Monday, 24 April 2017

Paul Thomas Anderson adds Lesley Manville and Vicky Krieps to his latest

It was announced last year that Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood) were set to reunite for a new film. Now news arrives that the untitled movie is currently shooting and has added Lesley Manville (Maleficent) and Vicky Krieps (A Most Wanted Man).

Focus Features have announced that Anderson recently started production here in the UK on his latest film, which is a drama set in the couture world of 1950s London. And the story is specifically that of an uncompromising dressmaker whose clients include royalty and others in high society. Nothing else has been released about the film, but then it is Paul Thomas Anderson, so frankly we are happy to wait. The director has recruited several of his regular collaborators, including composer Jonny Greenwood and costume designer Mark Bridges.

Focus is handling the movie in the US and is aiming have it in cinemas later this year, with Universal Pictures taking international distribution.

Guy Pearce joins The Catcher Was A Spy

With Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) snagging the lead in the film, baseball based espionage drama The Catcher Was A Spy is bulking up its cast. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Guy Pearce (The Hurt Locker) has signed on to co-star.

Ben Lewin (The Sessions) is directing a script written by Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan). Here, he adapts Nicholas Dawidoff's 1994 non-fiction bestseller about Moe Berg, an accomplished college graduate who spoke nine languages and spent 15 years as a player on baseball teams including the Chicago White Sox. What his teammates didn't know was that his sports career was a cover for his life as a top secret spy for America's pre-CIA intelligence agency the OSS, and he helped America win the arms race against Germany.

Rudd is on as Berg, while Pearce's role has yet to be revealed – though there is a chance he might be one of Rudd's colleagues. Or we could see him as his OSS handler.

Pearce has recently worked on TV mini-series When We Rise and is set to cameo as Peter Weyland in  Ridley Scott's Prometheus (2012) follow-up Alien: Covenant, due in cinemas 19 May. There is no word yet on when The Catcher Was A Spy will be released.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Billie Piper and Samantha Morton join Two For Joy

Dramas about family issues often tackle complex, difficult subjects. And Two For Joy appears set to join their ranks. Now news arrive via Screen International that Billie Piper (Penny Dreadful) and Samantha Morton (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them) are attached to star in the film.

Tom Beard, who has come up through photography and music videos, is making his feature writing and directorial debut with the film, which will chart the challenging relationship between a teenage daughter, her bed-ridden mother (Samantha Morton) and her wayward younger brother. Screen International's story doesn't mention what role Piper will play.

"Two For Joy encompasses my professional development over the last six years. In that time I have worked closely with young people who have been through the care system with the drama therapy charity The Big House," says Beard. "This has given me a unique perspective on issues affecting them, issues that I hope to offer up an unbiased and profound representation of in this film." The film has Sadie Frost, Emma Comley and Andrew Green (Set The Thames On Fire) on board to produce via their Blonde To Black Pictures company, and should be shooting this summer.

Piper can currently be seen in London based noir City Of Tiny Lights, while Morton is part of the voice cast for animated fantasy Magik, due next year.

Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn set to star in police thriller Dragged Across Concrete

As police policy and incidents of brutality continue to be hot topics, particularly in the US, news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Bone Tomahawk (2015) director S. Craig Zahler is using the subject matter to fuel a new thriller, with Mel Gibson and his Hacksaw Ridge cast member Vince Vaughn set reunite for Dragged Across Concrete.

Craig Zahler – who recently worked with Vaughn on Brawl In Cell Block 99 – is in the director's chair, and wrote the script. The story finds two police officers (Gibson as the old timer and Vaughn as his volatile younger partner) who are suspended when a video of their overly violent tactics is plastered across the internet and on news channels.

With their income suspended and funds running low, they double down on the bad behaviour and head for the criminal underworld. But there, they find far more than they wanted...

Vaughn has recently worked on Roland Joffé's (The Mission) The Forgiven, while Gibson has been shooting The Professor And The Madman.

Leonardo DiCaprio set for crime thriller The Black Hand

A man who seemingly never found a book he didn't want to adapt, Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) is attached to star in yet another movie drawn from a tome. News arrives via Deadline that he is set to star and produce crime thriller The Black Hand.

Stephan Talty's book chronicles the real life story of Joe Petrosino, a driven New York cop who made it his life's mission to go after the dangerous gang spreading a kidnapping ring from Italy to America in the late 1890s.

Known as The Black Hand, the gang were ruthless and inspired fear among the local Italian immigrant population, but Petrosino won the citizens' trust and created a network of informers. He sent many of the gang back to Italy or locked them up, but was finally lured to his death, leaving behind a wife and children.

DiCaprio is working with The Gotham Group and Paramount Pictures to bring the story to the screen, and he is currently on the hunt for a writer to do Petrosino's life justice.

Denis Villeneuve confirmed as director of Dune remake

In was announced back in November that Legendary Entertainment – the studio Pacific Rim (2013) and Godzilla (2014) – had snapped up the rights to Dune, Frank Herbert's sprawling, complex series of science fiction novels. Not long after that, we heard rumblings that they wanted French Canadian wunderkind Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) to direct the new film. Now it looks as though it is official.

Frank's son Brian Herbert tweeted recently that Legendary "has signed the very talented Denis Villeneuve to direct the exciting new DUNE series film project". Intriguingly, the tweet suggests a franchise is planned rather than a single film – an ambitious scheme for ambitious material.

Much like the rise of the Atreides, Dune's cinematic history is legendarily chaotic. It languished in development limbo for most of the 1970s. Alejandro Jodorosky (El Topo) tried and failed to produce it, though his aborted efforts became a superb documentary in its own right. David Lynch eventually directed – and quickly disowned – the first completed adaptation in 1984, which starred Kyle MacLachlan, Max Von Sydow, and Sting.

Paramount Pictures were trying to get a new Dune off the ground for years, with names like Peter Berg (Lone Survivor) and Pierre Morel (Taken) attached to direct before moving on again. Paramount's Dune rights lapsed back in 2011, and Legendary Pictures were finally confirmed as the new rights owners late last year.

The curse of Dune could yet topple Villeneuve's efforts. But with the director shepherding another beloved science fiction project, Blade Runner 2049, into cinemas this year, we would wager he is certainly a safe pair of hands – and with a pedigree that includes bold, challenging, grown-up material like Sicario (2015) and Arrival (2016), this could be finally the adaptation that Herbert deserves. We will keep our ears close to the sand on this one.

New one sheet for Ghost In The Shell arrive online

Paramount Pictures have recently released a stunning new one sheet for Rupert Sanders' (Snow White And The Huntsman) Ghost In The Shell.

Adapted from Masamune Shirow's original 1989 manga, Ghost In The Shell sees Scarlett Johansson (Lucy) as a special ops cyborg at the head of an elite task force known as Section 9. The team, working for Hanka Robotics, is in charge of stopping dangerous criminals and extremists, and their prime target is Kuze (Michael Pitt), a terrorist dedicated to wiping out all of Hanka's cyber technology.

Johansson's Lucy (2014) co-star Pilou Asbæk is aboard to play Batou, the second best fighter in the section and her trusted lieutenant, with Juliette Binoche (Cosmopolis), 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi), Michael Pitt (Seven Psychopaths) and Kaori Momoi (Memoirs Of A Geisha) also appearing. The members of Section 9 are played by Chin Han (The Dark knight), Danusia Samal (Tyrant), Lasarus Ratuere (The Mule), Yutaka Izumihara (Unbroken) and Tuwanda Manyimo (The Rover).

With a script by Jonathan Herman (Straight Outta Compton), Ghost In The Shell is out in cinemas now. For more on Ghost In The Shell, check out our Ghost In The Shell crash course guide.

"Yeah, I'm thinkin' I'm back!"

- John Wick (Keanu Reeves) John Wick (2014)