Never one to go the traditional route, Jay-Z has taken a rather fascinating approach to the video for his latest single, “Picasso Baby.” The hip-hop artist collaborated with director Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go, One Hour Photo) to put together a piece of performance art for the track, and the result is a 10-minute short film called Picasso Baby that debuted on HBO Friday night. Jay-Z and Romanek set the piece up at Pace Gallery in New York City with the intention of seeing what would happen if Jay-Z performed specifically to a single person instead of an arena full of fans. The result is a highly entertaining piece of work with appearances by Judd Apatow, Michael K. Williams, Taraji P. Henson, Alan Cumming, Adam Driver, Jim Jarmusch, Jemima Kirke, and many more.
Of course, Romanek has plenty of experience crafting memorable music videos, as he’s the man responsible for Johnny Cash’s “Hurt,” Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer,” and Fiona Apple’s “Criminal.” He also worked with Jay-Z previously on the video for “99 Problems.” Hit the jump to watch the performance art film Picasso Baby.
Mark Romanek is an incredibly talented filmmaker from whom we have seen far too little. The director first gained notice for his work in the world of music videos, helming Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer”, Michael and Janet Jackson’s “Scream”, and most notably Johnny Cash’s hauntingly beautiful “Hurt.” Then in 2002, Romanek directed his second feature, the psychological thriller One Hour Photo starring Robin Williams. The film was met with both critical and commercial success, and is now getting its long-deserved HD treatment with a Blu-ray transfer that was supervised by Romanek himself.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Romanek on the phone in anticipation of the Blu-ray release for One Hour Photo (available now), and during the course of our conversation, the Never Let Me Go filmmaker talked about what it was like to revisit one of his films so extensively a decade after its release, the Blu-ray’s extras, developing a limited series at FX, what happened with Cinderella, his future projects, and more. Romanek also spoke about his departure from 2010’s The Wolfman and what his vision for that film entailed, and he talked about his desire to make a film on a larger canvas. Hit the jump to read the full interview.
In recent years, the television landscape has become a haven for complex, character-driven material from some of the best creative minds in the business. No longer is TV considered the ugly stepchild of the film world, as everyone from Martin Scorsese to David Fincher is now dabbling in the art of longform storytelling with a great amount of creative freedom on networks like HBO, FX, and even Netflix. Now it appears that one more incredibly talented filmmaker is dipping his toe into the TV pool, as One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go director Mark Romanek is developing a limited series at FX.
Earlier today, I spoke with Romanek in anticipation of next week’s Blu-ray release of his excellent 2002 film One Hour Photo. During the course of our conversation, the director revealed that he has just sold a limited series idea to FX based on a true crime story. Hit the jump for more.
Director Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) is starting to be known as much for his “dark” films as he is for exiting projects in development because of his “dark” takes. Add Cinderella to the latter, because Romanek and Disney have parted ways due to creative differences. Romanek was “too dark” for The Wolfman a few years ago and the pattern has repeated itself once again, with his take on Cinderella conflicting with the studio’s sensibilities. Deadline reports that Disney has already begun looking for a new director to helm a picture in which Cate Blanchett will play the evil step-mother. The search for a lead actress is currently still in process, with Saoirse Ronan, Gabrielle Wilde and Alicia Vikander reported as being of interest.
Just after Cate Blanchett was reported as being in negotiations to play the evil step-mother in Disney’s Untitled Cinderella Story, we now have a trio of international actresses being eyed for the lead role. The contenders for the coveted glass slipper are the Irish-born Saoirse Ronan (Hanna), Britain’s Gabriella Wilde (The Three Musketeers) and Swedish Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair). Originally pitched by Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada), Disney picked up the project for a substantial sum in 2010. Chris Weitz (About a Boy) wrote the script and Simon Kinberg (X-Men) will produce. Hit the jump for more.
Now that Hollywood is done with Snow White, they’ll be moving on to Cinderella. Vying for the role of “evil stepmother” in the Disney picture will be Cate Blanchett (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). Blanchett is reportedly in negotiations for the new adaptation, which is currently known as the Untitled Cinderella Story. Blanchett would be the first casting addition in the picture directed by Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go). Produced by Simon Kinberg (X-Men), the Untitled Cinderella Story started as a pitch and initial script by Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) back in 2010, followed by a more recent draft by Chris Weitz (About a Boy). Hit the jump for more.
The adaptation of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol is becoming a surprisingly interesting project. After Ron Howard opted out of directing a third film focusing on symbologist Robert Langdon, immensely talented director Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go) became the frontrunner to take the helm. Now Danny Strong, who penned HBO’s Recount and the upcoming 2008 election-centered HBO film Game Change, has been tapped to write The Lost Symbol. Steven Knight (Eastern Promises) took the first stab at the script after which Brown himself did a pass, but now it looks like Sony is handing the project off to Strong. Hit the jump for more on the follow up to The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.
Normally, I would have no interest in live-action Cinderella re-imagining, but attaching Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go) as the direct made it a must-follow project. THR now reports that Chris Weitz (A Better Life) has signed on to write the screenplay. Details on the tone and plot are currently being kept under wraps, but Weitz turned in a great screenplay for About a Boy with his brother Paul. Weitz’ solo effort, The Golden Compass (which he also directed), turned out less-than-great. It did, however, have polar bear wrasslin’.
It’s tough to say how Weitz will fare with Cinderella, especially since we don’t know what Disney and Romanek are going for. But again, with Romanek at the helm, I’m interested to see what they’re planning.
I don’t know if this news should make me excited or sad. Deadline reports that talented director Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go) is the frontrunner to helm the adaptation of Dan Brown’s latest Robert Langdon novel The Lost Symbol. Ron Howard directed the prior Langdon books The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. Both movies took themselves far too seriously and also suffered from being based on awful books. I haven’t picked up The Lost Symbol because I don’t really care what exposition machine and master of trivial history Robert Langdon has to spew for 528 pages.
Hit the jump for more on the film along with a synopsis.
Though Fox ultimately decided to pass on the series adaptation of the graphic novel Locke & Key, audiences will still get a chance to see the pilot. Deadline reports IDW Publishing, the company behind the book, is hosting a special screening of the pilot complete with a panel discussion featuring creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, the pilot’s writer/executive producer Josh Friedman and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. However, the audience won’t be all that huge since the screening has been set in Room 8 (with the panel following in Room 9) on July 22nd at 10:30am. So if you’re desperate to see the fallen pilot, this might be your only chance. Of course, if fan reaction is big enough, perhaps the network will reconsider. For those just joining us, details on the story are after the jump.
A few weeks ago, we reported on a shortlist of directors that Fox was considering to helm The Wolverine, the follow-up to 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. One of the best directors on that list (and my personal favorite) was Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go). Well today comes the unfortunate news that Romanek has passed on helming the flick. The director confirmed to Digital Spy (via The Playlist) that the material wasn’t quite up his alley, though he did give the Christopher McQuarrie script a semi-compliment:
“That’s just one of those stories that floated around. I was on their list, I received the script months ago. It didn’t seem like my kind of thing. That script was a terrific version of that kind of thing, but not something I felt really passionate about.”
While it’s disappointing that we won’t be seeing Romanek’s version of a superhero flick, I’m excited to see him do something he’s passionate about when he chooses his next project. Fox’s shortlist for Wolverine directors is rather low on depth, favoring more eye-candy friendly helmers (Fast Five‘s Justin Lin, Jumper‘s Doug Liman). After Romanek, my pick of the lot would be James Mangold. He’s proven himself dramatically (3:10 to Yuma) and he’s also shown he can stage fantastic action set-pieces (Knight and Day). The Wolverine stars Hugh Jackman, and is largely set in Japan.
Well it looks like the list of contenders for the director of Fox’s The Wolverine has been narrowed down to eight. Following the sudden departure of Darren Aronofsky shortly before filming was to commence, Fox began searching for a replacement for the Hugh Jackman-starred follow-up to Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Now, Showblitz reports that the shortlist of contenders for the job is as follows: Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) Jose Padilha (upcoming Robocop remake), Antoine Fuqua (Shooter), Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go), Justin Lin (Fast Five), Gavin O’Connor (Warrior), James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma ) and commercials director Gary Shore.
With a script from Christopher McQuarrie, The Wolverine is largely set in Japan. Filming was poised to take place in that country, but it’s currently unknown if that’s still the plan given the natural disaster that recently ravaged the landmass. Hit the jump for more, including my thoughts on this list.
Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go was the best film of 2010, but it didn’t make much of an impression at the box office. Critics were divided on the film, and were also reluctant to talk about the spoilers that are inherent to the story. Carey Mulligan stars as Kathy, who is in love with Tommy (Andrew Garfield), but her best friend Ruth (Keira Knightley) swoops in and starts dating him while they’re in high school. Cathy is too nice to do anything about it, so she’s forced to watch their relationship. Tommy and Cathy seem star-crossed lovers, and the film has a twist to make their separation all the more painful. Raised as children at a private school, their existence is based around a secret that has science fiction complications – a secret some felt shouldn’t be disclosed. Since the film bombed, the review will reveal some of those secrets, and the review of Never Let Me Go on Blu-ray follows after the jump.
As the TV industry plows through development season, four potential new series just landed directors for their respective pilots. First, Mark Romanek, director of the much-buzzed about Never Let Me Go, will direct the pilot for the series adaptation of Joe Hill’s comic book Locke & Key. Combine his talent behind the camera with producers Steven Spielberg, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and writer Josh Friedman and it sounds like we’ve got one hell of a series on the way.
Hit the jump for news on the pilot directors for three more forthcoming series in development.
Opening this week is director Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go. Based on the acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, the film stars Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, and Keira Knightley and it recently premiered at the Telluride Film Festival/Toronto International Film Festival.
I managed to see a screening here at TIFF and the film really hit me. Normally when I see a movie, I immediately want to talk about it with friends. But after watching Never Let Me Go, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. That’s because the film deals with big issues and it tackles them without telling you how to think – which is one of the best parts about the Alex Garland script and Mark Romanek’s direction.
The other day I sat down with Romanek for an extended video interview. We talked about making the film, his thoughts on film vs. digital, 3D, the changing movie industry and the difficulty of trying to get any movie made, music videos, and so much more. Hit the jump to see what he had to say: