Director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, The Alamo) has long been circling the director’s chair on the drama Highwaymen, and now it looks like the project is finally coming together. Hancock has signed on to helm the pic, which centers on the manhunt for infamous bank robbers Bonnie & Clyde during the Great Depression. The protagonist of the story is Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, a lawman with quite the reputation (he survived 100 gunfights and killed 53 people) who was coaxed into putting together a team of Rangers to finally take down Bonnie & Clyde following an embarrassing Texas prison break headed up by Clyde Barrow.
Hit the jump for more on the project, including which actors Hancock is eyeing to lead the film.
If you caught Tom Hanks doing any of the press rounds for Cloud Atlas, you may have noticed his oh-so-regal mustache. The atypical facial hair was for a high profile role that Hanks is currently filming: that of Walt Disney in the real-life drama Saving Mr. Banks. The story centers on Disney’s twenty-year pursuit of the film rights to author P.L. Travers’ (Emma Thompson) novel Mary Poppins and the rocky relationship that formed between the two. Our first images of Hanks and Thompson in character have surfaced today, as the production filmed a few scenes on the grounds of Disneyland.
Hit the jump to take a look at the images. Directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), the film also stars Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, Rachel Griffiths, Bradley Whitford, Paul Giamatti, and Jason Schwartzman. Saving Mr. Banks opens on December 20th, 2013.
Filming has commenced on Disney’s star-studded real life drama Saving Mr. Banks. The film chronicles Walt Disney’s twenty-year pursuit of the film rights to author P.L. Travers’ novel Mary Poppins, and the rocky relationship that formed between the two. Tom Hanks will take on the daunting task of portraying Disney (the first time he’s ever been portrayed in a dramatic film), while Emma Thompson is set as Travers. Director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) has assembled a killer cast that includes Colin Farrell and Ruth Wilson (Anna Karenina) as Travers’ parents, Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under) as Travers’ aunt who was the inspiration for the character of Mary Poppins, Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) as screenwriter Don Dagradi, and Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak as the songwriting Sherman Brothers. Moreover, Paul Giamatti and Kathy Baker also appear in supporting roles.
Hit the jump for more on the project, including the film’s full synopsis.
A trio of actors has been tapped to round out the cast of director John Lee Hancock’s (The Blind Side) real-life story Saving Mr. Banks. The film stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and tells the true story of the visionary’s 14-year courtship of Australian author P.L. Travers for the rights to the Mary Poppins character. Emma Thompson plays Travers, who was wary to sell the rights to the studio as the Mary Poppins story was highly personal and reflected hardships in her own life as well as her relationship with her father. Variety reports that Jason Schwartzman, Paul Giamatti, and Ruth Wilson (The Lone Ranger) have joined the cast.
Schwarztman will play Richard Morton Sherman, a songwriter who wrote a number of songs for Disney films (including Mary Poppins), while Giamatti will portray Banks’ chauffeur while she’s in Los Angeles. Wilson will portray Travers’ mother in flashbacks opposite Colin Farrell, who is set as the author’s father.
We’ve got a few casting stories to share this afternoon. Briefly:
- Ashley Judd and Robert Forster are the latest additions to the Gerard Butler-fronted White House actioner Olympus Has Fallen.
- The Raid star Iwo Uwais has joined the cast of Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut Man of Tai Chi.
- Bradley Whitford is in early talks to join Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks.
Hit the jump for details on these casting additions.
Colin Farrell is looking to join a Disney feature. Deadline reports that the actor is in talks to join the cast of director John Lee Hancock’s (The Blind Side) period drama Saving Mr. Banks. The Mouse House pic stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and tells the true story of the visionary’s 14-year courtship of Australian author P.L. Travers for the rights to the Mary Poppins character. Emma Thompson plays Travers, who was wary to sell the rights to the studio as the Mary Poppins story was highly personal and reflected hardships in her own life as well as her relationship with her father. Farrell is in negotiations to play the character of Travers’ father who died when the author was 7 years old, so it’s safe to assume that the structure of Saving Mr. Banks will include flashbacks.
Farrell is on a roll as of late, as he recently wrapped a star-studded reunion with In Bruges director Martin McDonagh on Seven Psychopaths opposite Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken. He’ll be seen later this summer in the Total Recall reboot, he’s currently filming the crime drama Dead Man Down alongside Noomi Rapace, and he may lead the supernatural drama Winter’s Tale.
Mark Wahlberg is in early talks to produce and star in New Regency’s adaptation of the John Grisham novel The Partner. The legal thriller revolves around “a young partner in a prominent law firm who fakes his own death to steal a fortune from his company before starting a new life in Brazil.” Wahlberg would board the project with his producing partner Stephen Levinson (Contraband). John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) was attached to write and direct the adaptation, but Variety hears Hancock is no longer involved with the project. The studio is now on the search to replace Hancock.
Read a synopsis for The Partner after the jump.
Despite a pretty swell fake poster pitting Ryan Gosling as Walt Disney, it appears Tom Hanks may be the one to portray the legend onscreen. While we previously heard he was a possibility, Variety now reports that Hanks is officially in talks alongside Emma Thompson to star in the “making-of Mary Poppins” film Saving Mr. Banks. The pic tells the true story of Disney’s 14-year courtship of Australian author P.L. Travers for the rights to the Mary Poppins character. Thompson is negotiating to play Travers, who was ultimately displeased with the 1964 feature film adaptation (especially the animated sequences) and even more upset with the way the property was treated by Disney. Ironically, Disney is the studio that’s putting Saving Mr. Banks together. Hit the jump for more.
Directing a Best Picture nominee (even one that’s only there because they had a few extra spaces on the ballot) will always be a sizable chip for advancing one’s career. Today comes news that The Blind Side helmer John Lee Hancock is cashing his in to write and direct New Regency’s The Partner. It’s an adaptation of the 1997 John Grisham novel about a jaded Mississippi lawyer Patrick Lanigan who, after four years on the run, is brought back to the US to answer for a laundry list of crimes including defrauding the government; as his attorney tries to build a defense, the real story of how Patrick faked his own death, stole a bunch of money and stayed one step ahead of the folks you inevitably piss of by faking your own death and stealing lots of money is gradually revealed. Per Deadline, this will be Hancock’s next film, even if he does happen to sign on for Highwaymen, a drama about retired cops tracking down Bonnie and Clyde that he’s been kicking the tires on.
No word yet on when The Partner will be making it to the silver screen, but an ill-conceived NBC TV adaptation is probably being tentatively scheduled for 2032. Hit the jump to read a synopsis for the novel.
Though he’s been dabbling in feature films like The Rookie, The Alamo and most successfully, The Blind Side, writer/director John Lee Hancock previously worked on the small screen with series like Falcone and L.A. Doctors. Now Hancock is poised to return to TV as Deadline reports he will write, direct and executive produce a new untitled crime drama which follows an unorthodox protagonist described as the “Walter Mitty of the crime world.” Does that means he only imagines himself to be a successful criminal, but he’s really a bumbling, average guy? That remains to be seen as those are all the details we have on the new series at this time. ABC picked up the potential series, and we’ll likely hear more about it between now and the next television season in the fall of 2012.
Will Smith has been working on getting his Hurricane Katrina drama The American Can made for a while now, and it looks like he’s found his star. While Smith originally intended to both produce and star in the film, a schedule conflict with filming M. Night Shyalmalan’s One Thousand A.E. has forced him to take a strictly behind-the-scenes role on the flick. Vulture reports that Smith is now keen on casting Denzel Washington in the lead role.
John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) wrote the script and will direct the film, which tells the true story of a group of residents who were trapped in their apartment complex when the levees broke during Katrina. An ex-Marine named John Keller stayed with the group for days, which included dozens of aged (and white) residents, warding off looters and successfully obtaining much-needed air-dropped food, water, and medical supplies. Washington is currently giving notes on the project, and apparently Smith and Sony will make their casting decision based on his input.
John Lee Hancock, who directed last year’s Best Picture nominee The Blind Side, has signed on to helm Electric Boy Genius for Disney. The film is based on a 2002 GQ article written by Andrew Corsello, which tells the story of Ryan Patterson. Described by Deadline as a “real life Doogie Howser,” Patterson was already “building robots by the time he was in high school and developing innovations like an electronic sign-language translator.”
In 2001, Patterson won the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which landed him a job working in aerospace robotics for Lockheed Martin. Screenwriter Doug Wright (Quills), who has also won the coveted Pulitzer Prize for his theater work, will write the script.
The surprise success of The Blind Side last year ($256 million domestic, y’all!) launched Bullock into a whole new stratosphere, but what about writer/director John Lee Hancock? Surely he deserves some credit for the elevation of the subject material, anchored securely in the often clichéd inspirational sports genre (especially after he accomplished a similar feat in the 2002 baseball tale The Rookie). Well AMC, notably fraught with credibility right now, noticed. The cable network is looking to add the college football series The Wreck to its development slate, with Hancock as executive producer. More after the jump:
What is there to say that hasn’t already been said about The Blind Side? With its surprising $255 million domestic box office gross and best actress Oscar for star Sandra Bullock there’s surely no one who reads this site who needs to be sold on the movie. Whether you love it or hate it, you respect it for what it is: A well-made version of a story worth telling that does nothing extraordinary, but does everything well enough to open itself to a massive audience of women, sports fans and more. The Blu-ray does this blockbuster justice and then some with fantastic and insightful special features. It’s a real treat, even for non-fans. Read more after the jump.
I’ll admit that when I sat down to watch “The Blind Side” last week, I really didn’t expect much. I thought it would be a Lifetime movie of the week except on the big screen. But even though I walked in ready to dismiss the film, I’m forced to say “The Blind Side” was a lot better than I expected and I enjoyed the way it mixed a few different genres together. What you need to know is, “The Blind Side” is both a football movie and a family values film. It’s also a bit of a comedy. When films try and mix genres like this, you almost always end in disaster. So I have to give credit to director John Lee Hancock (“The Rookie”) for crafting a film that should appeal to both football fans and families. He even made me feel something for Sandra Bullock. Trust me, that’s not easy. Anyway, to help promote the film, we’ve been provided with seven clips and you can watch them after the jump.
For those unfamiliar with the book it’s based on, the film is based on the true story of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home who is taken in by the Touhys (Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw), a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher’s presence in the Touhys’ lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own. Living in his new environment, the teen faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome. As a football player and student, Oher works hard and, with the help of his coaches and adopted family, becomes an All-American offensive left tackle.