River Phoenix's final film has been snapped up at the Cannes Film Festival 21 years after the tragic actor's death. Production on director George Sluizer's Dark Blood came to a halt following the star's drug overdose death at Los Angeles' Viper Room on 31 October, 1993 and the moviemaker has spent the last two decades trying to revive the project and complete it.
His efforts paid off on Friday (16May14) when executives at Lionsgate picked up the film's North American rights. Sluizer tells The Hollywood Reporter, "When River died, the movie was totally cancelled and everyone went away. It was declared impossible to finish. The insurance company decided to destroy the film."
The 82-year-old Dutch director reveals he had to stop footage he'd shot from being destroyed in a London warehouse, adding, "We got all the equipment on a truck and I gave the order to send the film to New York, and then to a cinema museum in Holland. "The negatives were still good but part of the sound needed to be rebuilt and re-recorded. And only 65 per cent of the story was shot... so I had to rewrite the story."
Sluizer suffered another set back three years ago (11), when members of Phoenix's family made it clear they wanted nothing to do with the film. Dark Blood premiered in Berlin, Germany in February, 2013 and played at the Miami Film Festival in Florida a month later. The film is currently on release in Japan.
Hugh Jackman whips out his razor-sharp claws in a new action-heavy clip from his upcoming superhero film The Wolverine, directed by James Mangold.
Marvel's latest project is the sixth installment in the X-men film series, and serves as a sequel to the 2006 X-Men: The Last Stand. The film follows Logan's journey to Japan to visit Yashida, who he once saved from a nearly-lethal explosion. The now-mogul Yashida has the advanced technology to say buh-bye to Wolverine and grant Logan a long-awaited mortality.
Although we already had a taste of the fight scenes to come after viewing the trailers for the inevitable blockbuster, the first clip from the film lets us watch more of the ever-pugnacious Wolverine. Trust me, you've never seen a badass fight go down quite like this: Wolverine goes head-to-head with a Yazuka villain while on top of a bullet train. Oh yeah, this bullet train is speeding along quite efficiently.
Despite what might be arguably overzealous CGI, this furious scene makes the film look promising… besides the fact that its too-fast for the eyes at points, making you blink way too much. But come on, who doesn't love a good fight scene? The only question we have: why must Hugh Jackman wear so much clothing?
To see more of Hugh Jackman's abtastic body, catch The Wolverine when it reaches theaters July 26.
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After three successful X-Men with a total domestic gross of nearly a $1 billion, a spin-off, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and one of the greatest modern cameos of all time (his f-bomb in X-Men: First Class is truly inspired), one would think Hugh Jackman getting another round of mutant comic book action off the ground would be easy peasy lemon squeezy. Not so.
The latest hiccup for Wolverine's second outing, simply titled The Wolverine, sees Jessica Biel vacating a role that she never quite had. Rumors were swirling around Comic-Con that Biel was in talks for the costarring role of "Viper" in the film. The actress was in talks with the studio for the part on Friday, but the negotiations fell through. Biel, who previously lent her action acting skills to the third installment of the Blade franchise and the upcoming Total Recall, reportedly had "cold feet" regarding the role and opted out of joining the sequel.
The departure of Biel is another bump in the road for The Wolverine. After the middling success of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, questions over whether the gruff, ballbusting hero would get another chance at a solo career. Director Gavin Hood insisted that a second film was on the way, with writer Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, Jack Reacher) hired to pen a script in August 2009. When Hood was not asked to return for a follow-up, plans for a sequel were stuck in limbo. But after the success of Black Swan, Jackman's former Fountain director Darren Aronofsky stepped in to helm the picture with a revamped title that separated it from the previous Origins series: The Wolverine.
Aronofsky boarded The Wolverine in October of 2010, but by March of 2011, he was bowing out of the project, citing the need to remain in the country with his family (the director had split from his wife Rachel Weisz in November, following the announcement). The departure of the director wasn't even The Wolverine's biggest issue: McQuarrie's script for the film took the action to Japan, following one of the character's most famous arcs, but just before Aronofsky's departure, Japan suffered a massive earthquake that devastated the country and left business out to dry. Once again, Fox was stuck with a project they were dying to make but with no one and no where to make it. An immediate search began for a new director, and by June 2011, the studio settled on James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Knight & Day) to helm the picture. The film was on the fast track to shoot in fall of that year in Australia.
With whether concerns in Japan a lingering problem, The Wolverine bounced around start dates with its star eventually taking on another project in the interim, the musical Les Miserables. But after years of false starts, the pieces for the comic book sequel are falling into place, Jackman confirming at this year's CinemaCon that production would begin in August for a release date of July 26, 2013.
The Wolverine has already begun assembling its primarily Japanese cast, signing on Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi , Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima for key roles, but the loss of Biel comes as a blow to the production. The star is one of the few go-to female action heroines — and her profile is only growing. Who can go toe-to-toe with Jackman on both a physical and emotional level. In the comics, The Viper character begins in a romantic relationship with Wolverine before double-crossing him and taking him down. The casting of Biel is an indication that, at the very least, Viper will be seeing a bit of the action in the film (and with a name like Viper, how could she not?). There's no word yet on who could fill Biel's shoes, but if Total Recall is any indication, actress Kate Beckinsale has the chops to contend with Biel. An ample replacement? Who should take over Viper from the quickly-departed Biel?
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
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[Photo Credit: New Line Cinema]
The A-Team beauty was approached by casting directors last Friday (13Jul12) to star as sexy villain Viper, a love interest for Hugh Jackman's mutant superhero character, but she has since turned down the project, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
It's not the first time Biel has rejected a job in a comic book adaptation - in 2007, she quit negotiations to play Wonder Woman in a planned Justice League of America movie.
The Wolverine will be directed by James Mangold and is due to begin production next month (Aug12) in Sydney, Australia.
George Sluizer was working on Dark Blood with River when the 23-year-old star died from a drug overdose outside Hollywood's The Viper Room in 1993.
The director has now re-edited the material and wants the late actor's younger sibling Joaquin to help him complete the project by recording a voice-over as River's character, Boy.
Sluizer tells the Hollywood Reporter, "The voices of both brothers are very much alike."
Sluizer hopes to release the final cut next year (12).
In an attept to create a being that could survive in space, Nancy Burnham has finally perfected a technology that splices human genes with computer chips, creating a super-creature called V.I.P.E.R., which can survive in any atmosphere. However, before they can launch V.I.P.E.R. into space, the prototype is stolen and accidentally released just north of the Mexican border. V.I.P.E.R. was designed to dominate any environment it inhabits, and the race is on to find the creature before it destroys everything in its path.