Ray Winstone will be getting his inner Gary Busey on as he is pay or play in the role of Pappas in the Point Break remake that Alcon Entertainment is prepping for a June production start with Ericson Core directing. Luke Bracey is playing the undercover cop Johnny Utah role originated by Keanu Reeves, and they are looking hard to replace Gerard Butler in the Zen villain role of Bodhi, originated by the late Patrick Swayze in the Kathryn Bigelow-directed 1991 film that remains a guilty pleasure. Resolution-repped Winstone is coming off Noah, and will next be seen co-starring in the Pierre Morel-directed The Gunman with Sean Penn, Javier Bardem and Idris Elba. Open Road is closing a deal for domestic distributor on that Studiocanal-backed film.
EXCLUSIVE: Looks like the sides have been chosen for the shoot-out film The Gunman, which Taken helmer Pierre Morel will direct for Silver Pictures and Studio Canal. Ray Winstone has just joined the film. He’ll play the mentor of the hitman played by Sean Penn, who is betrayed and then hunted by the organization he worked for. On the opposite side of this twosome are Javier Bardem and Idris Elba, and they run all over Europe in a fatal game of cat and mouse. Jasmine Trinca (Miele) is the female lead. Winstone’s tough guy cred includes The Departed, Sexy Beast, 44 Inch Chest and the upcoming Darren Aronofsky-directed Noah, where he goes mano a mano against Russell Crowe in that Biblical epic. I hope this movie is as good as it sounds here, because I’d follow these four actors anywhere. The Gunman is based on the Jean-Patrick Manchette novel Prone Gunman, scripted by Pete Travis. Joel Silver and Andrew Rona are producing. Resolution reps Winstone.
Sky1 HD‘s latest original drama is a two-part adaptation of the John Meade Falkner adventure novel, Moonfleet. Ray Winstone will play Elzevir Block, the leader of a band of smugglers in 18th century Dorset, England. He’s joined by Aneurin Barnard (The White Queen, Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes) who plays a young newcomer to the smuggling crew as they embark on the hunt for a lost diamond. Ashley Pharoah, creator of the original Life On Mars, wrote the adaptation that also stars Ben Chaplin, Omid Djalili and Sophie Cookson. Shooting starts this summer in Dublin. Company Pictures, producer of Starz/BBC series The White Queen, is producing Moonfleet in association with Ireland’s Element Pictures. Bletchley Circle‘s Andy de Emmony directs and Endeavour‘s Dan McCulloch produces. Exec producers are Huw Kennair-Jones, John Yorke, Claire Ingham, Pharoah and Patrick Spence. Winstone is up next in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah playing villain to Russell Crowe’s ark builder.
EXCLUSIVE: Ray Winstone has been offered the role of Noah’s nemesis in the Darren Aronofsky-directed Biblical epic Noah. Negotiations are underway for Winstone to go mano a mano against Russell Crowe in the film, which also stars Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth and Emma Watson. I’m told that Aronofsky considered a number of actors — Val Kilmer was among them — but wanted a thesp with the grit and size to be convincing as he goes head to head against Crowe’s Noah character. And here I thought Noah’s main nemesis was bad weather. I expect this deal will work out. It’s a big job for Winstone, who’s coming off Snow White And The Huntsman and Hugo. Winstone has shown his macho chops though in films that include 44 Inch Chest, Sexy Beast and The Departed. Still to be cast by Aronofsky is Noah’s wife. I’d heard that Jennifer Connelly was among those being considered — she and Crowe starred together in A Beautiful Mind – but nothing has been decided. Noah is being co-financed by Paramount and New Regency. Winstone is repped by ICM Partners.
BREAKING: I can confirm that tonight’s New York Film Festival mystery film is Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, the John Logan-scripted adaptation of the Brian Selznick novel Hugo Cabret. The festival revealed late last week that it would feature a film by a master filmmaker, and speculation covered everything from Clint Eastwood’s J Edgar to Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I’m told that Richard Pena will introduce the picture at Avery Fisher Hall, but I’m not sure if Scorsese will be in the house. The film isn’t quite finished, but it will be shown in 3D, though there might be some green screen moments. Paramount releases Hugo on November 23. Scorsese hasn’t shown an unfinished film like this before (though he did once tell me that The Last Temptation Of Christ qualified as that when Universal rushed it into release because protesters were dragging crosses in front of the houses of studio higher-ups like Sid Sheinberg), and the NYFF hasn’t shown an unfinished print like this since Disney’s Beauty And The Beast in 1991. But it’s a great opportunity to build buzz on the movie, Scorsese’s first family and 3D film.
EXCLUSIVE: Anchor Bay Films just acquired U.S. distribution rights to 13, Gela Babluani’s remake of his 2005 thriller 13 Tzameti. The film isn’t playing here at Toronto, but it will be one of a flurry of titles being shopped during the festival, something that proved very effective in Cannes, where some of the biggest acquisition deals were made on the basis of sellers showing promo reels to hungry distributors.
The remake stars Sam Riley, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Ray Winstone, Alexander Skarsgård, Michael Shannon, Ben Gazzara, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Mickey Rourke and Jason Statham. Anchor Bay president Bill Clark and EVP Worldwide Acquisitions and Co-Productions Kevin Kasha made the deal with WME Global’s Alexis Garcia.
“13 was a great pick-up for Anchor Bay Films,” Kasha said. “The film has an amazing cast and it truly keeps you guessing. We’re excited to be working with Babluani in releasing it.”
The original won the 2006 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, and Babluani won best director at the Venice Film Festival later that year. A desperate man steals an envelope promising a mysterious job that can make him a fortune. Assuming a false identity, he discovers he’s enlisted to be a numbered participant in an underworld Russian roulette competition where gamblers place bets on the contestants. The potential payoff is so high he goes through with it despite the long odds of survival.
UPDATE: Liam Neeson and Luc Besson have come to a meeting of the minds and they have worked out the scheduling snafu that made him iffy for Taken 2. Neeson’s reps at CAA are now closing the deal for Neeson to reprise what has become a signature role. Production is now being eyed for year end or beginning of 2012. Neeson will stick to his plan to take the rest of the year off, after completing the Clash of the Titans sequel he’s shooting in London. He has been working almost nonstop, wrapping The Grey for Joe Carnahan and Battleship for Peter Berg.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE: A fascinating drama has been playing out over the past few weeks on Taken 2, the sequel to the surprise global hit film hatched by Luc Besson that reinvigorated Liam Neeson. I’m told Besson has teamed on a script with Robert Mark Kamen, and that he’s in talks with his Transporter 3 director Olivier Megaton to direct the sequel. But he has been dealing with a huge problem: Neeson has all but withdrawn from reprising his role as Bryan Mills, the retired government operative who in the 2008 original decimated the Paris underworld to free his kidnapped daughter. The reason isn’t money, but rather scheduling: Besson wants to shoot it this year and Neeson wants to take time off. Continuing without Neeson is hard to imagine, but I’ve heard Besson has gone as far …
Mortimer, who appeared in Shutter Island, and Stuhlbarg, who co-stars in Boardwalk Empire, have become the latest cast additions to Scorsese’s 3D children’s movie. Hugo Cabret began shooting in London last month. Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) star. Rounding out the cast are Jude law, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, Richard Griffiths (The History Boys) and Frances de la Tour (Alice in Wonderland). Hugo Cabret, the story of an orphan who solves the mystery of a broken robot, is something of a family reunion for Scorsese. John Logan, who wrote The Aviator, has written the script. And Graham King of GK Films is producing alongside Scorsese, Tim Headington and Johnny Depp. DP Robert Richardson, production designer Dante Ferretti, costume designer Sandy Powell and editor Thelma Schoonmaker all worked on Shutter Island. Cabret represents Scorsese’s first foray into 3D.