After hearing about this project months ago and getting no more than an image of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) in costume as a military recruit, we finally have an official trailer for the upcoming drama Snowden from writer/director Oliver Stone (Platoon, Any Given Sunday). The film is based on two books, one called The Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena and the other simply titled The Snowden Files by author Luke Harding (who also wrote the book WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy that inspired the similarly themed 2013 flick The Fifth Estate). Snowden tells the story of infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden, from his time as an armed forces recruit all the way to his efforts to bring the National Security Administration’s practice of tracking individual cell phones for the sake of security into question. Screenwriter Kieran Fitzgerald (The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández, The Homesman) co-adapted the script with Stone (although I can’t speak as to how accurate the material is). Continue reading →
Happy Halloween! This October has already seen a new addition to the Paranormal Activity series (The Ghost Dimension), the return of AMC’s The Walking Dead and its spinoff series Fear The Walking Dead, and the comeback of R.L. Stine’s classic scary-tale series Goosebumps with Jack Black (Shallow Hal, School of Rock) at the helm. This week, and just in time for Halloween weekend, we get another Zombified movie experience from director Christopher Landon (Paranormal Activity, Burning Palms) in the form of Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. Bringing back the fun-zombie feel of Zombieland (2009), this one follows three scouts who must use their experiences to ban together and save their hometown from a zombie outbreak. Actors Tye Sheridan (The Tree of Life, Mud), Logan Miller (I’m In The Band, +1), and newcomer Joey Morgan star in the lead roles, with Sarah Dumont (Don Jon, Playing It Cool), David Koechner (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby), and Cloris Leachman (Young Frankenstein, Beerfest) in the supporting cast. Director Landon co-wrote the screenplay with Lona Williams (Drop Dead Gorgeous, Shark Tale), Carrie Lee Wilson (Teamo Supremo, College Road Trip), and Emi Mochizuki (College Road Trip). Also still playing in theaters for your Halloween needs are Goosebumps and Crimson Peak. Enjoy the Halloween weekend, and be safe!
The Bean in Chicago’s Millenium Park will also be featured as part of Statue Stories Chicago.
A new project here in Chicago is launching this week in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The project is called Statue Stories Chicago, an idea which first launched in parks in Britain and Chicago is now the first US city to feature the attraction. 31 statues in Lincoln Park will feature new icons that Chicagoans and tourists can scan with their smart phones and then receive a phone call from ‘the statue’ informing them of who they are and providing a small bit of history behind the statue as well. For example, if you were to scan the icon next to the statue of Abraham Lincoln, you would receive a phone call from Abraham Lincoln, whose voice is provided by actor John C. Reilly (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step-Brothers). The project is the work of Colette Hiller, who has worked with theaters around the city, including Second City, Steppenwolf, The Goodman, and The Looking Glass, to bring the attractions to life. Other actors taking part in the project include Steve Carrell (The Office, Little Miss Sunshine), David Schwimmer (Friends, Six Days Seven Nights), and Chicago-native Bob Newhart (The Bob Newhart Show, Elf), who provides the voice for his own statue at Navy Pier. So if you’re in Lincoln Park be sure to check out these new talking statues!
A new film on the life of Edward Snowden, the infamous whistleblower who leaked highly-classified documents from the National Security Agency to the press, is in the works from historical (yet controversial) director Oliver Stone (Platoon, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps). Stone and screenwriter Kieren Fitzgerald (The Ballad of Esequiel Hernandez, The Homesman) are expected to adapt the script from author Luke Harding‘s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, and Anatoly Kucherena‘s (Snowden’s Russian lawyer) upcoming memoir Time of the Octopus. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) is expected to take the lead role in the film, and recent news has actress Shailene Woodley (White Bird in a Blizzard, The Fault in our Stars) joining the cast in the role of Snowden’s girlfriend. The most recent film to be released on the Snowden controversy was the documentary film from Laura Poitras and Glen Greenwald, Citizenfour, which featured footage and material from Poitras’ interview with Snowden in Hong Kong. Stone’s new film is expected in theaters sometime in 2016, so we’ll keep an eye out for more news.
Deadline Hollywood reported today that Raius-TWC acquired the North American rights for the Pablo Escobar film Paradise Lost for $2 million. The film is directed by Andrea Di Stefano and costars Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games), Brady Corbet, and Claudia Traisac, with Oscar-winner Benicio Del Toro in the role of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. The story follows a young man who visits Columbia and falls for and marries a local girl, only to discover he has married the kingpin’s niece, whose uncle then begins to lure him into the family business. The film is produced by Dimitri Rassam and Romain Le Grand, with Pathe and Frederique Dumas of Orange Studio, as Miquel Angel Faura from Roxbury and uMedia. The film is expected to be released later this year. As you may know, Hollywood studios have been attempting to get a film chronicling the life of Pablo Escobar for several years now, with titles including The Ballad of Pablo Escobar. Beneicio Del Toro was once involved with a similar project, and actors like John Lequizamo and directors like Brad Furman have at different points been attached to various projects regarding the cartel leader, but until now, nothing had gained enough speed to get from the production stage to the big screen. A fun spin on the situation was taken in the HBO series Entourage, where fictional actor Vince Chase took on the role of Escobar in an independent picture called Medellin, which was accepted for showing at the Cannes Film Festival only to receive terrible reviews and being released straight to DVD. Paradise Lost takes the name from the famous 12-book poem by John Milton, which was published in 1667 and covers such matters as the War in Heaven, and the temptations of Lucifer on Adam and Eve. I’m not sure whether the filmmakers meant to make this connection or not, intentionally using the character of Satan in the original poem as an analogy for Escobar himself, but I guess we’ll see sometime soon. Hopefully this movie is worth the wait; if it stays true to the depths of Escobar’s character and the violence-fueled world that he was a part of and doesn’t focus too heavily on the supporting love story, it should be a pretty good movie, especially with Benicio Del Toro appearing as Escobar.
With The Wolf of Wall Street already earning five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director (Martin Scorsese), and Best Actor and Supporting Actor nominations for Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio, the cast and crew are definitely enjoying their success. While they wait for the upcoming Oscar ceremony, Hill and DiCaprio are already looking ahead to future projects, and one of them has them reuniting for another biopic drama. The Ballad of Richard Jewell, originally an article featured in Vanity Fair, follows a security guard at the 1996 summer Olympics who was suspected of being involved in the plot after reporting the backpack that contained the bomb. The article was recently purchased by Twentieth Century Fox and will be produced for the big screen by DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, and Kevin Misher under Appian Way Productions. While Hill and DiCaprio are both currently attached to the project, there are no reports of a director or screenwriter being involved at this time.
Despite the uncertainty of whether or not there really would be a full length film regarding the life of one of the world’s most famous drug kingpins, Relativity Media has picked up Brad Furman’s The Ballad of Pablo Escobar that has been floating around since 2011. The film will be re-titled King of Cocaine under the new production company, and will star rumored actor John Leguizamo in the lead role. Despite early speculation that Benicio Del Toro would be starring as Escobar, and even more recent reports of Oscar Issac playing the part, Furman has been pushing hard for Leguizamo despite concerns from studios. Leguizamo starred in Furman’s first film The Take (2007) and most recently held a supporting role in the director’s upcoming film Runner Runner with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. Landing a lead role like this could be huge for Leguizamo, who has always provided great performances in supporting roles in films like Miracle at Saint Anna (2008) and Carlito’s Way (1993). Seeing him take on a role as important and unique as Pablo Escobar should be really exciting!
I know it sounds like this title belongs on the track listing of an Elton John or Billy Joel album, but a full length feature film focused on the life of the late Columbian drug kingpin is really in the works, and John Leguizamo is currently in the running to play the lead role. Director Brad Furman, who worked with Leguizamo in The Lincoln Lawyer, is hoping to get shooting underway for the long anticipated crimography this September, but as of now the casting is yet to be finalized. Screenwriter Matt Aldrich has a finished script (or at least a finished draft) that has been ready since 2011, but because no one had yet taken up the project the script was blacklisted in 2012. Personally I would really like to see Leguizamo take on a challenging lead role; the actor has shone through as a backbone in the movie industry for years, and has received nominations for the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild, as well as winning an Emmy very early in his career. Brad Furman’s next film, entitled Runner Runner, is set to hit theaters this Fall. If all goes well Furman could potentially be well into the production process for Pablo by the time of Runner‘s October 4th release.