A new drama called Genius, which is based on the life of editor Max Perkins, is opening in select theaters across the country this weekend. Based on the best-selling biographical novel by A. Scott Berg, the film follows Perkins’ extraordinary career working for Scribner Publishing, where he oversaw famous works by authors like Ernest Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms), F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby), and Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward Angel), and simultaneously dealt with these authors’ personal dramas and often crippling addictions. Screenwriter John Logan (Gladiator, Spectre) adapted the script for director Michael Grandage (The Madness of King George, Bugs), who is making his directorial debut with this movie. Continue reading →
Actor Woody Harrelson in full make-up and costume on the set of LBJ.
Principle photography is currently underway on a new biographical drama from Oscar-nominee Rob Reiner (The Princess Bride, A Few Good Men), titled LBJ. Leading the film as President Johnson is fellow Oscar-nominee Woody Harrelson (Zombieland, True Detective), with Jennifer Jason Leigh (Road To Perdition, The Machinist), C. Thomas Howell (E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, The Amazing Spider-Man), Bill Pullman (Spaceballs, Independence Day), Jeffery Donovan (Changeling, Burn Notice), and Richard Jenkins (The Indian in the Cupboard, Step Brothers). The plot is expected to range from 1959 to 1964, covering Johnson’s time in the Senate, Vice-Presidency under John F. Kennedy, and his subsequent term as President after Kennedy’s assassination, coming from a script by Joey Hartstone (Project Runway). Johnson faced several large issues during his time as President, including the beginning of the Vietnam conflict and the Civil Rights Movement. We’ll keep an eye on this one as it progresses, but as of now the film does not have an exact release date. Stay tuned.
After much anticipation and even more promotional hype, the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton is now playing in theaters nationwide. Directed by F. Gary Gray (Friday, The Italian Job) and penned by screenwriters Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center), Straight Outta Compton chronicles the rise of the iconic rap group NWA during the mid-1980s. The group’s songs of hardship and racial prejudice in the streets of Compton prompted a national awareness to the ongoing issues still fueled by racial divides between the law and the streets, and revolutionized the hip hop genre for generations to come. Starring in the film as the members of NWA are O’Shea Jackson Jr. (as his father, Ice Cube), Corey Hawkins (Iron Man 3, Non-Stop) as Dr. Dre, Jason Mitchell (Contraband, Broken City) as Eazy-E, Neil Brown Jr. (Fast & Furious, Battle Los Angeles) as DJ Yella, and Aldis Hodge (Die Hard With A Vengeance, The East) as MC Ren. Oscar-nominee Paul Giamatti (Lady in the Water, 12 Years A Slave) also appears in the film as NWA manager Jerry Heller. Reviews have been mixed thus far: some have expressed that the story is exaggerated at points, while other truths have been completely omitted from the story. But one thing that all the critics seem to agree on are the actors’ performances. As with any film adaptation of a real-life story, the plot will tend to focus on the perspective of certain members and not touch upon others, but I’m hoping, for the most part, that this will be a fairly accurate representation of the true account. Original members Dr. Dre and Ice Cube served as producers on the project. So if you don’t have any plans this weekend (and even if you do), I would make a point of seeing this one on the big screen. It’s bound to be the biggest movie release this summer. Enjoy!
This weekend you can see a new documentary from award-winning documentarians Robert Gordon (The Blues, Johnny Cash’s America) and Morgan Neville (The Cool School, Twenty Feet From Stardom) titled Best of Enemies. The film chronicles a series of debates held between liberal thinker Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley Jr. in 1968. Intended to be a public commentary on the political and social issues of the day, the two ended up unintentionally changing modern media format from informed delivery of fact to exaggeration and speculation. Providing interviews for the film are the debaters, themselves, as well as Kelsey Grammer (X-Men: The Last Stand, Boss), John Lithgow (Shrek, Interstellar), Dick Cavett (The Dick Cavett Show, Forrest Gump), Noam Chomsky (The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror, The U.S. Vs. John Lennon), and Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor). The film received a nomination at the Sundance Film Festival for the Grand Jury Prize and also earned high remarks at this year’s Montclair Film Festival. Watch the trailer here on MADE, the film will be open on big screens Friday, July 31st.
We’ve been waiting for more news on this project for a while now, and with an August 14th release date slowing coming up, we finally have a full trailer for F. Gary Gray‘s upcoming biographical drama Straight Outta Compton. Based on the story of the iconic group N.W.A, the film chronicles their rise to fame from the streets of Compton, California, and how their music revolutionized popular culture as they exposed the danger and brutality of the ghetto. The film is being produced by Tomica Woods and original members Ice Cube (Friday, All About the Benjamins) and Dr. Dre, with Gray (Friday, Law Abiding Citizen) working from a script by Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center, Blood Father) and Sheldon Turner (The Longest Yard, X-Men: First Class). Making up the cast are actors O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Ice Cube, Aldis Hodge (Leverage, The East) as MC Ren, Jason Mitchell (Contraband, Broken City) as Eazy-E, Corey Hawkins (Iron Man 3, Non-Stop) as Dr. Dre, and Neil Brown Jr. (Fast and Furious, Battle Los Angeles) as DJ Yella, with Lakeith Lee Stanfield (The Purge: Anarchy, Selma) as Snoop Dogg and Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man) as N.W.A manager Jerry Heller. The trailer premiered during this week’s episode of Workaholics, but you can see it here on MADE if you missed out. Enjoy!
We first reported that last month that a biopic about iconic rap group NWA titled Straight Outta Compton (in reference to their first album) was in the works at Universal and that O’Shea Jackson Jr. would potentially be cast to portray Ice Cube in the movie. As far as we can tell that still appears to be accurate, but now we also have news that Lakeith Lee Stanfield (Memoria, The Purge: Anarchy) has been chosen to play the role of Calvin Broadus Jr., otherwise known as Snoop Dog (or Snoop Lion as of last year), who first appeared on the rap-scene around the same time as NWA. That means he and Jackson Jr. will be joining a cast of relatively unknown actors, including Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, Jason Mitchell as Easy-E, Aldis Hodge as MC Ren, and Neil Brown Jr. as DJ Yella. Other cast members include Paul Giamatti as Jerry Heller, NWA’s manager, and Carra Patterson as Tomica Woods. The film will be directed by F. Gary Gray (Friday, The Italian Job), but this is just another project on Stanfield’s list of upcoming movies. The actor is also scheduled to appear in the upcoming Miles Davis biopic with Don Cheadle, Miles Ahead, and Oprah Winfrey’s upcoming Civil Rights drama Selma, which centers on the marches between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Now that the cast is pretty much all in place, filming on this new biopic should begin soon, but we’ll keep an eye out for an official start and potential release date.
Fans of the FX motorgang drama Sons of Anarchy are gearing up for the final season premiere this September 9th. The series first aired back in 2008 and was the first major role for Charlie Hunnam. Actors Katey Sagal, Mark Boone Junior, Tommy Flanagan, Maggie Siff, and Ron Perlman also had starring roles on the show. Kurt Sutter created and writes the show, and even takes a small supporting role as Otto Delaney, the Son serving a life sentence who works information for the club from inside prison. Sutter also wrote for and served as executive producer on The Shield with Michael Chiklis from 2005-2008 before going on to create SoA. If you’re a fan of the show and know what’s going on, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how crazy this season will be, especially since it will be the last!
Last week we told you about the upcoming Whitey Bulger biopic, entitled Black Mass, which was originally being developed by director Barry Levinson with Johnny Depp set to take the leading role. Depp, however, fell away from the project after Levinson also departed, leaving Universal Studios a gangster film with great potential, but no lead, and no director. Recently, however, Out of the Furnace director Scott Cooper has been in talks with Universal to take over for Levinson, and with Cooper signing on to helm the film, Depp has come back to the project with renewed interest and has now confirmed with Deadline Hollywood that he has signed a deal to take the lead role, with Tom Hardy in early talks to take the supporting role of FBI agent John Connolly. The story of Bulger and his rise to criminal power and subsequent fall from grace was actually the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award winning Boston crime-drama The Departed (2006), which won the Best Picture and Best Director Oscar and earned Leonardo DiCaprio a Golden Globe for Best Actor and Mark Wahlberg the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The script for Black Mass is being adapted by Mark Mallouk from the novel Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between The FBI and The Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, and the film is expected to be in production by May of this year.
Director Scott Cooper just recently released his violence-driven drama Out of the Furnace with Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, and Zoe Saldana, and Woody Harrelson, and is now turning his directing efforts at another crime-drama based on the life of Boston crime lord Whitney Bulger. The project is titled Black Mass and is based on the book Black Mass: The Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill. The story they tell of Bulger is one of violence and betrayal, as the former kingpin decides to give information to the FBI in order to take down a competing Mafia family, only to be double crossed and prosecuted for his crimes, along with John Connolly, a member of the FBI believed to be the reason it took the agency so long to finally take down Bulger. Johnny Depp was originally involved with the project with director Barry Levinson, but since then he has backed out and the script has been given to Cooper for rewriting. Depp may still be interested in doing the film, but that is still unclear at this point, so we’ll have to wait for Cooper to get the final screenplay completed before we really know who will be filling in the roles. Stay tuned for more information on this one.
Forrest Gump was first published as a novel in 1986 by author Winston Groom. The book was then adapted into the award winning film by director Robert Zemeckis and actor Tom Hanks in 1994, in what is probably his most famous role to date. The story follows Forrest Gump, a southern man with an IQ of 75, and his lifelong friend Jenny Curran as they live out the course of their lives in the turbulent latter half of twentieth century America. Beginning in the 1950s with Elvis Presley and the early Civil Rights demonstrations, Forrest goes on to play college football, become a war hero in Vietnam, go to China as an international ping-pong player, and run across the United States for 3 years, ending up in the 1980s and the Reagan administration.
The movie costars Gary Sinise, Robin Wright, and Sally Field, and features appearances by some noteworthy historical figures such as JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, George Wallace, Dick Cavett, John Lennon, and Abbey Hoffman thanks to the film’s award winning visual effects. Hanks’ portrayal of the character won him an Academy Award for Best Actor, but his adaptation was much softer than the author originally envisioned. The movie won 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Film Editing and Visual Effects. Since it was first released in 1994 the movie has become a cultural phenomenon and is known as one of Tom Hanks most famous roles. Hanks and Zemeckis reunited for Cast Away in 2000, which also earned Hanks another Oscar nomination. Forrest Gump will turn 20 years old this July, so be sure to celebrate sometime this year.