Dakota Fanning and Ryan Donowho (Bandslam) have signed on to lead the indie thriller Mississippi Wild. Variety reports that Robert Duvall, Mickey Rourke, and Forest Whitaker are in negotiations to co-star. The plot follows a teen (Donowho) “who has to go on the run with his girlfriend (Fanning) after stealing diamonds that belong to a local gangster.” Rourke is being courted for the role of the gangster while Whitaker is in talks to play a gangster who’s after Rourke’s character. There’s no word yet on who Duvall would play. Production is scheduled to begin on March 21st in Atlanta.
Fanning recently signed on to star in Girls Night Out, but Variety says she’ll first be starring alongside Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff in The Motel Life. Filming on Life is expected to begin this month.
We have a couple of casting stories for you this evening. We previously broke the news that Billy Bob Thorton was heading back to the director’s chair with a script he co-wrote with Tom Epperson called Jayne Mansfield’s Car, and now it looks like the project has found its star. Robert Duvall has signed on to headline the indie project, which Duvall describes as “another Southern tale.” He elaborated on the plot in a conversation with EW
“It’s about a guy in between WWI and WWII who raises a family after his wife left him for an Englishman and moved to England. When the wife dies, she asks to be brought back to Alabama to be buried, and at that point the character hasn’t seen her in 20 or 30 years. The two families — her original family she abandoned and her English family — meet and then things get really interesting.”
Thorton will reportedly star in the film as well, in addition to writing and directing it. Production is scheduled to begin this summer. We recently told you that Michelle Pfieffer would be joining Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks and Olivia Wilde in Alex Kurtzman’s directorial debut Welcome to People, and now it looks like Mark Duplass (Greenberg, co-writer/co-director of Cyrus) has signed on as well. Variety reports that Duplass is set to play a neighbor who shows an interest in Banks’ character. The film tells the story of an estranged son (Pine) who returns home for his father’s funeral and begins to uncover his secret life. Welcome to People is set to be released sometime in 2012.
Legendary actor Robert Duvall has condemned “the great Stanley Kubrick” as an “actors enemy”. The fiery exclamation came during a round table interview with THR after it was revealed that director David Fincher frequently took around fifty takes to get the perfect shot whilst filming The Social Network. Fellow interviewees Mark Ruffalo and Jesse Eisenberg laugh (perhaps with disdain?) as Duvall compares Fincher to Kubrick. No doubt a comparison like that would normally be considered flattering, but Duvall continued, dismissing the performances in such classics as The Shining and A Clockwork Orange as “the worst performances I’ve ever seen in movies”. Hit the jump for more.
Finally, the definitive Apocalypse Now! Francis Ford Coppola’s mess of a masterpiece is one of those films worth poring over, examining and dissecting, and this format and new supplements make for a heady package. Martin Sheen stars as Captain Benjamin Willard, who along with a boatload of soldiers (Albert Hall, Laurence Fishburne, Sam Bottoms, and Fredrick Forrest) traverse Vietnam on the hunt for Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), who’s gone native and Willard’s mission states that they don’t really want him bringing Kurtz back alive. Along the way, they meet a number of different people, including Lt. Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall), Playboy bunnies (including Colleen Camp), and other assorted characters, more so in the Redux version, which includes the famously deleted French colonists. My review of the Apocalypse Now Full Disclosure edition on Blu-ray follows after the jump.
There are both rational and irrational reasons for hating the prequel trilogy. With the rise of Red Letter Media, that internet phenomenon that has made a name shit-talking the Star Trek: Next Generations films, and The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, there is a more present sense of disappointment with the Lucas empire- but it’s something that has been haunting Lucas about a couple days after people started seeing TPM and word set in. But as not great as the prequels were, there’s other reasons to be bummed about those films besides just fan service. Until he made the prequel trilogy, George Lucas had a stunning cinematic record as a director. His first film THX 1138 is a classic, and deserves to be appreciated. Another reason to be disappointed is that he led the way for films like Lost in Space, the 1998 warm-up for the prequel trilogy. Lucas whetted a lot of appetites, but the man also showed a talent for the game. My review of both THX 1138 and Lost in Space on Blu-ray follow the jump.
An 8-year labor of love for producer Dean Zanuck (Road to Perdition), Get Low is an entertaining and colorful story about one man’s last-ditch quest for redemption inspired by an eccentric 1930s Tennessee hermit known as Felix “Bush,” who famously came out of hiding to throw his own funeral party while he was still very much alive and kicking.
Based on a screenplay written by Chris Provenzano (Mad Men) and C. Gaby Mitchell (Blood Diamond), Get Low is directed by Aaron Schneider, a talented young filmmaker who makes his feature debut after winning the Academy Award for his short, Two Soldiers. The film features a terrific cast that includes Robert Duvall as the mysterious backwoods recluse, Bill Murray as the fast-talking funeral home owner who senses a big payday in the offing, Lucas Black as his young apprentice, and Sissy Spacek as a lonely widow and the only person in town who ever got close to Felix.
We sat down this week with Dean and Aaron to talk about their new film. They told us about the long evolution of their project, how a well written screenplay attracted such wonderful, iconic actors, and why a combination of good fortune, good timing and good instincts led to success. They also gave us an entertaining account of how they managed to wrangle one of the most elusive actor in Hollywood into their stellar cast.
To get Get Low off the ground, the filmmakers knew they would need a highly skillful and creative actor in the lead role of Felix – someone capable of making a character who seems right out of a backwoods fable feel palpably real and alive. They found that quality in Robert Duvall, one of America’s most diverse and respected actors, and winner of the Academy Award for his performance as a broken-down country singer trying to turn his life around in Bruce Beresford’s Tender Mercies.
Sissy Spacek, an Oscar winner for her incisive portrait of Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter and whose work has been a staple of modern American filmmaking, was another important casting choice for the role of the strong, independent widow, Maddie, the old flame who thinks she is the only person on earth to have ever loved Felix, only to discover the terrible and long-hidden reason he never fully loved her back. More after the jump:
Inspired by an American folktale that’s been passed down by storytellers for decades, Get Low is an entertaining and colorful tale about one man’s last-ditch quest for redemption. The film is based on an eccentric 1930s Tennessee hermit known as Felix “Bush,” who famously came out of hiding to throw his own funeral party while he was still very much alive and kicking. To draw a crowd to his highly irregular memorial, Felix sold lottery tickets offering his valuable plot of land as the prize.
An 8-year labor of love for producer Dean Zanuck (Road to Perdition), Get Low is directed by Aaron Schneider who makes his feature debut after winning the Academy Award for his short, Two Soldiers. Written by Chris Provenzano (Mad Men) and C. Gaby Mitchell (Blood Diamond), the film features a stellar cast that includes Robert Duvall as the mysterious backwoods recluse, Bill Murray as the fast-talking funeral home owner who senses a big payday in the offing, Lucas Black as his young apprentice, and Sissy Spacek as a lonely widow and the only person in town who ever got close to Felix.
We sat down this week with Dean Zanuck, Aaron Schneider, Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek and Lucas Black to talk about their new film. They told us how they first got involved with the project, what it was like to work together on location in Georgia, and what they hope an audience will take from their film. Hit the jump to watch the interviews:
We have posters for the independent films Get Low and Animal Kingdom for your viewing pleasure. Get Low is “equal parts folk tale, fable and real-life legend about the mysterious, 1930s Tennessee hermit who famously threw his own rollicking funeral party… while he was still alive.” The film stars Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, Lucas Black, and Sissy Spacek. Animal Kingdom “Tells the story of seventeen year-old J (Josh) as he navigates his survival amongst an explosive criminal family and the detective who thinks he can save him.” I’ve heard both films are incredible and I can’t wait to check them out.
Hit the jump for the posters. Get Low is due out on July 30th and Animal Kingdom opens on August 13th.
Post-No Country for Old Men, was there any chance they wouldn’t adapt Cormac McCarthy’s Oprah-approved best-seller The Road? Well, they did, and The Weinstein Company produced it, and if you had read the book, you’d know why this was a tough sell, and eventually flopped (on top of being released by the struggling Weinstein Company). The story of a father (Viggo Mortensen) and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) trudging through a post-apocalyptic wasteland as they fend off cannibals and encounter strange people (including cameos by Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, and Michael K. Williams) as they cling to staying alive and keeping their souls, The Road is a heavy experience. My review of The Road on Blu-ray after the jump.
Ewan McGregor has signed on to star opposite Robert Duvall in Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. According to Empire, McGregor has the role that Depp was set to play back in 2000 when the film fell apart (and infamously documented in the tragic Lost in La Mancha). Depp was still attached to the part, but with filming on Quixote set for September and Depp’s schedule uncertain due to filming on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Gilliam decided not to take any chances and chose McGregor for the role. If the script is the same as the one attempted back in 2000 McGregor will play a 21st century advertising executive who travels back in time to 17th century Spain, where he meets Don Quixote (Duvall) and becomes involved in adventures with him.
In an interview with Steve back in December for Crazy Heart, Duvall said he would play the role if financing came together. That now seems to be the case (however his budget will now be $20 million compared to the $35 million he had in 2000). Hit the jump to read what Gilliam had to say about bringing McGregor on board.
Jeff Bridges has been the best thing about a lot of movies for years, so it’s only fitting that he finally got his Oscar. From Fearless to The Fisher King, from King Kong to Cutter’s Way, his list of great performances is legion, and rarely does he phone it in. For Crazy Heart, Bridges plays a washed-up drunk of a country music singer named Bad Blake, and the film charts his relationship with Jane Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal) as he finds himself at a dead end creatively and physically. It’s a lived-in and vivid performance, and it elevates a familiar tale with the gravitas of a great performer. My review of Crazy Heart is after the jump.
Robert Duvall dropped some very interesting knowledge at a recent Get Low press junket–namely, that Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper has been chatting with Brad Pitt about bring the infamous Hatfield/McCoy family feud to the cinemas. According to Hollywood Elsewhere, Eric Roth (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) has assembled a script–appropriately titled The Hatfields and the Mccoys–with roles set aside for Duvall and Pitt. Newly-minted Oscar-winner T-Bone Burnett would re-team with his Crazy Heart boss to provide the soundtrack.
If you’d like to learn a little more about the heated interactions between the Hatfields and the McCoys (I know I would!), I invite you to hit the jump.
I don’t know what to make of this trailer for Get Low. It starts off looking like a quirky comedy about an old man (Robert Duvall) wanting a funeral party while he’s still alive. But as the trailer progresses, the tone gets increasingly darker. In her review from the Toronto Film Festival, Monika said the movie was, “undeniably smart, funny, and heart-wrenching piece.” Scott Weinberg over at Cinematical also saw the flick at TIFF and said the film was, “an excellent little dramatic piece that’s awash in humanity, warmth, insight, and wit.” The Playlist‘s Luke Gorham said it was, “crowd-pleasing and solid, if ultimately unexceptional film.“ I’m certainly interested in seeing it and it looks like Duvall is going to turn in another great performance. However, he does remind me of the SNL sketch where he played a character on a game show called, “Who’s More Grizzled?” Sadly, I couldn’t find the video but here’s the transcript.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer and the official synopsis. Get Low hits theaters on July 30th.
As I wrote when I posted my video interviews with Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal, currently playing in limited release is Fox Searchlight’s Crazy Heart. Originally scheduled for release next year, Fox Searchlight has mounted an impressive last minute campaign to get the film into theaters as they’re trying to get Jeff Bridges his long deserved Oscar.
In Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges stars as the anti-hero Bad Blake in the debut feature film from writer-director Scott Cooper. Bad Blake is a broken-down, hard-living country music singer who’s had way too many marriages, far too many years on the road and one too many drinks way too many times. And yet, Bad can’t help but reach for salvation with the help of Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a journalist who discovers the real man behind the musician.
While the story of a musician overcoming his demons has been told many times, the buzz surrounding Jeff Bridges performance is well deserved. He’s great as Bad Blake and I think it’s a sure bet he’ll be nominated for an Oscar. So to help promote the film, I recently got to speak with Robert Duvall. We talked about his amazing career and what movies he always gets recognize for, why he wanted to make Crazy Heart, the struggle to find money for indie films, and a lot more: