#MattDamon Knows Help Is Only 140 Million Miles Away in #TheMartian’s First Trailer

The Martian, Matt Damon, Sir Ridley Scott, movie, poster

…and he’s gonna “science the shit out of {it}”.

From Sir Ridley Scott, with a cast as impressive as this one boasts, it’s a safe bet that I will see The Martian, even if it were a live action version of Bugs Bunny’s nemesis Marvin the Martian’s life story.  Judging from the just released first trailer, it is not. What it does appear to be is a combination of both Gravity and Interstellar while managing to up the ante on them both.


Take a look at this:

While I’m on record as not being a proponent of 3D just for the sake of it, I believe a movie like this will probably benefit from every bit of technological wizardry that’s thrown at it. I’ll see it in IMAX 3D if it’s available.

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return.

While Sir Ridley needs no introduction, The Martian is based on a best-selling (first) novel* by Andy Weir, and the screenplay was written by Drew Goddard, also responsible for the scripts for Cloverfield (and its upcoming sequel), The Cabin in the Woods, and World War Z, as well as a lot of episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”, “Alias” and “Lost”. Oh yeah, and he created current Netflix hit “Daredevil”.

As he did with Prometheus, Scott has embraced the era of viral marketing. The first promo for The Martian has been released, called “Ares Farewell”. In it, Matt Damon’s Mark Watney “interviews” the crew of the Ares (which for some reason he calls the Hermes. I wonder if the ship’s name was changed?**) as they do their final pre-flight checks. It’s designed to be viewed on your computer or device screen and includes pop-up “tweets”. One of which, “Vogel (Aksel Hennie) has to be the #synthetic right…#AresLive”, is a brilliant reference to characters in Ridley Scott’s previous space films, Alien and Prometheus.

Besides Damon, the cast includes Jessica Chastain***, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Hennie, Donald Glover and Mackenzie Davis.

The Martian, Matt Damon, Sir Ridley Scott, movie, poster

The Martian opens all over this planet beginning with the US on November 25 and the UK on 27th November.

*Weir first published the book in blog form on his own site. When people asked for a downloadable form, he offered it on Amazon for Kindle download at the (then) minimum price of $0.99. Now that’s a self-publishing success story.
**Ares is the Greek God of war. Hermes is the Greek God of transitions and boundaries, as well as being a messenger and a protector and patron of travelers. He’s the equivalent of the Roman God Mercury. Both are typically depicted with wings on their heels and/or helmets. JMHO, but Hermes seems like a better name for the spacecraft taking a crew to Mars.
***Both Damon and Chastain appeared in Interstellar, but shared no scenes together.

I’m Not Trying to Sell You Anything, But Jude Law Is

Jude Law, short film, photo, advertisement, Johnnie Walker Blue

Jude Law stars in The Gentleman’s Wager for JOHNNIE WALKER BLUE LABEL Blended Scotch whisky

It is not often I feel the need to do a post about an advert (or as Ralphie Parker* would say, “A crummy commercial”), but this one came to my attention today and while it may be simply because it stars Jude Law, whom I’ve been thinking about more than usual of late, but I find it so unusually impressive, I feel the need to talk about it.

The ad is nominally for Johnnie Walker Blue Label, which, if you’re going to drink a blend, as opposed to a single malt, this is a good one. I say nominally, however, because the makers of what can only be called a short film, are not doing the hard sell here.

The film has a title. It’s called A Gentleman’s Wager, and along with Law it stars Giancarlo Giannini (whom most of you probably know best as Rene Mathis, in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, which is too bad. It means you’ve missed, among other things, the films of Lina Wertmüller.)

The film tells the story of a wager between two men striving for personal progress through the quest for a truly rare experience. The Gentleman’s Wager sees Law in the role of a man who, despite having it all, challenges himself to strive for something he wants that money can’t buy. The film begins with Law and Giannini sipping Johnnie Walker Blue Label on a gorgeous hand-crafted boat as they look out across a stunning ocean seascape. We hear Law’s character state that he wants to buy the boat, but it is not for sale and the only way he can get it, is by putting on a truly unique performance. The wager begins.

What makes this short remarkable is its pedigree. Sure, there have been any number of high-profile advertisements in the past decade, featuring both A-list actors (Clive Owen, Brad Pitt) and directors (Guy Ritchie, Michael Mann), the latest of which was the “It’s Good to Be Bad” campaign for Jaguar featuring Mark Strong, Tom Hiddleston and Sir Ben Kingsley. But not many have the talent both onscreen and behind, that Johnnie Walker has assembled.

A Gentleman’s Wager is directed by Jake Scott. If the first name isn’t familiar, it probably will be soon, but the last name should be. He’s one of those Scotts. He’s the son of Sir Ridley and nephew of the late Tony. His own resume includes Welcome to the Rileys and Plunkett and Macleane (with Jonny Lee Miller and which I liked. Don’t judge) as well as a slew of big-name rock-docs.

It was shot in The British Virgin Islands, Caribbean and London by John Mathiason, who was the cinematographer on Ridley Scott films like Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood as well as Phantom of the Opera and X-Men: First Class. Production design was by Joseph Bennett, responsible for the look of HBO’s “Rome”. Costumes are by Scott regular Janty Yates, in conjunction with London bespoke mens outfitter, Mr. Porter. The film was produced by Jules Daly (The Grey, Assassination of Jesse James) and Tracie Norfleet of Scott Free.  That’s a lot of stops that were pulled.

Commenting on his role and involvement in the film, Law says: “The film is about improvement and progress and this is something I try to do in my work and my everyday life. I had to learn new skills shooting this film and that combined with the places we visited and shot in, alongside working with Jake and with Giancarlo, made it a truly rare experience.”

Take the above with a grain of salt or a slug of Johnnie Walker. I’m sure Mr. Law was paid a boatload of pounds sterling for his “rare experience”. Oh well. A Gentleman’s Wager is still a classy and entertaining little bit of footage.  And if it were up to me, I might give Jake a shot at the next Bond film. Whenever Sam Mendes decides to pack it in, of course.

*A Christmas Story (1983)

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.

See The Counselor For The Counselor

**What follows may contain spoilers, although I do try to sidestep them.**

The Counselor, movie, poster, Michael Fassbender, Sir Ridley Scott

via imdb

I’ll begin by reiterating something I’m sure that even the most casual reader of this blog has probably  already figured out by now, and that is that I am a fan of Michael Fassbender. I have been since the first time I saw the trailer for 300. Yes, yes, he’s gorgeous, but he’s also one of a handful of what I consider to be truly great working actors and I don’t think he’s even at the height of his powers yet. I’ve been waiting for the release of the first “mainstream” movie (it’s at least got the widest initial opening, with more than 3000 screens) in which he gets to be the leading man. I just wish it were a better movie.  Sir Ridley Scott’s The Counselor is just not equal to the sum of its parts and taken individually, there are some pretty great parts.

The plot is pretty straightforward, “A lawyer’s one-time dalliance with an illegal business deal spirals out of control.” But the plot is merely a delivery device for some stunning visuals, terrific performances and Sir Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy’s own brand of morality play. The Counselor (no other name given) is repeated given warnings about what the possible consequences of his actions could be and to make damn sure he’s willing to pay the price. Does he heed these warnings? Noooooo. If he did we wouldn’t have a movie would we? That much is evident from the trailer.

We’ll get back to Fassy, but in discussing the four principals, let’s start with Brad Pitt. Now, Mr. Pitt has achieved that level of stardom where we, as moviegoers, rarely ever see him as anything other than Brad Pitt, the ex-Mr. Aniston, the Bra in Brangelina. It’s easy to forget that he’s a very good actor when he’s allowed to be. Here he gets to lose himself in a character. His twangy “Missourah” accent works for Westray, as does the long stringy hair and mustache. The brown contact lenses, not so much. I think they must be part of Pitt’s ongoing attempts to down-play his good looks. Westray is a kind of soothsayer, his major function is to deliver the most overt of the above mentioned warnings.

Penelope Cruz doesn’t have much to do other than be the beautiful object of the Counselor’s love and she does that very well. (She’s called Laura, but might as well be called Beatrice*. Cruz is obviously pregnant, though she’s costumed to camouflage, and she truly is glowing. It must have been nice to have been on set with her husband, Javier Bardem, even if they didn’t share a single scene. Bit of trivia: Angelina Jolie was originally going to play Malkina. That would have made two real-life couples in the movie and neither of them would have shared scenes. It would, however, have made a particular conversation between Pitt and Fassbender a lot more interesting.) The Counselor is completely and desperately in love with Laura, although we don’t know why, other than the hint that she perhaps, represents a lost innocence. The Counselor wants the good life, but he also wants the good girl.

Javier Bardem as Reiner, has received some criticism, that the character is not up to par with his last two villains, the equally coiffure-challenged Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men (for which he won an Academy Award) and Silva in Skyfall. Contrary to popular belief, however, he is not playing another villain (I do however, think his hair is a nod to NCFOM, which was, of course based on a book by The Counselor’s screenwriter Cormac McCarthy.) To Bardem’s credit is the fact that we are never quite sure whether Reiner is on the level, at least in terms of his dealings with the Counselor. It is tacitly understood from the jump that Reiner’s lifestyle is not supported by legitmate means (and we later learn that not all of his means are ill-gotten either. In fact, the Counselor wants to do the drug deal, at least in part, so that he has the cash to open a new club with Reiner.) He’s weird and eccentric, but likeable…as opposed to his girlfriend.

Where this movie took a wrong turn, and then just kept going, was in casting Cameron Diaz. Now I admit I’m not a fan of Ms. Diaz and I’ve been skeptical of her involvement in this movie since her casting was announced. I think she peaked with Something About Mary. Here, she seems to be doing a riff on her Bad Teacher character, except that she’s playing it straight and not for laughs. The hair and makeup and costuming are so on the nose as to be almost laughable. Her name is Malkina. We get it, she’s bad. Did she really have to look like Cruella deVille? (She truly does, just my humble opinion, although instead of wearing Dalmatian pelts, she’s covered in leopard spot tatts and travels around with two cheetahs.) The scene she shares with Cruz serves to point up the latter’s lack of guile and the former’s lack of a moral compass. (This is then hammered home in a bizarre scene involving a confessional. Oh well, at least it had Édgar Ramirez in it.) Malkina is supposed to be evil-incarnate, but it’s a self-centered form of evil that’s donned like a cloak that she believes makes her look sexy and irresistable. It doesn’t.  And the profundity of the lines she’s given to recite is all but lost in the community theater-quality delivery.

Michael Fassbender, on the cover of the current issue of GQ is called “The Leading Man Hollywood’s Been Waiting For.” Whether or not this is prescience or a curse remains to be seen, but I will tell you (all fan-gurling aside) that if there is any one reason to see The Counselor, it is Michael Fassbender.  It is a performance of rippling highs and lows. He is effortlessly sensual and sexual (and nearly giddy), in his scenes with Penelope Cruz, whether they are rolling around (literally) under the sheets in the opening scene (seriously, that is an Olympic level of explicitly non-explicit hotness. I wanted to hold up a card with a “10” on it) or just casually draped over his impeccable couch in his impeccable lounge pants as he talks to her on the phone. (The smokey growl has always been there, but I swear he lowered his voice an octave for this role. Perhaps it’s the American accent.)  Okay, maybe some of that was fan-gurling, but it’s all of the other moments as well that add up to another bold performance.

The Counselor starts out smug and supremely confident in the idea that he can do this deal and get out “clean”; that he can do business with criminals, but not be of them. What we know from conversations between the Counselor and both Westray and Reiner is that this is the biggest illegal activity he’s ever participated in. It may or may not be the first. We’re given clues that could go either way in scenes with Toby Kebbell (using an outrageous southern accent), who is obviously holding a grudge for something that we aren’t privy to and another with the incarcerated Rosie Perez, but he passes off his relationship to her as down to court-appointed pro bono work.

It is obvious from the trappings of his life that he’s been heretofore very successful on his chosen career path, including the Bentley, a gorgeous home, Armani suits, flying to Amsterdam to choose the diamond for his fiancé etc. When it all starts to go to shit, watch closely the scene in which smug turns to desperate. The scales fall from the Counselor’s eyes right in front of our own.  We follow as he bounces around against the bumpers that the unseen “they” have set up for him, like a silver pinball, all of his allies, real or imagined peeled off, one way or another, hoping to find his way to avoid going down the chute. His final scene is a culmination of all of that. There are no words, no sounds except for the wretched sounds of a soul descending into Dante’s 9th circle**.

I have read in several places that The Counselor felt more like a Tony Scott film, rather than any earlier work of Sir Ridley’s. I have to wonder if that wasn’t the point, that it aspired to be more like a Tony Scott film. Tony is not listed among the producers but the two were partners in Scott Free Productions. They always had hands in each other’s pies. (Production on The Counselor was suspended for a week following Tony Scott’s suicide in August 2012. Perhaps the elder Scott turned it into a tribute to his brother. It is dedicated to him.) While it doesn’t have Tony’s frenetic camera style, and Sir Ridley doesn’t have the same feel for “pulp” that his brother did, it does use his color palette. (More than one scene reminded me of one of Tony’s last films, Domino.) It is a visual feast, from Reiner’s colorful outfits to Malkina’s tatts to the heat-bleached desert vistas, dirty junkyards and desolate Mexican towns, juxtaposed with the cool blue of London streets. Credit cinematographer Dariusz Wolski for that as much as for the literally in-your-face photography that catches the glint of tears in the Counselor’s eyes, the malice in Malkina’s and the fear in nearly everyone else’s.

The younger Scott was also much more familiar with the geography of The Counselor than his older brother.  Of course that’s well-trod territory for the screenwriter, Cormac McCarthy. The dialogue is much more McCarthy than Tony Scott, that’s for certain. The writer of No Country for Old Men’s first original screenplay could probably have benefitted from the Coen Brothers lighter touch, but that said, what did critics and film goers who take issue with the wordy script expect? McCarthy has often been referred to as the “philosopher poet of the American Southwest” and his script is both philosophical and, at times, wonderfully poetic. Some of the speeches put into the mouths of even minor characters, are beautiful. Ruben Bladés sole purpose in the film is to deliver a prosaic treatise on the meaning of life while Fassbender listens on a cellphone, at last realizing with finality that his is over. It’s also possible that scripts are not his forte. As brilliant a writer as he is, as highly praised as his novels are, the only other script he’s responsible for is the HBO adaptation of his own play, “The Sunset Limited” (which I always get confused with the novel by James Lee Burke), and which also left critics divided.

Whatever it was that director Scott wanted, I don’t think he got it, despite the fact that it was edited by Sir Ridley’s long-time collaborator Pietro Scalia, I have to wonder, as I often do, whether or not there’s another, better movie laying about on the cutting room floor (Actually nothing makes me more sure of that than this. Even if it was never meant to go into the finished film, the fact that it exists makes me think that someone else believed that it fit. WHERE?). All of the great snapshots that comprise this movie are still all jumbled up in the box under the bed.  I had the feeling that The Counselor aspired to be a sort of sun-washed neo-noir with a Tex-Mex flavor. Instead it’s more like a classical Greek tragedy. While it may be true that not everyone is dead at the end, there is certainly no hope left.

What do you think? Did I get it wrong? Feel free to leave me a note below and let’s discuss.

*from Dante’s Inferno: Beatrice Portinari was once Dante’s fiance and true love who was killed by a Kurdish survivor from Acre out of revenge.
** also from The Inferno: the 9th circle of hell represents Treachery, in which betrayers of special relationships are frozen in a lake of ice. Inhabitants include Satan and Judas

Trailer or Spoiler: The Counselor with Michael Fassbender – UK Edition

MichaelFassbender, movie, The Counselor

courtesy 20th Century Fox via imdb

The latest and greatest – the international – trailer for Sir Ridley Scott’s The Counselor has just hit. We looked at the domestic version a couple of weeks ago.  This one packs about 30 seconds more footage, as well as recutting what we’ve already seen. We get a lot of information here, not to mention a better idea of why Fassbender is already being touted as a probable Oscar nominee.

As thrilled as I am to see more of this, I have to ask yet again, “How much is too much?” Has the entire game been given away? Who are the producers aiming for with this trailer? Who could they possibly be trying to reel in, that isn’t already impressed with the combination of Fassbender, Bardem, Cruz, Diaz, and Pitt all directed by Sir Ridley Scott from an original script by Cormac McCarthy?

As we know, Michael Fassbender stars as a lawyer who gets in over his head when he enters the drug trade. While this new trailer, the longest one yet,  does go deeper into the plot with a decided emphasis on character, and definitely amping up the drama, is it possible that the producers are hoping to entice fans attracted to less high-brow fare than films with this pedigree, say Jason Statham flicks like Parker or The Transporter, or perhaps The Fast and Furious franchise? I’m not suggesting that there is anything inherently wrong with those movies and certainly not with liking them, but I’m always curious about what motivates some of the marketing decisions behind a film, and this trailer looks to have been cut with an eye toward the fans of those films.

Have a look:

trailer courtesy 20th Century Fox UK via YouTube

So this time around we get more sexy times with Fassbender and Penelope Cruz. “Life is being in bed with you,” Fassbender whispers. “Everything else is just waiting.”   (The female demographic is a lock.)

Speaking of sexy, we have what appears to be a deliciously sinister Cameron Diaz,  (in what may be her best role ever in years as “Malkina”) whose character seems to enjoy playing mind games (among other things). Love the tatts.

Cut to Bardem and his wacky hair and we’re back in the action.

“You are the world you have created, and when you cease to exist, this world that you have created, will also cease to exist,”  drug kingpin Reiner warns The Counselor.

Whoa…philosophy. Not for long though.

Enter Westray, played by Brad Pitt (and his bad hair). Is he aiding and abetting or is he scamming our good Counselor? (The Counselor, by the way, is both the film’s title and Fassbender’s only moniker).

Even if we hadn’t been told, it’s obvious from the quick cut of him breaking down and the shots of an obviously freaked Cruz, that Fassbender is indeed “in way over his head” and things are going to get really ugly.

But the question still remains, does this give too much away? Almost all of the questions I asked in my last post, have been answered. Now, as indicated above, I’m extremely eager to see what Sir Ridley has in store for us, but I am a guaranteed butt in the seat.  I’m one of those they had with the cast, director and script. Period.  And although each new bit revealed is a tantalizing treat, I don’t want to see the whole thing BEFORE I buy my ticket. No matter how much I think I know, I want to watch it all unfold, in the dark, with my vat o’popcorn.

It is a shame that it appears, in order to lure those ticket buyers that they’re still working on, that producers feel that they will have to spell it all out with placards and hand puppets.  But that’s JMHO and I can always just refuse to watch the next trailer. (Yeah, right.)

The Counselor also stars Dean Norris, Rosie Perez, John Leguizamo, Natalie Dormer, and Goran Visnjic.  It opens on October 25th in the US and 15th November in the UK.


OH! And in other Fassy news: how cool is it that Marion Cotillard will be playing Lady Macbeth opposite Michael Fassbender?  I wonder if James McAvoy (an actual Scot) is pissed. He did just end a run in the play in London’s West End, after all.  So we have The Scottish play starring a German/Irishman and a French woman, directed by Aussie  Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders) from a screenplay cowritten by actor/director Todd Louiso (of Jerry Maguire fame), an American.  And yet, I’m ever hopeful.

Oh Yeah, He’s Been Bad All Right: New Trailer & Clips from The Counselor

Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, The Counselor, movie

20th Century Fox via Scott Free

There’s a brand new trailer for Sir Ridley Scott’s neo-noir thriller due out this fall. (I had intended to post it yesterday, but George Clooney, apparently still upset by the fact that Fassy can play golf without out his hands, had to steal his thunder.)  As I mentioned last week, The Counselor is based on a script by the author of No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy, and stars Michael Fassbender as a lawyer who gets involved with the high stakes world of drug smuggling.

This two minute bit of white-hot celluloid (an antiquated expression to be sure, since it’s probably only pixels) is an example of a trailer done right. It’s packed with glimpses of all of the major players including Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, and Brad Pitt, and yet it hasn’t spelled out anything.

What do we really learn? We can figure out that Fassbender is about to get in over his head, but how do Pitt and Bardem feel about it? What are their roles? What’s up with Bardem’s hair? Or Pitt’s?  We see Cruz and Diaz (and her leopard print tats) enjoying a spa day. Diaz covets Cruz’s engagement ring. Are they friends? I don’t think so. How do they know each other? And what is the significance of the caress that Scott (or whomever cut the trailer) makes sure that we see? (Again I must mention Diaz’s character is called Malkina. She is definitely up to no good.)

It’s clear that Fassbender loves Cruz from the opening seconds (“I intend to love you until I die.”), and that she adores him as well (“Me first”). It also becomes clear that he wants to keep her in the dark about what he’s doing, indicated by his expression when she asks “Have you been bad?”, which gives her response a darker, more ominous meaning. (It’s even more clear from the short clip below that Cruz is the “good girl”, naïve in at least one crucial aspect of their relationship and I think we can take it that it carries over into all aspects.)

In fact the overall tone of the trailer is sinister and dangerous, the tension so thick you could cut it with that wire strung across a highway. We aren’t given any specifics, but this trailer has achieved the desired effect, which is to make us crave more, and to find out just exactly how bad Fassbender has been.  (Dare I hope that the answer is very wicked indeed?)

The Counselor also stars  Dean Norris, Rosie Perez, John Leguizamo, Natalie Dormer, Rubén Blades, Bruno Ganz, and Goran Visnjic. It opens October 25 in the US and 15th November in the UK.

Ridley Scott and author Cormac McCarthy join forces in the motion picture thriller THE COUNSELOR, starring Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt. McCarthy, making his screenwriting debut and Scott interweave the author’s characteristic wit and dark humor with a nightmarish scenario, in which a respected lawyer’s one-time dalliance with an illegal business deal spirals out of control.

Fassbender & Cruz:

Fassbender & Pitt:

Fassbender & Bardem:

It Seems Michael Fassbender Has Been Bad…

Michael Fassbender, The Counsellor

…and I’ve a feeling that’s very, very good for the rest of us.

I’ve been talking about and extolling the talents of Michael Fassbender for quite some time now. Six years after 300, I can say that  the days  of “Michael who?” and “What’s a Fassbender?” may be over. Though still not exactly a household name, nor is he, thankfully, a staple of the tabloids (at least not in the US) and despite high profile roles in high profile films like X-Men: First Class and Prometheus, it is a shame (no pun intended) that instead of being recognized for his talent, he’s most widely known for having the guts to display a certain sacred part of the male anatomy (and not the first time either, by the way).

Ever hopeful, I think that’s about to change.

I’ve already mentioned one of the two of Fassbender’s  “Oscar bait” films due out this year and discussed my opinion of his awards chances when I posted the trailer for Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.  The second is Sir Ridley Scott’s The Counselor.

From an original screenplay by Cormac McCarthy (No Country For Old Men, The Road and All The Pretty Horses), we may need a Venn diagram for The Counselor’s pedigree. Re-teaming with his Prometheus director, Sir Ridley, the film also puts Fassbender back together with Brad Pitt, who has a small role in 12 Years a Slave.  Cameron Diaz (as Malkina. Think she’s a ‘bad girl’?) took a role originally intended for Pitt’s paramour Angelina Jolie, as well as Penelope Cruz and her husband Javier Bardem (would you believe Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner were rumored for his role?), but they don’t share any scenes together. Bardem, who won an Oscar for No Country for Old Men, seems to be trying to out-weird Anton Chigurh’s infamous bowl haircut with the coke-addled Troll doll look seen in the stills below.

Fassbender plays “the Counselor”, a successful lawyer who gets himself tangled up and in over his head with unscrupulous (are there any other kind?) drug dealers.

Sir Ridley told Empire Magazine that the story  has “classic Cormac McCarthy darkness which makes you sick to the pit of your stomach… It’s saying: ‘Don’t play with the devil, don’t step across the line, don’t think you can do it and get away with it. You can’t.'”

Take a look at this first trailer:

The rest of the cast includes Natalie Dormer, Dean Norris, Rosie Perez, John Leguizamo, Goran Visnjic, Bruno Ganz, and Ruben Blades. 20th Century Fox will release The Counselor in the US on October 25 and in the UK on 15th November.

Oh and if the high brow likes of The Counselor and 12 Years a Slave weren’t enough of a Fassy fix for 2013, there’s also the upcoming comedy (that’s right folks, comedy…okay it’s a dramedy), Frank , costarring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Domnhall Gleeson, loosely based on the life of paper mache-head wearing Frank Sidebottom, the alter-ego of British comedian and musician Chris Sievey, who died of cancer in 2010. While that part certainly isn’t funny, the fact that Frank Sidebottom always performed with a hand puppet called “Little Frank” (especially being played by Michael Fassbender) is.

More on Frank when the trailer is released. I can’t wait!