“The Law Is Shot to Hell” Watch 1st Trailer for #SlowWest with #MichaelFassbender

Slow West, Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, John Mclean, western, Ben Mendelsohn, Rory McCann

Sundance Film Festival poster for Slow West

It has been clear since the days of Jonah Hex, that any western which included Michael Fassbender would not be your typical “oater” or “horse opera” in the vein John Wayne or even Gary Cooper (super duper! C’mon, you know you totally heard Peter Boyle in your head). This would have been true of Jane Got Her Gun, if he’d stayed with the project, and it’s certainly true of Slow West. We’d had hints of its  unconventional nature from the few stills released following the film’s debut at Sundance, but now we have proof with the first trailer.

The film is writer/director John Mclean‘s feature debut after having helmed a few well-received shorts including Man On a Motorcycle and Pitch Black Heist, also starring Fassbender. In Slow West he plays Silas, a “mysterious drifter” who throws in with a 16 year-old Scottish immigrant (Kodi Smit-McPhee). The kid, in true knight errant fashion, is on a quest to find his lady love (Caren Pistorius), whose father (Rory McCann) has spirited her off to the wilds of the American west.

Despite the fact that Fassbender is playing a sort of outlaw Friar Laurence to this 19th century Romeo and Juliet, it would appear that the film is still awash with grubby, saddle-sore villains as well. The always fantastic Ben Mendelsohn (I remember when I saw Animal Kingdom for the first time. Joel Edgerton was already making a name for himself, but everything else I read said that James Frecheville* would be the break-out star. No one predicted it would be Mendelsohn who is suddenly required to be in all the movies. And have you seen “Bloodline” on Netflix?  Do it! Now! As usual I digress.) as Payne, the leader of a gang of money-hungry, cold-blooded bounty hunters, is one such character.  The actor apparently took a shine to Payne’s furry coat. He wore it to the Sundance premiere.

Take a look at this:

trailer via JoBlo

Those lucky enough to have already seen the movie have raved about Mclean’s debut, calling it a fairy tale about doomed romance and unlikely families, defined by its “sharp wit”, and “absurdist violence” remininscent of Tarantino.  When can I buy my ticket!

Produced by the team from The King’s Speech and Shame, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, among others, including Fassbender, Slow West moseys into the Tribeca Film Festival April 18. Its May 15 US opening doesn’t preclude a stop on the French Riviera first, so I wouldn’t be surprised if its included in the upcoming Cannes Film Festival lineup as well. The UK gets it on 26 June.

*last seen in The Drop with Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini

Jane Got A Gun and (FINALLY) a Release Date

Jane Got A Gun, Natalie Portman, movie, photo, Gavin O'Connor, Joel Edgerton

A film whose troubled beginnings will almost certainly overshadow its box-office, Jane Got A Gun, has finally been taken off the shelf and is set to be dusted off and released to US audiences in September (which could mean a festival bow at TIFF or Telluride).

In case you’re unfamiliar with “the saga of the making of Jane Got A Gun”, I’ll recap:

The screenplay was plucked from The Blacklist* back in 2011 and when production began it was originally set to star Natalie Portman as Jane Hammond and Michael Fassbender as her ex-lover Dan Frost and Joel Edgerton as villain John Bishop, with Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin) at the helm. By what was to have been the first day of filming, Fassbender had already left, supposedly because delays had resulted in “scheduling conflicts”, Edgerton had taken Fassbender’s role with Jude Law as the bad guy. Then came reports that Ramsay had walked on that first day. It was weeks before anyone had a clue why and to this day, all anyone will say is “difficulties with producers” (one of whom, it’s worth mentioning, is Natalie Portman).

By the time cameras did eventually roll, the production had lost Law, because he only signed on to work with Ramsay,  who was replaced by Gavin O’Connor (Warrior). Law was replaced by Ewan McGregor.

Got it?

Anyway, to celebrate the fact that this potential cluster-fuck will finally see the light of day, Relativity (oh dear) has dropped these first-look images, which you can see below.

Young and pretty with a soul of pure steel, Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) is a good girl married to one of the worst baddies in town. When her husband Bill (Noah Emmerich) turns against his own gang, the vicious Bishop Boys, and returns home barely alive with eight bullets in his back, Jane knows it’s time to ditch the dress for a pair of pants and strap on her own gun. As the relentless leader John Bishop (Ewan McGregor) gears up for revenge, Jane’s best hope for her family’s survival rests with her old love Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) – a gunslinger whose hatred for Bill is only slightly overshadowed by his love for Jane. Together Jane and Dan spring clever traps, luring Bishop’s men to certain death just as their old feelings for each other resurface amidst the flying bullets.

So, what do you think? Will you see it? Does the back story make you any more or less curious about the end result?  For my part, I’m a fan of Gavin O’Connor’s work and he did have a talented cast to work with, regardless of how it was cobbled together. And at least he got to start at the beginning. It’s not like he had to step in mid-stream and finish another director’s work (regardless of how seamlessly he might have accomplished it because he’d probably be lambasted or it anyway *coughMichael Apted**cough*) It’s entirely possible that more films than we know go through similar machinations before they reach the finish line, just less publicly. I suppose I should wait for a trailer, but I’m in.

*The Blacklist is a database of the year’s best unproduced scripts. The list that included Jane Got A Gun also included The Imitation Game, Grace of Monaco, Django Unchained, St. Vincent de Van Nuys, Saving Mr. Banks and Sex Tape.  A lot can happen between the page and the screen.


**Chasing Mavericks

Christian Bale Has Come to Warn Joel Edgerton in 1st Trailer for Exodus: Gods and Kings!

Exodus: Gods and Kings, movie, poster, Sir Ridley Scott, Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton

Poster #1 for Exodus: Gods and Kings

There have been a number of Bible-inspired films this year, most of them Christian themed. The two “blockbusters”, and the ones with any hope for post-season glory however, take their inspiration from the Old Testament: Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and now Sir Ridley Scott‘s Exodus: Gods and Kings.
In true Hollywood twist, Aronofsky originally wanted Christian Bale to play the title role in Noah, but Bale had to decline due to scheduling conflicts. As we know, Russell Crowe, a frequent Ridley Scott collaborator, got that part and Bale was cast as Moses, in this Scott’s own biblical epic.
Ramses II is played by Joel Edgerton after Oscar Isaac (swiftly becoming a Sir Ridley regular) and Javier Bardem reportedly turned down the role.

As usual, I digress. 20th Century Fox has revealed three new posters for, starring Bale, Edgerton, Aaron Paul, John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver, Indira Varma, Ben Mendelsohn, Golshifteh Farahani and Ben Kingsley. You can see the other two, as well as a few stills from the film, below.
Even more exciting, however, is the release of the first teaser trailer! The movie itself doesn’t come out until December, so this is but our first taste. Still, it’s a good one!

No disrespect to Mr. Aronofsky intended, but this is how I like my biblical epics – grand and glorious, not grubby with hyper-realistic dirt. THIS looks positively Cecil B. DeMille-esque!

Scott started this century by breathing new life into the tired swords and sandals genre with Gladiator, and then brought us a quasi-religious/historical action film with Kingdom of Heaven. The latter squandered the promise of a great story and (mostly) terrific cast and was hamstrung by a weak lead (I don’t think Orlando Bloom will be joining Scott’s merry band of players again soon), but the director seems to be back on form here. The clash between Moses and Ramses as played by Bale and Edgerton should be epic in the truest sense. (Not for nothin’ but does that battle charge across the sand remind anyone else of the final clash in Scott’s Robin Hood?)

Ridley Scott tackles the Biblical epic story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt into the Sinai desert and eventually to their Promised Land

With a script by the great Steve Zallian (Schindler’s List), along with Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (the pair responsible for the script for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed), Exodus: Gods and Kings opens in the US on December 12. Prime awards season turf, as well as just before the start of Hanukkah. It opens on Boxing Day, 26th December, in the UK.

Tom Hardy is Giving Michael Fassbender a Run For His Money!‏

…as the hardest working man in showbiz.

Tom Hardy may not have been on anyone else’s, especially not Hollywood’s, radar before his scene-stealing turn as Eames in Inception, but he’s been on mine since 2008’s RocknRolla.  Now it appears he’s not only on the map, he’s about to become the dread word, ‘ubiquitous’.  Oh no! *slaps cheeks like Kevin McCallister* (I’ve already seen Michael Fassbender referred to that way, as well as Gerard Butler. Some people are never happy.)

"Vulture", the side arm of New York Magazine for all things entertainment and culture related, has reported a few casting tidbits from Warner Brothers. Included among them is the news that Tom Hardy is attached to a new Al Capone pic from director David Yates, titled Cicero (after the Chicago suburb where Capone based his criminal empire, not the Roman philosopher.)

Cicero was originally written as a TV pilot by Walon Green, the writer of Sam Peckinpah’s, The Wild Bunch, back in the 70’s, but has been adapted for at least one film, possibly more. There are rumors that the script will be augmented and that the first film will be an origins story and only concern Capone until he reaches the top of Chicago’s infamous underworld; once he gets there and his subsequent downfall would be chronicled in later films.

It’s unclear when filming would take place. Both Hardy and Yates are extremely in demand these days. Yates, director of the last four Harry Potter movies also has another possible multi-film franchise going with a big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s "The Stand" (which has already been filmed for television, twice.) Apparently it’s Warner Brothers that is pushing for it to be made into more than one film as they’re looking for a franchise to fill Harry Potter’s shoes. (Although they do have the next Batman – The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the Superman reboot, which will all stretch well into the middle of the decade.) Yates isn’t fully committed yet, but needs to decide quickly.

As for Tom Hardy, he’s also got Warrior with Joel Edgerton coming out in September, one of the most hotly anticipated films of the year, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in November. He just wrapped The Wettest County in the World with the next featherweight champ of the world Shia LeBeuf, which will be released in December, a rom-com of all things, with Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine, This Means War, which will be out February 2012, and is currently filming The Dark Knight Rises for a July 2012 release. He’s scheduled to begin filming the long gestating Mad Max: Fury Road next spring. So considering all of the above films will need to be promoted, which takes a lot of schedule finagaling, if he’s going to be able to do Cicero  alot of maneuvering by Warner Bros. will have to take place behind the scenes. Yates, apparetnly is looking to film Cicero before Hardy leaves for Australia to film Fury Road. If that’s the case, it’ll be happening pretty damn quick so is probably already in pre-production, despite the fact that this is the first "we" have heard of it.

Encore Networks has just announced that they will be entering into the ‘series television’ business. One of their first efforts will be a four part mini from Britain’s Sky 1, called "The Take". It’s a ‘family drama’ set in the criminal underworld that spans 10 years: Beginning in 1984 at the height of Thatcherism to the birth of New Labour. Hardy played Freddie, a man who’s just been released from prison after four years for bank robbery. It aired in 2009 in the UK and will bow in the US in early 2012. (Bit of trivia, this is also where he met his fiance, Charlotte Riley, who played Maggie.) From the series’ official website: "{It’s} a powerful human drama about love, power, violence and betrayal" Ooo, those are some heavy trigger words! Can’t wait!

Frankly, the idea of Tom Hardy playing another gangster (I include university educated drug dealers, fledgling crooks, getaway drivers and bootleggers: Layer Cake, Thick as Thieves, RocknRolla, The Wettest County in the World) makes me want to roll around on the sidewalk and twitch.* I’m not sure I could handle him as one of the most famous of them all, Al Capone. I may need to be sedated.

This seems like a good excuse to post some pics:

As Freddie in "The Take"

*a wink to Holly