Week in Hollywood 7/28/2004

More remake news
Robert Penn Warren’s novel All The King’s Men, which is about Southern politics, will get yet another update next year. (It was a film in 1949 and then a made-for-TV film in 1958.) This time it’s Sean Penn and Jude Law in the leads. Steven Zaillian, writer of A Civil Action and Mission Impossible, will adapt the script and direct. Before this film opens, you’ll see The Interpreter, a film he cowrote that stars Penn again and Nicole Kidman. It is about a UN interpreter who overhears an assassination plot. Sydney Pollack directs.

Keeping busy at the computer
Screenwriter William Monahan is one busy man these days. Not only is his Crusades-themed script Kingdom of Heaven being directed by Ridley Scott, but he has two other films in pre-production and another that was just announced. If you can believe it, the ball has already started on the Jurassic Park IV film (is there an off-switch on some of these sequels?). No word yet if Jeff Goldblum or Sam Neill will reprise their roles. I guess that will depend if they have a mortgage payment coming due.
Another project that Monahan is working on is Infernal Affairs, which will be a remake of a Chinese-language gangster film. And finally, Ridley Scott has apparently decided that this writer is such a star that he’ll direct his film Tripoli (2007), which is based on “the true story of William Eaton, an American who helped the heir to the throne of Tripoli lead an overthrow of a corrupt ruler in the early 1800s.” Ben Kingsley and Keanu Reeves (I know, I know) are supposed to be on board.

Brando lives
Marlon Brando may be gone, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve seen – or heard – the last of him. In 2006, the animated Big Bug Man will contain his voice. Brendan Fraser also lends his vocal chords. Written by Bob Bendetson (Alf, Home Improvement) the film is about a man who “works for a crooked candy company and, in a mishap, gains the odd powers of a slew of insects that have bitten him.” So it’s kind of like Spider-Man …

Die Hardest – who taught this guy English?
Who said that the action blockbusters of the 1980s ever had to end? Not Bruce Willis. He’ll be reprising the role of John McClane in Die Hard IV: Die Hardest. (I can’t wait to see how this name gets changed when it premieres overseas.) John McTiernan (Die Hard, Die Hard With a Vengeance) will direct. No word yet on which actor will be the villain. My guess is he’ll be British but putting on another accent. Could I be wrong?

And the trips to Rome keep on a-coming
If you haven’t had your fill of ancient battles by 2006, then you’ll have to check out 300. “Based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel, the film concerns the fabled Battle of Thermopylae, where the King of Sparta led his army against the advancing Persians.” Zack Snyder, who had some success remaking George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, is set to direct.

Watchmen may get made
Alan Moore’s 1980s graphic novel about retired superheroes, Watchmen, has been on Terry Gilliam’s to do list for as long as I can remember, so it’s rather shocking to learn that Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Pi) is now attached. David Hayter (X-Men, X2) will provide the script. Speaking of Hayter, he has several other projects in the works. He penned the script for Iron Man, another Marvel Comics creation that’s soon to be a film. (There seems to be no end in sight.) Finally, he’ll write and direct The Black Widow (2006), about an assassin for hire. It could be good if it has that Nikita flare to it.

Old men and young girls
Steve Martin has had some luck as a writer, so who is surprised to learn that his book Shopgirl will hit the screens later this year. “The story follows Mirabelle (Claire Danes), a disenchanted salesgirl and aspiring artist who sells gloves and accessories at a department store. She has two men in her life: wealthy divorcee Ray Porter (Steve Martin) and struggling musician Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman). Mirabelle falls in love with Ray, and her life takes a magical turn, but eventually she realizes that she must empower herself and make a choice between them.” OK, yuck. Danes is 24 years old and Martin is 59. Let’s just hope the sex scenes are nonexistent. Uh, yuck.

Irish director works on two projects
Neil Jordan is finally behind the camera and has several upcoming projects. Based on a novel by Pat McCabe, Breakfast at Pluto (2005) is about a “foster kid, Patrick ‘Kitten’ Brady (Cillian Murphy) who when he grows up, he leaves behind his small-town life in Ireland for London, where he’s reborn as a transvestite cabaret singer in the 1960s and 70s.” (I don’t make this stuff up.) Liam Neeson also stars. Jordan worked from McCabe’s material before; it was called The Butcher Boy, so if this has any of the same vibe to it, prepare to be disturbed. Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Jordan’s other project, called Me and My Monster; a fantasy about “a young boy who has a friendship with a bizarre creature that changes the course of his life as he becomes an adult.” Didn’t Gyllenhaal make this film already? Only I think it was called Donnie Darko.

Plays to films – Proof
For those who like David Auburn’s play Proof, you’ll get a chance to see it when it hits the cinemas later this year. It stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Hope Davis in the lead roles. John Madden of Shakespeare in Love fame will direct. I guess if there’s a saving grace to this adaptation, it’s that Auburn helped with the screenplay.

History and theater
Another play that should be in the cinemas is Jeffrey Hatcher’s Compleat Female Stage Beauty, which has been shortened to Stage Beauty. Set in 17th century England, it’s about a time when women were finally allowed to act alongside men. Because of this decision, the leading actor, Edward ‘Ned’ Kynaston (Billy Crudup) becomes a nobody. His dresser, played by Claire Danes, develops a plan to make him a man again. Directed by Richard Eyre (Iris), the film has a promising cast, including Ben Chaplin, Rupert Everett and Edward Fox. It debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in May.

Ivory and Ishiguro reteam
James Ivory directs another story by Kazuo Ishiguro (Remains of the Day). This one is called The White Goddess and it’s “set in 1930s Shanghai, where a blind American diplomat develops a curious relationship with a young Russian refugee who works odd — and sometimes illicit — jobs to support members of her dead husband’s aristocratic family.” A phenomenal cast should make this Oscar ready. It stars Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave. Look for that next year.

Author: Julien R. Fielding

Julien R. Fielding has been reviewing films, and covering the entertainment industry, for more than a decade. Her favorite genres are sci-fi, horror, action, and anime. She authored the book, Discovering World Religions at 24 Frames Per Second.

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment