The Railway Man

What would you do if you had the opportunity to face the individual who made your life a living hell, half a lifetime ago? That’s the question Colin Firth faces in The Railway Man, playing a World War II veteran who, decades later, is still haunted by the torment he suffered as a prisoner of war in Japan.

With the help of his loving wife (Nicole Kidman) and a fellow vet (Stellan Skarsgård), Eric manages to track down and have his say with the Japanese soldier (Hiroyuki Sanada) who tortured him. Initially, it looks like he plans to get his revenge — but as the two men face each other, Lomax finds himself reacting in more complicated ways. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Homeland Damian Lewis

Briefly: For a couple years, Werner Herzog has been moving towards a new dramatic feature, Queen of the Desert, which will chronicle the story of pioneering anthropologist/explorer/political advisor Gertrude Bell. While Naomi Watts was once set to play Bell, the role will now be filled by Nicole Kidman. To play Bell’s paramour, Lt. Col. Charles Doughty-Wylie, Herzog has now recruited Damian Lewis, whose notable recent work is on the Showtime series Homeland.

Deadline reports that the film will shoot beginning in December of this year.

The character to be played by Lewis was a British war hero who, while married, engaged in an affair with Bell during the last years of his life. But it was a very chaste affair, conducted entirely via letter correspondence. How does that become a compelling screen story? There can be quite a lot of narration and longing looks aimed to a point off-screen, for starters. But this could also be a device to let the screen version of Bell voice observations and frustrations as she goes about her work building what became the the early political incarnation of the modern Middle East.

 

Grace of Monaco 2

Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Diana has already been thoroughly panned by critics across the pond, but maybe the second of this fall’s two princess biopics will meet a better fate.

The first teaser has been revealed for Grace of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman as movie star-turned-royal Grace Kelly. Olivier Dahan (La Vie en Rose) directs, and Tim Roth and Frank Langella also star. Check out the footage after the jump.

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Paddington

Another incredibly popular children’s book series is getting the big screen treatment. This time it’s Paddington, which is about a small bear who travels to London and gets taken in by a kind family. Based on the popular series written by Michael Bond, Oscar-winner Colin Firth will provide the voice of the Paddington bear, Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman will play a villainous taxidermist and Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) and Sally Hawkins (Happy Go Lucky) are the mother and father. Also appearing in the film, which will be a mixture of live action and CG, are Harry Potter alums Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent.

David Heyman, producer of Gravity and the Harry Potter films, is producing and Paul King (The Mighty Boosh) is directing. It’ll be released in the UK in November 2014 and in the US early 2015. Read More »

Nicole Kidman

Longtime BFFs Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts have quite a bit in common. Both are fair-complected Australians who’ve gotten attention from Oscar in the past, and who hope to attract still more by playing princesses this fall. (Watts has Diana, Kidman has Grace of Monaco.) Naturally, then, when Werner Herzog needed a replacement for one, he turned to the other.

Kidman has entered talks to take over for Watts on Queen of the Desert, a fact-based epic about the “female Lawrence of Arabia” Gertrude Bell. Watts had been attached to the lead since 2011. Hit the jump for all the details.

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The Railway Man

Almost three years after he nabbed an Oscar for The King’s Speech, Colin Firth is revisiting World War II from a very different perspective. Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky (Burning Man), The Railway Man tells the true story of veteran Eric Lomax (Firth), who was held as a prisoner by the Japanese during the war.

Decades later, still haunted by that period of his life, Lomax seeks closure by tracking down the army officer (Hiroyuki Sanada) who once tortured him. Nicole Kidman co-stars as Lomax’s wife, and Stellan Skarsgård as his best friend. Jeremy Irvine and Tanroh Ishida play the younger versions of Lomax and his tormentor. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Anchorman

Anchorman: The Legend Continues has an extensive lineup of celebrity cameos that ranges from the fairly obvious (John C. Reilly) to the nearly out of left field (Harrison Ford). But it’s not done adding people yet.

A new report indicates that a very high-profile A-lister has agreed to lend her talents to the film. Her role hasn’t been revealed at this time, but let’s hope she has a less strange experience than Ford did with, as he puts it, “What’s-His-Name and the applesauce girl.” After the jump, find out who the latest Anchorman cast member is and read more of Ford’s comments about the shoot.

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It’s a fool’s errand to try and predict the 2014 Oscars a year in advance, but based on what we know about it so far Grace of Monaco could very well end up a serious contender. It’s directed by La vie en rose helmer Olivier Dahan (check), stars Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman and nominee Tim Roth (double check), and centers around a widely beloved entertainment industry figure (triple check). If that doesn’t sound tailor-made for the Academy, I don’t know what does.

The Weinsteins apparently think so as well, as they’ve already scooped up the distribution rights for around $5 million. Arriving hand-in-hand with that acquisition are the first official images of Kidman as the late actress turned princess. Check them out after the jump.

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I may not have been wild about Park Chan-Wook‘s English-language debut, Stoker, but there are definite pleasures within. Among them are the performances from the supporting cast. Jacki Weaver shows up for a bit, as does Dermot Mulroney. Neither has featured in a big way in the marketing so far, as each has a relatively small part to play in the film. But this featurette, which offers a behind the scenes look at the greater Stoker family, gives each some time in front of the camera. (Of course there’s plenty from the films star cast, too — Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Matthew Goode.) Read More »