BREAKING: Josh Brolin was rumored to be on the short list to star in Spike Lee’s Oldboy, a remake of the cult 2003 Korean revenge thriller from Park Chan-wook. Now it’s official: Brolin will topline the Mandate Pictures redo, which begins production in March. Brolin, who just wrapped Men in Black 3 with Will Smith, next begins work on Warner Bros’ Gangster Squad. It looks like he’ll squeeze in Oldboy before shooting Jason Reitman’s Labor Day opposite Kate Winslet; that movie is set to begin production in June.
The new Oldboy has script adapted by Mark Protosevich, who will co-produce. Roy Lee and Doug Davison will produce via Vertigo Entertainment with Lee’s 40 Acres & A Mule. Mandate president Nathan Kahane will executive produce. Originally, DreamWorks was looking to pick up remake rights in 2008, with the idea that Steven Spielberg would direct Smith. The story centers on a man who is kidnapped on his daughter’s birthday and held for 15 years in solitary confinement without explanation. He is eventually released and sets out on a path to take revenge on those who destroyed his life.
EXCLUSIVE: Nick Nolte continues his recent career resurgence. He’s been set to join the cast of the Ruben Fleischer-directed Warner Bros drama Gangster Squad. Nolte will play Bill Parker, the new chief of police in Los Angeles, and the first in a awhile who hasn’t been corrupted by Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). The chief, a Purple Heart recipient at Normandy, is the one who starts the Gangster Squad, a crack team designed to bring down organized crime. Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, Mireille Enos and Anthony Mackie star.
Nolte stars in the Gavin O’Connor-directed Warrior, and he just wrapped the Taylor Hackford-directed action film Parker for FilmDistrict opposite Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez and Michael Chiklis. Nolte is about to begin work on the Robert Redford-directed The Company You Keep opposite Redford and Shia LaBeouf, and he also stars with Dustin Hoffman in the David Milch/Michael Mann HBO series Luck.
EXCLUSIVE: Giovanni Ribisi has landed a co-starring role in Warner Bros’ The Gangster Squad, the period crime drama Ruben Fleischer is directing that stars Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen, and Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin as members of the elite cop squad that are after him in 1949 Los Angeles. Anthony Mackie and Michael Pena also are aboard. Will Beall wrote the script. Langley Park Pictures and Lin Pictures are producing. Ribisi, repped by CAA and Management 360, will play Conway Keeler, a cop in the group who is a master of electronics and wires. He is currently shooting Universal’s Ted and next appears in FilmDistrict’s The Rum Diary opposite Johnny Depp.
EXCLUSIVE: In a low-seven-figure minimum guarantee deal, FilmDistrict has acquired U.S. rights to Only God Forgives, a drama that will reteam Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn with Ryan Gosling. Several distributors were in the mix, but FilmDistrict’s Peter Schlessel had an edge because Refn was pleased with the way FilmDistrict’s Bob Berney has set up the marketing for Drive. That film, which stars Gosling as a stunt driver who moonlights as the wheel man for a heist crew, played the Cannes Film Festival and drew raves. It will be released Sept. 16. Funded by Wild Bunch, Only God Forgives will shoot in late summer in Thailand, with Gosling playing a guy on the run from British police. He runs a Thai boxing club in Bangkok that is a front for a drug-smuggling operation. He winds up getting in the ring for a shot at redemption. Buyers this week read a script and started making offers this week. Gosling is next starring for his Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance in A Place Beyond the Pines and he’s also starring with Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Anthony Mackie in the Ruben Fleischer-directed Gangster Squad for Warner Bros. He’s also set to star for Refn in a remake of Logan’s Run at Warner Bros, where he’ll next be seen starring with Steve Carell and Julianne Moore in Crazy, Stupid, Love.
It is another … Read More »
Here’s how fast things move in Hollywood. At Cannes, I got my confirmations and revealed that Ryan Gosling would direct and star in MGM’s remake of The Idolmaker. Now, a couple weeks later, I get to report that he’s had to back out of the picture, at least for now. He just informed the studio he would be too busy. He’s in pre-production on A Place Beyond the Pines, which reteams him with Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance, and then Gosling moves immediately into the Ruben Fleischer-directed Gangster Squad, starring with Sean Penn and Josh Brolin in the period crime drama for Warner Bros. MGM is convinced that Idolmaker is a plum project and the studio and will continue developing the picture. If Gosling is available, they will revisit it down the line. It is fun to watch Gosling’s transformation from darling of the independent film set to arguably the most coveted young leading man for studio films. After turning down lead roles in recent years I’ve heard included Superman, Jack Ryan, Akira and The Lone Ranger, Gosling is suddenly giving the studios a chance. He impressed the Cannes set with the Nicolas Refn-directed Drive, and Warner Bros is offering him everything after testing Crazy, Stupid, Love, with the studio getting Gosling to reteam with Refn in a remake of Logan’s Run. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: At a time when organized crime films are back in vogue, Relativity Media’s Ryan Kavanaugh is wetting his beak. He’s acquired Ness/Capone, a Grant Pierce Myers script that made the 2010 Black Script and puts a new spin on the epic battle between Eliot Ness and Al Capone during the Prohibition Era 1920s. That battle was famously chronicled in the Brian DePalma-directed movie based on the TV series The Untouchables. Myers went back to the history books and came away with a much different version of Ness. While Kevin Costner played him as an incorruptible married choirboy who had to be taught to meet the mob on its own crooked terms, Ness/Capone’s Ness is a skirt-chasing 26-year old publicity hound who seemed to get an adrenaline charge out of courting danger, kicking in doors, smashing moonshine stores and rubbing it in the noses of Capone and other mobsters. He paraded confiscated bootleg trucks past Capone’s hotel, calling Capone in advance to suggest he look out the window. Deals are still being worked out, but the film will be produced by Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Jeremy Bell along with Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari and Virgin Produced’s Jason Felts and Rene Rigal.
This puts Relativity Media in another potential pic race (it has already gone to the mattresses against Universal over rival Snow White films). Warner Bros has its own Capone project, the Walon Green-scripted Cicero, an origin story. I’ve reported that the project has interest from David Yates when he resurfaces from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, his fourth and final Potter pic. Warner Bros also is going gangbusters on Gangster Squad, the Ruben Fleischer-directed pic that has Sean Penn negotiating to play L.A. mobster Mickey Cohen, and Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin as the cops who try to bring him down. Read More »
Sony Pictures has brought in David Koepp to do several weeks of work on the script of Men in Black III, the film that took a production hiatus and starts up again March 28. The picture still has to shoot the time travel sequence of a sequel that sends Will Smith’s Agent J back to 1969, with Josh Brolin playing a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones’ Agent K character, and Alice Eve playing the younger Emma Thompson (she’s the head of the Agency). Koepp has been a reliable writer on such Sony tent poles as Spider-Man and Angels & Demons. He’s repped by CAA and attorney David Fox. Sony has kept a skeleton staff in place while they work out the bug of the script, but the studio is adamant they had time, they like the footage they’ve seen, and that director Barry Sonnenfeld will deliver for its May 25, 2012 release date.
They’ve been added to this Sunday’s Academy Awards. Swank has won two Best Actress Oscars, in 1999 for Boys Don’t Cry and in 2004 for Million Dollar Baby. She is currently producing Something Borrowed and will next be co-starring in New Year’s Eve. Brolin received an Oscar nomination in 2008 for his supporting performance in Milk. He’s currently co-starring in Best Picture nominee True Grit.
When Men in Black III re-starts production next month, Alice Eve will play the younger version of Men in Black Agency head Emma Thompson in the time travel storyline. The British actress plays Olivia, hired as secretary for the Agency in 1969. While it appears she was given the job because of her looks, Olivia is actually whip smart. Sure enough, in the contemporary storyline, Thompson runs the place. Will Smith’s Agent J character is forced to travel back in time to team up with the young Agent K (Josh Brolin) to save the world. Eve just completed production on The Decoy Bride and starred with John Cusack in The Raven. She’s repped by Untitled, UTA and Artists Right Group. MIB III has extended a pre-planned holiday hiatus. With a skeleton staff in place, the filmmakers are taking extra time to hone the script. Director Barry Sonnenfeld has already assembled the footage shot so far, and insiders said that the film is still on track for its May 25, 2012 release by Sony Pictures.
Joel and Ethan Coen’s True Grit, the most prominent Oscar contender that didn’t get a festival launch, has one now. The film is scheduled for an international premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 10. The picture, which stars Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, was completed too late for Telluride or the Toronto International Film Festival, where several of the front runner films for Best Picture were unveiled.
UPDATE: True Grit doesn’t open until December 22nd but started screenings this week just under the wire of critics groups and SAG nominating committee deadlines. It’s the last unseen film of this awards season thought to have a serious chance of cracking the Best Picture Oscar list, especially now that there are 10 nominees. Can Joel and Ethan Coen’s much anticipated new take on the John Wayne classic do what that 1969 Paramount film couldn’t? First, a little history. The first version of the Charles Portis novel landed just two Oscar nominations, for Best Song and Best Actor, winning the latter as a heartfelt career swan song for star John Wayne. But the fairly standard western was shut out of Best Picture, never a friendly territory for oaters. After all, other classics of the genre, like 1956’s The Searchers and 1959’s Rio Bravo (both also starring Wayne), couldn’t even manage a single nomination between them even though both are now included on lists of the greatest films of all time. Only Kevin Costner’s 1990 Dances With Wolves and Clint Eastwood’s 1992 Unforgiven changed the Oscar outlook because they were untraditional westerns and that won them Academy Awards for both Best Picture and Best Director. Since 1992, no western has been nominated unless you count Brokeback Mountain — and I don’t. On the other hand, very few have even been made.
But a western coming from the Coens would seem to have a reasonable chance. They each won three Oscars for Best Pic winner No Country For Old … Read More »
Men in Black 3 is casting up. I’m told that Emma Thompson will be taking a lead role of Oh, the head of MIB. She’ll join Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin in the Barry Sonnenfeld-directed film for Sony Pictures Entertainment. She’s negotiating. Principal photography begins in mid-November.