If you need further proof that Roger Ebert is one of the greatest film critics of all time, consider the fact that he’s writing some of the best and most thoughtful essays and reviews at age 70, over forty years after he began his career as a professional film critic. His 2011 memoir Life Itself is a fascinating read, and now a trio of filmmaking giants has optioned the book for a documentary. Ebert broke the news himself on Twitter:
“Whoa! My memoir has been optioned for a doc by Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) and Steven Zaillian, with Martin Scorsese as exec producer.”
So that’s Steve James, director of one of the best documentaries of all time (Hoop Dreams), Oscar-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List, Moneyball), and Mr. Martin Scorsese. Hit the jump for more, including a reaction from Ebert and the synopsis for his memoir.
Director David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a sizeable hit when it opened last December, but the film wasn’t the runaway box office success that some were expecting. It’s global take of $232 million was enough to justify an adaptation of author Steig Larsson’s sequel The Girl who Played with Fire, but development on the follow-up has been slow-going.
Fincher has yet to officially attach himself as the director of Fire, and rumblings of head-butting between the director and Sony during the production of Dragon Tattoo didn’t exactly make Fincher’s return for the sequel a sure thing. However, in a recent interview Fincher revealed that he’s still very much mulling over a return to the world of Lisbeth Salander. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.
Ridley Scott is adding yet another project to his immense docket, but this time he’ll only be involved as a producer. Scott is teaming up with screenwriter Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List, Moneyball) to produce a reimagining of BBC’s pseudo-documentary The Day Britain Stopped. The original film, which could aptly be described as a faux-documentary, centered around a fictional disaster that is set into motion when Britain’s transport system melts down. Hit the jump for more, including an embed of the original film.
The nominations for the 84th Annual Academy Awards have finally been unveiled. Many of the categories have fallen in line just as most have predicted (I fared alright with my predictions, but not great), with Hugo scoring 11 nods, followed closely by The Artist with 10. The biggest surprises are War Horse and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close getting in for Best Picture, the exclusion of The Adventures of Tintin from Best Animated Feature, and The Tree of Life nabbing Best Picture and Best Director nods (hooray!). On the snub side of things, despite landing the most precursor critics awards of any other actor in the race thus far, Albert Brooks was denied a Best Supporting Actor nod for his stellar work in Drive (boo). Additionally, Tilda Swinton was overlooked for giving the best performance of the year in We Need to Talk About Kevin, and AMPAS has no love for Michael Fassbender‘s haunting work in Shame.
There’s still plenty to be happy about, as Gary Oldman has his first ever Oscar Nomination (yes, that’s right) and Melissa McCarthy is a Best Supporting Actress nominee. Hit the jump to check out the full list of nominees. The 84th Academy Awards will be presented by Billy Crystal on February 26th.
As I’ve been covering awards season pretty extensively here on the site over the past few months, I figured it would be appropriate to (foolishly) try to predict the upcoming Oscar nominations. It’s been a fairly tame year, as a few frontrunners were singled out early in the race and have held their ground throughout the grueling awards season. We haven’t been without a few surprises, as Steven Spielberg’s War Horse took a massive tumble following snubs from most of the major guilds, and David Fincher has surged back into the race bringing his adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with him.
Though there are plenty of safe bets when it comes to the 2012 Oscar nominations, there are still a few wildcards and tricky categories. I’ve put on my prognosticating cap (those interested can purchase one of these nifty hats at your local Target) and compiled a list of who and what I think will make the cut. Hit the jump to see how I think the nods will stack up when they’re announced on January 24th.
With each passing awards ceremony, it’s looking more and more likely that we’re in for a fairly boring/predictable Oscars this year. The Artist continues to dominate the precursor ceremonies as it took home the Best Picture and Best Director prize at the Critics Choice Awards. On the acting side of things, George Clooney was named Best Actor for his work in The Descendants, and Viola Davis won Best Actress for The Help. The Artist is our clear frontrunner headed towards Oscar night, and I don’t really think anything else will be able to take it down. I can’t really complain about any of the acting wins, though for what it’s worth I think Brad Pitt gave the best performance of the year in Moneyball.
Elsewhere, Drive won Best Action Movie (though it’s really a drama) Bridesmaids won Best Comedy, and Rango was named Best Animated Feature. Hit the jump to see the full list of winners.
Last weekend, Sony held a big press junket in New York City for director David Fincher‘s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and I got to participate in a great press conference with Fincher, Rooney Mara, and Daniel Craig. Click here if you missed it. As most of you know, Dragon Tattoo is the first in Stieg Larson’s Millennium trilogy and it centers on a disgraced journalist (Craig) who’s hired to investigate the mysterious 40-year-old disappearance of a young woman. Mara plays Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant young hacker who teams up with Craig.
Shortly after the press conference ended, I got to sit down with screenwriter Steven Zaillian for an exclusive interview. As a big fan of his previous work on American Gangster, Moneyball, Searching for Bobby Fischer (which he wrote and directed) and Schindler’s List (full resume here), I was excited to hear about his collaboration with David Fincher and also how he writes screenplays. In addition, we also talked about how he got involved in the project, how quickly it came together, the changes he made to make Dragon Tattoo work as a movie, the status of the sequels and how they might shoot them back to back, and he also revealed that he might be directing the remake of Timecrimes. Hit the jump to read or listen to the interview.
Steven Zaillian is having a very good year. One of the best screenwriters working today, Zaillian is responsible for films ranging from Schindler’s List to Gangs of New York. This year, two of Zaillian’s films are turning lots of heads: Moneyball and David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Steve is currently in New York for the Dragon Tattoo press junket and he got the chance to sit down for an exclusive interview with the prolific scribe. While we’ll have the full interview up soon, we wanted to share a piece of news that the writer dropped. In addition to writing, Zaillian has also gotten in the director’s chair a few times (most recently with 2006’s All the King’s Men), and during the course of the interview Zaillian revealed that he’s hoping to direct an American remake of Timecrimes.
The original Spanish film was written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo. Released in 2007, the sci-fi pic centers on a man who relives half an hour of his life three times. Zaillain said that he owns the rights and he’s hoping to write and direct an English-language remake. Hit the jump to see what he had to say, including how his version would differ from Vigalondo’s film.
Awards season is officially in full-swing, with this morning’s announcements of the Gotham Awards winners and the full list of nominees for the upcoming Independent Spirit Awards. Now it’s the critics’ turn, as the New York Critics Circle have unveiled their list for the best in film of 2011. The Artist took home the top two prizes (Best Picture and Director), solidifying its status as an Oscar frontrunner. Brad Pitt was named Best Actor for his work in Moneyball and The Tree of Life, with the former also taking the Best Screenplay prize for Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian. As for Best Actress, the undeniably talented Meryl Streep took the honor for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.
In the supporting categories, Albert Brooks was recognized for his dastardly role in Drive, while the prolific Jessica Chastain was named Best Supporting Actress for her work in The Tree of Life, The Help, and Take Shelter. While The Artist was already running into the Oscars with a good deal of steam, Moneyball‘s two wins give the film a much needed boost heading into the thick of awards season. Hit the jump to see the full list of winners.
Continuing on with our look at the 2012 Oscar race, today we delve into Best Animated Feature and the technical categories. As Pixar’s Cars 2 was the studio’s worst-received feature to date (it currently sits at 38% on Rotten Tomatoes), we’ve got ourselves an actual competition in the Animated Feature category. Not only that, but if all 18 films that were submitted to the Academy are deemed eligible, we’ll have a total of five nominated films. This leaves us to debate the merits of Rango and The Adventures of Tintin against the likes of Puss in Boots and Arthur Christmas.
Additionally, we’ve taken a stab at Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay, and the technical categories. As these are incredibly tricky to predict this far out (and my picks would be doomed to haunt me come February), I’ve simply listed a couple of frontrunners in each category instead of going in depth. Though it’s still early, we’ve got an overall picture of how things look like they’ll stack up; so hit the jump to check out the state of the race so far. If you missed our previous preview articles, be sure to take a look at our picks for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, and Best Actor and Best Actress.
by Jason Barr Posted: February 3rd, 2011 at 5:29 pm
Like it or not (personally, I like it) Jason Segel has become a leading man. Having built his stock with solid efforts in films such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I Love You, Man, Segel is now taking on the lead role in DreamWorks’ “80s-era comedy” Undercover Cop. According to Risky Business, Undercover Cop is inspired by the true story of a “former cop that infiltrated the New Jersey criminal underworld.”
Jason Micallef will pen the script. The scribe’s lone existing writing credit comes in the form of the comedy Butter starring Hugh Jackman and Olivia Wilde. DreamWorks is developing the currently director-less project alongside Steven Zaillian at Film Rites. As for Segel, in addition to Undercover Cop, the actor has been keeping busy with Disney’s The Muppets and can also be seen on June 24th alongside Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz in the comedy Bad Teacher.
It’s been 15 years since director Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro made a film together (1995’s Casino), but it looks like the famous duo will soon be reunited. Speaking at the BAFTA’s Life in Pictures Q&A, the director said that he and De Niro hope to shoot the long-in gestation gangster film The Irishman next year. We first told you about the project back in 2008, and then got an update from De Niro back in April of this year. The film is based on the non-fiction novel I Heard You Paint Houses, from author Charles Brandt. The book chronicles the life of mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, who supposedly murdered Jimmy Hoffa.
Al Pacino and Joe Pesci have been rumored to be involved with the film as well, and Scorsese said that the project is currently going through financing. Digital Spy reports that Scorsese’s Gangs of New York and Cape Fear screenwriter Steven Zaillian is working on the script. Hit the jump for more on the project.