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Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett returned to her native Australia on Sunday to appeal for calm following the recent race riots in Sydney. Lebanese-Australians have been clashing with white-Australians on the beaches of the New South Wales city, leading to a heavy police presence in the suburbs over the past two weeks. Speaking at Sydney's Coogee Beach on Sunday, The Aviator beauty spoke out against the riots and urged unity amongst the divided communities. Blanchett said, "It's actually very clear and simple. Violence and racism are bad. Whenever they occur they are to be condemned (and) we should not turn a blind eye to them. It's about respect. Respect for others, respect for the rights of others and respect of the rights of everyone to go about their lives in a peaceful way." »
Hollywood heart-throb and The Aviator star Leonardo DiCaprio has split from his girlfriend Gisele Bundchen. The pair have enjoyed an on-off romance for three years - but the supermodel's manager has told a magazine in her native Brazil their relationship is over for good. She says, "Yes, they broke up." But she denies rumors Bundchen is already dating surfing superstar Kelly Slater: "Gisele is not the type of a woman who ends a new relationship and starts a new one right away." Bundchen most recently appeared in the comedy Taxi, and DiCaprio is set to be onscreen next in The Departed. »
Former couple Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger's bitter custody battle is back in court as the stars fight over their 10-year-old daughter, Ireland. Basinger attended court in Los Angeles yesterday morning with a seven-strong entourage after Baldwin accused her of violating a court-imposed custody order this summer. The Aviator actor, who wasn't required to be in court, wasn't present. In court papers, Baldwin accuses Basinger, 51, of having "untreated emotional problems." His attorney told the court that the actor wants to see his daughter, but not until Basinger has "alienation therapy" - which is designed to help prevent one parent from alienating the child from the other parent. Baldwin, 47, also accuses his ex of ignoring court orders and "child snatching." Meanwhile, Basinger claims she fears for her daughter's safety when she's with Baldwin. She also states that Baldwin calls her home incessantly and is abusive to those in her household. Outside court, Basinger's lawyer Neil Hersch held a brief press conference to attack Baldwin, stating, "I found it very disturbing that Mr Baldwin, through his lawyers, attempted to cast terrible aspersions towards Kim." The former couple divorced in 2002. They are due back in court on December 13. »
The Aviator star Alec Baldwin is making a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, to help with the relief efforts in the hurricane ravaged city. The Hollywood actor fell in love with New Orleans after filming his 1995 TV movie A Streetcar Named Desire there, and he's vowed to help rebuild the city, which has been battered by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He says, "We were there for four and a half months... and we cried when we left. It was the most wonderful place. So I'm gonna go do this relief work for Habitat for Humanity in November. I spoke to the people from special projects... I'm gonna go to do cleanup relief work." »
Gwen Stefani has rubbished reports she's set to join Sienna Miller in the upcoming movie Factory Girl. It was reported last week that the "Rich Girl" singer, who portrayed Jean Harlow in The Aviator, had signed on to join Jude Law's fiancee in the film. It was said Stefani would play Richie Berlin, the roommate of Andy Warhol's muse Edie Sedgwick played by Miller. But the blonde beauty insists, "That's a big rumor. I'm not doing it." Stefani's husband Gavin Rossdale is reportedly set to star in the movie, however. »
SYDNEY -- For his second feature, director Rowan Woods again proves himself a master at creating a strong mood. Despite echoes of the bleak territory visited in his debut feature The Boys, a grim dissection of the violence in Australia's underclass, Little Fish manages moments of great beauty thanks in no small measure to the presence of lead actress Cate Blanchett in her first Australian role since 1997's Oscar and Lucinda.
After a series of high-profile international roles including her Oscar-winning turn in The Aviator, Little Fish sees Blanchett shake off her fondness for period pieces and do something rare: play her age and speak with her own accent. Despite dark themes of crime, moral compromise and drug addiction, this midbudget Australian film from a fine indie team should benefit from Blanchett's presence and see solid boxoffice interest on the international art house circuit. The film will be released in Australia on Sept. 8.
Little Fish is set in Sydney's multicultural southwest, an area rife with drug addiction and organized crime. Woods' talent lies in investing s unlikable characters with a huge well of heart and soul. Tracy Heart (Blanchett) is doing it tough. She's kicked a serious drug habit, but the dark, tenuous world of addiction is all around her.
The streets are littered with junkies: Her own brother, troubled amputee Ray (Martin Henderson from "Bride & Prejudice"), is caught up in the drug trade; her weakened father figure (Hugo Weaving from the Matrix and Lord of the Rings films) is bent in a web of heroin abuse; and ex-boyfriend Johnny (Dustin Nguyen) has returned after four years in Canada. Trying to start a new life, Tracy soon finds that the past is about to catch up with her.
This is a tough film grounded in authenticity with the feel of Ken Loach's realist British cinema. Genre conventions are in place -- drug deals, murder, criminals -- yet Little Fish is a character study. Screenwriter Jacquelin Perske skillfully steers the narrative into the interconnected stories of those around Blanchett's Tracy.
Family is at the core of the film. As Tracy becomes increasingly desperate, she's pulled apart by two disparate but related forces. Her brother's illicit drug deals claw her back into the old life, while her mother (a wonderfully crackling turn from veteran actress Noni Hazlehurst) works to keep Tracy on the straight and narrow. This clash provides the film's central dynamic from which the characters' flaws are explored.
Little Fish has a grimy authenticity. Homes feel rigorously lived in, and the costume design is scrubbed clean of even the remotest sense of glamour. Thankfully, none of this stops Woods from taking visual flights of fancy. Danny Ruhlmann's cinematography adds an almost surreal gleam, swirling and tilting as it conveys Tracy's inner conflict. Similarly, the strong presence of the haunting score by Nathan Larson (Boys Don't Cry, The Woodsman) gently tugs the film away from a purely realist approach.
Blanchett is loose, natural and wholly believable as Tracy, a character she imbues with a kind of bruised tenderness. Weaving's hopeless junkie is a brave turn from an always-brave actor: He's physically transformed, rail-thin with a nasty goatee beard and hurtles through a bundle of different emotions as a sly seducer one moment, a desperate wreck the next.
Confrontational, raw and always compelling, Little Fish is a film of rare power and conviction.
Icon Films (Australia)
Film Finance Corporation Australia presents
A Porchlight Films production in association with Mullis Capital Independent, the New South Wales Film and Television Office, Myriad Pictures and Dirty Films
Director: Rowan Woods
Screenwriter: Jacquelin Perske
Executive producers: Robert Mullis, Barrie M. Osborne, Kirk D'Amico, Marion Pilowsky
Director of photography: Danny Ruhlmann
Production designer: Luigi Pittorino
Costumes: Melinda Doring
Music: Nathan Larson
Editors: Alexandre De Franceschi, John Scott
Tracy Heart: Cate Blanchett
Lionel Dawson: Hugo Weaving
Brad Thompson: Sam Neill
Ray Heart: Martin Henderson
Janelle Heart: Noni Hazlehurst
Johnny: Dustin Nguyen
No MPAA rating
Running time -- 114 minutes »
Hollywood heart-throb Leonardo DiCaprio is set to try out a new director after working with legendary film-maker Martin Scorsese on three successive movies. The Titanic star has signed up to star in The Blood Diamond, which will be directed by Ed Zwick, when work finishes on upcoming Scorsese movie The Departed, reports Empire Online. DiCaprio previously starred in Gangs Of New York and The Aviator under the Raging Bull director. DiCaprio will play a diamond smuggler who specializes in selling "blood diamonds" to help finance civil wars and terrorism in Africa, when filming gets underway next year. »
SYDNEY -- Little Fish, the new Australian film starring Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett (The Aviator), will have its world premiere as it opens the 54th Melbourne International Film Festival, organizers announced Wednesday. Johnnie To's Election will close the fest. MIFF runs July 20-Aug. 8. Little Fish is director Rowan Woods' follow-up to 1998's The Boys. The drama, about a young woman who must learn to confront her fears in order to find happiness and escape the pain of her recent past, was written by Jacqueline Perske and co-stars Martin Henderson, Hugo Weaving and Sam Neill. »
Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg has been voted the greatest director of all time. Spielberg - the talent behind huge blockbuster hits including Schindler's List, E.T., Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and Saving Private Ryan - topped a poll commissioned by Britain's Empire movie magazine. The 58-year-old beat off competition from Psycho director Alfred Hitchcock and The Aviator creator Martin Scorsese, who came in second and third respectively. Empire's associate editor Ian Freer says, "Steven Spielberg is the closest thing in movies to resemble the impact of The Beatles. A cultural phenomenon, his adventures with sharks, UFOs, whip-crackin' archaeologists and ETs, plus searching historical dramas like Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan have defined the movie-going life of an entire generation." Surprisingly, acclaimed film-makers such as Star Wars director George Lucas, Charlie Chaplin, and Tim Burton, fell short of inclusion. The top ten is as follows: 1. Steven Spielberg, 2. Alfred Hitchcock, 3. Martin Scorsese, 4. Stanley Kubrick, 5. Sir Ridley Scott, 6. Akira Kurosawa, 7. Peter Jackson, 8. Quentin Tarantino, 9. Orson Welles, 10. Woody Allen. »
Building on their successful partnership on The Aviator, Warner Bros. Pictures has signed a first-look agreement with Graham King's Initial Entertainment Group. Warners president of production Jeff Robinov and Initial Entertainment Group president and CEO King confirmed the deal Monday. As part of the agreement, Initial will shift its existing production pacts with Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way and Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil to Warners. King is boarding the upcoming Warners project The Departed as part of the new deal. He joins producer Brad Pitt and executive producers Doug Davison, Roy Lee, Gianni Nunnari and G. Mac Brown on the project, which is directed by Martin Scorsese and stars DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg and Vera Farmiga. King also will produce Shantaram at Warners with Depp's Infinitum Nihil and Plan B. Depp will star in the movie, which is being adapted by Gregory Roberts from his own novel. King already had set that project up at the studio late last year. »
The Aviator star Leonardo DiCaprio has helped to launch an international campaign to raise awareness of the billions of people in the world without access to clean water. The actor has signed a petition calling on President George W. Bush and other government leaders to commit to a legally binding United Nations treaty declaring clean water as a basic human right. Speaking on World Water Day in San Francisco, California, on Tuesday, he said, "We are here to help raise awareness about what is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today." DiCaprio screened a short film he helped produce called Water Planet, which highlights the need to conserve the world's limited supply of fresh water and provide greater access to it for more than 1.2 billion people. The film will be distributed from next month on the internet, at film festivals, on television stations and at schools to educate the public about what DiCaprio calls the "growing global water crisis". »
Kinsey director Bill Condon has beaten out competition from Clint Eastwood to walk away with the prestigious International Film Prize at the Directors Guild Of Great Britain awards last night. Condon's biopic about sex scientist Alfred Kinsey took home the top prize, leaving the Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby empty-handed. Kinsey also beat Martin Scorsese's The Aviator and Mike Leigh's Vera Drake to the award. British American Beauty director Sam Mendes was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the second annual London event, despite being only 39. A modest Mendes said, "I feel very undeserving. I feel the award is a bank loan, which I'll take out and pay back by the end of 20 years, and by then I'll feel more deserving." Walter Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries won Best Foreign Language Film, while Paul Pavlikovsky's My Summer Of Love and Shane Meadows' Dead Man's Shoes shared the Best British Film award. »
LONDON -- Kinsey helmer Bill Condon on Sunday won the Directors Guild of Great Britain's award for outstanding director in the international film category, but the judges couldn't agree on a single winner in the British film category. Shane Meadows (Dead Man's Shoes) and Pawel Pawlikowski (My Summer of Love) shared the award for outstanding directorial achievement on a British film, presented during a ceremony at the Curzon Mayfair Cinema in London. Condon beat out some top names in the international category: Martin Scorsese (The Aviator), Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby) and Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). »
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio spent hours practicing his losing smile for last month's Oscars - because he knew he wouldn't scoop the Best Actor trophy for his role in The Aviator. DiCaprio was glad he rehearsed his reaction, because the cameras refused to leave him alone when Jamie Foxx collected the coveted trophy for his efforts in Ray. The movie hunk says, "I wasn't surprised that Jamie got the award. But I knew that cameras would be stuffed up my face so I had my response ready. Anyone who says they don't practice is a liar." »
LONDON -- Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood will go head-to-head at least one more time this year as the veteran helmers have earned nominations for The Aviator and Million Dollar Baby, respectively, at the Directors Guild of Great Britain Awards. The duo will compete with Bill Condon (Kinsey) and Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) in the international film category, which was announced with the rest of this year's nominations Monday. The second annual Directors Guild of Great Britain Awards for outstanding directorial achievement will be presented at a gala ceremony here March 20. The British film category will be contested by Mike Leigh (Vera Drake), Shane Meadows (Dead Man's Shoes), Roger Michell (Enduring Love) and Pawel Pawlikowski (My Summer of Love). »
LONDON -- Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood find themselves going head-to-head again for their latest celluloid outings, as the veterans are short-listed in the international film category for The Aviator and Million Dollar Baby respectively at this year's Directors Guild of Great Britain (DGGB) Awards. Also in the race as the DGGB announced this year's nominations Monday are Bill Condon for Kinsey and Michel Gondry for Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. The second annual Directors Guild Awards for Outstanding Directorial Achievement will be awarded at a gala ceremony here on March 20. »
Gisele Bundchen is furious her beau Leonardo DiCaprio didn't scoop the Best Actor trophy at the Academy Awards - because she believes his did a "better job" than winner Jamie Foxx. The Brazilian beauty attended the Hollywood ceremony for the first time on Sunday, and she admits she was far from thrilled to see Foxx pick up the coveted trophy for his efforts in Ray, beating out a list of actors including her boyfriend DiCaprio, star of The Aviator. She says, "I was really there to support (DiCaprio). He's not just my boyfriend but he's an amazing actor. He's really talented and I was so proud of him. I figured I should go and support my man so I went there just for that reason. I don't think he was expecting to win. I think I was more upset because I thought he deserved it more than (Foxx). I was like, 'He did a better job than (Foxx)!'" »
Jude Law has switched his talent agency representation from CAA to Endeavor. Law, an Oscar nominee for his work in 1999's The Talented Mr. Ripley and 2003's Cold Mountain, is considered one of the industry's fastest-rising male stars. Law's credits last year alone included I Heart Huckabees, Closer, Alfie, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and a supporting role as Errol Flynn in the Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator. During Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony, Law was among the younger stars chided by host Chris Rock for being less than a "real" movie star. Sources close to the situation said Rock's Oscar quip had nothing to do with Law's decision to exit CAA and that his move to Endeavor has been quietly in the works for the past two weeks. »
Oscar-nominated editors assembled to reveal a few tricks of the trade at the American Cinema Editors' fifth annual panel, titled "Invisible Art, Visible Artists." The Aviator's Thelma Schoonmaker, Collateral's Jim Miller and Paul Rubell, Finding Neverland's Matt Chesse, Million Dollar Baby's Joel Cox and Ray's Paul Hirsch discussed the art of editing on a panel moderated by ACE president Alan Heim on Saturday morning at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The standing-room crowd watched the editors' favorite scenes from each of the Oscar-nominated films before the panelists explained such creative choices as pacing, camera angles and trimming, as well as revealing bits of edit-bay drama. Heim asked the editors to describe how they got their start. »
Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood's emotional knockout that follows a bullheaded female prizefighter from triumph to tragedy, won best picture at Sunday's Academy Awards. Eastwood also received the best-director for the boxing saga. A previous winner for Unforgiven, Eastwood joined an exclusive club of dual-directing recipients that includes Billy Wilder, David Lean, Robert Wise and Steven Spielberg. Hilary Swank became a double Academy Award winner with a best-actress win for Baby, Jamie Foxx took lead actor for Ray, and The Aviator led the Oscars with five prizes, including supporting actress for Cate Blanchett. Million Dollar Baby also earned the supporting-actor prize for Morgan Freeman for his portrayal of a worldly wise ex-prizefighter. The wins for Freeman and Foxx made it only the second time blacks won two of the four acting prizes. »
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