This happened Monday. (Thanks to Julia for alerting.) How crazy is that?
A live reading of Stephen Sondheim's wondrous "Into the Woods" shortly after its Shakespeare in the Park summer (with only Donna Murphy as The Witch transferring from Central Park) to raise interest/funding for Rob Marshall's film version. He's surely hoping to redeem himself post-Nine which angered critics and lost a ton of money at the box office and return to his Chicago heyday. But I swear to god if he makes up some stupid framing device where it's all a dream/fantasy...
I don't know about you but the idea of Patrick Wilson & Cheyenne Jackson as the eternally unsatisfied but self-satisfied Princes is to die for. The other names that most excite me here are Nina Arianda, Victoria Clark, Christine Baranski, Anna Kendrick, Megan Hilty,... oh wait, I'd just type up every name!
How do you read "Into the Woods" -- Did they talk/sing through their table read, stand beside the piano for Hollywood moneybags or was it very very short? Broadway.com confirms that this reading did happen as planned though the film version would obviously *sniffle* get an entirely new cast. (We once had a very robust discussion of who should play whom right here at The Film Experience.) Many of those names listed above are famous and accomplished and have golden statues of some sort and are amazing vocalists but you know they'll be thrown over in a second for bigger names with weaker chops.
Meryl Streep is already reportedly in talks about the most coveted role in any production: The Witch (who raises Rapunzel as her daughter and sings "The Last Midnight" and the show's thematic anthem "Children Will Listen"). That sucks for the great great Broadway diva Donna Murphy who, to date, has only ever had one movie role worthy of her (The Witch... who coincidentally raises Rapunzel!... in Tangled) though she gets frequent tiny roles. But that's how it works for stage-to-film transfers. And Meryl does have a wondrous vocal instrument; I can and have listened to her tracks from Postcards from the Edge, Prairie Home Companion and Death Becomes Her on loop (Mamma Mia not so much). If rumors that Marshall originally wanted Toni Collette for Roxy in Chicago are true -- and why wouldn't they be cuz damn if she isn't great in musicals -- can't we throw her in this movie somewhere?
Subtitled fare always seems to consume me in September and early October as the Foreign Language Submission List for Oscar takes shape (it's not quite official yet but the submission deadline has passed). This is also the time of year when The Golden Horse, the preeminent Chinese/Taiwanese film awards, announce their nominations. Rather than a huge Academy vote, the Golden Horse is determined by a jury. Andy Lau who starred in Hong Kong’s Oscar submission A Simple Life last year and is best known internationally for two hits from the Aughts (The House of Flying Daggers and Infernal Affairs which was later remade into The Departed) is the president of this year’s jury.
Caught in the Web, China's Oscar submission, was apparently not eligible.
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES
- Beijing Blues -a police procedural
- Mystery - is the leader with 8 nominations. It's a thriller from Lou Ye, who is most known for erotic dramas like Summer Palace and Cannes hit Spring Fever.
- Life Without Principle - This Johnnie To film about a loan shark is Hong Kong's Oscar submission this year.
- Gf*Bf -a decade long love triangle between three intimate friends with some gay elements. I included the trailer below
- The Bullet Vanishes -a period piece and whodunnit
Flying Swords of Dragon’s Gate, which recently played in the states, won some technical nominations but none of the headline categories.
Nick Cheung – Nightfall
Ching Wan Lau – Life Without Principle
Joseph Chang - Gf*Bf
Chapman To –Vulgaria
Nicholas Tse –The Viral Factor
Baihe Bai –Love is Not Blind
Lei Hao - Mystery
Denise Ho –Life Without Principle
Lun-Mei Gwei – Gf*Bf
Sandrine Pinna –Touch of the Light
You can see the rest of the nominees at the official Golden Horse Awards site.
Alexa here. Carole Bayer Sager is best known as a songwriter. Anyone who came of age in the 80s will know the songs she helped create with the likes of Marvin Hamlisch and her ex-husband Burt Bacarach. Many of these figured prominently in film, like "That's What Friends Are For" (I remember Rod Stewart's version being used in Night Shift, although Dionne Warwick's version with her friends is more famous) and "Nobody Does It Better" (one of the best Bond songs). Carole won an Oscar alongside Bacarach and Christopher Cross in 1981 for the indelible "Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do)".
These days, less excited with songwriting, she has turned to oil painting. She discusses her new work, mostly of large-scale abstractions and macro-like images of food, in October's issue of W magazine. While her abstractions are stronger, she has also painted portraits of her famous friends, many of which reveal an intimate side of figures we often don't get to see. Here are a few from the film world she has captured. You can see all her work here.
Season Six Commences! The first and last image (minus the opening and closing credits) from a motion picture.
Throw it here, butter fingers."
Can you guess the movie?
I can't say I saw this one coming. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane has been named host of February's Oscars. Honestly I wouldn't even have guessed that if you'd let me guess 100 names.
Rule #1 of Oscar Host selection in the past has always been that the host was an instantly recognizable celebrity and household name, the kind of celebrity that even your grandparents would be familiar with: Whoopi, Steve Martin, Letterman, etcetera. It's never a behind the scenes creative, however famous his name or voice might be.
While MacFarlane is considerably less famous than past hosts that doesn't mean he won't do a fine job... his musical referencing will be a natural fit on Oscar night though the non-sequitor nature of his jokes (at least on Family Guy) might be a stranger fit. Are we in for another "Uma. Oprah"?
MacFarlane's selection is yet another example of the Academy's increasingly schizo "who are we?" identity crisis over the last handful of years. They can't stop themselves.
Are you a MacFarlane fan or were you hoping for someone with more star wattage? Who do you think they also considered before this left turn?