Kenneth Branagh To Direct Disney’s ‘Artemis Fowl’ Movie 0 60

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An adaptation of the mega successful 2001 book Artemis Fowl, and its subsequent series, has been in the works for quite a while now, with mega producer Harvey Weinstein having acquired the rights and tried to get it made for almost 15 years.

After some flipping and flopping on who exactly owns the rights (Disney acquiring Weinstein’s Miramax a decade ago put the brakes on the project), it now appears that things are finally moving forward with the long-awaited big-screen version and it’s being reported that Sir Kenneth Brannagh has been locked down to direct.

Tracking-Boarding has the exclusive on the news on the project, which has intriguingly been described as “Harry Potter meets Die Hard.” That’s just a gift to the people who will end up marketing this thing to the masses. Brannagh appears like the perfect director for it, having just come off a huge success with the $542 million-grossing Cinderella. He will also produce alongside Weinstein.

If you don’t know already, here’s the story of Artemis Fowl as reported on TR:

It follows the brilliant and cunning 12-year-old eponymous criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl II, whose cunning plot to extort gold from the secret Fairy People puts him directly in the cross-hairs of some of the most dangerous creatures on earth. Over the series, Fowl becomes a sort of anti-hero rather than a full-fledged villain, often having to work together with the fairies to stop a slew of treacherous megalomaniacs.

The original draft of the Artemis Fowl script was written by Michael Goldenberg, who wrote 2003’s version of Peter Pan as well as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, one of the most action-packed installments in the wizarding franchise (in which Brannagh, of course, starred himself). Variety has extra info on this announcement stating that Irish playwright Conor McPherson is in talks to write a new draft. As for the lead character himself, is it just me or does the above artwork make him look spookily like the kid who play Bruce Wayne on Gotham?

The recent successful pate of YA fantasy stories like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner – not to mention the sure-to-be-successful upcoming Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – is probably a major contributing factor in Artemis Fowl finally getting the kickstart in needed. I have to admit I haven’t read the source books but after Harry Potter came to an end, it seems time for another all-encompassing cinematic fantasy phenomenon to come along.

Before he gets to Artemis Fowl, however, Branagh will be working on the recently announced remake of Murder on the Orient Express. He also has a drama called Italian Shoes, with Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench.

Sources: Tracking-Board and Variety

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I’m a freelance film reviewer and blogger with over 10 years of experience writing for various different reputable online and print publications. In addition to my running, editing and writing for Thoughts On Film, I am also the film critic for The National, the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland, covering the weekly film releases, film festivals and film-related features.

I have a passion for all types of cinema, and have a particular love for foreign language film, especially South Korean and Japanese cinema. Favourite films include The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Vincent Cassel To Play Villain in Next ‘Bourne’ Film 0 35

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After a fourth Bourne film in which Jason himself was conspicuous by his absence, things are returning to the old but brilliant formula of Matt Damon starring and Paul Greengrass directing.

We already know that in addition to Damon returning (rejoice!), Tommy Lee Jones and woman-of-the-moment Alicia Vikander are part of the cast, playing a tough CIA operative and (presumed) love interest, respectively, as well as Julia Stiles reprising her small but crucial role as Bourne helper Nicky Parsons. But now we’re getting word that one of the best French actors in the business is also joining the cast.

Variety has the news that the wonderful Vincent Cassel has signed on to the spy action sequel as its main villain, which will see him match wits and possibly even go toe-to-toe go with the former amnesiac hero. Although exact plot details are being kept secret for the time being, sources are saying that Cassel will play an assassin tracking Bourne. No doubt he will tie in with the Treadstone/Blackbriar history of the Bourne mythology – maybe he’ll be a scorned fellow assassin who feels Bourne somehow wronged him/was chosen ahead of him.

The series has a pedigree of casting great actors as assassins, whether it be Clive Owen in The Bourne Identity, Karl Urban in Supremacy, Edgar Ramirez in Ultimatum and Oscar Isaac in Legacy.

I was already looking forward to the return of the Damon-Greengrass team but the addition of Cassel – genuinely one of my favourite actors of modern times – only makes me wish next summer would get here sooner.

The as-yet-untitled Bourne sequel is set to start shooting this year for a July 29th, 2016 release date.

Source: Variety

Josh Gad to Play Roger Ebert Opposite Will Ferrell in ‘Russ & Roger’ 0 44

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Ever since his scene-stealing voice performance as Olaf the Snowman in Disney’s Frozen, Josh Gad has been in-demand, appearing in everything from a Steve Jobs biopic (playing Steve Wozniak) to this year’s (terrible) video game-themed blockbuster Pixels. Now we’ve got word that the actor is set to play one of the most loved and fondly remembered figures in the film journalism industry; the late-great Roger Ebert.

Variety reports that Gad will be playing him in the STX Entertainment “crazier than fiction” comedy Russ & Roger, which will focus on the time the critic turned screenwriter for director Russ Meyer’s controversial 1970 film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Gad was reportedly up for the role for some time but scheduling has finally permitted him signing on the dotted line.

Will Ferrell is already on-board to play opposite Gad as sexploitation maestro Meyer, as is Michael Winterbottom (The Killer Inside Me, The Look of Love) as director. The script is written by Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons writer Christopher Cluess, with Winterbottom and producers polishing it up. Here’s the outline as reported:

A debauched comedy in which truth is crazier than fiction, the film is an outrageous look at two no-holds-barred outsiders who defied the Hollywood establishment to make one of the first X-rated films ever released by a major movie studio (“Beyond the Valley of the Dolls”) — having the party of a lifetime in the process.

That’s certainly not the type of biopic I’d expect about Ebert. The wonderful documentary Life Itself (seriously, if you haven’t seen that then seek it out ASAP) skillfully and emotionally fulfilled the need for a more dramatic and real look at the man’s life. But still, “debauched comedy” is not the phrase that comes to mind when I hear that they’re making a movie about Roger Ebert.

As for Gad playing him, I think it’s a fine piece of casting, especially since it’s not going the ultra serious route; Gad can certainly hold his own as a dramatic actor (he’s great in Zach Braff’s underrated dramedy Wish I Was Here, for example) but his talents lie in being outlandish. It also doesn’t hurt that he looks quite a bit like Ebert when he was younger.

What do you think of the casting?

Gad will next be seen/heard in the Angry Birds movie, as well as playing Le Fou in Disney’s new version of Beauty and the Beast.

Source: Variety