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/Film reader Paul Bullock discovered an awesome television profile on 34-year-old director Steven Spielberg which was aired on Japanese television in the Christmas of 1982, and has been virtually unseen by American audiences. If you’re even half the Spielberg-fanatic that I am, you’ll need to watch the entirety of the special. The special features a tour through Steven’s early Amblin’s offices and his Los Angeles home, behind the scenes footage of Spielberg directing his segment from Twilight Zone: The Movie. We get to see interview clips featuring Spielberg’s mother Leah Adler, Melissa Matheson (screenwriter of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) and his young secretary just turned producer Kathleen Kennedy (now the head of LucasFilm), Spielberg’s thoughts on 1980′s television (Cheers, St Elsewhere, Hill St Blues…etc), his then attestant Kathleen Switzer (later a producer on movies like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Apollo 18), and many others. We get to drive with Spielberg to the studio lot with his dog on his lap, Robert Zemeckis talking with his two mentors John Milius and Spielberg while they eat eel and pumpkin pie together. We get to spend some time with Spielberg sitting at the piano with John Williams talking about their music collaborations. Interspliced with clips from his early films and even some behind the scenes b-roll footage. The special also features all the vintage commercial breaks, filled with fun Japanese commercials. Watch this now, or bookmark this link to watch later.

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RZA‘s film The Man With the Iron Fists opens in just a few days (on this Friday, November 2) and there’s almost nothing out there from people who have seen it. That, combined with the fact that RZA is lining up a number of potential next films — two more were announced this morning — leads me to assume that the film is terrible and/or likely to bomb. Which would be a shame; I’d really love for the film to be good, or at least fun.

So before the thing opens RZA is trying to lock down another project or two. One is an adaptation of the Grant Morisson-penned comic Happy!, and now he’s got an additional pair: the action thriller No Man’s Land, and a John Milius-scripted biopic of Genghis Khan. Read More »

Mickey Rourke to Play Ghengis Khan?

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Is this stunt casting or a genuinely good idea? I’m going with stunt casting for now. Apparently Mickey Rourke is meant to play Mongol emperor Ghengis Khan. I know Rourke’s face has undergone some drastic changes over the last decade, but unless recent images are hiding a lot, he hasn’t yet transformed into an appropriate actor to play an Asian warlord. Then again, when has that ever stopped anyone as they tried to cast a movie? Read More »

Before I shower, thought I’d get this item out of the way. Dread Central is reporting that director Brett Ratner—who is reeling from having his lifelong dream of Guitar Hero: The Movie dashed by Activision—is being sought by Nu Image for their Conan reboot. As of now, this is merely a rumor for us to smirk at. Last month we noted that Lionsgate was having the $100 million R-rated tent pole fast tracked, using a script rewrite from Dirk Blackman and Howard McCain (Outlander). One of the producers compared their uncompromising vision to The Dark Knight. Soon thereafter, Slashfilm learned that a giant R was shot into the sky over Hollywood. Luckily, Ratner was passed out on a rug made from a live zebra. Until today?

Listen Brett Ratner, we have no problem with this rumor if it pans out, on one condition. You have to play Conan. You need to grow your hair out and allow yourself to be carried on a throne by minions and chained broads while double-fisting a goblet and a smoking contraption made out of an enemy’s skull. On camera, not just off. We’re sure John Milius would agree. Whaddya say brah?

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A few days ago Rob Zombie was said to be up for the skull-and-horn adorned director’s chair on the 2009 Lionsgate tent-pole Conan. The plethora of dried blood and fur, swords, mating calls and battle cries that drenched my imagination when I heard this rumor was lovely. Zombie could do both the classic barbaric character and John Milius’s wild original film supreme justice. Of course, now we now know that Zombie’s next film will be Tyrannosaurus Rex, with word growing that it’s a hardcore flick about bikers, set for late summer 2009. No Conan for him.

Another name swirling in the rumor mill is Xavier Gens, who helmed the flashy video game flick Hitman. I do not want to see Gens’s $100 million Conan. He needs to sharpen his teeth hard on non-iconic material like Vanikoro first. The other name circulating right now is Neil Marshall, who batted a nice fanboy double with Dog Soldiers and the cave-horror crowd pleaser The Descent.

Marshall’s Mad Max-meets-cliche-apocalyptic-virus semi-epic Doomsday opens in March, and I’m sure its reception on the Net will play into his chances for the Conan gig. If the producers wish to wait that long. At 38 and with his career on the come up, we still haven’t seen Marshall’s biggest visions, but his work thus far has focused too much on the visceral and there’s a British B-movie filter at play that doesn’t work for me for this flick. What a Conan epic needs is a director who will not compromise at all, like Milius. You know that scene in Conan the Barbarian where Arnold is nailed to a cross, and suddenly his eyes explode and he rips into the neck of a lingering vulture with no-hands and keeps biting until it makes you shockingly hungry? I remember seeing that and going “Note to self, I have never and will never see that again in a movie.”

That’s what I feel Zombie would have brought (here come the “redneck profanity doesn’t belong in the Hyborian Age” quips.). To me this film is not about the action, it’s about the R-rating and the most gung-ho macho expression fathomable. If Marshall or Gens snags it, my attention automatically refocuses on Matthew Vaughn’s shoot-the-moon take on Thor.

Who do you want to bring Conan back?

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