The Great Gatsby
Baz Luhrmann’s lavish adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novella was originally scheduled for a Boxing Day release, but has been bumped back until the summer of 2013 – in part, I’m sure, to save it from disappearing into obscurity amongst the Oscar-push releases this month (not to mention repairing that embarrassing spelling mistake in the CGI skyline of New York). Now, there’s a lot to be dubious about. I’m a big fan of Jack Clayton’s 1974 adaptation – I don’t know it anything can better it – and since he hasn’t made a film since the disastrous Australia, I’m not full of the confidence I used to have in Luhrmann. Plus it’s being released in 3D, which seems a huge misjudgement. But it does look beautiful, and I fully intend to see the nearest 2D screening when it’s released.
I read the script for Stoker, written by Ted Foulke, when it appeared on the 2010 Black List, and was bowled over by the beauty and detail of the writing (the first page focuses solely on the journey of a spider across a piano). Two years later, and Ted Foulke has been revealed as the pseudonym of Wentworth Miller (y’know, that guy from Prison Break), and it seems he’s a much better writer than he is an actor! Stoker is the first English-language film by Park Chan-wook , director of Oldboy, and is part Dracula, part Shadow of a Doubt and all original. When she’s on form, Nicole Kidman is one of the most fascinating actresses working today, and Stoker looks like it might be one of her greatest performances to date.
Speaking of Nicole Kidman, I’ve been following the production of The Paperboy ever since she was announced as the replacement for Sofia Vergara, which seemed like such an odd turn of events that my interest was piqu3d. I then read that Pedro Almodovar worked on early versions of the script, and had considered directing the film as his first English language feature, and I knew it was a film for me. Following the attempts of small-town journalist and closet homosexual Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) to uncover the details of a local murder, aided by trailer trash Charlotte Bless (Kidman), the film screened at Cannes in May, and gained instant notoriety for a scene in which Kidman urinates on Zac Efron – supposedly for-reals. It was released in October in the US, and is due for a UK release in March.
I haven’t seen the entire back catalogues of many directors, but Atom Egoyan is one of the few I have. As a filmmaker, Egoyan flits between genres with ease and skill, from erotic thrillers such as Where the Truth Lies and Chloe to complex family dramas like Adoration and Ararat. It’s hard to know where exactly Devil’s Knot will fall, but I’ll say with certainty that this will not be your average ‘based on a true story’ crime drama. Though of course, it will be that, too, telling the story of the West Memphis Three – the men found guilty of murdering three young boys in 1993, whose guilt has been widely contested. Previous Egoyan collaborators Colin Firth and Elias Koteas return, alongside newcomers Reese Witherspoon and Stephen Moyer. If you’ve never seen any of his films before, this might be a good place to start.
Kill Your Darlings
When I saw the cast for On the Road announced, my heart sank. When I watched the trailer it very nearly dropped right out of me. It’s a film I cannot bring myself to watch – such is my attachment to the novel in particular, and Jack Kerouac in general. Early images from the set of Kill Your Darlings, however, fill me with excitement. The first feature from director John Krokidas, it tells the story of a murder in 1940s New York which brings the soon-to-be icons of the best generation together. Daniel Radcliffe stars as Allen Ginsberg, Ben Foster plays William S. Burroughs, and Jack Huston looks very promising as Kerouac – much more so, anyway, than Sam Riley in On the Road (the character he plays, Sal Paradise, was autobiographical). Throw in Elizabeth Olsen and you’ve got a selection of some of the most interesting young actors at the moment. Kill Your Darlings is due to premiere at Sundance in January, so keep an eye out for it in the summer!
I’m So Excited
There’s not much information at the moment about Pedro Almodovar’s forthcoming film, I’m So Excited, due for release in 2013. Reports during the summer suggested that he was working on a project entitled Los Amantes Pasajeros, with Penelope Cruz set to star, but it is unclear if this is the same film. Regardless, Cruz will be returning in I’m So Excited, along with Almodovar favourites Antonio Banderas, Cecilia Roth, Lola Dueñas and Javier Cámara. And that’s all I need to know.
This adaptation of Zola’s classic novel has been in development for years, with Glenn Close, Kate Wiinslet, Jessica Biel and Franka Potente all attached to the project over the years. I’ve followed with some interest, as Zola is one of my favourite authors, but I had forgotten about it for some time before discovering, and being very happy with, the current cast. Jessica Lange (goddess of everything and bad-ass nun/whore) plays Madame Raquin, while Elizabeth Olsen, who keeps going up in my estimation, stars as Thérèse. Very little further information has been announced, beyond some brilliant photos of Jessica Lange sporting some killer sunglasses between takes, but I suspect a mid-year release.
Words: Jack Casey