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Warren Ellis’ Red begins shooting…with cameras

Posted by LiveFor on January 19, 2010

Principal photography has begun in Toronto on Summit Entertainment’s spy-thriller “Red,” based on the DC Comics graphic novel of the same name by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner.

Joining previously announced stars Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker and Academy Award®-winners Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman, are two-time Academy Award®-nominee John Malkovich, Karl Urban, Brian Cox, Academy Award®-winners Richard Dreyfuss and Ernest Borgnine, Julian McMahon, James Remar and Rebecca Pidgeon.

“Red” is the story of Frank Moses (Willis), a former black-ops CIA agent, who is now living a quiet life. That is, until the day a hi-tech assassin shows up intent on killing him. With his identity compromised and the life of the woman he cares for, Sarah (Parker), endangered, Frank reassembles his old team (Freeman, Malkovich and Mirren) in a last ditch effort to survive.

Directed by Robert Schwentke (”The Time Traveler’s Wife,” “Flightplan”) from a screenplay by Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber (”Whiteout”), the film is produced by di Bonaventura Pictures’ Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian (”Salt,” “Transformers,” “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”). Executive producers are Jake Myers (”Shanghai,” “Hollywoodland”) and Gregory Noveck (”Jonah Hex”). Di Bonaventura Pictures’ production executive David Ready serves as co-producer.

“I’m so excited at the phenomenal cast that Robert and our script have attracted,” said di Boneventura. “I think audiences are going to have a great time.”

Summit’s President of Production Erik Feig said, “RED is that classic project with a little bit of something for everyone. We are thrilled to see it come to vivid life with an outstanding cast, incredibly talented director, and top notch producing team. It’s gonna be a good one!””

“Red” will film in and around the Toronto metropolitan area for nine weeks before moving on to the road and ending in New Orleans in late March for the final two weeks of principal photography. The film is scheduled for worldwide release on October 22, 2010.

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John Malkovich joins Warren Ellis’ Red and confirms he may be the Vulture in Spider-Man 4

Posted by LiveFor on January 11, 2010

John Malkovich has signed to star opposite Bruce Willis in Red, Summit’s all-star adaptation of the Wildstorm/DC Comics Warren Ellis miniseries being directed by Robert Schwenke according to THR.

Malkovich is stepping in for John C. Reilly, who exited the role in late December.

“Red” is the tale of a retired black-ops agent (Willis) who must contend with younger, more high-tech assassins who show up to kill him.

The part will allow Malkovich to exercise his comic sensibilities as he plays retired a CIA agent, a contemporary of Willis’, who is erratic and paranoid that everyone is out to kill him and joins Willis in is quest to find out who wants them dead.

Malkovich joins the killer cast that includes Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, Julian McMahon, Richard Dreyfuss, Ernest Borgnine and Brian Cox.

Principal photography begins this week in Toronto. is reporting that John Malkovich is still in the running to play The Vulture in Spider-Man 4.

“When conductor Simona Ventura asked him about his role of Vulture in the movie, he not only didn’t deny his involvement, but confirmed that he’s waiting for the final script to be sent to him, and that the movie has been delayed. He also hopes that shooting will begin as soon as possible.”

Malkovich in two comic book movies? What are the chances. The Spidey one could still change as last we heard Sam Raimi was in serious discussions with the studio over the script and villains for the sequel.

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“Helen Mirren with a sniper rifle” – Warren Ellis talks Red

Posted by LiveFor on December 9, 2009

Warren Ellis is the writer behind many great comic books (Transmetropolitan, Black Summer, Freak Angels, NextWave, The Authority, Global Frequency, Gravel, and many more) including the mini-series Red with Cully Hamner.

It is a great little read and the plot goes like this:

Paul Moses is a retired Agent of the CIA, formerly working in “foreign acquisitions”. Living in a secluded area, his human contacts are limited to pleasant phone calls to his handler (who desires what she believes to have been Moses’ type of work) and letters to his niece that lives in England.

Michael Beesley, the newly politically appointed Director of the CIA, is taken to Room R as part of his initiation, where he learns of Moses’ existence and the full extent of his activities. Disgusted by what he has seen, and fearing public reaction should any of those secrets leak out, he orders the assassination of Moses.

A three man hit-team is sent to Moses’ residence, and he kills them, recognizing the pattern of the attack and realizing his death has been sanctioned. He calls his handler only to learn that she has been transferred. He informs the Agency that his status has changed from Green to Red before leaving his house and going on the hunt.

As previously reported it is being turned into a film and so far all we know is that Bruce Willis will play the lead and many other big names are involved.

Not surprisingly it will be a bit different to the source material. Now Warren Ellis has had a look at the script and posted his thoughts on the changes that have had to be made. Basically, I don’t think we need to be worried too much. Here’s what he had to say about it:

RED, the book, is 66 pages long. If you were to film 66 pages of comics, you might, might just about get 40 minutes of film out of it. If you added a musical number. The comics-page to film-minute ratio is pretty bad. A straight adaptation of a 150-page graphic novel might, if you squint at it, get you a 100-minute film. But it’s unlikely, because comics and films use time so differently.

It is in fact best to consider RED as a short story being adapted into film.

The mini-series reads very much like a prologue to a much bigger story so this should work out quite well. This also means that there will have to be a lot more characters than a handful in the comic book.

The new characters are all in theme, all in the same line of work as (Paul in the book, Frank in the film) Moses. The theme being, in part (and also poked at in my other books GLOBAL FREQUENCY and RELOAD) the unexploded bombs of the 20th Century.

I don’t think any of them are bad. Also, did you see the goddamn cast list that’s signed on for those characters? Bruce Willis as Moses, yes. But also: Morgan Freeman, Mary-Louise Parker, John C Reilly, Helen Mirren, Julian McMahon, Brian Cox, Ernest Borgnine and Richard Dreyfus. It reminds me a bit of those 70s films like THE TOWERING INFERNO, that had in them everyone you wanted to see in a film, all at once. RED is a bit like that, only with more automatic weapons.

What does Ellis think about the actual film itself?

The film isn’t as grim as the book. The book is pretty grim. But it’s also pretty small. When I sell the rights to a book, they buy the right to adapt it in whatever way they see fit. I can accept that they wanted a lighter film, and, as I’ve said before, the script is very enjoyable and tight as a drum. They haven’t adapted it badly, by any means. People who’ve enjoyed the graphic novel will have to accept that it’s an adaptation and that by definition means that it’s going to be a different beast from the book. The film has the same DNA. It retains bits that are very clearly from the book, as well as, of course, the overall plotline. But it is, yes, lighter, and funnier. And if anyone has a real problem with that, I say to you once again:

Helen Mirren with a sniper rifle.

I mean, if you don’t want to see a film with Helen Mirren with a sniper rifle, I’m not sure I want to know you.

Works for me. Are you looking forward to the adaption?

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Red gets Ernest Borgnine, Richard Dreyfuss and Julian McMahon – They’re going to need a bigger boat

Posted by LiveFor on November 13, 2009

red cast expandsYes I know the Jaws quote makes no sense in the context of the film about a former black ops agent (Bruce Willis) heading out of retirement, but Dreyfuss is now in it so that’s cool.

Heat Vision had the news that Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck, Fantastic Four), Ernest Borgnine (Airwolf and loads of other things), Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and Brian Cox (Trick r Treat, X-Men 2, and another film also called Red) are in negotiations to join the cast for Summit’s adaptation of the Warren Ellis Wildstorm/DC Comics miniseries being directed by Robert Schwentke.

“Red” tells the tale of a former black ops agent (Bruce Willis), now in retirement, who has to contend with younger, more high-tech assassins who show up to kill him.

McMahon would play a Vice President with a dark side who is at the center of a shadow conspiracy.

Borgnine will play the keeper of the CIA’s darkest records, while Dreyfuss will be a wealthy man who builds a fortune out of lucrative government contracts. Cox is a former Cold War spy and nemesis of Willis.

The actors join a cast that includes Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John C. Reilly and Mary Louise Parker.

The film is scheduled to begin shooting early next year.

“Red” marks the 92-year-old Borgnine’s first role in a major feature in quite some time; the Oscar winner and Bensky Entertainment-repped actor has been appearing in Hallmark movies such as “A Grandpa for Christmas” and making TV appearances for the past decade.

Well Red is certainly getting a big name cast. I hope some of the original coolness from the comic makes it through to the big screen.

What do you think about the casting?

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John C. Reilly and Mary-Louise Parker see Red

Posted by LiveFor on November 5, 2009

parkerJohn C. Reilly (Walk Hard, Step-Brothers) and Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) are in negotiations to join the cast of Red, Summit’s adaptation of the Warren Ellis Wildstorm/DC Comics miniseries being directed by Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveller’s Wife).

The comic was great. Very violent and the synopisis is as follows:

As a C.I.A. operative, Paul Moses’s unique talent for killing took him around the world, from one hotspot to another, carrying out the deadly orders of his superiors. And when he retired, he wanted to put his bloody past behind him. But when a new administration takes over the White House, the powers that be decide that Moses knows too much, forcing him back into the game against the agency that trained him.

The movie is described by Heat Vision blog as a tale of a former black-ops agent (Bruce Willis), now in retirement, who has to contend with younger, more high-tech assassins who show up to kill him.

Reilly would play a retired CIA agent who is paranoid that everyone is out to kill him.

Parker would play the romantic interest, a federal pension worker who becomes embroiled in the Willis character’s struggle to stay alive.

Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren are also starring in it.

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Howl – First look at James Franco as Allen Ginsberg

Posted by LiveFor on March 21, 2009

Hollywood Elsewhere got hold of the photos below of James Franco on the set of the currently-shooting Allen Ginsberg biopic (Ginsberg is in the above photo). Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman are co-directing and co-writing the drama, which is mainly be about the obscenity trial that followed the 1957 publication of Ginsberg’s Howl.
When I first heard about this I didn’t think Franco had the right look to play Ginsberg, but looks like I was wrong. Should be a very interesting film.
The film also stars David Strathairn, Alan Alda, Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker and Paul Rudd.

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Billy Crudup speaks about Watchmen, Public Enemies, life and humanity.

Posted by LiveFor on March 2, 2009

This is a great interview by Stephen Whitty of The Star-Ledger. Thanks to Pam for sending it over.

When Billy Crudup started getting Hollywood attention a decade or more ago — for “Without Limits,” for “Jesus’ Son,” for “Almost Famous” — he set a couple of rules for the interviews he was expected to do.

One, he would not talk about his personal life.

Two, he would not talk about his professional life.

Not surprisingly, this made the usual pre-release publicity junkets an unusually frustrating experience for both him and the person with the tape recorder.

It’s a little better now.

“I think, very early on when I was acting, I had a very specific agenda — work, make money and hopefully get better,” says the 40-year-old actor. “But I didn’t have any ideological point of view, and all of a sudden I had people asking me for my philosophy.”

“So,” he laughs, “I tried to come up with (something). And I think I ended up developing a voice before I had a chance to figure out what my voice was, and I was very dogmatic about not polluting anybody’s experience of the piece.”

It was something he held to for a long time, once saying he’d pay the studios not to have to do publicity; he’s still not entirely comfortable with it.

(One place he will still definitely not go today is his love life, which included a messy split from long-time, then-pregnant lover Mary Louise Parker in 2003, and an affair with Claire Danes.)

But things have still changed.

The New-York based Crudup sees the world a little differently now. “Journey” is a word he will use a lot. He’s willing, in fact eager to talk — intelligently, intently, politely — if not about the romantic details of his life, then about the philosophy behind his work, and his diverse and difficult choices as an actor.

Which is really perfect timing, because his most recent choice is, in many ways, his most daring — playing Doctor Manhattan, the mostly nude and vaguely godlike blue superhero at the center of Friday’s “Watchmen,” a sci-fi epic about masked avengers.

It’s a huge risk for the studio. Based on a property routinely hailed as the greatest of all graphic novels, it’s a complicated story facing some demanding fans (who don’t want to see any changes) and possibly confused newcomers (who have several storylines and a league of characters to keep track of).

A risk for its actors, too. Patrick Wilson’s Nite Owl battles insecurity and impotence. Jackie Earle Haley’s Rorschach is a masked sociopath. And Crudup’s Doctor Manhattan — except for a brief flashback sequence — is a glowing (“I felt like a glorified light fixture”), nearly emotionless, special-effects giant.

And that risk was exactly what appealed.

“Usually, as an actor you start with the practical things about a character — where does he live, what does he eat — and that starts to answer your questions,” Crudup says. “And the most basic is: What does he want? But Doctor Manhattan is almost literally beyond that. .. I think, in the end, what he wants is to preserve some piece of his humanity — but answering that question was a real process of discovery.”

Crudup’s journey to being an actor was its own process. Born in suburban Long Island, he was the middle child in a family that moved a bit (first to Texas when he was 8, then Florida) and had some unconventional approaches to marriage (his parents divorced when he was in junior high, then remarried each other several years later). At first, acting was just a way to stand out a bit.

Actually, he’s not that sure things have changed.

“The first time I was onstage was in second grade, playing Uncle Sam in a Fourth of July show,” he says. “And I realized I didn’t mind going up there and looking silly; I liked the attention. As I grew up, I discovered I had different desires as well, to grow as an actor, to render things more complexly, to be better than I thought I had the potential to be.”

Crudup went on to study his craft seriously, eventually getting a master’s degree from NYU. “But it’s always hard to shake that original necessity you were trying to fill,” he admits. “That quest for gratification is always part of my work; it’s just a question of what percentage it occupies.”

From the start, Crudup’s quest led him to difficult plays — a year after grad school he made his Broadway debut in Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia.” He’s since done Chekhov, “The Elephant Man,” and Stoppard’s mammoth “The Coast of Utopia,” for which he won a Tony.

His taste is just as demanding in movies. Although he’ll be playing J. Edgar Hoover in the upcoming “Public Enemies” (“From a big blue superhero to a guy in a dress — just another day at the office”), he’s shunned most conventional fare. Asked to audition for “Titanic,” he demurred. Although he’s had chances at “a couple” of big popcorn movies over his career, he’s always turned them down.

“I never had any idea of what to do with those characters and I just would have ended up overcomplicating things,” he confesses. “Those sorts of roles need someone with specialized skills, someone who has masculinity and a clarity, and there are people who do that so much better than I could. Harrison Ford — he can run from anything and I’ll watch it. He is so compelling. He occupies those spaces of heroism so perfectly. And that’s not where I excel.”

Where Crudup excelled, he discovered, was in playing characters who were neither villains nor heroes, but somewhere in between — flawed people who struggled to figure out the right thing. Yet what was maddening about them was, even if they did figure out the proper course, they rarely took it.

If you had to sum up Crudup’s best characters in one word — the selfish rocker in “Almost Famous,” the gentle junkie in “Jesus’ Son,” the wandering husband in “World Traveler” — it would probably be “disappointing.”

“Yes, I think that’s very true, actually,” he says. “Most movies, even when the characters disappoint, there’s no danger they won’t redeem themselves before the end. I prefer characters who — well, you don’t know if they’re going to make it all the way back. You hope they get better but you sort of worry what happens to them after the movie ends.”

That taste for flawed characters is in everything the actor does — only Crudup would, choosing a superhero to play, pass up more mainstream-friendly icons for an R-rated, unpleasantly superior behemoth. And he understands the consequences. So he subsidizes his risks by doing lucrative commercial voiceovers. And he accepts that his own interest in playing, say, a cross-dressing Elizabethan in “Stage Beauty” may not be matched by the audience’s.

“I don’t go to the movies to be challenged all the time, either,” he says. “Sometimes I just want to be satisfied, too. But as an actor and a person, I’m more interested in work that doesn’t aim to satisfy as much as it aims to explore a character’s journey.. I suppose it’s kind of an indulgent enterprise, but it’s a chance for me to learn something about people and learn something about myself, to play these characters in search of their own humanity.”

Which, in its own weird way, made the spring’s biggest, loudest, most special-effects driven fanboy movie the absolutely perfect pick. Because who is more literally in search of his own humanity than Doctor Manhattan, a scientist accidentally turned superhuman? A superior being who’s advanced so quickly that he can no longer empathize with the motivations of his old, all-too-human friends?

“Actually, it’s such an obvious part for me,” Crudup says, laughing. “Because it’s another character who’s disassociated and deeply flawed — he’s a master of matter but he has no morality. (Writer) Alan Moore’s done some really wonderful, subversive things with the genre. Characters like this, you’re expecting truth, justice and the American way. You’re not expecting a guy who’s only interested in how light travels.”

Crudup’s emotional travels are clearly continuing. He has a five-year-old-son, William Atticus, with Parker; Danes and he broke up (she’s now engaged to Hugh Dancy). And while he still avoids talking about his personal life (“It’s hard enough to convince an audience I’m somebody else even when they don’t know anything about me”) he’s begun to open up more about his professional career.

“I think I discovered that whatever philosophy I had may have been more a product of the time than the entire way I feel,” he says. “Also, the older you get, the more patient you are with different kinds of experiences. I still feel like my job is to act — I’d still rather expose as little of myself as I can — but I find it easier now to talk, at least about the material, and the approach and the creative agenda. Maybe it’s because I’m kind of bored being a contrarian. Maybe it’s just part of the journey.”

If you enjoyed that interview head on over to The Star-Ledger and give Steve Whitty some love.

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