• Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) is attached to star in Blood Mountain, a thriller from director Sergei Bodrov about a military contractor whose team is ambushed, leaving him solely responsible for bringing a terrorist to safe grounds. The Morocco shoot is supposed to begin in April. Cumberbatch’s Alan Turning biopic The Imitation Game is currently in post production, and he’s also attached to star in the adaptation of The Lost City of Z. [Variety]
Tag: Benedict Cumberbatch (1-10 of 40)
Dueling Everest movies: Jake Gyllenhaal film begins shooting; Sony's 'The Summit' still in base camp
When it comes to ascending a summit, first to the top usually wins. News this week confirmed that Working Title’s Everest, to be released by Universal, is a go. The film, from director Baltasar Kormákur (2 Guns) began production Monday in Italy, with Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke and John Hawkes playing four of the climbers who attempted the disastrous 1996 ascent of Mount Everest in the Himalayas, only to be thwarted with terrible conditions that led to the loss of many lives.
Now that this film is in production, will it kill a competing Everest film at Sony?
Sony declined to comment on its project, which takes place in the 1920s and chronicles British climber George Mallory’s attempts to scale the world’s tallest mountain. One source close to the production says the studio is still committed to the movie, but the film, which Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) is set to direct after finishing the upcoming Tom Cruise-starrer Edge of Tomorrow, will no longer begin production in the next couple of months as originally planned.
Rather, the start date on the film — which now carries the title The Summit and still has Tom Hardy (Inception) attached to play Mallory and Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6) to play his Australian rival George Finch — has been pushed to either early summer or perhaps even to 2015.
According to another source, the studio’s hesitation on the project centers on concern over how to sell the the film domestically. Overseas, the film’s prospects appear much healthier considering the storyline and international cast but in the U.S. audiences are often reluctant to give period films a chance.
Complicating matters, a schedule change may force star Hardy to drop out. As reported earlier, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) is still interested in the lead role should Hardy need to leave.
Sony is also being more cost conscious after a rough 2013 and launching a $60 million movie with a competing film in the pipeline may not look too appealing. Last summer the studio was on the wrong end of dueling White House disaster movies. Their White House Down with Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx opened at the end of June, earning $73 million. It had followed Film District’s Olympus Has Fallen, which opened in March and grossed $98 million.
Still, sources close to the project says the film, which was scripted by Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air), is still important to the studio.
The trick now is to keep that enthusiasm from falling off the mountain.
For four epic Middle-earth adventures, director Peter Jackson has brought to life the famous hobbits, dwarfs, elves, orcs, and wizards from J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination. But in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, part 2 of Jackson’s three-part quest to wring ever last ounce of drama from Tolkien’s slim Lord of the Ring‘s predecessor, the visual feast starts and ends with a giant dragon who sounds an awful lot like Sherlock Holmes.
Smaug is the apocalypse-breathing dragon who evicted the dwarfs from their mountain home and now swims in their treasure. Jackson has compared Smaug to Hannibal Lecter, and the allure of his inevitable confrontation with Bilbo (Martin Freeman) promises to be as anticipated and delighted in as the hobbit’s first encounter with Gollum in the previous movie, An Unexpected Journey. “The dragon is, quite simply, a marvel,” writes EW’s Owen Gleiberman, “gargantuan yet balletic, hoarding his mountain of gold with a razor-toothed smile, breathing not just flame but an inferno, and voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch with the most delicious, insidious knowledge.”
Joining Bilbo in the second leg of his adventure, along with Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the baker’s dozen of dwarfs, is a familiar face from the Rings trilogy: Orlando Bloom’s Legolas, who wasn’t originally written in The Hobbit. Jackson and his co-writers, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, go even further outside the Tolkien canon with Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), a wholly-invented female-warrior elf who introduces a romantic thread not entirely unwelcome in the film, according to many critics.
Before you head to the theater — wearing your fuzzy hobbit slippers, of course — click below to see what the leading critics are saying about The Desolation of Smaug. READ FULL STORY
Not even the Cumberbitches could save it. By all accounts, The Fifth Estate — Bill Condon’s movie about WikiLeaks mastermind Julian Assange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch — was a box office disaster. After a lukewarm reception at Toronto and opening to mixed reviews last month, the film has only made a little over $3 million since its Oct. 18 release. Director Condon told EW he blames the lackluster response on Assange.
“We were all so excited [around the release date] because it was just in the news recently, but the opposite might be true, that it simply wore out its welcome and that there is something about Assange. I do think there’s something about him that does not suggest an evening’s entertainment,” Condon said.
The Toronto Film Festival is the springboard for movies with Oscar aspirations. The last six Best Picture winners played in Toronto, so when the festival named The Fifth Estate its opening-night premiere, people assumed that Bill Condon’s WikiLeaks movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the frosty Julian Assange was a bona fide Oscar contender. Condon has an Oscar pedigree (Gods and Monsters), Assange is a mysterious, polarizing figure who remains in the headlines, and Cumberbatch is an on-the-verge actor with a passionate fanbase. The Fifth Estate had all the makings of another Toronto success story, like Argo or Silver Linings Playbook.
But The Fifth Estate stumbled out of the gate with a lukewarm reception in Toronto, and that verdict was nothing compared to the giant collective yawn that awaited the film upon its opening weekend. Critics were unkind, but nowhere near as callous as the paying public. Playing in more than 1,700 theaters, DreamWorks’ cyber-thriller earned just $1.7 million, making it one of the limpest opening weekends of any wide release this year. Paranoia, the Harrison Ford/Gary Oldman corporate espionage stinker, performed better. As did Movie 43, the star-studded comedy anthology designed to make The Kentucky Fried Movie look like Casablanca. Not the neighborhood any movie wants to find itself, much less one with such high hopes.
“We’re certainly disappointed by the results,” Dave Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief, told Variety, “and we’re still trying to figure out the ‘whys.’”
READ FULL STORY
Gravity can not be stopped — not by a telekinetic teenager, not by a WikiLeaks hacker, not even by the hulking threat of Arnold Schwarznegger and Sylvester Stallone.
Warner Bros.’ $100 million drama starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney drew another $9.1 million on Friday, marking a scant 28 percent drop from last Friday. Gravity may pull in about $32 million over the weekend, which would bring its total to an incredible $171 million after just 17 days.
In second place, Screen Gems and MGM’s $30 million horror remake Carrie stumbled out of the gate with $6.6 million. Since horror movies are typically quite frontloaded, the film will likely finish the frame with about $16 million — well below predictions that had the film earning at least $20 million.
Captain Phillips finished in third place with $5.2 million, but it may surpass Carrie by Sunday night and finish the weekend in second place with about $17 million. Sony’s $55 million Tom Hanks drama will have accrued about $53 million after ten days.
Summit’s Stallone/Schwarznegger action entry, Escape Plan, which cost a reported $70 million to produce, only locked up $3.6 million on its opening day. The prison-escape movie could earn only $9.5 million in its opening weekend — joining the ranks of the stars’ recent flops Bullet to the Head and The Last Stand.
At least Escape Plan fared better than Benedict Cumberbatch’s WikiLeaks drama The Fifth Estate, which earned an anemic $587,000 from 1,769 theaters, yielding an awful $332 daily per theater average. The film may earn about $1.5 million total over the weekend. Ouch.
1. Gravity – $9.1 million
2. Carrie – $6.6 million
3. Captain Phillips – $5.2 million
4. Escape Plan – $3.6 million
5. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 – $2.6 million
Check back tomorrow for the full box office report.
The Season of Benedict Cumberbatch officially begins on Friday, when the popular Sherlock actor appears in two festival films with Oscar ambitions. In 12 Years a Slave, which opens limited in six cities, he plays a morally compromised slave owner in the 1840s. But it’s The Fifth Estate where Cumberbatch takes center stage, starring as controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Influenced by The Social Network and All the President’s Men, director Bill Condon’s film tells the still-unfolding story of Assange’s underground website, which became a clearinghouse for industrial and state secrets leaked by whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning (né Bradley Manning), the U.S. Army private who published thousands of secret government documents about the wars in the Middle East.
Cumberbatch is icy and intense as Assange, the platinum-haired tech wiz who finds ways to rattle the cages of the most powerful organizations on the planet with a few simple key strokes. Daniel Brühl (Inglorious Basterds) co-stars as Assange’s more idealistic lieutenant, Daniel Berg, while Laura Linney and Stanley Tucci portray the U.S. State Department staffers who can feel the ground shift under their feet when WikiLeaks exposes some of the Americans’ dirty laundry.
One notable critic who’s already chimed in about the movie is Assange himself. Long story short… he didn’t like it. But what about the rest of the nation’s critics? It’s impossible to dislike Cumberbatch, yes? But even if they disapprove, he still has other chances to redeem himself: he also co-stars in the star-studded August: Osage County (Dec. 25), and provided the voice of a certain dragon in The Hobbit sequel (Dec. 13).
Click below to read what the critics are saying:
Owen Gleiberman (Entertainment Weekly)
“Condon is shrewd enough to depict Assange not as a hero but as a scoundrel crusader who tests the power of the Internet. The Fifth Estate is flawed (it grips the brain but not the heart), yet it feverishly exposes the tenor of whistle-blowing in the brave new world, with the Internet as a billboard for anyone out to spill secrets. Call it the anti-social network.” READ FULL STORY
It’s no secret that WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, aren’t exactly crazy about Bill Condon’s WikiLeaks film The Fifth Estate. Last month, the anti-secrecy organization leaked a copy of the film’s script alongside a memo that called Condon’s movie “irresponsible, counterproductive and harmful.” WikiLeaks announced the memo with a tweet that briefly and critically appraises the movie — “As WikiLeaks was never consulted about the upcoming Hollywood film on us, we’ve given our advice for free: It’s bad.”
This week, WikiLeaks has thrown more fuel on the fire by posting a letter from Assange himself — purportedly sent to Fifth Estate star Benedict Cumberbatch immediately before the film began shooting in mid-January. The movie stars Cumberbatch as Assange.
In The Fifth Estate, which tells the story of Julian Assange’s crusade to expose the dirty secrets of corporations and governments, director Bill Condon tries to tell the story from both sides. There’s the WikiLeaks team of Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Daniel Berg (Daniel Brühl), who are taking down Goliath one cyber sling-shot at a time. And then there’s the scrambling U.S. government, represented best in the movie by a mid-level State Department bureaucrat played by Laura Linney. She’s important enough to be able to sign Hillary Clinton’s name on her briefs and smart enough to realize the danger that Assange represents — basically that the genie is out of the bottle.
In an exclusive video for the movie, which opens in theaters on Oct. 18, Linney, Condon, and Stanley Tucci discuss the government’s side of the equation — and how WikiLeaks’ actions impacted those literally and figuratively caught in the crossfire.
Click below for the video: READ FULL STORY
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