The week that was… [slowly] back blogging again

Hello everyone! Remember me? 😉 I’ve been back since very late Friday but after 30+ hour trip, I was still pretty exhausted that I didn’t have any energy to blog right away. Hope everyone’s doing well whilst I was off the blogosphere, well I was practically off-line entirely as I barely got time to even check Twitter in the past week and a half. Btw, it’s gonna be a slow return to blogging as I’m actually going to be away this Wednesday to San Diego (our planned vacation) for at least five days.

Nyekar
So long my dear brother… ’til we meet again

Anyway, this has been quite a whirlwind trip for me, but despite the sadness of losing my dear brother Peter so suddenly, I was very blessed to be able to spend some quality time with my one and only remaining sibling Paul (his twin), his wonderful wife and their three girls. It was a blast spending time with my three beautiful nieces (ages 9, 11 and 13) who happen to be all into movies, ahah, so we’d excitedly talk about movies they’re anticipating Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, not surprisingly both are based on young adult novels and feature a female protagonist 😉

Well, suffice to say I didn’t see a single new movie the past couple of weeks. I had to miss a few screenings (The Lone Ranger, World War Z), so the last screening I saw was Monsters University (review coming next week). I was really at the mercy of cable TV at my hotel and the [very] limited selections on the plane, but y’know, it’s actually not that bad. Here are the movies I happen to catch in the past 10 days:

CABLE:

  • Con Air (1997) – rewatch
    ConAir
    I actually saw this one twice in 2 days believe it or not, the first time on my own and the second time when my brother Paul came to visit me on my hotel and we ended up watching this again (with my nieces too) the second time around. Perhaps one of my fave Nic Cage movies, and he actually looks pretty bad ass in that wife beater, ahah.
  • The Avengers (2012) – rewatch
    Avengers
    I almost watched this one twice as well if I hadn’t fallen asleep, ahah. What can I say, it’s still as fun as the first time I saw it, and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) still stole the show 😀
  • The Grey (2011)TheGrey
    I’ve been curious about this movie for a while but I missed the first 20 minute or so by the time I switched the TV on. Some of the parts were quite boring but overall it’s actually a decent – albeit predictable thriller. Worth renting I suppose but probably not worth seeing on the big screen, even with the gorgeous cinematography. Liam ‘special set of skills’ Neeson is perhaps the only reason to watch this one, unless you’re a wolves enthusiast, ahah.

I also saw half an episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the one with the late Andy Whitfield. It actually looked pretty good though I had to switch the channels during the violent battle stuff so I don’t think I can actually watch this show in its entirety.

IN FLIGHT:

  • Monsters, Inc. (2001) – rewatch
    MonstersInc
    Though the prequel was fun and exceeded my expectations, this one is still tough to beat. The scenes with Boo when Sulley & Mike first encounter her always had me in stitches!
  • Jane Eyre (2011) – rewatch
    JaneEyre2011
    I’ve got to admit I had a renewed appreciation for this Cary Fukunaga version. I wasn’t bowled over when I first saw it (read my review) but I think Michael Fassbender made for a soulful & magnetic Rochester (though Timothy Dalton’s portrayal is still my all-time fave) and Mia Wasikowska is superb in the title role.
  • Pride & Prejudice (2005) – rewatch
    PridePrejudice2005
    I always felt the urge to watch this every time it’s available. I think this Joe Wright’s film has become my favorite P&P version now, yes it even beat the Colin Firth one for me. I love Matthew MacFadyen as Mr. Darcy and Keira Knightley’s more than all right as Lizzy Bennett.
  • Big Fish (2001)
    BigFish
    I’ve been curious about this one for some time so I’m glad this was shown on the plane. It’s perhaps the most un-Tim Burton-like from the eccentric director. It’s a surprisingly moving fantasy film centered on father-son relationship. I quite like the cast, esp. Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor playing the old/young version of the character, and Billy Crudup as his son. It’s a bit confusing at times but it might be one of the most emotionally-charged Tim Burton film I’ve seen so far.

I actually almost watched Les Miserables on the plane but for some reason my earphone only worked on one ear, and I really can’t imagine listening to 2.5 hours of all that singing just from one ear!

Now, when I got back, I only watched a couple of things from Netflix streaming:

WhatToExpect

Though I initially shrugged this one off, but I’m glad I gave this a shot as it ended up being quite funny. The dudes support group is definitely the highlight, though I find Joe Manganiello (the actor & the character) so incredibly repulsive, ugh. I actually quite like J-Lo in this one though, but Elizabeth Banks is the most hilarious one of all the girls.

AllStarSuperman

I might’ve seen parts of this before but my hubby and I started watching this on his iPad and we ended up watching the whole thing on our TV. It’s interesting how there are some things here that seem to echo Man of Steel, well I guess the other way around as this animated feature was already released in 2011. I like that Superman is dying of radiation poisoning and making the ultimate sacrifice for humanity. Even the soundtrack is pretty good. Definitely a must for Superman fans!


Well, that’s my week so far, folks. What have you been watching? Anything good?

FlixChatter Review: Jane Eyre (2011)

After nearly a year of waiting, finally I got to see the latest version of one of my favorite classic love stories, Jane Eyre. The oft-filmed Charlotte Brontë’s gothic novel has been adapted into tv and motion pictures more than two dozen times, not to mention countless theater work of the same name. It’s amazing that after its first publication in London in 1847, one hundred and sixty four years later the story still resonates and beguiles people the world over.

Fukunaga on Jane Eyre’s set

Even if you haven’t read the book, I presume most people are familiar with the story of a young governess who falls for her employer who’s twice her age, the ultimate Byronic hero Edward Rochester. Brontë’s Jane Eyre is decidedly darker than many romantic period dramas, such as those by Jane Austen or even Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South, there are elements of mystery and horror that plague the protagonists’ lives. 33-year-old director Cary Fukunaga is fully aware of it and makes the most of those elements into his sophomore effort (his first was the acclaimed immigrant-themed indie Sin Nombre).

Instead of a straight review, for this purpose I’d like to list what works and what doesn’t in this adaptation. It’s longer than usual because there’s just a lot to cover, so bear with me.

The Good:

Fukunaga’s direction – He preferred natural light for much of the film, forgoing camera lighting and instead opted for candles which created the proper dark, moody and gloomy atmosphere that matches Rochester’s temperament perfectly. He used some hand-held camera work to great effect — Jane walking through the corridor, narrow gates, etc. — but not too much so that it became distracting. The extremely gloomy and rainy setting give the beautiful Spring-y backdrop during the day scenes much more impact, and they seem to mimic the sentiment the protagonists are feeling.

Thornfield Hall, Rochester’s expansive mansion looked like something Count Dracula could comfortably settle in. It almost became its own character in the story and adds the necessary spookiness we come to expect from this Gothic tale.

Click to see a larger version

Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax – When does Dame Judi ever disappoint? Apparently never. Even in small roles, the scenes she’s in are one of the best ones in the movie. There was an important scene involving Jane and Rochester where Mrs. Fairfax didn’t utter a single word, but she made quite an impact just with her expression. With that bonnet and frumpy frock, it’s hard to imagine she’s the same woman playing James Bond’s formidable boss, M.

Mia Wasikowska as Jane – A lot of the issues I have with literary adaptation is that the supposedly plain heroine usually ends up being played actresses who are too glamorous for the role. Fortunately in this one, Wasikowska was believable as a plain young girl, though she obviously is a pretty girl. At 18, she’s also the perfect age for the role. If I were to nitpick though, she’s not exactly ‘little’ as she’s described in the novel as Rochester doesn’t quite tower over her.

In any case, I thought she did a wonderful job carrying the film. She captures the essence of the strong-willed character who holds her own against her much older subject of her affection, and one who despite ‘not being well-acquainted with men’ doesn’t seem intimidated by them.

Michael Fassbender as Rochester – In many ways, we evaluate a Jane Eyre adaptation by its Rochester, and as long as we use that ‘calculation,’ I think he measures up quite well. He has a strong screen presence and is the kind of actor who’s usually the best thing even in a so-so film (i.e. Centurion), and he makes the best of what’s given to him for the role. By that I mean, given the relatively short screen time, which is less than what I had hoped to see, he was able to make us care for Rochester.

Which brings me to…

The not-so-good:

This cliff-notes version feels way too fast. With a complex story like Jane Eyre, no doubt it’d be a challenge for any filmmaker, no matter how talented, to pare it down into a two-hour movie. So it’s inevitable that this film just moves along too quick for me, it’s almost at breakneck pace! Of course that is not Fukunaga’s fault and he really made the most of it, but still this version just leaves me wanting more. I guess this is perhaps a more ‘accessible’ version for the crowd that otherwise would not watch Jane Eyre. But to me, the story is compelling enough that an extra half-hour would only enhance the viewing experience and allow enough time for the characters to develop authentic connection.

Click to see a larger version

Dialog omission. Again, this is not a criticism as much as a ‘wish list’ on my part, and perhaps a result of being ‘spoiled’ by the comprehensive 1983 version (which at 5.5 hours is perhaps the longest adaptation ever). Of course it’s impossible to include every single dialog from the book, but I was hoping at least some of the important ones are kept. The famous quotes such as  “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me”, Do as I do: trust in God and yourself”, Reader, I married him” are not spoken in this adaptation.

There’s also an issue with the way some of the lines were delivered, I just find it lacking bite, y’know that certain oomph that an actor does to bring those timeless words to life.

Jamie Bell seems miscast. Now, keep in mind I really like Jamie as an actor and have said so many times in this blog. However, I don’t feel he’s right for the role of St. John (Sin-Jin) Rivers. First, when you’ve already got someone as striking as Fassbender as Rochester, I’d think the casting agent would have to find someone much fairer than he. No offense to Jamie, but that’s not the case here and he certainly doesn’t fit the book description of ‘tall, fair with blue eyes, and with a Grecian profile.’ Now, physical appearance aside, he also lack the solemn and pious sensibility of a Christian missionary.

Unconventional storyline – Moira Buffini’s script tells the story in flashback mode instead of following the novel’s linear storyline. The movie starts off right as Jane is leaving Thornfield, which is right smack dab where the main crisis of the story begins. Now, I can understand that it’s done to make it less boring rather than following the five distinct stages of the book faithfully. Yet it gets confusing at times to figure out which part happens in the past or present. I think for someone not familiar with the book, the shuffled timeline might be a bit tough to follow.


In conclusion, despite me leaving the theater wanting more, I really think this is a worthy adaptation. The production quality is really top notch, with gorgeous cinematography, affecting light work and music that serve the story well. There is even one scene of Jane and Rochester that Fukunaga took liberty with that’s quite tantalizing. It caught me off guard but wow, I must say that scene left me breathless and is an effective way to convey how much Jane longed for her true love.

But in the end, as far as Rochester is concerned, even though I adore the actor, Fassbender still hasn’t replaced Timothy Dalton as my favorite in the role. Sure, the production is much inferior to this one, but what makes a Jane Eyre story so fascinating and memorable are the heart-wrenching connection between the two main protagonists and the dialog spoken between them, so in that regard, the 1983 version is still the one to beat.


4 out of 5 reels

Those who’ve seen this one, feel free to offer your thoughts about the film. Also, if you’ve seen several adaptations, which one is your favorite?

Reminiscing on my favorite Rochester – Jane Eyre’s 1983 BBC miniseries

The 2011 Jane Eyre’s film adaptation I’ve been waiting for quite a while opens today… alas, only in limited release. So that means I have to wait another two weeks before it finally opens in my neck of the woods.

My love for Jane Eyre started out perhaps five or six years ago when I came across this YouTube fan-made music video of the BBC 1983 version set to a Hoobastank’s song The Reason, an odd choice of song I thought but it kinda works for the story. In any case, it prompted me to rent this miniseries from Netflix, as well as bought the book (though I’ve only read the later half). I’ve also since seen two additional TV adaptations, the 1997 one with Samantha Morton and Ciaran Hinds and the most recent BBC adaptation with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens in 2006, but neither one ever came close to replacing the 1983 version. The reason? Well, isn’t it obvious? Timothy Dalton as Rochester, of course!

Yes, the production quality is far from perfect — poor lighting, uninspired costumes and sets and the totally dull, almost irksome music leave much to be desired. But once Dalton appears on-screen, you won’t notice ’em … or anything else for that matter. I love how faithful this miniseries is to Charlotte Brontë‘s vision, much of the dialog are taken from the book and the actors did a remarkable job delivering them convincingly. Zelah Clarke as Jane looks like a midget next to the 6’2″ Dalton and sometimes it’s a bit distracting, but her performance was strong and full of conviction which creates a powerful dynamic between the two.

Dalton is absolutely astounding as the ultimate Byronic hero. With that voice and screen presence, he’s born to play this role. I initially thought he’s far too handsome for a character that’s described in the book as someone ‘not possessing of a classic good looks.’ Though I’d be hard pressed to find a woman who thinks Dalton is ugly, we must remember that this was written in the 1800 where the standard beauty is fair hair, fair skin, with some kind of Greek statue-like features. So with that in mind, Dalton with his square jaw, dark hair and rugged, masculine features fits the physical description of the role nicely. But more importantly, he captures the essence of Rochester’s persona, the flawed hero with mercurial mood, ill temper, and a torrid past that still haunts him and ravages him with guilt.

Dalton imbues the complex character with such fire that makes other actors’ interpretation pales in comparison. Some plays the character way too angry who’s practically yelling the entire time (Hinds) or too romantic and a bit oversexed (Stephens). I know I’m going to get a lot of flak for saying that as that adaptation and specifically Stephens have a massive following, but hey, it is what it is. I really think Dalton’s interpretation is superior as he’s got a nice balance of danger, passion and longing, all the while retaining that mysterious and unpredictable aura about him that makes him so unnerving but yet so darn attractive. Rochester is the quintessential tortured soul and in Dalton’s eyes, that pain and forlorn-ness is apparent, especially in the scene where Jane was about to leave him for good, you could see his desperation and fear of losing her. There’s that frailty in him as he hits that breaking point and THAT scene to me is what sets Jane Eyre apart from other period romance. Dalton himself has said this role is one of his best works, and I absolutely concur. He totally sets the bar for the performance for me, or as my friend Prairiegirl said to me when I lent her my dvd recently, ‘Dalton spoiled it for me. I doubt anyone else will ever come close…’

Well, I’ve been going on and on about how terrific Dalton’s Rochester is. But why don’t you just check it out for yourself in some of my favorite scenes:

The ‘fire’ scene:

I knew you would do me good in some way, at sometime… I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you…


Farewell, Mr. Rochester:

And how do people perform that ceremony of parting, Jane? Teach me; I’m not quite up to it.


The Proposal:

Do you think that because I am poor, obscure, plain, little that I am soulless and heartless?


I must leave you (in two parts):

Mr. Rochester, I no more assign this fate to you than I grasp at it for myself. We were born to strive and endure–you as well as I: do so. You will forget me before I forget you.




Now that the 2011 version is out, here’s my review on the film and how Michael Fassbender’s performance as Rochester fare against Dalton’s.


Now that I’ve shared mine, tell me who is your favorite Rochester and why?

New pics from two of my most-anticipated 2011 movies: Coriolanus and Jane Eyre

Happy Superbowl Sunday! I saw these on Friday but just finally got time to post ’em. Now, these are the movies I wish I’d see the trailers during the Superbowl. These pics just made me anticipate these movies a whole lot more (if that is even possible).

CORIOLANUS

Coriolanus Russian poster

Thanks to gbGALS on Twitter, we got some additional pictures of the Ralph Fiennes-directed modern Shakespeare historical thriller Coriolanus. Fiennes also stars as the banished hero of Rome who allies with a sworn enemy Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler) to take his revenge on the city. The stellar supporting cast includes Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave, James Nesbitt and Jessica Chastain. Screenplay by John Logan (Gladiator, Last Samurai)

Next week on Valentine’s day, the movie is premiering at this year’s BERLINALE film festival and the Fiennes’ debut film is also eligible to compete for “Best First Feature.” There’s no info yet when this movie will open in the US but last Thursday, Deadline reported that the Weinstein Co. is in talks to distribute Coriolanus. Harvey Weinstein has distributed two of Ralph Fiennes movies before, The English Patient and The Reader.

Check out the photos below courtesy of this JMHO article and this post for some on-set pics in Serbia. Now all we need is a trailer!

Click to see a larger version (Top: Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave)
Click to see a larger version

JANE EYRE

At least for this one I only have about a month to wait as it’s coming out on March 11. The trailer of the Charlotte Brontë’s Gothic romance has been released last November and it looks really, really good. Soon to be A-lister Michael Fassbender has since been cast in Ridley Scott’s alien flick Prometheus and he’s also in another highly-anticipated flick X-Men: First Class. The strong supporting cast includes Judi Dench, Jamie Bell, Sally Hawkins and Imogen Poots. But what I’m anticipating most is to see Fassbender’s interpretation of my favorite byronic hero, Edward Rochester!

Photos courtesy of Ropes of Silicon

Click to see a larger version

Click to see a larger version (Top: Jamie Bell & Mia Wasikowska)

Anybody else anticipating either or both of these movies?

THIS JUST IN: JANE EYRE 2011 trailer debuts!

I know I just posted a trailer yesterday but I have been anticipating this for so long! Ever since I saw the 1983 BBC version of Jane Eyre, I fell in love with Charlotte Brontë’s Gothic romance and Dalton as the the ultimate Byronic hero Edward Rochester. I love how faithful it was to the book, but the entire production is rather tedious and the costume, lighting, etc. left much to be desired. Then I learned about indie director Cary Fukunaga’s vision of the movie, and was really intrigued by his vision. As a fan of the novel, he intends to capture the dark and spooky atmosphere of the novel, as the story is so much more than a period romance.Well, judging from this trailer, looks like he achieved what he set out to do.

First look of the new Rochester


Last September, I couldn’t help pondering about which actor could play Rochester. Now, the German-born Michael Fassbender wasn’t on my list, but after seeing him in the trailer, I’m more than pleased by the casting choice! Dalton was a tough act to follow and I wasn’t impressed by Toby Stephens’ portrayal in the latest BBC version, but Fassbender looks poised to be my new favorite. Yes, he’s still far too good looking for the role, just like most other actors playing Rochester. But the important thing is he’s able to bring that mercurial, tortured-soul sensibilities the role requires, but with ample of sex appeal 😀

The overall look of the movie definitely looks promising and with a top notch the supporting cast! Here’s the cast info from my previous post: Dame Judi Dench will play Mrs. Fairfax, the housekeeper of Thornfield Manor who hires Jane, and disproves of Jane’s relationship with Rochester. One of my fave young thespian Jamie Bell (Defiance, Billy Elliot) will play St. John, a young clergyman who helps Jane in a time of need, and turns out to be connected to her by blood. Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, An Education) will play Mrs. Reed, Jane’s terrible aunt, who terrorizes and abuses Jane as a orphaned child.

I know that a lot of people out there probably think, ‘another Jane Eyre adaptation?!’ But this one might offer what have been missing in the previous adaptations… staying true to the novel whilst keeping the tone fresh and contemporary. I absolutely can’t wait until March 11 of next year for this!

Oh, I just found another still photo that’s just been released… I’m dying to see how the proposal scene goes with Jane’s ‘Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless?’ heart-wrenching speech. I adore the one from the 1983 version, it’s just one of my favorite scenes in the miniseries.

Any Brontë fans out there? What do you think of the trailer… and specifically, Fassbender as Mr. Rochester?

Michael Fassbender’s Jonah Hex Poster & Upcoming Projects

Happy Friday, folks! I thought I was too tired to write a post for today, but I guess Michael Fassbender stunning green eyes below inspired me last nite 🙂

I haven’t been following the DC Comic-based Jonah Hex as I don’t really care for the storyline (nor the lead star Josh Brolin), but with Fassbender having a pretty prominent role, I just might check it out. He plays one of the adversaries Burke, and the other one is played by John Malkovich as Turnbull. Saucy Megan Fox (who just yesterday announced she’s out of Transformer 3) plays the love lust interest (what else?). You can see the rest of the character posters here.

Here’s the plot in case you’re interested: Hex (Brolin) is a horribly scarred veteran of the US Civil War who has turned bounty hunter. The US military offers to clear the warrants on Hex’s head if he’ll stop a terrorist with a supernaturally-tinged plot from going through with his plans – and it’s an offer he can’t refuse.

Anyway, back to Fassbender, the German-born actor is really on a roll! After one excellent turn after another in various flicks like 300, Hunger, Inglourious Basterds, Fish Tank and most recently Centurion, Hollywood doesn’t seem to get enough of him (and so do we!) Take a look at these four projects he’s lined up for next year:

  • A Single Shot – a thriller he’s just been cast in, alongside William H. Macy and Forest Whitaker.
  • Jane Eyre – I’ve been soooo excited about this one for quite a while. The Charlotte Brontë’s gothic love story is currently shooting in Derbyshire, England. Rope of Sillicon has the first still of Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) as the young governess.

    Hope the pics of him as Rochester turn up soon. Really, THAT is what we gals are looking forward to! 🙂
    ….
  • A Dangerous Method – formerly titled The Talking Cure, a David Cronenberg film. It’d have been nice to see him reunited with Christoph Waltz again  (his co-star in Basterds), but with Viggo Mortensen as his replacement, I’m not going to complain. Fassbender will play Carl Jung, with Mortensen as Sigmund Freud, a relationship that gives birth to psychoanalysis. Vincent Cassel and Keira Knightley round up the cast.
    ….
  • Knockout – the ensemble-cast Steven Soderbergh has compiled for his action thriller is quite impressive: Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, and Bill Paxton, among others. The plot: A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission. Not sure what part Fassbender will play as of yet.

I’m sure glad to be seeing more of this talented and easy-on-the-eye actor. Here’s to a lasting and fruitful acting career for Mr. Fassbender!

Chat-Worthy Upcoming Flix: ‘Coriolanus’, Nolan’s Superman/Batman & ‘Jane Eyre’ remake

CORIOLANUS

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that I’ve sort of aspire to be a casting agent. One of my casting wish is to have my fave actor Gerard Butler to co-star with fellow Scottish actor Brian Cox. The multi-award winning actor is known for his villainous roles in Troy, Bourne Supremacy and X-Men 2, and he’s the first actor to play the role of Hannibal Lecter in Michael Mann’s Manhunter. Well, talk about wish granted! William Hurt’s apparently no longer attached to this project as previously reported, and Cox is his replacement! He joins another esteemed thespian Vanessa Redgrave, who just co-starred with him in the TV project The Day of the Triffid.

To refresh your memory, Coriolanus is Ralph Fiennes’ directing debut in which he’d play the lead role and Butler is playing his arch enemy Tullus Aufidius. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Fiennes cast actors with theater background for this Shakespearean political tale. Coincidentally, Butler’s professional acting debut was playing the title Coriolanus, and his other stage work was Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer with Rachel Weisz.

Empire reports that shooting will start on location in Belgrade starting St. Patrick’s Day next week, and this is the most intriguing part: “… we’re told that the story will take place in a contemporary setting, so don’t expect togas.” Well, as much as I love to see ’em showing off their legs, I’m kinda digging the modern flair of this, a la Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo + Juliet.  In any case, we know the cast is impressive, but looks like Fiennes’ rounded up some stellar crews as well. The script is penned by John Logan (Gladiator, The Last Samurai, The Aviator), and he’s also got cinematographer Barry Ackroyd and sound mixer Ray Beckett, who are fresh out of their BAFTA and Oscar win for The Hurt Locker.

I hope this is just one of many more ‘meatier’ roles to come for Gerard, and by that I don’t mean showing off his abs … though if that’s the case here, who am I to complain? 🙂

Nolan speaks on Batman/Superman combo project


Wow, not a week goes by about some kind of news on the two DC comic superheroes, with Christopher Nolan at the center of it all. Last month I blogged about the British auteur’ involvement as a mentor in the next Superman movie. Now the man himself is working every fanboy/girl in a tizzy with a spatter of updates on the two highly-anticipated projects.

As found in the L.A. Times Hero Complex Blog (who sat down with the director over tea in his Hollywood home), these words coming from his mouth is enough to wet my appetite: “It’s very exciting; we have a fantastic story” – referring to the indestructible Man of Steel, the biggest kahuna of all superhero. Interestingly enough, the idea came about during Batman’s relative standstill. Apparently not one to twiddle his thumb, writer David Goyer (chief collaborator on Nolan’s two Batman films) came up with his dream vision of the Kryptonian hero:

“He basically told me, ‘I have this thought about how you would approach Superman,’” Nolan recalled. “I immediately got it, loved it and thought: That is a way of approaching the story I’ve never seen before that makes it incredibly exciting. I wanted to get Emma and I involved in shepherding the project right away and getting it to the studio and getting it going in an exciting way.”

But since a director hasn’t been secured yet, and casting is probably going to take an even more arduous process, this project still seems so far away in our horizon, so I just don’t want to get too fired up. Batman 3 is probably a ‘closer’ prospect, but even that Nolan still won’t confirm his directorial involvement. It is interesting, as the reporter points out, ‘how inspirations originate.’ Notice how Nolan’s Batman films have such a spectacular cast? I mean he’s got the likes of Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman and Tom Wilkinson in supporting roles. Well, that idea came from Donner’s Superman:

“I went to the studio with the analogy of ‘I want to cast the way they did in 1978 with ‘Superman,”’ where they had [Marlon] Brando and Glenn Ford and Ned Beatty and all these fantastic actors in even small parts, which was an exotic idea for a superhero movie at the time. It really paid off too. As a kid watching ‘Superman,’ it seemed enormous and I realized later by looking at it that a lot of that was actually the casting, just having these incredibly talented people and these characterizations. And Marlon Brando is the first guy up playing Superman’s dad. It’s incredible.”

Despite his coy attitude, my hunch is that Nolan will indeed helm this project, so I guess we can expect the same kind of caliber ensemble in the third Batman installment. He did confirmed that his brother Jonathan is writing the script (another reason to think he won’t let someone else direct it): “My brother is writing a script for me and we’ll wait to see how it turns out…. He’s struggling to put it together into the epic story that you want it to be.”

As The Dark Knight ends with the caped crusader being a hunted fugitive, it’d be nice to see the third as a ‘closure’ to Nolan’s Batman franchise, so I really appreciate his answer to the ‘What happens next?’ question: “Without getting into specifics, the key thing that makes the third film a great possibility for us is that we want to finish our story,” he said. “And in viewing it as the finishing of a story rather than infinitely blowing up the balloon and expanding the story.”

I’m not particularly concerned about who’ll be the villains and all that, I think that just comes naturally with a great storyline. Besides, any great director would (or should) know how rudimentary it is to get the villain right in such a franchise, as you can see in casting Heath Ledger as the Joker, arguably the best superhero villain we’ve seen to date. That is why I’m confident that Nolan won’t go the ‘circus freak’ route with the villains as Joel Schumacher did. It might work in the comic book world, but it just comes across very silly to the point of obnoxious in the movie adaptation. One thing for sure though, don’t count on Mr. Freeze making an appearance as long as Nolan’s involved. Bravo!

A ‘darker’ Jane Eyre? Yes, please!

Fukunaga

As a huge fan of the Charlotte Brontë’s gothic tale, I was so psyched to hear that Michael Fassbender’s been cast as Rochester, especially since I was rather dismayed to hear the Wuthering Heights’ remake is getting Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick (ugh!). Alice in Wonderland’s Mia Wasikowska also seems to be a fitting choice as the petite yet indomitable young governess. Both actors are definitely on the rise, and apparently so is the director.

Cary Fukunaga is a 33-year-old director of Japanese/Swedish descent whose highly-acclaimed writing/directing debut Sin Nombre won directing award at Sundance last year, as well as other nods from various film festivals. On top on such credence, Jane Eyre is one of his favorite films. Movieline asked if he’s “.. daunted by remaking one of his favorite films? Not quite, Fukunaga said.”

“The Orson Welles-Joan Fontaine version was of an era. You wouldn’t make a film like that anymore. I’m a stickler for raw authenticity, so I’ve spent a lot of time rereading the book and trying to feel out what Charlotte Brontë was feeling when she was writing it. That sort of spookiness that plagues the entire story…there’s been something like 24 adaptations, and it’s very rare that you see those sorts of darker sides. They treat it like it’s just a period romance, and I think it’s much more than that.”

I really like what I’m hearing here. It’s definitely more than just a period romance. The essence of the Jane Eyre story is gothic and dark, so I’m intrigued by how Fukunaga will tackle that aspect. You probably already know that I love Timothy Dalton’s portrayal as Rochester in BBC’s 1983 version, but the entire production left so much to be desired. It’s got some gothic undercurrents but it’s just lacking something overall that I hope to see in this version. At least they seem to get the casting right. I can see Fassbender bring out that mercurial mood and volatility of the Byronic hero. The rest of the cast is shaping up nicely, too. Here’s some detailed info on who’s playing what (courtesy of Filmstage):

Dame Judi Dench will play Mrs. Fairfax, the housekeeper of Thornfield Manor who hires Jane, and disproves of Jane’s relationship with Rochester. One of my fave young thespian Jamie Bell (Defiance, Billy Elliot) will play St. John, a young clergyman who helps Jane in a time of need, and turns out to be connected to her by blood. Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, An Education) will play Mrs. Reed, Jane’s terrible aunt, who terrorizes and abuses Jane as a orphaned child.

In any case, not that there’s a correlation, but the last time a director of Asian descent (Ang Lee) tackle a literary classic, the result was the much beloved – and one of my fave movies of all time – Sense & Sensibility. I absolutely can’t wait for this movie, but looks like it won’t be out until 2011.