After apparently making the decision to only appear in movies where he can wear stylishly retro headwear, Harrison Ford has signed on to play famed lawman Wyatt Earp in "Black Hats." The film will mark his second consecutive quasi-western after "Cowboys and Aliens," and cements his status as this generation's John Wayne: the grizzled, gravelly voiced, slightly grumpy, yet still somehow lovable paragon of all stoic manliness. Not to mention one of the biggest movie stars in the world.
Since beginning his career playing charismatic rogues like Han Solo and Indiana Jones, Ford has graduated to more authoritarian roles, portraying a series of aggrievedpatriarchs, esteemed doctors, and now lawmen. "Black Hats" will reportedly have him depicting an aging Wyatt Earp teaming up with former deputy Bat Masterson to rescue Doc Holiday's son from gangster Al Capone. The script will be written by "300" screenwriter Kurt Johnstad, based on a novel from "Road to Perdition" author Max Allan Collins.
What do you think, Hitlisters? Excited by Harrison Ford's new career turn? Intrigued by the talent behind the new movie? Is Clint Eastwood actually this generation's John Wayne? Or is the only John Wayne actually John Wayne?
Calling all Dudes, His Dudenesses, Duders and El Duderinos (if you're not into the whole brevity thing): these Venice, California realtors have a six-bungalow property for sale -- the very same featured in the 1998 Coen Brothers' comedy, "The Big Lebowski," as home to Jeff Bridges' The Dude -- at the mere asking price of $2.3 million.
Before you balk, everything's been renovated and touched up since filming, which means you may need to bring your own rug to tie the room together. (I also assume that a nihilist has fixed the cable by now.) Plus, you can rent out the other five units to five fellow fans (ferrets optional) and use that money to put the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers through college.
Okay, I don't think I can possibly cram another reference in here. Time for a White Russian...
With his stoic demeanor, strong features and quick-trigger reflexes, Daniel Craig's nameless wanderer in "Cowboys & Aliens" is in many ways the face of the film -- and, surprisingly, its heart and soul, as his character gets not only to save the day but to discover -- and redeem -- the man he was. But in person, Craig laughs easily, and his enthusiasm for his co-stars and crew is fairly evident; in other words, he couldn't be more removed from the dour, dark gunslinger he plays on screen. We spoke with him in Montana.
When you read the script and you realize, 'I'm playing the classic Western man with no name,' how much fun is that?
Craig: I was given the script, I read it, and I found my people, and I said, "That's amazing; it's great. I'd love to see this movie. I don't know why I'm in it." I sat down with (screenwriters) Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman and Jon (Favreau), and we talked about it. They said, "We want you to do it; we want you in it." It was a dream come true.
Was there a blink factor from the title, trying to reconcile the idea of how quick and brief the mental image of the title gives you versus the fullness of the film?
Craig: Those two things were one of the biggest appeals that there was no shying away from the fact this is what it's called. We're not going to change the title. It's not "Lonergan's Progress" or "Dolarhyde's Dilemma": it's "Cowboys and Aliens," and that's what happens. Within that, you hire the best talent you can and a great director, and you tell a story. I hope the audience is going to get whipped up enough by the story and emotionally involved with the characters enough to care for them when the s**t hits the fan.
As many filmmakers do, Mimi Leder came up through TV first. Then, in 1997, she got a break with DreamWorks' first release, the still fun George Clooney-Nicole Kidman vehicle "The Peacemaker." The next year brought "Deep Impact," and in 2000, Leder directed "Pay It Forward" before returning to the small screen for the past decade. (She would direct the 2009 Antonio Banderas-Morgan Freeman thriller "The Code," which -- for whatever reason -- went straight to video in the States.)
Maybe it was a matter of preference on her part, or maybe the work just didn't come, but after two sizable hits and one cloying drama, it was strange to see her career path revert as it did. Now, Leder is back with "All Quiet on the Western Front," which is either a remake of the 1930 Best Picture winner about WWI trench warfare or, if you'd rather get picky about it, a second adaptation of Erich Remarque's acclaimed novel. (UPDATE: a commenter has brusquely but correctly noted that the novel had been previously adapted into a 1979 TV movie starring Ernest Borgnine.)
According to Deadline, production probably won't begin until late 2012, but with a little luck, it'll mean bigger and better things for Leder after that.
In "Crazy, Stupid, Love.", Steve Carell plays a long-married man whose imploding life-long marriage leaves him adrift and lost -- the perfect kind of human jetsam for smooth seducer Ryan Gosling to meet, mentor and make-over after childhood sweetheart Julianne Moore pulls the adult trick of crushing his heart. Carell's character, flailing and failing, is the center of "Crazy, Stupid, Love." -- with the intriguing irony that Carell's never been more in control of his career; the comedy marks the first release backed by his own production company. We spoke with Carell in New York.
This film looks at a lot of big relationship issues and a lot of things about truth, but let's talk about the tough stuff first: You get a pretty good makeover.
Carell: I do.
Was that gratifying to see that happen?
Carell: Yeah, I needed it.
You're certainly a stylish gentleman in the real world.
Carell: For sure.
When they slump you down and then you get to twirl as if by magic and you're like Cinderella at the ball with Ryan Gosling --
Sometimes, friends or colleagues ask me what vested interest I could possibly have in any given year's awards season. Like clockwork, many of our favorite films and performances get snubbed by a system that operates mostly on marketing power and almost entirely outside of our control. I like to think it's akin to those friends and colleagues and their likely fascination with certain sports - they can make their predictions, study the statistics, but they're never going to affect the outcome themselves.
Still, they cheer on.
And so, as the late August-early September trifecta of the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals nears, I get excited at the prospect of having movies to be excited about, regardless of whether they ultimately take home the gold. I've not yet had the pleasure of attending any of these festivals, but the recently announced line-up for this year's Toronto International Film Festival certainly does get one's hopes up.