For several years, Oliver Stone has been toying with a new Vietnam War film called Pinkville, which would be oriented around the Mai Lai Massacre of 1968. In 2007 the movie seemed on the verge of shooting. It had a cast: Bruce Willis, Woody Harrelson, Michael Pitt, Channing Tatum, Michael Pena and more. But the writer’s strike put a block in front of the film, and it never got back on track.

Now, Oliver Stone says on the commentary track for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps that he has talked to Shia LaBeouf about acting in Pinkville. Read More »

In a new interview with The Times UK, director Oliver Stone ponders the domestic box office prospects for his W. biopic, opening in limited release the 17th of this month. The Lionsgate film had a budget of $30 million—financed by Chinese investors—and arguably there is no precedent for how well it might do. High profile movies about U.S. presidents tend to always be posthumous (Stone’s Nixon, HBO’s John Adams, Spielberg’s planned Lincoln), and the political climate has only grown nastier and nuttier since Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 grossed $119 mil domestic in 2004 (seems longer ago). American Carol, anyone? With the election too close to call and the economy exposing orifices daily…

“I’m not sure that we’ll succeed,” Stone concedes. “But this movie is not for the 12 per cent who still approve of him – it’s for the other 88 per cent. On the other hand, I don’t think there’s anything in the movie that the other 88 per cent would have any reason to detest. It is a human portrait of a man, not meant to insult people who believe in what Bush believes in.”

How much of this majority will show up, either in hopes of a good movie or to magnify their displeasure with the current administration, remains to be seen. And back to the economic crisis, Stone says comparisons to the rampant greed and corruption depicted in 1987’s Wall Street are nil…

“I don’t even think a Gordon Gecko [sic] could exist in 2008, not as an individual buyer or seller. He’d have to work for a bank. Those [Wall Street] guys – they pigged out, man, to a degree that I never thought was possible.”

On that note, I wonder where things are at with Michael Douglas’s Wall Street 2 (Stone is said not to be involved)? Stone says he has no interest nor plans in making another war film, citing his age and specifically calling Iraq too much of a “bummer” to confront. Coming from Stone, who served in VietNam, directed numerous films related to that war (including the aborted Pinkville with Bruce Willis), and is a history buff, I’m not sure I buy it. He even seems to hint that Pinkville might be rescued in the same interview.

Discuss: How much do you expect W. to gross domestically? More than $30 million? Do you agree with Stone’s sentiments on Gekko and today’s Wall Street?

There are a lot of casting updates tonight, however, very few of them could be considered interesting. But as of 11:30pm on the West Coast, the news forecast for Monday is looking slow… So we’re going to run with it.

Jay Hernandez, Jennifer Carpenter
and Columbus Short have joined Johnathon Schaech and Steve Harris in Screen Gems’ remake of remake of the Spanish horror movie Rec. John Erick Dowdle’s Quarantined follows a reporter and her cameraman who are among those trapped inside a downtown Los Angeles apartment building where a deadly strain of rabies has broken out. Sounds interesting, but Screen Gems has a long record of horrible films (which I find ironic because the company is named “Screen Gems”). [thr]

Helen McCrory, who was originally cast as Bellatrix Lestrange in the last Harry Potter movie (she had to bow out due to a pregnancy), is now set to play Narcissa Malfoy, sister of Bellatrix Lesrange, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. [bbc]

Matt Gerald (S.W.A.T, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) has been cast as the lead villain in James Cameron‘s 3D sci-fi epic action film Avatar. Gerald will begin filming this month in New Zealand and Los Angeles. [variety]

Rapper turned actor Xzibit (Gridiron Gang, Derailed) joins Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum and Woody Harrelson in Oliver Stone‘s Pinkville, about the 1968 My Lai Massacre, in which more than 500 people were killed by U.S. soldiers. Xzibit will play one of the soldiers. Mikko Alanne wrote the script. Production is set to begin next year. [THR]