Twitter Questions: Gerard Butler

Check out EMPIRE Online’s Twitter questions for Gerard Butler. The British mag asked fans to submit questions for him via Twitter, and here are some interesting bits about the planned Escaped From New York remake, eating deep-fried Mars Bars and if he still kept the 300 outfit.

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Funny how he mentioned he almost did The Losers, as I was just reading about it on CinemaBlend. I’m not familiar with that project, but apparently it’s yet another comic-book adaptation (what else is new in Hollywood) about a Special Forces team serving in WWII, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Zoe Saldana. Each member of the unit lost soldiers under their command, hence they dub themselves The Losers.

Back to Butler, I sure wish he won’t ever play Snake Plisken (I don’t care enough to check for the correct spelling) and opt to work on getting Burns off the ground! Glad to hear he’s still interested to bring the Scottish poet biopic project to life one day. I was dismayed when I read this report by Deadline Scotland that the project’s been postponed indefinitely so there’s “… no chance of Gerard Butler now becoming involved.”

Butler quipped that every Halloween, he’s always surrounded by his larger-than-life movie characters: Phantom, Leonidas, Dracula, etc. Hmmm, any ideas what the guy himself should be dressed as? How about that diaper thingy he wore in Attila? Or better yet, that shamrock boxer with suspenders from P.S. I love you? He just might upstage King Leonidas with that one.

Btw, if you’ve got a couple of minutes to spare, EMPIRE also got this amusing graph of GB’s manliness from a few months ago.

Tintin film will be released late 2011 in 3D

This probably isn’t as huge a news to most American moviegoers. But as someone who grew up reading The Adventures of Tintin comics, I’ve been curiously following this 3D adaptation project for some time now.

The cast of Tintin comic strips

The hero of the comic strips created by Belgian artist Hergé is Tintin, a young Belgian reporter with his fox terrier Snowy (Milou in French). Though it didn’t quite catch on in the US, Wikipedia noted that the series is one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century, with translations published in over 50 languages and more than 200 million copies of the books sold to date. Its fun, captivating and even educational plots would span various genres from swashbuckling, fantastical adventures, political thrillers, to science fiction. The whisky-loving & eternally grumpy Captain Haddock, the genius but hearing-impaired Professor Calculus and the blundering twin detectives Thomson & Thompson never fail to deliver the laughs in various colorful predicaments.

Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg are teaming up in an effort to bring Tintin to life in a motion-capture animated 3D film. Here’s a brief history of how the project came together. According to the movie page on Wikipedia, Spielberg’s a fan of the series since 1981, and that even Hergé himself thought Spielberg was the only person who could ever do Tintin justice of bringing it to life. The Belgian author died the same week of their scheduled meeting in 1983, but his widow decided to give Spielberg the rights. Fellow comics fan Jackson, who had used motion capture in The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, suggested that a live action adaptation would not do justice to the comic books and motion capture was the best way of representing Hergé’s world of Tintin.

“We’re making them look photorealistic; the fibers of their clothing, the pores of their skin and each individual hair. They look exactly like real people – but real Herge people!” Jackson said of the film’s look.

Spielberg is in charge of directing and ‘capturing’ the actors’ performances, which include Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot) as Tintin, with regular Jackson collaborator Andy Serkis (The Lord of The Rings‘ Golum) as Captain Haddock. Per Guardian UK, Jackson said that Spielberg has finishing filming. Whilst promoting his movie The Lovely Bones, Jackson told BBC: “Tintin is great. It’s made. The movie is cut together and now [we] are turning it into a fully-rendered film. So the movie, to some degree, exists in a very rough state.” However, it will be another two years before anyone sees the film, due to the amount of post-production work Jackson would have to do to convert all the data into a 3D world.

Photo courtesy of EMPIRE magazine
Spielberg directing Bell and Serkis as Jackson looked on

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, the first in a proposed trilogy, will also feature the voices of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Daniel Craig, Cary Elwes. It’s been reported also that the initial plan was for Spielberg to direct the first movie, with Jackson taking the second and another unannounced film-maker the third, but studio Universal passed on the project last year, leading to a downscaling. The film will now come out under the auspices of Paramount and Sony. It is based on three Tintin books: The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure.

Can’t wait to see what the creative genius behind two of the finest Hollywood filmmakers will do with this beloved comics. Alas, December 2011 is a really, really long time to wait!

What I’m thankful for: My loving husband

Happy Thanksgiving, readers! Thought I’d take the time to reflect on what I’m really, really thankful for this year. There are too many really, the fact that I get to live another day and have a job, family, friends… this blog =) Those are all abundant blessings I can’t ever take for granted. And the one thing I know I’ll always be grateful for is my caring husband, and the fact that I’ve been married to him for the past seven years. No seven-year-itch or anything of the sort, thankfully.

So, as a tribute to my great hubby, here are five wonderful movie husbands any woman would be blessed to have. The movie itself may not be perfect, but the husband portrayed here certainly seems that way.

  • John Rolfe – The New World
    Chris Bale as John Rolfe

    The Pocahontas-inspired story actually centers on her love affair with Capt. John Smith (Colin Farrell). But it’s the last twenty minutes of the 2.5-hour movie that touched me the most. Christian Bale’s John Rolfe fell in love with the grieving young woman after losing her first love, and eventually married her. His brief scenes with her show how patient and loving he was towards her, even until the end when their love is tested. Their scenes together are definitely one I can watch over and over again. It’s a testament of that Bale can play a hopeless romantic convincingly. I wish he’d tackle this type of role more often!

  • Paul Child – Julie & Julia
    This movie is definitely all about the heroine that is Julia Child. But just like the phrase ‘behind a great man, there is a good woman,’ the same can be true vice versa. Paul Child was a loving and sympathetic husband who stood by Julia even before she became famous, and even when fame beckoned, he’s still supportive of her instead of becoming jealous of it like a lot of men would.
  • Duke – The Notebook
    James Gardner’s Duke shows how love transcends devastating circumstances. He never gave up reading their love stories over and over again to his Alzheimer-stricken wife Allie (Gena Rowland), giving us a whole new meaning and inspiration to what ‘in sickness and in health’ marital promise is all about.
    ….
  • Gerry Kennedy – P.S. I Love You
    Gerard Butler might be a player, but he sure can play a dreamy husband, dead or alive. Hilary Swank’s Holly can be quite a pill but Gerry handle her rants and mood swings in stride and sense of humor. His love for her even transcends death as he leaves notes from the afterlife to help her move on. Plus, any husband who’s willing to do this silly but sexy strip dance absolutely deserves to be on this list.
    …..
  • Bob Rueland – Return to Me
    In this movie, David Duchovny doesn’t play the role of a husband for very long but in those brief scenes, he makes for such an adorable and supportive partner to his zoologist wife. He’s funny, charming, and sweet as can be. When he suddenly lost her, his grief was genuinely moving and heartbreaking that we all root for him to find love again. When he does, he was the epitome of a perfect boyfriend, too, which is a far cry from the womanizer role he plays in Californication.

Random Thoughts: Overpaid A-listers & Sexiest Men Alive

The dis-honorable list of 2009

Forbes released their annual most-overpaid stars list last week. To create the list, Forbes looked at the 100 biggest stars in Hollywood. To qualify, each actor had to have starred over the last five years in at least three movies that opened in more than 500 theaters. Three of them were repeat offenders, including the ‘winner’ Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore and Jim Carrey, who were also on the 2008 list of overpaid-stars. Which begs me the question, why on earth would the studio still want to pay them the big bucks??! It’s also an amusing coincidence that last year’s topper Nicole Kidman — who earned a mere buck for every dollar she was paid — starred with Ferrell in the darn-awful Bewitched in 2005, which not-surprisingly only managed to rake $63 million of the 85-mil budget.

In any case, I’m hardly surprised with this list, with the exception of Ewan McGregor (#2 on the list) who despite his lower paycheck (in comparison to others on this list) still doesn’t make him profitable enough to the studios.

Fortunately, I have not seen any movies of these overpaid stars in the past year, as I’ve opted to see relative ‘unknowns’ on the big screen. Films I’ve seen and will line up to see consist of intriguing concepts with no-name actors, i.e. District 9, Star Trek, Avatar, The Young Victoria. Even my fave Gerard Butler still derives a response of ‘Gerard who?’ amongst people I work with, but his film Law Abiding Citizen has been on the top ten box office for six straight weeks, grossing $70+ mil so far compared to the 50-million production cost. No doubt with the success of the mega-moth teen vampire franchise that is Twilight, the laundry list of $20 million actors is being trimmed down. As Zdonk.com blog said, in today’s Hollywood, the A list actor with their gluttonous contracts isn’t as valuable to the studio as a marketable concept.

——-

Now, People magazine is at it again with their pick of Sexiest Man Alive. I usually never bother with it as I hardly ever agree with their picks. Even last year’s chosen-one, Hugh Jackman, isn’t on my top five of sexiest men. I know, I know, he seems to have it all, after all he’s tall, dark and handsome… with an Aussie accent to boot! But for whatever reason, he just doesn’t scream SEXY to me.

Which brings me to this year’s two-time champion of Sexiest Man Alive: Johnny Depp. Now, I love Johnny and think that he’s a fantastic actor. But sexy? Um, I don’t think he would be my top picks in the sexy department. Even my friend Corinne who’s a die-hard Johnny fan admits that he sometimes look effeminate and foppish with his slender frame, stringy hair and delicate features. But before all you Depp-fanatics charge me with contempt, I still think he’s a much better pick than say Jake Gyllenhaal, or worse R-Patz! Looking back at the other sexiest-men-alive picks, none of them would get my endorsement: Matt Damon, George Clooney, Matthew McCougnahey, Ben Affleck and my least fave of all, Brad Pitt. The only one I thought was quite sexy was the late JFK Jr., who’s got that effortless sexiness about him.

My pick of sexiest man alive: Gerry Butler

For what it’s worth, the always on People’s honorable-mentions Gerard Butler is what I’d consider incredibly sexy. And y’know what, he’s been that way to me long before his 12-pack abs made headlines as he pranced around in a leather codpiece in 300. He was sexy when he was fully-clothed from head-to-toe in the Phantom of the Opera, as well as a mysterious stranger in Dear Frankie. His allure goes beyond how he looks — or his ruggedly manly hands. It’s in the way he talks, moves, walks, even the way he glances at someone he fancies. His raspy, throaty voice is sexy, too, and his sexiest traits of all? His intellect and sense of humor, in full display in virtually every interview/public appearances he’s in.

Apparently his British fans would agree as the Scot recently beat out Daniel Day-Lewis and Christian Bale as Best British Actor in Hollywood. Other men on the top-ten list include fellow Scots James McAvoy & Ewan McGregor, and Englishmen Hugh Laurie and Jason Statham. According to IrishCentral, it was the result of a poll of more than 1,000 British film fans by the DVD rental service LoveFilm. He even beat out [gasp] R-Patz who came seventh despite the huge popularity of the Twilight vampire franchise. Helen Cowley, the editor at LoveFilm said: “And even though Robert Pattinson is getting some deserved attention, it’s the older generation of actors that still have sway in Hollywood.”

Hear, hear!

Conspicuous Trailer of the Week: The Road

Apocalypse cataclysm is no popcorn, which makes The Road a perfect antithesis for the farcical fluff that is 2012. Based on Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, it’s a post-apocalyptic tale starring Viggo Mortensen, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and Charlize Theron. Here’s the short synopsis per IMDb: A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind and water. It is cold enough to crack stones, and, when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the warmer south, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing: just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless cannibalistic bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a rusting shopping cart of scavenged food–and each other.
….

A friend at work came over on Friday and told me how mercilessly grim the trailer is — and it is — there’s no sugarcoating on this doomsday flick and that’s how it should be. Alas, this probably earn only a tiny fraction of what John Cusack-starrer raked up, as people would rather see spectacular SFX of stuff blowing up is far more commercial and ‘easier’ to watch. Just a side note, for some reason this trailer brings to mind Reign of Fire without the fiery dragons, though quality-wise it’s like comparing apples and oranges.

Mortensen continue to admirably defy his good looks to play the destitute and desperate father and husband. He’s one of those actors I deeply admire but I’m often too chickened-out to watch his films (i.e. Eastern Promises). According to his interview with Collider, filming The Road was both physically AND emotionally demanding. “If it hadn’t been and if we hadn’t shot outside in the winter, I don’t think it would be as good a movie because no matter how well you fake it visually, the actors aren’t going to feel the same.” He also admitted losing about 30 pounds to physically prepare for the role. But the emotional part proves to be even more challenging.

Q: Was it an emotionally taxing role for you?

VM: Yeah. To be honest, that was the hardest part. It was harder than the physical part, for me. I mean, I’ve been in movies where I’ve had to do physical – you know, whether I was in extreme heat or cold, mountains, horse work, fights, all that – I may have done things that I knew “Oh God, we’ve got weeks or months of this” – and you just get through it. But it’s a whole other thing to have to – and I’ve been naked physically in movies – but it’s a whole other thing to be naked emotionally in a way that’s not just a distraction or a character. It had to be very sincere or it wouldn’t work because just the landscape we’re in is so real. It’s so raw and in a way it’s such an open wound that our feelings had to be on that level, which was kind of a measuring stick, I felt. And then, I’ve never been in a movie where the environment was so consistently a character.

I definitely smell Oscar for this multi-talented actor’s heartbreaking performance! The Road is released tomorrow, 11/25.

Classic Flix Review: Frederico Fellini’s 8½ by Rockerdad

As a tribute to RTM’s recent post about ‘writer’s block’, and the fact that Daniel Day-Lewis is reprising the role of Guido in the film version of the revived musical NINE (out on Christmas Day), I thought it would be fitting to do a review of a classic film that delves into the depths of creative paralysis or artistic block. In 1963 Federico Fellini wrote and directed what many consider to be his greatest work, 8½.

The film figuratively and literally centers around famed film director Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) who has the tedious task of creating another successful film, implied as a science fiction story with a million dollar set-piece – a rocket launch pad in the Italian countryside. Unfortunately, life and love’s pressures (as well as the movie business) has rendered him impotent of any creative force or passion. As he struggles and juggles with all the role players in his life (mistresses, wife, writers, friends, producers, actors, film crew, even the catholic church), he retreats into his own dream world/fantasy in search for inspiration and meaning. His reality meshes with dreams, nightmares, fantasies, childhood memories – often losing himself in them. One glimmer of hope emerges, in the form of purity, embodied by the beautiful Claudia Cardinale – a recurring vision in his jumbled reality.

The film seamlessly veers from Guido’s reality to his fantasies/memories/dreams and vice versa as he is trying to piece together an unrealized film. At first viewing (for those unfamiliar with Fellini) it is disorienting to move from one cinematic reality to the next – but with subsequent viewings, the sections actually form a structure a la verse-chorus-refrain, etc. Shot in black & white, it is very stylish in its cinematography. As with most Fellini films, the dialogue is dubbed in post production – something Fellini considered as part of his art form. The actors would mouth or say lines not necessarily matching the lines of the dubbed track. In other words, the dialogue isn’t finalized until they are dubbed. The flatness of the audio track in sequence with the visuals add that “foreign film” and “independent” flavor I suspect is a factor in its mystique.

While abound with surreal images and sequences (many of which remind me of Magritte and some of Maya Deren’s experimental work), the film also has an abundance of very poignant vignettes of Guido’s childhood, reportedly inspired by Fellini’s own experiences. There is a scene in which a very young Guido is bathed and put to sleep with his brothers and sisters and the words “Asa Nisi Masa” are introduced, that is so tender and nostalgic that there is little doubt this particular event originated from a real memory. Fellini would revisit these memories in Amarcord years later.

The title refers to the number of films Fellini has made up to that point – which is 7 full length features (including 8½) plus 2 short films. The film divided critics back in 1963, but it went on to nab Oscar’s® Best Foreign Film which is one reason it’s found life on the shelves since the heyday of the video rental store. Though quite arty for most people, more literal remakes have been based on 8½, most notably Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz (1979), and Tom DeCillo’s Living in Oblivion (1995). But if ever there was a film that accurately and interestingly depicted a good example of a director’s (or any artist’s) creative process, this is it.

Check out the original trailer for 81/2:

Brand new trailer of Daniel-Day Lewis’ musical NINE

If I’d ever spend part of my Christmas day in a theater, it’d be to watch this one. You’ll find some details about the movie in my previous post back in August. The Weinstein company recently released this brand-new trailer that makes me want to get up and dance!

Boy, that is one red-hot and vivacious preview with a plethora of Academy Award-winning actresses all in one movie! Not to mention double Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis, looking melancholy yet sexy as the world famous film director Guido Contini. All the women look marvelous and seem to be having the time of their lives. Also check out the attractive poster of the film that’d surely appeal to both sexes.

NINE musical poster
Click to view the larger version in CINEMATICAL website

The story of NINE is based on Arthur Kopit’s book of the same name, which was derived from an Italian play by Mario Fratti inspired by Federico Fellini’s autobiographical film . Be on the lookout for the 81/2 classic flix review by Rockerdad coming to you tomorrow.