Exclusive: William Monahan Candidly Discusses THE GAMBLER, His Severe Bike Accident Earlier This Year, His Approach to Writing, MOJAVE, VENGEANCE, John Le Carre’s A DELICATE TRUTH, Television, and More

by     Posted 9 days ago


With director Rupert Wyatt’s (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) The Gambler opening soon, I recently landed an exclusive interview with Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan (The Departed).  As most of you know from the trailers, the remake stars Mark Wahlberg as a literature professor whose gambling spirals out of control, affecting both himself and those around him.  The film also stars Brie LarsonJessica LangeJohn Goodman, and Michael K. Williams.  As you might imagine with a script by Monahan, the film is loaded with incredible dialogue and tense, edge-of-your-seat sequences.

Over the past few years I’ve landed a number of great interviews with Monahan.  While all the interviews were informative and insightful, I think the one you’re about to read is the best yet.  Not only is it really in depth and candid, but he talks for the first time about his severe motorcycle accident where he almost lost his foot and discusses the process of writing The Gambler and how the project came about, if he ever had to make huge changes to a project and why, his approach to screenwriting, the inception and intent of a great scene from the film that sees Mark Wahlberg delivering a lengthy monologue about talent, his thoughts on the current state of television, why he avoids writing about the middle class, the status of other projects like Mojave, American Desperado, Tripoli, Blood Meridian, John Le Carre’s A Delicate Truth, The Throwaways, Becket, Vengeance for Charlize Theron, and so much more.  If you’re a fan of William Monahan or simply interested in screenwriting, I promise you will love this interview.  Hit the jump to read.

Fran Kranz Offers MOJAVE Update; Says William Monahan Has “Very Different Cuts” of the Movie [Updated]

by     Posted 20 days ago


It’s been a while since we’ve reported on William Monahan’s Mojave, but the film is currently in post-production and apparently it’s moving along in a rather unique manner.  The film stars Garrett Hedlund as Tom, a depressed writer-director who’s fed-up with Hollywood.  He opts to go to the desert to clear his head and that’s where he runs into Oscar Isaac’s character, Jack, a brilliant and homicidal drifter.

Fran Kranz also has a small role in the movie, so while discussing his upcoming release, Murder of a Cat, I asked him how everything’s going with Mojave.  He did note that at this point, the film is out of his hands and he hasn’t seen any footage yet, but he has heard that there’s “very different” cuts of it being considered.  Hit the jump for more.

Update: Steve here. I’ve been interviewing Monahan for The Gambler and asked for clarification about Mojave. His response is after the original article.

Mark Wahlberg Talks TRANSFORMERS 4, Rupert Wyatt’s THE GAMBLER, Peter Berg’s AMERICAN DESPERADO, William Monahan’s MOJAVE, and More

by     Posted 272 days ago


Just a short time ago in Las Vegas, I landed a great video interview with Mark Wahlberg on the red carpet before Paramount’s presentation at CinemaCon.  During the interview Wahlberg talked about making Transformers: Age of Extinction, the action sequences, working for director Michael Bay on a big budget summer movie versus a smaller film like Pain & GainRupert Wyatt’s The Gambler, Peter Berg’s American DesperadoWilliam Monahan’s Mojave, and the New England Patriots (we’re both fans of the team).

The big news is that Wahlberg revealed American Desperados will be shooting this September and he has a small role in Monahan’s Mojave (which hadn’t been revealed until tonight).  For those unfamiliar with the story for American Desperado, it’s based on a series of interviews between Generation Kill author/journalist Evan Wright and super-criminal Jon Roberts, who was the focus of the documentary Cocaine Cowboys.  Roberts’ life story can be filed under “stranger than fiction,” as he recounts being born into Mafia royalty, running guns for the CIA, smuggling cocaine for the Medellin cartel, and brushing elbows with the likes of Richard Pryor and Jimi Hendrix.  Hit the jump for the interview.

Walton Goggins Talks JUSTIFIED, Where Season 5 Is Heading, Boyd’s Ending, William Monahan’s MOJAVE, and More

by     Posted 327 days ago

Justified walton goggins slice

Based on the works of crime novelist Elmore Leonard and developed for television by showrunner Graham Yost, the FX drama series Justified is back for Season 5, which is also its penultimate season now that its been announced that it will be ending with six seasons.  This season, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) must confront the deadly and dangerous Crowe family while Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) struggles to free his imprisoned fiancée Ava (Joelle Carter), as he partners with the Dixie mafia’s Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns).

During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, actor Walton Goggins talked about being motivated to do justice to the work of the late Elmore Leonard, how everything is moving towards a conclusion now, why everything is unraveling all at once for Boyd, what affect not sacrificing himself for Ava might have, that he’s been talking to Graham Yost about Boyd’s final outcome since Season 2, and where things are headed during the rest of this season.  He also talked about what sounds like a crazy role as an entertainment lawyer in William Monahan’s upcoming feature film Mojave, starring Garrett Hedlund and Oscar Isaac.  Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.

Oscar Isaac Talks INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, Collaborating with the Coen Brothers, Alex Garland’s EX MACHINA, William Monahan’s MOJAVE, and More

by     Posted 352 days ago


Now playing in theaters is one of the best films of the year, Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Inside Llewyn Davis.  The story takes place in the Greenwich Village folk scene in 1961, and follows singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) as he struggles with his career and strained personal relationships.  Loaded with incredible performances, an all-star cast (featuring Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John GoodmanGarrett HedlundF. Murray AbrahamAdam DriverStark Sands, and Max Casella), and a fantastic soundtrack (put together by T-Bone Burnett), Inside Llewyn Davis should not be missed.  For more on the film, read Matt’s review.

At the Los Angeles press day, I landed a video interview with Oscar Isaac.  He talked about what it was like working for the Coen Brothers, how he felt landing the role, what it was like performing the songs and how much changed along the way, and more.  In addition, Isaac talked about working with Alex Garland on Ex Machina and William Monahan on Mojave.  Hit the jump to watch.

First Image from Biopic PELÉ; New Image from MOJAVE Starring Garrett Hedlund and Oscar Isaac

by     Posted 1 year, 40 days ago


The first image from the biopic of soccer legend Pelé—aptly titled Pelé—has been released.  The film chronicles the life of the titular “King of Football,” tracing the Brazilian soccer prodigy’s life as he led the country to its first World Cup win in history and solidified himself as the greatest player of all time.  Leonardo Lima Carvalho plays the young version of Pelé, and he can be seen here playing with a “football” made of socks in the alleys of Bauru where he grew up.  Under the direction of Michael Zimbalist and Jeff Zimbalist, the film is currently in production in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Additionally, a new image from writer/director William Monahan’s new thriller Mojave has been released just a few days after a handful of debut photos landed online.  The film centers on a near-suicidal artist (Garrett Hedlund) who escapes into the desert to take an existential crisis head-on, only to encounter a doppelganger-like antagonist in the form of a brilliant, homicidal drifter (Oscar Isaac).  Check out the images from Pelé and Mojave after the jump.

First Images from William Monahan’s MOJAVE Starring Garrett Hedlund; Monahan Talks about Challenges of Selling the Movie

by     Posted 1 year, 44 days ago


We’ve reported on William Monahan‘s Mojave for a couple years, but he’s been working on it for much longer.  In a recent interview, the Oscar-winning screenwriter (The Departed) said his second directorial feature was written “part time and on weekends for about 10 years now.”  He finally got it finished, filmed it, and now the first three images have been released.  The film centers on a near-suicidal artist (Garrett Hedlund) who escapes into the desert to take an existential crisis head-on, only to encounter a doppelganger-like antagonist in the form of a brilliant, homicidal drifter (Oscar Isaac).  Monahan mulled over selling the script and came to the conclusion that rather than “let it go be distorted and made improperly” he would do the right thing and just make it myself and forego the money.”

Hit the jump for more.  The film also stars Walton Goggins and Louise BourgoinMojave is currently making the rounds at the American Film Market to pick up distribution.

Taylor Swift Joins Jeff Bridges in THE GIVER; Walton Goggins Set for MOJAVE

by     Posted 1 year, 85 days ago


Last night we learned that Katie Holmes had joined the long-awaited feature film adaptation of The Giver, but it appears there’s one more high-profile name coming onboard.  THR reports that Taylor Swift has signed on to the Lois Lowry adaptation, which concerns a utopian society where all memories of the past reside with a sage figure known as “The Giver”.  When a 12-year-old boy is selected to be the new Giver, he learns of the hypocrisies and hidden truths of his world.  Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and Brenton Thwaites are set in the lead roles, and Swift will be playing Rosemary, the last teen mentored by The Giver before he meets Thwaites’ character.  Salt director Philip Noyce is set to helm, and the film will open in theaters on August 15, 2014.

Hit the jump for casting news regarding the thriller Mojave.

Bruce Willis to Lead EXPIRATION; Uma Thurman to Play Anita Bryant in ANITA, Garrett Hedlund Replaces Jason Clarke in MOJAVE

by     Posted 1 year, 219 days ago


We have a few casting stories for you this afternoon.  First up, Bruce Willis is set to lead the thriller Expiration.  According to Variety, Willis plays “a hitman who is poisoned and has to find a cure before he expires.”  So it’s like D.O.A. but probably with a lot more killing of other people.  The film is currently in negotiations for a director, and the script is from Broken City scribe Brian Tucker.  What’s slightly damning about this production is that it’s from producers Randall Emmett and George Furla.  The duo previously produced the Willis films Setup and Fire with Fire.  While Willis didn’t lead those movies, they still went direct-to-DVD.  Then again, they also co-starred talking mannequin 50 Cent, so perhaps Expiration will be better if they leave him out of it.

Hit the jump for casting news on Anita and Mojave.

Jason Clarke Talks ZERO DARK THIRTY, William Monahan’s MOJAVE, Roland Emmerich’s WHITE HOUSE DOWN and More

by     Posted 1 year, 340 days ago


One of my favorite films of 2012, director Kathryn Bigelow’s drama about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty, is finally playing in theaters nationwide.  Loaded with amazing performances, an incredible script by Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker), and perfect direction, Zero Dark Thirty  should definitely be seen in a theater, and it’s absolutely worth the price of admission.  In the film, Jessica Chastain plays a CIA operative spearheading the manhunt, and she stars alongside Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong, Scott Adkins, Joel Edgerton, and James Gandolfini.  For more on the film, read Matt’s review.

During the Los Angeles press day, I got to speak with Clarke. We talked about what the last few years have been like since he’s landed some high profile projects, the way people are responding to the film, his reaction to seeing the film for the first time, deleted scenes, and more.  In addition, we also talked about some of his upcoming projects like Roland Emmerich’s White House Down and William Monahan’s next film, Mojave.  Hit the jump to watch.

Oscar Isaac and Jason Clarke to Topline William Monahan’s MOJAVE

by     Posted 2 years, 16 days ago


Just a couple of days ago, we ran an exclusive interview with The Departed screenwriter William Monahan regarding the news that he’s set to pen a remake of Park Chan-wook’s 2005 film Sympathy for Lady Vengeance with Charlize Theron in the lead.  In addition to talking about that adaptation, Monahan provided a brief update on his next directorial feature, Mojave.  While he was remiss to provide plot details, he revealed that filming is set to begin in the first quarter of next year and that he has already set his cast.  Indeed, the news broke today that Oscar Isaac (The Bourne Legacy) and Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) are poised to topline the thriller.  Hit the jump for more details.

Exclusive: William Monahan Talks SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE Remake & Directing MOJAVE; Says MOJAVE Is Cast & Films Next Year

by     Posted 2 years, 18 days ago


A few days ago we reported screenwriter William Monahan (The DepartedKingdom of Heaven) was going to adapt Park Chan-wook’s fantastic 2005 film Sympathy for Lady Vengeance with Charlize Theron set to star and produce along with Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures.  For those unfamiliar with the original, Lady Vengeance “is the story of a woman who for reasons of her own completes a prison term for a murder she did not commit, reemerging to punish the killer, and avenge the dead.”  The film is the final chapter in Park’s “Vengeance Trilogy” following Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy.

Shortly after the news broke, I reached out to Monahan to see if he could offer us any additional information about how the project came together.  In addition, we talked about whether he’s started writing it yet, if Sympathy could take place in Boston, whether it would be watered down for American audiences, when did he first see Park Chan-wook’s movies and does he have a favorite, his adapting process and much more.  Finally, as we reported earlier this year, Monahan is set to get behind the camera again with Mojave.  He told me he starts to shoot early next year and we’ll hear about casting in the coming weeks.  Hit the jump for more.

William Monahan to Make MOJAVE His Directorial Follow-Up to LONDON BOULEVARD

by     Posted 2 years, 273 days ago


Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan (The Departed) has chosen to make the crime thriller Mojave as his follow-up to London Boulevard.  As Monahan told Steve back in October, the follow-up to Boulevard was either going to be Mojave or Becket, an adaptation of the 1959 Jean Anouilh play, depending on which project received funding first.  Hopefully, more details on Mojave will surface soon so we’ll have an idea of what Monahan has planned.  According to Deadline, Atlas Independent will produce, and filming is set to begin in August in Southern California.  Atlas Independent’s mission is to make movies for less than $10 million, so we at least have some notion of the Mojave‘s scope.

Monahan’s busy schedule also includes scripting a remake of 1974′s The Gambler, and working on the screenplay for Sin City 2Click here for Steve’s latest interview with Monahan.


by     Posted 3 years, 60 days ago


I’m writing to you this week in full “World Series Mode.” While there are plenty of things going on around the Midwest this time of year (homemade haunted houses are always a welcomed annual treat), a majority of my focus is on trying to will my beloved Cardinals to Fall Classic glory. Combine that with the fact that Batman: Arkham City is consistently calling my name and it’s a wonder that I’m even writing this right now. Hold on, what’s that, Arkham City? Okay, okay…I’ll be there in a second…

…In this week’s installment, you’ll find talk of Transformers 4 and Transformers 5 shooting back-to-back with Jason Statham potentially starring, a six-minute prologue for The Dark Knight Rises being attached to Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol‘s IMAX release, interviews with director Paul W.S. Anderson and the cast of The Three Musketeers, David Fincher and Rooney Mara talking about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and William Monahan discussing projects including London Boulevard, The Departed sequel, Sin City 2 and more. Hit the jump for a brief recap and link to each.


by     Posted 3 years, 65 days ago

Almost a year ago, I ran an extended interview with William Monahan for his directorial debut London Boulevard.  Starring Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Anna Friel, Jamie Bower, David Thewlis, Ray Winstone, Stephen Graham, Eddie Marsan, and Ben Chaplin, the film is about a man just released from prison (Farrell) who falls in love with a reclusive young movie star (Knightley) and finds himself in a duel with a vicious gangster (Winstone).  At the time, the movie was about to hit theaters in the United Kingdom, and our wide-ranging conversation covered the making of the film and all the other projects he was involved with.  When I posted the interview, I said it was one of the best conversations I’ve ever had with any filmmaker.

However, with London Boulevard now available on VOD in the United States and hitting theaters November 11, I recently sat down with Monahan again and we have bested our last conversation.  During our 45 minutes conversation we covered everything from his thoughts on VOD and what changes were made to the film, the digital revolution, the crime genre, writing dialogue, and working with actors.  In addition, he gave me updates on The Departed sequel/prequel, Sin City 2, The Gambler, Tripoli, Becket, Mojave (which might be his next film), and revealed there is another version of Kingdom of Heaven that no one has seen.  Hit the jump for more.

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