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It doesn’t look like he’s getting to it any time soon, but after Martin Scorsese finishes The Invention of Hugo Cabret and the planned follow-up Silence (his ‘Jesuit priest drama’) there has been talk of finally making The Irishman, which would reunite the director with Robert De Niro.

The Irishman is based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses, which is about Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a mob assassin who is believed to have carried out more than 25 mob murders, and claimed to have killed Jimmy Hoffa. Over a year ago De Niro said that he and Scorsese had the idea of incorporating a ‘film within a film’ angle to this project. Now a comment by Robert De Niro suggests that the project will have a very Fellini-esque twist, should it come to fruition as currently conceived. Read More »

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The fiction of Jonathan Safran Foer represents a very specific way of looking at the world, and celebrate the ways in which language works and fails. Foer is extremely skilled at creating images that are both fantastic and genuine; his prose can generate such an impression of seeing things unfold that they seem like natural raw material for film adaptations.

Liev Schreiber made a solid directorial debut with an adaptation of Everything is Illuminated, and now Stephen Daldry is set to bring Foer’s follow-up novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, to the screen. Read More »

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Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of acclaimed UK television probably saw this coming. So many great series have been adapted or are on the verge, and one notable political project was missing: House of Cards, originally broadcast in 1990. Now David Fincher and his The Curious Case of Benjamin Button screenwriter Eric Roth are re-teaming to adapt the series into an ongoing hour-long drama for US television. Read More »

Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

[The following contains minor spoilers for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.]

The premise of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button holds a great deal of promise: If you were forced to live life backwards, starting with old age and ending with infancy, how would you do it differently? If you experienced the tragic death of those around you at the outset of life, how would that change the way you valued future relationships? If you could re-live your young adult days with the accumulated knowledge of 60 years of experience, how enthusiastically would you take on the world? After reading about the film and watching director David Fincher’s interview with Charlie Rose, it’s clear to me that Fincher set out primarily to make a movie that answers these questions. While I don’t think he succeeds to any meaningful degree, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is nonetheless a beautiful, moving film, and one that ultimately and profoundly confronts notions of fate and chance.
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In October, it was reported that Martin Scorsese had signed on to direct Robert De Niro in an adaptation of Charles Brandt‘s 2005 novel I Heard You Paint Houses. Adapted by Schindler’s List scribe Steve Zaillian, the movie will tell the story of Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran, a mob assassin who is believed to have carried out more than 25 mob murders, and claimed to have killed Jimmy Hoffa. Last month, Robert De Niro mentioned that he would also be reteaming with Marty on a second project.

“We have an even more ambitious plan of doing another movie connected to it, in some way, with Eric Roth hopefully writing that script,” De Niro said.

When I talked with Academy Award-winning screenwriter Eric Roth (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Forrest Gump) earlier in the week, I tried to find out more about the project. Roth wasn’t talking, but I was able to get a few details out of him. Ready?

Roth calls the second movie is “an odd ball thing” and revealed that it is “a film within a film [I Head You Paint Houses]“.

No word on when this project would go into production, but one would assume that both movies would be filmed simultaneously. When the project was announced in October, Paramount was aiming for a 2011 release. Find out more about I Heard You Paint Houses in our previous article.

Eric Roth Goes Sci-Fi

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Eric Roth has announced that he will be going Sci-Fi. Roth has a “terrific idea” for a “BIG Space movie” for Warner Bros starting next year. Roth pitched his original concept to Collider as “somewhere between the intelligence of 2001 and the mythology of Star Wars”. The idea is not “so intellectual that it’s confounding” and also not “the kind of wonderful fantasy that [George] Lucas” use to do.

Wow, that’s all I can say. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, Roth is the screenwriter of such films as Forrest Gump, Munich, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Ali and The Insider. Any hack can use the films Star Wars and 2001 to hype up their next project, but Roth is not that hack — he is the real deal.

9/11 Killed the Forrest Gump Sequel

I just got off the phone with Academy Award winning screenwriter Eric Roth (Interview coming soon) and during my conversation about his latest film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, I had the opportunity to ask him about the long in development Forrest Gump sequel Gump & Co. Roth admitted that he hasn’t been asked about the project in a long time.

“I turned in my version of the Forrest Gump sequel, or Part II, whatever you call it… It’s a continuation really — I want to start the movie literally two minutes after the end of the last one, with him on the bus bench waiting for his son to get home from school. But I turned in the script the night before 9/11. And we sat down, Tom [Hanks] and Bob [Zemeckis] and I, looked at each other and said, we don’t think this is relevant anymore. The world had changed. Now time has obviously passed, but maybe some things should just be one thing and left as they are.”

I quipped that Zemeckis probably wouldn’t do another Gump now unless it could be produced using 3D performance capture technology. Roth jokingly responded “He might find that interesting”.

Author Winston Groom’s follow-up novel Gump and Co. was released in 1995, which follows Forrest as he stumbled through important US events in the 1980s and early 1990s. According to Wikipedia, Gump plays football for the New Orleans Saints, sells encyclopedias door-to-door, works on a pig farm, and helps develop the infamous New Coke. He accidentally crashes the Exxon Valdez, helps destroy the Berlin Wall, fights in Operation Desert Storm and meets many celebrities along the way including: Colonel Oliver North, the Ayatollah Khomeini, John Hinckley, Jim Bakker, Ivan Boesky, Ronald Reagan, Saddam Hussein, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Tom Hanks.

Update: We’ve embedded the International version of the movie trailer in this posting.

David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Want to see the movie trailer for David Fincher‘s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? I’ve heard it’s playing in front of most prints of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. And word has it that the trailer won’t show up online in official form until the end of next week. International trailer below:

So if you haven’t seen Indiana Jones 4, you might now have a reason. From what I understand the majority of the trailer has no dialogue and is almost completely cut to music (I’m being told that it uses “Aquarium” section of “The Carnival of the Animals” by the composer Saint-Saëns). Alex Billington of FirstShowing saw the trailer and is already calling the movie “next year’s Best Picture.”

“At my local theater nearby, I’ve gone in and watched this trailer four times just to bask in its brilliance, writes Billington. “I wouldn’t be hard-pressed to call it potentially a masterpiece. The music in the trailer is really what makes it extraordinary. It’s one of the most emotional, thrilling, and tragic trailers I’ve seen that encapsulates the entire story in itself. … I haven’t been this affected since I saw the trailer for Zack Snyder’s 300 back in at Comic-Con in 2006.”

Sure, Mr. Billington tends to get excited easily, but I’ve gotten a bunch of emails from readers and friends who were also taken away by the surprise trailer. One reader named Andy actually sent us an email about the trailer from his screening. Here are some other reactions:

LiquidFilmmaking:
Even if [Indy 4] sucked that is one of the best trailers I’ve seen. It’s up there with the Thin Red Line trailer or the Episode 1 trailer, at least for me.

Steven Cravens: Just from the trailer I can tell Fincher is going to get his nomination. It was epic as hell. I can’t wait.

JimmiesCoffee: My jaw dropped throughout the entire thing. The best part was that David Fincher never put his name on the screen. Now THATS modesty. Eat your heart out Brett Ratner. Its #1 on my list of movies this year. I cannot wait. WOW.

Carson Patrick: This was one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen. Didn’t give too much away, and left you really wondering what it was all about. plus, the imagery and the scope of the movie was amazing and epic. Fincher seems to have really outdone himself with this one. I hope he and Brad get Oscar nominations.

HurtsLikeHellFire: Freaking sweet! Great trailer. The fx look worth the long wait. And what beautiful music. I almost didn’t notice it I was so engrossed with the images.

I’m very excited about this film. Fincher’s Fight Club is one of my all time favorites. Panic Room felt more like a pointless clinical cinematic experiment than anything else, and Zodiac was probably one of the best films of last year films, bad sadly mis-marketed and underrated. Academy Award winner Eric Roth also wrote the screenplays for Forrest Gump, The Horse Whisperer, and Munich. But what is Benjamin Button about? I’ve included the official plot synopsis below

“I was born under unusual circumstances.” And so begins “Benjamin Button,” adapted from the classic 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards. A man, like any of us, unable to stop time. We follow his story set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918, into the twenty-first century, following his journey that is as unusual as any man’s life can be. Directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett with Tilda Swinton, Taraji P. Henson, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas and Julia Ormond, “Benjamin Button,” is a time traveler’s tale of the people and places he bumps into along the way, the loves he loses and finds, the joys of life and the sadness of death, and what lasts beyond time.

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