All the News That’s Fit to Rank – November 28, 2015
1. Kenneth Branagh to direct, play Poirot in Murder on the Orient ExpressHercule Poirot is one of Agatha Christie's most enduring characters, and Murder on the Orient Express one of her most popular mysteries. There was a major film adaptation in 1974, with Albert Finney playing the Belgian detective, and we're about to get an updated take on it from Fox and Kenneth Branagh, who is tapped to direct as well as star as Poirot, seeking the solution to a seemingly impenetrable murder carried out on a moving train. (via Hollywood Reporter)
2. Roman Polanski will not be extradited to US from PolandAfter a lengthy set of hearings which we've reported on before, Polish courts have decided that they will not extradite Roman Polanski to the US to face trial for the statutory rape he committed in the 1970s before fleeing to Europe. Polanski is a pretty polarizing figure and it's easy to understand why - he's undoubtedly a great director, but he shouldn't be above the law (criminal or moral). This ruling means he is free to make his planned film about the Dreyfus Affair in Poland, but it's yet another roadblock to achieving justice for his victim. (via Variety)
3. The director of Space Jam is getting a DGA lifetime achievement awardNow, now, it's funny to frame the story this way, since it's funny to think of the director of Space Jam and very few other notable movies getting a lifetime achievement award, but turns out Joe Pytka getting it mostly on the strength of the over 5000 commercials he's directed, including several that still stand out as memorable, like the "Your Brain on Drugs" PSA and the Budweiser Clydesdale campaigns. Commercial directors don't get a lot of press unless they move on to directing features and stay there, like Ridley Scott. It's cool to see the DGA recognize work done in this arena. (via AV Club)
4. How Roger Deakins mastered shooting in the dark for SicarioRoger Deakins is rightfully one of the most celebrated cinematographers in the business (so where's his Oscar, Academy, hmmmm?), and here's a little glimpse into his process working with a difficult sequence in his most recent film Sicario, directed by Denis Villeneuve (the pair also worked together on Prisoners). (via Hollywood Reporter)
5. Jennifer Lawrence plans directorial debut Project DeliriumHaving already conquered acting, charming the press junket, and standing up for her pay rate, Jennifer Lawrence is now planning to take over directing as well (she already announced her move into screenwriting on a film with friend Amy Schumer). Her planned debut project is based on a 2012 New Yorker article about mental warfare in the 1960s, which sounds promising already. (via Hollywood Reporter)
6. Hi-C’s Ghostbusters Ecto-Cooler drink may make a comebackSomething of a long shot as it's based only on Coca-Cola renewing the trademark on the name of the Ghostbusters spin-off cola which was all the rage in the '80s, but hey. With the new Ghostbusters coming out, why WOULDN'T Cola-Cola want to double-down on merchandising and get Ecto-Cooler back out on the shelves for nostalgia hounds to indulge their sugar rush needs? (via /Film)
7. Why do people talk funny in old movies?The short answer: it's a specific accent called Transatlantic - people like Katharine Hepburn came by it naturally, but it was cultivated among actors as sounding tonier than regular American and not as foreign as full-on British. The longer answer? Watch the video. (via AV Club)
8. Reproduction of Rosebud sled may fetch up to 200k at auctionNow, this is NOT one of the three sleds that was actually made for filming the movie Citizen Kane. This is a sled from the 1840s that was gifted to Kane screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz at the film's wrap party and passed down through his family until this week, when TCM and Bonhams auctioned it off. (Turns out it actually snagged $149,000.) In a way, that's kind of cooler. I mean, the three sleds made for the film were just made to be burned up (one of the ones that survived is now owned by Steven Spielberg), whereas this one is an actual vintage sled of the type Charles Foster Kane might actually have owned. In other words, this sled or one very like it could be the INSPIRATION for Rosebud, not just a cheaply made prop. (via AV Club)
9. Gods of Egypt director apologizes for lack of diverse castingWhitewashing in casting films is a hot topic right now, with just about every film set in non-predominantly-white countries or time periods coming under fire for their usually predominantly white casts. The latest offender is Alex Proyas's Gods of Egypt, in which Gerard Butler and a lot of other white bros play Egyptians. In previous similar cases (like Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings), the creators have defended their choices by pointing out that it's difficult to get funding without established stars, most of whom are white; in this case, Proyas and Lionsgate have both apologized and promised to do better at casting diversely in the future. It's easier to apologize than actually change, though - let's see how well they actually do next time around. (via Variety)
10. Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg receive Medal of Freedom from ObamaThe Medal of Freedom is the United States' highest honor for civilians, and President Obama bestowed it on Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Steven Sondheim, James Taylor, Gloria Estefan, Itzhak Perlman, and ten other recipients this week - the medal recognizes "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." (via Variety)
Top Trailers of the WeekYou've already watched this trailer for Captain America: Civil War, unless you're like me and don't watch trailers for things you already plan to see.
Yeah, I'm not watching the Knight of Cups trailer either - new Malick is always a must-see for me, but here it is for your viewing pleasure.
I'm not necessarily planning to watch Zootopia, so I watched...OMG that was excruciating. I'm not sure if it was excruciating bad or excruciating good, though. The smile spreading over the sloth's face was pretty good.
This is the second trailer for Carol, which is quickly becoming a front-runner for awards and accolades this year. Wordless, this one goes for pure mood, and does so effectively.