The Prisoner -- a six-hour mini, which AMC is co-producing with ITV Prods. and Granada International -- is slated to premiere in 2009.So is there really just one Number 2? All this story does is confirm McKellen's casting; it doesn't preclude further announcements. Hopefully we'll be hearing about other high-profile Number 2's in the near future. (Psst! Get Christopher Lee!) I assume McGoohan wouldn't do it, unfortunately. Speaking of him, I'm still not convinced Caviezel has the necessary gravitas to fill his shoes, but here's hoping!
Caviezel will play the title role of Number Six, a part originally made famous by the project's creator Patrick McGoohan. Two-time Oscar nominee Ian McKellen will co-star as Number Two.
Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen bring an incredible level of talent to the project, and we're honored they are taking on these important roles, said Charlie Collier, AMC's general manager and executive vice president.
Jun 30, 2008
Jun 29, 2008
Jun 27, 2008
The Hollywood Reporter reports that CBS Films has acquired a spec script by Jeremy Slater called My Spy. "The plot centers on a teenage boy who falls for an attractive girl only to later learn that the girl is actually a spy." According to the article, "those familiar with the script" compare it to the upcoming (and fantastic) Seth Rogan action-comedy Pineapple Express, but for younger audiences. Pineapple Express achieves a deft and fairly unique blend of comedy and serious, violent action, so I'm intrigued about that comparison. Lorenzo di Bonaventura will produce. I would provide a link if I could find one on The Hollywood Reporter's truly awful new website, but it's impossible to navigate so I'm not going to bother wallowing through it.
Jun 26, 2008
Variety reports that Pierce Brosnan will star in a political thriller for Roman Polanski called The Ghost, based on a book by Robert Harris. (Another Bond starred in another Harris adaptation before.) Nicholas Cage and Tilda Swinton also star. Says the trade, "Cage will play a ghostwriter hired abruptly to finish the memoirs of an ex-British prime minister after the first scribe turned up dead. The ghostwriter's research leads him to uncover skeletons in the pol's closet that put the writer's life in danger. Swinton will play the wife of the former prime minister (Brosnan). Her marriage is crumbling, and she falls for the writer." Sounds good. I can definitely see Brosnan as a politician!
Jun 24, 2008
Finally, I have to mention its soundtrack. Never Too Young to Die contains two amazing Eighties anthems, the opening "Stargrove Theme" and the closing title song. I don't know the performer was on either of them, but both fit the movie perfectly.
As long as the graphic novels continue to sell (and apparently they're selling very well), Johnston is confident that the series will continue. Hopefully that means we'll get all of Horowitz's Rider books in comics form eventually! I'd love to see those supplemented by some original Alex Rider comic stories (ideally written by Johnston or Horowitz), but Johnston says there are currently no plans for anything like that.
Jun 23, 2008
Jun 20, 2008
Variety reports that Universal has picked up a spec script by Jeff Lowell (writer of John Tucker Must Die) called The Family Bond for Marc Platt and the ubiquitous Miles Millar and Alfred Gough to produce. "Action comedy's described as a relationship story between a spy and his daughter," is all the trade says about the script. Its rival, The Hollywood Reporter, has a slightly more detailed logline, though: "The story centers on a girl who goes on an adventure to rescue her mother with the father she never knew she had, a Bond-like spy." Neither paper gives any indication of the script's tone. Is this a parody? Or a straightforward action comedy? Is it a family film? How old is the daughter? I guess we're all on a need-to-know basis for now...
Jun 19, 2008
Once Sandler’s character reaches New York, there’s little mention of his former spy life for the entire middle of the movie, although he occasionally relies on his matchless fighting skills to take on the likes of obnoxious drivers or neighborhood ruffians. Mainly, though, the focus of the second act is on his hairdressing career (based exclusively on 1980s Paul Mitchell styles) and his gigolo career, wherein he has sex with a succession of old ladies. Indeed, both of Sandler’s usual fetishes, grannies and enormous penises, are driven into the ground without ever becoming remotely funny or even really being made into jokes. They’re just there, each in high quantities and often together.
The third act sees the Phantom coming to New York for a rematch with Zohan, whose identity has been exposed. Instead of bringing together the first two acts cohesively, though, it ends up going a completely different direction (as the two of them team up to fight an evil real estate mogul played by a wrestling announcer) so that all three acts feel completely disparate. Act 3 concerns itself with solving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict once and for all, and showing both sides that the real enemy is hillbillies. I think. There is no reprisal of the opening spy spoofery.
Basically, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan is an Adam Sandler movie, which is a genre unto itself comprising all of the actor’s self-produced, post Happy Gilmore/Billy Madison career. And, like most Sandler movies, it does have its funny moments amidst the flat old lady gags. If you like that stuff, you’ll like this. If not, stay away... and feel no need to see it as a spy movie!
For a harsher, but valid, viewpoint, check out this blog.
Jun 18, 2008
In another misguided nod, Faulks seems to have based his structure largely on Goldfinger, which is an odd choice because Goldfinger is structurally one of Fleming’s weakest novels, thanks to its over-reliance on luck and coincidence and its hero’s lengthy incapacitation. As in Goldfinger, James Bond is captured by the villain at the midpoint, and as in Goldfinger the villain inexplicably keeps him alive... so Bond can work for him. (Is the henchman market really so bad that villains are frequently forced to employ their most dangerous enemies?) In Goldfinger, at least 007 manages to ingeniously convey a message to the CIA detailing his captor’s dastardly plan. In Devil May Care, he doesn’t even manage to convey the intelligence he’s gathered! Instead, the CIA just happen to hear about it on the intelligence grapevine.
Jun 17, 2008
Hawaii Five-O: The Fourth Season
To couch it in terms of classic spy television, Burn Notice combines the charm, wit and "knight errant" premise of The Saint with the just-plausible and always impressive gimmickry and elaborate scheming of Mission: Impossible in an appealing blend that’s familiar and new at the same time. Every week, Michael takes on a new role as he and his friends mount grandiose cons to right some wrongs, and instructs viewers in the finer points of spycraft through deftly-written voice-over with just the right amount of charming sarcasm. Whether he’s posing as a glamorous playboy arms dealer or a dangerously unhinged street thug, Donovan continues to project an aloof likability that reassures audiences without quite winking at them. The show belongs to him outright, which really speaks to Donovan’s talent, as he’s working with an incredibly talented supporting cast.
Now, onto the eagerly-awaited DVD set, out today and packed with extras.
Donovan shares his acting secrets, such as surprising his co-stars whenever possible and catching them off-guard in order to create more conflict in their on-screen relationships. "That’s why everyone thinks I suck," he concludes, to which Anwar readily concurs. "But it’s all for your Emmy awards," he insists. "Hello!"
These are only a few highlights of some very entertaining commentary, and even if it seems somewhat truncated by focusing on only select scenes, they do at least cover most of the best scenes from each episode. Above all, what we learn from the commentary is how well this creative team works together, how fond they appear to be for each other, and how comfortable they all seem kidding one another.
Also included is some interesting audition footage of Jeffrey Donovan and Gabrielle Anwar. Sometimes in audition footage, even the best actors look awful, but Jeffrey Donovan was so good in the room that he even comes off good on the tape, so you can definitely see why he got the part. You can also see why Gabrielle Anwar got the part: as on the show, she clearly didn’t wear a bra to her audition! Now, granted, she does give a pretty amazing audition as well (especially when she asks, "Shall we shoot them?"), but the bra thing couldn’t hurt, could it?
A trio of montages rounds out the special features, and they’re actually not bad. The "Character Montage" doesn’t even sound worth watching, but it’s actually pretty fun, and well cut. "Girls Gone Burn Notice" is a montage of the show’s beautiful background bikini babes, cut to an annoying rap, but I won’t deny that it’s entertaining! (Hence the screencap.) The "Action Montage" is, well, what you’d expect. They’re all the sort of thing they usually show at wrap parties.
Jun 16, 2008
Jun 15, 2008
Jun 13, 2008
Audiences Soon Seeing Red
Hollywood Reporter reports that Summit Entertainment has scooped up the rights to Warren Ellis' 2003 comic book Red. Red follows a retired CIA killer whose new life is shattered when the Agency sends high-tech assassins to eliminate him. Brothers Erich and Jon Hoeber are penning the adaptation; according to the trade, their take "involves the idea of an older operative set in his ways having to contend with younger and more fit agents as well as modern techniques and technology." The Hoebers also adapted Greg Rucka's amazing comic Whiteout for the bigscreen; that movie comes out this fall. Ellis has written a number of espionage-themed comics, including Reload and Global Frequency.
Jack Bauer's Next Nemesis
Also in The Hollywood Reporter, Jon Voight has signed on to play the big baddie in the upcoming seventh season of 24. He'll make his debut in this fall's 24 TV movie, a prequel to the new season. Voight, who most recently appeared in National Treasure: Book of Secrets, hasn't done TV since the Sixties. He follows in rather illustrious footsteps, however, as a 24 villain; fellow movie star Dennis Hopper antagonized Jack Bauer in the show's first season.
The Reporter also reveals a Thanksgiving airdate for that TV movie: November 23, 2008.
Jun 11, 2008
Covert spy Michael Westen has found himself in forced seclusion in Miami—and a little paranoid. Watched by the FBI, cut off from intelligence contacts, and with his assets frozen, Weston is on ice with a warning: stay there or get “disappeared.” Driven to find out who burned him and why, he’s biding his time helping people with nowhere else to turn. People like socialite Cricket O’Connor whose own husband has vanished, along with her fortune...
Jun 10, 2008
Jun 8, 2008
Jun 5, 2008
Jun 4, 2008
Jun 3, 2008
More Ludlum Multiplex-Bound
In my opinion, you can never have too many movies based on Robert Ludlum books! For years, fans had to make do with nothing but an occasional TV miniseries, but finally, after the success of the Jason Bourne franchise (which, ironically, eschews most of the books' plots), Hollywood has recognized the potential goldmine in Robert Ludlum's back catalog.
Following hot on the heels of MGM's $3 million acquisition of Ludlum's 1979 thriller The Matarese Circle to star Denzel Washington, Variety reports that Universal has fast-tracked an adaptation of The Sigma Protocol. Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter describe The Sigma Protocol as the last novel Ludlum penned before his death, but with so many posthumous publications and ghost writers, I don't know how they can really be sure.
The Reporter describes Sigma as centering on "an American economist who becomes the target of professional assassins. When a U.S. intelligence agent investigating his case finds herself discredited, the two end up on the run and uncover a multinational conspiracy manipulating the global economy and world events." After several discarded attempts by other writers, Iron Man co-writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway have signed on to write the adaptation. They will start from scratch after reportedly pitching a fresh take on the material. Strike Entertainment's Marc Abraham and Eric Newman will produce the film with Paul L. Sandberg. According to Variety, Universal picked up the rights in 2002, prior to The Bourne Identity, and has been working on it ever since.
In other Ludlum news, the trade also asserts that Universal is "laying the groundwork for a fourth 'Bourne' pic, with Paul Greengrass directing and Matt Damon starring."
"The success of the Bourne franchise," they state, "has turned the late author into a revenue machine. Ludlum's The Chancellor Manuscript was sold to Paramount in 2005 for $4 million ... as a star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio."
Transporter 3 This Thanksgiving
According to Variety, Lionsgate has nabbed the rights to the next installment in the Jason Statham Transporter series. Fox released the first two films. To me, the wildly entertaining Transporter movies (along with lesser fare like Hitman) are the modern day equivalent of the Sixties Eurospy phenomenon, and the third entry sounds like nothing less. Says the trade, "Principal photography in France and Russia wrapped in early May, and the movie is in post-production. Helmed by Olivier Megaton (The Red Siren), pic was scripted by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen." Exotic Euro locations, Euro crew, commanding international star... As long as they've got another sexy babe on board, they'll have hit all the key items on the Eurospy checklist! Lionsgate plans a Thanksgiving release, and I can't wait!
Jun 2, 2008
State of Play follows a team of London newspaper reporters as their investigation of two seemingly unrelated deaths and a politician’s infidelity lead them to uncover industrial espionage at the highest levels and a vast conspiracy involving government and big business. That’s about all I’d really like to reveal about the plot, because it’s pure joy to watch it unfold, and I wouldn’t dare spoil that. All of the characters are compelling, even those with the smallest parts, and the acting is uniformly superb. Bill Nighy steals the show as the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, and it’s a very difficult show to steal because everyone is excellent. Kelly Macdonald (who really should have gotten an Oscar nomination for her performance in No Country For Old Men) and the now-ubiquitous James McAvoy do great work as reporters following the trail, and John Simm ably carries the weight of the series on his shoulder as their team leader, Cal McCaffrey. David Morissey gives a laudably nuanced performance as the miniseries’ most complex character, politician Stephen Collins. His marital transgressions are revealed early on, but he manages to create a layered and even sympathetic character out of that most loathsome of cliches, the philandering politician. Rome’s Polly Walker is equally excellent as his betrayed, conflicted wife, who develops an overly close relationship with her husband’s friend, reporter McCaffrey. (Who is, of course, on the story, and therefore setting himself up for an extreme conflict of interest!)
State of Play gives a rare insight into the tactics used by members of a dying profession: print journalists. The reporter teams in State of Play actually use some of the same tactics as the spooks on that other gem of current British television, MI-5, following a potential person of interest in teams (leading to some similar setpieces to MI-5), adopting false identities on the fly, and even "turning" policemen, doctors and coroners to act as their sources, just like MI-5's agents. I never connected the similarities between spies and investigative journalists before seeing this show! Most likely, that’s because I’d never seen a movie or miniseries about journalists before that constantly maintains the pace and suspense of a good spy movie. (I suppose All the President’s Men comes close.)