Reveal at Comic-Con stands in contrast to Tarsem's brighter, lighter film
The new Peter Parker wows the crowd at Comic-Con
For those who are worried that Andrew Garfield may not have the gravitas to shoulder “The Amazing Spider-Man,” the franchise’s well-publicized “reboot” that is already being called the Big Movie Event of 2012, the actor gained a lot of fans with his surprisingly emotional appearance at Comic-Con yesterday.
When the highly anticipated and jam-packed “Spider-Man” panel began in the largest convention hall, Garfield was nowhere to be found. The first questioner rushed the microphone, dressed in a crappy, ill-fitting Wal-Mart Halloween costume of the character. The jittery costumed fan started talking in an American accent and was clearly a Spidey-geek who had even the diehard fans in the audience rolling their eyes. But suddenly, the spindly nerd ripped off his mask and revealed himself to be the new Peter Parker in the flesh. The crowd roared enthusiastically at Garfield’s deception. The actor then pulled out a handwritten speech which he read alound (in his natural British accent):
You have no idea how much this means to me. I've always wanted to come here as a fan, and this is my first time, so here I am, as a fan. I just want to say a couple of things. I'm Andrew Garfield and I'm going to be here introducing this panel, this “Amazing Spider-Man” panel.
Stan Lee says that the reason why Spidey is so popular is because all of us can relate to him, and I agree. I needed Spidey in my life when I was a kid, and he gave me hope. In every comic I read, he was living out my and every skinny boy's fantasy of being stronger, of being free of the body I was born into, and that swinging sensation of flight. And upon receiving his power, unlike most who have become corrupted, he used it for good. And I think that we all wish we had the courage to stick up for ourselves more, to stick up for a loved one more, or even a stranger you see being mistreated, and Peter Parker has inspired me to feel stronger. He made me, Andrew, braver. He reassured me that by doing the right thing, it's worth it. It's worth the struggle, it's worth the pain, it's worth even the tears, the bruises, and the blood.
And, and, and I wouldn't be able to stand here in front of you guys right now without feeling that Spider-Man was here with me with his reassuring hand on my shoulder, making sure I don't fall over and concuss myself. He has inspired countless people: girls, boys, men, women, all of us, and he's saved lives. And he's saved my life. And I owe Webhead a lot and I owe Stan the Man a lot and I'm humbled to be here, like you do not know, to share the work that we've done with all of you. And this is my first Comic-Con. This is definitely the coolest moment of my life and thank you for being here to share it with me.
It’s a rare moment at Comic-Con when attendees are seen wiping tears of pure emotion from their eyes. At that moment Andrew Garfield could have ejected steel-like strands from the web shooters on his wrists and scaled the walls of the convention hall in a single jump and no one would have been surprised.
The next Catwoman could learn a thing or two from the original
Actress Anne Hathaway is about to join a notable group of actresses who have purred their way into Gotham City to try and conquer Batman. Hathaway will be seen as the Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” which is filming now and will be released in 2012. Before Anne put on the kitty ears, we had Lee Meriweather and Eartha Kitt in the role, followed by Adrienne Barbeau, Gina Gershon, and more recently, Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry. But to me and most Baby Boomer boys who were introduced to Catwoman on the iconic 1960s “Batman” TV series, there is only one “real” Catwoman: sexy, gorgeous Julie Newmar.
One of the most well attended events at San Diego’s Comic-Con on Friday was the reunion of “Batman” TV legends Adam West (the Caped Crusader himself), Burt Ward (Robin, the Boy Wonder), and Julie. Though each has made many public appearances over the 45 years since the campy series first aired, this was surprisingly the first public reunion of the three stars.
The Wrap reports that the performers, now 82, 66, and 77 respectively, exhibited a warm camaraderie and an understanding of their place in the history of the franchise. “My Batman, I think of as the Bright Knight—the others are the Dark Knight,” West joked during the panel discussion. “It’s just a different ball game, that’s all—not that I wouldn’t love to play the Dark Knight’s father!” Hear that, Mr. Nolan?
Burt Ward told how he was injured while filming one of the famous shots of the Batmobile lurching out of the Batcave. “On one of the takes, my door flew open,” Ward said. “I grabbed the gear shift and broke my pinkie finger. They said, ‘We have to get you to the hospital—but we have to get the shot first!’"
Julie Newmar was asked about her form-fitting Catwoman get-up. She loved it. “Well, if you wear black, it takes 15 pounds off your body,” Newmar reported. “When you put on the heels, which were four inches, it takes what—five pounds per inch off your body?”
Not that the stunning Newmar needed any help making herself more alluring—she was the number one sex symbol for a generation of boys in the 60s and 70s. I was an 11-year-old in Chicago when I somehow found Newmar’s home address and wrote to the actress. I’ll never forget the day when a large envelope with a very distinctive handwriting arrived in the mail.
The envelope contained two photos in addition to the above bikini shot, each one signed in a different way. On the photo Newmar sent of herself in the skin-tight Catwoman drag, she wrote “To D., Love, J.” and drew little cat whiskers on the J. Wow. How many actors even answer their own fan mail today, much less respond to the ravings of a lovestruck 11-year-old boy? And how thrilled was I by Newmar’s suggestive comment in the letter that she’d like to be in more films “as one way of visiting me.”
I’ve run into Julie Newmar several times since moving to Los Angeles, and she still causes a sensation whenever she enters a public place. You can practically hear nerves being pinched as everyone in the room cranes their neck to gaze at the stunning, shockingly tall woman who could still give Batman a run for his money.
I heard from Miss Newmar once again in 2009 after writing a piece about another show of hers that was a source of childhood fantasies. It was called “My Living Doll” and only lasted a season. Newmar played Robot AF709, also known as Rhoda Miller, who lived with an Air Force shrink played by Bob Cummings. In this Johnson-era, testosterone-laced male fantasy, Cummings was trying to transform Newmar’s android into the Perfect Woman (i.e., one that would do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it!). Oy, is it possible that the modern-day women’s movement was formed just so they could band together to protest this show? But Julie was wonderful, and I remembered one episode where she played the piano beautifully. I suspected that it was really her playing and received the following response.
Thank you for the video and the kind words about me in your blog. It is fascinating how you were able to catch one of the favorite pieces I did on television, you are very perceptive. It was me playing the piano. It was direct-recorded in one take. How very pleased I am to have your approbation.
No photos this time, but Miss Newmar is still able to cause my aging heart to flutter. She also sent me a link to her own blog which showcases her diverse writing. The woman shows no signs of slowing down!
Julie Newmar has “given her blessing” to Anne Hathaway as the next incarnation of the feline temptress. If I were you, Anne, I’d hightail it over to Julie’s and learn a thing or two from the best. And don’t forget the four-inch heels!
'I Didn't Have to Sell the Studio on Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis; I had to Sell Mila and Justin on Me. ... '
After the under-appreciated cheer-dudes comedy "Fired Up," director and writer Will Gluck moved on to the smash critical and box-office hit "Easy A," with Emma Stone as a teen navigating rocky shores of sex, reputation and social scene with a brilliant, distinct script that mocked both Demi Moore and hypocrisy, With "Friends with Benefits," Gluck's back in the bedroom, with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis as two people who decide to get physically tangled up without getting entangled emotionally; complications, of course, follow. We spoke with Gluck in Los Angeles.
When you're casting a film where you've got a lot of edgier material to push by, you know it's going to be a hard R, how intense was it the temptation to go with somebody who has a bit more of a known dramatic quantity than Mr. Timberlake?
Gluck: None in this situation. This was one of those things that I wasn't going to do the movie unless I had Justin and Mila. As soon as I got this script and I figured out what I wanted to do with it, I wanted to make sure it was from a fresh take. I drew up a list, and there was two names on it: Justin and Mila. I wasn't going to do it unless I could get them.
Did you have to sell anybody else on Mr. Timberlake?
Gluck: I didn't sell no one. My biggest sell was selling this, and me, on Justin and Mila. That's my biggest snow job -- and foolishly they both signed on very quickly. The studios were very supportive.
Will the superhero crush Harry Potter and friends?
2:15: The Cinerama Dome in Hollywood is one of my favorite movie theaters in the world. It was built in 1963 for widescreen and Cinerama films and the screen and sound can't be beat. I’d see anything here.
2:20: What? $17.00? Jesus, a family of four would need a bank loan to see this film. Is 3D just an excuse to charge more?
2:25: The clerk at the concession stand just asked me what kind of mustard I wanted on my hot dog. I love this place!
2:29: Hmmm, the theater is less than half full on opening day? Perhaps the studio hyperbole about wiping out those kids from Hogwarts was a bit premature. Or maybe it’s just because “Captain America” opened in about a trillion locations?
2:35: Ugh, so many previews of 3D films. Even the new “Spiderman?” It adds nothing to the film. Andrew Garfield looks puny, like Chris Evans before he becomes Captain America.
2:40: Only the animated films seem to benefit from the 3D technology. I can’t believe that I’m looking forward to seeing “The Adventures of Tintin.”
2:46: Okay, I admit that the Paramount logo looks pretty cool in 3D.
2:49: I love that Captain America is set during World War II where it belongs. And, of course, Nazis make the best villains. But why is crazed Nazi Huge Weaving talking English to all the other Germans? They could have found a way around that—like the clever technique used in “The Hunt for Red October” when the Soviets are speaking in fluent Russian until the camera zooms in to their lips and then zooms out and they're talking English (but we know they’re really speaking Russian!).
3:10: Hayley Atwell looks like a 14-year-old boy’s fantasy of a 1940s woman. But I guess everything in this movie is a 14-year-old boy’s fantasy. I liked Atwell in that Woody Allen film, “Cassandra’s Crossing,” and the remake of “Brideshead Revisited.” However, I don’t think “Captain America” will provide the final word on her acting chops.
3:18: Hugo Weaving is an effective Nazi, despite that ridiculous accent, but I can’t get the image of him as the drag queen in “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” out of my head.
The unlikely pair will face off in R-rated comedy
Deadline reports on one of the most head scratch-inducing comedic pairings in quite some time with the news that Universal Pictures is closing a giant deal to pick up a comedic pitch that already has Zac Efron and Seth Rogen on board to co-star. The outlet reports that the deal will cost somewhere in the 7-figure range, which is still a hefty price tag, even when it comes with such attached talent.
The untitled film "has the tone of 'Old School'" and will feature Rogen as an average guy who (unfortunately) lives in the same neighborhood as an "alpha male fraternity house." Efron will play one of those alpha frat bros "whose raucous behavior wreaks havoc" on the lives of Rogen and his family. This is somewhat unexpected casting - while Rogen has oftentimes played the schlubby role in the past, we've never seen him as a regular family guy. It's an interesting pick for him, but should still allow him to deliver some trademark humor. And, as far as Efron playing a frat boy, that seems like a decidedly okay pick, as the R-rated film will likely require Efron to play his role with a bit of a demented edge. But Efron has recently beefed up his production schedule with some mixed roles in stuff like the Nicholas Sparks adaptation "The Lucky One" and Lee Daniels' "The Paperboy," so it looks like he's looking to spread his acting wings.
The film will be written and executive produced by Andrew Cohen and Brendan O'Brien who, like Rogen, come out of the Judd Apatow school o' production (both served as producers on "Funny People" and share writing credit on the Funny or Die short "Acting with James Franco"). It will be the first feature screenwriting job for both. Rogen and his production partner, Evan Goldberg, will also serve as producers on the project. Cohen and O'Brien came up with the idea and pitched it to Goldberg, who then brought in Efron and Rogen to star.
It sounds like the film will be a real proving ground for much of the talent - can Efron be funny? Can Rogen be regular? Can two crazy Apatowians deliver on a feature?
Oh, Matt Damon's manic mouth...
Candy-colored costumes and inventive sets are director's calling card
Though most audiences might not be familiar with Tarsem Singh’s highly visual, energetic, and color-saturated films, the director will soon see two projects hit the big screen. The first, “Immortals,” is the director’s take on the Greek mythology of warrior Theseus, and boasts a cast packed with fresh talent, including new Superman Henry Cavill and other hot young actors Luke Evans, Frieda Pinto, and Isabel Lucas. The film will open on November 11 of this year. But it’s the director’s other in-production project that is just starting to reveal some of its secrets – his spin on the Snow White fairy tale.
Up top is our first look the film’s star, Lily Collins, gussied up for the project. She makes a breathtaking Snow White, but what’s most interesting about this look is how true to form it stays to Tarsem’s (as he sometimes likes to be called) trademark aesthetic; it doesn’t look like he’s toning his style down for this anticipated release, and that’s comforting to fans of his work. Tarsem only has two features to his name, but they are both incredibly original works with a distinct style, flair, and worldview. 2000’s “The Cell” still stands as Jennifer Lopez’s most gutsy cinematic choice, and 2008’s “The Fall” was criminally underseen and lushly beautiful.
Tarsem’s Snow White project (which was once billed as “The Brothers Grimm: Snow White” and is now without an official title) is not to be confused with next year’s other Snow White project. That other project is Rupert Sanders' “Snow White and the Huntsman” (the one with Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron). Tarsem’s project has Collins as Snow White, Armie Hammer as the Prince, Julia Roberts as the wicked Queen, with Sean Bean recently rumored to be on board as the King. Though “Huntsman” will take the story in a darker direction (with rumors that said darkness could spread into a trilogy), Tarsem’s film is billed as “comedic” and “family-friendly.” That’s certainly a change for the director, but one I am quite anxious to see.
The film opens on March 16, 2012.
What do you think of this first look at Collins? Are you a fan of Tarsem’s work? Thanks to the folks over at Relativity for sending over this gorgeous first look.