The films "Lebanon" and "A Single Man" are taking over Toronto International Film Festival! Both films won at the just-wrapped 66th Venice Film Festival. "Lebanon" won the festival's Golden Lion while "A Single Man's" Colin Firth won best actor for his role as a gay college professor in Tom Ford's directorial debut. This film is based on a book by Christopher Isherwood.
"A Single Man," set in the 1960s, stars Firth as a gay British college professor coping with the death of his lover. It's the first seven-figure buy of the Toronto film fest. Who bought the US rights to "A Single Man?" The Weinstein Co.! Expect the studio to push this film during Oscar season.
Meanwhile, "Lebanon" is a gripping account of war from inside a military tank by Israeli director Samuel Maoz. It took the top prize at the 66th Venice Film Festival, and many are saying the film will do the same for the Toronto film fest.
The film shares the same spirit with last year's "Waltz with Bashir" so expect Sony Classics or IFC to buy the film. Incidentally, Sony Classics was the studio who bought the rights to "Bashir."
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Screenwriter Roger Avary and producer Samuel Hadida of Davis Films are revisiting the dark and twisted roads of "Silent Hill." Both have signed on for a sequel to their 2006 video game adaptation!
I love the games, they scared the bejeesus out of me, and I'm proud to say I finished them all, BUT the original film starring Sean Bean and Radha Mitchell was just so-so.
The 2006 film centers on Rose Da Silva played by Mitchell. She travels to a haunted town to seek help for her sick daughter only to be engulfed by the supernatural occurrences happening inside the desolate village.
The second videogame of the franchise, "Silent Hill 2" has a new character named James Sunderland. He enters the town after receiving a letter from his dead wife Mary saying she is waiting for him in their "special place" in Silent Hill.
There's no word yet if Avary is going to based the sequel on the second game.
Davis Films is planning to shoot the movie next year after "Resident Evil 4" (I know right? Another "Resident Evil" movie? By the way, they're prepping the fourth film right now).
The original "Silent Hill" was released by Tristar Pictures but there's still no confirmed involvement from the studio.
Avary, famous for his "Pulp Fiction" script, is also working on another videogame adaptation -- "Return to Castle Wolfenstein."
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Christoph Waltz, the guy who stole "Inglourious Basterds" from Brad Pitt and sure to get a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for the film, has signed on to play the villain in "The Green Hornet."
(Check out my interview with Waltz for "Inglourious Basterds" right here)
Waltz will star as Chudnofsky, a Los Angeles crime boss who unites the city's gangs in order to form a super-mafia! Hhhhmmmm, doesn't this sound like "The Dark Knight" subplot about Gotham's crime bosses?
The actor replaces Nicolas Cage who left production last week.
(Read Cage Leaving "The Green Hornet" right here)
Seth Rogen, who co-wrote the script with Evan Goldberg, plays the masked avenger while Asian pop star Jay Chou stars as the sidekick Kato, popularized by Bruce Lee in the classic television show.
Cameron Diaz plays the love interest.
Michel Gondry is directing the film set for release Dec. 17, 2010 against Disney's "Tron Legacy."
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Another Lincoln news -- this time, it's an update on a Lincoln story we brought you last month -- "Robert Redford Beats Steven Spielberg to the Punch! Actor-Director to Make "Lincoln" Movie!" (August 18).
James McAvoy and Robin Wright Penn are set to star in "The Conspirator" for Redford. James Solomon wrote the script.
Wright Penn will play Mary Surratt, the only woman charged with conspiring to kill president Abraham Lincoln. McAwoy will play Frederick Aiken, a young Union hero who defended Surratt, and eventually realized that the widow might have been innocent.
Pulitzer Prize winner James McPherson and Lincoln assassination experts Thomas Turner and U.S. Army regimental historian Col. Fred Borch have been hired as advisers.
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Steven Spielberg is not giving up on his Lincoln project!
The director's attempt in launching his Lincoln masterpiece was postponed due to budget and location problems.
And now, Robert Redford is making his own Lincoln film although both movies are going into two different territories. Spielberg's film is reportedly going to focus on the president's dismay over the length and toll of the Civil War. The script is being rewritten by Tony Kushner ("Angels in America").
Meanwhile, Redford's film called "The Conspirator" will focus on a young woman charged with conspiring to kill Lincoln.
Spielberg tells Variety: "We are very happy that Redford will be doing this Lincoln movie. It is completely different from what our DreamWorks Lincoln movie will be, and we believe that it will add to the commercial potential of our film. Lincoln as a subject is inexhaustible."
Right now, Spielberg is focusing on his remake of "Harvey" and Robert Downey Jr. may be playing the role James Stewart played in the 1950 classic, a mild-mannered man who happens to have an invisible friend in the form of a 6-foot rabbit.
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