Category Archives: Casting news

Babs to direct !!!

The other Babs is going to direct her first film in 16 years.

Showbiz411 has reported that singer/actor/director Barbra Streisand has agreed to direct “Skinny and Cat”, her first film since “The Mirror Has Two Faces” in 1996.

A love story about author Erskine Caldwell and photojournalist Margaret Bourke White, officially attached to star are Colin Firth and Cate Blanchett.  Linda Yellen is producing from a screenplay she wrote. Yellen’s producing credits include the landmark tele-movies, “Playing for Time” and “Second Serve” both which featured stunning performances from Vanessa Redgrave. Her writing credits though have a different quality, she was responsible for the Royal biopics “William & Katherine: A Royal Romance” and “The Royal Romance of Charles & Diana” – Yikes!!!!

Erskine Caldwell wrote about poverty, racism and social problems in his native South his most famous novels being Tobacco Road and God’s little Acres. Margaret Bourke White is best known as the first foreign photographer permitted to take pictures of Soviet Industry, the first female war correspondent and the first female photographer for Life magazine. She has been portrayed on screen in the past by actresses Farrah Fawcett and Candice Bergen.

A famous image of Margaret Bourke White photographing the Chrysler Building for Life Magazine.

This sure is an intriguing project for Babs let’s hope she gets this one right. She has a lot on her plate right now – an upcoming film release with Seth Rogan “The Guilt Trip”, her Back To Brooklyn sold out concerts and a proposed star turn as Mama Rose in a film remake of the musical “Gypsy”.

Busy Babs!!!

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Glee, Spiderman (the musical) and Carrie (not the musical).

OK

So Babs is a Gleek, was a tad obssesed about Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark (in earlier days) and – well what more can he say about CARRIE?

more it seems…..

Well I thought I might give up on the Carrie obsession for a while but some news has cropped up that I cannot ignore.

A rumoured remake of the classic film of the Stephen King novel “Carrie” directed by the brilliant (at times) Brian DePalma has been on the radar for a little while. Now comes a tweet on a casting choice to go along with the director and writer attached. Babs is intrigued.

Kimberly Pierce is to direct – she of the acclaimed “Boys Don’t Cry” (another tortured female saga).

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is writing the screenplay he is a producer on “Glee,” and recently re-worked the Broadway tuner “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark”, after the dismissal of Julie Taymor.

And who may be the next Carrie?

Chloe Moretz –  she of “Kick Ass”, “Let Me In” & the recent Scorcese film “Hugo” – the best thing about that film I say!

“Thank you Kim Pierce and thank u MGM for the chance of a lifetime!” Moretz tweeted this Tuesday.

I don’t think the film should be remade, but if it is to be done then perhaps the right people are gathering to at least make a decent attempt at it.

Moretz can next be seen opposite Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer in Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows.” She sure makes some interesting and edgy career choices.

Babs can’t wait to see who will be cast as Margaret White (Carrie’s mum) – Charlize Theron anyone?

Cinema’s original Carrie White – Sissy Spacek.

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Meryl you are a witch???

No I am not complaining about my disappointment in Meryl Streep’s Oscar win last week for “The Iron Lady“.

This post is much more of a delight.

Meryl Streep is rumoured to be cast as the Witch in a film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical “Into The Woods”. The film is to be directed by Rob Marshall who brought “Chicago” to the screens successfully (in box office terms-not artistic) but we must remember he is also responsible for bringing “Nine” to the screen which was a disaster (box office and artistically!) I do love his TV remake of “Annie” that was a success in my own opinion.

But there is more rumour-mongering about Meryl as the Witch…..

The Public Theatre’s Shakespeare In The Park Festival are mounting an outdoor production of the Sondheim musical this July and rumoured to play the Witch is none other than the reigning Oscar Queen Meryl. Is this an audition?

I am a big fan of this show and was very very lucky to see the original Broadway production way back in 1987 – Bernadette Peters played the Witch and she was fabulous. Of the course the role to steal the show belongs to the Baker’s Wife. Who will be cast in that coveted role? Joanna Gleason won the Tony that year and she was also fabulous! I recall turning to my partner and said – “she will win the Tony, not Peters!”

Brilliant Bernadette Peters – the original Witch of the woods.

In the meanwhile…..

Sondheim has announced that he is collaborating on a new musical with playwright David Ives who is currently represented on Broadway with the hit show “Venus In Fur” – of which Babs has on his list of “shows to see” when he is in town in May.

He has apparently written 20-30 minutes of the piece and says of it – “Having spent the better part of four years writing two books [Finishing the Hat and Look I Made a Hat], I’m really rusty,” Sondheim humbly said of his process. “I sit at the piano and think, ‘Where’s middle C?’ Any muscles, as you know, atrophy when you don’t use them, and I haven’t been using my musical muscles.”

Who cares? Any thought of another Sondheim musical certainly gets my muscles into action. I am so excited about this.

And what does he say about Streep the Witch? Sondheim neither confirms nor denies the rumours. “We will see,” the composer said. “I think she’d be great.”

My hero Stephen Sondheim.

Nina Arianda & Hugh Dancy star in David Ive’s “Venus In Fur”.

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American Horror Story season 2 – casting announced.

Ryan Murphy the co-creator of the smash hit series “American Horror Story” of which Babs is a huge fan has revealed some of the returning cast for the show’s sophomore season.

Jessica Lange who was a huge success as supporting character Constance will return as a entirely new character and he says the series will focus on her as a lead.

“We have designed the second season of American Horror Story completely around her character. Last year Jessica came in with Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott. This will really be the Jessica Lange show so I’m very excited about it. We are designing this amazing new opposite of the Constance character for her. She and I have spoken about different things. She has a lot of ideas, and has a lot of input into her character. She told me some things she has always wanted to play as an actress. She’s a great collaborator and a great friend.”

Jessica has had major award success with the role picking up a Golden Globe and a SAG award, she has to be the hot tip for the Emmy.

Joining her will be Zachary Quinto who was a scene stealer as one of the gay characters last year. He to will be playing an entirely different role as will all according to Mr Murphy.

Zachary Quinto

Also confirmed to return is Sarah Paulson (who I loved in the movie “Martha, Marcy May Marlene” – she played Elizabeth Olsen’s uptight sister) as well as Evan Peters and Lily Rabe (the very talented daughter of playwright David Rabe and actress Jill Clayburgh)Peters had previously played Tate, Constance’s son a Columbine-like killer. Rabe played Nora Montgomery, a woman who had lost her baby to a hideous tragedy. Paulson played the psychic Billie Dean Howard. I am quite pleased as all of the above were my favourite characters last season. Murphy commented no further on what characters the actors will be playing but said they’ll be playing the opposite of characters they’ve already played. The second season of American Horror Story will be set somewhere on the East Coast in an undisclosed “horror institution”. Filming will start shooting this July for an October premiere.

Sarah Paulson

Lily Rabe

Evan Peters

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Open a new window……

Academy award-winning actress Tilda Swinton has plans to remake the classic film “Auntie Mame” as a starring vehicle.

Based on the 1955 novel by Patrick Dennis the property was first adapted as a play in 1956 starring Rosalind Russell as the New York eccentric aunt (she went on to star in the 1958 film adaptation). In 1966 a musical adaptation with music & lyrics by Jerry Herman opened on Broadway starring Angela Lansbury in the title role, in 1974 a movie version of the musical was critically panned, Lucille Ball starred as Mame.

Rosalind Russell the original Aunty Mame.

Tilda Swinton is usually known for her serious and intense roles (I Am Love, We Need To Talk About Kevin), she won her Oscar for supporting actress in “Michael Clayton” another serious part. Her “I Am Love” director Luca Guadagnino is her collaborator once again (it is sure to look very stylish) they are in the early stages of development. It is a great role and I am sure the talented Tilda will make a great madcap Mame. I will be very interested to see who will be cast as her friend Vera Charles, played to the hilt by Coral Browne in the play and film version and Bea Arthur in the musical versions.

Coral Brown and Rosalind Russell in the 1958 film.

 

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Gawking at the Gos!

Ryan Gosling has certainly made his mark this year. I have seen him appearing in 4 new films of which he excelled in all of them. He is certainly one of the greatest actors of his generation. He may have the same smirk on his face at times but he is different in every role, tackling a diverse range of interesting characters. He is now on my radar of must see films from now on – whatever they are.

A Canadian actor, he first came to my attention in his Oscar nominated role as the Meth addicted high school teacher in “Half Nelson” but before that made his mark in the hit chick flick “The Notebook”, and he was once a Mouseketeer alongside Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Brittany Spears in “The Mickey Mouse Club” – you have to start somewhere. He is currently dating actress Eva Mendes and was seen this weekend canoodling with her in Paris where she is filming.

A young Ryan smirking as Mousketeer – very cute on the bottom left

Here are the quartet of Gosling films I gawked at this year.

BLUE VALENTINE. (Dean)

As the husband to Michelle Williams in this analysis of a failed marriage Ryan managed to pull of a very unlikeable character. Morose and a bit of a loser he is only failed by weak costuming and the overall bleakness of the movie – my least favourite performance of the bunch.

CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE. (Jacob Palmer)

Showing his comedy chops Gosling plays a “playboy” type role. He is a confident lothario at ease chatting up the gals with his obvious pick-up lines that are cringe worthy. He’s full of advice and dressing tips to help his recently separated barfly buddy Steve Carrell win the ladies. With a buffed up body that indeed looks “airbrushed” as Emma Stone squeals in one funny moment, he sure is extra eye candy in this film.

DRIVE.  (Driver)

Playing a man with no name this is the film and performance that is my favourite amongst the four. Brilliantly directed by his collaborator Nicholas Winding Refn.  He is a Hollywood stunt car driver who moonlights as a getaway driver for crims. At once a loner he makes the mistake of falling for the pretty girl next door, ending in tragedy. He speaks very little dialogue but conveys so much detail with his glaring beautiful eyes, his underlying menace is totally believable. The film is a magnificent thriller (beware there is a lot of violence) stunningly beautiful to look at, it is high on my list as best of the year.

THE IDES OF MARCH. (Steven Meyers)

As an idealistic ambitious campaigner for a democratic candidate in the US election primaries, Gosling manages to create a character that has contradictions in his system of mores. Blindly loyal to his boss, he gets caught up in a tangle of intrigue once he starts sleeping with a young intern, ending in a change of beliefs that he portrays to perfection. George Clooney directs and co-stars so it is double eye candy this time around – oh and a very clever film poster.

Next up for Ryan? well he has a lot on his plate.

THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES – directed by Derek Clanfrance (Blue Valentine)

Bradley Cooper & Rose Byrne co-star

* A motorcycle stunt rider considers committing a crime in order to provide for his wife and child, an act that puts him on a collision course with a cop-turned-politician.

GANGSTER SQUAD

co-stars are Sean Penn & Emma Stone.

* A chronicle of the LAPD’s fight to keep East Coast Mafia types out of Los Angeles in the 1940s and 50s. 

LAWLESS – directed by Terence Malick

co-stars are Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale & Rooney Mara. *groan* I have to sit through another Terence Malick film 😦

ONLY GOD FORGIVES – directed by Nicholas Winding Refn

co-star, Kristen Scott Thomas

* ABangkok police lieutenant and a gangster settle their differences in a Thai-boxing match.

re-teaming with his “Drive” collaborator they are also rumoured to be remaking the 1976 sci-fi film “Logans Run”

*plot synopsis courtesy of IMDB

and one more pic of the spunk!

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Mirren & Midler merge

So the telefilm being made about legendary music producer Phil Spector’s murder trial and his relationship with his defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden was suspended almost a week ago due to the health issues (a herniated disc apparently!) of Bette Midler who was to play Baden Kenney – she had to pull out of the project after 6 days of filming. Al Pacino is playing Phil Spector . My how fabulous those two together would have been. The HBO film is written and directed by David Mamet. Now comes the news that Dame Helen Mirren is replacing Midler in the role. Wow! Very different performers indeed. Doesn’t excite me much as I suspect a lot of “acting” will come with this Dame in the role, where-as I think Midler would have gone with instinct and been spectacular and she is a damn good lookey-likey.

Oh, Well!

Pacino plays Phil

Al’s lookey-likey Phil Spector

Linda Kenney Baden dead ringer for Bette

The Divine Miss M

Dame Mirren saves the day

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Judy bops with Woody!

While we await  the Australian release of Woody Allen’s new hit movie Midnight In Paris” comes news of his latest production. Still enjoying his sojourns in stunning European cities he is setting this one in Rome, Italy. (after London, Barcelona & Paris) The film has the title “The Bop Decameron”

The cast has been set and I am glad to see that one of my favorite actresses the wonderful Judy Davis has been added to the list. Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Roberto Benigni (Life Is Beautiful), Penelope Cruz (Vicki Christina Barcelona), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Greta Gerwig (Greenberg), Ellen Page (Juno) and Alison Pill (Milk) are co-stars. Woody Allen himself is also appearing in the film as Judy’s husband they play  the parents of Eisenberg.

Loosely inspired by The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio’s collection of bawdy stories, the film is divided into four separate vignettes. One of them, featuring Allen, focuses on an American couple travelling to Italy to meet the family of their daughter’s fiance.

It will be a welcome return for Miss Davis who has shone in 4 previous Woody films. She was pipped at the post for a supporting actress Oscar for her wonderful turn as the neurotic divorcee  in “Husbands & Wives” (Marisa Tomei won for “My Cousin Vinnie”- a travesty in my opinion) she also had roles in “Alice”, “Deconstructing Harry” and “Celebrity” – I will never  forget the hilarious scene where she is given fellatio instructions on a banana by a hooker played by Bebe Neuwirth, truly outrageous and hysterical!!!.

Judy Davis & Woody Allen in “Husbands And Wives”

Judy will be seen next in the eagerly awaited new Fred Schepisi film “The Eye Of The Storm” based on the novel by Patrick White. She plays Princess Dorothy de Lascabanes and it is a role that fits her like a glove. I previously made the  prediction of a possible Oscar nomination, and hopefully if the film is positioned right and gets noticed she will be justly rewarded.

You can check out the  trailer for the film on the newly launched “The Eye Of The Storm” website.

Judy Davis, Charlotte Rampling & Geoffrey Rush star in “The Eye Of The Storm”

Footnote: For some strange reason Woody Allen’s film before “Midnight In Paris”“You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger” was never released in Australia despite a cast including Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Pauline Collins, & Gemma Jones. It was a box-office failure in the US, perhaps that is the reasoning – go figure!!

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Beatty’s back.

After a long hiatus Hollywood lothario Warren Beatty is planning to get back behind & in front of the camera for a new film – he last appeared in a movie back in 2001 (the flop “Town & Country”) and last directed back in 1998 with the political satire “Bulworth”. He is also writing the screenplay & producing.

He is planning the movie with Paramount Pictures who are keeping the details under wraps. Deadline.com’s Mike Fleming has reported today that he has heard that Beatty will play Howard Hughes, apparently it is not a true biopic and part of the plot involves Hughes having an affair with a younger woman in the later years of his life. The subject of Howard Hughes has been a longtime pet project for Beatty. He also reported that Beatty has his eyes on a top ensemble cast and is meeting with Andrew Garfield, Alec Baldwin, Annette Bening, Shia La Beouf, Jack Nicholson, Evan Rachel Wood and Rooney Mara. Guess he has to plan his meeting with Annette Bening real hard she must be difficult to get hold of!!!!!  Alec Baldwin’s name on the list  is intriguing, he co-starred in  Martin Scorsese’s  Howard Hughes movie The Aviator, in that film Baldwin played Hughes’ main adversary, Pan Am World Airways founder Juan Trippe. I am sure we will be hearing a lot about the casting and talent to be involved in the film. The movie is expected to go into production later in the year. Beatty & Paramount have not yet made an official announcement regarding the subject or casting.

Beatty (aged 74) won an Oscar for directing the brilliant film “Reds”.

Howard Hughes in 1961 one of the last known photographs of the mogul who died in 1976

Warren Beatty in hunkier times!!

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Reel Life!

The film biopic is always a popular genre. Sometimes they deal with the subjects whole life or career and sometimes just a certain period, some are accurate, some are fanciful. This year  there are a few movies of interest coming out about famous people that have attracted some top acting talent – the Oscars do love awarding actors playing real people.  Here is a small preview of some.

THE IRON LADY

starring Meryl Streep as former British PM Margaret Thatcher and Jim Broadbent as her hubby Dennis. The film deals with the period immediately prior to the Falklands war.  The Falklands was a crucial point in the Thatcher’s career and the film will unfold over a period of 17 days leading up to the war, showing how she dealt with the pressure. Similar in a way to “The Queen” in which that film dealt with the period following the death of Princess Diana and how Her Maj Elizabeth II dealt with the crisis. That particular film won Helen Mirren a best actress Oscar and you can be sure Meryl will be up for a nomination. The film is directed by Phyllida Lloyd who helmed (if you can call it that) the mega-hit musical “Mamma Mia”, which I have to say, in all honesty, was one of the worst film musicals I have ever seen – in my own opinion! The only downfall of this particularly movie is that they may give us sympathy for the hideous Thatcher, I abhor her and her principals and especially her reforms – she is an evil woman.

Meryl & Maggie

MY WEEK WITH MARILYN

This film depicts the making of the 1957 movie “The Prince And The Showgirl” which paired Marilyn Monroe with Laurence Olivier – with tumultuous results! Based on the dairies of Colin Clark who was a production assistant on the film. It stars Michelle Williams as the screen icon, and Kenneth Branagh as Sir Larry (Ralph Fiennes originally cast in the role had to pull out of the film), and in a supporting role as Dame Sybil Thorndike – Judi Dench. Harry Potter witch Emma Watson is also in the cast portraying an innocent wardrobe mistress, Dougray Scott plays Arthur Miller hubby of Marilyn at the time, and according to Clark a complete arsehole.  Michelle Williams won the role over a bevvy of Hollywood starlets – Scarlett Johansson, Kate Hudson & Amy Adams amongst them. I think they made a good choice, I can imagine Williams will capture Marilyn’s strength and vulnerability to perfection. I expect another Oscar nod for her this year. Check her out in “Meek’s Cutoff”, she can do no wrong.

Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller and Michelle Williams as Maz

J. EDGAR

This film is an oddity and high on my list of wanna-see films.

Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as famed FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, it focuses on his controversial career as the founder of the FBI and addresses his homosexuality and penchant for cross-dressing. Armie Hammer who made an impression as the identical twins in last years bio-pic “The Social Network” has been been quoted promising a few kissing scenes between him and DiCaprio (he plays J. Edgar’s lover). The screenplay has been penned by Dustin Lance Black who won the Oscar for another controversial bio-pic – “Milk”. Will this be Leo’s year for the Oscar statue? It sure is fodder for the academy voters that’s for sure. Clint Eastwood is a stalwart director, his films always worth checking out.

Leo the brave & J. Edgar

A DANGEROUS METHOD

This film is the one I am eagerly awaiting the most. Masterful director David Cronenberg teams up for the 3rd time with the fabulous Viggo Mortenson and has also cast alongside him one of my new fave actors Michael Fassbender (Fish Tank, Hunger, Inglorious Basterds).  What is it about? It follows the intense relationship between Sigmund Freud (Viggo) and his protege Carl Jung (Fassbender) – the fore-fathers of psychoanalysis. Keira Knightley plays the women who comes between them. Not so thrilled about Keira in the film, I get very distracted by her jutting chin and very thin body, but I do think she does act well. Cronenberg is one of my all-time favorite directors, and the last 2 films he has made (History Of Violence & Eastern Promises) I think are masterworks of style and storytelling.No idea what to expect but I am sure it will be a treat, and possibly a few Oscar noms in their reach.

Psycho-hunk-arama, Viggo & Fassbender

 

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