Terry Gilliam’s Big New Idea For The Man Who Killed Don Quixote Mk 2
June 29, 2010 By Brendon Connelly
If everything goes to plan, Terry Gilliam will commence production this September on his new, improved, second version of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. It’s a full decade now since cameras first turned on the project, and as the tragicomic documentary Lost in La Mancha so painfully showed, quite quickly stopped turning again.
There’s quite a few differences this time: Robert Duvall is the new Quixote, Ewan McGregor is the new “Sancho Panza figure” Toby Grosini and – as a result of Johnny Depp no longer being involved, I’m sure – the budget has been tightened up a little. Perhaps the most dramatic change, however, is one to the very concept at the heart of the film.
Last time around, it went something like this: Advertising ‘creative’ Toby Grosini is in Spain shooting a Quixote-themed commercial. He’s introduced to a man who claims to be the real Don Quixote. A little later, in the midst of a little trauma, Grosini finds himself transported to Quixote’s Spain by a little gypsy magic – either in reality, or by his imagination. Or indeed, in reality by his imagination.
The first big change has already been reported: McGregor’s Grosini is to be a screenwriter of movies, not an ad man. Here’s the second, fundamental difference though: this time, there’s to be no scenes set in period Spain. All of the scenes with Quixote and Grosini as his Sancho Panza are to be set in the here-and-now.
This has several interesting implications, one of which is that Gilliam’s film is now even more drastically distanced from Joel Silver’s proposed blockbuster version of the story. In the big-budget (most likely dumbed down) version Silver is cooking up, Quixote is “not a mad man” but everything he imagines in the novel is instead rendered as quite literal and real. This is a spectacularly daft idea, removing absolutely everything from the Quixote story that makes it at all interesting. What we’re going to be left with, says Silver, is something akin to those Pirates of the Caribbean films.
With this second iteration of his story, Gilliam’s needle has swung even further in the opposite direction to Silver’s. Gilliam and co-writer Tony Grisoni are leaping headlong into a blend of imagination and delusion without the safety net of “is it or isn’t it real?”
Much of remote and remote-ish Spain could easily pass for the 17th century – which, of course, is what allows for period films and scenes to be shot their in the first place. In the new Gilliam Quixote, Grosini and the Knight will find themselves in locations that allows them, and the audience, to forget that they’re in the 21st century… and then, for example, a modern car will come over the horizon and shatter the illusion. The audience and Toby are joined together in believing what they see, so to speak.
So… has The Man Who Killed Don Quixote stopped being a fantasy film and started being something else? Actually, if you think carefully about this new premise you’ll see why it might be hanging on a fantastical conceit – it’s just not time travel any longer. It’s immortality.
LAST in Sydney in 2001 for the premiere of locally made blockbuster Moulin Rouge, handsome Scot Ewan McGregor has wasted no time catching up with old friends after flying into town on a promotional tour for his latest film The Ghost Writer.
McGregor told Confidential he had spent time with Oscar winning art director Catherine Martin on Sunday prior to his trip down the red carpet at the State Theatre that night.
However he didn’t manage to cross paths with her partner, Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann.
“Baz’s in New York,” he said. “I did catch up with CM (Martin) today so that was nice. Hopefully I’ll see Baz somewhere along the way.”
McGregor showed why he is loved by peers and fans alike at the Sydney premiere of his new political thriller.
Noticing dozens of fans standing out in the winter cold, the actor dodged traffic to cross Market St and sign autographs and chat for 10 minutes.
Steven Soderbergh’s Spy Thriller, Knockout, Becomes Haywire & Now Set For A January 2011 Release
6/11/2010 By Edward Davis
When we first reported about Steven Soderbergh’s spy thriller, Knockout starring mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano, we did say the title of the film was a working one and would probably change, did we not?
And change it has. According to tweets by Jules Asner, Soderbergh’s wife, and other tweets and message board reports at a recent screening, the film is now titled, Haywire and has been set for a January 2011 release.
The film has an incredible supporting cast including Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, Hunger), Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton (who made a last minute sub-in for Dennis Quaid who had to drop out), Michael Angarano, French actor and director Mathieu Kassovitz (Amelie, Spielberg’s Munich).
The film centers on a black ops soldier (Carano) who seeks revenge after she is betrayed and set up during a mission. We read the Lem Dobbs-penned script earlier this year and it is no frills, taut and lean to the bone at just over 90 pages; a riveting and sharp read.
If the picture is screening, has a title and is scheduled, it sounds like it’s basically done and awaiting its release by Lionsgate. The action thriller was shot all over the world including Barcelona, New Mexico and Dublin.
Actor Ewan McGregor in Sydney for the opening of his movie The Ghost Writer. Photo: Brendan Esposito
Ewan McGregor is very fond of Roman Polanski and considers him one of the best directors he has ever worked with. But the British actor does not want to talk about the director’s possible extradition to the US to face a 33-year-old sex charge.
“It just doesn’t involve me,” said the star of Trainspotting, Moulin Rouge and three Star Wars movies in Sydney today.
McGregor, who stars in Polanski’s new political thriller The Ghost Writer, admits there is a reason for his reticence. The 76-year-old filmmaker has asked to be talked about as a director “and not make any comment because it’s better for him if we don’t”.
In The Ghost Writer, which premieres at the Sydney Film Festival on Sunday, McGregor plays a writer hired to pen the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister. Polanski finished the movie while under house arrest in Switzerland, where he faces possible extradition for sentencing over illegal sex with a 13-year-old in 1977.
McGregor is far from reserved when it comes to the real-life parallels in a movie that has a fictional ex-British PM, played by Pierce Brosnan, accused of war crimes for authorising the seizure of suspected terrorists who are tortured by the CIA.
“It’s pretty obvious that it’s making comment about Tony Blair and Tony Blair’s involvement in the Iraq war,” he said. “The fact that rendition flights and ‘did he torture people on behalf of the American government?’ and all of these things even since we made the film have been coming out ... [It’s] almost life imitating art.”
McGregor said the movie urged “that our politicians should be responsible for their actions and held accountable for those actions and I think that’s a good thing.”
The 39-year-old actor said he had reservations about the lack of accountability for both the British and American leaders over the treatment of suspected terrorists.
”If you break the law, you break the law. And because you’re the Prime Minister of Great Britain or the president of America, you shouldn’t be above the law. I think Bush has just retired to the golf course - he’s just off - and will never be held accountable for any of the stuff he’s done and I think that’s not right.”
McGregor said he remained troubled about Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war.
“We’ve never got to the bottom of it – have we? – of what we were told and why we were told we were going into those wars and the reality of the situation, in that there were no weapons of mass destruction ... There’s been no explanation. I think we deserve to have one.”
The BBC has enlisted Ewan McGregor and his RAF pilot brother Colin to recreate the experience of World War II fighter pilots for a major season to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
The brothers will fly across the skies of England in Spitfires in the one-off BBC1 documentary, The Real Battle Of Britain, guided by surviving pilots, radar operators and ground-crew from the war.
The 90-minute documentary sees Lion Television take to the skies again following its aerial geographical history series Britain From Above. BBC history and business commissioning editor Martin Davidson has assembled a series of programmes across the BBC to mark the September anniversary.
Lion has also teamed up with Manray Media for BBC2’s 75-minute drama-doc First Light, which draws on the memoirs of 19-year-old pilot Geoffrey Wellum.
It will be accompanied by Maya Vision International’s Battle of Britain: The Real Story, in which writer and historian James Holland draws on first-hand testimonies from British and German pilots, and BBC1’s three-part series Dig 1940. The latter is produced by Northern Irish specialist factual indie 360 Production and sees Jules Hudson lead a team excavating wartime artefacts and aircraft wreckage.
BBC4’s coverage includes Wellington Bomber (Peter Williams Television) and Spitfire Women (Love West). The corporation will also air a Westminster Abbey memorial service as part of the season.
In October this year, J.A. Bayona will be shooting his new movie “The Impossible” here in Thailand. The story is based on a true account of a family who stayed in Phang-Nga when the tsunami hit in 2004. The movie will star big actors such as Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts.
The director is now looking for “real” Scandinavians based in Bangkok to play small speaking parts in the movie, and therefore he is opening up a casting office at Twin Peaks Residence, Sukhumvit Soi 17, room 302. People of all ages are encouraged to audition for a part in the movie.
If interested, please send your photo to the casting office so that the casters can select which character you should try out for. You will then receive a copy of the lines and be booked for an audition.
J.A. Bayona is a Spanish movie director. He is well known worldwide and won several awards for his latest movie “The Orphanage.”
Ewan McGregor visits a ‘Wawa Wasi’ childcare centre in Ventanilla, a shanty town in Peru, to find out how money raised by Soccer Aid is helping UNICEF help children. Donate to Soccer Aid at unicef.org.uk/ewansoccer.
Nazi puppets! Twitch has debuted the first trailer for the new puppets/claymation/stop-motion animation film Jackboots on Whitehall. The film presents a satirical alternative history of World War II where the Nazis seize London and England must band together to prevent a full on invasion. We featured some spiffy photos of the film earlier this year, but haven’t heard or seen much about it since then. That said, this looks totally awesome, in a crazy absurd Team America kind of way. It features the voices of Ewan McGregor, Rosamund Pike, Tom Wilkinson, Alan Cumming (as Hitler!) and Timothy Spall. Check it out!
Court halts “I Love You Phillip Morris” release. Will the movie ever come out?
Wed Jun 02, 2010 By Eriq Gardner and Matthew Belloni
EXCLUSIVE: A California District Court judge has issued a preliminary injunction preventing the U.S. release of the indie comedy “I Love You Phillip Morris,” starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor.
The Glenn Ficarra/John Requa film, about a married man who gets into a car crash, discovers he’s gay and goes on a crime spree that eventually lands him in jail, was produced by French movie studio EuropaCorp, which licensed domestic rights to Consolidated Pictures Group. We saw the film at its premiere at Sundance in 2009, where it received a warm but not overwhelming response. Buyers weren’t exactly jumping at the difficult subject matter, but upstart distributor Consolidated took U.S. rights and planned to release it, first in February, then March, April, and then July.
However, the Luc Besson-backed EuropaCorp says it never got the full $3 million advance that Consolidated agreed to pay last year. An agreement between the two parties was amended in February to allow Consolidated to pay in three installments, but EuropaCorp says it still didn’t receive any money.
In April, EuropaCorp rescinded its distribution agreement and filed a lawsuit against Consolidated alleging breach of contract and copyright infringement. The studio demanded the return of the movie and marketing materials. Gossip sites suggested they were looking for another distributor.
In response, Consolidated argued that EuropaCorp hadn’t delivered the film on time, had breached its agreement by entering into distribution agreements with Virgin Atlantic and other airlines, and that its failure to pay wasn’t a sufficient material breach. Consolidated requested a stay so it could hash out the dispute in an arbitration proceeding at the IFTA.
Now, in her decision, California District Court Judge Dale Fischer says EuropaCorp is likely to succeed on the merits of its claims and portrays the defendant’s arguments as weak. As a result, the judge has granted EuropaCorp’s request for an injunction provided it put up a $500,000 bond pending the ultimate outcome of the case. The dispute will now head to the IFTA arbitration, hopefully within the next two months, we’re told.
“This was only a preliminary ruling pending a final determination by the arbitrator,” says Consolidated’s lead attorney Robert Chapman. “We believe the arbitrator will find in favor of my clients.”
Lawyers for EuropaCorp didn’t respond to a request for comment. UPDATE: Europa attorney Dale Kinsella tells us the following: “No amount of spin from Consolidated can mask the fact that Europa persuaded a federal district judge that Consolidated breached the contract by never having paid a dime for this picture, and that they had therefore no right to claim to be a distributor or claim to distribute the film, period. Nothing in the judge’s order in any way effects Europa’s right to distribute the film from this point forward.”
Regardless of the outcome, the film won’t be in theaters next month as planned. In fact, the movie’s website has even disappeared, and we’re told October is now Consolidate’s target release date, just in time for Oscar season.
Ewan McGregor Says Man Who Killed Don Quixote Not Confirmed Yet
May 21 2010 By Adam Rosenberg
Earlier this week we learned that Ewan McGregor will star opposite Robert Duvall in “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” McGregor was on the red carpet at the 30th anniversary celebration for “Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back” on Wednesday night, and MTV contributor Todd Gilchrist was there to ask about his feelings on “Quixote,” a project which has been destined for -- and failed to reach -- big screens a number of times.
“I try not to think about the pressure and the scary side of what you’re about to embark on, but just think of it as being a challenge,” McGregor explained. “If [‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’] comes about, which it may -- and I certainly hope it does, because I’ve wanted to work with [director Terry Gilliam] for a long time -- to play that part would be very, very exciting.”
“Which it may,” he said. This is a bit of a backpedal from the earlier news: Empire reported that McGregor confirmed to them at Cannes that he’d landed the gig. Probably just a case here of a smart actor being cautious with his words, but worth noting nonetheless.
More worrisome is Gilliam’s history with “Quixote.” The director famously tried to bring the story of the delusional Spaniard to big screens, with Johnny Depp in McGregor’s Quixote sidekick role. The production fell apart for a variety of reasons, many of which are documented in the stellar documentary, “Lost in La Mancha.”
McGregor is aware of the history -- how could he not be? -- but he’s not letting himself become overly concerned with it. “I won’t worry too much about the pressure of it or what went before,” he said, grinning widely before adding, “I’ll just knock on wood and hope it’s not the cursed project that everyone says it is.”
The beloved second film of the Star Wars saga -- Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back -- celebrated its 30th anniversary at a star-studded screening at the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood on Wednesday, May 19th. Aside from being an opportunity to see the movie in flawless big screen presentation, it was also a chance to raise valuable funds for a good cause -- part of the Empire Gives Back charitable initiative.
“I want to thank you all for being here,” said Harrison Ford to the audience in the sold-out auditorium, who together raised over $40,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “I want to thank George [Lucas] for his generous impulse. The notion of using the anniversary of Star Wars to make a number of contributions to really worthy causes is something I’m very proud of him for doing, and I’m very happy to be here in support of St. Jude.”
The event marked a rare Star Wars event appearance by Ford, who was joined by fellow big screen saga luminaries Billy Dee Williams (Lando), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), and Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan). From the animated realm of The Clone Wars, James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan), Catherine Taber (Padmé), Matt Lanter (Anakin), Jaime King (Aurra Sing). Cary Silver (producer) and Dave Filoni (supervising director) were in attendance. It being a red carpet Hollywood event, the screening drew many big names, including directors Jon Favreau and Christopher Nolan, and musicians Mark Hoppus (Blink 182), Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy) and Ashlee Simpson.
Muse of Fire: documentary aims to show Shakespeare isn’t dull
By Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor Cannes 17 May 2010
Dan Poole and Giles Terera persuaded Britain’s finest acting talents, including Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Ian McKellen and Ewan McGregor, to take part in the film.
Their often comic odyssey took them from Stratford-upon-Avon to Elsinore Castle in Denmark by way of Hollywood and an Irish prison where the inmates are encouraged to perform Shakespeare plays.
The film, Muse Of Fire, was self-funded to the tune of nearly £100,000.
Poole and Terera, two actors who met at drama school and had never made a film together before, are hoping it will change the way people think about Shakespeare.
“Growing up, I didn’t feel Shakespeare was particularly well delivered to us at school. When I got to drama school I had a great teacher and then it all made sense,” said Poole.
“I have a total passion for it and I thought it would be fantastic to put this production together and answer questions for people – to make learning about Shakespeare a fun experience.
“It is actually really good fun once you get past the ‘revered status’ thing that Shakespeare has after being hijacked by academia.”
Terera, who has appeared at the National Theatre and recently finished filming London Boulevard with Keira Knightley, said the idea for the film came to him after a conversation with a theatre veteran about Shakespeare. “I knew that it was going to be a film, not a book or theatre. And it was going to be a story about two friends who go on this huge adventure trying to learn as much as they can about performing Shakespeare. It would be an emotional experience as much as an educational one.”
The first person who agreed to appear in the film was Sir Ian McKellen, and the project has snowballed since. Securing interviews with the stars did not come easy – setting up a meeting with Ewan McGregor took 18 months because the actor was so busy.
Other famous names who agreed to give the pair their time include Baz Luhrmann, who reinvented Romeo and Juliet in a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes; Jude Law, who invited them to join him at Elsinore Castle, where he was performing Hamlet; plus Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Christopher Eccleston, Sir Trevor Nunn, Brian Cox, Alan Rickman and Fiona Shaw.
Dames Helen Mirren and Judi Dench are the last names on the wish list and will record their contributions in the coming weeks.
The secret to getting so many noted actors in their low-budget film was “to be persistent without being obnoxious”, according to Poole, who appeared in Jez Butterworth’s acclaimed production of Jerusalem at the Royal Court.
Raising money for the project was not easy. “It’s a self-funded film. We are relying on people’s good will. A couple of friends put in a little bit of money to help us and we’ve not paid ourselves for our time,” Poole said. “But we don’t really mind about making the money back. It’s about the work, not the money.”
The pair have been in Cannes for the past few days to spread word about the film and hope to submit it to the Sundance festival.
At Cannes last night, Terry Gilliam told Empire he’s recast the role Johnny Depp was to play in his The Man Who Killed Don Quixote before God smote him and sent floods to ruin all the sets: Ewan McGregor will tempt fate by starring as an advertising executive who accidentally travels back in time to seventeenth-century Spain (Robert Duvall was previously cast as Don Quixote). Stay safe, Ewan!
McGregor, Blunt and Thomas Go Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
May 12, 2010
From The Hollywood Reporter: Lasse Hallstrom will direct Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, which will star Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas. Oscar-winner Simon Beaufoy wrote the script. The film will is based on Paul Torday’s novel, which is described as follows:
Dr. Alfred Jones is a henpecked, slightly pompous middle-aged scientist at the National Centre for Fisheries Excellence in London when he is approached by a mysterious sheikh about an outlandish plan to introduce the sport of salmon fishing into the Yemen. Dr. Jones refuses, but the project, however scientifically absurd, catches the eye of British politicians, who pressure him to work on it. His diaries of the Yemen Salmon Project, from beginning to glorious, tragic end, form the narrative backbone of this novel; interspersed throughout are government memos, e-mails, letters, and interview transcripts that deftly capture the absurdity of bureaucratic dysfunction.
With a wickedly wonderful cast of characters--including a weasel-like spin doctor, a missing soldier and his intrepid fiancée, and Dr. Jones’s own devilish wife--Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is the whimsical story of an unlikely hero who discovers true love, finds himself first a pawn and then a victim of political spin, and learns to believe in the impossible.
The 2010 Sydney Film Festival is almost here and “Twilight” fans all over the country are on the edge of their seat waiting for the announcement of the line-up of premieres which will take place in Sydney.
Earlier this month Hollywood Treatment announced Kristen Stewart and co-star Dakota Fanning will head down under for promotional duties for “The Runaways” in Sydney, well... now we’re told the film is scheduled to premiere on Wednesday 9th June at Sydney’s State Theatre.
Barry Otto, Miranda Otto, Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland), Ryan Kwanten, Ewan McGregor, Jonah Hill and Chris Morris also confirmed to attend the Sydney Film Festival 2-14 June 2010
Ewan McGregor is flanked by his wife Ève Mavrakis (left) and incoming “This Week” anchor Christiane Amanpour. Photo by Nick Khazal/Vi Photography
If Friday and Saturday of White House Correspondents’ weekend is for dining and partying, Sunday provides the transition to peace and quiet, as the hoopla of the previous two nights gives way to calm and civilized brunches. For years, John McLaughlin’s brunch at the Hay-Adams hotel was the only game in town. But this year, a new party joined the mix: POLITICO owner Robert Allbritton and his wife, Elena, opened their stunning Georgetown mansion to a wide swath of VIPs eager for one more round of socializing before Washington’s annual prom comes to a close.
The brunch was hosted in the Allbritton’s lush garden, which was adorned with huge floral centerpieces and topiary. Guests found a reprieve from the humidity in an air-conditioned and carpeted tent, while others enjoyed the long-awaited spring warmth around tables arranged outside.
Hors d’oeuvres arrived on silver trays along with mimosas, champagne, wine and bloody marys. Guests also sampled other brunch delicacies, including a fritatta and mango and crab salad. A crepe station was a crowd favorite.
As for the conversation, guests participated in much post-game analysis of the comic routines delivered by President Barack Obama and Jay Leno at Saturday’s dinner.
“He was terrific!” declared Debbie Dingell of the president.
“I thought he was great!” seconded HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Perhaps no one knows better how Obama did than Bloomberg’s Ed Chen, who got to sit next to the president thanks to his position as head of the White House Correspondents’ Association. Chen said that Obama brought up over dinner some of the concerns raised by White House reporters with regards to access and coverage. Obama also confessed to Chen that he hates being stared at by everyone at these events. Chen, it turns out, had quite an interesting weekend: Not only did he get some major face-time with the president, he also found out Sunday morning that his son had gotten engaged.
Sen. Scott Brown, dressed summer casual at the brunch — in khakis and a striped polo — said that he found his first White House Correspondents’ Dinner to be, er, interesting.
“Man, it’s crazy,” said Brown, who was accompanied by his wife Gail Huff and his two daughters. “It was fun, but I’d still rather be watching the Celtics game.”
Brown’s daughter Arianna, a student at Syracuse, said she enjoyed the dinner and how out of the ordinary the whole event was.
“It was such an interesting night,” she said. “There are all these interesting mixes of celebrities and politicians that make for such a unique time.”
Brown’s eldest daughter, Ayla, said the evening topped her real prom in high school. “The second time around was much better,” she said.
She also said what most others did: Jay Leno could have done better.
Ewan McGregor and MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews. Photo by Nick Khazal/Vi Photography
Ewan McGregor, the Scottish star of “Star Wars,” “Moulin Rouge” and “Trainspotting,” said he thoroughly enjoyed the dinner — especially being in the same room as Obama.
“It was quite magical. I felt the hairs on my neck stand up,” McGregor said.
McGregor and his wife didn’t get to meet the president, but they vowed to return to Washington in the near future to tour the West Wing. (They did drive around to do a little night tour, seeing all the monuments lit up, they told POLITICO.)
HHS Secretary Sebelius said she was glad that she got to meet Morgan Freeman and Dennis Quaid, but mentioned that she didn’t care so much about Justin Bieber.
“I’ve raised two 15 year olds, I don’t need another,” she said.
There was also plenty of chatter at this brunch about Obama’s mention of POLITICO.
“Boy, that was unexpected,” said one attendee.
“I bet you POLITICO guys loved that,” said another.
Other notable guests included: Rep. John Dingell, Arianna Huffington, Bill Sammon, David Bohrman, Wolf Blitzer, Norah O’Donnell and Geoff Tracy, Betsy Fischer, Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn, Chris and Kathleen Matthews, Bret and Amy Baier, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Tammy Haddad and Ted Greenberg, the Jonas Brothers, T. Boone Pickens, Jon Karl, Lloyd Grove, Howard Fineman, Michael Feldman, Savannah Guthrie, Christiane Amanpour, Ed Henry, Jake Tapper, Chris Cillizza, Rodell Mollineau, Katie Couric, Melody Barnes, Gary Locke, Dag Vega, Anita McBride, Juleanna Glover, Josh Earnest, Natalie Wyeth, Mark Leibovich, Jim Courtovich, Eric Schmidt, David Gregory, Gwen Ifill, John King and Dana Bash, Wayne and Catherine Reynolds, and Charlie Rose.
The Mayflower Renaissance in Washington, D.C. got an instant face lift last night as Hollywood and D.C.’s brightest descended on its famed Grand Ballroom.
The second best address in D.C. has thrown several inaugural balls throughout its 85-year old history as well as hosted guests from Monica Lewinsky, to Elliot George Fox Spitzer and Muhammed Ali.
Fast forward to 2010 and history was made once again as Capitol File magazine, Renaissance Hotels and Bing hosted the annual White House Correspondent’s Dinner after party. Guests like Kim Kardashian and Ewan McGregor couldn’t stop gushing about President Obamas comedic chops at the Dinner. And everyone agreed that the Mayflower was THE place to be in D.C.
Summit has added a second Naomi Watts feature to its release slate, with the announcement that it has picked up most worldwide rights to “The Impossible,” in which Watts will co-star with Ewan McGregor.
Last week, Summit also acquired North American rights, along with several other territories, to Doug Liman’s “Fair Game,” in which Watts stars as outed CIA undercover operative Valerie Plame Wilson opposite Sean Penn.
While “Game” is completed and will debut at the Festival de Cannes, “Impossible,” which Juan Antonio Bayona is directing from a script by Sergio G. Sanchez, begins filming in August in Alicante, Spain before moving to Thailand in October.
It is based on a true story that took place during the 2004 tsunami that hit the coast of Thailand. It is being produced by Belen Atienza, Lopez Lavigne and Alvaro Augustin for Spanish production companies Apaches Entertainment and Telecino Cinema, which are coproducing.
Bayona and Sanchez previously collaborated on “The Orphanage,” which Bayona directed, Sanchez wrote and Atienza and Augustin executive produced.
Summit has acquired worldwide rights to “The Impossible,” with the exception of Spain, where Warners will distribute. Summit International will begin selling rights to the film outside of North America at Cannes.
David Garrett, Summer International president, and Michael Schaefer, Summit senior vp acquisitions and co-productions, will oversee the project for the company.
Watts is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment. McGregor is repped by UTA, which also reps Apaches, and U.K. agent Lindy King of United Agents. Bayona is represented by WME.
The guests of NBC Universal/NBC News/MSNBC for the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on May 1st are: Alec Baldwin, Angela Kinsey - NBC’s “The Office”, Anna Kendrick - Academy Award Nominee for “Up in the Air”, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Moss - “Mad Men”, Ewan McGregor, Fred Armisen, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Bon Jovi, Lindsey Vonn, Mariska Hargitay.
Alan Greenspan, Frm. Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Carol Browner, Director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, Cindy Chang, National Security Council, Honorable Deborah Hersman, Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board, Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Jake Siewert, former White House press secretary, Former Gov. Jon Corzine, Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Melissa Winter, Mrs. Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, Rocco Landesman, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Amb. Susan Rice, T. Boone Pickens, entrepreneur, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President
I Love You Phillip Morris Taken Away From Distributor, Pushed Back To Fall
2010-04-14 By Katey Rich
We should have known that the trouble with getting a release date for I Love You Phillip Morris wasn’t just about the gay content. Today Deadline Hollywood is reporting that the film’s financier EuropaCorp has taken away distribution rights from Consolidated Pictures Group, claiming the company has not met any of their “minimum guarantee,” and they feared that Consolidated could not pay the $8 million required to promote the film’s scheduled July 30 release.
Consolidate founder Timothy Patrick Cavanaugh says that all is not lost, and “we plan to distribute this film.” But the bad finances situation is becoming a familiar one in independent film distribution these days, as more and more films struggle to find distribution and wind up in bed with companies that aren’t nearly organized enough, or even honest enough, to handle the responsibilities. There’s no telling exactly what has caused Consolidated’s financial malaise, but it’s looking like enough for them to lose the film entirely: apparently Newmarket Film is in negotiations to pick up the film for a fall release.
As you may have been reading, I Love You Phillip Morris was picked up by Consolidated about a year ago, and has been assigned a generous handful of release dates throughout the spring; it had been scheduled for a while to open later this month, and a few days ago was pushed back to July 30. The film has already opened in Europe to relatively good reviews, but sadly, it’s still totally unclear whether or not we’ll ever get a look at it on these shores.
$23,000 for a walk-on role alongside top actors in “Much Ado About Nothing”
As reported earlier, Ewan will take part in a Shakespeare charity reading of “Much Ado About Nothing” on April 12.
Someone bid $23,100 for a walk-on role. They will have a small speaking part in the play, they will participate in the play’s rehearsal. In addition, they will receive a ticket for a guest to watch the play on April 12 along with admittance to the exclusive After Party with the cast, a photo with the entire cast and a copy of script signed by all of the performers.
Audiences hoping to love Phillip Morris, or at least watch Jim Carrey loving Phillip Morris, will have to wait a little longer. Or maybe much longer.
Consolidated Pictures Group, the start-up that was poised to release the Sundance title, has postponed the release once again. And this time it’s indefinite.
The movie, which premiered at Sundance in 2009 and eventually played the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, was originally set to be released March 26. But about a month before that date, the company delayed the release date to April 30, when it was supposed to begin a limited run before expanding several weeks later.
Now a spokeswoman for the film confirms that the movie has been delayed again and in fact won’t be coming out at the end of the month. She adds that there is no release date scheduled at this time.
The movie, which comes from Bad Santa writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa and focuses on a love affair between a con man (Carrey) and his cellmate (Ewan McGregor, playing the titular Phillip Morris), drew mixed reviews on the festival circuit. But it did have its champions, who admired Carrey’s willingness to take on difficult (and partly true) subject matter.
Movies can sit on the shelf without a distributor for years, but it’s rare for a title with such high-profile stars and a fair dollop of media attention not to see the light of day.
CPG, the start-up that released movies such as the indie wine-making drama Bottle Shock, picked up the title after it failed to find a buyer at Sundance. The acquisition gave hope to some that the independent distribution market wasn’t as bleak as some said, but the postponement suggests that it may, in fact, be that bleak after all.
Ewan McGregor To Lead Star-Studded Charity Shakespeare Reading
April 2, 2010
The Shakespeare Center Los Angeles, a professional and community-based non-profit theater company, is celebrating its 25th anniversary serving LA by creating accessible theater that builds community in innovative, unexpected ways.
With the recent budget cuts to the Los Angeles Unified School District’s arts programs, the Shakespeare Center Los Angeles’ actors and youth programming have become invaluable tools for promoting participation in live theater and the other performing arts with the city’s youth.
2010 also marks the 20th anniversary of Simply Shakespeare, the organization’s annual fundraising event, and in celebration of this milestone, co-chairs Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks and a star-studded cast, including Ewan McGregor, Helen Hunt and Dulé Hill, will perform a reading of “Much Ado About Nothing,” under the direction of Ben Donenberg, founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare Center Los Angeles. In addition, Jackson Browne will perform during the show, along with Sara and Sean Watkins.
As part of this successful fundraiser, Shakespeare Center Los Angeles is auctioning off a speaking role in the show, where the winner will participate in rehearsal, gain admission to the VIP post-show party and take a group photo with the cast, including Wilson, Hanks and Browne, which the cast will all sign. The auction is now open and will close on April 4 at 7:00pm PDT.
All proceeds from the eBay auction support Shakespeare Center Los Angeles and its nationally replicated summer youth employment and enrichment initiatives targeting young people living under severe economic strains.
Shakespeare Center Los Angeles’ Simply Shakespeare adaptation of “Much Ado About Nothing” is made possible by the support of Deutsche Bank. The reading will take place on Monday, April 12th at 7:30pm at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Tickets cost $350 and $500 and can be purchased through Lauran Huff at Levy Pazanti Associates. To reserve your tickets, call 310-201-5033 or email Lauran@lpaevents.com.
For more information on the Simply Shakespeare fundraiser or Shakespeare Center Los Angeles, please visit ShakespeareCenter.org.
McGregor is in London on a flying visit en route to Berlin, where he’ll be gliding up the red carpet for the world premiere of one of the most contentious movies of the year, The Ghost. The film would always have been controversial, given its plot concerning a former British Prime Minister facing the threat of war-crimes charges over a Middle East invasion: writer Robert Harris was once close to Tony Blair’s inner circle and doesn’t deny the story has characters based on Blair, his wife and Cabinet ministers.
The fictional PM has a former aide who died in sinister circumstances, with the title’s “ghost” referring to both the dead man and to McGregor’s character, who is ghostwriting the PM’s autobiography. His research unearths evidence of illegal rendition, torture and possible murder. It’s disturbing - and thrilling - stuff.
But the real controversy arose in post-production, when the film’s 76-year-old director Roman Polanski was arrested on a warrant dating back to his 1977 trial for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. McGregor was in London putting some finishing touches to the sound for The Ghost when he heard the news.
“At first I thought it was a joke,” he says. “Roman was in a studio in Paris and we were talking to each other and he was on good form. The next day I got a text from the producer saying he’d been arrested. I really did think he was kidding. I felt sad for Roman, because he’s an old man who I’m incredibly fond of. I also felt bad for his kids that their dad had been locked up for 23 hours a day. It’s an awful trauma for them.”
The Polish film-maker, who made Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby, completed the film under house arrest in Switzerland, where he’s still waiting to find out whether he’ll be extradited to the U.S.
“In terms of the actual case,” McGregor says, “it doesn’t matter what I think, and I don’t believe I’m accountable for it. I don’t think that by working with him as a director I’m condoning what happened 30 years ago.”
The actor predicts, though, that wherever he goes on the long publicity trek for The Ghost, the questions about Polanski will keep coming.
“We’ve started in France, where it’s mild, but I can just see that it’s going to be trickier the further away we go. By the time we get to LA, I’ll need my helmet on...”
By an eerie coincidence, Polanski’s situation is mirrored in the film by that of the Prime Minister, Adam Lang, played by Pierce Brosnan. Lang can’t visit certain countries for fear of being arrested for war crimes. Polanski hasn’t been able to return to the U.S. for 30 years because of the outstanding charges against him, and was eventually arrested en route to a film festival in Zurich from one of his homes in France.
“A lot of scenes rang true with Roman’s situation,” McGregor says. “There’s a scene where Lang is asking ‘Where can I go?’ when he knows he could end up in The Hague to stand trial. He goes through a list of possibilities, because he could be extradited from certain countries. And when we were shooting, we were all aware that this is Roman’s situation. He can go to this country but not that one, or that one. And although we didn’t talk to him about it, and Robert wrote the part before he knew Roman was going to direct, it does ring quite loud that it’s a reference to his own life. And since he’s been arrested it’s amplified. So it’s an odd piece in that way.”
The film can clearly be read as a savage critique of Tony Blair and his relationship with the U.S. in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Robert Harris describes the story as ‘midway between reality and fiction’. Brosnan’s performance isn’t an impersonation of Blair, but McGregor believes the message is clear.
“I think there are too many similarities to Blair to ignore it. When you look at the plot, the ghostwriter thinks Lang may have been involved with the CIA, and was making decisions for America’s benefit. That’s obviously far-fetched. But there are comments on the Iraq war, the torture techniques, and it’s very pertinent.”
McGregor says politicians in general leave him cold. He’s now living in Los Angeles, and even though he says he’ll vote in the forthcoming general election, he’s not sure for which party.
“I just find myself completely uninterested in them. I can’t read about them. I can’t open a newspaper to a page that’s about politics. I don’t care. I’ve never been interested in politics. I’m interested in how the world works to a certain extent, and I’ve certainly got opinions about things that are right and wrong, but I don’t believe in politics and politicians. It just seems to be a game to me.
“My thing about politicians is that ultimately they’re never really accountable for what they do. I think that’s awful. No one goes, ‘Wait a minute, Tony - before you go, don’t you think we have a right to know about this, this and this?’
“People are dead, there’s blood on the streets, and is anyone accountable? I was pleased that Blair had to sit down and answer for his decisions. And saddened Bush never will. Bush has retired to the golf course. I cannot stomach that. It’s not right. Blair hasn’t said sorry or, by all accounts, made any comment to the kids who lost their arms and legs and eyes. Probably thousands of kids - and he hasn’t ever visited them. I don’t know how you live with yourself, really. But then he ended up doing after-dinner speaking, which is hell in itself, so it’s fair play really,” he laughs.
The actor says he will vote “because I think it’s a responsible thing to do. But what happened with Blair? Didn’t we have such high hopes? All those years where I’d only ever known Tory-dom, and then... nothing really changed, did it? Silly things changed, like parking and the congestion charge, but nothing that made a difference. You get elected and you immediately start trading off your ideals for votes.”
McGregor met Blair a few years ago, in his role as a Unicef ambassador at a charity event organised by Robbie Williams.
“I missed out on that period when people like Noel Gallagher and all the coolest people were invited over to show how groovy the Government was, but they had a thing at Number 10 for Soccer Aid, which Robbie organised, and I met him there. I felt he was like any other politician I’d met.”
He slips into a passable Blair voice and holds his hand out. “‘Hello, nice to meet you...’ And someone behind him was whispering, ‘Ewan McGregor.’
“There was a veneer of remembering what his aide had told him three minutes before about who everyone was, just ticking through the pieces of information he’d been fed. I sympathise to an extent, because it must be a nightmare. I felt the same when I met Prince Charles once. It was at the premiere for Moulin Rouge and I was standing next to Nicole (Kidman). He came down the line and got to me - and I’d been making British movies for probably eight years at this point - and he said, ‘And what did you do on the film?’”
McGregor bursts out laughing. “I pointed to Nicole and said, ‘I played her boyfriend.’ I think he just wanted to get on to Nicole, really.”
We’re chatting in the library of the Soho Hotel, where McGregor is staying overnight. He’s dressed in dark blue jeans with black boots and a big, navy blue turtle-neck sweater. His light blond hair is cut in a trendily choppy style, and he’s lean and clearly in good shape. He’s relaxed and affable and answers questions easily, even when we touch on potentially tricky subjects.
McGregor was once a party animal who enjoyed all that London’s nightlife had to offer. He clearly felt it was getting out of hand, and hasn’t touched alcohol for years.
“This November it’ll be ten years since I gave up, and I don’t really miss it.”
He pauses, running a hand through his hair.
“Actually, occasionally I do. There are times when I think about it, but I always know that when I’m thinking about it there’s something wrong. The problem isn’t that I want a drink; it’s that for me - as it is for a lot of other people - drink was a way to dull the pain of something else. For people who drink a lot it’s a way of not dealing with emotions and feelings.”
What was he avoiding?
“I think it was growing up. It’s hard to say without making it sound dramatic, which it isn’t. I was just somebody who always liked to drink a lot. So now when I think about drinking I ask myself, OK, what is it? It’s not really that you’re thirsty for a beer, because you haven’t had a beer for ten years. It’s often something else that’s bothering me.”
McGregor, 38, grew up in Crieff, Perthshire and his parents, Carol and James, are both teachers. For the last 15 years he has been happily married to French production designer Ève Mavrakis, and they have three daughters, Clara, 14, Esther, eight, and Jamiyan, also eight, who was adopted. He has an older brother, Colin, an ex-RAF fighter pilot who served in Iraq. The brothers are close, although they disagreed over the British Government’s decision to go to war in the Gulf.
“He was very gung-ho about wanting to go there, and I found that upsetting. Because I’m trained to be an actor, I was in a different camp on that situation, and I find that quite difficult to reconcile. But I learned to appreciate that that was the path he took. I respect that, and I respect all our forces.
“I went out to Basra to meet some of them and I’m full of respect for their work. I don’t think it should be any other way. I worried about Colin more later on, because - and I don’t know if I should say this - I think he felt that they shouldn’t be there. I thought that was scarier than anything, the idea of being out there and flying and putting yourself at risk if you didn’t know why you were there. I thought that was pretty hardcore.”
McGregor swells with pride when he describes how his brother took him for a ride in a Tornado jet.
“We went barrelling down the runway and I was in the seat directly behind him, and because you can’t see what’s coming you can’t prepare for the G-force. You’re wearing a G-suit that inflates and pushes on your body, and it pushes the blood back. Without it you’d just pass out, as the G-force is unbelievable. It’s horrible.
“I was a little sick, but not too much. We did a lot of low-level stuff and then he went up to 2,000ft, over the clouds, and I started to sweat and I was thinking, ‘Conquer it, conquer it!’ I managed to be all right, but then he asked me to change the frequency on the radio, and as I put my head down he veered off. I couldn’t get my head back up, and it’s horrible when you can’t see. I instantly threw up. When you land, you’ve got your little bag of sick on your lap, and the canopy comes up and the ground-crew fella comes up the ladder and he says, ‘OK?’ And you have to hand him the bag.”
McGregor is a proud Scotsman, but clearly not one who believes in Scottish independence. He’s also wary of making comments about his homeland while based thousands of miles away. He feels that Sean Connery, who has campaigned for the SNP but lives mostly as a tax exile in the Bahamas, should keep his nose out, too.
“I once got involved in it by accident by being flippant at a press conference in Cannes when I was drunk and I said something about Connery, which was just a stupid thing, and I won’t drum it up again. But overnight I found myself on the front of the newspapers as the anti-independent Scotland guy, and I’m neither. I’ve not lived in Scotland since I was 17 years old and I wouldn’t dare to say to people in Scotland how they should feel about it, and neither should Connery, in my view. He’s lived abroad for far longer than I have.
“I like the idea of Great Britain. Scottish-English relations aren’t good north of the border. There’s a kind of anti-Englishness - or there was when I left - that I didn’t like, and I can’t imagine that independence would make that any better. There, I’ve got involved in it by saying I’m not involved in it.”
As for the future, there may be another epic motorbike ride with Charley Boorman at some point, but for now he’s focusing on films. Last year he was busier than ever, filming The Ghost straight after The Men Who Stare At Goats with George Clooney. There were reports that when the James Bond producers were looking for a new 007, they approached McGregor to see if he was interested, before eventually choosing Daniel Craig.
“No they didn’t,” he laughs. “I mean, they probably spoke to everybody about it, but they never offered it to me.”
It’s a shame, I say, because he’d make a great Bond.
Ewan McGregor’s representative has shot down reports the Scottish actor is set to play the lead in Madonna’s new movie about late British royal King Edward VIII. The “Material Girl” is stepping behind the camera to direct a historical drama based on the former King, who abdicated in 1936 so he could marry twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.
The “Trainspotting” star was reported to have signed up to play the lead in the upcoming movie. But now a spokesperson for the actor has dismissed the claims, telling Gossip Cop that McGregor is “not doing” the film.
Ewan McGregor’s involvement in Madonna’s “W.E.” first swirled after Perez Hilton reported the story. The blogger wrote, “McGregor will play Edward VIII who abdicated the throne in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. We absolutely adore her as a musical artist, but we’re not holding our breath for a hit film. But maybe she’ll prove us wrong with these casting choices?”
It looks like Ewan did this small part completely under the radar (or the information posted is wrong) or perhaps he was in the first film?
Nanny McPhee & The Big Bang is the sequel to the popular 2005 family film. This time Maggie Gyllenhaal is single mum Isabel Green (hubbie Ewan McGregor is off to fight the Hun in WW2) with three out of control nippers to contend with and two insufferably posh evacuee cousins about to arrive on their farm. Also in the cast are Rhys Ifans as Isabel’s spivvish brother-in-law, Maggie Smith plays a docile shop owner and Ralph Fiennes is a stiff-upper lipped War Office commander.
Ewan Mcgregor to star in Madonna's new film
Scottish actor Ewan McGregor has reportedly been roped in to star in Madonna’s new film “W.E.”, in which he will play late British monarch King Edward VIII.
According to reports, McGregor, who is currently starring in Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer”, will portray the British monarch who abdicated the throne in 1936 in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
He will be seen alongside Oscar-nominated actress Vera Farmiga, who will portray his screen lover Wallis, and Abbie Cornish, who will play a modern day character in the period movie.
It is the pop star’s first project as a writer and director since critically panned 2008 comedy “Filth and Wisdom”. “W.E.” is still in pre-production and has no release date.
Win the chance to have your voicemail greeting recorded by Ewan
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Ewan discusses career and craft with CalArts students
March 22, 2010 By Christine N. Ziemba
Actor Ewan McGregor doesn’t play a certain “type” in his roles.
In the 1996 film Trainspotting, McGregor portrayed a hard-to-forget heroin addict. Three years later, he took on the iconic role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels. In his most recent cinematic release (see trailer above), he plays opposite Pierce Brosnan in Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer. And no stranger to the boards, McGregor returned to the London stage in 2007 as Iago in Othello.
On Friday afternoon, McGregor added another role to his repertoire–one of visiting artist for the schools of Film/Video and Theater at CalArts. Before a packed house at the Institute’s Bijou Theater, composed mostly of acting, directing and animation students, he was quizzed by friend and Film/Video faculty member Jon Reiss on his career choices, the artistic process and integrity, and about working collaboratively with other actors and directors.
McGregor told the rapt audience about growing up in a rural farming area of Scotland, his restless youth, and leaving school at 16 to work as a stagehand in local theater before formal training at a performing arts school. His theater training was hands-on and comprehensive, working all the roles in smaller theaters, from stage managing to public relations, and of course, acting. “I was always watching and working with actors, especially during technical rehearsals,” he said. “It was at the theater that I started living and learning about life a bit.”
Although he’s acted in several blockbuster Hollywood movies, McGregor described his career path as one of the middle ground, doing mostly “expensive independent films” of around $20 million. “It’s this middle ground that disappeared a little bit [because of the recent economic woes.]”
He waxed poetic on the indie world, telling the students that there was something special about the camaraderie and relationships built during film shoots on a shoestring budget. “Independent filmmaking tends to be the area where we can make the loudest statements,” he said “Because often times it’s not all about making the [studio's] money back.”
McGregor’s lecture lasted for about three hours, including answering a number of questions from the students in the audience. Here are a few snippets of advice from McGregor:
On acting: “I think that acting is all about connecting to the material.”
On working with other actors: “Never tell another actor what to do.”
On fear of performing live theater: “You’re more alive than you’ve ever been. Embrace the fear.”
On director Danny Boyle, writer John Hodge and producer Andrew MacDonald, the team behind Shallow Grave and Trainspotting: “Three guys that changed my life.”
On the film crew: “Working with crew is key…Act away, but remember to let them film it.”
On getting no feedback from some directors: “Sometimes no direction allows for more creativity than from getting direction you didn’t want.”
Ewan McGregor, His Arse, and the Definition of Nudity
By Thomas Leupp, Hollywood.com Staff Wednesday, March 10, 2010
While other actors may shudder at the prospect of on-screen nudity, Ewan McGregor embraces it, never turning down an opportunity to shed his clothes in the service of his art. In fact, one could reasonably posit that McGregor’s penchant for nudity, both full-frontal and otherwise, is the only consistent feature of his bafflingly varied film oeuvre. While you’d be hard-pressed to predict what kind of film the Scottish-bred actor will make next (An indie classic like Trainspotting? A studio tentpole like The Island? A blink-and-you-missed-it debacle like Deception?), you can be reasonably assured that he’ll drop trou in it.
McGregor can next be seen in the Roman Polanski-directed political thriller The Ghost Writer, in which his pale British bottom makes a brief but memorable cameo. But the actor hesitates to label it “nudity,” as we learned in a recent interview:
See Ewan McGregor and Eva Green in “Last Word” This Weekend for Test Screening
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Huge News today of a great opportunity to be the very first to see a special test screening of David Mackenzie’s newest film “Last Word” starring Ewan McGregor and Eva Green this weekend on Saturday March 13 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Sigma Films are holding a very special screening and are looking for some very lucky folk to come and watch it for free this Saturday, 13th March. In order to take part, click here at this link, and note at the end you will be asked to fill out a very short questionaire about the film. Tickets are First Come, First Served so be sure to act fast! Feel free to bring a friend, tweet the news, post it on Facebook, Bebo wherever you want, but remember you must register here quickly. Good luck and enjoy!
by Bryan Reesman, Fandango Film Commentator Feb. 18, 2010
Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor talk politics, Roman Polanski and the making of a good thriller.
Roman Polanski’s latest film The Ghost Writer is a political thriller inspired by the Robert Harris novel The Ghost. The suspenseful tale centers on a best-selling pop culture writer (Ewan McGregor) who is brought in to work on the autobiography of an ex-British prime minister (Pierce Brosnan) after the previous ghost writer died under mysterious circumstances. The Ghost, as we come to know him, immediately suspects something is fishy, and as he spends time at the politico’s Cape Cod beach home, he begins to unravel dark secrets from the past. And when the former PM is accused of war crimes back in England, the heat gets turned up even more.
Fandango caught up with McGregor and Brosnan in New York this week to discuss this paranoid, tightly wound thriller and the opportunity to work with one of cinema’s most famed directors.
How did working with Roman Polanski compare with preconceptions that you may have had of him?
Pierce Brosnan: I knew of this turbulent, brilliant life of a director, and I was totally enthralled and intrigued by the opportunity to play in this film…the experience of it was very satisfying. You have to be on your game with Polanski. He is all-encompassing on the set. It’s his house, and he has his finger on every aspect of the production -- the costumes, the sets, almost the weather.
Ewan McGregor: I didn’t know an awful lot about him as a director. I knew a lot of his films. I was very familiar with his Macbeth film, Rosemary’s Baby, Tess and Chinatown. When I knew I was going to work with him I got as many of his films as I could, so I got a really good sense of his film language. One thing I’d heard about them as it that he is really very fussy with props and set dressing. And he is like that. If there’s a bookshelf [in a scene], he’ll spend 20 minutes organizing the books in the right order even if it might be slightly out of focus. Details are really important to him and what we see in the frame itself.
Pierce, you met Roman while you were promoting Mamma Mia. How did that come about?
Pierce Brosnan: [After Mamma Mia] the last thing at the end of the spectrum was Polanski. They asked about meeting with me, and I said sure. I have no ego about going out to meet with people, so I hopped on the train and met with Mr. Polanski, and the first question [I asked] was, "Am I playing Tony Blair?" I had read the book and the screenplay. He said, "No, you’re not playing Tony Blair." However, all roads, indications, emblems and stories seem to point to one man only, so I looked at a film of Tony Blair and his performance of Tony Blair being prime minister and his persona. I left that alone and went back to the text and the story of [my character] Adam Lang, and where his story starts as a young man from Oxford who’s a great actor with an eye for the girls. He’s a rock star, he’s a populist and he’s an actor playing a prime minister. I’m an actor playing an actor playing a prime minister.
Is your character meant to be a Blair/Clinton composite, particularly with Kim Cattrall as his assistant and the running?
Pierce Brosnan: I don’t know. I can’t really answer that. The constant running can be said of Polanski. It could be said of Bush or Clinton. All I could do is go back to the text, to the story that Harris put on the page, and then make mild comparisons to the time that we live in.
Ewan, you have a love scene in this film. You’re naked yet again…[you] don’t seem to be fazed by that.
Ewan McGregor: I don’t know what to tell you other than I take my dressing gown off and you see my arse for a second or something. I’m literally getting into bed, but the fact that it’s called a nude scene is incredible. I didn’t even think about it at the time. I didn’t even think about it when I watched the film. It didn’t even cross my mind, but I’ve always had to answer questions about naked scenes because I’ve been naked in some of the films I’m in. They reflect life, and in life people are naked.
Many actors don’t always do a lot of press for certain films, depending upon how they prioritize them. Even though you’re doing a lot of press for it, The Ghost Writer doesn’t seem to need your support as much because it has got a lot going for it.
Ewan McGregor: I’ve been talking about [it] for days and days and days. I hope it makes some impact, otherwise I’ll wonder what I’m doing. It’s part of the business -- you have to stand by them. But you can do it in degrees, and The Ghost Writer is a good film for me. Roman isn’t able to go out and promote the film, and I’m not sure he would anyway. He strikes me as someone who doesn’t do a great deal of publicity, but I’m sure he would’ve been at the premiere in Berlin and probably would’ve been involved in the press conference. And because he’s not, I think we’re doing more than our fair share of it to help open the film.
Pierce, can you talk about your chemistry with Olivia Williams on screen?
Pierce Brosnan: When I was trying to figure out the why of my playing this character, this ex-British Prime Minister, with all of the ingredients of which I’ve spoken, I came to it through her character really, this Lady Macbeth type character. If you look at Polanski’s work and look at the Macbeth he did, which was quite brilliant, and you look at the subterfuge of his life and his cinematic art, I then got some kind of hook on this character of mine through the prism of her character and the manipulation of her character. She’s a formidable woman in the life of this man who is this kind of a hollow man, who has the façade of his being pulled asunder. He asks her flatly and dejectedly, "What should I do?" It’s kind of a terrible sentence for a man, a man who has a façade of power to go out there and give some Churchill-like battle cry to the people. Olivia is a laser in this movie.
This is a thriller that ends up saying a lot more about where we’ve been the last ten years. Can you talk about that?
Ewan McGregor: It’s just become more and more current as we’ve gotten closer and closer to the film coming out. It’s like British politics is trying very hard to mimic our movie. It’s been suggested that the CIA are running our publicity campaign, which is also possibly true. [laughs]…Two weeks ago Tony Blair sat in front of the committee and had to talk about his decision in taking Britain into that war. It seems to be that these things that Robert Harris was writing about at the time were as obvious as then as they are now, but the surprising thing might be that it’s taken so long for them to come out in the public eye.
That being said, if our film states that politicians and even those that hold the highest power in politics, and the British government and the American government, have to be accountable for the decision-making and aren’t above the law, then I’m very proud of that and happy to in be a film that has that message. I think it’s right. I think it’s right that Blair has to sit there, and I don’t know what will become of the information that he gave. I don’t know if it’ll do any good or not for the people who’ve lost their family members in the war and the innocent people who have died in the war. But it’s still right that it should happen, and we’ll never see Bush sitting in front of a committee and having to answer for his decision-making. I’m sure we’ll never see that, which is a shame.
Ewan McGregor has often gravitated towards darker, edgier film roles, from his early days in Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting and Shallow Grave through more recent fare like Ron Howard’s Angels & Demons. He has also moved fluidly between the indie and studio worlds of moviemaking, taking on roles that intrigue him, regardless of budgetary concerns. His latest project, Roman Polanksi’s The Ghost Writer, feels like it straddles both worlds. It’s a production that clearly has money behind it but retains the intimate feeling of a smaller picture. In very limited release last weekend, it opens in 39 more theaters today.
The new Polanski film, based upon Robert Harris’ novel The Ghost, is the director’s first foray into political thrillers. It focuses on a successful ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) who is brought on board to finish the autobiography of Adam Lang (Brosnan), an ex-British prime minister with a mysterious past. The situation already bodes ill for The Ghost as his writing predecessor on the project died under mysterious circumstances. As he digs deeper into Lang’s past, The Ghost finds troubling information that could be hazardous not only to the project but his health.
Attention Deficit Delirium was among a small roundtable of journalists in New York who recently interviewed McGregor about The Ghost Writer. The Scottish thespian was animated and loquacious, offering in-depth answers to all of the questions posed to him.
You’re carrying a lot of this movie and have plenty of solo scenes. How much more pressure is there on you to work on a film like this rather than an ensemble piece?
In playing a leading role like this there is that pressure of carrying the film, but at the same time it’s kind of the pressure that you’ve looked for your whole life. Leading roles like this come along every once in a while, and they’re amazing parts. It’s what you aspire to, so the pressure becomes a pleasure, especially when you’ve got somebody like Polanski at the helm and get the privilege of working alongside him every day for almost four months. You’re in good hands. The Ghost was the kind of part to underplay, so I felt like it wasn’t a very heavy weight to carry the film. There’s a ghostly quality about him. He’s just there, he’s just present asking questions and discovering things and is the kind of character that is unimpressed. There is a kind of “fuck it” quality about him that he is not that bothered by things, which allowed me to underplay it, so it was easy.
Could you talk about developing your character with Mr. Polanski and Mr. Harris?
I spoke to Robert in the first week, but I didn’t meet him. I went to Berlin and met Polanski when I got there. I hadn’t met him before. We had spoken on the phone a few times, but I was working in the States and Roman was in Switzerland, so we didn’t have the chance to meet. I would’ve just played The Ghost with my accent — I rather would’ve played him as a Scotsman — but I spoke to Robert about that, and he said that he had to be English. There is a reference in the beginning of McAra’s book — the ghost writer that I take over from — about Lang’s family coming from Scotland, and he didn’t want there to be any confusion there. So he had to be from England. I also knew he went to Cambridge. My first thought about someone that went to Cambridge is that they would have a standard English accent, like Olivia [Williams] has in the film. I find it difficult to do that accent without feeling kind of posh, and I really wanted The Ghost not to be posh. He’s out of his depth when he’s writing a book about the ex-British Prime Minister because he is used to writing about pop stars and magicians. I wanted him to feel socially out of his depth, or his class, if you like.
We were doing the wardrobe fittings, and I hadn’t read any of it with Polanski, and we only had two days to go before we started the shoot. We were trying on clothes, and Roman appeared every now and then with coffee for people. I said, “Look, Roman, when I’m finished here can we sit down and read some scenes, because if you don’t like this accent I’m going to have to think of something else quick.” He said of course. So we started that night reading some scenes, and he didn’t really pay much attention to the accent. He was really picky about how I was saying the lines. Right from the word go I would start reading and he would go, “No, no! Why would you read it like this?” And he would take my script and read it and say, “You see?” He would read the whole scene. “See?” And I went, “Oh, yeah…” I would read again and he would go, “No, no!” He took the script and kept stopping me all the time, and after about four or five times of reading it he went, “Yes! Yes! You see, you see?” I didn’t see. I had no idea what I’d done differently other than I was just a little more frightened than I was a minute ago. This is just Polanski’s way. He’s picky, picky, picky like that in rehearsal, and then when we start shooting he is much freer. But at that point I didn’t know how he worked, so I was slightly taken aback. The next morning I phoned up Harris on the way [to the set] from the back of the car and literally read him some scenes using the London accent that I gave The Ghost, just to see if he thought it was okay. Polanski is Polish and speaks German, French and English, but whether he could hear the effect that the accent had I didn’t know. So I sneakily double checked behind Roman’s back with the writer, and he said it was all right.
There’s an atmosphere of total paranoia that runs through this movie. What was it like on set?
You’re not that aware of it when you’re shooting the film because he [Roman] really makes you look at the truth of it. He pushes and pushes you to find the reality of the scene, to find the real details of it. It’s all quite performance-based in that there is only you and the other actors. There are no other great methods employed when you’re shooting it. And he does allow you to take your time, and that might make it feel suspenseful, but at the time it feels like you’re playing these scenes as they might actually happen. He doesn’t like to see any of the acting, so you drop that and you’re left with the subtleties of the real situation. I guess he is just incredibly clever with the way that’s he shooting it, which isn’t something we discussed a lot on set. He doesn’t ever use long lenses. He only really uses wide lenses. It has a strange effect on us because it’s quite similar to the human eye. Usually on a movie set for a close-up the camera would be farther away with a big, long lens, and it would make the background go out-of-focus and your face would be sharp. It’s very beautiful. It’s kind of what gives film its beauty. But he doesn’t do that. He has a 35mm lens on or a 27 mm lens, which is quite wide, and he has a camera right up in your face. It means that the world isn’t all fuzzy and beautifully out-of-focus behind us, and it makes you feel like it’s more reflective of our human vision, so perhaps that as well makes us feel slightly more tense because we feel like we’re in it, that we’re not watching the film. And then it is details. Like in The Pianist, he had such brutal little details that made us feel like we connected to it. People would walk past corpses without looking at them in the streets. It wasn’t mentioned, it wasn’t talked about, there was no dialogue about it. It’s just what we saw. During a dialogue scene you would notice a body going past that the actors didn’t look at. That kind of detail is very clever and makes an impact on us that makes us feel that we’re present or party to it somehow. And we can’t leave that without talking about the music [for The Ghost Writer] because the music is amazing. The music is 100% of the tension as well and was really beautifully composed and brilliantly used to create tension.
You have now done a Roman Polanski film, and director Danny Boyle has come off the myriad accolades for Slumdog Millionaire. Do you ever look back and marvel at how far you both have come?
Yes. I’m so lucky. I thank my lucky stars for the people I’ve worked with and the movies I’ve made. I’m really happy with it. Over the last couple of years I’ve worked with some really great actors and great directors, and I was lucky enough to start off with Danny. I started off with one of the best. I like Danny. We [both] work away. There’s a lot of good work there, and some is not as good as others, and every now and again there is one that spikes out and becomes a huge success and that’s really nice. I really value that I started with him. I absolutely loved working with Danny, and I think we had a very special relationship as an actor and a director. There was something quite unique about the relationship that we had, and being part of that team — Danny, Andrew [McDonald] and John [Hodge], who were the director, producer and writer of Shallow Grave, Trainspotting and A Life Less Ordinary — was the most important thing in my life at that point. It was like an identity for my acting, although in between the films I made with them I went off and worked for other people. I was always his actor, and being part of the group was who I was as an actor.
Is Porno, the sequel to Trainspotting, going to make it to the screen?
I don’t think so. I’ve never seen a script for it. Maybe. I’d like to work with Danny again, although I don’t know if I’d want to do a sequel to Trainspotting. It’s an important movie and was important film for British cinema, and I wouldn’t want to tarnish its reputation by making a poor sequel. I wouldn’t. I don’t think the book is as good as Trainspotting — that’s not to say they couldn’t come up with a good script, because they might — but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Have you generally shied away from summer blockbusters?
I’m not really offered them. I suppose the studio system is really about figures and dollars, isn’t it? Maybe I don’t score highly enough to be a lead in those films. I don’t often get offered them. The Island was interesting. I liked that film. I think it was unfortunate because it was time to knock Michael [Bay], and it was unfortunate that I was in the film that he made when it was his time to be knocked. I think it was probably not the most knockable film that he’s made. I thought it was quite good. It’s fine, it’s doesn’t matter. It’s quite exciting going to work on a big movie like that. Black Hawk Down was very exciting, and Star Wars, The Island and Angels & Demons. There’s something quite fun about being on those big sets, and certainly on some of them working with great people and great actors. It was also nice working with David MacKenzie last year in Scotland on The Last Word, which was really low budget. Then I came back to L.A. and made a film with Mike Mills called Beginners, and that was super, super low budget. Those two films were in a way as rewarding as anything I’ve ever done. Sometimes, because there’s no budget, your filmmaking has to become much cleverer because you can’t spend a day shooting a scene from every angle. You have to shoot five scenes in a day, so the filmmaking becomes much more exciting. You have to get much more creative with the filmmaking, and that ends up on screen. There’s an energy that it produces that I really like. There are no rules to it. I’m really lucky that I’m able to dance in and out of both really.
Ewan McGregor enjoys quirky writing and eclectic roles. The Scottish actor has played a number of different characters over the past decade, in films ranging from small British indies to international blockbusters.
McGregor tells Dave Davies that he knew he wanted to be an actor from a very young age, after hearing stories from his uncle, the actor Denis Lawson.
His breakthrough came in 1996 when he played a heroin addict in the film Trainspotting. To prepare for the role, McGregor says, he spent time with former heroin addicts who taught him how to hold a needle and portray withdrawal symptoms accurately.
McGregor also played a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the second Star Wars trilogy. Ironically, his uncle — who had a bit role in the original Star Wars — advised him not to take the role, fearing McGregor would be typecast.
Since taking the role in Star Wars, McGregor has kept his resume diverse, playing a poet, an official of the papal court, and the male romantic lead in the musical Moulin Rouge, where he performed his own singing.
In his latest film, Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer, McGregor plays an unnamed writer working on the memoirs of a former British prime minister, who is under investigation for committing war crimes.
McGregor says he enjoyed working with the “master filmmaker” on the thriller. “As a director, he was pushing us to look for the truth of a scene,” he says.
On Working With Roman Polanski In The Ghost Writer:
“There wasn’t any air of controversy of working with him on set. His case and his situation has nothing to do with me. I wasn’t involved in any of that. I didn’t discuss any of that with him. I worked with him purely as an actor wanting to work with a master filmmaker, and he’s one of the greatest living filmmakers, so I was happy to be his actor.”
On Learning To Play A Heroin Addict In Trainspotting:
“We had a man called Eamonn who was our on-set adviser. Whenever there were any drug-taking scenes or heroin scenes, then he was there, and we were able to make sure what we were doing with the syringes and the spoons and the matches was accurate. And also, I needed to find out what it was like to overdose and to withdraw from heroin addiction — because there’s quite a long sequence where my character is going through withdrawal, which is a horrendous and painful process — and I was able to question him about all of those things in great detail because he had lived that life and was no longer living that life.”
On Playing Obi-Wan Kenobi In The Second Star Wars Trilogy:
“When I got closer and closer to being cast as Obi-Wan Kenobi, I did question whether it was the right thing for me. Up until that point, I’d been involved in mainly low-budget independent films ... and I felt like being part of the [indie British filmmaking] team was my identity as an actor ... I didn’t think that ’Star Wars’ was quite who I was or what I was about. However, the closer I got, the more I wanted to do it ... I’m very happy with the work I did in ’Star Wars’ ... I’ve always been quite open with the fact that they were technically quite difficult to make. There’s a lot of green screen and blue screen, and for the actor, there’s very often not another actor to act with — so you were playing to a tennis ball on a stick or a piece of tape on a green curtain, and that’s just not easy. That becomes a very technical exercise.”
On Doing Full-Frontal Nudity In Many Of His Films:
“Movies reflect life, and in life you’re naked some of the time. And movies are about the dramatic side of life — and sex and sexuality and love and romance are definitely in that area of drama. So I think it’s obvious that if you’re going to have a career in acting, you’re going to be called upon at some point to explore those areas.”
You can listen and download the 25-minute interview by visiting the NPR site below.
Ewan McGregor is always ready for a change of pace on the big screen, from singing and dancing in Moulin Rouge to swinging a lightsaber in Star Wars. Now he’s teaming up with controversial director Roman Polanski in The Ghost Writer.
In the film, McGregor’s character is hired to complete the memoirs of an ex-British prime minister under fire for taking his nation into war. Parade.com’s Jeanne Wolf found out why a real-life prime minister may not be buying a ticket to see the film. Plus, why McGregor is more than ready to bare all on film.
Warning to Tony Blair.
“When I read the script for the first time I thought, ’Tony Blair is all over this character, even if he’s called Adam Lang.’ Polanski takes it a little farther because the ex-prime minister in the film is being charged with war crimes and he’s going to have to sit before a tribunal and explain his decision to take Britain into the Iraq War and whether Britain was responsible for torturing prisoners on behalf of the United States. If I’m in a film that says that’s what should happen, then I’m very happy. The man who held the highest power in British politics is going to be held accountable for his actions.”
I guess you could call him cynical.
“I’m not that interested in politicians. I don’t really believe in them very much. In Britain, anyway, they seem to prove over and over that they’re people that are not particularly trustworthy. I find them just to be fairly despicable people.”
Also high on his hate list...
“I come from a country where we’ve probably got the worst tabloid press -- all these publications based on people’s private life. It’s disgusting. It’s nobody’s business. As actors, we put ourselves on the screen and that should be enough, that’s exposing enough, without people routing around your dustbins looking for stuff. They’re making millions off people spying and following you around. It’s disgraceful.”
Don’t look for his autobiography anytime soon.
“I quite like people who write their autobiographies and people find them in the attic after they die. Then you discover that they’ve been horrible monsters or had 15 wives in secret, or something else terrible. I prefer they expose themselves after they’ve died.”
Speaking of exposure.
“I have done quite a few sex scenes in my career. But my wife has always been okay with them except when she was pregnant with our first daughter, Clara, and I went off to do the sex scene in Trainspotting. Hormonally, she was all over the place. We had a massive fight about it. But that’s the only time it’s ever been an issue. Look, it’s a weird situation to be seeing your partner in an emotional and sexual embrace with someone else in front of an audience of people. But it’s my job. And, ultimately, she’s completely cool with it.”
Ditto for on-screen nudity.
“I’ve never understood actors who have rules against nudity. I wouldn’t consider myself an actor if I had a list of things I won’t do. In my everyday life, I’m naked quite a lot of the time. And yet, the second we put it onscreen everybody has a heart attack. I really don’t get it. I’m not an exhibitionist. I’m just very comfortable being naked in movies because I think and I believe that movies reflect real life. I never thought that it was gratuitous.”
He’s his own biggest fan.
“I love nothing more than going to see one of my films for the first time. Without fail, the first thing I think is ’Is that me?’ You know, I’m sitting there, and then it goes dark and the projection starts and I go, ’Flipping heck.’ I say to myself, ’That’s me up there.’ I always dreamed of doing it, and I still can’t quite believe I’m doing it.”
And he knows where the buck stops.
“I don’t want to accept the fact that it’s all there, pre-destined and all laid out for us. Then every decision you make and all your choices don’t mean anything. I don’t like the idea of somebody else, or something else, calling the shots. I think we’re both God and heaven. I think every decision that faces you, or every choice you make, alters your path and will lead you to where you go. I think we supply the force of fate in our lives and, therefore, we’re in charge. Anything else is a bit of a cop out.”
It’s been a while since we’ve heard actor Ewan McGregor (“Trainspotting,” “Moulin Rouge!”) speak in his native Scottish accent, yet so much remains enigmatically unfamiliar about his nameless character known simply as “The Ghost” in director Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer.” Adapted by former journalist Robert Harris from his own novel, this fantastically nutty political thriller stars McGregor as an apolitically minded punch-up artist assigned to finish the memoirs of a suddenly disgraced former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan), currently stuck in American exile while awaiting war crime charges for his use of “heightened interrogation” procedures. Like many a Hitchcockian everyman ensnared by conspiracy, McGregor’s “Ghost” soon realizes through his own cat-killing curiosities and investigation that he has every right to be paranoid. I met McGregor at the Waldorf Astoria to discuss government corruption, Polanski’s eccentric working methods, the longest he’s ever felt trapped somewhere, and why he’ll likely never read this interview. Out of respect to both McGregor and one of our greatest living auteurs, I chose not to bring up Polanski’s current legal matters and house arrest.
“The Ghost Writer” is such a gonzo political thriller, but the plot twists turn so naturally. Do you think anything as sinister or thorny as what’s in this film could happen in real life?
I think it is happening. The story is obviously pushed right into the realms of fictitious, novel-y type material with the idea that [MAJOR SPOILER REDACTED]. That’s far-fetched. One of the “ghosts” that Harris talks about when he talks about the novel is that British politics -- as a government that makes decisions on behalf of the people of the British Isles -- might be a ghostly idea because it’s so wrapped up in American politics now that we’re somehow linked. That’s quite a serious accusation on his part, and on Polanski’s part, as the filmmaker. But it’s not as far-fetched as we might think.
So you’re cynical about politics?
I’ve always been really uninterested in politicians and the acts of the Houses of Parliament, or government as an idea. But I’m interested in politics in that I’m a member of the world, and I have strong feelings of right and wrong, but I can’t get into the ins and outs of it. I find politicians so desperately boring. I don’t trust them and don’t believe in them.
Especially in my country, they’re always getting caught cheating the taxpayer out of money. They get allowances for houses in London, where they’re all supposed to represent their constituency. So they stay with people they know and charge the government for this rental and just pocket the cash. That’s our cash. There are people who should feel society’s not operating correctly, know how to make life a better place for the people of their country, and enter into politics to make their vision come true. I just don’t believe that’s what happens. They get in there and start trading off their political ideals: “I’ll move for you on this, you vote for me on that.” They’re trading their ideals to climb the rungs of power, and that’s unforgivable.
Does power inherently corrupt, even with the best of intentions?
No, because honest people are honest people. You know, they have spin doctors. They have people whose job it is to take facts and make them more palatable for the people. They should be fucking ashamed of themselves to actually have a spin doctor, never mind to actually call them that. [laughs] For us to accept that that’s the case, that we’re going to be told things that are sort of true, so that they’re palatable for us to listen to, is a disgrace.
What about ghostwriters? Are they being deceitful by manipulating someone’s image, or are they simply punching up copy?
I don’t think it’s deceitful because ghostwriting is obviously going to be okayed by the person they’re writing on behalf of. If it’s done properly, it can be quite effective. It’s a skill to be able to interview someone and be able to write in their voice. Since we started all this press, it was interesting to listen to [Robert] Harris talking about ghostwriting. He has quite a slant on it, that there’s an element of failure in The Ghost. Even if he’s written successful books on behalf of other people, the nature of not having your name on that book is kind of a failure.
How would you describe Polanski’s tastes and on-set demeanor?
He’s very persnickety about everything. He’ll spend 20 minutes arranging the books on the bookshelf that are deep out of the focus in the background of a shot. If you shoot a shot, and then the weather changes a bit, a lot of directors will shoot anyway and just [color-correct] it afterward. But he’ll only shoot if the rain’s exactly right, the clouds are right, the sea looks rough enough. He’s a total perfectionist. Sometimes he can nitpick over how you’re saying lines, but it’s always driven towards making the film the way he saw it.
I can imagine, and I asked Robert if this was the case, that he gets up on his feet and acts out all the parts as they’re writing lines of dialogue in his living room: “Maybe she’ll say this,” and he’ll act it out. Whenever we’re on set, I think he’s going back to that model. He’s often sitting with his head in his hands, or you’ll ask him a question and he’ll suddenly just go quiet for ages. Everyone just stops and waits for him to come out with what he has to say. Olivia [Williams] asked him one day what it was he was doing when he did that, and he said he’s trying to remember how he saw that scene when he wrote it with Robert, so that he can answer how he wants it.
Whenever we had a change of location or a new actor would come in, Polanski would really slow down to get into the new part of the story. When we started the exterior stuff at [Tom Wilkinson’s character] Emmett’s house, it’s not that complicated a scene -- I pull up in the car, go up to the gate, look through the mail, go back to the car, back to the gate, and speak to Emmet through the [intercom]. We spent all morning looking at different scenarios, trying different positions for the car, and we didn’t shoot anything until after lunch. I quite like that he takes his time because often the pressure of filmmaking is that people don’t, and then you pay for it later because you didn’t make the right decision at the time.
You said that Polanski gave you “left-of-field comments” during scenes. Like what?
Tim [Preece], who played the character of Roy in the publishing house scene in the beginning, doesn’t want me to get the job, and the lawyer, Timothy Hutton, asks me: “Do you work out?” The Ghost says, “No, not really,” and he says, “That’s a shame, Adam likes to work out.” Then Tim has his line where he said, “Actually, I know a writer at the Guardian who uses the gym.” It’s a very funny line, we all liked it, and Polanski came in and went, “Be a little moved when you say that line.” We all looked at each other thinking: what does he mean? That’s a bit odd. So Hutton says, “That’s a shame, Adam likes to work out,” and then Tim said [in a melancholic, far-away voice]: “Actually, I know a writer at the Guardian who uses the gym,” and it was blinding. Nobody knew what it meant, or why it was genius, but it was fucking genius! He was full of little notes like that, that might be whims, might just be Polanski fucking around and thinking it might be fun, or notes of great genius. Maybe it’s both, I don’t know.
We talked earlier about manipulation in politics, but as this film superbly illustrates, the media isn’t without its share. How much faith do you have in the printed word?
I never have any idea what’s written after interviews because I don’t read them, so I don’t know. I’ve suffered from it in the past a little bit. It’s always the lines they choose to pull out and make big on the page. Years ago, I was doing this interview with a girl in L.A., and she was talking about nude scenes. I said, “Well, I do have a very big penis,” like, that’s why I don’t mind doing sex scenes. It was so obviously a joke, and in her piece she wrote it as a joke, and it was very clear. Then I think it was Elle magazine in Britain bought the interview. They had a big picture of me over two pages, and they pulled that line and put it as the heading to the whole piece: “Yeah, I do have a very big penis.” It looked like I really meant that, which is hugely embarrassing. So around that part, I stopped reading them. I also find with B-roll, or the making-of, or television interviews, I can’t watch them. I find them really embarrassing. So I do all this press, and then pretend that nothing happens to it. We have this chat, you go off, and I go off, and that’s it. It was just for our benefit. [laughs]
Like many Polanski films, this one takes place in an isolated setting. What’s the longest you’ve ever been trapped or detained somewhere?
I’ve never felt that I’ve been somewhere I didn’t want to be for long. The longest has been in my motorcycle travels. The border between Ukraine and Russia, I was there for about 14 hours, and we couldn’t move. We couldn’t go back because we had already left the Ukraine, and they wouldn’t let us into Russia. It felt like we might be at that border crossing for the rest of our lives. I took that as being the way it was, and it was a nice opportunity to sit down, take stock, look at the travelers, and watch all the dodgy people going into Russia. I was able to watch people in vans having their seats taken out and the stuffing pulled out of the seats. Then these big BMWs or Mercedes with tinted windows would pull in, the passport would be passed into the hands of the customs guard, go straight back in again, and through they would go with a trunk full of whatever. [laughs]
For your next motorcycle road trip, you’ll have a great traveling companion across South America: your dog Sid. After your own riding injuries, how are you keeping the little fella safe?
He’s in a sidecar rig. I’ve got a chest harness for him and two safety leashes off the harness, so he’s secured to two points and can’t jump out. And he wears goggles so his eyes aren’t damaged. Sid loves the sidecar. If I was to do a big trip, though, I would get the sidecar enclosed. I would put a windscreen and sides on it [because] he gets a bit annoyed with the goggles after a while.
“The Ghost Writer” opens today in New York and Los Angeles before expanding wide on February 26th.
'Ghost Writer' star Ewan McGregor cements reputation as an actor unafraid to take chances
By Stephen Whitty/The Star-Ledger February 19, 2010
Ewan McGregor has been talking for about 20 minutes. He has been talking for days, actually, promoting his new film, “The Ghost Writer,” in London, in Paris. Just the night before, he was on a plane coming back from Berlin.
So, a reporter asks him during a small group interview: Has there been a little more pressure promoting this particular film?
“It’s slightly more stressful than doing press for other films,” McGregor says, with a smile that’s more of a wince. “A little bit,” he adds with some sarcastic emphasis. “Yeah.”
That’s because “The Ghost Writer,” which opened Friday, is the most recent film — and, if some people had their way, perhaps the last film — by Roman Polanski, a fugitive from American justice, currently facing extradition from Switzerland. And the director’s case remains a thorny topic.
The film itself is great, and the fine cast — which includes McGregor in the title role and Pierce Brosnan as a politician trying to make a few quick millions off his memoirs — is eager to talk about it. The auteur’s legal troubles, though — those remain taboo.
Eventually, McGregor mumbles his way through some comment about “Roman’s situation,” which is “a tricky thing.” He pauses and looks around the table. “I just introduced the topic for you, there you are,” he announces, almost sounding relieved.
But instead of pursuing it, the journalists at the table shy away, skittishly, and go back to their prepared questions. They don’t want to tackle the subject either. The topic is not raised again.
Yet it’s an important one and fiercely relevant to this film’s success. “The Ghost Writer” is a terrific political thriller, full of its famous director’s signature style and grim humor. But will audiences see past the artist and appreciate the art? Should they even try?
“It’s very, very difficult issue,” McGregor admits later, sitting in his hotel room. “I worked with him incredibly intensely over four months and was left feeling very fond of Roman. I was sad for him that he was arrested. I was sad for his kids, whom I got to know. I would like very much, for everybody involved, that things are rectified quickly.”
“So,” he says after a breath, “should people separate the artist from the art? I decided to work with Roman because I wanted to work with him as a filmmaker; that was my decision. But I wouldn’t be someone who’d say that people should think one way or the other. I would never dream of it. People need to make their own minds up.”
If people can’t separate the film from the filmmaker, and decide to stay home — and some will — they’ll miss seeing a director at the top of his game. Lushly scored, immaculately shot (“he’s a total perfectionist,” the actor says), the movie follows McGregor on a journey that begins in uncertainty and ends in paranoia.
But is it paranoia if they really are out to get you?
It was a long and not particularly easy shoot, and the discomfort the characters felt was sometimes mirrored by the actors. Polanski, McGregor says, was “picky, picky, picky,” often spending time rearranging props, brusquely correcting his camera team, or even — an actor’s least favorite thing — telling the stars exactly how to act.
“Not a great way of working,” McGregor admits. “But I didn’t mind it with Roman. First of all, he’s got a thick Polish accent — there’s no way I could say any line the way he read it! And second, he’s such an amazing director — really, I wasn’t going to ask him to do it any differently. Towards the very end of the shoot, I did ask him not to act out some bit of business for me, to let me find it myself. And he was fine with that. But it took me 3½ months to pluck up that courage!”
McGregor, 38, isn’t easily intimidated, either.
He has circled the world, twice, on a BMW motorcycle — and worked for an eclectic gang of perfectionist directors, from Peter Greenaway to Woody Allen, Tim Burton to Baz Luhrmann. He has faced demanding British theater critics, taking on roles in “Othello” and “Guys and Dolls” — and risked the fiery wrath of fanboys by playing the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the “Star Wars” sequels.
And, when the part has called for it — and for McGregor, it frequently seems to have — he’s done it naked, in full-frontal nude scenes in films from “Trainspotting” to “Young Adam.” (“I’ve been naked in some of the films I’ve been in because they reflect life,” he says patiently, answering the question at a roundtable for the hundredth time. “And in life, people are naked.”)
Polanski may have kept him a little off-balance on the set. But off the set, McGregor’s confidence is pretty secure.
Dropping into Acting
He was born in Crieff, Scotland, the son of two teachers (and, coincidentally, the nephew of Denis Lawson, who played Wedge Antilles in the original “Star Wars”). But the teenage McGregor was so miserable in school, his parents encouraged him to drop out and enroll in acting classes instead; he made his professional debut at 22, in the BBC miniseries “Lipstick on Your Collar.”
The really big break came the next year, with “Shallow Grave,” Danny Boyle’s wicked thriller about three murderous roommates. It was a hip, surprising piece of filmmaking, and the team followed it up three years later with “Trainspotting,” an amazing drama that wed the positive, high-energy style of “A Hard Day’s Night” to the heroin-infected nihilism of the post-punk U.K.
“I thank my lucky stars, the people I’ve worked with,” McGregor says. “I started off with Danny, one of the best. I think we had a very special relationship as an actor and a director. I think there was something unique about that.”
McGregor and Boyle went on to make the less successful “A Life Less Ordinary” (and quarrel when Boyle went with Leonardo DiCaprio, the studio choice, for the lead in “The Beach”). But McGregor continued to succeed, and surprise — following up the explicit “The Pillow Book” with the delightful “Emma,” the glam-rock “Velvet Goldmine” with the intergalactic “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.”
That picture, and its sequels, brought McGregor — and his spot-on vocal impersonation of original star Alec Guinness — to hundreds of millions of fans. And yet McGregor used that fame (and his new fortune) to pursue challenging, controversial parts — just as he had when he was young and unknown.
“Dark and edgy, I’ve always liked that,” he admits. “I was talking to a film company (early in my career), a British one — and they were talking about a very not dark and edgy piece of work, and I was talking about being interested in dark and edgy work. And they were, ‘Sometimes you have to do the lighter stuff to get to that,’ and I was ‘Where’s the other stuff? Send me that instead.’”
Yet if his first choice in roles is the offbeat and abnormal, McGregor’s family life is refreshingly straightforward. He and his wife, Eve, celebrate their 15th anniversary this July. They have three daughters, one adopted from Mongolia.
Although McGregor is famously private about his family, he uncharacteristically opens up now. Perhaps his defenses are down, after so many interviews. Perhaps he’s just grateful not to be facing any more questions about Polanski’s legal case.
“We try very hard to keep their life as ordinary as possible,” he says. “Our girls know what I do, but they’re pretty matter of fact about it. I don’t show them all my stuff, believe me. I certainly haven’t shown them ‘Pillow Book’— God, it’s scary just thinking about that! ‘Trainspotting,’ they’re not going to see that for a long time. I did show them the scene of me going down the toilet in that film; they thought it was funny. I tried to show ‘Moulin Rouge!’ to my two 8-year-olds, but halfway through, they decided it was too sad. So we had to give up on that one.”
The family has homes in London and Los Angeles. McGregor says he’s come to appreciate America.
“People here seem to be quite happy for your success,” he says. “ ‘Ah, you’re doing well, good for you!’ Back home it’s more, ‘You think you’re all that, do you?’ I don’t know if it’s really a British quality, or a British media quality. It’s hard to untangle the two, and British journalism, it’s the worst in the world sometimes. But there is a sense of ‘Who do you think you are?’ It used to happen in the olden days, when I’d go out drinking with my mates. It would invariably end with someone trying to have a fight with me.”
He laughs. “Of course, that may have had more to do with the alcohol than anything else.”
McGregor, who once admitted to a drinking problem, says he’s been sober for a decade. (Another thing he’s given up, recently, are a few of his trademark moles; two years ago, one under his eye was found to be cancerous.) So, instead of going out for pints with the lads, he tends to his family, travels for UNICEF, rides his beloved motorcycle — and works, in as many varied projects as he can find.
“I really don’t have any kind of game plan,” he says. “I’m fortunate enough to take things on a bit of a whim, and sometimes I feel like doing smaller-budgeted stuff. Like when I did ‘Young Adam,’ I’d come off ‘Black Hawk Down’ and ‘The Island’ and I really just felt like being on a small film set. I wanted to be on something intimate. I’m lucky enough, financially, I don’t feel obliged to always have to go for the bigger stuff.”
So, 2009 brought not only the papal pulp of “Angels & Demons” and the big biopic “Amelia,” but also the oddball “The Men Who Stare at Goats.” This year will see not only the release of “The Ghost Writer” but also the much-delayed gay romance “I Love You Phillip Morris.” Meanwhile, there’s still some final post-production work to do on “Beginners,” a low-budget drama with Melanie Laurent from “Inglourious Basterds” and the tireless, 80-year-old Christopher Plummer — playing McGregor’s suddenly out-of-the-closet father.
“Oh, he’s brilliant, isn’t he?” enthuses McGregor. “He’s a diamond. A diamond. I tell you, that’s what I really want. When I grow up? I want to be Christopher Plummer.”
Although actually, being Ewan McGregor doesn’t seem to be too bad a job at all.
Consolidated Picture Group announced it has changed launch dates for its comedy-drama "I Love You Phillip Morris" set to bow in limited release on Apr. 30.
The film, which debuted at Sundance last year, was originally slated to bow Mar. 26.
Written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa ("Bad Santa"), "Phillip" tells the story of a married conman (Jim Carrey) who falls in love with his cellmate, played by Ewan McGregor. The film co-stars Leslie Mann.
"Phillip" will face off with Warner Bros.' wide release of the "Nightmare on Elm Street" remake, as well as Summit's Brendan Fraser-comedy "Furry Vengeance" about a real estate developer who battles local forest animals after a proposed housing development threatens their home.
CPG, through Freestyle Releasing, plans for a steady roll out of "Phillip," expanding the film during the first two weeks in May.
All children are born with the same rights the right to a childhood, the right to an education, the right to be healthy, the right to be heard, and the right to be treated fairly. They have these rights wherever in the world they are born.
But for millions of children around the world, these rights are denied.
UNICEF is working in more than 190 countries around the world to protect children and to uphold their rights. But we need your help.
We want you to help put it right for children not because you feel sorry for them, but because you know it is unacceptable for them to live in this way.
Hollywood comes to Dublin with filming of Knockout
Monday, February 8, 2010
But fame, fortune and the endless rounds of red carpets and award ceremonies really belong to showbusiness. The process of making movies, as any early bird in Dublin’s Grafton Street witnessed yesterday, is a tedious one of shooting and reshooting and mostly hanging around.
How many times can you film a woman coming out of Burger King? Let us count the ways. It took nearly two hours to film Gina Carano, the star of Knockout, crossing Grafton Street to the flower stall at the corner of Chatham Street, a sequence that might end up being 10 seconds in the film or alternatively could end up on the cutting room floor.
Carano, a relative unknown, is a tough cookie with a background in mixed martial arts, but, in between takes, she wore a full-length puffer jacket to keep out the cold.
Knockout, an international thriller, is one of the most high-profile Hollywood films to come to Ireland in recent years, mostly because it is directed by Steven Soderbergh who won a best director Oscar for Traffic in 2000.
Soderbergh’s films, which also include the Oceans Eleven series, Erin Brockovich and Sex Lies and Videotape, are better known than he is and few shoppers recognised the angular-looking man with the outsized glasses calling the shots yesterday.
You would have to have got up early to follow Soderbergh and the 100-strong cast and crew. While many people were sleeping off their Saturday night excesses, the team filmed outside the Shelbourne Hotel at 7.30am taking advantage of the light and the empty streets before moving on to Grafton Street and finally to Dawson Street.
In total they shot for 10 hours. At best five minutes of it will make it on to the screen.
The $25 million (€18 million) budget for the film is partially financed by the Section 481 tax breaks and money from The Irish Film Board. Irish company Parallel Films is one of the producers.
The movie also features three bona-fide A-list stars in Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas and Ewan McGregor. Unfortunately none is taking part in the Irish leg as the film is also being shot on location in Turkey, Spain and New Mexico.
The makers of Knockout will film in Ireland for three weeks in total.
Unicef is launching “Put it Right,” a five-year initiative with its first ever television campaign to champion the rights of children across the globe.
The TV ads, created by Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, are supported by a fully integrated marketing campaign press ads, outdoor ads and digital activity which will roll out in three phases.
The campaign focuses on five key rights children should have; right to a childhood, to be healthy, to be educated, to be treated fairly and to be heard, and features five children from around the world who have received help and support from Unicef.
The first phase of the campaign breaks on 8 February with TV ads across terrestrial and digital channels and will feature Unicef UK ambassador Ewan McGregor as the voice of the campaign.
The second and third phases will see a 60-second direct response TV ad and a direct marketing campaign to solicit donations.
Unicef UK executive director David Bull, says the campaign marks a “transformative moment” for the charity and is the start of the long-term initiative to build public awareness and support.
Our Long way down helmets & jackets were stolen from the Adventure Travel show at the weekend. cant believe it. can anyone help us find them. Anyone will information about where they are please contact the Big Earth team asap.
The Men Who Stare at Goats is coming to Blu-ray and DVD
By James Plath First published Jan 22, 2010
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Academy Award-winner George Clooney ("Up in the Air"), Academy Award nominee Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart"), Golden Globe® and SAG Award nominee Ewan McGregor ("Angels & Demons"), and two-time Academy Award-winner Kevin Spacey ("American Beauty") star in Overture Films’ "The Men Who Stare At Goats," a comedic look at real life events that are almost too bizarre to believe, available on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, February 23rd from Anchor Bay Entertainment.
Directed by Academy Award nominee Grant Heslov ("Good Night, and Good Luck") from a screenplay by Peter Straughan ("How to Lose Friends & Alienate People"), "The Men Who Stare At Goats" follows a reporter (McGregor) who gets way more than he bargained for when he accompanies an enigmatic Special Forces operator (Clooney) on a mind-boggling mission.
Featuring a supporting cast that includes Robert Patrick ("The Unit"), Stephen Root ("The Soloist"), Stephen Lang ("Avatar") and Rebecca Mader ("Lost"), "The Men Who Stare At Goats" was inspired by Jon Ronson’s non-fiction bestseller of the same name, an eye-opening and often hilarious exploration of the government’s attempts to harness paranormal abilities to combat its enemies. "The Men Who Stare At Goats" was produced by Clooney, Heslov and Paul Lister. SRP is $29.98 for the DVD and $39.98 for the Blu-ray edition.
Michael Sragow of the Baltimore Sun called "The Men Who Stare At Goats" "refreshingly unpredictable." Said Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post, "The Men Who Stare At Goats" "taps into the gonzo energy of Hunter S. Thompson." Added E! Entertainment’s Ben Lyons, "Clooney and his pals are clearly having fun in this offbeat, yet effective political comedy," while Screen International’s Mike Goodridge said "Bridges revisits his ’Dude’ character from ’The Big Lebowski’ with enthusiasm."
"The Men Who Stare At Goats" standard definition DVD bonus features include Goats Declassified: The Real Men Of The First Earth Battalion; Project "Hollywood": A Classified Report From The Set; audio commentary with director Grant Heslov; audio commentary with book author Jon Ronson; character bios; deleted scenes; and the theatrical trailer. "The Men Who Stare At Goats" Blu-ray edition includes the same bonus features, plus a digital copy of the film.
From the makers of the MotoGP doc Faster comes a new film called Charge, chronicling the world’s first ever zero emissions grand prix, the TTXGP, at the Isle of Man TT in 2009. Once again Scottish actor and motorcycle enthusiast Ewan McGregor narrates, but Valentino Rossi only makes a cameo appearance here. The focus this time is on e-racers, more specifically on American Michael Czysz and his MotoCzysz team's struggle to build their first electric race bike in time to compete in the inaugural race.
Check it out the Charge trailer below and don't forget that Canada's first TTXGP will be taking place at Mosport International Raceway this summer, July 8 – 11.
When a successful British ghostwriter, The Ghost, agrees to complete the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang, his agent assures him it's the opportunity of a lifetime. But the project seems doomed from the start - not least because his predecessor on the project, Lang's long-term aide, died in an unfortunate accident.
The Ghost flies out to work on the project, in the middle of winter, to an oceanfront house on an island off the U.S. Eastern seaboard. But the day after he arrives, a former British cabinet minister accuses Lang of authorizing the illegal seizure of suspected terrorists and handing them over for torture by the CIA - a war crime. The controversy brings reporters and protesters swarming to the island mansion where Lang is staying with his wife, Ruth, and his personal assistant (and mistress), Amelia. As The Ghost works, he begins to uncover clues suggesting his predecessor may have stumbled on a dark secret linking Lang to the CIA and that somehow this information is hidden in the manuscript he left behind. Was Lang in the service of the American intelligence agency while he was prime minister? And was The Ghost's predecessor murdered because of the appalling truth he uncovered?
Resonating with topical themes, this atmospheric and suspenseful political thriller is a story of deceit and betrayal on every level - sexual, political and literary. In a world in which nothing, and no one, is as it seems, The Ghost quickly discovers that the past can be deadly - and that history is decided by whoever stays alive to write it.
When the action spy picture "Knockout" was first announced a few months ago, director Steven Soderbergh promised that the lead star, non-actress/ mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano would be surrounded by a name-recognizable cast of supporting talent and he wasn't kidding.
Sources close to the project have confirmed to us the principal cast members that support Carano include Michael Fassbender ("Inglourious Basterds," "Hunger"), Ewan McGregor, Dennis Quaid and Michael Douglas.
When "Knockout" was first announced the project was still very much in the gestation/inception stage so the original concept — a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who is given a second chance to use her skills for constructive purposes — was eventually rethought and cast aside (both filmmaker and writer felt that it had "been done").
Ultimately, "Knockout" is now more of a revenge action-spy thriller. Essentially it's hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and especially one who kicks serious ass. Double crossed by someone on her own team, Mallory Kane (Carano)— a black ops super soldier — seeks to uncover who has set her up to take the fall for a job that goes bad and involves a murder.
The male actors are all part of Carano's special forces team. Douglas plays a government figure not unlike Chris Cooper or Brian Cox from the 'Bourne' movies. Fassbender and one other actor who has yet to sign-on officially (we've been asked not to say who because it's not 100% confirmed, but the actor is male and a fairly big name; though it's possible scheduling conflicts may prevent him from participating) play members of her commando spy unit, and one of these two plays the central antagonist that betrays Carano's character (this is still being kept under wraps for now). McGregor's role is that of the owner/guy who runs a Blackwater private military company-type group that the female fighting champion is is part of (and apparently many of the males take a beating at the hands of Carano).
Carano's Kane character is now the opposite of a girl from the "wrong side of the tracks." She's now from a solid background and was raised around military honor and academia. She leaves the military to go to work for a Blackwater-esque company to make better money and then is eventually betrayed by one of her teammates.
Both Douglas and Quaid have worked with Soderbergh before in his Academy Award-winning 2000 film, "Traffic" and Douglas is set to star in the filmmaker's "Liberace" film if that happens according to plan this summer. Fassbender is the quickly rising, in-demand actor that everyone wants to work with (Tarantino, et. al) and the director is certainly one of those people — Fassbender's role was written with the actor in mind.
And Soderbergh has been circling McGregor for some time now. The "Trainspotting" actor was originally pegged to have a role in the 'Ocean's' films, but his commitments to Lucas' "Star Wars" prequels unfortunately precluded his participation.
"Knockout" — it's still officially a working title, but now we're told that people are warming up to the name and that it might eventually stick — was written by Lem Dobbs, the screenwriter behind Soderbergh's "Kafka" and "The Limey" also well-known for his contentious (and hilariously candid) DVD-commentary arguments with the director ("The Limey" commentary is like two friends with the gloves off and an amusing must-listen).
The director has previously said the film will take elements from "La Femme Nikita," the 'Bourne' films, the Bond film "From Russia With Love" and John Boorman's 1967 crime film "Point Blank," starring Lee Marvin (which is known as the slightly arty, thinking man's, tough guy picture). But he's also noted that the action will be distinctly different than the Greengrass vibe evinced in his 'Bourne' films. As reported last year, David Holmes, the composer behind Soderbergh's "Oceans 11-13" series, not to mention the brisk and funky "Out Of Sight" film, will be writing the score.
Soderbergh's deal for "Knockout" through Relativity Media and Lionsgate is a typically unique one for the adventurous filmmaker. He will be paid no upfront fee for directing the film, but eventually will retain full ownership of the film once its released. It's a bold and unprecedented move. Having just finished up his media-saturation play "Tot Mom" in Australia, Soderbergh is now in New Mexico doing scouting for his February production start date expected to shoot there, Ireland and Turkey among other possible locations.
Carano has been training in L.A. for two months and test fight footage has already been shot. Lionsgate is eyeing an August release. Producers on the project include Relativity Media's Ryan Kavanaugh, Soderbergh's longtime cohort Gregory Jacobs, and Tucker Tooley as an executive producer.
Carano has already accidentally knocked out one stunt coordinator in practice sessions (no, really). While THR doesn't link to us, we're not above linking those that expand on things no matter what and they have a few more additional details on the characters.
Ewan expected at the Palm Springs International Film Festival
According to the festival’s web site, Ewan is expected to attend the screening of I love you Phillip Morris. There will be two screenings (Thursday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 pm and Friday, Jan. 15 at 1:30 pm) at the Camelot Theatre (Google map).