Hollywood Goes Bollywood?

Forget Hollywood, Bollywood is the new red.¬† It is only a matter of time before we see the first Bollywood film cross over and connect with American audiences. And who knows, maybe the film will feature American stars, filmmakers and or writers. When I talked to Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle in September, he told me that Will Smith had visited India a couple times over the last year in hopes of starring in a Bollywood film. After seeing Slumdog, I have since become more and more interested in Bollywood. It now seems rather odd that we haven’t yet seen a big crossover or collaboration.

Now THR reports that Taxi Driver and Raging Bull screenwriter Paul Schrader has decided to write and direct a Bollywood action film titled Extreme City. Schrader points to the cold financial climate as one of the reasons he is moving to India, which will offer more creative freedom and a new audience. Extreme City is described as “a cross-cultural tale that will center on an American man who travels to India to help resolve a kidnapping case for his father-in-law, only to get caught up in a gangster plot.” The script will likely feature musical numbers, and Schrader is already in talks with a bunch of Bollywood stars.

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The world’s best known movie critic and self-proclaimed thumb war champion, Roger Ebert, has issued an update on his health (better) and announced the Ebert-esque line-up for 2008′s Roger Ebert Film Festival aka Ebertfest at his alma mater, the University of Illinois. So, how’s the guy doing?

“I am at last returning to the movie beat. After my current stay at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, I’m looking forward to opening night of my annual film festival at the University of Illinois on April 23, and I will resume writing movie reviews shortly thereafter.

Are you as bored with my health as I am? I underwent a third surgery in January, this one in Houston, and once again there were complications. I am sorry to say that my ability to speak was not restored. That would require another surgery.”

Ebert’s also found inspiration in the mug of one Jake La Motta…

“It was Schrader’s line from his screenplay for Martin Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” that inspired my acceptance of my bandaged appearance: “I ain’t a pretty boy no more.”

As for the film festival, which takes place April 23-27 at the Virgina Theatre in the city of Champaign, it’s filled with what Ebert calls “overlooked” films, including Univ. of Illinois alum Ang Lee’s Hulk, Tarsem Singh‘s JLo oddity The Cell, and Bill Forsyth‘s ’50s-set familial drama Housekeeping. On hand for the festivities will be Forsyth, writer-director Paul Schrader (whose Auto Focus rocks), Aida Turturro (The Sopranos) and several others. Yeah, Roeper will be there. Full line-up after the jump.

Discuss: Was The Cell or Ang Lee’s Hulk overlooked? Is Ebert pushing it?

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