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 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!