April 19, 2014

Tag Archives: morgan freeman

Transcendence – Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman, Cole Hauser, Cillian Murphy

Directed by: Wally Pfister
Written by: Jack Paglen
Main Cast: Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman, Cole Hauser, Cillian Murphy, and others
Past Oscar relations: Pfister won Best Cinematography for Inception and Morgan Freeman won Best Supporting Actor for Million Dollar Baby
Here now we have the next article in this series on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for Oscar attention at the Academy Award ceremony in 2015. Next up is DP turned filmmaker Wally Pfister’s directorial debut Transcendence, which hopes to more or less establish Pfister as the next Christopher Nolan (especially since he’s Nolan’s longtime cinematographer), though that may be a somewhat overly optimistic ambition. There’s clearly a bit of Nolan in Pfister though, so we’ll see. He’s got a top notch cast in place here, including Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman (a Nolan veteran), Cole Hauser, and Cillian Murphy (ditto), so that’s a big help. If Pfister can take scribe Jack Paglen’s well regarded script and make it into something special, perhaps this can be the sort of smart blockbuster that the Academy notices?
What this flick has going in its favor is mainly its pedigree. From the A list cast to the directorial debut of one of the best cinematographers in the business to the hot script that got this all start, hopes have been high from day one here. There’s also the allure of seeing Depp in a role that doesn’t require massive amounts of make up, so older fans of his may be intrigued by this more than many of his recent Disney outings. Followers of Nolan also know Pfister pretty well, so there’s some level of anticipation of him getting to helm his own movie. There’s an original premise on display as well, which is sort of rare these days. This all adds up to a film with lots of potential.
Working against Transcendence is that it appears to be caught between the worlds of heady science fiction and summer blockbuster action. The film could be too talky for the crowd who wants to see things blow up and it could be too reliant on adding spectacle for those who are looking to really get into the nitty gritty of the story here. Honestly, the release date makes me think that Warner Brothers themselves aren’t quite sure how this will all play out, so unless there are top notch [...]

Meryl Streep and Katie Couric join together against cancer

Academy Award®-winning actress Meryl Streep encourages people to get screened for colon cancer in new broadcast public service announcements (PSAs) that launch in March, in conjunction with National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
The PSAs, which will premiere today on Katie!, are the latest collaboration between the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (EIF’s NCCRA), co-founded by Katie Couric, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the CDC’s Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign. This initiative is a multi-year effort to educate Americans about the importance of regular colorectal cancer screening for men and women aged 50 years and over.
Streep is one of the world’s most renowned actors, having won three Academy Awards as well as multiple Golden Globe, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and Screen Actors Guild awards, in addition to Primetime Emmys and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. She is the third Oscar-winning actor to appear in the Screen for Life campaign, along with Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton.
Of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, taking the lives of more than 50,000 Americans every year. Yet the disease is highly preventable through screening. Screening can detect pre-cancerous growths called polyps that can be removed before they develop into colorectal cancer. Screening can also detect colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment is most effective.
Streep explains these benefits of screening in the PSA, titled Control, adding that, “For me, screening was simple and quick. It was no big deal, except for the huge sense of relief you feel afterwards.”
The colorectal cancer death rate has declined steadily for several years. According to the CDC, half of this decrease can be attributed to more people getting screened. Despite that progress, one third of U.S. adults age 50 and over are still not up to date with recommended screening.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends colorectal cancer screening for men and women aged 50–75. (The decision to be screened after age 75 should be made on an individual basis. People older than 75 are advised to ask their doctors if they should be screened.)
The CDC considers Screen for Life one of the most effective campaigns it has undertaken to encourage screening.
Streep said she was motivated to get screened after seeing Katie Couric’s [...]

Shirley MacLain Receives AFI Lifetime Achievement Award

HollywoodNews.com: Last night, stage and screen legend Shirley MacLaine was lauded with the 40th annual AFI Life Achievement Award – the highest honor for a career in film. Some of Hollywood’s most revered luminaries turned out to pay tribute to one of America’s most beloved artists. The gala, entitled “TV Land Presents: AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Shirley MacLaine,” was taped at historic Stage 15 at Sony Pictures Studios last evening and will air on TV Land on Sunday, June 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
The evening’s festivities kicked off with MacLaine entering the gala of over 1,000 attendees to “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” a song she made famous in the 1969 screen version of “Sweet Charity.” Immediately following dinner, Warren Beatty, MacLaine’s brother, Academy Award®-winning actor and fellow AFI Life Achievement Award recipient (2008), talked about how the AFI Life Achievement Award was established in 1973 to ensure that “the great masters of film may take their deserved place in history beside leaders in other arts” and introduced the award recipients in attendance to celebrate MacLaine and the award’s 40th anniversary – Sidney Poitier (1992), Jack Nicholson (1994), Steven Spielberg (1995), Meryl Streep (2004) and Morgan Freeman (2011).
Academy Award®-winning actress Julia Roberts took the stage to speak about MacLaine’s love for playing cards and “the boys” of her life – Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and even Chicago mob boss, Sam Giancana. Fellow “Steel Magnolias” star Sally Field paid tribute to MacLaine by saying, “She is generous beyond a fault, a one of a kind original and an extraordinary actor. She’s a renowned world traveler who collects people. They are her most valued treasures. And I’m very proud to be included in her lifelong collection.” Dakota Fanning (“I Am Sam”) and Katherine Heigl (“27 Dresses”) both spoke about how MacLaine had inspired them in their own journeys in Hollywood. John Travolta introduced an inspiring video with footage from “Sweet Charity” and described MacLaine as “a woman who does it all – but always first – a dancer.” He went on to say that she “fills the world with a presence never seen before.”
Last year’s AFI Life Achievement Award recipient, Morgan Freeman, recounted MacLaine’s impressive journey that led her to where she is today, and Elizabeth McGovern, who stars on “Downton Abbey,” shared a never-before-seen clip from [...]

“Blade Runner” Screenwriter Hampton Fancher in Talks to Pen Sequel Idea for Director Ridley Scott

HollywoodNews.com: Hampton Fancher is in talks to reunite with his “Blade Runner” director Ridley Scott to develop the idea for the original screenplay for the Alcon Entertainment, Scott Free, and Bud Yorkin produced follow up to the ground-breaking 1982 science fiction classic, it was announced by Alcon co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove.
The filmmakers are also revealing for the first time that the much-anticipated project is intended to be a sequel to the renowned original. The filmmakers would reveal only that the new story will take place some years after the first film concluded.
The three-time Oscar-nominated Scott and his “Blade Runner” collaborator Fancher originally conceived of their 1982 classic as the first in a series of films incorporating the themes and characters featured in Philip K. Dick’s groundbreaking novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, from which “Blade Runner” was adapted. Circumstances, however, took Scott into other directions and the project never advanced.
Fancher, although a writer of fiction, was known primarily as an actor at the time Scott enlisted him to adapt the Dick novel for the screen. Fancher followed his ?Blade Runner? success with the screenplays, ?The Mighty Quinn? (1989) and “The Minus Man” (1999). He has continued to write fiction throughout his career.
Scott also will produce with Alcon co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove as well as Bud Yorkin and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin. Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO’s of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers.
The original film, which has been singled out as the greatest science-fiction film of all time by a majority of genre publications, was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1993 and is frequently taught in university courses. In 2007, it was named the 2nd most visually influential film of all time by the Visual Effects Society.
State Kosove and Johnson: “It is a perfect opportunity to reunite Ridley with Hampton on this new project, one in fact inspired by their own personal collaboration, a classic of cinema if there ever was one.”
Released by Warner Bros. almost 30 years ago, “Blade Runner” was adapted by Fancher and David Peoples from Philip K. Dick’s groundbreaking novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” and directed by Scott following [...]

The Hunger Games: The hunt for a new director is on

HollywoodNews.com: The Playlist doesn’t break news all that often, merely seeing fit to be a one-stop shop for the movie news that everyone else breaks during the day (I don’t mean that as an insult, The Playlist is the site I go to if I only have time to surf one movie news site in a given day), So it’s somewhat of a big deal that The Playlist has broken a pretty major story, confirming that director Gary Ross will not be back to helm the second and/or third films in the Hunger Games franchise. There have been rumblings all week about contract negotiations, and Ross has now politely passed. The site chalks it up to both Ross’s lack of desire to stay in the same universe for the next several years combined with a somewhat low-ball offer from Lionsgate. Whatever the case, Ross is gone and the hunt for a new director is now on. While editing my John Carter obituary a few weeks ago, I removed a large paragraph dealing with the trend of giving young white-male filmmakers with barely a feature credit to their name the keys to $100-300 million franchise films while seasoned pros and/or minorities remain noticeably absent from the ‘wish-list’ (yes, I was glad to see F. Gary Gray on the Marvel wish-list for Captain America 2). And while I wouldn’t consider The Hunger Games a ‘female film’, it would be a great opportunity to make a point that female directors can indeed handle the kind of big-scale filmmaking that studios are all-too willing to offer to mostly untested male directors as a matter of course. So, perhaps arbitrarily, perhaps to prove a point about how inaccessible the ‘wish list’ is for female directors, here are nine directors who happen to be women who also belong on ‘the wish-list’ as Lionsgate hunts for a second director. These are in alphabetical order, with the exception of the final entry, who would be my ‘top choice’.
Kathryn Bigelow
Duh. In fact, she’ll probably make the wish-list as a token nod to gender-diversity, and all she had to do was become the first female in history to win a Best Director Oscar. I don’t really have to explain this pick. She’s been directing hard action pictures for thirty years. She’s helmed the likes of Near Dark (a [...]

Oscars: Billy Crystal Was Far From His Best

By Michael Russnow
HollywoodNews.com: The Academy Awards was a lot better than last year’s offering and generally moved along pretty well. However, Billy Crystal’s performance was mixed. Sometimes he was spot on and in other instances resorted to forced humor that missed its mark.
After Morgan Freeman’s opening we saw Billy in an uninspiring repeat of what he’d done so well many times before, inserting himself into reproductions of well-known clips from the top films. Maybe it’s because he’s done it so many times. It’s true that he hasn’t been host since 2004, and we often enjoy an entertainer repeating his or her best work, but like an aging singer whose voice doesn’t hold up when the muscles sag, what was downright hysterical in past years, like when he came out as Hannibal Lecter in 1992, this go-around didn’t work too well for me in 2012.
The one exception was from The Descendants, when George Clooney recreated his visit to his comatose wife, played by Crystal lying in bed. Clooney’s kiss was so heartfelt it provided a big laugh. The Justin Bieber bit from Midnight in Paris wasn’t bad. Not so much the scene with Tom Cruise from Mission Impossible, nor was Crystal’s business spoofing The Help or Tintin particularly funny.
Oddly when he segued into his Oscar medley it worked better, with the lyrics sharp and engaging. After that, it was hit and miss. Sometimes very clever and other times flat. And when the latter happened he often responded defensively, at one point indicating the band in the pit liked the joke. He also was a bit insensitive regarding the age of some of the nominees as he mentioned octogenarians Christopher Plummer and Max von Sydow, followed by senility jokes at their expense. Considering that Crystal himself is pushing 64 and that ageism besetting Hollywood is rampant with many talented professionals unemployed, it’s just not funny anymore.
As the three hour ten minute show progressed, they whizzed through awards at a relatively rapid pace. Instead of starting with a celebrity award, such as supporting actor and actress, they began with Tom Hanks presenting Oscars for cinematography and art direction, both of which went on the scorecard for Hugo.
There was a montage of film clips that moved along all right, but, unless I missed one, it appeared that it was as if movie history began with 1969′s Midnight Cowboy, because none of the featured films [...]

Magnolia Takes US Rights to Rob Reiner’s THE MAGIC OF BELLE ISLE

HollywoodNews.com: The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnolia Pictures announced today they have acquired US rights to THE MAGIC OF BELLE ISLE, a warmly funny drama directed by Rob Reiner, starring Morgan Freeman, Virginia Madsen, Madeline Carroll, Kenan Thompson, and Fred Willard. The film was written by Guy Thomas, and produced by Alan Greisman, Lori McCreary, Salli Newman and David Valdes.
Reuniting with his director from the hit film, The Bucket List, Freeman plays Monte Wildhorn, a famous Western novelist whose struggle with alcoholism has
sapped his passion for writing. He takes a lakeside cabin for the summer in picturesque Belle Isle, and befriends the family next door?an attractive single mom (Madsen) and her young daughters?who help him find inspiration again.
Magnolia plans a theatrical and VOD release in its Ultra VOD program in the summer.
‘We’re thrilled to get the chance to work with Rob Reiner on THE MAGIC OF BELLE ISLE,’ said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. ‘It’s a real pleasure to watch this stellar cast at the top of their game.’
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Tyler Perry take on Alex Cross to Summit

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Tyler Perry’s latest, a crime thriller adapted from the immensely popular Alex Cross detective novels, has landed at Summit.
The studio picked up U.S. rights to “I, Alex Cross,” a movie adaptation of James Patterson’s best-selling novel that will be directed by Rob Cohen. The news, reported by THR, was confirmed by Summit on Wednesday.
Perry will play Alex Cross, a D.C. detective and renowned criminal psychologist who’s often brought in to solve high-profile cases.
While this is Perry’s debut in the role, this isn’t Alex Cross’s first dance on the silver screen. Morgan Freeman played the detective in Paramount’s “Kiss the Girls” and “Along Came a Spider.”
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Photo courtesy of PRPhotos.com.

Annette Bening and Morgan Freeman with director Rob Reiner

By Roger Friedman and Leah Sydney
HollywoodNews.com: It looks like Annette Bening’s follow up to her Oscar nominated performance in “The Kids Are All Right” will be directed by Rob Reiner with Morgan Freeman as her co-star.
Reiner told our Leah Sydney at the AARP dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel: “I’m working on a film the title of it now is now called “The Third Act”-it looks like we’ll have Morgan Freeman and Annette Bening in it together. I don’t want to tell you more about it because we haven’t even started shooting yet. You’re the only person I’ve told. It hasn’t been announced. I’m directing –producing and doing some rewriting from an original script by a fellow named Guy Thomas.” Rob also told us, “I’m working on the court challenge to Prop 8, trying to overturn it and deliver marriage equality to everybody.”

Reiner accepted an award for his movie “Flipped,” which was not a hit but has its fans. His dad, the legendary Carl Reiner, gave him the award. Carl quipped, “When Rob was very young, we knew he would be special-he as alert all the time. I mean it-this kid never slept. I shep nachas from him I wish for all of you the same shep nachsing I get from Robbie.”
Rob Reiner then come up and said, “I want to thank my father for making love to my mother almost 64 years ago. “ Carl, then in the audience shouted out: “My pleasure!” Then Rob said, “They had sex only three times cause they had three children.” To which Carl retorted: “Ten times!”
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Zac Efron won’t be firing up a motorcycle in ‘Akira’

HollywoodNews.com: Zac Efron isn’t set to star in the live-action adaptation of the Japanese anime/magna series “Akira.”
While various media outlets buzzed that Efron was in the running, the film’s directors the Hughes Brothers have squashed the rumors.
Leonardo DiCaprio is producing the project and at one point was set to star as Shotaro Kaneda, the leader of a gang of motorcyclists.
It was also gossiped by MTV News that Morgan Freeman was set to join the film as Colonel Shikishima, the head of a secret government project that’s conducting research on psychically gifted youngsters.
“Akira” revolves around a corrupt futuristic Tokyo society in 2019, one that is gripped by political strife, anti-government terrorism and gang violence
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Photo credit: Splash
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