• Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours), Guy Pearce (Prometheus) and Hugo Weaving (The Hobbit) will all star in the Australian thriller Strangerland, about a couple whose two teenage children go missing in the Australian desert. Kim Farrant will direct the film from a script by Fiona Seres and Michael Kinirons. [THR]
Tag: Werner Herzog (1-10 of 10)
• French director Luc Besson, who introduced the world to Natalie Portman in The Professional, has cast Scarlett Johansson as his lead in his newest film, Lucy. In the film, Lucy is forced to be a drug mule. But, when the drug gets into her system, she turns into a super-being with telekinesis abilities, martial arts skills, and the helpful bonus of being immune to pain. Johansson is certainly finding a new life as an action star ever since she took on the role of Natasha Romanoff for the Marvel universe. She also stars in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut (and festival favorite) Don Jon, which finally hits theaters on October 18. [THR]
• James Franco is continuing his auteur tour, and may sign on to star in Werner Herzog’s (Grizzly Man) Queen of the Desert about Gertrude Bell, the turn of the 20th century British adventurer. Jude Law was attached to star but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. The report says that Ridley Scott may also have a Gertrude Bell in the works that Angelina Jolie is interested in. There is no word yet on which actress would play Bell in Herzog’s version. [Deadline]
Once upon a time a cutely illustrated, explicitly written “children’s book for adults” burst onto the scene. Adam Mansbach’s ode to parents who can’t get their children to, well, go the f–k to sleep, was a bestseller before it was even available (under the “advice” category on the New York Times list).
During over four decades of writing film reviews, Roger Ebert, who died at age 70 on Thursday, had a continually keen eye for blossoming talent, picking out directors like Martin Scorsese as ones to watch from their very first films, and he found plenty of filmmakers worthy of “two thumbs up” throughout his career. But one filmmaker whose work he championed with particular enthusiasm over the years was Werner Herzog.
The German director’s work — exotic films that blend the surreal with the real, fiction with non-fiction — includes the acclaimed documentaries Grizzly Man and Little Dieter Needs to Fly and the features Aguirre: the Wrath of God and Rescue Dawn.
More than once, Ebert expressed admiration for Herzog’s determination to make films on his own terms without any consistent source of funding. The independent filmmaker has made over 50 films since he released his first short in 1962. In a 2007 letter to Herzog, Ebert wrote, “You and your work are unique and invaluable, and you ennoble the cinema when so many debase it.”
When EW spoke with Herzog on the phone Thursday, the Munich-born filmmaker recounted their mutual admiration for each other’s work and reciprocated Ebert’s praise with similar reflections on Ebert’s own steadfastness amid the changing cultural views of entertainment . READ FULL STORY
Casting Net: Jude Law joins Werner Herzog's 'Queen of the Desert.' Plus: Kim Basinger, Nick Nolte, Soairse Ronan, Jason Bateman
• Jude Law (Anna Karenina) has joined the cast of Werner Herzog‘s Queen of the Desert, co-starring Naomi Watts and Rob Pattinson, announced Sierra/Affinity, which will handle international sales of the film, on Friday. The period biopic written and directed by Herzog revolves around writer, archaeologist and British Empire attaché Gertrude Bell (Watts), and T.E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia (Pattinson). Principal photography is set to start in Morocco in March 2013.
• Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses, Arrested Development) will star in his own directorial debut Bad Words alongside Allison Janney, Kathryn Hahn (Our Idiot Brother), Rohan Chandz (Jack and Jill), and Melissa McCarthy’s hubby and Bridesmaids lust object Ben Falcone, about 41-year-old high school dropout Guy Trilby (Bateman) who, through a loophole, is able to enter the National Quill Spelling Bee and is hit with the outrage of the spelling contest’s director (Janney), according to a press release Friday. Guy advances to the nationals, where he meets a contestant hopeful (Chandz). Andrew Dodge penned the original script.
• Kim Basinger has joined the aging fight comedy Grudge Match, about two boxers (Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro) who come out of retirement to go head-to-head for one last match. Pete Segel will direct from a script by Tim Kelleher that was spruced up by Entourage creator Doug Ellin. Let the bloody brawl begin! [Variety]
• Nick Nolte, Jeremy Irons and Thomas Jane (Hung) will headline thriller Western indie Magnificent Death From a Shattered Hand, with Jane directing from his own script co-written by Jose Prendes. The movie is about a man’s journey through the violent West, which includes an ex-soldier being sought for the rape-murder of an upper class woman. [Variety]
• Saoirse Ronan (The Host, Hanna), always adding a dash of sharpness to any project, has signed on to star in Wes Anderson‘s highly anticipated The Grand Budapest Hotel, with longtime Anderson muses Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray, plus Ralph Fiennes and Owen Wilson, also attached. Details are still cloudy, but the movie is reportedly set in a Hungarian hotel. Anderson, who snagged accolades for this year’s sweet, funny coming-of-age Moonrise Kingdom, is directing from his own script. [Variety]
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Casting Net: Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender to explore ‘Genius.’ Plus: Amanda Seyfried, Patrick Dempsey, Stellan Skarsgard
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Casting Net: Gerard Butler’s new goal to defeat Nazis in ‘Dynamo.’ Plus: Paul Giamatti, Olivia Wilde, Romany Malco
Werner Herzog will play the villain in Tom Cruise’s in-the-works Paramount thriller One Shot, EW has confirmed. The eccentric German auteur will play a character named The Zec, an ex-prisoner of war that first came to life in one of Lee Child’s bestselling Jack Reacher novels, according to Variety, which first reported the story.
The movie also stars Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, and Robert Duvall, and will be directed by The Usual Suspects writer Christopher McQuarrie. While Herzog may be a relative newbie when it comes to acting in front of the camera, playing a creepy villain opposite Cruise seems like a natural fit thanks to the auteur’s idiosyncratic, slightly off persona, which was recently put to good use as a guest voice on The Simpsons. Herzog is best known for such feature films as 1982’s Fitzcarraldo and 2006’s Rescue Dawn, starring Christian Bale. His documentaries, in which he often plays a part of the narrative, include 2005’s Grizzly Man and this summers’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its Real to Reel documentary slate for this year. The offerings include the latest from Oscar winners Morgan Spurlock and Davis Guggenheim, Werner Herzog’s look at death row, and a profile of Sarah Palin from controversial British director Nick Broomfield. READ FULL STORY
I miss the days when actors had bad hair days. When their coifs weren’t so coiffed, when their heads were allowed to look scruffy, greasy, crazy, unkempt. Not Robert Pattinson mousse-mussed, but genuinely dishabille. I miss the days when they could even be — maybe we should whisper this — bald. I admit that I have something of a personal stake in this. I’m a follically challenged male, and perhaps I speak for others who are losing their hair when I say that it wouldn’t be such a terrible thing if we were represented a little more often on screen, and not just by the usual character actors playing dweebish bank tellers and Internet wizards. I do like to think, however, that even if God had graced me with the Jim Morrison-on-Kiehl’s mane of Adrian Grenier, that I’d still want to stand up for a little more healthy hair diversity among contemporary Hollywood leading men. These days, if an actor is losing his hair, he isn’t allowed to show it. He’s got to be plugged, weaved, bobbed, re-strung. In effect, he’s not himself — he’s wearing a permanent costume.
In the new Werner Herzog remake of Bad Lieutenant (it comes out next week — here’s what I wrote about it from the Toronto film festival), Nicolas Cage plays a New Orleans homicide detective who is always high on coke, heroin, OxyContin, or some combination thereof, and Cage, playing this furtive and tormented enforcer/addict, gives the return-to-form performance that a lot of us have been waiting for him to give. The luscious joke of the movie is that Cage, as Lieutenant Terence McDonagh, is wild and operatic and monomaniacally over-the-top, just as he has been so often in his trashy paycheck genre movies. Only now, his beady-eyed gonzo theatrics are part of a deftly controlled character study. McConagh, trapped in the evil pleasure of his addictions, also uses those addictions to be a more sneakily effective cop. He’s like a crackhead undercover agent in hell.
Cage is mesmerizing in Bad Lieutenant, but there’s one aspect of him that hasn’t changed: He still sprouts what I think of as his popcorn-blockbuster hair — that perfectly sculpted widow’s peak of shiny black strands that just about erupts from the front of his head, only to be swept back into a kind of Peter O’Toole-meets-Igor curtain of hair. READ FULL STORY
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