In the new issue of DGA Quarterly, John Anderson talks Darren Aronofsky through his career, through Pi (1998), Requiem for a Dream (2000), The Wrestler (2008), and Black Swan (2010)—The Fountain (2006) is only briefly mentioned—and of course, Noah, the biblical epic that’ll be relying on some major CGI. There’s the Great Flood to generate, of course, but there are also no live animals, marching two by two, on the set. “And yet he says he feels that ‘if anything, the director has more control over everything. Increasingly, the images are coming out of a computer, but that means you can change anything and have more control.’ … Around the time of this interview, Aronofsky was told by [Industrial Light & Magic] that they had just done the most complicated rendering in the company’s history involving the animals on the Ark.”
The real headaches are elsewhere. “With a high-profile cast including Russell Crowe as everybody’s favorite antediluvian patriarch, it has been billed as a blockbuster fantasy spectacular to resurrect the biblical epic for the 21st century,” writes the Guardian‘s Ben Child. But Aronofsky “is embroiled in a fight for control of his ambitious new film with studio Paramount. The problem, according to the Hollywood Reporter, is that the two key demographics identified by producers as critical to the box office office success of the film have both reacted negatively at test screenings. Christian viewers in Arizona did not much like it, possibly because the movie plays fast and loose with its biblical subject matter, and neither did Jewish film-goers in New York. A screening for the ‘general public’ in Orange County, California, also produced ‘troubling reactions,’ and it is not clear whether Aronofsky has maintained his control over final cut.”
For the Wall Street Journal, Logan Hill has a good long chat with Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jonah Hill about The Wolf of Wall Street, noting that “the glitzy, audacious blockbuster is based on real-life rogue trader Jordan Belfort’s memoir of his 1990s pump-and-dump flameout, during which he launched the infamous Stratton Oakmont ‘boiler room’ brokerage, inflicted over $200 million of losses on investors and sunk a 167-foot yacht—all on his way to a federal indictment for securities fraud and money laundering and 22 months in prison.” The opening’s set for November 15.
Also in the WSJ, Alexandra Alter writes at considerable length about Cormac McCarthy and the movies without the benefit of meeting the acclaimed novelist. She’s come up with a great read nonetheless. The occasion, of course, is The Counselor, directed by Ridley Scott and featuring Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penélope Cruz, and Michael Fassbender. McCarthy’s original screenplay, the only to be made into a feature film for theatrical release (even though he’s been writing them since the 70s) will be published as the film’s released next week:
Some have pronounced it a brilliant and profound morality tale in league with his novel No Country for Old Men. Others have dismissed it as “the worst thing McCarthy has ever written.”
The Counselor certainly bears the markers of Mr. McCarthy’s literary DNA. The story opens in El Paso, Texas, on the border between Texas and Mexico, where an unnamed lawyer, played by Mr. Fassbender, spends a carefree afternoon in bed with his girlfriend, Laura, played by Ms. Cruz. The rest of the story unfolds as swiftly and relentlessly as a Greek tragedy. The counselor, ignoring warnings that he is dealing with vicious criminals who, in the words of one character, “will rip out your liver and eat it in front of your dog,” gets involved in a deal to import cocaine from Colombia to Chicago in a septic tank truck. The truck goes missing and everything unravels.
The film is a strange hybrid with few antecedents in Hollywood: a sex and violence-filled drug thriller with shadowy characters who have abstract, philosophical discussions about fate, mortality and the nature of greed. At times, it seems like characters from a Samuel Beckett play wandered into a Quentin Tarantino film.
Woody Allen’s 47th feature now has a title, reports Variety‘s Dave McNary. Magic in the Moonlight, slated for a 2014 release, is a romantic comedy set in the 1920s and 30s in southern France, where he’s been shooting. The cast features Colin Firth, Emma Stone, and Jacki Weaver, and Marcia Gay Harden.
“Kate Beckinsale has joined the cast of Michael Winterbottom’s The Face of an Angel, an exploration of our fascination with violence based on the Amanda Knox case,” reports the Guardian‘s Ben Child.