Steven Spielberg’s cross-hitting family classic E.T. needs no introduction. Do I need to summarize the plot? – How a lonely boy discovers an abandoned wide-eyed friendly alien and their resulting burgeoning friendship. It’s the rare film that exceeds the barriers of twenty-four frames per second. I can say Reese’s Pieces or bike or phone home without any sort of context and millions will know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a juggernaut – and it’s been so for over thirty years. It’s a picture that wears its heart on its sleeve – and it remains the most true and personal of Steven Spielberg’s ridiculously compelling oeuvre.
So it’s crazy to think E.T. hasn’t yet been released on Blu-ray. That slight will be corrected Tuesday October 9th, as the picture finally gets the Blu-ray treatment. And in honor of such an occasion and to celebrate E.T., Producer Kathleen Kennedy and Star Henry Thomas (Elliott) spoke with select press for over ninety minutes about the affect E.T. had on their career, the shooting process, working with Spielberg and dealing with the phenomena the film became. In addition, Kathleen Kennedy discussed her new role as chairman of Lucasfilm, Jurassic Park 4, an upcoming adaptation of Roald Dahl’s B.F.G. and Spielberg’s next Lincoln. For the full interview, hit the jump.
I remember loving the Roald Dahl book The BFG when I was a kid, but I can’t recall a single detail from it. Thankfully, I won’t need to go back to and read it (ugh), because DreamWorks has acquired the movie rights. According to The Wrap, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy (Hereafter) will produce the adaptation. Marshall and Kennedy have few animation credits on their lengthy filmographies, and there is no mention of DreamWorks Animation in the report. So for now we will assume this is a live-action BFG.
Melissa Mathison (E.T.) will adapt the story about a young orphan girl who befriends the Big Friendly Giant: together they “cook up an ingenious plot to free the world of troggle-humping — forever.” Read the full book synopsis after the jump.
Fantastic Mr. Fox feels like the film that director Wes Anderson has been trying to make ever since his first feature Bottle Rocket. Anderson’s films have always had the tone of a classic book for young adults. But what was once a stylish affectation eventually mutated into artistic lethargy. 2007′s The Darjeerling Limited showed that Anderson was now using his style as a crutch instead of a means to effectively tell a story. But with Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on the classic 1970 Roald Dahl book, Anderson turns what had become his greatest weakness into his greatest strength and makes Fantastic Mr. Fox one of the best films of the year.
I absolutely loved director Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. The film is his first foray into stop-motion animation and it’s like he brought the genre to him rather than attempting to adapt to the genre. Trust me; if you’re a fan of his previous work like Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, you’re going to love this movie.
As most of you know, Fantastic Mr. Fox is based on the best-selling children’s book by Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach) and it features the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Wally Wolodarsky, Eric Anderson, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, and Owen Wilson. But unlike some animated movies that cast famous actors to help sell tickets, everyone who provides a voice is perfect in this film. Again, this is a great movie that you should check out as soon as you can.
So to help promote the film, I recently had the chance to speak to Jason Schwartzman and we talked about his reaction to the film, the unusual way they recorded the voices, working with Bill Murray, and I asked him if he’s seen Sofia Coppola’s new movie Somewhere. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
Earlier today I participated in a roundtable interview with Roald Dahl’s daughter, Lucy Dahl, for the movie “Fantastic Mr. Fox”. Since so many of Dahl’s books have not been made into movies, we asked his daughter if she’s heard about any progress in bringing them to life. The main thing she told us was…many people ask the Dahl estate to make movies, but they are very selective in what they will allow.
But while many of his books have never been optioned by Hollywood, she told us the hot book right now is “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar”. She then told us that producer Kathleen Kennedy has the rights to “BFG” (Big Friendly Giant) and screenwriter Melissa Mathison (“E.T.”, “The Black Stallion”) has recently written a draft that has gone over well. Of course writing a draft that people like doesn’t mean it’s a go project, but it is one step closer to making the movie happen. For more on what Lucy Dahl told us, hit the jump.
I had high hopes for Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox”. It had a strong voice cast, came from a strong author (Roald Dahl), and I’m always cheering for stop-motion animation. But this trailer has very little to cheer for. Maybe it’s intentional, but the stop-motion animation looks sloppy (especially when compared to what “Coraline” accomplished earlier this year) and I would say that’s perhaps intentional in an attempt to charm…except the trailer isn’t charming. It’s got the hip-heist and the snappy dialogue and absolutely no heart. I hope this is just a poor trailer but whereas Anderson’s previous films may have been repetitive, they at least had some heart but this movie might be as lifeless as it’s stop-motion models.
Check out the trailer after the jump and judge for yourself. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” hits theatres on November 13th.