There’s nobody in Hollywood quite like Bill Murray. Even though Sony Pictures and the Ghostbusters creative team built a sequel around Murray, I’m told the actor still hasn’t contacted the studio to tell them if he’s even read the script script by The Office writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky that was delivered to him at the beginning of the year. The movie won’t happen if Bill doesn’t say yes, plain and simple. Now, Murray is being courted to play Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Roger Michell-directed Hyde Park on the Hudson, the film set up at Focus Features and Film Four with script by Richard Nelson. Like Ghostbusters, this is a film that becomes an immediate go picture if Murray says yes. I’m not sure it happens if he says no, or doesn’t say anything at all.
For days, I’ve heard that Focus has been approaching cast and basically telling them that Murray will do the picture. Focus has denied that to me several times. Perhaps Focus doesn’t want to jinx things because you never really know that you have Murray until he shows up to go to work, which is the reason Ghostbusters III has languished so long–you can’t prep a $150 million picture on a wing and a prayer. Read More »
Blimey, you wait for one film with George VI and two come along at the same time. Roger Michell, director of Morning Glory, is casting U.S. actors to star in Hyde Park On Hudson, his movie about the love affair between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his distant cousin, Daisy. Producer Kevin Loader tells me he hopes to shoot this year, subject to casting. Written by Richard Nelson, the film revolves around a weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen arrive at President Roosevelt’s upstate New York home on the eve of the war. It was the first time a reigning British monarch had ever been to America. Michell is also looking for an actress to play Eleanor Roosevelt. Film4, the movie arm of the UK broadcaster, has been developing the project for some time. It’s part of the reason why it turned down The King’s Speech when it applied to the broadcaster for funding. Katherine Butler, senior commissioning exec at Film4, says: “We already had this George VI project so there was a conflict of interest. Plus, The King’s Speech didn’t quite fit in with Film4’s identity.” That identity is director-led films with distinctive voices that say something about Britain today. Channel 4 found itself in a similar position back in the 1990s when it had two films about people losing their jobs in northern England who band together to rediscover their self-respect: Brassed Off and The Full Monty. In … Read More »