It’s been clear that we’re experiencing a new Golden Age of television for more than a couple of years now, and refreshingly original storytelling in serialized form doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. One of the more exciting projects on the horizon is HBO’s anthology cop drama True Detective. HBO recently ordered eight episodes of the series, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as two detectives who are drawn into the 17-year search for a serial killer in Louisiana. Cary Fukunaga (Jane Eyre, Sin Nombre) is onboard to helm all eight episodes of season one, and now they’ve found their female lead in Michelle Monaghan. Hit the jump for more.
If offbeat, anti-romantic comedies are your thing, then keep an eye on A Many Splintered Thing. The film, in the vein of Amelie and (500) Days of Summer, will reportedly star Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger) and Michelle Monaghan (Source Code). A Many Splintered Thing centers on a young man, burned by past lovers, who falls for a socialite while pretending to be a philanthropist at a charitable dinner. Too bad her fiance doesn’t appreciate her going on dates. But, of course, that isn’t going to stop a man like Evans, who fakes a platonic relationship to get closer to her. Hit the jump for more on A Many Splintered Thing.
Michelle Monaghan and Susan Sarandon are set to team up for the thriller Still of the Night. Exclusive Media announced today that it would produce and finance the pic, written and to be directed by Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines). Monaghan stars as a career woman who sets out to investigate the mysterious disappearance of her sister. She ends up matching wits with a devious criminal, played by Sarandon, in order to save her and her sister. If memory serves me right, Sarandon has never played such a straight-up villain before (I’m counting Stepmom as a half-villain). It should be interesting to see the two talented actresses square off.
Mostow’s last film, the 2009 sci-fi actioner Surrogates, wasn’t exactly a runaway hit with critics or audiences, but he’s off to a great start on Still of the Night by nabbing actors of Monaghan and Sarandon’s caliber. Hit the jump to read the press release.
Let’s talk movie casting additions for a change of pace from all of the TV news we posted earlier today. Here are the new announcements in brief:
Hit the jump for more.
Though we weren’t exactly lacking in popcorn movies last year, one of the most fun times I had in a movie theater in 2011 was most certainly Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, made his live-action debut in a big way with the crowd pleasing fourth entry in the Mission: Impossible franchise. What’s not to love about Tom Cruise playing out a death defying action sequence thousands of feet in the sky on a giant IMAX screen? Given that a different director has helmed each film in the franchise, most weren’t exactly expecting Bird to return for the next installment. The director has now, unsurprisingly, confirmed that he’s unlikely to helm Mission: Impossible 5, but he also revealed that they changed the film’s ending during the middle of production.
Hit the jump to see what he had to say, but beware of obvious spoilers for the ending of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
We’ve got a couple of acquisition stories to report today. First up, Dimension has picked up U.S. distribution rights to the thriller Penthouse North. Directed by Joseph Ruben (Sleeping with the Enemy), the film stars Michelle Monaghan as a photojournalist blinded in Iraq who becomes entangled in a sadistic criminal’s (Michael Keaton) search for a missing fortune. The script was written by David Loughery (Lakeview Terrace), who will also produced alongside Jeff Sackman and Michael Baker. Production begins in Ottawa on December 7th.
Additionally, Tribeca Film has acquired the U.S. rights to the French thriller Sleepless Night. The film debuted to a wildly positive reception as part of the “Midnight Madness” portion of the Toronto Film Festival. Matt caught the pic and loved it, and now Tribeca Film will release the film VOD and theatrically stateside in 2012. The story centers on an undercover cop trying to get his kidnapped son back from a drug-dealing nightclub owner. An English-language remake is already in the works at Warner Bros. You can watch the trailer for the French film here. Hit the jump to read the press releases concerning Penthouse North and Sleeplees Night.
Because we know you can’t get enough of shortlist stories, we’ve got yet another line-up of actresses vying for a role. Today the film in question is the magician comedy Burt Wonderstone starring Steve Carell and Jim Carrey. Deadline reports that Olivia Wilde, Michelle Monaghan, Judy Greer, Sarah Silverman, and Jessica Biel are all on the short list for the female lead in the Las Vegas-centered comedy. The film tells the story of a Vegas magician (Carell) who is upstaged by a younger, more hip magician (Carrey) after breaking up with his partner. Nevermind that Carell and Carrey are the same age.
While all the actresses mentioned are find leading ladies in their own right, no one comes close to the comedic talents of Greer in my mind. She’s been shining in supporting roles left and right for years (just thinking about her stint on Arrested Development makes me crack a smile), and it’d be great to see her go toe-to-toe with Carell and Carrey. Jason Reitman was recently commissioned to do “several weeks worth” of work on the script, previously written by Horrible Bosses scribes John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein.
Michelle Monaghan has signed on to star in the indie drama Fort Bliss. Variety reports that the actress will play a veteran of the war in Afghanistan in the pic written and directed by Claudia Myers (Kettle Fish). The story centers on a soldier who is sent home from the Afghani war after a long tour. Once stateside, she struggles to reconnect with her 5-year-old son. In addition to writing and directing, Myers will also produce the $2 million film alongside Brendan McDonald and Adam Silver. Production is set to begin next June in New Mexico. It sounds like an intriguing character drama, but films centered on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have struggled to find audiences in the past decade. I think a small drama is the way to go, and it’ll be nice to see Monaghan stretch her acting chops in such a pic.
The actress recently starred in Machine Gun Preacher, and she’s currently filming the indie Boot Tracks with Stephen Dorff. Monaghan is also poised to star in the dark comedy thriller Better Living Through Chemistry alongside Sam Rockwell and Olivia Wilde, and the thriller Penthouse North with Michael Keaton.
by Jason Barr Posted: October 1st, 2011 at 3:56 pm
With the fall film season now in full swing, I’m 100% ashamed to admit that I’ve yet to see two of my most anticipated fall films: Moneyball and 50/50. Now, I have every intention of ending this charade at some point this weekend but, for now, I hope you’ll give me a pass. If I’ve still yet to check them out when we meet here next week, I’ll understand if you choose to revoke my “mildly credible film blogger” credentials. In the meantime…
…In this week’s “Top 5″ installment, you can find all of our Fantastic Fest 2011 coverage. After that, interviews abound with the cast of Jonathan Levine’s dramedy 50/50, the cast, creators, and real-life inspiration for Machine Gun Preacher, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance director Brian Taylor, and Thor/The Avengers‘ Tom Hiddleston. Check out a brief recap and link to each after the jump.
At this year’s Toronto Film Festival, I was able to speak with Gerard Butler and Michelle Monaghan about director Marc Forster’s Machine Gun Preacher. The movie is based on the real-life story of Sam Childers (played by Butler), a former drug-dealer who turned his life around and now dedicates it to saving kidnapped and orphaned children in Sudan. Monaghan plays his wife Lynn. It’s a hell of a story and one that I’m glad got told. You can watch some clips here.
During the interview, they talked about how they got involved in the project, what was it like to work for Marc Forster, and we had some fun talking about karaoke and video games. Butler revealed he has a thing for Galaga. Hit the jump to watch.
by Jason Barr Posted: September 14th, 2011 at 11:44 am
Six new clips from director Marc Forster’s Machine Gun Preacher are now online. Starring Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan and Michael Shannon, the “based on a true story” pic centers on Sam Childers (Butler), a once upon a time drug dealer who turns his life around and dedicates it to saving kidnapped and orphaned children in Sudan. Hit the jump to watch some new footage from the film. Machine Gun Preacher hits limited theaters in the U.S. on September 23rd and opens in the U.K. on November 18th.
by Jason Barr Posted: September 8th, 2011 at 1:45 pm
Veteran director Joseph Ruben will lead stars Michael Keaton and Michelle Monaghan in the psychological thriller Penthouse North. Written and co-produced by David Loughery (Obsessed), the film will center on a photojournalist (Monaghan) who has moved into a New York penthouse in an attempt to escape her sordid past. As the story goes, she becomes entangled in a criminal’s (Keaton) search for a missing fortune. According to THR, Penthouse North is scheduled to begin shooting this November in Ottawa.
As for Keaton and Monaghan, the latter can next be seen alongside Gerard Butler in Machine Gun Preacher which premieres at TIFF before hitting limited U.S. theaters on September 23rd. The former was last seen making a great turn as Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg’s captain in The Other Guys. With regards to director Joseph Ruben, Penthouse North seems to fall right in his wheelhouse as the filmmaker has made a living helming thrillers of various quality such as Dreamscape, Sleeping with the Enemy, The Good Son (a film that I still can’t refrain from yelling “He’s the one doing all of these horrible things!” while watching) and 2004′s The Forgotten starring Julianne Moore.
by Jason Barr Posted: September 7th, 2011 at 10:16 am
The first clip from the “based on a true story” actioner Machine Gun Preacher has landed online. Starring Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan and Michael Shannon, the film tells the story of Sam Childers (Butler), a converted drug-dealer who makes it his personal responsibility to save hundreds of kidnapped and orphaned children in Sudan. Like I said when the trailer was released, I think Butler is in his element here (i.e. not starring opposite Katherine Heigl in a romantic comedy) and I’m looking forward to checking it out.
Watch the clip, which features some words of inspiration from Monaghan, after the jump. Directed by Marc Forster, Machine Gun Preacher will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival before hitting select U.S. theaters on September 23rd and the U.K. on November 18th. Also, with TIFF beginning tomorrow, be on the lookout for a slew of clips from films premiering at the festival.
by Jason Barr Posted: August 18th, 2011 at 6:26 pm
The theatrical trailer for director Marc Forster’s (Monster’s Ball and Quantum of Solace) Machine Gun Preacher has hit the interwebs. Starring Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, and Michael Shannon, the film tells the true story of Sam Childers (Butler), a former drug-dealer who goes on to save the lives of hundreds of kidnapped and orphaned kids in Sudan. While I can’t claim to be Butler’s biggest fan, I have to say that he looks to be in his element in Preacher as a hardened guy who wants to do the right thing the only way he knows how: through violence. Add that in with the fact that I’ve enjoyed much of Forster’s previous work, and Machine Gun Preacher is a film I’m looking forward to watching.
Check out the trailer after the jump. Machine Gun Preacher will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month and opens theatrically on September 23rd.
Source Code is a fast-paced thriller in which the military can transport a soldier into the final 8 minutes of a dead man’s memory to gain access to a crime scene that has come and gone. This time-travelling plot device is more than vaguely familiar, as it is a culmination of concepts previously seen in Groundhog Day, Déjà vu, and the Quantum Leap TV series, but, when blended with a Twilight Zone-meets-Hitchcockian adventure vibe, this effort feels wholly original in a year swamped with sequels.
While not as intellectually compelling as director Duncan Jones’ Moon, it wasn’t designed to be. Where Moon was contemplative of its themes and sported a career-high turn from Sam Rockwell, this strong sophomore effort’s goal was to entertain and excite, and it fully succeeds on both counts. Duncan Jones proves he is still a talent to keep close tabs on. After living its first days on the screenplay blacklist, Source Code now finds itself readily available to the widest audience possible on home video. Hit the jump to read my review of the Source Code Blu-ray.