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Hot Red Band Trailer: ‘Drive’

Mike Fleming

Just in time for Comic-Con, FilmDistrict has unveiled a red band trailer for Drive, the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed drama that stars Ryan Gosling, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman and Carey Mulligan. Is it me, or does Gosling seem very much like Steve McQueen-esque in one of those 70s movies and Brooks like one of those heavies that McQueen bumped up against?

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Oscar Isaac Is ‘Bourne’ Again In Robert Ludlum Thriller Spinoff

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Not long ago, newcomer Oscar Isaac tested for Tony Gilroy and the lead role in Universal’s The Bourne Legacy and made such a strong impression that the director seriously considered giving the actor the lead role that went to Jeremy Renner. Well, Isaac has just landed the role of “Number 3,” another brainwashed assassin in the film, and it’s a major role in the movie that Gilroy will direct. Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton are also expected to star in The Bourne Identity spinoff. Isaac is about to wrap filming on Steel Town, the Walden Media drama that also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis. He was most recently seen in Sucker Punch and stars in the Nic Refn-directed Drive opposite Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. He also stars in the Madonna-directed W.E., and stars in Ten Year with Channing Tatum, Anthony Mackie, Justin Long and Rosario Dawson. He’s repped by UTA and Inspire Entertainment.

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Joel Edgerton Gets Tom Buchanan Role In ‘The Great Gatsby’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Joel Edgerton has been set by director Baz Luhrmann to play Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. He will join Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Isla Fisher as Myrtle (Tom’s mistress), and Australian newcomer Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker. Edgerton, the Australian actor who was on the short list to star in The Bourne Legacy spinoff at Universal and other plum roles, takes a part that was going to Ben Affleck until his schedule didn’t work when he committed to direct and star in Argo for Warner Bros. Luhrmann’s update of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic will be made for Warner Bros, which will release it in 3D. Edgerton next stars with Tom Hardy in Warrior, the Gavin O’Connor-directed drama about brothers who square off in the mixed martial arts arena. Edgerton has an imposing physicality that makes him an intriguing choice for the role of Tom, played by Bruce Dern in the 1974 film.

Luhrmann, who took the above photo of Edgerton as Buchanan, confirmed he’d found his man: “In casting Tom one had to find an actor who could credibly be (as Fitzgerald describes him) ‘one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven,’ had five-star acting chops and in the big dramatic showdown scenes between Gatsby and Tom, hold the screen against Leonardo DiCaprio, in the appropriate age group. Read More »

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Ben Affleck Can’t Do ‘The Great Gatsby’

By | Tuesday April 19, 2011 @ 2:56pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Though director Baz Luhrmann wanted Ben Affleck to play Tom Buchanan in his 3D update of The Great Gatsby, the actor won’t be taking part in the movie adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic. Luhrmann offered Affleck the role in early April and courted him hard. The problem was, the film will shoot in Australia, and the scheduling just didn’t match up on Argo. Affleck is committed to direct that film, about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, in the Middle East. They tried to work it out but ultimately couldn’t.

So far, Luhrmann has commitments from Leonardo DiCaprio to play Jay Gatsby,  Carey Mulligan to play Daisy Buchanan, and Tobey Maguire to play Nick Carraway. Warner Bros is in talks with Isla Fisher to play Myrtle, the wife of a gas-station owner who is cheating with Buchanan. Luhrmann is looking for another actor to play him. Word is he’s trying to get Australian actors for some of the roles because it helps the film’s financial situation. Luhrmann, who wrote the script with Craig Pearce, is producing with his Luhrmann/Bazmark Films partners Catherine Martin and Catherine Knapman, and Red Wagon partners Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher.

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Ben Affleck Circling Big ‘Great Gatsby’ Role

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Ben Affleck is in talks to play the role of Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, the Baz Luhrmann-directed 3D adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic at Warner Bros. Now, Affleck will have to work to fit this in. After starring in and directing The Town, he’s prepping to direct Argo, a film about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. But signs point toward him making time in his schedule to join Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan in Gatsby. Both projects are at Warner Bros.

Tom Buchanan is the husband of Daisy (Mulligan), in a role originated by Bruce Dern in the 1974 film.  DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby (Robert Redford starred in the original) and Maguire plays Nick Carraway (Sam Waterston in the 1974 pic). Luhrmann, who wrote the script with Craig Pearce, is still in the process of setting the roles of Jordan Baker (originated by Lois Chiles), the gas station owner George Wilson (Scott Wilson) and his wife Myrtle (played by Karen Black in the original). Tom is having an affair with Myrtle, and they all play a role in a tragedy.

Luhrmann, Catherine Martin and Catherine Knapman of Luhrmann/Bazmark Films will produce with Red Wagon partners Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher. G Mac Brown will also produce. WME reps Affleck.

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Warner Bros Nearing Deal To Acquire Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: While James Bond has gotten the lion’s share of attention from studios this week, Jay Gatsby has also been making a stir around town. I’m told Warner Bros has emerged as the clear frontrunner to finance and take worldwide distribution on The Great Gatsby, the Baz Luhrmann-directed adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic.

The film will star Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan. The pieces are still coming together, but a deal could be done by Friday. Deals with the cast will follow, with DiCaprio furthest along in negotiations to play Gatsby. Red Wagon partners Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher have joined the project, and will produce with Luhrmann, Catherine Martin and Catherine Knapman of Luhrmann/Bazmark Films. G Mac Brown will also produce. Luhrmann wrote the script with Craig Pearce. Given what is happening, recent reports that Luhrmann might not do The Great Gatsby seem completely unfounded. Though Luhrmann also has an original musical project and is refashioning his breakout film Strictly Ballroom as a stage musical, he has been squarely focused on Gatsby. He spent weeks recently  reading top young actresses for the role of the manipulative Daisy Buchanan, before Luhrmann decided that Mulligan was the right fit to play alongside DiCaprio and Maguire (who’ll play narrator Nick Carraway). Warner Bros seems a good fit: the … Read More »

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Mia Wasikowska In Thriller ‘Stoker’ Talks

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Alice in Wonderland‘s Mia Wasikowska is negotiating to star in Stoker, the Fox Searchlight thriller that will be directed by Oldboy and Thirst director Chan-wook Park. The script was written by Wentworth Miller, the Prison Break star who wrote under the pseudonym Ted Foulke. Ridley and Tony Scott will produce with Michael Costigan under the Scott Free banner.

Carey Mulligan had been attached when the script sold, but it be Wasikowska in the lead role when shooting begins this spring. She’ll play an eccentric teen whose enigmatic and estranged uncle returns to the family after the death of the girl’s father. Strange things begin to happen. Jodie Foster had been attached along with Mulligan, but she’s not doing the film, I’m told. When he sold Stoker, Miller had also written Uncle Charlie, a prequel that explores another chapter in the history of a family with a knack for burying secrets as well as bodies. Read More »

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CAA Signs Director Mark Romanek

Mike Fleming

Feature and video director Mark Romanek has signed with CAA. Romanek, who just directed the Fox Searchlight adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go with Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley, had been repped by WME. Romanek previously directed One Hour Photo and Static, and has helmed music videos with the likes of David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, REM and Madonna.

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Now Carey Mulligan Agrees To Feel ‘Shame’

By | Thursday December 9, 2010 @ 7:22am PST

She’ll play Michael Fassbender’s sister in Steve McQueen’s next indie project, Shame, which begins shooting on location in New York in January. Sales agent Hanway Films has pre-sold the film to several territories including MK2 in France and Prokino in Germany. Fassbender stars as a thirtysomething man living in New York, who is unable to manage his sex life. Mulligan takes the role after just winning the high-profile part of Daisy in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. On Shame, Abi Morgan (Brick Lane) has written the screenplay with McQueen. Shame is produced by Iain Canning, currently riding high having produced The King’s Speech, who developed this new McQueen project with Film4. Canning produced McQueen’s first film Hunger, which also starred Fassbender as Irish Republican hunger striker Bobby Sands and won the Camera d’Or at Cannes in 2008.

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‘King’s Speech’ Sweeps Brit Indie Awards

The Weinstein Co movie won 5 British Independent Film Awards at the ceremony in London’s East End tonight, including Best Film, Best Actor (Colin Firth), Best Supporting Actress (Helena Bonham Carter), Best Supporting Actor (Geoffrey Rush), and Best Screenplay. Micro-budget sci-film Monsters won 3 awards: Best Director (Gareth Edwards), Best Achievement in Production and Best Technical Achievement, while Carey Mulligan was named best actress for Never Let Me Go.

BEST BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM
THE KING’S SPEECH

BEST DIRECTOR
GARETH EDWARDS (MONSTERS)

THE DOUGLAS HICKOX AWARD [BEST DEBUT DIRECTOR]
CLIO BARNARD (THE ARBOR)

BEST SCREENPLAY
DAVID SEIDLER (THE KING’S SPEECH)

BEST ACTRESS
CAREY MULLIGAN (NEVER LET ME GO)

BEST ACTOR
COLIN FIRTH (THE KING’S SPEECH)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
HELENA BONHAM CARTER (THE KING’S SPEECH)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
GEOFFREY RUSH (THE KING’S SPEECH)

MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER
JOANNE FROGGATT (IN OUR NAME)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION
MONSTERS

RAINDANCE AWARD
SON OF BABYLON

BEST TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT
GARETH EDWARDS – VISUAL EFFECTS (MONSTERS)

BEST DOCUMENTARY
ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE

BEST BRITISH SHORT
BABY

BEST FOREIGN FILM
A PROPHET

THE RICHARD HARRIS AWARD (for outstanding contribution by an actor to British Film)
HELENA BONHAM CARTER

THE VARIETY AWARD
LIAM NEESON

THE SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
JENNE CASAROTTO

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OSCAR: Actress Race Cannot Be Any Hotter

Pete Hammond

Following a 3-part Best Picture rundown and a Best Actor roundup, I continue my occasional series highlighting Oscar contenders in various categories by turning to perhaps the most competitive one of all in a very competitive year:

2010 is one of those years when you almost wish the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences could have created 10 slots for Best Actress, just as they did for Best Picture. Usually it’s hard to even fill the Best Actress ballot with five legitimate contenders because of the normal sorry state of strong roles for women, particularly in studio films. But this year there’s clearly something in the water and some performances which, in another year might have actually won, likely will not even end up with a nomination this time around. That’s how fierce this competition is. One key reason could be that some of the top contenders like Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, and Tilda Swinton also took the reins of their projects and moonlighted as producers in order to shepherd difficult material that might never have made it to the screen otherwise. Here’s the alphabetical lineup of hopefuls and their Oscar chances as we head into Thanksgiving:

ANNETTE BENING in THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Focus Features) - Bening is a previous three-time nominee who has lost on two of those occasions  to Hilary Swank who is also back in contention this year but hey, no pressure.  Bening is a well-respected  thesp and Academy insider who reps her fellow actors on the Board of Governors and serves as Secretary. The only thing that matters though is performance on the screen and she knocks it out of the park with a wise and knowing turn as a successful doctor going through a bad patch in her relationship with longtime partner Julianne Moore. OSCAR CHANCE: Blooming. It has seemed like it might finally be Bening’s year ever since the picture opened in early July and Focus is determined to campaign heartily for her. Only problem is she must compete with co-star Julianne Moore , also way overdue (see below).

HALLE BERRY in FRANKIE & ALICE (Freestyle Releasing) - As a woman with multiple personality disorder, Berry pulls out all the stops in the kind of role that screams Oscar! Oscar!  On top of that she co-produced this passion project and has doggedly stuck with it even if its less-than-commercial nature made it a tough sell to distributors. Now after toying with getting into the race with this same film last year, Berry feels the time is ripe for a December stealth entry  ala Jeff Bridges last season in Crazy Heart. And we all know what happened there. OSCAR CHANCE: There are precious few possibilities for anyone of color in this year’ s contest and Berry is out working it hard for her indie surprise but she’s already got one gold statuette and this film may just be too small  to gain much of a following among her fellow actors this year.

ANNE HATHAWAY in LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS (20th Century Fox) - One of just a small handful of major studio contenders in the category , Hathaway  goes for her second nomination in three years (Rachel Getting Married) and  gets to be funny, sexy and poignant as a young woman with early-onset Parkinsons disease involved in a complicated new romance with Jake Gyllenhaal. OSCAR CHANCE: Comedy rarely carries the day here  but Hathaway has a couple of killer dramatic scenes too.  She’s well liked but so far the buzz level on her Academy chances is pretty quiet. If she gets out there in a big way she may be able to climb into the game. Her SNL stint last Saturday raised her profile but considering the killer competition  she needs to move fast. Strong reviews this week and the inevitable babe factor male voters seem to  consider in this category could help.

SALLY HAWKINS in MADE IN DAGENHAM (Sony Pictures Classics) - Although she won a Comedy or Musical Golden Globe for Happy Go Lucky she was overlooked for even an Oscar nomination two years ago.  With this enormously likeable and determined factory worker who leads the fight for equal pay in late-60’s England she could get points for coming back with another winning performance so soon. OSCAR CHANCE: Sally is a bit far down the pack this year and hasn’t had a whole lot of time to campaign since she is also appearing in a Broadway play now in the thick of the season.  A terrific actress but this probably isn’t her Academy year either. Read More »

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Baz Luhrmann Tells Deadline: Carey Mulligan Is My Daisy Buchanan

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann has found his Daisy Buchanan. He has officially given the starring role in The Great Gatsby to Carey Mulligan, the Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Never Let Me Go star who’ll play the manipulative heroine when Luhrmann starts production on his adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic.

Mulligan was on the reception line for The Fashion Council Awards in New York when she got the call on her cell phone from Luhrmann, just a few minutes ago. She burst into tears on the red carpet in front of Karl Lagerfield and Anna Wintour. This all occurred shortly after Luhrmann showed the audition footage to Sony Pictures Entertainment execs Amy Pascal and Doug Belgrad, who were impressed by Mulligan’s command of the character played in the 1974 film by Mia Farrow.

Mulligan was a late entrant to an elite list of actresses that Luhrmann met with while he conducted readings with Leonardo DiCaprio, who’ll play Jay Gatsby. Tobey Maguire is expected to play his friend, Nick Carraway, who narrates the tale. No word yet on who’ll play the other major roles, Daisy’s husband Tom, their social companion Jordan Baker, Tom’s mistress Myrtle Wilson and her gas station owner husband George.

Luhrmann delivered the message to Deadline, and gave me the above photo he took of Mulligan during rehearsals, when she was in Daisy Buchanan mode on … Read More »

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FilmDistrict Drives To First Big AFM Deal

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In the first major deal of the American Film Market, FilmDistrict has acquired North American distribution rights to Drive, the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed adaptation of the James Sallis novel that stars Ryan Gosling as a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver and is targeted for death after a heist goes wrong. Carey Mulligan, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks and Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks round out a strong cast. FilmDistrict was started by GK Films partners Graham King and Tim Headington and run by Peter Schlessel and veteran distribution exec Bob Berney. They hatched the company to generate or acquire films with strong casts that can play on between 1500 and 2000 screens. Drive certainly fits that bill. The film is about two weeks from wrapping and has a budget under $30 million despite shooting in Los Angeles. FilmDistrict will look to release in late summer or early fall, 2011. Michel Litvak’s Bold Films financed the picture with Odd Lot Entertainment ‘s Gigi Pritzker, Linda McDonough and Bill Lischak. Marc Platt is producing with Bold and Odd Lot. Several indie companies chased the film including Summit and Lionsgate, and WME Global’s Graham Taylor closed the deal. Read More »

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Robert Rodriguez Launches Quick Draw

The company is a partnership between Rodriguez, OddLot Entertainment and Bold Films and will produce and finance action-oriented projects. The partnership is for multiple titles and all films will either be directed by or produced by Rodriguez. “This new venture allows us to develop, greenlight and produce films from the idea stage through delivery,” the Machete writer/director said. Quick Draw will be based in Austin, Texas. Bold Films and OddLot are both currently producing Drive, starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Separately, OddLot has two upcoming films scheduled for release in Rabbit Hole and From Prada to Nada, while one of Bold’s upcoming productions is Into Hell, directed by Alex Holmes.

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Awards Roundup: Honors For ‘The King’s Speech,’ Annette Bening

The King’s Speech scored eight British Independent Film Award nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and two Best Supporting Actor nominations. The other nominees for Best Film include Four Lions, Kick-Ass, Monsters and Never Let Me Go. In the acting categories, Jim Broadbent (Another Year), Riz Ahmed (Four Lions), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), Scoot McNairy (Monsters) and Aidan Gillen (Treacle Junior) received nominations. The Best Actress race is between Manjinder Virk (The Arbor), Ruth Sheen (Another Year), Andrea Riseborough (Brighton Rock), Sally Hawkins (Made in Dagenham) and Carey Mulligan (Never Let Me Go). Winners will be announced on December 5th. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will present Annette Bening with the American Riviera Award. She’ll be honored at the Arlington Theatre on January 28.

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Ridley Scott Sweet On ‘Dragon Tattoo’s Noomi Rapace For ‘Alien’ Prequel

Mike Fleming

20th Century Fox and director Ridley Scott have just about completed meetings with actresses to find the Ripley-like heroine for the 3D Alien prequel. I’m told that, so far, Scott’s favorite is The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star Noomi Rapace. The other names being whispered range from Carey Mulligan to Abbie Cornish, Natalie Portman and Tron: Legacy star Olivia Wilde, the latter of whom met this week. Deadline revealed early this month that Rapace — who got the female lead in Sherlock Holmes 2 – was a possibility for Alien. Now, the studio will be heavily involved in the ultimate decision, and I’m told that Rapace’s English is a consideration. Stay tuned.

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Honors For James Franco, Carey Mulligan

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will present James Franco with the Outstanding Performance of the Year Award for his performance in 127 Hours. The festival runs January 27-February 6. Carey Mulligan will receive the Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which runs January 6-17. She’s being honored for her roles in Never Let Me Go and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

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TELLURIDE FILM FESTIVAL KICKING OFF: First Stop Of Hollywood Awards Season

Pete Hammond

TELLURIDE: The Emmys may have just ended but that isn’t stopping the Hollywood film awards machine from kicking into gear already. First on Wednesday at the Venice Film Festival with a rapturous reception for opener Black Swan which received a resounding standing ovation for director Darren Aronofsky and stars Natalie Portman and Vincent Cassel. And then tomorrow at the 37th annual Telluride Film Festival, which is the first U.S. stop on the long freight train to the Oscars.

The Telluride fest officially begins Friday morning and runs through Labor Day in this remote and rustic Colorado town. This must-stop for cineastes known for its friendly, relaxed vibe and its esoteric mix of indie, foreign, and classics has also in recent years become an early, important cog in the awards industry engine. It’s where such Best Picture winners and nominees like Slumdog Millionaire, Juno and Up In The Air have launched their campaigns even before they hit the much bigger and more publicized Toronto Film Festival (beginning September 9th this year). Telluride’s lineup is always kept a secret until the last minute and was finally revealed today. In addition to such little known entries as Oka! Amerikee, and Pygmies In Paris, there will be a slew of Oscar hopefuls rolling into town jazzing things up. The festival is able to get these films because they don’t advertise them in advance and is happy to let Toronto claim North American or even World Premieres even though technically it’s all happening here this weekend.

Fox Searchlight officially has Never Let Me Go with Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield on the schedule. But it will be “sneaking” the aforementioned Black Swan with Aronofsky and Portman making the trek from Venice pre-Toronto, and Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours which will see the director coming back for a good-luck visit to the place that started his march to Oscar glory two years ago with Slumdog. Also here, The Weinstein Company’s period drama, The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush and directed by Tom Hooper (The Damned United), and the genuine “World Premiere” (it’s not even on the Toronto slate) of Peter Weir’s The Way Back, an epic adventure produced by National Geographic that even with this veteran director and a cast that includes Ed Harris and Colin Farrell is still angling for a good distribution deal. [Later Thursday, they announced that they secured a distributor, Newmarket, and plan to release in January.] Last year the Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer film, The Last Station came quietly into Telluride, landed a deal with Sony Pictures Classics and won a couple of major acting Oscar nominations just a few months later. Maybe Telluride will prove just as lucky for Weir, whose last movie was 2003’s Oscar-nominated Master And Commander. Weir is one of three veterans getting tributes here in addition to Firth and Italy’s legendary Claudia Cardinale.

Among Cannes premieres showing up in America for the first time here are  Mike Leigh’s Another Year, Stephen Frear’s British comedy Tamara Drewe, the acclaimed financial meltdown documentary Inside Job, and Sylvain Chomet’s animated gem, The Illusionist, all from Sony Pictures Classics which has a big presence as usual. That also includes Cannes Grand Prize winner Of Gods And Men, the stirring drama almost certain to be France’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language film Oscar this year. Other Cannes titles making the journey are France’s Princess Of Montpensier, Korea’s Poetry, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s stirring Biutiful that won Best Actor for Javier Bardem in Cannes and has been picked up domestically by Roadside Attractions, and IFC’s Carlos, the 3-part biopic of terrorist Carlos The Jackal that premieres stateside in October. Cannes Fest director Thierry Fremaux is here, too, justifiably proud that so many of his cinematic discoveries were chosen.

Coming in together on the one and only festival charter today was a spirited group including Fremaux, Firth, Rush, Hooper, Weir, Harris, Mulligan (who was here last year with An Education), Inarritu, and many others including a gaggle of producers, directors, agents, studio execs, media types (yes, including me) and publicists. Former Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences President Sid Ganis was on board (the Academy is a loyal sponsor) as was last year’s guest “curator”  Alexander Payne (Sideways) who told me he was coming back this time as a fan just to “see movies”. I told Firth I had just gotten an early look at his (terrific) King’s Speech last night in a Beverly Hills screening room, and he said it must have been hot off the presses as Hooper just finished it two days ago. He hasn’t even seen the finished product yet. Waiting at the Montrose airport for his suitcase to be unloaded, Geoffrey Rush spotted Ed Harris and told him he had a script the actor should look at. Read More »

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Albert Brooks Plays Badass Role In ‘Drive’

By | Thursday August 26, 2010 @ 4:34pm PDT
Mike Fleming

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 … Read More »

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