Friday, 19 November 2010

Report: Daniel Day-Lewis sighted at Lincoln museum

A follow-up report to today's news that Steven Spielberg is to shoot his Lincoln biopic emerged in the Stage-Journal Register.

Daniel Day-Lewis was today spotted visiting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, the Lincoln Home, the Old State Capitol and the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices in Springfield, Illinois.

He was accompanied by accompanied by Doris Kearns Goodwin, whose book “Team of Rivals” is in part the basis for the movie, and also Spielberg's long-time producer Kathleen Kennedy.

Kennedy told the newspaper:

“We just came in for a quick peek. Doris, obviously, has been a great partner in all of this. Her book, ‘Team of Rivals,’ had a lot to do with our initial interest in wanting to do a story on Lincoln.”

The group also toured the vault below the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, where Illinois State Historian Thomas Schwartz showed them original Lincoln documents.

“All of us were very moved by that,” Kennedy said.

Asked whether “Lincoln” would be filmed in central Illinois, Kennedy said there had not yet been any technical scouting and no decisions had been made.

Read the full report, with more quotes from Kathleen Kennedy, here


Daniel Day-Lewis to star as Lincoln for Steven Spielberg


Want to know what Steven Spielberg is going to do between now and the start of filming for his recently announced sci-fi movie Robopocalypse?

Breathe a sigh of relief because he's finally decided to shoot his long-gestating Lincoln biopic - and it's going to star Daniel Day-Lewis!

Dreamworks today announced that Spielberg will start shooting the movie, based on the best-selling book, Team of Rivals, by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, in the fall of 2011, with a release slap-bang in the middle of awards season in 2012.

That means he'll be doing a trademarked Spielberg one-two punch in the tradition of Jurassic Park/Schindler's List and War of the Worlds/Munich. Robopocalypse with then start shooting in January 2012 (for a summer 2013 release).

Just as exciting is the prospect of Spielberg working with the ultra-choosy but uber-talented Daniel Day-Lewis, filling the role that Liam Neeson seemed destined to play for so many years. Remember in August Neeson publicly stepped away from the role, after figuring out he was much too old to play the 16th American president.

Spielberg said: “Daniel Day-Lewis would have always been counted as one of the greatest of actors, were he from the silent era, the golden age of film or even some time in cinema's distant future. I am grateful and inspired that our paths will finally cross with Lincoln.

"Throughout his career, he has been exceptionally selective in his choice of material," added Stacey Snider, "which makes us feel even more fortunate that he has chosen to join with us for Lincoln."

The announcement ties in with a report in the Washington Post yesterday that Spielberg was spotted lunching with Rita McClenny, director of the Virginia Film Office, at Millie's Diner in Richmond, the former capital of confederacy that Lincoln visited in April 1865 right after the city fell.

Aaron Ruby, an associate at Capital Results public affairs firm located near Millie's, spotted Spielberg as he walked in the front door. "I recognized him right away. At first nobody at the table would believe me. You don't don't expect to see Steven Spielberg in Richmond, at best you see somebody who looks like him,'' he said. "I asked a couple members of his entourage if they were making a movie in Richmond and one woman replied 'maybe.'"

No prizes for figuring out what that film was in light of today's press release from Dreamworks:

Los Angeles
– Two-time Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis will star as the 16th President of the United States in DreamWorks Studios’ Lincoln to be directed by Steven Spielberg. The announcement was made today by Spielberg and Stacey Snider, Co-Chairman and CEO of DreamWorks Studios.

“Daniel Day-Lewis would have always been counted as one of the greatest of actors, were he from the silent era, the golden age of film or even some time in cinema's distant future. I am grateful and inspired that our paths will finally cross with Lincoln,” said Steven Spielberg. "Throughout his career, he has been exceptionally selective in his choice of material," added Stacey Snider, "which makes us feel even more fortunate that he has chosen to join with us for Lincoln."

Based on the best-selling book, Team of Rivals, by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, the screenplay has been written by the Pulitzer Prize winner, Tony Award winner, and Academy Award nominated writer Tony Kushner. It will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Steven Spielberg.

It is anticipated that the film will focus on the political collision of Lincoln and the powerful men of his cabinet on the road to abolition and the end of the Civil War.

Doris Kearns Goodwin won her Pulitzer Prize for No Ordinary Time, the story of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the home front in World War II. Kushner's prize was for his play Angels in America, which later became an Emmy Award-winning television special. He had previously worked with Spielberg on Munich for which he was nominated for an Oscar in the Adapted Screenplay category.

Filming is expected to begin in the fall of 2011 for release in the fourth quarter of 2012 through Disney’s Touchstone distribution label.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

New Tintin pictures!

I'm back from holiday now so updates should be more frequent. Apologies for the sporadic activity...

More pictures from Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn have been revealed in the new issue of Empire.
They give us our first glimpse of the Thomson Twins (played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost). Also in their picture is Silk the thief (Toby Jones).


The shadowy textures and tilted camera angle in the above shot certain bear out Spielberg's assertion that the look of the Tintin film would hark back to film noirs.


The final new shot in Empire isn't so much film noir as a David Lean film epic. I'd find it hard to believe if Spielberg wasn't thinking of Lean's Lawrence of Arabia when he was composing this shot of Tintin in the desert, with sand dunes stretching as far as the eye can see.

Spielberg wanted to make an animated Harry Potter film


This isn't really news, but it's an interesting nugget of Steven Spielberg lore that fans may find intriguing.

In the LA Times' extensive coverage of the new Harry Potter film, an article discusses what Steven Spielberg had planned to do if he got the job of turning the books into a movie.

Spielberg being Spielberg, he was the first choice to helm Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone ("Sorcerer's Stone" in the USA), the opening film in what Warner Bros hoped would become a lucrative franchise.

The LA Times takes up the story...

Warner Bros. secured the rights for four “Harry Potter” novels for about $2 million. At that point, only the first book was on shelves in England and none had reached America. Warner Bros. tried to get a financial partner on the project, reaching out to studios including Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks, which passed.

Once the books became a sensation, greenlighting the first “Potter” film became a major priority at Warner Bros., where Alan Horn had recently taken over as president and Barry Meyer as chairman (replacing longtime studio chiefs Terry Semel and Bob Daly). DreamWorks circled back and proposed a partnership, but Horn wisely declined. There was one aspect of the DreamWorks talks that did intrigue him, however.

“I did think it would be worthwhile for Steven Spielberg to direct,” Horn said. “We offered it to him. But one of the notions of Dreamworks’ and Steven’s was, ‘Let’s combine a couple of the books, let’s make it animated,’ and that was because of the [visual effects and] Pixar had demonstrated that animated movies could be extremely successful. Because of the wizardry involved, they were very effects-laden. So I don’t blame them. But I did not want to combine the movies, and I wanted it to be live action.”

Spielberg instead took on Warner’s 2001 sci-fi film “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence,” and the Hogwarts post fell to Chris Columbus, director of “Home Alone” and “Mrs. Doubtfire,” who was then tapped for the job …


The LA Times story seems to suggest that Spielberg's animated take on the books wasn't to Warners' liking to they politely thanked him then started the search for another director. Compare that to quotes Spielberg gave to PageSix.com back in 2001:

"I purposely didn't do the Harry Potter movie because for me, that was shooting ducks in a barrel. It's just a slam dunk. It's just like withdrawing a billion dollars and putting it into your personal bank accounts. There's no challenge."

Whatever the case, I think Warner Bros probably the made the right choice on this one. As much as I love Steven Spielberg, an animated version of the novels sounds pretty terrible to me...

Harrison Ford won't rule out Indy 5


Harrison Ford has been discussing the possibility of a fifth Indiana Jones film while publicising his latest flick Morning Glory.

He told MTV News that he'd "love" to do another Indy film.

"It's on George's plate," Ford said. "And I'm hoping he's working hard at it, because I'd look forward to doing it again if the three of us could get together - George, Steven Spielberg, myself - I'd love to do another."

Asked about a possible plot (the Bemuda Triangle has been mentioned in the past) Ford grinned: "I'm not at liberty to tell you what I know and what I don't know."

Ford comments come a few month after his Crystal Skull co-star Shia LaBoeuf hinted that a fifth movie was on the cards.

"I got called into Steven's office, and he pitched a little bit to me and it sounds crazy," LaBeouf said in the summer. "It sounds really cool."

Read MTV's report here

I'm sure I wasn't the only one who felt a little bit disappointed by the last Indiana Jones film, so the possibility that Spielberg and co will give Indy the send-off he deserves is exciting - but I just can't get the image of Shia LaBoeuf swinging through the jungle with the monkeys out of my mind. *shudder*

Monday, 1 November 2010

Tintin finally revealed ... and a letter from Steven Spielberg


I go away on holiday for two weeks and all hell breaks loose regarding Steven Spielberg!

Empire have got the biggest Spielberg scoop of the year with today´s unveiling of the first glimpse of the CGI characters from The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (due in UK cinemas in October 2011).

Created by Peter Jackson´s visual effects company Weta, the images provide us of our first look at Tintin, his loyal dog Snowy and Captain Haddock.

The article on the Empire website (and in full in the next issue) also has quotes from Spielberg about the plot of the film, the first in his career to be fully motion-captured.

Spielberg says: “The first part of the film, which is the most mysterious part, certainly owes much to not only film noir but the whole German Brechtian theatre — some of our night scenes and our action scenes are very contrasty. But at the same time the movie is a hell of an adventure.”

Peter Jackson had this to say about the look of Tintin:

“With live action you’re going to have actors pretending to be Captain Haddock and Tintin. You’d be casting people to look like them. It’s not really going to feel like the Tintin Hergé drew. It’s going to be somewhat different. With CGI we can bring Hergé’s world to life, keep the stylised caricatured faces, keep everything looking like Hergé’s artwork, but make it photo-real.”

Read the full article, along with two other pictures from the film, on the Empire website.

Since I´m typing this on the computer in the lobby of a hotel and my alloted time is ticking down really fast, I thought I squeeze the another bit of Spielberg news.

It seems that he has finished shooting parts of his other big 2011 release, War Horse, on and around Dartmoor in England.

To thank the locals for their support he wrote a letter to the Plymouth Evening Herald and spoke of the "abundance of natural beauty" in the area.

Steven Spielberg wrote: "I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor.

"And, with two-and-a-half weeks of extensive coverage of landscapes and skies, I hardly scratched the surface of the visual opportunities that were offered to me.

"We have had an incredibly successful shoot and every member of our substantial crew has commented on what a great experience the shoot in Dartmoor has been.

"We faced many logistical challenges working in the narrow lanes and villages on Dartmoor with our extensive film unit.

"The patience and support of the local community was critical in allowing us to safely and quickly move from place to place in search of the best shots and the best light to shoot them.

"We wanted to thank all the residents of Sheepstor and Meavy and the surrounding communities on Dartmoor for their support throughout our stay in Devon, without their help co-operation and patience we would not have been able to achieve so much in such a short space of time."

So there we go - two big bits of Spielberg news that broke while I was thousands of miles away from my home computer. Just typical!



Friday, 22 October 2010

Official: Spielberg's next film will be...


Very exciting news broke from Deadline Hollywood today - Steven Spielberg has chosen his next film.

Deadline's Mike Fleming had the scoop that Spielberg will start shooting screenwriter Drew Goddard's adaptation of the Daniel H. Wilson's epic sci-fi novel Robopocalpse in January 2012. Disney's Touchstone will release the film in 2013 (I'm guessing in a prime summer slot).

According to the report, Spielberg has been tempted to film the novel since March last year, but due to the fact that the novel wasn't finished he put it on the backburner and concentrated his efforts on War Horse. That said, "Spielberg was so excited about it that it was already being storyboarded and designed as Wilson was turning in pages of the book and Goddard was translating them into the screenplay" Fleming reports.

Dreamworks have now confirmed the news with a press release:

Los Angeles, CASteven Spielberg is set to direct “Robopocalypse,” it was announced today by Mark Sourian and Holly Bario, Co-Presidents of Production for DreamWorks Studios. Based on the novel of the same name by Daniel H. Wilson, Spielberg will begin principal photography on the futuristic tale in January 2012. Disney’s Touchstone will distribute the film in 2013.

Exploring the fate of the human race following a robot uprising, “Robopocalypse” has been adapted for the screen by Drew Goddard.

DreamWorks acquired the rights to Wilson’s unpublished manuscript back in November 2009. Publishing rights were acquired by Doubleday and they plan to release the book in June 2011.

“’Robopocalypse’ embodies an imaginative story of a robot rebellion unleashed against the human race," said Mark Sourian. “This is a project we immediately sparked to and with Steven directing it we knew it was in the best possible hands to bring it to worldwide audiences.”

Robopocalypse has been a project that's been mentioned as a possible Spielberg directing gig since March last year and late last month the rumours started up again.

As far as Robopocalypse the novel is concerned, Deadline has this to say:
Doubleday will publish the book June, 2011. Wilson is hot stuff, in the kind of hi-tech sci-fi terrain that was the domain of Michael Crichton. His rep, Justin Manask, is preparing to shop his next book, AMP, which is a near-future science fiction thriller set in a world where the technology to make the disabled whole, turns them into supermen. That book will also be published by Doubleday, with 120 pages done so far. This one is being eyed for summer, 2012.

Robots are certainly terrain Spielberg has covered in the past with AI, but since that was a project originated by Stanley Kubrick and one Spielberg designed around production art that Kubrick created, I can't even imagine what he has in store.

Bring on summer 2013!

Keep checking back for updates as I get them...

Read Michael Fleming's full story here

Monday, 18 October 2010

Spielberg + Bee Gees = Total BS



I don't quite know why I'm reporting this, but it's almost so crazy a rumour it's actually funny.
The UK's Daily Mail - easily one of the most disreputable tabloids in Britain - is reporting that Steven Spielberg is going to be making a movie based on the life story of The Bee Gees.

The only problem is, when you read the article it contains absolutely no facts to back up that statement.

The report, which is written as though the journalist has a source within the Spielberg camp ("The Oscar-winning director of ET believes the group’s journey from unknowns in Manchester to worldwide fame will prove box-office gold...") does have a quote from Bee Gee Robin Gibb, but even that has zero mention of Steven Spielberg.

"The movie is going to be done by some very important people," he says. "It will be our life story. Barry and I will be involved in the technical side."

So how the Daily Mail made the leap to Spielberg is anybody's guess.

Over the years Steven Spielberg has expressed an interest in doing a musical (before Hook, Spielberg's take on the Peter Pan story was to be a musical collaboration with Michael Jackson), but if this bizarre rumour ever comes true I will happily listen to the Bee Gees' back catalogue on repeat for 48 hours while being waterboarded.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

War Horse pushed from August to December 2011

In a move that puts War Horse firmly in the race for Oscars, Dreamworks has decided to shift the Steven Spielberg-directed film's release date from August 12 to December 28, 2011.

What this means for moviegoers, in the USA at least, is that they'll be treated to TWO new Spielberg-directed films within the space of a week. That's because Tintin, the top secret motion-capture collaboration between Spielberg and Peter Jackson, is due for release in North America on December 23.

The decision came after Disney and Dreamworks executives were shown footage from the World War One epic,which is currently being shot in England, according to a report by Indiewire's Anne Thompson.

Dreamworks' Stacey Snider said: “The movie feels like a holiday movie. {Steven Spielberg) feels great about it. We feel great about it.”

Snider also goes on to say that War Horse, which is expected to be rated PG-13, shouldn't conflict too much with Sony/Paramount's Tintin. “We think there’s room for a couple of holiday movies during that season,” said Snider. “It’s a big market at that time of year.”

For Spielberg fans in Europe, Latin America and India they'll see The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn first, in late October and November 2011.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Color Purple Blu-Ray in January 2011

Another Steven Spielberg film will soon be hitting stores in high-def, if reports are to be believed.
High Def Disc News are reporting that The Color Purple will be released on January 25 2011 to tie in with Black History Month.

No release specs have been revealed other than it looks like it'll be one of Warners' digi-book releases (ie a 40-page making-of book), with full 1080p Hi-Def video in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

High Def Disc News also provide a picture of the trade ad announcing the release of this under-rated Spielberg flick here

The Color Purple would join Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report, War of the Worlds, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Twilight Zone: The Movie and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on the list of Spielberg-directed films available in HD. My earlier report about AI: Artificial Intelligence bowing on Blu-Ray on October 15 in Germany has sadly not come to pass...

Thursday, 23 September 2010

New War Horse set spy photos


New pictures from the set of Steven Spielberg's new film War Horse have hit the web and reveal a picture postcard English village dressed to look like it would in World War One.

The photos don't show any cast or crew, but they do give a glimpse of tAdd Imagehe set-dressing in the village of Castle Combe.

According to a spy on Bleeding Cool "all the set dressing was done in ten hours, courtesy of a huge crew and over twenty night time security staff. And filming proper starts this Tuesday (September 21). The dressers have put out all fresh fruit and veg out, have changed door numbers, laid down the dirt road and stuck moss in all the right place. In fact five people were dedicated to moss dressing the sets. Reports are that they’re spending a lot of money making this look just right."

War Horse will be released on August 10, 2011.




Take a look at all the spy shots over at Bleeding Cool.









Judge clears Spielberg in Disturbia lawsuit


A judge has cleared Steven Spielberg of stealing the plot for Disturbia from a short story.

Although the two films definitely share similarities - both are about someone who is confined to his home and becomes convinced that his neighbour is a killer - New York district court judge Laura Taylor Swan ruled that "the main plots are similar only at a high, unprotectable level of generality".

The suit was launched by the Sheldon Abend Revocable Trust, which manages the estate of the late author Cornell Woolrich. The writer's short story It Had to be Murder formed the basis for Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954).

The trust filed its complaint against Spielberg, DreamWorks and distributors Paramount Pictures back in 2008 and claimed that the short story's plot had been used without obtaining the Trust's permission.

But Swan added: "Where Disturbia is rife with sub-plots, the short story has none. The setting and mood of the short story are static and tense, whereas the setting and mood of Disturbia are more dynamic and peppered with humour and teen romance."

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can heading to Broadway in Spring 2011

The musical version of Steven Spielberg's 2002 caper Catch Me If You Can will open on Broadway in the Spring of 2011, according to the producers.
Previews will begin on March 7, 2011 with the opening evening being set for April 10.
Here's Broadway bible Playbill's reporting of the announcement, which was made yesterday:

Catch Me If You Can, the new musical by Tony Award winners Scott Wittman, Marc Shaiman and Terrence McNally, will begin Broadway previews March 7, 2011, at a Nederlander theatre to be announced.
Hairspray songwriters Shaiman and Wittman penned the score to the musical based on the DreamWorks film of the same name (and the autobiography by Frank Abagnale Jr. and Stan Redding). Catch Me If You Can will officially open April 10, 2011.
In addition to Shaiman and Wittman, the musical will reunite several Broadway heavyweights who collaborated on the Tony-winning hit Hairspray, including director Jack O'Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell. Catch Me If You Can features a book by Tony Award-winning playwright McNally (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Ragtime, Master Class).
The musical was seen in an earlier incarnation in late 2009 at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, where Hairspray also played its pre-Broadway try-out. Margo Lion and Hal Luftig are lead producers of the Broadway engagement.

Is Spielberg ready to take on Robopocalypse now?


A how-to guide to surviving a robot uprising could be the next film on Steven Spielberg's slate, according to reports today.

Yes, I know, this is all speculation, but the news was first broken by the very reliable Deadline Hollywood in March and now Vulture weighs in with some insider quotes.

According to Vulture's story, Spielberg is very seriously considering making Robopocalypse his next film. Based on the novel by Daniel H Wilson, the screenplay is being penned by Drew Goddard (Cloverfield and the in-limbo Cabin in the Woods).

A source told Vulture: “With DreamWorks, everything is potentially a Steven project - until it’s not. That’s why everyone’s in a frenzy trying to read it.”

The concept sounds like it could make a very cool film - although does it sound a little too much like AI? Has Spielberg already done his robot thang with AI and also, to a certain degree, with Transformers?

Definitely one to keep an eye on though...

Spielberg News is back! Super 8 cast news and set photos!


All long last we actually have some proper Steven Spielberg news to report.

First things first - cast news and some set photos from Super 8. As we all know, none of us know what JJ Abrams' Steven Spielberg-produced film is about except that it involves kids from a small town and aliens or something.

Well now Vulture has broken the news that Friday Night Lights' Kyle Chandler and Elle Fanning (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) have nabbed the first roles in the film, which began shooting yesterday in the Marland Heights area of Weirton, West Virginia.

Aint It Cool posted pictures from around the town, including some shots of 1970s-era buses which seem to confirm that JJ Abrams is going all-out to replicate the feeling of Spielberg's films from the 70s and 80s.

If the Spielbergian (I hate that word) setting is central to the plot like it is in Back to the Future or Gremlins or Poltergiest or ET, then I can think of no better actor than Kyle Chandler. I'm a big fan of Friday Night Lights, so I'm delighted that he's getting a role in such a high-profile film. He's got that spirit of smalltown America in spades. See the rest of the AICN photos here.


Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Updates ... or lack thereof

If anyone is wondering about the lack of updates, please don't think I'm being lazy. It's just that one thing that annoys me about certain websites is that they seem to publish every cough and fart, regardless of a) how true it is; or b) how interesting it is.

I always took the view that I would only report on concrete things happening in Steven Spielberg's life, not the frivolous. So that means more stories like the ones about set pictures from War Horse* and less about the day Steven Spielberg went to see some piglets.

I'm sorry if the lack of updates is frustrating for some, I can only say that it's frustrating for me too because I want to read Spielberg developments every day but sometimes the news just ain't there.

What I can say is that I'm in the process of generating my own content for the site in the form of interviews with people connected with Steven Spielberg. I can't say too much at present, but of the two people I've asked for interviews, both have agreed. It's now just a case of working the chats into their very busy schedules.

So please keep checking back to the site because I'm not ignoring it. Believe me, when War Horse and Tintin start kicking into high gear, there will be PLENTY to talk about so expect daily updates.

* Incidentally, a barrage of film websites like Collider only just picked up on the War Horse set photos this week - almost a month after we had them. So on the one hand I'm happy we scooped the big boys, but sad on the other because I guess that means no one reads my site ... sniff.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Spielberg picks up Locke and Key


Steven Spielberg is re-teaming with his War of the Worlds screenwriter Josh Friedman to turn Joe Hill's comic book series Locke and Key into a TV series, according to a report on New York Magazine's website.

Hill's books "revolve around three kids who end up watching over a secret, spooky New England mansion filled with mystical doors that transport them to different worlds and give them special powers (like turning into a ghost)", according to the report.

Super-scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci - who have spoken in the past about how Spielberg's Amblin heyday has influenced the choice of projects they're developing - are also onboard.

Dimension had purchased the TV and film rights to the IDW Publishing series back in 2008, not long after the first installment came out (several installments have followed, including one released earlier this month). While there had been talk in the blogosphere of Kurtzman and Orci turning Locke and Key into a feature, the project is now moving ahead as a TV series, with Friedman on board to write and produce. Kurtzman and Orci recently signed a big overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV, so the studio will end up producing with Spielberg's DreamWorks TV (mirroring their current collaboration on Spielberg's fall 2011 Fox dinosaur drama Terra Nova). There's no broadcast or cable outlet attached yet, but based on the idea for the show and the fact that 20th is involved, the Fox network certainly seems like a logical home.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Jaws resurfaces on iPhone

It's only taken 35 years, but Steven Spielberg's Jaws has finally got an official game tie-in.

Games designer Bytemark have just released the official Jaws game for iPhone and you can purchase it now from the Apple App Store for £1.79 in the UK or $2.99 in the US.

Sadly it's not the type of game where you play the shark and get points for munching through as many swimmers as possible. You play Brody and it's your job to move the swimmers out of the path of the Great White. You do this by "flicking" the swimmers out the way.

Although not as much fun as I'd hoped, the swimmers do disappear under the surf in a satisfying spray of blood and, best of all, the 10 levels are set to John Williams' iconic score.



Here's the full press release announcing the game:

TORONTO - In 1975, just beyond the serene beaches of the summer resort town Amity Island lurked a terrifying menace: Jaws. Thirty-five years later, the timeless classic thriller is making its debut for the iPhone? and iPod touch? through a development partnership with Bytemark Games and Universal Partnerships & Licensing.

Chomping its way into the iTunes? App Store in August 2010, Jaws for the iPhone? and iPod touch? is a fun and challenging casual game. With familiar line-drawing mechanics paired with a few new tricks, Jaws challenges players with the task of saving stranded swimmers from the namesake Great White.

The game features:
Casual and intuitive touch-based gameplay provides an addictive experience for any level of gamer
Touch, drag and flick swimmers to beaches and boats out of the way of Jaws
Play through 10 increasingly challenging levels to make your way to the climactic final battle between man and shark
The Academy Award? winning theme from John Williams brings the intensity of Jaws to life

A terrifying 25-foot long 3-ton virtual shark"Jaws is one of the most recognizable and beloved movie franchises of all time, and it's been an amazing opportunity to interpret the thrilling film as a game," said Jon Walsh, CEO of Bytemark Games.

"We think it has everything that makes a great casual game – fun, easy-to-learn touch controls, along with exciting gameplay that ramps up quickly and keeps players challenged from beginning to end."

"It has been 35 years since Jaws terrorized the shores of Amity Island and now he has resurfaced in the realm of apps, ready to prey once again," said Calvin Lim, Director of Mobile Sales, Universal Partnerships & Licensing. "The combination of simple touchscreen mechanics, visually stunning graphics and the original theme score make for a complete game that will keep you playing over and over again."

Monday, 16 August 2010

Cary Elwes talks Tintin

A second bit of Tintin news emerged from this weekend's Movie-Con in London.

Talking to Empire, Cary Elwes revealed how he managed to nab a part in Steven Spielberg's upcoming Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

“It’s a funny story if you’ve got a second. Steven Spielberg came down to the set of A Christmas Carol because he’s friends with Robert Zemeckis and was there while I was filming a scene - no pressure! He came over afterwards and said, 'I’m shooting Tintin. It’s got Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis and it’s going to be a lot of fun.' And I said, '[Stutters] Mr... Mr... Spielberg, I’m a really big fan of Tintin. I have to be in it.' He did that Hollywood thing: 'Yeah, yeah, we’ll see.'"

"Then two weeks later my wife and I are in a grocery store, and my wife says, 'Honey, that’s Steven Spielberg.' I say there’s no way Spielberg is grocery shopping on his own; he has people to do that for him. But there he was, shopping for cereal by himself. So I went up to him and said, 'Steven... er, Tintin?' [Laughs] He said, 'You know what, I think I have one part left. Do you speak French?' and I said [adopts best Clouseau impression] 'But of course!'”

Read the article here

Spielberg's Tintin teaser poster revealed


The first teaser poster for Steven Spielberg's The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn has been uncovered by the folks over at Collider.

The poster uses a piece of artwork from Herge's original so, frustratingly, we still have no clue as to the look of the motion-captured film. It was always doubtful that the character designs would be unveiled in a poster before the teaser trailer, but at least this shows that the promotional campaign is beginning to kick off.

So far the only images that we've seen from the movie (due out in late 2011) have been stills of stars Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis is their mo-cap suits on the set. Producer Peter Jackson once said that the film would look "film noirish and very atmospheric".

Written by Steven Moffat, Joe Cornish and Edgar Wright, The Secret of the Unicorn also stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Daniel Craig. It will be released during late October and early November 2011 in Europe, Latin America and India. Fans in the United States will have to wait until December 23, 2011.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Spielberg protests axing of UK Film Council

Steven Spielberg has become the latest movie industry figure to back a campaign protesting the abolition of the United Kingdom Film Council.

A senior executive at Dreamworks has written to Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and described the move as "confusing". The exec, Steven Molen, also praised the UKFC for the help it received with Steven Spielberg's new film War Horse, which is shooting in England as we speak.

Spielberg, of course, has a long association with the UK film industry, having shot parts of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, Last Crusade, Empire of the Sun and Saving Private Ryan there.

A Treasury spokeswoman told The Guardian the chancellor had received the DreamWorks letter, but declined to discuss its contents. However, Ed Vaizey, the minister for communication, culture and the creative industries, defended the decision to scrap the council as part of a raft of cost-cutting measures.

"We've got a plethora of quangos, and I would question whether the Film Council is solely behind the success of film in this country," he told Sky News.

Criticising what he called "hysteria" surrounding the decision, Vaizey said film tax credits, lottery funding and a infrastructure for film production would continue to entice big film studios to the UK. He invited Hollywood figures to call him personally with their concerns rather than speaking through the media.

Steven Spielberg is not the first Hollywood figure to step into the UKFC controversy. Clint Eastwood, who just finished shooting his next film, The Hereafter, in London, wrote a letter to Osborne and spoke of his "great concern" that the UKFC was biting the dust. He also said that he would be less likely to choose the UK for a location now that the UKFC has been abolished.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Spielberg news round-up

After the excitement of last week when filming got underway on War Horse, it's been a quiet few days in the world of Spielberg.

The biggest development of the week is that Terra Nova is going Down Under to shoot. According to Queensland premier Anna Bligh, production on the 13-part time travel dinosaur series will begin in Australia in October.

The Hollywood Reporter has the quotes.

"Fox Broadcasting has today confirmed Queensland as the location of choice for 'Terra Nova' … and once again shows Queensland's ability to attract first rate productions to the state," Bligh said.

"My government provided considerable incentives through Screen Queensland to secure this production which, in turn, will generate in excess of AUS$54 million ($50 million) in economic activity and create thousands of jobs," she added.

Bligh said that around 80% of the cast and crew will be Queenslanders.

Production will be centered on locations around southeastern Queensland and at the Warner Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast.

“We wanted this ambitious series to look like no other on television and Queensland provided the best of all possible worlds," executive vice president of production, Jim Sharp added.

"Queensland had the right look, climate and terrain, a vibrant production community and attractive economic incentives. We are very excited to be shooting our first production there."

The only War Horse-related news of this week is of the type I don't even class as news. But, if you're interested in historic English villages or even pig farms, feel free to click the links.

I'll finish this update by directing you to a very entertaining interview with long-time Spielberg producer Frank Marshall.

Although the one-to-one with Scotland's Herald newspaper is to promote The Last Airbender, he does reminisce about his career, including the first time he met Steven Spielberg.

It was Rome, 1972. Marshall was there making Daisy Miller with Bogdanovich. A young Spielberg was on a publicity tour with Duel, and called in at the set.

“I had a plate of spaghetti,” says Marshall, “took two bites of it, said nice to meet you, asked Peter a question about the next shot and left.” Spielberg turned to the film’s editor, Verna Fields. “That’s the kind of guy I need, a guy that’s more interested in the next shot than lunch.”

Read the full interview with Marshall here



Thursday, 5 August 2010

Fox boss explains Terra Nova delay


Reacting to news that the Steven Spielberg-produced dino-drama Terra Nova has been pushed back to a Fall 2011 air date, Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly spoke to the TCA Press Tour and revealed his reasons for the delay.

iF Magazine has the quotes:

“There are two advantages to [air the pilot in the Spring],” says Reilly. “First, is to do pilot right, and on marketing side, recreate the same thing we did with Glee. Then we can give [the audience] materials over the summer. Secondly, this is a show that needs to be ahead in cycle. They can’t finish in one week and three weeks have a show on air”

Reilly also spoke about Steven Spielberg's work on the show, which fans will be pleased to hear is quite hands-on.

“He has been in town and immersed in every element of it from conceiving the world, to the script and characterizations,” says Reilly. “He loves it. When you get in a room with Steven Spielberg he’s Steven Spielberg.”

A recent Fox press release explained the plot of Terra Nova as such:

Terra Nova, an epic family adventure 85 million years in the making, follows an ordinary family embarking on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a massive experiment to save the human race. In the year 2149 the world is dying. The planet is overdeveloped, overcrowded and overpolluted. Knowing there is no way to reverse the damage to the planet, a coalition of scientists has managed to open up a fracture in the space-time continuum, creating a portal to prehistoric Earth. This doorway leads to an amazing world, one that allows for a last-ditch effort to save the human race…possibly changing the future by correcting the mistakes of the past.
The series centers on the Shannon family as they join the tenth pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first colony of humans in this second chance for civilization. JIM SHANNON, a devoted father with a checkered past, guides his family – wife ELISABETH and children JOSH and MADDY – through this new land of limitless beauty, mystery and terror. In addition to blue skies, rolling rivers and lush vegetation, Terra Nova offers new opportunities and fresh beginnings to its recent arrivals, but the Shannons have brought with them a familial secret that may threaten their citizenship in this utopia. These adventurers soon discover that this healthy, vibrant world is not as idyllic as it initially appears. The areas surrounding Terra Nova are filled with dangerous dinosaurs and other prehistoric threats, as well as external forces that may be intent on destroying this new world before it begins.

Read the full article here

Exciting upcoming Jaws book has a new title


Jim Beller, co-author along with Matt Taylor of a new book on the making of Jaws, just got in touch to let me know that the 300-page tome has a new title - it's now called Jaws - Memories From Martha's Vineyard.

The book will be out at Christmas and includes never-seen-before photographs and interviews with islanders about that momentous summer in 1974 when Hollywood came to town and a movie classic was born.

Not only that, the coffee table-style book will also include a DVD of 8mm behind-the-scenes footage shot by local woman Carol Fligor.

Prices for the book will be revealed in the coming weeks, although Jim says that there will be TWO versions - a softcover and a very limited hardcover collector's edition, which will include a special surprise (to be announced soon). I know which one I want (hint hint)...

As I'm sure you'll all agree, this is shaping up to a monumental book about a monumental film and I for one can't wait to get my hands on it. In the meantime, a Facebook page has been set up to keep you in the loop on all the developments.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Update: More War Horse set pictures hit the web!


Another batch of photographs of Steven Spielberg hard at work on the set of his new movie War Horse have gone online today.

They're similar to the last lot I linked to, but these give a much clearer view of the set and actors. Can anyone spot any familiar faces? I assume Janusz Kaminski is the DP, but couldn't see him in any of the photos taken of the camera rig...

Visit the SWNS website to see the full gallery.

First pictures of Spielberg on War Horse set!


As expected the first pictures of Steven Spielberg on the War Horse set in England emerged online today.

The photographs, published in The Herald newspaper in Plymouth, show Spielberg - in trademark leather jacket, cap and sunglasses - on the outskirts of a moorland village called Meavy.

A photo gallery on the newspaper's website shows a relaxed-looking Spielberg chatting with crew members, along with photographs of a brown horse (is this the War Horse of the title?)

The story doesn't make it clear whether filming has actually started yet (I don't know whether Spielberg would have been quite so relaxed with the cameras being there if it had) or whether he was just on set to oversee the final preparations.

Lynsey Glazier, who works at the Royal Oak pub in Meavy, told the newspaper: "A lot of the crew working on the set have been coming in for lunch. They have all been really nice people.

"There's a real buzz around here. I don't think we've seen any of the actors yet but it is early days. The set is just being put together. It's quite exciting."

Check out The Herald website for the full story and more pictures.

War Horse is due for release on August 10, 2011.

Monday, 2 August 2010

E.T. named the greatest film of all time

I'm not a big fan of polls, so I don't know why I'm posting this but it does definitely classify itself as Spielberg news.

The UK's Press Association has the news that ET has been named the greatest film of all time by TV listings magazine Radio Times.

Steven Spielberg's ET The Extra-Terrestrial was voted the greatest film of all time in a survey published today.

The story of an alien trapped on Earth trying to get home topped the poll of more than 2,500 people for radiotimes.com.

Movie expert Barry Norman described the sci-fi classic as "the perfect family film".

He told the Radio Times it was "a magical tale for children, a triumph of special effects, a chastening lesson to bigots everywhere and, as the director Steven Spielberg describes it, a simple and pure love story".

ET won four Oscars in 1983 but was beaten to the Best Picture award by Richard Attenborough's Gandhi.

The Wizard Of Oz came second in the online survey, followed by Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Toy Story.


No Terra Nova until Fall 2011

Fox Television today announced that Steven Spielberg's ambitious dino-drama Terra Nova won't premiere in full until Fall 2011.

Mirroring the same release strategy that helped turn Glee into the mega-hit that it is, Fox will preview the pilot episode (directed by Alex Graves) post-American Idol in May then the full series will run at the end of the year.

Here's the press release:

NEW EPIC FAMILY ADVENTURE “TERRA NOVA” TO PREVIEW IN MAY
PRIOR TO PREMIERING ON FOX IN FALL 2011
Series Executive-Produced by Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin,
Brannon Braga, David Fury, Jon Cassar, Aaron Kaplan, Katherine Pope,
Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Craig Silverstein and Kelly Marcel
Alex Graves To Direct Pilot Episode
With Series Set to Film On Location in Australia
Jason O’Mara Confirmed in Lead Role
TERRA NOVA, the new family adventure drama series executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin, Brannon Braga and David Fury, will preview in May 2011 on FOX prior to its series premiere in the fall.
Jason O’Mara (“Life on Mars”) has been cast in the lead role of JIM SHANNON, the patriarch of the show’s central family. As previously announced, Emmy Award winner Alex Graves (FRINGE) will direct the pilot, and Emmy Award-winning executive producer and director Jon Cassar (“24”) has joined the series as an executive producer and series director.
“TERRA NOVA will be one of the most visually stimulating and dramatically grand series to air on network television,” said Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “It deserves to have an equally unique launch to distinguish that the show is unlike any other, and the spring promotional platform will give us the perfect opportunity to introduce this bold show to audiences.”
TERRA NOVA, an epic family adventure 85 million years in the making, follows an ordinary family embarking on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a massive experiment to save the human race. In the year 2149 the world is dying. The planet is overdeveloped, overcrowded and overpolluted. Knowing there is no way to reverse the damage to the planet, a coalition of scientists has managed to open up a fracture in the space-time continuum, creating a portal to prehistoric Earth. This doorway leads to an amazing world, one that allows for a last-ditch effort to save the human race…possibly changing the future by correcting the mistakes of the past.
The series centers on the Shannon family as they join the tenth pilgrimage of settlers to TERRA NOVA, the first colony of humans in this second chance for civilization. JIM SHANNON (O’Mara), a devoted father with a checkered past, guides his family – wife ELISABETH and children JOSH and MADDY – through this new land of limitless beauty, mystery and terror. In addition to blue skies, rolling rivers and lush vegetation, TERRA NOVA offers new opportunities and fresh beginnings to its recent arrivals, but the Shannons have brought with them a familial secret that may threaten their citizenship in this utopia. These adventurers soon discover that this healthy, vibrant world is not as idyllic as it initially appears. The areas surrounding TERRA NOVA are filled with dangerous dinosaurs and other prehistoric threats, as well as external forces that may be intent on destroying this new world before it begins.
TERRA NOVA is produced by 20th Century Fox Television, DreamWorks Television, Kapital Entertainment and Chernin Entertainment. Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin, Brannon Braga, David Fury, Jon Cassar, Aaron Kaplan, Katherine Pope, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Craig Silverstein and Kelly Marcel serve as executive producers. Alex Graves will direct the pilot episode.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Neeson says he won't play Lincoln for Spielberg


For the last few years Steven Spielberg has been talking up his long-gestating biopic of Abraham Lincoln, which was supposed to star Liam Neeson.

Well now it appears that Neeson is out of the equation. Speaking to the UK's early morning breakfast show GMTV, he said: “I’m not actually playing Lincoln now. I was attached to it for a while, but it’s now I’m past my sell-by date."

He may have a point - the 16th American president was 56 when he was assassinated in 1865, Neeson is currently 58 - but even so it's disappointing that Spielberg won't be re-teaming with his Schindler's List star.

Spielberg acquired the rights to Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography of Lincoln, Team of Rivals, and John Logan took a first pass at the script. The last we heard was that Munich screenwriter Tony Kushner was commissioned for a re-write.

Just because the film seems close to dead right now, don't forget that Steven Spielberg first started developing Schindler's List back in 1983 - so never say never.

Spielberg's War Horse starts shooting tomorrow

I've been away on holiday for the last week so apologies for the lack of updates. Thankfully, there hasn't been too much news to speak of, although that should all change in the days and weeks ahead.

That's because tomorrow is Day One of War Horse. Yup, shooting officially gets underway in England on Steven Spielberg's 26th theatrical feature (if you include Tintin).

The World War One drama - starring Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, David Thewlis and TV's new Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch - is about a farm horse called Joey who gets separated from his owner (Irvine) and is sent to join the cavalry on the battlefields in France.

USA Today's Susan Wloszczyna spoke to Spielberg and he told her why there was a two-year work gap between this and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (not strictly true, because he also shot Tintin in between, but whatever).

"I spent the last few years putting DreamWorks back together," referring to the production company's new distribution deal with Disney. "It kept me busy and away from being a director. We now have six films in production," including War Horse.

The film, written by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) and Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral), is due for release in the US on August 10, 2011.

I'm expecting photos to leak out from the set in the next couple of weeks (it's England, so the paparazzi will be out in force) so keep checking back for further updates.

Friday, 23 July 2010

JJ Abrams spills a few Super-8 details

At San Diego Comic-Con yesterday JJ Abrams took to the stage at Entertainment Weekly's Visionaries panel and spoke about Super-8 his upcoming collaboration with Steven Spielberg.

While revealing nothing about the top-secret project's storyline, he does confirm that the film will hark back to the days of Spielberg's Amblin output from the 1980s and also reveals that he was once hired by Spielberg at the age of 16.

Cinematical has the story, and provided quotes from the panel.

"When I was 16 years old, Matt Reeves and I did a Super-8 film festival in LA," Abrams the crowd in Comic-Con's Hall H. "The LA Times wrote a story about it that came out the next day, and we got a phone call that day from Steven Spielberg's assistant, who at the time was Kathleen Kennedy." He explained that Spielberg wanted the duo to repair some of his childhood films whose splices had fallen into disrepair over the years. "We said, we've got finals, but we could probably make time to repair Steven Spielberg's movies. So we repaired the movies and they gave us $300, which was when I knew why they got us to do it."

Abrams indicated that he brought Super-8 to Spielberg precisely because he knew the seasoned filmmaker honed his talents using the format. "A couple of years ago, I called Steven and I had an idea for a movie called Super-8 and I pitched it to him and he was very excited about it, which I knew having in a weird way working on those movies. I had a sense what he had done as a kid.

"I would love to show you footage but we haven't shot any," he said. "My favorite thing about the movie though is that someone will go to the theater and see the trailer and hopefully go, oh my God, that looks bitchin', and have no idea they will be starring in it."

Abrams described Spielberg as "beyond helpful" and hinted about the tone of the film: "It's impossible to work with him and not constantly reference the work he has done. You don't want to sound like a sycophant, but it's been incredible. Constantly referencing Spielberg's work. He's been beyond helpful, and movie is very much in the spirit of those Amblin films."

Read the full report here

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Spielberg/Cameron/Zemeckis: the Empire interview


In the August edition of Empire, the magazine's Steven Spielberg guru Ian Freer sat down with Spielberg, James Cameron and Robert Zemeckis to discuss 3D, motion capture and The Future of Movies.

I've scanned in the pages and the can be viewed as a PDF by clicking on the picture above.

New interview - Spielberg on Rockwell


Anyone who has seen one of the special features on a DVD or Blu-ray of Steven Spielberg's films will notice that Laurent Bouzereau is his documentarian-of-choice. Since 1995 Bouzereau has been on the set of every Spielberg film and has also taken charge of the retrospective documentaries for, among others, E.T. and Jaws.

So it's no surprise then that when the Smithsonian wanted interviews with Spielberg and George Lucas for their current Norman Rockwell exhibition - Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg - they turned to the prolific Frenchman.

His interviews - running 12 minutes long - play on a constant loop at the exhibition and give some insight into the film-makers' love of the iconic American artist.

Now the Smithsonian's own blog Eye Level has posted an excerpt from the interview, and in it Steven Spielberg calls Rockwell "the great American storyteller".

Laurent Bouzereau : What was your first encounter with Norman Rockwell?

Steven Spielberg: Whenever my dad would bring home a Saturday Evening Post, Norman Rockwell's work was often the cover art. So often, in fact, that I looked forward not even to opening the Post to see what was inside. I was mainly interested in seeing what story this painter was telling on the cover.

LB: What do you think he managed to capture that was universal?

SS: Rockwell in a way pushed a benign but important agenda of a kind of community, a kind of civic responsibility and patriotism. And he did this in one frame, with one image. And he did it, like Rashómon, from many different approaches to the same theme, which was tolerance of the community, of each other, of parents, of presidents, of Boy Scouts, of our veterans, and of soldiers fighting abroad. He was really one of the greatest Americans that this country has produced since, maybe, Samuel Clemens.

LB: Rockwell was almost like a filmmaker because he cast people to pose for him. He did sketches just like a filmmaker does storyboards. Can you comment on that?

SS: Norman Rockwell was the great American storyteller. And he did his storytelling in a flash; he did it with a single image. And he invites you to explore that image. He draws you into that image, and he invites you, once it makes an impression on you, to question why, simply question why. And as you answer your own question, there are clues throughout all of his paintings. In The Jury Room, you wonder how long have they been trying to convince the only holdout, who happens to be the only woman, to change her mind? You can guess by her position, her straight back, and by the schleppyness of all the other jurors who have found comfortable positions around the table. But then you look on the floor and see all of these cigarette butts, and you understand that this has been going on so long that perhaps she is going to hang that jury.

LB: Talk about Twelve Angry Men. I love the source light in The Jury Room. It's important to you, isn't it—that detail of where he places light in his painting?

SS: Rockwell had a really wonderful sense of source lighting. It was very evocative of the mood that he was trying to communicate. He would use a window, often a single source of light, and he'd be very true to that source. But he would also add a lot of fill light, which is what frequently happens when you light a movie set. You can just imagine Rockwell having fill light, but using his brushstrokes to allow us to get into the shadows, then letting those figures pop and separate themselves from the canvas by outlining them or backlighting them or top lighting them. That's why his paintings are so snappy.

LB: I also love the mischievousness in the painting Pardon Me, where the boy is stepping on the girl's feet while dancing.

SS: I think Rockwell was a great humorist. So many of his paintings are evocative of the humor of the times, innocent humor, not raunchy humor like we have today, but innocent humor like stepping on a girl's toes at the dance. This is something we've all done when we were younger, and we still do at my age. This was Rockwell extolling the virtues of this 1940s, '50s, and '60s innocence, which is how he saw America. Simple values and simple moments. . .

LB: Boy on a High Dive is both funny but so evocative of a little boy facing the biggest challenge of life, with that big blue sky behind him, but no view of the water. What's your take on it?

SS: I've always loved that painting. It means a lot to me, because we're all on diving boards hundreds of times during our lives, taking the plunge or pulling back from the abyss. For me, that painting represents every motion picture just before I commit to directing it. Just that one moment, before I say, "Yes, I'm going to direct that movie." For Schindler's List, I probably lived on that diving board for eleven years before I eventually took the plunge. So that painting spoke to me the second I saw it. When I saw that the painting was available to add to my collection, I said, "Well not only is it going in my collection, but it's going in my office so I can look at it every day of my life."

LB: The Connoisseur is an interesting painting because you have this old man, so obviously an older generation, looking at a Jackson Pollock, the next generation. Can you equate that to the way you felt when you started in the film business?

SS: The Connoisseur is a fascinating painting for me. On the one hand, Rockwell actually had to do a Jackson Pollock. He had to get that drip effect on that canvas. That means he had to completely change the paradigm of his style to accomplish a Jackson Pollack and a very convincing Jackson Pollock, before going back to his sort of conventional human characters. For me that represents how an artist can suddenly change his style and be unrecognizable in one form in another medium and then return to the style that we're familiar with. So personally, it speaks to whether a filmmaker can also have more than one style throughout his or her career.

LB: If Rockwell had been a filmmaker, do you think he'd have been a good one?

SS: I think if he had been a filmmaker, he'd have been a great filmmaker, and he would have been a famous filmmaker. But thank God he wasn't a filmmaker; thank God he painted pictures to inspire other filmmakers to do better work. I think that's what Rockwell has done for all of us who love him and appreciate his paintings. He has made us better artists.

The interview can be found here along with a separate chat with George Lucas.

(In case you're wandering what Steven Spielberg is up to in the picture at the top of this story, he's not doing a gang sign - he's recreating Rockwell's painting Shadow Artist).

The Telling Stories exhibition continues at the Smithsonian until January 2, 2011.



Friday, 16 July 2010

War Horse 'to begin shooting in August on Dartmoor'

As Steven Spielberg's World War One drama War Horse gears up to begin filming, the UK's Daily Mail has spoken to the book's author Michael Morpurgo about the adaptation.

He reveals that filming is due to begin in August and may take place on Dartmoor, an isolated, windswept moor in England. (This would make it the first Spielberg-directed film to shoot in the United Kingdom since Saving Private Ryan).

The book tells the moving story of a horse sold to the cavalry and then shipped to France during the First World War, and his young owner's mission to bring him home.

"I know they are filming on Dartmoor and in London,' said Mr Morpurgo, who used his home village of Iddesleigh, near Winkleigh, North Devon, as the location for part of the novel. "I am excited and I hope to go on set and see it."

The author said he was thrilled that Oscar winner Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy were working together on the production.

"They made ET, Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan," he said. "They have made the most exciting films and I am hoping they will do something wondrous with War Horse."

Last month Empire revealed that Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, David Thewlis and Benedict Cumberbatch have all signed on for War Horse, while relatively unknown young actor, Jeremy Irvine, will take the lead.

War Horse traces the friendship between Joey, a farm horse sold into the British army and sent off to serve on the battlefields of France during World War 1, and Albert (Irvine), his young owner. Watson and Mullan play Albert’s parents. Cumberbatch will play military man Major Stewart.

Rounding out the internationally diverse cast are Niels Arestrup (A Prophet, The Diving Bell And The Butterfly) as the grandfather of a young French girl (Celine Buckens) who takes Joey in, plus Nicolas Bro, David Kross, Leonard Carow, Rainer Bock, Robert Emms and Patrick Kennedy. Also in talks to join the cast are Tom Hiddleston and Stephen Graham.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Spielberg's new EA game?

It's probably best to take this news with a pinch of salt, as the source seems random at best.

According to a CV posted by a video game producer, Steven Spielberg is allegedly still developing a game for EA. I say take this news with a pinch of salt because this could easily be a project that has long since dropped off the development radar (or could even just be a prime example of someone getting a bit "creative" on their CV).

Whether this is the World War 2 "James Bond meets Medal of Honor" game that has been on the drawing board since before 2006 is unclear.

So, in conclusion: Spielberg might still be working on his EA game. (But he might not). And the EA game could be set in World War 2. (But it might not).

I hope this has cleared up the situation for you...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Spielberg's A.I. on Blu-ray in October?


A.I. Artificial Intelligence may be one of the most divisive films in Steven Spielberg's filmography, but few would disagree that it's one of his most beautiful. Which is why reports that it could be on the verge of a Blu-ray release are such good news.

The folks over at Blu-ray.com are today claiming that the 2001 Warner Bros film could be released in Europe on October 15. That's according to German retailers. What this means for a US release is unclear however, as the domestic rights are held by Paramount.

For Spielberg fans and Blu-ray owners, 2010 has been a good year. Hi-def versions of Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report and War of the Worlds have all hit the shops in the last few months.

They join Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Twilight Zone: The Movie and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as the only Spielberg-directed films currently available in HD.

Here's hoping that Jaws gets the full 1080p treatment soon (it's the 35th anniversary after all, it would only seem right!)

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Spielberg/Lucas Rockwell exhibition


Telling Stories, an exhibition of Norman Rockwell art owned by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, has just opened at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington (it goes on until January 2, 2011) and a few articles have appeared speaking to the two men about the iconic American artist.

Take a look at the Smithsonian's website for an excellent slideshow of the men's works plus information how the collection came about.

Telling Stories
is the first major exhibition to explore in-depth the connections between Norman Rockwell’s iconic images of American life and the movies. Two of America’s best-known modern filmmakers—George Lucas and Steven Spielberg—recognized a kindred spirit in Rockwell and formed significant collections of his work. Rockwell’s paintings and the films of Lucas and Spielberg evoke love of country, small town values, children growing up, unlikely heroes, acts of imagination and life’s ironies.

Rockwell was a masterful storyteller who could distill a narrative into a single frame. His pictures tell stories about the adventure of growing up, of individuals rising up to face personal challenges, the glamour of Hollywood and the importance of tolerance in American life. He created his pictures with strategies similar to those used by filmmakers.

The exhibition is based on new research into Rockwell, his work and the relationships between the artist and the movies. It showcases fifty-seven major Rockwell paintings and drawings from these private collections.

A 12-minute film, co-produced by the museum and filmmaker Laurent Bouzereau, will be shown continuously in the exhibition galleries. It features interviews with Lucas and Spielberg that reveal their insights into Rockwell’s art and why certain works appealed to them.

The LA Times spoke to Spielberg and Lucas On June 27 and they discussed his influence on their work.

Spielberg picks "ET" as the movie he's made that's most closely connected to Rockwell in sensibility.

"I certainly thought a lot about Rockwell when I was making 'E.T.,'" he says.

"'E.T.' I think comes closest to Rockwell's America, because it's centered on a family in need of repairs, and there's such a hopefulness there. But that's where it stops — I don't think Rockwell has a single alien in his repertoire."

So would someone who knew both filmmakers walking through the Smithsonian galleries be able to guess which pictures belong to Lucas and which to Spielberg?

"Maybe not," says Spielberg. "George and I have been best friends since the '60s, and we're so similar in so many ways."

Lucas agreed, for the most part. "We have the same tastes, the same feelings, the same sensibilities. Looking at one artist, we tend toward the same thing," he says. "That's why we were so compatible making movies together."

There's only one real difference when it comes to Rockwell, Lucas offers. "If it's a more expensive, important painting, it's probably Steven's."

CBS carried a report on the collection on July 4, and their website also has a slideshow with quotes from Steven Spielberg about Rockwell's painting Boy on a High Dive, which usually hangs in his office.


When asked if it were his favorite Rockwell painting, Spielberg said, "Well, let's put it this way: This is the Rockwell that, every time I'm ready to make a movie, every time I'm ready to commit to direct a movie, that's me - that's the feeling in my gut, before I say 'yes' to a picture. Because every movie is like looking off a three-meter diving board, every one."

Finally, you can view a BBC video about the news report on the exhibition here.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

New Jaws making-of book to be released

In another article commemorating the 35th anniversary of Jaws, Reuters returned to Martha's Vineyard and interviewed the locals about their Jaws experiences during filming in 1974.

It's all very interesting and well worth read - especially the bit about a new Jaws book coming out soon.

Documenting the impact of the film on island history has been a full-time job over the last two years for Matt Taylor, who is polishing a 300-page account of how "Jaws" was made.

The book, titled "Martha's Vineyard Remembers Jaws," includes about 800 never before published photographs of the production snapped by islanders, and 65 interviews with those closest to the filming. It is set for release this fall.

This is something I'd never heard of, and a search of Amazon pulls up no such book. However, after a bit of digging (well, typing "Martha's Vineyard Remembers Jaws" into Google) I found this site.

While the site doesn't give a definite release date for the book, it does say that the book will come with a DVD of 8mm footage shot during filming by resident Carol Fligor. A forum site here seems to have got a few quotes from Jim Beller, who is compiling photos for the new book. He says:

I can't wait for all the JAWS fans to finally see this! Wait 'till you read all of these new stories & info that no one's heard before. And wait until you see the hundreds & hundreds of images that we've managed to get in the last couple of years!!The book will be sold in stores on Martha's Vineyard & through our big website which we are working on now. It's being published through VINEYARD STORIES who do a number of books & coffee table books about Martha's Vineyard.


That's all I've got just now, but I will try to find out more about this exciting new Spielberg book.







Friday, 9 July 2010

The Shark Is Still Working - Martha's Vineyard screening on Tuesday, July 13


The Vineyard Gazette has published a great article to publicize the forthcoming Martha's Vineyard premiere of The Shark Is Still Working, Erik Hollander's documentary love letter to Jaws.

The film is currently doing the rounds around the country (last week there was a frankly awesome sounding screening for fans in the middle of Lake Travis in Texas)
so check it out if you can. I haven't yet, but I've been dying to since I first heard about its creation a few years back.

Anyway, back to the Martha's Vineyard newspaper article. As well as promoting the screening of the documentary it also interviews some of the locals who took part in the film, including islander Carol Fligor, whose home movies are featured in The Shark Is Still Working.

“They’re strictly home movies. Nothing professional,” said Mrs. Fligor humbly from her home in Edgartown this week. In the early 1970s, she lived with her family next door to the Kelley House, where many members of the cast and crew lived during filming. When her children were asked to be movie extras, she tagged along, packing a video camera for her amateur recordings. She ended up taking such good care of all the young extras on the set that the film crew volunteered to pay her for her participation. “So it was $20 a day. No big deal. But I had fun being a part of it, and my kids enjoyed it too,” Mrs. Fligor said.

In the years that have followed, her kids also enjoyed revisiting her live footage of the experience. She remembered one “awfully cute” shot she caught down in Edgartown. “I was taking a picture of the back of Richard Dreyfuss, and he happened to turn around and spotted me. So he presented himself with a big bow,” Mrs. Fligor said.

The footage has been well-loved over the years, to put it mildly. “Let me tell you, it has been torn apart,” she said. But she’s thrilled that the people behind the documentary found a way to restore it for the film and preserve the legacy of a memorable experience in her life.

“When we knew that The Shark Is Still Working was going to be in New York this winter, my husband and I went to see it. It was interesting, and it was fun. I continue to be enthusiastic about keeping the spirit alive,” Mrs. Fligor said.

Skip across and read the full article, and let me know if you're planning on going to the screening on Tuesday.

The Pacific storms Emmys


Congratulations to the cast and crew of the Steven Spielberg-produced HBO mini-series The Pacific for its record haul of Emmy nominations.

The 10-part World War 2 drama scooped 24 nominations - the most-ever for a cable series.

The Envelope scored a few quotes from producer Gary Goetzman, who lamented the fact that no actors managed to garner some noms.

"I don't know if they're not known enough at the time or it's the nature of being in uniform with a helmet," Goetzman said. "People don't associate the name with the character. It's the one thing that saddens us.... These kids got us here, and we appreciate all their great work."

Find the full list of winners at the official Emmys site.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Night Skies script



OK now that I'm getting the hang of this blogging business, I thought I'd post something quite cool.

Night Skies is a project Steven Spielberg worked on in the late 1970s and was meant to be an unofficial sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Written by John Sayles, it was the antithesis of the feel-good CE3K formula - basically, When Aliens Go Bad.

The script tells the story of extraterrestrials terrorising the inhabitants of a small farm and would have taken Spielberg back to the scare tactics of Jaws. It never got made though, and Spielberg siphoned off elements of Night Skies in some of his future films - most blatantly in ET (the script ends with the friendliest of the aliens, Buddee, being left behind on earth) but also the suburban terror of Poltergeist and Gremlins.


According to Joseph McBride in his wonderful biography on Spielberg, the film was to have been directed by cartoonist Ron Cobb and preproduction started at Columbia in April 1980.

But in the end the film was never made and Spielberg lost interest in the evil aliens concept (one he wouldn't revisit until War of the Worlds in 2005).

In later years, Spielberg claimed he might have "taken leave of my senses" in attempting to follow-up Close Encounters of the Third Kind with such a dark film.

But read the Night Skies script for yourself and see what you think.