Maccabee (alternately known as Judah Maccabeus, or יהודה המכבי) is famous for leading the 165 BCE revolt that led to the restoration of Jewish worship at the temple in Jerusalem, an act now commemorated by the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.
In a seemingly unlikely confluence of sleaze and bad taste, the script will be written by legendary schlockmeister Joe Eszterhaus ("Showgirls"). And although Gibson has expressed interest in making a Maccabee film in the past, the level of his ultimate participation remains unknown. He may star. He may direct. Or he may just sit quietly in his producer's chair, silently contemplating the strange and unpredictable ironies of life.
What do you think, Hitlisters? Could this project potentially signal Gibson's ultimate redemption? (His last film about a heroic Jew was fairly successful, after all. If slightly controversial.) Or is it just the latest (insulting, vaguely vulgar) incident in a disastrous late career marred by scandal and controversy? As always, let us know in the comments...
(And of course, the real tragedy here is that the story of Hanukkah could actually make for a really compelling movie. Will one ever get made? Only time will tell.)
Hail to the King, baby
The resulting film—nondescriptly titled "Fame & Fortune"—will be adapted from "Elvis: Still Taking Care of Business," a 2007 biography of the Rock and Roll legend by Marshall Terrill and former Elvis bodyguard Sonny West.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, noted documentarian John Scheinfeld ("The U.S. vs. John Lennon") has been tapped to direct. Casting—sure to be the single most difficult and controversial aspect of the whole enterprise—will begin soon in order for the film to debut next year, the 35th anniversary of Presley's death.
What do you think, Hitlisters? Excited for an Elvis biopic? Will "Elvis: Still Taking Care of Business" lend itself well to the screen? And who should play the King, anyway? (If the narrative touches on his sadly pudgy, undignified later years, may we humbly nominate Bruce Campbell?) Are there any actors (singers, musicians, impersonators, etc.) out there who can embody even a fraction of Presley's showmanship, charisma, and raw sexuality? Should the actor playing Elvis actually sing—a la "Walk the Line"—or just lip sync, a la "Ray?" So many questions, and only a scant few months to wildly speculate about/argue over the answers...
More details as they become available...
Videodrone's take on the biggest, best, coolest and culty-ist home video releases of the week
This week on home video, superheroes take on the Cold War of the sixties in "X-Men: First Class," Brian De Palma's modern gangster classic "Scarface" debuts on Blu-ray and over a dozen TV shows from last season -- from "Fringe" to "The Good Wife" to Steve Carell's farewell season of "The Office" -- roll out on DVD just before the new Fall Season launches. Ready to play catch-up?
"X-Men: First Class" (Fox) is both reboot and prequel to the "X-Men" movie franchise. Call it a preboot, with James McAvoy as a flirtatious, precocious Professor X and Michael Fassbender as a dark, vengeful "Magneto" in the groovy atmosphere of the cold war 1960s. Videodrone's review is here.
Saoirse Ronan is "Hanna" (Universal), a girl raised to be a survivor and a warrior, the better to take on the agency that "created" her, in the adolescent assassin thriller from the otherwise literarily inclined director Joe Wright. Will Ferrell puts aside his buffoon persona for a more everyman role in the tragicomic "Everything Must Go" (Lionsgate), a small but lovely film adapted from a Raymond Carver short story.
On the import front comes a couple of Asian action films -- the Hong Kong gangster drama "Triad Underworld" (Palisades Tartan) and Malaysian historical spectacle "Clash of Empires" (Image) -- plus Amos Gitai's "Carmel" (Kino Lorber) from Israel and "The Colors of the Mountains" (Film Movement) from Colombia.
'Charlotte Doyle' adaptation sounds more like, say, 'Matilda' than 'The War of the Roses'
Film will put 'new spin' on battle between lawman and gangster
For those outside the entertainment world bubble, the term “Black List script” may not mean anything, but it’s a hefty distinction that many screenwriters would kill for. The Black List is an annual list of Hollywood’s “most liked” screenplays that have yet to be put into production. The list is chosen by a number of movers and shakers in the entertainment world, mainly studio and production executives whose very livelihood depends on identifying fresh talent.
Some Black List alums from the 2010 list alone? “Margin Call,” “Argo,” “Gangster Squad,” “Snow White and the Huntsman,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” “Welcome to People,” Billy Ray’s original “The Hunger Games,” “Looper,” and “One Day” – and that’s only a sampling of the scripts that made the list and are already out in theaters or in production.
Another Black List alumni from 2010? Grant Pierce Myers’ script for “Ness/Capone,” a “new spin” on the classic battle between Eliot Ness and Al Capone. Relativity picked up the script back in April and is now moving on production, with Deadline reporting that Relativity is negotiating with director James McTeigue to helm the film. McTeigue has previously directed the upcoming “The Raven,” along with “Ninja Assassin” and “V for Vendetta,” with uncredited work on “The Invasion.” He’s also worked extensively as an assistant director or second unit director for a number of huge films, particularly “Dark City,” “The Matrix Reloaded,” “The Matrix Revolutions,” and “Speed Racer.”
While “The Untouchables” has long worked as the definitive cinematic take on the Capone/Ness feud, Myers’ script reportedly shows “Ness [as] a skirt-chasing 26-year-old publicity hound who seemed to get an adrenaline charge out of courting danger, kicking in doors, smashing moonshine stores and rubbing it in the noses of Capone and other mobsters. He would parade confiscated bootleg trucks past Capone’s hotel, calling Capone in advance to suggest he look out the window.”
McTeigue’s debut film, “V for Vendetta” is still one of the most interesting first films of any modern director, so it’s intriguing to see what he may do with such a reportedly fresh take on well-tred material.
Do you want to see another film that centers on Ness and Capone?
Political potboiler from director George Clooney has great slogans, faulty details
Adapting Beau Willimon's play "Farragut North" for the big screen, George Clooney's "The Ides of March" starts so strongly -- from the jump, it's an truly entertaining mix of Aaron Sorkin and Sidney Lumet, where idealism and pragmatism fight dirty in the dimmer corners of the halls of power -- that the film's mis-steps later on are not just disappointing but depressing. Clooney has, as in his earlier films, assembled an amazing cast here. Ryan Gosling is a political operative under Phillip Seymour Hoffman trying to get George Clooney's Governor Morris the Democratic Presidential nomination, with Max Minghella and Evan Rachel Wood as junior staffers, Marisa Tomei as a member of the press and Paul Giamatti as Hoffman's opposite for the other contender.
Casting, however, isn't filming, and while Clooney has -- as ever -- assembled a superb technical staff, the screenplay is where things go awry. Cinematographer Phaedon Pappamichael ("Sideways," "Walk the Line," "Knight and Day") captures the wintry haze of battleground state Ohio and the plywood pomp-and-circumstance of the modern campaign trail, while editor Stephen Mirrione ("Traffic," "Ocean's 13," "Go") cuts the close-clipped conversations superbly. Clooney-as-director also earns credit for opening the play up visually, walking the line between showy excess and artlessly hurling theatrical blocking up on-screen. (A moment where we slide in and out of three parallel offices as information passes back and forth is superb, as is a hidden meeting in the shabby privacy of a shaded stairwell.)
Cast includes Jude Law, Aaron Johnson and Wright staple Keira Knightley
Comedy about sex addicts will star Paltrow, Ruffalo, Robbins, and Richardson
Last year, Stuart Blumberg unexpectedly penned an awards season darling, “The Kids Are All Right.” Blumberg’s resume pre-“Kids” was a mixed bag, with screenwriting credits for “The Girl Next Door” and “Keeping the Faith” to his name, along with a stint writing for “MADtv” – in short, not the sort of titles you associate with a writer who has now been nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. But “The Kids Are All Right” walked a delicate line of warm humor and hard dramatic truths, and Blumberg looks to be continuing that sort of work with his next film, “Thanks for Sharing.”
Blumberg has co-written the script for the film with Matt Winston, and will use the project as his directorial debut. The film is billed as a comedy that revolves around sex addicts. “Thanks for Sharing” will chronicle the rehabilitation of the addicts, as they work through a 12-step treatment program and attempt to form real relationships. Unlike Steve McQueen’s upcoming sex addict film, “Shame” starring Michael Fassbender, “Thanks for Sharing” looks to be a touch more light-hearted (at least, let’s hope). According to Variety and The Playlist, the film is now set to star Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Joely Richardson.
Paltrow will play businesswoman Phoebe, who ends up falling for Ruffalo’s character. Richardson will play Robbins’ wife, Katie. Though it’s unclear, it appears as if Paltrow, Ruffalo, and Robbins will play the apt-to-sharing sex addicts, with Richardson likely playing a bit of a straight man to the oversexed others.
The film is set to start filming next month in New York City.