Third Person trailer

If Valentine’s Day (or Love Actually, or New Year’s Eve, or He’s Just Not That Into You) were reimagined as a brooding drama instead of a fluffy comedy, it might look kind of like Paul HaggisThird Person. The drama follows three intersecting tales, each featuring a couple at a crossroads.

In Paris, a recently separated novelist (Liam Neeson) and a clever journalist (Olivia Wilde) are engaging in an affair. Over in Rome, an American businessman (Adrien Brody) is maybe being duped by a beautiful local (Moran Atias). And across the Atlantic, two exes (Mila Kunis and James Franco, giving us the Oz the Great and Powerful reunion we didn’t ask for) are battling over parental custody in New York City.

The first Third Person trailer has just hit the web, and you can check it out after the jump.

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Briefly: Paul Haggis is looking to follow his thriller The Next Three Days with a drama called Third Person, and he is assembling an impressive cast for the film. Offers are out to Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde (both of whom had small roles in The Next Three Days) and now Haggis says the production is also in talks with Mila Kunis, Casey Affleck, James Franco and Moran Atias to fill out the rest of the film’s major roles. Read More »

Paul Haggis will probably be forever tagged with his divisive Oscar-winning film Crash, despite the fact that he has had a hand in films that were quite well-receieved by most (he was part of the writing team for Casino Royale) and directed two films that are far less likely to create big reactionary emotions, In the Valley of Elah and The Next Three Days.

Now Haggis and his Crash co-writer Bobby Moresco are going to work together once more on a Canadian film called Paris. Read More »

Denzel Washington May Be ‘The Equalizer’

Looks like Paul Haggis and Russell Crowe aren’t going to revive ’80s TV show The Equalizer, after all. Last year Haggis was in talks to write a big-screen version of the show that starred Edward Woodward as a retired secret agent who tries to atone for his violent past by offering his services, pro bono, to those in need. The film also had Crowe attached to play the lead role, and it was easy to guess how he’d work out in the role originated by Woodward.

But things change, and in the year since we last heard about the project both Haggis and Crowe have evidently moved on. Today Sony released a statement about the company’s continuing first-look deal with production company Escape Artists. The release runs down several in-development projects, one of which is The Equalizer. It says that the film is being developed as a starring vehicle for Denzel Washington. Read More »

Michael Mann Finds ‘Gold’

Michael Mann‘s last feature, Public Enemies, hit theaters almost two years ago. He’s got the HBO drama Luck coming up soon, but thanks in part to the demands of that show, has been slow in settling on a new feature project. Possible films have included medieval battle film Agincourt, the gangster film Big Tuna and a biopic of photographer Robert Capa, which has had Gemma Arterton and Andrew Garfield attached. (EDIT: Michael Mann’s reps say that Gemma Arterton and Andrew Garfield are not and never were attached to the Robert Capa film.)

Now the director has seized upon Gold, a contemporary thriller written by Patrick Massett and John Zinman that is said to be akin to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Read More »

When director Paul Thomas Anderson announced that his next film was going to be about Scientology, everyone’s ears perked up. We love a good scandal and Scientology is full of them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that film is going to happen any time soon. Another major director though, Paul Haggis, has already told his Scientology story and it might be out this summer…in bookstores everywhere.

Haggis, who won two Oscars for Crash was a member of the Church of Scientology for 35 years before publicly defecting in 2009. He’s been mum on the subject ever since, reportedly saving his thoughts for an upcoming profile in The New Yorker by Lawrence Wright. According to Gawker, that article has actually spawned a book called The Heretic of Hollywood: Paul Haggis vs.The Church of Scientology that will explore the history of the Church “through Haggis’s eyes” including “the appeal of Scientology, especially to talented and ambitious members of the entertainment industry.” There are accusations and more after the break. Read More »

‘The Next Three Days’ – What Did You Think?

Paul Haggis has directed two theatrical features since 2004: the divisive, Oscar-winning Crash, and the far less-seen In the Valley of Elah. This weekend he returns with The Next Three Days, which stars Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks in a remake of the French thriller Pour elle, aka Anything For Her.

When Lara Brennan (Elizabeth Banks), the wife of family man professor John Brennan (Russell Crowe) is arrested for murder, the family is shocked. Evidence damns Lara to a conviction, and as John struggles to raise the couple’s son (Ty Simpkins), he comes to a decision: he’ll break his wife out of prison. So, what are your thoughts on The Next Three Days? Is it an effective thriller, or a soggy, too-lengthy play on emotion? As usual with these posts, spoilers follow after the break. Read More »

Briefly: Paul Haggis had been just another go-to TV writer/director until he wrote and directed 2004′s Crash, which became the most polarizing Best Picture Oscar winner in years. His work hasn’t been as able to rile people up since then. Now he’s planning a picture that, based on a brief description, calls up a few images of Crash more than anything he’s done since, but doesn’t sound likely to draw the same fire.

Mr. Haggis has been booked to write and rumored to direct the TV-to-screen version of The Equalizer, but now he says he’s been working on a script called Third Person, featuring “an ensemble drama about three couples around the globe.”

The writer/director told the LA Times that Third Person is based in the intent “to do a serious story about modern relationships set against scenic locales (New York and Rome are two of them) and to develop each character as much as possible — which is why he is keeping the plotlines to three instead of the roughly half-dozen in Crash.” Asked about the similarity between the vague plot description and films like the fluffy ensemble romance Valentine’s Day he says it is a bit like that sort of film, “but darker. Much, much darker.”

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