The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which made its world premiere at the New York Film Festival Saturday, is one of those projects that’s been knocking around Hollywood for a while. It began as a slender story by James Thurber way back in 1939, first adapted (very loosely) for Danny Kaye in 1947. This current iteration has been in development since 1994; Jim Carrey, Owen Wilson, Mike Myers, Zach Braff, and Sacha Baron Cohen have all been attached to star, while Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Chuck Russell, and Gore Verbinski (among others) were slotted to direct. Now, at long last, here is the film, directed by and starring Ben Stiller, whose take on the material neither remakes Kaye nor returns to Thurber. This script, Stiller said after the media screening Saturday afternoon, “didn’t try to redo what had already been done very well by Danny Kaye. And obviously I didn’t want to do that; nobody would want to see me attempt to do that.” … Read More
If you visit the IMDb page for Pedro Almodovar’s new movie I’m So Excited (out this Friday), you might think a reunion is in the works: the top-billed actors there are Almodovar favorites Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz. So it’s a bit of a surprise to see the film itself, wherein the perversely prankish filmmaker brings in two of the world’s biggest movie stars to appear only in the first scene, running maybe three minutes, before disappearing. Because he knows how we presume these two actors will dominate the film, Almodovar is effectively toying with our expectations; he’s not the first filmmaker to do so. … Read More
We’ve explored deplorable poets in music — like the oft-laughable Jim Morrison and that hilarious ode to his penis — but after spotting the bad poetry of Suzanne Somers on Dangerous Minds, we went searching for more celebrity poesy. Some stars, like Viggo Mortensen, have displayed a bit of genuine talent, but most celebs are predictably oblivious and self-absorbed when it comes to their laughably bad writing. See what happens when pop culture icons pretend to be poets and fail miserably. … Read More
Earlier this week, we learned that BBC4 is set to release its own take on the doomed romance between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton — and fans are already complaining that Helena Bonham Carter, whose been cast as Liz, doesn’t look enough like her. But that doesn’t mean the six-time Golden Globe nominee and winner of Emmy, SAG, and BAFTA awards is doomed to fail at capturing the screen vixen’s famous fire. In fact, there’s plenty of precedent for actors who looked nothing like the real-life icons they portrayed nonetheless managing to convince us. These 15 actors may have presented a challenge for their films’ makeup departments, but they also turned in performances no lookalike could have matched. … Read More
Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad, as everyone knows by now, was originally slated for release last fall, a release postponed due to the reshooting of a climactic sequence that rather unfortunately echoed the theater shooting in Aurora. That scene was replaced by a set piece in Chinatown, and when it comes up, the movie buckles a little under the weight. It’s an encroaching of reality, of the world outside the frame, that’s wildly unfair. Opening disclaimer aside, this is not a film “Inspired by a True Story”; it’s inspired by movies, by the way classic crime pictures look and feel and sound, which is then revved up and kicked out as pure flash. Those who are calling it shallow and cartoony and clichéd are missing the point. It is all of those things, purposefully — gleefully, even. … Read More
Apparently Democrat Sean Penn and Republican Kid Rock are friends. Keep that in mind, because it explains why their 11-minute film “Americans” exists. The clip that they co-wrote and Rock produced finds the celebrities meeting in a folksy local bar to squabble over their divergent political views. But after lashing out at each other with taunts typical of the comments section of just about any major political blog, they’re caught off-guard by a report about marines killed in Afghanistan. As each realizes how deeply affected the other is by the news, they come to understand they’ve got something in common after all. From there, they ride off into the sunset to give each other’s values a shot, Kid Rock buying a Prius (and immediately outfitting it with some taxidermy and a gun rack) and Penn giving up his foofy Hollywood cocktail for a good, ol’ working man’s beer.
See, Americans? The differences between the political left and right aren’t that important, after all — especially if you’re a rich celebrity who’s going to be just fine no matter who wins the election! All snark aside, it’s a very sweet video, and its intentions are good. Unfortunately, it’s also kind of painful to watch. Check it out, if you have the patience and/or would like to see Kid Rock pretend that a pair of overalls with no shirt is an OK thing to wear in public, below. … Read More
Every Friday here at Flavorwire, we like to gather up the week’s new movie trailers, give them a look-see, and rank them from worst to best — while taking a guess or two about what they might tell us (or hide from us) about the movies they’re promoting. This week we’ve got Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis facing off on the campaign trail; Matthew McConaughey bullying Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple; Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, and Emma Stone in a gangster pastiche; Todd Solondz directing Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow; and a few promising films set to premiere at Cannes. Check ‘em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments. … Read More
Last week, we took a look at a few of Hollywood’s stranger casting decisions for previous (and upcoming) biographical films. But with the Oscar-winning Iron Lady out today on DVD and Blu-ray, we thought we might also take a look at some of the more successful actor/biographical subject match-ups—with a particular eye on those that most convincingly embodied the figures they were playing.
Playing a well-known and well-documented actor, musician, or public figure can’t be easy, even for the best of actors — they not only have to assemble a serviceable performance in the conventional sense, but must also work up a convincing impersonation. They’re playing people that we’re used to seeing, whose look and speech have become familiar and distinctive, and must thus be replicated. The great performances in biographical movies must also then transcend the mere imitation, and create a compelling character beyond that. After the jump, we’ve assembled a dozen of the actors who memorably got into someone else’s skin; add your own in the comments. … Read More
1. John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky (Blades of Glory) are in talks to develop an animated film for Universal that’s based on the classic cartoon character Woody Woodpecker. Do the kids of today even know who he is? [via Slashfilm]
2. Steven Spielberg has decided to widen the focus of his Survivors of… Read More
Sean Penn, never the wallflower, has some opinions he’d like to share about his latest film, The Tree of Life. His thoughts may surprise you! (If you know absolutely nothing about Sean Penn, that is.) The actor told the French publication Le Figaro, “I didn’t at all find on the screen the emotion of the script, which is the most magnificent one that I’ve ever read. A clearer and more conventional narrative would have helped the film without, in my opinion, lessening its beauty and its impact. Frankly, I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing there and what I was supposed to add in that context! What’s more, Terry himself never managed to explain it to me clearly.”
While Penn’s complaints may have resonated with the refund-refused moviegoers of Connecticut, most have seen it as rather bad form—particularly for a critically-acclaimed picture that is still in general release. On the other hand, he’s certainly not the first actor to publicly diss his own work; we’ve collected some of our favorites after the jump. … Read More