Thursday, November 30, 2006

Time Travel Blog

Jamie Mathieson is the screenwriter of Frequently Asked Questions about Time Travel, the new "three men walk into a pub"/sci-fi comedy film being produced by the beeb and HBO. Mathieson is keeping a blog, and I think it looks set to be one of the more interesting online production diaries. It's a minor - and very recently developed ambition of mine - to get a mention, and possibly link, on this blog.

The film stars a bunch of English blokes and Anna Faris, and frankly, as good as the guys are, she's the only one with a chance of getting this thing a profile overseas. I like her a lot, and I hope this is a better film than most of the "comedies" she has been landed with over the years. In certain circles, she might do wonders for the reputation of this film, and as far as I'm concerned, it might do wonders for hers.

As I understand it, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright were in the very, very early stages of development on a time travel comedy film - and they certainly have a penchant for setting scenes in pubs... Sounds like they may have been beaten to the punch here. Back to the drawing board, boys?

Twelve Year Shooting Schedule

Five years in, VH1 have an update from Richard Linklater on Boyhood, his drama with a twelve year shooting schedule.

The film stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette - well, the first five twelfths of the film do, anyway but let's face it, either of them could be hit by a bus tomorrow - as the parents of a young boy, played (so far, at least) by Ellar Salmon.

Blimey - I really hope that this film comes together well in the end. Must feel like one heck of an albatross for the cast and crew at times.

Sundance Gems

Here are my picks from the non-competitive Sundance 2007 line-up:

Son of Rambow. Garth Jennings new film, oft covered here at film ick and likely to be on of 2007's best films. It's yet another coming of age story, sure, but looks to be a very original one and Jennings is a very gifted filmmaker.

Craig Brewer's Black Snake Moan, with Sam Jackson and Christina Ricci. After Hustle and Flow, Brewer's got a Sundance rep to live up to, but this film seems certain to disappoint. I'm not saying that because I expect it to be bad, mind - just that I expect it to be rather different to Hustle and that's going to be enough to disappoint some people.

The Go-Getter has a great young cast - alumni of Thumbsucker, Contact and Almost Famous.

Written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly, Waitress also has a great cast - this time featuring alumni of Serenity, May, Schizopolis and... er... Matlock. Actually Matlock from Matlock, too.

Fido is about keeping a zombie as a pet. If only it were a how-to documentary and not fiction, this would rocket to the top of my list.

Its Fine! Everything is Fine! is co-directed by Crispin Glover, and co-written by Glover and Steven C. Stewart. Stewart suffers from the severe cerebal palsy and this autobiographical film will explore how this has effected his relationships with the opposite sex. Countercultural with a capital C, if Glover is to be believed.

Fay Grim is Hal Hartley's semi-sequel to Henry Fool and stars Parker Posey - what more do you need to know?

Bob Shaye's The Last Mimzy was co-written by Bruce Joel Rubin who, until now at least, has written scripts far, far better than the films they became - Ghost, My Life, Jacob's Ladder.

There will also be some films I've already seen, such as Longford, as in Lord Longford, and with the lead played by Jim Broadbent. The film was directed by Tom Hooper from another superb script by Peter Morgan. It screened on Channel 4 here in the UK, and I enjoyed it very much indeed - the script was better, certainly, than The Queen, Morgan's other film this year, but, sadly, Hooper is no Stephen Frears.

Luc Besson's Angel-A is one half of the director's comeback pair and, though I found it a little uneven, it was certainly imaginative and enjoyable enough to give me hope for Arthur and the Invisibles, even in the face of it's dreadful cgi.

Michael Palin To Make No More Movies

Michael Palin finds moviemaking boring - really, which actor doesn't? - and his fans got to hear why at a signing event in London this week.

"Filming involves sitting around in a caravan for rive hours – in complete luxury – reading every property magazine around; only to be told you won’t be needed that day. I haven’t the patience for that."

His travelling man TV shows don't put him off so much, however:
"On the journeys, we only have seven people, plus a few more back in the office, and we’re working from sunlight until seven, eight o’clock at night. So we’re incredibly busy but we also get almost total control of the programme."

Another potential Terry Gilliam project goes into the dumpster, then, because I suppose Palin's lack of interest kills Water Music stone dead.

Maguire Giving Up Peter Parker For Daughter?

To cut a long story short, the thrust is simply this: WENN are reporting that Tobey Maguire is considering retirement from the Spider-Man films, and presumably other films too, to spend more time with his new daughter Rose.

They quote him saying "This might be a good place to stop - I am not tied contractually to any more Spider-Man movies. I am not completely closed to the idea of another one if it made sense but I would say the odds were in favour of this being the last one."

No mention of Rose there, then - so I guess WENN we're being a little presumptious? Besides, with such little context, who knows when he gave this interview? We'll only know if and when there is going to be a fourth Spider-Man when Sony announce it.

Old interviews being mistaken for new has caused a few online confusions lately - Saul Zaentz apparently speaking after Peter Jackson though he'd actually gone on the record first; Eva Green discussing speculative Golden Compass/Northern Lights casting then getting quoted on it after other, contrary casting had taken place; Empire going to print with Tim Burton casting doubt on Sacha Baron Cohen's involvement in Sweeny Todd even though, in the meantime, Cohen has formally signed. Pay attention: magazines have a long lapse between an interview being conducted and some geek cut and pasting it online, so typically, the magazine interview is no longer as valid, if at all.

Dread Central Diary Snaps

These pictures from George Romero's Diary of the Dead appeared on Dread Central, and then, very quickly, the page stopped working. They're here now - but if you go to Dread Central and hang out until it works again to read about them, you'll get some kind of context.

Super Greenaway Bros.

Peter Greenaway's next film is Nightwatching, a film about Rembrandt, his painting The Night Watch (or more correctly The Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenhurch) and it's purpose as an accusation of murder. I imagine the story of the murder is woven in too.

To accompany the film, Greenaway has also made a documentary he's calling J'Accuse, which not only refers to the above painting, but also examines the contemporary slide in visual literacy. I have to say, I know exactly what he means - a medium as rich in potential as film and we get more Michael Bays than Terry Gilliams, more Darren Lynn Bousmans than Alfred Hitchcocks, more Stephen Spielbergs than Dario Argentos? Something's up. There have been too many empty images that require little or no investment on the part of the audience, and in return offer the audience even less - in Soap Operas, Reality TV and bland Game Shows and Talk Shows. Not to say these things can't have other merits, just that their visual component is, typically, verging on the superfluous.

After the film and the documentary the third piece in the set (gotta catch 'em all) is a videogame. Yep - you herad that right. Peter Greenaway is working on a videogame. Of course, you can expect something rather more Myst than, say, Yoshi's Island DS, but all the same, videogames need more Peter Greenaway and less Crash Bandicoot.

Screen Daily don't have many details, but the game does apparently involve the solving of a (the?) murder.

One day, I hope, videogames will be free of the ridiculous limitations that hold them back these days - namely, the expectations of mindless Playstation zombies - and 'games' as powerful and purposeful as the best films will be with us. I see the Nintendo Wii as a deep stride in that direction, and I hope, one day, to be playing games by the new, interactive equivalents of Peter Greenaway, Maya Derren, David Lynch, Joel and Ethan Coen, Mark Romanek, Jean Vigo...

Jessica Alba Is In Saw IV

Everybody is talking about it now, so it must be true: Jessica Alba appears set to star in the fourth Saw film. Tobin Bell's Jigsaw will be relegated to a videoscreen virtual presence, save for any flashbacks, but there's little clue yet as to who will be his operative in the 'real' world - maybe this is the role Ms. Alba? Sounds like she's turning into a regular Rosario Dawson.

More talk: David Moreau and Xavier Palud are rumoured (though pretty much confirmed, informally) to be directing the film - fresh from their remake of The Eye which a) stars Jessica Alba a b) is reported to be a significantly better film than the original. I can still believe that's true and still not be excited: I must be one of the few people who could care less about Danny and Oxide Pang and their wretched films.

I previewed Moreau and Palud's horror film Ils in a prior post. Friends to see it since then have insisted that it is, in fact, something of a turkey. All of this sounds like the making of a rather typical Saw film - that is to say overly stylised, vacuous, illogical and boring. Oh - what a surprise.

Poltergeist Remake Not Going To Happen

The Poltergeist remake rumours have been dispensed with, Ghostbusting style. Does anybody care? And while we're here, there's also the little - and utterly inconsequential manner, really - of Fox ditching their plans for a new He-Man movie.

Two more films that were unlikely to be any good at all have disappeared into the ether. Hurrah.

Goin' On Up

If you ask me, Bits of News have the best take on the recent revelations regarding how Frank Miller is approaching his movie of Eisner's The Spirit.

Brad Bird. That's all I have to say. Brad Bird.

With Great Pleasure

While we're all waiting to see what a mess the His Dark Materials films end up being, there's a pleasurable distraction online, courtesy of Mr. Phillip Pullman and BBC Radio 4.

Thanks to Hog for the pointer.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Salo Coming Back

E-mail tipsters are telling me that Criterion are to reissue Salo: 120 Days of Sodom in 2007. Not only have the sound and picture been spat on and rubbed with a chamois leather, there's 'exciting' new extras too - including something Mark Kermode knocked up for telly in 2001.

[EDIT: From the official Criterion Collection Blog comes this: Salo. Have we been able to renew our rights? Well, here’s the answer you weren’t expecting. Yes. We’re working on a brand new HD transfer now. It’ll be a totally new release and be out in 2007]

Erick Avari For Loomis?

Dread Central are reporting that Erick Avari might just be the new Loomis, in Rob Zombie's Halloween rehash. Looking at him, I can see why a rumour like this would get started... but I was hoping Zombie would show a little more imagination.


You may not have realised it, but Peul Feig's upcoming Christmas film, Unaccompanied Minors, is based (at least in part) on a story from This American Life. The episode, Babysitting, happens to be this week's American life podcast via iTunes. It's free, so open up the iTunes music store, download the episode and enjoy - the segment, In the Event Of An Emergency, Put Your Sister in an Upright Position, starts at 21:22.

I wish more people in the UK knew about This American Life, about Ira Glass, David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell - consider this the first salvo of my own grass-roots publicity movement.

Bridget Jones 3

Reports are dribbling in of a third Bridget Jones film, based on Helen Fielding's in-the-works new book. Apparently, Cleaver and Darcy are still on hand and the romantic to-and-froing of parts one and two is still in the spotlight, but this time we pick up with Bridget a full ten years later. The Daily Express might not be renowned for their accurate reportage, certainly when it comes to entertainment, but they're not alone in carrying this story so I'm laying off on the salt this time.

Working Title optioned the book sight unseen, of course, and reportedly already started their negotiations with Ms. Zellweger and Messrs. Grant and Firth. No director is attached, but if Richard Curtis doesn't do at least one draft of the script I'll eat Werner Herzog's shoe.

The Olivia Joules movie appears to have stalled for good, however. Shame - I wanted to see it made with the same cast as the Bridget Jones movies.

Poltergeist Remake?

Bloody Disgusting are declaring that Poltergeist is to be remade. There have been many rumours of this in the last year or two - presumably as development was under way and the film went through various script drafts and producers. I didn't invest much stock in any of them, parly because I'm not too fussed about the first film anyway.

I've seen Hilary Duff mentioned for the Carole Ann role, which ages the character somewhat from the Tobe Hooper version but does put things in line with what is known about the 'real' phenomenae of poltergeists, I suppose. The reports bubbling up right now have none of the original cast involved, and the Kayeri script that was previously being touted is apparently no longer in the frame.

This is going to take an interesting director or scriptwriter to make me pay much more attention, I'm afraid. How about Takashi Shimizu? Alexandre Aja? Eli Roth? I doubt it. What's the betting this ends up the debut of a dazzlingly mediocre music video director?

Thanks to Al (can I call you Al?) for the heads up.

Magicians Still

Courtesy of Solace in Cinema, I've made my way to the first still from Magicians at Eurofusion. I previously told you as much as I knew about the film then, while getting in a few jabs at Christopher Nolan.

Films NOT Directed By Joe Dante

Today is Joe Dante's 60th birthday. He's been making films for over half of that time - plenty of films. As part of today's Joe Dante Blogathon, here's my list of films NOT directed by Joe Dante that would have been better, and more interesting, had he been behind them.

First of all, and most obviously, perhaps, is ET The Extra Terrestrial. I'm going to remake ET myself, I swear, but if Dante had handled it, and not Spielberg, I'm sure I'd feel more satisifed with the film as it stands (to say the least).

Space Jam. Almost as obviously.

Cinema Paradiso probably would have still had the famous montage of kisses, but I wouldn't be surprised if it also had a montage of aliens, robots, monsters and mutants too. That's something I'd like to see.

I'm not a fan of The Goonies, which is apparently quite unusual for a geek of my age. Dante could probably have changed that, however. It would have had more genuine characterisation, a lighter touch, and better staging, generally.

Or any of this little lot: Tarsem's The Cell; Condorman; Cellular; maybe Cherry 2000 - though I'm rather fond of it as it is; Garfield 2: A Tale of Two Kitties; War of the Worlds; The Journey of Natty Gann; The Avengers; Under the Rainbow.

What would you add to the list? And why?

Sanjay Dutt Convicted

The only Indian film I've seen in cinemas so far this year was Lage Raho Munnabhai, starring Sanjay Dutt as a ne'er-do-well transformed through his contact with the spirit of Ghandi. Dutt is a producer and an actor - and appeared in the Bollywood takes on both Reservoir Dogs and Old Boy.

Now he has been convicted in relation to the 1993 Mumbai bombings, the "deadliest bomb attacks in Indian history". The trials have taken thirteen years because, according to Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, "
According to the Indian judicial system, every point has to be proven by the prosecution including those that are often presumed in foreign countries. Every person or accused is supposed to be innocent until the prosecution proves the charge against him or her. That's why we face many difficulties when trying to establish serious charges against the accused."

Dutt was acquitted on several counts, but his conviction for posessing illegal firearms means that he will now serve up to three years in prison.

Second Run DVD For January, February And March

Three more months of the unexpected from Second Run DVD kicks off a pair of Czech films from the 60s: Jan Nemec's The Party and the Guests (party? party? I've not seen the film, but that double meaning practically leaps out at me screaming) and Romeo, Juliet and Darkness by Jiri Weiss which is, I'm told, a haunting romance set amidst the Nazi occupation of Prague. Those two will be on UK shelves from January 29th.

Then, on February 19th, Miklos Jansco's WWII POW drama My Way Home joins Second Run's previous release of his The Red and The White. They have more Jansco coming, too - The Round Up has been announced for an unspecified date 'later in 2007'. Typical of Second Run's selection, these films go where Criterion generally fear to tread.

Artur Aristakisyan's Palms is the newest film in this wave of releases, having been made in 1993. I remember its cinema release quite vividly - the film was, at the time, fairly unlike anything else I had ever seen. I wasn't totally convinced by it, but there was no denying the film's originality, nor escaping from it's surreality. I'd be interested to see it again, now that I'm that much older, perhaps wiser.

Palms is due for release on March 19th, as is Marta Meszaros' Diary of My Children, the first in a trilogy of Diary films. Meszaros has made over 60 films but is barely represented on DVD at all, her, in her native Hungary or anywhere else in the world. This is likely to be my introduction to her work and I'm looking forward to it keenly.

And that takes us deep into springtime. Put those in your diary, your Lovefilm queue or your Amazon basket.


Apparently, the new, second Pirates of the Caribbean is the fastest selling DVD film of all time in the UK. My countrymen should be ashamed of themselves.

Of course, this suggests that the third film, due in the summer, is set to be next year's 'number one film' at cinemas. Sadly, I expect that Spider-Man 3, no matter how much more sophisticated, sincere and well crafted it is, simply won't match up in dollar terms.

What is the appeal to these Pirates movies? I appreciated Johnny Depp's work - particularly in the first film, less so in the second where he seemed to step back and disregard what little character development Jack Sparrow had undergone during part one - and some of the production design is very good indeed... but, well, that's just about it. What more can I honestly feel passionate about here?

I believe, perhaps naively, in a movie industry (that is to say, a moviemaking/moviewatching cycle) where both the most expensive and most financially succcessful films are also the better films - to justify not only their budgets, but also the tidal waves of interest. Instead, of course, relatively cheap films often turn out to be the best while, again relatively, they take somewhat less at the box office.

Simon Pegg In The Herald

A new interview with Simon Pegg in The Herald (which Herald? Is it important?) touches lightly upon Hot Fuzz, heavier upon Big Nothing, glances past Tom Cruise and contains a Run, Fat Boy, Run spoiler.

The Next Hobbit Rumour You Will Hear

The next Hobbit rumour you will hear is that Alfonso Cuaron has been approached to direct. I have a couple of hours lead, I think.

That Saul Zaentz interview - the one in which he said Peter Jackson will direct The Hobbit, the one that set a billion geek hearts a flutter - has turned out to be somewhat older than first thought. Seeing as it predates Jackson's controversial e-mail announcement, it looks like all bets are off again.

New Line are going to make a Hobbit film, mark my words. And for MGM to refuse the billions they could make by distributing it would be foolhardy. Expect an official announcement sooner rather than later.

Anyway, I doubt any film of The Hobbit would be one half as good as The Lovely Bones is going to be. Let's concentrate on the positive here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Richard LaGravanese Interview

Daniel Egan has conducted an interview with Richard LaGravanese, the writer of The Fisher King and writer/director of Living Out Loud, regarding his upcoming projects Freedom Writers and P.S I Love You - both of which star Hilary Swank, who LaGravanese credits as the very reason Freedom Writers got made at all.

Dave Gibbons Designs For Watchmen Movie

[EDIT: Stick with this to the very bottom]

It's at times like this I wish we all head Tivo in our heads, or at least camera-eyes. That would have made for some very nice pictures for this post.

This weekend, I received a very trustworthy report that Dave Gibbons is contributing design work to Zack Snyder's Watchmen movie. How did my snoop know? Simply put, they saw art work in his recognisable style and with Gibbons' signature on it. I have e-mailed Dave Gibbons for comment, so far with no reply. As a result, treat this as rumour if you will, even though I have 100% faith in this particular source - they've been good to me this way before. There's an off chance that these are old works of Gibbons', perhaps dating back to the original comic's production, and are simply being used as design bible verses, as it were, but my money is on Gibbons being busy with new pieces for the movie, for the FX, costume and production design teams.

David Lloyd became a kind of ersatz Alan Moore for the V for Vendetta promotional circus, creating a sense of 'creator's approval' that was otherwise not only missing but sharply contradicted. I wouldn't be surprised to see Gibbons used in the same way for Watchmen.

[EDIT: Superhero Hype announce that the costumes for the film are being designed by Adam Hughes, presumably from Dave Gibbons' sketches]

[EDIT AGAIN: A certain comics maven has shared a quote from Dave Gibbons with me. This is verifiably from the horse's mouth, so take it as the final word. Dave Gibbons said "I have spoken to Zack Snyder about visual aspects of the proposed movie, but I certainly haven't created any new designs" - which is to say, he's onboard, for sure, but the images of his being used are the old designs, original sketches. I guess this demonstrates that the new look is in fact the old look, and everything will look pretty much as it did in Gibbons' pages. Good news?]

Dolly Parton Appendix

Further to all of my talk about movie stars getting cast as music stars just the other day, here's the gossip on who is being lined up to play Dolly Parton - according to Starpulse, anyways.

Of course, it's Kristin Chenoweth. No surprises there, really, that's just about perfect. I certainly can't think of anybody better and I'm glad that nobody is suggesting Renee Zellweger for the role. On the other hand, though, do we really need a Dolly Parton biopic? (Or a Debbie Harry one or a Stevie Nicks one or that dang Janis Joplin one...?)

Terry Gilliam Versus Sid Sheinberg

Courtesy of Max Evry from the Dreams messageboards. You will hear Sid Sheinberg on Brazil: "I can't root for this the way I would root for a Spielberg film or Out of Africa, not because of what I have 'gone through with it' but because I frankly don't think it's as good a film."

Bruce Campbell Cast In Equalizer Redux

A new TV pilot starts shooting this week, and if you ask me, it sounds a lot like with just a dash of The EqualizerThe A-Team. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Burn Notice is about a Special Ops agent who gets black listed (that is, receives the titular notice) then becomes some kind of vigilante, helping 'those who can't go to the police'.

The lead is to be played by Jeffrey Donovan, and Bruce Campbell has been cast as an old friend of his. Campbell as the sidekick: cult success assured. Gabrielle Anwar plays the love interest, Sharon Gless the chain-smoking mother who 'has issues with her son'.

Something tells me that mummy will turn out to be more than she seems - at least if the show ever lasts long enough to pull a backlip over a shark.

Smurf Trilogy

According to an interview over at Moviehole, the producer attached to the Smurfs movie adaptation isn't planning a single film but an entire trilogy. He goes on to say "It’s a comic version, but still very heartfelt, version of Lord of the Rings" - which, if you ask me, is missing the mark somewhat. This sounds like a dangerously pretentious take on something that needs to be light, or frothy, even.

Dali Disney DVD

Coming soon from Disney DVD is the so-called Disney Legacy collection. A set of DVDs released in strictly limited editions with swanky packaging, these are, effectively, Disney Treasures mk 2.

The old Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons are to be in the first batch of animated releases, now that he's been liberated from the steel hutch at Universal. Alongside these will be Destino, the legendary collaboration between Salvador Dali and Disney animation. This film was eventually completed in 2003, after being on hold for decades. If I'm correct it has received only a handful of festival screenings, but it was generally well received.

The idea of Dali/Disney pulling together is a very appealling one, even if neither of them is pulling at full steam - just like Hitchcock/Dali in the Spellbound dream sequence. Picasso/Disney too, or Warhol/Disney or even Pollock/Disney - though none of those were ever to be. Perhaps for many people, this is just the idea of Picasso or Warhol or Pollock or DuChamp or Magritte or Whoever getting animated, Disney's own style being much less relevant to the equation than the simple fact that they bring still images to life? If so, I think this is a criminal underestimation of the value of Disney style, skill and crafstmanship.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hostel 3 Confirmed

I'd been hearing about this for a while, from various semi-dubious sources, but a new article in Variety confirms that the Hostel series is to run to three episodes and become that oh-so-marketable, DVD-box set commodity, the trilogy.

The piece is ostensibly about how shooting in the Czech Republic made producing the series' parts 1 and 2 cheap and, frankly, easy. There's the odd bit of
Hostel 2 news, and then, finally, a toss away line about Hostel 3:

Hostel 3 is all but signed as well, to possibly follow Roth's next shoot, Stephen King's The Cell, although Hostel 2's release date will affect timing, Roth says.

The Cell? Tut tut.

From what I've heard, the idea for a third Hostel was born during the writing of part 2, the script for which does incorporate the odd bit of set-up for the final episode. I hope part 2 turns out to have an Empire Strikes Back style downbeat conclusion - and from the big, big twist I've been told is coming, that doesn't sound so unlikely.


Here is an image of Skorponok (he's a
Transformers movie Transformer, apparently) that I have put up here for safekeeping. It comes from Aint it Cool but they're very good at leaking this stuff just for a few minutes then pulling it down - either because the studio is on their backs or because they're pretending that the studio is on their backs just to make the pulled items seem more exciting and it's all just a big conspiracy...

Click on it to make it bigger.

[EDIT: So, while you're here to look at a Transformer, why not also check out some other stories - the confirmation of Hostel 3, loads and loads of Spider-Man 3 spoilers, the identity of the 13th member of Danny Ocean's gang, a big scoop on the second film in the His Dark Material series, the first image from Frank Miller's work on film of The Spirit... and much, much more. Hope this little lot keeps you busy]

[EDIT AGAIN: An official version of the still has now been released, so here it is below, for contrast-and-compare reasons. Which do you prefer?]

Twin Peaks In The USA: Good News, Bad News

The bad news for American fans of Twin Peaks is that the Season Two DVDs won't be released in January/February, as they will be in Europe, but later on in April.

The good news is that the US will get the entire season in one box, not split into two volumes.

Uncomfirmed reports suggest that the UK will be getting the entire season in a single dose too - but in January. Happy New Year.

Watch this space as I try to chase this up.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ocean's Thirteenth

Do you want to know the identity of the thirteenth member of Danny Ocean's gang in the appropriately-titled Ocean's 13? I know the answer in a for-sure, take-it-to-the-bank kind of way. Sources that I have to keep anonymous have come together to corroborate it, and frankly, it's a very nifty piece of info. Thanks to the tipster who came forward with this - I would never have asked the right questions of the right people otherwise.

Take this sentence as a spoiler warning because I'm about the spill the beans. The unlucky thirteenth is none other than Terry Benedict, Andy Garcia's character. Nice reversal, eh? And I think you can take that as confirmation on my comment yesterday that, yes, the gang are taking revenge in the name of Tess. Remember, not only is she Danny's wife, she was Terry's lover too.

LiLo For SteNicks?

According to certain blogs, the magazine Style has quoted an 'insider' as claiming that Lindsay Lohan really wants to play Stevie Nicks in a biopic of her life. There's your triumvirate of young Hollywood as yesteryear rockers: Zooey Deschanel is currently filming her appearance as Janis Joplin in Penelope Spheeris' movie, Kirsten Dunst has been rumoured for a turn as Debbie Harry.

I'd have Maggie Gyllenhaal as Debbie Harry, I reckon, after a dye job. Illeana Douglas made a great Carole King - of sorts - and I think it's unlikely any of these films will match that one, Allison Anders' Grace of My Heart.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Frank Sidebottom, Simon Pegg, Pickled Turtles, Leia In A Jar And Simon Pegg - Now That's What I Call A Proper Telly Show

The first episode of
Frank Sidebottom's Proper Telly Show is online now, courtesy of Channel M, the Manchester TV station that produces it. I doubt you'll see anything so brilliant on TV all week, and certainly nothing so eccentric. You can also see the show on Sky channel 203 or NTL 878.

That's Frank Sidebottom above. I think he bears a striking resemblance to BBC DJ Mark Radcliffe... has anybody ever seen them in the same room at the same time? Or, for that matter, heard them talking over the top of one another?

Episode one features a some pickled Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Princess Leia in a jar, a tour of Timperley and an interview (of sorts) with Antonio Fargas, while Simon Pegg - who was up in Manchester promoting
Hot Fuzz - is either in part two of this episode, or coming along in a subsequent installment (I can't see part 2 on my Mac due to weird tech issues that are, really, all my own fault).

Apparently, Sidebottom grilled Pegg on such pressing matters as what colour pen he uses to do his scriptwriting. That's an interview we all want to see.

I hear that young Frank
will be launching his belated attack on the American media - first stop Letterman! - on April 1st next year. Unless, of course, I've been pre-emptively fooled.

Oceans Revenge

According to Matt Damon, speaking to Empire, the third Oceans film - not the thirteenth, though I can see how visiting martians might be confused - is a revenge film. Al Pacino's character does something bad to one of the eleven... twelve.... thirteen, and they get together to exact revenge.

What's the betting that he's killed Tess? That's where my chips are resting. I'll begin digging right away in an attempt to get this confirmed or denied.

Oceans 13 is one of the many threequels due next summer. Most aren't too appealing, such as the Shrek or Pirates ones, but a couple certainly are, particularly this one and the new Spider-Man. Of course, just like any other films, sequels come in a variety of flavours, some good, some bad - it's just popular to be cynical about them. When making a sequel there might well be a struggle between a cash-hungry studio and a creative team with integrity, of course there might - but why any more so than on any other studio film?

Thank You For Tuning In

According to Film Junk, Thank You For Smoking is to be adapted into a TV show for NBC. The film will be based upon the original Christopher Buckley novel, not the Jason Reitman film - all the better to mix things up a little, I imagine - but will still, apparently, only pick up the story where the film left off. A sequel to the novel then, more or less, realised as a single-camera sitcom (think The Larry Sanders Show, Malcolm in the Middle or rather than My Name is EarlWill and Grace, Cheers or Everybody Loves Raymond.)

No news on casting, but the writer/producer is reportedly Rick Cleveland of Six Feet Under.

Ricky Jay And His 52 Assistants

Variety have a review of Ricky Jay's magical history/up-close sleight-of-hand show, Ricky Jay and his 52 Assistants. The show, directed by David Mamet, is 10 years old now with this latest run updated, it seems, with a Borat reference.

Nobody does up-close card tricks better than Ricky Jay. If this show comes near you, book quickly - the seats may be very expensive, but there's less than a hundred of them: Jay needs his audience to be very near to the magic.

Betty Comden Dead Of Heart Failure

Singin' in the Rain is that rare thing - a film canonised as one of the greats that actually is a genuine masterpiece. Sadly, we have now lost Betty Comden, one of the key contributors to what made it so special. Not only did she conceive the story and script the film, she was one of the writers of the often beautiful, always elegant lyrics. Just conceiving the film's narrative would have been puzzle enough - it was designed specifically to make use of a number of pre-existing songs. You would never tell if you were never told.

Adolph Green was her collaborator on that masterpiece and other projects. He died in 2002, finally ending a working relationship that had lasted for 60 years.

Only Stanley Donen and Debbie Reynolds now remain of Singin' in the Rain's key players.

Yet Another Spider-Man 3 Trailer

There's yet another Spider-Man 3 trailer online now with another look at Venom, a few more unseen shots - including some Gwen Stacy - and soundbites from the cast and Sam Raimi. Can't get enough of this Spider-Man stuff.

Michel Gondry And George Clooney

IMDB today mentioned Michel Gondry's Nespresso Commerical The Boutique, starring George Clooney. It is gorgeous - though completely lacking in the trickery most people associate with Gondry - and you can see it now on the French Nespresso site - now need to wait until 'the end of the month' as IMDB suggest.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Boat That Rocked

Empire have scored the exclusive news on Richard Curtis' next film. Called The Boat That Rocked, Curtis has described it as "Animal House meets Titanic" which sounds, if you think about it, quite brilliant. If Titanic needed a strong shot of something - and it certainly did - it's something Animal House wasn't short on. "Spunk", maybe.

The plot is about a radio station broadcasting from a boat - so, Radio Caroline essentially. The Animal House comment suggests that this will be a period film so maybe this will literally be about Radio Caroline, possibly in it's 60s heyday. Can I make a cameo as Spangles Muldoon, Richard?

I'm a big fan of Curtis' largely because he structures his films - not to mention the jokes and scenes within them - really rather brilliantly. I know a lot of people knock him, but their arguments really tend to be quite flimsy.

You Tube Get Around For UK Potter Fans

Want to see the Miss Potter trailer but live in the UK? Well, the official Moviefone version won't play for you (fascists?) so why not use the You Tube get-around.

Miss Potter is only the second feature film from Chris Noonan, the director of Babe, and as such is highly anticipated around these parts, Zellweger or no Zellweger.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Birthday Terry Gilliam

Sam Raimi Offered The Hobbit

I don't know if this means Jean-Pierre Jeunet turned the gig down or not, but according to The One Ring website, Sam Raimi has been offered The Hobbit. Seems like a sensible choice - Spider-Man 2 is a better film than anything jackson ever directed, and that includes Heavenly Creatures. Just about.

So when are they going to approach (birthday boy) Terry Gilliam?

Hate mail in the comments section below.

All The Halloween Spoilers You Can Stomach

Bloody Disgusting have run a casting breakdown for Rob Zombie's Halloween which not only tells you who all of the major characters are, it essentially gives the entire plot away. Read at your peril - if knowing wht happens in a film could ever be considered perilous, which of course, it cannot. Spoilerphobes are wusses.

I'm posting the whole thing here as I assume Bloody Disgusting will be forced to remove it before long. Try visiting their page first, and if it's down, read on below. It does seem disappointingly similar to John Carpenter's original masterpiece, and some of the more 'out there' details don't actually seem relevant at this stage but the proof of this pudding is still nine months away. I'd love to see Jeff Bridges as Loomis...

STORY LINE: After being committed for 17 years, Michael Myers, now a grown man and still very dangerous, is mistakenly released from the mental institution (where he was committed as a 10 year old) and he immediately returns to Haddonfield, where he wants to find his baby sister, Laurie. Anyone who crosses his path is in mortal danger.

[MICHAEL MYERS (10 YEARS OLD)] Caucasian, 8-12 years old, to play 10. Stringy haired, awkward kid, you get a sense that something is off just by looking at him. He has a very unstable mental state. He enjoys torturing/killing animals and then people. He hates his teenage sister, his stripper mother, and her abusive boyfriend Ronnie. He is, however, protective and very attached to his baby sister, who he calls Boo. This is very disturbing material that we need a very capable young actor for.

[LAURIE STRODE] Emancipated or legal 18 to play 17, Caucasian female. Pretty in an unassuming, natural way, this is Michael Meyer's baby sister. She is a normal, real, smart good girl, who is very responsible and caring. The second Michael sees her, he knows. Once he finds her, he will not let go, and Laurie has a strange feeling all day that someone is watching her...An actress who is riveting to watch.

[ANNIE BRACKETT] Emancipated or legal 18 to play 18, Caucasian, female. PARTIAL NUDITY REQUIRED FOR THIS ROLE. She is LAURIE'S best friend, cute, and curly-haired, full of teen enthusiasm and charm. Borderline bad girl (she rebels, but in a sweet way).

[LYNDA] Emancipated or legal 18 to play 18, Caucasian, female. FULL NUDITY WILL BE REQUIRED for this role. She looks like the hot cheerleader type, but has a bad attitude to go with it. She is the girl that convinced you to smoke cigarettes, smoke weed, steal your parents' car and taught you how to French kiss by making out with your older brother. She is all about opportunity.

[TOMMY DOYLE] 7-12 to play 8 years old, any ethnicity, a cute little boy who talks too much and whose babysitter is LAURIE. He is a mop top of a boy who asks lots of questions, and is filled with fear on Halloween. He believes in the boogey man and the wolf man, and sees Michael Meyers before anyone else does.

[JUDITH MEYERS] Emancipated or legal 18 to play 16 years old, Caucasian, female. FULL NUDITY REQUIRED FOR THIS ROLE. A celebration of the Trailer trash slut. She dresses inappropriately for her age, and uses her sexuality for mass effect. She flirts with Ronnie even though he is her mom's boyfriend. She and Michael are not close, they fight a lot and she walks in on him while he is masturbating to his photo album of past pet kills. Her response? She calls him a pervert. In no way will this girl ever be a model citizen.

[WESLEY RHOADES] 14-16 years old to play 14, School-bully #1, ugly, acne-scarred. Teases Michael about his mom's profession.

[SHANE WILLIAMS] 14-16 years old, WESLEY'S sidekick, overweight, red headed. Also a bully. He tells Michael that he'd like to get physical with his mom, Deborah. He is Wesley's yes man.

[LOU MARTINI] 51 years old, large sloth of a man, bartender at the strip joint. Cares about business, and is not concerned with Deborah's troubled personal life.

[PRINCIPAL ERICS] 47 years old, thin, nervous, stiff guy who stutters when nervous. He's the Principal at Michael's school. Michael frightens him.

[ASST. PRINCIPAL JANSEN] 45 years old, attractive, older woman. School administrator.

[STEVE] 16 years old, big mess of curly hair, "string-bean" body. JUDITH'S boyfriend. He has sex with JUDITH and then brags about it. He is a life like skinny stoner character.

[FEMALE NEWS REPORTER #1] Describes the murders taking place. Real television reporting experience a plus.

[REPORTER #2] Describes the murders taking place. Real television reporting experience a plus.


[MORGAN WALKER] 54 years old. Sanitarium's Head of Operations. Rail-thin man in a dark gray suit. He is responsible for MICHAEL'S escape. WE ARE LOOKING FOR A STRONG CAMEO APPEARANCE HERE - STAR NAMES ONLY

[DR. KOPLENSON] 45 years old, head physician at Sanitarium, large bearded man with a bandaged eye, recommends minimum security for MICHAEL MEYERS. WE ARE LOOKING FOR A STRONG CAMEO APPEARANCE HERE - STAR NAMES ONLY


[ELLEN LOOMIS] 55 years old, attractive silver-haired woman. The bedrock of the Loomis household. She is the ideal wife, caring supportive, terrifically worried about her husband's borderline obsession with his most famous patient. She is long suffering and a woman who the audience will need to connect with.

[LISA GREY] 50 years old, EILEEN'S best friend. She comes over for dinner more often than not, and often brings the wine she likes to drink. Thank god Eileen has Lisa to lean on!

[LUKE GREY] 56 years old, Older DR. LOOMIS' friend and Lisa's husband, distinguished looking professor type.

[KENDALL JACKS] Attendant at the Sanitarium, NOEL KLUGGS' trouble making buddy, and rapist. He is in excellent physical shape - he can handle the rowdy patient. He is one half of a terrifying team - no one wants these two attending their sick family members.

[KAREN MERCY] 27 years old, cute, severely mentally disabled, at sanitarium.

[EARL HICKS] 35 years old, graveyard-shift security guard at sanitarium.

[BILL JUDGE] 30s-50s, another security guard.

[BIG JOE GRIZZLY] 45 years old, large mountain-man. His size gives him a natural confidence, and he does not scare easily. He is a trucker dressed in dirty coveralls.

[MASON STRODE] 51 years old, handsome man with graying hair. LAURIE'S dad. He hates corporate America. He is concerned with his daughter's safety, is a great guy, and seems to be the father figure that would survive any horror film.

[CYNTHIA STRODE] 45 years old, attractive woman with classic bone structure. MASON'S wife. LAURIE'S mom. Should look like a corn fed Midwestern all American mom, not pulled too tight.


[GRANT CLARK] 54 years old, cemetery grounds-keeper. He has worked at this cemetery all of his adult life. Takes pride in his work.

[PAUL] 18-19, probably held back a year, as he is ANNIE'S Boyfriend (Annie likes older guys, even if they are stupid). He is a stringy or shaggy haired bony faced teenager. He smokes, but they are probably menthols. A dude.

[BARBARA FLORENTINE] 52 years old, head of Haddonfield Adoption Agency. A real 'Stick to the Rules' type. Character actors welcome.

[LIEUTENANT CHARLES] A police officer who is there throughout the film, as a man devoted to his job and his community.

[STAN CAMPBELL] 60 years old, the county coroner. One line - has had this job for years.

[MR. DOYLE] TOMMY'S Dad. One scene. Caucasian, middle-aged. A parent type.

[MRS. DOYLE] TOMMY'S Mom. One scene. Caucasian, middle-aged. A parent type.

[AARON KRAMER] 53 years old, nervous looking file clerk, on parole, a drug user. Says "um" a lot, works for BARBARA. GREAT FUN CAMEO FOR A BELOVED CHARACTER ACTOR OF NOTE.

[LINDSAY WALLACE] 9 years old, any ethnicity, the young girl that ANNIE baby-sits. She ignores ANNIE and is enthralled with the TV. She is very smart, probably smarter than Annie. This is a role that requires a lot of scene specific smart acting choices.

[BOB SIMMS] 17 years old, tall, long haired stoner-type. He is Lynda's boyfriend, and likes to guzzle beer.

[OFFICER LOWERY] 34 years old, he responds to LAURIE'S 911 call.

Christmas List

This is the time of year that bloggers worldwide start publishing their Christmas Lists. Very often people beg openly for items, hoping that their friends, family or even perfect strangers will buy gifts for them.

Why should I be any different? Actually, I am about to be. I'm going to publish here my list of desired DVDs, movies that I would absolutely love to find under my tree this year. The catch is, none of them have been issued.

First of all, there's The Miracle of Flight by Terry Gilliam. This was a short animated film he made for TV, recently (well, a few years ago) seen in cinemas when Jabberwocky was rereleased across the US. That would be my top choice...

...followed very closely by Mark Romanek's Static. I had this film on VHS once, an ex-rental copy, and there are some laserdiscs of it hanging about eBay but hope of a DVD release seems rather slim. Romanek himself has dismissed the film as juvenilia, which is a bit dispiriting. Not only do I now doubt I'll ever get my hands on this film, I know that Romanek finds me juvenile for liking it so much.

Larry Cohen's Return to Salems Lot is inexplicably unavailable on DVD. The world is missing out on a typically Cohen affair, this time with the added bonus of Sam Fuller as a Vampire hunter.

L'Ange by Patrick Bokanowski couldn't be more different from a Larry Cohen film. Lyrical, beautiful, enigmatic and almost indigestibly rich beneath the bright, gossamer light surface. I want this on DVD, and I want it now.

Ida Lupino's Outrage is a blinding hot B-movie with a sociopolitical agenda that it simply won't let you ignore. Ida had an axe to grind and she did so in fine, hardboiled fashion. I'm surprised that I can't find this film on DVD anywhere.

Jacques Demy's Three Places for the 26th was the last of his musical fantasies, and while it isn't the best of them it is certainly a wonderful film and well overdue a decent DVD release.

There is such a following for Charles Burnett's The Killer of Sheep I'm astonished nobody has taken a gamble on putting out a DVD. Brilliantly constructed, endlessly witty and genuinely life affirming, this is a rare American Indie from the 70s that can be seen as a proper crowd pleaser.

My Friend Ivan Lapshin is a brilliant picture of Communism's first massive failings in the USSR. It might make you very angry but this film is nonetheless very rewarding and often utterly compelling.

I think that's my lot for now - but I may be back with an appendix. Add any suggestions in the comments below. I was about to add Tomorrow I'll Wake Up and Scald Myself with Tea but I found a Czech DVD of it... now all I need to know is how to actually get one. The film is a gem of time travel sci-fi from Poland. I'd remake this film in a heartbeat.

Romanek Does The Shuffle

The new Mark Romanek i-Pod Shuffle ad is here, and online at Stash's Feed site.

The clip is built around an idea that is frighteningly similar to one I pitched myself a couple of weeks ago (for a completely different project, of course) but the idea is so simple that anyone could have had it - and to meet all manner of briefs too.

Romanek's execution of the ad, directed with Brave New School, is so crisp, clean and clear that I can't help but be awed by how direct and cheeky it is. This is, essentially, an ad-long image of the product being advertised - almost subliminally laced with lifestyle codes to push the right buttons of course - as well as a tutorial on how the product works in difference to older models. Brilliant, brilliant stuff.

Jonathan Glazer's Bravia Ad

The second Colour Like No Other advertisement for Sony Bravia has been online and on screens a while now - long enough for the second version of the commercial to be released. As described in the making of featurette, what we have is basically a firework display not in light and fire, but in paint. Tons and tons of the stuff spraying all over a Glasgow housing estate. 250 people worked for ten days just to rig the numerous bottle bombs, and the clean up couldn't have been a picnic either.

Jonathan Glazer directed the spot, and he did so very well indeed. Glazer is the man behind more good ads and music videos than I dare to mention (but you could just pick up his Director's Label DVD, it's incredible), as well as the feature films Sexy Beast and Birth. Well done Jon, your work really paid off again.

Bagsy the gig for year three.

As well as the fountainous erruptions of vibrant paint, there is also a somewhat myterious and unnerving cameo appearance by a clown. Dramatically and aesthetically, the clown works perfectly but his exact nature and narrative purpose are somewhat enigmatic.

Version one of the ad is set to music (the choice of which is another Kubrick homage by Glazer, no doubt), while version two uses the original production sound and, honestly, I prefer the latter. It is, quite literally, explosive stuff.

At time of writing, I can't find version two online, but it is screening in cinemas across the UK right now. If you do find a link to it online, please add it in the comments below.

Satoshi Kon Interview

Midnight Eye have a nice little interview with Satoshi Kon, director of Perfect Blue, Paranoia Agent and now Paprika. He's got all the high-quality animations starting with the letter P sewn up - except Pinocchio, of course.

Nerds Nixed

After the (supposedly) temporary freeze on production last month, Fox Atomic have now completely ceased production of their Revenge of the Nerds remake. Variety claim that Peter Rice, the sub-studio-come-imprint's head honcho swung the axe as he was displeased with the rushes seen so far, and that to him the film was looking 'too small'.

Now, for a studio to bin a film after two weeks of filming, all of preproduction and some significant development outlay, something must be seriously rotten. Why this couldn't just be finished and shoved out on DVD at least, I don't know. If Fox Atomic honestly think the average Hollywood Video punter knows the ins and outs of a movie's making, so that these production troubles might have caused a significant drop in rentals then, clearly, they have to think again. Sadly, factors as inane as the title or cover image are always the principal selling tool when there are no name stars involved.

I suspect the move is somewhat more political in nature and has little or nothing to do with the rushes at all. I swear, these backstabbing, double dealing, power hungry, wheedling executives would cut off their own noses to spite their leathery faces.

Elliot Gould Talks Altman

Elliott Gould is one of the best things in the films of Robert Altman. In fact, the many Altman films without him are significantly worse than those few with. The NPR website has an audio segment of the actor recalling the recently deceased director.


This time last year I was in Cleveland, Ohio. I had just shot a Christmas film, John vs Laura, and was getting ready for Thanksgiving. Days later, I was back here in the UK, for Christmas and New Year. I miss Cleveland, sometimes - not a popular opinion, I know. The city is hardly a tourist attraction...

But that might change this weekend, to a small degree.

The house in which most of Bob Clark's film A Christmas Story was filmed is a real house in Cleveland. Over the years, it had changed a lot, but now it has been restored to it's movie ways by a truly avid - and entrepreneurial - fan of the film, Brian Jones.

The house is open to the public from this Saturday. Can it succeed in drawing tourist attention? Jones thinks so:

"Once, when we were working, these college kids showed up in a car. They had driven nine hours one way just to see the house. Star Trek has Trekkies, I have Ralphies. I'm a Ralphie myself."

For those of you who don't know, Ralphie is the lead character of A Christmas Story, a BB-gun coveting, Milky Bar Kid-looking young 'un, whose older self narrates the nostalgiac, 40s-set film.

I wish Jones the best of luck - Cleveland could certainly use any tourist dollars he brings in.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bacon, Bana And Hurt In Pullman Adaptation: Who Are They Playing?

In a recent interview, ostensibly about Casino Royale, Eva Green let slip that Eric Bana, John Hurt and Kevin Bacon have roles in The Golden Compass... or did she?

Could it be that one of them is playing the duel role of Sir Charles Latrom/John Boreal and another John Parry? Maybe - particularly as scenes from The Subtle Knife seem to be shooting already.

Another explanation, of course, is that they provide voices, for Daemons or for bears. This would seem considerably less intrusive than on screen cameos.

And yet another explanation would be that their characters appear in Pullman's forthcoming The Book of Dust. It seems that this tie-in title will feature sub-stories that take place before, in, around and after the continuity of the three main His Dark Materials novels, and it is entirely possible some sequences in the films will be derived from this new source. This is a very interesting proposition as it may well explain the shooting of 'real world' Oxford scenes that have been going on this week.

I don't know the answer, of course, but I'm certainly interested to find out.

Variety Digging Into Hobbit Hole, Fantastic Four Film Holds The Answer?

There's a piece on Variety's site now that tries to referee the ongoing Hobbit wars without bias. The most interesting comment comes from an MGM spokesman: "the matter of Peter Jackson directing The Hobbit films is far from closed"

Would making a film of The Hobbit without Jackson be commercial suicide? Jean-Pierre Jeunet has already been mentioned as a possible replacement, and I have no reason to believe he couldn't make a very good film - but not necessarily a film that meshes with The Lord of the Rings trilogy as per PJ. It's this that will ensure blockbuster status, I'm sure - the films being made as de facto parts of the Jackson Rings series, not by another filmmaker, or in another style, or with a different cast.

MGM might well start fighting Jackson's corner now, and the weight of the geekosphere is certainly behind him too, but can Mark Ordesky and New Line really be defeated? According to Peter Jackson, it's only New Line's desire to make the films quickly - apparently as their option is due to expire - that's causing the problem.
Can their race-against-time version of the films be stalled, somehow?

I think the solution might be rather obvious, assuming the option rules work how I think they do... how about making a first version of the film on the cheap and retaining the option that way?
This stunt was pulled before - a cheapo movie of The Fantastic Four was knocked out and then supressed for this very reason, years before the recent big-screen cash-cow version. Obviously, New Line would be looking to get some use of their first Hobbit film but it wouldn't have to be released wide. How about a musical? A film just for the youngest of kids? A short film? Would any of those do the trick? Legally speaking, I just don't know how this all works - but you have to admit, it is an idea, right? And it might just work.

Josh Tyler At Cinema Blend

[EDIT: Read first my original post, then read on for the latest...]

Josh Tyler at Cinema Blend appears to be stealing stories from
film ick and not crediting the source. This simply isn't on - don't you agree?

[And now the new bit.

Josh has sent me an e-mail in which he promises me that, actually, he hasn't stolen any stories from film ick. Okay, then - let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Looks like we don't have a thief here after all - just a man who trades in stolen goods. I assume he has no idea that they are stolen, either - if he did, he might as well just steal them himself. This makes the identity of our thief a mystery.

What I recommend you do - if you care, which I suspect you don't - is subscribe to both film ick and Cinema Blend through the RSS feeds. You'll soon see the pattern emerging yourself.

Hopefully Josh will see the pattern too - or at least keep an eye open for the coverage here on film ick and credit any tip offs he receives carefully]

Chan Wook Park Interview

Twitch alerted me to a great new interview with Chan Wook Park.

Not only does the director discuss his new romantic comedy I'm A Cyborg, But That's Okay, he also chips in a little on the Transperceneige adaptatation by Bong Joon-Ho, here called Snow Train, and his own next movie, Bat.

Bat will be Park's Vampire film, previously known as Live Evil, which was also the name given to the film-within-the-film in Cut. Reportedly, Bat is the film Park opted for over a remake of The Evil Dead.

Scenes From The Subtle Knife Already Filming

I'm in Oxford, England, in case you didn't know - the city of dreaming spires. I was born here - I'm town, not gown.

As a result of living in such a photogenic city, it's often hard to avoid filming. Catering trucks block back streets, massive lighting arrays poke up amongst the colleges. Recently, of course, we've been host to the filming of The Golden Compass, the movie adaptation of book one in Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.

Everybody I know has seen the filming, or at least the effects of the filming. Some people know what it is they are seeing - can put the images into context because they know the books very well. That's why I trust all of the reports I'm receiving, even though I've not seen this with my own two eyes.

The big news is, not only is The Golden Compass filming here currently, so is The Subtle Knife, the second book in the series. Or at the very least some scenes from The Subtle Knife.

Now, there might have been some rejigging, where scenes from book two have made their way into film one, or they might simply be catching some film-two footage while they're here, for cost reasons, but the fact remains, some of the scenes that have been filmed clearly take place in the modern, contemporary Oxford of Knife, not the other-world 'Lyra's Oxford' of Compass.

So, are we to assume the sequel has been greenlit and is already underway with the same team? It certainly looks like the most likely answer.

[EDIT: It is now clear how the two worlds - their Oxford and ours - are worked in the film. The same extras are seen in each world, but dressed differently. Of course, this is confusing - several plot twists won't make sense if we are to suppose every world has it's own version of every person, but the scenes have been shot, and they have been shot this way.

Some of the filming has been of a cat - Moxie? - jumping through a portal between the worlds. I believe this absolutely confirms, without a doubt, that material from The Subtle Knife has been filmed already]