Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Many Faces of Oscar® Nominee Favorite Actor Christoph Waltz: Then & Now

Palm d'Or Award ceremony photocall
2009 Cannes Film Festival

Earlier this month we reported Austrian actor Christoph Waltz who won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for brilliantly playing Nazi Colonel Hans Landa aka "the Jew Hunter" in Inglourious Basterds has been cast as the main villain Chudnofsky in Sony Pictures' The Green Hornet.

Since Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds came out Waltz has been offered a lot of big movies by a lot of big directors. And he's getting big bucks now. How great this well-known (in Europe) award-winning stage veteran and TV actor has found success on this side of the pond at age 53.

We thought it fitting at this time to take a look at the many faces of Oscar® nominee favorite Christoph Waltz in his 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. At 53 Waltz is hotter than ever! He even sings!!!

Enjoy the photos and video clips below!

In his 20s
Holy Hotness!30s

and now

Watch the clips from the British mini-series "The Gravy Train Goes East" (1991), the sequel to "The Gravy Train", 1990 (below). Christoph plays Dr. Hans-Joachim Dorfmann aka "Bloody Dorfmann" aka "Prince Charming", a very earnest, idealistic and naive German who is constantly bumping into the furniture. At the beginning of the first series he goes to Brussels in order to work for the European Community. The newcomer is courted by a number of prominent bureaucrats and entrepreneurs and seduced by various women who all try to use him for their own purposes.

This is a little clip (below) from the two-part film "Catherine the Great" (1995). Christoph plays a Russian officer of the 18th century.

Here's Christoph as James Bond. Smashing!

Can hardly wait for the kick-off of the 2010 Awards Season starting with the fabulous A-Lister Star-Studded Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala and Red Carpet! We hope to spot Christoph among the stars on the Red Carpet. Tickets onsale now!

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Waltz photo source: SquareHippies.com

Monday, September 28, 2009

Will 'THE BOX' Push Your 'BUTTON, BUTTON'?

The Box is an upcoming horror film is written and directed by Richard Kelly, of Donnie Darko and Southland Tales previously. The story is based on Richard Matheson's short story "Button, Button", which was also adapted into a "Twilight Zone" episode.

Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur Lewis (James Marsden), a suburban couple with a young child, receive a wooden box as a gift, which bears fatal and irrevocable consequences. A mysterious stranger delivers the message that the box promises to bestow upon its owner $1 million with the press of a button. But, pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human somewhere in the world.

You can also watch the trailer in High Definition on AOL or on the official The Box website.

The Warner Brothers film was originally scheduled for release on October 30, 2009, but on July 31, 2009, it was announced the release date was to be delayed to November 6, 2009.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Michael Jackson 'This Is It' [Movie Clip]: TIX on Sale Tonight at Midnight!

Watch a brand new official movie clip from the upcoming tribute film This Is It starring the late Michael Jackson. Movie will be in theaters everywhere October 28.

Short Synopsis: This Is It is being produced with the full support of The Estate of Michael Jackson and will be drawn from hundreds of hours of rehearsal and behind-the-scenes footage, captured in high definition with state-of-the-art digital sound as the late singer was preparing for his concert series in London. The film, which will also offer select sequences in 3-D, will provide a unique career retrospective and feature interviews with some of Jackson’s closest friends and creative collaborators.

Tickets go on sale today (Saturday) at midnight 9/26 (or 12:01am Sunday, 9/27) for the limited 2-week theatrical run starting on October 28th. Buy tickets online at Fandango.com or visit Sony Pictures This Is It for more information.

Friday, September 25, 2009

MGM on the Verge of Bankruptcy |'The Hobbit' & James Bond in Jeopardy

DeadlineHollywood is reporting that MGM held a very long conference call with bondholders and lenders that caused lots of people to become "very loud and very upset." It turns out that the studio is on the verge of bankruptcy.

The call was to make a desperate plea for money in the amount of $20 million in short term and another $150 million to get through the rest of the year. One major project that MGM needs to fund is Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson's The Hobbit prequel.

In addition, MGM is $3.5 billion in debt and has requested that the bondholders waive the company's interest payments until February 2010. The bondholders know that they probably won't get all their money back if MGM goes bankrupt, since it's only worth about $1.5 billion. Unfortunately, that's exactly the direction they want to go in.

What this means is that if MGM goes bankrupt, it will lose the rights to James Bond (to pay part of the debt) and The Hobbit could be delayed indefinitely. The next step is for the bondholders to have a vote to decide MGM's fate. Stay tuned.

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Source: DeadlineHollywood

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Guillermo del Toro 'Spliced': Vincenzo Natali's SPLICE To Premiere In Sitges

In March we posted an update on Vincenzo Natali's Splice with some photos from the set. The film suddenly disappeared off the radar until now.

Todd Brown of TwitchFilm reports Splice will premiere at The Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia which runs October 1st to 12th. While distribution politics have kept the film out of the big North American festivals, the Spanish genre fest in Sitges - one of the premiere festivals of its type in the world - have just announced their competition titles.

Guillermo del Toro is one of the Executive Producers of the film. He is currently in New Zealand working on The Hobbit. He recently updated fans on his current projects.

Director Natali says that the film is: “…about finding humanity in the monster and… the monsters that lurk within humanity.”

Clive and Elsa are superstars of the genetic engineering world. They specialize in splicing together DNA from different animals to create fantastical new hybrids. The charismatic couple wants to use human DNA in a new hybrid - something that could yield astronomical medical benefits. The pharmaceutical company that funds their research, however, is more interested in exploiting their earlier triumphs for easier, short-term profit. Clive and Elsa secretly conduct their own experiment. The result is Dren: an amazing creature who exhibits an array of unexpected developments, both physical and intellectual. Dren exceeds their wildest dreams... and, ultimately, their most terrifying nightmare.

The Splice movie trailer or clip is not available anywhere online. If anyone has a clip please share it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dick Cook, Walt Disney Studios Chairman, Steps Down | Johnny Depp Shocked & Very Sad

Dick Cook, the chairman of Walt Disney Studios, is stepping down. Cook had been head of the studio since 2002.

An industry source has told the Huffington Post that "this will be a very unpopular decision. He's a beloved figure."

Cook's official statement:

I am stepping down from my role as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, effective immediately. I have loved every minute of my 38 years that I have worked at Disney...from the beginning as a ride operator on Disneyland's steam train and monorail to my position as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. To wrap up my Disney experience in a neatly bundled statement is close to impossible. But what I will say is, during my time at the Studio, we have achieved many industry and Company milestones. Our talent roster is simply the best in the business. I believe our slate of upcoming motion pictures is the best in our history. But most of all, I love the people, my colleagues, my teammates, who are the most talented, dedicated and loyal folks in the world. I know that I leave the Studio in their exceptional hands.

I have been contemplating this for some time now and feel it's the right time for me to move on to new adventures...and in the words of one of my baseball heroes, Yogi Berra, "If you come to a fork in the road, take it."

And here is the official statement from the President and CEO of Disney Robert Iger.

"Throughout his distinguished 38-year Disney career, Dick Cook's outstanding creative instincts and incomparable showmanship have truly enriched this company and significantly impacted Disney's great legacy," said Disney CEO Bob Iger. "We thank Dick for his tremendous passion for Disney, and his many accomplishments and contributions to The Walt Disney Studios, including a very promising upcoming film slate. On behalf of everyone at Disney, we wish him the best with all the future has to offer."

Dick Cook, the chairman of Walt Disney Studios, is stepping down. Cook had been head of the studio since 2002. An industry source has told the Huffington Post that "this will be a very unpopular deci...
Dick Cook, the chairman of Walt Disney Studios, is stepping down. Cook had been head of the studio since 2002. An industry source has told the Huffington Post that "this will be a very unpopular deci...
The LA Times Blogs report Johnny Depp, star of Walt Disney Co.'s hugely successful "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, said he was "shocked and very sad" to hear about the abrupt departure of studio chief Dick Cook, whom he called "the sweetest man on the planet and such a gent."

Depp said he was confident that he and Cook will one day work together again.

"He will be somewhere and I will always look forward to working with him. I consider Dick a friend inside an insane system. He's someone I understand and I think he understands me."

As for the fourth planned "Pirates" movie, Depp said while he has a potential deal in place that will depend on how good the script is, his passion for the project at the moment has been severely dampened by the news that Cook will no longer be around.

Where Disney has struggled is in developing what used to be the backbone of the company -- family-friendly entertainment and content it can milk across all its platforms including theme parks. Cook's exit comes just a few weeks after Disney agreed to buy Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. According to Disney CEO Bob Iger, that deal would boost the company and its movie operations. In February, Iger dismissed a question about whether the weak economy was hurting the movie division. "It's not the marketplace, it's our slate," Iger said.

The Walt Disney Studios, in collaboration with prolific multihyphenate Guillermo del Toro (The Hobbit, Pan's Labyrinth. Hellboy), just launched a new production label called Disney Double Dare You (DDY), to create new animated films full of chills and thrills for audiences of all ages. Cook, enthusiatically announced the new label to a packed hall of Disney fans at the Walt Disney Studios D23 Expo last week.

Cook said, Guillermo is a brilliant and visionary filmmaker, and we are excited to be launching this new label with him. His knowledge and appreciation for Disney films, along with his penchant for creating worlds of fantasy, presented a great opportunity for us to explore a whole new genre of filmmaking for moviegoers of all ages. We have admired Guillermo's imaginative approach to filmmaking for some time, and now we're proud to be working with him to create films full of imaginative delights and lots of thrills at the same time.

Del Toro is a self-proclaimed "Disney Nut".
Although books, games and other merchandise will be part of the Disney Double Dare You label, DDY will release "theatrical, high end" animated feature films. These will be "edgier" animated films that could move into "PG-13" territory.

No news yet of Guillermo del Toro's reaction to Cook's resignation. GDT is current in New Zealand working on pre-production of The Hobbit which starts shooting in March and is scheduled for release in Dec 2011.

Watch the Walt Disney Studios D23 Expo featuring WDS Chairman Dick Cook. Dick welcomes numerous celebrities to the stage for the event including directors Robert Zemeckis, Jerry Bruckheimer and Tim Burton, actors John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Ella Bleu Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, the Muppets, a performance by Miley Cyrus and more.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Guillermo 'Disney' del Toro Dishes on DOUBLE DARE YOU Production Label & More!

Guillermo del Toro visited the DelToroFilms message board today to update his fans on the new Disney Double Dare You label which we reported on recently; and projects in pre-pro or production.

He confirmed today that although books, games and other merchandise will be part of the Disney Double Dare You label, DDY will release "theatrical, high end" animated feature films. These will be "edgier" animated films that could move into "PG-13" territory.

"For those that know me- I am a Disney nut. One whole room in BLEAK HOUSE is dedicated to the HAUNTED MANSION and I have a huge "Altar" (complete with offerings and candles) dedicated to Disney villians. I have collected original concept art for years and own many key pieces of art by Mary Blair, Kay Nielsen and Eyvind Earle, including FANTASIA, SLEEPING BEAUTY, ICHABOD CRANE, ALICE IN WONDERLAND and about 20 perfect concepts for NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

I have been going to Disneyland once a year or more -many times alone- for 40 years... and I have been planning this, my new relationship with PIXAR/DISNEY for a couple of years ago> I have a plan and I have been carefully pursuing it- and, no, it didn't start with THE HOBBIT. It predates it by a long while. I am trying to map out the next 10 years of my creative life and I'm touching the narrative forms I am interested on. That will include books, animation and games aside from films. I intend to be fluent in those languages and mediums, not as a user but as a practitioner.

Remember, on my early years, NECROPIA made make up FX and animation. I bought and rebuilt the FIRST 35 mm animation camera in my hometown (still in use) a MITCHELL NC with Berthiot optical lenses. I trained the keystone of new animators there and dabbled myself in stop motion and clay animation. This is one of the rare instances in which life follows a design.

DDY has a ratings ceiling of PG-13 and I think animation can move in that direction. With PIXAR tackling stuff like the MARS novels and other filmmakers pushing the creation of 3-D environments and characters (AVATAR, Zemeckis) I believe we can hope for animation projects that can be edgy and powerful. And, no, GOOSEBUMPS is not my model- As I said, the E-ticket rides of Yore are my inspiration, as are Chernabog or Maleficent or the Witch in Snow White, etc I am planning SCARY stuff to be part of the experience. The books will have a fantastic angle- soon to be revealed. Dick Cook and John Lasseter got excited about this precisely because the model I proposed is completely new."

This clarification rules out that the film projects would be Direct-to-DVD releases. and guarantees a GDT-inspired Disney feature film.


THE HOBBIT design, script and maquettes are going full steam. So is previz-

THE FALL (second book of THE STRAIN) is going back and forth between CH and I. Its in Chuck's court at the moment. Hobbit is on PJ, PB and FW side too, so I dedicate my writing time (daily, 2-3 hours before HOBBIT office work) to polish other stuff or start new projects.

"Don't BE AFRAID OF THE DARK" wraps next week. And I have been guarding and caring for it very closely. Its great!!

TROLLHUNTERS will be developed -from the start- with a real co-director that will be in Wellington for the next couple of years so I can manage this without going bi-coastal.

Three of the UNIVERSAL projects have COMPLETED scripts awaiting a polish. We have completed maquettes and prostethic sculptures for FRANKENSTEIN and in the course of next year will start R&D on my lifetime commitment AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS.

has a scribe (a great one) and is progressing to draft-

AT WB, my script for THE WITCHES is looking for a new director (still one of Liccy Dahl's favorite adaptations ever).

And we can hardly wait!!! For the latest GDT news join the Guillermo del Toro Facebook Group.
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Source: DelToroFilms.com

PETA Activists Dressed as Seals to Protest Canadian Seal Slaughter Arrested in Front of Canadian Embassy in DC

PETA members dressed as a bloody seals are arrested by Secret Service after
blocking traffic in front of the Canadian Embassy in Washington, Sept. 16, 2009,
where they asked Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to
killing the seals.

Today Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in D.C., and as the world turns its eyes to Canada for this event, PETA wants to remind everyone of Canada's shameful slaughter of defenseless baby seals. PETA members held a demonstration this morning at the Canadian Embassy to speak up for the hundreds of thousands of baby harp seals who are mercilessly clubbed to death on Canadian ice floes
year after year.
The Associated Press reports that three animal rights activists protesting seal hunting have been arrested in front of the Canadian embassy in Washington.

U.S. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan says officers arrested three members of PETA this morning on charges of disorderly conduct, unlawful assembly and failure to obey. The women taken into custody wore white seal costumes streaked in red paint to represent blood.

The protesters crawled onto Pennsylvania Avenue and blocked traffic. When they refused to move officers removed their masks, handcuffed them and carried them to the sidewalk.

About 15 other activists nearby held signs asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper to “stop the seal slaughter.” The group says harp seals are targeted in Canada and wants to send Harper a message as he visits President Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama sees the Canadian seal hunt as "inhumane" and vowed to express his "outrage" during his days as a senator, it was revealed on April 09, 2009 in the Star.

Obama, who has not spoken publicly about the seal hunt since becoming President, vowed in a 2006 letter to animal-rights activists to work with colleagues "to ensure that we take all the necessary steps to express our outrage" with the Canadian government.

"I share your concerns about the Canadian seal hunt," Obama wrote to a member of People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, in the letter, dated April 13, 2006.

"As you know, Canada annually opens its eastern waters to commercial seal hunting. The United States and European Union have been unified in their opposition to the slaughter of seals by passing legislation decades ago to restrict the sale of seal-based products within their borders," Obama wrote.

"I certainly believe in the spirit of these acts; the U.S. should not condone this recent Canadian action."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Christoph Waltzes into Green Hornet Villaneous Basterd Role as Nicholas Cage Bows Out

Christoph Waltz as Nazi Colonel Hans Landa
'Inglorious Basterds'

Wicked news...

ICM's actor Christoph Waltz who won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for brilliantly playing Nazi Colonel Hans Landa aka "the Jew Hunter" in Inglourious Basterds (and is a shoo-in for Oscar and Globe nominations) has now been cast as the main villain Chudnofsky (evil archnemesis to Britt Reid /Green Hornet), an LA mafioso with grand designs for a super mob in Sony Pictures' The Green Hornet. The Austrian actor steps into the shoes of Nicolas Cage who walked away from the Sony project last week when he and his hair piece couldn't finalize a deal with the studio.

Since Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds came out -- and crossed the $100M mark this weekend -- Waltz has been offered a lot of big movies by a lot of big directors. And he's getting big bucks now. How great he's found success at age 53.

Seth Rogan and the Black Beauty, Comic Con 2009

Seth Rogen stars as the eponymous hero Britt Reid, a newspaper magnate by day who turns vigilante by night. Rogen wrote the screenplay with Evan Goldberg based on the 1930s radio series. Cameron Diaz will star as Lenore Case and Jay Chou will take on the role of Kato.

The Green Hornet has been floating around Hollywood for ages now. Back in the day cult director Kevin Smith was attached to write and direct but dropped out.

In late 2008 Stephen Chow was set to direct as well as star as Kato but he also dropped out due to creative differences.

Christoph Waltz will scorch the screen with yet another deliciously evil mind-blowing performance making The Green Hornet one of the most anticipated films in the world right now.

Michel Gondry will direct and Sony has set a December 17, 2010 release.

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Source: IMDB, Deadline.com,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Guillermo Del Toro & Disney Launch Horror Cartoon Label 'Double Dare You'

The Walt Disney Studios, in collaboration with acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “The Hobbit”), is launching a new production label called Disney Double Dare You, to create new animated films full of chills and thrills for audiences of all ages.
Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook announced the partnership today in a star-studded presentation to the D23 Expo fan convention that brought actors Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage and John Travolta, and directors Tim Burton and Robert Zemeckis, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and singer-actress Miley Cyrus onstage in a packed auditorium at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Move can be viewed as yet another way for Disney to try to lure males to the company’s projects and pairs up with its recent takeover of Marvel.

All films will be produced under the guidance of del Toro, who originated the concept and the design of DDY and who will also direct certain projects. The first project in development for the new label is called Trollhunters, an original del Toro story which he will produce which will introduce a mysterious aspect of his new brand. The pics will all be tied together by "one feature that shall remain secret, but that you shall soon be very familiar with," del Toro said.

Commenting on the announcement, Cook said, “Guillermo is a brilliant and visionary filmmaker, and we’re excited to be launching this new label with him. His knowledge and appreciation for Disney films, along with his penchant for creating worlds of fantasy, presented a great opportunity for us to explore a whole new genre of filmmaking for moviegoers of all ages. We have admired Guillermo’s imaginative approach to filmmaking for some time, and now we’re proud to be working with him to create films full of imaginative delights and lots of thrills at the same time.”

Del Toro added, “As a director, I love to take audiences into fantastic new worlds and provide them with some anxious moments in the process. It is part of the Disney canon to create thrilling, unforgettable moments and villains in all their classic films. It is my privilege for DDY to continue in this tradition. To partner up with The Walt Disney Studios, with the support of Dick Cook and John Lasseter, is to belong to a storytelling partnership that I admire deeply. It is a true honor. I look forward to coming up with fresh and original stories that will take Disney films in a whole new direction. The emphasis is on fun, and we have some great ideas already on the storyboards.”

As part of its master plan to capture a greater male audience, Disney is looking to Double Dare You to create a darker slate of animated films than the usual Disney cartoon fare, as well as produce books and merchandising tie-ins

No other details are known yet such as how many films they might make or when production on Trollhunters might begin, but no doubt we'll be hearing more soon.

Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth received six Academy Award® nominations in 2007, including one for his original screenplay, and went on to win three awards. That film also received a BAFTA Award for Best Film not in the English language. His other directing credits include “Hellboy,” “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” “The Devil’s Backbone,” “Cronos,” and “Mimic,” among others. Del Toro is currently directing back-to-back feature film adaptations of the Tolkien classic, The Hobbit, for release in 2011 and 2012.

For the latest GDT news join the Guillermo del Toro Facebook Group.

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Source: Variety, LA Times, MoviesOnline

Viggo Mortensen Quits Acting, What Will Become of The Hobbit's Aragorn?

In a recent interview Viggo Mortensen told Men’s Journal he is quitting acting! “I have no plans to do another movie. I don't know what's going to happen. I'm open to seeing how I feel in a while, but right now I'm not saying yes to anything. My agent is like, 'Well, if you don't do anything, people will forget about you...' I just feel like I've taken on too much for a while.”

Viggo has talked before about the negative impact excessive travel was having on his health. Now it seems like he’s taking it even more seriously. While it doesn’t sound like he’s calling it quits forever, he does seem determined to take some sort of extended break. His schedule is, after he’s done promoting The Road, mostly empty. So that might not seem like a problem, unless of you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings.

Though he’s not yet officially involved, Viggo was supposed to reprise his role as Aragorn in Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming series of movies based in part on The Hobbit. Some time in the next few months they’re actually going to start shooting in New Zealand.

The good news here is that Aragorn probably won’t show up until the second of Guillermo del Toro’s new Lord of the Rings movies. That could give Viggo the time he needs to recharge his batteries.

Aragorn does not appear in JRR Tolkien's original novel The Hobbit. However, Del Toro's Middle Earth movies may incorporate material not found in the books, including material from different eras which could allow them to involve familiar characters like Aragorn. On the other hand, it's far from written in stone and even Del Toro has kicked around several different ideas for how to handle the movies. Bottom line, no one's entirely certain what they'll be about yet. I only hope Mortensen will be rested up by then and back in the saddle as Aragorn.
Middle Earth just wouldn’t be the same with a replacement Aragorn!

Viggo Mortensen in The Road

Mortensen is currently at TIFF promoting his latest movie The Road.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pamela Anderson’s Stripping PETA Ad Banned From Airports

A new airport-themed PETA commercial has debuted featuring some familiar friends of the organization — but don’t expect to be seeing this one in the terminals. Yet.

The ad stars Pamela Anderson as a scantily clad airport security guard who strips passengers of leather, fur, and other animal skins. The commercial has been deemed too racy to run by CNN Airport Network. The quirky commercial, titled “Cruelty Doesn’t Fly,” also features comedians Steve-O, Andy Dick, and Carol Leifer, a pair of nude models, and German punk icon Nina Hagen.

Apparently, CNN was worried that kids might see the ad — which features some stripping, nude models’ derrieres, and some playful kissing. PETA, however, isn’t deterred and is attempting to court Richard Branson's Virgin airlines to hopefully run with it. Check it out below:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Elizabeth Banks joins Paul Haggis 'NEXT'

Elizabeth Banks, Paul Haggis and Russell Crowe

Elizabeth Banks is in final negotiations to star in The Next Three Days for writer-director Paul Haggis at Maple Pictures.

Banks will play the lead role of Laura, a woman who is imprisoned for a murder she claims she didn't commit, as her husband, the recently cast Russell Crowe, desperately tries to vindicate her.

The suspense drama is a remake of the 2008 French thriller Pour Elle, which was written and directed by Fred Cavaye. Haggis is directing, writing and producing.

Haggis, his Highway 61 Films partner Michael Nozik and Fidelite's Marc Missonnier and Olivier Delbosc are producing. Lionsgate execs Alli Shearmur and Wolfgang Hammer are overseeing for the studio.

Filming is scheduled to begin next month. Film is sched for release in 2011 and will be distributed in Canada by Maple Pictures and by Lionsgate in the USA.

Source: Maple Pictures

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

‘THE HOBBIT’ is Safe! Tentative Settlement Reached in Tolkien v. New Line Case

At the end of July we ran a blog post stating there was a possibility that New Line could lose the right to release the The Hobbit if the Tolkien Heirs' lawsuit, Tolkien v. New Line turned ugly.

Today, TheOneRing.net reports the Tolkien v. New Line case has reached a tentative settlement. TORN message board member Voronwë_the_Faithful has the following fantastic news to report from the LA Supreme Court:

“A tentative settlement has been reached in the case. The parties have filed a stipulation that explicitly states that “the parties have entered into a binding term sheet settling this matter, which term sheet is subject to certain necessary ratifications, which may take up to several weeks to obtain.

“In other words, a settlement has been reached, but it needs to be approved by certain unnamed individuals/entities. I’m sure it is a complicated settlement, and I’m relatively sure that it includes specifications to ensure that payments are made on the Hobbit films, so I assume that one of the ratifications needs to come from Warner.

“Generally speaking, these kinds of “ratifications” are a formality and the settlement would not have been entered into unless they were pretty much sure that it would be ratified. I would shocked if the settlement did not go through. In all likelihood, this case is no longer going to provide any obstacle to the Hobbit films.

Hobbiton construction is currently underway in Mata Mata according to director Guillermo del Toro. He laid out a few new Hobbit holes but for the most part Hobbiton will be a reproduction of what was there for the Trilogy. While attending Comic-Con earlier this year Hobbit producer and co-writer Peter Jackson mentioned the script should be finished around this time. Rumour has it The Hobbit script has been finalized and delivered to the studio. The studio may have green-lit the project, and the film is in pre-production. Del Toro recently stated The Hobbit will not be 3D.

Sir Ian McKellan is currently re-reading The Hobbit and is expecting to be back in NZ in March to prepare for his role as Gandalf. Apparently he also knows who they’re getting to play Bilbo.

The Hobbit is scheduled for release December 2011.


'Fantastic Mr. Fox': New Featurette

Fantastic Mr. Fox is visionary director Wes Anderson’s first animated film, utilizing classic handmade stop motion techniques to tell the story of the best selling children’s book by Roald Dahl (author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach).

The film features the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Wally Wolodarsky, Eric Anderson, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, and Jarvis Cocker .

Mr and Mrs Fox (Clooney and Streep) live an idyllic home life with their son Ash (Schwartzman) and visiting young nephew Kristopherson (Eric Anderson). But after 12 years, the bucolic existence proves too much for Mr Fox’s wild animal instincts. Soon he slips back into his old ways as a sneaky chicken thief and in doing so, endangers not only his beloved family, but the whole animal community. Trapped underground and with not enough food to go around, the animals band together to fight against the evil Farmers - Boggis, Bunce and Bean - who are determined to capture the audacious, fantastic Mr Fox at any cost.

In theatres Nov 13, 2009.

'Spread the Strain' Contest Deadline Sept 30th!

Great news! The Spread the Strain contest deadline has been extended to September 30th, 2009.

Submit your own short fan-created film or trailer for The Strain, the new vampire epic from Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan and your video could be judged by Guillermo del Toro the visionary director of Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy and The Hobbit.

For details visit SpreadTheStrain.ca