Variety is reporting that Jennifer Garner and Nick Nolte are in talks to join Russell Brand in the remake of the 1981 comedy Arthur. The original ’80s film focused on class, alcoholism and romance, and starred Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli. Garner will play a character played by Jill Eikenberry in the original — the wealthy heiress “who’s insecure about her humble background and is about to marry the title character in an arranged marriage.”
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Briefly: Well, if I wasn’t already excited about Luck, the show set in the world of California horse racing that is being assembled by David Milch and Michael Mann, I would be now. We already knew that Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Farina were in the cast, but now there is word that Nick Nolte will join them. Seriously: Nick Nolte on a show created by Milch and Mann? Yes, and thank you.
Deadline Hollywood has the news, and while Mike Fleming there says the deal isn’t done, he spins it as if there isn’t any chance of a breakdown at this point. He also idly mentions that Michael Mann will direct the pilot for the HBO show.
Nolte has done television before, but not in some time, and I think that working with these two probably stands in a different category from anything he’s done for the tube in the past.
It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, sans The Tooth Fairy, that offer proof. /Film’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review, or an interview. In this installment: the perverse and obscure ’60s thriller, Who Killed Teddy Bear?, being shown tonight at NYC’s Anthology Film Archives; the doc, Nick Nolte: No Exit, which finds good ol’ Nick candidly Q&Aing himself on topics ranging from god to drugs. For a special Weekend Weirdness posted yesterday about the imaginative skateboarder fantasy Machotaildrop, click here.
Photographed above is a real deal, shrink-wrapped, limited-edition VHS for The House of the Devil, promoting its release on DVD/Blu-Ray early next month. It’s one of the coolest pieces of swag I’ve received for this column thus far; to my knowledge only a few peeps were sent one, including Devil-supporter Drew McWeeny at HitFix. And even fewer peers have watched the tape. Some are scared, others are sans VCR. I’ve seen last year’s best horror flick at least thirteen times now, so I’d rather keep it sealed. Similar to the wizard-bong approved THotD poster design by Kellerhouse last year, the VHS packaging has faux rental scruffs, in addition to a retro “new release” starburst. A disclaimer on the back reads, “Caution: This film contains Satanic references and graphic violence.” Haters would add: “…and so much pointless walking.”
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When I first glanced the news, I envisioned Nick Nolte shelling out the kind of maniacal just deserts that Tropic Thunder unforgivably withheld. Alas, it sounds nearly as choice. In the newly announced flick, Warrior, Nolte will play “an ex-Vietnam vet boxer-turned-steel mill worker whose family was torn apart by his alcoholism.” In summation: Nolte. Enter chop-socky action when Nolte makes amends with a son, to played by Tom Hardy (Bronson, RocknRolla), and schools him in the ways of battle so that he may defeat his brother (Joel Edgerton, Smoking Aces) in a martial arts tournament. Remember those?
The film will be directed by Gavin O’Connor (the middling Pride and Glory, Miracle) and is due in 2010. Alongside three other films set for release this year, Nolte is co-starring with Mickey Rourke and Marilyn Manson in King Shot, a “metaphysical gangster movie” from Alejandro Jodorowsky, the enemy-of-the-complacent visionary behind The Holy Mountain and El Topo. It’s currently in production. Polish off that and call it a Monday.
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Keep an eye on this one. Aaron Eckhart and Richard Jenkins have joined the cast of The Rum Diary, which will see Johnny Depp playing a doppelganger of the late Hunter S. Thompson for the second time. Eckhart will play a wealthy rival to Depp’s boozy journalist, with both men seeking the pleasantries of a beach floozie to be played by Amber Heard (The Informers, nudity).
Jenkins, who last year mastered the “living out my own private hell with dignity” niche in The Visitor and Step Brothers, will play Lotterman, the supervisor of the shoddy and troubled newspaper that employs Depp. Set in San Juan during the 1950s and based loosely on Thompson’s time there as a young pre-Gonzo writer, the adaptation was written and will be directed by Bruce Robinson, best known for the druggie British cult classic Withnail and I.
The general sentiment seems to be one of surprise and merriment that Diary is finally being made after years of discussion. A lot of the talk seemed to occur late at night on Miami Beach which I didn’t necessarily view as promising. Alas, it begins filming next month in Puerto Rico! With the addition of Eckhart and Jenkins, awards consideration could be a possibility, no? And I do hope that Nick Nolte, who was at one point attached and is executive producing, still fits into this tale of chaos, tasty bar food, and disillusionment. He knows the material “like a bone in the throat.”
Caution: Spoilers everywhere.
Whatever. Tropic Thunder didn’t meet expectations. It’s not an abortion in a beard like Clone Wars, but it wimped out. For some reason—probably due to the red band trailer and months of exposure to incredibly positive buzz—many hoped Ben Stiller would redeem himself and categorically skewer the Ben Stiller who will soon make three more Night at the Museums, two more Fockers and four more Madagascars. And throw on another $100 million blockbuster where he plays the exfoliated clueless egomaniac who puckers and speaks fluent infant.
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A farm hand so retarded he’d make Sean Penn blush with envy. A blatant diss at Eddie Murphy (who really needs Inglorious Bastards). Another generous helping of Robert Downey Jr. as an angry black man. Nick Nolte bustin’ capillaries like squibs (on the job). And, well, a requisite death-to-throwaway-foreign-kid, but Rambo already pwned that jingo real estate months ago. There is a lot of laughter and bloodshed to soak up in this new red band trailer for the Ben Stiller directed Tropic Thunder, so call up the neighborhood kids, pass around those mysterious wine coolers inhabiting the fridge and sit back for explosions and expletives set to Edwin Starr’s propulsive summer anthem “War.” Oh, but no Tom Cruise, that’s still a surprise.
[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/tropicthunder-redband1.flv 470 196]
Tropic Thunder opens on August 15th 2008.
Discuss: Did you laugh or sigh at the new trailer?
Nolte totally cracked out! Creedence Clearwater Revival blaring! Robert Downey Jr. as a fake black man! Jack Black as an albino! A real black dude yelling, “I’m from Brooklyn motherfucker!” The red-band teaser trailer (who knew, right?) for Ben Stiller‘s Tropic Thunder has arrived and it packs a soap-in-mouth wallop. Unfortunately, the characters are layered over footage from the film, so for the trailer’s entire duration you’re looking for an “X CLOSE” so you can get rid of the Flash and enjoy it. It’s not there, sadly.
But what is there, more and more, is the potential for Tropic Thunder to shred up throats with laughter like so many foreign palm trees this August. And I am already digging the P.C. controversy that is erupting over Downey’s performance. Say what you want about Apatow but his comedy doesn’t exactly piss people off, and it’s about time we got one that did.
Click here to skip the stupid age registration and watch the first “Over the Top Restricted Teaser Video” trailer for Tropic Thunder.
Discuss: Are you liking what you’ve seen of the film thus far or what? And how badass is Nick Nolte, I mean, really?
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I opened up my email this morning to see a message from my friend Neil at FSR titled “LOL Are you kidding me? This is awesome…”
Turns out that Entertainment Weekly released the first production photo for Ben Stiller‘s summer comedy Tropic Thunder, and it features our first look at Robert Downey Jr.‘s character Kirk Lazarus, who is a black man. That’s right, Robert is in black face, and from what little I can tell from the photo, he doesn’t look that bad as a black man. But even funnier, Robert plays a white man playing a black man. confused?
His character, Lazarus, is a “very serious Oscar-winning actor” who is cast for a role originally written for a black man in the most expensive Vietnam war epic ever filmed. So Lazarus decides to dye his skin and play Osiris as written. A rough cut of the movie was recently screened for an African-American crowd, and Stiller claims he was relieved that the audience “really embrace[d] it”.
When I was younger I use to hate Robert Downey Jr., but now he has now become one of my favorite actors. I trust anything he does, or at very least, that his piece of the pie will be incredible. I had very little interest in seeing this film before today. I don’t know why but I thought Downey had signed on to be part of just another generic summer comedy. But apparently something in Stiller’s material got him interested enough to put on a black face…
According to the article:
“Ben Stiller plays an action hero who has just adopted a baby from Asia but worries that ”all the good ones are gone.” Black portrays a comedian known for performing multiple roles in a single film – his latest is called The Fatties: Fart 2. But when the film’s director (Steve Coogan) and writer (Nick Nolte) get fed up with their prima donna cast, they drop them into the jungle to fend for themselves. The actors think they’re doing some sort of full-immersion filmmaking, but the danger they’re in is very real.”
Aside from the 2001 semi-flop Zoolander, Stiller also directed Reality Bites and the vastly underrated Jim Carrey comedy The Cable Guy. Tropic Thunder hits theaters on August 15th 2008.
Discuss: What do you think about Robert Downey Jr. in Black Face? Funny? Offensive? Stupid?