The chances of somebody never having seen Christopher Lee in a movie may be virtually impossible. The 93 year-old-actor, who died Sunday in London, was a veteran of the big screen, whose life achievements can easily be seen in his long repertoire of films. Lee covered all of the basics during his career. He appeared in classic stories like Dracula (1970) and The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), and he would carry his villainous streak over to such roles as James Bond‘s nemesis in The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) to Count Dooku in George Lucas’s latest Star Wars trilogy, to the dark-wizard Saruman in director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings series. Some music fans may even recognize him on the cover of Paul McCartney’s most popular post-Beatles ablum Band on the Run alongside McCartney and Wings and actors James Coburn (The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven), and Kenny Lynch, among others. In later years Lee would also collaborate regularly with director Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns) on such films as Sleepy Hollow and Alice in Wonderland, and he was knighted in his home country of England in 2009. He leaves behind his wife of 50 years Birgit Kroencke and their daughter Christina. May he rest in peace.
THR recently reported that Matt Damon is reuniting with director Kenneth Lonergan for his next project titled Manchester By The Sea. The film follows a lazy, unmotivated plumber from Boston, who returns home following the death of his brother, only to find the responsibility of raising his 16-year-old nephew has fallen to him while he deals with another tragedy from his past that comes to the surface. Lonergan, who received Oscar recognition for his screenplay for You Can Count On Me (2000), has worked with Damon before, but this may be the first time their work will be released to a larger audience and get some legitimate recognition. Their last project, Margaret, was shown at several film festivals in 2005, but after being shelved received a limited-release in 2011 and has since been pretty much forgotten. Lonergan is also the writer behind such films as Analyze This (1999), The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000), and Gangs of New York (2002), but this will be his first major film project since Margaret in 2005. Damon was last seen in The Monuments Men earlier this year, and will make a small appearance in Christopher Nolan‘s upcoming space drama Interstellar before beginning filming on The Martian with director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus) for November 2015. We’ll watch for more news on the Manchester project.
Director Cary Funkunaga, having just wrapped up the first season of HBO’s True Detective, will be moving on to his next project, an adaptation of Tom Reiss’ novel The Black Count. The story follows that of General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, the esteemed black general who fought under Napoleon Bonaparte in the French military, and whose son (Alexandre Dumas) would go on to write the world famous novels The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. Stepping into the producer’s role will be none other than iconic musician John Legend and his production company Get Lifted Film Co., as well as Sony Pictures. The role of Dumas has yet to be determined, and Fukunaga will first be adapting another novel for the big screen before this one really gets rolling. Stay tuned for more updates.