Jan de Bont to Explore "Mulan" 


"Speed" director, Jan de Bont, is set to direct "Mulan!" No, this one is not a remake of the Disney movie although both were inspired by the popular Chinese folklore.

Zhang Ziyi will star in the title role and this one will be an English-language, $35 million live-action version according to Variety.

Production will start shooting in November in Hangdian Studios in Zhejiang province, and post-production will be in Canada. John Blickstead wrote the original script, but five writers were hired to ensure the project's popularity in both Asia and the New World :happy

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Meet James Franco the Documentarian 


James Franco is getting major awards buzz for his portrayal of Aron Ralston in the new Danny Boyle flick "127 hours," but the actor can now add documentarian to his multi-hyphenated title.

Franco's documentary that follows a week in the making of an episode of "Saturday Night Live" has just been acquired by Oscilloscope Laboratories according to Deadline. The episode featured is the one hosted by John Malkovich.

Apparently, Oscilloscope is one of the coolest companies in the film industry, and their chief is no other than Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. When asked to comment, Yauch said, "SNL is my mother fuckin' shit, and James is my mother fuckin' man."

And this film, set for release early next year, is one mother effin great idea!

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Get Ready for Ronald Reagan the Movie! 


The life story of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan is getting a big screen treatment and it's getting a healthy $30 million budget to boot!

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will be called "Reagan" and will be released late next year. This one will be based on two best-selling Reagan biographies by Paul Kengor namely "The Crusader" and "God and Ronald Reagan."

Jonas McCord ("Malice," "The Body") wrote the script and Mark Joseph ("Ray," "Holes," "Because of Winn-Dixie," "The Passion of the Christ") is co-producing with Ralph Winter ("X-Men" and "Fantastic Four" films).

Joseph and company are adamant that this film version will be sharply different from the failed Reagan 2003 miniseries starring James Brolin as the 40th U.S. President. If that one was critical of Reagan's accomplishments, the film version will be more about his life -- from boyhood to Hollywood to leader of the free world.

Right now, there are no actors or director attached to the project. Who should play Ronald Reagan?

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Goodbye Angelina Jolie, Hello Natalie Portman? Actress Set For "Gravity"  


Natalie Portman's performance in the upcoming "Black Swan" (due out in theaters Dec. 1) from director Darren Aronofsky is being praised within the festival circuit. Now, Warner Bros. pretty much offered her the "Gravity" role that Angelina Jolie pulled out of recently according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Gravity" is being described as an epic survival story and will be directed by Alfonso Cuaron. The director co-wrote the script with his son Jonas. This $80 million 3D survival story has the "no man is an island" theme similar to "Cast Away" with Tom Hanks. So, majority of the screen time will showcase Portman, although Robert Downey Jr. signed up for a supporting role.

THR also reported that WB offered the part to Portman without requiring any screen test. The actress is expected to read the latest draft of the script and will make her decision very shortly. Portman beat out potential leads Scarlett Johannson and Blake Lively.

"Gravity" is expected to go on production in January 2011.

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George Clooney Slashes "Machete" at Labor Day Box-Office Weekend 


George Clooney proved that his star power was bigger and better than Danny Trejo, Justin Long, and Drew Barrymore. "The American" led the pack among new releases this Labor Day weekend.

Focus Features' "The American" debuted at No. 1 with nearly $13 million. Since it opened Wednesday, the assassin flick with European cinema flair has sold $16.1 million box-office tickets beating previous weekend's box-office champ, "Takers," which fell to No. 2 with $11.5 million. So far, the ensemble actioner starring Paul Walker, Chris Brown, and Matt Dillon has earned $37.9 million box-office coins.

Debuting at No. 3 was the much-hyped and much-talked about "Machete." Proving once again that hype does not equate with box-office dominance ("Snakes on a Plane," "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World," "Kick-Ass," "Piranha 3D" to name a few), "Machete," from co-director Robert Rodriguez and starring Trejo, sold $11.3 million worth of tickets.

"The Last Exorcism" suffered a 63% drop and fell to No. 4 with $7.55 million. So far, the "Blair Witch Project" wannabe has earned $32 million at the box-office. Not bad for a movie with a $2 million budget.

Rounding out the top five was "Going the Distance" starring Long and Barrymore. The Warner Bros. romantic comedy made just $6.88 million at the box-office.

We can now officially say goodbye to summer at the movies and look forward to the fall season, and yes, the Oscar season, yay! (Check out my Top 10 Best Movies of Summer 2010 right here, and my Fall 2010 Movie Preview right here)

Here's the estimated list of the Top 10 Box-Office films for Labor Day weekend:

1. The American -- $13.0 M

2. Takers -- $11.5 M

3. Machete -- $11.3 M

4. The Last Exorcism -- $7.6 M

5. Going the Distance -- $6.9 M

6. The Expendables -- $6.8 M

7. The Other Guys -- $5.4 M

8. Eat Pray Love -- $4.9 M

9. Inception -- $4.5 M

10. Nanny McPhee Returns -- $3.6 M

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