Ah, the fun you could have with the new trailer for W., Ollie Stone's biopic of our current president! The latest trailer's use of scenes, music and credits can all be pulled apart for your enjoyment. The strangest thing about it is that it seems to be missing Stone's penchant for controversy. Sure, it has several scenes with different film stocks, like Natural Born Killers, and scenes of binge drinking set to George Thorogood songs, but other than that, it comes off rather ordinary. Until you start reading between the lines, that is.
As if there weren't already enough controversy surrounding the filming of Oliver Stone's George W. Bush biopic, some of the actors and film crew from W. went and got themselves arrested during a bar brawl in Shreveport, Louisiana last Saturday morning. There's an old saying in Hollywood: "The cast that fights together stays together." Okay, there's no such saying. But after this, maybe it will catch on.
Because there's apparently nothing new under the sun, the 1981 Harry Hamlin toga fest Clash of the Titans is being remade. News of the remake has been circulating for a while has been out for a while, with reports that Blade director Steve Norrington would direct, but the movie's only just now been greenlit by Warner Brothers, thanks to a change in directors. Hot on the heels of his success with The Incredible Hulk, Louis Leterrier is set to take the reins of this refurbished ancient Greek chariot and drive it to the finish line. Warner Brothers wants him to hurry, though, because he isn't in the race alone: Variety reports that the studio is hoping to make it to theaters ahead of Relativity Media and its own epic Greek god flick, War of Gods. But how to speed up production to secure a victory?
Casting for Ollie Stone's George W. Bush biopic has taken a turn for the Beloved. Stone, in his infinite wisdom, cast Thandie Newton in the role of Condoleeza Rice. This is a major step up from being the lust object of Eddie Murphy's Norbit and Simon Pegg's running fat boy. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Stone's screenplay has numerous scenes where the beautiful Ms. Newton can shine as Condi. There's just one problem: Thandie Newton can't act her way out of a paper bag. She's astonishingly beautiful, but constantly being cast in heavy roles she can't handle. It's like casting Elmo as Hamlet. Stone might be able to wring a good performance out of her, provided he can stop imposing his directorial will on every frame of the film, wrestling attention away from the actors as he usually does.
Newton may share the screen with fellow Brit Ioan Gruffudd, whom Stone, in his finite wisdom, cast as Tony Blair. Gruffud looks less like Blair than Newton does Condi, but I'm sure they can La Vie En Rose both of them to the point where the makeup wins the Best Visual Effects Oscar. In fact, this will have to be done to the entire cast, as James Brolin doesn't look anything like a certain C student from Yale. There's just one problem with the Blair casting, and stop me if you've heard this before: Ioan Gruffudd can't act. Granted, not even Olivier in his prime could have made the Fantastic Four dialogue work, so perhaps I'm being too hard on him.
Neither Dick Cheney nor Karl Rove have been cast, but I'm expecting Stone to do something wacky there too. I sat here thinking who would make good casting for Rove and Cheney, but my brain kept conjuring up Satan and Elmer Fudd with spectacles and a quail. So I'm going to leave it up to the readers. Who'd make a good Cheney? I can see Stone casting one of his former stars like Sir Tony Hopkins, though he'd make a better toe-tapping Larry Craig, along with Bill Pullman in old man makeup as John McCain.
If nothing else, I'm dying to hear the TV commercial announcer say the movie's title and its MPAA rating. It's going to sound like the end of Sesame Street. "W is brought to you by the letters P, and G, and the number 13."
Oliver Stone is showing off his version of George W. Bush via a spread in Entertainment Weekly. It might seem a little premature when you consider that Stone says the script is "still evolving" and he's yet to cast someone in the role of Dick Cheney. Maybe his hope is that the early showcase will inspire some actor to step up to the plate -- and soon. After all, Stone is aiming for a release date a mere five months from now in order to hit movie screens before the November elections. Newsflash: People are already getting burnt out on politics; by fall, they'll be willing to shell out money to not sit through another two hours of it.
The always amusing Oliver Stone has rounded out more of the cast for his film W, telling the story of President Bush's formative years. Since that is the time period, the casting of Josh Brolin as Dubya and Elizabeth Banks as Laura makes more sense. To play the elder Bushes, Stone has picked James Cromwell as George H.W. and Ellen Burstyn as Barbara. Who knows what Stone has up his sleeve, but it could turn out well. I liked his Nixon, especially Anthony Hopkins's performance since Hopkins, like Philip Baker Hall in Robert Altman's great Secret Honor, didn't try to do an imitation and ended up being more successful at capturing Tricky Dick's essence. Too often, of late, mimicry has been substituted for actual acting (I'm looking in your general direction, Marion Cotillard). Still, I am disappointed that Stone isn't planning to cover the past seven years of Dubya's administration, because I have an off-the-wall casting suggestion for Dick Cheney: Larry David. Really, David's version of himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm resembles Cheney in the way his intentions usually result in chaos, though at least Larry's heart is usually in the right place. Besides, Stone usually provides lots of laughs, at least when he's not trying to be funny (take Natural Born Killers -- please). I know that many would argue that there is nothing to laugh about concerning the missions accomplished and not accomplished by the Bush administration. Still, I have to paraphrase Albert Brooks's line in Broadcast News after his disastrous stint hosting the weekend news: At some point, the Bush administration got so off-the-chart bad, it just got funny.