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Entries in Benjamin Walker (3)


Links: Feat. the Totally Awesome 80s

Movie Mezzanine 'History of Film: Best of the Sixties.' They polled lots and lots of film critics including me. And you can see our individual lists. I appear to be the only person who listed West Side Story but some of my other choices are appropriately snooty if you need that.
THR most tweeted tv shows and events. Naturally the Oscars are #1 for specials (Golden Globes in #3 behind the Grammys).  
VF Hollywood celebrates the 25th anniversary of Dead Poets Society (1989) by getting all up in preppy nostalgia

/Film Whaaaaa? The War of the Roses (1989) is getting a sequel. Pity that we can't have Kathleen Turner back but that would be impossible. Unless it's also a supernatural sequel
Serious Film how many of these Eternal Sunshine details have you noticed on your multiple views? 
/bent blog Kyle Turner looks at the roles of mothers in the films of Xavier Dolan
Hero Complex Sigourney Weaver reminisces about her time as Lt. Ellen Ripley in the Aliens franchise
Michigan Live Detroit gets its official RoboCop bronze statue today and RoboCop will also throw the first ball at the Detroit Tigers game tonight.  He's come a long way since his 1987 debut.
Variety The next Woody Allen film (with Joaquin Phoenix - who is really getting around with the auteurs! - and Emma Stone) starts shooting in a couple of months. In Rhode Island. More cast tba very soon.

Stage Door
Can you believe the Tonys are on this weekend? So fast. 
Adam Shankman announces his cast for Hair at the Hollywood Bowl in August. Given the names (Kristen Bell, Benjamin Walker -- yaasss, and various TV stars) I'm guessing they don't do the big 'entire cast gets naked for one song' thing that most productions do.
Boy Culture Crazy story about an audience heckler at a California production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof unfortunately leads to actors departing the show and bad blood with producers. As a regular theatergoer, I would have applauded the actor who left the stage to handle this. An unruly audience member can really ruin a play.

Today's Watch
And this is unexpected but delightful. Bianca Del Rio, the Queen of Mean, wants to star in a feature film comedy about a teacher who is fired for being gay. For revenge he returns to the school as a mean "lady" and gets hired again. Shades of Tootsie only without the you know, Oscarworthy acting or depth.

But still! As a huge fan of Bianca, I approve of this becoming a movie though in truth I was hoping for a sitcom. I guess I should've dreamed bigger. 


"Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter". Have You Read It?

Yesterday, Entertainment Weekly offered up a new batch of photos for Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter starring Benjamin Walker (aka Meryl Streep's brand new son-in-law, recently married to Mamie Gummer).

For those who aren't familiar with him, his star making role (of sorts) was a lead on Broadway as "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson"... so this will be his second consecutive blood-splattered US President. What an odd odd start to a career.

Stage and screen require different scales of acting. Charisma and skill in one doesn't always transfer to the other so you never know. But on stage he just popped. He unarguably had "it" and a lot of "it", too. He turned down the role of Beast in X-Men First Class -- a potentially lucrative franchise gig -- to stay with his minor hit stage show which reveals either true devotion to the theater, strict contractual ethics or real confidence in his gift. Or all three. It didn't take long for another opportunity to present itself. 

Out of accidental curiousity I recently picked up the book at the library. I wonderd about its content and if I could pick up any clues as to why this one didn't have any trouble getting off the ground while his first fiction novel Pride & Prejudice & Zombies can't seem to get out out of development hell. 

The thing that surprised me the most and I'm not sure bodes well for the movie is how earnest it was. I was expecting comedy or at least satire but it read very much like a straightforward entry into the subgenre of historical fiction that twists history with supernatural elements. It's basically Lincoln the younger years only with a backstory that involves hunting super evil bloodsucking creatures. In the book the vampires are quite powerful in the south (though their nature is a secret from most) and they're all entangled financially and socially with plantation owners which gives them a neverending supply of defenseless prey (the slaves) that no one will miss. And here is where I had the problem. I actually found the book a little offensive. No one, least of all Abraham Lincoln, should need an overlay of supernatural bloodsucking to give them an epiphany about how cruel and unfair and irredeemably evil slavery is/was.

I wonder what the movie will do with the books framing device which is a modern discovery of Lincoln's private diaries. It seems like it might be an awful lot of wasted running time in a film version but we'll see.  I haven't read Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and if its similar I can only assume it isn't filming already because Hollywood is so skittish about female leads, no matter how many hits feature them.

Have you read either of Seth Grahame-Smith's books?
Do you like the supernatural alternate history genre?


Sally Field is First Lady Mary Todd "Lincoln"

Steven Spielberg's Lincoln (2013?) is one of those movies that I always forget about due to its long long gestation period. I swear I've been hearing about it as long as Jodie Foster's Flora Plum or Jodie Foster's Leni Reifenstahl or a few of Terrence Malick's movies before they surfaced. Will it ever get made? Probably. This is Spielberg we're talking about and he's familiar with the green light. The biopic is now one small step closer to filming. Deadline reports that Sally Field is in as our seventeenth* First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln.

Spielberg says that Sally Field was always his first choice. I don't believe or disbelieve this exactly but I find it amusing that virtually every casting announcement for any movie (not specifically this one) comes with "they were our first choice all along" which simply can't be true 90% of the time we hear it else there would be very few auditions or screen tests ever held and precious little for casting directors to do other than fill up the bit roles and very little for management and representation to do other than negotiate.

At first the news felt odd and easily snarkable like "Sally Field co-starring with Daniel Day-Lewis? She's moving up in the world!" but then I quickly remembered that people -- apparently even myself. For shame -- are always underestimating her talent, probably because she's a "cute" actress as it were, and has been for her entire career. But I've seen enough of her work to know I shouldn't underestimate her. She's already proven herself on stage (she was a-ma-zing in a difficult role in The Goat or Who is Sylvia?), small screen (Emmys) and big screen (Oscars). She's one of those talents that "transfers" as it were. Plus: Daniel Day-Lewis isn't the only one with two Oscars in this marriage.

If you read up on Mary Todd Lincoln you'll find she was a pretty interesting woman with a very dramatic life: Her own family was torn up by the Civil War as she came from a border state, she outlived nearly all of her children, she was plagued by headaches and erratic behavior which some historians believe indicates that she was a manic depressive or bipolar). You have to wonder why some First Ladies don't get their own biopics.

The most peculiar thing about the casting is probably their age difference. Sally Field is 11 years older than Daniel Day-Lewis and we don't often see casting flip the gender/age disparity equation; Mary was 10 years younger than Abraham.

Here is the trailer to  Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) which netted Raymond Massey and Oscar nomination for Best Actor (Ruth Gordon was not nominated as Mary Todd). John Ford's Young Lincoln (1939) the year before was only Oscar nominated for the screenplay.

No movie about Lincoln has been an Oscar powerhouse but you never know with that cast and director.

But First...
Spielberg's Lincoln is long enough away that perhaps we should be talking about Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (2012) instead. Itopens in 14 months and stars Meryl Streep's future son-in-law Benjamin Walker as Honest Abe. He's apparently cornered the market on blood splattered presidents. His breakthrough role was in the play "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" on Broadway (for which he turned down a role in X-Men: First Class) and all I can say about him is you're in for such a treat when you see him on the big screen. Major charisma he has. Big stardom awaits.

Benjamin Walker heads the cast of "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson"

*Abraham Lincoln was the 16th US President but Mary Todd was actually the 17th First Lady since President #10 John Tyler remarried while in office after the death of his first wife.