Tom Hanks / Emma Thompson

Watching Disney’s Mary Poppins as a small child, I remember being amazed by the (in my view) radical technology that allowed real movie stars to stand alongside cartoon critters. Little did I know that combining animation and live-action was the least of the struggles in getting the picture made.

The upcoming drama Saving Mr. Banks chronicles Walt Disney‘s fourteen-year effort to convince P.L. Travers, author of the original Mary Poppins books, to give over the movie rights. The film’s got “awards season” written all over it: John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) directs from a Black List script by Kelly Marcel, with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in the leads. The first official image has just hit the web, and you can check it out after the jump.

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Cloud Atlas Hanks future

Some of the Cloud Atlas team is coming back together for another literary adaptation. Tom Hanks and Tom Tykwer are teaming up to adapt A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers. Hanks and his company Playtone will produce, and Hanks will star, while Tykwer will produce and direct. (Presumably he could do the film’s music, as well.)

The book, which the New York Times called “a globalized Death of a Salesman,”  follows a struggling American businessman who attempts to mount a plan for personal and financial salvation in a Saudi Arabian city. Read More »

Captain Phillips lo

One word comes to mind watching the first trailer for Paul Greengrass‘ latest film Captain Phillips: Intense. Few filmmakers are better at creating incredible tension and drama out of real world situations, and it appears the director of United 93, Bloody Sunday and two Bourne movies has done it again. This time he’s joined by Oscar-winner Tom Hanks, who plays the title character in the true story of an unarmed American freighter ship hijacked by Somali pirates.

The film, which co-stars Catherine Keener, John Magaro and others, will but out October 11. Check out the trailer below. Read More »

Joe Wright certainly has a thing for literary adaptations, as evidenced by his films Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, and Anna Karenina. Now he’s looking to direct yet another book-inspired movie, but this one moves him back to the present day and into a whole other genre. Wright has just been attached to direct Focus Features’ The Ocean at the End of the Lane, based on an upcoming novel by Neil Gaiman

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Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are heading back to World War II on HBO for a third time. We first got wind of another follow-up to Band of Brothers and The Pacific back in October, when HBO executives Michael Lombardo and Richard Plepler told press they were considering a third miniseries in a similar vein. At the time, we knew only that the new show would focus on aerial battles over the Pacific. Now the subject matter is coming into clearer focus as the project has secured the rights to Donald L. Miller‘s book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany. Read more after the jump.

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IMAGE REMOVED

When filming a major Hollywood movie at one of the busiest locations on the planet, a photo or two is bound to leak out. That’s just happened with Saving Mr. Banks. Tom Hanks, who plays Walt Disney in the film, has been spotted in character during filming at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The film, which will be released December 20, 2013, tells the story of Disney’s 14-year effort to convince Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers to turn over the rights to her book. Emma Thompson plays Travers, and she’s been spotted by photographers, too.

Directed by John Lee Hancock, Saving Mr. Banks co-stars Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford and Jason Schwartzman. After the jump, see several images of Hanks, Thompson and the filming and read some of Hanks’ thoughts on the Disney character. Read More »

With six stories spanning nearly three hours, told by an ensemble cast and three directors, the sheer amount of information presented by and discussions one can have about Cloud Atlas is staggering. Co-writers and directors Tom Tykwer, Andy and Lana Wachowski took David Mitchell‘s novel, which nests six stories within each other, and broke it down into one forward-flowing mosaic. Set in several time periods from the 1800s through the 2300s, the film blends genres and tones to show the human soul moving from century to century, and explore how our actions in one life might affect the next.

And that’s just a very superficial interpretation. There’s much, much more to the movie, which is why it’s one of the year’s best.

As one might expect on a production so massive, there are tons of bits of behind the scenes trivia and on-screen secrets. Were there additional stories meant for the film or novel? Were the directors ever on set together? How did characters get cast? Which actress thought she’d be fired? And what exactly happens at the end of the film? We’ve complied 15 things you probably didn’t know, or notice about Cloud Atlas. After the jump, read all about them. Read More »

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth and final part of /Film’s interview with Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, the writers and directors of Cloud Atlas. Read part one herepart two here and part three here. The full interview will be published tomorrow, the day the film opens.

All of the major actors in Cloud Atlas play at least four roles. A few play as many as six. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Doona Bae, Hugh Grant, James D’Arcy and Keith David all have multiple personalities to portray. Some significant, others less so, and they’re not always the same race or sex as the actor in the role.

So in the film, you’ll get to see Halle Berry as an Asian man and a white German woman. Hugo Weaving is a hulking female nurse; Jim Sturgess is a Korean crime fighter; and Ben Whishaw is a loving wife. In doing this, co-writers and directors Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer were able to visually display the movement and evolution of the human soul across eternity and also play against segregated acting conventions Hollywood has employed for years. They believe actors should not be pidgeonholed by their race or sex and, after the jump, the three filmmakers discuss not only that, but how the process was liberating for their actors.

After the jump, read the fourth part of my interview with the team behind Cloud Atlas. Read More »

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