Robert Downey Jr in The Avengers

There’s still no official word on the potential live action retelling of Pinocchio, but there might be a new wrinkle to the story. To recap, the Warner Bros. project was originally going to be directed by Tim Burton with Robert Downey Jr. set to play wood carver Gepetto. Kick-Ass writer Jane Goldman was hired to rewrite a script by Bryan Fuller and then Burton dropped out. Downey, who viewed this as a real passion project, suggested his Tropic Thunder director Ben Stiller to helm the project and then we heard Stiller was actually in talks. Since then, we haven’t heard anything.

The latest news on the film relates directly to the star. It seems that not only will Downey play Gepetto, he may be playing Pinocchio too. Read More »

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Iron Man 3 Final Header

Robert Downey Jr. will be back as Iron Man, but not in an Iron Man movie. The actor, whose lucrative multi-picture contract with Marvel Studios ended with Iron Man 3, has just signed a two picture deal to appear as the character both The Avengers 2 and The Avengers 3. A potential fourth Iron Man film is not part of the deal, which gives us some major hints at where the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going. Read More »

Bradley Cooper

There’s a showdown brewing in the kitchen. Years ago, David Fincher was attached to direct a film called Chef. His version never happened, but John Wells, whose film adaptation of Osage: Orange County just debuted a trailer, is going to make the movie from the script by Steven Knight. The Weinstein Company is behind the film, and they’ve just landed Bradley Cooper as the star. Good job, guys!

But while that Chef was floundering, before Wells and Cooper came on, Jon Favreau wrote his own indie called Chef, and has recruited actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Sofia Vergara (and possibly Scarlett Johansson) to join him. He plans to shoot the film this summer.

So who gets the title? The film that had it first, or the movie that shoots first? How about the one with the more powerful lawyers? Read More »

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The ascent of Robert Downey Jr. from near-outcast status to major movie star can be traced in part to Jon Favreau, who lobbied to cast Downey as Tony Stark in Iron Man. The success of the film minted the actor as a bona-fide star, and also helped push Favreau’s directorial career to a new level.

Now the two will work together once again on a much smaller project: an indie ensemble comedy called Chef. (Not to be confused with the project of the same name that once had David Fincher attached to direct.) Favreau scripted, and has assembled a cast that also features Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, and Bobby Cannavale. Read More »

The Avengers

Here’s the reason Marvel signs actors to long contracts whenever possible. After the success of Iron Man, Robert Downey, Jr.‘s agents worked out a deal with Marvel in which the actor would receive  a percentage of the first-day gross for future films. That’s what led him to nabbing between $50m and $75m for The Avengers. Studios hate paying anyone up front like that whenever it can be avoided, and even Downey has laughed about the unusual pay rate he got to play Tony Stark.

Now, after the release of Iron Man 3, Downey has no contract with Marvel. In fact, a few actors have no contract to appear in The Avengers 2, and after the billion-dollar-plus success of the first film, bringing them back together won’t be cheap. Marvel likes cheap, and so actors have begun to master the art of negotiating in public by letting us know that there’s a chance Marvel will make films without them. How’s that going to work out?

Well, Downey is reportedly in talks for two more Avengers films, but there’s no plan set in stone just yet, and no public talk of Iron Man 4. Read More »

Iron Man 3 Final Header

Briefly: Tony Stark has defeated the Iron Monger, Whiplash and now he’s beaten Harry Potter, Jack Sparrow and Batman, too. Iron Man 3 opened this weekend with a whopping $175.3 million box-office take, the second best opening weekend of all-time. The only film Stark couldn’t beat? His own. 2012′s The Avengers remains the all-time record holder with $207.4 million from Friday to Sunday.

What’s even more impressive about the Shane Black-directed film? As it opened internationally a week prior to the US opening, Iron Man 3 has now grossed $680 million globally in its first week, outgrossing the entire run of both Iron Man ($585.2) and Iron Man 2 ($623.9 million).

The only questions now are, can Iron Man 3 combine the grosses of 1 and 2? Which other summer movie could topple it, if any? And will there be an Iron Man 4? [Box Office Mojo]

Iron Man 3 header

Iron Man 3 is a bundle of contradictions. It is light and genuinely funny, yet a vein of deep cynicism acts as the movie’s spine. At times it is gleefully silly, but it indulges ideas that are merely goofy. It wants to reconcile real-world violence into larger-than-life escapism. Yet the contradictions don’t quite break the movie. Director/writer Shane Black and co-screenwriter Drew Pearce understand the mode in which they have to work, and manage to make both impulses live side by side.

Those contradictions give Iron Man 3 a weird sense of pace, and a personality that isn’t quite like any other superhero movie. This isn’t the gleeful candy-colored romp of The Avengers, and I sympathize with any audience thrown by the film’s shuffling rhythm. Shane Black writes and directs movies that walk a fine line between idiosyncratic and mainstream, and many of the director’s impulses (winking narration, in-jokes, the subversion of cliches) are on display here.

Black and Pearce struggle at times to keep all their ideas in the frame, but that struggle alone makes Iron Man 3 interesting to watch. The film’s giddy highs are quite wonderful, and its personal quirks are testament to the power Marvel Studios has accumulated. The film plays loose with characters and ideas from the comics, but in doing so presents a story that is more unique than we have any right to expect from a threequel. In fact, crossover between real and heightened worlds has defined Marvel Comics since day one, and Iron Man 3 may be more true to Marvel’s spirit than any other film.

(Note: Iron Man 3 features a couple big plot elements that shouldn’t be spoiled, and so the following review avoids discussing those elements. I’m not going to say this is 100% spoiler-free, but I’ve avoided the big points. ) Read More »

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At movie junkets, the cast and crew of movies sit in a chair all day while hundreds of interviewers rotate in, most asking the same exact questions. The result is that the talent begin repeating the same soundbites over and over again. So much so that it almost becomes a script. Sometimes you go into one of these rooms, asking a different question that no one else has asked, and the tired actor might just try to find a way to work one of the dozen now-scripted soundbites as the answer, never really touching on your question. I always try to ask questions that aren’t asked by other journalists, but I try to stay away from the tv interview set-ups as they create an environment of recycled soundbite with not enough time to delve into any real substance.

But I do enjoy watching the tv interviews from the few journalists that find a way to keep the talent on their feet, and out of the soundbite zone. Daniele Rizzo is a German comedian who we’ve featured on the site in the past, usually working fun sketch interviews in at international film junkets. This time around Rizzo has shown up at the Star Trek Into Darkness junket as “Spocko”  to grill both cast and crew on the details of their missions. He also showed up at the Iron Man 3 junket to ask Robert Downey Jr & Gwyneth Paltrow the important questions in full costume as Italian Iron Man. He may not get any serious answers or scoops, but its fun to watch.

Read More »

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