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.
In October 2010, we reported that producer Graham King (The Town) had picked up the feature film rights to adapt the smash Broadway musical Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Today, THR reports that screenwriter John Logan will handle the script for the movie. For those unfamiliar with the Four Seasons, they’re the 60s pop group who brought us songs like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man.” Jersey Boys was a ridiculously massive hit on Broadway, and the musical has grossed over $1 billion since premiered in 2005.
Jersey Boys will re-team Logan and King as the two previously worked together on Hugo, which is likely to earn some Oscar nominations including one for Logan for Best Adapted Screenplay. Although I had some problems with Hugo, Logan had an undeniably great 2011 career-wise. He picked up screenwriting credits for Rango and Coriolanus, and he’s got the new James Bond flick, Skyfall, on deck for 2012. Jersey Boys won’t be his first time adapting a musical; he previously adapted Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Opening this week is Martin Scorsese‘s first 3D film, Hugo. Based on Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret and written by John Logan, the film stars Asa Butterfield as a young boy secretly living in a train station in 1931 Paris. As he attempts to piece together a puzzle that he’d been working on with his father, the results transform not only Hugo, but everyone he comes in contact with. The impressive cast also includes Chloe Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sir Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, Helen McCrory, Richard Griffiths, Frances de la Tour, Emily Mortimer, and Michael Stuhlbarg. You can watch a trailer here.
During my extended interview with Logan we talked about the way he writes, working with Scorsese, how he got involved in Hugo, what it was like to adapt the book, and the level of rewriting done on the set. In addition, with Logan writing the new James Bond film Skyfall for director and acquaintance Sam Mendes, he discussed how he got involved in that project and writing the action scenes so that the action suits the story. Finally, he talked about spending years working with Steven Spielberg on Lincoln (they ultimately went with someone else’s script) and what he might have coming up. Hit the jump to watch.
The most talented directors find a way to use their cinematic influences in order to build a new story, and then let the audience seek out those influences. It’s a rewarding experience because we can see how well the director used the earlier work of other filmmakers, and then we seek out that work for ourselves, which in turn expands our knowledge and understanding of cinema. Martin Scorsese is one of the most talented directors of all-time and has always proved a master of layering in his inspirations without ever overtly referencing them. He leaves that direct reference for interviews where his infectious energy and enthusiasm shows that if he wasn’t a legendary filmmaker, he’d be a legendary film professor. However, that energy and enthusiasm doesn’t translate to his new 3D movie Hugo where he moves his love of movies from subtext to text, and turns a child’s adventure story into a lecture on the importance of cinema pioneer Georges Méliès.
While the road to production on the latest Bond film has been rather arduous thanks to the financial troubles of MGM, principal photography on Skyfall is officially underway with director Sam Mendes behind the lens, anchored by a stellar supporting cast including Javier Bardem as the villain and Ralph Fiennes in an as yet undisclosed role. Steve is currently in New York doing the press rounds for Martin Scorsese’s family film Hugo and got the chance to sit down with screenwriter John Logan, who was one of the writers on Bond 23.
Logan talked about how he first came aboard the project, his approach to scripting a film that’s part of a 50-year franchise, the process of crafting the series’ notorious action set-pieces with the aid of Mendes, and how he weaves action into the story. Hit the jump to read the full interview.
Things are finally on the move for Darren Aronofsky’s passion project Noah. New Regency and Paramount have agreed to partner on the biblical epic, ending a bidding battle over who would finance the film. Deadline reports that screenwriter John Logan has come on board to rewrite Aronofsky and Ari Handel’s script, and the project is being fast tracked to hopefully go into production by next spring. The film marks the director’s follow-up to Black Swan, after he was briefly attached to The Wolverine before dropping out for personal reasons. Noah has been a passion project for Aronofsky for quite some time, and he previously described it as his “big event film.” Hit the jump for more, including the possibility of Christian Bale taking on the lead and some artwork from Aronofsky’s graphic novel version of the film.
One of the reasons Darren Aronofsky reportedly signed on to do The Wolverine is because he wanted a blockbuster hit that he could leverage to make personal projects that required a larger budget than his past work. Then he dropped off that film for personal reasons, but perhaps Black Swan grossing $315 million worldwide off a $13 million budget also had something to do with it. Now that he has that success (along with a Best Director Oscar nomination) to his credit, Aronofsky has more clout and it looks like he’s using it to try and get Noah off the ground.
In February, we reported that Aronofsky was going to tell the story of the Bible’s Noah by creating a graphic novel with artist Nico Henrichon. Now John Logan is re-writing the film’s script and various studios are getting interested in co-financing the ambitious project. Hit the jump for more details.
Director Matt Reeves (Let Me In) apparently hasn’t gotten his fill of bloodsuckers because he’s signed on to direct the vampire flick The Passage. But unlike the sad, meditative, personal drama of Let Me In, The Passage is more along the infected lines of 28 Days Later and The Stand. According to Deadline, the story—based on the novel by Justin Cronin—centers on the government attempting a cure for cancer after a group of terminal patients become healthy after being subjected to bat bites in South America. But their experimentation leads to the creation of nearly indestructible, telepathic vampire masters that begin infecting the populace. Moral of the story: don’t try to cure cancer.
Last September, we reported that screenwriter John Logan (Rango) would be handling the script, but now Reeves will oversee a rewrite by a yet-to-be-determined replacement since Logan is busy on the new James Bond flick. Last week, Reeves also signed on to write and direct an adaptation of the short story 8 O’Clock in the Morning. It’s unknown which project he’ll direct first although The Passage has a bit of a head start since there’s already a finished script. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the Justin Cronin’s novel.
Now that MGM’s financial mess is settled, it looks like James Bond is finally back on track. Deadline reports that Bond 23 (tentative title, obviously) is currently set for November 9, 2012. Sam Mendes is still attached to direct and Daniel Craig will return as 007. Production is set to begin late this year. While a script from Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon) was previously going to be used, Deadline is now reporting that Mendes will work from a script by Purvis, Wade, and Gladiator screenwriter John Logan. Now let the title and Bond girl speculation begin!
Currently, the only other film holding the November 9, 2012 release date is McG’s Ouija. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is due out a week later.
Following his breakout role in Inglorious Basterds, Michael Fassbender has been courted for a number of films. The latest project that his name has been mentioned with is the adaptation of the National Book Award-winning non-fiction book Max Perkins: Editor of Genius. The film version, titled Genius, is being scripted by John Logan (Gladiator), and Sean Penn has been circling the starring role for some time now.
Perkins worked as a literary editor for such literary greats as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe. Penn would portray Perkins, while Fassbender is eyeing the role of Wolfe, with whom Perkins shared a complicated relationship in which they fought constantly. The Playlist reports that producer Bill Pohlad is set to direct, and the filmmakers are looking to get the project going soon, so expect official casting announcements sooner rather than later. Fassbender is currently filming X-Men: First Class with director Matthew Vaughn and will next be seen in Jane Eyre.
Up next on HBO’s docket is Boardwalk Empire in the fall and Game of Thrones early next year, but on a more distant horizon, keep your eye out for Miraculous Year; Eddie Redmayne, Norbert Leo Butz, Hope Davis, Frank Langella and Patti LuPone are in talks to headline the series. Created by Oscar-nominee John Logan (The Aviator), the Year serves as “as an examination of a New York family as seen through the lens of a charismatic, self-destructive Broadway composer and lyricist.” Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) will direct the pilot.
You may recall that Eddie Redmayne is also rumored to be the lead contender for Steven Spielberg’s War Horse: he is now officially on my list of those to keep tabs on. Langella will next be seen in September’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, while Hope Davis is currently filming Real Steel, the robot boxing tale toplined by Hugh Jackson. Hit the jump for a richer synopsis of Miraculous Year.
Martin Scorsese will make his first 3D picture with his adaptation of the children’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret. During a panel this past January at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Scorsese voiced his interest and support of 3D filmmaking. Variety now confirms that Scorsese has personally embraced the technology and will shoot his latest film in 3D. While I’m not a 3D devotee, I’m heartened that A) the film will be shot in 3D rather than upconverted from 2D to 3D in post-production; and B) Scorsese is once again defying expectations and showing us that he’s always trying to do something new (Hugo Cabret will also be his first film based off a children’s novel).
Hit the jump for the official synopsis of the book by Brian Selznick. Adapted by John Logan (The Aviator), the film stars Asa Butterfield (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas), Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass), Ben Kingsley, and Sacha Baron Cohen. The Invention of Hugo Cabret has set a release date of December 9, 2011.
Since the dawn of the new year, it’s been hard to keep up with all the film talent HBO was luring to the channel for various projects. Michael Mann is directing a pilot for Luck from Deadwood creator David Milch. Charlize Theron and David Fincher are teaming for the serial killer series Mind Hunter. Russell Crowe and Maria Bello are set to star in Emergency Sex from Slumdog Millionaire scripter Simon Beaufoy. Zooey Deschanel will headline a series adaptation of I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie. And most recently HBO acquired the Todd Haynes miniseries adaptation of Mildred Pierce with none other than Kate Winslet attached to star. Plus miniseries The Pacific, which counts Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks among its producers, will begin a ten-week run on March 14th and the Martin Scorsese-directed pilot for Boardwalk Empire starring Steve Buscemi is set to air later in the year.
But they’re not done just yet. The Hollywood Reporter announced that recent Oscar-nominee (and soon-to-be Oscar-winner) Kathryn Bigelow will direct the pilot for The Miraculous Year from a screenplay by John Logan. Details after the break.
Fox 2000 is paying seven figures for John Logan (“The Aviator,” “Sweeney Todd”) to adapt “The Passage”, a 1,200 page novel by Jordan Ainsley about a group of terminally ill patients who are cured after being bitten by South American bats. Ridley Scott is in talks to direct, which would be epic as Scott and Logan haven’t worked together since “Gladiator.” More on this pairing and the project after the jump.
Unlike “Halo”, it seems “Bioshock” may get its movie before the actual rapture. Universal is in talks with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo to direct the big screen adaptation of the videogame franchise. With two sequels in development, “Bioshock” was hailed by many publications as 2007s Game of the Year with sales approaching 4 million units (a kingly sum in the game world) one of the biggest emerging videogame franchises of the last five years. Fresnadillo, a Spanish director best known for “28 Weeks Later” here in the states, will take over for Gore Verbinski, who is still a producer on the project. More about the troubled production after the jump.