Scorsese Finally Moves Forward with Silence

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The ever-busy Martin Scorsese has just added another film to his schedule, although this particular project has been associated with the director for quite some time. The movie is called Silence and it will tell the story of two Jesuit priests who risk their lives to bring Christianity to Japan during the 17th century. If that plot doesn’t sound like the most commercial of stories, that could explain why financing hasn’t come together until now. As it stands, the film will be produced by Emmett/Furla Films (Alex Cross, Broken City) and Paul Breuls and his company Corsan Films (The Devil’s Double). Supposedly Scorsese will be at the Cannes Film Festival in the next few weeks and will officially “launch” the movie there, meaning that we could have additional information on the production soon. As it stands right now, a July 2014 shoot is planned.

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Paul Thomas Anderson Shooting Inherent Vice this Spring?

Paul Thomas Anderson movies have a history of lengthy development periods, mostly due to funding issues. Fans have now become accustomed to (but don’t necessarily enjoy) waiting 5 years between projects. However, they may not have as long a waiting period this time according to Anderson’s longtime producer, JoAnne Sellar. In reference to Anderson’s latest film, Inherent Vice, she’s quoted as saying, “We’re just putting the financing together and the plan is to start shooting in late April.” This news comes just a week after reports that Joaquin Phoenix would replace Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role, so perhaps things really are moving ahead. For those uninitiated, Inherent Vice will be an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel about a pothead private eye in the late 1960’s who becomes entangled in a strange case after an encounter with his ex-girlfriend.

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Rise of the Guardians Could Be a $50 Million Loss for DreamWorks

For the most part, animated flicks are a safe enough bet for studios. Family entertainment is always in demand, after all. Even if the budgets for many mainstream releases reach excessive levels, they can usually still make studios a profit. But, every now and then, an exception is made and it appears that Rise of the Guardians has taken on that role for DreamWorks Animation. Despite overall positive reviews, the film failed to catch on with audiences, opening 4th place in its first weekend. With a production budget of $145 million, even a holiday surge in box office might not be enough to make it into the black. This comes during a time when DreamWorks stock is already down, unfortunately, and it could lead to a re-evaluation of the company’s reliance on animated movies.

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George Clooney’s Monuments Men Moves Forward with Bill Murray and Cate Blanchett

Back in January, it was announced that George Clooney’s next directorial effort would be Monuments Men, a WWII tale about art historians who protect stolen art from destruction by the Nazis. In the intervening months we haven’t really heard much about the film, but now it appears to be gaining traction as Fox has come on board to co-finance the production with Sony. The addition of stars Bill Murray and Cate Blanchett also provides another sign of momentum and should help get film fans excited too. Clooney plans to co-star, although no details have been provided on what characters anyone will play. Here’s a description of the book that the film is based on:

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Werner Herzog Signs to Direct Vernon God Little

Even though we’ll be seeing noted director Werner Herzog in front of the camera later this year as the villain in Jack Reacher, that doesn’t mean he’ll be staying away from behind the camera. Case in point: Herzog has just signed on to direct an adaptation of D.B.C. Pierre’s novel Vernon God Little, “a coming-of-age story set in Texas about a teenager caught up in the aftermath of a high-school shooting committed by his best friend.” That description may sound like heavy material, but the book is also described as a satirical look at violence, materialism, and American media. Andrew Birkin, whose credits include Perfume and Name of the Rose, has written the screenplay. Here’s a full plot description of the book:

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Ben Affleck in Talks to Direct Live By Night

Ben Affleck has become one of Hollywood’s most sought after directors as of late, with plenty of offers to choose from. As his new film Argo opens this weekend, news of his next effort has surfaced. Affleck is currently in talks with Warner Brothers to direct Live By Night, an adaptation of a Dennis Lehane novel. Taking place in the 1920s Prohibition era, the story focuses on Joe Coughlin, the son of a noted Boston police captain, who becomes involved in the organized crime scene. It would be a fitting choice for Affleck given that his first feature, Gone Baby Gone, was also based on a Lehane novel. Earlier this year, Leonardo DiCaprio was attached to star in the project, though now he will only produce.

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Barry Sonnenfeld in Talks to Direct Lore Starring Dwayne Johnson

We all know that Hollywood typically likes to play it safe when it comes to big budget tentpole films. The latest case in point: Lore, a film in development at Warner Brothers about a line of protectors called Shepherds who defend the world against mythological creatures. The material has been described as tonally similar to Men in Black and after meeting with many notable directors the studio appears to have settled on none other than Barry Sonnenfeld. That’s right, the director of all three Men in Black movies is in talks to helm the film, which will be adapted from the graphic novel by author T.P. Louise and illustrator Ashley Wood. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been on board to star since April, although it’s unclear when Lore will fit into his busy schedule.

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Michel Hazanavicius in Talks to Direct Tom Hanks for In the Garden of Beasts

The term “Oscar bait” gets thrown around quite a bit these days, especially when there’s talk of a new WWII era drama with big talent attached. Well, the blogosphere can prepare for another entry in that category as Michel Hazanavicus, hot off his Oscar win for The Artist, has started negotiations to direct none other than Tom Hanks in a pre-WWII drama set in Germany called In the Garden of Beasts. Hanks will play William Dodd, America’s ambassador to Germany in the 1930’s, who, along with his family, at first embraced life in Berlin. The film will explore Dodd’s growing concerns about the country as he starts receiving reports of violence against Jews, gradually learning of Hilter’s plans for genocide. Natalie Portman is reportedly being courted to co-star as Dodd’s daughter who carries on several affairs with Third Reich officers.

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Nicolas Cage to Star in David Gordon Green’s Joe

Earlier this summer, it was reported that David Gordon Green had shot a “secret” film with Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd, a low-key dramedy about two highway maintainence workers called Prince Avalanche. While there hasn’t been much news on that project, it’s now being reported that Green has another movie in development, this time with Nicolas Cage in the lead. Simply titled Joe, the film tells the story of an ex-con who becomes an unlikely role model to a teenager whose “family is ruled by a drunk, worthless father.” Together, the two attempt to find a better life in small town Mississippi. Green describes the film as a “performance piece” and says it contains “darkness, beauty, and humor,” signaling that, like Prince Avalanche, this should serve as a return to the director’s early work (George Washington, Undertow).

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Spike Jonze’s Latest Film Gets a Title and Plot Synopsis

Over the summer Spike Jonze quietly shot his next film, his first since 2009’s Where the Wild Things Are. Until today there haven’t been too many details revealed about the film except that it was an off-beat romance starring Joaquin Phoenix, Samantha Morton, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde. However, a plot description has now surfaced and it certainly reads like the type of material we’ve come to expect from Jonze. Taking place in the near future, the story centers on a writer (Phoenix) who purchases a new operating system designed to “meet the user’s every need.” A romantic relationship develops between the writer and the operating system as the film examines “the nature of love and the ways that technology isolates and connects us all.” We’ve also learned that this unconventional love story will go by the simple title Her.

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Chuck Norris Will Not Return for The Expendables 3

With The Expendables 2 hitting theaters last weekend, rumors have already been flying on the next entry in the series. As previously mentioned, producer Avi Lerner claims to be chasing down the likes of Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood, Nicolas Cage, and Wesley Snipes for the third film, though none have signed on. He was also in hopes to get Mickey Rourke back “if he won’t be too crazy.” However, one person who will NOT be returning for more ass-kicking adventures is Chuck Norris. While he enjoyed his time working on the sequel, Norris made it clear that he was done, saying of part three, “Nope. Just number 2. This is it for me.” He offered no other reason for leaving the series, which has been the most mainstream thing he’s been involved with for a number of years. I suppose he has plenty of Chuck Norris jokes to fall back on.

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Billy Ray Set to Script Sinatra for Martin Scorsese

For a director like Martin Scorsese, there’s always a plethora of projects to choose from, so naturally some of the films he’s associated with always get put on the back burner. Sinatra, a biopic of the famous singer, represents one such project; a film that Scorsese has been planning to make for years now, although the stars haven’t aligned for it. Well, now it appears the film has taken a step in the right direction as Billy Ray (State of Play, Shattered Glass) has signed on to write the screenplay. Ray has built up a healthy resume over the years, recently working on The Hunger Games and the upcoming Paul Greengrass film Captain Phillips. This news doesn’t guarantee that Sinatra will become Scorsese’s next directorial effort after The Wolf of Wall Street, but it does add some weight in its favor at least.

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