17 items from 2003
Actors Kevin Spacey and Bob Hoskins had musical onlookers impressed with their vocal stylings when they teamed up to record a song for a new soundtrack. In upcoming film Beyond The Sea, a biopic of 1950s singer Bobby Darin, Spacey plays the lead and takes directing duties. Cockney Mona Lisa actor Hoskins and the Hollywood star recently met up at London's famous Abbey Road recording studios, which has played host to pop legends including The Beatles, to record a version of jazz standard "Mack The Knife" for the film's soundtrack. A studio insider says, "The two of them were larking about all day. Kevin was in top form; he had the studio in stitches but he impressed everyone with his singing. He and Bob were constantly trying to top each other in the crooning stakes but they eventually got themselves in harmony and nailed a version they were both happy with." »
Supermodel Kate Moss is keen to branch out in her career - she's now taking acting lessons and wants to star in movies. The British beauty has already made her first steps in a musical direction - by teaming up with Primal Scream pal Bobby Gillespie on a remake of classic track Some Velvet Morning. But the mother of baby Lila Grace is keen to develop her acting career, and has already turned down a role in Stephen Fry's film Bright Young Things, because she didn't yet feel ready for such a high-profile role. A source tells The Sun, "Kate was very flattered to get the offer but she didn't feel ready to tackle something like that. "She has always wanted to get into acting but she knows she would be under the spotlight and open to ridicule from the critics. She has no intention of giving up the catwalk yet but she knows you can't keep modeling forever. A lot of her closest friends are actors, like Sadie Frost, Jonny Lee Miller and Kevin Spacey and she'd like to give it a go." »
1 October 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
NEW YORK -- The Independent Film Channel has begun production on a tribute to late director Ted Demme. Scheduled for release late next year, In Search of Ted Demme will feature a cavalcade of actors remembering the filmmaker, who died in January 2002 after amassing credits that include Blow and The Ref. The film will be executive produced by Richard LaGravenese, who directed A Decade Under the Influence with Demme, as well as Denis Leary and Jim Serpico of Apostle Pictures, together with Demme's wife, Amanda Scheer-Demme. Leary will be joined onscreen by people who worked with Demme, including Kevin Spacey, Johnny Depp, Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Bruckheimer and Joel Silver. Search will be told with the same kind of offbeat humor Demme was known for, said IFC director of original programming Alison Bourke, who also will executive produce the project with Ed Carroll, the network's executive vp and general manager. John Walter will direct Search; Jerry Kupfer of K2 Pictures produces. »
12 August 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
MDP Worldwide and Kevin Spacey's Trigger Street Prods. are parting ways on Spacey's longtime pet project, the Bobby Darin biopic Beyond the Sea. According to a joint announcement, MDP has withdrawn from the film due to Spacey's need to complete the film with the availability of the cast and production personnel by the end of 2003, which conflicted with MDP's current production schedule. The film is due to start shooting Oct. 6 with new partner VisionView and domestic distribution by Lions Gate Films. "We regret that this scheduling conflict has caused us to withdraw our involvement in Beyond the Sea," MDP chairman and CEO Mark Damon said. "But we are as devoted as Kevin to getting the picture made, and if that means we have to step aside, then we will." »
Thursday, July 31
SYDNEY -- Rhys Ifans is a character actor par excellence, a skilled scene-stealer who has lifted from the likes of Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts ("Notting Hill"), Tim Robbins ("Human Nature"), Kevin Spacey ("The Shipping News") and Adam Sandler ("Little Nicky"). In the warm, sparkling character comedy "Danny Deckchair", the Welsh actor moves to center stage, but it has taken a trip to Australia to get him there.
With its engaging performances, left-of-center humor, winning sense of warmth and the presence of Ifans, "Danny Deckchair" may just float its way to some low-key art house success.
A fable-like quality is often difficult to catch, but debut feature director Jeff Balsmeyer (an American living in Sydney) has done just that. While the town of Clarence is grounded in reality, there's just enough magic about it to suggest that this all might be a figment of Danny's imagination.
As well as capturing the elusive glow of magic realism, Balsmeyer also succeeds in drawing fine performances out of his cast. Ifans is all charm and sturdy sweetness as Danny, while Otto (about as far away from her icily dignified turn in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" as you could get) is the perfect foil, equally sweet but with an earthier verve. Clarke is superb as Trudy, giving her character enough levels to make her so much more interesting than the garden-variety villain that she could have been.
The only real problem with "Danny Deckchair" is that writer-director Balsmeyer fails to set up the changes that Danny will undergo when he arrives in Clarence. We are shown nothing of his real potential in the early stages of the film, so his sudden transformation (where he has advice for everyone and even moves into small-town politics) comes out of nowhere.
The Cobalt Media Group and Macquarie Film Corp. in association with Crusader Entertainment presents a City Production
Director-screenwriter: Jeff Balsmeyer
Producer: Andrew Mason
Executive producers: Howard Baldwin, Karen Baldwin, Bill Immerman
Co-producer: Lizzie Bryant
Director of photography: Martin McGrath
Production designer: Kim Buddee
Music: Plan 9
Editor: Suresh Ayyar
Danny Morgan: Rhys Ifans
Glenda Lake: Miranda Otto
Trudy Dunphy: Justine Clarke
Sandy Upman: Rhys Muldoon
Pete: John Batchelor
Donna: Jane Ruggiero
Bob: Rod Zuanic
Running time -- 100 minutes
No MPAA rating »
Hollywood anglophile Kevin Spacey has secured a very royal fundraiser for his new project, London's Old Vic Theatre - an exclusive party at Windsor Castle. The Oscar-winner was named artistic director of the struggling playhouse in February, and immediately announced plans to raise vital funds to restore and support the 180-year-old venue. And it seems Spacey has used his famous name to arrange a very special fundraising event at the end of June. According to British tabloid the Daily Mail, the evening will include evensong in the royal palace's St. George's Chapel, followed by drinks and dinner in the castle. A source says, "A few phone calls to the palace and it was sorted." »
Kate Bosworth is in final negotiations to jump into Beyond the Sea, playing Sandra Dee opposite Kevin Spacey in the Bobby Darin biopic for Mark Damon's MDP Worldwide and Spacey's Trigger Street Prods. Shooting on the project is scheduled to begin in late summer. Spacey has long been shepherding the Darin biopic, which will see him topline as the late star of the stage and screen best known for his diverse talents and such hit songs as "Dream Lover", "Mack the Knife", "Splish Splash" and "Beyond the Sea". The film, described as a nonlinear biopic, will reportedly cover the 1940s-70s, with a close look at his relationship and marriage to Dee (Bosworth). »
Scribe Charles Randolph has been tapped to adapt the novel St. Agnes' Stand for DreamWorks Pictures. The project, originally penned by author Tom Eidson, has Martin Scorsese attached to direct. Randolph will pen a screenplay based on the 1860s-set story of a reluctant hero, Nat Swanson, who is on the run from a mob of Texas cowboys after having killed one of their own. While on the run, he helps save a nun and a group of seven orphans from being attacked by Apache Indians. Steven Spielberg is said to have a keen interest in Agnes. No producers are attached, sources said. DreamWorks could not be reached for comment. Randolph is repped by CAA, Margaret Riley Management and attorney Craig Emanuel at Loeb & Loeb. His other credits include the Kevin Spacey starrer The Life of David Gale for Universal Pictures. »
Kate Bosworth is in final negotiations to jump into Beyond the Sea, playing Sandra Dee opposite Kevin Spacey in the Bobby Darin biopic for Mark Damon's MDP Worldwide and Spacey's Trigger Street Prods. Shooting on the project is scheduled to begin in late summer. Spacey has long been shepherding the Darin biopic, which will see him topline as the late star of the stage and screen best known for his diverse talents and such hit songs as "Dream Lover," "Mack the Knife," "Splish Splash" and "Beyond the Sea." The film, described as a nonlinear biopic, will reportedly cover the 1940s-70s, with a close look at his relationship and marriage to Dee (Bosworth). »
American audiences might find French actor Guillaume Canet's first stab at writing and directing a bit dull, a tale skewering the ruthless ambition of show business types that feels forced and overly moralistic. Sadly, a solid performance by Francois Berleand is wasted on this slow-developing yarn.
"Anything You Say" centers on the disillusionment of twentysomething Bastien, played straightforwardly by Canet ("Vidocq", "The Beach"). Bastien wants desperately to fulfill his dream of transitioning from warming up audiences for a sadistic reality/talk show to hosting his own concept.
Although his boss (and host of the current show) takes credit for the idea in a pitch meeting, producer Jean-Louis Broustal (Berleand) senses the truth. He encourages young Bastien to take what is rightfully his. The silver-haired executive invites him for a night out on the town, then a weekend in the country with his young trophy wife, Clara (Diane Kruger). Our first indication that something is awry comes when Clara asks Bastien to make love to her, then her husband nonchalantly asks how she was the next morning. The whole scene revolts Bastien, but he allows himself to be played by the couple anyway. He will do or say anything for his 15 minutes of fame.
The film falls flat thereafter, failing to hold its own as either a wicked slice of voyeurism or a cutting satire of the decadent. The second act in the country drags on far too long, though the setting is well-utilized. The movie's best shot at resonance is as a morality tale. Unfortunately, it's hard to care about who Bastien is or what happens to him. A few funny moments break the tedium but not enough to sustain a two-hour running time.
Berleand's performance does shine, though. It's fascinating to watch the many faces and personalities of a man who views his childish, despicable behavior as worldly and very 21st century. Like Kevin Spacey's Hollywood producer in "Swimming With Sharks", his moods turn on a dime. Berleand, who appeared in "The Transporter" and "Romance", received a Cesar nom for the role. »
Bobby Darin's widow Sandra Dee is locked in a bitter battle with actor Kevin Spacey - because she doesn't want Drew Barrymore to portray her in a biopic of her late husband's life. Spacey bought the rights to star as the legendary '50s crooner, who died at the age of 37. But, according to American tabloid the Star, problems arose when Charlie's Angels star Barrymore was approached by Spacey to take on the role of young Dee in Beyond The Sea. Outraged Dee reportedly thinks Barrymore is far too "worldly" and feels Legally Blonde beauty Reese Witherspoon would come across much more innocent. »
Actor Kevin Spacey is finally set to show off his singing skills in a long-awaited Bobby Darin biopic. Beyond The Sea, which begins shooting in June, has taken five years of planning to come together, with Spacey even announcing plans three years ago to take six months to devote time to vocal practice ahead of the film. The movie, to be directed by Spacey, had once been planned as a Warner Brothers picture, but the actor bought the rights from the film studio two years ago. Beyond The Sea will cover the 1940s to the 1970s, but Spacey stress, "It's not a liner story. And not a docudrama." And at the age of 43, Spacey is sure he'll look young enough to play the "Dream Lover" star, who died at the age of 37. He says, "Bobby always looked a little older - but if I waited any more I might be too old." He adds, "This is a film I've dreamed about doing for quite a while and it's taken to while to sort of get it all together. I'm a huge Bobby Darin fan." Spacey is also keen to emphasize he wants the Darin family to know he will treat the project "with respect." He sent letters to that effect to Darin's wife Sandra Dee and their son Dodd, who will be portrayed in the film. »
Shamed rock chick Courtney Love has made peace with Virgin Atlantic, after calling a truce with its millionaire boss Sir Richard Branson. The former Hole frontwoman was arrested at London's Heathrow airport on Tuesday after cabin crew on a Virgin flight from Los Angeles complained about her behavior during the flight. She was let off with a police caution but later complained about her treatment by cabin crew. She said, "I have been flying British Airways for a long time and I will continue to do so. This is my second time on Virgin and my first time wasn't so great either." But, after meeting millionaire Branson at the theatre fundraising event she flew into London to attend, the pair have kissed and made up. The tycoon says, "Virgin Atlantic was built thanks to the rock industry so I like to think we are a bit more understanding than most airlines. Courtney was a little out of order on the flight over and apologized to me. We are looking forward to flying her back to LA." He joked, "Perhaps Virgin's new slogan should be that 'Rock stars swear by us." Love was in London to perform at a charity concert organized by Kevin Spacey and Sir Elton John. »
Hollywood star Kevin Spacey is swapping movies for the stage to become artistic director of London's historic Old Vic theatre. The American Beauty Oscar winner, who has already donated large sums of money to help restore the 180-year-old venue, could take on the vacant post as early as this week. The 1,000-seat-theatre was saved from becoming a lap-dancing club in 1998 after impresario Sally Greene attracted a host of A-list benefactors including Spacey, Sir Elton John - who is the theatre's chairman - and Richard Attenborough, who is the chairman of Old Vic Productions. After being made a trustee of the Old Vic, Spacey - who starred in The Iceman Cometh there in 1998 - became so committed to the theatre, he frequently flies over from America to attend board meetings. Last year he said, "The Old Vic is a place born for actors to play and for the hearts and minds of theatre-goers to be challenged and enthralled." But Spacey, 43, has some work to do to restore the theatre to its former glory. The roof alone requires $525,000 repairs to stop water leaking on the audience. »
27 January 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
PARK CITY -- "The United States of Leland" is a complex and often compelling melodrama, at times almost verging on soap opera.
Writer-director Matthew Ryan Hoge in an eye-catching debut is attempting to demonstrate what a slippery slope morality can be. Good people do bad things, sometimes very bad things, and while it is easy to pass judgment from afar, the more one examines a single immoral act, the less certain those judgments become.
This is tricky dramatic stuff, certain to displease some and at times a bit didactic. (It mirrors Sundance's opening-night film, "Levity", both by writer-directors who have worked in juvenile detention centers and strive to make a "monster" comprehensible.) Despite how well made the film is with finely nuanced performances from a stellar cast and a fascinating jigsaw-puzzle narration, its commercial potential is limited. Paramount Classics, which acquired the film during Sundance, will need judicious marketing to reach sophisticated adult viewers.
A murder in a Southwestern community is so seemingly senseless that it makes no sense. Leland Fitzgerald (Ryan Gosling), an intelligent but impassive young man, stabs an autistic boy 20 times. He is arrested and sent to a detention center where a teacher, Pearl Madison (Don Cheadle), attempts to penetrate this student's alienation to discover the "why" behind the crime. He does so with an ulterior motive: A struggling writer, Pearl senses a good book in the youth's story.
In conversations between these two and a journal Leland starts writing, the story moves out into the community to survey the fallout of the heinous crime. Several people may have contributed to Leland's mental state, starting with his remote, terribly famous father (Kevin Spacey), a novelist living in Paris who hasn't seen his son in years. Leland's divorced mom (Lena Olin), from whom he has many secrets, struggles to make up for this absence. Then there's Becky (Jena Malone), the victim's sister and Leland's junkie girlfriend, who sends him packing in favor of her drug-dealer lover.
The tragedy has severely impacted the victim's family as the boy's father (Martin Donovan) and mother (Ann Magnuson) cannot cope with their grief. It also upsets the relationship between the victim's older sister (Michelle Williams) and her caring boyfriend (Chris Klein), whose mother died the year before.
Leland's community stretches implausibly to include a family of strangers that takes him on a solo trip to New York. Even here, dysfunctionalism greets him as the wife (Sherilyn Fenn) later discovers her husband's infidelities.
Pearl becomes the character through whom we view the story. As he gains insight into Leland's thinking, Pearl is forced to look at his own life along with the small crimes and misdemeanors he tends to dismiss by declaring, "I'm only human". What, the movie asks, is this connection between humanness and morality?
The "why" never becomes fully clear as it would in a murder mystery. Rather, the lives of these individuals shed light on Leland's psychological makeup and his dark outlook on life. It is a bit of a stretch that everyone is such an emotional mess, but the actors give precise and subtle performances that make the soapier aspects of the narrative credible.
Hoge is admirably supported in his first film by expressive camerawork, editing and design. Paramount Classics might consider toning down that soft-rock soundtrack, though, as it threatens to drown out many scenes.
THE UNITED STATES OF LELAND
A Thousand Words presentation in association with MDP Worldwide of a Tigger Street production
Credits: Screenwriter-director: Matthew Ryan Hoge; Producers: Kevin Spacey, Bernie Morris, Palmer West, Jonah Smith; Executive producers: Mark Damon, Sammy Lee, Stewart Hall; Director of photography: James Glennon; Production designer: Edward T. McAvoy; Music: Jeremy Enigk; Costume designer: Genevieve Tyrrell; Editor: Jeff Baetancourt. Cast: Pearl Madison: Don Cheadle; Leland Fitzgerald: Ryan Gosling; Allen Harris: Chris Klein; Becky: Jena Malone; Marybeth: Lena Olin; Albert: Kevin Spacey; Julie: Michelle Williams; Harry: Martin Donovan; Karen: Ann Magnuson.
No MPAA rating, running time 108 minutes.
Double Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey has managed to combine his two great loves in his next Hollywood role - singing and acting. The American Beauty star has long been searching for the right vehicle to highlight his vocal talents and has now found it in a biopic of American crooner Bobby Darin. Shooting will begin early next year. Spacey says, "Bobby was one of my idols. He was the coolest cat in town." »
A sequel to hit film Seven is to be made - with original star Morgan Freeman but minus hunk Brad Pitt. The grisly serial killer movie wowed audiences in the 1995 who watched as Pitt's character Detective David Mills was left bereft after his wife and unborn baby became the last victims of Kevin Spacey's eerie psycho. Instead the action will center on Freeman's character William Somerset, who partnered Pitt in the first film, as he comes up against another serial killer - who has psychic abilities. An insider says, "The gruesome climax had previously ruled out a sequel. But bosses think they have the right script now. Brad's character will be mentioned, but he will not appear. He will be in a mental hospital." »
17 items from 2003
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