Everything about going to the Playboy Mansion is arguably a good idea. Except watching a movie. Properly watching a movie takes concentration, quiet and darkness. But in a place with an open bar, Playmates and a history of sex, drugs and rock and roll, watching a film is a bad idea.

Last week, I was invited to the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles to see Parker. The film, directed by Oscar-nominee Taylor Hackford and starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, is about a career criminal who vows revenge on a crew that left him for dead. That right there sounds like a film you’d want to see, but seeing at the Playboy Mansion just put it over the top.

The iron gate, the valet, the massive house, the Grotto, the bird sanctuary, the game room, the alcohol — even in a very controlled environment — can be all-consuming. By the time the lights went down, people were texting, talking, getting up and not coming back, and somehow it was all okay.

So instead of reviewing Parker, I figured I’d explain why the Playboy Mansion is simultaneously the best, and worst, place to watch a movie in the world. Read More »

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What is Page 2? Page 2 is a compilation of stories and news tidbits, which for whatever reason, didn’t make the front page of /Film. After the jump we’ve included 31 different items, fun images, videos, casting tidbits, articles of interest and more. It’s like a mystery grab bag of movie web related goodness. If you have any interesting items that we might’ve missed that you think should go in /Film’s Page 2 – email us!

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Two high-profile “P” shows are about to go to pilot. The first is called Playboy and, much like Mad Men, it’s set in the 1960s. Instead of Madison Avenue, though, the show will be set at a Playboy Club in Chicago. Ordered by NBC, Playboy will be written by Chad Hodge (Tru Calling) and uses the legendary club as a way to explore blossoming sexuality in America during the Sixties.

The second show, called Pulp, is being championed by J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot. Like most things Abrams is involved with, not much is known about it yet except that it’s an hour-long drama with a “heightened sense of reality” like in Pulp Fiction. It’s currently being shopped to networks.

Read more about each project after the jump. Read More »

Brett Ratner Directs Hugh Hefner

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As you know, Brett Ratner has been developing Playboy, a big screen biography of Hugh Hefner. Announced in 2007, we’ve heard nothing about this project in a while. This week I came across a new television commercial directed by Ratner, featuring Hefner. Oh yeah, and a dozen Playboy Playmates too. Of course, it’s just another one of those hack parodies of the Tom Cruise / Risky Business scene. You wouldn’t expect anything really creative from Ratner, would you?

I also discovered some behind the scenes b-roll footage on YouTube, and noticed that Ratner is seen talking on his cellphone while the girls do their thing in front of the cameras. It is unclear if they were actually filming or just doing a rehearsal. For Ratner’s sake, I hope it was just a rehearsal. I can’t think of anything more obnoxious than a hack director talking on a cellphone during the filming of a scene.
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As we’ve previously reported, Brett Ratner wants Robert Downey Jr. to portray American publisher Hugh Hefner in his biopic Playboy. EW has listed a few other projects that he’s currently rumored for, most notably Warner Bros. and Guy Ritchie‘s upcoming big budget revamp of Sherlock Holmes. What else?

“In recent weeks, the 43-year old actor has had his eye on various projects, including Twentieth Century Fox’s Travis McGee (based on John D. MacDonald’s detective series), Warner Bros.’ Sherlock Holmes update from director Guy Ritchie, Gary Ross’ fantasy/comedy Dog Years at Universal…”

Director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) has had Dog Years in the pipeline for several years now, with Jim Carrey attached at one point, but not a lot is known about it. John D. MacDonald‘s novels featuring Travis McGee, a wistful Floridian gumshoe, “beach bum” and “playboy,” stretched across the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s and are said to have inspired crime fiction writers like Elmore Leonard. The McGee character made it to theaters once before in 1970′s ill-received Darker Than Amber. Like Zodiac or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, this war-chest of material sounds like it would play to Downey’s wittier strengths.

Of course, like McGee, Sherlock Holmes would also give Downey a second viable franchise at a studio to compliment Iron Man, as Warner Bros. is positioning the classic character as a James Bond type. EW didn’t specify whether the actor would be up for the title role per se; less likely, but Downey would make a cool Watson too. When all is said and done, however, it’s gotta be hard as hell to turn down Hefner.

Discuss: Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes, cool by you? Any fans of the Travis McGee detective stories?

“Peace sign or eye gouge?”

Before we begin, there is something you must know about Brett Ratner. Similar to the combination of gremlins and water, when the moon is right and Ratner applies baby powder to his ass, out pop multiple epic-ly shitty movies. Tonight, it was thick. The trades are reporting that Ratner is attached to direct a Beverly Hills Cop 4 starring Eddie Murphy as Mr. Squirrel Axl Foley, the smooth talking, wisecracking character last seen with a gun near a Ferris wheel. Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the first two, isn’t getting on board, but Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, Doom) has taken the ticket to see this ride, opening summer 2010, through for Paramount. Something tells me the only thing separating Ratner’s BHC4 from Metro 2 will be a lack of cornrows and, perhaps, Judge Reinhold.

This announcement sumo wrestles with an earlier report in Ad Age about Brett Ratner Brands, a new marketing/consulting firm he’s starting. [Shudder] His first client is Guitar Hero, and tacked on at the end, it says that Ratner mentioned he “might be working on a movie adaptation of the video game God of War” for Sony. I’m sure some of our readers are pissed. The hit vid game adventure franchise has received wide critical/fanboy acclaim for an engrossing and violent storyline/aesthetic entrenched in Greek mythology; it’s generally agreed that GoW has cinematic and box office potential along the lines of Metal Gear Solid. Inside word is that Ratner’s involvement is extremely loose right now, so don’t obsess over the premature mediocre visions that melt inside your head. However, Ratner will definitely be moving into Uwe Boll’s territory in the future. Death match of the lessers!?!

Earlier we reported that Robert Downey Jr. may star as American publishing legend, Hugh Hefner, in a biopic entitled Playboy. Ratner’s been involved with this one for quite some time, and while it’s not official that he’ll direct, it’s generally assumed he will if Downey signs on. Ratner confirms to EW that he’s met with the Iron Man star, they’re both enthusiastic about the project, and it all depends on his response to the script…

“We’re gonna hand him the script very shortly. He loves the character and the role and we’ve been meeting with him on it. So, if he wants to do it, we’re excited to have him. We wanted him before Iron Man so we were ahead of the curve.”

Personally, I think Ratner was born to direct the Hef biopic. Glitzy Hollywood stories and semi-annual Chris Tucker comedies suit him perfectly. Okay, you can put away your ponchos. That’s all the Ratner news we’ll expose you to for now.

Discuss: While we’re at it, why doesn’t Ratner just combine BHC4 and Rush Hour 4? Who’s the audience for Beverly Hills Cop 4 in 2010 anyway? Who should direct God of War? Are we too easy on the guy?

Additional Sources: Cinematical/Film Junk

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“Grotto!?!”

Over the last six months, I’ve had four unrelated sources tell me off the record that Robert Downey Jr. was a total lock to star in a Hugh Hefner biopic entitled Playboy. Of course, this was before Iron Man‘s grosses went interstellar. Chicago’s Sun Times now reports that the actor is close to signing on, even though the original director, Brett Ratner, is purportedly no longer attached, but may circle back (I bet.) for producer Brian Grazer.

Would Marvel Studios be cool with Downey Jr. playing a porn magnate? The company recently tossed out the R-rating, so it might be iffy territory. In my view, Tony Stark is not exactly Clark Kent, and this role would only increase Downey’s mainstream visibility. Moreover, Hefner’s story is not mired in smut like a Larry Flynt or a Bob Guccinone–it’s by far the more mainstream rags-to-riches tale. But some people in the know have serious doubts. Is the box office there for this movie? Does Downey need to risk it? Will the film hold relevance in the quickening era of YouPorn and Xtube? They have a point (Playboy is venturing into the gay biz for a reason).

The Sun Times reports that Downey’s people have emphasized that nothing is final until a script and/or director is finalized. As you might expect, there are certain unprecedented benefits to playing this role. We’ll see what happens. Tropic Thunder, which looks to be a huge hit, will only strengthen Downey’s demands and demand.

Discuss: Should Downey take the role or pass? Are you interested in seeing the story of Hugh Hefner?  

 

harbinger12.jpgDoes big time studio director Brett Ratner lie around the Grotto half-naked with Hugh Hefner and his Bunnies while searching through ancient Valiant comic books for his next franchise? If not, did an assistant bring him a copy of Harbinger and if so, why not a copy of Turok Dinosaur Hunter or X-O Manowar instead? I mean, at least those forgotten Valiant series had snazzy holographic covers. The world may never know or care.

Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand), who is currently toying around with a Hefner biopic entitled Playboy, is attached to direct a Harbinger feature film for Paramount Pictures, with MTV Films circling the project as well. The discontinued ’90s comic series followed a group of angst-stricken teenagers called Harbingers who had superpowers, the catch being that these teens’ powers had to be unlocked by more experienced “omega” harbingers. Conflict arises when one teen Harbinger must face his omega mentor, an evaaal industrialist.

“The movie is in the vein of a young ‘Blade Runner,’ as this 17-year- old gifted kid helps other kids tap into these parts of their brains,” said producer Alexandra Milchan.

A “new, young Blade Runner” aside, reportedly one reason why The Rat took interest in the series is that he wants to create a (possibly suck-worthy) comic book film franchise from the ground up. According to Variety, Valiant Comics is set for a comeback after its extensive library was purchased by a private company that will apparently kick-start the better known titles. I’m guessing Harbinger will be one of those, though it definitely wasn’t the most popular Valiant comic when it was around.

Discuss: Only one person can comment on this post and that is the one dude/lady out there who has been waiting for an unlikely Harbinger movie for more than a decade. Dude/lady, Slashfilm is really happy for you, comment away all of your hibernating excitement.

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