In light of news that Gerard Butler & Sam Worthington in talks for Hunter Killer – Top Five Fave Brit/Aussie Actors Combo

Thanks to a tweet from my friend Ted, I learned that my long-time crush Gerry Butler is in negotiation to star in a submarine thriller Hunter Killer. Per LatinoReview, the movie is based on the novel, Firing Point from authors George Wallace and Don Keith, here’s the plot:

An untested submarine captain must work with a Navy SEAL team to rescue Russia’s president, who’s taken prisoner during a military coup. The two sides team to stop a rogue Russian general from igniting World War III.

Butler is in talks to play the submarine captain Joe Glass of the USS Toledo, whilst Avatar and The Debt star Sam Worthington is being pursued to take on the role of the leader of the Navy SEAL unit, Bill Beaman. Director of Training Day and Brooklyn’s Finest, Antoine Fuqua is set to direct.

Now, truth be told I’m not a huge fan of submarine thrillers. Interestingly enough, the only submarine movie I like was The Hunt for Red October which also stars another famous Scot, Sean Connery. I personally would rather see Butler in a non-military-related drama — how ’bout that Robert Burns biopic eh Gerry? — where there are more emotional eruptions than those involving weapons of any kind. But I suppose I shouldn’t complain as Butler continues to mix things up. He balances the bad-ass roles in Machine Gun Preacher and Coriolanus with a soccer comedy Playing the Field and a surfing drama Of Men and Mavericks for L.A. Confidential‘s director Curtis Hanson.

So yeah, I do like this casting combo and both are suitable for tough guy military roles. I’ve liked Worthington ever since Terminator Salvation, and though I’ve complained that he’s not expressive enough, he was rather good in The Debt and no doubt neither one of these two actors is lacking any on screen charisma. But as my friend Dezzy @ HollywoodSpy said, this better be eons better than whatever the hell Battleship is supposed to be, starring Liam Neeson and… Rihanna?? [shakes head]

Anyhoo, the news made me think of other Brit/Aussie actor combos I like in the past. I haven’t seen Warrior yet starring London-born Tom Hardy and Aussie Joel Edgerton, but I reckon that’d perhaps make my list. I think a great combo happens when both actors are able to hold their own but creates a wonderful dynamic together on-screen. Here are five that come to mind:

  • Christian Bale & Russell Crowe – 3:10 to Yuma
    I’m not even a fan of Westerns but with these two, I ended up loving this film. Crowe practically steals every scene as charming villain Ben Wade.
  • Christian Bale & Hugh Jackman – The Prestige
    I didn’t love this film the first time around, but upon second viewing I appreciated it a whole lot more. Both actors exemplify what showmanship is supposed to look like, and the twist and turns are classic Nolan.
  • Christian Bale & Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
    Yet another film where Bale is sort of upstaged by the villain, but Ledger’s The Joker pretty much outshone everyone else in this Nolan’s Batman saga. But whenever this duo face off each other on-screen, the intensity of this already thrilling film moves up a few notches!
  • Geoffrey Rush & Colin Firth – The King Speech
    This Oscar winner should also be crowned best on-screen duo of the year as their ‘royal bromance’ is just delightful to watch! If it weren’t for Bale’s tour de force performance in The Fighter (and the fact that his win was overdue), Rush deserves to take home the statue along with Firth!
  • Russell Crowe & Paul Bettany – Master & Commander
    Yes, yes, another familiar name, but really, Crowe is easily the best Aussie imports in the biz. This isn’t exactly a ‘duo’ per se, but I feel that the compelling friendship between the captain and the doctor is what gives the movie its ‘heart.’

I realize that this list might as well be called Christian Bale and his Aussie co-stars, ahah. I think Bale is always memorable even in ‘second banana‘ roles. I’m sure there are other Brit/Aussie combos in classic movies but I’m not as familiar with that genre so folks, you’d have to help me out on that one.


Well, any thoughts on this Hunter Killer project? Please also share other Brit/Aussie duo you think deserve a mention.

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Random Thoughts: Sam Worthington’s Five Fave Flicks

My go-to review site RottenTomatoes.com has a regular feature where random movie actors/directors list their five favorite movies and why. Earlier this month, it featured AVATAR’s star Sam Worthington’s Five Favorite Films. Please note these are his favorites, not his ‘best films’ list:

  • Lethal Weapon 2 (1989, 82% Tomatometer)
    Lethal Weapon 2
    — because that’s the movie where I thought, ‘If those guys are doing that and getting paid for it, I want in.’ [laughs]
  • Mad Max 2, aka The Road Warrior (1981, 100% Tomatometer)
    Mad Max 2
    , along with The Year of Living Dangerously. As far as I’m concerned that was a time of filmmaking in Australia when we were excelling. And I can watch Mad Max 2 over and over again.
  • The Year of Living Dangerously (1983, 96% Tomatometer)
    And The Year of Living Dangerously, I love it because it’s an Australian movie not set in Australia.
  • Beverly Hills Cop (1984, 83% Tomatometer)
    Beverly Hills Cop
    , ’cause I think it’s Eddie Murphy at his finest. You know, we think of Norbit and things like that nowadays… but go watch Beverly Hills Cop to see the man in top form.
  • Die Hard (1988, 94% Tomatometer)
    Die Hard
    is the best action movie ever. [laughs] Nailed them out, didn’t I?

He’s obviously got a thing for action flicks… and Mel Gibson! Granted it’s quite a personal list, with three out of five being Aussie-related, but I guess now we know why he can rock out those action-hero roles, as that’s what he seems to gravitate towards.

It’s cool that he mentioned The Year of Living Dangerously. The title is a quote which refers to a famous Italian phrase used by former Indonesian President Sukarno; vivere pericoloso, meaning “living dangerously” that he borrowed for the country’s Independence Day speech in 1964. I sheepishly admit I haven’t seen the entire movie, but having grown up in Jakarta during the Suharto era, this movie hits close to home for me. Per Wikipedia, the story is about a love affair set in Indonesia during the overthrow of President Sukarno in 1965. It follows a group of foreign correspondents (including Gibson’s character, Aussie journalist Guy Hamilton) in the nation’s capital Jakarta on the eve of an attempted coup by the so-called 30 September Movement by military-led vigilante groups that killed hundreds of thousands. It wasn’t shot on location however, as the Indonesian (read: dictatorial Suharto’s) government wouldn’t allow it, so filming took place in Manila, Philippines. Not surprisingly, the movie was banned in Indonesia until 1999, and at last screened in the country during the Jakarta International Film Festival in 2000. This Peter Weir’s movie featured young Mel Gibson at his best (not to mention hottest), and interestingly enough his love interest was Sigourney Weaver (as Jill Bryant, a British Embassy officer), who later became Worthington’s co-star in Avatar. Linda Hunt won Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as Billy Kwan, Gibson’s character’s best friend, becoming the first person to win an Oscar for playing a character of the opposite sex (according to Wikipedia).

Back to Worthington, well, based on this list, and the projects he’s got going so far, I’m hopeful this guy won’t do any insipid rom-com any time soon! It’d be cool to see him in an action comedy a la Beverly Hills Cop or the Lethal Weapon franchise. He looks like someone versatile enough to be both bad-ass AND funny, something even talented actor like Christian Bale couldn’t quite master. I mean, you could say American Psycho was a dark (VERY dark) satire and some scenes are quite funny (albeit in a deranged kind of way), but I’ve never seen Bale do a light-hearted comedy, action or otherwise. People have labeled Sam the next action star, but I’d say he could be more than that. Perhaps he’s looking to mimic his favorite actor’s career, as Mel Gibson can balance both intense thrillers/action-pack roles with dramatic and comedic ones, not to mention his achievements as a director.

Just an additional trivia: Worthington came thisclose to becoming James Bond as he was a runner-up for Daniel Craig. He revealed to CommanderBond.net that “[The Bond people] had seen my tapes and wanted to make Bond younger, like Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity.” I’d say he’d make a smashing Bond, but I’m glad he didn’t get the role as I’d rather not see him get typecast.

I have high hopes for this Aussie. Now that I think about it, lots of my fave actors are Aussies… hmmm, I feel a list of hottest Aussie actors coming on. Stay tuned for that, folks! :)

Why the Brits/Aussies will always rule US TV

David TennantUpon learning this news that David Tenant — the popular star of BBC’s Dr. Who — will be a part of the Peacock network, I thought I’d resurrect my old post I did back in June. Funny how things haven’t changed one bit since then. Brits/Aussies still very much saturate our shows. Just this Fall, another Brit Joseph Fiennes —who’s most famous role is playing the Bard himself in Shakespeare in Love — is starring in ABC’s new drama Flash Forward. So the Scottish star’s foray into American TV is hardly surprising. According to THR, he’ll have his debut as the title character in NBC’s hourlong pilot Rex Is Not Your Lawyer. It centers on Rex Alexander (Tennant), a top Chicago litigator who begins suffering panic attacks and takes up coaching clients to represent themselves in court. So I’m guessing he’d have to adopt a Chicagoan accent? Bummer, I wish these Brits – and Aussies too for that matter — could just keep their own accent. I mean, LOTS of real people living in the US retain their native accents (me included).

Anyhoo, here’s what I wrote back in June:

If you watch just enough TV (or in my case, read a lot about what’s on the telly but don’t actually watch them), it’s hard to deny that the Brits/Aussies are a mainstay in our living room. We can argue the same case with Hollywood that’s pretty much overrun by foreign actors (case in point: last year’s Oscar winners consist of one Aussie actor, a British and Spanish actress, and a British director (whose film Slumdog Millionare won Best Film). That’s just the major contenders!

Now, as in the case of TV, it’s as if we’re seeing more and more foreign actors playing Americans, which begs the question: what gives? Truthfully, I’m often astounded that upon hearing some actors speak in interviews, I suddenly realize they aren’t Americans. Then I get annoyed that the producers don’t just let them use their own adorable accent and play their own nationality on TV. For some reason, they HAVE to make them play Americans–which they often do a darn decent job on–but sheesh, what a pity! I personaly would rather listen to their native tounge any day!

Take Jamie Bamber who plays hunky Lee ‘Apollo’ Adama in Battlestar Galactica. I was flabbergasted when I first heard his very thick British accent on the behind-the-scenes stuff, as he pulled off such a natural American accent on screen! I’m sure most people feel the same way about Hugh Laurie, who plays that callous-but-intriguing doctor in House (whom I already knew was a Brit from Sense & Sensibility). Another example is Sophia Myles of the now-cancelled Moonlight, she has a super thick British accent in real life but her American accent is down-right flawless! Aussies seem to have equal knack for faking American accents, as displayed by Simon Baker in The Mentalist and my personal fave, Alex O’Loughlin in Moonlight. And the list goes on.

Bending accents aside, what these Brit/Aussie actors also have in spades is talent. Now, I’m not saying the home-grown ones are lousy performers, but there’s just something beguiling about expat actors that I can’t put my finger on. Perhaps it’s in the water somehow that they’re ‘born’ to be that good, or perhaps they just work harder to perfect their craft? Most of them admit that they feel lucky to be able to work in Hollywood. Frankly, the film industry in their home countries are nowhere near as robust as the US counterpart in producing dozens of shows a year. And there are only so many period dramas an actor can be involved in one lifetime (as BBC is known to make way more than one can count!). Whatever the case may be, I for one welcome the fact that foreign actors are here to stay.

Here’s the ten-best list of notable expats on TV (from current and past seasons) who play Americans convincingly:

Australians:

1. Alex O’LoughlinMoonlight, Three Rivers, Hawaii Five-O, CBS

2. Simon BakerThe Mentalist, CBS

3. Julian McMahonNip/Tuck, Showtime

4. Toni ColetteUnited States of Tara, Showtime

5. Poppy MontgomeryWithout a Trace, CBS

6. Anthony LaPagliaWithout a Trace, CBS

7. Rachel GriffithsSix Feet Under, HBO

8. Jesse SpencerHouse, NBC

9. Christopher EganKings, NBC

10. Rose Byrne, Damages, USA

….
Brits (Irish, English, Scottish):

1. Hugh LaurieHouse, NBC

2. Jamie BamberBattlestar Galactica, SciFi

3. Sophia MylesMoonlight, CBS

4. Jason O’MaraLife on Mars, ABC

5. Rufus Sewell - Eleventh Hour, CBS

6. Matthew RhysBrothers & Sisters, ABC

7. Johnny Lee MillerEli  Stone, ABC

8. Dominic WestThe Wire, HBO

9. Ian McShane - Kings, NBC

10. Lena HeadeyThe Sarah Connor Chronicles, FOX


Honorable mention: Stephen Moyer
with his Southern drawl in True Blood

Now, who’s had you fooled so far?

Time Traveling with Sam Worthington

Worthington as Perseus and Jake Sully

All armored-up as Perseus and CGI-ed in blue as Jake Sully

Sam Worthington’s got to be the most enviable young actor working today. Though he’s not exactly a novice acting-wise, most US audiences have only seen him recently in Terminator Salvation. Yet, instead of working his way up in supporting roles or ensemble cast type of stuff, Hollywood readily entrusts him to be the next big leading man. Thanks to James “Titanic” Cameron who entrusts him to carry a 200 million blockbuster on his shoulders, offers keep pouring in for the 33-year-old actor. Within the next 12 months alone, he’s set to star in five feature films — two of them huge blockbusters — with meaty roles ranging from period/futuristic pieces to classic drama/thrillers. Now, I haven’t even seen any of his films, other than the trailers and clips of TS & Avatar, but from what I’ve seen so far I can definitely say this guy’s got the manly presence and charisma of a real movie star. Just read his interview with Esquire and tell me if he isn’t the next Aussie brute force since Russell Crowe. Some people may call him arrogant, like they did Crowe, but I say he’s got panache. I have no problem with that, especially if he’s got talent to burn.

In any case, Worthington’s been doing some time traveling lately since his stint in the futuristic world of Terminator. In Avatar, he’s once again transported to a distant future, and next year in Clash, he’ll be going back in time to ancient Greece to fight the gods as Perseus. A new batch of stills from two of the most anticipated films have just been released. UK film mag EMPIRE is featuring Clash on the cover (which means I got to make a stop at Barnes & Noble this weekend), and you can see all the photos on their website. He totally resembles Crowe in some of the poses, and the costumes looks somewhat similar to Gladiator as well. As for Avatar, FirstShowing has six new hi-res photos on their site. WOW, the intricate details of the images are quite amazing. As I said in my previous post about Avatar day, this is the kind of movie to fully experience in 3D.

This busy dude isn’t taking any break any time soon —  but when you get offers like he does, why would you? — he’s got two more flicks out in 2010 that is currently in production. One is a thriller set in the mid 1960s called The Debt, which reminds me a bit like Spielberg’s Munich, about a rebel Israeli Mossad agent hunting down a notorious Nazi war criminal. But before you label him the Aussie action hero, he aims to prove he’s got range by starring in a romantic drama Last Night — a love triangle with Keira Knightley and Eva Mendez, heh, that’s a dreamy gig even for an established actor! He’s even got yet two more flicks slated for 2011, The Candidate (about a DA blackmailed for murder of his one-night-stand) and The Tourist, as a replacement for Tom Cruise who dropped out of the project. Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp have now been tapped to star in The Tourist. Worthington instead opted to star in – and produce — The Last Days of American Crime. According to MTV blog, the movie takes place in the near future where the U.S. government is about to implement a new technology that will make it impossible for anyone to commit a crime. Worthington will portray Kevin Cash, a safe-cracker recruited by a career criminal who may be a dangerously unstable sociopath.

Whew, I’m exhausted just listing all the projects this guy’s got going. The roles seem pretty diverse, I don’t know how he keeps it all straight! I sure hope Avatar is a good one, but if not, his career is probably going to remain unscathed. Well, with a decade-worth of projects in just the next couple of years, he’ll still be riding his success for a while now.

Hollywood Casting News: Flixchatter highlights

When I was little, every time the inevitable “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question came up, I always answered with all the tenacity a teeny girl I could muster: a screenwriter. A rather unusual reply for a wee kid barely able to scribble a decent sentence, let alone a paragraph. But come to think of it, you know what would be a fantastic job to have? Casting director! I mean, imagine how fun it’d be going to work every day looking at scripts and study the characters, and figure out who’s best fit this role or that role. Of course it’s not as easy and glamorous as it seems, and I presume it can be as stressful as any job, but how gratifying it would be when the person you hire — and fight for with all your might to get him/her cast in a certain project — ends up winning an award or become an unlikely movie star! (I always wonder how Robert Pattinson’s casting director feels with all the frenzy surrounding that previously obscure kid actor).

In any case, as such dream job is definitely out of the realm of possibility, I settle for just reading about casting updates. Here’s some of the highlights this past week:

  • Jackman the AVON MAN?

    If he's selling it, I'd definitely be an AVON customer =)

    Variety: Hugh Jackman has joined the cast of Avon Man. Now, don’t worry, it’s not exactly another super hero flick. It’s billed as a Monty Phyton-ish comedy about a group of men laid off from an auto dealership (how timely!). One of them, presumably Jackman’s character, is reluctantly recruited into becoming an Avon salesman. Although the experience is initially emasculating, he uses his charm and good looks to become a top seller and even manage to compell his buddies to join him in the makeup business in order to win a regional sales contest. I laughed so hard just reading the premise, with Jackman’s charm and showmanship, this sounds like a winner!

  • Digital Spy reported that Colin Farrell has been tipped to replace Johnny Depp as Toby Grisoni in Terry Gilliam’s long-awaited Don Quixote movie. The film, initially titled The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, originally started filming in October 2000, but it was abandoned after a series of on-set mishaps. I wonder if the fact that both Depp and Farrell are in Gilliam’s upcoming film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus might have something to do with the casting switch.
  • I didn’t even know they’re making this film, but apparently it was to star Penn, Benicio del Toro and Jim Carrey. What a strange threesome indeed. But Chron Entertainment reported that Jim Carrey has walked away from the Farrelly brothers’ upcoming remake of The Three Stooges. He was expected to take on the role of Curly, but according to The Boston Globe, Peter Farrelly has confirmed he is no longer involved in the project. Allegedly, Giamatti has now been confirmed to fill the role vacated by Sean Penn (???!!), who quit the film earlier this year citing personal reasons. Well, who’d have thought Penn would ever be interested in a Three Stooges movie!
  • Variety: Frank Langella will join the cast of Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, that’ll be directed by Oliver Stone. Michael Douglas will reprise his Oscar-winning Gordon Gekko role. Langella is in talks to play Lewis Zabel, an old-time broker who mentors Shia LaBeouf’s character, a young Wall Street broker. Ok, that’s my cue that I’ve got to watch the original movie soon.
  • Variety: Sam Worthington is in talks to join Charlize Theron in The Tourist, a remake of the 2005 French thriller Anthony Zimmer that will be directed by Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day). Theron is set to play a female Interpol agent who uses an American tourist in an attempt to flush out an elusive criminal who was once her lover. Worthington is replacing Tom Cruise who dropped out of the project (yay!). Wow, whoever this Aussie actor’s agent is, he/she’s one busy bee!

Tired of boys ruling Hollywood? Get these real men to the rescue.

British and US press alike have been saying this over and over. Real men are but bygones in today’s Hollywood movies, as more and more boys dominate the box office. The biggest money makers of late are mostly under the age of 25! Shia La Beouf, Zac Efron, Robert Pattinson and Daniel Radcliffe have all beaten seasoned veterans like Russell Crowe or Tom Hanks in the box office lately. But are adult movie goers to blame? That’s what an MSNBC writer suggested, “[adult drama's] disappointing returns are endemic of a larger cultural trend wherein youth is valued above all else and maturity is, well, boring.” That’s just a shame if that were the case. I for one think the reverse is true. The Daily Mail astutely observed that Hollywood leading men nowadays all look eerily similar: “androgynous, interchangeable, identikit men-boys.”

In the article “Where have all the movie men gone?,” one  female writer of MSNBC even went so far as calling older leading men such as Matt Damon and Ashton Kutcher as ‘too soft.’ They’re no match for movies’ leading lady such as Angelina Jolie, she went on. She used movie Wanted as an example, where “Jolie looked as if she could toss him [the very boyish-looking James McAvoy] across the room.” Ouch! Poor McAvoy, all that training to buff up his physique clearly wasn’t enough, as masculinity isn’t exactly something a man can train for, y’know? You either got it or you don’t.

In any case, my real issue is with the actual boys-actor, as boyish-looking is a rather subjective term. Now, I’m not against all of them per se, some young actors do have talent (case in point: BAFTA winner Jamie Bell, who has more talent than all of the Twilight boys combined), but more often than not, it’s the case of fangurls run amok! Regardless of their acting chops or sheer believability in the roles they’re given, girls worship them, to the point of spurring hatred towards their female co-stars. In any case, enough is enough. I long for the time my mother introduced me to Hollywood classics, where red-blooded men, not boys, dominate the silver screen. Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, they all have what movie stars are made of. These men could eat boys like Pattinson/Efron/Radcliffe for breakfast!

Well, here’s wishing this trend wouldn’t last. If I had my way in the industry, I’d definitely keep my these real men plenty busy:

My leading men wish list

My leading men wish list

  1. Clive Owen – This Brit tough guy is as manly as they come, he’s also got the tender side to balance that no-nonsense exterior. He was my first pick as Bond before Daniel Craig was cast, but I guess I’d rather see him do other roles anyway.
  2. Rufus Sewell – With Rufus, it’s all in the eyes, they’re soulful and magnetic. Not sure why he’s always relegated to second or even third banana status as his looks and talent are definitely leading-man quality.
  3. Richard Armitage – A powerful yet mesmerizing John Thornton in the BBC miniseries North & South (not to be confused with the US civil war version w/ Patrick Swayze), Richard hasn’t made his foray in films yet. It’s too bad because we could use more of his intense leading-men quality. His turn as the brooding Guy of Gisbourne in the recently cancelled BBC series Robin Hood made me root for his character more than the title role.
  4. Daniel Craig – I was quick to judge him when he was first announced as the first blond Bond, but Craig totally won me over in Casino Royale. Sure he’s not as classically good looking as Connery or Dalton, but he exudes masculinity and no-nonsense ruggedness that Brosnan never quite emulate.
  5. Gerard Butler – I know, I know, after he did The Ugly Truth, you probably didn’t think he deserved to be on this list. But hey, I have a soft spot for the Scot, not only because of his rugged good looks but because I know he can act. I’m keeping my fingers-crossed that his upcoming Law Abiding Citizen will prove my theory. So I’m willing to give him another chance and hope he won’t continue to derail his career with any more obtuse rom-coms!
  6. Nathan Fillion – Fillion is currently gracing TV viewers in ABC’s Castle. But his looks & charming personality would be suited for a rom-com or dramedy. Isn’t it about time Matthew McConaughey retire already?
  7. Eric Bana – My fave Aussie actor of all time is the tall, dark & handsome fella with a sense of humor to boot! He was a former stand-up comic in his native Australia. Not only is he a great actor who can pull off  a comedy, rom-com and thriller without a hitch, he also has a very manly hobby of car racing. Check out his Love the Beast documentary trailer.
  8. Sam Worthington — Watch out, Crowe + Jackman, Worthington could be the next big Aussie import, especially with AVATAR out this year. I’ve mentioned him a lot on my blog and for good reason. I have only seen bits and pieces of him from a couple of films, but from what I’ve seen, I definitely would like to see more of him!
  9. Lee Pace – Most people knew him as the lead of ABC’s now-cancelled Pushing Daisies, but since I hardly watch any TV, Pace first came to my attention in the visually stimulating flick The Fall. The Oklahoma native (yes, the only American on this list!) impressed me once again in the sweet dramedy Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, pulling off a decent British accent as Amy Adam’s tender lover.
  10. James Purefoy – If you’ve seen HBO’s Rome, then you’ll know why he’s on this list. Now starring in NBC’s The Philanthropist, Purefoy’s got that twinkle in his eye and laid-back charm that makes him so darn watchable. If the show doesn’t last, I hope he’ll do more movies.

Agree with my list? No? Then let’s hear it.

300 & Gladiator sequel talks? Oh, please don’t!

Maximus & Leonidas might be back!

Maximus & Leonidas – seconds from being resurrected!

All the rumors swirling about a sequel/prequel of 300 just got a new boost now that director Zack Snyder told IGN at the Comic Con this weekend that he’s basically just waiting for Frank Miller’s draft of the comic. Snyder said that there’s a lot of Spartan history to draw inspiration from. He also hinted that even though his character King Leonidas died at the end of the movie, he doesn’t rule out Gerard Butler coming back in some form. Ha, if that’s true, Gerry better starts training pronto to get his 8-pack back. He’s been kind of plump lately, even on CNN’s review of The Ugly Truth, he’s called a ‘potato-faced Russell Crowe with a lot less charm.’ Ouch!

Speaking of Crowe, have you heard of the rejected Gladiator 2 script that was uncovered this past May? Apparently Crowe himself enlisted a fellow Aussie goth rocker (and sometimes screenplay writer) Nick Cave to write it. The supernatural-themed script has to be one of the most bizarre and preposterous scripts ever written. For those of you who haven’t seen Gladiator (would you just put it on your Netflix already?), Crowe’s character Maximus died at the end, but Cave’s script resurrected him by having the Roman gods reincarnate him and send him back to Rome. But it doesn’t stop there, according to the detailed review of it by Gone Elsewhere blog, the century-spanning script has Maximus stood up for early Christian rebels, as well as taking him to WW II and modern day Pentagon! [shakes head] No wonder the studios dismissed the script, deeming it too over the top despite thumbs up from Crowe and the original director Ridley Scott. The script itself seems like a hoot and craftily-written, but I can’t imagine it working as a sequel to such a classic film. I couldn’t even finish reading it, I mean I LOVE Gladiator and Maximus is one of my favorite cinematic characters, but what Cave wrote is just too out there and weird for my taste. Check it out for yourself (download the PDF) and let me know what you think.

I personally think they should leave masterpieces alone, why mess with perfection, you know? In the history of sequels/prequels, only a tiny handful of them actually works (The Lord of the Rings, Toy Story) but most sequels are craps driven merely by profits. Alas, they probably will do a sequel to both of them in the future, those suits in Hollywood just can’t resist it with the popularity of swords & sandals flicks popping up again (see my previous post). In fact, I just saw a promo shot of Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince of Persia on the latest EW magazine at Barnes & Noble today. Jake’s looking very Ryan Reynolds-like with his new buff physique, but sorry I just don’t see him as a bad @$$ hero the way Crowe in Gladiator or Butler did in 300. It’s more than just the body IMO, it’s the panache/charisma of the actor that makes the character believable.

Anyhoo, enough with the sequel talks. I think Hollywood ought to invest in a fresh new crop of writers instead of doing the same thing over and over again.

Top Ten Movie Couples Wish List – Continued

As promised in my previous post of Top Ten Movie Couples, here’s the rationale behind my wish list of actor/actress pairings I’d love to see on-screen:

1. Gerard Butler & Eva Green
I love Eva in Casino Royale, she’s got the perfect combination of intellect + sex appeal. Pair her with the sexy, Scottish bad boy and watch the screen combust!

2. Russell Crowe & Amy Adams
Crowe is a sensitive hero despite his tempestuous aura, whilst Adams is the reigning sweet princess after her terrific turn in Enchanted. They’d be great in something like The Painted Veil, about an ordinary couple going through extraordinary circumstances.

3. Rufus Sewell & Aishwarya Rai
After being in a series of duds lately (including the now cancelled CBS show Eleventh Hour), Sewell ought to get a new agent already! He’s a great character actor who somehow often got cast as the baddie in a given love story (The Holiday, The Illusionist). I’d love to see him do a cultural romantic drama with famed Bollywood’s actress miss Rai (former Miss World 1994) where he’d end up getting the girl.

4. Christian Bale & Emily Blunt
If you’ve been reading my blog you know I love Bale in various romantic scenes he’s been in. Too bad he seems to gravitate towards tortured souls, desolate characters these days. I know he doesn’t like rom-coms, which is fine by me, but it’d be great to see more of him playing a normal guy dealing with relationship issues (kind of like what he did in Laurel Canyon), where he doesn’t starve himself or chop anybody off with an ax. Fellow Brit Emily Blunt stole scenes in The Devil Wears Prada and Jane Austen Book Club. She’s a beautiful & talented actress with great comic skills.  She’d be a suitable match for the ever so serious Bale.

5. Henry Cavill & Sophia Myles
My favorite underrated actor and actress, they both have earned their dues to finally hit the big time. Henry is tall, dark & handsome whilst Sophia is the petite, blond starlet (kind of the British Scarlett Johansson). He’s currently in SHOWTIME’s The Tudors and she was last seen in CBS’ Moonlight (which I think wasn’t a good enough show for her talent). I’d love to see these two in something like The Notebook or Before Sunrise.

6. Johnny Depp & Kate Beckinsale
Johnny is believable in almost anything he does, and I like Kate in Serendipity. She should do more drama/smart rom-com like that, so I’m glad she’s abandoned the Underworld franchise. Hmmm, I could see them do a remake of Wuthering Heights.

7. Timothy Dalton & Emma Thomson
My favorite Bond & Charlotte Bronte’s Rochester + classiest Jane Austen character (Sense & Sensibility‘s Elinor) – oh wouldn’t that be awesome! I can’t fathom why an impossibly good looking, classically-trained seasoned actor like Timothy isn’t busy fending off offers. He’s still dashing even in his early 60s! As for Emma, after seeing Last Chance Harvey, I adore her even more. It’d be great to see these two thespians work together in something like that.

8. Eric Bana & Halle Berry
Everyone may be swooning over Hugh Jackman more these days, but Eric is the ‘boy from Oz’ I find captivating. A former stand-up comic, the down-to-earth charmer makes any flix watchable, especially with his adorable accent. I just think Halle would be an interesting match for Eric in a smart thriller with a tangled love story thrown in.

9. Edward Norton & Maggie Gyllenhaal
These two are massively talented actor with an Indie/artsy flair. I’m surprised they haven’t worked together by now. Both are unconventionally good looking for those who favor brains over beauty. I’d say Edward is the anti-Matthew McConaughey and Maggie the anti-Megan Fox, and that’s a very good thing.

10. Daniel Henney & Rachel McAdams
I first knew about this incredibly hunky Korean/English actor from my sister in-law, and then saw him on-screen for the first time in Wolverine. In this increasingly global everything, isn’t it about time we have a real Asian heartthrob that isn’t known only for his martial art! Not sure yet about his acting skills, as he’s mostly done Korean movies, but US audiences will get a chance to see him in the new CBS series coming this fall, Three Rivers. I just pick Rachel because I thought she was great in The Notebook and Red Eye, I doubt I’d be paying much attention to anybody else once Mr. Henney is on screen though, ehm.

Battle of the Greek Mythologies: Theseus vs. Perseus

Cavill's Theseus vs. Worthington's Perseus

Cavill's Theseus vs. Worthington's Perseus

I brought up the remake of Clash of the Titans a couple of weeks ago, and I just learned recently that Hollywood is releasing a very similar genre flick called War of the Gods at around the same time next year. Clash will be out first in Spring, and War in late Summer/early Fall. (See my updated post regarding release date and casting info)

Ok now, I don’t quite get the strategy behind this (if there’s any), I’d imagine they’d be eating out of each other’s box office take? In any case, the leads of both flix are largely unknown (Aussie Sam Worthington and Brit Henry Cavill), which makes it all the more interesting. Sam Worthington was probably the more recognizable of the two, having been in Terminator Salvation this past May, whilst Henry’s been doing Showtime’s The Tudors for the last 3 seasons (more on him in a bit).

At first glance, looks like Clash would have the edge too, with the all-star cast that includes Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. But War is directed by Indian native Tarsem Singh, whose last film The Fall was so visually stunning it took my breath away. Under his direction, it could very well have a distinctive flavor that’ll stand out above the rest of the pack. Having Henry Cavill as the lead can’t hurt, either.

Ok, regarding Henry, I’ve been watching this guy’s career ever since I saw him in The Count of Monte Cristo. I was working on featuring him on my blog in regards to him being dubbed the ‘most unlucky man in Hollywood’ by EMPIRE magazine, but The Playlist beat me to it. No matter, it was a great article that exemplifies how much this talented guy’s been overlooked time and time again! I mean, he’s been passed over for not one but FOUR iconic roles: James Bond, Superman, Batman (for The Dark Knight) and Edward in Twilight (despite him being Stephanie Meyer’s first choice). It’s probably a blessing in disguise regarding the last role, he’s too good to be trapped in a teenybopper’s flix like that for years (sorry Twilight fans!). I’d rather he mixes things up, doing indie films as well as big studio fares. I wouldn’t be opposed to him doing Bond once Daniel Craig’s contract is up though. He’ll be the right age then and being tall, dashing, British, and with charisma to boot, what else do you ask for? The Dunhill fashion house obviously recognized that. Check out his Dunhill fragrance commercial. Can you say, Bond, James Bond? Fingers-crossed War of the Gods will finally put him on the Tinseltown map the way 300 did for Gerry Butler.

Back to the flix in question, I’d be curious to see how these two play out next year. I love Greek mythology stuff, so I definitely be watching both of them. Let the battles begin, on-screen and off!

Ledger had wanted out as Joker?

Vanity Fair Tribute to Heath Ledger

Vanity Fair Tribute to Heath Ledger

Well according to the Vanity Fair tribute to the late actor, that’s exactly what he wanted. That comes as a surprise to me as his performance was so masterful that you’d think an actor of his caliber would’ve welcomed the opportunity to play such an outrageous character. But his friend/agent Steven Alexander told Vanity Fair’s contributing editor that Ledger had a pay-or-play deal for his role as the Joker that he could pretty much bail and still get paid. So he purposely delivered such an over-the-top performance hoping he’d get fired so he could go on a lengthy vacation instead! Ironically, director Chris Nolan liked his performance and so did critics and film goers.

From what I’ve read, Ledger was a private person who shun publicity and the fame that came with the job as an actor. The article confirmed that unlike most actors, he definitely had an apathy for stardom. This was a quote from Alexander:

“[Ledger] was always hesitant to be in a summer blockbuster, with the dolls and action figures and everything else that comes with one of those movies. He was afraid it would define him and limit his choices.

Hmmm, strange that he thought so as I’d think the success would mean he could pick ANY role he wanted. Ledger had been quite well-known before he took on the Joker role so I doubt he’d be typecast into playing comic-book villains. Besides, he’s so unrecognizable anyway with all those goop on his face, most people probably won’t recognize him if they passed him on the street. Nobody will ever know how much of an impact the role had on him, whether it intensified his chronic insomnia to such a lethal degree. Reportedly, his breakup with Michelle Williams and fighting for custody of his daughter also hit him hard.

Just like Michael Jackson, Ledger seemed to have had everything but yet were devoid of hope and inner peace. No matter how HUGE our problems seem to be, I think they’re rather trivial compared to the larger scheme of things. As a Christian, I’m blessed to know where my hope and strength comes from (Philipians 4:13 – I can do everything through him who gives me strength). I know I’m never alone in facing my troubles. As the world paid tribute to the King of Pop, I pray that we all would reflect on what really matters in life, and that we’d turn to the real King of heaven and earth, the only one who can help carry us through anything and everything.