Posted by Adam Wills
Director Darren Aronofsky (“The Wrestler”) might as well go to Vegas and put money down on fanboys lining up in droves to see his ballerina thriller “Black Swan” ... that is if a rumor about the script pans out.
Natalie Portman (“Star Wars,” “V for Vendetta”) and Mila Kunis (“Family Guy,” “Robot Chicken,” “Max Payne”) will play ballerina rivals, although one might be the figment of the other’s imagination. Think “Fight Club” with tutus. And after discovering a scene in which Kunis and Portman explore their carnal Sapphic desires … with each other, ScriptShadow’s Carson Reeves concedes that his review of a March 25 draft script is pretty much pointless.
“And not just nice sweet innocent sex either. We’re talking ecstasy-induced hungry aggressive angry sex.”
But the greatest moment in cinematic history could be dashed if we’re to believe
those bastards at CinemaBlend:
No one involved with the film is willing to confirm that it’s happening. The original story came from a site, which claimed to have somehow obtained the Black Swan and found the aforementioned gratuitous lesbian sex scene within it. So of course when journalists cornered Kunis at a roundtable interview to promote Extract they asked her about it. According to Collider she refused to address it. Well, sort of.
Actually what she said was this: “Yes. I’ve heard about this from everybody. I mean, something got out.” What she won’t say is whether what got out is accurate. Or for that matter, assuming it is accurate and this is in the script, are they actually shooting it as is? She did say the script “got a recent rewrite last weekend.” That means the script reviewed, assuming it’s real, is already out of date and the scene in question could already be gone.
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August 14, 2009 | 6:24 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
“District 9” is not a Jewish film per se, but the plight of the aliens echo themes Jews can readily identify with, from intolerance and hate aimed at immigrants to welcoming the stranger and seeking justice.
Many who’ve seen the film have drawn parallels to apartheid, primarily because the setting is Johannesburg. But the filmmakers spell out in Sony’s “District 9” press notes that there is no direct, intentional apartheid metaphor. Instead, they say, the film is a commentary on xenophobia and immigration, paralleling issues Jews, Sudanese refugees and others living in exile have had to content with after taking up residence in foreign countries.
“In South Africa, we have to deal with issues that generally people around the world try to sweep under the rug,” said Sharlto Copley, who plays Wikus van der Merwe, referring to the country’s large immigrant population.
In “District 9,” individual aliens are given human names like Christopher Johnson, a la Ellis Island, and the aliens’ race as a whole is never named. Instead, humans use the pejorative “prawns,” referring to the aliens as creatures or animals, much the way Nazis dehumanized Jews by drawing comparisons to disease-carrying rodents. Other Nazi parallels include Nuremberg-like signs forbidding aliens from sitting in a particular place, engaging in a particular activity, etc.
In an alternative 1981, the aliens’ ship came to a halt over—of all places—Johannesburg. The aliens arrived as refugees – hungry, sick and homeless. In the intervening years, Multi-National United (MNU), a private international security company, took charge of the aliens and keeps them corralled in a concentration camp known as District 9, where they scavenge through piles of garbage looking for food and technology. Although reviled by humans for their crustacean-like appearance and cultural differences (one commentator mentions “the prawn doesn’t understand [concepts like] ownership”), MNU wants to reverse-engineer the aliens’ advanced weapons and adapt it for human use. The rub: the weapons only respond to alien DNA.
Shot documentary style and using news reports to punctuate a sense of reality, the film recounts an operation that evicts the aliens from their District 9 shantytown and moves them to the tent city of District 10. Wikus, an ordinary MNU bureaucrat who loathes the “prawns” as much as the next human, has been given charge of the operation by his father-in-law, an MNU executive who’d just as soon see him killed by the aliens. During the operation, Wikus is inadvertently exposed to an alien fluid—a fuel source for the spaceship that’s taken the aliens 20 years to distill—which begins to slowly change his DNA. Think Jeff Goldblum in David Cronenberg’s “The Fly,” including losing body parts (fingernails, teeth) and the accompanying psychological ramifications.
Wikus is suddenly able to use the alien weapons, producer Peter Jackson says, and he becomes “the most important person on the planet.” In classic sci-fi fashion, the father-in-law orders Wikus’ vivisection so MNU can find a biological method of making the alien weapons accessible to humans. Wikus escapes, naturally, and flees to District 9, where the aliens help hide him from MNU strike teams, risking their own lives in the process.
The aliens have all but lost hope after more than 20 years of imprisonment, dealing with MNU troops who think nothing of shooting a “prawn” in the head. But they welcome Wikus, the man who just days earlier had ordered the destruction of their unhatched young. Wikus strikes a bargain with their leader, Christopher Johnson – if he helps retrieve the fuel, which is now in MNU’s possession, the aliens can help make him fully human again.
“District 9,” the first feature film from Neill Blomkamp, invites some comparisons to the 1988 film and television series “Alien Nation,” in which an alien slave race seeks refuge on Earth and encounters discrimination while attempting to integrate into human society (e.g., in “Alien Nation” the Newcomers get drunk on sour milk, while in “District 9” the aliens are hooked on cat food). But “District 9” is closer to what one might expect from humans if aliens were to actually land on earth – specifically, the what’s-in-it-for-us mentality.
The film has its minor flaws—for instance, it’s never explained how the humans and aliens can understand one another, yet not be able to speak the other’s langauge. But at a time when most science-fiction films are either remakes, reboots or adapted from toy lines, it’s great to get an original work that features strong characters and relevant social issues and includes a bit of snarky humor along the way to balance things out.
August 12, 2009 | 3:22 am
Posted by Adam Wills
If you don’t recognize the name, he’s the voice of Roger Rabbit (along with Benny the Cab and two of the weasels in the Toon Patrol). And from what he said, talks regarding a “Roger Rabbit” big-screen sequel are progressing, but nothing is set in stone yet.
Zemeckis has been coyly alluding to a sequel for several months now, and Fleischer, flashing an impish smile last night, seemed all too happy to talk about the possibility.
Combining live action with animation – along with producer Steven Spielberg’s ability to get various studios (Warner Bros., Paramount and Universal) to let him use their animated characters for cameos—made the original “Roger Rabbit” a groundbreaking hit, which inspired Disneyland’s Toontown; animated shorts (“Tummy Trouble,” “Roller Coaster Rabbit”), which screened before Disney releases like “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and “Dick Tracy”; a video game and graphic novels.
A prequel had been planned following “Roger Rabbit’s” 1988 box-office success ($329 million worldwide). Titled “Roger Rabbit: The Toon Platoon,” the film would have featured Roger heading to Europe to rescue his future wife, Jessica Krupnick, from Nazi kidnappers. But Steven Spielberg, fresh from directing “Schindler’s List,” couldn’t get behind a project that satirized Nazis. Script rewrites followed, the project got mired in development hell, and an estimated $100 million budget led then Disney chief Michael Eisner to pull the plug.
The CGI revolution also helped doom the “Roger Rabbit” sequel, but Disney’s return to traditional animation (e.g., “The Princess and the Frog”) in addition to growing demand for 3D films could be the thing that helps resurrect the project.
Zemeckis started discussing the possibility of a sequel in April after working on the motion-capture animated 3D film “A Christmas Carol” with Jim Carrey. And during the July 23 Disney 3D panel at Comic-Con, Robert Zemeckis said he could “neither confirm nor deny” the possibility of a second “Roger Rabbit” feature film. But he said, “If that ever does happen, the 2D animated characters will remain 2D. They will not be dimensionalized, but that doesn’t mean other parts won’t be in 3D.”
Fleischer, not to be outdone, said, “I would like to see Roger suddenly become three-dimensional and the rest of the world turn two-dimensional. If that’s in the film, that was my idea.”
August 4, 2009 | 7:50 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
For those sick of the Jedi Church—with its invisible “force”—Shiantology offers worshippers something a little more tangible: the actor who shared screen time with Han Solo himself.
The amusing Web site, Shiantology.com, features daily walking posts of the 23-year-old actor, tons of videos, as well as absolutely hysterical Photoshopped images of Shia in various religious settings.
“We were enjoying one of Shia’s favorite beverages, Arizona Iced Tea, and talking about our favorite actor when the name hit us. It all went downhill from there,” the girls reveal.
“One of the goals of the religion is also to make LaBeouf the most common last name, hence we require all followers to change their name to ‘First name + LaBeouf.’”
August 2, 2009 | 4:45 am
Posted by Adam Wills
William Shatner, fresh off his Palin poetry slam, set his sights on HP. Employees at the company’s Palo Alto headquarters found a robocall voicemail message from the “Star Trek” actor last week, telling them to get on the green bandwagon, like Apple.
The publicity stunt, which was organized by Greenpeace, also included graffiti on the rooftop of Hewlett-Packard’s global headquarters. The protest was intended to call attention to what the NGO deems HP’s broken promise to eliminate hazardous chemicals—brominated flame retardants and polyvinyl chloride—in its products, Fair Home reports.
A computerized dialing system ensured that every member of HP staff got the message.
“This is William Shatner speaking,” it said. “You, HP, promised me a toxic-free computer by 2009. Now my friends at Greenpeace tell me that I’ll have to wait till 2011. What’s up with that?”
HP had promised to make its computers free of PVC plastic and brominated flame retardants by the end of this year.
The target has now been delayed until 2011.
“It’s shameful that HP is continuing to put hazardous products on the market, despite the promises it had made,” said Casey Harrell, Greenpeace International toxics campaigner.
“Instead of going back on its commitments, HP should be following the lead of companies like Apple, which has led the sector in phasing out these toxic chemicals.”
Greenpeace also emblazoned the phrase “Hazardous Products” in nontoxic paint across the roof of HP’s headquarters in California.
HP branded the stunt “unconstructive.”
“The antics at HP’s headquarters did nothing to advance the goals that all who care about the environment share,” the company said in a statement.
July 31, 2009 | 1:36 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) has made a habit of running from what scares him. Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) doesn’t have fears. If he did, he’d kick their ever-living ass. In a world overrun by zombies, these two are perfectly evolved survivors. But now, they’re about to stare down the most terrifying prospect of all: each other.
Also available in high definition at Apple.
“Zombieland” is due out Oct. 9.
July 31, 2009 | 11:07 am
Posted by Adam Wills
In “World War Robot,” a graphic novel by Ashely Wood (“Tank Girl,” “Judge Dredd”), the human race is divided over religion and politics, waging war between Earth and Mars, with giant robots making the battles more intense. During Comic-Con, Jerry Bruckheimer closed a deal with Wood to secure the feature rights, Variety reports.
In January, io9 interviewed the other half of “World War Robot,” Jon Gibson, who discussed the graphic novel and its impressive toy line, designed by Wood and produced by Bigshot Toyworks and Threezeronline.
So what`s the storyline of World War Robot? What`s it about?
A dwindling band of humans and robots battle it out in what`ll probably end humanity as we know it - on Earth, Mars, and the Moon. Badass battles, really intense human/robot drama, plus it gets kinda political. And we`re attempting a little experiment with a different kind of humor. This war is the tail end of the worst things imaginable - epic catastrophes. So the comic is also dosed with a bit of “desperation comedy.” Like laughing while you`re crying.
What comes after that? Further plans for the World War Robot?
It`s all leading up to the release of the first WWR toy, a figure called Bertie that rocks. It`s 1/6th scale, stands 14 inches tall, and has an amazing 43 fucking points of articulation! That`s more moveable joints than grandma!
What`s it like working with Ashley?
Ash is so fucking talented. We`ve been trying to do something together for years on the comic front. He used to do a page-strip for me every month when I edited Play Magazine about 6 years ago - a spin-off of his incredible “Popbot” series. We`d met at E3 while he was working on art for Konami`s Contra: Shattered Soldier, and the rest is robot history.
July 30, 2009 | 9:14 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
George Clooney and Jason Scott Lee were going to do it in the 1990s. Kevin Smith was writing a screenplay for it five years ago, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Jet Li rumored to star. Now Seth Rogan is hoping to star in and get “The Green Hornet” on the big screen ... if he can just get past the directorial and casting issues.
Grand-nephew of the Lone Ranger (give yourself 10 points if you knew who that was without going to Wikipedia), the Green Hornet was a masked crime fighter from the 1930s who appeared on radio and television and in comics. The series’ one redeeming cool factor – and the likely motivation behind why this project endures—is that Bruce Lee played Kato in the 1960s television series.
On the plus side, there probably won’t be a lot of “Green Hornet” fans for Rogan to upset when he goes comedy with it. (BTW, Kids today love heroes from their grandparents’ era! Just look at how well Will Eisner’s ‘The Spirit’ did at the box office when it was released last year.)
Rogan is writing the script with longtime friend and collaborator Evan Goldberg, and the action-comedy is set for a June 25, 2010 release. Hong Kong action star Stephen Chow was slated to both direct and star as Kato, but walked away from the project in December. Columbia recently announced director Michel Gondry will helm the film, and there’s “buzz” about Nicholas Cage and Cameron Diaz joining the cast. Since last weekend’s Comic-Con unveiling of Black Beauty – that would be the Green Hornet’s car – rumors are starting to swirl that Korean actor Kwon Sang-woo is up for the part of Kato.