Background Records confirmed the song will appear on the album, they said they had no knowledge of the song being released as a single.
While Metallica postponed recording sessions for their new album following guitarist James Hetfield's treatment for substance abuse, they are still apparently keeping busy. According to Sonicnet.com, guitarist Kirk Hammet and drummer Lars Ulrich invited rapper Ja Rule into the studio to record a rap for a new track. DreamWork Records would not provide any details on the compilation, but did say the album would likely hit shelves in early 2002.
After a commanding performance at the MTV Video Music Awards last week, sales of Alicia Keys' album Songs in A Minor rose to the No. 1 spot after 11 weeks in the rankings, Variety reports. The album has sold more than 2.1 million copies to date. Several other star saw their albums climb back up the charts following their VMA performances, including Break the Cycle from Staind, Hybrid Theory from Linkin Park and J.Lo from Jennifer Lopez.
Country singer Kenny Chasney had been scheduled to shoot a video for his single "The Tin Man" on Tuesday in New York, just blocks from the World Trade Center towers. The video shoot was canceled after executives at BNA records decided the song was doing well and didn't need further promoting. Chesney told The Tennessean Wednesday he feels terrible for all the families affected by this, but was glad he wasn't there.
Bob Dylan's childhood home sold on eBay for $82,000. The house where Dylan lived the first six years of his life sold after a 15-week bidding war on the Internet. According to AP, the former owner Kathy Burns bought the house, which is located in Duluth, Minn., in 1996 for $62,000.
Concert promoter Clear Channel Entertainment, which canceled or postponed most events at its 120-venue network, said shows would resume on a case-by-case basis, Variety reports. Some shows reported canceled include Maxwell's Washington concert and shows by Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, 98 Degrees, P.O.D. and Blues Traveler. The Backstreet Boys' Toronto concert as well as Weezer's Oakland show will continue as scheduled.
Pierre Hugo, the great-great-grandson of author Victor Hugo, has lost a bid in Paris courts to ban a contemporary sequel to the 1862 novel Les Miserables, Reuters reports. Francois Ceresa's Cosette or the Time of Illusions takes the villain Javert and turns him into a hero. Hugo alleged that that Ceresa's novel broke a French law that protects the integrity of works of art. A Paris civil court ruled that Hugo could not pursue the case on behalf of his great-great-grandfather and instead noted that Victor Hugo had insisted his classic should go on into the public domain upon his death. Hugo's descendants also contested Disney's version of Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1997.
After virtually disappearing from the scene since 1997's "Jackie Brown," director Quentin Tarantino, who single-handedly started a genre trend with 1994's "Pulp Fiction," will finally return to the helm with his next project "Kill Bill," The Hollywood Reporter says.
The project, also written by Tarantino, is said to be a revenge film intended as a starring vehicle for actress Uma Thurman, whom he directed to an Oscar-nominated turn in "Pulp Fiction."
Miramax Films is expected to distribute "Kill Bill." And according to the Reporter, Tarantino is also developing a WWII drama for the distributor.
'FIELD' WORK: Life after "ER" for Juliana Margulies is certainly looking good. The erstwhile actress has signed to join Andy Garcia, Jason Robards and Mick Jagger in the indie flick "The Man From Elysian Fields," Daily Variety says. The story is about an aspiring novelist (Garcia) who moonlights at an escort service run by the Jagger character. Margulies is slated to play the Garcia character's wife.
SAY CLEESE: So how about a little "Monty Python" for the muggles? Variety tells us that John Cleese of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" fame will co-star in the film adaptation of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" as the character Nearly Headless Nick.
A problem-solving specialist arrives in New Orleans to take over a Crisis Center. He finds an apartment in an old mansion, Elysian Fields, converted to a boarding house run by two eccentric sisters and filled with an assortment of oddball renters.