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By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter
Barry Levinson‘s drama The Humbling, which stars Al Pacino, and Richard Lagravanese‘s musical The Last Five Years, which Jason Robert Brown adapted from his off-Broadway show — two films that had their world premieres at this month’s Toronto International Film Festival and quickly found U.S. distributors that see them as 2014 awards bait — will open the 21st annual Austin Film Festival and Screenwriters Conference on Oct. 23, the fest announced on Tuesday.
Additionally, Jon Stewart‘s feature directorial debut Rosewater, a drama based on the harrowing true story of the Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, will close the fest in Texas’ capital on Oct. 30, with Stewart and Bahari — who have been working the fest circuit hard this fall — on hand for the festivities.
- Anjelica Oswald
The 2014 Austin Film Festival will open with the U.S. premiere of Barry Levinson’s “The Humbling” on Oct. 23, along with Richard Lagravenese’s “The Last 5 Years,” an adaptation of the Jason Robert Brown musical. Jon Stewart and Maziar Bahari will present Stewart’s “Rosewater” to close the festival on Oct. 30.
“The Humbling,” (pictured) based a Philip Roth novel of the same name, stars Al Pacino as an aging actor who begins an affair with a much younger woman, played by Greta Gerwig. “The Last 5 Years,” which writer-director Lagravenese will present at the festival, explores a five-year relationship between an ascending novelist, played by Jeremy Jordan, and a struggling actress, played by Anna Kendrick.
Stewart wrote and directed “Rosewater,” based on Bahari’s book “Then They Came for Me” with Aimee Molloy about the Iranian journalist’s experience of as a prisoner in his native country for 118 days »
- Kevin Noonan
Why was anyone surprised that "The Equalizer" was a solid hit, opening at an estimated $35.0 million?
Tracking suggested that the Denzel Washington movie would open only in the high 20s; after all, it's a movie based on a second-tier 1980s TV action drama that no one under 50 remembers fondly, and it's competing in the marketplace with Liam Neeson's similar "A Walk Among the Tombstones."
Nonetheless, "The Equalizer" pulled off the fourth largest September opening ever and marked the 12th straight $20-million-plus opening for a Washington wide-release movie, a track record stretching back a decade.
Clearly, Washington remains, at 59, one of Hollywood's most reliable box office draws. (And like fellow Aarp-aged action hero Neeson, Washington shows no sign of slowing down.)
What is he doing right? What does he have that others don't? Here are a few things.
Consistency. The world-weary, vengeful man-of-action role that Washington plays in "Equalizer" may »
- Gary Susman
A two-time Academy Award-winner (with a further four nominations under his belt), Washington has achieved just about all there is to achieve in his glittering Hollywood career. Picking out his five best movies is a tricky job, but we've attempted to do it anyway. Read on to find out which Denzel movies we think are the absolute essentials...
Edward Zwick's American Civil War drama starred Washington as Private Silas Trip, a soldier in the first Union Army unit to be made up entirely of African-American men. Washington stole the movie from its leading man Matthew Broderick, and bagged a Supporting Actor Oscar win for his troubles. He was nominated two years prior for playing activist Steve Biko in Cry Freedom, but this was the movie that »
• Bryan Cranston and Matt Damon are in very early talks to star in Zhang Yimou’s China-set movie The Great Wall. This is the second time the film has tried to go into production after a failed attempt by director Ed Zwick that was to star Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker. The latest draft of the supernatural adventure picture was written by Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Identity) and follows the mystery surrounding the construction of The Great Wall of China. [Deadline]
- Jake Perlman
Damon is managing a busy schedule in an attempt to find time to take the lead role in the Legendary Pictures movie.
The film will explore the mysterious origins of the historic structure. Cranston's role has not been revealed.
Legendary's Thomas Tull - who will produce the movie - has been attempting to get the feature made for several years.
There’s a huge movie bubbling away over in China under the direction of legendary filmmaker Zhang Yimou. Legendary’s Thomas Tull has linked up with The Dark Knight producer Charles Roven and Yimou to look at bringing a movie based around the origins of the country’s Great Wall to screens. Titled The Great Wall, the film revolves around the building of the legendary landmark, which stretches over 21,000 km long.
We’re hearing this morning that Matt Damon is set to lead the movie with Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston also considering a role. The film is scripted by Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, who was attached to direct at one point for Warner Bros. The film will be set in the 15th century, and will revolve about British warriors who happen upon the hurried construction of the massive wall.
Cranston last appeared in Legendary’s Godzilla, so obviously »
- Paul Heath
The movie has been in the works for several years, with Edward Zwick once set to direct and Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker set to star. The project fell apart after Edward Zwick dropped out in September 2012, but it was revitalized once again in March when Chinese filmmaker Yimou Zhang signed on to direct.
No details have been given for Matt Damon and Bryan Cranston's characters. The plot revolves around how The Great Wall of China was built, and how it was constructed not to keep out the invading Mongol forces, but to stop an evil supernatural force from entering China.
According to Deadline, Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston is in early discussions with Legendary to co-star in their upcoming epic, The Great Wall. No word on who the actor may be in line to portray, but today’s announcement comes hot on the heels of Saturday’s news that Matt Damon is in talks with Chinese director Zhang Yimou – inked to direct – for a role. Damon’s slate is already starting to get crowded, but the pair are reportedly trying to arrange a time in his busy schedule so he can snag the other lead.
Based on a script by Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro, the film will be produced by Thomas Tull, Charles Roven, Jon Jashni, Richard Suckle and Peter Loehr. In development for quite some time now, the project originally had Ed Zwick attached to direct. Man Of Steel Henry Cavill, True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgaard, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter »
- Gem Seddon
Emmy winner Bryan Cranston and Oscar winner Matt Damon are in early talks to star in Zhang Yimou's China-set movie “The Great Wall,” an individual familiar with the Legendary project has told TheWrap. Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker had been set to star in a previous incarnation of the project when Ed Zwick was attached to direct. Also read: Ed Zwick Drops Directing Duties for ‘The Great Wall’ (Exclusive) Cranston's involvement is more likely than Damon's at this point, as the latter actor is preparing to reprise his signature role as Jason Bourne once he wraps Ridley Scott‘s sci-fi movie “The Martian. »
- Jeff Sneider
Just a couple of days ago, word arrived that Matt Damon was circling a role in Zhang Yimou’s new planned Chinese epic The Great Wall. Things certainly appear to be moving, as Deadline now reports that Bryan Cranston is also in early talks to join the film.Legendary Pictures boss Thomas Tull is backing this one, and the film has been in development for a couple of years now, originally with Ed Zwick writing and directing. Since then, it’s been through a couple of script drafts – Tony Gilroy is behind the most recent – and Yimou is the man in charge of calling the shots.The epic tale is still largely under wraps, though it’s expected to tell the story of how chunks of the wall came to be built across several generations in northern China. Originally constructed to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire in the 5th century BC, »
There's been a lot of buzz surrounding actor Matt Damon lately, from the talk of reteaming with Paul Greengrass for another outing with Jason Bourne, to a reunion with director Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester-by-the-Sea. Now there's another project on the horizon that the actor is circling and that's The Great Wall, a film that has been developing at Legendary Pictures since 2011 and once had Ed Zwick slated to be at the helm with Henry Cavil and Benjamin Walker starring. But now Deadline reports Hero director Zhang Yimou will direct the film, and Damon is interested in a role if it jives with his schedule. Damon also had the lead role that eventually went to Christian Bale in Flowers of War, but it didn't work out. Plot details still aren't available, but the film is said to focus on the mystery behind why the Great Wall of China was built, and »
- Ethan Anderton
The film has been in development for years with Ed Zwick (Glory) previously set to direct with Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker attached to play the leads. However, that plan crumbled, and Zwick eventually left to go direct Pawn Sacrifice, so Zhang Yimou (Hero) stepped in. The story—based on an idea by Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull and World War Z author Max Brooks—explores the mystery of why the Great Wall of China was built. You think it was to keep out the Mongolian hordes? You fool! It Is So Much More. It's also a tourist destination and a way for studios to tap into the lucrative Chinese market. Hit the jump for more. According to Deadline, Damon is interested in working with Zhang, and the two almost got together on Flowers of War, but that film ultimately starred Christian Bale. Scheduling conflicts might get in the way »
- Matt Goldberg
Earlier this year it was reported that Oliver Stone would be directing a movie about whistleblower Edward Snowden, and now it appears he may have found his lead. Handsome dude Joseph Gordon-Levitt is being eyed to play the pale, bookish computer nerd in Stone's movie. Nothing is solid yet, but Jgl just wrapped "The Walk" with Robert Zemeckis and presumably has a free schedule ahead, and with Stone eyeing a December start for his movie, it could work out. But it's likely to be a film that will pack a powder keg of controversy, so we'll see if the actor will want to go along for the ride. [Deadline] With another Bourne movie brewing, though its status and when it might shoot are still unknown, Matt Damon is keeping an eye on other gigs. And right now he's taking a look at Zhang Yimou's "The Great Wall." The long-in-the works movie »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Zhang Yimou has signed on to direct the Chinese epic, reports Deadline.
The film will explore the mysterious origins of the historic structure.
Legendary's Thomas Tull - who will produce the movie - has been attempting to get it made for several years.
Damon will have to overcome a busy schedule to star in The Great Wall.
As the final acquisition deals roll in on Toronto’s 2014 film festival movies, a couple of overriding themes emerged that bode well for the appetite for indie fare and have sellers smacking their lips for Afm, Sundance, Berlin and beyond. In a fest where Harvey Weinstein left his checkbook home and didn’t make a single splashy deal, I have never seen so many new players make statement buys at a festival than happened in Toronto.
The other intriguing development came on the fest’s biggest deal, when Paramount Pictures swooped into the auction of the Chris Rock-directed comedy Top Five, and blew buyers out of the water by paying $12.5 million for worldwide rights. It was the second straight fest where Paramount did this, after the studio made a precedent-setting pre-buy Cannes deal for the Denis Villeneuve-directed Amy Adams sci-fi film Story Of Your Life. Some established indie »
- Mike Fleming Jr
Despite backing from Legendary boss Thomas Tull as part of his attempt to widen his focus, China-set epic The Great Wall has proven a tricky prospect. It has burnt through at least one director (Ed Zwick) and several potential cast members in its journey to the screen. Just as it starts to look like it’ll take longer to make than the structure it chronicles, word has arrived that Matt Damon might be interested in starring, which could certainly move things along.As of right now, it’s only something Damon is considering, but there are compelling reasons for him to take it. Not least of those is the chance to work with director Zhang Yimou, who is currently developing the film. Carlos Bernard and Doug Miro wrote a draft of the script, but Bourne veteran Tony Gilroy has produced the most recent version, which could also have attracted Damon’s interested. »
Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro's script deals with British soldiers traveling through 15th century China who witness the construction of the massive edifice that will one day be known as the Great Wall of China. They soon discover that its intended purpose is not to keep out human beings, but terrifying otherworldly creatures.
Attempts have been made to film the project for years now, with little to no success. The closest it came to filming was last year with the likes of Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker attached to star and Ed Zwick to direct. That version fell apart though.
Damon previously was slated to work with Yimou on "The Flowers of War" in a role that eventually went to Christian Bale.
Source: Deadline »
- Garth Franklin
Bourne 5 isn't the only movie Matt Damon is interested in at the moment. He is also eyeing a role in the upcoming drama The Great Wall, which offers a history lesson on how and why the Great Wall of China was built.
The Great Wall was set to shoot last year, which would have given Legendary a foothold in the Chinese market. At that time, Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai) was going to direct, with Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker set to star, but the project fell apart.
Exclusive: While all the buzz this week about Matt Damon focused on Deadline’s reveal that he’ll reteam with Paul Greengrass in their third Bourne Identity film, there’s another very exotic international film that Damon is also flirting with. That is the lead role in The Great Wall, the Legendary Pictures film the great Chinese helmer Zhang Yimou signed on to direct. Legendary Pictures principal Thomas Tull has been trying to mount the China-set epic for several years now. Script is by Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro, but the most recent draft is by Tony Gilroy, who is familiar to Damon in that he scripted those terrific Bourne Identity films. The Great Wall was going to shoot last year and give Legendary a foothold into the China market, with Ed Zwick helming. While Zwick went as far as casting Henry Cavill and Benjamin Walker, it just didn’t »
- Mike Fleming Jr
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