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Well, according to James Franco's latest blog for The Paris Review, sex, motherhood, and a skewed take on family values.
As Franco notes, these movies are not exactly going for the same audience:
Undoubtedly one is making a play for an Oscar. Undoubtedly the other will dominate every MTV award category, including best kiss, best dude moment, best male shirtless scene, and whatever else the network that produces the Jersey Shore celebrates. The movies are in many ways very different. But both use sex as a submerged theme while on the surface promoting a wholesome idea of family values; both seem to devalue motherhood; and both deal with characters who are so financially secure that they are almost impossible to identify with.
Earlier this year, Franco wrote about Gus Van Sant, »
- Amy Lee
Your first impression of William Shakespeare may not have been the most exhilarating of your life. In fact, you may have wiped it from your memory completely -- though it likely had something to do with a school play, discussions of iambic pentameter (what's that again?) and longingly staring at the clock.
But don't brush off this scribe so quickly, because Hollywood has proven, time and time again, that this guy knew a thing or two about being cool. And defying your parents. And dying young.
So as we prepare to welcome yet another Shakespearean remix, "Coriolanus," to the silver screen, we decided it's high time you get thee to a nunnery your favorite movie-watching spot and revisit these nine Shakespeare-inspired favorites. Then thank your high-school English teacher for trying to show you that The Bard really is the man.
1. '10 Things I Hate About You'
We're just gonna say »
- Elizabeth Durand
I'll be going to see The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Very few movies have touched me emotionally in the same way
I'm a grown man, and I really like the Twilight movies. It feels almost embarrassing to admit this, even weird. I suppose it is: I'm not an adolescent girl, an emo boy or mildly eccentric middle-aged woman with R-Patz tattoos. I don't like romances and I'm sick of bloody vampires. I've no interest in reading the books or watching similar teenie movies, but I'll probably go to Breaking Dawn, the prequel, which comes out today (maybe a midweek showing: lower audience decibel levels).
I first figured Twilight would be a sappy melodrama, and only watched because the Pacific Northwest scenery looked amazing on the TV trailer. I wasn't hostile, I just thought: they're not really for me. I was wrong. On one level, I thoroughly enjoyed them as simple escapism: well made, »
- Darragh McManus
With all the excitement surrounding the re-jiggered Oscar producer/host lineup (in case you've been sleeping, Brett Ratner/Eddie Murphy out, Brian Grazer/Billy Crystal in), it's only natural that our thoughts would stray to one of last year's hosts, James Franco.
It turns out Franco, whose deadpan delivery wasn't exactly a hit with viewers, is keeping busy. In fact, this weekend Franco plans to attempt to contact the spirit of playwright Tennessee Williams using a Ouija board. The attempt will, according to the New York Post, be part of a performance art piece Franco is presenting at the Performa 11 Art Festival.
For the first part of the performance, Franco will attempt to "spirit call" Williams using the board. Next, he'll host open auditions for Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" where anyone in the audience can approach the mic to try out for the play. We presume the spirit call will »
The Hollywood Reporter brings news that none other than indie-centric director Gus Van Sant is in the process of working out a deal to direct a low-budget feature based on a nonfiction article in The New Yorker magazine that Lautner himself has sourced, with an eye to produce. That’s all for the moment, detail-wise, but a writer is expected to be announced soon, with a production date pencilled in for sometime in the early part of 2012.
This might initially look like an odd couple Hollywood pairing, but it’s worth noting that the director was able to elicit a fine performance from the similarly impassive Keanu Reeves in the cult classic, My Own Private Idaho.
Lautner is eyeing »
- Adam Lowes
Remember, back in July, when Taylor Lautner had dinner with Gus Van Sant and Dustin Lance Black, and that reporter from GQ Australia used the situation to ask that rude question about Lautner's sexuality? Not that they needed any reason to dine together beyond enjoyment of each other's company or even just a shared desire for nourishment, but as it turns out, the dinner seems to have been part of some serious Hollywood business.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lautner will star in (and produce!) an as-of-yet unnamed indie film that Van Sant will direct. All that's publicly known about the film is that it is based off a New Yorker article that Lautner optioned, though we can also assume that, given Van Sant's involvement, it probably won't be a comedy.
It's an interesting match, and perhaps a good one for each participant. Lautner's solo debut, the actioner "Abduction," was »
- Jordan Zakarin
Shooting would begin sometime in the first quarter of next year. Lautner is still attached to the "Stretch Armstrong" feature but that project has lost momentum at last report. »
- Garth Franklin
Emma Roberts Co-Stars; Also, Wtf Update: Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez are also in talks to star. The trio will play the gang of girls in the film with Roberts as danger loving Southern brunette, and Gomez as the stuck-up, religious type. James Franco--whose ass recently graced the cover of Flaunt--has certainly been very forward about this arty inclinations whether it be a mediation on "My Own Private Idaho" or a deconstruction of "Three's Company." His more cerebral endeavors found him hooking up with indie enfant terrible Harmony Korine for some kind of street gang project earlier this year. While… »
On Halloween night 1993, a real-life horror shook the streets of Hollywood when River Phoenix, one of the most gifted young actors of our time, collapsed and died outside a nightclub. Now comes the news that his final, previously unreleased film may finally see the light of day. Director George Sluizer is making plans to release Dark Blood, a drama that also stars Judy Davis.
Like many teen girls during River's heyday, I absolutely adored this gifted, gorgeous young actor — not only for the films that my friends enjoyed him in, such as the iconic Stand By Me and Running On Empty, but for the ones I usually ended up watching alone: My Own Private Idaho, A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon and (my absolute favorite) Dogfight with Lili Taylor.
Not content to be a Hollywood heartthrob, he chose roles that were edgy, controversial, indie, and often sexually »
- Megan Hussey
To adapt or not to adapt? That has often been Hollywood's question when it came to The Bard. More often than not, the answer has been a resounding affirmative. Filmmakers have long looked to the prolific playwright's 38 epic comedies, histories and tragedies for inspiration and, considering the number of times his works have actually made it to the big screen, it is perhaps not too surprising that William Shakespeare has posthumously become one of Hollywood's most popular screenwriters.
But did he write anything at all? That's the question posed in the new drama Anonymous. The film dramatizes a theory that the famous plays were written not by Shakespeare but instead by an Elizabethan aristocrat, Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. But no matter which side of the debate you happen to fall, it's hard to deny the influence of the plays themselves. From full-on filmed versions to looser adaptations »
- Emma Badame
His films are so varied as to seem wilfully diverse, but Van Sant is a director with rare intuitive skills (who is also heat-resistant)
Gus van Sant has never been much for hoeing the same old row. His last movie, Milk, won two Oscars and – thanks to a providential release date – became part of the national debate over California's Proposition 8 to bar gay marriage in the state. Milk was an epic history lesson in the form of a biopic – one critic astutely called it "a calmed-down Oliver Stone movie" – and many thought it offered sobering lessons to a gay political establishment that had grown fat and complacent in the 30 years since Harvey Milk was murdered. But three years later Van Sant is back, not with a whizz-bang, zillion-dollar project that most directors would claim as their God-given right after a prestige hit such as Milk, but with a low-budget, intimate, »
- John Patterson
Pack your rain gear and we’ll take a trip to the Northeast, Seattle to be exact. It’s the home of alternative culture and mecca of most quirkiness. And our guide is one of the most off-beat film directors, Gus Van Zant of My Own Private Idaho fame. For a bit of a change of pace he’s presenting a boy-meets-girl story. They do meet “cute”, but these two young people in Restless are far from the typical movie couple.
We first meet the shy, sullen teenage boy Enoch ( Henry Hopper ) as he “crashes” the memorial service of a complete stranger. He sits quietly in the back and after the service, he returns to the big, gloomy house he shares with his aunt ( Jane Adams ). His only friend is the ghost of a WWII kamikaze pilot, Hiroshi ( Ryo Kase ), that only Enoch can see. At the next service Enoch »
- Jim Batts
On Halloween night, 1993 River Phoenix cut his own life and acting career short when he died of a drug overdose outside The Viper Room in West Hollywood. Before he died, he had made a strong mark on the movie world with performances in Stand By Me, My Own Private Idaho and an Oscar nomination for his role in Running On Empty. Phoenix appeared in three films that were released in 1993, but there was one left unfinished – a thriller called Dark Blood that dealt with the long-term effects of nuclear testing and saw Phoenix playing a hermit widower living out in the desert awaiting the end of the world. Eighteen years later, director George Sluizer (The Vanishing) is announcing that he plans on editing the film into a completed print and releasing it sometime in 2012. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sluizer plans on requesting that Joaquin Phoenix do some voice over work as a stand in for his »
- Cole Abaius
 Eighteen years after his death, River Phoenix is about to appear onscreen one last time. George Sluizer, who was directing Phoenix in his final role in Dark Blood at the time of Phoenix's death, has announced that he will finally complete the picture for release in 2012. More details after the jump. The acclaimed star of such films as Stand By Me , My Own Private Idaho, and Running on Empty, 23-year-old Phoenix was one of Hollywood's hottest rising stars when he died of a drug overdose outside Los Angeles' Viper Room nightclub in 1993. He had been close to wrapping Sluizer's drama, about a hermit (Phoenix) living on a nuclear test site in the desert. When a glamorous Hollywood couple (Judy Davis and Jonathan Pryce) enter his orbit, he falls into a troubled relationship with the wife. Sluizer told The Hollywood Reporter  that following Phoenix's death, he initially hid the Dark Blood »
- Angie Han
Update: Looks like Joaquin Phoenix and the rest of the Phoenix family want nothing to do with this so maybe it won't be happening after all. We're closing in on 20 years now since the death of River Phoenix, and although the young Hollywood star had only been acting in movies for less than a decade, it's easy to forget just how many titles he actually had under his belt. Some of the highlights include Stand By Me, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, My Own Private Idaho, and Running on Empty (for which he received his only Oscar nomination), but his final film was Peter Bogdanovich's Nashville-based comedy The Thing Called Love... until now, that is. At the time of his death, Phoenix had been working on another film called Dark Blood, an apocalyptic thriller about a hermit living in the desert on a nuclear testing site awaiting the end of the world. »
It has been almost two decades since River Phoenix died tragically on October 31, 1993, and his influence is still felt in Hollywood. James Franco recently paid tribute to the actor and his work with two film projects: "My Own Private River," feature length movie cut together from the hours and hours of dailies from "My Own Private Idaho" that director Gus Van Sant had sitting around in Portland, and “Memories of Idaho,” a “ghost” version of the movie, with Franco utilizing one of the three scripts used for ‘Private’ and some of Van Sant’s own photography to create a… »
Eighteen years after River Phoenix's death, the director of his last movie has announced that he will release Dark Blood, the drama the actor was working on when he died of a drug-induced heart attack outside La's Viper Room nightclub.
Dutch director George Sluizer has re-edited footage from the unfinished shoot and believes he can release a final cut of the film next year, according to the Hollywood Reporter. He plans to ask River's brother, Joaquin Phoenix, to provide a voiceover as Boy, the character River was playing when he died, aged 23, 11 days from the film's wrap. "The voices of both brothers are very much alike," said the director.
- Henry Barnes
By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Like too many in Hollywood, River Phoenix died long before his time. When he overdosed on Halloween night in 1993, the young actor was coming off the ensemble comedy “Sneakers” and Gus Van Sant’s acclaimed independent “My Own Private Idaho” opposite Keanu Reeves. The world wondered what he’d do next. We never got the chance to find out.
Yet THR reports that “Dark Blood,” the film Phoenix was wrapping when he died, will be released by director George Sluizer after an 18 year delay. The trade says the director will try and patch over Phoenix’s absence with voice-over and other tricks, but that the preserved footage will be assembled into a releasable cut that will hit theaters sometime in 2012.
- Sean O'Connell
It's been eighteen years since actor River Phoenix died on Halloween night in 1993 outside of The Viper Room. At the time Phoenix was working on a film with Dutch director George Sluizer called Dark Blood. The director has announced that he will recut the original footage shot for the film and release it after.
After Phoenix tragically died "Sluizer took the original Dark Blood footage and kept it hidden fearing, he says, it would be destroyed. The director has now re-edited the material and believes with a few adjustments – using voice over for instance – he can now deliver a final cut of the film for release next year." The director plans to ask Joaquin Phoenix, who is River’s brother to do the voiceover for River’s character Boy.
The film follows the story of a hermit (Phoenix) "living in the desert on a nuclear testing site as he waits »
Wanda Sykes taped an episode of Ellen on Friday in which she talks about being diagnosed with breast cancer and having a double mastectomy. She was back out on tour a month after the surgery.
David Kohan and Matt Mutchnick have sold two comedy pilots, both of which have gay potential. Well, the first, based on two friends, one gay, one straight, has more than potential, and is based on their own lives. The second is called Help, and is about a dysfunctional fashion design family and the people who work for them. And fashion always has gays right? Well, except The Bold and the Beautiful.
The FCC has finalized a set of rules designed to help with net neutrality. In theory it would keep your ISP from throttling your connection if you use Netflix as opposed to their VOD service. In practice, publishing the rules just allows the ISPs to sue to block them. »
- Ed Kennedy
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