Harriet Tubman was a slave who became an abolitionist after escaping, saving dozens of other slaves through the Underground Railroad. Julia Roberts is an Oscar-winning actress and producer, the star of Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich and Homecoming. Tubman was black, Roberts is white. No problem for one Hollywood executive, in 1994.
In a Q&A with Allen published earlier this month by Harriet studio Focus Features (and reiterated in an L.A. Times essay published Tuesday), Allen recalled how “the climate in Hollywood … was very different” some 25 years ago.
“I was told how one studio head said in a meeting, ‘This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman,'” Allen explained. “When someone pointed out that Roberts couldn’t be Harriet, the executive responded, ‘It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.'” Thankfully, for everyone involved, Roberts was not cast as Tubman.
The Tubman movie is out now, starring Cynthia Erivo, who is black. Trailer below:
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James Dean, who died in 1955, will star in directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh's new action-drama flick Finding Jack. Apparently Dean will be entirely CGI with someone else lending the character's voice. From the Hollywood Reporter
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Adapted by Maria Sova from Gareth Crocker’s novel, Finding Jack is based on the existence and abandonment of more than 10,000 military dogs at the end of the Vietnam War. Dean will play a character called Rogan, considered a secondary lead role.
"We searched high and low for the perfect character to portray the role of Rogan, which has some extreme complex character arcs, and after months of research, we decided on James Dean," said Ernst, who also produces with Golykh for Magic City Films alongside Donald A. Barton of Artistry Media Group.
"We feel very honored that his family supports us and will take every precaution to ensure that his legacy as one of the most epic film stars to date is kept firmly intact. The family views this as his fourth movie, a movie he never got to make. We do not intend to let his fans down."
TIL: In general, props are the items actors touch/handle, everything else is part of the set decoration and not the responsibility of the property master. Read the rest
For years, it was just about impossible to see a film that Ed Norton didn't have something to do with. Then, just like Kaiser Soze, poof, he was gone. Except now he's back! Given that Norton will wrote, directed and is staring in Motherless Brooklyn, his absence from the big screen is totally understandable—that's a lot of work to shoulder. Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, with Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe are on board to help bring this Jonathan Lethem's gem of a neo-pulp thriller to life. Read the rest
I loved The Mummy back in the day... although it hasn't held up very well.
If I were home and dying of the flu in bed, I wouldn't use the last of my strength to get up and change the channel if The Mummy Returns came on, right up to the point where the Scorpion King appears. That's some fugly VFX work. The folks from Corridor Crew agree. On one of their days off, they decided to do something about it.
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Just after teenage Edward Furlong blew up in Terminator 2, he released an album, titled "Hold On Tight," in Japan. It also enjoyed a CD and vinyl release in South Korea and sweet sweet cassette in Indonesia. Here's 14-year-old Edward doing The Doors' "People Are Strange."
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The Doris Day Foundation reports her death at 97.
Doris Day passed away early this morning at her Carmel Valley home, having celebrated her 97th birthday on April 3 of this year. Nearly 300 fans gathered in Carmel last month to celebrate Day’s birthday. Day had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia , resulting in her death. She was surrounded by a few close friends as she passed.
The BBC rounded up tributes:
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Star Trek actor William Shatner remembered Day on Twitter as "the World's Sweetheart," saying she was "beloved by all".
Fellow Star Trek cast member George Takei said she was "synonymous with Hollywood icon", while Spanish actor Antonio Banderas wrote: "Thank you for your talent."
Novelist Paulo Coelho marked her passing by quoting lyrics from Secret Love, one of her numbers in Calamity Jane.
"We've lost another great Hollywood talent," tweeted Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, while actor Luke Evans said he had "always loved" her voice and "beautiful" songs.
A prequel to the iconic 1971 musical and 1978 movie Grease is in development at Paramount. Written by John August (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), the new film, titled Summer Loving, will tell the story of Danny and Sandy's summer romance at the beach as famously recounted from two different perspectives in the original movie's song "Summer Nights."
I only wish Summer Loving would be an animated feature in the style of John D. Wilson's incredible opening titles to the original Grease and star John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John:
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Actor EJ Zapata provides "solid evidence every TV show, Movie, and Commercial are all in the same Cinematic Universe." This is "How It All Connects," a compilation of Zapata's on-camera moments in the background.
Learn more from Zapata over at r/videos. (Thanks pvanb!) Read the rest
After a few false starts and rumors, the classic 1996 teen witch film The Craft will be remade, according to a fresh listing in industry trade Production Weekly. Not a big shock as right now there's a witchcraft resurgence afoot, especially among millennials. (In fact, the directors should hire badass witch Pam Grossman to help them make real magick!) Blumhouse Productions (Paranormal Activity, Get Out, BlacKkKlansman) will produce the remake. Daniel Casey (Fast & Furious 9) and Zoe Lister-Jones (Band Aid) are writing it and Lister-Jones is directing. Here's the synopsis:
A remake of the 1996 supernatural teen thriller. When starting at a new school, Hannah befriends Tabby, Lourdes, and Frankie & quickly becomes the fourth member of their Clique. Hannah soon learns that she somehow brings great power to the quartet.
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MGM and Mattel are developing a live-action movie based on the iconic View-Master stereo viewer. This news comes on the heels of the two companies' announcement of an American Girl film based on the insanely popular doll brand. From Hollywood Reporter:
“Since the 1940s, View-Master has inspired wonder and joy in children of all ages, creating huge opportunities for storytelling,” said Brenner in a statement. “MGM Pictures has tremendous expertise and a proven track record in capturing audiences’ imagination through film, and we’re proud to be partnering with them to bring another Mattel franchise to theaters. This marks another important milestone as we transform Mattel into an IP-driven, high-performing toy company.”
Stated Jonathan Glickman, MGM's motion picture group president: “View-Master was the first device that allowed families all over the world to escape their reality and take them places they never thought they could go. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Mattel to create a family adventure integrating the old school turn and click stereotypic device with the modern world of virtual reality.”
(Thanks, Jason Tester!)
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Black Panther, on the heels of its SAG win and seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture, will play for free at 250 movie theaters for a week starting tomorrow (February 1). As part of the Black Panther celebrations, Walt Disney Company is also granting $1.5 million to the United Negro College Fund.
“In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers," T'Challa said. "We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”
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Immortal Masks make a lot of masks, prosthetics and horrific creatures we see in films that later end up haunting our dreams. This video shows exactly how they do it. Read the rest
A Breaking Bad movie will start production this month in Duke City, New Mexico according to the New Mexico Film Office. The film, currently identified as "Greenbrier," "tracks the escape of a kidnapped man and his quest for freedom," according to the Albuquerque Journal:
This is the first project for Vince Gilligan – who created “Breaking Bad” and co-created the spinoff, “Better Call Saul” – after signing a three-year deal with Sony Pictures Television in July...
Details on which characters will be returning from the TV series to the film have not been released.
"Yes, there appears to be a movie version of 'Breaking Bad, but I honestly have not even read the script," Bryan Cranston said on The Dan Patrick Show. "I have not gotten the script, I have not read the script. So there's the question of whether or not we'll even see Walter White in this movie. Think about that one."
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A half a century after Judy Blume's classic young adult novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was first published, it's going to be made into a film. Blume has consistently refused to allow her books to become movies. Fremon Craig who wrote and directed The Edge of Seventeen will adapt "Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret" for the screen and direct the movie with James L. Brooks producing. Apparently Blume hit it off with them during a trip to Hollywood in August. From Deadline:
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“It is this right of passage for women and girls,” Fremon Craig told Deadline. “It’s rare for me to run into a woman or girl who hasn’t read it and every time I’ve mentioned it to a woman, they clutch their heart and let out this joyful gasp. There’s something so timely and full of truth and I remember for me that at that age, it felt like a life raft at a time when you’re lost and searching and unsure. This book comes along and tells you you’re not alone. Women remember where they were when they read it. I can’t think of another book you can say that about...."
“I got the greatest email from Judy where she said if someone were to make a film of one of her books, she hoped it would have the same tone and feeling that The Edge of Seventeen had,” Fremon Craig said. “It’s maybe the greatest compliment I’ve ever gotten, because she has always been a North star for me as a writer.
In April, Molly Ringwald penned a piece for the New Yorker about the sexual harassment and assault in classic 1980s teen films like Sixteen Candles and the Breakfast Club, in which she starred. (Prime example in the clip below.) This weekend, NPR aired an interview with Ringwald in which she revisited the subject. A few highlights:
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You know, when I made those movies with John Hughes, his intention was to not make Porky's or Animal House. But I think, you know, as everyone says and I do believe is true, that times were different and what was acceptable then is definitely not acceptable now and nor should it have been then, but that's sort of the way that it was ... I feel very differently about the movies now and it's a difficult position for me to be in because there's a lot that I like about them. And of course I don't want to appear ungrateful to John Hughes, but I do oppose a lot of what is in those movies...
I believe that there is still a lot of good in the films and there's a lot that I'm proud of. And I feel like in a lot of ways they've touched teenagers and sparked a conversation that is important. And having a teenage daughter myself, I know that it's not always easy to get teenagers to talk. But these films sort of break through that. You know? There's something that really touches teenagers, especially The Breakfast Club I feel like sort of gives them permission to talk about their feelings — says that teenagers' feelings really matter.
A few months ago on Conan, the late Burt Reynolds shared the fantastic and funny origin of one of many iconic moments from Deliverance (1972): "He got a real purty mouth ain’t he." Watch the clip below. And as a bonus, here's the story of Deliverance's inbred banjo boy!
(via Laughing Squid)
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