Popcorn: Reel deals taking place at cannes
Buying and selling are in full swing at Cannes, and Lionsgate has already made two deals: First up, it got behind David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, which will star Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud, Michael Fassbender (below right) as Carl Jung, and Keira Knightley co-starring. Then it purchased Coriolanus, directed by Ralph Fiennes. Based on a Shakespeare play and written by Gladiator's John Logan, the film will star Fiennes as a Roman leader with mother issues.
Fassbender and Macy get Shot
Kerry's Michael Fassbender is having a busy Cannes. He's also starring in A Single Shot for director David Jacobson (Down in the Valley). The film will be a cat-and-mouse thriller with a hunter (Fassbender) being pursued by two assassins (William H Macy and Thomas Haden Church). That should be a lark.
Mary J Blige just cares for Simone
After years of false starts, singer/actress/producer Mary J Blige is set to start filming her Nina Simone biopic. Cynthia Mort (writer of The Brave One), will be writing and directing Ms Blige in a film that deals with the singer's relationship with her assistant Clifton Henderson. So think of it as more of a snapshot than an origins story. Blige has the pipes for it, but surely Erykah Badu is a better choice? Just a thought.
More Cowboys to fight Aliens
Here's another long-postponed project -- the endearingly barmy Cowboys and Aliens. After more than a decade of development hell, the western sci-fi directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man) will finally start filming this summer. Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford signed on some months ago, and this week a number of fine actors have joined the cast, including Paul Dano (There Will be Blood), Keith Carradine (Deadwood, Southern Comfort) and Clancy Brown (Highlander, The Shawshank Redemption). It gets better -- the film will not be shot in 3D!
Disney and Fox race 20,000 Leagues under the Sea
You wait years for a fantastical submarine, and then two come along at once! Disney is hard at work putting together its version of the classic adventure, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, while Fox is also diving into an adaptation. The former is hoping to sign the often-awesome director David Fincher (Se7en, Benjamin Button), while Fox have Tony and Ridley Scott producing and possibly Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Wanted) holding the megaphone. I bet only one project will make it past the finish line.
Cameron Crowe to go to the Zoo
One of my favourite directors, Cameron Crowe, is returning to film-making after a five-year absence. The director of Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous and Say Anything will adapt Benjamin Mee's memoir, We Bought a Zoo. The book told the true story of how Mee and his children bought a dilapidated zoo in England, complete with dozens of animals and an eccentric skeleton crew. It was also the subject of a BBC documentary, Ben's Zoo. Crowe is hoping to nab an A-list star to headline the project.
Crowe, who used to write for Rolling Stone magazine, is also working on a Marvin Gaye biopic with Terrence Howard (Hustle and Flow, Iron Man) expected to star. Thankfully, Will Smith turned down the lead role, leaving it open to the eccentric Howard.