David Fincher Didn’t Direct ‘The Force Awakens’ Because He Couldn’t Handle the ‘Abuse of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher’
Like a lot of other filmmakers, David Fincher almost directed a “Star Wars” movie. Long ago, before J.J. Abrams was tasked with helming “The Force Awakens,” the “Social Network” and “Seven” director was in contention to reawaken the franchise — but ultimately wasn’t interested in doing so. Among his reasons, he reveals in an Empire interview, were financial pressure and “the withering abuse of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.”
“I talked to [producer Kathleen Kennedy] about that and look, it’s a plum assignment,” Fincher says. I don’t know what’s worse: being George Lucas on the set of the first one where everyone’s going, ‘Alderaan? What the hell is this?’ Where everyone’s making fun, but I can’t imagine the kind of intestinal fortitude one has to have following up the success of these last two. »
- Michael Nordine
Wong Kar-wai Explains His Move to Television With Amazon’s ‘Tong Wars’ and His Next Feature Film
Among the many filmmakers who have made the jump to television in recent years, one of the most intriguing names to join the fray is Wong Kar Wai. The Hong Kong auteur’s lyrical, romantic dramas about poetic loners — including such beloved titles as “Chungking Express” and “In the Mood for Love” — treasure texture over dense plot. So it was something of a surprise when Amazon unveiled five new series in the works in early September, including one from Wong called “Tong Wars,” described as combining the history of Chinese immigration to the U.S. with a crime potboiler and scripted by Paul Attanasio (“Quiz Show,” “Donnie Brasco”).
Details on the series were scant at the time, but in a conversation with journalists at the Lumiere Festival in Lyon, Wong explained the epic sweep of the show. “The thing that attracted me to this project was the first opportunity to »
- Eric Kohn
‘Eyes Wide Shut’ Documentary ‘SK13’ in the Works From ‘Filmworker’ Director Tony Zierra
Tony Zierra isn’t done with Stanley Kubrick yet. After directing “Filmworker,” a documentary about the meticulous auteur’s right-hand man, Zierra is set to make a movie about “Eyes Wide Shut.” In an interview with Variety, he reveals that “SK13” — shorthand for Stanley Kubrick’s 13th film — was originally meant to precede “Filmworker.”
“The one movie that I feel is the wrinkle in Kubrick’s filmography is ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’ The people that love him always say, ‘He’s a genius, but I’m not sure what the hell that movie was about,’” says Zierra. It makes no sense to them. The casting doesn’t make any sense to them. The story doesn’t make any sense to them.” Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman star in the film, an erotic drama about a married couple. »
- Michael Nordine
Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Phantom Thread’: A New, Detailed Synopsis Revealed
Is there a film obsessive cinephiles are looking forward to more this holiday season than Paul Thomas Anderson‘s upcoming movie “Phantom Thread“? The answer is, quite obviously, no. Despite the mixed reaction his last movie, “Inherent Vice,” received back in October of 2014, Anderson is still viewed as one of the greatest working filmmakers in the world today. “The Phantom Thread” reteams him with, newly retired, “There Will Be Blood” star Daniel Day-Lewis.
- Jordan Ruimy
‘Too Funny to Fail’ Review: ‘Dana Carvey Show’ Doc Finds Some Joy in One of Comedy’s Most Glorious Failures
Enough time has passed since the preemptive demise of “The Dana Carvey Show” that Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Robert Smigel, and the comedian who gave the show its name can chuckle a bit. Twenty years after ABC pulled the plug on a subversive primetime sketch show, “Too Funny to Fail” revisits the meteoric rise and spectacular flameout that surrounded the show’s eight-episode run in the spring of 1996. Yet with decades of perspective, Josh Greenbaum’s documentary finds a surprising amount of fondness and wistfulness in a doomed project with such a public end.
Part of that bittersweet satisfaction comes from the retroactive knowledge that some of the major players in this saga would go on to shape the modern comedy landscape. Colbert and Carell got their first big breaks as “Dana Carvey Show” cast members, while Smigel would eventually go on to a vaunted comedy writing career (including being »
- Steve Greene
The Archaeology of Film: Close-Up on Filipa César's "Spell Reel"
Close-Up is a feature that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Filipa César Spell Reel (2017) is playing October 10 - November 19, 2017 on Mubi in the United Kingdom. People living in the first years of their country’s independence have always known that history isn’t something that comes down to you in books and museums; to them, history is something they work on their knees and get their hands dirty to build brick by brick, frame by frame. Spell Reel, a collaborative film directed by Filipa César, is a document that records the film history of Guinea-Bissau. By doing this, it ends up being an archive of the nation-forming narratives of Guinea-Bissau. Deviating from the idea of a monolithic, self-sustaining history, the film begins with uncertainty and unfamiliarity that is only partially resolved by an interpreter who punctuates the story with silence and translation. We begin by being twice removed from »
‘Chappaquiddick’ Moves Out of the Crowded Awards Season — Exclusive
When Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, riding high after the early hit “47 Meters Down,” bought “Chappaquiddick” and “Hostiles” out of Toronto, it looked like they might provide direct competitors for a Best Actor Oscar slot. Now Scott Cooper’s $50-million western “Hostiles,” which earned upbeat reviews and press out of Telluride and Tiff, is heading for a December release and an Oscar campaign for Christian Bale.
“Chappaquiddick,” however, will have to wait.
John Curran’s “Chappaquiddick” (a $4 million pickup, with a $16 million P&A) will wisely hold off for a 2018 release on April 6. Jason Clarke would have not only been competing with Bale for a Best Actor slot, but also with himself in Dee Rees’s southern drama “Mudbound” (November 17, Netflix).
- Anne Thompson
‘The Good Doctor’ Is Now Bigger Than ‘NCIS’ and ‘This Is Us,’ By a Hair — Ratings Watch
The Nielsen “Doctor” is in. After three weeks of the new season, the ABC drama “The Good Doctor” appears to be a bonafide hit for the network.
According to the latest Nielsen data covering three days’ worth of time-shifting (including DVR and video on demand viewing), “The Good Doctor” is averaging 16.42 million viewers — making it not just TV’s most-watched new drama, but TV’s most-watched drama, period. That’s because after three weeks, “The Good Doctor” is just a smidge above CBS’ perennial powerhouse “NCIS” (16.35 million) and NBC’s emotional juggernaut “This Is Us” (16.19 million).
The show, starring Freddie Highmore as a high-functioning autistic physician, is also the fall’s No. 1 freshman drama and top-rated 10 p.m. series among Adults 18-49 (3.7 rating).
Read More:‘The Good Doctor’ Is Destroying One Misconception About Autism at a Time
- Michael Schneider
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