Recently, at the Cannes film festival, Wall Street 2 star Shia LaBeouf gave an interview in which he criticized two of his previous films: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. We say "Bravo, Mr. Beef" -- both movies were awful, and while we kind of expected it of the former, the latter's goofy action and CGI made fans of the original Indy films cry. But while LaBeouf's criticism of TF director Michael Bay comes with its own risks -- he does like blowing stuff up, Shia, and you are making another movie with him -- the actor's criticism of Spielberg is even more shocking. Crystal Skull may be a stinker, but Spielberg is a major power player in Hollywood, and somewhat of a legend. But when you're right, you're right. Here's a list of other things people should feel comfortable saying to Mr. Spielbergo.
The divorce is final. The custody battle is over. They're both ready to move on. That's right: DreamWorks and Paramount finalized the details of their split over the weekend. They claim it's amicable and that they're going to remain friends and all of that, but we'll just see about that. As part of the deal, Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks will take the lead on 15-20 projects, and Paramount will have the option to co-finance. There are another 15-20 that Paramount will take the lead on, giving DreamWorks the option to co-finance. About 200 projects developed by DreamWorks will stay at Paramount, without DreamWorks financing or support.
So apparently, Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, which has inspired countless knockoff films, was actually based on a short story from 1942. And while most of those knockoffs flew under the radar, apparently 2007's Disturbia, with Shia LaBeouf in an ankle bracelet standing in for Jimmy Stewart in a wheelchair, has not, and the company that represents the deceased author's estate has filed a lawsuit against Dreamworks, according to Reuters. Apparently, they were waiting for Disturbia to make it to Blu-ray? And for Blu-ray to be declared the next generation of media player? And for all of the Disturbia HD-DVDs to go on closeout?
Apparently, Steven Spielberg has been dying to work with Will Smith, which makes me say out loud, "Steven Spielberg hasn't worked with Will Smith yet?" How did such a big-shot director and bankable movie star not team up and gross 500 billion dollars already? It seems like this should have happened long ago. Maybe if it had, they probably wouldn't be trying to get the rights to remake the South Korean film Oldboy right this very minute. If you've seen Oldboy, you may think this is blasphemy, since Smith is the posterboy for mainstream American pablum. Or, like me, you may think this has the possibility of being Will Smith's greatest role ever, the one that finally snags him the Academy Award, and the one that makes everyone look at him differently for the rest of his life... in a good way. Maybe.
Thinking outside the box is not a new concept in Hollywood. I mean, this is the town that said, "I know! Talking, dancing Chihuahuas!" and then actually made a bunch of money. So, it may come as little surprise that they're doing the same thing with The Trial of the Chicago 7, an upcoming DreamWorks project about the 1968 riots at the Democratic convention and the events that followed. And by "same thing" I don't mean talking, dancing Chihuahuas. Praise be. Written by Aaron Sorkin, the political drama has had a few directors who've come in for talks about attaching themselves to the film, including Steven Spielberg, Paul Greengrass, and Ben Stiller. No, you totally read that right. Stiller is the latest in a line of helmers that have been in discussions to work on the film, even though this project is decidedly different in tone from the rest of the director's oeuvre. Not that a guy can't change direction or want to work on something a little bit different, but it seems an interesting choice.
George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford can ignore the (generous mixed reviews and Ford's age (66!), but they apparently cannot ignore Indy's box office power, and therefore a fifth Indiana Jones film might be on the way, according to Ford. He said Lucas is "in think mode" and, "It's crazy, but great." I would like to emphasize the word "crazy" here, but it sounds like Ford's going to focus on the "great."
...or 39 of them. Spielberg's DreamWorks has acquired the rights to The 39 Clues, what Variety describes as "a multiplatform adventure series." As yet The 39 Clues is a 10-book series, the first of which, The Maze of Bones, will be released on September 9th of this year by Scholastic. The "multiplatform" part seems to include a set of collectible cards, an online game where young readers can try to solve a mystery for a $10,000 grand prize, and obviously, the Spielberg flick. Which, according to DreamWorks' co-chair, may not be the only one coming to the big screen. "There is enough material here for three or four movies," Stacey Snider told Variety, adding, "Steven is very involved and passionate. This excites me as an executive but also as a mother. It is an educational, challenging interactive experience that hits kids where they live." Ouch.
The world is buzzing today with news and gossip about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
The big news, of course, is the LA Times story that maintains that George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford won't be paid until the studio brings in $400 million in revenue. That's a large haul, even for Indy. And it's a shocker in Hollywood, where actors, directors and writers usually get paid a high set rate first, and talk about residuals later. It's a risk on the parts of the big three, but they clearly believe in this movie, and were willing to bank (pun intended) on it making a haul big enough to cover the $400 million and still pay them loads of money. Or maybe they're doing it for the love? Naaah...
While some people were excited to see Titanic duo Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio teaming up again for Revolutionary Road, some of us were eagerly waiting for another big movie pair-up... for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, co-stars of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Not only will they buddy up again as comic book geeks for 2010's Paul (which the two also wrote) but they've also just been confirmed for Steven Spielberg's big-screen adaptation of Belgian artist Hergé's comic strips, The Adventures of Tintin. The two will play Thompson and Thompson, a pair of bumbling detectives who will be showing up earlier in than they did in Hergé's work, where they first stumbled onto the scene in Tintin's fourth adventure.
The rumors about the amount of Steven Spielberg's input on the upcoming Tintin movie have been greatly under-exaggerated. The original plan was to have Spielberg helm the first in the series, with Peter Jackson succeeding him for any sequels. Recently, Herge Studios (Tintin's owners) released word Peter Jackson would be the director of the first film, not Spielberg. Now we have word that Spielberg is still slated to direct the kickoff Tintin movie, which is scheduled to begin lensing this October, and Jackson will produce. It's a lot of confusion over a movie about the German Shepherd who saved Warner Bros. from bankruptcy. Oh wait, that's Rin-Tin-Tin. My bad.