A trailer has been released for Steven Knight‘s Hummingbird. The film stars Jason Statham as “Joey, ex-special forces soldier who winds up homeless after going on the run from a court marshal. Joey then steals another man’s identity and befriends a nun (Agata Buzek).” It’s become increasingly easy to write off Statham’s movies because he basically plays the same character: The Guy You Don’t Hunt or Betray or Else He’ll Kick Your Ass. However, this trailer for Hummingbird looks surprisingly dramatic, and while I can’t help but giggle at Statham’s long-hair wig, Knight’s film could be a more than welcome change of pace for the actor.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. Hummingbird opens in the UK on May 17th.
Tom Hardy is set to lead the real-time thriller, Locke. Written and directed by Steven Knight (writer of Eastern Promises), the 90-minute film “follows a man on the road to success who must race to save his life from unraveling after he receives a mysterious phone call.” The greatest of all real-time thrillers is High Noon (it’s a western, but it’s also a thriller), but recent attempts like Nick of Time and Phone Booth have never really lived up to their hook. At the very least, Locke has a compelling actor with Hardy, so hopefully Locke will be able to live up to the potential of its premise.
According to Screen Daily, filming begins later this month in London. Hardy recently signed on to co-star with Noomi Rapace in both Child 44 and an adaptation of Dennis Lehane‘s Animal Rescue. Since shooting begins soon on Locke, Hardy should still be able to do his films with Rapace.
As recently as June, we posted that David Cronenberg was returning to direct Eastern Promises 2, starring Viggo Mortensen and possibly Vincent Cassel. While things looked to be moving ahead in a positive direction only a short while ago, the production has taken a turn for the worse (or better if you weren’t looking forward to the sequel). Apparently, the decision has come down from the Focus Features studio to scrap the project, even though production was scheduled to begin in October. Hit the jump to hear the explanation on the about face from Cronenberg himself.
Cillian Murphy (Inception) is set to star in an upcoming six-part BBC2 miniseries, written by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises). The immensely talented Irish actor Murphy will be playing a ruthless gangster (Cillian Murphy playing a bad guy? Ya don’t say!) in the period drama, called Peaky Blinders, which sounds more like an exposé on Peeping Toms than anything.
Apparently though, the title is a reference to the gangster family’s penchant for sewing razor blades into the peaks of their caps. Murphy will play Tommy, the leader of a gang of brutal brothers who rule the post-war slums of 1919 Birmingham, England, while returning soldiers, revolutionaries and criminals fight to survive. For more on the project, hit the jump.
It appears that the Eastern Promises sequel that’s been brewing for the last few years is finally happening. Director David Cronenberg’s 2007 crime drama was extremely well received upon release, and talk then turned to a possible sequel with star Viggo Mortensen returning. As early as last November Cronenberg was talking about the positive chances of a sequel happening, and now it appears that things are moving full-speed ahead. However, Cronenberg apparently won’t be returning as director this time. Vulture reports that not only is co-star Vincent Cassel in negotiations to return for the follow-up, but screenwriter Steven Knight will be taking over the director’s chair. Hit the jump for more.
[Update: Vulture has corrected their report to say that Cronenberg will indeed direct the sequel, not Knight]
A new version of Rebecca is on its way courtesy of DreamWorks and Working Title. The Gothic novel by Daphne Du Maurier was famously adapted into a Best Picture winner by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940, and now Showblitz reports that Eastern Promises scribe Steven Knight has been tapped to pen a new adaptation. Knight will return to Du Maurier’s novel for the update, which centers on a young woman who marries a rich widower, only to find that her husband’s late wife still haunts their mansion estate. I’m not the biggest fan of Du Maurier’s novel, but there’s something encouraging about the fact that DreamWorks and Working Title are bent on making a Gothic drama. Though in lesser hands Rebecca could easily turn into a cheap spook-fest, Knight is a promising addition. In a film landscape filled with sequels and explosions, I’m pulling for something different with Rebecca.
Obviously it’s early in the game, so no director is attached at the moment. Knight has written a few high profile scripts as of late, including the Dan Brown adaptation The Lost Symbol and an untitled thriller starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall. He’s set to make his directorial debut on the thriller Hummingbird with Jason Statham in the lead. Hit the jump to read a synopsis for Du Maurier’s Rebecca.
Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall are set to team up for an untitled international suspense thriller. Focus Features and Working Title films are set to produce the flick, with Boy A helmer John Crowley onboard to direct. The film centers on two ex-lovers who “find their loyalties tested and their lives at risk when they are joined together on the defense team in a terrorism trial.” The film is described as a nail-biting thriller that also plays as an emotional roller coaster. Bana and Hall are stellar performers and the script comes from Eastern Promises scribe Steven Knight, so this one has the ingredients for quite the flick. Production is set to begin in April.
Bana has a number of projects on the horizon, including the thriller Blackbird, the heist pic Brilliant, and he’s next set to play Elvis Presley in Elvis & Nixon. As for Hall, she’ll next be seen in Stephen Frears’ gambling dramedy Lay the Favorite. Hit the jump for the press release.
I don’t know if this news should make me excited or sad. Deadline reports that talented director Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go) is the frontrunner to helm the adaptation of Dan Brown’s latest Robert Langdon novel The Lost Symbol. Ron Howard directed the prior Langdon books The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. Both movies took themselves far too seriously and also suffered from being based on awful books. I haven’t picked up The Lost Symbol because I don’t really care what exposition machine and master of trivial history Robert Langdon has to spew for 528 pages.
Hit the jump for more on the film along with a synopsis.
Screenwriter Steven Knight (Eastern Promises) is set to make his directing debut on his script for the thriller Hummingbird. Deadline reports that the film “follows a damaged ex-special forces soldier, who finds himself trapped in the criminal underworld, and assumes another man’s identity to exact revenge.” The story is a good fit for Knight whose previous credits also include Stephen Frears’ Dirty Pretty Things.
While I dug Dirty Pretty Things, I think Eastern Promises had a weak script and worked more because of the direction and the performances. However, regardless of what I think of his track record (and it’s tough to judge writers solely by their credits due to the WGA’s bizarre arbitration rules), Knight is currently one of Hollywood’s hottest screenwriters. He’s working on the script for a remake of Le Cercle Rouge, a Robert F. Kennedy biopic, the Bobby Fischer drama Pawn Sacrifice, and Eastern Promises 2. Filming on Hummingbird is expected to begin this fall.
Jaume Collet-Serra is heating up as a director even though his latest film, Unknown, is a flaccid, unimaginative thriller (his previous film, Orphan, isn’t renown as a great piece of cinema either). Last week we reported that he was attached to helm Harker, a re-imagining of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Now Deadline is reporting that he’s making a deal to direct Red Circle, a remake of the classic 1970 Jean-Pierre Melville heist flick Le Cercle Rouge. This remake is made worse by the fact that Eastern Promises screenwriter Steven Knight is handling the script (Eastern Promises works because of Cronenberg and Mortensen and in spite of the weak screenplay).
Deadline reports that Collet-Serra’s popularity comes from delivering Unknown for $30 million and with international box office potential. Red Circle will be set in Hong Kong, but Collet-Serra hasn’t settled yet on what his next project will be. For those unfamiliar with Le Cercle Rouge, hit the jump for a synopsis.
Dan Brown has taken over the reins for the screen adaptation of The Lost Symbol, the third novel in his wildly profitable and embarrassingly controversial series about Harvard symbologist-turned-Indiana Jones wannabe Robert Langdon, following The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. This is Brown’s first attempt at screenwriting after Oscar-nominated scribe Steven Knight (Eastern Promises) had first swing at the project.
Neither franchise star Tom Hanks nor Ron Howard, director of the previous installments, has officially signed on to the sequel, although Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment will again handle production duties. Howard is currently committed to helm the first flick in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, while Hanks is confirmed for Kathryn Bigelow’s (The Hurt Locker) post-Best Picture endeavor Triple Frontier. If both talents are expected to return, Risky Business suggests we can expect The Lost Symbol on the silver screen in the summer of 2013. Hit the jump for the official synopsis of The Lost Symbol.
If there’s one sequel I could get completely behind, it would certainly be one for Eastern Promises, especially since all the key components seem to be coming together for the second go-round.
Indeed, Deadline is reporting the as-yet-untitled sequel will be a reunion of star Viggo Mortensen, director David Cronenberg and scribe Steven Knight, who wrote the script for the engaging original. The only things missing so far are Naomi Watts and any mention of just what direction this new gangster tale from London’s extremely seedy underbelly will take.
The film is set up at Focus Features with hopes to begin filming next winter, so definitely stay tuned for more details about this as we get them, and hit the jump to find out what else frequent collaborators Cronenberg and Mortensen are up to.
David Fincher is attached to direct the Bobby Fischer biopic Pawn Sacrifice for Columbia. As we reported over the weekend, Fincher is keeping busy as he’s also circling an adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in addition to his continuing efforts to make a new version of Heavy Metal a reality. Columbia’s eager to be in business with Fincher again as the studio was pleased with his work on The Social Network, which is about the creation of Facebook.
According to Variety, Sacrifice would follow Fischer’s life story up to his historic world championship match against Boris Spassky. But I think the biggest challenge in making a Fischer biopic is that he was a complete douchebag. When Fischer first heard about 9/11, he responded, “This is all wonderful news,” and hoped that a coup d’état of the US government would lead to the execution of, “hundreds of thousands of American Jewish ring-leaders.” He also wrote a letter to Osama Bin Laden celebrating their shared interests of hating Jews and America (although he probably never sent it as Bin Laden’s not really in the White Pages so it’s tough to get an address).
Steven Knight (Eastern Promises) recently turned in a screenplay and I trust that Fincher is one of the few people that could make a compelling movie about a brilliant chess player/bat-shit insane hate-fountain.
Matt Damon has been cast to play Robert F. Kennedy in a biopic about the late politician. Deadline reports that the film will be based on the Evan Thomas biography His Life. Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) will direct from a screenplay by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises). The biopic will span Kennedy’s ascent from his brother’s shadow to a powerful nation figure before being assassinated during his 1968 campaign for President.
This may finally be Damon’s shot at a long-deserved Oscar. Obviously, I haven’t read the script and a million things can happen between now and the finished film, but on paper, you have a respected, talented, and bankable actor playing a larger-than-life American icon. The Academy becomes filled with tiny orgasms over that kind of project. While Damon was nominated this year for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of South African rugby star Francois Pienaar in Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, that doesn’t even begin to compare to playing Robert F. Kennedy. Damon is the goods and RFK’s story is worth telling so it falls to Ross and Knight to live up to the potential of this project.
Damon is currently set to star in Contagion for Steven Soderbergh, True Grit for the Coen Brothers, Hereafter for Clint Eastwood, and will next be seen in Paul Greengrass’ Green Zone, which hits theaters on March 12th.
In a surprise to no one, Columbia Pictures has announced they’re moving forward on a film adaptation of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol and Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things, Shutter Island, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) will write the script. The third book in the Da Vinci Code franchise was released last September and sold more than a million copies on its first day of release. Like the previous two books in the franchise, The Lost Symbol finds Robert Langdon having to solve a problem in very little time. This time it’s in Washington, D.C. and it involves the Freemasons.
While reviews have not been kind on either The Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons, the two films have grossed over a billion dollars at the worldwide box office (Da Vinci Code $758 million, Angels and Demons $486 million), so it makes a lot of business sense to make the movie. According to Variety, Tom Hanks has not yet signed on to reprise the role, but I’d imagine if the script is good and the paycheck is large, we’ll see him as Robert Langdon next year. Also, no word if Ron Howard will direct again.