Jessica Chastain is most likely freaking out right now. The self-described "nerd" when quoting Brecht in her Critics Choice Award speech, has officially signed on for the lead role in Miss Julie, the upcoming Liv Ullmann-directed film. And for any classically-trained, serious actress with a love for both cinema and the stage this is kind of a dream come true. Not only will she be working with Ingmar Bergman’s muse and icon of painful cinema, but she’ll be getting to star in the film adaptation of Swedish playwright August Strindberg’s work. So it’s safe to assume she’s pretty happy right now—you know, aside from the fact that at she’ll probably take home a well-earned Oscar in just a few weeks.
Chastain will be starring opposite Collin Farrell in the film that already has critics and audiences buzzing with excitement and/or jeaously. As a reworking of Strindberg’s play and Ullmann’s first time behind the camera in over a decade, the controversial 1894-set film that dives into issues of class, sexuality, and gender is set on a midsummer night and "follows a woman trying to escape an existence cramped by social mores who suddenly drawn to a senior servant." Samantha Morton (whom we recently saw in Cosmopolis) is also set to appear in the film that Ullman "said in the past she’d use Irish actors as servants and British as the masters of the house" for. And although Chastain may be neither of those, there’s no doubt she can pull off the role of a strong-willed aristocrat who "longs to fall from her pillar."
Apparently Chastain has been "weighing several offers" in terms of her 2013 post-Ocar nom schedule and after years of hard work, it seems like she really is becoming the most sought after woman in Hollywood. And honestly, that’s kind of an incredible thing when the only reputation to proceed her is just how damn talented she is. As the first official new role she’s signed on for in the new year, this has certainly set the bar high.
The latest Tim Burton-Johnny Depp collaboration, Dark Shadows, won’t open until May 11, but today a featurette on the film hit the web, showing off some never-before-seen footage and giving us a glimpse into Collinwood, the mansion Depp’s movie family, and the characters played by a supporting cast that includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz, Eva Green, and Jonny Lee Miller.
But despite the excitement another Burton-Depp collaboration — the pair’s eighth — brings, this isn’t the first time we’ve all been to the sexy vampire rodeo. Take a walk down memory lane with us, will you?
There’s, of course, Alexander Skarsgard’s Eric Northman on HBO’s True Blood, perhaps the hottest bloodsucker—sorry, Vampire Bill—to ever cower from the sun.
And naturally, we have Robert Pattinson’s Edward Cullen in the Twilight films, if you’re into that sort of thing. If not, he has enough brothers, sisters and fake vampire parents that one of them has got to get your blood boiling.
Whether it’s Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt who’s your favorite, it was impossible to walk out of Interview with the Vampire without hoping to end up with one of these fangers clamped onto your neck.
Wesley Snipes’ titular character in Blade might have only been half vampire, but he was all hunk.
Like your vampires more New Wave? Keifer Sutherland and company, in 1987’s The Lost Boys offer eternal evil and Wayfarers. It’s a winning combo.
He might not be the megastar he once was, but Colin Farrell’s flesh-eating neighbor from the recent Fright Night reboot can come over and borrow a cup of sugar from us any time.
Everyone dreams about being someone else. But what happens when you pay to make the dream real, and then the dream turns out to be real anyways? Amazingly enough, this is not a transcript of some stoned freshman dorm room hypothesizing, but the premise behind a real movie: Total Recall, a remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle based off a Philip K. Dick short story. Colin Farrell plays a guy who pays to give himself memories of being an especially cool guy, only it turns out he was the cool guy all along and must now uncover the conspiracy that his brain was protecting. Kate Beckinsale shows up as his fake wife, Jessica Biel is there as his maybe-new wife, and Bryan Cranston is the bad guy at the end. This could be fun, if not confusing!
It turns out that when you replace the Terminator with just about anyone, it becomes a lot easier to write a serious movie. This remake may trend a little too dramatic — indeed, CGI-aided fight scenes stopped being a novelty around the last Matrix movie — but the original concept remains as intriguing as ever when pulled off correctly, assuming you’ve read the original PKD story and know the crazy places it goes to. (Here’s a link! It’s pretty short, so take a break and treat yourself.)
Speaking of mixed viral marketing messages, check out the movie’s two websites — totalrecall.com, which is an standard promotional site, and totalrekall.com, which mocks up the clinic where Farrell has his memory-changing procedure performed. Such dedication to an unnecessary ideal. And yes, sadly, the (obviously NSFW) three-boobed alien prostitute is nowhere to be seen, though we can eventually dream of her making her way into the final cut. Total Recall is out on August 3.
Sex tapes. They’re like porn films, except dimly lit with less appealing actors. Oh, and the sound is bad. Also, sometimes the bodies are green on account of the infrared, a necessity due to the previously mentioned dim lighting. So unless you have a Kermit fetish or enjoy watching very unattractive people with inept camera sense engage in poorly directed intercourse, the average amateur sex tape probably doesn’t do it for you. That being said, celebrity sex tapes are an entirely different beast with two (or more) backs.
(‘’) That’s mostly because half of the celebrities involved have had porn star-worthy plastic surgery. Or, they are actually having sex with porn stars. From Tonya Harding to Kim Kardashian, sex tapes featuring famous folk have become a mini-industry, sometimes pulling in millions of dollars for both celebrities and their respective video distribution company. In honor of the happy and sometimes promiscuous holiday season, the graphic below spotlights some of the most memorable celebrity sex tapes of the past two decades.
● Want to live like Jack Nicholson? Well, for the summer, you can rent his summer place in the Hamptons for a mere $400,000. [Newsday] ● The Kills singer Alison Mosshart would like everyone to know she didn’t get into a bar brawl with new Dead Weather bandmate Jack White. [NME] ● Morgan Freeman proves he’s a badass in the latest Vogue by doing an editorial with “it” model Lara Stone down in the Big Easy, shot by the great Bruce Weber. [Models]
● Sarah Jessica Parker is concerned over the safety for the surrogate who is carrying her twin girls. After the news broke, the surrogate’s telephone and computer have been hacked into, and she’s received threats. [Yahoo] ● In a new poll, Colin Farrell is the top sex symbol for the gays! The list also included the President Barack Obama and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. [Herald] ● Leonardo DiCaprio is taking singing lessons to perfect his Ol’ Blue Eyes voice, as he is now the front-runner for Martin Scorsese’s Frank Sinatra bio-pic. [thesun.co.uk]
To the dismay of everyone within earshot of my desk, my excitement will not be quelled about how totally major this year’s Cannes Film Festival is going to be. In addition to new awards-contenders from the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Michel Gondry (who didn’t make the list, only because I couldn’t find much on his latest film, L’epine Dans le Coeur), the sun-soaked Riviera festival will premiere Sam Raimi’s return to death and evil, as well as Jane Campion’s first major release since the Kiwi director tried, disastrously, to make Meg Ryan edgy in 2003’s In the Cut. Penelope Cruz hugs a lot of people in Pedro Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces, Ang Lee takes Woodstock and Brad Pitt screams, “Each and every man under my command owes me one hundred Nazi scalps … and I want my scalps!” Oh, and the late Heath Ledger might just get another Oscar. After the jump, the festival’s, if not the year’s, most anticipated films (with trailers).
Agora by Alejandro Amenabar. From the director of The Others and The Sea Inside comes a historical drama, starring Rachel Weisz and Max Minghella, about Hypatia of Alexandria, the Egyptian philosophy professor who fell in love with her slave. Minghella tells BlackBook, exclusively, “Rachel’s performance in the film is, objectively speaking, quite spectacular. Performances in historical films can so easily stray into frigidity, but she injects everything with warmth and modernity, which I really believe is a principle reason why the film is as accessible as it is.” Of his working relationship with Weisz, he adds, “I felt completely comfortable around her. We grew up on the same street in London, and now in New York our apartments are directly opposite one another — which is fantastic for voyeuristic reasons, but also a bizarre coincidence. Maybe it’s our shared geographic history, but I feel very at home around her.”
The White Ribbon by Michael Haneke. While it certainly would have been interesting to watch Haneke eke out another version of Funny Games, the master of torture’s latest project sounds incredible. Courtesy of IMDb: “Strange events happen at a rural school in the north of Germany during the year 1913, which seem to be ritual punishment. Does this affect the school system, and how does the school have an influence on fascism?”
Taking Woodstock by Ang Lee. Of course the director who turned Jewel into a cowgirl, Kevin Kline into a swinger, Eric Bana into a monster, and Jake Gyllenhaal into a pederast would eventually set his sights on Woodstock. Starring an incredible cast that includes Demetri Martin, Emile Hirsch, Live Schreiber, and Jonathan Groff, audiences surely won’t be able to quit it.
Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino. Unless you’ve been living under a very large, Brangelina-proof rock, this one needs no introduction. Still, I’m going to overlook the misspelling, and bypass the backlash by moving ahead to the backlash backlash, and just the love the guts out of this movie. Tarantino and Nazis? It’s almost better than Darryl Hannah and an eye-patch.
Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky by Jan Kounen. Forget Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Tautou for a minute, and watch Anna Mouglalis transform into the gamine Rue Gambon icon as she navigates a relationship with composer and pianist Igor Stravinsky. And keep an eye on Mouglalis: up next, she’ll star in 2010’s Serge Gainsbourg biopic.
Drag Me to Hell by Sam Raimi. Full disclosure: I saw an unfinished version of this. And, as a huge Evil Dead fan, was excited to see what the director of Spider-Man might do with his return to full-on horror. Alison Lohman plays a banker who pisses off a geriatric gypsy, which leads to one of the best catfights ever to appear on film. That said, some of the effects felt a little amusement-park ride-y, but I’ll reserve judgment until watching the final cut.
Broken Embraces by Pedro Almodóvar. This is the return of “Penelepedro,” the unstoppable force of director Pedro Almodóvar and Penelope Cruz, who last captivated audiences with Volver in 2006. It’s got a film noir feel to it, centers on love and a car crash that leaves the protagonist blind, and features a soundtrack that includes Cat Power and Uffie. It sounds near perfect, really.
Map of the Sounds of Tokyo by Isabel Coixet. From My Life Without Me to last year’s Elegy, Coixet has proved herself a masterful storyteller, which is why we can’t wait for “a dramatic thriller that centers on a fish-market employee who doubles as a contract killer.” Tokyo stars Oscar-nominated actress Rinko Kikuchi, who, in my opinion, is one of today’s most revelatory onscreen chameleons.
Bright Star by Jane Campion. Kiwi director Jane Campion is to dark drama what Amy Heckerling is to romantic teen comedy — no matter how tragically their recent films have bombed, I still get excited when their names are attached to new projects. Like this one. Starring Paul Schneider and Abbie Cornish, Bright Star chronicles the love affair between 19th-century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, before Keats’ early death. Actually, I just got sort of bored writing that, but, hey, at least it doesn’t feature Meg Ryan getting her nasty on. Plus, Campion made The Piano, so she’s more than capable of a comeback.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus by Terry Gilliam. Doctor Parnassus might just be the most exciting of all of the offerings at Cannes this year. Yes, the last time Gilliam and Heath Ledger worked together, they created The Brothers Grimm, which was very much so. And yes, Gilliam’s last film, Tideland, was ugly, misanthropic, and bloated. But after Ledger’s tragic death, actors Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law stepped in to play the same character in various dream worlds. Plus, Tom Waits channels the devil, supermodel Lily Cole plays a damsel in distress, and Christopher Plummer transforms into the 1,000-year-old title character. Intriguing is a gross understatement.
Unless you were Slumdog Millionaire, 30 Rock, a little-seen HBO flick about our second President, and Kate Winslet, your wins at last night’s Golden Globes were at best negligible to nonexistent. But judging by the place settings at the round tables, at least everyone got great eats — and contrary to popular belief, great swag! But as with all of these black-tie, gold-statue affairs, the night was definitely not without its non-winners too. So let’s take some time out of our dreary Monday to point and jeer at them, because the losers were just too obvious.
Worst Member(s) of the American Viewing Audience:These members of the Internet haterati who took time out of their lives to champion each of Tina Fey’s losses, no doubt still smarting from what’s-her-name’s electoral defeat.
Worst Presenter: You’d think having become icons in their respective film industries, Tom Cruise and his Indian counterpart would be able to muster up charisma on command, but their teleprompter readings were dry and uninspiring. We’re sorry that he hogged the microphone, Freida.
Worst Presenter They Could’ve Picked to Pair With Rainn Wilson: Blake Lively, who was apparently in character as the ever-airy, poorly articulating Serena van der Woodsen.
Least-Convincing Impression of Someone Recently Diagnosed with Mercury Poisoning: Jeremy Piven, who, much to the chagrin of gossipmongers everywhere, looked positively buoyant.
Worst Nominee: Best Song huckster Miley Cyrus, who was chosen over M.I.A. in this year’s crop of would-bes in that category.
Most Unsuccessful Use of Turquoise:Eva Mendes — which is frustrating as she was otherwise easily one of the best-dressed of the night. But don’t blame Mendes; blame Van Cleef & Arpels.
Most Unsuccessful Use of the House Orchestra: When they clumsily cut off producer Christian Colson as he accepted the award for Best Drama for Slumdog. Where were the violins when celebrities spent an hour thanking their make-up people? Or maybe the strings section just didn’t care for Colson’s filthy language.