This is a seminal year for Albert Brooks. After completing an ambitious science fiction novel 2030: The Real Story of What Happens To America and setting it to be published next May by St. Martin’s Press, Brooks has signed on for his first screen turn as a truly dangerous badass.
Brooks has joined the cast of Drive, the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed adaptation of the James Sallis novel that stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Bryan Cranston. Gosling plays a stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver and gets in over his head. Brooks will play Bernie Rose, a transplanted New York mobster who comes to L.A. and is not to be messed with. Now, Brooks played on the wrong side of the law in Out of Sight, but let’s face it, he was a wimp. Had Bernie Rose been the screenwriter issued a “walk on” pass to meet Steven Spielberg in The Muse? Had Julie Hagerty gambled away Bernie Rose’s nest egg in Lost in America? Fuggedaboutit.
Brooks, who last directed 2005’s Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, will jump into the Drive role after spending the better part of two years working on his debut novel. It takes a serious look at what might be happening 20 years in the future, when cancer has been eradicated and life expectancies have been pushed up to 110, making 70 the new middle age. That creates overpopulation and a simmering resentment among 20somethings who aren’t getting the career opportunities they once did because the older crowd won’t get out of the way. Throw in a cataclysmic natural disaster, and the complications of reaching out to the global community for help, and Brooks has created a storyline much different from any of his movie scripts. The film crowd began calling Brooks’ WME reps and manager Herb Nanas when the galleys made the publishing rounds. But Brooks has to first decide the best course for the book—he might write but not direct—before the novel is auctioned.
Drive’s being financed by Odd Lot Entertainment and Bold Films, and the picture goes into production this fall.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2010 Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Lead Drama Series Actor race:
BRYAN CRANSTON, BREAKING BAD
Why He Got Nominated: He’s won two years running, and the TV Academy isn’t in the habit of failing to nominate guys who won the year before (except in rare … Read More »
Bryan Cranston, age 54, has been a working actor for nearly three decades, though in anonymous roles most of that time. A decade ago he was cast as the hapless father on the Fox comedy Malcolm in the Middle, and suddenly everything changed. Usually an actor is lucky to have lightning strike once for him. But for Cranston it’s now happened twice. His second act as the mega-intense high school chemistry teacher-turned-crystal meth maker Walter White in AMC’s Breaking Bad has earned him two Emmys and a 3rd straight nomination. He faces off in the lead drama actor category against Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Hugh Laurie (House) and Matthew Fox (Lost). Cranston spoke with Ray Richmond for Deadline Hollywood about how Walt is like Tony Soprano, and why he’s fearful of saying something dumb on Emmy night:
DH: It’s difficult to imagine two characters more different than Hal and Walt. It’s tough to reconcile it’s even the same actor playing both parts.
BC: That’s why I look at being able to play Walt as the gift of my life. Jason Alexander has talked about how his transition from Seinfeld has been so difficult. We truly do become victims of our own success. I spent seven years developing and strengthening that character on Malcolm. And now I’m trying to wash it away so I don’t have to live in its shadow. Fortunately, the people attracted to the material we’re doing on Breaking Bad aren’t generally the same ones who are fans of situation comedy.
DH: But you were not an obvious choice for ‘High school chemistry teacher with terminal cancer who becomes a crystal meth chef to make a quick killing’. How did Vince Gilligan cast you?
BC: Well, Breaking Bad was one of four pilot scripts Read More »
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s Emmy coverage.
UPDATE: Emmy-nominated AMC/Sony TV drama Breaking Bad won’t premiere fresh episodes for its fourth season until July 2011. That’s more than a full year after the conclusion of Season Three … Read More »