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.
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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.
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I need to keep it brief tonight, but there are a few items tonight that I want to catch up with.
* It nice to lead with some good news. Jailed Iranian director Jafar Panahi has reportedly been released on bail from his imprisonment. The director, who was supposed to sit on the Cannes jury, had been on a hunger strike. The acclaimed film-maker appears to be in trouble because of a documentary about the Iranian protest movement.
* The lower than expected box office performance for “Shrek Forever After” had an effect on Wall Street. Moreover, Patrick Goldstein wonders if those inflated 3-D ticket prices might already be starting to backfire. I tend to agree. People may not mind paying a little extra for something that feels like a real event, but 3-D is already starting to feel old hat and, as Goldstein reminds us, there’s a lot more coming.
* This story fell between the cracks a few days back — and Louis Black doesn’t work for me — but Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me“) really is doing that comicon documentary that was rumored sometime back. It was originally plugged as a collaboration of some sort with Joss Whedon, but it turns out Whedon is just one of a few geek superstars who will be executive producing. That’ possibly the most elastic job title in show business, so his involvement could be fairly minimal though I’m sure he’ll appear on screen. Accompanying Whedon in backing the film are none other than Stan Lee and Harry Knowles.
* A long time ago, I found the novel, Less Than Zero, oddly compelling reading in that it was a vivid portrait of a human train wreck. That being said, Brett Easton Ellis is certainly not dispelling the widespread opinion that he might be a jackass with his pronouncements about female directors. May he shortly be visited by the ghost of Ida Lupino.
* The real winner at Cannes: Eliot Spitzer.
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In something like the way America caught the “Survivor”-borne reality show virus from other nations in the realm of TV, our American predilection for coming up with multiple movies based on a single character or concept seems to be happening more in other lands these days. Of course, culture is a feedback loop and we start with the first film in a franchise which looks to become a possible American franchise as well. It’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” based on the first of three posthumously published mystery novels written by Danish writer and activist, Stieg Larsson, that have been dubbed The Millennium Trilogy.
Since this solid, actually quite conventional, though rather sordid and, for some, disturbing mystery thriller did extremely well all over the world, and it hasn’t done badly here, it’s naturally being remade. It’s being given a rather royal treatment, with director David Fincher returning to familiar murderous territory and Steve Zaillian (“Schindler’s List”) writing and producing. Currently young actresses including Ellen Page, Carrie Mulligan, and Natalie Portman‘s name are being bandied about for the title role, though an unknown is also perhaps a possibility. They do need someone very good, I can tell you that.
The male lead — a schlumpish middle-aged dude in the Danish film — has apparently been offered to Brad Pitt, who is middle-aged but very Brad Pitt-like. For it to work, he might have to put on some weight or something as it’s an oddball romance of sorts and it’s no longer so oddball if a handsome movie-star guy shows up.