Category Archives: Casting news

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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Dream On – Marin Mazzie Leads CARRIE at MCC in 2012

Babs really needs to save the pennies now!!. It looks like a New York State of mind early next year. Babs has always had an obsession for Carrie as you may well know. A bad filmed copy of the original legendary RSC flop production of the musical landed in Babs hands a while back and has been known to whir around on the DVD player from time to time. To see any version live, well dreams can come true.

Marin Mazzie Leads CARRIE at MCC in 2012; Full Season Announced! 2011/05/31.

The original artwork for the infamous production of “Carrie The Musical”

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A smashing idea for a series.

There is exciting news for lovers of musical theatre.

NBC TV in America have greenlit the pilot for “Smash” into a series. An hour long drama about the making of a Broadway musical.

Playwright-screenwriter Theresa Rebeck (Mauritius, Our House, “NYPD Blue”) wrote the pilot, which launches the series about the bumpy development of a multimillion dollar Broadway musical. The brainchild of Steven Spielberg the series is to be shot in NYC as was the pilot. It will give many NYC theatre actors a lot of work and exposure.

In the pilot Christian Borle, a Tony Award nominee for Legally Blonde, played a composer, and Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”) played the lyricist, in a story about  the making of a new Broadway musical about the life of screen icon Marilyn Monroe. Anjelica Huston played a producer in the pilot. Casting has not been announced but usually holdovers from the pilot are considered.

What a stellar team behind the series – Spielberg will executive produce along with Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank (of DreamWorks), Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (“Chicago,” “Hairspray,” Broadway’s Promises, Promises and How to Succeed…) and Theresa Rebeck, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Tony Award-winning songwriters Shaiman and Wittman (Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can) will write the songs of the show within the series.

The series will trace the process of creating a new musical from concept to songwriting, the recruitment of investors, through to casting and the rehearsals. One season would focus on one musical. Subsequent seasons would address other musicals. The project is expected to be a drama with humor, with the season finishing up with the musical’s opening night.

I love the concept and can’t wait to see the series which is expected to premiere in the US – Sept/October 2011.

Christian Borle plays the gay composer of the musical featured in “Smash”

Debra Messing plays the lyricist

Academy award winner – Anjelica Huston plays the a Broadway producer.

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Grey Gardens – Pure Gold

When I heard that there was to be a local Melbourne production of the Broadway musical “Grey Gardens” I became very excited. I love the documentary it is based on and was an admirer of the telemovie that starred Drew Barrymore & Jessica Lange. Also I have seen a pirated copy of the Broadway show. I am a HUGE Grey Gardens fan.

But I was baffled as to who would be cast in the roles of Big Edie & Little Edie Bouvier Beale???

For those who are unaware of the story, Big Edie and her daughter Little Edie were the aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. The two women lived together at a house called Grey Gardens in the Hamptons for decades, with very little money, living in squalor and  isolation. A 1975 documentary made by David & Albert Maysles revealed the everyday lives of the codependent mother & daughter socialites, it became a cult classic and was rediscovered a few years back spawning the musical and telemovie.

In the musical the first act imagines the early years of the women and explores the reasoning behind the later years of their lives. The second act features the later years and includes the documentary makers as characters. The actress who plays Big Edie in the first act goes on to play Little Edie in the second. It is the role of a lifetime for an actress. The part of Big Edie in the second act is also a meaty part. So who has been cast you may ask?

As Little Edie we have the wonderful Pamela Rabe, arguably a first lady of the Melbourne theatre scene, and as Big Edie stage veteran and an immense talent – Nancye Hayes. Inspired casting I say – I can’t wait to see it.

The Production Company (Melbourne’s equivalent of NY’s Encores series) will present the musical at the Playhouse Theatre for 12 performances November 25 to Dec 4.

The real life Little Edie

The real Big Edie

Drew Barrymore & Jessica Lange as TV’s Little Edie & Big Edie.

Pamela Rabe as Little Edie

Look!!! a Little Edie dolly 🙂

Look again!!!! a Big Edie dolly 🙂

Entrepreneur Jeannie Pratt head of The production Company who is presenting GG.

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Meryl does Maggie.

Here is a first look of the First Lady of Film playing the Iron Lady of Politics. Meryl Streep as Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher!

Streep is in the 2nd week of filming The Iron Lady in London. The first feature from director Phyllida Lloyd since she directed Streep in Mamma Mia. Jim Broadbent plays Maggie’s hubby Dennis.

What a curiosity this film will be, but as I am not a fan of the direction of Mamma Mia I am not so sure what will become of this project, I hope it is High camp with a capital H. I know Streep can do camp quite well.

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