Catch up on the top film stories you missed this week:
A Journalist’s Plea On 10th Anniversary Of ‘The Passion Of The Christ’: Hollywood, Take Mel Gibson Off Your Blacklist
By Allison Hope Weiner – It has been a decade since Mel Gibson made The Passion Of The Christ and watched it become the biggest-grossing independent film with $612 million in worldwide ticket sales. In the years that followed, Gibson made several comments that went public, made him seem anti-Semitic and racist. They made him persona non grata at major studios and agencies, the same ones that work with others who’ve committed felonies and done things far more serious than Gibson, who essentially used his tongue as a lethal weapon.
Anxiety On Sony Lot As Layoffs Coming Early Next Week
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: There is anxiety in Culver City today as word gets around on the Sony lot that significant layoffs are coming as soon as Monday.
Box Office: ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ Looks To Take No. 1 Spot; ‘Need For Speed’ Stalled; Tyler Perry’s ‘Mom’s Club’ Lackluster, ‘Budapest Hotel’ Exceptional … Again
By Anita Busch – The news of the weekend is that Fox’s Mr. Peabody and Sherman surprised to take No. 1 in its second weekend out for DreamWorks Animation (Family audiences gave it a strong Saturday night bump) while Need for Speed (Disney/DreamWorks) started out strong on its late night showings on Thursday and then just tanked. Read More »
After 300: Rise Of An Empire had an opening-week global gross of $136 million and resuscitated the franchise potential of a first film that ended with a bloody pile of 300 dead Spartans, the town is asking: who the heck is this Sullivan Stapleton, avenger of Spartans, scourge of Persians and the latest guy in town with a star look and a six-pack? And more importantly, when is he available to reinforce to Hollywood that he’s got the goods to become its next leading man?
I caught up with Stapleton as he was home in Melbourne, recuperating from a concussion suffered in Bangkok while he was there filming Strike Back, the Cinemax series he stars in with Philip Winchester. He has done barely any press. That knock on the head kept him from being able to fly, which knocked him out of the chance to do the tour for the 300 sequel. A few things about Stapleton: he’s Australian, and like most of the actors who grew up in the business there before coming to these shores, he’s got a working-class attitude and is not at all full of himself. When you speak to him, you call him Sully. He looks like an edgier version of Pierce Brosnan, and in an age where Hollywood continues to build franchises around young actors who’ve barely passed puberty, Stapleton is (gasp!) 36 years old and is the first new face to come along in the action game in awhile who actually looks like a man. Though he will the first to admit that getting older takes a toll.
“My head is good now, but I’ve been thinking I must be getting older, because I took a hit to the head that hurt a bit more than it did when I fell all the time when I was a kid,” he said. “It was an accident, my head hit the road, and they put me in a hospital in Bangkok and then I came here to my mom’s house for rest, relaxation and more tests. Unfortunately, it means that I couldn’t do the 300 tour, which was sad for me because I love that film. I am so thankful to the bosses at Warner Bros for giving me that job, and the guys from Strike Back who have allowed me time to get over this head wound. Obviously, that opening weekend helped the cause.” Read More »
Cinemax‘s first primetime drama series Strike Back had been filming its 10-episode fourth and final season in Bangkok, Thailand when one of its two stars, Sullivan Stapleton, suffered a serious injury while exploring the town in his free time. As a result, filming of the series will take a six-month break so he can recover. Because of Strike Back‘s action nature, the roles of stars Stapleton and Philip Winchester are physically demanding, often involving stunt work, which requires them to be in perfect physical condition that often includes intensive pre-filming training. Production will continue in Thailand through March as scheduled before it takes a break, resuming in the fall in Hungary. In the next few weeks, the series will be filming around Stapleton. He stars in the upcoming 300: Rise Of An Empire, which opens next week, so I hear Stapleton had filmed a lot of his Strike Back scenes in order to accommodate the standard carve-out given to actors on series who have a movie to promote. His injury will likely impact his promotional plans for 300.
Related: Cinemax’s ‘Strike Back’ Renewed For Fourth & Final Season
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Warner Bros has released a new trailer for 300: Rise Of An Empire. The Legendary Pictures follow-up to the 2006 pic focuses action on the sea as Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) tries to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. Themistokles is forced to face off against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemisia (Eva Green). Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, David Wenham, Jack O’Connell, Andrew Tiernan, Igal Naor and Andrew Pleavin also star. 300: Rise Of An Empire hits theaters on March 7.