The actor whose 50-year career included a star turn in Flower Drum Song and a memorable roles in Die Hard and Midway, died today in Los Angeles. James Shigeta was 81. The Hawaii native had scores of film and TV credits from the late 1950s into the 2000s. In 1960, he shared a Best Male Newcomer Golden Globe Award with George Hamilton, Troy Donahue and Barry Coe after making his screen debut as a detective in The Crimson Kimono. Notable film roles followed in such early 1960s films as Walk Like A Dragon with Jack Lord, with whom he’d reteam years later for an early episode of Hawaii Five-O; Cry For Happy opposite Glenn Ford and Donald O’Connor; and Bridge To The Sun with Carroll Baker. He then starred in the 1961 film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Flower Drum Song, which scored five Oscar nominations.
Shigeta had more film roles later in the decade, but his career focused more on the small screen. He appeared on such dramas as Ben Casey, Perry Mason and I Spy and later recurred on Medical Center. Shigeta piled up the TV credits throughout the 1970s — Kung Fu, Ironside, Mission: Impossible, Emergency! — before playing Japanese Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo in Midway (1976). The sprawling World War II epic, the second film to screen in seat-rattling Sensurround in theaters, starred such Hollywood heavyweights as Ford, Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Cliff Robertson and Toshiro Mifune. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In the second significant material sale in a week that has a Die Hard theme to it, Universal Pictures acquired Speeding Bullet, a pitch by Jeremiah Friedman and Nick Palmer that went for mid-six figures. Paramount also pursued the pitch which is described as a throwback to the Die Hard-esque 90s buddy cop movie (though this sounds more Lethal Weapon-esque). KatzSmith Productions partners Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg are producing.
This comes after Sony last week acquired White House Down, a spec by Amazing Spider-Man scribe James Vanderbilt that is being loglined as Die Hard in the White House. While this surge of material sales is certainly welcome–White House Down went for a 2012 spec best $3 million–I can recall that after Die Hard became a hit, studios for the next 20 years bought pitches and specs that were loglined “Die Hard in a…” Maybe some smart studio exec will go back and dust off some of those scripts, now that the Die Hard premise is back in vogue.
The UTA-repped scripted wrote Family Getaway and are working on the remake of the Whitney Houston-Kevin Costner film The Bodyguard at Warner Bros.
The UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies has called for all movies featuring smoking to be rated for adults only in Great Britain unless there’s a good reason for the characters to be lighting up. But UK film censor David Cooke tells me there’s no public support. The disagreement comes on the heels of a just-published Bristol University study that questioned 5,000 UK 15-year-olds and analyzed some of the top U.S. movies released here from 2001-05 that depict smoking. Researchers say that half of those movies are rated UK15 or below, exposing children and teenagers to tobacco addiction. “Smoking in films remains a major and persistent driver of smoking uptake among children and young people, which the actions of irresponsible filmmakers, incompetent regulators and insouciant politicians are abjectly failing to control,” study co-authors John Britton and Alison Lyons write. The report highlighted Avatar and Read More »
Hardly a big revelation, the report that Bruce Willis is negotiating to play the original G.I. Joe, Joe Colton, in Paramount’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation. This courtship has been going on for about six weeks or more, and Deadline was the first to tell you that Willis was the guy that Paramount was chasing for the Colton role way back on July 1. That was when we broke news that Friday Night Lights‘ Adrianne Palicki had been cast as the female lead by director Jon M. Chu. At the time the studio claimed that Willis wasn’t the only actor being eyed, but I’ve only heard his name for that role and I believe the conversation was always with Willis. He has time to squeeze this in before gearing up for another Die Hard, with the studio about to set a director from a short list of Attack the Block’s Joe Cornish, Fast Five helmer Justin Lin, Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn and Max Payne helmer John Moore. This positions Willis to have his third franchise, at age 56, as Summit develops a sequel to his 2010 sleeper hit Red.
MONDAY UPDATE: The film director pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court to lying during the Pellicano investigation. John McTiernan entered the plea to two counts of making false statements to the FBI and one count of perjury for lying to a federal judge while trying to withdraw a guilty plea. He faces up to a year in prison when he’s sentenced October 4th before the same judge he lied to.
SUNDAY PM: The Predator reboot debuted this weekend. But at 9 AM Monday, the director of the original goes on trial. John McTiernan is charged with lying to the FBI and to a federal judge in connection with the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping and racketeering case. But McTiernan, who also helmed Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October, and The Thomas Crown Affair remake, But here’s the problem: McTiernan is appearing for trial tomorrow before the same judge he allegedly lied to. In June, McTiernan lost a bid to suppress evidence in the case. U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer denied McTiernan’s request to exclude a telephone conversation Pellicano recorded in which he and McTiernan discussed wiretapping Charles Roven, a producer of the 2002 movie Rollerball that was also directed by McTiernan.
This case has quite a history. The 59-year-old director pleaded guilty in 2006 to lying to FBI agents about paying Pellicano $50,000 to wiretap Roven’s phone. Fischer sentenced McTiernan in 2007 to 4 months … Read More »