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13 items from 2002


Blanchett, Jones ride for Howard

30 October 2002 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Cate Blanchett and Tommy Lee Jones are in negotiations to star in an untitled psychological suspense drama set in the Old West for Revolution Studios and Imagine Entertainment. Formerly known as The Last Ride, the project will mark helmer Ron Howard's follow-up feature to the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind. Production is scheduled to begin in early March. The project, based on Thomas Eidson's novel The Last Ride, is set in 1886 New Mexico and tells the story of a father (Jones) who returns home to make peace with his now-grown daughter Maggie (Blanchett), whom he has not seen since she was a little girl. When Maggie's daughter is kidnapped by a band of outcasts, Maggie must unite with her father to rescue her. »

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Blanchett, Jones ride for Howard

30 October 2002 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Cate Blanchett and Tommy Lee Jones are in negotiations to star in an untitled psychological suspense drama set in the Old West for Revolution Studios and Imagine Entertainment. Formerly known as The Last Ride, the project will mark helmer Ron Howard's follow-up feature to the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind. Production is scheduled to begin in early March. The project, based on Thomas Eidson's novel The Last Ride, is set in 1886 New Mexico and tells the story of a father (Jones) who returns home to make peace with his now-grown daughter Maggie (Blanchett), whom he has not seen since she was a little girl. When Maggie's daughter is kidnapped by a band of outcasts, Maggie must unite with her father to rescue her. »

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Fox pays big to get 'Arrested'

26 September 2002 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

It's Arrested Development season at Fox. The network has picked up a comedy from Imagine Television and 20th Century Fox TV written by Mitchell Hurwitz (CBS' The Ellen Show). The show, a pet project of Imagine principal Ron Howard, has received a put pilot commitment with a high six-figure penalty attached. The deal came down after a week of heated bidding between Fox and NBC. Fox won out at the eleventh hour after it offered a premium license fee and a hefty penalty if the project doesn't go forward. Conceived by Hurwitz and Howard, Arrested Development centers on a wealthy multigenerational family in Orange County, Calif., that bonds together for survival after the patriarch is arrested for fraud and the family assets are frozen. The fictional family in the show borrows elements from the real-life families of Hurwitz, who grew up in Orange County, and Howard. »

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Apollo 13 Imax

20 September 2002 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Shorter by about 20 minutes but bigger and better than ever on an Imax screen, the Academy Award-winning 1995 film "Apollo 13" is the first official flight of what could become a lucrative theatrical format for new and, more excitingly, old films. Opening in 22 Imax theaters and likely to draw good crowds, "Apollo 13 The Imax Experience" utilizes Imax DMR, a digital remastering process that facilitates the transfer of existing 35mm films into the 15-perforation 70mm format.

In other words, it is now possible to see conventional theatrical releases on a screen so big and encompassing of one's field of vision (up to 120 feet wide) that it's the equivalent of watching a 27-inch television from one foot away. Combined with six-channel stereo sound pumped through 44 speakers resulting in 12,000 watts of surround sound, the result is arguably the most viewer-enveloping way to watch a movie.

With "Apollo 13 The Imax Experience" -- which is quite a bit more engineered for the hardware than projecting existing 35mm films on the large-format screen, a practice that's become regular for major-event movies -- the technological upgrade has intriguing results that only time and more remastered classics (1995 best picture winner "Braveheart", anyone?) will verify.

Originally a widescreen release, director Ron Howard's film looks pretty good in the 1 to 1:33 aspect ratio of the Imax format, with few resulting awkward compositions. Many shots have noticeably extra room at the top of the frame (in medium and many close shots, few crew-cut or big-hair heads are cut off), but the most startling revelation is the three-dimensional quality of close-ups and tight shots, of which "Apollo 13" has a ton. In the Command Module and the Aquarius lunar module, where distances are measured in a few feet, the feeling of being connected to the characters and storytelling is greatly enhanced.

This newfound intimacy between viewer and performers also means that one nearly chokes on the cigarette smoke of flight director Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) and almost feels the breath of characters speaking directly to the camera, such as when Jean Speegle Howard, as the mother of astronaut Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), says the great line about her son's prowess at landing anything that can fly.

Helping to achieve the sense of immediacy is the removal of grain from the images, a result of the digital remastering. It's a marriage of two worlds that could have a long future, while the upcoming Imax rerelease of "Stars Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" will show the results of using all-digital material in the leap to the 15/70mm format.

What's more hinted at than fully exploited in "Apollo 13", which is a fault of the original film, is that many of the spectacular shots in space and the launch sequence, while memorable, are not held long enough. Sure, the Imax format has long been ghettoized as the realm of travelogues and educational works where aerial shots and landscapes are often lingered on, but in an effort to expand their audience, giant-screen engineers shouldn't assume everyone has "been there and done that."

The well-told story of a 1970 mission to the moon that encountered trouble and enthralled the world as it enfolded, "Apollo 13" is a savvy launch vehicle for Imax DMR with its unique combination of drama and spectacle. However, it's always seemed that Howard and company de-emphasized the visual splendor of spaceflight in favor of the emotional core of the story, which makes one all the more ready to see a remastered film that revels in sweeping scenes of action and beautiful individual shots.

The special effects and many scenes of weightlessness look as good or better than in the original, while the Oscar-winning sound and James Horner's rousing score make good use of the hefty audio system. The trimming of the running time seems barely noticeable in terms of the storytelling and appears to have resulted mostly because the current Imax projectors cannot handle a movie longer than 120 minutes.

APOLLO 13 THE IMAX EXPERIENCE

Universal Pictures

Imagine Entertainment A Brian Grazer production

Credits:

Director: Ron Howard

Screenwriters: William Broyles Jr., Al Reinert

Producer: Brian Grazer

Executive producer: Todd Hallowell

Director of photography: Dean Cundey

Production designer: Michael Corenblith

Editors: Mike Hill, Dan Hanley

Costume designer: Rita Ryack

Music: James Horner

Casting: Jane Jenkins, Janet Hirshenson

Cast:

Jim Lovell: Tom Hanks

Fred Haise: Bill Paxton

Jack Swigert: Kevin Bacon

Ken Mattingly: Gary Sinise

Gene Kranz: Ed Harris

Marilyn Lovell: Kathleen Quinlan

Running time -- 116 minutes

MPAA rating: PG

»

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Crowe's 'Alamo' Dumped

20 August 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Russell Crowe's new movie has been unceremoniously dumped by Disney after the studio balked at the star's cash demands. The Gladiator hunk's $19.5 million salary demands, coupled with director Ron Howard's $10 million and producer Brian Grazer's $6.75 million - with demands of generous bonuses on top - warned Disney off plans to remake 1960's American Independence drama The Alamo. The studio will now proceed with the project, but will now produce a low budget version without the stars. It was reported last month that Howard, who worked with Crowe on last year's Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind, had left the project because screenwriters were taking too long to finish the script, but that Ethan Hawke was still attached. »

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Hanks Picks Up Coveted Honor

14 June 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Two-time Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks has made history by becoming the youngest recipient of the American Film Institute's lifetime achievement award. The 45-year-old Cast Away star attracted a glittering array of celebrities flocking to honor him at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre on Wednesday night, including Sharon Stone, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Helen Hunt, Ron Howard, Haley Joel Osment and Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson. A Beautiful Mind director Howard says, "I hate to be one the thousands saying that he's such a nice guy, but he is. He used to win roles, now he doesn't have to do that anymore. I'm just one of those guys who chase him with scripts." Actress Stone adds, "He has dignity, humanity and he's cute!" And Spielberg says of the honor, which is usually bestowed on performers decades older than Hanks, "We ran out of really old guys and girls to honor, so we had to choose Tom." Quipped a bemused Hanks, "I still think I'm gonna get ID'ed when I buy beer." »

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Ron Howard Buys Film Rights To Playboy

9 May 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hollywood movie-maker Ron Howard has splashed out on the entire archives of iconic American magazine Playboy. Howard's Image Entertainment movie company has teamed up with Universal Pictures to snap up the rights to 48 years of the magazine's material, so they can make films based on Playboy articles. Producer Brian Grazer, Howard's partner at Image Entertainment, says of the deal, "Playboy magazine has served as the birthplace of source material for numerous movies, TV shows and plays. "But we think there's still a lot of gold left to be mined from those archives." Cider House Rules writer John Irving and Fahrenheit 451 novelist Ray Bradbury both had work published in Playboy. Howard and Grazer have already picked up the feature film rights for Playboy founder Hugh Hefner's life story. »

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Ron Howard Plans The Alamo At Battle Site

22 March 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Oscar-nominated director Ron Howard has been meeting with Texas governor Rick Perry with a view to revamping the classic western tale of the battle of The Alamo. Perry's pal Russell Crowe suggested Howard scrap plans to remake The Alamo - about the Texas independence battle - in Hollywood and instead talk to the governor about making the movie at the site of the original battle. Howard says, "It wouldn't quite make sense to make the movie anywhere else. We're making that case to the studio." Crowe became great friends with Perry when he played shows with his rock group 30 Odd Foot Of Grunts in 2000 in Austin, Texas, and was made a city freeman. »

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Crowe Hits Out At Critics

14 March 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Russell Crowe has attacked negative campaigning at this year's Oscars. The antipodean star's film A Beautiful Mind has been criticized for omitting mathematician John Nash's homosexual relationships and anti-semitic remarks at the height of his fight against schizophrenia. But Crowe hits back, "We have to examine the amount of money we're spending on these campaigns. This is supposed to be about the joy of filmmaking. It's supposed to be about celebration." Director Ron Howard is also quick to defend Nash, saying, "He's a noble figure. For anyone to report behavior that was reported to have occurred at the absolute height of his delusions is not doing the world, or John Nash, or themselves, any kind of service." It is unknown who is behind the attacks, which were picked up by newspapers from an internet news website, but it is believed they were released by the film's rivals to persuade the Academy's members to ignore the film. »

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Howard Named Best Director

11 March 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Ron Howard claimed the top film-making honour on Saturday night from the Director's Guild of America. However, despite being considered one of the most accurate barometers of Oscar success, Howard, honoured for Oscar favourite A Beautiful Mind, down-played the award's predictive qualities. Speaking at the Los Angeles prizegiving, he said, "I don't know if that connection holds any more. It's been so erratic the past few years that I just don't know if it holds up. "I have my fingers crossed for the Oscars, but I'm just enjoying this right now." The former "Happy Days" star, whose directing credits include several box-office successes, including How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Apollo 13, has yet to win an Oscar. »

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A Beautiful Mind Cover-Up Controversy

24 January 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Biographer Sylvia Nasar has defended screenwriter Akiva Goldsman's decision to omit certain details about mathematician John Forbes Nash from his film A Beautiful Mind. Fans of the writer's biography about the former schizophrenic have criticized both Goldsman and the movie's director Ron Howard for ignoring certain aspects of Nash's life - including his gay tendencies, the fact that he fathered an illegitimate child, and that he and his wife Alicia divorced shortly after his schizophrenia was diagnosed. In the film, Jennifer Connelly, who plays Alicia, stands by her troubled husband's side throughout his mental problems. And Nash, played by Russell Crowe, is portrayed as an upstanding - and resolutely heterosexual - math genius. But Nasser insists, "It would have been bizarre if the Nash character in the film had been gay because it would have been a terrific departure from the actual fact." Connelly adds, "Some of the things that I've heard people criticize for not being in the film are contested anyway, and there's no evidence that some of those things are really true. Most importantly, the Nashes are happy with it." Nash and Alicia lived together as a divorced couple and remarried last June. »

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Jennifer Connelly's Favorite Director

23 January 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Jennifer Connelly has worked with some of the best directors in Hollywood - but she is convinced her four-year-old son beats the lot. The sexy 31-year-old picked up a Golden Globe for her role alongside Russell Crowe in the Ron Howard directed, A Beautiful Mind. But Connelly says Howard will have to take second place to her son Kai, who she is convinced will make a great movie-maker. Jennifer says the toddler has a "Theatrical, exuberant personality." Adding, "We've already done plays together. Very short plays. He dictates them to me. Sometimes he casts me, sometimes he doesn't. And when I'm in the play, he'll sometimes say to me, 'No Mom, you didn't say that right.'" »

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Altman Snubbed By Directors Guild

23 January 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Golden Globe winner Robert Altman has been snubbed in the Directors Guild Of America nominations. The Gosford Park movie maker claimed the Best Director prize on Sunday, but he won't be following that with a DGA. Instead, the nominees are Ron Howard for A Beautiful Mind, Peter Jackson for The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, Baz Luhrmann for Moulin Rouge, Christopher Nolan for Memento and Brit Ridley Scott for Black Hawk Down. »

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13 items from 2002


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