Being John Malkovich

John Malkovich is one of those actors who really seems hard to pin down. He can take a strange role and make it his own, a la Teddy KGB in Rounders, or he can take the role of a villain and make it uber-creepy, like he did in In The Line of Fire. Or, he can also play a part where he’s playing himself, and a version of himself piloted by someone else, and make fun of himself and his image in the process as in Being John Malkovich. Besides all this, he definitely seems like someone that you don’t want to piss off.

Malkovich is defined both by his acting ability, and the strange choice of roles he’s taken over the years. He’s not someone you’d ever see as the leading man, but what he brings to the table in his supporting roles and antagonistic ways more than make up for that. He’s gone from art film staple to period piece villain to comedic foil and every other role in between, and he’s now joining the ranks of the comic book realm with a part in Jonah Hex, where he’ll be squaring off against Josh Brolin. You can never quite tell what he’ll be doing next, and the only cinematic counterpart I can even think of him would be Christopher Walken (although Walken isn’t quite as choosy in his roles). Maybe we’ll see them in a father / son project some day.

While I dream about that, head down below to check out today’s GeekBomb about John Malkovich. After all, he’s premiering in this weekend’s wonderfully quirky movie The Great Buck Howard.

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Variety have reported the casting of John Malkovich in Jimmy Hayward’s Jonah Hex. I’ve believed this was inevitable for some time now, and if you keep reading, I’ll show you why.

Malkovich will be playing Quentin Turnbull, probably the key recurring villain from the comics. According to the series’ storyline, Turbnull’s son Jeb was Jonah Hex’s best friend in the Confederate army but after Jeb was killed by Union soldiers who framed Hex as a turncoat, Turnbull senior swore vengeance and they became bitter enemies. I expect all of these events will figure in the film somehow – so we can probably also expect Jeb Turnbull casting at some point soon.

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Movie Trailer: The Great Buck Howard

After a series of schlocky small films, some of which went straight-to-DVD, it looks like writer/director Sean McGinly is ready for the big time. McGinly’s The Great Buck Howard debuted almost a year ago at Sundance 2008 and got fairly positive reviews (see Peter’s mini-review of the film here and some more reviews here). The film carries some pretty impressive star power, with John Malkovich playing Buck Howard, a mentalist who is just on this side of washed up, and Colin Hanks as Troy Gable, Howard’s road manager. Tom Hanks will play Gable’s father, a role that he’s spent 31 years preparing for.

With the movie finally gearing up for release, Magnolia has released a new trailer for the film, courtesy of Yahoo!. The trailer seems to suffer from “Show too much of the movie” syndrome, but it does have John Malkovich appearing to have a blast in his role, which is always fun to watch. As for Hanks, I’m still recovering from his performance in Orange County, so I remain unconvinced that he has as much skill as the elder Hanks, but maybe this film will prove me wrong? Hit the jump for the trailer.
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Clint Eastwood’s Changeling Movie Trailer

In 1928, Christine Collins of Los Angeles reported her nine-year old son, Walter, as missing. In the midst of charges of corruption and negative publicity, the Los Angeles police department was desperate for a positive P.R. boost from solving the case. After much searching, they finally found a boy in DeKalb, IL claiming to be Walter, and returned him to his mother. But it wasn’t really him. This immutable fact galvanized Collins on a quest to find the truth and a battle against authorities that threatened to tear her life apart.

Decades later, Ms. Collins’ story was discovered and turned into a screenplay by screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski. The trailer for Changeling, directed by Clint Eastwood, is now here and it shows a great deal of promise. Despite recent films like Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Tomb Raider, and Wanted, I’ve always believed that Jolie has enormous amounts of legitimate acting talent that just needs an appropriate film outlet to be adequately displayed. Her recent lauded performance in A Mighty Heart was apparently demonstrative of this, and Changeling looks to continue the trend. Changeling is scheduled for limited release in the U.S. on October 24, 2008. What do you guys think of the trailer?

Burn After Reading International Teaser Trailer

Focus Features have released an international teaser trailer for The Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading on MSN. This is a perfect example of a fast cut, no nonsense teaser trailer which gets it right. And you have to love Brad Pitt’s “Appearances can be Deceptive” line. Classic. And why isn’t JK Simmons getting a topline credit? He’s all over the trailers. Tell me what you think in the comments below!

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Official Plot Synopsis: A dark spy-comedy from Academy Award winners Joel and Ethan Coen. An ousted CIA official’s (Academy Award nominee John Malkovich) memoir accidentally falls into the hands of two unwise gym employees intent on exploiting their find.

Burn After Reading hits theaters on September 12th 2008.

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Burn After Reading Red Band Movie Trailer

Burn After Reading

Focus Features has released a red band movie trailer for Burn After Reading. Written and directed by The Coen Brothers, this new dark-spy comedy stars Academy Award nominee John Malkovich as an ousted CIA official, whose memoir accidentally falls into the hands of two unwise gym employees (Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand) intent on exploiting their find. Also featuring George Clooney, Tilda Swinton and Richard Jenkins. It looks like the Coens have hit another home run. Could Burn after Reading be to No Country for Old Men what The Big Lebowski was to Fargo? As long as its not another Ladykillers, I’ll be happy. Watch the trailer below and tell me what you think in the comments!

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You can watch the trailer in High Definition on Apple. Burn After Reading will hit theaters on September 12th 2008.

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Our fellow War Machines at FirstShowing just nabbed a small crop of new images from Joel and Ethan Coen‘s follow-up to their Best Picture winning No Country For Old Me, Burn After Reading. Lots of comical mouth-breathing going on here, and it’s nice to see Brad Pitt in a role that recalls Floyd from True Romance with the addition of yoga, a shower, ProActiv and highlights. Add to the mix John Malkovich, George Clooney, Francis McDormand and Tilda Swinton, and expectations could not be any higher for the bros’ signature dark comedy opening this September.

What’s it about?: Malkovich stars as a former CIA agent with a soon-to-be ex wife (Winton) who steals a CD containing his memoirs and government secrets. Two gym employees/plebes (Pitt, McDormand) steal the CD and attempt to make a profit, leading the CIA to unleash Clooney (whose character is also a complete doof according to the actor) to clean up the mess. Good to see Malkovich back to facing off with Hollywood’s uppercrust and having some fun in a high profile flick.

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Discuss: The next Raising Arizona or The Ladykillers? Is Clooney better suited for comedy or dramas or Coen Bros movies?

Sundance Movie Review: The Great Buck Howard

The Great Buck Howard

The Great Buck Howard should probably be called The Pretty Good Buck Howard, The Okay Colin Hanks or The Brilliant John Malkovich. Hanks stars as a young man who quits law school, moves to Los Angeles, and gets a job as the travel manager for the Great Buck Howard, a down-and-out mentalist (read: not magician) who once appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson 61 times. His fame still gets him half sold out shows in little towns around the United States. Arrogant and demanding, Howard is the worst kind of boss to work for (think Meryl Streep from Devil Wears Prada without the success), but at least it’s better than law school. Emily Blunt plays a publicist, hired to help relaunch the performer’s fading career.

The film features a bunch of fun cameos from the likes of everyone from the sound effects guy from Police Academy, George Takei to even Tom Hanks, who makes an appearance as Colin’s father (who woulda thought?). Too bad Tom’s charisma didn’t get passed on to young Hanks, who isn’t a bad actor, just not a great one. The script could have used a few more polishes, as I’m not sure the romantic relationship between Hanks and Blunt and the father son relationship between Hanks and Hanks was well explored, or even required. Buck Howard is a cartoon character, but Malkovich brilliantly brings the caricature to life.

/Film Rating: 7 out of 10

Interview: John Malkovich

Beowulf

Last week we got the chance to sit down and talk with Beowulf star John Malkovich. You can read the round table interview below.

Question: Is that one of your own outfits that you’re wearing today? You’ve got a clothing line don’t you?
John Malkovich: I did.  I don’t anymore.

Q: I could never find it.
John Malkovich: You and everyone else. 

Q: This was kind of amazing because we do recognize you in this movie even under the wig and the whatever.  What did you see about this character?  Is he the villain of the piece outside of the monster?

John Malkovich: No, I don’t think so.  He’s just the sort of council to King Hrothgar and he tries to do his job I think.  I think they all have-they’re all fairly flawed people in this and as far as the look goes they showed me sort of what it was going to be before and everything and that seemed good but I haven’t seen it yet.  I’ll see it Monday.

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Casting Clint Eastwood’s The Changeling

I wrote briefly about Clint Eastwood’s upcoming film The Changeling, in yesterday’s column 55 Must See Movies of 2008. It looks like a few more actors have been cast in the project: Jeffrey Donovan, Colm Feore and John Malkovich.

A mother’s (Angelina Jolie) prayer for her kidnapped son to return home is answered, though it doesn’t take long for her to suspect the boy who comes back is not hers. The woman is thrown into an insane asylum for disagreeing with the LAPD. When it seems that her real son has been murdered by a child serial killer and the child returned admits to fraud, she takes her case to the city council and takes down the mayor, the police chief and several corrupt officers, concurrently sparking changes in the insanity legislation. Donovan will play a police captain, Feore the chief of police and Malkovich a reverend.

Eastwood has a great track record (if that wasn’t an obvious observation, I don’t know what is), and this sounds like his next hit. The Changeling is set to hit theaters on November 7th 2008.

source: Hollywood Reporter