Popcorn: Down with Oscar's kids
This year's broadcast of the Oscars saw a dip in ratings, so it's not surprising that next year's show will be hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway.
This attempt to be down with the kids should work out: both Franco and Hathaway can do comedy, have presented the live sketch show Saturday Night Live, and Hathaway had a memorable song and dance number with Hugh Jackman at the Oscars this year (performing a musical summary of Frost/Nixon). Incidentally, Franco may well be Oscar-nominated for his role in 127 Hours.
Stars align for Cloud Atlas
The Wachowskis (The Matrix and -- ahem -- Speed Racer) are still making big plans for Cloud Atlas. The adaptation of the epic book will span 1850s Pacific seafaring, post-apocalyptic Hawaii, 1930s Belgium and 21st-century England. The siblings had intended to produce with Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) behind the camera, but now it looks like they might all be sharing directing duties. They'd want to get their act together if they're planning to shoot next summer.
At any rate, at least they have a stellar cast: Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Natalie Portman (below) and James McAvoy have joined the project.
Stephen Dorff's comeback continues
Yep, Stephen Dorff, the squinting too-cool-for-school B-lister, is on the cusp of a comeback, thanks to his star turn in Sofia Coppola's acclaimed -- but quite boring -- Somewhere. Capitalising on this exposure, Dorff is writing and possibly directing a vehicle for himself and Jack Nicholson to star in. (He co-starred with Nicholson effectively some years ago in the heist movie Blood and Wine.) All we know for now is that Dorff is developing a comedy produced by Adam Sandler, set in the south of France, and possibly starring Nicholson. The comeback kid will also be seen in the fantasy epic Immortals, out next year.
Winter's Bone wins big at the Gotham Awards
I may not report every award that gets handed out between now and the Oscars, but it's nice to see Winter's Bone getting some more kudos. At the Gotham Awards -- celebrating indie cinema -- the excellent Southern drama nabbed Best Film, Best Director and Best Ensemble Cast. This likely won't be the last awards the film earns, and its star, Jennifer Lawrence, should probably get a nice frock ready for Oscar and Golden Globe nights.
Mark Wahlberg enters Broken City
Have you heard of the Black List? It's a list of the hottest unproduced scripts in Hollywood as chosen by its biggest producers. Previous Black List scripts have included Brick, The Wrestler and Zombieland. One of the latest Black List screenplays to move into development is Broken City by Brian Tucker and it's just got a high-profile star and director: Mark Wahlberg will take the lead and Alan Hughes (Menace II Society) will direct. Wahlberg told mtv.com that the film noir about a disgraced detective is "in the vein of those old classics -- Chinatown, even LA Confidential". Can't wait!
Irvin Kershner 1923-2010
Though it's undeniably sad that Leslie Nielsen passed away this week, his death has overshadowed the news that Irvin Kershner also died on Monday.
Kershner was a musician before he made films, though he did make the Sean Connery Bond film Never Say Never Again, the underrated Robocop 2 and, most notably, The Empire Strikes Back. This second Star Wars film remains the only unequivocally great one in the saga and a genuine sci-fi classic.