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14 items from 2006


Clooney Hails "Masculine" Owen

4 October 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

George Clooney has hailed English actor Clive Owen as the biggest thing to hit Hollywood in years. The Syriana star is regularly impressed by Closer star Owen's smoldering performances on the big screen, as well as movie stalwart Johnny Depp. Clooney says, "Clive is the big find in the past two or three years. I think he's a movie star. He's, like, a man - there's a sexuality and a masculinity that I think is really interesting. Johnny just keeps doing really good stuff. He's just a really, really smart and good actor." »

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Owen Defends Bond Rival Craig

20 September 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Clive Owen is the latest star to defend the casting of Daniel Craig as James Bond, even though he originally hoped to land the role. The Sin City actor was tipped for the coveted part of the suave superspy before Craig was announced as Pierce Brosnan's successor last year. But Owen is thrilled that a "proper actor" has finally been cast as 007, and insists new movie Casino Royale will silence Craig's critics. He says, "I think when Craig first took the part he got a pretty rough ride, which to a certain extent is inevitable because there are so many different people who have so many different ideas about something like that. You are never going to please everybody. The thing that is really exciting is that he is a proper actor. He is not shallow or posing, they have cast a really serious actor and I think that when the film comes out everyone will see what a great choice he was." »

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New dreams for the old gondola

4 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

VENICE, Italy -- As the Venice Film Festival entered its second week Monday and the annual exodus of high-profile executives leaving for Toronto steps up, much talk among attendees centered on the future for this old lady of festivals. This year's program is front-loaded with enough U.S. movies to bolster star power and stand-out movies -- including Stephen Frears' The Queen, Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men and Dito Montiel's Sundance success A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints all securing standing ovations and buzz -- and it's holding up against any naysayers who think the old lady has had her day. With top-flight executives -- including Universal's David Linde, Focus chief James Schamus, the Weinstein Co.'s Harvey Weinstein, Paramount's incoming international distribution president Andrew Cripps -- and such stars as Ben Affleck, Diane Lane, Ethan Hawke and Clive Owen making the trip to support movies unspooling here, all seems well with Venice. »

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Children of Men

4 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

This review was written for the Venice Film Festival screening of "Children of Men". VENICE, Italy -- In his gripping new thriller "Children of Men", director Alfonso Cuaron takes the classic movie formula of a cynical tough guy required to see an innocent party to safe harbor, and shoots it to pieces.

Based on a novel by British mystery writer P.D. James, the film works both as a thriller and as a satisfying political and social drama. It should prove a winner at the boxoffice in all territories.

Set in 2027, with the world gone to hell in a handbasket, the film paints a bleak portrait of a future in which complete global human infertility has meant that no babies have been born anywhere in 18 years. Disease is rampant and military governments everywhere are out of control even in the U.K.

Former activist Theo (Clive Owen, in top form), now a bored civil servant, finds himself in the thick of the resistance when his former lover, rebel leader Julian (Julianne Moore), persuades him to obtain transit papers for a young woman, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) who must flee the country.

With vivid imagination, Cuaron plunges the reluctant hero and the girl into a terrifying chase that takes them from the fearful squalor of a terrorized London to a nightmarish refugee camp with both soldiers and rebels trying to kill them.

According to Cuaron, and his exemplary cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and production designers, Geoffrey Kirkland and Jim Clay, the London of 2027 will be a far cry from the city seen in recent films by Richard Curtis and Woody Allen. Dressing real locations to look as awful as possible, the English capital has never appeared so grim.

When a Fleet Street cafeteria is blown up just after he's walked out the door, Theo is reminded of just how bad things are. A fan who only wanted an autograph has just assassinated the world's youngest person, an 18-year-old, and the dead boy is mourned just like Princess Diana.

Julian's request that Theo use his connections to obtain a travel pass for the young woman comes with a chunk of cash but it's clear he has other motives, and so does she. When things go wrong, Theo takes the girl to the country hideaway of his only real friend, a retired newspaper cartoonist named Jasper (Michael Caine, having a great time), who looks after his invalid wife and smokes a lot of dope. Trouble soon arrives, however, and after that there's barely a pause for breath.

Cuaron and his co-screenwriters do the important little things that help make characters believable and take sufficient time to register the deeper impact of things that are troubling the world. They make a place without children's laughter truly a place of horror.

The sign over the refugee camp saying Homeland Security is a sly touch and there's a splendid sequence in which Theo goes to visit a wealthy contact at the revamped Battersea Power Station to the sound of King Crimson.

Owen carries the film more in the tradition of a Jimmy Stewart or Henry Fonda than a Clint Eastwood or Harrison Ford. He has to wear flip-flops for part of the time without losing his dignity, and he never reaches for a weapon or guns anyone down.

Cuaron and Owen may have created the first believable 21st-century movie hero. »

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Children of Men

4 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

VENICE, Italy -- In his gripping new thriller "Children of Men", director Alfonso Cuaron takes the classic movie formula of a cynical tough guy required to see an innocent party to safe harbor, and shoots it to pieces.

Based on a novel by British mystery writer P.D. James, the film works both as a thriller and as a satisfying political and social drama. It should prove a winner at the boxoffice in all territories.

Set in 2027, with the world gone to hell in a handbasket, the film paints a bleak portrait of a future in which complete global human infertility has meant that no babies have been born anywhere in 18 years. Disease is rampant and military governments everywhere are out of control even in the U.K.

Former activist Theo (Clive Owen, in top form), now a bored civil servant, finds himself in the thick of the resistance when his former lover, rebel leader Julian (Julianne Moore), persuades him to obtain transit papers for a young woman, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) who must flee the country.

With vivid imagination, Cuaron plunges the reluctant hero and the girl into a terrifying chase that takes them from the fearful squalor of a terrorized London to a nightmarish refugee camp with both soldiers and rebels trying to kill them.

According to Cuaron, and his exemplary cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and production designers, Geoffrey Kirkland and Jim Clay, the London of 2027 will be a far cry from the city seen in recent films by Richard Curtis and Woody Allen. Dressing real locations to look as awful as possible, the English capital has never appeared so grim.

When a Fleet Street cafeteria is blown up just after he's walked out the door, Theo is reminded of just how bad things are. A fan who only wanted an autograph has just assassinated the world's youngest person, an 18-year-old, and the dead boy is mourned just like Princess Diana.

Julian's request that Theo use his connections to obtain a travel pass for the young woman comes with a chunk of cash but it's clear he has other motives, and so does she. When things go wrong, Theo takes the girl to the country hideaway of his only real friend, a retired newspaper cartoonist named Jasper (Michael Caine, having a great time), who looks after his invalid wife and smokes a lot of dope. Trouble soon arrives, however, and after that there's barely a pause for breath.

Cuaron and his co-screenwriters do the important little things that help make characters believable and take sufficient time to register the deeper impact of things that are troubling the world. They make a place without children's laughter truly a place of horror.

The sign over the refugee camp saying Homeland Security is a sly touch and there's a splendid sequence in which Theo goes to visit a wealthy contact at the revamped Battersea Power Station to the sound of King Crimson.

Owen carries the film more in the tradition of a Jimmy Stewart or Henry Fonda than a Clint Eastwood or Harrison Ford. He has to wear flip-flops for part of the time without losing his dignity, and he never reaches for a weapon or guns anyone down.

Cuaron and Owen may have created the first believable 21st-century movie hero.

CHILDREN OF MEN

Universal Pictures

Strike Entertainment in association with Hit and Run Productions

Credits:

Director: Alfonso Cuaron

Writers: Alfonso Cuaron & Timothy J. Sexton and David Arata and Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby

Based on the novel by: P.D. James

Producers: Marc Abraham, Eric Newman, Hilary Shor, Tony Smith, Iain Smith

Executive producers: Thomas A. Bliss, Armyan Bernstein

Director of photography: Emmanuel Lubezki

Production designers: Geoffrey Kirkland, Jim Clay

Editors: Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Cuaron

Music: John Taverner

Cast:

Theo: Clive Owen

Julian: Julianne Moore

Jasper: Michael Caine

Kee: Clare-Hope Ashitey

Luke: Chiwetel Ejiofor

Patric: Charlie Hunnam

Nigel: Danny Huston

Marichka: Oana Pella

Syd: Peter Mullan

MPAA rating: R

Running time -- 114 minutes »

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New dreams for the old gondola

4 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

VENICE, Italy -- As the Venice Film Festival entered its second week Monday and the annual exodus of high-profile executives leaving for Toronto steps up, much talk among attendees centered on the future for this old lady of festivals. This year's program is front-loaded with enough U.S. movies to bolster star power and stand-out movies -- including Stephen Frears' The Queen, Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men and Dito Montiel's Sundance success A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints all securing standing ovations and buzz -- and it's holding up against any naysayers who think the old lady has had her day. With top-flight executives -- including Universal's David Linde, Focus chief James Schamus, the Weinstein Co.'s Harvey Weinstein, Paramount's incoming international distribution president Andrew Cripps -- and such stars as Ben Affleck, Diane Lane, Ethan Hawke and Clive Owen making the trip to support movies unspooling here, all seems well with Venice. »

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Women Can't Get Pregnant in 'Children'

21 July 2006 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- Cover to "Children of Men" novel by P.D. James Quick Links > Universal Pictures > Children of Men > Alfonso Cuarón > Clive Owen > Julianne Moore > Chjwetel Ejiofor> View Trailer > Official Website> Buy Novel Count on "art" and "imagination" to create a story where in the future, women not being able to have babies, is actually a problem. Really? I just don't see it... Well author P.D. James sure as hell did, as well as Alfonso Cauron (Y tu mama tambien), Clive Owen, and the rest of the cast, producers, and on and on, who invested in adapting this insane idea into a movie. So maybe it's just me.Today Apple gives birth to the trailer for "Children of Men". Click here to see for yourself what happens when you're handed a golden ticket and you just don't know what to do with it. Kidding aside (if you could call it that... and »

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All3Media buys Artists Rights Group

29 March 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

LONDON -- Leading British independent producer All3Media has acquired talent and rights agency the Artists Rights Group for an undisclosed sum, it was announced Wednesday. Artists Rights manages many of the U.K.'s biggest screen names, including Closer star Clive Owen, acerbic What Not to Wear fashionistas Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine and action star Ross Kemp (Ultimate Force). Under terms of the deal, the agency will continue to be run by founders Michael Foster -- a former co-chairman of ICM -- and Sue Latimer and will retain the Artists Rights banner. »

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'Inside Man' powers boxoffice with $29 million

27 March 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Throwing off a lingering winter chill, the first weekend of spring saw the North American boxoffice perk up. Universal Pictures' Inside Man took moviegoers hostage as it commanded the top spot with a bigger-than-expected $29 million bow. The total boxoffice for the 116 films tracked by the Hollywood Reporter was $109.3 million, up 10.4% from the comparable weekend in 2005 when Sony Pictures' comedy Guess Who, starring Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher, took the top slot with $20.7 million, followed by that weekend's other new arrival, Warner Bros. Pictures' Miss Congeniality 2, starring Sandra Bullock, which scored $14 million. It was the first weekend in a while to see an uptick in comparison to last year. Though a taught, twisty thriller, the R-rated Inside Man left its distributor, Universal Pictures, laughing all the way to the bank. Director Spike Lee and star Denzel Washington -- whose previous collaborations include Mo' Better Blues and Malcolm X -- each scored a personal best as the movie attracted older moviegoers to the multiplex. The Imagination Entertainment production, which boasts supporting turns from Jodie Foster and Clive Owen, drew an audience with 68% over age 30. The majority reported Washington's star presence as the primary factor drawing them to the movie. »

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Boxofffice preview: Heist thriller has 'Inside' track

24 March 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

The star-laden Inside Man, from Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment, looks to be the top film at the boxoffice this weekend. Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster and Clive Owen headline the dramatic crime thriller, with directing chores shouldered by Spike Lee from a script by Russell Gewirtz. Imagine's Brian Grazer produced the New York-set movie. Inside is a heist film that takes place in and around a bank on Wall Street. The story revolves around a hostage situation that turns into a cat-and-mouse game between the head bank robber and a veteran police detective, with twists and turns throughout. The R-rated picture opens the widest among this weekend's three new wide releases, bowing in 2,817 venues, and has garnered mostly positive reviews. »

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Boxofffice preview: Heist thriller has 'Inside' track

23 March 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

The star-laden Inside Man, from Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment, looks to be the top film at the boxoffice this weekend. Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster and Clive Owen headline the dramatic crime thriller, with directing chores shouldered by Spike Lee from a script by Russell Gewirtz. Imagine's Brian Grazer produced the New York-set movie. Inside is a heist film that takes place in and around a bank on Wall Street. The story revolves around a hostage situation that turns into a cat-and-mouse game between the head bank robber and a veteran police detective, with twists and turns throughout. The R-rated picture opens the widest among this weekend's three new wide releases, bowing in 2,817 venues, and has garnered mostly positive reviews. »

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Washington Let Himself Go for 'Inside Man'

22 March 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Denzel Washington had to play down his good looks for his latest part in the movie Inside Man, because he had to be a convincing "regular guy." The Oscar-winner had to shave his head and pack on some extra weight to play a cop who negotiates with a master criminal played by Clive Owen. He explains, "He's a regular guy. He's in over his head. He's been accused of stealing $140,000, his girlfriend wants to get married yesterday... This is the biggest case he's ever had, so he's got a few issues." The Training Day star insists his wife of 22-years, Pauletta, had no problems with her husband letting himself go for the role. He adds, "(She's fine) as long as I buy her something." »

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Inside Man

20 March 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

"Inside Man" is the dull title of a crackerjack crime thriller that also is the most commercial movie Spike Lee has directed.

Everything clicks. It has a solid, substantial marquee cast in Denzel Washington, Clive Owen and Jodie Foster; a cagey, even at times -- for a thriller -- thoughtful screenplay by Russell Gewirtz; and a production beautifully calibrated for its story and stars. This is the mother lode all action/suspense directors search for and Lee, who usually doesn't work in that genre, has hit it.

Boxoffice is bound to be strong, but can be even stronger if Universal's marketing and promotions successfully convince a broad spectrum of moviegoers that this is their movie. "Inside Man" takes material familiar to the point of triteness -- a bank heist, a hostage standoff and corruption New York-style, elements that have an almost nostalgic 1970s glow -- then turns everything on its head so the movie actually ends up saying something about American culture in 2006.

Without pushing things too far, "Inside Man" is the anti-"Crash" movie. Not that the film has no racial tensions and occasional flashes of prejudice, but "Inside Man" ultimately embraces the enormous ethnic and cultural diversity that is New York and by extension America. It even is a key plot point that in any give street of Manhattan you can broadcast a baffling language and someone is bound to know that language. Someone does.

The setup is indeed familiar enough that Lee and Gewirtz -- what a writing debut! -- actually rush through it. Four bad guys -- OK, it's really three guys and a girl -- take over a Manhattan branch bank disguised as painters. They hold about 50 people hostage. The NYPD gathers. Hostage negotiators Keith Frazier (Washington), who is under the cloud of a corruption scandal, and partner Bill Mitchell (Chiwetel Ejoifor) arrive on the scene. Emergency Services Unit Capt. John Darius (Willem Dafoe) bristles in a fit of jurisdictional pride and then the siege begins.

Only nothing goes as expected -- either for a bank heist or a bank heist movie. The head robber, Clive Owen's Dalton Russell, is a character at least as old as Alan Rickman's Eurotrash villain in "Die Hard", but this guy is somehow different: Unusually cool and calm, he is fully in control of the situation as he keeps a step or even a step and a half ahead of Frazier at all times. His gang blinds the bank's closed-circuit cameras, then force the hostages to dress in coverall outfits and facial disguises so police cannot tell the difference between hostage and hostage taker.

There is another perplexing element: The bank's board chairman Arthur Case (Christopher Plummer) clearly is more concerned about certain items in the safety deposit vault than in the lives of the hostages. So he hires slick, amoral power broker Madeline White (Foster) to handle very delicate negotiations with the New York mayor, Frazier and the hostage ringleader to protect his "interests."

For all the rising tension, beautifully orchestrated by Lee, Gewirtz leaves plenty of "air" in his story. Meaning, spaces to further develop characters or themes -- some an end to themselves and others that will pay off later. Example: An interchange between Dalton and a young black boy, who is his hostage, regarding the boy's super-violent pocket video game, in which a gangsta hero shoots his way through an urban environment, inspires moral indignation in the old-school thief. Seemingly fringe characters also have the encouraging habit of abruptly becoming integral to the plot or the conveyors of sharp observations about current American culture.

In the end, this "air" turns out to be more than air. There is an agenda within this intricately plotted, witty crime thriller. Helping Lee, whose direction has never been more astute, realize the script's high ambition is production designer Wynn Thomas, who keeps a claustrophobic experience feeling almost expansive; cinematographer Matthew Libatique, who makes things gritty but with dark, saturated, burnished tones that are never quite real; and Terence Blanchard's musical score, which becomes almost a character in itself, commenting on situations, holding back for others, then swelling expressively when circumstances warrant.

The film is even hip enough to open with "Chaiyya Chaiyya", one of the biggest Bollywood hits last year, then close with the same song remixed with rap. Very cool.

INSIDE MAN

Universal Pictures

Imagine Entertainment

Credits:

Director: Spike Lee

Screenwriter: Russell Gewirtz

Producer: Brian Grazer

Executive producers: Daniel M. Rosenberg, Jon Kilik, Karen Kehela Sherwood, Kim Roth

Director of photography: Matthew Libatique

Production designer: Wynn Thomas

Music: Terence Blanchard

Co-producer: Jonathan Filley

Costumes: Donna Berwick

Editor: Barry Alexander Brown

Cast:

Keith Frazier: Denzel Washington

Dalton Russell: Clive Owen

Madeline White: Jodie Foster

Arthur Case: Christopher Plummer

John Darius: Willem Dafoe

Bill Mitchell: Chiwetel Ejiofor

Steve Carlos: Andres Gomez

Stevie: Kim Director

Steve-O: James Ransone

MPAA rating R

Running time -- 128 minutes »

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Owen Pokes Fun at Bond

17 February 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

SPOILER ALERT: British actor Clive Owen has found a novel way to play James Bond - in a top secret cameo in The Pink Panther remake. The Derailed star, who was the favorite to land the role of 007 when Pierce Brosnan's stint as the superspy ended last year, plays undercover British spy 006 in Steve Martin's new comedy, which debuted at number one at the US box office at the weekend. Dressed in black tails, white shirt and black bow-tie, he features in a two-minute scene mocking the secret service. In the scene, Owen chases masked bandits robbing a casino. He is forced to don a gas mask when the crooks spray poisonous chemicals at him. Pink Panther star Martin thinks Owen's uncredited cameo is one of the film's funniest scenes. He says, "I think we knew at the time we approached Clive he was being considered for James Bond. I think that's a big part of the joke of having him play our Agent 006." »

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14 items from 2006


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