Another night under the Klieg lights.
* Nikki Finke is obviously in a nasty mood over it, but Rachel Abramowitz at the L.A. Times has a fairly interesting piece on Angelina Jolie‘s upcoming portrayal of best-selling mystery novelist Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta. Even though this will be character’s first appearance on film, they’ve decided to preboot the character by starting with an new “origins” story for the medical examiner character. (Was she bitten by a radioactive pathologist, perhaps?)
* You may think Sundance has been over for a few weeks now, but Anne Thompson details hows it’s not even close to being so simple as she describes how the indie film world is doing its business. One takeaway point: though indie filmmakers are making the most of new media with VOD and slightly older media with DVD, you still need “robust” theatrical to be in the mix if you’re hoping for significant bucks. (H/t Mr. Ebert’s Amazing Twitter feed.)
* The Coen’s have found the young, female lead to play opposite Jeff Bridges’ Rooster Cogburn in their sure-to-be interesting nouveau “True Grit,” and it’s 13 year-old Hailee Steinfeld. Mike Fleming has the scoop.
* Pulp loving writer-director Shane Black of “Lethal Weapon” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is going to be helming a new cinematic take on Doc Savage writes Renn Brown of CHUD, via Variety. Brown admits to not knowing his Doc Savage, but I myself went through a pulp phase and read several of the good doctor’s adventures as a youth. I can tell you that “Scooby Doo” is not really the first thing that comes to mind. He’s really more of a non-superpowered Superman, or a much more clean living and nonviolent James Bond, but with the mental faculties of an Indiana Jones and a touch of Jesus Christ. (He has hangs out with a bunch of somewhat more flawed guys who help him to do his various earth-shattering good deeds. He’s so tough, however, he only needs five of them.) Buckaroo Banzai owes his very existence to Doc. Pretty much the only thing Doc couldn’t do was to get through a day’s work without ripping his shirt into shreds. In the world of pulp heroes, he was definitely the daylight yin to the dark yang of “The Shadow.” The character has foiled filmmakers before, but I think Black may be the man for the job.
* Kung fu hustler Steven Chow’s new project is a new take on an old Bruce Lee film and, instead of featuring Chuck Norris as his foil, he’s going for Jack Black and Anne Hathaway. At least this what AICN’s Merrick is writing today.
* Jason Segal is jumping on board “Bad Teacher,” the latest from Jake Kasden, which has Cameron Diaz in the title role and the always funny John Michael Higgens on board. An inevitable triple bill with “Bad Santa” and “Bad Lieutenant” will be playing in the movie theater of my mind.
* Another Judd Apatow-alum, Jonah Hill seems ready to be taken just a bit more seriously with the Duplass Brothers’ Sundance improv-comedy “Cyrus.” Director David Gordon Green, who began his career as the favorite of the artiest of cinephiles with films like the languorous “George Washington,” apparently wants to be taken a lot less seriously since making the funny stoner comedy “Pineapple Express.” Therefore, “The Sitter” might make a lot of sense.
* Every time I finish one of these posts, I check boxes under “categories.” We have one for “actors? and another for “actresses.” It seems to me like I check that first box substantially more often than the second, though it’s not like I’m trying to avoid items involving women. Turns out there really are a lot fewer film roles given to women than men. Nikki Finke’s favorite writer has the scoop.
Personally, I like to imagine an alternate reality where the producers of the original “Die Hard” realize that the charm of the film hinges largely on the idea of John McClane being a very average guy who finds himself in one-time-only circumstances much larger than him, and who survives just barely, and as a result, they decided to never make a sequel because they know it would just be stupid to do so.