I’m still recuperating a bit from last weekend’s insanity at Comic-Con and a busy week looms ahead, but the recent film news is just a little too interesting to ignore/gloss over.
* Mike Fleming broke the news this afternoon that Daniel Craig has signed on the line which is dotted to play the male lead in the upcoming American film version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” In case you never set foot in your local Barnes and Noble outlet, that’s the first novel in so-called Millennium Trilogy of mystery thrillers by the late Swedish author/political activist Steig Larsson. The series is becoming a sort of adult/non-geek HarryPotter for the Trader Joe’s set and the first U.S. film of it has attracted the powerhouse twosome of writer Steve Zallian and director David Fincher.
Judging from having seen the solid, but not excessively over-awesome, Swedish film version of the novel (which I’m really going to have to try and read at some point), Craig is probably a much better choice than the earlier floated Brad Pitt for the part. 007 or not, it’s just easier to see Craig as a down on his luck journo. Also, as Fleming points out, this puts Craig in the unique position of having at least two and, if you count a potentially huge “Cowboys and Aliens,” possibly three franchises to keep busy and well-compensated. Craig is not only an extremely good actor, he’s apparently got some very good agents.
* I’m sure Marvel’s Kevin Feige has many good qualities and I’m a fan of honesty, in general. However, trying to position his absurdly blunt and needless public dissing of Edward Norton regarding his departure from portraying the Hulk/Bruce Banner as somehow helpful in negotiating with Mark Ruffalo just doesn’t convince me he was being anything other than thoughtless. Also, he loses whatever honesty points he might have built up by claiming there’s no bad blood between him and Norton. None? Is Norton the Dalai Lama of ambitious writer-actor-producers? He’d have to be to have no resentments towards Feige.
* Oliver Stone, half-Jewish himself, is trying to dig himself out of a verbal hole when some comments seemed to allude to that old canard, “Jewish domination of the media.” You know, I think Stone has made an idiot of himself in many different ways with statements here and there (I haven’t seen his recent documentary, “South of the Border,” so I won’t comment on it) but I will add that his critic, Abraham Foxman of the formerly righteous Anti-Defamation League could easily defeat Stone in any game of verbal political idiocy, any day of the week. There’s this highly incorrect idea out there that Jewish people are somehow smarter than average. If so, why are so many of us putzes?
* I’m not great at reading business tea leaves, but something interesting seems to be going on with Ryan Kavanaugh of Relativity Media, who has added to his purchase of Rogue Films with another purchase of Overture and is now talking about an IPO, which means stocks and other important things that nevertheless tend to make my eyes glaze over. To give you an idea of why Kavanaugh is interesting in a way that worries me slightly, read this Esquire piece from last year. It’s hard to imagine movies being treated any more like products than they already are.
* Boy, would I like to ignore the latest Roman Polanski story. Obviously, if this newest accusation is true, his career really should be over or, at least, conducted entirely in the pokey, but Polanski is obviously also a target that makes him vulnerable to baseless allegations as well as correct ones. Who knows which this is? If you think you do, you’re wrong.
* The musical stage version of Pedro Almodovar’s 1988 breakthrough Spanish-language homage to classic era Hollywood farces and sex comedies, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” which among other things featured the great Carmen Maura and launched the international career of Antonio Banderas, seems to be going forward. It’s one movie that pretty cries out to become a musical comedy and, also, I just wanted to end on a story that didn’t nauseate me.