Add yet another “Lance Armstrong doping scandal” movie to the list. Almost as soon as Armstrong copped to doping during his tenure as a 7-time champion of the Tour de France, Hollywood starting moving forward on feature film iterations of his story. Paramount and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot were the first studios to take action, as the two studios have teamed up to adapt the Juliet Macur book Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong. Warner Bros. is also developing its own version of the story with Jay Roach (Game Change) attached to direct from a script by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion), but now it appears that the first film to actually move forward may come from High Fidelity and The Queen director Stephen Frears and Working Title Pictures. Hit the jump for more.
[Update: Deadline has updated their story to note that Ben Foster is in final talks to play Lance Armstrong in the film, which has a script by Trainspotting scribe John Hodge and focuses on "Armstrong's career from his cancer ordeal to the scandal that brought him down."]
Now playing is director Tom Hooper’s fantastic adaptation of Les Miserables. Loaded with great performances and top notch filmmaking, Les Mis is absolutely a contender for all the year end awards and it would shock me if Anne Hathaway doesn’t win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her incredible work as Fantine. Her one take rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” was incredible and it’s the type of performance that’s unforgettable. For more on the film, here are five clips, Matt’s review, and all our previous coverage.
At the recent NYC press day for the film I did an exclusive interview with producer Eric Fellner (who runs Working Title with Tim Bevan). Since Sid and Nacy in 1986, Fellner has produced 100 movies and he shows no signs of slowing down. During the interview we talked about how Les Mis came together, the way the industry has changed over the past decade, whether VOD and online streaming become a real revenue stream, if we could eventually get an extended cut of Les Mis (the first assembly cut was four hours!), and more. In addition, with Fellner producing so many other projects, I got updates on the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sequel, Edgar Wright’s The World’s End, Ron Howard’s Rush, Richard Curtis‘ About Time, Everest and more. Hit the jump to either listen to the audio or read the transcript.
Though director Ron Howard dabbled in lighter romantic comedy fare for his last film (2011’s The Dilemma), he’s getting back into the period groove with his next feature, Rush. The film takes place in the world of Formula 1 racing and chronicles the 1970s rivalry between Austrian driver Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) and British driver James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth). Production wrapped earlier this year, but we have to wait until next September before the pic hits theaters.
Steve recently interviewed producer Eric Fellner in anticipation of the release of Tom Hooper’s musical adaptation Les Miserables, and Fellner talked a bit about Rush. He revealed that he’s seen a nearly completed cut of the film, teased a standout performance from Brühl, and talked about the film’s promising test scores. Hit the jump for more.
Director Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of the John le Carre spy novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was a bit of a surprise success last year, grossing over $80 million against a relatively small budget and earning Gary Oldman his first ever Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Given le Carre’s numerous novels, Alfredson and the folks at Working Title began to mull over the possibility of adapting another one of the books for a sequel, but movement on that front has been relatively quiet as of late.
Steve recently got to interview producer Eric Fellner while attending the press day for Working Title’s upcoming musical adaptation Les Miserables, and Fellner provided a promising update on the sequel to Tinker Tailor. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.
When young actress Saoirse Ronan wowed audiences with her turn in 2007’s Atonement, we expected many more fantastic performances to follow. She’s done swell work in the meantime, with a standout role in last year’s Hanna, and now she’s gearing up to tackle one hell of a character. Deadline reports that Ronan is attached to play the title role in Working Title’s Mary Queen of Scots. There’s no word on how much of the dignitary’s life Michael Hirst’s (Elizabeth) script encompasses, but Mary was named Queen of Scotland when she was just nine months old. Hit the jump for more.
I was among the cinephiles who were unmoved by the first trailer for Hugo. I never should have doubted Martin Scorsese: an early screening at the New York Film Festival drew breathless praise from the lucky few who saw it. Four decades later, Scorsese is still a master filmmaker. As is customary for a master filmmaker, Scorsese has a lot on his plate: Silence, The Irishman, The Wolf of Wall Street, a remake of The Gambler, and a Frank Sinatra biopic among other things. A report from Variety suggests a new project, The Snowman, could leapfrog the others for the next slot in Scorsese’s schedule. The director has reportedly been circling the adaptation of the bestselling Norwegian mystery novel for the last month or so; Paramount has not yet made a formal offer, but Scorsese “is now seriously considering making it his next project.”
The Maguffin in The Snowman is the pink scarf of a missing woman, found wrapped around an “ominous-looking snowman” in what appears to be the work of a serial killer. More on the project and a full synopsis after the jump.
The new documentary Senna chronicles the brief but incredible life of Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna. Through him we see not only the sport of European Formula One racing (far more dangerous than the Indy 500) during the 1980s and early 90s, but we see it through the eyes of one of its most celebrated and revered figures. Senna is notable not only for its subject matter, but because it dispenses with ordinary documentary conventions of talking head interviews and keeps narration to a minimum. All of the footage is archival and the racing scenes in particular demand to be viewed in a theater.
I interviewed screenwriter Manish Pandey about the decision to use only archival footage, what fascinated him about Senna, the lasting impact of Senna in his home country of Brazil, and much more. Hit the jump to check out the interview. Senna opens this weekend.
Jo Nesbo’s hit series of detective novels following the exploits of the fictional Harry Hole will be making its way to the big screen. The latest book in the series, titled The Snowman, will be adapted into a film according to a new report by Deadline, as Working Title Films has bought the screen rights. The series has sold over 5 million copies worldwide and the seventh book in the series sits atop the UK bestseller lists. The author talked about how he has turned down a number of offers in the past but feels this is the right time and team to handle his material. So hit the jump to find out what the novel is all about and why I think Nesbo was smart to pick Working Title Films.
In the next minute or so, Collider is going to be flooded with Paul coverage. That’s because last August, right after Comic-Con, I got to visit the set while the production was filming in New Mexico. With the embargo lifting this morning on all our coverage, Universal has graciously provided us with the first official images from the production. While all the images are sprinkled in with my coverage, I wanted to do a separate post so they’d be easy to find. So hit the jump to check out the first images of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Greg Mottola’s Paul! You might even see me in one of the shots. Read my set visit for how I’m in the picture.
Universal’s biopic about Kurt Cobain just got interesting. That’s because writer-director Oren Moverman (The Messenger) has signed on to rework the David Benioff (Brothers) script and also direct the project as well. While many of you have probably not seen The Messenger, the film was filled with amazing and honest performances by Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, and Samantha Morton. It’s about two U.S. Army officers (Foster and Harrelson) who are responsible for notifying families when someone has died serving our country. The film feels like a documentary, rather than something scripted.
That’s why I’m incredibly excited to see Moverman land the Cobain project. I don’t want to see a Hollywood version of Cobain’s life. I want to believe I’m watching Cobain on screen and see an honest look at the reason he ended his life so early. Of course, the project still has to land a leading man who can pull it off, but the director is the first step, and they have chosen wisely.
The film is going to be based at least partially on Charles R. Cross’ 2001 biography, Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain. According to THR article, “Universal purchased the life rights of both Cobain and his widow, Courtney Love, who had already optioned the film rights to the Cross book. Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan and Graham Larson are producing. Love is an executive producer along with her lawyer Howard Weitzman.”