I thought I’d shock everyone and do a post that’s not built around a trailer — there’ll be time enough for that on the weekend.
* Tom Cruise may or may not be many things, but I’ve never really thought of him as a rocker. Yet, that’s exactly what he will be in the promised film version of “Rock of Ages.” I’ve long had mixed feelings about Cruise as an actor — he can be very good in some things and disastrous in others — and I have mixed feelings about this project, too. To be specific, I like good movie musicals but strongly dislike eighties hair bands and what some of us used to call “corporate rock.”
* A star has been set — or at least gotten to the serious negotiation stage — for the long discussed “Jack the Giant Killer” coming from Bryan Singer and his old screenwriting cohort, Christopher McQuarrie, writes Mike Fleming. He’s that kid who was so great in 2002’s “About a Boy” grown-up into 20-something Nicolas Hoult. Hoult has also appeared on the UK “Skins” and will be turning up in the upcoming “Mad Max” reboot/sequel or whatever.
Mike Fleming, however, is not correct when he describes the tale as a “scary” variation on “Jack and the Beanstalk.” It’s an entirely different, far less commonly told, fairy tale. As Wikipedia tells us:
Jack the Giant Killer is a British fairy tale about a plucky Cornish lad who slays a number of giants during King Arthur’s reign. The tale is characterized by violence, gore, and blood-letting.
No wonder they’re making a movie of it.
* Gerard Butler is going surfing with the supremely cool Curtis Hanson, who’ll be directing him in “Mavericks.” It’s a reality-inspired story that, Kevin Jagernauth reminds us, also calls for a tragic hero in his late teens and/or early twenties. I wonder if Nicolas Hoult might want to continue the growing tradition of really skilled young British actors stealing parts from Americans with their flawless U.S. accents, superior discipline, and all. He actually already did just that with his small but pivotal role as an Angeleno student who turns Colin Firth’s head in last year’s excellent “A Single Man.”
* Somebody at Marvel and Paramount must like what they’re seeing in “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Writers Stephen McFeeley and Christopher Markus have been hired to write a sequel already. On the other hand, sequels are kind of the point of these movies, I’m afraid. According to IMDb, the pair will be sharing screen credit for the first film with Joss Whedon, who was hired to do a polish on the script last year, but we’ll see what reality and the Writer’s Guild have to say about that.
* Ryan Gosling just turned 30 last year, and he looks younger than that. So that makes him the perfect age for a new version of “Logan’s Run,” about a future where radical population control means that no one makes it past 30. Since thoughtful, genre-friendly Alex Garland is writing the screenplay this time, I trust this version will hew a little closer to the original novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson than the seriously mediocre 1976 film version. Still, in the book no one made it past 21. If they decide to be really faithful, maybe Nicolas Hoult would be available. He turned 21 last December.
* Megan Ellison, 25-year old daughter of Oracle founder Larry Ellison, is apparently dropping her billionaire playgirl persona to become not a buttkicking superhero, but a buttkicking film financier, says The Vulture. She’s apparently saving Paul Thomas Anderson’s endangered possibly-about-Scientology film, possibly called “The Master,” which is possibly about a lead character who is legally probably not based on L. Ron Hubbard. She also might be helping out with the moolah for what I think would be the first film adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel if it ever happens, “Inherent Vice.” Something tells me Tom Cruise won’t be stepping aside from “Rock of Ages” to appear in either film, though he was in Anderson’s “Magnolia,” of course.
* Speaking of actual Scientology, the highly litigious and, many believe, highly dangerous to cross Hollywood-centric religion-cum-self-help movement, got its biggest unwanted public airing out in some time this week. I speak of a terrific investigative piece in the new issue of The New Yorker. The hugely compelling and informative 26-page article by Lawrence Wright focuses on the experience of screenwriter and director Paul Haggis (“Million Dollar Baby,” “Crash“), formerly one of the church’s best known below-the-line members. Highly recommended.
* I’ve had fellow entertainment journos confess to me they’re really tired of writing items about James Franco contemplating a seemingly endless number of possible new projects. The guy’s career is on fire and considering that he’s currently pursuing a PHd while getting ready to host the Oscars and appearing just about everywhere in support of “127 Hours,” and presumably taking innumerable meetings and doing lord-knows-what-else, he’s clearly not the kind of person who worries about overextending himself. Nevertheless, I have to wonder about how serious the rumor is about him playing a role in the upcoming live action film version of the manga classic, “Akira.” He’s still young and everything, but if memory serves I kind of had the impression that all the characters were teenagers. Of course, in manga and anime, everyone under 45 looks like they’re 15. Still, Franco better start taking it easier and get his beauty rest if he doesn’t want to lose the part to someone who looks really young like, say, Nicolas Hoult.