The Hush-Hush News Report: 10.10.12: Hammer Time?!
Posted by Jeremy Wilson on 10.10.2012
News and thoughts on Justice League zeroing in on its Batman, Katee Sackhoff joining Gina Carano in the female Expendables, the latest on the Gears of War movie, Adele's Skyfall trailer, the possibility of Taken 3 coming to pass and more!
Hello 411mania readers! I am Jeremy Wilson and this is the Hush-Hush News Report. I missed you all last week so let's get right to it, shall we?
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We'd still write them if no one was reading, but to be honest it's better and more worthwhile when people do. Something about a tree falling in a forest. Anyway, on with the news....
Armie Hammer Still In Running For Justice League Batman?
MovieHole is reporting that Armie Hammer is still being considered to play the Caped Crusader in the upcoming WB Justice League movie. When they project was to be directed by George Miller, Hammer was to play Batman. That film, with its unknown-heavy cast, ultimately failed, although it did come close to actually shooting. And as MovieHole says, Hammer is interested at getting a second bit of the apple, now a little more older, a little more experienced and now that they can start to move beyond the shadow of the Nolan trilogy of films.
"Hearing, from a very good source, today that Hammer, who is now a hot commodity after such flicks as "The Social Network" and "Mirror Mirror", not to mention his upcoming lead role in "The Lone Ranger", is "back on WB's radar" for the part of Batman. Not for a solo flick, but for the ensemble "Justice League" movie [again].
The studio need a new guy to guard the cave now that Christian Bale has hung up the cowl. And with plans to reintroduce a younger take on the character in the upcoming "Justice League" movie, a draft of which has been completed by Will Beale, the studio has Hammer atop of their list of potentials. It's really, when you think about it, a no-brainer. Thus, I wasn't much surprised when informed this morning that he's in with a good chance to play the part in the superhero tag-team movie.
It's a win win, really. Hammer apparently wears the suit smartly, has already rehearsed for the gig before, but more so, is a much bigger star than he was three or four years ago.
Obviously, this is pretty much a rumor at this point so take that with a grain of salt (no offense to the fine folks at MovieHole). If we're hypothetically taking this at face value, then I would say I'm not really an Armie Hammer guy, although I'm willing to see a bigger sample size. I was unimpressed with J. Edgar (the makeup wore him) and Mirror, Mirror (the whole movie was messy) and I think he's gotten a little too much credit for what was a solid supporting turn in The Social Network. We will get a much better sense after The Lone Ranger hits theaters whether he's going to live up to the expectations of Hollywood. He wouldn't be my first pick for Batman either. I can definitely see him as Bruce Wayne, but I've yet to see what would make it would with him as Batman.
I hope I'm wrong, but the way this Justice League project is going, you have to wonder is WB really has any idea what they want with the character and franchise going forward.
Katee Sackhoff Joins Gina Carano For Female Expendables
Variety reports that Katee Sackhoff has joined Gina Carano to star in the female Expendables. Sackhoff has done numerous projects since playing Kara "Starbuck" Thrace on Battlestar Galactica, including the upcoming Sexy Evil Genius and Riddick as well as starring in A&E's Longmire.
Producer Adi Shankar commented: ""If you spend five minutes with Katee it becomes blatantly obvious that she would pwn most male action stars." Yeah, he said "pwn."
Dutch Southern is writing the script for the film. Shankar's banner has recently co-financed films such as The Grey, Dredd 3D, Broken City and Killing Them Softly. Variety says that as of now only Carano and Sackhoff are on board, but that many female stars are circling the project.
Names that have been thrown around in the past include Sigourney Weaver, Milla Jovovich, Kate Beckinsale, Michelle Rodriguez, Lucy Lawless, Cynthia Rothrock, Pam Grier, Linda Hamilton, Uma Thurman, Grace Jones, Brigette Nielsen, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Yeoh and even Angelina Jolie.
Obviously, you're not going to get all these women, but if it doesn't include Weaver, Hamilton, Grier and Yeoh, you might as well pack it up and not bother. If they somehow got Jolie (which I'd say is highly doubtful, but you never know), it would sell the movie instantly and you might even get to release it in the heat of the summer blockbuster season. I'm not sure they're there yet with Carano and Sackhoff. And that's coming from one of the biggest Sackhoff fans around.
Along with Carano & Sackhoff, who else do you want to see involved in the female version of The Expendables?
Taken 2 Took Your Money, Now It's Gonna Try To Take Some More
When he spoke with Empire a couple weeks ago, Liam Neeson was doubtful when asked if he'd make a Taken 3.
""I don't see it. I don't think it's going to happen. I really don't. I can't see a possible scenario where audiences wouldn't go, 'Oh, come on...! She's taken again?'"
Of course, that was before Taken 2 absolutely rolled the competition over and raked mad dough in at the box office. While it may struggle to match its domestic totals, it did still earn $50 million in its debut weekend in the U.S., and did even better overseas. Taking in $55.2 million, it will absolutely smash the international haul from the first Taken (likely passing it sometime this week). As a result, it would seem the equation has somewhat changed and that 20th Century Fox would be incompetent if they didn't explore how far they could go with this series. Yes, that means Taken 3.
"We didn't start talking about it until we saw the numbers. But then we said, 'Oh, okay. I think we should do a third one.' And Fox wants us to do a third one...We've taken everyone we can take — it's going to go in another direction. Should be interesting."
Hold on a moment while I put on this helmet and slip my poncho on...okay that's better. Now, let me admit something.
I didn't like Taken.
Wait! Stop throwing your virtual eggs! Don't get me wrong. I like Liam Neeson...who doesn't? I loved that initial trailer for Taken. Remember that one where we all were stunned and went "Holy Crap Liam Neeson is SUCH a badass." And he was a badass, no false advertising there. It just wasn't in a good film. Classic example of a trailer being better than the actual movie. It's okay, you don't have to admit if you agree with me. I know I'm on an island on this one.
I haven't seen Taken 2 yet so I won't comment on the quality of that particular film, but it has not fared well with critics and even people who were fans of the first film. I have no earthly idea where you'd go for Taken 3 – although perhaps this time the award-winning purebred pooch or grandma gets taken or something. I find it hysterical that Hollywood feels so comfortable with us now that they'll readily admit when they're dropping the whole artistic/entertainment motive and nakedly admitted they simply want to sell you more product. But hey, in this case, I guess everyone wins. They make more money. You get more Taken. Just like you got more Saw and more The Hangover and on and on and on and on.
Perhaps when the star openly mocks the prospect of more films in the series, it might be time to try something else. Like finding the next Taken, not another Taken. But people want more, so you can't really blame Fox, can you?
No Drive Sequel, But Maybe A "Driver-verse"?
For those of you who loved 2011's Drive, and were perhaps hoping to see a sequel, I'm here to apologetically burst your bubble. Director Nicolas Winding Refn has zero plans to do a straight-forward sequel to his 2011 masterpiece, even though author James Sallis has released the novel (Driven). While that book may, in fact, get adapted, it doesn't appear Refn or Gosling would be interested.
Refn told The Evening Standard: "That is never going to happen. But the character of The Driver might return in another film. We're playing with that idea. We'll see what happens."
It's a short quote, but I absolutely love the insinuation. We don't need a Drive sequel from Refn and Gosling; however, I love the prospect of Gosling as The Driver just randomly showing up in one of Refn's future films, because – let's face it – the character is just cool and the prospect of never seeing that scorpion jacket again onscreen is too depressing to think about.
Meanwhile, Refn is putting the finishing touches on his next film, Only God Forgives, which stars Gosling as a man living in exile in Bangkok after killing a cop. He manages a Thai boxing club as a front for a drugs operation and finds his peaceful coexistence upended after his brother is killed for murdering a prostitute. The boys' mother arrives in Bangkok to collect her son's body and instructs Gosling to take revenge and "raise hell." Something tells me – knowing Refn's past work – it could get just a bit violent.
Gosling, meanwhile, will be making his directorial debut in How to Catch a Monster, with his Drive co-star, Christina Hendricks starring. As for offering any words of advice to Gosling on sitting in the director's chair, Refn responded: "We have spoken about it, and of course I will give him advice if he wants me to. I told him if he wakes up in sweats at 5am on the morning of shooting to call me."
Adele's Skyfall Trailer
Adele's new theme for the upcoming Bond film Skyfall has made just a few waves since it was released last week. For the most part, people seem to love it and to my ear, it definitely has sounds like a Bond theme. Well, now MGM is trying to capitalize on the positive buzz and momentum and have released the trailer with Adele's theme with it. Consider this the final Skyfall trailer, as the film will finally hit U.S. Theaters on November 9th.
Are We Ever Going To Get A Gears of War Movie?
Variety reports that Creative Artists Agency (CAA) are enthusiastic about meeting with producers to try and find a new home for the feature film adaptation to the wildly popular and successful video game franchise.
The project has resided at New Line up to this point, but the studio put it into turnaround to focus on the upcoming The Hobbit trilogy. Reports had previously described the project as a mess, with a search for a new writer and director as well as New Line trying to scale down the film's treatment and budget.
Gears of War is a third-person sci-fi action shooter that is exclusively found on Microsoft's Xbox360 console. It centers on Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad as they battle the hordes of the grotesque Locust and try to salvage the remnants of humanity on the planet Sera from an ugly, all-encompassing war. The franchise has generated over a $1 billion for Microsoft and Epic, and a fourth entry is due out next year.
Director Len Wiseman (Underworld, Total Recall) had been previously attached, but was forced to drop out amid other projects he was involved with. Chris Morgan (Wanted) and Billy Ray (State of Play) both turned in previous treatments of the script, but the latest version comes from Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides). CAA represents both Epic Games and Beattie. The screenwriter also has a treatment for Halo currently under submission, which Microsoft would love to see turn into a successful movie franchise as well.
Someday, Hollywood will crack the code and know what to do with video game properties. We may not live to see it, but it has to happen sometime. There's just too much money to be made. Plus, they'll eventually run out of board games to adapt.
The Hush-Hush Racetrack Oscar Odds
We are less than 6 months out from the 2013 Academy Awards and the weeks are starting to pass quickly now. Things have certainly picked up in the past few weeks, in light of major film festivals screening a number of high profile film and contenders, particularly Telluride, Venice and Toronto. The biggest winners out of those festivals? Argo got things kicked off with a surprise screening at Telluride that garnered rave reviews, the folks in Venice couldn't give Paul Thomas Anderson enough awards for The Master and the incredible rise and buzz that Silver Linings Playbook got out of Toronto (it won the top prize there while Argo got second).
The following are ranked in my own personal rankings (in order who who I think will will at this point) with the racetrack odds courtesy of Gold Derby included next to each. These odds are the result of voting by the site'sassembled experts from various publications and media outlets. In addition to the odds is the % chance to win. My picks for nominations are asterisked (*), with my early pick to win listed first.
The 85th Academy Awards Nominations will be announced on January 15, 2013; the Oscar ceremony will be held on February 24, 2013.
*The Master – 12/1; 8% (In theaters now)
*Life of Pi – 10/1; 9% (Released: November 21, 2012)
*Zero Dark Thirty – 12/1; 8% (Released: December 19, 2012)
*Beasts of the Southern Wild – 16/1; 6%
Other Possibilities Flight – 50/1; 2% (Released: November 2, 2012) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – 25/1; 4% (Released: December 14, 2012) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – 100/1; 1% Hitchcock – 100/1; 1%
Outside Looking In The Dark Knight Rises – 100/1; 1% Amour – 100/1; 1% Cloud Atlas – 100/1; 1% (Released: October 26, 2012) Hope Springs – 100/1; 1%
Lincoln has long been the odds-on, on-paper favorite. Its fairly strong showing at the NYFF is not unexpected and will likely help solidify the film's chances at many nominations. However, it remains to be seen if Spielberg and Lincoln can standout and overcome what is looking to be an improved and strong field of contenders (as opposed to last year). There is no more famous director that Spielberg, but that doesn't mean the Academy will shower him and the film with awards. His only Best Picture winner remains 1993's Schindler's List. and he is not the favorite this year in an absolutely loaded field for Best Director. Until it comes out, I still believe Les Misérables is the film that could check a lot of boxes and sweep to victory. That said, Ben Affleck's Argo releases wide this week and has a large groundswell of support and praise behind it.
What a stacked category this is this year. I just can't get over it. I've moved both Hooper and Affleck into the Frontruners categories. In my mind, those are the two films I can envision winning Best Picture and that automatically means those directors are frontrunners. I think Lincoln is going to challenge Les Mis for the most nominations, which means Spielberg is more likely than not to be nominated (he's already won twice). The question comes at the bottom of the cateogory. I have no idea how Academy voters are going to view The Master; I think it's extraordinary, but it's not really an "Oscar movie." He's obviously immensely respected and seen as talented, but this is a monster year for big-time directors and he'll face stiff competition from previous winners such as Ang Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, Robert Zemeckis and even Peter Jackson, not to mention Tarantino, Nolan, Joe Wright and newcomer Benh Zeitlin. I think Lee and Life of Pi or Bigelow and Zero Dark Thirty could definitely get in, but for now I've still got PT Anderson and David O. Russell.
*Tom Hooper (Les Misérables) – 13/2; 13%
*Ben Affleck (Argo) – 10/3; 23%
*Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) – 5/1; 17%
*David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) – 5/1; 17%
*Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master) – 13/2; 13%
Ang Lee (Life of Pi) – 8/1; 11%
Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) – 25/1; 4%
Michael Haneke (Amour) – 100/1; 1%
Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) – 100/1; 1%
Peter Jackson (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) – 100/1; 1%
Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises) – 100/1; 1%
Robert Zemeckis (Flight) – 100/1; 1%
Outside Looking In
Joe Wright (Anna Karenina) – 100/1; 1%
Terrence Malick (To The Wonder) – 100/1; 1%
Tom Tykwer and The Wachowskis (Cloud Atlas) – 100/1; 1%
Gus Van Sant (Promised Land) – 100/1; 1%
I might be wrong, but I find it hard to believe I'll see a performance better than Joaquin Pheonix as Freddie Quell in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. It is that good; honestly, it's next-level stuff from Joaquin. Daniel Day-Lewis will be great – we know this. But the man already has two Oscars and playing Abe Lincoln just can't provide the same level of challenge that is asked of Phoenix. Again, I might be wrong, but we'll see.
At this point, it remains to be seen if Silver Linings Playbook can keep its current momentum going and whether it would even be enough to get Bradley Cooper a nomination. There is a real possibility that all four major players in the film (Cooper, Lawrence, De Niro and Weaver) could all get nominations in the four acting categories, although I'm not as sure about Cooper and Weaver as I am about Lawrence and De Niro. You really have to be carefeul about following the buzz out of festival screenings too much. Critics don't matter with the Oscars; it's all about the industry buzz and voters and how the film plays in general release (if it gets one). Meanwhile, it looks increasingly clear that Bill Murray will have to wait another year to get some Oscar love. Murray has gone from 5/1 to 50/1 odds in the past few weeks, going from frontrunner to long-shot in the process.
Bill Murray (Hyde Park on the Hudson) – 50/1; 2%
Richard Gere (Arbitrage) – 100/1; 1%
Jean Louis Trintignant (Amour) – 100/1; 1%
Ben Affleck (Argo) – 100/1; 1%
Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly) – 100/1; 1%
Outside Looking In
Tommy Lee Jones (Hope Springs) – 100/1; 1%
Jaime Foxx (Django Unchainted) – 100/1; 1%
Matthew McConaughey (Killer Joe) – 100/1; 1%
Tom Hiddlestone (The Deep Blue Sea) – 100/1; 1%
Jennifer Lawrence remains the favorite, but another monkey wrench was thrown into this particular race as SAG announced that performances from Beasts of the Southern Wild would not be eligible for their awards. The guilds are a pretty solid marker to try and predict what the Oscars will do and without even a nomination for either little Quvenzhane Wallis or baker-turned-amateur actor Dwigh Henry, their Oscar chances would definitely appear to have taken a hit. I still have Wallis nominated, although I'm much less sure about it now than I was two weeks ago (and I wasn't all that sure about it then). Wallis getting snubbed would obviously open things up a bit (both for the nomination and for winning the category) and would appear to help the chances of Meryl Streep. Helen Mirren and Emmanuelle Riva – I have the latter in at this point.
Helen Mirren (Hitchcock) – 33/1; 3%
Naomi Watts (The Impossible) – 16/1; 6%
Laura Linney (Hyde Park on the Hudson) – 100/1; 1%
Maggie Smith (Quartet) – 100/1; 1%
Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea) – 100/1; 1%
Outside Lookinig In
Elle Fanning (Ginger and Rosa) – 100/1; 1%
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Smashed) – 100/1; 1%
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
While we should take the buzz about Lincoln coming out of NYFF with a grain of salt, there has been one unifying thread that should be taken seriously. It appears that Tommy Lee Jones will be a serious player in this category. While I still think Hoffman is the favorite and De Niro will get sentimental voters' attention, Jones has gotten across-the-board raves for his role in Spielberg's period piece. We all knew Sally Field would be a contender in Supporting Actress (she plays Mary Todd), but I think we were wondering who else would emerge from a truly stacked cast to compete for awards recognition. It appears that will be Jones.
*Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master) – 9/4; 34%
*Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook) – 11/2; 16%
*Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) – 14/1; 7%
Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild) – 25/1; 4%
Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike) – 33/1; 3%
Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) – 100/1; 1%
Jude Law (Anna Karenina) – 100/1; 1%
Tom Hanks (Cloud Atlas) – 100/1; 1%
Outside Looking In
Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) – 100/1; 1%
Bill Nighy (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) – 100/1; 1%
John Goodman (Argo) – 100/1; 1%
William H. Macy (The Sessions) – 100/1; 1%
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) – 100/1; 1%
Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi) – 100/1; 1%
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Not much has changed. Four very strong leading candidates in the lead group, followed by a chase group featuring some big-time names. I have Jacki Weaver holding the #5 nomination down for right now, but she has stiff competition. She'll need Silver Linings Playbood to hold its momentum through to the end of the year; otherwise, it could go to the incomparable Maggie Smith, the rising star that is Jessica Chastain or leave room for an out-of-nowhere dark horse.
*Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables) – 13/5; 28%
*Amy Adams (The Master) – 7/2; 22%
*Helen Hunt (The Sessions) – 10/3; 23%
*Sally Field (Lincoln) – 13/2; 13%
*Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) – 100/1; 1%
Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) – 50/1; 2%
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) – 25/1; 4%
Annette Bening (Imogene) – 100/1; 1%
Kerry Washington (Django Unchained) – 100/1; 1%
Samantha Barks (Les Misérables) – 50/1; 2%
Vanessa Redgrave (Song for Marion) – 100/1;1%
Blythe Danner (Hello I Must Be Going) – 100/1; 1%
Outside Looking In
Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty) – 100/1; 1%
Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy) – 100/1; 1%
Olivia Williams (Hyde Park on the Hudson) – 100/1; 1%
Ann Dowd (Compliance – 100/1; 1%
*Wreck-It Ralph – 8/1; 11%
*From Up on Poppy Hill – 50/1; 2% Rise of the Guardians – 11/2; 16% Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted – 50/1; 2%
Coinflip The Pirates! Band of Misfits – 50/1; 2%
Other Possibilties A Liar's Autobiography – 100/1; 1% The Rabbis Cat – 100/1; 1% The Lorax – 100/1; 1% Le Tableau – 100/1; 1%
Outside Looking In Dorothy of Oz – 100/1; 1% Hotel Transylvania – 100/1; 1% Ice Age 4: Continental Drift – 100/1; 1% Pablo – 100/1; 1% Secret of the Wings – 100/1; 1%
Absolutely huge slate of movies this weekend and it is headlined by Argo. The thriller directed by Ben Affleck (Gone Baby Gone, The Town has been getting rave reviews and surprisingly has emerged as an Oscar frontrunner. Here Comes The Boom starring Kevin James (Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Zookeeper) joins it in wide release. Other new wide releases include Seven Psychopaths and the horror film Sinister starring Ethan Hawke.
Limited and VOD releases include Atlas Shrugged: Part Two and Middle of Nowhere.
What are you planning on seeing this weekend
Apologies to those who left comments two weeks ago, but they got lost in the transition. While I don't remember all of them, I do recall one which questioned how I can rank/handicap the Oscar races without having seen many of the probable nominees. My response is that it's pretty much the same thing as filling out a bracket for March Madness or college football's Top 25 or the various power rankings you see in sports. It's a mix of research, pedigree of those involved, buzz and opinions of industry experts and insiders, knowing your history and a fair dose of educated guesswork. Last year, most people thought either War Horse or The Descendants would win Best Picture, until it became very clear in September that The Artist was going to win. That's a full five+ months before Michel Hazanavicius, Jean Dujardin and Harvey Weinstein took the stage to accept their little gold statues. The Oscar race is pretty much a year-round thing for those that care and by the time everybody else starts to think about which films could contend, those who have been paying attention already know.
And with that, Confidential Correspondence will no longer appear. We here at 411mania have a brand spanking new comments system. It's already about 1000% better and an upgrade we're all pretty pleased about seeing implemented. So that means I'll be responding to your comments in REAL TIME. While it helped fill the column out, waiting a week to respond was not the greatest form of back-and-forth.
So please, if you haven't already, go ahead and register (or log in) to Disqus or Facebook or Twitter or whatever you have to do and leave a comment. I'll do my best to respond as quickly as I can. All you need is an email account...it's THAT easy!
Note: While I've made a habit of responding to every comment – regardless of tastefulness – in the past, we have been asked to make sure we're doing our best at cleaning things up a bit. Thankfully, this column has great readers and I've really never seen any comment I would label trolling or bigoted. That being said, please be respectful in what you write. We're all for back-and-forth and debates/discussions, but the trolling and bigotry that has occasionally been found from commenters on this site will no longer be tolerated.
Basically: Don't be bigoted douche bags and you'll be fine.
Trailer of the Week:Lincoln
Funny Video of the Week: "Ralph Meets Vanellope" Clip From Wreck-It Ralph
Like I Need A Reason Video of the Week: "Shogun Tango" – Sci-Fi Short
"Every December 25th a land race is held in New Bonneville California. Only the fastest and most powerful vehicles can handle the grueling conditions. The official race title is, The Bonneville Classic 5000. But the world has come to know it as The Shogun Tango." The short was created and directed by Christopher Desantis (website), an up-and-coming filmmaker, with design and art direction by his brother Greg Desantis. The cast includes Bola Ariwoola, Ben Davies and Mice Rivello.
That's all for this week. A quick Happy Birthday to my little sister, Katie...she's 26 this week! She gets nothing from me since she's forcing me to eat Mexican food for her birthday dinner. Two can play at that game.
As always, let me know what you think in the comments section. For now, this is Jeremy Wilson, off the record, on the QT...