A couple months back, Paul Scheer and the gang covered The Covenant on How Did This Get Made? Ever since then, Paul and I have been trying to arrange an interview with the film’s director, the great Renny Harlin, a Finnish-born filmmaker best known for helming action-packed classics like Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger.
It took a little while to coordinate the conversation, as Harlin has been stationed in China these past two years. But luckily for us, between finishing post on his upcoming Jackie Chan film Skiptrace and launching his new production company in Beijing, Harlin carved out an hour to take a stroll down memory lane.
During our chat, we talked about all sorts of things. From his mission to assemble the “sexiest cast ever” for The Covenant to his original choice to play the villain in Cliffhanger. But as interesting as details like that can be—and as wonderfully quotable as Harlin tends to be—they pale in comparison to the unexpected and over-arching story of Harlin’s career. A career that, as you will now see, never even should have been…
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Eric Bana says his villainy role as Nero in J.J. Abrams‘s Star Trek is nothing more than a “cameo.” News to me. You? Here’s another quote from the Aussie actor about his role: “It’s just a great character, it’s J.J. Abrams. It’s a really well-written script, great part. Couldn’t say no. I don’t actually look at the size of parts ever.” [The Herald Sun]
In what marks our second weird-beard item of the day (my quota is filled, yipps!), /Film staple Sam Rockwell is growing out his face’s wilderness for a role in which he’ll play…[water bubbles]…a man who is stranded on the moon for three years. Wow, I’ve had people do the start-stop-start-stop to me in the parking lot of a Sonic Burger, but leaving a guy shoe-gazing for a thousand nights on the giant, white rock? Bust. The indie film is entitled Moon (obviously), and will be directed by Duncan Jones, aka Zowie Bowie, spawn of hollow-cheeked rocka David Bowie. I can fight off images of the moon from “Tonight, Tonight” but imagining the couch sesh and brain cloud that procreated this idea makes me want Pringles. [MTV]
Perma-glowing actress Kate Hudson (Fool’s Gold) will star as painter Margaret Keane [click name for art works] in the film Big Eyes for first time directing duo Larry Karaszweski and Scott Alexander. A big-eyed Oscar bid for Hudson, the biopic focuses on Keane’s significant popularity as an artist in the ’50s and ’60s, even while her works were quizzically produced under her husband’s name. After a messy divorce, the couple ended up in federal court, where she painted before a judge and won the case. After the court battle, she moved to Hawaii, became quite religious and her work experienced an eerily happy mood swing. Girls Girls Girls. [Variety]
The Weinstein Co. has acquired movie rights to the intriguing novel Wolf Boy written by Evan Kuhlman and published in 2006 by Crown. When a boy’s older brother, Francis Wolf, is killed in a car accident, he creates comic-style stories illustrated by his eccentric girlfriend entitled The Adventures of Wolf Boy, about a superhero who himself battles the grief of a dead, un-tased bro as well as spectacular villains while attempting to save the world. The film will mix live action and animation, and the book is being adapted by Chris Parker (Mulan II). No director is attached at this time. Sounds kind of Juno-y to me, if the opening credits attacked Diablo Cody’s retro-toy potty mouth and Michael Cera died like Mac Culkin in My Girl. [Variety]
The Web’s Sly Stallone aficionado, AB King, says that MGM has hip-ish actors like Ryan Gosling, Cillian Murphy, Ben Foster and not-so-hip Elijah Wood pegged for one young sidekick role in Stallone’s Charles Bronson remake The Mechanic. The Rambo auteur recently signed a two-pic deal at Nu Image/Millennium Films to direct and star in two action films, so The Mechanic is probably one of them, and after he recently ruled out Rambo V, might the other by Death Wish? Stallone is back in a major way, it’s insane.
But wait! Like a coin-op catfight between Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell…Rambo V might still have a shot! It seems Stallone is giving mixed signals from across the bar to his second most famous character. Kissy Kissy. Most recently, he said a third sequel will “depend on the success of this one, but right now I think I’m gearing one up. It will be quite different.” What!?! That would totally negate the response he gave here saying no more Rambo flicks ever, not even in…space. And yet at this rather recent link, he combines this “yes, no” weirdness, and I’d say it’s the best response to where Rambo V stands. When asked if he’ll return for another Rambo sequel he says straight-up, “No.” But when asked if he’d consider another Rambo sequel (what balls this interviewer has, eh?), Stallone says…
“I have a very, very bizarre idea. It’s probably so absurd, but it’s got to formulate a little bit. If I told you I was going to do one about a sixty one year old boxer, you’d go, ‘Yup!’ But if you find the right formula almost anything is feasible. It’s just coming in there and making the audience go, ‘Okay, that’s possible. That is feasible.’ It’s weird. I mean, Space Cowboys. Hello? But it worked.”
Hello? Did Stallone really just friggin’ imply that Rambo is going to space? I mean, there are lots of movies with old dudes kicking younger dudes’ asses. Why name drop Space Cowboys? Lastly, the creator of the Rambo character, David Morrell, has commented at length on his liking the new film, and it’s worth a read. (Oh yeah, and I gave it a 10/10.) [Dark Horizons]
Just got back from LA, and caught the super special screening of There Will Be Blood last night in San Francisco (more on that later). But for right now I’m going to attempt to catch up on some of the news items I missed in the last 24 hours. First up…
Sylvester Stallone is going direct and star in a remake Death Wish for MGM. The original 1974 film starred Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey, a New York Architect and bleeding-heart liberal whose world is suddenly torn apart after the murder of his wife and the rape of his daughter. Kersey returns to New York City with a vengeance against crime, becoming a vigilante who kills would-be muggers on the mean streets after dark. The film was based on a novel by Brian Garfield, which not-so-coincidently is the same author of Death Sentence, which was adapted to the big screen by James Wan earlier this year. Death Wish spawned four sequels, none of which are said to be any good.
Terminator 3 and Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins scribes Michael Ferris and John Brancato have been hired to write the script (presumably after the writers strike ends, whenever that may be).
I love a vigilante film more than the next guy but I’m not quite sure the guys who wrote Terminator 3 are the right guys to remake this type of film. And while I’m not totally against Sly (hell, I LOVED Rocky Balboa), I think he can only work in certain movies and certain situations. And there is no guarantee that some of those movies will even be good (which seems to be the case with Rambo 4, again, I could be wrong). And I must admit that if handed right, this is the perfect film for Stallone. But it nights to be done gritty, and not over the top.