Posting over the next few days is going to probably be news-free, so we’ll make hay while the cinema news sun shines. We start off with casting news.
* Jeremy Renner of “The Hurt Locker” is “near a deal” to play Hawkeye in the Avengers film to be (theoretically) directed by Joss Whedon, who hasn’t said a word officially to anyone in months, as far as I can tell. Renner is a smart choice. Playing a character who hasn’t previously been introduced is going to be a special challenge in this movie and actors without real ability and charisma probably need not apply.
* So, if the Wrap is correct, Brad Pitt likely won’t end up staring in the U.S. remake of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” It looks like that will be Daniel Craig, instead. Having seen the Swedish film, it seems to me he’s a much better fit for the part of the male lead. The character has a bit of a hang-dog, defeated quality to him that just doesn’t fit Pitt. I think Craig can pull that off easily. He should probably gain or lose a bit of weight for the part. This guy might do okay with woman, but he’s a coffee-and-cigarette addicted journalist, not a perfectly exercised super-spy.
* Speaking of matters Bondian, as per the Playlist, Christopher Nolan is describing his very highly anticipated “Inception” as his Bond film, in a way. I’m personally not a fan of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” but it’s an interesting model, nonetheless.
* And, speaking of Christopher Nolan, to news burning up the geek film blogosphere today that he won’t be recasting the role of the Joker for the next Batman movie. This is news? Doing otherwise would not only arouse anger from lots of people, it would put a new actor in a completely impossible position. That being said, Nolan’s habit of killing bad guys puts him in a tough spot because, of the three best Batman villains, Ra’s al Ghul,and Two-Face have been killed in his first two films, and the tragic real-life death of Heath Ledger ironically makes it three for three, at least as far as onscreen appearances are concerned. The Penguin, the Riddler, and Catwoman are all fun characters, but lacking in menace and the serious tone that Nolan likes. At least he hasn’t killed Scarecrow yet. Nolan’s realistic approach makes Man-Bat a tough call, too. Am I forgetting someone?
* More superhero stuff. /Film has the new Green Lantern logo. Ooh
* Rush Limbaugh, the movie. If they can make me in any way feel anything but contempt about that guy, that’ll be some real cinema genius. Say what you like about Nixon, W, or William Randolph Hearst/Charles Foster Kane, they cared about something. I never really got the impression that Limbaugh cares about anything other than Limbaugh. As for casting, Kelsey Grammer would be the guy for it, I think. Grammer is a very conservative Republican who has talked about going into politics, which could be a big plus in selling the movie as something other than a partisan hatchet job, though “creative differences” could easily arise.
* So fairy tales are hot, hot, hot and Brett Ratner wants to do an “edgy” Snow White that is “not your grandfather’s.” I think it is now time to officially ban the word “edgy” and the phrase “not your grandfather’s” from all thoughtful discourse.
* A former director of the Chicago International Film Festival is now head of production at Paramount.
* More inside movie-ball. Anne Thompson is filled with dismay. Russ Fischer at /Film issues a “WTF” and wonders if someone is “shitting” him. Christopher Bell at the Playlist comes up with both a “Whaa?” and an italicized “Say what?” I personally cried “Great Caesar’s ghost!” or the equivalent thereof when I heard the news.
The source of this consternation is word that Disney is entering negotiations for the ongoing sale of mini-major Miramax with a construction executive and investor named Ron Tutor and his partner, David Bergstein, which is where this gets weird. Thompson describes Bergstein as a “beleaguered financier,” Bell calls him a “bullshit artist extraordinaire.” Both terms are mild compared to what people really call him around town.
The fact of the matter is to that to say that Bergstein’s name is mud is to vastly over-value mud. His legal troubles are endless, he is universally regarded as having run a number of once-strong companies into the ground, and when the excellent but troubled director David O. Russell acted, by all accounts, like a total professional for once on the film, “Nailed,” it was nevertheless closed multiple times because of Bergstein’s apparently ultra-reckless or worse handling of the finances. (Kim Masters‘ piece from April, titled “Hollywood’s Biggest Hustler” makes fairly riveting reading.) The film remains unfinished two years later with two days of shooting left on the schedule and his name comes up in casual conversations between random folks in L.A. All in all, venereal crabs are more popular than this guy. Alex Ben Block of THR the details on the negotiation and Bergstein’s latest legal maneuver.
* Back in the eighties, when I assure you I was knee-high to a zygote, I was convinced that John Milius’s “Red Dawn,” with an absurd scenario about a Soviet land-invasion of the U.S., might hasten a real nuclear war by encouraging hysteria that was, in my view, already making a deadly mockery of our foreign policy at the time. Could the remake spark a real, new Cold War with China? Not by itself, surely, though economic issues and enough of the right/wrong kind of thoughtless propaganda or disinformation often can. In any case, the Chinese government is apparently unhappy about this remake, and it’s not because it thinks it’s a sign that Hollywood is running out of ideas.
* Mike Fleming chronicles how the fairly well-received science-fiction thriller “Splice” barely avoided becoming a TV movie. There’s an interesting bit of the post that shows the nastiness of the litigious tendencies of today’s studios. In this case it was because of a supposed resemblance between the movie’s resident creature and certain blue alien folk you all know.
* Speaking of Mr. Na’vi eco-defender guy, he’s not my favorite spokesmen for my positions, however, I absolutely, positively cannot disagree with James Cameron on BP. Can you?