“Tamara Drewe,” the latest from the brilliantly versatile non-auteur directing genius Stephen Frears, is a relationship comedy with tragic overtones based on Posy Simmonds’ graphic novel of the same name, in turn inspired by Thomas Hardy’s 18th century novel, Far From the Madding Crowd. The film pits three not-quite-alpha males against each other for the attention of its mercurial and not always lovable title character, played by the beautiful Gemma Arterton. Two of them, fast rising up-and-comers Luke Evans and Dominic Cooper, were set to meet at L.A.’s Four Seasons with a dozen or so entertainment journalists.
It was therefore more than a little bit amusing when the two fictionally competitive actors entered wearing near identical high-end v-neck fashion undershirts and tight-fitting low-rise pants. It was an apparent complete coincidence or perhaps not so random given the popularity of this ultra-casual look among today’s mod set. In any case, Cooper compared their combined look to “a boy band.”
Dominic Cooper made his first big splash in Alan Bennett’s Tony winning, “The History Boys,” starring in both the London and Broadway productions in 2004 and 2005. His film career, however, goes as far back as a bit part in another adaptation of a British graphic novel: the Hughes Brothers’ 2001 version of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s “From Hell.” Other key parts include a memorable role as disreputable Peter Saarsgard’s business partner/buddy in “An Education” and the lovestruck movie fiance to former real-life girlfriend Amanda Seyfried in “Mamma Mia!” Notable upcoming roles include playing the part of Howard Stark (Tony’s future dad) in the largely World War II-set “Captain America: The First Avenger.” In “Tamara Drewe,” Cooper plays self-involved rock drummer Ben Sergeant of the band Swipe, with whom the gorgeous protagonist dallies for large portions of the film.
With a background in such musicals as “Avenue Q” and the “remixed” “Rent” on the London stage, Luke Evans, who plays all-around good guy and potential once-and-future Tamara Drewe paramour Andy Cobb, has found his way into a number of big budget films, including playing Apollo in “Clash of the Titans” and an upcoming role as no-less than Zeus in Tarsem Singh’s “Immortals.” He also recently completed the role of Aramis in Paul W.S. Anderson’s 3-D version of the oft-filmed “The Three Musketeers.”
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Little time but some big news today in the geekier realms of moviedom (which is pretty much all of big moviedom these days, or so it seems at times).
* The dynamic duo of Finke and Fleming have broken the news that “Dark Knight” helmer Christopher Nolan will be leading — though probably not directing — a new Superman reboot that will definitely not follow on the (in my view) somewhat underrated Bryan Singer/Brandon Routh semi-sequel to the Richard Donner/Richard Lester films of the seventies. I’m sure me and half of everyone reading could probably write a novel length essay about this. From my end, at least, that’ll have to wait.
* The apocalyptic battle over the rights to “The Terminator” winds on. Last night, Nikki Finke claimed the exclusive that something called Pacifore had purchased the rights for $29.5 million. Today, since Pacificore is a Santa Barbara-based hedge fund with presumably no knowledge of how to make a blockbuster franchise film, they are today reportedly in negotiations with the former bidding adversaries, Sony and Lionsgate as to actually making new Terminator films. Ben Fritz of the L.A. Times Company Town blog has the details. Apparently, if the negotiations don’t go well, legal action may be in the cards. Gotta love show business.
* And a fun casting story to top everything off. Did I ever tell you people I actually know people who’ve actually been on UCLA stages with Tim Robbins back in the day? It’s really true. Well, I just got a few degrees of separation closer to the “Green Lantern” movie since the very talented writer-director-actor-dramaturg and Sarandon-ex (<sigh>) has joined the cast of “Green Lantern” where he’ll be playing the Peter Saarsgard’s dad. Heat Vision has the scoop.
It’s pretty clear that nothing going on in movieland tonight is going to be able to compete with the sheer entertainment value of the NBC late night TV quagmire, but there’s definitely stuff to talk about.
* Peter Saarsgard of the very good “An Education” is a highly intriguing actor who I’ve been following for some time, especially since catching his work in the underrated “The Dying Gaul” at Sundance a few years back. No matter what kind of character he’s playing, he seems to have a real gift for moral ambiguity. If he’s cast as a villain, we think he must have a good side, and if he’s cast as someone more upright, we wonder if there isn’t something underhanded going on. Anyhow, Borys Kit reports that it looks like he might be playing the villain side of the street in the Green Lantern movie. Could be good.
* The longest named director in show business is back on “The Tourist,” a remake of a French thriller to star Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is the very talented and personable multilingual director behind “The Lives of Others.”
* Simon Brew has some more on the upcoming “Spiderman” reboot announced yesterday. His list of possible new Spideys has two interesting entries that I can’t quite agree with. Daniel Radcliffe actually makes some sense, but we’ll have to see how his American accent is, though I’d personally advise the soon-to-be ex-Harry Potter to avoid overly franchisey roles for a while. Michael Cera would be interesting but, I fear, disastrous. He’d have to get muscular and we know what happens to funny young actors when they become too obviously physically fit. Just ask Anthony Michael Hall.
The trick with Peter Parker is that the actor has to be believable both as a vulnerable demi-nerd, and as the sinewy superhero. Tobey Maguire was actually a really outstanding choice.
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