> Chapter1-Take1: June 2013

The Garden of Last Days movie based on Andre Dubus III book is OFF!

 MAJOR BUMMER! After getting all jazzed about James Franco directing the screen adaptation of The Garden of Last Days (see post below) I just learned from Deadline that James Franco, who was set to direct, exited the project just two weeks prior to filming! According to the report, Millenium Films nixed several key crew members hand-picked by Franco. Apparently they didn't have enough experience to satisfy the bond company. For now the project is a total no-go and a major bummer to me; Andre Dubus III's The Garden of Last Days was a fantastic book, dark and riveting, with all the key elements to make an equally fantastic film.
I'll keep you posted with any news. Apparently the studio has already spent half a million dollars on the $3 million dollar budgeted movie; maybe they'll find a way to save their investment and the deal.

Posted 5/3/2013
The Garden Last Days is coming fast and furious following the news that James Franco was going to direct. Now we learn the part of April, the stripper will go to Emilia Clarke, best known as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones. I'm a fairly new fan of the show but it does push the boundaries with graphic violent and sexual content; Clarke's body has often been on full display in Game of Thrones, so the 'stripping' part of playing the stripper won't be an issue. She's talented but it's annoying that Franco picked a Brit for the role of the single mother of a three year old who works at a strip club in Sarasota, Florida. I don't doubt she can play 'American' - the Australians and the Brits all seem to have that talent in their pockets - but I would have preferred a true yank. Just sayin'. I was born in England, still have a British passport so it's not that I'm a hater ... I simply believe we have many a young and talented actress right here in the good ol US of A perfectly equipped to play white trash part - with apologies to all the strippers out there.

Set pictures from George Clooney's The Monuments Men movie based on Robert Edsel's book

George Clooney shooting The Monuments Men movie on the beach at Rye, England.
Serious George Clooney watchers may want to bookmark The Monuments Men  movie site where 'moviehorizons' is gathering a ton of production photos and info for the upcoming film based on Robert M. Edsel's book. Clooney wrote the adaptation, stars, directs and produces the film about a group of allied heroes rescuing some of the world's greatest works of art from the clutches of the Nazis.

More about The Monuments Men movie

Looks like George is struggling to stay upright - is that part of the scene or is he human?
Judging from the image on the right, they're having a good time on set. Not surprising considering Clooney's reputation for fun and games. 
L: Matt Damon,(?)John Goodman, Bill Murray
Grant Heslov, George Clooney
the beaches of Normandy? No, Rye.
Ryan Gosling, who costarred alongside George in The Ides of March said he was in amazed by Clooney's ability to juggle so many different things at once. The pressures of directing and acting, plotting some exhorbitant prank all while planning a massive relief effort for Somalia, and all in good spirit! Quite a guy, George is. 

In addition to George Clooney, The Monuments Men stars Matt Damon, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett. Sadly, Daniel Craig, once attached to the film is out; it's not clear whether Matt, the most recent additon to the cast, has taken the role initially intended for Craig. I love Damon but Daniel Craig is just darker and grittier; it would have been cool to have Bond and Bourne together. But that might have been too much gorgeous male competition even for Gorgeous George.

Monumental Men: Matt Damon and Jean Dujardin in The Monuments Men due out later this year. Mmmm!
With Bill Murray. Hmmm.
And John Goodman. Oh!

Ah, that's better. George Clooney + Hugh Bonneville: Where you lead, I will follow.
Cate Blanchett! Not exactly her handsome self here.
The Monuments Men is set for release December 13th, 2013.

I'll post the trailer as soon as it lands.

Pitch Perfect: My Quick Take on this movie from the Vault

Zooming through the channels last night I landed on Pitch Perfect - about 40 minutes in. I'm not a huge Glee fan - which I figured the movie would be a big screen version of - but nothing else grabbed me so I figured what the hey. And I had a general sense that it had done well critically. 

I wish I'd seen it sooner. Sweet, funny, romantic with some glorious singing.

The story: "Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school's all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition."

Anna Kendrick (The Company You Keep, Up in the Air) is the emotionally reserved Beca who finds love and friendship through singing. Rebel Wilson, her opposite, shines as the raunchy Fat Amy. Aubrey Camp and Brittany Snow and the rest of the Barden Bellas make  beautiful music together.

With a script written by Kay Cannon based on Micky Rapkin's book, Pitch Perfect struck just the right chord when I was feeling blue.

World War Z: My personal connection to Brad Pitt - ha!

Brook's name is nice and big!
Brad Pitt: Zombie Fighter
World War Z book fans take note: the Brad Pitt movie based on Max Brook's book that was so awful that Paramount  plunked down another $20 million for re-shoots which most everyone said would not work, actually opened this weekend to generally favorable reviews! Deadline talked to the film's director, Marc Forster, about the whole horrific process and how the re-shoots helped return the movie to a more book-faithful and meaningful tale. And while it's not my kind of book, I do get a kick out of the fact that Brad Pitt sent the zombie novel to the director, so keen was he to do it. You can read the entire interview below; I've cut and paste it from Deadline.com but first, my personal connection.
Yes, I knew Brad when.
No. He wouldn't know me from Adam.
Brad Pitt and Elizabeth McGovern
coupled up onscreen in The Favor
Did I ever tell you how I had a short lived 'career' as a production coordinator and that I worked on one of Brad Pitt's early movies, The Favor, co-starring Elizabeth McGovern Bill Pullman, and Harley Jane Kozak? We shot The Favor  in late 1991 in and around Portland, Oregon right after Brad's break out performance in Thelma and Louise which was filmed earlier that same year. It just wasn't that great - mainly due to Ken Wahl starring as 'the other man' for Harley Jane Kozak but in any case the film was kept on the shelf and wasn't released until 1994. The non-opener didn't hold Brad Pitt back.
Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis coupled up
for real in the early 90's
He was with Juliette Lewis at the time and the story of Brad, with the ten years younger Juliette Lewis beside him, driving all the way up from  L.A. in a sexy little powder blue sports car, had every female on set, from savvy L.A. based producers to local hires, daydreaming about the gorgeous but strangely shy guy who really knew how to wear a pair of metal frame glasses. (See image above!)
This photo doesn't do justice to the bar at
the Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon.
Brad and Elizabeth
On one incredible evening Brad, Elizabeth McGovern, my then-boss and a few more of us went to see Melissa Etheridge playing in town. Can I remember the venue? No - it was 20 something years ago -  I can't, but I do recall the evening was organized because one of the producer types was crushing on Elizabeth. What stands out most to me now is just how quiet and completely devoid of stud-attitude Brad was. He just seemed, oh brother, 'nice'. We all had drinks in what I remember as a warm wood-panelled bar in the dignified elegance of the Heathman Hotel in downtown Portland. The picture of the bar to the left doesn't capture that deep, rich feeling of my memories but again 20 years ago ... the good ol days especially because we can't recall them exactly. That was all I saw of Brad Pitt off set; but there was another evening where a good number of us went to dinner at Dan + Louis Oyster Bar, a Portland tradition since 1907! Elizabeth came along - the same producer crushing on her - and I experienced first hand how unnerving dining out can be to the famoso among us. The diners couldn't take their eyes off her; do you have any idea how difficult it is to talk or eat or act in any natural manner whatsoever with a roomful of eyes watching your every move? 
Fame is a curse, I tell you!
The Deadline article
"When Marc Forster was a kid, he was fascinated by how a collective swarming movement made everything from ants to cancer cells more potent. Those images informed the depiction of the hordes of zombies in World War Z. It had never occurred to Forster that the same phenomenon could happen to his movie. Unsubstantiated reports about overruns, creative clashes and re-shoots cropped up and then mutated and spread virally on the web. It got to the point where the question was no longer would WWZ work, but how cataclysmic a failure it might be. That began turning around when Paramount began showing the film, and it’s not a big factor as the film opens today. But what was it like for a director to get caught in such an unprecedented media maelstrom, a lot of which was based on some truth, and some inaccurate or exaggerated reporting?

“I never went through anything like that, not on Quantum Of Solace, not on anything,” Forster said during a break from promoting WWZ in Russia. “I would read that Brad Pitt and I had no communication, and we would look at each other and say, where could this come from? Is somebody just making up these stories? When articles like those come out and start spreading, it causes you to take a look at yourself, but the thing is, I never doubted the movie, or my own intuition. So few original things get made on this scale. This isn’t a sequel, it isn’t based on a superhero in a comic book. We saw it as an opportunity to take a genre and create something new and unique within it. That challenge excites me, but uniqueness always comes with criticism. As a filmmaker, all you can do is hope you get to the point where people feel as excited and as passionate about the film as you felt making it. Sure, we felt like the media wanted the project to fail, but we knew what we had, and we felt it would work. Then came the first preview, and the movie played like gangbusters.”
Some of those reports implied that Forster was a passive participant once he and studio brass went into the editing room and decided that a colossal, bloody battle scene in Russia was loud, bloody, and unsatisfying. Other rumors were he didn’t even do the reshoots. Forster denies those rumors. Certainly, there was tension. How often does a studio like Paramount pull a picture out of its release calendar and commit another $20 million or so to create and shoot a new climax? But Forster said they were all in lockstep, working with scribes Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard on an ending that aimed to be quieter, but more intense. When they left, Christopher McQuarrie also lent a hand in the writing.

“The original third act, with its big battle, was like every Hollywood movie,” he said. “It’s that big set piece, and it’s all about bigger and louder than everything else that came before it. I always felt that the set piece in Israel that happens earlier was the key action sequence in the film. It takes place in Southern Jerusalem, the birthplace of humanity, and then everything implodes and leaves you feeling, we can’t beat them, this is the end of humanity. That had to be the biggest set piece in the movie. Damon, when he saw the Israel sequence, had the same response, that you had to wind it down from there. Damon and Drew wrote what became exactly the movie I had in my head. It became a more personal journey, where you could connect with Brad in what felt like a haunted house setting. This way, the tension always shifts in the movie, but it never peaks, like a nice piece of music. I haven’t seen that quietly intense an ending in a blockbuster-size film before.”

Forster said the decision to scrap the big battle happened quickly and wasn’t some big drawn out spat. “We went to the editing room, looked at the footage, and we never tested that battle sequence,” Forster said. “Paramount was good with that. We all said, let’s not spend money on all that CG needed to finish that sequence, let’s spend the money instead on shooting a very simple, personal ending.” Forster said the result was in keeping with the original vision of the film that he and Pitt talked about when the actor/producer first came to him with the Max Brooks book. “When Brad sent me the book, I felt it was different, and that it was an opportunity to not just make another zombie movie, but to do something new. I wanted to create images we’d not seen before, from the way the zombies moved, to the way they swarm in Jerusalem, just different than anything done before in the genre. And the moment I’d heard the studio was willing to move forward with a more quiet haunted house ending which we pitched them, I was so relieved and happy. This movie plays well, but it’s different from every blockbuster out there. It’s the intense fun ride that we intended it to be, but it has unexpected moments. And after Jerusalem, you are so exhausted that to have added another big battle would have been repetitive, and it would have left you feeling exhausted.”

Another widely reported “fact” Forster refuted was that he and his cohorts were ordered by the studio to change the origin of the zombie outbreak from China, as Brooks’s book had it. The reports maintained the studio didn’t want to risk offending a Chinese government that determines which films have access to theaters in the country. “We threw a lot of countries around, Korea, Russia, India, China, but no one actually said that to us. We were never given a mandate that we couldn’t use China as that country. It was a purely creative decision we made to not have finding  patient zero be the film’s focus. We are still not sure whether or not WWZ will play in China or not, but we wanted nothing offensive against China or any other country. Those were creative choices.”

In Quantum of Solace and now WWZ, Forster has now made two movie movies far afield from his breakout film Monster’s Ball. WWZ, he feels, combines the best of those worlds. “Monster’s Ball was distinguished by those character performances, and what I love most about this movie is watching Brad’s character turn from everyday man into the reluctant hero,” Forster said. “We were able to incorporate those quiet character moments that I love, and it all came together in a way that made me really happy. Even some of what I went through with the press was a good lesson, I suppose. Obviously, everybody coming at you with constant negativity is daunting. If I had thought the movie wouldn’t work, it would have made me sad. But I felt so good about what I had, and none of those other people had seen the movie except for us. We figured other people would eventually see the same thing and we would be fine. I also think while negative buzz affects the inside Hollywood community, the movie going audience, the one in the middle of the country, they’re not influenced by this or even by critics, necessarily. They form their own opinions. And if your movie is good, they will be texting their friends. That earned word of mouth is what is important.”

Evidence stars Stephen Moyer and is NOT based on a book UPDATED

In theaters July 19th
Updated 6/21: MLH makes the publicity stills!
This movie is NOT based on a book - but I have a personal connection so I decided to burst out of my box and share since my hubby worked on the movie. Mark, better know to y'all as MLH, was the second assistant director on  Evidence, one of those low budget 'found footage' horror films that have been popping up over the last few years. He's not an actor but took on the role to help the director out with the scene below.
The film comes out in theaters on July 19th and is available on VOD now. Evidence stars Stephen Moyer (HBO’s “True Blood,” Strange Love), Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill, Man on Fire), Torrey Devitto (CW’s “The Vampire Diaries”), Caitlin Stasey (I, Frankenstein) and, Dale Dickey (HBO’s “True Blood”). Moyer plays  "a detective who hunts down a killer using video footage shot by the victims of a massacre at an abandoned gas station". The film was directed by Olatunde

That's my man on the far left, acting like a cop.
Radha Mitchell
Osunsanmi (The Fourth Kind), one of a shamefully small handful of black filmmakers working in the industry today. I met "Tundy" and his wife at a party at one of the producer's beach houses nestled between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. It was one of those unbelievably clear and sunny California days, and a lot of the guests had brought kids to the barbecue; Russell was in NY at the time and I was missing him. I told 'Tundy' our son wanted to be a director as well, did he have any advice? He shared that while he'd gone to film school his opportunity came from working as an assistant for a respected producer who took the time to listen to him after he'd proved himself an intelligent and hardworking young filmmaker. The moral; ya gotta pay your dues.

Check out the trailer and see what you think of Evidence. Don't be shy to say if it's not your cup of tea; yes, my hubby worked on the film but it's not as if he wrote it. 

Evidence is available on demand today, and in theaters July 19th. 

Juliet by Anne Fortier: Who would you cast?

A fan of Anne Fortier's Juliet and waiting for the screen adaptation? If you've been waiting patiently since Paramount and Montecito picked up the film rights with James Mangold set to direct, back in the fall of 2011, there's  finally some good news; Eyal Podell and Jonathon Stewart have been tapped to pen the script. Progress! According to Deadline, the pair apparently has a 'hot' Seuss script making the rounds.

The Story from Pulishers Weekly:
Fortier bobs and weaves between Shakespearean tragedy and popular romance for a high-flying debut in which American Julie Jacobs travels to Siena in search of her Italian heritage--and possibly an inheritance--only to discover she is descended from 14th-century Giulietta Tomei, whose love for Romeo defied their feuding families and inspired Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Julie's hunt leads her to the families' descendants, still living in Siena, still feuding, and still struggling under the curse of the friar who wished a plague on both their houses. Julie's unraveling of the past is assisted by a Felliniesque contessa and the contessa's handsome nephew, and complicated by mobsters, police, and a mysterious motorcyclist. To understand what happened centuries ago, in the previous generation, and all around her, Julie relies on relics: a painting, a journal, a dagger, a ring. Readers
Willa Holland for Julie?
enjoy the additional benefit of antique texts alternating with contemporary narratives, written in the language of modern romance and enlivened by brisk storytelling. Fortier navigates around false clues and twists, resulting in a dense, heavily plotted love story that reads like a Da Vinci Code for the smart modern woman.

Sounds intriguing, eh? Without reading a word I'd cast Willa Holland as Julie in a second. Holland is an amazing young actress you can see in Tiger Eyes currently in theatres and on demand now.  How about you; who would you cast as Julie?

First trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio

Oh my. The first trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street has just been released. The film based on Jordan Belfort's memoir of the same name stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role, and as you can see from the trailer, Jonah Hill as his trusty sidekick. Matthew McConaughey,looking way too gaunt and acting -  well - pretty creepy, also stars. The cast also includes Jon Favreau, yummy Kyle (Friday Night lights) Chandler, Rob Reiner and Jean Dujardin. 

The trailer which features Black Skinhead by Kanye West could be called Gatsby Meets Spring Breakers.  The whole thing looks crazy and out of control mirroring the mad rise and downfall of Belfort, a greedy bastard and total scumbag. Hope that's clear!

Was Jordan Belfort a real life Gatsby? In terms of the accumulation of wealth by unsavory means, possibly. Ok, probably. But that's where it ends. Belfort was and is a sleaze without a romantic bone in his body. Gatsby may have been a fraud but he always tried to behave like the gentleman he aspired to be. Nope. The money and externally extravagant lifestyle is where the similarity ends. Let's see where the film take us, but the trailer, by using the same kind of hip hop music Gatsby featured, and by having Leo introduce his character in Gatsby-esque tone and body posture - not to mention the champagne toast pose, makes some clear comparisons.

Check out The Wolf of Wall Street trailer, see what you think. 

Jane Fonda blogs about This Is Where I Leave You movie based on Jonathan Tropper's book

Image credit: Dutton/Penguin Books

How did I miss this! Back on May 15th  I blogged about the making of the movie This Is Where I Leave You based on Jonathan Tropper's eponymous novel totally missing the fact that Jane Fonda was playing Judd's newly widowed mother. And was blogging about it on the very same day. I had no idea Jane Fonda was online ... she's on twitter too. I just love that!

It wasn't until I actually started reading the novel yesterday and got to Judd's description of his mother and went online to find out which actor was playing her that I realized my major brain lapse. 

Check out how Tropper - who wrote the script as well - has Judd describe his mother in the novel ...
"Her hair, gray at the roots and auburn everywhere else, is pulled into a tight bun. Her black suit is formfitting and, as always, she's showing way too much surgically enhanced cleavage. The height of her stiletto heels, like the diameter of her breast implants, is inappropriate for both her age and the occasion."
Add the fact that this scene takes place at her dead husband's funeral AND that his mother is a very famous child psychiatrist and celebrated parenting book author, and tell me Ms. Fonda isn't perfect for the part ...

To read what Fonda herself has written about her first day of shooting on the movie -and a lot more cool stuff - at janefonda.com

Jane Fonda, "This Is Where I Leave You" director  
Shawn Levy and Tina Fey (Fonda's daughter Wendy)
Image Credit: janefonda.com

Here's a snippet where she talks about working with Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll who play her kids.
I feel like a Martian. Their rhythm, what they laugh at, even their language all seem foreign to me which is intriguing and just how it should be for the film. The mother (me), a tad narcissistic, has sort of lost touch with her kids emotionally — though she’s full of love, she doesn’t understand them, nor they her.
I love that she's not only not afraid to use her own feelings of being an outsider in their ensemble in her work; she actually embraces the challenge.  

Jane Fonda in Klute
I have to admit to a Fonda bias because I met the legendary liberal actor back in the early 70's at a party celebrating the mistrial of Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon Papers case. I was a blithering starstruck idiot blurting that I loved her in Klute and wanted to be just like her. I recall her laughing - not unkindly - and reminding me her character was a call girl. 

Oh, it was horrible. I have no idea what I was talking about. Didn't then and I still don't, unless I meant her character's stunning wardrobe or chic shag haircut. Or perhaps I meant I wanted to be just like Fonda, the beautiful activist actor -I would have definitely said 'actress' back then, I'm going to try to use the gender neutral term 'actor' more often these days - who had it all. I'd like to think the latter but I don't know ... my 20 year old self would have loved to rock Fonda's look in Klute!

The film doesn't have a release date yet - it's still shooting - but I'll keep you posted.

Updated to add the trailer released on May 28th which happens to be my birthday. Just saying'. It looks fantastico, no?

READ ONE OF MY MOST POPULAR POSTS: Jane Fonda's Big Fake Boobs and 5 More Things You Need to Know about THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU

Sam Riley joins Michelle Williams Suite Francaise movie based on book (updated)

Mon dieu! Can you get enough World War II period films set in France? This news from Cannes should strike a bittersweet note with Paulita over at the Dreaming of France meme - lots of fun French posts on Monday. Bitter because of the somber subject matter, sweet because it's still satisfies our fascination with France; an adaptation of the long-discussed movie based on Irene Nemirovsky's novel, Suite Francaise, is moving ahead. Nemorovsky's own story, by the way, is as dramatic and tragic as any novel.  Living in Paris as an extremely successful Jewish writer, Nemirovsky fled to the French countryside with her family when the Nazis invaded in 1940. They were caught in 1942, the Nazis arrested her in the midst of writing a five part epic, of which  she had completed handwritten drafts of the first two. The manuscript, hidden in her daughters' suitcase was taken with them eventually to safety. Irene Nemirovsky was sent to Auschwitz, she was dead a few months later; she was only 39. Sixty four years later the manuscript was discovered and in 2004, published together as Suite Francaise

Michelle Williams/Blue Valentine
Sam Riley
The film based on Ms Nemirovsky's Suite Francaise - which was clearly informed by the horrors of her world and the world around her - will star Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts and Kristin Scott Thomas.  Producer and literature lover Harvey Weinstein describes the film's story as that of a young woman(Williams) who lives with her controlling mother-in-law(Thomas) in Nazi-occupied France. When refugees from the Nazi invasion flood the town, the Nazis follow and the young woman, Lucille, ends up falling for a German officer(Schoenaerts). Saul Dibb (The Duchess)who wrote the screen adaptation will direct.

UPDATE: Sam Riley (On the Road) will play a French soldier in the film. Comparing that story line with the novel's description, it  sounds like the film may focus on Part Two of Suite Francaise, Dolce.  I've marked the passage in the book's Publisher's Weekly description below; doesn't that seem the most likely scenario in which love with a German soldier might occur? And to make maximum use of this trio of fine actors? As I read the first passage, the mother/daughter element doesn't seem to be in it much, if at all.
The first part, “A Storm in June,” opens in the chaos of the massive 1940 exodus from Paris on the eve of the Nazi invasion during which several families and individuals are thrown together under circumstances beyond their control. They share nothing but the harsh demands of survival—some trying to maintain lives of privilege, others struggling simply to preserve their lives—but soon, all together, they will be forced to face the awful exigencies of physical and emotional displacement, and the annihilation of the world they know. 
In the second part, “Dolce,” we enter the increasingly complex life of a German-occupied provincial village. Coexisting uneasily with the soldiers billeted among them, the villagers—from aristocrats to shopkeepers to peasants—cope as best they can. Some choose resistance, others collaboration, and as their community is transformed by these acts, the lives of these these men and women reveal nothing less than the very essence of humanity.
The original plan called for shooting in Paris and Belgium to begin June 24th but the  start date has slipped to the more amorphous 'this summer'.

Joss Whedon gives us his Anatomy of a Scene from Much Ado About Nothing

Have you brushed up your Shakespeare in prep for Much Ado About Nothing, due out June 21st? Joss Whedon's modern take on the comedy - so modern, it was shot in one short week, in the director's own home - has been labeled a rush job by its' detractors but if you're still psyched to see it - like I am - check out the 'Anatomy of a Scene' video from the New York Times featuring Whedon's voice-over commentary below.

Tom Hanks will star in screen adaptation of A Hologram for the King

GADS! What a crappy cover!
Tom Hanks and Tom Tykwer are reteaming to turn the Dave Eggers novel A Hologram For The King into a feature film. Hanks will star as a struggling businessman who moves to Saudi Arabia to try to head off financial ruin, save his home from foreclosure, pay his daughter's college tuition and do something meaningful in the process. Twyker who co-directed Cloud Atlas with the Wachowski sibs,will direct; he's already written the screen adaption of the book which was a National Book Award finalist in 2012. 
Hanks is currently starring on Broadway in the late Nora Ephron's play Lucky Guy. He was nominated but didn't win the TONY for playing crime reporter Mike McAlary. Hanks also plays the title role in Captain Phillips based on the book "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea" - you can see why they changed the title - which comes out October 11.    
Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney in
Saving Mr. Banks 
Watch for him as  Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks. That's the movie about the making of Mary Poppins, Emma Thompson plays Poppins author PJ Travers who after finally giving in to Disney travels to Hollywood to watch the movie being filmed. She did NOT approve of the end results especially the mixing of live action and animation elements. Clearly she was a purist. The top tier cast includes Collin Ferrell, Paul Giamatti, Kathy Baker, Bradley Whitford, BJ Novak and Jason Schwartzman.  Saving Mr.Banks comes out on December 20th, just in time for Oscar consideration. 

George Martin talks about The Game of Thrones killing spree (video)

But I don't know all their names yet!
Usually I leave Game of Thrones alone; there's just such a mass of material in George R. R. Martin's books that it's better left to the true devotees; there's certainly a plethora of Throne sites created for and by fans fascinated with the show.

But after last week's episode and its killing spree left many of us in a state of shock, I couldn't resist sharing Martin's appearance on tonight's Conan.

Why didn't Martin's Game of Thrones readers clue us in this was coming, to - you know - soften the blow?  Martin explains in the segment Conan posted to YouTube below.

Watch George R. R. Martin talk about the deaths of major Thrones' characters

Jennifer Lawrence to come of age in The Rules of Inheritance

The author's mother
As I posited in this morning's Catching Fire post, Jennifer Lawrence can do no wrong right now. The mega-success of Hunger Games plus the critical acclaim along with the rather more surprising box office win for Silver Linings Playbook has helped the Catching Fire actress catch that fire like no other young actress working in Hollywood today, although Shailene Woodley (The Descendants, The Fault in Our Stars, The Spectacular Now) seems poised to break out. For now though, Lawrence has now been cast in the lead role in Rules of Inheritance, the upcoming film based on the Claire Bidwell Smith's memoir released earlier this year.
Here's the skinny on the coming of age story that's both 'heartbreaking and exhilarating'

Jennifer Lawrence in Serena, also directed by Suzanne Bier
"In this astonishing debut, Claire Bidwell Smith, an only child, is just fourteen years old when both of her charismatic parents are diagnosed with cancer. What follows is a coming-of-age story that is both heartbreaking and exhilarating. As Claire hurtles towards loss she throws herself at anything she thinks might help her cope with the weight of this harsh reality: boys, alcohol, traveling, and the anonymity of cities like New York and Los Angeles. By the time she is twenty-five years old they are both gone and Claire is very much alone in the world.

Claire's story is less of a tragic tale and more of a remarkable lesson on how to overcome some of life's greatest hardships. Written with suspense and style, and bursting with love and adventure, The Rules of Inheritance vividly captures the deep grief and surprising light of a young woman forging ahead on a journey of loss that humbled, strengthened, and ultimately healed her."

Claire Bidwell Smith: Author of The Rules of Inheritance
Claire herself is thrilled posting the release on her blog and saying ...
"There is so much yet to come, but for now I will just say again that I am incredibly grateful and humbled by all of this. All I ever wanted when I wrote The Rules of Inheritance was the chance to help a person or two, to make someone out there feel a little less alone in their grief process. And now all of this…I couldn’t dream of a better group of people to help me take my message to a wider audience."
Sounds like lots of pathos and drama, an even deeper emotional level than the moving - albeit hilarious- Silver Linings Playbook.

Catching Fire: Watch the HOME MADE trailer~

"The sun persists in rising,
and so I make myself stand."
You may have seen the last trailer for Catching Fire; shocker- a mere five months til showtime and they're still using the trailer released way back in April. Slackers!
If you're a die hard fan you'll want to see the Home Made Trailers version. It's a replication of the trailer using 'home made' methods with a gang of actors and friends acting out the parts. The best part may be the  11 minute behind the scenes video showing the lengths they went to to get the making of the 2 minute trailer right, or hilariously, deliberately wrong. I know it's what these guys "do" but I get a kick of fans who show their appreciation in creative tributes, or sendups. I was tempted to start a Gatsby tumblr but stopped short wary of being sucked completely into the vortex. I just don't want to go there. It's like Pinterest. I'll never leave this screen!
How have you showed a favorite novel some love?

The above poster was shared by Lions Gate via Instagram; it's an artist's rendition so stunning, surely she or he was feeling the love too. I haven't found the artists' credit yet; I'll update the post when I find it.

Below I'm sharing three variations of the trailer: the real April 14th Catching Fire trailer followed by the  Home Made Trailers version and finally, their side by side comparison version.

First up the real trailer which looks both darker and deeper than Catching Fire's crazy popular' predecessor, The Hunger Games

According to Jennifer Lawrence in the Latino Post "This movie is visually huge and stunning and we dive a little deeper in the Capitol. We're back in Katniss's life as she's trying to piece her life back together after the games. The stakes are a lot higher in this one." Lawrence can do no wrong right now; she's just been cast as Claire Bidwell Smith in the adaptation of Bidwell Smith's memoir, The Rules of Inheritance being helmed by her Serena director Susanne Bier

Check out the Catching Fire trailer via Trailer Cats.

That threat from Donald Sutherland was hugely ominous, not just for Katniss but her entire district. For "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire", the returning cast includes new Oscar winner Lawrence, who joins her costars Hemsworth, Claflin, Elizabeth Banks, and Jenna Malone as the she faces even more obstacles.

The Home Made Trailer version ... 

The side by side comparison!

Check out their other film trailers including Lord of the Rings.
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