This looks promising. The Immigrant is James Gray‘s latest film, which debuted at Cannes to generally positive reviews. And no wonder: the film stars Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner in a love triangle of sorts, as Phoenix “helps” Cotillard as she immigrates to the US in the 1920, then traps her in a life of prostitution. Renner plays Phoenix’s cousin, and the man who could set her free. Sure, that’s a pretty hoary old story, but with the talent involved it still has appeal. And coming from Gray (and cinematographer Darius Khondji) I’d expect more out of it than the basic description suggests.
Note: this trailer is not safe for work, due to some nudity. Read More »
Another big Cannes premiere this year was the crime drama Blood Ties, co-written by Two Lovers director James Gray, and the first English-language film directed by Guillaume Canet (Tell No One). The film has quite a cast, and a period ’70s setting in Brooklyn, as it remakes the 2008 French thriller Les liens du sang by Jacques Maillot.
The cast includes Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard reuniting from Rust & Bone, but the prime cast members are Clive Owen and Billy Crudup, with Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis, and James Caan. The plot relies on an old conceit: two brothers on opposite sides of the law. But there’s some changing of sides, and the ensemble cast expands the scope of the production by involving far more people than the two brothers.
Keep in mind, the trailer is not safe for work thanks to language. Read More »
James Gray, the director of films such as Two Lovers and We Own the Night, was once set to direct The Lost City of Z, featuring Brad Pitt. Things changed on that front, as Gray and Paramount couldn’t come to financial terms for the big-budget ‘expedition to the Amazon’ film. (Ironically, the same issue was once a stumbling block for the similarly -titled World War Z, also at Paramount, which is now in production with Pitt under the director of Marc Forster.)
But as often seems to be the scenario with Brad Pitt and certain directors, the star and filmmaker are now set to come together on another project. Pitt is in talks to star in The Gray Man, an adaptation of Mark Greaney‘s assassin thriller novel. Read More »
Anyone who really thought there might be bad blood between director James Gray and his Two Lovers star Joaquin Phoenix can now truly rest easy. The actor started his I’m Still Here ‘retirement/rapper’ schtick during the promotion of Two Lovers, arguably overshadowing the film, and there was talk at the time that James Gray wasn’t thrilled with the turn of events. But he was, of course, in on it, and said they would definitely work together once more. (The two have quite a history together, also having collaborated on The Yards and We Own the Night.)
Now, in a move that should please anyone who likes to see the development of a great actor/director team, they’re poised to work together again on a film called Low Life. And there is an impressive cast developing around Joaquin Phoenix, with Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner as the current big co-stars. Read More »
Jeremy Renner is a machine. He’s leaping from Mission: Impossible to Hansel & Gretel to The Avengers and then likely to The Bourne Legacy, and at some point will squeeze in voice work for the fourth Ice Age film. Got to take the big opportunies while they’re around, and The Hurt Locker created them left and right.
But he’s taking control of the more distant future of his career by forming a production company, The Combine, to develop and produce projects. The first one will be scripted by Two Lovers and We Own the Night writer/director James Gray, and will be a biopic of first-generation action movie star Steve McQueen. Jeremy Renner will play the central role himself. Read More »
Mark Greaney‘s assassin thriller The Gray Man will be directed for the screen by James Gray, based on a script by Adam Cozad, aka one of the Jack Ryan reboot screenwriters. (Yep, he’s moving on from that whole LOst City of Z stall that happened last year.) The book is about a former CIA man turned assassin who has to fight through special forces teams from across Europe as he tries to save the life and family of his handler.
It’s a basic setup that we’ve seen a bunch of times before — pro killer on the run — and will see many times more. So how will this one be different? Read More »
From time to time, we have a feature on /Film called “Movie Playlist” where we talk to the writers, directors, and stars about their favorite films. I’ve always found the celebrity playlists on iTunes to be interesting. Most everyone in the film business moved to Hollywood after discovering their love of films. And I’ve always love talking to people about their favorite films. So talking to the people who make the movies about their favorite films just seemed like a natural idea.
We’ve had some great artists tell us their favorites over the years, but we just don’t have the connections to get the likes of Steven Spielberg or Wes Anderson… but Gwyneth Paltrow does. Yes, I said Gwyneth Paltrow. On the actresses’ new website GOOP, she asked “five brilliant directors” to share their “top five DVD rental picks.”
Read More »
We Own The Night director James Gray has signed on to direct Brad Pitt in the big screen adaptation of The Lost City of Z. David Grann’s nonfiction book will be published by Doubleday on February 24th 2009 (available for preorder on Amazon for $18). The official plot synopsis follows:
“A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon. After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve “the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century”: What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?
In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world’s largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions helped inspire Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions around the globe, Fawcett embarked with his twenty-one-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilization—which he dubbed “Z”—existed. Then he and his expedition vanished.
Fawcett’s fate—and the tantalizing clues he left behind about “Z”—became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness. For decades scientists and adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party and the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes, or gone mad. As David Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett’s quest, and the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle’s “green hell.” His quest for the truth and his stunning discoveries about Fawcett’s fate and “Z” form the heart of this complex, enthralling narrative.”
Gray tells Variety that it is “a story that will be told with an epic scale, with a main character who is larger than life.” Pitt would, of course, play the British explorer who is listed as one of the inspirations for Indiana Jones.